Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Wow...Don't Change the Channel!

I went over to YES to check on the Yankees (10 runs in the seventh, lead 10-0) and by the time I returned, the Devils, once leading 3-2, fell 4-3.

Adios, New Jersey.

So the Bruins will now play the Hurricanes, and metro New York's winter season is officially over.

Rangers Are Done

It was a better game than I expected tonight, but the Rangers still lost to the Caps, 2-1 in Washington. It is the first time that the Rangers have lost a series when leading three games to one. While Henrik Lundquist was good tonight, he gave up a poor goal to Sergei Federov with 4:59 to play.

So that's that.

As I write, the Devils lead the Caps 3-2 in the third, and the Yankees aren't losing...they're winning 5-0 in the top of the seventh.

Off The Bench (A Tired Tuesday Edition)

If the Rangers win Game 7, remember the save that I just saw "King" Henrik make against Viktor Kozlov of the Caps. It deserved a wow for the sprawling stonewall action.

Oh, the Hurricanes and Devils are playing a game 7 tonight as well. Equal time and all.

I spoke glowingly about the Cardinals of Greenwich and their comeback win against Norwalk last Friday. Today, not so much. It got ugly...to the tune of 18-0 at the hands of a Darien team that was good but had no business beating GHS by that score.

I just have nothing to add. It was brutal.

The last time I was at Mohegan Sun was in 1998 or so. That is basically a lifetime ago - pre-Sean and all. I thought it was kind of cool back then and it's gotten better.

I'd be interested in going back. Yet, like Las Vegas (or New Orleans, where I also went the casino), it's not so much for the gambling. Sure we gambled away a few bucks (but very little of my own money!) and I walked away with $10 (which I used to buy a book, a cup of Imus coffee, and some Krispy Kreme's!). But it's the atmosphere that I like. I enjoy the people-watching (pretty girls, retirees, and more) and the hustle and bustle of it all. Plus the technology, the shopping, and the food. The tribe does a great job even though I didn't win big wampum.

I could off about the Yankees...but I won't.

I'm enjoying the hockey tonight.

Still, I won't ignore news from Bomberland. First up is this via Kat O'Brien of Newsday (who's leaving the beat to return to school - best wishes to her). The Yankees are lowering the high rent ticket prices. They had to.

More from Hal Steinbrenner via PeteAbe.

How is Matt Vasgersian the so-called "lead voice" of MLB TV?

This is not the first time he has said something flat-out wrong or a little "out there." He once ripped the Ozarks and dropped and "F" bomb on TV, so there's some history. But he had the sense to "man up" Via Kissing Suzy Kolber:
“I am an idiot .. Save the racial stuff which is just flat out wrong, almost all of what has been posted on my regrettably horrific timing is spot on .. It was a bad decision made on live tv and i can absolutely understand how that make an announcer sound insensitive. Bad on the spot judgment. Nobody feels worse about it than I do guys.”

Nick Fox took his blog down. No point in me posting the link; it's gone, due to asshats who thought it was appropriate to hack into his blog.

Add more people to the list of those who karma will one day get medieval with.

Start with the liars, phonies and people who mess with little kids. Sometimes they're the same person.

Rangers/Caps...'Canes/Devils...Yankees/Tigers...and who else is playing? Minor league ball? The JV? Whatever...I wish I had several TV's lined tonight - too much to watch.

I'll finish with this tonight: Much has been made with what's wrong with Yankee Stadium. Just as much has been made with the whining in the community. The original concept was that the old Stadium would be partially preserved, to serve as seating and a baseball field. Thanks to the neighborhood, that plan died and the building is slated for total demolition.

Ladies and gentleman, I offer you the best answer. Now I don't love that the old Stadium is falling but if it has to go like this, than here is the best compromise. You see, if you look at initial plan, you'll see the old building was to be somewhat preserved. With the community-selfish current plan, they get their athletic fields, eliminate the "winter bubble", move the softball fields closer and tear down the House that Ruth Built.

Way to go, Mayor Bloomberg and company.

Let's see if I've got this straight. The community was up in arms over the loss of the athletic fields, yet here comes these people 81 times a year to spend money in your community. OK, I see their frustration with the loss of the fields while the construction went on and the elimination of park space, but let's consider what is to be gained. I walked across those fields from time to time. You dodged the broken glass and played on dirt and not a lot of grass. Now, they have new artificial turf fields (one on top of the Ruppert Plaza Garage). Everything will be nice and new.

And a legendary building will be gone, unless people see to it to save Gate 2 and create the Yankee Stadium Memorial at Heritage Park. Check out this PDF file with all of the details.

Monday, April 27, 2009

On Today's Show

Mahopac High School's most famous media alum joins me today on "The Press Box" (I'd like to think I'm the second most famous). Jeff Pearlman (Class of '90) will talk about his new book, The Rocket That Fell To Earth: Roger Clemens and the Rage for Baseball Immortality. We might also talk about a few other things, like the Mets, football, and our hometown.

Should be a rockin' 40 minutes or so! To round out the hour, I'm hopeful Mark Rosen will be aboard for the post-mortem on the NFL draft.

See ya' at 2:00 PM Eastern!

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

GHS Baseball Shows It's Guts

Greenwich High School had no business winning yesterday. As I watched their first inning against Norwalk at Cardinal Yard, all I could do was shake my head. Whenever I'm with the Cardinals, head coach Mike Mora asks me about scoring decisions, assistant coach Tom Healy talks strategy and keeps the team loose, and pitching coach Eric Loh talks...well...pitching. Yet he and I are the two most likely to chat about anything and everything. We talk strategy, game play, hockey, radio, and whatever else.

We were both baffled in that first inning yesterday.

Five runs for Norwalk with no hits, thanks to five Greenwich errors.

