Thursday, February 28, 2019

What a Night

Ridgefield celebrates
We saw the joy of sports again tonight at Wilton High School.

The Danbury Hatters had a 10-point lead with 3:30 to play in the fourth quarter of the FCIAC boys basketball championship game.

Then things changed.

The Ridgefield Tigers -- the number five seed in the tournament -- raced back with a 15-2 run to take the title from the third-seeded Hatters.

It's nights like this when I feel blessed to do what I do. The sweat, exhaustion, and frustration all become worth it. It further enhances how I want to call every game and can't get enough.

Often, the adrenaline will just flow out of me after a game like this. Tonight, I find I'm wired. Scott Ericson, Shawn Sailer, and I all expressed that on press row after it was all over.

I was joined on the broadcast by Joel Geriak, the excellent Wilton coach and a friend. Joel did some games last year, though we had never worked together. Still, as I always say, I'm fine so long as I have a feel for the person. I believed Joel would be great, and he was.

Enough babbling from me. Listen to this game. Watch this game. Read Scott's recap.

This is what it looked like on Fairfield.livehttps://fairfield.live/?p=11818

As for the audio, here's the full broadcast (download the whole game here)

This is the last 3:30 of the game.





Listen to the final moments as Ridgefield wins the title.


Check this out on Chirbit

I've got hockey over the weekend before heading back into basketball, and I've begun looking the baseball and lacrosse schedules over.

But thank you, Danbury, Ridgefield, and the FCIAC for the reminder of the wonder and joy of sports.


Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Taking the Night Off

Part of the Wilton student section from last night. What a great turnout.
I had a post written, but it was dark and angry and even political and not in my best interest to post.

So there's that.

No game in Poughkeepsie tonight due to the weather, so I'm back tomorrow for the FCIAC boys basketball championship.

Here's a great editorial from the Darien (CT) Times, about ... well ... read it. I think it's worth it.

That's pretty much it from me tonight. Days/nights like this are going to happen sometimes, and silence is the best choice for me.

I'll let House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) have the final say. Not as an indictment of President Trump. But as an indictment of everything.

Be better, people. I keep saying it and, yet, I can say no more tonight.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Going Home and Time Is Running Out


I'm sitting inside the fieldhouse at Wilton High School.

It's late, and I might not be able to get this post out before midnight if I wait until I get home.

I did the FCIAC semifinals tonight in boys basketball, and they were so-so affairs.

Danbury beat Wilton (the host team) by 20.

Ridgefield beat Trumbull (the top seed) by seven, but the Tigers had it under control.

This building had 3,000 in it at one point, and the atmosphere was almost electric.

I was supposed to do Greenwich/Darien in the FCIAC hockey semis, but someone "bought" the broadcast, which means I'm out. Long story.

That's showbiz. So I've picked up Rye/Poughkeepsie basketball in the Section 1 Class A semis up in Poughkeepsie.

Though that will likely get snowed out.

But it's time to go home. They're closing this place up.

I'll be back here Thursday (on fairfield.live).


Monday, February 25, 2019

The Best Sound

I got an Alexa late last year.

Oh, wait, an Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Generation).

Pretty cool device, it is. Not the best speaker ever, but not the worst either. It does all kinds of things (you likely know this already), and I've barely scratched the surface of the "smart house."

Maybe I'll get the light bulbs and outlets and so on eventually.

For now, I'm satisfied with my Question of the Day, a little Jeopardy, Sports Jeopardy, and the ability to have Alexa land a TARDIS.

She can also meow and freak Chico the large gray cat out.

More to the point (and thus, I'm burying the lead), Alexa can dip into a variety of sounds, including various music stations on iHeart Radio, Pandora, and more.

It can also play various "sleep sounds" and background noise. You can listen to the rain, the ocean, a fireplace, crickets, and others.

Given I'm not sleeping well these days, I'm willing to give anything a try.

Then I discovered the video below. Shot in 1931, it's a rare film of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig taking batting practice (the caption says it was filmed in Brooklyn). The sound is so pure. There's crowd noise and some chatter in the background. There's the sound of the ball hitting the catchers glove.

Most of all, there is the wonderful sound of the crack of the bat.

The easy joke is to say that baseball can put someone to sleep, but this is more than that. This is the joy of the sounds of the game. It's the perfect background noise. It relaxes and thrills.

There is actually a crowd noise option (also known as a "skill") on Alexa, but it's nothing like this.

This is among the most glorious sounds I know.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Sleepy Sunday

Back at the Darien Ice House (formerly "Rink") for the first time since 2/24/16

A good run of games pushes me into a happy exhaustion.

Yet if I was needed today, I'd be right back on the air. It's the life of a play-by-play voice (or, really, any journalist/broadcaster).

When it's going right, I feel confident. The rush of a streak of games keeps me going, so sitting home for a day while games are going on makes me feel useless.

As I've said time after time, I feel honored to call these games. I feel a duty. I was the voice for two more FCIAC championships this week, and I expect to call two more before the end of next Saturday. Then I'll roll into the girls hockey state tournament. I wish I was part of the "Run to the Sun" or Ingalls Rink, but there's nothing I can do.

Still, I'm hopeful for more. Lots more. Don't be fooled: things aren't financially better yet.

So back to last night and our hockey doubleheader. A huge shoutout to Paul Silverfarb for riding shotgun on both games yesterday. As I've said many times, chemistry is everything in a booth. Paul and I are friends, and we work well together.

That's the key to this. Be it Paul, Chris Erway, Chris Kaelin, Jake Zimmer, Mick, Harold, and others, these are the guys I know I can trust. They've got my back in the booth.

I've worked with people I've literally never met until minutes before air time. It's worked, but it's still always a worry. Will they understand my cadence? Will they play along with my sense of humor? Do they really know when to talk and when not to talk? Do they know what to say? How is their integrity? Are they biased?

I'd never called a game with John Nash (fellow #Project365 er), but we're friends so I could tell how it would go, and it's worked just fine.

Joe Early jumped on a couple of times and, again, I knew it would work. I have a sense of it.

Last spring, I called the Brunswick/Hopkins FAA baseball championship. As I take every call very seriously, working with someone I've never met can be nerve-wracking. Working with someone I've never met for a championship/playoff game can really rattle me. The stakes are especially high, as there are people who actually look to replay those broadcasts for years to come.

