Reliving my MLB Radio Memories

 

Today I decided to do something different. Well, at least for me it is totally different and a bit out of my high tech redneck comfort zone mentality. I have become in my own little video/television obsessed world a bit of a video-graphic fool who always seems to know the cable channels by heart no matter what subscriber service, and the broadcast times of most of the top shows (like AMC’s “Breaking Bad”) just on the tip of my tongue.


So when I looked during the off season at the 2010 Tampa Bay Rays road and television broadcast schedule and did all my usual cross referencing and synchronizing of both my time and social calendar to have the time and the perfect place to watch my Rays take on their opposition within the confines of my technological enhanced home, or the local sports bar with mega HD screens and the MLB package.
But there was one date in May that kept pulsating up at me from the laptop screen throwing a bit of a greenish neon glow harking me to the possibility of no baseball on television for one afternoon.

I instantly was drawn to the Saturday, May 8th game to command my instant attention that the Rays versus A’s game that afternoon was to begin at 4:07 pm EST. That game time automatically pushed it into that dark recess of Fox Saturday Baseball’s darkened stealth zone that makes it verboten that there be no other television competition while their “Game of the Week” was systematically going on at the same time.

So I instantly began to hash out a nostalgic “blast from the past” type party where I could again hit back to some of my youth growing up, and one of the last memories of my father before he passed away just weeks after the 1976 World Series.

The main theme of this sports bonanza of pork, beef and chicken BBQ-d goodness would focus on the old Saturday and Sunday family adventures that took my family into the backyard with the Kingsford glowing red, then black and steaks, ribs and mountains of hot dogs would steam, cook and become instantly invisible after the kids and parents threw themselves on the altar of my father’s grilling mastery.


 

For the weekend days were the time for him and I to listen to the National games of the week on the radio while enjoying the fun, sun and even a few laughs after a hard workweek. It was the perfect remedy for my father to forget the hustle and bustle of his job and connect again with me in our passion and fascination with baseball. And so on May 8, 2010, I wanted to pay homage to that tradition and invited a few Rays friends to my little hidden home and reinvest myself into this special piece of my past no one ever knew before that afternoon.


So I made sure to have the perfect afternoon of baseball complete with the grill full of charcoal and the meats all marinated and ready to awaken from their marinated slumber upon the coals. For today this BBQ would be a little more chef-oriented with my own special recipes for Dixie Cole slaw and Kansas City method bake beans and frozen Captain Morgan Lime Bite frozen concoctions. It has been so long since I had held one of these events, and the time and the game not being televised provided the perfect moment to go back into the past and enjoy some nostalgic memories.

Listening to the baseball games on the radio had been a family tradition between my father and I since I was very young. And since we did not have a local Major League team at that moment, but the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals had called our town their “Spring” homes, we instantly gravitated towards those National League squads. So as 3:30 approached I moved my bedroom stereo out into the backyard and positioned it for the assembled folks to enjoy some old time radio broadcast magic…the type I grew up with in my youth.

 

And sure the technology was a bit advanced as some people sat there on their I phones poised watching their screens with the MLB At Bat application while Rays broadcasters Andy Freed and Dave Willis began to get us ready for another afternoon of Rays baseball. I was anxious to hear again the descriptions and the accounts of the game without visually seeing the action right in front of me. It immediately harkened me to that simpler time of my youth where I would cheer and yell at the radio with each corresponding move either good or bad in the course of the game.


And even if the game did not go as planned, and the Rays lost their first game in eons, it was a time I really would not trade for anything. I again became in love with the game as told by two very descriptive visionaries who for 162 games a year tell the rest of the world what we can not see due to other commitments or driving to or from a game in another town. Again I could hear and see by the tone and the register of their voice the kind of play or action playing out in front of them, but I was blind to those events.

