September 07, 2006

Wilderness Skills

A fine moment in sports broadcasting during the Mets-Braves doubleheader on Wednesday (a pair of games that, incidentally, clearly signaled the end of the Braves' waning playoff hopes).

At one point in the second game of the twin bill, with the Mets in the lead (again) and with broadcasters Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez clearly needing to fill some time, the topic of conversation turned to the weather (as it so often does when The OCC places a telephone call to his grandfather).

Generally when TV commentators start talking about the temperature, it's time for Johnny Sports Fan to think about finding a more appropriate way to spend his time, but in this case, the Doppler talk actually spawned some entertainment. Here's the exchange that took place between the Mets' broadcast team:

Gary: "Remember in '95 when they played the World Series in Cleveland? They had snow during the game."

Keith: "That was the years I was a little out in the wilderness. I wasn't watching baseball."

Somehow, Gary managed to completely ignore this comment and move on, showing he is truly a pro's pro. A little out in the wilderness? Are you serious, Keith? No denying it's probably true, but why would you possibly choose to share that information on a TV broadcast? Even if he had no recollection of what Gary was talking about (which he clearly didn't), couldn't Keith have just as easily said, "Oh yeah, it gets cold in Cleveland in October" instead of essentially bragging to the entire New York television market that he spent the mid-1990's coked out of his proverbial gourd?

Given Keith's track record, that's what we have to assume he means by "a little out in the wilderness," right? There's no chance he's referring to some kind of vision quest in the Alaskan Outback. (Hell, does Alaska even have an outback?)

Whatever Keith Hernandez meant by his bizarre comment on Wednesday, your instructions are as follows: Any time you have an opportunity to use the phrase "a little out in the wilderness" to describe someone who has found himself on the fringe of normal society thanks to his wreckless and self-destructive tendencies, it is imperative that you do so.

While Keith Hernandez clearly has plenty of leeway in terms of what he can get away with at his job, we're not all so lucky. But if any of you out there are feeling slightly uncertain about your job security, take heart -- at least you're not an NFL player.

On Sunday morning, Chargers' linebacker Steve Foley was shot during an encounter with an off-duty police officer, and instead of sending a get-well-soon cake or a basket of fruit, the team went a slightly different route and completely voided his $1.65 million salary. That qualifies as a definite double-ouchie -- taking a bullet and losing nearly 2 million bones.

Of course, before we get too sympathetic, it should be noted that Foley's car had been driving close to 90 mph and executing maneuvers that would make Alex Zanardi blush. And after being pulled over, he walked towards the officer's car, and though unarmed, he allegedly reached into his waistband with his right hand, apparently not in an Al Bundy kind of way.

But whatever the case -- whether the officer completely overreacted, whether Foley actually was threatening him, or both -- we do know one thing: NFL teams have no time for semantics. Take a bullet under anything resembling questionable circumstances, and you're dead to them.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure what Keith was referring to about being in the wilderness in '95 but how can you be so sure he was referring to cocaine? The cocaine era was the eighties as is mentioned in your link to the ESPN article.

1:38 PM, September 08, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few weeks ago Hernandez mentioned on-air that after he retired in 1991, he was bitter about the way his career ended, and he didn't watch baseball for 4-5 years.

Get your nose out of the gutter.

2:31 PM, September 08, 2006  
Blogger The OCC said...

Fun Police alert...

Did you read what I wrote?

I didn't outright say "Keith Hernandez was doing cocaine in the mid-1990's." I was just saying it's hard to assume otherwise given his track record and the use of the loaded term "a little out in the wilderness."

That term doesn't exactly imply, "I wasn't watching baseball on TV." It implies, "I was not exactly altogether a participating member of every day society."

So if all he meant was to say that he wasn't watching baseball, he's an idiot, because he was begging opportunistic, nose-in-the-gutter writers like myself to have some fun with his ridiculous statement.

Something you clearly are incapable of doing.

2:54 PM, September 08, 2006  
Blogger mikeski said...

I'd think Alaska is pretty much all outback. Frozen outback, maybe, but outback nonetheless.

Maybe frozen outback is tundra?

4:54 PM, September 08, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Responsible journalism alert...

I know exactly what I read.

"instead of essentially bragging to the entire New York television market that he spent the mid-1990's coked out of his proverbial gourd?"

The above statement specifically accuses Hernandez of using blow in mid 90's and tries to provide an link to back that up. Although if one actually reads the story in the provided link in specifically states he used coke in the 80's.

Pretty far and unfair reach for fun.

Lame story, lame site.

4:55 PM, September 08, 2006  
Blogger jimmyrad said...

Reach or no reach, 80' or 90's, is there any doubt in anybody's mind that sometime the morning after a 3-day coke fest, a completely strung out Keith Hernandez sat down at an IHOP for a breakfast of coffee and cigarettes at an IHOP with a couple companions and muttered the statement, "Man, we were really out in the wilderness there for a few days, huh?" The answer is no. There is no doubt.

Maybe he was referring the other night to his sabbatical from baseball and baseball related people. Maybe he was referring to spending 3 years in the blue ridge mountains, walking the Appalachian Trail until his feet bled. Either way, the term "Out in the wilderness" was definitely born over a cup of joe at an IHOP with Lenny Dykstra in the mid-80's, as they picked crusty coke boogers out of their noses.

5:56 PM, September 08, 2006  
Blogger kuniansky said...

I didn't realize that Keith Hernandez was such a fan of the least he showed up to defend his good name.

I'm not sure why the anonymous poster is so intent on arguing semantics. It's apparent that Keith Hernandez was not actually camping in upstate NY for a few years, so why don't you explain what you thought he meant by "out in the wilderness"? Just because there was not an article about him doing cocaine in the 80's doesn't mean that he wasn't face down in a mound of blow, decked out from head from to toe in a silver disco jacket.

Why are you so bitter? Why do you love Keith Hernandez so much?

6:37 PM, September 08, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

keith hernandez is a beast

2:28 PM, June 28, 2007  

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