Wednesday, September 30, 2009

High School Poll Results

The state football polls are out. Enjoy.

The Bill Gonillo Five is up also. Some of the results boggled my mind, so I had my say over at the FCIAC Football Blog. While there, Tim Parry checks in on Jonathan Myers, the former GHS star who has stepped away from football.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My .015 of Fame


Via YouTube comes a few 2009 highlights from the Hudson Valley Renegades. Keep watching - literally, DON'T BLINK! - at :03 for the nodding figure in the light blue polo shirt. That would be me, number two voice of the Renegades (if we're not counting interns Dustin and Matt).

Did you know (I think) I've called the fifth-most total games in team history? My old partner Sean Ford has the title by a wide margin. I would guess probably Bill Rogan is probably second, Geoff Brault third, and maybe Rick Schultz fourth. Or something like that.

Worthless stuff, but I need something to get me through the day.

Bill Gonillo Five After Week Two

My BG five remains the same:

1) New Canaan - Cruising.
2) Greenwich - Rocked Stamford after allowing an opening kickoff return for a TD.
3) Masuk - Solid.
4) King - 356 yards and six touchdowns? I'd say Silas Redd is impressive.
5) Staples - Looking good early on.
6) Trumbull - I'll leave them at number six, though Ridgefield is right behind them.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Amazingly Classy

Peter Abraham will be missed but it looks like he will be replaced by Sam Borden, the equally good, top-notch writer for The Journal News.

PeteAbe had been using various pictures of items related to the Yankees to count down the magic number to the American League Easter Division title (which they clinched yesterday). When he got to number one, he wrote:
Sue [sic], Billy Martin would have been the easy choice for the magic number. But the late Bobby Murcer knew most of the players on this team and was close friends with Joe Girardi.

Plus he was one of the nicest guys in the game. So as the Yankees move a win away from clinching, let’s remember Bobby.
This was the picture he used:

Show me a person who disagrees with this and I'll show you an idiot.

Among the many comments on that post is broadcaster Mike McCann, who said that a debate goes on regarding a Yankees'
"equivalent to a “ring of honor.” Bobby, with 40-plus years of service as a player, executive and broadcaster, deserves a permanent remembrance. Something other than a “retired number,” more a plaque honoring the name, the achievement, the person’s place in Yankee history."
Now this is interesting, but I long thought that Monument Park should be done like this:
Monuments=immortals
Plaques=people of note.

Bobby Murcer deserves a plaque. Of course, thanks to the idiotic way that head stooges Lonn Trost and Randy Levine allowed the new Stadium to be built, there currently is not enough space for an extension of "Monument Cave."

OK, rant over. "The Press Box" comes your way today at 2:00 PM. Expect lots of ranting from me. I mean, come on. The Steelers LOST...to the BENGALS? WT (that's short for "What The")?

Monday Linky Dinks

Some links for you as I bask in the afterglow of a rainy day at The Big E.

A decision is coming in the effort to save Gate 2 of the old Yankee Stadium (Thanks, Ballpark Digest). You know my opinion about this - considering the way it has all been handled (see: Bloomberg, Mayor Michael and other criminal politicians in New York), this is the LEAST they can do.

Please tell me this isn't true. A nine year-old wears his CC Sabathia T-shirt to school and a teacher (read: Red Sox fan) makes him turn the shirt inside out, prompting taunts from other students all day. I may have a deep, profound hatred for a few teams, but I wouldn't do this. Ever.

Of course, the Yankees (oh, sorry, the AMERICAN LEAGUE EASTERN DIVISION CHAMPION NEW YORK YANKEES) will exploit support young Nate with a package of goodies (Thanks to Syracuse.com for both).

We talk so much about the FCIAC here, but there are some other great football players in Fairfield County. Silas Redd plays for the King School in Stamford and will head to Penn State next fall, and he ran for 356 yards and six touchdowns against Hamden Hall. Monstrous Yankees-hater Tim Parry has more at the FCIAC Football Blog.

Ken at Fang's Bites went away from sports media to dip into music. Cool...because he posted his top 10 Beatles songs! He picks:

10) Penny Lane
9) You've Got To Hide Your Love Away
8) I've Got A Feeling
7) I Am The Walrus
6) Strawberry Fields Forever
5) Hey Jude
4) All You Need is Love
3) Revolution
2) Here Comes The Sun
1) Let It Be

I'd probably only take "I Am The Walrus" in my top 10.

Finally, from ESPN via Deadspin, comes comebacks we don't want to see. For the record:
86) Atari 2600 - are you kidding me? I wish I hadn't gotten rid of mine!
76) Overly earnest baseball nicknames, such as "Charlie Hustle" and "Donnie Baseball" - Leave "Donnie Baseball" alone! To me, that's Kirby Puckett's greatest influence.
75) TV shows with better theme songs than plots, such as … 74) "Cheers" or 73) "The Greatest American Hero" - "Cheers" was a great show. "The Greatest American Hero" (and its theme song) was among the worst ever...believe it or not.
66) Music by Bette Midler - AMEN!

The rest of it is good for a laugh.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Gerry Rafferty Follow-up (With VIDEO)

Remember this post, in which I pointed out that musician Gerry Rafferty, most famous for "Baker Street", was supposedly missing? I guess I probably should have stayed on top of the story, because as I trolled around the 'Net last night, I found this:
Singer Gerry Rafferty has issued a statement to say he is "extremely well" at his house in Tuscany despite rumours that he had gone missing.
That's from the BBC, and you can read the rest of it here. Sadly (for me), the story is dated 18 February 2009 (very British of me, I might add).

*sigh*

I'm glad he's OK. Please accept my apologies for my shoddy reporting by accepting this video of Gerry and Stealers Wheel doing "Stuck in the Middle with You."



And if you would rather see the "Reservior Dogs" scene where the song is used, head here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Video Recommendation (With VIDEO)

Mick (anybody remember him?), official Public Relations guru for the former Section 5 at the old Yankee Stadium, sent me a link to the following video tonight. He writes, I watch.

Then I laugh. And you might also.

I'm willing to slap a "Rule 55" tag on this one as a pilot program. There are things to talk about that I can't/shouldn't/won't. As such, this qualifies.

This, by the way, is post number 900 on the ol' bloggo by Robco. I thought I had written a lot more. So whatever.