Oh but there were enough mental errors to add five more (runs and errors). Players weren't covering bases and were misplaying balls. It seemed like nobody knew what to do with the ball.

To be blunt, Greenwich played the first inning like they weren't prepared. It got so bad that Mora motored to the mound, spent about one minute and returned. One person said to no one in particular, "I'm glad I'm not out there."

Me too.

Even as the Cardinals continued to sleepwalk at the plate, the Bears didn't score. Senior starting pitcher Yuta Okazaki stayed steady, keeping the few that got into scoring position from crossing the plate. The defense seemed to wake up - shortstop Kevin Collins gunned a runner down at third and helped turn a double play in the seventh.

Something happened to the Cards at the plate. It began in the third, as Collins drew a bases-loaded walk to cut the deficit to 5-1. In the fourth, an error and an RBI groundout by tri-captain Adam Franchella brought Greenwich to within two at 5-3. The Cards added two in the fifth, as tri-captain Ricky Riscica singled and scored on a single by Collins. After a strikeout by tri-captain Jeff DeVico (I write this because "Cuz" is a great kid who is struggling at the plate, and he can handle this), third baseman DJ Maloney singled and an error on the play brought Collins home.

Ladies and gentleman, we had a tie game.

The tension built from there as we went into extra innings. Norwalk initially had the better of the chances, getting two on in both the seventh and eighth innings. Okazaki left them there each time, inducing a grounder to end the eighth and two fly balls to get through the ninth.

In the last of the ninth, right fielder Robbie Catalano singled, followed by a single for Riscica, who seemed like he was groomed to win this game (I had visions of a home run, to be honest). Riscica doesn't know that he's earned a new nickname from me: "Tex", as in Mark Teixeira. Collins ended the day with his third RBI as Catalano scored to touch off a raucous celebration - one that had been building as the afternoon went along.

This was a team effort, with credit to the tri-captains for keeping their teammates in the game - Franchella and Riscica both gave strong speeches (even if they both made me laugh). DeVico showed heart and the willingness to beat his 'mates up at times, but was equally tough on himself.

Okazaki pitched his heart out - his line looked like this: 9 IP, 112 pitches, five runs, none earned, eight hits, 2 walks (one intentional), one hit batsman, three strikeouts.

The Cards need to keep this momentum rolling this week with four games: at Harding, home against Darien, at Stamford and home for Ludlowe.

It was a joy to be part of this game, which improves the Cardinals to 5-3 and 4-2 in the FCIAC. A huge gut-check win for them. One that they certainly didn't deserve after the first inning, but earned by the end of the day.

I Knew It!

I had a feeling (and I wasn't alone). The Jets traded up and took Southern Cal quarterback Mark Sanchez.

They had to do something. Now who starts for them this year?

Rule 55 Time!

I need something frivolous. Sorry.

And the "Family Guy" version:

I needed to laugh.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Keep Dancing

I just came across this video of my good friend Harold following the B's destruction of the Habs.

Gotta admit, he's got some moves.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Keep Spreading the Word!

"The Press Box" has been grinding along nicely for about a month now. We're building our guest list with names both familiar and perhaps unfamiliar (though those of you who read the blogarooski know all of the peeps).

I'm looking forward to Mark Rosen joining me tomorrow to discuss the NFL draft, and Jeff Pearlman will be on with me next Monday. Mark Vancil, who wrote books in regard to the "old" Yankee Stadium, is also going to come aboard, and more guests will follow.

Tommy Dee joined me this past Monday and helped talk about the NBA and more. He wrote about it on his blog.

Sean Kilkelly is always nice enough to promote the show on his blog.

Many people are supporting the show because they believe in it (and me, I hope) and know that it's a two-way street. An old friend from high school that I haven't spoken to in 20 years (and didn't even know he was interested) has always wanted to be in sports broadcasting, so we're talking about giving it a try. Why not?

What I'm getting is that we're trying to build this whole thing, so tell your friends (and even your enemies) to go listen to sports talk that allows you to drive the bus. We're also building up a list of reporters who can get us regional news and notes as needed (I'm close to having people in Florida, Chicago, the West Coast, and of course Hawaii!).

So tune your radio (if your in one of our markets) or your web browser to "The Press Box" for the newest voice in sports talk.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Rangers Win - Up 3-1 in Series

It just ended at The Garden, and it is rocking with a noise that I'm not sure I've heard since 1994 (you thought I was going to say anything different?).

A fun flurry at the end, and the Blueshirts are truly doing a great job of frustrating the great Alex Ovechkin. Thirty-eight save for "King" Henrik Lundquist.

Great job - love playoff hockey, and Sam Rosen was really into calling it on MSG. Wow. Sam's is the current longest-running broadcaster in New York sports, topping both John Sterling and Gary Cohen by four years. He sounds like he loves what he does, and that's great.

In the excitement of the final moments, he referred to Deb Placey (now using her married name) as "Deb Kaufman." Can't say I blame him, she was known by her maiden name for many years.

(Brief name drop: I met her when she was Deb Kaufman several years ago. She always came off on TV as a very likable person with a wonderful smile. That's very true in person. She was extremely nice to talk to.)

Dumb penalty taken by Sean Avery late in the game to give Washington one last power play. That's what you're going to get from Avery, and you take the good with the bad.

I wonder what fans paid for those tickets at The Garden tonight. That's the kind of crap I've heard about with the Yankees for a month now. Just thought I'd add that.

Oh, I answered a question that I posed on "The Press Box" today. The Bruins were on the verge of sweeping the Canadiens before tonight's game and I wondered if the B's had ever swept the Habs. Now you have to understand (if you didn't know), Boston and Montreal have met 32 times in the postseason, with the Habs winning 24 of those series. So the answer, after tonight (which Boston won 4-1 to complete the sweep)? Three times: 1929, 1992, and 2009.

