Friday, May 31, 2019

A Few Friday Thoughts


We'll start with the above photo. Honestly, I have battled cold sores (I hate that term, but there's no better option) for years. I got one at the beginning of last week and made sure to not shave. Tonight, I got rid of the facial hair.

I'm sure there are some who say, "keep it." Only my mom says to get rid of it.

My son used to take one look at me after a day or two without shaving and say, "Um, Daddy. That's got to go." He doesn't care anymore.

I've never been a big facial hair guy. In fact, I used to be a rigid shave everyday guy. I don't do that anymore.

Anyway. Nothing major. Just mentioning it.

*****

WPLJ radio said goodbye this evening.

Starting life as WABC-FM, the station changed its call letters to WPLJ (standing for White Port & Lemon Juice) in 1971. At the time it was a great rock and roll station with legendary DJ's such as my Facebook friend Jimmy Fink. Jim Kerr, Carol Miller, and so many others.

By 1983, the station had changed to a CHR format (also known as Top 40). For a little over a year, the call letters (foolishly) changed to WWPR because their slogan was "Power 95."

In 1991, the station brought in Scott Shannon, who had revolutionized Top 40 radio in New York with the Z Morning Zoo on Z100. I had actually heard Shannon on Q105 in Tampa around that time.

With Todd Pettengill, Shannon put a formidable radio show together.

However, the station shifted to a Hot AC format for most of the rest of its time. While that held to a certain extent for some time, it eventually began to feel like "soccer mom" radio, as had often been said.

I'm not sure when it happened but by the 2000s, I took PLJ off my trusty car radio presets. The music had become mostly stale and repetitive.

Shannon left in 2014, reappearing on WCBS-FM while Pettengill carried on until this morning.

Educational Media Foundation now owns the station and brought their K-Love religious programming to 95.5 FM around 7:02 tonight.

Just awful (my opinion, of course).

I'd been following this topic for several weeks, and honestly hadn't been emotionally involved. But listening to the final hour struck me hard, as another part of New York radio history went away. Of course, I realize some of it is of their own doing, but that didn't make tonight any easier as I listened.

Race Taylor was the final lead host (DJ), and he ended with a toast to the power of terrestrial radio.

That destroyed me.

I even allowed myself to tweet about it, and while it's received numerous likes, noted former radio host Tom Leykis decided to weigh in.


Thanks for your thoughts, Tom. Best of luck with your podcast or whatever you're doing. I refused to dignify it, but I'll say this: radio isn't dead.

Radio has a new life in a variety of audio formats of streaming, podcasts and, yes, terrestrial radio.

It's still needed but it's also evolving.

Tom Leykis isn't worth my time trying to debate on this topic, so I won't be traveling down to his level.

Incidentally, WPLJ's social media footprint was gone within minutes of their sign-off.

While I've seen this happen in recent times, it's a decision I see as foolish. Only the public gets hurt by not having that archive. I'm sure there's some business mumbo jumbo that brings this on, but it seems unnecessary to me.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

We Don't Really Have It So Tough

My booth in right field at Brunswick. It's the best scenario and I'm content.
I belong to a play-by-play group on Facebook. Mike Hirn, Don Wadewitz, Phil Giubileo, and a few other friends belong to it as well.

I don't contribute a lot, to be honest. I mostly read things.

Which is probably for the best.

There are truly some very well-meaning people in there who want to help their fellow broadcasters and broadcasting enthusiasts.

There are also some great stories that get exchanged.

Then there are others.

Without sharing the whole post, a member wrote yesterday about what he saw as the fundamental differences between high school sports, college sports, and minor league baseball. His rant was pretty basic: stats/lineups readily available in minor leagues, mostly the same at the college level, and high school sports is cluster****.

And there are schools that charge to broadcast.

In theory, it's not wrong (though I've never encountered a school that charges us to broadcast and I wouldn't tolerate it).

Now to the nuts and bolts of this.

I've worked in all three levels. I've done minor league hockey and minor league baseball. I've done D-I, D-II, and D-III sports in college. I've called youth sports and high school sports. I've called corporate league softball games.

I've also been in professional press boxes as well.

I've literally seen it all, and yet I haven't.

I've called games in stands and on flatbed trucks.

In rickety press boxes with flies and yellow jackets.

In an auditorium where I took one window, Sean Kilkelly took another window 100 feet away, and Chris Erway was on the field with a wireless microphone for him to take the call when the action got out of our view.

I've worked hockey and basketball with the view from top to bottom and nearly got into a fight over it.

I've worked in science classrooms and foreign language classrooms.
This is how I called the Babe Ruth tourney last summer. Seriously.
Look at that picture. I looked through chain link fencing, walked as necessary, and coaches would work to keep players away from my line of sight. The listener barely knew, unless I needed to explain why I couldn't see something. As always, I made it work.

While calling a college game, I had to hold a push-button phone to my ear for the entire broadcast because there was no other way. Their phone line couldn't handle the technology I brought with me.

In minor league baseball, I had to hold a cellphone to my ear -- twice (once in Brooklyn, once in Aberdeen). In Hudson Valley, they didn't have enough booths at one time, so Sean Ford and I would stand in a breezeway at the top of the stairs on third base line in the stands.

I've had days where stat packs -- yes, the beloved stat pack -- either didn't show up at all or showed up just before first pitch.

As for lineups, the same has happened. They show up with last names, wrong numbers, and are often right before first pitch.

I've had phone lines taken away as I was on the air.

I've been told to move within minutes of air time.

This has gone on at every level. In every place.

The thing I quickly learned was that there is no nirvana. Each place has its peculiarities.

Tech issues in Bridgeport. A makeshift press box made up of arena seats in Albany. Sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with my analyst and graphics guy at Yale.

I told the story of my most recent Brunswick broadcast here.

And guess what? You learn to suck it up.

Because here's the thing. At the end of the day, the media is near the bottom of the priority list, and to be honest, we should be.

I show up and preach largely staying out of the way. But I also preach common kindness like cleaning up our messes and getting our equipment out of the way. Those small things go a long way.

Athletic directors, coaches, and players, as well as site directors, have literally 100 other things to do.

I adjust and, most of all, have learned to not panic.

Ask Shawn Sailer or AJ Szymanowski or Chris Erway or countless other people who have worked with me. We've seen so much and we adjust. Those who don't are doomed.

If -- for some reason -- I don't have a roster before a game (which is hit or miss in my coverage area), I either get in touch with the coach or an athletic secretary (or the AD) or I get to the game and nose around, depending on the sport.

For baseball, you get a lineup (again, it might be late, but you still get it). For basketball, there's a scorebook. Take a picture of it. For hockey, there's also a scorecard. For football, you make sure you have one before the game unless you want to risk getting a program.

For stats, guess what? They're not the end of the world.

