Monday, May 01, 2006

A last link to childhood slips away

As if this week couldn't get any worse.

The one thing (other than my loved ones and pals) that has gotten me through being sick this weekend -- indeed, the one thing that's gotten me through a lot down through the years -- is baseball.

I love our national game. From April to October, it is my life's passion. Yeah, I know. It's weird. Kind of juvenile. Eccentric even. I admit it. At least I'm honest about it.

Tonight I flip on the Atlanta Braves game, looking for a little relief from these darn kidney stones. What's this??!! Bob Rathbun and Jeff Torborg are doing the game. I look to make sure I didn't make a mistake. Nope, this is Turner South. Rathbun and Torborg are the FOX broadcasters. Where's Skip, Pete, Chip, Don and Joe?

A quick internet search reveals that the company that owns Turner South was recently sold to FOX. Which means FOX brings in their own broadcasters. Which leaves the TBS/Turner crew, including Skip Caray and Pete Van Wieren, who have been broadcasting Braves games for more than 30 years, relegated to radio and to TBS telecasts.

God, no. Don't do this to me. Not this week.

I've spent my summers with Skip and Pete. They have been coming into my living room since that joyous moment in childhood when my parents got cable and I discovered the Braves on WTBS. They are old friends. Heck, they're family.

I've been waiting on something like this to happen for the last several years. Since Time Warner bought the Braves from Ted Turner and more and more games were showing up elsewhere, I figured it was just a matter of time.

A couple of years ago, even TBS canned Caray and Van Wieren, relegating them to radio and to Turner South broadcasts. But Braves fans raised a lot of hell. Skip and Pete were back by June. Now here we go again.

I feel betrayed. I feel empty. I feel like punching somebody.

Well, if this is the way it has to be, it's been a great ride. There are a lot of happy memories: Skip keeping you laughing when the Braves lose 100 games a year. Pete wowing you with his baseball knowledge. Skip making fun of virtually everything, including the movies TBS would show after the game. Sutton talking too much. Simpson laughing at Skip's jokes. Chip and Skip getting to work together at last.

I feel disconnected. I don't know much else to say.

One of my last links to childhood is gone, the victim of some senseless corporate decision. Poof. So long. See ya. Thanks for the memories.

Just when I needed it most.

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