The Top 10 High School Football Programs of This Decade

Interesting blog post by Mike Pucci from the New Haven Register a few weeks ago. He picks the top 10 high school football teams in Connecticut. His full post is here and, to be honest, I have a hard time arguing with him:

1) New Canaan
2) Ansonia
3) Greenwich
4) Staples
5) Masuk
6) New Britain
7) Hand
8) Seymour
9) Bloomfield
10) Ledyard

Keep in mind that this is for 2000 to 2008. Three FCIAC teams in the top four? Nope - I don't think I can dispute it. Now if Greenwich can take care of business in 2009, I think we'll have a whole different debate on our hands, especially since Greenwich beat New Canaan in the conference championship game in 2002 and 2007.

Happy 60th Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuce! (With VIDEO)


Mr. Springsteen is 60. I can only pray to be...

1) Alive
and
2) Kicking arse like him at that age.

How to celebrate? Well with his music, of course. (DUH!)

You could head to this top 15 (I don't agree with them, of course). Or you could try an album by album breakdown.

First, let's have some video. "Jungleland." Wow...just wow.


Next, truly showing just how much freaking fun these guys have, "Out in The Street"

What a concept - no effects. Just rockin'. How unique. Both recorded in New York - at the Garden.

As for my Top 10? I'll pick them, but they'll be different by tomorrow...
1) Born to Run - I know, too easy. Sorry. It's still amazing. A reason that Nigel Tufnel wanted amps (and stereo speakers) to go to 11.
2) Thunder Road - Track one on one of the most perfect albums. I'd love to sing this to a woman who can't seem to figure it all out. These lyrics are magic:
Don't turn me home again
I just can't face myself alone again
Don't run back inside darling you know just what I'm here for
So you're scared and you're thinking
That maybe we ain't that young anymore
Show a little faith, there's magic in the night
You ain't a beauty, but hey you're alright
Oh and that's alright with me
3) Rosalita - A very personal choice, not just because it's a great song. It's Sean's favorite Springsteen song - the one he made me play constantly. He will still play an air-keyboard to go along with my air guitar and drumming. I hope Sean and I will one day see Bruce play this live in person.
4) Jungleland - An epic track. Think "West Side Story" meets Rock and Roll.
5) Darkness on the Edge of Town - "Well if she wants to see me...You can tell her that I'm easily found"
6) Bobby Jean - My favorite track from Born in the USA, which is hardly my favorite Bruce album.

OK, now it gets tough. "Candy's Room", "Hungry Heart", "The Rising", "Meeting Across the River", "Badlands", "Spirit in the Night", "The E Street Shuffle", "Kitty's Back", "Tenth Ave. Freeze Out" (AMAZING to see live), "Prove it All Night", "Sherry Darling", "The River", "Atlantic City", "Tunnel of Love", "Red Headed Woman", "Streets of Philadelphia", "Radio Nowhere", "Waiting on a Sunny Day", "Outlaw Pete", "Working on a Dream", "My City of Ruins", "The Last Carnival" and "The Wrestler" are all in the discussion of pure greatness. And I've only scraped the surface.

So I'm going to go listen to some Bruce now. Happy birthday, Boss.

Yay for Richmond!

Baseball will be back in the capital of Virginia in 2010. Check out the details from Ballpark Digest. The team will upgrade The Diamond to the tune of nearly $10 million - meaning they're in it for the long haul.

Keep an eye on the Richmond Times-Dispatch for more details.

The official announcement from the Eastern League is here.

If done right - it will work. You can feel safe in saying that I'm expecting to get back to Richmond for some baseball in 2010.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

High School Football Polls and Other Notes

I vote in the Bill Gonillo Five, so I'll start there. New Canaan has retained the number one spot, as they should.

The Day of New London has their coaches' poll. Sean Patrick Bowley is from the Connecticut Post, and I link to him. Greenwich is third.

Lastly comes the New Haven Register's media poll, featuring mostly writers with three broadcasters (present company excluded). Greenwich comes in sixth here - up two slots. Dave Ruden gets our link, via the Stamford Advocate.

Yes, I know Dave also had the The Day's poll. I wanted to link to SPB. Sue me.

Dave gets one more link, as he's been on the Khairi Fortt story
. Fortt has been cleared to play Friday night.

Bill Gonillo Five - After Week One


I'm back to voting for the Bill Gonillo Five - essentially the poll of the top high school football teams in southwestern Connecticut. Incidentally, the voters select six teams and it gets whittled to five.

My picks in the preseason were:

- New Canaan
- Greenwich
- Masuk
- King
- Staples
- Ridgefield

At least that's how I think I remember it. After the first week of action, my picks were:

1) New Canaan - the best until I see something that changes my mind.
2) Greenwich - solid against Norwalk. They play Stamford on Friday. Could be in line for a big year.
3) Masuk - I like them.
4) King - 2009's answer to what Brunswick was in 2005 or so. I'd love to see them for real against an FCIAC team.
5) Staples - I have such respect for the Wreckers and Coach Petroccio. I look at last year's 6-5 as an oddity.
6) Trumbull - I'm torn between Ridgefield and the Eagles. Last week, I had the Tigers here and based on their early play against Stamford, they might be back. Yet I've heard great things about Trumbull. Tough call.

Again, I think that's how I lined them up. I just kind of filled out the ballot and hit send, without writing it down for the blog. We'll try to get a little more in depth as we move along, though I make no promises.

A New Game All Sports Fans Will Enjoy

It's too easy to pick on the Mets, but I have to give props to the Wall Street Journal for coming up with another creative way to poke at the Amazins' 2009 disaster.

It's MetsSloppily.

I found it while looking at information on Richmond, VA's ESPN 950 website. I'm looking into lining up a guest for "The Press Box" from R-VA to discuss the minor league baseball situation.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ernie Harwell Farewell

This is worth watching. Very classy.

Linky Dinks

As opposed to saying what's on my mind these days (which is why I haven't really been heard from around here, and few status updates until tonight on Facebook), I'll post some links.

Kind of skittish about "Rule 55" these days. I'll get the old feeling back soon.

This is not exactly a link but - hey!, did you hear that WGCH has added New England Patriots football to our roster of local coverage?

Few more kind and genuinely decent people in the broadcast industry than Ernie Harwell. He stopped by Comerica Park last week to salute fans and friends. (via the Freep)

While we're in Detroit, Tiger Stadium is no more (thanks, Ballpark Digest). So why do I think that there's no chance of saving any part of Yankee Stadium, despite the hopes of others (again, via Ballpark Digest)?

Joe Alvarez was the Renegades' manager in 2008. I interviewed him in Fenway Park. He's got a new gig now. He's a terrific guy, but he's old school.

Baseball is coming back to Richmond (from Ballpark Digest). I'm sure Jon would be happy to have me come back to my beloved Virginia city so that the two of us, with Sean and Jon's family, can see a game.

