Sunday, October 22, 2017

Seasons Change


It's the little things sometimes.

With the Yankees' loss to the Astros last night, I knew it was time for the change of flags.

It used to be a thing for Sean and I. Every March and October (roughly), we'd head to the flag holder, make the change, and then actually recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Normally it would end with a "Go Yankees" and "Go Steelers."

I know. You had to be there to get it.

I just did the change of the flags myself, and made this little video. It all came off my phone, and I know I shot it vertically. Scorsese, I am not.

Anyway, small stuff. Dumb to you, perhaps.

Meaningful to me.

Time marches on.

It's Not What You Want (#INWYW)

Aaron Judge will provide plenty of thrills in 2018. (TROY TAORMINA/USA TODAY SPORTS)
I could have written this post in 1976.

Or 1980.

Or 1981.

I certainly could have written it in 1995.

Yes, 1997 also, as well as 2001 (ugh), 2002, 2003, 2004 (let's not talk about it), 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015...

and now.

That's just the Yankees' history (in my lifetime) of playoff losses, flameouts, and heartbreaks. We could talk about other teams, but this will do.

There were limited expectations for the "rebuilding" Baby Bombers. Maybe they'd win 85 games. They'd contend for the Wild Card, but fade. They wouldn't go to within one game of the World Series.

Sports hurts. This hurts.

The other day, I was asked if I would be content to see the Yankees make it to Game 7 of the ALCS. Would I be able to absorb it if they lost to the Houston Astros?

I knew the answer. The answer was confirmed moments ago.

No.

We put our souls into sports. We live and die with the teams that we choose. Oh I don't mean the team that looked sort of cool so let's see how they do in the World Series and forget they ever existed the next year.

I mean the team you fall for and never leave. The one who leaves you in tears. They one whose gear you wear and cards you collect.

No, I'm not fine with the Yankees losing in Game 7, as if it's all good since there were no expectations for the 2017 Bombers.

I'm not "just happy to get there."

I'm the type of fan who prefers to be blown out. Down big early in Game 7 in 2004, the stress was reduced. Down 4-0 in the middle innings tonight, I chatted with friends online.

Yet with the final out, ugh. Just ugh.

We don't play for the team. We don't earn the money. In fact, we pay it.

Yet it still hurts.

This team thrilled us. Aaron Judge will likely come in second for the MVP, but will run away with the Rookie the Year. Anyone remember when Andrew Benintendi was going to win ROY? That was cute, wasn't it?

The Yankees went to Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. They were one of the final four standing in baseball.

But despite that moral victory garbage, the truth is it was still five wins short of the mission.

That's what we've been taught since the first time we glanced at the pinstripes. Making it isn't enough.

Winning it all is the goal. To be honest, I feel that way about each of the teams I root for.

I'm not the type of fan who felt good that the Rangers made it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2014. No -- I wanted the Cup. The two Steelers Super Bowl losses (both of which I expected)? Bad.

I can't even deal with the Knicks.

So while I was prepared to deal with a Yankees loss tonight (and predicted it), I still found myself fairly glum when it was all over.

Sports will do that to us. It will hurt like a punch to the gut, and we'll question why we do this to ourselves, and sometimes even wish that our teams don't make the playoffs (it's just easier, though not realistic).

Then the eternal optimism takes over on Opening Day.

But tonight? No.

It stinks.

Yankees fans know heartbreak. Of all of the losses listed above, 1995 and 2001 (OK, and '04) stand head and shoulders above the rest.

Sleep will be lost.

And life will go on.

For the record, I will watch the World Series. I've seen them all since 1975 (some more, some less). I always watch. I'm a sports reporter and a sports fan.

I'll watch.

(Note on the title: Joe Girardi says "It's not what you want" a lot. This loss isn't his fault. He's a wonderful manager.)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Donut



I find that staying occupied during stressful sports events that I'm not broadcasting is the best way to handle things. The Yankees lead the Astros 4-0 in Game 5 of the ALCS. So have a blog post.

*****
I got a strange text today from Sean. He said he wanted a Krispy Kreme donut (apparently they have them at school).

Ironically, the nearest Krispy Kreme shop is in lower Manhattan (basically, it's a stand in Penn Station), or the full shop at Mohegan Sun -- 120 miles away.

"I have no money," he texted. "This is torture!"

Sigh. Well, OK. I told him I understood his pain but that there was virtually nothing I could do.

Still it was nice to hear from his at 10:52 in the morning. It was unusual, but I carried on with my day.

Later on while sitting at WGCH, my phone rang. It was Sean. He left me a message in which he said that he missed the bus and that I was "his last hope."

I don't care if he's 15 or 50. When your child needs help and you can't help, it hurts. It doesn't really matter why.

The reality was that I couldn't get to him for at least an hour (probably more, since I had two shows to cover), so I suggested his grandmother (my mom).

If mom couldn't help, well then it would be quite some time that he'd be sitting at school, and apparently he can't just get on a late bus if he missed his actual bus (OK, whatever).

Bingo. She picked him up.

"The reason I missed the bus is ironic," he texted me.

"I missed the bus because I stood on line to buy a box of donuts."

Later, he texted me to say that he was home (thanks to Granny). But there was more.

"I sent you a present."

Yep. A donut.

Sean looks out for his dad, just as I try to look out for him, and always be receptive to whatever is going on.

When he texts or calls, I respond.

Sometimes we need to count whatever blessings we have. We often need to see the positive, while being realistic.

I know I need to do that.

A donut -- a small gesture -- allows for some perspective.

Back to the Yankees.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Anatomy of a Blown Call

The banner I went and retrieved in the dark after Saturday's game
I messed up a call on Saturday.

The most pivotal moment in the most pivotal game of this (possibly) special Greenwich football season, and I called the wrong name.

The Cardinals led the New Canaan Rams 29-21 late in the fourth quarter at Cardinal Stadium.

The Rams, if you don't know, are coached by Lou Marinelli. Lou is the winningest coach in Connecticut history.

The Cardinals are coached by John Marinelli. Lou's son.

This was the third time the two had met, although for me, that whole "Marinelli Bowl" thing was in the past. I'd had enough of it after the first meeting (2015). The Rams won the first two Lou/John showdowns.

This time, the Cardinals built up a 22-0 lead on the strength of their outstanding junior quarterback, Gavin Muir, and his collection of excellent receivers. Senior Jael Negron had snagged two touchdowns as Greenwich extended the lead to 29-14 with 10:27 to go.

Tysen Comizio, the Cardinals bruising back, had done his part, though the stat sheet wouldn't show it. He rumbled for 72 yards on 16 carries.

