Tuesday, December 31, 2019

End of the Line

The brains behind it all: Chico and that man, 12/31/19
Well it's all right, even when push comes to shove
Well it's all right, if you got someone to love
Well it's all right, everything'll work out fine
Well it's all right, we're going to the end of the line
-- End of The Line, the Traveling Wilburys (1988 -- Dylan, Harrison, Lynne, Orbison, Petty)

We've reached the last stop on the Project 365 train.

We began the journey with two posts to end 2018, but officially climbed on board on Jan 1, 2019.

We fought sleep, late nights, computer problems, internet issues, mental blocks, and life to write these 365 (or 367) posts.

If I had started this post 12 hours ago, as I thought I might, it would have had a darker, more sinister tone.

Tonight, after a long talk and a great day of laughs and a good radio show, I sit here feeling much better about life and my world.

Now, I'd like the rest of the world to be better.

Do better.

Trust me, we all have a lot of work to do. Yet, at the end of the day, speaking for me, I feel pride.

First and foremost, I'm proud of surviving. Simply getting up everyday is an achievement, and everyone should recognize that about themselves. And so, when thinking about "goals," I think about just that: surviving.

To me, the ability to "figure things out" is something to be proud of. It means that you're always prepared and you'll find a way.

I have. And I will.

Compartmentalize it all. Start by getting out of bed.

Sure, I'm proud of these posts. I'm proud that John Nash and I took this project on. I'm so impressed by his writing. He's also full of crap, in that he also did "P365" but he stubbornly shortened it to "P364" due to some wayward sleep.

I had a to write a post late at night in San Francisco, which was after midnight in New York. I cut myself the slack to stay on schedule, and I still believe I did.

But, we achieved it, dammit!

When thinking back on the year, I realize that there were highs and lows -- both personally and professionally. Isn't that every year? But, I suppose there were a few things that I wrote that I liked. My belief has always been that, if it hits me emotionally, then I've done something worthwhile.

To be honest, I don't really feel like choosing those highlights tonight. I'll leave those to you to ponder.

There were meaningful things about my dad, Sean, friends, loved ones, personal struggles, good times, bad times (you know I've had my share), and trips to Family Court. Among many other topics.

I don't know that I'm talked out but I just figure that we'll be right back at it, most likely tomorrow. So I don't think there's much of a point to droning on about the "end" of this journey.

Doors close and doors open. So it goes.

Five years ago tonight, I wrote in a post that I have things that I want. I'm not there yet, but we can continue to hope.

I didn't envision the Hudson Valley Renegades gig five years ago. Now, I can't wait to get it started.

That's just it. Sure, we can wish. Sure, we can set goals. But they need to be attainable and they further need to be ready for whatever happens.

You never know.

Ad-libbing. Adjusting. Necessary skills. Life moves pretty fast, you know. You probably know that quote from a Mr. Bueller.

I don't need tonight/tomorrow for a fresh start. Any day will do. Like today.

Let's move on. As always, keep moving forward.

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gastby (1925).

This is the end of Project 365, but hardly the end of "Exit 55."

Last stop. End of the road.

"And in the end, the love you make is equal to the love you make." -- Lennon/McCartney (actually...just McCartney)

End of the line, folks. I wish you peace.

And I'll probably see you tomorrow. New journeys await.
 

Monday, December 30, 2019

Times Change. So Do Frequencies (Temporarily)


**NOTE: WGCH is temporarily broadcasting on 105.5 FM, with either no signal or a limited signal on 1490 AM. Our 105.5 FM frequency is based in Stamford, CT and can only be heard in Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, Norwalk, and part of Westport, as well as a small area around those towns. Of course, there are various circumstances that impact this.

I got an email on Saturday, telling me to make sure to promote 105.5 FM during our hockey coverage.

Er...wait...what?

The story of the WGCH radio town and transmitter site is almost as long as we've been on the air. We first established the site in 1964, when we went on the air.

By the time I came along in 1997, we were nosing around for a new site. Our efforts came up empty and we continued at the same site, located at 177 W. Putnam Ave.

But "circumstances out of our control" caused us to have to come up with a new game plan. We were told to vacate the small building by Dec 31.

To do so meant that we'd likely have to leave 1490 AM temporarily, where we have been for 55 years.


After considering our options, the decision was made to put us on a small rebroadcaster frequency.

Thus, WGCH is now on 105.5 FM.

I was proud to be the first promote it during the hockey games.

So it was at 1:00 p.m. today that Clark Burgard, Bob Small, and WGCH owner Rocco Forte were at the transmitter building. The building is important to have, especially in case of emergency, as it would give WGCH a place to broadcast from.

It was never needed...until today. As Darby and Friends went off the air, Clark, Bob, and Rocco took over...



Honestly, I wish I was there (I didn't know they were doing this).

But with that, the transmitter was turned off. When I visited the site a few hours later, it was cleaned out.

Now, what does this mean? It means that -- for the time being -- we're on 105.5 FM, with the signal being especially strong in the eastern parts of Greenwich (Cos Cob, Riverside, Old Greenwich) and on into Stamford (which the frequency is officially licensed to), Darien, Norwalk, and fades into Westport.

Our 1490 signal is weak (at best) and, essentially, off the air.

This is a temporary situation, though I hope we retain the FM frequency as well, but understand that I'm not speaking officially for the station.

As Clark says in the audio above, it's an exciting time, and I hope it is, though I felt a tad wistful as I listened.

It's good for us as we move forward.

But -- and I can't say this clearly enough -- it will remain business as usual. We are still on the air! WGCH.com is alive and well, and you can find us on the radio at 105.5 FM (and double check 1490 AM from time to time).


Sunday, December 29, 2019

You're the Inspiration

Peter Cetera...er...rocking out
In the "For Lovers Only" era of the 80s, the band Chicago -- an avant-guard rock outfit that initially dabbled in elements of jazz -- became a pop outfit that dabbled in makeout songs.

The band that hit with "I'm a Man" and "25 or 6 to 4" could go to the romantic side with, say "Wishing You Were Here" in the 60s and 70s. But it was cool and different and everybody played it on the radio.

Then their leader Terry Kath killed himself accidentally and, while there were hits, they're not remembered as kindly.

Like the Peter Cetera ballad "You're the Inspiration." Sure it was a huge hit but it was nothing compared to their early work.

However, this post, literally, has nothing to do with Chicago, except for this lead.

It has to do with thanking those who inspired me.

Like John Nash. John wrote a stunningly kind post about me today that I'm not even slightly worthy of, and I am truly humbled by his words.

"He might be a radio guy—and a damned good one at that— but he’s also a writer," John wrote.

I worry about every post. Every tweet. I worry and think my writing has regressed since I joined Hersam Acorn nearly seven years ago. But I appreciate his praise.

But John has inspired me. I wanted to try a Project365 several times and wrote something just about every January 1 with the idea of carrying on. By January 3 or 4 it was over.

So when John -- jokingly, he says -- asked me to join him on the P365 journey, I jumped.

The journey actually began Dec. 30, 2018 -- a year ago tomorrow -- with two posts that gave me just 35 for the year. I'll finish 2019 with 365. That, friends, will be more posts than 2013-2018 combined.

Instead of thinking about hanging a closed sign on Exit 55, I'm fired up to roll into 2020. I'm hoping my writing will be welcomed with the Renegades as well (and I'll be doing some for them).

