Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Sunday Meltdown

Kevin Durant and Steve Kerr (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)
Quite a day so far, no?

Let's start with the news from the NBA. Oh, I know that we don't do much NBA here, but then again, why? Because the Knicks (and the Nets also) have been largely uninspiring.

The Knicks remain so. The Nets are now in the conversation to win a title after reports have surfaced that the Brooklyn squad have acquired Kevin Durant (injured, yes), Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan. That's according to Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter.

So Knicks: What. The. ****?

It's been almost 50 years since '69-70, 46 years since their last title in '73, 25 years since they were up 3-2 the night of the OJ Bronco chase, and 20 years since their run as an eight-seed to the Finals where the Spurs laughed at them.

They suck. Plain and simple. They are the worst franchise in New York, by a hair over the dysfunction in Queens*.

*Oh I was told last night that I would be best served to avoid writing about the Mets. Is it OK if I do so anyway? Because, you know, it's not like I'm supposed to try to write (and say) interesting content or anything. Thanks for the permission.

However, one other thing. If this -- remember, this is sports -- causes you such pain that you say you're essentially unhappy in your life, I have two options for you: 1) Stop because you're being overdramatic (and embarrassing), or 2) seek therapy. Seriously. Get help because it's sort of pathetic.

I love sports. They've brought me joy (and, yes, heartache) but the sun came up the next day. Myriad big game losses and other minutiae never changed the fact that life does, indeed, go on. I've functioned completely the day after, with the one exception being the time that I didn't have to work and I was told we were getting out of town for the day.

I have love, a son, a mother, friends, nieces, nephews, siblings, cousins, and so on.

Check your priorities.

Here endeth the lesson.

*****
Originally, this post was going to be about sports broadcasting (a shock, I know). I paid super close attention to the Yankees/Red Sox calls this weekend while they were in London, and decided to really listen to the ESPN TV feed today.

I rigged up a system where I could listen to the call while I mowed the lawn, thus forcing me to pay closer attention.

Yes, I could have opted for the ESPN Radio call, but I'm not a big fan of that either, and I decided to pass on John and Suzyn because I really wanted to give ESPN TV a chance.

What an unmitigated disaster.

Before you come at me about Jessica Mendoza, let me say this: she knows the game. No question. She also seems great. Just super approachable. What has finally hit me about her is that the Sunday Night Baseball group doesn't utilize her directly. Let her work in a smaller format and maybe she can do some good.

Then she'll open up about pitching and playing the game, and not just statistics. She has a good personality for this. It needs the right forum to shine.

Alex Rodriguez can also be a very good analyst but he's so busy being A-Rod that we forget that few prepare harder. He also definitely knows the game.

Both of these analysts actually brought good information at times.

It's Matt Vasgersian who is the problem.

The list of mistakes is too numerous to count, from misidentified players to a complete whiff on the album cover of The Beatles' Abbey Road. It's a fairly iconic picture, and his take was, well, extraordinarily bad.

"John was second and George didn't have shoes on," he said. Wow. Beatles fan you're not. Please turn in your card.

Supposedly, the game was being played in "Central Europe." Um. Nope. If it was one mistake, OK -- it happens.

Let's not forget the ball that Aaron Hicks hit off his shin, and Mr. V wondering "if he lost his footing."

Then there was a cheap shot he took at Philadelphia while talking about art, and "they have a guy like that in Philly, but he will paint the side of your car.”

Some people think they're just so funny.

Oh and the whole broadcast got it wrong about the Yankees wearing pinstripes as a road team, having done so in 2004 in Japan.

But that aside, there was just so much that had me literally yelling while pushing the mower around.

From a "nuts and bolts" perspective, doing TV doesn't mean that you should ignore your responsibility to, you know, call the game. I still firmly believe in the basic elements, such as simple details of scores, ball, strike, outs, and where the play goes.

Joe Buck does this exceptionally well and, of course, there's Vin Scully, who knew that he might have someone in the audience who couldn't watch for some reason.

From underneath my headphones, "Mattie V" rarely gave me the score, and I waited patiently for pertinent details of where the ball was.

At times, either A-Rod or Jess were talking as the ball was being in play. I prefer that analysts working with me stop talking at the point of the pitch being thrown.

That's just me.

This all served as a great reminder for me that people rely on the words and the pictures. Audio and video work together, and that's why the 1980 "announcerless broadcast" was awful.

But there's no question that FOX did a superior job over ESPN this weekend in London, and that Joe Buck is actually underappreciated. Sorry -- but I'm saying it.

It was a day for truly unlistenable broadcasts -- in London, as well as in Connecticut.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Ace Baseball Thoughts

Brett Gardner, right, celebrates with teammate Gleyber Torres after a home run. (Photo: Tim Ireland, AP)
I'm a Yankees doodle dandy...

I'm sort of knackered tonight (it's British for extremely tired) so I thought I'd write for a squizz (a look or a moment).

If you care about baseball even slightly, then you know the Yankees and Red Sox met in London today. The final score was a ridiculous 17-13. It was 6-6 after one.

They had nearly 60,000 at London Stadium for a game that took nearly five hours to play. That's right -- it was nearly the longest nine-inning game in history.

That, in my opinion, doesn't help baseball's case to become truly international.

But MLB commissioner Rob Manfred will see 60,000 people and lots of merchandise sold. So all good.

On the other hand, fans got numerous home runs, including a shot from legit superstar Aaron Judge.

The PR factor for MLB was otherwise quite good, give the appearance of Price Harry and Meghan Markle.

But MLB sending Angel Hernandez to serve as an umpire was just bizarre.

Of course, fans also had Joe Buck and John Smoltz to whine about. Trust me when I say that they sound like Vin Scully and Red Barber (yes, two play-by-play guys, but work with me here) when compared to how ESPN's crew will sound tomorrow morning at 10 a.m.

I'm fairly convinced that I'll have that on mute and listen to John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.

Back here in the States, they honored the 1969 Mets who authored, of course, a miracle.

I had -- probably -- another 500 words about how Gil Hodges isn't a Hall of Famer, and was it really a "miracle," and how it probably wasn't the greatest sports story in New York history, as they tried to say today.

Then I watched the 2019 team blow another lead, get the tying and winning runs on base and leave them stranded right there in another excruciating loss.

I can't bring myself to do it.

Being the Mets fans I like are gutted, I can't be that cheeky.

More British words.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Missing The Road

I love the sight of the Delaware Memorial Bridge Twin Span in the morning

The Fourth of July is next Thursday.

Of course, that's a great time for a road trip.

Man, do I miss it.

I got a chance to drive down to the Philadelphia area for the World Selects hockey tournament back in May, and that was great but something was missing.

It's not all fun and games in the walk up to traveling. There's the stress of making sure all I's are dotted and T's are crossed before leaving.

Packing, buying supplies, and securing all necessary transportation. All part of the fun.

What's missing for me (because I'm nuts), is getting on the road before sunrise.

I love -- like, love love love -- the peace and serenity of dead quiet and empty roads.

When we travel to North Carolina, we leave around 5:30 a.m. simply because I don't want to be obnoxious to my co-travelers. When I drove to Charleston, S.C. by myself in 2012, I was ready to leave around 3:45 a.m.

Yes. I'm nuts.

I miss the days of driving to Florida with my family. We'd leave early on a bitterly cold December or February morning. We'd shed the winter jackets -- slowly -- as we would get into Virginia or wherever.

