Sunday, January 28, 2018

Mahopac-Carmel Hockey (Hockey Fights Cancer)

In case you missed it, this is what you looked like (and sounded like) on Friday night, as Mahopac and Carmel met at the Brewster Ice Arena. Harold and I have the call. Harold wanted to try shooting video, and I was grateful for the effort. As for the call, though I was on about two hours sleep (not advisable), I was still proud and excited to be a part of this game.



Monday, January 15, 2018

Lots of Basketball Today!


Join the legendary Shawn Sailer and me today for the fourth annual Martin Luther King, Jr Basketball Classic from Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, CT.

We'll go live at 10:55!

11am: Fairfield Ludlowe Falcons/Bridgeport Central Hilltoppers
1pm: Career Magnet Panthers/Warren Harding Presidents
3pm: Xaverian Clippers/Notre Dame of Fairfield Lancers
5pm: Wilbur Cross Governors/Bassick Lions

Listen LIVE: http://mixlr.com/robcasting-radio

Robcasting Radio is on Mixlr

Plus check out our archive at http://mixlr.com/robcasting-radio/showreel/ or https://www.mixcloud.com/robcasting-radio/ or https://archive.org/details/@double5

Thursday, January 04, 2018

On Faith and Good Deeds

A snowy and windy day led to a tough view out the window
I'm not known for being a man of faith.

A man of spirit? Yes, I'll buy into that, but religion and I tend to not be the best of friends.

Not to say I don't respect such. I count members of clergy among friends. I also ran the controls for several faith-based shows, including "On Faith," which ran for almost a year on WGCH, hosted by The Rev. Dr. Jim Lemler, who was the priest-in-charge of Christ Church in Greenwich.

He also became my friend, and I was pleased to interview him last summer as a way of sending him off into retirement.

Father Elias Villis, whose son Nick is a 2018 captain at Brunswick, has become a social media friend.

Further, I'm now a broadcaster for Fairfield Prep, a Jesuit school.

But there's some deep-rooted stuff here. No need to go through it all.

I'll only allow that faith played a role in the destruction of a relationship, but that was also 30 years ago.

So I've long made it known I belong to "the Church of Baseball," and when discussing "godlike" things, Babe Ruth is normally mentioned.

That being said, I've been known to have many a conversation with my late father, including a long graveside chat a few Christmases ago, when I spent the day alone.

So it's safe to say I'm (perhaps) confused, skeptical, or whatever.

I'm burying the lede here.

Perhaps you're aware that we had a pretty large snowstorm around metro New York today. Boston is getting pummeled, and there's snow all along the east coast.

As in parts of Florida.

Coupled with the snow is wind. Gusting, it is.

For the past decade, I've had a snow blower, but it hasn't worked for a few years. We didn't worry about fixing it because a childhood friend of mine would stop by and plow us out.

But his plow is shot.

So it was up to me, and that's fine. I made my peace with it.

I bundled up and prepared for bitter cold temperatures. I kept reminding myself to go slow, and lift with my legs.

Folks, the truth is that I'm the prototype for being in the news for dying of a heart attack while shoveling the snow. That is not to exaggerate. At all.

The snow was heavy, and trips down the road from the plow made the bottom of the driveway look really uninviting.

But I promised I would be patient. I shoveled some, then stopped and cleaned my car. Shoveled, then checked my phone (tomorrow's Fairfield Prep/Notre Dame-West Haven game is postponed to Saturday at 6:30 p.m...listen live at mixlr.com/robcasting-radio/).

I found out virtually every school has closed. What has happened to us?

The shoveling continued, and I made my way down the driveway (to be fair, it's not very long). In the meantime, a plow had once again come down the road. I was relieved I hadn't cleaned the bottom of the driveway just to watch the plow put more back.

He went to the end of the road and cleaned it diligently. I stopped and watched to catch my breath.

As I got to the bottom of the driveway, creating a column so that I could then go row by row across, the plow began to pass me. I stopped so that I could wave to him (and catch my breath again).

He stopped.

I resumed.

