Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My Newspaper Head Shot

Take a look at that photo.  No, I don't think I look so great in it.  It's OK, I guess.

But it's also my new head shot, to be found on the Wilton Bulletin "about us" page.  A thumbnail-size version will run with all of my stories.

And I love it.


Not long after I started with the paper, it was requested that I put a bio up and get a head shot as well.

Yeah, yeah.  I'll get to it.

Nobody nagged and I let it go, but the email was always there as a reminder.

Then came last Friday, when a bright young photographer, on his first assignment, was out in the field with me.  I had just finished talking with someone outside the Wilton Library when I asked the photo journalist to take my picture.  "Just get me, basically, from the head up."

The photographer, wielding a Nikon camera, was Sean Adams.

Now you can probably guess why I love it.

My bio is typical me: humorous to an extent (with nods to Paul Silverfarb, The Beatles, and Huey Lewis), and a radio mention (though I shouldn't have put "respected broadcaster."  Wow. What the hell was I thinking?).

By the way, Sean took some really nice photos.  There is a shot that he will get one of them printed in this week's Bulletin, though I'm not 100% certain.  After stopping at the library, we drove to Merwin Meadows - a small park in Wilton - and he went to work.  These are some of his better shots.

And what would this be without a picture of the photographer, who of course deserved some time on the playground?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Notes from a Thursday Morning (Published Four Days Later)

Whoa...K.  I started this on Thursday morning.  It's now Monday.  So there's that.

It's not often that I get to sit around the man cave and say "Hey! I have time for the blog!"

So take that with a grain of salt.

I'm still reeling from the passing of James Gandolfini.  He embodied an iconic character in Tony Soprano, and made it all more appealing and mysterious by rarely giving interviews.  He did, however, go on "Inside the Actors Studio"

He was only 51, and he was with his young son.  Ugh.  I have nothing more profound than that.

For those of you not on Facebook (and some of us are on it waaaaaaay too much), Sean graduated from elementary school yesterday.  His Moving Up ceremony was very nice, and I will spare you my rant on how us adults behave at these things, except to say that it's NOT about you, jagov.

I always relish any excuse to use the word "jagov."  Just I relish the opportunity to introduce the new term "erwan" into the mainstream.  Coined by Max Bearfoot, and defined by Ryan DeMaria, it means, in the short definition, "ego."  As in, Mr. Aktovious's erwan was bruised when his beloved Yankees lost to the Dodgers.

Just as with the hashtag #BeBlessed, feel free to give erwan a try.  You'll thank us later.

Anyway, it is with great pride that I present you with this video of Sean receiving his certificate yesterday.

He also won an award for perfect attendance - three straight years! He was asked to stand up (the only award winners who weren't marched up the stage...sigh...).  Sadly, this was the best my camera would give me.
I sat clear across the theater from where he was.

By the way, not to be maudlin, but thanks to those who chatted me up via social media during the ceremony, even if you didn't know it.  As I am an emotional sap, and my mind gets very deep in these moments, it was a bit of a roller coaster ride yesterday.  I hope I don't need to express how enormously proud I am of him.  I'm not sure I ever hugged him tighter than I did yesterday, in part because I couldn't speak.

Sean and his best buddy, Will.
So, yeah.  Onward.

This just in.  I love baseball.  To me, there's nothing like it, and I'll watch it at any level.

Go to a minor league game?  Done.  Happily.  From Dutchess Stadium to the Ballpark at Harbor Yard to Ripken Stadium to Damaschke Field and so on. I've broadcast in them or just sat and watched.  Sometimes I just like looking around and taking it all in.

On Saturday, I went and watched a little league game.  A bunch of 12 year-olds that I don't know, surrounded by families I don't know.  Sean played on the playground and I watched the game.

Only other person I knew: Christopher "Kato, Aktovious, Akto" Kaelin.  The home plate umpire.

We had great weather, Sean and I had dinner before the game, and on and on.  Why not go?  It was fun, and it beat sitting home and getting fatter (which is also why I hit the bike trail on Sunday, and our ride was longer than the ".25 mile" I was accused of).

