Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Why I will never listen to Bob Frantz again

So this post is something completely different than it was supposed to be. It is late and I am sure I have more mistakes than usual in this post. I took a road trip with my father today. We drove to Pittsburgh and got there before the gates opened. We enjoyed the waterfront, we enjoyed batting practice, we even enjoyed the people who sat around us. We sat three rows from the field in the left field bleachers. It was almost a perfect day.

Then the ninth inning happened. I cannot and will not describe what happened. You can find that elsewhere. The important part is the ninth started with the Indians ahead 5-0. One Pirate fan all game kept telling everyone who would listen, "No worries. The Indians have to pitch in the ninth. Everything will be alright." He started saying this in the third inning.

Fast forward to its 5-4, the bases are loaded and it is a full count. I have to fast forward there because I was this close to falling into the fetal position and checking out mentally. This was the quietest crowd I had ever seen. Even as the ninth progressed. They never got that excited. I knew what was happening and they didn't seem to figure it out until the near end. They didn't even stand up until the bases were loaded. But those moments were almost too much for me. I thought this is what hell has to feel like. I wanted to be anywhere else. I was dreading the walk to the car. I was in that city at Peter's Pub when the Browns choked away the game in 2007 and that walk through those people for several blocks was the longest of my life.

But the Pirate batter who had earlier in the inning dumped one in the river popped up and the Indians won. Even when we win it feels like a loss.

So we get in the truck and head for home. I turn on WTAM. Now I have for the most part stopped listening to sports talk radio. It is too frustrating to me. I don't really care for any of the hosts or just about any of the callers. Now I used to listen to Extra Innings. I didn't always agree with Kevin Keane but I could accept him. Now every time I have ever heard Bob Frantz whether it be in the mid mornings or for Browns pregame or the handful times on Extra Innings, I didn't really care for him. He seems like a guy who knows a little about a lot of things, maybe just enough to be dangerous. But he doesn't seem like he knows a lot about any one thing. Now while I didn't always line up with Keane, he seemed to be to be a guy who couldn't believe he was being paid to talk about sports while Frantz is a guy who is paid to talk about sports. The difference to me is huge. It is why I love Tom Hamilton --mistakes and all-- and despise Joe Buck. Whether Tommy is talking Tribe or calling Big Ten basketball -- he is loving it. The man likes sports. Joe Buck was born into a family business. He doesn't even like sports that much. His call of the David Tyree Super Bowl catch is the perfect example. Could you imagine if Hamilton got to make that call? I don't know how many times at a game when something cool happens my brother has said to me "Tommy is going nuts right now."

So Frantz is not someone I listen to a lot. But there I was trapped in traffic trying to get out of enemy territory. And he starts using Hamilton's words out of content. Frantz wants to blame Eric Wedge. I don't agree but hey he gets paid to have an opinion. He rants and raves about Huff not pitching the ninth. Personally I was surprised Wedge sent Huff out for the eighth. Huff was already over 100 pitches after seven. And with the way our organization and 28 others are now babying pitchers especially rookie pitchers -- I said to my dad, "This is a guy managing for his job." I knew there was no way Huff would pitch the ninth. Now I know that pisses Bob Feller off but the game has changed. That was organizational policy -- it may be bullshit -- but it is the way things go now. If Wedge had sent Huff out you know the Internet would attack him. How dare you test a rookie arm for the sake of your job? To me Wedge sending Huff out for the eighth was a huge sign of his distrust in the bullpen. And I would bet if the lead was 2-0, Wedge may have said screw it and sent the kid out there. But up 5-0 despite the hellish season our pen has had, you have to trust them. It is their job. And when Herges failed, Wedge had to send in Wood. That is Wood's job. He gets paid a lot of money. He has pitched awful but you have to hand your closer the ball. While everyone else has given up on this team, Wedge has to believe. He has to send out guys to do their jobs until they pry the job from his cold dead hands. Wedge is a baseball guy. He may not be a good manager. But even with everything failing around him, he has to believe in what he believes in. You can't change styles or your rules to pacify an angry mob. If you listen to sports columnists, bloggers or radio show hosts you are going to get fired anyway. You might as well stick to your guns and get fired doing what you believe in.

Now I raised my eyebrows when Frantz went off how I couldn't believe his eyes when Herges walked out. Oh Frantz was foaming at the mouth. Now Frantz gets paid to talk about the game afterwards. Did he not notice we pinched hit for Huff in the top of the inning? So he was either taking creative license just to make a point or he wasn't paying attention. Neither is good. Anyway Frantz went on and on. For him keeping in Huff was a no brainer. For me Wedge did what any other manager in 2009 would have done. This is not the 70s.

But then Frantz crossed a line. He said he screamed himself hoarse cheering for the Pirates because the Indians did not deserve to win the game.

Now I understand getting mad. I understand turning off games and not watching anymore. I can accept someone saying I am not spending my money or my time on this team anymore. But never once has it occurred to me to cheer against a Cleveland team. You want to give up? You want to move on? OK, fine. But to turn on them because you didn't like a move? To openly root for Pittsburgh. No that is not OK.

I waited a moment for him to calm down. But he repeated it. He screamed until he was hoarse wanting us to lose. And I clicked off the radio.

Bob Frantz is done for me. Anytime I turn on WTAM and I hear his voice I will turn off the station. I am not saying this in anger. I am not saying this as a threat. Bob Frantz is not someone I want to know. Whether he was saying it because he thought it made good radio or he said it because he lacks character or he even thinks he is right, it doesn't really matter to me. Whether I agreed with Keane or not, I knew he was a fan. I believed Keane's passion. I think Frantz is full of crap. You don't have to be sports fan to work in sports radio. I get that. Frantz has the right to have any job he can get. If WTAM wants to hire him for Extra Innings may they do so forever. I won't protest. I won't tell others not to listen. But when I hear his voice, I will turn off the radio. Bob Frantz is allowed to have an opinion but I don't want to hear it. What he thinks is meaningless to me.

When the Indians game is over, for me personally, I want a Cleveland guy on the air. I don't have to agree with him. I don't even have to like him. But I want a Cleveland guy. A Cleveland guy might get pissed, he might want to fire everyone, he may threaten to quit watching. But a Cleveland guy never ever screams himself hoarse hoping a Cleveland team loses to a team from Pittsburgh. EVER.

You don't get a second chance for that.