"Are you sitting comfortably?" British broadcaster Julia Long would ask her audience." Then I’ll begin." The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum recently began a six-part 2006 baseball broadcasting series: "Baseball Confidential: Voices of The Game," to be aired nationally on XM Satellite Radio.
I would gladly attend the event as a spectator. Instead, I am a participant, hosting each one-hour interview session with a famed baseball broadcaster. Each will show why A’s Voice Hank Greenberg once mused, "Football and basketball carry the announcer. The announcer carries baseball." Lucky us.
"Baseball Confidential" commenced April 22 with former Rangers, Yankees, and Braves outfielder and current MLB.com radio broadcaster Billy Sample. The Virginian has called Kenny Rogers’ Perfect Game, Internet of the last four All-Star Games and Home Run Derbies, and 2006 Caribbean Series. Sample and I spoke in The Bullpen Theatre at the Museum in Cooperstown.
The series’ second guest will be Ernie Harwell, the 1981 Ford C. Frick Award winner, May 27. "He could have become Mayor of Detroit, if not Governor of Michigan," Joe Falls once wrote of the 1960-91 and 1993-2002 Tiger. Instead, Ernie became the first Voice to be dealt for a player, air coast-to-coast bigs TV, and be baptized in the Jordan River.
Another legend, Bob Wolff, the 1995 Frick Award recipient, will star on June 17. From 1947-60, he helped keep the Washington Senators from becoming the Atlantis of the American League. Ultimately, Wolff became TV’s longest-running sportscaster. Recently the Hall released a DVD, "Legend to Legend: Conversations with Bob Wolff" : vintage interviews from baseball’s golden era.
On September 9, WGN TV’s Voice of the World Champion Chicago White Sox visits Cooperstown. According to Ken "Hawk" Harrelson, the Pale Hose are "the black shirts." "Yes!" affirms a knockout play. "The good guys" win another. "You can put that one on the board!" Hawk and I will as we recall the Hose’ s first world title since the U.S. entered World War I.
A week later "Baseball Confidential" features the man whose genius is no secret: the game’s East of Vin Scully Eden. "What I like is the company of baseball," says ESPN TV’s prosopopeia, Jon Miller. "You enjoy and care about it." Hall viewers and XM Radio listeners will enjoy Miller’s company (also mimicry) in English, Spanish, and Japanese.
Finally, "Voices of The Game" concludes October 21 with Joe Castiglione, radio Voice of the Boston Red Sox. Mr. C. joined the Old Towne Team in 1983, still pleasing the Red Sox’ diaspora of the devoted and the crazed. In "Casablanca," Bogart tells Bergman: "We’ll always have Paris." Joe will recall how the Red Sox will always have 2004.
Each event occurs at the Museum’s Bullpen Theater. Advance tickets are required, but each interview is open at no cost to Museum visitors. Reservations can be made by calling (607) 547-0397. Seating is limited. As noted, the series will be featured as programming on XM Satellite Radio throughout the season on Channel 175, the Major League Baseball Home Plate Channel.
Biographies of each "Voices of The Game" participant are available at www.baseballhalloffame.org. Open seven days a week year round, except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day, the Hall of Fame is open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. after Labor Day until Memorial Day weekend. Summer hours are from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. daily.
For more information, call 888-HALL-Of-FAME (888-425-5633) or (607) 547-7200. As host, I look forward to this first-of-its-kind series showing how the announcer can become the connecting tissue between the public and the game.