So we went.  And we loved it.

I wish more people cared about baseball that way. Ratings are down.  Attendance is down.  There is zero buzz about the upcoming All-Star Game at Citi Field.

The Yankees attendance is pitiful, and yet they're still tops in the American League, and fourth overall*.

*The Dodgers are first, but, really, should it count when they're only in the stadium from the fourth-seventh innings?

The Yankees have done this to themselves.  They've built a Stadium with lots of amenities and zero charm.  Plus it's a crazy expensive ticket - they've price themselves out of the market.  They have outpriced the real fans: the likes of me who appreciated the inexpensive ticket.  And they took away the secondary market.

What was supposed to be a "throwback" to the 1923 Stadium really isn't.  It's lipstick on a pig.

What I'm saying is: shame on them.

And, oh yeah, I haven't been to a game in over a year.  That's right.

So, while I sniped at Rays broadcasters Andy Freed and Dave Wills for essentially calling Yankee Stadium "soulless," I can't totally disagree.  But don't get me wrong: I'll happily broadcast Rays/Yankees games in New York for them.  I'll spare them the trouble of being in a big league ballpark in, arguably, the greatest city in the world.

And, um, Tropicana Field isn't exactly a little slice of heaven either.

Anyway, the game has problems.  Steroids and so on.  I've heard it all.

But I still love it.  That's why you'll find me watching a little league game on a Saturday night.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

"Donnie Baseball" is Back

Take a look at that image.  Nice guy, from the looks of it.  Looks good in that classic Los Angeles Dodgers uniform.  Wearing number eight.  OK.

They say that's Don Mattingly.  He's apparently the Dodgers manager, and he's visiting Yankee Stadium tonight.


Don Mattingly wore number 23.  He was a Yankee.  Hell, for a stretch in the 1980's and early 90's, he WAS the Yankees.  He battled Dave Winfield to win the 1984 AL batting crown.  He was the Hit Man, with a cool Converse poster.
He was the 1985 AL MVP.  He was a doubles machine.  He homered in eight straight games.  He hit six grand slams in a single season.

He was, for a stretch, the best player in baseball.  He was a guy that virtually everyone liked and respected.  Kirby Puckett tagged him with the perfect nickname: "Donnie Baseball."

He made every play at first base, and along with Keith Hernandez, gave New York the best defensive first basemen we've seen.

He was on "The Simpsons."
He has a plaque in Monument Park.

He is among the most popular players to ever play in New York.

He homered in his second career playoff game, after back problems had sapped him of his power.

His career ended much too soon, short of a Hall of Fame honor.  Short - by one year - of achieving the goal of playing in, and winning, a World Series.

We love him and we'll cheer his appearances at the Stadium over the next two nights.

But oh no.  That guy in the Dodgers uniform might be Don Mattingly, but this is our Donnie Baseball.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Bluefish Baseball on WGCH Tonight

That's the Ballpark at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, CT in the photo above, taken by me a few minutes ago.  It's the home of the Bridgeport Bluefish.  Webster Bank Arena is beyond the left-center field fence.  The last time I broadcast a game from here was in 2004 - when Greenwich High beat Fairfield for the FCIAC Championship.

We called games from here for the Bridgeport Bluefish on WGCH in 2002.  We even threw out the first pitch one night in August.

That, by the way, was the first baseball game Sean ever went to.  He wasn't even six months old yet.

Anyway, tonight, for the first time in a long time, I'll be in the booth calling the Bluefish on WGCH.  RJ Garcea will guide us and I'll do, well, whatever.

First pitch is just after 7:00.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Counting Down

I noticed that we're 13 posts away from 2000.

Well, make that 12 now.

Hmmm.  12.  Twelve...
OK, then.

That is all.

Nothing more to see here.  Move along.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

From the Past

Sean's mother told me that my almost-sixth grader (and, hence MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENT) had something to give me.

"An old magazine," she emailed.

I had no idea what that meant, but I didn't press.

I reminded Sean when I picked him up at school, and when we got home, he presented me with a plastic baggie that had a memory inside.

