Pat Foley Parade

My Ode To Pat Foley

As we enter the doldrums here is summer, we’re going to be doing a lot of different things to try and entertain you. One will be sharing some of my favorite things from program-version of The Indian. This is my editorial from April 19th on Pat Foley’s 30th Anniversary.

It’s Pat Foley Night here at the UC. 30 years behind the mic doing the Hawks. If you’re like me, that just makes you feel fucking old.

If you’ve been a reader of this bathroom periodical for any length of time, you know I’ve never been shy from taking my shots at Foley and his recent work. He’s too buddy-buddy with Edzo. He misses players’ names all the time. He tells stories for far too long that actually block up the action. He has vendettas against players, just like Olczyk, for reasons we can’t understand.

I know a lot of you agree with some if not all of these points. But you also probably have the conflicting emotions when you do, just like I do.

Maybe it’s the standard we hold Foley to. Because there’s no question he’s still a Chicago sports icon. And he should be. Maybe all great sports announcers fade with time. Harry Caray was un-listenable at the end. Pat Summerall couldn’t talk. Ernie Harwell could be a tough listen at the end at times, in the brief chances I got to hear him. Except for Vin Scully obviously, who I’m more and more convinced just isn’t from this planet (sidenote: if the Kings and Ducks are going to play at Dodger Stadium next year, can Scully call it? Nothing should take place ever at Dodger Stadium without Scully calling it. Heaven has to be Scully narrating your daily routine).

But let’s take a step back from our complaints about what Foley is now and look at what he is. He’s living out pretty much every Hawks fans’ dream. He grew up here. He was as avid a Hawks fan as you or I were when we were kids. He huddled over the radio listening to Lloyd Petit, probably in his room when he should have been doing homework like we should have been. And he got to become the Hawks broadcaster. He got to occupy the seat he dreamed of getting. How many of us would have loved to do that? He got to do that at 26. Where were you when you were 26? I was fucking up all over the place in LA.
Go and watch the video on the Hawks site of Foley’s great calls. Then think about your favorite Hawks memories from the 80s and 90s. Are they the same if you try and remove Foley’s call from them? No, of course they aren’t.

Do the chills still run down your spine when watching Roenick’s OT winner in ‘94 against the Leafs without Foley yelling, “HAWKS WIN! HAWKS WIN!”? It’s just not the same moment without it. Does it stick in your memory if he doesn’t illustrate just how bonkers the Stadium was going one last time? “THE OLD GRANDLADY OF WEST MADISON!” It’s almost as important as the goal.

What are your other memories that weren’t on the video? I have a couple. Game 1 against the Avalanche in ‘96. Our cable went out that night, and we only had the radio simulcast to go on. But I still remember standing in the kitchen when Roenick buried a power play goal and got that “HAWKS WIN! HAWKS WIN!” I didn’t need anything else.

The other is Brent Sutter’s winning goal in Game 4 against the Wings in 1992 in the dying minutes to complete that sweep. Foley’s voice when Sutter scored was the perfect complement to the sheer tumult and anarchy the Stadium crowd was at that moment. You almost didn’t need to be there if you had that radio call. Even though it was silent in our apartment then, to me it was rocking just as much as 1800 W. Madison was.
And that’s the thing about Foley. In many of the same ways that Vin Scully is synonymous with Dodger Stadium, no announcer fit in better with his home arena than Foley did with the Old Stadium.

That dump on Madison; it was danger. It was anarchy. It was metal. It was all those things and so many more.

And Foley’s voice…it’s the Stadium too. It’s the voice of someone who closed down his share of bars, could pierce through all the cigarette smoke that filled that building without choking, it had an edge. There was a hint of menace, to go along with the joy and excitement and tension that hockey is. That was the Stadium. That was Foley. There were times where you thought Foley would have had no problem taking off his headset and picking a fight with someone in the upper deck, kicking his ass eight ways to Sunday, and then resuming his call like nothing had ever happened. Foley’s call always had a twinge that it could all go wrong at any minute and you’d never recover. Just like that building did. Don’t believe me? Look up the YouTube clip of Foley calling the St. Patrick’s Day Massacre, when Dave Manson called Scott Stevens out to center ice and ended his world. The crowd, Foley, everything felt like it was going to cause a hole in the Earth. And we ate it up.

