Rick Monday had the night off Friday during the radio broadcast of the Dodgers-Astros game from Dodger Stadium. Meaning, Charley Steiner , celebrating (sort of) his 60th birthday, had to work alone, after Vin Scully did the first three innings of simulcast between Prime Ticket and KABC-AM (790).
Alone, that is, until Steiner had a Dodger season-ticket holder join him in the booth for the sixth and seventh inning.
Lawrence Harvey Zeiger. You know him better as Larry King.
What does he know about baseball? Please. Alexander Cartwright only got the infield fly rule clarified by Larry and his second wife. He also had a meltdown at his
great-great-grand son’s Little League game recently when he disagreed with a volunteer umpire (linked here).
Because the Astros had forged to an 8-1 lead by this point, having taken a 6-0 lead before the Dodgers even had a hit, the account of the game was hardly keeping fans on the edge of their seats.
Good for Larry. Not good for us.
If you remember the columns he used to write for USA Today — “Blue is a great color, but it ain’t green” — the content he added to the broadcast shouldn’t be all that surprising.
We give you:
== “I think Miguel Tejada is still one of the best players in the game.”
== “What always amazes me is how human this game is.”
== “Look who’s here, Blake DeWitt. His 19th trip between here and Albuquerque. He should be wearing his Albuquerque uniform.”
== “Houston is a very interesting team. They can hit the ball. Got a nice bench. They come at you a lot of ways. They could win the West … the Central.”
== “The kid in centerfield, he turns out the light switch, he’s in bed before the light goes off.”
== (On Steiner celebrating his 60th birthday): “You’re 60? I got tires older than you. Sixty was a tough birthday for me. You get into movies now 20 percent off.”
== “How long has he (Darin Erstad) been in the majors? What a player.”
== “I like Scott Eldred, by the way.”
== “Hey, the Mets, 11-nutin’ tonight.”
== “There’ll never be another Cronkite. He was the anchor’s anchor.”
== “Greg Maddux … one of the smartest pitchers of our generation.”
== “I’ll stay another half inning … go to break.”
== “And we’ve had a change: Juan Castro comes in to play short, Blake Dewitt goes to second …”
== “Saw Jackie Robinson’s debut, was 14 years old (in 1947). Ever go the bleachers at Ebbets?”
== “My first Dodger game, against Cincinnati, July ’43, right after my father passed away, and Curt Davis (check out this link, born 1903) pitched, Dodgers won 4-3.”
==”I remember when Red Barber would say: ‘That concludes our homestand and now we go to the badlands of the west: Pittsburgh.”
== “(Stan Musial) is one of the great guys of all time. Red Barber said about his batting stance: ‘He’s like a man peeking around the corner.’ “
== “We have season tickets. My boys have come of age where they understand it. I come to 65 games a year. I center everything around the Dodgers.”
== (signing off) “Charley, anytime you want me.”
King then avoided volunteering to take calls on “DodgerTalk,” which would have meant butting in on Ken Levine and Josh Suchon to scream out: “Is the caller there? Jeff from Tarzana, what’s your question?”
Fast forward to the ninth inning: Steiner, alone again on his birthday, has one more way to make the listener uncomfortable.
He had to read a commercial spot with two outs in the bottom of the ninth — “we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that …” — for something called the “Man Groomer,” which we’re supposed to use to “shave unslightly back hair.” Available at Bed, Bath & Beyond. For real. No relation to Manny Ramirez.
Then the game mercifully ended.
If only Larry King were still around to add his thoughts on Man Groomer etiquette. It probably has something to do with growing enough on the sides of your head to kind of swoop it around between your shoulder blades, so that …. never mind.