Thursday, September 4, 2014

Regular-season football is here ... so let's talk

I thought I was busy already, what with all the writing I've been doing in the past year. (More on that to come once life slows down a little bit.)

By now, though, you've probably heard about -- and hopefully started listening to -- my latest sports gig, hosting The Radio Press Box alongside Dan Borrello weekdays on the Rochester airwaves.

You'll find us on 95.7 FM, AM 950 and at from 3-7 p.m. weekdays.

We started the show last month during Buffalo Bills training camp at St. John Fisher and have had a great time talking football and other sports between ourselves and with a lineup of guests bringing insight and expert analysis.

If you haven't stopped by yet to listen, please give us a chance soon.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Hey folks, here's what I've been up to

Hello Everybody:

                Just wanted to thank you for the support you’ve shown my blog in recent years and update you on where I’ve been.

                To quote a late friend who paraphrased an old saying by Vince Lombardi: “I’ve been scribing to daylight.”

                And I’d be most appreciative if you checked out my writing at the following places, either online or in print.

                In September, I began writing a sports column for the Rochester Business Journal, and although RBJ deals primarily with local and national business topics, I’ve had free reign to write about a variety of subjects from the world of sports – everything from catching up with a young man who spent the summer as the Yankees bat boy to the angst of being a Bills fan. So, please give me a read there, if you will. New columns are posted every Thursday afternoon for free at Just go to that site, then scroll down to the icon at the bottom of the page featuring my smiling face.

                You also can read my weekly views on Buffalo Bills games at WROC TV-8’s website: I also do a two-minute, on-air recap on their 11 p.m. newscast. (Yes, I know, they let anybody on television these days, even an ink-stained wretch like me. ;-)

                Since July, I’ve been working as the AFC East correspondent for USA Today SportsWeekly. I provide news and notes and predictions on the division’s four teams, including the aforementioned Bills.

                I also continue to be a regular contributor to the Baseball Hall of Fame’s bimonthly magazine, “Memories and Dreams.” That’s a true labor of love for this baseball historian.

                I’m currently working on two more books scheduled for publication next fall. They will up the total number of books I’ve contributed to as a writer, editor or both to 25.

                Additionally, I continue to freelance for other publications, websites, etc. and volunteer for a number of organizations, including the Rochester Press-Radio Club Children’s Charities, Camp Good Days and Special Times, the Syracuse University Alumni Club of Rochester and the Rochester Baseball Historical Society.

                And my favorite pastime remains being a husband, father and brand-new grandfather.

                So, again, thanks for visiting my blog, and please check out my story-telling at the above venues or in your local bookstore or library.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

This man would solve all the Yankees woes

If I’m the Steinbrenner boys, I would hit the free agency market in the off-season and throw a Brink’s-armored-tuck-load of money at the most coveted person out there. And I would give him a long-term contract, then, back off and let him do his thing.

                To me, the most coveted person in baseball – and the guy who could really fix what ails the Bronx Geezers – is none other than Mr. Moneyball himself, Billy Beane.

                The Oakland A’s general manager continues to astound with his ability to get the most out of the least. Imagine the damage he could do if he had the New York Yankees endless supply of money to throw around.

                The Pinstripes’ current problems are the result of poor decisions by GM Brian Cashman and terrible performances by a scouting and player development staff that has whiffed more than Adam Dunn in recent years. The Yankes are in this pickle because of their inability to identify and develop talent the way they did in the 1990s when they harvested a bumper crop of players, including first-ballot Hall of Famers Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, and perennial All-Stars Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams and Andy Pettitte.

                The recent reacquisition of Alfonso Soriano was another desperation move. Yes, Soriano (17 homers, 51 RBI) will add some punch to an anemic lineup and provide much-needed protection for the Yankees only true hitting star, Robinson Cano. But Soriano is 37 years old, and like virtually every player on the current roster, he is on the other side of the hill.

                And speaking of players over-the-hill, you have to wonder about Yankees ace CC Sabathia. The heretofore dependable lefty workhorse has yielded seven runs in three consecutive starts and leads the American League in hits and earned runs allowed. For the first time in his 13-year career, Sabathia is giving up more than a hit an inning (157 in 147). He’s only 33, but I’m beginning to wonder if he’s injured or the wear-and-tear of pitching has finally caught up to him.

