Apr 2, 2009

Bob Sheppard Retiring...not so fast

For once being lazy works out for me.

An announcement came down yesterday that Yankee Stadium Announcer Bob Sheppard who I interviewed on Busted Halo last year about possibly coming back to announce games after his brief illness was retiring. I was poised to share the news with my blog audience almost immediately, but something told me to wait.

Now reports say that the story is false. our friends over at the Mets Police say:

I suspect the NYY's are sad that things got unofficially announced.

Bob is 98 and hasn't done a game in a year. I love him but let's be real. He's retired. They just don't like how it got announced.

To further the story from my undisclosed sources:

Bob's been sick for a long time and is 98 and needs to get his weight up to about 155 pounds or so and has struggled to do that. He may be there now but is still very feeble. One source said that they'd find is "surprising if he can even stay awake for nine innings never mind announce 9 innings."

I also don't think that this is why the Yankees are upset. My guess is that Bob is having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that he really isn't in any shape to be doing full games anymore. His journey towards recovering enough to do the games is indeed what has kept him going. To take that journey away from him may indeed depress him and slow any recovery further for him.

While I know Bob doesn't want any kind of digitally enhanced recording of his voice to be used permanently, I don't see why in this age we couldn't use Skype to have Sheppard broadcast the games from his living room. Skype would feature studio sound as long as both endusers have usernames.

Even having Sheppard start the games from home and having someone else in house to finish it, I think is still a good solution.

Instead the Yanks have another solution for now, anyway:

April 1 (Bloomberg) -- While Bob Sheppard won’t man the public-address booth as the New York Yankees debut their new stadium, fans will still notice the announcer’s flair and technique they’ve grown accustomed to since 1951.

“The Yankees have asked me to do certain things in the Bob Sheppard style, especially the lineups,” said Paul Olden, who is temporarily filling in for Sheppard. “It will be the way things are done from here on, whether I’m doing them, or Bob’s doing them, or anybody else.”

Sheppard, 98, is continuing a recovery from a bronchial infection that caused him to miss the entire 2008 Major League Baseball season. The New York Times reported today that Sheppard has retired, citing Paul Doherty, a friend and agent of the announcer. Yankees spokesman Jason Zillo said he couldn’t confirm the report.

Sheppard will be replaced by Olden at the $1.3 billion ballpark for at least the team’s exhibitions versus the Chicago Cubs on April 3-4 and its home opener April 16 against Cleveland.

Regardless, let's pray for Bob Sheppard, who is one of the nicest men I have ever met.

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