I'm a little down in the dumps about the passing of Phil Rizzuto today. It feels a bit like losing my grandfather. After my family, and possibly Don Mattingly, Rizzuto had as much to do with my Yankee fandom as anybody. Among Yankees fans, he was quite possibly the most beloved figure in franchise history.
He was the voice of the Yankees in my formative years. He was as uninformative as one can be, while retaining a job announcing baseball games. And I loved it. The game was a reason to get out of the house for him. He yammered on about canolis, traffic, his wife, friends' birthdays, and growing up in Brooklyn as if he was talking to his friends. I generally hate baseball analysts, as they drone on in century-old baseball cliches. Better just to listen to sort of a surrogate grandfather shoot the shit, while watching the game.
Rizzuto was a genuine character. Never for a second did you think his act was contrived. Since he stopped announcing about 10 years ago, I haven't felt a connection to a similar connection to any announcer and I doubt I ever will. In a rare sincerely positive gesture over at SYHD, R.I.P Phil Rizzuto.
P.S. Does anybody else suspect foul play?