Say It Is So Joe, Say It Is So

Yesterday’s game was not just about a parade in fact that was just a minor part of what took place at the ballpark. Before the game began the Arizona Diamondbacks held their own ceremony where they dedicated the broadcast wing of the press box at Chase Stadium and renamed it to honor Joe Garagiola Sr.

It is hard to imagine anyone not knowing who Joe Garagiola Sr. is. His career has spanned decades and crossed beyond just the boundaries of baseball to include all facets of life. I grew up in a rural town at Idaho yet I felt as though Joe Sr. was a close personal friend.

I would see him every Saturday as he welcomed me to the NBC Game of the Week where he would not only talk about baseball but he would teach me about life. His down-to-earth style was perfect for that telecast and brought thousands of fans to the game and taught them how to appreciate baseball and what it meant.

“I told my wife I wasn’t going to cry, but I can’t help it, it’s so special. What it does is it brings back memories. I’ve had a tremendous run. I’ve been blessed.”

– Joe Garagiola Sr.

I first met Joe Sr. in 1997. It was November 18 and I was down at the Phoenix Convention Center watching the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as they entered the expansion draft and finally had players on their roster. As I was walking down the hallway I literally ran into Joe Sr.

Rockies Diamondbacks BaseballI was awe struck. Here was a childhood hero in the flesh. I must have looked and acted like an idiot as I tried to talk but the words just wouldn’t come out. I had so much I wanted to say to him, I wanted to thank him for all those Saturdays and tell him how much I loved baseball because of his influence. But I instead just stood there stammering.

Joe in a style only he has understood what I was going through and began telling me stories about how he had gotten tongue tied when on The Tonight Show. That story led to others about his antics on the Today Show and as a player and broadcaster. Before long he had me rolling in laughter and my fears were gone.

We talked for a while, I am sure he had more important places to be that day and surely I was not the one he was looking for when I stopped him but for that brief moment he made me feel like I was the most important person at that event. That’s just what Joe does.

I’ve missed hearing his voice on the Diamondbacks telecasts this season. He has been struggling with his health and until yesterday had not even been to a Diamondbacks game this season. But seeing him there at Chase Field brought back a lifetime of memories.

Joe Garagiola Sr. is more than a great announcement. He is an icon and a national treasure. The Arizona Diamondbacks did a great thing when they dedicated that wing to Joe. He deserves these accolades and more. I can’t wait for next season when Joe will be back talking about the game he loves and introducing a whole new generation to the game of baseball.

1 Comment

  1. I too grew up with the NBC game of the week. There was nothing to compare to Joe Garagiola calling the game and explaining things. I’m always happy when he gets to sit next to Darren Sutton and do some broadcasts, it helps to relive my youth.

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