Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Biting My Tongue

Laurel and Hardy. Because they're awesome

Sometimes, I have to walk away.

You see, saying what I believe isn't always the easiest thing in the world. It's certainly freeing to speak my mind, but there are just times when I can't or shouldn't.

I watch nonsense happen all the time. I see bullying. I see lies.

I see and hear stuff that makes my ears bleed.

I want to rip each person.

I can't.

Sometimes, there is a price that is too steep to be paid, or my actions may impact someone else.

Some fights just aren't worth it.

So I stay quiet.

Plus, to be honest, what is there to gain by diving in on the interwebs? I'm not dumb enough to think I can make them change their mind.

But I want to defend people also. Sometimes I want to defend myself, sure, but mostly I want to defend people who attacked for a variety of reasons.

Just as I'd like the same.

Anyway, I'm babbling. We'll try again tomorrow.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Baseball Is Not Dead

I see it with a certain level of regularity.

"Baseball is dying."

Before you break out the black suit, allow me to first of all point you to the fact that the National Pastime continues to set revenue records, with 2018 surpassing $10 billion (Forbes).

However, the vultures circling can lean on the note that attendance was down (Forbes).

Then, of course, we reach the time-honored debate of baseball being "boring," which is to say you don't want to learn the game. I can say I'm guilty of having done the same about soccer at one time.

Knowledge is power, of course.

But that aside, there's also the "kids aren't watching/playing" point. That's a two-pronged thing. First, baseball is not doing well in the inner cities, and that's been known for some time. Indeed, African Americans aren't playing baseball in the numbers that were once played. All true.

Second, and the very crux of the problem, takes us back to the boredom issue. You see -- silly me -- I go to a game and watch the game. Many now take to their devices and pay little attention to what is actually happening on the field. Many people want their action at breakneck speed. They don't want the leisurely pace.

Some of it is on us to educate. Why is baseball such a great game? Because, at least to me, it was a game without a clock. The chess match of pitcher and catcher versus the batter is a magnificent ballet of fastball, slider, change, and curveball.

The placing of fielders -- from the Ted Williams shift right through to what we see today -- is all a part of that dance.

But baseball also has an enemy. Friendly fire, if you will.

Rob Manfred. Yes, the Commissioner of Baseball.

Writer Bary Rozner wrote for the Daily Herald that Mr. Manfred, who is trying to implement a series of new rules to baseball, "is not a baseball guy, which is why he sees no beauty in the sport."

Rozner's piece is spot-on.

The truth is some of us don't care how long a game takes. I loved Game 3 of the 2018 World Series, for instance.

I went to sleep at one point, and when I woke up, I glanced at my phone to see who had won the game. It suddenly hit me (on Twitter) that they were still playing. Thus I was wide awake when Max Muncy ended it in the bottom of the 18th.

Rob Manfred has succeeded in installing clocks in stadiums to countdown between innings and pitches and so on. Why we can't just have umpires enforce that is beyond me, but OK. I can concede on that point.

Rob Manfred wants to change up the voting on the All-Star Game. I mean, whatever. I'll deal with that. The trade deadline will be a hard date of July 31st. I'm OK with that one, as the trade deadline was a wink anyway since we all knew things could still happen during the waiver period. So, OK.

Between-inning breaks will drop to 2:00 for all games. Again, whatever. I don't see that as a big deal. You're not going to gain a whole lot of time off of that. TV needs to earn revenue. Understood.

Another All-Star Game note is to put a runner on second base in extra innings. Whatever floats your boat there, since we know it's an exhibition. There's a change to the Home Run Derby as well, and I couldn't care less.

Lastly (for 2019), mound visits per game are reduced from six to five. OK, go with that, but keep in mind it really did not impact the length of games.

Then come the 2020 changes. The 40-man roster in September will be gone, and I'm fine with that. It got silly after a while.

The disabled list...oops, INJURED list...is going back to being a 15-day list, as opposed to the 10-day list. So be it.

Then we get to the three-batter minimum. Say what you want, but I can't hate this with enough certainty. There are myriad reasons to hate it, and none of this is my "Get off my law/I yearn for the old days" stuff that several of you think it is.

