Thursday, November 29, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mr. Scully

Among the many great broadcasters in all walks of life, there is Vincent Edward Scully, and there is everybody else. Go ahead, build your Mount Rushmore of broadcasting for news and sports. Put Ed Murrow up there, of course. Walter Cronkite? I'd probably be OK with that. That leaves you two places. There's nobody else you can sell me on. Scully's the guy.

Beginning in 1950, at the age of just 22, Scully joined the Dodgers in Brooklyn, and stayed with them through their move to Los Angeles in 1958. When asked for the most popular Dodger in LA history, a resounding number of fans said it was Scully, as opposed to any player or manager. Scully's voice could be all throughout Dodger Stadium (and the LA Coliseum before) on transistor radios. Even today, his popularity is so strong that he is simulcast for the first three innings of any Dodger game he does on both radio and TV, before switching completely to TV.

I could rhapsodize all night about the great Scully, but you need to hear the work to appreciate it. He tends to get lost in the shuffle due to his desire to let the moment breathe. To him, there's nothing like the roar of the crowd. To me, there's no better play-by-play voice ever. His is the voice of Summer, but it was also a lot more at one time, as Scully called both college and pro football for many years (that was Vin on the classic Niners-Cowboys NFC Championship Game), tennis, and golf (including the Masters before leaving CBS).

Perhaps Scully's most masterful moment came in 1965, as Sandy Koufax finished his perfect game. It is everything that a broadcaster should be - dramatic, yet not over the top. Give a listen and you'll hear it for yourself.

I couldn't stop there. Here are some highlights, merely scratching the surface of a brilliant career.

Happy birthday, Mr. Scully.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The State Championship

Greenwich advanced to their 14th state championship game with a 35-13 win over Bridgeport Central at Cardinal Stadium. Just minutes ago, the CIAC released the list of championship games. The Cardinals will look for their second straight title at 7:00 PM on Saturday at Southern Connecticut State University's Jess Dow Field in New Haven. The full list is:

#1 Greenwich (10-1) vs. #2 Shelton (10-1) 7:00 p.m. at Jess Dow Field, SCSU, New Haven
#1 Bunnell (12-0) vs. #3 Masuk (10-2) 7:00 p.m. at Ken Strong Stadium, West Haven
#1 Daniel Hand (11-0) vs. #2 New Canaan (9-2) 2:00 p.m. at McDougall Stadium, Trumbull
#4 Berlin (10-1) vs. #2 Ledyard (10-1) 2:00 p.m. at Arute Field, CCSU, New Britain
#1 Seymour (10-1) vs. #2 Tolland (9-2) 7:00 p.m. at McDougall Stadium, Trumbull
#1 Ansonia (12-0) vs. #3 New London (11-0) 2:00 p.m. at Ken Strong Stadium, West Haven

All of the details are here. I know there will be several media options for you, including SportingNewsCT, possibly WELI, and CPTV will be televising two of the games live, and the others on tape delay, but really, when you get right down to it, don't you want to listen to the Greenwich-Shelton affair on WGCH with me, Sean, Nick, and Jason? I might not be The One and Only (Tim Parry will get that reference) but I lead a great team of dedicated broadcasters who love to do what we do, while having fun.

Incidentally, I saw CPTV's schedule. Greenwich-Shelton is tape delayed to Sunday, with the Class S (Ansonia/New London) and Class L (Bunnell/Masuk) games are being carried live. Everybody else is tape delayed. If I'm understanding CPTV's thinking, it's because they probably have one satellite truck to use, and it's going to Ken Strong Stadium. Thus those are the live games, and it's not a bad slate - especially Ansonia/New London. I'd be happy to come by and call that one for somebody (just like I was supposed to call two games last year, but broken promises are a part of life...and broadcasting).

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Leave it to Dayn Parry

Dayn Parry is a writer for He seems like a fairly bright guy, but another in a long line of schmarmy punk sports geniuses (you can put me here but, at 39, I don't think I'm a punk).

Dayn has written a long line of rather clueless, blood-pressute raising articles, and this is one of them. As I said earlier today, I would vote for only Jim Rice, Goose Gossage, and Jack Morris for the Hall of Fame, if I had a vote. Peter Abraham of The Journal News, coincidentally, agrees with me. Dayn Parry thinks that voters should be going for Tim Raines, Bert Blyleven, Rich Gossage, Andre Dawson and Alan Trammell. We agree on Gossage, but Dayn's reasoning on all of these players is just wrong. He backs it up with statistics, and that's not what voting for the Hall is all about. It's about who dominated in their era, among many other things. When I think of dominant players in this group, only Gossage, Rice, and Morris catch my eye.

Off The Bench

It sounds like it was random, but just another sad story from sports as Redskins safety Sean Taylor died this morning from a gunshot wound he suffered yesterday as the result of a robbery. Taylor was just 24 - leaving behind a fiancee and an 18 month-old child. Other than the violence of the crime itself, there seems to be nothing more malicious than that.


Oh, not that it matters, but thanks to ESPN for reporting the story...FORTY-FIVE minutes after FOX and the AP broke it! The Worldwide Leader clearly fumbled on this one as even little ol' WGCH, and their tag-team of Tony Savino and yours truly reported Taylor's passing before the Bristol folks did.

