Thursday, January 31, 2019

About Last Night


So with yesterday being Bell Let's Talk day, I decided to open the conversation about mental health by discussing some of what rolls around in my own head.

It was a ledge that I was very nervous about, and actually talked myself out of posting it at one point, before I got a vote of confidence.

Yet unless those conversations were with crickets, the reaction was otherwise a large thud.

That's not to say that I didn't hear from a few people, and I'm grateful.

But I guess I thought there would be more of a reaction.

More of a discussion.

I asked for help. I bled a bit last night.

I didn't want pity, though I certainly want answers.

But I hoped for some sharing.

As writers (and broadcasters), we have no perfect formula for what strikes a nerve.

I've written things that I thought would unquestionably hit the mark. I've pressed the "publish" button and metaphorically buckled up.

Then nothing.

Conversely, I've posted things that I thought were just sort of no big deal, and watched it blow up.

I worked my way through stages today. Befuddled, down, resigned.

Had I written this a few hours ago, the theme would have been different. Maybe angrier.

Now I'm just, well, disappointed. Or maybe astoundedd

I wrote more words about this than I expected to tonight.

I thought we were ready to have a conversation.

I was wrong.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Bell Let's Talk

Today is Bell Let's Talk Day.

Created by Bell Canada, the telecom company pledges to donate $.05 to what they call "mental health initiatives” for each social media interaction that uses #BellLetsTalk.

While the money goes to Canadian mental health initiatives, it helps keep an important conversation moving forward worldwide.

It needs to be said again: depression is real. Mental health is a real problem.

There is no shame in discussing it.

I'm not ashamed to say that I've battled dark moments.

There are many reasons for this.

Money. Loss of time with my son. Fearing that I've wasted my life. Worrying about my friends and family.

Not enough work. Lost work.

Lack of health insurance, thus worrying about my health.

When the clouds are dark, it all becomes magnified. Bad.

In those bad moments, I become the worst broadcaster ever. I become the worst father. I become a profound failure.

The loneliness creeps in. The despair becomes tangible.

This is reality. I need help.

You might need help also.

Seriously -- it's OK.

I'm here. I'll listen. I'll help however I can.

Let's talk.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Blocked

My kind of wall: the original Yankee Stadium on the final day in 1973. (Found here)
When you try to write a blog post every day, you know that you're going to hit a wall.

Well here we are.

For the love of God, not THAT wall. Not the one that is -- literally -- dividing a nation.

Oh I suppose I have topics. But there's also a certain level of "not feeling it."

I could wax about the Patriots and Tom Brady and the Super Bowl and blah blah blah.

Nah.

I'll feel the Super Bowl vibe sometime Sunday, and likely not a second before.

I find that I'm talking baseball more than anything else right now.

That is, other than hockey and basketball, which I'll broadcast tomorrow when Greens Farms Academy visits Brunswick at 4:30 p.m. (find the broadcast here)

I've also got King and Brunswick on Friday. Basketball again.

I haven't called nearly enough hockey for my taste, but I'm just glad to be calling games.

It's what I do.

It's what I've trained, studied, and practiced to do.

I care about the quality. I care if I'm not good (and I normally think I'm not good). I agonize over it.

I don't try to be Vin Scully or Mel Allen or Mike Breen or Doc Emrick.

I'm just me.

And suddenly, I've just torn that wall down.

Monday, January 28, 2019

I Almost Forgot

From Water, Water Every Hare (1952)
This was bound to happen.

But it hasn't happened yet.

It's 10:44 and I just realized I hadn't written my daily blog post. The "streak" is at 30 days now, dating back to December 30.

I was actually asleep earlier, having been up three straight nights until 1:30 or beyond.

Sleep isn't exactly something that comes easy to me, and it's so disappointing, because I used to sleep like a rock.

No longer.

So what to write about?

I greatly enjoyed my chat with J. Daniel today about his bookPhinally! The Phillies, the Royals and the 1980 Baseball Season That Almost Wasn't. In the process, I felt like I made a friend as we're in the same age range and have said we'll talk again.

That pleases me.

It also opened the door to having Jeff Katz on. Jeff is the former mayor of Cooperstown, NY (!) and the author of Split Season: 1981: Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball. We're looking at a possible interview on that next week.

That's a year with a particular sting to it, along the lines of 1980. But worse.

I saw Julius Campbell died today (courtesy PennLive). Julius played for the Titans of T.C. Williams High School and won a state championship in 1971.

Remember the Titans, indeed. Strong side, left side.

Look, the movie is pure Disney fantasy (I still try to maintain a sort of family blog so I'll watch my language), and not even in the same zip code of what really happened, but most football fans love it (I'm guilty).

You. Blitz. All. Night.


The Challenger explosion happened 33 years ago today. My dad was home and saw it live. I was in high school, and found out in seventh period history. We seem to always remember that date, but never the date of the Columbia disaster.

February 1, 2003. I raced to WGCH to anchor our coverage.

Lastly, in this "Off the Bench" collection of goodies, I point you to Jeff Pearlman's latest blog post. While not a perfect parallel, his post struck a nerve.

The overall theme? Don't claim to be something you're not. Especially when there are others who have done it much longer.

Weather permitting, I'll be back on the air tomorrow for basketball in Trumbull, as they host Greenwich.

Oh, and one more thing. I've hesitated to write this for whatever reason, but please offer your best (whatever it might be) to Paul Silverfarb, his mom, brother Sam and sister Rachel. Dad Howard died last week after fighting ALS (yes, Lou Gehrig's Disease). Mr. Silverfarb was a very good man. A very brave man. His obituary hits the highlights of a remarkable life.

You probably know I'm not a "thoughts and prayers" guy. Honestly, I detest "T&P." I have my reasons. So do whatever is best for you. They're a great family.

OK, this is really my last thought. I don't know these people at all, but Susan does, and that's enough for me. Their story is awful, caused by a selfish driver. The pictures of their car are astounding (story via SILive). There's a GoFundMe that has been established. The gentleman who is fighting for his life took Susan and her friend to her first Air Supply concert.

Which meant so much to her that she's still telling the story.

Again, do what is best for you.

Now I'm going to bed.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Flashing Back to 1980

BRONX, NY - 1980: Bobby Murcer #2 of the New York Yankees swings at the pitch during a 1980 season game at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York. (Photo by Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
I'm reading a book tonight in preparation for a radio interview.

