BROOKE GLADSTONE: Garfield likes to listen to sports on the radio, and he gets his exercise railing at the commercials. BOB GARFIELD: Listening to an ad on a classical music radio station sounds like this: [EASY COMMERCIAL MUSIC] MALE ANNOUNCER: It's called the Lexus golden opportunity! You have until September 4th to get the one that didn't get away! BOB GARFIELD: Listening to an ad on an all-news radio station sounds like this: [ROCK COMMERCIAL MUSIC] FEMALE ANNOUNCER: Well you'll feel even worse tomorrow morning if you miss Sleepy's One Day Sale! BOB GARFIELD: Listening to an ad on a baseball game sounds like this: [PHONE RINGING] MAN: Hello? GRUFF BASEBALL COACH: Pokey, where are you?! We're almost done with warmups! You're gonna miss BP! MAN: This is better than batting practice, coach! I'm downloading the opposing pitcher's stats! GRUFF BASEBALL COACH: You mean you don't have a Dolphius [sp?] Power Link?! BOB GARFIELD: Where is it inscribed that baseball game advertising copy must invoke baseball themes and imagery?! Hank Greenwald, retired voice of the San Francisco Giants spent years reading the worst writing on God's green outfield. HANK GREENWALD:Here are the stolen base leaders in the National League, and this feature is brought to you by some burglar alarm company. Don't let anyone steal your prize possessions, you know, or you'll hit a home run every time when you bank with such and such. They're corny! [LAUGHTER] And a [LAUGHS] lot of times you kind of cringe when you hear them. BOB GARFIELD:Grand slam this, strike out that. Hockey game ads don't talk about slap shots and cross checks. Traffic report advertising doesn't trot out bumper to bumper gags. So how in the world do you explain this?! [BASEBALL GAME AMBIENT SOUND UP & UNDER] ANNOUNCER: [SHOUTING] Swing and a long drive! Watch that.... ANNOUNCER:I've seen plenty of big hits in my days. No hit, though, could match the one Sue Tierney of Philadelphia made during her family reunion! Sue excited that crowd of aunts, uncles and second cousins with a grand slam meal of hot dogs and hamburgers served on delicious Strohman rolls! So make a big hit of your own with Strohman hot dog and hamburger rolls. BOB GARFIELD:The voice belongs to Philadelphia Phillies play by play man Harry Kalas, one of the most admired broadcasters in baseball which is one of the reasons the situation is so pathetic! Philadelphia Enquirer sports writer Frank Fitzpatrick not only cringes but feels a deep and abiding sadness to hear so distinguished an announcer reduced to mouthing such insipid and misinformed blather. HARRY KALAS: There, there's one of these ads that's like fingernails on a blackboard to me. It's, it's another Strohman's ad. And Harry says I've seen many great Phillies teams over the years, and I'm thinking no you haven't! [LAUGHS] I mean they've only had 5 pennant winners in, you know, in 117 years! BOB GARFIELD: He's right of course. The Phillies are by far the losingest franchise in the history of professional sports, but Frank veers off the point which is that what the hell do great Phillies teams have to do with hot dog buns?! HARRY KALAS: I think most of the imagery is just so cliched that they feel like no matter what bad pun or play on words they make, people are going to-- [BOTH SPEAK AT ONCE] BOB GARFIELD:And then-- Forget it, Frank. I'll tell you what it has to do with hot dog buns. It doesn't have anything to do with hot dog buns! At long last, what kind of sensibility is behind this reflexive reference in the advertising to the programming that surrounds it?! Pitching stats and cable modems? Who writes this stuff?!? MICHAEL KNIGHT: Well obviously knowing that this was going to be broadcast during the Dodger games, you want that type of a tie in-- BOB GARFIELD: Michael Knight is marketing manager for the Adelphia Cable System's power link high speed internet service. He doesn't use an ad agency. He himself authored the pitcher spot that Adelphia runs on Dodgers games. MICHAEL KNIGHT: Major sports, say a football and a basketball which probably wouldn't have come as easy to me to create an ad that would flow; baseball just has that natural flow to it. BOB GARFIELD:There's your answer. Baseball ads sound the way they do because the likes of Oscar Wilde aren't writing them, nor are the likes of David Ogilvy writing them. Marketing managers of high speed Internet services are writing them. Local radio ads on baseball or anywhere else are the bottom of the advertising food chain, and the author's imagination is usually insufficient to think outside the white chalk lines. But the thing is, you don't have to be peddling cable service or doughy picnic items to sound pitiful in your attempt to hit one out of the park with the consumer! You can be selling the future of New York City. [BASEBALL GAME AMBIENT SOUND/CROWD ROARING] MAN: Hey, when a short stop drops the ball on a sure double play, he tells you my error. There's no fingerpointing. So how come on a big thing like poor math and reading scores, [SCHOOL HALLWAY AMBIENT SOUND] no one in the school system's ever said hey -it's my fault. [SCHOOL BELL RINGS] Well, elect Mike Bloomberg mayor. Give him the assignment. He'll be accountable. [BASEBALL GAME AMBIENT SOUND] Mike Bloomberg. [BAT HITS BALL/CROWD ROARS] He'll deliver. Paid for by Bloomberg for mayor. BOB GARFIELD:I have no idea which candidate would be a better Republican nominee for mayor, but if you want to touch base with someone who doesn't talk to you like you're a moron, fill out your lineup card for Herman Badillo.