Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Food Poisoning At Christmas!

There are not many things in life that could be as uncomfortable as food poisoning. I got to experience that for the third time in my life on Monday night. It probably was by far the worst experience of the three times I had it.

It hit me pretty hard when I was driving home around 8:30pm. I had gone out to meet some friends for dinner at 7:00 p.m. and I already wasn’t feeling good at the restaurant, so all I had was a water.

I started to feel worse so I decided best to leave. As I was driving home I started sweating and shaking really bad. I had the chills and couldn’t get comfortable. Hoping I could just make home, I realized that was impossible and started hyperventilating as I exited the highway and went straight to the ER.

Within 20 minutes of walking in I was in really bad shape. My back and stomach were in pain, my hands and feet were stiff and I could not move them because of my fast breathing. I was dehydrating quickly and couldn’t get warm.

I was shaking and shivering uncontrollably and the nurse had thrown three blankets on me to try to get me to warm up.

Then it hit…when you are ready to throw up and throw up good your body gives you a little warning sending a message from the bottom of your stomach up through your throat and to your brain.

I sat up immediately, grabbed my pan and just as my folks walked in, everything came out.

It was a good one, one of the best I ever had. My stomach felt a heck of a lot better but I couldn’t stop shaking and shivering.

Three blankets and both my parents coats couldn’t keep me warm.

Finally with an I.V and fluids being pumped in me with a mix of meds, my heart rate started to slow and my breathing began to return to normal.

The color of my face went from white, to lime green then back to normal.

By 2:30 a.m. I was cleared to go home. I still fought the chills a bit the next day and finally, three days later I got my appetite back and started eating solid foods again.

So I know what you are asking, “how do you know it was food poisoning?” Well, the answer is because I only ate one thing that day and after I ate that one thing at 11:30 a.m. my stomach started to rumble a few hours later.

Over the course of the day it got worse and worse and finally around 8:30 p.m. I couldn’t take it anymore and I knew something was wrong.

I won’t name the place I ate at, just because I don’t want to get sued for defamation or anything like that. It will be a long time before I ever eat at that place again, if I ever do.

Friday, October 9, 2009

I'm Out of Ideas Looking for a Job

Do this, don’t do that. Fill this form out, and that form out. Post your resume here and here and take that out and put that in. It’s amazing how many people out there offer advice on how to land a job.

If there is one thing I have discovered in my quest for a job is that nobody can seem to agree on how to get a job, or what makes a resume stand out. I have changed my resume so many times it doesn’t even make sense to me anymore.

In fact, what’s the point of creating a resume anyway; based on my job search you don’t need them. Every place I go I have to fill out an online form. Every company does it the same; log in, create a profile, and apply for a job.

Some forms take 45 minutes to complete because they include pre-screening questionnaire forms.

Where do these online forms go? Who is looking at them?

The days when you could walk into a place, or apply with a letter and resume are gone. The days when you could call a business or a company to follow up are gone.

Believe me, I tried.

It’s all impersonal.

I have specifically created another email address for my job search as well because I just don’t want to get inundated with junk email, because that is what happens when I fill out these online forms.

Especially now that I put my resume on Monster and Career Builders.

I get a ton of emails promising get rich programs and schools offering new degrees to better my career chances. Seriously!! I need another degree? I already have two! I have a BA and an MBA, isn’t that enough??

Well, that all depends on who you talk to because sometimes it’s too much, too much education and I am overqualified. Sometimes it’s not enough, or sometimes it’s just the wrong degree.

I found out last week that my BA is not looked on highly as a BS. What??

Why didn’t my career counselor in high school or college tell me that a BS is looked at more favorably than a BA, or is that all BS and just another excuse why I didn’t get an interview??

Job fairs are a fun adventure too, standing in long lines for part time jobs cleaning tables, packing boxes or sweeping floors all for minimum wage. Not to mention the mortgage and insurance companies there trying to sell me on refinancing or changing my 401k. Of course the job fairs have the schools there, trying to convince me again that I need another degree and that I should go back to school for another five years and give them more money.

I am getting lost in a sea of online job profiles and resume tips and all I can think of is how did I get into this mess?

So why can’t I get an interview and a job?

I’m told because there are hundreds of people applying for the same jobs. I am told it helps to know somebody.

I know lots of people, but that hasn’t helped me yet either.

