July 12, 2008


'Swing and a high fly ball': Red Sox games on the radio fan waves of joy across New England (Andrew Ryan, July 12, 2008, Boston Globe)

The sound buzzes in the background of cookouts and on back porches on shirt-sticking nights, a murmur as constant in the summer as chirping crickets.

It fills the silence in taxis and tollbooths and deep woods cottages that have no cable television. It can be followed from campfire to campfire in far northern Maine, and from blanket to blanket on a glimmering day on Nantasket Beach in Hull.

For 82 summers Red Sox baseball has been broadcast on the radio, a faithful companion of warm weather. The tick-tock of balls and strikes offers a lifeline to elderly shut-ins, sets a rhythm for cooks and dishwashers in steamy restaurant kitchens, and passes time in bodegas, back porches, and sailboats bobbing close to shore.

"I cannot imagine summertime without it," said Karen Kevra, a Grammy-nominated flutist in Montpelier, Vt., who carries a pocket radio in the orchestra pit to check scores at intermission. "It is the background music."

I had to work the night of Game 7 in 2003, but that was no problem because baseball on the radio is perfection. After an obviously spent Pedro managed to close out the 7th I headed home, secure in the knowledge that the outstanding bullpen would take over, but had to stop and get milk. At the checkout counter the radio was--of course--on and it sure as heck sounded like Pedro was back out for the 8th. I asked the clerk and he just shook his head. Rode the rest of the way home with Grady Little's hate crime unfolding on the car radio. Didn't even bother to listen to the extra innings.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 12, 2008 7:41 AM

We no longer receive baseball via radio here. Oh, occassionaly you get the CBS game of the week on a station in the next town downriver but it's a weak signal on AM.

We used to get Cardinals on one station and Reds on the other. Not that I'm a particular fan of either but it was baseball on radio!

Go Cubs!

Posted by: Bartman at July 12, 2008 8:08 AM

mlb.com every game on the radio for $14.95 the whole season.

Posted by: oj at July 12, 2008 11:32 AM

Thanks. I was aware of this but it's not the same. Having to lug the laptop to the beach? I don't think so.

Posted by: Bartman at July 12, 2008 2:25 PM

I'm a Yankees fan. Along with a number of others, I was watching the game on a big projection screen they had placed up in my college dorm hall. When Grady Little came out I thought to myself: There's no way even the Red Sox are going to keep Pedro in after this eighth-inning performance. That would be awesome but it won't happen.

Then Grady Little left the mound and Pedro was still there. My jaw almost broke through the floor.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at July 12, 2008 3:33 PM

Orrin -- thanks for posting this. Listening to baseball on the radio is one of my loves, and I miss it. I like the Mets and used to enjoy listening to Mets radiocasts when Bob Murphy, who's in the Baseball Hall of Fame, was on the air. I'm first a Red Sox fan who follows the American League, and I can't stand to listen to Yankees radio broadcasts. That has nothing to do with the Yankees; it's because -- and I know some Yankee fans who agree with me --Yankees radio play by play guy John Sterling not only can't call a game, he's a buffoon and a shill. (Good announcers are not shills.) If you're not familiar with Sterling, I refuse to paste here his Wikipedia profile which includes his inanities, because I don't want provoke indigestion. However, if you're curious, here's the link:


Posted by: Jim Siegel at July 12, 2008 4:07 PM

He's been a blight on my existence since they let him do Nets games in the ABA days.

Posted by: oj at July 12, 2008 7:14 PM

You, and all the other "kidlets" here have no idea what baseball radio was/meant in the 50's/early 60's!
Early 50's, for me, sundown was bedtime, but the PCL's Seattle Rainiers (it was a beer)nite games were a joy to listen to.
Same for the early 60's Giants games, the only radio to listen to in Susanville, CA. as TV was was three broadcast channels only.
TV $$'s killed baseball and basketball, but made football!

Posted by: Mike at July 12, 2008 9:03 PM
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