The Rams were led by their super sophomore quarterback, Drew Pyne, who threw for 280 yards, and running back Owen Shinn, who ran for 123 yards.

Pyne got the Rams close again with 2:08 to go on a quick drive that resulted in a JR Moore touchdown. It was now 29-21, and the Cardinals were looking to run out the clock. New Canaan, of course, had other ideas.

Up in the booth, Chris Erway and I were on the play-by-play. Ian Barto and Chris Kaelin were patrolling the sidelines. Sean Kilkelly was in the studio. It was the most complete broadcast we've had on WGCH in some time.

I'm proud of the whole thing.

But oh God. I blew it, and I'm not afraid to say so.

The ball was at the Greenwich 28 yard line.



This is where having a great partner makes all the difference.

Clearly, Comizio, as I said (three times) did NOT run down the left sideline. Muir took the snap and faked a handoff to Comizio. Tysen did his part -- running to his right, towards the line -- while Gavin escaped to the left.

The fake worked. On me.

Chris Erway pointed to Muir. No panic. No tapping my shoulder. Just a point. I quickly picked Muir up on the sideline, but sadly my brain and mouth didn't work in concert. I kept saying "Comizio."

It's otherwise an OK call. Exciting and, as always, I wish there was more. More detail and, in this case, more accuracy.

Chris, without missing a beat, waited for the crowd to subside a bit before jumping in. He didn't got for the embarrassment. He instead said "And Gavin Muir! We talked about the read option the entire time..."

I screwed up. He let it go, didn't embarrass me, and carried on.

The Cardinals went on to win 36-21 (this is my story on the Greenwich Sentinel).

When I cut the highlights up later, I was mortified, but grateful.

As I'm often told, I'm way too hard on myself. So it goes.

All I can do is acknowledge it and move on. So I will.

Westhill comes to Greenwich Saturday at 3pm, and the game will be live on WGCH (and wgch.com).

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Harvey

Him. That's all.
We've had just about enough of Harvey in 2017.

First we had the hurricane that took over 70 lives and roughly $70 billion in damage.

Now we have a different kind of storm.

Harvey Weinstein was -- yes, was -- one of the most powerful figures in Hollywood. With his film company, Miramax, Weinstein became perhaps the most aggressive person in the business, actively shilling for his films to receive award consideration.

Especially the Academy Awards.

It worked, most notably with Shakespeare in Love, a film that, years later, some critics have said doesn't stand up in terms of the awards. Let's look at the nominees from 1998 for Best Picture:

Shakespeare in Love
Elizabeth
Life is Beautiful
Saving Private Ryan
The Thin Red Line
Short answer: Shakespeare in Love might rank fifth in that list.

The film also garnered a Best Actress nod for Gwyneth Paltrow, who consciously coupled herself to the statuette, winning over the likes of Cate Blanchett, who was a tour de force in Elizabeth.

In short, Harvey was celebrated as being "The Man," despite all kinds of rumors that he was one of the biggest jerks in Hollywood.

In the past week, Weinstein joined the ranks of Bill Cosby, Roger Ailes, Bill O'Reilly, and -- yes -- Presidents William J. Clinton and Donald J. Trump. Not for what they've done in their respective industries, but for being a pervert.

The charges -- which are numerous -- include lurid tales of him pressuring women into sexual encounters.

All in the name of their careers.

You know these actresses: Mira Sorvino, Paltrow, Angelina Jolie. They each have (finally) spoken out about various forms of harassment.

Then there are the stories (The New Yorker). Not only of harassment, but of rape.

Rape.

In any form, there's no good way to say that.

Nobody should be harassed to keep a career alive. Nobody should be harassed. Period.
So we know what Harvey is, and he's now paying a price, but there are those so complicit in their silence.

Meryl Streep, for instance. She -- among the most powerful people in Hollywood, let alone women -- said in a statement to HuffPost: "One thing can be clarified. Not everybody knew."

Not everyone knew about Santa Claus either, Meryl. Come on.

There were whispers all over Hollywood that he was a scumbag. 

There was (apparently) a story in the works in 2004 about Weinstein's behavior by Sharon Waxman. Matt Damon -- so the rumor goes -- worked behind the scenes to have it whacked. Damon has denied the charges (Deadline.com).

Incidentally, has the glass ceiling sealed back up, or is Hillary Clinton walking her dog in the woods of Chappaqua, NY? Why did it take her until today to comment (CNN) -- five days AFTER the story broke?

Shameful.

To the point: Where was anyone on this? Paltrow -- from a showbiz family -- says "she was a kid," when it happened. Brad Pitt (her then-boyfriend) threatened Harvey in 1995 (People). But Paltrow won her Oscar a few years later. At that point, she was loaded with power.

And she did nothing.

Let's focus on the good: the amazingly brave women who told their stories, at great risk. The journalists (Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey of the New York Times) who worked tirelessly to get the story told.

There are others, but that's a start. More brave women are coming forward.

It's 2017, folks. Women should do whatever they want. They should make as much as they can. It should be about talent. It should be equal.

A woman will be the 13th Doctor on Doctor Who. To be sure, my son was not happy, but despite what people think (and I took a load of crap for it), it wasn't due to gender. Sean felt there was an agenda -- one the showrunner didn't deny.

“I always knew I wanted the 13th Doctor to be a woman," Chris Chibnall told the BBC.

Not always the best approach for a new hire, as opposed to the best person. 

Sean and I -- for the record -- will still be watching when Jodi Whittaker debuts, and I hope it's great.

I know there are still issues and flaws. Look around. There are issues for both genders, but who at the end of the day has it worse? 

Women. Come on. Admit it.

I've long believed in people. Not race. Not gender. Not religion, etc. People. I want good people around me.

I don't get why this is a difficult concept.

Fortunately Harvey has finally been exposed and he's out of his namesake company. Only time will dictate his fate.

But the "system" failed these women. The "activists" stayed quiet and seated, too hung up on whatever other agenda they could run up the flag pole.

It's amazing hypocrisy.

Just listen to that audio posted in the story by Ronan Farrow (yep) in The New Yorker.

(Go here to listen to it, and prepare yourself.)


More from the New York Daily News.

If that doesn't make you sick and/or angry, I don't know what to tell you.

We're in a time of action. We're so hung up on other debates that we're losing focus.

The scary thing is, there are others like Weinstein. It needs to stop.

And those in power need to make it stop.

Go get 'em Meryl. Now is the time.

The future -- for girls, teens, and women of all ages -- is depending on the likes of you.

Hurt these pigs -- like Harvey -- where they deserve to be hurt.

