Thursday, December 31, 2009

Here's to 2010

I hate New Year's Eve. Let me be even clearer: I loathe it. Despise it. It is - by far - my least favorite night of the year.

Yet I'm trying this year, after two very sad and lonely New Year's Eve's. I promised myself that I wouldn't let it happen again in 2009 - that was an actual goal of mine. By hook or by crook (whatever that means), I would not be surfing the net and listening to Seacrest or some other painful thing.

Thanks to Mick and Gretchen.

And thanks to Sean. Just for being a great kid.

For me, the new year will start with some college football and the Winter Classic tomorrow, followed by the Legend's Classic at Fenway Park on Saturday, where Harold and I will be hanging with the other media types.

So bring on 2010 and let's hope for better and brighter days!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

John Sterling's Final Out of the 2009 World Series (With VIDEO)

I had not seen this piece of YouTube goodness. This is the final out of the 2009 World Series, shot from the Yankees Radio Network booth. Watch Sterling as he shakes and rocks after calling the final out.

For a Yankees fan, it's funny. For a broadcaster and an historian, it's a bit tough to watch. Since I'm all three, I find that I will retain my sense of humor and laugh at it. I have to admit that I'll understand if annoys you.

The link is here.

By the way, my boss from Hudson Valley Talk Radio (Mount Saint Mary College) called me today. Just to see how I was. To wish me happy holidays. To let me know he's got a banner we can use to advertise our broadcasts. To tell me the broadcasts sound better than he even expected.

And to make sure all paperwork has been filed so that I can get paid for my efforts.

I didn't ask for the call, but I absolutely appreciated it.

Monday, December 28, 2009

More MSG Problems

Tim Parry says it's not just WGCH that has butted heads with the cable giant.

Tim tells his stories here.

I think, overall, schools are hesitant to tell MSG (and any other TV) to tone it down because they want the exposure. That's great, but don't forget about the loyal local media and other supporters that have been there for you for years.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

I Love To Drive...More Than Ever

I don't mind flying. Seriously. It's quick and fairly safe.

But thanks to the asshats of the world, and our overreaction to said ass-hattery, we get the following, courtesy of the TSA:
New rules imposed by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration also limit on-board activities by customers and crew in U.S. airspace that may adversely impact on-board service. Among other things, during the final hour of flight customers must remain seated, will not be allowed to access carry-on baggage, or have personal belongings or other items on their laps.
Hat tip to Jeff Pearlman for the blog post that alerted readers to this notice from Air Canada, mentioning the new silliness.

So again - why do I love to drive so much?

It's Been a Month...Time To Tell the Story

November 26th was Thanksgiving and, as I have done for nine years in a row, I worked. WGCH broadcast the Greenwich/Staples game from Westport and I was at the mic with my crew of Sean Kilkelly (analysis), Nick Fox (stats), Chris Kaelin walking the Staples sideline, and Chris Erway on the Greenwich side. Rob Crowley kept us on the air, running the controls from the studio.

Just a normal day for us.

The Greenwich/Staples game has been played every Thanksgiving since 2005 and, at first, appeared to be a "made for TV" event, as MSG (Madison Square Garden) carried the initial three games, before skipping 2008. Yet they were back with a vengeance in 2009.

MSG (and their high school channel, MSG Varsity) have been a constant presence during the '09 season. There has been a lot of criticism of their efforts (mispronounced names, technical glitches, and so on). I can't fault them; it's tough to swoop in and we've had our share over the years of name and technical issues.

For the most part, I've enjoyed a very nice relationship with the folks from MSG/Cablevision/News 12. In fact, I even worked there - for one day, several years ago as a writer before budget cuts eliminated the need for me. I've chatted with some of their talent and members of the crew. Overall, nice people who have a job to do. They tend to get some things from us (especially from the sideline) and we're happy to help. They return the favor by letting us steal a glance at their replay monitors when nearby.

They often show up ridiculously early to a game site because they have to - there are cables to run and a lot to do. They also kind of take over, and there's a perception that they run the place (they have a large staff, so folks are outnumbered). So yeah, a sort of resentment builds because, as noted, they swoop in, where we're with Greenwich every game.

Don't worry. Writers resent radio and TV. Just how it goes.

A little back story before we get to "the main event": MSG Varsity was also at Stamford. Tight booth, but harmonious. Additionally they were at Trumbull. That night, one of their producers didn't like the audio being played from the booth because they were setting up their "stand up" (the opening of a broadcast). The guy looks at me, glares, and tells me to turn it down. Now - mind you - I'm wearing a headset and a Greenwich football shirt. I told him I don't work there, but I will try. I didn't turn it down enough to his liking, so he barked "ALL THE WAY DOWN" to me.

Now, you can tell me he has a rough job to do, but there's such a thing as professionalism. It's what I push with my team when we go somewhere. I ask that we show up, set up, get our stuff out of the way, and do our job. Also, in years of doing this, I've never seen a TV crew come in and DEMAND that the stadium alter their audio. Ever.

Of course, they institute TV timeouts and other elements but that's part of the price.

Back to Staples.

We have already accepted that, thanks to MSG and WWPT, the Staples on-site radio station, that we would be outside. Whatever - our friend Mike Zito did everything in his power to work with us. It was a nice day, so no big deal. It's hardly the first time that TV or another station has booted us. It's happened many times (Danbury and Staples this year...Westhill another year...McMahon get the idea). We've worked from roof tops, bleachers, classrooms, and so on.

The game broadcast went on, and we had "it." We were about as good as we, or anyone else, can get. The Staples fans near us sung our praises, and I thought we had a great call. As you might know, Greenwich lost 30-28 as Staples kicked a field goal then blocked a Greenwich attempted field goal.

Onto the postgame show! Chris Kaelin has been thinking "outside of the box", taking non-Greenwich fans as a guest, specifically in the games that Greenwich lost. Because of our microphone system, the on-field guys know to stay within my line of site for interviews. Chris thought it would be good to get Staples coach Marce Petroccio - someone who I know anyway, and is a reader of this blog. Good call, I thought. I threw it to Chris, and he did a fine interview before an MSG production assistant walked in and said, "Come on, Coach, let's go. Live TV", and they walked away.

What in the name of Erin Andrews had happened?

Back in our "booth", I flipped. On the air, I called what they did "unprofessional" and "bush league." I knew I needed to get to break before I really lost it. Off the air, I shouted, "Who the hell does MSG think they are?" into the press box. I got no response. I apologized to Sean and Nick for going nuts but they seemed to think I was justified.

Then I got the rest of the story - and both Chris Kaelin and Chris Erway were witness to it.

Part of the MSG Thanksgiving game thing is shtick - a big, monstrous turkey. It's been the source of controversy before (locker room antics and such). One other year, Greenwich donated it to a food pantry. But MSG likes to get shots of players and coaches munching on it. A big ol' gorge fest! Ha ha and all that stuff.

As MSG is setting up their "turkey shot", Chris Kaelin asks Coach Petroccio to come on with us. Marce - always good to us - agrees, and Chris knew to make it quick. That's when an MSG "talent" (quotations are mine) accosted Chris. Frosty language ensued, in which the MSG person says, essentially, that they're live TV.

So who the hell are we?

Before you ask, yes. We have big, laminated ID's, and Chris Kaelin is the best at displaying his.

We finished the broadcast and I was livid. I still can't believe the arrogance. Sure, you're live TV. I'll even offer that you're audience is better than ours. But we're still live...on the radio. And I know a lot of people who turned the MSG sound down to listen to us. For whatever that is worth.

What it's worth, to the people of Greenwich, FCIAC fans, and people in the know, is that we do a good job. That we're like friends to our listeners. And that we know our stuff.

Now, let me make one thing clear. I'm declining to name the talent. I've used the name on this blog before and had my own thoughts about him or her before Thanksgiving. I also am not a big fan of bridge burning, but people have asked what happened on Thanksgiving. So now I'm telling, with as much decorum as I can.

I won't let one (or two) bad apples, or misunderstandings, or whatever, ruin things.

And I will also tell you that it was not Mike Quick - the "dean" of high school journalists around the tri-state area, and a guy who has come on with us whenever we have asked. Something tells me Mike knew we weren't too happy with what transpired.

OK, I've told the story. And so it goes. We'll no doubt see MSG again, and jockey for position, and try to make the best of it. But I've tried to treat them, the writers, and fellow radio announcers with the highest of respect.

