Monday, January 30, 2017


It didn't take me long to figure out which charity team I wanted to run for in this year's
Boston Marathon. As I was scanning the expansive list on the Boston Athletic Association's
web site, the second team featured was the Massachusetts Fallen Heroes foundation.

That is the team I want to run 26.2 miles for.  If I'm going to train and go through all the
pain that goes with completing a marathon, this is the team I want to do if for. This is where
my heart. This is what I want to do.

Massachusetts Fallen Heroes is a non-profit organization  dedicated to honoring those
who have given their lives in service since September 11th, 2001. The mission of is to honor
the fallen, assist families of the fallen and to empower returning Veterans.

Click this link

We can thank Veterans for their service, but it is not enough. Neither is a single holiday during
the year. Our team is hoping to raise more than $100,000 to help them in their transition from
the war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan to their lives back home. Many Veterans need more
than a pat on the back and a government leader saying, "good job." They need some direction
and assistance.

I am hoping this helps just a little bit.

Honoring those who have served our country or lost their lives doing it is something I've
really tried to do since 2011. Brian Bill was a Navy SEAL from Stamford, CT, a city
that borders New Canaan, the town where I spent a good portion of my life in.


Bill was tragically killed while fighting in Afghanistan on August 6, 2011. He was part
of the Extortion 17 mission that saw the highest number of casualties of any single day during
the war. He and more than 30 other SEAL's were killed when their helicopter was shot down
by the Taliban.

I didn't even know Bill, but he became one of my heroes. I dedicated an endurance race
to him shortly after his death and have become friends with his mother, Patricia
Parry and sister, Amy. They are amazing people still dealing with their tragic loss.

I see this as another way to honor Brian Bill and so many of the other courageous heroes
who sacrificed their lives for our country. They always need to be honored and remembered.

The goal is $7500. I've donated $250 and paid the $355 entry. Now, I need a little help
from my friends to get to the finish line. $5, $10 or $1 per mile. No donation is too small.
It all goes to the Massachusetts Fallen Heroes foundation and is tax-deductible.

Thank you for your support.

Saturday, January 28, 2017


Chris Pinder was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the 15th round of the 1987 MLB draft.
A left-handed pitcher out of Virginia Commonwealth University, Pinder rose to AA and
played four seasons of professional baseball before retiring. We played against each other
in the Carolina League during the late 80's.

Baseball stayed in his blood, though, and literally. He and his wife, Beth, gave birth to three
boys and a girl, all of whom excelled, or are still excelling in baseball and softball. In August,
Chad, a former star at Virginia Tech, fulfilled his dream by reaching the big leagues with the Oakland's A's.

Daddy Pinder throwin' gas for the Indians in 1988

Can you just imagine being the parents of a kid who made it to the major leagues? Chris Pinder,
in his own words, describes the moment Chad received the call to the show and the greatest
gift he received nearly four months later.

All the kids were home this Christmas which is starting to become more of a challenge as we travel
down the road of life. Our oldest, Clark flew in from Houston where he is working after a very
successful high school baseball career where he was a three-time All-State selection in Virginia.  

Our second son, Chad, was able to be here as well after his third season in the Oakland Athletics
organization. Chase, who is four years younger, came home from Clemson University where he plays centerfield for the Tigers.  Our last child, Avery, is a junior at Poquoson High School where she excels in softball and basketball.  Needless to say, we have some athletes who love to compete. 

Chad had a meteoric rise through A’s farm system and was playing for the team’s AAA affiliate
in Nashville, Tennessee last summer. He called me one day in August to talk about a hamstring injury
he’d been trying to recover from. 

"Pops, just got done with the hammy and they are sending me to Dallas", Chad said over the phone. 
I was a little irritated in the fact they would send him all the way to Dallas for a hamstring injury
that he has been playing great on.   

I said, "Ok, I guess the A’s have to do what they want. Doesn't make sense,  ok.”  There was that
long silence that made me a bit uncomfortable and Chad put me at ease, then in a state of exhilaration. 
 "Dad, that was a joke. I just got the call!”, my son blurted into the phone. “I’m going to Dallas to play
against the Rangers!” 

I immediately went silent, as if the entire world came to a complete halt. Really? It couldn't be real,
is it,” I said to myself. “Oh, wait, of course it is. You have taught all the kids to believe in themselves
their entire lives! 