Statistics are lovely. Really, they're great. Greenwich High football has done a remarkable job with live game stats. New Canaan also does that. A few others also. At higher levels, there are real-time stats.

Once again, allow me to let The Master speak:

And for the love of Red Barber, please stop with the "I prep for 10 hours" stuff. First, unless you've built a relationship, coaches aren't going to give you much. I worked with coaches for years and most of them knew they could trust me.

Root around for stories. Stand on the field or court and listen. Go to a tailgate. I get a lot of info there. Parents love to talk.

The biggest problem with broadcasters is that they don't know how to tell stories. They're so hung up on the unnecessary statistic that they don't know how to keep listeners informed and entertained.

So that's my rant. I'm so grateful to do the games that I get to do, and I'm glad I have the experiences to tell the stories that I can tell.

We learn from those stories. With them comes wisdom.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Not Tonight


I did The Clubhouse tonight.

I watched hockey.

The St. Louis Blues won.

That's all I've got.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

I Had a Post Written


I wrote a post tonight.

It was about the Yankees losing to the Padres, and how the Earth would still be turning tomorrow.

And it sucked.

It would have come off as historically-driven and, likely, obnoxious.

So I deleted the whole thing.

Some nights, it's harder to find a topic, let alone the energy.

This is just one of those nights.

Nothing grabbed me. Nothing felt important enough to discuss.

When all else fails, I do play-by-play. Because that's me.

I have a sleeping cat passed out at my feet. Not exactly Earth-shattering.

I'm watching The Office. Michael Scott is starting a paper company.

And I'm writing the basics of my evening.

Oh, The Clubhouse is back on tomorrow at 7 p.m. on WGCH (and wgch.com wherever your heart desires).

Lastly, there's some wacky weather out there, including devastating hurricanes out in "Hirnland" known as Ohio (home of Michael Hirn). The pictures are heartbreaking.

These are the things on my mind tonight.

I had a post written.

A little slice of life seemed like a better idea.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Billy Buck, John Oliver, and Memorial Day

That 'stache launched over 2,700 hits

Bill Buckner died today. He was only 69 and had dementia.

Terrible.

Watching the push-pull of the past few hours has been maddening. Like, infuriating.

Most media outlets chose to remember Billy Buck for one thing: his error in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. After the idiocy of both WFAN and SNY (and others), NPR finally made me snap, when they said his "costly error in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series cost the Boston Red Sox their first championship since 1918."

OK, here's the thing. As I wrote to friend and reader John Monteforte on Facebook: "First, of course, it was game SIX. Second, he shouldn't have been out there, but manager John McNamara wanted him on the field for the celebration. Third, the game was tied when the little roller came up along first. Calvin Schiraldi and Rich Gedman and Bob Stanley did more than their fair share to crap that game away. Plus Roger Clemens went seven and apparently pulled himself. And I was actually rooting for the Sox!"

There was still Game 7, and the Red Sox led that game 3-0. Maybe recognize that a porous bullpen might have lost the Series for ya?

But, also, Buckner won a batting crown. He had over 2,700 hits. He did more good with the Cubs than the Red Sox. He was in left field the night Hank Aaron hit 715. He was beloved by, literally, everyone.

This is the kind of stuff that makes people hate the media. Be better than this, folks.

Additionally, if you're a Mets fan today, DO NOT thank Buckner for '86. It's irresponsible. If you're a Red Sox fan, pause and remember the utter hell some of you put this guy through.

Bill Buckner deserved better. Much better.

(Note: Just as I was finishing up this post, I went back to look at NPR's account and they deleted the original tweet. Give credit where credit is due.)

*****
So TV personality John Oliver is a Mets fan, eh? That's adorable.

Seriously, that's cute. It then gives some Mets fans* a reason to celebrate.

Yet maybe -- just maybe -- they (or that one) should focus a little less on hating the Nationals as well (really, I don't get that) and a little more on being 26-26 and 4.5 games behind the Phillies (as I write)?

Seriously, the Phillies and Braves should be the current focus.

As for Mr. Oliver, whose show I've never watched, he said (per SNY, the paragon of sports journalism):
"As a real sports fan in England, I knew it's just not acceptable to come to America and support the Yankees," Oliver told Pix 11 on Sunday while watching the Mets beat the Tigers. "It's just not OK. By default, I was a Mets fan because I knew being a Yankees fan was the wrong thing to do morally." 
Oliver said when he joined "The Daily Show," then-host Jon Stewart "made it pretty clear that being a Mets fan was mandatory." 
He isn't the only famous comedian who is a Mets fan. Ever hear of someone named Jerry Seinfeld?

*Please note there are Mets fans that restore my faith in humanity. Dave Torromeo, Eric Scholl, Phil Giubileo, and so on. Hell even our beloved Kato (Chris Kaelin), so long as he's off social media, I guess. He seems more medicated (I kid).

*****
Today is Memorial Day, of course. What needs to be remembered is that we're remembering those who died while in the US Armed Forces (Darien Times). They're the reason why we're BBQ'ing, laying on the beach, shopping in the mall, or sitting on our back porch writing a blog. Please take a moment -- literally, a moment -- to pause and honor these brave souls.

Today is not about anyone who served in the Armed Forces. We remember the veterans in November and don't do a very good job with it if you ask me. Veterans Day is not treated with the respect it deserves, but then again, neither is Memorial Day, is it?

Anyway, we still live in a very special place, and it's because of a lot of blood and a lot of bravery (and I suppose even some foolishness).

After pausing for a moment (there's an official moment of silence at 3 p.m. but I say anytime today will do), then carry on, play "Hot Fun in the Summertime" or whatever song you choose, and enjoy a burger.

Thank you, all.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Bart Starr

Starr drops back in Super Bowl I
Bryan Bartlett Starr died today at the age of 85.

Many are saying how good -- even great -- Bart Starr was, and I'm glad to read that.

We seem to forget the legends, especially when we get blinded by Tom Brady, Joe Montana, and so on.

Bart Starr should absolutely be in that conversation.

The reason he's not, first and foremost, is the era he played in. Starr played in the "run first" years of the NFL, never throwing for more than 2,438 miles in a season. That would place Starr at 28th in 2018, after Joe Flacco and in front of Ryan Fitzpatrick.

In total, number 15 threw for 152 touchdowns.

In his career.

Bart Starr engineered the Packer Sweep, handing the ball to Jim Taylor and letting him do the rest. He had good receivers -- never the best ones necessarily. He had a great offensive line for sure.

He had the greatest coach. Yes, I said the greatest.

Another reason we don't talk about number 15 Bart Starr the way we talk about many others is his humility. Bart wasn't a commercial guy. He wasn't seen with Giselle, though he was quietly married to his high school sweetheart Cherry for 65 years. He wasn't part of a funny family.

There was no flash to Bart Starr. There was just focus and winning.