This is the baseball Hall of Fame ballot for 2008. You can vote for nobody, or as many as ten:

Brady Anderson
Harold Baines
Rod Beck
Bert Blyleven
Dave Concepcion
Andre Dawson
Shawon Dunston
Chuck Finley
Travis Fryman
Rich “Goose” Gossage
Tommy John
David Justice
Chuck Knoblauch
Don Mattingly
Mark McGwire
Jack Morris
Dale Murphy
Robb Nen
Dave Parker
Tim Raines
Jim Rice
Jose Rijo
Lee Smith
Todd Stottlemyre
Alan Trammell

I don't have a vote, though I frankly think I deserve one as much as many of the clowns who have one (think I've said that before). Anyway, if I DID have a vote, my checkmarks would go to Goose Gossage, Jack Morris, and Jim Rice. I wish I could be swayed on either Rock Raines or Dave Parker, but neither reached their potential, in my opinion.

Thanks to the Steelers and Dolphins for one of the shortest football games I have ever watched. Also one of the worst. Yikes, that was awful - 3-0 'Burghers. The weather was just brutal.

Did the Steelers really not have somebody (reportedly, Vince Neil of Motley Crue) sing the National Anthem because it would have taken too long to get the microphone to midfield? The game had been delayed for a half hour due to lightning - what would two or three more minutes have bothered anyone? Come on - the Steelers are smarter than that. Does anyone need to remind them that a piece of the 9/11 story happened not too far from the 'Burgh - in Shanksville?


Tim Parry and BlueStreak Sports Training have done a nice job with their player of the week award - just another sign of how far we in the FCIAC/CT football community have come since I started doing games. For his efforts on Thanksgiving, Danbury quarterback Mike Escobar was named the player of the week. I'm cool with that, especially considering the game Escobar had (11 of 14 for 231 and a TD, along with a 40-yard TD run, two field goals, and an interception). Now look at the other candidates:

- Kevin Joy, Darien: 200 yards rushing, 49 yards receiving, and two touchdowns vs. New Canaan
- Charlie Westfal, New Canaan: 298 yards passing and three touchdowns vs. Darien
- Chris Kozlowski, Wilton: 259 yards rushing and four touchdowns vs. Trinity Catholic
- Joe Richardson, Central: 225 yards rushing, plus a stellar defensive performance vs. Harding
- Chike Madu, Fairfield Warde: 18 carries, 238 yards, three touchdowns vs. Ludlowe

Again, this is all cool. Some great stats and players there. But hmmm...something's missing. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the marquee game a little get together in Westport? Didn't same game count as the FCIAC Championship? Didn't Jonathan Myers win the MVP of said game?

Just sayin'. Does that make Myers any better than Escobar? Not necessarily. What it means is that Myers wasn't nominated for the honor - which he's won at least once this season already. Following Greenwich's win over Staples, it's probably safe to say that the GHS coaching staff went to work on Bridgeport Central. Tim tells me that GHS coach Rich Albonizio has been perfect in nominating a player every week. The nomination had to come from the coach. It isn't open to media, parents, players and so on, and for good reason.

Oh well. Just another one of those things worth talking about, and not really a big deal to the players, who care about wins and losses.

Oh, while I'm ranting about such things, exactly WHO voted for the FCIAC MVP? I can tell you three people who didn't vote - Adams, Kilkelly, and Angotto. For my money, ALL media types (among them Jesse Quinlan, Paul Silverfarb, Zack Greenspon, the WWPT guys, MSG, and yes, WGCH) should have had a say.

Again, just sayin'. The turkey still tasted pretty damn good otherwise (thanks to my in-law's, who always put on a classy affair - even if it's a backyard barbecue. I've always tried to learn how to host a party from them, along with my wife and sister-in-law).

Incidentally, Sean and Nick both would have voted for Myers. I, thinking that Myers would win, was tempted to go with Tucker Stafford, who's health and mobility seemed to ignite the Cardinal's offense.

And I almost forgot about this - what's going on in Stamford? Why is coach Kevin Jones on the griddle at Boyle Stadium? Tim (who else?) covers all of the bases here. From afar, it doesn't seem right. Coach Jones seems to have done everything right with his players (remember them? The STUDENTS?!). The won-loss record isn't glowing but the program is building. Isn't that what matters?

I'm watching that story with a lot of interest.

The Evil Empire might be at it again. Johan Santana could become a Yankee, but at what price? It frightens me, people.

Besides, how have the other recent big ticket trades worked out? Randy Johnson? A-Rod? Exactly how many World Series did the Bombers get to in the years since those trades?

Correct - Zero.

Giants' GM Jerry Reese said the following to Newsday's Bob Glauber:
"The quarterback has gotten skittish, for whatever reason."
This might not be the best thing to say about your franchise quarterback. I mean, call me crazy.

Personally I like Eli Manning. Maybe we're discovering though that he's the classic "not fit for New York" athlete. That would be a shame, but several talk shows have pointed out that he is having as much success as his contemporaries, and might become the first Giant QB to lead the team to his playoffs three straight seasons in 20 years. There's just one problem:

He's not his brother. The one with the ring.

