HiR:tb Toots (@warwalker)

Pierre McGuire: He’s Barking, I’m Mad

I  think the first virtue is to restrain the tongue: he approaches nearest to the Gods, who knows how to be silent, even though he is in the right.

– Cato

It ain’t a bad plan to keep still occasionally even when you know what you’re talking about.

– Kin Hubbard

I had the inestimable pleasure of watching Game 7 of the Boston-Carolina series last night on TSN.  Gord Miller was the play-by-play announcer and Pierre McGuire was the colour man providing his amplitude-enhanced analysis literally throughout the program.

Those who have survived broadcasts featuring Mr. McGuire’s garrulous, high-decibel work will know, or certainly suspect, that he has never had a thought pass through his mind that did not (in his opinion) warrant being related aloud immediately.  These frequent and vociferous pronouncements, packed quickly and tightly into the sometimes miniscule or imperceptible gaps between the play by play, may seem  – to those unfamiliar with Pierre’s unfortunate condition – unusual or even objectionable.

After all, it is eminently possible for the average viewer to follow along with the match unfolding before his or her eyes, simply by watching and having reference to Miller’s narrative for supplementary information concerning the identities of the individual players involved.    Although the occasional circumstance warranting informed analysis or commentary might arise from time to time (during a break in play, for example, or following a particularly notable occurrence within the match), it is obvious to most right-thinking individuals that little or no further elucidation upon the vast majority of routine play is required, or indeed wanted.

Yet McGuire continues exercising his jaw in public night after night.

Moreover, in doing so, he would seem (again, only to those ignorant of the debilitating condition from which he suffers) to have maddeningly little regard for the fact that those charged with broadcasting the event in question have thoughtfully provided him in advance with the equipment necessary to amplify his voice and carry it over the airwaves from Pittsburgh or Boston or wherever to the homes of viewers all over North America.  Specifically, he seems entirely unaware that he has been given a microphone, and that the microphone is hooked up to amplifiers and transmitters that will do the heavy lifting where amplitude of the signal is concerned;  he need not rely on mere lungpower to be heard.

Surely, the casual (and uninformed) viewer will think, something is amiss.  This man, the ignorant viewer would conclude, cannot seriously be meant to be accepted at face value as an intentional and integral feature of the telecast.  What unthinking broadcaster, the viewer might ask, would purposely unleash upon the unsuspecting public a man so persistently verbally incontinent and given to the periodic, spontaneous and clamorous roar of “MONSTER”?

Obviously, such a viewer would be failing to take into consideration the rare and unfortunate neurological disorder with which Mr. McGuire is evidently* afflicted.  This rare condition, known as McCarver’s Syndrome, is disproportionately prevalent among sportscasters, morning radio hosts and street people.  It  is apparently similar in nature to Tourette’s Syndrome and it leaves the patient incapable of controlling the fleeting impulse to loudly analyze even the most common, mundane events in excruciating detail;  McCarver’s sufferers are also given to loud and excessive resort to ridiculous hyperbole.

Although Mr. McGuire has never explicitly indicated that he is afflicted with McCarver’s, the auditory evidence abounds in each and every telecast, which of course has led to speculation and rumour concerning his diagnosis.  Evidence that Mr. McGuire’s ancestors suffered from the McCarver’s would, of course, largely settle the debate (as McCarver’s is genetically transmitted and hereditary).

It is a little known fact that Pierre McGuire’s grandfather Charley McGuire was present at Lakehurst, New Jersey on May 6th, 1937 – the day the Hindenburg notoriously exploded right before the eyes of WLS Radio reporter Herbert Morrison.  Recordings of Morrison’s account of the incident are famous and familiar to many, but few are aware that Morrison was not alone at Lakehurst that day;  Charley McGuire was his broadcast partner.  Fewer still are aware that the commonly known version of their broadcast of that event was heavily edited, owing to the shame and social stigma associated in less liberal and understanding times with McCarver’s, leaving McGuire’s words on the cutting room floor and Charley McGuire himself (up until now) unknown to history.  Here at last is irrefutable evidence of the root-cause of Mr. McGuire’s affliction – a portion of the unedited transcript of the broadcast from Lakehurst New Jersey on May 6th, 1937, featuring Herbert Morrison and Charley McGuire of WLS radio:

Morrison:  There are a number of important persons on board, and no doubt the new commander, Captain Max Pruss, is thrilled, too, for this is his great moment, the first time he’s commanded the Hindenburg. On previous flights, he acted as Chief Officer under Captain Lehmann.

McGuire:  Herb, Pruss is just one of the best dirigible commanders in the business right now, what a fantastic job Lehmann did showin’ the big German the way to do business in the airship industry, that’s just an outstanding job of mentoring by Lehmann to make Pruss the kind of captain he is.