There were also five NFL championship wins in six tries. Those, actually, meant more back then than the two AFL-NFL World Championship Games that he won.

You know, the game that became known as the Super Bowl.

Oh, he played pretty well in those two games also, where he won the first two MVP awards.

Starr played in an era in which his contemporaries included Johnny Unitas (still the GOAT for my money), Frank Tarkenton, Norm Van Brocklin, Bobby Layne, YA Tittle, John Brodie, George Blanda, and Len Dawson. At the end of his career, the names were Namath and Bradshaw and Staubach and Griese.

By that point, Bart Starr had set the standard for winning without flash.

It's fair to say he never needed to go beat the Raiders in Super Bowl II, though that certainly was a fine topper on his career, which still had a few years left in it.

He had already cemented his legend by following Jerry Kramer into the most frozen of tundra at Lambeau Field on Dec. 31, 1967.

The game, of course, was "The Ice Bowl," as the Packers and Cowboys met for the second year in a row to resolve the NFL championship. Starr convinced Lombardi that the lineman could get just enough traction to block the Cowboys defensive line late in the fourth quarter.

If you don't know, the temperature at kickoff was −15 °F and the wind chill was −48 °F.

By the time Starr ran back to the huddle to call Brown right 31 Wedge, the sun was setting.

The Packers trailed 17-14. If a run was stopped at the line, the game was over. A rollout pass would either be incomplete, a touchdown, or leave time for a field goal.

Of course, Starr scored, and the legend of the game was born.



Lombardi would eventually resign and make a last return with the Redskins before dying in Sep 1970.

Starr would walk away after 1971, and immediately become a QB coach for the Packers. He tried broadcasting on CBS, but returned to the Packers as head coach for nine seasons of mostly little success, compiling a record of 52–76–2.

Starr's health would deteriorate in his early 80s, thanks to strokes, a heart attack, and brain damage. Bart was able to visit his friend Brett Favre at the ceremony to retire number four in 2015.

Bart Starr was special. A class act. All the things you want to hear about a man.

A man who would sign any autograph.

A man who played tough and hard and make no fuss.

A winner.

Green Bay -- always Titletown -- is very sad tonight.

While not their most talented quarterback died today, their greatest one did.

*****
A quick side-note. I had a small affection for auto racing as a kid. I cared about two races (Daytona and Indianapolis) because my dad did. But the culture of the whole scene -- especially NASCAR -- changed, and it largely turned me off. Too much glitz. Too commercial. Too...well...too much something.

Maybe it's me. Maybe I've changed. Like anything else, I can be brought back to it.

Anyway, I watched a large chunk of Indy today, and the end was fantastic.

My dad would have loved it.

I just wanted to say that.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

A Special Day



I make little to no money. That's a simple, sad fact.

But I have a cool gig.

Today that gig actually made me no money. No, wait, given I had to use my car and buy lunch, I lost money.

But I got to spend the day with my son at the Greenwich Town Party, as the hosts of our radio coverage on WGCH.

"Priceless" sounds like a lame term because, as I just pointed it, there was a price. But at the same time, you can't put a price on the experience.

When I first asked him to join me, he seemed interested, but by last night, there were the usual questions about "how long will we be there" and such.

But he got out of bed before 8 a.m. (a teenager? Unthinkable!) and we were out the door before nine.

We grabbed the equipment at WGCH and made our way to the media parking a few blocks from Roger Sherman Baldwin Park.

One key for us was that we didn't pack as much equipment as we had in other years. Even I -- known for overpacking -- was willing to take the risk of surviving on whatever was packed in our single duffle bag.
With a visitor (Paul Silverfarb photo)
He was at the ready to help with anything I asked and stood nearby listening as we spoke with roadies and sound guys for the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd.

He served as the perfect sounding board for any of my asides and laughed along at things during the day.

He willingly knocked me for looking foolish (yes, I can be that dad).

He jumped in and talked on the radio like he was a pro.

Someone will say we were boring or too glib or some other criticism. They're certainly entitled to it.

He chatted with Fred Camillo and Paul Silverfarb and DJ Furano and John Ferris Robben. He answered questions from people who stopped by the WGCH tent and handed out frisbees that the Greenwich Town Party left with us.

He watched as his dad interviewed Ray Dalio (only one of the richest people in the world) and recognized what a significant thing that was.

I thought he was great on the air and off. He chimed in with opinions and remained professional (even if there was something he didn't like).

By 4 p.m., he was basically done. He was content to say he saw The Beach Boys (even if it's basically Mike Love and Bruce Johnston and a bunch of other people). He didn't care about staying for the Beatles cover band Sun King or even for Lynyrd Skynyrd.

I was sort of fried by the point also. It's an all-day gig that comes with varying degrees of stress.

Besides all of the joy I felt in watching him today, and in spending such precious time with him, I was most pleased to hear him say -- without prompting -- that he really enjoyed the day.

He loved it. He said he'd like to come back.

I know my concert-attending days are long over, but I hope one day the conditions are right for us to pack the equipment in the car and stay for the whole event one year.

This wasn't that year.

I realize I'm biased because he's my son, but I think he's earned another year of co-hosting with me.

I don't expect Sean to go into broadcasting at all. But if nothing else, he can put this experience on his resume.

He can say he spent a day as a broadcaster with his dad, co-hosting the Greenwich Town Party on WGCH.

He has a story that he can tell if he wants to.

I know I'll tell it.

Proudly.

Friday, May 24, 2019

On Being a "Homer"

John Sterling and Michael Kay (Photo: Getty Images)
I saw this earlier today.
Which, OK, fine. Gary Cohen -- the revered TV "voice" of the Mets -- did a fist pump and proved he's a homer. Honestly, it's not a big deal. Gary is a great broadcaster of course.

But...

John Sterling (and Michael Kay) get lambasted should they show any bias for the Yankees.

The utter hypocrisy of this is hysterical.

*****
To be clear, I detest homer broadcasters.

I honestly can't think of a single time I pumped my fist or high-fived someone in the booth for a big moment. Sure, there's the joy of pride in a particular call, but never in rooting for a team.

Chris Erway and I have punched fists over a good broadcast opening. I remember Ryan DeMaria once complimenting a particular call during a break. AJ Szymanowski has done the same.

But rooting? No.

Oh, there's no question that you want the team you're with to do well, but mostly because that means more work. More games to call!

I truly believe in being 50/50 when calling a game, but short of that, it's 55/45. I know Mike Hirn, for instance, has said 60/40 is acceptable, and I understand that.

But there's something to being professional, and I have preached that dislike of bias to every student of mine. Simply because you go to school there doesn't mean you have to act your dog has died when "your" team loses.

Save that for when you're off the air.

For whatever reason, once the microphone is live, I see laundry. I see two teams. Tonight it was Wilton/New Canaan for the FCIAC boys lacrosse championship. Wilton was probably the better "story" in that they pulled off a huge upset in beating national power Darien in the semis. They also haven't won the title in 20 years.