Boston, I tip my hat to you.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Greatest Pitchers

Facebook has this application that lets users pick their top five things in any one of a number of categories, from favorite movies to albums to sports venues to cartoon characters. I, of course, am a sucker for things like this.

So last night, I came across one for "greatest pitchers of all-time." A fellow broadcaster, Tim Calderwood (who was born in 1981, just for informational purposes), picked Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Randy Johnson. In the comments that followed, some panned his selection of Ryan, others lauded it. To some, throwing seven no-hitters and striking out over 5,000 batters makes him the greatest ever.

Uh huh.

I'm not here to knock Tim. I think he picked the five best that he feels he has seen. That, to me is fair. Now let us look at the Exit 55 Top 5:

1) Christy Mathewson
2) Walter Johnson
3) Sandy Koufax
4) Roger Clemens
5) Grover Cleveland Alexander

Then I clarified to add the top five in my lifetime: Clemens, Pedro Martinez, Steve Carlton, Greg Maddux, and Tom Seaver. From there I could add Glavine, Bob Gibson (remember, I was born in '68 and we're talking about my lifetime), John Smoltz, Randy Johnson, Jim Palmer, Mariano Rivera (nobody said anything about this being only starting pitchers, right?), Dennis Eckersley, Phil Niekro, Juan Marichal and I'll even throw in Ron Guidry (for as brief as his prime was, and this is a personal choice). I'm still not to Ryan yet.

As for all-time, I'll throw in Lefty Grove, Satchel Paige, Bob Feller, Warren Spahn, Carl Hubbel, Edward Charles "Whitey" Ford, Dizzy Dean, Three-Finger Brown, and the guy the sport named their pitching award after: Cy Young.

I use stats for an extension of any conversation; not to define a player - in any sport. Stats are nice, but if you've ever listened to a broadcast of mine (specifically in baseball), I only use them when I introduce a player. From there, it's OK to tack it on in a dead spot (how a hitter is doing with runners in scoring position, etc). What I'm driving at is that too many people use stats as the hard and fast facts. To me, these debates have as much to do with feeling than anything else.

I liked Nolan Ryan a lot - I watched his no-hitters and was amazed at how long he pitched. I'm also aware for you stats folks that his career won-loss record is 324-292 (that's a .526 winning percentage, folks...not overwhelmingly great). Let's be clear though - he didn't make the Hall of Fame by virtue of staying around for a long time. He was dominant, for sure. Yet, to me, he just doesn't make my top five, and maybe not even my top 10. He's somewhere up there, and it's not a crime!

Yet here's what I saw statistically: two twenty-win seasons and two nineteen-win seasons. No Cy Young Awards (in the top five of voting six times). Seven no-hitters. Two ERA titles (1.69 in 1981 and 2.76 in 1987, when he went 8-16). A career ERA of 3.19. All-time records in number of base on balls (2795) and strikeouts (5714) and wild pitches (277)! Oh, and for those who like these things, his career WHIP is 1.247.

In total: a Hall of Famer. No argument from me.

My top pitchers are players that either put fear in me or thrilled me to watch (that's why I included Ron Guidry). I can imagine the mastery of watching the older guys, had I been lucky enough to see them. Ryan was great. Just not great enough to crack my top list. That's not a knock on the Ryan Express - more so, it's a tribute to the pitchers who have amazed me throughout the history of the game.

Oh, and before we wrap this up, spare me the Clemens/steroids rap. Prior to 1997, when he left Boston, Clemens was still something special to see. It's clear now that he had lost it by that point and began with steroids in 1997, in Toronto. He was incredible to watch, and it was a thrill to see him each time he was in New York.

I'm beginning to think that, eventually, we'll have to suck it up and deal with the steroids era for being what it was. We're going to find out that so many players dabbled in the stuff in one form or another. I think we're already beginning to see that, and we're going to have to adjust our opinions accordingly.

Frivolous Tuesday Morning Links

The occasional batch of road-related things come up from time to time. The New York Times did a nice piece on the Merritt Parkway, which I have driven so many times but have never photographed. Guess I should fix that.

Speaking of which, I have a lot of road photos to upload. One day soon, when time allows. When I do, you'll find them here. The main page is here, and I just added pics and a video of the Opening Day ceremonies for 2009 Carmel Sports Authority baseball. As I've mentioned before, we're the Phillies, and we're ready to take on the world.

Wait, what do you mean we don't keep score? Oh, never mind then.

Staying on that road/roadside/Americana theme, it feels like The Flintstones have kind of been forgotten of late. Well Roadside America steps up with details of two still-surviving Flintstones sites, one in South Dakota and the other in Arizona.

I'm feeling the bug to do some driving...guess that's what this "brave new world" that I'm living in will do to me. The loneliness gets a wee bit overwhelming sometimes.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday Night Linkage

I'll admit, the Yankees can often be one "F'd" up organization in their way of thinking. For as long as they've existed (or roughly since 1920, when The Babe showed up), their reputation has been that of a white collar, upper-crust clientele. Problem is, they seem to forget that deep down they have this very normal, average-guy fan base.

That includes me.

Yet they clearly don't get it. Back to them in a moment, because it gives me another chance the rip the oh-it's-just-too-easy-sometimes New York Mets.

So here's the thing. Citi Field seems to be the one place more troubled than the "new" Stadium. Among the many complaints: rampant graffiti by one of their four or five true "legends" (that would be Seaver, Doc, Darryl, and maybe Piazza).

