The Amazing Mets 1962

At this time of year, even Mets fans might feel optimistic.

A look back at the Mets’ first game of their first season appeared in the March 9, 2012, edition of the New York Times, marking the 50th anniversary of the birth of the new team in New York. The story centers on an audio clip preserved by a young Mets fan, Marc Gold, who used his grandmother’s bar mitzvah gift–a tape recorder–to preserve the radio broadcast of his hometown team.

The audio clip is wonderful, and made all the more so by hearing the unmistakable voice of Howard Cosell on the pregame show. Listening to baseball on the radio puts you right there in a way that watching it on television doesn’t. The crackling noises and the old-school diction of the announcers add to the feeling that you’re right in the ballpark.

And the facsimile of the game coverage from March 11, 1962, also adds to the feeling of being there. It may be an acquired taste, but I am a sucker for old-school sportswriting. Here’s Robert Lipsyte’s opening graf from that day: “Seven white yawls rocked idly and ineffectually at anchor in Tampa Bay today, in perfect harmony with the New York Mets at bat, in the field and on the mound.”

A brief photo slideshow rounds out the multimedia elements and adds to the ambience of the story. Each element contributes something; that is, none of them is gratuitous. But the star of the show, for me, is the audio. Play ball!! Oh, and Go Red Sox!

Sounds Like…

The question is about the power of sound in my life. There’s music, of course, but that’s the easy answer. There’s ambient sound, and quiet, too. Although it’s never really quiet in metro Boston. I live on a busy street, a main route for just about every type of emergency vehicle in this town. Yeah, it gets loud. Usually when you’re on an important phone call or at the exact moment that House speaks the correct diagnosis–what??

I’m so glad television didn’t kill radio! I still love it. College radio for music, public radio for news, sports radio for baseball–all good with me. Baseball season starts in about 6 weeks, and there is nothing that says summer more than having the Sox radio broadcast on, listening to Dave O’Brien and Joe Castiglione bring the game to life. As much as I enjoy watching games, listening is even better.

The advent of the audiobook has had just a huge impact on daily living. If you get just the right book read by just the right reader, it’s like having someone you really like tell you (personally) a story. I once listened to Philip Roth’s American Pastoral, read by the actor Ron Silver–magic! The full-cast production of Philip Pullman’s series, His Dark Materials, was fantastic in a very different way.

Then there’s podcasts. I don’t listen to as many as I’d like, but manage to get in a one or two short ones or part of a longer one each week. Current favorites include The Guardian Books Podcast, On the Media, StarTalk.

I’m interested in developing my podcast form. I’ve been at my job for about 9 months now, and was turned loose to do a podcast a while back. It did not turn out well, because I didn’t control the discussion as I should have (plus it was my first try!), and instead conducted the interview as if it were for print. (Part of the piece was for print, and part for podcast.) A good interview podcast has to be a conversation, and the interviewer has to ask specific questions and get concise answers.

For me, the quality and feeling of listening is so much more intimate than watching.