Monday, December 31, 2007

Adios, 2007

I've long thought of New Year's Eve as Amateur Night. An unnecessary night, made for sheer stupidity. Yet tonight, I found myself wanting to turn a new leaf. Embrace it, I figured. Maybe go out, or have people over. Watch the ball, and all that jazz.

We used to put on the best "anti-New Year's party." We'd watch movies, listen to music, talk, laugh, drink, and not even know when it was midnight. It was a blast.

Instead, it's 9:08 PM as I type. It is two hours and fifty-two minutes to 2008. And I now sit in a quiet house, watching the Chick-Fil-A Bowl on TV.


I had a couple of party invites but didn't quite feel up to them. I'm still under the weather, plus each would have kept me in the southern part of Connecticut, and I wasn't keen on the drive home. So I hoped to watch a few movies, have a few frosties, and welcome 2008. Well all of that can happen, but I'll be doing it alone. No midnight kisses for me. Sandi and Sean both went straight to bed at 9:00.

I've reflected quite a bit recently on what 2007 was. Oh I could wallow in the misery of how bad it was, but what good would that do? Really, was it that bad? It started with the promise of a new job, but that collapse a mere five weeks in. On came the depression of another layoff, but with that came the good times and new contacts made in New Rochelle. That ultimately ended abruptly, as temp jobs can. The memories are solid.

Then came the abyss. For a stretch in the late spring and early summer, I couldn't find work. The problem was that I wasn't looking in the right places. When I made my way to Target, I was scared and had bottomed out. I tried to pull myself out of it in the Spring, but allowed myself to get hung up on BS. The red bullseye allowed me to rebuild my spirit, and begin to find my confidence again. I may never work there again, but I owe them a lot. Finally I returned to WGCH and our networks (Business and Lifestyle). Once again, I'm working steadily and fairly contently. I may pick up some more work there to help supplement my income (or lack thereof). I couldn't predict my next career move if you begged me, but I do have some ideas...

2007 showed me who my friends are, and who cares about me. The names are too many, and I will no doubt forget some, but without my family, I would be lost. My sister, brother and mother have been extremely supportive. I have wonderful in-laws who have shown me that they consider me to be an important part of their family. Under sad circumstances, I got see my new niece, but also reconnect with my brother-in-law and his wife. It's so tough to have a strong relationship when they're 3000 miles away, but we're trying. Facebook has actually been helpful in this regard, but also the efforts of Gretchen (The Brother-in-Law's wife) to email pictures of Eleanor, and the touching note she attached to my Christmas present about my weight loss. And few people make me laugh like my sister-in-law.

Friends? Got 'em. Harold, Sean, Jon, Nick, Brian, Fish, Mick, Matt, Ricky, the Ron's, Picc, Scottie, Tim, Jason - these are just the friends that I'm thinking of off the top of me noggin' and I'm happy to say that there are too many friends to mention. While I'm talking about friends, I have to mention the ladies that share an office with me. Lindsey and I have grown into a mean brother/sister combo that blasts insults and sound effects at each other, all while lending an ear whenever needed. Her heart is heavy with the loss of a friend this week due to a heart attack at a young age. A young father, no less. Life is tough to figure out.

Cindy - I can't thank you enough for not only your party invite, but for your thoughtfulness of buying me lunch when you knew that I had a dollar in my pocket, and my bank account was locked. I was humbled by your kindness. The same must be said for Joy, who laughs at my silliness, but also lends a level of calmness to our office. I am awed by each of these ladies in how they handle the many levels of adversity that visits our office, and am always trying to learn from them.

Michelle - I haven't forgotten about you. Thanks for being thoughtful and entertaining.

So is it really worth getting hung up on what went wrong in 2007? Nope. The past is prologue, and I would rather put it in the memory bank and move on to 2008. Let what happened serve as lessons.

I'm excited for 2008, but I'm also nervous. That's what the future is - scary. It can be change, and new adventures. So for me, I'm going to just focus on now. I must not ignore whatever is coming (bad or good, for that matter), but I can't dwell on it.

For each of you, I wish you good health, peace, and success in 2008. But most of all, I wish you happiness. I think we all deserve it.

And may our troops be safe.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Perhaps You Need a Reminder

I'm battling one of the nastiest colds that I've had in some time, so it has kind of forced me to hang around the house and entertain myself. Thanks to our financial disaster, I had to get rid of all of our movie and extemporaneous sports channels (of course I still have YES). Thus I often feel like the old Bruce Springsteen song - 57 channels and nothing's on.

Through the tossing and turning of last night, I watched a couple of blah college bowl games before giving up. At one point earlier today, I watched a little of the Pine Tar Game from 1983 between the Yankees and Royals, but I kind of know how that turned out, and I'm still scarred (Lee McPhail made one of the all-time pussy moves in reversing the decision - when does an officials decision ever get overturned after the game is over?).

So that led me to channel 215 on Direct TV. I've been noticing it for a few weeks now, and have liked what I have seen, but today it sucked me in.

It's called the NHL Channel. And it's a reminder of why hockey is so great, and why I would offer that the history of hockey pales only in comparison to baseball - and right on par with the NFL.