When Foley’s frustration became papable as the Hawks self-inflicted descent into hell became unstoppable, wasn’t that our frustration too? He was just a fan like we were, and sick of all he was seeing.

And Foley will still have that place in my memories and heart. I may make fun of him now at times, but I’ll never lose sight of what he’s meant to Hawks fans. How could I?

  • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

    Foley may indeed be but a shadow of his former glory, but that shadow is still better and more listenable than 90% of sports announces in North America.

    Calling Hockey has to be the biggest challenge in sports announcing. So much can happen so fast, and unlike baseball, football, or cricket (snicker) you may go minutes at a time without a chance to catch your breath.

    Yes, I roll my eyes at the long anecdotes and shout “Call the game, Pat!” at the TV. Still beats the hell out of watching NBCSN, or NBC for that matter, save for Doc.

    • Waylon

      I remember when the Hawk’s status in town had fallen so low that they were forced to have their games called on a suburban radio station, WYEN, in Des Plaines. I couldn’t even get that station living in Saint Charles growing up, so often I was forced into my Ford Pinto and turn on my car radio, which had much better reach and reception. Foley was good at the outset, and got that much better as the years progressed. No, he’s not what he once was, and although we all wish he could go back to those days, he’s more than good enough. Never thought they’d find a worthy successor to Petit, but good on them, and good on Foley.

      • thepuckstopshere

        BANNERMAN!

        • Bannerman

          Hello, yes?

    • KenOda

      I’ve found hockey to be a pretty easy call. There is the least down time, you just say what you see. It’s even easier when you have a color guy, something I’ve only been blessed with a couple times.

    • activestick

      I don’t know, I’ve had to listen to a lot alternative broadcasts and most of them don’t seem to irritate me the way PatZo can.

      • 10thMountainFire

        Then you’re irritated rather easily because Foley is still among the finest hockey broadcasters around.

        • activestick

          disagree

          • 10thMountainFire

            Care to name a few?

          • Waylon

            honestly, try listening to a few during the Center Ice games when Foley’s not around – they’re universally terrible, only the Dallas crew is actually listenable. Just try to listen to Jack Edwards sometime, he’ll make your ears literally bleed. And Panger and the other two homer goons at STL are just awful as well. Hockey is still viewed as a second – tier sport in this country in many venues, which is why the announcing part is still abysmal.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Yep. I couldn’t agree more. Foley is still at the top of his game. The Pat-Edzo side banter does get a bit annoying at times, especially with a team as good as this one where their speed and talent make for moment-to-moment adrenaline rushes that I’d like to hear described by such a top-notch broadcast pair, but truth be told, they’re still the best. Doc Emerick be damned.

            Because Hossa is Kane when he scores the game winner.

          • 1benmenno

            I like Patzo, too, but do not care for their golf stories.

          • Z-man19

            Better than listening to Pierre verbally felate a hockey game

          • 1benmenno

            It’s one thing for our PP to suck; it’s quite another to suck a PP.

          • 10thMountainFire

            That is outstanding. Did you get that from a fortune cookie?

          • Z-man19

            Cracker Jack box

          • 1benmenno

            Bazooka Joe Bubble Gum

          • 10thMountainFire

            Verbally felate Sidney Crosby*

            Fixed.

          • Joe Banks

            Panger? Holy Jumpin’!!!

          • activestick

            I don’t want to try to undermine you Foley love. He is still good rarely great. It’s just his and Eddies schitck just sucks
            . Doc and Eddie I don’t mind. I heard Joe Buck do a little play by play, I’d like to hear more of that. Hell i’d settle for a PatZo not making out.

