Saturday, December 31, 2011

D-O-D-G-E-R-S

This is a two-part post. Part one is that my last post with the Steve Somers video led me to this, posted by a WFAN listener, in which Somers played an old song by Danny Kaye in tribute to his beloved Los Angeles (nee Brooklyn) Dodgers. It's a little hokey but a lot of fun, and mentions one Vincent Edward Scully (the true broadcasting pride of Fordham and everyone else pales in comparison). Chris Erway, he a fan of the once-and-always Bums, should like this.


Part two was a message I got from a friend the other day. His mother-in-law passed away a short time ago and among her possessions was a model of Ebbets Field - the former home of the Brooklyn Dodgers. I knew his mother-in-law, a fine woman who raised a wonderful person and knew her baseball very well. I forgave her transgression of being a - blech - Mets fan, and normally scoffed at her when she would mock the 27-time World Champions because, well, just because. Best to let the Mets fan have their moment because it is normally oh-so-fleeting.

Anyway, my friend asked if I would like the Ebbets Field model. Now, granted, I'm hardly a Dodgers fan. I would have detested them when they played in Brooklyn. I wasn't even alive in 1955, but the fact that they beat the Yankees in seven games that year eats at me. I obviously didn't like them a lot in the 70's and despised them after they won the 1981 World Series (and thus Bobby Ray Murcer was only able to show me an American League Championship ring when I met him). I couldn't stand Tommy LaSorda and the whole "wine and cheese" feel of Dodger Stadium. I cringe every time a politically-correct shot of Jackie Robinson is put on the screen as if to say "Hey! We're equal opportunity. See?!" In fact, the Great Scully is about the only thing I love about the Dodgers.

But...

I also love baseball (oh there's a news flash for you). I love the history. And yeah, I kind-of-sort-of-maybe have a big connection to Brooklyn these days. And yes, Donald Arthur "Donnie Baseball" Mattingly* is their manager now.

So I said I would be honored to take it. And I am. Honored to remember a departed friend, one who was passionate for the game. Certainly to honor the history.

I'm quite pleased that they thought of me. And hey - if a Ted Williams ornament can hang on my Christmas tree, then an Ebbets Field model can sit on my shelf.

* I'm convinced that if Ron Santo can make it to the Hall of Fame, then there is definitely hope for Donnie Baseball. It's clear the standards have changed. Sorry to irritate Cubs fans**, and I'm not saying this to do so, but it is becoming the Hall of Very Good, even Quite Good. It might even be, at times, the Hall of Fame of Great People, who were also Very Good Baseball Players (see: Kirby Puckett and by all accounts, Ron Santo). The excuse on Mattingly will be that he didn't play long enough, and he didn't. So now we must hope for excellence as a manager. Just not with the Dodgers.

** I just watched Catching Hell, the story of Steve Bartman and the 2003 National League Championship. Wow, that was not exactly a great moment for Cubs fans (and reminded me just how badly Red Sox fans behaved after the Bill Buckner affair of 1986). Shame on them, and others who behave so egregiously.

Could Mike Francesa Save Christmas? What?

My friend Richie Spezzano sent this along. A little parody of your fancy WFAN in New York City and don't forget the ONE-eight-seven-seven-three-three-seven-six-six-six-six (that's how Steve Somers presents the phone number).

I thought this was quite funny.


Of course hearing Steve Somers being parodied in the video made me long for the real thing! If you've never heard him, then you just need to listen and give him a a chance. Here's our guy, the former "Captain Midnight" who should be doing middays or something else to take some of the stink out of the radio these days (what is it already?).


That was from 2007. Anything has to be better. I mean, for the love of Keith Jackson, Ryan-bleeping-Ruocco called the Pinstriped Bowl yesterday. What is it that this guy has on the execs at ESPN? Is he Michael Kay's illegitimate son? I just don't know! Add it to the "things I don't get" list.

Happy...er...New...uh...Year


I don't normally speak those words - "Happy New Year." Jeez, I think my hands went numb as I typed them.

But I'm trying. It's still one of those things that needs to be on my "I don't get it" list, but so be it. It's arbitrary to me. But I have hopes for 2012. The biggest thing - for me - is to continue to move forward. Consider where things were just a few years ago. I just went back and looked at each post to finish out the year - dating back to 2006, when I didn't even say anything about the New Year, just the death of Saddam Hussein. None of them were anything special, and perhaps a little too self-loathing.

We all know today/tonight is overrated. But as with anything, it's what you make of it. Plus it's who you spend it with. I've had New Year's Eve that have - to be blunt - sucked. I've had other years that I enjoyed - like going with Mick and Gretchen to Sharon and Tom's house in 2009/2010. Despite being sick, it was a very nice night. And low and behold, 2010 became a pretty OK year in that I met someone really important.

Not saying that was the reason. Just...saying. Besides, Mick still takes rightful credit for being the person who got me to meet that person.

I'm babbling.

Anyway, tonight Facebook and Twitter will be loaded with many "HNY's" across the web. I'm beating everyone to the punch.

I'm hopeful for 2012. Hopeful for continued improvement. Hopeful for good health and peace for all. Hopeful to get closer to what and where I want to be. Excited for a road trip in about 10 days (if everything comes together). Of course, that could happen any day - why does it need to start tonight?

See? I still don't get it. And why did we take Auld Lang Syne, a song which had NOTHING to do with New Year's Eve and let Guy Lombardo eff the damn thing up?

Oh let's not end it like that. Let's end it with the love that I feel for all of you for reading this blog (and ever so much as giving a whit about me), and for caring when I don't write. This was a year personal growth and rebirth. I wrote less but chose my words and topics more carefully (plus I was so busy that I often didn't have time). This was a year of triumph and sadness. A year of whacky weather. Of San Diego and Los Angeles and so much more.

In a lot of ways, it was like any other year. And yet, I want more in 2012. I hope you do too.

Happy New Year to you all. May you find what it is you want.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. John Lennon. Given the chance, this is what I would sing tonight at midnight.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Songs

I've really not been into the many Christmas (and holiday) songs this year. Maybe I've just grown tired of hearing the same old stuff, or I just wasn't into the season.

Whatever. Rolling Stone asked their readers to list their faves. The results are here.

I recently asked two different people (both female) about the Mariah Carey song "All I Want For Christmas Is You" and they both independently agreed that not only do they love it, but they otherwise loathe Carey. Admittedly it gave me a new take on the song, but it still doesn't mean I personally like it.

I don't have enough time to simply break down my top tunes, but you can't go wrong with these:

- Do They Know It's Christmas (Band Aid)
- Santa Claus is Coming to Town (Bruce Springsteen)
- Step Into Christmas (Elton John)
- Happy Christmas (War is Over) (John and Yoko)
- Wonderful Christmastime (Paul McCartney)
- Father Christmas (The Kinks)
- Run Rudolph Run (Chuck Berry)
- Christmas Wrapping (The Waitresses)
- The Christmas Song (Nat King Cole)
- Please Come Home For Christmas (The Eagles)
and, this amazing song that not many people in this country know
- Fairytale of New York (The Pogues & Kirsty McColl)


There are others that are purely goofy and remind me of simpler times ("The Chipmunk Song" or the Singing Dogs doing "Jingle Bells"), or Huey Lewis and the News doing "Winter Wonderland" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" but this quick list hits the notes for me. I'm missing a few, but it's late. I have to go to bed now.

Dear Santa


Dear Santa,

I just wanted to write to say thank you for what you do for my little boy. He is a blessing, and while I'm sure you can't take responsibility for who he is (I suppose I deserve at least a little credit and/or blame for that), I think you still deserve a nod for keeping his belief strong. He hasn't been bitten by the skepticism that most nine-year-old's allow to happen.

He diligently spoke of you this evening, wondering aloud about whether we would get home before you arrived (we did), and what he would write in his letter to you. If it was an act, he was putting on a performance worthy of Laurence Olivier. At home, before I could even get upstairs, he had already changed into his pajamas and cleaned up the living room. Only you have the power to make that happen without badgering him.

