Antenna (antennapedia) wrote,

  • Music:

Baseball on the radio

As you might know, I come from Boston, and I am a life-long Red Sox fan. I cried in 1975, cried in 1986, and laughed until I cried in 2004 (and that was before the World Series even got started). But I live in San Francisco, and it's difficult to see a lot of Red Sox baseball there. So I took up Giants fandom, on the theory that it wouldn't require me to root for anybody in direct competition with my beloved Sawx.

The thing about baseball is that one develops, over the course of a 162-game season, a personal relationship with the broadcasters one hears so often and for so long. And radio broadcasting of baseball is one of America's great oral traditions. A skilled broadcaster is a storytelling personality, whispering in your ear of at-bats and rain delays and what happened that one time when Barry Bonds came to bat against Orel Hershiser.

So great broadcasters, like Lon Simmons and Vin Scully and Red Barber, are much loved. And specific calls, like Russ Hodges' call of Bobby Thompson's home run, are famous.

The SF Giants have a fantastic broadcasting team on both TV and radio, but the star is Jon Miller, who mainly does radio for them. You can hear Jon Miller call the ESPN game of the week on Sundays, with Joe Morgan (who kinda sucks). Miller sometimes will call an at-bat, or a few pitches, in Spanish or Japanese, just to be funny. But he apparently speaks both fluently.

As an amusing trick at banquets, Jon Miller does an imitation of Japanese baseball broadcasters calling games, nihongo de, in the manner of Vin Scully. Apparently Scully is a big thing there, so the broadcasters often imitate his style. I have never heard this, but I'd purely love to. It sounds mindblowingly funny.

You can listen to one entire inning of Scully's most famous broadcast, of Sandy Koufax's perfect game. It's all on display there, the rhythms of his voice, the accent that is not a modern American accent at all. And here's a sample of Jon Miller calling a comedy of errors on the basepaths one night.
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