It's not baseball to insist that pitchers throw to a minimum. You've now messed with strategy. You'll have pitchers faking injuries. Oh, and think about that: is some twirler throwing 12 wide pitches because he has no control going to be better than a pitching change? Is it going to make the game shorter?

No. No it will not.

To Rob Manfred, pace of play is like a wall. It's his goal. It's his obsession.

Anything else be damned.

Speeding the game up is, in part, accomplished by umpires calling the strike zone they were taught to call. By truly being the arbiter of the game. They control it. Get the batters back in the box. Get the pitchers on the mound.

Pitch. Hit. Catch. Change sides.

Yes, baseball has to evolve. It somehow has to keep younger fans intrigued, which I still think is accomplished by those of us who love the game educating those who don't get it. I think it's in aggressively getting the faces of the sport out into the communities to be seen. That's a great way to create interest.

Those of us in the "back in my day" category have to adjust as well. The wool uniforms are gone. Leaving your glove on the field doesn't happen anymore. Gladys Goodding doesn't play the organ at Ebbets Field. Ebbets Field is long gone.

Players Weekend happens, whether I like it or not (and I hate it). Lament whatever we want, but baseball shall survive and prevail.

We have to make sure of that.

No matter how Rob Manfred tries to destroy it.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Tales From The Booth Episode 3 (and a Side Note)

Ty Tyson on WWJ Radio, Detroit

I recorded the third episode of my podcast, "Tales From the Booth," tonight. I continued to dig around some of the earliest play-by-play audio, centering once again on the year 1934, though I thread in a few goodies from 1927 and 1956.

The show is now available on TuneIn, iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify, as well as our home base of Whooshka. I'd really appreciate it if you'd listen and tell your friends. Write a review (hopefully a good one!).

I know I used those same words last week, but that makes it nice and easy for me to copy in the links.

It's St. Patrick's Day. If that's your thing, I hope it was nice.

It wasn't my thing this year. I feel surprisingly empty, and I can't figure it out.

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, March 16, 2019


Postcard courtesy of City of Peekskill website.
Thanks to a gift card, I grabbed dinner in Peekskill, NY tonight.

The dinner was nice, thanks for asking. I had a large burger with a fried egg and BBQ pork butt. Hey, why not?

Peekskill means more to me than a burger.

My birth certificate says "Peekskill, NY" on it.

In truth, the Peekskill city line is roughly a quarter of a mile -- if that -- from the hospital.

Flash forward to 2002. Peekskill has gone through years of change from its time as "The Friendly City." So by that point, the hospital was known as "Hudson Valley Hospital Center at Peekskill-Cortlandt."

So it is that Sean's birth certificate -- from the same building I was born in -- says "Cortlandt Manor, NY."

Peekskill has been on the radar since 1609 when Henry Hudson noted that it looked like a good place to build a town. The city was named for a Dutch trader, Jan Peeck, and combined the Dutch word kill (meaning "creek or stream"). Thus: Peek's kill.

The trivia of the town, right on the banks of Hudson to the south of the Bear Mountain Bridge, is fantastic. As a railroad town, Peekskill got a visit from Abraham Lincoln in 1861, er route to his inauguration. Peekskill can claim the origins of Crayola Crayons, as the Peekskill Chemical Company -- the forerunner to Binney and Smith, who makes Crayolas -- was founded in 1864.

The city was also the birthplace of Mel Gibson, former NY governor George Pataki, Paul "Pee Wee Herman" Reubens, and Stanley Tucci. Jackie Gleason and NBA star Elton Brand were among those who lived there.

Brand graduated from Peekskill High School, along with another NBA player, Hilton Armstrong. Nancy Adams, nee Jennings -- my mother -- also graduated from the home of the Red Devils.

Brothers Oscar, Don, Bill, and sister Nina, also went to PHS. Oscar and Don both left Peekskill for World War II.

Sadly, there's also the Peekskill Riots, which actually took place in the Town of Cortlandt, out past Hillside Cemetery where my father, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and a cousin are all buried. The riots were aimed at singer Paul Robeson, who was considered to have communist leanings. Mr. Robeson was scheduled to sing at Lakeland Acres in 1949, but violence caused the concert to be postponed until a week later. This time, the concert happened, but violence once again broke out. It's an ugly part of the history of the city.

