Wednesday, July 31, 2019

A Friend in Need



News broke and the reaction was swift.

"He's out," they cried, not realizing that someone might actually be crying while the celebration raged on.

Within seconds of the news reaching me, I immediately had thought of a friend.

"How are you?" I asked.

In short, not well. There was hurt. Disappointment. Probably some frustration.

"You need to get out of there," are the words I'll never forget typing, fully expecting to hear that it wasn't necessary.

The reaction was agreement. We agreed to meet at a spot we both knew. There was some cheering up to be done, and maybe a beverage to be consumed.

We met. I don't recall tears. Just weariness and a certain degree of resignation, along with even some abandonment.

I got the full story and said what I felt from the moment I heard the news.

I knew it would hurt. I knew it would be tough to adjust.

But I also knew it was the best thing for all parties.

Selfishly, out of that came a bond that I'll never forget and always appreciate.

It happened on July 31.

That's why I'm writing it tonight.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Tomorrow Is Wednesday



I'm watching the ESPN documentaries of former NBA player Chris Herron.

The background is this: major player in Fall River, MA. Goes to Boston College and gets tossed due to failed drug tests. Transfers to Fresno State. Plays for Jerry Tarkanian. Has moments both good and not so good. Gets drafted by the Nuggets. Comes back home to the Celtics. Leaves the NBA. Goes to Italy.

Is a straight-up junkie all along.

It's a terrible story.

The redemption comes at the end of "Unguarded," produced in 2011, when he gets cleaned up, in part due to his wife saying (paraphrasing), "Fix it or don't come back."

From there he became a motivational spokesman. That's where the new documentary "The First Day" comes into play.

The program cuts between Herron's various speaking engagements. There's nothing glamorous about it. It's compelling, real, heartbreaking stuff.

Herren visited Darien High School in Connecticut in 2017, and Dan Arestia wrote about it in the Darien Times.

We have an opioid crisis. An epidemic. A problem. Chose your term.

Kids need to hear this and know it can happen to them.

Don't think it can't. Literally, anyone can walk into the wrong crowd.

But you don't need to hear it from me. Watch these documentaries about Chris Herren and listen to him.

"Everyone can smoke blunts," he says. "Everyone can drink in basements. Not everyone can walk away from it."

Learn from him.

Before it's too late.

And remind yourself that it's one day at a time.

It's so trite but win today.

One day at a time.

Keep moving forward.

Monday, July 29, 2019

I've Got a Few Minutes

And you?
For 211 straight days (209 in 2019), I have found a way to squeeze a few minutes into each night (and some daylight hours) to work on Project 365.

Some days I find myriad topics worth touching on. Sometimes, I've got nothing.

If you've been following along, you've seen both sides.

Over the past few nights, I've let my serious side show. Then I buckled up for the comments.

Anyway, I'm babbling.

Tonight, I'm awaiting family. It's quite a family time around the homestead. I know the drill -- the minute they walk in, I would have to force time to finish the blog.

Of course, I'll be squeezing in a few minutes at their house in North Carolina in August.

So tonight, I'm being totally random.

I found myself wanting to send a GIF of the above picture to someone who abso-flipping-lutely hates everything about that image.

I wanted to send it out of the blue.

If you don't know, it's from a commercial featuring actress Natalie Portman as a fairly entitled young woman who wants her man to demonstrate his love for her.

"Prove it!" she demands.

Watch the magic of Natalie...being...whatever...



Oy. Literally oy.

Ms. Portman is a fine actress, who won an Oscar for Black Swan and was quite good in Garden State.

Then there was Star Wars. Nope. I can't.

So instead of texting a random GIF of Natalie Portman, I'm giving you a random post.

And you? What would you do for love?

Sunday, July 28, 2019

On Baltimore

Baltimore Harbor Tunnel, 1986
I wade into these waters carefully every time. But I'll give it a go.

Baltimore is a city that I've driven through and visited numerous times.

I'll drive through it again in August if all goes according to plan.

Let me tell you about the Baltimore I know (although, to be fair, I don't know it that well).

I know a city that has mesmerized me since I was a little boy, due to the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel (and later, the Fort McHenry Tunnel). The infrastructure always fascinated me.

I know a city that is charming, yet tough. You know: "Charm City."

I know the Inner Harbor and the Babe Ruth Birthplace and the restaurants and the Duck Boats and Fort McHenry and Loyola and Memorial Stadium (RIP).

I know where the Charm City football team plays (and quoth them nevermore, thank you very much).

I know Camden Yards and Boog's BBQ and potato chips with crab meat and Old Bay on them!

I know Fell's Point. Not well, but I've been there.

But I also know one other thing, and while it's not necessarily Baltimore's fault, it's still a fact.

Cars I own have been broken into twice. Once was on a street in Brooklyn, NY and was sort of my fault, because I left visible signs of electronics (including, yes, a suction cup mark on my windshield). Thus, my old GPS got taken out of the console in a smash-and-grab.

An NYPD patrolman just shook his head at me. You can take the boy out of the suburbs...

The other time was in -- yup -- Baltimore, MD. Parking wasn't available on the lower levels of a garage at a hotel in the Inner Harbor, so I was one of the first on the next level.

You can guess the result. Nothing was taken, but a window was smashed.

The parking lot manager was nothing short of wonderful when I returned to my hotel room hours later. He had me meet him and we moved the car next to the office for the night, where they made sure to put plastic on the busted window and cleaned as much of the glass as they could.

The next day, he had me drive to a window place just northeast of Baltimore to have it replaced -- on them. He was furious that it happened at all and even said to come back anytime and park for free (note: that was 20 years ago, so I won't be making good on that).

I've seen the good and I've seen the bad, as I've seen of numerous places.

I bring all of this up because, as you undoubtedly know, the President of the United States said some unkind things about Baltimore, specifically the district of Representative Elijah Cummings.

I didn't like the comments, but to be fair, I also don't like the tweeting behavior of 45.

He specifically called it "a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess."

Oy.

Look, it's not exactly a Gold Coast. We get that. There are some nasty areas, such as there are in so many cities. As a city, it doesn't need to be Palm Springs.

But when Jon -- the pride of R-Va, who once lived in Rep. Cummings' district -- says, "The VAST majority of it is not dangerous, rat infested or filthy," I believe him.

Of course, The New York Post is wetting itself to defend Trump, while The Baltimore Sun wrote an eloquent editorial to defend its city, as they should.

Instead of arguing over stupid politics, and falling over each other to make sure everyone stays on their side of the aisle, how about we actually -- you know -- do something about it?

That includes the President.

I like Baltimore. I'll never forget having my car broken into, but I've been back since.

Let's be better than this.

I feel like I say that way too often.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Baseball Nonsense

I'm not entitled to him
I would up in the middle of another "Tako" sports war tonight.

Chris Kaelin, bitter man, good friend, great umpire, and (surprisingly) all-around exceptional guy is also an angry Mets fan.

He's a blessing to us all.

Just when I think he's not the worst, and thus not the leader of the He-Man Yankees Haters Club (HMYHC), he pulls on his Metsies footie pajamas, autographed by Mike Piazza and begins spouting.

It's in regard to the click-bait kerfuffle about Andre Dawson and Tony Perez saying they won't attend Derek Jeter's Hall of Fame induction next July.

I can assure you nobody will lose sleep over their lack of attendance.

Anyway, I'll spare you all of the nonsense of things being made up, but will hit you with one comment, added by a friend of Kato's.

In short, the comment highlighted that Yankees fans aren't entitled to anything they didn't see.

Thus, everything prior to 1968 for me. I'm allowed to relish those won in 1977, 1978, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2009.

So let's see if I've got this straight: Kato is then not entitled to the Mets title in 1969, for instance.

Does this then mean I'm not entitled to anything in history prior to being born?

Oh, wait, The Beatles. You mean I can only enjoy "The White Album" (came out the day I was born), Abbey Road, and Let It Be? Most of Sinatra's career is lost to me. Movies? Nah.