Then I heard a voice: "Take a step back."

I did as I was told. He backed up, angled the plow to his left, and pushed the monster pile at the bottom of the driveway to my left.

"That's all I can do," he said, and moved along.

I stood there, stunned. It was too late, but I wanted to offer him coffee or water or something.

He was gone.

I could do just one thing. I glanced skyward.

"Why do I think you had something to do with that?" I asked my father.

I finished up, came inside, and got warm.

I won't say where the plow was from, because I don't want anyone to get in any trouble, but I feel profoundly grateful tonight.

I'm not a heathen (I'm a baptized Methodist, for the record).

But I figure somewhere, both Rev. Lemler and Fr. Elias are having a divine smile.

Or it was a really nice coincidence.

I'm a tough egg.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

STOP! It's the 55th Post!

2011
OK, the most recent post was supposed to be it!

But the name of this blog is "Exit 55," and we published 54 posts in 2018.

No, that will NOT due!

I have a couple of things that I've never posted. But they're staying in the drafts folder.

For now.

Yes, I know, I once posted well over 400 posts in a year, but that was then.

I can't walk away on 54. Oh sure, 54 was Goose Gossage and Brian Urlacher.

And Car 54, Where Are You?

But we're might fond of 55 around here.

We HAVE driven 55. NY Route 55, to be exact (as in the above photo).

I'm babbling, of course. It's fair to call this a nonsensical post.

But it meant something to me to end on the fifty-fifth post.

OK, now we're done.

Goodnight.

Onto '18

We could use a time machine. The TARDIS will do nicely (plus Peter Capaldi works his way into this post).
I feel like I have more to write tonight.

I probably should.

I will remember 2017. We can look back at all of the bad, but no. Take those as lessons.

Challenges.

Memories.

Inspiration.

But to "keep moving forward," we need to move on.

So let's look at the positive.

We're still here. That's one thing.

I have the best son. I'm crazy proud of him.

We only traveled twice in '17 -- both times to North Carolina, and both within the span of under a month. But it's still twice more than not traveling at all.

I only called 69 games in 2017, but you know what? I had a blast on each game. Sometimes it's not about quantity. I surrounded myself with the best collection of colleagues who are also friends. Chris, Kato, Jake, Dan, Shawn, AJ, Paul, Josh, Ian, Mick. Thank you, all.

I stuck my toe back into college basketball again, and can say I've called Div. I, III, and now II. Plus I survived the snowstorm that day and night, and made it home alive.

I was invited back to call Renegades games. I never thought that would happen.

I've created new relationships, including Fairfield Prep, and furthered my relationship with Brunswick. Plus Babe Ruth Baseball.

The Clubhouse. Mark and Dave.

And Greenwich High football gave us thrills galore. They were really just two points shy (even if the final tally was nine).

My family is my family. We're all still here also.

I have an amazing collection of friends. I can't list them all. They know who they are.

There are people who have my back. I know that.

I also see the truth, and remain truthful to myself. Integrity means something, and that's meant to to be obnoxious. It's one of many virtues that I treasure.

What I'm saying is that there are myriad positives. Let's focus on that.

We'll muddle through the rest of it.

So let's get going with 2018 already.

Incidentally, the Yankees have known great success in years ending in "8." As in 1928, 1938, 1958, 1978, and 1998.

Tonight, I watched Peter Capaldi depart Doctor Who. I waited almost a week, so I could watch it with Sean. Sadly, I knew a few of the surprises. No matter. The experience was wonderful.

Now, Jodie Whittaker, go make the 13th Doctor great. We'll be watching.


The Winter Classic is tomorrow in Queens. That means the Rangers, and Doc Emrick. Perfect.

I'm hopeful for the future, though it's not like life will immediately get easier as soon as we hit midnight.

I'm nervous -- very much so -- that I'm feeling hopeful. But I'll adjust. I love those who survive.

Then thrive.

I'd like to think maybe I'm one after all.

It's all going to take time, and I have to remind myself of that very thing. I can't let a hiccup throw the whole thing off course.

"Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, 'It will be happier.'" --Alfred Lord Tennyson

I wish you all peace and health tonight, tomorrow, and the day after.

And so on.

You don't need a flip of the calendar to do so. Do it now.

Imagine that, indeed.

We know tonight is overrated.

What 2018 will be is unknown.

Let's start finding out.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

After Opening Night


Game number one at Fairfield Prep is in the books.

For us, I thought it was a good night overall. I have to learn the players more. Learn Coach Leo Redgate a little more. Understand the SCC better as well.

All in time. I was once a Greenwich/FCIAC rookie.

The biggest blunder of the night was the attempt to the put the game on YouTube. I must have messed up an audio setting, so that was what was heard was the mic on my computer, and not the headsets through the mixer.

However, YouTube was an experiment, and not mean to be heard. So I'll have to change a few settings and we can try that again. The actual game broadcast was on Mixlr, and that's where it will stay for now.

Shawn Sailer and I were in Alumni Hall a little after 3pm to start setup. With an ethernet line secured and our equipment ready at courtside, all we needed was a game.

And a broadcast partner. Jake Zimmer joined us and we were good to go.
Shawn Sailer, Jake Zimmer, and some other guy.
Around 6:55, I launched our new "Robcasting Radio Sign On." As you might know, I'm a big fan of paying homage to classic radio, and that's what this opener is. It features Network ID's from Mutual, CBS, ABC, and NBC.

Each one, in fact, dates to sometime between the 1930s and 1950s, with the Mutual one coming from VJ Day in August, 1945.



Before the game, I got to formally meet Prep AD Tom Curran, head coach Leo Redgate, and "co-head contact" Eric Scholl (fellow "co-head contact" Eric Wuchiski couldn't be there, so that meant we had at least one listener!).


From there, it was basketball time. Career got the win, and Prep is undeterred. It's a young team, but they'll figure it out.

Oh and I was given swag! Now, don't be offended Greenwich, but...

Yes, I know. The sweatshirt is big, and we'll resolve that after the holidays, but I'm so grateful to Eric Scholl for the gifts, and to everyone for making us feel at home at (probably) my favorite place to call basketball.

I'm also grateful for the time to chat with Coach Redgate and company after the game.

This (with Brunswick, Greenwich, and our "Have Headset. Will Travel" mantra) could be everything I've always wanted. Only time will tell (Asia, 1982).

Last thing: I've discovered a new place to archive games. Check out Mixcloud. I'm able to send the game from Mixlr onto the Mixcloud server as soon as we're off the air, so that's a win for everyone. I'll still keep the Archive.org page, but we're all about ease of us and cost here at Robcasting Headquarters.

Here's last night's game:



We're back at it Wednesday and Thursday nights for the Holiday Classic. The first game is at 6pm with the nightcap at 8pm.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Dick Enberg (1935-2017)

From left: Dick Enberg and Merlin Olsen, 1988
I woke up to the news that we lost one of our pillars of sports broadcasting.

One of my heroes in this business.

Dick Enberg has died at 82.

Oh, my indeed.

Over a nearly 60-year career, Enberg (who held a doctorate in health sciences) truly "touched 'em all" (paraphrasing one of his catch phrases).

He called eight Super Bowls, and would have called a ninth, but ceded the job to outgoing Curt Gowdy in Super Bowl XIII. Enberg chose to anchor the pre-game show instead, allowing Gowdy one last call on NBC.

It was with the Peacock Network where Enberg would make his name nationally, but prior to that, he was renowned in Los Angeles for his coverage of UCLA, as well as the Angels and Rams.

It was Enberg who called the UCLA/Houston "Game of the Century" to a national audience in 1968. That was the first time a regular season college basketball game was seen across the country.

He hosted a couple of game shows, as well as Sports Challenge, a trivia show that brought out some of the most famous athletes ever. Imagine the likes of Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio on a game show? You didn't have to. They were on Sports Challenge.

