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"Do they score a run later?" asks Bob between pitches, when his microphone is off. John shakes his head. Not so far. His father turns back to the mike.
The pace of the game picks up as fewer men reach base. But later, in Colorado Springs, another Sky Sox score allows Robertson to make the necessary correction. The score in Tacoma now agrees with that in Colorado Springs. So smoothly has it been done that no listener suspects how close the recreated game has come to extra innings. Tacoma wins by one run.
"A nail-biter right to the end," Robertson says on the air. An ironic reference to the re-creation process?
"Sometimes I slip up, but I'm not going to admit I'm here in the studio. Some people may think it's blatantly dishonest, but the idea is to get into the game, to see it as if you were there."
And there are times that Robertson does see the game better than if he were there. A night earlier, against Phoenix, Tiger third baseman Larry Arndt had cut himself reaching over the fence for a pop foul. The reporter on the scene made it sound as if Arndt had run into a chain saw. "Blood all over the place—you couldn't say that on the radio," says Robertson, citing the women and children in his radio audience. Instead, Robertson called a play in which Arndt reached for a foul out of play. Robertson also mentioned that the infielder might have caught his forearm on some wire—hardly the gruesome elbow-to-shoulder gash reported by the excited eyewitness.
The actual medical report? Cut on the forearm; 11 stitches.
"I had it better than he had," says Robertson, with a mixture of wonder and pride.