Chris Berman was back.. back.. back.. back calling the Home Run Derby for ESPN on Monday and Twitter took note. With the exception of Robinson Cano, there wasn't likely anyone in Kansas City on Monday night subjected to more jokes or complaints than the longtime ESPN personality. Unlike Cano, who heard the boobirds at Kauffman Stadium, Berman's critics were largely sharing their feelings from afar.
Although Berman is best known for his football coverage at ESPN, his most famous call may be the one that he has delivered time and again.. and again.. at the Home Run Derby through the years.
More times than we can count -- and certainly folks have tried -- Berman has hollered, "It's back.. back.. back.. backbackbackbackbackbackback.. it's GONE!" The number of "backs" varies and the climactic "it's gone" occasionally gives way to another sign-off or pun but this has essentially been the call for years. The line may be a riff on a famous call by Red Barber but Berman has made it his own by virtue of enthusiasm and repetition.
Before the 2012 edition of the Derby even began, Awful Announcing suggested replacing the bombastic Berman with legendary broadcaster Mel Allen, who passed away in 1996. Perhaps Barber wasn't AA's choice because he could have also dropped a few "backs" as Prince Fielder tore the cover off the ball in the Final Round.
"The man has had decades to come up with his special way of calling a home run," wrote Gabe Zaldivar of Bleacher Report hours before the Derby. "Well, he came up with it and figured he would sit on it until the words lose utter meaning."
Berman appears to subscribe to the Charles Oakley theory regarding things that ain't broke. He ain't going to break it. The feelings about Berman calling the Home Run Derby makes the lack of enthusiasm for his work at the U.S. Open seem awfully tame by comparison.
On a night when MLB was hoping to really bring the Home Run Derby to social media, Chris Berman vaulted to No. 2 on the list of nationally trending terms and hung in that spot until "Prince Fielder" displaced him with his victory. The planners of the MLB social media policy will be pleased to know that #HRDerby held on to the top spot.
Here are many of the top tweets about Berman's performance at the 2012 Home Run Derby:
Not Buster Olney
Michael David Smith
Faux John Madden
Andrew Luck's Head