Little known fact: Parker, everyone’s favorite mascot, moonlights as a movie critic. Read below for his take on Parental Guidance, in theaters on December 25th.
On December 19th, the Grizzlies front office, some season ticket holders chosen via a random drawing and over 100 of our closest friends (chosen by the Fresno Beehive) were fortunate to get an early look at the movie Parental Guidance).
First, let me say the movie was GREAT! And when I say great, I mean elegantly told and hilariously written. (I guess I could have said that the first time.)
But I’m not here to critique the entire movie. That’s up to the professionals).
I’m going to share my thoughts on the most important parts: me…and the Grizzlies playing at Chukchansi Park.
My shining moment came during the Kiss Cam scene. I’m not going to spoil it, but someone does kiss another person (surprise!). I have to say, I looked great on the big screen.
There are some other great shots of the game at Chukchansi Park. An aerial shot of the stadium in Downtown Fresno. Artie walking out one last time through the centerfield gates. All beautifully captured by the movie crew.
Billy Crystal…er, I mean, Artie Decker was hilarious calling the action. Now, he is no Doug Greenwald, but Artie did hold his own. He had some great one-liners, keeping listeners on their feet (or on their seats, I suppose, since most people listen to the radio sitting down).
The unfortunate part is Artie’s time with the Grizzlies is short-lived in the movie. The baseball broadcaster of 35 years is fired because he cannot Tweet, poke on Facebook or the worst yet, #Hashtag. Clearly, Artie’s character did not consult those close to him because I have demonstrated I am capable of all those things, as seen here and here. My consulting fee is negotiable, in real-life or in the movies (I like food. Lots of it. It always goes straight to my midsection.)
We could have kept Artie as the voice of the Grizzlies even longer. I am here to entertain fans in the stadium as well as through the social media networks. Writers failed to recognize this (or they did, but it doesn’t go well with their entire plot line. I vote the latter.). We even have a bobblehead of him as a fan giveaway. Clearly, Fresno fans wanted to see more of Artie (Side note: could the actual Grizzlies give away this Artie Decker bobblehead in 2013? Stay tuned…).
Artie’s misfortune does breathe new life into his personal life, though. In the end, Artie Decker’s broadcasting career brings his family together. Even when he signs off after every game with a “Lights out, Alice,” you could feel his love for his family even from afar. The unexpected exit from the Grizzlies proved to be for the better in Artie’s life. The lessons learned are something I highly approve.
The movie and special screening showed me I also enjoyed spending time with my Grizzlies family. I can’t wait for the 2013 season to start, but until then, you can see Grizzlies baseball at Chukchansi Park at a theater near you. Go see Parental Guidance. It’s worth it.
By: Chris Kutz
When a Minor League team hits the road, the traveling party consists of players, the manager, the pitching coach, the hitting coach, maybe a roving instructor or two, the strength and conditioning coach, the athletic trainer and the radio broadcaster.
The group of around 30 takes early morning flights and late-night bus rides to move on to their next series of games. Needless to say, Minor Leaguers would love to experience the luxury a Major League travel itinerary brings with it (i.e. less 3:45 am alarms, more leg room on charter flights, etc.).
The voice of the Grizzlies, Doug Greenwald, is not one to look past the travel inconveniences. For the month of March, Greenwald calls the San Francisco Giants’ Spring Training games via webcasts. While in Arizona, he does the least amount of traveling he does all year.
“The longest ‘trip’ in spring training for me is from Scottsdale to Surprise. That’s maybe 55 minutes. Get in the car, and go,” said Greenwald. “During the PCL season we generally have to be at the Fresno Airport by four a.m. for a six a.m. flight, and play a game that night (sometimes in Nashville or New Orleans). Or be on a bus for a handful of hours, get into Fresno in the wee hours, and play that night.”
Once the Grizzlies season ends in September, he heads up to the Bay Area as well as across the nation.
“I spend time in San Francisco with my family, and go to the big league games at AT&T Park. I will also take that time to unwind, do some traveling on my own,” said Greenwald.
“I’m a huge college basketball fan. That’s always been my second love behind baseball. I will go around the country, and watch college hoops.
“This season I saw games everywhere from Fullerton to Burlington, Vermont to Troy, Alabama. I have seen in person NCAA Division I basketball games in 48 states (including Washington, DC). The only states where I have missed in this category are Wisconsin, and Montana. I hope to complete my cycle next basketball season.”
March becomes quite a busy month for Greenwald with the college basketball season kicking into full madness and the baseball season launching one more time. Greenwald doesn’t mind, however. With 2012 being the seventh season he has broadcasted Cactus League games, Greenwald is used to an action-packed March at this point.
Since 2006, Greenwald has called San Francisco Giants’ Spring Training games on SFGiants.com. Greenwald and the Giants were one of the first Major League teams to offer their fans the chance to catch the Spring games.
“[The idea of Spring Training webcasts] was proposed by Jon Miller,” said Greenwald. “I went up one day to say hello to him at AT&T Park in September of 2005. He knew that since I was broadcasting for Fresno, it was a good role for me, and the Giants were to have every spring training game aired one way or another”
Up until 2005, the Giants’ Spring Training games were only broadcasted on KNBR on the weekends.
“By only doing games on the weekends, it was almost as if fans lost track of the team during the weekdays. By doing them on the web now, every pitch (one way or another) of Spring Training is heard,” said Greenwald.
With Greenwald’s familiarity of the Giants farm system, calling Cactus League games became an easy transition for him. Most of the players, including late-inning substitutes, had either passed through Fresno at one point or were well on their way to the Triple-A level.
Providing webcasts of Giants’ Spring Training games gives Greenwald a Spring Training of his own as he gets up to 18 games before the regular season’s first pitch. It also provides him the opportunity to interact with listeners, something he does all season long with the Grizzlies.
“[T]he biggest benefit [of Spring Training] is hearing from the fans, the positive reaction the games on the web have been, as we get e-mails from all over the world. It is amazing to reach out to folks in California, Germany, Denmark, all over, who follow the club.”
“There was an e-mail from a fan listening in a hospital in Australia. We thanked him over the web for his note, and he sent an e-mail back saying we made his day by responding to him, and wishing him well. A half world away, yet the pushing of a send key made it felt like we were with him in his room.”
The voice of the Grizzlies, once again, was making a day happier for one listener at a time. This time, at least, he didn’t have to travel far to reach them.