Thursday, July 23, 2020

RED SOX TV DIRECTOR PREPARES FOR SEASON UNLIKE ANY OTHER



This is a milestone season for Mike Narracci. The director of Boston Red Sox baseball on
NESN will be in his familiar chair for a 20th year, but because of the global pandemic,
very little will be the same when he starts calling the shots again for the broadcast team
There will be no fans, no high-fives, or post-game Gatorade baths.

"I feed off the announcers and the crowd," Narracci said. "The announcers feed off the
crowd. With no real crowd, you have to create your own energy which is a challenge."

Narracci, who has won eight Emmy awards to go along with the four World Series
rings he was awarded  by the team for his work, has been preparing for the challenges
since April.

"We started with the hypotheticals and the 'what if's?' It was very extensive which in
turned aided us in planning the actual season once we had the the actual details of it."


Preparation on game days is time consuming and detail-driven while logistics are
complicated. Throw in social distancing and the situation might get a little dicey.

"I am a people person and the social distancing protocols are tough to deal with," he
said. "A lot of the show revolves around director and crew chemistry. Social distancing
diminishes this."

Another thing Narracci will have to deal with for the first time, is directing television
traffic with a mask on.

"Everybody in the (broadcast) truck and the ballpark will be wearing one," Narracci said.
"For me, it took some getting use to. I felt like I was being suffocated but I am used to
it now and don't even think about it."

Narracci says he won't be spending as much time in the truck as in year's past because of the
new protocols and the East Haven, Connecticut native won't be seeing Dave O'Brien,
Dennis Eckersley, and Jerry Remy as much, either. They will be back in Watertown calling
the game from the palatial NESN studios. Field reporter Guerin Austin will be roving
the empty stands delivering her reports.

"She might be doing walk-off interviews, " Narracci said. "And the post-game
manager press conference will be done by way of Zoom.

Because of the late start, the season has been reduced from a 162-game marathon to
a 60-game sprint. It'll be 60 games in 66 in a season unlike any other.


"Baseball will the same once we get a vaccine," he said. "As far as the televising of
baseball, I believe we are at a cross roads. It will be interesting to see what direction it goes."

Interesting stuff from a man who has directed more than 2,500 Red Sox games. Play ball.
.












Thursday, June 18, 2020

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL RETURNS JULY 19th

According to sources close to SportsRip, Major League Baseball and the Players Association
have agreed to a deal to start the season. Barring any last minute snafus, a 60-game season
will be played with an extended post-season. The regular season is set to begin on July 19th.

More information to come.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

TADE REEN MAKES HIS 'CONSCIENCE POINT'



When I saw that Tade Reen was releasing his novel, "Conscience Point",  I said to myself, 'it has
to be a great read because that kid has one helluva imagination.' A few years ago, I received
an e-mail out of nowhere from Tade saying I stared him down on the busy streets of Manhattan.
I got a good chuckle out of that and was like, "Man, I haven't seen this kid in about 30 years
when he was an eighth-grader and by chance, we happened to cross paths in New York City.
I didn't even know what he looked like to stare him down."

Reed, who grew up in New Canaan, Connecticut, has used that fertile imagination to weave
his latest novel which was hatched while running in Southampton, New York where he has
summered since his childhood.

The author, Tade Reen
"This novel is based on the people, places, traditions and history of that area," Reen said
from his office in New York City where he works as a trader. "I'd been thinking about setting
 a story there for years and as I was jogging around our neighborhood out there, I heard the
song, "Where the Night Goes," by Josh Ritter, which I'd never heard before. Suddenly, I had
the idea for the novel. It hit me like Lawrence Taylor used to hit Ron Jaworski. Hard."

Reen, who played football at New Canaan High for legendary coach Lou Marinelli, attacked
his novel like he did defenses as a tight end during his career on the gridiron.

"From the first words until publication, it took five years," said Reen, who also authored "Glad
Tidings", which was released in 2011. "They were five of the most eventful years of my life.
I wrote the book mostly on mass transit in New York. Subways, buses and eventually Metro
North Railroad once the family moved to the suburbs. It was my  daily mental recess," he added.
"I aimed for 500 words a day and most days I could hit that mark."


The book centers around the relationship between Rachel Jones, a well-educated hedge
fund executive who falls in love with Walter "Scallop" Koslowski, a local farmer. Reen
says the book is about how they try to see if their love can work despite being from
completely different backgrounds.

