The Baseball Radio

Monday, June 21 2004 @ 10:28 AM EDT

Contributed by: Named For Hank

Growing up, my father had this somewhat beat-up black radio with silver knobs and speakers and a fake leather case. It spent about 75% of its time sitting on the little cabinet beside the kitchen table, next to his seat. When it wasn't there, it was in the garage or in the backyard beside the barbecue. This radio had one purpose: to play baseball games.

It did all kinds of other neat stuff -- among other things, we could listen to police band and our neighbor's cordless phone. Mom says that she and Dad used to listen to ship-to-shore communications while lying on the beach. But all that was secondary, because this was the Baseball Radio.

Later in its life, the tuning dial began to fail, and us children were admonished for trying to change the channel away from the baseball station.

The Baseball Radio has now been semi-retired to the garage; the battery contacts have finally disintegrated, so it only works while plugged in, it has one volume setting (loud), and the station cannot be changed without a screwdriver. However, on days when cars are to be washed or wood is to be cut, the Baseball Radio still sees action.

The prized spot atop the cabinet beside Dad's seat at the kitchen table is now occupied by a new radio that someone got him for Father's Day a few years back. It's small, it's waterproof, it floats in the pool. That's great, but it's also brightly coloured and shaped like a bubble, and whenever I see it I can't help but miss the old, square, black-and-chrome unit that used to sit there.

My wife and I went on a two week long camping road trip a few weeks ago, and I decided that for the trip we required our own Baseball Radio. While idly wandering through a Radio Shack, I found a square, squat, chunky-looking one-speaker radio that was powered by a crank rather than batteries (you crank it 60 times and it runs for an hour, longer at low volume). It seemed durable, had a good warranty, and was blue. It had the perfect size and shape to sit atop a cabinet beside the kitchen table. It had a handle and an ugly carrying case. It doesn't pick up police band or cordless phones, but it does get shortwave.

I was sold. Now I have my own Baseball Radio.