For me, there's the joy in the roar of the crowd. Yes, that's a "Vin Scully" thing for sure, but it's what I believe in. When calling the game-winning hit of the FCIAC baseball championship on Wednesday night, I did what I normally do. In the industry, we call it "laying out."

The crowd noise was wonderful.

But, again, no rooting interest.


Check this out on Chirbit

In case you're wondering, that's WWPT broadcasting duo talking in the background. As student broadcasters, they were obviously excited for their classmates.

I was once asked to not get excited when the "opposing team" scored. I felt it was a compliment, and that I was doing my job the right way.

And so that's my style.

Some like being a homer. Some don't.

I'll be at the Greenwich Town Party with Sean tomorrow. Listen live on WGCH beginning at 11 a.m.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

I've Had The Same Thought

I Googled "quality writing." This came up, so apparently, quality writing looked like this...in the '80s.

I just read co-conspirator John Nash's post for tonight.

More than once, I've told someone that I feel like #Project365 has actually made me a worse writer because I don't feel as strong as I used to on getting my thoughts out there for consumption.

However, to John's point, there's also that point where I find myself wondering if the topics will dry up.

There are many nights where I've forgotten or am simply running out of time. I've even gotten out of bed because I forgot to write.

As of today, the topics have not run out. I've found my muse in a variety of places.

I've found a way, and I know John will also.

Then again, there are topics I'd love to attack that I know would only bring me grief. That -- right there -- is the very thing that nearly killed this blog up until the end of last year.

So I guess what I'm saying is that not every post is going to be the award-worthy.

And that just has to be OK.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

In a Flash


I saw the sign:

Road Work
3 Mile Delay

Sigh. Just another day in Ned Lamont's Connecticut.

There's a rant buried herein about tolls, but there are others who speak far more informed than I do. I'm just a dopey sports broadcaster.

I saw the line of vehicles as I approached the Mianus River Bridge heading towards Old Greenwich on Interstate 95. It was the usual combination of trucks, cars, SUV's, motorcycles and so on.

Again, just another day.

As I slowed up, I saw it in my mirror. It was a black Volkswagen -- probably a Jetta -- swerving and swaying from the left lane into the center, with a target on me.

I wondered if I should fly into the right lane. The left was occupied.

A quick decision was needed, and it actually looked like momentum would move him into the right lane.

I stayed, and braced, with my foot ready to gun the engine as necessary.

Would he flip over? Would there be an impact with me?

I don't think my life actually flashed before my eyes, but "Oh s**t!" went through my brain.

Then it all settled down. He got control of the car and put himself in traffic behind me.

I began to do a mental inventory. All was fine.

The driver was young. Probably a college student, based on the UConn parking permit in the front window. He wore a backward baseball hat and a tie-dye T-shirt.

He seemed nonplussed about the whole thing.

I, on the other hand, was still a little shaky.

He continued to stay in the lane behind me as we sat in traffic, watching vehicles weave to get an advantage.

So was our wayward Volkswagen on his phone and didn't see the vehicle stopped ahead of him in the left lane?

Did the car in front of him stop short?

Does it matter?

Since all ended well, I suppose the answer is no.

It's amazing how it can all look bad in a flash and then totally swing back the other way.

I've got the FCIAC Championship baseball game tonight. I'll be there.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

No Time

Staples (3rd base line) and St. Joseph before game one

Darien (3rd base line) and Fairfield Ludlowe before game two

It was a long day.

Two baseball games. Two broadcasts. Two playoff games. Over five hours total.

I left every ounce of me in that booth.

I had to contend with two other broadcasters, from Staples High School, and I could hear their every word.

They told me they could also hear my every word, and people were texting them to complain.

Sorry, WWPT listeners. We'll try to sit further apart tomorrow.

So in lieu of time, I'm keeping it brief.

The FCIAC Championship is tomorrow, as Staples meets Fairfield Ludlowe.

7 p.m.

On Fairfield Live. The official home of the FCIAC.

See you then.


Monday, May 20, 2019

Game Of...No

Since Peter Dinklage is cool, I used his picture
Game of Thrones ended last night.

Like some things in entertainment, I can tell you I had not the first clue about it.

I never watched it but I see the myriad social media comments every day.

While I had zero interest in it, I also respect the fanbase in the same way that I posted about The Big Bang Theory last week.

Some have immediately placed Game of Thrones on a list of greatest TV shows ever.

It really wouldn't be fair of me to say yes or no, though I doubt that it could surpass The Sopranos in my mind.

Or M*A*S*H, All in the Family, Seinfeld, The Honeymooners, or I Love Lucy (in the comedy category).

Anyway, I'm sure the show satisfied their rabid fanbase and that's what matters.

While I will likely never watch the show, I tip my remote control to you.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Grumpy

Two versions of Grumpy Cat belong to Sean. It's miserable.
The news of the passing of the internet sensation nicknamed "Grumpy Cat" grabbed me.

Sure, I appreciated the laugh-out-loud banality of the memes and greeting cards and merchandise.

But I knew Sean would be sad. That's where it hit me.

I texted him as soon as I read the news.

"You're kidding," he texted back.

I took his stuffed animal down from the shelf in his room, and the small one that hangs on his wall and left them up against his pillow.

"Are you trying to make me sad?" he asked.

He laughed after that.

Still, it was sweet to see him holding on to one of the things from his youth.

We watch our kids grow up and often lose their sense of youth. The snuggly Sean is long gone. The days of "kisses, tickles, and hugs" every night has been replaced by often not even saying goodnight.

There was a time where he would have wanted me to wake him when I got home. No more, and that's OK. Time moves on and it's healthy.

So to see him care about a seven-year-old cat with feline dwarfism whose real name was Tardar Sauce was truly sweet.

But I knew he would. Sean, you see, loves cats. He loved Fred, the cat I had when he was born, and is now crazy about Chico, the adult cat who joined us a few years ago.

So, of course, he would connect with Grumpy Cat.

Thus the passing of the Grump was a bummer.

It's another piece of our past.



Saturday, May 18, 2019

Thanks, Wick

Game over. Season over. School year over.
I called my final game for Brunswick for the season today, as the Bruins lacrosse team traveled to Sheffield, MA to play the Berkshire Bears.

The Bruins dominated from the opening faceoff, winning 14-1. Brodie Firestein started the scoring party just 45 seconds in as the Bruins ran to an early 6-0 lead.

The Bruins allowed me to tag along on the bus -- something I'd like to see more of. Many families don't want to go to the road games so it's convenient to have the broadcaster go along, and riding the bus is an economical move that works for all parties.

But...let's circle back to that.

