Hungover, bedraggled, and just no good to women anywhere, I found myself poking around The Baseball Shop in Orleans yet again the other day. Amidst the vintage Soxabilia and baseball cards, I spied an old TV-38 Red Sox schedule from 1980. And, man, did that take me back. Because that’s the shyte I grew up on: Monty, Sean McDonough, and the Tenth Player Award. The arrival of these slim paper schedules at the beginning of each Spring was as sure a sign as any that life was getting back to normal again.
Of course, I knew that back in the days before NESN and the internet and games being instantly beamed to your head by the Bud Selig Transitron 3000 that not every Sox contest was televised. But, looking at this schedule, I’m amazed at how much action we missed out on back then; roughly 60 games were radio-only in 1980, with a few stretches of up to five games completely untelevised (the photo below shows the mix of televised and untelevised games). But, hey, we were so busy worrying about getting nuked by the Russians and the next Bad Company album that it probably didn’t matter.
The TV-38 broadcasts themselves were fairly typical of their time: no frills, no nonsense, no sexy commentators mixing it up on the sidelines (unless the thought of Monty chatting up Walt Hriniak gets you hot and bothered). During rain delays we didn’t go back some flashy studio for updates on other games or insightful commentary; we typically got low-key, pre-taped bits, such as Monty discussing different types of cleats. But McDonough was one of the best–infinitely knowledgeable, passionate, and never afraid to call out a botched play or game-costing gaff–and the mojo he created with Montgomery was curiously infectious. For those of you who perhaps never got to experience the magic, here’s but a taste:
I love Monty’s comment, “Let’s see if Wes Gardner can continue his hot pace…” You can almost hear McDonough thinking, “Dude, it’s Wes Gardner on the mound. If the entire Park isn’t swallowed in hellfire, we’ll be getting off easy.”
Anyway, here’s to Monty and McDonough and TV-38. Those were good days.