There is something magical about listening to a ballgame on the radio. It’s not for everyone, and I certainly don’t want to give up my High Definition television broadcasts. But if you have the passion for the game and can sit through a radio broadcast, you will hear something wonderful.
When I think about baseball on the radio, I think of lazy summer days. I imagine porch swings and ice-cold lemonade. I can picture old men and young kids alike gathered around a barely audible radio trying to tune the game. Clearly these are images of a time long gone, a time I never had the pleasure of enjoying. However, an occasional baseball game as heard told over radio can be a relaxing treat.
I grew up with Ted Leitner and Jerry Coleman as the radio broadcasters for the San Diego Padres. During those times as a kid when I couldn’t plop myself down in front of the television (you know when I had to tag along for grocery runs and other chores), or during the games that weren’t televised, I would listen to Ted and Jerry explain the intricacies and details of the day’s game. Jerry Coleman and his scratchy, deep voice had the unique ability to tell of playing days during World War II with the Yankees. But he could just as easily explain today’s game with the love only a former player can have.
It takes a unique individual to be able to describe a baseball game and make you feel like you’re there. If you close your eyes and just listen, you can have any seat in the park. You can feel the energy of the crowd as your team threatens to score. You can see the batter swinging for the fences. Voices like Jerry Coleman’s and Vin Scully’s, Ernie Harwell’s and Jack Buck’s add a level of respect to the broadcast. They know what they’re talking about, they deliver it in a no nonsense way, and they teach.
One of the biggest differences between a radio broadcast and television is what you get between the action. On the television broadcasts you may get some baseball stories, but you will also hear about the kid in section 210 who just dropped his ice cream. Or you will hear about the two kids that just got engaged on the big screen. With a radio broadcast you will hear of behind the scenes stories experienced by the broadcaster. You will hear of chance encounters with some of baseball’s greats. And you will learn about the game.
The next time you find yourself away from your television or on the road, turn on the radio. Let the soothing sound of baseball filter through your speakers. Let the voices of experience and knowledge tell you a story. While radio might be a medium of the past, let those voices from the past carry you away to a ballpark near or far.