If there really are hundreds of people applying for jobs, I really can’t imagine someone reading all those resumes and cover letters. Wouldn’t the resumes all start to look the same after awhile too, that is assuming if you get to send an actual resume and cover letter because as I mentioned earlier every company seems to want you to create a job profile on their web site.

I’ve literally run out ideas. Anytime someone suggests something to me, I have already done it.

I have revamped my resume and cover letter countless times.

I created my own personal web site.

I have applied online via the web sites, and showed up at office buildings to personally drop off my resume.

I have called to follow up, I have emailed to follow up.

I have relied on networking, I have asked people I know to put in good words for me and to help my resume along.

I have begged and pleaded for an opportunity but nothing.

So what’s left career experts?

I have done it all and have gotten nowhere. Where is my break, my stimulus package, my chance to contribute to society?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Stan "The Man" Deserved Better

One of the common arguments I would get into while traveling up and down the East Coast broadcasting baseball was how great Stan Musial was. It was common, after all I worked in an area where the Yankees ruled, I worked with Yankee fans, and they are the team and only team for many people.

However, when I started dropping Musial stats on them, what he did in his career and how he is one of the greatest, maybe top 5 ball players of all time the ridicule began. People just don’t realize how great of a ball player this man was, how great of a Man he is and I thought the 2009 All-Star game was finally going to put that into perspective for everyone.

It didn’t.

Whoever is to blame, whether it’s MLB, Fox Broadcasting or even the Cardinals, they should feel ashamed and embarrassed for the disrespect of one of the greatest guys every to play the game, a true living legend.

This is a guy who played 22 seasons in the big leagues, all with the Cardinals. He was elected to 20 All-Star games, the only two he did not attend was his first two seasons in the league. He had a lifetime batting average of .331, 475 home runs, 3,630 hits, .417 on base percentage, three MVP awards and he missed a year of baseball to serve our country and fight in World War II.

The best we could do to honor this man is have him be the ball boy for the game?

Where is the video tribute?

Where are all the players at to congratulate him and pat him on the back?

Where is his moment to be recognized by the crowd for what he did and how much he meant to this city?

How about the five seconds of attention given to the other Cardinals Hall of Famers that were there?? Bob Gibson, Ozzie Smith, Bruce Sutter, Red Schoendienst and Lou Brock were introduced so quick and moved away so fast if you blinked you missed it.

For all the hype, all the build up of how this was going to be the day that Stan Musial returns to Busch Stadium and is honored by MLB, it sure fell flat and was a big disappointment and very disrespectful to the type of ball player that is an endangered species. They don’t make them like Musial anymore, and they probably never will.

Baseball fans don’t recognize how great this man is, hell, just look at how he was left off the All Century team. Bud Selig had to add him to correct the roster.

I never saw him play in person, but he is still one of my favorite ball players of all time because I have seen him play through the stories I hear from other people.

Stan, you still are The Man here in St. Louis and we all respect you and love you and know how great you are to this game.

-----article posted by Nick Barrale-------

Monday, May 25, 2009

Moving Back to St. Louis

So after almost making it three years in Augusta, GA I have decided to move back home to St. Louis and start a new adventure. I will be teaming up with my friend Brendan to host a two-hour late night sports show in St. Louis.

While I am sad that I am not doing baseball play-by-play this year, sometimes things always have a way of working out for the best. After all, if I was still broadcasting baseball games then this opportunity would not have been possible.

This is really exciting for me because one, I will be back in my home town talking the sports and teams that I love, with an occasional mix of Notre Dame Football! Second, I get to work with a good friend who I have known since my college days at Lindenwood University.

Finally, this is my first crack at hosting a sports show. Brendan is the seasoned veteran at hosting a show after doing it five days a week for the past five years. So I am excited about the possibilities of what this show might produce.

If you are wondering what the show will be like, well here is a little synopsis I wrote up for the web page I am creating for the show…

The Benchwarmers, two St. Louis guys sitting around talking about sports during a time in the day when people talk about sports, after the game has just ended. When it's that time of night when you want to yell, analyze, second guess or just vent on what you just witnessed.

While part of the idea of The Benchwarmers is to ride the coattails of a marginally successful 2006 Rob Schneider movie and hopefully get a few extra hits from Google and Yahoo, the main focus is to give the best sports fans in the country a place to talk, gather and listen when you need it the most. There will be laughs, arguments,
disagreements, maybe a few jokes that nobody gets and a number of Seinfeld references, but in the end it is all about the sports that matter to the St. Louis Fans.