The channel is in its infancy. It's showing classic games, but not quite classic enough yet. I'm cool with games up to, say, 1994 (Rangers-Cancuks, naturally), but am not quite ready to consider things since then as classic. I'd love to see older stuff - like the Bobby Orr game from 1970. I shouldn't have to explain it, but since many of you don't know hockey that well, just know that at 40 seconds into overtime in the fourth game, number four scored the fourth goal - and arguably the most famous goal in NHL history - at least based on the iconic image. More about the picture (above) is here, including the play-by-play of the goal.

Anyway, today I've been sucked in by a show about the 1990 Stanley Cup Final between the Bruins and eventual champs Oilers (sorry, Harold - I wish it had ended differently). From there, it was a show on Mario Lemieux's greatest goals (what a play against the old Minnesota North Stars, and the '87 Canada Cup winner!). Yet what really sucked me in was the show about the greatest Canadian rivalries - the battles of the 80's and 90's between the Oilers and Flames (two words - Lanny McDonald ), or the Nordiques and the Candaiens (with a young Patrick Roy...pronounced WAH!). That, and a phone call from my hockey partner John Spang, got me all fired up for Greenwich and Westhill on WGCH this Thursday night.

Folks, I don't know how else to explain it to you, but hockey is amazing. It lost so much thanks to the work stoppage of a few years ago, and I'm still not sure the shootout thing is best for the sport, but give me Sidney Crosby moving in on Henrik Lundquist any day over what's going on in the NBA.

Regarding the shootout, the penalty shot is the most exciting play in hockey. The shootout has kind of made it lose its luster. I'm still of the school that you play the game until you collapse. That, my friend, is why there's nothing like playoff hockey. Again, back to the '90 Cup Final, when the Oilers won in TRIPLE OT (don't hate me, Harold. I'm not looking to bring back bad memories).

Oh but there's so much to love about hockey. The culture is wonderful. There are things that only hockey brings me. I would have never known what a Tim Horton's was without the NHL (it's a really good donut/sandwich shop that I ate at in Maine a few times). But there's more. Go ahead and "Google" these, if you need to:

Foster Hewitt
'72 Summit Series
The Great One
The Original Six (OK, I'll help here - Rangers, Bruins, Red Wings, Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Blackhawks)
Adams, Patrick, Norris, Smythe (those were the divisions)
Clarence Campbell and Prince of Wales (those were the conferences)
The Messiah (#11, my personal hockey God)
Jiggs MacDonald (Former Isles broadcaster, whose voice came to me on channel 9)
1980 Olympics (PLEASE don't tell me that I need to explain)
Raymond Borque and the Quest for the Cup
Hockey Night in Canada (I'd watch it just for Don Cherry, whom we need much more of)
Mike "Doc" Emrick (currently the best "voice" in hockey)

You get the idea. Maybe you need to see a game in person (we are NOT...repeating...NOT bringing back the glowing puck from FOX). Maybe you need to understand the sport better. Maybe you don't like Canada. Maybe it's the preponderance of European players with names that can't be pronounced. Whatever. Once you learn it, you will know that hockey is the sport with the most accessible players, and despite the fighting (what's not to love?) it is the most gentlemanly sport. It is the fastest sport - better than soccer in that there's so much back and forth play. Players will sacrifice everything for their teammates. They will grow playoff beards. They will do anything - ANYTHING - for the best trophy in sports.

The Stanley Cup.

Take some time to watch a game. Maybe start by watching the NHL Channel, if you get it. If not, then watch NBC on New Year's Day for the Winter Classic - the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Buffalo Sabres - live from Ralph Wilson Stadium just outside of Buffalo. That's right, they're going to play hockey, outside, in a football stadium. It will be so wicked cool.

Now that's where the old-timers will chafe. They want old-school. They (we) want the LA Kings pajama uniforms. They want the Octopus. They want to hate the Habs (right, Harold - wow - three references in one post!). They want "Brass Bonanza."

OK, maybe not.

Incidentally, Harold has informed his son that he can like any team...with the exception of the Canadiens. I understand completely (see "The Son" and "the Mets").

The old-timers don't want the glitz and the bright lights. Hell, they don't even want the helmets. They want the old hockey masks - not these high-tech pieces of art that they wear today. Yet they agree that, for the hopeful good of the game, time and technology marches on.

You should check it out, and see for yourself.

As noted hockey historian Sean Kilkelly would say, stay onsides!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Winter Sports Returns to WGCH

'Twas once a time when WGCH was your home for all local high school sports. Not that long ago, we covered every Greenwich High basketball and hockey game, as well as baseball and football, along with some Brunswick hockey, Rye and Harrison football, and more.

Since then, I've learned to take NOTHING for granted. Advertisers and management tightened their wallets. The broadcaster and the listener suffered.

