Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The eternal joy of Bob Murphy

Bob Murphy had a level of joy and optimism in his broadcasts. He was called a "homer" (rooting for the home team), but I don't think that's quite an accurate description. He was an eternal optimist when it came to the New York Mets. I'm sure it had evolved over time. Maybe it came with age. He was already 62 by the time I first heard him. Even older when I first started to understand who and what I was listening to.

But there was also a sense of joy in the success of the Mets, and in baseball in general. And there was just a way about him that probably had nothing to do with his rooting interests in the club. You hear it in the emphasis of certain words - "a HIGH fly ball hit DEEP to right field" on a call of a Mets homerun. Maybe that was his way of putting color in his painted word picture.

Outside of the 1986 World Series, he might be best remembered for a bit of frustration over a game ending with the Mets barely hanging on to win.

And my favorite sound byte of Bob Murphy. This from the first Spring Training broadcast in 1998. It was most likely the first time any of us had heard his voice since the end of the 1997 season, and this is a point when optimism and joy were at its peak in a season (especially after he gets through the advertisements).

With all due respect to Howie Rose and Gary Cohen, Bob Murphy was forever the voice of the Mets. It was 7 years ago that Mets fans lost Bob Murphy at the age of 79. Richard Sandomir of the New York Times remembered him at the time here.

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