My youth was spent watching or listening to Skip Caray or Pete Van Wieren call Atlanta Braves games. They were around for a long time and you welcomed them into your home as part of your family. I've heard from many of you via Twitter and email about how Eric does that for you. He, like Rangers fans, has lived through some incredible moments and some heartbreaking games. Through it all, he's done his job with professionalism and passion. He works hard to have a full understanding of not only what's going on as he describes the action, but he takes listeners behind the scenes and into the clubhouse. He talks to players, gets to know them, and that shows up on the air.
But while I didn't get a chance to live my baseball youth through Eric's voice, I've had a chance to get to know him. I went to school at TCU a few years before the Rangers won their first AL West title. And for a guy interested in broadcasting and journalism and wanting to do something in the major leagues someday, I knew all the big names in the industry. Eric and Mark Holtz were two of those. As I was completing my college career, I asked Eric to listen to a few of my tapes of TCU baseball games. He was kind enough to do so and offered some excellent advice. I ended up calling baseball games in Amarillo and Idaho Falls and even hockey games in Fort Worth, trying my best to pay attention to detail and to make it seem fluid, though I could never quite do that like Eric can.
Once I got into the newspaper industry and took a winding path that led me to Rangers coverage, Eric was there again to offer help. I asked for advice on stories and he was quick to come to me if he read something I wrote and didn't feel it was clear enough or if he felt there was a better way to put it. I took notes -- and still do -- and have tried to apply those to my daily work on the Rangers beat.
So congratulations, Eric. I'm thankful that you've crossed my path and I look forward to hearing you call many more seasons of Rangers games.