This is the Rubbery Shrubbery blog, where you’ve been learning how Yachats (YAH-hots), Oregon, acquires a Major League Baseball franchise. To learn more about Yachats and its inhabitants—called Yachatians (yah-HAY-shuns)— please go to this page or go to GoYachats.
As the Yachats Smelt venture into the sports world, they discover a number of unforeseen aspects of the baseball business. In today’s post, guest blogger Greg Howell tells us about one of these surprises.
The Voice of the Smelt
by Greg Howell
Despite a very confusing telephone call to the offices of the Yachats Smelt baseball club—not to mention a madcap exchange with the information operator in an attempt to even get a phone number for the Smelt (“No, sir, and we don’t have a number for a Mr. Lyon at the ZOO, either!”)—Nostradamus Rille arrived for his Smelt appointment with a measure of trepidation. He also was nervous.
As you would expect of someone whose parents named him Nostradamus, Nost Rille had a certain flair about him. A seasoned thespian with years of experience playing type-cast characters in productions of the New Albany, Indiana, Community Theatre, the 60-ish, thickly-and-squatly-built Nost itched for a defining role that would move the critics beyond their usual “pedestrian” description of his performances.
With a fresh orangish tint to his fringe of hair, a neatly trimmed mustache that seemed too small for his perpetually curling and pursing upper lip, and traditional forest green blazer bearing the Rille family crest on the left breast pocket, Nost was fully prepared to wow…someone…at the Smelt offices.
He had determined that his great acting challenge would be the role of play-by-play announcer for the Smelt. It would be a consummate performance, for Nost never in his life had watched a baseball game on television or listened to one on the radio. His knowledge of the game consisted of hearing his cousin or cousin’s spouse or someone he couldn’t quite recall describe her son’s spectacular catch made during a baseball game at a picnic sponsored by his 4-H club. The story went something like this:
It seems the young boy – named Bubba or Junior or Sonny – was not actually playing in the game, but instead was in a cow pasture next to the baseball diamond practicing his roping skills on a mangy feral cat when someone yelled, “Heads Up!” Spotting a foul ball heading toward his prized heifer, Bubba or Junior or Sonny, showed major league reactions in grabbing a nearby milk bucket as he rushed to protect his blue ribbon bovine Bessie or Elsie or Hathor (see Fig. 1).
His last step was an unfortunate one, though, for he slipped, slid, and skidded as he smeared his way directly toward his unsuspecting cow. But at the last second, just before the seat of his overalls was indelibly stained green and brown, Bubba (or Junior or Sonny) reached out with the milk pail and caught the baseball, thus saving Bessie (or Elsie or Hathor) a splitting headache. His cow continued chewing and looked away with a bored expression. It was the Catch of the Year, and people inevitably recounted the story at subsequent 4-H picnics.
Nost found the office of Ashwagandha C. Mugwump, bowed slightly and extended his hand in greeting, “Delighted to meet you Ashwa…uh…Mr…uh Mugwump.”
“Oh, just call me Wumpy.”
“Yes. So, Mr. Rille..”
“Call me Nost.”
“Yes. So, Nost, according to your phone message, you’re here to apply to be our play-by-play announcer.”
“Indeed…uh…Wumpy, that is true. You see, it is my conten–….”
“Nost, is that something we need? Do we actually need a play-by-play announcer?”
“Well, I assumed that when the fine folks of Yachats are sitting in front of their TVs watching the…”
“You think people will really watch our games on TV?”
“Uh, yes, I mean…”
“We hadn’t really thought much about that. It’s an amazing prospect, actually. Wow. Imagine. People watching our games! On TV!”
“Excuse me…uh…Wumpy, do you not have a television contract arranged by which to broadcast the exertions of the Smelt over the airwaves? Or perhaps even a radio contract?”
“Wow. Wouldn’t that be something? Our games on TV! I can barely imagine the possibilities! Maybe hundreds of people watching.”
“Tell me, Nost – what is your signature home run call?”
“My what? Signature…?”
“Nost, you’ve gotta have a signature to be successful in TV or radio. You know, like ‘Goodnight, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.’ Or, ‘Heeeeere’s Johnny!’ So I figure a baseball announcer must have a signature home run call. Whenever a Smelt player hits a home run, you as the announcer would say something like, ‘There it goes!’ or ‘Kiss it goodbye!’
“Well, I don’t suppose I have…”
“Come on, Nost. You’re here applying to be our play-by-play announcer. On TV! Can you imagine? TV! You want to be our announcer. You have to have a signature home run call.”
“Yes, well, I see. Ummm, how about, ‘Kiss it as it goes goodbye?’”
“Nah, too much like the others.”
“Maybe, ‘Wave goodbye to it?’”
“Hmmm. Not so good, Nost. Wait! I know! ‘The Smelt are off the hook! That one jumped right out of the water!’ Yes! That’s good! Don’t you think?”
“Yes, I suppose it is. ‘The Smelt are off the hook! Look at it jump out of the water!’”
“OK. Tell you what, Nost. We’ll let you know.”
After a brisk shaking of hands, Nost was out the door. As he walked away, his head spinning, Nost heard Wumpy exclaiming to himself, “People actually watching our games! On TV! The Smelt are off the hook! Jumping out of the water! Wow!”
NOTE: We thank Greg Howell for contributing Post #62.
NOTE AGAIN: Rubbery Shrubbery Stadium is now identified by a brand new banner (see Fig. 2). This is a classy Grade AAA banner, made from organic, preshrunk plastic. The lettering is archival quality and contains no GMO components. This signage announces to the world that the Smelt are here to stay.
* Author of this work is Jeff Dahl.
** Photo by Dave Baldwin.
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