We'd leave our Howard Johnson's in, say, Florence, S.C. on our second day of driving and it would be just us and a few trucks on Interstate 95 in the pitch black pre-dawn hours.

For the most part, it was my dad driving, my mom and sister in the back, and me in the co-pilot seat. My I-95 book in my hand, and a boombox radio in my lap (we only had AM radio in the 1978 Chevy Impala).

These days, I happily settle for driving from New York to Fayetteville, N.C.

But I miss going to all kinds of places on the road. I miss Cooperstown, Maine, Pittsburgh, Ohio, and beyond.

The first (and only time) I was in either Alabama or Mississippi was to and from New Orleans to visit family in 1975. We drove. I can still remember large pieces of it.

There's a culture to it all. The food, the entertainment (radio), the roadside stops (South of the Border? Hello?).

Each state has a different feeling to it. I realize that's more of a mental thing to me, but I feel a change as soon as I cross each state line.

There's a strategy to it, such as making the best time and keeping up the driving energy.

People hate I-95, and I certainly have cursed parts of it. But it also flows through my soul.

I'm babbling, of course. I could write a whole lot more.

Of motels and gas stations and Wawa and Waffle House and radio stations and mile after mile after mile.

I've got stories. Lots.

I need a road trip.

Stat.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Mike and the Mad Mets

(Awful Announcing)
Mike Francesa freaked out today and it was glorious.

I put Mike on while I was stuck in horrible traffic on the Merritt Parkway to see what was going on.

I've listened to Mike (and of course his former partner, Christopher "Mad Dog" Russo) since the late 1980s.

Given I didn't necessarily intend to wind up doing sports talk, few people have had more of an impact on me in that side of broadcasting than Mike and the Mad Dog.

Down in Philadelphia, the New York Mets had just taken a 3-1 lead in the ninth inning. Mike, watching the game on TV from his studio, felt the Mets had to win this game.

It ended badly, with the Phillies striking for six runs in the bottom of the ninth to grab a 6-3 win.

Mike flipped out and it made for great radio.
This was vintage Francesa. This was the kind of thing that made Mike and Mad Dog appointing listening for me. It was among the first things Shawn Sailer and I talked about when we met for the Fairfield American/Fairfield National little league baseball broadcast.

When Mike was on his game, he'd have me howling with laughter, even if it was about the Yankees.

Few interviewed like him (and Dog). Few were this compelling.

He spoke for all Mets fans today when said to just let the 1969 Mets play instead of the current dumpster fire.

My listening habits have changed over the past decade. There was a time when WFAN was all I listened to. But then Imus went over the WABC and Mike and Dog split up. Steve Somers is still great, but most of the rest of 'FAN isn't my cup of tea.

I turn off the Yankees on WFAN when Joe Benigno's voice comes on a commercial, for instance.

Look, I know you either love or hate Mike Francesa. There are times he infuriated me, but the brilliance of Mike and the Mad Dog was that ticking off the listener just made you want to come back the next day.

I feel that way today.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Off The Bench '19



I was going to call this post "Nothing, Part II." But I found a few nuggets, so let me hit you with a few things, to give it the ol' college try. This is what I occasionally called "Off the Bench."

- Bob Ley is retiring from ESPN after 40 years. I think we all had a feeling something was up when he took a leave of absence. Magnificence doesn't sum it up. Class, grace, eloquence, integrity -- just a few of the words I'll think of when it comes to him.  In the midst of the haha's around the World Wide Leader, Bob was a journalist. Thank you, sir.

- I listened to Huey Lewis and the News' Four Chords and Several Years Ago completely last night, probably for the first time in years. That album has aged quite well in my opinion. Classic R&B and soul tunes as interpreted by our guys. Sadly this is when they were in the vacuum of adult contemporary radio. "But It's Alright" was a minor hit, but there are songs on there that come across really well live, especially "(She's) Some Kind of Wonderful." If they were still touring.

- As I mentioned last night, The Clubhouse is back tonight at 7 p.m. on WGCH and Robcasting Radio. Mark, Dave, me. Listen. We're kind of fun.

- I've got baseball tomorrow, as Fairfield American plays Fairfield National. Shawn Sailer might not be along so there could be an opening to join me. That being said, I don't mind calling a game solo. Also, setup will likely be weird as I'll need to string some power to ... er ... somewhere, probably near some FALL fans because they know what I'm doing there. The Unity Park little league press boxes aren't media-friendly, because a scoreboard operator and PA announcer are needed up there. Game time is 5:30 on Robcasting Radio on Mixlr! (I make no promises, but I might try to put the game on the other outlets that we used for the convenience of our listeners)

- Chris Simms dared to call Tom Brady his ninth-best quarterback in his preseason rankings. Of course, who cares, except they care in Boston, and Alex Reimer of WEEI proves that very thing.

- The Yankees are very good. The Mets are a mess. Right now. As always, talk to me in October.

- Speaking of the Yankees, the numbers for visits to this blog fascinate me. I thought the Don Larsen/Old Timer's Day post was actually decent writing on my part, but it generated very low reads. Ah, well. We don't do it here for the clicks but as a sports guy, the numbers are interesting. Your mileage, of course, may vary.

- Oh yeah, since I'm writing early today, allow me to say I'm going to try to do Doubleheader today at 3 p.m. on WGCH. Magic. Mirth. Merriment. Mets! Oh and Yankees and lots more. See you then.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Nothing


So I've got nothing tonight.

Literally zero.

You wouldn't want to read it even if I did write it.

So, yeah, I've got nothing. Let's go with that.

See you tomorrow.

The Clubhouse is at 7 p.m. on Robcasting and WGCH.

Mixlr appears to be fixed and I expect to be back Thursday for Fairfield American Little League baseball.

Here are Huey Lewis and The News (not to be confused with The Beatles).

Monday, June 24, 2019

Fairfield American Wins Again, and My God is NOTHING Sacred?

Let's see the Yankees wear these circa 1904 uniforms.
Let's first visit with Fairfield American Little League baseball.

They beat Trumbull American tonight at Unity Park. We'll see them again on Thursday back in Trumbull against Fairfield National at what they call Unity 3 (or Field 3). Game time is 5:30.

If all goes well, FALL will be back on Mixlr on Thursday night. If not, we'll do the YouTube/Robcasting 2 combo. Here's how it sounded tonight.


I came across another embarrassing uniform item from the world of baseball that I completely realize makes me look like I'm telling everyone to get off my lawn.

But I'll go ahead and give the NY Post the click by linking to their story that says the Yankees will wear black uniforms on Players Weekend.

What's worse is that Players Weekend (which I don't like to begin with) is in August when the Yankees play the Dodgers in Los Angeles. I mean you're talking about two of the most iconic uniforms in sports, but let's go ahead and make it a novelty.

Again, I get it. There are bigger things to get upset about. Unwritten rules, players not hustling, a GM managing a team from home while watching TV, and so on.

But I'm a uniform guy. I need to not care, but I suppose that's why I write about it here.

In an era of pink and blue uniforms and stars and stripes uniforms and camo uniforms, I know I shouldn't care. I love throwbacks (which isn't easy by can be done when it comes to the Yankees) but, well, so it goes.

In minor league baseball, different uniforms are a thing and for good reason. Some of them are brutally ugly and thus great.