Not forgetting about high school football, we were supposed to see a top Division One prospect this Friday in Stamford, but Khairi Fortt injured his knee last week against Ridgefield. Dave Ruden of the Stamford Advocate says Fortt will visit the doctor tomorrow. We'll soon find out his status for Friday when the Black Knights take on the Cardinals (pregame show at 5:50 on WGCH if we can find space in the tight quarters at Boyle Stadium because TV will also be there...don't get me started).

Of course, Tim Parry has thoughts from last Wednesday's Greenwich win, and lots more.

I always thought Adam Schein was a clown when he was on WFAN. He and fellow SNY cohost Brian Custer didn't like a question from Newsday's Bob Glauber, proving to me that Schein and Custer are both fairly clueless. Thanks to Neil Best for the details.

Speaking of things that struck me (not a link, just a rant). I popped on 1050 ESPN for a moment yesterday and, for some reason, Bill Daughtry (formerly of WGCH...yes, the same) decided to take a swipe at Steelers fans in comparison to New York fans (Giants and Jets). I don't know if a fan prompted it, but whatever. To question the volume of Heinz Field versus Giants Stadium as if there's no comparison was silly. I think the two can play in their own league.

Bill also went on to essentially say Rangers fans are tops in NY, followed by Yankees and Giants fans.

A really good guy is moving on. Peter Abraham announced he is leaving The Journal News, where he's been the Yankees' beat reporter, to go to...NOOOOO...Boston, to cover the Red Sox for the Globe.

More PeteAbe: 2010 Yankees ticket prices.

Here's a story on another good guy. I met Freddie Coleman when I first joined the Renegades in 2001. I've heard him many times since on ESPN Radio, and couldn't be happier. A quality guy with a great voice who knows a ton about football. Pete Dougherty in the Albany Times-Union profiles "Fast Freddie."

Guilty Pleasures and Off The Beaten Path


Music, as we all know, is very personal. Those who don't like music can't appreciate what music can do to the soul. We can develop such an attachment to a song or album for a memory or a special time and place that we may never want to hear it again when circumstances fall apart.

Oh, I can appreciate that. But that's not the point of this. That's a post for another time.

Tonight, while making dinner in an empty house, feeling kind of empty inside, I decided it was time for music. There have been stretches where I just felt like maybe I didn't want music. Not that I didn't want to hear it; I just wasn't quite into discovering and such. And yes, painful memories were often attached.

Understand what a departure that was for me. I was, and probably still am, the DJ of this family. I've DJ'd a wedding, and was probably the "music director" for another. Oh but when times are grand, I can't get enough. I could tell you about a recent long trip home from a southern city when I rocked out and was in fantastic, Rock Band quality voice, thank you very much!

I'm getting off track. Let's go back in time...

1984. Still, to me, one of the landmark years in music. Bruce and "Born in the USA", MJ and "Thriller", Price and "Purple Rain", and OF COURSE, Huey and "Sports." And others. Maybe not your taste (or mine) but it was a year when music was explosive.

My love of jazz, and a good pop song, melded together as Joe Jackson (not Michael's dad, and not Shoeless) released the album "Body and Soul." Most notably on the album was the single "You Can't Get What You Want (Till You Know What You Want)", which topped out at number 15 on the US charts. I can remember hearing that song so clearly during our ninth grade trip to Washington, DC (one of my "coming of age" moments). Still, one song wasn't enough for me to buy the cassette, LP (that's a record, kids), or that new-fangled CD thing. I was not aware of a casette single (or cassingle) for the track.

(Note: the author did not own a CD player until late 1988)

My basic rule: one track that I like...not going to buy the album. Two tracks...now we might have something. Three? A must-buy!

It took until sometime in the 90's, when I noticed that Record Town, in the Jefferson Valley Mall, had a discount bin of old cassettes and low and behold, there sat "Body and Soul." I don't think it cost me more than five dollars (and might have even been $1.99). So the price was right, yet all I played was "You Can't Get What You Want (Till You Know What You Want)" until finally, one day, I convinced myself to give the rest of the tape a spin (work with me here; it's a metaphor).

I liked what I heard. I also decided that this album was one of those that "belongs to me." What I mean by that is - think about it - how many times have you been among other people, and music comes up? So you start talking...Beatles...Stones...Springsteen...you know the drill now. Sometimes it gets personal. Yet if you say "Joe Jackson", you might get a reaction (and I have friends who would definitely respond). Now, drop "Body and Soul" and you might get looks (in our latter day, known as "WTF?")

Bottom line: if somebody is scanning my CD collection (or looking in my iTunes) I almost guarantee that they won't be asking me to burn "Body and Soul" for them.

As such, this album is mine. A guilty pleasure, with punch-in-the-gut hurts like "Not Here, Not Now" (hiding a crashing relationship) and "Be My Number Two" (moving on, perhaps not so gracefully). Yet there are some happy bouncers, like "Go for It", with a personal favorite line:
"Think of Babe Ruth and you'll think of hot dogs and beer. But if he can hit a home run, so can you, and your weight is just nowhere near."
A more complete review of the album, from Rolling Stone, is here.

This is hardly the only album I have like this. In fact, I'd probably say I have several. Sure, I've got the no-brainers, like "Born to Run", "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band", "Hotel California" "Exile on Main Street", "Dark Side of the Moon", and so on, but I also have these strange, offbeat albums that seem to strike a different note. I know I'm not alone in this regard.

To repeat: music is very personal.

Wait, WHAT?

I've set up a couple of Google Alerts - which is a way for me to search on a term or name and have the results automatically placed in my Google Reader. For instance, I have an alert for "Exit 55", in case the blog is getting a little love (or lack thereof). I've done the same thing with "Greenwich Cardinals" and "Hudson Valley Renegades."

I've also done one for "Rob Adams." That lead me to see this today:

Robert D. Adams wanted on aggravated murder charge: Fugitive of the Week (from Cleveland.com and the Cleveland Plain Dealer) It seems Mr. Adams shot Terrence Galarza in the 7900 block of Elton Avenue. Looks like he also violated his parole.

OK - let's clear this up now. Yes, I am Robert D Adams, but I haven't been to Cleveland since 1999. Need more proof that I'm not THAT Robert D. Adams? From the article, Mr. Adams is described as:
5 feet 4, 140 pounds, with hazel eyes and a scar on his left cheek.
Safe to say, that's not me.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

An 83-point Blowout? This Wouldn't Go Over Well in Connecticut

I've seen blowouts. Heck, I watched one last night, as Greenwich scored early and rolled to a 35-0 halftime lead. They cruised to win 35-14.

