Play Ball!

The snow that fell in Ann Arbor yesterday and the very cold temperatures this morning are just an illusion, folks. Spring and summer are here! The first pitch of the baseball season takes place in my “adopted  home town” of Pittsburgh and in at least one sense: “All’s right with the world.”

My Red Sox don’t open until tomorrow and the weather in Cleveland is “iffy” to say the least. In fact, the entire week in Cleveland seems to be doubtful for baseball. But, I’m still hoping, if all goes well, to make the trip on Wednesday to see the Sox. We’ll see how the week develops.

Meanwhile, a word of tribute.

I love to listen to baseball announcers. I have my favorites. I grew up listening to Red Sox broadcasters Curt Gowdy, Ken Coleman and, my personal favorite, Ned Martin, who would say: “Mercy” whenever anyone his a long home run. I loved listening to  Joe Garagiola poke fun at his own baseball career on “the game of the week”. When I moved to the Philadelphia area, I loved listening to Harry Kalas and how he would stretch out the name of his favorite player: “Michael Jack Schmidt”. When I came to Michigan, I learned to appreciate Ernie Harwell talking about a hitter taking a third strike but “standing like the house by the side of the road”.

But, my absolute favorite baseball announcer is retiring this year and I can’t imagine baseball without him even though I get to hear him very rarely. Vin Scully, announcer of the Dodgers, is, in my mind, the best I have ever heard. His tendency to be understated, to let silence carry the scene as he did when Kirk Gibson hit his unforgettable home run in the 1998 World Series  just rank him as the best ever. Here is a clip but you have to listen the entire video right to the end.

I know that I often engage in nostalgia in this blog. But, I think it is fair to say that as good as some “modern” announcers are, there are none like the “old timers”. I know baseball will survive without Vin Scully but something will certainly be missing.

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