With the Yankees, I guess I just want the home pinstripes and the road grays. But this is 2019, and I'm not the target demographic. So it goes.

Oh well. Time for me to find something else to get annoyed at. Like the broadcasting choices for this weekend in London, when the Yankees meet the Red Sox.

Just say no, friends.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Don Larsen and Old Timer's Day



It's Old Timer's Day at Yankee Stadium.

Oh yeah, I get it. Yankees Universe showing Yankees Arrogance at its Yankees Most Obnoxious.

For me, it's an absolutely glorious day.

Those 27 rings are shiny brightly today as Gator, Boomer, Coney, Tino, Bucky, Mo, Paulie have all been introduced.

It evokes memories of watching as a little boy when Joe D, the Mick, Casey, Whitey, and the Scooter would lead the cheers.

Back then, the widows of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig would elicit cheers.

Today, it's Catfish Hunter, Billy Martin, Mel Stottlemyre, Thurman Munson and one Mr. Bobby Ray Murcer who are represented by their wives.

The Great Mariano was the last great to be introduced.
Remembering Mel

There's occasionally talk that Old Timer's Day should end. Maybe it's because of the "lesser known" names that also attend, but that's part of the charm of the day. The idea is to bring up the memories of all eras.

It matters so much that the Houston Astros -- today's regular game opponent -- have come into their dugout to watch.

Sure, I loved the days when opponents would be there. Willie Mays was there when I was in attendance one time. It doesn't need to be all Yankees to be a great day for me.

My memories of Old Timer's Day are plentiful, such as watching Bobby Murcer play in his very first one -- in person -- in 1983 and getting to see Roger Maris and other heroes.

But the title of this thread includes Don Larsen who, along with Dr. Bobby Brown (94 years of age, who walked out under his own power), are the two oldest players there.

Larsen, the 1956 World Series perfect game pitcher was wheeled out initially, before taking his walker the rest of the way to join his fellow perfect game friends David Wells ('98) and David Cone ('99).

I was in the Jefferson Valley Mall sometime in the 1990s when I looked in the center court area at an older man sitting on a stage. He had someone sitting with him and they were just talking. Nearby, a table held some pictures.

Don Larsen, the imperfect man who was perfect for a day, was there to sign autographs. Except nobody was paying any attention.

I have autographs, but I'm not a collector of them. They're cool, but meh. But this was Don Larsen, and part of me almost felt bad.

So I bought a picture and walked up. He signed politely, and my mind wandered to find something to say.

"I hope we see you back in The Bronx one day," I think I mustered. "Do you think you'll be back at Old Timer's Day?"

"Nah," he said. "I don't think anyone cares about seeing me around."

Keep in mind this is a man who authored the game that Vin Scully called, "The greatest game ever pitched in baseball history." It was October 8, 1956. There were 64, 519 in attendance at Yankee Stadium. There were no hits in the game until Mickey Mantle homered in the fifth. Mantle also had to track down a long fly ball off of Gil Hodges in center to keep the perfect game alive. Andy Carey and Gil McDougald worked together on a 5-6-3 putout to get Jackie Robinson at another point.

Larsen, by all accounts hungover and not expecting to play, needed just 97 pitches to get the 2-0 win and give the Yankees a 3-2 lead in the Series. They'd win the title in seven as Yogi Berra homered twice in Brooklyn.

As for Larsen, he indeed was invited back to The Bronx. I recall the 40th anniversary of the perfect game beginning an era of him being a regular attendee. Of course, he was there for Yogi Berra Day in 1999, when he watched Cone author his perfect game.

So when I see Don Larsen, who is nearly 90, at Old Timer's Day, it reminds me of what felt like a sad day at the Jefferson Valley Mall. Imagine he was sitting there now signing autographs?

We care about you, Mr. Larsen. The standing ovation you received today is proof of that.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Getting The Job Done (FALL/Westport LL Baseball)


The day began no better than last night ended.

Mixlr, my usually trusted broadcast streaming service, was still having massive technical issues.

Through pure determination and resourcefulness, I made sure the Fairfield American/Westport Little League baseball game got on the air.

I wrote about all of this last night but went to bed with the hope that everything would work out. With Mixlr never coming back online, I was stuck with Plan B (and C).

Upon arriving at Unity Park in Trumbull, Shawn Sailer and I set about finding our broadcast location (thanks to the people from Trumbull for giving us a table under a tent with a good view).

It took me some time to remind myself how to do it, but I set us up on YouTube and utilized our underused WGCH 2 (aka Robcasting 2) web stream.

Couple that with the lineups and we were almost set.

As for the game, Westport grabbed a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth on a Jared Lessing grand slam.

Check this out on Chirbit

 FALL chipped away with three in the fourth and two in the fifth before holding on for a 5-4 lead.

We were critical of the umpires for a missed call in the bottom of the fourth, but I also thought we were fair. They missed the call, but the home plate umpire made a point to come over after the game and tell us we did a good job.

We're that close to home plate that they can hear us.

The bottom line is to always get on the air. No matter what, I was confident I would make a broadcast happen. That's the reason that I earned the MacGyver nickname a few years ago. I always tried anything to make a broadcast work in any way possible. That's when the repurposed fishing tackle box comes out, filled with adaptors and cables.

Those are the circumstances when I think of the "Johnny Come Lately" types who think they can just show up with some equipment and suddenly become Al Michaels. It's when I look at Shawn and say, "Let's see (INSERT NAME HERE) do this to get on the air."

The preparation and resourcefulness make the broadcast happen. I have too many stories and too many examples.

The broadcast is the endgame.

FALL plays Trumbull American at Unity Park on Monday at 5:30. Robcasting will be there.

We'll let you know which platform(s) it will run on.

Here's what the WGCH 2/Robcasting 2 feed sounded like:


Here's the YouTube feed:

Friday, June 21, 2019

Broadcast Alert (NOTE!)


I'm very pleased to say Robcasting Radio will be back in action tomorrow at Unity Park in Trumbull, as Fairfield American Little League (FALL) plays Westport.

Game time is 2 p.m and I'll have the call. Shawn Sailer will also be along.

However, please take note! 

Mixlr -- our trusted broadcast provider -- is having issues with service as we speak. While they're describing it as "Intermittent Issues," I'm describing it as "I can't log in."

So if I can fire up Mixlr tomorrow, then the broadcast will air online at http://mixlr.com/robcasting-radio and on the Mixlr app. Just search for Robcasting Radio.

However, if Mixlr does not work, I will put the broadcast on YouTube's Robcasting channel (following the link or search Robcasting on YouTube).

Please follow me on Twitter at double5 (and at RobcastingRadio) for updates. I'll also tag FALL_news and District 2 Little League.

We'll do our best to make sure everything goes off without a hitch. Some things, sadly, are out of my control (such as Mixlr and internet problems).

*****
While we're talking, a shout out to fellow play-by-play announcer Michael Kay tonight. Michael is having issues with his voice to the point that his YES Network colleagues are doing all of the commercial reads. Paul O'Neill jokingly said that if any other Yankees homered tonight, that he'd take over the play-by-play.

You'd think that YES could get somebody to relieve him, and goodness knows I'm a mere 50 miles away!

Seriously, I've been there. I once had a really bad night with a cold during the HAN days when I was calling game after game. I know I handed to reigns off to John Kovach and Chris Kaelin a few times, and I stood nearby.

