I am often asked what a “typical” week is like in my world.
I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to call games in all four major sports. During one 10-day stretch in October, I worked games in all four (NFL, MLB post-season, Rangers, Knicks pre-season). Every week is different.
During this time of year, a “typical” week usually includes multiple flights, early morning wake-up calls, hours upon hours of reading and preparation, team practices, chats with coaches, press conferences, and of course … the games. Although there is a ton of work involved in preparing for the broadcasts, it never gets old. There is nothing I would rather be doing. And working with terrific analysts and behind-the-scenes superstars makes my job even more fun.
I can relate to the John Candy character in “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.” I know what city I am in 99 percent of the time, although my brain sometimes wanders back to the hotel room number from my previous port of call. I am writing this column at 8 AM as I fly from Orlando to Boston, getting ready for my ninth game in the last 10 days. Fortunately, my family is used to my crazy schedule. They occasionally join me on road trips and enjoy attending games at Madison Square Garden, allowing us to spend extra time together even if only for a few minutes between periods of a Rangers game or during the car ride home.
This current 9-in-10 stretch has included four games at The Garden (3 Rangers, 1 Knicks), as well as games in Philadelphia, Toronto, Minnesota, Orlando and tonight in Boston. Seven flights in eight days, including two today (Orlando to Boston in the morning, Boston to Westchester after the game).
I woke up at 5:45 AM in Orlando, will spend four hours in a Boston hotel, and will go to sleep in my own bed – hopefully around 1 AM. During my one day off last Friday, I enjoyed dinner with my family in NYC, followed by ice skating at Bryant Park. Nothing can keep me away from the rink!
During the past 10 days, I have witnessed – and had the pleasure of calling – Carey Price’s game-saving stop of a J.T. Miller shot; a brilliant goaltending display and one of the best regular season hockey games I have seen in years in Toronto; Carmelo Anthony’s game-winning basket in the final second over Philly; a highlight-reel overtime goal scored by Mikael Granlund of the Minnesota Wild; and a rock-solid performance by Kristaps Porzingis and the Knicks last night in Orlando.
The trade deadlines in both the NBA and NHL have come and gone over the past week. I called the Wild debut of Martin Hanzal and Ryan White, Kevin Shattenkirk’s first game with the Washington Capitals, and Chasson Randle‘s first regular season appearance with the Knicks.
On Tuesday, Dave Maloney shared his inside knowledge of Shattenkirk during our MSG Radio broadcast; the former Ranger captain had coached the New Rochelle native during his high school hockey career in Connecticut. Tuesday also happened to be the 41st Anniversary of Dave’s first NHL goal – with assists from Phil Esposito and Greg Polis against Cesare Maniago of the North Stars. Yes, we discussed that as well. An end-to-end rush with a top shelf finish? If anyone can locate the video, please let me know.
Speaking of anniversaries, Wilt Chamberlain set an NBA record – which still stands – by scoring 100 points against the Knicks 55 years ago today (March 2, 1962) in Hershey, PA. I brought this up to Walt “Clyde” Frazier during last night’s telecast on MSG Network. Clyde shared his terrific insights on what it was like to play against The Big Dipper, and it also led to a fun discussion about the Knicks’ 1969-70 championship season. During that campaign, NBA teams averaged 116.7 points-per-game, 11 more points than this current season – and that was well before the introduction of the three-point field goal!
Prior to the game, I earned my first NBA assist (LOL). As Clyde and I were preparing to tape our game open on the court while the teams were warming up, a basketball came bouncing towards me. Despite holding a microphone in one hand and a piece of paper in the other, fortunately, I did not embarrass myself – I caught the ball with my right hand. The closest player happened to be Carmelo Anthony. I flipped the ball (underhand!) to Carmelo, who was about 10 feet from me, and he nailed the shot. Unfortunately, my assist was not recorded in the box score.
What memories will the next weeks and months bring? Sports remains the best reality TV (and radio), and I am lucky to be a part of it.