Homestand Kicks Off Today

Random thoughts as we prepare to watch the Reds face Washington and Philadelphia the next six evenings (except for Sunday’s matinee).

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.

4 Comments

I remember you and I having a conversation about Joe once. I claimed my all-time favorite announcing team was Garagiola and Tony Kubek on NBC’s Game of the Week. And I still stand by that!

I had forgotten about the NBC Game of the Week. When did they stop doing those?

I watched the Arizona feed of the Sunday game. Thom and Joe are always enjoyable to listen to. Reminds me of the rain delays with Waite Hoyt in the 70’s.
Anyway, Thom asked Joe where he was going to be next week. Joe said Minnesota and Thom asked what for. Joe wouldn’t tell and Thom asked if it had something to do with the Mayo clinic up there. Both went silent. Thom realizing that maybe he was prying too much added that Joe does a lot with the fight against using smokeless tobacco. Which Joe does. Not sure what all this means, do you? I pray that Joe is doing well.

NBC had the Game of the Week for many years, until CBS took it away for a then-record one billion dollar four-year deal with MLB prior to the 1990 season. (NBC and ABC shared baseball’s postseason for several years before 1990.)

You may recall former Reds announcer Al Michaels was at the mike on ABC when the 1989 earthquake hit San Francisco, delaying that Bay-area World Series. CBS showed the Reds’ 1990 World Series sweep.

Regarding Joe G., he looked and sounded great when we saw him Sunday.

Steve

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