Trust me: I didn't like it, but I knew it was the right thing to do. It gave my voice a break, but it also gave JK and Kato some reps on play-by-play.

Kato was with me another time, back on WGCH, in Middletown for a Greenwich/Xavier hockey game (yes, that would make me The VOICE of Greenwich Hockey!). I felt my voice failing late in the first period and, sure enough, things were bad for the latter two. I pulled myself through it and survived, but it wasn't fun. The higher register in my voice was gone, and I had to call things at a lower volume.

So while I'm babbling here, I understand what Michael Kay is dealing with tonight.

Oh, last note: part of my North Carolina family is there tonight. With a Gary Sanchez home run, they're happy at the moment.

*****
So -- again -- aim to listen to Mixlr tomorrow, but be prepared for YouTube as a backup for FALL/Westport. Game time is 2 p.m.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Taking the Ramp

I-95 south, near Richmond, VA 2012
Alyssa Milano hasn't decided who she will endorse for the 2020 presidential election.

This, apparently, was news to the New York Post.

On Twitter, WABC radio host Juliet Huddy (rightfully) questioned why it was news. I quite agreed.
Sometimes, it's important to go right at a point.

But then again, as much as we want to drive straight downtown, we're often faced with a choice: the high road or the low road.

Everyone has had opportunities to address things or even get the "pound of flesh" so desperately desired. Everyone has faced that person or people who "went low."

From there, it's how we handle it.

That person could be an ex. They could be someone out to get you for some reason.

But even when we've got something, and no matter how great it might be to drop to their level, it's the right thing to be the better person.

My god, there are a lot of cliches on this highway.

Inevitably, your foe is going to swing and miss. You know, karma.

Or they always swing and miss.

And you're going to smile because, while you had the chance to take the low road, you went high.

Karma takes a while, and it sometimes feels lousy to stay above it all, but most of the time it's the right thing to do.

It will get them in the long run.

And you never showed your cards.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Oh, oh, Telephone Line, Give Me Some Time

Those were the days.
Dear Verizon,

We need to talk. I've been fairly loyal to your service for probably 15 years or more.

Keep in mind, I'm specifically talking about Verizon Wireless. Verizon (the mothership) Fios, we have some issues there also, but I'll cut you a break since I saw that you're returning the Weather Channel to my TV.

Small victories, I guess.

No, this is about my cell phone service.

Or lack thereof.

Let's start with my home. I'll be succinct: the service stinks. I've worked hard to get Wifi calling on my Apple devices (iPad and iPhone), but I'm still having dropped calls.

More drops than a bad wide receiver, amirite? (Even I'm groaning at that one)

If I want to text a picture to my own son -- yes, my own flesh and blood -- who for reasons unknown to me has an Android device, I have to go outside for him to receive it. Maybe.

Same goes with other Android users that I want to text. Because of unacceptable service, I have to go outside.

But today, for whatever reason, I had to pace in my road to have a cell phone conversation with a fellow Verizon iPhone user. Does that make sense?

Then there's driving. Oh I know, service drops are a fact of life, and this is where I'll take you slightly off the griddle, and say an extra HOWYADOIN! to the fine folks of Westchester County, NY.

Specifically, Bedford. Oh yeah, Pound Ridge, you get to join in this as well.

Go into Bedford Center. Lovely green down there, right? So perfect small town. So -- how did one resident put it? Ah, yes -- "bucolic."

Drive Long Ridge Road sometime. G'head. Just for the fun of it.

Head over to Scotts Corners. Pop into the market there, where I used to fill the shelves with lots of frozen treats!

Now use your phone, and hope your call doesn't drop. Numerous times. If you get service at all.

Lewisboro and North Salem aren't completely avoiding this conversation, and neither are Ridgefield, New Canaan, and some others in Connecticut.

But I feel a special rise in blood pressure when it comes to Bedford and Pound Ridge.

You see, it's one thing to have the usual 3-5 dropped calls when chatting with Paul or Susan or whomever.

Certainly, it's another when it's about something serious.

Like -- dare I say -- if my 82-year-old mother is driving through one of these areas.

She's on dialysis. She's getting around and doing her best. But what happens if she has a tire problem (you know, like I did a few weeks ago)? Or a more serious emergency?

How about if it happens on Long Ridge Road, right where there's no service. Think that's going to go well? Think the denizens of the lovely houses out there will welcome a stranger in to use a house phone? Think they'll call help for her?

I've been driving that stretch of road for years. I've been going through Pound Ridge for years as well. In each case, I simply call it, "The Dead Zone."

Ah, but wait. Now it's all starting to make sense. In the days of YOLO and OMG and YMMV, I bring you an oldie, but a goodie:

NIMBY.

That's right, friends. Not In My Back Yard.

Seems Verizon wants to put a cell tower in Bedford. Near Long Ridge Road.

Not so fast, say the well-heeled folks around the site. What a shock!

News12 reports from last year!

As always, here's my favorite part: "...residents say the tower is dangerous and would bring commercial traffic to a quiet neighborhood. Neighbors also say they are worried about the tower's appearance and what it would do to property values."

And there we have it. It's not Bedford residents' problem.

They can afford the lawyers.

So it sucks to be us.

Apparently, Lewisboro and Mount Kisco are among those who have also pushed back on towers. I've additionally seen grumbling here in Mahopac.

We'll continue to keep an eye on this whole thing, Verizon.

You're not entirely off the hook.

As your slogan once said: "Can you hear me now?"

Quite often, the answer is "no."

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Watching The Yankees

Adam Ottavino (NY Post)
The Yankees currently have a 6-3 lead in The Bronx against the Rays.

In the house, we had niece Laura, husband Kelly, and kids Kendall and Emma.

Other niece Stephanie was here earlier and of course, Mom is here.

It was a nice long day of fun and food and moody teenagers.

And baseball. Specifically, Yankees baseball.

Kelly is from North Carolina and has never been to New York City.

He's going there tomorrow and going to Yankee Stadium on Friday.

So it was a perfect night to watch the Bombers.

Though everyone got tired and I'm watching it alone, we otherwise watched the whole thing until the bottom of the 8th.

It was nice to have some company to watch a baseball game.

But it also didn't allow me a lot of time to write tonight.

No complaints. Back to it tomorrow.

Incidentally, we don't have The Clubhouse this week, but we'll have another show next Wednesday.

Fairfield American Little League baseball will be on Robcasting beginning this Saturday.

Lastly, I meant to send my congratulations to the Greenwich High School class of 2019. Go do amazing things.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Musical Geniuses

These two. Of course.
Bruce Figler -- outstanding DJ on The Peak (107.1 FM) and all-around good guy -- poses a question/conundrum every week. He calls it "Gimme Five," and he challenges his Facebook friends to name five...something.

This week, he offered: "...looking for 5 musicians who, in your estimation, qualify as musical geniuses. (dead or alive)"

I thought about it for a few days, and I think I've got my five. Two are obvious for me (and they're above), but let's list the five, all of whom are from basically the same era ('60s-'70s):

- John Lennon (Imagine and a whole lot of Beatles)
- Paul McCartney (Eleanor Rigby is just one example of his brilliance, besides the solo work)
- Brian Wilson (Good Vibrations, for instance?)
- Carole King (It's Too Late is just stunning)
- Joni Mitchell (Coyote -- especially this version from The Last Waltz with The Band is...wow.)

