NEWS BLOG (WSAU) For me, Bob Murphy was the voice of summer. You've probably never heard of him. Murphy was the radio voice of the New York Mets. And on hot, bustling New York City summer days when everything seemed to move too fast, Murphy was a slow, cool drink of water. His deep, rich baritone would tell us how badly the Mets were doing. They were lovable losers while I was a kid, while the Yankees were winning across town. But the Mets broadcasts on WMCA sounded better. On the radio, Murphy had no match.
If you lived in LA, Vince Scully was your voice of summer. Ernie Harwell in Detroit. Jack Buck in St. Louis. Harry Caray in Chicago. Harry Kalas in Philadelphia. These are the old friends who spent summers with us. In Milwaukee, and on the lakes and at the cabins in Wisconsin, summers are filled with Bob Uecker's voice.
And we listen to them out of habit. The Brewers aren't going to make the playoffs this year. We listen anyway. The game is the soundtrack of our weekends and our long summer nights.
As an aside, our ratings indicate that listening to baseball on the radio is a lifestyle. The Brewers games at night win their time slot in the ratings regardless of whether the team is winning or losing. The only time they haven't is when Bob Uecker was ill. And our next ratings report will undoubtedly show that audience returning now that Uecker is back.
For those who didn't hear, Bob Costas was a guest in the Milwaukee Brewers broadcast booth on Sunday afternoon. As best I can tell, he was in Milwaukee simply because he wanted to take in the game. Costas is a tremendous baseball fan, and a gifted announcer. His skills behind a microphone are unquestioned. But over the years I've come to think of Costas as less than authentic. The stories of him keeping the Mickey Mantle baseball card in his wallet ring hollow. He's become a multi-millionaire through his television work. He'd said before that he'd love being some team's radio play-by-play man... to spend an entire season with one team. He'd reportedly been offered those jobs with the Cardinals and Mets. In my mind, he would have been the only worthy successor to Bob Murphy after he died from cancer. But there were always an olympics to host, Sunday Night Football pregame shows to do, more money to make. I suppose I don't blame him.
Costas told this story about Bob Uecker on Sunday. It's the broadcast highlight of the summer.
"Uke and I were doing the World Series on The Baseball Network. Joe Morgan was the third man in the booth. Joe was talking about playing in the World Series. He's a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and he played in October with all those great Reds teams of the 70s. He's a league MVP, 340-post season hitter... and I turn to Uecker and said, 'did you play in the World Series with the '62 Cardinals?' And Uecker said he was on the disabled list for the World Series. 'What was wrong with you?' Uecker said he had hepatitis. 'Hepititis, how'd you get that?' Uecker said the trainer injected him."
Operations Manager, Midwest Communications-Wausau
Sunday's Brewers game recap here: http://www.wsau.com/news/articles/2010/aug/22/padres-top-brewers/