Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Remembering Ernie Harwell

One of the great joys of my life is satellite radio. As a sports fan it allows me to hear other team's announcers and get at least a small window into another city.

No sport connects its announcers with its teams more than baseball; and the game lost one of the truly legendary voices Tuesday in Ernie Harwell. He was Detroit Tigers baseball. He was the lifeline between the team and the fans who invited the Hall of Fame broadcaster into their homes via the radio on a daily basis.

The truth is you didn't need to be a Tigers fan to appreciate how Harwell called a baseball game. I can remember listening to him on my satellite radio back in 2006. Harwell (who had retired in 2002) entered the Tigers radio booth to call a few innings of a postseason game. He was by far better than either of the two regular Tiger radio broadcasters. What a shame, I thought, to have been deprived of this great broadcaster most of my life since I didn't grow up in Michigan. And thank heaven I got to hear him one last time.

Harwell handled his battle with cancer with such grace and dignity that we should all be so lucky to handle a trying event in our lives in the same manner.

Sadly, we are losing more and more of the great announcers. Red Barber, Mel Allen, Harry Carey, and Jack Buck are all gone. The broadcasters of today would be wise to study and learn a thing or two from the greats of the past.

It's probably why I treasure my satellite radio so. Every chance I get, I listen to Dodgers announcer Vin Scully, who I grew up with on NBC's old "Baseball Game of the Week" telecasts. Scully is 82 and yet still paints the best picture of a baseball game. I imagine I'll shed several tears the day Scully joins Barber, Allen Carey and Buck in that press box in the sky.

Until then I'll cherish every game I get to hear Scully and the few other great baseball broadcasters call on my satellite radio.

Next to marrying me, it's the best gift my wife ever gave me.

Jason Brown

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