I will be taking all my experience I have gained in Minor League Baseball and applying that to this project. I will be doing web design, graphic design, marketing, sales, broadcasting, writing, audio editing and maybe a few more things.

So give us a listen and be sure to stop by and say hi at

The show launches June 1!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Expensive seats, the Natinals and No Hitters.

So there are quite a few things in baseball the last week or so that has caught my eye. First, the feel good story of Patrick Schuster. If you haven’t heard of him then you are not paying attention. Schuster is a high school senior in Trinity, FL and has pitched four consecutive no hitters. He is 18-years old, is 6’2, 165 pounds and has not allowed a hit in 26.1 innings while striking out 60. That’s pretty good.

As Crash Davis would say, “You got a gift, when you were a baby the gods reached down and turned your arm into a thunderbold.”

His most recent no-hitter came with reports of over 1,000 people on hand, national news media and countless scouts with radar guns positioned behind home plate. He’s committed to a college already, however I am guessing with a 90 plus fastball and a killer slider, the lefty is wondering how much of a signing bonus he could get in the upcoming draft. Ahh, to have that type of choice in life…college or millions of dollars.

Then there is of course the story out of DC about the Nationals jersey’s being changed to the Natinals. There is a clear shot of Adam Dunn wearing the jersey as it’s misspelled. The “O” is suppose to be on the left side of the shirt but is clearly missing.

My question would first be to the company who made the jersey and to Majestic Athletic’s credit, they promptly issued an apologized for the gaffe. However, how many people looked at that jersey and didn’t realize it. It went from Majestic, to the Nationals clubbie, to Dunn. Who knows, maybe a few more people in there too.

I am no way blaming Dunn, because for the most part guys will just take the jersey that is hanging in their locker and put it on, even if it's bright pink.

Of course, every “quick witted” sports caster and writer this year is now going to call them the Washington Natinals. If only I was so clever.

Finally, to the New York Yankees. I don’t think they can be classified as the Evil Empire anymore, because not even Darth Vader would be dumb enough to charge $2,500 for seats, even though his storm troopers were bested by a bunch of small furry animals with nothing more than bow's and arrows and some very well placed logs.

Gone are the days in New York of kids scrounging up money to afford a seat at a ball game. Gone are the days of a Dad taking his sons to witness the greatest sports franchise in history. Gone are the days of trying to sneak down to the lower bowl.

I feel sorry for the people that have to sell these tickets. The fun part for me when going to a game is sitting around with other people and talking baseball, laughing, cheering and all the camaraderie. Not too much of that in Yankee Stadium, especially when the closest person to you is six seats away.

Memo to the Yankees. Those high profile business type people that come to the game in ties and dress pants are not your fan base. It's the ones in the cheap seats that have all the Yankee gear on. The hard working American who spends his money on a cold beer after work and gets the latest Yankee jersey or hat to wear to that said bar...because of course he can't afford to go to the game anymore.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Kalas Was One of the Greats

It’s a sad day in the sports world with the announcement that Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas has passed away. This has been a rough start to the baseball season, first the tragic news of the Angles young 22 year old pitcher Nick Adenhart being killed in a hit and run traffic accident. Now 73 year old Kalas passes away.

Adenhart had a world and lifetime of baseball still to experience and was taken away at a much too early age after working six scoreless innings in a start for the Angels. Then on the other hand you have Kalas who experienced a lifetime of baseball and collapsed and died in the Phillies broadcast booth in a setting he had come to know and love.

Being from St. Louis I remember hearing Jack Buck always say how he wanted to go out while calling a game. Kalas came close.

While living in Wilmington, DE I had the pleasure of actually meeting Kalas while at a Phillies game. I know he never would remember me, however I will always remember the greeting I got from him.

I was in the press box and introduced myself to him. He politely shook my hand and we had a little small talk. I told him I spent a summer working for the Phillies Single-A team and we talked about a few players coming up. Then he asked me if I had everything I needed and I said yes and then we parted ways.

Only a brief meeting, but long enough to know he was a nice guy and didn’t brush off some young guy who was trying to make it in the world of broadcasting.

The baseball world is going to miss these two guys, one for what he could have been and one for all that he did.

