Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Classic: Round One

The opening round of the Boys Division ALMOST resulted in the two biggest upsets in the history of the tournament as the top two seeds barely escaped being upset victims. #1 ranked St. Rose trailed 16th seed Brick by 13 points at the half when head coach Dennis Devaney finally arrived at the Ritacco Center after being held up in traffic for hours on the Garden State Parkway. Despite the deficit and the disappointment over a one-point loss to CBA the day before the Purple Roses rallied for a 62-59 win with Joe Quinn leading the way with 18 points. Next up for St. Rose is a quarterfinal date with Toms River East on Thursday. The Raiders edged Ocean 49-47.

Second-seeded Central has its strongest team in years but it took a controversial call in the final seconds for the Golden Eagles to finally find their way past #15 Brick Memorial 52-50. With the game tied and Central in control of the ball coach Mike Clemente decided to hold for a final shot but with fouls to give the Mustangs were called for a questionable intentional foul with just over five seconds left . Ibn Moye (28pts) they calmly hit both free throws for the winning points as the dejected Mustangs game effort fell just short. Central will now play defending champion Raritan in the quarterfinal round Thursday as the Rockets got past Southern
52-43 in their opening round.

The other quarterfinal round match-ups will find #3 Toms River North battling 6th seeded Toms River South…the Mariners beat the Indians on opening night less than two weeks ago. 4th ranked Point Boro, who was upset by Wall in the opening round last year, gained some revenge by beating the Crimson Knights this time around and they now play #12 Manchester, who disposed of fifth-seeded Lacey behind Marvin Brodie’s
27 points, including a pair of slam dunks.

The tournament resumes on Wednesday with the girls quarterfinals after an opening round which saw just one upset as #12 Manchester ousted fifth-seeded Toms River East 52-50. The Lady Hawks meet Shore Regional in the round of 8. Top-seeded and two-time defending champion Rumson battles Wall, #2 Colts Neck faces #7 Point Boro and third-seed Lacey meets Southern.

Friday, December 21, 2007

It's The Holiday Season

(Webmaster's note: Kevin will blog about the WOBM Christmas Classic while the games go on)

You won’t have me to kick around any more this year because this is my final segment until 2008…as a matter of fact the Hometown View is on hiatus until January 7th. I would like to tell you that I’m going on a well-deserved vacation to some exotic location but the truth is beginning Saturday I will be spending most of my time at the Ritacco Center. The WOBM Christmas Classic begins this weekend with all 16 girls’ teams playing their first-round games tomorrow and the boys doing the same on Sunday. After a couple of days off we resume on December 26th and go right through the 30th when the championship games will be played. Then it’s crash and burn for a couple of days and a feeble attempt to re-charge the worn battery.

With this being my parting shots for a couple of weeks I just wanted to take a moment and tell you what a privilege it is to be able to come into your home, car, workplace, etc. each day. Whether the subject is serious, humorous or frivolous I get to share my thoughts and it or not.

I was going to tell you my New Year’s Resolutions but instead will wait until I return and then disclose which ones I have already broken. However I do want to share some wishes I have for 2008.

* My son graduates from Penn State in May and after a 2- week vacation begins working for a pro sports team in his chosen
field of Sports Management. Best of all he gets health benefits and
tickets for his family.

* My 16-year old daughter decides then when she graduates from high
School she too wants to attend Penn State giving her father four more
years of excuses to turn back the clock and act like an idiot at college
football games.

* My wife finally realizes that while I don’t cook or clean, can’t fix or
do anything around the house, am never home and snore loudly I do have a lot of things going for me. However I need more time to share that list.

Finally….same things I’ve wished for the last few years. The Mets win the World Series, the Rangers capture the Stanley Cup, Penn State claim college football’s national championship, the Knicks’ get sold and somebody leaves me a beach house in their will. Is that too much to ask?

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

It's The Holiday Season

After hearing it from quite a few people over the last few days I know I’m not alone when I say it just doesn’t feel like Christmas is only a few days away.

I know the signs are everywhere….trees, decorations, lights and those lovely front-lawn inflatables. I’ve heard enough holiday music to last me a lifetime, every radio and TV commercial and newspaper ad is aimed at shopping and gifts, cookies and candy are everywhere and it seems like everyone is sending out cards with pictures of their children and pets. Of course the WOBM Christmas Classic tips-off at the Ritacco Center Saturday & Sunday and that’s something I directly associate with Christmas. If that’s not enough to remind you tis’ the season there is traffic…worse than ever. I was driving northbound on Hooper Avenue in Toms River around 5 o’clock last night and it took me at least 15 minutes to go less than a mile between Washington Street and Route 37…a trip that would usually take about 45 seconds.

Except for the fact that it’s not really cold all the other ingredients are there to remind you that Christmas is almost here so why don’t I feel it? I’m convinced that it has something to do with being numb over the fact that there’s no slow building to December 24th and 25th like there used to be. Years ago the Christmas season started when Santa Claus made his appearance at the very end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Now it seems like the “big guy” arrives in malls just after Halloween which has sort of become the unofficial start of the season. Just as we say goodbye to pumpkins and witches it’s hello to holly and wreaths with no time in between.

When I was younger just about everyone put up their tree within a week or two of Christmas and many didn’t decorate until Christmas Eve….it was the final act in getting ready for Santa Claus to arrive. Now you drive around on Thanksgiving and see trees in windows….why the rush? To me the best part was each day as you got closer it felt more and more like there was a true holiday spirit. Now we have pushed everything so early and so hard that Christmas Day is just the end of a two-month odyssey.

Heck…we might as well start playing “It’s Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas” on July 4th next year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Positives In Sports

There’s so much negative in the sports world so I thought it would be nice to mention a few good things today…at least from a local standpoint.
Randy Holmes was a former star basketball player at Lakewood High School and last night came up a winner in his head coaching debut at his alma mater. The Piners rallied from 5 points down to start the fourth quarter to win at Central 65-63 in a battle to teams expected to compete for the Class B South championship. Holmes, who played his college ball at St. Peter’s, returned to Lakewood as an assistant to longtime coach John Richardson and was promoted to head coach when Richardson retired after last season.

On the girl’s side Central’s Meredith Parliman also collected her first career victory as the Golden Eagles used a big fourth quarter rally to win at Lakewood 48-42. Parliman was the middle school coach last season and only found out she’d be coaching the varsity last month. I’ve known her for years as she spends summers as a lifeguard on the 2nd Avenue beach in Seaside Park….my personal beach of choice.

Toms River North linebacker Zach Kane capped an outstanding high school football career by earning first team honors on the Associated Press All-State team. Kane is planning to continue playing football at the University of Miami.
A pair of his Mariner teammates collected third team honors…defensive end Austin Kugler and quarterback Anthony Penna. Also named to the third team were punter John Smicklo of Toms River East and Toms River South kicker Jake Delvento.

Point Pleasant Beach took a huge step towards winning the Class B Central wrestling title by knocking off defending champion Shore Regional 38-25 last night. The Garnett Gulls got big wins down the stretch from flu-ridden heavyweight Zach Fioretti and his cousin Taylor Fioretti.

So there you have it….a little time today to salute good things right here in Ocean County.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Oversleeping On Tuesday

Random thoughts on a morning in which I overslept by 35 minutes and
thankfully was saved by my wife who woke up before I did:

It’s funny how most of us are on such a regimented time schedule that any diversion can kind of throw us off. Sleeping late meant I got out of the house behind schedule, stopped for my coffee later than usual and had to scramble once I got to work. Of course for those of you who commute and might have to catch a bus or train being late can have far greater repercussions.

I don’t really know Joe Scarpelli well, having only met the former Brick mayor on a few occasions. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison Monday for accepting bribes while in office and many I’m sure will look to “kick him when he’s down.” However Scarpelli was a pretty good public servant and a dynamic mayor for many years and certainly deserves some of the credit for creating the atmosphere which brought so much new business to Brick. Here’s hoping he does his time and is able to go on with his life.

As sports fans many of us rip professional athletes for their lack of loyalty and usually in the end following the money and caring little about the uniform. That’s what’s happening in college sports, but it’s the coaches not the athletes who are the ones not being loyal. The latest is Rich Rodriguez, who Monday accepted the football coaching job at Michigan. He leaves West Virginia University less than a year after he was courted by Alabama but turned them down thanks in part to a new contact at WVU. Rodriguez is a West Virginia native and said being a Mountaineer player and later a coach was all he ever dreamed about and there’s nowhere he’d rather be than Morgantown. However when Michigan came calling all that turned out to be talk and despite having a contract, despite his team having a bowl game in two weeks and despite recruiting players by saying he would not leave…he did just that. The hypocrisy of it all is that he leaves free and clear and the players can’t…unless they want to transfer and lose a year of eligibility.

The only bright spot is that young men get a good life’s lesson….the rich (as in Rich Rodriguez) get richer.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Monday's Random Thoughts

Random thoughts just a week away from Christmas Eve:

I’m not saying malls and shopping centers are empty but it sure does not seem like what you would normally expect the next-to-last weekend before Christmas. More and more retailers are saying on-line shopping is having a greater impact with people choosing to spend time on their computer rather than searching for a parking spot.

