Archive for Friday, May 12, 2006

Sutcliffe stumbles on air

May 12, 2006

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— Rick Sutcliffe, a Cy Young award winner and ESPN baseball analyst, gave a rambling, slurred interview during the local television broadcast of the Brewers-Padres game Wednesday night.

Sutcliffe's microphone eventually was cut off. Craig Nichols, general manager of Channel 4 San Diego, on Thursday described the interview as embarrassing.

Sutcliffe, who used to broadcast Padres games for Channel 4 San Diego, dropped by the broadcast booth late in Wednesday night's game and was warmly welcomed by announcers Matt Vasgersian and Mark "Mud" Grant, a former big-league pitcher.

The trio first talked about golf and actor Bill Murray, who was with Sutcliffe at the game. The conversation turned to Sutcliffe's daughter, who, the pitcher said, had been accepted to Harvard Medical School.

That's when Sutcliffe began to meander.

"She's on her way to Africa tomorrow," Sutcliffe said. "How about that? Over there on one of those missions, man. George Clooney - you been reading about all that, you been seeing that?"

To which Vasgersian responded with surprise: "George Clooney?"

"Yeah, he's up there with the Congress, he's trying to get everybody to go over there and solve that thing."

Sutcliffe then said: "I'm getting yelled at from Bill Murray in the back. I need to go. I'd much rather hang with you guys."

Grant thanked Sutcliffe for joining them.

"Mud, you're the best, man," Sutcliffe replied. "Anybody on Earth that doesn't like Mark Grant, they've got problems."

Sutcliffe then asked Vasgersian, "Matty, what are you still doing here in San Diego?"

Vasgersian tried to steer the conversation to baseball, but Sutcliffe persisted.

"No, no, no, Matty - everybody on Earth has been trying to steal you - the Dodgers, the Cubs, ESPN. What are you still doing here?"

Sutcliffe's microphone apparently was cut off then, because a voice in the background can be heard saying: "They turned it off."

Neither Sutcliffe nor ESPN executives could be reached for comment on Thursday.

Nichols said Sutcliffe "used remarkably poor judgment. I'm embarrassed. I'm embarrassed for the Channel 4 team, and I'm embarrassed for the viewers. They're trying to watch the latest win. This is all I'm talking about today. The focus should have been on that win."

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