Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · Why everyone loves Ernie
. . . .

Why everyone loves Ernie

George Foster - May 10th, 2010
Why everyone loves Ernie
We always knew that when he passed away, Ernie Harwell would
qualify for sainthood in the state of Michigan.
But let me state a fact up front - Ernie Harwell was not a great
baseball announcer, at least in the modern sense. If you have listened
to Ernie over the decades as much as I, you know he made more than his
share of on-the-air mistakes. Some must have been highly embarrassing
to Harwell.
I’ve heard him state this one more than once, “There’s a pop-up on
the infield and it’s going, going, gone for a home run.” Somehow,
though, the gaffs made him seem even more likeable – a regular guy,
not a smooth and polished talking machine.
Also, Ernie used his words sparingly – his extended pauses
sometimes caused me to check my radio to see if it was still powered
on. In today’s broadcasts, you rarely hear a moment of silence by the
game’s announcers – mostly mindless jabbering just to fill in the
time.
If Harwell wasn’t the slickest announcer in history, why the big
fuss about him? For one thing, we embraced Ernie because he represents
the idyllic days of youth. A co-worker mentioned to me that she
remembers the contentment of Harwell’s soothing, Southern drawl
describing Tigers games while her dad worked around her childhood home
every summer. She may not know Al Kaline from Allan Trammell, but
Ernie Harwell’s voice has the power to stir something inside of us –
for me that something makes me feel good.
Ernie was an original. As a baseball historian, he entertained us
with his stories in the early days of the game about colorful
characters such as Ty Cobb and “Wahoo” Sam Crawford. During Tigers
games Harwell coined sentences like, “Mantle stood there like the
house beside the road and watched that one go by for strike three.” Or
“Gibson gave the umpire the ol’ family-look after that pitch.” Or “a
woman from Livonia grabbed that foul ball” – how did he know where she
was from?
When the memorial to Harwell was held at Comerica Park
recently, sports analysts criticized some fans for being disrespectful
by photographing him as many thousands passed by. Well what do you
expect when a figure as beloved as Erie Harwell is laid to rest in an
open coffin? There will always be knuckle-heads who don’t know any
better.
Ernie wouldn’t appreciate any controversy attached to his
passing. Even when the Tigers fired him 20 years ago, he never
criticized the organization or anyone for being dumped so
unceremoniously. He remained silent on the subject though it was
obvious that his sudden dismissal pained him deeply. Eventually he was
reinstated when Mike Ilitch bought the team a few years later.
The outpouring of love for Ernie Harwell at his passing is
mostly because he was a great man. He is famous for being kind and
thoughtful to everyone. When I interviewed him about 15 years ago, I
was a nobody from an unfamiliar newspaper - yet, he gave me as much
time as I needed. We talked about baseball for a long time, so long
that I had to excuse myself in order to get other work done. Everyone
Ernie has encountered has similar stories to share.
We usually refer to Harwell simply as “Ernie” - like a favorite
uncle. Maybe that is the best explanation of why the accolades for
Harwell just keep coming and have been beyond what any other sports
icon in Michigan may ever receive.
Ernie Harwell seemed like a member of the family.

 
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