That needs to be a two-way street.

Worth Watching Again (With VIDEO)

Still amazing. Nicely called without being over the top by Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. I also heard Bill Hillgrove's call on the Steelers Radio Network. Nice.

The link is here.

The Steelers (7-7) need to beat the Ravens tomorrow and get help to make the playoffs.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Whatever Is Your Taste for Some Christmas Music (With VIDEO)

Fa la la la la and so on. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.

All good, but not where I'm going. Take your pick:

Do They Know it's Christmas? My god, what a time warp it is!

Or "Fairytale of New York"

Enjoy your Christmas Day, however you spend it.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

For Greenwich Hockey Fans (with VIDEO)

There will be a few changes to our schedule - much to my dismay.

We will not be calling Monday's game at 3:45 between Greenwich and Trinity Catholic. We also won't be calling the game on 1/18 between Greenwich and Trumbull.

Conflicts and such. Funny how these things go.

I'll post a new schedule when it's complete.

But now you're getting to some of the root of what really grinds my gears. And that's all I have to say about that.

Here's another guy that got no respect (link here).

My Christmas Wish

It's easier said than done. Sure, I'd like material things, like a new iPod, a camera, and such, but that's just not happening this year.

No, my Christmas wish - the thing I want more than anything - is what anybody would want. I wish - no, pray - for happiness for my son. He deserves it.

Yet, this is where he gets troubling. You see, Sean is generally a happy little boy. He is also carrying a monstrous burden on those small shoulders. He's hurting inside, and do I really need to say why? I recently heard him say "divorce" for the first time, and it stung a little. He'd like to see his parents back together.

Then there's that other thing. He also worries that he's losing me. Why? Sean loves his daddy. I'm not saying that with any sense of arrogance. It's what I know. Sean wants his daddy to be happy, and healthy. I couldn't tell you if I'm healthy thanks to the healthcare in this country. It's quite likely that I soon won't have health insurance.

As for being happy, I sit here on Christmas Eve with pleasant thoughts of the many good things that happened in 2009. Trips to Richmond (TWICE!), Aberdeen/Baltimore, Boston, and Reading helped satiate my traveling needs. Making new friends, seeing old friends, and knowing of their love kept me warm. Even sticking my toe back into the pool of the relationship world, while often frustrating and sad, gave me hope.

There were Paul McCartney and Mount Saint Mary. There were Dave Matthews and the Cardinals. There was the Renegades. There were the Steelers and Yankees - WORLD CHAMPIONS!

I woke up every day, survived, and lived to tell about it the next morning.

There was "Exit 55."

There was promise (and yes, disappointment). That's life.

I kept moving forward.

Now, if a real job could just be found, or a combination of things that would help me pay off the car, and pay the bills, then the picture would look a lot better. I'm not greedy and yes, with that could mean the end of radio for me. I've thought about that. It's the sacrifice that I would need to make.

Sometimes it's not easy to let the bastards get me down. If you only knew. If I could tell the complete story. If only.

Yet I have love, from so many people. If I'm wrong, then I'm naive.

I have Sean. Even if I won't have him tomorrow.

So for Sean to be happy, I have to be happy as well. It's a process, and it often looks/sounds/reads like I'm not, but I'm OK, and I'll get better.

That's my wish. I also wish all of you the best, not just for tomorrow, but for every day.

I thank you for reading (and to those who listen), and for putting up with me. I'm humbled by it more than you can ever know.

Merry Christmas, one and all.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Redonkulous Christmas Lights! (With VIDEO)

I'm hoping to go see this before they get taken down for the season.

A cap tip to my friend Jay Verzi at Hudson Valley Talk Radio. The display is located at 8 Patrick Drive, LaGrangeville, NY 12540, and their website is here. The link to the video is here.

Yankees Highlights (With VIDEO)

In case you might have forgotten, the New York Yankees are still the 2009 World Champions. Here's a little highlight montage to relive the glory (and the link is here).

And a hat tip to River Ave. Blues.

This one is pretty good also (link).

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fenway Park Hosts Its First Hockey Game

It was a prep school affair that will be remembered as the first hockey game at Fenway Park - prior to the Winter Classic between the Bruins and Flyers on January 1st.

Taft beat Avon Old Farms 9-5. However, and I think this is a shame, it was only an exhibition game. Additionally, the reason the teams played there is because a parent from each squad put up enough money to pay off the $30,000 fee to rent the ice. Would it have hurt the NHL and Fenway Park to maybe host the prep game for a limited amount - in a gesture of good will towards youth sports?

Still the prep school folks could enjoy the cash, so whatever. It still looks cool, and I'll be there on January 2nd for the Boston Bruins AT&T Legends Classic, and am hoping to get a media credential so we can play some interviews on "The Press Box."

Big Ben and His 503 Yards

A mighty clutch performance by Big Ben, after Mike Tomlin went all "Belichick" with that onsides kick.

Were the Steelers lucky? I think Tomlin was lucky that Roethlisberger (and Mike Wallace) bailed him out.

Do you want to put Ben's performance into perspective? Allow Behind the Steel Curtain to tell you about the 10th highest passing yardage day in NFL history.

The Melkman Has Been Delivered!

Never was a huge Melky fan, and thought either he or Cano had to go.

From Tyler Kepner's Twitter page:
Javier Vazquez traded to Yanks for Melky Cabrera, Mike Dunn and a prospect. Yanks also get LH reliever Boone Logan. Tremendous deal for NYY.

Since Yanks traded Vazquez after 2004 ALCS, he has over 1000 innings and over 1000 strikeouts. Only other pitcher to do it: Johan Santana.
OK, then. I haven't been able to confirm the deal yet, but Kepner is a very solid reporter, so this seems like good info.

I loved when the Yankees first got Vazauez, but then he "EPIC FAILED" in New York. Let's see how it goes the second time.

As for Melky, I'm sure all Yankees fans thank him for his time, and his sometimes very clutch play. Good luck in Atlanta.

UPDATE: Mark Feinsand confirms it, and adds to what I was thinking...the potential for the return of Johnny Damon, now that Melky is gone.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Apparently John Mayer Thinks He's Better Than Us

John, dude. You're a Connecticut guy. A fairly talented musician whom I spent precious pennies on to go see (but then again, I was there to see Ben Folds). You could pretty much be with any woman you want. And you're funny.

In other words, you "get it."

But then again, you might tweet that I'm using a "dumb" expression.

Over on his Twitter page today, Johnny Jam Jam wrote the following:
Let me be the first to say it: the 2000s was the dumbest decade in recorded history

You may not appreciate it now, but in the next 2-4 years the true dumbness of the decade will age like a fine, insipid wine.

Dumb: "It's like a car crash, you can't look away," a crude attempt at justifying having terrible tastes in entertainment.

Dumb: "Epic fail," a phrase used to make fun of someone's failed attempts, written by people living in their parents' basements.

Dumb: "Just Saying." A phrase meant to divorce one's self from responsibility for having a cheap laugh at someone's expense.

"Hot mess," "train wreck," cutesy combined celebrity couple names, "TMI," Feigned shock, Sentences that begin with "bitch."
I'm fairly certain more strokes of genius will follow. Of course, the first decade of the 21st Century was the one in which we were introduced to John Mayer. That would be dumb, no? Is "no" 21st century dumb also? Was his concert in 2007 in Hartford "like a car crash?" Perhaps, although I think part of my life was by that night (obviously). Was his relationship with Jennifer Aniston an "epic fail?"

Or is he just trying to tell us all that he's smarter than us?

"Just sayin.'"

John, would you have said the same thing about any other decade, be it "radical", "cool", "tubular", "awesome", or any other slang/vernacular? Stop looking so freaking arrogant. To quote another phrase: "you're better than that."

No seriously. I've defended the guy, but he's coming off a little (no, a lot) precious here.

This could be a moment in which I will authorize the use of "shut up and sing."

By the way, since we're rocking (hmmm...another slang term of late) entertainment thoughts, let me add an "RIP" to Brittany Murphy, dead of a heart attack early today at the age of just 32. I think "Clueless" was one of the cooler guilty pleasures of the 90's, and Murphy was a huge part of that.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Line of the Day

From "Scrubs":

" one understands how important sex is better than someone who isn't having any."

You won't understand the context, and I'm not asking you too. I just thought it was an ironic, funny line at the end of a good episode, called "My Dirty Secret."

Now let's see how everybody goes and misinterprets this one!

