Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Last February, Pete Bock lay motionless on the ground outside his home in North Carolina.
His yard morphed into a thick patch of ice thanks to a wicked storm that put the region
in a deep freeze.

Bock slipped, and as anyone who has had their feet pulled out from under them knows,
that moment of being helpless in the air, turns into a conglomeration of danger, fear,
anxiety,  and the uncertainly that comes when gravity pulls you back to something that
doesn't give an inch, no matter the opponent's size, shape, and in Bock's case, impeccable

Bock hit his head on the ice-covered ground. His wife, Cindy, rushed to his side, only to
slip and fall, breaking her hip.  If this was a test by someone of a higher-power, it was a
hard and cruel one for two wonderful people who are deeply religious.

Cindy shattered her hip in the fall,  suffered a traumatic head injury, leaving him paralyzed
below the waist . His injury left him so debilitated, it wasn't certain that he'd live, much
less walk again.

But through his faith, family, and small miracle, Bock battled through his injury and survived.
He went through surgery, setbacks, and a tough rehabilitation program to get a good part
of his health back. But the man considered to be the "Mr. Baseball" in North Carolina, was
still bound to a wheelchair, the feeling in his lower extremities yet to return.

However, in late May, Bock returned to the game he so dearly loves. He showed up for
the opening game of the Holly Springs Salamanders, the team he owns in the Coastal
Plain League, which just happens to be the one he founded and brought to life.

“We’ve got a long way to go, but I think God that I’m here today and able to see this," 
 Bock told a North Carolina television station. "It was one of my goals from the time I
woke up in the hospital.”

A bad thing happened to a truly good person, but that good person, through his faith
and an iron-strong family, helped Bock overcome a horrific thing. He may still have
a long way to go, but he is certainly headed in the right direction. Anybody who knows
Pete Bock, knows he is a beautiful person and a man of great character. If you don't
like Pete Bock, then you probably just don't like good people.

The rest of the journey will be a challenging one with changes to Bock's normal everyday
routine. A ramp for his wheelchair was built to make things more a little more convenient
for him.  There is more rehabilitation ahead and with it, comes expenses that will be sure
to accumulate at a mind-boggling rate. His daughter, Clara Grace, and son, Jeff, set up a
GoFundMe account to help out with expenses. www.gofundme.com/tmnsas

Clara Grace noted in her in on-line journal, "We still know and believe that God has a
big plan for all of this even if right now it is so unclear. We are weary, but our God
never grows weary, never sleeps, never lets go of his children. Our prayer is for
endurance and wisdom."

I met Pete Bock on the set of "Bull Durham" where he was the baseball coordinator.
We became friends for life that day and I consider him one of the best ones I have.
It's great to see him back in the game and doing the thing he that he loves dearly.

Yes, he has a long way to go, but he bulldozed his way through a big test and has a
big smile on his face to prove it.

And that's a beautiful thing.


Sunday, June 14, 2015


Few things instill as much pride in our country as Old Glory.  With 50 stars, 13 stripes, and
the best-looking color combination in the spectrum, she is nearly perfect and quite powerful
It is raised for Olympic champions and a staple of nearly every college and professional
sporting event in the country.

Today, we celebrate Old Glory and the 238th birthday of it with flag day. It will always
be considered sacred and everyone who has one is responsible for taking care of it, protecting
everything that it represents.

However, that wasn't the case during a baseball game on April 25, 1976 between the
Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs. A father and his 11-year-old son ran onto the
field and attempted to set it on fire as a protest to the United States, which was reeling
in crisis. Rick Monday, a centerfielder for the Cubs as the time, sprinted toward the duo
and snatched it before they could torch it.

It was a great moment for our national pride, baseball, and Rick Monday, who became
somewhat of a hero for doing the right thing at the right time, preserving a piece of

After the game, Monday said, "If you're going to burn the flag, don't do it around me.
I've been to too many veterans' hospitals and seen too many broken bodies of guys
who tried to protect it."

With the social media, talk radio, and 24-hour new channels the way they are today,
I'm fairly certainly Rick Monday would be a household name if he saved that flag in
2015 instead of 1976.

Ironically, Monday was traded to the Dodgers the following Winter and Los Angeles
had a real hero to celebrate and honor.

Happy Birthday, American Flag, and thank you, Rick Monday.

