Friday, February 29, 2008

Your Playoff Broadcasting Reminder!

Don't forget that the FCIAC boy's championships in both basketball and hockey will be carried live on Matt Levine's website.

Basketball - Trinity Catholic (17-3) vs. Harding (15-5) - 7:30 PM at Fairfield Warde High School. Matt will call the game with Norwalk Coach Bobby Trimboli.

Hockey - New Canaan (10-2) versus Darien (10-2) - 8:00 PM(after the girls' championship - St. Joseph/New Canaan, which begins at 6:00 PM). Matt and Joe Ryan will have the call.

I'll be home, awaiting the snow. Sadly. Now we need either a prayer or a major influx of cash to get the Greenwich/Danbury playoff game on Tuesday night to the airwaves.

These are the moments that games aren't fun for me. Again, sadly.

New Scare for Bobby Murcer

I popped on WFAN this morning to see what was going on the world of sports as I prepped for my reports. Sadly, I heard that Bobby Murcer, the longtime Yankee player and broadcaster (and my favorite athlete ever), is facing some new challenges.

Many outlets have reported the news (just Google his name today and you'll see what I mean). Yet the best reporter, to me, is Bobby's own wife, Kay, who sent an email to many of their friends, including a few writers, such as Bill Madden from the Daily News:
hello dears...
guess it's been too long since we've sent any new messages about our crazy, jam-packed life... and I've always said that "no news is good news", however, that's why I'm getting this to you today. Bobby's MRI Tuesday showed an area that the docs are concerned about, and he is scheduled for a brain biopsy at MDA this coming Monday . . . Please pray that it will be determined to be necrosis (scar tissue from the radiation), and not another cancerous tumor. It's one of the two.
we've had to make many travel changes, but still hope to be in Tampa for spring training games by the 7th, then to NYC for opening day on the 31st. Life comes with a few bitter pills to swallow, and we are trying to digest this latest bit of information with God's grace as our strength.
many of you know that our dear friend, Dr. Sam Hassenbusch, lost his battle with this insideous disease last Monday . . . He was such a good man, and taught us much about how best to handle adversity while inspiring everyone on his path along the way. We have been blessed with the Hassenbusch family's encouragement this last year.
Just know that we are dealing with this the only way we know how... with God, family, friends, prayers. It's a bump in the road, and we care so much that each of you are staying with us as the journey continues.
lots of xoxoxoxo, k & bobby
As I said to Tony Savino during our weekely Friday chat, who - honestly - can say they don't like Bobby Murcer? I know there are legions of Yankees-haters, but those who could dislike this man might need to be checked out. You might be heartless.

I've read Bob Raissmann for as long as he's been at the News, and I've long had problems with him. Today he wrote perhaps the single best piece that he's ever written. Well done, Bob.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

FCIAC Hoops and Hockey Update

Greenwich lost in the FCIAC Boys basketball semifinal to Trinity Catholic last night, 79-49. There were times when it was a lot closer than that. Tevin Baskin (a name to watch) torched the Cards for 29 points. I interviewed him after the game and he seemed like he was fairly smart and savvy. The Crusaders will meet Harding for the championship on Friday night at 7:30. The Presidents looked great, whipping St. Joe's, 76-56.

Sadly, it just wasn't a great night of basketball in the gym at Fairifield Warde High School. Both games teased fans with mini-runs that never materialized. In the Harding-St. Joe's game, the Cadets cut the President's lead to two right before intermission, and had a chance to tie but missed a layup and a putback. The air went out of the room right there.

In the Greenwich-Trinity game (as heard on WGCH), the Cards whittled the Crusaders lead to nine, then Chris Valentine did a little hoop and harm to get it to six. On the radio, I could feel my own pent-up frustration ready to blow, as I erupted on the call. It was not to be as the Crusaders went crazy from there.

The Harding-Trinity game will be called by Matt Levine on his webiste, and I highly recommend you check it out. If it isn't me calling the game (which I wish it was), then I'm glad it's Matt, who will also host the call of the FCIAC ice hockey championship on Saturday night at 8:00.

Incidentally, the girls final is at 6:00. I called part of a girls championship in 2005 and had a blast. I think the bottom line is that there aren't too many games I would not broadcast!

Like me, Matt Levine is a guy who would love to make the big time but also knows the realities of life. He's the kind of guy who left town to try broadcasting in some far-off places and returned to his roots. A hard-worker and good guy (and former WGCH colleague), it's easy to root for him to do well in our cutthroat industry.

He also has a talk show on his home outlet of WSTC/WNLK, where he does sports in the morning (which makes him my rival...grrrrrr).

Onto hockey, where the Cardinals bowed out in the first round, losing to Trinity Catholic 3-1. Now I guess I must discuss what happened on and off the ice. Brian "Bubba" Milazzo had what can only be described as a meltdown. From Zach Lowe, in the Greenwich Time:
Police Saturday arrested the captain of the Greenwich High School hockey team after he got ejected, entered the stands in violation of league rules and got into a dispute with a Trinity Catholic High School parent, police and witnesses said...
The officials tossed Milazzo after he threw his helmet and smashed his stick over the boards in the penalty box, apparently in frustration over a second-period penalty...
Then it just got crazy:
Milazzo changed into street clothes and watched the game from the Greenwich High School side of the bleachers...Officers working crowd control approached Milazzo when a disturbance broke out in the bleachers, said Lt. Sean Cooney, a department spokesman. Milazzo was irate when officers arrived, and his parents were trying to hold him in his seat, Cooney said...
The officers asked Milazzo's parents to control him, but he repeatedly tried to escape their grasp as they escorted him from the building, Cooney said. Milazzo allegedly cursed at a police officer, Cooney said.
Oh good lord!

So Bubba, who by all accounts is the classic "good guy" just lost it, and lost it in a bad spot - a playoff game. With the ejection, Milazzo will now have to miss the Cardinals' first state playoff game - an automatic ejection. I'd like to think that the powers that be will simply slap him on the wrist at worst, with some kind of a probation.

Besides, my spies tell me that the article doesn't tell the full story, in which another player was involved. I'd like to get the on-ice officials take of the game, to get their perspective as to what went down before everything went off the track.

I hate when the game loses focus and becomes all about other things like this. And as the so-called "voice of the Cardinals", this is the kind of thing that I hate having to deal with. I have to report, but I also need to be fair - considering who who we're talking about. After all - these are high school athletes; they're not professionals.

Remember though, besides being fair, honest, impartial, blah blah blah, I also have to deal with these parents, students, athletes, coaches, and the overall community of Greenwich. So I think what I'm trying to say here is that it is a very slippery slops.


I'm F*cking Somebody...wait, no I'm not...not me...oh, Just Read the Post

Too many people emailed me about these videos. I couldn't ignore them anymore and watched them this morning.

I laughed out loud. Which can be a bad thing if you're at work.

Watch this first...then the response...

Now it's Jimmy's turn...and check out who shows up...
(Thanks to Jon for sending this along) This is enough to make me start missing TV.

Memo to Yankees - GET OVER YOURSELVES!

Phil "The Franchise" Hughes has a blog, and it's good. Not because he reveals anything, or because he writes deep, probing thoughts. Honestly I haven't learned much about him, or Joba, or anybody else.

It's because he shows that he's human. His blog isn't 38pitches - the self-indulgent thoughts of Curt Schilling.

That being said, Theo Epstein has never told Schilling to stop. Converesely, the uber-uptight Yankees aren't thrilled with The Franchise's efforts.
Brian Cashman does not want players putting too much information out there, and Jason Zillo, director of media relations, said blogs could be banned for all players.
Come on - what do you think he's going to write? Do you think he's going to "Jim Bouton" them (Google it)? Besides, that's been done already.

