07.31.15

In Which Fond Memories Of “Sports Phone” Are Interrupted By Michael Kay On The Make

Posted in History's Not Happening, New York, New York, Sports Journalism, Sports Radio, Sports TV at 8:20 pm by

(image courtesy No Mas)

Earlier today when the deadline-dealing New York Mets finally managed to land the big bat that eluded them Wednesday night, chances are you learned about the transaction via any number of platforms that were either available in 1975. Back in the bad old days, of course, persons like myself were often found blowing off family functions, shitty dates or Freedy Johnson record release parties to pump quarter after quarter into a disease-bearing payphone in the hopes of learning whether or not Terry Blocker was ever gonna get up off the ground.

(OK, I never actually attended a Freedy Johnson record release party. But I’m sure someone did and cut out of the room at the first available opportunity.)

On Friday, Newsday’s Neil Best interviewed a number of Sports Phone fixtures, amongst them Mets radio voice Howie Rose (“For me it was like anchoring the ‘CBS Evening News’…when you’re 21 and want more than anything to be on the air and someone says, ‘I heard you,’ that is the same sort of tonic a comedian must get when he gets on stage and hears a roar”), Devils announcer Steve Cangialosi (“I was a 20-year-old kid, and I probably knew more about Biff Pocoroba than any man should,”), and most awkwardly, Mr. Center Stage himself, Michael Kay :

The service was big business, but for the young (mostly) men in the offices, there was plenty of time for fun, too. P.J. Clarke’s was downstairs. So was Michael’s Pub, where Woody Allen appeared regularly on the clarinet. Runyon’s was nearby, too.Ken Samelson, a longtime staffer who later helped edit the Baseball Encyclopedia, recalled colleague Bob Grochowski — a/k/a Bobby G — dumping a bottle of Champagne on him during a raucous night at P.J. Clarke’s after the Mets won the ’86 World Series.

“Fordham didn’t have frats, so as close as we got to a frat is we’d go to Sports Phone and watch games and watch other things that maybe were unmentionable when you were waiting for the West Coast games to end,” John Giannone said.

Kay, 54, recalled once bringing sisters to the office on a double date with Giannone. “We made out with them at Sports Phone at like one in the morning,” he said. “We had the codes to get in. We didn’t have apartments or anything, so that’s what we did.”

Charlie DeNatale recalled Kay as a novice whom the veterans would send out for coffee. “Nobody wanted to put him on the air because he had a really awkward sounding voice,” DeNatale said.

07.30.15

From The Desk Of Randy L : I’ll Give Wilmer Flores Something To Cry About

Posted in Baseball at 10:29 pm by

(EDITOR’s NOTE : from time to time, Bronx baseball executive Randy L. is kind enough to visit CSTB to offer his thoughts on the issues of the day, sporting and otherwise. In the wake of Wednesday night’s incredible scenes at Citi Field — in which a rumored deal for Milwaukee OF Carlos Gomez left Mets IF Wilmer Flores visibly weeping on camera — Randy offered, no he insisted on having his say – GC)

Greetings to all members of the Yankee Universe…and the dateless, friendless, often jobless losers who can only fantasize of someday entering its ranks. You know, I’m well aware MLB’s Trade Deadline represents a last gasp opportunity for some of the game’s more desperate franchises to knock the Yankees off our lofty perch, but once Toronto’s new acquisitions realize they’ve renounced their American citizenships (and any eligibility for Obamacare), I’m pretty sure morale in the Blue Jays clubhouse is going straight into the toilet. So even with our own oversexed GM doing little more than bringing Dustin Ackely into the fold (GET THAT PLACQUE IN MONUMENT PARK READY, CASHMAN), I’m not at all worried.

Which is to say, my calm, collected demeanor should be seen as being in stark contrast to that of our crosstown rivals, who once again managed to thoroughly embarrass themselves by letting the sensitive, young Wilmer Flores twist in the wind last night while negotiating a trade for Carlos Gomez that would ultimately fall apart on the advice of Mets team doctors.

That’s right, the same Mets team doctors that routinely tell guys with serious concussions to get on airplanes. The same collection of quacks that couldn’t keep Jose Reyes on the field and now seem to be bringing the same expertise to what’s left of David Wright’s career. Why wouldn’t you listen to those guys?

It’s the cruel, irresponsible handling of Mr. Flores that I find most objectionable, however. For Mets officials to act as though they had no idea what was being reported on Twitter Wednesday night is beyond disingenuous. This is like asking the public to believe the entire Mets front office staff isn’t following my Tweets with breathless anticipation.

You won’t catch me showing that sort insensitivity to our players in pinstripes. Anytime there’s even the slightest hint of negativity on social media directed at our former Third Baseman / current Designated Hitter, I am the first to bring it to Alex’s attention, be it via a direct message, a text, a phone call, maybe even an item posted to the Nu Stadium jumbotron. Some might call this overkill, harassment, even. But that’s the kind of executive I am. Possibly twice as magnanimous as I am handsome.

Were Wilmer Flores a player under Yankee contract, not only would I have personally made sure he knew of a pending deal as early as possible, but I’d have already made arrangements to have his locker cleaned out and belongings placed in a cardboard box on River Ave (or possibly put up for sale in our impressive Clubhouse Shop located directly behind home plate at the New Stadium).

