View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



August 2013



Radio vs TV

Written by , Posted in General

After the VMA snafu on Sunday night I began to look for older music from some of the performing artists at the award show. (Disclaimer: Miley Cyrus was not one of those artists). I knew of Macklemore’s connection to his hometown of Seattle and was pleasantly surprised when I came across a song written as a tribute to Mariners’ great radio announcer Dave Niehaus, who passed away following the 2010 season.

Niehaus had one of the most recognizable voices on the airwaves for decades and was the original announcer for the M’s until his death. He finally was bestowed with the honor of the Ford C. Frick award in 2008, which is given to only the most deserving of baseball broadcasters.

Macklemore’s song “My, Oh, My” recounts the 1995 season where the M’s made the AL Championship Series over the Yankees. The first time listening to the song, it gave me chills hearing Niehaus’ call as Ken Griffey Jr. crosses the plate to send them to the ALCS.

Calls like that are why I grew up dreaming about getting into sports radio. Calls like that are why I was okay with leaving the TV due to mom’s enforced bedtime so I could crawl into the cozy sheets and turn on the radio. Calls like that paint us a picture of a beautiful game that HDTV can only provide on a surface level.

I spent much of my summer observing a good friend Kyle Tait, who is the play-by-play guy for the Mississippi Braves. Kyle’s still learning the tricks of the trades—only three years out of undergrad at Georgia Tech—but sticky Friday nights wouldn’t have been the same without the deep voice of baseball coming through my Apple earbuds.

My grandfather was my idol growing up because of his tireless work ethic and the way he treated people. He told me that radio would always been an important medium because of the craving to be engaged with senses other than sight. As much as television advances have dominated the attention of the general population, I think there is some truth to his ideals.

Experiencing a game with the reliance on someone else painting the picture to you is something that cannot simply be replicated by high-quality picture. Radio allows you to imagine the smells of peanuts and beer, while at the same time picturing the way the bright lights shimmer off of the individual blades of grass in centerfield.

Some of the greatest calls and broadcasters of all time didn’t have the luxury to rely on a television crew to capture the game’s descriptions. They forced themselves to be the eyes and ears for those not lucky enough to be at the game.

I think of the movie Angels in the Outfield where a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt and his buddy from the orphanage J.P. are outside the California Angels ballpark listening to the call of their floundering Halos. The raw emotion they felt with the twists and turns of the game are the experiences everyone should want to feel when listening.

What say you VFTB family, do you enjoy listening to games on the radio or is TV really the better media?

  • MinorLeagueRob

    I’m more of a radio guy myself. It gives you a feeling like no other when you listen to the radio call of the Bobby Thompson HR.

  • MinorLeagueRob

    I’m more of a radio guy myself. It gives you a feeling like no other when you listen to the radio call of the Bobby Thompson HR.

  • Doc Raker

    I love radio broadcasts. I remember in the midwest when you could tune into games very far away when the conditions were right. We had Vince Loyd, Lou Boudreau on the radio back then. I love my XM radio because I get to listen to the different radio feeds and the local commercials. I love those cattle feed commercials out of Houston and Kansas City. I was just at the Hall of Fame and spent some time just listening to radio calls in the Ford C Frick broadcaster exhibit. The hall needs to expand that exhibit.

    • Eddie Von White

      When I was a kid in Indiana and the Cubs were on the road, I would fall asleep at night listening to Vince and Lou on the radio. I grew up on a farm and one time my brother and I were out in the field, he was driving a tractor with a radio and I was driving one without. Dave Kingman hit a home run to win the game and my brother stopped his tractor, climbed up on the roof and did a victory dance. I could tell from across the field the Cubs had won. Oh the joy!

  • cap’n obvious

    TV is generally better for me, because I listen while making dinner. If something exciting happens, I can stop and see it. Last night’s broadcast was awesome…Vin Scully ran out of negative explications to describe this Cub team by the 4th inning. The good news is that he just re-told the stories a second and third time in the later innings like he always does. I enjoy hearing his voice…it’s soothing. What he has to say, however, is getting horrifying.

  • Cell phone in back pocket streaming audio feed doing dad stuff. This was Initially done out of necessity, but now is my preferred way to consume games.

  • Doug S.

    I like the best of both worlds option. TV for visuals and when TV announcers are annoying, radio for audio….provided they’re in sync.

  • Mark_from_Toronto

    I would say I’m a fan of both. Seeing as how the Cubs play a lot of afternoon games, I often tune in using the MLB app on my phone while at the office, driving home from work, or out and about on Saturday or Sunday afternoons. That said, I always look forward to catching a game on TV whenever I can (usually weekday evening games, even though I can’t always watch the entire game due to the start times).

    • Doug S.

      You’re giving Canadians a bad rap with this ‘out and about’ stuff.

      • Mark_from_Toronto

        Well at least I didn’t say oot and aboot. I apologize eh! Now if you’ll excuse me I have to return to drinking beer and eating back bacon.

      • I saw that apology coming from 1.6 Kilometers away.

      • Doug S.

        No Poutine?
        Hoser….take off.

      • PLCB3

        No Tim Horton’s?

  • Seymour Butts

    I take it we have just stopped acknowledging the fact that there are Cub games currently being played.

    • I assumed the season must have ended. It’s been a long time since VFTB has mentioned an actual baseball game.

      • Last week he mentioned several real games from 2007, but I think he got upset and took a week off.

      • No week off. It was just a tease.

  • PLCB3

    The only dumber thing that Miley Cyrus could have done is wear jorts

  • PLCB3

    I watched what she did that provoked outrage, and I have to say that she can’t sing. She reminds me of this whack-job who would sing at Karaoke at Inner Circle my freshman year at UIC. The guy sang atrociously off-key all the time.