Does anyone listen to baseball anymore?
Yeah, I meant to emphasize the word.
And when I say listen, I mean on a radio — not through some fancy-shmancy streaming Internet connection.
Hey, do they even make transistor radios anymore? That question, I suppose, should be asked first.
I’m not a radio listener, per se. I must confess that. If I’m not in the car, then the radio isn’t on. And since I work from home mainly, my time spent in the car has even dwindled. So I’m one of the guilty parties here.
Some of my fondest memories from being a kid was of my dad, listening to the Tigers as he knocked off his “honey-do” list. It was a weekend afternoon, and the comforting sounds of Ernie Harwell and Paul Carey were soothingly in the background as the lawn was mowed or the shrubs trimmed. It all emanated from a transistor radio of some sort, likely precariously perched on a picnic table or a window ledge.
But it wasn’t just my dad at home. I seem to recall the Tigers being on radios all over the place: in the car next to ours at a traffic light; at the local soft serve ice cream joints; at the gas station. Everywhere, Ernie and Paul’s voices would be murmuring in the background. It didn’t matter that you couldn’t make out exactly what was happening. What was important, was that the game was at least on, for someone’s consumption.
Folks would take their transistors to the beach, or the park, or anywhere, really. And they were taken for one reason, and one reason only: to keep up with their Tigers. They certainly weren’t packing them along for the news or the weather, or some such nonsense.
It’s hard enough to get today’s younger fans to watch the Tigers, let alone listen to them. The TV pie has been cut into so many slices, they’re as thin as Catholic hosts at Communion. Too many options. Then there’s that damn Internet — with their “game casts” that involve sitting in front of a monitor and watching, in silence, the play-by-play occur, in words and symbols. The Net truly is amazing; it has somehow come up with a way to keep track of the game without watching or listening to it.
I know it’s odd to think about baseball on the radio the week of Thanksgiving, but I’ll pretty much take anything to draw attention away from the Lions, you know?
When was the last time you listened to the Tigers, when you weren’t in your car? I tried it a couple summers ago — plugging my boom box into the outlet outside the house and blasting the game as I trimmed things in the backyard. It was OK — not as good as Ernie and Paul, but not bad. Maybe if I’d do it more, Dan Dickerson would grow on me. His partner, Jim Price, grows too — but like mold. He’s another story.