Monday, September 29, 2008

Congrats to Steve Young

Greenwich's very own Steve Young wore number 14 when he was a Cardinal. Of course, the world knows him for the number eight that he wore with BYU, the LA Express of the USFL, the Tampa Bay Bucs, and of course the San Francisco 49ers. The Niners recently announced that Young's jersey will be retired on October 5th - the 11th in teams history (and the 12th will most likely be Jerry Rice's number 80).

I've met Steve Young and had the chance to interview him. He's done well for himself on ESPN. A nice guy who probably deserved an even better NFL career than he had, crazy considering he made the Hall of Fame! Yet imagine if that guy Montana wasn't already in San Francisco when Young showed up...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Thrill of Victory...

and you know the rest. Some absolutely thrilling baseball today. At one point, I had the Mets/Marlins on TV, and the Brewers/Cubs on the computer.

This is what it looked like:

Oh, and the White Sox have to play the Tigers tomorrow in a makeup game to see if they will then take on the Twins on Tuesday for the AL Central title.

Give me the chills of an exciting pennant race any day.

Now let's throw in Mike Mussina winning his 20th game, Brett Favre throwing six (!) touchdown passes, the Redskins beating the Cowboys, and you have a pretty darn good sports day.

Oh, and without adding any pain, allow me to ponder this question: why did the Mets hold their farewell to Shea Stadium ceremony AFTER they lost to the Marlins? I glanced at the screen at one point and it looked like nobody was there. Honestly, would you stay if you had your heart ripped out like that?

I leave that to the Mets fans that read this blog to answer. Just not this one, who shows how to stay classy.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Greenwich/Rye Win

Greenwich played very well against McMahon last night, winning 48-7.

I was welcomed at the team breakfast this morning.

Rye won the 78th edition of "The Game", beating Harrison 28-3.

I'm basically dry, thankfully. Not as much rain as I expected.

That's all for now. I think I'm heading home to a quiet night by myself. This loneliness thing will get boring quick.

Yankees to Build Vacation Stadium

Nice touch. Long drive for me. I'd go. *

Yankees Building New Vacation Stadium In The Hamptons
Thanks for watching. I'm off to breakfast at the carnival in Greenwich, then I'm off to call Rye-Harrison, where I will get appropriately soaked.

You know, I was in such a good mood Tuesday night into Wednesday. It seems to have gone downhill since...uh oh...I sense a little Rule 55 action approaching. I can't find any video that I want to post though. Such is life.

* Please note that I do understand that the "Vacation Stadium" idea was purely satire. Despite the appearance that I am either:
A) the most gullible person in the world
B) the dumbest person in the world
C) both A&B
even I got that it was a joke.

This Might Be a Little Questionable

September 11th is a touchy topic around these parts, to say the least. Goodness knows, I am not one to be PC. But holy cow and a Haysooz Cristo to boot. Some Seattle Seahawks fan blog kind of went over the line.

Deadspin pick it up from here, but before you read it, please let me offer the following:

There are jokes that are related to 9/11, and if you are sensitive to that, you might not want to read it...unless you REALLY want to get angry.

You have been forewarned.

Friday, September 26, 2008

What the BLEEP?

Every once in a while, my sleepy little home turf of Mahopac and Carmel makes news that shocks, astounds, and confounds me.

This is that once in a while. Take it away, the Journal News:
CARMEL - A 47-year-old Mahopac man was abducted from his home at knifepoint and driven to at least two places in Mahopac where he was tortured by three people he knew, police said.

After being held for several hours, the victim was able to escape his three abductors, two men and a woman, who at some point left him tied up and alone. He managed to undo his restraints and alert police by calling 911 early Wednesday, Lt. Brian Karst said yesterday.
Wow...just wow.

No Pride Here

Look, the Yankees are done. I predicted it back in March. I said they wouldn't make the playoffs, and they won't. Now the Mets are fighting for their lives. You'd think that would give me cause for smile.


But I will say this - once again, good ol' Mets fans might be showing their true colors. Jim Baumbach has more.

I heard this same discussion on WFAN.

That's all - just saying. Like I offered at the beginning of the piece, my team won't be in the dance this year. So that's that.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Live From Hunky Dorey Land

So there I am, minding my own biz at the Greenwich film session, in which coach Rich Albonizio reviews the game film with parents and media types who want to attend (something I've done on and off for several years). Along comes a parent who tells me that my friend Tim Parry included me in a recent post. He showed it to me to get my reaction...
Are we ready to say Greenwich is dead? No, I’m sure they will come out firing on all cylinders next week. Matt Grant told Quinlan that the Cardinals did not come to play until the fourth quarter.

And when Jason Intrieri and I were talking to WGCH-AM’s Rob Adams on-air during FCIAC Football Blog Live (it’s toward the end of the show, we’ll make a clip later), we kind of caughta vibe that everything in Greenwich was hunky dorey, and maybe a little too much so.

