Sunday, October 15, 2006

Random Thoughts…or whatever (Sports)

I always wanted to call this “Odds and Sods”, due to my affection for the United Kingdom. But my friend Sean Kilkelly beat me to it, so while imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, stealing is a whole different story. So should I call it “Random Thoughts”, “Hit and Run”, “Two-Minute Drill”, or something else? As usual, it doesn’t really matter, does it? It’s just more clutter for my overworked brain (also know as “the vault”, for you “Seinfeld” fans).

Cory Lidle: A few days later, the Cory Lidle plane crash is still shocking. The reaction is also shocking. Look, I understand the sadness that two people lost their lives, but can we ease up on beatification? Cory Lidle was a Yankee for two months, and encountered some controversy along the way (saying that the Yankees weren’t prepared for their matchup against the Tigers, for instance). I belong to several discussion groups across all kinds of interests, and one of them is What often worries me is the knucklehead fan; the clown who just doesn’t know what they’re talking about. In the discussion of Cory Lidle over the past few days, I read where there were reports that Bobby Abreu was on the plane (I don’t blame the poster for that, but I blame whatever reporter reported it), that the Yankees can turn the disaster into a positive (um…what?), that the Yankees should retire Lidle’s number 30, and I even saw a picture that turned Lidle into Osama bin Laden. Yes, I’m telling the truth. Of course, I also saw countless comparisons to Thurman Munson. I understand that, because they both died while piloting small planes, were both in their 30’s (Munson – 32; Lidle – 34), and were both Yankees.

I also have to laugh at those who are now referring to Lidle as a “Yankee for life.” What? I mean no disrespect to the man, but in the business of baseball, he had a 50-50 chance of being a Yankee in 2007, at best. But what I noticed the most was the outpouring of what a good guy he seemed to be. He was charitable, down-to-earth and pretty likeable.

Other unpleasantries about the Lidle tragedy – his father found out while watching the news, and his wife and son were on a plane from New York to California when the Cory Lidle’s plane crashed. A priest met them when they landed. I don’t like thinking about these things.

How did the media conduct themselves? So-so. I thought the toughest job was taken by Mike (Francesa) and the Mad Dog (Christopher Russo), who had just grilled Lidle for about 12 minutes earlier in the week on WFAN. They beat him up pretty badly, as Lidle tried to defend his comments after the Detroit debacle. Over at Fox, almost business as usual. Former teammate Eric Byrnes was in the studio, looking shell-shocked. Soon after, viewers were off to Oakland for Game Two of to ALCS. The irony is that New York-based viewers would not have seen the Oakland-Detroit game if not for rain in New York that canceled Game One of the ALCS between the Mets and Cardinals.

While I’m at it with Fox, can I just come out and call their coverage garbage? If there was a tribute in Oakland for Lidle (moment of silence, or whatever), I’ll never know it, because Fox never showed it. We, as viewers, get very little pomp and circumstance. No National Anthem, no player intros, no first pitch ceremony. Instead we get Jeanne Zelasko and Kevin Kennedy (and gee, what they have to say is sooo riveting). Then we get Thom Brennaman and Steve Lyons (along with Lou Piniella) on the game call. Stop the freakin’ madness. By Saturday, Lyons was a former employee, having been fired for saying something stupid.

On Larry King Live, Cory Lidle’s twin brother was on, along with Yankees pitching coach Ron Guidry, and writers and pundits. That was fairly well-done. Lidle’s brother was almost too calm, a sign to me that it hadn’t set it.

One last media note – on WGCH, during the Mary Anne Show, there was yours truly, doing what I felt was my duty: to report a major sports story (that started as a major news story). As Sports Director, I wish I could be called on more for things like that. I did the first report from my car, with The Son sitting in the backseat, quiet as a church mouse.

Blog Boasts: Exit 55 is getting some pub! First, it was Tim Parry’s FCIAC Football Blog, then the Staples Wreckers football website, and now The Bird’s Nest, a discussion board at Bird’s Eye Sports (, gave me a mention. To be exact, “Dan”, their “stat boy” and “immortal member” said: “Looks like it was just started but could be another good one...” And “bossf51” responded with: “Any guy who puts up a link to Huey Lewis and the News is OK in my book! IT'S HIP TO BE SQUARE!”

