Monday, June 23, 2008

We Enjoy The Error

There was a classic moment during yesterday's Twins radio broadcast (a 5-3 win over the D-Backs--completing a three-game sweep). John Gordon, Dan Gladden, and Jack Morris were filling time between pitches by talking about an upcoming open tryout the Twins are having. They mentioned some familiar names who have gone through said tryouts in years past. One of those named was Charley Walters, long-time sports columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press who used a similar tryout as a springboard for a seven-year professional baseball career as a pitcher, including some time up in the bigs with the Twins.

Since all three of them were familiar with Walters, they began speculating on what his baseball career might have been like. Gordon informed the others that Walters played for the Twins during the 1983 season. They brought a surprised reaction from Morris and Gladden, especially Morris who was in his prime with the Tigers during that time. Gladden was needling Morris that maybe Walters had beaten him at some point during that season.

Unlike all three of these gentlemen, I have never met Charley Walters and know next to nothing about him. But listening in yesterday, I was quite certain that given his age, there was no way in hell that Walters had played for the Twins as recently as 1983.

When the next inning began, a somewhat chastened though still upbeat Gordon informed the audience that indeed he had the wrong Walters. It was MIKE Walters who pitched for the Twins in 1983. Charley Walters had his cup of coffee with the Twins back in 1969. Gordon only got the first name wrong and was off by a mere fourteen years. We enjoyed the error.

UPDATE: Upon further reflection, I realized that this is also a classic example of the "code" of the broadcasting booth: Thou shall not contradict your cohost no matter how inane, ignorant, or ill-informed their remarks may be (a credo by the way that is carved in stone in the marble-walled studios of AM-1280 The Patriot). Gladden and Morris had to know that Gordon was wrong and yet they went right on along with him.

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