Brunswick and Hopkins co-produced the broadcast, so the Hilltoppers asked to add an analyst. Fortunately, it worked.

Another time, I was to call the girls FCIAC volleyball championship. Here's the thing: I'd never called volleyball. Then I found out I was getting an analyst I've never met.

Enter Matt Narwold. Bingo. He was perfect.

Sometimes there are mixed results.

Anyway, I'm sort of babbling on this day in which I have little energy.

Unless I had a game to call. Then I would get to work.

Exhaustion be damned.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Sean at 17

Oct 2004
They looked at the screen.

"You're having a boy," they said.

Wow. A son. The whole "keep the family name alive" thing.

He needed a name. "Sam" sounded good, save for one problem.

Sam. Adams.
Nope.
I couldn't do it.

Then "Sean" came into my brain. No bad connotations there. I had friends in Sean Kilkelly and Sean Ford, among others. There was already a Sean Adams on WCBS Radio.

Yes. "Sean." That would do quite nicely.

"Robert" was going to be the middle name all along, as I wanted to honor my dad.

So Sean Robert it was, and he came into the world early on a Saturday morning.

In fact, I had a rare night off from broadcasting games and had just gone to bed when I was told to get up. He joined us a little after 7:00 a.m.

I beamed with pride walking with him through the hospital. It was no secret we were going to be quite the duo.
May 2009
My work schedule at that time allowed me to stay home with him, so we had our routine of breakfast while I worked on radio stuff from home. Then I'd take him to his grandmother and get going with another round of games.

Our bond grew, as expected.

As a boy, he was a ham, with a wonderful smile and an easy laugh. There were behavioral hiccups, but I've seen worse. He's human.

Is he going to Harvard? No -- it wouldn't be his thing anyway.

Is he going into sports? Good god, no. I'd be shocked. Sports is definitely not his thing, and as I've said many times, I'm OK with that.

Sean figures things out on his time, in his way.

He's quite the man. Very grounded, still funny, loves puns, still laughs and smiles, but there's a world-weariness now that I worry has come from life experiences. That's, of course, something that I'll feel responsible for, though I've shielded him from a lot, and let him see reality when needed.

He has my tendency to be snarky and sarcastic. Quick-witted for sure. There's no doubt about that. But he's still a largely optimistic guy.

Most agree that he's a younger version of me, for what that's worth.

He might not open up and talk to everyone, but we still have that relationship where everything is on the table.

We look out for each other, and regardless of who you are, you're best to not mess with us.

He's developing political thoughts and a fine moral compass.

He told me last night he has no interest in tattoos or piercings of any kind. Feels he could regret them one day. Smoking? Drugs? Drinking?

No. No. No. So he says, and I believe him.

The truth is, sometimes I want to see him "live" a little more, just to get out. But he's happy with who he is and what he is. He's happy with his circle of friends, most notably Chris (whom I've never met and is just a voice on the phone) and Will ("the Thrill"). It's hard to complain about that.

If you've followed this blog or any of my social media, you know what a huge role he has played in my life. I can think of very few others whom I talk about nearly as much (I sometimes feel guilty for that, but when I love someone, I blab about them).

So you probably know a ton about him. My listeners know a lot about him also, and he used to be a presence at a lot of those games that I called.

He's taller than I am now (he loves that). He makes me proud every day.

We're as close as ever, and he doesn't seem to want to push "his old man" away. There's a natural space between us, and that's good. Yet when I asked about going away this summer, he quickly said, "Heck yeah I'm going!"

Of course, I'll always lament that lost time of the past 10 years when he moved to a different school district. However, it didn't hurt our relationship or even really change it. I think we would have always been like this.

I have to go broadcast two hockey games today. Greenwich and New Canaan girls play at 4:00 for the FCIAC Championship, and the Cardinals and Rams boys teams meet at 7:30 in an FCIAC quarterfinal game.

When I asked him if he was OK with that, he shrugged and said, "Sure." No hesitation.

He'll stay home and do his computer thing, and appear when he needs food or to pet Chico (the very large cat).

Happy birthday, Sean. Through countless hugs, tickles, laughs, tears, "I love yous," and miles, you've been everything I could want from a child.

A son.

And at this point, a man.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Miraculous

Credit: Getty Images
Al Michaels didn't plan it.

It was Feb. 22, 1980 and Al Michaels was on the call of his career. Oh he didn't expect it to be. He didn't think it would be the game that changed his life.

He thought the game would be a blowout.

Michaels had already worked with Chick Hearn in Los Angeles (but Hearn didn't like him), and called minor league baseball in Hawaii, as well as football and basketball for the University of Hawaii.

He was even an actor on an episode of Hawaii Five-O.

By 1971, he was with the Cincinnati Reds and was part of NBC's World Series broadcast team in 1972, at the age of 27.

He would soon ascend to ABC for baseball, college sports, and more.

He loved hockey, but was limited on experience, having called just one game professionally, in the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo, Japan. Michaels called the Soviet Union vs. Czechoslovakia game on NBC.

That gave him one more hockey game than virtually the rest of the ABC sports roster as they descended upon Lake Placid, NY in 1980.

Michaels, of course, would go on to call the "Miracle on Ice" on Feb. 22, 1980. But he didn't plan to say the word "miracle."

After all, how could he? How could anyone?

The Soviet Union, the dominant team coming into the Olympics, had just routed the United States, 10-3, at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 9.

But something strange happened with the scrappy collection of college kids, coached by Herb Brooks (and not Kurt Russell, who played Brooks in the movie Miracle). The Americans scratched for two first period goals against the unstoppable USSR goalie, Vladislav Tretiak.

When the second period began, Tretiak was gone, having been benched. The game changed.

Mike Eruzione scored the game-winner with 10 minutes left in the third period.

From there, the US held on for dear life as goalie Jim Craig made 36 saves in the win.

In the booth, Michaels and parter Ken Dryden watched in amazement as it unfolded. Michaels noted earlier in the game that the crowd was subdued, but as time wound down, he said that crowd was "going insane."

Still, there was no way he could manufacture the "miracle" line.

However, he had a word in his mind, and it was indeed "miraculous."

You see, as as play-by-play announcers, what we do can't be scripted. It needs to be natural. Oh sure, a word or concept might creep into the mind, but it still can't be rehearsed. It needs to be -- it MUST be -- ad-libbed.

