Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My take on liquored-up fans, Ernie Harwell and one of Rochester's great photographers

If we continue to see liquored-up, YouTubers jump onto the field during games, we might have to urge Mike Curtis out of retirement. Back in the 1970s, some knucklehead ran onto the field at Baltimore's old Memorial Stadium, and the Colts linebacker took matters into his own hands, slamming the fool to the ground.

Of course, if a taser gun isn't enough to deter certain Phillie phanatics from interrupting games with their foolish antics, then being tackled by an NFL linebacker might not be enough either.


I didn't grow up in Detroit listening to Ernie Harwell broadcast Tigers games, but I heard enough of him doing national broadcasts to understand why he became a favorite uncle to folks throughout Michigan. He was a masterful story-teller, and, unlike many in his business, he had no airs about him. My one experience with Ernie came three years ago when I was gathering anecdotes for my "Memories of Yankee Stadium'' book. I called Ernie up and he couldn't have been more accommodating. The friendly guy talking to me over the phone was the same friendly guy chronicling Tiger baseball games every night. I understand completely why many Mo-Towners who grew up listening to dulcet tones feel as if they've lost a member of the family.


Spent last night at Frontier Field watching the Rochester Red Wings play the Durham Bulls. The Wings try to add new things each year to entertain the fans, and I love the new mascot race they stage nightly between giant-sized likenesses of Wing legends Joe Altobelli, Luke Easter and Cal Ripken. Very cool.


My prayers and thoughts go out to my friend and longtime colleague, Jamie Germano, who underwent surgery for prostate cancer Monday. By all accounts they've caught the cancer early and Jamie can expect a complete recovery.

I was blessed to work with a lot of talented photographers during my 35 years in the business and none were more skilled or better people than Jamie.

Back in the days when newspapers would routinely do indepth stories, Jamie and I collaborated on a number of off-the-beaten path projects. They included taking a road trip with the old Batavia Clippers minor-league baseball team; chronicling the life of a Waterloo native who walked onto the University of Notre Dame football team; showing the despair and hope of South Central L.A. as the city prepared to gorge itself in the wretched excess of a Super Bowl; and reporting the fall from grace of a local high school football legend and NFL starter who was serving time in prison for selling drugs.

We had a whale of a time collaborating on those and scores of other assignments, and I think we produced some pretty good journalism along the way.

Heal quickly my friend. Several cold Guinesses are on ice, waiting to celebrate your return.

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