Next Wednesday’s opening night will undoubtedly have a bit of a different feel to it. Not only will there not be any pregame comments from individuals like Mike Brown or LeBron James, but Hall of Fame play-by-play man Joe Tait will not be visiting with those outside of the Cavalier locker room.
Tait, who was diagnosed with pneumonia earlier in the preseason, will miss the rest of the 2010 calendar year as he undergoes treatment for aortic stenosis – a hardening of the aorta which restricts blood flow out of the heart. Experiencing chest pain and some discomfort in Houston earlier this month, Tait was admitted to a local hospital where he received treatment and was later deemed okay to continue his rehabilitation in the Cleveland area.
Undergoing a battery of tests at the Cleveland Clinic, it was determined that the difficulty breathing and discomfort – also common symptoms of aortic stenosis – had a little more to it. Alas, Tain will continue to undergo various procedures to replace a valve and address other heart-related concerns.
There is no timetable for Tait’s return from his current ailment, though he is expected to not return until the New Year at the earliest. The team reports that Joe is in good spirits and remains very appreciative of the support given from fans. In his absence, WTAM (1100 AM) will rely on (usual in-studio correspondent) Mike Snyder with play-by-play as well as Cavalier legend Jim Chones with the color commentary.
Tait, 73, is in his 39th season with the Cavaliers and has a lifetime agreement with the team to be their play-by-play man as long as he wishes. Though he has stated his intentions to retire after the 2010-11 season, here’s hoping that it’s by choice and is not expedited by any health-related issues. The sooner the irreplaceable Tait is back and enjoying a “hot, delicious DiGiorno Pizza,” the better.
Though he won’t be there to say in for Wednesday’s opening to the 2010-11 season, Cavs fans everywhere will be thinking of Joe and his signature opening of “It’s basketball time at The Q.”
Photo via NBA.com