Spent the night in lovely Pawtucket, Rhode Island watching the AAA Pawsox do battle with the dreaded Buffalo Bisons. Arrived back home in East Haddam, Ct. just in time for the power to go back on – 30 hours after it had gone off.
The Pawtucket announcer is Dan Hoard, who was my partner when I broadcast for Syracuse in 1988. (Quick trivia note: when David Isaacs and I wrote the episode of THE SIMPSONS where Homer becomes a minor league mascot, I played the voice of the team announcer and gave him the name Dan Hoard.)
Dan and his current partner, Steve Hyder, graciously invited me to sit in and do some play-by-play. Proud to say that even though I hadn’t announced an inning in well over a year I was still in mid-season minor league form. I screwed up a home run call and a strike out.
There’s nothing like minor league baseball and being back at McCoy Stadium. As an added touch of class, after the game they invited Boy and Girl Scout troops to pitch tents in the outfield and camp out all night while on the Diamondvision Board they showed THE ROOKIE. The whole experience made me nostalgic for my days in the bushes and some of the characters I encountered. Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing some of these tales.
One of my favorites was on a Syracuse Chiefs broadcast the year after I had left to call games for rival Tidewater. The Chiefs were in Omaha playing the Royals. My replacement was on the air. He had this habit of looking down at his statistics and occasionally missing things. A batter, Nick Capra just got hit by a pitch. This announcer looked down at his stats to give some arcane statistic. When he looked back up at the field this is what he said, “Ohmygod! There’s a CRAZED MADMAN running out onto the field!!! No, wait. It’s the Omaha trainer.”
I don’t feel so bad about my blown home run call. If nothing else, it gave me a chance to plug the title of my book – “It’s Gone!…No, Wait a Minute.”