John gets a chunk of credit for that because we agreed to take this challenge and failing meant letting him down.

John's a good man. A very good man. A man of principle with a fascinating past. A man who has been, sadly, beaten down by the journalism rat race and, perhaps most of all, by a place called Hearst. To be clear, those aren't John's words. They're my thoughts, in the same way I witnessed what Hearst did to a fine reporter named Ryan Lacey. I've watched them do it to others but I won't name names to protect the innocent.

You know, don't give up your sources.

I'll take people like John in my foxhole every day. He's fair and honest, and there's solid respect for not agreeing with each other.

We'll grab Waffle House and/or an adult beverage to toast friendship soon.

Susan also inspires me every day. She's such a survivor, and she pushes me to keep going. A lesser person would explode -- both personally and professionally. And, some days, I don't help things because I'm a protective, reactive jerk. But I'm hard-pressed to find a better mother or friend.

But her kindness inspires me. I marvel at how well-liked she is.

She's also my number one fan. When there was a hiccup with part of yesterday's broadcasts, it was Susan who was listening and told me. Without her, I never would have known.

My friends all inspire me. They inspire me to be better. A better person (I've got a lot of work to do there but we'll come back to that). A better broadcaster. A better writer They push me to be not so nice sometimes but also recoil in horror (justifiably) when I lose my brain.

Just as I did on Chris Erway the other night. I've apologized since and that's all I'm going to say about it. But he inspires me in his work because I don't think I could ever do it, and I admire the life he's built.

Kato -- yes, Kato -- inspires me because he just keeps grinding. Every day. He'll broadcast when he can, but he'll drive his car, work wherever he can, and stick his beliefs, like him or not. He's constantly working on becoming a better official.

How many friends wouldn't flinch when you tell them you have an early flight out of JFK?

"Meet me at 4:15," he'll say. In the morning.

Shawn Sailer and AJ Szymanowski both inspire me. Shawn, without a doubt, always keeps pushing me to write or broadcast. When I get low, he sends a little reminder to keep going. Keep doing the games.

"You're better than (insert name here)," he'll say. "We need you."

AJ? I get the occasional text, looking for some form of "Yoda-like" guidance on broadcasting or roads. And he'll yell at me.

Mick also yells at me if I drop the ball. It's not fun in the process, but it's always coming from the right place.

Mick, like Jon from R-Va, Harold, my cousin Keli, my cousin Kris, and a whole lot of others inspire me for myriad reasons, but they also tell me they read every post. I feel like I'm letting them down when I don't write. I feel like I've failed them all on the podcast front, and I still intend to come back to that.

The same goes with people I've never met in person, like Mike Hirn, Nate Stidham, and road dude Doug Kerr. Then there are long-lost, but Facebook friends like Patrick Urell, who I haven't seen since high school, but he writes occasional notes and tweets to keep me going.

They're inspirations, all.

A special note to Jon who keeps reminding me that life is too short and we're pretty close to getting together next month, if only for a few hours.

I have a family full of inspiration, like my mother who continues to survive at 82, driving herself to dialysis three times a week, and working with me to get to dialysis when traveling. I used to wonder how my sister got out of bed, but she does. In a family that isn't good at expressing love, my admiration for both of these women are boundless and I'm not afraid to admit it.

My niece Kristy and her husband Hector inspire me with their dedication to raising great kids, running a house, and surviving Hector's crazy work/travel schedule. And, generally, to not giving a damn in the process but always making sure the door is open to me.

Of course, there's also Sean, who inspires me to be a better dad, and who I always feel like I've failed. Sean also inspires me to make sure there's always a tomorrow. Not for nothing, but that's a pretty noble inspiration to have.

But Sean also inspires me because, as a kid, he went through the divorce of his parents and came out just fine. If anything, he could be an advocate for talking to kids about surviving.

As always, I can't name everyone when I write a post like this and always feel guilty when I leave someone out (I've failed to mention Paul, my brother, and all of my other nieces and nephews!). These are just some of the people who inspire me with support, work ethic, enthusiasm, goodwill, grace, honesty, and kindness.

This is one of those posts that John Nash might think I've fouled off, and I feel like it might be clunky, but I'll keep swinging away.

As this tonight, actually, marks my 365th straight day with a post.

With two remaining in 2019.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

The Winter Classic Hat Trick



The alarm went off.

It was 4:30 a.m. and I had gotten -- maybe -- three hours of sleep, but hardly restful.

Yet, I agreed to do the Winter Classic games in Greenwich, with the first game (the JV) on Local Live, the second game (girls varsity) and the finale (boys varsity) on WGCH.

All three games were carried on Robcasting Radio.

And I lost money, due to car wear and tear, as well as food.

But, I wouldn't change a thing.

Yet, at 4:30, it was hard to see the forest for those trees.

Chico (the large gray cat) was telling me to stay.

But duty called and I was in the car by 5:30, and in the local deli a few minutes later.

A ham, egg, and cheese sandwich with a large cup of coffee fueled me for a few hours.

I walked into the Greenwich Skating Club at 6:30, only to find an employee and a person on the ice shooting pucks.

Things began to kick in around 7:00, and I set up, working with Ben from Birds Eye Sports for Local Live (and the Greenwich Athletic Foundation).

I had rosters only minutes before the opening faceoff after 8:00.

The JV game -- the only one I was good enough to call on video -- went in favor of Darien, 4-2.

Paul Silverfarb showed up around 11 for the girls game, and I connected with WGCH for the call. We fought internet connectivity at times for the duration of the afternoon. I also found out that WGCH has a new frequency (at 105.5 on FM) to go along with our classic 1490 while we deal with moving our antenna tower.

Overwhelmed by hunger and exhaustion, I struggled a bit during the call of the girls game, annoyed at not upholding the standards that I set.

Greenwich won that one, 4-1.

Paul had to leave to take care of his son, so I was once again solo for the boys game.

The temperature -- once hovering near a comfortable 50 -- was dropping, thus meaning it was time to put my jacket back on.

Darien won the game, 5-3.

Three games and I was at the Greenwich Skating Club for over 12 hours. But I was also proud of myself for doing the games. I was proud of myself because, while I might not have been up to the lofty standards that I set (I never am), it was still probably passable.

I think today was good for several ways that money can't help, and I'm OK with that. For one thing, the year finished at 134 games. That's a record, sad as that might be.

So I'll take it.

The door has been left slightly open for Greenwich hockey and me to work together again and, perhaps, I'll come back for the 2020 Winter Classic.

But, for now, I'm exhausted.

Decisions can wait.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Don Imus (1940-2019)

New Canaan, 1997
The I-Man has left the building.

John Donald Imus Jr, the cowboy hat-wearing disc jockey, who basically invented the morning show, and the term "shock jock," and who survived more than most people will ever know, died earlier today at the age of 79. He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Deirdre, his son Wyatt, his adopted son Zachary, as well as four daughters from his first marriage.

Yes, many are celebrating the death of the man who brought "nappy-headed hos" into prominence in 2007. He was fired from the radio show he did on WFAN following those comments, before reappearing on WABC the following year.

Imus -- known as The I-Man, a named coined by Bob Raissman of the NY Daily News -- continued on WABC until his contract ran out in 2019.

Imus in the Morning also aired on TV, being one of the first radio shows to be simulcast. The show ran on C-Span, MSNBC, RFD, and Fox Business.

