Saturday, August 26, 2006

Thoughts From The Week (General)

As I type away on this Friday night, I’m listening to some play-by-play calls from the history of the New York Rangers. I’m a sucker for historical broadcasting moments – be it news, entertainment or sports. I have a large collection of old news reports from many of the top moments of the last century (JFK’s assassination, Pearl Harbor, September 11, and so on). I have an even larger collection of play-by-play calls, especially Yankees calls. What, you were expecting my largest collection to be of the Devil Rays? Anyway, I can’t profess to be a huge hockey fan, but I like hockey a lot, and consider myself a Rangers fan. Listening to the call of Game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals definitely brings back some nice memories. If only the Knicks could have finished the job, and if Major League Baseball hadn’t been so selfish, 1994 could have been an incredible year in New York. The Yankees had the look of winning the World Series that year. Ah, but if…if…if…

Anyway, I suppose it might be safe to describe myself as being “punch drunk.” I worked this week as the anchor for WGCH News, filling in for our regular anchor, Tony Savino. Tony has been at WGCH for about a year now, and is a solidly professional newsman. Tony walked into to one of the tougher situations I’ve ever seen – replacing Jim Thompson, who held the job for just under 30 years. Tony has been nothing but classy and professional. In conversations with him, I find him to be composed in what can occasionally be a high-pressure circus.

The week was a game of survival for me. I was up no later than 3:30 every morning, and on the road by 4:15. Dima Joseph, a longtime friend, and WGCH’s news producer, was my rock, feeding me questions for interviews, and bringing stories into the studio when I was running out. I tend to be at my best when it’s ad-libbing time, which is probably why I’m best suited to be a play-by-play announcer. Still, I enjoyed doing the news, especially when I hit my “comfort zone.” Those were the moments that I was most confident. I’m told that most people enjoyed hearing my upbeat style, which is conversational, bordering on, perhaps, to upbeat and friendly (I don’t agree, but fair enough). One person reminded me that “this isn’t the Today Show.” That person was right; I’m not Matt Lauer (for one thing, I’m much heavier). However my style is to treat the news with the reverence it deserves, but to not forget that there’s an audience that likes you speaking to them as if you’re there. It’s a fine line to walk, but it’s one that I enjoy…so long as I’m left to my own devices.

Mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans supposedly put his foot in his mouth in an interview that will run on Sunday on CBS. I have thoughts on his comment about New York, so stay tuned…

I’ve changed my listening attention to current play-by-play. Oakland A’s pitcher Barry Zito was flirting with a no-hitter. That would be the first no-no in the Majors since Randy Johnson flipped a perfect game in 2004. However, I said Zito WAS flirting with a no-hitter. Mark De Rosa broke it up to lead off the 8th. Normally, baseball sees at least one no-hitter a year, but it looks like we might see a second straight full season go by without one. They’re great fun to watch or listen to. They’re even more fun to be at. I was lucky enough to be in the right field stands for Jim Abbot’s no-no against the Cleveland Indians in 1993. My voice was hoarse for a week after.

Last week, the Yankees handed the Red Sox a five-game sweep. Still, nothing like a West Coast swing for a letdown to begin. The Sox picked up a game on the Bombers in the AL East as the Yankees lost two of three to the Mariners, while Boston picked up ground in wins against the Angels of Anaheim of Los Angeles of California of the United States of the United Nations of the Western Hemisphere of the Universe. What a stupid name. That’s not an indictment of Mike Scosia’s team, who plays a terrific brand of baseball. Scosia, incidentally, is an elite manger to me. One or two more World Championships could punch a ticket for him to Cooperstown.

Let the AL MVP debate begin, and it will wage all the way until the hardware comes out in November. I still have problems with an incomplete player winning the award. Still, I think David Ortiz will win it. He is incomplete in that he is strictly a designated hitter, but his offensive numbers are gaudy, and chicks and voters dig the long ball. If I had a vote, it would go to Derek Jeter, and I can say that without any bias. I don’t care if you believe that or not.