So while "miraculous" was in Michaels' brain, he still had to utter it.

"11 seconds, you've got 10 seconds, the countdown going on right now! Morrow, up to Silk. Five seconds left in the game. Do you believe in miracles? YES!"



Dryden could only say "unbelievable."

And that it was. The "miracle" call entered the lexicon of sports sayings, as is arguably the most famous call in history, standing up with "The Giants win the pennant!" and literally everything that Vin Scully has ever said*.

*It's my blog. I can say that. But consider the Koufax perfect game, the Mookie Wilson grounder, and the Kirk Gibson home run. He's Vin.

As many know, the miracle game wasn't broadcast live, and Michaels still had another game to call that night, so he had no idea how the US/USSR game impacted the world until he left the arena.

As many often forget, the US did not win the gold medal until they beat Finland 4-2 two days later. Michaels punctuated the moment.

"This impossible dream comes true!"

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Peter Tork and the FCIAC Championship

Peter Tork. Photo credit: Getty
That's Peter Tork of The Monkees in that picture. We'll get to him in a moment.

*****
I called the FCIAC girls basketball championship tonight.

In a low-scoring affair, Norwalk held on for a 32-29 win. It was a good game that felt like it lacked a signature moment. Still, it came down to the last shot, and you can't ask for anything more than that.

This is what the last shot sounded like.


Check this out on Chirbit

I'm on to girls hockey on Saturday, as Greenwich and New Canaan meet for the championship. It's a game I've already seen, since the two played in the Winter Classic at the Greenwich Skating Club in December. In fact, the teams have met twice, with each team winning once 3-2.

The Cardinals will go for a third straight FCIAC title Saturday at 4pm. Watch it on Fairfield.live.

*****
Now back to Peter Tork, who died earlier today.

I realize, to some, a musician from a band created for a TV show in the 1960's seems a bit much to mourn. But I don't.

Tork was -- at least to me -- the George Harrison of The Monkees. Despite what you might think of the show (it was actually quite brilliant for its brief run), the music is nothing short of outstanding.

Let's get it clear: they weren't The Beatles. Facts are 1) Who is? and 2) They didn't need to be.

Their songs, be it the work of others or themselves, made timeless hits on the pop charts and other deeper cuts that stand up on their own.

Tork was probably the best pure musician of the band, though fans of Mike Nesmith might take offense to that (and none is intended, as I also think "Papa Nez" is fantastic).

It's a difficult thing for some to deal with. These are people we'll likely never know. We might get a chance to meet (or interview) them at best. So, to some, how dare we mourn them? They're people. Just like us, right?

We mourn their passing. Sure. But we also mourn our own loss. Peter Tork takes us back to being a kid and watching The Monkees, while learning the music of The Monkees.

We go back to innocence, and passing that knowledge onto a new generation of fans.

I like The Monkees, and I feel for the fans who mourned today. I certainly feel for Susan, who is the most knowledgeable Monkees fan I know. I know she's sad today, and she's actually the best source to write about him today. I'm doing so in her honor.

We're so fortunate that we have the TV shows and the music to remember him (and Davy Jones, who died in 2012).

Here we come walking down the street...  

(I'm not posting that song, but one Peter's best -- though he admittedly did not write it. It's still a great performance)

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The End Was Near

The message of Feb. 20, 1971
It was Saturday, Feb 20, 1971.

Richard Nixon was in the White House and The Beatles officially broke up the year before.

"One Bad Apple" by The Osmonds was the number one song (dear God). The Baltimore Orioles were the reigning baseball World Series champions, while the Colts had won won Super Bowl V a month earlier.

And the world nearly ended. Or at least those listening to radio or watching TV might have thought that.

No. Make that "MUST have thought that."

We have a system for broadcasting "in the case of an ACTUAL emergency," as you've know doubt heard over the years. We now call it the Emergency Alert System.

In 1971, it was the Emergency Broadcast System, and a major mistake caused "War of the Worlds" -like panic.

At 9:33 that morning, NORAD teletype operator W. S. Eberhardt sent the wrong tape over the EBS to over 2,500 radio and television stations in the United States. Eberhardt had access to three tapes: a test and two tapes that delivered actual emergency messages.

Incidentally, I can't seem to find what happened to poor Mr. Eberhardt.

The alert, as it said in the picture above:
*****

MESSAGE AUTHENTICATOR: HATEFULNESS/HATEFULNESS

THIS IS AN EMERGENCY ACTION NOTIFICATION (EAN) DIRECTED BY THE PRESIDENT. NORMAL BROADCASTING WILL CEASE IMMEDIATELY. ALL STATIONS WILL BROADCAST EAN MESSAGE ONE PRECEDED BY THE ATTENTION SIGNAL, PER FCC RULES. ONLY STATIONS HOLDING NDEA MAY STAY ON AIR IN ACCORD WITH THEIR STATE EBS PLAN.

BROADCAST EAN MESSAGE ONE.

MESSAGE AUTHENTICATOR: HATEFULNESS/HATEFULNESS

*****

The tape Eberhardt used, with the code word "HATEFULNESS," instructed stations to cease broadcasting immediately and begin and Emergency Action Notification (EAN) using Message #1. The message indicated that there were not other specifics, but the alert was at the direction of the US Government.

Six cancellation messages were attempted over the next 40 minutes, but each time they failed due to the use of the wrong code word or improper protocols. Finally, at 10:13 a.m., the code word "IMPISH" came across and the alert was canceled.

Many radio stations actually ignored the alert due to it being sent at the time that a regularly-scheduled test was to be delivered. Other broadcasters didn't have EAN protocols in place.

We are fortunate in that there are two examples of what radio stations did that morning exist on the internet. Radio station WOWO in Fort Wayne, IN had a befuddled, yet calm and authoritative Bob Sievers on the air. Later in this recording, WCCO of Minneapolis/St. Paul also exhibits a necessary level of calm. I'd like to believe I'd be able to do the same.



While we've fortunately never had to activate the system for the most dreaded of national emergencies, there are still uses for the system in terms of local warnings for things such as weather alerts.

