Monday, December 31, 2012

Imagine

As we head off to 2013, let us remember the words of John Lennon.

2012

I'll spare you my annual "I hate this night" rant.  Two thousand twelve is almost over.  Time marches on.  It's soo overrated.  Plus Carson Daly.  I mean, really?

But let's process this past year.  It was, at times, "a very good year" (Frank Sinatra, of course).  At other times, it wasn't.  But I mean, really, isn't every year like that?

I traveled a lot in this year.  I'll always remember that.  It started with

Charleston...
then Las Vegas (of which, I'm assuming, I will never get the rest of the pictures)...
then Cooperstown.  A quick weekend to Philadelphia for my niece's graduation followed, then came...
Tampa Bay (that's Fred Howard Park in Tarpon Springs above).  I wasn't done yet.  I went hiking and camping, and for the first time, I went to...
 Cape Cod.  The big trips dried up at that point, except for...
Florida. Again.

Yet, the naysayer can offer that I didn't go to Africa, or Europe, or Lava Hot Springs, Idaho.  But I have a hard time complaining.  Simply going to Florida (twice) and Cape Cod would have been enough for me.  I would have liked maybe some more long weekends and/or day trips, but all good.  I only went to Reading, PA (for Waffle House and outlets) twice in 2012.  Not complaining.  Just saying.

Personally and professionally, we saw it all.  We revived "The Press Box."  That was the good news.  We did Greenwich football, but have yet to call a hockey game.  I wrote more professionally than ever in 2012, and there's a calling for me to do more.  Some think I'm sort-of OK at this writing gig.  On the other hand, here on the "mother ship" I didn't pour out the volume that I wanted.

There's a reason for everything.  Some are more involved than others, but all of them are real and honest.

I started the year with questions.  I'm ending it the same way.  In between were highs and lows.  Fun and sorrow.  Stress and euphoria.

See what I mean?  ANY year can be seen as both good...and bad.

Look, we can go with the basics here.  I'm still alive.  That's a good start.  I still have Sean, and we're as close as ever.  So, OK, let's go with that.

One can always hope for better.  One should.  I do.

I hope for 2013.  Oh, how I hope.  But then again, I hope for tomorrow.  The next day.  The next minute.  So it goes.  But I hope for peace.  That's my hope every year.  We're so far from that.  I hope for prosperity.  We all deserve it.  I hope for love - unconditional.  Happiness.  Jeez, it's not that hard, is it?

I hope for continued recovery in Newtown, and Breezy Point, and the Jersey Shore.  I hope for our politicians to find a clue.

Selfishly, I hope for brighter days.  And work - lots of it.  And work for my friends who also aren't working.

This is on my mind today...

Is all hope lost?
Is there only pain and hatred, and misery?

And each time I feel like this inside,
There's one thing I wanna know:
What's so funny 'bout peace, love, & understanding?
- Nick Lowe, "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding?" (Most famously performed by Elvis Costello)



All the best for a great 2013.

The Cowboys Are Done


The Dallas Cowboys season just ended.

It ended in the same way as the Steelers, Jets, Giants and others.

Not.  In.  The.  Playoffs.

So...if your team isn't in, you're no different than Cowboys fans.  If you are a fan of the Broncos, Patriots, Texans, Bengals, Colts, Ravens, Falcons, Niners, Packers, Seahawks, Vikings, and Redskins, then to the victor goes the spoils.

Carry on.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Joe Posnanski Baseball Card Story


I've kind of set it all up right there for you in the title of the post, no?  Fantastic baseball writer Joe Posnanski has a story that those of us who collected baseball cards in the 70's, and grew up in that decade, can absolutely relate to.  To be honest, this is one of those things that, even if you're not a sports fan, you can appreciate. 

Joe speaks of first memories of the Oakland A's.  For me, it's 1972, and it's Bobby Murcer doubling off of Jim Palmer at Yankee Stadium (my first game).  It's that first sight of the magnificence of the first Yankee Stadium - sadly, on its last legs before the John Lindsay renovation of 1974-75.  Then I so clearly recall the 1975 World Series and Pudge Fisk.  I can recall getting some baseball cards in 1974, and even more in '75.  But, like Joe, it's 1976 for me that things exploded.  I have total recall of standing on the front steps of my parents' home looking at the card above - the 1976 Thurman Munson.  There's the Captain, full of moodiness, posing in Fort Lauderdale (one-time spring home of the 1976 American League champions), with all the facial hair he can strike up, just to anger Mr. George M. Steinbrenner III.

Read Joe's post.  It was a fun ride down memory lane remembering the days before you could just as easily go buy the entire set of cards.  Oh, and I'd be remiss if I didn't put another 1976 card up, as strange-looking as it is (yes, it's still in my collection).
Oh, how that image hurts.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The "Announcer Snob" Has His Say


Yep, that's me.  Pat "T-Boone" Pickens has named me an announcer snob, to go along with the opinion of a few others.

Personally, I like the term "critic" but, hey, semantics and all.  It's OK.  I recently suggested that I would make a fine sports media critic in the style of Neil Best.

Or Richard Deitsch.

I noticed that Sports Illustrated is conducting an online poll for the best and worst in sports media in 2012.  Deitsch will have the results next week.  So...I'll weigh in.

First up! Best play-by-play announcer.  The nominees:

- Al Michaels
- Mike Breen
- Joe Buck
- Dan Shulman
- Mike Emrick
- Ian Eagle

I like each broadcaster.  Michaels is the dean of the NFL guys, while Breen has stepped near the head of the class for basketball.  I like Buck (sue me), and though I prefer Shulman on radio, he's still so solid on TV.  You know how I feel about Doc Emrick.  Ian Eagle is near the top of the NFL at this point.

But it shouldn't surprise you.  Doc Emrick gets my vote.

Mr. Scully, by the way, is still better than all of them.  That is said with no disrespect intended.

Next...best analyst:
- Charles Barkley
- Kirk Herbstreit
- Jeff Van Gundy
- Cris Collinsworth
- Doris Burke
- Dan Fouts

All decent to good.  I think guys like Jon Gruden, Troy Aikmen (who does NOT hate the Giants), and Phil Simms are overlooked here.  But these are the nominees.  I struggle calling Barkley an analyst, but indeed he does analyze games mostly from the studio.  I tend to think of these announcers as game analysts.  Either way, my vote might be a small surprise.  I like Herbie - Kirk Herbstreit, with Van Gundy a very close second.

Best announcing team?
- Al Michaels/Cris Collinsworth
- Mike Breen/Jeff Van Gundy
- Dan Shulman/Orel Hershiser/Terry Francona
- Mike Emrick/Ed Olczyk
- Brent Musberger/Kirk Herbstreit

Again, a solid collection.  But I'll keep my thoughts short.  Doc and Edzo are the cream of the crop.  They're smart at breaking a game down, know when to tighten things up, and also bring a little levity in.  Olczyk has become the marquee hockey analyst (so long as John Davidson isn't nearby).  Give me Emrick and Olczyk.

Somhow the team of Adams/Erway/DeMaria/Kaelin got overlooked.  An oversight, I'm sure.

Best studio show?
- Inside the NBA
- College GameDay
- Baseball Tonight
- Fox NFL Sunday
- Fantasy Football Now
- NFL Live

This came down to two for me.  Inside the NBA has the right mix of analysis and laughs.  But Fox NFL Sunday is the original.  They also have Terry Bradshaw.  They need to get the comedians out of the way though.

Most unlikable sports personality?
- Skip Bayless
- Tony Siragusa
- Stephen A. Smith
- Michael Irvin
- Colin Cowherd
- Deion Sanders

Tough choices!  But Skip Bayless has earned it.  His attempt to say Derek Jeter might have indulged in steroids was laughable.  That gave him this award for me.