It’s panic time in Steeler Country. I’m watching the Steelers and Eagles on ESPN, and the Iron City gang is about to lose their third straight pre-season game, 16-7. Now I think pre-season isn’t worth getting upset about when wins and losses are concerned, but 0-3 won’t sit well in football insane Pittsburgh. Incidentally, The Worldwide Leader’s coverage is fair at best. Mike Tirico is a pro, and Tony Kornheiser’s funny, and Joe Theisman is…well?…Joe Theisman, but the who production just seems flat. We’ll see how that plays out. There’s no question that NBC’s Monday night is now the prime gig.

The one story that permeated in my news reading throughout the week was the JonBenet Ramsey/John Mark Karr story. Would you really want this guy as a teacher for your kids? That answer is obvious. But I still think there’s something really shaky about this story. I’m not convinced that he did it, and there are a lot of holes in the story. Still, I promised myself that I would be man enough to say the following: Patsy Ramsey, I’m sorry. In our quick-to-judge world, I thought for sure that you had a hand in your daughter’s murder. With the discovery of Karr, it appears that I was wrong. I’m man enough to admit that. Unfortunately, Mrs. Ramsey didn’t live long enough to see if this clown will be brought to justice.

Late August sends my brain into overdrive. High school football season is just around the corner, and I’ll begin another year of calling Greenwich Cardinals games on WGCH. Since WGCH has declined my offer of a blog for their website, I’ll just roll on with things here. However I suppose I just put this disclaimer in now…

“The views and expressions within this blog do NOT represent the staff and management of WGCH Radio, the Business Talk Radio Network, or Lifestyle Talk Radio Network. These views are MINE…plain and simple. Copyright, 2006, Steel-Yankee Productions. All rights reserved. Seat back can be used as a floatation device.”

There, I feel safer. No hurt feelings. It’s all good, as they say. So back to football. Check the WGCH website for the dates. I’ll post them here also eventually. There are two blogs that you will definitely want to check out regarding two of the leagues that I cover. The first would be Tim Parry’s blog here on Blogger. The second is from Kevin Devaney Jr., who writes for The Journal News in Westchester, Putnam, and Rockland Counties. I met Kevin a few years ago, and he’s a great guy. Links for both of these blogs are on the right now. Read them after you finish “Rangers Lead The Way.”

I’ve added a few other links as well. WGCH is there now, so that you can check out our website, and possibly give us a listen (I’ll be on calling the Greenwich-Brunswick scrimmage on September 9th). Lastly, I’ve added THE site for those interested in sports broadcasting, Call of The Game. Joe Block and Jim Tocco have put together the best place to go for news, jobs, and discussion of all things related to sports broadcasting. I’ve made some friends there, and have learned things about my favorite industry. I’m fairly obsessed with it (to my wife’s dismay), and recommend it to all broadcasters, and those interested in broadcasting.

To wrap things up, I’ve learned some stuff already about being a Blogger. For instance, I need to be very sensitive to what I write. Now that’s common sense, but I mean EVERYTHING. Some people don’t want their names mentioned, and I understand that. I always thought of writing a blog as the same as writing a newspaper column, or talking about you on the radio. God knows I’ve mentioned people on the radio enough times. Heck, I slid a mention of my brother’s birthday into the news this past Wednesday (Happy Birthday, “Fred”). But with so many trolls on the ‘Net, there’s a lot of concern out there. I consider myself very web savvy, and very computer smart (not a “geek” per se), but I hadn’t considered these issues. I figured if I didn’t get too personal (addresses, phone numbers, you know, THAT kind of common sense stuff) then we’d be OK.

So here’s what I’ve discovered. People like me, Ricky Fritsch, Sean Kilkelly, and some others don’t care about these things because we’re semi-public people. We’re on the radio, and each one of us uses our own names. Others are private citizens. My wife, for instance, gave me a smack down on this issue. Will I print her name? I don’t know…we haven’t discussed it. Those who are on MySpace also don’t seem to care. Several of you also don’t care because you’ve left your names in the comments section of this blog.

What can I tell you? I’ll try to use my best judgment as we go along, and I will apologize profusely if I slip up. Generally, my best intentions are normally pretty safe. As I’ve said from my very first post: we’ll just see how this all goes.


Sam Romeo said...

Damn right your heavier than Matt Lauer!

Sean G. Kilkelly said...

I'm enjoying your blog very much. If you keep writing I'll keep reading! '94 would have been an amazing year. Too bad baseball was selfish and John Starks went 2-18! But this fall may be something special! We can only dare to dream!