I’ve noticed a trend on Twitter ever since Carl Beane died earlier this month. Quite often people who are at Fenway Park will tweet “Not Carl Beane” or something similar in reference to any time the PA announcer at Fenway does something of import (for example, announcing Don Orsillo to MC the Trot Nixon ceremony this week).
During Carl Beane’s time behind the Fenway microphone I had the privilege of attending many games in person. I only met Carl once (and very briefly) but, as many Red Sox fans did, I felt like I knew him because his voice was such a familiar, happy presence. I haven’t been to a game at Fenway since he passed away and I know my first time hearing someone else’s voice in person will be a shock and I’m not looking forward to it. But I also know that it’s necessary for the team to press on and actually have someone behind that microphone for the rest of the season.
This morning Larry Lucchino made an appearance on the Dennis & Callahan Show on WEEI (and NESN) where he offered Jon Meterparel an opportunity to audition for the Fenway PA announcer job tomorrow during the Red Sox game. Now I can’t say I’m a fan but I will fully acknowledge that might just be due to Meterparel’s participation on the D&C show. So I’m not exactly the most non-biased person to write about this subject. I loved Carl Beane…I’m not crazy about Jon Meterparel…the thing is, I watched NESN today when Larry made this offer and the genuine looks of surprise and glee on Meterparel’s face made me genuinely happy for him to be given the opportunity. He said working a game in the PA booth was on his bucket list and there were times when it looked as if he would start crying happy tears any moment. It was a pretty cool thing to be able to witness.
Well, at least I thought it was.
Immediately after the offer was put out there, Twitter and various message boards started blowing up about how horrible it was to even consider Meterparel for the position. I get that people don’t like him but who says you have to like every person being interviewed for a job? That’s why there are auditions and interviews, right? When Sherm Feller died people believed you would never be able to replace him at the microphone and here we all are still mourning the loss of Carl Beane and believing the seat should only be held by someone we deem worthy. How does that work? Who can immediately fill a spot left empty by someone as beloved as Carl Beane? Well, Carl Beane did it and no one thought he could. So maybe folks should chill out?
(Folks should also remember there were nine years between the death of Sherm Feller and Carl Beane taking on the PA job. Somehow Fenway went on for those nine years without the place falling down. Lesley Sterling and Ed Brickley did just fine.)
This isn’t to say the voice of Fenway Park shouldn’t be one that conjures up good feelings and makes us all feel welcome. It should. But the person to follow in Carl Beane’s footsteps isn’t going to magically appear. There needs to be a process and that process is going to include people that you either don’t know or don’t like. That’s how these things go. People are complaining that the Sox ‘dare’ even audition someone like Meterparel but in reality people are really upset that the Red Sox are going to replace Carl Beane. I agree…it sucks that we’re still in the process of mourning while the Red Sox are moving on by auditioning voices…but that’s what happens. It’s unfortunate and sometimes it’s unpleasant but it’s the way of the world.
By all accounts, Carl Beane adored his job and knew how fortunate he was to be living his dream. While I didn’t know the man, I’m comfortable believing that he’d be thrilled someone else was getting the opportunity that he was afforded. I find calling everyone who takes to the mic this year “Not Carl Beane” offensive to Carl’s memory. No one else will ever be Carl Beane just as Carl wasn’t Sherm Feller. They were their own people in dream jobs and, sadly, it’s someone else’s turn to get that opportunity. Let’s not punish the new person just because he or she* isn’t the person we want. We all want Carl Beane and we aren’t going to get him. Time to give someone else a chance.
*(I crack myself up with this one. I’m going to guess the Red Sox don’t even audition a woman but I hope I’m wrong…and that’s a rant for another entry)