The decision to axe Jerry Trupiano (above) from the Red Sox radio booth has been noted in this space previously, but Trupiano’s contributions have never quite been eulogized like this. From Ted Weesner Jr. in Monday’s Boston Globe.
Just as Entercom, the communications corporation that broadcasts games, made no mention of Trupiano’s non-renewal when it announced his replacements, if you listen to the new team of broadcasters — there are two who alternate with Jerry’s old partner, Joe Castiglione — there’s been no mention of the missing personality.
This despite the fact that baseball announcers refer regularly to the past, both near and far. It’s a little eerie. In the way that Lenin purged Trotsky’s image from official photographs, it’s as if Trupiano never existed. Fans are left to carry the burden.
And what a burden it can be. Radio baseball occupies a special place in many fans’ hearts. Unlike television, where the action sits before your eyes for passive digestion, radio provides listeners the very active satisfaction of using one’s imagination. Like a movie projector you get up and running in your head, you’re responsible for springing the game to life. In this sense listening to baseball is like reading a well-paced novel.
A good broadcaster is also a good storyteller, providing sharp detail, colorful character, a lucid view of unfolding scenes, all the while trying not to get in the way of “our” picture. Though players come and go, announcers remain loyal guides. Trupiano had been calling Sox games for 13 years. For more than a decade, his voice sounded in our cars, kitchens, backyards, workplaces.
Like all baseball announcers, he was a lifeline to the game, but also a lifeline of a more significant sort. Flip on the radio and you could on count on hearing his deep tones: playful, blustering, supremely in control. Something like the platonic ideal of the father. It may not be too much to say that Trupiano’s paternal gravitas offered — much like the experience of listening to baseball itself — a kind of temporary shelter from life’s storms.
Incredibly, I’ve had a hard time finding similar sentiments on the internet regarding Dave O’Brien’s abscence from ESPN2′s telecast of the US vs. China friendly this past Saturday night.