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Minor Details of Moneyball; Bill King, Ken Korach and Roy Steele


So far, I have attended two of the Moneyball tapings reliving the Oakland Athletics 2002 season and their 20 game win streak and plan to attend two more next week.

I believe that in the authenticity of the film, the producers MUST include the voices of Bill King, Ken Korach and Roy Steele.

I have written a piece to share with you as more of "My Petition to get these three into the film."

You cannot have a 'Miracle on Ice' without Al Michaels saying, "Do you believe in Miracles?....YES!"

Minor Details of Moneyball; Bill King, Ken Korach and Roy Steele

By Richard A. Fong, III (Sniff009)

July 30, 2010

 

It’s September 4, 2002 and Oakland Athletics pinch hitter Scott Hatteberg connects for a game winning home run, rounds the bases with a signature fist pump and comes home to a mob of teammates waiting to greet him.  The Oakland Athletics have just won their 20th game in a row and the crowd of about 650 sitting behind home plate comes to life.

“Cut!” yells the director.  “Reset! Crowd, y’all were great, but let’s try to get even louder.”

As the film ‘Moneyball’ continues filming at the Coliseum, I am truly living out a childhood dream of mine; being in a movie (as an extra) and watching/cheering for my favorite baseball team.  But, in the recent days, I have realized two things that must be in the movie to make it truly an Oakland Athletics broadcast; the radio calls of the Late Bill King and current broadcaster Ken Korach, and the Voice of God, Roy Steele.  We can even throw in some Ray Fosse as well since Hatteberg did wear Fosse’s number and was a former catcher just like Hatteberg.

Before cable networks showing baseball games on television every day, there was only radio and being able to hear the likes of Ernie Harwell, Jack Buck, and Vin Scully describe the action in an amazing manner.  As much as it pains me to say this, one of the best modern day moments I enjoy as a baseball fan and not as an A’s fan is Scully’s call of Kirk Gibson’s home run to win Game 1 of the 1988 World Series:

"High fly ball into right field, she i-i-i-is... gone!!”

(67 seconds of cheering)

"In a year that has been so improbable... the impossible has happened!”

 

Before all A’s fans want to burn me at the stake, please let me explain.  Though this was a nationally televised game on NBC, Vin Scully has been with the Dodgers since they were based in Brooklyn.  When you first think Dodgers, Koufax, Robinson, hating the Giants, and Scully come to mind.  Scully believes that words do not describe everything, as the crowd’s reaction describes more.

 

Subconsciously, we tend to forget about the minor details about the Oakland Athletics that are missing from the true Oakland experience other than just 25 men on a baseball team, a man (Billy Beane) and his $41 million dollar payroll.

 

Since the cameras have been rolling, I have constantly been reading Twitter feed from those that speak of ‘Moneyball.’  This brought back some fond lost memories such being able to run to the third deck without getting in trouble with security, a healthy Eric Chavez, the drummers yelling “T-Long,” the “Fear Mecir” and “Mabry’s Maniac’s” signs, to the awesomeness of the “Pom-Pom Guy.”

 

As an A’s fan you think of White Shoes, Charlie O., the Mustache Gang, Bash Brothers, Rickey, and Bill King.  My father says to me to this day, “I wish you had a chance to listen to Bill King while he was with the Warriors (and Raiders), he was amazing.  You could tune in at any point in the game and know exactly what’s going on.”  And I already thought that he was amazing at A’s games, what else could this man do?

 

So what does this have to do with the film ‘Moneyball?’ To me and I speak for probably 99.99% of all A’s fans; EVERYTHING.  If I recall correctly, Dan Schulman of ESPN was the only television broadcaster that was able to call Scott Hatteberg’s walk off homer since ESPN had rights for Wednesday Night Baseball.  I am not discrediting Schulman as he did a magnificent job for the viewers, but I believe that Bill King’s call summed up everything an A’s fan was feeling at that moment.  The A’s radio broadcast team of Bill King and Ken Korach’s true radio calls of the streak must be in this film.  Without these two, the 2002 season does not come to life in my eyes.  There is no Tejada comeback walk off to win 18 and 19. There is no Hatteberg walk off.  Even the pitching performances of Zito, Mulder, Hudson, Lidle

 

As the late Bob Sheppard is to the Yankees, Roy Steele is to the Athletics.  With Steele’s Voice of God announcing each player that stepped onto the grounds of the Coliseum and his “Please Drive Home Safely” trademark as we headed home while Kool and the Gang’s, “Celebration” blared throughout.

 

As they were changing scenes from Hatteberg’s walk off to a scene earlier in the game, I stood talking behind the A’s dugout talking to a guy named Matt for a good 20 minutes about Oakland Athletics baseball, while “Dye”, “Chavez”, “Ellis”, “Tejada”, “Hudson”, “Hatteberg”, “Washington”, and “Justice” hung out on the field and stopped by to sign a couple of autographs.  Even some of these actors were living out their Major League dreams putting on the uniform and running out to the mound, sliding into third base, or hitting a home run.  I found it to be just surreal and no doubt made me love the Oakland Athletics just a little bit more than I did before.

 

On September 4, 2002 at 10:46pm PST, there was no director, no cut, no reset; just a whole bunch of A’s fans going “Crazy! Just Plain crazy!”

 

Mr. King, you could not have said it any better than that…

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