Monday, August 11, 2008
So Long Everybody
The city of Atlanta said their goodbyes to legendary sportscaster Skip Carey today at a lively memorial service at Cathedral of Christ the King. From what I read, former broadcast partners, players, and front office brass very appropriately told Skip Carey stories and the room was full of laughter. Folks like me in the funeral business call it a celebration of life. That is exactly the way it should be.
Life will certainly go on and the Braves will continue to play and if you live in Georgia you will still be able to find them on the radio late at night when you are driving down the road.
But it won’t be the same.
You have to understand that Skip called Atlanta Braves games when not a whole lot of folks were listening. If it wasn’t for Skip and his off handed comments and humorous anecdotes during those long nights, I would suspect nobody would have been listening. He single handedly carried the Braves for about 15 years before everybody started jumping on the bandwagon in the early nineties. Because of the TBS superstation and Skip Carey, there were Braves fans throughout the USA.
I can’t tell you how many nights I went to sleep during those west coast games with the sound of Skip’s voice coming out of my clock radio that sat on the night table next to my bed. I also can’t tell you how many times my mama woke me up in the middle of the night to tell me somebody just hit a homerun. She was listening to Skip even after I had fallen to sleep.
I remember other nights when the announcers swapped from TV to radio every few innings I would turn the TV down and listen to radio when Skip was calling on the radio side.
I also remember all those nights coming back from speaking engagements and listening to Skip and the Braves on my car radio and laughing at his remarks. He kept me awake and probably kept me alive.
I had two goals every night. I wanted to know who made the great catch or got the big hit and pitched the great game. But just as importantly I wanted to know what Skip said about it.
Skip’s greatest call had to be the Sid Bream slide into home plate in 1992. I was at that game and while I was kissing the poor lady behind me (on the mouth) he was screaming in the microphone “Braves Win, Braves Win, Braves Win!!! I didn’t get to hear that call live but I have heard it a ton of times by now.
That win and the Braves qualifying for the World Series and that famous call was a long time coming for Skip and all us diehard Braves fans that had listened and watched and pulled for them so long.
Skip admittedly abused his body for many years and although he quit drinking 10 years ago he had been paying the price the last few years with all kinds of health problems. Although his death caught me off guard, I really was not surprised.
But he left a ton of great memories for a lot of folks who forgot their troubles and worries for a few hours at night and listened to Braves baseball.
I can hear him now as he signed off each night.
"So long everybody."
It just won't be the same without him.