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Baseball cliches getting out of hand

DIANE PUCIN / ON SPORTS MEDIA

Some analysts tend to overuse hackneyed phrases, and fans can expect several more during the league championship series.

October 16, 2009|DIANE PUCIN | ON SPORTS MEDIA

Doesn't it make you cringe a little when Dodgers part-time television broadcaster Eric Collins says repeatedly, "He's painting the corners"?

As if you haven't heard that before. Or when Angels analyst Rex Hudler says for, oh, about the 100th time, "Mighty Maicer" Izturis after Izturis beats out an infield grounder for a barely-there single as well as after he hits a home run. Kind of cute in April. Just grating in October.

Somehow baseball seems to lend itself to fomenting cliches. Such as, "The bases are juiced," (and this is a Collins thing again). He says it when all the bases are occupied by runners. Juiced? It brings to mind an image of the base being injected with, um, something.

Charley Steiner, who does Dodgers radio play-by-play, hardly ever says, for example, "Touch 'em all," after someone hits a home run. Or "That should end the frame," (Collins again; it's an INNING, most viewers aren't keeping a scorecard).

"I try desperately to avoid catch phrases and cliches," Steiner said. "I'm here to tell a story. A story is a story, it's always different. I need to tell the story as accurately as I can and reflect the moment. Isn't every moment different?"

Yes, it should be.

Bob Costas, who is widely considered one of the best baseball broadcasters around, dismisses all those hackneyed phrases. "They have no meaning," he said. "Tell the story. There are plenty of words."

There will be plenty of words spoken about baseball in the next few days. Fox will telecast the Angels-Yankees series with Joe Buck on play-by-play, Tim McCarver as analyst and Ken Rosenthal and Chris Myers reporting. The Fox pregame show is hosted by Chris Rose and features analysts Eric Karros and Mark Grace.

TBS has the Dodgers-Phillies series with Chip Caray doing play-by-play and Ron Darling and Buck Martinez serving as analysts with Craig Sager reporting.

And the after-party

"Angels Live" will be on Fox Sports West. For road games in New York, Jose Mota will serve as reporter/analyst with Bill Macdonald as host and Mark Gubicza as analyst. At home, Macdonald and Hudler will host, with Mota reporting from the clubhouse after every game.

"Dodgers Live" will be on Prime Ticket with Patrick O'Neal and Steve Lyons hosting from Dodger Stadium and Jeanne Zelasko reporting while O'Neal and Kevin Kennedy will host on the road with Lyons reporting.

TBS will continue its "Inside MLB" postgame show hosted by Ernie Johnson and featuring David Wells, Cal Ripken and Dennis Eckersley. And Fox will have a national show with Rose as host and Karros and Grace reporting.

(NFL) football rules

According to the NFL, since the 2009 Super Bowl, the 11 most-watched sporting events have been NFL games. No. 1 was the Redskins-Giants game on Fox on Sept. 13 with an average viewership of 25.1 million.

Any games that might crack that top 10 this weekend? Maybe Channel 11's offering of the Giants at New Orleans at 10 a.m. On Channel 4 at 5 p.m., the "Sunday Night Football" offering is the Bears at Atlanta.

And for you local pro football fans longing to show team spirit, DirecTV has a season-long contest for you. "Ultimate Displaced Fans" offers a chance for, say, a Bears fan in L.A. to submit essays, videos and photos to theultimatedisplacedfan.com showing why you are singularly unlucky to be away from your favorite team. The winner gets a Super Bowl trip. Semifinalists get a year's subscription to DirecTV with the NFL Sunday Ticket package.

Good on Friday

Taking a break from baseball? In high school football, Santa Ana Mater Dei is at Orange Lutheran at 7:30 p.m. on Fox Prime.

Good on Saturday

Away from Angels-Yankees, USC-Notre Dame is at 12:30 on Channel 4 where NBC analyst and former USC quarterback Pat Haden says he will not talk about his role in USC's 55-24 comeback win over the Irish 35 years ago. There is Oklahoma vs. Texas at 9 a.m. on Channel 7, and if USC wants to keep alive a BCS title game appearance dream, the Trojans (besides winning themselves) would be mighty grateful if Oklahoma could win.

Good on Sunday

For the two of you who aren't NFL fans, it could be an Olympic sports kind of day. Get a taste of who's skating well in this run-up to the 2010 Winter Olympics when Channel 4 has the ISU Grand Prix Skate France competition at 10 a.m. Caroline Zhang, a 2009 U.S. bronze medalist and Ryan Bradley, U.S. nationals 2007 silver medalist, highlight the U.S. team.

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diane.pucin@latimes.com

twitter.com/mepucin

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