Imus came to New York in 1971 and turned radio on its ear immediately. His level of humor hit everyone in a time when it was still acceptable. But, the thing was, it didn't matter who you were, you were going to be in the bullseye.

That, most of all, included Imus himself.

There were ups and downs in the 70s, including being fired and shipped to Cleveland before reemerging on then-WNBC (660am) in New York once again.

The 80s would also find him on the see-saw, with his well-known battles being honestly laid out as part of the humor.

He finally got off the drugs and alcohol, cleaning himself up just before WNBC became WFAN in 1988. 'FAN needed one thing to survive as a sports radio station and that thing was the guy who was a minor sports fan at best.

The celebrities -- not from the sports world -- began to swoop in for interviews that were brilliant and gave "jock heads" like me a sense of current events knowledge that was so badly needed.

It was Imus who brought a guy named "Bubba" on and made him personable. Bubba, of course, was then-candidate Bill Clinton. Clinton showed a sense of humor and charm that previously hadn't been seen.

Imus knew how to humanize these interviews, getting more than the basics out of every guest. He took Tim Russert and made him iconic. He made hardline political voices like Paul Begala, James Carville and Mary Matalin laugh and they, in turn, made us laugh.

It's where we really came to know John McCain.

He had an Oprah-esque ability to sell books also, with authors of interest often stopping by.

Journalists were constant guests.

Musicians also, with Delbert McClinton and Levon Helm among his favorites. Helm was there to help bring him back from exile in 2008.

He didn't ignore sports. Terry Bradshaw, Phil Simms, Jim Nantz, Tim McCarver, and others were frequent guests.

For me, it was appointment listening, and I listened every day. With the show being carried around the nation, I knew where to get my fill from 5:30-10 every morning.

In the late summer and early fall of 1989, WFAN was literally the only station I could get on a little radio that I had at my desk at General Foods. And so, each day, I listened to Don and Charles McCord and Bernie McGuirk and Lou Rufino and Larry Kenney and Rob Bartlett and Mike Breen.

And Warner Wolf and "The Great" Don Criqui (the very reason I say "enjoy," as his jokes ended with that amidst the laughter) and Chris Russo and Mike Francesa.

And Dick Nixon and Clinton and Scottso and Elvis and Cardinal O'Connor and Wilford Brimley and Ted Kennedy and the countless characters that bounced around and evolved from the 70s, when everyone wanted Imus to "nuke" their school to the 90s when the topical humor had changed to the foils of the Clinton era.

Imus taught me radio. The Imus show was my training ground for learning radio. I loved Ron Lundy and Dan Ingram and Scott Shannon and the DJ's of my youth, but it was Imus who taught me how to talk a song up to the "post" (where the vocal or the beat of a song kicks in) and how important timing was (that's why the duck sound was used) and how to structure a show.

He was the great point guard. He knew how to distribute the ball to the remarkable talent that he assembled. In that way, he was like Jackie Gleason.

But, more so, he was like Lenny Bruce and other topical comedians of his youth who skewered everyone.

Yet, with "nappy," he hadn't evolved enough. He had flown in the face of the PC world of the 90s and early 21st century, in the same way that his rival Howard Stern had.

But he couldn't survive 2007. At least, not at first. He was back in 2008 with the new WABC show. To an extent, the magic was gone. The interviews were still sharp and he brought in the talented Tony Powell to add to Rob Bartlett but Larry Kenney disappeared and the show was more about Deirdre, his "Yoko" as she was sometimes referred to.

Most of all, the willingness to have fun at anyone's expense was killed off by the Rutgers event.

Still, he survived. As Charles McCord (the Art Carney to his Gleason) departed, on came Connell McShane in the second banana role. Eventually, McShane left and, soon after, doing the show entirely away from New York (mostly from Texas and New Mexico), Imus stepped down.

He did it all on his terms. Mostly.

He raised millions for veterans and sudden infant death syndrome and other causes, but the thing closest to his heart was pediatric cancer. So much so, that he used Paul Newman's Hole in the Wall Camp as the basis for building The Imus Ranch. Newman -- not known for interviews -- even appeared on Imus in the Morning to offer support.

The critics are grasping onto "Nappy" and misogyny and racism and all of the tawdry items. At first, I admit that raised a very irrational and emotional reaction from me that I regret. I'm still angry at the Huffington Post obituary that made no mention of anything good that he ever did.

Obviously, I know critics are entitled to their opinions but I'll also opine that they're judging without the facts.

I expected the criticism.

I guarantee Imus did also.

But I also knew he wasn't a "racist scumbag" or anything else. He was a satirist and a commentator. The proof of Don Imus was in a very deep pudding that wasn't easy to discover without a good spoon.

The critics can ignore that he had an African American adopted son or that Bishop GE Patterson called him a friend or the activist Dick Gregory stood by Imus after Rutgers. None of that will be in the narrative tonight, but each of them (along with Russert, Begala, Carville and others) condemned what happened at Rutgers but recognized that Don Imus had done plenty of good and knew that mistakes do get made.

Many stood by him. Others did not.

I knew that, at one time, we laughed at everyone, including ourselves. It was a lesson I believed in.

But, times change, for better or for worse.

Don Imus wasn't someone I wanted to know. You see, that was the thing. His rule was simple: "I talk on the radio. You listen. We're not going to hang out," and I never wanted to. Hell, I met him once and that was enough.

He'd never want to hear my thank you for the myriad lessons -- good and bad -- about radio and life. He'd never want credit for keeping me company, especially in '89, when I needed it most as I figured out life.

He wasn't even someone that I wanted to interview.

But I wanted to listen to him every morning, for the truth about the world and the laughter that helped me survive it. In truth, there was a time I had to listen to him every morning from Vermont, Las Vegas, Virginia, Florida, and would have done so in England had the ability to do so existed at the time.

I'll sum it up simply. For a man I didn't know, I feel a "Scully" level of sadness tonight. He was that important to me in broadcasting.

Thank you, Mr. Imus. Thank you for Rev. Hargas and fuzzy peaches and the use of the word "hideous" and the US Open show. Thank you for your show on 9/11 and when the Gulf War began and for your honesty and for the gift that was your brother Fred.

I even named a cat Fred.

Thank you for crying when Fred passed, allowing us all the opportunity to do the same.

Just as some (me) are doing for you tonight.

Have mercy (a line he borrowed from his friend Wolfman Jack), indeed.

There are many examples of the Imus show, but this is this is one of my favorite radio moments ever.

Fred and Don Imus signed my copy of Two Guys Four Corners in 1997.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Numbers

(Photo found online here)

OK, I'm caving. Tonight is the first time that I'm reaching for one of my "evergreen" posts. I wrote a few to have handy for the right night. That would be the night when the world is falling down or I have no topic or I can't get to a computer.

I'm not feeling it tonight. So read what I wrote back in February, and I'll meet you at the bottom.

I live in a statistically-driven world.

You likely do also.

Think about it. I "work" mostly in the world of sports. Batting averages, completion percentages, earned run averages, save percentages, free throws and more are all part of the daily toolbox.

In sales, there are obvious stats.

In broadcasting, we're all about ratings.

On the web, it's the hits. Then things like retention rates and time spent on a site and so on.

I try to broadcast and write without concern for how many people read and/or listen. I try to do it for the one-on-one.

That is, I try to invite you in (whoever you are) and talk to you.

