Thinking About Carl Beane
Carl Beane was the Voice of Fenway Park.
Usually, when I write that someone is the “voice” of a particular team or cause, I’ll use quotes. But no quotes are needed for Carl. He was Fenway and Fenway was him.
Since 2003, he served as the booming public address baritone at America’s most beloved ballpark, and to say he did his “job” well would be like saying Pedro pitched well during his tenure in Boston. Yes, I’ll use quotes for “job” since I always got the sense that Carl loved his “work” to the point that it was a privilege and an honor, never tough labor for a native-New Englander who loved the Red Sox dearly.
Carl passed away yesterday, reportedly suffering a heart attack amidst a single-car crash in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. He was 59, far too young and far too energized to go so soon.
I only had a few interactions with Carl, but admired him and his “work” from afar. He was a master of speaking, something that sounds simple enough, but is much more a craft than many realize. And he cared about doing things the right way.
How do I know this? Well, when the Salem Red Sox traveled up to Boston in July of 2010 for the “Futures at Fenway” doubleheader, I was honored to receive a phone call from Carl on the morning of the twin-bill. He wanted to go over the names of each of our players, even the seemingly simple ones, to ensure that all pronunciations were perfect. We chatted for a few minutes about the Salem squad, I did my best to help him out, and he thanked me profusely for my time.
As a young broadcaster, talking to Carl finally made the day feel real. He was Fenway, and here I was, on my way to call a game at Fenway, with all the trappings of the Monster, the press box, and of course, the voice that went hand-in-hand with it all.
I met him at the park and put a face with the voice. He thanked me again. When I saw him at spring training in Fort Myers the next March, he remembered me and we had another enjoyable conversation. At the exhibition game between the Sox and Jays at City of Palms Park, Carl introduced former Boston Pitching Coach and new Toronto Manager as “John Farnell.” Everybody chuckled.
I’ve read numerous tributes to Carl over the past 24 hours, too many to list, from authors much more talented and connected to him than I ever was. It is nice to know that he touched so many people and he will be remembered fondly forever. He’ll be missed, and Fenway will be a different place without him.
Salem goes for the sweep of Potomac tonight before hitting the road for the next week. Your daily digest of game notes are below, and the broadcast will commence just after 7 PM on NewsTalk 960 WFIR and www.salemsox.com.
May 10, 2012 7:05 PM Potomac Nationals (12-17) vs Salem Red Sox (17-13) Game #31
LewisGale Field Salem, VA Home Game #16
Probable Starters: RHP Matt Swynenberg (2-1, 3.77) vs RHP Ryan Pressly (2-0, 7.06)
Home Cookin’: Salem enters Thursday night action seeking a series sweep of the P-Nats at LewisGale Field, and the Sox are also looking to stretch their home winning streak to eight games. Salem in undefeated in its last seven at home, a stretch in which the Sox have outscored their foes 42-11. Thus far in 2012, the Sox are a Carolina League-best 11-4 at home. The Sox have hit 54 points better at home than on the road (.314 vs .260) and the team’s ERA is 3.30 at LewisGale Field compared to 5.39 on the road. Center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. is batting .479 (23-for-48) at home with 13 RBI in 14 games.
A First-Inning Phenom: Over the past week, Jackie Bradley, Jr. has been the epitome of a leadoff batter. Heading into tonight’s action, he has reached base successfully in the first frame in seven consecutive games. In this span, Bradley has used three singles, two walks, and two leadoff bombs to perpetuate his league-leading 23-game on-base streak right off the bat. Amazingly, his first-inning on-base percentage for the season (.467) is considerably lower than his overall OBP of .504, which is the best in the minors and better than any on-base maven in the majors. In the life of his 23-game reaching base streak that began on April 12, Bradley is batting .427 (35-for-82) with 13 extra-base hits, 18 walks, and 19 RBI. His on-base percentage during the streak is .527.
The #2 Man: While Bradley is been the top of the order stalwart, Sean Coyle has batted second in 28 of Salem’s 30 games, and he has discovered his power streak recently. With bombs in consecutive games against Potomac, Coyle now has four dingers on the year, leading Salem in long balls. The 20-year-old second-baseman has hits in four straight games and nine of his last ten, a stretch in which he is batting .308 (12-for-39). For the season, Coyle is tied for second on the team with 19 runs scored.
Grand Slam? Check!: Travis Shaw has been a middle-of-the-order master for Salem so far in 2012, but up until Wednesday, his impressive offensive resume had lacked a home run. He hammered a second-inning grand slam off Nationals’ lefty Robbie Ray to blast his first Carolina League bomb and his first career grand slam. In 28 games, Shaw has collected 42 hits, most in the league. He also shares the league-lead with three triples and is second behind Potomac’s Michael Taylor with 11 doubles. After a four-game slump that saw Shaw go 1-for-12, the infielder has registered hits in each of his last six games, a span in which he’s batting .480 (12-for-25) with five extra-base hits and eight RBI. Incredibly, the lefthanded hitter is batting .484 (15-for-31) for the season against southpaws.
Anything But Average: With Wednesday’s barrage of offense, the Salem Sox enter Thursday with the league’s best collective batting average. Salem is batting .287, 32 points better than the league average clip of .255. The Sox lead the circuit with 76 doubles and share the lead with nine triples, trailing only Winston-Salem in runs scored. With 56 stolen bases in 65 attempts, the Red Sox have more thefts than anyone while also being caught fewer times than any other squad in the league.