He's writing some harmless notes about things like what's on his iPod, or what his new uniform number will be. He's not revealing scouting reports or locker room info.

Anytime players try to be fan-friendly, it's good, and in this day, it's really good.

This is where the Yankees look bad. Let it go.

We've Lost an Original

AP Photo

Myron Cope has passed away at the age of 79. The longtime analyst on Steelers broadcasts had been in declining health for years.

To be blunt, Myron Cope was an awful broadcaster, at least technically. He had a voice that sounded like it had been drowned in cigarettes and whatever beverage of choice he was drinking. He rooted for the "Stillers" and denounced the opponent - openly on the air. He could drive veteran play-by-play voice, the late Jack Flemming (a stricter type of broadcaster) off the wall. His choice of language was nothing short of unique: "yoi", "Hmm-hah", "okel dokel", "feh." Chuck Noll was "Emporer Chaz." There was more - so much more. He was no idiot, though. He wrote brilliantly for years in Sports Illustrated and Saturday Evening Post.

He created the Terrible Towel.

And Pittsburgh loved him. And I (rigid broadcaster that I can be) found him hysterical.

Want a great Cope story? This is from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Once at halftime in Cleveland, Cope found his intermission routine interrupted by an occupied restroom on old Municipal Stadium's roof, which is where the radio booths were situated. His long-standing para-military ritual of urinate, get a hot dog, and get back to the action now jeopardized, he improvised. Without being too graphic, let's just say that anyone walking by Municipal Stadium near that portion of the roof in the ensuring minutes had to wonder from where that sudden shower had come.
A host of Myron Cope sounds are here. If you're not a Steelers fan, I don't expect you to get it. I'm not sure I can completely get it eithter, since Cope was so Pittsburgh, and I can't claim to be that.

He was that true one of a kind. A renaissance man. Someone who talked about much more than just "Stillers" fotball.

Pittsburgh, despite being giddy over adding Marian Hossa to gear up for a Stanley Cup run, is devastated by the news of Cope's passing. A quick listen to any 'Burgh station today will demonstrate that.

Hmm Hah and okel dokel. Almost a quadruple Yoi! And I just found this over on YouTube:

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I've Got Nothing

I should probably post something, just so that those of you who have been so loyal here at "the double five" get your fix.

Jesus, did I just write that? Is there anybody out there who needs a fix of me? It's not like this is one of those top-rate blogs - like Deadspin, or Sean's, or Tim's. It's just little ol' me. I often feel that my amusement of you (am I a clown?) is like watching a car wreck. You just can't look away.

Yikes. I digress. Anyway, I'm not feeling quite myself today (don't know whom I quite feel like though) but it's been a few days, so here I am.

And while there's plenty to write about, I've got nothing. But I'm giving it the ol' college try.

Exactly what is the ol' college try, by the way?

Here's something - props to Mr. Nicholas Angotto, my intrepid cohort on WGCH. Nick went to the FCIAC boys basketball opening round playoff game between Greenwich and New Canaan and took notes, kept score, and even produced interviews and a stat sheet for his Sports Director/Sports Anchor to report about the game that Monday. Oh, and he bought a recorder with cash out of his own pocket.

That, friends, is either insanity or something. He really wants to work in this crazy industry, and is willing to do basically whatever he needs to do to make it happen. I applaud his tenacity, because I don't see a lot of it anymore. Nick's in college now, and works as well, so it's not as if he has a lot of down time, yet he shows up for every broadcast, and does extra things like going to the playoff game.

Matt Hamilton, Ron Warzoha, Zach Fisher, Amanda Romaniello, John Collins, and Nick are just a few of the names who have come through 'GCH as interns with me, and they've all given a solid effort. Kudos to Nick for going the extra mile, and for the solid attitude that he brings. Plus he knows how to give and take with all of us "pros."

Now he's a pro. We just have to get him paid.

I saw the new logo for Citi Field (also known as the new home of the New York Brooklyn Dodgers...oops...I mean the Mets, who don't acknowledge that their legacy also includes the Giants and that dreaded Bronx team). Many folks are already mocking it - including one who says it looks like the Dominos Pizza logo.

Whatever. I can't get hung up on a logo for a ballpark for a team that I can't worry about. Sometimes picking on the Mets can be too easy and too lame.

In fact, the same can be said about picking on the Yankees, but it goes on anyway.

Please be so kind as to turn your radio to 1490 AM (that's WGCH) or for the broadcast of the FCIAC boys basketball semifinal tonight, as Greenwich takes on Trinity Catholic. We should be on the air around 7:30. The winner plays in the championship on Friday. Hope to call that one also (if Greenwich is in it, of course).

Naturally I feel like we should broadcast every game, and we should be the radio home for every FCIAC championship, but that's just not reality. I'm sure Matt Levine feels the same way as well - maybe he and I should team up and just be done with it. This way the guys who have called more FCIAC games than anyone I can think of would be where they belong - at the mic. Sean Kilkelly, at the very least, should be our studio host, and the aforementioned Nick Angotto should roam the sidelines. Tim Parry can blog it and be another voice.

A guy can dream, right?

Yeah, I'm little disoriented. I'm going to get lunch now.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Change to the CT Playoff System?

First off, I love the blogosphere. One blog writes it, then another picks it up, then another, and so on. Hopefully the info stays accurate, then we can all opine on whatever it is, and life goes one.

I say this because I was sorting through my Google Reader (which is where I get updates on the blogs that I read) and I saw an item from Tim Parry regarding potentially HUGE changes in Connecticut high school football and the playoff system. Tim got the lowdown from Sean Patrick Bowley (quickly becoming our latter-day Bill Gonillo).

Now to make sure that this isn't second-hand info, I'm posting the link to SPB's original piece. Tim's take on this is here.

Now it's my turn. What Connecticut is considering is what is already largely done in New York. BUT! The Empire State starts their season a week earlier (are you reading this CIAC?), plays every weekend, doesn't have conference championships and is done by the time we're all returning from our Thanksgiving break (trust me, I've sat in traffic on the New York State Thruway returning from championship games in Syracuse).

So is this a good idea? Not if you like tradition. I've talked with many players over the years and while they all love the title of being ONE of SIX state championship teams (who then vie for the mythical overall number one, as voted by a select number of coaches and media), the Cardinals that I've asked tell me that the FCIAC title means a lot to them - sometimes more than the state title. But the FCIAC title game would be a mere memory in this system. There would be no time for such a luxury. So the game that has taken place every year since the mid-60's would be gone.

Look, it's great that the CIAC is actually talking about this, but the first thing that needs to be changed is the start of the season. It's ONE WEEK we're talking about. It would line Connecticut up with New York and New Jersey. It would also allow for creativity, like the Greenwich-Bergen Catholic showdown that currently can't happen due to the scheduling system. Then they have to decide if the Thanksgiving rivalries mean anything to people. In this new plan, those would be gone.

Like Tim, I agree that there are some potential good sides to this idea. I'm not as tied into the Thanksgiving games as others are, and that might be because I'm a New Yorker and a lot of those games have been eliminated (not all, mind you, but most). Still I'm a fairly traditional guy (my outrage at the disruption of the Rye-Harrison game is still palpable) and I hate to see traditions get interrupted.

Now there's some debate about the potential matchups of teams that have never played each other (these would be among the non-playoff teams). This also happens sometimes in New York, but the difference is that the teams are from the same section. For instance, Mahopac played Gorton (from Yonkers) - two teams that aren't normally on each other's schedules. It's not like the 'Pac played, say, Chenango Forks (they're just north of Binghamton). Connecticut, while a much smaller state, could still have some hair-raising road trips in this new system.

