October is such a great month in these parts. The temperatures go down and stay down. The State Fair of Texas welcomes us, entertains us and feeds us. Oh, and soon after the fair closes, we get to dress up for Halloween.
As many of you know, I am no stranger to “masquerading.” Lots of our readers have seen me at Globe Life Park and now at Globe Life Field wearing an outfit that makes it look like I am a professional broadcaster from the waist up and like I am an overheated Texan from the waist down.
The suit coat, tie and shorts almost always gets a reaction. The audience only sees me from the waist up, so why not be comfortable at least my lower half?
There are many occasions during the summer that we wear a “costume.” For almost every show our faces are covered in makeup. At the ballpark our makeup artist is Renne’ Young (funny how the older I get the more makeup she needs to cover my face. What is that all about?)
There are many times when we dress for the day. Like on Fridays, since the Rangers wear red, we try to wear a red tie and/or pocket square. On Sundays we are all baby blue, just like the team.
There are other times when we dress for the day, the occasion, the holiday or the season. Here are a few examples of when I have carefully selected my clothes to fit a very specific purpose.
On Dec. 25, 1997 I was working at NBC5. Christmas is a fairly big sports day with NBA games, College Bowl games and sometimes NFL. That year there was not much involving our local teams. In the spirit of the season I decided to attempt a rhyming sportscast in the meter of “‘Twas the Night before Christmas.”
It turned out well, as my producer Sean Hamilton and I cut the highlights and got the entire three minutes to rhyme. The last stanza was my favorite, it read,
“I saw this Christmas through eyes that are two,
That meant lots of Barbie and Winnie the Pooh.
She bought me this Pooh tie, her eyes filled with pride. So excited to give it that her dad almost cried.”
It is the only time I ever wore the Winnie the Pooh tie on air, and at the end of the sportscast the camera zoomed in tight on my tie, which was a good thing because, not surprisingly, my eyes were watering.
On Nov. 5, 2000 the Dallas Cowboys lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in overtime 16-13. Troy Aikman missed the game with an injury, and Randall Cunningham started at quarterback. It had gotten to the point in Troy’s career where he had become a question mark because of health concerns.
The next day I flew home from Philly, and, upon landing, I received an urgent message on my pager. Some of you may have had cell phones by 2000, but I did not. I was still at NBC 5, so I called my producer, Bob Schmelzle, who had issued the urgent page. He told me to bring three suits to the station for the 10 o’clock news that night. I said, “three suits?” He said, “trust me.” I did, so I brought three suits.
November 2000 was an election year, so the airwaves had been inundated with political advertisements and debates. I got to the station to learn that the idea was for me to argue both sides of “The Aikman Debate. “ I was also the moderator of the debate. We produced the segment in the evening with all of the same treatment that NBC News would give to a presidential debate. I argued that Troy should retire, in a different suit I argued that Troy should not retire and in a third suit I was the moderator yelling at both “candidates” about going over their allotted time.
Finally, in late 2001, Fox Sports Southwest did a promotional spot with me and my co-anchor at the time, Randy McIlvoy. The camera showed us applying makeup in front of a large lighted mirror. The announcer was introducing our new show, “The Southwest Sports Report.”
He told viewers how we devoted a full 30 minutes to your favorite teams, not just a few minutes like the local newscast. The tag line was “Fox Sports Southwest there is nothing brief about our coverage.” Just then Randy and I turned and walked out of the makeup room wearing a suit coat, shirt, tie and boxer shorts.
Maybe that’s where I got the idea to wear shorts with a suit.