Seems Doc Gooden was asked to sign a wall in a restaurant at the new place. The hilarity begins! Take it away Deadspin and the New York Daily News!
"One of the guys that worked there asked me to sign one of the walls, so I did it. It wasn't like I was walking around with a sharpie in my pocket," Gooden told the Daily News on Monday. "They asked me to sign the wall as a favor, as something for the fans to see. I was in there watching batting practice and they had fans taking pictures with me by my signature and I thought it was a fun idea."

Said the Mets:

"It's a brand new building, whether it's Doc or any other player, it wasn't meant to write all over the walls," public relations director Jay Horwitz said. "We are going to do things to celebrate our history, but this wasn't the right way to get that started. If we allow this precedent, people will be writing all over the stadium."
So I get it - this is not inside the Monster at Fenway, but still - can't they allow one friggin' scribble from one of the hallmark faces in team history? Dear God!

UPDATE: Occasionally teams listen to their fans. All is now well (thanks, Deadspin).

While on the subject of idiocy, Manny Acta (used to be with the Mets) is still the manager of the Washington Nationals. For now. "Bad Boy" (I hate that term) Elijah Dukes was five minutes late because he was appearing at a community outreach center (granted, not sponsored by the Nationals). Whatever. Acta benches and fines Dukes!

The House...my House...is apparently available for picnics, parties, weddings, and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs. From New Stadium Insider:
In something of a nice gesture by the Yankees, the team allowed the construction company who built the new Stadium, and is tearing down the old one, to have a corporate cookout in the sacred cathedral of sports this past Thursday, Opening Day 2009.
I'm OK with this.

The radio home of the Hudson Valley Renegades has changed formats
(Thanks, Ken McMillan). I wouldn't expect them to be adding "The Press Box", but considering I have worked there on many occasions, is it too much to ask them to help a brotha out?

Multiple websites have picked up this commercial of The Current Captain, El Tigre, and Mr. Federer bringing out their inner-groove-thang.

Back to the Yankees and how they just don't get it. Like picking on the Mets, screaming about Randy Levine is just too easy. Why he's the mouthpiece for the ultimate sports franchise is beyond me. Every time he opens his mouth, he and the Yankees look bad. He decides to offer his $.02 about the Stadium's net problem with TV cameras.

PeteAbe (who gave us the last bit on Levine) offers a fair assessment of the Stadium. This is why I like him.

The new Stadium has legitimate problems, like, say, 20 home runs in four games (plus a few more during the exhibition games). They also have to get past the "class" system and come back to reality. Monument Park is sacred; that has to be fixed. But for a high-profile cathedral of sports, it is great. It's not my old Stadium, but it's my new Stadium. I've said that before. There are things that have to be fixed and pretty quickly, but it's now the Stadium where I will go to.

And I'll be there tomorrow night. So there.

It's. About. Time. (Thanks, Tom Hoffarth) The great Scully should have his story told, and I'm saddened that he feels his life shouldn't be out there. I hope that Curt Smith tells his tale in a fair way. You can bet the ranch that I will read it.

With any luck, Curt Smith will also be on "The Press Box." I will be looking into that.

Smith, by the way, wrote Voices of the Game, still the definitive tome on baseball broadcasting. I hung on literally every word and own it in its hardcover and softcover editions.

On Today's Show

My friend Tommy Dee will join me on "The Press Box" today, 2-3 PM on the Lifestyle Talk Radio Network. Tommy writes the phenomenal The Knicks Blog, plus he knows his stuff about the Mets, Rangers and much more. It should be fun - so tune in!

Oh, and there have been some questions, so let me clarify. "The Press Box" is currently not on WGCH. To be blunt, my show airs at the same time as one of WGCH's most important shows, "The Ray Lucia Show." That would be like me trying to replace, say, Rush Limbaugh in Richmond, VA.

Wait, what?

We're hoping to get the show on WGCH eventually.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Another Take on My Jackie Robinson Day Complaint

Well done, Bleacher Report.

They totally get my argument about Jackie Robinson Day.

Mr. Selig, butt out. Thank you. Stop trying to make nice with Al Sharpton and Spike Lee.

And while we're at it, the same goes for you, Mr. Wilpon. If you haven't noticed you built a stadium for your team - the METS. Not the Dodgers, and if you're going to make it about the Dodgers, then remember the Giants as well. Instead you build this playground to reflect Ebbets Field. This is part of why your fan base gets furious with you - because your team refuses to find an identity (not to mention a lifetime of losing baseball).

Top 10 Steelers Ever?

From Bleacher Report, have a look at their choices for the top 10 Steelers ever.

10. Hines Ward/John Stallworth
9. Jack Ham
8. Mel Blount
7. Lynn Swann
6. Ben Roethlisberger
5. Franco Harris
4. Jack Lambert
3. Jerome Bettis
2. Terry Bradshaw
1. Joe Greene

#10 is a cop-out. Honestly I think I'd boot Ben and put Hines at 10 and Stallworth at nine. The Bus might be a little too high but I get his significance. Then again there's no mention of Ernie Stautner and the other great Steelers prior to 1969, when Mean Joe was drafted.

One other big beef I have here: of the 11 players listed, SIX are on offense. No no no...these are the Pittsburgh Steelers - the team of defense. Where's LC Greenwood or Mike Webster (offense, yes, but on the line at Center)? What about Dwight White and Rod Woodson? You know I could keep going with this, and I think you've got the idea.

Yet numbers one and two are spot on. The leader of the defense at number one and the offensive leader at number two. OK by me.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Some Quickies, Linkage and Stuff

Yankee Stadium opens for real today. Word to everyone once and for all - SHUT UP! We get it. ENOUGH! The overwhelming whining has got to stop. It's not the old Stadium (the '76 version) and it's sure as hell not the real old Stadium (the '23 edition). It's the '09 Stadium and it's pretty damn incredible. Learn to love it and stop whining.