So until I see a better plan than this, I say it ain't really broken. Don't try to fix it. Keep talking until a resolution that works for everyone makes sense. And perhaps most importantly - how about involving the students as well? They're the athletes here. As I've said so many times - youth athletics seem to get the most screwed up when the adults get involved.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Tickets for The End Game Are Gone

The Yankees (and the crooks at Ticketmaster) put a limited number of tickets onsale yesterday for the final game (regular season version) The House (please don't ask "who's house?"). The Daily News reports that all tickets are now gone for the September 21st matinee against the Orioles.
The last regular season game at Yankee Stadium is sold out. Fans scooped up a few thousand tickets online in just 11 minutes Wednesday.
I decided to take a look at buying tickets (ya know, just for giggles) when my cell phone rang. It was my cousin, Kris, and I had a strange feeling I knew what he was about to tell me - that tickets were going on sale and to ask if I was going to try.


He told me to keep September 21st open and that I would finally sit in one of the two places I've never sat - the bleachers (a luxury suite is the other, and there's some bitterness there, but that conversation is for another time).

So the short answer is that I will be in attendance for the final game at The Stadium. I will bring my own supply of tissues as I probably couldn't afford the ones they'll no doubt sell that day with interlocking NY's on them.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Missing: One Tooth

Tonight, at approximately 7:30 PM Eastern Time, Sean Robert Adams of Carmel, NY approached his parents and informed us that he had lost his first tooth! Somewhere, a fairy is preparing a delivery.

He's resting comfortably now. Oh, and Sean's fine, too.

2008 Ford Frick Award Winner: Dave Niehaus

Well congratulations to Dave Niehaus. Here's the official word from the Hall of Fame:
Dave Niehaus, the voice of the Seattle Mariners for all 31 seasons of the team's existence, has been named the 2008 recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually for major contributions to baseball broadcasting. Niehaus will be honored with the award during Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies on Sunday, July 27, in Cooperstown, N.Y.
"Dave Niehaus is the heartbeat of Mariners baseball. Since Day One, he has painted a picture of baseball and summer in Seattle better than anyone ever has," said Hall of Fame President Dale Petroskey.

Entering the 2008 season, Niehaus has broadcast 4,817 of the 4,899 Mariners games played, missing just 82 contests in the team's 31-year history.
I'm guessing this is probably not the right moment to say this, but if 31 years of screaming "MY OH MY" at the top of ones lungs is enough to get you the Frick Award, then we should start the campaign for John Sterling. How Mr. Niehaus was more worthy than Bill King, Joe Nuxhall, Tony Kubek or Graham McNamee is a question I will look to answer.

A Blogger's Must-Read

Once in a while, I need a reminder of how dangerous our blogosphere can be, and how uptight corporate America can be. While this pertains to broadcasting, the reality is that this could be about any large company.

Read on.

Slope...thy name is a slippery.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Some Guy's Top 20 Beers

I'll be blunt here. I like beer. I like it in the same way that one likes wine. I like to try different ones and rate them. I've been to tasting parties. I've hosted tasting parties. I know someone who has a running list of the number of beers they've tried (and frankly, I've forgotten then number, but I think it's over 500 at this point).

With that said, somebody decided to provide us with a full list of the best beers, in their opinion. I don't know who the person is, but the list is with comments is here.

In short, here's his list:
20. Budweiser
19. Iron City
18. Amstel Light
17. Red Stripe
16. Smithwicks
15. Foster’s
14. Victory
13. Corona
12. Ommegang
11. Chimay
10. Stella Artois
9. Paulaner
8. Newcastle
7. Samuel Adams
6. Rogue
5. Sam Smith’s
4. Yuengling
3. Guinness
2. Sierra Nevada
1. Westvleteren

OK, my take. My favorites are Smithwicks, Iron City, and Yeungling (the Black and Tan). I like Stella a great deal as well. Guinness is fine, but I find that one can't sip a Guinness (that's what I discovered when I had my first one in Covent Garden, London). Frankly, I don't think I could put Bud on any top beer list, but that's just me. I guarantee you that if someone in Belgium was doing the same list, they'd laugh hysterically at the thought of Stella Artois as a top beer.

As usual, take this list with however many grains of salt you need.

Red Barber and Harry Caray in the Same Post!

I was remiss in not mentioning the fact that Walter Lanier Barber would have been 100 years old on Sunday. You have to know who Walter Barber is, if only because of who I am and what I do, and what I often talk about in this blog.

Oh, you might not know Walter, or Walt by that name. But if you're perhaps slightly older than I am, then you know him.

I'm talking about Red Barber.

Red was, perhaps, the greatest play-by-play voice of them all until his pupil, Vin Scully, damn near perfected the art. Red was much more than a play-by-play voice. Besides his baseball work (which extended from Cincinnati to Brooklyn to The Bronx to the World Series and All-Star Games), he also called college and pro football, and hosted several programs as well.

In the era that extended from Bill Stern and Ted Husing to Mel Allen and Barber, Red was a master. While he was not as dry as he's been made out to be, he was still a stern taskmaster; determined to report and not opine. Still he could be heard uttering phrases that became part of baseball lexicon (from his Wikipedia entry):

- "They're tearin' up the pea patch" -- used for a team on a winning streak.
- "The bases are F.O.B. (full of Brooklyns)" -- indicating the Dodgers had loaded the bases.
- "Can of corn" -- describing a softly hit, easily caught fly ball.
- "Rhubarb" -- any kind of heated on-field dispute or altercation.
- "(Sittin' in) the catbird seat" -- used when a player or team was performing exceptionally well. This expression was the title of a well-known story by James Thurber. According to a character in Thurber's story, the expression came from Red Barber. But according to Barber's daughter, her father did not begin using the expression until after he had read the story.
- "(Walkin' in) the tall cotton" -- also used to describe success.

Barber's call of the penultimate baseball moment - Bobby Thomson's home run in the 1951 National League playoffs - was the anti-homer call, when compared to Russ Hodge's call. Even though Barber was calling the game for the Dodgers, one can only imagine that he would not have screamed "the Giants win the pennant" the way Hodges did if their places were switched. Conversely, Red simply said that the ball was "a home run! And the New York Giants win the National League pennant and the Polo Grounds goes wild." That difference, and their contrasting styles adds to the allure of the moment.

Incidentally, there are three exisiting versions of that call - Hodges (with the Giants), Barber (Dodgers), and Gordon McClendon (on the Liberty Network). Also calling that game was Ernie Harwell (on NBC) and that call is unfortunately lost because tape was a raraity then.

The dramatic pro-Dodgers moments were never called over the top either. For the legendary catch made by Al Gionfriddo off Joe DiMaggio in the 1947 World Series, Red said:
Swung on. Belted. It’s a long one! Deep into left-center. Back goes Gionfriddo, back, back, back, back, back, back. He makes a one-handed catch against the bullpen. Oh, doctor!”
As he taught Scully (and, by extension, me and many others), Red knew that crowd noise was the coolest thing. Following Thomson's home run in 1951, Red sat silently for 59 seconds.

Friend of "Exit 55", Neil Best from Newsday, writes about Barber here. National Public Radio also dedicated a page to the Ol' Redhead. Barber appeared on their "Morning Edition" program every Friday from 1981 until his death in 1992. The interviews could be about anything - from sports (particularly baseball) to the flowers, to his beloved wife, Miss Lylah. I urge you to check these links out (Neil Best is always looking for page clicks!). The NPR page has lots of audio on it. I got a kick out of the Space Shuttle launch audio, in which host Bob Edwards is anchoring coverage of the first Space Shuttle launch, in 1981. All Edwards and his guests want to do is pick the brain of Red Barber.