No Tears For Johnny

I didn't like it when Johnny Damon came to the Yankees. I mean, one of Boston's "idiots" with the Bombers? Yet he won me over with his play and the way he adapted to New York. He did so very early on in the his first season, reminding me that once you're on the team that I root for, you get my support.

Even for players for drive me crazy (see: Cano, Robinson and Delivers, The Melkman).

So as the 2009 season went along, I heard more about Damon's wanting to remain with the Yankees. Of course, he had a huge moment in the World Series (arguably an all-time moment), and the talk began that indeed Johnny would be back.

With the addition of Curtis Granderson and yesterday, Nick Johnson, it seems that someone else will say "Here's Johnny!"

Yes, it's business. That's what is sad about baseball. Fans get screwed; nothing new there. But let us - once again - take a look at who Johnny Damon's agent is!

Sing along, everyone!

Scott Boras! Yes, that's right! Arguably the not ALL of professional sports. Oh I get it - Damon is the player and the player can stand up (a la Alex Rodriguez) and tell Satan Boras to "suck it" (or perhaps use other words). Now I'm sure Scott is a great guy and all, and he'd be fun to grab a beer with, while listening to him settle another $148 million dollar contract via cell phone as he drives his Porsche through downtown La-La Land, but when it comes to business, he's dirt.

Maybe, just maybe, Johnny has got himself a better deal somewhere else. And sure, he needs the money (because that extra million means so much!). But Damon was working on becoming a legend in New York. The lower seats in right had become "Damon's Deck" in the same way that Boston has the "Pesky Pole." While he can carry his legacy, he now leaves for better days.

If he returns, great. If not: best wishes, Johnny. And thanks.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Small list of Linky Dinks

Joe Posnanski comes at us with an interesting thought. The basis of his post is to defend Tim Raines for the Hall of Fame (rightfully so), but in the process, he points out some really fascinating facts from Bill James - particularly that Roy White - ROY WHITE - might have been a better player than Jim Rice!

I can hear the chowda exploding all over Bahston now! (by the way, that's "chowder" and "Boston").

Now all of this stuff is too sabermetric-driven for me, but again...Roy White!? I love it!

(Aside to Tim Parry...there are punch lines here, no?)

Via Tim and the Danbury News-Times, I found out that Hat City is taking another stab at hockey. Yes, this will be the fourth try. Let's hope they stay.

I've got to get ready for GHS Hockey, as the Cardinals take on West Haven tonight at the Dorothy Hamill Rink. Game time is 8:00 - listen live on WGCH.

Warm Thoughts - The Gades in 2010

On a day when it won't get out of the 20's, how about this?

The Hudson Valley Renegades 2010 schedule!

And a new manager for the Gades in 2010 as well - a familiar face to many in Fishkill. In fact, it's a whole new coaching staff.

As for my role with the Gades, all I can tell you is that I'd like to be back again. I have a new polo shirt to wear, for one thing. It's all up to the team, and based on where I am when next June rolls around. Yet with my having made so many friends up there (Geoff, Rick, and so on), I'd like to be a big part of the team.

We'll see, but it sure is nice to think about warm weather on this hideously cold day.

I Hate These Stories

Though I'm not currently reporting on a daily basis for WGCH, I still broadcast games and appear on the station. So it was with great sadness that I read of Paul Burke, the Greenwich High School boys lacrosse coach, being found guilty of drunken driving in November.

The Greenwich Time reported an update last week.

As is their wont, Greenwich Roundup was quite critical of the Time.

I'm just waiting for Mr. Uber-Scribe (Bill Clark) to check in with his oh-gee-isn't-it-funny-I'm-calling-them-the Yellowich Time take (with the words normally in yellow).

I know Paul Burke and he has been decent and pleasant to me for years. That's always enough of a barometer, along with how people treat my son (and Paul always got passing grades on that). I'll go so far as to admit that I like him - we were in the same press box for years, and I covered his lacrosse teams, and also saw him when he was the JV basketball coach.

I reported the story of the recent charges when it broke about a year ago, and Paul knew that I was doing my job. He understood and thought I was fair. That's all I try to be.

I guess I did what needed to be done; It obviously wasn't fun for me. Now as to what wasn't being reported - sure, I had heard of other items, but it was all "whispers" and such. Nothing firm, and GHS radio broadcasts aren't the time for investigative reporting. They're for play-by-play, and we've always believed in reporting what is on the field.

With his conviction, Paul is looking at jail time. I feel for him, and hope he gets the needed help to conquer whatever demons loom. I know of the outrage over his coaching impressionable individuals, and I understand those concerns. I wish all concerned parties a lot of luck as they deal with this situation.

Most of all, I wish Paul Burke well to right whatever is wrong.

Bengals Wide Receiver Chris Henry Dead at 26

This story broke yesterday as we were finishing up "The Press Box", but too late for us to say on-air. Also, the early reports were that Henry was dead, but later retracted.

Sadly, the reports that Chris Henry's injuries were described as "life-threatening" all night were accurate. Henry is dead at the age of 26.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Another Reminder Why I Don't Read Raissman or Mushnick

Oh, Bob Raissman. Media critic for the New York Daily News. He, along with his counterpart at the Post, Phil Mushnick, just really don't get it. Plus I can't help but wonder if they feel threatened by Neil Best of Newsday, who has surpassed them both for media reporting that is witty, accurate, and fair.

Let me also add Ken McMillan of the Times-Herald Record in Orange County, NY. Even if he has yet to give any love to a certain play-by-play duo at Mount Saint Mary College.

Anyway, back to Raissman. Come on, Bob. Do you have nothing better to write about than to criticize Mike Breen - clearly the best NBA voice out there these days?

Brandon Tierney, on 1050 ESPN in New York, was interviewing Tim Donaghy, the disgraced former NBA official who just finished jail time, and has a book to promote. During the interview, Donaghy continued to spew some of his so-called "facts" from his book. Breen, a former WFAN staffer (ah, the good ol' days) and Imus in the Morning sports guy (ditto) heard enough and called in. From there, he defended the refs. To Raissman, this sounded like defending the NBA in general.

Jive, as Bob likes to say.

I call foul. On Raissman.

Breen, if you don't know, has been a referee. OK, not an NBA ref, but he knows the hoops rulebook as well as anyone. I've also found Breen to be fair. Pretty honest. Very smart. And extremely nice to young broadcasters (many years ago). I defending a...GASP!...METS fan? Yessir...that's Breen (who's also hysterically funny).

I've also spoken to Stamford's own Bennett Salvatore on the subject, by the way. Quality man.

As for 1050 ESPN, they thought enough of the give-and-take that they promoted it on their station, using a sound byte of both Donaghy and Breen.

So there, Bob.

Oh, and I'd give you more of Neil Best, but those who run Newsday are now charging to access it. Even for Neil's blog.


Another Edition of "Is This What We've Come To"

(Photo courtesy Michael Adkins)

Don't take pictures in a mall in Charleston, West Virginia. Especially of a random scene of Santa Claus and a choir. When you're a award-winning video journalist.

"Photographer arrested at mall after taking holiday ... - News - The Charleston Gazette - West Virginia News and Sports" (hat tip to John Aita)

People always assume the worst - he's a pedophile...he's a stalker...the cop is a thug, and so on. Gary Harki, writing on the Gazette blog, adds some thoughts.

As we do with everything, let's find some blame! Mr. Rensberger? I suppose trying to take a picture of the accosting police officer was a bit much. Then again, why didn't he do that with the two men who approached him? And Mr. Rensberger erased the offending photo (and by the way, those two men were just a tad paranoid). You can't even SEE the child in the photo. Sheesh!

So what about Charleston police Cpl. R.C. Basford? Well he did seem a touch over-the-top, hardly unusual and there is some talk that he has a history of that. OK, yet he was also just doing his job. Yet all that force over a photo? Really?

I take a police officer's job seriously, as we all do, and certainly respect them. I also consider the point of view of those whom I know in the law enforcement business. So I'm trying to give Cpl. Basford the benefit of the doubt, but I'm struggling with it.

Off-topic! Thanks to those I know in law enforcement - specifically those who work in Dutchess County (HINT! HINT!), as they got me off of jury duty a week ago. The fact that I work in the media didn't hurt, of course. I would have gladly sat on the jury, but it wasn't meant to be. We return you now to our story...

