Wednesday, March 30, 2011

People Will Come...

Paul Silverfarb beat me to posting this on Facebook.  That's OK, I can still put it here.

Haven't watched this movie in a while.  Probably because I wind up in a fetal position with tears running down my cheeks like the Hudson.

Baseball has marked the time.  This field, this game, it's a part of our past, Ray.  It reminds us of all that was once good, and it could be again.  People will come, Ray.

Holy DiMaggio...I'm tearing up already.  That leads me to another baseball scene, if I can find it...

UPDATE:  I couldn't find it.  It's the scene from The Natural, when Robert Redford is laying in bed, talking to Glenn Close, and he says "I wish Dad could have...God, I love baseball."  Awesome spot from a movie that I have mixed emotions about (great fantasy..but destroyed the raw nature of the book).

Baseball 2011


This article from Mike Bauman at MLB.com pretty much says it all.  You can have your Times Square and so on.  Others have diferent ideas of a "new year" (religious and otherwise).

For me, there's an end to my year with the Super Bowl (let's not revisit it).  There's a sad wasteland known as "February and March."  But tomorrow, my year begins anew.  Tomorrow, whether we get snow or not, somewhere on my TV (or radio, or internet...it really doesn't matter), baseball will be played.  The games will count.

I've said too many times that football (yes, the NFL) is America's Game.  It's become the National Passion.  Yet baseball - always baseball - is the National Pastime.  There are reasons why baseball is such a part of our psyche.  It's been woven through our history since not very long after we signed that little old document in 1776.  There is enough proof to indicate that "town ball" was being played in the early 19th Century, and on September 10, 1845, a newspaper account in the New York Morning News discusses "base ball."  It wasn't long before we were hooked as a nation.

We can't forget that, of course, bad things happened.  Gambling (1919 and other cases before and after right up to Pete Rose), drugs (before steroids it was cocaine, "greenies" and so on), lack of interest (ratings were down for 2010), and of course the color line - shameful as it was, and baseball is more than happy to hammer it home.  Still no other sport rides through the very fabric of Americana like baseball - for right or wrong.
Opening Day in Yankee Stadium, April 18, 1923
There is something so right about Opening Day.  Sure the weather isn't going to be good but when that first pitch is thrown (and it should be in Cincinnati, as it always USED to be, but that's for Bud Selig's conscience to deal with), it feels like warmer days are ahead.  As always, there's renewed hope, and I need it, considering how dead I felt after last year's Yankees team crashed and burned.

Opening Day, 2010 - the New Stadium (NY Daily News)
Yeah yeah yeah, there's plenty of skepticism about baseball, for many of the reasons above.  The biggest worry is probably the lack of interest/"the game is boring" thing.  God forbid we might sit down and actually use our brains to watch a game ("that's that lump three feet above your ass" - Tom Hanks).  I love thinking about baseball.  I love wondering what's coming next - managing away like I'm Miller Huggins or something.  Fastball?  Slider?  What?  Pull hitter?  Power or average?  What should be done with the infield?  Outfield shited around?  At these moments, I don't care a wit about WHIP or WAR or OPS.  I probably care about how a player performs in a given spot, but not to the "Nth."

Let's just play ball!
OK, since you haven't asked, here is what won't happen in 2010.  That's right, some predictions!

I refuse, by the way, to go with conentional thinking.  I will not select a Red Sox/Phillies World Series.  It's too easy and I think we should all hope it doesn't happen.  So...

American League East: Red Sox, Yankees, Rays, Blue Jays, Orioles.  The Yankees are a second place team right now...at best.  The Rays have the best rotation.  The Blue Jays are really good and the Orioles are getting close.  So hello to the American League bEast.  This will be about survival.

AL Central: White Sox, Twins, Tigers, Indians, Royals.  I'm going with the White Sox, and I really don't know why.  Why do I pick against the Twins, just to have them screw me every time?  And I'm popping the Indians out of last place just for the sake of Tim Parry.  I'd like to see Chief Wahoo have a better year (OK, maybe I'd like Tim to have a good year as well, so long as he leaves the Yankees bashing alone).

AL West: Angels, Rangers, A's, Mariners.  The M's have King Felix.  And?  Yeah, Ichiro...OK.  And?  The Angels have Mike Sciosia - best manager in the game.  The Rangers were a nice story, but last I checked, Cliff Lee is somewhere else.  The A's...feh.

Wild Card: Yankees (I have to be optimistic, right?)

National League East: Phillies (duh), Braves, Marlins, Mets, Nationals.  Yes, I put the Mets in fourth.  I've learned...the opposite normally happens.  In reality, I probably expect them to be in last place.  The Nationals aren't bad, and deserve a better pick, but I need to see more.  I liked the Braves last year.  Now I want to see what they can do in the "post-Bobby Cox" era.  The Marlins?  They could flip flop with the Mets and Nats.

NL Central: Reds, Brewers, Cubs, Cardinals, Astros, Pirates.  I like Joey Votto.  I like this Reds team.  Then again, I think this division could be a total dog fight, open to anyone except the Astros and Pirates.  The Cubs just don't seem to get it.  The Cardinals?  Well, yeah.  They're still here.  What will Albert be like, and can the pitching hold up?

NL West: The Don Mattingly Division!  Yeah, but...this division is also wide open.  Rockies, Padres, Giants, Dodgers, Diamondbacks.  The Rockies have been lingering for a while.  The Padres opened a lot of eyes last year.  The Giants will take a step back (already there are concerns about Brian Wilson's health).  The Dodgers have Vin Scully, and that's about it.  He's a broadcaster, and he's 83.

Wild Card: Brewers (why not?)

Thus we get the Red Sox and the White Sox in the first round, with Boston advancing...while the Angels will surpass the Yankees (again).  The Red Sox will finish off the Angels.

In the National League, the Phillies will top the Brewers, while the Rockies will finish off the Reds.  And I believe - really, I'm trying folks, that the Rockies will get by the Phillies.

It's 2007 all over...Rockies/Red Sox.  This time, I hope, there's a different finish.  I'm trying here - I swear!

Rockies in 2011!

I'm not going to worry about the awards.  Maybe Cliff Lee wins the Cy Young (I can only hope he goes under .500).  Maybe Alex Rodriguez has an MVP year.  Who knows?

Again, let's just PLAY BALL!

ESPN New York Picks Top 50 Yankees

Ah...starting tomorrow...maybe...but we might also have FIVE TO TEN INCHES OF SNOW COMING!

ESPN, and its local arm, ESPN New York, put together a list (oh, I know - love them and hate them) of the Top 50 Yankees of all-time. 

A summary, written by Andrew Marchand, is here.  A slideshow is here.

Upon reading Marchand's piece, I discovered the so-called "experts" who served as voters...

Andrew Marchand (he's legit, and a good writer), Matt Marrone (OK, I guess), Wallace Matthews (bit obnoxious, but whatever...), Ian O'Connor (oh...dear...God...), Tim Kurkjian (double oh...dear...God), Michael Kay (biting tongue), Brandon Tierney (whatever), Don LaGreca and Jody McDonald (HUGE METS FANS...but I'm going to guess they played fair). Then we reach the last two...Ryan Ruocco and Robin Lundberg (calling Jeff Pearlman).

For the love of Roger Peckinpaugh (who I'm sure neither Ruocco or Lundberg have ever heard of), I'd rather Bill Lumberg vote before these two.