A 1983 New York Yankees scorebook and souvenir program. Price? One dollar.  Not what they rip you off for now.

The cover featured cartoons of four different players.  I scribbled above each one: Nettles, Murcer, Winfield (despite the guy being white), and Gossage, Guidry, or Righetti (despite the pitcher being a righty, and only the Goose was right handed among the three).

Housed in those 83 pages were ads for Marlboro, Pepsi, Kick 106.7 (a country music station), Xerox, Kool Lights, Real Sports from Atari, and a Bob Uecker "Mr. Baseball" Miller Lite ad, among others.

A list of visiting stars coming to the Stadium in '83 included Eddie Murray, Yaz, Pudge Fisk, George effing Brett, Robin Young, Rickey Henderson, and Gaylord Perry (cheater).  Hall of Famers all.  The others were familiar names: Andre Thornton, Kirk Gibson, Kent Hrbrek and Buddy Bell.

And Damaso Garcia.  Who, er, doesn't quite fit here.

There was the "The Almost Impossible Yankee Trivia Crossword No. 2" filled in by me.

There was the page of "Yankees on the Air," with pictures of Phil Rizzuto, Frank Messer, Bill White, John Gordon, Mel Allen and Fran Healy.

One name was missing from that list of '83 broadcasters, because they went to print before he joined the booth.

You probably guessed it: Bobby Ray Murcer, who retired in May of that year.

There were articles about an ultimate Yankees all-star game (fantasy baseball style) and another return of Billy Martin.

And on the front cover of the program, scribbled in my '80s penmanship, was the give away: "Bobby Murcer Day, August 7, 1983."


I did scan one page - the scorecard.  I kept score as the Yankees fell to the Tigers, 8-5.  Steve Kemp homered for the Bombers, while Jerry Mumphrey, Andre Robertson, and some outfielder named Don Mattingly had two hits each.  Dave Winfield went 0-for-2 before being replaced by Ken Griffey...Senior.

Matt Keough was gone after two innings, allowing four earned runs.  He took the loss.  Dan Petry won for the Tigers to improve to 12-7.  A crowd of 45,110 made the daunting trek to the big ballpark.

Sad.  By the late 90's, that number would have been 55,000.  Guaranteed.

Bobby Ray was beloved, and 45,000 was a good crowd for an August game in the 80's.

Anyway, Sean said his Aunt Lauren and Uncle Anthony were the ones who sent it to his mother, who passed it onto me.  However it happened, I'm very thankful.  I recall the day quite well, going with my cousin Ron and his son (my partner-in-crime) Kris, as well as my sister, Laura.  We rode down in Laura's big blue Chevy.  The window-washers were very prevalent as we moved along Jerome Ave.

UPDATE: Sean's grandmother confirmed that it actually came from Sean's Uncle Michael, who lives in Washington State.  Thanks Michael! (And Gretchen, Eleanor and George!)

We sat in left field.

Time moves on.

Click the picture to make it larger.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Read This

Daniel Barden was seven on the morning of December 14, 2012.  He attended Sandy Hook Elementary School.
On occasion, I've been known to point you in the direction of things that are worthy of your time.

This is another one.

Jeff Pearlman gets the hat tip for recommending this on his blog.  It is wonderful writing by Eli Salow in the Washington Post on the saddest of topics.


You will likely cry, or at least tear up.  You will likely feel anger.  You will probably find a little nugget to smile at.

You will think.

You will want to stop what you're doing, and hug your own child.

It brings back the horror of the day.  The sadness.  The anger.

It's been just about six months.  I know I write this roughly 20 minutes from where it took place, but that should be irrelevant.  This was not about a region or a community.  Sure, it enveloped a town.  It defined them.  It turned them into a proper noun.


This was something that the world felt.  And we all should.



It's just not right.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Joyous! The 2013 Greenwich Football Schedle is Out!

Let's start with the basics.  The Greenwich spring football game, known as "The Red and White Game" is scheduled for Saturday, June 15th at 10:00 AM.

(By the way, peeps, why do I have to dig for this stuff?  Can we show a wee bit of love to the radio guy?)