Still, I realize there's an audience. It could be just one (yes, that happens) or it could be more.

Rarely is it zero. Thankfully.

So I find the hits intriguing. What sticks out to people? What makes you want to read or listen?

Is it the headline of a post? The picture? The thing I write when I post it on social media?

There are broadcasts and written posts that I'm often certain will be a huge hit. Sometimes I'm right.

Other times ... no.

It's obviously a very inexact science.

A Greenwich football state championship broadcast and it's subsequent archive will do well, for instance.

A blog post about certain topics will get hits.

But other posts, perhaps about a game broadcast or roads just won't do as well. The numbers produce that.

I give it what I've got in each case. Every effort, while not exactly ditch-digging, gets thought.

Even if I post a picture or a video or a two-line post will get the same amount of care.

But it's fascinating what pulls people in.

Write about a small area of Dover, NY (Oniontown), and the hits are incredible (for me).

Write about World Radio Day, and the hits are "meh" at best.

All good, and we simply can't create worry about these numbers. It's a matter of believing in the product at the end of the day.

(Me -- 12/26/19) So, I compiled the numbers for 2019 into a spreadsheet and decided tonight is the night to take a look. Granted, we have five posts left, but hey, why not?

The least-read post, I'm sorry to say, was the one that honored the first anniversary of the passing of my friend Lori (July 20) That one just didn't connect and it was a bummer.

The run-away winner was Come On, Greenwich (June 3), which implored the home of the Cardinals to take care of The Home of the Cardinals.

Addressing depression was an important step for me (Jan 30), and a lot of people came along to read that one. It fell in the top 10 along with the follow-up on Jan 31. A subsequent post that opened-up further was also in the top 10.

Interestingly, a lot of baseball-related posts seemed to strike out, such as the night I was back with the Renegades (Aug 26) but the announcement that named me the new Gades broadcaster was in the top 15 (Oct 31).

There were posts that were meaningful while others weren't what I had in mind. The numbers were, frankly, all over the place.

Yet I was grateful if I only got one reader. I'm astounded with the number of people who tell me that they always read this.

Then I get embarrassed and worry about what I've written.

Now please read this post. Tell your friends! Let's get this thing viral.

Or not.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

And To All a Good Night

Christmas, 1971 -- Holiday, FL
So, this is Christmas.

And what have you done?

Another family event over.

And at times it was fun.

-- John Lennon/Yoko Ono, songwriters (with poetic license taken by RD Adams, Jr)

We have made it through Christmas, in which we celebrate levels of excess. You know, too much food, too many gifts, and certain levels of alcohol to survive the first two!

Of course, if you're broke (and if a former employer owes you money from nearly THREE YEARS AGO), then you sit and watch all of the presents being given out, and deal with the lack of pressure of not having to shop for said gifts.

In reality, there are so many who are less fortunate. They really can't afford gifts, are hungry, and don't have a roof over their heads. There are many stories and few answers.

We've highlighted the often insane amounts of pressure during the holiday season. Some thrive on it. They live for it.

Others very much hate it.

I felt varying levels of all today, spending it with my wonderful nephew Michael and his family at their house in Connecticut. My mom, sister, and other members of her family helped round it out. At times it was crowded, while it was intimate at others.

But their house is so comfortable (especially in those more intimate times) in that they always offer to let me stay over, and don't even flinch if I fall asleep on the couch. To that end, Michael's wife Ashley was the perfect hostess. She offered me coffee and anything else to give me an energy boost.

Comfort was the name of the game. It was a brunch, buffet style, and there wasn't a tie or dress to be found. Some were even in pajamas.

Me? There was a time where I would have never worn jeans on Christmas Day. Now I do it almost annually.

We'll add to that group next year when my niece Meaghan and her fiancee Eric welcome their baby boy. That will be in addition to Ashley and Michael's Izzy and Gabby.

More fun for the perpetually-sort of young Uncle Robbie, who still loves crawling on the floor with them and hearing them laugh. That's what it should be about.

So, this was Christmas, 2019.

And now it is done.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

We All Go A Little Mad Sometimes



Well, it's almost over.

It's Christmas Eve.

Once again, Sean is with me on Christmas Eve. I'll drop him off in the morning.

So, we make the best of the time that we have.

Times have changed for us. We long remember Christmas Eve, 2013 when my mother was in rehab following open-heart surgery.

My sister, her family, and Sean and I opted to join her in the rehab center for a pizza dinner in the common area.

We followed that with a visit to the Setti's holiday decoration display in Norwalk. Snow fell later in the evening and it made for a dangerous drive home. I can still remember sliding down a hill on Route 137 in Pound Ridge and trying to not let Sean know how nervous I was.

Seconds later, a hand began massaging my shoulder.

"You seem a little tense," he said.

Last year, we began a new tradition in which we picked a movie that we wanted the other to see. Unfortunately, he had nothing in mind for me this year and it seemed like the tradition was one and done.

I'm not going to lie. I was bummed. My emotions had been riding a bit of a bad wave this week and this seemed to kill it. The night appeared to be destined to being him on his computer and me watching "The Big Bang Theory."

My plan was to have him watch Psycho, and Susan even bought me a streaming copy from Apple.

That was enough for him.

"Let's watch that," he said. "I'm sorry I didn't come up with one this year."

It was hard to say no.

I realize Psycho isn't really scary in 2019. Scary is watching the 1998 version with Vince Vaughn. It's scary how bad that one is.

The original 1960 version still stands up for brilliant direction and storytelling. I still marvel at the shower scene.


It's still an incredible movie.

We ate leftover pizza, talked about the movie, and kept the night quite simple.

It all turned out just fine.

With that, I wish you all well.

May we find some version of peace, love, and happiness.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Sleep is Overrated

Any excuse to use a Ren and/or Stimpy picture is OK with me (Nickelodeon)
I'm tired right now.

You'd think I'd wisely go to sleep but, oh no, not me.

Not yet.

But I know the routine (times approximate)...

11 p.m.: Lights out

1 a.m.: Wake up, rollover, maybe glance at my phone, rollover...rollover again...go back to sleep

4 a.m.: Probable bathroom break, sit in bed, look at phone, change position to put my head where my feet were to be next to the cat, who otherwise dominates the bed.

Then toss.

Then turn.

5 a.m.: Fall asleep again.

7 a.m (no later, to be sure): wake up.

Interspersed in there might be playing solitaire or some other game on my phone, turning on the TV (which I don't do as much as I used to), and reading.

Oh, during the day, I might fight my eyes closing, such as around 5 p.m. after the show is over. There's the potential for a catnap in that spot, and it's been known to happen.

And if I'm in a meeting? Well, all bets are off on my staying awake.

But the overall theme here is that sleep is not my best friend. I'm not sure where exactly this started happening, or even why. There's no question that stress plays into it.

I used to sleep like a rock but those days are over. Most of the time, any little noise on my phone will wake me up.

Which begs a question I've wanted to ask: when did it become acceptable to contact people at literally any hour? I grew up in a house where ringing the phone after 9 p.m. was cause for scorn (or worse). Now we don't think twice about texting, messaging, and calling at just about any hour.

Is it purely a smartphone/internet thing?

As a single dad, and someone who has believed in being available 24/7 to some, this phenomenon intrigues me.

