Baseball season is quickly upon us. At my house, we all know when this is happening because the hubbs has a sudden desire to clean the garage. There’s an urgency that comes with this project that we don’t see in others and the reason is that, a few years back, I gave him the ultimate Fathers Day gift – cable TV in the garage. He loves nothing more than finishing up his work day, popping a cold one and standing (or sitting) in the spring air to watch his beloved Detroit Tigers. Often, you will find me with him as baseball is a great sport for couples to watch. It’s fun and exciting, yes, but also has enough breaks for us to talk! (Try doing that during basketball!) Our youngest will wander out, too, especially if a storm is brewing. Having the garage open and the game on is an invite to neighbors to stop in for a chat and a refreshment. It fosters a sense of community after a long, cold winter.
Of course, growing up in Michigan, the hubbs fondly recalls listening to Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell as he so eloquently described the play-by-play on the radio. Ernie, known affectionately as the voice of baseball, passed away last year. The hubbs talks reverently of summer evenings when he’d crank the radio up as loud as it would go and place it next to the screen window. This way, he and his friends could still hear the game while they shot baskets in the driveway.
Ernie was known for his low-key delivery, southern accent (Detroit “Ti-guhs”), and easy going style. Some of his catch phrases included:
- “That one is long gone!” (His trademark home run call, with an emphasis on “long”)
- “He stood there like the house by the side of the road, and watched it go by.” (After a called strikeout)
- “Called out for excessive window shopping.” (Also after a called strikeout)
- “It’s two for the price of one!” (After a double play)
- “The Tigers need instant runs.” (When the team was behind in the late innings)
- for more visit here
Harwell would begin the first spring training broadcast of each season with a reading from Song of Solomon 2:11-12: “For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.”
And isn’t this what we hope? That winter is past and spring will come again soon? Baseball makes us long for hot dogs, draft beer, popcorn and that unmistakable crrrack as the bat connects with the ball. We remember blistering in the sunshine and shivering at sundown. We recall smiling children with snow-cone stained faces and young loves sitting side by side. Baseball means our National Anthem being played, heroes are being honored, and fundraisers conducted to benefit others. With baseball, we think of summer because, to the legions of us who love it, baseball is summer.
The temperatures won’t get over 35F today in West Michigan but, in a few days, the season will be upon us anyway and I, for one, cannot wait.
Just for you, here’s a sampling from Ernie Harwell’s 55+ year stellar announcing career, more than 42 of them with the Detroit Tigers.