Side note (Lennon/McCartney category): The collective brilliance of the lads is just breathtaking. Best count-in? One-Two-Three-FAW! Best opening note? A Hard Day's Night. Best closing note? A Day in the Life (which many critics think is the best song ever from the best album ever). These were just things I was ruminating about today.

Any others?

Now, there is so much we can do with this. After a long conversation, we can certainly debate the brilliance of Bach (ahhhh Bach!), Beethoven, Mozart, Gershwin, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Dolly Parton, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Billy Joel, George Harrison, Johnny Cash, Elton John (but I feel Bernie Taupin, who wrote the words to Elton's brilliance, must be included), Barry Gibb, Barbra Streisand and a whole lot more. A lot of names were discussed, and I know I'm forgetting others.

Even Monkee Mike Nesmith (Papa Nez) and Huey Lewis came up, and while Huey is brilliant and extremely smart, I am not including him on this list. Just trying to be fair.

But I'm firm with my five. Personal preference and opinions all come into play with this, of course. However, unless I treat Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison as one entity (or John and Paul as one), there's no way I'm not including them. I don't think that's unfair.

The responses led to lots to consider, though you probably have to be one of Bruce's Facebook friends to see them.

So, friends, what do you have for me? Who are your five musical geniuses?


Sunday, June 16, 2019

Father's Day


It's a Sunday in June.

Father's Day.

Did you know Father's Day didn't become official until 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed it into law? The things you learn!

From the "no secret" category, it's a day to miss my own dad, but still cherish being a father myself.

Sean is either asleep or just waking up as I write (at 10:22 a.m.) but he's also 17. So I get it.

I put one of my dad's favorite albums to listen to as I type.

The Drum Battle – Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich at JATP is a recording of a 1952 concert that served as a "showdown" between the two titans of jazz drumming. The brilliant fireworks of Krupa -- who revolutionized jazz drumming on "Sing Sing Sing" with Benny Goodman at Carnegie Hall in 1938 (we'll come back to that) -- combined with the explosiveness of Rich, made the windows of our house rattle more than once as Dad played the record on the hanging "HiFi" turntable in the living room.

My father had Goodman's Carnegie Hall concert on record, just as he did The Drum Battle. He handed me the precious Goodman records one night in the '80s and asked me to transfer them to cassette. He knew I'd treat it like it was the Honus Wagner T206 baseball card.

I still have that record, in its 1950s pressing. I also have his copy of The Drum Battle, originally from 1960, but I think he found it years later as I recall (probably at Caldor). Even further along, and long after he died, I found it on CD (probably around 2004). I did the same with the Goodman concert.

Dad was such a Big Band jazz guy, while I evolved deeper into Miles Davis and Dave Brubeck and Charlie Parker and so on. But I'll always thank him for giving me the initial nudge into the world of jazz music.

Instead of sitting here lamenting him not being around (and I miss him literally every day), I'm sitting here tapping my feet to Krupa kicking Rich's ass*, and life is good.

*Whether that is true or not isn't actually relevant. It's what my dad taught me. So in this case, we're good.

But not forgotten in talking about Father's Day is Sean. I was never content to simply be Dad. I wanted the relationship that I've written about here for years. I'm not content to simply have an absentee relationship. Nope. Not happening.

And I kept that promise. Any effort to try to paint me otherwise (trust me, people are ruthless) isn't worth the time of day.

In 2019, fathers are in all shapes, sizes, and descriptions. They all deserve saluting, from biological fathers to stepdads to father figures to pet fathers and anything else. I'm all for including everyone. Hallmark will happily sell the card!

Too often, bad fathers are highlighted. There are plenty of good and great fathers. Dads who serve as both mother and father. Dads who can do it all.

Happy father's day to everyone. Now go have a catch.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Hope, Promise, and a Plan

Hope (Bob, of course)
As I've said here before, hope can be a dangerous thing.

Yet sometimes it's all that we have. It's certainly easy to remain cynical (and yes I can be that) but more importantly, I have to remain a realist.

Things have not improved a whole lot since I opened up back in early February.

Plus, as you might have heard, WGCH's status is tenuous to be polite. But while we keep our fingers crossed for whatever (or whoever) is next to own the mighty 1490, there's also the reality that the next owner might not want to broadcast sports or have me around at all.

Such is the nature of the business.

So we stay aggressive on other things.

A few emails have received positive feedback.

That's hope.

There's the promise of conversations.

And the plan of how to fill the gaps.

The story will begin to come together. Or it won't and I'll need Plan J (or whatever).

These are things -- the glimpses of sunlight -- that have to be seen in the darkness.

And thus the continued belief that it will all be OK.

Speaking of radio, I hope you caught Josh Somma and me yesterday between 4 and 6 p.m. on WGCH. Lisa Wexler asked me to fill in for her, and Josh, who has been her trusty producer for some time now, served as co-host.

We were, frankly, really good. Like me, Josh is a Connecticut School of Broadcaster guy (I sometimes have to remind myself that he was actually my student and we immediately hit it off). He joined WGCH in small roles before landing with Lisa.

We did mostly sports and some current events/politics. Most of all, we were fearless. We had takes that we believed in that were honest and fair. Nothing was contrived.

Some probably wouldn't have been pleased with our opinions, and that's great.

It was two hours that easily could have been a lot more.

As with John Marinelli, I have mixed feelings in that Josh is leaving for Florida next week, as he and his girlfriend are ready for a change. They're both young and it's a great opportunity for them. It's Florida's gain, and I will miss working with him, though we'll try to stay in touch.

Let that be another indication that people are leaving Connecticut in droves.

He was an asset to WGCH, and a person that I never got to fully utilize in the sports department, though I'm grateful that we called a few games together.

Lastly, congratulations to Lucy "Snakey" Shultz on the award she received from her school in Wilton. The award, in short, was for her being just a really good person, who's always helping out in class. She was surprised to receive the honor. She deserves it.

I'm so proud of her.

It's the back end of a good week for her, with Lucy (and sister Annabelle "Pinecone") gaining a cousin.

Bright lights in dark times.

Hope.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Catching Up On Comments


As a (hopefully) responsible writer, I allow comments on the blog. However, I moderate them. In all candor, I've deleted very few ever.

I normally get just a few on the actual blog page, and the rest hit either via Facebook or Twitter.

So earlier today, I checked in on the comments here on the blog and discovered there were a bunch that I hadn't actually published. I hadn't been checking the page of comments that were awaiting moderation.

So thank you, Nicole. Thanks, Dave T, and Randy from the Greenwich Athletic Foundation. Thanks to the anonymous commenters, and "Savoir Faire."

Thanks to Bill Daughtry who was at WGCH for several years before moving onto places like WFAN, ESPN, and now WBGO which is one of the great jazz stations in the country (if not the very best).

All of the comments were kind and fair and encouraging. So thank you all, and excuse me for not seeing them sooner. I'll try to keep a better eye on the correct tab.

*****
I saw that former longtime Stamford High School head coach (and AD and Stamford historian) Jim Moriarty was inducted into the FCIAC Hall of Fame last night. Mo was joined by former Greenwich High athletic director Garland Allen, Danbury baseball coach Shaun Ratchford and others. Congratulations to all of the honorees.

