I spent several hours this weekend traveling, and as an unfortunate consequence, I was forced to ingest more than the FDA's daily recommended amount of sports talk radio (the official recommended amount is "zilch," which, when converted to metric, is "bupkis"). After many days of painful recovery, I was struck by an epiphany, which gave me a concussion for several hours. It was during this time of frequent hallucination that I made a discovery: I need to get into sports talk radio.
It makes perfect, brilliant sense to me now. How awesome would it be to get paid actual money to do nothing but spew speculative opinions about baseball for three hours every day? To have crowds of listeners hanging on my every bellowed word? To do the minimum amount of reading and research required to set up a "Hot Topic of the Day," then literally "phone it in" by handing the show over to the pooled ignorance of my show's callers?
Inspired by this genius idea, I started looking at what it would take to get a process like this started, to eventually achieve my new dream.
As far as I can tell, I will never make it as a sports show host unless a) I give myself a catchy and possibly juvenile nickname, b) I hire a sidekick and stick him with the nickname, or c) all of the above. On any given day, I can tune into the local sports talk radio station and lower my IQ several points by listening to such shows as "Jimmy and the Weasel," "The Booger and Dave Show," "Maggot in the Morning," and "Afternoons with Goiter and the Genital Wart." I believe it is these creative show titles and characters that make the shows so popular.
Of course, judging by the content of the phone calls these types of shows attract, I believe that my choice of name and marquee is especially important if I want to ensure that my fan base is made up of actual boogers, maggots, and weasels.
As a sports talk show host, the biggest perk I expect to receive (aside from all of the sponsorship deals that I assume will come rolling in immediately) is the automatic "expert" status I will obtain in the eyes of my audience. Even though these talk show hosts have less than a crotch-hair's width of extra insight into professional athletes' lives and behind-the-scenes team dynamics, this does not stop listeners from calling in and asking for definitive pronouncements on important issues.
Here is a fairly representative sample:
Host: "Alright, let's go to the phones - Chet, you're on the air with The Lemonjuice and Papercut Morning Show!"
Chet: ".... [static] ... ksshshhhh ... over the ... if ... [repeated thwacking sounds]"
Host: "Chet? Are you there?"
Chet: "Hey, what's up Lemonjuice?"
Host: "Living large, my friend, what's your question?"
Chet: "Hey, I just wanted to know, after Jhonny Peralta serves his suspension, are the Tigers going to bring him back on the team or is he gone for good?"
Host: "Well, Chet, let me tell you, this Tigers organization is pretty no-nonsense, and this is a team that's pretty pissed off right now and feeling betrayed, so no, you won't see Peralta back in a Tigers uniform again."
Chet: "That's ... that's what I sorta thought, I just wanted to make sure."
Host: "Thanks for the call, Chet -- Papercut, anything to add?"
Papercut: [produces a sincere and thoughtful puddle of drool]
Now it hardly needs to be said that neither of these hosts has any more knowledge than a comatose ferret about what's going on behind closed doors in the Tigers clubhouse, but that will not stop Chet from adamantly repeating this information to his drinking buddies at the beer hall tonight, with a passion usually reserved for someone who has just experienced a miracle of Divine Revelation. He will probably also fire up his computer, head over to his favorite baseball blog, and -- having first carefully engaged the CAPS LOCK key -- will make approximately 84,000 punctuation-free posts sharing this opinion, and challenging anyone who disagrees to step outside and fight.
I believe I can do this. I believe I can take phone calls from complete strangers whom I will never meet, and bombard them with baseless opinions that they can then later use to ensure that they get beat up in a parking lot. My show would simply be called "The Loud Show," and I would encourage my listeners to judge the soundness of my statements based purely on decibel level. I imagine that a typical phone session would go something like this:
Me: "Trent, you're on the hook with The Loud Show, what can I do for you?"
Trent: "I just wanted to ask, what's really wrong with Justin Verlander this season?"
Me: "I'll tell you what's wrong, Trent. He was an award-winning pitcher, he was dating a smoking-hot super-model, he was on top of the world, and then she dumped him. What's going on with him is that, because Kate's no longer around, Justin's dealing with the physical imbalance that comes with having a much stronger right wrist and forearm."
Trent: "Whoa ... are you saying ... ?"
Me: "I'm saying that Kate used to be the one to remind him to switch arms when doing his curling exercises. She's not there to do that now. His arm's outta whack."
Trent: "Ok ... thanks ..."
Me: "Alright, next up, Rodney - you're on the hook with The Loud Show."
Rodney: "Hey man, I need to know, is Jhonny Peralta ever coming back to play for Detroit?"
Me: "Rodney, there's a lot of misinformation going around about this topic, and a lot of wildly uninformed opinions, so let me just clear this one up for you.You're not going to know anything for certain unless you speak directly with the people involved. I did exactly that."
Rodney: "You did?"
Me: "I did. I spoke with Dave Dombrowski by phone this morning, and he was extremely straight-forward with me. 'I don't know how you got this number, but never call me again,' he said. I think you'll agree that's the most candid thing anyone has heard on this situation yet."
Rodney: " ........ "
Me: "Ok, thanks Rodney, let's go to Derek - hey buddy, you're on the hook with The Loud Show."
Derek: "Wow, great to talk to you!"
Me: "Ask me a question or hang up."
Derek: "Well, with all of the injuries and roster changes, I just wonder, does this Tigers team have what it takes to make the playoffs again this year?"
Me: "Does Dave Dombrowski have a freshly-printed restraining order against me?"
Derek: "Um ..."
Me: "Thanks for calling, Derek, let's go to the next call. Amos, you're on the hook with The Loud Show."
Amos: "Hey, I was just wondering, what's the deal with Prince Fielder these days? Is he declining or something?"
Me: "Look, I don't know about that. What I do know is that he's trying too hard to crush the ball right now, because he made a bet with Miguel Cabrera at the beginning of the year that he could drive a baseball all the way through a pitcher's face, and he's starting to run out of time to win that bet."
Amos: "Are you s--"
Me: "Thaaaaanks for calling. Ok, now it's time to place a call to our special guest on today's show ..."
[Phone rings some more]
[Phone rings until the listeners become uncomfortable]
Male Voice: "Hello?"
Me: "Hey, you're on the air with The Loud Show, is this Dave?"
Dave Dombrowski: "This is a violation of your restraining order. I'm hanging up now."
So that's my dream.
Alas, this will probably never happen, for one very obvious reason: I have no friends named "Booger."