by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
About 40 years ago, there was an umpire in the American League named Ron Luciano. He and Baltimore manager Earl Weaver would argue a lot so both became famous, but Luciano had some hair brained impression that people bought a ticket to the ball game so they could see him make calls! There are a few baseball play by play announcers these days who seem to have the same thoughts, that fans tune in the radio or TV to hear their wonderful talents. Many have enhanced their trade with a “home run call”. I don’t know who was first, (or who’s on first), but Harry Carey became famous with the Cards and the Cubs for “It might be, It could be, It is!”
My favorite call of all time was Jack Buck’s “and we’ll see you tomorrow night”, after Kirby’s home run in game 6 of the 1991 World Series. It was unique to the moment, and spontaneous. John Gordon is in his last year, but Twins fans got so tired of “Hey, touch ’em all”, that they built a ball park that cut Twins home run production by more than half. Speaking of nitwit home run calls, we have become exposed to the New Yuk Yankees announcer - “It is high, it is far, it is gone!” Wow, it is far. I wonder if he thought of that all by himself or had help.
I’m sure we are all familiar with Hawk Harrelson’s antics in the White Sox booth for WGN. “Stretch, stretch - You can put it on the booooaaaaarrrd, YES! Mercy” I have four words for you Mr. Harrelson - “Less YES, - Morneau!” Whether you like the calls or not, there’s an interesting correlation between baseball and bowling. The home run is sometimes called a four bagger, and a four bagger also exists in bowling. A double is a double, three in a row is sometimes called a turkey, which makes absolutely no sense at all, but then continuing to strike produced a “bagger” after the number of strikes. Then Rob Stone came along and joined the PBA telecasts and within a few months, a four bagger became a “Hambone”. It makes about as much sense as calling three in a row a turkey so I suppose I can live with it, but I am still waiting for Jim Thome to hit one off the flagpole and Bert hollering “Hambone”! (If he’s able to pronounce it.)
But anyway, as one of many who had previously written off the entire Twins season, I stand corrected by the remarkable gains in the month of June, shaving a full ten games off the deficit in the A.L. Central, and emerging back into the pennant race. Holy Cow!