I know he wouldn't be making the call even if he were still alive--his last official words in the booth came on September 29, 2002. I know that we're fortunate to have Dan Dickerson as our play-by-play guy, and he has put away some vividly memorable calls himself. I know that Ernie had a full life, a rewarding career, and was at peace even as he faced the end of his time here on earth.
Despite all that, I cannot help it. He's left a huge cavern and nothing can fill it. I'm one of those people that cringes at sappy ballads and snarks at made-for-tv dramas. I'm sorry to do it to you, but I have to own up to my sentimentality when it comes to Ernie. Thankfully, I know I'm not alone. When we revel in our first division crown in 24 years, the raucous din will momentarily fade and our eyes won't quite be dry as we pause to salute the man who was the sound of summer for so many years.
Thanks again, Ernie. You'll be in the middle of it all.
Your voice echoes in my mind: "The Tigers are the 2011 Champions of the American League Central!"