      • Z-man19

        Familiarity may breed contempt. I’ll take Foley over lots of people

        • lizmcneill

          ever listened to a Boston home broadcast? ughgh

          • mightymikeD

            insert knitting needles into eardrums.. rotate for maximum damage

    • mightymikeD

      Snicker away, the Cricket commentators are the best in the sports world.. the late Brian Johnston & CMJ, Aggers, Richie Benaud, Michael Holding.. they set the standard, worldwide

  • cliffkoroll

    I’ll just leave this here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iviLY1RvNc

    • Preacher

      This is CLASSIC!!!
      I have this saved in my iTunes.

    • 10thMountainFire

      This is one of the finest moments in all of civilized human history.

      • Joe Banks

        Agreed. But the “weenie” story was pretty good too…
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwuUzSZfQ4k

        • 10thMountainFire

          God love Dale Tallon. Wee-knee.

          I remember watching this game and thinking everyone listening to those two lose it lost it along with them.

          • 1benmenno

            Talk about your pregnant pauses.

        • VanDorp’sMullet

          I remember watching this game. I was laughing so hard… Tallon and Foley had great chemistry.

    • thefearlessfreep

      Ha! I thought of this clip IMMEDIATELY after reading Fels’ soliloquy. Vintage!

    • 1benmenno

      I wish he’d stop dancing around the subject and tell us what he really thinks about Karpovtsev.

      • Z-man19

        I don’t think Pat cared for him, just a hunch

        • 1benmenno

          Well, Karpovtsev was a wee-knee.

          • Z-man19

            Is he dead?

          • 1benmenno

            Actually, yes. He was in that horrible plane crash that took out the whole Lokomotiv team.

          • Z-man19

            Seriously?

          • 1benmenno
          • Z-man19

            Don’t I feel like a schmuck

          • 1benmenno

            A wee-knee?

          • Z-man19

            I don’t feel that badly

  • M7

    I’m sure it’s just me, but I find Dodgers games unwatchable due to Scully. Can’t stand the way that man calls a game. Never have.

    • raditzzzz

      everyone is entitled to their opinion. but growing up, i fell asleep on rides home listening to vin scully or chick hearn while my dad drove. those voices are etched into me the way pat foley’s is for fels.

  • 10thMountainFire

    I think Pat Foley and his voice are more a part of my family and friends’ upbringing than any other broadcaster in Chicago.

    Yeah, I know Harry Carey is venerated but the truth is that Foley and Tallon were the tandem many of us grew up with and Foley specifically is who many of us readily identify as the true ‘voice of Chicago sports’.

  • Marian Brossa

    I unabashedly love Pat Foley. I abashedly love Edzo too (most of the time), but I will never not love Foley. Sure, if I’m being objective about it he’s got flaws… but when has fandom ever been about being objective? I won’t say he’s the best announcer around– or even among the best– but as an out-of-towner who regularly needs to listen to the other team’s broadcast, I always feel cheated when I don’t get Foley.

    • 10thMountainFire

      The way you feel about Edzo (I also enjoy listening to him) is the way I feel about Dale Tallon. Yes, Dale may have come off as a gooney dude sometimes who loved the less refined parts of the game but hearing Pat and Dale together is true ‘Blackhawks hockey’ to my ears.

  • 10thMountainFire

    By the way, Sam… your mentioning of the clip of the ‘St. Patrick’s Day Massacre’ is one of my all-time favorite Foley moments.

    The portion where he realizes Manson and Stevens are about to move from behind the net out to center ice is perfection and his blow-by-blow has impressed many fans from other cities that I have often sent that link to.

    Also, Manson whupped that ass.

    Edit:

    Other Foley memories include Sergei Krivokrasov’s OT goal on Patrick Roy/Colorado (part I), Tony Amonte’s 4th goal vs Toronto in the 1993 playoffs, Kaner’s hat trick v Bobby Lu (at the UC in 2009), and his screams of ‘BELFOUR’ which to me mean more than ‘BANNERMAN’.

    • Jim A

      It’ll always be BANNERMAN for me. He made me drive 100 miles to playoff games I probably couldn’t afford. It was magic.