He thought hard about his letter to you. In the car, he discussed if he should ask you about your boot size. Ultimately he passed on that question but opted for your thoughts about M&M's. He also considered what you wanted to drink. Maybe a Vitamin Water? No - he figured you might want some water, given that so many other kids leave beer or milk for you. His thinking what that water would keep kidney stones away. He saw me suffer with that last year and didn't want you to meet the same fate. Soon he was tucked away in bed.

I know he is a "young" nine, in that there is a wondrous amount of naivete in him. That's a blessing and a curse, but I love that innocence. Especially tonight, as you can imagine.

We did our best this year, you and I. He won't be thrilled with the clothes portion of his gifts (no kid ever is) but I hope he appreciates the other goodies. He's still too young to grasp the concept of simply wishing for health and happiness, and I read the look on his face when we gathered with our family this evening and the amount of packages thrust in front of him paled in comparison. He simply isn't at the point of understanding quantity versus quality, or getting the "true meaning of Christmas", or that having love of family and friends is enough. Believe me, he has an abundance of that.

With all of that said, I know he won't read this, so I can tell you out loud (and then again, you being omnipotent, you already know) that I bought him a Trivial Pursuit game based on the TV show Family Guy. Some uptight, Parents magazine-reading parent will no doubt condemn me to being the worst parent since the most recent bad parent, but I'll live with it. For us, it is an important father/son point of bonding. The show was something that helped bring us together during some rough times. We sat together, in my room, and watched the show. To him it's a cartoon, and as I've already mentioned, he is quite naive (as was I around the same age). Most of the jokes go over his head. Beyond that, we have an understanding about not repeating what we see. It's our little thing. Sorry if that offends some of my readers, but I think you understand.

I'm sorry for these rambling thoughts, but I wanted to reinforce that you have a very strong believer sleeping upstairs. That seems rare to me, as too many kids - especially the tougher, more jaded ones - want to ruin it for others. He believes in you and it is touching to see. He won't always, but like most of us, he'll come back.

We all do.

Merry Christmas, and thank you.

Love,
Rob

Saturday, December 24, 2011

HLN's Christmas Message (and Mine too)

The music of Huey Lewis and the News. The words of the bands' drummer, the one-and-only Bill Gibson. Nicely done. Watch.



Peace on Earth.

My Christmas message is pretty much the same. I hope for health, happiness, and peace. I would love to see an end to war, but since some of this planet have been at it for roughly 3000 years or so, I'm a little skeptical of that. None the less, we can always hope.

I'm not looking for gifts. I only care about the love and safety of my family and friends, whom I am so fortunate to have many of. Plus I'm beyond lucky to have Carrie in my life.

That's basically it.

Oh yeah, and a Steelers win today would be nice, and 24 hours of A Christmas Story. And maybe a starting pitcher to solidify the Yankees' rotation...

Just kidding. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Some George Harrison Music

Unless you're new to the blog, you probably know that I own as much of The Beatles' music as possible - within reason. I also own some of their solo work - plenty of Paul's and some of John's.

None of Ringo's. Yet.

As of last night, I finally have some of George's.

Now, I went the easy route and picked up a "best of", specifically, Let It Roll: songs by George Harrison. It hits the many of the highlights of George's post-Beatles years, with a few exceptions, most notably his work with the Traveling Wilbury's.

Overall, I'm fairly pleased. Plus once downloaded, it makes for part of a nice playlist on my iPod, with George's Beatles work and the Wilbury's included. Overall, a solid little Christmas present for me!

It's hard to pick just one song from this collection, but this will do. This is George's tribute to John, with a little help from both Ringo and Paul (as well as Linda McCartney and Denny Laine).


And Ringo - you're next!

The Beatles Albums

Coming your way via iTunes. In a mere 30 seconds.


And since they used just a touch of "Magical Mystery Tour" in the spot, and since I've had this song in my head recently, let us bring you a full version of it!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

MLB Changes

It would be too easy to add on to the misery that is the life of a New York Mets fan these days (more loans, Johan Santana might not be ready for Opening Day, etc), so we'll just let that be. I have my thoughts on that franchise and they're not popular.

So let's move on and proceed to this article from the AP, via ESPN. It outlines the changes in the new MLB CBA. The league is growing up. I suppose that's OK. None of this was really too eye-opening to me. Read for yourself and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Few Beatles Vids

God-like radio figure Bruce Figler (OK, so he's a good guy) posted this video on Facebook tonight - what exactly would the Fab Four look like today (yes, assuming they were all still alive)?


That video led me to this. I knew that Macca played at Ritchie's 70th birthday concert, but I hadn't seen any video. Until now. W-o-w. It sounded fantastic.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Happy Birthday to My Father


My Dad would have been 82 today. No doubt we would have watched the Army-Navy game later today, as we always did.

That is all.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Lists - We Love Them

It's fairly well-known around Exit 55burgh* that I'm a fan of lists. They, as always, make for good discussion and blood-pressure raising. So it was that Carrie passed along a list of lists that were in email she received.

* Which is an exit past that city where James Harrison did something so bad in last night's win over the Browns that even I can't defend. I mean, come on man! This leading with your helmet thing is just bad!

GQ presents the 25 LEAST Influential People Alive! Heck even Bono made this list. Personally I think Chuck Schumer should be on here...oh wait, he inspires me to have near-heart attacks every time I hear him on the radio because some poor reporter needs a friggin sound byte.

Here's The Worst Sentence of 2011, courtesy of The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. You mean it didn't involve the Kardahsian's?

My son would probably enjoy seeing the Ten Weirdest Life-forms of 2011 from National Geographic. Apparently Tim Tebow is not one of them. Oooohhh...bad?

US News and World Reports presents America's Meanest Airlines! No. Shock. Here. Alec Baldwin certainly won't be surprised.

For you book lovers, we have the Best Science Books (Confessions of a Science Librarian), Top Five Book Club Picks (NPR), and the Ten Best Books of 2011 (New York Times).

I've heard The Art of Fielding is fantastic, by the way. Just in case you don't know, I'm sort of, you know, a baseball fan. Even if this isn't really a baseball book - and yet, it is. Just sayin'.

For some reason, Forbes gives us Thailand's 40 Richest. Since I doubt you'll ever see that sentence again here, I had to write it. It's just too funny.

Travel+Leisure presents the World's Best Hotels for 2011. I'm going to be realistic here with y'all. I stayed in the US Grant Hotel in San Diego back in January. I'm fairly certain it was in my top-10, if not top-5 of my lifetime. If things break correctly, I'm going to Charleston in January, and I suspect that hotel may also be in that group. In short, I don't normally stay in the top places. I like nice hotels - but within reason. The Hyatt Place that Carrie and I recently stayed at in Bethlehem, PA was quite cool. Yes...Bethlehem, PA. Via Priceline. Sweet.

So this list - of hotels in Tanzania, South Africa, and other places that aren't exactly on the ol' radar - didn't quite hold it for me. That said, the places are quite interesting.

The 45 Most Powerful Images of 2011 from BuzzFeed. Simply awesome.

I'm just giving you a small sample of the many lists out there. Here are a few more:

Auto Correct is often my biggest enemy. Damn You Auto Correct presents the 25 funniest.

From Pitchfork comes the 25 Worst Album Covers (NSFW). Yep.

Busted Coverage selected the 70 Most Memorable Sports Moments (in photo form).

Courtesy of Draft Magazine comes America's 100 Best Beer Bars. Drink up!

List and Grades gives us the Ten Worst TV Shows.

Well I think we've got the idea here. There's a list for everyone.

And when all else fails, we need more COWBELL! The 12 Most Toptastic Cowbell Rock n' Roll Songs! Even The Beatles made this list, so it's ALL GOOD.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Off-Site: Bobby Valentine

(Photo: Adam Hunger/Reuters)

After a dreadful month of non-writing in November (only 10 posts?!), I'm hopefully ramping back up. Here's a post I did for the Big Fat Marketing Blog on Bobby Valentine's potential impact in New England.

