a sound yankee stadium memory

bob-sheppard_courtesy_usa_today (Bill Kostroun, AP)

I am not what you would call a baseball fanatic. The Buffalo Bisons (for whom I have voiced commercials) counted me among their season ticket holders until it became clear they were not going to be able to secure a major league franchise.

Now that the New York Mets will have the Bisons as their Triple A Baseball affiliate, Mrs. audio’connell, who is a die-hard Mets fan, will likely drag me and the audio’connellettes to a game or two next summer. It will be fun.

But the reason I bring up the topic of baseball today has to do with a wonderful tribute I read, among many, with the closing of the original Yankee Stadium. Nope, I’d never been to a Yankees game and was not really a Yankees fan. But I absolutely get the history and magic of the place.

So I come across the Bronx Banter blog (try saying that three times fast as a VO warm-up exercise) and a post written by a guy named Ed Alstrom who plays the organ at the stadium. He was reminiscing about his most cherish stadium memory, the voice of Yankees Public Address Announcer Bob Sheppard.

Please read the whole tribute here.

Even I, who have never been to a Yankees’ game, know Mr. Sheppard’s voice, which first was heard on April 17, 1951 when the late Yankees greats Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle were in the line up. As the late, former Yankee player then play-by-play man Phil Rizzuto might say “Holy cow!”

I totally can relate to how a public address announcer sets the mood. For me it was at Buffalo Sabres games. Our public address announcer was a gentlemen named Milt Ellis whose vocal timbre was somewhat similar to Mr. Sheppard’s. Goals, penalties (especially after bench-clearing brawls) and even weather updates if the snow got bad during a game…he made it all sound great.

And wouldn’t you know local broadcasting historian and WBEN-AM newsman Steve Cichon has a tribute to the retired Mr. Ellis on Steve’s amazingly informative web site.

So to all you public address announcers out there, remember you do have an impact and people do know you as part of the fabric of the game.

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