OK, I get it.  It's ESPN's little poll and they want to let the kiddies play along.  But if we're going to be serious about ESPN, how about some of their other experts?  Buster Olney, for instance.  But to just toss this into the hands of some people who don't have the first clue about Yankees history is idiotic.

Now I'll just sit back and wait for the whole "you're a blogger in your mother's basement" crap.  Yeah, and?  Doesn't mean I don't know my stuff now, does it?

As for the ranking, well, they did...um...OK, I guess.  My top 10 list is in this post from a few weeks ago.  Coincidentally, their top 10 is, um, pretty much the same as mine (though they put Red Ruffing at nine over Bill Dickey, and I think that's OK).  Still, I don't get it with Reggie Jackson.  Sorry, I never will.  Reggie over Bernie or Pettitte or Lazzeri?  No...no...no.

You simply can not get the top five wrong: Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio (or Mantle - I still say it's a virtual tie), and Mariano.  After that comes Yogi, Jeter, Whitey, Dickey (who I rank highter than Ruffing), and I still believe the tenth is open to discussion from a list of players including the aforementioned Pettitte, Lazzeri, Lefty Gomez, and even...GASP! Alex Rodriguez.

Of course, Ian O'Connor dings A-Rod for PED's, but he also takes Jeter over Mo, and literally EVERYONE else believes the most-recent Yankees dynasty doesn't happen without the Great Mariano (and we forgive him for Sandy Alomar Jr...2001 in Arizona...and 2004).

Anyway, I know how this works.  It's a list, full of opinions, which are like...you know.  Plus I wonder who is reading here anyway, because it's not like we load up on comments!  Good thing I don't get paid by the page view!

Ah, and before we depart on this Opening Day's Eve, please give a read to Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports.  I wondered why he was wearing a bow tie during the 2010 World Series (and apparently, so was he).  Now he knows, and says he'll be wearing more of them.

Monday, March 28, 2011

VCU Mania!

Sh-Sh-Sh- Shaka Smart!

The party continues in Richmond (Richmond Times-Dispatch).  The VCU Rams are heading to the Final Four.  People are taking it to the streets - like Broad Street.


Exit 55 Richmond correspondent Jon reports that people are just going crazy down in the city by the James.

Some in R-VA are more than happy to play up the pure aweseomeness of proving everyone wrong, BABY! (Deadspin)

There really isn't much to dislike about this story.  They sent Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk home.  They are an ELEVEN seed, for the love of Wooden!  Most importantly, their coach's name is Shaka!  Not to be confused with this Chaka:
Or this one:
They have a legitamate chance against Butler, though right now, it feels like Kentucky and UConn are playing for the right to be the National Champion. Yet we'll continue to root for the little guy.

The Doors

Mr. Mojo Rising

I just caught some of Oliver Stone's movie, The Doors, on VH1 Classic.  As biopics go, it's fair at best.  The surviving members of the band had their own criticisms of the film - with some saying that much of it was fiction.  Regardless, it's an OK way to waste a few minutes, if only to watch a fairly insane performance by Val Kilmer (and I think it's OK to use the term "insane" here).

Yet there are some memorable moments, including this one.

That's at the very end of the movie.  Perhaps only Jon from R-VA and I appreciate its true comic effect, as we've been saying it to each other for 20 years.

Besides, better this than that "Friday" video (fun, fun, fun, fun)...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rare Footage of Ruth and Gehrig, 1927


No sport has a better history than baseball.  None.  Finding any new footage can have a "holy grail" feel to it. 

Enter footage found in a cellar in Illinois.  It is of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, at a gathering thought to be in Sioux Falls, SD, during a barnstorming tour in 1927.

John Branch tells the rest of the story in the New York Times.  Links are included to other discoveries, including recently found footage of Ruth, Ty Cobb, and Walter Johnson in an instructional video, believed to be shot in Yankee Stadium in 1924.

Horse to the Water


I didn't know much about this song until I was listening to Darren DeVivo on WFUV yesterday morning.  The song, "Horse to the Water", was written by George Harrison and his son, Dhani, and was performed with Jools Holland and His Rhythm and Blues Orchestra.  George could only provide the lead vocal, but was too sick to play guitar, as this was recorded just before his death in 2001.

George was probably the most talented of The Beatles musically.  Yes, John and Paul did a lot musically, and were the most brilliant of songwriters, and Ringo was a largely underappreciated drummer, but George was a wonderful guitarist, among other instruments (most notably the sitar).

There is no video for this song, but an intrepid Beatles fan used the song to put together a tribute to George.

Do Dogs Chase Cats?

Michael McGlone - the Geico Guy
Latest funny stuff from Geico.  I laughed at this one.

They've only done one or two that I haven't liked.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ten Songs About New York

Mazur/WireImage
Our guy Coach over at the Next Music Blog came up with a list of ten songs about New York.  While I admire his attempt to be different, he blew it by saying "there’s no Frank Sinatra on this list because, quite frankly, I think he sucks."  Yeah, that will earn you my scorn every time.

Still, he scored solidly with the choice of Ryan Adams's "New York, New York."  The video alone makes it worth a place in any list, as it was shot just before September 11, 2001, and prominently features the World Trade Center.  But it's also a great song.


I also give him props for choosing "Rockaway Beach" by the Ramones, and "Marching Bands of Manhattan" by Death Cab for Cutie.  If I'm choosing a Beastie Boys song, it's going to be "No Sleep Till Brooklyn."  But U2's "Angel of Harlem?" never did it for me.  Ever.

Incidentally, the New York Daily News also did a list of ten songs.  Not impressed.

Here are my ten (in no order), starting with the most obvious one...
- "New York New York" (FRANK SINATRA!)  Um, no, not Liza's version.  There's only one Sinatra, and he doesn't suck.  He's simply, with The Beatles and Elvis, the definitive musical entertainer of the 20th Century.  But oh yeah, he sucks.  Whatever.  This is THE song.  I've sang this song after too many victories.  You can just hear it in your mind as you cross the Hudson.

- "New York State of Mind" (Billy Joel)  Oh that's right, he sucks also.  Please.  This song oozes with a New York vibe, albiet 70's style.

- "Empire State of Mind" (Jay-Z and Alicia Keys) The current king of the crop from the "New Sinatra."  Although he STILL hasn't made the Yankee cap more popular than a Yankee can.

[HD] jay-z feat Alicia Keys performance Empire... by Daily1705
The Phillies never stood a chance.

- "Miami 2017 (I've Seen The Light Go Out on Broadway)" (Billy Joel)  The live version just kicks my butt every time.  This version, at the Concert for New York in 2001, floored me.


- "Take the 'A' Train" (Duke Ellington) This is New York without lyrics.

- "New York Groove" (popularized by Ace Frehley)  When Harold and I did our softball video in 2001, this is the song we used to close with.  Quick, poppy, and fun.

- "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" (Elton John) I just love this song, as unhappy as it is.  It's real, and that's New York at it's finest.  We've covered this song before.

Wow...so many to choose from.  We have seven.  Let's continue.  I'll go with...

- "New York Minute" (Don Henley) Hey, it's my list, and this song still grabs me with how quickly things go - in a, you know...

- "New York, New York" (Ryan Adams)  I can't ignore it.  I just can't.  The video does it for me, to go along with the song.

- "Jungleland" (Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band)  This one might be a stretch but again, it's my list.  Beginning with "The Rangers had a homecoming, in Harlem late last night" it qualifies as a New York song.  Granted, we never really know if Jungleland is in New York or New Jersey, but it doesn't matter.  Bruce was going to make his way onto this list, if not for this then for "New York City Serenade", "Meeting Across the River" or something.

