I’m sure I’m alone in having watched all that I could of Game 1 between the Kansas City Royals and the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night, given the quick turnaround between Orioles games and the singular focus on the home team here in Baltimore.
Watching the painfully slow extra-inning affair in Anaheim, Calif., only reinforced a thought I had during Kansas City's wild-card win over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night, and baseball Twitter reinforced that reinforcement for me.
What’s up with Cal Ripken Jr.?
The Orioles legend is part of a three-man booth with play-by-play man Ernie Johnson and color commentator Ron Darling, but for large stretches of the game, you wouldn’t know by listening.
Perhaps it’s because Johnson doesn’t realize you’re allowed to be excited by playoff baseball and is basically catatonic on the call. Maybe it’s because Darling talks almost without pause, offering up large servings of unsweetened nothing and is probably still talking even though the game ended around 1:15 a.m.
But Ripken is getting poor reviews on Twitter for his extended silence -- quite possibly because he’s seen as a great baseball mind with something to say who could add substance to a broadcast that badly lacks it.
Here’s a sampling:
Is Cal Ripken asleep?— Royals Review (@royalsreview) October 3, 2014
the broadcast team's producer could score a lot of humor points by blowing an airhorn into the booth every time there's dead air again— Brandon McCarthy (@BMcCarthy32) October 3, 2014
Cal Ripken thought about speaking after that Aoki catch— Craig Goldstein (@cdgoldstein) October 3, 2014
Ernie Johnson: Some weather we're having. Ron Darling: Mmmm-hmmm. Cal Ripken: Mmmm-hmmm. <5 minutes of silence> Johnson: Mmmmm-hmmm.— Philip Michaels (@PhilipMichaels) October 3, 2014
Our Childs Walker noted in his wonderful Buck Showalter profile that Showalter’s managerial case with the Orioles was bolstered by ownership’s positive impressions.
As someone who has in the past had designs to get into the dugout, Ripken could probably take note of the fact that people much more important than baseball Twitter are watching, and being complicit in silence as part of this TBS booth is probably a bad look.