Fun in the radio booth, and other random shots from Cincinnati series.

After two days of blogging/tweeting from the broadcast booths, it’s going to be hard to trudge back to my normal seat in the press box. Broadcast booths are everything a working press box isn’t — lively, full of chatter, fun. I got a kick out of listening to radio announcers Dave Raymond and Brett Dolan banter back and forth Wednesday night, especially when the subject of attendance — “it’s an intimate gathering here tonight,” Raymond said — was brought to the forefront.

“No more than 9,500,” Raymond said.

“How can you say that? Dolan responded. “Haven’t you noticed all of the activity here tonight? There’s at least 12,500!”

(It ended up a wash…attendance was right in the middle, somewhere in the 10,000 range).

From the booth:

Brett reads a promotional message, a staple of any radio broadcast.

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Dave Raymond and his friend, the microphone.

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“Is this thing on?”

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Random shots of batting practice:

LaTroy Hawkins channeling his inner sychronized swimmer

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Tommy Manzella, Hunter Pence.

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Kaz Matsui

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On a personal note…

When I was hired by the Astros in 1997, I immediately looked at the upcoming season schedule to see when my hometown Reds would be in Houston — not because of Barry Larkin, not because they were my hometown team, but because of Dayton Daily News beat writer Hal McCoy, whom I grew up reading and could not wait to meet.

I really wasn’t overly impressed by baseball players, but there was something about the writers and broadcasters that I always found fascinating. Hal has covered the Reds my entire life, quite literally, considering we’re both in year No. 37.

The 1970s and ’80s were simpler times, pre-internet and 24-hour cable stations. You got your information only from your local newspaper, and while there were a couple of competing papers in Cincinnati, in Dayton, there was only one — the Daily News. In Dayton, if you didn’t read Hal, you didn’t read Reds.

Two distinctive images stand out in my mind — “Mr. Red” on the front page either smiling or frowning, depending on whether they won or lost the night before (or expressionless for West Coast games that ended too late to make the paper) and the head shot of Hal that was not updated for about 20 years.

Hal was inducted into the writer’s wing of the Hall of Fame in 2002 and remains one of the most beloved and respected baseball writers in the country. He’s retiring after the season, not because he wants to, but because the DDN isn’t covering the Reds anymore, effective next year.

This is terribly sad news for the industry but also for thousands of people who for decades got their Reds information from only one writer — Hal. The Reds honored Hal before the game on Wednesday, and our own Aaron Boone caught Hal’s ceremonial first pitch. Boone gave Hal a pep talk six years ago after Hal suffered from a stroke that robbed him of part of his sight. Hal worked six more years, thanks to Aaron’s encouragement. You can read about what Aaron means to Hal here. I’ve posted some pictures from the ceremony below.

Hal hugs Aaron Boone after first pitch

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1 Comment

It is sad that Hal McCoy will not be covering the Reds anymore. He was talking to Thom and Jeff yesterday on the Reds broadcast (I live in the Cincinnati area) and he said if another team would offer the same job he has been doing he would take it. What a shame that Dayton and the surrounding areas will be missing such a great writer.

BTW, have you had your Skyline Chili yet?

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