“The Cardinals and (The) Astros are still attached by an umbilical cord.” Mike Shannon referring to the 2013 schedule this afternoon o KMOX.
St. Louis Cardinals fans have been limited to listening to the first weekend of Spring Training, unless they are in Florida. For many, it has been a trip back in time to a different era. Listening to baseball is quite different, but we should be thankful for KMOX.
During the 2012 season, when I was living abroad, I saved some cash by buying the radio package until the final month of the season, when I crumbled and got the premium package. My uncle, who refuses to watch baseball games on TV, is proud of all the time I spent with Mike Shannon and John Rooney last season.
As much love as Mike Shannon gets in St. Louis and around Cardinals Nation, he isn’t what Jack Buck was (National Icon). But Shannon isn’t trying to be the Hall of Fame announcer that I once brought bread, butter and water to when I bussed tables at Kreis Restaurant in 1998. Mike Shannon is proud of who he is. He is a Saint Louisan who became a Cardinal, and later became the voice of his team. That voice is as distinctive as his cackle and his comical mispronunciations of player’s names. Shannon’s reference to players weight as if they are hamburgers is consistent and so is his sense of humor. His calls on homeruns or strikeouts are irreplaceable. It isn’t the words he uses, it is the way he says them. The excitement in Shannon’s aged voice is like a youngster who hasn’t seen a game before. Other legendary announcers, Vin Scully and Bob Uecker, have fun while broadcasting, and so does Mike Shannon.
What balances the Cardinals radio broadcasts is John Rooney. He is the solid rock that can be depended on when Shannon gets confused (like when he called John Rooney “Jim” twice today) or tired. Rooney is also a Missouri guy, and he brought good luck for the Cardinals when he began calling games in 2006. John Rooney could call any sporting event, even it was tiddlywinks, and I would be captivated.
As TV broadcasts focus on player’s individual faces, and not often on the position of the players in the field, today we can enjoy the picture that our classic radio anchors paint. KMOX, the voice of the Cardinals that created a nation of fans from Nebraska to Kentucky and beyond still makes us shout, hoot and jump. It is a comforting feeling that to follow our nation’s pastime we still use technology from previous centuries, and it does the trick.
“Get up baby! Get up!” -Mike Shannon