On the other side of the universe, stylistically, from Red Barber was Harry Caray. I'm not going to lie here - I've been critical of Caray. I appreciate the passion that he showed for baseball but was never enamored of his style. I know people who think he is utterly brilliant, but I can hear calls of his from the 40's through the late 60's (which were supposedly his best years) and tell you that I was never blown away. It just sounded like too much bravado for me. Again, I'm of the Barber/Scully school, so it's just different strokes here.

Frankly, I also never appreciated that, in interviews, he came off quite dismissive of New York's own Phil Rizzuto, and The Scooter's use of "Holy Cow" which Harry seems to think he invented. No matter.

Caray died 10 years ago today. That's a fact being remembered at Awful Announcing, which I'm finding is stylistically different than I am. Why? Well for starters, he's very pro-Caray. Fair enough; that's not the first time people have disagreed with me on that. But he also drools for Gus Johnson, whose broadcast style is, shall we say, to scream. Others that seem to disagree on include Joe Buck (whom I basically like) and Kevin Harlan (I'm not a fan of). That's cool though - we can disagree on such things because he seems cool, writes a great blog, and is entitled to his own opinion.

Anyway, there's my take on the anniversaries of life and death of two sports broadcasting legends.

Four Score and Several "Off the Benches" Ago

Warning! I'm in one of "those moods." Which makes for entertaining reading...

Question number one of the day is, "Why am I working today?" No offense to the bosses, but Stamford is like a ghost town. That is, until the mall opens.

That's where Sandi and Sean are heading today. I'd rather stroll the Palisades Center than sit at my desk. But then, I couldn't be typing this, could I?

I think we need, as a country, to grab control of our National Holidays again. Twas once a time when both Lincoln's Birthday AND Washington's Birthday were celebrated, but in our continuing effort to run our workforce into early graves, we combined them into President's Day. Then I noticed more companies stopped taking President's Day altogether, and forget about Veterans Day or Columbus Day.

I always felt President's Day was a good holiday, because it served as a necessary break between New Year's Day and Memorial Day. I've seen some companies go straight through from one to the other with no break - not even Good Friday.

Maybe adding floating holidays are the answer, but I don't know. I just think it would be nice to say "these are your holidays" and be done with it.

And give people a break.

Oh, while I'm ranting, there needs to be a rule about not contacting the office while on vacation. You've gone away - do NOT call in. We don't want to know anything about you until you get back. In short, we don't care. The office will still be standing; the business will still be running. Do the right thing and spend your time off with your loved ones, friends, or just with yourself.

If you want to check your messages - that's your problem. I can understand that - especially if you're trying to figure out what awaits you upon your return.


Lastly, what's the deal with the same people who call the same place every day? People - it's called "e mail." I hate to call in all the time because I don't want to bother those who answer the phones to begin with.

Folks - please - I'm begging you -

I'm so freaking sick of the steroids thing already. After Andy Pettitte speaks to the media today, I want it OVER. Time to play ball.

I know. I'm dreaming.

While it stinks to not have TV these days (yep, another economic casualty), it does allow me to catch up with my DVD's (so long as we still have electricity - I'm kidding - kind of). I'm in the process of watching every chapter of The Beatles' Anthology. I also recently watched "A Hard Day's Night" with Sean, and you know what I discovered?

That band was pretty good.

Update on the latest rock radio station in New York - 101.9 RXP is getting a so-so rating from me. They still insist on playing Nickleback (Why, God, Why?), and are already burning out some songs (I hadn't heard "Bodhisattva" by Steely Dan in a while, then heard it too much). Be brave! Let it breathe. Play some other deep stuff, but don't play it again an hour later! And ask youself this question:

Do rock fans want to hear Nickleback? If so, then I better be hearing some Huey-freaking-Lewis and get him out of Adult Contemporary hell! They get played on rock stations in other parts of the good ol' U-S-of-A, so let's hear 'em in NYC. It will show some depth, and make Nickleback, and some of the other "jack" being played a touch more palatable.

So right now, RXP and The Peak can wage a nifty little war. Let Q-104.3 jump on board and maybe we'll find some quality.

And say farewell to K-Rock, unless they decide to get it right. Please.

Whilst I'm on that rant, what do you think is the most overplayed song ever? "Stairway to Heaven?" "Light My Fire?" "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For?" Anything by Aerosmith?

For me, at least right now, the winner is a little ditty 'bout "Jack and Diane."

As usual, I won't hold my breath waiting to hear from you on the comments side!

I found another blog worth keeping an eye on: The Fleer Sticker Project. If you grew up in the 60's/70's/80's and loved things like babseball cards, but more diverse things like "Wacky Packages" and other stuff, you'll like this blog, and the places it can lead you.

Nostalgia, people!

Right now, the winter broadcasting season has just one game left on the schedule - Wednesday night, live from Trumbull High School, as the Greenwich Cardinals finish the regular season against the Eagles. Nick Angotto slides into the lead analyst seat for the 6:50 pregame/7:00 tip off.

The playoffs begin after that. Will WGCH cover any of the games? Stay tuned...because your guess is as good as mine.

Sean (still known as "The Son") signed up to play baseball on Saturday. He moves into the Soft Toss division of the Carmel Sports Association. Miller Huggins will once again be one of his coaches. OK, I'm not really Miller Huggins (bonus points if you know who "Hug" is), but I can pretend, no?

SHAMELESS PROMOTION ALERT!!! The CSA asks us to sell raffle tickets. They're one dollar each, and six for five bucks. The winner gets a color TV. No, I'm not kidding.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The First Big Baseball Quote (Non-Steroids Edition)

Well thanks to and the Philadelphia Enquirer's Todd Zolecki for this one:
New York Mets centerfielder Carlos Beltran said yesterday that the Mets are the team to beat in the National League East. Jimmy Rollins made the same prediction a year ago, and the Phillies followed through with their first postseason appearance since 1993.

"Let me tell you this: Without [Johan] Santana, we felt as a team we have a chance to win in our division," Beltran told the New York Daily News. "With him now, I have no doubt that we're going to win in our division. I have no doubt in that. We've got what it takes. We have good chemistry as a team. He fits great because he's a great guy. He's one of the best pitchers in the game. Who doesn't want to have him on any ball club? Without him last year, we did good until the end of the season. So this year, to Jimmy Rollins, we are the team to beat."
Ah, I love it! You see, the first asinine quote of the year, and I can just sit back and watch, since it thankfully doesn't involve the Yankees! I don't care that it's Carlos Beltran (who, while great, hasn't been ol' reliable, if you know what I mean). To me, this is a quiet player trying to jump up and be Mark Messier. Whatever. For the record, I think the Mets ARE the team to beat in the NL, let alone in the NL East.

Now we can just sit back and wait for Jimmy Rollins' retort. For once, such idiocy doesn't involve the Yankees and Red Sox. Very Nice. Let the Mets and Phillies have some fun.

While in Phillies camp (which I went to back in 1983, when the team had Carlton, Schmidt, Rose, and Morgan en route to the World Series that year), the team pulled off a prank of epic proportions.

Friday, February 15, 2008

I Believe He Got Fouled!

Monday night, Georgetown beat Villanova in a wild finish. I'll let the AP tell you what happened:
The score was tied. There was less than one second to play, and Georgetown's Jonathan Wallace was dribbling 70 feet from the basket when he heard the whistle.

He wondered what was up. After all, there's no way a referee would call a foul in that situation, right?
Guess again.

"At first I thought I stepped out of bounds," Wallace said, "because I was trying to make a play with the time running down. But I did kind of (feel a) nudge when I was trying to turn the corner."

"So," Wallace shrugged, "a call's a call."

