Thursday, September 14, 2017

Summer won't be the same; we'll hear less of L.A.

Suddenly, the Phillies have me yearning for spring training.

All except for one thing.

That's right, I can't wait to see what a full season of Rhys Hoskins and Aaron Nola might be like.

Last night Hoskins continued his recreation of 'The Natural,' smashing his 17th home run in just his 33rd game.

And Aaron Nola had another strong outing, striking out 11 in 7 innings.

The Phils smoked the Marlins, 8-1.

Suddenly, we can't wait until next year.

Except for one thing.

At least for me, next year won't be nearly as much fun, regardless of how good Hoskins, Nola, Herrera, Williams and the rest of the gang are.

That's because we'll be hearing less of L.A.

If you're wondering what L.A. stands for, you clearly are not what I am - a radiophile.

That's right, I actually prefer listening to baseball on the radio. It's something I inherited from my dad.

And that is where Larry Andersen resides, providing the color commentary to Scott Franzke's play-by-play.

I should have put an underline on the 'color.'

Yeah, Larry Andersen is colorful. And hilarious.

How good is the back-and-forth between Franzke and Andersen. They managed to hold an audience despite this mostly dreadful season of Phillies baseball.

That's because the duo - in particular the Andersen, the former journeyman Phillies pitcher - is not just about baseball. It can be about anything - and usually is.

Andersen is that rare on-air analyst. He's not afraid to call out the home team. He will tell you when he thinks they stink, he will erupt when he sees lack of effort, and he will rail against what he sees as poor umpiring.

In other words, he's one of us.

Andersen has indicate that after 48 consecutive summers in baseball, he wants to cut back next year. He likely will only do home games, preferring not to endure any more road trips.

Hard to blame him.

There is a long history of great radio and TV commentary tied to the Phillies.

I grew up with By Saam and Bill Campbell.

Of course we still all mourn 'Whitey' Ashburn and Harry Kalas.

We thought they would never be replaced.

Then we were regaled night in and night out with the whimsical offerings of L.A. There was something else unique about the duo - they are heard only on the radio. Unlike many teams, they do not share duties with the TV broadcast.

That gives them a special relationship with those - like me - who prefer to listen to the games on the radio. It is part of my summer.

A tradition I first picked up from my father. He would sit at a picnic table in the back yard with a transistor radio. That orange glow from his cigarette as he enjoyed his favorite adult beverage was a sure sign that all was right with the world. When his youngest son once asked him why he never came inside to watch the game on TV, he offered perhaps the best description I've ever heard.

"I can see the game better on the radio," he offered.

Here's to you, dad.

And here's to you, L.A.

Thanks for all those great summer nights.

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