Bottom of the 9th. Royals trailing the White Sox by 5 runs. One out. Lorenzo Cain on first. Eric Hosmer, who’d had the day off, is pinch-hitting. He watches the first pitch sail high for ball one. After knocking the dirt from his cleats, he steps back into the box and settles. The next pitch is low and outside, but Hosmer hacks. The end of the bat catches the ball—barely—and he lofts a long, lazy gimmee to the left-fielder, who makes the routine catch and tosses it back to the infield. Two outs.
Now here’s how this same hypothetical scenario sounded when hypothetically called by (former!!) Royals’ announcer Bob Davis.
“Bottom of the… ninth? Ninth. Two outs. Lamaar Cain on first with a chance to score the winning run. Or tie it. Eric Hosmand at the plate. Hosmand takes the first pitch low and inside, strike one. The Orioles closer Brantley goes into the wind-up, and here’s the pitch. Hosmand rockets ones—it’s deep!—THIS ONE’S GOT LEGS!—IF ONLY THE WIND WILL CARRY IT—IT COULD BE!!—annnnd the left fielder Huxtable MAKES the catch, and that’s your ballgame, folks! WOW. WHAT an ending—Aaron Hostler really gave Brantley a jolt there, but the Royals come up short… oh, MY mistake—Butler’s coming up with a chance to win it.”
Now quite obviously, this is an exaggeration. But the thing is, it’s not all that far from the truth and that is why I am ecstatic that the 16 year Royals’ broadcasting vet recently announced that he was hanging up his Royal blue microphone. (He will, however, continue broadcasting for KU Jayhawks basketball.)
It would be easy to blame Davis’ frequent missteps on his age—he’s 68—but the thing that REALLY drove me bat-shit insane about his game calling was his complete inability to accurately capture the emotion of a play.
Several times a game, he’d suffer from emotional inaccuracy, often giving the impression that he was calling an entirely different game from the one you were watching. Lazy cans of corn would become towering blasts that might end up on I-70; routine 6-4-3 double plays were candidates for Sportscenter’s Web Gem of the Century. By that same token, he’d often seemingly fail to realize that a walk-off single actually just won the game, and late-inning, game-tying triples received the same treatment as a grounder to third.
For Bob Davis, every day was opposite day, and because of these maddening fallacies, I couldn’t be happier to see him ride off into the sunset, (likely sitting backwards on his horse).
Look, I don’t hate the guy—I mean, he’s probably a nice person, I’d guess. (Unless someone in the comments can convince me otherwise—PLEASE someone tell me that they have the inside story of how Davis pays young Mexican children money to throw rocks at his genitals, or something. I’d give good (“good” is totally subjective) money.) By all accounts, he’s a devoted husband, and he’s clearly very proud of Steven, his broadcasting son.
So to Bob Davis, the constant-exaggerator I say, “farewell, and enjoy your retirement.”
Lord knows I will.
I’m on Twitter, @StanfordWhistle