Most of American Society considers this weekend the first weekend of summer. June 1st begins what meteorologists consider meteorological summer. Most school children are out of school before this weekend thus starting their summer vacation. And let’s face it. The Summer Solstice on June 21st, while the longest day of the year, and the First Day of Summer, begins the Sun’s slow retreat to the Winter Solstice. No one will notice the declining daylight until August. Given that information, I’m good with Memorial Day Weekend being the Start of Summer.
Summer brings certain set of activities and life style: Spending more time outside, and less time in front of the TV, road trips, swimming, beach, and of course going to baseball games. There have been summers when I attended more than 20 baseball games. This means even in a summer where I spent a lot of time at the ballpark, the majority of my baseball consumption is done away from the ballpark.
This means I rely on broadcasters to bring me the action weather I’m watching TV, or listening on the radio. I will admit, during this sweet spot of the year for weather and daylight I don’t get in front of the TV all that often, but I watch enough. This leaves radio as my most used medium for keeping track of baseball.
Because of this I feel like I spend a lot of time with Denny Mathews, Bob Davis, Ryan Lefebvre, Frank White, and more recently Steve Stewart. After summers upon summers, and games upon games I feel like I know the Royals Broadcast Crew personally, even though that’s not the case. A Royals Broadcast is as much a part of my summer soundtrack as bobwhite pheasants, cicadas, weather radios, Nat King Coles “Lazy Hazy Days of Summer”, and a random sportscaster saying: “The Royals have lost 10 of their last 11”.
It’s a shame that the Royals haven’t that many exciting moments for this crew to call since “No Outs to go!”. But the Broadcast Crew is there every spring in summer. By the pool, campfire, or back porch bringing me the sounds of baseball on a hot and humid night.
We lost Paul Splittorff this past week. I knew Paul as a broadcaster long before I learned of his long and distinguished pitching career. He was an original Royal. Like I mentioned earlier I watch and listen to enough Royals baseball that I feel like I know the broadcasters. I felt I knew Paul Splittorff, even though I never met the man. I hope the real Paul Splittorff was like the Paul Splittorff in my mind. If that is the case the world lost a great man.
Certainly those close to Paul will mourn and pay respects to the person they knew and loved. For me Paul Splittorff’s passing represents another part of my childhood that has expired, another sound of summer that will no longer be heard even though summer is just now starting.