Friday, June 5, 2015



Throwback Thursday floods Facebook with pictures of the past, most of them showing
styles that are out of style and big smiles that seem to last forever. When I was browsing
through the news feed yesterday, I noticed a picture of a former co-worker, face beaming
while embracing a friend.

The caption was written by her friend: "Good times with Alissa. I miss her everyday.
I know she's smiling up there."

My heart sank and jaw hit the floor. The words "smiling up there." could only mean
one thing. I quickly went to her Facebook page and saw other phrases that confirmed
what I was thinking.

"Lord knows how many angels are celebrating up there with you."

"I picture you eating red velvet cake and smiling down on us." 

I couldn't believe it. I quickly Googled her name and up came the headline in the Boston
Globe that drove a stake into my heart.

                                 Alissa Bigelow, 38; hosted cooking show, taught yoga.

Sweet, beautiful, funny, and bubbly Alissa Bigelow was gone at the age of 38. She was
tiny in size but big in personality. We worked together at NESN in Boston where she
was loved by everybody. She edited many of the features I wrote, produced, and reported
on. We spent countless hours in the editing bay laughing hysterically while trying to
make deadline every single night.

She always had a great story to tell and it often came before finishing up our work. One
night Alissa failed to complete a three-minute feature another reporter had done on the
Celtics and I was forced to ad-lib as an anchor for three-minutes, which in television
seems like three hours. But how could I get mad at Alissa, she was the sweetest girl
in the building.

Through our long hours in the editing bay, we discovered we had more in common
than the place we worked. She was from Darien, CT., which bordered my hometown
of New Canaan. They are virtually the same type of town with the same type of people.
There's only a border there to separate the BMW's from the Mercedes'. She also
graduated from the University of Southern California where my sister attended.

As I continued to read her obituary, I saw the words I feared searing. "She took her
own life."

Alissa Bigalow seemed to have it all. She was smart, beautiful, funny, and as bubbly
as the champagne uncorked on New Year's Eve. Alissa also had a precious young
daughter that is a carbon copy of her. Her then-husband Ned, is a man's man who looks
like something on the cover of "Men's Health" magazine.

Behind that pretty face and effervescent smile was the type of pain that became too
unbearable to endure. We are all shocked when a person so young with a brilliant
personality takes their own life, but we can't see the inferno and chaos that tears
a person up inside. We see the mile-wide smile and figure everything is all

It wasn't for Alissa.

She just couldn't overcome her personal demons.

In this day and age with social media and instant information, I was surprised I
missed the news of her passing. The NESN family is a strong one that is connected
strongly on Facebook and nobody had mentioned it. I asked several former co-workers
and they didn't know about Alissa's passing, either.

The date of the article on Alissa's death said November 2013.

How did we all miss it? I feel terribly that I couldn't say good-bye to her.

I do know this: I will miss her dearly. She is the type of person you meet once
and remember her forever.

Alissa Bigelow was a wonderful person. I know she is up there free from her demons,
smiling down on all us.  Alissa, I just wish you knew how much you were truly loved.

Friday, May 29, 2015



I've never met this kid named Josh, but feel like I've known him forever. I've seen his
soulful eyes and mile-wide grin on Facebook a lot over the years and every time I do,
a smile washes over my face and I get a big chuckle. It's a great way to start the day.

Josh is the 7-year-old son of Kim Agostino, a former co-worker of mine at NESN, a
wonderland of sports with a collection of talented, wonderful, and pretty darn cool people.
Mom is extremely proud of her son and is always posting pictures of her little bundle of
pure joy on the mother of all social media networks.

There is Josh with Wally the Green Monster. There he is with the Red Sox are number
1 foam-finger. The cool kid is pictured with unbridled joy after getting an autograph from
his favorite player, Mike Trout.

When I see pictures of Josh, I see a kid just being a kid, loving life and enjoying the
incredible experiences and opportunities his mother has provided him with. The special
bond between mother and son jumps off the page and can melt a glacier in a
matter of seconds.

Last week, his mother was as proud as she's ever been of her beautiful child when he
got to share the sacred grounds of Fenway Park with his favorite team, the Boston Red
Sox. There was Josh pictured side-by-side with Dustin Pedroia and Brock Holt standing
at attention for the national anthem.

