Joe was summer. Joe was nights on the deck, a can of perspiring beverage in our hand. Joe was the big sky above, the mysterious sounds of the evening, what the composer Andrew Lloyd Weber calls œthe music of the night.™™
Joe sounded like baseball: Lolling, drowsy, taking his own sweet time. We spend much effort running here and there, hoping at a dead run to wring meaning from our days. Joe taught us to slow down, put our feet up and listen to the ballgame. Baseball was not on the clock. Neither was Joe.
Joe called baseball the way roosters call the morning. Not always accurate, not always on time, but always in his own unique way. To Joe, baseballs flew into the gaps in right left-center. Close plays could take days for Joe to call. You could hear the crowd react in the background. You could get up, stretch your legs, grab a beer, call an old friend, write a letter, cut the grass, and Joe™d be there when you got back, making the call.
Joe sometimes had a tough time pronouncing Latin names. Many years ago, one of the many Castillos that have populated baseball came to the plate. Joe called the guy Costello, among other things. Joe wasn™t perfect. Or maybe he was. Perfection belongs to the ear of the listener.