Skip to main content

A Man In Search of a Walk-Off

I shall ruminate on Chan Ho Park at another time, but I have a personal matter I've been wanting to write about lately, so hopefully you'll indulge my perspective on that.

Those who know me know that one of the passions that keeps me going through the winter months is broadcasting small-college basketball. It's something I've been doing for the past decade, since my college days and I get great enjoyment from it. I have broadcast baseball, football, soccer, field hockey, ice hockey, softball, and lacrosse as well, and have enjoyed my experience in those, though for whatever reason it seems that basketball is the best fit for my skill-set.

I've had the pleasure of calling the game-winning field goal in a national championship, a home run to cap a six-run ninth inning rally on Opening Day, and a winner-take-all overtime goal in an ice hockey regional final. But I've never called a walk-off shot in a basketball game.

As a connoisseur of fine broadcasting, I have a great appreciation for walk-off moments. I've built up a nice collection of audio tape of others, in all sports. I've been known, at work, to break into the best of Jack Buck or Vin Scully at a moments notice. I have a few of my own, that I like to rattle off, in the privacy of my home, but I'm at the point where I could really use another. It may sound a little selfish to say that, but if you know me, you know how much I appreciate this stuff.

I like having a team to work for. I'd never want to be the voice of a national network, though I have dabbled in calling some small-college championships and have a fun time doing so. I live vicariously through the season, a little bit, with their successes and struggles being mine, albeit on a much lesser scale.

There have been close calls, near-misses, and sort-ofs along my journey through what must be 200 games or so over the last 10+ years.

My alma mater once trailed its arch rival by one point in women's hoops, and an inbounds play led to an open layup attempt at the buzzer, but alas, it fell short. You can hear the despair in my voice pretty clearly. "(name of kid) had a layup at the buzzer, and it FELL SHORT!"

A few years ago, I got pulled in for pinch-hitting duty on games for another team. The PR person for the school requested that I include one of his assistants on the broadcast, and since they were footing the bill, I said sure.

The home team staged a nifty late-game rally, tying the game on a 3-point shot at the regulation buzzer (the call of that would be on my resume tape, if I chose to update it). In overtime, it trailed by a point in the closing seconds and a series of quick passes off a scramble led to a game-ending layup as the horn sounded.

Unfortunately for me, my broadcast partner, who had been fairly reserved throughout the contest, chose that moment to go Dickie V on me. If you listen to the tape, you can hear me sort of mumbling my way through the final play, almost equivalent to a whisper, while this dude shrieks with excitement. You can't even tell what I said. I don't even know how I called it. Needless to say, I haven't worked with that guy since.

That brings me to this season and my work at the moment, which by the end of the season will be 30 games of men's and women's basketball to a particularly grateful audience of players family and friends. It has been a rewarding experience, except for one thing. No walk-offs.

There have been plenty of opportunities. Both teams have specialized in playing close games. The women have pulled out a few, but usually those have come in OT, after a missed walk-off chance fails. The men have suffered a series of heartbreaking defeats, with each having a similarly torturous ending. The team gets a shot in the final seconds to tie or win- and misses. The other night, they went for the victory, down by two points, and a three-point try was unsuccessful.

I was telling a parent of one of the other players that one of these times, the team is going to make a buzzer-beater, and when they do, it will make all the near-misses, almosts and sort-ofs pale in comparison. And I believe that it will. Both for them, and for me.


Popular posts from this blog

Walk-Offs in Movies, TV, and Other Places

Note: I'm leaving this post up through the end of the week, a) because I don't have time to pump out something new and b)because I was hoping to build a really good list of entertainment industry if you're looking for something new, check back on Monday or so... Of course, if there's a major trade or move, I'll adjust and try to post something... In the meantime, click on the "Table of Contents" link as well. It has been updated. SPOILER ALERT: Read at your own risk Caught the ending of "A League of Their Own" on one of the movie channels the other day and it got me to thinking that it would be fun to compile a list of walk-offs from movies, television, and other forms of entertainment. Here's the start, and only the start, as I spent about 30 minutes or so thinking it over Help me fill in the blanks by filling out the comments section. "A League of Their Own"-- Racine beats Rockford for the All-American Girls Profess

Best Games I Know: Phillies (Updated)

  The best wins against the Phillies in Mets history …   May 5, 2022 – Mets 8, Phillies 7 The Mets score 7 runs in the 9 th inning to overcome a 7-1 deficit and win in Philadelphia.   April 29, 2022 – Mets 3, Phillies 0 Tylor Megill and 4 Mets relievers combine on the second no-hitter in franchise history.   September 22, 2016 – Mets 9, Phillies 8 (11) The Mets tie it in the 9 th on a Jose Reyes home run and win it in the 11 th on a 3-run home run by Asdrubal Cabrera.   July 17, 2016 - Mets 5, Phillies 0 Jacob deGrom pitches a one-hitter. Only hit is a single by Zach Eflin in the 5 th inning.   August 24, 2015 – Mets 16, Phillies 7 David Wright homers in his first at-bat in more than 4 months. The Mets hit a team-record 8 home runs.   July 5, 2012 – Mets 6, Phillies 5 The Mets score 2 runs with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9 th to beat Jonathan Papelbon. The winning run scores on David Wright’s bloop down the right field line.   August 13

The best Mets ejections I know

When you think of the Mets and famous ejections, I'm guessing you first think of the famous Bobby Valentine mustache game, when after Valentine got tossed, he returned to the dugout in disguise. You know it. You love it. I remember being amused when I asked Bobby V about it while we were working on Baseball Tonight, how he simply said "It worked. We won the game." (true) But the Bobby V mustache game of June 9, 1999 is one of many, many memorable Mets ejection stories. And now thanks to Retrosheet and the magic of , we have a convenient means for being able to share them. Ever since Retrosheet's David Smith recently announced that the Retrosheet ejection database was posted online , I've been a kid in a candy store. I've organized the data and done some lookups of media coverage around the games that interested me post. Those newspaper accounts fill in a lot of blanks. Without further ado (and with more work to do), here are some of my findings