I dislike being the one to say that my way of dealing with such an issue is the only way. So say it yourself. Out loud. Several times while staring directly into my eyes, wishing, praying that your sad sack, financially bereft ballclub had a decisive, paternal figure like me calling the shots.

DREAM ON MOTHERFUCKERS,
Randy L.

History’s Least Questionable eBay Auctions, Pt. XXVII

Posted in Rock Und Roll, The Marketplace at 9:57 pm by

As you almost certainly know, Ft. Worth’s COMPLETE are scheduled to make their long overdue NYC debut August 22 at Williamsburgh’s Union Pool alongside Octagrape and other lesser lights. Because Complete’s private jet cannot operate on vegetable oil YOU FUCKING HIPPIES, funds must be raised to make this journey a reality. Hence. the following auction :

Complete Nation! Up for grabs is the original banner for Complete from their infamous debut show that has struck youtube by storm! Complete is heading to New York August 22nd to headline @ Union Pool & we need to cover travel expenses to get there so we are putting this one of a kind piece of Complete history up for sale! The ropes to hang the banner are built in and the lettering is raised it’s a one of a kind custom! That’s a 60″ tv behind the banner to give you a grasp of how large the banner is!

07.29.15

Your Move, Morris Day : The Suicide Commandos Adopt A Highway

Posted in record collector disease, Rock Und Roll at 10:54 pm by

Minneapolis’ Suicide Commandos — one time Pere Ubu labelmates and the trio that eventually propelled Steve Almaas to NYC’s Beat Rodeo — saw their 1978 classic “Burn It Down” covered in 2011 by Austin’s Cruddy, and followed that with some reunion action in 2013. More recently, however, the band have turned their attention to something a little unexpected ; they’ve adopted a stretch of highway in Minnetonka, MN. From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Chris Riemenschneider :

“We certainly made a big enough mess around there in our younger years, it’s time we made up for it,” laughed Suicide Commandos guitarist/co-vocalist Chris Osgood, who approached Hennepin County staff on a whim a few months ago when he saw that particular stretch of road was up for adoption. “I’m frankly surprised they let us.”

Osgood and his bandmates, Dave Ahl and Steve Almaas, mean business. They plan to patrol their newly adopted stretch of road for the next two years, as the Adopt-a-Highway program dictates. “We have our green reflective safety vests now and everything,” Osgood said. “It might be our next album cover.”

It’s not just a random stretch of road for the Commandos. Considered Minnesota’s first punk-rock band – they recorded for Mercury Records in the late-’70s and mentored Hüsker Dü, the Suburbs and the Replacements — Osgood and Ahl spent three wild years living in a rundown house near the road (aka McGlinty Rd.), which they dubbed the Utopia House. It had no running water two of those years but was good enough for rehearsing and crashing — and was only $30/month to rent.

When It Comes To Keith Hernandez’ Views On Women In The Dugout, Gary Cohen Has A Very Long Memory

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 10:32 pm by

9 years +, to be exact. On any other night, the above exchange might’ve been the most spectacular incident at Citi Field, but Tuesday’s extended exercise in making Wilmer Flores Weep (and watching everyone from Hernandez to Terry Collins to Sandy Alderson blame social media for the episode) was a textbook example of a ballclub whose communication skills are so suspect, they can’t even keep their own manager (to say nothing of their TV broadcasters) in the loop.

07.28.15

Passan On The Rockies’ Dumping Of Troy Tulowitzki

Posted in Baseball at 1:24 pm by

Colorado swapping the possibly-prohibitive contract of SS Troy Tulowitzki for the absolutely-prohibitive contract of SS Jose Reyes (plus, y’know, actual pitching assets. 3 of ’em!) can be debated in baseball terms (especially Tulowitzki’s ability to stay on the field), but in the view of Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan, the Rockies were something less than honorable in the way it all went down (“a fitting end to a multiyear trade-him-or-don’t saga”).

Fearful Tulowitzki requesting a trade publicly would make the Rockies look weak, the team asked him to play good soldier, which he obliged, according to club sources. The organization’s dysfunction, from the power struggles between former co-GMs Dan O’Dowd and Bill Geivett to a hands-on owner in Monfort whose public comments about players often rubbed them the wrong way, was all too evident, not just to Tulowitzki but the team’s young core of Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, D.J. Lemahieu and Corey Dickerson.

As Rockies players said to one another, Monfort could have flown into Chicago, informed Tulowitzki in person, told him this was a deal they couldn’t pass up. That didn’t happen, and it’s the sort of thing that sears itself into the minds of the young and impressionable, the sort of players around whom Colorado wants to build a winner.

Off Tulowitzki went, out the clubhouse’s back door, fittingly enough. The Rockies had done him just like that, backdoored him and floored him, 10 years gone just like that, a reminder that spoken agreements are only as good as the people doing the speaking. In the end, the Rockies felt like they owed Tulowitzki nothing, and that’s business, brutal and unforgiving and, more than anything when it comes to the Rockies, typical.

07.27.15

If You Can Make It Thru This Entire 60 Minute Mike Francesa Compilation…

Posted in New York, New York, Sports Radio at 9:53 pm by

…you’re a way bigger masochist than me. I’d say it beats following New York’s Number One’s worked feud with sundry CBS Sports Radio hosts, but honestly, said spat requires far less time investment, so it’s preferable for that reason alone.