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July 8, 2007 at 11:24 pm ET
11 Comments
The Chris Berman Geography Pool

I’ve always thought the home run derby was the perfect event for Chris Berman to broadcast. I’m not sure if that’s a bigger indictment of the derby or of Berman, but either way it’s an occasion more about style than sport, more about pageantry than performance, priorities better suited to Boomer’s modus operandi as an announcer. While it may be the one night of the year where forced puns can replace coherent analysis it still doesn’t make it any less trying an experience for the people at home. That’s why I’ve come up with this game to hopefully help making viewing the derby a little bit more tolerable.

Every summer, Boomer finds it clever to pepper the names of surrounding towns into his home run calls. Last year, for example, after a long David Wright shot that Berman excalimed “he hit that one all the way to Sewickley!” Sewickley, in case you were wondering, is a suburb of Pittsburgh about a 45 minute drive away from PNC Park. In other words David Wright hit that ball really, really far. The whole bit may have been funnier and cuter in the days before you could use google maps and mapquest to find a list of surrounding towns in in under a minute, but I’m somewhat dubious about that too.

Anyway, the game goes something like this. Everyone kicks in a certain amount of cash (or potato chips or m&m’s, cause you know, betting money is illegal) then you go around the room with everyone selecting two suburbs of the All-Star city. The person who has the first suburb or surrounding town that Berman uses in one of his home run calls wins the stash. Sound simple? It is, but I guarantee it’s one of the few ways to make you hang on every word during the broadcast.

Oh, and in case you’re not familiar with northern California geography, here are some possibilities:

Marin
San Rafael
Berkeley
Oakland
Muir Woods
Sausalito
Santa Rosa
Santa Clara
Alameda
Los Gatos

Which one’s it gonna be first, Boomer?

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11 Responses to “The Chris Berman Geography Pool”
  1. Zavo says:

    It is so on. Dibs on Alameda.

  2. Does Berman actually use towns that the ball could conceivably get to if it were to miraculously continue in the direction it was hit or does he throw geography to the wind?
    Sausalito would likely be the first he would use except that if a player were to hit the ball there, it would be foul as the stadium faces south in right and east in left and Sausalito is both north and west.
    If a ball is hit to left it could conceivably go to Oakland and if it’s hit to right it could be hit to Candlestick/Monster Park or perhaps the SF Intl. Airport located in South SF (a separate city from SF), or perhaps Gilroy, the Garlic Capital of the World or even with a mighty gust of wind San Jose or Los Banos.
    Burlingame is due south as is Half Moon Bay which may be irresistible to Mr. Berman.

    Yeah, I wager 20 skittles that it’s Half Moon Bay.

  3. Zavo says:

    You give the Swami too much credit. Unfortunately, he doesn’t really seem to pay attention to geography. Take last year in Pittsburgh, since I know that region best. A ball hit to right field in PNC Park travels roughly due south; to left, due east. Sewickley is to the northwest of the ballpark. So to hit it there, you’d have to foul it off almost directly behind you (more or less over the catcher’s left shoulder).

    If he had wanted to be accurate, and if (I assume) the right-handed David Wright was pulling the ball, then he should have said “he hit that one to North Versailles” or one of Pittsburgh’s many creatively-mispronounced eastern suburbs…

  4. In that case, I wager an additional 200 skittles on Sausalito.

    Is it okay if I have two?

  5. Adam Godson says:

    Give me a hundred Pringles on Palo Alto. I wouldn’t be surprised if he reaches out of the Bay Area and pulls a San Luis Obispo, just because it’s fun to say.

  6. Brandon Mac says:

    I’ll go with the dark horse… Alcatraz

  7. JT says:

    I’ll guess Tiburon. First, Berman will undoubtedly try to pronounce it with some crappy Spanish accent, even though anyone that’s ever lived around SF says it with a normal American accent. Then he’ll make some horrible pun about a shark eating the ball, since “tiburon” is Spanish for shark. Guhhhhhhhhh……

  8. Adam Godson says:

    I can’t call this an exhaustive list since I’ll admit to watching part of the Derby on mute, but here’s the best I could pick out:

    Sausilito
    Burlingame
    Half Moon Bay

    Alcatraz
    Coit Tower
    Presidio
    Bay Bridge

    If I missed any, feel free to drop them in.

  9. Andy Smith Andy Smith says:

    Pretty good list there, Adam. I definitely missed some of the ones you caught, although I think there may have been a Berkeley thrown in there too. Not sure though.

  10. I can confirm the Berkeley mention.

  11. Jack H. says:

    I can’t believe that he ripped this schtick right from the Ernie Harwell phrasebook. What a tool.

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