I remember when I was in high school — which wasn't all too long ago — there was an app that was a fad for a few weeks. It was called "Speech Jammer," and it did exactly as advertised. You'd plug headphones into your phone, start reading whatever prompt it gave you and, soon enough, your own voice would come through the headphones on a slight delay.
The results were hilarious. In fact, it became a phenomenon that went viral. "Speech Jammer Storytime," a YouTube account that quickly faded into obscurity, drew 775,000 views on its first video, meaning that nearly a million fans simply wanted to listen to the host attempt to read a Dr. Seuss story while under the influence of a speech jammer.
So for everyone trashing MLB commissioner Rob Manfred for being drunk or high during the World Series, or for those on the opposite end of the spectrum, worrying that he was suffering some sort of scary medical emergency, you can likely put those theories to bed.
Loud boos aside, I now feel as though Manfred's slurred speech was very similar to what I witnessed in the enthralling first episode of "Speech Jammer Storytime" — though I'm now thinking the host was slurring his speech a little bit more than he needed to for the entertainment value.
Many experienced members of the sports media landscape agreed, as Barrett Sports Media's Brandon Contes helped to point out.
Even Pat McAfee, who roasted Manfred for his apparent inebriation and overall decision making, admitted that feedback was likely the issue.
"Whenever you have a microphone and you speak in one of those stadiums, there's an echo and a delay," McAfee explained. "So if you catch yourself trying to listen to yourself — which is very normal, by the way, whenever you speak to try to hear yourself, but you can't because you're going into a microphone that's pretty loud — and then the echo is late... a lot of people can potentially slow down the way they talk to kind of listen and catch up to what they're hearing."
RADIO.COM Sports podcast host Nick Kostos of "You Better You Bet" brought up another similar episode where Manfred struggled during an interview.
So, essentially, Manfred was battling to get through a speech on the biggest stage in baseball, through a roaring, mostly booing crowd... on a speech jammer. I'm probably in the minority, here, but I actually feel bad for the guy. It's got to be tough to give away that piece of metal while extremely disoriented.