We know Rob is a good well-liked guy, and if he asked any player at the Cardinals’ team breakfast if they wanted to, they’d say yes (And thanks for getting us Ricky Riscica). But the atmosphere Rob was describing seemed more like a group getting ready for a carnival than a football game.

After the show, Jason and I sat on his deck, and thought about it. We both had a feeling that surging Darien would win.
So allow me to elaborate now.

One of the parents invited me to the team breakfast for the first time in my run with the Cardinals. It seemed like an OK idea to me, because I may learn something - just as I learn things from being at the film sessions. Plus this gives the athletes a chance to get comfortable with me. I earn their trust and all is well.

This tends to happen when you're so closely associated with a team, and I trust my credibility and judgement. I know what to say and not say. I had no worries about it. As has been my philosophy from day one - it's about the community.

Before breakfast, I was to be on with Jason and Tim. Cell phone coverage was best in the parking lot, so I set up some notes on the hood of my car and called in. Some players drove by, including co-captains Ricky Riscica and Jeff DeVico. I know both from baseball, and they're quality guys. Ricky walked over to say hello, and I handed him the cell phone to have a fast chat with Jason and Tim. From there I finished up the interview.

This breakfast session has gone on for as long as I can remember. It's a nice way for the team to get together and have one last chance to relax before getting into football mode. Some of the fathers are involved, and that adds to how nice it is. And that's exactly what I saw - standard business for everyone. From talking with people there, I thought they were ready; a thought that continued in my mind as I watched both DeVico and Riscica prepare to lead their squad onto the field at Darien a few hours later.

Things in Cardinal-Land were hardly hunky dorey. I saw high school students who were happy to be among their teammates - that's all. What happened in the game was simple: the offense didn't click in the first half. The Darien coaches appeared to know what was coming. Greenwich played with a lack of discipline. Greenwich had awful field position. Darien played their butts off and took advantage of opportunities (anyone who's not impressed by Matt Wheelock and Bryan Kosnick is nuts).

I won't even get into how banged up the Cardinals were (and still are). That makes it sound like an excuse, just as whining about penalties doesn't work either. You still have to execute and the Cardinals didn't do that in the first half. They made a furious rally but Kosnick's fourth-quarter score put the nail in the coffin.

Incidentally, there are some heavy hearts among the team this week, due to losses in the Cardinals' extended family.

The breakfast was no carnival. So I'll take the heat and apologize if I made it sound like it was. I appear to be the culprit here. If anything, I was pleased to be a part of a tradition. Maybe I was the hunky dorey one.

I hope I've cleared it all up now.

I'll probably never get invited to breakfast again.

Oh, and to show I have no issue with either Tim, or Jason, here's a piece the Tim put up about the FCIAC's new sideline pass policy. I'm in complete lock-step with him on this. Sean Patrick Bowley and others are pretty annoyed about it. Come on, FCIAC. You basically know most of or all of us at this point, as so many of us have been doing this for years. Let's be real about it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More High School Football on the Radio

WGCH is pleased to announce four new additions to our high school football broadcast schedule.

Once again, WGCH (1490 AM) will provide live play-by-play of the annual Rye/Harrison game, this Saturday at 1:30. Sean Kilkelly and I will call all of the action, beginning with our pregame coverage at 1:20.

We're also adding three Brunswick Bruins games to the list:
Saturday, 10/4 - at King School in Stamford - 3:00 PM
Saturady, 10/11 - vs. Rye Country Day School - 7:00 PM
Saturday, 11/8 - at Trinity-Pawling in Pawling, NY - 2:30 PM

Addtionally WGCH will continue the tradition of broadcasting the championship games of the GYFL. This will be the sixth straight year that 'GCH has carried the GYFL. The games will be played on Sunday, November 23rd at Cardinal Stadium.

(Please note that November 23rd is the day after a certain play-by-play announcer hits his 40th birthday. No telling what condition he might be in - too much cake or something. That's all I'm going to say about that...)

Still More from Yankee Stadium

Very well done by Wright Thompson on ESPN.

This is from Sarah Schorno.

Ben from River Ave Blues was at the game on Sunday and put his thoughts down.

Monday, September 22, 2008

More Tributes...and I Won't Apologize For Them

I'll keep throwing Stadium videos up as I come across them. I'll also post my own thoughts about last night's emotional farewell to Yankee Stadium.

So if you're a hater, just play nice.

Instant Classic

I am of the opinion that, before last night, two of baseball's best speeches took place in Yankee Stadium. Who would be dumb enough to argue that Lou Gehrig's speech - on July 4, 1939 - isn't the best speech ever? It might be one of the best speeches in American history, ranking up there with the Gettysburg Address. The simple thing that makes Gehrig's speech so amazing is that he didn't write anything. In fact, until Joe McCarthy urged him to do so, he had no intention of speaking at all.