Best place to watch sports in 2012
- Fox
- ESPN
- CBS
- NFL
- Turner
- NBC

They had the Super Bowl.  The Olympics.  Sunday Night Football.  I chose NBC, mostly for the Olympics factor.

And had they said "LISTEN" to sports, well, then we know it would have been WGCH.

By the way, I don't think the voters agree with me.  Michaels was far ahead for best play-by-play, Collinsworth was leading for analyst, Michaels and Collinsworth for best team, College GameDay for best studio show, and ESPN for best place to watch.  Skip Bayless, on the other hand, well, yeah.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Perspective, Chapter Infinity


I was recently in a McDonald's in Pleasant Valley, NY.  Sure, we can debate my awful culinary choices, but it really wasn't about that.  I was there to get an ice tea for Lisa.

But it was happened after that that appalled me.

I stepped away from the counter and was preparing to leave when I heard another customer beginning to stir up a ruckus.  He berated the staff and management, ultimately asking for his money back.

The offense?  They forgot to give him some extra sweet and sour sauce.

I mean, seriously.

In the dining area, the noise was enough that not only could everyone hear it, but some got out of their seats to go see the person.  The reaction ranged from head-shaking to muttering.

A guy in a Steelers hat (fine human being, he) caught my eye.  All we could do was think of what went on a mere 50 miles or so away.

Of course, Newtown.

Let's be real here.  You're going to act like a straight-up ass, demand your money back, and say you're never going to eat there again over...sweet...and...sour...sauce?  Think about that.  You've embarrassed yourself.  Have you no ethics?  Scruples?  A clue?  Or are you just standing there, with your hat on backwards, Bluetooth in your ear, thinking that the fine people just trying to do a hard-day's work at McDonald's are there simply for your freaking McRib?  Shall they also serve it on fine China?

It's easy to understand and say the guy had a bad day.  Sure, we're all entitled to a brain cloud and go off the highway just a tad.  But there are limits.  To me - to anyone - he surpassed that limit.

I think the mere fact that we were all so shocked at his behavior kept each person there from accosting him.

In the days after what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School, how could anyone not simply pause and grab reality?  I hated seeing the Steelers lose to the Cowboys Sunday night, but let's face it: I didn't play in the game.  I had no vested interest in it other than being a fan.  And given the circumstances, who freaking cares?  Even I could admit that it...was...a...GAME.

It's the holidays.  Hug a child.  A loved one.  Spend time with a friend.  Do charity work.  But do NOT go off on some poor person at McDonald's because you didn't get some extra condiment.

Just crawl back into your hole.  Now.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Zach Sobiech "Clouds"


I put this on my Facebook page yesterday with the following heading:
"Check this out, and please share. Zach Sobiech is terminally ill, and turned to music. His song is wonderful, and heartbreaking."
I'm not sure how many people went from the page to see the video, but I know I got two "likes."  I'd like as many people to see this as possible.  Therefore I am posting it here.


I know it's tough to see even more sadness right now.  I get it.  But for this young man, the views are worth it.

More on Zach's story can be found here.

The Asperger's Thing

***Honestly, I tried to find an appropriate picture to put at the top of this post.  There wasn't one.

In the days since the tragedy of Newtown at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a certain amount of attention has been given to Adam Lanza* having Asperger's Syndrome.  That, for many, seemed to be the short, simple answer.  "Oh, he did what he did because of Asperger's?  Makes' sense."

Except, simply, it doesn't.  Perhaps you knew that when you first heard that explanation.  Personally, it made no sense.  There's no connection.

*I saw where Anderson Cooper felt it was duty to not report the name of the killer.  He would only say the name once - twice, maybe!  Gee.  How noble.  What tough-guy journalism!  What a stand!  Blech.  I then turned the channel.

Without getting further off-topic, please (and I can't encourage you enough) read this column from Jeff Pearlman.  It's outstanding, and only a shame that Reader's Digest never ran it originally.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Steelers-Cowboys

It's been 48 hours since the tragedy in Newtown.  There is no blueprint.  There's no right answer for when it is OK to return to caring about frivolity.  I'm taking a stab at football today.

Super Bowl XIII.  The Pittsburgh Steelers played the Dallas Cowboys in the Orange Bowl in Miami.  It was a brilliant game, as the Stillers beat "America's Team" (ha ha ha) 35-31.  At home in Mahopac, a 10 year-old Rob Adams had found his love for the NFL, and his favorite team.

It was born because I had a classmate in fourth grade at Austin Road Elementary School, Pat Urell, who was a Cowboys fan.  We were pretty good friends, but he liked to talk smack (even if I didn't know what "smack" was).  He bet me a whopping 25 cents that Dallas would beat the three-time two-time Super Bowl champs.  The winning team would be the first to win three Lombardi Trophies.

I really hadn't settled on a team before that.  With multiple trips to Florida as a kid (pre-Tampa Bay Bucs), I liked the Dolphins.  Plus I had a cat named Morris, and the 'Phins had Mercury Morris*, who wore number 22, which was my birthday.  But my father and brother were both Jets fans.  But the Giants often used the interlocking NY on jackets and such, reminiscent of the Yankees (and they once played in Yankee Stadium).

*Mercury has since become known for being a little crazy, shall we say, with his sole reason for existing being the Dolphins 17-0 season in 1972.


I was confused.  But there was one thing we all agreed on.  We all hated the Dallas Cowboys.  Well, except for my father, who liked Tom Landry, but I'm not sure he cared otherwise.

But I was otherwise taught to detest Landry.  Tex Schramm.  Roger Staubach.  Tony Dorsett.  The star.  The hole in the roof of Texas Stadium.  I was taught to not care about the cheerleaders.  There are other women in the world.    Was there anything more delightful than watching Landry scream at his offense when they ran a bad play against the Redskins?  Anything better than watching the Cowboys lose?

Later on, how about that look of pain on Jerry Jones' face?  Shoving that "How 'bout dem Cowboys" crap right at them?  

Well, sometimes seeing the whine-and-cheese 49ers fall on their faces could be delightful.  Or the Raiders, with their lowest common denominator fans (and players).  And of course, the Browns, Bengals, and Ravens (aka, the "Old Browns").

But it was founded with the Cowboys.  And with Super Bowl XIII, I was hooked.  Since the Cowboys were playing, and Pat Urell was laying his 25 cents, I had just one question:

Who are they playing?

Here are the player introductions, broadcast on NBC in 1979.


By the way, I never officially won the bet.  Pat bailed because of the point spread.  Whatever.

Today, almost 34 years after that game, Big Ben and company head to Cowboys Stadium for the latest renewal of the rivalry.  It should be fun.  The dislike remains after all these years (remember, the two teams also met in Super Bowl X.  Rumor has it they played in Super Bowl XXX, but I guess I don't remember that one).

Both teams need it for the playoffs.

You know where my heart is.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Newtown, CT

At The Flagpole in Newtown, CT (RA photo, July, 2004)
I know Newtown, CT.  Nice "New England" type of town, with a charming movie theater, general store, fairly quiet.  A bucolic place.

My sister lives in Fairfield, CT, and it wasn't uncommon for members of my family to drive to Newtown (at the flagpole, where US 6 and CT Route 25 meet).  We all know the town.  I've driven through it countless times.  A few miles away sits Route 34, which winds north and west from New Haven to Sandy Hook - an enclave of Newtown.  It's where US 6 used to meet 34 before Interstate 84 was built.  A charming little place, where "everybody knows everyone."

Just off route 34 came unspeakable tragedy.

Today, Newtown and Sandy Hook, reached a level of celebrity that nobody wants.  In the way that we know "Columbine", we will now speak of "Newtown and Sandy Hook."

If you don't know, earlier today, one of the most deadly mass murders in our country's history occurred in Newtown, at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  It's the second worst school massacre*, in back of Virginia Tech.  As of this writing, just after 6:00 PM, 20 schoolchildren area dead.  The total dead could be 28, or more.

