Beane's absence leaves void for fans, players

Beane's absence leaves void for fans, players

Beane's absence leaves void for fans, players
BOSTON -- A familiar voice was absent at Fenway Park on Thursday night.

The ballpark's public-address system remained silent during the series opener between the Red Sox and Indians in honor of announcer Carl Beane, who died Wednesday.

Beane, who had been the "Voice of Fenway Park" since 2003, died after suffering a heart attack and crashing his car in Sturbridge, Mass. He was 59.

Beane's voice was missed both on the field and in the stands Thursday.

Red Sox fan Alison Foley said she would miss Beane's exuberance, especially the way he called Latin American players to the plate.

"He had that really unique way of pronouncing Ortiz," said Foley, who last heard Beane's voice on May 1 during a game against Oakland. "Sometimes you would think he was over exaggerating it, but you wanted to see how he pronounced the names each year."

The last game Beane worked was Sunday, Boston's 17-inning loss to the Orioles. But his memory won't fade in the hearts of Red Sox fans anytime soon.

"Every time you came to Fenway, that's what you heard," Foley said.

On Thursday, the Red Sox and Indians approached the plate without Beane's introduction.

"You'll never forget that voice," third baseman Kevin Youkilis said. "We always imitate it and have fun with it, announcing guy's names. It's sad. It's a sad thing not to be able to hear that. Hopefully the Red Sox maybe have some recording of it, so they can play it.

Beane's voice introduces "The Baseball Experience" at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y. Still, he'll be remembered most for his service at Fenway Park.

"It's going to be weird not hearing him on a nightly basis," left-hander Jon Lester said. "It's the only voice I've known here. It's tragic, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family. We're going to miss him."

The Red Sox paid tribute to Beane throughout the evening.

There was no rock and roll music blaring from the ballpark's speakers during pregame warmups. Instead, Fenway Park remained silent until 6:07 p.m., when an organ provided a somber tone.

A black banner hung from Beane's perch behind home plate that read, "Carl Beane, 1952-2012, the voice of Fenway Park since 2003."

Before the game, the video board in center field featured a photo slideshow of Beane's career at Fenway Park.

"It's very sad not hearing him," Red Sox fan John Barkosky said. "I think it was appropriate that they had his voice at the beginning and then didn't have a PA announcer. It's very sad."

Beane made his debut at Fenway Park on Opening Day, 2003, after winning a competition for the ballpark's public-address announcer after the 2002 season.

He also provided updates for a variety of news outlets, including the Associated Press, ESPN Radio, MetroNetworks, Sirius Satellite Radio and Westwood One.

"It will be weird to see who comes in his place," Youkilis said. "It's a tough thing, just to even imagine that you're not going to hear that voice coming up to bat."

Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.