Wednesday, November 04, 2009
These guys could teach Joe Buck a thing or two
The following is written by David Kamoe, a life-long sports fan whose sister is a close friend. David is an avid A's fan, wen to to high school with Drew Gooden and can't believe that Giants commentator Mike Krukow used to refer to the right-centerfield expanse at Pac Bell Park as "Finley Alley," referring to Steve Finley who remarkably wore a Giants uniform for a season. David will likely be stopping by these parts a few times a month, so treat him right. And no sister jokes.
I don’t know exactly when, but at some point in the not-too-distant future, baseball will lose a great man. Ernie Harwell -- the voice of the Tigers for 42 years -- will succumb to the cancer currently ailing him.
I have never met Mr. Harwell nor have I been to Comerica Park. I do, however, know what it’s like to lose the voice of your team.
Bill King was the voice I heard every time I listened to an A’s game as a child. When he died in 2005, I was saddened not only because the Bay Area had lost 40 years of broadcasting gold, but also because I felt like I hadn’t heard him enough. From the Holy Roller to Hatteberg winning the 20th in a row, Bill King was there.
I had the opportunity to meet Bill King -- albeit briefly -- in 2004 at Spring Training. My only regret -- as with his overall career -- was that I didn’t talk to him for longer.
I consider Bill King and Ernie Harwell cut out of the same cloth. Legends in their field that almost transcend their sport. I feel the loss of Bill King only when I hear a great moment in A’s past with him on the call. I can only imagine that Tigers fans have the same feeling while listening to games on the radio.
This is one of the many reasons why people hate the likes of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. Okay, so there are at least a hundred thousand reasons, but I don’t feel like going over all of them. The best possible way to handle that situation is to give over all nationally televised baseball games to Jon Miller. Miller works Giants games Monday through Saturday and does ESPN Sunday night games. Oh, and he’s a fantastic broadcaster and I’m an A’s fan.
Frankly, I’m not sure there is such thing as a great or even good color commentator. More people tend to focus on play-by-play men like Bill King and Ernie Harwell.
These are men who set the standard for excellence in broadcasting carried out by someone like Jon Miller. They are treasures of the game and are honored as such by their communities and fans. And while I could go on an El-Dorado-sized rant about Bill King not being in the Baseball Hall of Fame, I will abstain. For now.
I would like to offer good thoughts to Ernie Harwell and all Tigers fans. As I said, I’ve never met Mr. Harwell but I hope to go to a Tigers game in person sometime soon. For those of you who may have grown up with a similarly stand-out voice, think a good thought for that person. Whether it be Foster Hewitt, the late Myra Cope or Johnny Most, or Ernie Harwell, treasure those moments when they helped teach you the game.