Certainly Rex Hudler was not appreciated by every Angels listener. He always held on to a baseball. If the Angels played near Halloween (which meant a good postseason run), Hudler would dress in a goofy costume. He was unabashedly an Angels rooter.
But in a baseball broadcaster, is that so awful?
For many of us forever Chicago Cubs fans, there is great joy in listening to former Cubs All-Star third baseman Ron Santo on the radio for Chicago games.
His unfiltered exuberances, his despairing "Oh, Gods" uttered at particularly unfortunate moments, his unintelligible bellows in honor of the occasional big, good play? It makes having satellite radio a treat.
Hudler was a little like that for the Angels, and it was interesting to read the e-mail and blog-response support Hudler received after he and Steve Physioc were let go by Fox Sports West and the Angels this week.
In baseball terms, the stats didn't add up. The Angels had a broadcast crew that included Hudler, Physioc, Terry Smith, Rory Markas, Mark Gubicza and Jose Mota. That was too many voices. You'd turn on the radio or television and have to do a mental checklist. Who was doing what?
It costs less money to have four guys doing the television and radio than to have six, and we all know about budgeting these days. One e-mailer who was upset with the decision said he would be agreeable only if it meant the Angels, by saving broadcast money, were able to keep free agents John Lackey and Chone Figgins.
But in the crowded Angels' radio and TV booth, Hudler's voice was noticeable. He had little-boy joy. He was a fan and wasn't ashamed to admit that.
There's something about baseball where it doesn't seem so bad to have one guy who represents the fans in the booth. Does Santo make mistakes, make you cringe, make you throw up your hands in despair? Well, yes, and that's the charm. So did Hudler. That's not such a bad thing.
USC hosts UCLA Saturday in a football rivalry game that begins at 7 p.m. on Prime Ticket. There is also a pregame show, "Crosstown Rivalry," beginning at 5:15 p.m. There were days gone by where Trojans fans would be livid that the rest of the country would miss this game, not have the chance to see the magnificence that was USC football, that poll voters would be more likely to pass on staying up late in more easterly time zones to find a Fox channel and see whether the top-five ranked Trojans could pummel UCLA.
But, see? It's just another Thanksgiving blessing. Not so many people outside Southern California will bother to hunt this game down, and Bruins and Trojans fans can spend a productive Saturday before checking in to see the Emerald-Poinsettia-Las Vegas Bowl situations sort themselves out.
Still . . . nothing
Nothing new to report on the Versus/DirecTV dispute. If you have DirecTV, you're not getting Versus. And same with Time Warner and the NFL Network. If your signal comes from Time Warner, you are not seeing Thursday night football on the NFL channel. Or the NFL Network's Red Zone programming (very cool to see only the best parts of each week's games). We asked last week and will ask again. Do you care enough to switch cable providers? Does anybody do that?
You could plop down and watch college basketball beginning at 9 a.m. and not stop until almost midnight on the various ESPN outlets. UCLA will be on from the 76 Classic in Anaheim, but USC's game against Coppin State at 7:30 p.m. will be only on the radio. College football begins at 8 a.m. (and who doesn't want to set the alarm to see Rutgers at Louisville on ESPN2 or Temple at Ohio on ESPNU?) Maybe for Illinois at Cincinnati at 9 a.m. on Channel 7. Don't need an alarm for high school football, 7:30 p.m. playoff action on FS West, Notre Dame at Mission Viejo.
For good or bad, Notre Dame fans and haters can maybe watch Charlie Weis in his final game as Fighting Irish head coach when they play at Stanford at 5 p.m. on Channel 7. National college football fans can check out Tim Tebow and Florida (hosting Florida State) on Channel 2 at 12:30. Pac-10 fans have the option of seeing Arizona at Arizona State on Channel 7 at the same time. The ATP World Tour tennis singles finals are live from London at 4:30 a.m. on the Tennis Channel. Roger Federer will finish the year ranked No. 1, win or lose.
The ATP doubles finals are live from London at 4:30 a.m. on the Tennis Channel, and brothers Mike and Bob Bryan hope to be playing. Then go back to sleep until 1 p.m. when the Chargers host the Chiefs on Channel 2. Well, you could be up at 10 a.m. to see the Redskins at the Eagles on Channel 11, but why? Because you will want to be wide awake for the Steelers and the Ravens at 5:15 p.m. on Channel 4, right? Or has there already been too much football this weekend?