Casualty of Capitalism

Exiled into Wilmington, Delaware by virtue of corporate layoffs. (Note: Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this blog are Copyright 2005, Michael Collins, and cannot be used without permission.)

Location: Wilmington, Delaware, United States

Graduate of University of Maryland School of Law; University of Maryland, College Park (Economics/Political Science).

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Baseball's Best Voice

A guy named Curt Smith has apparently written a book listing his top 101 all-time best baseball announcers. Here is his top 10:

1. Vin Scully
2. Mel Allen
3. Ernie Harwell
4. Jack Buck
5. Red Barber
6. HarryCaray
7. Bob Prince
8. Jack Brickhouse
9. Dizzy Dean
10. Lindsay Nelson

Of the announcers on this list, I have heard Scully, Allen, Harwell, and Caray call games. There is no doubt that on voice alone, Scully and Allen deserve their spots. When I think of baseball announcers, they definitely spring to mind. Harry Carey will always be one of my favorites. I used to watch WGN a lot in college for Cubs games just to hear him. What would the seventh inning stretch be without "Uh one, Uh two, Uh three!"? Hey Hey and Holy Cow! (If only they could have made a less frightening memorial for him.)

For me, the all time favorite will always be Jon Miller. Miller used to broadcast Orioles games before Peter Angelos ran him out of town (NEVER to be forgotten!). As a kid, I used to sneak my radio into bed and listen to O's games, so I grew up with Mr. Miller and he taught me baseball. As a kid in a family with no history of baseball fandom, I relied on Mr. Miller to describe the game, my team, and old Memorial Stadium (I rarely made it up to Baltimore as kid). And nobody, I believe it to this day, could make baseball more exciting. Even foul balls seem like an event when Miller is at the mic. ("It's a FOUUUUL BAAALLL!!")

One season, the Orioles allowed a writer for Cheers, Ken Levine, to broadcast games with Miller. It was then that the Miller genius really appeared in stark relief. Ken Levine was awful. Though good natured and quick with a joke, Levine admittedly sat in the booth because the O's decided to give him a shot at a childhood dream of his. Even though Levine didn't have the chops to call a Major League game, Miller and he always had great rapport. And you could tell that even though Levine's talent was nowhere near Miller's level, Miller genuinely did not mind, and still seemed to enjoy calling games with his lesser partner.

For my money, nothing beats Miller's voice and ability to entertain. Unlike some announcers who seem to think they are why the fans listen, Miller comes across as a guy who is channelling the game for the listeners' pleasure and making the game visual for those who are not there. He is not in the booth to entertain the fans while a game takes place on the field, he is there to speak baseball on behalf of the game itself.

With Miller now on the West Coast with the Giants, every baseball season it feels like something is missing. I hardly listen to baseball on the radio anymore (though I did enjoy the highly partisan Ron Santo in Chicago).

For my money, baseball isn't baseball without my favorite announcer. That will always be Jon Miller.


Blogger Birkel said...

Joe Buck and Joe Morgan are both pretty good. Sometimes I think we harken back to the days of yore without appreciating the bird in the hand we've got.

4:35 PM  
Blogger Mike C said...

I agree with you mostly. Until you look at this drivel.

6:24 PM  

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