It’s easy to get caught up in the madness of the holiday season with everyone trying to make sure they get done with shopping and all the other stuff that goes along with this time of year. However it’s also good to pause and thank all the local people and companies that have given time and resources to various efforts to make the holidays something special for those less fortunate. From toy to food drives many do understand and believe it is better to give than receive and in turn they’ve received the ultimate gift…making a difference in the lives of others.

I was home by myself Sunday and really looking forward to watching the Jets and Patriots play in near blizzard conditions. What a disappointment it was to see that the worst of the storm was over by the time the teams took the field in Foxboro, Massachusetts because there’s nothing like watching great athletes completely humbled by Mother Nature.

Jackson Memorial’s Scott Winston and Southern’s Glenn Carson emerged as champions this weekend at the season-opening Beast of the East Wrestling Tournament at the University of Delaware. Winston won the 160-pound title and improved to 106-0 for his career while Carson claimed the 215-pound championship which is very impressive when you consider he was playing football just three weeks ago.
Jackson finished 4th out of 79 teams in the prestigious tournament which marked the debut on new Jaguars coach Doug Withstandley.

These are not good times for West Virginia football fans, like Crabs Claw Inn owner Sam Hammer. Just a few weeks after blowing a chance to play for the national championship they have lost their coach with Rich Rodriguez leaving for Michigan. Ironically the Mountaineers also lost their basketball coach to the Wolverines nine months ago.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Mitchell Report

I’m going to be very honest when I say I’m not sure how to react to what was revealed Thursday with the release of the Mitchell Report on the use of performance-enhancing drugs in Major League baseball. Many of the 85 names were ones we were expecting….Barry Bonds, Gary Sheffield, Jose Canseco, Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada, Paul LoDuca and Lenny Dykstra. However the two names that are grabbing the headlines in this area are those of pitchers Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte, who were among the 16 current and former Yankees named in the report.

In the hours since the report was released I have listened to and read at least a dozen opinions and they are as different as night and day. Some are calling this the darkest moment in baseball history while others dismiss the report as a waste of time and paper. Only time will tell what this all truly means but for now no player takes a bigger hit than Clemens, who is not only the best pitcher of his generation but among the greatest of all time.
If everything in the report is true than the “Rocket’s” incredible durability
well into his 40’s might have had a lot to do with steroid injections in his buttocks. His stature as a sure first-ballot Hall of Fame could very much be in jeopardy and he might take a spot right next to Bonds as the poster players of baseball’s tainted drug era. Clemens’ lawyer Thursday vehemently denied the charges that illegal substances were used.

Of course when all is said and done it’s possible the sources of the Mitchell Report might be exposed as less than credible and many fans say they really don’t care because what counts at the end of the day is performance. Of course that’s what got us into this mess to begin with.

On a more positive note it’s opening night for high school basketball and wrestling teams. Not that they don’t have their problems but a high school game is still pretty much pure in which athletes give their best to represent their schools and the name on the front of the uniform is more important than the one on the back. Here’s hoping for an exciting season filled with memorable performances.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Charity Basketball

After many years as part of the Central Regional School District, Lacey Township opened its own high school in 1981. As you might expect the two schools have developed a pretty good rivalry over the years in sports and tonight that rivalry finds them battling on the basketball court with the winner to be children. Staff members of the school districts will play a benefit game for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots Program. The game takes place at the Central Regional Middle School Gym beginning at 6:30 and admission is $3.00 or a new, unwrapped toy with everything going to the Toys for Tots program, now in its 60th year.
The co-ed game is expected to set new lows for basketball ability and an ambulance, complete with resuscitation equipment will be on site.
With the home court advantage Central has been installed as a 4 ½ point favorite by Las Vegas oddsmakers.

There will also be a benefit basketball game in Barnegat Saturday night as the local police take on the Pinewood Estates Volunteer Fire Company at the Brackman Middle School. Proceeds from the game will go to the Feal Good Foundation, which helps those first responders from 9/11 who have suffered in a variety of ways. The game tips off Saturday at 7pm and among those on hand to lend their support will be former Jets great Joe Klecko and former
Giant and Lacey star Keith Elias.

Next summer will be the 10th anniversary of the Toms River East American All-Stars winning the Little League World Series in Williamsport. The 12 players and coaches will team up for a continental breakfast fundraiser to help the East Little League on Sunday, December 23rd. All, including Todd Frazier of the Cincinnati Reds and manager Mike Gaynor will appear at the fundraiser which will be held in the High School East cafeteria from 10am-1pm. Autographed baseballs and pictures will available for purchase.

You can expect some local people will be making a road trip to Penn State Saturday for the Nittany Lions basketball game against the University of Denver. That’s because the visiting Pioneers are coached by Pelican Island native Joe Scott. Scott in his first season at Denver after previously coaching at Princeton and Air Force. The Pioneers are 3-4 which is not bad when you consider they were 5-26 last season. The 41-year old Scott was a three-sport athlete at Toms River East and returns to Ocean County as often as he can during the summer months along with his wife and two sons.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

WOBM Christmas Classic

The 24th WOBM Christmas Classic began for many high school basketball players Tuesday when they got to represent their teams and schools at the “Tip-off Brunch” at the Quality Inn of Toms River. This annual event has become one of the highlights and about 250 young men and women put on a very impressive display of eating with most making a couple of trips to the buffet line. Quality Inn General Manager Bob Van Bochove, who hosts the annual brunch reports a record 100 pounds of bacon was devoured along with enough food to feed a small or even large army. The great thing about being a teen-ager is that by the end of practice later in the day they had burned it all off.

Eating is important to the kids but so was the business at hand in which the pairings for the holiday basketball tournament were announced following Sunday’s seeding meeting at Klee’s Bar & Grill in Seaside Heights. That meeting saw the 16 Girls coaches get their business done is about half the time if took the Boys, which is a pretty good indication of what to expect when the 7-day, 54-game tournament begins on December 22nd and 23rd at the Ritacco Center.

St. Rose was awarded the #1 boys seed and will open up with 16th seed Brick, who was the top seed last year and had a very good season before losing their top players to graduation. Central, who has never won the WOBM Classic, grabbed the #2 spot and will face Brick Memorial in the first round. Among other matchups, #3 Toms River North will play Old Bridge and fourth-seeded Point Boro takes on Wall, who shocked the Panthers in the opening round last year on their way to the semifinals.

As for the Girls, Rumson beat Colts Neck in last year’s final and many seem to think a repeat is likely with the two Monmouth County schools returning a host of talented players. That group is headed up by Kate Miller, last years MVP and Colts Neck sophomore Brooke Hampton. Rumson faces Central in the first round with the Cougars playing Monsignor Donovan. 3rd seeded Lacey opposes Toms River South and #4 Shore Regional meets Old Bridge as part of the 8 opening-round games. The pairings and brackets are available by visiting

During Tuesday’s breakfast Toms River Regional Schools Superintendent Michael Ritacco was presented with the “Jim Ruhnke Award” for contributions to the tournament, which donates money to college scholarships as well as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ocean County.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Toms River Kindergarten Referendum

To those of you not living in the towns making up the Toms River Regional School District today’s referendum is of little consequence. If passed the lion’s share of the project would allow for the construction of a 20-classroom building and the entire district would introduce full-day kindergarten beginning with the 2009 school year. The referendum also asks voters to approve construction, improvements and upgrades to several other schools in the district.

I’m 100% behind the project for a variety of reasons…I believe all-day kindergarten makes complete sense, the extra classrooms and improvements are needed and available state aid makes the timing perfect for this referendum.

However my reasoning behind taking up this issue today is not about why I’m voting “yes” but rather my disgust at how some now portray every school matter in the Toms River District. Everywhere I go outside of Toms River I hear praise for Superintendent Mike Ritacco and the Board of Education for forward and creative thinking to get things done. Just a couple of weeks ago I sat with a successful professional who went to school in another district and he said it’s that kind of “outside the box” thinking that is badly needed in his town. Instead he watches the administration and school board battle time and time again with the students the big loser.

So why is it that some oppose Ritacco on just about any and every issue raised? The same people who criticized the Ritacco Center, indoor bubble and on-hold Wellness Center as being anti-education have managed to find fault in what’s being voted on today. My favorite is the charge that the December 11th date is being used because so many seniors have gone south for the winter and won’t be able to vote “no.” Never mind this is one of the few select dates allowed by the state and now is the time to grab the money they’re offering….what percentage of voters do you really think are gone from the area before the holidays?

