Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: The sound track of my youth

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By Eric Nelson
December 27, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD

 

 

MINNEAPOLIS – We lost a giant last week in Dick Enberg – a multi-talented broadcaster and Emmy award winning guy.

Personally the loss of Enberg was a sucker punch to the gut. I did not know him – but felt like I did. I only interviewed him a couple times – but he seemed like my best friend.
Growing up in So Cal in the 1970’s I was exposed to Enberg’s talents before he burst onto the national scene with CBS, NBC and ESPN.

Enberg was the sound track of my youth. A constant backdrop as I listened to him call California Angels, LA Rams and UCLA basketball games.

Enberg brought enthusiasm, passion and preparation to those broadcasts. He enhanced games without getting in the way.

No super sized ego with Enberg. Just a guy supplementing the action over the air waves on KMPC Radio and KTLA-TV in Los Angeles.

I remember an NFL playoff game in 1975 between the St. Louis Cardinals and Rams that was not on local television because the Rams failed to sell out the 90,000 seat LA Coliseum.

Because of the blackout, I had only three options: go to the game in Los Angeles, drive to Santa Barbara or Baja California to see it on TV, or invest 3 1/2 hours listening on my old Panasonic clock radio in Orange County. I chose the radio and it turned out to be a smart decision.

For the entire game I was captivated by Enberg’s descriptive call as he vividly painted the picture from the Coliseum press box. Radio is theater of the mind, and on that day Enberg performed at a Broadway-like level.

Listening to Enberg on the old Panasonic turned out to be better than seeing the game on TV. Enberg was that good.

On those special Sunday’s when I did make it to the Coliseum, my transistor radio made the trip too. I had to listen to Enberg while I watched the game below on the emerald green gridiron. Same thing when I went to Angel games in Anaheim.

Another one of Enberg’s gifts was his knack for clicking with various broadcaster partners. From Don Drysdale to Tony Gwynn to Al McGuire to Merlin Olson to Billy Packer, Enberg had great chemistry with his analysts.

That is a rarity because cohesion is hard to find in the broadcasting business.

Enberg was a Hall of Fame sportscaster with an impressive resume. He called 10 Wimbledon’s, eight Super Bowls and nine no-hitters. Enberg had a knack for connecting with listeners and viewers. He was a salt-of-the-earth guy with humble Michigan roots.

Growing up I was influenced by guys like Enberg, Brent Musberger, Steve Sabol, Vin Scully and Pat Summerall. They motivated me to get into broadcasting.

Enberg had a huge impact on a young kid in So Cal and many others who have pursued this profession.

Enberg gave all of us many great memories and plenty of “Oh My!” moments.

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