Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Bob Casey, RIP

The totals on the board are correct!

It is something of a rite of passage that the sights and sounds of your formative years will disappear around you. I was no exception to a phenomenon that was no doubt replicated across the Upper Midwest as I stepped into the batter's box in somebody's yard announcing myself as Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, Roy Smalley, Bombo Rivera, etc. in a syncopated style that belongs to Bob Casey, the only PA announcer the Twins have had since they moved from Washington. Mr. Casey gained notoriety for the way he announced Kirby Puckett and Kent Hrbek, reminded everyone that there is no smoking in the Metrodome, and butchered players' names, but his infectious love of baseball is what caused his distinctive voice and style to seep into the bones of Twins fans. Don't think it seeped in? Walk into a sports bar and ask "Who's up?" when Julio Franco is at the plate for the Braves this year. The answer, more likely than not, will be "OOOlio (pregnant pause) frangko." Sure a snickering fan in the know might say "ozzievirgil" if asked when Omar Vizquel is hitting, but it is decidedly TORii, and not a mimicking of kirBEEEEEEE, when Mr. Hunter takes the field because that's the way Bob said it.

Bob Casey died early Easter Sunday in Minneapolis at the age of 79 as a result of complications of liver cancer and pneumonia, surrounded by his family. A Mass of Christian Burial is scheduled for later today at St. Olaf Catholic Church in downtown Minneapolis. His wife of 55 years, Rosemary, wants him to be remembered for his love of family and love of the game. I doubt neither. And I know the ballpark won't be the same. May he rest in peace.

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