Saturday, July 22, 2017

Listen to the Babe Ruth New England 14U Regional


Join me throughout the weekend with Dan Gardella, Jake Zimmer, Shawn Sailer, and Josh Somma for the Babe Ruth New England 14U Regional.

Listen live at http://mixlr.com/greenwich-sentinel/ or click play below.


Greenwich Sentinel is on Mixlr

You can also join us on Facebook live at https://www.facebook.com/1490WGCH/.

The games are all archived and can be downloaded at this link: http://mixlr.com/greenwich-sentinel/showreel/

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Quick Note on Rallying

We often get bundles of these
Today was just one of those days.

A mixed blessing if you will.

It didn't start great. At one point, I was basically shaking over something.

I fumbled through a disjointed radio show (ah, summer).

But I rallied thanks to two things:

1) Baseball. Yes. Really. Baseball.

Calling baseball (and other sports certainly) is often my salvation. Putting that headset on allows me to go to a different place for over two hours. It's why I'm so excited to call the Babe Ruth 14U New England Regional starting Friday in Trumbull, CT. Sixteen games in four days? Heck yes!

2) Love of friends and family.

No, that's not all. It's more than love. I don't talk about faith a lot, and for good reason. That being said, the faith they show in me -- and I in them -- can be unyielding. I keep asking to be told it's all going to be OK. But don't just say it if you don't believe it.

Tonight, after a really meh day, it was the combination of baseball and love (and faith) of friends and family that pulled it all together.

Once one the air, I felt like me. And I laughed. That's a good thing.

Two random people also added some kindness about stuff that I've done over the years. A fan at the game told me that he's a big fan of my work.

Like, really?

Another fan -- a parent -- said his son's highlight tape included my play-by-play, and that brought more kind words.

I know, I know. All about me. Well when handed lemons (and I didn't think Paul Silverfarb and I would get this game on the air tonight), it's nice to make some lemonade.

But despite no power, we came up with a generator.

Despite running late, we still got lineups.

Despite Middletown's lineup not having first names on it, we got through it.

Despite all of this being pulled together at the last-minute, we put on a solid broadcast.

We scratched and clawed our way through a game in which Greenwich beat Middletown (CT) 8-1 in American Legion baseball.

And we saw a head coach lose his marbles and get ejected from the game (not sure I've ever seen that).

Instead of being low, sad, and scared, I drove home excited and happy.

Problems weren't erased tonight.

Pain was eased.  I'll take it.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Lou Gehrig Day


July 4th means a lot in this country. Of course, it's the date of our independence and, thankfully, Will Smith is nowhere to be found as I type this.

July 4th marks a day for fireworks. Picnics. Ray Charles.

July 4th is also a day for baseball.

George Steinbrenner was born on July 4 (of course he was).

Dave Righetti thrilled us on July 4, with the first no-hitter by a Yankees pitcher since 1956 (and I missed it because we didn't have cable. I caught the post-game on the radio...and yelled).



Frank Messer, joined by Bill White, on the call. You can hear why I loved Messer growing up. Wonderful attention to detail in that call ("Righetti...again circles around the mound, to the third base side, now up to the pitching rubber, plants the left foot on the slab, looks down to Wynegar, hiding the ball behind the left hip...")

Yet for me -- and I wish for all baseball fans -- today would be about Lou Gehrig.

Today, besides of course being Independence Day, should be Lou Gehrig Day.

Gehrig, of course, was "The Pride of the Yankees" (that might work as a movie title, or maybe a book by Richard Sandomir about the making of the movie). He hit 493 home runs. He played every day, and only a heinous disease that bears his name could stop him. His last full year (1938) -- when it's fair to say amyotrophic lateral sclerosis was beginning to show in his movements -- he still hit .295 with 29 HR and 114 RBI. That was considered a down year for The Iron Horse.

By early '39 he was done. In May, he pulled himself from the lineup after 2,130 consecutive games. Soon after, the world began to know what ALS was.


His baseball funeral was held at Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939, between games of a doubleheader with the Washington Senators.

He couldn't lift the trophies being brought to him. His uniform sagged. There was fear that he would collapse, especially in the heat.

Despite suggestions that Gehrig had written and rehearsed his famous speech, it's clear to me that this is not true. He had to be coaxed by manager Joe McCarthy to speak. When you watch the video, it's clear that he doesn't read from anything. As a man who was largely shy, I doubt he memorized it.

Regardless, it's from the heart.

The movie doesn't depict it all correctly (they never do). Gehrig's famous line isn't at the end of the speech. The "luckiest man" is the second line in the speech. Heck it never gets recited correctly, and I believe Jonathan Eig's Luckiest Man (the finest biography I've ever read) is the closest to being the accurate text.

Watch all that is available of the speech.


These are all reasons to see him as a hero, but it's more. It's the way he conducted himself on and off the field. He was the definition of courage as he fought ALS publicly from 1939 until he died in 1941. There were no scandals and, even if the press tracked his every move, there still wouldn't have been any.

There was a break in his friendship with Babe Ruth, and the well-known issues with Ma Gehrig, who thought she could be the only woman in Lou's life. That's it.

