Marty Lurie Gary Brown

The long Winter is fading. Birds are chirping. Spring is nigh-ish.

Pitchers and catchers have reported to camp and so have KNBR Giants callers(!!!), instinctively flocking to the airwaves of KNBR like the Salmon of Capistrano.

For many of us, the return of baseball is not so much marked by the scintillating Cactus League action on the field as it is by the sound of familiar voices on our radios.

Jon and Dave. Kruk and Kuip. Kruk and Jon. Dave and Kuip. Kruk and Estes. Jon and FP. Papa and Byrnsie.

Ahem. Any number of combinations you can think of really … just talkin’ ball.

But for all of the Ford C. Frick award winners (present and future) assembled in the Hawaiian Airlines broadcast booth, nobody generates internet buzz in the blogosphere quite like weekend pre and postgame show host, Marty Lurie.

That’s right, LOL KNBR aficionados. “Talking Baseball with Marty Lurie” is back and better than ever! If you’ve listened to a few of Marty’s shows, or you follow @LOLKNBRCallers on Twitter, you know Marty’s rise to fame has been nothing less than meteoric. Marty has a familiar quality to his voice and he keeps the focus on baseball, which is appealing to a lot of his listeners who frankly don’t get enough sports talk on The Sports Leader during the week. He has a certain way about him, which allows him to connect with a wide audience. But more than anything else, I think Marty’s popularity has a lot to do with the way he treats the callers. He’s nice to them. He allows them enough air time to say hello and goodbye, and most of the time it sounds as if he is actually listening to them before he makes his own comments. I know. It sounds insane, right? Whatever it is (I’m sure the massive boom in fan interest in the Giants since 2010 doesn’t hurt), Marty attracts a ton of callers, both good and bad. And when I say bad, I mean awesome.

Just this past weekend, one of Marty’s callers brought us this gem…

Chad Gaudin LOL KNBR Callers

And regular listeners were (somewhat) delighted when Marty regular, Andrea the Astrologer checked in with her thoughts on Barry Zito’s contract situation…

Andrea the Astrologer LOL KNBR Callers

Then Marty ended the weekend by asking callers to come up with the player they thought should represent the 2012 Giants by raising the World Series flag on opening day…

Pablo Hector LOL KNBR Callers

Brian Wilson one day contract LOL KNBR Callers

And one suggestion which might be just a little bit awkward for new utility infielder, Kensuke Tanaka (aka “The Japanese Guy”)…

Iwo Jima LOL KNBR Callers Giants Flag

Marty Lurie brings in the callers, and I love him for that, but over the last few years he has also built up a considerable cache of Martyisms which move the needle on Twitter just as frequently as his callers do. Whether Marty has you eating out of the palm of his hand or you’re one of those snarky SABRbloggers who impersonates Marty to wild applause and laughter from your SABRblogger friends, people can’t seem to get enough of his old-timey baseball analysis and catch phrases for all occasions.

Which brings me to the Marty Lurie Drinking Game. Now, you may be thinking to yourself, Oh. My. God. Drinking games are so passé these days. They’re so clichéd! Who needs another one? Are drinking games even cool anymore? Are there any other dismissive French terms we can use to describe them? Well, if you listen to as much KNBR as I do, trust me, you need one. So, put aside your inhibitions, embrace your inner frat boy, and crack open your favorite adult beverage (minors: play along by substituting milk or juice for booze!) and join me in toasting Marty!

The Rules:

“Hey, that’s baseball.”  This is the Granddaddy of them all. Marty’s bread-and-butter catch phrase. When you hear him say it, you can’t help but smile. Take a swig of beer and think of playing catch with your dad on a warm Summer day. Hey, that’s drinking games. 

“He can hit.” Who needs all these crazy stats? I don’t need a stat geek to tell me what I can see with my own eyes! This one will surely stick in the craw of those who worship at the Temple of Stats, but it’s pure Marty, so therefore you must take one shot of pure alcohol.

“Fabulous” Marty likes to keep the show positive. He tells stories about the good old days of baseball. He lives for a good Willie Mays story. (Who doesn’t?) But sometimes even he can get a bit carried away when describing the sink on Jim Duffalo’s fastball in 1963. Worthy or not, if Marty says it’s fabulous, we’re gonna need you to find a bottle of Zima and drain it, chief. (the judges will also accept Zima Gold)

“Sound off of the bat” Another case of Marty using all 5 of his senses in player evaluation. The smell of the grass; the feel of the Shortstop’s glove; the taste of the 1st baseman’s … uhh, nevermind. Put on your straw hat and take a long slug from your hip flask of whiskey, it’s time for batting practice!

“Bullpen by Committee” We’ve all heard of the notoriously untrustworthy and super risky proposition of Closer by Committee, but a Bullpen by Committee? Insanity! Marty has said this one so many times, I’m not even sure he isn’t doing it on purpose at this point. He may be trolling us, guys. He even got Ron Wotus to say it once. Let’s go with Mixed Drinks by Committee on this one. Share with a friend.

“The story of the season” Every game is a chapter in the book of the season. The season is a story, with several plot twists. You just have to let the story unfold. Brandon Belt is the villain, lurking in the shadows, poised to take a called 3rd strike or draw a walk with runners in scoring position.  boooo … hiss … You need a beer? Grab a beer.

“It’s a good question.” Only truly loyal listeners have picked up on this. Marty is a humble man, but he isn’t shy about patting himself on the back once in a while. He tends to heap praise upon his own astute questions. “Hey, let me tell you something. It’s a good question.” It’s a little bit odd, but that’s just Marty being Marty. No biggie. Shotgun a Coors Light then tell everyone within earshot how you didn’t spill a drop.

Uses the short form of someone’s name Marty is well known for his chummy use of short form names. Right, Pat? By now, you’ve probably heard the “Right, Pat?” sound dropped on every KNBR show, including Protect Your Assets with David Hollander. Marty also calls Alex Pavlovic “Al” and forbids callers from using the nickname “Timmy” for Tim Lincecum. One thing’s for sure, Marty has an odd obsession with given names (#analysis). Make yourself a gin & tonic, and don’t you dare call it a G&T. Not on this blog, pal.

Any mention of John Handlery or the Handlery Hotel Another thing Marty doesn’t shy away from is shameless plugs for his sponsors. His favorite is the Handlery Union Square Hotel, with 20% off at the fabulous (drink!) Daily Grill. Marty stays there a lot. Like … A LOT. When (not if) he mentions the free parking or the helpful staff, be sure to take a sip from your glass of Chardonnay.

“It’s a kick in the pants to drive!” Fentons Creamery. Local bail bondsmen. Denny’s. Marty has played pitch man for all of them. However, none of them are as memorable as his spot for the Volvo S60. If you listen to Marty, I shouldn’t even have to explain this one. It’s the naughty car. Down a shot of your choice and take a drag off your grandpa’s corncob pipe.

There you have it. Go forth and drink. Tune in to hear Marty this weekend. Then find your phone and dial 808-KNBR. Marty is waiting for your call. And I’m standing by to tweet you. /evil laugh