The bus ride was peaceful. I kept to myself as the players and coaches did their own thing. I'm sure many were wondering who the strange dude was in the third row. A straight shot up 684, which ends straight onto 22, then a right at Amenia on 343 and a left onto 41 and we were soon there. The whole trip took about two hours.

The Berkshire campus is beautiful, with scenic hills and mountains serving as a backdrop. We drove past the lacrosse field before being let off at the athletic center, which meant walking back across campus to the field.

No worry, as it was a beautiful day.

Joe, my trusty Local Live cameraman, was waiting, and completely unaware that I'd be there. I soon faced the reality: this field had no power.

No lights, no press box, no sound system, and a limited scoreboard.

It looked like I had taken a ride to plug a microphone into his camera and call the game. The duffel bag of equipment (as well as my computer and so on) seemed unnecessary.

Eventually, we walked to a house (yes, a house on campus) right behind the small set of bleachers we were stationed on. A gentleman stood outside tending to his flowers. We asked about power nearby.

"If you have enough extension cord, I'll plug you in inside my front door," he said.

And so he did.
Power. All set.


All concerns were erased and the broadcast proceded. I was able to make do with minimal cell service (it's bad up there) and produced a Robcasting audio call (see below).

The game went on, I packed up and walked back to the athletic center where goalie Christian Barnard's mom was handing out sandwiches.

She was kind enough to give me a chicken parm (and thank you!).

For the next two hours, we drove back to Brunswick as the players laughed and sang and watched college lacrosse.

A happy atmosphere for sure, and I'm glad nobody seemed bothered by the infiltrator.

I said my thank you and drove away.

Thank you to Brunswick isn't quite enough, but it's the best I've got.

In the end, it looks like I did 35 games between football, soccer, hockey, basketball, lacrosse, and baseball for Brunswick in 2018-2019. While that will never be enough for me, I still enjoyed what I got to call.

I lost a few games due to the hockey tournament in New Jersey. I lost a few more due to cancellations and schedule snafus. Others were, frankly, my own fault (and something that will always bug me). And I lost a couple of others to...well...I just lost a couple of others.

I probably could have done over 40-50 in the end.

Still, I'd love to see it be even more, but there are reasons for what it is.

Frankly, it's a lot more than I did this year for Greenwich High, and that's astounding to consider (for what it's worth).

I've come a long way with Brunswick. Even if people don't know my face (they mostly do not) they seem to know my voice, and that's a good thing. They also know my name.

People generally don't realize that I was a part of a broadcast with Brunswick 20 years ago, and I've been around ever since.

So where there's a will, there's a way, and that's why I like to travel. We'll find a way to make it happen (even if some situations are worse than others).

I apologize for not getting to know the players and coaches enough. I'm hoping to improve on that as we move forward, and Joe Early has done an incredible job of feeding me info to improve my knowledge base.
14-1, Brunswick
So thank you, Brunswick, for another year. I appreciate how I've been welcomed to the very fringe of being a part of the family. I'm honored to serve as your lead play-by-play announcer and look forward to seeing what 2019-2020 has in store for us.

Thank you, families, players, and coaches, as well as staff. Enjoy your summer, best wishes to the graduates, and we'll see you soon.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Schedule Update


A few schedule notes:

First, I'm jumping on a team bus tomorrow to head to Massachusetts with Brunswick, as the Bruins finish the lacrosse season against Berkshire. Game time is 3 p.m via Local Live.

On Sunday, I'll get together with Greenwich High School football again as the Cardinals get their state championship rings. The day begins at 4 p.m. with a youth clinic and a parents symposium. Then I'll help host the ring ceremony at 5 p.m.

If it works out, we'll air the ceremony on Robcasting Radio.

Then, my FCIAC load will give me the FCIAC baseball semis and championship game on Monday and Wednesday from Stamford. I'm thrilled to be back on the call of FCIAC baseball after two years away. I will admit that this was a goal.

Local Live is the exclusive broadcaster for the FCIAC semifinals and championships.

There's a chance I might also jump on lacrosse (probably in Section One in New York) later in the week, but we'll see.

Then -- officially -- after that? Who knows?

Again, I want to keep filling up my schedule with games. So reach out and let's see what we can do.

There's been interest from Little League, American Legion, Cal Ripken, and Babe Ruth baseball. Hopefully lots more.

The Clubhouse is also trying to return but my schedule has sort of been mucking up that water. We're hoping for the next show on May 29th and more in June, but check your local listings (such as Facebook or Twitter).

Lastly, I've been sitting on this one, but I'm excited to say that I'm hosting the Greenwich Town Party on WGCH for the third year in a row. My co-host will be none other than Sean Adams! He's a young musician in his own right, and I thought he'd be the perfect sidekick for the gig. We're expected to go on the air at 11 a.m. but again, follow along on social media for more.

So that's everything for now.

Here's the Ketcham/Mahopac broadcast from yesterday.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Out With a Bang


The Big Bang Theory ended tonight.

There are things that are astounding as to why they are popular (various musicians, movies, and TV shows apply).

While TBBT is crazy popular, it's also crazy disliked.

I loved it, though it took reruns to get me onboard (which isn't uncommon for me).

TBBT was my comfort food. In the moments of loneliness, when sometimes all I could do was watch TV, I took solace in these characters as background noise.

Leonard, Sheldon, Penny, Raj, and Howard (and later on Amy and Bernadette) gave me countless lines that cracked me up, and that I'd continue to laugh at in subsequent viewings.

Paul Silverfarb and I would text each other if a particular episode was on.

Sean and I would roar when one of us would like at the sky and say, "Stars are pretty, aren't they?"


If you didn't know The Big Bang Theory, it wouldn't make sense. To us, it did.

I don't kid myself that TBBT was Seinfeld or M*A*S*H or All in the Family. It wasn't The Soprano's.

It didn't need to be.

Was it time to end it? Yes, frankly, I think it was. The characters had gone far enough. They had changed, and not necessarily for the better. For instance, I found Bernadette tougher to like as she got meaner. Amy also stopped being as awkward and that took away some of her charm.

Goodbyes are still difficult.

But I still hate that damn theme song.

No bazinga there.

*****
While on the topic of goodbyes, it looks like I said two farewells this week for the season.

The Brunswick baseball team lost its FAA semifinal game yesterday to Hamden Hall, and Mahopac ended its regular baseball season today (I doubt I'll see them in the playoffs).

I don't have the eloquence to express exactly what these programs mean to me. It's a blast to cover them, and I hope I continue to build good things with each team.

I really like what has happened through Robcasting Radio beginning to work with Mahopac High School. Not only is it my hometown and my old high school, but it's a grassroots thing that has a little life to it. I have a feeling there's a future there, and I just hope I'm a big part of it.

I'm trusted with the words to describe Brunswick, Mahopac, Fairfield Prep, St. John's, Yale, the FCIAC, Section 1, and of course Greenwich High School. I'd certainly love to have the job of being the lead for any one of these places, but I'm grateful to all of them for having me around.