Called Phinally! The Phillies, the Royals and the 1980 Baseball Season That Almost Wasn't, author J. Daniel (on Twitter: @JDaniel2033) goes back to the year Bobby Murcer hit .269 with 13 homers and 57 RBIs.

Besides being the dawn of the greatest decade ever (other than the lack of a World Series title for the Bombers), 1980 was the year in which an 11-year-old future broadcaster went to a baseball card show at the Baldwin Place Mall (sort of RIP, since it's now Somers Commons and isn't anything like the mall that was there) and began assembling his treasured Bobby Murcer baseball card collection.

I still have it, and last added to it in Cooperstown a few years ago. Who knew I didn't have every card?

This was also during the years in which, despite being an insane baseball fan, I was lucky to get to a game per year. I found myself reminiscing about it on "Doubleheader" last Friday.

So I began to remember: A Sunday at the Stadium. April 20. Sat downstairs on the first base line. Brewers/Yankees. Bombers won, 9-5. They hit four home runs: Reggie, Eric Soderholm, Rick Cerone, and I couldn't remember the fourth. Rob Guidry was the starting pitcher, and Ron Davis (Ike's dad) had an at-bat in the game (an absolute rarity at that time).

I remember a guy sitting near us yelling to Cerone to "hit one for New Jersey." Since, you know, Cerone was a Jersey guy.

I, of course, said, "Hit one for New York!"

He did.

I went with Patrick Urell (a blog reader!) and his father.

Then I looked the game up on Baseball Reference. All I can say is that I'm a sick man, and only forgot that Willie Randolph hit the fourth of the home runs.

That year was right at the back end of a great six season run for the Yankees that spoiled me. With their World Series appearance in 1976 (and subsequent loss to the Cincinnati Reds; I still haven't forgiven them) and championship in 1977, I began to think it would be a rite of passage.

Another title came in '78 before the decline in '79 (the Orioles were too good, and Thurman Munson died).

The Yankees of 1980 were supposed to get back to their winning ways, and get my man Murcer to his first World Series.

After winning 103 games, they flopped in a three-game playoff sweep to the Kansas City Royals.

They'd make the Series in the strike-shortened '81 season, but lost to the Dodgers in six.

After that, the dark days began. '82-'93 were, at best, a roller coaster of mediocrity. The Mets won in '86, and I was stuck rooting for the Red Sox (imagine that?).

The strike wiped out the chance at a title in '94. They reached the playoffs in '95, and the earth was put back on its axis in '96.

But I can still see that 1980 season. I can still see almost meeting Yogi Berra (I looked him right in the eye) before a guard turned us away. I can still see Bobby Murcer shagging fly balls with Lou Piniella in the outfield, but otherwise being anchored on the bench that April day.

I can still see them winning the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday to win the American League East on the big TV in the living room (on WPIX, of course).

I darted out into the yard to hit Wiffle balls before we went to the Crompond Diner (RIP).

There were no problems in life. That summer felt like an explosion of real life for me, as life tends to hit right around that age sometimes.

By 1981, I'd be an uncle ("Uncle").

In 1980 there was still innocence, and baseball was still king (in my life, though football was really creeping in).

I'm excited for that interview. Listen Monday at 3pm on WGCH.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Give Credit Where Credit is Due

A screen grab of Vin Scully during the 1956 World Series (Courtesy USA Today)
The internet can certainly be the Wild Wild West.

In the nearly 13 years that I've written this little slice of heaven, I've used countless photos and links that I hoped would enhance your reading and viewing experience. Many of photos have been taken by me.

In the case of other photos, I've always made the effort to give attribution. Many -- if not most -- of the links have also received a nod to who produced that work.

It's not a perfect system, but when you've been brought through the ranks to do things "the right way," you do "the right thing."

If I screwed up, it was an oversight and I've always been happy to correct it. In fact, a friend in the road world caught a time that I used his picture, not knowing it was his. Truth is, I googled it, and saw that picture. It had no attribution. The minute he told me (and he said, "All you had to do was ask"), I made sure to note that it was his work.

He was cool about it, and that was it.

So it was that in the past 24 hours, I've had two cases of this. The first was completely minor -- I saw a post of mine on social media was used in an "Instastory" and I wasn't mentioned at all.

In fact,  I laughed when I saw it. No big deal, and I truly believe it was an oversight.

The second one? No, but I'm not going to get crazy over it.

I have a collection of sounds on archive.org (which you probably know). You'll find many shows, game broadcasts, and other odds and sods.

Probably the most popular file is a collection of Vin Scully sounds that I created a bunch of years ago. It spans from his call of Jackie Robinson stealing home plate agains the Yankees in 1955 (Yogi Berra said he was out; the umpire disagreed) to the final out of the 1996 World Series.

Never mind that Vinny worked for 20 more years, so I actually need to update it one day.

You can listen to (and even download) the file here. I encourage you to listen to some or all of it.


 I've seen that file embedded in other blogs and professional websites. While I'd love a mention ("posted by Vin Scully historian Rob Adams" will suffice, though that's actually a bit much), my thinking has always been that there are copyright issues and such, so I don't pretend to "own" the works. I just edited them for individual enjoyment.

However...

Now follow this link to The Sounds of Baseball. Give a listen to "Vin Scully – Some Highlights." Sounds familiar, right?

Again, no mention of me. OK, so be it.

But...look below the play button. There's a price -- $0.65 -- to BUY THE FILE TO DOWNLOAD IT!

Dude is trying to monetize this. Which just seems wrong in myriad ways.

Again, it is what it is. He's not going to get rich, and I'm not going to lose sleep over that money.

But isn't this, you know, just a bit...er...unethical?

The page has a large group of different sound files that he has cultivated from a variety of sources and sites. Still, to try to get people to pay -- even for just sixty-five cents-- just seems wrong.

It all means nothing, and makes for a blog post.

And so I wanted to tell you.

Friday, January 25, 2019

The PA Announcer II

I was stationed behind the glass, to the right.
Not a lot of time to write my thoughts on the night of my public address announcing doubleheader.

I have 40 minutes left in the night as I begin this, so if I want to stay within the confines of #Project365, I need to hurry.

In short, I really enjoyed it.

First, both teams (Carmel and Mahopac) are great to work with. Their opponents (Monroe-Woodbury and Rye Town/Harrison) were great as well.

The view through the glass as Mahopac celebrates early success, with their student section in the background.
I announced goals as you'd expect me to.

