I have a unique perspective on our recent World Series and the election that followed close on its heels. Because I “did” both in silence — or the closest thing you can get to silence for two such massively covered events. It wasn’t my intention. It wasn’t exactly planned. But now I’m wondering if I can make this the standard by which I participate in all future elections and major sporting events.
First the Series. I followed the whole thing — League Championships then every game in the Series — on scratchy AM radio. Has anyone in America done this since 1949? Pictures? I didn’t need no steenkin’ pictures! The art of radio sports announcing is apparently not lost. The great Giants’ announcers of KNBR were so descriptive and enthusiastic in their play-by-play that I “saw” the whole thing. Then just to mix it up, I’d switch to one of the only other stations I could receive: a Spanish language channel. Couldn’t figure out the plays, but it was a lot more fun than KNBR when Uribe came up to bat. Gradually, the two merged and the Giants of my mind were all Hispanic with a lot of rhythm. Sort of like the Brazilian soccer team.
Granted I missed the energy of being in the City. Running out into the pastures and screaming GIAAAAAAAANTSSSSSS to the deer doesn’t have the same effect as cheering in the stands. But the terriers and I still think we had a great Series. Jimmy Buffett, when people asked him about his most famous song, “Hey where is Margaritaville?” used to answer, “It’s anywhere you want it to be!” That’s sort of the way my Series went. It was anything I wanted it to be. So in my Series, our Giants were practically levitating as they rounded bases. While the Rangers sobbed and cried with every nail Los Gigantes drove in their Series hopes. Don’t tell me it didn’t happen that way. It did for me!
I didn’t stop to think that I was following those same Old Skool techniques in this election season. You’ve probably heard that these mid-term elections broke all records for spending, vitriol and polarization. Or so I’m told. I missed all of it. Out at Two Terrier Vineyards, we’ve got no TV, just spotty cell reception and receive only a few radio stations. Since I’ve been up here making wine full time since late September, I missed all the ads, all the talking heads, the endless coverage of rallies. In fact, in Sonoma, there seems to be some sort of ban on extensive campaign signage, because, other than a few bumper stickers, I really didn’t see any. That meant I made my voting decisions based on studying the voter information pamphlet. In silence.
So anyway, no Keith Olberman, no Rachel Maddow, no Wolf Blitzer. I ran some thoughts by the terriers, but they were no help at all. The soundtrack of my political season was the steady stream of Country Western music that comes out of my iPod. I won’t say Willie and Johnny influenced my vote, but I did remember, before I left for the long trek to my polling place, not to take my guns to town.
My one step unto the breech was to attend the very civil explanation of the issues conducted by our Town Historian, the inestimable Gerald Hill, and his wife Katherine who, I believe has a degree in political science. This was a non-partisan, straight-forward explanation of what exactly it means to vote No on 23 or Yes on 19. It was kind of like drawing up to the campfire and having the Village Elders explain the cosmos to you.
When it came time to vote, I purposely kept the radio off and didn’t check the Internet. (As a California voter, you have to get up to vote the minute the polls open because, by 10:30 AM, the pundits are already telling you who won and making you feel that your vote doesn’t matter.)
It took me over an hour and a half to drive out of the wilds of Sonoma into San Francisco and straight to my polling place. Purposely keeping the radio off made me feel like I was in that episode of Little House on the Prairie where Pa hitched up the buckboard and drove through the night to the Grange Hall to vote on some farmers’ cooperative thing.
By the time I reached the polls about five minutes before they closed, it was all over but the shouting. And this being San Francisco, there was certainly a lot of shouting. I tried my best to tune it out, but it was hard not to hear snippets of how the Tea Partiers had won big time.
That caused me to make the mistake of flipping on CNN. But only long enough to learn that the state and local races I really cared about had gone my way. Still leaping head-first into the 24 hour news cycle was just too much culture shock. I turned to the shows I’ve been Tivo’ing in my absence. AAAAAAAHGHHHHH. Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina popped up at me screaming that we were all in handbaskets and it was getting really hot. I fled back to the security of Willie Nelson for the evening, then took off back to Sonoma first thing.
Did my Unplugged version of voting make me not care about how the elections outside of California turned out? Well, of course not, although I still haven’t read or heard all the gory details. The funny thing, though: without all the pre-vote screaming, the election seems like one of the way points in the Democratic process rather than some sort of apocalyptic event. Which is probably the healthy way to look at it, whether or not your team wins.
Now if I can just figure out how to get the KNBR Sports staff to narrate the next election to me. Maybe even in Spanish. ‘Cause I’ve learned from my Series: everything always sounds more exciting in Spanish. And are Uribe and Renteria running for anything in two years?