Guess I can't wear my Lou Gehrig jersey anymore, or write about him.

Red Barber last broadcast a game in 1966. Nope. I might not even be allowed to listen to his old broadcasts.

The Civil War? The Titanic? The early days of radio?

The revolution?

The Big Bang (long before the Theory)?

You're certainly not entitled to The New Testament, and don't even start on The OLD Testament!

Anybody see how silly this logic is?

I  -- and anyone else -- don't need to be told we're not "entitled" to Babe Ruth's history (or any other history) simply because his most famous season happened two years before my father was born.

I'm as entitled to it as you are. While there are no "rules" you're certainly entitled to history especially when you've studied it and understood it.

You see, the thing that people don't get about me is that I'm about baseball -- the SPORT -- before any rooting interest. The lowest of low-hanging fruit is to go for the "precious pinstripe feelings" or "Yankees bias," which rides in the same bucket of nonsense as "get off my lawn," which I also hear.

I've ripped my teams for pathetic performances (such as today). I've praised them. I embrace the sport for the good and the bad.

I've praised the Mets -- yes, them -- where deserved.

Can you say the same?

But if you're going to tell me I'm not "entitled" to Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, or Happy Jack Chesbro (41 wins in 1904, by the way), then you might not be entitled to Gil Hodges and company in '69 or Ted Williams or Jackie Robinson.

This isn't just a "Yankees issue."

It's flawed logic.

To say the least.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Off The Bench (You Know What Really Grinds My Gears?)

(Photo: NY Post/Anthony J. Causi)
-- I saw Andy Martino of SNY (and, as usual, supported by the He-Man Yankees Haters Club -- HMYHC for short) trolling Twitter about Mariano Rivera and his political/religious beliefs. Let's be quite clear: Mo didn't push any agenda while pitching and, in reality, hasn't pushed it since retiring.

It was quite clear he was a man of faith, which is why I asked him about that when I interviewed him in 2015. TO BE ABUNDANTLY CLEAR: I am not a man of faith but felt I had a duty to ask him about it.

Given, you know, having integrity and being unbiased is what a journalist is supposed to be.

Mo is also quite loyal and says he considers the 45th President of the United States to be a friend. Having sat within 10 rows of Mr. Trump at a Yankees playoff game in the late '90s, I know he was at least enough of a fan to want to be seen. There was even a point I remember "The Donald" was going to take a stab at buying the Yankees from The Boss.

But Andy Martino wrote this (again, supported by the leader of the HMYHC):

"After all the fluffy HOF stuff, it’s good to have on  record that Rivera, man of faith, doesn’t consider these and other acts political dealbreakers:

— children sleeping in cages
— making fun of a handicapped person
— multiple accusations of rape

"Now we know where he stands"

This is actually an incredibly irresponsible thing to say. To quote an often-used term of mine: #TMWIST (Tell Me Where I Siad That), given I've never seen anything to indicate Mo approves of the above. So, with that said, any Clinton/FDR/JFK, etc supporter approves of infidelity?

Do you see how utterly ridiculous and even malicious that thinking is? Look, I don't approve any ANY of the above and am no fan of the current occupant, but I don't equate the two.

Be real. Be a reporter. Be responsible.

-- While ol' Andy (Shawshank Redemption reference) is trolling away, let's note he also troll-strolled down the avenue of sports not being a break from reality. Oh, really? Maybe because you don't let it, Andy? Because, for the most part, that's EXACTLY what it is for me. When my life has felt shattered, being at a sporting event (and/or in a press box) was my salvation. It is, in fact, my safe place literally always.

It's when sports isn't fun (aka, SUCKS) that it gets compounded and I hate life. However, watch this and tell me it doesn't take you away from real life for a moment.
Tell me pictures of Paul Silverfarb, Tim Parry, me, and other parents having priceless sports moments with our kids doesn't provide a break from the garbage in the world.

If it doesn't take you away, then maybe you need to look in the mirror.

-- Wow, that felt good. I haven't snapped like that in a few hours or so. I'm kidding.

-- While we're highlighting the efforts of the HMYHC, they must be gushing over the latest "YEAH JEETS" moment in which both Andre Dawson and Tony Perez are saying they'll boycott Derek Jeters' 2020 induction ceremony because their feelings are hurt.

Oh boo-freaking-hoo.

You were both fired, essentially, from PR jobs. Jeter, for the record, is NOT the actual owner. Was it handled coldly? Sounds like it and I didn't approve of it at the time. I knew it was a terrible move, but have you ever made mistakes? Also, Tony, you've been fired from managing jobs. Did you not go back to Cincinnati (for instance) after being exiled?

Yes, I'm aware Yogi Berra walked away from The Bronx from 1985-1999.

This is also a click-bait kind of story and I wouldn't be surprised if Jeter tries to fix it all before next July.

Because, like it or not, he's going into the Hall of Fame.

-- I recently saw someones "all-time" baseball team that put Nolan Ryan at starting pitcher (ha!), passed on Willie Mays in the outfield, took Pudge Rodriguez over both Johnny Bench and Yogi Berra, and threw George Brett at third over Mike Schmidt. While these aren't heinous (well, Ryan over Seaver, Koufax, Clemens, Pedro, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, Randy Johnson, and Warren Spahn off the top of my head is pretty bad), it still indicates a large lack of knowledge.

-- Saw John Nash say he's probably done with going to pro sporting events, and I support the move. I might get to a game, but it's been four years for me. Even longer since I've been to a concert. For the record, in both cases, nobody has exactly pushed for me to go either. But, still, I haven't necessarily missed it. Feel free to call me old (happens all the time), but it's all overproduced and overpriced. It's just different now.

-- The Yankees got killed last night, 19-3. By the Red Sox. Which is, of course, bad. But it's not the end of the world. Things are still 0-0 when play starts tonight.

The weekend will be weirdly different without a game to call. Oh, don't worry, enough other things are going on.


Thursday, July 25, 2019

And Now...a Break


I called my last game last night, as Pittsfield, MA and Keene, NH lined themselves up to play for the Babe Ruth New England regional title.

I saw that Pittsfield won the title with a 7-1 victory today, so congratulations, and best of luck in the championship.

For now, Robcasting is taking a break.

Oh it's not that I want to, but it's how the schedule falls. There's a chance that something will happen in August, but otherwise, things will be quiet between now and September.

I'm anxious to get back behind the mic.

But while I'm here, I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who helped me get Robcasting off the ground.

It's a term that started as an offhand joke and has taken on a life of its own. I actually cringe every time I say it, but everyone I talk to says it's perfect and I shouldn't change it.

Then came July 22, 2017.

I had started as something called Greenwich Sentinel Radio, and we were at the Babe Ruth New England Regional. It was quickly obvious to me that the channel I was paying for out of my own pocket (and have never been reimbursed for) would become my own station.

It struck me in the middle of a game, as Jake Zimmer, Dan Gardella, and I were working at Trumbull High School. AJ Szymanowski produced a logo (and has added various versions since then) not long after discussing Robcasting during the middle of a game on that July day.

The joke continued to build into a real thing. We have carried 213 games via Robcasting since 2017.

Audio of broadcasts form WGCH and Local Live have simulcast on it, and I've built relationships with Mahopac, Brunswick, Fairfield Prep, Fairfield American Little League Baseball, as well as Greenwich High.

Plus Babe Ruth baseball, The Clubhouse, Greenwich Cal Ripken Baseball, Greens Farms Academy, the FCIAC freshman basketball games, and other things I can't begin to remember.

I'm grateful to everyone who has asked for Robcasting to carry their game or tournament. I'm thankful to Mark Jeffers, Dave Torromeo, and Bob Small for embracing the idea of putting The Clubhouse on the station.

Thanks to Jake, Shawn, Dan, and AJ for being on the ground floor and Harold Turk, Chris Erway, Chris Kaelin, Paul Silverfarb, Mick McGowan, Tim Parry, David Goldshore, Jeff Alterman, John Nas, and the other talented voices who joined me on Robcasting for each of the broadcasts.

