Thursday, February 26, 2015

Those Lovely Words You're Hearing on The Ticket

There is an ad running now on The Ticket that features a man reading a lovely passage about baseball.  Right, the one about the sun "on the back of your neck forever."

If one of the shows has discussed this, apologies for this rerun.  I haven't heard them talk about the man.

The man is A. Bartlett Giamatti.  He published those words, and many other lovely ones, in the Yale Alumni Magazine in 1977, around the time he became Yale's President.  Later on, of course, he became Commissioner of The Great Game, his tenure cut tragically short after only a few months, and only days after he negotiated Pete Rose's exit from baseball.

He was a lifelong Red Sox fan.

The name of the essay is "The Green Fields of the Mind."  I am probably violating his estate's copyright by pasting it here, but until somebody makes me take it down, I share it with you.   Share it with a baseball-loving friend.  

*     *     *

     It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops. Today, October 2, a Sunday of rain and broken branches and leaf-clogged drains and slick streets, it stopped, and summer was gone.
     Somehow, the summer seemed to slip by faster this time. Maybe it wasn’t this summer, but all the summers that, in this my 40th summer, slipped by so fast. There comes a time when every summer will have something of autumn about it. Whatever the reason, it seemed to me that I was investing more and more in baseball, making the game do more of the work that keeps time fat and slow and lazy. I was counting on the game’s deep patterns, three strikes, three outs, three times three innings, and its deepest impulse, to go out and back, to leave and to return home, to set the order of the day and to organize the daylight. I wrote a few things this last summer, this summer that did not last, nothing grand but some things, and yet that work was just camouflage. The real activity was done with the radio—not the all-seeing, all-falsifying television—and was the playing of the game in the only place it will last, the enclosed green field of the mind. There, in that warm, bright place, what the old poet called Mutability does not so quickly come.
     But out here, on Sunday, October 2, where it rains all day, Dame Mutability never loses. She was in the crowd at Fenway yesterday, a grey day full of bluster and contradiction, when the Red Sox came up in the last of the ninth trailing Baltimore 8–5, while the Yankees, rain-delayed against Detroit, only needing to win one or have Boston lose one to win it all, sat in New York washing down cold cuts with beer and watching the Boston game. Boston had won two, the Yankees had lost two, and suddenly it seemed as if the whole season might go to the last day, or beyond, except here was Boston losing 8–5, while New York sat in its family room and put its feet up. Lynn, both ankles hurting now as they had in July, hits a single down the right-field line. The crowd stirs. It is on its feet. Hobson, third baseman, former Bear Bryant quarterback, strong, quiet, over 100 RBIs, goes for three breaking balls and is out. The goddess smiles and encourages her agent, a canny journeyman named Nelson Briles.
     Now comes a pinch hitter, Bernie Carbo, onetime Rookie of the Year, erratic, quick, a shade too handsome, so laid-back he is always, in his soul, stretched out in the tall grass, one arm under his head, watching the clouds and laughing; now he looks over some low stuff unworthy of him and then, uncoiling, sends one out, straight on a rising line, over the center-field wall, no cheap Fenway shot, but all of it, the physics as elegant as the arc the ball describes.
     New England is on its feet, roaring. The summer will not pass. Roaring, they recall the evening, late and cold, in 1975, the sixth game of the World Series, perhaps the greatest baseball game played in the last fifty years, when Carbo, loose and easy, had uncoiled to tie the game that Fisk would win. It is 8–7, one out, and school will never start, rain will never come, sun will warm the back of your neck forever. Now Bailey, picked up from the National League recently, big arms, heavy gut, experienced, new to the league and the club; he fouls off two and then, checking, tentative, a big man off balance, he pops a soft liner to the first baseman. It is suddenly darker and later, and the announcer doing the game coast to coast, a New Yorker who works for a New York television station, sounds relieved. His little world, well-lit, hot-combed, split-second-timed, had no capacity to absorb this much gritty, grainy, contrary reality.
     Cox swings a bat, stretches his long arms, bends his back, the rookie from Pawtucket who broke in two weeks earlier with a record six straight hits, the kid drafted ahead of Fred Lynn, rangy, smooth, cool. The count runs two and two, Briles is cagey, nothing too good, and Cox swings, the ball beginning toward the mound and then, in a jaunty, wayward dance, skipping past Briles, feinting to the right, skimming the last of the grass, finding the dirt, moving now like some small, purposeful marine creature negotiating the green deep, easily avoiding the jagged rock of second base, traveling steady and straight now out into the dark, silent recesses of center field.