With all that as history, I'm pleased to say that we're back in business, with a limited slate of basketball and hockey games. It's tough for us to find too many games, with our commitment to Fairfield University basketball (I've had my say about that already). So let's have a look at the schedule:

Thu, 1/3/08 - GHS Ice Hockey vs. Westhill at Hamill Rink - 7:45 PM
Mon, 1/7/08 - GHS Ice Hockey vs. Immaculate at Hamill Rink - 8:00 PM
Sat, 1/12/08 - GHS Ice Hockey vs. Stamford at Terry Conners Rink - 6:40 PM
Thu, 1/17/08 - GHS Ice Hockey vs. Fairfield Warde/Ludlowe at Hamill Rink - 7:45 PM
Sat, 1/19/08 - Brunswick Hockey vs. Hill at Hartong Rink - 4:00 PM
Tue, 1/22/08 - GHS Boys Hoops vs. Wilton at Greenwich High School - 7:00 PM
Sat, 2/2/08 - Brunswick Hockey vs. Pingree at Hartong Rink - 2:00 PM
Tue, 2/5/08 - GHS Boys Hoops vs. St. Joseph at GHS - 7:00 PM
Thu, 2/7/08 - GHS Ice Hockey vs. Ridgefield at Hamill Rink - 7:45 PM
Mon, 2/11/08 - GHS Ice Hockey vs. New Canaan at Hamill Rink - 8:00 PM
Wed, 2/13/08 - GHS Boys Hoops at Fairfield Warde - 7:00 PM
Wed, 2/20/08 - GHS Boys Hoops at Trumbull - 7:00 PM

I'd love to do more, and add girls basketball and some Brunswick hoops as well, but this is certainly better than nothing. Now these teams have to go out and made their repsective playoffs so we can add more. And don't even get me started on baseball...which I desparately want to cover. Ah, but one battle at a time, I suppose.

So! Who will be calling these games with me? Well just as Ron Burgundy has the Channel Four News Team, Rob Adams has the WGCH Sports Team (although we do miss both Ricky Fritsch and Zach Fisher in their roles). Sean Kilkelly will anchor things from the studio (at the corner of Lewis and Mason Streets) and will jump in as an analyst whenever he can. Nick Angotto plays the utility man role (stats, sidelines, etc). John Spang returns for his 58th season of hockey analysis (OK, maybe it's 10th or so...I'm not quite sure), and Dave Chaippetta joins us for his first season of basketball. He'll fill the big shoes of former partners Mark Smallwood, Mark Rosen, Sean Kilkelly, Tommy Dee, Bill Brehm, Ricky Fritsch, and Chuck Costello (did I miss anyone?).

I'm looking forward to getting back to the routine of some winter play-by-play!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Crock Hall of Fame

Once again, another hall of fame has gotten under my skin. Usually it's the National Baseball one (the one in Cooperstown, folks) but for the past few days, it's been the farce in Cleveland, known as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

I visited it in 1999 (figured we should make the pilgrimage at least once) and at the time found it to be a rather enlightening trip down rock music's great memory lane. The true gods of the genre were enshrined - The Beatles, Chuck Berry, Elvis, The Stones and so on.

(Quick aside to Caroline Corley on The Peak - for the LAST FREAKIN' TIME, we get it - you think the Stones are the greatest rock band ever. You don't need to say it EVERY TIME YOU PLAY A STONES SONG...which is at least several times during your shift. You sound like an IDIOT every time you say it. I'm only here to help.)

Whew. Thanks. That feels better.

Anyway the 2007 class was announced and we can now say that this is no longer a hall of fame that involves rock at all. Here are the inductees:

John Mellencamp
Leonard Cohen
The Dave Clark Five
The Ventures

Little Walter

Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff ME??

OK, The Ventures were cool simply for the theme to "Hawaii Five-O" and can be considered influential. Leonard Cohen falls also into the category of "influence." I'm willing to let these two slide...sort of. The Dave Clark Five rode the coattails of the Beatles and Stones to some stateside success, but they are certainly a debatable choice.

That brings us to Madge and FORGET IT!

You know, it's funny. Just the other day, I popped on Q-104 (New Yorks City's lone rock and roll outlet) and I was jamming to "Like a Virgin." Well not exactly. Tell me the last time you considered her to be rock? Is she a MUSICAL icon? You bet! Is her music legendary? Got no argument there. Is she a rock icon?

Come on, people!

Then there's JC Springsteen from Indiana. As always, I use my "legend" barometer when assessing hall of famers. Is John Mellencamp a true rock legend? Jesus, God, No. He had some chart success, esepecially in the 1980's. He's done well as a musician with a conscience (great, Farm Aid). He even seems like a nice guy (how far has that gotten me exactly?). Does that make him any better than, oh I don't know, HUEY LEWIS?

Now before you go all Cobain on me, I am NOT...repeat...NOT starting a campaign to put HLN into the Rock Hall. I'm just saying what makes Mellancamp better, is all.

For a wonderful perspective on this whole situation, please read this from Roger Friedman. He covers the whole fiasco, and who should be considered before anybody else.

Rock on!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

If anything can possibly make me smile during this unique holiday season, it's the little boy on the right. Sean remains the best gift that a daddy can ask for. He's precocious, inquisitive, hysterically funny, and smart. He has many wonderful (and not so many wonderful) qualities of both of his parents. And unfortunately, I suppose, he has a lot of his fathers looks. Can't win 'em all.

Anyway, I've laid low (just not feeling blog-worthy), but I had to stop in today to wish you all a Merry Christmas. I'm glad to have the network of great people that stop by to read. I'm glad to have friends and family that take the time to visit "Exit 55" and those who have reached out - either via email or in the comments.

