A Reason To Listen To The Game on Radio

Jeff · June 6, 2006 at 10:37 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Depressed that Andrew Miller wasn’t the pick this morning? Console yourself with a bit of humor from the M’s radio broadcast last night. Despite the quotation marks, this is paraphrased, not verbatim, but I assure you, it’s accurate.

Fairly to Rizzs: “Do you keep in touch with any of your high school friends?”
Rizzs: “Sure, we see them when we’re out on the south side of Chicago. We have a wonderful time. Do you keep in touch with yours?”
Fairly: “I’ve got four in jail, and three out on parole.”
Rizzs (stunned): “… you hung with a good crowd. Aaaand there’s the pitch …”

I love the radio broadcast: it’s so much looser than the telecast, it seems. You learn something new every day.


42 Responses to “A Reason To Listen To The Game on Radio”

  1. ConorGlassey on June 6th, 2006 10:53 am

    That’s so funny! Was Fairly being serious or just messing around?

  2. revbill on June 6th, 2006 10:56 am

    A reason not to listen to the games on the radio is the fact that you miss the first pitch of almost every half inning. It is kind of funny to listen to the crowd going nuts after a commercial, then Rizzs trying to pretend like he’s calling the homerun in real time. But it sucks that they have to squeeze that extra commercial in there and consistently miss part of the game.

  3. Jeff on June 6th, 2006 11:07 am

    Conor, I don’t know for sure, but he sounded serious — he even had the numbers handy.

  4. Bender on June 6th, 2006 11:15 am

    There is much we don’t know about the dark past of Ron Fairly.

    Maybe his catchphrases are that of the criminal underground and perhaps his palendromic storytelling is actually secret underworld code!

  5. Ralph Malph on June 6th, 2006 11:23 am

    There’s a good collection of Ron Fairly quotes on baseball almanac:


  6. Deanna on June 6th, 2006 11:29 am

    Actually, I swear, I only listened to about ten minutes of the game on the radio last night, and that was the part I heard. I was giving a friend a ride from the airport, and he’s like “Are your announcers always this weird?”

  7. Jeff on June 6th, 2006 11:36 am

    That Baseball Almanac link is great.

    But “quotations about Ron Fairly: none yet found”? C’mon … the good people at the Almanac should just search our archives.

  8. ChrisK on June 6th, 2006 11:39 am

    Every new thing I might learn on a radio broadcast is instantly negagted by hearing (for the 1000th time) that Rizzs is from the south side of Chicago. I’m sorry, Rick, but that still doesn’t give you street cred.

  9. Bender on June 6th, 2006 11:46 am

    There’s a pretty good little Ron Fairly story here. Scroll down to where it says ‘He used that power only rarely.’

  10. Ralph Malph on June 6th, 2006 11:57 am

    Somehow reading that wonderful article about Vin Scully seems out of context in a thread on Rizzs and Fairly.

  11. sidereal on June 6th, 2006 11:58 am

    So. . according to the Prospectus, the Mariners have 2 of the worst 5 pitchers in LUCK (record vs expected record). Though it seems the expected is based only on the pitcher’s performance, not his offense. So it really shouldn’t be called LUCK, it should be called BAD RUN SUPPORT, and indeed the guys at the top are on crappy teams and on the bottom on good ones. So. . yeah. . not a great stat.

  12. Mr. Egaas on June 6th, 2006 12:26 pm

    That’s a very “Meh, nobody is listening anyway” quote. Need more of that.

  13. Matt on June 6th, 2006 12:28 pm

    Another classic Fairly quote. I feel honored that I was able to play slow pitch softball on the same field where he once starred in college (he was a good college player right?).

  14. Nick on June 6th, 2006 1:32 pm

    For me, the worst part of Mariners broadcasts is the mid-game announcer switch, where Niehaus and Rizzs switch spots and we get to hear the same observations all over again, e.g., Niehaus starts off the game with observations about how hard it is to be Buddy Bell these days, and who got sent down to the minors, and how they have great BBQ in Kansas City, then Rizzs comes on in the fifth inning and tells us how hard it is to be Buddy Bell these days, and who got sent down to the minors and, oh, by the way, did you know that they have great BBQ in KC?

