When Red Auerbach hired Most in 1952, he instructed him to be a cheerleader, and Most made the most of it. Hey, I admit I well up with tears every time I hear, "Havlicek stole the ball! Havlicek stole the ball!" A Most here and a Rizzuto there wouldn't be so bad. But unfortunately the homers have multiplied. They are almost all you can hear now.
And don't think the other, quieter broadcasters haven't noticed. Says Marty Brennaman, the thoroughly professional—and enormously popular—play-by-play man for the Cincinnati Reds, "There's so much commercialism now that the subjective announcer may be the way of life in this business. Twenty-five years from now we may not know what an objective announcer sounds like. We may have to go into the archives and pull out a dusty tape of Vin Scully."
Which is why I like Mike Ilitch. He may be bringing Harwell back for sentimental reasons, as he is with Kirk Gibson, but for one more season, at least, Tiger fans can hear Harwell's song. And won't it be nice for Gibson to hit another big home run, and for Ernie to simply and softly say, "Long gone."