Those are my ten, for tonight.  I could have worked in The Ramones, Simon and Garfunkel, even the Stones.  There are a lot of songs about New York (take a look at this list).  Tough to not include things like "Fairytale of New York" by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl, or "On Broadway" or "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" and so many others.  Heck, there could be simply ten Billy Joel New York songs.

Just like the City itself, it isn't easy to narrow it down.

Today's Edition of Obnoxious Sportswriting


TJ Simers is a columnist for the LA Times.  He apparently writes very caustic things.  For reasons known only to himself, he chose to pick a fight with Marcus Thames, the former Yankee who is now with Donnie Baseball in LA.  Jeff Pearlman picks things up from here.

I suggest Googling TJ Simers to see what other hack jobs this hack has done.  Of course, head to this link, and our buddy TJ will regale you with his thoughts on bloggers ("That's some guy in his basement who has never interviewed an athlete").  Guess what?  I HAVE interviewed athletes!  I've written columns - yes, real and published.

Oh, but then again, I'm also a broadcaster and - WORSE - I've hosted sports talk shows.

Yep, more proof I'm going straight to hell. 

I'm sure Simers will be there waiting.

You know what, TJ?  Find some bigger fish to pick on.  Leave Marcus Thames alone.

Queensboro...err...59th Street...um...Ed Koch...um...Bridge


The New York City Council voted 38-12 to rename the Queensboro Bridge in honor of Ed Koch (New York Post).  Moving forward, the structure will be known as the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge.  Of course, there are some who still call it the 59th Street Bridge. 

A complete history of the bridge is available from Steve Anderson's NYC Roads
Longtime Channel 4 newsman Gabe Pressman penned an open letter to the former mayor.

It does beg the question: doesn't City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have ANYTHING better to do?  The answer: of course not!  Why would they?

Of course, the people of Queens asked - correctly - if anyone would co-name the Brooklyn Bridge?  Um...no, of course not (well maybe for that mouthpiece Judge Judy Sheindlin...or maybe not).  But then again, the Queensboro has always had a bit of an identity problem, and really, does it matter if Queens is being dissed?  There's no Bronx Bridge is there?  None of the bridges to and from Staten Island are named for that boro, and who has a worse identity crisis than them?

At least it will be a co-named thing, and most of us will continue to call it the Queensboro Bridge anyway.  As it is, most of us don't refer to the Triborough Bridge by it's new name - the RFK Bridge (another farce).

By the way, I like Ed Koch, one of the most colorful leaders in the history of New York.  I'd just rather see him honored with something else.

In the end, it's all much ado about nothing (and takes the news away from fawning over the death of Elizabeth Taylor - never a favorite of mine).

Richmond - Basketball Mecca!

Photo by RA - June, 2009.
Don't blink, but two - TWO - schools from the great Richmond, Virginia have advanced to the NCAA's Sweet Sixteen.  The University of Richmond meets top-seeded Kansas while Virginia Commonwealth University tangles with Florida State.  If both teams can pull off the wins (granted it's somewhat unlikely), they'll meet in the Elite Eight, with a trip to Houston and the Final Four on the line.

It's a great story, and ESPN.com's Dana O'Neil picks it up from here.

Little side note - I visited VCU in 1992 with the outside thought of attending.  Ultimately, I had a chance to attend East Carolina, but declined (just felt I didn't want to get involved with student loans and such).  I went back and stayed in a VCU dorm under a year later with my friend Jon (yes, this Jon, who comes to us with pictures of the Downtown Expressway being built in 1975).  I even attended classes with him for a day!

To me, Richmond is, of course, more than a "sleepy Southern city", as O'Neil writes.  It's two hours from Washington.  It's a short drive to the beaches, mountains, and more.  I'm sure most of you who read this blog know how I feel about "R-Va."  It's got great food.  Great shopping.  History.  Outdoor activities.  And great people and southern charm.

It's a great place and, right now, it's a city with two teams in the Big Dance.

Rich Albonizio Up for NFL High School Coach of the Year


Greenwich High School head football coach Rich Albonizio speaks with quarterback Mike Lefflbine in 2009. Photo: Greenwich Time, David Ames / CT
I stopped into WGCH's offices this morning to visit my colleagues (OK, I was there to see if I had a check waiting for me) when News Director Tony Savino told me that he saw something about Greenwich High coach Rich Albonizio on Frank Trotta's website.

Sure enough - Coach Al is up for NFL High School Coach of the Year, as nominated by John Sullivan.

Congrats, and best of luck to Coach Al.

A Beatles Double-Play on a Lousy Spring Day

Greetings.  The Beatles appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show" via video in May, 1966.  Some say this is the first music video.

It's worth noting Paul is playing with a chipped tooth - a result of a motor scooter accident in December, 1965. One of the earliest notions of the "Paul is Dead" phenomenon.

I just heard "Rain" earlier today - a somewhat underappreciated song in comparison to the rest of the Fab's catalog.  It includes on of the first example of "backwards masking", the idea of taking the lyric and reversing them.  We've of course heard it countless times since then.  In case you're wondering what the reverse lyric is, it's:  
"When the sun shines," "Rain," and "If the rain comes, they run and hide their heads"
"Paperback Writer" is pure brilliance. Here's Macca playing it at Citi Field on July 18, 2009 (yes, that was the show I was at).

Monday, March 21, 2011

Both Funny and Annoying


This is the Slap Chop dude.  I Googled him and saw his name is Vince Offer, and he was an actor and a guy who seems to have filed a lot of lawsuits because of some movie he made.  Whatever.  His Slap Chop commercial is both humorous (fettucini, linguini, martini, bikini), and annoying.

Does this thing even work?  I only have 20 minutes to order to get the bonus!

Heard it in a Verizon Store


Spent some time in the Verizon Wireless store on Broadway at 17th St. last week as Carrie bought a new phone (the nifty Thunderbolt...I'd like to follow suit...shall we take up a collection?).  The salesman, David (go see this dude - he's beyond good) was shooting the bull with us about a variety of things.  We got around to work and such, when he offered up the magic words from Yoda.

"Do or do not.  There is not try."

Monday's Linky Dinks

Onions!  With a kiss.
We start, in no particular order, with thoughts from John Maffei, writing for the North County Times.  It's not so much everything else in the article - nice stuff about Ted Leitner, and of course the great Dick Enberg, but it's his commentary about the Tournament.  Or most of all, this silly comment:
There were three buzzer-beaters in the early going Thursday -- Butler over Old Dominion, Morehead State over Louisville and Temple over Penn State. But with Bill Raftery calling the Morehead State-Louisville game, I couldn't watch it. For me, he's not Brent Musburger, but he's close. As long as I have another option, I'll avoid Raftery. Had to switch off the BYU-Wofford game, too, because Raftery was working it.
I suppose we can add him to rash of "pro-Gus."  Yet, while watching one of last night's games, Carrie told me that I could turn the sound up (we were at her place).  "That's OK", I said, I don't like the announcer.  Yep, it was Screamin Gus.  Ugh.

The rule around here?  NEVER PICK ON RAFT.  Minutres after Raft and Vern Lundquist began their first call last Thursday, I texted my former "Press Box" co-host Ryan DeMaria with some "ONIONS!"

That means I must - MUST - SEND IT IN JEROME!


