Friday, May 28, 2010

New Reality Show: "When Officials Go Overboard"

It's been a problem for years. Certain officials in certain sports who think we pay money to watch them. I get it - it's a hard job, and they have to have a bit of arrogance (or confidence) in their duties and be thick-skinned. Yet a line gets crossed, frequently. And that line was bulldozed this week by (as usual) "Country" Joe West, a fine Major League Baseball umpire, whose patience is even shorter than...believe it or not...yours truly.

West and others get properly skewered here.

Most do a great job (including West, despite his obnoxious ways), but they need to stop being so confrontational and, frankly, giving their profession a bad name.

Rockin The Suburbs (With VIDEO)

Bring on Memorial Day Weekend. Bring on summer.

And take a moment to remember. That's why it's called "Memorial Day."

"Let me tell y'all what it's like. Being male, middle class and white." Yup yup. That's how I roll. Your video link is here.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Enter Sandman - The Smooth Jazz Version (With VIDEO)

Hat tip to my friend Lou Piccirillo for posting this on Facebook. Wow. Really well done, and linked here.

In case you need the original

And how can I possibly end without putting this up:

Writer's Block...Or Something (With VIDEO)

Has it really been 11 days since I posted something? Wow - my bad. Just haven't really been feeling it. I guess a little lazy, a lot busy, and some writer's block and so on.

Gotta start taking the laptop with me to Brooklyn, because Carrie, her pal Alison (who will probably object to my calling her "pal") and I got into a long chat about music, and what belongs in the genre of "classic alternative." I'd just like to say that, after Allison delivered a bashing to a particular band, she became my new best friend. Maybe such three-numbered bands are cool to hippy stoners still in college who are so screwed up that they don't know any better, but to those with discerning tastes, it's just crap.

So much more to say, but I promise to behave (Karma and all, you know). I sense a Rule 55 approaching, and fast!

It was purely awesome, and I didn't even start the conversation! We sat there and did thumbs-up and thumbs-down to those who belonged in the category. It was too much fun.

Then we went and ate Mexican food at the place on the corner. It didn't exactly sit well with me. Yet I would try it again - even if I could only eat the goat taco that Alison had!

Now if you want some REAL Classic Alternative, then I present to you The Smiths. We can go from there (plus it's my Rule 55).

The Smiths - How Soon is Now

Christopher! | MySpace Video

Now Pitching, Jason Intrieri! (With VIDEO)

Our second annual Breakfast and Baseball day included Bargains this time, as Jason Intrieri, Tim Parry, and your fancy blog writer sped off to the site of the first trip - Allentown for Waffle House, and Reading, where we took in the Reading Phillies and the Richmond Flying Squirrels.

Plus we hit the Reading Outlets, where we picked up plenty of T-shirts and such, like a mighty fine retro Montreal Expos shirt, and a Rutgers Ray Rice jersey that cost me a mere $4.87!

Tim had the fine idea to have Jason throw out the first pitch at the Reading/Richmond game (one of about TWENTY people who did so!). Of course, Tim and I had to have fun with it, so we present the video to you, in full TIM-O-VISION!

Of course, only one of us was supposed to go onto the field with Jason, but we didn't let that stop us. After all, we're media!

The second trip was just as outstanding - if not better - than the first one, and we look forward to year three.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Very Inspirational

My friend and basketball broadcasting companion, Christine Baker, wrote a wonderful post on her blog about perspectives, and making lemonade out of the proverbial lemons.

I have no problem saying how much I treasure "One-Five's" friendship. So when she writes, I read.

It will take you a few minutes. Enjoy.

The Big Announcement

Earlier this week, I made a change on Facebook. To be exact, I changed my relationship status to "In a Relationship..." I figured that, if you know me, and have been paying attention, then it wasn't much of a secret. The Rule 55's, the jump in my step, the smile on my face. It was obvious.