I'm looking forward to 2008 as I've never looked forward to a new year before. I have great things in mind (some that might take until 2009 to bring to fruition, but we'll see).

It's great to be working again, and to be a part of WGCH's morning routine. I'm happy to say that we'll back on the air with hockey and basketball - as soon as next week. We just have to work out a few kinks. I'll be able to announce the schedule and staff in a few stay tuned. Frankly, it's not enough games, but it's about time that games come back. Again, I'll have more to say when the time is right.

For today, whatever your preference is, just take a minute to count your blessings and embrace those close to you. And pray, meditate, speak in tongues - whatever - but just remember those lost and still fighting overseas. May they know the warmth and love of their homes by this time next year.

And may gas prices come down (the commute to Stamford is killing me), and may 107.1 The Peak take the odiously offensive version of "Do They Know It's Christmas" by the insipid Barenaked Ladies and burn it...immediately.

Feliz Christmas, y'all!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

HLN For President Update

Well part of my idea from this morning has fallen apart. After writing about the HLN for President bumper sticker that I saw, I posted the link to Exit 55 on - the website dedicated to Huey Lewis and the News. Then I headed out for the day.

A few minutes ago, I returned home and upon checking, I saw the following response from drunner Bill Gibson:
Rob, thanks so much for the sort of nomination, but I think I will politely decline.
And that's that.

Bill's been posting on for years and is a great guy with a very dry wit and strong opinions on many things - including hatred of the Yankees and a passion for the Oakland A's. I had a chance to meet him in person after a show in Poughkeepsie, New York in 2005 and let him walk right on by. What could I have possibly had to say to him?

Oh well.

Congratulations to Naples!

The Golden Eagles of Naples High School are the Florida Class 3A state champions after beating St. Augustine 17-10 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando on Friday. Quarterback Criag Wingate, hobbled by an ankle injury, showed guts inn rushing for 38 yards while going 5 of 12 for 51 yards through the air. The Eagles needed to come back to win the game, as they got a safety on a bad punt snap and a 34-yard touchdown run by Greg Pratt (remember him, Cardinals fans?) to take the lead.

Among the scoring by St. Augustine was a 51-yard field goal by Caleb Sturgis, who will go on to play at Florida. I once saw Dennis Bien kick a 48-yarder for Greenwich, but kickers like that are rare.

And how about fan support? Check out this quote from Adam Fisher in the Naples Dilay News:
Naples High School had 484 absences Friday. That’s about 25.6 of the school’s total population, most of whom went to Orlando. Students were excused from school to go to the game, but classes were not canceled.
Seven busloads of Naples fans went to the game, which was played on a school day, in front of an announced crowd of 5484.

So congrats to the Golden Eagles - they and the Cardinals of Greenwich both won state titles. Now I want a rematch at Cardinal Stadium!

An Idea Whose Time Has Come

I have no idea who I am voting for in 2008. While I'll admit to being a registered Republican, I'm "Giuliani-ish" in the regard that I can lean quite liberally as well. Or as my friend Sean Kilkelly writes in the "About Me" portion of his blog:
Registered Republican, Independent Thinker.
Well said.

So this morning I was trolling around on Facebook (yep, I caved and joined it) I did a search on "Huey Lewis" and came across some groups related to the band. One was called "Huey Lewis is a Golden God" and that name was enough to get me to look and laugh. There, among the pictures, was the bumper sticker to end all bumper stickers - "Lewis/News '08." Perfect World! Let the campaign begin.

(By the way, if you didn't know, the title of this post comes from "Hip to Be Square", the band's misunderstood, much-maligned 1986 mega-hit that has often come to represent the group - and rather unfairly).

Credit to Patrick Chizeck for creating the bumper sticker, and for allowing me to know who will get my vote in the '08 election. Do I really want Mrs. Clinton (or "Satan", as Imus still calls her) running this country? Hardly. Anyone on the GOP side? Maybe, but I'm not convinced yet. Barack? I need to learn more. So until somebody gives me a reason to vote otherwise, I'm going to sock it on future-President Hugh Anthony Cregg III and his cabinet. I think drummer Bill Gibson would make a fine Vice President, or secretary of something; I'd have to give it some more thought.

Now I have to get to work on campaign songs and themes. With a title like "Some of My lies Are True (Sooner or Later)" in their catalog, I could see opponents seizing on that as an issue of credibility. We'll need to push for strong family and moral values, like "The Power of Love." And we've already got some buttons made up...

The cover of the 2001 CD, Plan B, which come to think of it, might be the campaign slogan. OK - there's work to be done!

Oh, while searching on Facebook, I came across the perfect mix of music, broadcasting, and movies - "Anchorman is the best thing to happen to broadcasting since Huey Lewis." Now really, does it get any better than that?

So the moral here today folks is A) Join Facebook, because it's pretty cool (even for us "old" guys), and B) Vote for Huey in '08! Because after all, he's still Workin' For a Living.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Thanks for Nothing

So that was The Mitchell Report, eh? Well I frankly don't have the time to sit here and scream about it - I have a real job, unfortunately - but I can throw a few things out.