Staying in college hoops for a moment, I sent my friend Jon from RVa a note the other day, concerned with his excitment that VCU was in the Big Dance (I'm sure I'm supposed to put a trademark symbol here or something).  Jon, not the biggest sports fan (though a solid baseball guy) said he is excited for his alma mater.  To that end, he posted a classic shot of the then-Richmond Professional Institute (RPI) Rams in 1966.

Back to broadcasters: the greatest of them all has a website.  I did not know this, although it is very basic.  There is a nice collection of links.

By the way, 10 days to first pitch.  Ten long days.

I feel old (and am getting older).  Ferris Bueller is 49 years-old today (Stuck in the 80's).

Thanks to Carrie for sending me a link to an article from the New York Times about the creation of the street grid that we all know in New York City.  Interesting reading.

From Jeff Pearlman, via the Wall Street Journal, an article about the most unloved Met ever (no - not Oliver Perez or our good friend Luis Castillo).  Doug Sisk was a relief pitcher for the Mets in the 80's.  He was not only abused at the ballpark but as the article discussed, he had his car attacked, and he was followed one night.

Really?  And this is supposed to help me NOT hate the Mets and their fans with every fiber of my soul?  Some of that stuff makes Philly fans seem civil.

Sick.

Started writing more...I'll stop.  I just don't get liking the Mets (especially if you like the Yankees).  I'll leave it at that, or else I'll be "snarky" again.

I'm Guessing Mario Lemeiux Has No Comment Now...

This AP picture came from a site called "India Times."  Who knew they loved hockey in India?  You learn something new ever day...

If you saw this yesterday, as Carrie and I both did live, then you know the story.  Matt Cooke delivered a cheap shot (another in a long line), this time on the Rangers' Ryan McDonagh.

Now the NHL has a problem on its hands.  They have to suspend Cooke - and hey, if you want to reenter the whole "Zdeno Chara" debate, have at it...and waste your time.  The simple fact is Chara is a hard-nosed, physical player, who has no prior "record."  Cooke is regarded - everywhere - as a dirty player.  Beyond a goon.  I wish the League luck with this decision.

What it really points out, though, is what a hypocrite Mario Lemeiux is.  He was furious at the League for its handling of blows to the head, but he employs a player that I've seen described as "chicken excremement" and "a scumbag."  Now how does he react?  Scott Burnside on ESPN is wondering the same thing.

Credit to Pens' coach Dan Bylsma, transcribed from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review by Frank D on PensBlog, for being a stand-up guy:
"I don't think you can talk about eliminating headshots as an organization and not expect that to be examined," coach Dan Bylsma said. "It looks to be contact right to the head. The league will look at that at treat it as such."
I'll go back to what I've said all along.  Hockey is a physical game.  However there is a difference between physical and deadly - or dirty. 

By the way, and this should please a friend of mine: I've just about had enough of Pierre McGuire.  Nice guy, and he does do a nice job of breaking down the game, especially with his "Inside the Glass" commentary.  But holy cow, can the guy, get, um, tougher?  He wants the red line removed, wants more skilled play (or...sigh...European style), and generally disregards fighting.  He's part of the call in the video above, along with NBC's A-plus team of Doc Emrick and Ed Olczyk.  Then again, guys like McGuire can inspire drinking games (along with Jack Edwards Bingo - both are in this link).

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Saturday Linky Dinks

The Mets released Luis Castillo (Deadspin).  Pity, that.  Seems like a nice guy and not a bad player.  Yet he'll always be remembered (fondly by some of us) for one thing...

It's a gift that keeps on giving.  And I never get tired of this one...PUT IT IN THE BOOKS!


Best to stop here.  Feeling very snarky today, and I could seriously cause trouble.  Nope.  Stopping.

Huge congratulations too the Greenwich High School bowling team!  They took second the in the states (Greenwich Time).

To Vintage Richmond we go where Jon has pictures of crews removing pavement on Mounument Ave. in 1974.  You might not care, and that's fine, but trust me when I say that Monument Ave. is one of this country's great stretches of streets.  Just gorgeous.  The cobblestones help add to the charm (even if your car rumbles along on them).

I love this.  Via Deadspin, Legos reenact four classic March Madness moments (and thankfully, no Gus Johnson).

Two Jeff Pearlman links to finish up...
1) He goes rip city on the Garden for raising Knicks ticket prices 49% (via Sports Illustrated).  Yeah yeah yeah, MSG will say it's due to the renovations.  That's true, I suppose.  Rangers tickets are also shooting up.  So thanks for that.
2) Jeff has decied that he will no longer go to his favorite pizza place, because the proprietor was a rude ass.  The problem is, now I'm curious to try the pizza (I mean, 16th and Third?  I'm down there a lot!).

A Sheryl Crow Start to the Day

I haven't really listened to Sheryl Crow in a while.  I loved - Loved - LOVED her album, The Globe Sessions, but she hasn't really come close to matching that 1998 CD.  I'm going to download her latest, 100 Miles From Memphis, and see if it's any good.

From The Globe Sessions, here's a favorite...


I'm also working on downloading Robert Plant and the Band of Joy.  I had been resisting the urge, but colleague and friend Sean Kilkelly keep posting great songs from them.  So I caved.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Pat's Day!

There's something funny about this...
Some like Saint Patrick's Day.  Some don't.  Some purely don't think about it and ignore it.

I like it - probably more than I did when I was a kid.  I never really gave it a lot of thought.  My father passed away on this night in 1989, and it could be really easy to hate this day.  But for me, Saint Patrick's Day is about smiling and having fun.  It's about finding things to not associate with the sadness.  I have happier memories now with it.

It's not a question of if I'm really Irish (there's debate in my family about that).  It's about everyone being Irish.  But there's more.  As we're on this day in 2011, we're two weeks away from first pitch of baseball season.  It's fifty-six degrees and sunny.  It's the first REAL day of the NCAA tournament (you can't fool me with those play-in games).  There's so much promise in the air that it's tangible!

Besides, it gives me reason to think of The Commitments!


Or The Quiet Man (I wanted to embed the fight scene, but the meanies at YouTube won't let me).


Celebrate however you wish, but please do so responsibly.

What Were They Thinking?

This might be the end of the world as we know...do I feel fine?
A couple of friends of mine posted something on Facebook - an email that was intended for their daughter (thankfully they intercepted it).  It said things about the end of the world coming soon and going to Hell and so on.  It angered my friends.  In fact, it infuriated them.  I feel the same.

Exactly what do the parents of the child who sent this email out think they're doing?  Do they REALLY believe that the end of days is upon us?  Do they honestly think it's right to send this to a young child?  Or anyone for that matter?  When confronted about it, the parent simply said "my apologies."  You know they don't even think they're slightly wrong.

I actually wrote this three days ago, but given how people react to such topics, I've debated whether I would actually post this or not. But I'm also doing this with the blessing of my frineds.  In fact, I scaled it back and edited it several times.  I've also toned it down. 

It's that same internal battle about writing that I often wage.  Jeff Pearlman seems to be feeling some of these same thing.

Let's just leave this topic at this: there is a time and a place for religion.  Trying to have your child influence another child is blatantly wrong.  I'm very low-key when it comes to religion.  I don't answer the question in my Facebook profile.  I don't put religious-related items on Facebook, or in emails.  I simply don't believe in wallpapering my world with it.

As a parent, I would be really angry if Sean received this.  Best to let it go at that.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My Picks

Oh yeah...that just happened.
Read 'em and laugh...

- Ohio State
- San Diego State
- Kansas
- Pittsburgh

Ohio State will beat Kansas for the title, 75-71.

