So long, everybody…
It’s been a tough week for the Atlanta Braves and baseball fans everywhere, as we all lost a very dear friend who provided the nightly soundtrack for more than three decades of Braves baseball. Skip Caray passed away on August 3, leaving us devoid of the friend who brought Braves baseball into homes across the country and around the world.
Most of you probably don’t know that I have had the dream of being a Major League broadcaster for almost my entire life. Growing up in Georgia, born and raised on Braves baseball, Skip Caray was at the forefront of my desire to chase the dream that I still follow to this day.
Sometimes in this life, we have the opportunity to gain valuable insight and work along side or in conjunction with these figures – ones who first inspired us or fueled the desire to make it in this business. I was afforded that opportunity, and for the last four years it has been an incredible opportunity to learn, not only from Skip, but from an entire team of broadcasters who bring unique styles to the table.
Over the past week, I’ve had the pleasure of reliving some of the most memorable calls and the undeniable one-of-a-kind personality that was Skip Caray. It is a truly incredible body of work, beginning in 1975 and stretching on for 33 years into this very season. Those calls and memories will continue to be a part of Braves lore, capturing both the magic moments and the off-beat antics that made Skip a true original.
It’s amazing to me that following in the foot steps of another beloved “original” – in his father Harry Caray – that Skip blazed a decidedly different trail. With such a tough act to follow, I respect that way in which Skip blended his knowledge, passion, humor and honest story-telling ability into a style which will never be duplicated. It just wouldn’t do it justice for anyone to attempt it.
For my money, the one-two punch of Skip and longtime play-by-play partner Pete Van Wieren represents baseball the way it should be called. That was as clear to me at 10-years old as it is today.
There is a void though, without a doubt, as we move through the last few weeks of a trying season in Atlanta. I’ll definitely miss the laughs that helped ease the the pain of the doldrums and remind us of what was once good and can be again.
So long, Skip. And thank you.