First, thanks to Roger Clemens. I put my faith in you, and believed that you were the real deal. I felt like you were an old-time gunslinger; a guy who belonged in the conversation with Gibson and Drysdale and Lefty Grove - nasty SOB's who pitched like they wanted to hurt someone. Instead you turn out to be a cheater, adding another black eye to a great era of Yankees baseball.

Legendary workout routine, my arse. Which by the way, is not being injected...unlike yours.

Andy Pettitte - I'm glad that your black eye begins after the last of the four championships. At least I don't feel like you cheated during one of the great post-season pitching performances - your duel with John Smoltz in Game 5 of the 1996 World Series. Still you're not off the hook. You got busted, even if it was a one-time thing to come back from an injury.

I don't have time to go into each player. Many are just useless schmucks. A few are truly great (Miguel Tejada). Some were borderline at best. Yet, what did this whole thing prove? Nothing...nada...not a damn thing. A lot of it is witness testimony, coming from people trying to plea bargain. In the end, I still think Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens make the Hall of Fame, with a rather large asterisk over their plaques. There will still be eight million people walking through turnstiles at ballparks here in Steroid Central (that's New York, folks). In fact, yesterday really wasn't the black eye that a lot of folks thought.

One writer said that the Yankees championship era (1996-2000) is now tainted. That is categorically BS. If the writer bothered to read at all (not likely), he would have seen that the "damage" was largely done after the championships (remember, they haven't won one since 2000). I'll say that this decade is tainted - I have no problem with that assessment.

Again, what did this accomplish? As several people have said, whatever the cost was for The Mitchell Report from Major League Baseball, they should get a refund.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Road Rage!

Croton Falls, NY has become quite a little hub of commuter activity. There's a Metro North station, and routes 202 and 22 converge, along with Croton Falls Road and Stoneleigh Ave. It will never be confused with midtown Manhattan, but with one traffic light and these roads, it gets a bit crazy at rush hour.

This morning, I was at the end of Croton Falls Road, preparing to turn right onto New York route 22 south, where I could go to Interstate 684 (about a mile or two away), or continue on 22 towards Purdy's, Goldens Bridge and so on (The exact location is in the picture at the top of this entry). Sitting at the intersection, obscuring oncoming traffic from me in the southbound lanes, was a box truck. That made turning a bit hazardous, but I figured as long as I watched for an opening, I could "gun" it and be fine.


I saw my opening, hit the gas pedal, and realized that there was some kind of black ice or wet road or something. At that moment, a white Dodge pickup truck came upon me. I had two choices - sit there or continue on. Neither option was great, but I went for the latter. Believe me, he wasn't going to hit me.

Yet this is where things got fun (or scary, depending on your interpretation).

The truck came up behind me and gave me a single-finger salute. I chose to not get mad at this, as I knew what I had done could be defined as wrong. I wasn't trying to be some "yuppie punk." I just knew I was in no-man's land. So I put my hand up as a way of saying "my bad." I think that made things worse, because he (who we might now call "Satan") gave me a two-handed, single-finger salute. WOW! Let's see if I've got this straight: I hadn't caused an accident. I wasn't responsible for stopping Earth's rotation. Best as I could tell, it wasn't even my fault that the Jets lost, yet here I was, now deserving of a "double bird." So I chose to do what any irrational human being would do.

Gave it right back to him. bad.

This is where the story could have gone way off. In fact, had "the old me" gone the way I might have gone, I wouldn't be typing right now. I would be probably convalescing at Putnam Hospital Center, back on Stoneleigh Ave. But Rational Rob stood up and talked some sense into me. "Dude", he said, "it's not worth it. There's no point in our pulling over to explain to him that it was a mistake. You might not even get the words 'my bad' out of your mouth before a paw the size of his tire lands in it. Just keep driving."

I'm not a violent person. I think my last fight might have been in 1985 or so, with Steve Feldman, who I think was missing a cog or two. That taught me a lot about sports fans - that there are many idiots out there who double as "fans" (and Mets ones, at that). In the past, I might have pulled over to try and explain that it was "my bad." But what good could have come from it? Probably none, so I kept driving.

And what a fun drive it was!

As I continued down southbound route 22, I could see our satanic friend, constantly using his signals to try and get me to turn into some parking lot. Or he'd keep motioning to me to get me to turn. Neither worked on me. The only thing I did was shake my head at him at one point. Then I watched him punch his fist into his palm. Who was this douche bag, Iron Mike Tyson?

Excuse me, ladies, but that term has become a perfect adjective for the all-encmpassing A-hole. And this way, I don't have to type "a-hole." I guarantee Mick will now give me shite for not being potty-mouthed (yet perhaps he should worry about his own blog...or not).

Eventually we came to that proverbial fork in the road - Hardscrabble Road and Interstate 684 are straight ahead, and route 22 goes to the right. Not wanting to show my hand, I waited and then signalled to head onto 22 - wrong call. He followed, speeding up behind me at times, and then weaving and spinning his tires at other times. When we stopped at the traffic light for New York route 116 in Purdy's, I had to make sure that he didn't jump me, or ram me.

