Indie Sport
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Bob Sheppard, the elegant, exquisite "Voice of God" is ailing at the age of ninety-seven and may never again grace the House That Ruth Built with his incomparable tones. For over half a century Sheppard shaped the Yankee Stadium experience with his intonations over the public address system in a style that is becoming sadly extinct. A practitioner of the philosophy that less is more, he created a simple vessel with his voice that listeners filled with their own personal resonance: "In center field, number 7, Mickey Mantle, number 7." "Every time Bob Sheppard introduced me I got goose bumps," Mantle said. "Mickey," Sheppard replied under his breath, "so did I." The goose bumps came from our soaring imagination, which Sheppard evoked with the silence he crafted into his rhythm, pausing to sow the seeds from our field of dreams, knowing they would grow into cherished memories for life. As the Bob Sheppards of the world disappear one by one, they are replaced more often than not by a cast of characters from Short Attention Span Theater, who frantically fill every potential void with hyperkinetic audiovisual stimulation, lest the spectator become-- heaven help us-- bored. It is the ultimate dumbing down of sport, an extension of a manufactured digital-age malady. For boredom is nothing more than Imagination Deficit Disorder, a dependency on ever-novel infusions of mind candy devoid of the nourishment, wonder, and magic that come from thinking for ourselves. Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?

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