Then there's the mall itself. They get to just kind of sit back, recite policies...
When a working journalist takes photos in the mall, they are supposed to let mall management know
...yet Mr. Rensberger wasn't WORKING! He was there as a private citizen, and there's no law against a private citizen taking a photo.

So...shouldn't we just blame the media and get it over with? After all, Gary Harki reported the story, and Chris Dorst took Scott Rensberger back to the mall and photographed him - in front of Santa with a baby in the background!

Now since not everybody gets sarcasm, let me hit you over the head with it. This is sarcasm.

But in all truth - has the story been told completely? Are there things we don't know? And I'm reminded once again why I'm nervous virtually every time I take a road sign picture, or something like that.

That's your happy holiday story of the day. Move along now.

More Idiocy From The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Photo courtesy Rolling Stone

Jann Wenner and the crew at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have done it again. A year after Madonna (really?) got into the HOF, they have announced their new class. Take a squizz (British slang there) at the inductees:

- Genesis
- Jimmy Cliff
- The Hollies
- The Stooges
- Also being inducted this year as individual recipients of the Ahmet Ertegun Award will be David Geffen and songwriters Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Elle Greenwich, Jeff Barry, Jesse Stone, Mort Shuman and Otis Blackwell.

OK, then. Read those names again. From the famous bit "Which Doesn't Belong and Why", done by Bernard McGuirk on the Imus in the Morning program, you can probably spot a large discrepancy.




Now don't get me wrong, if there's a hall of fame for Swedish Pop Bands - or for POP Bands in general - then they are a no-brainer. "Waterloo." "Take A Chance on Me. "Fernando." Priceless Top-40 tunes! But once again, I'm astounded by the cluelessness (I'm creating a word here) of these people.

Now those who are uninformed could quarrel over Genesis. I won't. Sure, a lot of their output following Abacab was pop-driven, but I own it and can't tell you it's awful. Some of it stands up pretty well, and lord knows we were down with the Invisible Touch album (cassette, I suppose) in '86. Yet the Phil Collins-led years pale in comparison to the utter (and sometimes bizarre) brilliance of the era when Peter Gabriel fronted the band. Try "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway", "The Carpet Crawlers", and "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)." They are just a few more familiar "hits" that the band put out.

The Hollies were a band with a fine legacy as well. Yes, I suppose we could argue that they were a pop band, but you stand a better chance of hearing "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress" on a classic rock station, then you ever will "Dancing Queen."

I suppose we continue to discover that the Hall of Fame is a simple monument to Jann Wenner's ego, and he will let the acts in that he damn well pleases. Doesn't mean the likes of me have to like it, or agree. But I think the time is coming to change the name to the "Pop and Rock Hall of Fame." Or name it for Mr. Wenner and be done with it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

GHS Hockey Returns to WGCH

I think I'm OK to post this. You never know - fickle are some people - but as the SPORTS DIRECTOR at WGCH, this should be authorized.

I digress.

It is with great pride that I tell you that WGCH will once again broadcast a handful of Greenwich Cardinals hockey games. Our first broadcast comes your way next Thursday night as the Cardinals host West Haven at the Dorothy Hamill Rink. Game time is 8:00 PM, and our live coverage begins at 7:50.

I'll call the play-by-play, starting my - GASP! - 12th year of being associated with Greenwich hockey (and hopefully, basketball). John Spang will handle the majority of the analysis, with Sean Kilkelly grabbing a couple of games. Chris Kaelin will join me for one call as well. Sean will man the studio when John and Chris are in the booth with me, and Rob Crowley will do the honors when Sean is in the booth. Nick Fox and Chris Kaelin will assist on-site with stats and such, and maybe Chris Erway will show up for a game or two.

In short, the whole "Press Box Playmaker" gang will be involved.

The schedule looks like this:

Thursday, 12/17 - West Haven - Home - 8:00 PM
Saturday, 12/19 - Notre Dame - West Haven - 3:30 PM
Wednesday, 12/23 - Tri-Town - Home - 5:30 PM
Monday, 12/28 - Trinity Catholic - Home - 3:30 PM
Wednesday, 12/30 - Xavier - Middletown - 6:30 PM
Monday, 1/18/10 - Trumbull - Shelton - 5:00 PM
Thursday, 2/4 - Fairfield Warde/Ludlowe - Home - 8:00 PM
Wednesday, 2/24 - Wilton - Ridgefield - 8:30 PM

Please VOTE (With VIDEO)

I've been beaten over the head with this so many times, that I'm overdue to put it on the blogerooski. Please watch the following video (linked here).

Okie dokey then. Now, go to that link and vote for it. Bassick High School is up for $15,000 and the honor of winning the State Farm Friday Night Feats title for best video.

The pressure from their group on Facebook has put it mildly...relentless. That being said, I wouldn't vote for it or endorse it if it wasn't worth it. The Lions made a great to play to beat Harding, and they seemed to do it with class. I like that.

So go vote because the contest ends tonight. All you have to do is rate the video - slide your mouse across the number of stars to rate it and you're done.

And we'll all sleep easier.


Muchas Linky Dinkas

An easy way to play catch-up!

My Vin Scully montage has almost reached a life of its own! Ken Levine has had quite an amazing career in TV, and now in sports. And he was kind enough to link to the montage.

UniWatch is such an outstanding site for people like me. In this link, they discuss a recent article in The Hockey News about the greatest jerseys (or sweaters) of all time. I think that would make for a fun future blog post, or a "Press Box" show. Or both.

There is so much high school football stuff to get to, so let's have at it. First, I firmly believe that, despite a 7-3 record, Greenwich was among the best teams of the 2009 season. Fortunately Sean Patrick Bowley agrees with me.

SPB also had the guts to put Greenwich over St. Joseph - something that the state polls and the Bill Gonillo Five voters didn't have.

The coaches poll is here.

The CSWA poll is here.

The state writers poll is here.

I will offer this: Greenwich often shot themselves in the foot with some silly stuff. Yet if not for the personal foul and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties at the end of the New Canaan game (both legit, I suppose), the Cards would have won that game. A somewhat similar scenario played out in the Staples game as well. BUT LET ME BE VERY CLEAR - THE OTHER TEAM WON, AND DESERVEDLY SO. Thank you.

Tim Parry apparently had an error in an article and it caused Staples coach Marce Petroccio some grief. Tim will gladly "man up" when he makes a boo-boo, even one that was completely honest. He writes about it here.

Back to the Bill Gonillo Five. I fail to see how - as Staples beat Central for the FCIAC Championship and Greenwich, but New Canaan got pasted by the Hilltoppers - the Rams won the final poll. But I have tremendous respect for coach Lou Marinelli and his team, so congratulations. Yet the voting that I saw in 2009 made me wonder if we should just throw polls out - once and for all. Or change the process. Or something.

Oh and if you notice, Staples was ahead of New Canaan in all three state polls. Just sayin'.

Lastly, I think everyone's radar was up when Turner Baty arrived in New Canaan. Something smelled fishy, and now it's all beginning to bubble to the surface. Dave Ruden writes that Turner and his family might be moving back to Florida - making him a hired gun.

Make sure to read the comments. As usual, they're amusing.

We'll see what comes of it, but this is what I know: I met Turner at the Hall of Fame dinner a few weeks back. We also had him on WGCH as a post-game guest. He seemed like a very poised, nice, classy kid. That's all I can go by.

Happy 80th Birthday

Originally uploaded by SteelYankee
This is my dad - I'd guess sometime in the late 30's or early 40's. Today would have been his 80th birthday. Of course, he's in my heart and in my thoughts every day.

People loved him. He had a youthful heart and spirit that gave out on him much too soon. He had a difficult relationship with his own father, but he and I were very close. I can honestly tell you that while I've watched so many others have tumultuous relationships with their parents - especially when the kids are in their teens - I had a blast with my parents. I liked them. I liked being around them.

I liked being their son, and I'm proud to be the spitting image of my dad that I am. It's in that same vein that I'm proud that Sean is a carbon copy of both my dad and me. There are worse things to be in the world.

Happy birthday, Pop. You're missed every day.

The 2009 GHS Football Banquet

The Greenwich Cardinals football family gathered one last time in 2009 on Tuesday night at the Hyatt Regency Old Greenwich. This year's banquet was unquestionably the most lavish I've seen, and a tremendous night for GHS Football.

Previous banquets had the feeling of a marathon. Tuesday night was like a mission. In other years the ceremony could stretch past three hours, but we were done in a cool two and-a-half.