I need to stress that the facts are still very raw, and there has already been a lot of misinformation.

*NOTE: Through a little further research, I've discovered that the Bath School Disaster, in Bath Township, Michigan on May 18, 1927, was the deadliest in history.  This fact matters so very little, but it is a fact, so I felt I must amend this.

As well as I know Newtown, I was miles away from there when I heard the news.  With Lisa, I got the early word from my "Press Box" colleagues.  Initially, there seemed to be minimal issues - a couple of people hurt, the wounded at Danbury Hospital.  Schools and the hospital were locked down, with good reason.  Lisa and I headed out for holiday shopping, in Kingston, NY.  While grabbing lunch, I checked my phone to see what Ryan, Kato, and CJ were talking about, when the numbers hit me.

Suddenly, I felt like I might burst into tears.  I was upset with the initial news, given that it's so close to "my home area" and, by extension, Sean.  But now, the whole thing exploded for me.  For the past six hours, every time I try to talk about Sean, I well up.  He's fine, folks, and I know that, but I just want to hug him.  I want to put the iPad in his hands, and listen to him giggle. 

I feel so deeply for the families tonight.  I am totally devastated for my friends in Connecticut - Newtown, Danbury, Bethel, and beyond.  Everyone is feeling the sadness.  This, we continue to learn, can happen to any of us.  That's where the fear comes in.

Lisa and I walked around, feeling almost numb.  The sound of Christmas music, to be honest, angered me.  To be further honest, the sound of rock music pouring out of the stations near Newtown struck me as insensitive.

Friends, for me, tonight isn't the time for the hand-wringing over gun control.  It's become obvious to me that if someone wants to attack, then they will somehow.  It strikes me that mental health needs to be deeply researched to understand what the hell is going on. 

But again, tonight is not the night for the debate.  It also is not the night for windbags like this guy who said God did nothing to stop this tragedy because He has been taken out of the classroom (Mediaite).  Tonight is the night for being sensitive.  ESPN has decided to be very prudent in their approach (Deadspin).

Tonight is about a big group hug.

If you haven't seen or heard the President, here's what he had to say today.


Over at The Onion, they pretty much said what I, and many others, are feeling tonight.

In parts of Connecticut, they're going to play sports tonight.  The Stamford/Bridgeport Central basketball game is on TV.  That, of course, is their choice.  If I had a game to call, I would.  It's my job, and I would approach it as such, but with a very heavy heart.  I might even chide the governing bodies for having played the game.  But it's their call.  Still, I think we would be best served to have a night off to hold each other.

At times, I have questioned myself as to if I'm being melodramatic.  The short answer is: no.

My heart breaks for Newtown and Sandy Hook.  I hope for them to find strength and to stay together.

There are no answers for the most unspeakable thing.  Little kids went to school today and aren't coming home.

Explain that to me.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Doc Emrick


It has long been acknowledged that Mike "Doc" Emrick is the best voice in the NHL (on the American side).  Indeed, he is the best play-by-play voice in hockey.  Of course, one must also know that I consider him to be the best - period, if not the best ever.  There is no doubt that Doc has entered into the rarefied air of my favorite play-by-play announcers.  So we're talking in the stratosphere - right near Vin Scully.

Anyway, I'm working on a new opening to "The Press Box" that will feature well-known play-by-play calls and removes the Ryan Kelly interception return (called by me) that we've used since the shows inception.  The only reason I'm changing it (to be honest) is because that play happened over a year ago.  I could have gone - quite frankly - with the Austin Longi play from Thanksgiving.

Instead, I decided to mix it up.  Each guy got to pick a call.  As for what the final product will sound like, you'll have to listen.

But while looking for some Doc audio, I stumbled across this.  How did I miss it?  Deadspin, take it away!

And while we're at it, here are some of Doc's best.


I saw another video that was all about 10 broadcasters, essentially, losing their "stuff" on the air.  Then I heard it included Gus Johnson and that goawful "May Day" call, and I decided against posting it.  I value a certain friendship.

Yet I'm trying to be nicer and not be as harsh as I am on play-by-play announcers.  I don't think I can ease up on Gus - just not my style - but I'm trying to be kinder and gentler.  Plus I've been told that I'm, essentially, a hater.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Back to Hoops

This is a basketball.
It is hard to believe that it's been almost three years since I last called a basketball game.  It was a doubleheader to end the regular season for Mount Saint Mary College on Hudson Valley Talk Radio, called by Chris Kaelin and I.

I shook the rust off last Saturday.

Tom Prizeman, a junior at Pleasantville High School (in Pleasantville, NY - not home to Reese Witherspoon) is working hard at becoming a sports broadcaster.  I first met him a few years ago when Ryan DeMaria and I were doing the national edition of "The Press Box."  He was eager and confident, to be sure, and definitely had the drive to make it.  He has grown since then, becoming the "voice" of the Panthers in various sports for their local TV broadcasts.

A few weeks ago, I had a chance to broadcast a national youth football tournament.  The uncertainty of the Greenwich Cardinals' playoff run made me feel like I would be holding the tournament organizer up*, and I didn't feel that was professional.  So I turned it open to my friends on the discussion boards at STAA.  Andy Towne was the first one to get in touch, and he got the position.

* Of course, we know now that Greenwich lost to Xavier, and I could have broadcast the tournament.  Instead - and hardly a consolation prize - I was offered the chance to be the public address announcer for a basketball tournament at Monroe College.  The college was willing to wait to see if my schedule opened.

In the process of all of this, I thought of Tom.  It would have been a good situation for him.  But Andy got to me first.  Tom reached out to me not long after.  The byproduct of this was that it opened up a dialogue between Tom and I.  Before long, I found out that Tom would be calling basketball this past weekend, and that I was welcome to join him.

Sean and I jumped in the car and drove to Rye High School (a place I'm familiar with) and joined Tom for the call of the Panthers and the Garnets.  My contribution to the event, besides serving as a mentor, was bringing some of my equipment (as old as it is!) to step the production value up just a notch.

Tom had not called basketball yet, so I took the first half and a brief stretch into the second half when I noticed that both Tom and I were doing play-by-play.  During a time out, we talked it over and decided that Tom should drive the bus from there.  He was fine, and my color was decent (I've never been a great color commentator, in my opinion), though I was prescient in the thought that the Panthers' emotional play might be their undoing, and indeed a technical foul late in the fourth quarter was the turning point of the game.  Rye would go onto the victory.

As for my play-by-play, Tom was kind in his praise of my work, but sheesh, I'm better than that.  I know - I only saw the roster minutes before we started, but that's my thing: always be my toughest critic.  I liked my energy, and most of my attention to detail, but the names weren't as sharp as I wanted.  Oh well, it's not initially like riding a bicycle.

Anyway, I've been asked to do more, and I just might.  I'm going to check into the schedule and see what fits.  It would be nice to get back to doing hoops (and hockey).

Just Remembering...


It happens a couple of times every year.  I take a moment - a small post - to remember my father.  I may weave a story into a post here and there, but there are two days annually that stand out more than any other:

St Patrick's Day, the day he died.

And today, December 10th, the day he was born.

And with each post, I fear I risk you, the faithful reader, rolling your eyes, as you might with endless posts about Sean, Yankee Stadium, the 50-point rule, Roger Goodell, life, and so on.  Yet I continue.

My dad was born on this day in 1929.  His mother, a fascinating woman named Daisy, was - get this - FIFTY when he was born.  His father worked for the telephone company as an executive.  His brother would also work for the telephone company, but in more of a "telephone man" way.

My dad would go into pure blue collar jobs.  He drove a truck for a plumbing supply company.  He married my mom and raised three kids.  He saw three grandchildren come into the world.  He missed out on the further extension of our family.

He was as liked as any person I've ever known.