Greenwich-Central tonight at Cardinal Stadium (on WGCH, of course). The winner plays Saturday against either Southington or Shelton in the Class LL Championship. Of course the time and site are treated like a state secret.

Six days until Imus...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Beginning Year Number 40

For the first time in a few years, I was actually semi-interested in having a birthday. I didn't want to ignore it; I wanted to kind of celebrate it. Not in a cheesy way, but in a go out and celebrate type of way by maybe going to Molly Darcy's, hearing a band, and letting loose a bit. It doesn't look like it's going to happen, but my outlook on things is just a bit different than it had been.

Yes, I'm 39 today. I feel (and at times look) a bit younger. A year from today, I'll be 40. It doesn't bother me.

By the way, John F. Kennedy died 44 years ago today. I always feel tied to that event, and have collected a lot of audio from that unbelievable stretch of time.

The broadcast today went quite well at Staples, despite the politics that we were caught up in (I still don't understand what's going on), and the usual technical problems - the result of broadcasting via cell phones. If I get it my way, I'll switch to a laptop and a wireless card. It seems to be the best way to go, and the quality of the audio is just fine.

Not my call though.

People actually whispered to me that there were those who said that we were not to be allowed to do the game in the booth at Staples, and that's a bit disconcerting. No, that's BIG TIME disconcerting. I hope there's nothing to what I was hearing, but more than one person came to me and apologized for the way we were treated. Apparently it was nothing personal against any of the guys there today - including me, Sean and Nick.

I have no bad feelings towards Staples, and the weather was nice so it didn't bother me to be outside on a gorgeous day.

Bad weather? Different story.

Thanks to the Greenwich fans that allowed us to tailgate with them. They had a great spread of food, including egg and cheese sandwiches with hot sausage. Wow!

Also thanks to the many people who passed birthday wishes along, especially the Greenwich cheerleaders, who serenaded me with "Happy Birthday" live on the air. I'm touched by your thoughtfulness.

Despite the shite that life hands me, I often feel thankful and blessed. Spending today with many portions of my family and friends added to the blessings.

Time for the final edition of the FCIAC Big Three/Fab Five, or whatever.

1) Greenwich (9-1, Last Week - 1) - Dominant today. Blasted Staples in a way that I've never seen them get blasted. I'm still shocked. Next up is Central in the Class LL Semis.
2) Central (8-1, 3) - They're back at number two and the matchup that many wanted to see in the FCIAC Championship will now happen in the state tournament. The Cardinals beat the Hilltoppers 21-12 in September at Kennedy Stadium.
3) Staples (8-1, 2) - I still don't know what happened today. They had some injury issues coming into the game but I just didn't expect a shutout. They dropped to number four in Class L and will play Bunnell on the road.
4) New Canaan (8-1, 4) - Survived against Darien today...barely. They play at home against Middletown in the MM Semis.
5) Hmmm...Wilton was here last week. St. Joe's beat a decent Trumbull game. I really like the way Norwalk played, even though they're 6-4. Does it really matter who's number five? Well I guess I have to put somebody here, and my vote will go to the Warriors (7-3), even though I want to wimp out and do co-number five's with the Hogs (7-3).

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Off The Bench

I had dinner with my good friend Harold last night and caught up on a lot of shite. It was much-needed and long-overdue for both of us. I open up here since he's the one who named my ramblings "off the bench."

That said, I'm really tired this morning. A rough night's sleep.

Perhaps my favorite site in the world, Call of the Game, was hacked into about a week ago. For a brief moment it looked like the "home office" for sports broadcasters would close up shop, but alas it now seems like Jim Tocco and Joe Block's baby will indeed return. It might even have a familiar face/voice/writer on it. I've exchanged emails with Jim and will see what happens.

Speaking of contributions, I will guest host Tim Parry's "Live From the FC" tomorrow, as Tim had a death in his extended family (condolences to Tim and wife Ursula). So if all goes according to plan, I will talk with Mike Quick, Marce Petroccio, and Nick Angotto - or some combination like that.

Click here to listen - tomorrow (Saturday) at 10:00 AM.

My stellar performance on Matt Levine's "The 50 Yard Line" is now archived here. Click on 11/13 show to watch me and the captains from the Norwalk Bears.

A-Rod, thank you. Ya done good. You basically urinated on the man who has tried to ruin baseball, Mr. Scott Boras (Don Fehr and Gene Orza have done their share of ruining the game also). But it's more than that. Personally I was prepared to move on without you and was beginning to picture players like Miguel Cabrera or Miguel Tejada at third. Yet watching The Son cry - hard - when I told him that you wouldn't be a Yankee in 2008 had me fuming. So for his sake, welcome back. Now go break that home run record but more importantly, go get that first World Series ring.

Oh then we have Barry Bonds. What more can I say then "got ya." Enjoy.

The New York Knicks continue to amaze me. They've become the Mets - circa 1990 (bleach, firecrackers and so on). What a mess. Willis, Dollar Bill, Clyde, DeBusschere, Barnett - save us please!