Still, it didn't seem to be a big deal to me. Carrie and I have been together for a short time now and are motoring along nicely (at least until I do something stupid). We have laughed about titles, and I just wasn't sure making it "official" on Facebook was all that important. That kind of validation, while nice, doesn't seem necessary.

What troubled me was that I've walked a fine line here on the Big LeBlogski. I've made it known that I'm not big on giving away too much personal stuff, yet I can be like an open sore at times. So as usual, I was my typically contradictory self.

I know several bloggers, of course. Sean Kilkelly doesn't talk about personal stuff. Tim Parry would occasionally. Jeff Pearlman can often be an open book. I find I tend to lean towards his style - warts and all. Yet I figure Jeff has a line that he has drawn, and I believe in that as well. It's just always a question of figuring out where that line is.

There's much to work through. I mean, that's what relationships are, right? My God, we all know they're just not easy work. Distance between parties, a child, personality differences, money, yada yada yada. You've likely been in a relationship yourself, so you know the drill. Yet Carrie has shown me a lot. She has rebuilt the spirit that I so needed to have rebuilt. People have taken notice. The emails, personal messages, Facebook wall posts and comments have been touching. I'm simply amazed at how many people have reached out to me. At last check, 30 people have said they "like" the status on Facebook, while others have commented. I love the likes; they warm my heart. I kept updating Carrie as the day went on. For her, it was text messages and a few Facebook items.

Our story has already been pretty cool. Boy gets invited to meet friends (thanks, Mick and Gretchen) in Manhattan. Boy finds out it's a party for a friend (thanks, Susan). Boy considers bailing due to potential shyness. Boy reconsiders and goes to party, where girl (who organized the party) walks in and has an immediate impact. Boy and girl discover similar interests (Rangers and Yankees). Girl gives boy phone number. Text messages are sent and two days later, they talk on the phone.

There's a first date, at the site of the first meeting and it goes really well. Then the strange coincidences begin. I won't get into them all, but I'll tell you that Carrie knew me well before I knew her, as she discovered that she listened to the Greenwich/Staples football broadcast last November, and remembered the play-by-play guy who thought certain TV people acted "bush league."

I'm going to spare you the gushing and the mushy stuff. After many false starts, misunderstandings, and other relationship idiocy, I've found a companion. One who accepts me for being that most dreadful of characters: me. Every hurdle gets greeted with "we'll address it" or "we'll work around it." I like that in her. It's all part of what helps me stay grounded.

Oh we have our differences. It won't always be smooth sailing, but let me know if you've found a perfect relationship.

We'll see where it goes from here.

It's the start of something special for the superhero duo of That Guy and Whatshername.

You should meet her. You probably will.

I've changed my relationship status.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Goodbye, FCIAC Football Blog?

Tim Parry has decided to step away from his internet baby in favor of his real baby.

The FCIAC Football Blog is for sale.

He had a great, at times tumultuous, run. He had five years of bringing people together in and around the FCIAC football world. Sometimes controversial, always informative. It was a home for all of us to come together and unless someone else takes it over, it will be gone.

I don't think that person will be me. You need to wear a lot of hats and have a lot of time to run that blog. Of course, I'll contribute if asked, but that's that. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if the blog goes away in favor of the more "corporate" entities, like the newspapers, MaxPreps and such. Personally, I would have my eye on Sean Patrick Bowley to be the go-to guy going forward.

Tim handled things with class, going so far as to invoke Rule 55 (minus a video). I give him credit for that because, while I know that William Raymond Parry will become the most important thing for Tim and his wife Ursula, I also know that there is more to the story.

Tim handled lots of crap - from coaches, players, fans, parents, and other members of the media. Despite his normal "I don't give a bleep" outer shell, I know it bothered him. He thought about walking away several times, and became known as being "Brett Favre-esque.". It comes with occasionally wearing your heart on your sleeve.

