Friday, June 12, 2009

High Cheese

I really like Jerry Remy, the color commentator for the NESN television broadcasts of Boston Red Sox games. And I miss Jerry ever since he took a leave of absence to more fully recuperate from lung cancer surgery and some subsequent infections. Selfishly, I was worried about what the broadcasts would be like with a string of substitute co-hosts joining play-by-play guy Don Orsillo in the booth. But it has turned out great. Two former Red Sox players Dave Roberts and Dennis Eckersley, along with a few other broadcast veterans, have filled in for Jerry. Each one has his own style and has managed to be both informative and entertaining. Miraculously, none of them have been annoying; none of them have been cringe inducing or had that fingernails-on-a-blackboard quality about their on-air performance. (All of which puts the miserable baseball broadcasters over at ESPN and Fox Sports into sharp relief!)

My personal favorite has turned out to be Dennis Eckersley. “Eck” is a colorful guy. His grammar and syntax occasionally require a road map, but it’s his creative, inside-baseball lingo which leaves us charmed and chuckling. Eck was a pitcher and has innumerable ways to describe a pitch - my personal favorites: “high cheese” (an excellent fastball) and “salad” (bad pitching)*! He also speaks his mind giving frank opinions about players - both Red Sox and opposing players - but he is never mean spirited. Mind you, Eck doesn’t have much of a governor and has been caught swearing and stumbling through the occasional awkward malapropism. No matter, he’s a breath of fresh air. I wish Jerry Remy all the best, especially a swift and complete recovery. But he can rest assured, the Red Sox color commentary is in good and very interesting hands.

*Here’s a link to a good Eck Glossary.

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