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The Voice of the Royals, Denny Matthews

I had mentioned awhile back that I was priming up for a post on Denny Matthews, and here it is. By December 29 every year, I’m in dire need of a baseball fix of any kind. The MLB Network is awesome and it allows me to keep baseball on the television year round, but there’s only so much they can say in the studio about Adrian Beltre or Manny Ramirez. Beyond baseball, I really need my Royals fix and there’s typically not too much discussion about the Royals on the offseason programming as they are generally not players of any real significance in the free agent market. In order to get my Royals fix, I do any number of a few things. One of them is write this blog. This is about as long as I’ve ever gone without getting the offseason blues, and I think it’s because I’m writing daily about the Royals. Hopefully my readers are enjoying it and we all benefit.

The two other things I do are both a little nerdy, but we’re all friends here, so I’ll go ahead and admit them. Every so often, I’ll crank up Welcome to the Jungle by Guns ‘N’ Roses and close my eyes. In my head, I can envision the scoreboards at Kauffman Stadium lighting up with flames and Joakim Soria beginning his perfectly paced jog from the bullpen. My favorite part of the scoreboard graphic is when Soria claps two baseballs together and they erupt in flames. It’s cheesy, but awesome and it is definitely something I do multiple times during the offseason.

The other thing I do is watch old Royals clips. You can find them on YouTube or iTunes or any number of different websites. I like to find the ones with Denny Matthews’ voice because, to me, he is a symbol of summer and baseball. It’s also really interesting to me to hear how his voice has changed over the years. Now he’s much more raspy than he was in the early days, but there’s a sense of calm that comes over me when I get the opportunity to hear his voice in the off-season.

I may have mentioned this before, but one of my favorite things about Denny Matthews is the way he says things and sometimes even what he says. Of course everybody loves his “No outs to go!” call, but one of my favorites is when an especially long home run is hit and he just says, “There she goes!” There’s one particular time I can remember. I don’t remember exactly what year, but the Royals were in Detroit. I was six years old and in my sister’s car driving somewhere and I convinced her to let me listen to the Royals game. George Brett came to the plate and Denny was talking to Fred about how this ballpark was just tailored to George and how he might hit 40 homers a year here and on cue Brett just drilled one and that led to one of my favorite “There she goes!” calls. The ball went on top of the roof as balls often did at old Tiger Stadium. To me, that was pretty cool.

One of my other favorite Denny Matthews attributes is the word choice. My absolute favorite is one that I haven’t heard in awhile, but I just love it when a batter hits a line drive and he calls it a trolley wire. For some reason, that just tickles me. I think, though, what makes Denny Matthews so iconic to me is that he is the Royals. He’s been there since the very beginning. While he doesn’t do a full slate of games anymore, he’s still the voice of the Royals. Being around a single franchise for so long allows him to have stories and anecdotes that give listeners a bit of an inside look into the Royals organization. While he’s great at announcing baseball, I sometimes find myself rooting for a blowout so we can get into Denny Matthews story mode and hear about something that Freddy Patek did in the 70s or a story about Jamie Quirk in the 80s. It’s the obscure stuff that you’d never hear anywhere else.

Something I’ve learned about Denny over the last couple of years is that his partner does make a difference in the quality of the broadcast. Say what you want about Ryan Lefebvre, but he and Denny made a very good team as two broadcasters who combined vast baseball knowledge with likable personalities. Denny is at his best when he has a partner to play off and make baseball chit chat. Baseball can be a very slow game at times, but a good announcer can make the down time even more enjoyable than when the play is happening. In my opinion, the hard part about announcing aside from the actual knowledge of the players and the game is knowing when to keep quiet and when to talk. The good announcers, like Denny Matthews, have that down to a science. He’s just a joy to listen to and listening to him is one of the ways I get through the long offseason.

  1. Joe
    December 30, 2010 at 11:26 am

    If we could only have two Dennys and no Bob the overexaggerater it would be heaven. Who else agrees that we have had enough of the annoying KU house voice?

  2. Joe
    December 30, 2010 at 11:31 am

    More Denny and/or Ryan, NO BOB!!!!!!!!!!

  3. jim
    January 5, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    i like it

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