Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Breaking News - Yankees Unveil Logo

You were all sitting on pins and needles waiting for this. The Yankees unveiled the logo for the 2008 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium.

I'm sure the merchandise is on sale now - 15 minutes after the ceremony ended. I especially appreciated the part where Mayor Bloomberg made reference to this being "something all New Yorkers will root for" or something like that (I'm paraphrasing). I'm sure Mets fans love that, as they'd root for anything other than the Yankees.

File this all under "whatever."

Monday, July 30, 2007

Always in Threes

You know what they say about death? That it always happens in threes? Well it's silly, but I have a trifecta for you tonight.

I guess I was laying a tad too low this weekend, because the news of Tom Snyder's passing shot right by me. Snyder was a an interesting TV character - fearless, innovative, and occasionally controversial. After hosting a late-night show on NBC for nearly a decade, Snyder went to WABC-TV in New York where he became a news anchor. Snyder's Tomorrow on NBC was best-known for its unpredictability as well as the propensity for break-out stars and and offbeat interviews. John Lennon did his last TV interview with Snyder in 1975, while an Irish band called U2 made their American debut on Tomorrow in 1981. Snyder was 71.

Next up in our threesome is Bill Robinson, a former Yankee player and Mets coach. Robinson enjoyed a respectable career, getting three World Series rings - one as a player with the 1979 Pirates "family", and two as a coach - with the Mets in '86, and the Marlins in 2003. Robinson's best year as a player was 1977, with Pittsburgh, when he hit .304, with 26 home runs and 104 runs batted in. Bill Robinson was 64.

Finally, word came today that Bill Walsh, the legendary coach of the 49ers, had succumbed to cancer at 75. Walsh led the 49ers to three Super Bowl wins - two against the Bengals, the team that he started with professionally, running Paul Brown's offense. Walsh was an genius, a magician, and a calming presence on those wine, cheese and crackers Niners of the 1980's. Perhaps the highest respect I can offer is that I loved watching those 49ers lose - because they almost never did.

Condolences to all. I'm sure many more fine people passed recently, but you know the saying about three's, so I went with it.

Hopefully we'll find some happier stuff to talk about.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Moving On

That's the theme of things right now. I'm just "moving on." I begin orientation and training with the red bullseye tomorrow, which means I'll be making some sweet moolah. There will be some bumps in that road though.

In the personal world, mistakes were made. Now the healing begins.

Incidentally I made some of those mistakes. My behavior in dealing with things was unacceptable. I mentioned some of it on my MySpace blog, but suffice to say, I've got to be better than that.

We go to see The Police on Wednesday. I hate dealing with expectations, but I really need to have a great time. This is not a want.

Lets' be clear here. The music can suck for all I care. I'm just happy to go with The Wife.

ESPN...like many others in the world...just does not get it. I watched some of their coverage of the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, as longtime Royals broadcaster Denny Matthews was speaking after receiving the Ford Frick Award. Apparently Mr. Matthews spoke too long for ESPN's taste, as they cut off his speech to go to commercial. Way to go.

Congratulations to Matthews, Cal Ripken, Tony Gwynn, and St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Rick Hummel. A great class - and class is the right word.

Speaking of such things, Peter Abraham in today's Journal News wonders if there is "anything that can be done to get Joe Morgan off" ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball." Pete goes for the mute button and some music. I've never had that many problems with Morgan but then again I don't pay a whole lot of attention to him...or Tim McCarver.

The Journal News also has an article in today's paper about actors Nance Williamson and Kurt Rhoads. Unless you have been to the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival at Boscobel in Garrison (that's here in Putnam County) then you probably don't know who they are.

I have been to the Shakespeare Festival a bunch of times, and Nance and Kurt were involved in virtually every production. They are wonderfully talented people who seem like they'd be a lot of fun to have a glass of wine with, or something.

They're also married, and have been for 23 years. This fact has been an in-joke between The Sister-in-Law, The Wife and me for about a decade.

I think "Hey There Delilah" has hit overplayed land. Cute song, pretty harmless, but overplayed.

Bring back Fergie!

There needs to be a party at this house, and soon. I'm on record as saying that July might have been the worst month of my life (I'm willing to put it in the top 10). Now it's time to make August great, and let life begin again.

It's nice to start looking forward to doing things again - The Big E, Oktoberfest at Hunter Mountain, and so on.

Again, moving on.

WGCH has sort-of, kind-of, maybe finalized the 2007 football broadcast schedule. We've added a couple of Brunswick games to the mix. I have nothing to add to that. I am purely the play-by-play voice, and supposedly the Sports Director. My opinion does not matter. I'll post the full schedule soon.

I was supposed to fill-in for somebody this week, but those in charge have nixed the idea, instead opting to go with an off-site option. That's vague, but a few of you know who and what I'm talking about. Considering my current financial situation, I think $50 or so per outing wasn't going to break the bank.

More brilliant business decisions from those who think they invented a entire medium.

I spent part of the day in Dutchess County (had to get a red polo shirt!) and it confirmed what I've long known - that I'm just completely lost in society. So with the behavior of some around me, and seeing what I saw today, I've decided that it is time for me do the following:
- Get a tattoo. No, make that MULTIPLE tattoos. I need a picture of The Son, a Yankees logo, a Steelers logo, and maybe a spider web, or barbed wire. Or both!
- Piercings! How is it possible that I haven't pierced my ears, eyebrows, nose, tongue, and other accouterments?
- Wear an ankle bracelet. Wait, most guys don't do that, do they? No offense, ladies, but I've never been a fan.
- Wear a thumb ring. Ooops. That's the same as the ankle bracelet thing.
- Start smoking - immediately. And I'm not just talking about your basic pack of Marlboro's. I've got to have me some herbal refreshments also. My brother left a pack of smokes (the non-herbal kind here) so why not? Then I can throw the butts on the road like everyone else does!

Hey this all seems acceptable to many (not just y'all in the DC) so why shouldn't I do it? Why am I the freaking goody-goody?

Jon - not a word.

OK, I guess I like being that way. And I'm not a goody-goody. I have my vices, and my own addictions (can a blog be addicting?). Yet by and large I've lived a very clean, honorable life. Why is it that hard?

This Playland thing is a political football. For those not in the know, the theme park had an employee die when she climbed on a ride called the Mind Spinner. The 21 year-old mother was in one of the ride's cars without a seat belt on and swaying to the music. The ride operator told her to sit down and started the ride. She fell out and was hit by the cars, killing her.

Again, she was just 21. And a mother. The ride's operator is 18.

Now the park (which is run by Westchester County) is shutting down the ride. Why? Because a young woman was - frankly - irresponsible?

It's a major tragedy. And as always, there's got to be repercussions. But does closing the ride make it all right?

Oh, and Playland is taking out the old witch and zombie rides. The former scared the shite out of me and the latter scared the shite out of The Son. That's generations for you right there!

Looks like the Imus on WFAN era is officially over, once and for all. According to Bob Raissman:
Boomer Esiason has reached an agreement in principle to replace Don Imus and become WFAN's new morning man, according to radio moles.

Esiason should make his debut shortly after Labor Day - perhaps as early as Sept. 4. He will be joined by Chris Carton, a shock jock currently working on New Jersey's WKYW-FM.
I think Imus is on his way to WOR, and I've thought that for a while, but I recently had a chat with a "mole" of my own who had a little inside knowledge. According to my source, current WOR morning personality Donna Hanover (you know, the former Mrs. Rudy Giuliani) has a stipulation in her divorce agreement that she can not talk about her former husband at all. Therefore, with the '08 election heating up, Hanover couldn't be a part of a radio show in which the 2008 Republican nominee is the big Yankees fan himself.

Now reality is that Rudy might not get the nod (it's not looking great) but it just adds to possibility of Mr. Imus heading to 710 AM.

I think the best reason Imus will land there is because 660 and 770 do quite well in the morning talk ratings. 710 gets minuscule ratings at best. WOR will get a major boost if Imus winds up there.

To back that up with facts, in the most recent Arbitron ratings book (Summer 07), WABC (770) did a 3.5, WFAN (660) a 2.7, and WOR a 2.0. Obviously there's much more to ratings than that (demographics, time of day, etc) but that's the top-level look.