Rest in peace Harry and Nick. Hopefully the baseball world doesn’t lose anymore this year.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Religion of Baseball

Some people tell me I have an unhealthy addiction to baseball. I don’t know about that, I just love the game. People have different things in their lives that bring them joy, mine is baseball. That is why I chose to pursue a career in the game, because I wanted to work in a job that I love.

Some people choose to work in baseball for just the pure fact that it’s a job. Then there are people like me that can’t get enough of it and would live at the field given the opportunity.

It’s tough on me to be away from the game this season; however being away makes me think about how much I love it even more. Despite all the scandals that happen at the big league level with steroids and contract disputes, working in the Minors has really made me appreciate the game even more.

Baseball really has become a religion for me and the stadium like my church.

I usually would be one of the people that got to the ballpark early because of my job, having to prepare the media notes for the day and get ready for the broadcast. Often times I would get there at eight in the morning but I loved it because there is nothing better then smelling the fresh cut grass of the infield or hearing the rhythmic sound of the sprinklers as I ran around the warning track for an early workout.

Getting to the ballpark early in the morning not only served to give me some much needed alone time, but it was also like going to church before the crowd and choir got there. You could just take it all in, think, clear your head and reflect. It also allowed me to get my work done relatively early because then I could be at the field when the players got there.

For anyone that has ever been in an empty church listening to the choir rehearse and hearing every note reverberate around the empty walls and echo through the halls, that is the best way to describe being at a ballpark in the afternoon for early hitting.

Every crack of the bat is echoed throughout the empty grandstands. You get to hear the sound of the ball hitting the bat, the sound of the fielders’ glove popping when catching a ball. The crunching sound of players cleats as he runs around the infield dirt. The clanging sound the weighted donut makes around a baseball bat and the laughter of players and coaches talking about previous games.

It’s a beautiful thing to see and hear.

As the day goes on and the gates open up, the church starts to fill up. Just as beautiful as the sound of a choir playing in an empty church is, it’s just as magnificent hearing the loud organ pipes and entire congregation singing in unison.

That’s how it is during a game. The stands are packed, everyone cheering for a single to left, or an RBI double down the right-field line or if you are lucky, a majestic two-run homer to win a game.

It really is true there is nothing like the sights, sounds and even the smells of the ballpark.

For me day baseball was the best, especially when it seemed like God himself was smiling down watching the game and awarding the lucky faithful with a day full of endless blue sky. The smell of the burgers and barbeque drifting across the air along with the smoke from the grills really painted quite a scene.

It is summer at its best and truly makes a day at the yard one of the best places to be.

I know there are a lot of individuals that work in the Minors for the sole purpose of making it to “The Show.” That is what I wanted; work for the Cardinals in my home town of St. Louis has always been a dream. However, for me it seems the Minor Leagues are just so much more pure.

Those big cathedrals in the city sure are nice, but it’s being in the small country church that really makes you feel at home.

Good luck to all my friends and colleagues working in baseball this year and enjoy another summer under the sun.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Web Site Change...Again

So I decided to update my web site…again. This is probably the fifth time I have changed the overall design and look of it. Generally I like to take ideas from other web sites and see if I can incorporate them into mine.

While the layout is the same, you will notice the colors and graphics have all been changed. The idea behind the design change is to make the web site a little more bright and inviting.

I really liked the previous design and color scheme of black and green, however this new look seems more cheery and based on comments I got from the old design; it was a little too dreary.

Anyway, I have gone back to the color blue, which I have used in the past and tried to use more of a baseball theme to the graphics since the majority of my career has been spent in baseball.

Some may say that is a bad move if I want to appeal on a broader spectrum. However I say, go with what you like. It’s not over the top baseball, just enough to let you know I am a baseball broadcaster first and foremost.

Hope you like the new look, I might change up the blog too, haven’t decided yet. For now, I just changed the colors to somewhat match the web site.

I plan on writing a lot more on this blog too now that baseball is back. I am also trying to put together some notes and thoughts I have had over the years in what I hope I can turn into a book.

So keep coming back for updates and I really enjoy hearing your comments.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Helping a Friend Get Hired

I was sent this video from my Mom and I absolutely love it!!! I wonder if I have friends that would do this for me?

With me being a bit of a showman, I would probably do it for a friend of mine.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Making Sacrifices During Hard Times

There comes a time in a person’s life when you sit down and have to make hard, tough decisions. I am at one of those points in my life right now. The economy is in the crapper and good paying jobs are just about impossible to get.