I want to believe this tournament will have more upsets.  Yet it's pretty much chalk for me.

I'm a part of two bracket challenges (thankfully free - the only way I play), and in Paul Silverfarb's, my entry is named "The Anti-Gus Johnson."  Just for laughs.

Let's play!

More Derek Jeter


Seth Mnookin (Red Sox fan) profiles Derek Jeter in the latest issue of GQ.  Now while Mnookin went ready to try and bury him, it appears he, too, can't help but admire the Yankees' captain.

The fallout continues from the Siena College survey that I talked about yesterday.  Jason Keidel, on CBS New York, has his say over just how foolish it is that Derek Jeter won the popular vote over Babe Ruth.  Now, if this was a poll for favorite or most-popular, then I understand the results a little better.  But it's supposed to be a poll for "greatest" New York athlete, and that's where it's just dumb.  Even Jeter would probably admit that he's not better than the great Ruth.

As for Keidel's request that we "list the ten best Yankees of all-time, and tell me where Jeter ranks. Of all his single-digit predecessors who have been bronzed in Monument Park, Jeter doesn’t dent the top five."  Well, he's right.  I touched on it back in August, 2009.

1) Babe Ruth
2) Lou Gehrig
3) Mickey Mantle...or...
3) Joe DiMaggio (it's so tough)

After that, everyone else is secondary.
5) Mariano Rivera (if pitchers are allowed on this list)

6) Yogi Berra
7) Derek Jeter
8) Whitey Ford
9) Bill Dickey
10) Too many others to choose from...perhaps Tony Lazzeri, or Don Mattingly, or Thuman Munson, or Posada, or Pettitte...(I'd probably pick Lazzeri).

So who else would represent New York?  We should all agree that it's Ruth at number one.  That's the easy part.  After that, comes Gehrig, Mantle, DiMaggio, Yogi, Mariano, and then Jeter (representing the Yankees).  I'm not ranking them, I'm just listing.

The Mets can add Tom Seaver.

The Giants (of baseball) bring Willie Mays, Mel Ott, and Christy Mathewson.

The Dodgers have Duke Snider and Jackie Robinson.

The Giants (of football) add Sam Huff, Frank Gifford, and Lawrence Taylor.

The Jets?  Joe Namath.

The Knicks bring in Clyde Frazier, Willis Reed, and maybe even Patrick Ewing.  But what about Dollar Bill Bradley and Dave DeBusschere?

Finally, the Rangers. Mark Messier, Brian Leetch, Mike Richter, Rod Gilbert...who else?
The Nets (remember they played on Long Island) once had Dr. J.  No-brainer.

The Islanders...yes, the Islanders...Mike Bossy - at the very least.  Billy Smith, Denis Potvin, and Bryan Trottier all deserve thought.

The Devils - can we include them? - Martin Brodeur, of course.

Hell, don't we even have to consider Pele?  What about other "fringe" sports?  Gets it becomes a little dicier here.

Just thinking out loud here, of course.  Feel free to add on.

The NCAA's Slice of Heaven

For those of you who worship at the foot of Screaming Gus, or if you really want to just step back in time, the NCAA has put a bunch of old tournament games online.  No, not everything is there, but there's enough to see all of the great moments.  It goes all the way back to 1976, with Curt Gowdy and Dick Enberg on the call on NBC as Michigan and Indiana played for the National Championship.

There's a lot to like here, as you can search by a variety of categories (though, sorry, kids, there isn't a "Gus" button).  Speaking of which, perhaps I'll mute the play-in games on TruTV tonight.  Anyway, you can also open a game, and press a small green square at the bottom that takes you to crucial moments in that particular game.

So many moments to choose from.  Have some fun wasting time looking around.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Jeter Over Ruth?


I don't even know what to make of this.  From the New York Post, a Siena College poll says Derek Jeter is the greatest New York athlete ever.  Babe Ruth came in second.

I would have picked Ruth, then Lou Gehrig.  The Iron Horse didn't even crack the top five.

Of course, Jeter was tops with females, while Ruth was most popular with men.  That says something.

The Yankees received a whopping 30% of the vote for favorite team.  So they got something right.

March Madness Music Style!

The Beatles wit their trainer, some guy named Clay.  Or Ali.
From our friends over at the Next Music Blog comes brackets of musical artists.  Yes, I'm aware that Colin Cowherd is doing the same thing, but here's my basic point - I like the Next guys better.  So that's that.

Let us review things, bracket by bracket!

In the Elvis Presley Bracket, where Journey won a play-in over Judas Priest:

1) Led Zeppelin vs. 16) Journey.  Really?  Is that a question?  Led Zep.
8) Neil Young vs. 9) REM.  Little tougher, but this is my preference.  I'll take REM.
4) Pearl Jam vs. 13) Greatful Dead.  I was surprised that they had the Dead so low.  I went with the Dead in an upset, but Pearl Jam will no doubt (ha ha) win the vote.
5) The Police vs. 12) Dire Straits.  Might be my toughest choice.  I'll take The Police, who put on one of the best shows I've ever been to.
2) U2 vs. 15) Black Crowes.  Easy.  U2.
7) Price vs. 10) Radiohead.  OK, computer.  Radiohead, all day.
3) Aersomith vs. 14) Nine Inch Nails.  Like that's a choice?  "Walk this Way" to the second round.
6) Van Halen vs. 11) Tool.  Van Halen or Van Hagar, thank you very much.

My second round plays like this:
1) Led Zeppelin vs. 9) REM.  Still not a question.  Like REM, but Zep is Zep.
13) Greatful Dead vs. 5) The Police.  Whether it was Pearl Jam or the Dead, The Police move on.
2) U2 vs. 10) Radiohead.  Hmmmm.  This is a little tough for me.  But still, I'll take U2.
3) Aerosmith vs. 6) Van Halen.  I can't forgive Aeromsith for the balads.  Van Halen "Jumps" to the next round.

Regional Semis:
1) Led Zeppelin vs. 5) The Police.  Sorry, Stingo.  Led Zep is rambling on.
2) U2 vs. 6) Van Halen.  Wow - the toughest one yet.  I'll give Bono the edge with his high-powered connections.

Regional Final:
1) Led Zeppelin vs. 2) U2.  No contest.  Sorry.  Led Zeppelin.

That bracket went chalk.  Too easy in the end.  OK, let's try the James Brown Bracket, where Smashing Pumpkins beat Stone Temple Pilots in the play-in:

1) Rolling Stones vs. 16) Smashing Pumpkins.  No chance.  Stones.
8) White Stripes vs. 9) Coldplay.  I can see an upset here, and I'm going with it.  Wanker music wins!  Coldplay.
4) Queen vs. 13) Foo Fighters.  Freddie Mercury.  Nuff said.
5) Eagles vs. 12) Rage Against the Machine.  Riiiiight.  Eagles.
2) Pink Floyd vs. 15) Fleetwood Mac.  Might be the best 2/15 matchup.  Still, I'll take Floyd.
7) David Bowie vs. 10) Johnny Cash.  I know who's going to win.  I know who I'm picking.  I'm walking the line with Johnny Cash.
3) AC/DC vs. 14) The Cure.  Love New Wave and 80's punk, etc.  But come on.  AC/DC.
6) The Doors vs. 11) Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.  The Doors, thanks.

