This has been a terribly tough year for local sportswriters and, now, announcers.
Veteran scribes Bob Moran and Bob Eger died earlier in 2008 -- Moran after a long illness and Eger after a short one. Both had been part of the fabric of the local sports scene for as long as most of us could remember, and both were good guys to boot.
Then, last night, the iconic Tom Dillon -- forever (seemingly) the voice of the Arizona State University Sun Devils -- died suddenly at his Phoenix home. He was 65.
Dillon also had the misfortune of doing play-by-play for the lowly Arizona Cardinals from 1989-2001.
Though some of us around here (i.e. me, a die-hard University of Arizona grad) hate the Sun Devils to the marrow of our bones, we couldn't help but note the passion and professionalism with which Dillon always threw himself into his high-profile gig.
Sure, Dillon was a homer -- what college sports announcer isn't -- but he also called it straight. If, God forbid, the Devils deservedly were getting their butts spanked, he'd say so. If the home team fans were screaming bloody murder at a supposedly lousy call, and Dillon saw it the other way, he'd say so.
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As I'm writing this, I can hear Dillon's voice in my head, tremulous with excitement over yet another (sigh...) spine-tingling Sun Devils moment.
According to one news account, Dillon was scheduled to work down in Tucson at the rivalry game between ASU and Arizona. It's a shame that he didn't get to do one more big one. -- Paul Rubin