But...83-0? Yep, courtesy of Rivals High.

I won't immediately pass judgment but I will say that something is fishy when you score 83 points. Yet I think it's hard to tell kids to stop playing or trying to score.

But EIGHTY-THREE POINTS?

Wow.

Somewhere (probably in Masuk) Jack Cochran - the very reason for Connecticut's insane 50-point rule - is smiling.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

One Other Thing...

Regarding the Posada thing, with a personal story.

A few years ago, I was playing in a softball tournament and I was catching. For the record, I hate catching. Or should I say: my KNEES hate catching.

Anyway, an opposing player (and a real jackass. Sorry, I've said it), came around third to score. I came out from behind the plate - like a catcher does - and said jackass decided to throw a shoulder into me. Never apologized, never said a word. I thought about putting him through a wall, but didn't.

Look - I get it. Just as with Serena Williams, Jorge Posada, and this ass, I'm an emotional, hard-nosed player. But there's a point where a line gets crossed. The foot fault called on Serena was bush-league, but Serena can't threaten a judge. Posada was annoyed that he was thrown behind, but he needs to have a long memory and let it go.

And this softball jackass was and is simply a jerk. But when I saw what happened last night in New York, it reminded me of that play several years ago.

Posada was dead wrong.

Jorge Posada Should Know Better

Dumb. Just dumb. That's my basic reaction to what Jorge Posada did last night in the Bronx, when he threw a brushing elbow at a piddly little reliever named Jesse Carlson.

That got Posada ejected. It also triggered a brawl, which could have caused some big hurt to some big names (Sabathia, Teixeira, Jeter, A-Rod, etc were all in the midst of it).

Now we get to hear from my favorite dean of discipline Bob Watson. So Posada will like get a month, and miss the playoffs.

I'm kidding, but that's kind of how Watson works.

Here's Peter Abraham's take, along with Tyler Kepner's.

Posada is a veteran; a leader. He's got to be smarter than that.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

We've Lost Another Legendary Voice

Here's to you, Fred Cusick. Boston broadcasting will not be the same without you.

The guy even broadcast Lowell Lock Monsters games, AFTER he walked away from the Bruins. What more can one ask for?

Your 2009 WGCH Broadcast Team

Well it looks like I'll be behind the microphone tomorrow night as Greenwich and Norwalk kick off the 2009 high school football season at Cardinal Stadium. So let's meet the 2009 broadcasters...

- Rob Adams: I think enough has been said about me. Loves long walks in the park and other things. Can sometimes hit a curve ball. Oh, and I'll do play-by-play, beginning my 10th year with GHS, though I suppose it's technically my 11th since I was a sideline reporter briefly in 1999.

- Sean Kilkelly: Lead analyst, also technically starting his 11th year with GHS. He'll be a guest on "The Press Box" on Wednesday to talk about high school football.

- Nick Fox: sideline reporter for games at Cardinal Stadium, and statistician for road games. Beginning his second year on WGCH.

- Chris Kaelin: New to WGCH, he will handle interviews and sideline reporting.

- Chris Erway: Also new to WGCH, he will do stats when we're at Cardinal Stadium, and sideline reporting when we're on the road.

- Rob Crowley: Back for his second year, Rob shifts to the comfy confines at the corner of Lewis and Mason Streets, serving as our Studio Host. Rob will handle portions of the pregame, halftime, and postgame. He'll also drop in with updates from around the sports world throughout the broadcast.

Tune your radios in the Greenwich area to 1490 AM, or hit us up online at WGCH.com for all of the broadcasts of Greenwich High School, the Rye-Harrison game, selected Brunswick Bruins games, and more.

One last thing - the same rules always apply. Chief among them is if we mispronounce a name, just give us a gentle nudge and help us out. Remember, there are no Sports Information Directors in high school football, so we're often making it up as we go along.

Preseason Bill Gonillo Five

High school football is off and running (and starts in Connecticut tomorrow). So Tim Parry had media members (me included) vote for the Bill Gonillo Five - the Preseason Edition!

The text of the full results are here, but I'll spare you the suspense:

1)New Canaan Rams
2)Greenwich Cardinals
3)Masuk Panthers
4)Staples Wreckers
5)Shelton Gaels

I'm basically in agreement, though I would include the King School from Stamford as well.

We start tomorrow night at 5:50 with the Shore and Country Properties Pregame Show.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

From Today's Football Action (VIDEO)

This is how the Broncos and Bengals ended things today in Denver. The voice from CBS is Gus Johnson.

I post. You have your say. Thank you.
(There is a video here if you can't see it)

Let's just say this isn't exactly the Red Barber/Vin Scully School of Broadcasting, OK?

Starting Year 10 at Greenwich


Rob Adams and Sean Kilkelly at Trinity Catholic, 2000.

I began calling football for WGCH's old sister station, WVIP (AM), in 1999. When then-Sports Director John Connelly stepped down in 2000, I was given the position. This meant that, starting that fall, I would become the play-by-play voice of the Greenwich High School Cardinals.

My first order of business was to pick an analyst. The person needed to be somebody that I was comfortable with. That person was Sean Kilkelly. Sean will be standing to my left on Wednesday night when the season kicks off. That should tell you all you need to know about our chemistry and friendship.

In 2000, the Cardinals were the defending state champions, and the job was very intimidating. Yet head coach Rich Albonizio put me at ease, and we have a very warm relationship, fostered over years of mutual trust. I recognize his job is tough, and that the players, while not immune to criticism, are high school kids. As such, we walk a fine line. I can say, in fact, that I have a great relationship with all of the coaches, with special nods to Kerry Gavin, TJ Ostruzka, and Wayne Gioffre - each of whom has accepted me as more than a media guy.

The Cardinals have given me thrills, chills, and spills. In that 2000 season, they played for both the FCIAC and state championships. They lost in each case, but it was a wild ride. They would win the conference title in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2007 but would lose the state championship game in 2001, 2002, and 2004. To be honest, I thought I was a jinx. Finally, they brought it home in 2006, and again in 2007.

There have been some bad and strange moments as well. I'm not looking to relive those tonight.