"I've always been intrigued by the idea that seemingly random chance encounters can change
people's lives forever, " Reen said. "It happens to all of us. We could meet someone on a train,
at a deli, or online through a friend, and that person's impact on our life could change not only
us, but the generations that follow."

One person who clearly made an impact on Reen's life is Mark Rearick, a legendary figure
and former baseball coach at New Canaan High School. A character in the book is based
off the man known to everybody in that tony little town as 2-5-0.

The great Mark Rearick, also known as 2-5-0

"I needed a strong connection between Scallop and Jonas, given it's his son's grandfather.
He was also Scallop's baseball coach," Reen added. "When I was thinking of a respected 
baseball coach who everyone likes, being from New Canaan, I thought of the great 2-5-0.
I thought about 2-5's voice and his incredible knowledge of so many topics when I was
writing Jonas. How many college mascots can 5'er name? All of them. I wanted that in Jonas."

Readers will get all that and more in this wildly entertaining novel by Reen. He has a great 
imagination when in comes to either describing chance encounters in New York City or a complicated relationship in the "Conscience Point."  There are lessons to be gleaned from
the book and Reen encourages others to embrace those chance meetings and not take
them for granted.

"It could be someone that we fall in love with, it could be someone who exposes us to a
new perspective on something, or that person can offer us a job," Reen says. "But we have
to be open to, and looking to make those connections. That kind of magic is alive and out
there in the world. And that's exciting and reminds us all that life is a wonderous, interesting,
adventure."

And just think - if I didn't stare Tade Reen down on the streets of New York City a few years
ago, this article would never have been written. You just never know.

"Conscience Point" is available on Amazon.com and in local bookstores near you.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

MARTY HERSAM AND #theTREE


Through rain, sleet, snow and a global pandemic, Marty Hersam has presented us with #theTree. Every Sunday, the New Canaan, Connecticut native makes the 20-minute trek from his home in
Rowayton to Sherwood Island in Westport to photograph a tree that was social distancing
long before that became part of our consciousness.

"I first noticed this lone tree on October 15, 2017, " said Hersam, a longtime media executive.
"At the right angle it seemed very solitary and its leaves were turning reddish against a gray
sky. I took a picture of it, posted it, and didn't think much of it. Then on April 1, 2018, I noticed
it again and started photographing it on Sunday mornings since then."

Hersam's very first picture of #theTree. October 15, 2017

For those scoring at home, that's more than 100 consecutive Sunday mornings in a row - and counting. Hersam employs an iPhone 11 Pro for his pictures and always frames the #theTree
between 8:30 - 9:00 a.m.

"The season changes to the sun's angle is the trick of the light," he said. "Then the weather
paints the sky something different each week while the tree is the one constant. It feels different
every Sunday."

To many people, taking a picture of the same tree every week might seem a little boring, but
Hersam sees it as an opportunity to create something truly unique.

"The tree is unremarkable until you look at it from the right angle," he said. "Then it appears
to be standing all alone against the expanse of Long Island Sound. I enjoy the challenge of
visually expressing that each week."

Hersam's favorite picture of #theTree
Hersam and his pictures have attracted quite a following on social media and while he gets
a rush out of putting his artistic self on a platform for everyone to see, he also uses the
opportunity for a little self-improvement.


"I go to Sherwood Island by myself every Sunday morning as a way to clear my head, feel the
salt air and find a little gratitude," said Hersam. "I love the routine of my Sunday mornings.
I enjoy that space and time."

Hersam's following not only gets a wonderful picture of #theTree every Sunday, but also a
meaningful quote that offers a window into his heart, mind, and soul.

"Without mountains, we might find ourselves relieved the we can avoid the pain
of the ascent, but we will forever miss the thrill of the summit. And in such a terribly
scandalous trade-off, it is the absence of  pain that becomes the thief of life."

-Craig Lounsbrough-

r

"The quotations are really meant as a diary to myself," he said. "It's kind of like a mile marker
for what might have been happening in my life that week, something that moved me or
motivated me."

Stay motivated, Marty. We love your pictures of #theTree.




Tuesday, May 19, 2020

THE UNFAIR JUDGEMENT OF JERRY KRAUSE



According to researchers out of Princeton University, people make judgments about such 
things as trustworthiness, competence, and likability within a fraction of a second 
after seeing someone's face.

