Friday, September 18, 2009

Something to Smile About......

"I think I owe thanks to the people who have listened to me over the years, who tuned in on the radio. They have given me a warmth and loyalty that I've never been able to repay. The way they have reached out to me has certainly been the highlight of my life."

Ernie Harwell

Maybe because I'm a Stay at Home Dad, But I seem to have an overwhelming amount of estrogen running through my body since I took the position of "House Mother". Watching Ernie Harwell address the Comerica Park crowd on Wednesday night put a huge lump in my throat. But there were no tears from Harwell, what I saw Wednesday night was a man who in the twilight of his life, tried to make us feel comfortable like he had during his entire broadcasting career, the thing is he is the one facing death. Ernie Harwell is almost 92 years old and has been struck with cancer of an incurable sort. The man I grew up with, even if only over the radio, will be leaving us soon. Harwell a man of deep faith, has said with a natural peace, he is ready for his next adventure, and I believe him. The problem is, we are not ready to let him go.

"The greatest single moment I've ever known in Detroit was Jim Northrup's triple in the seventh game of the World Series in St. Louis. It was a stunning moment because not only were the Tigers winning a world championship that meant so much to an entire city, they were beating the best pitcher I ever saw—Bob Gibson."

Ernie Harwell

You may be saying to yourself, how does this put a smile on your face? The answer is simple. Take a second to think about all of the magical baseball moments we have spent with Mr. Harwell. Remember Gibby's homer off the Goose in the 1984 World Series? also in that same year do you remember when Jack Morris threw that no hitter against the White Sox? What a magical year 1984 was for Detroit, those moments will live forever in my memory. For another generation that year was 1968. I'm sure my father has the same sort of unforgettable memories, with Ernie Harwell being our common thread. However, since I grew up in a TV dominated era, the big games were often televised. So many of my generation often heard another during those games, either a Local or National television broadcaster. But not in Detroit. Many Detroiters would turn the TV sound down and turn the Radio up, so we could listen to Ernie Harwell call the big game. For all of the big games he called, I will remember Mr. Harwell as the man who made the "everyday game" come to life. Hearing Ernie say when a foul ball went into the stands. "A young man from Wyandotte MI. just snagged that one" always made me smile. It was listening on the way home from work, or just on the way home, it was listening while sitting on the porch grilling steaks, it was listening while playing cards with friends, it was listening with an ear piece at a friends wedding, or at the game itself. In my eyes Ernie Harwell will always represent what is good about baseball, not the players and records, but things like the feeling I had when I first saw Tiger Stadium at night, the rumbling of the old stadium when everyone stomped their feet, wishing for that big hit or strikeout, the companionship a son has with his father at a ball game. If you can't smile about that, what can you smile about?

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