Mike Shannon just turned 80 and is currently in his 50th and final season as an announcer for the St. Louis Cardinals radio network. A lot has changed since he started working games in the early 70's, or was winning World Series in the 60's, including the ad copy. During yesterday's game against the Tigers, Shannon was tasked with informing viewers they could bid on a Busch Stadium NFT. What happened next is just an incredible few minutes in broadcasting as Shannon attempted to learn about non-fungible tokens and crypto on the fly. It was amazing.
First, you can hear Shannon's confusion grow as he sees NFT for the first time. It's most definitely something every other person went through the first time someone mentioned an NFT. "What's NFT mean?" is a totally legitimate question. He then asks broadcast partner Mike Claiborne for help and is met with silence.
"It says right there NFT, Michael. We're going to find out. If we have to turn this place upside down we'll find out what an NFT is."
Then the guessing begins with "No Friggin' Touchdowns." "No Friggin' Tonsils." That one leads to a riff on being promised ice cream as a child after a medical procedure. At this point it has been over a minute and the only answer Shannon has been able to get is whether or not John Rooney had his tonsils taken out.
When he finally gets a printout with an explanation, he is then confronted with cryptocurrency for the first time in his life. And then blockchain. And some kind of crypto. Shannon finally ends his foray into NFTs by saying, "I don't use the online so I don't know."
I want to be clear here. I am 100 percent with Mike Shannon on this. I've known about NFTs and crypto and meme stocks for a while now and I could not accurately describe how they work, nor could I say with any certainty that they are even real things. If you told me something like this was made up to screw with me and Mike Shannon then I would believe you.
So thank you, Mike Shannon. Not just for half a century of spending time with baseball fans in St. Louis, but for being brave enough to admit you don't know what the hell any of this means. You are not alone.