Charlie Pennella produced a highlight video that ran during the non-ceremonial moments (while eating dinner and such). The best parts of the video? Well of course it had to be the moments featuring radio play-by-play from a certain blogger. It was also nice of everyone to include a thank you to all of us from WGCH in the program, and during a slide show presentation.

Coach Rich Albonizio served as the master of ceremonies, a move that worked well (I had often wanted the job, but Coach Al was great). He seemed to have more fun than I've ever seen him have, and made it clear that he intended to come back in 2010 - something that didn't seem assured at one point.

As for the awards, they lined up like this:
- Coaches Award and Student Athlete: Michael Borchetta
- National Football Foundation Hall of Fame Student Athlete: Jack Zimmerman
- Hatchett Man Award (basically, defensive player of the year): James Barrett
- Offensive Back of the Year: Michael Dunster
- Offesnive Lineman of the Year: James Utton
- Big Red (Most Valuable Player): Mike Lefflbine

The scholarships:
- Cabrera Scholarship: Evan Kavanagh
- DeLuca Scholarship (one cheerleader, one player): Joan Lee and Kyle Butler
- Chuck Zion Scholarship: Mike Lefflbine

And your 2010 captains are:
- Peter Cabrera
- Ben Ceci
- Jim Barrett
- Anthony Schepis

It's a tradition for each senior player to stand and be honored by the coach, but this year, with the new setting, each player was brought to the podium. In some cases, Coach Al actually interviewed the player (he was having a blast). Several of the players, when asked what college they would be attending, the player would respond "I don't know" which became I Don't Know University (it was a running gag).

The most touching part of the evening was when Colin Bawol was brought up to be honored. Upon finishing his comments, Coach Al said, "Your brother would be proud." The uninformed might not know that Colin's brother, Steven Bawol, died in a one-car accident exactly two years to the night. A nice, albeit sad touch. Steven's good friend (and of course mine) Nick Angotto appreciated it when I sent him a text to tell him. His parents were also touched.

By the way, these were a great group of parents. I hope they continue to visit GHS football. They, along with previous years families, feel like friends.

There was also a post-party gathering in Old Greenwich. Good times.

Every year, I wonder about doing it all again. I finished this year hungry to call more games, so I'm planning on being under the headset again for the Red and White game next June, and when the season begins in September.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

So This Is Christmas (With VIDEO)

(Video link is here)

The world lost John Lennon 29 years ago tonight. My friend Amy Beth takes a look back at that night, the time before, the years after, and the complicated, fascinating man that Lennon was. It's a terrific read.

I remember perfectly when George Harrison died. Amy Beth and I talked on her show on WGCH about George, music, and the loss. So to read her words about John took me back.

I always thought The Beatles would eventually reunite, if only for something like Live Aid. They had talked about it, and John had occasionally hinted at it. The biggest thing was for the two battling "brothers" (Lennon and Paul McCartney) to set aside their differences.

I'm not sure there would have ever been a full reunion - album, tour, etc - but I always thought their philanthropic interests would have made them perfect for the rock causes of the 1980's. Of course, none of it mattered after Mark David Chapman took John's life in 1980.

I guess we're stuck to imagine.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Scully Montage (Continued!)

Thanks to my trusty Google Reader, I noticed that Lisa Borodkin, writing on, posted the link to my quickly-becoming-legendary Vin Scully compilation. Lisa actually linked to the three different calls of Hank Aaron's 715th home run (the same that Neil Best once printed the link to in Newsday).

Thanks, Lisa.

By the way, take a look at the picture in the article. The great man, in my opinion, will be easy to find (and I mean Scully, not Keith Hernandez).

Pete Carroll's Not That Bad (With VIDEO)

I was a little down on Pete Carroll after that little taunting exchange with UCLA last weekend, but this pulled me back. Watch this video from ESPN. Amazing story. Brave kid.

The video link is here.

Wow. Just. Wow. Good luck to him. Touched my heart - that's for sure.

A History of Greenwich

My inner history buff found this interesting. Via Greenwich Roundup comes this brief history of Greenwich, CT. I learned quite a few things about the town, and perhaps you will also.

It's here.

One little note: WGCH - the AM station that you all know and love - did begin its life in 1964 (September 17, to be exact). But as we once discovered, there was a WGCH-FM in the late 1940's and early 1950's.

Guess I Do Good Work

Some time back, I took several of the Vin Scully play-by-play calls that I've gathered and edited them into a small collection. I don't recall the reason I did it - it might have even been to use here - but for whatever reason, people seem to like it, and post uncredited links to it.

This was the first time I noticed it. Then last night, I noticed it...


Twice (look towards the bottom).

Three times (again, look at the bottom).

Am I bothered? Honestly? No - I'm not bothered at all. Sure, I'd like a mention, but it's OK. I'm sure I've done the same thing. No harm done. If anything, I was "LOLling" (you know, Laughing Out Loud as a verb). Then I looked closer at the last part of that third link - from Tom Hoffarth in the LA Times. Read what Tom writes about the audio clip:
The collection includes highlights of Scully calling a steal of home plate by Jackie Robinson, two final outs from Sandy Koufax no-hitters, Hank Aaron's 715th home run, Rick Monday saving the American Flag, "The Catch" from Joe Montana to Dwight Clark (when he was doing the NFL for CBS), the Mets Game 6 come back in 1986, Kirk Gibson's 1988 World Series home run, and the Twins, Braves, and Yankees winning World Series in the 90's.
Hmmm...where have I read that before? Oh, I WROTE it! Look at the description of the audio:
A collection of some highlights described by Vin Scully. Included is a steal of home plate by Jackie Robinson, two final outs from Sandy Koufax no-hitters (one of them being the classic perfect game in 1965), Hank Aaron's 715th home run, the A's clinching the 1974 World Series, Rick Monday saving the American Flag, a Willie Aikens home run from the 1980 World Series, "The Catch" from Joe Montana to Dwight Clark, the Mets Game 6 come back in 1986, Kirk Gibson's 1988 World Series home run, and the Twins, Braves, and Yankees winning World Series in the 90's.
I promise it is, as "they" say, all good. I got a good laugh out of it all. I'm pretty sure I've linked to Tom several times. If anything, Tom can pay me back by coming on "The Press Box" some day.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Tommy Henrich (1913-2009)

The Yankees family is a little less clutch today. Tommy Henrich, nicknamed "Old Reliable" for his penchant for heroics, passed away today in Dayton, OH. Tommy was among the last surviving players (and perhaps the last one) to have played on the same team as Lou Gehrig. As such he was the oldest living Yankee.

Henrich is third from left in that picture above. Those are the 1938 Yankees starters. To the right of Henrich are three Hall of Famers - names of DiMaggio, Gehrig, and Dickey. A scary good team for sure.

To compare Tommy to players in latter generations, you might want to look at Bobby Murcer, or maybe Paul O'Neill. Henrich was a five-time All-Star, and a solid player, but never a superstar. He was among the more popular Yankees of his era.

His career stats are here.

Purchase/Mount Saint Mary Tonight

Hello from the Kaplan Center in Newburgh, where the Blue Knights will take on the Purchase College (SUNY-Purchase) Panthers in women's basketball. Game time is 7:00. Christine Baker and I will hit the airwaves at 6:50 with our pregame show. I feel confident that tonight's broadcast will be smooth - better than it was last Tuesday night. The less said, the better.

Oh and on a different topic (high school football), I have yet to give you some thoughts from last Thursday's incredible game between Greenwich and Staples. As much as I wanted to write about it that day, I felt I needed a day, or even a week for the dust to settle and for my blood pressure to go back down.

Anyway, catch Christine and I tonight - here!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Our Long National Nightmare is Over

On the day in which Charlie Weis was fired by Notre Dame, and word began to trickle that Bobby Bowden would resign at Florida State, and just a mere two days after Virginia canned Al Groh, we've received word of the biggest of them all.

Wait for it.

The suspense is killing, right?


Chip Caray has been chopped by TBS. (From the New York Times' Richard Sandomir)

I'm sure TBS will find somebody mind-numbingly awful to replace old Chipster with.

Some More Linky Dinks (With VIDEO)

Derek Jeter has been named the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year. Congratulations to him. They've screwed that award up so many times, that it's hard for me to sit here and complain. There were and are other worthy candidates.

In the end, it's more about the compelling story and selling magazines. That's all.