My kid was going to the big leagues! I just said to myself, “Wake up dad, it has finally become a
reality.” My mind became flooded with all the memories of Chad I and going to baseball fields together
and working toward his dream. After all the plastic balls tossed and the ground balls rolled
to him on the living room carpet, my boy was going to the big leagues. 

All the minutes, hours, and days spent helping him reach a dream was now really happening. His
hard work, relentless drive, God-given talent and inner fire was rewarded with a gift for Chad to join
The Elite group known as Major League Baseball. 

Many of those thoughts blitzed through my mind on Christmas day as the entire family shared
gifts and counted our blessings Chad came up to me and said, "Pops, I have one more present for you".  
Chad goes behind the couch and pulls out a large rectangular box wrapped nicely and says, "Pops, this
is for you". 

I was taken aback and froze just like when he told me he was going up to the big leagues.   
I slowly took off the wrapping paper and there it was. I was frozen stiff and speechless. Chad says,
"It's for you, Pops.” It was a shadow box with the Oakland Athletics jersey he was wearing the
day he got his first hit in the major leagues. The ball was also in the shadow box with its MLB
authentic sticker on it. So was the line-up card from that days game against the Chicago White Sox.

I just stared at it for what seemed like an eternity.  We were all just stunned that Chad would give
it to me. What a true blessing for my wife, Beth, and I to have kids who think of us in this way. There
were big hugs in the center of the circle in the living room, tears of joy rolling off our cheeks and falling
gently to the ground. 

What an emotional event and a great treasure for a proud father to have. It was something Chad
worked so hard to accomplish. I was sincerely humbled and very grateful. 

It was the greatest gift for  a father to receive!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Boston will always be a part of me. When I was set to start a job working for the Red Sox
over-the-air station in 1997, my late father said, "Paul, you are going to a world-class city.
There are few places in the country like Boston. Enjoy it."

As usual, my father was correct.

After four years working at Fox Sports Net in Atlanta, I moved back to Boston in 2004 to work
for NESN, the goliath of regional networks which is now owned by the Red Sox and Bruins.
Besides being a world-class city and the best sports one in the country, I found New Englanders
to be passionate, smart, and pretty darn tough.

Oh, sure, they often get mocked on 'SNL' for their accents, loyalty to the Red Sox, Tom
Brady, and Bobby Orr, but if they like you, they will stand behind you. If they love you, they
will not only give you the David Ortiz jersey off their backs, but they will pretty much drop everything if you are experiencing tough times.

John Martin is loved. He was a great videographer for NESN, following the Red Sox, Bruins,
Patriots, and Celtics on one of the most incredibly wicked (Boston term) successful runs
the sports world has ever seen. We worked together for two years and shared many laughs
and a lot of great times.

As good as Martin was as a videographer, he is a far better person. He is loved by everyone
in the tight-knit media community and is as solid as the 150-year-old oak trees that line property
in nearby Brookline. When the unfathomable news broke several weeks ago that Martin was
diagnosed with ALS, the entire region rallied around Martin. A GoFundMe page set up by his
friends saw donations come in fast and furiously, going over the $80,000 mark in
less than two weeks.

It seemed like everyone who lived in Boston or had ties to the professional sports teams there,
was stepping up for John Martin, a husband and father to a pair of beautiful young girls.
John Farrell, the Red Sox manager, made a very generous donation, sending in $1,000.
Mike Hazen, the former Sox GM now holding the same title with Arizona, also contributed
$1,000, as did longtime sportswriter, Ron Borges. Former Bruin Johnny Boychuk, who loves
Martin, also made a sizeable donation.

As I looked down the list of contributors, many of whom I had known when I worked there,
I was amazed by the support and felt good in knowing that Boston is taking care of one of its
own. It was truly heartwarming and renewed my faith there are still many people with great
character in this world.

There were also donations coming in from people who wanted to remain anonymous,
chipping in with $5, $10, and $20. This was after Christmas season where many people racked
up a lot of credit card debt in a time when money is tight.

It's a beautiful thing to see.

However, we cannot stop with the support. John Martin and his family are facing some
tough times ahead. That is incredibly sad. He, his wife, Adrienne, and two children are really an
amazing family. They need our continued love and support. They deserve it.

Please help in the fight against ALS. $5 may seem like a little, but a lot of five dollar bills
can go a long way in his battle. Please continue to help out John Martin. Please donate to
his fund. GoFundme/jmartin.