A final note: I had a great interview with Anthony, Will, and Charlie Capalbo today on Doubleheader. If you don't know their story, listen to the interview and all will be explained.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

The 2019 Greenwich Winter Classic

Dec 2018
For the third year in a row, Greenwich High School will host a day of outdoor hockey at the Greenwich Skating Club.

This year, they've added a third game: a junior varsity game featuring Darien versus GHS at 8 a.m.

The GHS girls varsity team plays New Canaan at Noon, while GHS boys varsity plays Darien at 4 p.m.

All three games will be on Robcasting.

It's possible the latter two will be on WGCH. We'll likely have that decision set by the end of tomorrow.

There's also a Greenwich Athletic Foundation/Local Live video stream.

As of now, they've dug to the bottom of the barrel and asked me to call the JV game on GAF/Local Live.

Again, that will run on Robcasting also.

Apparently, there are fathers that call the girls games. So if they're not interested, then they'll give the call to the backup (yeah, that's me).

And as for the boys games, I'll stick to just being on Robcasting.

That call goes to the highest bidder and that's not me.

This is not a money-maker for me, but I did have a lot of fun last year.

Plus, I like traditions.

And I like the idea of the JV being treated to a professional broadcast.

So, whether on video, audio webstream or terrestrial radio, I'm going to show up and call it.

I've asked two people to join me for analysis, and I'll reveal who they are once those pieces are in place.

Now to the "let's not make a big deal about this" portion of the post:

To be honest, this will also likely signal the end of my covering Greenwich hockey. They seem to have what they want broadcasting-wise, so I'll likely stick to Brunswick and the FCIAC (as well as Mahopac, Carmel, and anyone else that wants me) beginning in 2020.

I think I'm fairly unnecessary, and we (WGCH/Robcasting) can't seem to find sponsors.

This is no great farewell threat and is certainly subject to change, but I felt it was something I should share with you.

I did it for 21 seasons. I called several FCIAC championships for GHS (and would have called one more last year if I hadn't been outbid). I even tried to leave the hospital the day Sean was born for another FCIAC championship but instead called in from the hospital to say hello.

This doesn't mean I won't cover the Cardinals. I'll still talk about them on Doubleheader and call games as assigned by Local Live. If WGCH wants to climb back in, then OK. Yes, there are most definitely exceptions.

It just feels like it might be time.

It's just how it goes, I guess.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Place Holder Post


It's one of those days where nothing has hit me to write about.

As always, I have ideas, but there isn't one particular thing that has me inspired or fired up.

There are days when I want to let loose and say what I want.

But, as we know, that's not really an option.

Plus, we're supposed to be all about "goodwill" and so on at this time of the year.

Or, whatever.

But, let me pause here to remind you that not everyone is enamored with the holidays for myriad reasons.

I'm one of them, and I've highlighted that. Sure, I'm surviving, but it's another rather bleak season.

That being said, this place holder post is written because I'm off to a family party with loved ones that will help my spirit.

And I know better days are ahead. I believe that.

So, I'm writing this post now to get ahead of things in case no other stronger emotion strikes me before midnight.

Trust me, there have been too many nights in this Project 365 experience where I've stressed over writing the daily post. Too many nights of sitting in a parking lot, or in bed fighting to stay awake.

So I'm writing this at 4:30.

I'll be back.

Maybe.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Hockey, Hops, and Hot Tub!

Captains and officials before tonight's tilt in Brewster.
I'm home after a long day.

Work becomes hockey game (that is work also). After that, I shut down for a bit.

Harold and I grabbed sandwiches, went back to his house, and I jumped in a hot tub.

While we ate dinner, I chatted with his wonderful wife Tracy and their daughter Katie.

Katie is only a member of the All-Decade cross country team, as chosen by LoHud.com.

No big deal.

So, yeah, back to that hot tub. Yes, I really did go in it. The outside air was 20 degrees. The water was nice and comfortable. It was glorious. We talked music and sports (who...US? Nah).

Then we went back into his house to begin editing the video of tonight's Mahopac/Carmel hockey game, which also led to my needing to edit the audio.

Though the internet worked great tonight at the Brewster Ice Arena (smaller crowd? Gremlins not climbing through the wires? Who knows why it worked?) we had a computer crash that caused us to scramble on the audio (Robcasting side). Approximately seven minutes of game audio was lost on Robcasting, but Harold saved the day because we had the video, which is now on YouTube.

So I fixed the audio, and voila! We're done.

And I'm done for the night. That was game number 131 -- tying my best year (pathetic as that might sound). I'd like to break the mark but would also be OK (I think) if I stopped there.

I'm slightly confident that mark will be broken next year. The promise of roughly 40 baseball games in the summer brings me hope.

But we'll see what the final 11 days have in store.

I'm shutting down for real. Back tomorrow.

Goodnight, all.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Thanks to Trumbull


It was just about a year ago that Jeff Alterman started picking my brain about the idea of an internet radio outlet for Trumbull High School sports.

I put an Eagles basketball game on Robcasting to show him how simple the setup can be and to show him what kind of equipment was needed. From there, we talked a lot during the winter and spring to help him get started.

TEN  -- the Trumbull Eagles Network -- went live in June for the first time with the Black and Gold spring football game. I was pleased to be the lead broadcaster, working with Jeff and Paul Silverfarb.

Sadly, I wasn't able to join TEN for football season, but Jeff and I continued to stay in touch throughout the year.

Jeff asked me to come to the Eagles' football banquet tonight as a way to say thank you. While completely unnecessary, I was pleased to join them in Monroe.

I've known Trumbull head coach Marce Petroccio for roughly 20 years, and Coach P welcomed me like an old friend. He didn't know I was going to be there but made a point of having me stand up and take a bow in front of the assembled crowd, though I'm sure most of them said: "Who's that?"

That was very kind of him to do, and I appreciated the crowd's response.

They rolled through the presentation of various gifts and quick speeches, followed by a wrap-up video, and we were out the door in roughly 2.5 hours.

In the future, that video could easily include TEN play-by-play highlights, but right now they're still getting their legs underneath them.

Jeff welcomed any criticism that I had, specifically asking me to listen to a few games. It will be fun to watch them develop.

Some things can't be helped, as Jeff and company have come to appreciate the various pratfalls that I've dealt with, such as equipment problems, shoddy internet, and other delights.

Moving forward, on occasion, I'll come around to try and not screw things up for them. I'll call a few games, as we're looking into basketball, and I've at least got them thinking about hockey. Plus they have a great baseball setup at Trumbull High School that I'm very familiar with, having almost lived in there a few times. Well, maybe not, but I felt like I could sleep there.

Those Babe Ruth tournaments, along with high school and American Legion games, were always fun.

Oh, and I sort of like calling baseball (and softball).

Now, before you jump the gun on me leaving Greenwich, Brunswick, Mahopac, etc, Trumbull is in addition to that. As you know, I will literally go anywhere to call a game at any level while helping train broadcasters or simply helping out.

So, we'll see if the schedule works out (like, perhaps, Friday, Jan 3 against Fairfield Ludlowe).

As for tomorrow, we're back to hockey for the last broadcast before Christmas, as Carmel and Mahopac meet again. As with last Friday, if the Brewster Ice Arena internet works, we'll have the game live on Robcasting. If not, I'll post it in the archive. Regardless, the game will air on WON 920 The Apple on Saturday.

With this post down, we've now hit a mere 11 remaining in 2019.

