NBA: Indiana Pacers Broadcaster Mark Boyle to Call 2,000th Game Wednesday

No NameAnalyst IMarch 29, 2011

On Wednesday night, the Detroit Pistons will be in town to face the Indiana Pacers, who are fighting for the final playoff spot in the East.

It would be hard to find something to overshadow that, but there is one man who deserves that spotlight though.

Mark Boyle is the play-by-play announcer for the Indiana Pacers and has been for the past 22 years. The game on Wednesday night against the Pistons will be his 2,000th game to call.

While to outsiders this may not seem like much, those of us that have been listening to him since we were little kids will surely have the radio on during this game.

When Mark first began broadcasting the Pacers games in 1988, I myself was just three years old. Our family went on a lot of vacations as a child, so I wasn't able to watch many Pacers games on TV. Couple that with the fact that I had a bed time at such a young age, there was no way I could stay up and watch the late games when they were out West.

That is when I turned to a man named Mark Boyle and his broadcast partner Bobby "Slick" Leonard. Best decision I ever made.

Normally when you listen to sporting events on the radio, most people think of baseball. It's the traditional past time with legendary voices calling the games on the radio, even before games were televised.

Even though I am a Reds baseball fan, we here in Indianapolis never had a professional baseball team, so most of the city would back the Indiana Pacers. For good reason too, as they were one of the premier teams in the league during the 1990's.

Sure, having a Hall-of-Fame player like Reggie Miller helps, but the team as a whole was really good, all the way around.

I can replay many of those nights where I would head to my room and turn on the radio after climbing in bed. It was time for bed yes, but nobody ever said anything about going to sleep.

Once the game started, I could listen to Mark describe what was going on down to the smallest detail. He was able to illustrate everything you needed to know and never missed a beat. The close games were the ones that always got my stomach into a frenzy.

I would listen closely and hope to hear "Slick" scream "Boom Baby" as Reggie would connect on another big three-point basket. He came through more times than not, and I can thank Mark for giving me those memories.

Obviously, the team today isn't anything like how it was during Reggie's time in Indiana, but Mark still has the same passion for what he does, and what more can you really ask from someone in that position?

He prepares for each and every game as thoroughly as possible. There is always a reason to listen, even if it is just to get his opinion on something. It seems like every game he has some kind of interesting fact or story to tell. Mark excels at bringing the arena into the homes and cars of fans for each and every game.

In addition to Pacers games, Boyle has done many other things in his professional life that are worth mentioning. He has worked in the NHL, spending two seasons with the Minnesota North Stars and has covered the NFL, Major League Baseball and Big Ten football and basketball.

Mark has spent his summers broadcasting minor league baseball games, competing in the U.S. Open Chess Tournament, performing with the Indianapolis Symphony at the Indianapolis Civic Theatre, piranha fishing on the Amazon River and working as a barista at a local coffee house. He also continues to be active in several local charities.

On calling his 2,000th game on Wednesday, Mark says he doesn't really have a "highlight" game that stands out above the rest, but he does recall many exciting games he had the pleasure of calling.

He doesn't like to think of them as "highlights" during his career because he says he didn't have anything to do with them. He said his personal career highlight was when he did his first game in 1988 and realized how far he had come; he was finally at the top—a place he has been ever since.

Boyle will provide a perfect illustration of what the scene is like in the arena, but he will not make it more than it actually is. He doesn't like creating a false sense of security and excitement when there really isn't any.

He wants to paint the picture of what the atmosphere is really like and won't "beef things up" when a game is particularly one-sided.

It would be hard to imagine listening to the radio broadcast of the Pacers game without Mark's voice. I can honestly say this because I have never in my life listened to a Pacers radio broadcast done by someone other than Mark.

It sounds strange, but I honestly don't know if I will be able to listen to a game on the radio once he is gone. In today's world, where an average guy on the street can become a radio broadcaster for a professional sports team, it is rare to find such a talented individual who is so good at his craft, like Boyle.

Just as all of us Indianapolis 500 fans associate Tom Carnegie with the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, we as Pacers fans can do the same with Mark Boyle and the Pacers franchise.

The ups and downs of the past 22 years with this franchise have been brought to me courtesy of Mark and "Slick." Those memories are priceless and I know there are many people out there who would agree.

Congratulations Mark, and more importantly, thank you.