Thanks, guys – I really appreciate the kind words. I made a leap of faith when I started this, and still stick to my intentions that this will not be a sports-only blog, but I like the publicity. Still, that leads me to…

Where’s The Love? While lurking in The Bird’s Nest, I noticed that they put up info about the broadcast schedules for several Connecticut outlets (WATR, WSTC-WNLK, WELI, and WWCO). In particular was the praise for WATR from “bossf51”: “Your station has to be commended for its coverage of football and basketball over the years. No other station in the state does the job yours does in this arena (sorry WELI).”

Survey says?! BZZZZZZZZZZZ. If I may, WGCH has been covering Greenwich sports for a long time. Since I’ve been around, we have carried every Greenwich football game, and a large chunk of games for basketball, hockey, and baseball, along with some lacrosse, and even a softball game. I can throw in a Trinity Catholic state championship basketball game and a stack of Westchester (Rye/Harrison/Port Chester) football games, along with the addition of Brunswick football, hockey, and basketball. Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention our coverage of the 2002 Babe Ruth World Series and Bridgeport Bluefish baseball. Lastly (I think) we’ve carried Championship Sunday for the GYFL (youth football) since 2002. I’m extremely proud of that coverage (as loyal readers will attest) and think we provide some of the most professional coverage – period! I’m not one to boast normally, but I often need to defend the efforts of my team, who works so hard in spite of a lot of factors (including our loving cell phone). The fact that nobody on The Bird’s Nest is mentioning us is partially my own fault – because I can’t afford the cash to join them (it’s not expensive, but when you’re not working full-time, you choose carefully).

It’s more than just that. Yesterday, WGCH carried the Rye-Harrison football rivalry. The Rye Football website gave us a mention, and the high school football discussion board has long supported us. The Journal News, however, doesn’t see fit to. Now I have been a huge fan of writer Kevin Devaney Jr’s. work, and will continue to do so. But for the editors there – can you give us a nod? We’re a Greenwich (not Alaska) radio station, covering Westchester football. In fact, I read their scores no matter what game I’m covering.

Again, I recognize part of the blame sits with all of us at WGCH (and I only have so much power). Word of mouth, therefore, goes a long way.

Great football: As I mentioned, we had the privilege of being the only broadcasting outlet to carry the Rye-Harrison game live. And what a game it was. Rye won 19-18 on a fourth-quarter touchdown by quarterback Fran Archibold, then had to hold on for the win. Go to Kevin Devaney Jr’s blog for the full rundown, because I just don’t think I can give the game justice here. Remember how I said the recent Poly Prep-Brunswick game would go down as one of the best I’ve ever called? Rye-Harrison, 2006 style, will join that elite list. It was special.

Also special was Bridgeport Central and Staples. People scoffed when I put the Hilltoppers at number two in my FCIAC poll. Other said they didn’t belong in the top five at all. And now? Yes, they lost, but it took a bit of a miracle for the Wreckers to pull it off. So the Wreckers roll on, but the Hilltoppers earned MAJOR respect. They come to Cardinal Stadium on Saturday for homecoming. I hope it’s another good one for us to call (1:20 pregame show).

I’ll have my Super Six out tomorrow. The top three should be pretty obvious now…

One non-sports thought: After the Rye-Harrison game, it was time to blow off some steam. The night didn’t quite go as planned (don’t ask), but I saw a great band, at Molly Darcy’s in Danbury. Fans of U2 will love The Joshua Tree, who are a terrific tribute band. My criticisms are minimal – too much new stuff, not enough older stuff. Still they rocked with some lesser-known tracks and hit the highlights. I thought one of their weakest points was their try on “With or Without You” but they blew the doors off on things like “I Will Follow”, “Where the Streets Have No Name”, and “Bad.” In fact, I saw U2 in person in 2005 and it was probably the most disappointing show that I’ve ever attended. Certainly it couldn’t touch the incredible Bruce Springsteen show that I saw at Meadowlands several years ago. So what I’m saying is, dollar for dollar, I enjoyed The Joshua Tree’s show far more than I did U2’s, for what it’s worth.


Harold said...

Have you considered calling it "Off the bench"?...

Good points about Lidle.

Rob Adams said...

"Off the Bench?" Oh, I get it..."BENCHED" hahahahaha...