I introduced the starting lineups without trying to duplicate the old Chicago Bulls.

Which, by the way, still gives me chills and reminds me that Michael Jordan is, indeed, the #GOAT.

I spied a few students dancing to some of my eclectic music choices (though I thought "Africa" by Toto would get a bigger response).

I stayed out of the way and didn't try to make myself the star of the show.

I had to download Jay-Z, Rhianna, and Kanye ("Run This Town") and something called "Five Hours" by Deorro.

I used the Boston Bruins goal horn and song for Mahopac (that's what they like) and the New York Rangers goal horn and song for Carmel (I don't know if they cared).
Sean's old preschool buddy Aidan Martin
I played INXS and AC/DC and Soundgarden and Tom Petty and the Beastie Boys and R.E.M. and Asia and The Beatles (duh) and Billy Joel and The Black Keys and Simple Minds and The Monkees.

I played Nirvana and Dire Straits and the Rolling Stones and Queen.

I played Hall and Oates.

I played Huey Lewis and the News (of course I did).

I played "Theme From New York New York" when the night was over.

Sinatra. Naturally.

Would we have it any other way in the Empire State?

Nobody complained to me about a thing and everyone seemed thankful.

The only complaint was on the scoreboard.

Monroe-Woodbury 3, Carmel 3.

Rye Town/Harrison 10, Mahopac 7.

I walked in not sure how I felt about doing it.

I walked out hoping to do it again.

Until then, I'll head back to the trusty broadcast booth.

The unhappy result for Mahopac.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

The PA Announcer

Bob Sheppard (The best, of course)

The day started with a message form Harold.

In short, Carmel High School was looking for a public address announcer for tomorrow night. It's senior night for their hockey team, and he wondered if he could recommend me.

I thought about it. I considered that it was my weekend with Sean.

I told him to go ahead and tell Carmel High that I was available if they needed me.

A few hours passed, and I hadn't heard from anyone, so I thought I was off.

Then I got a message from Mahopac High School hockey.

They, too, needed a PA announcer for their Senior Night.

But wait...there's more. I need to do the whole shebang, music included.

I'm getting ahead of myself.

You'd think -- after too many years of this -- that doing the PA is no big deal for a natural ham who has been on the radio since 1990.

But being the in-house announcer is a different world.

There's a different kind of immediacy here, as opposed to radio. Mispronounce someones name, and you can get grumbled at.

That's not to say it doesn't happen in radio, but I'm also insulated in a world inside my headset.

It's hard to explain.

One other thing: I'm not the "rah rah" type of announcer. There's a reason I posted the picture of Bob Sheppard at the top of the post. That's more of my style.

So I'm looking through some music tonight in case my (vast) selection is needed, but I warn you: there's not a lot post-2000 (or so).

I'll be nervous, as being PA announcer isn't my usual forte. Then again, I survived Senior Day for Greenwich football.

To be fair, I've done PA before for several events. Yes, I've spoken in public countless times. Yet -- surprise -- I get nervous.

We'll see how this experience goes.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Basketball at Greens Farms Academy


It was doubleheader night at Greens Farms Academy tonight, as the Dragons hosted Sacred Heart from Greenwich in girls hoops, while the boys hosted Masters.

John Nash, all around good egg (don't tell him I said that), invited me to call the games, especially with my connections to Greenwich.

I was thrilled to do it, and was received with open arms.

Trust me: that makes a big difference.

John also set me up with interviews with the guys who have started GSPN, a student-run broadcasting channel at GFA, and Sean Obi, who played collegiately at Duke, Maryland, and Rice.

Everything is in the archive to download and stream. First, the girls game (download it here)

The boys game can be downloaded here.

The halftime interviews can be found here.

I'm back at Brunswick on Thursday, as Hamden Hall takes on the Bruins. Game time is 4:00 p.m.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Mo: Perfect

October, 2015. Mt Kisco, NY.
Mariano Rivera is a member of the baseball Hall of Fame tonight.

Shocking, I know.

He was the first player to ever receive a unanimous induction from the writers (special circumstances like Lou Gehrig in 1939 aside).

He'll be joined by Edgar Martinez, Roy Halladay, and his former teammate Mike Mussina, as well as Lee Smith and Harold Baines.

If you know anything about Mo, then you know how handled this.

He praised God. He praised his family. He praised his teammates and the New York Yankees organization.

He thanked the writers and the fans.

It was all about the praise for everyone but him, though you never doubted his confidence.

He'll remain as humble as ever.

Mariano Rivera,  a product of Panama, appeared on the scene in 1995. I remember watching him on the Fourth of July, as he allowed two hits and struck out 11 Chicago White Sox over eight innings to win, 4-1.

By the '95 playoffs -- the Bombers' first appearance since 1981 -- Mo worked 5.1 innings of relief in the five game loss to Seattle. I remember being nervous, but impressed, at how he handled the high wire act of that series.

By 1996, he was the man, as the dominant eighth inning setup man (as for closer John Wetteland, who's in the news for all the wrong reasons, I'm sickened by the charges. Innocent until proven guilt, of course, but still. Sickening.).

Wetteland was gone after '96, and Mo was now the closer. Things went well until the ALDS, when Sandy Alomar Jr. launched a home run to right in the eighth inning of Game 4. The Yankees lost the series in five.

Closers need to have short memories. Mo had that to ponder all winter. Yet '98 turned out just fine.

And '99.

And 2000.

As for 2001 (just as in 2004), well, things happen. Tip your hat to the Diamondbacks who, frankly, were better than the Yankees that year (despite the Bombers being an inning away from winning the World Series). The Red Sox got to Mo in 2004.

Again, it happens. George Brett took Goose Gossage deep in the 1980 ALCS, and Kirk Gibson took the year that been so improbable and did the impossible by homering off of Dennis Eckersley in the 1988 World Series.

He handled it with grace and humor, his faith always sitting in the forefront.

He set the saves record eventually (yes, I know it's a flawed stat).

He otherwise dominated, even recording 44 saves in his last season.

You want good character? Find me a bad thing about Mariano Rivera.

He checks literally every box that a Hall of Famer should.

He is universally loved in and out of baseball.

He'll probably be back next year when Derek Jeter joins him.

He also thinks the '98 Yankees would beat anybody. Just saying.

Welcome to Cooperstown, Mo. I can't wait to see your plaque with my own eyes.