The latter part of the 20th Century would see Peekskill change dramatically, as the shopping hub shifted towards Cortlandt and beyond, and the city continued to try to reinvent itself in various ways, including pushing to be a creative art hub. It has a vibrant restaurant scene, including the amazing The Quiet Man Public House, where you need to go say hi to Susan, who runs the place.

Back on the positive side, "The Facts of Life" took place in Peekskill. I laughed every time I heard Mrs. Garrett mention it.

It's special to take my mom there, as it will forever be that "Friendly City" to her, though I know it's bittersweet.

It's the city where my parents met, got engaged, and married in 1957.

My parents both worked there, and I can still picture the site of my dad's old job before he left in the '70s.

My two siblings were born in the old Peekskill hospital, which was actually in the city.

I have myriad memories scattered from visiting Peekskill.

I was born there. In some way, so was my son.

My father died there.

I had dinner there tonight.

Friday, March 15, 2019

An Unwelcome Break

I called the FCIAC boys and girls freshman all-star games tonight.

Chris Kaelin asked me to do it last year, and we had a good time, so I thought I'd do it again. Where last year was sort of like a talk show, tonight was closer to being true play-by-play.

Rosters, with numbers, help.

But, to me, of course, it's all play-by-play. There are just different degrees of it.

And with those games over, I don't know when my next broadcast will be.

Obviously, as I live game to game, this is not a good feeling.

Baseball and lacrosse begin soon, so I'm hopeful my phone will buzz to get right back on the air.

Oh, don't get me wrong. I'll have plenty to keep me busy. There's personal stuff I can catch up on. I can do my taxes. I can focus a bit more on Doubleheader.

It's a good time to catch up.

Plus there's more time to job search. So yeah. All that stuff.

Still, I'll bring the equipment in from the car and wait.

Brunswick? Greenwich? FCIAC? New York? Somewhere else?

The one place I know that wants me is Mahopac for baseball.

So...who else?

I'm excited to get going again.

Oh, one more thing before I close. John Nash (#Project365, ahem, #Project364 co-conspirator) wrote a scathing commentary about the TV coverage of last night's awful events in Christchurch, New Zealand. First, I'm sickened by what happened, as we should all be. But I was just as annoyed as John was at the absolutely awful work by CNN, MSNBC, and FOX News. Spare me the "there's no such thing as liberal media" garbage. There is, just as FOX News is in the tank for the President and the GOP.

But there was a time (not all that long ago) where such news would have sent the major networks (and, eventually, the cable news channels) into wall-to-wall coverage. Instead, it was agenda-driven nonsense featuring anything but actual reporting about Christchurch.

It was disgusting. John put it a little more eloquently than I did.

I moved over to Twitter and actually found live coverage there before going to bed.

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled basketball broadcast archive.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Missing The Whale

It's championship week in Connecticut. In other years, that meant I was really busy.

Tonight, I'm home.

So it goes.

They played the Division III hockey championship tonight at David S Ingalls Rink at Yale University tonight.

Better known as "The Yale Whale." Or just "The Whale," due to its unique shape.

Due to scheduling circumstances, they're playing the title games over three nights, as opposed to one game on Friday and tow on Saturday.

The Lyman Hall co-op beat Sheehan 6-2 for the crown tonight.

Had it been 2014-2015, I would have been on the call, meaning I got to hang out in that magnificent building.

I love everything about it. The intimacy of the seating bowl, the sound of the crowd, the lower level with the history of Yale hockey, the two press rows -- one on each side.

I loved it enough that I went and covered it another year with Shawn Sailer, and was able to hang out with guys like Pete Paguaga. While I was working, I watched and enjoyed the game. I rarely do that.

Last year, Greenwich went to the championship against Fairfield Prep. Shawn called it "The Adams Cup" (or maybe it was the bowl) since I had broadcast for both teams. I begged WGCH to put the game on. We did, and I called with (with Chris Kaelin and Shawn). Greenwich built up a 2-0 lead before losing 4-2.