Holy cow, I think this hiring is inspired. Will it produce on the field? I think it will eventually. That's normally the problem - Bobby V's shelf-life. Off the field, I like him. He's been very nice to me each time I've been around him.

On the field?

He's the Red Sox manager. He was the Mets manager. Do I need to say anymore?

The Boss's Best Collaborations

This is old, but I read it just now. Some good stuff here, via Rolling Stone. A couple of personal favorites are his get-together's with Neil Young...er...Jimmy Fallon, Melissa Etheridge on a great "Thunder Road", the supergroup of Bruce, Elvis Costello, Dave Grohl and Little Steven doing "London Calling" at the '03 Grammys, and joining R.E.M. for "Man on the Moon."

Cool stuff. Enjoy.

A Strong Headwind (Giggity)

I saw this episode of Family Guy last night. Positively hysterical - from Peter's fascination with the "Redneck lifestyle" following his attending a comedy show similar to the "Blue Collar Tour" of years ago, to the "Prom Night Dumpster Baby", to Mayor Adam West's Bush-like reaction to a plane crash, to Quagmire dancing down a hill a la Melissa Gilbert in Little House on the Prairie.

Yet the scene that might crack me up the most is this simple 26 second bit.


Just. Because.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Never Give Up

I heard this speech on Steven A Smith's radio show tonight. It's Jimmy V week around ESPN to raise money and awareness for The V Foundation.


I think if you can listen to or watch this speech with a heart that isn't jaded, and remove some of the negativity that is associated with Jim Valvano (or even if you can't - he was hardly a saint), you will find that this is one hell of an emotional speech.

He died less than two months after this speech.

Please. Make. It. Stop.


I love The Big Bang Theory. Absolutely funny stuff.

But holy ear candy, Batman! The theme song gets lodged in my brain every time I watch it. I'm guessing that's the charm of Barenaked Ladies, the performers of the little ditty.


I'm guessing that's their charm. You know, the "If I Had a Million Dollars" guys. Perhaps that charm would have worked for me if I had been, say, in college when they were popular.

And stoned.

I was neither.

Damn song.

I need a "Bazinga." Or 10.

A History of Highway Signs


File this one under "not for everyone", but I certainly enjoyed it.

On The Road Less Taken's website, we have part one of a history of road signs (here in the good ol' US of A). Just a nice little primer for why we see what we see on the road.

I loved the reference to the "Kodachrome" signs of Florida, which always stuck out to me when I was a kid. You can see a red US 19 sign, taken by me in Tarpon Springs, Florida in 1986 at the top of this post.

Criticism


In a recent post, I made reference to an email I received that basically said "you suck" in so many words.

So when I read the comments of Kansas City Royals pre- and post-game host Robert Ford (whom I know in a very vague way via social media), I was pleased.

Robert's blog post is here. For me, the winning lines were these:
Some people in media respond regularly to negative things that are written about them online, but I don’t. Most of the time, I think it would be a waste of time to respond and I think jumping on every negative comment or blog post makes one look paranoid and hypersensitive, two adjectives I never want to be used to describe me.
That's exactly what others have said to me as well. There's still a part of me that wants to respond. What chafed at me about the email, besides it being just plain uninformed, was that it was not only an indictment of me, but it was also a shot at my team. I didn't appreciate that.

Then again, it's, you know, an opinion...

I appreciate Robert's take - the words of a pro.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The NBA? What's That?

Apparently, there's this thing called the National Basketball Association.

I think I've heard of it.

Still, this can't be the NBA of George Mikan, or Bob Cousy, right? Of Russell, Clyde, the Captain, Jerry West, Jordan, Magic, Bird, Ewing...

Oh you get the idea.

The NBA, if you haven't heard, recently resolved their labor dispute and will tip off on Christmas Day. The problem was, the silence was deafening. The NBA has been going through an image problem for years, and despite that, had a great season last year, including a "the bad guys lose" Finals in which the vaunted big three in Miami lost to the Mavericks.

Yet once the labor wars began, it was like nobody cared. Certainly the people that I've tried to get interested in the NBA made it quite known that they were overjoyed that NBA wasn't around, and didn't care if it ever came back.

Personally, give me basketball and the NBA over a lot of other things, but different strokes and all. Still, give me college hoops, but that's a whole different bucket of fish.

So the apathy is still apparent. I suspect there will be a little kick in interest right around Christmas, then it will fade until early February (that's when the NFL throws this big orgy of an event that apparently includes an actualy football game). After that, the NBA will have its chance to shine.

At the same time, hockey just shakes its collective head.

That's enough basketball for now. Back to "The Big Bang Theory."

Off-Site: Winter Classic Sweaters


I've begun writing for another outlet, Penton Media's Big Fat Marketing Blog.

Actually, it's about four months overdue for me to contribute, but hey, given that I'm in the midst of my lowest output here in double five land, nothing should be expected, right?

My first topic is the Winter Classic Sweaters, as the Rangers debuted their new look yesterday in Central Park.

I didn't reveal my opinion on them in the Big Fat Marketing Blog post, but I will here: Meh.

Simply put, they're...um...OK. I'm just not all that impressed by them. And since the Rangers want to sell more merchandise (come on, I know you're hearing Mel Brooks right now). Truthfully, that's the bottom line, and if the response from a fanbase is tepid (which I'm not saying it is), then they're not going to sell a lot.

As I alluded to in the post, the sweaters are outdated on January 3rd. It better be worth it.

Friday, November 25, 2011

GHS Football, 2011

Most of your WGCH Radio Team for 2011: Chris "Kato" Kaelin, Sean "Killer" Kilkelly, Nick "Fantana" Angotto, Rob "Captain Greenwich" Adams, Chris "Janitor Wingman" Erway, and Ryan "Deemer" DeMaria.  Photographed by Carrie, November 24, 2011.
Two-thousand and eleven is the year that I'd like to forget in broadcasting Greenwich High School football on WGCH.

At least it started out that way.

And came to a crashing end yesterday.

The Cardinals were a team of lesser expectations. They were coming off a 5-5 year in 2010, and while many expected them to be in the mix this year, not many saw them as an FCIAC finalist.

Yet it was there for the taking yesterday at Staples in Westport. Oh Lord, it was there. The Cardinals led 27-17 with eleven minutes to play. Then things went astray. The dream of the 13th conference title, and a trip to the state playoffs, died as the Wreckers rallied to win, 31-27.

That's sort of why we're writing this tonight.

I can't go into everything that happened this year. It just wouldn't be appropriate or professional. People and things had to be phased out in favor of others. Feelings got hurt. And I obsessed over it all.

Along the way, we encountered a snow storm like we've rarely seen during the season. Games got rescheduled and messed with our schedules. Guys who couldn't make games due to work, or other commitments. Without the help of Paul Silverfarb, I likely would have called Greenwich and Westhill following the snow storm on my own.

Oh, and then there was the email from a listener that asked for me to quit. The one that swore that it couldn't be the first one I've received (it was). The thing is, if you don't like me - fine. But give me specifics. Are we too glib? Read too many ads? Blame me for the technical issues? Don't like my voice or my cadence?

Hey, you're entitled to your opinion. Problem was: that email only made my resolve stronger to keep doing this for many more years.

And so it was that, come yesterday, the team assembled at Staples. Nick Angotto (our new studio operations guru) surprised us by showing up...something I never expected. I won't live down my reaction to that. Ever. We gathered for breakfast, Nick went to the studio, and we rocked out one great broadcast. Knowing that the future is never certain, I couldn't be prouder of the note this group went out on.

I think that's why, after all was done and Greenwich had lost, I was pretty sad as I finished on the air. Because in the end, I had a ball, and didn't want it to end. I was pleased, and wished we had more games to do. I wished I had more spots for the many people who want to work with us.

