I am really not a sports fan but I suppose that baseball, of all the sports, is the one that interests me the most. And it’s a lot easier to follow when you’re sitting right there watching it in person than it is listening to it on the radio. (Though maybe all the times I listed to Rangers games over recent years — mainly as “background noise” while doing something else — has led to my absorption of some of the basics of the game.)
Now for me it’s the other way around: I can follow a game just fine on the radio. Of course, I was doing that as a kid, back in the Jurassic period, or at least before the Braves moved to Atlanta, by which time I’d already figured out how to pull the nighttime Cardinals games from KMOX. (What else are you gonna do in South Carolina? It’s either some team way the hell up north, or way the hell out west. St. Louis, right in the middle, was right where I needed to be.)
So inevitably my thoughts on the matter are informed by the thoughts of Jack Buck, who worked the booth with Harry Caray during my years as a nascent Cards fan. CBS eventually signed him to do their TV game of the week, a gig that lasted only two years. Buck explained:
“CBS never got that baseball play-by-play draws word-pictures. All they knew was that football stars analysts. So they said, ‘Let [Tim] McCarver run the show … In television, all they want you to do is shut up. I’m not very good at shutting up.”
And with KMOX squeezed out of the picture, if I’m wandering up around Kansas on a summer day, I’m likely to hunt down the Royals games, knowing I’ll be able to squint in the sun and imagine myself at the K.
Meanwhile in the Pacific Coast League, the RedHawks were rained out last night, so there’s a double-header tonight against Nashville. The Birds are 2½ games ahead of the
Springfield Albuquerque Isotopes in the PCL American South.