I continue to learn things about him.  I didn't realize, for instance, that he and his family watched from an overpass on the Taconic Parkway as the King and Queen of England drove by to have hot dogs with FDR in Hyde Park in June, 1939.  Whether the story was accurate or not is immaterial to me.  It's new information.

So hang in there with me, as I take just a moment of your time to remember him.  One day, I hope to get some of the video that exists converted into a digital format.  Sadly, no trace of his voice exists that I know of, but if you've heard mine, then I think you have a pretty good idea.

Happy birthday to the old man.  I can't imagine him being 83.  That's what death does.  It freezes things in time.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Sad Goodbye: 2012 Football

Austin Longi running for Greenwich.  Photo courtesy MSG Varsity (I'd add more info but the MSG Varsity website wouldn't allow me to access it).  Notice the WGCH banner in the background.

I drove to meet Ryan DeMaria yesterday afternoon in Danbury with a thought in my mind:

Is this the last football game I will ever broadcast on WGCH?  Is it the last game at all?

It's tenuous every year, of course, since we go year to year.  But this year feels more tenuous than ever.

I let the feeling go, met Ryan, and drove to Palmer Field in Middletown (thanks to Ryan for letting us use his car).  Chris Erway and Max Barefoot joined us there, and we prepared to call the Greenwich/Xavier state quarterfinal game.  I'll spare you the story of how we worked how to set up a phone line, only to be told TEN MINUTES INTO THE BROADCAST that we were using someone else's phone line, from the guy who was watching us set up for an hour!

The setup there was unlike anything I have ever experienced.  We were situated in the back row of the press box, behind the public address announcer and virtually everyone else.  Our choices were: 1) Go to the roof and freeze or 2) Sit in the back of the booth and stay warm.  Plus, we thought, we would have a hard phone line.  Sigh...not so much.  But our cell phone turned out to be good, so no worries.  We stayed warm - partially obscured by the fans and the building, which took parts of the field out of our view.*

* On a somewhat warmer night 12 years earlier, Sean Kilkelly and I did do a game from the roof of Palmer Field.  The view was better.

Look, I'm not going to get into a breakdown of the game.  Xavier took advantage of turnovers, and what we thought might have been a tired Greenwich team, coming off the Thanksgiving game.  It wasn't for lack of effort.  Xavier was the better team on this night.  Injuries didn't help, but that's not an excuse, because Xavier lost a key player in the second quarter.  Xavier won - plain and simple.  Greenwich had a chance to keep things close at the end of the first half, but Boston College-bound Tim Boyle found a wide open Kris Luster for a big score.  Even then, Greenwich had a shot to open the second half with a touchdown, but a very questionable fumble call gave the ball back to Xavier, and the Falcons took advantage.

As the third quarter came to an end, the Cardinals were trying to keep the Falcons out of the end zone again, when Boyle ran the ball into the end zone.  A late hit by Greenwich led to retaliation by a Xavier player, which led to a scuffle out of our view.  That, of course, was bad enough.  Police and coaches jumped in immediately to stop that, and of course, the striped shirts threw flags.

Nobody was tossed from the game.  Despite the hyperbole, for the most part, the on the field theatrics were over.

In the stands, well, it wasn't the proudest moment.

OK, let's start with Palmer Field itself.  It's a fascinating place, with a baseball field to the far corner of our view in the press box (in other words, the football press box is in right center field).  It's fun and charming in that regard.  But for reasons I'm not sure of, the VISITING (Greenwich) bench is right near the bleachers.  Xaviers' bench is on the opposite side, with no bleachers behind them.  Only the baseball field is at their backs.

As you can imagine, this means that BOTH sets of fans - home and away - are sitting on the same side, separated by a set of stairs.  So...

Xavier fans began to bark at Greenwich fans.  Greenwich fans barked back.  These are the adults, who are supposed to be, you know, the role models.  At one point, I spied a vehement argument between a female Xavier fan and a male Greenwich spectator.  They were fairly close together before the woman was pulled away.

Let's be clear.  I'm not accusing or defending anyone.  I'm telling you what I saw.  Now let's discuss what I heard:

- That Greenwich players were flipping off the Xavier fans (inexcusable, if true, but that speaks to the location of the GHS bench also).
- That Xavier fans - THE ADULTS - were throwing water at the Greenwich bench.  This one isn't hearsay.  I spoke with someone who got hit by it.
- Of course, the usual "class" discussion..."Greenwich is rich.  All about money."  "Xavier is tough.  Blue collar."  Please, people, find something original.

Mostly, in the end, it's much ado about nothing.  But...this shouldn't be happening in the stands.  Under any circumstances.  Things did die down, but a black eye was given to the night, and I'm only telling you the little bit that I heard and saw.  I guarantee there was more.

We finished the game and packed up and left.  Their was an air of sadness (maybe even bitterness) at the end of the broadcast.  It is always rough to say goodbye, and CJ, Deemer, Kato, Max, Killer, and the Captain gave it our best.

Hopefully there's more to come - hockey and basketball.  Spring sports after.  Then back to football.

I hope.

But this 2012 team gave us thrills.  Great captains.  Very good players.  People who became friends to us.  They deserved a different finish to the season, but that's not how the script goes.

I thank them all.  Players.  Coaches.  Families.  Fans.  Listeners.

I just wish it had ended differently.

A Couple of Jeff Pearlman Quickies

Jeff Pearlman, Mahopac High grad and well-known writer of multiple sports topics, has often been featured here.  I've interviewed him and exchanged quick notes here and there.  If you've read this blog long enough than you've seen me post many links to his blog.

I'm adding two more.

He often writes about Mahopac and, honestly, not always the most flattering stuff.  There's a certain whimsy in his posts, peppered with ruminations on our hometown being super-white, ultra-conservative, and even borderline anti-Semitic.  His experiences are different than mine but it should be noted that we grew up on two very different sides of town.  Beyond that, I'm 1) white, 2) grew up in a conservative house, and 3) not Jewish.  Therefore, it's easy to see that I probably didn't see or hear the things that he came across.  I probably wasn't as sensitive to it.  He has written of friends who had crosses burned on their properties and families who were asked to not move into the neighborhood due to color.  I never - NEVER - saw or heard any of that.  It sickens me to think of that.

OK, way off topic there, but still a fair opening to what Jeff wrote about in this piece, in which a Mahopac High grad asked if Jeff could write anything positive about the 'Pac.  He brings up Tom Gilchrist, a phys-ed teacher whose son was in my graduating class.  Which brings me to this picture...

Yes, that's little ol' me, dead center, at the 1987 Senior Prom in White Plains.  I still talk to Scott Wilson (the BIG hair), and occasionally to the former Rachel Rubin, who was my date.  Beyond that, the rest have disappeared, and that bothers me.
OK, I'm getting off-base again.  Back to Jeff Pearlman...

Jeff continues to hammer out "The Quaz", his interview with people that have varying degrees of fame.  Whether I've heard of the person, or even like the person, is irrelevant.  I find the "Quaz" to be fascinating, terrific stuff, and I have read every one of them.  Jeff recently interviewed Marty Appel, PR pro and Yankees historian.  Just as importantly, Marty has been on "The Press Box" a few times and was the guy who helped broker our interview with the wonderful Kay Murcer.  Marty's "Quaz" is great, and worth reading.

The Perfect Fit!


A few weeks ago, I got an email from a good friend (who is also looking for work).  He said he had found a job that he felt would be a great match for me.  He was right - I had each of the skills and requirements (and those that I didn't have were easily learned).  He worked with me to craft a great cover letter (arguably the best I've ever written) and touched up my resume to make it agreeable to the job in question.

It should have - at the very least - netted me an interview.

You probably know how this story played out. I got the brush off email.

My reaction?  Frustration?  No.  Disappointment?  Nah.  A philosophical shrug of the shoulders  You bet.

