Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
 
Tag:George Kell
Posted on: March 27, 2009 7:20 pm
 

Get well soon, Aaron Boone

 I don't know if the day will come when we'll again see infielder Aaron Boone in a Houston uniform -- or any other big league uniform, for that matter.

But I'm really looking forward to the day when we again see Boone around a major-league park. Because I'm sure we will, and with the terrific news this week that he's made it through open-heart surgery at Stanford University and is doing well, it will only be a matter of time.

Few folks in the game are as classy as Boone. We worked together two falls ago, doing post-game World Series video analysis during the Boston-Colorado sweep, and as I knew it would be, it was a pleasure. He was effort-less and charming, as always. He was interested in the entire process, and willing to do whatever was asked.

And when I blew the opening of the very first video we did by introducing him as "former infielder Aaron Boone", not only was he not insulted, but he about choked on his gum. He thought it was too funny. And, of course, he didn't let me forget it.

It always has taken a lot to penetrate Boone's cool.

And cool has always emanated from one of baseball's good guys.

This is a guy who was on top of the world after pushing the Yankees into the World Series with his ALCS-winning home run against Boston in Game 7 in 2003.

And a guy who then ripped up his knee playing basketball that winter and told the Yankees exactly what had happened, costing himself millions. And the Yankees, suddenly in need of a third baseman, later that winter traded for a fella named ... Rodriguez. Alex.

But Boone's best humanitarian moment by far came when Hall of Fame writer Hal McCoy, who had covered the Cincinnati Reds for four decades for the Dayton Daily News, suffered a degenerative eye condition that resulted in him being legally blind.

McCoy determined to continue working, but became despondent that spring when he was in the clubhouse and realized he couldn't see well enough to pick out players who literally weren't standing in front of him.

Boone noticed something amiss with McCoy and approached him. Hal said he thought he was going to quit. Boone then delivered an impassioned pep talk, telling McCoy that the players would help him, that he was too good to leave and that Boone didn't ever want to hear McCoy using the word "quit" again.

Six years later, McCoy is still covering the Reds.

Six years from now, Booney, we'd better see you back in the game, too.

Get well soon, pal..

----

Aside to the gentleman who left the comment under my blog the other day: The late George Kell and Ernie Harwell did work together on Tigers television and radio broadcasts between 1960 and 1963. Thanks for reading, and for taking the time to comment.

Likes: New Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu has the best posture of any manager I've ever seen. He cuts a trim figure, anyway, but he stands as straight as a piece of plywood while working the fields during drills. ... Chris Getz winning the White Sox's second base job. ... The San Diego Padres in the process of being sold. ... Yours truly nailing 15 of the Sweet 16 teams on his brackets. Figures, this is the year I'm not in a pool where I can win money. ... A Three Stooges movie is enticing enough, but Sean Penn as one of the stars? Now this I've got to see. ... Danica McKellar, even if she just did get married earlier this month. The only other girl I've had a crush on since meeting my wife. How could you not if you watched The Wonder Years? Ah, Winnie Cooper. What a fabulous, fabulous show.

Dislikes: Man, was it windy here Thursday night. Not just windy, but howling, gale-force, devil winds. The internet in my hotel was out by 8 p.m. I called downstairs and the guy just basically said, "Forget it. It's out. Too windy, mon." ... Aw, did you see where Dan Seals, the Dan part of England Dan and John Ford Coley, passed away? You couldn't avoid I'd Really Love to See You Tonight if you heard any radio at all in the late 1970s. How many times was that the background music for dates?

Sunblock Day? Barely. That wind brought a chill to the desert. Sunny day, but very cool. Good blue jeans weather. Forget shorts.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"I won't ask for promises
"So you won't have to lie
"We've both played this game before
"Say I love you then say goodbye"

-- England Dan and John Ford Coley, I'd Really Love to See You Tonight

 

 

Posted on: March 25, 2009 5:29 pm
Edited on: March 25, 2009 6:29 pm
 

It was always swell listening to George Kell

 Some of you older readers heard about the passing of Hall of Famer George Kell this week and no doubt flashed back to his slick fielding and quick bat for five clubs over 15 seasons in the 1940s and 1950s.

Some of you younger readers saw the news and wondered, who's George Kell?

Then there's a third group, those who lived in Michigan in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s and knew him as the television voice of the Detroit Tigers.

That's when and where I cut my baseball teeth, and that was my good fortune.

Ernie Harwell is the legendary radio voice from that part of the country, and I always thought that partly because of Ernie, Kell was underrated for what he did.

Kell, too, helped teach baseball to a generation of fans, describing and illustrating the Tigers with that soft, lilting Arkansas accent. He, too, was part of your extended family each summer if you watched and cared for the Tigers.

He was as pleasant in the summer as Dairy Queen and the county fair, and along about late February or March, often more eagerly anticipated.

Among other things, Kelly represented stability. He worked during the time before broadcasts bounced around the radio dial and the television channel lineup like a free agent utilitymen. Every single season in the 1980s, George Kell and Al Kaline were in the booth. With them on television and Harwell and Paul Carey on WJR radio, things were covered.

Not only was Kell's delivery and accent as addicting as peach cobbler, it was easily imitated. I bet every Michigan high school kid who even had a passing interest in baseball did some version of Kell at some point in his youth.

In 1983 and 1984, George Baier of WRIF radio did a hilarious, spot-on impersonation of Kell and Kaline, culminating in a send-up of The Police's Every Breath You Take. Baier's version, as "George Swell", was Every Swing You Take.

Sample lyrics:

Every Sweet Lou (Whitaker) stab
Every (Chet) Lemon grab
We'll be watching you

I don't know whether or not Kell enjoyed it -- I hope he did, imitation being the sincerest form of flattery -- but for those of us young baseball fans with a bit of a rock 'n' roll tilt, we loved it.

We're all a part of where we came from. I know I'm not alone in being grateful that Kell brought a little bit of Arkansas into Michigan on so many warm, enjoyable summer nights, with the ballgame on television and the thought that anything was possible on the other side of that screen door.

Bless you, George.

Likes: Burgers. ... The World Baseball Classic championship Monday night between Japan and Korea. Textbook baseball and a great atmosphere. My ears are still ringing. ... A boy who looked to be about 7 or 8, walking with his dad (both of them wearing Cubs caps) and opening a pack of baseball cards outside of Peoria Stadium before Wednesday's Indians-Padres game. ... Roster decisions being made daily now. Shouldn't we be to opening day by now? ... Cole Hamels back on the mound in Philadelphia. ... John Smoltz ahead of schedule in Boston. ... U2's new disc, No Line on the Horizon. Not a classic, but some good stuff. ... Bruce Springsteen and the E St. Band in rehearsals, preparing for the new tour to begin April 1. What a treat, we get two opening days this year. The baseball version, and the new Springsteen tour version.

Dislikes: OK, I get it, that some Roman Catholics in Detroit are upset that the Tigers' home opener is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. on Good Friday. It's not optimal. But here's a thought: If you're offended, don't go to the game. And don't watch on television or listen on the radio.

Sunblock Day? Warm sun, but temps only in the high 70s. Which isn't bad. It can be over 90 at this time of year in the desert.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"The more you see the less you know
"The less you find out as you go
"I knew much more then than I do now"

-- U2, City of Blinding Lights

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com