There's also talk that a settlement is about to be reached between Imus and CBS Radio, so he will be free very soon.

One last time...moving...on...

Friday, July 27, 2007


I heard that YES will be showing a true Yankees Classic in a little over a week. On August 6, the network will rebroadcast a game against the Orioles from the same date in 1979. Earlier that day, the entire Yankees team was in Canton, Ohio for the funeral of catcher and team captain, Thurman Munson. That night, a national TV audience tuned in to ABC to watch as the Orioles took a 4-0 lead and were in great shape to roll past the tired Bombers.

In the 7th, Bobby Murcer - who had begged Billy Martin to put him in the lineup that night - lined a homer to right and cut the deficit to 4-3. Murcer was one of two eulogists, along with Lou Piniella, in Canton earlier in the day. In the 9th, the Yankees got two on and Bobby Ray sent a double down the left-field line to bring home the tying and winning runs.

It was an emotional night of baseball in The Bronx, and it will be on YES on August 6th if you want to watch a classic baseball game.

I couldn't find any online video of that game, but I did find a little gem. So prepare to be "Murcerized."

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Off The Bench

Bud Selig will follow Barry Bonds until the record falls. Whew...I was losing sleep on that one.

Ken Rosenthal (whom I like, by the way - he's become the latter-day Peter Gammons) says that Selig should be there - he thinks that's Selig's job. I don't necessarily agree, but a FOXSports.com poll suggests otherwise, with 73% saying that the commissioner made the right decision.

I think Bud Selig's showing up for Barry indicates that he supports Bonds, and he could have made a remarkable stance by not following him.

The return of Imus on WFAN is probably not going to happen after all. My new friend, Neil Best, says:
Boomer Esiason's agent confirmed Tuesday he has been in discussions with CBS Radio about Esiason filling the morning slot on WFAN, where it now appears any chance of Don Imus returning to his old job has evaporated.
The rest is here.

My opinion? Mark Chernoff (WFAN PD)wanted Imuis back, but that Al Sharpton butt-boy Les Moonves wouldn't give in. So Imus is now off to likely WOR (because where there's smoke...you know) where he will destroy the likely I-replacement, Boomer Esiason. Believe me, Esiason will wear out his welcome, and fast.

This explains why Mike Francesa, Chuck McCord, Lou Ruffino and other FANnies have been mum on the issue since they all returned from vacation. McCord and Ruffino should now do whatever necessary to get back to working with Mr. Imus.

For me, this will change my AM-listening habits, once and for all.

Oh Lindsay. What can be done to save you?

I'm slowly starting to turn the telephone ringers back on. Some of the debt has been addressed, so the calls are beginning to stop. Not that it's over yet.

And here's the rub - when I see a call come in from somebody that I don't know , or doesn't immediately interest me, I will let it go to the answering machine. We could use voicemail here, but don't because I like to see if the person will leave a message. Once I get a sample of what the call is about, I'll pick it up. Those who don't leave a message get in the doghouse.

That's what these credit card companies do. If they would just simply start talking with a personal message along the lines of "This message is for Robert Adams. This is blah from Visa/MasterCard/WhateverCard, calling about an outstanding balance", guess what? I'd pick up!! In fact, I already did so with one who did leave a message and the call was great.

So everyone who calls from "Private Caller", "Unknown", and only state names, like "Kentucky", "Florida", "North Carolina", "New Mexico", "Missouri", and the other caller, "Meredith Corp" - be warned. I'll put your phone numbers here next.

Oh, and I might understand why they do it, but I think in this day and age of caller ID, every phone number should show up. "Private Caller" shouldn't be an option. If you're a company, your company name should appear.

Neil Best puts the blog address in Newsday and the hits just keep on coming!

I'm in trouble with Mets fans again. According the aforementioned Mr. Best, Metsblog.com has somehow used a write-in campaign to get Ketih Hernandez into the mix for the Best Sports Mustache of all time at the American Mustache Institute. At last check, the "Seinfeld" actor was ahead of Rollie Fingers and Al Hrabosky. That led me to chime in:
This is why I don't get Mets fans. Don't they have better things to do - like win the World Series? This is why Colin Cowherd mocked them a while back (not that I'm a fan of "The Herd").

It's just funny, that's all.

And I would be against starting a write-in vote for Don Mattingly as well, just for the record.
This of course, got them tearing their Jerry Grote posters off the wall in anger, with one certified arse-clown saying:
Lighten up Yank fans, Met fans like to have a little fun while you guys shove rings in everyone's face.
However, I think the negative responses were due to somebody else who went into full Met attack mode. I was just wondering, and laughing at the same time, but I can't help but wonder: isn't it all about the rings?

So based on this rationale, I've come up with the following formula:
Yankees=rings. Mets=State Fair. State Fair=uh...we come out to have a good time and if we win, that's OK. If we don't than oh well.

I'm basing this on the responses over at Watchdog.

Must we post the Colin Cowherd thing again?

Oh, in case you think I'm getting cocky, I still don't believe in the Yankees. The schedule is soft right now. I need to see them take the lead in the Wild Card and give Boston a serious threat in the division, PLUS see them beat quality opponents (Boston, Detroit, Cleveland).

So I'm still the pessimist, with the heart of an optimist.

Friends, give it up for this guy:

This is Jon, code name "Jon From Richmond" who "Simpsonized" himself. His wife, Mrs. Jon from Richmond, code name "Mommy M. Mommerson" (among others) has a blog of her own. "Artipantz" (that's her blog name) writes about her life, and make sure to have a look at her creations - she is very talented as an artist, and a good person to boot.

I guess this will be part one of my current rant, as I'm getting long-winded here.

Best of luck to everyone at the Empire State Games in Westchester, beginning tonight.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I Remain Completely and Unanimously Unworthy

Remember last week, when I spoke about Neil Best posting a note about my homage to the Hank Aaron 715th home run calls? Well he's done it again (as John Sterling likes to say). Except now I'm in the printed word.

Neil - thanks. Many times over.

Now, can anybody get me a printed copy of today's paper? I have a scrapbook that I keep of such goodies.

UPDATE! Mick to the rescue! He had to drive all of two blocks and spend fifty cents (which I don't have anyway) but he found a copy for me. He's a good man.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Heroes and Goatees

OK, so it's not as obvious in the picture, but yes I am sporting a roughly five-day stubble/goatee. It's the result of one life's nastier little tricks - the cold sore. No, I won't refer to it by its more proper and yet obnoxious name - even though I didn't have a cold. It's a sure sign to me that the stress has finally worn me down, along with perhaps the sun. I promised myself the next time I got one that I would not shave that area for a few days and grow a goatee. The Wife gave me her seal of approval. Still you can be sure that it will be gone later today.

Now why did the Devil Rays go and ruin a good thing? It was 21-3 Yankees entering the 9th and I was beginning to work on my football cliches. But Noooooo! The Rays had to tack one on and finish 21-4. So now it's just an ugly ass-kicking. It's also symbolic of nothing. The Yankees are doing what they need to do - beat teams like the Rays. They still have a ways to go.

Kei Igawa...please leave. Now.

Gary Sheffield...shut the "f" up. Now. I admire you as a ballplayer that gives your all - most of the time (let's not get into the times that you tanked plays - we all do stupid things). But to say that Joe Torre treats black players differently than white players is pure race-baiting. There are no facts to back it up, and I don't care what malcontents like Tony Womack and Kenny Lofton have to say. Darryl Strawberry says Torre is like a father to him.


Padraig Harrington - come on down! The claret jug is yours, despite your best efforts to go Van de Velde on us. Then Sergio Garcia tanked The Open Championship, and it was all yours.

Then Sergio started making excuses. Typical.

Sergio is still the player who can't win the big one, kind of like Lefty Mickelson was. But here's the rub: everyone likes Lefty.