And he's not about to raise a fuss over it. That "nudge" was a bump from Villanova's Corey Stokes, the 48th foul called in a frustrating, stop-and-start game. Wallace hit both free throws with one-tenth of a second on the clock to give the No. 8 Hoyas a 55-53 victory Monday night, their first home win over the Wildcats in more than a decade.
I prefer to see the players on the floor resolve the issue than to have the officials do so, but that's a different issue. What we're now here to discuss is the play-by-play call, courtesy of Rich Chvotkin, calling the game for Sports Talk 980 in Washington.
I won't go crazy here and say how bad it was, because I don't want to condemn somebody for one crazy call. It would be like doing the same to Russ Hodges for screaming "The Giants win the pennant." A few things strike me as funny about this clip:

1) Why is there a camera on Chvotkin to begin with?
2) Notice that his shirt is unbuttoned at the bottom.
3) The standing up and sitting down (which I'm guilty of from the classic Greenwich-Trinity basketball game in 2002 - the only time I've ever done that).

Oh well, it was a slighty homerish call. One other broadcasting realted note - the Baseball Hall of Fame will announce the winner of the Frick Award on Tuesday. I have a feeling that either Joe Nuxhall or Bill King will get the nod.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Indy Rides Again, but Why?

I know, it's all about the money. But I was not in favor of "Rocky 5", or "Rocky Balboa", "The Godfather 3", and the new "Rambo" flick, among others. Sequals are dicey at best. The second Indiana Jones film ("IJ and the Temple of Doom") was dreadful, but at least they saved the franchise with "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" ("we named the dog 'Indiana'"). Personally, that one's of my favorite.

So why do this? Do Spielberg, Ford, and Lucas need the money? I can't imagine Shia LeBoeuf needs it either. So again, why? Probably because of the challenge. These are some of the best Hollywood types ever, and they believe that they have a story and cast that can't fail.

Maybe it just boils down to arrogance. Either way, I can't tell you for certain that I will see it in the theatre.


From Peter Abraham this morning:
For those of you waiting for No. 21 to get retired, Morgan Ensberg has it.

Other than the retired numbers, the only numbers not assigned are 6, 51, 69, 98 and 99.
That's the first time since 2001 that 21 has been assigned and it gets handed to Morgan-freakin'-Ensberg?

For those who don't know, Paul O'Neill was 21.

In other Yankees news, Legends Field (the Yankees spring training home) has been renamed George M. Steinbrenner Field. I think "Steinbrenner Field" would do just fine (that's probably what it will be called). Before you say it, Big Stein did not initiate it. From the press release:
The name change follows two unanimous resolutions recommending and supporting the change by the Hillsborough County Commission and the Tampa City Council.
But do you all know what this means? Pitchers and catchers have reported, baby! It's like spotting the first robin. Spring is around the corner. And, for just a few moments, we can worry about real things, like where Joba will pitch, who will play first, and can the Bombers really win championship number twenty-seven.

In other words, we don't necessarily have to think about Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee.

Oh, and I'll keep this simple. Sorry, Rog; I think you're guilty. Andy Pettitte went the honesty-meets-Sammy "The Bull" Gravano-route. It would be much better if you had just said "my bad" in the first place. You'd be linked with steroids forever, but all would likely be forgiven (ala Andy himself). And can we please keep partisan politics out of baseball? JesusGod! The Republicans killed McNamee (and gee, isn't he just loaded with credibility?) and the Democrats were all over Clemens. Find some balls (no pun intended) and speak your conscience.

What a sideshow.

Happy Valentine's Day...or Whatever

I was going to post a list of anti-Love songs just for shites and giggles, headed by the mother of them all, "Love Stinks" by the J. Geils Band. Fortunately, the folks at Stuck in the 80's beat me to the punch.

The only difference is that theirs is all 80's songs. Some good choices there though (like "I Don't Care Anymore" by Phil Collins). So I looked on my iPod, and came up with a few goodies:

- Sitting, Waiting, Wishing (Jack Johnson)
- So Little Kindness (Huey Lewis and the News)
- But It's Alright (also Mr. Lewis and the News)
- Go Your Own Way (Fleetwood Mac)
- With Or Without You (U2, and yes, I know you could call it a love song, but there's some real deep shite going on in this song)
- Already Gone (The Eagles, and I defy you to not blast it)
- My Favorite Mistake (Sheryl Crow)
- Cuts Like a Knife (Bryan Adams)
- Lyin' Eyes (The Eagles)
- Cruel to Be Kind (Nick Lowe)
- The Heart of the Matter (Don Henley...flat-out depressing)
- In the Air Tonight (Phil Collins - great song, brutal message)
- and, of course, the brilliant "Song for the Dumped" by Ben Folds (I especially enjoy the live "You F**king Wh*re" version).

This is not to say that I am anti-Valentine's Day, or anti-love. In fact, I wore a red shirt, and socks that are red (notice the way I phrased that?) to be in the spirit of things. It's one thing when you don't have love in your heart and you pop on the red shoes, sweater and so on. It's another when you are a loving person. That's me in the latter category.

So basically, I'm just having some fun here.

Maybe I should post pictures of Erin Andrews, but no, that ain't my style. Anyway I hope you have lots of love today and enjoy Valentine's Day, presented by Hallmark.

I won't bother asking for your choices, as my recent post on road trip songs (thanks, Sean).

Oh, and if you want a Valentine's Day of woe, have a look at the rough day on Mr. Timothy Parry is having. Yet alas (doesn't that word sound romanitc?), Mrs. Parry is not bothered by his dilemma. I once had to work a hockey game on Valentine's Day, and The Wife took it like a champ. Yep, good times...

Sox Trophy Comes to Westchester

The mayor of Larchmont, NY - almost in the shadow of da Bronx (home of the 26-time World Champions) had the World Series trophy come to town.

That would be the trophy of the world champion Boston Red Sox.

Me thinks I wouldn't be so thrilled if they had strolled the trophy into Mahopac Junior High School. I have a feeling I'd react almost like this man:
"I was aggravated when I heard it," said David Dileo of White Plains, a Yankees fan who didn't deign to come see the trophy and wasn't thrilled with (Mayor Liz) Feld over the trophy's visit.
Then again, to the victor goes the spoils, so whatever. But still, could you imagine taking a Yankees trophy to, say, Brookline?

Sunday, February 10, 2008


The year was 2002 - August 3rd, to be exact. WGCH was under their previous ownership, and the busy sports department was in the midst of a crazy year that saw us broadcasting so many things. Among the highlights:

- All Greenwich hockey, basketball, and baseball games.
- Trinity Catholic's state championship loss to Northwest Catholic in basketball.
- Greenwich football.
- Rye-Harrison football, plus Harrison's run through the state playoffs, and eventual state championship.
- The GYFL Championships (from the back of a flatbed truck).
- Wall-to-wall coverage of the Buick Classic golf tournament, which was won by Chris Smith, who knew us and even mentioned us during his press conference on The Golf Channel.
- Coverage of the national Babe Ruth World Series from Stamford, including reports in the opening rounds and play-by-play of the quarters, semis, and championship.
- No less than THREE Sports talk shows: "Tee Time" (golf, obviously), "The Press Box" (general sports talk), and "Spotlight on Sports with Rob Adams" (self-explanatory).

In short, we called a total of approximately 110 games. Not bad for a little ol' community radio station. Compare that to 2007, when we did 21. Uh-huh.

Anyway, I bring this all up simply because while going through my DVD's, I stumbled across this video from our coverage of...drumroll, please!...Bridgeport Bluefish baseball! And that brings me back to August 3rd. Through a little fancy-talk, we worked our way into a special day at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard, in which regular folks got to take batting practice, shag fly balls, and basically live the experience of playing ball. No, we didn't play a game but for a couple of hours, we felt like we did.