Then came Babe Ruth's simple, eloquent words in 1947. Speaking with a raspy voice, and the likely knowledge that he had very little time left in this world (he would die in August, 1948), Ruth addressed the crowd in a brief speech that highlighted how badly his voice sounded, and how kids need to be lovingly worked into the game of baseball. Then he spoke some of my favorite words:
The only real game, I think, in the world is baseball.
It is the National Pastime.

That brings me to last night. Derek Jeter got the final word in the old House. He spoke briefly, unrehearsed, and beautifully. He immediately joined Gehrig, Ruth, and Mickey Mantly (on his "day" - June 8, 1969) in Yankees lore (and baseball lore) for legendary speeches.

There are a few things about the New York Yankees that will never change. That's pride, that's tradition, and most of all, we have the greatest fans in the world.
That's why he's the captain of the Yankees (and he doesn't have to wear a "C" on his jersey to prove it). And that's why all the Yankee-haters can, um, go away.

More Stadium Notes

Great job by YES. I especially appreciate the shot of Bobby Ray, trying to retrieve a ball from the monuments.

So the reviews and thoughts are pouring in on the farewell to Yankee Stadium. Joel Sherman wasn't fond of it. Another writer seemed to be channeling my thoughts in what he wrote.

The videos are also coming fast and furiously. This was from Yogi Berra, and was played at the Stadium. Well Done.

This is by Tom Verducci in Sports Illustrated. I like it, but I do disagree with one thing - for the last time.

This is where Loud Gehrig played. And The Babe. And Joe D. And The Mick. Yes, a major renovation changed it in the 70's, but the ground, the concrete, the very foundation is the same.

It's still that Yankee Stadium, and I'm done with that fight.

Ode, Part Deux

The walk to my seats.
(Kris and Rob - 9/19/08)

(Section 5, Row G, Seats 4 and 5 - My seats since 1998)

The Section Fivers said a fond farewell to out beloved House on Friday night. Before the game, we gathered in one of the parking lots to toast friendship, good times, laughs, and stories that can't be repeated. We also polled one another about our favorite Friday memories. They kind of all blend together for me (of course, Eddie falling was a classic moment, but it's funnier now than it was then).

On the field, the first thing that jumps to my mind is a game against the Orioles on May 5th, 2000. Bernie and Paulie had already homered earlier in the game, but it's now the ninth and the Bombers need a little magic. Jorge Posada was at the plate. Cal Ripken was playing in on the grass at third in the ninth, expecting a bunt. Posada hit a pitch so hard that I thought it would take Ripken's head off. It was a laser beam that landed in the left field seats for a walk off winner.

By the way, I've been asked a lot for my favorite overall moments. It's so hard to narrow them down, but I think I have to say how fortunate I was to be at Game One of the 1998 World Series, when Tino Martinez hit a grand slam. I was also thrilled to see Jim Abbott's no-hitter in 1993, and the Scott Brosius home run against the Diamondbacks in 2001. And Game One against the Mets in the 2000 World Series (run, Timo!!). And on...and on...

But on this night, Mick, Steve, Eddie, Kris, Jeremiah, and I rocked the House. "Fan favorite" Marlboro Man acted like he was running for mayor of Asshat, Nort Dakota, with his campaign manager - that little bitch, Gilligan. We tried to crash his party in the ninth, but Gilligan said "he created him" (or some such stupid shite) and acted like a bodyguard. I thought we might bum-rush them, but we didn't. OK, we wussed out. Yet, despite how close Gilligan came to getting his ass kicked (and no, it wasn't by me), I'm glad we didn't. If these two schmucks think that's their claim to fame, so be it. It's not an existence I want.

UPDATE - I was going to put a video of Marlboro Man and his band of idiots, but figured you can just Google them yourself if you really want. Why give it any more promotion than that? He seems like an OK guy. It's "Gilligan" who is now Public Enemy number one. Oh, and there's a guy with them that often wears a jersey with "Murcer" and a number one on the back. That is a crime. T-shirts with player names are OK. Batting practice jerseys? OK. Replica game jerseys with names on the back? Call the Yankees fashion police.

But for us, it was all good. We laughed probably harder than ever. We took so many pictures. Mine are here. We had these three funny kids sitting front of us. Instead of my usual goofiness, my final sermon as the High Priest of the Sack of Nuts was an emotional affair, only interrupted by the Two Stooges - Jarod and Dom. These are my friends, my family, with Kelly and her Dad as part of our group.

And never mess with the Ceremonial Opening of Mick's Nuts.

I waxed plenty poetic about our Friday night shenanigans a few nights ago, so I'll spare you any further. Just know that it boils down to this - the Yankees won, and we had a great time. Isn't that why we go to the games in the first place?

Bill Gonillo Five Poll - Week 2

I'll be brief. Lots to do.

