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The Voice of the Turtle

This was always a great day back in my time in Detroit, because this was the day we'd crank up the radio at 12:30 to hear Ernie Harwell broadcast the Tigers' first spring training game. Just hearing Ernie's voice meant winter was over. And every spring he'd open with this, from the Song of Solomon:

"For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land."

Damn, I'm tearing up. Hang on...

I don't think an announcer could pull that off today, do you?

If you've never heard Ernie Harwell call a game, well, your loss. Download his ode to baseball on iTunes; buy an audiobook. And as good an announcer as he was, he is an even better human being. Can't say enough about that guy.

Speaking of guys I like, Barry's been in the DR this week, chasing Frowney. Here's an early look at his story for tomorrow's paper.

There's also a little sidebar.

Also, Tom Boswell is chatting tomorrow at noon. Here's the link.

Finally, this piece about Jon Rauch from the Arizona Republic is a few days old, and he's a former Nat, I know, but I thought it was interesting nonetheless. At least check out the photo.

Happy First Game of the Spring to all!

By Tracee Hamilton  |  February 25, 2009; 11:00 AM ET
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Next: Nats Vs. Astros Running Thread


I've had the pleasure of hearing Ernie on XM a while back, doing games. He is certainly a treasure for the ears to find. A throwback that would work anytime. He certainly belongs in the same sentence as Scully.

Posted by: cokedispatch | February 25, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

The best part of the Rauch article is the commentary.

Posted by: Section506 | February 25, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Haha, I thought so as well, 506. You stay classy, 'Zona.

Posted by: faNATic | February 25, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

New Posted (Oh, and Todays game is on GameDay Audio via the Houston broadcast - Whoo Hoo!):

GameDay Audio is the greatest thing since indoor plumbing. And yes, the games are archived in perpetuity (look at me with the College Word!) - or at least for a year (Okay, I just checked and the July 4th games for 2008 and 2007 continue to stream, so there's that).

It IS streaming only, so you'll need to do the capture thing if you want to get in on a portable device (there are a number of stream capture methods that you can use).

I've not done the MLBTV thing (the condensed games would be good, but I'd like it if it was every pitch instead of just the pitch that gets the out/hit). The big ad page with the MLB.TV sub info ( says that condensed games will still be done this year (so there's that too).

Posted by: OldDude | February 25, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

fire jim bowden website reporting that Jim is gone today in favor of Tony LaCava.

Posted by: tlynch44 | February 25, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Who's is Tony LaCava and why wouldn't Rizzo succeed JimBo?

First game of spring is one of the best days of the year. Crime there is no Nats broadcast of the game.

Posted by: Avar | February 25, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

LeCava is an Asst GM with Toronto. One of the names often mentioned among GMs-in-waiting.

No idea why not Rizzo. All that we could do is guess.

Posted by: Brian_ | February 25, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

sorry, that's LaCava

Posted by: Brian_ | February 25, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

First off, Barry's article should be required reading on the Frowny GonzoAlvarez stuff - shows how muddied the waters get when you get right down to it and how systemic the issue of lying about your age and even identity is. The fact that Frowny decided to claim to be 13 (13!) when he was actually 17 really shows what a "long con" this really was - he was pretending to be Esmailyn for years before he was actually signed, and years afterwards. My question for Barry, though - where's the REAL Esmailyn, the 13-year-old? Where did he go?

Second, I read the FJB article. You can't blame him - this is as close as Steven's been to accomplishing his five-year-long ambition - so it doesn't surprise me that he's jumping the gun, posting the rank speculation of other bloggers based on the rank speculation of other sources. For all that, I hope he's right. I hope the announcement is today, and I hope that it is somebody who's professionalism is beyond reproach.

Hooray for the first game! Chico - you got lineups? You know, not to cast aspersions, but when BARRY was down in Viera, BARRY used to live-blog the games a little, at least until he had to leave for his own filing deadline. I mean, I'm not saying you HAVE to, but it is what BARRY did. ;) (I'm kidding - mostly.)

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | February 25, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Why is Svrluga in the DR chasing Frowney, when he should be CHASING THE MONEY? This quote from his story shows how misguided his quest down there really is:

"How this all happened is by no means clear, and Alvarez's version -- parts of which he told here, sitting at a chair affixed to an outdoor table at a ramshackle gas station -- is highly unlikely to be the final word on the matter."

Look, reasonable people will differ on whether the Post's hidden agenda is to open a can of whupass on Jim Bowden and drive him out of DC on a rail, or just to sort out and expose the truth in this sorry mess of a story. But either way, they're going about it the wrong way by (a) on the domestic front, maintaining the Viera death watch on Bowden and parsing Stan Kasten's comments for hidden meanings like so many tea leaves, and (b) on the international front, tracking down the most minor bit player in the story for full Barbara Walters treatment. ("Smiley, which species of tree best describes your feelings now? Weeping willow, perhaps?") Come on, Washington Post. You're the paper that got Nixon fired, and you've been resting on those laurels for three whole decades, while raising subscription and newsstand prices all the while. Now you can't even get to the bottom of a little bonus-skimming scandal and publish the results so that Ted Lerner can come before us and say "My fellow Americans, our long Nationals nightmare is over"? Washington Post, you have become the laughing stock of newspapers. Unexceptable!

Posted by: nunof1 | February 25, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Audio of Ernie's poem:

Posted by: Rocket1124 | February 25, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Reading Svrluga's story reminds me of that Chevy Chase movie where he bribes an entire town to help him sell his house, and the whole town goes about acting as if they're some idyllic winter wonderland postcard-type village when in reality they're all just nuts.

Posted by: Juan-John | February 25, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

For what it's worth, John Perrotto over at Baseball Prospectus also has the rumor that the Nats will fire Bowden and hire LaCava:

"It appears that the Nationals will fire GM Jim Bowden over the alleged bonus-skimming scandal in the Dominican Republic, and hire Blue Jays assistant GM Tony LaCava."

Posted by: Section220 | February 25, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Guys & Gals,

Is anyone going to the Nats vs dundalk birds game in Ft Lauderdale on March 6th? I'll be there. I'd like to get a nice tailgate going. The stadium has a large spot for tailgaing outside on the first base side I believe.


"Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don't care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out,
At the old ball game."

Posted by: NatsandSkinsareclassclassclass | February 25, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

... it just goes to show you that in some parts of the world, individuals are not appreciated if they don't conform to the herd mentality.

... the first thing the new Nats' GM should do is bring tall Jon back home where he belongs, and where he was, and would be again, appreciated.

Posted by: natscanreduxit | February 25, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Rizzo will be promoted and LaCava will get Rizzo's current job.

Posted by: leetee1955 | February 25, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Why would LaCava leave Toronto to take a job at the same level as the one he has now?

Posted by: estuartj | February 25, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I don't doubt that SB/FJB will be happy if the rumor comes true, 295, but I don't see that it would be a personal accomplishment for him. More like the fulfillment of a dream.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 25, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

A belated thanks to Tracee for the moving observance of the new beginning that is ST. Speaking of the Tigers, as she was, the Fidrych complete game that I mentioned in an earlier thread is scheduled to be rebroadcast this afternoon on the MLB Network. Don't know about plans for future showings.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 25, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for the awesome post, links and story.

You rock!

Posted by: NattyDelite | February 25, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to rocket for the Harwell audio link.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 25, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Kudos to Ernie Harwell, a class act all the way. To me, he's certainly among the five greatest announcers in baseball history, right up there with Vin Scully, Harry Kalas, Mel Allen and Red Barber.

Posted by: VPaterno | February 25, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

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