Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wow. Derek Jeter to Retire

He was everything you wanted in an athlete. Strong, yet silent. Professional, but hard playing. He didn't need the long ball. Just consistency. Lots of hits. Lots of them.

And winning. That's all he was about.

Derek Jeter has just announced he will retire after 2014. A legion - a generation - of baseball fans are sickened by this news.

Count me in.

I stood near him once, in the clubhouse at the old building on Rupper Place. No athlete had ever impressed me so much with his grace and his ability to give answers, professionally, without not really saying a thing.

With that, the core four will be gone. Mo left last year. So did Andy Pettitte. Posada left before them. Bernie Williams, the fifth member of that "core," left several years earlier.

Jeter, it was thought, would have a few years left. Not so, he said on Facebook today. He's done.

He said: "And the thing is, I could not be more sure. I know it in my heart."

We thank you, Captain. This will be the first of many more words to be spoken about Derek Jeter in 2014.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Vin Scully on Ralph Kiner

I'm trying to put more content up. So here we go.

This is Vin Scully talking to SNY about the Ralph Kiner, who passed away last week.

Even I watched Kiner's Korner as a kid, and Ralph, along with Bob Murphy and Lindsey Nelson, were so memorable.

Paul Silverfarb: Star Reporter

Not taken at Silverstock.
He won't like this. He won't be mad at me, but he won't enjoy the limelight.


Paul Silverfarb, my friend and sports editor of the Greenwich Post, went to the Super Bowl in the Meadowlands. His college - Keene State University - felt that was important enough to talk him up a bit.

Behold - the story. It's something well-deserved for a guy who works his tail off.

Keene State was the place where he met his wife, the former Elizabeth Hornsberger. She's Beth to all of us - a girl from Hurley, NY who made a phenomenally bad mistake...I mean, made a great decision to marry such a great guy!

(Hey, he's one of my closest friends. Gotta give him a little heat).

Congrats to Paul on the experience and on having this story written about him.

Two Stories

Over the weekend, we had two things that grabbed the sports fan.
Marcus Smart
First, the Marcus Smart incident at Texas Tech. Smart, from Oklahoma State, charged in late and fell into the crowd, where a clown of a fan named Jeff Orr said something stupid. Smart shoved the fan and earned a three-game suspension.

Mr. Yates, apparently, has offered to give up his tickets for the rest of the season.

Everyone apologized and we will move on. But, still. Sigh...
Michael Sam
Then last night, Michael Sam told the world what he told his teammates at Missouri last summer: that he was gay.

Again, of course, this is news. But, still. Sigh...

And yes, yes,'s my job to talk about both of these topics tonight at seven on The Press Box. But each topic, in its own way, seems so unnecessary.

I want each athlete to survive each controversy. I want them each to prosper. I want to think of Michael Sam as an athlete. If he plays for, say, the Cowboys, I want to root against him. If he's on the Steelers, I want to root for him.

The point is, I want him to simply be an athlete. A player. Not "the first openly gay male in major team sports."

I also want Marcus Smart to go on without us thinking of him as the guy who did that thing that time.

We'll talk about this later today. Yet I still find myself going back to the same reaction.



I watched 42 last night. That was the film about Jackie Robinson. It was cliched at times, with John C. McGinley, who was AWESOME as Red Barber, working in an "Oh Doctor!" that seemed forced, and Christopher Meloni, as Leo Durocher, pushing a "Nice guys finish last."


But the film, with those few shortcomings, and inaccuracies (the Pirates still wore blue in 1947, not black and there were no interstates in 1945, so "Interstate 24" was incorrect), was very good, with solid performances.

Again, McGinley was tremendous as the Ol' Redhead. His cadence at times was eerie.

However, Bob Ryan (who seems to have a penchant for not walking two blocks to appear at the NENPA conference he was supposed to appear at), disagreed with me on McGinley. Now, I did growl when the movie portrays Barber as cheering. I know - beyond a doubt - that Red Barber never applauded in a booth*. But Ryan found a ton of inaccuracies.