I'll let you decide where.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Sad Anniversary

Heading towards the Brooklyn Bridge, Sep 11, 2001 (Associated Press photo)
I'll just go ahead and say it.

I don't know what to do with September 11 anymore.

Around here (metro NYC), it's still obviously a big deal.

We've noted it every year in this corner. You can find the posts if you so choose to.

But does the day register so much as a ripple outside of the northeast?

I know it means something in New York, Washington, and near Pittsburgh.

I guess I'm babbling.

Tomorrow, as usual, I'll remember. I'll play the audio. I'll watch the images.

But the routine has changed, and after looking at the archive, I realize I felt the same way last year.

I'm not one to go to ceremonies. They seem -- I don't know.

I think part of what's going on in my brain can also be explained in the hurricane(s) that are ravaging parts of the country right now.

I see it in, sadly, too many other events.

It's the need to enter politics into it.

A massive hurricane is beating on Florida as I type (Irma). I've worried for friends and extended family. I was helping make arrangements for family elsewhere (that wound up being unnecessary).

Yet somehow this becomes Donald Trumps' fault. Or Republicans. Or whatever.

Stop. No, seriously, stop.

Because, sadly, nobody has the balls to discuss these things rationally, I will stop.

Yet tomorrow, we'll watch (insert politician's name here*) pontificate.

*Except Fred Camillo. Fred is my friend. Plus he's a WGCH guy. Oh and he's a fan of the Steelers and Yankees. I've got to keep this somewhat light.

No. I don't need ceremonies. I don't need to be seen. I don't care if my picture gets in the paper.

I'll listen. I'll share stories. I'll probably discuss some of it on Doubleheader.

But I still don't know what to do with September 11.

Other than remember.

And never forget.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

GHS Football Begins Today



Later today, at 2:20 pm, WGCH will begin its 54th year covering Greenwich High School football.

For me, it will be the start of my 16th year doing the play-by-play, and my 19th year around Big Red.

Having spoken with GHS head coach John Marinelli earlier this week, I can tell you I like this group a lot, but they open with a good test against Trumbull.

(Please read my preview of the 2017 Cardinals for the Greenwich Sentinel)

Our broadcast will only be on the radio today (and next Saturday, at Trinity Catholic as well), but fear not. If you want to hear how we call it, you will have your chance. We will archive it and replay. I'm thinking we'll air it in the two-hour window of 2-4 pm on either Tuesday or Wednesday.

As late as Tuesday, I had no crew. Chris Erway is on baby watch. Chris Kaelin is training for another gig. I need to compile a list of people who would be willing to join me.

Anyway, Paul Silverfarb has come on board, and will be on the sideline. Next up, WGCH (with an assist from me), recruited Josh Somma to do color. Then Ian Barto said he'd love to be back. Finally, Shawn Sailer said "sure. Happy to be there."

So from one to five.

We're live around 2:20, as I said. Kickoff is set for 2:30 at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield.

Hope you join us.

Oh yeah, this is the 52nd anniversary of complete and total perfection -- on the air and on the field.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Sort of Like Going Home

I was always happy there: Dutchess Stadium, September, 2009.
I wouldn't go in. I'd drive by it, but I couldn't bring myself to go through the gates.

You can see it from Interstate 84. The entrance is on New York Route 9D.

I haven't been there in roughly eight years, but I'm returning soon.

I'm going back to Dutchess Stadium in Fishkill, NY. I've been asked to call two Hudson Valley Renegades baseball games, on September 1-2.

The Gades, are the short-season Class A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays and play in the New York-Penn League. I called games for them stretched out over 10 seasons, from 2001-2010.

A few days ago, out of the blue, my friend Jay Verzi sent me a message. Jay -- like me -- is a radio guy. A broadcasting guy. We've shared stories of the various things that go on the biz.

Jay asked if I was still doing play-by-play, and would I be interested in a possible fill-in gig with the Gades.

It took me literally zero time to answer.

He said he'd let the team know, and that was that. Then silence took over, and I began to assume that it just wasn't going to happen. I told almost nobody, and held it in.

But I kept thinking about it. Then again, I'm always thinking about gigs.

On Saturday, I was making dinner and pondering various and sundry (money, life, money, repeat).

Long story.

My cellphone rang. Jeez, another telemarketer? We've been getting a rash of them lately.

This one left a voicemail. I recognized the area code, but that was it.

I hit play. Then I hit the ceiling.

It was Josh Caray (yes - let's get it out of the way - that Caray, as in Harry and Skip), the current lead voice of the Gades, asking if I wanted to fill-in. He said they couldn't give me housing, but then again, he didn't know that I only live about 25 minutes from the ballpark.

The last Hudson Valley Renegades game I did was in Brooklyn. The day before, I called one (in? on?) Staten Island. It was 2010.

Watching people come through the gates at Dutchess Stadium, 2009. I enjoyed that time.
I reached out a few times to ask if any help was needed (the teams and subsequent broadcasters were always receptive), but eventually, I just stopped. I figured my time had passed, and with the proliferation of younger play-by-play guys, I felt old.

I didn't want to be a nag, so I let it go. But the truth is, the Gades were never out of my system. I thought of a lot of fun days and nights.

Just search this blog for mentions of the Gades and you can see some of the stories for yourself.

My mantra, "Have headset. Will travel," began while I was with the Gades, because I loved the trips.

I went to Aberdeen (Maryland) twice and Oneonta (New York -- there isn't even a team there anymore). There were games against Pittsfield, Jamestown, and New Jersey (also all no longer in the NY-Penn League).
In Brooklyn, 2009. That's Geoff Brault beyond me. (Tim Parry photo)
There were the trips to Troy (NY), Brooklyn and Staten Island. Tim Parry, Jason Intrieri and I still laugh about that night in Brooklyn. Short version: I got a text that said, "Look to your left," and sure enough, there they were. They crashed a party suite.

Then there was the weekend of Boston (Blog posts 1 and 2) and Lowell. The best of times (and let's focus on that, or enact "Rule 55").

Among the great people I worked with were Nick Gagalis and Geoff Brault -- each graciously allowing me to visit their booth.

And there was Sean Ford. The one and only. The guy who -- after having met me in person only minutes earlier -- told me, "If you're going to be on the broadcast, you're going to need to put that headset on." The guy who, three innings later, allowed me to call a minor league baseball game for the first time.

The guy who invited me to call baseball at Fenway Park.

Patient and kind. Always. It was tough to see him go, and I know it hurt him. He's in North Dakota now, but I'll be thinking of him on September 1 and 2. The truth is, we didn't work nearly enough games together in our time (2001-2008).
Sean Ford and I call the action at Dutchess Stadium in 2008.
The team arrived in Fishkill, NY in 1994 as part of the Texas Rangers organization, before switching their affiliation to Tampa Bay in 1996. I always thought it would be great to be a broadcaster there, for the team in my own area.