The weaving and flat-out dangerous driving continued to the next town - Goldens Bridge. I suppose I could have called the cops, but why am I going to break the law to use a handheld cell phone? To hook up my headset at that point seemed unnecessary. I had to keep my eyes on the road, and the nitwit in the white Dodge.

Finally, in Goldens Bridge, I made the decision to jump on New York route 138, which would take me over to Interstate 684. I felt my options were better on 684 if he followed. Thankfully he raced past me and I just ignored him.

Again, I could have called the cops when I got to work, but what would have been the point? Instead, I can write about it here, give you all a laugh, and publish his LICENSE PLATE NUMBER!!

So white Dodger pickup truck, with New York license plate AFL-8876 - HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Sad News...

I was listening live to Tim Parry's "Live from the FC" yesterday, when I heard coach Rich Albonizio (of the two-time defending state and FCIAC Champion Greenwich Cardinals) announce that former Cardinal Steven Bawol had been killed in a car crash. I almost posted the story right then and there, but decided to give things a chance to breathe. This was also Tim's story, and I wanted to get some confirmation.

We once misreported an injury and it horrified me. I trusted the nitwit that said a player was out for the year...and was horribly wrong.

Tim has the full story here. While the Cardinals have such a large roster, I do indeed remember Bawol with the Cardinals.

My condolences go to the Bawol family.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Naples Update

Our friends from Naples, Florida - the Golden Eagles - have advanced to Florida's Class 3A championship game, where they'll play St. Augustine. The game is next Friday at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.

Anybody need a broadcaster?

Anyway, let's think about this for a minute...Naples will play St. Augustine in the Citrus Bowl...Rye played Chenango Forks in Syracuse's Carrier Dome...New Canaan played Hand at Trumbull High School.

Something doesn't fit, does it?

UPDATE!! Chris Ellsberry of the Connecticut Post and I had this very conversation a few weeks ago at Cardinal Stadium - that championship games should be played at Rentschler Field in East Hartford. Well Ellsberry decided to write about it. Good for him, for taking the CIAC to task for looking foolish, as usual.

Good luck to the Golden Eagles.

66 Years Later

Long before September 11th, we had December 7th. It is a date for those who remember it that is never forgotten. I wasn't alive for the December 7th in question - in 1941 - but it was ingrained in my head by my father, who would never allow any of us to forget it.

December 7th 1941 was, by all accounts, a pleasant, calm Sunday. A beautiful day in Hawaii, and a chilly one in New York. The country was living with the threat of war but all appeared normal. Our national media was nothing like it is today. Television was in its infancy, with very few sets in use and no news broadcasts. To be sure, there was no CNN, MSNBC, FOX, and so on. There was NBC (the Red and Blue networks), CBS (more commonly known as the "Columbia Broadcasting System" at the time), Mutual and not much more. There were also local stations, and not the corporate radio that exists today (hmmm...never mind). There was no WGCH, for instance - we didn't debut for nearly 23 years (September 1964, to be exact). There were no satellites; reports were done on phone. Taped broadcast and news reports? Not happening - items were recorded on records and acetates.

Radio and newspapers were your only outlets for news. The NFL was in action that day, but nowhere near as popular as it is now. In fact, college football was far more popular in 1941. Yet baseball ruled the sports world. As it was a Sunday, listeners were hearing soothing sounds (other than football), like church services, and classical music.

There are some recorded broadcasts from that fateful day, though one can question the validity of them, as re-interpretations were quite common. I've located a few items on As always, I find them fascinating.

On WOR (Mutual's New York affiliate), it was football that got interrupted:

This was on CBS (probably the most well-known audio of Pearl Harbor's bulletins):

On NBC, via KGU (Honolulu), the sound is fuzzy (I especially enjoy the interruption by the telephone company):

On CBS, attempts to reach Honolulu fail:

Great stuff, and there's still more to be found. As we push for the continued memory of those lost on September 11th, let us never forget December 7th, 1941 - the date that still lives in infamy.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

An Honest Imus Critique

John Mainelli has been around New York radio for a long time now, and can be a fairly smart, outspoken ciritc. He has provided perhaps the best review of the early stages of the new "Imus in the Morning." The story is here.

I'll rebuke a couple of things - I don't think either Karith Foster or Tony Powell is bringing anything to the table. I also don't object to the country music and the live acts (big deal - they had Levon Helm and his band for ONE morning). And the constant drill of Deirdre, greening, the Ranch and so on was part of the "IITM" charm. The one key thing missing to me is Fred, Don's nitwit of a brother who hosts a radio show on Sirius Satellite.

The rest of what Mainelli says is spot-on. Bernie is needed back in the fold - and (sorry, Catholics) especially as "Cardinal Egan", the most consistently side-splitting laughs had on the show.

The show still needs to find itself, but it's getting there.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Frick Award Finalists

The finalists for the 2008 Ford C. Frick Award, acknowledging broadcasters who "make major contributions to the game of baseball" have been named. They are (with their primary affiliation):

- Joe Nuxhall (Reds)
- Bill King (A's)
- Joe Morgan (ESPN)
- Dizzy Dean (CBS Game of the Week)
- Tom Cheek (Blue Jays)
- Tony Kubek (NBC Game of the Week, Blue Jays and Yankees)
- Dave Niehaus (Mariners)
- Dave Van Horne (Expos)
- Graham McNamee (NBC Radio- first truly modern radio play-by-play voice)
- Ken Coleman (Red Sox)

I guess any of these nominees would be acceptable, although I have some strong opinions on the likes of Morgan. My money is on either Nuxhall, King, or Cheek as each achieved a level of popularity and died within the past two years. My choices would be Kubek, who I thought was the first truly great analyst - long before he joined the Yankees - or McNamee, who has become largely forgotten.

