Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Baseball Radio Silence

End of October, and I'm wearing my "Take October" Royals Championship pullover, but it's the Cubs and Indians in the World Series this time around. Just a handful more games and the lights will go out on Progressive and Wrigley Fields, and then.....the OFF-season. 

Of course my baseball radio fell silent weeks ago, as did the the soothing drone of the announcers....we are lucky in Kansas City to have such a good group of baseball guys whose congenial voices and spirited play-by-play brings comfort and tidings three hours a night, on many, many, MANY nights throughout the six-month season. I enjoy all of them, but the city has a special treasure in Denny Matthews, the colorful, crusty veteran (Hall of Famer) with the old-school voice, doling out dry wit in a calm, understated manner:   

""The horse is out of the barn and may well be down the road."   

"When the knuckler isn't knuckling, it's a long afternoon for the pitcher"

"Talk about burping up a game..."

"That dreaded sound of baseball vs. cup."

"The bottom of the fifth is gone ... and I would imagine a lot of fifths are gone after watching this."

"The Royals are playing like a buncha wet noodles"

"The scoreboard urging all the spectators to make noise. I would prefer a hit."

"Well it's over, and we hope we never have to see that again."

I miss all the little audibles that make baseball such a rewarding aural sport....the lithe sound of the ball hitting the catcher's mitt when a pitch doesn't get hit----and the satisfying THWACK of the bat when it does. The organ firing up at intervals, sometimes in staccato bursts, exhorting the crowd to clap in rhythm. On many a summer evening, while cleaning up the supper dishes...running an errand in my car....on many a Sunday afternoon, sweeping off the deck or more likely, lying on it, the air is permeated by the soft sing-songy backdrop of "Let's Go Royals", the heartening solidarity of some 30,000 fans, traveling by the miracle of sound waves from the stadium right through my AM radio speaker. Eventually the chants give way to the on-going hum of muffled chatter, hoots, hollers, whistles, and the occasional roar that lets loose at a heart-pulsing juncture.

If it's an away game, the crowd ebullience confuses me. I have to keep reminding myself we're not at home and that a cheering crowd is a bad thing. But away games introduce new quirks to the soundscape. When we're playing the Indians, they bang a drum incessantly--usually when they're beating the pants off us, which drives me crazy. I'm always VERY interested to hear what the organs at other ballparks sound like. I'm impressed by the rollicking carnival whompin' I heard coming out of.....dang, was it Wrigley Field or Comerica Park?....shame on me for not remembering. That will be a goal for next season --to rate the baseball organs at stadiums within the American League...and those few in the National League when we have interleague play. I'll publish my findings.

In the meantime....the sun sets earlier each day, and it's almost Halloween....which means another World Go Cubs!....before all the ballparks go dark for the long winter.  


  1. Go Cubs! Almost had a no-no, but Joe Buck had to jinx it. ;) Lovely post, really Freethe, I love it.

  2. Baseball/Announcers
    Detroit Tigers/Ernie Harwell
    Ernie provided the backing vocals to 55 of my summers
    "He stood there like a house by the side of the road"
    Which meant "He's out for excessive window shopping"
    "That one was caught by a fan from (insert Michigan city)"
    "It's a high, wind blown, sun burned...single"

  3. Love those quotes! Baseball announcers are the best. So amazing you had Ernie for 55 years! Lucky you! Sounds like a great sportscaster. I'm off to Wiki to look him up.

  4. Joe Buck always got to do something wrong. ;-) Thanks, Peri! Thanks for reading.