Players and coaches have come and gone. Ownership has switched hands. And Ohio’s son has come and gone. But through 40 years of highs and lows within the Cavaliers’ franchise, 40 years of our team moving left to right on our radio dials, there has been just one constant: The Voice.
You know The Voice. There hasn’t been a more prolific voice in all of sports in the past 40 years than that of Cleveland’s radio broadcaster Joe Tait. He has called more than 3,000 Cavalier games and has been named Ohio’s “Sportscaster of the Year” on eight separate occasions. He’s been the voice of the WNBA’s Cleveland Rockers, hockey’s Cleveland Crusaders and the TV voice of the Cleveland Indians.
He, like Austin Carr, is known throughout Cleveland for his iconic expressions. He opens each game with “It’s basketball time at The Q” and signs off to “Have a good night, everybody.” Without fail, he lets the listeners know which direction the Cavaliers are moving the ball with perhaps his most recognized expression: “The Cavaliers will be going left to right / right to left on your radio dials.”
When Mr. Tait calls the game, he does more than broadcast an NBA basketball contest. He brings the listener through the radio and sets him/her right down next to him to seemingly watch the game with him. His passion for the Cleveland sports franchise allows fans to interact with him via their radio dials.
I, myself, didn’t begin really appreciating Tait’s work until last season. I had listened to him on the radio numerous times prior to that but I was content with sitting at home and watching the Game Tracker on ESPN.com when games weren’t nationally televised. However, this past season, I went off to my first year of college and began listening to Tait on a game-by-game basis. When the Cavs weren’t on national TV, I would sit in my room and stream his call on the Cavaliers’ web site.
I grew to enjoy listening to Tait as much as I enjoyed actually watching games on TV. I spent several evenings watching the Cavs on TNT or ABC with the TV muted – just so I could listen to Mr. Tait, instead of the television broadcasters. I even took a portable transistor radio with me on winter vacation with my family so that I could listen to his call while I rode the ski slopes – talk about an excellent time!
On any note, the legendary Joe Tait will be inducted into the National Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts on Thursday evening. And we have just one more year with the legendary Joe Tait behind the mic for our Cleveland Cavaliers. Let’s enjoy every last minute of it with The Voice.
The man. The legend. The Joe Tait.