Layoffs are a common word in the daily headlines along with foreclosures, bankruptcy and bailouts. I am not getting any bailout money, I have been one of the many layoffs, I don’t need to worry about foreclosures because I don’t own a house and I refuse to file for bankruptcy.

It comes down to one simple fact though, when you have more money going out than coming in, you have to make hard decisions about your life.

There are three things a person needs and they are food, water and shelter. Having a car is not one of them. That is why I am seriously looking at cutting out transportation from my budget. Having car insurance and paying for gas are two things that I really don’t see as necessary.

Especially since I have a really good bicycle and live just 7.4 miles from where I am working now and I also live about a half a block from the grocery store.

Some people would call me crazy, I say crazy is spending money on stuff you don’t need. If I could, I would eliminate cable and drastically cut energy costs by not turning on the heat or air and getting some fans. However, having a roommate drastically effects that equation.

So I have to cut something and the most logical thing is insurance and gasoline.

Desperate times calls for desperate measures.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Manny Ramirez, Get a Clue!

There is such a disparity in this country I can not believe it. As I sit and write this, I continue to live pay check to pay check. I continue to watch my spending and hope that I can make rent next month, however I still find myself lucky to even have a job. Considering the millions of people that are out work, I can not believe what I am reading today from the world of baseball.

Manny Ramirez has turned down ANOTHER million dollar deal from the Dodgers, offer number three in fact from LA.

Ramirez has turned down a $25 million contract for one year with an option for $20 million in 2010. This comes after he turned down a $25 million for just one year with no option and guaranteed two year, $45 million deal.

Huh? This guy is painting himself as the ultimate jack ass.

There are families in this country that are struggling to make payments because of layoffs and people’s salary’s are being cut or frozen, and Manny is turning down $25 million. I guess $25 million just doesn’t buy what it use too, right Manny?

The latest stat is 2.6 million people lost there job in 2008 and already two million in 2009. There are people living on $200 a week from unemployment and this guy is saying $25 mill is not enough.

So when are these million dollar athletes going to start getting pay cuts? When are these high priced corporate executives going to start getting pay cuts? NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell already has taken a pay cut, good for him! Although he still is going to make like $5 million, but at least he took a pay cut.

These pro athletes are something else. If Manny doesn’t want to play for that money, don’t let him. I would rather pay $12 for a ticket to see some up and coming kid who still has it in the back of his mind that he wants to play for the love of the game and not the almighty dollar.

Forget Manny and forget these million dollar athletes who say their contracts are worth more than the millions of people out there that lost there jobs, or had their contracts bought out at the company they worked for.

He is basically spitting in the face of the American people with his greed and it’s a disgrace to baseball and the people of this country.

I could care less if I ever see Manny play again. Good riddance.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The MLB Network...or Cricket

This is an appeal to all cable companies, please add MLB Network as part of the standard cable package.

I don’t care about Fox Sports World and some cricket game in Indonesia.

What I do care about is watching baseball and getting all the latest info I can.

Of course, that is probably why cable companies feel they should charge to add MLB Network (or NFL Network). It’s all about demand and if people want it badly enough they will pay for it.

I know baseball has its roots from cricket, but I would rather watch Sir Albert Pujols connect for a 435 homer against the Cubs to win a series then watch Sir Charles Luberstink bounce a ball from one wicket to the next.

Where is the pitching mound?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Getting Local

So I have stayed away from writing about this economy for as long as I can, but it is absolutely killing the communications industry. Radio and television stations across the country are cutting back, freezing salaries, laying off people and adding on more work on the people left behind. In the end it’s the product that suffers, and the product is what you need in order to sell to make the money.

There are tons of good and talented people that are without a job for no other reason than the place they worked for could not afford them.

That is one of the hardest things to get over I think, and I know because I was a victim of that same thing. It is one thing to lose a job because of being just bad at it. Fortunately that has never happened to me.

However, it’s a whole other animal to lose a job because the place you worked for couldn’t afford to keep you on. Two of my friends are in the same boat as thousands of other professionals out there.

It’s hard when you give 110% of your time to your work, carefully making sure it was at the highest quality you can give and at the same time got praise for the work done, only to be told you can’t keep working because of the bottom line.