The cell phone alert that snapped Hawaii to life on Jan 13, 2018
There have been subsequent false alarms, such as the alert on Jan 13, 2018 when residents of Hawaii were alarmed with the news of a imminent ballistic missile strike. In fact, I remember that quite well, as a friend of mine posted that news on Facebook.  Essentially, he posted words along the lines of: "I don't know what's going to happen, but if this is goodbye..."

Some 38 minutes later, that report turned out to be false.

Thankfully.

Watch how they saw it in Hawaii on CBS.



(UPDATE!) One more, thanks to AJ Szymanowski. While not the same, I thought of the day President Ronald Reagan joked into an open microphone about bombing Russia. Reagan was preparing to deliver his weekly radio address on Aug 11, 1984 when he joked with engineers during soundcheck. However, the feed went to stations who were already rolling tape. The inadvertent comments came across, but they were not broadcast live. Still, it was something to hear.

I thought about using it in this post, and when AJ tweeted a similar note to me, I decided to come back and add it. Thanks, AJ.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Not Much Here Tonight

The glamorous life. My setup at Trumbull High School
I just got home from calling the FCIAC girls basketball semifinals.

The broadcasts went as well as could be expected. We found space in the Trumbull High School gym (shout out to athletic director Mike King for making it happen).

I dug into my bag of tricks and ran 100 foot of microphone cable to go from my setup to Keith, running the camera for Local Live (Fairfield.live). I taped down power so that nobody tripped.

I crawled under bleachers to get the mic cable out of the way.

This is basically what we do for every game. We just make it happen. There's no crew (most of the time) to do it for me. It's a labor of love. I did what I always do.

Then I ran my mouth for three hours or so.

I think it's unlikely to happen (bad weather is on the way), but we could do it again tomorrow for the FCIAC girls hockey semis.

I've got the call of the girls basketball final on Thursday between Norwalk and Trinity Catholic. The Bears of Norwalk High School have not lost this year. We'll see if Thursday is a coronation.

For what it's worth (that is, nothing), Thursday appears to be my 25th FCIAC championship game broadcast in all sports. Not sure if that's accurate, but it's cool anyway.

Beyond that, I don't have much to say tonight. With my Sirius XM radio gone (I can't afford it -- big shock, I know), I've fully dunked myself into the podcasting pool. I've got five on my mind that I'm immersing myself in. Perhaps that's a post for another night.

Further, I keep playing with the idea of doing one myself. Like the blog, I won't do it unless I can do it right. I have an idea for one that I like. That doesn't mean anyone else will. So it's to be continued.


Monday, February 18, 2019

Barnes and Noble

Photo by Sean B. on Foursquare
I needed to get out.

To be honest, I didn't know where I was going.

I felt the safest place for me was somewhere that would allow me to free my mind.

Barnes and Noble was the place.

Ah, the bookstore. Sadly, the days of Borders (RIP) are over. My goodness, I spent hours -- lunchtimes and more -- in the Borders in White Plains, NY.

Barnes and Noble got plenty of my time also.

But alas, the days of Waldenbooks and, more locally, Book and Record are over.

I know, I know. Amazon. The interwebs. And so on.

You're right.

There was a rhythm to my time in the book (and music) store.

Among the books, I always went to sports (obviously), music/entertainment, travel (especially US travel, because I loved travel narratives), then glanced at biographies.

I perused. I wandered.

I sat. I read.

I stood. I read.

Oh I tore through the music portion of a store for the CD's (or cassette tapes and records). It's where I'd often find great jazz CDs, or any other genre, for that matter.

There isn't a music section at Barnes and Noble any longer. The travel section was OK, save for the book on New York City Radio (it's one of the "Images of America" series that tends to find its way to the travel section).

The music and movies books were boring me.

Shockingly, the sports did also.

Other than the radio book, the only other thing I picked up was an effort breaking down The Beatles' song lyrics. I also own a book like that already, so my mind just never quite got into reading this one.

Maybe I was just too distracted.

Maybe the book store really is in bad shape.

I hope not.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

In The City

Eleanor and I posed like this. I thought it made us look like tourists.
I spent the day in New York City.

Hector is in town for work, and with a free hotel room (even one that is the size of, well, a New York hotel room), Kristy brought the kids (her three, plus my goddaughter Emma, and a neighbor as well).

I was able to connect with her with my niece (Kristy's sister) Stephanie.

I promise. There will not be a test.

It was cold (it's February in New York).

We walked over five miles total, and my hip is in shambles. My back hurts. My feet hurt.

But I got time with family.

Look, we can't pick our family, as the saying goes, but when this family is around, I wind up in a happy place. So we breezed through Chinatown and saw the Brooklyn Bridge and rode the Staten Island Ferry and went to Grand Central Terminal and Times Square.

I got to play tour guide. Admittedly I'm not the most savvy New Yorker.

But we ate cannoli's and black and white cookies (and yet, somehow racial harmony still eludes us). We wished we had time for a good pizza.

I mean a good pizza. Like Joe and Pat's on Staten Island or L&B Spumoni Garden in Brooklyn or Patsy's in Harlem. Or others.

So that didn't happen. But it didn't deter from an exhausting, yet successful day.

No stress. No trouble. Few problems. Just family. Laughing and enjoying time together.

So simple.

** Incidentally, the day started with a train delay in North White Plains. The minute I heard the announcement of a "situation" at the Hartsdale station on the Harlem line, I knew something was wrong. Indeed, we found out someone was hit by a train in Hartsdale. The speculation, of course, is suicide. We saw the scene when we came by some time later. My heart breaks for the persons' family, and while we make the best of circumstances, the inconvenience is nothing by comparison to a loss of life. Again, there is help.

So I leave simply with some pictures from today. I was encouraged to go. The joy of watching my great-nieces enjoy their first New York City experience like this was wonderful.

Quintessential New York. The black and white cookie. 
Thanks to Stephanie for this one. I ran over to be silly. I stayed in the picture.
First subway ride for the girls.
Billy Joel said "...between you and me and the Staten Island ferry..."

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Pick Up or Delivery?

Benvenuto in Mahopac (pic courtesy of Justdial.com)
I had dinner tonight with my mother, sister, one niece and one nephew.

Another niece is coming to New York City with four great-nieces. Oh yeah, and Hector is here for work. I have this funny feeling that most of you know Hector, so introductions probably aren't necessary. If they are, well get to know him. He's Kristy's husband and a frequent reader/listener.