Some people at the party did have some problems with this concept, but they did enjoy the food and the conversation with a few adult beverages, so they too actually took in the day with a smile without knowing it. And at the end of the game after all the kids were packed up into their parent’s cars after soaking in the small pool or climbing the trees beside my place, everyone seemed to leave with a smile.
And at that moment when cleaning up I had a tear in my eye because the one person who would have enjoyed this blast to the past more than me could only look down and enjoy it from another plateau.

But at that moment I did look skyward and instantly threw a smile and a wink towards the heavens knowing my father would have really enjoyed that time with me and the other fans. I have missing those kinds of parties for a long, long time and really do not know why I took today to bring them back into my life.


 

Maybe it was the upcoming date on the calendar that proves I have seen so much and lived so well. Or it might just be the total fact that I did something special today and not until my friends read this tonight will they know the real reasoning for it. I would have loved to invite all of you reading this too, but reality is that my backyard is not that big, and Tropicana Field was booked ( not really, but whatever).


Listening to a baseball game on the radio takes a bit of imagination and creativity that we seemed to have lost in this video enhanced world. I returned to a simpler time, both in life and in my love of baseball. But I honestly might hide a small FM radio in my laptop bag for games the rest of the season. I revisited a part of my past and fell in love with it again. I now might just marry the action in the stadium with the radio accounts of the game to enrich and enhance my baseball experience. I guess that would make me a high tech red….baseball fan.

8 Comments

i like listening to Terry Smith on the radio for Angel games too. Unfortunately I missed out on some great announcers in the game so I don’t know what it’s like to listen to a legend who’s a master at his craft. At least I have Vin Scully when I occasionally watch Dodger home games now and then. Sometimes I prefer to listen to the radio. I can play things out in my head and it’s certainly handy when I have to go somewhere.

http://mimi.mlblogs.com

Angels,
I know what you mean about playing the action within your mind and recreating it as you hear it.
But you have to have a good imagination and creative soul for it to be a great time…I think you got that covered.
I got to hear some of the Legends during my earlier days like Harry Kalas, Harry Carey, Vin Scully and Mel Allen.
But there is another crew that is just getting the National exposure and will be the next generation’s favorite broadcasters.
It was a great time today just enjoying each other’s company and parlaying the action on the radio..

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I sometimes listen with headphones to the radio feed while at games. It is always interesting and even at home, I love to visualize what they are talking about :O)

Jenn
http://philliesphollowers.mlblogs.com/

I love listening to games on the radio too. But more importantly, can I get your recipes for the cole slaw and baked beans? Yum!

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Jenn,
Never been one of those people who sit there and get the multiple baseball experience, but that might change.
I thought yesterday might also be a good way to show some of the kids how their grandparents had tolisten to baseball games….A bit of a learning lesson, but not sure it soaked in like them in the small pool.
But it brought back great memories and also some great thoughts on how to do it again when the blackout bug hits a Rays telecast again..

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Cliff,
I always carry my radio to the stadium. Listen to Vin’s first three innings (he onlydoes three innings) then I switch to Jaime Jarrin and Pepe Iniguez with Fernando Valenzuela. Jaime has been been doing radio games for the Dodgers for 50 years and Pepe who I call the golden voice, for twelve. Is just not the same if I don’t have my radio with me.
Emma
http://crzblue.mlblogs.com

Jane,
Even thinkinf of listening to the radio past driving home and posturing with the post-game show is a new adventure to me.
It has been over 30-odd years since I sat in a backyard and listened to a game like this, and I missed it.
As for the recipes….I will send them to you soon, but right now I have to perfect a few additonal ones, then I could send you an entire spread, including a peach flavored BBQ sauce that kills them all on chicken.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Emma,
I actually like the way Dave Willis and Andy Freed sometimes swap play-by-play and color analyst positions in the broadcast to giv e a renewed vigor to the broadcasts.
Would have loved to hear Vin Scully everyday, even if it was only for a pregame boost.
Never heard oif the second two broadcasters you mentioned, but that is what every team seems to have…Those hidden treasures you wish other fans throughout the MLB could hear for even an inning during the All-Star game.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

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