That study was seemingly confirmed in "The Last Dance", the wildly spectacular documentary
about Michael Jordan and the dynasty of the Chicago Bulls.  Oh, everybody has always 
loved Jordan at first blush, except maybe that basketball coach who cut Jordan 
from the team during his sophomore year in high school, -MJ has always been magnetic 
and somebody that demands your attention.


No, I'm talking about Jerry Krause, who was made out to be a villian in the documentary. 
Krause, the Bulls general manager, didn't make a good first impression, and for a society 
that often judges people by physical appearance, Krause never had a chance. Let's just 
say, Krause wasn't genetically gifted. He was short, heavy and just didn't look the 
part of an executive, especially in a sport defined by its players who are tall and gifted
by the gods with overflowing talent and chiseled bodies. Pat Riley he was not.

Jordan openly mocked Krause about his height saying that he shouldn't be smoking a cigar
because it could "stunt his growth." Scottie Pippen, who wanted his contract renegotiated,
dressed down Krause on the team bus. I'm fairly certain Krause had been made fun of
his entire life just because of his appearance. As much as we all want to think differently,
we are still a society that bullies, harasses, mocks, and makes judgements about people
just because of the way they look. Don't believe me? Go spend five minutes
on Twitter.

Using a description from the movie, "Moneyball", where baseball scouts often judged prospects
on whether or not they had a "good face," - well, Krause certainly didn't have it. And
the millions of people watching "The Last Dance",  made judgements about Krause just
because of the way he looked. And like a lot of those baseball scouts in "Moneyball", people
weredead wrong about Krause.

The bottom line and the thing Krause should be judged on, is his record which includes
the six NBA titles he helped bring to Chicago.  As much as people want to say it
was all Michael Jordan,  it wasn't. Krause was the architect of that dynasty. The moves
 he made were worthy of being a first ballot Hall of Famer - it was blasphemous Krause
was rejected time and time again before finally being elected into the Hall of Fame.
in 2017.  In fact, he didn't get into the Hall of Fame until after died, which is sad.

I'm fairly certain the people who watched "The Last Dance" don't even know Krause
is in the Hall of Fame. Judging by how he was portrayed in that documentary, that's not
surprising.


People shouldn't have judged Krause on his appearance, they should've made up their
mind by seeing what he did to construct that dynasty. His moves were brilliant.

Krause's first move as the Bulls GM was hiring Tex Winter as an assistant coach.
Winter didn't invent the Triangle offense, but he perfected it and made the other
coaches understand it.

Trading for Scottie Pippen and drafting Horace Grant on the same day in 1987 was
pure brilliance. Nobody heard of Pippen, who played for some tiny school in
Arkansas, yet it was Krause who saw the raw talent of Pippen that became, well,
Jordan-like.

Krause fired Doug Collins, who was running seemingly every play through Michael
Jordan, despite getting the team to the Eastern Conference Finals. Krause didn't want
a team that was Jordan and then everybody else. He wanted a true team where everybody
was involved. Krause replaced Collins with Jackson, who turned out to be Zen master
for that team

Krause surrounded Jordan with great talent: Pippen, Tony Kucoc, Grant, Rodman,
Bill Cartwright, Steve Kerr, John Paxon, Ron Harper, and many others. 

People wanted to vilify Krause for breaking up the Bulls and a bid for a seventh 
NBA title and that may be unfair. Krause worked for Jerry Reinsdorf, a savvy businessman,
who has been labeled cheap by many people throughout sports. Perhaps, Krause was
just following orders from the boss.


Oh, sure, Krause made some mistakes, like displaying his public infatuation with
Tim Floyd, who had been a college coach at Iowa State and the ultimate successor (failure)
to Jackson. And he sparred regularly with the media - and nobody wins with the media
when that happens, The pens, microphones, and cameras have always been mightier
than the sword and they stuck it to Krause because they made it personal.

Every general manager in sports makes mistakes, just look at the team you follow.
Brian Cashman of the New York Yankees has made a ton of them - Jacoby Elsbury,
Kei Igawan, Carl Pavano just to name a few. They happen. Krause didn't make very
many of them and he has six titles to prove it.

Krause wasn't around to defend himself against the comments made against him
and how he was portrayed in "The Last Dance". All he has his record - which should
be more than enough to tell his story. It's a shame that in this society, the facts and
record don't always matter - image still does. And Krause didn't have it and he was
judged harshly because of it.


In Krause's obituary, there should've been a line about how Krause being one of the
greatest GM's of all-time in any sport because that should be part of his record,
even if society wanted to judge him just because of the way he looked. And that's sad,
real sad.