The countdown is on to the return of His Imus-ness. I will grant you that Boomer and Carton aren't awful on WFAN, but I could never see myself becoming a devotee to their show. They get good guests (Jay-Z, playa!) and Carton pisses me off enough to make me listen...and want to reach through the phone and choke him. But facts are facts - the I-Man is coming, and there's nothing anybody can do. He's even back on TV (RFD-TV, which I get via Direct TV).

Neil Best added an item at his Watchdog that caught my eye:
Tom Verducci is out as an analyst on YES's "Yankees Hot Stove.''

Why? His recent, scathing column on regarding Joe Torre's departure might have had something to do with it. Actually . . . it had pretty much everything to do with it.

YES spokesman Eric Handler said Verducci's "recent remarks pertaining to the Yankees' ownership were extremely personal and cutting, and we decided it would not be in our interests to have him on the show going forward.

"Also, Tom is collaborating with Joe Torre on a second book. It’s unfortunate, but we figured it was an action that had to be taken. We appreciate the work he’s done for us in the past.''
Asinine, and gutless on the part of the people at YES. I'm tired of this notion that people appearing on any media outlet must drink the Kool-Aid (see Network, MSG). Verducci is one of the top baseball writers and his opinions are often spot-on. Taking him off of YES shows their inability to take criticism. That's what makes TV (or radio) lively.

By the way, did you realize that Jim Jones and company did not drink Kool-Aid at their mass suicide in 1978? It was actually cyanide-laced grape flavored Flavor Aid.

It's true!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Big Three

There is no logical explanation for my picks...

1) Greenwich (8-1, Last Week 1) - Yes, they lost. At times it wasn't pretty. Still, when you lose to the fourth best team in Florida, and every naysayer seems to do a turnaround, that's called respect. Naples was the real deal, and the Cardinals are still the real deal.
2) Staples (8-0, 2) - Beat Greenwich on Thanksgiving, and they'll be number one. That's that.
3) Central (7-1, 4) - I dropped them because of strength of schedule and I though maybe New Canaan was a touch better. They're back because I thought they were no worse than third.
4) New Canaan (7-2, 3) - No crime in losing to Staples in one of the better games in some time. Only wish I could have called it.
5) Wilton (6-3, 5) - Yes, they're coming off a loss, but how can I rightly put Ridgefield, St. Joe's, or Trumbull here? I like Ridgefield but they're woefully inconsistent (a loss to Norwalk, a win against Wilton, and so on). This was probably my toughest vote.

Don't forget that I'm on "The 50" tonight with Matt Levine and Tim Parry, live from Route 22 in Stamford at 7:00. I actually have a fan club that's coming along (and it's happy hour).

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Naples Trip - Part Two

Friday morning came a bit too quickly for me. Normally I'm one to be able to jump up when the bell rings (especially when I'm on the road) but not this morning. This trip would wear me out like few ever have - a likely result of the energy that I put into making our broadcast one to remember.

After my interview with Tony Savino, I got ready and jumped in the PT Cruiser for a quick ride. I came all this way and needed some road sign pics! I got a handful, but it's tough to shoot them in nearly direct sunlight.

I didn't have very big plans for Friday. In short, I wanted to try to have some fun - whether it be by going to the beach, playing golf (or the mini variety), batting cages, or something. In the process, Nick, Jason and I could talk and get comfortable with how we would call this game. I also wanted us to review notes. It didn't happen that way.

Instead, Jason and I started by having breakfast at the Waffle House (ah, grits!) before heading to the players hotel - less than five minutes away. We were greeted like old friends there, and even a sense of celebrity, as a few people who had never met me heard my voice and recognized me. That never gets old, but it is weird.

We chatted and laughed with Coach Al about the interview with Coach Kramer, and the Greenwich coach told us about their practice the night before, when some Naples people (players? thugs? students?) stood and pounded a fist into an empty palm. All an act of intimidation, but Coach Al would have none of it. He said they could resolve the issue right there, or on the field the following night. Cody Gifford (yes, THAT Cody Gifford) was a target of taunts, and I guess that is going to happen when you're the product of famous parents, one of whom talked incessantly about you on her famous morning talk show. For his part, Cody just shrugged it off.

The hotel visit was very productive, and comfortable. I'm never sure of where I stand with the Greenwich community, but this trip assured me that they seem to like me - they really like me. The Dunster's, Bisanzo's, Hahn's, Parelli's, Catalano's, and too many other families were all too happy to see us. We appreciated it.

For Jason and I, the relaxing day that I had hoped for had been whittled down to just a few hours, in which we would go to the beach, walk the Naples pier, watch some fish get caught, possibly see a dolphin frolicking in the distance, talk with some more Greenwich families, stand in the Gulf of Mexico (I would have gone in further if there was more time), grab lunch at Checkers, jump in the pool and hot tub at the hotel, get dressed, and pick Nick up. In other words - showtime was upon us!

The Gulf of Mexico and Naples Pier

We arrived at Staver Field at 4:30. In my mind, I was content to sit in the car until they let me in, or stand in the parking lot and talk. I just wanted to make sure we had a parking spot. In reality, Jason got into the facility and a few minutes later, returned to bring us in. Our booth was open and ready for us well before 5:00, giving us plenty of time to prepare and watch the crowd build.