My original point was to acknowledge both Brunswick and Mahopac baseball. Thank you both.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

On My iPad

Dan is in the background. Joe Early is partially obscured
I'm back from the Darien/Brunswick lacrosse showdown and my computer doesn't work. Might be the battery. At least I hope that's all.

So I'm writing on my iPad.

Brunswick was the better team tonight, and I hope to show you the video as I called the game with Dan Arestia and Damian Andrew via Local Live as well as DAF Media.

Perhaps once I get my computer running again, I can embed the broadcast in this post.

I was thrilled to work with Dan Arestia (my old HAN Network colleague and friend) as well as Damian Andrew and the DAF Media crew.

Brunswick picked up the non-conference win, which I suppose resolves the question of who's better for now, but it was a well-played game at a very high level. I hope they do it again next year, and would love to be back with DAF Media again soon.

But for now, I'll settle down and call it a night. Onto Mahopac baseball tomorrow, though Brunswick baseball is done for the year. There might be one more Brunswick lacrosse broadcast.

Then I hope the FCIAC's on Local Live.

Then we'll see after that.

(Update: It was my computer battery. Here's the broadcast, courtesy of DAF Media).

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

This is May?

I'm still dry at that point (Photo courtesy Joe Early)
It's May 14, and it's 47 degrees.

We've just finished our third straight day of heavy rain showers.

Did I mention it's May and it's 47 degrees?

It messes with the baseball season, and the FAA quarterfinal game that I was supposed to call yesterday got moved to today. But we made it work for the matchup between Brunswick and St Luke's. Joe Early grabbed a Brunswick Cross Country tent that kept us pretty dry. The Bruins won 12-2.

I'll shift back to lacrosse tomorrow as the Bruins host Darien in a long-awaited matchup. I'm happy to say that my former HAN Network colleague Dan Arestia is joining me for the call and that I'll be a part of the Darien Athletic Foundation (as well as Local Live) tomorrow night.

Thursday brings me back to Mahopac for the (likely) final time for baseball this season, though I'd also love to see Mahopac softball. It's cool to say I was aware of their superstar pitcher Shannon Becker before she became all the rage last week. CBS News has more on Shannon and her "perfect perfect" game.

Friday will possibly take me back to Brunswick or Trumbull for baseball.

There might be something on Saturday, and then?

Well, I hope the FCIACs with Local Live. After that, it's hard to say, though I'm kicking a few tires to see what else.

There's plenty of baseball if people are interested.

June, July, and August (especially August) can be dicey.

And, believe it or not, I'm already chomping at the bit for football schedules.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Back here at the nerve center of Exit 55 mayhem, I found myself taking a really active interest in this basketball team called the Knicks. Truth be told, I've been a Knicks fan for roughly 40 years, though it's not the Yankees-level fandom.

They've so ripped my soul that I try to not get too invested in them.

I watched with hope that they'd get the number one pick in the draft lottery tonight.

They got the third pick.

There's still talent at the third pick, so I guess there's hope. New York hardly defines "long-suffering" though you might feel differently if you knew your history around these parts.

Jets: last title, 1969
Knicks: 1973
Nets: Er...they won an ABA title in 1976
Islanders: 1983
Mets: 1986
Rangers: 1994

If you wish to expand further, there are the Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bills to include.

The Devils, Giants and the ... ahem ... Yankees have seen a little more recent success, though ten years since the Bombers' last title feels like an eternity.

Anyway, this is sort of a babbling-type of a post. Sorry for that.

The NBA playoffs are on.

The Yankees (who have done a terrible job with weather-related changes) are not.

But the NHL playoffs are on. The Bruins are playing the Hurricanes. Doc and Edzo are on the call.

I'm all set.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Farewell, Doris Day

There he goes
Doris Day died today. Among those who could be "America's Girl Next Door," Ms. Day was a legitimate movie star, as well as a singer and TV star, along with an animal lover and (I hate this word) activist.

Few ever had a bad word to say about Ms. Day (born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff).

Among her co-stars were Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, Rock Hudson, James Cagney, Ronald Reagan, Frank Sinatra, Clark Gabel Jack Lemmon, David Niven, James Garner, and Robert D. Adams Sr.

Wait. What?

Doris Day -- renowned for her role in Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much, and the wildly popular song "Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)" -- appeared in a 1962 movie called That Touch of Mink. Cary Grant, Gig Young, Audrey Meadows, and John Astin are some of the co-stars in the romantic comedy.

In one scene, Grant and Day find themselves in the dugout of Yankee Stadium with three fairly large names of the day (Mssrs. Mantle, Maris, and Berra).


At approximately 1:29:25 in the movie, Day and Astin are in a vehicle driving along when a red truck goes rolling by. You can't miss it. In fact, it's quite prominent. After driving by it, Day leans out of the window of the vehicle being driven by Astin, as if looking for either Cary Grant or the truck.

That truck was driven by my dad.

Here's the way I remember it. I mentioned the movie was in passing to him one night. Ever proud, yet low-key, he said, "I'm in that movie," as if he had also just grabbed a cup of coffee.

Literally no big deal.

After I picked my mouth off the floor, he told me the details. I don't know why I remember him telling me that his scene was filmed in New Jersey, and maybe another family member can correct me.

I recall that he told me the film crew told him to just drive through and act naturally. So he did, got it in one take (an Adams trait!) and moved along with whatever delivery that he was making.

By that point, he had been married for nearly five years and had two kids. Number three wouldn't come along for another six years.

He was proud of those little ties, such as delivering plumbing supplies to Jackie Gleason, having a beer with Bill Haley, and seeing Gene Kelly and Walter Matthau on the set of Hello Dolly in Putnam County -- but don't ask about Barbra Streisand. Yet it was never a big deal. It just gave him fodder to talk about.

It wasn't a big deal beyond that.

The film was the fourth-highest grossing film of 1962.

Whenever I think of Doris Day, I will always think of That Touch of Mink and my dad.

Que serĂ¡, serĂ¡, Ms. Day.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Mother's Day

My parents on their engagement day, 1956.
Unless you're nowhere near Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, a TV, radio, smart device, Hallmark store, Wal Mart, Target, or literally anywhere in the United States...

Then you probably know it's Mother's Day.

I'm going out on a limb here.

So we here at the Exit 55 nerve center wish all of the moms a happy day. Mothers are in all styles, shall we say.

Yes, there are the biological moms, like mine, who has been stuck with me for over 50 years now and more often than not wants to choke the ever living life out of me but then who would she text while he was in the middle of a broadcast?

(For the sarcasm-impaired, please know that this is indeed sarcasm. For the record, I tried to say, "We'll talk about it later." Of course, I found a break between faceoffs to give her the answer she was looking for.)

The are stepmoms and mothers-in-law and pet moms and women who simply like to mother people even if they're not mothers. All deserve respect and acknowledgment today and every day.