Alas, this isn't about Hector, Kristy, or the myriad family members in New York City tonight.

Back to dinner. There was one simple question: how do we get it? Or more to the point: WHO'S going to get it?

Every Saturday night, so it seems, I leave the house and just go get dinner myself. If I'm out broadcasting a game (remember, I currently otherwise have no social life), the text inevitably hits my phone: "Do you just want to go pick up dinner?"

For the record, Benvenuto, pictured above, is the current go-to. It's a few minutes away and reasonably priced, with good quality and nice people. Plus it's always great to support the neighborhood.

There was once a video store in part of that building. Talk about a different lifetime.

If there's a self-service line when I'm shopping, I'm on it. Grocery store? Walmart? Target?

Yes. Yes. Yes. In each case, I'll see myself out, thank you very much. I realize that comes off a bit anti-social.

I'm the weirdo (yes, I admit it) who gets annoyed when I'm in New Jersey because they don't allow you to pump your own gas.

There are things I like about New Jersey. I swear. But the lack of choice to be able to pump gas isn't one of them.

I actually sit in the car, feeling uncomfortable, when I have to get gas in New Jersey. Or I just skip the state completely and gas up elsewhere.

Doesn't matter what the weather is. It's just how I'm wired (and, again, I'm weird).

So when the option is presented or dinner, it's basically accepted that I'll just go get it myself.

Lately, I find myself staying home (again, if I'm not working). I run myself pretty hard most days, so I welcome a day to catch up at home. The last thing I want to do is go out at all.

But there's also the factor of waiting for dinner (oh yeah, and tipping a driver when you're broke isn't exactly delightful).

So I normally subscribe to the notion of "If you want something done, you might as well do it yourself."

Or something like that.

That being said, we opted for delivery tonight.

Go figure.

Friday, February 15, 2019

A Dark Stadium

Looks like a nice place.
I'm sitting outside a dark stadium in Bridgeport, CT right now.

It's under two hours until game time, meaning even less until air time.

Still, after 20 years, I've learned to not panic. It will all be just fine.

But nobody is here.

I'm calling UConn/University of Bridgeport lacrosse. I'm pretty excited for the opportunity, via Local Live.

And a little nervous.

You can watch the game here: https://locallive.tv/archives/40361

So back to the dark stadium thing.

I've got my audio equipment, computer, rosters, and assorted other items that makes a broadcast come together.

But the stadium is completely locked. So I can't access the booth, even if I wanted to sit in there in the dark.

I'm often asked what time I want people to show up for a game. My answer, generally, is 90 minutes before game (or air) time. Certainly the earlier, the better.

That doesn't mean I can't pull off a broadcast in less. I'm not sure what the least amount of time is that I've thrown things together in. I'm willing to bet Shawn Sailer or Paul Silverfarb or Chris Erway knows.

So as I said, I'm not bothered by this. I would imagine, pretty soon, someone will start unlocking things and the lights will come to life.

I'll go into the booth, a cameraman will show up, and we'll do what we do.

So there's no need for panic or concern.

At least not yet.

(6:19 -- the lights are on. Time to see if I can get in. See? No need to panic.)

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Love

A simple concept, really.
It's Valentine's Day.

Groan.

It's not that I'm against the idea, but like anything else, I don't need a singular day to tell me that I have to love.

Love is quite great, and countless songs have been written on the topic (see above).

Love is also complicated.

It's just that Valentine's Day (© Hallmark) has this inherent pressure built into it. Yes it's quite true that anyone can be ones "valentine" but there are those who think their partner MUST bring home chocolates/jewelry/flowers and various gifts.

How about a bottle of wine, a nice dinner, and watch a movie at home? Is that too hard?

But I'm still an old softie. A romantic at heart.

Love -- and with it, respect -- aren't difficult. People have feelings. They have their hangups and idiosyncrasies. They exist for a reason, whatever that reason may be.

Now try to understand that and work with it.

Holy guacamole, but isn't that at the very foundation of life? Why is this so difficult?

Love today, and be loved. Or just love yourself and what you are.


That's what she said.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

World Radio Day


To many, it's become passé. You likely have one -- somewhere. Maybe on your phone or in your car.

Yet you might roll your eyes at it, and that's a shame.

It's February 13th, and it is World Radio Day.

Oh I know. Radio. Just audio. No pretty pictures.

The technology that emerged from the second half of the 19th Century, and to which we truly don't have an answer as to who invented it* was the dominant technology of the first half of the 20th Century.

*The accepted answer is Guglielmo Marconi, but Reginald Fessenden, Lee De Forest and others can claim a certain level of ownership.

By the 1920's, radio was exploding in the United States, and the BBC (British Broadcasting Company) was founded in England in 1922.

For the record, sports broadcasting became a reality by 1921, with the first baseball game hitting the air on KDKA (Read my post "Thank You, Mr. Arlin" for more).

While TV would bubble through the 30's and begin nosing out radio after World War II, and movies gaining sound in the 20's, radio continued to soldier on.

Virtually everything prior to 1950 was found out via radio. All of World War II, FDR's presidency (and death), and countless radio shows (like "The Shadow") were heard on the radio.

"War of the Worlds" was on the radio.

Even now, it still can work in concert with TV (and the internet) to give us the information that we need.

Think about it: on the night of Superstorm Sandy, myriad Greenwich residents found themselves without power. Thus they fired up their battery-operated radios, set their AM dial to 1490, and listened to me, as well as Jim Campbell and Tony Savino.

The radio is what I reach for in the same spot.

Obviously, I can't watch a video in the car either while I drive.

The game has changed even more than ever, with satellite and the internet thrown into the mix.

The truth is the term "radio" has become as generic as all bandages being "Band Aids®." Pandora, Spotify, Apple, Tidal, and other streaming services will often use the term "radio," when in fact there's nothing "radio about them.

But we're still listening. News, music, sports, talk, weather, and traffic, are just part of the stew being served up every day on stations both terrestrial and otherwise.

My satellite radio service shut down last week after my subscription expired. While it's not exactly a "first world problem," it still opened up other doors for me. I'm climbing into the podcasting world a bit more, with the addition of the "Ron Burgundy Podcast" and "David Tennant Does a Podcast With..." among the things that are interesting me.

