Saturday, April 22, 2017

Where were you in 1991?

I recently came upon the baseball play-by-play demo I made while with the Baltimore Orioles.  This is the demo that got me the job with the Seattle Mariners.   It's somewhat unique so I thought I'd share it.  Most people back then (1991) just sent cassette tapes, usually of a half-inning.   And some began with a few highlights. 

I thought, to be different, I would make a video presentation.  I would marry my radio call to the TV picture so the viewer could see how well I called the action along with hearing me.   Also, I figured if they had something to watch they might not get bored.  I imagine after the tenth audio tape the listener just zoned out.

During that season ESPN did a profile feature on me. That served as the perfect introduction plus it included some pretty nifty highlights.   

Disclaimer:  I'm a better announcer today.  This was my first year.   And big glasses were the style back then.  I have no excuse for the helmet hair.

Enjoy and please be kind.
 

Ken Levine Demo by stusshow

25 comments :

Mike said...

"It's that kid from the spelling bee film!"

Gregory Zunic said...

lifelong O's fan here. Great stuff Ken. 91 O's finished 28 games below .500. Cal Ripken and nobody else. Mike Mussina rookie year. Last year at Memorial Stadium. You'll pay for the whole seat but you'll only use the edge.

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

I'm not a big baseball guy, but when I catch a piece of a game now and then it seems to me that the announcers all sound alike. Like Vin. It's what I call the Admiration Syndrome. Same for pilots.

When I got my license, I was in radio so paid attention to the communications between planes and the controllers. Same thing: Admiration Syndrome, because many of the airline drivers all used the same laconic West Virginia drawl as the person we all admired: Chuck Yeager.

...but at least you sound like YOU. That's the best. The opening was a very cool way to start...

"You are now cleared for takeoff on Runway 18, winds Southwest a 9..."

VincentS said...

Really enjoyed the video, Ken. To answer your question, I spend most of 1991 sobbing over the sad and chaotic state of the Yankees as demonstrated in the video. Little did I know that just a few years later...Anyway, I'm sorry I never got to hear you and Jon Miller call a game. Hope you get another baseball announcing gig soon.

Larry Asher said...

If you posted a story like this every day, I'd be a happy guy.

Boomska316 said...

Ken, you have a good announcer voice, but your look reminds me of Christopher Reeve's version of Clark Kent.

Ken Levine said...

I'm usually compared to Superman so I will take that as a compliment. :)

Tony said...

Where were you in 1991?

I had not yet made my debut in 1991. My folks weren't even married then.

LouOCNY said...

That was great - the piece BASEBALL MAGAZINE did on your Oriole gig . Used to love thatshow, even though finding it was sometimes a pain, because ESPN randomly stuck it wherever they had a open half hour in the schedule. Kelsey Grammar's comments were a hoot!

And no need to apologize for the hair - I had helmet hair in 91 also....

blinky said...


I was making videos in 1991 and your pitch piece is wonderful. 4 Stars. Today though the attention span of most humans has gone down dramatically so if you were doing it now it would have to be reduced to a 10 second GIF and a tweet.

Jon Weisman said...

This was really fun to see, Ken.

ScarletNumber said...

Eric Plunk, of course, is the only man to be traded twice for Rickey Henderson.

Craig said...

From this video it seems like you and Jon Miller announced games the "old fashioned" way. You were a team, but you each did different innings and you were the only person talking during that inning. I know the Brewers and Bob Uecker do it similarly, as did Vin Scully.

Do you prefer that method or do you want a color guy to bounce things off of? As a listener, I prefer the 1 man at a time, just because most color guys don't offer that much to a radio broadcast and the radio call feels more intimate with just one announcer.

Mike Barer said...

I remember that Rick had taken the job to replace the retiring Ernie Harwell in Detroit. As great as Rick as and he is one of the best as well as one of the nicest people I met, it's impossible to replace a legend to the Tiger fans. Rick wound up coming back to Seattle and Ernie put his retirement on hold to go back to the Tigers. Rick is now a Seattle institution.

Brad Apling said...

At 13:31 you commented "Bill Ripken with a little poached egg back to the mound". Certainly a phrase I haven't heard before. I love its descriptiveness, but what does it mean? And how did you come up with this? The ability to call a game must be about 1/3 sharp eyes, and 2/3 effort through experience with a love for the game wrapped around it.

Andy Rose said...

That video must have cost you a little money (or favors). You couldn't just put something like that together on your desktop in 1991.

Peter said...

I was 14 in 1991 and hooked on Twin Peaks. I was upset when the show ended on an incredible cliffhanger but was cancelled.

26 years later, Twin Peaks finally returns next month. Hell yeah!

Diane D said...

Wow, I thought it was great! Not surprising you got the job. If you would still be interested in doing that kind of work (as you indicated recently), why don't you have an agent putting something like that out there?

Rich Shealer said...

In 1991 I was a regular listener to Jon and your coverage. Thinking back on those broadcasts is why I found your blog years ago. I stopped paying attention to baseball when they canceled the World Series. I haven't bought a ticket since then.

I enjoyed the highlights from Memorial Stadium, those players were the ones I added to my Nintendo SNK Baseball roster.

Cap'n Bob said...

Much enjoyed, but the one thing that really jumped out at me was the ball in the dirt that was thrown back to the pitcher.

Peter said...

Just heard the sad news that Erin Moran of Happy Days has died.

I know that life hadn't been easy for her in recent years and she'd fallen on hard times. 56 is no age to go. RIP

Brian said...

Very good Ken. Let us know the next time you are a guest announcer. I'd like to listen to a live game.

Johnny Walker said...

What Diane D and Peter said.

Did anyone mind you filming interviews of the cast on the set of Cheers? Considering you were using them to get another job! :) Did you shoot them yourself? Or hire someone?

Ken Levine said...

ESPN produced that entire piece. They had to go through Paramount to get permission to talk to the actors and film on the set. I just had to agree to let them do a feature on me. The fact that it came out so well, that's all them. I'm grateful and relieved.

Breadbaker said...

I loved how when the Evans grand slam went over the fence you simply screamed "Slam!" and let the crowd noise take over. Not a lot of announcers would have the courage to do that.