Word came this morning that legendary sportscaster Jim McKay had passed away at the age of 86.
Best known for his work on ABC's coverage of the Olympics, McKay was a broadcaster who simply told the story, set the stage for the viewer. He was the old-school broadcaster who wasn't about catchy phrases, wasn't about his analysis, wasn't about his opinion. He simply told the story. And what a story he told.
For those of who grew up hoping to one day replace him, McKay was an icon. He was everything we aspired to be.
I will never forget sitting across the aisle from Mr. McKay at an Oriole game a few years ago. At that time, I had put behind my aspirations to one day replace McKay. But I was still in awe that night. My lasting impression of that game, where Mike Mussina carried a perfect game into the eighth inning will always be of Jim McKay, the legendary broadcaster, simply sitting there as a fan taking in everything around him. I wondered how he would tell the story that night. Whether he would harken back on Mussina's other near no-hit misses, or whether he'd talk about the line drive that had hit struck Mussina in the face a few years earlier. Or whether, he'd focus on Frank Catalanotto and the single to right that broke up the mastery.
I'm not sure what story he would have told that night. Only that I know the stories he told through the years on ABC were some of the most inspirational sportscasting I've ever witnessed.
I'm proud to say I was a fan of Jim McKay. Proud to say that in some way he probably influences everything that I've written on this blog. Because it always seemed to me that Jim McKay was a fan first and a broadcaster trying to share the story with other fans out there.
My deepest and sincerest sympathies are extended to the McKay family today. We hope that the memories of your loved one comfort you in this difficult time.
But one final thank you to Mr. McKay for all the tremendous reporting through the years. You will be missed. God Bless