My mom -- along with my dad -- are responsible for my holding doors and showing basic respect and standing for the National Anthem and working hard countless other things that somehow I have done correctly.

What my mom did absolutely not give me is my sense of direction. Honestly, she wouldn't know Cheshire, CT from a Cheshire cat. She'll just keep driving north, figuring she'll run into Interstate 84 eventually, never mind the sign that says "Canadian Border 1000 Feet."

"I knew I had been driving a long time," she'll say.

We love our parents regardless. More often than not, I think she deserves far better than she has gotten, but there's also therapy for that.

In all seriousness, Happy Mother's Day to the many wonderful women in our lives who have rounded us and supported us. We know we can't thank you enough. To those missed today, know that you're in our hearts.

I feel very fortunate to have my mom, sister, friends and other mothers in my life whom I admire.

And now, for a lesson in understanding mothers, we turn to Dame Emma Thompson and friends.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Just Us

Chico is the furry one.
I've picked up some kind of something.

Stress? Germs? Too much hockey and too much talking?

Maybe. Who knows, and really, does it matter?

So I did the (nearly) unthinkable: A lot of nothing.

I watched baseball. Hockey. M*A*S*H. I took a few walks outside. I sat in a chair and talked to Paul.

This was simply fate (and schedule) coming together. I passed on a few games this weekend (a variety of reasons and fate agreed), so here I am.

One thing to note: I'm fiercely proud of the number of games I've done, but the number is truly irrelevant. You can broadcast 500 games a year but if the quality is meh, then what's the point?

I've done 104 (approximately) since last September. I've probably lost another 20 to circumstances (weather, conflicts, and let's just say money and leave it at that).

I have a smart audience.

So it's just Chico and me in the homestead. He comes in, meows, sleeps, meows some more, pushes for food, and sleeps.

Then he'll disappear. Then he'll return. And repeat.

In that regard, he's perfect (or purr-fect, but my god, I cringe just typing that).

Pets, of course, are so smart. He wants company, and he has this insane ability to know when I need a friend.

So here we are.

And, as usual, he's dominating the space on my bed.

Just another night.

Friday, May 10, 2019

The End of the Week

Salisbury/Brunswick lacrosse from Friday night
It's another one of those nights where there are things I want to write about, but know that I can't write about them.

So given it's after 11 p.m., and I only recently got home from a lacrosse game between two of the top 10 high school teams, basically, anywhere (and since I'm not feeling great), I'll keep things short tonight.

(Here's the call of Salisbury/Brunswick lacrosse)

There are topics. There are always topics. But let's do something different tonight.

I've written -- openly -- about some of my struggles. I've been fascinated by the response (and sometimes, the lack thereof). In the months since I've opened up, I can say that I'm surviving. I'm worried about the summer, but we'll deal with that topic at another time.

I bring up my struggles not to make this about me. As a journalist, we're taught to not make it about us. I brought it up to segue to a story that I'd like you to read.

I've mentioned Susan many times here. I'll likely mention her many times again. I'm talking about her because she stressed and finessed her way through the writing of a story of addiction for the Darien Times. The story had its beginnings last Christmas, and I could see the idea going through her brain. Her dedication to this story astounded me to watch.

It hit the internet today, and it's incredible.

But it's not about Susan, though I hope Darien appreciates what an amazing community journalist and editor they have in her.

No, this story is about William Jones. I didn't know William, though I know he went to Brunswick.

Addiction is a disease. William tried to beat it.

Susan honored him with a story that deserves to be read. Addiction can touch all of us somehow. The goal of this story is to save at least one person.

Please read it, and thank you.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Billy Joel at 70

"But the Yankees grab the headlines every time"

William Martin Joel, known as Billy, is revered by some and reviled by others.

The criticisms are fair but, to me, the good is great.

"Keeping the Faith," on the other hand...

Billy Joel, among the most legendary New York musicians (yes, seriously) turned 70 today.

I considered doing a top 10 list but decided I'm just not feeling it tonight. so I thought I'd open things up to a discussion about it.

If you'd like a jumping-off point, there's this 2015 piece from Vulture that ranks all of his songs. In fact, let's grab a few notes from there.

The writer, Christopher Bonanos, ranks "We Didn't Start The Fire" at 120, second from last. Given both exceptional friends Paul and Susan (with a nod to Mick) are in my Billy Joel trust zone, I will tell you that they are primarily pro-WDSTF, where I'm more meh. It served its purpose at the time.

I will say it gives plenty of love to the New York Yankees, as do several of his songs (and, yet, people think he's a Mets fan. Bwahahahahahahahaha).

Again, I don't have the energy to break down all 121 songs, but "We Didn't Start the Fire" at 120 is, well, come on.

"Stop in Nevada" is at 105? I might want to stop before I get mad.

"She's Right On Time" is at 92. Many don't get this song. I fell in love with it back in probably 1983. It has a video (never his strong suit -- name me a great Billy Joel video), but that's the most it got airplay. It has always sat strong with me in his catalog, and somehow I discovered Susan loved it also. She is literally the only other person that I've ever known that is passionate about that song.

"I've had to wait forever. But better late than never." Yes. This.

"A Matter of Trust" is at 86? Dude, come on. The Bridge is hardly his best album (those are easier to rank), but this is a huge highlight. I remember its debut on MTV and how it rocked.

We make our way to "Zanzibar" at 67. Again, I simply can't break every song down (not tonight, anyway). It's like the way that Shawn Sailer wants me to rank all Yankees play-by-play voices (hint: I know the bottom three, and I know number one) but finding the time is another story. As for "Zanzibar," there's a jazz edge here. That won me over because it felt different then. It still does.

Let's not talk about “Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)” at 61. I'll allow that I built a CD of songs that I put Sean to bed with every night. This song was on it. Tears are falling as I'm typing. Got it?

60: "Shameless." God...damn...passion. And screw Garth Brooks, Chris Gaines, and so on.

57: "Sometimes a Fantasy." You see, Glass Houses was the album for me. While I loved 52nd Street (the first album of his I bought), I wore out my first copy of Glass Houses on vinyl. A not-quite-perfect album.

50: "All For Leyna." What was that I was just saying about Glass Houses? Thirty-nine years later, I still crank this one.

37: "Laura." Yes, I have a sister with the same name. She's not this messed up. Another reason why The Nylon Curtain sits near the top of my favorite albums of his.

Wait. This writer put "James," the most '70s sounding song IN THE HISTORY OF SEVENTIES-SOUNDING SONGS at 36? It's the single song the pulls Turnstiles down.

I shouldn't be getting hung up on his rankings. OK, trying to keep this moving along...