I'm used to this.  There have been too many jobs that I've looked into that have SCREAMED for me to pursue them.  "This job not only should be mine, but it WILL be mine!", I have thought.  In this case, I have inspiration from a great friend who stood behind me.  Through no real fault of our own, I got the heave-ho.

Why?

"Why" is not easy to answer.  The position (Assistant Sports Information Director for a well-known institution) would have been right in my wheelhouse.  Do stats.  Write.  Manage game sites.  Assist.  Do public relations.  Conduct interviews.  Help out with webcasting.  Anybody see anything there that I couldn't excel at?

Without looking too hard at my resume, one can see that I'm no kid, and Assistant SID's aren't usually 44-years-old.  I got my first full-time job before current college seniors were born.  Still, why not?  So it was worth a shot.  But really, the "why" can also be for reasons like there was already a strong internal candidate that the institution was going to hire, and only placed the ad due to Equal Opportunity requirements (aka the real-life "Rooney Rule").

There are a lot of reasons as to why one does not get a nibble on their resume.  There are so many job-seekers out there (despite what the government and media want to tell you).  Supply can not equal demand.  Yet the impression is left that there are jobs to be found.  Just Google it!  Lots of jobs await!

It's just not that easy.  I can only say "trust me" on this.

I've networked - aggressively.  I've blind emailed.  I've applied to things both in and out of my comfort zone.  I have friends who have asked friends.  I already told you about the SID position.  Ryan DeMaria is looking into private school teaching for me (don't need a teaching certificate).  Paul Silverfarb and Ken Borsuk are rooting around for writing (and so many of you have told me that this is the avenue I should pursue).  I have a well-placed friend shooting high for me in radio.  Another radio friend got me a great public address gig for a day (and they want me back).

The point of all of this is that this job market is still frustrating.  And bad.

But there's no point in lamenting the "perfect" job.  It happened.  Brush off the dirt and move on.

P.S.  I wrote this on Monday, and I put it on the shelf, which I rarely do.  I came back and edited it a few times, which I don't often do.  There was a funny, but harsh part to this that I took out.  Anyway, since then I've actually seen an uptick of things.  It doesn't mean the narrative has changed - the job market is still brutal and one still has to think "outside the box."  And that so-called perfect job thing is still annoying (especially to not net an interview).  But...so it goes.

Oh, and if you're looking for jobs, make sure to visit Indeed.com.  I've done it for a while, and the fact that Chris Erway works there doesn't hurt.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Postponed...Sigh...

It doesn't look that bad outside of the Mahopac Man Cave (RA Photo)

Tonight's Greenwich/Xavier state quarterfinal football game has been postponed to tomorrow night.  Allow me to show you the forecast for the Middletown, CT area (where Xaiver is located), starting with today (courtesy of Weather Underground):

Overcast with snow, then snow and rain in the afternoon. High of 39F. Winds less than 5 mph. Chance of snow 80% with accumulations up to 1 in. possible.

OK, one inch.  And tonight (game time was 6:30)?

Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow and rain, then a chance of snow after midnight. Low of 27F. Winds less than 5 mph. Chance of snow 80% with accumulations up to 1 in. possible.
I see.  So, correct me if I'm wrong, but that's ONE TO TWO INCHES, correct?  I mean, my math is good, but you know, the big numbers get me.

When I saw the forecast, silly ol' me, I figured Greenwich and Xavier would soldier on.  It's football!  In our online chat that the Playmakers and I have, Chris Erway questioned if the game would be postponed.  I'll be honest. I thought the question was ludicrous.  I even think CJ did as well, given he is a former Brien McMahon Senator captain.  He was a scholar athlete.  The dude is smart.

Then Paul Silverfarb began texting me.  Weston/Ellington-Somer had postponed...Newtown/Norwich Free Academy...the cancellations kept coming.  But damn it all, Staples/West Haven was staying true!  What's a little snow, and besides, the shoreline was just supposed to get rain.  It's football, and we play on in bad weather!

The Playmakers and I kept our collective fingers crossed.  Then Paul tweeted the sorry news that the game had been postponed. 

I tweeted "What a joke."

Hey, I get it.  Let's be cautious.  Let's play tomorrow.  Back the semis to Sunday.  But...as of this writing, not everyone is going along with postponing tonight (again, Staples/West Haven).  I just wonder about all this change when we are talking about one to two inches.  But I get the safety issue - 100%.  And I also get the fact that Ryan DeMaria, Max Barefoot and I would be driving on the hills of Interstate 84, traversing through Waterbury and Meriden on our way to Middletown.  There's an inherent risk.

Will the CIAC step in and force the postponement of the remaining games (there are six at this point)?

I've got another day to prepare.  I'll just move my parent-teacher conference again.  Reschedule dinner with my son.  Another day to wait for my new briefcase to show up from LL Bean.

So it goes.

All good.  Be safe.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hello From Florida (Again)

"The sea was angry that day, my friends.  Like an old man trying to send soup back in a deli." - George Costanza, Seinfeld.
I know, I know.  The last time I dared - had the NERVE - to blog away from Florida, I caught grief for it.  Well, I 'm doing it again!

I'm on the east coast this time - in Melbourne.  Lisa saw where she could take some time off, so she invited me to travel with her to Florida to meet her mother and father.  I know - THE PRESSURE!  Meet the Parents!  Aaaaarrrggghhhh!!!


No, I haven't been hooked up to a lie detector.  No.  Not really.

Lisa and I connected on Sunday morning and took an early flight out of Newburgh, NY.   Before we knew it, we were in Orlando.  My previous frustration with Jet Blue for their pricing policy* had faded because they really are a top-flight (duh) airline.

* In short, Lisa and I booked our tickets at the same time.  She paid $30 less than I did.  We expressed our frustration to Jet Blue, and they didn't even give us so much as a drink voucher.  Or a free movie.  Or a set of their freaking headphones.  Lesson learned.  Life goes on.

Lisa mother (Jo) and father (Roger) met us in Orlando and drove us to the east coast where, just feet from the Atlantic, I treated them to the culinary delight of a lifetime!
Tim Parry expressed his approval from Connecticut via Facebook.  Lisa, however, wasn't all that delighted.  Sigh...I guess the atmosphere of the Waffle House experience didn't cut it.  Me?  OK, it wasn't their best, but it's still the WH.

Besides, Tim, Jason Intrieri, and I are heading to "The Waff" in December on our way to the Reading Tent Sale.  Lisa, Paul Silverfarb, the Press Box Playmakers, and a cast of anyone is invited.

By the way, as a quick aside, my trip to Florida meant that I wouldn't be in Greenwich to call the 2012 GYFL Championships.  Chris Kaelin and Max Barefoot filled in ably.  I listened for a short while, and I was pleased.  They should be proud of their work.

This isn't going to be a trip of stories.  I don't expect to move much farther than Jo and Roger's house, other than walking across the street to the pool, or strolling the neighborhood.  There won't be adventures.  That's fine.  This is a trip to get acquainted and maybe even relax.

And write my 2012 Brunswick fall recaps for the Times of Brunswick.  And do program logs for WGCH.  Before I know it, we'll be right back in Orlando, and flying home to pick up Sean.  Soon it will be time for the 2012 FCIAC Football Championship game at Cardinal Stadium.

But I love me some Florida.  It's cloudy and only in the low 70's.  I don't care.  I'll take it.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Another View From the Press Box

I passed my most recent post, regarding the 50-point rule lunacy, onto my friend Paul Silverfarb at the Greenwich Post.  As I will be away beginning Sunday morning, Paul chose to use the article as my latest contribution to "A View From the Greenwich WGCH Press Box."

If time allows (or if I have wifi, or if I even bring my PC to Florida) I will check in next week with another edition.  If not, then this will serve nicely.

