Bob Harris…. Last Of A Breed

July10/ 2016

BobHarrisXGiven a Do-Over or 2nd-Time-Around, I’d opt for either baseball umpire or “Voice Of”. Duke’s Bob Harris doesn’t need a Do-Over to be exactly what he was born to do for the past 40 years – The “Voice of” The Duke Blue Devils.

Bob announced his Farewell Tour last week. The upcoming 2016-17 football / basketball seasons will be it for Bob. He will be signing off next Spring.

Here is a compilation of all of the details of Bob’s four decades “behind the mike” at The Wally and in Cameron and wherever his beloved Blue Devils were playing. – LINK .

If there is a niche profession where “good guys” seem to thrive in abundance, I think Voice Of might be it. At least it has been so for the past 50 years or so in American Sports. Like so much in our rapidly evolving (dissolving ??) society, Voice Of ain’t exactly a growth profession. There is no next generation of Voices Of on the horizon.

Bob Harris will always be linked to his fellow Albemarlian Voice Of Woody Durham. That both came out of Albemarle within a few years of one another and ended up as competing Voices Of heated 15-501 rivals thru the same four decades assures their permanent bond. Woody for the much larger fan base, and self-acclaimed, Flagship and Bob for the esteemed elite Gothic Rockpile eight miles to East.

Have I mentioned that Bob is a long time regular enjoyer of a certain Internet Legend’s provocative website? He is. Something he most definitely does NOT share with Bre’r Durham. Ol’ Woodrow doesn’t much care for the opinions we offer here. Understandable.

Upon the passing of Don Shea I said “Anyone who didn’t like Don Shea, never met Don Shea”. The same goes for Bob Harris. If you have a terminal case of HateDook and automatically include Bob, then shame on you. Yes, Bob is a Tru-DukeBlue Blood and a Tru-Hail Fellow Well Met.

Perhaps the best summation of the Bob Harris / Woody Durham perceptions is a comment I recall from a quite passionate C-Blue Kool-Aid consuming Franklin Streeter about ten years ago…. To paraphrase:

….. I turn off the TV sound and listen to Woody call the games because I know he (Woody) will tell it like it is….. NOT like that pathetic “homer” Bob Harris over at Duke. ….. YEEE HAA! Even “my buddy” Chansky laughed at the absurdness of that.

Woody Durham “telling it like it is” ranks along with Bill Clinton’s “I did NOT have sex with that woman” among grand knee-slapping comedic quotes of the past 50 years.

To Woody’s defense and that fan’s criticism of Bob Harris….. all Voices Of are about as objective as “Baghdad Bob” reporting on Desert Storm… or whatever dead-eyed dimwitted Pinocchio is Press Secretary / shill for whoever is POTUS.

A Voice Of who is not an overtly partisan “homer” / shill for his employer will last about as long as a PGA Tour golfer with the “yips”…. or an MLB pitcher with Steve Blass disease (can’t throw strikes) …. or an NFL place-kicker with plantar fasciitis. Not very long.

He better be an eternal tub-thumping optimist for “our boys” …. and sincere as possible that “we” are God’s chosen team. Victory would surely have been “ours” had time not run out or the forces of pure evil not ganged up on us.

Alas, with the retiring of the latest generation of Voices Of beginning with Kentucky’s Cawood Ledford…. Georgia’s Larry Munson…. and Woody and now Bob Harris it will end a most colorful era of sports entertainment.

Oh to be a Bob Prince…. Harry Caray…. Milo Hamilton…. Johnny Most…. Ernie Harwell…. Jack Buck…. and The Best of The Best – kaiton_chuck_kkVin Scully.

No mention of play-by-play Voices Of “good guys” is complete with including Chuck Kaiton – Voice Of The Hurricanes high on the list.

There will always be play-by-play guys calling games for sure; but not the colorful “us versus them” homers we loved or despised depending on where we were on our radio dial.  Plus there was the “paint a word picture” aspect of sports on radio versus the “see for yourself” aspect of sports on TV.

When I would hear a rabid partisan blasting Woody or Bob for being “homers” I would ask “so why were you listening to them?” Wouldn’t one have to be a real masochist to listen to a hated rival’s play-by-play guy call a game? I mean REALLY?

I love following the St Louis Cardinals. Thru I can watch EVERY Cardinals game via the Cardinals’ Network – FoxSportsMidwest). The Cardinals’ guys know all the locker room scoop as well as team history and, yes, they are “homers”.

Watching national telecasts I usually have no clue who the announcers are, nor do I care. Like so many, I do find Dick Vitale annoying and a pathetic caricature of himself.  I “blame Vitale”for many of the misplaced priorities in Big Time College Basketball.   Brent Musbarger is waaaay past his prime. Other than those two, I don’t pay attention.

“Radio” is certainly not a growing media platform. I have had my current car for six months and have not turned the radio on. I am listening to audio books when I am driving.   Any sports event I care about is going to be on TV somehow.

I am sure there are still a few fans sitting by their radios listening to an oh-so-familiar voice “describing the action”. But there aren’t very many of those left. If there aren’t many attentive ears, there won’t be advertisers wishing to promote their products…. and without a revenue stream, there won’t be Voices Of anymore.

We wish “good guy” Bob Harris happy trails and pleasant memories of so many Blue Devils victories.

We should all “love what we do” and be as “loved for doing it for so long” as The Voice of The Duke Blue Devils – our friend – Bob Harris.


Those BIG CHANGES Are “Just Around The Corner” …..


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