Monday, June 4, 2007

Never Forget: Jerry Trupiano was not good

Some freelance writer named Ted Weesner, Jr. hijacked the Globe opinion page this morning and subjected many unsuspecting readers like myself to a mournful, wistful wet kiss to Jerry Trupiano's unemployed mug.


Accepting that we're all entitled to our own opinions, however misguided, I think it's important to point out that at his best, Jerry Trupiano was merely tolerable. At his worst, he was unlistenable. But Weesner disagrees with me, so I'm going to take this opportunity to explain why Weesner hasn't the first clue what he's talking about.

Early in the column, the author claims that there has been a torrent of unhappiness over Trupiano's exile from the broadcasting booth:
Longtime broadcaster Jerry Trupiano's contract was not renewed by the organization, and many feel like a loved one has been stolen away.

The degree of unhappiness is both surprising and not hard to locate. Google "Trupiano" and you get a glimpse of live grief on display.
I took Weesner up on his challenge, and googled "Trupiano." Among the top 50 hits, here is what I found:
  • 22 Tony Trupiano, Radio Host/Political Candidate
  • 10 Jerry Trupiano
  • 3 Trupiano's Italian Restaurant
  • 15 Assorted Trupianos
Of the 10 references to the deposed sportscaster, four were news interviews with the broadcaster and five were biographical references. Just one was a fan reaction piece, and even that one spent more time listing Trupiano's shortcomings than his redeeming qualities.

In other words, after googling Trupiano as instructed, I found exactly no "examples of live grief," save for Trupiano's own disappointment in being fired.

Weesner continues:
...if you listen to the new team of broadcasters -- there are two who alternate with Jerry's old partner, Joe Castiglione -- there's been no mention of the missing personality.

This despite the fact that baseball announcers refer regularly to the past, both near and far. It's a little eerie. In the way that Lenin purged Trotsky's image from official photographs, it's as if Trupiano never existed.
Or, in the way that Weesner doesn't mention the names of Dave O'Brien and Glenn Geffner, as if they do not exist. I'm going to give Weesner the benefit of the doubt here and assume that he is being intentionally ironic.

Back to the column:
A good broadcaster is also a good storyteller, providing sharp detail, colorful character, a lucid view of unfolding scenes, all the while trying not to get in the way of "our" picture.
I couldn't agree more. Which is why the man who spent the last 13 years muddying every last fly ball by yelling "Way Back! Waaaaay Back!" only to follow that with the news that the drive was caught 10 feet in front of the warning track was not a good broadcaster. Worse than getting "in the way of 'our' picture," he often described a picture that didn't exist.

More Weesner:
It may not be too much to say that Trupiano's paternal gravitas offered -- much like the experience of listening to baseball itself -- a kind of temporary shelter from life's storms.
Trupiano's gravitas was on display every night as he informed us that Tim Wakefield, Mike Lowell, Fred Lynn and Daryl Boston were members of the All-Massachusetts Town Team, or that Jim Rice and Bob Lemon headed the All-Food team. A temporary shelter from the game at hand, if not from life's storms.

The author goes on to explain that he gained an affection for Trupiano while driving across New England to visit his ailing mother, that Trupiano's voice provided comfort and excitement to the anxious traveler. I can appreciate the sentiment. Over the years, I have traveled home alone late at night a number of times from out of state and I knew that I could always find Lovell Dyett or David Brudnoy on WBZ after dark. There were definitely some nights when the sound of home kept me driving.

There were nights when the sound of Jerry Trupaino made me wish I were driving off a cliff.

Weezer finishes his column with this:
Someone once told me we can never have too many mothers. The same can surely be said of fathers. For many of us, for a while, Jerry Trupiano was one, unseen but very much heard.
Touching, but I've always thought of Trupiano as that crazy uncle that corners you at a family reunion. You know, the one who talks your ears off, spewing unlistenable craziness until someone--in Troop's case, Joe Castiglone--jumps in to rescue you.

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