Voice of the Tacoma Rainiers, Mike Curto, stuck in baseball limbo during COVID-19 shutdown

Mike Curto has broadcast Tacoma Rainiers games since 1999.  (Charis Wilson / Tacoma Rainiers)

By Larry Stone  

Seattle Times

September 12, 2020

TACOMA — On Wednesday, Mike Curto was back in his customary seat in the Bob Robertson Broadcast Booth at Cheney Stadium, a fitting locale just days after Robertson’s death.

Curto wasn’t calling a Rainiers game, as he has done with distinction for the past 22 seasons. The Rainiers, like Curto, have been silenced in 2020, a victim of the COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in the cancellation of the minor-league season.

Instead he was broadcasting a three-inning intrasquad game of taxi-squad players at the Mariners’ alternate training site, which was shown later in the day on ROOT Sports.

Never mind the fact that innings sometimes ended after two (or four) outs, or that one of the second basemen, nursing a sore arm, didn’t make any throws to first. It was baseball, and Curto was thrilled to be back behind the mike — rusty though he was. It was just his second broadcast since the end of the Rainiers’ season last September, the other coming four days earlier in another intrasquad game. Listening back to that had made Curto cringe.

“I hadn’t done anything in a calendar year. It showed. I felt awful,’’ Curto said cheerfully after Wednesday’s game abruptly ended an inning earlier than planned. “And then when I watched it, at the beginning I was like, ‘Yeah, this is awful.’ But as it got going and we got to the middle and later innings, I said, ‘OK, this is fine. Now I sound like myself.’ “

The Voice of the Rainiers has been stuck in his own version of limbo as the baseball season ticks away.

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