I made a number of friends and acquaintances there.

Josh Hamilton, James Shields, Wade Davis, and Evan Longoria are among the names that passed through Dutchess Stadium on their way to the big leagues (though I missed each of them). I personally called Carlos Beltran on a rehab assignment against the Gades when he played for Brooklyn.
I joined Sean Ford at Fenway Park for the Gades-Spinners game in 2008. 
Freddie Coleman -- he of ESPN Radio (and a great guy) -- and I used to talk all the time at the ballpark.

It's a turf field now. I've never seen it.

The uniforms have changed. The maroon and green are long gone. The blue and red are also a thing of the past.

I have much to catch up on.

Oh and Bill Murray is a part-owner.

One last thing. In each previous game I called for the Gades, there was always a lead voice. For Sean, Geoff, Nick (and everyone else) it was their booth. I always took that seriously.

It's Josh Caray's booth now. But for two nights, Josh won't be there. So it's up to me.

The games will air on TuneIn Radio (download the app to listen on your smart device). The Saturday game will air on the radio also. Lots more can be found at the Gades website.

I know. It's two games. Big deal.

To me, it's a very big deal.

Maybe this kid will come back with me. Sean, of course, at Dutchess Stadium, 2008.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Still Gaga Over Radio


Today is National Radio Day.

Or is it #NationalRadioDay?

It's confusing.

Anyway, while the "everything gets a day" concept can be a little much, and mind-numbing for sure, I still can't help but note today in honor of my old friend, the wireless.

Don't get me wrong. I love TV and enjoyed working on it very much. But I'm always in a panic about my appearance -- too fat, not stylish enough, hair looks dumb, face looks dumb, and my God how many times have I been told that I "have a face for radio"?

So I suppose I'm a radio man at heart. From Dan Ingram, Ron Lundy, and the 77 WABC guys to (duh) John Donald Imus to Scott Shannon on Z-100 to Joe O'Brien and "Music From The Terrace" on WHUD, I had the foundation of my inner DJ, which would grow as I got older with Scott Muni and many others.

Naturally, there were other facets of my radio upbringing, with news and so on. But let's not bury the lede (or lead) here. It was sports, for sure. Frank Messer, Bill White, and Phil Rizzuto began that education, spinning into the work of myriad others (Vin Scully -- again, duh).

But as age made me -- whatever it made me -- I dug deeper into the vast archives that can be found to discover the greats of all genres. The proliferation of "old time radio" allowed me the ability to hear the shows and events that made the medium so fascinating.
Graham McNamee
Radio was king once. From it's humble beginnings to assist ships at sea (and thus the number of wireless stations built on the Atlantic coast), to becoming commercial radio with KDKA, radio would help bring news and more to the world.

It's still a great way to hear whatever you want in the car -- now, more than ever with satellite radio.

Of course, there is still the terrestrial station (WGCH, folks!) and it's the best way to enjoy sports.

So please, on this National Radio Day, take a moment and listen to what it is today, and find an old broadcast to hear what it once was. Just Google "old time radio" and you should be all set.

From Majic 105 through WREF to WGCH to WLNA, WBNR, HAN Radio, Greenwich Sentinel Radio, Robcasting Radio, and the many other places my voice has appeared, it is still a thrill. It is still exciting to find important historical audio. It's still a hope that many more great days can be found.

Radio, someone still loves you.



Thursday, August 17, 2017

Eleven Years of Something

Not too many better 11's than this guy. The Messiah.
I'll be honest: this post is purely to recognize 11 years of this blog. I'm not sure I have too much more to add without venturing into dangerous territory.

If there's anything that's changed in 11 years, it's that. I don't write the same anymore. Too much scrutiny, I suppose. Not that I mind it. It's just, well.

It has been both a personal and professional issue. So I'm more careful. I try to be less vague.

Or I just don't write at all.

And that's sad.

Still, this is post number 2299. Where has the time gone over 11 years?

But enough about that. We're one effed up place, no?

Charlottesville sickened me. Hatred and racism sickens me.  Simple to say, isn't it? There's no talking about "sides." Just make the statement: hate sucks. Racism blows. Three people dead. One hit by a -- what's the word? -- person?...no...scum?...too nice...whatever. A car ran a young woman over.

Because she has a different ideology than the driver of the car, who wants...ugh. It's too much.

What's so funny 'bout peace, love, and understanding?

Just condemn it all and that's that. Be presidential.

To quote the 1995 movie The American President (spoken by Michael J. Fox):
People want leadership, Mr. President, and in the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand.
And nobody is willing to hear what anyone else has to say. We're all correct. If you disagree, you're a (insert hurtful term here).

Anyway, it's way too serious of a topic for the anniversary post. Sadly, that's all I've got.

Year 12 begins. Thanks to everyone who has supported me and those who have inspired me.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

But no, really. What's so funny 'bout peace, love, and understanding?

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Thank you, Mr. Arlin


Harold Arlin
On this day -- August 5, 1921 -- a 25-year-old electrical engineer and foreman from Westinghouse named Harold Arlin went to Forbes Field in Pittsburgh.

He wasn't just there to take in a ballgame, as the Pirates hosted the Philadelphia Phillies. We can tell you, courtesy of Baseball Reference, that the Buccos won the game, 8-5. Cy Williams, who Baseball Reference says compares most favorably to Bobby Murcer (of all people) homered that day in the loss.

Possum Whitted (yes, you read that correctly) had two hits to pace the Pirates, and Max Carey and Rabbit Maranville were hall of famers on the Pittsburgh roster that day.

We know the game took 1:57, but don't know the weather conditions.

But back to Harold Arlin, who sat down behind home plate that day. Working for KDKA, considered by many to be the first radio station in history (or at least the first commercial radio station), he took a bold step for the nascent outlet.

Arlin had previously read news headlines, and was said to be at the mic when KDKA went on the air in Nov, 1920, as he read the returns of the Harding-Cox Presidential Election.

On this day, Arlin gave birth to baseball play-by-play.

According to ExplorePAHistory:
"We were looking for programming," Arlin recalled years later, "and baseball seemed a natural. I went to Forbes Field and set up shop." The operation, a hand-held telephone connected to a transmitter in a box behind home plate, had a few glitches, though. "Nobody told me I had to talk between pitches," he conceded, and when he did, his distinctive deep voice did not always come through. "Sometimes the transmitter didn't work. Often the crowd noise would drown us out. We didn't know whether we'd talk into a total vacuum or whether somebody would hear us."
Other sports broadcasts were attempted in one form or another prior to 1921 (including a boxing match on KDKA earlier that year), but this was the first time baseball had been attempted. More than any sport, the country became hooked.

