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Aug
03

Rest In Peace, Vin Scully: The Greatest Of All Time

Many times over the last few years, an old friend – the late Wendy Rieger – and I would commiserate over getting old. One of her favorite lines about our advancing in age was saying “it seems like the only thing I’m getting better at is learning how to deal with a sense of loss.”

I could hear her saying those words in my head this morning when I turned on my computer and saw that at the age of 94, Vin Scully had passed away.

To say Scully was the greatest baseball announcer that ever lived is both true, but an incomplete answer. He was much more than a baseball man, or a broadcaster, for that matter. In an age where the strength of an announcer’s voice has been at times more important than his substance, Scully was the full package of a smooth voice combined with a substance that far exceeded the bounds of chalk lines and green grass.

If you grew up in the 50s and 60s like I did, radio announcers held a special standing in your sports world. Every game ever played wasn’t on television so you were dependent on the sounds of a person you’d never meet coming through a tiny transistor radio to paint the pictures of what was going on with your favorite team in a town hundreds of miles away. You grew dependent on that person every night, to the point he eventually became part of the family.

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Dec
29

John Madden: He Was The Real Deal...

I think enough people have written about the greatness of John Madden as a coach and broadcaster in the last 24 hours, so I’ll leave that sort of story to others. Instead, I’ll talk about one aspect of Madden I’ve always admired and tried to take to heart throughout a lifetime of watching and listening.

Madden, when it came to the people he coached and the people who were around him, cared, and it was no act. He had a gift for understanding people, realizing everyone is unique in some aspect, and learned to push the different buttons we all have to get the very best of you.

It sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how many people can’t or won’t do that. Over the years, I’ve worked with people who think everyone must be treated the same and conform to a similar outlook, and they’ve all had one thing in common: they were incompetent managers.

Madden understood that what works with one person and his unique experiences did not always work with someone with a different background. It’s why he took a collection of very talented but labeled by some as uncoachable misfits, and was able to mold this band of free spirits into a Super Bowl Champion in Oakland.

Some can coach a team full of No. 1 draft choices to a title. Madden could win with players from the island of misfit toys.

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May
02

Is It Just Me, Or Is Anyone Else Worried About FP?

Perhaps I’m making something out of nothing, but the way MASN handled its broadcasters this weekend for the Washington Nationals games sure seems odd.

The games are normally done by Bob Carpenter on play-by-play and F.P. Santangelo doing color commentary. A little over a week ago, it was announced Carpenter would take a few days off and that Dan Kolko would step in and be Carpenter’s replacement doing play-by-play. Santangelo would continue in his role doing commentary, and the two did the two-game series with Toronto.

Friday, however, when a new series started with the Florida Marlins, it was Kolko on play-by-play and former Nationals outfielder Justin Maxwell doing commentary. That struck me as immediately odd because usually when a play-by-play guy takes a break, you want and need the commentary guy there to give some continuity to the booth. Putting two new guys together is almost unheard of. Many times they move the color guy over to play-by-play and bring in a former player to do commentary temporarily.

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Ricky LaBlue

Ricky LaBlue

A longtime sports fanatic, Ricky is now channeling that passion into the world of sports media. Meet Ricky LaBlue.

Stephen Newman

Stephen Newman

The only things he loves more than following Virginia Tech and Washington sports teams are dogs. Meet Stephen Newman.

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