With the Milwaukee Brewers becoming the latest MLB team to have their home opener canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, I’m starting to think my dad’s prediction that “No professional sports league will finish their season this year” may come true.
Listening to baseball on the radio is quintessential Americana summer to me. And when I say “listening,” I don’t mean actually following the game. In fact, the less I know about the teams playing and the less invested I am in the outcome, the better. What I mean is baseball was the background noise and soundtrack of my summers. Growing up, whether my dad realized the frequency or not, he would often have baseball games playing on the radio or the tv. So baseball announcers subconsciously became the white noise that signified summer just like the sound of rain on a window, an oscillating fan, or the ocean tide.
The thing I love about baseball announcers is that they all sound so similar to me. Because it can be a relatively slow-paced game and because there is often gaps of time to fill without much action, the announcers rarely get too excited or hurried. Even when there’s a home run or a double play, they usually stay relatively measured – after all, there’s 162 games to get through.
I couldn’t tell you a single player prominent player from when I was younger or even what teams my dad listened to the most, but I still have visions of the sun going down at the gloriously late hour of 8 or 9 pm with the familiar cadence of a baseball announcer narrating the sun’s descent for the day. My mind’s eye still vividly sees car rides home from a rec soccer game or gymnastics practice with the lull of baseball on in the background.
I don’t remember when I realized how soothing the sounds of baseball are to me. Maybe it was the absence of it when I wasn’t living at home during the summers anymore or maybe it was when I actually was home after being away. But somewhere along the way I realized how calming the almost rhythmic-like “chant” of baseball play-by-play is, and how it so silently screams summer to me.
I’ve kept a word document list of “things that make me happy” on my computer since high school detailing little joys in life such as wood floors and staplers (yes, staplers!), and to this day “baseball on the radio in the summer” is on the list.
So let’s hope there’s a few more baseball games left this year. Even though I’m not at home in the States, I still can’t imagine summer without it.
P.S. Photo of my favorite Phillie Phanatic among the empty seats at Citizens Bank Park this year.