If you haven't heard, Bob Sheppard made it official and hung up his microphone. It would appear then that Paul Olden is now the Yankees' PA Voice. River Avenue Blues picks things up from here with links to articles on Olden.

So let's add a video, from the tribute to him at Yankee Stadium on May 7, 2000. (Linked here)

This was kind USC has UCLA beaten. UCLA calls a timeout as USC is kneeling down to end the game. USC says "screw this" and throws an in-your-face-UCLA touchdown. Deadspin takes over, with video.

Speaking of Deadspin, they're all over showing the not-so-positive side of the Bud Selig years. Mr. Selig is indicating that he will step down as commissioner after the 2012 season. There had to be some good things that happened, right?

Tom Hoffarth wishes Vin Scully a happy 82nd birthday. So do we. We also wish the Great Mo Rivera a happy 40th.

I was all set to tell you about my time on the Walkway Across the Hudson from this past Saturday. However, the most righteous Emperor/Camrade Yamomoto (Mr. CC Slater, that is) walked the path earlier in the day. He saw much of what I saw, and photographed more than I did. So let's link to his post.

Great Yankees Tribute (with VIDEO)

I found this courtesy of River Avenue Blues. It's a terrific to the then-26-time World Champion New York Yankees, made early in 2009.

The YouTube link is here.

It especially gets my vote because of not one, but two shots of Bobby Murcer. Plus they honestly didn't miss much of the great moments.

Linky Dinks - Doing Stats for High School Broadcasts

This post is for Nick Fox, Matt Hamilton, Nick Angotto, Zach Fisher (soon to be heard doing play-by-play in the Cape Cod League), Rob Crowley, and anybody else who has tried to do statistics for high school football on the radio or TV.

Christopher Byrne, writing on his blog, breaks it all down, as he had a chance to do stats during a recent game in Georgia. It's not nearly as easy as it seems. Chris, in reality, had it easy by comparison to the WGCH crew, and others. For us, we use - GASP! - pen and paper, often while standing. The picture below, taken by Paul Silverfarb of the Greenwich Post on Thanksgiving Day, illustrates that perfectly:

Nick Fox(on the right) has a notebook and writes furiously. This of course, is when he's NOT tweeting. It's multitasking, people!

An abacus is often needed (just kidding) to add the numbers all up.

There are no computers because, to my knowledge, not a single high school press box in the FCIAC has wireless internet. So kudos to Chris for writing about this.

By the way, it often isn't that much better in college (at least at Division III). Mount Saint Mary SID Justin Satkowski sits next to me at home games, and he hands me print outs at every time out. Stony Brook had monitors (Division I, baby!). In Boston, we had to scrounge to get the numbers. At RPI, they had live stats on the computer.

Stats are, as Vin Scully has said, "used much like a drunk uses a lamppost: for support, not illumination."

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Brilliance of Bradshaw (With VIDEO)

I was looking around YouTube and came across this video tonight. It reminded me of why Terry Bradshaw was my favorite football player ever. You can have your pretty boy quarterbacks. Watch some of the hits Bradshaw brings on himself.

Those not seeing the video can go here.

And of course, how about this little thing he was a part of called the "Immaculate Reception." The link is here.

Only American Made is Online!

My friends' blog is up and running. Give it a read.

She's one of the best, and I support her in this endeavor. Her tenacity is one of the things I admire about her, and her dedication to a cause. This will be a big challenge that will be worth reading.

Hall of Fame Ballot Thoughts

These are my gut feelings on those on the ballot for the baseball Hall of Fame. I sadly don't have a vote, and never will, since I don't smoke cigars while bitching about the electronic media (in other words, I'm not a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America).

Roberto Alomar - Begrudgingly, I'll say yes. I think he's the kind of guy who should step to microphone next year in Cooperstown, sheepishly say "Thank you" and go sit down.

Kevin Appier - No

Harold Baines - Good hitter, but not legendary enough to be a true DH and be elected to the Hall.

Bert Blyleven - I'm on the "no" side of the fence. He hung on. Sure, Don Sutton's in and the comparison works, but do voters elect him because of Sutton? If they do, I won't lose any sleep.

Ellis Burks - Just not good enough.

Andre Dawson - Oh so close. But no.

Andres Galarraga - No

Pat Hentgen - No

Mike Jackson - You wanna be starting something?

Eric Karros - Nope.

Ray Lankford - No.

Barry Larkin - There's the thought that he is a no-brainer. I'm on the fence with Larkin. I never saw where he truly dominated the game. But it won't be the worst decision ever if he gets in.

Edgar Martinez - I saw what he did - numerous times. A purely brilliant hitter. I think a strong case can be made for him.

Don Mattingly - You probably know how I feel. Dominant for such a short stretch. But my agreement has always been consistent. No Keith Hernandez? No Don Mattingly.

Fred McGriff - Has the same number of home runs as Lou Gehrig. The comparisons end there. No.

Mark McGwire - I'm beginning to come around. I'm still leaning "no" but we're finding out the PED's were running rampant. McGwire is guilty without being convicted. As more names leak out, McGwire, Clemens, Bonds, A-Rod, and so on will start looking a lot better.

Jack Morris - I'll give you this - if Curt Schilling ever gets in, then Jack Morris should be next. For now? No.

Dale Murphy - If only. But no.

Dave Parker - Not quite.

Tim Raines - I never thought of "Rock" as immortal. I might have to think differently. Truly set the tone at the top of the order, but he was in the shadow of Rickey Henderson for the same era. It's very close to "yes" for me.

Shane Reynolds - No

David Segui - No

Lee Smith - Mariano Rivera will be a Hall of Famer. Bruce Sutter is a Hall of Famer. So are Goose Gossage an Rollie Fingers. My point? Lee Smith wasn't as good as these guys. Yet there's a case. Still I'm thinking "no."

Alan Trammell - Nice player, good guy. Not good enough.

Robin Ventura - See above.

Todd Zeile - Again.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Just Another Night in the Broadcasting World

Two views of the nice East Campus Arena at RPI in Troy, NY. Both pictures were taken from my broadcast perspective, above the arena (kind of different, but nice). Now here's this brand-new arena, right? What could have possibly gone wrong for me when the Blue Knights visited the Engineers?

Let's back-track. MSMC (Mount Saint Mary College, y'all) Sports Information Director Justin Satkowski had been in touch with the RPI sports info department weeks ago about the Knights bringing a broadcaster along, and they told Justin: "no problem." Fast forward to yesterday morning, and imagine Justin's shock when they told him, "we don't have a phone line."

BIG problem!

Oh they have phone lines. Just not ANALOG phone lines, and that is what our system (and many other like us) use. So Justin and I put our heads together and thought. Justin tried everything - called RPI's radio station...the RPI sports info department called other radio stations around Troy, and so on. There was talk of bagging the broadcast.

My thought was - no dice. I'm going.

Why not take the equipment and give it a try? Seriously, what did I have to lose? The only thing I lost was a partner, as Christine Baker and I decided that it was best for her to skip this one. Sure, I could hand a phone to her for analysis (been there, done that) but why do it if it's not necessary? Why waste her gas to go all the way to Troy, NY?

So I took the team bus, and arrived on-site ready to go. Everyone at RPI tried. We tried my equipment as is (bust). We tried to plug their equipment into mine (crash). We tried ways to make my equipment work without holding a telephone (boom).

In the end, it was me...with a phone from RPI in my hand (a VOIP phone, to be exact, and that was the very nature of the problem). The quality was good enough, and better than the alternative of a cell phone. Sadly all of this fell into the hands of a board operator working for the first night alone back in the studio. I've been that person and it's rough, but you try to make do.

The less I add to that, the better. Let's just say it was rough seas.

As for my end of the broadcast, a big thank you goes to the folks at RPI for getting me internet access to live statistics. It made me sound a little more informed.

Yet we got through it, and the Blue Knights...lost, 85-80.

We grabbed Burger King after the game (YIKES, though it was fun for me to be with the team) and got back to the college around 1:30 AM. Thankfully I caught some sleep on the bus, or I'd really be dragging today.

Honestly, these are the perils of broadcasting. All you can do is laugh at it!

We're back on the air with the women next Tuesday night from the Kaplan Center, as the Knights take on Purchase College. Our coverage begins at 6:50 PM.