      The aisles are jammed, the place is on its feet, the wrappers, the programs, the Coke cups and peanut shells, the detritus of an afternoon; the anxieties, the things that have to be done tomorrow, the regrets about yesterday, the accumulation of a summer: all forgotten, while hope, the anchor, bites and takes hold where a moment before it seemed we would be swept out with the tide. Rice is up. Rice whom Aaron had said was the only one he’d seen with the ability to break his records. Rice the best clutch hitter on the club, with the best slugging percentage in the league. Rice, so quick and strong he once checked his swing halfway through and snapped the bat in two. Rice the Hammer of God sent to scourge the Yankees, the sound was overwhelming, fathers pounded their sons on the back, cars pulled off the road, households froze, New England exulted in its blessedness, and roared its thanks for all good things, for Rice and for a summer stretching halfway through October. Briles threw, Rice swung, and it was over. One pitch, a fly to center, and it stopped. Summer died in New England and like rain sliding off a roof, the crowd slipped out of Fenway, quickly, with only a steady murmur of concern for the drive ahead remaining of the roar. Mutability had turned the seasons and translated hope to memory once again. And, once again, she had used baseball, our best invention to stay change, to bring change on.
     That is why it breaks my heart, that game—not because in New York they could win because Boston lost; in that, there is a rough justice, and a reminder to the Yankees of how slight and fragile are the circumstances that exalt one group of human beings over another. It breaks my heart because it was meant to, because it was meant to foster in me again the illusion that there was something abiding, some pattern and some impulse that could come together to make a reality that would resist the corrosion; and because, after it had fostered again that most hungered-for illusion, the game was meant to stop, and betray precisely what it promised.
     Of course, there are those who learn after the first few times. They grow out of sports. And there are others who were born with the wisdom to know that nothing lasts. These are the truly tough among us, the ones who can live without illusion, or without even the hope of illusion. I am not that grown-up or up-to-date. I am a simpler creature, tied to more primitive patterns and cycles. I need to think something lasts forever, and it might as well be that state of being that is a game; it might as well be that, in a green field, in the sun.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

BREAKING: Bruce Gilbert Makes a Return to the Ticket -- Brief and of Uncertain Significance

This story starts in mid-December 2014.

I certainly missed this, and I don't recall any of our far-flung correspondents mentioning it, but former (and noted) Ticket Program Director Bruce Gilbert joined Cumulus as "Senior Vice President/Sports" on or around December 15, 2014.

Cumulus News -- Bruce Gilbert

That position was newly-created for him.  He had previously held the same title at iHeart Radio.

So Bruce Gilbert is now officially -- once again -- a CTO (Cumulo-Ticket Overlord, for new Confessors).

So this isn't exactly fresh news.

But this might be:

A radio-industry source who has some ties to Cumulus has told me that, since then, Gilbert has been seen in the halls at The Ticket on at least one occasion and perhaps more than one.  I cannot evaluate my source's credibility, but it would make some sense that, at a minimum, Gilbert would be touring Cumulus's sportsradio properties.

Does this mean his hand may be seen in some of the recent changes we have all noted?

I don't know.  My source did not know.  Only that his person had been observed in the general vicinity of The Little One.

Whether Gilbert was at The Ticket or not, and whether he made some, um, suggestions or not, I do think it is of some significance that Cumulus created this position for him, and that he's a Ticket glory-day program director.

So:  Maybe less here than meets the eye.  I don't want to overstate the significance of his possible physical presence during a Ticket visit.

But maybe not less; maybe some arse-securing is in order, as Confessors continue to urge upon us.

But in any case -- I thought The Confessor would like to know.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Seeking Ticketstock Correspondents

[Comments to this site are moderated.  Before posting, please read Rules of the Confessional.  Thank you.]

*     *     *
For the second consecutive year, duties on the plains will almost certainly keep me away from Ticketstock, including Saturday.

In addition to accounts of your visit, I would really like to see your photos of the event.  May I ask you to take some snaps at the event and email them to me?

Photos featuring Ticket Chicks, and especially you with Ticket Chicks, are strongly encouraged.

T.C.'s from My 2012 Visit to Ticketstock
And photos of you mingling with a host would also be of considerable Confessor interest.  Maybe not as much as a Ticket Chick, but still.