They love us in White Plains! With the addition of site stats, I now have a general idea of where the readers of "Exit 55" are. White Plains is the leader in visits since I put the feed up. But they also dig us in Norwalk too. Then there were places that baffled me, like Athens (?), Bethany, and Denver. In fact, have a look at the top cities:

Athens, Baldwin, Bedford, Bellevue, Bethany, Bronx, Brooklyn, Carmel, Chelmsford, Cliffside Park, Denver, East Meadow, Flint, Fulton, Greenwich, Hartford, Hershey, Hollywood, Ithaca, Jamaica, Kissimmee, Lebanon, Little Ferry, Little Neck, Los Angeles, Manchester, Manhasset, Mc Clurg, Meriden, Montréal, Moorestown, New Cumberland, New York, Newark, Norwalk, Oakland Gardens, Oceanside, Overland Park, Palm Bay, Plainview, Port Murray, Roslyn, Scarsdale, Silver Spring, Stamford, Westland, White Plains, Williamsport, Winchester, Yorktown Heights

Wait...Montreal? Flint? Kissimmee? Hollywood? Yorktown Heights???

Just kidding, I think I know who's reading from Yorktown. And where has "Richmond" been?

I know my most loyal of readers.

Anyway, thanks y'all (as Ben Folds would say - and has said). I'm grateful. Don't forget to put those comments up. I'm always tempted to give an email address out, but I'm not big on the anonymous-I got a G-mail account so I can tell the blog-guy to go "fook" off-type of emails. They're just time-wasters.

Oh and thanks to the subscribers also!

I've alluded to job news, and it does exist. If all else fails, I will likely join the ranks of the retail world. A dog-loving store that likes to emphasize red has offered me a supervisory role that would stop the bleeding for us. It seems like a great company and is a store whose model I admire. I just didn't want to return to retail because of things like interfering with the weekends (September is coming, high school football fans) but we'll see.

A few other places have called as well - yes, retail places. I visited one and will possibly have a second interview there, while another one just didn't work out, by my choice.

As always, we'll see where it all goes. I also received a few inquiries that might have something to them. I'm really trying to be positive.

Then there was the agency that called me (with what I hoped was something), only to ask me for a reference for somebody else. That's fine, I was happy to do it and that person got a rave review, but I think I guilted (a made-up word) the woman into putting me back on the top of their pile. So with all of this, please please please (can I say please one more time?) keep me in your thoughts, prayers, hopes, chants, meditations, and anywhere else. You might not want to scream my name during relations though.

Well now let me think about that for a moment...if it might get me a job, then OK.

So CBS-FM is back. Great jocks on there, and the mix has been OK. But they're just not digging deep enough for me. It's definitely comfort music though.

I know The Rolling Stones have the nickname "World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band" but if I hear Caroline on The Weekend Peak say it one more time, I might try to reach through the radio. We can argue all day about it.

I know Up Front is the world's greatest...and you should too.

I took part in a broadcaster/blogger/reporter summit on Thursday night in Stamford, courtesy of somebody, who probably won't want the credit. I will say that I enjoyed talking with Jason Intrieri, Tim Parry, and Matt Levine over drinks and fine Italian food. Matt has some good things going on with his website, and Tim will be putting a webcast on to talk FCIAC football, while Jason and I were bouncing some ideas around. In short, we might all work together at one point. I'm giving a lot of thought to putting my own webcast on, but am afraid that with Tim doing one, it might be redundant. We'll see. I'm tired of getting jerked around and not enjoying it, so I just keep thinking about taking matters into my own hands.

OK, I said "jerked" and "taking matters into my own hands." Huh-huh...huh-huh.

I am Cornholio.

Only one thing bothered me from the whole night, and that was TP not telling us that "Crisofah" himself, Michael Imperioli, was sitting nearby. At least allow us to gawk, right?

Ah, so that's who died in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, eh?

So Reverend Racebaiter (that's Al Sharpton, people) has deemed it OK for Mr. Imus of New Mexico to return to the radio because, "We never said we didn't want him to make a living." Jesus what a fathead.

Allow me to quote Dennis Miller on the subject:
"When did this guy become the one who absolves us of our public sins? What sort of cosmic apologetic bunny hole have we fallen through as a society?"
And apparently Tubby Timmy Russert said that he'll go back on the show if invited. Something is not right about this, but we will soon learn the true story.

Unless Russert was quietly talking to Imus away from the glare of the spotlight, I can't see him coming back. Friends are supposed to be supportive and respect their friends' wishes.

Oh, there's more I want to say here. Suffice to say, friendships get damaged when one does not respect the other. If you say to him, "Dude, I'm not cool with that", and he does it anyway, is that OK? That is a phony friend, and one that I won't deal with.

Sing it, Aretha!

Here's The Family

Sometimes I feel like my life is a cartoon or a TV show anyway, so after I put my own picture through the Simpson process, I had to do it for the whole gang. So here we are...

Saturday, July 21, 2007


We here at Exit 55 do our best to put out a fine blog. We fly below the radar for the most part and are OK with it.

You know, kind of like broadcasting high school sports when people say we should be broadcasting the pros. The compliment is nice, but we're happy in our cocoon with The Wife and The Son and the lack of constant travel.

Then I went and did something that got me a little publicity. And I'm OK with it but nor sure I deserve it.

Last night's entry on Hank Aaron was born out of reading comments over at Neil Best's Watchdog blog in a post about Milo Hamilton. A reader, John Phillips, said, "I would love to hear Vin Scully's call on the Dodger side, but never have." Knowing how I love when people produce such things for me, I decided to go find my copy of Scully's call . A little more searching on the Net produced an even longer copy of Scully's call on that April evening in 1974, so I downloaded that and combined it with Curt Gowdy's and Milo Hamilton's so that you, the listener, could contrast and compare. Sort of like comparing my call of the 2003 Greenwich-Staples epic with Matt Levine on WSTC/WNLK and whomever called it on Cablevision at the time. Sort of.

After the editing was complete, I placed the audio on Archive.org, where I also stored the Greenwich-Southington montage and the Top 10 football games audio from last December (audio can be found here). I finished by putting a comment back on Neil's blog so that John and anybody else could hear the audio of Aaron's historic shot.

(Oh, and if I've truly offended any copyrights and so on, I'll gladly take it down. I'm just of the opinion that these are wonderful historical documents and mean no harm.)

I started today by surfing the various blogs that I am loyal to, including Neil's. And no, I'm not shamelessly sucking up when I say that if you like reading about sports media, Neil is...um...the best. Neil just knows his stuff, and there's less attitude, bias, and arrogance than his New York-based brethren of Bob Raissman and Phil Mushnick. Among this morning's new posts were things about Ed Marinaro and Barry Bonds (you'll just have to go there and read it to understand) before I saw a picture of the master - Vincent Edward Scully. Then I read the post. Then my stomach began to churn. It begins:
Here's a link to the blog of loyal WatchDog reader Rob Adams
You know that moment when you're suddenly the center of attention and you want no part of it but you love it. Well now you know how I feel.

So please, read it here!!

All of this always reminds me that, as roughly fifteen more resumes flew away yesterday, in my fantasies, somebody notices that nice blogger (and better broadcaster) and shows him some love by giving him enough work to feed his family and pay his mounting bills. As we sit here this morning, I have dodged more credit card debt calls than I wish to admit. That, friends, is another rant for another time.

Thanks, Neil, for giving me the attention. First Howard Stern, now Neil Best. Next - the world!

Couldn't Resist...thanks, Tim...I mean, D'OH!

I stopped by Tim Parry's site long enough to see that he had been turned into a Simpson. Well not being one to miss that kind of chance, and knowing that imitation is the most sincerest form of flattery, I present to you:

Rob Adams - Simpsonized!

Go do it if you haven't seen it yet. It's pretty easy.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Regarding Henry...or Hank

Barry Bonds had a particularly good day in Chicago on Thursday. Bonds hit two home runs to bring his career total to 753 - two shy of the career record of 755 hit by Henry Aaron between 1954 and 1976. We can argue about who the greatest of them all is (some fat guy hit 714 between 1914 and 1935), but this isn't about him.

This is about Aaron. And I suppose a little bit about a five year-old boy who saw it happen at his family home in Mahopac.