Second Round:
1) Rolling Stones vs. 9) Coldplay.  No question.  Stones.
4) Queen vs. 5) Eagles.  Damn.  Love them both.  But Freddie is Freddie.  Wow.  The Eagles had so many great songs.  Damn.  Freddie is the difference.
2) Pink Floyd vs. 10) Johnny Cash.  I'm trying to find an upset.  Really.  Not here.  Floyd.
3) AC/DC vs. 6) The Doors.  This will work.  Here's my upset.  The Doors.

Semis:
1) Stones vs. 4) Queen.  Freddie versus Mick Jagger.  It's my bracket.  See ya, Stones.  I'll take Queen.  Few others will, and I get that.
2) Pink Floyd vs. 6) The Doors.  I guess I'll take Floyd.

Final:
2) Pink Floyd vs. 4) Queen.  I'm mixing it up, people.  Queen heads to the Final Four.  If I hear "Comfortably Numb" one more time...

To the Buddy Holly Bracket, where Arcade Fire knocked off Kings of Leon in the play-in:
1) Jimi Hendrix vs. 16) Arcade Fire.  Hendrix.
8) Bob Marley vs. 9) Credence Clearwater Revival.  Nice 8/9 matchup.  Marley will win the vote.  I'm taking CCR.
4) The Ramones vs. 13) The Sex Pistols.  Nicely placed by the committee!  Well thought out.  Still The Ramones invented Punk.  Done.
5) Metallica vs. 12) Iron Maiden.  "Enter Sandman."
2) The Clash vs. 15) The Pretenders.  Wow...The Pretenders as a 15?  That's tough.  But it's The Clash, and the win.
7) Elton John vs. 10) The Beach Boys.  Could be an upset, but not here.  Elton John.
3) Black Sabbath vs. 14) Dave Matthews Band.  OK, I get it.  I know Sabbath will win the vote.  This, however, isn't about your vote.  It's about mine.  I like DMB.  They win.
6) Allman Brothers vs. 11) Talking Heads.  My brother will likely disown me...again.  I'll take the Heads.

Second round:
1) Hendrix vs. 9) CCR.  Primed for an upset?  No.  Hendrix.  I don't think he's a strong one seed though.
4) The Ramones vs. 5) Metallica.  Punk vs. Metal.  Tough.  I'll take Metallica.
7) Elton John vs. 2) The Clash.  See, here's the thing.  If I could only take Elton John up until 1980, then I would choose him.  I can't...so The Clash wins.
14) Dave Matthews Band vs. 11) Talking Heads.  The upsets continue!  DMB to the semis!

Semis:
1) Hendrix vs. 5) Metallica.  I still think Hendrix is a weak one, but he breezes on.
2) The Clash vs. 14) DMB.  The upsets end.  It's The Clash.

Final:
1) Jimi Hendrix vs. 2) The Clash.  Those who think I'm such a true Classic Rock guy will be shocked.  I'll take The Clash.  "London Calling" is an insanely great album.

Finally, the Check Berry bracket.  Van Morrison destroyed ZZ Top in the Play-in.  Ummm...when you see the number one seed, yeah...
1) THE BEATLES vs. 16) Van Morrison.  I love Van Morrison.  Really.  But...really?  Beatles.
8) Bob Dylan vs. 9) Tom Petty.  My preference?  TP.  But I want my brother to not disown me, and he thinks I hate Dylan (God, I hate when people assume I hate things).  I like Dylan!  Really!  And he's better than Tom Petty, despite my preference.  So Bob moves on.
4) Eric Clapton vs. 13) The Pixies.  The Pixies?  Really?  I mean, I respect the committee for a unique selection, and God knows they wouldn't put Huey Lewis and the News in (there's a small dose of humor in that), but come on.  I've soured on Clapton a tad, but Clapton still wins.
5) Nirvana vs. 12) Bon Jovi.  Anyone who votes against Nirvana is either a) female or b) I'm not going to insult anyone.  I'll just say "Nirvana" and move on.
2) The Who vs. 15) The Replacements.  I've got nothing.  Wow.  The Who.
7) Bruce Springsteen vs. 10) Guns and Roses.  I can see an upset here.  I can also see my regional final shaping up already.  Voters will pick GnR.  Smart people will pick Bruce.  I'm smart.
3) The Kinks vs. 14) Elvis Costello.  You know, early on, I didn't see any upsets brewing.  The Kinks as a THREE?  No.  Way.  Elvis Costello moves on.
6) Red Hot Chili Peppers vs. 11) Simon and Garfunkel.  Once again, I know the audience.  But once again...what was that I was saying about upsets?  S&G.

Second Round:
1) The Beatles vs. 8) Bob Dylan.  Even my brother should agree here.  The Beatles.
4) Eric Clapton vs. 5) Nirvana.  Tempted to pull an upset, but that's what early death does.  Yes, Nirvana ushered in a genre, but Clapton is God.
2) The Who vs. 7) Bruce Springsteen.  You didn't really think I'd pick The Who, did you?  Bruce should be way higher than a seven, but that's not my problem (and let's not even get into those who didn't get selected...I mean, Red Hot Chili Peppers are here but Billy Joel isn't?  Bon Jovi but not Genesis?).  Bruce...all day.
11) Simon and Garfunkel vs. 14) Elvis Costello.  Probably Simon and Garfunkel, I guess.

Semis:
1) The Beatles vs. 4) Eric Clapton.  While he appeared on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", it was a Beatles song.  They're The Beatles.  Duh.  Winning (sorry, couldn't resist).
7) Bruce Springsteen vs. 11) Simon and Garfunkel.  Didn't I already say I could see my regional final?  Yeah, Springsteen.

Final:
1) The Beatles vs. 7) Bruce Springsteen.  This should really be a Final Four matchup.  I might have taken Bruce in almost any other bracket.  Except this one.  Again.  They're the Beatles.

FINAL FOUR:
The brackets aren't lined up to show who would play whom...oh, it doesn't matter.  You know the winner.  I know the winner.  You know who I'm picking.  You would know no matter who they are matched up against.  One...more...time...

THEY'RE THE BEATLES.  National champs.

Bullying


I have little tolerance for bullying.  Perhaps you've heard the story of Casey in Australia.  If you haven't, go to this link from Deadspin and watch the video while it's still online.

He took what was being dished out, and he had enough.

Enough, people.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Interviews with Huey Lewis

Yes...I own this...VHS, thank you very much
Courtesy of the fine folks over on the boards at HLN.org, here are a couple of good interviews about our favorite regular guy rocker...

On how fame can destroy art (courtesy Gene Myers at North Jersey.com).

Seven things you didn't know (via Doug Effman of the Las Vegas Review-Journal).

One article is quite serious and sort of sad, the other is frivilous fun.  The first one is rather frustrating, but it's a tale I've heard.  It could send me on a rant but I would also be ripping othe bands, and I'd like to be a little kinder and gentler.  At least today.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Trolls

If only all trolls would learn to accept who they are.  Jon Cryer responds to being called a troll...

Well played, indeed.

Fantastic Historical Broadcasting News

Mel Allen and Red Barber

The baseball strike of 1994 was positively awful.  History was canceled (the 1994 World Series - still shameful) and it took a long time for the sport to recover (I don't buy into the whole "Cal Ripken saved us" crap).

The only good thing that came out of it happened one night during the strike, as I listened to WFAN.  I believe it was Howie Rose (yes, the Mets and Islanders broadcaster - he's a pretty good one, by the way) who was hosting a show and had on a gentleman from Evansville named John Miley.  Mr. Miley owned a huge backlog of classic sporting events and played some of the sound bytes on Rose's show.  With my love of history, and of sports, I was hooked.