Scott Gentile did a great job in the studio (and on-site for a game). He got married, affording Nick Angotto the chance he wanted. Bob Small was our backup board-op and constant engineer. He always made sure we sounded as good as we could. Sean Kilkelly was the same guy I've worked with since 1999. Chris Erway kept me laughing and kept me solid, yelling over me when Shane Nastahowski climbed the ladder for the Cards' first TD. Something about it made me laugh.

Chris Kaelin was a rock, as always, speaking in his native "Kato" language, yet all the while calling for the booth space, and hunting for info. Ryan DeMaria, the new guy, brought tremendous knowledge and patience, while showing a great skill for keeping stats on his trusty computer.

Am I missing anyone? Well I think we all owe a certain something to the players, coaches, and families. To the people who always support us, wherever we might be. That includes our girlfriends, wives and kids. I know Carrie counseled me through many a brainstorming moment.

I've said it so many times. It's a labor of love. We aren't getting rich. We struggle in many ways to get on the air.

But these are the guys who I chose. They're the ones I want helping me for hockey (well, paging Mr. John Spang also). God forbid we ever get basketball back on. Or baseball.

Come next September, they're the ones I want to help me call Greenwich football in 2012.

I've Got It Bad...and I Like It!


I was just exchanging texts with a certain someone in New York City (well, Brooklyn to be exact) when she told me that I had forgotten to take something with me when I left her place.

Specifically, the yummy matzo ball soup that her aunt made for Thanksgiving yesterday. Hard to believe. Me. Picky. Likes it.

Now the chopped liver was good...but I only had a quick taste. I get points for trying that, no?

Anyway, I started to write back to the person in question that I had too much to carrie when I left.

Yes, that is a misspelling. I'm normally a good writer - I spell well, and my grammar is good.

I realized my mistake before I hit "send", but I laughed to myself.

Just a reminder that I might deeply like this person...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Richmond's Main Street Station

(Photo Courtesy Shorpy)

There is, over at the fascinating Shorpy photography site,this amazing photo (seen above) of the wonderful Main Street Station in Richmond, Virginia (that's R-Va, of course).

The station was the last true landmark before the billboards for South of the Border kicked in on I-95.  But...wait a tick.  The road isn't in this view, taken in 1905 (no duh).

I took a shot of it in 2009 from the opposite side of the tracks/highway:



They tried to put stores in there. Didn't work. Amtrak rolls through here. It's a train station - in all its grandeur.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

JoePa is Out

Every time I hear more about the story at Penn State...in detail...I get further sick.

Terrible.

Ultimately, despite the fact that Joe Paterno is legally innocent, Penn State couldn't afford to let him continue to coach. I'm still in shock that those at the just-completed press conference sounded like they were members of the Paterno family. It was a rough night for those of us in the media.

Kids were hurt. Badly. Lives were destroyed. And those in State College are outraged that their old Joe Paterno won't be allowed to coach again? The level of failure rolls so far down on this thing. Of course Penn State needed to clean house.

But let's not forget that this is more about Jerry Sandusky before its about Joe Paterno. It's also about the victims.

This whole situation is bad, folks.

Honestly, I have nothing further to add.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Yeah, Football...Nooooo...


As the "October Noreaster" began heading towards us, I feared for the impact it would have on our weekend.

Answer: not...good.

Sean and I headed off to Greenwich this morning, armed with the knowledge that the weather would be bad, and our day would be long. I packed as if we might not make it home - a shovel, sleeping bags, some food, and so on. We reached Greenwich around 10:30, just as the rain/snow began to fall.

Cardinal Stadium did not reveal a happy scene. A Greenwich/Darien soccer game was going on (GHS won, 1-0) but the snow got heavier and, worse, it began to stick.

In the booth, Chris Erway, Chris Kaelin and I set up shop, and Sean Kilkelly joined us later. With a 1:15 PM air time, we were comfortably prepared. The problem was that nobody else seemed to be showing up.  The stands were empty, but everyone still prepared as if there would still be a game.

Just before 1:00, our friend and GHS all-world operations guru Brian Kennedy gave us a "thumbs down" from the bottom of the grandstand. The game was off; postponed until Monday at 2:00.

From what a few people told us, it appears that Greenwich tried to move the game to Friday night at 7:00 PM, thus avoiding the weather problems, but the school has already used its allotted number of nights.

It seems a certain GHS neighbor (the man who so vocally complained about the installation of lights) would rather have people on the roads in a heavy snowstorm than have him be inconvenienced with some noise and light glare.

So Sean (my son) and I hit the road, thinking we could get home without incident (but thanks to both Chris Kaelin and Chris Erway for offering us a place to stay). We made it out of Cardinal Stadium and back to our WGCH offices before starting our trip back to Mahopac. Early on, all seemed great. We were moving well along Interstates 95 and 287. But if you haven't heard, meteorologists often use 287 as the dividing line of a storm. Accurately in this case.

We pushed through North White Plains as the situation deteriorated. It got worse along the Taconic State Parkway, as the road was dotted with busted tree branches that blocked lanes. South of Millwoood, Sean spotted a branch tumbling down.

North of Millwood, our trip almost crashed to an end. I moved into the left lane to get around a car that was just a touch too cautious on an incline, and I needed to build up a little speed for the climb. Unfortunately my tires didn't grab the roadway (this was just past a Camaro that was trying to BACK DOWN the road) and we narrowly avoided a guard rail. I used the moment to teach Sean about how to steer when slipping.

Somewhere around this point is when the windshield wiper blade in front of me began to break.  It never impacted my vision for the rest of the trip, but it was just one more thing to think about.

We made it through our next set of hazards: the steep drop before the Croton Reservoir bridge, the small climbs and descents, and even dead stoppage at the US 202/NY 35 exit, which marks the beginning of another decline, before having to climb again to get to US 6 at Jefferson Valley.

That's where I made a fateful decision.

I saw the brake lights on the Taconic, yet chose to stay the course. I found out later on that using US 6 (and thus NY 6N) would be no walk in the park either. Yet the reality was, the traffic slowed to a crawl as cars were struggling to climb a gradual incline. A couple of vehicles spun terribly, and I could do nothing but stop.

At that point, my tires could take no more.

I tried the right lane, where I noticed a few cars had created a new path. No dice. My only answer was to get off the road and wait - hopefully - for a plow.

Sean, bless him, was calm as could be. He read one of his "Wimpy Kid" books while I cleaned the car off, and I chatted with occasional passers-by.

One note: not everyone is heartless. Several motorists stopped to ask if we were OK. One went so far as to ask if we needed a ride. Very cool - thank you.

Eventually, I helped push a car or two. In total, the wait was close to an hour, when a couple of guys appeared up the road to push one of the cars still sitting (this one in the middle of the road). I helped them push another car before they came down and got me loose.

Oh, what a scene it was! A car heading southbound slammed into the center guardrail at one point, and after a while, picked up his detached bumper and drove away! I also heard the sound of creaking, cracking trees, just ready to fall. Fortunately I felt we were out of harm's way.

I thought we were in a fairly safe spot.

I still don't know who those two men were, and they weren't looking for money, but they did get Sean and I out of there. That was the good news.

The bad news was the northbound Taconic State Parkway was like an old ice hockey surface: very slippery, choppy and dangerous.

By the way, a big FAIL to New York State for not getting a plow on the Taconic. It's only a very main road.

Still I was able to reach Bryant Pond Road and exit safely, to discover that the road had been plowed. Yet...it hadn't been salted. Or sanded.

I slipped as soon as we got on it.

I knew we had two more hills to deal with - one down and one up. We started down the first hill, and as soon as I hit tapped the brakes, I knew we were in trouble.

The car wouldn't stop. Our saving grace was a landing at the bottom of this portion of the hill before we hit the big drop. I got the car under control and quickly decided to turn into the lot of a former gas station that neighbors use for parking.

At that point, I was finished, and I wasn't sure I could move the car any more.