We've seen great players, most notably John Sullivan, who moved onto Notre Dame and the Minnesota Vikings, where he's now snapping the ball to some guy named Brett Favre. But there have been others that I've been blessed to talk about. I can't possibly name them all, but allow me to mention a few. Pat Wilson (who might be the best athlete arguably nicest kid that I have covered), Peter Salvatore (I saw his brother Michael play also but missed Danny), Kevin and Steve Longo, Kevin Miculcy, Ricky Riscica and Jeff DeVico (Cuz!), Jonathan Myers, the Jones boys (Cori, Cameron, and Colin), their cousin Tielor Robinson, Frank Parelli, "Touchdown" Tom Brown, Sean Bannon, TJ Cameron, Jim Dunster, and the Bisanzo's (Mark and Chris). Plus, I broadcast games for Nick Angotto and Nick Fox, and both joined WGCH at one time or another. And to top it off, a raw kid named Matt Hamilton worked with us, went to Mizzou, and has returned to join Coach Al's staff as a sophomore coach.

On the air, besides Sean, the Nick's, and Matt, we've had Mark Rosen, Ian Handwerger, Tommy Dee, Tom Pollina, Tom Kane, Ricky Fritsch, Zach Fisher, Rob Crowley, Dave Rothenberg, Ron Warzoha, John Collins, Amanda Romaniello, Tim Parry, and Jason Intrieri. Dom Romeo, Bob Small, and Anthony Kalogrides helped add flavor from the studio.

I hope I didn't miss anybody. They've all played a role in helping to bring you Greenwich Cardinals football. I tend to get the glory but these folks all help me look good.

In 2009, we add Chris Kaelin and Chris Erway to the roster. We'll introduce the 2009 team officially soon.

I'm pleased to begin my tenth year calling Cardinals games on WGCH. It's been a great ride, and I didn't always know if I'd make it to ten years. Some have told me that I now have called Cardinals games longer than anyone else, and I honestly can't tell you if it's true. I just know that I'm ready to go. It's an honor that I don't take lightly.

We begin Wednsday night at 5:50. Coincidentally, year 10 begins with the same team that the first year did: Norwalk. I can guarantee I'll have the same butterflies.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Grange Fair, News and Notes, and Other Linky Dinks (with VIDEO)

The Yorktown Grange Fair is this weekend. Look for Dora (not the explorer) when you're there. She's proof of a what a good friend is.

Noted Jets fan Chuck Costello is now blogging away for the Connecticut Post on the Jets. How do I get a gig like this? Paging Sean Patrick Bowley...

PeteAbe says you should hear these interviews from last night, featuring Derek Jeter, and Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera. I agree. Good stuff.

Tim Parry is on "The Final Score" with mutual friend Matt Levine (and I'm listening right now). He gave me a shout-out - something about skydiving (I'm not sure Matt knew what to say in response). Anyway, Tim has breaking news from New Canaan.

Erin Andrews joins Peyton Manning for more commercial humorous goodness.

Jeter/Gehrig/Sean


The way the media had been treating Derek Jeter's passing Lou Gehrig for first on the Yankees' all-time hit list, you would have thought the Captain was reaching 3000 hits. Or 4000. Maybe passing Pete Rose.

It was too much, and I've stayed on-point with that.

Now let me be very clear. It's not that I'm not proud to witness history - quite the contrary - but I thought it was too much.

I had two tickets to last night's Yankees/Orioles tilt in The Bronx and was pleased to take Sean with me. But then he didn't want to go.

Father and son had an emotional chat for a few minutes. The seven year-old was afraid of ruining dad's night by asking to leave early - which he knew he would (and I knew he would). There were a few other things but let's leave them between a confused dad and his even-more-confused boy.

I knew this was an important night for both of us, and it didn't disappoint. For us, it was dinner at Stew Leonard's in Yonkers with ice cream after (folks - screw the ballpark prices - everything cost me about $17). We scurried to the Stadium, among the raindrops but with reduced traffic (summer's over).

It's the little things that stand out to a boy (oh how I remember). He likes walking along 161st St, seeing the baseball images etched into the walls. We walked up to the Yankees Museum, which continues to get updated - a nice touch. He seems to be taking more notice of things - like the trophies, for instance. We also posed at the faux Yankees locker and I he had his picture taken. Then I joined him. You can see them in this gallery.

Somebody asked him why he was hugging me in the picture. He didn't answer. I understood.

We waited out the ran delay (about an hour and a half) by walking through the museum, and strolling the ballpark. I was proud of him. All night, there were no requests for food, no bathroom breaks, no boredom, and minimal complaining. We didn't leave until after 11:00. That's a long night for any baseball fan.

Sadly, the game wasn't over, nor would it be over until after we got home. Another rain delay added to the length.

We sat among the former members of Section 5 (Mick, Steve, newly-engaged Ed, and Jeremiah). There was a feel of excitement in the building, despite the rain, and a great roar for the starting lineups. Jeter's first time up resulted in a strike out.

His second time up resulted in history.


Blurry, but you can see the reaction of the fans.


The Yankees come out to meet Jeter.

I don't discount the magnitude of it. It is cool to see a record set in 1939 by one of the top five to ever play the sport be broken by someone who I'd like to believe Lou Gehrig would approve of. I paused at Gehrig's picture near Gate Four and pondered that on the way out.

Back the to the moment. It was euphoric, with a great roar of noise. It was also handled in the way that I prefer such things be done: with class. Jeter's fellow Yankees climbed out of the dugout to hug him (likely something that embarrassed him) but there were no fireworks. Nothing stupid. Just cheering fans and a good baseball moment. No speeches. Even some Orioles players clapping in their dugout. Perfect.

I wasn't even put off by the play-by-play calls of Michael Kay or John Sterling. That's saying something.

In Section 416, Sean hugged me tightly, proving that he understood what had happened, as I didn't need to say a word. He embraced the history with such happiness, but probably happiest that he and I saw it together.

An inning or so after the hit, wonderboy reporter Ryan Ruocco apppeared on the big screen hawking the brand-new Derek Jeter hit leader T-shirts and pennants, available at all Yankee Stadium shops. I thought that it might be a nice memento for Sean. Then I saw the prices. No thanks. He can keep his ticket stub.

Many nights I wear a pinstriped number two jersey to Yankees games - a tribute to Bobby Murcer and the number he wore during his final tenure as a player (1979-1983). For this one night, I wore it with a tip of the cap to Derek Jeter - now the all-time hits leader in the history of the New York Yankees.

Remembering on September 11...for Other Reasons

Not long ago, I heard from an old friend...OK, an old girlfriend that her father was sick. Sadly, he died earlier this week. Rachel sent her Facebook friends a note with the details on services. Turned out that they would be held in Mount Kisco - not far from me.