Soon, the sound of baseball will be heard from my radio, and you can be quite sure that if I decide to "mute" a game on YES, that John and Suzyn will be a possible backup plan.

I love TV. I love video. But there's still magic in audio.

The foundation of who I am as a broadcaster is in radio.

I'm still very "ga ga" for it (and listen to WGCH).

Happy World Radio Day.


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

A Reintroduction

An early title image (taken in New Jersey in 2008)
We've hit our 45th consecutive day of posting (43 of them in 2019).

Combining the renewed focus on writing with the blog being born again (praise Marty Moose!), it was suggested that I explain our little effort here in this corner of the interwebs.

I went into detail originally back on Aug 20, 2006, but the suggestion of revisiting the what and why of Exit 55 is a great one.

Blogs were quite the rage in the late-00's (lazy, hazy days, of course). I was just a suburban dad with a job, as well as a side gig calling sporting events. I had a four-year-old that I adored (and still do).

I was intrigued by the idea of starting a blog, but it had to be right.

My feeling was that I wasn't willing to do a blog unless I invested wholeheartedly. I didn't want to do it and then let it just languish.

A few friends began writing one, and that was the last straw. It was time to take the plunge. I opted for Blogger (and have never moved off of it, despite the temptation to run to WordPress or somewhere else), and decided it would be multifaceted. At no point did I want it to just be sports, or music, or roads, or movies, or politics, or anything else.

I wanted it to be about everything, and it has been.

There are things that I'm sure I've written that I regret, and there are others that I'm pretty proud of. For instance...

- What has become known as "The McCartney Post."
- After Yogi Berra died, I wrote about "The Yankees Saloon."
- I also wrote about the pure joy of the game of baseball ("Baseball").

These aren't the most popular posts in the 13 years of this blog, but those are ones that were impactful. For the record, the story of Oniontown, NY holds the title of the most hits.

The title of the blog was actually the thing I obsessed over the most, but I'm pleased with how it came together. It was very organic. I wanted something that fits me, and the combination of roads with my favorite number, and the metaphor of "exit" as a place to release my writing all worked.

It just hit me, and it's actually been a bit of an identifier for me. Just as "Robcasting" is becoming now.

I normally marvel at the fact that I have kept this going with a post on the anniversary, August 17 (2006), and was about the beginning of the end of old Yankee Stadium.

In 2019, I'm still complaining about it.

I've evolved in many ways, but old Yankee Stadium still makes me very wistful.

Years ago (I think it was 1987), a college professor asked me to mentor a student about writing. It shocked me, as I never thought of myself in that way (I wasn't available to do so, sadly). Yet for years, I read the work of people like Mike Lupica, and I wondered if I could present my thoughts in a similar way.

I never thought I could get that on paper. Or the internet.

Yet the blog was a way to try. If I failed, then the investment was literally nothing.

Instead, it opened doors. I made friends and allowed the blog to be a way to peer inside. People began quoting the blog to me, and telling me about things that they read.

I was shocked. I'm still shocked.

I haven't told all of the stories. Oh no, not even close. Those who thought vague posts were about anyone were, more often than not, wrong.

That's what "Rule 55" was for, where I would use a video instead of firing away. It was Sean Kilkelly's idea, and it worked to perfection.

It's still a fine line, this blog. The "shi**y reporter" that I am, I choose words and phrasing carefully. Being that it's writing, I can utilize a delete key. I can't do that on radio or TV.

I found my writing voice. Then I thought I lost it.

I'm back. Maybe not better. Hopefully not worse.

But I'm back. Exit 55 rolls on.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Buzzer Beater



This wasn't the game plan for tonight. I was going to write about something else.

But...sports.

I wanted to call some Greenwich High basketball, and decided tonight's game against Fairfield Warde was the right one.

I know both coaches. I know both schools.

It was great to be back in Greenwich High School, where I've called so many previous basketball games.

Paul Silverfarb joined me for the call, so I knew we'd have fun.

But the game was the star, and the two teams gave us a good one. It went to double overtime before Warde prevailed on a Matt Becker runner at the buzzer.



If you just want to listen to buzzer beater that gave the Mustangs a 68-66 win, here it is.


Check this out on Chirbit

With tomorrow being a snow day, we'll do Doubleheader from home. Brunswick is off, so our next broadcast is Wednesday.


Sunday, February 10, 2019

Winter Sports


I'm home after a long day, with The Grammy's on TV.

Nope. I'll confine those thoughts to Twitter. (But really, J Lo doing Motown?)

I called wrestling with Chris Erway today, from the Stamford studios of Local Live, for the New Jersey Dual Meet Finals. What a blast.

Something happens around this time of year. During the winter, I go between hockey and basketball quite a bit, but sometimes I get rolling on one sport and start missing the other.

In other words, when I get on a stretch of calling basketball, I long to get back to hockey.

Well on Friday and Saturday, I got to do just that, calling back-to-back Brunswick hockey games.

There are games, and it's rare, where I "feel it." It just all comes together. I see the field/rink/court differently. The rosters are ingrained in my cranium.

That was the case on Friday, as The Gunnery visited the Hartong Rink. Flying solo, I was able to string together a decent call of a 4-3 Bruins loss. Still I'm not afraid to make fun of myself, like when I got tongue tied.


Check this out on Chirbit
On Saturday, the Bruins hosted Berkshire in the home finale. I made my way to Greenwich, fully expecting to grab food at a nearby deli.

Which was promptly closed. Due to "unforeseen circumstances."

A hungry broadcaster creates a tired broadcaster creates a not-quite-solid broadcast.

But the game didn't need Doc Emrick. It needed to be shepherded, because the Bruins and Bears gave us a good one. Down 4-1 after 2, the Bruins stormed back with four goals to win 5-4. There were 14 penalties and myriad chippy play, but it was an exciting game. It's worth listening to.
It was also senior day, and I send my congratulations to Henry Hill, Cooper Moore, Edward Glassmeyer, Charles Shaffer, Aaron Aboodi, Andy McBurney, and Dan Dachille. I wish I knew the athletes better than I do, but I've gotten a chance to know the parents more in recent years. Their feedback is just wonderful.

"I had to come meet you," one grandmother exclaimed. "You've explained the game to me more than anyone else. I wish your voice was pumped in here to the rink!"

