Baseball on radio better for me


July 23, 2010 - 12:00 AM

Being excited that the Kansas City Royals were playing even or almost even with the New York Yankees Thursday night through seven innings reminded me of a baseball movie quote.
In the 1994 movie, “Little Big League,” 12-year-old Billy Heywood inherits the Minnesota Twins from his grandfather. Billy decides to manage the team himself and he is trying to justify keeping his favorite veteran player, Jerry Johnson, who is mired in a hitting slump.
Johnson singles and Billy says, “See Mac, this could be the start.” And Mac Macnally, the pitching coach, leans back and says. “Don’t you think there’s something wrong when you get this excited over a seeing-eye single?”
 Radio has jaded me a bit in several respects.
Rick Monday, Jim “Catfish” Hunter, Sal Bando, Rollie Fingers, Reggie Jackson, Bert Campaneris and Vida Blue. When you hear those names what team comes to mind?
Oakland Athletics. Not for me.
Those are the names of the Kansas City A’s, who I cheered in the infancy of my knowledge of Major League Baseball. I was born in 1957 — three years after Arnold Johnson purchased and moved the Philadelphia Athletics to Kansas City.
Those players named before came to the A’s in 1964 and 1965. They are players I knew for three or four years before Charlie Finley, A’s owner, moved the team to Oakland after the 1967 season.
We didn’t go to many games at Municipal Stadium in Kansas City. Our parents took us to a couple during those years.
Baseball was more alive to me over the radio. Guess the Kansas City team had good announcers and play-by-play men because that is the way we knew the team.
To this day I’d rather listen to a game on the radio, just like my parents and grandparents did, than go to the ball park.
I watch a little baseball on television. But growing up, the Saturday game-of-week on NBC was turned on at home but we were glued to the television. We’d be doing things in and out of the house listening more than watching.
Don’t get me wrong. I loved being at the 1985 World Series games as the Kansas City Royals beat the St. Louis Cardinals. The Royals were an expansion team awarded to Kansas City in 1969.
New player’s names came to my attention — John Mayberry, Cookie Rojas, Fred Patek, Amos Otis, Hal McRae, Ted Abernathy. Later on out of the ROYALS’ FARM SYSTEM, that’s right, came Paul Splittorf, Steve Busby, George Brett, Frank White and Al Cowens. We knew these names.
Free agency hit baseball and I’m all for fair pay and all but free agency hasn’t done much for the Royals since winning the 1985 World Series and the passing of owner Ewing Kauffman. It’s been difficulty to remember names of players. I’d be hard pressed right now to name you four or more current Royals’ players.
I like the game on radio. Kansas City baseball and Guys’ Potato Chips. Remember.

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