The only trip-up during this stretch was when a girl walked into our booth and tried to tell us that our banner would have to come down because they had some other banner to put over ours. I said we had permission from the athletic director, and that seemed to resolve it.

Our booth, and the all-important banner.

Three news satellite truck would be on hand for the game. At least three writers from Connecticut were there (Jesse Quinlan, Paul Silverfarb, and Dave Liebratore). Two radio stations would call the game. And oh yeah, anywhere from six to twelve thousand people would attend it. In short - this was a big deal.

Florida football - flags and the mall. The overflow crowd would have to park there as well. Note the TV satellite truck.

In Connecticut, Sean Kilkelly got our coverage started with a tremendous pregame show that featured Mike Quick from MSG, Sean Patrick Bowley form the Connecticut Post, and Tim Parry from...everything! And finally, shortly after 7:00 Eastern Standard Time, on Friday night, November 9th, 2007, it was time for us to take to the air.

Sean opened up with the traditional theme music, and threw it to us, where all we could hear was Fairfield University basketball in our headsets.


WGCH has become the flagship for Stags hoops. It seems that they also had a game that night and after much discussion, we (WGCH, that is) agreed to carry the game on tape delay. So we (I'm trying to sound like a team player here, yet I had nothing to do with this) prepared to tape the Fairfield game and somewhere along the line, a button or setting went wrong, delivering the sound of Stags hoops to our headsets.

At that moment, after months of buildup and preparation, I was faced with an option: meltdown or survive. I chose the latter, but felt the former building. Why in the name of Guglielmo Marconi would we do this? Could we possibly bleep this whole thing up?

Um...yes. But we didn't. On the first try, when Sean "sent" it to us, I refused to talk, because I wasn't sure we would sound good. On the second try, we talked, but I could tell that it was tough to concentrate. Never one to panic, Sean worked feverishly to make things right, and let's be very clear here - this was not his fault. In Florida, we could see that the crowd had stood up for a moment of silence, but we had to figure out why (turns out a member of the Naples band had died the previous evening - that's a story that we needed to tell). We just had to remain calm. Eventually things worked out, the Stags were out of our headsets, and we got down to calling the game.

The next three hours or so went as I kind of hoped. Sort of. Being way too hard on myself, I'm not convinced we gave it our best call, but I'm probably being unfair. The reviews have been quite favorable, so I'll just shut up. Yet behind the scenes, there was more BS about Fairfield basketball (which nobody in our audience was interested in), a few more technical problems (the average listener wouldn't know or care), and mistakes (which I know and care about).

At one point, following another Fairfield conversation (gotta keep promoting it), I nearly lost it on the air. I made it clear that we had "more important things" at that particular moment. Give me a break - both Sean and I had been promoting the game all night.

What I'm trying to say is - butt out.

On then field, Greenwich had their chances. I'm not sure they would have won, but they could have made it a really fun night. Yet in the end, was it really that much of a disappointment?

To me - no. I've had a few days to think about it. I don't know how the players feel.

The final score.

Following the game, we trudged to the one place near the team's hotel that we knew would be serving dinner (it was 11:00) - Hooters.

Oh please. Don't give me that crap about the women. It's like going to a strip club (which I've never been to). I'm not allowed to touch, so what's the point? Just get me my dinner and let's call it a night, OK?

That's what we did. I was out by 1:00 Saturday morning. I would need to be, because we were up and out of the hotel just after seven, and onto our final Waffle House breakfast before hitting the airport, where we had a very uneventful trip home. It was time to return to reality.


I really could have used another day there to sort out life a bit and cherish what we had done. It just wasn't meant to be. We never have enough time, do we?

And that's that. It was over too quickly, but was perhaps the best experience of my years as a play-by-play announcer (the Syracuse games are in the same class). I'm proud of it. That's probably the way we should all feel.

The Naples Trip - Part One

Long before blogs and other such stuff, I wrote a travel journal. This is the kind of thing you would have read if I had published them.

After several months of buildup, the time had finally arrived for the trip to Naples, Florida. My plane tickets had been booked since the latter part of the summer, while the hotel and rental car came much later. This being a business trip, I was at the mercy of whatever my job would allow. Thankfully the efforts of colleagues Lindsey Romeo and Cindy Torre set me up with a trip to remember. Now it was time to put it all together and make it happen.

With a 7:55 flight out of JFK and a bag of radio equipment, I knew I needed to get to the airport early. That and I wanted to ensure that I had a parking spot in the long term lot. So I was off at 4:10 on Thursday morning, November 8th. Barely over an hour (and 63 miles) later, I was at my appointed destination, where I parked right next to one of my two travel companions for this trip, Jason Intrieri. Nick Angotto would get to Florida on the flight after us.

In total, the JFK experience was fairly easy. It's well known that I'm paranoid and a bit of a worrier, so it comes as no surprise to me that Jet Blue wouldn't initially let me print out my boarding pass at the kiosk. To them, I was an "oops"; a person who had something wrong with their reservation. Since I'm always a guilty-looking character, it seemed logical that the reason Jet Blue wanted to check me in personally was because my name was similar to one on the No Fly list. Yet the ticket agent (or whatever title is appropriate) was satisfied that I was indeed an innocent man (Billy Joel, 1983).

