MONDAY MATTERS: Bus Play-by-Play

The hockey season is long. Sometimes, too long (especially if you take every day seriously, like life or death). You need some entertainment in your life.

So, naturally, when on the road and in need of entertainment, it’s routine to pick the “I’m here for the entertainment guy,” the radio guy.

This happened last Thursday, en route to Spokane. In the middle of four games in five days (amazingly, the Silvertips channeling unheard-of energy to sweep the week), we’re weary. With my work done in preparation for Friday, I tuned into the MLB stat cast of the historic Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Washington Nationals NLDS “winner take all” game five.

Backtracking: with part of my roots tracing to the Pacific Northwest, I have a soft spot for the Seattle Mariners. But growing up for years in California, I bled Dodger blue. And stated before, obviously adopted Vin Scully as a role model. As this became natural education for our coaching staff over time, a nickname developed.

Sometimes, Kevin Constantine calls me “Vince” (long for “Vin”).

“Hey Vince! Can you help with this scoring change?”

 With our bus 25 minutes away from completing the 12-hour odyssey from Prince George to Spokane, the Dodgers headed to the ninth inning in the epic elimination game, sending Kenley Jansen to close the deal in his third inning of work. Clayton Kershaw (as many of you know the ending to this one) was in the bullpen.

“Hey Vince! Call play-by-play for us on the bus.”

 So, my voice belted over the bus for entertainment. As the first “baseball call” for me in roughly five years (my last was a Stockton Ports game), I channeled the inner Vin Scully for the final inning, delivering a half-serious call (“Jansen toes the rubber, glares in … and the strike two pitch is SWUNG ONNNNN AND MISSED!”) and half of comedy relief (Here comes Jayson Werth … fully bearded with a bat in one hand, beard trimmer in the other”).

Of course, the bus pulls in right when Kershaw is summoned. We all help unload the goods, which take about 10 minutes – enough to miss the high drama of Daniel Murphy’s pop out. But stepping back on the bus, the coaches beat me, and decided to have a little bit of fun …

“Uh oh Vince, game winner. Homer. Un-bee-lie-vable.”

And of course, I’m half laughing at them (“come on, stop it”) and half secretly checking Twitter for updates, nervously. I admit for a second, Mitch Love had me.

Back to the updates. Kershaw delivers the knockout blow: a two-strike curveball to Wilmer Difo.

“GOT HIM! And to the contrary, the Dodgers are headed to Chicago!”

I made sure the coaches heard that one.

Back to Spokane for this one. Tomorrow, 7:05pm. Items worth noting:

  • “Next man up”: the Silvertips stretch of four wins in five days is impressive, considering the crunch of schedule. Then, consider they had no Eetu Tuulola. Then, consider they lost both Matt Fonteyne and Lucas Skrumeda after Tuesday. Then, consider they lost Devon Skoleski and Brian King after Friday. Then, consider they had a full lineup by Saturday, but had to ask defenseman Mackenzie Dwyer to play out of position at center (by the way, he stole the puck off a breakout pass and delivered a juicy backdoor feed in the third period to Orrin Centazzo which nearly iced the game).

Voila, the Silvertips in the four-in-five stretch:

  • Won all four games
  • Rallied from a third period deficit in one of them (Friday’s OT win at Spokane)
  • Only trailed for a grand total of 4:29
  • Scored 17 goals
  • Outscored their opposition 17-8
  • Went 7-of-23 (30.4%) on the power play

Yeah, that’s not bad.

  • Helping those in need: Silvertips fans and Pink The Rink generated over $81,000 to help treat and prevent breast cancer, shipped along to Providence Medical Center in Everett. By count, according an organizational resource, the Silvertips also combined with building and external organizational partners to raise over a staggering $163,000 total from the event.

That’s not bad.

  • Radio intel: because it’s game on Tuesday night in Spokane, there’s no Silvertips Hockey Show again this week (things will pick up again next Tuesday at Sporty’s). This week, you have every game on Fox Sports 1380. You’re also reminded that we take your questions EACH GAME on the Tips App, via Tips Talk. We’ll invite you into the booth now for road games, so all you have to do is download the Tips App and enter your question via the Tips Talk news button. You get promo code points too.

That’s not bad.

Award winning broadcaster Mike Benton is in his second season as radio play-by-play voice of the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League, and 12th in the game. Tweet at him here.

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