Local radio sells, I have seen it work. Ever since radio started, it sold itself.

Cutting radio, or going network and getting rid of the local flavor only hurts the company in the long run in the local community.

From my point of view in Minor League Baseball, I will never understand why teams cut radio when it can be such a powerful marketing tool in the community, and so easy to sell as well. I feel so passionate about it and that is why I think it can be a financially successful aspect of the company and is a bad idea to cut.

When it comes to local radio, local hosts, local jocks, they are so much more entertaining then the network. People want to know what’s going on in their community, in their town. There needs to be a local flavor to radio, there needs to be that connection to the community.

People like to know the person they are listening to is local, they like to know when they flip on the radio they are going to hear about their town and not some city or town on the other side of the country.

Why is satellite radio failing? If you ask me it’s because it doesn’t have the feel of the community like radio has, or should I say “had.”

My heart goes out to my friends and all the thousands of good, hard working people out there in my industry that have been let go because of budget cuts. I have been there.

Hopefully things will turn around and hopefully the time on the bench is not long.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Warner has MVP Game in Super Bowl Loss

Super Bowl XLIII was probably one of the best Super Bowl’s in history. Kurt Warner has now played in three of arguably the top five Super Bowl’s in history and is 1-2. Warner probably went to sleep thinking about how the interception at the end of the first half cost the game for the Cardinals, a 100 yard TD return by Pittsburgh going into the half. I still can't believe nobody could make a tackle on that play.

It might be the play everyone remembers because it changed the momentum of the game. The Cardinals were on the doorstep of taking the lead, and instead gave up six to the Steelers. The other play everyone will remember is of course Santonio Holme’s catch in the corner of the end zone giving the Steelers the lead with 35 seconds left in the game, maybe the best catch ever in the Super Bowl.

However, if I was Warner, I would go to bed thinking, if only the defense could have stepped up and made a play. Warner kept his team in the game and if the Cardinals won for sure put up MVP type numbers. Warner was 31-for-43 with 377 yards and three touchdowns.

The Arizona defense committed three personal fouls on one Steelers drive allowing Pittsburgh to score on a 79 yard drive that took 8:39 off the clock. Granted it was only a field goal, but still points on the board for a 13 point lead.

The one thing that worried me, along with the coaches for the Cardinals and every fan of the Cardinals out there, was the fact that there was too much time left on the clock when Larry Fitzgerald scored on a 64-yard reception for a 23-20 lead with 2:37 left.

The defense could not hold the Steelers. All Warner could do is watch as the Steelers marched down the field and somehow Ben Roethlisberger found Holme’s in the corner of the end zone floating a ball over three defenders. The Cardinals had just 30 seconds to go the length of the field.

Just like in Super Bowl XXXVI against the Patriots when Warner brought the Rams back from 14 points down, Warner did it again in Super Bowl XVIII bringing the Cardinals back from 13 points down. Unfortunately, just like the game against the Pats, the Cardinals defense could not make a game saving stop.

It was hard to watch Holme’s make the catch in the corner of the end zone behind three defenders. Especially when he nearly made the same catch a play before on the other side of the end zone.

This wasn’t how the game was supposed to end. Warner’s Hollywood script was about walking off the field with a second Championship, a second MVP and something nobody ever will probably do again. Take two teams that were the laughing stock of the league to the promise land. Instead, it ended with Warner walking off the field in a shower of confetti as the other guys celebrated again.

Ironically though, while Warner has been the victim of poor defense in his last two Super Bowl’s, Warner’s one Super Bowl win came down to great defense, maybe the greatest single defensive player ever in the Super Bowl, with the Rams Mike Jones making a game saving tackle in 1999 in the waning seconds.

Warner is two good defense stands away from having three Super Bowl Championships. His numbers in the post season are undeniable though, he is one of the greatest.

Warner is a Hall of Famer, win or lose.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Kurt Warner Gold Jersey

For anyone that knows me, they know I am a very superstitious person when it comes to sports. I have been my whole life. I had my routine when I played baseball and soccer. I still have the same routine when I play on my soccer league now.