      • 10thMountainFire

        Best money you ever ‘wasted’?

        • Jim A

          wha?

  • CozBullsFan

    Not sure if anyone saw this, but it looks like Big Buff finally got serious about his weight.

    http://www.thescore.com/nhl/articles/1242577-byfuglien-looking-good-in-flattering-offseason-photo

    • 10thMountainFire

      Definitely looks improved. Good on him.

      However, he could still use some muscle tone in his chest. Tell him to get in the front-leaning rest and stay there until told to recover.

      • Z-man19

        We took a vote, you get to tell him his man boobs need work

        • 10thMountainFire

          This is exciting. Maybe he’ll punch me with his Stanley Cup ring.

          • Z-man19

            In the wee-knee?

    • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

      He looks good … but I think that weight stuff was always blown WAY out of proportion (ya, I know). Really, though … that wedding pic looks obviously doctored to me (I even remember Kane or someone saying as much about that very pic); and the accredited “reputable” blogger that made claims about his 300+ weight this year was none other than the Jets blogger for hockeybuzz.

      It all struck me from the start as more than a little bogus.

      • Z-man19

        I call bogus on your bogus. I’ll bet every gumball in my possession that Buff has weighed at least 290 (thats pounds) at some point in the last 2 years

        • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

          This one seems hard to verify …

          • cliffkoroll

            I’ll be the judge of that. Pay the man, Z.

          • Z-man19

            What? Have you seen the pictures? 290 is conservative. The only way he’s not 290 in some of those pics is if he’s not really 6’5 and more like 6’2. I’d still put him in the 280 range.

    • Joe Banks

      He’s half the man he used to be…

  • 1benmenno

    Michael Wilbon says he wants a vial of Blackhawks ice; Tony Kornholer says it’s UC tap water.

    • QCBlackhawk

      Sweet, imma fill up a plastic vial next time I’m in town and have UC ice.

  • Korab22

    Jim Durham (R.I.P.) for the Bulls and Pat Foley for the Hawks have to be two of the best radio play-by-play guys in their respective sports of all time. We were all spoiled for a long time. I have/had no issues with Wiedeman or Funk (now TV only), but Foley and Durham were radio legends (Gods).

    Foley having the chance to do TV only has been both a blessing and a curse for him. He got the chance to expand his repertoire, but unfortunately that repertoire includes spinning yarns during the 3rd period of playoff games. Pat always seemed like a guy who didn’t want the spotlight. However, when he’s telling those stories, whether he realizes it or not, he winds up hogging it.

  • mightymikeD

    I loved this editorial at the time.. and I’ve been as vocal a critic of Foley as anyone (and also don’t share in the back-story). But that nasal Irish twang has become part and parcel of my Hawks experience.. and I genuinely miss him when the Playoffs roll around and it goes to Doc & Edzo. I’d have loved to have heard the Foley call on both Cup winners.

  • Jim

    It’s tough to come here and continually read about the “issues” The Indian has with Pat Foley. You guys have NO IDEA how good you have it. You guys are truly spoiled because you get to hear Foley and Edzo for EVERY game. Eight years ago I had to follow my job to St. Louis and I am forced to buy NHL Center Ice and I don’t get to hear Pat and Eddie muhc. It is a complete train wreck hearing other play-by-play and color guys. The NHL has very few, if any, as good as Pat and Eddie. Not to mention the complete and utter Epic Fail that is Darren Pang and Bernie Ferderko when the Hawks are here in St. Louis. I do everything I can to insure I have tickets to those games so I don’t have to listen to those tools.

    You guys really need to watch more hockey other than just the Hawks games, because if you did you would appreciate Pat and Eddie a WHOLE LOT MORE.

  • Hags

    watching these clips of Foley’s call with the Old Stadium going nuts gives me chills and I wish I was old enough to have actually heard/watched it in person and be able to remember it.

    On a side note, has there been any sports venue ever that was more raucous than the Stadium in the late 80s and early 90s?