Eventually.

Arlin would also call a Davis Cup tennis match (another first) a day later, but thought the baseball game was a one-time thing. Further baseball broadcast efforts were made with the 1921 World Series in New York (over KDKA, WJZ - Newark, and WBZ - Springfield). He'd also add college football to the list of firsts with the broadcast of the Backyard Brawl -- Pitt hosting West Virginia. Pitt won the game, 21-13.

The attempts to broadcast baseball continued through the 1920's, with Graham McNamee eventually assuming the position of "voice" of the World Series in 1923. By 1927, the World Series was coast-to-coast via the nearly one-year-old NBC.

Individual teams began to make deals to either broadcast games live or via recreation, complete with sound effects. The last holdouts were the three New York teams, who had a gentlemen's agreement to not broadcast games due to the fear of losing ticket sales. That ended in 1939.

Oh it's a long-winded story that we can tell at great length, but the main point remains that, on this very day -- August 5, 1921 -- Harold Arlin called the first baseball game.

Certainly, I feel a large amount of debt to him, McNamee, and the many other pioneers who got us to where we are today.


Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Comfort

Taken at Trumbull High School during the Babe Ruth 14U New England Regional
I just posted the above picture over on the evil that is Facebook.

I was messing around (I think with my iPad) and that was the result.

I know that there's comfort in that picture.

Truthfully, I'm an uncomfortable person. I have my hangups, issues, fears, etc. Some rational. Some not.

Damage.

But best to not get too personal. The last time I did so, the sound from the crickets was...well...there was no sound. If a post hits and no one hears it, is it really a post?

Anyway, that's my happy place. There's a reason I volunteered to call 16* baseball games over four days in the Babe Ruth New England Regional Tournament: I love it. I'm happy there. I'm comfortable.

* In the end, thanks to Mother Nature, I did 12 games. So it goes.

But it's also the chance to work with friends, who also volunteered their time. You might know them: Jake Zimmer, Dan Gardella, Shawn Sailer. Josh Somma also volunteered for a game, but the rain canceled that.

It was a joy. Thanks to Dan, Jake, and Shawn, my throat survived. Dan and Jake both took some of the PBP innings off my hands, and that was a good thing. I was fired up to call the four games on Monday, but it didn't happen.

Beyond that, it was a lot of the great interaction. People from all across New England and beyond found our little nascent "Robcasting Radio/Greenwich Sentinel Radio" Mixlr site and listened to us, or watched what we could give them via Facebook live.

This happened with zero promotion, except for what we cranked out via social media.

It wasn't perfect. It never is. But I strive for a quality play-by-play broadcast. One that is long on reporting and solid sports journalism. One that tells stories that I hope will interest the listener.

One that makes the game the story, and us the storytellers.

For my money, we accomplished that. I didn't have to say a whole lot to the crew. We put the headsets on, and away we went.

I'm hoping August won't be as quiet as I fear it will be, but we'll be fired up for another year of Greenwich and Brunswick football. The Bruins want me around to do more, and I'm happy about that.

We'll see what's next. That's all I can do.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Listen to the Babe Ruth New England 14U Regional


Join me throughout the weekend with Dan Gardella, Jake Zimmer, Shawn Sailer, and Josh Somma for the Babe Ruth New England 14U Regional.

Listen live at http://mixlr.com/greenwich-sentinel/ or click play below.


Greenwich Sentinel is on Mixlr

You can also join us on Facebook live at https://www.facebook.com/1490WGCH/.

The games are all archived and can be downloaded at this link: http://mixlr.com/greenwich-sentinel/showreel/

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Quick Note on Rallying

We often get bundles of these
Today was just one of those days.

A mixed blessing if you will.

It didn't start great. At one point, I was basically shaking over something.

I fumbled through a disjointed radio show (ah, summer).

But I rallied thanks to two things:

1) Baseball. Yes. Really. Baseball.

Calling baseball (and other sports certainly) is often my salvation. Putting that headset on allows me to go to a different place for over two hours. It's why I'm so excited to call the Babe Ruth 14U New England Regional starting Friday in Trumbull, CT. Sixteen games in four days? Heck yes!

2) Love of friends and family.

No, that's not all. It's more than love. I don't talk about faith a lot, and for good reason. That being said, the faith they show in me -- and I in them -- can be unyielding. I keep asking to be told it's all going to be OK. But don't just say it if you don't believe it.

Tonight, after a really meh day, it was the combination of baseball and love (and faith) of friends and family that pulled it all together.

Once one the air, I felt like me. And I laughed. That's a good thing.

Two random people also added some kindness about stuff that I've done over the years. A fan at the game told me that he's a big fan of my work.

Like, really?

Another fan -- a parent -- said his son's highlight tape included my play-by-play, and that brought more kind words.

I know, I know. All about me. Well when handed lemons (and I didn't think Paul Silverfarb and I would get this game on the air tonight), it's nice to make some lemonade.

But despite no power, we came up with a generator.

Despite running late, we still got lineups.

Despite Middletown's lineup not having first names on it, we got through it.

Despite all of this being pulled together at the last-minute, we put on a solid broadcast.

We scratched and clawed our way through a game in which Greenwich beat Middletown (CT) 8-1 in American Legion baseball.

And we saw a head coach lose his marbles and get ejected from the game (not sure I've ever seen that).

Instead of being low, sad, and scared, I drove home excited and happy.

Problems weren't erased tonight.

Pain was eased.  I'll take it.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Lou Gehrig Day


July 4th means a lot in this country. Of course, it's the date of our independence and, thankfully, Will Smith is nowhere to be found as I type this.

July 4th marks a day for fireworks. Picnics. Ray Charles.

July 4th is also a day for baseball.

George Steinbrenner was born on July 4 (of course he was).

Dave Righetti thrilled us on July 4, with the first no-hitter by a Yankees pitcher since 1956 (and I missed it because we didn't have cable. I caught the post-game on the radio...and yelled).



Frank Messer, joined by Bill White, on the call. You can hear why I loved Messer growing up. Wonderful attention to detail in that call ("Righetti...again circles around the mound, to the third base side, now up to the pitching rubber, plants the left foot on the slab, looks down to Wynegar, hiding the ball behind the left hip...")

Yet for me -- and I wish for all baseball fans -- today would be about Lou Gehrig.

Today, besides of course being Independence Day, should be Lou Gehrig Day.