We'll find out the winner on February 19th.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Ansonia is Number One and Meyers and Westfal are the Top Players

Ansonia was named the top team in both the Coaches and Media Polls. Greenwich came in second in both polls. Congrats to the Chargers.

Congratulations must also go to Jonathan Meyers and Charlie Westfal for being selected as the Players of the Year from the FCIAC Football Blog and BlueStreak Sports Training.

StephenASmithInTheHouse Doesn't Like Me!

OK, well maybe not me personally, but my "type." You know - bloggers.

In a chat with Los Angeles Daily News' Tom Hofarth, StephenA (remember, it's all one word) said:
"Therefore, there's a total disregard, a level of wrecklessness that ends up being a domino effect. And the people who suffer are the common viewers out there and, more importantly, those in the industry who haven't been fortunate to get a radio or television deal and only rely on the written word. And now they've been sabotaged. Not because of me. Or like me. But because of the industry or the world has allowed the average joe to resemble a professional without any credentials whatsoever."
Whoa! Hold on a minute! I'm technically a professional, right? I mean, almost 20 years in the media, play-by-play voice for about 15 years or so (going back to my days as the "voice" of the PM/KF Intramural Softball League), and I've written for print outlet or two (or maybe just one, I don't remember) - that counts as a professional with credentials, eh? Yet my credential consists of two laminated pictures that we made at WGCH several years ago, but I guess that's legit, right?

Anyway, yes in theory, Mr. StephenASmithIntheHouse is right - there are a lot of bad bloggers out there. But then again, there are a lot of irresponsible journalists out there as well. It's not you need a license to be a blogger, so I think it will just continue this way. In fact, you technically don't need a license to broadcast anymore (we needed one when I first started).

Another Politician With Too Much Time On His Hands

This sounds like something our beloved (NOT!) Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) would pull. An Indiana congressman has been swayed to put his weight behind legislation that would change - get this - an Interstate highway number!

Gotta love the heartland!

From August Wayne's story in the Hoosier Gazette:
There are plans to extend the interstate from Indianapolis through southwestern Indiana all the way through Texas into Mexico in the coming years. While most believe this highway will be good for the state’s economy, religious conservatives believe “I-69” sounds too risqué and want to change the interstate’s number.

Hostettler, a proponent of the interstate extension, agrees. “Every time I have been out in the public with an ‘I-69’ button on my lapel, teenagers point and snicker at it. I have had many ask me if they can have my button. I believe it is time to change the name of the highway. It is the moral thing to do.”

As a matter of fact, naming the highway’s extension I-69 is a violation of the Interstate Highway System’s rules for numbering roads. Interstates numbers are to increase from west to east. If the extension through southern Indiana is named I-69, then 69 will be west of I-65, a direct violation.

“Naming the road I-63 not only follows numbering guidelines, it doesn’t have the sexual undertones that I-69 has,” says Hostettler, “It is a win-win situation.”
Something similar to this happened a few years ago when United States route 666 was done away with, for the reason that many considered it "Devils Highway." The route is now US 491.

Now, does this I-69 legislation have a prayer? I don't think so - especially since it would require that the entire route be renumbered, and I-69 is already posted in Michigan and Indiana, for that matter.

So please, once again, let's find some more useful pursuits for our politicians and the religious folks (the ones who are really behind this idiocy).

Incidentally, the good folks at the Hoosier Gazette have a shop for you to buy I-69 related goods. I highliy recommend the boxer shorts, and the thong for the lady in your life. I mean, if the highway is going to be in the first place...

Monday, December 03, 2007

The State Champs and More

Greenwich made folks nervous for almost a half on Saturday night, falling behind Shelton 14-0 before running off the field at halftime down 14-7. Matt Levine (not The One and Only, unfortunately) told me quite confidently that he felt the Cardinals had righted the ship and would pull away from there.

What happens? Out comes Jim Dunster on the opening kickoff of the second half, and 79 or 80 yards later (depending on who you're tlaking to), Greenwich had tied the game, and would roll from there. Another state championship was in the bag, 28-14.

Of course, even before the game, I knew Greenwich had literally no shot at winning the poll for the state's best team. That's OK folks, drink the Ansonia-flavored Kool-Aid. Since nobody will ever have the marbles to put together a winner-take-all game between Greenwich and Ansonia, I'll agree to disagree. I'll take Greenwich's size, speed, and depth. Yet I know I can't win because I broadcast their games, so many of you will think I have a bias. Whatever - that's your right.

I think Tim Parry put it best here, and I echo his sentiments.

Generally, things were run first class at Southern Connecticut State University. We had no problems gaining access to what we needed (press box, field passes, and so on). Jason Intreiri wowed us by bringing pizza from Frank Pepe's, which was quite good (but it's no Sal's in Mamaroneck, NY). The clam pizza was interesting.

