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Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets

I mentioned a few weeks ago about the anniversary of the passing of Harry Kalas, who was the voice of summer for Philadelphians. Baseball lost another classic voice this past week with the passing of longtime Detroit Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell.

I was seven years old when I first heard Ernie Harwell’s voice as my family moved to the suburbs of Detroit, and we listened to Detroit Tigers games, with the transistor radio under the pillow…or in the driveway on a hot summer day during the 1960s. Even with the world exploding around us in the 1960s with Vietnam, political turmoil, the Civil Rights movement, and political assasinations, Harwell and the Tigers games were an oasis of calm in a world and a time that was fast becoming far less innocent.

In the 1980s, new Tiger management fired Harwell, thinking the team needed a new, younger voice. Fans campaigned for two solid years, boycotting advertisers who bought ads on Tigers telecasts until Harwell was returned. When ownership changed again, one of the first things they did was to bring back Harwell to a tremendous response. Harwell’s career then continued for nearly twenty years, finally retiring in 2002.

Over the years, well into his 80s, Harwell would show up once or twice per year on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball games, still with that great voice and command of statistics and great baseball stories. He was diagnosed last September with terminal bile duct cancer. The Tigers did an Ernie Harwell Night before the season ended, where he got up on the mike to thank the crowd and Tiger fans…all with his customary grace under the most dramatic pressure.

I’ll be 53 this Wednesday…but with that news this past week, I feel more than just another year older.

Then, on a much happier note, this past week’s TNA saw Jay Lethal doing a hilarious impression of Ric Flair in what had to be a dream moment for Lethal. During the segment he did ten minutes with Flair, then took the beatdown. I’d still rather watch the Jay Lethal I saw in Jersey All Pro Wrestling for years (can’t forget Momma and Dad Lethal who were always in the bleachers in Rahway). He’s brought his Lethal as Randy Savage along pretty well; which TNA came up with after realizing what many of us in New Jersey already knew…that he did a killer Savage impression. I never knew he did a Flair impression that was that dead on, though. Some fans in line at CZW last Saturday said that at first they thought TNA had somehow dubbed Flair’s voice in…until they realized it WAS actually Lethal doing Flair, complete with the mannerisms, tone and standard Flair catch phrases.

If you haven’t seen this Lethal segment, go to this link. It’s absolutely hilarious.

Think that’s only my opinion? Try the Nature Boy himself, as stated in Mike Mooneyham’s column this past Sunday:

“…How good was Jay Lethal in that skit with Ric Flair on last week’s TNA Impact show? As good as it gets, according to a number of those who should know, including Naitch himself. “He does me better than I do me,” laughed the 16-time world champ. “That kid is extremely entertaining.”

Speaking of Jay Lethal, I got this letter on Sunday

As an actice duty soldiers with three tours under my belt I would like to give ICW and the wrestlers my deepest thank you. Wresters in attendence for the soldiers and their families here on Fort Huachuca were very nice and completely fan friendly. I would like to call out two who were great while signing autographs until the crowds were gone. These two were Jay Lethal and Raven. Both talked with soldiers and their families with appreciation and thankfulness. Top honors to them. Other TNA attendees were Brian Kendrick and Homicide. In all, the show was great and we (The Army Soldiers) really appreciated it.

Captain Rob Biron
Army Nurse, Fort Huachuca, AZ.

A true soldier does not fight because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him! Rob

Finally, this from Brandon Oliver of San Antonio’s River City Wrestling. He walked this past weekend down in San Antonio, TX in support of the March of Dimes

“…Thank you to the River City Wrestling fans and donors for their support in our March of Dimes fund raising efforts! RCW and The Oliver Family – Brandon Oliver (father), Jennifer De La Rosa (mother) and baby Madison Melissa Oliver – had the original goal of raising $500… well, I’m happy to say that thus far we have doubled our goal and raised over $1,000!

This is an important deal for me because those that know me realize that Madison Melissa is the highlight of my life, she has taught me what a real fighter is. As I’ve said before, she started out fighting, 25-weeks old and weighing only 1-pound, 8-ounces. Well, almost four years later, she’s a beautiful girl running around at RCW events.

Tomorrow (Saturday), May 8, we’ll be out at Sea World for the March of Dimes “March of Babies” event. The March of Dimes provides critical support for premature infants, their families and research. ALL funds raised at the last RCW event on May 1 and through the team page at the March of Dimes web site go to this great charity.

You can walk with us, or just make a donation. For more information, go to: the link for team Melissa. You can also see some fantastic videos Jennifer made about Madison’s journey at this link.

Note, as of Sunday, Brandon and Team Melissa have raised $1,029.51 thus far. You can still contribute by clicking the link for team Melissa.

Until next time…

If you have comments or questions, or if you’d like to add the AS I SEE IT column to your website, I can be reached by e-mail at the address above.

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