Sean and I walked from there, carrying some of our stuff and safely hiking it the last half-mile or so to safety.

The moral of the story? I need new tires.

We're both safe, sound, and dry.

The car will be there when I go back in the morning.

Oh one last note - Connecticut held their Cross Country finals today. Greenwich came in 7th, with friend Kathryn Bernstein on the team. Twin brother Mark plays on the football team. Of course, no sport gets the attention that football does, but I wanted to make sure we recognized it here. Congrats on a fine effort!

Adios, Baseball

The season is over.

The Cardinals won. I have nothing more to say.

I have a different group of Cardinals to deal with later today, as Greenwich hosts Westhill on Homecoming Day. Weather will be a huge factor, with rain and snow expected. Yet as of now, it's game on.

The Playmakers and I will be on the air at 1:15 PM. You know where: WGCH.

Friday, October 28, 2011

We Will See You Tomorrow Night!

Well, actually, it will be later on tonight.

Any instant classic is over in St. Louis. Among the best World Series games I have ever seen. I am wide awake. Damn them!

Twice I was one Twitter, and had written a congratulatory tweet to the Rangers. Each time I sat and waited for the final out. Twice I erased what I wrote.

Joe Buck's call echoed his dad*, who used this when he called Kirby Puckett's Game 6 walk-off in 1991.

*OK, to be fair, Buck used a similar version of the line in the 2004 ALCS (which I disregard as having actually been played). But I believe what he said was, "We'll see you later tonight."

Maybe it's the father/son thing tugging at me, but I really liked it. It was fitting, and well-done by Buck, Tim McCarver and the FOX team for letting the pictures tell the story. I especially liked McCarver's line after the home run:

"How did this happen?"

We'd all like to know that.

Game 7, for the first time since 2002, is later tonight.

By the way, I'm no fan of his, but kudos to Tony LaRussa for ripping the whole "Moneyball" thing.

Really well-said.

Baseball Fever!

Didn't we have this chat about a month ago? I think so - right here.

I watched hockey tonight. Best to not get into how bad a night it was at Madison Square Garden (Chanting for Sean Avery? Really?).

Yet I kept my eye on the World Series - Game 6 between the Rangers and Cardinals. Once hockey was over, it had my complete attention.

This game has been insane. Twice the Cardinals were down to their last strike. Twice they've tied the game.

It's 9-9 in the Top of the 11th as I write.

Insane. The beauty of it is, I really don't care who wins. Oh, I'm sticking to my preference that the winner be the visiting team and, as such, that means the Rangers (plus I'm an American League guy), but I'll lose no sleep over it.

Trust me, if the Yankees were involved, I'd need an ambulance parked outside.

Once again, we see baseball at its best. Oh, don't get me wrong, this game has been ugly, but it's also been riveting. We once again see that baseball has no clock. You can't play a four corners defense. You can't take a knee. You can't skate around with the puck or play keep-away. You've got to throw the pitch. Down one or 10, there's always a chance.

Damn I love this game.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Original Six Arenas


I was looking at NHL.com a little earlier when I came across a poll, asking for the "most iconic Original Six Arena."

OK...

The choices, of course, are Boston Garden, Chicago Stadium, Detroit Olympia, Madison Square Garden, Maple Leaf Gardens and Montreal Forum.

Well, now, I think we have to be more specific here, don't we? Any fan worth their sweater (hockey talk, people!) knows that your fancy New York Rangers played in two different versions of MSG - at 8th Ave and 49th St, and the Penn Station-destroyer that they're playing in now. Now, no offense to the current building (because I happen to like it a lot, maybe for sentimental reasons), but I just imagine the old place was more of a "hockey barn", much like the other five arenas.

So if that's what we're talking about, I'll vote for MSG, though to be honest, I also saw the Boston Garden, and liked that quite a bit also.

Anyway, who would you vote for - assuming all things are equal?

Oh, and the Rangers are playing tonight on Opening Night at World's Most Famous Refurbished Arena.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Charlie Hayes Might Have a Play...He's Got It!

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

That's how Vin Scully called it on CBS Radio 15 years ago tonight. The magic moment happened at 10:55 PM Eastern. I chose to watch it with friends in Yonkers, right at The Bronx line.

To a Yankees fan, 18 years is an eternity. I had watched the Rangers win the Cup in '94 and though I enjoyed it, I still hungered for a Yankees title.

No World Series has brought me anything like it. I literally couldn't wait for each game. I smuggled a radio into my photography class at Western Connecticut for Game 4, and raced home, hoping that the Yankees could somehow erase a 6-0 deficit (they did, of course).

Then came that Saturday night. The moment...seriously...that I had been waiting a long...long time for.


After hugging the fellow fans that I was with, I needed to step outside and have a moment to myself, exhorting "YES!" in the streets of Yonkers. I needed a moment to share with those I missed. I wondered what it would be like to talk with my dad about it, but sadly those moments aren't meant to be.

I floated home - quite sober, mind you - riding in Kevin Jaffe's Mazda Miata, with the top down, listening to all of the post-game talk on the radio. Though chilly, it was a amazing night, and all was right in my world.

The next day, I was on WREF radio in Ridgefield, CT. You better believe that, between the classic hits of Sinatra and others, there was plenty of baseball talk.

Fifteen years. Time marches on.

It's funny. That wasn't my first Yankees championship. I remember watching both 1977 and 1978, and am pretty sure I still have a scorecard I kept from the latter one. I treasure 1998, 1999 (I was at the clincher), 2000 (beating the Mets? Yes!), and 2009. I love them all equally, but there was something completely different about 1996.

Something amazing.

Something I will never forget.

Friday, October 21, 2011

From Richmond: A HoJo Flashback

I can't help but wonder if our good friend Jon from R-VA posts pictures on his blog and says to himself, "I bet Rob will use this on 'Exit 55'."

Well, yeah, this one was a near no-brainer.

It's got I-95 in its magnificent, mid-70's glory. It's also got Main Street Station, the last big landmark heading south before South of the Border. At least for a kid my age at the time.

But the picture also has a billboard for Howard Johnson's - a mere 13 miles away at Exit 6 back in the day on the Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike (then a toll road). I ate many times in that HoJo's, though we never stayed at the adjacent hotel. The Richmond area was, normally, a lunchtime stop on day one of our trips to Florida.

So you put all of these things together, and you have a picture that I quite enjoy.

A Hot Wheels Track That My Son Would Love!

I'm debating whether or not I will ever show this video to Sean, because he will want this.

I'm just speechless. A huge Hot Wheels track, created for charity.

Thanks to Co-Exec Producer Mick for this hat-tip. I should have known that when I told him I had a little touch of writer's block (along with not a lot of time to write lately), he would come up with something. He didn't disappoint.

I could have seen my cousin and I trying to build something like this, but getting denied by our parents!

The link is from Yahoo! The video link is here.

The Red Sox Collapse, Animation Style!

Via Masshole Sports, with a hat tip to our "Executive Producer" Harold (and co-Exec Producer Mick has a contribution of his own coming up), we have some video from a company called Next Media Animation. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the laugh!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wonderboy

It's cliche. It's a total desecration of the book. It's an over-the-top fantasy.

Exactly.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

2011 World Series


So the World Series starts tonight. The anticipation is...

nonexistent.

Let's be honest. Outside of St. Louis and Texas, nobody seems to care. Now don't get me wrong, I've watched the World Series for as long as I can remember, so I will be in front of the TV (or next to a radio) for the games, but I can't remember a Series that nobody seems to be excited about.

For me, it's a no-win. I don't like anything from Texas (Cowboys, Hook 'em Horns, Astros, Stars, and on and on). I don't like the Cardinals...or Tony LaRussa. I get sick of hearing about everything being bigger in Texas...and that St. Louis fans are the best baseball fans in the baseball town in the best baseball world!

BARF!