Morrison:   It’s practically standing still now; they’ve dropped ropes out of the nose of the ship…

McGuire:  That’s gravity for you, Herb, it’ll make stuff fall.  And that’s exactly what’s happening here.  Look at those ropes fall!

Morrison:  …and it’s been taken a hold-of down on the field by a number of men.

McGuire:  Look at these guys go to work here, that’s just a fantastic job utilizing their body weight to weigh the ship down and makin’ it work for them to get the job done, that’s just outstanding.

Morrison:  It’s starting to rain again — the rain had slacked up a little bit. The back motors of the ship are just holding it, just enough to keep it from — It burst into flames!

McGuire:  Oh, I don’t think Pruss wants those flames spreading like that, Herb.  Flames are not a good idea on an airship filled with hydrogen.  That is not a good plan.  Pruss has just got to do better than that, or else flaming wreckage is going to start falling from the sky and…

Morrison:  Get out of the way! Get out of the way!

McGuire:  Herb, if you’d stop pushing me for a second, I could tell you that the chatter on the ground here is really picking up, everybody seems to be screamin’ about those flames.  You know, it’s basic stuff, you don’t want to be flyin’ a flaming ball of hydrogen around over a highly populated area, Herb, what is Pruss doing?

Morrison:  Get this Charley!  Get this Charley!

McGuire:  Herb, stop pushing me, I do get it, you want to move out from underneath the flaming shell of the falling dirigible.  But before we do that, we need to talk about the…

Morrison:  It’s burning and it’s crashing! It’s crashing terrible!

McGuire:  Oh, you’re right about that, Herb.  Burning is one thing, but burning AND crashing?  That’s just not good enough, Pruss needs to find a way to fly this heap of flaming wreckage out of here, and fast.

Morrison:  Oh my, get out of the way please. It’s burning, bursting into flames and it’s — and it’s falling on the mooring mast…

McGuire:  Look at that mooring mast just standin’ in there, being a mast and getting ready to have stuff moored to it, that is just unreal, that mast is a MONSTER!

Morrison:  …and all the folks agree that this is terrible. This is one of the worst catastrophes in the world.

McGuire:  Catastrophe doesn’t even begin to describe it, Herb, this is a disaster.  It’s just real bad for Pruss, he’s suckin’ pond water and these zeppelin passengers are lettin’ him know it. Some of them are leaping out of it, probably because they don’t want to get set on fire.  That blimp needs to be lighter than air to fly and not on fire because that’s just not getting’ it done and these passengers won’t stand for it.

Morrison:  And oh, it’s…burning, oh, four or five hundred feet into the sky. It’s a terrific crash, ladies and gentlemen. The smoke and the flames now and the frame is crashing to the ground, not quite to the mooring mast.

McGuire:  Herb, I just have a couple other thoughts about this…

Morrison:  Oh, the humanity!

McGuire:  Humanity is right, Herb, that blimp is just getting no support right now, Pruss has just lost control of things at the moment.  He needs to work on this transition from flight to landing because that’s supposed to be gentle and orderly, with really a lot less fire and very few people leaping from the flaming wreckage.  That landing isn’t good enough in this league, and he should know it.

Morrison:  I can’t talk ladies and gentlemen.


*I assume.  Otherwise, the folks at TSN are just mean-spirited and foolish.

6 comments to Pierre McGuire: He’s Barking, I’m Mad

  • “If you leadoff and you play every day, you’re guaranteed to bat with the bases empty at least 162 times.” – Tim McCarver – July 8th, 2006 from http://www.shutuptimmccarver.com/

  • Also: a Google Search for “shut up Pierre Mcguire” offered up 6,710 results. I figured it might be a larger number.

  • Edited to include a reference to the McCarver link. Nice one! As for the Google search, that does seem a little low. There is a facebook petition…

  • Also: I love the new Popeye collage for the Banner! Go Popeye!!!

  • The 19 over at A2Y (I know, I can’t help reading him obsessively during the playoffs, though) have their own term for Mr. McGuire, not repeatable in polite company.

    Is there some affliction with me, that I believe I somehow have the power to affect the outcome of a game merely by watching it? I’ve scrupulously avoided watching* that team from Detroit, which served them well in the first round, but had me biting my nails until the 7th game was safely over. Someone at work asked me — given my grumpy mood after game 6 — there’s no point in being a fan if I can’t even watch the games.

    * includes checking scores on internet / ESPN / NHL Network

  • This not watching theme is a recurring one with you, isn’t it? I seem to recall you doing essentially the same thing last year. I will decline to give any advice in this regard as – aside from the Tigers’ World Series win in ’84 – my teams never win anything (and I watch ’em all…)