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David Carroll’s News and Notes: I Came to Play

David Carroll

Every year I clean out my pockets and share the notes I’ve made while watching sporting events on TV. I listen carefully to the sportscasters, who have a lot of time to fill. Despite the recent changes to speed up baseball games, there are still plenty of time-outs, pitching changes, and stalling tactics.

In football games, 60 minutes of action transpires in a 4-hour time slot, giving the announcers free rein to spout stale clichés. And even during the hour of actual game time, the clock runs while players saunter to the line of scrimmage, and it continues to tick until the play clock is down to one second, when the center finally snaps the ball.

That’s why announcers are eager to reach into their bag of timeworn sayings that have been around since cave men were hitting rocks with sticks. Here’s my 2023 list, followed by my comments in parentheses.

“Say this for Freddie Freeman: Today he came to play!” (Well Bob, considering he’s getting paid $27 million a year, I hope he comes to play every day.)

“Matt Olson hits it into the upper deck, an estimated 457 feet. He didn’t miss that one!” (Good point, Bill. Maybe that’s why it traveled 457 feet.)

“Spencer Strider throws that fast ball with minimal effort. That’s what I call easy gas.” (Fun fact: my wife uses that term to describe me as well.)

“On paper, this is the strongest Mets team in years.” (Unfortunately, they have to play on grass.)

“Every day, Cody is the first one to arrive at the ballpark, and the last one to leave.” (The janitorial crew begs to differ.)

“Smith is a valuable guy to have in the clubhouse.” (Dude can deal cards, prepare a delicious buffet, and unclog a toilet. Can’t hit a baseball with a boat paddle though.)

“One thing you can say about Sal, he leaves it all on the field, every day.” (He’s also been to known to leave his glove in the dugout, and he forgets his keys a lot too.)

“Julio turned his season around when he stopped trying to do too much.” (I adopted that same philosophy at work, and darn near got fired.)

“These fans are getting their money’s worth tonight!” (Evidently they haven’t visited the concession stand yet.)

“Carter is slow getting up after getting nailed by that 98-mile-an-hour fast ball.” (Can’t imagine why. I usually bounce back up when I’m knocked unconscious.”)

“Harper plays this game the right way.” (Thank goodness SOMEBODY follows the rules!)

“The Cubs just need to go out there and have some fun.” (My friends and I did that in third grade, but no one paid $150 to watch us play.)

“The Bulldogs just don’t look hungry today.” (With all due respect, they look like they’ve been well fed.)

“Well, you can’t blame this Martinez for failing to touch 2nd base. It’s a rookie mistake.” (He’s 25 years old. Don’t kids learn the basics when they’re 7?)

“That’s why they play the game.” (Nope. The TV networks pay them millions, and fans shell out $200 a ticket. THAT’s why they play the game.)

“The pitching coach is going to the mound to try to settle him down.” (Right. We all know this pitcher is toast, and they’re desperately stalling while the next guy gets ready. But that’s your story, so stick to it.)

“He left the field under his own power.” (Oh. So in other words, he walked away.)

“This inning, the Cardinals definitely have the right guys up, at the right time!” (Funny how you never mention it when the “wrong” guys are up.)

“We’ve said it before, and we say it all the time…” (Then for God’s sake, please don’t say it again!)

“This pitcher has some really nasty stuff!” (And I’m not just talking about what’s inside his locker.)

“It just depends on which Falcons team shows up to play today.” (I’m hoping it’s the one with the guys who get paid about $5 million a year.)

That’s all for now. My columns may not always win, but they definitely give you a finish. So long for now, everybody!