I can tell you very little about the rest of the Monday, but I can tell you that when Henry Aaron hit that home run, I was standing at the beginning of our hallway - the one that connected the bedrooms to the living room. We had the big TV on. You know the one - the kind that you had in the 70's that looked like it was its own piece of furniture. I can also tell you that NBC carried the game live for all of America to see that night - with Curt Gowdy and Tony Kubek on the call. I can also tell you that I can remember my siblings being nearby, but can't remember where my parents were. I picture my brother sitting in my father's recliner (which was Bunker-like in that nobody sat in Archie's chair) and my sister on the couch. My best guess is that my dad had gone to bed, as he got up early to go drive the truck for Burack's plumbing supplies, and my mom was either in the kitchen, dining room, or sitting in her chair in the living room. I can also tell you, in the interest of full disclosure, that I was sorry that Hank Aaron had passed Babe Ruth. Not because of any racial sillyness, or because of any societal things, but because of one...simple...fact.

Babe Ruth was a Yankee. Case closed.

Thirty-three years makes for a lot of water under that bridge. As I said, we can argue who the greatest home run hitter is, but it makes no difference. Now as I sit here, a guardian of so many things about the game, and an historian to boot, I feel sad at the thought of Aaron's record falling to the hands of a questionable successor. Aaron played the game as well as anyone, in the large anonymity of first Milwaukee and then Atlanta. He was so well-regarded by his peers, and was so damaged by the hatred and idiocy of the racism of the early 70's. He was proud, and sometimes too proud and too bitter at what took place. Having never walked in number 44's shoes, I have no right to criticize. I would say that I thought he didn't allow himself to be as proud as he could have been. Indeed he seemed anything but jovial when talking about his accomplishments and frankly came off as whiny for many years. Now he is pure class and grace.

He also deserves to hold on to the record but unfortunately they are made to be broken - fairly or otherwise. We'll watch Barry Bonds break it - be it live or on some highlight, and we'll be sickened in the way that the various broadcasters call the moment - be it Joe Buck (who will likely get to do it on FOX) or Jon Miller (with either ESPN or the Giants radio network) or whomever else, and there are some wonderful voices that will have the opportunity. I hope - for their sake and for the sake of history, that they give it the full treatment and tell the story that should be told.

With all of that in mind, I have a little audio treat for you from my vast repository of broadcasting minutiae. There are three known play-by-play calls of Aaron's 715th and I have all three. The first is the NBC call by Curt Gowdy, and I apologize for the background music. It was part of a special on sports television, but it serves its purpose. The call is basic Gowdy - excited yet content to let the picture tell the story. I've never heard much more of this broadcast.

The second is the most famous call - by Milo Hamilton, then working on the Braves radio network. A hall-of-famer (in that he won the Ford Frick Award in 1992), Hamilton's call is robust and over-the-top. In other words, it is the local broadcaster's call. I've never been a fan of it, but I'm one who has often criticized the verbal vomit of "The Giants Win the Pennant!" from Russ Hodges in 1951. And yes, don't even get me started on John Sterling. Most seem to like Milo's call, so I'm just being a critic.

The third call is, to me, the best - by far. It's from Vin Scully (you thought I was going to say Gary Cohen?) on the Dodgers radio network and it is called just like anything else Scully has ever called. Having listened to hours of his work, I know that Vin would have called this moment the same way if he was the Atlanta broadcaster. It is pure poetry. Listen to the details - how pitcher Al Downing needs to "stay a professional", how Scully lets at least 26 seconds go by without uttering a word following the home run. Scully, like many of his followers, believes in letting the crowd tell the story and the background noise is all one needs to hear. Following that (some have said Scully left his seat to go get a cup a water) he returns to tell the listeners of "what a marvelous moment" it is. "A black man is getting a standing ovation in the Deep South." Who can argue that?

I hope each of the men who has a chance to call this historic home run that is due any day now, takes the time to consider what it will be like. For they are not the star of the moment, but their voices will be attached to it for eternity. One call will likely stand out over the rest, as Milo Hamilton's has. One wonders why we don't often hear a lot of Vin Scully's great calls and the short answer is that he wasn't into making himself the story. He, as we've indicated, liked to let the crowd tell us everything. In this case, Barry Bonds won't be the star either, and that is unfortunate, but he has only himself to blame. The fact is that if only "Barroid" had been a bit more lovable; a bit more honest, then fans might be ready to accept him as the new home run king. People have been far more receptive to Jason Giambi and that is because he has shown himself to be more forthcoming and even a touch more naive. There's something likable about him. Bonds, as he showed during All-Star Week in HIS HOME BALLPARK, came off badly. So now we find ourselves pondering what a mess the game of baseball is at times, and wishing Bonds would hit this thing and get over with.

Chris Russo has suggested that pitchers are going to avoid Bonds and I disagree. Pitchers like to challenge, or at least they should. I imagine they're going to do their part to get Bonds out and move on, but they'll tip their cap to him if he gets the best of them. Al Downing has never had a problem having his claim to fame be allowing Aarons' 715th.

Yet just when you think we'd be talking about Barry Bonds...along comes Ron Mexico (also known as Michael Vick) and a new entry into our sports blotter - an apparent crooked referee in the National Basketball Association. Truly proud times for all sports fans, eh?

So Henry Aaron, or Hank Aaron, or Mr. Hammer - here's to you, sir. Thanks for representing baseball and the coveted home run record so well for 33 years. Believe me, real fans know the deal about who the real home run kings are.

So What Am I Doing Wrong?

Have a read at this article about the blogger who has received over 100 million hits on her site in about 600 days. Now I've just finally caved in and added a way to see how many visitors "Exit 55" gets, and how many subscribers we have. In short, I won't be hitting 100 million anytime soon.

That's all for now. It's a busy Friday, and I have more resumes to send out!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hey Look! More Options for Your Exit 55 Experience

Over there on the right are a few new "widgets" for you to try. I've long wanted to do this so that you could see when I've updated, and now it's here. So now if you want to add a feed to your reader (Yahoo! or something like that) or receive an email when I've updated, you can do so.

It's all brought to you by the nice people at FeedBurner, and by your source for all of life's little trivia (I should copyright that one), Exit 55.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

An Early Look at the 2007 WGCH Football Broadcast Schedule

Just a quickie for you - I have in my hands the 2007 high school football broadcast schedule for WGCH. Sean Kilkelly ("The Killer") and yours truly will call the following games, though I suspect that I will add some Brunswick games as we get closer. So here it is and recognize that it is strictly a preliminary schedule. In other words...


Friday, 9/14 - Greenwich at Bridgeport Central - 7:00
Thursday, 9/20 - Darien at Greenwich - 7:00
Friday, 9/28 - Greenwich at Trumbull - 7:00
Saturday, 9/29 - Rye at Harrison - 1:30
Friday, 10/5 - Danbury at Greenwich - 7:00
Saturday, 10/6 - Port Chester at Harrison - 3:00
Friday, 10/12 - Our Lady of Lourdes at Port Chester - 7:00
Saturday, 10/13 - Westhill at Greenwich - 1:30
Friday, 10/19 - Greenwich at Brien McMahon - 7:00
Friday, 10/26 - Wilton at Greenwich - 7:00
Friday, 11/2 - Greenwich at Stamford - 6:00
Friday, 11/9 - Greenwich at Naples (Florida) - 7:30
Friday, 11/16 - FCIAC Championship (if GHS plays) - 7:30
Thursday, 11/22 - Greenwich at Staples - 10:30

Again, this is subject to change, especially if we cover any Brunswick games.

The Brett, Ben, and John Show

I've been trying to find the right way to say what's on my mind and despite every effort, I think some things are just best to keep in house (and by that I mean in my own head). I think too much negative can come from really speaking out and I thank those of you who have reached out offering to let me talk. The truth is that the stress of life has been a heavy burden for all of us. The job thing has worn us down to a frazzle - with me on the verge of reentering the world of retail - not something that I had targeted. Hah! Get it?

Anyway even music has been ruined for me in recent times. I find myself not wanting to really listen to anything, nor did I want to go to any of the concerts that I had tickets to. Still I went to the Ben Folds/John Mayer show last Saturday, and will go to The Police in New York in two weeks. As for that 311 show that I alluded to a while back, I'm not invited. I guess I was too critical of them and by the time the behind the scenes machinations had taken place, I was persona non-grata. I know I've been a real dick in regards to my criticism of music but what went on here hurt me badly. I'm a fairly easy person and a big pushover. A simple "give them a chance" would have worked. Everything could have easily been resolved.