1) Staples (2-0, Last Week: 2) - Shutout Harding 34-0.
2) Bunnell (2-0, Last Week: 3) - Beat Pomperaug 30-22.
3) New Canaan (2-0, Last Week: 4) - Beat Ridgefield 40-13. Have outscored opponents 81-26.
4) Masuk (2-0, Last Week: 5) - Beat up on Notre Dame-Fairfield 44-14.
5) Darien (2-0, Last Week: NR) - Beat Greenwich 31-25, and as I got to see it for myself, they immediately jump into the Top 5. What I now need to know is if this was a fluke, or are they for real. I thought their game plan was excellent, and their execution was outstanding. Matt Wheelock and Brian Kosnick get "big ups" from me.
6) Greenwich (1-1, Last Week: 1) - I'll put them here for now, though it's tempting to drop them altogether. If you're new to this, then you have to know that as the so-called "voice" of the Cardinals, I have to be a tough critic. Now I didn't like the penalties - some deserved, some not so much, but they happen, as do injuries. No question the better team won on that day. I'm not convinced that Greenwich is done just yet. They will retool and meet Brien McMahon this Friday.

There you go. Your mileage may vary.

Incidentally, I expect to add a minimum of four games to our broadcast schedule, including a classic from the state of New York. Not hard to figure out. More to come...

I also got a nice note from my friend Sean Patrick Bowley from the Connecticut Post. We were kidding about my need to promote WGCH more often (jeez, I try, but maybe I don't try hard enough). As always, there's more to this than meets the eye (from my end, having nothing to do with SPB). So we'll leave it at that.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ode to Section 5

(Mick, Eddie, Steve - July 4, 2008)

Eleven seasons. In some ways, it went by in a blur. Friendships were formed. Marriages began...and ended. Children were born. People came and went. Yet largely, there was always the core - Mick, Eddie, Steve, Kelly, and me. I'm not forgetting about Kris, and Chris, or Christine, or Lizzie, or Jeremiah, or Billy...and on and on.

This was Section 5 at Yankee Stadium. Yet to understand it, you have to know how it all came to be.

The year was 1996, and the Yankees were on their way to giving us the nirvana that seemed like a lifetime to come to fruition(18 years in Yankees-land IS a lifetime). It seemed like the long-awaited World Series title would happen in 1994, but that was before greed and arrogance reared their ugly heads once again, denying Donnie Baseball of a possible championship. In 1995, the Yankees won the first wild card, but fell in a classic five-game series to the Mariners. Nineteen ninety-six was the year. I was able to get a pair of tickets to game one of the ALDS against the Rangers (the Yankees lost) but would see nothing else in person. The morning after the Yankees beat the Braves to clinch the title, I looked inside the Daily News and there, staring at me, was a picture with members of Sandi's family - at the World Series.

It bothered me. A lot. So how does a lifelong fan get the dream ducats?

A season ticket package.

It's not that easy anymore, but the pursuit of World Series tickets led me to buy my Friday tickets beginning in 1998. (It would pay off, as I would go see World Series games from 1998-2001) I bought two tickets, and a rogue gallery of friends and family, past and present, would go with me. Originally I was surrounded by what seemed like groups - you know, the church group, the kids who were barely interested, the screamers, the idiots.

That would eventually change, and the faces would become familiar. That's where Mick, John, Eddie and Steve came along. We kind of all tolerated each other - they liked to drink (and use the rest room). The beer was just too damn expensive for me. I liked to quietly watch the game, and even kept score. Up until the end of 2001, I would go into the Stadium with a backpack full of goodies that I can no longer take with me(thanks again, Mr. Bin Laden). I also brought friends who delighted in sitting down and not moving for the duration of the game (much like me).

That would eventually change. We'd all get to know each other. John would decide to stay home, and Eddie and Steve would stop coming for awhile, and Mick would have his own rotating gallery of guests, but soon Eddie and Steve returned and Jeremiah joined the fun. For me, the guest of the week would fade - from Lauren, Stephanie, Mike, Sean (both the Killer and The Son), and even Sandi, down to just Kris - the second cousin who is like a brother.

We developed personalities and roles. Liz and Christine (known as "Kennedy") were known for the late arrivals, early exits, and ditching us for their friend The Jockey (don't ask - you'd have to see it to understand). Kelly would quietly watch a row below us, mostly laughing at our insanity, but largely acting like an omnipotent character. Mick was the class clown and owner of the World's Smallest Bladder. I am the Mayor (or whatever title you want to give me) - presiding over it all and taking it all in.

At least I was. Until I earned a more important title. A truly higher calling.

I became the High Priest of the Sack of Nuts.

I can't tell you how it started. I'm guessing Mick bought a sack of nuts (simple enough). At first, it was all about being idiotically sophomoric (playing with Mick's nuts...get it?). We'd all laugh, of course. Then I began to speak a sermon. Soon, a tradition was born. It consists of me speaking in the guise of a preacher, praying for a victory, for health, for alcohol, for whatever is on my mind at that moment.

