I first encountered Jim Brockmire on the Dan LeBatard radio show. He was co hosting and regaling the audience with pastoral tales of the American pastime. The commanding yet comforting vocal tones of rural Missouri, coated with bourbon, sounded like the haunting reminder of a time that was rapidly fading from view. That was until Joe Buck phoned in to correct the record and restart their long simmering feud going back to their early days broadcasting baseball games in St Louis.
Starting from some Funny or Die short videos and honed on sports talk radio Hank Azaria (The Simpsons) developed his character of Jim Brockmire a boozy relic of a baseball play by play broadcaster and turned it into a hilarious, insanely raunchy, infinitely quotable, half-hour comedy series on IFC. In addition to Hank Azaria the show benefits from a great lineup of co-stars and cameos from J.K. Simmons, Martha Plimpton, Richard Kind, Linda Lavin, George Brett, Tim Kurkjian, Joe Buck and Bob Costas. As a character, Jim Brockmire is exactly what you want an old baseball man to be. Decidedly out of his time, slightly out of his mind, and so in love with the game and the sound of his own voice that all societal norms dissipate in his presence. He just looks like he smells like a combination of whiskey and Aqua Velva, but with a voice that you could literally listen to for hours talking about nothing. He is clearly based on broadcasters like Vin Scully and Mike Shannon and having been in the St Louis Cardinals’ broadcast booth, the whiskey and Aqua Velva, certainly was inspired by Mike Shannon.
The three season arc begins with veteran baseball broadcaster having a mental break and an NC-17 meltdown on air after discovering his wife cheating on him with half the neighborhood. The scene the cuts to several years later and Brockmire has returned to the US from a multi nation drug, sex, and booze bender in Asia and is attempting a return to baseball with the promise of a job with the Morristown (PA) Frackers, a hopelessly inept independent baseball team. The team is owned by Jules James (Amanda Peet) a woman who can hold her own with Brockmire with drinking, debauchery, and love of the game. She pairs him up with naive producer Charles (Tyrel Jackson Williams) who jumps on the idea of using Brockmire’s internet infamy to help get both of them on the map. Soon Charles and Jim are conspiring to find more a creative ways to get a keep Brockmire in the public view.
The show follows Jim Brockmire’s rise in popularity as a podcaster and his assent in broadcasting as his personal demons send him spiraling lower. He and Charles leave Jules and Morristown for a job in New Orleans as the podcasting money rolls in. Jim continues to be a drunk jackass to all of his friends and starts a feud with a team mascot until his friends wind up hosting an intervention in a bar, because where else would you have an intervention in New Orleans. An intervention that Joe Buck Skypes into while covering a Senior LPGA event.
Eventually Brockmire sobers up and lands a job as a fill in announcer for spring training in Florida for an MLB team. Jim is trying to stay on the straight and narrow but he is still wrestling with his past and his demons, while trying to find where he fits in this rapidly evolving culture we find ourselves in. The third season give Brockmire a measure of personal and professional redemption.