My Time Announcing A Rangers Game

4 Sep

I recently had a once in a lifetime chance: announcing a Texas Rangers baseball game. That’s right: I would be in the press box with the main dudes of Rangers television, Josh Lewin and Tom Grieve. Listen, how I got there isn’t important, OK? Just know that I have a lot of big name friends (friends with impossibly long, ethnic names) and a lot of friends who have a lot of influence in broadcasting. They got me a gig for the night and I’ll be forever grateful.

These were my co hosts:

Josh Lewin.

Josh Lewin.

Tom Grieve

Tom Grieve

September 3, 2009. Final game in the Rangers series vs. The Toronto Maple Leaf Mountie Moose Mike Myers Heads

“Well,” Lewin says, “We’d like to welcome a special guest to the booth tonight, from the internet, ‘Iron’ Kyle Irion. Welcome to the booth, Kyle.” Josh Lewin is a 40-something veteran of broadcasting. He’s balding slightly and he has one of the biggest shit eating grins I’ve ever seen.

“Thanks Fastball, happy to be here.” I say. At this point, most listeners assume I’m calling Lewin “Fastball” as some kind of term of endearment. Nothing could be further from the truth. I had spent the previous fifteen minutes off-air berating Lewin in front of the production staff for wearing sandals while broadcasting. “God damn it, Fastball. We’re on the air. Tighten up.” I write on a napkin and slide the note across the counter.

“Kyle, how does it feel to be up in the box for this game? How long have you been dreaming of this?” Tom Grieve asks.

“Feels good. Oh, I usually try not to dream. Last time I did that, I got a night terror and woke up strangling someone I didn’t know.” There’s about three seconds of complete silence. Grieve, smiling politely, glances back to a producer and then back to me. I’m eating nachos and glaring at Josh Lewin and his god damn Birkenstocks. Tom Grieve is a lot like Lewin but with gray hair. He used to manage the Rangers. I don’t remember him.

“All right, well, here we go, inning number one. The Rangers have moved Andrus to the two spot in the batting lineup tonight, probably because of the injury to star third baseman Michael Young.” Lewin said.

“Yea, Ron Washington was a little resistant to the change, but when asked about it at today’s press conference said he pretty much had no other choice. These next few weeks without Michael Young will probably be tough,” Grieve said. “Kyle, what do you think the key will be for the Rangers to make it through the next few weeks without Young?”

“Well,” Josh Lewin and Tom Grieve sit patiently, waiting for my response. “Michael Young will be sorely missed. It’s always tragic to see a life with so much promise cut so short. We’d all like to send our thoughts and prayers to his loved ones–all of us except Josh Lewin here. He doesn’t believe in God, so to him, Michael Young is worm food.”

More silence. “Oh, that Iron Kyle sure is something–quite a jokester. He’s kidding. Michael Young is only going to be out for a few weeks. Where do you come up with this stuff, Kyle?”

I turn in my seat and stare blankly at Tom Grieve.

“All right, then. Well ladies and gentleman, we are now seeing Elvis Andrus, the new number two batter, at the plate,” Tom Grieve says.

“He’s been a pleasant surprise all season. Hasn’t he?” Lewin responds.

“Absolutely. And it couldn’t of happened to a nicer–oh! A two run homer hits clean! The Rangers go up two to nothing! How about that, Kyle?”

“I love those fireworks.” We all share a brief chuckle. I extend my hands out to both of them so we could have a “moment.” They both pull away. I’m left alone.

Later the broadcast goes to their “Man on the Street” equivalent.

“All right, folks,” Lewin says, “We’re going to go to Knoxy out in the stands. Knoxy, what do you have for us?”

“Oh my god,” I say softly, arms crossed. I look at Tom Grieve. “Now? God, I hate this guy. Hey, Tom, Josh, I’m going to knock out for awhile.” I take out a pillow.

“Where did that pillow come from?”

“The pillow’s not even the weirdest thing. Look at this.” I lift my left arm from under the announcer’s table to reveal a giant barn owl. “Check this guy out.” I set the owl on the table and continue to set up my makeshift bed.

“Hey. Kyle, you can’t do this. Get back on the mic.” Lewin says off-air.

“Be quiet, Lewin. Just shut your damn mouth. I’m a grown up and I want to nap. Every time I watch a Rangers game, I nap. The only difference this time is that instead of falling asleep comfortably on my couch with my owl, I have to fall asleep between two giant, vacuous ass holes.”

“Listen, y–”

“Ass holes so large, so massive, that they actually have a gravitational pull. You are a black hole. Good night.”

I go to sleep and wake up next to my car with a check for $200 from the Texas Rangers Broadcasting Corporation. I try to drive away, but my car won’t start. I open the hood to check it out. My battery is missing. In the vacant battery spot, I find a hand-written note. “You are the worst human being I have ever worked with. Go to hell. -Josh Lewin”

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