Sunday, July 06, 2008

Saying thanks to Pete

ATLANTA -- The man was sitting by himself just outside his barbecue joint. I debated on whether to bother him, finally decided I needed to say thanks.

Several years ago, when they first told me about the Black Dog, one of the things that got me through a rough period was listening to Pete Van Wieren and Skip Caray call Atlanta Braves baseball games. I'd been a fan from way back, before anybody came to watch the Braves, back when the team often found itself lodged in the cellar of the National League West.

Pete and Skip called every game on the old WTBS Superstation. You could count on them being there, season after season. After a few summers, they began to feel like old friends.

Pete was the serious one. They called him the professor. His concise delivery contrasted nicely with Skip's acerbic wit. I guess I've spent more time with Pete and Skip (3 hours a night on average, six months a year, for about 20 years) than anybody else outside the family.

Things changed, as they always do. For awhile, the Braves became one of the best teams in baseball. Then that, too, changed.

Pete and Skip are no longer on TV. (Skip does call a few games on Peachtree TV). WTBS doesn't even carry the Braves anymore. Pete hangs out solely on the radio.

Last night, I walked up to him, introduced myself, shook his hand and told him how much he and Skip have meant to me down through the years, especially during the dark days. He smiled, said "wow" and "thanks" and shook my hand.

Thanks for everything, Pete. You're the best.

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