Incidentally, in the midst of the hideous way baseball treated non-whites, Gehrig had this to say:

"There is no room in baseball for discrimination. It is our national pastime and a game for all."

To me, Lou Gehrig is everything that a sports role model should be.

I'm sure the Gehrig speech will be recognized today at Yankee Stadium when the Bombers play the Blue Jays. Yet I'd like to see, as baseball gets hung up on embarrassingly ugly uniforms and pace of play, Gehrig have a day put in place.

We recognize Jackie Robinson every April 15, and deservedly so.

We do nothing as a sport for Babe Ruth (different topic...different time).

Let's make sure every July 4 is recognized -- officially -- as Lou Gehrig Day.

Use it to honor his memory, but also to continue the fight against ALS.

Let's remind ourselves that we're all lucky.


Sunday, June 25, 2017

You Get a Bridge!

Rendering of the New Tappan Zee Bridge (courtesy The New NY Bridge Project)
Following a push by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, the state senate passed a proposal to name the new Tappan Zee Bridge after Cuomo's father, the late Governor Mario Cuomo.

If I were writing this in an august publication as a journalist, I'd reserve opinion and report the facts.

I'm not. I'm writing it here on Exit 55...so...

Blech.

No. Seriously. Blech. Or worse.

First of all, the Tappan Zee Bridge was named in honor of former Gov. Malcolm Wilson in 1994 though, to be fair, virtually nobody called it that.

I was OK with it. In fact, other Hudson Valley river bridges have "honorary" names that nobody uses.

Have you ever called the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge "The Hamilton Fish Newburgh-Beacon Bridge?"

Nope. Nor have I.

(OK, maybe a few of my friends in the road community may have, but we're a little more strict on such things)

Down in New York City, iconic places such as the Triborough Bridge (Robert F. Kennedy Jr), the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel (Hugh Carey), and the Queensboro/59th Street Bridge (Ed Koch) have received new monikers.

In those cases, traffic reporters and the public have been informed to refer to these structures by the persons name. Signs have been erected to say that those are the new names.

Sickening.

Thanks, Mike Bloomberg.

Well anyway.

NYC mayors are just the best, no?

And of course, on a side note, we need to focus on fixing the spelling on the Verraz(z)ano-Narrows Bridge, right?

That's sarcasm. Besides, Staten Islanders have different names for the behemoth that joins them with Brooklyn.

But let's get back to ol' Cuomo and the new Tappan Zee.

I suppose if somebody wants to slap a name up in honor of the seatbelt governor (that -- and being a Yankees fan -- is the only way I want to remember the man), OK. But what about Gov. Wilson?

It's pure selfishness by the Cuomo family, who has long desperately wanted to be another Kennedy clan.

But more to the point, I hope -- and I can't stress this enough -- that nobody refers to this bridge as "the Cuomo."

It's the Tappan Zee. Everyone knows it.

I still sometimes stubbornly call FDR Park in Yorktown "Mohansic," because that's what it's name was.

So the connection between Tarrytown and Nyack will remain the Tappan Zee or the TZ.

What's in a name?

Plenty.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

On The Call of Cal Ripken Baseball

The current view in Banksville as Greenwich warms up (Photo: Me)
I'll be live at 4pm today for Greenwich and Norwalk in the Cal Ripken Baseball district tournament at Banksville Field.

Cool fact: you have to be in New York to drive to the field. In Connecticut.

Anyway, listen live below or click here (or go to Greenwich Sentinel). Greenwich Sentinel is on Mixlr

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Red and White Football Game Today!

Homecoming Day, 2016.
I'll have the call of today's Greenwich High School Red and White football game at 10 this morning.

Actually, we'll be live just before 10.

AJ Szymanowski, Jake Zimmer, and Shawn Sailer are joining me at Cardinal Stadium.

You can find us at http://mixlr.com/greenwich-sentinel or just listen here.

We'll also replay it on WGCH at another time (likely Tuesday at 2pm).


Greenwich Sentinel is on Mixlr

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

1K

This touched my heart.
It's not as easy to write about "me" as you think.

First, there's my own inner concern that I'm being narcissistic. Then there's the (inner) demon that says I'm "making it all about myself."

Blech.

But I want to to tell you all that Saturday, when Greenwich plays their annual Red and White football game (10 am, greenwichsentinel.com and later on WGCH), there will be an extra feeling of nostalgia.

It will be my 1000th game broadcast.

OK, that's not entirely true. When I was at Kraft (General) Foods, I called a bunch of softball games. We produced them as video "broadcasts" (yes, that means I started on TV) but I didn't count them officially.

The count began on April 10, 1999 when I called Greenwich and Port Chester in baseball. It was really on the air. It was on the radio.

It was on WGCH, which is where I've called the majority of my games (549).

I've worked with so many great people, and described the exploits of so many great athletes. They're the ones I want to talk about the most. They're the stars.

But I never want to forget those I worked with, from Miguel Villafane, Ron Lemp, Kevin Jaffe, Harold Turk, and Joe Mingoia back at Kraft (And Philip Morris/Altria, of course) to Russ McCarroll on that first WGCH game all the way to AJ Szymanowski, Shawn Sailer, and Jake Zimmer, who have blessed me by saying yes to being there this Saturday.

