Longtime Detroit Red Wings radio play-by-play man Ken Kal scrapped the hockey vernacular for a night and called his first career Detroit Tigers game on Thursday. Since 1995, Kal has been the distinct voice of Hockeytown, calling the final seconds of four Stanley Cup victories and nearly losing his voice on every Red Wings goal, including several milestone lamp lighters. After Thursday night, he now gets to say he has called a Prince Fielder slap shot home run and a Tigers win (in the season they -- hopefully -- win the World Series).
I thought Kal did a remarkable job in his first Tigers gig. Before the game, Kal modestly said he didn't want to call the grass the ice and the ball the puck, but you could tell from the start of the broadcast he wasn't going to make that mistake. He sounded like he did his homework, capable of plugging statistics and other tidbits in timely spots -- that, or Dan Dickerson left some great notes. He also had at least one Ernie-ism and even famously referred to it as Tiger baseball. Overall, I was impressed, even if it admittedly sounded very weird to be listening to my favorite hockey announcer call a game for my favorite baseball team.
After the game, Kal Tweeted some thanks:
Also thanks to all the great fans & friends who tweeted and shared some very kind words about tonight's broadcast. I appreciate it so much.— Ken Kal (@KenKalDRW) August 16, 2013
Also, a big thanks to Jim Price who knew I was a bit nervous at the start, but like all good pro's, found a way to settle me down.— Ken Kal (@KenKalDRW) August 16, 2013