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Culture From baseball to limericks, Nadel keeps fans engaged

From baseball to limericks, Nadel keeps fans engaged

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Lim-Eric! Whimsical Rhymes from the Voice of the Texas Rangers and his Friends

https://amzn.to/2UZFlOn

The book retails for $20 and is also available in the gift shop at Globe Life Park.

A baseball announcer named Eric

Keeps things lively and not generic

Besides calling the score

He utters limerick galore

Most of them quite hysteric

After 40 years of broadcasting Texas Rangers baseball games, Eric Nadel knows the ins and outs of keeping fans engaged.

So, last spring, early into what was quickly becoming a dismal season, Nadel seized upon a serendipitous moment to launch a new entertaining ploy to keep fans tuned in.

Limericks.

It all began innocuously when the Rangers gave Nadel and his broadcast partner Matt Hicks an ad to read on the air for an upcoming new promotion called the “Pay the Day.”

The pitch was for fan engagement during the upcoming home-stand against the Detroit Tigers with tickets going for $5 on May 5, $6 on May 7 and so on.

“At the end of the commercial was a silly little rhyme … ‘you can pay because we’re playing in May,’ ” he recalled. After reading the rhyme, Nadel turned to Hicks and said: “Why don’t we write it as a limerick.”

Hicks’ response: “Why don’t you.”

Nadel took the challenge and returned the next day with a 10-line limerick about Pay the Day in May.

But the next day presented new challenges with the Rangers losing 6-1 to the Boston Red Sox and about to drop their record to 11-23.

Late in that game Nadel seized an opportunity when Hicks announced that a Sox prospect had just come up from the team farm club, Pawtucket.

“That sounds a lot like the start of a limerick to me,” Nadel said.

That interplay produced this:

A young hitting star at Pawtucket,

Each time he would step into the bucket.

If he got this corrected,

He’d be selected

For Cooperstown, like Kirby Puckett.

That limerick launched the start of an on-air season highlight: The 8th Inning Limerick of the Day.

Nadel, 67, agreed to write a new limerick for each day of the season. Hicks and another broadcast partner, Jared Sandler, occasionally contributed. Soon, listeners and friends were invited to chime in with their own rhyme.

At the end of the season, Nadel had so many limericks that he decided to take the advice of many in his circle of friends and acquaintances and publish a book.

The result is the recently released Lim-Eric! Whimsical Rhymes from the Voice of the Texas Rangers and his Friends.

The book is the fourth for Nadel, coming more than 20 years after his first books that focus on baseball, basketball and the history of the Rangers ball club.

It is also a departure from his previously published works because it is his first go-around with self-publishing.

“I didn’t even consider a conventional publisher this time,” he said.

Going the self-publishing route got the book out quicker, with most sales anticipated to be online through Amazon.

The 130-page collection of limericks are mostly about baseball but Nadel added a whole section called “Not Baseball” with limericks about everything from World Cup soccer to his favorite places to visit to his favorite rock bands, since music is another passion of his.

The book even contains some limericks about limericks.

Writing limericks: a cheap little trick,

Maybe something of which you are sick

But this little rhyme

Helps me pass the time

And I think it’s now part of my shtick.

While the limericks are fun, Nadel says the book really comes to life with the caricature illustrations of Dallas artist Arthur James and the pithy endorsements from Rangers notables and other celebrities, including former Rangers Manager Ron Washington’s “I’m more of a sonnet man myself, but these are very good,” and Emmy-winning TV writer Ken Levine’s “A witty book and a cry for help.”

“It’s selling really well,” Nadel said.

The Hall of Fame radio announcer who has been the Rangers lead announcer for nearly a quarter of a century said he has long been enamored with limericks, although not as long as he’s been passionate about baseball and sports-casting.

The Brooklyn, New York, native recalls asking his father when he was only 7 whether radio announcers get paid while the two were riding in the car, listening to a Yankees game on the radio.

To his delight, the answer was “yes.”

An avid sports fan, who played several sports in high school, Nadel never gave up on his dream of becoming a Major League sportscaster even though his parents had hoped he would parlay his Ivy League degree from Brown University into a career as a lawyer.

Instead, Nadel hoped his experience as a college radio announcer of football and hockey games would translate into a professional job. Unwilling to let go of his dream, Nadel settled for a housecleaning position in the Brown dormitories while waiting for a break.

He finally landed a position as a play-by-play announcer for a minor league hockey team in Muskegon, Michigan. After three years, he began considering law school.

But then came an offer from a larger minor league hockey team in Oklahoma City. A year later, a merger between that team and Dallas minor league team bought Nadel to Dallas.

A few years later, the team announced a move to Canada, which put Nadel out of work as a non-Canadian.

But as luck would have it, Nadel got a call from the Texas Rangers for an on-air audition. He got the job and the Rangers didn’t have to pay his moving expenses. At age 27, he earned a starting annual salary of $16,000.

Known for his home run call “that ball is history,” Nadel has announced on television as well as radio. He has been the team’s lead announcer since 1995.

He is the 2014 winner of the Ford C. Frick Award from the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Besides his job, Nadel is involved with various charitable causes.

He is a spokesman and advocate for Focus on Teens, an organization that serves homeless teens in Dallas and Fort Worth. He is also an advocate and concert organizer for with Café Momentum, a Dallas restaurant founded by renowned Chef Chad Houser that serves as a nonprofit to teach culinary skills to juvenile offenders and at-risk youth.

Nadel also supports animal rescue organizations and helped raise money for the first leash-free dog park in Dallas.

The Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation is another charitable organization that Nadel wholeheartedly supports. Part of the proceeds of Nadel’s new book will benefit the foundation that helps improve the lives of needy children through health initiatives and youth baseball and educational programs.

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