Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Rory Markas

Many of you never heard of him. But you would have liked him.

He loved people but lived alone.

He was a performer but very shy.

He worked in Anaheim but lived 100 miles away in Palmdale.

For years he was a Los Angeles TV news anchor and Milwaukee Brewers baseball announcer – at the same time.

He was a remarkable person.

Rory Markas, only 54, passed away this morning of an apparent heart attack. Those of us who knew him are still in shock.

He was also loved by many people he never met.

For the last nine seasons Rory was the lead play-by-play announcer for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim along with the voice of USC men’s basketball. He brought a passion and flair to his broadcasts and was a treat to listen to. Hey, for me to tune in to even one minute of USC basketball you know he had to be a great announcer. But all of that is beside the point. Rory Markas was a dear friend.

I used to give him a hard time about living in Palmdale. I said, either move closer to Angel Stadium or get a wife and kids for godsakes. But he loved it out there. He also didn’t mind the four to five hour daily commute. I used to say, “So when you’re on the road in Kansas City do you stay in a hotel in St. Louis and drive back and forth just to feel at home?” It was always worth needling him just to hear his loud infectious laugh.

In late 2008 he had a brain aneurysm. It almost took his life then. Miraculously he recovered fully. He said last year felt like a reprieve and he learned to appreciate life so much more. He was also touched by how many friends he had, how many people wrote him and reached out in his time of need. We don’t contact our friends enough. It’s sad but we often need “reasons” like this to reconnect with people we care about.

So at least the little time he had left he savored. It’s just that he deserved more time. Much more time.

Rory will be greatly missed. May he always be the voice of the Angels – Los Angeles or otherwise.

22 comments:

Joe Block said...

Well put, Ken. Far too young. Angels baseball won't sound the same.

ks said...

Very sorry to hear about this loss.

LAprGuy said...

Terrific post, Ken. Sad that you had to write it. Rory finally gave the Angels a "voice," after years of searching for replacements for Bob Starr and Dick Enberg.

Tom Reeder said...

He certainly came across as an amiable guy, and your post confirms that. In addition to his play-by-play work, didn't Rory also do sports for KNX or KFWB? He was a major presence in L.A. sports, and will be missed.

Jeffrey said...

Ken, thanks for your kind and heartfelt words for Rory. As a USC fan, I loved his work for our men's basketball team. He seemed like such a genuinely great guy, it's just a terrible shock to have lost him so young.

Ronh95 said...

Wonderful post Ken about a really nice man and broadcaster. Will miss his insights next season.. RIP rory...

Anonymous said...

Rory will be missed deeply. He was the voice of many sports events. I met him when I was skating for the LA T-birds roller derby league in 2008. He was announcing our game! I turned to a friend and said that voice sounds so familiar and he said it should it was Rory Markas. I was so excited, I skated my heart out that game. After the game we got to meet him and talk to him he is as nice of a person as every one says he is. The entire LA T-Birds league and our announcer and his friend Danny Wolf will miss you dearly. May he R.I.P. We love you.
The Blonde Bomber Lory Weikel

steve said...

He always sounded like there was a smile in his voice. We'll miss him.

MTM said...

Thanks, Ken, for the nice post. He went too young. I always liked his style.

Paul Duca said...

Ken, I was going to post this under "Random Rants" since it was random. But it is baseball related--and happens to be about another announcer who passed on at an early age....ex-Dodger pitching ace Don Drysdale.

I don't claim to be a baseball (or sports) fan but while channel surfing I passed the MLB Network and stopped to learn about something I hadn't before--Drysdale's shutout streak in 1968. He earned his record 6th straight goose egg win on June 4th, the same day as the California presidential primary. Robert Kennedy opened his victory speech with congratulations to Drysdale. He would achieve the new mark of 58 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings four days later...wearing a black armband, as they laid RFK to rest.

And during the story they ran a crawl about Markas' passing, if you have to bring it back on topic.

HEATHER said...

Wow this makes me so sad! We used to see Rory regularly on Fox's Good Day LA on our satellite.

sephim said...

I hope this isn't that "treat for CHEERS fans" you referred to yesterday...

gregg said...

Gregg Aratin

We carry Angel games on one of our stations in Palm Springs and I had a chance to met Rory a few years back! I was able to spend a little time hanging out with him after a few Angel games and certaily enjoyed talking sports, even if some of it was about Dodger baseball. He was definitly a good guy and will be missed.

Mitch Waldow said...

A fine tribute, Ken. Rory was a true professional. Not only was he a highly regarded sportscaster, but also a news reporter -- and a very good one.

Pat Reeder said...

Condolences on the loss of your friend. I live in Texas and didn't know him, but he sounds like a great guy who was taken much too soon.

Sorry to intrude on an unrelated thread, but I noticed the post from Tom Reeder. I so seldom see anyone else with my last name, particularly on a fellow comedy writer's site, I just wanted to say hi and invite you to drop me a note sometime through my website (link from name).

Patrick said...

It is utterly amazing to me that you (a man I only know through words on a computer) can tell me things about people I never heard of, and yet I am almost brought to tears from your loss. And more often, left laughing to myself out loud about things that are so dis-connected from my daily routine. I'm sure he held your friendship in high regard. Peace, and blessed be ...

Lane said...

Keith Olbermann's on air tribute to Rory

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036677/#34717218

VP81955 said...

Keith Olbermann, who hired Rory as a weekend sportscaster in Los Angeles 20 years ago, gave a poignant tribute to him tonight on "Countdown."

Rory L. Aronsky said...

I don't watch sports (SHOCK! HORROR!), but Rory sounds like he was a terrific guy. And he upheld the name. Every single Rory I've found either has unique or artistic careers, such as a chairmaker, hot-tub installer, writer, golfer, comedian, musician, and baseball announcer. It's hard to lose a unique personality like him.

Chris Checkman said...

Wow, this hit like a hurricane. Heard it from Olbermann on "Countdown", and was just totally floored. Markas was not only a dependable and trusted voice in our local sports world (and that of Milwaukee; which I just learned today...), he was really kind of the voice of the fan. While no doubt a great, very professional, broadcaster; Rory Markas was (sorry to sound so cliche here) the kind of a guy ANY fan would've wanted to call games for their home team. He had a great ability to mix a certain objectivity in with the obvious excitement he felt when seeing something great unfold before him. Kudos to LAprGUY for mentioning Markas alongside the great Dick Enberg and Bob Starr, too....Well said, LAprGuy: Rory Markas did give the Angels a true "voice"...On top of that, he always came across as the kind of guy who just loved what he did: a regular guy who loved sports, and was happy to share it all with other sports geeks like us...
He'll be sorely missed. Best wishes and condolences to his family and friends....

Paul Duca said...

Another odd announcing note--I came across another of Ken's "voice-unders". I was up early today and they were showing the "Love Is Like Pulling Teeth" episode of WINGS on USA Network. It features Ken doing play-by-play on a college basketball game the guys are watching.

John Hernandez said...

My lasting memory of Rory Markas is a personal and ancient one that took place in 1978.

I had been asked by the legendary hockey announcer Roy Storey (once called the Kings) to fill in on a handful of SF Shamrocks games since Roy was sick.

Rory Markas joined me for a game in Long Beach. He was great to have, he did a good job, and you could tell then that he had a long future in the biz ahead of himself.

We were just KIDS back then, glad to have the memory!