Mark, Harold, Ian and I played catch in the outfield and took our hacks in the cage against John Dorman, who was an infielder for the 'Fish at the time. Mark and Harold definitely showed their athletic ability, and I'm happy to say that I didn't suck (despite the swing in the above photo). After we cleaned ourselves up, we headed up to the booth to call the first game of a doubleheader between the Bluefish and the Nashua Pride.

Following the completion of game one came our big moment - throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. As you watch the video, listen carefully, as I carried a cordless microphone with me to describe the action for the listeners on WGCH.

With our families in the house (including baby Sean), we lived arguably our biggest baseball moment.

Ah, good times. Such memories.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Updated Thoughts on the New Stadium

Eve Roytshteyn/

The Yankees held a walk-through for the media in the new Yankee Stadium this week and no, I wasn't one of them. I did however read the thoughts of Yankees beat writer Peter Abraham, who did a kind of FAQ
about the new building and the surrounding area. The note that bothered me the most was this:
The old Stadium: It will be torn down in the spring of 2009 and converted into a public park. Plans calls for 12,000 trees to be planted in the shape of the stadium. There will be a baseball field, a softball field and a Little League field. But outside of the warning track, no footprint of the field will remain. The city of New York owns the old stadium and will be responsible for taking it down and selling off seats and other things.
This was the first time I had seen this for certain, and I now think that there are those who must pay for an asinine decision. I watched friends nearly weep over the loss of the Boston Garden, as well as Ebbets Field, the Polo Grounds, and on and on. Has NOBODY learned? Does nobody have at least enough of a clue to recognize that - at BARE MINIMUM - the site of home plate from the old Stadium should be maintained?

The thinking seemed to be so simple (which we don't seem to do well in New York) - leave the shell of the old Stadium to act as a ballpark to host high school games, championships, and other league games, as well as serving as a National Historic Landmark. But once again, in the name of the almighty dollar and the bitching, whining NIMBY/PC jerk, the most famous building in the HISTORY OF SPORTS must be reduced to rubble. A memory.

A park. Whoopie. The old Stadium could have - and should have - been integrated into that park.

The folks bitching about that stuff amazes me. They would rather live in a dilapidated tenement with crumbling infrastructure than have something, you know, nice in the neighborhood.

But WAIT! They'll make sure to bring the monuments to the new place.

Why oh why is it that Wrigley Field AND Fenway Freakin' Park (both built BEFORE the Stadium) can modernize but Yankee Stadium can't? All for luxury boxes?

I don't know who it is that I want to blame - the Steinbrenners? Bloomberg? Giuliani? Arrogance? Power? Greed? The fans? Clemens? Canada?

OK, that last one is a "South Park" reference. Never mind.

Joking and trying to be positive about the great experience in the new ballpark is the only way that I can hide how pissed I am about this. And Abraham says they've already discovered DESIGN FLAWS in the new place, including in the center field bar/restaurant area, where the view of the field isn't all that great. Tell me, what REAL design flaws were there in the old place? Fine, it was cramped and it could take a while to get a hot dog, but whatever. It NEVER bothered me - EVER! I didn't go to Yankee Stadium for the conveniences. I went for the GAME. Later on, I went for the game and to see my friends - and to show my son this majestic place that was so close to my heart. And apparently EIGHT MILLION of you thought that the old place with the bad roads and no Metro North station was OK, because that's how many of you went through the turnstiles over the past two seasons.

I was keeping a stiff upper lip on the demise of the only place that, outside of my own house, ever felt like home to me - largely because I thought the ass-hats in charge of this farce had the brains to keep enough of the footprint of Yankee Stadium (the REAL one) alive.

Please don't argue the "what's there isn't really Yankee Stadium" debate with me. You'll just sound stupid, and you'll make the ghosts really angry.

Now tell me this. Through the efforts of my cousin, I will be able to go into the old building in 2008, as he kept my season ticket package alive. So with that said, as a loyal ticket holder of 11 seasons, how am I going to get into the new building in '09 anyway? Since I heard that the new Stadium is $500 MILLION over budget, I can only imagine that one will need to take out a mortgage to buy tickets.

This quote slays me:
Moreover, the Yankees COO (Lonn Trost) said the construction cost will exceed the announced $830 million by a half billion. In the name of tradition, the successor to The House That Ruth Built and John Lindsay refurbished will cost $1.3 billion to build.

The cost is for the Yankees to calculate, meet and privately lament. "We'll make it up some way," said Trost.
Yeah, you'll make it up by charging $300 for bleacher seats, and $25 for hot dogs.

It's finally happened. My blood has started to boil about this whole thing. Nothing I can do about it, and probably nothing that I want to do about it. Perhaps the only thing I might do is change to a Minor League ticket plan in 2009. I'm sure the Hudson Valley Renegades or the (Independent) Bridgeport Bluefish - two teams I've broadcast for at one time or another - would happily let me buy a ticket plan.

Perhaps then Sean can have a good baseball experience with the chance to enjoy the innocence and pure passion that the game of baseball can give from a fan's perspective.

Make Me Laugh

When I see something that makes me laugh out loud, it immediately becomes blog-worthy. This site has a bunch of goodness that will hopefully make you chuckle, as these couple of pictures did for me.

Lose the Super Bowl, the Patriots will. Yes, hmmm.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

And Even MORE Radio News

All Access just emailed the following in a "Special Bulletin":
PD TRACY CLOHERTY is out at CBS Alternative WXRK (92.3 K-ROCK)/NEW YORK

After just over 7 months as PD at WXRK/NEW YORK, TRACY CLOHERTY is out. This comes on a day of major change at CBS RADIO, with cuts in several clusters across the country.
OK, now in layman's terms. A "PD" is the Program Director; the one who is responsible for what you hear on the air. Cloherty was supposed to bring an edge to K-Rock, as she was a programming wiz over at Hot 97. Yet with "budget cutting" being the reason, what is not being said is that K-Rock is a toal disaster. And it only got worse with 101.9 RXP jumping into the New York rock scene. While I was very unimpressed with RXP's first hour, I'm hearing some promise in their mix of music - a decidedly better selection than K-Rock's.

Let me bottom line this news for you - K-Rock is on the verge of being finished again. The most likely scenario is for country to make it's return to the New York airwaves. My suggestion for those of you who are devastated at the possible demise of K-Rock's mix of suicidal tunes and other drivel? Switch over to The Peak or RXP before it's too late. Or buy an iPod. Or satellite radio.

Will Bob Sheppard Return?

Troubling news from Richard Sandomir in the New York Times this morning:
Bob Sheppard, the Yankees’ distinctive public-address announcer since 1951, who missed the division series last October because of a bronchial infection, “is struggling to recover his health,” a spokesman for the Yankees, Howard Rubenstein, said Wednesday.

The team “hopes he can return to the booth,” Rubenstein added.
It scares me that Big Stein's personal mouthpiece released this statement. It indicates to me that things might be really bad.

Let's hope for good health for Mr. Sheppard, and that he's introducing the lineups on Opening Day both this year and in 2009 at the new Stadium.

The rest of the article, along with notes on the return of David Cone to the YES broadcast team, is here.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Welcome Back, Dicke V

I've never professed to be a Dick Vitale fan. As a broadcaster, he can just be tough to listen to. But his passion is amazing, and I have heard that he is a remarkably nice man. I respect all of that.

Oh, he's also a Yankees fan. Not that that makes or breaks him.

Dickie V returned to ESPN tonight after having surgery to remove lesions from his vocal cords. Thankfully those lesions proved to be benign. Vitale is on the call of tonight's Duke-North Carolina game in Chapel Hill with Mike Patrick, and having watched the first half, I have to hit the cliché machine!

It's awesome, BABY!

For you Connecticut sports fans, the game features one of "our" own - Dave McClure from Ridgefield, who attended Trinity Catholic High School in Stamford. I got to call a few of McClure's games on WGCH - including a brutal state championship loss and a thrilling one-point win at Greenwich, on a lay-in at the buzzer by McClure.