Beyond that, thanks to Susan, Hector, and my incredible son Sean and friends and loved ones who have pushed me to keep doing it.

I know I've forgotten someone in my list of thank-yous, and I apologize in advance.

Robcasting -- this streaming audio website via mixlr.com that should probably have its own website -- is available for games, talk shows, and anything else (I actually carried my niece's wedding on it last September). Rates are really reasonable. Contact me to learn more.

It, er...I, would love to see it be "the home" of something, thus giving me a job.

It hasn't made me rich, but it has brought me joy, and that matters a lot.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

The Pine Tar Game


I had an Atari 2600 in the summer of 1983 that we played incessantly.

My friends and I loved those games but we were also crazed kids who played every sport imaginable while we listened to music and did the guy things of the early '80s.

On July 24, 1983, my friend Brian Power and I were hanging out at my house. As I recall, my parents were gone and it was just us on a cool summer day.

It was a Sunday. We played Atari and listened to the Yankees on the radio in my room.

The Royals were in for the back end of a four-game series that included a Friday doubleheader. They split the doubleheader while the Yankees won on Saturday. The Sunday finale featured Bud Black starting on the mound for the Royals and Shane Rawley going for Billy Martin's Bronx Bombers.

In the midst of the crazy Steinbrenner years, the Yankees were playing decent baseball. They were 12 games over .500 battling for the top of the American League East Division with the Orioles.

Having met in three straight American League playoffs, and four of five, there was still a healthy dislike between New York and Kansas City, although that almost seems weird now to say.

But to put it clearly: these teams actually hated each other.

The Royals scratched a run across in the second before Dave Winfield tied the game with his sixteenth home run of the year in the bottom of the frame.

A Frank White single in the fourth put the Royals back in front, and a triple off the bat of Don Slaught gave the Royals insurance in the sixth.

New York came back with three in the bottom of the sixth on a Don Baylor triple that scored two and a Winfield single that plated Baylor.

It was a different time -- one in which a one-run lead didn't automatically mean bringing in the closer. In fact, we didn't know what a closer was. A team had a relief ace or "fireman" and that pitcher would often work more than just the last inning.

Leading 4-3 heading into the ninth, Billy Martin stuck with Dale Murray, a right-hander who had come on after Rawley gave up the triple of Slaught in the sixth. Murray worked three and a third on this day, allowing only one hit until he faced UL Washington with two out in the ninth.

On the radio (embedded below as part of the resumption of the suspended game), Phil Rizzuto and Bill White discussed that Goose Gossage was less than pleased with how he was being used at the time.

A nice play by rookie Don Mattingly, wearing number 46 at first base, had the bases empty and the Yankees on the verge of the win.

But Murray allowed a base hit to Washington and Rizzuto noted that Martin was on his way to the mound.

"Holy cow," Rizzuto said. "You think Billy is going to bring The Goose in to pitch to Brett?"

I can clearly remember a moment of "oh no" (or different words) as I recalled Brett launching a moon shot off of Goose in the 1980 ALCS. If I hadn't fully hated the Royals and Brett before then, I did after that.

Sure enough, Billy was going to Goose to face Brett. Damn you, UL Washington and your toothpick.

Brian and I looked at each other. Atari would wait. No more Yars' Revenge (or whatever we were playing). We sprinted to the floor model color TV in the living room (keeping in mind we were playing Atari on a black and white TV).

We turned on channel 11. There was no cable for the Adams household, which is why I didn't see Dave Righetti's no-hitter just 20 days earlier as that was on SportsChannel.

In the booth calling the play-by-play was Frank Messer, the professional of the Yankees' radio crew since 1968, with former players Rizzuto and White rounding out the classic trio (and working on radio as I said that day). Serving as the TV analyst was the recently-retired Bobby Murcer, who would be honored with a "day" at Yankee Stadium on August 7 (which I would be at).

So it was Brett vs. Gossage, and as you know, chaos ensued.


In Mahopac, Brian and I looked at each other, mouths wide open. I sat in my fathers' recliner, stunned and thrilled.

We went back to Atari.

But it wasn't over. The Royals protested the decision made by the umpires and indicated by home plate umpire Tim McClelland. The umpires cited Rule 1.10(c), which stated, ""a bat may not be covered by such a substance more than 18 inches [46 cm] from the tip of the handle." Thus they enacted Rule 6.06, which determined that Brett was out as the ball had been "illegally batted" due to excessive pine tar.

American League President Lee MacPhail agreed with the Royals. He wrote: “It is not in accord with the intent or spirit of the rules and the rules do not provide that a hitter be called out for excessive use of pine tar.”

I can still feel anger in my soul over that decision 36 years later. I felt -- and still, feel -- that MacPhail threw his umpires under the Kansas City bus.

But despite everything that Steinbrenner and Martin did, the game went on. There were lawsuits before the resumption of the game. When it resumed on Aug 18, Martin put Mattingly at second base and Ron Guidry in center field as a show of what he felt was a mockery.

The radio broadcast of Aug 18 is below. Included in that is the ninth inning of July 24. Note that Rizzuto points out that Thurman Munson was cited for a similar event, while White believes that pine tar shouldn't be used against Brett.


It was a crazy day. The Yankees looked like they would lose, then won, went right back to losing.

Just another day in the George Steinbrenner era.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The Story of The Game That Might Never End

From last night, but tonight looked the same

The quarterfinal round of the 2019 Babe Ruth New England Regional Tournament opened yesterday at Cubeta Stadium in Stamford, CT.

The first game, between Stamford and Milford, isn't over.

The game began with storms rolling in yesterday afternoon, and the field umpire, working near first base, spotted a bolt of lightning around 5:00.

That was in the fourth inning.

After the mandatory half-hour lightning delay, player resumed with a total stoppage of 39 minutes.

It wasn't long before lightning with spotted again. That happened as the fifth inning began, just around 6:00.

We were gone not long after that with the promise of resuming the suspended game at 4 p.m. today.

So we all came back, ready to pick things up. Stamford led at the time 3-2.

New umpires were on the field. On the air, the broadcast was down to just me, and I set the corner of the booth to improve my sightlines.

Milford came back to tie it. Stamford took the lead. Milford took the lead. Stamford took the lead.

In the middle of that back-and-forth was a steal of home by Stamford that was part of a triple steal.

Milford tied it and had the go-ahead run at third when the steady mist that had been falling since the game resumed turned into a deluge.

The umpires quickly stopped play. I actually thought they could try to complete the inning but obviously, they know what they're doing.

A decision was made not long after the delay began.

The game would not be completed. Again.

So a game that was first played on Monday was suspended until Tuesday and is now suspended until Wednesday. The good news is that tomorrow looks better.

But there's still a second quarterfinal to be played, as Keene, NH and North Providence-Smithfield, RI have been sitting around for two days doing nothing.

Then there are still two semis to go. Neither Portland, ME or Pittsfield, MA have played since Sunday.

Plus a championship game, currently scheduled for Thursday at 6 p.m.

Teams and families have to extend hotels and miss work and make further arrangements.

So the bottom line is this tournament sort of needs to move along.

Plus Cubeta Stadium is a baseball factory with American Legion games sprinkled in. So the schedule is a factor.

Somehow they'll get it all done but I can't guarantee that Robcasting will be there for everything. I'm trying.

Anyway, baseball babbling is complete. Back to the Baseballapalooza tomorrow.

Monday, July 22, 2019

The Adventures of Baseball Broadcasting

Stamford (in red) and Vermont line up for the anthem.
The Robcasting Radio Blazin' Baseballapalooza has made it to Monday.

I shouldn't be sitting here typing, but I am. If you're around the area, then you know the weather is awful.

Saturday, frankly, was a day for the ages. It was 105 in the air and I can't even imagine how hot it was in our booth at Boyle Stadium.

Yet we didn't flinch (much). We just went about doing what we needed to do.

We got the job done.

Things were still pretty hot yesterday as we began the morning in Trumbull with Fairfield American. FALL saw their season end at the hands of Darien, who grabbed a 7-4 victory.