Having a difference of opinion is one of our rights but those that constantly seek out the negative and never acknowledge the positive are not worth the time they’ve already been given. If you want to criticize Ritacco and school board go ahead…their big boys and girls. However don’t take it out on the younger ones because they can’t tell you to take a hike.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Monday Thoughts

Random thoughts on a Monday just two weeks from Christmas Eve:

The winter sports season gets into high gear later this week as opening day approaches for basketball and wrestling teams. That means the 24th Annual WOBM Christmas Classic is just around the corner and the tournament tipped-off last night with the Coaches Dinner at Klee’s Bar & Grill in Seaside Heights. Coaches voted on how to rank the 16 boys and 16 girls’ teams and those results and the opening round pairings will be announced Tuesday during a breakfast at the Quality Inn of Toms River featuring players from all the schools.
Klee’s and the Quality Inn are among the two dozen sponsors vital to the success of the tournament which begins on December 22nd & 23rd at the Ritacco Center.

Deborah Heart and Lung Center is the only hospital in New Jersey entered in a national competition that could win them a $1 million MRI machine and they are asking for your vote. All you need to do is cast a vote or two for Deborah’s video at from now until the end of the month. Seems like a pretty small favor to ask considering that for the past 85 years Deborah has never billed a patient.

Toms River High School South will have a new football coach next season following Sunday’s announcement by Brian Wilkinson that he will not return after a seven-year run. Wilkinson, who played his high school football at South guided teams into the state playoffs three times and won a division title in 2002. Coming off a 2-8 season he is stepping down as coach to finish work on his Masters and pursue other educational opportunities.

Brian happens to be a friend of mine and I will miss working with him as he’s one of the most cooperative coaches you’ll ever find. He and his staff worked long and hard and at times the results didn’t match the effort…just last week they held a very successful college night for shore conference players that drew some 400 athletes and 40 colleges.

How ironic is it that as the Patriots pursue perfection the only undefeated team in NFL history could at the same time go winless? With three weeks left New England is 13-0 and the Miami Dolphins are 0-13

Friday, December 7, 2007

Holiday Fun

As my kids and I continue to celebrate the holiday season, I'll be taking them on the Santa train at Allaire State Park this weekend. This is a tradition for us now. Santa actually gets on the train and sits with each child long enough to hear a wish and take a picture. The train ride lasts about 10 or 15 minutes, and if you don't have tickets in advance and you get there early enough, you can usually score a couple of tickets if you're willing to wait a train ride or two. Or, you can just watch the train and your kids can greet Santa before or after each train ride.

I'm in the process of planning some cool stuff to do with the boys on winter break, which I'll share with you soon. Please feel free to share with me your ideas for that long, long winter break! It's a challenging time for some of us, as we look to keep the kids occupied in the cold, frosty weather until they can go back to school after New Year's!

5 Star Dinner

I don’t usually make the “A list” when it comes to invitations to fancy events so I would like to share with you the menu for a luncheon I attended Thursday.

The Hors d’ Oeuvres included Amish Pretzel Crusted mini Crab cakes, Dim Sum Pork, Sesame Crusted Seared Tuna and a Sushi Station. Entrees were
Grilled Petit Filet Mignon Oscar, Crispy Seared Salmon with Risotto Cakes and White Truffle Oil, Oven Roasted Chicken Breast stuffed with Prosciutto
And an Eastern Shore Seafood Sachet which included a Rock Lobster Claw,
Shrimp, Sea Scallop and King Crab with Fennel. The desserts sounded so good I refused to even go in the room where they were displayed over fear that I would not be able to pass. Let me add that the presentation of everything was simply marvelous and the taste matched that.

By now you obviously want to know where this fine dining experience took place. That would be the Jackson Center of the Ocean County Vocational Technical School which hosted a Salute the Media Luncheon Reception as a way to thank the local media for their positive coverage of the school district. And I forgot to mention this gourmet lunch was prepared by students from the Culinary Arts Program from the Brick center, one of six located throughout the county. Before eating we got a tour of the Jackson center in which we saw cabinet making, students learning how to service cars and some doing collision repair….we were then entertained by some wonderful singers from the Performing Arts Academy which is another part of the Vocational Technical Schools.

All in all it was very impressive…a description that describes the entire program which prepares students for jobs in over 30 different fields.

Thursday was a perfect example of why it’s so tough to not gain weight over the holidays. I somehow landed an invitation to the Holiday Celebration at OceanFirst Bank at their main branch on Hooper Avenue in Toms River. I managed to pass on what looked like a wonderful array of food but did take part in wine tasting. The question I was most asked was, “what are you doing here?” which again proves I’m not an “A list” invite.
After leaving there I spent some time with my father at Saint Barnabas Assisted Living’s Holiday reception for families in Lakewood. A very nice event and a good way to end a busy but fulfilling day.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Ocean County Stormwatch

The first signs of winter have certainly appeared over the past few days and they mean different things to different people. For some the first snow flurries immediately put them in the holiday spirit while it’s a sure sign that ski season has arrived. Others fall into a depression knowing that weeks of cold weather are coming and summer is a long way off….I guess I would fall into that category. However for the purpose of today’s segment what snow and cold weather means to us at the radio station is that Stormwatch season is here. That is our program in which we get the word out to you when schools and other activities are closed, postponed or delayed due to bad weather.

For the past couple of years we have been implementing a computer-based program and each year we tell you that the day is coming in which you will not be able to get information to our listeners without access to the internet. To help with the transition we worked with groups and organizations during this period who did not have computers or anyone who could handle this task.

However that period is over and starting now the only way you can
be part of Stormwatch is via the computer and our websites.

All schools, groups and organizations regardless of their size must be registered in our Stormwatch to get their closing and cancellations announced on the radio and posted on our website. That is one of the beauties of this hole thing….you do not have to wait to call in during a certain period and the information can be viewed any time of the day and night. Of course we will still make the announcements on the air like we’ve done since WOBM began broadcasting on March 1, 1968. However knowing that you have busy lifestyles the information is also there for you to see when you need it.

WOBM’s Stormwatch program is FREE and open to all groups and organizations. However you must register in advance and it only takes five minutes to fill out the application which you can do on line by visiting and finding the Stormwatch section. Should you have problems call Joyce during normal business hours at (732) 269-0927. For those organizations that can’t access a computer we suggest a phone chain as the best way to communicate with one another.

Change can be hard to accept and deal with but in this case we’re making them as a way to serve the majority of our listeners.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Be Kind To The Coach

There is no question that being a coach on any level is more demanding now than ever before and you would not be exaggerating to say it nearly killed John Murphy. The 59-year old does appear to be recovering nicely from a heart attack he suffered just hours after being reinstated as the girl’s basketball coach at Barnegat High School Monday night. That action came following a week in which Murphy was criticized by some parents and players during a Board of Education meeting, resigned under pressure the next day and finally at a special meeting was reinstated after receiving overwhelming support from a large crowd in attendance.
However the stress of the entire affair proved too much for Murphy who was rushed to Community Medical Center early Tuesday morning after suffering a massive heart attack. After having a stent implanted he is doing well enough that he told a school official later in the day he can’t wait to get back on the court. Here’s hoping that happens sooner than later.

Obviously the stress and pressures that go with being a coach don’t always result in things as bad as this…or do they? Just because you don’t see the outward signs doesn’t mean they are not there because coaching today is challenging and can have negative effects on the entire family. Parental pressure has gotten way out of hand as far too many think their son or daughter is the next great college, Olympic or professional athlete. In the old days there might have been some second guessing from the stands but today parents think nothing of openly criticizing coaches and even complaining to the media. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to bite my tongue while listening to some overbearing parent tell me what a lousy coach their child has. However I now get a sense of satisfaction when I tell that parent the target of their lack of affection just happens to be a friend of mine. Then I watch them twist and shake and respond with something like “well it’s not like there a bad person but I just question their decision making.”

To be honest that’s part of being a fan and we all do that. However no coach….from volunteers working with 5-year old soccer players to high school coaches deserves to be vilified like some parents do today. For pennies an hour that man or woman often gives everything they have to try and get the best out of your child and team. Sure they make mistakes but so do you so why not just give them a break.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Back From A Long Weekend

Some random thoughts and notes after a weekend in which I broadcast three high school football championship games and then took Monday off to clean my garage. And you thought your life was exciting:

You can debate what the true meaning of Christmas should be all you want and I’m not here to start that religion versus commercialization argument.
However what you can’t debate is that all children should be able to open a present or two and for that reason holiday toy, clothing and food drives need and deserve your support if you are in position to do so. My personal favorite is “Kevin’s Kids” and no I am not the Kevin whose name is attached to this wonderful program. That would be Kevin Burger, an administrator in the Manchester Township School District, who is the founder and along with his wife Peggy the heart and soul of a holiday drive in its 25th year.

This is the final week that they are accepting donations for this year’s campaign in which the goal is to make sure Santa Claus visits all the children of Manchester by providing toys, clothing and even food. At this time they are asking for monetary donations which can be dropped off at any Manchester Public School or mailed to the Middle School on Ridgeway Road. Checks should be made out to the Manchester Middle School with “Kevin’s Kids” in the memo section.

This Saturday Santa’s elves, made up largely of staff members of the school district will head to local stores to shop and fill the wish lists of local children and then Sunday a wrapping party will take place which is a true example of organized chaos and one of the most moving examples you will ever see that it is better to give than receive.

