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.


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 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 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.


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.


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.