However, my superstitions carry over to watching sports as well. If I am doing something that is affecting my team, I pay attention. Which is why when I had a BBQ in 2002 to kick off Notre Dame’s football schedule and they won 22-0, I had a BBQ each week after, even if I was just cooking for myself. Notre Dame was 8-0 to start that season, however the curse of the green jersey far out weighted the mojo I had going with my BBQ and Notre Dame lost 14-7 in South Bend to Boston College. Ugh

When the St. Louis Cardinals advanced to the World Series in 2004, I kept the playoff beard going from the regular season through the third inning of Game 4 in the World Series. When Boston jumped up 3-0 in the third inning I shaved it off mid game but it was too late, the Red Sox were on their way to winning the World Series. Ugh

But no amount of superstition in my sports history goes as far as the Kurt Warner Gold Jersey.

I never owned one piece of St. Louis Rams paraphernalia until the Rams made it their second Super Bowl, its was Super Bowl 36 and the year was 2001. I was walking in the mall and spotted a Rams alternate Gold Warner Jersey and I bought it for the Big Game.

Little did I know I was about to take down one of the most beloved figures in sports history and doom a franchise.

I wore my jersey and the Rams lost 20-17, a game they should have easily won, they were favored to win and could have begun a long run of winning, much like the Patriots ended up doing. Unfortunately, the Rams did the opposite.

In 2002, I took out my Warner jersey and wore it for the first pre-season game, a loss for Warner and the Rams. I wore the jersey every start Warner had in the pre-season and Warner and the Rams went 0-for-4.

When the 2002 regular season started, I was convinced the jersey couldn’t be the reason and continued to wear it. Warner and the Rams went 0-for-4 to start the season.

So since I bought the jersey and wore it, Warner and the Rams were 0-for-9. Ouch.

Warner got benched and did not start again until Week 12 and 13 of the 2002 season and he lost both those games as well.

In Week 1 of the 2003 season, Warner started and lost. So to date, Warner and the Rams are 0-for-12 with me wearing the Gold Warner Jersey. Warner did not play again until Week 17 at Detroit and even though he didn’t start, the Rams still lost.

Warner began a new chapter in his life in 2004, playing in New York for the Giants. I decided to wear the jersey for his Giants debut and in Week 1, Warner started and lost to the Eagles 31-17. An 0-for-13 stretch, which incidentally is Warner’s number, 13.

I finally stopped wearing the jersey after that game and Warner won his next four straight starts and was 5-3 over his next eight starts before finally being replaced by Eli Manning.

The bad karma was so bad from my Gold Jersey fiasco, that I really do believe Warner did not rebound until the 2007 season culminating in 2008. I have yet to wear the Gold Jersey since Week 1 of 2004 and I have no intention of wearing it for this Super Bowl.

It has hung in the back of my closet on a hanger ever since, only being moved when I change places to live. My only hope is Warner can win and break the curse of the Gold Jersey. It might help not only Warner, but the Rams organization and myself as well.

Go Warner!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Long Days In Single-A Baseball

I am not sure too many people realize the amount of work and hours it takes to be a broadcaster in Minor League Baseball, at least at the Single-A level. I am not sure on the hours put in by Double-A and Triple-A broadcasters since I have yet to reach that plateau, but in Single-A, the days were long and grueling.

I was in a discussion with a college kid the other day about working in broadcasting and the day to day work expected. We got on the subject of my days in baseball and he, like I am sure everyone else in college or people that are not familiar with the industry, assumed I worked just the game. So a typical day was about four, maybe five hours long.

On the contrary, I usually was at my desk at 8:30 in the morning and did not leave the office until 11:30 p.m., sometimes later if there was a rain delay, double-header, or the game just dragged on. If you want to know what I did exactly, you can read about a typical day on the job here.

Try doing seven, eight, 10 days like that in a row. Try doing six days in a row like that, then having to be back at work at six in the morning because you have a game at Noon to prepare for.

Those days were the trickiest for me, games that started at 10:30 a.m. or Noon games. Sometimes the stats were updated instantly on the web and most work could be done after the game so I would stay up until one and two in the morning getting my game notes done for the early game the next day.

However, there are those times when other games in the league and in the organization go long and the stats don’t get updated. So the only option is to wake up at five or six in the morning to get the work done in time for that early start.

The hours I put in during a typical week usually added up to around 90 hours a week on average.

There are also the long bus rides and overnight trips to and from cities. Don’t expect to get too much sleep on those buses, they are not the most comfortable things in the world. The seats are usually close together and are tough on the knees, back and neck. If we have a sleeper bus, the rookies and first year guys immediately head to the beds thinking those are the prime seats.