Upon his move to NBC in 1975, Enberg became among the most familiar voices in the business. The Renaissance Man truly did it all. The eight Super Bowls. The 1982 World Series. The Rose Bowl. Wimbledon (which he and Bud Collins made into appointment TV with Breakfast at Wimbledon). The French Open. The Breeders' Cup. Boxing. The US Open (and, later, The Masters on CBS). The Olympics. The NBA. College basketball.

He was absolute brilliance with Billy Packer and Al McGuire on college hoops, including the famed Magic/Bird National Championship of 1979. Here they are in 1981, calling Notre Dame/Virginia.



He even a couple of Canadian Football League Games during the 1982 NFL strike.

Here's Dr. Enberg, chatting with another broadcaster named Scully. The two retired in 2016.



For me, Enberg will always be the NFL. He'll always be a Sunday afternoon with the great Merlin Olsen -- my favorite NFL broadcasting duo. It was a big event when Dick Enberg was on, and he and Olsen were the perfect combination of broadcasting finesse.

Here are the two opening a 1988 AFC Divisional Playoff Game.


There are so many standout moments, and others will hit me as the day goes on, but here's a classic: John Elway and the Broncos on "The Drive" in 1987.



He had just started doing a podcast, and tweeted this yesterday:
Oh yeah, and he was one of the broadcasters in The Naked Gun (with Mel Allen, of course).


The only way to finish this is to present you with his most famous phrase of all. Thank you, Dick Enberg, for everything. Oh, my.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Other Doors Open


So about that picture.

When the Greenwich Cardinals football team finished off their regular season as the top team in Class LL on Thanksgiving, I found myself wondering who Big Red would play in the first round of the state playoffs.

It turned out the Jesuits of Fairfield Prep were the answer.

I remembered that their football team had a good twitter presence, so as Thanksgiving Day moved along, I sent this tweet:

Their response was, well, glorious
Greenwich went on to beat Prep, but I guess that Chris Erway and I -- along with Ian Barto and Shawn Sailer (and Sean Kilkelly) -- put together what sounded like a professional broadcast on WGCH.

You know. The A-Team (which isn't meant to be as obnoxious as it comes off, and is a tongue-in-cheek thing, but let's not let that stand in the way).

And so it went from there. But there was something else building. They liked me.

No, they really liked me!
Honestly, who doesn't like Sally Field?
So my new friends -- with Eric Scholl leading the way -- began casually chatting with me about other things that I cover.

Hmmm...have headset will travel, anyone?

A few days later, as I battled traffic through Greenwich/Rye Brook/Harrison/Port Chester, I saw this tweet in response to a tweet of mine:


So what's next? Well, that's where the picture at the top of the post comes in. In addition to my WGCH duties and calling games at Brunswick, I've been invited to try my hand at calling Fairfield Prep basketball.

Helloooooo, SCC!

You see, here's the thing. I've given Greenwich largely 20 years of my life. I've loved it. I've called basically everything in town. Football, basketball, hockey, baseball, softball, etc. Plus some other stuff during my time at HAN.

But there are realities, and times that you have to watch out for opportunities.

And times when you just sort of like being wanted.

Brunswick has certainly made me feel great there, and I've loved the relationship I've built with them. They'll certainly keep me busy.

WGCH is talking about putting a package together and getting games back on the air with more consistency.

And Fairfield Prep said, "We'd love to have you."

And John Dailey -- the head basketball coach at Fairfield Ludlowe (and my friend) has always opened the door to me. So we'll see what we can do there (knowing that HAN has first dibs on anything there).

Lastly, with a quick chat, Webster Bank Arena wants me to call their Martin Luther King Holiday Tournament.

In short, I'm a free agent. I'm a guy who loves calling games.

It's a nerve-wracking and exciting time. I can't let the past months bog me down. 2017? It's been a rough year. I've made mistakes and been misunderstood and have made more enemies than I ever knew. I'm still not sure why I did.

But let's not. Let's see the good, and keep moving forward.

This is also about people who believe. Maybe even believe in me. So it's about Shawn Sailer and Jake Zimmer and AJ Szymanowski and Dan Gardella and Chris Erway and Chris Kaelin and Paul Silverfarb and Josh Somma and others.