Security wasn't too bad as well, other than the need to hand check the bag with the radio equipment. Jason and I had plenty of time to sit near our gate and chat while sipping coffee in the temporary terminal that one must be shuttled to while the new permanent terminal is being built.

Oh, and the AirTrain that took us from long term parking to Terminal 6 was pretty cool as well. So yeah, the JFK experience gets a thumbs up.

There's no doubt that JetBlue earned some grief for their travel delays a while back, but they were excellent in my opinion on both flights during this trip. The flight down was painless, if bumpy. Jason helped grab the bags, and we found his (which traveled down on the flight before ours - one that we had an option to fly on), then moved onto the rental car. Thanks to Thrifty being out of cars in the class that we rented from, we got bumped up to a white PT Cruiser. Shortly after 11:00, for the first time since March of 2006, I stepped on the sun-drenched soil of Florida, where the temperature sat right around 75 degrees.

I should tell you that while we waited for the bags, I found a news machine with the Naples Daily News. On the cover was a story about "The Game", a day before it was to be played. I purchased a copy and was shocked to discover that not only was the game mentioned, but there - on the front page - was a mention of WGCH, and each of our names. Us - front page news!

In less than an hour, we were in Naples, where it was now lunchtime. The last time I was in Florida, I had planned to enjoy a breakfast at Waffle House, one of the bastions of the American Highway, which of course has NO locations in the northeast. Yet the last time I was in the Sunshine State, I had one of the nastier viruses of my life (another story for another time, and believe me - you DON'T want details). This time I would have my Waffle House. In fact, Jason and I decided to have breakfast for lunch, and it was worth...every...bite.

We were scheduled to get to Naples High School around 3:00 to meet with head coach Bill Kramer, but we also needed some time to setup and test the travel-weary equipment, so we headed towards our first view of Staver Field. Our initial reaction was one of surprise. Staver is not a palace. It is a fine high school football field, but it does not stack up to some of these places that are being built in the football hotbeds. The grass (yes, grass!) was cushy but not a solid dark green. The metal stands are plentiful and there are two press boxes and concessions stands - the result of refurbishing. I think in some ways we expected maybe more, but I can't complain.

By this time, I had heard from Nick, who had hoped I would move our meeting time with Coach Kramer so that he could join us. Sorry to say, I'm glad I didn't, for Nick would be catching up with family and we wouldn't see him until after 3:00 on Friday afternoon - some 26 hours later.

At Naples, athletic director Ernie Modugno and the staff couldn't have been more welcoming or accommodating. We were given our choice of press boxes (we opted for the home side) and left to set up and even leave the equipment, as it would be locked up. In fact we wouldn't even have access to it until Friday afternoon. So I set everything up as if we could just walk back in to the booth the next night and flip the power switch on. My only disappointment was that the phone line didn't work, so we would be stuck using a cell phone - hardly the best quality for (arguably) the biggest sports broadcast in the history of WGCH.

The WGCH Booth.
Our view of the field.

With the equipment now set, all we needed to do was meet with Coach Kramer. Our 3:00 meeting time had come and gone, and now we waited to see him take the field with his team. Never one to intrude, I laid low, not wanting to interfere with the players and the Naples practice. There was already enough rhetoric with the video controversy between Greenwich and Naples that I wanted no part of an angry coach. Many people assume that WGCH and their broadcasters are a part of Greenwich High School. As you probably know, that is not the case.

We were able to chat with Coach Kramer for about five minutes, in which he didn't hesitate to say that he got "taken" by the cagey coach, Rich Albonizio. It would have been a fun interview to run except that in the grand tradition of WGCH, the microphone cable failed and caused the quality of the audio to be unusable.

Gamesmanship would begin by now, as some Greenwich fans had gathered (four, to be honest) at Staver Field, but after some fast hellos, Jason and I were gone. I could tell Coach Kramer didn't appreciate any visitors and expected practice to be closed. Again, I wanted no part of that. Besides, I wanted to get my room and change into some shorts. We visited with the people of the high school one more time before leaving, and departed with T-shirts dedicated to the big game.

The action shifted to the Courtyard by Marriott, where I finally got comfortable. In fact, I hit the pool - all alone! To those in Florida, the temperatures were chilly. Indeed most people were wearing pants and at night, I even saw some folks in sweaters. Not us - shorts, polos and T-shirts were the order of the trip.

Following a fifteen-minute special with Tim Parry on a special edition of Live from the FC, Jason and I met up for dinner. We hunted for the right place, giving us a tour of Naples before driving back past our hotel and settling on Carraba's - another chain that doesn't have a location near us (unless you count Long Island - typical). We found ourselves on the wrong end of a 30-minute wait until we discovered that if we were willing to sit outside, we could eat there. Roughly 12 hours earlier, Jason and I were in New York, where it was in the 30's. At dinner that night, it was in the high 60's or low 70's. To us, it was great.

Dinner would continue to prove to us what a big deal this game was. Upon finding out why we were in town, our waitress informed us that she would be at the game, and was a season ticket holder (who knew?).

