On the Radio
The first week of Baseball draws to a close. Seems like most of my “favorite” teams are off to good starts, with the Dodgers, Mariners, Ports and Rainiers all .500 or better. That makes for an optimistic week.
So far my favorite game of the year is the Friday night come-from-behind win by Tacoma. With the A’s and Mariners on the TV, the Dodgers already done, I brought up the (free) radio audio for the Rainiers from Cheney Stadium and listened as the R’s scored 5 runs in the 8th after starting the inning down 7-3 against the only 7’ tall pitcher in the game today, Loek Van Mil.
There really is something special about a game on the radio. Yes, Baseball on TV is quite nice, but the special cadence and flow of a game on radio is mesmerizing to me. The pauses when the crowd comes softly through the microphone, the sound of the pitch hitting the catcher’s mitt, the crack of a bat and the “Ahhh” from the crowd until they are certain that the ball will either be caught or the cheers when it lands for a hit.
Because of my job, I know that most minor league broadcasters will add an extra microphone that is aimed at the crowd, usually just hung out the window of the press box, or occasionally taped to the top of the window. But it’s that extra touch that adds so much. In an era of life that finds us bombarded by constant talk and chatter (and yeah, I get the irony of that*), I find myself drawn into the game when the play-by-play announcer takes that pause.
I play along with him, knowing that he is looking up a fact or stat, taking a swig of Coke or coffee, sharing a quick joke with his counterpart from the other team, or even cursing softly over a balky piece of equipment. But the game goes on, even in the silence that lasts just a few seconds. Players are walking to and from dugouts, the sound of fans, like bee’s droning away on a lazy summer afternoon. It is one of the most relaxing experiences in my life.
And then the Rainiers get a hit. Then another. And another. The excitement builds and the crowd gets louder. Each pause by the announcer now seems unbearable with the building anticipation. It is as if we all know what will happen and we are just waiting to hear it.
Satisfied by ten batters and five runs, our play-by-play man takes us to the commercial break, now with an 8-7 lead.
Sure, you could watch that on TV, but trust me, it’s better on the Radio.**
*My job – Talk Show host
** Or the internet equivalent