Thursday, August 31, 2006

"They say the longest part of a journey is the last leg toward home." Oh so true! That stretch from Bakersfield to Fresno yesterday seemed to take forever. After 1500 miles and 22 hours over the road, with the anxiety of reuniting with my girls driving me, the homestretch seemed to go on...and on...and on...and on...

But finally, I pulled in at Deb's house and saw three of the prettiest faces ever to grace the face of this earth.

My prayer is that in the last six weeks, God has used my ministry to encourage and equip people from Tahoe, California to Teays Valley, West Virginia but now, its time to settle down and settle in and focus on encouraging and equipping my girls.

It's time to be a daddy again.


Some miscellaneous reflections that hit me while driving through the Painted Desert.

*By far, the smoothest highways between central Texas and central California are in Arizona.

*If you're ever traveling west on I-40 into California, do yourself a favor and bypass stopping in Needles. Good grief it is hot there.

*XM Satellite Radio might just be the greatest invention for long-range traveling baseball fans.

*I don't ever remember seeing a warning sign alerting drivers to the possibility of elk crossing the highway, but there is such a sign near Flagstaff alerting drivers of the possibility of elk crossing the interstate for a 54-mile stretch.


Tuesday night, I tuned into nearly every MLB game being broadcast over XM for at least an inning. It was fun to listen to great voices of the game calling the action across the fruited plain.

That got me thinking: Who are the five best voices of the game in my lifetime?

Now, I realize any quest such as this is fraught with an overabundance of subjectivity, but I thought I'd share with you the Top 5 Baseball voices of my lifetime:

#5 - Jack Buck, St. Louis Cardinals -- Who can forget his call of the dramatic Kirk Gibson walk-off homer versus the Oakland A's in the '88 World Series? "I do not believe what I just saw!" Jack Buck and Mike Shannon were the voices of my childhood, calling the St. Louis Cardinals games that I listened to over radio while going to bed at night.

#4 - Jim Elder, Arkansas Travelers -- The 33-year voice of the Arkansas Travelers(AA Minor League team in Little Rock) who recreated Traveler away games each night on KARN. Elder was so revered that the pressbox at Ray Winder Field was affectionately renamed "The Jim Box" in his honor.

#3 - Jon Miller, San Francisco Giants -- The voice of ESPN's Sunday Night Game of the Week is a historical almanac of facts, stats and stories coupled with a pristine voice and a voracious commitment for correct pronunciation. His book Confessions of a Baseball Purist is a must-read for any serious baseball fan.

#2 - Bob Costas, NBC -- Perhaps the greatest network injustice of my lifetime is the fact Bob Costas hasn't called baseball games since NBC lost out on their TV deal. Simply put, no one paints a picture with words quite like Costas. His knowledge and understanding of the dynamics of the game, coupled with his wordsmithing, makes Costas one of my favorite all-time announcers.

#1 - Vin Scully, Los Angeles Dodgers -- For me, anyone who can call a baseball game solo and deliver information the way Scully does is peerless. Scully doesn't need a partner, serving as play-by-play and color man all by himself. Listening to Scully call a game, as I did on Tuesday evening for four innings, is pure delight. A member of the Dodgers radio booth for 57 years, Scully is honored in nearly every possible Hall of Fame for his expertise, credentials and longevity.