I tried not to, if only to spare Lisa from me droning on about it.

*David J. Halberstam hits the nail on the head with the McGinley/Barber thing here. McGinley was great, but is accuracy that hard to do?

But, mostly, this was a love song to Jackie Robinson. As it should be.

Back From Boston

The picture that got a ton of "likes" (and a few smart ass comments). Me, Lisa, Saturday at Maggiano's in Boston.
I was in the great city known as The Hub from Thursday night until Sunday afternoon for something called NENPA.
To be clear: it's the New England Newspaper and Press Association. They hold an annual convention in Boston - hardly the biggest I've ever been to, but fun and sufficient nonetheless. We met people from across New England, and mostly hung out among ourselves. I came home with pens and pads and free stuff (love swag!) and got to take Lisa with me.

Showing her off, and letting her know how truly awesome she is, makes me smile. Now if she'd only accept that.

There was, of course, a rubber chicken dinner in which many awards* - stretching out over hours - were given out. The MC seemed like a nice man with a fair sense of humor.

Many spent the night looking at their phones. Me included.
I know...awful. The best I could do was this godawful selfie of us. Shameful, and I knew it.
*Incidentally, I had no illusion about winning any awards. Plus, I'm not big on them. Would I like to win one? Sure. Does it make my career? Nah. Besides all of that, I have a few awards in my possession that mean the world to me. And I have people who love me?

But there's more. I wasn't a good reporter at the Wilton Bulletin, and I suppose hearing others say that saddens me. I think my writing was, generally, fine, and I could put together a pretty good feature story. But breaking down the ins and outs of the budget or the air quality at one of the schools?

No. Just not me.

Still, I think I'm more than capable of writing some sports stuff.

So, I guess what I'm saying is that, as I sit here, writing less and talking more, I have a slight tinge of regret. Or something.

Another reason I don't like awards is that, while I don't get angry when I lose, I get annoyed when my friends don't win. Now, they've been nominated, which is to say that they're in the top 99% of their category. But I wanted them to get the effing recognition that they deserve.

Paul Silverfarb. Tim Murphy. Ken Borsuk. These were just a few of the phenomenal writers who got a second or third place finish, and that's nothing to scoff at.

But it annoyed me, as I watched another publication win. Again. And again. And again.

I won't be smarmy here. But I'm just saying.

I greatly enjoyed meeting the people, led by Tom Shattuck, from Boston Herald Radio. I certainly don't consider them to be competition, and I like seeing radio thrive. Tom, with George Capalbo and Paul Kamp from Backbone Networks, shared lots of information with us about their operations.

You're going to see Hersam Acorn Radio, aka HAN Radio, taking off very soon.

I was reminded, again, why Boston is such a great city. Great food (North 26 aside, where $60 gets you a breakfast that was indescribably frustrating), great people, great atmosphere, great old ballpark (team aside). The shopping is great, and so on.

I have friends who have never been. My advice is simple: go.

Even the drive wasn't that bad. We hit not traffic Thursday night, and roared back yesterday afternoon. I know there are plenty of other times where that is simply not the case.

As for the hotel, the Boston Park Plaza, it has a lot of character. We were comfortable in our upgraded room with two double beds and TWO bathrooms.
What's not to love? The hotel room had a Keurig!
Plus we were able to broadcast from the suite in the hotel. So we had that.

It wasn't a weekend without stress. It wasn't perfect, and I can't tell you that there weren't a few moments where my head was lit up like the Citgo sign. But I was with great friends and colleagues. Overall, take the negatives out and it was something I look forward to again.
The lovely and super cool Beth Silverfarb had not arrived yet. So filling in for Mrs. Silverfarb, was John Kovach, at left. Kathy Kovach didn't seem to mind.

Paul Silverfarb was kind enough to give me Bazooka Joe - in Hebrew, no less!

Thanks to Lisa for buying me this incredibly cool Anchorman glass. This will be my glass case of emotion!