  15. CCW on June 6th, 2006 2:43 pm

    I was listening and was 95% sure he was kidding. Unfortunately, Rizzs isn’t the type to pick up on dry humor like that. Later in the same broadcast, Fairly began discussing how he’d like to see the amateur baseball draft done away with entirely – pure free agency. Anyway, Jeff’s point is correct… the radio broadcasts are a lot more interesting than the television version.

  16. msb on June 6th, 2006 2:57 pm

    Fairly just has no use at all for the draft (‘just let teams sign guys’) and can’t or won’t see what getting rid of the draft might mean for the small market teams.

  17. sidereal on June 6th, 2006 3:07 pm

    I’m not sure it’d mean much (except for a small blanket increase in low-end salaries, as every contract becomes competitive), but that’s probably an argument for another thread.

  18. DMZ on June 6th, 2006 3:19 pm

    I’ve argued this before, but I don’t think getting rid of the draft’s bad for small market teams, which means I’m on Fairly’s side.

  19. Bender on June 6th, 2006 3:21 pm

    Derek, can you elaborate on your feelings on the draft? I’m torn personally between thinking it should stay so that it keeps balance and thinking it should go because it’s such a joke.

  20. Ralph Malph on June 6th, 2006 3:23 pm

    In practice I’m not sure the draft helps small market teams because they don’t draft guys they can’t afford.

  21. Nat Irons on June 6th, 2006 3:52 pm

    Another reason to prefer radio: the increased chance of hearing Betancourt’s name pronounced like it was last year.

  22. DMZ on June 6th, 2006 4:03 pm

    There was a whole thread in another comments thing a couple days ago. I’d look it up but I don’t have time right at the moment. I’ll swing back around later.

  23. Evan on June 6th, 2006 4:07 pm

    I’m not sure it’d mean much (except for a small blanket increase in low-end salaries, as every contract becomes competitive), but that’s probably an argument for another thread.

    I’m not so sure that wouldn’t be balanced out by a reduction in early round salaries after the first. Once a guy can’t claim to be have been the #35 pick or whatever, he loses a bit of leverage. And with no draft, there’s less incentive to go for the best available player rather than just filling organisational holes.

    I’d need to see an economic analysis before Id draw any conclusions, though.

  24. mara on June 6th, 2006 4:39 pm

    I think allowing the players to influence who drafts them by demanding such high signing bonuses is ridiculous. It should be more like the NHL, with a cap on the signing bonus, salary, contract length, and incentive-based bonuses that a rookie can get on his first contract. And baseball players are an even bigger gamble than hockey players at draft age.

    From the NHL CBA: Entry-level contracts will be capped at $850,000 per season, with a maximum signing bonus at 10 percent of salary per season. The contracts will be three years in length.

    So even Sidney Crosby, the most anticipated NHL rookie since Gretzky, is making less than a million and ANY team could have signed him.

  25. Bender on June 6th, 2006 4:42 pm

    Mara makes a damned good point.

  26. Nick on June 6th, 2006 5:02 pm

    It stands to reason that if you do away with the draft and just make everyone a free agent, the teams with the most cash will get more of the good players. We don’t need to go all that far back in time to see that in practice, where the Yankees and Cardinals (and Dodgers, to some extent) minor league systems locked up a disproportionate share of the talent.

    With a draft teams at least start with a level playing field.

    I agree that Baseball could use some kind of rookie salary cap, but I doubt it’ll happen until there’s another massive lockout/strike.

  27. Nick on June 6th, 2006 5:05 pm

    The difference is that players are still driving the bus in baseball, whereas NHL, NBA and NFL have reigned in players to one degree or another at the bargaining table.

  28. gwangung on June 6th, 2006 5:08 pm

    whereas NHL, NBA and NFL have reigned in players to one degree or another at the bargaining table….

    And that’s done such wonders for the NHL and NBA…..

  29. Swungonandbelted on June 6th, 2006 5:11 pm

    26 — In addition to your point, under the current system, teams control players for 6 years of ML service time, What would concern me about doing away with this system, is that you’d have an even higher level of disparity between teams because as soon as the player was getting to the stage of their development where they were being productive, higher market teams can just snap them up after their 3 years. This is working in the NHL, but IIRC, the NHL has a pretty strict soft cap, if not a hard cap all together. With no kind of spending limits out there, I’m for the current system which gives teams a greater measure of protection with their young players.

