Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Catching Up

Pondering the menu at Strasburg Rail Road
Time, as usual, doesn't allow for lots of stuff. As a result, Exit 55 has suffered. Let's see if I can do some quick hits here (a la Off the Bench).

*****
Sean and I went to Pennsylvania for a weekend again. This time, we visited the Amish Country of Lancaster and the surrounding area. We hopped a first class train on Strasburg Rail Road, which made him feel like a big shot. We had waitress service, rotating cushioned chairs, and plush surroundings being pulled be an engine made in 1906.

We ate the usual stuff that we like: Waffle House. Krispy Kreme. Sandwiches and snacks from Wawa. We dealt with traffic, especially driving to Pennsylvania. We rented a car (a Hyundai Elantra...not bad).

We crashed in a Holiday Inn in Morgantown that was, initially, unacceptable. Our first room smelled so bad that I wondered if we had made an awful mistake. Turns out it was a smoking room (which is mind-boggling to me in this era) but the front office quickly us a different room.

It wasn't the Ritz. It wasn't Spring Hill Suites in Scranton, where we stayed in 2013. It wasn't supposed to be. In the end, it was fine.

We'll always have our Philadelphia story to tell, where Sean discovered that, after a fun time in the Franklin Institute, our car was being towed away. Thanks to the help of the Philadelphia police department, a cab ride, and roughly $275, we got the car back unscathed. I worried on several levels: I could tell Sean was afraid that stuff had been stolen (it hadn't). I worried that the rental car was damaged (nope). I worried about the obscene amount of money that Philly jacked me for (legitimate).

At the end of the day, it's a story to tell. I still don't completely believe that we were parked in a two-away zone, but I wasn't going to be able to convince the cop. So it goes.

Thankfully Sean saw the car being towed. Otherwise I would have thought it had been stolen.

So now Sean hates Philly (congrats, City of not-so-Brotherly Love). And the Eagles, Sixers, Flyers, and Phillies can lose everything from now on. Never was a big fan of that city.

But again, so it goes.

*****

HAN Radio is steaming along just fine, thanks a bunch. On Saturday, John Kovach, Josh Fisher, and I got to call a high school game at Dodd Stadium in Norwich, Conn. As usual, anytime I'm in a minor league facility I'm happy. So broadcasting Darien's 7-1 victory over Norwich Free Academy was a highlight.

The two teams couldn't have been more accommodating. Beyond that, the Connecticut Tigers - who play their games in Dodd Stadium, were equally accommodating. Plus everyone was happy to see us. It made for a great day.

It also reminded me how much I'd like to do a lot more that. I miss calling minor league ball.

*****
I should care about Albert Pujols reaching the 500 home run club. I should be thrilled that there was major league baseball history last night. Yet, for some reason, I'm just not.

I know it's the steroids thing. Of course it is. The 500 home run club, a thing that I could name all of the members of at one time, has become watered down. Even 600 - a club that had just THREE members forever (Aaron, Ruth, and Mays) now has right. Those five new members each joined the 600 club since 2001...and you know what era that is.

I wish I felt more excited about it. I just don't.

*****
I've stayed away from the Mahopac race incident that came out of a basketball game earlier this year. I haven't avoided it, but also didn't feel that I had the time to invest in it to discuss it properly.

I still don't really, but I don't want to ignore it.

I struggle with the notion that Mahopac is being branded as some sort of racist haven, for lack of a better phrase. I grew up there. I live there. My family is still around there. All of that being said, I'm really not involved there. I work in Connecticut. My girlfriend lives far north of there. I wish I could call games at my old high school, or be a little more involved, but the bottom line is that I sleep there.

Yet Mahopac is still home, and a place that I dearly love. It troubles me deeply that these things were said, and those tweets were published. Whether the behavior is racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, or anything else, it is unacceptable and shouldn't be tolerated.

I'm disappointed that members of the town I live in - from the high school I attended - allowed this black eye to happen.

But don't paint the entire town that way. I found the Journal News editorial especially galling, since I'm not sure they even know Mahopac exists for news until something like this happens. If it didn't occur in White Plains or Yonkers, they don't care about it, until it's sensational. Yet here they were, throwing their two cents in. Brett Freeman, the publisher of Mahopac News, wrote a very pointed response.

It was unacceptable, to be sure, and I wonder if all of the facts are truly known. Regardless, my town got a black eye, and I didn't like it.

Life on Social Media

I like social media. I can't stress that enough. I enjoy going through the daily collection of posts, tweets, and so on. To an extent, it's how I get my news (confirming my sources, of course), and certainly entertains me.

It also allows me to connect with people I've never met, still talk to, and reconnect with others.

I get a kick out of an old friend "liking" a status or a post of some description, and certainly enjoy the dialogue.

But.

As we've all discovered, there's a really bad side. There's also a dark side, and we're not talking about that.

Now, understand that I'm not identifying any one person. As I've become a bit of a student of this, I've discovered all types.

We have bloggers, of course (HI!). We have tweeters (yeah, me also). We have Facebookers (uh huh), Instagram (yessir), Foursquare (sigh) and so on.

I don't do Snapchat, for instance. So there's that.

But you get the point. I like it. I also don't want to be...er..."that guy."

As in, yeah, he's that guy who comments on everything. Always has something to say. Tries to come up with a smug comment, or something snarky. At the same time, he's that guy who is always being hateful, and...