What Tim did was to offer an outlet for all of us. He didn't hide behind "sources." He was a freelancer for several outlets, even helping us out on WGCH whenever I reached out to him. Yet all it took is one notoriously bad apple to ruin things. Out of respect to Tim, I'll stop there.

He shared his info with all of us, and shared his passion for football with us as well. He built a community, without getting hung up on exclusivity. I see cooperation all the time in the media; it isn't always so cutthroat. Matt Levine and I work for "rival" stations yet are good friends and share info (Matt even just had me on his show). Paul Silverfarb (Greenwich Post) is happy to share. We're all in it together, and are a community. A brotherhood.

Others should try to follow that lead. Some still act like they're better than all of us. Like they think they still wear a fedora, smoke cigars while traveling on the train, and have a patented disregard for the "electronic" media types.

Tim was, and isn't, without his faults but I'm proud to call him a friend. He has caused his fair share of trouble, but he has also been there for me. When he would read something vague on the blog or Facebook, he would immediately reach out to me with a "what's going on?" He's loyal, and so am I. And it's a relationship we built because of?

The FCIAC Football blog.

And for that reason alone, I'm saddened by this news.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's Day! (With VIDEO)

Seems appropriate...

This Mother's Day weekend also seems like a perfect time to drop some more Rule 55's on your situation. In short, I'm having an amazing weekend.

I wish I could find the audio, but I once had my mom on the radio - 1990 was the year - on WMJV (Majic 105), which is now a country station.

Don't take your parents for granted, though that seems needless to say. I'll be with mine today, as we'll gather as a family on the chilly beach of Fairfield, Connecticut. She, my sister Laura, my sister-in-law Debbie, and my nieces Laura, Kristy, and Charity all deserve the best that their myriad kids have to offer. I hope Sean gives Sandi a nice day as well.

To those who are without their mothers, pause and remember them. Seems only fair.

Happy Mother's Day, one and all.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Jeff Pearlman on Marriage

My former "townie", Jeff Pearlman's blog continues to be a must-read. For every post that has me scratching my head (Sarah Palin), he writes 10 more that are really good. The one on my radar is about marriage. What makes it good, and what makes it real. I suppose the same can be said for close relationships as well.

My first wedding day (OK, my only wedding day to this point) was one of the great days of my life, up there with a cold Saturday in February, 2002 (Sean, naturally). I have no doubt that my next wedding day (IF there's a next one) will also be great. Yet as I acutely know, this marriage stuff isn't easy. It seemed like Sandi and I could work through anything, no matter what, and that just wasn't the reality. We shocked, disappointed, and angered many with our split. Now we're working at becoming friends again (how we first started, in 1987) and not being solely the owners and operators of Sean, Inc. I hate seeing it treated like a business relationship.

I didn't come here to discuss Sandi; you know my take on that . Of course, if any publisher wants to pay me big bucks to tell all, Sandi and I could really use the money to get out of debt. I'd change the names, make some stuff up, and throw it out there!

Despite my recent rash of Rule 55's that were as obvious as anything I've ever written, I stay away from being too personal. Yet I do trip from time to time. I think this is why I like Jeff's blog. He also lets most of it out - warts and all. His recent post about male ogling was great. I can't say I haven't made my share of comments, but I do tend to be of the more gentlemanly sort.

Linky Dinks

With things settling into a temporary normal for me, I'm making a stronger effort to blog away again. So, we need some links!

Please read the inspirational thoughts of my friend and WGCH colleague Darby Cartun. I've had the chance to get to know Darby much better since assisting her with her show (5-6 PM weeknights on WGCH). An interesting person. Read on.

The Ernie Harwell tributes are pouring in (rightly so). Brian Anderson is the voice of the Brewers on TV, along with TBS, and wrote a nice piece.

Ken Fang adds his thoughts and links.

Christopher Byrne says the MLB Network will re-air the interview Bob Costas did with Ernie Harwell. Not for the faint of heart. You will tear up.

