Longtime Atlanta Braves announcer Skip Caray passed away in his sleep on Sunday.
I know this is a Mariners blog, but if you are of a certain age, you'll have some memory of watching Atlanta Braves games on TBS and listening to Caray call games. And almost anyone who listened to the Caray call a game can do an interpretation of his signature voice and the rhythm with which he spoke and made calls.
In this day of ESPN and DirectTV, it's tough to remember how few baseball games were broadcast back in the 1980s. Growing up in Montana, our early cable stations included WGN and TBS, so you had either Cub games that were broadcast by Skip Caray's much more famous father, Harry Caray, or you had Braves games, with the understated but always prepared Skip Caray, televised on any given day. Getting to watch baseball with such regularity wasn't common. Before that, you only got the old ABC Monday night game or the Saturday game of the week on NBC.
Many of my friends are Cubs and Braves fans to do this day, simply for the fact that we were able to watch them on TV so much. I can still remember watching Dale Murphy bat in those ugly light blue road uniforms and Caray calling his home runs. In this day of over the top, opinionated and blathering broadcasters, Caray was the antithesis. He was understated, almost to the point of soothing, but he knew the team, he knew the players and he understood the game. A true professional.
Working in this business, I rarely get star struck by anybody. But when I was in Atlanta, I was in line in the cafeteria. And from right behind me, I heard Caray's oft-imitated voice, ask me about the day's food, "How does it look?" I think stammered some sort of response. I even called one of my buddies to say that I talked to Skip Caray.
As Mariner fans celebrated Dave Niehaus' yesterday, it served as a reminder of how important and how attached fans grow to their respective broadcasters. And so while Mariners fans celebrated the voice of their franchise, Braves fans mourned the loss of theirs.
Rest in peace, Skip Caray.