Chris Kaelin is the one I've worked most with (172 games). Sean Kilkelly (171 total games) holds the title of most games as lead analyst (169 games).

I've "Scullied" 51 games (that is, I worked alone).

In case you're wondering, Mark Rosen, John Kovach, and Chris Erway round out the top five of those I've worked with the most.

They're all friends. Ryan DeMaria. Paul Silverfarb. Christine Baker. Dan Gardella. John Spang. Matt Hamilton. Nick Fox. Sean Ford. Jason Intrieri. Tim Parry. Nick Angotto. I can't name everyone. I'll forget somebody.

It's more than that though. It's Sean Adams, the most amazing child (who has credit officially for one broadcast, in 2015 in Norwich, but has been on countless others). It's family and friends who have listened to so much (again, I can't name them all or embarrass them).

Football is the sport I've called the most, followed by baseball, basketball, and hockey.

But I'm making this about me. Sorry.

I'm only sorry it took me this long to get there. Some will read this and say, "Who cares? I did a thousand in five years."

I care because I never thought this would happen. I never thought I'd be blessed with such great people working with me.

I just feel lucky. One-thousand games of lugging equipment, crawling on press box floors, eating questionable (at best) food, and late nights where many questioned my sanity.

From WGCH to Hudson Valley Talk Radio to Hersam Acorn Radio to HAN Network to Georgian Court University to Pleasantville TV to Brunswick and others, we've seen a lot. And we've described a lot.

I will talk about Cooperstown (with HAN) forever. I will remember the Carrier Dome and Ken Strong Stadium and the Ballpark at Harbor Yard. And Webster Bank Arena.

And Fenway Park.

But also Dutchess Stadium and Ripken Stadium and Cardinal Stadium and Kennedy Stadium and Boyle Stadium. And Robert. L. Cosby Field. And Hartong Rink. And Darien Ice Rink...er...ice house. And Dorothy Hamill Rink. And on and on.

And the place where Greenwich plays baseball (Cardinal Yard, people!).

I'm not a major league broadcaster. I probably never will be.

But I'm fiercely proud. Proud to know all of you. Proud to have watched those who made these games possible.

Proud of the grandparent who was listening at 35, 000 feet. Of the sister in Spain. The grandfather in Switzerland. Of the friends in London.

Of the people in Greenwich. Stamford. Norwalk. Fairfield. Wilton. Ridgefield. Danbury. Westport. New Canaan. Bridgeport. Fairfield County.

Staten Island.

Thank you. One thousand times thank you.

See you Saturday.

(These are the amazing people that I've worked with. These numbers are bound to be wrong.)

NAME #
Chris Kaelin 172
Sean Kilkelly 171
Mark Rosen 149
John Kovach 109
Chris Erway 84
Ricky Fritsch 63
Nick Angotto 61
John Spang 60
Nick Fox 56
Paul Silverfarb 55
Matt Hamilton 53
Mark Smallwood 47
Sean Ford 43
Josh Fisher 43
Ryan DeMaria 36
Frank Granito 36
Tom Kane 29
Christine Baker 28
Ian Handwerger 27
AJ Szymanowski 23
Zach Fisher 22
Rob Crowley 20
Eric Gendron 20
Bill Brehm 20
Tom Prizeman 19
Dan Gardella 18
Geoff Brault 16
Jake Zimmer 14
Max Barefoot 12
Tommy Dee 10
Kevin Coleman 10
Harold Turk 10
Alex Hager 10
Mike Suppe 9
Justin Gallanty 9
John Connelly 9
Tim Murphy 8
Nora Delaney 8
John Collins 8
Ron Warzoha 7
Ron Lyons 7
Jason Intrieri 7
Amanda Romaniello 7
Marty Hersam 6
Ian Barto 6
Bill Bloxsom 6
Tom Pollina 5
Dave Stewart 5
Dave Chiappetta 5
Josh Somma 4
Eric Tillman 4
Tyler Ingalls 3
Shelby Vaccaro 3
Russ McCarroll 3
Phil Giubileo 3
Charles Costello 3
Tim Parry 2
Steve Coulter 2
Shawn Sailer 2
Nick Gagalis 2
Mike Cardillo 2
Mick McGowan 2
Matt Narwold 2
JJ Duke 2
Donald Eng 2
Dave Rothenberg 2
Dave Maloney Jr 2
Dan Arestia 2
Carrie Phelps 2
Bob Perez 2
TP Loftus 1
Sean Adams 1
Scott Gentile 1
Raquel Welsh 1
Mike LaHiff 1
Michael Breed 1
Matt Sherman 1
Mary Anne DeFelice 1
Jim Gerweck 1
Ernie Craumer 1
Don Boyle 1
Dave Maloney 1
Chuck Scott 1
Chris Lucey 1
Bryan Tunney 1
Brian Carcaterra 1
Brendan Heller 1
Armstrong Noonan 1
Andrew Mitchell 1
Amanda Sirois 1