And rolling right into 2020.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Dy-no-MITE, Archie!


It's um whachyacall sacred town, huh?

I wrote about All in the Family almost a month ago, and the absolutely profound effect it had on me.

Tonight, for the second time this year, Jimmy Kimmel and Normal Lear presented a live take on All in the Family. In the first effort, The Jeffersons was the companion piece, while Good Times got the opportunity tonight.

I will say -- with full, honest disclosure, that I was prepared to hate all of this. I didn't watch the version back in May and resisted it with full force. But Susan is Edith Bunker-esque in that she knows how to get me to do something. She watched it and talked it up. She specifically raved about the performance of Marisa Tomei as Edith.

Yet my expectations were whachyacallit down in the dumps.

I will say that Good Times didn't impress me. I watched -- and loved that show -- and even had a talking JJ Evans doll.

Viola Davis could have been excellent. She looked excellent (right down to the late Esther Rolle's gap-tooth). There just wasn't enough of her. But she came fairly close to channeling Rolle's matriarch, Florida Evans.

I loved seeing John Amos make an appearance, given his departure from the show produced an iconic moment, but also changed the show.

Jay Pharoah didn't impress me as JJ. It just came off as an impression that was trying too hard.

The overall take? It was fine entertainment, interspersed with the goings-on in Washington, which actually hurt the timing of the program.

Then it was time for All in the Family.

Shockingly, I didn't hate it.

Woody Harrelson didn't have me lunging at the TV, given he had the honor of holding down one of the most important roles in TV history: Archie Bunker. He had the malaprops, and his sense of rage, especially when exploding at the important point in the storyline. I really had much lower expectations.

Tomei was strong as Edith. She did try to channel Jean Stapleton's Edith, which is no small thing. She had most of her mannerisms down. I didn't quite hear Stapleton when Tomei talked, but that was OK because it wasn't a true impression. It's fair to say Tomei was impressive.

The rest of the cast was quite good, though Kevin Bacon's involvement just seemed to be to simply get Kevin Bacon involved. He did strike the right tone in the ultimate moment with Harrelson but otherwise felt wasted.

I thought I'd be live-tweeting pure hatred of this show in total, but I didn't. I found it to be entertaining for sure. There's no way either of these shows can ever be replicated but the effort was certainly worthwhile.

Each show actually had moments that did make me laugh, and Martin Short showing up between the two to sing the theme to The Facts of Life gave me a smile.

But there's no question the stronger show -- especially the cast -- was All in the Family.

The question becomes: what will be next? They seem to have found the formula with All in the Family, but Lear was also behind Sanford and Son, One Day at a Time, and Maude. Each would be an interesting choice.

Also, kudos to ABC for their retro-inspired promos throughout the special. A Welcome Back, Kotter promo probably would have had me falling out of my seat.

I'm glad I decided to let down my guard about watching the live efforts. I'm intrigued enough to watch it again.

Dummy up, you Meathead.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Thanks, Rich (and John)


Rich Eisen and John Nash play supporting roles in this post.

To be honest, I had a different post planned,

Much different. I started writing it earlier. When an idea comes, I try to get something jotted down, so as to not leave it to the chance of my fumbling, decaying brain.

It was called "The Voice," and I decided it was time to (vaguely) address my disdain for the term "The Voice."

You see, Mel Allen was "The Voice." He was the first to be known as "The Voice."

"The Voice of the Yankees."

After that, everyone has been a pretender.

Yes, we had the "Voice of God" (Bob Sheppard and John Facenda) and myriad other people who are voices. Every broadcaster thinks they're "The Voice."

I've been fortunate enough to have people deem me "The Voice" of one thing or another, such as a New York-based baseball team in 2020.

In each case, I was given the title, whether I wanted it or not.

I never bought them, and I didn't think they were for sale. I didn't think someone could just claim it.

Silly me. Everything is for sale.

So, no. This wasn't the avenue I wanted to go down tonight.

Yet, I was taught by my dad that, when punched, it's OK to punch back, and I've been getting punched like a cheap palooka for a long time. Sometimes, we punching bags get tired of it.

As you probably know, respect is a huge thing to me. I give it and I'm sort of big on receiving it.

Now you know why last night's post was so short.

So, what does Rich and John have to do with this?

I've been binge-watching a phenomenal British TV show called Broadchurch (look it up if you haven't seen it). Three seasons, 24 episodes, great cast. It gets my seal of excellence.

My phone buzzed a few minutes ago as I was watching it.

It was John Nash (co-conspirator), tweeting a video at me

"@double5 -- Thought you'd appreciate this."

The video was a tweet from Rich Eisen, the sports broadcaster now with the NFL Network, who had once worked at ESPN. He also hosts a popular talk show.

Regardless of that, Rich lost his father on Friday, and spoke about as elloquently as anyone ever could on the topic.

The message is very simple. Love each other and show compassion.

When Rich spoke of his dad being his number one fan, well, that about did it for me. When Rich spoke about now being "a part of a world that I did not know really existed...," let's just say I get that, and have gotten that for 30 years.

I've called it being in a club, and whether it was Tim Parry or Paul Silverfarb or anyone else, I welcomed them into that club.

It's not a good club, and there's no rule about not not talking about it.

My condolences to Rich and his family. I hope his dad is continuing to watch the show from a comfortable place.

Welcome to the club, Rich.

Monday, December 16, 2019

The 2020 Football Captains

Apparently, we're broadcasters.

Congratulations to the 2020 Greenwich football captains:

Will Montesi
Kobe Comizio
Vincent Ceci
James Rinello
TJ Abbazia

There were numerous great choices, but these five will do an excellent job of leading Big Red into the next year.

And, with that, football 2019 is officially over.

Hockey is now underway. So is basketball.

Back at it tomorrow.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

A Tree Falls in Mahopac



Stuff happens, right?

I was sitting at home, with the TV on. A fairly forgettable football was on (seems to be the norm for what we get in the New York market).

I was working on catching up with some personal business. In short, I'm trying to get paid.

Paid for things I've worked hard on.

Then I heard a crash. The curtain to my left was open so that I could let some natural light in.

I looked out.

A tree had fallen from the empty parcel across the street.

On my car.

I quickly hustled outside. I could see that it didn't look completely bad. The question was: was it bad at all?

Answer: Well, no. Not really. But, sort of.

There are a few marks on the roof and the tree couldn't be moved. The car appeared trapped.

Sean came out and joined me. Maybe I could move the car but I risk scratching it if I did. The tree was just heavy enough that I could lift it, but it would take someone to drive it out.

I went about cutting the shorter branches. Sean picked the scraps up and threw them into the lot. But there were two branches that needed to be addressed and couldn't be discarded without a saw.

For the record, I don't have a chainsaw. That would be too easy, right?

So I grabbed one of our ridiculously old saws and started cutting the smaller of the two branches. I broke it off after a few minutes, but there was still the bigger one to contend with.

I looked at Sean. He wasn't comfortable with the idea of driving my car.

"OK," I offered. "Do you think you can hold the branch while I drive the car out?"

He tried to hold it aloft.

"I'll drive," he said.

Certain moments bring certain abilities to life. Sean has never driven with me present. He's certainly never driven my car.

I started the car up.

"Once I get the tree off the car, step on the brake, put the car in drive, and go," I said. "Just get the car out from under the tree. Don't gun the gas."

