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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Banshee's Best: Loving Baseball Through the Radio

"It is high.  It is far.  It ... is ... gone!  A home run!"

I can picture the right fielder, dressed in his road grays, drifting towards the warning track before giving up chase.  In my mind's eye, I can see the Modell's sign on the wall in right-center as the ball soars overhead and into the bleacher seats.  I sit alone on my porch in the dark ... five hundred miles away from the stadium.  Yet, as I listen to the play-by-play announcer, I feel as if I am right there with the Bleacher Creatures in the Bronx.

This is the magic of baseball on the radio.

Thanks to MLB cable subscriptions, no matter where you live, you can watch every game your home town team plays.  I can afford these subscriptions, but I choose not to.  If baseball on TV is an expensive date at a trendy restaurant, then baseball on the radio is a candlelight dinner dinner at home.  Subtle.  Heartfelt.  And intimate.

(AP Images)
But, it's not just the romance that draws me in.  Listening to baseball on the radio is a connection to the past.  Baseball, more than any other sport, is defined by its history.  This is why steroids use in baseball is treated as a capital offense while it is merely a misdemeanor in football and barely tested for in basketball.  When I listen to baseball on the radio, I feel connected to the history of the game and the history of my family.  As I listen in 2013 to John Sterling regaling Robinson Cano's exploits, I imagine my grandfather listening to Mel Allen describe the exploits of Joe DiMaggio in 1942.  Through radio waves, seventy years of baseball remain connected.

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