As a group, we'd sit transfixed on the big video screen for the Cap Game (Mick is a pro at it, but I'm no slouch), the Subway Race (Mick comically rooting for the B train because, to him, it stands for "bitch"), and the trivia games (the domain of yours truly). Oh, and God forbid somebody tried to get engaged via the big screen.

We'd let the world know where we stood. I thought a riot might break out when a security guard cursed in front of John and his young son. We watched the fights and laugh. We'd defend each other like friends should. We had zero tolerance for the wave. And little patience for mouthy opposing fans.

And of course, ridicule of Marlboro Man and his band of idiots and hangers-on. Yet they're too easy of a target.

Tomorrow night, I will speak my final nut sermon in our glorious old House. We'll carry it and the other traditions into the new building, but there's no way it will be the same. We've made our pitch to the Yankees to stay together as a group and I imagine we'll try. A few of the people are likely to fade away, and that's OK, but I'd hate to lose Mick and the boys, and Kelly. We've become family. Mick and I have been to each other's homes, and I know there are many more good times to come. He's become a very trusted ally of mine. The Yankees are really the only sports team we agree on, but that's OK. We agree on so much more - music, movies, trivia, life. He has a great wife (Gretchen, despite her choice of team...Boston) and he's there for me anytime I give him a shout.

So as with anything else in life, we'll have the memories. We'll gather one more time tomorrow night at Yankee Stadium and the beer will flow. The Subway Race will run. The proposals will be made. The conversations will be had. Mick will go the bathroom five or six times. And we'll laugh. God will we laugh. There might even be a tear, but nobody will see it.

There will be a ballgame. The Yankees might even win. After that, I have one more ticket to the Stadium. We'll discuss that next week.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sean at The Big E

Here is a short silly Sean video from our trip to The Big E.

This can be viewed as an example of Rule 55.

Thank you in advance.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bill Gonillo Five Poll - Week 1

So here we go again - my third year as a voter on the local high school football poll that Tim Parry runs. A couple of things have changed:

1) It's no longer a poll for just the FCIAC. No more FCIAC Five. It now includes the SWC and the regional preps (that's Brunswick for me).

2) It's been renamed in honor of the late Bill Gonillo.

I'm nervous to be a voter, simply because I've called FCIAC games (and Brunswick, and Section 1 in New York) for so long now. Yet I'll pay attention and be up to the task. So with that said, who's on top?

1) Greenwich - Duh. They let Bridgeport Central take a 14-13 lead in the second quarter, but exploded from there (47-14). They showed poise and power. Talk to me when they lose. Until then, they're still the defending champs.
2) Staples - Well if Greenwich is one, then Staples can't be far behind. This should keep my friends in Westport pleased with me...for now. They survived McMahon, 27-24.
3) Bunnell - They're good. Really good. And they beat Middletown 36-17.
4) New Canaan - Beat up on Trumbull, 41-13.
5) Masuk - Shut out Fitch 28-0.
6) Ridgefield - Beat Harding 37-14.

That's all for now. Carlos Zambrano has just finished up no-hitting the Astros in Milwaukee. Yep, that's right. The Cubs beat the Astros, on a no-hitter, in Miller Park. All thanks to a hurricane. Strange.

In fact, it was a strange day. Great work by the zebras in that Chargers-Broncos game. Brett Favre and the Jets are on their way to the Super Bowl, right? Oh, wrong. Like Greenwich, until the Pats lose, I'm not convinced.

Derek Jeter tied Lou Gehrig for the most hits in the history of Yankee Stadium. That's nice, but that's about it.

Back to Steelers-Browns. The good guys are still winning...

UPDATE: Tim Parry is also doing a player of the week award. He nominates several individuals, provides a pertinent fact or stat about each one, and then leaves it up to us. My choice for Week 1 is Sean Anderson, who kicked a 29-yard field goal to lift Ludlowe over Norwalk, 17-14. It takes guts to do that, especially considering some (including me) thought Norwalk was a big team on the rise this year. Ludlowe has a new head coach and a team coming off a 1-9 season.

UPON FURTHER REVIEW: I realized after writing this last piece that I used the wrong wording and thus made it seem like Mr. Parry himself is doing the nomination. Not so, as he gracefully said to me in the comments:
Corrrrrection (not a big one). The players on the ballot are nominated by the coaches and the fans.
So there. Nanny nanny billy-goats.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Greenwich 47, Bridgeport Central 13

The title says it all. It was 14-13 Central at one point in the second quarter after the Cardinals had taken a 13-0 lead. Eric Camacho scored three times - twice on the ground.

The Cards are 1-0.

I'm outta here for the day - off to The Big E in Springfield, MA.

From the "WOW" Department: Ludlowe 17, Norwalk 14. Norwalk was though of as a potential FCIAC champion this year; Ludlowe won one game last year.