So here's what I gave decided. While I think it would be novel of me to root for the Cardinals (get it? Cardinals?), I am going to root for the winning team to do so in the opposing ballpark. That's it. Let the home fans suffer, so that we don't have to watch some insufferable home team celebration (and they've all become that).

That's the best I can give you. There have been other, less-celebrated Series that have turned out really well. I can remember not being excited at all for (don't read this, Tim Parry!) 1997, between the Indians and Marlins. But that went seven games, and ended on a walkoff hit. The Braves and Twins didn't excite either, but that was one of the best I've ever seen.

There's always hope. Let the best team win.

George Harrison: Living in the Material World

I finally got to see Martin Scorsese's George Harrison: Living in the Material World, and I agree with those who gave the documentary such high ratings. It is a wonderful, vivid account of the life of a complex, interesting soul. The two living Beatles are heard from, but not overwhelmingly. For while George was a Beatle, that wasn't his life. Heck, that was the very point of his life.

Still, let's hear from Ringo (and Eric Clapton) discussing "Here Comes the Sun."


What I got out of it was that Olivia Harrison was, perhaps, the most ordinary, yet graceful of the "Beatle wives" (meaning Harrison, Linda McCartney, Yoko Ono, and Maureen Starr). Scorsese left few stones unturned, talking with Astrid Kirchherr, Klaus Voormann, Ravi Shankar, Tom Petty, Ray Cooper, Jim Keltner, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Yoko Ono, Dhani Harrison, Pattie Boyd (yes, "Layla"), Phil Spector (looking freaky as always), and even Jackie Stewart (yes, the Formula One driver).

But at the end of the day, it's Harrison himself (via archive footage) along with McCartney and Starr who steal the show. Ringo chokes up revealing the contents of the last conversation he had with George, wiping away a tear before exclaiming, "It's like Barbara (bleeping) Walters in here, isn't it?!"

George was famous, in his later years, for not enjoying touring and performing live, but here he is playing with Elton John, Eric Clapton, Jeff Lynne, and Phil Collins (along with Ringo) on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps". This is from the 1987 Prince's Trust Concert.


If it's possible to be a Beatle and be underrated, George Harrison was it.

Break In


So that gives you a rough idea of how Carrie and I started our day yesterday. The look on her face when she discovered the busted out window was enough for me.

Sometime Monday night, someone broke into my car. They stole my GPS and a phone charger.

I just got the window fixed (though that revealed a deeper problem with shoddy workmanship from a previous incident). So let's be honest: it wasn't that bad. Yes, one feels violated, and it's a nuisance on a few levels, but the losses are minimal (and it's just "stuff").

So that's it. I'm having dinner with Sean tonight. Then I'll watch the World Series.

Life, as always, moves on.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Done

The Tigers just won the Division Series. They earned it, with better pitching and clutch hitting. The Yankees didn't have that.

Congrats to the Tigers and Jim Leyland. Great manager, solid team. I'll root for them against Texas.

Side note: is it me, or is it perfect that the Yankees season ended tonight, and the Rangers (hockey, people) begin tomorrow? Of course I'll pay attention to the rest of the baseball playoffs, and naturally the NFL, but now the NHL is back. That's a good thing.

Personally I thought Joe Girardi horrifically over-managed this game. The CC Sabathia move didn't work. To be blunt, that was the difference in the game. Oh yeah, and third base coach Rob Thompson holding A-Rod at third wasn't exactly a great move.

But that's the way it goes. Some years, you get the big hit. The big break. The big catch, strikeout, etc. This year, it didn't happen. I didn't think it was going to happen either. I just never had that feeling this year.

Admittedly, I let a four-letter word fly - loudly - when Jeter's drive to right was caught. Hope springs eternal, I guess.

To be honest, I'm a fan with big expectations. When it comes to my teams - probably, most specifically, the Steelers and of course the Yankees - I don't "just" want to make the playoffs. It's World Series/Super Bowl, and win. Otherwise, no thank you.

I'm rambling. Best to say no more.

Go read Jeff Pearlman's book on Walter Payton.

Good night.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

YouTube Wonders (Yankees Edition)

While looking for the video that I used in the previous post to honor Roger Maris, I came across some other goodies.

Oh baby, how I remember this. It was Game 2 of the 1995 ALDS. I went to Game 1, psyched to see my first playoff game, and to see Donnie Baseball play in October. One night later, he sent the old building into orbit (Gary Thorne on the call). Check out a very young Derek Jeter, invited to sit on the bench as a non-roster player, and Jorge Posada, used mostly as a pinch-runner(!) in that series. This happened just after a Ruber Sierra home run (John Sterling went for the "back-to-back and a belly-to-belly" call). The place went so bonkers that Mariners' manager Lou Piniella pulled his team off the field until things calmed down.


I was in the House for Game 1 of the 1998 World Series. It was my first Fall Classic game in person. The Yankees trailed the Padres 5-2 before Chuck Knoblauch tied it with a 7th inning three-run shot. All was well at that point. Then Tino Martinez strolled to the plate. For the first time, I felt Yankee Stadium shake (Joe Buck, Tim McCarver and Bob Brenley on the call).


Let's hear the new place sound like that.

I'm not trying to turn this into an "I was there" post, but...yeah, the building shook...again. You know the story: 2001, New York is emotionally shot, the Yankees looked old early in the World Series, then win games 3 and 4 (dramatically, Tino and Mr. November). They're down two in the ninth. We've already saluted Paul O'Neil (too emotional for me), knowing it's his last game. They can't possibly come back again...can they?

Oh yeah. Here's Scott Brosius (as called by Joe and Tim, with Brenley in the Diamondbacks' dugout).


They won it later, and lost it in Game 7.

How about a non-Yankee moment by a former and future Yankee? This is Bobby Murcer at Wrigley Field in 1979, playing for the Cubs (wearing number seven in honor of Mickey Mantle). Bobby Ray left the Yankees in a trade for Bobby Bonds after the 1974 season. He would be traded back to the Yankees later in the '79 season. On this day, he singled in the bottom of the 7th of a game that the Phillies would win 23-22 in 10 innings. Dave Kingman would hit three homers for Chcago, and Mike Schmidt hit two, including the go-ahead shot in the 10th for Philadelphia.


This is a sad, yet interesting video. It comes from CNN on the day Mickey Mantle died in 1995. Funny because it features a young Nancy Newman (now of the YES Network). Sad of course, because it pays tribute to the passing of the great, yet flawed Mantle. Sadder, because I can't embed the video here. But I can embed this video of Mantle hitting a home run off of Whitey Ford in 1973 on Old Timer's Day (Mel Allen intros the video outside of the remodeled house).


I leave you with this: color footage of the 1939 World Series (the Yankees swept the Reds). The glorious old building looks like a painting in this. Back then, as you'll see, fans were allowed to exit via the field.


Plenty more to be found on YouTube and elsewhere.

Roger Maris Hit an Historic Home Run 50 Years Ago Today

Roger Maris made baseball history on October 1st, 1961 at Yankee Stadium against the Red Sox. His 61st home run passed Babe Ruth for the most in a single season. It was a year in which the stars aligned for Maris, one that he sometimes wished had never happened. It wasn't until later that he appreciated it a lot more.

I'm not sure I've ever seen this video, taken from the broadcast on channel 11 (WPIX). Red Barber makes the professional, low-key call (joined by Mel Allen at the end, not a common thing at the time given that analysts weren't common yet). Of course we've all heard Phil Rizzuto's radio call ("Holy cow! Sixty-one for Maris!"). It's very cool to see the TV broadcast.


Maris was a classy, wonderful man, who died far-too-young, in 1985.

Congratulations, Roger, 50 years later.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

And So...


Two-thousand and four happened. There's nothing I can do to ever change it. The New York Yankees blew a three-games-to-none lead in the American League Championship Series. Yankees fans have been hearing about it ever since.

From the perspective of the Boston Red Sox, that ends now.

Done.

The Red Sox blew a nine-game lead in the Wild Card race early this morning. The Tampa Bay Rays - hardly a juggernaut - found a way to come back, capping it off with a 8-7 win tonight over the Yankees in St. Petersburg, after being down 7-0.