Shawn Sailer, David Goldshore and I wrapped up the broadcast and I went about packing the equipment. I had already made up my mind that I wouldn't hustle to Stamford for the 12:30 Babe Ruth game since the heat would again be oppressive. So we'd have some time to kill.

Shawn and I walked out to say goodbye to the FALL fans, parents, coaches, and players beyond the centerfield fence. As we got out there, a slow smattering of applause began and reached a crescendo.

Baffled, I looked at Shawn.

"Um. What's going on?," I said.

"That's for you," came a reply.

Truly, I don't deserve that, but it was humbling and touching.

I owe them the thank you, for welcoming me into their FALL family and for all of their kind words. I owe them for their trust and friendship. I owe them for the honor of broadcasting their kids' games. I'm now hopeful this is a solid relationship that can continue.

The farewells said, we spent some time in Darien before heading to Cubeta Stadium for the last two games of the day.

The less I say about the 5 p.m. game, the better. It was over three hours of just...no. Just no.

Walks. Errors. Trips to the mound.

The nightcap felt a little more like baseball broadcasting again.

AJ Szymanowski left us after that and he drove home to Massachusetts today, while Shawn and I returned to Cubeta to call the Babe Ruth quarterfinals.

Games that shouldn't have been played, but they tried.

In the booth, any sign of trouble was quickly resolved by ingenuity and preparation. Mixr won't open on the computer? No worries, I'll use my iPad.

Just doing whatever was needed to get on the air.

But I kept watching the sky as I called the action.

The first lightning strike was observed at 5:00. After a delay, the teams resumed before more lightning and rain ended everything.

We packed up and left a little after 6:30.

And now I'm home. Exhausted and ready for more baseball tomorrow.

The suspended game will start in the fifth inning at 4 p.m., with the second quarterfinal to follow. The semifinals have been moved to Wednesday, and there's now only the question of when the championship will be played.

As always, stay tuned.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Onto Sunday

A hazy moon late on Saturday night

It's 1:43 a.m. on Sunday morning.

I just posted a few hours ago. But it's a new day, so this counts in our #Project365 effort.

I just got home from calling 28 innings of baseball spread out over 11+ hours, in a press box that simmered around 105 degrees most of the day and evening.

I never got heat exhaustion but I also probably never lost so much sweat in my life.

I'm grateful to AJ Szymanowski and Shawn Sailer for their efforts in the games. Plus they know how to sort of monitor me. We actually discussed stepping away because it was so oppressive, but we managed it really well. The deal was that we'd shut down at the first sign of trouble.

We even left and got dinner and willingly missed a half-inning.

In short, we were very smart about it.

Why the crew before us left the windows closed in that booth was beyond my level of comprehension. It was crazy hot, but the Robcasting team nailed it with four broadcasts that had hiccups but were technically strong and professional-sounding.

Quality matters to me.

The Robcasting Radio Blazin' Baseballapalooza continues today with these games, after a few adjustments:

10:00 a.m. -- FALL vs. Darien at Unity Park, Trumbull
5:30 p.m. -- Pittsfield, MS vs. Milford, CT at Cubeta Stadium, Stamford
8:00 p.m. -- Barre, VT vs. Stamford, CT at Cubeta Stadium, Stamford

Follow us on Twitter (@RobcastingRadio and @double5) for more info.

I'm going to sleep.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

A Year Later

Lori and her daughter, Katie. Lori was a Va Tech girl

With me in the middle of the 2019 Robcasting Radio's Blazin' Baseballapalooza, I decided it would be best to go back in time and revisit a post.

This is the first anniversary of the passing of my friend Lori Dawson. She died at the age of 45, though a spirit like Lori is always ageless.

I wrote about her a few days later. It's a post that I'd be pleased to have you read again as a tribute to her and those who loved her.

I drove few Richmond a little over a month after she died and smiled. She'll always be part of what I think about whenever visiting.

She was a great soul and her death still makes no sense to me.

It never will.

You can visit the post here.

Friday, July 19, 2019

The Beginning of the Robcasting Radio Blazin' Baseballapalooza!



It's silly, but it's often the little things.

I'm beginning a crazy stretch of games, and I'm quite excited about it. I'll do four games tomorrow and four more on Sunday. Then either one or two more on Monday, two on Tuesday, and one more on Wednesday.

Then I'll take a break.

But why the picture of mechanical pencils?

Everyone has their own play-by-play and scorekeeping style. We've established that fact many times here.

I've frankly never understood those who can do a baseball scorebook in pen. Some have the space to do multiple colors. I'm lucky if I use a pen for the lineup and pencil for the details.

So having a pencil I can rely on matters.

Many years ago, while a young buck at Kraft Foods, I came across these Pentel mechanical pencils that served me well. I also discovered that I needed to use a 0.5 led because my writing style was too firm for anything else.

Eventually -- literally after 20 years or so, all of the Pentel's I had fell apart.

So I treated myself to a new two-pack of Pentel pencils. It was $11 well spent.

It's the little things.

*****
You might see these guys hanging around Stamford tomorrow (2016 picture).
With Fairfield American Little League losing to Max Sinoway tonight, I'll be at Stamford's Cubeta Stadium tomorrow for Babe Ruth baseball action. On Sunday, I'll be back at Trumbull's Unity Park for FALL and Darien. What happens Monday will depend on how Sunday turns out.

I'll do my best for posts over the next two days, but with games going all day, it could be difficult.

UPDATED SCHEDULE
Saturday, July 20:
12:30 p.m. -- Barre, VT  vs. North Providence/Smithfield, RI at Cubeta Stadium, Stamford
3:00 p.m. -- Keene, NH vs. Pittsfield, MA at Cubeta Stadium, Stamford
5:30 p.m. -- Plymouth, MA vs. Milford, CT at Cubeta Stadium, Stamford
8:00 p.m. -- Stamford, CT vs. Greater Portland, ME at Cubeta Stadium, Stamford

Sunday, July 21:
10:00 a.m. -- FALL vs. Darien at Unity Park, Trumbull
3:00 p.m. -- Greater Portland, ME vs. North Providence/Smithfield, RI at Cubeta Stadium, Stamford
5:30 p.m. -- Pittsfield, MS vs. Milford, CT at Cubeta Stadium, Stamford
8:00 p.m. -- Barre, VT vs. Stamford, CT at Cubeta Stadium, Stamford

Monday, July 22:
IF FALL IS STILL PLAYING:

5:30 p.m. -- FALL in Little League Section 1 Championship at Unity Park, Trumbull

IF FALL IS FINISHED:

4:00 p.m. -- Babe Ruth Tourney quarterfinal at Cubeta Stadium, Stamford
7:00 p.m. -- Babe Ruth Tourney quarterfinal at Cubeta Stadium, Stamford

Tuesday, July 23:
4:00 p.m. -- Babe Ruth Tourney semifinal at Cubeta Stadium, Stamford
7:00 p.m. -- Babe Ruth Tourney semifinal at Cubeta Stadium, Stamford

Wednesday, July 24:
6:00 p.m. -- Babe Ruth Tournament Championship at Cubeta Stadium, Stamford

Thursday, July 18, 2019

This Isn't The Greenwich I Know

2016 photo (no tolls and old governor...no further comment)

I've been around Greenwich in one way or another for roughly 30 years. I've worked in it and have known it a little more intimately for the last 22.

I've been accused of having a bias for the town of the Cardinals and Bruins (not to mention Sacred Heart and Greenwich Academy), and people are entitled to their opinions, of course.

But I've also been willing to criticize Greenwich, including ranting about how the town is pathetically slow when it comes to dealing with red-tape (which fills the Mianus River).

My mom pointed me to a story in Vanity Fair, written by Chris Pomorski. It's about Chip Skowron, a partner in a hedge fund who did wrong and spent time in prison. Skowron had a house in Greenwich, was living large in the backcountry with cars, wine, club memberships and other parts of the high life.