The 50-Point Rule Debate Explodes in Greenwich

What would he think?
I called a football game last night.  No, really, I did.  That's what my calendar said I was supposed to do.   Danbury at Greenwich, 7:00, Cardinal Stadium.  There was even a final score, as Greenwich won, 54-8.

So tell me why I feel like I was at a tea party?

Oh things were going just fine and dandy.  Greenwich sprinted away to a big lead, and was up 41-0 at halftime.  Taylor Olmstead returned an interception 97 yards to make it 48-0 with 9:03 to go in the third quarter.  That was the score at the end of three.

We all knew what was next.  The Cardinals wanted to pitch a shutout, but that they could not score again.  To win by over 50 points would mean that the Cardinals would have violated the idiotic 50-point rule (which is, in reality, and 51-point rule) and that head coach Rich Albonizio would be suspended for one game.  And, oh yeah, that one game would be the FCIAC Championship Game next Thursday at home against Staples.

Yes, I know that there is a review process, but still.  It's ludicrous.

Moving ahead, the Cardinals had brought in all of the backups.  They were mostly running the ball, save for an occasional pass play on a screen.  Then, suddenly, Nick Schepis, a junior running back, had 35 yards of daylight ahead of him.  He ran, scored, and celebrated with his teammates.  His first touchdown.  Then he looked at the scoreboard.

54-0.

The Greenwich offense came back out for the conversion...and they took...a...knee.

In the booth, I began a meltdown.  And I knew - KNEW - what was coming next.  For the deficit to drop under 50, Greenwich would have to let the Hatters score.

They did.  On the kickoff the seat parted and Tysheen McCrea ran into the endzone.

Danbury head coach Dan Donovan had seen enough.  He yelled across to Albonizio, telling him to play the game.  He has incredible respect for the Cardinals' leader, and said that he would defend him against the rule.  Still who is to say that the CIAC would take his word for it?  The two coaches met at midfield in one of the more bizarre things I have ever seen.  While the conversation was apparently passionate, it was not heated.

At one point I thought the game would be stopped.

In the end, play resumed, but the spirit of the game (which is why the rule was created) was shot.  The CIAC had been embarrassed.  I don't fault anyone at Cardinal Stadium.  Not a soul.  I don't blame Schepis (how do you tell a kid to stop running?), Donovan, Albonizio, or anyone else.

Later on, I noticed a Cardinal player had a chance to make an interception and perhaps run it back for a touchdown.  For the love of Lombardi, that would be the highlight of any kids' football career.

The CIAC has taken that away.  The player let the ball hit the turf.

How is this good?  Google "50 point rule" and you'll find chapter-and-verse from writers who have long lamented this travesty.  So, tell me, who benefits?  Suddenly, a night in which Greenwich could trumpet their return to the FCIAC Championship and the state playoffs (first time since 2007) was marred by this.  Two coaches stuck in a bad spot.  Players being told to let the other team score.

Who wins?  How can it be defended?

It can't.  I know a caller reached Sean Kilkelly in the WGCH studio, wanting to debate it with me and I want to hear what the gentleman has to say, but I just don't get how this foolish rule can be supported.  It has made Connecticut a subject of ridicule since it was put into place.

Look at the scenario last night.  What if the coach across the way wasn't someone who respected and liked his opponent?  What if it was some hot head?  Who is to say what breaks out?  Coaches, administrators, parents - you know, the ADULTS - are supposed to be the role models.  Yet in this "Everybody Gets a Trophy" era, we continue to fret over large scoring deficits.

Is that an extreme example?  Sure.  But still, look at what happened.  The rule - the score - took away from the confirmation that the Cardinals will play Staples on Thanksgiving for the FCIAC Championship. It further took away that the Cards cemented their place in the Class LL playoffs for the first time since 2007.  The 50-point rule was all that people were talking about.

You want score control?  Put things back into the hands of the coaches.  Save for a couple of bad examples, the system worked fine.  Common sense was mostly exercised, and there are always going to be charges of running up the score.  I know the defenders will say that the number of blowouts have been whittled down since the rule went into effect, but at what cost?  At the charge of kids pulling up before scoring?  At playing at a different speed (which is a way for potential harm to the athletes)?  At allowing the other team to score and thus dumping on the sport itself?

Running clock needs to be emphasized.  Keep working in the JV players.  Run plays into the line.  Keep it simple.  No jet sweeps, trick plays, and so on.  Again, use common sense.

Get rid of this rule.  It only causes more harm than good.

WGCH will air the championship games in the GYFL on Sunday.  Chris Kaelin and Max Barefoot will have the call.  Chris, Max, Ryan DeMaria, and Chris Erway (in the power chair) will have Staples coach Marce Petroccio and Sean Patrick Bowley from the Connecticut Post on The Press Box, Monday night at 7:00.  I'll call in from Florida, where I'm going for a few days.

Of course, I'll be back on Thursday morning for Greenwich/Staples.  The pre-game show will begin at 9:40 AM.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The View From the WGCH Press Box

Here's my latest installment of "The View From the Greenwich WGCH Press Box" at the Greenwich Post.

The WGCH "Press Box" airs tonight at 7:00, and runs for two hours.  Good times for all!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Crazy Football Day


We all know what the past few weeks have been like.  Hurricane Sandy (Superstorm), a Nor'easter, and the recovery from all of it.
 
Many are still without power, and that is shameful.  Many have lost so much.

Sports, our great distraction, has come back.  Finally, the FCIAC played football, with Greenwich taking on Brien McMahon of Norwalk after numerous delays.

The Cardinals jumped out to an early lead and they just kept scoring, easily rolling to a 49-14 win.  Liam O'Neil threw three touchdowns to Joe Kelly in the victory.  O'Neil has been among the best quarterbacks in the FCIAC, throwing 13 touchdowns in three games.

Yet, this was just a small piece of the story.  Yes, the Cardinals needed to win to keep their hopes alive for an appearance in the state playoffs and the FCIAC Championship Game - which would be included as part of their season-ending, Thanksgiving Day showdown with Staples.  It is the only way that an outright championship would be awarded.  Otherwise, the title would be split between Staples and Trinity Catholic.

The Crusaders had last won the county championship in 1984, when their current coach, Pete Stokes, was their quarterback.  The team needed to beat Darien at home to keep their shot at a co-championship alive.

That's where we sort-of came in.  Ryan DeMaria and I met up and drove to McMahon, with me nursing a cold that had me off my game.  Max Barefoot, our intern, statistician, and extra booth voice, met us at McMahon.  Chris Erway and Chris Kaelin both showed up about 10 minutes into our pregame show, due to the multiple date changes.  Each had a commitment. Erway was especially interested in this game, being a McMahon grad.

As the Greenwich/McMahon game got underway, the Greenwich fans, gathered underneath our window in the booth, began asking for scores from the Trinity/Darien game.  Jason Intrieri was there, and he texted me information furiously.  Twitter was a strong source as well, with Darien Football, Dave Ruden and others tweeting away.

At first, I relayed scores by yelling out to Warren Bernstein, father of the Cardinal "Sherman Tank", Mark.  Then, I remembered that I had a wipe-off board, that I bought for a dollar at Target, intending to let others in the booth use it when they wanted to tell me something, as opposed to me reading lips.  I began watching Twitter (along with Chris Erway), calling the game, checking texts from Jason, and updating the fans on the wipe board.  Their cheers and groans were audible.

Fast-forward to the end of the Greenwich game.  I had hoped to stay on the air until the Trinity game was over, but due to a miscommunication, McMahon asked us to clear out of the press box (realizing later on that we could have stayed).  As we walked out of the booth, I chatted with McMahon AD Joe Madaffari about the game when I glanced again at my phone.  It seemed everyone wanted to know what was going on with the Trinity game.  They had played a crazy, sloppy, ugly, memorable game.  It see-sawed to the point that it was 20-20, with overtime seeming likely.  We thought about making a run to get to Trinity's Alumni field to see the end (no broadcast was covering it...ugh...), but then....Twitter gave the answer, followed by Jason.



