Every now and then I invoke personal privilege in order to get something—usually some insignificant something important only to me—off my chest. I can do this because I pay for this Web site and we all have our pet peeves and this is my way of airing mine. (Sometimes, I write these for me.)
My gripe is with the otherwise splendid team of LSU play-by-play announcer Chris Blair and analyst Doug Thompson. They add a whole new dimension to listening to LSU baseball with Blair’s professional and descriptive play-by-play and Thompson’s insightful running analysis of the many subtleties of the game (and make no mistake, baseball is many games within a game, all going on simultaneously and it takes a student of the game like Thompson to convey that).
Having said that, please understand that I have had a lifelong passion for baseball, going all the way back to when Ted Williams and Stan Musial were in the twilights of their careers.
I thought I would never live to see the Red Sox win a World Series after seeing them take the Cardinals (1967), the Reds (1975) and the Mets (1986) to the seventh game each time only to lose the deciding game. Then came 2004 when the Red Sox looked like they had a real chance.
When the hated Yankees won the first three games of the League Championship Series, I fell into despair only to see the Sox rally and tie the series at three games each. Great, I thought. They’ve come all the way back just so they can break my heart again by losing the seventh game. But they didn’t and they swept the Cardinals to win the World Series for the first time since 1918. They won again in 2007, sweeping the Rockies in four straight. Then they won a third time this century when they again dispatched the Cardinals, this time in six games in 2013. Life is good.
I also am a huge fan of LSU baseball and I attend every game I can and I listen whether I’m at the game or at home. (Yes, I’m one of those who watches the game live with a headset on so I can hear the radio broadcast to pick up statistics, sidebar stories, and scores of other games.)
I cherish all six LSU College World Series titles. Framed copies of commemorative Baton Rouge Advocate sports pages heralding the victories, including the one with the photo of pitcher Doug Thompson (yes, the current analyst on the radio broadcasts) after the last out is recorded in the LSU win over Alabama in the championship game, on my home office wall are testament of my devotion. The 1996 College World Series, however, was especially magical and anyone who has ever set foot in Alex Box Stadium on the LSU campus knows all about Warren Morris’s first-pitch, two-out, two-run, home run in the bottom of the ninth that converted a potential 8-7 loss into a 9-7 championship. (Has it really been almost 20 years?) An enlarged framed photo of Morris circling the bases at the old Rosenblatt Stadium as Miami Hurricanes shortstop Alex Cora lies face down in the infield grass also adorns the wall of my home office.
So you see, I love baseball. I always have, always will. To me, it’s the purest sport of them all. Ken Harrelson said it’s the only sport that when you’re on offense, the other team has the ball. It’s also one of only two sports I know (tennis is the other) when the ball hits the white line, it’s not out of bounds (except on serves in tennis). And it was either Joe Schultz or Jim Bouton who said, “It’s a round bat and a round ball and you gotta hit it square.”
But I have a real aversion to sports announcers who violate the most basic of the rules of English grammar. One of the most prevalent errors among sports announcers is the improper usage of the personal pronoun “I.” This is where my one and only complaint about Blair and Thompson comes into play. It seems that they are worse than most in the misuse of “I” in lieu of the correct pronoun “me.”
Just today (Sunday), it was Chris, I believe, who said Ben McDonald “tells Doug and I” that Mississippi State has a strong bullpen.
Only 18 games into the season, I have already lost count of the times I have heard one or the other say (and I’m paraphrasing all but the “I” part), someone “tweeted Chris and I,” or “they cooked up some good ribs for Doug and I,” or “tag Chris and I about your favorite memory” of the former player being featured during a particular game.
Any time one makes a personal pronoun the object of a verb or preposition, it requires the objective form. “I” is subjective; “me” is objective. If you’re confused, try dropping the first name and saying something like “He told I,” or, “If you ask I,” or “Tweet I,” it starts to sound pretty stupid, right? It should be “He told Chris and me,” or “Tweet Chris and me,” or “They cooked up some good ribs for Doug and me.” The same goes for sentences like, “She told Robert and he.” It should be, “She told Robert and him.”
There is a handy Web page that addresses nearly every conceivable question of proper language usage. It’s called Common Errors in English. http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/errors.html#p
For the proper use of “I” and “me,” you can go to this link: http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/myself.html
E-mails to LSU sports and LSU radio have been ignored, so I am using this medium to plead with Chris and Doug to address that bothersome little habit.
Yes, I know, in the overall scheme of things, this really isn’t very important.
Except it is.
School kids listen to the games. Chris and Doug are not only the voices of LSU baseball (and Chris, of course, will next move on to football and basketball with the retirement of Jim Hawthorne), they are, in a very real sense, the voice of higher education; and not just higher education, but Louisiana’s flagship university….and LSU is still an educational institute.
Unlike the massive budget deficit facing the legislature, this is a simple issue to correct.
So, a final word to Chris and Doug: Please try a little harder to sound as though you represent an institution of learning and quit embarrassing your high school English teachers.