Lots of scores and stories from the first day in the FCIAC. Tim Parry has much more.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Another Perspective of the Futures At Fenway Event

I thought you would appreciate this, from Keith at Sports Media Journal. It's about his trip to Fenway Park, for the Futures At Fenway event that I was a part of last month.

September 11: Keep Moving Forward

Here we are. September 11, 2008. Another anniversary of "that day." How do you feel? Probably not great, I bet. Public opinion of the people that lead us is in the toilet, and while you might feel all psyched up about your candidate, I'd bet that's false confidence.

As has been pointed out before, the US of A was a pretty united place on September 12th, 2001. The flags were flying everywhere. We wept, we prayed, we hugged, we held telethons. By October, during the World Series, I began to hear whispers that we weren't really that united after all. Folks in Arizona, for instance (where that World Series was partially held) were sad, but not all that concerned. The trickling thought was that "9/11" was an "East Coast event", and a "New York thing." Yet to my knowledge the body count sits at just about 3000 people (I've seen various counts). Best as I can tell, those were mostly people of the United States - not just New Yorkers - with people from places like Washington, Boston, and beyond.

Then we went into Afghanistan and Iraq. Saddam fell and was hanged. Osama Bin Laden hasn't been found. Gas is hovering around $4.00 per gallon. Millions of jobs have been lost. Lives have been ruined (and are hopefully being rebuilt).

So again, how do you feel?

I've written about my 9/11 thoughts annually - first in 2006, then last year.

I'm as patriotic as anybody, but I'm not a bandwagon patriot. I hang my flag, but I don't wave it to show "HEY! Look at ME! I'm a GOOD AMERICAN!!" Don't make me sick. I don't - and REFUSE - to send around those cheesy chain emails with ghosted images of angels, god, and the Twin Towers, or the ones with some pithy saying. Sorry - you can send them to me, but they quickly hit the deleted bin. Yet when it comes to this day - September 11th - I get mad. You can probably read it in this today (because there's nothing vague about what I'm writing here).

So I will observe my tradition. I will play the montage of audio that I have from 2001 (posted below once again). It saddens me. It angers me. It gives me chills, and makes me sick. It reminds me of where I was, and what I was doing. How all I cared about was my wife and unborn child. That day, I didn't care about being a reporter (about the only time that's ever happened).

Then I will listen to Bruce Springsteen's The Rising, along with selected choices from America: A Tribute to Heroes, the album that emerged from the post-9/11 telethon that ran on just about every TV channel. At the end of my playlist is a song from All The Roadrunning by Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris. It's called "If This is Goodbye." If you hear that song and it doesn't make you emotional - be it tears or anger, then you might just be immune.

Whatever. Just never forget.

Incidentally, if there's a song that you'd like to suggest for my September 11 playlist, I'd love to know about it. Post it in the comments. Thanks.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Off The Bench

I am sooo overdue to bring Off The Bench back to life, but that's the kind of summer it was. As a studio host, you can often be as involved as you want. When I was first at WGCH, I would take copious notes so I could do halftime/intermission reports. The same situation existed with the Renegades. I couldn't write on the blog if I wanted to, because I was always at the ready to comment on something.

So we're back. Let's have at it, shall we?

I went to the GHS Football kick off party last night. As usual, first class all the way. The Cards have some good things going on for this year. They are honoring assistant coach Wayne Gioffre by dedicating their 2008 souvenir program to him. Wayne has been nothing but fantastic to me since we first met during the 2000 season. I met his wife, Lisa, and their (not quite) four-year old daughter Emma last night. Adorable. I also met his parents - long-time listeners and great people themselves.

As always, all of the coaches were approachable and fun to talk to. They understand our jobs, and I make every effort to never cross any lines.

The team will also honor the memories of both Steve Bawol and Stephen Catanzaro, including wearing a sticker to honor Bawol. Further, they're doing their part to support the brave people who are defending us overseas. I could say more but then I'd have to kill you.

That line always cracks me up.

We'll be on Friday night from Cardinal Stadium at 6:50, with the Shore and Country Property Pregame Show. You probably know this, but you can listen here.

More football news to follow. Maybe even more games on WGCH.

Rob Crowley had a few thoughts about last Saturday's game, from the broadcast point of view. He'll be good on the air, as will Nick Fox. It's all about learning the flow. As I told Rob, one of my big points is that we sound like we're friends. By and large, we are, and I'm very loyal to them. I don't let just anybody in with us.

Must...not...invoke...Rule 55.

Dave Jennings has been a wonderful football analyst around New York for 20 years now. He was treated poorly by the Jets, and is now in a quandary about his role with the Giants. Health problems (specifically, Parkinson's Disease) are taking a toll, and Jennings is a very exacting person. Neil Best has more.

The Imus Ranch Record is about to his the shelves and iTunes. Jaques Steinberg drops the laser in the disc in the New York Times.