My first instinct was: go. I remember how many faces were there for me when my dad died, and how much it meant. Still, I hadn't seen most of Rachel's family in 22 years. I'm also an ex-boyfriend. How would that play with her husband? Yet Rachel and I had stayed friendly - occasional letters while in college, then finding each other on Facebook. I hoped it wasn't a bad thing, yet I know of someone who was jealous of Rachel because I never spoke badly of her.

Right up until the last minute, I kept thinking. I went with my instinct.

I went.

Turned out that I walked into a memorial service. I sat in the very back of the room and listened. Rachel's husband and brother spoke, and spoke well. It gave me time to flashback...

It was 1987. Rachel and I dated for a few months. She went to my senior prom with me, and we had a fun spring and summer. I remember a few things vividly about her father, specifically about baseball.

He was a Mets fan, and that was not easy for me in 1987, when the Mets were the defending world champions. The Yankees had Donnie Baseball, Winfield, and Rickey but no pitching. Rachel's dad, Arthur, coached her twin brother's in baseball. Somehow, I quickly became an assistant coach of sorts. I helped run a few practices, and even a few games.

I can clearly remember Arthur, in his manner of speaking, telling me to go the pitcher's mound: "Rob, Rob, Rob. Go talk to him. I can't do it. He'll listen to you."

I did. He listened. We won.

I so clearly remember his love of baseball cards, and the antique show that we went to in New Jersey - right in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty. It was a gorgeous warm day, and I'll never forget driving out there in their Jaguar with the vanity license plate, spelling each family members name. We found a dealer with a collection of cards, and he trusted my judgment as to the value of each card. For my efforts, he bought a 1959 Roger Maris card for me (he actually bought two and gave me one).

For my high school graduation, he and the family gave me one of the prides of my modest collection: a 1953 White Ford card.

It was sitting at Rachel's house that I saw "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" for the first time - at her insistence - and was hooked.

So it was that I flooded my brain yesterday, on a day that we remember for other reasons.

It was nice to see the family - clearly shocked by my presence. I wish I could have filmed Rachel's reaction. It was classic. She was touched, and I felt it was the least I could do.

Here's to you, Arthur.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Eight Years Later

We can never forget September 11th, 2001. Ever. The rage, the hurt, the shock - they still linger.

I don't like the debate on whether or not it should be a national holiday. We've never designated December 7th as one. I'll leave it at that.

Pause for a few moments today and remember those that we lost. Think of those who suffered somehow - we all did, you know. Some worse than others. Physically or mentally, everyone felt the toll of September 11th. Of course, most notably the toll was felt in the Northeast, but I'd like to think everyone else felt something.

Though I will be with Sean at the bus stop (with the nosy neighbors), I'll continue my tradition - beginning with the playing of the montage of events from that morning (posted below), followed by music, including Bruce Springsteen's The Rising, in its entirety.

Remember. And never forget.



From the wayback machine, here are Exit 55's September 11 posts from 2006, 2007, and 2008 .

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Linky Dinks

Let's start with that many have called the "worst piece of sports journalism ever." That last line is the worst:
Congratulations, Jaycee. You left the yard.
Yikes.

Yet it seems like the writer, Mark Whicker, has had his "come to Jesus" moment. Let's head to Deadspin. Sports Media Watch also traces the story.

Much has been made of Derek Jeter getting ready to break Lou Gehrig's record for career hits as a Yankee. It's been way too much, in my opinion. The hype machine on the YES Network has been fairly silly, considering the way Jeter has always carried himself.

Last night, Jeter tied the record. Peter Abraham thinks the moment was pretty cool. He's right, of course, but I just wish it could be done without the accompanying buildup, including giveaways on 1050 ESPN radio, courtesy of Steiner Sports. Ugh.

Oh, best lines from PeteAbe:
You know what stuck with me from tonight? Seeing the Rays on the stop step of the dugout applauding.

“I’m very happy for him,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. “He carries himself in a manner that’s worthy of passing Gehrig.”
Of course, yesterday (pun intended, I guess) was 9/9/09, and The Beatles Rock Band game and remastered CD's hit the market. Dennis Elsas, longtime New York DJ, recalls the time in 1974 when some guy named John Lennon visited the studios of WNEW to say hello.

Personally, I think I might have fainted.

I went out and watched Greenwich and Brunswick play their annual scrimmage yesterday. We have broadcast three of the previous four meetings, and I was initially disappointed when we decided we wouldn't cover this one. But then I got to Cardinal Stadium and found out that it was a controlled scrimmage, meaning no game and no score-keeping. Phew!

Jesse Quinlan writes about it.

Staying on high school football, Tim Parry is blogging away furiously at his site and his "Road to Boyle" site. Lots to read - go there for your fix.

Not to be outdone, Kevin Devaney, Jr. is doing his thing for the New York Schools at Varsity Insider.

Oh, and did I mention that I work for this little ol' outfit called WGCH, and that we've got a lot of high school football broadcasts coming your way? Did I also mention that our first broadcast is next Wednesday, September 16th? Oh, good, then let me remind you that Sean Kilkelly and I will call the action of Norwalk and Greenwich - beginning with the pregame show at 5:50. I will officially introduce the rest of the cast in the near future.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Just a Reminder (VIDEO)

Football - more specifically, PRO football (as in the National Football League) - begins tomorrow night at a place called Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA.

You might not know this, but the team that has won the most Super Bowls ever (six) begins their title defense as the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Tennessee Titans.

So to get you ready, Let us relive the highlights of Super Bowl XLIII - the day that Pittsburgh became "Sixburgh."


I will be late to watching the game, as I will be at the 2009 Greenwich Football Kickoff Party.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Gear Grinding, Part Deux

Thanks to a keen-eyed loyal "Exit 55" reader for alerting me to this article. In short, it says that in 1991, George H.W. Bush ("The Father", "41") spoke to students in Washington.

Things got a little crazy (from the article The Examiner):
The day after Bush spoke, the Washington Post published a front-page story suggesting the speech was carefully staged for the president's political benefit. "The White House turned a Northwest Washington junior high classroom into a television studio and its students into props," the Post reported.

With the Post article in hand, Democrats pounced. "The Department of Education should not be producing paid political advertising for the president, it should be helping us to produce smarter students," said Richard Gephardt, then the House Majority Leader. "And the president should be doing more about education than saying, 'Lights, camera, action.'"

Democrats did not stop with words. Rep. William Ford, then chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, ordered the General Accounting Office to investigate the cost and legality of Bush's appearance.
And so it goes.

Monday, September 07, 2009

You Know What Really Grinds My Gears (or Rob Gets Political)


We don't normally jump too far into the political world here. For one thing, my political passion has flamed out slightly. I - like so many of you - am so disenchanted with all politicians that I want to get rid of them and start over.