Jason, Sean Kilkelly, and Nick Angotto helped anchor a great broadcast, and I'm very happy with the results of the 2007 football broadcasting season. Personally this was a tough year for me, and I didn't think I was always at my best. I've even admitted to being distracted during at least one broadcast (the Central-Greenwich game in September) - the first time I can ever remember that happening. I was OK in the bigger games - Greenwich/Naples, Greenwich/Staples, Greenwich/Shelton and maybe a few others.

What I'm trying to say is that at this time, and for the past couple of years, I think about walking away. I get worn out by the effort I put into the games - from arranging for press box space to research to printing up rosters and notes, and stats, and more. I know it has put a huge amount of stress on my life - especially my home life, which has taken a big hit. Then comes what I have to do behind the scenes to even get a chance to do the games. There's a lot that goes on that most people don't know about. The equipment malfunctions, the on-site battles, the hangers-on who want to be a part of the show, and the politics. Then comes the scheduling conflicts and the shuffling of everyone's lives. Fortunately we don't have any personality clashes but I've seen that happen also. That's why it is so important for me to arrange the broadcast team. We don't have to be the best of friends, but for the most part, that's what has happened. That's why I was sitting at a friend's apartment in Stamford drinking coffee to wake myself up after GHS-Shelton as Saturday moved into Sunday, before I got hom around 2:30 and went to be just after 4:00.

Incidentally I was invited to the post-championship part in Greenwich after the game and really wanted to go, but by the time we left Southern Connecticut State, and got on the road, it was too late, so I went to Stamford to recharge.

Unfortunately broadcasting games (especially those other than football) is no longer a given on WGCH. We need support - and that means sponsors. Here we are in December and I have no commitment to us covering hockey and basketball. The reality is that this means I will likely go back to working at the red bullseye to make more cash.

So in the long run, I finished up the broadcast with the same thing I've been thinking for the past few years - that it could be my last broadcast. I'm not saying that I AM done, but am just trying to be realistic. Reality is a bitch to face, and I'm doing quite a bit of that.

That being said, put some games back on the air, and maybe even a talk show, and I'll be reenergized.

As usual, I have more to say - but won't.

I had a nice correspondence with veteran play-by-play voice Bob Sagendorf, who handled the live calls of Ansonia-New Britain and Bunnell-Masuk on CPTV. I got to check out a little of the CPTV audio for the Ansonia win, and Bob certainly calls a great game (even in a blowout like that one).

Away from high school football, it sounds like Andy Pettitte will be part of the equation for the 2008 Yankees. Good. Now if they'll stop with the Hughes for Santana jazz.

Three words - Imus is back.

I listened to as much of the first show as I could this morning. The critics have been howling regarding his rehashing of the Rutgers thing (which had to be done, by the way), and the new editions to the show (Tony Powell and Karith Foster), and the use of country music, and blah...blah...blah.

OK, here's my take. The new editions weren't all that funny, and Warner Wolf would have been a better choice for the sports guy. But Imus decided that the show needed an "African American" edge to it, so that's cool. It's the first day so it will take time to get going. Plus Bernard needs to be heard from, and he will. He got the largest ovation from the audience.

The guests were an interesting mix. I was bothered by Senator Chris Dodd (D - Connecticut) because he was among the biggest wusses when the Rutgers affair took place (along with everyone from Newsweek, Tim Russert, and Harold Ford Jr.). Yet he was welcomed back to the show and the subject never came up. They obviously made their peace somewhere else, but I would have appreciated some kind of explanation.

I just think this new mix needs a chance, yet everyone expected the show would come out swinging. It's a new Imus - same as the old Imus. Yet for the first hour or so, it was just strange. And for me, it took a little getting used to again.

Still, thank God he's back.

I just saw that the baseball Hall of Fame Veterans Committee added five new inductees today. From Peter Abraham in The Journal News:
The two new veteran committees of the Hall of Fame have put five people in Cooperstown.

Dick Williams (manager), Billy Southworth (manager), Barney Dreyfuss (executive), Bowie Kuhn (executive) and Walter O’Malley (executive) will be inducted in Juiy. Williams is the only new Hall of Famer still living.

It’s a travesty that a lukwarm commissioner like Kuhn gets it and a groundbreaking figure like MLBPA founder Marvin Miller does not. Miller received only 25 percent of the vote, well short of the 75 percent needed. It’s supposed to be a Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Well-Liked.
Indeed. I don't know if I'd do jumping-jacks about Marvin Miller, but I'm less than thrilled at the addition of Bowie Kuhn - a man who didn't exactly perform in the best interest of baseball during his term. Dick Williams was a very good manager, initially with the '67 Red Sox, then through the glory years with the '72 and '73 A's before some final glory with the '84 Padres. Billy Southworth won two titles as a manager with the Cardinals in the 1940's. Barney Dreyfuss owned the Pirates for 32 years and helped create the World Series. Walter O'Malley was the well-regarded owner of the Dodgers who's biggest claim to fame (or biggest mistake, depending on who you ask) was to lead baseball to the west coast with the Bums moving from Brooklyn to Los Angeles.

Congrats to the new inductees.