The American Diabetes Association is hosting their Step Out Walk to Fight Diabetes on October 19th. I'm hoping to free up that day to join Tim Parry to walk in honor of Bill Gonillo, who died almost a year ago. As most of you know, my plate (and my mind) have been somewhat full for a while now, but things like this give me peace. We'll see how the schedule plays out. If you're interested in doing whatever you can to honor Bill and fight diabetes, go here.

Is it bad when "Fashion Rocks" on CBS is the best you can do for entertainment on a weeknight? Still, there's something very OK about watching Beyonce take on the role of Tammi Terrell.

It would have rocked if Jay Z (call him Jigga, Hova, whatever) played Marvin Gaye, but Justin Timberlake had the moves and the voice.

Politics? Pfeh. Not now. I feel pretty comfortable where my vote is going, but as I've said time...after time...after time...I don't have a definitive party. I vote with my conscience.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

This is Why You Root Against Curt Schilling

Thanks to River Ave. Blues for this. Let's just say he's a tool and leave it at that. He told WEEI Radio:
People don’t like [New England/Boston] anymore. The euphoria in New York is palpable. The Yankees suck this year, and they’re bitter and mad and they’re making excuses over that. Now they got Tom going down, so New York is excited.
Personally, I'm not excited that Tom Brady is injured. A) - that's bad Karma. B) - There's nothing like beating the best to be the best (right, New York Giants?). When the best isn't there, you hear that the title is tainted. That's not fair, but it's true. Some team will hear that this year.

Schilling just likes to be heard.

On The Yankees

I haven't posted much on my beloved Bombers because, honestly, what is there to say? I said back in March that they weren't a playoff team, and now they're putrid. Flat-out, god-awful putrid.

Yet, thanks to friend o' Exit 55, Neil Best, we have this from Michael Kay, John Flaherty, and Ken Singleton on YES. Here's a sample:
"You know, we know everything that's gone on with the Yankees this year. We know the injury to Chien-Ming Wang was a devastating injury. Obviously, the injury to Jorge Posada as well. They've had disappointments with the young pitchers they were depending on. But you still look at the players on the field and the way they're playing now is disgraceful and an embarrassment."
More often than not, Michael Kay is quite self-righteous (although I will occasionally listen to his radio show), yet he's dead-on here. Their performance in 2008 has been awful.

Now add in the way the team has treated the final season in the magnificent House that Ruth Built. Why don't we have a few more empty suits from MetLife pull the damn countdown lever? Hate to say it, but the Cardinals have embarrassed the Yankees in the way they closed down Busch Stadium a few years ago. They understood the magnitude of the situation - something the Yankees normally get. Instead, it has been "B"-level celebs and nobodys (not all of them, but Jesse Barfield? Boomer Esiason...who's a Mets fan?). You're trying to tell me that 81 legends with close ties to the Yankees weren't available? Please.

It should have been done based on uniform number, where possible. At 44, get that clown Reggie Jackson. For 49, the great Guidry. Even Mo at 42 (he's not due into the game until the 9th inning anyway). The other numbers could have gone to people with ties to the building and franchise. How about Frank Gifford and Pat Summerall? Ali? Is there anyone to represent Joe Louis? Pele? Even Billy Joel or Bono, who performed shows at the Stadium?

As such, we're getting what we deserve in Yankee-land. The Yankees deserve to have a team that misses the playoffs. Since they are building a stadium that many don't want, the Yankees deserve a lackluster farewell. Sure, the All-Star Game was great, but what else has there been? This is not just a great stadium, this is the most famous building in all of sports, and among the entire world (you can argue if you want, but you know you're wrong). This building, screwed up in the 70's by Mayor John Lindsay's greedy renovations, deserves a far-better sendoff than it's getting.

They've pissed off the Matle and Ruth families. They've pissed off many of the loyal fans (Hi!). They have 10 games to get it right - and I'll be at two of the last three. Let's see what they can pull off. Among the rumors are the possible returns of Bernie Williams and Bob Sheppard. Plus, who will pull the level to get us to zero? I thought it would be the Ruth family, but they did it already (June 21st). My feeling is that it should be somebody with ties to 1923. Now if that somebody is Bob Sheppard, then I'll be OK (though he started in 1951). Will it be Jeter? Probably - and I could see that.

The full list is of who pulled the dopey lever is here.

The Yankees have botched 2008 both on and off the field. Now let's see how it finishes up.

The Best Reason to Keep MLB's Internet Radio Package

Great news out of LA: Vin Scully is coming back of his 60th (!) year as "Voice" of the Dodgers. The LA Times has the 4-1-1...
The Hall of Fame broadcaster said he received the blessing of his wife, Sandy, to postpone retirement. Scully, 80, is in the final season of a three-year contract.