Gehrig, of course, was "The Pride of the Yankees" (that might work as a movie title, or maybe a book by Richard Sandomir about the making of the movie). He hit 493 home runs. He played every day, and only a heinous disease that bears his name could stop him. His last full year (1938) -- when it's fair to say amyotrophic lateral sclerosis was beginning to show in his movements -- he still hit .295 with 29 HR and 114 RBI. That was considered a down year for The Iron Horse.

By early '39 he was done. In May, he pulled himself from the lineup after 2,130 consecutive games. Soon after, the world began to know what ALS was.


His baseball funeral was held at Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939, between games of a doubleheader with the Washington Senators.

He couldn't lift the trophies being brought to him. His uniform sagged. There was fear that he would collapse, especially in the heat.

Despite suggestions that Gehrig had written and rehearsed his famous speech, it's clear to me that this is not true. He had to be coaxed by manager Joe McCarthy to speak. When you watch the video, it's clear that he doesn't read from anything. As a man who was largely shy, I doubt he memorized it.

Regardless, it's from the heart.

The movie doesn't depict it all correctly (they never do). Gehrig's famous line isn't at the end of the speech. The "luckiest man" is the second line in the speech. Heck it never gets recited correctly, and I believe Jonathan Eig's Luckiest Man (the finest biography I've ever read) is the closest to being the accurate text.

Watch all that is available of the speech.


These are all reasons to see him as a hero, but it's more. It's the way he conducted himself on and off the field. He was the definition of courage as he fought ALS publicly from 1939 until he died in 1941. There were no scandals and, even if the press tracked his every move, there still wouldn't have been any.

There was a break in his friendship with Babe Ruth, and the well-known issues with Ma Gehrig, who thought she could be the only woman in Lou's life. That's it.

Incidentally, in the midst of the hideous way baseball treated non-whites, Gehrig had this to say:

"There is no room in baseball for discrimination. It is our national pastime and a game for all."

To me, Lou Gehrig is everything that a sports role model should be.

I'm sure the Gehrig speech will be recognized today at Yankee Stadium when the Bombers play the Blue Jays. Yet I'd like to see, as baseball gets hung up on embarrassingly ugly uniforms and pace of play, Gehrig have a day put in place.

We recognize Jackie Robinson every April 15, and deservedly so.

We do nothing as a sport for Babe Ruth (different topic...different time).

Let's make sure every July 4 is recognized -- officially -- as Lou Gehrig Day.

Use it to honor his memory, but also to continue the fight against ALS.

Let's remind ourselves that we're all lucky.


Sunday, June 25, 2017

You Get a Bridge!

Rendering of the New Tappan Zee Bridge (courtesy The New NY Bridge Project)
Following a push by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, the state senate passed a proposal to name the new Tappan Zee Bridge after Cuomo's father, the late Governor Mario Cuomo.

If I were writing this in an august publication as a journalist, I'd reserve opinion and report the facts.

I'm not. I'm writing it here on Exit 55...so...

Blech.

No. Seriously. Blech. Or worse.

First of all, the Tappan Zee Bridge was named in honor of former Gov. Malcolm Wilson in 1994 though, to be fair, virtually nobody called it that.

I was OK with it. In fact, other Hudson Valley river bridges have "honorary" names that nobody uses.

Have you ever called the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge "The Hamilton Fish Newburgh-Beacon Bridge?"

Nope. Nor have I.

(OK, maybe a few of my friends in the road community may have, but we're a little more strict on such things)

Down in New York City, iconic places such as the Triborough Bridge (Robert F. Kennedy Jr), the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel (Hugh Carey), and the Queensboro/59th Street Bridge (Ed Koch) have received new monikers.

In those cases, traffic reporters and the public have been informed to refer to these structures by the persons name. Signs have been erected to say that those are the new names.

Sickening.

Thanks, Mike Bloomberg.

Well anyway.

NYC mayors are just the best, no?

And of course, on a side note, we need to focus on fixing the spelling on the Verraz(z)ano-Narrows Bridge, right?

That's sarcasm. Besides, Staten Islanders have different names for the behemoth that joins them with Brooklyn.

But let's get back to ol' Cuomo and the new Tappan Zee.

I suppose if somebody wants to slap a name up in honor of the seatbelt governor (that -- and being a Yankees fan -- is the only way I want to remember the man), OK. But what about Gov. Wilson?

It's pure selfishness by the Cuomo family, who has long desperately wanted to be another Kennedy clan.

But more to the point, I hope -- and I can't stress this enough -- that nobody refers to this bridge as "the Cuomo."

It's the Tappan Zee. Everyone knows it.

I still sometimes stubbornly call FDR Park in Yorktown "Mohansic," because that's what it's name was.

So the connection between Tarrytown and Nyack will remain the Tappan Zee or the TZ.

What's in a name?

Plenty.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

On The Call of Cal Ripken Baseball

The current view in Banksville as Greenwich warms up (Photo: Me)
I'll be live at 4pm today for Greenwich and Norwalk in the Cal Ripken Baseball district tournament at Banksville Field.

Cool fact: you have to be in New York to drive to the field. In Connecticut.

Anyway, listen live below or click here (or go to Greenwich Sentinel). Greenwich Sentinel is on Mixlr

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Red and White Football Game Today!

Homecoming Day, 2016.
I'll have the call of today's Greenwich High School Red and White football game at 10 this morning.

Actually, we'll be live just before 10.

AJ Szymanowski, Jake Zimmer, and Shawn Sailer are joining me at Cardinal Stadium.

You can find us at http://mixlr.com/greenwich-sentinel or just listen here.

We'll also replay it on WGCH at another time (likely Tuesday at 2pm).


Greenwich Sentinel is on Mixlr

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

1K

This touched my heart.
It's not as easy to write about "me" as you think.

First, there's my own inner concern that I'm being narcissistic. Then there's the (inner) demon that says I'm "making it all about myself."

Blech.

But I want to to tell you all that Saturday, when Greenwich plays their annual Red and White football game (10 am, greenwichsentinel.com and later on WGCH), there will be an extra feeling of nostalgia.

It will be my 1000th game broadcast.

OK, that's not entirely true. When I was at Kraft (General) Foods, I called a bunch of softball games. We produced them as video "broadcasts" (yes, that means I started on TV) but I didn't count them officially.

The count began on April 10, 1999 when I called Greenwich and Port Chester in baseball. It was really on the air. It was on the radio.

It was on WGCH, which is where I've called the majority of my games (549).

I've worked with so many great people, and described the exploits of so many great athletes. They're the ones I want to talk about the most. They're the stars.