This DID make me tear up. The great Scully (linked here, until the stooges at MLB take it down)

When Scully says "OK" at the end, you know his emotions are tugging at him.

Joe Posnanski also pays tribute to Harwell.

Elsewhere, Tommy Dee at the Knicks Blog is hopeful for bringing his online radio show to the airwaves. Of course, that means sponsors. I'm hopeful for him. He's one of "us"; the good guys around these parts.

Great read by former Astro, Yankee, and Ray, Morgan Ensberg. He takes on a Hall-of-Fame writer who must have needed to crank out a column and went after an easy target: Alex Rodriguez. I was bothered by it, and Ensberg serves it justice.

Lastly, our friend Ross at NYY Stadium Insider reports that the Bombers had their lowest attendance since opening the new digs. Last night's crowd was only 41,571. Of course, that is the paid attendance. The naked eye could easily see less than that, and I believe sports needs to begin publishing the "paid" and "turnstile" numbers. Let's be honest.

More to come!

Deep, Deep Words

Carrie forwarded this to me this morning, and it inspired me to link to it on the bloggo.

In short, scientists took a long, hard look at the words we use, and what it says about us. Yet it's not that simple. There's much more.

Allow yourself sixteen minutes and thirty-two seconds to listen closely to this podcast from WNYC radio. I did and it was fascinating.

I'm also worried what these words that I write here say about me. Besides the fact that I'm weird. Or an idiot. Or something. I already knew that.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Ernie Harwell (1918-2010)

The sports broadcasting industry is morning the death of one of our all-time true greats, and arguably our greatest gentleman.  Ernie Harwell succumbed to cancer at the age of 92.  I don't think I have the words tonight to express exactly how good he was at what he did, or how brilliantly decent of a man he was.  He was among the finest.  The Detroit Free Press described him like this:
He had a strong case as the most beloved figure ever in Michigan.
I'm not sure I disagree.

The "Freep" has a lot of info on the life and legend of Ernie Harwell. I only wish I had known of Mr. Harwell's passing while I was teaching at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting tonight. I would have explained this great man to my class.

This nice video from the Freep includes some play-by-play, and thoughts of others. (The link to the video is on this page)

Saturday, May 01, 2010

(She's) Some Kind of Wonderful (With Video)

Another song that's been rattling around in my brain recently, along with "Out in the Street", "I Should Have Known Better", and even The Monkees' "I'm A Believer" (I watched Shrek earlier this week).  I've been putting together a playlist of all of these little nuggets for my iPod.

The song "Some Kind of Wonderful" or "(She's) Some Kind of Wonderful" was written by John Ellison and recorded by a band called Soul Brothers Six in 1967.  It hit the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 91.  Grand Funk Railroad made into a monster, peaking at number three in February, 1975.  Yet my favorite version is...SURPRISE!...the one by Huey Lewis and the News, from the album Four Chords and Several Years Ago, in 1994.  It went to number 44 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 7 on the Adult Contemporary chart (or "AC Hell" as I call it).

It's even better live, as evidenced by their performance on the VHS (remember those?) Four Chords and Several Years Ago - The Concert.  Of course, no footage of that show exists on YouTube, but I found this double performance of "(She's) Some Kind of Wonderful" and "It's Alright" from, of all places, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.  In fact, Leno even seems to be enjoying the music.  Your linky dink is here.

And yeah, feel free to roll with another Rule 55.  Most of you have it all figured out, and that's why you're in my "secret society", which comes with special WGCH decoder rings.  Or not.  We don't have the budget for it.

Simply, Incredibly Amazing (With Video)

I should have used this yesterday as a Rule 55.  No matter, it can still apply.

Hat tip to Facebook and old radio acquaintance Dennis Jackson for this.  One take.  Great job by the folks at Université du Québec à Montréal UQAM Canada..  Linked here.