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TV contestants, I feel your pain

June 28, 2012|By John Dooley | For RedEye

I'm a game show nerd.

I've spent many moons watching shows like"Jeopardy!"My biggest pet peeve are people who freeze up. "How can producers not know this would happen in the screening?!" I'd say to myself. Hohohoho. Oh, boy.

God has a sense of humor.

"The Batter's Box" is a 16-person tournament to find out who knows the most about their favorite Chicago baseball team.

Walking into the studios, the one word still ringing in my ears was "competition." I spent most of my lame adolescence sitting in my room staring at old sports reference books. I created fake all-star teams, new quarterback ratings, re-divided divisions and conferences … I could go on. Girls, obviously, wanted nothing to do with me.

I thought to myself, "What if I lose this? Then I REALLY wasted 10 years in my bedroom!"

Meeting my fellow competitors created nerdlike tension. We tested each other to break the tension. "Oh, yeah … so, uh … who would you start in a one game playoff for a 1930s Cubs team: Lon Warneke or Charlie Root?" (pushes bridge of glasses upward)

Undoubtedly, somebody responds with an arrogant reply like, "Um, I'll take the 1935-36 version of Larry French." Laughter ensues. The chances anybody in this room kissed a girl before they were 18 are slim. I am home.

Moving from the green room to the studios is a whirlwind. The set is the size of a matchbox. Comcast anchor Luke Stuckmeyer is filming eight shows that day. He's on suit No. 6. He puts on a good face for somebody who's been stuck inside for 10 hours on a beautiful day.

When the lights came on and the introduction was read, all the comments I made about those "morons who shouldn't have even been invited on a game show" went out the window. I froze. It was only one minute, but I froze nonetheless. Everything I knew about baseball evaporated. No Warneke. No Root. Hell, no Sandberg.

I became the guy I used to laugh at! Thankfully, after a couple minutes, it subsided.

I guess God needs a laugh every now and again.

John Dooley is a RedEye special contributor.

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