But I never want to forget those I worked with, from Miguel Villafane, Ron Lemp, Kevin Jaffe, Harold Turk, and Joe Mingoia back at Kraft (And Philip Morris/Altria, of course) to Russ McCarroll on that first WGCH game all the way to AJ Szymanowski, Shawn Sailer, and Jake Zimmer, who have blessed me by saying yes to being there this Saturday.

Chris Kaelin is the one I've worked most with (172 games). Sean Kilkelly (171 total games) holds the title of most games as lead analyst (169 games).

I've "Scullied" 51 games (that is, I worked alone).

In case you're wondering, Mark Rosen, John Kovach, and Chris Erway round out the top five of those I've worked with the most.

They're all friends. Ryan DeMaria. Paul Silverfarb. Christine Baker. Dan Gardella. John Spang. Matt Hamilton. Nick Fox. Sean Ford. Jason Intrieri. Tim Parry. Nick Angotto. I can't name everyone. I'll forget somebody.

It's more than that though. It's Sean Adams, the most amazing child (who has credit officially for one broadcast, in 2015 in Norwich, but has been on countless others). It's family and friends who have listened to so much (again, I can't name them all or embarrass them).

Football is the sport I've called the most, followed by baseball, basketball, and hockey.

But I'm making this about me. Sorry.

I'm only sorry it took me this long to get there. Some will read this and say, "Who cares? I did a thousand in five years."

I care because I never thought this would happen. I never thought I'd be blessed with such great people working with me.

I just feel lucky. One-thousand games of lugging equipment, crawling on press box floors, eating questionable (at best) food, and late nights where many questioned my sanity.

From WGCH to Hudson Valley Talk Radio to Hersam Acorn Radio to HAN Network to Georgian Court University to Pleasantville TV to Brunswick and others, we've seen a lot. And we've described a lot.

I will talk about Cooperstown (with HAN) forever. I will remember the Carrier Dome and Ken Strong Stadium and the Ballpark at Harbor Yard. And Webster Bank Arena.

And Fenway Park.

But also Dutchess Stadium and Ripken Stadium and Cardinal Stadium and Kennedy Stadium and Boyle Stadium. And Robert. L. Cosby Field. And Hartong Rink. And Darien Ice Rink...er...ice house. And Dorothy Hamill Rink. And on and on.

And the place where Greenwich plays baseball (Cardinal Yard, people!).

I'm not a major league broadcaster. I probably never will be.

But I'm fiercely proud. Proud to know all of you. Proud to have watched those who made these games possible.

Proud of the grandparent who was listening at 35, 000 feet. Of the sister in Spain. The grandfather in Switzerland. Of the friends in London.

Of the people in Greenwich. Stamford. Norwalk. Fairfield. Wilton. Ridgefield. Danbury. Westport. New Canaan. Bridgeport. Fairfield County.

Staten Island.

Thank you. One thousand times thank you.

See you Saturday.

(These are the amazing people that I've worked with. These numbers are bound to be wrong.)

NAME #
Chris Kaelin 172
Sean Kilkelly 171
Mark Rosen 149
John Kovach 109
Chris Erway 84
Ricky Fritsch 63
Nick Angotto 61
John Spang 60
Nick Fox 56
Paul Silverfarb 55
Matt Hamilton 53
Mark Smallwood 47
Sean Ford 43
Josh Fisher 43
Ryan DeMaria 36
Frank Granito 36
Tom Kane 29
Christine Baker 28
Ian Handwerger 27
AJ Szymanowski 23
Zach Fisher 22
Rob Crowley 20
Eric Gendron 20
Bill Brehm 20
Tom Prizeman 19
Dan Gardella 18
Geoff Brault 16
Jake Zimmer 14
Max Barefoot 12
Tommy Dee 10
Kevin Coleman 10
Harold Turk 10
Alex Hager 10
Mike Suppe 9
Justin Gallanty 9
John Connelly 9
Tim Murphy 8
Nora Delaney 8
John Collins 8
Ron Warzoha 7
Ron Lyons 7
Jason Intrieri 7
Amanda Romaniello 7
Marty Hersam 6
Ian Barto 6
Bill Bloxsom 6
Tom Pollina 5
Dave Stewart 5
Dave Chiappetta 5
Josh Somma 4
Eric Tillman 4
Tyler Ingalls 3
Shelby Vaccaro 3
Russ McCarroll 3
Phil Giubileo 3
Charles Costello 3
Tim Parry 2
Steve Coulter 2
Shawn Sailer 2
Nick Gagalis 2
Mike Cardillo 2
Mick McGowan 2
Matt Narwold 2
JJ Duke 2
Donald Eng 2
Dave Rothenberg 2
Dave Maloney Jr 2
Dan Arestia 2
Carrie Phelps 2
Bob Perez 2
TP Loftus 1
Sean Adams 1
Scott Gentile 1
Raquel Welsh 1
Mike LaHiff 1
Michael Breed 1
Matt Sherman 1
Mary Anne DeFelice 1
Jim Gerweck 1
Ernie Craumer 1
Don Boyle 1
Dave Maloney 1
Chuck Scott 1
Chris Lucey 1
Bryan Tunney 1
Brian Carcaterra 1
Brendan Heller 1
Armstrong Noonan 1
Andrew Mitchell 1
Amanda Sirois 1


Saturday, June 10, 2017

RIP Adam West


Word has broken that Adam West -- forever the cartoonish Batman from the 1960's, as well as Mayor Adam West from Family Guy, among others -- has died.

The truth is, despite an ongoing debate. I don't really care much about superheroes. Sure, put it on the line and I'll always say Batman -- because of Adam West.

But beyond that, Superman (Christopher Reeve, please) and Ironman (since I've seen them with Sean) are fine.

And further beyond that, I just really don't pay a lot of attention.

Still, it all comes back to Adam West, Burt Ward, and the crazy cast of characters that I grew up with in reruns after production stopped in 1968.

It's a nostalgia thing. The show was campy. Hokey. But it tied me back to my father, brother, cousin, and a whole different lifetime.

I'm back to the Batcave. Back to Stately Wayne Manor.

Back to the mod Batmobile.

Game. Set. Match. Pow! Boff! Thwack!

Thanks, Mayor Adam West.

Thanks, Batman.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Radio Test



I'm trying something out tonight, so hang in there with me.

I'm posting a widget to the new Greenwich Sentinel Radio. Give a listen if you want (and if we're live).

I repeat...this is only a test.


GreenwichSentinel is on Mixlr

Sunday, May 14, 2017

One More Number 2 Note

Never saw this picture. (Credit: JOE GIZA/AP)
Interesting piece in the New York Daily News by Peter Botte about those who wore number 2 before Derek Jeter.