I love baseball on the radio. That is my preferred way to follow it. My home team, the Reds, have Marty Brennaman still. And I have grown very fond of the tandem team Marty and Jeff Brantley “Cowboy”. Nice link to LCC don’t you know. We couldn’t watch at home if wanted to – local cable system doesn’t include the station that shows them. And they had a fabulous year even though couldn’t do anything in division championship series.
However, we were in San Francisco during the NLCS and watched part of an an afternoon game at Lefty O’Doul’s. Very special with all the local people cheering the team on. We became temporary Giants fans and continued to follow them after we got home.
So many other uses for all that money wasted on tv ads for the election. Ignored as much as I could, watched a lot of stuff on DVR. Not quite as detached as you, but the week away from home state was a good break.
I’m glad it’s over. Most of California (red) goes to the polls only to smash our heads into a brick wall. The blue areas along the coast run our lives; but we continue to express our opinions with the hopes that we may have caused a small crack in the wall. (Lord help my bank account.) Like the Giants, one day, some day, we will have a victory and it will be sweet.
Now you must excuse me while I enjoy a tall glass of tea to celebrate with the rest of the country.
Maybelline, I thought it was OUTSIDE interests that ran our lives here in California. Seems every election some concern from Utah or Texas or whatever is pumping money in here to control the outcome of some proposition or race. Is any other state so targeted?
And Kathy, Lefty O’Doul’s is great. A locals spot in the middle of one of San Francisco’s most touristy areas. (Not that we don’t love our tourists!)
I almost wish we didn’t have a tv this past election season
I like your approach to the election this year. It was unnecessarily nasty at every turn. Lucky for me, we don’t watch television much here at Dachshund Downs, so we miss all of the tv ads and pundits, and I know how to turn off NPR in the car when I’ve had my fill of analysis.
As luck would have it, I scheduled a nerve block for my neck on Election Day, so I slept through the worst of it. I awoke an hour or so before Miss Baby got home from school, and, noticing that exactly eight hours had elapsed since the procedure, I felt safe driving the mile distance (since I certainly couldn’t walk it) to our polling place. I did strike a blow for Democracy– our local Tea party sent a candidate armed with a nail file to a knife fight, and our incumbent won. He has his flaws, but he by God responds when I E-mail or call his ass, so that’s something. The TP shill had nothing but empty rhetoric and was living off of campaign contributions, which I pray is a violation of some law and gets someone arrested.
Well, it’s easy to sling mud from outside the building. But now that the Republicans/Tea Partiers are in, they’ve got to produce some results. Should be interesting. Then again, I never take midterms too seriously because I think many voters (mistakenly) think it will wake up the government to reshuffle the deck.
I say sit ’em all down and make ’em watch “Dave.” Repeatedly. Until they get it.
Then make ’em hold hands and sing “Kum bah yah.”
I am so sorry about the multiple posts. Don’t know what happened today. The network at the great military-industrial complex was not cooperating today. This was not an attempt to hijack the verjus giveaway! Please delete extraneous posts!
You’re right about the out of state interests funding both sides of political arguments. But what can you do? This is simply a nutty state. How about if we split the state down I-5? West California and East California.
You need to set your AM radio to George Noory overnight. THAT’s some nutty entertainment for you.
How wonderful that the first comment I read praises deservedly Hall of Famer Marty Brennaman! Although I still miss hearing Joe Nuxhall with him… Go Reds (next year)! I listened to the Series via XM and ESPN Radio, with Jon Miller. I love his enthusiasm. And dare I say that Vin Scully can make a dull Dodgers game exciting. But this year… BELONGS TO THE GIANTS!!!!!
The election? Best use I can think of for a DVR, to avoid the nonsensical ads.
I think you’re onto something here. The lead up to the election on the other coast here was just as ghastly as it was on your coast. More radio and less TV sounds like a fine way to deal with the rollercoaster items of modern society. Yes, indeed.
The tournament was rigged!! You can forget voting as you know it. Thank the Supreme Court for turning it into Sheik Muji Pajama”s (or anyone else”s) unidentified big money vote buy. That goes for global corporations also as I understand it. That’s not the America I know.
Nolan Ryan does deserve one championship.
Well, Big Money didn’t work in California. Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina both spent bucketloads and lost by a large margin! Texas oil interests backed proposition to roll back environmental regulations here and that lost too.
Yeah we got deval patrick as gov again. I guess I’m just a Blue Meenie.
I grew up listening to baseball on the radio, and it’s still the best way to enjoy a game without actually being at the ballpark.
“I missed all the ads, all the talking heads, the endless coverage of rallies.”
With the exception of the Rally to Restore Sanity, that sounds pretty wonderful.