I listen to the behavior of my colleagues in the media and I get sick. Ted Kennedy becomes George Washington upon his death. The left can do no wrong and the right can do no...uh...right. The most-recent election and inauguration was the lowest point in the history of American media.

I've veering off the road here but my point stands. I was born into a Republican family, yet I've always been much more towards the middle and sometimes, yes this is true, I feel myself shifting slightly...left.

I said it. Fine. I hate the war, am sick of the deaths, the economic problems, health care, gas prices, foreclosures, blah-frickin-la-dee-dah-blah.

Yet the reason I'm here tonight is about the education speech that President Obama is to make tomorrow. Right-wing parents and educators are prepared to keep their kids home or not show the speech. Left-wing parents are dancing the happy dance.

I'm here - in the middle - and I won't even hesitate to send Sean to school. Folks, let's talk about respect for the Office, first of all. I took note of my first Presidential election when I was seven and remember it well. Now we can get into the semantics of things like Bill Clinton or George W. Bush not respecting the office that they held, and so be it. But I'm talking from the citizens' point of view. Sean should respect President Obama, just as I do. He's my President - election be damned - and that's that. And if he kick-starts our economy, gets health care under control (it's bad, folks), and makes our quality of life better, then the man can have my hanging chad in '12. That's democracy.

I don't work with the right or left side of the aisle. I deal with the middle - the correct "side", where one doesn't take sides. I know people who vote purely on party lines - will somebody please tell me what good that is? So you're telling me if the GOP decides that it wants the country to go to war with Italy because they didn't like the pizza that they had delivered while waiting out a filibuster one night, the dittoheads will just nod and go "oh yeah sure because after all, that crust was too thin?"

Really? Come on. I can see where some raise an eyebrow at the President doing something for political motivation but for the love of Thomas Jefferson-meets-Socrates (that would be some movie, no?), hasn't every politician? I mean, my God (one Nation under), that's Chuck-freaking-Schumer in a nutshell. The man has no political value otherwise, except camera-hogging.

At face value, at least to the younger children, can we take this as a gesture of good will from our Commander in Chief to students, wishing them a successful school year, and imploring them to go to class? Is it really that bad? Am I missing something?

The text of the speech is here.

Let's try a little common sense here, shall we?

A Moment All Parents Can Probably Identify With (VIDEO)


Let this be a "Rule 55" if you so choose. Honestly, I don't really have a reason for it - I'm home with Sean, relaxing after back-to-back nights with the Renegades that got me home at 5:00 AM and 4:00 AM respectively. I played a pickup baseball game at midnight - what's not to like? Not to say I'm totally happy-go-lucky but why get swept up in it?

And I'm keeping an eye on Derek Jeter to see if and when he passes Lou Gehrig for the most hits in Yankees history. It could happen today.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Thanks, Gades


The 2009 baseball season is over in Hudson Valley. The Renegades fell to the Oneonta Tigers, 2-0, in front of over 5000 people at Dutchess Stadium and proceeded to set a team season attendance record.

For me that means it's time to turn to football, which begins a week from Wednesday on WGCH. Still I can share a few pictures from tonight.

My fellow broadcaster Geoff Brault took me into the team store today and said that he and Director of Media Relations Rick Kubitschek insisted that I pick out some goodies as a thank you for my efforts in 2009. I had long said that I can be easily paid off, and that works. I grabbed the polo shirt I'm wearing in the picture plus a new hat. Honestly the polo shirt meant a lot because I often felt like I wasn't part of the team, and it just looks a touch more professional.


This is one of my favorites past times at Dutchess Stadium. Once the lineups have been written and the notes have been prepared, I stand outside our booth and watch the fans come in. Sean Ford and I did this for years and I continue to do so.


That's the door to our home, and the visitor's booth as well, which we also use when TV is around (if the opposing team doesn't have a radio broadcast). Sean Ford and I used to work from that small room when I first joined the team.


The team came out for a curtain call following the loss. A bittersweet moment, as many of these players will never have another time like this.

For me, this caps a long weekend of fun, including one of the most crazy nights I've experienced in a ballpark (that would be last night into this morning).

Perhaps I'll have more to say about this season at another time, but I'm thankful to everyone here in Fishkill, where I'm writing this. It's an honor and privilege, and I appreciate General Manager Eben Yeager having me join the team again. Also, a big thanks to Geoff Brault who didn't have to let me come in - after all, his predecessor (the aforementioned Sean Ford) is a really good friend of mine - but he embraced having me around. He's a pro and will do well in this business. I'm pleased to call him a friend as well.

The Renegades have been like an old friend to me. Coming along with the team to Aberdeen, Brooklyn, Troy (Tri-City) this year, or being at Dutchess Stadium always gave me a welcome respite from the daily grind. I owe them a debt of thanks for another great year and, believe it or not, I might even be back from more in 2010.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Ernie Harwell Has Cancer


Ernie Harwell was the voice of Detroit Tigers baseball for 42 years. He was once traded from the minors to the major leagues for a player (true story). He was one of four broadcasters (that I know of) to call the famous shot heard 'round the world in 1951.

By the way, he says "Mrs. Harwell was the only one that saw it" as TV was still very much in its infancy. It's also been lost to time. The calls of Russ Hodges ("THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT!"), Red Barber, and even Gordon McClendon have been preserved (and I own them).

Ernie Harwell is 91, and he has incurable cancer. The Detroit Free Press has more.

My favorite passage from the article was this:
Asked what he wanted to have written about him, Harwell spoke about his fans and his faith.

"I don't want to make it too sweet because I don't want to get diabetes as well as this other stuff," he said, chuckling.
Best wishes to a man who has inspired literally thousands of young broadcasters, and many more fans.

Do This If You Like to See My Head Explode


The National Baseball Hall of Fame is a favorite place of mine, and a favorite debate topic. There are some that get me fired up, and few do it better than one name: Keith Hernandez.

No surprise, Jeff Pearlman says it's a no-brainer.

Uh-huh.

So let me say the following in a peaceful way, devoid of name-calling and spouting useless statistics.

Donald Arthur Mattingly. If one is inducted into the Hall, then the other must follow. Review the numbers if you wish, and tell me how great "Mex" was with the glove and I'll tell you "Donnie Baseball" was every bit the equal.

Phew. I did it. I didn't scream.

Oh and spare me the "Mattingly never won a ring bull(crap)." It shouldn't factor. So Hernandez gets into the Hall because he won two rings - one of which he had to put his uniform back on for because he assumed the Mets had lost and was too busy in the clubhouse smoking a cigarette (Game 6, 1986 World Series)?

