October 28th, 2011

The Rangers’ Closer: Eric Nadel

33 years.  That’s how long Eric Nadel has been broadcasting Texas Rangers’ baseball. 

33 years.

It’s the longest tenure of any broadcaster in the history of the Rangers’ franchise and the second longest continuous current stint with one team in the American League.

The events of last night’s World Series Game 6 need no further discussion for Rangers’ fans.  However, there’s something that needs to be acknowledged that virtually no one is aware of.

After St. Louis tied the game in the bottom of the ninth, it was No. 2 broadcaster Steve Busby, not Nadel, who took over the play-by-play in the top of the 10th inning.  Now, for the record, this isn’t anything unprecedented in the history of baseball on radio.  Even during the RoughRiders’ extra innings games, Brian and I alternate frames.  I typically do the 10th, but there’s certainly no rules for how the rotation works.

I heard Busby’s call of Josh Hamilton’s home run in the 10th that put the Rangers up by two when it hit me: if things stay as they are, it will be Busby who is on the mic when the Rangers celebrate their first World Series championship.  Not Nadel.

33 years.

When the bottom of the 10th began, I suddenly became more focused on who would open up the inning on-air, Busby or Nadel?  To my surprise, it was Buzz.

I couldn’t believe it.  The Rangers are three outs away from winning it all and Nadel is sitting in the back seat.  I immediately wondered if he and Busby had talked at all during the inning break about who would call the bottom of the 10th.  Did Buzz offer it to Nadel but Eric declined because he wanted to respect the play-by-play rotation?  Wouldn’t surprise me, Nadel is that much of a class act.  Maybe that conversation never happened.

After Daniel Descalso and Jon Jay both reached to begin the inning, Scott Feldman came on to pitch for the Rangers, replacing Darren Oliver.  The Cardinals, once again, were showing life but had just one out to play with.  That’s when Busby said, “Feldman is working  as the closer tonight, and we bring in our closer, Eric Nadel.”

33 years.

Judging by Nadel’s reaction, it appeared to me that the toss from Buzz was unexpected.  I could be wrong, but he sounded genuinely surprised.  Good for Busby.  Good for Nadel.

Eric didn’t get a chance to make the call we all wanted to hear.  A call that, if it happens, will be replayed time and time again, forever.

Maybe that call happens tonight.  If there’s a chance it does, don’t make the mistake of having your radio turned down.

-AG

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