I realize it wasn't landing a plane or surgery. But, he did fine and I was really proud.

He proceeded to go into the driveway. Maybe I should have filmed it (because did it really happen otherwise?) but I elected to keep the moment as is.

After that, I set about sawing the larger branch to get it off the road. I realize I didn't have to do it. I felt like I should do it.

I began to give up after a few minutes.

"Go on inside," I said to Sean. "Thanks. You did great."

Eventually, I grabbed a hacksaw and cut the branch. At least the road was now clear.

Look, shite happens. Yes, this is annoying and an inconvenience of sorts and I certainly could take a "when it rains, it pours" approach.

And, sure, I had a few minutes of bouncing between emotions.

But, as I sit here, the prevailing emotion remains the right one. I'm bummed and sort of annoyed at the bad luck. But I'm also relieved.

The car is driveable. I'll be able to get out and carry on with life tomorrow. I have a busy day, including the Greenwich football banquet tomorrow night.

Most importantly, nobody was hurt.

So, it's a simple story in the end.

And no big deal.

Once again, we live to see another day.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Sports. Because Sports

That time that Newtown (right) won the hockey title.

You probably know it is Dec 14. There are 17 days left in this year.

We woke up on Dec 14 in 2012 and went about our business.

By the end of that day, we learned of the horror of Sandy Hook and Newtown.

Since then, the Newtown High School sports teams have met different levels of success. In 2014, the Nighthawks won a state title in hockey.

I had the honor of calling that one.

Today, on the seventh anniversary of the awful day at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the Nighthawks went up against Darien for the state championship in football at Trumbull High School. There was talk of moving the game to Sunday to avoid playing on Dec 14, and the media were told to not ask the athletes about the anniversary.

Those athletes wouldn't hear of it.

Play the game on the 14th. Scriptwriters need work. There are angels standing by.

Magic in the air.

Whatever you like.

Final score: Newtown 13, Darien 7.

Darien held the lead for the bulk of the game in a defensive battle. But Newtown found a little something on a long touchdown midway through the fourth quarter. Then they got the ball back with little time left.

Then? How do you explain it?

There's video, and honestly co-conspirator John Nash has the best shot of all of the angles I've seen. But that's John's story to tell, so I will leave it to him.

Quarterback Jack Street took the snap at the Darien 36 with under four seconds to play. Riley Ward somehow got open and Street hit him in stride near the four.

He could have kept running through the end zone into Stratford.

In a game dominated by defense, just...how?

We love great stories. We love things like this. I followed on Twitter and was astounded.

Enjoy it, Newtown. You have 26 -- and a lot more -- reasons to celebrate.

*****
The Army/Navy game was also today.

My father was (briefly) in the Army, so I was raised to love the Black Knights. Plus West Point is only about an hour away.

Navy was a far better team today.

They call it "American's Game" now because everything has to have a fancy name and a title sponsor and so on.

I love everything about Army/Navy. The tradition and the spectacle and the pomp and circumstance and even the style of football.

I realize it's cliche to run multiple option and minimal passing in 2019 but it just works.

I went to the game once, at Giants Stadium, and it was one of the best experiences in sports I've ever had.

The trite part of all of this is few, if any, will ever play in the NFL. They'll likely be in the service. They may go to war.

And then? Who knows?

But for this one day, all of it gets put aside. There's literally nothing more important that that game to them.

And, for those who invest in it, to us.

*****

This picture means so much to me.

Aidan Martin was one of Sean's first best friends. They were together every day at Pine Grove Country Day School in Mahopac.

Eventually, life pulled them apart. Would they have stayed that close had Sean stayed at Mahopac High School?

We'll never know. Sean had minimal interest in sports. Aidan loved hockey.

Aidan is now the captain of the Mahopac High School ice hockey team and is an outstanding player.

Finally, Friday night, after a bunch of years, Sean and Aidan got together again. It was only for a few minutes. They didn't exchange phone numbers or anything like that.

But it was just tremendous to see them together again, following the game that Aidan played in and that I broadcast.

It was sports that brought them back together.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Strike That. Delete It.

A rare prayer from me
I have a broadcast at 8:30 tonight.

I'll drag equipment up into a little perch above the scorers booth at the Brewster Ice Arena and call Mahopac/Carmel in their annual Hockey Fights Cancer charity game.

Harold will join me for the call. Sean is coming along also.

The game will (hopefully) air on Robcasting (internet stinks there), with a rebroadcast tomorrow on WON 920 The Apple.

I'll make sure to post the game in the archive later tonight, and a video will go on the Robcasting YouTube page.

It's not glamorous. It makes no money.

And there's no place I'd rather be.

I deleted the rest of the post as I originally wrote it.

I guarantee a few -- Mike Hirn, Nate Stidham, Susan, AJ, and Shawn -- have a feeling where it was going.

But, alas, we live in a world of "don't you dare criticize" certain types.

There's a built-in excuse every time for these situations.

"Just a kid."

"Unprofessional to do so."

"You'll look bad."

"It's a waste of time."

"They're irrelevant."

"Don't give them the attention."

And so on.

So I grumbled to those that I thought would listen and now feel better.

Back to rainbows and unicorns.

And hockey pucks.

I have a game to broadcast at 8:30.

* I appreciate that you want to know what I'm on about. It's one of those things in the business that -- in the grand scheme of things -- doesn't matter. There are things that are out of my control. I've long said quality has become irrelevant. So I'm spouting off steam privately. I'm good.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

The Farewell Tour Begins

Sean exits the stage
East Fishkill, NY -- Sean Adams has just come from the stage inside the theater at John Jay High School.

Dripping with sweat from another stellar performance on the alto saxophone, the 17 year-old wasn't thinking about his future.

He was only thinking about the most-recent performance.

He and his concert band at this public high school in East Fishkill, NY ripped through a three-song set of "On a Hymnsong of Philip Bliss," "Patapan," and "A Christmas Festival."

"I thought we were good," he said to his father following the show. "Better than we were in rehearsal."

Adams completed the second concert of the 2019-2020 season, one that will take him from East Fishkill to parts unknown. Previous concerts have been played in Agawam, MA, Toronto, and Spotsylvania County, VA.

He speaks of the times he didn't dare use the toilet on the bus, or how rain ruined his visit to King's Dominion theme park in Virginia.

"The road is a grind," Adams said.

And thus, the Farewell Tour has begun.

At least for high school.

Having bused around the northeastern U.S., Sean Adams might be ready for a new challenge. College awaits. A job. A car.

His large gray cat, Chico.

But then, in the lobby of the theater at his high school, Adams is asked about the Farewell Tour.

Will T-shirts be necessary?

Maybe hats?

Maybe his last show can treated like The Band's "The Last Waltz?" Or a raucous free-for-all like Cream did at Royal Albert Hall? Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton, and Sean Adams?

No, says this musical hero.

"I don't know," he says. "I'd kind of like to keep playing."

Just like all farewell tours.

P.S. A few liberties were taken here. For one thing, Sean didn't break a sweat. For another, he likes the road. Plus, both Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker are dead and I don't think a saxophone was ever their bag, man.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

I Give Up

Hawk received the call from the Hall today
Mercy.

I gone.

You can take me off the boooooooaaaaaarrrrrrrddd...eeeeeYEAH!

In a world in which Harold Baines became, quite honestly, the most controversial National Baseball Hall of Fame choice last year, earlier today Ken "Hawk" Harrelson won the coveted Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually for excellence in broadcasting.

