Friday, March 16, 2007

Everything I Love: Radio Play-By-Play

Uncle Alec's recollection of clandestine Canucks games on NW98, brought to mind many an August night when I'd lie awake on the top bunk, tuning the AM dial on my Sony Sports Walkman with painstaking precision. From the banks of the Ottawa River, I heard baseball games from Atlanta, NFL preseason games from Houston, and traffic reports from some place called Kentuckiana.

The best memories are the games of home teams crackling through the radio. With no television at the cottage, Jerry Howarth and the late Tom Cheek called Blue Jay games through the summer, including Dave Stieb's dramatic no-hitter on Labour Day weekend in 1990. Cleaning the kitchen after dinner was never a chore during the Miracle Food Mart Win What You Buy Inning, where George Bell or Lloyd Mosby would win somebody's groceries by parking one in the grandstands at Exhibition Stadium. Heartbreak always came from the voices of Dean Brown and Jeff Avery calling Rough Rider games on CFRA in Ottawa, and never more so than the July night in Hamilton when the Riders snatched defeat from the jaws of victory on Dean Dorsey's five consecutive missed field goals. Brown and Avery were never better than they were that night, describing the implosion of coach Steve Goldman's head.

Television writer Ken Levine spent some time as a radio play-by-play announcer for the Jays' farm club, the Syracuse Chiefs. Here is an amusing tale of his greatest home run call.

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