"Welcome back," another person said. "You're the voice we want to see up there (on the balcony)."

Stuff like that is priceless. If only the right people could hear those recommendations.

As for basketball, don't worry. I'll be back at that, calling Brunswick twice this week (though I expect Tuesday will get snowed out), and Greenwich once (tomorrow against Fairfield Warde). I'll also be calling the FCIAC girls and boys basketball semis and finals for Local Live, as well as the FCIAC girls hockey final.

However, no boys hockey. I think I know why, but yeah. Anyway.

OK, back to The Grammy's. My head needs to explode.

Saturday, February 09, 2019

It's Time To Talk

Just being an open book.
As you probably know, I opened up about some of my challenges last week, in an effort to get the ball rolling on mental health. (Read part 1 here, Read part 2 here).

The posts did have an impact, though it became a little more about me than I wanted it to, just as Thursday's post turned into more of a "pity party" than I intended.

After having breakfast with a friend on Friday, I figured it was time to explain things. You see, I have often been a voice on the air, and I thought I walked the fine line between the radio/video and the blog.

What I found out is that nobody really knows me or what is going on. So...

- Don't be fooled by my writing and social media posts. I might be busy, but it's not generating the revenue to pay bills.

- I'm currently completely and undeniably unemployed. I freelance some for Local Live and a few other gigs that I get (such as the great Hunt Scanlon, who brings me on as moderator for their conferences).

- I don't work at WGCH full-time, and Doubleheader is nothing more than a passion project. I do it to keep me active and they're great in that it doesn't matter if I make it to the studio. But there's no money.

- I haven't worked at my last full-time position since mid-2017 (and stopped being used as a freelancer there in early-2018), and truth be told, they're the ones who owe me a significant amount of back pay for my work. Astoundingly, I can't even get a response to my requests for pay.

- Robcasting makes little to no money at all.

- I've built relationships with Greenwich High, Brunswick, Fairfield Warde and Fairfield Ludlowe, Fairfield Prep, Greens Farms Academy, and King School, along with Darien (including the Darien Athletic Foundation), the SCC and their commissioner Al Carbone, the FCIAC, Mahopac and Carmel High Schools and more. This is all great. Sadly, it's not come to fruition in terms of work to get "a life."

- I can teach. I teach pretty well. I've mentored a lot of people. However, Connecticut School of Broadcasting gets me some teaching gigs. It's not full-time.

- The state of New York harasses me about child support, and even Sean is counting down to when it's over because it bugs him. I saw more courtrooms in 2018 than I've ever seen in my life. As with everything else, I have little support. No lawyer. Nobody to stand up for me. So of course, I lost everything. I have no way to pay what I owe, and that's all I should say about that. For now.

- There are no magic answers to this. I need a job. A real job. One that helps me pay my bills. One that helps me get my life back. Any free time is spent at home. I don't go out or socialize much because I can't afford it.

- I'd like to stay in broadcasting. I'd like to help fill the void that was lost with the end of HAN, and I hope Local Live (with me) will be the answer to that. I'd like to see more games get covered, with a professional broadcaster. This goes for Connecticut, New York, or wherever I'm wanted. Our student-athletes deserve that.

- Yet the reality is that I will put 100% into any job. I have experience in marketing and database marketing and writing (hi!) and a lot more. I'm a sponge. I want any job that will allow me to use the myriad skills I have.

- Would I love to stay in broadcasting full-time? Of course, but I don't have to.

- I'm more than willing to make covering games as a second gig (but NOT as a hobby. Your athletes deserve better than that.)

- Oh, and I'm not a salesman. I. Can't. Make. That. Clear. Enough.

That pretty much sums it all up. I realize now that nobody quite knew my real story, and I gave off the impression that I was doing great.

Until I opened up.

I hope now you understand, and you'll help me brainstorm to reach the next phase of my life. I need connections, networking, and ultimately, a job.

I need someone to take a chance.

My email is rda5512@gmail.com. My LinkedIn page is here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/steelyankee/.

Thank you.

Friday, February 08, 2019

You Mad?

Hi.
Dear Ms. Honda CRV Driver,

Please let me first apologize for being in the middle lane on Interstate 95 south today in Stamford, CT. It was insensitive of me to be there, stuck in traffic, with the endless tree clearing that has been going on.

Then -- worse -- I let a truck come into our lane from the left lane. You see, I have this silly notion of being polite in such moments, and since my dad drove trucks, well I have a soft spot for them.

That's when you decided to go around me, via the right lane, where you cut me off.

Foolishly, I honked my horn, since it looked like we might crash. But you're right. I shouldn't have done that. It's your road, miss. You own it.

So you flipped me off as I drove past you. Not once. Not even twice. Ten times, maybe?

I've always wanted to be number one. What an honor!

I know you didn't like it when you saw me take the above photo, as you stuck your phone out the window in apparent retaliation, not realizing that I was taking a picture (while we were stopped, of course) of such a wonderful person.

I mean, you have to be famous since it's your road!

My concern is, why are you so mad? It's bad for your blood pressure. The delightful soul in your passenger seat seemed to laugh at all of it, just as I did.

Perhaps we could meet for a latte in Greenwich sometime? Maybe we could talk it all out? I mean, we should all be so lucky to be on your road!

I'll be more sensitive next time.

Go home tonight and hug someone. Maybe listen to some Pharrell Williams or something.

Take a walk. Read a book.

Life's too short.

The road and your rage will still be there tomorrow.

Love,
Rob


Thursday, February 07, 2019

I Knew It


Among the questions I'm often asked is, "Why don't you apply for ESPN/NBC/Insert Outlet Here?"

Been there. Done that.

I'm fairly realistic, and have a pretty good gauge for the "no-brainer" jobs.

I've poked around several places, including those where I have friends.

No dice.

Still when I saw the creation of a broadcasting job for the Fayetteville Woodpeckers baseball team in North Carolina, I thought I'd throw my hat in the ring.

See, I know Fayetteville. I know that market. I have family that has lived in Fayetteville, and still lives just outside of the city. I also have family near Raleigh who are constantly in Fayetteville.

I can tell you with detail about Skibo Road, NC 24, Rayford Road, Hay St, and Bragg Blvd. About Cape Fear High School and Jack Britt. About restaurants and museums.