"Summer, Highland Falls" is at 27. I'd go higher with this one (yes, I'm obsessing with his ranking), and the opening line -- "They say that these are not the best of times. But they're the only times I've ever known" -- is among his best and most-quoted. Incidentally, as a non-religious person (and thus "Only The Good Dies Young gets major points) the next line -- "And I believe there is a time for meditation in cathedrals of our own" -- is brilliant.

Sorry. This post is getting long.

We reach "The Stranger" at number 16, and I can't find a bad song on the album of the same name. The lines -- "Well, we all have a face that we hide away forever. And we take them out and show ourselves when everyone has gone" -- has been given more meaning to me over the past decade.

A note about "Leave a Tender Moment Alone" at number 11. Susan loves it. I'm fine with it. This is too high of a ranking for me, but it's sweet. Another person (no, it's not Paul or Mick) walked up one day and, essentially, told Susan to never play it again. That is a true story.

At number nine (number nine, oops, sorry, wrong artist) is "I Don't Want To Be Alone." Oh. My. God. Yes. Again, it's about lines. "She said she'd meet me in the bar at the Plaza hotel. Wear a jacket and a tie." I remember hearing those lines back in 1980. One day, I hope to hear the same.

"Vienna" is at number 8. Literally, any Billy Joel fan (I think) will say to make this top five. Maybe even top three. It is absolutely gorgeous. Paul played it in front of me on a beautiful piano in Boston once. My own shyness (and fear of being heard) kept me from singing it. So I stood there. Mesmerized.

I'll politely say "Just The Way You Are" should be much much much lower. Much. Again. It defines the '70s. Not that it's a bad thing (or song).

 “Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)” is at seven. In my world, I think (I'm spitballing here) that "Miami 2017," "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant," and "Vienna" would somehow make up my top three. I raise a glass -- any glass -- when I reach the line, "And picked the Yankees up for free" (and the crowd goes wild).

In the case of Christopher Bonanos, the writer of the ranking of all Billy Joel songs, numbers three to one are "New York State of Mind," "Only The Good Die Young, and "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant." My goodness. Three classics.

"NY State" is in the best ever category about New York. It's not, however, "Theme From New York, New York" but that takes nothing away from it. I know "New York State of Mind" would be in my mind if I were to ever leave and long from my hometown. I wouldn't rank it this high, but it's still great. I wish Billy would back off the sax as much as he uses it live (and on the 1985 Greatest Hits remix).

But then again, I wish Liberty DeVitto were still his drummer.

I can't lie. I had an aunt named Virginia (though known as Jean). She was, indeed, Catholic. So, yeah, tee hee.

"Scenes." Yes. That will do quite nicely. I wanted a bottle of red and a bottle of white in honor of Billy's birthday today, but we can't have everything, can we?

As for the albums, I'll take this: 1) The Stranger, 2) Glass Houses, 3) The Nylon Curtain. Probably 52nd Street fourth and Turnstiles fifth. Or Piano Man. They get mixed up after the top three. River of Dreams is probably last.

Anyway, happy birthday Billy. Thanks for the music. You were one of the first artists that I felt like I made my own, as opposed to being brought up on The Beatles. You continue to bring me together with people to this day.

Slow down, you crazy child.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Back Home

How I started my day.
I'm sleepy.

Eight hockey games, two world championships included, along with a five-hour drive (that should take about 2.5 hours) will run a person down.

So here I am, back in the real world.

I don't do things halfway, as I've said before. I also don't relax a lot when I travel.

Given this was work, there was little chance for relaxation.

So I'm home, with a cat who is happy to see me.

I'll do Doubleheader tomorrow, and get back with a lacrosse game on Friday. Then I'm taking the weekend off. Oh, wait. I'm never allowed to take a break. I could work, but then how would my mother get out to enjoy Mother's Day?

I'm her chauffeur, for the record.

So I'll be out on Sunday for sure.

On another note, have you wished an appropriate happy birthday to #Project365 (364 to him) co-conspirator John Nash?

Anyway, before I fall asleep, I'll shut down.

I leave Voorhees, NJ with a lot of memories, and the knowledge that I'm already wanted back for 2020, with possibly even more games.

I'm doing something right.

Blue Army won the U16 championship. Draftday Black won the U15 title.
The scoreboard tells the story of Draftday Black's U15 championship

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Four. No, wait. Five!


My perch
I thought I was supposed to call four games today.

I even wrote that here a few nights ago.

I finessed my way through four games of hockey, and I don't go halfway on such things. They're called with full energy.

During the fourth game of the day, I said how it was "the last game of the day." Nobody texted me and said, "Er, dude. You know there's one more, right?"

But then, it's not on anyone else, but the guy inside the Phantoms Rink at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, NJ*.

Neither Michael Myers or Jamie Lee Curtis were anywhere to be found.
*Did you know there's a Haddonfield, NJ? Did you know it's a beautiful town, and the Haddonfield in Halloween is based on Haddonfield, NJ? Nor did I  -- until today. Michael Myers for the win!

So I wrapped up the fourth game. My throat was not pleased with me. The honey lemon drops were needed.

Then two more teams hit the ice. I noticed Dan Long, calling games in the Flyers Rink, was still going.

Uh oh. Did I blow it?

I rifled off two quick texts: one to Daquan Cole at Local Live and one to LL colleague John Malone. Both great guys.

Overall, the answer was, "Yes, dummy. Get back on the air."

So I did, called the rest of the fifth game of the day, finished with an overtime winner, and took the headset off.

I literally grabbed the rosters from a pack, learned the teams on the fly, and proceeded with the call. That's what we do. That's why we don't script it. We're prepared to adjust.

I was mortified but had to get the job done.

"Are we done now," I asked Phil from Legacy Global Sports, which puts the tournament on.

"Yes. Did you eat? Go get some food!"

So I did. For what little it's worth, that fifth game was my 100th since the school broadcast year started on September 8 last year. I realize there are those who call more. I hope the quality of what I do -- along with the quantity -- all balances out.
The rink was dark. That's how early I was.
It was a full day, beginning with my arrival a little after 6:30 this morning. I found the rink facility was open and got to work setting up. The Legacy Global Sports crew wasn't there yet, and the rinks were dark!

Dan, I was told, was bringing a headset. That wouldn't do, so I grabbed a backup mixer (because, me) and set him up in the Flyers Rink. Daquan and I got to work just after 7 a.m. doing sound checks both in my rink and Dan's.

Soon all was good.

Then it was onto calling games. I actually got a (roughly) four-hour break and came back to the hotel, where I promptly collapsed for an hour.

I've since come back and edited each audio broadcast.

Game 7 of Blues/Stars is on as I type.

It's almost time for bed.

I was sorry to miss the Brunswick baseball game (and another one tomorrow), but this has been a great opportunity.

Instead of two games (one semi and one championship), I now have three games (one semi and two championships).

I'll crown the Under 15 and Under 16 titles tomorrow.

I don't take these honors lightly, so I'll talk to you then.