As you probably know, I had the profound pleasure of interviewing him myself back in 2015 on the HAN Network.



I recorded Doubleheader tonight to break down all of the Hall of Fame news and notes.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Hill/Brunswick Hockey

An image from last night's lunar eclipse (the Super Blood Wolf Moon)...just because
It was great to get back under the headset today as Brunswick hosted Hill at the Hartong Rink.

The Bruins scored twice in the second period to take a 2-1 lead before holding on for a 4-3 win.

Later in the week, I'll be at Greens Farms Academy as the Dragons host Sacred Heart Greenwich in girls basketball (4:30) and Masters School in boys basketball (6:00). Both games can be heard on Robcasting at http://mixlr.com/robcasting-radio/.

I'll be back at Brunswick on Thursday as the Bruins host defending FAA champion Hamden Hall in boys basketball. Game time is 4:00. While the audio is on Robcasting, watch the game via Local Live.

As for today, the hockey game is in the archive.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Dynasties



It's no secret that sports dynasties are boring, and easy to hate.

Think about it: would you care a bit about the New York Yankees if they didn't have those 26 gleaming, sparking rings (and one pocket watch, for their 1923 title)? How about the Cowboys, Steelers, Lakers, Packers, Celtics, Canadiens, UCLA...

And the Patriots?

Let's be honest, most of New England was ambivalent at best towards the team that initially played in Boston, and called six (!) different stadium home since their beginning in 1960.

(That's Nickerson Field, Fenway Park, Alumni Stadium, Harvard Stadium, Foxboro/Schaefer/Sullivan Stadium, Gillette Stadium, in case you're wondering, and does anyone remember that they were the Bay State Patriots in 1971?)

The point is, they developed their hardened, and now cocky, fan base once current #TB12 (but not the original) came along. Once he and the HC of NEP teamed up, they became a dynasty. Indeed, all hail Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.

Massive respect to them. But they're also easy to despise. That's what a dynasty does, and Spygate and Deflategate just makes it easier.

But you can't ignore the greatness. And make no mistake: I can't (and won't) pick against them.

Still, it's fun to watch dynasties crumble. I know that, and know how many have enjoyed watching the Yankees lose. Every fan base becomes obnoxious after winning (yes, that includes you, Red Sox). It's the nature of it.

I can still see me, quietly sitting on a couch, watching Super Bowl XLII. The "Perfect Pats" were struggling with the upstart New York Giants, but had the lead late. Here comes Eli Manning, with a touchdown pass to (former Steeler) Plaxico Burress. I hadn't really tipped my hand in terms of rooting that day. I have affection for the Giants because they played in Yankee Stadium from 1956-1973, and their ties to the Steelers. I didn't really care about the Pats, though they'd hurt my Steelers quite a few times.

But I had my reasons. Oh did I ever on that day in early 2008 (that's a hint, folks).

I jumped up off that couch.

"SUCK IT!"

It was like an out of body experience. I didn't expect that reaction, and sort of meekly apologized as I sat back down.

So it is today that we watch those frenzies of Foxboro. We watch the Hoodie and Touchdown Tommy, as they go up against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, who haven't been to a Super Bowl since 1970 (when they beat Minnesota, 23-7).

We'll also watch the Rams (last Super Bowl? A loss to Tom Brady and the Pats in 2002) take on the Rams (with Drew Brees, who just keeps setting every record while saying, "Remember me?").

Honestly -- and I mean this -- I just want two good games.

Maybe Tom Brady can then lose his fourth (FOURTH?) Super Bowl. Jim Kelly lost four! (And how great is the news that Kelly is cancer-free?) Or Brady can win his sixth. Impressive, either way.

May the best teams win, but we all know most of this country will be pulling for Kansas City today.

If only for the ghost of Hank Stram.



(UPDATE: The Rams and Patriots won. Both games had controversy. Both losing teams didn't make plays when needed. That's football for ya.)

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Will ... and Grace

Hudson Valley and Lowell lineup on the baselines at Fenway Park, 8/9/08.
It might have slipped through the cracks, but Will Middlebrooks retired.

That news might seem unspectacular to you, but I was immediately transported to August, 2008.

I was at Fenway Park. Yes, I know. In theory, that's enemy territory. But when you're a baseball nut, it's Fenway Park.

Nirvana.

Sean Ford, the long-running, um, Voice of the Hudson Valley Renegades (a title he earned in a decade of games) invited me to Boston to call the Futures at Fenway game, as the Gades took on the Lowell Spinners.

I asked Harold if he wanted to come along as a producer, and he immediately accepted, and even got us a place to crash so that we could call Sunday's Gades/Spinners game in Lowell.

But Saturday was all about Fenway.

It was a good (and mostly great) weekend, tinged with some hurt.

You see, things were in the middle of a breakdown through '08. The Renegades were, in part, a way to keep my mind occupied and happy.

When I left for Boston that Saturday morning, I left my computer set up for a button to be pushed so that Sean (my son) could listen to his dad from one of the most prestigious places in all of sports.

I literally wanted him to listen for a minute. Long enough to hear my voice.

It was not to be.

Sean would not be home that day. To be clear, he never heard a word I said from Boston, and in fact didn't even speak to me until Sunday, when I found out he spent the night at another house.

A house he now lives in most of the time.

I had no idea, and had tried calling him a few times on Saturday night. Keep in mind, he was six at the time.

I was crestfallen. Absolutely lost. In fact, I didn't even want to go home Sunday night, and it was Harold who got me to go.

For the record, broadcast recordings weren't always immediately available to me. As I recall, I stumbled upon an archive months later and recorded it on my home computer.

I wrote about the experience in three parts, and it's interesting to see how I side-stepped the topic at the time (in Part 3):

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3


That leads me back to Will Middlebrooks. The Red Sox prospect played third base in the Futures at Fenway game for Lowell.

I had the duty of opening the broadcast, as I normally did when Sean and I worked together. I was nervous, and had the concept of how surreal it all was in my mind when I did the opening.


Check this out on Chirbit

Middlebrooks was the leadoff hitter in the bottom of the 11th inning of the game, won by the Spinners 4-3 in 12 innings. Sean normally called the first three innings, with me taking the middle three, before he called the last three. Extra innings would be as we figured it out, and he gave me the 11th. Here's the bottom of the 11th inning:
As I said, the Spinners would win in the bottom of the 12th. The game-winning hit?

A Will Middlebrooks single.