Both Kimberly Jones and Bob Lorenz are blogging away now. I've never met either of them but I think they're both fine reporters and personalities. They both have a great sense of humor. Just a thought, though. Kim Jones is an attractive female reporter, a la Erin Andrews. But don't go to her blog and hit on her. It just makes you looks stupid. Can we please accept her for being a talented sports reporter?

The wearing of number 42 across baseball last night in honor of Jackie Robinson was asinine. I've not ripped Bud Selig too much, but I think he loses site and gets too politically correct. Sorry (and I know for a fact a lot of you agree with me on this one).

Honor Mr. Robinson by wearing a patch, write his number on your cleats or hat, but don't have every uniformed person wear the number. It looked dumb.

I've said many times that the Yankees should due away with God Bless America. Now comes a lawsuit over the way security treats the seventh inning stretch. Sheesh.

This had to happen. Paul Olden is Bob Shepard's temporarily permanent replacement.

Not all of the Stadium coverage is whiny. Ross at New Stadium Insider gives tips about the new digs.

I'm not one of willy-nilly retiring of numbers, but I'm biased in this case. The Oklahoma City RedHawks will retire Bobby Murcer's number one this Friday. Read about it here. To be fair, Bobby Ray never played in OK City, which is why I kind of don't agree with it, but I'm glad their favorite son (and my favorite athlete) is getting some love. They also have a bust of him outside the ballpark.

Now I want a RedHawks number one jersey!

If everyone (as in Michael Kay) had such a problem with Nick Swisher's antics the other night, why did Rays' manager Joe Maddon send the lineup card to Swisher as a keepsake of his pitching performance?

Few people are as high and mighty about baseball and the past and the right way as I am, but even I saw no problem with Swisher. Lighten up, Michael.

You've heard the highlight of the Jets winning Super Bowl III ("the clock has run out, there's the gun and the Jets are the champions of the football world!"). Merle Harmon spoke those words. He passed away at the age of 82.

Tom Hoffrath says we need to stop worrying about the decline of the great Vin Scully. Maybe so, but that day is coming and it will be a sad one indeed.

One last thing - I'm always saddened at the way these TV and radio contracts are written. I wish they would let the viewer/listener choose. The MLB Network will have live coverage of the Yankees/Indians game at the Stadium, with Bob Costas on the call. Like him or not, he's a great play-by-play announcer and baseball is better for having him back at the mic. Harold Reynolds and Jim Kaat will join him in the booth. Yet in New York, we're stuck with Michael Kay and company.


Of course on the radio side is the usual duo of John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.


Enjoy the game, and listen to The Press Box at two o'clock today (in the East).

Breaking: John Madden Retires

From CBS Sports:
Hall of Fame coach John Madden has decided to retire after nearly 30 years as an NFL broadcaster, NBC Sports announces. 'It's time. I?m 73 years old,' Madden says in a statement.
This will be a big topic on "The Press Box" today at 2:00 PM Easter on the Lifestyle Talk Radio Network.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Let the Playoffs Begin!

Say no more. Best of luck to all (Go Rangers, though I'd happy with the Bruins winning if the Blueshirts can't...yet these are the Bruins we're talking about and they haven't exactly had much luck in the playoffs since they last won the Cup almost 40 years ago).

Yes, I just wrote that I would root for a team from Boston. I don't have a problem with the Celics either, for that matter.

Oh and Greenwich baseball won their first game today - blasting Danbury 15-3. I'm guessing it was because they had their official official scorer in their dugout for the first time this season (not my first game of the season though).

Have I mentioned that I'm hosting a sports talk show lately?

You know, back to that video for a moment. It makes sense, doesn't it? For instance, a Yankees fan would never marry a Red Sox fan, right?

Not that I know anybody like that...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Your Defending Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers 2009 Schedule

Here it is, the beginning of "Revvin' for Seven" (oy, just kidding, I even hate that one).

Pittsburgh Steelers 2009 Schedule
Wk Date Matchup TV Time
1 Thu, Sept. 10 vs. Tennessee Titans NBC 8:30 p.m.
2 Sun, Sept. 20 at Chicago Bears CBS 4:15 p.m.
3 Sun, Sept. 27 at Cincinnati Bengals CBS 1 p.m.
4 Sun, Oct. 4 vs. San Diego Chargers NBC 8:20 p.m.
5 Sun, Oct. 11 at Detroit Lions CBS 1 p.m.
6 Sun, Oct. 18 vs. Cleveland Browns CBS 1 p.m.
7 Sun, Oct. 25 vs. Minnesota Vikings FOX 1 p.m.
8 Bye
9 Mon, Nov. 9 at Denver Broncos ESPN 8:30 p.m.
10 Sun, Nov. 15 vs. Cincinnati Bengals CBS 1 p.m.
11 Sun, Nov. 22 at Kansas City Chiefs CBS 1 p.m.
12 Sun, Nov. 29 at Baltimore Ravens NBC 8:20 p.m.
13 Sun, Dec. 6 vs. Oakland Raiders CBS 1 p.m.
14 Thu, Dec. 10 at Cleveland Browns NFLN 8:20 p.m.
15 Sun, Dec. 20 vs. Green Bay Packers FOX 1 p.m.
16 Sun, Dec. 27 vs. Baltimore Ravens CBS 1 p.m.
17 Sun, Jan. 3 at Miami Dolphins CBS 1 p.m.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Quite a Sad Day

Today we lost Harry Kalas and Mark Fidrych.

The great Vin Scully (truly the last of the giants) briefly commented on the passing of Kalas.