Now, don't let the fans tell you otherwise. According to the denizens of The Hub, it's Joe Girardi's fault for not pitching Mariano Rivera tonight, even though it was said that Mo would not pitch tonight because he pitched last night. Even Terry Francona, the classy manager of the Red Sox, said that the Yankees had earned the right to do whatever they wanted.

(Side note: I like Francona, and he should not take the fall for this.  Some of the blame - a lot of it - should go to so-called "wunderkind" Theo Epstein, who made some godawful free agent deals.  I'd take Francona as my manager - happily.)

To the victor goes the spoils. Had the Red Sox wanted to be a part of the postseason, they could have won a few more ballgames, instead of losing six of seven against the Orioles.

The Orioles.

Boston's collapse (and Atlanta's also) is easily as amazing as the Mets meltdown in 2007 and 2008, and, yes, that Yankees choke-job in 2004. Or for those who know their history, the Dodgers gag in 1951, and the Phillies in 1964.

I feel badly for the Sox fans that have a clue. I know many. Sadly their bad apples tend to ruin it for everyone else. I bet the smart ones are being pragmatic right now, despite the fact that they are licking some serious wounds right now.

When steroids talk began to circle around Alex Rodriguez, Andy Pettitte, and Roger Clemens, Sox fans were gleeful. Then Manny and Ortiz were suspected (if not outed). Funny how it quieted down.

The same applies now.

The playoffs begin Friday.

Oh, across town, much is being said about Jose Reyes pulling himself out of the Mets' last game so that he could be in position to win the NL batting crown. The way I look at it is that - a) Mets fans have nothing to root for, so who cares, and b) this is hardly a first. I clearly remember Wade Boggs (in his Boston days) hiding behind an injury in 1986 so that Don Mattingly couldn't catch him.

It is what it is. Some fans are outraged. For whatever reason (irrelevancy?), I'm not. The Mets bothered me more by denying the Yankees the opportunity to put their AAA team in Newark, NJ for a year while their stadium in Moosic, PA is rebuilt. I mean...really?

Oh, and for Tampa Bay...how about showing up, fans? Get them a stadium or move them. What a joke. But the Rays will be fun to watch in these playoffs with their pitching.

Again, the playoffs begin Friday. The Yankees meet the Tigers at the Stadium (while I'm on the air calling Greenwich/New London at Cardinal Stadium).  The American League is wide open.  I hope the National League is just as crazy.

God I love baseball.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wild Baseball...Nothing Like It


A few minutes ago I was on my way to sleep. The Yankees were clinging to a 7-6 lead in St. Petersburg in a game that they led 7-0. The Red Sox and Orioles were in a rain delay in Baltimore.

Things seemed sure that Boston was heading to the playoffs.

Then Dan Johnson hit a two-out, bottom of the ninth solo home run for the Rays to knot that game at seven. They are into extra innings as I write.

The Sox and Orioles have returned from the rain delay. Baltimore has put the first two on base in the last of the seventh, down 3-2.

Oh yeah, and the Cardinals have already won. The Braves, just outs away from forcing a playoff tomorrow, blew the save to the Phillies, and they're in extra innings.

Such is the reason that I will take baseball over anything else. The clock doesn't run out. The pitch has to be thrown, and it really isn't over until...you know.

If the Rays and Sox both win and lose, there's a playoff tomorrow. The same goes for the Cards and Braves.

And so in this most boring of regular seasons, the grand game steps up once again, dusts itself off in the face of its many critics and reminds us why there's nothing like a pennant race, and the playoffs.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Museum Worth Checking Out


Carrie and I hit the road on Saturday for a trip to The Big E, the great fair held annually in West Springfield, MA. We had a great day, enjoying the food and fun.

Driving back towards New York on I-91, we saw a sign for the Vintage Radio Museum. Now as a broadcaster, amateur historian, and lover of all things radio, this museum seemed like a no-brainer to me. Yet I hesitated, not wanting to bore Carrie to tears.

But Carrie was the one pushing me to go. So we turned around and hurried to the museum, located in Windsor, CT. I was aware of them, having seen them at The Big E before. But we were also concerned that we were arriving at 4:15, and the museum (officially the Vintage Radio and Communications Museum of Connecticut) would be closing at 5:00.

That fact did not deter museum director John Ellsworth, who led us on a lengthy guided tour, never even alluding to closing time for the facility. In fact, we didn't walk back out to the car until 5:45.

Inside, visitors will find a large selection of so many things related to the history of communication. Of course there are plenty of radios to be seen (like a 1961 Mickey Mantle/Roger Maris model that was found in a dump or the vintage Crosley Shelvador refrigerator with a built-in radio!). But there are also old Edison and Victrola phonographs, TV's, a teletype, old computers, a phone booth and various telephone equipment, and more. But WAIT! There's more! How about checking out the Morse Code station, or attending one of their classes where one can learn to build a crystal radio? Learn what exactly it means to be "in the limelight." There's even an on-site production studio. There's also a ham radio room for enthusiasts of amateur broadcasting.

Hopefully, you're not short-changing this museum as purely for "techies." The $7 admission opens you up to a world of items that are available to touch and inspect up close, and if you can get John Ellsworth or one of the other passionate volunteers to take you around, you certainly won't be disappointed. Get Ellsworth to show you the Tesla Coil and see the pure power of electricity.

Plus so much of what they have isn't only authentic, but in working order. Try the old jukebox. Or listen to a radio from 1927. Don't simply turn it on and tune to 1490! As John explained to me, one had to know what coordinates to set the various dials to (that's the radio and paperwork shown at the top of this post).

The people there are extremely knowledgeable. Though Ellsworth himself thought that he was "preaching to the choir" as he told me stories (I never let on that I work in the "business"), he still filled in so many details of things I never knew. After knowing that I was aware of the tragic story of Major Edwin Armstrong, Ellsworth filled in the pieces on the inventor of FM radio.

You don't need to be a broadcaster or have an active interest in radio to enjoy this museum. Plus they have ideas to grow and make it an even better experience, such as allowing visitors to do "mock" TV broadcasts that can be recorded to DVD.

This is a place that, if I lived closer, I would be volunteering at. No question about it.

The Vintage Radio and Communications Museum of Connecticut is approximately five minutes east of I-91 in Windsor, Connecticut. Go, listen, touch, and enjoy.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

An Honor For Bobby Murcer

I saw this from Chad Jennings on the LoHud Yankees Blog. Oklahoma Christian University is opening the Bobby Murcer Indoor Training Facility.

A fine honor for a great man. I'm glad to see he touched the lives of so many others for more than just his on-field play.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Flashback

I was rolling through some audio tonight for another project (a story for another time) when I came across perhaps my favorite spot - ever. This might not sound like much, but it was a fairly humorous night at the height of WGCH Sports busy days.

I was given a talk show in late 2002. Not a sports talk show, of which I was working on three or four by that point, but a general topic show. So with that in mind, after finishing another "Press Box" show (or whatever we were calling it at the time), we hit the production studio to record a promo. As I recall, I was actually given the name of the show by then-Program Director Don Russell (a fine radio man, RIP) earlier that day on the air.

The idea was to have it be a commercial about a recording of a promo. Mark Rosen served as the "engineer", Sean Kilkelly was the "producer/radio exec", and Tom Pollina was the "cheesy announcer" (listen closely to way he says "maybe even sports"). I made a video out of it, with some pictures taken during that time.


It was one of those ideas that just worked, and I loved it.

Those were some fun times. I listened to a lot of audio, including the ultra-rare collectors' edition: the only promo for the show we did called "Sports Weekly." It's rare because the show had the name changed immediately after the first show as an over-officious exec (or whatever she was) told us we couldn't use that name based on some foolish copyright thing that never existed. So we went back to "Coach's Corner." Yeah...

"The Press Box" soon became the name. I still like that one.