Go Nomiate Your Choice For 2009 FCIAC Player of the Year

Head over to the FCIAC Football Blog and make your voice be heard. I did it, and I've decided to tell you who it is. I don't care if you think it's home cooking, the choice was a simple one for me:

Michael Lefflbine, Quarterback, Greenwich

I saw him take every snap and think he played with anybody else in the conference, certainly at the quarterback position. Sure Turner Baty is also spectacular and merits a nomination (and he's a solid kid - having had a chance to speak with him), but I've been really impressed with Lefflbine. He leads the Cardinals in virtually every offensive category and if not for a few missed extra points or one thing or another, the Cardinals would be 9-0 and the number one team in the state.

By the way, the logistics of Greenwich in the playoffs would have been a bear for me, but we would have soldiered on!

So anyway, Mike Lefflbine is my choice. Who is yours?

And I put Staples atop my BG Five. Pomperaug is second, Central third, Masuk fourth, New Canaan fifth, and Greenwich sixth. That's what I remember doing.

GHS-Staples comes your way tomorrow live from Westport. Pregame show at 10:20 (or earlier). We know you can watch it, but do you really care about shots of Jimmy (Madden lite) Cavallo with the damn turkey, or your hometown guys rocking the call?

The MSG guys are pretty good for the most part, so I'm kind of kidding.

I'm hoping for good weather, because although I know my friends at Staples are doing everything to get us into the booth, something tells me we will be in the great outdoors for the fourth time this decade in Westport.

Oh, and I expect the guys from WWPT (Staples campus station) to join us at some point. They're high school kids, let's show them some love.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Mets Will Make Citi Field More About The Mets

From Ballpark Digest comes this report that says the Mets have organized a committee to make Citi Field the Mets ballpark as opposed to the Dodgers.

This should help appease Mets fans, and critics (like me), but I still see an issue.

Granted, Casey Stengel was the teams first manager, and George Weiss was their first General Manager, but here's

THEY'RE BOTH YANKEES! They're so identified with the Yankees that's it is Re-DONK-ulous!

So OK, I get putting them both in their Hall of Fame (wait, what?), and I can even understand retiring Stengel's number (I suppose) but couldn't we maybe name the Left Field VIP area after somebody else? I can understand the Gil Hodges fascination (not only was he a Brooklyn Dodger - there's the connection - but he was the manager of the Mets' first championship team and died tragically young), but I think the Stengel thing is kind of silly.

Hey - let's celebrate the manager of our team when we were an F'ing laughingstock! You know, when we SUCKED so badly that people loved us for SUCKING!

So what's next - rename the place "Yogi Berra Field?"

Let's not miss the point though - big "ups" to the Metsies for recognizing that they were doing a serious disservice to their fans. Congratulations to the team on righting the wrong.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Life at 41 (or Where Am I Now?)

(written on Sunday, while on the bus coming home from Boston)

I wasn’t going to write about my birthday. Honest. Yes, it was today, and it really wasn’t that great to not have Sean with me, but to be honest, spending my birthday weekend in Boston wasn’t that bad. It was otherwise just…another…day.

It was the phone calls that I didn’t receive that bothered me.

I heard from everybody else – Mom, Doug, Laura, Chris Erway, Nick Angotto, Nick Fox, friends old and new and many others via text, phone, and Facebook, and I gather there are more waiting for me when I get home. I haven’t had wireless access since roughly 11:00 this morning.

It touched me to hear from each one.

Of course, I can't ever be far from Greenwich and WGCH. While in my hotel room, Sean Kilkelly called to ask if I could help with the setup for the GYFL broadcast. I hope it's clear that, even when I'm taken away from Greenwich (which is rare), I'm always on call. I'm the Sports Director, even if that is in title only.

I care, just as I have for a decade. That’s what I do, and will do for as long I’m the sports voice of WGCH.

Christine Baker and I met just after 11:00 and decided to go the Jean Yawkey Center to set up for our broadcast. We then walked up Brookline Ave. and had lunch at Boston Beer Works – right across from, you guessed it, Fenway Park. Nobody knew that, underneath my Mount Saint Mary sweatshirt sat a New York Yankees WORLD CHAMPIONS T-shirt!

Sadly, the Knights lost to Emmanuel, 59-53, but our broadcast was pretty good, and we are getting better all the time.

Following the game, I sipped on a cup of coffee and called Sean (the first time I had spoken to him all weekend), and returned Laura’s call. That’s when a few of the girls heard that, yes indeed, this strange guy who had been on this trip with them was having a birthday.

It started with two of the tri-captains (Catie Biordi and Chrissy Zrowka), along with assistant coach Vanessa Lawson. Then tri-captain Shannon Sangster, who I interviewed for the pregame show, caught on and wished me well.

As we climbed on the bus, one of them mentioned that this must have been a rough way to spend my birthday weekend. Yet, let’s think about this. Where else would I rather be? I was in Boston with a nice group of basketball players, I had dinner with an old friend, my broadcast partner and I grabbed a good lunch, and I got to call two basketball games. Sure I missed Sean, but I’ll see him tomorrow. I’m utterly and totally confused about my relationship status so, again, where the bleep else would I rather be?

And that’s when I received the nicest, coolest birthday present.

The team did their count off (I was deemed number 20 by Catie and Coach Ognibene in passing), and I did my part, which elicited some laughs. Suddenly Shannon said “Happy birthday” again and soon, the whole team repeated it. Lastly, somebody said “shouldn’t we sing?” and at that moment, all 17 of them sang to me in unison.

The funny part was when they hit the “happy birthday dear…” part because nobody knew my name. To hear me say my name and them repeat it and resume singing was classic.

You can’t imagine how much it meant to me, and I think it showed in the smile (and my likely very red face). For these girls have not the slightest idea about me. Who the heck am I? A 41 year-old single dad trying to make ends meet doing what I love and hoping to keep my head above water. The last year has been one of promise and survival – hurt and elation. Am I better than I was when I turned 40? I think so, if only slightly. Financially? No. I’m worse. Emotionally? For the most part, I think I’m a lot better – though I think I need to leave that up to those of you who know me.

So this gift of song was as much about acceptance, and that made it special.

We’re on the bus now, and we’ll be home soon. And the season continues.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Encouragement For A Friend

The best byproduct of coming to Boston this weekend was the opportunity to see an old friend. Lisa and I have known each other since 1992 (give or take) when she was an intern at Kraft. We hit it off then and have been very close ever since. Sadly, we have this bad way of going a long time without talking or seeing each other.

Tonight, we got together for the first time in four years. She looked great, and it pleased me to be with her. We walked, talked, ate dinner, walked some more (I've done a lot of that this weekend), and called it a night.

The thing about not seeing or talking to one another is that we both know we're never far from each others hearts. She's somebody I often think of and we're going to make a more concerted effort to stay in touch.

As we walked, I mentioned the blog and Lisa reacted in shock - never knowing about our little ol' place in the sun here. I can't believe I never told her, but was pleased to know that she is considering writing one of her own. I think it would be fascinating if she went for it, and I hope she does! She has some great ideas, and some great thoughts.

You will know more about it if and when it goes live.

A Few Quickies

Do the Clippers broadcasters deserve be to suspended for this. Really?

Does Bill Simmons deserve to be banned to from Twitter for this?

Nick Koules was a Stamford legend. I saw him officiate many games and always thought he was too interested in talking to people in the stands and not so interested in the action on the floor. Whatever - he was a character and a nice man. So rest in peace, good sir.

Lastly this is the kind of thing that would only interest people like me. If you've never seen or noticed, the London Underground tube map is rather iconic. Quite often people take it and redo it in one way or another. So take my love of the Tube and combine it with my passion for the highways of this country, and you'll understand my fascination with this - a Tube map-inspired take on the map of US Interstates.

Those are the links of note for tonight. I'm back in my Boston hotel room. Yep, pretty sad.

Mount vs. Emmanuel

It seems Emmanuel College beat Roger Williams pretty easily, so Mount Saint Mary will play Emmanuel tomorrow in the championship game of the tournament. Game time is 3:00.

And why am I writing on my blog at 7:44 on Saturday night in Boston? Am I THAT pathetic?

Why yes...yes I am.

A Winning Afternoon

Mount Saint Mary (the women's team) beat UC Santa Cruz (the Banana, seriously) at the Emmanuel College Invitational 72-44. It was no closer than 10-9, and the Mount ran away from there.

