Saturday, October 25, 2003

Baseball (& Ballantine)

One of the attractions of broadcast baseball - this dates back to Mel Allen in the booth & my mom watching an afternoon game on TV or listening to the radio as she ironed - a long, long time ago - was ambient sound. Periods of maybe ten to twenty seconds where you just heard crowd noise, even the vendors hawking hot dogs & beer - Mom would look down, turn a shirt over, adjust it, run the iron across it & look up as out of this familiar stadium noise Mel said, "The windup..set, .& the pitch ... called strike low on the outside corner." There was an unhurried rhythm & pace about the game, one game out of 154, one inning out of nine, one batter out of eighteen, one out out of three, one strike out of three. Occasionally, Mel said something like, "As the new pitcher trots in from the bullpen, why not take a moment to get a cold Ballantine Beer from the icebox." Mel of course never touched the stuff - his voice was pure bourbon. Mom wasn't drinking in the afternoon then, so she'd fold the newly pressed shirt, put it on a pile of shirts in the wicker laundry basket, & maybe light up another Raleigh (ciggies were about thirty cents a pack, she collected the coupons). There wasn't a constant bombardment of product plugs, factoids & stats. The Game didn't need to be made more "interesting."

Now, the low hum (almost an om) of the crowd in the fifth inning is taken to mean the fans are bored, or not into the game. & on the radio we hear, "This at bat brought to you by your Toyota dealer where you're always treated like a World Champion...the windup, pitch, strike on low outside, but you'll never strike out with AT&T's new family & friends plan, so take a walk to your local AT&T cellular store at the Maspeth Mall..." & that's radio, which retains a smidgen of tradition.

Dean Anthony died, one of the MCA Good Guys. Age 68. He had remarked awhile back that at personal appearances his old fans still remembered the names of his wife & kids as well as the various shifts he worked over the years.

<< Home
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?