Monday, August 4, 2008

So Long, Skip

Long-time Braves announcer Skip Caray died on Sunday at age 68.

Caray, who first came to Atlanta to broadcast the games of the minor league Atlanta Crackers and then worked Atlanta Hawks games for several years, went to work for the Braves in 1976 and was still on the air just a few days ago.

Skip was the son of legendary broadcaster Harry Caray. His son Chip is now an Atlanta Braves announcer and his son Josh is a broadcaster with the Rome Braves of the South Atlantic League. Baseball broadcasting is clearly the family business.

My favorite Braves broadcast team was Milo Hamilton and Ernie Johnson, Sr., mainly because they were the announcers back when I started paying attention and would listen to every game on the radio because the Braves weren't on TV much. But a close second in my affections was the team of Pete Van Wieren and Skip Caray. Pete was (and is) the expert--they don't call him "The Professor" for nothing. Skip was the entertainer; he was a solid announcer but he reveled in pushing the envelope and in trying to make you laugh.

I can find a lesson for ministry and/or preaching in most things, and I found one in a story I read about Skip. He once said that when he was describing a game on radio he tried to keep truck drivers in mind as they drove across country trying to stay awake. That's not a bad metaphor for preaching. We need to keep in mind the members of our congregations as they try to make it through their lives--what can we say to help them and how can we say it so that they will hear it?

So long, Skip. Thanks for being a fan alongside the rest of us.

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