I have no word as to if we will broadcast it on WGCH, but I will let you know if it comes to be.

UPDATE: No.  That is all.

Now, for the main event: the 2014 schedule, taken straight from the CIAC website!

Thursday, September 12 - 6:00 - West Haven at Greenwich
Saturday, September 21 - 1:30 - Greenwich at Darien
Friday, September 27 - 7:00 - New Canaan at Greenwich
Saturday, October 5 - 2:00 - Greenwich at Trinity Catholic
Friday, October 11 - 7:00 - Norwalk at Greenwich
Friday, October 18 - 7:00 - Greenwich at Trumbull
Saturday, October 26 - 3:00 - Fairfield Warde at Greenwich
Friday, November 1 - 7:00 - Greenwich at Bridgeport Central
Friday, November 8 - 7:00 - Westhill at Greenwich
Friday, November 15 - 6:00 - Greenwich at Danbury
Thursday, November 28 - 10:00 - Greenwich at Staples (Thanksgiving)

OK, a few thoughts.  Off the top, GHS takes on West Haven in the FCIAC/SCC matchup.  Of course, this is a rematch of the 2002 Class LL title game.  The Cards lost that one in rather controversial fashion.

Then it's onto Darien.  Nice place, but from a broadcasting perspective, well, I've railed against it before. The booth is too small, the cell service is bad and so on.  So...expect to see us on the plaza outside of the booth.  Neither the team or I have fond memories of our last visit to Darien.

New Canaan.  What else is there to say?  Maybe MSG Varsity will bring their helicopter again?

Then to Trinity Catholic, a place that Greenwich hasn't visited since 2004.  The grass football field, no lights, old press box.  It's been a while.  That should be fun, as Donny Panapada coaches against his old friend Rich Albonizio.

Norwalk comes calling before we make the trek to Trumbull.  That's another place that can be troublesome for cell service.  That's one of a few long trips for Cardinals fans also.  I expect the Eagles to be good this year.  In fact, this schedule has a few tough games for Big Red.

The game against Fairfield Warde is most likely Homecoming.  Three o'clock is a late start, but we should be able to keep daylight (or turn the lights on at Cardinal Stadium).

Another long drive to Central follows.  Kennedy Stadium is long in the tooth but I tend to enjoy my trips there.  Then comes the trip to Danbury.  Assuming I'm still working in Ridgefield by then, this will be my shortest commute.  The people inside Crotty Stadium can be some of the friendliest in the FCIAC.  They've always been very nice to us.

Lastly, Staples.  As with New Canaan, what else is there to say?  Look for us outside of the booth and hope for the best (weather permitting).

I'm not looking to rush the summer along at all, but oh boy.  Let's get it on!

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Long Overdue: Steve Young to Appear on "The Press Box"

The guy who threw six touchdowns in Super Bowl XXIX also went to Greenwich High School.
It's with great pride that I can tell you that Steve Young, the MVP of Super Bowl XXIX, will be on "The Press Box" next Monday night, beginning at 7:00.  Steve has agreed to visit with us, via phone, for at least a half hour.

I last saw him about a decade ago when he was an honoree at the Greenwich Old Timer's Athletic Association Dinner.  I've interviewed him before and he is a good guy to talk to.

Young graduated from Greenwich High School before moving onto BYU, the LA Express, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and, finally, the San Francisco 49ers where he supplanted Joe Montana in one of the great quarterback debates.

Steve has been named to the first-ever class of the Greenwich High School Sports Hall of Fame.  Olympic hockey star Sue Merz and baseball player and official Zeke Bella are the other honorees.  They will officially be inducted at a banquet later in 2013.

We will have a fun and far-reaching interview with the NFL Hall of Famer.

Monday, June 03, 2013

At the FDR Memorial

Lisa and I stumbled on a parking spot near the overwrought Franklin Delano Roosevelt memorial in Washington yesterday.

The memorials is a large display of images and statues and fountains from FDR's four terms in office.  Among the big payoff is a statue of the President with his famed dog, Falla, next to him.  Lisa had me pose for a picture next to the dog when I took off my Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel hat and put it on the dog.  We laughed.