I own a pinstriped number 2 Yankees jersey. I know it was for Jeter when I bought it, but true Yankees uniforms don't have names on them, so I feel in my heart it's a Bobby Murcer jersey.

Granted, it's not any of his other unis, including the holy grail: the 1973 number one with the 50th anniversary Yankee Stadium patch on the sleeve, but I digress.

With number 2 being retired today, both of Bobby Ray's main numbers will be gone. I've never -- nor will I ever -- believe the Yankees should honor Murcer with a number, but for the love of Thurman Munson, how about something?

A plaque in Monument Park?

A bobble head doll or some kind of giveaway?

Maybe a nod in the press box?

Major League Baseball's B.A.T. honors teams with the Bobby Murcer Award, "whose players contribute the most amount of money to B.A.T. through the Major League Baseball Payroll Deduction Program."

There are various nods to our guy around his beloved Oklahoma City.

But nothing from the Yankees.

Here's the thing: Bobby Murcer was every bit the player, representative, and man that Billy Martin -- who also wore number 1 - was.

No, I don't want a number retired for him, but for a guy who gave everything to the Yankees from the 1964 until 2008 (missing them when he was in exile in San Francisco and Chicago from 1975-1979), the team should do something.

I'm sure the team doesn't think honoring Murcer, and a whole group of other legends who deserve to be recognized, will draw in a big crowd, and that's the bottom line. It's a business.

But they could do something about it at Old Timer's Day, which was a favorite of Bobby's, and how he made a lasting impression to a latter generation of fans.

Plus Kay Murcer -- Bobby's wonderful widow, and someone I'm proud to have spoken to -- is always at Old Timer's Day.

The Yankees are all about history. There's a museum in the Stadium. So let's get cracking. Tony Lazzeri, Bill "Moose" Skworon, Ralph Houk, Hank Bauer, and a lot of others deserve some attention.

Let's go, Yankees. Make it happen.

OK. Rant over.

Carry on, and Happy Mother's Day.

Jeetopia on National Derek Jeter Day

To my knowledge, this photo is credited to Sports Illustrated. Happy to change if wrong.
If you have an inkling of a clue about sports, then you know that Derek Jeter's number 2 is officially off the market tonight in The Bronx.

Sadly, we've reached an epidemic of attention about Jeter in the same way we've heard it about Michael Jordan, Joe Montana, Tom Brady, Muhammed Ali, and so on.

Yes -- I know someone like Ali is so highly regarded for his social value. Still my point stands.

The point is that there is a constant barrage of "greatest ever," and it's easy to be sick of being told that. Thus one gets tired of The Beatles, U2, etc.

I'll tell you without a doubt that Rolling Stone made me fully sick of U2 from roughly 1986 until 2001. Give or take.

There has been great writing all "Jeter Week" about Derek Sanderson. There has also been tons of idiocy.

Tons.

It's easy to forget the greatness of an entity when we see or hear so much. Step away from Elton John (I use this example occasionally). Forget about the Lion King stuff. Forget Princess Diana. Forget all of it and whittle it down to, say, 1970 to 1984 (1976 to 1984 weren't exactly his best years, but mine for a few nuggets and they're there).

Strip it all away and get back to the music, and you're stunned at how good it is.

Well, that can be applied to Jeter. Take away the girlfriends (oh dear God, Mariah Carey? Really?), the money, the "brand," and get back to the basics.

Don't base it on the numbers, although there's some meat on those bones. I mean, for those who think he's overrated, he's SIXTH all-time in hits. SIXTH!

Look at this:
RankPlayerHits
1Pete Rose4,256
2Ty Cobb †[b]4,191
3Hank Aaron †3,771
4Stan Musial †3,630
5Tris Speaker †3,514
6Derek Jeter3,465
7Honus Wagner †3,430
Those "crosses" indicate Hall of Famers. Someone -- in a Facebook thread -- actually said Jeter won't be a "first ballot" Hall of Famer.

Please check yourself out of being a sports fan immediately. Or return to Citi Field at once for whatever it is you do there.

"Oh but Jeets has no MVP's." This, frankly, is on the cusp of the dumber arguments. MVP's are voted on. Yes, players have earned them, but it's honestly not a smart metric for defaming a player. It's great to say Mickey Mantle was a three-time MVP, but it should hardly be held against Gary Carter that he didn't win one.

Funny, over at Citi Field, Carter is held in high regard.

Plus -- not for nothing -- the Yankees don't quite win the MVPs (voted on by writers) the way they used to. ARod won two -- 2005 and 2007 -- but before that? It was Don Mattingly in 1985 and Thurman Munson in 1976. Elston Howard in 1963 was the previous answer.

However, I can mic drop the MVP talk here: 2000 World Series MVP. I'm thinking that one matters.

Oh and the notion that he'd be "a good player had he spent his career in Milwaukee" (heard that doozy on the Dan Patrick Show this week) also doesn't fly. Again -- sixth most hits.

I get it. A lot of Jeetopia was and is carefully cultivated and marketed by savvy people, including Jeter himself.

But strip it all away again and have a look, and you'll realize it's pretty damn incredible. He's in the conversation of the best five shortstops ever.

Ever.

Honus Wagner. Cal Ripken, Jr. Alex Rodriguez, Ernie Banks (before his move to first base)...Derek Jeter.

To me, it's between Wagner and Jeter. That's just me, and I saw no reason that Jeter needed to move when ARod came to New York.

I've got tons of Jeter for you, and I know there were flaws. But more often than not, all I heard was jealousy. Mostly because he rarely made a wrong move, both on and off the field.

MLB did a March Madness-style bracket looking to come up with his most iconic moment. Certainly, "The Flip Play" was incredible. I loved his speech to close the old Stadium. The final hit in 2014 at Yankee Stadium. "Mr. November." The 3000 hit/HR and the one to set the Yankees' hit record are both special to me because I watched them with Sean, and we celebrated like he actually cared about baseball for a moment.

Yet. I found myself thinking about this one: Game 4, 2000 World Series.

I was at Game 1 that year in The Bronx. It was nerve-wracking, and the Yankees won in extra innings. My heart was in my throat that whole week. The Yankees won Game 2, fairly easily (though Mo had a few issues in the ninth). The Mets won Game 3 and seemed to have momentum before Game 4 began.

Joe Torre inserted Jeter at the top of the lineup, ready to face Bobby Jones. You probably know what happened.

The Mets -- in one of the more embarrassing pregame moments ever -- had the Baja Men sing "Who Let The Dogs Out. Gary Thorne and Tommy Hutton had the call on MLB International.


Case closed.

Enjoy the ceremony tonight.