Sticking in college hoops, I have great respect for the hard-as-nails coach. You know who I'm talking about - Parcells, Lombardi, and yes, Robert Montgomery Knight. Here's hoping that Coach Knight either enjoys retirement, or returns soon in a situation that works for him. For all of his "issues", he's a winner with very old-fashioned values. Those are the types that I always responded the best to, perhaps because they put the fear of God in me. I have all the respect in the world for the man at the other end of the spectrum - the Wizard of Westwood, Mr. John Wooden (noted Yankees fan, I might add).

Oh, how about some high school hoops? Who's the giant killer in the state of Connecticut right now? I'll give you a hint - I call some of their games on WGCH! Earlier in the season, the Cardinals of Greenwich knocked off Harding. Then last Friday they shocked Trinity Catholic. Last night, they not only beat St. Joseph, but they won by 11 (and you heard it on WGCH). Next comes Bridgeport Central. No easy task.

Not All of Boston is Like This

First it was Belichick (along with Randy Moss) leaving the field before the end of the Super Bowl. Now (courtesy of Kissing Suzy Kolber...again), we find this:Are you kidding me? I don't have a problem with the report that a grown man was sobbing, but I DO have a problem with the police not allowing the camera in the bars in Kenmore Square, and with the bars themselves for putting paper on the windows. Hey, you ahss clowns(notice the Boston accent there?)! I'm sure you'd be all-too-friekin'-happy to have the cameras paying you a visit for a big-ol' happy championship time (you know, like last October for the Sawx, or maybe if 19-0 had happened, or when and if the Celts finish their great season, or if the, I just can't. Sorry, Harold. I want to...I really really want to say the B's will win the Cup someday. But for the love of Dit Clapper, I just can't. I don't want to jinx it). bad. Anyway, bad job, Beantown. I'm always defending The Hub for being such great sports fans (yes, even Sox fans), but those around Kenmore Square fumbled the ball on this one. Ooh...did I say "fumble?"


I just found this via Kissing Suzy Kolber. I laughed at it, but I'm also a little uncomfortable...

I was deeply tempted to say that this was video of people I know, but I honestly don't. Besides, I don't think Mick, Sean, Tommy, Matt, and Tim (among others) would appreciate it. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

More Radio News

After 20 years, CD 101.9 in New York has changed formats - from soft jazz to what's being described as a mix of classic rock and new music (more formerly known as AAA - Adult Album Alternative). In other words, they're a challenger to 107.1, The Peak.

They've already posted their first hour of music:

1.The Velvet Underground - Rock and Roll
2.REM - Supernatural Superserious
3.Elvis Costello - Pump It Up
4.Tom Petty - Mary Jane's Last Dance
5.Blondie - Call Me
6.The Bravery - Believe
7.Bruce Springsteen - Blinded By The Light
8.The Flaming Lips - Do You Realize
9.U2 - Angel Of Harlem
10.Nickelback - Rockstar
11.Red Hot Chili Peppers - Zephyr Song
12.The Black Crowes - Hard To Handle
13.The Killers - Somebody Told Me

Frankly, I'm unimpressed. If you're going to put Nickleback in this mix, then The Peak has nothing to worry about. At best, this hour of music is lackluster. Sure, I love Bruce, and REM, and playing the Velvet Underground is cool, but that's about it. You're going to choose "Angel of Harlem" to be the first song to represent U2?

I appreciate variety, but be careful. Nickleback is a one-way ticket to nobody's-listening-ville.

I'll reserve judgment beyond that. The New York radio landscape is in a little bit of flux right now, with this and more. It's exciting and crazy all at once.

Monday, February 04, 2008


-Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Disclaimer - My friend, Nick Angotto, is a Patriots fan. I don't wish to hurt him, Mark Rosen, Lindsey Romeo, or my other friends (the real ones) who are Pats fans. They're classy; others are not.

First of all, I was wrong, and I'm so friggin happy about that!

As Super Bowl Sunday began, I believed that I really didn't have a solid rooting interest. Sure, I felt that I wanted the Giants to win, especially since the Patriots have denied the Steelers a few times, but kept that boiling under the surface. Yet as the day, and the game, went along, the fever began to rise. First - my son - my nearly six-year-old son - was rooting for the Giants (remember, that was his T-ball team). That was enough to make me care for the Giants, and should have been enough for everyone.

Still, I found myself holding my emotions in. "Let's just have a good game", I said. Yet when Eli Manning found Plaxico Burress, I lept up and yelled "suck it" (sorry - not my best moment). Truth is - I don't dislike Tom Brady, and I don't hate the Patiots, so what was going on? Suddenly, and without warning, it had become personal. I can't tell you why; you'll just have to trust me. Seven months - no, a year - of hell had crystallized. The Super Bowl wasn't going to change anything, but for a moment, there was a happiness that felt awfully good. I could only be happier if I was a full-on Giants fan, which I'm not.

I also suddenly felt myself bursting with pride - for the Giants (who once called Yankee Stadium home), for Sean (that would be "The Son"), for the city of New York, and for the metropolitan area. I was happy for the Giants fans that I know - for Matt Hamilton and Tim Parry, for Sean Kilkelly, and for my childhood friends who were big fans. I only hoped that Big Blue could hold on and pull it off.

They did.

Giants fans sit in the big three of New York's most loyal (Yankees, Rangers, and the G-men). They're great - and I called two of them last night. Matt sounded like he was in total shock. His dad flew out from Connecticut to watch the game with him at Mizzou. Tim was the total opposite - completely gleeful. Good for them.

I do feel for the loyal Pats fans (Nick and so on). Not the ones that tell you they're couldn't name you any member of the team beyond Brady, Belichick and Moss.

Regarding the game itself, the great Brady goofed when they scored with 2:42 play. I said, and you can ask those who were with me, that Eli Manning is at his best in the two-minute drill. I actually believed that the Giants could pull it off.

Oh, my thoughts on the game and broadcast? My quick impressions are that I thought FOX had a very good call, with two pros in Joe Buck and Troy Aikman at the controls. Parts of the pregame went just fine, while others were like watching paint dry (um...Seacrest?). Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers set was largely predictable - I said they'd play three songs and they did four. Three of those songs came from one album - Tom Petty's SOLO album! Still, they rocked. "I Won't Back Down" is an anthem for us all to live by.

The commercials were OK. A few funny ones, and a lot of so-so at best. Average stuff overall.

FOX did a nice job of laying low on "Manning overkill." I only saw Peyton a few times, and don't even know where Archie was. The overall celebrity shots (during the game) were kept to a minimum. I felt like they were content to let the game tell the story, and that was reflected in Buck's call. While they don't seem to like that style over at Awful Announcing, preferring the orgasmic ways of Gus Johnson, it suited last night just fine.

Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated weighs in with his grades here.

Incidentally, Awful Announcing also prolaimed David Tyree's fourth quarter miracle catch as the best in Super Bowl history. Again - why does everything have to be an instant classic? Let it breathe, people. No, Tyree's catch was not the best - ever heard of a guy named Swann? - and this game was not the best ever (three quarters of yawning, one quarter of electricty). That does not diminish either item. Tyree's catch (and Eli Manning's running out of a sack) should become legendary, as should the game itself.

I've also heard a few radio calls from Marv Albert (on Westwood One's) and WFAN's Bob Papa (who once called high school games on WFAS in White Plains) and they were good - especially Papa's (despite Dick Lynch's stepping on his call - breaking rule number one of the play-by-play/analyst relationship).

Lastly, what was up with Belichick running of the field BEFORE the game was over? It's called sportsmanship, Bill. I don't care much about the Spygate thing, but I do care about you staying on the field long enough to properly shake hands with Tom Coughlin.