Excellence.

So, what we've learned is that pigs really can fly.

Or, that White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf's influence (and money) has turned the Hall of Fame into a joke.

What else can it possibly be?

Do you -- unless you're a die-hard Chicago White Sox fan -- honestly think Hawk is good?

Let's consider the list of previous Frick winners. Heck, let's just list the first five years...

1978 -- Mel Allen and Red Barber
1979 -- Bob Elson
1980 -- Russ Hodges
1981 -- Ernie Harwell
1982 -- Vin Scully

You're literally looking at six of the best ever and, in my opinion, the top four are right there (Scully, Allen, Barber, Harwell).

You -- despite what our friend "Joey" wants to believe -- have just hit the golden age of the GOATs.

The rest of the winners can be found here. I openly advocated for a few, such as Graham McNamee, who few have ever heard of because he died in 1942 and evidence of his play-by-play work is difficult to find. But he basically helped invent play-by-play.

There are many deserving voices in both the modern game and in the past. Personally, my vote was with Ned Martin, the longtime broadcaster for the (GULP) Red Sox.

But greatness must be recognized.

And that's where we stop, because greatness no longer matters. Neither does quality. It's "Joey" time (and will he the award in 2020?).

So where does this end? Why not John Sterling (yes, I'm being serious)? John is every bit as good -- and better -- than Hawk.

Or...and I'll strap in for this one...Suzyn Waldman? She's a trailblazer. The first woman to do a lot of stuff. Very worthy.

Now, under literally any other circumstances, would I advocate for either one? Not really, though I have a ton of admiration for Suzyn.

Sterling has been ripped for being a homer. But listen to any Yankees loss in a walk-off and they're always professional and exciting. Now, listen to Hawk, who sounds like he wants to be buried alive.



Let me be clear: I'm not advocating for John or Suzyn. I'm saying the standards have changed.

More, you say? How about this one against the Mets? Let's start with him referring to the White Sox as "we" and was also known for calling them "The Good Guys." Then listen to him grumble after an error.



I'll add this to wrap it up. This is a Ford Frick Award-winning broadcaster?

There are a ton of other examples, but I've made my point.

There are a lot of more-deserving broadcasters.

I'm sure Hawk is a lovely guy. I'm not here to debate that.

But I'm baffled tonight.

I gone.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Happy Birthday, Dad

At the family house on the shore of Lake Secor in Mahopac

Ninety.

Like, how?

There would be ninety candles on the birthday cake.

Death always leaves us with questions and assumptions. So many questions.

I suppose the biggest one is: How would life be different?

But we've mourned and thought too many times over the past 30 years since you died.

So many tears. Too much sadness.

Easter morning, maybe 1970 or 1971, with his youngest
I keep the memories close. Of long drives to and from Florida and mowing the lawn and watching TV and talking sports (to be fair, not really your thing but you did it for me) and so much more.

I often wonder if your hips would have gotten replaced and what it would have done to your quality of life.

I wonder if you would have listened to my radio work. I always thought you'd be proud and a big fan. At least, I hoped so. I know you would have adored Sean.

I also wonder how and if you would have counseled me, in that diplomatic way that you handed down like the most precious jewels. For all of the explosiveness of being unable to find the right screwdriver or discovering a Howard Johnson's was closed at 5 a.m. in Walterboro, SC you had the ability to be as soft-spoken as Mr. Rogers when it came to matters that needed dexterity.

I just think about how you would have handled (or not handled) certain...things.

Who am I kidding? They would have been addressed. Somehow.

I guess my biggest regret -- my biggest thought -- is that I'm not sure I truly knew you. I was 20 when you died. I think I was just starting to get interesting so, really, what did I know?
Probably mid-70s in a typical pose
I wonder what 1996 would have been like. You know why. After years of ribbing me for middling and pitiful Yankees teams, maybe we would have sat together that fateful night with the Bombers up three games to two on the Braves.

Maybe we would have talked a lot on that journey of a season. Maybe, to my face, you would have rooted against them, while privately hoping they'd win it all.

How would you have felt watching the Joe Girardi triple and the subsequent singles by Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams that opened up the 3-0 lead?

I almost guarantee you would have been a Paul O'Neill guy. His fire was the kind of player that you liked.

And so, what would it have been like at 10:55 p.m. on Saturday, October 26, 1996? Would you have gone to bed before Charlie Hayes settled under the foul pop fly of Mark Lemke? Would you still have teased me or would it have been a great triumph?


These are all irrelevant thoughts, I suppose.

You made me a better father. We had a good relationship. Great, even. But I know there were times of silence where you didn't quite know what to do with me. I take those lessons and pour them into my relationship with Sean.

You're ninety today. I'd love to have your wisdom. I'd love to have you tell the stories of delivering to The Great One's house (Gleason, not Gretzky), or of how you thought Gene Kelly was such a gentleman when you happened upon the Hello, Dolly! set in Garrison.

I'd love to know more about Pearl Harbor and World War II and Korea and where you were for JFK and more about my grandparents and Hartsdale and Lake Secor.

I'd love to know what you would have thought of the Gulf War and 9/11.

What would have moved you since 1989? Inspired you? Annoyed you?

Questions. Assumptions. Too many.

What would you have thought? I suppose it doesn't matter at this point.

We'll keep figuring it out here.

You were always my hero. Always.

Happy birthday, old man.


Monday, December 09, 2019

The Countdown Continues

That's number 23, Don Mattingly

We start today with 23 posts remaining on our odyssey.

It's one of those nights where I just feel nothing.

I'm not interested in arguing about the Hall of Fame anymore. Put Ted Simmons in. Heck, put Mackey Sasser in while you're at it.

Or Butch Wynegar.

I love the Hall but it's changed. It's not about fame. It's not about the best players anymore. It's about politics and cronyism (in the case of the various Veterans Committees). It's become the Hall of Sort of Good and Occasionally Great.

Not that the greats aren't getting in. But it's further watered down.

So, yes, come on in Ted Simmons. Certainly a good catcher, but at no time was he someone who I had among the dominant catchers of the era. Bench? Yes. Munson? Um...YES. Fisk? Of course. Ted Simmons was fourth at best in that era.

I don't mind Simmons getting in, but the lack of respect for Munson is astounding. I've also said for many years that I wouldn't have put Munson (and, basically, all of the 2019 nominees) in the Hall but, again, the standards have changed.

I've also been suitably ripped for my passionate take about the Nike swoosh appearing on the front of Major League Baseball jerseys which, apparently, MLB took extra money to allow.

There are words I'd like to use. I won't.

One genius on Twitter (with no followers and following nobody) told me, essentially, to shut the bleep up because they look "dope."

To which I responded that I only saw one dope and no followers.

Oh, and twice I got told I was a boomer. Now, it's rather pedantic of me, but being born in 1968 doesn't make me a "boomer."

So, bye...er...Felicia.

I also found myself in a small Eli Manning/Ben Roethlisberger debate. That was probably the nicest debate of the day! If a Waffle House was nearby, Tim, Ron and I could hash (brown) it out over some All-Star Specials.

But, alas.

So, that's where we are.

We'll be down to 22 to go after I hit "publish" and I really don't want to give out. I don't even want to stop but, unlike Cal Ripken, I'll hopefully know when to take a day off.

Oh, did I open another debate?