Enjoy your retirement, and thanks for that memory.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Don't Blame the Messenger

Edward R. Murrow
It's no secret that the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, DC is no fan of the mass media, and has utter contempt for journalists.

Never mind that President Trump has also used the media to bloat his empire through books, conversations in the press, and his reality show.

Please note, I was not a fan of the show. I tended to dump it onto the trash heap of most reality TV. At best, I was ambivalent.

I've been a member of the media for nearly 30 years. I suppose I could identify with being a journalist in some form for a little over 20 of those years. I've prided myself on being accurate and having integrity. I made sure to not demonstrate a bias.

I realize one is quick to point out that I'm a "Yankees/Steelers/Rangers/Knicks" fan. Fair. But if you have paid attention, I've destroyed each one of those organizations, and have a particular anger pointed at the six-time Super Bowl champions right now for being a dysfunctional mess.

If the Mets wanted to hire me in their booth, I'd bring the same passion and integrity that I always have. The uniform becomes irrelevant. Seemed to work for a kid from Washington Heights named Scully who was a Giants fan growing up. He called Dodgers games for 67 years and never showed an ounce of bias. Kinda worked out, didn't it?

I've also heard of my having a bias for Greenwich. But I've also heard I get too excited when a Greenwich opponent scores.

So...that means I'm doing my job.

I recognize there are many bad apples in the media. There are some journalists walking around with an agenda. I can also say that I can count on one hand the number of journalists locally that I see exhibiting any form of bias.

And having a social media feed full of that bias will not help that.

But there are journalists in all facets that I put my faith in. You have to know where to look. Is FOX a right wing outlet? You bet. Does that mean all of their reporters have to be hit with the same broad strokes? No.

Is MSNBC liberal? Absolutely, but the same rules apply.

Yes, I know those on one side or the other are going to bristle. "Wait! There's no liberal media," you say.

Keep thinking that. The Loch Ness Monster is holding on line two.

My overriding point here is that the media isn't as evil as you think. Like all walks of life, we have those who don't uphold the same integrity. I don't think I'm one of them. I know countless others -- both sports and otherwise -- who aren't influenced, despite what anyone wants to believe.

They do their jobs. Period.

Local radio could use some love (and lots of game broadcasts). Local newspapers still matter. There are really hardworking people at these outlets, and whether they produce their content in print or online, they (we) deserve support as we deal with the avalanche of metaphorical "you suck" that we get.

I see it. I hear it. I get tons of "The media is terrible. Present company excluded."

Thanks, tons.

The media isn't the enemy. I get tired of hearing an industry that I hold dearly being held responsible for all of the problems of the world.

Should we be held accountable? Absolutely.

But we're not the problem.

Avoid the low-hanging fruit.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Music. Now.



I saw a promo on CBS tonight for the Grammy's.

It underwhelmed me, and that's being polite.

Yes, I'm prepared for the "Get off my lawn" nonsense that I'm often hit with when I go down this road.

I've roughly pinpointed my disappearance from knowing the pop music scene to right around 2010, but it's fair to say it had been declining for years.

Look, I know there's always talent to be found, and I've been a mega-strong critic of "American Idol," "The Voice," and all of the other nonsense (sorry, I said it) that pushes itself as "talent shows." I've frankly said those shows are responsible for the decline of popular music, but it's a much deeper thing than that.

While Max Martin is basically writing everything (sorry, Taylor), there have been songwriters cranking out things for years. That being said, will it stand the test of time?

I have a Carole King concert on in the background as I write tonight. To say Ms. King is brilliant is frankly an understatement. The music she created with former husband Gerry Goffin and the Brill Building writers has survived for nearly 60 years. Think of "Pleasant Valley Sunday" (The Monkees), "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" (most famously by Aretha Franklin), "One Fine Day" (The Chiffons), and "Up On The Roof" (The Drifters).

Not a bad little resume of classic songs, right? Plus we haven't even touched her landmark album Tapestry. That's one of the main records that I recall of my youth.

I've evolved as a listener. I've largely decided that I don't want to pay ridiculous amounts to go see big concerts anymore. That's not to say I can't be talked into, say, Billy Joel again (I mean, that's 40 years of admiration for the man), and certainly if Huey Lewis can regain his hearing when he sings, then I would consider it.

Right circumstances. Right company. Sure. Maybe.

But I'm at a point where I want the grass roots of small shows of all genres. Truth is, I sort of like pretty much everything. I like seeing artists who just have passion for their art. That means more than 80,000 singing along with Coldplay.

I love reading the thoughts of the friends whom I admire for their music knowledge, with Jon (still of R-Va, and celebrating a birthday today), the great "Shagger" Dave, Harold, Susan, Mick, Paul, and others being among those I truly enjoy chatting about music with.

So long as they can deal with my awful "music snob" ways (of course I've been called that...and worse), then we can all have a spirited conversation.

You never know what will inspire me. If you told me I'd ever show love to Cyndi Lauper or Air Supply, I probably would have laughed.

Now I do.

Maybe there's hope for me yet.

John Mellencamp? Er...OK. Maybe not.

Will I watch the Grammy's? Perhaps, because I do try to have an eye on things that of social/pop culture significance so that I can be in touch. Plus I know Mike Genaro is counting on my nonsensical tweets.

Seriously, there might be hope for me.  Maybe I can be with someone who likes Joni Mitchell.

Because, trust me, Tom Hanks could in You've Got Mail. Despite what he says.

He wants to. Besides, Joni Mitchell is cool.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

A Trip to the Supermarket

While I have this bowl, it's not my cereal bowl.
I've eaten Rice Krispies for over 40 years.

Yes, that's my cereal of choice, and I rarely differ.

Of course, that's not my only breakfast choice (um, hello, Waffle House) but it's always an easy option.

Yet what's cereal without milk?

So I had to stop at the grocery store. Stop and Shop, to be exact.

My mission was short and sweet: a half-gallon of milk and a pack of honey lemon throat drops.

Gotta keep the throat in shape.

As I tried to step up to the registers, I waited for an opening at one of the self-serve checkouts.

While I don't want to be seen as antisocial, I do prefer to check myself out.

I also pump my own gas habitually, and have actually passed on getting petrol in New Jersey because self-service isn't allowed.

By all means, call me weird. I can take it.

But back to our not-spilt milk at Stop and Shop (had to use that pun eventually).

As I waited for the register, a typically detached shopper strolled right by me and up to the register I was going to use.

