SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Eric Nadel hasn't broadcast a regularseason baseball game in five months, but he has hardly been idle.
In addition to preparing for the season and accepting constant congratulations for winning the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence, Nadel and his wife Jeannie have been preparing for his annual birthday bash.
That's the Birthday Benefit Concert that will be held on May 15 at the Kessler Theater in Dallas.
"It will feature Hal Ketchum and Daphne Willis, with all proceeds going to CONTACT Crisis Line, a free, 24-hour counseling hot line that my wife Jeannie and I have supported strongly for years," Nadel said. "We believe that the mental health crisis in this country is one that can be solved in large part with more counseling, and organizations like CONTACT are the entryway to help for many troubled people."
But on Monday it will be back to work as Nadel begins his 36th season as a broadcaster for the Rangers and his 20th as the lead voice on the radio. Among current broadcasters, only Denny Mathews with the Royals has longer continuous service with one team. Like everybody else, Nadel gets excited with the approach of Opening Day.
"I think I am like any other fan who loves baseball," Nadel said. "I am eager to start seeing all the great players doing what they do. And I am looking forward to getting all the offseason questions answered. Is Puig for real? Is Tanaka worth all that money and can the Yankees bounce back?
"Will Pujols and Hamilton be healthy enough to get the Angels back into contention? And I get excited to hear all my favorite announcers on MLB.com and Sirius/XM. Another year of Vin Scully and Jon Miller ... who wouldn't be excited about that?"
He is also eager to see what's in store for a team that has won at least 90 games in each of the past four years.
"It's like opening the cover of a great mystery novel and seeing how all the pieces will [hopefully] fall in place," Nadel said. "I am excited ... about seeing Tanner Scheppers as a starter, and Prince Fielder batting third in the Rangers lineup. And I get to watch Yu Darvish every fifth day, knowing that any of those days might be the one when he throws a no-hitter or strikes out 20."
Like many baseball fans, Nadel is also interested to see how the new expanded replay system will work.
"I am very curious to see how it plays out and whether or not the current challenge system is the best way of doing it," Nadel said. "At least we know that games are never going to be decided on bad calls."
Nadel normally broadcasts all 162 games. This season he will broadcast four fewer games. Nadel will be off July 25-28 because he will be in Cooperstown, N.Y., to receive the Ford C. Frick Award. The presentation will be on July 26.
"It has been constantly exciting since the award was announced on Dec. 11," Nadel said. "Every day someone says or writes something to me in relation to Cooperstown, so it is impossible to put out of my mind. I am most excited that so many of my friends are coming to Cooperstown and that Rangers fans have embraced this whole thing so enthusiastically."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less