Beyond that, the US Open is going on and the Yankees are playing like garbage in Chicago. Basketball ended last night with the Raptors winning, and the Blues won the Stanley Cup earlier in the week. So you're up, baseball. Don't blow it.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

John Marinelli


John Marinelli stepped down as head coach of the Greenwich High School football team today.

If the Cardinals were ever "off the map," John quickly put them back on it.

It wasn't easy at first, and it never is. There was a bit of a rebuilding that was necessary, if only to get John's system understood at GHS.

Soon he had a roster that was exploding with talent and each year seemed to bring better results.

John was different. I can still remember a game getting ready to kick off when, suddenly, there was John, running through press box at Greenwich High School to fix or adjust some kind of technology.

It made me laugh -- both then and now.

John also recognized the importance of broadcasting, and very much wanted to create his own Greenwich football video channel. So he brought me in to help on the audio end, as we tried to tie it into the video.

There's John -- the coach of the team -- standing with me in the booth at West Haven trying to make it work up until minutes before kickoff.

He was the Energizer bunny.

You knew big things were coming, and boy did they ever happen.

The Cardinals reached the state championship game in 2017, losing to Darien 31-22. On media day in August, 2018 (another Marinelli creation at Greenwich), John politely chided me for wearing a Hudson Valley Renegades shirt.

Which I was photographed in. And went into the program.

The shirt was blue. As in Darien Blue Wave.

Don't worry. My face was cardinal red with embarrassment.

In 2018, Marinelli and his staff led a talented team to a 13-0 season, a Class LL championship, an FCIAC championship, and the number one team in the state.

I texted him today to wish him well. Obviously, he's swamped with others contacting him, but I thank him for his kindness and openness to me. He learned from his dad how to run a team and he'll do great things at the University of Arizona as an offensive analyst.

He faced any adversity with dignity, and won with the same dignity as well.

Something kept telling me that changes were coming. I felt it at the banquet.

I felt it at the ring ceremony.

I wasn't sure what.

But now I know.

Thanks, coach. Good luck.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

A Few Wednesday Thoughts


The St. Louis Blues just won the Stanley Cup.

Apparently, some who wouldn't know a hockey puck from frisbee are suddenly looking to hear "Gloria." You know, the 1982 Laura Branigan chestnut that has become the rally song of the Blues.

Side note: Laura Branigan is a Putnam County, NY native (heck, even I'm not a Putnam County native). She was born in Brewster and then attended high school at Byram Hills in Armonk (in Westchester County, which I am a native of)**.

** Unbeknownst to me, Branigan wasn't born in Brewster, so she's not from Putnam County either. She was born down the road in Mount Kisco. Her Wikipedia page still says Brewster, and there are other outlets that have said the same, but even trusty Alexa just told me she was born in Mount Kisco. There were apparently inaccuracies in her bio for some reason. A commenter gave us "corrections" below.

I actually like the Boston Bruins, so I feel bad for B's fans. But to not have another Boston celebration?

That's why I was enjoying just watching this one. But wow. What a disappointing game 7.

Anyway, bandwagon fans are so cute. Truly.

And wow, the Boston hatred is strong tonight.

Once again, we saw that Doc Emrick is a national treasure, and the best broadcaster whose name doesn't rhyme with Min Wully.

Someone tried saying Doc is better than Vin. No. That won't fly. Buy my God, Doc is simply amazing. Enjoy him while we still have him.

One last thing: jinxes aren't real. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran an ad saying the Blues had won the Cup.

A few days ago. After game 5.

Then the Blues lost game 6. But they won tonight. There's no jinx.

*****
I need to turn serious for a moment.

A year ago last night, I wrote a post called "It Doesn't Have to End Like This." It was in response to the suicide of Anthony Bourdain, as well as Kate Spade.

The title says everything, and we need to continue that conversation. It doesn't have to end like this. Ever.

In the darkest moments, we have to remember there are those who love us and are there for us. It's difficult, but it's true.

Problems can be solved.

Please. Let's keep having the conversation and be there for each other.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

One Year

He's back there

I went to Sean's band concert tonight at John Jay High School in East Fishkill.

I saw him before he walked into school and then as he took his seat.

Then his concert band began playing their first song when it hit me.

There's only one more year.

Sean is ending his junior year as we speak. There are only a few days of classes left, then finals.

Then summer.

Then right back into it.

A year from now, he'll be saluted at his last concert, and then he'll graduate.

He's enjoyed his music, and I'm proud of him for staying with the alto sax.

He plays it well, and goodness knows those days of mangling "Hot Cross Buns" weren't fun, but I am still proud of him for trying.

I'm just proud -- no, prouder -- for him staying with it.

I don't think this is his life. I frankly don't think he'll play another note after this time next year.

There are other student musicians who will go to school for music education. There are others who will keep playing.

Sean is seeing it through to the end of his high school career, and that's probably all.

Like me, Sean isn't into clubs and activities for the most part. I was on the bowling team. Sean plays an instrument.

He tried the radio club at school and quickly became disillusioned because all they did was set up equipment and play music at sports events.

As opposed to, you know, radio. Which Sean obviously knows a few things about.

When I told him that the mic wasn't loud enough at the concert, he was the first to say, "That's why I quit the radio club. I'd know exactly how to fix that and they don't care."

Again, proud.

It will all be over a year from now. Part of me is looking forward to it being over, and another part doesn't want it to end. Both are selfish.

So I just stay in the moment and hope he enjoys every last bit of the ride.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Pathetic, Part II

Am I REAL boy? (Courtesy Disney)
Something was said to me recently that was, frankly, awful.

It wasn't criticism. Trust me, I'm frequently criticized. I hear how much I'm awful on a fairly consistent basis. I'm not complaining, as it comes with the territory. You learn to get a thick skin, consider the source, and review the comment to see if there's anything to it.

Most of the time, there isn't. For instance, a young lad tweeted to HAN a few years ago that the play-by-play guy was just terrible. The PBP person in question saw it and responded, telling the critic he was sorry that his call didn't live up to expectations, and if he had any specific items to improve on, he'd happily listen.

The tweet was deleted. I shrugged the shoulders and continued the broadcast.

There was another one not too long ago where a former member of a company I worked for took a shot at me (to be clear, I never worked with the person), saying they'd never want me in a booth they're working in (essentially). I'll have to post that one here sometime because your point is moot when you can't even spell my name (It's Rob. Not Ron).

I still laugh at that one.

No, this was more in line with a post that I wrote four years ago, called "Pathetic," as in my pursuit of being a broadcaster, and the decisions that I've made, have been ... well ... pathetic.

So as much as we try to dust off the harsh words, there are certain things that can kick us square in the soul.

And this was one.

I've busted my tail from WGCH to Local Live to Robcasting to Hunt Scanlon to Yale and St. John's and literally everything since I left the last full-time employer whose name I will not mention (since their publisher left an interview I did for a story of theirs on the cutting room floor out of sheer spite).

While I try to not be petty, it can go both ways.

Post-script on "Pathetic." I called those games and thought they were quite good broadcasts by our entire team. As with most broadcasts, I felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders, but there was extra pressure that came with those games.

In the end, for whatever reason, CPTV never ran the broadcasts. So, in actuality, what were supposed to be three huge games in my career turned out to be three standard championship broadcasts.

Something might have been pathetic, but I'll tell you one thing: it wasn't me.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

The Foul Ball


The above picture was in my Facebook memories this morning.