Not the greatest of offenses, to be clear, and certainly not something I was going to go to the mattresses over (wrong store, I know, but I'm going to mix my metaphors anyway).

I waited patiently as her order being larger than mine when I discovered the register to the far right was open.

It was an express lane, and it didn't accept cash, but that all worked fine for me.

A customer strolled away as I arrived.

I glanced at the screen at the total from the previous order that had yet to be paid for.

Before I could even consider saying something, the mystery shopper was gone into the night.

A trusty staff member walked over and, with nary a "what the hell?," she cleared the screen, didn't seem to consider the lost money (granted it was about $8), and left me to complete my transaction.

I took care of my my milk and throat drops and walked out.

As I went to exit the parking lot, a car made a left turn into where I was driving out, declining both a turn signal and slowing down. I watched her then make a second left into a row of parking in the same manner.

I was content to just get home.

We have a few snow storms coming.

I'll want Rice Krispies.

Snap! Crackle! Pop!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Farewell, Old Tap

A blurry view through the windshield of a rental car on the Tappan Zee Bridge, at approximately 4:45 a.m.,  2012
Part of the Tappan Zee Bridge just imploded into the Hudson River. The eastern part of the superstructure was detonated before 11 a.m.

The piece of me that has watched countless implosions shrugged my shoulders.

The piece of me that commuted over it for a stretch and sat in myriad jams on it was wistful.

To many, it's a road. It's just a bridge. Who cares about what we call the new one?

That's actually one of those things that I've debated with strangers on the interwebs about.

I know ol' Andy in Albany decided to name the structure after his pops, with little regard for former Gov. Malcolm Wilson, whom the old bridge was named after.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo showed little to no regard for the history of the region, and the fact that the body of water that the new bridge crosses is indeed the Tappan Zee portion of the Hudson River.

In his push for daddy to get the bridge named after him, ol' Andy pushed the name change though with limited input, though it seemed obvious something was up when the name of the new crossing was "The New NY Bridge."

Stubbornly, it will remain the Tappan Zee Bridge to me, just as the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, Triborough Bridge, and Queensboro Bridge have all remained as such, despite being named for Hugh Carey, Robert F. Kennedy, and Ed Koch respectively.

Captured off TV on Jan 15, 2019
The new bridge (or bridges, since there is an eastbound and a westbound span) is very attractive. No question about that.

But there was still something to be said about the old, outdated Tap. It often served as a way to mark the beginning and end to myriad trips to Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and other far off points.

It was a place to ponder life (or get really steamed at traffic) while waiting to get across it.

The bend just near the Tarrytown side heading eastbound was where I would often gaze towards Manhattan, which was often shimmering brightly on many a trip.

But progress made the new bridge absolutely necessary, and so we march on, with disgustingly high tolls likely coming in the next few years. Drive it "for cheap" while you can!

On the "new" Tappan Zee Bridge, Sep 2018



Monday, January 14, 2019

Mel


Photo courtesy of Kay Murcer (Facebook)
I saw this picture early Monday. Taken sometime in the early 70s, it's Bobby and Kay Murcer on the left, and Jean and Mel Stottlemyre on the right. Both were perennial all-stars around this time.

Kay Murcer posted it on her Facebook page.

My heart sank when I saw it.

A few hours later, we learned that Mel had died at 77.

Both Bobby and Mel are now gone, with Bobby Ray passing in 2008.

Mel was great as a pitcher through 11 years as a pitcher, before becoming a coach, achieving his greatest success with the Mets and Yankees.

He was a gracious gentleman on and off the field, and I never heard a bad word about him.

He was the starting, and winning, pitcher at the second game I ever attended: August 31, 1973.

Tonight, The Yankees Saloon has a new customer.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Then and Now


2007 and 2018
The latest thing on Facebook is to post your first profile picture, and compare that with a more recent picture.

I haven't done it yet, but thought perhaps I could participate by doing so here.


There's an irony in this picture from 2007. I have facial hair in this and, to be clear, I was a compulsive shaver.

Like, daily. It wasn't until several years later that I finally began to back off of my habitual every day shaving and now shave maybe twice a week.

The other main difference was the lack of glasses. I still wore contact lenses at that time -- something I started doing in 1984. In fact, I only needed one lens, having discovered my right eye was nearsighted in the late 70s (the reason I couldn't hit a baseball -- it wasn't just that I was a terrible baseball player).

The other eye began to decline in the 90s. I continued to wear contacts until around 2014, when I finally switched to glasses. Cost had something to do with that.

This picture is from last September, when my niece Laura got married. Sean and I were the primary entertainment (aka "DJs"). I talked. He helped carry stuff, along with setting up and breaking down.

Anyway, that's how I've changed in roughly 11 years.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Hoosac/Brunswick Hockey


When in doubt during the #365Project, just post the broadcast of the day.

So here we are.

As I've said previously, I don't take broadcast assignments lightly. I know there are listeners and viewers, and I do what I can to make the broadcasts enjoyable for the viewers.

Today it was Hoosac and Brunswick at the Hartong Rink. Head coach Mike Kennedy and associate head coach (as well as athletic director and former head coach) Ron Van Belle were among those who made me welcome at the rink.

From there, Brunswick wasn't very hospitable. The Bruins beat the Owls 6-1.

We all know the bad of social media. The negative is terrible. The up side can be quite good. After I tweeted to promote the hockey broadcast, the Hoosac School hockey twitter feed shared it with their followers.

Thus I had Hoosac viewers tuning in (I was also on Robcasting).

I feel a responsibility for the whole audience.

So this made me feel good, given it came from a Hoosac fan.


Thank you, Kristy! I also had a great chat with the parents of Bruin Cooper Moore after the game, who told me Cooper's grandparents enjoy the broadcasts from Orlando. I'm grateful. The words lift me, especially when I feel like I was too hungry and not at my best (er...like today).

If you missed it, here it is, suitable for streaming (or you can stream and download here).

Friday, January 11, 2019

St. Luke's/Brunswick Basketball

Another night, another basketball game. St. Luke's and Brunswick met in Greenwich today, and I was pleased to be on the call.

I'm home, essentially, to sleep, write this post, and get back to Brunswick tomorrow to call the Bruins on the ice as Hoosac comes to town.

There's a responsibility that I occasionally have to remind myself of, and it's hardly earth-shattering, but I suppose it still matters.

When I first started calling Greenwich football, I thought to myself, "I'm glad these games are on the air, but who is actually listening?"