After prison, the story says, Greenwich dropped him like a bad habit.

The hedge fund life is a real part of Greenwich, from Ray Dalio and Bridgewater Associates to Paul Tudor Jones and Tudor Investment Corporation.

But it's a life in Greenwich that I've never known. In fact, the opulence of the story is something that I haven't really experienced.

Oh, I've mingled nicely in all aspects of Greenwich, thank you very much.

The Greenwich I know -- the one NOT in the story -- is Byram and Glenville. It's Riverside and Cos Cob. It's The Avenue also, of course, but it's Putnam Ave (Post Road/US 1, which goes from Maine to Florida), Arch Street, Glenville Road, King Street, Riversville Road, and Hamilton Ave.

Of course, there is Greenwich opulence (again, The Avenue) and I've seen it. But my Greenwich is a town. It's the "regular" folks but also the people who commute into New York City and do have the nice cars.

"My" Greenwich is the one that cares about people. The one that has hugged me at times when maybe I needed a hug. The one that reached out to me when I spoke up about depression and job worries (no change, for the record).

It's not perfect at all, but I find it more diverse than some of the other "Gold Coast" and Fairfield County towns.

Again, I'm certainly happy to rip it when deserved, and they'll do the same to me. But for whatever reason, Greenwich, CT likes me. They sort of wanted me to return consistently when I left for the HAN Network.

But I never left. I still did things for WGCH whenever I could, even if it was only my Friday morning sports talk with Tony Savino.

Truth be told, if I have to leave Greenwich for another opportunity again, I will. I'd like to stay, of course, but I have to do what's best for me. I know Greenwich -- the people I know -- understand that and don't want to see it happen.

I'd also have a place in my heart for Greenwich. There are too many memories to not.

For the record, I'm still planning to have the headset on my head on Sept 4 at 3:50 p.m. when the pregame show begins for new head coach Anthony Morello and the Greenwich Cardinals, as they host the Danbury Hatters.

I'm not saying the Vanity Fair story is wrong. I'm saying there are a couple of versions of Greenwich.

I know a different one.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Pride is a Difficult Thing



I had a meeting in Danbury, CT today.

Not much came of it and I sort of felt -- I don't know -- befuddled after it was over.

Or down.

My alma mater, Western Connecticut State University, is only about a mile from where the meeting was so I decided to drive over.

I'm proud of the things I've worked hard for. I have an Associates Degree from Westchester Community College to go along with my certification from the Connecticut School of Broadcasting.

There's a longer story in there, perhaps for another time.

I worked hard to achieve my degree, holding a full-time job as well as working in radio at times.

Yet there's this weird lack of pride when I think back on it. My degrees are in a firebox and I've never displayed them or even taken them out.

So today I thought I'd walk into the WestConn bookstore to see if there was a sweatshirt or some item that might give me...something.

But, of course, one look at the prices convinced me that this plan was a no.

So I left.

I'm proud of the achievement. I always will be.

And it's nothing against the school. It gave me exactly what I wanted: a degree.

But I suppose it's that I never really had a "college experience," I guess. To be honest, I've stayed in touch with literally one person from WestConn, and that's only because she's Sean's mother.

There are no stories of frat parties or drunken idiocy. No sports games or spring break trips.

So there's no alumni weekend.

Nor have I ever broadcast a game there.

And I don't even have a damn sweatshirt.

(This all applies to Westchester Community College as well)

Pride is weird.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Upcoming Baseball on Robcasting


Back in 2015, I was approached about covering a Babe Ruth Baseball tournament at Trumbull High School.

The schedule was grueling, with 15 games stretched out over five days.

The initial thinking was that I was crazy to try to do all of the games. The thinking was that we (HAN Radio/HAN Network) would do the semifinals and finals.

Undaunted, I was in for the whole tournament. I battled with losing my voice every night and loved every minute of it.

Since then, I've had similar experiences in 2017 and 2018. In fact, when HAN said they weren't doing the pool play games or the quarterfinals of the '17 tournament at Trumbull, I jumped at the opening, cranking through 12 games before rain canceled our last day.

Last year, I bounced between a Babe Ruth tourney in Norwalk and covering Fairfield American Little League. Again, I loved it.

Today, I confirmed I'll do that again.

The 13-year-old Babe Ruth tournament will take place at Cubeta Stadium in Stamford. There had been talk of Robcasting covering those games previously, and we settled on a modified schedule of games.

While I hate missing games, I will do everything to make everyone happy. Fairfield American Little League booked me first, so they have first dibs, but I'll have plenty of the Babe Ruth tournament from Stamford as well.

All games that we broadcast will be carried live on http://mixlr.com/robcasting-radio. Archives are placed on Mixlr, https://archive.org/details/@double5, and https://mixcloud.com/robcasting-radio/.

If all goes well, this is what the schedule will look like:

Friday, July 19: 
* The Babe Ruth tournament begins on Friday at Cubeta Stadium. I encourage you to go see the games, however, it is unlikely that Robcasting will be there. Sorry for any disappointment.

5:30 p.m. -- Fairfield American (FALL)/Max Sinoway Little League Baseball at Unity Park, Trumbull

**If FALL wins on Friday, they play Darien at 10 a.m. If they lose, they play Darien Sunday at 10 a.m.

Saturday, July 20:
IF FALL WINS ON FRIDAY:
10:00 a.m. -- FALL vs. Darien at Unity Park, Trumbull
3:00 p.m. -- Keene, NH vs. Pittsfield, MA at Cubeta Stadium, Stamford
5:30 p.m. -- Plymouth, MA vs. Milford, CT at Cubeta Stadium, Stamford
8:00 p.m. -- Stamford, CT vs. Greater Portland, ME

IF FALL LOSES ON FRIDAY:
12:30 p.m. -- Barre, VT  vs. North Providence/Smithfield, RI at Cubeta Stadium, Stamford
3:00 p.m. -- Keene, NH vs. Pittsfield, MA at Cubeta Stadium, Stamford
5:30 p.m. -- Plymouth, MA vs. Milford, CT at Cubeta Stadium, Stamford
8:00 p.m. -- Stamford, CT vs. Greater Portland, ME at Cubeta Stadium, Stamford

Sunday, July 21:
IF FALL WINS ON FRIDAY:
12:30 p.m. -- Plymouth, MA vs. Keene, NH at Cubeta Stadium, Stamford
3:00 p.m. -- Greater Portland, ME vs. North Providence/Smithfield, RI at Cubeta Stadium, Stamford
5:30 p.m. -- Pittsfield, MS vs. Milford, CT at Cubeta Stadium, Stamford
8:00 p.m. -- Barre, VT vs. Stamford, CT at Cubeta Stadium, Stamford

IF FALL LOSES ON SATURDAY:
10:00 a.m. -- FALL vs. Darien at Unity Park, Trumbull
3:00 p.m. -- Greater Portland, ME vs. North Providence/Smithfield, RI at Cubeta Stadium, Stamford
5:30 p.m. -- Pittsfield, MS vs. Milford, CT at Cubeta Stadium, Stamford
8:00 p.m. -- Barre, VT vs. Stamford, CT at Cubeta Stadium, Stamford

Monday, July 22:
IF FALL IS STILL PLAYING:

5:30 p.m. -- FALL in Little League Section 1 Championship at Unity Park, Trumbull

IF FALL IS FINISHED:

4:00 p.m. -- Babe Ruth Tourney quarterfinal at Cubeta Stadium, Stamford
7:00 p.m. -- Babe Ruth Tourney quarterfinal at Cubeta Stadium, Stamford

Tuesday, July 23:
4:00 p.m. -- Babe Ruth Tourney semifinal at Cubeta Stadium, Stamford
7:00 p.m. -- Babe Ruth Tourney semifinal at Cubeta Stadium, Stamford

Wednesday, July 24:
6:00 p.m. -- Babe Ruth Tournament Championship at Cubeta Stadium, Stamford

I promise there will not be a test.

Could be quite a run of baseball. Weather permitting, of course.

