Write Derek at drksmart @ gmail.com
Write Phil at phil.bencomo @ gmail.com
To Benefactors Yet Unmet
by Derek Smart
Being a Cub fan, one of my great pleasures over the years, and in particular during the formative period of my baseball fandom, was the first broadcast of the spring. Not just because it was finally time for the Great Game again, but also because, after a long Winter of silence, the voices of old friends - comrades made no less collegial by the dint of not having met them - made their easy way into my living room.
With all due respect to the current team behind the mic, no one has elicited that same depth of feeling for me recently - it's still there, of course, but with flagging intensity - and I was given a stark reminder of what I've been missing so, thanks to a fantastic long-form interview of Steve Stone on Baseball Prospectus Radio, performed by Baseball Toaster's own dearly departed Resident Big Shot, Will Carroll (take a listen here if you haven't already - 'tis free).
One of my saddest days as a Cub fan was when I learned that Stone would no longer be a part of the broadcast team, and while I've grown fond enough of the current crew, they simply don't belong in the same conversation. I don't think there's a single person on Earth - list any great name in baseball knowledge you care to - who has taught me as much about the game as Stone.
True, he's not a sabermatrician, and there's a lot that I've learned since my exposure to those concepts that I'd never have picked up otherwise, but the foundation that those ideas rest on was built by listening to Stone's wisdom, and that's an irreplacable gift. Thanks to this interview, I was reminded of that boon, and more importantly, after my deep, seasonal hibernation, I got to hear my old friend again.