The truth is, more people than I thought.

People have quoted me. That both overwhelms and frightens me (out of fear that I've said or done something ridiculous).

Anyway, I'm sure I'm trying to say something bigger here, but I'm too tired to figure out what that is.

Here's tonight's broadcast (it can be downloaded here):

Thursday, January 10, 2019

GFA/King Basketball


Not a whole lot to add to this Thursday evening around the Exit 55 control center.

I called Greens Farms Academy and King School tonight in boys basketball in Stamford. Two teams that deserve more attention but don't always get it.

So I gave it.

I have relationships with both schools, and I'm enjoying strengthening bonds like that. The door was opened for me to bring the mics back to King anytime, and I greatly appreciate that.

A similar arrangement exists at GFA, and I'll be there soon.

Matt Bonaparte worked with me, and he did a nice job, as I hope you will hear in the attached audio.

Thanks to all parties for a nice night of basketball. We'll do it again soon.

If you'd just like to stream the game, Mixcloud is perfectly suitable.


If you're looking to download it, then go to the Archive.org page.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Nick Mayer

Ingalls Rink, New Haven, 2015
I don't have much tonight.

I saw the sad news that Nick Mayer, a former player for the EO Smith/Tolland Bucks, has died. My condolences go to his family and friends. The hockey community is always very tight-knit, and they have embraced the Bucks tonight.


I really don't have any words.

The one thing I can contribute is the broadcast from the day that Nick, his brother Peter, and their on-ice brothers won the state championship in Division III. Jake Zimmer, Eric Gendron, and I called the action from Inglalls Rink ("The Yale Whale") in New Haven on HAN Radio (HAN Network).

May this bring a smile to his loved ones.



Check this out on Chirbit

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Those Who Can't, Teach


I'm getting this post in under the deadline before midnight, so time is tight if I want to do a post-per-day.

I was back teaching at Connecticut School of Broadcasting this evening, where I'm the night instructor for sports reporting, play-by-pay, and so on.

It was one of the largest classes I've had in a long time -- and that stretches now some 14 years.

I worried. But I always do.

There are those who don't like sports, have no interest in sports, are intimidated by sports, or are flat-out sports haters.

There are myriad personalities to address.

I thought for sure this group might push me to the limit.

I didn't think I was reaching them.

I didn't think I inspired them.

Yet they reminded me why I love to teach.

I worked with the esteemed Andy Madison of WEBE 108, who has become a favorite to work with, as we share the same passion for war stories, music, sports, and laughter.

As for the group, those who were completely perplexed by writing sports found their voice. I've been known, in a pinch, to write their reports for them. In this case, they all made sure they did it, with one girl telling me that she wanted (paraphrasing) a nudge to get on the right path and then she would write it.

Not only did she write it, but voiced it. So did the other students.

It was one of the best groups I've dealt with. They were fun and challenging, with great voices and deliveries. Their performances were terrific.

They took the coaching and criticizing (aka "nitpicking") that Andy and I had to offer.

I taught them how to conduct interviews, and had barely scratched the surface, only brushing the top of play-by-play.

They walked out feeling entertained and that they had learned a new skill. Once they got past the notion of it being about sports, they realized it was something useful.

It was a joy, and I'm pleased that I'll be back with them again in February.

I was proud of them.

I was proud of me.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Sports Is An Escape

Photo: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Non-sports fans generally hate sports. They buy into the stereotypes.

Sports fans stridently defend our games.

But there are certain behaviors that can't -- can not  -- be defended.

Add Cody Parkey to the latest of a bad list.

Parkey, if you don't know, doinked a 43-yard field goal at the end of yesterday's Bears/Eagles playoff game in Chicago. Inaccurate as he has been, the twenty-six-year-old kicker not only hit the upright, but then it dropped down onto the crossbar where, with the right bounce, could have won the game for the Bears. Instead, the Eagles took the victory, and the trolls took to Twitter to threaten the kicker with death.

Forgetting the so-so performance of the Bears defense. Forgetting letting Golden Tate catch a touchdown on fourth and goal. Forgetting other missed opportunities.

No, Cody Parkey deserve death threats and more. Like this:

Yup. Classy.

You see, football is a team game. So is baseball, hockey, basketball, soccer, and so on.

So let's ignore everything else about the Bears performance against the Eagles and put it all on Cody Parkey.

The same happened with Bill Buckner. Scott Norwood. Patrick Stefan, Mike Torres, Tony Romo, Leon "Bull" Durham, Joe Pisarcik, Jackie Smith, Steve Smith (hockey), Ernest Byner, Chris Webber, Andres Escobar, Fred Snodgrass, Fred Merkle, and Ralph Branca. (have fun on Google with some of these!).

Among many others.

Just think about Buckner. He's out there on bad knees. He has a defensive replacement waiting to replace him, but his manager leaves Buckner in. Yet that doesn't even slightly tell the story of Mookie Wilson's "little roller up along first" that got "BEHIND THE BAG!" (Vin Scully, of course).

We could start with Roger Clemens leaving after seven innings. We could hand some blame to Calvin Schiraldi (actually, a lot of blame to him). Then there's dynamic duo of Bob Stanley and Rich Gedman, and the wild pitch that allowed the tying run to score.

But yes, let's blame Bill Bucker, who hit .311 with 18 HRs and 102 RBIs in 1986.

Let's run Bill Buckner out of Boston. Which he was, for a time.

Thankfully Twitter wasn't around for most of those events, or Steve Bartman, who was wrongly blamed for a human reaction -- reaching for a foul ball.

But Twitter is around for Cody Parkey, and Wikipedia is easy to edit.

(Please excuse language below)

And then these delights, courtesy of Fanbuzz.com (again, please excuse language):



Yup, because Code Parkey, 26, wanted to miss.

He wanted to piss Chicago off.

Get a grip, folks.

There's blame to go around.

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Sunday Thoughts


Another day of watching mediocre football, so...

- I appeared on Hudson Valley Sports Talk this morning on the Real Country combo (including WBNR and WLNA). Thanks to the guys for having me on, and to #YourBoyTrav Travis Jackson (Five Minute Major) for inviting me. I was able to catch up with my old friend Jay Verzi, who was there to keep the show sounding good. This is why you keep your connections, and networking is the most important thing. Never know what doors will open (or reopen).