I yelled out for Madaffari, CJ, and Max to hear.  Kato, Ryan, and others also heard the news.  Jason confirmed it further - the game was over.  Ryan suggested I jump on the air (as in, call the station).  My first call to Sean Kilkelly went unanswered, so I called Warren Bernstein, knowing he could pass the word.  The response from the Bernstein car was ecstatic, to say the least.  Sean, in the meantime, sent me a text, and I called him right back.  Within seconds, I was on the air to report the details (or at least what I knew).

This is Dave Ruden's story on the game.

The Cardinals and Wreckers had both won.  The Crusaders had lost.  Greenwich needs to beat Danbury on Thursday night.  Staples needs to do the same to Westhill.  So long as both of those things happen, it will be the Cardinals and Wreckers for all of the marbles on November 22nd at Cardinal Stadium.

This morning, I noticed a tweet from The Cardinal Crazies (I love seeing students getting so fired up at Greenwich!), letting me know how the football team reacted when they found out about Trinity Catholic losing.  This made my day.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Snowed In...


I wasn't planning on this.  Yeah, I know - Nor'easter.  What was supposed to be 1-3 inches of snow on ground that wouldn't be cold enough to cover has turned to 4-8 inches (give or take, the numbers vary).

I'm in a Dunkin Donuts in Hopewell Jct, NY (or East Fishkill, or whatever).

The story has to start somewhere.  Let's got back a few hours.

With the storm a-coming, I checked the website for Sean's school to see if he had an early dismissal.  Tonight was our usual Wednesday dinner night, but I check anytime.  Just want to know what's going on with him.

So it turns out that his school was going to have a full day, but would have no after school activities.  So that meant no "aftercare", which is what kids go to after school.  They do their homework, have a snack, and play.  It's not my favorite way for him to go, but it does give him somebody to play with.  It's a reality of having parents who both work, or other circumstances.

I left home around 2:45 to get to him around 3:30.  That should have been enough time, even with some snow on the roads.  Streets near me were OK, and the Taconic Parkway wasn't bad as I started going north.

I entered the higher elevations on the Taconic, through Clarence Fahnestock State Park, and approached the exit for NY Route 301, when I saw the tail lights.  Sure, I thought, we have to slow down for the first of two hills - one that goes past the old ski slopes, and the other down past Hortontown Hill Road.  Initially, all went well...and then, as we prepared for the descent past Hortontown Hill Road, things...got...

Icy.

I saw cars sliding off onto the side road (it meets the TSP at an at-grade crossing) before returning.  A snow plow passed me in the left lane, which at least gave those of us in the right lane some hope (that included me).  I jumped into the left lane and, though I was doing only about five MPH and my right foot was shaking, I moved along and was at Sean's school at 3:45.

Poor Sean.  He was waiting for me to show up, and the school office made him call me to find out just where the heck I was.  Fortunately, I had just pulled into the parking lot.  It, of course, begs the question: what if I couldn't get to him (or his mother, or anybody else, for that matter)?  I mean - it's a nor'easter.  Stuff happens.

As for his mother, Sandi was leaving her job near Pleasantville around 4:00.  Sean and I drove to a local pizza place, not too far from their house.  We stayed there until about 5:45, when we walked through the same plaza to a Dunkin Donuts.

It is now 8:00.  Sandi is still stuck on the TSP.  Sean and I are still in the Dunkin Donuts.

I still have more driving to do tonight.  At least writing this post has given me something to do, after I wrigged up some wireless connectivity thanks to my cell phone.

But we're listening to radio station K-104 (top 40) blasting away, which is fine.  It's upbeat, and I very nearly had my first radio job there over 20 years ago.  But...I've heard the same couple of songs about three times now (including some dreadful auto-tune thing).

Ugh.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Rob the Vote

I just voted.  I drove a few minutes up Secor Road, stood on a short line with my mother in front of me, stepped to my little desk, marked my ballot, put it in the machine, and drove home.

Easy peezy lemon squeazy.

WHOM I voted for doesn't matter (it does, but not in regard to this post).  To be honest, I picked from both sides of the aisle.  With the exception of one year (and that still bothers me), I've voted in every annual election since just before my 19th birthday.  It's a right that I enjoy and utilize.

I don't care if you go to your polling place and write in "Snooki" for President.  Honestly, although there are inherent problems with that, it's your vote.  Simply go and vote.  It's not that hard.

Now, that being said, it's not that easy this year either, certainly in the metro NY area, with many thanks to Sandy.  Many polling places are dealing with the impact of the super storm.  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has said that residents can vote anywhere this year, with restrictions, but the idea is to get people out to have their voice heard, at least at the state and national levels.

Once today is done, we can, thankfully, move on.  There is such a chasm that exists in our society, and it is sickening.  I will probably be on social media later today so that I can get a sense of the mood for my reports on WGCH tonight (8:00), but I think I would rather just disappear for the day.  As I've said before, what happened in 2008 made me bitter, against friends, the media, etc.  It was a bad day, in my mind.  The rhetoric was foolish, and I've seen some of that same stuff again.

I mean, to be honest, can't we just get along?  Really?

I hope whomever wins the big race puts us on the path to being a better society.  Emotionally.  Spiritually.  Financially.

The people will be heard from.  The commercials and phone calls will stop.

And we'll move forward.

Friday, November 02, 2012

It's All Fair


Criticism is a part of life.  In broadcasting, it's fair game.  As it is, I offer criticism here often - about stations, format, personalities, and more.

I expect it, and take it with a grain of salt.  I always consider it, and then decide if it 's worth addressing.

But if it's not correct, well, that's just not right.  And I'll call you out on it.

I just read a post from a Greenwich blogger (not posting or linking it here) that had a cutie little snarky nickname for what "WGCH" stands for.  In his criticism, he derided us for being off the air since Sunday, among other things.

Hmmm.  Unless I'm wrong, I recall being on the radio Monday night.  My neck hurt from sleeping on the floor.  I witnessed the rain and watched the trees bend in the wind.  Yep, I was there and we were on the air.  It was mighty real.

But, according to this critic, we were off. 

We were there, and the reviews have been quite positive.  I've received emails and heard from others about the job we did.  Not patting myself on the back; just stating the story, and defending ourselves.

Now, did we lose power?  Yes - at 10:30 Monday night, right around the time where we weren't sure what more there was to say.  We all wanted to be right back on the air each subsequent day.  But we were hardly the only station to lose power in the impacted storm area.  In fact, this post from Stop the Cap includes information from NorthEast Radio Watch that indicates just how widespread the damage was for the broadcasting business.

Again, criticism is fair game, and often warranted.

But make sure you know what you're talking about.

UPDATE: After an exchange with the blogger, an amendment has been made.  I appreciate his willingness to discuss this and recognize the error.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

John Iannuzzi For State Rep

This really isn't about politics.  Nope.  John Iannuzzi has been my friend for over a decade.  Last year, he ran for public office in Bridgeport, CT.  This year, he is running for State Representative in the 130th District.

This really isn't about politics for a couple of reasons, most notably, I don't live in Connecticut.  So...I can't vote for him.  Walking the fine line of being a reporter, it's not like I'm endorsing him (though...well...you know).

He's a Jets fan (meh).  He's a Yankees fan (my brotha!).  He was my colleague at WGCH, where he was a wonderful news reporter, and an even better political reporter.  That's where he should be, but we know the harsh realities of the biz and of life.  He also blogged about his frustrations over Hurricane Sandy, as he lives in the south end of Bridgeport, which got hit really hard.