  30. joser on June 6th, 2006 5:40 pm

    Wasn’t it Finley, when he was the A’s owner, who suggested at the dawn of free agency that every player become a free agent every year, ie no multi-year contracts? His thinking (I believe) was that the glut of players would actually hold salaries down (and I guess, with every year a “contract year” for every player, keep performance up). Of course the A’s also had the first pick in the first draft in 1965, because they’d been so bad the year before (and just about every year before that). And — just to bring this full circle — they were the Kansas City Athletics at the time. Other than those few George Brett glory years in the 80s, the fans in KC have had to put up with a lot of bad baseball.

    Kind of like Mariners fans. I hope 2001 wasn’t the Mariner’s equivalent of the Royals’ 1985 — a flash of greatness leading nowhere for the next twenty years (and counting).

  31. Nick in Taiwan on June 6th, 2006 5:59 pm

    on the subject of announcers: three cheers for Red for telling the truth . the guts to tell the fan-friendly fans that there’s more to it all than good times. hard time.

    i take Red over hendu and rizz every day: how many ways can you say “wrap around?” anyway?

  32. tad on June 6th, 2006 6:08 pm

    Just before the lines Jeff quoted, Rizzs gave one of his patented sappy Happy Graduation (insert name of other occaision here) messages to ProducerEngineerKevinCremin’s daughter and then Fairly refused to reveal the date of his HS graduation. Nevermind that that information is widely available in numerous sources!

    It was a surreal half-inning and indeed a reason to prefer the radio broadcast over TV.

  33. Gomez on June 6th, 2006 6:52 pm

    Dave Niehaus gets so much more openly angry at Mariner players’ bad performances on the radio than he does on TV, likely because he does radio later in the game and what happens often matters moreso than it does in the 2nd or 3rd innings. I remember one time last year when Spiezio popped up and Dave exclaimed, “OH, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!”

  34. BelaXadux on June 7th, 2006 12:28 am

    Radio’s just soooo much better. On TV, the announcers are just that, they ‘announce’ things, and then have to be careful not to get in the way of the picture. On radio, they _are_ the show. There’s a lot of dead air time to fill, and games last several hours of that. Radio broadcasters who are any good understand pacing, have a talent for pacing, have a store of ‘true stories’ both in the game and outside of it, and can ad lib and bring it off. I’m not talking Rico Rizzs here, who repeats himself verbatim to fill air time because he can’t think > talk on his feet. But Fairly is pretty good with the ad lib now, after years of practice, and top of the line guys have excellent pacing and the ability to riff on each other’s comments. Fairly is actually at his best in the latter capacity, but at his worst in the stock play-by-play patter where his boredom (literally) with the endless repitiion shows through the veneer at times.

    Radio, when it works, is just ‘good times.’

  35. Kyle on June 7th, 2006 8:37 am

    For the record, and anyone who wants to hear it, the exchange happened at the 01:12:45 mark of MLB’s Gameday Audio feed, and went as follows:

    Rizzs: “Here’s designated hitter Carl Everett, no score, bottom half of the second, Ibanez on at first base with one out. Wood delivers… a strike. Oh-and-one.”

    Fairly: “You keep in contact with some of your high school buddies?”

    Rizzs: “Yes I do. I still, uh, call and touch base with a few of my friends, especially when we get a chance to go back to Chicago to play the White Sox, have a chance to see some of the fellas… toss to first base, Ibanez back one more time… It’s great to catch up with your friends.”

    Fairly: “Well I have, uh, four of them are still in jail, and three are out on parole.” (chuckles)

    Rizzs (stunned, rushed): “…Hung out with a good crowd. Here’s the pitch on the way to Everett…”

  36. mara on June 7th, 2006 9:47 am

    Swungonandbelted: The NHL now has a hard salary cap, a maximum (20% of the team salary cap) and minimum salary (they already had a minimum, of course), a guarantee that the players’ salaries will not take up more than 54% of the league’s revenue (players put about 12% of their salaries in escrow) and the very strict caps on rookies.

    gwangung: You’re obviously not very familiar with the NHL’s financial system. Veteran unrestricted free agent signings was the biggest problem in the old system, with “pretty good” players signing with big market teams (NY Rangers) for “superstar” money, so no small market or Canadian teams could afford big names. The new system, with a salary cap and max salary, appears to have pretty much fixed that.