I read the Fayetteville Observer consistently, and was obsessive with the newspaper and WFNC radio (640 am and wfnc640am.com) during their recent hurricanes.

I've visited there six times since 2014. In fact, I tried to get the Woodpeckers on Doubleheader, and messaged them about hosting the show in Fayetteville last summer. I got no response.

I also made a trip downtown to look at the progress of the new stadium.

I think I've made my point.

Oh, and I sort of know a thing or 1200 about broadcasting a baseball game, given the years of the Renegades, high school, and so on.

So with no fanfare, except to tell a few close friends, I filled out an application, and waited for the inevitable.

I got that this morning. Thanks, but no thanks.

Am I mad? No. Surprised? Not at all.

Maybe I'm not that good. I certainly recognize that.

Get ready for the announcement of some 22-year-old out of Alabaster State College for the Perpetually Entitled as the new hire. I wish that person well.

You see, a lot of teams don't want a 50-year-old with over 20 years experience. Instead of seeing Roy Hobbs -- the veteran guy who got sidetracked and just wants a chance -- they see dollar signs. The fresh out of college kid doesn't look for a big salary.

So it was with an eye roll that I saw the email.

Then I told my family. You know, the people who would have actually bought tickets if their uncle had moved to North Carolina.

Am I a little demoralized? Sure, but for more reasons than that.

Right now, everyone with a checkbook thinks they can be a broadcaster. They don't train. They don't practice and stink and try to learn.

It's a hobby to them. They don't care if they're bad. They don't drag bags of equipment and exhaust themselves and take it personally when their audio doesn't actually make it to air because of a some technical issue.

There is some hope though. I see the kids at Greens Farms Academy who created GSPN, for instance. They are at games, knowing they need practice, and remaining completely wide eyed. There's no entitlement, and they want the criticism to help them get better.

I see that at WWPT (Staples). I see it at Danbury. Trumbull. I see it elsewhere. I love that.

But I don't see it everywhere. They feel their birthright is attending Syracuse and will be on CBS in a few years. They know they're the next Jim Nantz.

Anyway, I realize this comes off as sounding bitter, and I get that. I'm actually not.

I expected it. It's a sad reality for broadcasters like me.

It's why I put a lot of thought to just walking away.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Happy Little Trees

Me, in sunglasses and Yankees hat, in the Mahopac High School 1987 yearbook. Hopefully nothing sketchy there.
"That's a crooked tree. We'll send him to Washington."

— Bob Ross, From "The Joy of Painting"


I had something completely different written for tonight.

But...well...no.

I'll stick to happy things.

Like broadcasting a basketball game at Brunswick. The Bruins picked up a big FAA win against Hopkins. This is what the game sounded like:


Babe Ruth (Picture found on CBSSports.com)
Babe Ruth would have turned 124 today. He is -- simply -- the GOAT of all GOATs.

He's the man. He was a mythical beast from Baltimore. Except most of it was real. Or had a sliver of being real.

He called his shot in the 1932 World Series. Yet to what degree did he really call it?

But this post isn't about him though.

Maybe it should be, but others have written more eloquently about him than I likely ever will.

His number three should be retired across baseball. Just saying.

He changed sports. I stand by that.

From 2016: Photo of All Season Movers - Kearny, NJ
The Yankees are well on their way to spring training.

Well, at least their equipment is. Though I've heard a few players are starting to straggle in before things really get going with pitchers and catchers next week.

While it's a tease, it's also happy.

Yet we still have Bryce Harper and Manny Machado unsigned. We're heading for baseball anarchy of some kind.

Baseball is also pondering somewhat sweeping (and likely foolish) rules changes (USA Today).

We'll see what comes of it.

Who doesn't love Bob Ross? Just posting this in case you didn't get the post title.


Not sure we can be friends if you don't like Doc Emrick. Nah, that's not true. But it's definitely a demerit.

I'm watching him call Bruins/Rangers on NBCSN. My goodness. Just brilliantly fun and joyous.

Here's just a small sample of his brilliance from another time.


And onto tomorrow we go.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Warde/Trumbull Girls Basketball


Time is running short tonight, so we'll go with posting the game I called.

It was great to be at Trumbull High School to broadcast the girls basketball game between the Eagles and the Fairfield Warde Mustangs.

They're great programs with terrific coaches.

Trumbull took this one, 47-30. Sometimes, it isn't about the score. It's about having fun on the air and building things.

It's about the student athletes.

Download the game on Archive.org, or stream it below.


We're right back at it tomorrow, as Brunswick hosts Hopkins. You can watch the game on Brunswick's Local Live channel.

Monday, February 04, 2019

Irrelevant Nonsense


#Project365 co-conspirator John Nash gave me food for thought today.

He wrote the following on Facebook: "The hatred in this world, especially over the littlest things that don’t matter, just staggers me."

He's right, and I'm guilty. I also told him that.

I ripped away in my usual live-tweeting of the Super Bowl (next up: the Grammy's!), having fun dispensing vitriol at the ghastly (sorry, I can't stop) s*** show known as Maroon 5 last night.


Like I said, I'm completely guilty.

Of course, it's an opinion, and it's something I work in on a daily basis about certain topics, with sports and entertainment being in the forefront.

But John is right in that it doesn't matter.

I'm smart enough (all things being relative) to know that Maroon 5, Nickelback, John Mellencamp and others have achieved popularity somehow. They obviously must be talented because they play instruments and, er, sing.

They've sold millions of records and still sell our venues of various sizes.

There are plenty who dislike The Beatles, and I'm very aware of that.

Again. Opinions.

But to John's better point, it doesn't really matter at the end of the day if Maroon 5 was dreadfully awful last night or if Tom Brady is the G.O.A.T. or if the Super Bowl was boring.

It doesn't.

Maybe it speaks to my own shallow brain. Maybe it's the little things that got me through a fairly pedestrian Super Bowl night (the 42nd one that I've watched).

That being said, I'm the primary entertainment (or snark leader) for my friend Mike Genaro, so I have to be on my game for the Grammy's.

Still, John's right. To be clear, John wasn't specifically talking about me.

It certainly made me think.

It likely won't change me.

Maroon 5 still...no. I can't. I won't.

They're just not my style.

They... ... ... hey, why not listen to us call tonight's King School/Greens Farms Academy boys basketball tilt?