Within an hour of the trip, guys are pouring out of the beds because if you have a bed at the top of the bus, it’s hot as hell and you are dripping with sweat. If you have a bed at the bottom, it’s usually the coldest place on the earth.

During a typical summer, a broadcaster can expect maybe 12 days off with three days off in a row for the Mid Season All-Star Game. So take away those three days off, and during a five month season in which 140 games are played, a broadcaster can look at having nine off days. Now depending on where a broadcaster is working and the league, some of those off days have to be used for travel days because cities are so far away, so an off day is not really an off day.

I was fortunate to work in Augusta where most cities were three-four hours away, so our travel was usually done the day of the game, or after the last game of a series.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved working in baseball. Going to work everyday and getting paid to watch baseball and talk about, what more could you ask for? I loved every minute of it!

It is work though, and requires a lot of hours at the lower levels and not much free time. Summer time growing up was the best time of the year. Pool parties, BBQ’s, hanging out at the lake with friends and just enjoying the long summer days.

However, if you want to work as a baseball broadcaster, you need to realize when everyone else is making plans to head out after the game, go to the lake, or whatever, more than likely you will still be working.

So that’s it in a nutshell, a little peak into the world of Minor League Baseball for all those out there who are not familiar, or thinking about getting into it.

A lot of fun, but a lot of work and a lot of hours.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sports fans deserve better than the BCS

There are many things in this world that are flawed; the price of gasoline, the cost of checking a bag on an airplane, having to pay for cheese on a whopper and then of course the BCS.

I can not continue to speak of how stupid, idiotic and dumb the Bowl Championship Series is. Utah did it again, went undefeated in the regular season and won its BCS game by knocking off Alabama and still will not get recognized as a National Champion. Second time in five years.


That is the question everyone is asking, except Florida and Oklahoma.

The BCS represents all that is wrong in sports and America, it’s all about money and greed and some guy making his wallet fatter. It makes me sick.

It’s a complex formula that is made to pair up the two best teams in the country for the National Championship, assuming those two teams are from the proper conference with one of them being an SEC team.

First off, the SEC is the most overrated conference, yeah I said it. Contrary to what you all may think in SEC country, God did not create the SEC on the seventh day.

In case you haven’t noticed either, your SEC Alabama team got beat by Utah, the team that should be crowned National Champion.

There are also those people out there that say that the Championship game would not be interesting with a team not from a major conference.

Three out of the last four Championship games have been blowouts, and all four included teams from “Major Conferences.”

In 2004 USC destroyed Oklahoma 55-19, in 2006 Florida ran over Ohio State 41-14 and in 2007 LSU walked over Ohio State 38-24. The only interesting one was Texas and USC in 2005, 41-38 Texas.

So tell that to all the uninteresting teams that make “March Madness” so uninteresting.

Tell that to the NFL, MLB, NHL and every other sports team out there. Because if the American League East has the best two teams in baseball, then they should just play for the World Series. Forget the National League. Same goes for the NFL, forget the AFC because they are not worthy.

To have a Championship game that DOES NOT have at the time the best two teams in the game going head to head is ludicrous.

Who cares if they played well all year long, who cares if they have a tougher schedule, who cares if they are from a conference that is not a big money maker or high profile.

The point is to have a Championship worthy of crowning a champion. Championships should not be second guessed be everyone with questions about the legitimacy.

One of the greatest things about sports is the underdog winning, it’s what this country thrives on. Not two rich schools that have vast amount of resources meeting.

It’s getting to see the USA defeat the USSR in Hockey, or Appalachian State going into the Big House to knock off Michigan, the Patriots coming out of no where to shock the Rams and all football fans.

It’s staying up late and watching the Red Sox beat all odds and knock off the Yankees and then sweep the Cardinals in the World Series, incidentally the Cards were the best team all year long and had the best record. That doesn’t matter in college football though.

Then, two years later the Cardinals, underdogs entering the postseason, defeated the Mets and then the Tigers to win the World Series in a post season they barely made.

Let's not forget about the Tampa Rays in 2008, who actually gave them a shot to win the American League?? Good thing they play the games and have a playoff system.

Sports is about the dramatics, the pageantry the underdog, the heartbreak and the Championships.

Unfortunately, all college football has is the pageantry because some guy is sitting in his big high back chair counting the money he is making because the National Championship is the biggest sham in sports.