Last thought: I haven't settled on broadcast partners and could be talked into having people fill-in for me on the games that I can't do. However, it has to be people I trust taking that on. I'm talking people like Chris Kaelin, Chris Erway, Mike Hirn (um...he's in Ohio), etc.

Anyway, I'm babbling. Lots of baseball coming up on Robcasting before the lull of August hits.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Paul and Ringo


Paul McCartney played Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday night.

It was the last night of Sir Paul's Freshen Up tour in the US, in a facility that his former band once played in (in 1966).

Of course, being LaLa land, the celebs were out, and many people were Instagramming their little hearts out.

Beyond that, it was a standard show. If you've seen Macca, you sort of know the drill, and he doesn't deviate a whole lot from it.

There are Beatles tracks and Wings hits and a few forgotten tunes and some solo stuff and, oh yeah, he has a somewhat new album out to promote.

He came out of the gate with "A Hard Day's Night" before stepping onto "Junior's Farm." Then along came "Can't Buy Me Love."

Not too many people -- ever -- can open a show like that.

A concert can reignite a love for a song, or even teach you to love it when you never knew you loved it. When I saw Paul in 2009, I felt that same emotion for both "Jet" and "Got To Get You Into My Life." He did the latter on Saturday.

Among other moments of the evening were things like "My Valentine," the gorgeous song he wrote for his third wife, Nancy Shevell. After the great "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five," he did "Maybe I'm Amazed," which I frankly think is one of the greatest love songs ever. It, of course, was one of several songs he composed for his late wife, Linda.

Paul's voice struggles with that one, but fans forgive it.

Many hits were there, with the exception of things like "Yesterday," but when the reservoir of songs is that deep, there are bound to be a few disappointments.

Anyway, all went according to schedule, such as the usual fireworks/tousled hair of "Live and Let Die" (sigh, so not necessary).

Then, after "Birthday" opened the encore, Sir Paul had a surprise.

Ringo.

They did the reprise of "Sgt. Pepper's..." and "Helter Skelter," before Ringo left with peace and love.

Joe Walsh came out for the usual finale, and everyone went home ecstatic.

But it got me to thinking.

We've got to appreciate what we have while we've got it. Ringo just turned 79. Paul is 77. How many more times will we see them on the same stage? How many times will either one of them tour?

It became a metaphor for life, and just how short it is.

If there's anything that has happened to me after turning 50, it's that I think about these things.

I don't want to miss opportunities or leave anything unsaid, I suppose.

I realize it took me a long time in this post to get the point, but I hope it was worth it.

Seeing Ringo and Paul together is not just nirvana for Beatles fans. It brings many back to their youth. It puts life into them.

But it's also a reminder of how precious things are.

Life is very short and there's no time for fussing and fighting, my friend.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

And then...Poof



I mowed the lawn today.

I found a dead snake and disposed of it.

I did laundry.

And now I can't remember most of the ideas that I wanted to write about.

There are certain spots where inspiration hits me and, of course, I don't have a place to write things down.

So I walked behind the lawnmower and came up with things that I thought would make for decent posts.

The only thing I can remember is that I wanted to provide an update on Thursday's post about chest pain.

Short update: I'm fine. Longer update: the post was ostensibly about panicking over exactly what I thought it was, which was indigestion.

Several people reached out to me and I'm grateful. It's wonderful to know people care.

But that is literally the only thing I can remember wanting to write about.

However, I hoped that, by writing this, things would start to come back. Sure enough...yes.

But it's now after 11:00, so those ideas can wait for another time.

There are always topics.

They just get forgotten.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Just Another Saturday

New York City, 1977 (NY Daily News)
Parts of New York City are dark as I begin typing.

It's the 42nd anniversary of the great blackout of 1977, which I remember quite well. Our power dipped late in the evening of July 13 and for some reason, I always remember my parents were watching The Merv Griffin Show.

I could be wrong, but that's what I recall.

I'm relying on New York TV for updates, and as I'm a media junkie, I can tell you that Channel 4 is running some flick from the Fast and the Furious franchise, while Channels 2 and 7 have been wall-to-wall coverage since I put the TV on. Channels 5 and 11 have come on board with their 10pm newscasts, so they've jumped into covering this story also.

Channel 9 has Dateline on, while channel 13 has The Big Chill, but they're also a PBS station who doesn't have a news department.

Those are our classic TV stations in NY.

Blackouts in New York City always make for big news. The 1965 one was also quite a big deal, to go along with the '77 outage.

Then there was 2003, and that one is clear in my mind. I can still see the look on Sean's face as the power went out on that hot day.

*****
We also had baseball today, as Fairfield American wrapped up the District 2 little league title in Connecticut. I'm excited to say that Robcasting has been asked to continue to carry FALL games though the next round. Follow us on Twitter (@RobcastingRadio and I'm @Double5) for more details.

There are multiple videos that we produced from these games (thanks to Stacey Scruggs and Shawn Sailer for shooting the videos) on the Robcasting YouTube page.

*****
John Nash covered it over on his blog, The October Weekend, but it's worth mentioning that today is also the anniversary of Live Aid in 1985. I have praised the performance of Queen from that day so many times, but the truth is also I didn't see it live that day.

It was also Old Timer's Day at Yankee Stadium, and I was invited to go. It took some time before I got to see the Queen performance in its entirety. I'll always remember my brother telling me how great they were. But I watched the whole thing again tonight, and I can't stress enough that EVERY performer should watch it. Freddie Mercury had Wembley Stadium -- and the world -- in the palm of his hand.

Besides Freddie, Brian May, John Deacon, and Roger Taylor rocked the world. It's a remarkable performance that requires nothing more than precision playing, great musicianship, well-crafted songs, and the energy of Freddie.

All we need is radio gaga.

*****
Things are coming back on in New York City.

Thankfully.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Top Yankees Play-by-Play Voices

Kay and Sterling. Clearly in the early 90s.
On the 11th anniversary of the passing of Bobby Murcer...

I know you've been waiting for this! I've decided to name the top 10 play-by-play announcers in Yankees history.

Oh, I know. Other than (probably) Shawn Sailer, you don't remotely care. This isn't exactly ranking Beatles albums (Revolver is number one).

It's meaningless.

But, still, it's of interest to me.

Let me step out on a limb and tell you that, had Vin Scully accepted the Yankees' offer to replace Mel Allen after the 1964 season, he would be number one, and there would be no doubt.

Still, I've got my top 10 basically worked out. Some were easy and some weren't.

I think I'm going to leave it at the top 10 (maybe more), simply because to go too much lower would likely be mean. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out who would be near the bottom (hint: tonight's TV broadcast).

I mean, let's consider Ken "Hawk" Harrelson was on SportsChannel in 1987-88. Yes, I know that would be Paul Silverfarb's choice for number one, but he doesn't get a vote in this.

Then there are the forgotten (and, in some cases, for the better). Ever heard of Bob Gamere? Two things to know, both from his Wikipedia page:

- "He was criticized for his overuse of the catch phrase "Here it comes, there it goes" to describe a pitch thrown to home plate and batted anywhere. He was replaced after one season by Bill White."
- "The Boston Herald reported on September 5, 2009, that Gamere was expected to plead guilty to child pornography charges. The BostonChannel.com reported on January 19, 2010, that Gamere had been sentenced to five years in prison on child pornography charges. He was released on May 27, 2014."

How about Dom Valentino, who did one year (1975)?

Exactly.

There are a lot of forgettable voices, but there are others who spent a cup of coffee with the Bombers and really made their name elsewhere. Curt Gowdy was with Allen in 1949-1950. Jerry Coleman spent seven seasons in The Bronx before becoming an icon in San Diego. Dizzy Dean did one year before he went to CBS and presented a whole different kind of play-by-play. He essentially destroyed English ("he slud into third"), and people loved it.

Connie Desmond would move onto Brooklyn where he worked with Scully and Red Barber, but he was with the Yankees in 1942. Don Dunphy -- better known for boxing -- was a Yankees voice in 1944.

