Thursday, December 31, 2009

Here's to 2010

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

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

Thanks to Mick and Gretchen.

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

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

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

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

The link is here.

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

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

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

Monday, December 28, 2009

More MSG Problems

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

Tim tells his stories here.

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

Saturday, December 26, 2009

I Love To Drive...More Than Ever

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

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

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

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

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

Just a normal day for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to Staples.

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

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

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

What in the name of Erin Andrews had happened?

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

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

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

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

So who the hell are we?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That needs to be a two-way street.

Worth Watching Again (With VIDEO)

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

The link is here.

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

Friday, December 25, 2009

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

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

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

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

Or "Fairytale of New York"

Enjoy your Christmas Day, however you spend it.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

For Greenwich Hockey Fans (with VIDEO)

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

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

Conflicts and such. Funny how these things go.

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

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

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

My Christmas Wish

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There was "Exit 55."

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

I kept moving forward.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Merry Christmas, one and all.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Redonkulous Christmas Lights! (With VIDEO)

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

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

Yankees Highlights (With VIDEO)

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

And a hat tip to River Ave. Blues.

This one is pretty good also (link).

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fenway Park Hosts Its First Hockey Game

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

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

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

Big Ben and His 503 Yards

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

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

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

The Melkman Has Been Delivered!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Apparently John Mayer Thinks He's Better Than Us

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

In other words, you "get it."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Just sayin.'"

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Line of the Day

From "Scrubs":

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

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

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

No Tears For Johnny

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

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

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

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

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

Sing along, everyone!

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

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

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

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Small list of Linky Dinks

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

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

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

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

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

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

Warm Thoughts - The Gades in 2010

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

The Hudson Valley Renegades 2010 schedule!

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

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

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

I Hate These Stories

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

The Greenwich Time reported an update last week.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bengals Wide Receiver Chris Henry Dead at 26

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

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

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Another Reminder Why I Don't Read Raissman or Mushnick

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

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

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

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

Jive, as Bob likes to say.

I call foul. On Raissman.

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

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

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

So there, Bob.

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


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

(Photo courtesy Michael Adkins)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Idiocy From The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Photo courtesy Rolling Stone

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 10, 2009

GHS Hockey Returns to WGCH

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

I digress.

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

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

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

The schedule looks like this:

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

Please VOTE (With VIDEO)

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

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

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

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

And we'll all sleep easier.


Muchas Linky Dinkas

An easy way to play catch-up!

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

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

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

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

The coaches poll is here.

The CSWA poll is here.

The state writers poll is here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy 80th Birthday

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

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

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

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

The 2009 GHS Football Banquet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

So This Is Christmas (With VIDEO)

(Video link is here)

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

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

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

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

I guess we're stuck to imagine.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Scully Montage (Continued!)

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

Thanks, Lisa.

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

Pete Carroll's Not That Bad (With VIDEO)

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

The video link is here.

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

A History of Greenwich

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

It's here.

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

Guess I Do Good Work

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

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


Twice (look towards the bottom).

Three times (again, look at the bottom).

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

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Tommy Henrich (1913-2009)

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

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

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

His career stats are here.

Purchase/Mount Saint Mary Tonight

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

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

Anyway, catch Christine and I tonight - here!