For more information on Kevin’s Kids you can call (732) 350-5900.

Belated congratulations to Toms River North, Howell and Asbury Park for winning state high school football championships this past weekend. What’s truly noteworthy is that none of the three were that highly-regarded in the beginning of the season yet they managed to win Shore Conference division titles along with state sectional crowns. The North Mariners finished a perfect 12-0 and were the only undefeated team at the shore.

Friday, November 30, 2007

(Hometown View returns on Tuesday, December 5)

Practice for the winter sports season is well underway but for eight shore high schools, including Toms River North, Lacey and Point Boro there’s a final football game to be played with state sectional championships on the line.

Tonight Point Boro goes for its fourth state title and second in three years when they host West Deptford in the South Jersey Group 2 Finals at Al Saner Field. The 10-1 Panthers are led by quarterback Shane O’Connor and got a big boost with the return of receiver Bob Stowe two weeks ago from a knee injury. Kyle Coleman anchors a defense that’s posted three shutouts.
At Rutgers tonight, Asbury Park battles Keansburg for the Central Jersey Group 1 title in an all-shore showdown and following that Howell tries to win its first ever state championship when they play West Windsor-Plainsboro South.

Saturday afternoon will find the North Mariners looking to complete a perfect season with their first state crown in ten years. Ranked first at the shore and #9 in the state, North hosts Mainland, who has won 10 in-a-row since an opening week loss. The 11-0 Mariners are led by quarterback Anthony Penna and linebacker Zach Kane anchors a suffocating defense that’s allowed only 65 points all season. The game kicks-off at 1pm and will be broadcast on 1160AM and our Shore Sports Network.

At the same time Lacey will look to make it back-to-back South Jersey Group 3 titles when they welcome Shawnee into the Lions den. Lacey has won 7 games in a row and is peaking at the right time of the season. Justin Pandorf, Tom Rickmers, RJ Roe and Warren Smith are two-way standouts who will look to give the school its fourth sectional crown.

There’s a shore doubleheader Sunday at Rutgers with Rumson playing Carteret at 2pm followed by Long Branch and Moorestown. Those games will also be broadcast on our Shore Sports Network.

The NJSIAA will hold their annual meeting and award luncheon Monday at which time schools will vote on a pair of proposals that would call for major changes in the structure of high school football in New Jersey. Special sports awards will be handed out to recently-retired CBA basketball coach Ed Wicelinski and the late Al Kunzman, who won over 300 games as the baseball coach at Central Regional High School and did so with grace and dignity.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Observer Goes Weekly

While I was told it was coming more than a year ago the news that the Ocean County Observer will no longer be a daily newspaper beginning in January is both a sign of the times and a loss. The Observer will become a weekly paper with officials citing diminishing circulation as the main reason for the move. Of course a large reason for that was due to the fact that much of what appeared in the Observer was a duplication of the Asbury Park Press since both papers are owned by Gannett. However the Observer was often a true local newspaper and gave space to stories that might not have been big enough for the Press. As lifestyles have changed newspapers all across the country are losing readers and can’t reach the younger generation, now accustomed to getting information when they want it…not the next day.
We in the radio business are dealing with the same realities and as I’ve said more than once…the only constant is change.

This is truly a good time to be a student, alumnus or fan of West Virginia University. Not only are the Mountaineers closing in on playing for college football’s national championship but they’ve reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship and a big reason why is the play of sophomore midfielder Carolyn Blank. The former Toms River East standout has had a great season, earning 2nd team All Big East Honors before being named the Most Outstanding Defensive Player of the Big East Tournament.
The Mountaineers upset Penn State last weekend in the round of 16 in which Blank went up against former Toms River South star Sheree Gray.
West Virginia hosts USC Friday night in Morgantown with the winner advancing to the National Semifinals in College Station, Texas.

The high school football season ends this weekend with Toms River North, Point Boro and Lacey among the eight shore teams playing for state championships. Tonight’s season-finale of The AutoLenders High School Football Show will preview this weekends games and guests will include Mariners linebacker Nick Foukarakis, Lacey’s Warren Smith and Bob Stowe of the Panthers. The show begins at 6pm and can be heard on 1160AM and on the web at

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Men And Weather

Even before global warming talking about the weather has always been one of those great “ice breakers”….probably the #1 conversation starter of all-time. “Men’s Health” magazine surveyed us guys on the subject of weather and while the results may not be very scientific, they are what we think…and after all we are the superior sex. (Chill out…I’m kidding).

* 75% of us don’t grab an umbrella even if we know there’s a 100% chance of rain.

* 40% of us check the forecast before getting dressed in the morning and 1in 6 of us follow the forecast during the course of the day…I assume listening to Alan Kasper qualifies for that.

* Our ideal temperature is 75 degrees, high humidity bothers us more than anything else and we’re fascinated by lightning although we better be careful because 84% of those struck by lightning are men.

* 78% of men surveyed said they have lived through a tornado or hurricane and more than 60% said they don’t have insurance to cover a weather-related disaster.

* Since December is just around the corner here’s some numbers to consider. 17% of accidents are caused by winter weather, nearly half of us use cold temperatures as an excuse to not exercise, more than 1-in-10 have taken part in a polar bear plunge and most would do it again and we shovel about 3,000 pounds of snow when clearing our driveway after a 5 inch snowfall.
By the way if we were snowed in the average guy would like to be stuck with Jessica Biel.

* On to warmer thoughts. 75% of us would not give up our air conditioner in the summer for a date with a supermodel and 35% of
Men ask their wives before adjusting the AC.

* 64% of us believe global warming is a serious problem and our dream weather scene is surfing under the Hawaiian sun although 20% would be just as content to lounge outside on a warm day and watch the clouds roll by.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

WOBM Moves To The North Pole

A little of this and a little of that today…the first of 29 consecutive days on
92.7 WOBM in which you will hear nothing but Christmas music. This will no doubt result in some calling our Program Director and saying they have had enough of White Christmas, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and especially the Christmas Shoes song. On his behalf let me say that for every one of those cries to “please stop playing Christmas music” there are 3 or 4 calls of “thanks for putting me in the holiday spirit.” I’ll be the first to admit that while it may get to me after a while it’s only four weeks and before you can say “Happy New Year” it’s back to Billy Joel, Elton John and that Delilah Song.

By the way the 24th annual WOBM CHRISTMAS CLASSIC opens it’s 7-day, 56-game schedule on Saturday, December 22nd in the Poland Spring Arena at the Ritacco Center in Toms River. You’ll be hearing more about that in the coming weeks.

The most famous basketball team in the world is also coming to the Poland Spring Arena on Tuesday, March 4th. The Harlem Globetrotters are celebrating their 82nd consecutive year of touring and I can’t ever recall them playing in this area outside of places like Madison Square Garden and the Meadowlands. Tickets are now on sale for the March 4th game in Toms River and you can purchase them online at For information on group or scout tickets visit the team’s web site:

Gateway Toyota of Toms River is once again working with the US Marines on their annual Toys for Tots Program. This is the 60th campaign the Marines have run to help children in need and last year they helped out over 22,000 children in Central Jersey. You can drop off a new, unwrapped toy at Gateway Toyota on Route 37 East during their normal business hours until December 17th. As a thank you from them, if it’s worth more than $10 they will give you a certificate for a complimentary oil change.

The Toms River High School South Junior Class is holding a gift auction in their cafeteria this Saturday with doors opening at 2pm. Admission is $10 per person and include of sheet of tickets for prizes and complimentary desserts. There will be a variety of prizes and baskets at the auction.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sweet Sixteen

I never thought of 16 as being one of those milestone birthdays but of course I was that age many, many years ago and I’m not a girl. Today it’s a big deal for young girls and I found out first-hand the other night as my daughter Alex and her best friend Sami Raymond celebrated the occasion with a “Sweet 16 Party” that left the host parents exhausted and thrilled.

The planning started three months ago although to be honest my part was limited to securing the disc jockey and taking care of the food both which turned out to be home runs. Kyle from Above and Beyond Entertainment was the perfect DJ and how can you miss with food for teen-agers when you have it catered by Surf Taco. Honestly outside of that I didn’t do too much with mothers and daughters handling all the other details but that changed on Saturday morning. We met at the Beachwood Fire House to begin setting-up and with many neat touches turned the room into a beach-like setting by the time guests arrived shortly before 7pm.

With over 90 exuberant teen-agers to serve food too and monitor we had plenty of help. Alex and Sami are not only best friends with birthdays two days apart but have older brothers who are the same age and with both home from college they were recruited as bouncers…just in case. Well truth is the kids were great and never once gave us cause for any concern. Most of them danced during the entire four hours and they were well-behaved and simply a lot of fun. By the time the last song was played our clean-up efforts were well under way and an hour or so later we were home…my wife had sore feet, my back was killing me but we had smiles a mile wide because the day was simply perfect.

