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Play By Play Family-Style

Cubs legend Harry Caray's grandson is a Chip off the old block. Sort of.

By Tom Zenner

It might be! It could be! No, it undoubtedly is a great opportunity for third generation broadcaster Chip Caray to be doing the play by play for Cubs baseball games. Oh sure, the father of three young children travels more in the summer months than Patrick Ewing in the low post, but when you do Cubs games for a living you never have to worry about working in the month of October. When Chip took the job he knew he'd be saying, "Ladies and gentlemen, the Cubs are the World Series Champions," about the same time the publisher of Good Housekeeping says, "I'm happy to announce that Mike Tyson is our Man of the Year." John Rocker will be Grand Marshall of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade before the Cubs have a World Series parade. But unlike the Cubs players, Chip gets to experience postseason baseball as an announcer with Fox, so all in all he has what he considers the greatest gig in broadcasting

"I am lucky, because with the Cubs playing most of their games in the afternoon during home stands, it means I am home at night to be with my kids and my wife," Caray said from his Pittsburgh hotel room. "I get to tuck them in bed, and be there in the morning with them to eat breakfast and start their day. The actual burden is on my wife, who is the real rock of the family. Thanks to her we can function pretty normally."

Chip has grown up in broadcasting, his father Skip is the play by play announcer for the Atlanta Braves and of course his grandfather Harry is an American icon and Chicago legend. Chip learned many valuable lessons that would prepare him as a broadcaster from both his father and grandfather, but one of the biggest personal ones that stuck in his mind came outside of the broadcast booth. He experienced first hand the effect a divorce can have on children. Chip's parents divorced when he was a young child, and he did not have much of a relationship with his father until he was a teenager.

"I did not want my kids to have the same fate as I did growing up, because I really never saw much of my father until I was 12 or 13 years old. It's almost two opposite extremes, when you compare my childhood to the environment we are raising our kids in."

When you're a Caray, and you live in Chicago, you have more people that want to buy you a beer and have a picture taken with you than Anna Kournikova. I don't know if Chip even owns a tennis racket, but he probably has a better chance of winning the U.S. Open, too. That celebrity spotlight comes with the territory, and only shines when Chip is at work. A significant aspect of Chip's parenting philosophy is to make his family life as uncomplicated as possible. For instance, he doesn't bring a goody bag of gifts back for his kids from every city he visits.

"I try not to do that. I want my return to our house to be a present enough. Seeing my kids and having them see me after a week away is enough. I don't want them associating seeing me with a present."

Unlike Rick Rockwell or Allen Dershawitz, being on television is not considered a big deal in the Caray household.

"We try not to make a big deal of the fact that I'm on television. The fact that I'm on t.v. does not make me more or less important than anybody else. I am no different than any other father. When I am home, I am Dad. I'm no better or worse than any other father, it just so happens I'm in the limelight a little more."

Some things never change, like the Cubs being out of the pennant chase by the All Star break. But some things do. While Chip's grandfather may have been a Bud Man, Chip seems perfectly content being a family man.

Tom Zenner is a television sportscaster for Fox and a free-lance writer in Boston. He has a two-and-a-half year old daughter named Brooke.

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