Finally, with a full belly (30-plus pounds lighter than it had been, mind you), and fully exhausted, I settled down into room 416 and fell sound asleep. 6:50 on Friday morning would come quickly, and my next order of business - an interview with Tony Savino.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Naples Wins

Naples blasted Greenwich, 31-12 at Staver Field tonight. I have virtually nothing else to add because I'm exhausted.

I'll be home tomorrow. Can't wait to be back in 40 degree temperatures. At least The Son will be happy to see me.

The broadcast went well, but I have a few thoughts about that too. Maybe at another time.

I'm going to bed now.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Safe and Sound in Naples

OK, so my laptop doesn't seem to be cooperating with the various networks, so I'm at the mercy of the Courtyard by Marriott house PC. We've made it to Naples - thanks to Jet Blue, and are driving a PT Cruiser (pretty cool). The people of Naples have just been fantastic to us, and athletic director Ernie Modugno did an excellent job of opening Staver Field up to us. We're hooked up and ready to call the game tomorrow night.

The highlight was interviewing Naples coach Bill Kramer, who is still steamed about "Spygate." If I can fix the interview before air time tomorrow (thanks to such great world class equipment), you will hear it for yourself. He thinks he got the short end of a cagey coach in one Mr. Richard Albonizio.

I will try to fix the interview when I'm not so tired. Instead, I will now go hit the pool!

And We're Off!

It's 3:58 AM on Thursday, November 8th as I type. When I hit the publish button here, I will stand up, walk away from my desk, kiss my son good-bye, and get in the car to go to JFK. WGCH's wild Naples Adventure will have officially begun.

I am bringing my computer (an old...and I mean old Dell laptop) with me, so I hope to check in from Florida. If not, see you after we get back.

Remember - all of the coverage starts at 6:00 tomorrow night with Sean Kilkelly and a cast of thousands (I recorded a quick interview with the Greenwich captains last night).

If you're going to Florida - safe travels! If you're not, remember to listen live!

See ya!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

More Media Coverage for GHS-Naples

I would be remiss if I didn't post the link to the Naples Daily News coverage of GHS-Naples. So here. They are a one-stop location for everything dedicated to the game, including the scintilating fact that Frank and Kathie Lee are attending. Well what about the other Greenwich celebs? I bet a few of them will be there as well (though I will not name names...but I know of at least one prominent baseball-type person that might be there...).

One thing of note regarding the Daily News (despite the fact they didn't return my email): they will be taping video of the game and popping it on their website all night. So that's a great job by them.

I know the Greenwich Time (with Jesse Quinlan) and the Connecticut Post (with Sean Patrick Bowley) will both add their printed voices to the mix here, and Zack Greenspon at the Greenwich Citizen and Paul Silverfarb at the Greenwich Post won't be far behind. Plus Tim Parry will do his thing as well, and Matt Levine (though at a "rival" radio station) will talk plenty about it also. And don't forget about the folks at News 12 either.

Folks, you of the FCIAC and Connecticut in general have some really good people covering you in the media. It's tough for us in today's budget-conscious age to get everything, but with your cooperation, a lot can be accomplished. SPB in the Post has been complaining about the lack of cooperation, and he's right. It's not hard to call, fax or email a few notes about a game to all of us (including me, for that matter). Make our jobs tough by giving us so much that we have to figure out how to put it all together.

OK, rant over. But before I finish, let me say that I'm rooting for a great game. I don't, however, want to root for a team. Yet with reading not one, not two, not three, but four...count 'em...FOUR Naples writers picking a Naples annihilation, it will be hard to not root. I know the odds are against Greenwich, but hey, that's why they play the games, right?

The Promo

Thanks to the captain's parents and everyone involved with the Greenwich Football website for posting the audio of the promo that I created for the GHS-Naples game. I love putting this kinds of things together. Have a listen!

The Final Day in the Northeast

First, big thanks to coleagaue Lindsey Romeo for getting this in the Naples Daily News, among other places. To be fair, Executive Vice President Jeff Weber wrote the press release, but it was Linds who got the word out.
Greenwich radio station to air Naples game broadcast over the Internet
Daily News staff

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Greenwich radio station WGCH (1490 AM) will broadcast Friday's Greenwich-Naples football game live from Naples. The game will also be aired live on the Internet at

Naples station WCNZ/AM 1660 is broadcasting the game locally with Joe Klimas and Troy Miller.

On WGCH, Sports Director Rob Adams will provide play-by-play coverage, along with Nick Angotto and Jason Intrieri. Pregame coverage begins at 6 p.m., with the game starting at 7:30 p.m.

© 2007 Naples Daily News and NDN Productions. Published in Naples, Florida, USA by the E.W. Scripps Co.
Best wishes to WCNZ for a good broadcast, but there's one thing that I must boast - is the only place to hear the game LIVE on the Internet.

(Sorry - that's not normally me, but if I don't toot my own horn, who will?)

Now, onto some final details. We will start our coverage at 6:05 with Sean Kilkelly's special extravaganza. Sean's guests will be Mike Quick from MSG TV, Tim Parry from just about all things FCIAC, and Sean Patrick Bowley from the Connecticut Post. Sean will also play back an interview that I recorded with former GHS coach Mike Ornato (he coached some guy named Steve Young). Then at 7:05, Jason Intrieri, Nick Angotto, and your friendly neightborhood sportscaster will come along with our pregame show, including (we hope) interviews with GHS coach Rich Albonizio, Naples coach Bill Kramer, and the Cardinals captains - Chris Bisasnzo, Jonathan Myers, Jim Dunster, and Phil Catalano.