Still, as much as I admired Don Mattingly, I have said that he is not worthy of induction to the Hall. As such, neither is Keith Hernandez.

NOW it's a no-brainer.

Fantasy Football 2009


(Courtesy This Web Site)

It happens every year. Somebody, somewhere asks me to play fantasy...something. Football or baseball (get your heads out of the gutter).

OK - fine...Hooters waitress. Maid. Nurse. Erin Andrews. Giggity. (Do I really need to explain I'm just kidding?)

Back to the point: fantasy football. Tim Parry talked me into playing on Facebook, and I agreed, as it satisfied my one rule: so long as it doesn't cost me anything.

Still, I don't spend a whole lot of time on it either. Even for the draft - I had a game to call, so I let the system pick a team for me.

I wound up with Drew Brees, LaDanian Tomlinson, and Santonio Holmes (that would be the Super Bowl MVP from the defending champion Sixburgh Steelers). So that's fine.

I last played three years ago, and damned if I didn't win the championship. Yet for the legions of loyal fans of the Putnam County Ligers, let me just say that I will once again stick to building ships.*

(* That's paraphrasing the famous words of George Steinbrenner when he bought a baseball team in 1973...how exactly did that turn out?)

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Live From KeySpan Park


(Photo courtesy Tim Parry)

That's me - preparing my scorecard and notes for last night's Renegades-Beltran...oops...Cyclones game. I didn't know Tim Parry had taken the picture until I saw it on Facebook. He's a crafty one.

Geoff Brault is sitting in the background, looking positively thrilled to be calling a Wednesday night game in Brooklyn. Of course, the team just came in from Oneonta, so let's just say he's tired.

UPDATE! Geoff has chided me for what I wrote, and correctly so. Geoff is pondering life in the picture (perhaps thinking about Marist football or women's basketball) because he is so ultra-uber-prepared that he didn't need to be checking notes, and writing out a lineup - which is what I am doing in the picture. He had an hour-plus jump on me. So duly noted.

Big thanks to TP and Jason Intrieri for coming along and being so thoughtful and gracious. It seemed like they had a really good time...especially after they crashed a party suite! Funny stuff. We had a great time in the car laughing and talking about sports, life, whatever (we're all pretty fired up for football to start).

On the field, the Gades won 4-2 in back of terrific pitching from Jason McEachern, Bladimir Florentino, and Zach Quate, who struck out Carlos Beltran with the tying run on base.

I had the pleasure of calling two of Beltrans' at-bats - a fourth-inning walk, of which he was picked off first when he strayed too far for a strike-him out, throw-him out double play. Pretty lackadaisical on Beltran's part. Then in the sixth, he hit a rocket to the warning track in right that DJ Jones tracked down.

I'm not jaded - I really enjoyed the rare opportunity of calling Beltran.

The buzz in the park was fun, and it was a good night for all. The media throng was large for the NY-Penn League, and the autograph hounds were everywhere. A black SUV waited outside the media gate (where the players come out as well) to whisk Beltran away.

I'm back at it tonight, as Beltran and the Cyclones visit Dutchess Stadium.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Now Playing For Marist...

(Courtesy Marist Official Athletic Site)

Good job by mom Nancy Riscica for posting a link to Ricky's profile on the Marist website.

I'll happily promote other families and players here - just send me a link.

A Look at Dutchess Stadium

Ballpark Digest looks at Dutchess Stadium. There are four games left on the 2009 season at "The Dutch." Get your tickets now.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Minor League Meanderings (Renegades and Richmond)

I'm heading back to the broadcast booth for the final five games of the Renegades' 2009 season, beginning tonight in Brooklyn, as the Gades and Cyclones hook up. Carlos Beltran is expected to be in the lineup for Brooklyn, so that should be interesting.

Visit the Renegades website to listen

Nosing around Ballpark Digest, I came across a couple of items related to a favorite place of mine - Richmond, VA. R-VA is baseball-less for the first time in a loooong time (the R-Braves played there from 1966-2008), and the movement has been afoot to get the National Pastime back to Virginia's capital city.

What's the problem? A stadium, of course (read: money). The R-Braves played in The Diamond, a typical ballpark of the time, opening in 1985 on the site of Parker Field. The Diamond was OK - and would be suitable for a double-A team - but improvements need to be made to bring the facility up to current standards.

The other idea was to build a stadium downtown, blending it into the Shockoe Bottom neighborhood - one of trendy restaurants, clubs, pubs and so on. As such, it would become part of a destination. Of course, the NIMBY's came out in force on that, and it seems like the deal is dead.

The next question becomes: what team is coming to Richmond? At times, there was talk that a independent league team would be the answer (say, the Bridgeport Bluefish?). For Richmond, a city that deserves solid minor league options, I say - if you can't get triple-A baseball, how about double-A?

How about the Connecticut Defenders?

That's where Ballpark Digest steps in. They also link to many stories in the tale of Richmond baseball.

Additionally, from the Richmond Times-Dispatch comes this from Michael Paul Williams. He poses the question: "Can Richmond renew romance with baseball?"

I say yes, if it's done right. Michael Paul Williams says the following of attendance for the Gwinnett County Braves (the former R-Braves):
The Gwinnett Braves, who play in a new $64 million ballpark, are in first place in their division. But off the field, the move hasn't been a grand slam.

The team is averaging a modest 5,879 per game. The Richmond Braves exceeded that average in all but six seasons at The Diamond, though in its last three seasons, attendance failed to crack 5,000 a game.
So of course, my question becomes: Why? Why didn't the Braves draw well at the end?

I went to several R-Braves games from 1992-2001 (approximately). I saw the interest - maybe not always sell-out interest, but there were plenty of people there anyway. It's all in how a team is presented, marketed, and promoted - ESPECIALLY at the minor league level. It's largely grass-roots.

Richmond is a unique place, and I think we've substantiated that here before. To repeat: it is - to me - the modern Mason-Dixon Line. There is a sense of the "old south" but a lot of northern touches as well. Washington is a mere 90 miles or so to the north, just as a point of reference. So yes, some trek to DC for the Nationals, Redskins, Wizards, and Caps (for the few in Richmond who slightly care about ice hockey). Of course, NASCAR is uber-popular in Richmond, as are college sports with Virginia Tech, U of Virginia (among many others) all within reach. Virginia Commonwealth and the University of Richmond are both in downtown Richmond.

I'm rooting for Richmond to get baseball back - a hometown option without having to go see the Nationals or Orioles. I would want to be a part of it if it happens.