Terrific performance by Becky Metzger, who led the Knights with 11 points, including three of three from downtown. She also chipped in with nine board in 20 minutes of play. Catie Biordi, Chrissy Zrowka, Jess Tice, Rachel Russo, and Natalie Garbie eached scored eight. The Blue Knights will be back in action tomorrow at 3:00 for the tournament championship against either Emmanuel or Roger Williams. Christine Baker and I will have the call on Hudson Valley Talk Radio.

You should listen - it's entertaining stuff!

Friday, November 20, 2009

So This Is What It's Like To Be a Traveling Broadcaster

First of all, say hello to post number 1000! Irrelevant to most of you, and I understand. Thanks for your support.

Anyway - HELLO from Boston! It's been a long day.

It started this morning, as most days do. We said good-bye to my niece Kristy, who headed back to Alabama with her daughter Evelyn, and dog Grim. Over the next few hours, I frantically prepped for the weekends Mount Saint Mary games, fully aware that I wouldn't have anywhere else to print things. Fortunately I had packed a few days earlier, but the pleasant weather (over 60 degrees in New York) made me rethink my sweater in favor of a short-sleeved (!) polo shirt.

I had to be at the Mount by Noon to catch the bus, and pulled in around 11:45 - a good 45 minutes later than I wanted, but situations caused the delay. Still, I was on the bus - second row back - when we departed. For many on the team, this was the first time they were getting a look at me, and I heard at least one "who's that?"

The women's team chose to watch "Transformers 2" on the way here - it wouldn't have been my choice, and head coach Randy Ognibene turned to me early on and told me to let him know when Megan Fox was on the screen. Otherwise he saw no redeeming value in the movie. I know my Sean loves it, but yeah, I can't disagree. It's marginally entertaining at best.

By the way, it really hurt me to watch Sean pull away on the bus this morning. I won't get to spend my birthday with him, and he's just not ready for a trip like this yet. This whole single father thing can be mighty painful at times.

The bus ride was otherwise uneventful. We pulled into Boston a little over three hours after we left Newburgh, and Coach Ognibene handed me my room key, along with that of my broadcast partner, Christine Baker (the potential star in the making). An hour later, we walked over to the gymnasium inside the Jean Yawkey Center for practice.

Yes, Jean Yawkey. As in Boston Red Sox. I know - irony. Want more? The famous Citgo sign is within site of my hotel (The Inn at Longwood Medical Center).

I decided to leave practice about midway through. I had seen enough of the gym to know what I needed to know, and felt like my work was done. I know the team and I need to bond, and that will come. They seem like a nice group, but I hadn't eaten a true meal since Thursday night at the Hall of Fame banquet, so it was time to go.

Problem was, I wouldn't eat for another three hours.

My goals upon leaving were a) find dinner and b) get to Radio Shack to pick up a headphone splitter - one that would hopefully allow Christine and I hear through both ears in our headsets.

I walked...up to a Best Buy (that was hopeless) near Fenway Park. I walked past Fenway (didn't say a word, but thought a few things, including "2009 World Champion New York Yankees"), but chose to remember the wonder of calling the Renegades game there in 2008. I kept walking, past gorgeous houses on Commonwealth Ave. I walked past some of Boston's various colleges. I walked to the Prudential Center, where I thought I might get dinner, but refused to pay $7.00 for two slices of pizza and a soda. I kept walking, until I found the "T" (Boston's subway). Then I realized I should have kept walking, because the wait for the "T" was nuts. I jumped off the "T" a few stops later and walked right back to my hotel.

I didn't necessarily know where I was walking, but I have a good instinct for this stuff.

I popped into my hotel and hit the Net to find that a Radio Shack wasn't that far away. So I resumed walking, to Brookline, where I found the elusive Shack. I purchased my wares, found a local grocery store for a Sam Adams (wanted a Gritty McDufff's but it wasn't cold), and stopped by a Subway for a five...five dollar...five dollar foot long meatball marinara.

I resumed my walk back to the hotel, lonely but focused on making it to my room and finally having something to eat. Throughout the night, I admired the number of couples out for the night. I noticed the number of fashionable ladies making their way home from work, or on their way to get their drink on.

Boston is a very smart, well-dressed town. Could I live here? Sure, despite the fans, though that would be a consideration.

As for me, I was going back to the room, and wondering if I shouldn't have just stayed with the team and had dinner in the first place. Oh well.

If there's insult to add to injury, I returned to the room to find that the adapter that I bought at Radio Shack didn't do what I had hoped. Yet who is to complain? I'm in Boston - one of the US's great cities, prepping to do what I love the most.

There are worse ways to spend a Friday night.


Good luck to Sean Kilkelly and the rest of the WGCH sports team (The Press Box Playmakers) as they call the action on Sunday in the Greenwich Youth Football League.

It's the eighth year that we've carried Championship Sunday, and it's always a fun day.

Very Cool (with Video)

World Series Time-Lapse by Robert Caplin from Robert Caplin on Vimeo.

This is really impressive. Enjoy.

The link is here for those who can't see the video.

A Night With Hall of Famers

A good friend of the blog invited me to join him at the Connecticut High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame gala Thursday night at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington and it was my pleasure to tag along.

He doesn't like getting credit for these things, so I won't say his name.

Anyway, since I promised that I wouldn't editorialize about the evening (in other words, I'm keeping the opinions to a minimum), let me just say congratulations to the honorees

•Charlie Bentley (Harding-Bridgeport), 624-137 record in boys basketball, nine state titles, 16 conference titles since 1977.

•Paul Davis (Amity-Woodbridge), 351 swimming wins, four league titles, 12 state runner-up finishes as boys (1979-1993) and girls 1979-2003) coach.

•Mark Logan (RHAM-Hebron), five girls cross country and two girls track state titles, 639 wins, 46 league titles in 1981-2009.

•Ellen Mahoney (Ledyard), 355 softball wins (1977-96), seven state titles, 12 ECC titles, and 178 tennis wins (1980-93) and eight ECC titles.

•Lou Marinelli (New Canaan), seven state football titles and 241 wins at New Canaan and two high schools in New York since 1981.

•Marty Roos, most career hockey wins in state history with 511 combined at Fairfield Prep (1971-89) and Notre Dame-Fairfield (1991-2009), and six state titles.

•Gil Varjas (New London), 430 baseball wins, 12 ECC titles, four state titles and four state runner-up finishes.

•Bill Wallach (Guilford), 220 boys soccer wins in three stints at Guilford, including six state titles and 11 Shoreline Conference titles.

Inducted from the media will be Ken Lipshez, who has covered high school sports since 1991 with the Bristol Press and New Britain Herald.

We sat at the table for Charlie Bentley, someone that I knew in passing through covering GHS hoops for years. What nights like this make me realize is that people in the state really don't know me because I'm solely the "Greenwich broadcaster" where guys like Tim Parry are more known because of his coverage of the FCIAC (plus he played for New Canaan, and so on). I'm really just a very small fish in the bigger sea.

It was a nice affair, the food was good, the speeches were the speeches, and I'm back home. Since I'm off to Boston later today (Friday), I'll stop here.

Congratulations once again to the newest member of the Hall of Fame.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I'm a College Basketball Broadcaster

The first Mount Saint Mary game was last night, as the men's team traveled (three hours) to Stony Brook University.

Damn you Long Island traffic! It only took just over two to get back to Newburgh.

Anyway although the team got pasted 87-53, it was a good night. The team sort-of kind-of got used to me and I think they're cool with having me around. Head coach Ryan Kadlubowski is a good guy, and was very giving with making me feel welcome.

The broadcast went pretty smoothly, but I was less than thrilled with my own performance. I felt caked in rust from having not called a game in over a year and a half.

Right before airtime there was a slight serge of nerves, then a sense of pride that always hits during the National Anthem. That's my last moment to pause, reflect, and collect myself.

My only knock on Stony Brook was that they didn't have internet access for us. Anything else would be a nit-pick. Otherwise it was a first-class operation, with stat monitors (not expecting to see those anywhere else), big information packs, and so on. Very well run.

I enjoyed some laughs with the players, and Christine Baker is a top-flight analyst in the making. I have to admit that I wish I had taken notes all day. THAT would have made for a funny blog post.

Most of all, the boss sent me a text and an email raving about our performance. That's what I like. It's so rare.

So I'll take it. It wasn't great, nor was it pretty good. It was good and that means it will get better.

The next broadcast is a double-header on Wednesday, before I go away for the weekend. A long, potentially lonely birthday weekend away from my son.