Anyway, with all that in mind, we headed out to see the show last Saturday at the New England Dodge Music Center in Hartford. That's where the review will begin. This facility is about as nice as they come in the local music scene. The onetime Meadows Music Theater is a large pavilion with a sloping hill beyond it that works for lawn seating, which is where we sat. The amenities were fine too, as there were plenty of drink choices (granted, at $10/each for 24 oz, and only one per customer) but everything was neat and comfortable. Restrooms are scattered, and if you were willing to walk across the property, you found facilities with no lines. If the show was on, you could see it on the large screen image that was projected on the side of the pavilion.

Parking was free, but the flow of the traffic was not the easiest thing in the world. We almost ran to the car after the show and I can't even imagine what it would have been like if we had been even a few minutes after that. Yet I think if I learned the ins and outs of the place, future shows would be easier. Nothing can be as bad as the one way in, one way out of Dutchess Stadium for Def Leppard and Bryan Adams in 2005.

In a rare instance of a show starting on time, Brett Dennen came on around 7:00 with no fanfare - not even an introduction. He kept reminding us who he was as he plowed through a set that lasted maybe a half-hour and was very decent as opening acts go. The atmosphere was such that the music fit perfectly into the background as conversational. I looked at his site for a setlist and didn't find one but can tell you that I wouldn't be sorry to be in the presence of him and his band ever again. I'm told that he's getting some local radio airplay.

Incidentally, he went to the merchandise booth following his portion of the show to sign autographs. That's OK with me - I like that.

After Brett Dennen's set, we had a visit from my niece Katie and her boyfriend Avery. Avery just got back from Africa and unfortunately got sick as he came home. He looked somewhat weak but seemed to be OK. He's a talented young musician and a tremendous match for Katie. Who knows where their lives will take them but they're a really good couple for now.

Just as Katie and Avery left, Ben Folds took the stage. One thing that bothers me about any supporting acts on a tour is the way that they're treated. For Brett Dennen, the cameras for the big screens weren't even turned on. From our perspective, we could see somebody was on stage but that's about it. For Ben Folds, one camera was on and stayed steady - thus when Ben moved out of the shot, you couldn't see what was going on. Weak.

I don't think I've ever gone to a show where I wanted to see the supporting act more than the headliner, but this was the case and Ben didn't let us down. His setlist was surprising but not disappointing:

1. Gone
2. Theme from Dr. Pyser
3. Army
4. All U Can Eat
5. Jesusland
6. Kate
7. Bastard
8. Landed
9. Such Great Heights
10 Underground
11. Not the Same
12. One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces

I was surprised by this because I figured the one song that he would play would be his most favorite - "Brick." Still The Wife or The Sister-in-Law pointed out that he didn't play that because Planned Parenthood had a booth behind the pavilion and "Brick" is about an abortion. Then we all laughed and looked at the condom and directions for condom use that PP gave the girls. The fact that Ben played "Kate" made me laugh out loud because my niece was in the audience. Katie (or "Kate" as she occasionally gets called) couldn't be more unlike the person in the song, who "I think she smokes pot." You'd have to be in my brain to understand, I guess.

Ben's set was just great. Now there were disappointments in that there wasn't a huge amount of audience participation (though he did use the audience during "Not the Same" but not for "Army."), and he didn't play "Rockin' the Suburbs", which is a guitar-heavy song and his band included a piano, drums, and bass. He played for one extremely quick hour and was gone with no encore. The impression I got was that although the majority of the crowd (heavy with teens and college students) were there to see John Mayer, they left pretty pleased with Ben Folds.

I could have left after Ben departed but I wouldn't do that. I wanted to get my money's worth, even if the tickets were really only about $30. John Mayer took the stage around 9:15 and opened with his first big hit, "No Such Thing." Gotta tell you, I wouldn't have opened with that one for a simple reason. Mayer is from Connecticut and went to school at Fairfield Warde, where a few of my sister's kids went. I would have held "No Such Thing" for later in the show and dedicated it to everyone in Fairfield County, or something like that. As it was, he did a funny stretch where he name-checked a bunch of local haunts (like the Duchess restaurant off Exit 24 on Interstate 95).

Mayer is slick - both as a performer and a person. He is quite witty, but says his quick one-liners so fast that you'll miss them if you're not paying attention. You can tell that he's one of those in show biz who "get it." He knows how lucky he is to be doing what he's doing (and getting freaky with Jessica Simpson - though that's now over). His show was full of the production values that Ben's was very much without. That's not a knock. Mayer could just play on his own since he is an extremely talented guitarist but is smart enough to add a fantastic backing band, led by one-time Pretenders guitarist Robbie McIntosh (who also supported Paul McCartney a few times, among others). The show wasn't entirely an unexpected treat, but was very enjoyable. Mayer demonstrated that he was more substance than style, despite the legions of female fans which can lead him to being regarded as just a pop doofus. That wouldn't be fair.

Here's John Mayer's set list:
1. No Such Thing
2. Belief
3. Good Love is On the Way
4. I Don't Trust Myself (With Loving You)
5. Neon
6. Dreaming With A Broken Heart
7. Waiting on the World to Change
8. Vultures
9. Bigger Than My Body
10. I Don't Need No Doctor
11. Why Georgia
12. Gravity
-- encore --
13. Slow Dancing (acoustic)
14. Your Body is a Wonderland (acoustic)
15. I'm Gonna Find Another You

Not to say I don't have a beef with Mayer. As he opened the show, he said that he would "rock his ass off." Um...John, how is playing for a little over an hour and a half "rocking your ass off?" Let us consider those ballads that you threw in. Is that rocking? No? OK, maybe we're stuck on semantics then.

In short though, what a fun way to spend an economical Saturday night. The complaints that I've mentioned are purely small potatoes in the grand scheme. Besides, who could complain when I was spending a night under the stars with The Wife, The Sister-in-Law and her boyfriend ("The Boyfriend")? I was happy to be spending time with The Wife, most of all. I would welcome a concert experience like this anytime. Just so long as I'm welcome.

Rock on!

He's Getting Closer

From the New York Post today:
Don Imus is coming back to the airwaves in September, according to private eye Bo Dietl, who was a regular on 'Imus in the Morning' on WFAN. Dietl said on Post State Editor Fred Dicker's Albany radio show, 'I'm not supposed to say, but... if he was to be coming back, I would look for September.' When Dicker asked if he meant satellite radio, Dietl replied, 'broadcast.' Another source says Imus has been scouting comedy clubs looking for a black sidekick who will take the sting out of any future racial cracks like the one that got him booted off the air.
As always, I will believe it when I see it, but I will say this - Bo Dietl is a world-class arse clown, but he's also a FOI (friend of Imus). I think there's something to this.

But...not so fast. Neil Best is reporting this today:
After a week of playing phone tag with Steve Rosner while he was on vacation in California, I cornered Boomer Esiason’s agent in his New Jersey office Monday.

Rosner did not want to say much, but he did not say anything to contradict the notion that Esiason is the top choice for Don Imus’ old morning slot on WFAN – along with one or more sidekicks.

Esiason said last week he wants a resolution soon because of his commitments in autumn. He could get his wish. What about a possible return by Imus, though?

“In our latest discussions, Don Imus’ name has not come up,’’ Rosner said, “so until someone tells me otherwise, my assumption is that is not part of the equation.’’
So the truth is somewhere in the middle. One thing to note about the Imus report - it doesn't say where he will return, other than it will be "broadcast" radio. That makes me think it could be somewhere like WOR (710 AM). I'll say this - if Imus comes back somewhere else and Boomer Esiason is in his old slot on WFAN, then I have three words for you - David...Lee...Roth. He had anemic ratings after replacing Howard Stern. Boomer will be a disaster.

Monday, July 16, 2007

I'm Here - I Promise

I'm sure you're all on pins and needles waiting to hear from me again. Fear not! I'm busy right now with taking care of the house, job searching, and more. Then again, every time I've tried to write, I've deleted it because it was just no good. So we'll catch up. I hope to give you a review of the John Mayer/Ben Folds show, some sports talk, the WCBS format flip, some news on the job front, the general Off the Bench perspective, and maybe start coming out of the dark.

