Nearly a quarter century ago, a moribund Braves franchise recruited Jim Varney, aka Ernest P. Worrell, as a pitchman.
The Braves trotted out Ernest with all the subtlety befitting the character. On radio, fans hear Ernest yelling at Vern to buy tickets - as often as every half-inning. At the ballpark, Ernest’s 6-foot~tall face grins maniacally above the Gate G ticket windows.
For Braves fans, it was one indignity too many. When Ernest P. Worrell showed up on the Matrix board one Sunday afternoon to sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” he was greeted with a chorus of boos, thus ending one of the marketing department’s many missteps. (Side note: Some guy wearing a Taco Mac shirt threw out the first pitch Friday. Typical.)
Braves fans are not the most passionate in baseball, obviously, but it’s good to see that, when pushed, they still have a pulse. I would’ve been embarrassed had the fans not gone apoplectic after Sam Holbrook’s historically atrocious call. No one was hurt, so let’s not treat what happened as more than it was.
Too bad the Used Car Salesman wasn’t there, for its his refusal to allow instant replay ensured the call would stand. Bud Selig, you suck. Always have, always will.
And as you’d expect, Holbrook was unapologetic.
Holbrook defended the call, even after he looked at the replay.
“Once that fielder established himself, he got ordinary effort,” he said, referring to shortstop Pete Kozma calling for the ball, then veering away at the last moment as left fielder Holliday drifted in. “That’s when the call was made.”
Asked if he thought he made the proper ruling after seeing the replay, Holbrook replied, “Absolutely.”
Eric Gregg will meet you in Hell.