Eventually, I found that Mr. Miley ran a business that sold many of the old broadcasts (and newer ones as well).  Several Miley Collection items found their way into my hands, including Game Five of the 1976 American League Championship Series (two words: Chris Chambliss), the 1978 American League East one-game playoff (Bucky Effing Dent) and two versions of Game Six of the 1996 World Series (the Yankees call with John Sterling and Michael Kay, and the CBS Version with - who else? - Vin Scully and Jeff Torborg).

Incidentally, the Scully call of Game Six wasn't something that was readily available.  My mother bought it for me as a Christmas present, and when she ordered it, Mr. Miley asked her if she understood that it would be more expensive due to the editing and so on.  Her response?  "That's the one my son told me he wanted."  I absolutely treasure it.

I also have the full game of Roger Maris' 61st home run in 1961, as called by Mel Allen, Phil Rizzuto (who called the magic moment) and Red Barber.  Awesome.

Mr. Miley is now 80 and had been wondering what to do with his collection.  I remember once reading that his family wasn't interested in maintaining it.  I'm sure he had some options, but I'm thrilled with the choice he has made. 

It's heading to the Library of Congress.  Read the press release to get a small sample of just how impressive the John Miley Sports Broadcast Collection is.

CBS New York has more.  So does the New York Times.

Now, I have a quarrel perhaps.  I'm not sure I believe that the audio of Harold Arlin calling the Phillies and Pirates on KDKA in August of 1920 (the first baseball broadcast) is real, because there simply wasn't the best recording machinery at the time, but I would love to hear it for myself.  I have heard a recording of KDKA doing election results that November (which was purported to be the oldest broadcast recording, but I've also heard that it was a recreation).  Yet as I said, I would be very interested to hear it.

In fact, Mr. Miley had previously said that the oldest complete (that's the key word) sporting event to exist was a Yankees/Tigers game from September, 1934.  Yes...I also own that.  Ty Tyson was the broadcaster (and public address announcer!).

There is no doubt that this is a significant event in the history of sports broadcasting.  I'm quite sure Mr. Miley will be adding some audio from WGCH Sports any day now...

Or not.

Seriously, this is wonderful news for those of us who treasure being able to hear those who came before us in the sports broadcasting world.  Perhaps those voices can teach the news guys a thing or a thousand.

Would Everyone Calm Down?

Those who care about hockey are all talking about Zdeno Chara's hit on Max Pacioretty of the Canadiens.  Now anyone who knows a lick about hockey knows the B's and Habs aren't the best of buddies.  Yankees-Red Sox?  Maybe not, but it's not far off.  They really dislike each other.

Given Chara's bruising style of play, you can understand that, of course, Canadiens' fans are just livid.

It's enough that the two stooges on "Pardon the Interruption" actually debated it.  HOLY COW!  They actually know hockey exists?  Is THIS what it takes?

The Boston Globe also has some reaction via their Bruins Blog.

Pacioretty isn't pleased, of course (via USA Today).

If you haven't seen the play, here it is.  Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley have the call on NESN.


The match penalty was a gross overreaction.  The NHL thought that was enough of a penalty for what was, in reality, INTERFERENCE.  But because Pacioretty was injured, an uproar has begun.  Now the Montreal Police Department, which apparently has nothing better to do, has gotten involved.  Or more notably,  Quebec’s director of criminal and penal prosecutions, Louis Dionne, asked police to get involved.  What a stooge.

Last I checked, hockey is a physical game.  You want something less strenuous?  Go play shuffleboard or something else.  Maybe golf (as much as I love golf).

Where's Don Cherry when we need him?

This is what it takes to get people talking hockey.  Sadly.

A Matt Brown Update

We haven't forgotten about Matt Brown around these parts.  Matt, as I'm sure you all recall, was injured over a year ago while playing high school hockey near Boston.

Matt continues to make progress in his fight against those injuries.  Michael Mancinelli, writing via Boston.com for the Boston Globe, brings us up to date.

Great to see Matt is a huge part of Norwood's hockey programs, and that he is now an assistant coach.  Yet I wouldn't bet against seeing Matt on skates again one day, even if it is as a coach.  The game is in this young man's blood.  I think we'd all love to see it.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

September 11 Police Footage

It's haunting. No question about it. Nearly 10 years after the attacks of September 11, 2001, a video has come to YouTube that was taken on a New York City Police Helicopter.

The Daily News, and others, have more on why this video has come out now.

I've always been of the belief that I want to see it all.  That's just me.  Jeff Pearlman kind of sums up my feelings.  Like him, I'm riveted.  Unlike him, Sean and I have already discussed September 11th.  He has a vague idea what happened.  He watched a documentary with me.  He seems largely unfazed by it, with no lingering fears.  At the same time, he gets how sad it was, obviously.

I think I said this just recently...ten years.  Wow.  Ten...long...years.  For the most part, New York seems immune.  Life goes on.  Yet on occasion, I find myself walking around Union Square - where so many loved ones came to hang pictures, pray, cry, and hope - and I think about it.  I often glance to lower Manhattan while crossing the Brooklyn Bridge (or on the subway while crossing the Manhattan Bridge) and think about it.  One can't drive the West Side Highway without thinking of it in some way.  So in short, life goes on, but it's always there.

The sounds.  The sirens.  The screams.  The fear.  The images.  The echoes.  They shouldn't be forgotten.

Friday, March 04, 2011

The Three Best Huey Lewis and the News Songs


Ah, good old Scott Muni.  "The Professor", as he was called, sounded like he had just swallowed a bottle of paint thinner (or vodka) before he turned on the microphone for his show on a couple of great radio stations.  His prominence began on WMCA, then moved to WABC (where he helped introduce listeners to those Beatles guys), popped back to WMCA, and onto WOR-FM before heading to WNEW-FM, where he stayed from 1967 to 1998.  He stayed at WAXQ-FM (Q104) until he had a stroke in early 2004, and died later that year.

So why the Scott Muni-mini biography?  Because when "Scottso" would play Huey Lewis and the News on WNEW, he would say, "Huey Lewis and the N-E-double-U's."  Always made me smile.

Wait?  Huey Lewis and the News?  On a ROCK STATION?  Yes, people.  Before the band was dumped into adult contemporary hell, they were consistently heard on rock radio.  Oh if only program directors now would have the guts to play them on rock radio again, as opposed to the constant dreck we're stuck with on classic rock stations.  I mean, for the love of Chuck Berry, how many times do we need to hear "More Than a Feeling?"

I'm getting sidetracked here.  Sorry.

Anyway, the WNEW blog posted their choices for HLN's top three songs.  They chose "Doing It All For My Baby", "The Heart of Rock and Roll", and "Working for a Living."  Fine choices, all, but, this is me we're talking about and there are just a few bands that I knew pretty darn well.  This is one of them.  So...

3) Hmmm.  Tough one.  So many choices.  "The Power of Love", "Heart and Soul", "Working For a Living", "Do You Believe in Love", and on and on.  Tough, tough, tough.  "Back in Time."  "Hip to Be Square."  For now, I'm going with a Bruce and John Hornsby-penned tune.  "Jacob's Ladder", it is.


2) I want to give you something different.  "Change of Heart" is the first track on their 1982 album Picture This.  It's a wonderful meeting of California sound-meets-Eff You post-punk New Wave.  It's a rocker, but it's not an entirely happy song.  This video is from their appearance in Germany at Rockpalast in 1984.

As a bonus, this is the studio version.

