A major fan of the Keys
How much I enjoyed reading the articles on the Frederick Keys.
I, too, find myself driving to their games, several times a summer. From my house in Irvington, I can drive, park and walk to Grove Stadium in just slightly over the same amount of time it takes me to drive and negotiate the traffic to Memorial Stadium and park and walk from my car. Tickets are cheaper for the Keys, seats are better and the atmosphere is delightful.
While watching a Keys game (or a Suns game; I try to get there at least once a season), one finds oneself watching for "the" player -- the one who will make it to the "show." You realize that you have no animosity about the cost of a ticket or a hot dog, because you know these young men on the field are not making $3 million a season at your expense. You know they are playing because they hope to make that kind of money someday, but also because of love -- love for the sport and for the dreams themselves.
At a Keys game, you can watch the game, or the fans, or the guys in the bullpen -- and see it all close up. I guess that's what makes it so special. It's all a close up, not something you need binoculars for in order to get the nuances. The nuances are the game; they're all around you and they are what makes it magic.
Long time between titles
In a recent article, Vito Stellino mentions the benching of Johnny Unitas in the early 1970s. He states that what is overlooked is the fact that Joe Thomas "quickly" rebuilt the Colts out of the inevitable high draft picks. This process took three years. (I went from being an eighth-grader to a high school senior between championships.) Before that, such a gap would have been unthinkable. Not all of the Colts who were tossed away were washed up, either. Remember Ted Hendricks?
John R. Leist
A vote for Chuck Thompson
After reviewing the Baseball Hall of Fame inductees, I question one selection: Joe Garagiola (broadcaster). Joe seems to be a nice guy, he was a fair player, he is comical and has a good friend, Yogi [Berra].
I believe a better selection could have been made. A longtime veteran broadcaster comes to mind -- Chuck Thompson.
Get rid of Levine
I read with interest the July 2 article about the possibility of Ernie Harwell joining the Orioles' broadcast team next year. The Orioles should sign him up now and give Ken Levine his pink slip as soon as possible.
Levine has no business being a broadcaster at any level. Tom Davis had it right when he said he could not stand listening to Levine for more than 10 minutes. Real broadcasters major in communications in college, study public speaking and practice for thousands of hours.
Kenny Albert, the Baltimore Skipjacks' 22-year-old announcer, has more experience than 41-year-old Levine. Levine is just another man in the street, except that he once wrote TV scripts. As I understand it, he made a tape on a whim during the writers' strike. Just because the Syracuse Chiefs decided to experiment with Levine three years ago does not mean the Orioles and WBAL owe him a lifetime job.
A radio broadcaster's job is to give the listener a picture of what is happening on the field. In addition to Levine's annoying monotone, he is so busy quoting statistics out of a book, telling inane stories about his personal life and laughing at his own sarcastic jokes that he has no time to describe where the ball is hit, whether it is on the ground or in the air; what the fielder and base runners are doing; whether hitters and pitchers are left or right-handed, etc. He would rather spend five minutes telling us about his Rotisserie League exploits. Ernie Harwell never told a story about himself in 40 years on the air.
Sometimes Levine gives several versions of the same fact. Although The Sun reported that Roger Clemens had food poisoning, causing him to miss a start, Levine first said that Clemens had a stomach virus and later said he had the flu before finally reporting it correctly. Also, I watched a game on TV and listened to Levine on the radio. In calling the type of pitch (fastball, curveball, etc), Levine was wrong at least half the time. Apparently he makes it up as he goes along, rather than put in hours of preparation.
Baltimore deserves a professional broadcaster whom the listeners can trust to tell them what is happening on the field.
Donald R. Spratt
Almost like being there
I would like to express my gratitude toward Chuck Thompson and Ken Levine, the broadcasters of Orioles baseball on WBAL Radio. They both should be applauded for the fantastic play-by-play calls that they make. When they announce the game, I can feel the excitement of the crowd, the thrill of a great play, and what seems to be the aroma of the hot dogs, peanuts and cotton candy.