The Toronto Blue Jays fan can be certain fall has arrived when when he turns on the Jays’ station at game time and instead hears hockey play-by-play. (Again!)
The resourceful fan who grew up with baseball and radio doesn’t panic. There’s WCBS, and WHAM Rochester and, at this time of the year, it’s dark enough in first innings to hear both. Back in the summer, he’d have to wait until games were almost over.
There is, of course, the Internet, but that would be cheating.
New York Yankees’ announcer John Sterling has often rambled wistfully about listening to baseball games on a transistor radio, outdoors on a hot summer night when the crickets are chirping (and the bugs are biting). Nothing can top it, he says. It’s as close as one gets to Heaven without meeting St. Peter, opines Your Jays’ Writer.
One’s imagination has to take over, to supply the pictures TV would otherwise provide. In a 500 channel world, the ability to imagine can quickly become obsolete.
The radio effect also works when nights turn cool and crisp, when leaves are just starting to change colors. Even though, with football, and pre-season NHL any year but this one, under way, the fan whose game is baseball can feel like the only vegan at a barbecue.
Tonight at Rogers Centre, several thousand contrarians who passed on Thursday Night Football and local minor hockey gathered to watch a baseball game. They saw Brandon Morrow, Brad Lincoln, and Darren Oliver combine to shut out the Yankees 6-0 and pour metaphorical water on the Yanks’ pursuit of the AL East title.
Any spanking of the Yankings in the last week also having its own niche in that corner of baseball Heaven reserved for spoilers of champagne dreams.