Skip Carey passed away this weekend. It was unexpected, shocking and saddening to me in a place deep down in my soul. For most of my life, Skip was the voice of Atlanta Braves baseball, and in the 80′s, when cable was new, and Ted Turner owned both the Braves and TBS, no matter where my family was stationed, I could still have that connection with my hometown team, and that connection sounded like Skip Carey.
But it was the early 90′s that solidified my love of both baseball and Skip Carey.
In the fall of 1991 I was a newlywed of 21, and things were not going well for Tony and I. Our budget was so tight that we had no television, and for brief periods of time, we even had no power. Things were bleak in our nascent household.
And yet I can remember that time as a golden time. It was the miraculous Worst-to-First year for the Atlanta Braves, and every evening we would turn on the radio and listen to the Braves creep ever closer to a title. Skip was there with us, every evening, in our living room as we leaned in to listen to every exciting call, glued to our radio like a rerun of the Waltons. And it was the thing we looked forward to after long, hard days in the grooming business we tried to operate. The excitement and joy of baseball. The time spent together, sharing those innings. And the security of knowing that there would be another game the next night, and the next night, and the night after that, no matter what was happening in our small private world. Through the ups and the downs, Skip was always there with us, matter-of-factly pointing out the bad calls and the bad plays, and joyously, if not incredulously, celebrating the unlikely victories.
During that time, Braves baseball was hope. It was the triumph of the underdog over unlikely odds. If the Braves could go from worst in the division to the World Series, then we could pull ourselves up, as well. Skip preached that sermon to us every night, sometimes in the dark, but always colorful.
I learned to appreciate and to -love- baseball from his enthusiasm. I learned what it was that has attracted generations to the ballpark for inspiration and escape, even in the worst of times. But the fall of ’91 was a magical time, and Skip was the voice of the magic.
And now, a bit of the magic has gone from the world.
Goodbye, Skip, and thank you from bringing that bit of American hope to my life.