John Gordon spent 1982-1986 with the Yankees but moved to Minnesota and was renowned with the Twins.

Joe Garagiola, Al Helfer, Russ Hodges, and Arch McDonald each earned the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence from the Hall of Fame. Each worked with the Yankees but went elsewhere to build their legend.

Jim Woods had a long career and was with the Yankees from 1953-1956 when he was pushed out for Phil Rizzuto. He spent over a decade in Pittsburgh with Bob Prince.

Another reason that I likely will not rank all of the broadcasters is that I haven't heard all of them on Yankees broadcasts. It's hard to find audio of Desmond, McDonald, and Dunphy for example.

I won't delineate between TV and radio, as I generally think the body of work for these announcers will speak for themselves regardless of channel.

Lastly, this is purely a play-by-play project. Don't look for Paul O'Neill or David Cone. I also won't rank Suzyn Waldman as I think of her primarily as an analyst. Her play-by-play work wasn't enough to make this list.

So this is a project that won't come online tonight.

But it's close.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Chest Pain

It wasn't the big one

I felt a sharp pain at the top of my chest last night.

Obviously, as the son of a heart attack victim, this pain brought me a certain amount of concern.

So I took an aspirin and tried to minimize stress.

By 9:30, I was asleep. That's a rarity for me, and I knew I'd pay the price. I woke up a few times but kept going back to sleep.

Sure enough, I was awake by 2:30, and the chest pain was still there.

There were other conditions but you get the idea.

Over the next two hours, I focused on reading and trying to not think about things (unsuccessfully).

Of course, the whole no health insurance thing weighed on my mind (and on my still-sore ankle).

I was asleep again by 5:00 a.m. and got a few hours before beginning the day.

But the chest pain wasn't gone.

Thankfully it subsided later in the morning and life went on.

Long story short, I think it was something I ate.

Still, it scared me a little.

So there's that.

Quick side note: think good things (or whatever you do) for New Orleans as they deal with tropical storm Barry. It could become a full-blown hurricane, and we all know what they went through with Katrina in 2005.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

A Short Note

Jim Bouton
I hope you'll forgive me if I keep things brief tonight.

I didn't get home until 1:30 this morning and didn't go to sleep until well after 2:00 a.m. Sometimes things catch up with me.

And here I am.

Thanks for visiting last night's post. I worked hard on that while sitting in a parking lot in Shelton with so-so cell internet and a MacBook that I'm often surprised still works.

So I appreciate you choosing to fly Exit 55 Airlines.

I filled in for Lisa Wexler again today. I know I can handle that every day, with just a bit more prep work. But Paul Silverfarb, Mike Hirn, and Chris Kaelin each called to help make 3-6 p.m. (Doubleheader included) roll by.

If you didn't know, I was given my own two-hour talk show roughly 17 years ago on WGCH. A newspaper was always enough for me to opine on. It was a great time in which I did several shows, plus games.

It all changed when ownership did. Literally all cut out from under me. Such is the nature of the business.

Jim Bouton has died at the age of 80. A fascinating guy who wrote a groundbreaking book, Ball Four. If you've never read it, well you should. You'll discover our heroes were quite flawed, including the great Mickey Mantle.

Somehow, I imagine Mantle is giving Bouton a rough time at the Yankees Saloon, but all in good fun at this point.

Bouton's best year was 1963, when he went 21-7 with a 2.53 ERA. He went seven innings in Game 3 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium, losing 1-0 to Don Drysdale. He allowed four hits, including a Tommy Davis first-inning single that plated the lone run.

Bouton encountered arm troubles that led to his departure from The Bronx after the 1968 season. He moved to the Seattle Pilots for their lone campaign in 1969. He went to Houston later in '69 and retired after the Astros sent him to the minors in 1970.

But he wasn't done. Bouton was a fascinating guy who then tried his hand at broadcasting, including as a sports anchor on WABC and WCBS-TV. He also acted, including five episodes as the lead in the show based on Ball Four.

Bouton would try a comeback, pitching for the Portland Mavericks though parts of the 1970s before returning to the big leagues with the Braves in 1978. He retired for good after that but served as one of the inventors of Big League Chew, the bubblegum that was supposed act as chewing tobacco for those of us who would never chew.

Jim Bouton was one of a kind.

This note wasn't that short after all. I'll see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Walkoff Winner

The scoreboard tells the story

Some games just defy explanation.

But most of the time, exaggeration is not necessary. It's just a beautiful thing to watch or listen to.

That's what I saw tonight in Trumbull.

Fairfield Ameican held a 1-0 lead through six innings, on a Cooper Seek home run in the third.
 
Check this out on Chirbit

But Westport put three hits together in the sixth to tie the game.

We went to the seventh. Nothing.

To the eighth, and the ridiculous rule of starting the inning with a runner on second. Still nada.

To the ninth. Finally, Westport pushed two across to take a 3-1.

But the Big Red Machine (or Red Army, your call) wouldn't quit.

They also scratched to get a run in and cut it to 3-2.

Still, there were two outs. Bases loaded.

Carson Dodder had a 1-2 count on him. Down to the last strike in a playoff game.

Pressure? Oh yeah. Lots. But Dodder didn't flinch.


Check this out on Chirbit

Seriously, that's guts.

Thanks to Stacey Scruggs, and my minimal editing abilities, we have a video version.


Great game. Westport is still alive, but they'll play Thursday against Fairfield National.

Fairfield American awaits on Saturday. You can hear that game that on Robcasting.

I'm sitting outside my old office at 1000 Bridgeport Ave in Shelton. I've broadcast a few things out of this building.

It's time to go home.



Go here to download it.

Monday, July 08, 2019

It's Monday

I think I have a case of the Mondays

I did three hours of radio today that I thought was actually bad.

Ryan DeMaria and Chris Kaelin both called in, and they were really good. Topical, funny, and so on.

It was me. I was bad.

Yes, I had a critic/prank call. That didn't ruin me. I laughed at it.

It just wasn't my day, though a colleague told me a did a "nice job." For the record, he didn't know how I felt.

Tomorrow's another day, and I've got Little League baseball back in Trumbull at 5:30 on Robcasting.

Sunday, July 07, 2019

A Long Sunday

Sir Ringo Starr at his Peace and Love birthday celebration at Capitol Records Tower (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

I know someone who needs to take a break and never does.

Every weekend is the same. Go here, do this. Never slow down. Never stop and read or just zone out.

Now I'm not necessarily one to talk but I will shut down occasionally.

Today was not one of those days.

It started with an early rise to get to Unity Park in Trumbull for the Fairfield American/Fairfield National Little League Baseball tilt.

While getting up early is a bummer, the quiet of a Sunday morning on the road is glorious. I grabbed a ham, egg, and cheese sandwich (with a hashbrown patty) and a big cup of coffee from the deli at the old Rodak's in Mahopac (my old Pac friends know what I mean) and was on my way.

I made my way through Croton Falls, Brewster, Danbury, Newtown, and Monroe before arriving in Trumbull around 8:30.

Shawn Sailer was already on-site. No truth to the rumor he slept there.

Full disclosure: give me a place to shower and I'd camp there. That's how much I'm doing the Trumbull/Mahopac run.

Fairfield American rolled to an 8-0 win and we'll see them again on Tuesday evening.

A trip back home included a quick stop near Danbury (always looking for ways to transport audio equipment safely) before I returned to Mahopac.

From there I made not one, but two -- yes, two! -- trips to Best Buy down near Peekskill.

In fact, it was the third trip to Best Buy in two days.

But I'm now the proud owner of a new iPhone XR.

Ever set up a new phone? How about a new phone for someone else (and that someone isn't that tech-savvy)?

It means you basically lose the balance of your day to messing around with TWO iPhone XR's.

And so here I am.

Thus I leave you with the words of Ringo Starr on his 79th birthday.

"Peace and love, peace and love."

Saturday, July 06, 2019

A Good Day's Night


It's July 6. It's the 187th day of the year.