                If he can’t snap out of this, the Yankees will have a tough time finishing .500 this season. And, don’t forget, they are on the hook with Sabathia’s huge contract through 2016.

                Which brings me back to Beane, who wisely eschews long-term contracts for pitchers. I don’t know if he would come, but it’s worth a shot. And if you can’t get him, there are Moneyball acolytes out there who recognize the true value of players and would love to say they were the architect who resurrected the most prestigious franchise in all of sports.
               The Bills open camp Sunday night at 6. Please check out my pre-camp column at WROC TV-8's site -

Monday, June 17, 2013

Opining on Mickleson, EJ Manuel, volunteerism, etc.

With four major victories and 41 wins on the PGA Tour, there’s no disputing that Phil Mickelson has had a great, great golf career. Yet, when all is said and done, Lefty’s legacy will be one of what might have been.

He’s come oh, so close to establishing himself as one of the best to ever swing a club.

                Sunday, Mickelson came up just short again, finishing second in the U.S. Open for the sixth time. Hard-luck Phil also has two other runner-up finishes at majors. A couple shots here and there and he would be mentioned in the same breath as the elite of the elite.

                Interestingly, Mickelson’s is nowhere near the top of the leaderboard when it comes to second-place finishes in majors. The man with the most silver medals in the big tournaments is none other than the Golden Bear himself, Jack Nicklaus, with 19.

                Big Jack finished second at the U.S. Open a record seven times, but he also won America’s national championship tournament four times, which is four more times than Phil has.

                Nicklaus, of course, also holds the record for most major victories, with 18. Just think about that for a minute. Had he dropped a few more putts, he’d be holding an even bigger major cushion over Tiger Woods, who’s been stuck at 14 since 2008.
                If EJ Manuel were to win the starting quarterback job in training camp, he would become the first Bills rookie to start at the position since Jim Kelly in 1986. And Kelly, we should point out, was 26 at the time, having spent two seasons in the old United States Football League. I think Kevin Kolb has a slight edge as of now, but with Tavares Jackson out of the picture, EJ will get ample opportunity to make his case at St. John Fisher College and during exhibition games.


                Two of my favorite volunteer events are the Challenger Baseball World Series and the Rochester Press-Radio Club Day of Champions Children’s Charities Dinner.

                 I participated in my 19th Challenger event Saturday morning at Frontier Field and walked away inspired once more. The highlight of the morning was watching a kid being led around the bases by a “buddy” and a seeing-eye dog. Close to 300 kids participated and there were almost as many volunteers assisting them. As I wrote on Facebook, “Every kid got a hit. Every kid scored a run. And every kid demonstrated the triumph of the human spirit.”

                The sixty-fourth Day of Champions dinner will be held tomorrow night at the Riverside Convention Center, and we’ve sold more than 1,000 tickets to black-tie gala. I helped edit the 72-page dinner program, will coordinate the pre-dinner press conference, then stage a question-and-answer session on stage with this year’s headliner, Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl quarterback. We’ve gone to the Q-and-A format the past two dinners with Eli Manning and Clay Matthews, and it’s been well-received. Looking forward to meeting Colin, who seems like a sincere young man who’s on the verge of super-stardom in the NFL.

                I’m proud to work with such a dedicated group of volunteers, headed by Pat Grover, Mike Kauffman and Keith Ryan. Our core group has been in place for about a decade, in which time we’ve raised more than a half-a-million dollars for local charities.


                The best story in minor league baseball – perhaps in all of baseball – this season has been unfolding in Rochester. Chris Colabello, the 29-year-old first baseman who toiled in the independent leagues for seven years before catching a break, continues to own International League pitchers. Through 56 games, Chris is hitting .369 with 21 doubles, 14 home runs and 50 RBI. I was so pleased to see him receive a call-up to the Minnesota Twins last month. He’s actually yo-yoed three times between Triple-A and the bigs so far, and probably will be up-and-down again several more times. I just wish the Twins would call him up and let him play 10 straight games to see if he can hit consistently on the big-league level.


                Here’s another sign the apocalypse is upon us: USC football coach Lane Kiffin recently offered a scholarship to an eighth-grader.