Sigh. It's mind-boggling.

Maybe there are people who do say that about me, and that's fine. Maybe I've been blocked, or people have reduced what they see on my feed. Maybe I post too much about Sean, Bobby Murcer, the Yankees, the Steelers, HAN Radio, Huey Lewis, roads, radio, The Beatles, and so on. Guilty as charged.

In many ways, to be successful in this era, you have to be a part of social media (certainly depending on the industry). Every time I think about walking away or shutting down my Facebook or Twitter accounts (especially Facebook), I realize that, generally speaking, I need it for WGCH and HAN Radio. I promote stuff, so I see the usefulness.

We're not talking big world problems here. Just something I'm thinking about. Because I don't want people sitting around a table talking about my social media behavior. I've seen it happen (not about me, per se).

I find it sad, but I guess it's like anything else. A few apples can spoil it. Such is the balance, and the thought that maybe it's me who needs to back down. Just ignore it.

Or simply deal with it and move on.

Robot Zombie

This is a robot zombie. He has hung on the door leading to the upstairs at home for roughly three years.

You can probably guess it's the work of Sean Adams.

Sean put that on the door as a way of scaring me, but it has done nothing but make me smile every time I have looked it. Though lately, the zombie has been hurting. To hang in such a place means that it can get hit and, ultimately, ripped.

Robot zombie was in pretty bad shape, and it had reached the point where he needed to be addressed. Though I'll eventually look to preserve it, I just didn't want to see it taken down. I'm not ready to. So with the help of some packaging tape, our friend was rebuilt.

We have the technology.

I'd call him the Six Million Dollar Robot Zombie, but we simply don't have that kind of budget.


You wouldn't be wrong to assume that some of this is about not wanting to let go of Sean's youth. That is completely correct.

Plus, like I said, it makes me smile. I'm not sure I need to analyze it any more than that.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Hank Aaron and 715


It happened 40 years ago tonight, and it's one of my earliest baseball memories.

Hank Aaron hit a 1-0 fastball off Al Downing of the Dodgers to eclipse the mark set by Babe Ruth when he walked away in 1935. While the arguments that compare eras and the dead ball, and the Negro Leagues and so on factor into the discussion, the most clear factor was that by the end of the night, Aaron had 715 home runs, and Ruth had 714.

My point is that we're not here to debate better players and such. Let's just relive the moment itself.

That night, there were three different play-by-play men behind the microphone. It probably comes as little shock that I have all three of them. Arguably, the most famous is Milo Hamilton's excitable shout on the Braves radio broadcast. His call is the last in the montage embedded below. Vin Scully, baseball's witness to seemingly all great historical moments, was at the mic on the Dodgers broadcast and is in the middle. NBC, recognizing the importance of the game back when baseball on TV was truly a special and important thing, dispatched Curt Gowdy and company to Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. That is the first call of the three.

I won't even try to tease you. You know which of the three below is the call that I prefer. The professional it-isn't-about-me call of Vin Scully.

Listen for yourself.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Wrestlemania

Lisa and I returned home for a day of fun in New York and just sat on the couch with the TV on.

We had some Big Bang Theory and Modern Family viewing time.

I found a Bruce Springsteen March Madness concert that was being live streamed.

On Twitter, I saw some buzz about Wrestlemania.

See, here's the thing. I wonder if something is wrong with me. I say this because, as a red-blooded American male, I have never - ever - not even slightly been into wrestling.

Yeah, I met Captain Lou Albano at the Carmel bowling alley in 1985 or so. Nice guy. Very nice guy.

Sure, I know the names: The Rock, Mick Foley, Mean Gene Okerlund, Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, and on and on. Yup. Got it.

I drive by the WWE (once, WWF) building in Stamford a lot.

I've even watched some. I had friends who were really into it, and they had me watch it.

It just never took with me. Maybe it was the "story lines" or I just always had something else that interested me more. I'm really not sure.

I mean, I'm supposed to be "shocked" that the Undertaker lost (I understand that was a big deal, at least according to Twitter). According to this article on Forbes, gamblers knew it was coming.

So congrats to them on their 30th Wrestlemania and all. It's an achievement for sure. Millions of people love it, and if nobody's getting hurt, all the better.

It was just never my thing.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

At My Desk in Ridgefield

I took this right after HAN Radio officially got off the ground. (RA photo)
I shouldn't be here. No, I shouldn't.

I should be long gone. Somewhere else.

But I'm still at my desk. Jeez, I could have left probably four hours ago.

So what's wrong with me?

Really, nothing. I'm actually fairly content. There is something about sitting at my desk, with the office either empty or nearly empty that gets my blood going. So I'm still here, plugging away. Getting the spring schedule ready for baseball, lacrosse and more. Preparing for our tribute to Sue Wolf tomorrow. Thinking about Sean and I going away, and where and so on.

Just doing stuff.

Don't get me wrong. I'm here because there's no game to broadcast. No WGCH show to do. Lisa is just getting done with work. Sean? Sigh...not with me.

You see where this is going?

I've created something that I'm crazy proud of. Business cards showed up today. Who would have thought this? I mean - really?

Something will happen tomorrow. An email, a phone call, a text, an ichat will set me off. It's just the passionate way I conduct myself.

But no, not tonight. I'm working.

Happily.

It's My Bad, Dude

One needs to own up when things go wrong. When all else fails, let Vin Scully be your voice.



True dat.