Watching the Braves-Diamondbacks game this afternoon I heard the familiar voice of Joe Garagiola working as a D-Backs analyst.
It brought me back to the days of the 1980s when it was unheard of to watch out-of-market games by the click of a button. If you wanted to hear clubs from outside your area (mine being New York), you had to fiddle around on your radio from various locations around the house and hope to pick up what was ostensibly a foreign signal that might as well have been coming from Nigeria rather than Philadelphia or Baltimore.
As a kid it was a thrill to go on road trips with my parents and stay in a hotel with cable. Having cable generally meant we’d have 18 channels rather than the usual 10.
One of those channels was Ted Turner’s TBS Superstation Channel 17 and we’d be able to watch the Braves. It was like going into space. “Why is Gilligan’s Island on at 3:05 and not 3:00?”
Apart from that? Nothing.
Nothing except the NBC Game of the Week and ABC’s Monday Night Baseball.
Monday Night Baseball had Howard Cosell whose baseball knowledge was highly limited and superseded further by the insinuation of his enormous ego on Al Michaels’s play-by-play.
The NBC Game of the Week generally featured Tony Kubek and Bob Costas or Vin Scully and Garagiola.
Hearing Garagiola’s voice this afternoon and with Scully having missed the opening of the Dodgers’ season because of a bad cold has added a sense of urgency to listen to the two Hall of Famers broadcast together for what might be the last time in both their careers.
The Dodgers and Diamondbacks should, at some point this season, stage a joint promotion to have Scully and Garagiola broadcast one entire game together. Or two games together, one in Los Angeles and one in Arizona.
Scully is a Dodgers’ icon and is taking it year-to-year as to whether he’ll continue working. He’s the only broadcaster I’m aware of that works alone as the play-by-play man and the analyst; he manages it without his voice growing tedious.
Scully is 84; Garagiola is 86; but when two people worked together for so long and did it so well, the chemistry, banter and camaraderie would return relatively quickly.
And if it doesn’t, so what?
It’d be great to hear them work together again, especially for people who remember them as part of their youth; it would be an opportunity to reminisce about a time when there wasn’t an inundation of self-proclaimed baseball experts on multiple outlets sabotaging our enjoyment with technical and pompous droning of numbers and condescending criticisms sapping the simplicity from the game itself—simplicity that might’ve attracted us to it in the first place.
Scully and Garagiola never did that and a reunion would be a terrific baseball moment for two Hall of Famers who made their names as part of a classic unit.