January 5, 2010

Rory Markas - Not just another announcer

The news of Rory Markas’ passing hit many of us Angel fans like a ton of bricks. Many must have thought, “Not again” having lived through the tragic loss of Nick Adenhart less than nine months ago.

The beginning of a new year is supposed to be a refreshing time; a time of looking forward, but sometimes life has its own plan. Rory Markas gave us much to remember and it’s sad to know we will not be able to look forward to seeing and hearing him again. We will miss his professionalism, his sense of humor and his passion for Angels baseball.

As I made my way around the radio today, I was struck by the number of people who knew Markas as a “kind” and “special” individual. Time after time, people reflected on his positive attitude, his sense of humor and his desire and ability to make others smile.

Many described Markas as one of the most under-rated broadcasters around; a sentiment I’d have to agree with. I have spent many enjoyable nights at Angel Stadium with Rory and Terry Smith on the radio. I was going to miss not having him at my side this coming season; since he was moving over to the television side full time. Now, I’ll miss him all-together and watching and listening to Angel games will be a different experience moving forward. Rory (and Terry) have been a huge part of the joy I receive in attending Angel games; as much as any player on the field.

I also heard on the radio today that broadcasting Angel games was a dream come true for Markas, who grew up in Southern California, attended Chatsworth High School and California State University, Northridge. His call of the final out in the 2002 World Series will live on forever… "Fly ball, center field. Erstad says he's got it! Erstad makes the catch! The Anaheim Angels are the champions of baseball!"

Rory Markas was definitely one of us (an Angels fan); his job as an Angels broadcaster was a “boyhood dream.”

Ellen Bell of the OC Register wrote “Horrible, horrible news. The kind of news that kicks you in the gut, knocks the wind out of you and makes you say “Oh no,” out loud, even thought you’re sitting all by yourself at your computer.”

Tim Mead, Angels vice president for communications was quoted in the OC Register as saying, “Rory is the type of man you hope to have as a friend,” Mead said. “He loved this organization. He loved what he did. Some of our people in the organization who aren’t 12-month employees look forward to the off-season. Rory looked forward to his work with Fox and USC basketball.”

Mead continued, “He loved to work and he loved to do a lot of things that very few people know about. He was very active in community efforts, loved working with kids.”

My wife Cheryl and I decided to go by the stadium this evening to see if any Angel fans would show up to remember Rory and much to our surprise the stadium was dark and there were only a couple people standing by their cars near the newly refurbished Big "A."

There were a few tribute items placed on the mound outside the main gate that last held memorial items for Nick Adenhart, but no one was around. We left, wondering why no one else was at the stadium.

The world is a sadder place today, but in the long run it will be a better place because of who Rory Markas was and because of how he impacted the people around him. His passing is tragic, but his positive impact on the world will be felt for eternity.

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