Saturday, January 7, 2017


I was hoping it was just a bad dream. There was no way the news I read about the night
before could possibly be true.  It was just too cruel, so unfair, and just so wrong. I lay in bed
praying to God that it was all just one of those out-of-body experiences that plays with
the mind and blurs reality in a world that has been drowning in death, destruction, and

After getting up, I fired up my computer and searched Facebook for the news that jolted
my mind, body, and soul less than eight hours before. There was just no way it could be true. Nobody, especially this guy, deserved a fate like this.

And there it was. A picture that made my heart jump into my throat, tears welling up in
my ears. A happy and beautiful family. A familiar face I knew and loved followed by
the words that will be seared into my consciousness forever: "Click here to support the
John Martin ALS Fund."

My friend, John Martin, was diagnosed with ALS, the insidious disease with no cure. It's
the one that inspired the ice bucket challenge thanks to the story of Pete Frates, who played
baseball at Boston College right in Martin's backyard at NESN, his place of employment
for the last 19 years.

As a supremely talented photographer, Martin covered the story of Frates and his
battle against ALS. Now he has it.

No! Not John Martin! It's just not fair and just not right. It had to be a mistake. Martin is
one of the best people I've ever met, not only in television, but in life. Hundreds of other people
who've met Martin will tell you the same thing. Forget about his talent as a videographer,
Martin is the type of guy who puts a smile on your face as soon as he walks into a room

He has a heart of gold, a quick wit, and a personality that can brighten up the darkest of
days. Martin loved his job covering the professional teams in the greatest sports town in
the country. He was lucky and he knew it. Whenever I'd greet him and ask him how he was
doing, Martin always responded with a mile-wide grin on face by saying, "Just living the
dream, baby."

Martin's colleagues adored him and the athletes he came to know, loved and respected
him. Many times I'd show up for an assignment and a coach or player would ask,
"Where's Johnny Martin?", often disappointed he wasn't there to shoot the interview and
shoot the bull afterward.

There was never a dull moment with Martin, and I got to share many of them during my
time at NESN, which he helped make two of the best years in my career and life. We were
paired many times covering the Patriots beat, traveling to all the road games, while making
countless trips to Foxborough.

We had a blast traveling from great city to great city, covering the Patriots during their
incredible championship run. They never lost and we always had a hilarious time. I remember
a time we flew into Charlotte a day ahead of the game against the Panthers. There
weren't many rental cars left and the agent asked us which of the remaining cars we wanted
and Martin quipped, "How bout the coolest one?"

We ended up with a Plymouth Cruiser. It was more ugly than cool, but god dang it, we
loved it as we roamed around Charlotte laughing are asses off. That's how all our trips
to Denver, Pittsburgh, Miami, Phoenix,  and New York were. We worked hard, laughed
even harder.

John and I loved our jobs. We didn't work by a time clock, paycheck, and didn't need
anyone else's approval. If we did a great job, we knew it. It we tried hard, but came up
short of our standard, we knew it, as well. Through rain, sleet, and snow, Martin always
did his best. He was a gamer, never complaining and always determined to get a shot
that made a difference.

One of his favorite ones, occurred after a Patriots game while I was doing a stand-up long
after the game had ended. There were very few people around, but Martin noticed a group of
people playing touch football in the background of our shot. It was Bill Belichick playing
a game with his family. Yes, Bill Belichick, Mr. Grim, running around like a little kid with
a smile on his face, playing with the same passion of the players he coaches. Martin captured
it all. It was classic John Martin.

During our time as co-workers, I saw first hand the love he had for his wife and family.
He was so proud and so happy as he checked in with them after every safe flight and every
trip to Foxborough. He was just as enthusiastic about his other 'job' as  a coach of a Little
League baseball team. It was a passion of his and there were many times he'd cut off
talk about the Patriots and Red Sox to talk about his kids and the games they played.

I love John Martin. Always have, always will. He is one of the best guys I've ever met.
I love his wife, Adriane. She is a beautiful, vibrant, and funny woman. I can't imagine the
pain they are in, and the challenge ahead of them.

It is my hope the entire Boston community rallies around him and his battle against ALS.
His friends and the great people at NESN will be there for him, all the teams that he covered
like the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, and Bruins, should be there for him, too.

He is Johnny Martin. He is a beautiful man. He deserves all our love, compassion, and help
in his battle against ALS.