    Even before the NHL’s new CBA, there was a cap on how much a player’s first contract could be worth. And so every team had/has the ability to get the very best young players AND keep them, at least for the first 3/4/5 years of their careers. The very best young players know all they can make is (currently) $850K. They can’t hold out for more than that, and they can’t affect which team drafts them. One big-name player has successfully resisted signing with the team who drafted him first overall (just because he didn’t want to play in Quebec City), eventually forcing the biggest trade in NHL history. He has been reviled and mocked for it for the past 15 years. (Anyone who follows hockey will recognize Eric Lindros in that description.)

    Small-market and/or just plain poor NHL teams in recent years have drafted signed marquee prospects like Dany Heatley, Ilya Kovalchuk, Sidney Crosby, Dion Phaneuf, Eric Staal, and Rick Nash. Those names might not mean much to a non-fan, but those kids were superstars from their first seasons, their teams have already been improved by their first few years of play, and none of them ended up in New York, Toronto or Detroit (all notoriously free-spending teams before the new CBA).

    The NHL rookie salary cap works, and does exactly what it was intended to do. Baseball’s system (or complete lack thereof) is ridiculous, and gives way too much money to kids who haven’t proven anything, may take 5 years before they even make a big league appearance, and might not ever get there at all.

  37. DMZ on June 7th, 2006 10:28 am

    I’m not sure exactly what defines “way too much money” and “haven’t proven anything” and so on.

    I actually considered asking you some questions on why you held those beliefs, and what the basis for them were, but I’m more curious about something else.

    What do you think are some good arguments on the other side? Do any of them have merit?

  38. mara on June 7th, 2006 12:32 pm


    I guess I say they “haven’t proven anything” because college and high school ball is so very far from the major leagues, and very very few players are anything closer than 4-5 years away from the Show. Compared to other sports, a huge percentage of drafted baseball players never make it even to the high minors.

    Taking it back to hockey (as you can probably tell, that’s my area of “expertise”): if a hockey player gets drafted in the first 2 or 3 rounds, he almost always at least gets a sniff at the NHL, and I’d say a majority of them end up with a respectable career. And there are only 9 rounds. Most first rounders get there within a year or two. The top levels of amateur hockey (major-junior, D1 college) are much closer to the NHL than in baseball.

    I don’t know why amateur hockey skills are so much easier to translate to the NHL and why it’s so much easier to predict which players will make it, unless it’s just because the overall quality of talent in top amateur hockey is more consistently high than in college/HS baseball.

    But anyway, my definition of “proven” is apparently “will most likely make it to the big club in the next couple of years, barring catastrophic injury.” Not just “has the potential to be really awesome…or, you know, not.”

    Paying NHL signees millions would be less of a gamble than paying baseball players, and yet it’s still not done.

    I see it as “unfair” that a baseball player can have so much control over who drafts him, just by demanding $X. I think players should go to who picks them and have to stay there a few years. If it’s a bad team, and if they’re really all that great a player, they’ll make the team less bad (and hopefully less poor). It just keeps the bad teams bad (and poor) when they have no hope of getting the top picks to sign.

    Like you guys have been discussing with regards to the M’s and Miller, it changes the way teams decide how to pick players. If team A really needs a shortstop, but they don’t want to pay what the top SS in the draft is demanding, they’ll draft someone else. Maybe the next best SS, or maybe just the next best player that they can afford. It just boggles my mind that anything besides “need” is deciding who a team drafts.

    I really don’t have any arguments FOR the other side, except that I don’t really have any problem with players making whatever the owners are willing to pay them. It is basically an open market system, and the market sets the prices. But I think that should apply more to established free agents, and not rookies.

  39. mara on June 7th, 2006 12:58 pm

    One thing more.

