When we go about our normal, everyday lives, we take an awful lot for granted. The sun, the moon, the skies, the wind, the earth are a huge part of our lives but we rarely stop to think of them. Sometimes, we thank our lucky stars, usually after a near-disaster. In the normal course of life, we cherish our family, especially our Moms and Dads, siblings and our wonderful children, but we leave the house everyday with the expectation we'll see our loved ones at dinner time.
On May 9, cherished Boston-area radio man, Carl Beane, went off to work in Western Massachusetts to fill-in at WARE-Radio in Palmer -- a small, rustic town near Sturbridge. Beane reportedly suffered a massive heart attack while driving home from his three-hour morning gig. He slumped unconscious and his SUV crashed into a tree. There were no passengers in his vehicle and no others were injured in the accident, according to police reports. He went off in the morning but didn't come home.
The midday news put a cloud over the Greater Boston sports scene that Wednesday as the Red Sox played at Kansas City, losing 4-3. Upon returning home to Fenway Park for a six-game homestand, the talk of the town turned to Beane via sports radio, press room banter at the Boston Celtics playoff game against the Atlanta Hawks and at the press box of Fenway where the Red Sox took on the Cleveland Indians in a quiet park with no public address announcements and only somber organ music filling the spring air.
Over at the raucous TD Boston Garden, the pregame talk was much about the quiet, unassuming manner of Beane, a fixture at nearly all Boston sporting events for some 30 years.
"The thing that most people don't know, in general, about Carl Beane is that he had a lot of gigs. People had come to know him as the voice and public address (PA) announcer at Fenway Park but we all, in the media, knew him as this incredibly diligent radio guy from Central Massachusetts," said Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan, the dean of the greater Boston media contingent. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that there's nobody in the media business, print or electronic, who has spent more nights at the combination of the Garden, Fenway and Foxboro than Carl Beane did over the last 25-30 years.
"You'd see him every single night. At the Garden, before and after every single game, doing his radio stuff. At Fenway, he was doing his radio job before and after his PA gig. He never stopped and apparently loved every second of it. He had to scrap to earn out a living doing this and he did it," added Ryan.
"Obviously, the culmination of everything for him was having the PA job at Fenway. He relished it, he respected it. He loved baseball and was so honored to be following in the tradition of Sherm Feller. People have now become aware of the fact that there is a picture outside the broadcast booth and he would 'give a little touch' on the way in. I think there was some kind of spiritual communication between Carl and Sherman who he thought was watching over him these last ten years while doing such a great job," said Ryan.
Veteran Celtics play-by-play man Mike Gorman spoke for so many people, both in the media and from fandom, stating, "I really didn't know Carl all that well but I knew his work really well. In that sense, he will sorely be missed. Professionally, talking of his work, his work was outstanding. He had such a great comfort level. There's a real art to doing public address announcing. Guys like Bob Sheppard, in New York, had it. Carl had it and he understood it. He understood less was better and he understood how to punctuate the moment. He was very, very good at what he did and he will be missed," noted Gorman.
A contemporary of Beane's, Steve Holman of Lawrence, Massachusetts, was in town calling the NBA game for the Atlanta Hawks. "I've known Carl since the 1970s, he was one of those guys who kept plugging away. he would get tape every night and he was a hussler, feeding tape to all the different media outlets. He was the nicest guy and everybody really liked him," said Holman.
"I was so happy for him when he got the PA job. That's a job of a lifetime. He sounded so much like Sherm Feller. I grew up with Sherm and after he had retired and then passed on, the Red Sox went through a few guys but when Carl came in there, he was Sherm Feller again."
From the Boston local television side, there is no better champion of the nightly news and the challenge of capturing a broadcast-worthy sound bite than Mike Lynch, the sports director at WCVB-TV, Channel 5 in Boston. Said Lynch, in a perfect and succinct summation of Beane, "There are few people who get to do what they are put on this earth to do and Carl Beane was put on this earth to use his marvelous voice that was booming, yet gentle and tender, and informative at the same time," said Lynch.
"Every stadium and every arena seems to have yahoo announcers who all want to out-scream each other. Carl respected his job, he respected the Red Sox, he respected Fenway Park and he respected the game of baseball every time he sat down behind that microphone."
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