First thing, get my email address into your phone so it will autocomplete and you can transmit without having to deal with all those annoying characters in the middle of the festivities.  Go ahead and send me a test email and I'll respond.

I would like to credit the photographs.  If you would prefer to remain anonymous, let me know, or let me know what name you would like to use.

If you have a commentary to accompany the photos, even better.

I'll use as many as I can, assuming I even get one.

Enjoy the fest, and drink responsibly.

*     *     *

[Comments to this site are moderated.  Before posting, please read Rules of the Confessional.  Thank you.]

Thursday, February 12, 2015

BREAKING BREAKING BREAKING: Speculation Confirmed: Junior Coast-to-Coast, 7 PM, Tonight

A Cumulus employee who spoke on condition of using a fearful Michelle Wie voice (but not Gordon) has confirmed that Craig "Junior" Miller will be plumbing the paranormal, identifying the unidentifiable, and indulging his interest in all things relating to harvesting bodily fluids on a special renegade one-off pirate-radio edition of "Junior Coast-to-Coast" at 7 PM on KTCK 1310AM/96.7 FM "The Ticket" SportsTalk Radio.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Hockey Fan Special

We don't get into puck coverage much here on My Ticket Confession.

I'd like to hear from BaD and hockey fans with reports and reactions to BaD's field trip accompanying the Stars.  I haven't been able to tune in.

Are you liking the BaD content?

Is it enjoyable for non-hockey fans?

In general, do the various shows take good advantage of the occasional field trip with a team, or to attend a particular game or series of games (e.g., Musers to the Rangers playoffs in San Francisco)?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Accumulated Quick Hits

[Comments to this site are moderated.  Before posting, please read Rules of the Confessional.  Thank you.]

*     *     *

(1)  Why is the phrase "Keep doin' whajja doin', playboy, and chase that money" a Ticket drop?  I read on a Reddit thread that it came from an interview with Quentin Ross on K104 conducted by DJ Bay Bay, but how did it end up on The Ticket?  Was it featured in a Norm bit or something?

(2)  Is Mike Rhyner aware that his "good friend" Rodney Anderson of Supreme Lending is now a competitor of The Norm Hitzges Program with his show from 11 AM - Noon on KRLD 1080 AM?

CORRECTION:  Thanks to readers for pointing out that Anderson is not on KRLD weekdays.  His 11-noon show weekdays is on 1190 News Talk Radio.  His KRLD show is on 9-10am Saturdays.

(3)  Favorite Super Bowl Ads:

       --  Chevy Colorado Pickup, the one with the fake TV malfunction.  I'd never heard of the Chevy Colorado, now I'll never forget it.

       --  The Coke-in-the-computer ad.  A great concept, and visually arresting.

       --  BMW i3 with Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel, neither of whom I like.  But a great plot and punch line.

(4)  Roger Goodell looked awful after the Super Bowl.  Still think the guy is a juicer.

(5)  It wouldn't surprise me if Brady didn't have anything to do with deflating the balls in that single game against the Colts.  Reason:  I think he's been dirty for a long time, that there was a plan in place stretching back for quite some time to treat the balls when the conditions were adverse and maybe all the time.  Then I saw this article:

Patriots' Unbelievable Fumble/Bad-Weather Stats

And this one:

Bet on Pats in Bad Weather, sez NY Times

The evidence is circumstantial, but murderers can be convicted on circumstantial evidence.  The Pats have been doing something to change the odds for a long, long time.   Deflating the ball is consistent with both anomalous trends, although not proven thereby. 

(6)   An email correspondent notes that before The Hardline hit drydock before Christmas, Mino replayed Mike's musings from the campout a couple years back on the uncertainty of his future at The Ticket.  Those musings were possibly, just possibly, alcohol-fueled. But interesting that Mino would play it and that Mike would allow it.

Having said that, I think Mike is in for at least the medium haul.  He's not going to depart with The Ticket on a downswing -- he'll do whatever he can to right the ship (if the next book or two indicates the need for righting) and get the ratings back where they were.  (I'm still not convinced we won't see a bounceback now that football season is over.)

Are we in agreement that Mike has been more energized, active, participatory in the show over the past several months?   But even that is a two-edged sword.  While it makes the show noticeably better (my view), by contrast it more or less proves what many listeners have been saying for a long time, that Checkout Mike put on those headphones too often for too long.

*     *     *

[Comments to this site are moderated.  Before posting, please read Rules of the Confessional.  Thank you.]