If you really miss the sound of my voice, go here and listen to Tommy and the Killer. I join them around the midpoint of the show.

Anyway, that's all for now!

Monday, July 09, 2007

This One's Too Easy - Hit The Road "Jack"

We've been speaking about this for a few days, and it has now been confirmed. The information is courtesy of AllAccess:

ALL ACCESS has confirmed that CBS Adult Hits WCBS (101.1 JACK FM)/NEW YORK will return to their legendary Oldies format on THURSDAY, JULY 12 at 1:01p.

According to a CBS Radio press release dated JULY 9, the format change from JACK FM to CBS-FM will start with songs from the BEATLES, MOTOWN and THE BEACH BOYS and feature artists like BILLY JOEL, BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, ROD STEWART, FRANKIE VALLI and many more.

"Above all else, it is an honor to bring CBS-FM back to NEW YORK," said WCBS VP/GM JENNIFER DONOHUE. "Having been a long time employee and personal fan of the station I truly understand what an emotional moment it was when NEW YORKERS had to say goodbye to their favorite radio station. We acknowledge and appreciate the loyal fan base who’ve never stopped asking for the format’s return, and now we’re thrilled to be back -- better than before -- with updated features, incredible on-air production, the best combination of legendary NEW YORK personalities, and of course hundreds of ‘The Greatest Hits Of All Time.’"

"CBS-FM will be a station that celebrates its past with an updated sound appealing to a whole new generation of listeners on many levels," said BRIAN THOIMAS PD of CBS-FM. "The role we play in the community and the responsibility we have to our listeners will be treated with respect as we reintroduce the station back into the fabric of the City."

Additionally, DAN TAYLOR has been named as the station’s new morning show host, along with contributors MR. G and AL MEREDITH. BOB SHANNON also marks his return to the station as host of middays, and is joined on-air by market staple BROADWAY BILL LEE who will host afternoon drive.
I applaud CBS Radio for bringing back the likes of Broadway Bill Lee and Bob Shannon, along with Dan Taylor, who I don't think is right for morning drive, but is a good DJ nonetheless. If they keep the more modern oldies in rotation then it might get a good listen from me. We'll see how it develops.

What will become of Jack? I don't know and frankly, I think it's a shame that they're pulling the plug. I thought Jack was good, though my interest had wained recently thanks to my iPod, my sports needs, and general indifference. Oh, and XM radio - to tell the truth. One rumor (or theory) is that Jack could land on 92.3, where the revitalized K-Rock has been blowing chunks. Their playlist seems too short, without a lot of broadening. Plus they're dipping their toes into the softer side of Alt-Rock, with Plain White T's "Hey Delilah", and that's not going to win fans with the suicide music set.

Not that all of what they play on there is suicide music. I'm just generalizing.

Well I wrote that last bit, then went to the New York Radio Message Board, which now has a special WCBS board, and they're reporting that Jack will live on in high definition. So essentially, oldies and Jack are trading places, because the oldies was running jockless on a high definition channel that was also available on the 'net.

Incidentally, let me remind you that if you want a wide playlist with good music, then listen to The Peak at 107.1. Just be aware that they also drive certain songs into the ground - such as "Phantom Limb" by The Shins. I know there was once a format that allowed for songs to be overplayed so much, but people don't want to hear the same stuff in 2007. They want variety, because if they want the hits, then they can go someplace else. The Peak should be smarter than that.

Lastly, Drudge Report is...um...reporting that Don Imus will be back on the air as soon as January. They sight a "top source close to Imus" but I'm not buying this one. To me, the top source is one Charles McCord, who hinted that things were close, and to me that sounded like a fall return. Maybe things have changed in the past week.

Since I started all of this with a cheesy cliche (in the title), I'll end it with one - "Stay tuned!"

Oh, and stay cool today. It's dangerously hot around metro New York.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Off The Bench Flips Formats with Old Timers

Yep, three things combined into one title. Despite my attempts at a sabbatical, thus keeping me from saying the inflammatory things that are REALLY on my mind, I seem to keep coming by.

The buzz is all over the radio world about the return of oldies to WCBS-FM (101.1). The latest rumor to hit is that Thursday, July 12th is the big date, with approximately 4:58 PM said to be the flip time. If you care about such things (and I do), I would not take that info as gold. Honestly it could happen at almost any time.

The oldies fans hope that WCBS will return to what it was, and that's not going to happen - for the usual reasoning that "you can't go home again." The station might start out without DJ's, or play a wider selection of oldies (which will tick off the purists). In other words, everybody won't be happy. Regardless the oldies format was a dying breed, which is why Jack appeared in the first place. To make it work, WCBS can't go back to being what it was. It can't necessarily go back to the reverb sound and the classic DJ's. It would be great to hear Ron Lundy and Dan Ingram - the first two DJ's that taught me how to talk up a record - but Lundy (Hello LOVE!) is retired in Mississippi, and Ingram (Bye, Kimosabe) is questionable to ever return. The likes of Bob Shannon (a great DJ) are still available but at last check, he swears he hasn't been contacted.

My guess is that the new oldies will be something along the lines of post-Beatles (that's roughly 1964) to perhaps the early 90's. That is not what the oldies fans want. They want The Five Satins ("In The Still of the Night") and the "Duke of Earl" and on and on. The only way I see that kind of music (mostly 50's stuff) is if a special show highlighted those tunes.

This of course is why I'm not in radio management. I leave that to those who think they are Marconi and the other legends.

Also in radio, a late rumor from Neil Best indicated that perhaps Dan Patrick is in line to take over the Imus slot on WFAN. Would he be permanent or would he be a summer "intern?" Either way, it's not happening this week, as my favorite team of Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts will fill the slot. For me to say anything more would be too easy. My feelings are fairly well known on this subject.

OK, I'll say it - I'd rather listen to four hours of an Emergency Alert System tone, or, even worse, the old Emergency Broadcasting System tone.

Yep, four hours of Mets talk, combined with Benigno's horrible accent and Roberts' idiocy is enough to make me long for the old EBS.

Honestly, the EBS tones (which used to scare me on the radio or TV as a kid) still gives me chills.

So maybe this would be betterAh, the old test patterns. I was the kind of broadcasting nerd who would actually get out of bed to watch the broadcast day start - normally with the "Star Spangled Banner" and a bunch of legal-ease.

Once again, more proof of why YouTube is so great. There's plenty more of these kinds of things on there, and I know of one friend who would love this collection of old New York TV clips. He even has some of those old "Please stand by" clips. Mundane to most - treasures to us.

I digress.

So there is now a list of the new Seven Wonders of the World? OK, it made for good reading. But let's think about this for a moment. From what we know, ancient Greeks made the original list, and this list was compiled by voting from common folks? Sort of like an all-star team, right?

OK. Enough said.

By the way, the Statue of Liberty didn't belong on the list. It's gorgeous, and a monument to so many things, but a "wonder of the world." No - I think not.

Old Timer's Day was yesterday at Yankee Stadium. There was a time when every team tried to hold one - in conjunction with a sponsor. But let's face it - very few teams can do it because they just don't have the star power. The Cardinals, Red Sox, Giants, Cubs and Dodgers immediately come to mind, but it's not easy to pull it off.

Anyway, the big day in the Bronx was outstanding. First time old-timer's have been popping up lately, and the Yankees had several yesterday, including Scott Brosius and Paul O'Neill, who each received huge ovations. I'll be honest, and probably not sound very manly, but I had to leave the room when Bobby Murcer was introduced. Not long after Christmas, I thought I might never see my favorite player again, and Old Timer's Day was a private goal I had. To see him introduced, doing interviews and even taking an at-bat made me choke up something incredible. We could have been there (oh well) but it's probably OK as I would've needed some tissues and that would have been embarrassing.

Whitey Ford was back after missing a year, and Yogi was there, along with Donnie Baseball, Darryl Strawberry (!) and the rest of the classic characters. Helen Hunter, Arlene Howard, and Diana Munson represented their husbands. Unfortunately Phil Rizzuto has likely made his last trip, but he was heard from via a statement read during the ceremony.

