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Moving Van. - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
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Moving Van.

Another horrid story of Bad Behavior Involving the Bills hit the paper today. I'm not even going to dignify it here.

The dignity belongs within the world of the team, though: Van Miller, the team's voice for most of its 55-year history, passed away today at the age of 87.

I've been blessed with all the teams I now follow- if not with success on the playing surface, with play-by-play voices that brought longevity, uniqueness, humor and above all loyalty to the franchises and their fans.  The Mets had the same three announcers for almost their first two decades. Two of them kept at their craft well into this century, and the last of the Original Three was still in the booth part-time until his death in late 2013. 

The Sabres have had only two play-by-play men for most of their history- the second is still in the booth, part-time, having overcome throat cancer last year, and is recognised in the Hockey Hall of Fame for his accomplishments:



Van Miller is similarly enshrined in the NFL's highest place of honour:

In 2004, he was given a 2-minute length-of-speech warning before he became the first local broadcaster to accept the Pete Rozelle Award at a Hall of Fame dinner before an audience of 4,000 in Canton, Ohio.

Joe Horrigan, the former vice president of communications for the Hall of Fame, knew that was unrealistic.

Miller ignored the warning and told jokes for what he claimed was 7 minutes.

“Chris Berman came up to me afterwards and said, ‘You were unbelievable,’ ” Miller recalled in an afterward. “Barry Sanders (a Hall of Fame inductee) came up to me and said, ‘You should be doing stand-up.’ I speak all the time in Western New York, and I never had so many compliments.”

Mary Travers Murphy, the former Channel 7 reporter who is married to Miller’s former analyst and play-by-play replacement, John Murphy, confirmed Miller’s star status.

“I’m not exaggerating. He had people shrieking with laughter,” she said. “People were applauding. He came out of nowhere (after some dull speeches) and he was hilarious. If he weren’t a broadcaster, he could have been Johnny Carson, David Letterman or Jay Leno entertaining at 11:30 nightly. Famous people were lining up afterwards to shake his hand.

I never met him, but I'd have taken that hand, as well. He had me at "Fandemonium."

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