So where will this Super Bowl rank? I've gotta think about that.

Congrats again, Giants, and thanks. And thanks to Lauren and Anthony for putting on a GREAT Super Bowl party. The food was amazing (and Anthony's father's chili was mega-hot!) and the drinks were cold. Sorry about my little outburst...

Now - bring on baseball!

Is Nothing Sacred?

I give up. I do. I never thought I'd see the day when Don Mattingly and his wife were done. Donnie Baseball apparently filed for divorce in November (hadn't heard about that), but seemed to be all set to join Joe Torre in LaLa Land. Then Mattingly stepped down from a full-time gig with the Dodgers - for family reasons. He will stay with the Dodgers as a special assignment coach.

Now this has come out.

It seems few marriages can survive anymore. I may curl up in a fetal position if Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson ever split.

Giants Win!

I was wrong - and I'm happy!

I have thoughts about the game, but I'm going to sleep on it.

Congrats, Giants!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Joe Montana: Jerk?

I never thought of Joe Montana as a bad guy, but I guess he had a bad moment.

Read here.

It just reminds me that athletes are human and allowed to be off their game. Many of the ones I've spoken to or interviewed have been fine (though Dan Marino kind of snarled at me - it was my fault for fumbling on a question), and some have been amazingly nice (do the names Bradshaw and Murcer sound familiar?).

So say it ain't so, Lord Joe!?

Couple o' High School Sports Notes

As I've mentioned before, WGCH has a contractual agreement to carry Fairfield University basketball. It's a necessary evil in this day - much for the same reasons that WCBS (880 AM) - an otherwise news station - carries Yankees broadcasts, or more so, why WABC (770 - a talk station) carries things like Seton Hall basketball. It's a business decision.

Unfortunately, these decisions mean that high school sports get the short end. I have thoughts on things like this - including if more sponsors/families/fans stand up and scream, more games would get on the air. I'm not a salesman; I'm a broadcasters and somewhat of a public relations guy. The thought of trying to be a salesman makes me ill.

I do, however, think we could utilize the internet far more. That's something that I think the schools/booster clubs/and individuals can do, and if I ever get some freakin' money again, I will do. It's not a money making idea for me (ala Sporting News CT - which is their right, and it should be), it's a chance to make my passion for broadcasting into a whole new enterprise. But enough about that...for now.

On Friday, Greenwich hosted Trinity Catholic in basketball. When I saw the schedule, I knew that I wanted to call that game, but couldn't because of our commitment to Fairfield (and trust me when I say we can NOT have any conflicts with Fairfield - one word - Naples - and I can't say anything more). Now trust me when I say that the past Greenwich-Trinity matchups haven't been great (save for the epic one-point TCHS win in 2002, when Dave McClure hit at the buzzer - INSANITY!), but I felt this game had some buzz.

My broadcast partner, Dave Chiappeta, made a last-ditch effort to have us call the game on the internet, but those efforts came up empty. So as Friday night came, I found myself working late at the home office of BTR (that's the Business Talk Radio Network). I had given thought of stopping by to watch some of the game, because I just had a feeling, yet thought Trinity would win. Well...

...Greenwich 56, Trinity 55. Clay Graham tapped home the winner with seven seconds to play. Congrats to the Cards.

Fortunately, we have Greenwich hosting St. Joe's (another top-ranked team) this Tuesday night at Greenwich High School. Dave, Nick Angotto, and I (with the nearly-legendary Sean Kilkelly in the studio) will join you at 6:50 pm.

On another front, we called a tough loss in hockey as Brunswick fell to Pingree yesterday, 5-3. During that game, we were told that Greenwich goalie Johnny Rogers was out with a bad case of mononucleosis, and wouldn't play against Darien. We reported it, feeling our info was pretty good. Then we awoke this morning to the news that Rogers DID play, as Greenwich beat an excellent Darien team, 3-0.

Damn - always get TWO sources, kids! Our bad.

Bizarre and Sublime!

As I'm sitting here watching the original broadcast of Super Bowl VII (that's when the Dolphins completed their perfect season by beating the Redskins, 14-7), I am surfing my usual collection of blogs. I came across something that I had not heard about. Watch...

OK, so my question is - did the NYPD know about this? When I'm in places like Grand Central, I am on my absolute best behavior (such is the life in post-9/11 New York). So if the NYPD didn't have prior knowledge, how do they not appear in this video, at least slightly PO'd? The police presence in the great hall (which is where this takes place, is always fairly noticeable.

Look, I'm not trying to play the overly-sensitive, politically-correct wuss here. I'm just curious. These people MUST have had some kind of permission or permit to do this, because suspicious behavior doesn't go over well at Grand Central.

I'll return to the simplicity of Super Bowl VII now. Curt Gowdy and Al DeRogatis have the call on NBC. If all you know is today's over-produced sports broadcasts, you'll be amazed at what my father and brother likely watched on that January day in 1973. I might have watched it also (I like the 'Phins back then) but I can't imagine I gave it too much thought. I was a Mercury Morris fan (we had a cat named Morris).

Friday, February 01, 2008

Giants Parade Tuesday!

I love when things like this start. The Giants and the city of New York have planned a victory parade for Tuesday morning at 11:00. It will go through the usual idiotic canyon of heroes blah blah blah...

Two things jumped into my brain when I heard about this, the most obvious being - don't the Giants have to, you know, WIN the Super Bowl? And aren't they a roughly 12-point underdog? OK, just checking.

The other thing - and the one more pressing to me - is when did the Giants move back to New York? Last I recalled, the G-men played in New Jersey, and when they won Super Bowls XXI and XV, their party was held at Giants Stadium (the other one didn't take place because we were just into the first Gulf War). Their wouldn't be a New York parade because they weren't welcome, and the running gag was that they would throw a parade in Moonachie (that's a New Jersey township).

I've often said that these parades are bogus and stupid. Prior to roughly 1961 or so, parades were not thrown for sports champions - they just won and went home. How novel.

Oh, since I announced it on WGCH this morning (you know, because we're required to do such things), allow me to tell you the all-important, earth shaking Super Bowl prediction! I will spare you the breakdown, except to say the Giants must be opportunistic, and make some things happen on special teams. If you see Lawrence Tynes (he's the kicker, gang) for anything other than extra points, it will be a long day. I'm hoping that Giants can keep it close into the fourth quarter, but then the Pats will pull away. Unfortunately.

Patriots 38, Giants 20.

Now before you Giants fans with nothing better to do start going off on me, allow me to give you a little history. I've been on the radio since 1990, which means the Giants have played in the Super Bowl twice with me on the air to make predictions. I'm 0 for 2 - having picked the Bills in Super Bowl XV, and the Giants in Super Bowl XXXV. Plus I've picked against Big Blue in the previous playoff games - and I'm not jumping on the bandwagon now!

May the best team win, may Tom Petty rock at halftime, and may the beer be cold!

Thriller on the Tube!

Lord knows I'm no Michael Jackson fan. I never owned "Thriller" but I appreciated a few of his songs (after all "Beat It" did have Eddie Van Halen on it). Obviously, the unsavory stuff made him a lot easier to dislike, and I went through this phase where it bugged me to be on the dance floor for his music (bad strategy...very bad strategy...I've since learned to tune out the music because if a gorgeous woman wants me to dance with her, then who the heck cares what the song is?).

Anyway, this video has been making the rounds on the blogs, and I couldn't resist putting it on here, especially since it takes place on the London Underground, better known as The Tube (it's London's Subway, in case you didn't know).

Don't you just love the way people are by the whole thing, with the exception of the polite tennis applause at the end (I used tennis since the Tube can take you to Wimbledon...I know that for a fact)?