On a perfect sun-splashed afternoon, the little kid was a giant on the field, the envy of
millions of kids across Red Sox nation. Josh was also the center of attention for "Autism
Awareness Day", which cast a feel-good spell over Fenway Park.

Josh is autistic.

To see Josh and his mother at Fenway Park on this glorious spring afternoon was
truly heartwarming. This special bond mother and son have formed was on display in
the cathedral of baseball as they tried to spread the message about autism.

About 1.5% of children in the United States (one in 68) are diagnosed with autism as
of 2014, a 30% increase from one in 88 in 2012.

I don't pretend to know everything about autism, but I realize there are big challenges
to deal with. Every day is not a rosy one for parent or child. To see Kim and Josh smile
and battle through the tough times and try to do something for others, is truly heartwarming
and inspirational.

To see Kim shower Josh with all these opportunities and give him these wonderful
experiences is a beautiful thing. To see Josh smiling from ear-to-ear, whether it be
on Facebook or television is a great thing, too. Mom and son are true champions and
most of all, an amazing team.

I often contemplate deleting my Facebook account, but that would mean missing the
smile of Josh and everything great that mother and son stand for. I won't do it.

What a team!

Go Josh!. Go Kim!

Monday, May 11, 2015


As soon as I found out Tom Brady was suspended for four games and the New England
Patriots were heavily fined by Roger Goodell, the NFL's prince of clowns, I checked to
see where the 2015 Super Bowl is being played. The Patriots will be in it and I wanted to
make reservations early.

San Francisco? Nice. It will make for  one helluva story.

That's right, you read correctly. The New England Patriots will represent the AFC (again) in
Super Bowl 50. What makes the story even better, Brady was raised in the Bay Area and
idolized Joe Montana, the Hall of Fame quarterback with four Super Bowl rings---just like

Why do I think the Patriots will get to the Super Bowl with Brady forced to sit out the
first quarter of the season? Simple. No team in the history of sports plays the "Us against the
World" card better than the Patriots under Bill Belichick. Nobody.

Remember when the Kansas City Chiefs throttled the Patriots in front of national audience
last year. Fans said Brady was done and Belichick couldn't draft, make trades, or sign
quality players. Trent Dilfer of ESPN proclaimed the Patriots "just aren't good anymore."

Yeah, how'd that turn out?

No team uses controversy to fuel them like the Patriots. Remember what happened after
Eric Mangini turned in his mentor for spying after the first game of the 2007 season? Yeah,
they embarrassed just about every team in the NFL on the way to the Super Bowl. They
were  an Asante Samuel interception drop and an out-of-this world catch by David Tyree
from going a perfect 19-0.

Remember when the Patriots lost Brady in the first game of the 2006 season to a knee
injury? Yeah, they went 11-5 with the immortal Matt Cassell under center. Cassell didn't
start a single-game in his career at USC, but Belichick coached him up and the Patriots
did fine.

The Patriots don't use injuries, not even to Brady, as an excuse. They plan, prepare, and
execute better than any team in the league. Oh, I heard that "nobody cheats like them
either," under your breath, but you can stick it and save it.

Hello, Jimmy Garappolo. The former signal-caller out of Eastern Illinos is now the
current QB of the Patriots.  Many people felt  he was a reach as a second-round
pick in 2013 simply because the so-called experts felt Brady had a few good years
left before retiring. How those experts looking now? A stroke of genius by Belichick
again. Oh, sure, nobody expected Brady to be out for cheating, but you can bet
Garappolo will be ready to step in.

Under the Belichick, the Patriots have won 72 percent of its games, been to the
Super Bowl six times, winning four of them. Now, he has more fuel to fire up
his team. The world thinks the Patriots are the biggest cheaters in sports, Don Shula
mocks them, and they are the butt of a lot of late night television jokes.

Good luck with that NFL, the Patriots are on another mission.

Brady will be back to face the Indianapolis Colts in week 5. Yes, that's the same team that
turned the Patriots in for taking a little air out of the footballs. Brady had steam coming
out of his ears when his own fans questioned his ability after the Kansas City massacre,
you can bet fire will be coming out of his nostrils after the football world questions
his character and credibility for the next five months.

Man, I can't wait for the football season. This is going to be good---and painful
for opponents of the Patriots. I'm not saying they'll win the Super Bowl but I wouldn't
bet against them from getting there.