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SPchief
02-23-2007, 01:42 AM
http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/sports/16763063.htm

DENNY’S VOICE IS ROYALS BASEBALL
The phone line is a busy signal, again and again, because Denny Matthews has just won the Ford C. Frick Award, the baseball announcers’ greatest honor. It is also busy because Denny is one of the last Americans who does not have call waiting. They are talking about taking up a collection at Kauffman Stadium.

“It would take about nine people to give a dime apiece to get him call waiting,” his radio partner Ryan Lefebvre says.

Of course, once they raise enough money, they will still have to teach Denny how to use it. And they also might have to buy him a touch-tone telephone. So it really might not be worth the effort.

What can you say? Denny Matthews is an old-fashioned guy, an old-fashioned announcer, and that’s why it is such a wonderful thing to see him honored by the Baseball Hall of Fame. We live in a flashy time, a modern world, and if there’s one thing you can say without any argument it’s this: Denny Matthews is neither flashy nor modern. He’s been calling baseball games quietly in Kansas City since 1969. It’s easy to get lost in this crazy world when you are understated and don’t have call waiting.

•••

In his 38 years of broadcasting Royals games, Denny Matthews has never developed a catch-phrase (though his exasperated, “Here’s the pitch, and it’s right down the middle for a ball” call is a minor classic). He does not often raise his voice, and he does not use cutesy words like “pah-dner,” or “He-gone.”

Yes, there are some around town who would like to hear a little more energy and life from him. The joke goes that if the Royals won game seven of the World Series on a grand slam with two outs in the ninth, Denny’s call would be, “That ball is … gone. The Royals win the World Series. Ryan (or Fred) will be right back with the totals.”

It’s a funny thing about longtime baseball broadcasters, though. They get inside you unlike almost anyone else in sports. You listen to them night after night, year after year, as a child and a teenager and a grown-up. You listen to them in your car and at picnics, with your parents and with your children. You listen to them as background music in your office, while you work. And after a while, it does not really matter if they are loud or low-key, funny or intense, glib or quiet enough to let you to hear the beer vendors. They just are, like the weather.

Denny’s style has always been to call the games in his unassuming way, and Kansas City baseball fans have grown up hearing baseball that way. Bill James, the baseball author who has no patience for announcing fools, believes Denny is among the best he ever heard. Rob Neyer, the excellent ESPN baseball columnist, says when he thinks of baseball he hears Denny in his head. Buck O’Neil thought Denny’s voice blended into the game the way a great jazz piano blends into a song.

Denny started broadcasting Kansas City games in 1969, that first year, and the Royals were pretty good right off the bat. They finished fourth that first season, ahead of the White Sox and Angels, and by 1971 they were already acting like contenders. The first 20 years or so were pretty much heaven for a broadcaster. Denny was young, single, the road was new, the players were his friends, the Royals were good almost every year.

“When the team is winning, the games take care of you,” he says. “That’s how it was. The games took care of me. Every game mattered. Those teams were so good and so much fun. I was really spoiled. And then …”

And then … well, hey, baseball gets everybody. The last 17 years, the Royals have gone through a strike, nine managers, a bizarre ownership change and 13 losing seasons. You could hear the frustration in Denny’s voice. He has never been an animated announcer, and he has never gone postal on the air. But any longtime Denny Matthews fan can hear messages in his silences and groans and gripes about the length of games.

“Hey, look, I don’t mind jumping in a car at 4 p.m. and calling a major-league baseball game,” Denny says. “That’s a piece of cake. But it’s the other stuff that grinds you down — like when your plane lands at 3 a.m. in Boston, and the team is out of it, and you go to the park, and it’s 7-1 in the sixth inning. That’s when you think, ‘Oh man, I’d rather be out on a boat fishing or something.’ ”

Ryan Lefebvre: “Good baseball and winning lends itself to Denny’s style. He’s entirely honest when calling a game. When the games are long and boring, when the team is playing badly, you can hear that in his voice. He’s not going to tell you, ‘Hey folks, this is the greatest game in the world,’ when it’s 13-2. And there have been a few of those games in the last few years.

“But you know what? Give Denny a good game, and he perks up like a kid. I think he really is still a kid, a 64-year-old kid who just wants a really good baseball game to broadcast. He’s not going to fake it.”

No, there’s nothing fake about Denny Matthews. He speaks on the air just the way he speaks to friends — same voice, same inflection, same wry humor, same precision with his words. He calls the games quietly, relaxingly, slipping in a few baseball thoughts and stories between pitches. If you listen to him, you learn about baseball. There simply are not many baseball announcers you can say that about.

Of course some complain about him, wish he would shout out more, but it seems to me this is like complaining about Kansas City humidity. Denny is Royals baseball.

And it’s wonderful to see his quiet work rewarded. He will make a speech on Hall of Fame induction day, and that will be quite a day. He will share the stage with a couple of players, Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn. He will share the stage with the wonderful writer Rick Hummel from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. And you know what’s funny? All four of them spent their entire careers with one organization — Ripken for the Orioles, Gwynn with the Padres, Hummel for the Post-Dispatch and Matthews with the Royals. Think about that. It probably will never happen again. It will be an old-fashioned day.