We also lost Marilyn Chambers today. Just sayin'.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Radio Silliness

WGCH carried coverage of the 16-18 year-old division of the Babe Ruth World Series in 2002. It was my pleasure to be at the microphone for the quarterfinals, semifinals, and national championship, along with Mark Rosen, Sean Kilkelly, and Ian Handwerger. 'GCH was prepared to call many other games in the tournament but we were not allowed due to a so-called "exclusivity" held by Cox Radio, locally known as WSTC and WNLK.

Yet what I remembered was that 'STC and 'NLK didn't carry any games! Their fine Sports Director, my friend Matt Levine, called some games for other stations (sending a feed to Missouri, I think). It boggled my mind but there wasn't much I could do about it. We weren't allowed to call any action until the quarters.

At least we were allowed into Cubeta Stadium in Stamford, and I filed live reports throughout the early rounds.

According to Bob Raissman in the Daily News, Chris Russo isn't allowed to take his Sirius Satellite Radio show into either Yankee Stadium or Citi Field, due to
...exclusivity clauses, invoked by Mets radio rights holder WFAN and Yankees broadcaster WCBS-AM (CBS owns both these outlets)...
So you ask: "Why?" I wondered the same thing. Again, from Raissman:
The answer to that question, according to WFAN operations boss Mark Chernoff, whom Russo accused of acting in a "petty" manner, has nothing to do with emotions or rivalries - only money.

"We pay millions and millions of dollars for the rights to the teams. As part of the deals we get that exclusivity," Chernoff said Thursday. "That's what we are selling to our advertisers. If we allow another radio station in (the stadiums), what we're selling becomes saleable for someone else. That makes absolutely no business sense."
I'm sorry, I would love to work at The Fan and I've criticized them in the past, so why stop now? This makes no sense to me. I understand competition and all, but why be so petty? I see no harm in letting 'FAN, WCBS, 1050, and Sirius in. Would they, or can they, stop ESPN Radio's national arm from doing a show, or anybody else? You can't stop, say, Red Sox radio from doing a live show, so what is the harm?

What Chernoff is trying to say is that, remote broadcasts cost money. Radio generates money from ad sales. If WFAN/WCBS allows another station to come to where they have this "exclusivity", then this other station can sell ad space on the show so recoup the cost of the broadcasts. In short, the potential exists for lost revenue for all involved, hence farewell to the exclusivity.

Fair enough but why Sirius? Russo isn't a direct competitor - something Mike Francesa himself said a while back.

In the one case, Russo wanted to do his show from the parking lot at Giants Stadium, and still got told, "adios." Not even spring training was fair game for the Doggie.

I can barely understand not letting another station in the ballpark, let alone a national satellite outlet.

Can't we all just get along?

Hello Again, Courier

Not too long ago we spoke about the demise of the Putnam County Courier, a weekly newspaper that had been in existence since 1841.

Well it's back. From The Journal News:
Roger Ailes, president of Fox News Channel and chairman of the Fox Television Stations Group, bought the paper last week from the bankrupt Journal Register Co. of Yardley, Pa.
So that's good news. Get it...good...news?

Yeah. OK. It's been a long week.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

One-Hit Wonders

How do you define a one-hit wonder in music? To me it's a band that hit the Top 40 with ONE HIT. That's it, right? I'll go further to say that the sign had a large level of popularity (top 20, top 10) but the band was otherwise never heard from again. Well the folks over at Stuck in the 80's have put together their list of one-hit wonders from the 1980's. Now I agree with Dexy's Midnight Runners dreadful "Come on Eileen." To my knowledge, I don't recall a follow-up single. Yet others, not so much.

For instance, there is always the notion that A-Ha only did "Take on Me" and that was it. Even before I ever met Sandi, I knew that her favorite band followed up "Take on Me" with "The Sun Always Shines on TV" (I thought it was a better song...or it wasn't as overplayed). According to Billboard, the song went to #20.

That, friends, is not a one-hit wonder.

A Flock of Seagulls had two more top-40 hits following "(I Ran) So Far Away. Again, not a one-hit wonder.

There are plenty of others that do not define the concept of a one-hit wonder. Peruse the list and any person with a basic knowledge of music (must...not...write...wisecrack...here...either) can see the obvious boo-boos (The Outfield, Cutting Crew - wow that's a big mistake, Thomas Dolby, Twisted Sister, and so on).

Sheesh, even considering a band like Madness a one-hit wonder is probably a mistake because they've had a big following both before and after "Our House."

Anyway, as always this makes for fun conversation.


Sad. So very sad. The end is coming for the greatest building in the history of sports (Sorry, Roman Coliseum). Thanks, River Ave. Blues.

PeteAbe has truly become the voice of the Yankees fan. Not that he has a rooting interest but his thoughts are more often than not spot-on. He does so here in his take on Joba and the video.

PeteAbe again. He hits on many of my same concerns at the new Stadium. The out of town scoreboard is asinine. How in this day does this new building not have a full out of town scoreboard? Plus there are still non-building issues that, to me, MUST be addressed. For the love of Lawrence Peter Berra, please get rid of the YMCA. I even think I saw where some form of Cotton-Eyed Joe/Joey or whatever made an appearance. Make them leave, now. Send them to Citi Field (just kidding). If you keep these stupid things, you might as well bring T-shirt tosses and wacky mascots into the new Stadium.

River Ave. Blues lists the "Official" things of the Yankees. I think it would be nice if they recognized me as "Official Voice of Reason." Dare to dream, I suppose.

To music for a moment. The WNEW blog takes a look at the Eagles' classic "Lyin Eyes." A video performance is included. "You can't hide your Lyin' Eyes..."


My thanks to one and all for trying to promote The Press Box. Tim Parry, Nick Fox, Rob Crowley and others have done their part. Now throw in Sean Kilkelly who was on the show last Friday as my first booked phone guest. Nick Fox was on the first show, and my son was on this past Monday. Michael Breed, my longtime friend, is hoping to be on soon to discuss The Masters. Hopefully today.

