Wednesday, June 08, 2005

A MUST Read: Moon Man Mayhem From Yet Another Blog Better Than Mine

Viva, El Birdos! is a great website I just discovered existed. For those who don't know, El Birdos refers to the Cardinals. I know the Spanish "El Birdos" is not grammatically correct, but the phrase was coined by Orlando Cepeda during the 1967 championship season and has stuck.

Below is a recent post on Viva, El Birdos, featuring an absolutely hilarious list of quotes from Cardinals former player and now legendary broadcaster, Mike Shannon. Shannon is without a doubt the most entertaining baseball announcer currently working, including the great Bob Uecker, and I look forward to listening to him almost as much as to the game itself. Since Jack Buck's death, I have come to appreciate him even more.

To someone not acquainted with "The Moonman", it would be a shame to think that the list is compiled to make fun of him or his way of speech. Nothing could be further from the truth. Almost every Cardinals fan reveres Shannon, just not in the way you would a head of state. His down-home delivery and sometimes goofy "phrase-eology" takes listening to a ball game into an occasionally surreal direction. But sharply navigating around these mental icebergs is one of the keenest baseball minds still going. The fact that he provides quality entertainment to go with his baseball intelligence transforms his utterances into radio magic.

One of my favorite stories about Mr. Shannon is in Bob Gibson's autobiography, Stranger to the Game. He relates a story from Game 3 of the 1964 World Series, in which the Yankees and Cardinals are tied going in to the bottom of the ninth. Well, Mickey Mantle quickly ends the game, crushing the ball into the upper deck of Yankee Stadium. As soon as Mantle makes contact, it is clear to everyone in the ballpark that this game is over. Except one young Cardinal right fielder, our hero. Shannon gets a bead on the ball, turns and runs all the way to the warning track and then the wall, where he watches the ball sail far above his head into the upper deck. After the game, Gibson states he approached Shannon, asking him in effect what he thought he was doing out there, and didn't Shannon know he couldn't catch that ball. In typical Mike-Shannon-speak, Mike is reported to say to Gibson, "You never know, big boy, you never know." This line, which has become a catch phrase around my house, reveals a lot about how Mr. Shannon's mind works, as well as about his never-say-die atttitude.

Shannon is now so legendary he has inspired the naming (I think) of Get Up, Baby, one of my favorite Cardinals blogs. "Get up, baby, get up" is the quintessential Mike Shannon call, a plea to a baseball hit high and deep to the outfield by a Cardinal player to get up and over the wall. It is forever immortalized on Mark McGwire's 70th home run call in 1998. I submit "get up, baby" is as beloved to a Cardinal follower as "go crazy, folks, go crazy."

Bottom line? He keeps baseball FUN while being informative. Unfortunately, most broadcasters today are too wooden to keep it that way. We are truly blessed.

So buckle up, pop a "nice, cold, frosty one", and be prepared to laugh out loud at some of this stuff. And for still more Mike Shannon fun visit Redbird Nation archives, A Tribute To The Moon Man. (You'll have to scroll about half-way down the page).

Viva, Mike Shannon.

"The Glory That Is Shannon
By rockin redbird
Posted on Wed May 18, 2005 at 01:06:33 PM EST

Again, these are old as the Missouri hills, but I love every one of them. Please feel free to send new ones.

All quotes below are attributed to Cardinals broadcaster Mike Shannon

"A hit up the middle right now would be like a nice ham sandwich and a cold, frosty one."

"This big standing room only crowd is settling into their seats."

"It's raining like a Chinese fire drill!"

After Brian Jordan was hit by a pitch for the 4th time on a single road trip) "He must feel like a Ouija board."

(About former Cardinal Bernard Gilkey) "He was originally born in University City."

"He's faster than a chicken being chased by Ronald McDonald!"

(Referring to Mike Schmidt) "the longtime and soon-to-be Hall of Famer."

"He's madder than a pig caught under a barnyard gate."

(About a base stealer) "Sometimes when you feel the urge, you've just gotta go." (6/17/98)

"This game is off to a rather conspicuous start, don't you think, Jack?" (7/15/98 )

"Well, folks, this game began as a tiny worm and is blossoming into a large cobra." (8/12/98 )

(About Hideo Nomo) "He's the biggest thing to hit Japan since they dropped that bomb on Nagashima!"

"That foul tip bounced up and caught him right in the groins...and that'll really clear your eyes out!"

Broadcasting from New York under a full moon) "I wish you folks back in St. Louis could see this moon."

(On the day before Easter) "I just want to tell everyone Happy Easter and Happy Hanukkah." (4/98)

After a warning track fly ball) "A couple of strips of bacon at breakfast,and he'd a busted that baby out-a-here!"

"Things are not always as they appear to be as." (1999)

"I tell you, that same river flows the same way".
"Well, he did everything right to get ready for the throw, but if ya ain't got the hose, the water just won't come out."

"Like Spring makes the rains come, so does the edge of the plate grow." (6/17/00)

"Our next home stand follows this road trip." (5/20/01)

"I don't like that play. I've seen it go opposite more often than positive." (6/08/01)

(Referring to a home run by Ted Simmons) "And that's the bread on Simmons' butter."

"The right-hander is throwing up in the bullpen." (4/23/02)

"I've heard it said that if you know English, Spanish, Italian, and I think it's French, you can go just about anywhere in this world...except for China where they have all those derelicts." (5/19/02)

This year's quote regarding the derelicts in China was followed (after a pause) by Joe Buck's suggestion that Mike had meant to say "dialects." Mike's response was,"Yea, dialects! That's what I mean. But they've got a lot of derelicts too!!"
During an Eli Marrero at bat, Mike Shannon makes mention that the Cardinals had a lot of Latin players on the team and that "they are a creditable people."

"If you're writing a thesis or something, you could finish it in a week or so if you were catching this guy." (05-25-02)

"We'd like to say hello to all those folks listening in Monkey's Eyebrow, Kentucky."

"He ran to second faster than a cat in Chinatown."

"I wouldn't have seen it if I hadn't believed it.'"

Joe: "Mike, the Cardinals would like to welcome a group of 19 French foreign exchange students in section 382 today."
Mike: "Where they from Joe?"
Joe: "Uhhh... France... I think."

And Mike Shannon's classic: "Ol' Abner has done it again!"
A couple years back, Mike and Joe were discussing the horrible photographs of players that had been flashed on the screen at another ballpark. Mike's take on the quality of photo selection was, "Some of those guys looked like the picture was taken while they were seeing their first UFO." After several seconds of laughter, Joe added, "As opposed to their second or third."

"Oooh, that last pitch inside was a bit questionable and he'd like to say something to the umpire, but he won't say anything. At least not verbally.".

"Boy a frosty cold Budweiser would be great about now"...long pause...then an "aahhh".

"The wind has switched 360 degrees".

"The Dodgers are ahead by 5 runs or 3 runs or in between there somewhere."

"It was raining so hard I thought it was going to stop."

"...this crowd on their feet for the Canadian Star Spangled Banner."

"Horner's arguing, he wants an interference call against Cangeloni. Now Cangeloni's got something to say, but here comes Whitey to give a taste of his vocabulary, and it'll have extra mustard on it.""

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