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.


Jim said...

Great commentary. Personally, I can't stand the Dodgers, but you can't leave Vin Scully off that list. He is a great play-by-play man.

GMoney said...

"As I said, I’ve never met Mr. Harwell but I hope to go to a Tigers game in person sometime soon."

What does one thing have to do with the other???

Michael Kay sucks balls.

John said...

Not being a Dodgers fan either, I have been very impressed with the few games I've heard Vin Scully do.

Totally agree about Jon Miller, too: I really enjoy his broadcasts. Unfortunately he's paired with Fire Joe Morgan.

John said...

Oh, yeah, Harry Kalas should really get a mention, although I only know him personally through NFL films. Don Orsello (the local Red Sox guy) is pretty good. He had to deal with the likes of a mildly retarded Dennis Eckersley, motormouth Sean Casey and babbling Dave Roberts all 2009. He did some TBS broadcasts in the playoffs as well.

Anonymous said...

Good call on Harry Kalas. Great on NFL films and with the Phillies. Michael Kay is bad but compared with John Sterling (Yankees radio), he's James Earl Jones.
Ernie Harwell worked for the Tigers. The Tigers play at Comerica. Going to Comerica would at the very least help in completing my task of being at every ballpark in baseball.

Bokolis said...

Play-by-play guys suck for the same reason everything in media sucks; they think they're involved in the story and, somehow, the story isn't the same without them.

Consider pro wrestling because, let's face it, everything in media has borrowed the pro wrestling model. The announcer stays uninvolved, lest he get slammed through the table.

Unfortunately, in baseball, John Sterling's hyperbole can't be checked with a brushback pitch.

This extends to the color guy. Morgan and McCarver have strengths and weaknesses at analyzing what they see. If they only had to chime in every other batter or so, they could probably measure their words to provide cogent and insightful commentary. When they are made to belch their half-thoughts (with the brio of an expert) after every pitch, any pearls are guaranteed to be lost in the 98% shlock.

I'm just saying. Anyway, if y'all know as much about the game as you'd like to think, WTF do you care what those muthafuckas are saying? Like a cackling broad, learn to tune them out.

rstiles said...

Great blog

Anonymous said...

I grew up with kruk and kuip (and miller and now flemming too), and i love them, but all my A's fans friends claim theyre some of the worst in baseball. can anyone explain their reasoning to me?

Jim said...

Another great to add to the list is Kurt Gowdy. He was an awesome play-by-play man for TV.

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