I miss Frank Messer doing the player introductions.

Oh, and Reggie's still an ass. Sometimes we make deals with the devil. As a Yankees fan, I think we made one when the Yankees signed Jackson in '77. Sure, the Bombers won their 21st ring that year, but the team was so insane that ESPN is doing a mini-series about them - "The Bronx is Burning." Reggie's pissed that he wasn't consulted.

We also made a deal with the devil in 2000. That's why there was the Game 7 meltdown against the Diamondbacks and, of course, 2004.

I haven't really heard much buzz about Live Earth. I watched and listened to very little of it - catching some of Crowded House, The Foo Fighters, and Ludarcis (I call him "Luda"). For some reason I just couldn't get into it. I have a few theories, but overall I just don't think people cared that much - certainly not as much as Live 8 in 2005 and nowhere near as close of Live Aid 22 years ago. There were some great acts at it but noticeably absent were U2, Paul McCartney and others who played Live Aid and 8. Even Bob Goldolf...excuse me...SIR Bob Geldolf denounced it.

So therefore I am sitting in my house typing away at my keyboard, while a fan keeps me cool and two air conditioners run in the bedrooms. Oh and there's a light on in the living room and we had hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner.

Guess we're not doing a great job of keeping the environment healthy.

Oh well, that's my inconvenient truth.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Short Sabbatical

I was going to take a few days off from the blog to get my head straight about a few things because one of my beliefs is to not write anything too inflammatory. There are things that I often want to say that would get me in hot water with certain people, and I felt like I was on the verge of just letting it all hang out. This morning, I have things under control - at least here on the blog - so I can write a few quickies.

Two things prompted me to write. The first thing was a hot (and I do mean sweltering) rumor in radio land. Word is that Jack FM (101.1) is going to die a painful death sometime over the next week or so and replaced by...tympani, please!...oldies. That's right, it seems 101.1, CBS-FM might be returning. This is from the New York Radio Message Board, and their info is normally spot on.

So (sorry, cliche time)...stay tuned.

Item number two was a comment that I received on the blog. Pete Kohlasch, the quarterback of the 2002 state champion Harrison Huskies, found out about "Exit 55" from someone, and posted a comment on our post about the best football game we've broadcast:
Hey man, a friend of mine just sent this website over to me today and I love it. I guess in large part because I'm Pete (Kohlasch). I'm glad you enjoyed the game so much and I'm happy we were able to put on a show.

No Pete, thanks to you and your teammates. I remember so much of that season and thought you guys were great. I remember interviewing you after each of the games that we covered and thought you represented Harrison well. Years later, you should be proud. Thanks for the comment!

Incidentally, I know of at least one person (not naming names) who was not happy with my choice of Harrison-Forks at the best game I ever called, wishing I had opted for the Greenwich-Southington game instead. I will say that the person in question is a former Cardinal and I understand the feeling, but when all things were considered, I stand by my belief that the Harrison game was just amazing.

While I'm writing, I must say that it was great to be back on WGCH the past two days. Yes there were some rough patches and some rust, but it was good overall. I hope to do it again soon...though I was happy to get some sleep. Getting up at 3:00 AM isn't fun...especially when you have tickets to that night's Yankees game. Thanks to my cousin Kris for driving.

(Note Nature of language, kiddies)

At last night's game, Mick said that I'm being too "PC" when I write things like "fook", "arse", and "shite." We here at Exit 55 have standards, and the last thing we ever want to be called is "PC." Fuck that! There - happy now? But Mick handed the case to an arbitrator (that would be Kris), who ruled that it was not "PC" but it was "pansy-ish." Whatever. I'm not PC - far from it - and with the exception of editing songs for The Son, never shy away from media that uses such language. I just figured that you never know who's reading the blog and by using what I call the Irish pronunciations of such words, I'm getting the message across in a humorous way. Call it "PC" if you wish but you'd be wrong. It's meant to be fun without being blatantly potty-mouthed.

I also call it "staying classy, San Diego."

Yet that conversation was part of one of the funnier nights that I've ever had in Section 5 at Yankee Stadium. All we did was laugh for three plus hours, along with watching a good game and a Yankees win. The story of Section 5 will be here soon (be patient, Mick).

Oh, and thanks for the frosty one, Mick.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Off The Bench

It was good to get back to WGCH today, where I visited with anchor Tony Savino and reporter Dima Joseph - both good friends. Also engineer and overworked maniac Bob Small and sales guru and "f'ing lengend" Mark Yusko were in the house. It was good to see everybody, as I begin to get ready to return to the airwaves on 1490 Thursday morning at 6:00. This will be the first time that I've worked at the new digs on Lewis Street.

Since WGCH is a member of the Boston Red Sox Radio Network (yes, there's irony there), we often get giveways...that often don't get into the hands of the Sports Director (for the record, that's my title). But today, I struck gold when I found a copy of the DVD "Impossible to Forget: The Story of the '67 Boston Red Sox." Before you think I've gone crazy, let's recap a few things about me:

1) I'm a BASEBALL fan, and a Yankees fan second (thus those pom poms aren't as prevalent as one might think)
2) I'm a baseball historian.
3) I'm a baseball broadcasting, sports broadcasting, and overall broadcasting historian.

This DVD satisfies all three of the requirements, which is why it interested me when I first heard about it. Among the vignettes, documentaries and so on is the full broadcast of the Sox pennant winner against the Twins on September 30, 1967. I love stuff like this - which is why the initial idea of the Classic Sports Network was so great, before ESPN got their hands on it and figured people were interested in seeing classic poker.

So I snagged a copy, and will eventually get around to watching it. Besides, I have no problem with the BoSox...so long as it doesn't involve the Yankees. I'm an American League guy.

Speaking of the boys in the Bronx, I find that we must reopen the fashion conversation of yesterday, in which I chided a 12-year-old for wearing a t-shirt that essentially school is about hooking up with girls. Now we have Cynthia Rodriguez, wife of A-Rod, wearing a charming little number that says "Fook You" on it. But it didn't say "fook." The saucy white tank top was photographed and splashed on the cover of the New York Post. Normally security doesn't allow such things at the Stadium, but that's a chat for another time.

Bottom line - it was stupid and disrespectful.

I get it - the media has been tough on her husband. But why do it now? He's in the middle of a monster season, and is heading for another ridiculous payday at the end of this year. Why call that kind of attention to yourself.

Come on, C-Rod, think!

Then we get Brian Cashman, Yankees GM, who says that he spoke with the Rodriguez's about Cynthia's attire. Yes, he has every right to voice a concern to Cynthia about the shirt - it looked stupid for her, her husband, and the organization, but to hold A-Rod's feet to the fire was stupid. What, does Cashman think that he has control over his wife. Does any man in 2007 have control over his wife?

I'm going to let you ponder what I'm getting at with that one and move along.

Barry Bonds will be at the All-Star Game next week. Woo-freakin'-hoo.

We could breakdown the starters and bitch about them, but why? It's the fans game, and though it's the best of all of the All-Star farces, it's still a joke. Deserving players get left off the roster, and clueless fans vote for undeserving players. It is what it is.

I can see the Yankees are going to tease us all year. Once in a while, they'll heat up, then they'll crash. It will all lead to the same result - no playoffs, goodbye Torre, goodbye Cashman.

I'm not necessarily in favor of those moves, but they will probably happen.

With the holiday week, that means vacations. On WFAN, Kimberly Jones and Chris Carlin are filling-in for the dopey duo in the midday. Of course a test pattern is more enjoyable than them, but Jones and Carlin have been OK. Kim Jones actually makes Carlin almost likable. Only one other person was capable of doing that, and he'll be back soon...

I just noticed Barry Bonds hit home run number 751 tonight. That leaves him four shy of Hank Aaron for the career record. America collectively yawned.

Wait - don't tell me - you mean there was a connection between the London and Glasgow botched terror attacks? Come on, that can't be.

Glad ol' Scotland Yard let us in on that piece of shocking info.

Scooter Libby got his "Get Out of Jail Card" and we're all supposed to be shocked? You knew it was coming, and the reaction was predictable. The left hated it; the right praised it.

Move along.