    If Sidney Crosby were a baseball player, he could have gotten basically infinite money. There would have been a bidding war to end all bidding wars over him. No hockey player has EVER been hyped like him. He has been a sure no. 1 pick since he was about 14.

    Sid the Kid was drafted by Pittsburgh, one of the poorest teams in the league. They signed him to the rookie maximum, which even they can afford. He became the youngest player to ever score 100 points in a season, and he did it on an absolutely atrocious team.

    But he makes that team better on the ice, and is so good that he draws fans to games all by himself and makes them better financially, too.

    Pittsburgh would have never been able to draft him if he’d been demanding a $15 million signing bonus. He’d be a Yankee. How is that fair?

    And I don’t even like the Penguins.

  40. DMZ on June 7th, 2006 12:58 pm

    Do you think then that players should have no choice in where they play?
    Should they have the ability to play another sport or not play for an MLB organization if they wish, once drafted?
    If you don’t have a problem with players making whatever the owners are willing to pay them, why support any system that prevents that?
    Why should a free market system apply only to established free agents, and not rookies?

    Also, I would suggest that if you have not found any arguments with merit for the other side, you may wish to spend a little more time on the topic, as this is a complicated issue that deserves serious consideration for both sides.

  41. StevieFromTheOly on June 8th, 2006 2:19 am

    I’m still laughing about Fairly’s comment! Just when I thought I had the guy figured out, he says something totally weird.

  42. mara on June 8th, 2006 11:28 am

    Derek (re:40)

    Do you think then that players should have no choice in where they play?
    It’s not like I want to punish them all and make them all live in Kansas City for the next 20 years of their lives, but someone has to play in KC, and KC (or the equivalent) will be bad forever if they can’t get some decent-to-great prospects into the system to A)improve the team and B)draw fans.

    And if you give a bunch of 18-to-20 year old boys free choice, very few are going to want to be the first step in rescuing a drowning franchise. It seems to me that the system has to exercise at least a little bit of force to keep it even sort of fair.

    Should they have the ability to play another sport or not play for an MLB organization if they wish, once drafted?
    I admit, I don’t really understand the question. Is someone proposing a draft plan where the players are locked in little dungeons between games?

    I imagine, as an owner, if I draft a can’t-miss prospect (a chimera that doesn’t even exist in baseball, as far as I can tell), I’d probably prefer that he didn’t have a second career as a motorcycle daredevil or a hockey goon. Just to protect the investment. (Especially since I just paid him $6 million for the effort of signing his name.) Now, if the kid doesn’t actually want to play baseball for a living, then he can retire and take up whatever line of work he’d like to. Nothing’s stopping him.

    If you don’t have a problem with players making whatever the owners are willing to pay them, why support any system that prevents that?
    I know I’m not nearly as informed, or as good at arguing my point as you guys are, so guess I should clarify. I don’t really have a problem with players who have proved that they can produce at the major league level making whatever the market will bear. I do have a problem with rookie signing bonuses. They are two very different issues, in my opinion.

    Why should a free market system apply only to estabilished free agents, and not rookies?
    This seems totally obvious to me, in the same manner that I know it rains a lot in Oregon and I know my own name. Rookies haven’t done anything (at the MLB level or anything close) yet and may very well never do anything to earn the high salaries and huge signing bonuses. Young baseball players are a huge risk and tons of them never meet expectations. I don’t want to screw them over and force draftees in rookie ball to live on ramen and tap water, but I don’t think capping first year contracts and signing bonuses at a million or something is at all unreasonable. It makes the draft more fair for the different teams (is there some reason that Minnesota shouldn’t have as good a chance to draft the best player at the position they need most as the Yankees?) and reduces risk.

    Also, I would suggest that if you have no found any arguments with merit for the other side, you may wish to spend a little more time on the topic, as this is a complicated issue that deserves consideration for both sides.
    Granted. And I’d love to see any arguments by people more knowlegable than me (half of everyone and their dog) on the topic. But so far, all I’ve seen is what sounds like the classic Republican economic arguments for a Free Market, which I, as a bit of a socialist, happen to disagree with.

    P.S. Thanks for even replying to me. It’s actually a bit of a thrill for a baseball lightweight like me.

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