Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Have a Good Life, Joe Tait!
Legendary Cleveland Cavaliers Radio Broadcaster Joe Tait..He will be calling his final game as The Cavs play their season finale tonight against The Washington Wizards at Quicken Loans Arena. Courtesy coolcleveland.com
My favorite Cavaliers logo-Used from 1970-80
From nba.com..Some of Joe Tait's classic calls over the years..
Tonight marks the end of an era in Cleveland Sports and Broadcasting..The words "iconic" and legendary" are thrown around so easily these days..However, the subject of our blog today is definitely legendary in his field, or court, wherever he calls play by play at a sporting event..I am speaking of course, of Joe Tait,the voice of the Cleveland Cavaliers from shortly after the beginning of their first season (1970-71) through 2010-11, with the exception of 1981-83 when he called games for the New Jersey Nets on radio and the Chicago Bulls on Cable TV.
I remember trying during the 1971-72 season to hear the games in the basement of our East Sparta home when the only station I could get the games on was the old WCUE 96.5FM(WAKS)..Was hard enough to get FM in rural Stark County without trying to get an FM station from Akron in a brick basement..Joe was my connection to the Cavaliers when not many games were on TV..He made the Cavaliers sound exciting even in a 141-87 blowout by Philly, which happened in the first season. His signature calls...BINGOO!! when Bobby Smith woulld launch a long jumper..WHAM! With the Right hand! for a dunk..His disdain for the officials became a regular thing that the fans loved..For as great as Joe was, he was/is one of us..He came about in a simpler era in the NBA when pretty much the game was all that mattered..Sure players had their issues, but The GAME was the thing..From recent interviews with Joe, you get the idea that Today's NBA is to much about "show"..Fireworks, cheerleaders, and other things that distract from the game on the floor..
I remember a second season game against the Knicks (February 20, 1972) when the Cavs beat them 111-109..The Knicks were still considered a championship contender..This was the Cavaliers first ever win against The Knicks..Youd have thought from Joe's call theyd won the NBA title..His calls in the Washington Bullets Playoff games in 1975-76..Classic..
As good as he was in Calling the Cavs action, Joe also called Indians games on radio from 1973-79 and TV from 1980-87.. Tait enjoyed doing Play-by-play so much he would do small college and high school games whenever time permitted..He even called some Barons Hockey games for a time..
Joe unfortunately never got to call a Cavaliers NBA championship, though the team made it to the finals in 2007.. 2010-2011 has been a particularly rough seson for Joe as illness and surgery robbed him of most of the season, which he had already announced would be his last..He has been able, however, to call the last 5 home games, including a recent memorable win over the Miami Heat..
His final game will be tonight at the Q when the Cavaliers take on the Washington Wizards..Fox Sports Ohio will be doing something unique, as they will be piping in Joe's call of tonight's second half with occasional comments from Fred McLeod and Austin Carr..FSO will also premiere an hour special after the game tonight, "Have a Good Night. Everybody"..In which past and present Cavs personnel share their memories of Joe Tait. This special with be repeated several times throughout April..
A personal note..From what I've read in recent days, Joe has been a "real"..Person, a friend to those he makes friends with if that makes sense..And a real encouragement to those breaking into the broadcasting/journalism business..It really irks me to see people on Cleveland.com comments recently say "Joe should have retired years ago" or "He was never that good to begin with"..He lasted 39 years..And will still be doing Mount Union Football..Who of those that make uninformed comments like that will last even 10 years in broadcasting, let alone 39.. Joe Tait is, and has been, one of the BEST ever in front of a microphone..We love you Joe and God Bless in your retirement..