Broadcasting 101: Get back to basics

Apr 17, 2003 3:31 AM

As I was stuck in traffic this morning, I took my time and went over in my mind some of the games from the day before ”” especially the ones I happened to watch.

With cars, trucks and motorcycles weaving in and out, I just continued my leisurely drive and couldn’t help but think how everyone was in such a hurry. I couldn’t help but think about what has happened to the game of baseball. To me, there are no more basics.

The game I was thinking about was tied in the top of the eighth, with the leadoff hitter having reached on a double.

In the past, you tried to move this runner to third by either a bunt (which no one can do anymore) or hitting to the right side of the infield.

Well the batter just swung for the fence and struck out. Needless to say the runner was stranded at third.

This happened in back to back innings and just made me cringe. And, that’s not all!

It’s not only the lousy managing, but annoying announcers who have no clue what they are talking.

They just keep discussing everything except the game they are supposed to be describing.

After I got through the traffic, all I could think about was porches, hot summer nights, a cold brew and my little transistor radio.

There was no rush, no games on TV, no cable, no cell phones and no central air conditioning ”” just a big fan. Everyone had a large swing on the front porch plus several old beat up chairs.

The main function of the swing was sitting with family and friends having a lukewarm beer and listening to a baseball game on the radio with a real announcer and getting real play-by-play.

The commentary you get now is like listing to Al Jazeera or that Iraqi idiot, who kept saying there were no troops in the country.

The old-time baseball announcers like my favorite Bob Prince of the Pittsburgh Pirates just told the story as they saw it and did not second-guess every play.

They all had their sayings like "bug on the rug," or "Hoover job" and "bloop and a blast."

"Chicken on the hill with Will," probably cost Prince a lot of money. Prince said that if Willie Stargell hit a home run to win the game, he would buy everyone a chicken dinner at Willie’s place that he owned on the hill.

When "Pops" came through with a game-winning blast, Bob held true and paid the tab. The place sold chicken until it ran out.

Well the transistor radio is history, and it will never be the same.

Now, I just turn off the sound and yell at the TV every time announcers state something stupid.

I long for the days when we can again hear the wisdom of announcing legends like Chuck Thompson at Baltimore, Herb Score in Cleveland, Ernie Harwell in Detroit and Joe Nuxhall in Cincinnati.

That was baseball at its best.

I think I’ll go find a nice swing for my porch where I can just sit and have a cold beer, and imagine how baseball once was.