Sunday, June 4, 2017

Most definitely a part of baseball past

Somehow, I suspect that baseball broadcasting up in the heavens became a heck of a lot more interesting, if not downright infuriating for the ballplayers themselves.
For while Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Caray has been gone from this earth for nearly two decades, his one-time partner in the Chicago White Sox booth, Jimmy Piersall, didn't leave us until Sunday. He was 87.

LIKE MANY CURRENT broadcasters, Piersall got the job because he was a former ballplayer -- some 17 seasons with various teams, primarily the Boston Red Sox (although he was a New York Met when he hit his 100th career home run and celebrated by running the bases backwards).

But anyone who tuned in to White Sox baseball back in the 1970s remembers that Caray and Piersall were the pair that told it like it is (or at least how they perceived it), and managed to stir up a whole lot of ballplayers (and sometimes even their spouses, because those of us of a certain age all remember what Jimmy said about ballplayer wives). Just envision the pair now broadcasting that baseball game being played in the heavens and what they're saying about Babe Ruth and his carousing ways?

That style made for interesting broadcasts back in those days when the White Sox were on WSNS-TV. Channel 44 hadn't yet been converted into a Spanish-language affiliate of the Telemundo network. We didn't have an all-sports channel like Comcast now offers in Chicago.

But even if you didn't care about the White Sox, the pair was so raucous that you couldn't help but look and listen. Many fans still remember the rant that Piersall went into on that night in 1979 when Steve Dahl fans stormed the playing field in between games of a double-header to express their contempt for disco music.
BUT IT WASN'T just those moments. It was the fact that the two were capable of doing anything at any time in a way that broadcasters just don't do anymore -- not even Caray who became a timid version of himself once he went over to the Cubbie side of Chicago.

Now we can give Piersall an R.I.P. by remembering this particularly intriguing moment of a long-ago White Sox game.


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