At the Stadium, Edwar Ramiriez made his Major League debut by striking out the side. The 26 year-old had all but left baseball before giving it another try by playing for the independent Edinburg Coyotes of the United League. Between Edinburg and Tampa (the Yankees Class-A team) Ramirez strikes out 93 in 56 innings.

That's pretty good, but that's also low-level baseball. Striking out three straight Minnesota Twins is a different story.

Welcome to the bigs, kid.

I don't know when I will get around to posting again, so I will take this opportunity to with you all a Happy Fourth of July. In that spirit, here's a video for you that reminds us of the pride we should all have in our Flag. I'm a defender of free speech and all, but any attempt to burn the American Flag (or any other flag) has always struck me as wrong. So watch this video, and be proud of our great country. Incidentally, the voice you will hear is that of the great Vin Scully. The full story of this incident is here, with more video.
To finish, just in case I don't post on Thursday, happy 57th birthday to Hugh Anthony Cregg, III. Who the heck is that, you ask? Why none other than the one, the only, The Heart of Rock and Roll himself, Huey Lewis, who was born on July 5, 1950. Here's a little video to remind you of the greatness of Sir Huey and the News. Tough to pick though because there are so many hits, and so little time...

Monday, July 02, 2007

Off The Bench is Back With a Vengeance

We here at Exit 55 made an offer to swap our cleanup hitter, Off the Bench for Rangers Lead the Way's beloved Odds and Sods. RLTW's GM has politely declined our offer, stating:
Rumors about the demise of Odds & Sods are highly exaggerated. Although flattered we here at Rangers In Seven - which, again includes mostly struggling, scraggly, stragglers - have no intention of trading or releasing Odds & Sods.

We appreciate RLTW's professionalism in dealing with this and can now let the truth be known - we were simply looking to rent a player, then re-sign Off the Bench at the end of the season.


So the iPhone era got underway on Friday at 6:00 PM. As I mentioned last week, I am currently not intrigued by the iPhone because I have a cell phone that I like and an iPod that I'm OK with. I don't see the need for it - at least not now.

Anyway, I'm looking at The Journal News on Saturday and like every media outlet, the release of the iPhone got quite a bit of "pub." Whatever - it's a good lifestyle story and nobody is getting killed - at least from what I could tell. But among the tidbits of people gathering at various Apple and AT&T outlets at ungodly hours (people lining up in The Westchester Mall at 6:00 AM and so on), I found a few disturbing notes.

Least disturbing - the person who was getting paid to buy iPhones:
Sasha Eisenstein of Larchmont, who just graduated from Mamaroneck High School, was No. 6 in line. She waited with boyfriend Alon Dankner of Queens to buy a phone for her dad - and three other people her father had lined up through Craigslist.org.

Her father, Hal Eisenstein, waited outside the store with one of the three purchasers, who paid $200 on top of the cost of the iPhone. Eisenstein planned to deliver the two others to buyers in Manhattan last night.

"I'll play iPod Santa Claus," said Eisenstein, who placed the ad for his daughter as a way for her to earn extra cash for college in the fall. "I figure every dollar they make is one less dollar I have to take out of my pocket," he said.

My position (I know - you don't care) is that this is pathetic on the part of those who paid the extra cash on top of the sticker price, but it seems rather enterprising, so I wasn't bothered by it. The other thing that jumped out at me is how nuts we are as a society for these things (Xboxes, Tickle Me Elmo, even the old Cabbage Patch Kids). Sometimes we really need to get a grip. This is why 329 American soldiers have died in Iraq in the past three months? So the spolied can buy a friggin' iPhone on the day of its release?

OK, that rant is over. Pathetic but nonetheless that's our society today. Now onto what really got my shorts in a bundle.

- Jeremy DeLossantos, 12, of North White Plains was the second in line after Jose Romualdo of Yonkers, and the first to the cash register, to buy an iPhone yesterday at the Apple Store at The Westchester mall in White Plains. (Photo by Mark Vergari/The Journal News)

Let's start with the basics. The article, by Julie Moran Alterio, says...
Jeremy, who was No. 2 in line, paid for his $599 iPhone in cash - money he earned making coffee and operating the cash register at his family's North Castle Deli in White Plains. "He's worked for this," his father, Tom, said.

(Thanks to The Journal News)

Now, let's see. Young Jeremy is 12, and he's just dropped SIX HUNDRED BUCKS on a freaking' phone/media player!! I know, I know - you're saying "wait until The Son is 12." You're right - I will have to play that kind of game when the time comes. I remember my brother waging a similar war with my niece over a pager at roughly the same age. Perhaps she was a little closer to 15 or 16, come to think of it. When asked my opinion, I wasn't in favor of the pager then, so just how would I feel about a $600 iPhone at the age of 12?

Again, I digress. The real crux of the problem comes with Jeremy's T-shirt. If you can't read it, it says:
Uh...OK. For the record, I am no prude. Far from it. I am, however, rather old-fashioned. I believe in some rather stupid ideas (in the eyes of some) - things that I almost typed here that would have started a war on another front in my life, but I resisted the urge to light that match.

That said, should a 12-year-old be walking around with that message on his shirt? Am I woefully out of touch on this? In an era which I have long said is overly politically correct, and we get wound up about everything, don't we (as parents) have to be a little more stringent in what we let our kids wear?

Look I get the whole "cute T-shirt" generation. The Son has a Green Day t-shirt, but he has no clue about the content of their songs. The one song that he likes "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" has the "F" word edited out. I don't believe in doing that normally, but a five-year-old shouldn't be hearing that. I also have a couple of shirts that are perhaps questionable - one is a New Orleans "party T-shirt" that I never wear out, and the other is an FCUK shirt. Get it? French Connection United Kingdom...FCUK. Again, not something that I wear to family outings.

The point of this is that when you combine the T-shirt with the purchase of a technological device that I think is unnecessary for a 12-year-old, I think the wrong message is being sent. Again I'm old-fashioned, so it could just be me.


I was just over at my friend (at least I think he's still my friend) Tommy Dee's True Sports Fan blog to see how his second internet radio show went. I knew he and Sean Kilkelly were going to have New York Post blowhard and first-rate hypocrite Phil Mushnick on (who I frequently refer to as "Schmucknick" - not very original, I know). I wanted to see how "The Killer" went off on the Schmuck.

Anyway I was looking at the links on Tommy's page to listen to the show when I saw this link - "Rob Adams- Got your Yankee Pom-Poms?." Hmmm...OK. Whatever. For the record, it's not me who said that the Yanks would threaten for the division and win the Wild Card. That would be our mutual friend, The Killer. I have said...on record...that the Yankees are Done...D-O-E-N...Done. My pick for the World Series are the occupants of the Shea Bodega who, incidentally, are TD's favorite team.

I know, all in good fun, and no offense taken. Tommy knows the deal, and so do I. And as you all know, the Yankees are only a subplot of the many goings on here at Exit 55. This is hardly a Yankees blog - enough of those already exist.

Couldn't Let This Go By

Don Kaplan writes in Monday's New York Post that the I-Man may be back, and soon. Most of the article is rumors from the New York Radio Message Board, but the reality is that Don Imus will be back, very soon.

The key lines to me are these...
While celebrating the sports station's 20th anniversary last Friday, Imus pals Mike Francesa and Chris Russo, of "Mike and the Mad Dog," hinted that a deal to bring the crusty talk-radio cowboy back is in the works.

"When we return to our regular schedule this September, I hope the team will once again be complete," Francesa said.

A few minutes before that, longtime Imus co-host Charles McCord also made a cryptic comment about having "looked into the rearview mirror . . . and some objects were closer than they appear."

I heard them all, and even thought the fact that WFAN allowed a four-hour tribute to Imus was a bit strange, considering he had just recently been fired. The whole thing made me raise my eyebrows, but I think there's still a ways to go before he's back. CBS Radio head honcho Les Moonves will have to stop sleeping with Reverend Al and grow a set of marbles before this comes to fruition.

Either way, I hear something ticking, but it's not a clock. It's a wrinkled up old prune in New Mexico on a horse wearing a cowboy hat and beginning to ride his way back to New York.

As the old song goes, "See you in September."