Monday, February 20, 2006

Rest in Peace.

From ESPN, Curt Gowdy, one of the signature voices of sports for a generation and a longtime broadcaster for the Boston Red Sox, died Monday at 86.

Nowadays we hear Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy at the microphone, but over the years, it has been so many. In my youth, it was Gowdy, the announcer with a cowboy hat who would seem out of place nowadays with the Red Sox so chic. Later, we listened to Ken Coleman, "and Yastrzemski dives, and makes a TREmendous catch," and of course Ned Martin, who seemed so right and so New England.

Gowdy didn't exactly disappear, even making a cameo in the Freddy Prinze, Jr. film Summer Catch, but for the most part, he was a relic from another era.

I don't remember him as being a great homer (doesn't that seem to be a qualification for so many broadcasters?), although we celebrate the late Johnny Most as the ultimate homer.

With spring training upon us, we look forward to continuity, with Joe and Jerry on the radio, and Don and Jerry on TV. We know them on a first name basis, although we hardly know them at all. What happens on those lengthy road trips, which spawn so much free time (and so much 'oiling')?

After all, we can't be at the ballpark all the time, yet the announcers bring the ballpark to us every day, from the austere 'Concrete Jungles' of Oakland, to the legendary 'House that Ruth Built', and 'America's Most Beloved Ballpark.' Of course, we get only a fraction of the truth, as the juiciest stories stay in the ballpark or the clubhouse, with only nuggets or lumps of coal leaking out from time to time.

So, thanks to all the great voices of today and the past, for the much missed Sean McDonough, who seemed at ease with every sport, ready to laugh at himself and the teams, to the legendary Gowdy, now gone. Rest in peace.

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