Normally, opening week of the baseball season is one of my favorite times of the year. But this one has been about as depressing as one can imagine.
It started just two days into the season when Angels rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart was killed along with two friends by an alleged drunk driver (driving on a suspended license) just hours after he pitched six shutout innings in his season debut. A fourth passenger in the car Adenhart was travelling in was seriously injured.
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Then, last night, more bad news. Former Detroit Tigers pitcher Mark "The Bird" Fidrych was killed in an accident the same day Phillies Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Kalas died.
Kalas, 73, collapsed in the Phillies' broadcast booth before Monday's game against the Washington Nationals and died later.
He was also the voice of NFL Films for the past several years.
Too many of the great baseball broadcasters are passing on these days. Just last year, longtime Braves broadcaster Skip Caray died.
In fact, about the only guy left from that era of starting out in radio and moving over to TV is Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully. It's hard to think of any sport having a group of broadcasters as revered as the guys who do baseball, except maybe for college football.
It's sort of an interesting contrast between Adenhart and Kalas, having their deaths bookend the week. Kalas had enjoyed a long career, which included last year's World Series title for the Phillies. At 73, while still not an old age these days, he had a pretty full life. Adenhart, on the other hand, was just starting to blossom as a pitcher and at 22, had many years of both baseball and regular life to look forward to. Not to mention the fact that his death should have been entirely preventable.
Let's hope the rest of the season brings brighter days than the first week has.
AROUND THE DIAL: A Facebook friend lamented the possible cancellation of "Chuck," not entirely out of the realm of possibility giving the show's lackluster ratings, even on woeful NBC. There are several campaigns to save the show, and if you want to help, you can either write Ben Silverman, co-chairman of NBC, at this address: 3000 W. Alameda, Burbank, CA 91523 or write to NBC's president of prime-time programming, Angela Bromstad, at 100 Universal City Plaza. Bldg 1320, 4th Floor, Universal City, CA 91608.
On the Web, you can visit chucktv.net or Zachary-levi.net, both of which have information about both the show and saving it. Unfortunately, the show isn't produced by NBC, meaning the network doesn't get as much revenue from it as it would a show it produces, so there is less incentive to keep it. On the other hand, "Chuck" is about as popular as anything else on the network. Thanks to Maureen Ryan's awesome TV blog at The Chicago Tribune for the links ...
Three series that have already been cancelled on ABC have gotten air dates for the remaining episodes: "Pushing Daisies" will air Saturdays beginning May 30 at 10 p.m., "Eli Stone" will air in that timeslot beginning June 20, and "Dirty Sexy Money" will air there beginning July 18. Each series has three or four unaired episodes remaining. Not ideal timeslots, but at least they will get shown. Thanks to my brother Alex for passing this along. ...
Finally, after wrapping up its first season last week, "Trust Me," the TNT series about advertising starring Eric McCormick and Tom Cavanaugh, won't be renewed for a second season, TVGuide.com reported.
TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: With all that cheery news reported, at least one thing will bring a smile tonight, when "Rescue Me" (FX, 10 p.m.) airs its second episode as Tommy faces a department shrink who will decide whether he should keep his job.
Oh wait, one more bit of depressing news. "According To Jim" (ABC, 8 p.m.) is back inexplicably for another season. Yes, ABC won't give us any more "Pushing Daisies" or "Eli Stone," but somehow, "Jim" keeps coming back. Damn you to hell, ABC! It's followed by "Dancing With The Stars" and a new "Cupid" at 10 p.m.
CBS is reruns, except for "Without A Trace" at 10 p.m.
Fox has a new "American Idol" at 8 p.m., followed by a new "Fringe" at 9 p.m. NBC offers two hours of "The Biggest Loser," followed by a rerun of "Law & Order: SVU" at 10 p.m.
Finally, after a new "Reaper" at 8 p.m., CW delivers a new "90210," featuring the return of Tori Spelling to the series. That's not what has me vaguely interested in this show; it's the guest star appearance of my favorite gal Diablo Cody (writer of "Juno" and "United States of Tara") that has me considering turning on the channel tonight.