King was gem at Bay Area mikes

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week King was a bonus on our radio dial, and during the Raiders’ lean years, perhaps the only reason to bother tuning in. The respected Rich Marotta was his partner for most of those years here, and the veteran local voice and boxing authority said he was “almost paralyzed” when he got the news this week. Marotta has worked with some of the greatest names in the business but says King was the best ever. “His ability to see something and translate it into words far exceeded anyone else I’ve worked with, and I say that with great respect with all of the greats I’ve worked,” Marotta said. “He had an incredible ability to describe something. He could get most everything that happened in a play into his play-by-play, and I had to learn how to search for that one other thing to complement his work. It made me a better broadcaster.” Marotta said he never prepared for a job as hard as he did for Raiders games because he didn’t want to appear the fool. He continued: “You know how you hear sportscasters run off the yardage lines on a long play? ‘He’s at the 40, the 35, the 30.” Bill would give you incredible detail on a play like that. ‘He’s at the 40 being chased by (an opponent), gets a block at the 35, hurdles a defender at the 30.” He was just so thorough. “He also had this incredible vocabulary, and used it without talking down to the listener. In the Raiders’ Super Bowl win over the Vikings, Bill said, ‘Jascha Heifitz never played his Stradivarius with the dexterity in which Ken Stabler is playing the Vikings.” There were so many times when he pulled comments like that out of the air. “The fraternity of great sportscasters is really shrinking all you hear now are screamers and homers and Bill is a huge loss.” King, who died of a pulmonary embolism related to recent hip surgery, got his start in radio on the Armed Forces Network while stationed in Guam at the end of World War II. He came west in 1958 when he joined the San Francisco Giants’ first-year broadcast team. From 1962 to 2005, King called play-by-play for at least one Bay Area team, the Raiders, NBA Warriors and baseball Oakland A’s. For three years (1981-83) he was the voice of all three teams, an amazing triple play. He has been a part of the A’s broadcast team since 1981, and only slowed down recently because of his hip ailment. He also called Cal football and basketball for a few years. As well known as he is for his Raider connection and long baseball career, most longtime listeners up north say basketball was his best sport, armed with a rat-a-tat style. There was another side of King, though, that few people knew. Indeed, if he were alive to read all of these obituaries and recollections, he would be irked that so much time has been spent on sports. The smallish man with a Van Dyke beard and waxed mustache was a true renaissance man, a patron of the arts who favored the ballet and opera over a ballgame any day. He was also a history buff, especially in Russian history, and loved boating. “Given the choice, he’d go to the opera any day over a sports event,” Marotta said. “He used to say that he wouldn’t walk across the street to see a game if he wasn’t working it.” Marotta got a hint of how different King was the first day they met. He flew north to meet with King and Raiders owner Al Davis to discuss the analyst’s job he was interviewing for. Marotta walked onto the field and found King standing on the sidelines watching the Raiders practice in just Speedo swimming trunks and a pair of flip-flops. King was as undeniably different as he was talented. And now the news Fox Sports Net West and the Angels are closing in on a new 10-year deal that would pull the AL West champs even with the Dodgers in regard to cable television money. Owner Arte Moreno is still contemplating launching his own regional outlet, but the betting line says he’ll sign the Fox offer. … Fox Sports is quietly gritting its teeth over a World Series matchup that lacks a national hook. While Chicago is the No. 3 market, the White Sox do not cross over like the Cubs, and Houston is considered a soft baseball market. Fox’s final LCS Nielsen rating (6.6) was way off 2003 (9.7) and 2004 (8.8), obviously because the Yankees and Red Sox weren’t playing. … Joe McDonnell, recently rudely cut loose by KSPN (710 AM), will resurface in sports talk radio, but at the moment there aren’t many weekday openings at other sports talk outlets. KMPC (1540) G.M. Roger Nadel said he’s aware of McDonnell’s popularity but he has nowhere to put him. … Fox Sports Net West airs a one-hour special on the Lakers and Clippers, “L.A.’s Opening Tip,” Monday at 8 p.m. … CBS’ “60 Minutes” Sunday features a segment on Michael Jordan talking about his gambling habits. … Tonight’s episode of “Costas Now” on HBO (9 p.m.) is devoted to Bob Costas’ recent trip to Tanzania to interview David Robinson, the son of Dodgers great Jackie Robinson who is a coffee grower and distributor. … TNT and Magic Johnson have signed a new multiyear deal that will keep the Laker legend on the cable network’s NBA studio team. … The USC-Notre Dame telecast drew NBC’s biggest audience for a college game in nine years with an estimated 30 million viewers. The game earned a 6.7 Nielsen rating. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! When the Raiders came south for their 13-year Los Angeles vacation, one of the perks that few people talked about was sportscaster Bill King. In greater Los Angeles, all we knew of King, who passed away Wednesday at the age of 78, was that he was as much of an institution in the Bay Area as Vin Scully, Chick Hearn, Dick Enberg and Bob Miller were here. But in a town flush with voices, no one expected anyone to crack this inner-ear sanctum. center_img King did. What Los Angeles learned during those years was that King was as good as anyone in the business, arguably the best local NFL play-by-play voice this side of Philadelphia’s Harry Kalas. He was professional, precise, objective a surprising feat considering the Raider organization’s self-love the owner of a Scully-like vocabulary and blessed with the uncanny gift of always having the right thing to say. last_img read more