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O'Brien For Play-by-Play?
by alex ciepley
It looks like the Cubs are hoping to add Mets and ESPN broadcaster Dave O'Brien as their play-by-play guy on WGN. Despite living in New York City, I don't actually watch many Mets games on the tube (shocking, ain't it), so I don't know much about the guy as a broadcaster.
My friend and cohort Big V, on the other hand, always has an opinion on anything Metsish. I fired off an email requesting his thoughts on O'Brien, and received the following typical Big V response:
Actually, I'm not surprised to hear that The WB is letting "Gnarly O" saunter off to greener pastures.
An experienced professional with a long resume, O'Brien's resonant "Sabado Gigante" voice was etched into the hearts of trillions as the voice of (now-defunct) 3DO's High Heat Baseball, with his "partner in crime" Chuck Valenches. In fact, he sounds a lot like the man he replaced, Gary Thorne, who was fired for leaking his opinions on the competence of the Mets front office during "The Year of the Mo".
Most recently, Mr. O'Brien has delighted Mets fans on Sunday afternoons as part of the scandalous comedy team of "Seaver and O'Brien". Their peculiar brand of brilliant repartee, searing wit, and utterly charming "good-cop, bad-cop" self-deprecation ran the gamut of worldly topics, from golf and politics to landscaping and hotdog manufacture. By the middle of the season, this rip-roaring roasting had reached fever pitch, to the point where even baseball was only rarely discussed. Which was just as well, considering that it was clear neither of them would be watching baseball if their contracts didn't require them to trudge into Flushing. But then none of us could live to hear those flushing words:
Dave: "That one's Gone, and it's not comin' back! Is Glavine tired?"
Tom: "Sayonara Big Boy!"
Exhilarating, to say the least.
For O'Brien, it looks as though this display of his astounding versatility has propelled him into a lucrative new position in Chicago. For Tom, who was nothing less than a God at Shea, it was flatulently embarrassing, and tarnished the Halo. Suddenly none of the fool sports writers in the local press are suggesting Tom Terrific for Mets coach, manager, etc. Which is rather positive, now that I think of it.
Tom Seaver was my favorite player as a kid, and probably still is. If you detect wistfulness, think of the Indian chief on the highway, and the garbage out the window.
*This tirade sponsored by Seaver's All-Meat Sayonara Big Boys - the best hotdogs for a long Sunday afternoon*