Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Remembering Milo

As you have likely seen all over Houston media, the Astros are playing their final home game as a National League team tonight. The Houston Press had a crap column about it this morning.

But what it means for Astros fans is that Milo Hamilton - the voice of Astros' radio since 1987 - is calling his last game tonight.

Most are pretty happy, because Milo has either (A) Not been himself for the last few years, often going long stretches without mentioning things like the score. Or the inning. Or the game itself. Or Milo was (B) Totally Being Himself.

Still, I'll miss him. In 2006 my wife and made a traumatic move from Texas to upstate New York and, predictably, got quite homesick. It's one thing to be married and living six hours from "home." It's another thing to be 38 hours by car from home, or to get on a plane and be in London quicker than you would be in Houston.

We had XM at the time, and we spent a number of evenings in the summer of 2006 (and the subsequent two seasons before moving back south) sitting by the car and listening to Milo/Astros. We listened to at least 120 games that season. By the end of August we had to transition from shorts to sweatshirts. Were they great broadcasts? Technically, it was just alright. But it was Milo, and he was our connection back home.

At one point my wife and I had the opportunity to eat dinner with Milo - there's absolutely no way he'd remember - at an Italian restaurant Upstate. There was another guy there with him, but I can remember very little about him. We just sat and ate dinner and listened to Milo tell stories. The three of us (plus that other guy).

Have you ever gone to see a band for the first time that you had listened to for years, and couldn't help but think, "Amazing - that's exactly how they sound on their albums..." That's what dinner was like. I knew Milo's physical appearance, but to see him sitting in front of me, and trying not to watch him eat, all I could think was, "This is the guy who told me what was (or wasn't) happening with the Astros for years."

We can't remember any of the stories he told, but it was a good night. He didn't know us, but he treated us like we were two people who were acceptable enough to at least eat dinner with.

I'll miss Milo.