I mean, this tweet from Chris Erway stunned me, after Fairfield Prep head coach Leo Redgate announced that I would be calling as many Jesuit basketball games as I can get to.



No. I didn't have to pay him to say that. I didn't ask him either.

And he does way too much good for me. Currently, I can only repay by being a good friend.

One day, I hope I can do better than that.

So this is what's happening: I'm going to call Fairfield Prep basketball. As of now, I'm calling all of the home games, except for one. I'm going to handle their four-game Holiday Tournament next week, and will try for a few road games.

We're hoping there is a lot more. My calendar (and my life) is wide open to opportunities.

Which reminds me -- John Nash! We still have to talk about GFA!

There was once a time where my concern was about coverage for Sean. But Sean's nearly 16.

As for Greenwich? No, I'm not done there. I'm still planning on Doubleheader and any games we can get on WGCH. Plus Brunswick plays a huge part in things as well.

But this was also a solid reminder. For me, anyway. A reminder to go where you're wanted.

It's time to make this jump. The "Robcasting Radio" widget is on the right side of the page here on the blog-o-matic. This is the link: http://mixlr.com/robcasting-radio/ (Please note: I might also create a YouTube channel...or migrate to YouTube. You know what we say in broadcasting: STAY TUNED!)

To start off, this will be radio. There is hope for video down the line, and we'll see if we keep the radio link alive. My guess is that we will because I'll always believe in that. It's the purest form of calling a game, and the easiest setup (headset, mixer, computer, wifi...GO!)

Game one is Friday night at 7pm, when Career Magnet of New Haven comes to Alumni Hall. Jake and I will be there.

I'll likely be sleeping on my sister's couch a lot. Or an air mattress.

What is Robcasting? (And Some Really Cool Logos)


Oh yeah, that's really freaking cool.

I know. "Robcasting" sounds obnoxious.

Narcissistic.

There's a story behind it, and hopefully I don't need to explain it forever.

Somewhere along the line (2014 is my guess), my friend and former coworker Kaitlin Bradshaw (with an assist from the newly-married Kait Shea Vumback) said the term "Robcasting" came to her in regard to what I had started at Hersam Acorn in late 2013.

To her, I was the lone broadcaster in the company, trying to teach (mostly) everyone else. Not to say there weren't those that knew how to do it, and there were plenty who were immediately savvy, but Kaitlin saw it as me leading the charge.

Thus, Robcasting.

I liked it. I laughed at it. I used it as a hashtag. But as time went on, and I thought about starting a podcast* or my own internet feed, friends began to push for the Robcasting moniker.

I didn't want to use it.

I fought it. They won.

*Incidentally, there is a Robcast, and it's not hosted by me.

Since then, people that I know who get the concept of marketing and branding have told me they love it.

I still resisted. They told me I was nuts, and to use it.

Initially, what had been Greenwich Sentinel Radio evolved into Robcasting. In short, it was my baby, and mine alone.

So OK. Robcasting it is.

While sitting at Trumbull High School in July, calling the 2017 Babe Ruth Regional Tournament (and hopefully more of that is coming in 2018), my great friend AJ Szymanowski emailed me the above logo.

Totally out of the blue.

We (me, Jake Zimmer, Dan Gardella, and Shawn Sailer) saw it in the booth and were blown away.

Then, the other day, I was working on getting ready for upcoming games, when I decided it was time for "Robcasting Radio" on Twitter. I told AJ that I was looking for ideas for an avatar.

"Hold on," he said.

Bang.
Oh yes. Yes that will do quite nicely.

It made its debut Monday night on http://mixlr.com/robcasting-radio/ and is now the logo on our Twitter feed.

It's awesome. Thanks, AJ, Kaitlin, Kait, and everyone else.

Last thing, and I don't want to forget this. WGCH is a supportive partner in this endeavor. They've allowed me to use equipment, wifi, and would even host the widget on their page if they could. We've often talked about a "WGCH 2" webstream. This is sort of that.