A similar one was in Tim Parry's.

In each case, it was a picture of Sean holding a baseball.

We got the ball at Coca Cola Park, which is the home of the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs.

Let me explain a little more.

For an all-too-brief stretch, Tim, Jason Intrieri, and I had a tradition. It started with the idea that we wanted to have breakfast at Waffle House. But simply driving to the closest one (Bethlehem or Allentown, or the two in the Scranton-Wilkes Barre area) wasn't enough. We needed something else to do, so we added a minor league baseball game.

At first, we went to Reading to watch the then-Phillies (now the Fightin Phils). It's a beautiful classic ballpark, tickets were reasonable, and food wasn't bad (if we were hungry).

The first year, the three of us added Tim's friend Sheryl Rosen. It's safe to say Sheryl was quite a character. Every time I try to write a story from that day, I decide there's no easy way to tell them.

We still laugh about it. The part we don't laugh about is Sheryl died of cancer in 2017.

Other fourth people got to come along unless we kept it to just the three of us. We added a side trip to the VF Outlet Center in Reading, and another meal until it became "Breakfast, Beer (optional), Bargains, Burgers, and Baseball."

Besides Reading, we tried Scranton, where I caught a foul ball down the right field line as we were all kind of quietly watching a game.

In 2013, Sean joined us when we went to Allentown, where the Iron Pigs play. We got front row tickets down the third base line. The view was great.

In the first inning, a bouncer came rolling down the line. I leaned over the wall, aware that I didn't want to 1) fall over and 2) interfere. The ball hit my hand and  -- to this day -- I can still feel it spinning out of my hand.

I failed. Nobody seemed to notice and nobody seemed to care.

When I caught the ball in Scranton, my options were to try to catch it or let it possibly hit one of us. I caught it and thankfully avoided the wrath of the people in that park who would have booed me. I held onto it before it fell and gave it to a kid who asked for it after the game.

In this case, I thought it was a lost ball.

Then the ballgirl appeared and handed it to me.

Beaming with pride and adrenaline, I put into Sean's hands.

And that's the smile you see on his face.

Incidentally, that day was another harbinger. A new restaurant had opened a few miles away in Allentown that piqued the interest of Tim and Jason. I had been to a different location once and thought it was OK but didn't think I was hungry enough.

Being a good fellow traveler/co-pilot, I went along.

We went to Golden Corral. Sean immediately fell in love and a new favorite place was added to our list of (unhealthy) delights. We also occasionally worked in stops at Wawa, Sheetz, and Fuddruckers.

It was never boring.

Those days were a lot of fun. It's been a few years now since we've done it.

The laughs linger.

Saturday, June 08, 2019

It Wasn't Supposed to End This Way

Construction? On a Friday afternoon in summer? Really?

The 2018-2019 school sports year pretty much ended today.

Champions were crowned in baseball, softball, and boys and girls lacrosse.

Spring football games were played in other places, like Greenwich.

I was home.

I helped debut TEN (the Trumbull Eagles Network) last night in Trumbull, working with Paul Silverfarb and TEN founder Jeff Alterman.

I'm guessing this gets me a co-founder credit or something. It's only the third broadcasting outlet I've helped create (or something like that).

The trip from Mahopac to Trumbull took three hours. It should take one.

Who plans construction on Friday afternoon during rush hour in the summer? Apparently, that's OK in Danbury, CT.

After sitting through that mess, and more Friday commuter hijinks, I left Interstate 84 at Exit 9 (CT route 25) when I heard a loud bang.

A rock, I hoped.

Nah. A blowout.

I quickly pulled over, cleared every piece of radio equipment from both Robcasting and WGCH that was in my trunk, and got to work.

I texted Paul and Jeff and told them I was out.

But ... I had the spare on some 35 minutes later. Not my fastest work, but those jacks you get with a car aren't the best.

Figuring I was still 20 minutes or so from Trumbull and knew I could probably use some laughs, and since I'm ... well ... nuts, I made my way to McDougall Stadium.

Keeping in mind this was the debut of TEN, and the new equipment hadn't been taken out of the box, I did what I could to keep the broadcast as clear as possible. We did fine, but it was raw, and we'll try again.

I drove home with the donut (it was National Donut Day, after all) and jumped up ready to figure out the tire situation.

I thought about a junkyard. They didn't have the tire.

I'll try BJ's! My mom has a membership there. I only need ONE TIRE. Nope. Strike two, as the guy there said something about treads and so on.

He sent me roughly a block away to a garage on the US 202/NY 35 combo. Bingo.

It wasn't cheap (it never is) but at least I got the tire. The guys were great, and they have my recommendation.

But it also took a while, and the thought of going to Greenwich for their Red and White game was fading.

As I sat there, I noticed that Local Live was going to broadcast the Red and White. That's when it hit me: I'm not needed in Greenwich.

I gave it some thought and felt like the tire/football/broadcasting gods were telling me to stay home. Don't add further wear and tear to the car.

There's no access to the press box in Greenwich. Someone is already covering it. I've been running around for a tire. Plus the traffic around Greenwich/Stamford was a mess. It all just seemed to add up.

Local Live aired the game without a broadcaster and I watched it from home.

It felt like the right call, but it was weird and awkward and I missed it. Truth be known, if I was needed, I would have been there in a snap.

Anyway, that's how the 2018-2019 school year sort of maybe ended or me.

There were 115 game broadcasts (not off the charts but I exhausted myself with each one) and a bunch of Doubleheader/Clubhouse shows.

Babe Ruth and Little League Baseball both await in the summer. We'll see what else.

If the fates allow, I'll be back on September 14 at Cardinal Stadium as Big Red opens their state title defense against Danbury. The pregame should be at 3:50 p.m.

A lot can happen between now and then.

But that's the plan.

Friday, June 07, 2019

On WGCH



I said what I (thought) needed to say yesterday on Doubleheader on the WGCH story in the Greenwich Time.

A day later, I'll tell you I still have issues with it, but my blood is further boiling because an AM radio group on Facebook is having their way with it.

As I've said previously about the play-by-play group that I belong to (and others), I'm normally just a reader. A lurker.

But my FB friend Matt Boland shared the story on the I Love AM Radio group.

Except Matt shared a story from 2011. The current story is linked above (Hearst will love that) though you need to provide an email address to read it. Your mileage may vary.

The comment at the top of this post was the thought of one of the members of I Love AM Radio.

From what he says, Mr. DiBello once worked at WGCH, and apparently had a much larger listening audience than I do. I realize his comment about WGCH not having a listener "since the 1980's" was an exaggeration.

Still, it bugged me, as it would hope it would bother any current member of the WGCH family. I'd also hope it bothers any past member of the WGCH family unless they have an ax to grind.

Perhaps Mr. DiBello does, or he simply holds on to his vision of what 1490 was, and thus it hasn't been good since he left.

I've been there since 1997, as you know, and I've seen the good, bad, and...well...

I remember the days of John T. Becker, who wanted whatever was best for the community. We'd cover the St. Patrick's Day Parade, Election Night, myriad events, and of course, sports. We were at every single baseball, basketball, football, and hockey game for Greenwich High School.

We dabbled in softball and lacrosse.

We jumped on a bunch of Brunswick games in the early 2000s. We added some Bridgeport Bluefish games, along with the 2002 Babe Ruth World Series.