We got together with Sami’s parents Jackie and Tom yesterday and looked at some pictures and talked about how smoothly the party went and how terrific all the kids were. That’s a great feeling but then I realized my Alex turns 16 tomorrow and will now be able to drive. All of a sudden I feel very old.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Doing Away With Thanksgiving Football

(The Hometown View returns on Monday, November 26)

I consider myself a traditionalist but high school football on Thanksgiving Day should join the Edsel, leisure suits, the Susan B. Anthony Dollar and jug handles as things we no longer need or want and those insisting the games remain a fixture should wake up and smell the coffee. Yes there was a time when rival high schools ended their seasons by playing one another and it seemed like the whole town turned out to watch the game. However that was before towns became divided because they had more than one high school and prior to the NJSIAA Playoffs coming into play in 1974.

As we approach Thanksgiving Day there are still football games in New Jersey that mean quite a bit and are as much a part of the holiday as turkey and stuffing. But that number is dwindling and more than ever big games on Thanksgiving are the exception rather than the rule.

I continue to scratch my head over those who insist these games must stay because a quick look at the pros and cons would leave just about anyone knowing that it’s time to end a ritual which meant much more in the past than it does today.

Those in favor of Thanksgiving games tell you that in many cases it’s the only game that draws big crowds. This is true but for the most part only applies to lousy programs with little support. Good teams often get a school and community excited…they don’t need a holiday to have a reason to attend a game. Plus if these rivalry games are so special then many would be a big deal whenever they were played during the season.

Now here are reasons why the tradition should end. If there was no Thanksgiving game than Saturday, November 10th would have been the end of the season for all but the teams involved in the state playoffs. This would mean that athletes would have a two-week break before the winter sports season begins. Some will play on Thanksgiving and then have basketball or wrestling practice the next day…how does that make sense?

While fans who attend a game can leave when they want and head to Grandma’s house players and coaches have to finish the game, sometimes travel on a bus back to school, take a shower and then go on their way. Ask coaches what time they finally sit down to eat dinner…it’s when most of us are on coffee and desert.
I could go on and on and I have not even discussed how stupid it is that we play regular season Thanksgiving games in between state playoff games.
For now let me close by saying I love and embrace tradition but time has passed his one by. Thanksgiving football should be reserved for watching the NFL games in the comfort of your home with your family. Case closed!

The weekly “AutoLenders High School Football Show” airs tonight at 6pm on 1160AM and Guests include Ryan Dolan of Toms River East and a discussion on a proposal to be voted on next month which would drastically change the face of high school football in the state.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Black Thursday

Over the next few weeks we have three of what we would consider the “big holidays” in Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Of all the holidays these were the ones in which you could count on the following….just about everyone had the day off, you filled your tank with gas the night before and when you forgot something you just hoped 7-11 had it and was open.

When I say just about everyone had the day off I realize that there are certain professions in which working on holidays comes with the territory. There will always be policeman, doctors and nurses and even those on the radio for whom a holiday does not always mean a day at home. However what I find bothersome is the growing trend in which retail businesses now open on days in which the only cars on the road used to be those on their way to grandma’s house. I’m sure in some cases those that work on these holidays do so by their choice but obviously there are many who are forced to work when they would prefer to be spending time home with their family. Am I alone in finding it somewhat sad that some stores are open on Thanksgiving and especially New Year’s Day and that number will probably grow in an effort to add some dollars to the bottom line? Or is it in fact a case of consumers wanting to be able to shop on these days and retailers just giving them the opportunity they want?

I don’t know but I just liked it when the roads and parking lots were basically empty and you would see a sign like “closed today so our employees can spend time with their families.”

This is a case of how the good old days really were a bit better at times.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Another Teen Tragedy On The Roads

Another teen-ager was killed over the weekend in an automobile accident, a headline that is becoming all-too-familiar in Ocean and Monmouth counties.

A 17-year old with a promising future died way too young and it has left her family and friends at Pinelands Regional High School in mourning just days before we celebrate Thanksgiving…a holiday that won’t be the same for those who knew Amanda Policastro.

It will also lead to renewed discussion about what to do about the problems of teen-age driving…problems that are leading to accidents and fatalities at a growing and alarming rate. I say this as a father of a daughter who turns 16 in just over a week and will obtain her driver’s permit. Of course I remember what an exciting thing it was to be able to get behind the wheel of a car…even if it was your father’s Ford Country Squire station wagon.
But times have changed dramatically and driving around our area today is not like it was in 1972 when I got my permit.

The roads are crowded and congested and challenging to even the most experienced and safest drivers….for 16 and 17 year olds just learning to drive it can be like an obstacle course. Young drivers make mistakes but the roadways today just don’t allow for that. Teen-agers have always been careless behind the wheel and often drive with a feeling of invincibility but that was true in my day. What is different is that too many new drivers have new cars given to them by parents who think they’re doing their children a favor. Instead of kids driving a vehicle more suited for their inexperience they are in ones which are too fast and provide too many distractions. Throw in things like talking or text messaging on cell phones and you have ingredients for disaster and the reality is the number of accidents will only increase in years to come.

While we all know there is a problem nobody has come up with solutions. For now the best you can do is talk to your teen-agers and then pray each time they leave they’ll return home safely. Sadly for some it’s too late for that.

Friday, November 16, 2007

More Playoff Action

The feeling is sequels are rarely if ever as good as the originals but the Southern Regional football team is hoping their second go-around with Toms River North produces a better result than the first. 14 days ago the Mariners went into Manahawkin and came up with a 17-7 victory, denying the Rams an opportunity to clinch their first-ever outright division championship. The rematch takes place tonight on North’s home turf with the winner earning a spot in the South Jersey Group 4 Championship game in two weeks.

In many ways the teams are similar with their success due in large part to dominating defenses and ball-control offenses that like to run the ball. In the first meeting North was just a little better in all phases of the game especially on defense where Zach Kane, Nick Foukarakis and Austin Kugler kept Southern off the board until late in the 4th quarter.

It’s hard to imagine but it’s been a breakout season for the Rams, achieving success and notoriety like never before in their 50-year history. Last week’s win over Washington Township was their first-ever playoff victory and not only are they still alive for a sectional crown but they can earn a share of the Shore Conference American Division title if Toms River East beats North next week.

Southern has caught me and many others by surprise this fall but I don’t think they’ll catch the Mariners tonight and I like North in a close call.

Top-seeded Point Boro hosts Bridgeton this evening in the South Jersey Group 2 Semifinals with the top-seeded Panthers two wins away from their second state title in three years. Lacey is looking to make it back-to-back
South Jersey Group 3 championships and the Lions will be home Saturday afternoon against an explosive Winslow Township team.

A total of 11 teams from the shore are still alive in the playoffs and among tonight’s other games will be an all-Monmouth County meeting between Rumson and Holmdel while Howell continues its bid for the school’s first state football championship when they host Montgomery.

1160 WOBM AM and the Shore Sports Network will broadcast a doubleheader this weekend….Southern-North tonight and Lacey-Winslow Saturday.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Fundraisers And More Fundraisers

It is certainly a busy time as many organizations hold major fundraising events before the end of the year.

The United Way of Ocean County holds it’s Gala Ball Friday at Eagle Ridge Golf Club in Lakewood and Diane Rhine will receive their Community Caring Award for her endless hours of volunteering to a variety of causes. A partner in the real estate company Citta-Rhine, Diane is truly deserving of this honor and inot for a football game I’ll be working I would certainly have been there on her behalf.

The Whispering Pine District of the Jersey Shore Council of the Boy Scouts of America will hold their 15th Annual Outstanding Service Award Reception on Tuesday, November 27th at La Bove Grande in Lakehurst. Saluted this year of will be Don Johansen of Harrogate for his many years of service and dedication to the Boy Scouts. For information on the reception you can call (732) 349-1037.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ocean County will hold their 3rd annual “Thanks for Giving Gala” on Friday, November 30th at the Crystal Point Yacht Club in Point Pleasant. Among those being honored that night are the original six founders of the organization, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary and I will play a unique role as both the Master of Ceremonies and one of the six being honored. The others are Dr. Kenneth Kerr, Paul Barlo, Tom Addalia, Paul Rhine and John Kelly. Guest speaker for the event will be hockey standout Jim Dowd and each attendee will receive a limited-edition autographed lithograph of Jim in the uniform he wore when he played for the Devils…he is now with the Philadelphia Flyers.
For tickets and more information you can call BBBSOC at (732) 905-5349.

On an unrelated matter. What is really bothersome about the incident that took place at Lakewood High School earlier this week is the impact it has on the students who go to school to learn and make themselves better. They’re the ones who get penalized by the senseless acts of others.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Importance Of Ocean County College

This is not a story about me being the Master of Ceremonies at last night’s Ocean County College Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Dinner at Eagle Ridge Golf Club. However I was the MC for the event and have been for all five of them since the college established a Hall of Fame to honor former athletes and coaches….a list that has gown to 30.

Rather this is a story about how last night reaffirmed what O.C.C. has meant to so many since opening their doors more than 40 years ago with the original classes being held at Toms River High School South before moving to their main campus on Hooper Avenue.