I laughed at so many of these great old spots. If only it was a little easy to store audio and put it on the ol' bloggo.

The Sweetness and Innocence of Sean

Perhaps he'll hate me for posting this some day. But I love this video - shot at my friend Mick and Gretchen's block party back in August. Sean saw the water slide as soon as we pulled up and he was hooked...and barely left it for the rest of the day. I had to get video proof. He even serves as a director!

Look there's a lot of sadness, confusion and such in the world. A few seconds of this child roaring down an inflatable slide brings a proud smile to my face.


If it doesn't make you at least grin, then there might be no hope for you.

Farewell, Old Buddy


I hope friends of mine don't mind that I borrowed a picture from their Facebook page. That's a dog named Scrappy. He wasn't mine, but he was my very dear friend.

He passed away yesterday at the age of 14.

It's not fair. Never is. I mean, we're basically supposed to outlive our pets. Yet sometimes, damned if they don't become closer to us than many family members. Closer than friends. They read our thoughts. They know our moods. They comfort, entertain, and amaze - all with a simple wag of a tail or a nudge of the head.

Yet it's still not fair.

Oh we probably all knew the day was coming. My friends had been suspecting it for some time. But when I saw their son write a brief line about it on Facebook, it hit hard. I hoped - foolishly - that it wasn't true. I thought of calling, but decided it might not be the right time.

Then I came home, and there it was, confirmed.

I've lost pets, of course. Putting my beloved Bandit to sleep after 17 years of companionship was as sad a moment as any. My niece just had to do the same to their Mr. Kittles, one round mound of meowing sound. And of course, Mr. Fred - who still looms large over Sean - just disappeared over a year ago and never came home.

We mourn - and many don't understand. "It was just a dog/cat/goldfish," the naysayers say, as if it was a stale loaf of bread; something that could be just thrown away. Yet there's a more tangible reality to it. Am I supposed to feel foolish because I have tears in my eyes as I type this?

I looked forward to that face at the door every time I visited their home. My friends swore - and bragged - that Scrappy and I were best buds. I loved seeing that Pembroke Welsh Corgi get excited when I strolled in. He'd yip at me, go grab his newest bone or play toy, and we'd be right at it - mock fighting in the living room. He didn't care if I needed to take my shoes off, or if I still had my jacket on, or if the purpose of the visit wasn't necessarily to see him. He wanted my rapt attention - NOW.

There was a belly to rub. A bone to try and steal. Kisses. Petting (and shedding). Lots.

I treasured those moments - this isn't some maudlin "he-was-such-a-sweet-dog" thing.

He was my friend - as loyal and loving as any.

Another dog/cat/whatever can be brought in. And still it's just not the same. Fred, for all his ways, was no Bandit. He just never could be. He was different.

Scrappy was a one of a kind.

You can't replace him.

You sure can't forget him. I know I won't.

Farewell, my friend.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Vin Scully Recalls Some Great Moments


Daniel Riley talked with Vin Scully for the latest issue of GQ. Scully discussed the details of some of his greater play-by-play calls, and other tidbits. As usual, it's a brilliant read.

Linky Dinks Needs to Play Catch Up

So much to do. So little time.

Football is being played literally everywhere else across the USA.

Except Connecticut. Finally, we begin on Friday. I say "we" because, barring anything, I'll be behind the mic again with most of my usual crew (Sean Kilkelly being relegated back to the studio, and my friend handled it with class and grace. Enough said.).

UPDATE: Ummmm...yeah...about that last part? Not so fast. Check your local listings. That is all.

Yet starting Friday is fortuitous for Greenwich High, who probably wouldn't have been able to play a home game any earlier. Cardinal Stadium has been cleared for liftoff (Greenwich Time).

The Department of Public Health held a meeting at Greenwich High School to discuss the soil problems. Neighbor Bill Effros, who pushed for the right to attend, was a no-show (Greenwich Time).

Staying in Greenwich, Charles Costello notes that the High School did a fine job of remembering the events of September 11, 2001.

Anybody hungry? How about a Cardinal Cupcake (Greenwich Patch)?

Politically, Kenn Tomasch feels like I do. Just...done.

From Richmond, VA, great friend Jon brings us two more vintage photos. The first one is of some of the flooding on Broad St from Hurricane Agnes (which would lead Jon and I to a discussion of the good old days of working at Sears in the Jefferson Valley Mall - but I digress). Of note to me...what else? The signs! My road friends will certainly be intrigued.

Jon's second pic is of Boulevard (not THE Boulevard, mind you) at Parker Field - Richmond's ballpark at the time. Funny to see this given what it looks like now.

I have one more link, but it deserves its own entry...

Friday, September 09, 2011

10 Years


Unless you've been living under a rock, this Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. We've written about that day before here.

Since everyone else is commemmorating the day in one way or another, I'm going to let them do the talking. We remember the day, the loss, the chaos, the sadness. We salute those who tried to help by doing their jobs, volunteering, etc. They are true heroes.

We think of New York, Washington, and Shanksville. But we also think of Boston, and everywhere else that was impacted.

We remember. Always.

Ladies and gentleman, here's The Boss, singing a prayer for our fallen brothers and sisters.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

An Announcer Site Links to Me!

I got an email from Get Announcer Jobs not too long ago, in which they informed me that they would be linking to my blog on their "Announcer Resources" page. After we straightened out an error that made me laugh*, the link went on their site for all to see.

*They called me "Don" Adams, which my family will laugh at, given that my father was often known by his middle name. No, it had nothing to do with the "Get Smart" actor.

So please do me the favor of visiting their site. Believe me, if it helps me - or anyone else - get a job, then how bad can it be? Especially in this economy!

Of course, those who have read this blog for a long time know that this is not just a broadcasting blog. No - it's not a topic-specific one. But it's still written by a guy who loves broadcasting, loves teaching broadcasting, and still does some broadcasting (including next Friday night).

People Need to Find Better Things to Do

Greenwich Time photo
This is Cardinal Stadium, home of the Greenwich Cardinals for various sports.

Especially football, which begins in just over a week. In fact, the Cardinals are scheduled to play Ridgefield High School at Cardinal Stadium a week from Friday.

(Shameful note: you can hear that game on WGCH, wherever it may be played. We'll get around to discussing the 2011 version of the broadcast crew at a later time.)

Anyway, Greenwich High has a neighbor named Bill Effros. Mr. Effros has long been a critic of the high school, and was the primary voice being heard against installing lights at Cardinal Stadium. He, in fact, made it quite clear that he had money - lots of it - and was more than happy to spend said greenbacks on lengthy and frivolous lawsuits with the intention of stopping those lights from being installed.

I've still never gotten that. Ever. My hometown - Mahopac - has its high school in a residential neighborhood. It has lights. It hosts many night games, including the sectional championships. Other schools are in residential areas. They have lights.

Incidentally, Staples and Darien don't have lights, and probably never will, for the same reasons that Mr. Effros tried to keep them out.

Digressing.

Anyway, it's looking somewhat doubtful that the 2011 season opener will be played at GHS. Neil Vigdor has the details in the Greenwich Time. In Neil's article, Greenwich coach Rich Albonizio is quoted as saying:
"Between me and my predecessor, it's been 40 years and neither one of us has turned green yet"
A fairly innocuous quote, if you ask me. A throwaway line used to indicate that, through a lot of games played at that site, nobody has come down ill - at least not to anyone's knowledge.

This just in...I can think of a broadcaster who has called a lot of events from there. And I haven't turned green!

Well, this got Bill Effros's dollar bills in a bundle. The always solid Greenwich Roundup has his latest invective.

*sigh*

Sunday, September 04, 2011

I Can't Think of Freddie Mercury as 65...But He Would Have Been

September 5th would have been Freddie Mercury's 65th birthday. Google (in the UK) chose to remember him with a doodle and a video. Queen's official site remembers him with a video of their own. Rock and Roll misses him. Few had his flair, voice, and overall talent.