Game Time: Jim Rome Smack-Off Appendix -- 12 Most Memorable Calls From The Golden Era
As a follow-up to yesterday's post, I was asked on Twitter, in e-mail and in person by some of you which calls I thought were the best ever in the Smack-Off. So I thought this would be something good to share with everyone on here. It'll be a trip down memory lane for some of you, for newer Rome listeners you can hear what qualified as a great Smack-Off call back in the day. As an old-school Rome caller, listening to these calls made me feel like Charlie Daniels at the end of this Geico commercial....
....I mean, can't you just picture Iafrate handing the phone to Vic in NoCal and saying "That's how you do it, son...." (And yes, for you 1560 listeners, I totally ripped that analogy from WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross from his appearence on our show. All credit to JR! GOOD GAWD ALMIGHTY!!!)
With that in mind, here are twelve of the best ever -- twelve "Charlie Daniels" of The Jungle, if you will, each represented once in my 12 Most Memorable Smack-Off calls, complete with where they ranked that year and any necessary backstory. Call them the Dirty Dozen, call them the Old Guard, just don't call them a "clone." (They tend to take that the wrong way.)
(Sound courtesy of Andrew Moorehill's "History of the Smack-Off" page, and obviously The Jim Rome Show.)
TERRENCE IN SIERRA MADRE (Number 4 ranked call in 1997)
BACKSTORY: To this day, Terrence is still one of the greatest callers to never win the Smack-Off. Back in the day, he used to involve his brother as a prop in his calls. This one was a beauty, where he shoots his brother at the end and presumably kills him. Good times!
SCREAMING MIKE (Number 6 ranked call in 1997)
BACKSTORY: Honestly, I have no idea what the backstory of Screaming Mike is. He was only in one Smack-Off (1997) and to my knowledge, he never called again. I'm including it because (a) it's awesome, and (b) it was the first Smack-Off call I ever heard. I remember getting hooked on WWF as a kid flipping channels and seeing Captain Lou Albano screaming like a maniac about the Moondogs winning the tag team title. I mean, I was in hook, line and sinker on the WWF. Well, I guess that makes Screaming Mike my Jungle equivalent to Captain Lou Albano.
STEVE CARBONE (Number 1 ranked call in 1998)
BACKSTORY: Steve Carbone is best known for (a) working for Rome under the title "Phone Slap" in the late `90's and (b) being my arch-nemesis in the Smack-Off for many years. We've since buried the hatchet (not that the hatchet was ever really out to begin with) and someday I hope to share a Macho Man-Hulk Hogan Megapowers 1987 handshake with him. In this call, understand at this time Steve was a ridiculed employee of Rome -- ridiculed by, of all people, the clones. Well, Carbone comes in and lights up Rome's entire listener base (and some Jungle Legends) with this rant. Great call.
GINO IN SAN ANTONIO (Number 3 ranked call in 1998)
BACKSTORY: Gino is on the short list of "best callers to never win the Smack Off." Old-school Rome listeners remember Gino being referred to as obese by many people in calls and faxes (yes, faxed back then!). I met him at a 1997 Tour Stop and was disappointed to find out I was heavier than him. (Since then, I became heavier than many more people, and thankfully now, the list is shrinking....47 pounds, BITCHES!) Anyway, Gino needed to be on here.
BOSTON PHINN (unranked in 1998)
BACKSTORY: Maybe it's because 1998 was my first Smack-Off, maybe it's because I met the guy when he visited Houston, maybe I just like chowds, but I liked this call from Boston Phinn. Very creative, almost no sports, and production value at the end. I always thought this call deserved better.
KERWIN IN RIVERSIDE (Number 2 ranked call in 1999)
BACKSTORY: Kerwin was one of those late `90's callers that, if he had won the thing, would have been a true legend still to this day, because he'd have kept calling. But once he finished runner-up and then sixth in 2000, he disappeared, probably choosing to, you know, actually be a productive member of society instead of calling talk radio. That Kerwin never won and only finished top five once is a testament to the deep field back in the day.
DOC MIKE DITOLLA (Number 1 ranked call in 2000)
BACKSTORY: This is the last time Doc Mike won the event. Starts with a Sedale Threatt "sperm lawn sprinkler" blast and only gets better from there. Doc Mike is the Babe Ruth of the Jungle...only if Babe Ruth were much thinner and performed root canals.