It's a bit sad that it took Carl Beane's death for the baseball world to learn all about the man behind Fenway Park's microphone. But I guess that's the nature of public address announcers: The best ones are always heard and appreciated, but rarely are they thought about.
Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston probably did the best job of telling us about the life of the 59-year-old who loved coming to work for the Red Sox every day until he died from a heart attack while driving his car on Wednesday afternoon. I encourage you to read the tribute.
But David Laurila of FanGraphs also paid some great respect to Beane by republishing a conversation he'd had with Beane for an "Interviews from Fenway Park" book in 2005. Beane's description of how he always announced Derek Jeter's name in enemy territory was about the best — and also the funniest — thing that I read all day.
Here's Beane in his own words (via FanGraphs):
"I [announce every player's name] the same, with one exception: Derek Jeter. I pause just a little longer between the Derek and the Jeter. He knows it, too. After one game, he came up to me in the clubhouse and said, 'I know why you do that. You do it so they can boo me twice.' I admitted that it was true, and the next night when I did it, he looked up at me and nodded.
"But it's funny, there are players who get more boos than he does. A-Rod and (Gary) Sheffield get it worse. Jeter's boos aren't vicious, they're more like Mantle-boos. He's booed out of respect."
In a fitting tribute to Beane, the Red Sox have announced that the public address will remain silent at Fenway for Thursday night's game against Cleveland. Out of respect.
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