Live baseball games and the studio show on TBS last year were a little bit milquetoast and lacked a certain je ne sais quoi, so the cable network has decided to spice up their coverage with a little je ne sais fatso. Yes, David Wells is again gainfully employed, this time as a squawking head in the booth. Heck, David Wells is so fat that the fourth estate merged with the fifth estate just to fit him in.
Folks are already predicting that Wells will add some outspoken in-your-faceness to the proceedings, not unlike what Charles Barkley does for the NBA coverage on TNT. Still, you can't just be a blathering boob and expect great results from your incessant carrying-on. Barkley's comic timing is part and parcel of his character and you simply cannot imitate that. Besides, Wells will be in the booth, not in the pre-game studio, so his commentary should be limited to the game action. But it won't, because the typical TV color guy feels the need to fill time with babble; instead of letting the action do the talking, he interjects with witless anecdotes and poorly-placed didactic missives.
Credit Wells for knowing his predecessors, though:
If I was to imitate anyone it would be Ernie Harwell. Playing in Detroit for two and a half years was a great opportunity to hang around a legend. Ernie Harwell is always fun to listen to. Obviously, I never heard him until I went (to Detroit ), but I heard of him. But to really listen to a guy, if you're going to imitate someone that would probably be a guy that you would want to (imitate). You listen to (Dodgers announcer) Vin Scully, which I heard a lot, and you've got to idolize a guy like that because he's just so smooth up in the booth. But you can't imitate anyone, you've got to be your own person up there.
If he can be one tenth as good as Scully or Harwell and still retain his own style and voice, then just give him the Ford Frick Award right now. Stay tuned.
(Photos courtesy of Flickr user simplistic designs)