I enjoy getting to see other programs in action. Carl, Tony, and Carl have the feeling of "controlled chaos" that I've had on every show I've done since 1998. It was fun and they were gracious hosts.

- On a completely different topic, there's literally nothing good to say about R. Kelly. If you've read about the documentary "Surviving R. Kelly," then you know what I mean. This is actually a deeply disturbing story.

Never mind the simplistic idea of respect for women (and all people, silly me). But these stories are disgusting.

- I'd talk politics. But nah.

- Back to happy stuff (like sports), I was sad to discover the MLK Jr Basketball Classic, played at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, is off the schedule this year. I had the pleasure of broadcasting it a few times and thought it was a great day for basketball fans in Connecticut.

I've heard various reasons about it (socioeconomic and so on). I've heard the people who wanted it are gone. Whatever the case, days like that are good. In my naive view, I'd love to see a big sponsor step in to support the day, make ticket prices super low, and involve a broadcaster (oh, hi, that's me). More sports should do it. There are hockey tourneys everywhere. Make one happen at Webster Bank Arena. A baseball day at Cubeta Stadium in Stamford would be fun also.

In football, while such a thing is harder, there is the 7-on-7 tournament in New Canaan. I've been to that a few times and it was great fun to watch.

- The FCIAC playoff schedule is out, with some new (or just different) facilities in the mix for hosting. The boys hockey championship will be at Dorothy Hamill Rink in Greenwich, while the girls will be at the Darien Ice House (Rink). Trumbull is the host for girls basketball, while Wilton will again host the boys. There are all kinds of moves going on. Interesting stuff. I hope I'm heavily involved.

Most curious to me is the disappearance of Terry Conners Rink as the home of the FCIAC Championship games in hockey. I'm sure it's business.

There's stuff I don't understand, and so I put my trust in Dave Schultz and the FCIAC braintrust.

- There will be more details to come, but it looks like Mick McGowan and I will lead the way for the 2019 Connecticut girls hockey championship broadcast, as we did in 2018 (with Shawn Sailer). I'm guessing the game will be on March 10, but again, details to follow.

- As we've made it January 6, just a note of support for John Nash, as he started this ball rolling on his Project 365, and thus encouraged me to do a post every day as well (we're on day 8, actually). Here's his latest, and I actually love the idea in this one. I might have to try that one.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

No Stress

The view of the #OriginalTB12 (Terry Bradshaw) from my comfy chair.
I'm watching the NFL playoffs, and I'm relaxed.

Oh sure, I wish the Pittsburgh Steelers were in it but, to be honest, they didn't deserve it, and they had no realistic chance of making the Super Bowl.

I'm an all-or-nothing type of guy. Don't get me wrong. I want the team I root for the in the playoffs, I don't want them in the Super Bowl only to watch them lose (Supes XXX and XLV still haunt me). The same goes for the World Series. Each Yankees' World Series loss in my lifetime (1976, 1981, 2001, and 2003) gnaws at me.

Then there are the playoff losses (1995 and, yes, 2004 particularly come to mind).

So knowing the Steelers are a dysfunctional mess, I'm content to watch this otherwise bland Colts/Texans tilt that is barely starting to be a bit more interesting.

It's hard to imagine that the Pittsburgh Steelers are indeed a dysfunctional nightmare, but here we are. I suppose it happens to the best of them.

For the record, yes, Mike Tomlin is on the hot seat. The team that hasn't fired a coach since Bill Austin after the 1968 season might have to do the slightly unthinkable.

Then there's Antonio Brown. For the love of Lance Alworth, what is it about wide receivers?

I'm getting sidetracked.

Anyway, there is something to be said about your team being out of contention. While that drives many fans away from their sets (and certainly not my preference), it's nice to not have that worry. In my case, I get to watch the game as a largely-unbiased observer.

I have no dog in the fight, and overall, I don't care who wins the Super Bowl.

OK, nobody wants the Cowboys or Patriots to win, but beyond that.

Oh yeah, and the Ravens. A Steelers fan can't want that.

Oh and the Seahawks. They're still whining about Super Bowl XL (get over it).

And the Colts just beat the Texans. So that's that.

Anyway, I'm chilling in the chair that my niece gave me (she got a new one, so I'll take it) and enjoying the evening.

My blood pressure is fine.

Friday, January 04, 2019

Radio Interview This Sunday

Greenwich and Darien shake hands following the Winter Classic on 12/29/18.
Roughly a week ago, my friend Travis Jackson (aka Five Minute Major on Twitter/Instagram) asked if I would join him for a radio interview on a show in the Hudson Valley.

Who? Me? Radio interview? Sure!

So this is going to happen:

The show will air on WGHQ 920 AM and W22CR 92.5 FM in Kingston, WBNR 1260 AM in Beacon, WLNA 1420 AM in Peekskill.

You can also find it on TuneIn Radio and at Real Country.

Does any of this sound familiar?

What's currently known as "Real Country" was once called "The Sound of the Valley" and "Hudson Valley Talk Radio." It was also the home of the Hudson Valley Renegades, Mount Saint Mary College basketball, and a talk show called "The Tailgaters."

If you're new, or don't remember, I joined the group (owned by Pamal) in 2001 when I asked if they wanted help with Renegades broadcasts. I soon became one of their board operators (I prefer the term "studio host") and joined my friend Sean Ford for Gades games at Dutchess Stadium. This continued on and off through 2017 (the Gades have since shifted to being online only).

They also handed Sean and I a unique opportunity in 2008 when I not only ran the board but served as color commentator from the studio (nope, not kidding). On other nights, I went to the ballpark with Sean. In the process, we created a talk show called "The Tailgaters."

That was also the year of the game broadcast at Fenway Park. A treasured time for sure. I also went to Lowell (along with Harold), as well as Brooklyn, Aberdeen, and Oneonta. Good times. I'd eventually add in Troy (Tri-City) and Staten Island as well. I miss that.

Finally, I was given the chance to be the first play-by-play voice in the history of Mount Saint Mary College for the 2009-2010 season. I called a bunch of games in both men's and women's basketball, often with my Sean (then nearly eight-years-old) in tow, working with the great Christine Baker, as well as John Spang (who always wanted to do basketball) and Chris Kaelin.

So it will be fun to walk back into the studios of the Broadcast Center Sunday morning to see not only Real Country, but WHUD, K-104, and WBPM.

I have no idea how much I'll actually be on "Hudson Valley Sports Talk," but I'm looking forward to it.