But there's more. Whenever I got to work at the Whale, I'd drink it all in. I'd stay as long as I could. I normally had to be told it was time to leave.

We also got to do the semifinal games there in 2014 and 2015, so I got my fill of the place. I even had a hotel room in nearby Shelton, so I was almost living in The Whale.

We got thrills. In 2014, John Kovach and I were running literally on fumes. Nasty colds had sapped both of us of our voices -- especially John -- at one time or another. Paul Silverfarb, Chris Kaelin, and Ryan DeMaria were among those that helped drag us through the madness that week, as we went from Greenwich on Monday (basketball) to the Whale for two games each on Tuesday and Wednesday, before hitting the Whale Friday night for the DII championship.

Saturday, March 22, 2014, was one of my favorite days in broadcasting. Ever.

A full crew, with John and I on the call, handled the emotional Newtown/Smith-Tolland overtime nailbiter in DIII. Newtown needed a chance to smile, and they got it, winning in the extra session.

John and Paul (who rescued our banner from Ingalls Rink security, who told us we weren't allowed to hang it up), then headed to Mohegan Sun (!) for girls basketball. Chris Kaelin and I stayed behind for another nailbiter, as Fairfield Prep knocked off Darien in overtime for the DI title.

Then I jumped in the car and flew up I-95 (and 395 and Route 2A) to Mohegan Sun. I listened to some of the girls game on my phone in the car and walked hurriedly into the arena. I could have gotten on the air for the second half, but John and Paul had the call under control, so it was suggested that I go take a seat.

So I sat and ate a Krispy Kreme donut, sipped some coffee (Imus Brothers, of course), and waited to get back on the mic.

I'm not good at that.

But I was back on for the Fairfield Prep/Bridgeport Central boys basketball championship game that night.

We were this upstart group of newspaper people and me (though I was also a newspaper person at that point).

But we cranked out a collection of games with good people, and I was proud and exhausted. I remember having a celebratory drink that night before collapsing in my hotel room.

We were back in 2015, but politics and contracts reared their ugly heads by then, keeping us to only the hockey at the Whale. Yet the semifinals produced what some have called a favorite call (and they know it in Greenwich).

Check this out on Chirbit

I've gotten off-topic.

But, then again, maybe I haven't.

I miss the whole scene.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Building the Podcast

I've shamelessly mentioned that I've started a podcast a few times here.

Where better to promote than my own piece of real estate (and social media)?

But what I haven't talked a lot about is finding what I'm going to talk about on the show.

There's plenty of baseball audio to be found, and I can certainly play old interviews, as well as put some new interviews together. Paul Silverfarb, Mike Hirn, and Mick McGowan have each said they'd join me, and I think there are plenty of others who have stories that will interest listeners.

But the true heart of the show is the sound files (or video that we extract the sound from). As I said, baseball is pretty easy to find.

It's the other sports that will take digging. Lots of digging.

I found a tantalizing piece of audio from 1931. Just listen.

Sadly those few seconds are all that exists from that Thursday night on WMCA/WNYC. The Rangers won 5-4 in overtime.

Keep in mind, one of the big things I'll be dealing with is copyright concerns, so it's possible that not any old audio can be used. The baseball audio, pre-1973, is in the public domain, so there's some safety there. I'm still learning about other sports.

I'm not doing this for money. If it blooms into something, then we'll address that.

For now, it's a passion project. So hopefully my playing audio isn't going to hurt anyone.

Anyway, back to acquiring things that I want to talk about. My plan is to not make this be just a baseball podcast (though it will likely dominate for a few reasons). So if you know of anything or even have anything that you'd be happy to contribute to the show, please let me know.

Sports audio is the first priority, but historical audio of any kind is very important to me, as you'll probably find out.

I found this tonight as I wading through the interwebs. Admittedly the video quality isn't good, but it's the night of Nov 2, 1975, when Eddie Giacomin returned to Madison Square Garden after being put on waivers and claimed by the Detroit Red Wings. Jim Gordon and Bill "The Big Whistle" Chadwick had the call on MSG-TV of this emotional New York sports moment.