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  • The men at the mike

       August 15, 2007

    I like listening to Mike & Mike in the Morning on ESPN radio as I drive to work. You gotta love guys who even think about making wagers that involve tasering. This morning they were talking about the death of Phil Rizzuto. I had no idea who Phil Rizzuto was. I don't think that makes me stupid, I think it makes me not from the East Coast.

    With the exception of Harry Carey, hometown announcers are really only important in their hometown. People know Bob Uecker from Miller Lite, Mr. Belvedere & Major League. Outside of Wisconsin, they don't think of him as the radio announcer of the Milwaukee Brewers. They don't have his call of the 1987 Easter Sunday/George Webb free hamburgers miracle victory imprinted on their brains. Likewise, I'm clueless as to who does the Red Sox or Steelers or Lakers games.

    But although I don't know anything about Rizzuto, I can well imagine the affection Yankee fans have for him. I feel that way about Uecker too. When the Packers lost to the 49ers in the 1999 playoffs one of the worst things about it was Jim Irwin & Max McGee sadly lamenting that their Packers announcing career wasn't supposed to end that way. I felt worse for them than I did for myself. I loved those guys!

    I'm loyal to my local announcers. I always turn down the sound on the TV to listen to Matt Lepay's radio broadcast of Badger games. Who wants network neutrality when you can have hometown goodness? Not me.

    How do the rest of you feel? Do you have your own great announcers that are nationally unknown? Do you watch national, but listen local?

    Posted by at August 15, 2007 12:39 PM

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    #  August 15th, 2007 8:17 PM      themandownthehall
    You're not stupid, I didn't recognize the name either.

    I used to have local announcers that I thought were the best, but now that I have moved away from my favorite teams, I don't really have any. Growing up though, there were two that really stood out. The first was Ernie Harwell of the Detroit Tigers. I used to fall asleep listening to him call the west coast games. He was so good about keeping you up to date on other games, even other sports, while never missing a pitch. He knew baseball in and out so his insight was fantastic too.

    The other was Bob Ufer for the Michigan Wolverines. You would hate him at first, but the more you listened the more he hooked you in with his style. He had a great knowledge of football, but his booth antics were hysterical and the way he got so excited when good things happened and so mad when bad things happened made him real to his listeners. When someone dropped an easy pass or fumbled and you're getting ready to scream at the radio, "YOU CAN'T DROP THE STINKING BALL AT THE 5 YARD LINE YOU IDIOT!" He had beaten you to it and then some. When Michigan scored he had a horn that he used to celebrate. Here's an example.

    He was strange, but very entertaining. If you want to see the touchdown that he was going crazy, here it is:

    Both have passed on now, but go to Ann Arbor or Detroit and as about Ufer or Ernie and everyone will know who you are talking about.

    #  August 15th, 2007 9:16 PM      TheUnabrewer
    I knew Rizutto from the Meat Loaf song.

    Our best local broadcaster is Harry Kalas. There's a decent chance you've heard his voice before. He usually does the TV coverage, but will spend the 5th inning on the radio. When the games are national, he does the radio coverage.

    "Harry Norbert Kalas (born March 26, 1936) is an American sportscaster, best known for his roles as lead play-by-play announcer for Major League Baseball's Philadelphia Phillies, National Football League radio broadcasts by Westwood One and as voice-over narrator for NFL Films, a regular feature on HBO's Inside the NFL...In addition to his work with the Phillies and NFL Films, Kalas has called various sports over the years for CBS Radio and Westwood One (including the NFL, MLB, college basketball, and Notre Dame football) and lent his voice to commercials for the Campbell Soup Company and GMC Truck. Kalas also provides the recorded voice-over for much of the self-guided tours at the United States Mint in Philadelphia and the Memorial Arch in St. Louis. He also narrated Animal Planet's Puppy Bowls I-III from 2005-2007."  
    #  August 15th, 2007 10:18 PM      BVBigBro
    Jim: "I like this McMahon kid, I like his guts"

    Max: "I like his guts too. I'd like to see 'em spread all over the field."  



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