Last night I watched my first live Mets game of the season. Johan Santana pitched three good innings and the boys in Orange and Blue seemed to have their collective acts together and even Jason Bay got his first hit of the season. I was pretty thrilled to see the game live via internet stream but my preference, at least when I can’t attend the games in person, is to listen to it on the radio.
I know that sounds like a foreign concept for those of you who haven’t lived in an era where all 162 games of your favorite team are televised.
It’s ok to laugh if you don’t remember how we did it back in the day but please allow me and those of us who still remember falling asleep with our little transistor radios hidden beneath our pillows a chance to stroll down memory lane.
Ah, baseball on the radio.
Baseball was made for the radio and baseball became America’s pastime because of the radio.
Visit just about any neighborhood during the summertime and chances are you’d hear the crackling sounds of the various radios listened to by die hard baseball fans trying to keep up with the day to day exploits of their favorite teams.
There was also a very good chance you’d see make shift antennas made out of all sorts of contraptions designed specifically to make that sound just a little bit clearer.
And of course there would be the groups of people surrounding those radios leaning in as close as they could to hear men like Vin Scully or Ernie Harwell or Red Barber or Russ Hodges describe the game in such a way that it felt like they were in the park watching the game with their own two eyeballs.
Sometimes you could even hear the the shouts “hey you, you’re blocking the reception” whenever some unfortunate soul was standing in front of the antenna. That was life as we knew it back in the day.
For me growing up listening to Ralph Kiner, Bob Murphy and Lindsey Nelson was an absolute treat and whenever I felt like punishing myself Phil Rizzuto could be entertaining but the best announcer I ever heard, and probably ever will, was the legendary Detroit Tigers play by play man, the late great Ernie Harwell.
My Grandpa introduced me to Ernie Harwell when I was a wee lad while spending time with him at his summer home in Mid- Michigan. Grandpa trusted Ernie and because I trusted Grandpa I also trusted Ernie.
Up at the cabin in the boondocks my Grandpa had a little black transistor radio. You remember, right? Those were the ones where the antenna collapsed inside the radio and if you pushed down too hard you bent the antenna. On a clear night in Mid- Michigan that little baby could pick up all kinds of stuff. To say I was impressed was an understatement.
Our summer days were always planned around Ernie, the little black transistor radio and the Tigers (and Grandma’s fried chicken). I couldn’t think of a better way to spend time in the boondocks then with my best friend, the radio, Ernie and the Tigers.
Ernie had so many one liners but my favorite line of his was “he stood there like the house by the side of the road”. I loved that line so much it’s part of the opening to my sports show.
I still remember the day when my Grandpa died. I was just 15 years old and obviously was pretty distraught. No one could console me except for Ernie and fortunately for me the Tigers were playing a Grapefruit League game in Lakeland and Ernie was on the air.
Ernie sounded a little sad that day….I wonder if he knew?
Pretty soon it will be the 32nd anniversary of my best friend’s death and last night, while watching the Mets on a contraption my Grandfather wouldn’t have believed could ever possibly exist, I thought about Ernie, the radio and of course my best friend. I wondered what they would think about me watching a Mets game from Greece and I longed for the good old days….with my best friend, the radio and Ernie.
At least no one blocked my reception!
I absolutely love this time of year. The annual rite of passage known as Spring Training is nearer then Greece’s economic collapse and I’m excited about the upcoming baseball season and nothing gets me more fired up than when a reporter like Jon Paul Morosi claims the New York Mets are waving the white flag. You can read his article here if you would like.
Why even bother heading down to Port Saint Lucie, boys. Stay home and rest up until the Mets are able to spend the type of money that would keep Greece afloat for another month or two.
Is Morosi kidding or what?
I like what Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson had to say….
“It’s a perception,” Alderson acknowledged Sunday. “But I don’t think anybody in the division could add any more talent to their roster than we can. We’re talking about adding Johan Santana. We’re talking about adding Ike Davis. Daniel Murphy was the fifth-leading hitter in the league when he went out with his injury. David Wrightmissed two months. [All are expected to be full participants in spring training.] We’ve substantially improved our bullpen.
“So, did we add talent? I think we did, the fact that we didn’t sign someone for $100 million notwithstanding. … It’s an uphill battle getting that message across.”
I have to believe that Sandy is correct here.
Ike Davis was seemingly headed towards an All-Star type season prior to spending the majority of the 2011 on the disabled list. From everything I’ve heard Davis is chomping at the bit to prove his rookie season wasn’t a fluke and hopefully 2012 will be a healthy and productive one.
Johan Santana missed the entire 2011 season and while I’m the first to admit he may never return to the form that made Santana an extremely feared and respected ace of the staff but he probably could be counted on to still win 12-15 games just on sheer nerve alone. Hopefully he’ll be healthy enough to be on the hill on opening day.
In 2011 Daniel Murphy had the type of season we Mets fans have been waiting for. It’s too darn bad an injury shortened his 2011 campaign and to be perfectly honest with you if this guy could ever stay healthy he may one day win a batting crown.
When you consider the guy was playing hurt prior to a 2 month stint that would have left most folks lying in their beds yelling for someone to bring them some soup David Wright had a very good 2011 and with the left field porch moved in 12 feet look for a great 2012 from Wright.
Frank Francisco had a decent season for a .500 team in Toronto and is definitely an upgrade over last year.
So tell me who in the National League East added this type of quality to their line-ups?
The answer is no one.
Did the Mets really get worse as Morosi claims? Are the Mets really waving the white flag and throwing in the towel on the 2012 season.
I suppose that’s why they play the games, right?
It’s been 8
long years since I’ve either seen a Mets game or listened to a game
live but right now I’m listening to the Mets on the “Fan”!!!
I don’t care
that we’re down 4-0 after the 2nd inning……I don’t care
that Oliver Perez is getting lit up like a Roman Catholic
Church…….I’m listening to my Mets live on the “FAN”!
Where I live
I haven’t had Internet in my residence for 8 years……..no, I’m not
kidding and I’m not in prison. I’ve just never had access to it in my
crib but all that’s changed and I’m thrilled!!
I tried to
watch it on one of the streams but my wireless signal is too low but
even that doesn’t matter because I’m able to listen which is better!
I can fix the signal issue and I will tomorrow!
How will the
Mets do this year? Who knows but I will be there until October
rooting for my Mets!