The Athletic Hall of Fame inducted five new members last night, including Hy Mittelberg who coached three sports and still teaches at the school and 1990 graduate Cindy Patton Stout, a nationally honored swimmer who coaches and teaches at Central Regional High School. However what really hit me was the story of the Farrell Sisters, three of whom were honored last night for the contributions they made to the college. Eunice Farrell Pschoor graduated in 1970, Lorraine Farrell Airey in 1972 and Barbara Farrell Meyer in 1977. All three were outstanding athletes and played multiple sports during their college days, most of which took placed before the women’s sports boom and when choices were somewhat limited.

What struck me was the admission that their hard-working father didn’t really think college was the place for a woman and it took some prodding (and financial sacrifice) from their mother to even allow the sisters to attend OCC. They agreed that if the college was not accessible and affordable it’s doubtful they would have continued their education after high school. Well as they say the proof is in the pudding as all three went on to four-year schools and have made careers in education, Eunice recently retired as an assistant principal at Southern Regional High School and is now an adjunct professor at OCC. Lorraine is the principal of Southern Regional Middle School and Barbara teaches at Vets Middle School in Brick.

One family and three stories of why Ocean County College is a vital part of our community.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tuesday Thoughs

Just some random notes after what was for some a long weekend:

I know people find it upsetting that tens of thousands will attend a Halloween parade but only a fraction of that will bother turning out for the Veteran’s Day parade in downtown Toms River. The sad reality is most of us are more interested in trivial matters than those of substance and you can’t force people to pay attention to something they don’t want too.

By the way the Veteran’s Day parade attendance is bolstered by the fact Toms River Schools are open as many students participate in a variety of ways…if schools were closed most would just view the day as a holiday. Yesterday’s turnout was among the best ever and an indication that many do support veterans for the sacrifices they have made and continue to make.

Kudos to the Timothy E. Ryan Home for Funerals for their flag-filled memorial to Veteran’s outside their funeral home on St. Catherine Boulevard in Toms River. We were going to the movies Saturday night at the Marquee Cinema and were wowed by the hundreds of American flags
lining the property.

Speaking of the movies, we saw American Gangster in which Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe deliver terrific performances. The movie is powerful and certainly not meant for young audiences.

Ocean County will have at least one team play for a state sectional football championship the first weekend of December. That’s because Toms River North and Southern will meet Friday night in the South Jersey Group 4 semifinals with the winner to play either Eastern or Mainland. The Mariners beat the Rams 17-7 just a couple of weeks ago. We will broadcast the rematch on the Shore Sports Network.
Point Boro and Lacey are also alive for titles with the Panthers to host Bridgeton Friday night and the Lions to entertain Winslow Township Saturday afternoon in Lacey.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Let The Playoffs Begin

The fall high school sports season is quickly becoming a memory for some but for high school football teams and fans the second season is about to begin as the NJSIAA Football Playoffs start this weekend.

Toms River North and Point Boro are top seeds in their sections and as long as they win will get to play on their home fields. The undefeated Mariners host Atlantic City tonight in the South Jersey Group 4 quarterfinals…a section that also features Southern and Toms River East among the eight teams vying for a championship. The Rams & Raiders have much tougher paths as they are on the road tonight. #5 Southern, who has never won a state playoff game visits Washington Township tonight while the sixth-seeded East Raiders are at Mainland, who is ranked 17th in the state.

As for Toms River North, they are 8-0 and certainly rate the edge over Atlantic City in a game that will be broadcast on 1160 WOBM AM.

Point Boro is the team to beat in South Jersey Group 2 where tonight they welcome Buena to Al Saner Field. The Panthers could face rival Manasquan in the second round…a team they beat a month ago. The Warriors, who cruised to the title last season, will host Bridgeton Saturday.

Brick is back in the playoffs for the first time in three years and the 6th seeded Green Dragons visit #3 Sayreville tonight with quarterback Jordan Roshala back in the lineup. The Central Jersey Group 4 bracket also features shore teams Howell, Jackson Memorial and Colts Neck. Jackson is at West Windsor-Plainsboro South tomorrow afternoon while top-ranked Howell will host Colts Neck tonight…the Rebels beat the Cougars 28-26 in week one of the season.

Lacey heads into the playoffs poised to defend the South Jersey Group 3 championship they won last fall and riding a four-game winning streak. The second-seeded Lions host Delsea Saturday and led by running back/linebacker Tom Rickmers many believe they will make it back-to-back championships.

For the teams that did not qualify for the playoffs there are consolation games this weekend. In all-Ocean County matchups, improving Manchester visits Barnegat tonight while Saturday Lakewood hosts Jackson Liberty and in a battle of winless teams Toms River South entertains Central.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


I know there are plenty of people who like to attack education and teachers but don’t count me among them. As a matter of fact I am and probably always will be a supporter of public education which is often an easy target for critics. It’s certainly not a perfect system but what is and much of the education pitfalls are due to things out of the control of those that work in it on a daily basis.

However today and tomorrow you will probably notice that school busses are not rolling and all is quiet at public schools throughout the county and state. That’s because of an annual tradition known as the NJEA Convention which takes place in Atlantic City. Obviously many teachers attend this two-day program which offers workshops and other useful information. However the overwhelming majority doesn’t and really what this is for most is a four or five day mini-vacation…depending on if your school is close Monday for Veteran’s Day.

I have nothing against the concept of a teacher’s convention but if it’s so important to close school down for two days then attendance should be required. It would not be practical for every teacher to go every year but certainly attending every 3 or 5 years would seem to be fair. Again that’s if this convention is so important for educators to attend. If it’s not then it should be held at another time so schools could remain open.

I know some will view this as teacher bashing and it’s not….my wife happens to be one and many of my best friends are. However when I’ve asked some people why this convention, which in fairness some teachers attend every year, continues I’m told that’s the way it’s always been.
That’s an answer that many of us in the business world find tough to swallow because we know the only constant is change.

I could even live with changing what we call these two days to a Fall Break that just happens to coincide with the convention. Whatever it’s something that should be looked at….just like moving the Toms River Halloween Parade to another day besides Halloween which disrupts trick or treating.
I received many calls and emails and many agree….it’s time for change.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Election Day Recap

Election Day 2007 has come and gone and while there were some surprises certainly a majority of incumbents prevailed on a day when most of Ocean County’s and New Jersey’s registered voters did not bother to cast ballots.

All 120 seats in the state legislature were up for grabs and for all the talk about getting rid of those in office because of the sad state of affairs in Jersey there was hardly any change. It shows had hard it is to defeat incumbents especially if they have well organized and well financed operations.

Of course Ocean County has been and still is a GOP stronghold and the results of State Senate and Assembly races bear that out as Republicans coasted and in some cases barely broke a sweat. Same story with the two spots on the Freeholder Board that were decided as Democrats still have a long way to go.

Some very spirited and hotly contested Mayoral races highlighted the municipal elections and as I said previously these featured more than their share of low-blows and vicious attacks. Republican newcomer Tom Kelleher, the former Ocean County Prosecutor, came up with a big win in Toms River and along with his entire ticket earned seats in the town hall of the county’s largest municipality. Another Republican Steve Acropolis won a nasty battle in Brick as did all of his running mates and Mayor-elect Vincent Barrella led a GOP sweep in Point Pleasant Beach. Democrats did prevail and led to sweeps in Berkeley, Beachwood, Pine Beach and Seaside Park with Jason Varano to get another term as mayor in Berkeley and Ron Jones ousting incumbent Hal Morris in Beachwood in what would have to be considered an upset. Christopher Boyle won a close race in Pine Beach as did Thomas Connors in Seaside Park.

I was not surprised that two of the four public questions were defeated…those dealing with funding of stem cell research and property tax relief. Passing was a measure to preserve open space and to finally change offensive language in the state constitution and removes the words “insane”and “idiot.” That one was a victory for all to celebrate.

So say goodbye to the flyers, signs, newspaper ads, and radio & TV commercials for another year and remember… next year we elect a President.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Election Day

Amid predictions of a very low voter turnout some of us will be heading to the polls today to cast ballots with all 120 seats in the state Legislature up for grabs. Predictions are that only about a third of registered voters in New Jersey will take part in the process to decide the make-up of the next legislature in which Democrats control both the Senate and Assembly.

Locally there are two seats on the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders to be decided as well as some very spirited Mayoral races in Toms River, Brick, Berkeley and Beachwood as well as a host of other municipal elections. Some of these races have reached new lows when it comes to what people will do and say to get elected which is part of the reason why the masses don’t vote.

One of the things I do find very interesting is reading the endorsements of local newspapers who must feel it’s their responsibility to try and sway readers to see things they way they do. Fortunately I doubt that makes much difference…at least I hope it doesn’t because since when is the media the end-all, say-all when it comes to anything. Newspapers and others in the media should spend more time concentrating on accuracy and fairness then endorsing candidates.

