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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Michael Uslan: ‘I Hear Dead People!’: My Sixth Sense at Yankee Stadium

Well…it’s certainly better than The Pinstriped Batman!


I hear dead people!

David spies the misty-eyed look of nostalgia creeping cross my cranium and tugs on my genuine pin-striped number seven Yankee jersey, politely pulling me back from the abyss of some alternate earth as he asks, “Dad, wasn’t Robert Merrill, like, best friends with George Steinbrenner?” His carefully chosen and deliberately operative word, “was,” allows me to cross back over to today’s Stadium and today’s Yankee team just in time to see stepping up to the plate the lead-off batter in the bottom of the first, our favorite player, the captain, Derek Jeter.

The immortal voice of Bob Sheppard (1910-2010) comes resounding over the state-of-the-art p.a. system and his intonation and cadence are unmistakable. “Ladies and gentlemen, now batting for the New York Yankees, number two, Derek Jeter. Number two.” His voice is as perfect and pure as if he was personally whispering in my ear. I’m lost listening to his slow, lilting words as, in my mind, they continue introducing to me Johnny Blanchard, Clete Boyer, Tony Kubek, Tom Tresh, Bobby Richardson, Hector Lopez and Moose Skowron. Every game he ever announced, Bob Sheppard was invisible to the fans. Now, I’m doing what I did when I was a kid, using my imagination to picture what Bob Sheppard actually looked like (exactly the same thing Charlton Heston had to do in The Ten Commandments).

David sees my closed eyes and knows I am adrift again. He nudges me gently with a brush of his elbow and suggests that if Yankee Stadium is the sacred temple to Yankee fans as we believe it is, wouldn’t it be appropriate to say a prayer for the “late” Bob Sheppard (something he never was in his 60-year announcing career). And that one word reminds me the great one has passed on, hitting me as hard as the bouncer that caught Kubek in the throat with the cold realization that…

I hear dead people!

Repoz Posted: March 19, 2013 at 05:30 AM | 0 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, yankees

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