Call 888-454-3378 today between 2:00 and 3:00 PM Eastern to air you sports thoughts. The phones are, shall we say, rather quiet.

I Don't Get It

My team has won championships before (including, as you might recall, this past February). I've never gone "downtown" to party following the big title. I came close in 1996 but really wasn't interested in heading to midtown Manhattan after the Yankees won the World Series. Besides, I had to work the next morning.

My form of celebrating involves things like having a beer to toast the title, calling friends, and basking in the glow (whatever that means). Then I go to sleep. Then again I haven't watched too many title winners with a group of friends, with the exception of the World Series in 1996, when I was at a friends house, and 1999, when I was at Yankee Stadium.

So with that said, have a look at the post-NCAA Championship frenzy in Chapel Hill on Monday night.

I guess this is kind of lost on me. This feeling of WE WON! LET'S SET FIRES! LET'S JUMP OVER FIRES! LET'S PULL DOWN STREET SIGNS!

Yep. Not my style.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

See Ya!

I love my Google Reader. It allows me to follow all of my favorite blogs, and I have literally dozens. Today however, I deleted one.

So long, Mike and the Mad Blog.

At first, I thought these guys would be a good outlet to get the down and dirty thoughts about the "Mike and the Mad Dog" show (and thoughts on Mike and Chris solo after the split). What I discovered was:

1) Nobody listens to Chris Russo on Sirius.
2) Everybody hates Mike Francesa.
3) All they want to do is bitch about Mike's music, Mike's accent, his drinking Diet Coke, his arrogance, blah...blah...blah. Never a kind word to be found.

Probably most damning was that this site seems to be run by a group of disgruntled Mets fans who can't stand Mike's Yankee ways and the fact that their sports knowledge combined doesn't equal that of the big guy.

There wasn't any one particular post that made me drop them. It was just that after a while, the tone of "we hate Mike and the Yankees" got to be lame. Plus they have a group of sycophants that don't seem to want to take them down. I would have been the lone voice in the wind, which just gets one beaten up.

So I walked away.

Best of luck to them and if I sense a change I'll go back. I have nothing against them; I had just hoped for more.

OK, back to reality (which is why you haven't heard much from me lately). I'm in the sad, long process of moving out and dealing with what's going on. Some ugliness (I'm largely past it now) and keeping my eyes looking ahead.

Oh yeah, and I've got that show thing. Congrats to North Carolina and UConn for providing college basketball fans with the worst combined men's and women's finals ever. Boring.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

I'm Grumpy and Have Benn up Since 4:45 AM. So Let's Play "Off The Bench"

Please welcome your host, Wink Martindale!

Haysooz Cristo, what am I doing up at 4:45 on a Sunday morning? I could try to explain, but it's just not worth it. Hell's Bells, I would have preferred to be just getting to sleep than waking up.

I haven't had a fun Saturday night in a loooong time (not that going to sleep at 4:45 is my bag). See unlike others, I'm a fairly responsible parent with a conscience.

I said it. Bite me. Like the title says, I'm grumpy. Steal stuff from me and see how I take it. I can only be a nice guy for so long.

Plenty of praise and bitching about Yankee Stadium: The Next Generation. Cliff Corcoran did a fairly detailed look here. This is the second review that mentions the brusqueness of the security. If the various Paul Blarts are going to be this nasty, it will just get ugly.

Personally, every single person I spoke with the other night was friendly and approachable. Still we were checked each time we went into the bleachers. What? the bleachers?

I don't know a single freaking person who likes "YMCA." It's lame...painfully lame. The Yankees shouldn't be doing the YMCA - a cheesy bit that began in 1996. It was OK for a few years (most of us ignored it) but now it's just sad. I noticed that I didn't hear "Cotton Eye Joe" the other night, so there's hope.

Thanks to my friends in the blogosphere for promoting "The Press Box." Charles Costello and Nick Fox both did the honors.

Could you take an album and rejigger it to be a batting order? No? Well Joseph at River Ave. Blues did just that.

Looks like I won't be a part of the 2009 Hudson Valley Renegades. I'll spare you the editorializing. Sean Ford, my good friend and "voice" of the Gades for 10 years is also out. That's a pity considering he's truly one of the best. The whole thing is disappointing.

I suppose there's a slim chance that I could wind up doing something Gades-related this year but I wouldn't bet on it. They were such a godsend for me last year and I was hoping for that release again. Damn.

The good news is that my summer will be open to lots of things with Sean ("The Son").

More from River Ave. Blues about the demolition and selling of the old Stadium.

OK, that's enough for now. Michigan State and North Carolina advanced to Monday night's championship game. Whatever. I didn't find either game all that fascinating as I was packing and moving stuff around the house that I used to "own."

Saturday, April 04, 2009

The Power of Love

I don't know why, but this 80's classic by my favorite band keeps popping up recently. I heard it used as a bumper (music to go to or come back from a commercial break) during Imus in the Morning - a very unusual thing. I heard it a day later on a faint AM radio signal. I heard it while dining with friends at Kona Grill in Stamford.

I kept wondering what hearing the song in such various and strange places meant. Considering the depths of the recent rash of bad luck that I've had, I wondered if it was a sign of something.

Of course, it's probably all just coincidental but I will say this: a few days later, Sean and I were shopping in Target (you know, the Red Bullseye) when for some reason, I decided to peruse the DVD's. I figured I'd buy one if the price was right (it's gotta be something on sale and reasonable). What should I spot but "Back to the Future", featuring an Oscar-worthy turn by Hugh Anthony Cregg III - aka Huey Lewis ("I'm afraid you're just too darn loud" POETRY!). More importantly was the featured song - eventually nominated for an Oscar (it didn't win - one of history's great crimes along with Roberto Benini).