Scully said he does not intend to re-sign for more than a year, adding, "I'm really weary talking about beyond this afternoon. . . . There's a beginning, a middle and an end for all of us. I know that I have a lot more yesterdays than I have tomorrows."

Because of the amount of time his wife will have to continue to spend alone, Scully said he felt he had to talk over his plans with her. He intends to keep the same work schedule, which includes games at home and as far east as Colorado.

"She pays a terrific price," he said. "What it means is that Sandy is so selfless and unselfish and she would go through it again because she knows how much it means to me."

Of being the longest-tenured broadcaster in baseball, he said, "It's incredible to realize all those years have gone by. Every now and then I'll get a picture from my early days in Vero Beach and it's mind-boggling."
He'll be 81 by next Opening Day and he's still the best in the business. As such, MLB will continue to get $14.99 from me for the GameDay Audio package, or whatever it's called. It's worth it - even if you only get Scully for three innings before the simulcast ends.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Olympics, Meet MST3K

I'm catching up, so forgive me if you've heard this. It comes from our friends at Deadspin.
The characters were superimposed over a high-definition broadcast of the Olympics for about four hours on Aug. 16 by KTVH, NBC's affiliate in parts of Montana.
Somebody goofed, apparently.
...the display was the result of second-hand equipment the station was using for the first time. When the FlexiCoder for high definition was turned on, the characters popped up, Grevenitz said. As soon as the station realized what was happening, an engineer was called to remove the software causing the problem from the system to ensure the phenomena would not repeat, he said.
Apparently video existed via YouTube for all of about five minutes before the Blue Meanies at NBC yanked it. Pity, that.

Makes me wistful for the days of Mystery Softball Theatre, by far our worst effort in the years we did videos for the Philip Morris/Kraft BEA Softball League. That in itself is a story that's worth repeating one day.

Want To Be A Sportscaster?

I've shown you some pictures of the various locations that I work in - especially over this past summer. But I'm just a radio schlub, right? Our facilities aren't supposed to be clean and shiny. Yet it would be different if I was in TV< right?

So have a look at this from Kenn Tomasch's blog. Yep, it's glamorous alright. I see that scaffolding and I think to myself "ladder...Darien Ice Rink", among other frightening thoughts.

This Might Get you Ready for Football

The NFL's logo in the 1960's, courtesy of Chris Creamer's Sports Logos.

Check this out. It's classic NFL music that will get you jacked for the start of the season, and it doesn't involve Usher, Bon Jovi, Keith Urban, or Prince.

Plus you can download the songs. Cool.

I actually own the Steelers fight song, but never knew there was a whole album of these tunes.

I truly...wholeheartedly wish the NFL would stop pushing popular music and football together. We don't need the stupid concerts. We need Butkis. And LT (Taylor, that is). And the Monsters of the Midway. And the Steel Curtain.

Stop. Please. Now.

I'll spare you any great analysis and cut to the chase - Cowboys/Patriots in Super Bowl XLIII. That's fairly close to being the seventh layer of hell (sorry, Dana - Cowboys fan who celebrated a birthday yesterday) but it's the way I see it. Some say the Pats will be lucky to win 10 games, but other than the Colts, who's better? Right now I'm not sold on the Chargers yet, and no - I will not pick the Steelers.

Rest easy, Giants fans. I'll pick against you again. That worked well back in February...thankfully. God I loved watching the Pats lose, and I heard Bob Papa's call of the final seconds last night on WFAN, and loved it all over again, for reasons that I may be able to explain someday (though some of you know why).

Do They Serve the Chili?

(Naples, FL) From Exit 55

Perhaps only Jason Intrieri, Nick Angotto and I will appreciate this.

Waffle House has opened a museum in the location of its original store. Sadly it's in Decatur, Georgia.

I guess I'll just to have to go eat at one of their other locations instead, however the closest ones to Carmel are:

126.38 miles away - 2101 CHERRY LANE, BETHLEHEM, PA 18015
127.03 miles away - 1783 AIRPORT RD, ALLENTOWN, PA 18109
134.22 miles away - 708 DAVIS ST, SCRANTON, PA 18505
134.82 miles away - 933 SOUTH STATE ST, CLARKS SUMMIT, PA 18411
186.18 miles away - 261 BELLE HILL RD, ELKTON, MD 21921-5132

Of course that last one is located about 10 minutes from Ripken Stadium. (Hmmm...note to self...)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

In A World Where Both of Our Cars Were Totally Underwater...

Don LaFontaine passed away yesterday at the age of 68 (so did Jerry Reed and Ike Pappas). Who was Don LaFontaine, you ask? Perhaps the best movie trailer "voice guy" of them all. Yet for me, I'll always remember him for this humorous Geico ad.

Suck it, Trebek

Time for some classic Celebrity Jeopardy. I think I've put this one up before(I can't find the post), but I don't care - it's worth watching again!

This, by the way, is not an invoking of Rule 55. It's just for fun.