March 8, 2018

When you’re about 10 years old, and your dad lets you stay up past midnight – for any reason, really – it is definitely something you remember as a highlight of your childhood.


For that memory, I say: “Thanks, Dick Enberg.”


The late-night re-broadcast of U.C.L.A. basketball games, back in the John Wooden era when the Bruins never seemed to lose, is the thing I remember most about Dick Enberg, who called those games from Pauley Pavilion and elsewhere, and then showed up on my black-and-white television at 11 p.m. on tape-delay.


I never missed one of those games. But I miss Enberg, who died this past Dec. 21 at his home in La Jolla. He was 82. Most recently the television voice of the Padres, Enberg will be celebrated at a memorial service in his honor this coming Saturday at Petco Park.


The list of speakers scheduled, as you might imagine, is pretty impressive. But that’s what happens when you have a broadcasting career as impressive as Enberg. U.C.L.A. basketball was just his first assignment. But there was also California Angels baseball (does anybody else remember, when the Angels loaded the bases, that Enberg would say “there’s a halo over every base,”?). He did Los Angeles Rams games, as well.


Then we southern Californians started sharing him with others. Enberg went national on college hoops, the NFL and, of course, Wimbledon. He simply was as good an all-around broadcaster as there ever was. No argument.


With the Padres, in his late 70’s and early 80’s, there were many who criticized him for  not having the same skill behind the microphone and “losing his fastball.” But, you know what? Nolan Ryan’s fastball slowed down some at the end, but it doesn’t mean he wasn’t one the most-revered players in all of baseball.


So go join in on the celebration this Saturday. Dick Enberg would be proud to see all of your there. Me? I’m hoping they show the whole thing Saturday night at 11 p.m. on tape-delay.