Tomorrow, we will record an interview with Tim Parry for Live from the FC (check your local listings). There might also be a few newspaper interviews (which would be cool), and we'll appear live from Florida on the Mary Anne Show on WGCH. Then (if the invite is still good), I'll join Matt Levine on his show, The Fifty Yard Line (Live from Route 22 in Stamford) on Tuesday night at 7:00.

Back with more as time allows!


A Press Release!

November 7, 2007

AT 203-869-1490



(I love it when they promote me...I feel so touched...sob...)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Big Three

Hmmm...Staples isn't that good, right? They're bound to lose this year, eh? Darien is rebuilding and will knock off Marce's troops!

That's the rhetoric that I heard. Yet all I see is the following:

Staples 28, Darien 7.

Uh huh.

I admire your effort. You went out on a limb. Thanks for playing. We have some fine parting gifts for you.

On to the Big Three.

1) Greenwich (8-0, Last Week - 1) - OK, they're that good. Now comes Naples, where frankly, they're the underdogs. Huge underdogs. Yet allow me to shine some history on things for you:

The year was 2002. The Cardinals were playing the defending Class LL Champs - Jack Cochran's New Britain Golden Hurricanes - in the Class LL Semifinal at Boyle Stadium. Despite the "home field" edge, the thinking was that the Cardinals were underdogs. Along came a little videotape controversy (sound familiar?). The Cardinals had to lose, right?

Wrong. Final score: Greenwich 40, New Britain 21.

I'm just sayin'. Of course, that was then and this is now. One thing has nothing to do with the other. Again - let the game begin.

2) Staples (7-0, 2) - I hear somebody laughing. Oh, hey Coach Petroccio! Nice to see you. Good luck against New Canaan. The winner gets the Cardinals. It's the game that I would love to be at if I wasn't otherwise involved on Friday.
3) New Canaan (7-1, 4) - Time for me to move the Rams up a slot. They've earned it, though I think it's a shame for Central.
4) Central (6-1, 3) - It's not their fault. Like Staples, I wish they didn't have an open date, but it is what it is. They deserve better.
5) Wilton (6-2, NR) - Welcome back to the Warriors! They had a perfect storm to return. They beat St. Joe's and Ridgefield lost to Norwalk. So they've earned their way back.

I dealt with the new FCIAC sideline pass rule for the first time on Friday. Jesus, this is exactly what the media needs now - to have to get in touch with already overtaxed athletic directors who have better things to do than make up sideline passes for people like Mr. Sideline himself, Nick Angotto (who's likely getting a promotion on Friday night). We'll have to address this again on Thanksgiving morning at Staples, and possibly at Boyle for the FCIAC Championship, and then into the LL's.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Well Bring 'Em On!

Greenwich systematically destroyed Stamford, 49-14 at Boyle Stadium tonight. Jonathan Myers scored five times, and the Cardinals rolled.

So now comes Naples.

I'm sitting at my desk...back at work. So I'm going to focus on that, since it's 9:00, I have a few things to do, and I have an hour drive home.

See ya.

Naples Excitement Builds

It looks like we're going to be only game in town! According to this report in the Naples Daily News, the Greenwich-Naples game will not be televised. In fact, to my knowledge, nobody is carrying the game live except for one little ol' radio station...


That's right - your friendly neighbrohood Sports Director seems to be the only one who will call the big showdown next Friday in Florida. Jason Intrieri and Nick Angotto are warming up the vocal chords as well, and we'll all need them. The details are beginning to come clear:

We will get down there on Thursday, and I don't think we will be able to talk to anyone that day - other than recording some interviews. However, we'll be busy on Friday.

- 6:50 AM - I'll be interviewed by Tony Savino on the WGCH "NewsCenter."
- 5:00-6:00 PM - Jason, Nick and I will pop into the "Mary Anne Show", if time allows.
- 6:05-7:00 PM (approximately) - We will begin an extended pregame show, hosted by Sean Kilkelly. Sean's only confirmed guest right now is Tim Parry, but we're hoping to get a few more people to join us. We have a few ideas, but have to yet to contact or confirm them yet. We will likely check in from Florida, but this is Sean's show.
- 7:05 PM - Following Fox News, we will begin our live coverage from Florida. This will serve as our pregame show, featuring Nick, Jason and me, along with perhaps another interview or two. It's business as usual after that, with the play-by-play beginning at 7:30.

Then we might be on an Internet radio show on Saturday morning (bet you can't guess which one) and I might be on an Internet video the following Tuesday (ditto).

Oh, and I'll be around "the dial" tomorrow as well. I am Tony Savino's guest on "Viewpoint" at 9:05, and Tim Parry's Guest on "Live From the FC" at 10:35.

See you on the radio!

UPDATE...Apparently there will be another radio station calling the game, using as a game of the week, or something. Whatever - I think I know who you'll be listening to next Friday...right? Please? Pretty please?