I just got an email from him with a link to his TV ad.  It.  Is.  GREAT.  No bashing of his opponent.  Hell, no mention of his opponent.  Just - why is he running and and what he is standing on.  His presence, voice (he's a radio guy, like me), and personality all come across.  Add in his dog and his wonderful wife, Sonni Ann, and you have a fine commercial.

I guess, in closing, let me say that I'm Rob Adams, and I approve this message!

Greenwich Football News and Notes

Greenwich/Westhill, October 27, 2012
The first piece of news is that Greenwich will not play at Brien McMahon in Norwalk this Friday as originally planned.  That game, along with the rest of the games scheduled for this weekend, will be play next Thursday.  According to the CIAC website, the Cardinals will play the Senators on Thursday, November 8, at 6:00.

The Cardinals' following game with Danbury, originally scheduled for Friday, November 9th, will most likely be played on Tuesday, the 13th.  Just going with the what I've seen, I would guess the game time would be 6:00.  That is purely speculation.

Up the road, the Brunswick/Hopkins game has also been canceled.  No word of when they will make that up yet (or if they will).  We were scheduled to carry that game on WGCH.

The FCIAC has made their schedule changes with the intention of protecting the FCIAC Championship game (Sean Patrick Bowley).  If Trinity Catholic and Staples remains unbeaten, then the Crusaders and Wreckers will meet in Trumbull on Saturday, November 17 for the title.  If the Crusaders lose to either Darien or St. Joseph (their next two opponents), and both Greenwich and Staples remain unbeaten, then the Cardinals and Wreckers will tangle at Greenwich High School on Thanksgiving morning for the championship.

Of course, the debate is whether or not the conference should have canceled the championship game totally.  I know, from talking to players, winning the FCIAC means a lot.  Some have told me it means more than winning the state.  Yet it's a lot of football to be played in such a short window.  The alternate plan would have been for Trinity and Staples to be declared "co-champions" if that was the way it played out, or for Greenwich and Staples to play on Thanksgiving.  Then the games from this weekend could have been moved to the weekend of November 16-17.

My take?  I never like the idea of co-champions but, really, football isn't the first priority.  People have lost homes.  They have no power.  We love our sports - we need them as a release - but we have to keep our eye on reality.  But my opinion is irrelevant and the FCIAC has made their decision.  But a lot of coaches, players and fans are outraged.

I once played in a baseball league that scheduled our championship game for a Sunday.  It poured that day, and the game was canceled and never made up.  The trophy said "1985 Co-Champions" on it, part of a threepeat for us.  Still, I hate that co-champs thing.  But, again, priorities.

The bottom line is that I will show up and broadcast the games if I can.  Once can only hope that all power is back by then.

By the way, and this matters little, but three days later, I'm sincerely proud of the efforts that WGCH - and the community - put forward on Monday night.  We had calls from as far away as Cape Cod and the Virgin Islands.  Losing the power at 10:30 was so disappointing, since we had no way to get back on.  The Greenwich Time (Frank MacEachern) wrote about us.

My game story about Greenwich and Westhill is online (and soon, in print) at the Greenwich Post website.  I have to go get a copy of it.  I showed the last issue to Sean (you know, The Son) and he smiled with pride.  I like that.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A View from the WGCH Press Box

Here's the latest from the WGCH Press Box, online at the Greenwich Post website.

Happy Halloween to all (and hopefully many of you can still trick-or-treat).

Me...on CKNW and Sandy

Greenwich, CT - October 30, 2012 (RA Photo)
The past 36 hours (and some more) have been pretty wild.  I guess I can say that I served as the anchor for WGCH's live Hurricane/Tropical Storm Sandy coverage, manning the controls for nearly eight hours until power wiped us out at 10:30 last night.

Just after I got to the station, our true News Anchor (and News Director) Tony Savino took a phone call from a Canadian-based radio station, looking for an interview regarding the storm.  Tony asked if I would like to do it and I was pleased.  I enjoy doing such things, and would step away from the WGCH microphone at 3:35 (our time) to take the call.

From what Tony heard on the phone, I would be appearing on CKLW, a legendary 50,000-watt station based in Windsor, Ontario, and booming into Detroit.  I thought of perhaps talking about the Tigers' loss in the World Series.  Excitedly I posted the information on Facebook.

Then I took the call and heard a traffic report discussing CKNW (980 AM), not CKLW (800 AM).  OK, so no Tigers talk!  Still, the thought of going on a highly-rated (and regarded) station in Vancouver sounded pretty cool to me.

I spoke with Simi Sara, who peppered me with questions in a professional, yet breezy way that allowed me to stay loose and still be a reporter. 

I must have done something right, because Simi suggested that they might call on me again.

After I tried to catch up on some sleep this morning, I checked my phone to discover that I missed three phone calls from a strange number.  Sure enough, Simi's producer, Claire Allen, had called to ask if I could appear on the show again.

You probably know I don't take these things lightly.  I truly consider them a privilege.  I made sure to charge my phone up enough so that I had power to do the interview when they called again.

If they ever need me again, I'm there.  Maybe next time we can really talk sports.  We could discuss the NHL and, as ace "Exit 55" reader Harold said, "tell them the Canucks are a bunch of divers!"

I found out that Simi does podcasts of her shows and, indeed, the past two days are online.  So if you want to hear how I sounded, you can check them out for yourself (look for the shows of 10/29/12 and 10/30/12).

Home Sweet Home.  I had no other choice!
As for our WGCH experience, well, it was, um, an experience.  The wind was incredible and the storm surge intense.  Despite our best-intentioned plans, it wound up being "The Rob and Jim Show", with Jim Fischer and I making it up as we went along, with an assist from Darby, hosting her one-hour show.  Otherwise, it was Jim and I.  We talked about the weather.  We talked about the news.  We interviewed a few guests.  We handled roughly two hours of phone calls from listeners about the power and the storm.  We even took a few sports phone calls.  The "Press Box Playmakers", Chris Kaelin and Chris Erway called in to give us the perspective from their towns and talked just a little sports.  Online, Kato, CJ, and Ryan DeMaria kept me laughing with our ongoing conversation.

Tony Savino and Bob Small also worked extraordinarily hard from multiple angles, with Tony stationed at Police Headquarters (before returning in the storm to the studio) and Bob trying to engineer and problem-solve.
Greenwich.
The night reminded me of why I love radio so much.  People needed us.  People were listening.  People were responding.  It was awesome.

After the power went out, we were faced with the inevitable: sleeping at the station.  No problem, though, as I brought my trusty air mattress, "Brenda" (yes, it has a name - long story).  But...I didn't inflate it when we still had electricity and my battery-powered air pump didn't work.  So I jumped into my sleeping bag on the floor and made the best of it as the wind howled.

The corner of Lewis and Mason Streets in Greenwich - October 30, 2012 (RA Photo)

After a largely restless night, Jim, Tony and I (joined eventually by Bob, who had gone home) gathered in the studio and talked for a bit before I decided to try to venture home.  The drive, to be honest, was largely uneventful.  I returned home to a powerless house.  We had no flooding or down trees (a few limbs and branches).  Being without power was a small price to pay.

Power returned about 90 minutes ago.  I hope for everyone else to get theirs back soon, and feel for those who have suffered and lost so much.

It was a remarkable stretch.  Another story in my radio life that I won't soon forget.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

My Article in the Greenwich Post

A writer, and three broadcasters at Cardinal Stadium.  Me, Ryan DeMaria, and Chris Erway,
Paul Silverfarb - you know, the MAN (who happens to also be the Sports Editor at the Greenwich Post) needed a weekend off with the family, and he made the call to the bullpen.

Everyone else was unavailable, so he asked me.  It was like calling the Notre Dame bench and finding out only Rudy is there.
My game story on the Greenwich/Brigeport Central homecoming game is online (and at newsstands across Greenwich).

I'm known as "Post Special Correspondent."  Sadly, "Super Genius" has already been taken.