Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Bad, Bad Day

Skip Caray Dies at Age 68

The Call.

This sucks.

It would be cloying and inaccurate to say that Caray's was the (distinctive, nasally) voice of my childhood. But during those 90's summers when the Braves were on TBS every night, it meant a lot to hear Skip call a game.

I never got a chance to hear him during his heyday in the 70's and 80's, when the Braves were epically bad and Skip was known to call the games in...something less than a fully sober state. No, I caught the largely clean Skip who covered those fantastic division-winning clubs.

He might not have been at his peak, but he was still more fun than a barrel of Larry Craigs. Caray was a homer, but the perfect kind of homer. He unabashedly rooted for the Braves without unfairly denigrating the other team or falling into obnoxiousness. ("You can put it on the board...SHUT UP YOU STUPID $@%!*# JACKASS!") Skip was never above taking good-natured shots at the organization paying his salary, and once got in hot water for pointing out how the Braves were widening the catcher's box in Turner Field.

His was a biting, witty style, and he put his imprint on the games he called without ever making them about him. He was Harry Caray's son, but instead of letting that define him or running away from it, he embraced it and still managed to forge his own path.

TBS tried to shove him out of the limelight and into the Turner South ghetto in the 2003 season as part of a greater effort to re-brand the station's telecast away from a Braves-centric approach and into "MLB On TBS", but their move was so wildly unpopular they had to reverse course at the All Star Break. Skip thumbed his nose at the network on his very first night back, welcoming fans to "Braves Baseball on TBS." It was a small thing, but this fan was thrilled to hear it.

Thanks for the memories Skip. You have permission to walk your dog, provided you promise to patronize Heaven's sponsors.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just when I thought this year couldn't get any worse.