7/16/2008 04:11:00 PM

You Can Make Bob Sheppard Immortal

Posted by Mark McCray |

Darren Rovell/CNBC.Com:

Bob Sheppard, 97, who had been announcing all the names and numbers for the New York Yankees since 1951, hasn’t made it to the stadium this year due to illness, but his voice has lived on due to the fact that he has recorded the Yankee lineup.

Given the ovation at the mention of Sheppard’s name last night, it’s clear that there would be no replacement for Sheppard if he sadly never makes it to the new stadium next year.

But due to the state of text-to-speech technology, Sheppard’s voice could be the voice of the starting lineups for the next 50 years, if the Yankees choose to go that route.

Patrick Dexter, director of business development for Cepstral a leader in text-to-speech technology, told CNBC that it would be possible for the company to create a program that would enable the Yankees to have every player – the Yankees and their opponents – be announced by Sheppard’s voice forever.

“Doing names and numbers is easier than creating what they call a full domain voice, which is voicing full sentences,” Dexter said. “But if we had some time and money – and the Yankees certainly might have that bankroll -- we could do this.”

It would likely cost the Yankees in the six figures, Dexter said, and the company would need at least 10 hours of Sheppard’s time in order to recognize all his speech patterns.

If there’s a rookie who comes up for the Yankees in 2017 and the Sheppard program doesn’t immediately pronounce it right, Dexter said a technician could do a couple things to make sure the Sheppard voice program recognizes it correctly. One solution is to write everything phonetically. So if Jorge comes out George, it could be typed in as Horhay.

***So what do you think??? If Bob were to agree to do it...should the Yankees pony up the chump change to make him immortal at Yankee Stadium??? Vote on the left...***


DaveTN said...

I love the guy, but it seems a bit weird to can his voice. Maybe the next announcer will make a similar impression in the new stadium.

Mark M. said...

It is a little bit weird. Apparently people have been requesting this service more and more to preserve people who are dying. They are also doing it with celebrities.

I think there are pro's and con's of doing it, but my vote would go to doing it. I don't know, I am a sucker for technology!!!

Thanks for coming by!!!

(Check out some of these voices they have on the companies website. Dubya is a hilarious one and so is Wiseguy)


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