Monday, May 25, 2015

Son of Heidi ...

I was sitting in the front passenger seat of a beat up Toyota Highlander, which was parked in front of a Teamsters Hall in East Norriton, Pa. Inside the hall, during a "Beef and Beer" fundraiser, the once-happy family and friends were watching the Phillies blow yet another ninth-inning loss, this one, 10-9 to the lowly New York Mets. David Wright's homer rocketed into the left field seats. I, on the other hand, was listening to Armando Allen do his own Rocket-like imitation, scoring the go-ahead touchdown at Michigan late in the fourth quarter as Notre Dame took a 32-31 lead in perhaps the best game of the college football season.

Son of Heidi …

I was sitting in the front passenger seat of a beat up Toyota Highlander, which was parked in front of a Teamsters Hall in East Norriton, Pa.

Inside the hall, during a “Beef and Beer” fundraiser, the once-happy family and friends were watching the Phillies blow yet another ninth-inning loss, this one, 10-9 to the lowly New York Mets. David Wright’s homer rocketed into the left field seats. I, on the other hand, was listening to Armando Allen do his own Rocket-like imitation, scoring the go-ahead touchdown at Michigan late in the fourth quarter as Notre Dame took a 32-31 lead in perhaps the best game of the college football season.

As Charlie Weis was contemplating his Boise State-like, Statue of Liberty two-point conversion, ISP play-by-play announcer Don Criqui was returning from commercial. But not on ESPN-Radio 950-AM in Philadelphia. Instead,  I heard the following … “We now take you to the Lehigh-Villanova football game …”

The Lehigh-Villanova football got that had not yet started …

I sprinted the 18 yards to the entrance and headed toward the bar. I asked the bartender ( a Penn State grad) to check his i-Phone every 60 seconds …

34-31 .. four minutes to go … three minutes to go … two minutes to go … one minute to go …

He poured some Michelob Ultra to a Teamster, then looked back at the iPhone …38-34 … 10 seconds to go …

38-34 final … 38-34!

For a station manager, it is always dangerous to schedule a 7 p.m. start after a 3:30 start. But usually, the 3:30 game goes to conclusion and the 7 p.m. starts picks up already in progress. But ESPN-950 had a contractual agreement to start the Villanova game at 7 and station manager Matt Nahagian said he had no choice but to pull the switch. I am sure the last thing a radio station that is trying to cut into sports talk radio leader WIP’s former grip on the city wants to do is alienate Notre Dame fans, especially since this team and this quarterback are incredibly exciting.

The station got e-mails and calls to its hotline and Nahagian certainly knows he made a mistake when the schedule came out.

The good news this week is that there will be no conflict with the Penn-Villanova 7 p.m. start. ESPN-950 will not be broadcasting the Michigan State-Notre Dame 3:30 start. The bad news? The game will not be heard anywhere in Philly.

Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog
John Quinn, 57, is sports editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer and is a third generation member of the Subway Alumni.

His grandfather used to listen to the radio and yell out to his son playing on the hardscrabble streets of Corona, Queens: “Bill Shakespeare just threw another touchdown pass!”
His father used to listen to the transistor radio and yell out to his son playing for Stony Brook on Long Island: “Joe Montana just threw another touchdown pass!”
He listens to the radio and yells out to his son watching Phineas and Ferb on a 46-inch HDTV: “Dayne Crist just threw another touchdown pass!” Meanwhile, Jack, 9, will not be a fourth generation member of the Subway Alumni. Reach John at jquinn@phillynews.com.

John Quinn Inquirer Staff Writer
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