Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A PRESS BOX BLOG

I’m still trying to get the hang of this blogging stuff.

I’ve been reading those written by some of my colleagues in New Britain and around professional baseball and it’s a lot more casual than most of the copy I’ve produced on Lip Service.

One problem is that I’m not really enamored with writing about myself. I’m not inclined to spout my opinion on national sports that I don’t cover, unlike popular puffed-up pontificators Mike and the Mad Dog, Jim Rome and so many of the other TV talking heads who have turned sports into a soap opera.

Another problem is generational. Many of you can’t imagine life without ESPN. When I was growing up, we had WPIX-11 doing Yankee games, and we’d be able to swing a few Mets games on WOR-9 when the atmospheric conditions allowed. Other than that, it was the Game of the Week on Saturday.

My parents would only subscribe to one newspaper – The New Haven Register – which circulated in the afternoon. I didn’t want to wait that long, so I would sneak over to my next-door neighbor’s front stoop and quietly take the elastic band off their morning paper, The Journal-Courier. Every now and then, Mrs. Cannata would open the door with her robe on and see me sitting there. Talk about feeling stupid.

But I digress. How about if I tell you about some of the activities that have been going on in the Rock Cats press box?

I got to meet Babe Ruth’s granddaughter. Yep. The elegant and eloquent Linda Ruth Tosetti stopped by to help draw awareness to a local child with a rare illness. She would also like The Bambino’s uniform number 3 to be retired across the board in MLB.

We’ve had many famous visitors over the years – U.S. Senator Chris Dodd, U.S. Attorney Kevin O’Connor, U.S. Congressman Chris Murphy, former Congresswoman Nancy Johnson, MLB executives Terry Ryan of the Twins, Brian Sabean of the Giants and Brian Cashman of the Yankees.

The press box is a great place to spend seven or eight hours for every home game, and it’s the people who work there that make it great.

Scoreboard operator Larry Michaels has missed three games since the franchise came to New Britain in 1983. Official scorer Ed Smith, retired New Britain High teacher and wrestling coach, joined us last year. Nicer people and more knowledgeable baseball aficionados you’ll never meet.

Larry rarely misses a pitch. Ed’s scorebook is so meticulously done that it makes mine look like chicken scratch.

Rock Cats voice Jeff Dooley, as accommodating and affable as they come, has been atit for 11 years now. What a sight it is to see his 3-year-old son Joey sitting on Jeff’s stool with the headset on during the postgame show. If Joey should go into broadcasting, that would make the third member of the family in such a role. Jeff’s brother-in-law is Red Sox voice Don Orsillo.

I would be remiss without mentioning the Dowlings. Most folks in central Connecticut and beyond know Bill, the owner and president. Bill’s got a heart of gold, unless you scoff the last piece of pizza before he gets a chance to get upstairs.

But Bill’s brother Bob works behind the scenes as the media relations director. I haven’t met the reporter or photographer yet that didn’t get the red carpet treatment from Bob.

Okay, I’m done. Have I blogged correctly now? I hope so, because it’s 1 a.m. and I’m all blogged out.

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