So long, Keith. Farewell, Verne.
Buh-bye, Uncle Brent. Hasta, Ed.
Holy cow. You too, Mike Patrick?
Today, ESPN announced the “retirement” of 35-year veteran play-by-play man Mike Patrick. Patrick was an enthusiastic polymath of sports, bringing a fan’s enjoyment to the game while maintaining the eagle-eyed accuracy that many of his contemporaries lost.
We say “retired”, because although it is being reported as such, neither Patrick nor ESPN use that word in their announcements. More likely, this is another salary cutting move by the Mouse, who has seen its WWL property hemorrhage eyeballs and cash in the cord-cutting era (among many reasons — and some are more than a little #NoPolitics).
For college football fans, his was the voice of ESPN’s revolutionary Thursday Night Football, an event that never failed to captivate him. And then later, he was the voice of Sunday Night Football for good measure.
His excitement oozed through your set, leaving you jealous that you weren’t, for instance, in Lane Stadium for a hotly contested weeknight affair between the Hokies and Canes. You wanted to be at the games. They all mattered. They all were fun. And, man -O! Man- was each Thursday night going to be special.
His call to open this 2003 Thursday night donnybrook will stay with me for the rest of my days.
For Alabama fans, Patrick will be remembered for one of the most bizarre and hilarious exchanges ever to go down in a broadcast booth. From the 2007 ‘Bama-Dawgs game in Tuscaloosa:
Have a great retirement looking up Brittney videos, Mike.
We’re going to miss you. The sport is going to miss you (except for Mike Leach. He may not miss you.)