Bob Sheppard No More?
July 11, 2010 by staff
Bob Sheppard – ESPN Reported that For over half a century, Bob Sheppard has done what the baseball teams in the demand for their pitchers: He repeated his performance again and again and again, day after day, in the same way every time.
And over the same period of time, he did what all businesses, even professional baseball teams, used to apply for their employees: they represent their employers with the largest class, dignity and professionalism.
We live in a different world today – a world in which stronger and more vulgar Gaudier are taken to better a world where arguments are won by whoever longer cries, a world in which technological capability 15 things to do evil is a value above the talent to do one thing well.
Bob Sheppard has come to a different world, a world in which the soundtrack of baseball was the slap of skin against horse leather and the crack of baseball against the wood.
And oh yes, the occasional sound of the voice of the announcer sound to inform you that came to bat.
During his life, Bob Sheppard made a lot of things well and one thing perfect.
It is one thing – clear, concise, informative and authoritative act of the ad that will be the next man to come to bat – is the reason why his memory will live on long after its introduction by Derek Jeter is recorded played for the last time.
Sheppard’s death Sunday at 99 was not exactly unexpected, considering her melodious voice – there’s really no other word to describe them – had not been heard in a Yankee game in three years, and never – except for that recorded introduction that Jeter has insisted playing in front of everyone to stick his house – the new stadium.
And even if it is not the Bob Sheppard world – this world of music without screaming appointment for each dough stage carpeted in advertisements to look like shopping malls and PA announcers who are more like ringmasters Circus – the world we have is now poorer by his passing.
Because from 1951 when he announced his first batter Yankees – “Now batting for the Yankees, the left fielder, No. 27, Jackie Jensen” – in 2007, a precise statement of Bob Sheppard was not only the bond of a true Yankees Yankees DiMaggio to Jeter, but at a time when the game was the thing, the real reason to be in the proxy.
Today, people go to ball field for many reasons, and sometimes it seems as if at least is to actually watch the ball game. They will see and be seen, schmooze with clients, make cell phone calls and waves of expensive adult seat in full view of the camera behind the plate for a cruise in the food courts and souvenir shops, and sometimes to watch what happens on the ground.
These days, the game often looks like a context is fair or bait to get people into the stadium so they can sell things.
When Sheppard began to broadcast Yankees games, action on the diamond was of all sensory pathways needed to do what is now known as “stadium experience” a valid pursuit.
And if the anonymous poster was PA Sheppard did not even know the name of the man he replaces. (It is supposed to have been red Patterson.)
His work, as the use of television announcer play-by-play was to provide the reader with the basics, then leave the road and let the game speak for itself.
That was before the era of grotesque NBA advertisers PA – each with a personalized hometown appeal – and before the advent of television advertisers who think they are bigger than the event they call, and before a genius decided that a few moments of silence during a baseball game – as between sites, for example – was a sort of dead zone that must be met.
Those of us old enough to remember when a golf ball was somewhere you went to watch the match and made to engage in friendly banter with those around him terribly miss those days. Those of you too young to know anything, but the audio / visual assault that is a rough day at today have no idea what you are missing.
Sheppard was the last link in the old Yankee Stadium – Stadium of Ruth and Gehrig – baseball and old baseball of Murderer’s Row and the Gaza gas and House Dem Bums from Brooklyn.
It was not a loud voice or a stentorian voice. It does not catch you by the lapels and demand that you listen. But in his office, precisely, he was an imperious voice, the one you just instinctively knew he must be careful.
There was a cadence, and discipline, without a design flaw. first time through the order, he gave you the position of the player’s number, name and number. After that, the position and name.
There was no editorial, no roots, no indication of the ad only if the player was a Yankee or a Seattle Mariner, or if the player was a star or a scrub. He said Jeter with the same amount of panache that he announced, for example, Eric Hinske.
This does not mean that Bob Sheppard was a saint, or that his motives are still intact, or he was a holdout last in a world rapidly spinning device into rudeness.
He made his share of answering-machine recordings and wedding announcements – “And they aaare Heah, yet Furst as husband and wife, Mr. and Mrs. Sidney … Applebaum Applebaum …” – and as an employee of George Steinbrenner, was made to do her share of in-game ad cheese.
(A nice story told by Bill Madden in his recent biography, “Steinbrenner: The Last Lion baseball,”Sheppard had refused to interrupt his dinner ritual pre-game to offer an apology amplified” our friends canadiens”au Stadium after a singer mutilated “O Canada.”)
And he soon came to appreciate the Yankees use of the recording of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York,”as a useful way for him to retreat to his car to return home in Baldwin, Long Island, immediately after the final results of a match.
Sheppard was famous secrecy about his age, and a little vain about his appearance – former Yankees PR man Rick Cerrone, who remained a lifelong friend of Sheppard, remembers being shocked by the age Sheppard was their first meeting in 1977, since the image in the media guide the Yankees had not been changed since 1959. But his devotion to his art, there is no doubt.
And in a profession characterized by its anonymity – Quick, tell me the name of the advertiser to Citi Field, PA, for example? – The single benefit of Sheppard, as precise and recognizable as liquidation Tom Seaver, was also appreciated by players and fans.
In his final years, Sheppard often sit in the Yankees dugout during batting practice, and players slipped over, timidly, and ask to meet “Mr. Sheppard.”When he joined the Yankees, Alex Rodriguez asked Cerrone he could help get an autograph.
Once, in 2001, Sheppard came down with laryngitis and needed relief to the middle of a game. Cerrone, a former radio host who had “Sheppard”tout serving as football and wrestling announcer PA Yorktown, NY, High School, was forced to fill in. He did so, in what he believed be a quite passable imitation.
After the match, he was accosted in the Yankees clubhose by Don Mattingly. “Who was it made PA announcements today?”Mattingly asked.” It was not Sheppard.”
He recalled a time Cerrone nearly 30 years earlier, when the Yankees announced their affiliation with Triple-A team in Nashville – and to commemorate the occasion, Sheppard handed the microphone at Yankee Stadium human Team PA minor league for what was supposed to be the three subsequent rounds.
After the first batter, Billy Martin – Yankees manager – stuck his head out of the pond and looked up at the press box. After the dough on the other hand, he used the dugout phone and ask what in the hell was going on up there.
And for the third batter, Bob Sheppard was back doing what he did for 56 years. And he has impeccable – repeating his delivery, and again, day after day, the same way every time. Showing excellent consistency and accuracy, and demonstrating the spirit of just doing something as though it has never been done.
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