On this day in history, the first All-Star game was played in Chicago. Babe Ruth (who else?) hit the first home run in All-Star history.

Anne Frank in her family went into hiding in 1942.

The Hartford circus fire killed over 160 people in 1944.

Althea Gibson became the first black athlete to win Wimbledon in 1957.

And John Winston Lennon, playing in a skiffle band called The Quarrymen (or Quarry Men) at a church fete at St Peter's Church, Woolton, Liverpool, met James Paul McCartney.

The world had no idea, but music changed forever.

A mutual friend -- "called" (so British to say that) Ivan Vaughan -- introduced to the musicians.

According to The Beatles Bible:

"The pair chatted for a few minutes, and McCartney showed Lennon how to tune a guitar – the instruments owned by Lennon and Griffiths were in G banjo tuning. McCartney then sang Eddie Cochran's "Twenty Flight Rock" and Gene Vincent's "Be-Bop-A-Lula," along with a medley of songs by Little Richard."

Each one was impressed with the other, and roughly two weeks later, McCartney joined The Quarrymen. Lennon and McCartney (hey, that sounds good like that) soon began writing music together. George Harrison joined the Quarrymen on February 6, 1958, after auditioning for Lennon by playing a song called "Raunchy."

Soon, Johnny and the Moondogs (as they were known) would add Stuart Sutcliffe and, later, Pete Best and go through a few name revisions before settling on The Beatles.

The last piece would be adding Richard Starkey, aka Ringo Starr, on August 18, 1962. Starr was a well-regarded Liverpool-based drummer from Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. They guys knew them from their travels around Hamburg, Germany.

Beatlemania was now building and would explode with the sonic boom on February 9, 1964, on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

Pop culture had forever changed.


But that's not all that happened on July 6. Exactly seven years after Lennon met McCartney, and only five months after "Sullivan," the premiere of A Hard Day's Night was held at the Pavilion Theatre in London.

It is not unfair to say that no better musical or music-based movie has ever been made. It is on many "best of" lists, including topping Rotten Tomatoes' list of the Top Ten Certified Fresh Musicals.

From a personal perspective, the opening credits are enough to evoke stroke emotions of pure joy.

 

A favorite scene is where we first meet Paul's grandfather (who is "very clean").



The line of being "very clean" was an inside joke regarding Wilfrid Brambell, who played Paul's grandfather. Brambell was the co-star of a popular British TV show called Steptoe and Son, and his character -- Albert Steptoe -- was known as a "dirty old man."

More trivia: Steptoe and Son came to the United States in 1972 and became Sanford and Son with Red Foxx in the title role.

Another note: blink and you'll miss Phil Collins, pre-Genesis, as The Beatles perform on TV in the movie.
(@diegomancusi on Twitter)
I'll leave with one last thing. The movie debuted on American TV on October 24, 1967, on NBC. Those of us old enough to remember will tell you that NBC opened their programming with the famed peacock while an announcer intoned, "The following program is brought to you in living color on NBC."

Well that night, as I Dream of Jeannie and The Jerry Lewis Show got the night off...



But it all started on this day in 1957.

P.S. Ringo celebrates his 79th birthday tomorrow and, away from The Beatles, the brilliant Joao Gilberto died today at the age of 88. Gilberto was known as "The Father of Bossa Nova."

Friday, July 05, 2019

Home After a Long Day

Tom Seaver in a vintage 1927 Yankees hat and vintage (with Phil Rizzuto and George Grande) from July 4, 1989 on WPIX is everything.

I don't know that I have much to say tonight.

Or much to say that is good.

OK, I can tell you that Shawn Sailer and I were joined by Jackson Vicente tonight as Trumbull beat Danbury 16-0 in Babe Ruth baseball.

Jackson was very composed for a kid who has never done it before. He'll get better. No ego, no braggadocio, but still comfortable and confident.

That's what I love in a young broadcaster.

A 16-0 game isn't easy to broadcast and we did just fine.

We'll see what tomorrow brings us.


Thursday, July 04, 2019

Lucky Lou

(New York Daily News)
It was July 4, 1939. It was a hot, muggy day in New York City.

At Yankee Stadium in The Bronx, the Washington Senators (today, the Minnesota Twins) were in for a holiday doubleheader, as was baseball tradition at the time.

The Senators, limping through another bad season in which they'd finish 65-87, beat the Yankees in the first game, 3-2. Dutch Leonard, on his way to his best season, pitched a six-hitter.

Officially, 61,808 fans rattled the girders of the grand old ballpark.

The games were an afterthought. The crowd was there for the ceremony between games.

It was Lou Gehrig Day.

Lou -- the Iron Horse -- was dying, but not everyone knew that. He had been to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota after a dreadful start to the '39 season. He knew he didn't feel right. His power was gone.

He soon found out that he had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Soon to be known as "Lou Gehrig's Disease."

Lou took himself out of the lineup in Detroit on May 2. For the first time since 1925, Gehrig's name would not play. His consecutive game playing streak was over at 2,130 games. The record would stand until 1995.

The thinking was that Gehrig was done playing ball, but then what? Nobody seemed to understand that ALS was -- and still is -- fatal.

Few knew the cause or that it wasn't contagious. Some said Lou was so dedicated to his streak that he brought the disease upon himself. One writer called him "soft and washed up."

Larrapin' Lou was as popular as anyone in sports due to there not being a bad word to say about him. Humble, though a penny-pincher, he doted on his wife and his mother, who detested each other.

In Richard Sandomir's book The Pride of the Yankees, he writes that Lou and his wife, Eleanor,  worked on a speech, however, no proof has ever come of that. Eleanor was known to keep scrapbooks of his exploits. No copy of a speech exists.

Between games at Yankee Stadium, the Senators and Yankees were joined by members of the 1927 Yankees and other guests. The famed Murderer's Row had reassembled with Babe Ruth front and center. Ruth was one of several to speak that day, with sportswriter Sid Mercer serving as the emcee.

Gifts were distributed to Gehrig: a fishing rod, a framed parchment that said "DON'T QUIT" on it, a ring, bowls, and other trinkets.

Gehrig, head bowed and nearly mute for the entire ceremony, motioned to Mercer that he would not be speaking. The crowd chanted, "We want Lou."

It took Yankees manager Joe McCarthy to get Lou to approach the microphone. Guiding him in a fatherly way, whispering a word into Lou's ear, the manager was able to convince him to address the crowd.

Eventually, Yankee Stadium went dead silent.

Sadly, there is no complete transcript of the speech. There are only bits of movie reels with just four lines intact (marked in bold). What I've placed below is the work of Jonathan Eig, in his book Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig. To this day, it's still the finest biography I've ever read.

Gehrig began to speak the Gettysburg Address of sports.


For the past two weeks, you have been reading about a bad break. Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.

I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans.

When you look around, would you consider it a privilege to associate yourself with such fine-looking men as are standing uniform in the ballpark today?

Sure, I’m lucky.

Who wouldn’t consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball’s greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with such a wonderful little fellow as Miller Huggins? To have spent the next nine years with that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy? Who wouldn't feel honored to room with such a grand guy as Bill Dickey?

When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift -- that's something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and office staff and writers and old-timers and players and concessionaires all remember you with trophies -- that's something.

When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles against her own daughter -- that's something.

When you have a father and mother who work all their lives so that you can have an education and build your body -- it's a blessing. When you have a wife who been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed -- that's the finest I know.

So I close in saying that I might have been given a bad break, but I have an awful lot to live for.

Thank you.


Ruth hugged his former teammate and broke the tension. Lou's famous dimples finally appeared as he smiled.

"I saw strong men weep this afternoon," Shirley Povich wrote in The Washington Post.

Lou would stay with the Yankees through the end of 1939, as the Bombers steamrolled through the American League and quickly dispatched the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series.

He would work for Mayor Fiorella LaGuardia as a parole officer until he was too weak. He died on June 2, 1941, seventeen days shy of his 38th birthday.

The Yankees carried on in the second game and beat the Senators 11-1.

Eighty years ago today.