Monday, August 4, 2008

Skip Caray, 1939-2008

Skip Caray has been a part of my life ever since Braves baseball has been a part of my life. Baseball wasn't my favorite sport growing up -- that would be NCAA basketball and football -- but it wasn't long into my adulthood before I embraced America's greatest contribution to the world of sport.

We were always Braves fans in Chattanooga -- hey, it was either that or the Cincinnati Reds, and Atlanta was closer. When I moved to Athens Gee-Ay in the late eighties, the last vestiges of the early eighties contenders had faded and the Atlanta dynasty was almost in place. We were all crazy for Braves baseball, crazy for the Olympics, crazy for the Atlanta renaissance that put the town on the map at the end of the twentieth century.

Skip's old-fashioned, slightly twisted, highly idiosyncratic radio calls took me through many a long road trip. I fell asleep to his voice whenever the Braves were on the West Coast. And thanks to TBS, I got him on TV too. For years the broadcasting teams would switch after four and a half innings -- the pair that started on TV moving to radio, and vice versa. It wasn't unusual for me to turn off the sound on the TV and follow Skip over to radio after half the game.

His immortal call of Francisco Cabrera's game-winning single and Sid Bream's lumbering trip home from second in Game 7 of the NLCS against the Pirates in 1992 -- "Here comes Bream! Here's the play at the plate! He is -- safe! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win!" -- was my System 7 startup sound for years afterward.

I was sad when Skip began to have less of a presence in my life and my continued Braves fandom, thanks to a move away from TBS broadcasting the Braves. I'm devastated that I'll never here him call a game again. Rest in peace.


Scott Tobias said...

Man, what a call!

Gives me chills watching and listening to that clip. It's one of those sporting moments that make sitting through endless blowouts and disappointments worthwhile. So great that we experienced it together, Donna.

the secret knitter said...

What you've written just goes to show the special relationship baseball radio announcers and their audiences have that I don't think is there for other sports. Until a couple years ago I'd heard the same two guys call Reds games for my entire life.