The song, of course, was "The Power of Love."

Just sayin'.

And the DVD was $10.

Consider this a nice, calm, rational version of Rule 55. Had I written this a few hours ago, you would have needed to call the fire department because I was on FIRE!

But I'm calmer now...with a plan.

A Good First Night in The Bronx

So there it is. Amazing what $1.5 billion dollars (give or take) can buy these days.

In short, the brand new Yankee Stadium is a magnificent facility. It's an amazing place in that it can lull you into believing that you're in the old Yankee Stadium but then you snap out of it an realize that you're not.

For Friday night's exhibition against the Cubs, we sat in the left field bleachers, though I would say "sat" is a bit of a misnomer. For once, going to a game was not about the game. This night was very much about the Stadium. So Sean, me, my cousin Ron and his son (and my longtime Yankee companion) Kris tried to see as much as it as we could.

We visited the site of our new Friday night seats (that's the view from the picture up top) and I'd have to say I'm OK with it. We spent a few innings in our actual bleacher seats. We walked to the Yankees Museum, the gift shop, the food, the restrooms, and I think you're getting the idea.

Onto a brief review.

The Yankees Museum is nice but it is a work in progress. For now, the focus is on a long display (60 feet, 6 inches) of autographed baseballs. A computer in the room allows you to find the location of a certain players ball. So...of course I looked for Bobby Murcer. Damned if the computer had the ball placed wrong! I did find it, along with Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth (the Yankees' Saints).

We also found A-Rod for Sean. It's nice to see the innocence in his face he knows that A-Rod did something bad with the steroids (among other things) but that's still his guy. I admire that, and I noticed other people taking note of him as well.

Now one question - why in the name of Graig Nettles are there autographed balls from Michael Kay, Suzyn Waldman and John Sterling? I can barely understand having a George Steinbrenner ball but come on!

The museum needs more. It has a seat from each Yankee Stadium incarnation, a display on Babe Ruth, Thurman Munson's locker (some people didn't even know what it was) and a fake locker in which you can program a message board over top to say your name.

All of the pictures are here.

The food is expensive but largely worth it. I got to sample a Johnny Rockets hot dog, fries, a slice of pizza, and a buffalo chicken slider. I enjoyed everything that I tried but it was fairly standard. Still there was a lot to offer, but it's just so overpriced.

We hit the huge gift shop off the Great Hall, to the first base side of home plate. Like the food, the selection is great but the prices are nutty. Still I caved in and bought Sean a matchbox-type car and mug for me.

There are a few drawbacks. Figuring out how to move the foot traffic is a concern. There are spots where the access from the rest of the Stadium to the bleachers shrinks. Think of it like driving on a six-lane road and having it reduced to two. The bottleneck is silly. To further that are the food carts. Now those are good things because you can grab a pretzel without standing on line with the people who want the hot dogs but the placement of them seems foolish and just causes more traffic problems.

We've talked about the obstructed views. They're stupid - end of discussion. We'll move on.

For me, the few minor negatives were not that major and are largely fixable. It's a great new Stadium, and it would automatically be my favorite place in the world save for one thing.

It's not the old Yankee Stadium, which sat silently across E 161st St. The letters weren't even lit and the old message board was empty. Sad.

As I walked in via Gate 4, I saw the famous picture of Lou Gehrig at his retirement ceremony on July 4, 1939. What struck me was that, while that's a great picture of a monumental moment, mystique and aura doesn't just walk across the street. Lou Gehrig didn't make that speech in this ballpark.

It will be a great place to spend many great nights, and is the palace that the world's most famous sports franchise deserves. Was it necessary? Probably not, but it's here now and we're all going to love, or learn to do so.

Oh and the Yankees won 7-4, with home runs from Robinson Cano, Hideki Matsui (# 55 on your roster), and Cody Ransom. So there's that.

One other nitpick. I paid a quarter for the tickets. Tonight was about rebirth at 1923 seating prices. Could the Yankees and Cubs have played in throwbacks? I think that would have been great.

OK, I'll stop. On to bed. I've got practice to coach in the morning and moving to do.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Bob Shepard - Retired or Not?

If you believe this article from Jack Curry in the Times...yes.

But! Not so fast, according to PeteAbe:
The Yankees refuted the report on Bob Sheppard retiring. Team officials said they spoke to his son Paul, who denied making the statements attributed to him. But Mr. Sheppard is 98, in ill health and has not worked a game since 2007. The odds of his return are slim. Hopefully he’s able to announce a game or two this season.
It doesn't look good, but let's hope we can hear "the voice" one more time.

And It's Official - The Press Box is on the Web!

Thanks for my friend and foo (don't ask) Lindsey for directing me to "The Press Box's" page on the Lifestyle Talk Radio Network's website. Nothing fancy - just a picture and a bio. I'm glad Sean and Fred got mentioned!

I guess that means I get to stick around for a little while.

We'll get some guests going but I'm still flying solo for the time being to get used to daily grind. One hour really isn't a lot of time when you get right down to it, but that's OK - I'm not complaining.

It's been a while since I've worked in what's called a clock (that is, the format of a show). Basically this tells me what time I have to work with. In most of my previous incarnations, I knew I had to get in "X" number of breaks (three or four or whatever). In other words, there were things that had to run but I could pretty much run them when I wanted.

So I have to adjust - have the guest on during the first long segment? Keep them for a half-hour? Longer? What about callers? Am I leaving myself enough time for news and such? This is a work in progress!

As the page says, podcasts are available, which is a way of saying you can download previous shows. It seems just yesterday's show is there, but I have Monday's (if you really want it).

In a stretch of time recently where I haven't been smiling a whole lot, this did bring an upward curve to my lips.