I’m not even pompous enough to believe my opinion counts more than anyone else’s. However with that said I would like to publicly make an endorsement and that’s to vote “yes” on public question #4 which all of us in New Jersey will have the ability to decide. A “yes” to that question would remove insensitive, offensive and archaic language in our 163-year old state constitution which refers to people with disabilities as “idiots” and “insane.”
That language is used in a part of the constitution which says that those with limited mental capacity can be barred from voting and a “yes” vote today simply means the term “idiot or insane person” will be taken out. It does not change who can and cannot vote and the only reason it is still in the constitution is that it must be approved by voters who are finally getting that chance today.

If you vote today consider “yes” to question #4 and right a wrong.

Monday, November 5, 2007

This & That

A little of this and a little of that on the first Monday of November:

I was surprised to learn that the NFL season is not over. I mean from the way they hyped yesterday’s meeting between the Patriots and Colts I was pretty sure it was Super Bowl Sunday without the parties.

I missed the game because we took my mother out for the day to celebrate one of those milestone birthdays that contains an “8” in it. She does not like to talk numbers but when you look and act as young as she does it doesn’t matter. Special thanks to our friends at Lacey Limo for making her birthday so special.

The NJSIAA will officially announce the teams and pairings for the state football playoffs later today but 19 Shore Conference teams are expected to be in the hunt for sectional titles. That group will include top seeds Toms River North and Point Pleasant Borough as well as Toms River East, Southern, Lacey, Brick and Jackson Memorial.

Southern fans are no doubt disappointed that their Rams lost to North over the weekend and failed in their bid to clinch their first division title since 1972. However it was a marvelous atmosphere at Goldberger Memorial Field which has always been one of the best football complexes around and was buzzing with excitement. Southern can still get a share of the American Division championship of East beats North on Thanksgiving Day. Meanwhile the Mariners remain undefeated and are a very solid team with no real weaknesses.

After watching Lacey dismantle Wall on Saturday the Lions are poised to make a serious run at their second straight sectional championship. It was as good a performance as I have seen by any team this season.

Aren’t you glad Election Day is tomorrow so we can get back to our miserable lives without hearing candidates tell us what miserable SOB’s their opponents are? Talk about negative campaigning!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Sleeping Giant Awakes

Back in September if I predicted that Southern Regional would play Toms River North in week #9 of the high school football season with a chance to clinch the American Division championship I would have been laughed at.Unfortunately I am not Nostradamus and did not make that brave prediction but that is the scenario tonight when the shore’s top two teams meet in Manahawkin in what is certainly the most important November football game Southern has played since opening their doors.

For years people like me have labeled the Rams a “sleeping giant” and a team that just never could get over the hump by winning a big game. They did that earlier in the season when they upset Toms River East and now they try and take care of the Mariners which would give them the first outright division title in school history. The Rams shared their one and only championship in 1972 when they tied Asbury Park and Wall in 1972 for the Class C crown under then first-year coach Ron Emmert. Not only would Southern wrap up the American division title tonight but a win would give them another first…a home playoff game and they could even end up as the top seed in the highly-competitive South Jersey Group 4 bracket.

The visiting Mariners are 7-0 and ranked #1 at the shore and in the state top 20. While titles are nothing new to the Blue and Gold they fact that North is undefeated is a surprise to most. Should they win tonight then they clinch the #1 spot in South Jersey Group 4 and would also earn at least a share of the American Division title with Southern which would become a tri-championship if East then beat North on Thanksgiving.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Tonight’s showdown features teams that shine on defense with each featuring a standout linebacker…Zach Kane for North and the Rams Glenn Carson. While there are offensive standouts this game will be won by the defense which comes up big and both are capable of shutting down the other.

Chuck Donohue is in his 10th season coaching at Southern and 34th overall. He admits his team always seemed to be missing something in the past but this group has managed to find that missing ingredient. Now tonight they welcome Chip LaBarca and the Mariners in what is the game of the year…at least for this week. We’ll broadcast it on the Shore Sports Network, including 1160 WOBM AM.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Election Day Is Coming

As we close in on Election Day you will be reminded time and time again of your obligation to vote and exercise a right that people have fought and died for and some still don’t have in parts of the world. I’m here to say you also have a right to stay on the sidelines and sit the election out because I understand why people are apathetic to the process which determines our leaders.

The biggest problem for many of us is trying to sort through all the campaign rhetoric and truly determine what is fact or faction and at some point the brain shuts down and just decides it can’t listen too or read anything else. Glance through your local newspaper and see how much space is devoted to elections for various offices. You have stories that are actually news, you have those that are simply campaign statements, you have charges and countercharges and then you have those wonderful letters to the editor which in some cases are just free ads.

If that’s not enough how about all the flyers that have found their way into your mailbox the last couple of weeks. I received so many yesterday the postman put a rubber band around them. I tend to have more of an interest than the average person so I’ll glance at most of these mailings. However how many people just open up their garbage can and toss away anything that has to do with politics.

Those that constantly scream about how you have to vote can’t accept that one of the big reasons why many don’t go to the polls is they can’t tell who is telling the truth and who is smiling while they lie to you. Some will say if you don’t vote you don’t have the right to complain and I felt that way for years but not any longer. By not voting you are sending a clear message that candidates did not inspire, influence or motivate you. Of course I also recognize that some people don’t care and nothing could get them to the polls and that’s just the way it is.

I continue to believe that at the end of the day there are choices and if you look hard there’s enough to separate candidates and one may appeal to you. But I also believe than an informed vote is better than one in which a person goes into the booth and hits whatever button happens to strike their fancy.

Vote next Tuesday if you want….it’s your right.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Review

For some of us Tuesday was Trick or Treat and the rest of you get the pleasure tonight to hand out candy and other goodies. I remember some very cold years going out with my kids when they were young but this marks the fifth consecutive Halloween the temperature has been at least 60 degrees which is a nice bonus. Also parents have to be thrilled over the delay in the time change, making it much safer to stroll the streets with the little ones in tow.

We probably had around 200 trick or treaters Tuesday and for the most part they were very polite and very cute. Princesses seemed to be very popular for little girls with many young boys dressed as Spiderman and Batman. Of course the real little ones still opt for favorites like Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and Elmo. There was also a fair share of cow girls, witches, devils, pirates, good and bad clowns and a few Hannah Montana’s’ sprinkled in.

A couple of upcoming events I’ve been asked to mention:

The New Jersey Ballet will be performing the holiday favorite “Nutcracker” at the OceanFirst Theatre in Manahawkin on December 16th and tomorrow they will hold auditions for Mother Ginger’s Clown Children. The auditions at the Stafford Township Arts Center will take place at 4pm and are for children ages 7-12 with ballet and/or gymnastic experience. You must register in advance by calling (973) 597-9600.

Ocean County College will honor four alumni-athletes and one coach at their
Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Dinner on Tuesday, November 13th at 6pm at Eagle Ridge Golf Club in Lakewood. The 2007 inductees are Lorraine Farrell Airey, Barara Farrell Meyer, Eunice Farrell Pschorr, Cynthia Patton Stout and longtime coach Hy Mittelberg. For tickets and information you can call the OCC Office of Resource Development at (732) 255-0400. I will once again serve as Master of Ceremonies for the induction dinner.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Trick Or Treat

You have moved to Toms River or a surrounding town like Beachwood or Pine Beach within the last year so you want to make a good impression on your first Halloween in the neighborhood. You have purchased a lot of candy for the kids who come dressed in everything from Winnie the Pooh to Darth Vader and you want to make sure you’re home in plenty of time Wednesday to greet the trick or treaters….after all that is Halloween. However while driving home from work today you see the streets filled with children in costumes and you can’t seem to figure out what’s going on. You arrive home and are greeted by a neighbor who wonders when you’re going to start giving out treats and you scratch your head and ask…”isn’t Halloween tomorrow?” The answer is yes and no.

Welcome to Toms River, maybe the only area in the country where trick or treat is not on Halloween but rather the day before…an occurrence which fools newcomers each year and has others questioning this long-running tradition. Of course the reason is the parade which is held each year on Halloween night in downtown Toms River. There’s no question this is a huge event and draws thousands of spectators and participants. Main Street in Toms River is already lined with chairs of those seeking to reserve prime viewing spots and it looks like the weather will cooperate for tomorrow night.

However holding the parade on Halloween has some downside which many are bothered by. Over the last few years it seems there has been a greater problem with kids coming from out of town to cash in on a bonus night of trick or treating. They can hit the Toms River area tonight and then their own community Wednesday and it’s most common in the northern sections of the township. You also have the fact that most of the time the parade is held on a school night which makes it challenging for the little ones and their parents as it makes for a long day and evening. Plus those from outside the area can’t attend the parade without giving up trick or treating…a tough choice.