A young boy sat down next to the dog statue after me, and must have thought the hat was a funny idea.  He put his Baltimore Orioles cap on it.  I told him if he left it on, I'd take a picture of it.

So I did.
I never did get his name.  But it was funny.

Back to Reality

Lisa and I at dinner, May 30, 2013.  Photo taken by Sofia Jackson.
Greetings from Ridgefield, CT.  I'm writing to you from my desk in the Wilton Bulletin newsroom.

I planned to write more during my recently complete vacation but, well, sometimes the best laid plans don't come to be.

There are pictures to publish - 500 or so.  There are stories to tell.  I, apparently, will be working alone on tonight's "Press Box" if I decide to tell any.

To be concise, Lisa and I roared from New York to Virginia Beach on the Saturday before Memorial Day.  We spent the bulk of our trip on the beach outside of Ocean Beach Club, where we stayed.  We ate, we laughed, we indulged.  We enjoyed the pleasure of the company of Jo and Roger*, Lisa's fantastic parents.  Of Gina (Lisa's sister), Scott (Gina's husband and the only other SPORTS FAN in the group) and Sofia (their daughter, who enjoyed pitching softballs to me and hearing wacky New York accents, as well as singing the theme to "Hawaii Five-O" as we dodged waves in the Atlantic).  We hung with Missy (Roger's daughter) and her boyfriend Jeremy, straight off the fields of Kentucky.

Thanks to Sofia, I earned the nickname "Pickle," because I told her that, in Noo Yawk, you get a Pickle with your "samwich."  You're probably having cawned beef or pastrawmi.  But you have to POP the "P" in "Pickle."


* Thanks a thousand times to Lisa, who informed Roger that I had developed an impression of him.  Nothing like driving the ol' Greyhound over me.  Thanks also to Roger for being a good sport about it.  Yup, yup.

I spent more time on the beach than I ever have.  I loved watching Lisa spend such important time with these people.  Time, of course, is so precious.

I lamented that Sean wasn't there to enjoy it.

We celebrated Jo and Roger's 25th wedding anniversary and Scott and Gina's 10th, and Lisa's birthday, and Gina's birthday, and Roger's birthday and various and sundry other events.  For reasons known to them, the honor of giving the toast was given to one of the new people around the table: me.  I was touched and terrified.

It was difficult to say goodbye to all of them.

I got to eat Krispy Kreme and Waffle House and Wawa.  And I loved it.  Then I walked it all off.

We paid $95 for pizza and a few beverages.  Yes, you read that correctly.

We got a surprise visit from Cousin Kris and wife Lori (even though she likes Lisa better than she likes me).

We drove through Richmond, and you probably know how I feel about that place.  We couldn't quite time out a chance to say hello to Jon and the family, but promised we would figure out a return trip.  Just doing a drive through made me smile and wistful.

We rocked Washington for two days, and my feet hurt enough that I'm happy to be sitting at a desk today.

We walked the US Holocaust Museum.  It's stunning, really. Amazing how powerful it is.

We hit the monuments - Lincoln, Jefferson, FDR, MLK, Iwo Jima, Vietnam, Korea.  And Arlington Cemetery makes you feel proud of this great country, and humbled by the many people who gave so much to protect and defend it.

We grumbled at how people often lack respect, such as in the Holocaust Museum or at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

We walked hot streets and stayed in the Westin in Arlington, at a very reasonable price.

We bought a few souvenirs, and packed up to go home.

We drove through the rain, sat in traffic on the Beltway (don't ask which Beltway), ate dinner in Maryland, buzzed through Baltimore, popped into Philadelphia, hydroplaned on the New Jersey Turnpike, just missed an accident near the Meadowlands, and got Lisa home.

She took her stuff out of the rental car, and sent me on my way (sadly).

I pulled into my humble abode around 2:45.


And went to bed at four.

And now I'm sitting here, trying to stay awake, as I type.

I need a coffee.  Too bad the nearest Wawa is too far away.