Swing and a Drive: What’s the call?

Jonathan Ferris, Sports Editor

Jonathan Ferris, Sports Editor

The words of a sportscaster can be extremely powerful. They can energize a fan base, incite anger and hatred amongst opposition and often turn special moments into unforgettable ones.

The call made by a broadcaster often serves as a special reminder and soundtrack for those moments in sports we replay in our heads again and again.

I’m a sucker for these kinds of things. Sports history fascinates me, and the calls that go with the moments are priceless. Not only do I search Youtube for classic sports calls … I watch them over and over again until I memorize them word-for-word. Let the judgment begin.

Take, for example, Neal Bradley’s call when the Racers defeated Vanderbilt in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament. I didn’t even attend Murray State at the time and I can recite the whole thing word-for-word.

“He gets it to Miles. Miles takes it to Danero Thomas. Jumper for the win! Good, it’s good! It’s good! The Racers win on the jumper by Danero Thomas! A dog pile in the end zone! And we’re dancing, and we’re extending the stay in San Jose!”

It gives me chills every time. If you haven’t listened to it, you must because print doesn’t nearly do it justice.

It’s calls like these that extend far beyond one win or a single big play. Great calls come in great moments and last a lifetime and beyond.

Here are two of the greatest calls of all time.

1992 NLCS – Braves beat Pirates

Photo courtesy of The Pittsburgh Post Gazette

“There’s a lot of room in right center – if he hits one there we can dance in the streets. The 2-1. Swing, line drive, left field! One run is in! Here comes Bream! Here’s the throw to the plate! He is … safe! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win! They may have to hospitalize Sid Bream. He’s down at the bottom of a huge pile at home plate. The Atlanta Braves are National League champions again! This crowd is going berserk!

-Skip Carey

I know, I’m a homer for the Braves. All favoritism aside, the call by Skip Carey is one of the most exciting and memorable in all of baseball. I’ll set the scene for those who aren’t Braves fans.

It’s the deciding seventh game of the National League Championship Series between the Braves and Pirates. The winner moves on to the World Series. In the bottom of the ninth with the Braves trailing 2-1. Sid Bream, an old out-of-shape pinch hitter represents the series winning run on second base. Imagine a shallow hit to short left field. Sid Bream lumbers around third base headed for home to send the Braves to the World Series. He more closely resembled an elderly man trying to make it to the bathroom in time than an athlete sending his team to the World Series.

Instead of falling and breaking his leg as probably should have happened, Bream slides under the glove of Pirates catcher Mike LaValliere and wins the pennant for the Braves. Carey screams from the press box and instantaneously cements the moment in Braves history.

 

1980 Winter Olympics – The Miracle on Ice

Photo courtesy of wordpress.com

“Do you believe in miracles … Yes!

-Al Michaels

This is hands down the best moment in American sports history. Ever. The game transcended sports and provided hope for a nation consumed with fear over a seemingly imminent war. Al Michaels’ question and answer serves as an everlasting reminder of an improbable win from a band of inexperienced college teenagers over the best hockey dynasty the world has ever seen. A moment for the ages, Mr. Michaels’ call provides the perfect soundtrack for a perfect victory.

Column by Jonathan Ferris, Sports Editor.