It may be too late. You’ll probably never see this letter anyway, or read it cause it’s just too damn long. And I know I don’t speak for all Angel fans, Mr. Moreno, sir. Or for perhaps even the majority of Halo Heaven faithful. Still, I can’t live with myself without making a last gasp do-or-die desparation plea on behalf of the millions of us who love Rex Hudler, to please consider bringing back our much-loved "Wonderdog" in some capacity as part of the Angels baseball coverage.
There are many reasons to bring back Hud:
- He’s a colorful legendary representative of the Angels; like one of the Halo Heaven bloggers says below: he is our “popular face/voice.” No, he’s not Vin Scully, but he offers a unique perspective that is equally compelling: he personifies baseball from the perspective of a seasoned player, a man who was a good guy and a fun guy on the bench for many clubs for which he played in his long colorful career, and he knows Angels baseball. He knows the game; not in a grandfatherly Vin Scully here’s-what-happened-in-1952-that-I-saw-from-this-booth way, but in a I-was-there-playing-that-game-with-that-guy-and-Man!-you-should-have-seen-it, Gubi” way, and in a “folks, let me tell you how you make that play” way. More than anyone, Hud can break down the dynamics of a swing, of a catch, of a baserunning situation, of a series of fielding plays in a concise insightful manner; and he can make you really visualize what happened. He brings verisimilitude to the broadcast booth like never before. In addition, he has a cool, witty, wacky, iconic way of phrasing things, like when he used to say: “The kingfish has gone upstream,” after Timmy Salmon went ‘yard.’ Or, “You could hang a week’s worth of laundry on that line drive out of here.” Also, his ability for creating cool nicknames that 'stick' is renown, such as “Gubi,” “Josey,” “King Fish,” “Big Daddy Vladdy,” "Mighty Maicer," etc.
- He brings a festive upbeat persona to the broadcast—Hud is always positive. I don’t know how many times I’ve gotten motivated just listening to Hud excitedly uttering things like, “Oh man! Tori Hunter is getting me all pumped up!” We can always count on the Wonderdug, with his trusty baseball in hand, his white lip-balmed lips, his rad red hair, his funky throwback costumes and wigs, to get us cheered up and in the mood for baseball, and--yes, my friend--for life.
- Frankly, he’s good at what he does—let’s get to the point: he just won 2 major broadcasting awards for the excellence of his broadcasting, Mr. Moreno. As reported in the LA Times: “Rex Hudler received two awards from the Southern California Sports Broadcasters (SCSB) on Monday, including radio analyst of the year and tied with Los Angeles Kings announcer Jim Fox for television analyst of the year.” http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/sports_blog/2010/02/rex-hudler-jim-hill-broadcast-awards.html
- He’s a wonderful human being. Everyone who has met him loves him. In addition, he gives back to the community in many great ways—particularly with his work with Down Syndrome (“Up Syndrome!”) kids. He atternds charity events reguarly and always gives back to the fans, including his zest in signing autographs and dispensing advice to young people. As he says, "It's important to sign autographs. It's all about you--the fans" (from Sothball's "The Gospel According to Rex") http://www.halosheaven.com/2009/3/28/814013/the-gospel-according-to-re
- He’s popular. Yes, there are those generally ‘old school’ fans who don’t appreciate Hud (even one of our beloved editors and site creators is not a fan), but there are so many that do (the Poll as of 2/6 shows 90% would like to see his return). Below is a collection of recent and archival praise from Halo Heaven and other sources, a small glimpse of Hudolatry:
-"Rex is truly a [...] great gift to Angel fans. He took a lot of time to talk--from the heart--to lots of people, especially the younger fans." ("Sothball" from his post "The Gospel According to Rex" in Halos Heaven)
-"I really, really, really, REALLY hope they bring him back.And not just because of these awards. The man deserves to stay with the organization he’s given nearly everything to, even if it’s in a reduced role. Bring him back, Fox." ("Clutch" from Halo Heaven)
-“Maybe now the Angels will look at bringing him back, even if it’s just for the postgame with BillyMac.”