I stayed extremely active and made a (fair) salary under the circumstances, given I wasn't even full-time.

We did talk shows. Lots of talk shows. Shows that I hosted and shows that I assisted with.

Then ownership changed and so did my work. It became less about the community, and that was their right. I had four shows the day the change took effect. I had zero by the end of the day.

The Bluefish were gone from WGCH. Soon, I was down to roughly 10-15 games. A year.

Yes. A year.

Simply put, things were different, but I still worked and actually had a full-time position for a stretch.

Again, eventually, more things (and ownership) changed.

And I'm still only doing 10-15 games on WGCH a year, and that's sad.

Don't worry, everyone at WGCH knows how I feel about this.

I was at the mic for Superstorm Sandy and given "nobody is listening" I'm curious how this letter got to the aforementioned Greenwich Time. I can assure you that no member of the GCH family wrote it. In fact, full disclosure, the writer asked if it was OK, and the station was pleased to say yes.

Given the transient nature of WGCH (as so many of our shows are brokered) I don't know everyone and am often there in different hours (if I'm on-site at all).

But despite everything you're reading here, I'm as passionate about WGCH (and other places that I've used a microphone at) as ever. I want it to succeed and thrive. If done correctly (and there is a way) WGCH can be a large part of the Greenwich media landscape. But it needs a better marketing push. It needs a local leadership, and that's what current owner Rocco Forte wants.

I have no issues with the Forte family. We didn't always agree (who does?) but I like my relationship with them.

WGCH can be special, with its "antiquated modulation" or whatever another commenter said. It does have an intriguing signal that can hit Long Island Sound (thus the reason we carried Hofstra sports for a few years).

It would help if those of us who know WGCH the best (like the silly sports director) had a stronger voice in the decision-making process.

We know what we are at WGCH. But don't give up on this little station that can and will.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

D-Day

C.D Adamson, engineer correspondent of the BBC War Reporting Unit, with a midget Recorder (Courtesy BBC)
Today is June 6th, of course, known as D-Day. Today is the 75th anniversary of the landing on the shores of Normandy, France, codenamed Operation Neptune and part of Operation Overlord.

Radio was an absolutely essential part of relaying information to the homefront.

I tried to explain that today on Doubleheader but I didn't do a very good job of it. But it was also a show of very raw emotion (more than usual).

I had my say on the show today about the WGCH story in the Greenwich Time. I now hope WGCH can find the right path and that I can still be a big part of it. Moving on.

*****
Anyone who doesn't know the story of D-Day needs to do some reading. Even to just know the basics.

The bravery is off the charts.

While there were many more names who should be famous, there are names that you know who served on D-Day. Henry Fonda, Yogi Berra, Medgar Evars, Charles Durning, Bobby Jones (the golfer), David Niven, J.D. Salinger, and Sir Alec Guinness (yes, Obi-Wan Kenobi) were all involved near or at Normandy.

Did I mention J.D. Salinger? Well then allow Vin Scully to tell you more.

Just incredible.

But back to radio. Word had been spreading that the invasion was approaching. An invasion.

Here's a CBS radio report, anchored by Bob Trout, on the air around 2:50 a.m.

Here's a report at 3:30 a.m from NBC, anchored by Robert St. John. This video is not the first actual bulletin (they were on the air earlier also).

You can follow this link to listen to the BBC as they announced "The Invasion."

There is so much more that you can find with an internet search. Archive.org has complete broadcast days from NBC and CBS.

Finally, most fascinating to me is this audio from George Hicks. Working as a pool reporter from the NBC Blue Network (which became ABC), Hicks gives riveting play-by-play as the attack unfolds in front of him.



On this 75th anniversary (and every June 6th), let us pause and remember the brave souls who fought for our freedom, with a nod to the journalists -- electronic and print -- who got the word back to the United States. "Thank you" simply isn't enough.

*****
Last thing. Just saw that Mac Rebennack has died. He was better known as Dr. John. Some funky sounds came from the man from New Orleans. His 1973 hit "Right Place, Wrong Time" will always be a personal favorite. I made my siblings play the 45 more than a few times.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Football This Weekend


I'm pleased to say I'll be back behind the mic calling football this weekend.

On Friday, Robcasting Radio is joining forces with TEN -- The Trumbull Eagles Network. Jeff Alterman asked me to help him get TEN started, and they'll debut officially this Friday with the Black and Gold Spring Football Game at McDougall Stadium.

You might recall that I went to Trumbull back in February to call an Eagles/Fairfield Warde girls basketball game. The purpose of that was to show Jeff just how easy it was to start an internet radio station.

As I wrote at the time: "It's about having fun on the air and building things."

And now you know.

Air time is 6:10 Friday night with the X's and Petroccio's Coach's Show. Then Paul Silverfarb and I have the call of the Black and Gold.

Hmm...Paul and I working at McDougall to kick off a new radio outlet. Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, we called the FCIAC Championship in 2013 between New Canaan and St. Joseph in the first game broadcast on what was then known as Hersam Acorn Radio (with Chris Kaelin on the sideline).

Friday's game will air on TEN, Trumbull Football, and Robcasting.

*****
Before I get to Saturday at Greenwich, this is a reminder that tonight is The Clubhouse at Grand Prix New York in Mount Kisco. Airtime is 7 p.m. It is -- for now -- the final Clubhouse show to air on WGCH, but it is NOT the final Clubhouse show. You can probably guess the rest of that statement, but we'll follow up with further details.

*****
That brings us to Saturday. I'll be back at Cardinal Stadium (as I said Monday night) for the Red and White game. After chatting with Greenwich AD Gus Lindine and head football coach John Marinelli, I will call the game from the field.

Yes. That's correct.

The press box is off-limits. The only open set of bleachers doesn't have power available. So I will access power on the field, set up a table with my equipment, and (as of now) use a wireless microphone to call the play at field level.

I'll make it work because that's what we do. I'm grateful to Gus and Coach Marinelli for allowing me to do this. Plus I'll work near my friend DJ Furano, who will be getting shots of the game via drone. So I think we have a chance to do something unusual and hopefully cool.

We'll see if I come up with a partner. Otherwise, I'll work solo (some in the quickly-becoming-infamous Facebook Play-by-Play group thinks football shouldn't be called solo. I think otherwise.)

Game time is 5:00. We'll start the broadcast right around 4:55.

Listen to the broadcast on Robcasting.

Robcasting Radio is on Mixlr

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Liz

Liz (Courtesy of her Facebook page)
I'm saddened to say another former colleague has left us. Elizabeth Kopyscinski's family announced that she had advanced Alzheimer's disease a little over month ago, and word came down earlier today that she has died. Though I have no further details, that doesn't take away from the sadness that my WGCH colleagues and I are feeling today.

I knew Liz for probably a decade, if not more. She was dedicated to WGCH and always cared so much about the quality of what we produced. We had more than a few conversations about that, and few people were more supportive of the work I did.

She had a wonderful laugh and wit, along with being the very epitome of class and grace. She loved Greenwich, specifically Old Greenwich, and her clients repaid that love by supporting her. If Liz wanted you to sponsor something, chances are it was going to happen simply because of her.

I hadn't seen her in about a year, though she had started splitting time between North Carolina and Greenwich, so it was always a nice surprise to see her sitting at her desk.

So, again, we mourn, sending along our love and best wishes to her family.