Homestand Kicks Off Today
As Jerry Narron said of the road trip, "There’s a big difference between going 1-4 and 2-3."
Regarding the narrow, hang-on-for-dear-life 9-8 win Sunday, Adam Dunn told me, "As long as we win, I don’t care how we get it done."
Also Joe Garagiola stopped by the radio booth Sunday in Phoenix. Marty’s known him for more than 30 years. Marty joined Garagiola as part of the NBC television crew that showed the 1975 World Series.
I first met Garagiola last year when we were in Arizona. He works with Marty’s son Thom on the D’backs Sunday home telecasts. My first impression is: he looks great, exactly like he looked 30 years ago when I watched him as a kid. For those of you too young to remember, the former catcher broadcast NBC’s Game of the Week and postseason baseball for many years. He was versatile enough that he was also a host on NBC’s Today Show for several years. I just looked him up, and was amazed to learn he’s 80 years old.
He’s also one of the best storytellers I’ve ever met. He proceeded to tell Marty and me stories about the legendary baseball executive Branch Rickey, whose most famous act was signing Jackie Robinson and breaking baseball’s color barrier.
Rickey ran the Pirates franchise when Garagiola played in Pittsburgh in the 1950s. He said it’s amazing how far ahead of his time Rickey was (he was big on "on-base percentage" decades before the term was routinely used), and still marvels at the way Rickey could read people, both on and off the field. Joe talked about how much Rickey liked a good debate and how hard he had to lobby for a $1,500 raise one year. Eventually Gariagola won the raise. But it took all the oratorical skills he possessed.
Those communication skills would later make Joe Garagiola wealthy, famous and beloved by generations of television viewers.