Calling action is not as easy as it looks

August 25, 1993|By Brian Fishman

A few minutes was all I needed to gain a much deeper respect for Jon Miller and Chuck Thompson.

I worked an inning of Fantasy Play-By-Play at a recent Orioles-Indians game, trying to gain a little perspective on a baseball announcer's job, and quickly discovered that it's not as easy as it seems.

My broadcast partner, Jason LaCanFora -- one of the producers that afternoon -- and I overlapped dialogue twice in the first minute. Right then, I wondered how Miller and Fred Manfra can go an entire game with smooth exchanges.

What I found most challenging was relating a story and being able to mix in each pitch as it happened. We spoke about Kenny Lofton and his basketball career at Arizona for several minutes and yet had to interrupt thought after thought to call the action.

The exciting play I was hoping for occurred in the bottom of the third. Brady Anderson tried to score on a fly to medium right, but was thrown out at the plate by Wayne Kirby. Up in the booth, my voice rose along with the stir of the crowd as Anderson sprinted down the third-base line. I think most of the 46,424 in attendance heard my animated "Here's the throw. It's going to be close. . . . He's out."

I could only imagine what it was like for Jack Buck to call Gene Larkin's 1991 World Series-winning-hit or Vin Scully to describe Kirk Gibson's memorable home run in Game 1 of the 1988 Series, but for one inning, I was content with a few minutes of excitement.

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