"Change of Heart" would be my Huey cover, if I ever had a band.

1) Spring, 1984.  Listening to WHCN-FM out of Hartford, when they were still a rock station.  I've told this story before on the blog.  I know where I was the first time I heard this song.  I felt - right then and there - that this was my band.  The song was "The Heart of Rock and Roll."

I also remember going to my sister's apartment in the days before my parents' house had cable, so I could watch the boys in concert (and thankfully she had Showtime).  I had the place to myself, ran a tape recorder to get the audio off the live simulcast (on WNEW, of course!) and made it rock.  No telling how much of my hearing I lost due to the repeated replays.

Yes, I still have the tape...converted to PC to burn onto CD's and my iPod.  I'm smiling thinking about it.

The video link is here.


One last thing.  A month ago, the boys were scheduled to play at the Gramercy Theater on E 23rd St in NYC.  That's only about, oh, three or four blocks away from Carrie's office (where I will be heading as soon as I done typing this).  Seemed like a no-brainer for me to go.  Then I saw the ticket prices.  *sigh*  No show for me.  A complete bummer.  I'm glad to see that they sold the place out but oh did it sting.  I haven't seen them since 2005.  I'm a little overdue.

A Few Voicemails From the Past

Sean.  Taken by RA, July, 2008
Every now and then, Sean will call my cell phone when I'm not available.  To be exact, it's happened three times - twice in 2008 (while I was working with the Renegades) and once earlier this year.  How do I know this?  I've saved the messages.  They have sat in my voicemail ever since, and occasionally I would listen to them, especilly when I was missing him badly.  They would always make me smile.

One of my fears was that I would foolishly delete them.  Yet if you know what you're doing, it's really not hard to save them to a file.  If you have a small studio in your home, as I do, with an old Radio Shack mixer and the proper cables, all run into a computer, it becomes easy.  Then add in the right software to edit them, and a video program to make a movie, and it's show time!

No matter what, this kid is cute.  You all know what a proud dad I am.  The video is over on YouTube also.

Hugh Jessiman Finally Makes It To the NHL


I was watching some hockey the other night, when a name stuck out to me.  All I saw was the back of the Florida Panthers' sweater, which had a number 28 and the name Jessiman on the back.

Couldn't be.  Hugh Jessiman?  The former Brunswick Bruin whose games I broadcast?  The 2003 first-round pick of the New York Rangers?  Nah.

Yeah.  Hat-tip to Harold for passing this link along from Hockey Fights.  Unfortunately Hugh was sent back to Rochester in the AHL, but hopefully he makes a return trip.  I didn't know him well, but I talked to him a few times, and he seemed like a nice kid.  Best of luck to him.

It's sad when a player is labeled a "bust" because these are still people that we're talking about, but that's the nature of the beast.

Jimmy Fallon=Charlie Sheen=WINNING!

Hat-tip to Kenn Tomasch for this.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Happy Hour for Parkinson's Disease

My friend and former colleague, Lisa Picc (the Cookie Momma!) lost her grandfather to Parkinson's Disease three years ago today.  Lisa, who has a wonderfully charitable heart, has teamed up with Chris Bro, host of "Next (A New Music Show)" on 107.1 The Peak, for a special event.  They are hosting a happy hour on April 12 from 7-10 PM at Enhanced Home in Port Chester, NY to raise money to fight Parkinson's.  Lisa and Chris are working on getting some great prizes to raffle off.  There will be drinks, music, food - the works!

For those who don't know, The Peak is part of the Pamal group of radio stations, which includes WLNA/WGHQ/WBNR (three AM stations).  That was the the cluster that carried my Mount Saint Mary College basketball broadcasts, and still carries the Renegades baseball games.

These happy hours have been going on for some time now, and they're fascinating in that all that is asked is that people bring a mix CD to give away.  The idea being that everyone walks out with a CD of some music, and maybe you hear something new.  It's a pretty cool idea.

Yet this happy hour will be special.  I'm hoping to attend if things go right for me, and I hope more of my friends will do the same (YES, THAT'S A HINT!). 

Chri Bro's Next Music Blog has all of the details.

I hope this event is monstrous for Lisa, Chris, and everyone involved.  May they raise a lot of money to help beat a terrible disease.

New York, 1928

I found this on YouTube today.  Ostensibly, it's supposed to be a film about driving in New York City in 1928.  In reality it's footage from the classic 1928 silent film "Speedy" with Harold Lloyd.  Pay attention for a guy who needs to get to "The Yankee Stadium."

Very cool stuff.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Wednesday's Linky Dinks

Photo - Me, 8/23/2009
I'm quite the Linky Dinks guy lately, aren't I?

I am not a Pitt football "fan" (because a fanatic knows his stuff and I honestly don't right now) but I still like them.  I might rethink that after reading this from Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian via Sports Illustrated.  I would still probably choose college hoops over the NBA but let's not fool ourselves - the players are hardly Boy Scouts.

An interesting new exhibit is ready to roll in April at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  Given my love of history, I'd like to see it.  Boy, am I overdue for a visit.  I haven't been to the Hall since 2004.

Two items from Adam Prince's "Sure, Why Not" blog.  Adam would like to know what we "roadies" think is the "Route 66" of the East.  He offers several suggestions - US 1, US 301, US 29, Dixie Highway and Ocean Highway.  For me (and yes, my comment is registered), I would choose US 301.  While US 1 might seem like the obvious choice, US 301 roars approximately 1100 miles (it should be noted, less than half of US 66) and really doesn't hit the metro areas that US 1 does.  I think there's probably more charm to US 301 than US 1.

In reality, US 301 played a big role on our annual trips to Florida.  In our era as the total family unit (five of us stuffed into a Chevy Impala), 301 was the best way to get from Santee, South Carolina to Ocala, Florida on our way to Tarpon Springs.  Interstate 95 wasn't done yet, so it was 301 for us.  In the later years, (minus my brother and occasionally without my sister), we still needed 301 in Florida - from Baldwin to Ocala (which could be 88 miles of pure torture).

So yes, it's US 301 for me.

Otto Yamamoto (he of the East Coast Hive Mind - not sure I can explain) also contributed to "Sure, Why Not" with his thoughts on some recent trips into New York City.  The good Comrade (again, don't ask) walked around, viewing some of NYC's bridges and more.

I'm continuing to leave the Mets on the "toxic topic" list as I try to figure out how to handle writing about them.  Honestly, I don't pity them (or their fans) but I can't just dump on them...yet.  It's just too easy.  Here's something from Deadspin that isn't all that happy.  So instead I'll give you something better - Jeff Pearlman's article in the Wall Street Journal about their media relations maven Jay Horwitz.

I recently posted WNEW's choices of Fusion 45's top three Rolling Stones songs.  Today, they've gone to a guilty pleasure - Foreigner.  I don't quarrel with their choice of "Feels Like The First Time", which recently exploded into my head for its lyrics.  "Hot Blooded?"  OK, I can see that.  But "I Want to Know What Love Is?"  Are...you...NUTS?  Take that over "Cold as Ice" or "Juke Box Hero" or "Urgent" or, hell, ANYTHING ELSE?  Wow.  Simply put.  Wow.

Oh, and Mark Teixeira split from Scott Boras (Peter Botte - Blogging the Bombers).  For whatever that is worth.  I know he's good at his job, but I still think Scott Boras is the most evil man in baseball.

Speaking of negotiations and such, news flash to Emperor Goodell and the NFL: Fix.  This.  Now.