(“Red Floyd” from HH, after hearing of Hud’s awards yesterday)
-"Hud is an entertainer. And in the end I suppose that’s what baseball is, entertainment. Just ask the people I get into salary cap/floor arguments with. I enjoyed watching him because he made me laugh during his broadcasts and sometimes made me yell at him to shut up. Either way, he was part of what kept me into the games and made it feel like “home.” He made the telecasts fun. His personality reminds me of Torii Hunter in some ways!” ("Commander Nate" from HaloHeaven)
-"Rex was awesome. Boycott broadcasts until they get the message" ("Brokenyard"/ HH)
-"I’d be down with that [bringing Hud back]; especially to hear Hud call Mota HOSEY” over and over again. It’d be quite funny." (Downing Rules/HH)
-”I agree with you” (“Wumbug” from HH)
-“Hud was hud…But He Was Our Hud. I know 90% of the FO didn’t like Hud, but WE the so-called “fan strong” did…” (“Funke5ive” from HH)
-”Hud is freaking awesome!” (a friend and season ticket holder)
-”Bring him back!” (“aNewFoundThrice” from HH)
- “No Hud? No Lackey? No Vlad? Sadly and tragically, No Rory Markas? COME ON! Let’s keep some a semblence of continuity around here. Bring back the Wonder Dog”
(“LazorkoRules” from HH)
-”I love Hud! He’s a riot!” (a really hot female Angel fan I met at the stadium last year)
-”Hud was OK, but a little too zany for me…but with Rory gone, and the LA Times story about Hud falling on hard times, it’s time to show some compassion and bring him back…I mean, it’s baseball–not brain surgery…he needs a gig–we need a popular face/voice, and it makes perfect sense…bring ’em back, Arte!”
(“Halopauly” from HH)
-”I too am crushed by the whole Hud thing. My son and I love listening to his commentary, and we laugh a lot together at his colorful phrases. I signed a petition a while back to bring him back.”
(Another season ticket-holder friend of mine)
-“Hud was my favorite by far. Sure he messed up sometimes, but his pure enthusiasm can’t be matched. Great to see he’s recognized.” (“TheKingfish” from HH)
-”He’s cool. He helps make baseball exciting, and he isn’t annoying like many broadcasters out there]”
(My 13-year-old son)
-"Hudler brought passion, enthsuiasm, humor, and IMO a decent amount of behind the scenes baseball knowledge. Maybe he catered to the younger audience a little too much, but it was tempered with anecdotes and analysis that could’ve only come from someone who lived the game." ("Tolbs1010" HH)
- His presence in Halo-land could be worked-out easily in a variety of ways. If you and the rest of the FO are that enamored with Jose Mota (not sure why, really—to do the interviews with Spanish-speaking players?) and Mark Gubiza, and none of them (including Hud) can do play-by-play, I offer the following, which I call the Raaddad plan. This plan is merely a follow-up to last season’s sort of round-robin announcer approach. You treat Hud much like the way Mike Scoscia has used Figgy and Maicer Izturis on the field: you let him do a variety of things and have him substitute for other guys on occasion. For instance, you could continue combining Hud with Bill McDonald on the after game show (as Red Floyd suggested above), have him share the interviews with Senor Mota, and let him make appearances on both radio and televison during the broadcast to discuss the game and add his commentary to the broadcast,as well as fill in for guys missing games, etc. You could have specialized segments entitled ‘Wonderdog at the Park”, or something. And he could continue doing shows with Jeff Biggs on AM 830. I would prefer him as the full-time color announcer paired with Terry Smith, but, if that’s not in the cards, then what I offer is an obvious compriomise—and you really wouldn’t need to pay him all that much. I mean, just the sale of Budweisers at the stadium for a few weeks to Halo Heaven blog contributers would probably cover his salary (and be sort of fitting, in a way.)
- and, finally, We should do it for the memory of Rory Markus and because it’s the right thing to do: I believe Rory would be happy that we brought back his old friend and colleague, Rex Hudler. If there was one thing we could do for Rory, and to honor his time with the Angels community, it would be to cut his former broadcast buddy some slack, and rehire Wonderdog back.
Mr. Moreno, I’ve been a staunch fan of the Angeles for 29 years, and I can say that you’ve done a great job since taking over the franchise. You’ve lent balance and dignity to the team, you’ve retained and encouraged the best manager in baseball, you’ve fostered a dynamic and cross-cultural work environment, you’ve kept prices down while adding millions to the payroll, you’ve worked your damnest to keep things fun yet still get us to the Series; you’ve even kept the silly things going—like the Rally Monkey, the fireworks, the thundersticks. I know I don’t speak for all, as the voting below will show, but I speak for many--the young, the young-at-heart, the Orange county wave surfers, the LA county net surfers, the ones far away who still listen and watch and feel they’re back at home for a minute when they hear his voice, those who are passionate, those who like to dwell in and learn about the intricasies of playing the game from a multi-dimensional ex-player, and those who want to lend their support to a great guy—when I say: “Please, sir, Bring Back Hud!"