•••

Of course, this means the world to Denny Matthews. He has hoped for this. He wondered whether it would happen, though. Denny never has become an icon in town, like Jack Buck in St. Louis or Vin Scully in Los Angeles. That’s just not Denny’s style. We are who we are. Denny is not a self-promoter, and he’s not a dazzling personality. Denny is an old-fashioned and private man who calls baseball games well and then goes home to enjoy his model trains and hockey games. Lefebvre has it right. A grown-up kid.

When Denny found out that he had won the Ford Frick Award and reached the broadcasting mountaintop (“I’m going to make your day,” Hall of Fame president Dale Petroskey had told him on the phone), he wanted to sit down and soak it all in. He wanted to think about the great players. Brett. McRae. White. Wilson. Saberhagen. Quiz. The great games. The comebacks. The rivalry with the Yankees. The blown leads. The crazy plays. But the phone kept ringing, and he kept answering it, and there was no time to think about what it all meant.

“How are you going to celebrate?” I ask him at the end of the crazy day, and I’m thinking about steak dinners and champagne.

“Hockey,” he says.

Thursday nights are hockey nights. So on this special Thursday, the day he found out he’s going to the Hall of Fame, Denny Matthews goes out to play hockey with the same bunch of guys he’s been checking into boards for decades.

Before he leaves, I ask Denny whether he can sum up his emotions.

He says: “I hope I don’t catch a puck in the lips.”


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Great article by JoPo

J Diddy
02-23-2007, 01:52 AM
fug him

SPchief
02-23-2007, 01:53 AM
fug him


Must be a tard fan

J Diddy
02-23-2007, 01:54 AM
Must be a tard fan

fug him and fug you

SPchief
02-23-2007, 01:58 AM
fug him and fug you


pussy

J Diddy
02-23-2007, 02:03 AM
pussy

the sheer irony of this statement is that you call me the one thing you have no hope of achieving


good luck with that "virginity" thing

SPchief
02-23-2007, 02:09 AM
the sheer irony of this statement is that you call me the one thing you have no hope of achieving


good luck with that "virginity" thing



You're way 2 cool 4 school.

J Diddy
02-23-2007, 02:10 AM
You're way 2 cool 4 school.

that's hip

maybe we can have a house party

luv
02-23-2007, 02:11 AM
WTF is going on in here?

J Diddy
02-23-2007, 02:13 AM
WTF is going on in here?

we're having a "house party"


kid and play will be along soon

luv
02-23-2007, 02:15 AM
we're having a "house party"


kid and play will be along soon
Cool, my brother and I used to do the dance they used to do. I'll give him a call.

Seriously, wtf is up with you two?

J Diddy
02-23-2007, 02:16 AM
Cool, my brother and I used to do the dance they used to do. I'll give him a call.

Seriously, wtf is up with you two?

I tried to be nice to no avail


so **** him

SPchief
02-23-2007, 02:17 AM
Seriously, wtf is up with you two?


I honestly have no clue

luv
02-23-2007, 02:18 AM
That's it. No one goes anywhere until we...I mean you kiss and make out...I mean up. What?

SPchief
02-23-2007, 02:19 AM
That's it. No one goes anywhere until we...I mean you kiss and make out...I mean up. What?



I don't care what you want, but I am NOT kissing a dude.

J Diddy
02-23-2007, 02:20 AM
I don't care what you want, but I am NOT kissing a dude.

I second that

luv
02-23-2007, 02:21 AM
YAY!!! You agreed on something. This is a huge step in the right direction! Go me...I mean you guys!! :)

DaWolf
02-23-2007, 03:49 AM
OK. Sooooooooooooooooo..... how bout them Royals?

Ultra Peanut
02-23-2007, 05:11 AM
SHUT THE **** UP DENNY.

V.I. Lenin.

Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov!

Dr. Van Halen
02-23-2007, 07:12 AM
Denny Matthews is going into the Hall of Fame?

Is this just another case of baseball celebrating mediocrity that has just lasted a really long time?

Skip Towne
02-23-2007, 07:26 AM
I heard he's gay.

Cochise
02-23-2007, 08:44 AM
I heard he's gay.

Well, if being old and unmarried makes you the ghey...

Ultra Peanut
02-23-2007, 07:24 PM
WHAT WHAT (IN THE BUTT)!

Reaper16
02-23-2007, 07:31 PM
I tried to be nice to no avail

I wouldn't consider your first post on the thread, "fug him," as trying to be nice.
**** your Cardinals.

Dr. Facebook Fever
02-23-2007, 08:47 PM
This was a potentially great thread until someone actually posted on it.


Denny is the best... ever. Go Denny.

Ultra Peanut
02-23-2007, 09:19 PM
I've never heard Denny, but the best baseball PbP guy ever in my mind is Vin Scully.

The best analyst is easily Steve Stone.