With that in mind I offer my annual suggestion that the parade be moved to the Saturday before Halloween. It’s a relatively quiet day in downtown Toms River and would take away the objections and make it something all could enjoy. I’m sure such a move would take a lot of discussion and would not be easy but change never is.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Boston: Sportstown USA

Sunday featured a host of high school football games which were postponed from Friday and I have mellowed on my position when it comes to this. Yes football is a game in which the elements are and always will be a factor. However a high school team usually only gets to play 4 or 5 home games each season and there is more than just the action on the field. A football game is an experience involving the band, color guard, cheerleaders and others and by playing in heavy rain you eliminate those groups…plus a majority of the fans. Also, many schools schedule their Homecoming games at this time of the season which is another reason why waiting a day or two often makes sense.

Toms River North and Holmdel are the only undefeated teams of the 42 in the Shore Conference. The top-ranked Mariners had a bye this weekend as they get ready for Friday’s big game at Southern. Meanwhile the Hornets won a battle of undefeated teams Sunday night when they scored a touchdown with six seconds left to edge Point Boro 13-10 and clinch the National Division championship. That came minutes after a gamble by the Panthers did not pay off. They had a 4th & 1 at their own 29-yard line and rather then punt the ball away went for a first down that would have iced the victory. Holmdel came up with the stop and went on to score the game-winning touchdown which gives them their first outright title in 21 years.

It has to kill a lot of New York sports fans that right now Boston is the toast of the sporting world. The Red Sox won their second World Series in four years Sunday, Boston College is undefeated and the #2 ranked college football team in the country, the NFL’s Patriots are 8-0 and the Celtics have Boston basketball fans excited again.

After the Yankees exited the playoffs MVP-to-be Alex Rodriguez talked about how much he loved New York and wanted to stay a Yankee. Now he’s opting out of his contract and his days in the Bronx appear over. No matter what you hear, it’s always about the money.

Congratulations to the new couple! Kevin Bernick and Jackie Hibbs of Toms River were married over the weekend and are now enjoying their honeymoon in Aruba. A good time was had by all at the wedding reception.

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Rainy Saturday Isn't All Bad

This final weekend of October should a great one when it comes to sports, although it does not appear the weather will cooperate…at least not for the first half.

The Breeders Cup gets underway at Monmouth Park with three million-dollar races on tap for today…the final three of a 10-race card which begins at 12:30. Saturday is the big day with eight races and live TV coverage all day on ESPN.

If College Football is your thing well there’s Rutgers hosting 6th ranked West Virginia at high noon on Saturday while in the evening top-ranked Ohio State travels to Happy Valley to take on Penn State.

Certainly the weather figures to be a factor with the high school football schedule which features two games tonight which will decide or at least have a lot to say about division championships. Holmdel and Point Boro are two of the three undefeated teams left at the shore and they meet at Al Saner Field to determine the National Division champs. At the same time Wall visits Red Bank Catholic with a win by the Crimson Knights giving them the Liberty Division title.

Shore Conference Tournament soccer crowns will be on the line Saturday night at Neptune with Howell battling Manalapan in the Boys Final before Jackson Memorial takes on Brick Memorial for the Girls title.
The weather has already forced a postponement with the Shore Conference Boys & Girls Cross Country Championships moved from Saturday to Monday afternoon at Holmdel Park.

Oh…and the World Series moves to Colorado for games Saturday & Sunday Night.

Pardon me as I take care of a couple of items involving the town of Beachwood, where I happen to live. The PTO’s Children’s Fair and Craft Show scheduled for tomorrow at Beachwood Elementary School has been moved to Sunday (11am-3pm) because of the weather forecast as the event will be held outside and inside.
The Beachwood Soccer Club will host a Gift Basket Auction on Saturday, November 3rd at T.R. Intermediate South in Beachwood with doors opening at 5:30. Tickets can be obtained by calling (732) 473-0915.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fires, Hurricanes & Blizzards

Its ironic how things work in this country when a particular area is struck by a disaster those in other parts say something like “that’s what you get for living there.” The truth is at some point just about all of us have the potential to become victims of a tragedy, some delivered by Mother Nature and others man-made.

Southern California is the latest area to feel the wrath as wildfires have displaced about a million people….a staggering number. Watching the footage leaves you shaking your head over the losses and the fact that many of the homeowners might be affluent is irrelevant. Lives are in danger, including firefighters and not only homes but many have lost a lifetime of memories. More than once I’ve heard someone allude to the fact that all these people have insurance so its not that bad…well in watching TV over the past couple of days that seems to be little comfort to many. The other thing you will hear at times like this is that if you live in Southern California you know that fires come with the territory. We can say that for just about every type of weather-related disaster like:

Hurricanes like Katrina- Well if you live in the gulf coast you know hurricanes are a danger. Of course you can say this for Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas and many other states. And there will be a time when they say that for Long Beach Island and other parts of the Jersey Shore.
Tornadoes in the mid-west- When they hit people will say something like
“that’s why they call it Tornado Ally.” If you live there then you know it’s a risk, especially during the summer.
Snowstorms - Blizzards that result in loss of life and disrupt residents for long periods. Hey you know that living in northern states can mean severe winter…you chose to live there so you deal with the circumstances.
Floods, Heat waves, Earthquakes…wherever they occur you can be sure those not affected will often say “that’s what you get for living there.”

You can even go as far as saying that when the World Trade Center was attacked someone living a couple of thousands miles away probably uttered….”you want to live in New York then you take the risks.”

There is a common theme here. Unless we live in an underground shelter with no exposure to the outside world we all face certain dangers. However at the end of the day we are all Americans and should pull together for one another because you never know when you’ll be on the receiving end.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hitting The Wall

I’ve known this day would come and it’s here. As I sat down at my computer to put my thoughts into words which you look forward to and absorb and quote later in the day I realize there is nothing left to say.

For all these years I’ve done this I’ve wondered what would happen when
that morning came when my fingers had no keys to punch because my brain
could no longer deliver anything of substance.

Marathoners call it the “wall”….that time in a race in which their legs can’t go any more and everything is telling them to quit. They persevere and once past “the wall” usually go on to finish the race. I’m at that point…have said it all and realized hundreds of these segments have done nothing more than take up time. Sure I could get through today with things like:

Esquire Magazine has named actress Charlize Theron as the Sexiest Woman Alive for 2007. Previous winners were Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Biel and Angelina Jolie.

Headline in today’s Asbury Park Press….”New Jersey drinking water running out.” Goes on to say we won’t have supplies to meet what we’ll need by the year 2020. I would tell you that’s another reason to move to Florida but I think they’ll be out of water sooner.

San Diego is burning but the wildfires are not the biggest problem for some.
They’re concerned the NFL’s Chargers won’t be able to play at home this
Sunday. Might have to take their tailgate somewhere else.

Weather forecasters, including our own Alan Kasper insist the unusually warm fall weather is coming to an end. Of course none of them are in our studio this morning where the air conditioning is not working and it’s at least 95 degrees.

Raise your hand if you’re excited that the Breeders Cup is at Monmouth Park this week. Raise your hand if you know what the Breeders Cup is.

The Ocean County College Women’s soccer team beat Brookdale Tuesday to advance to the Region 19 finals on Saturday.

Time’s up…made it through another one. I’m sure you can’t wait until tomorrow

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Super Bowl Of Horse Racing

The hype over this weekend’s Breeder’s Cup at Monmouth Park is quite amazing when you consider horse racing is for the most part a dying sport and the track itself has to fight to draw a few thousand fans a day during the middle of the summer at the Jersey shore. The “sport of kings” used to grab headlines on the sports pages with regularity and in old photos and videos you will see men in suits and women in dresses packing the stands.

Of course things change over time and only on special occasions do large crowds visit Monmouth Park, a treasure I first discovered as a 17-year old.
That first trip produced a winning daily double and even an exacta or two…probably the worst thing that can happen to you. I actually thought I had picking winners figured out but many years later I know that was truly a case of beginners luck. Despite that I would always make a few visits a summer and even remember a fall when the track stayed open late which was great for us locals.

I used to love the pace of a day at the racetrack. You had time between races to head down to the paddock and watch jockeys climb aboard their horses, walk around the circle and then head out to the track with shouts of encouragement from bettors always looking for an edge. The bugler would then play the call to the post and you’d get excited with anticipation. A few minutes later you tore up another losing ticket but it didn’t matter because a bad day at Monmouth Park was better than a good day at work…or school. Now with simulcast racing available it seems like the time between live races is devoted to trying to find a winner at another track and that slow pace has been replaced by our need for constant action.

One of my fondest memories was when Julie Krone was setting the racing world on fire and the most popular jockey around. I took my then 2-year old son to the track and put him on my shoulders as she climbed aboard her mount in the paddock. Brandon shouted out “good luck Julie” and she stopped, smiled and spoke to him for a few seconds. She then went out and lost with a 2-1 favorite which of course I had bet. However after Julie made the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1989 I got her to sign it for my son and she remembered that cute little boy…he still has the autographed picture.

The rest of America may only discover Monmouth Park this week but for many of us it’s been right in our backyard for a lifetime and I hope it remains forever.

Monday, October 22, 2007

First Look At The Rock

I got to see up-close-and-personal Friday the $375 million Prudential Center
which open this week and is the first new professional sports and entertainment arena built in the New Jersey/New York metropolitan area in 25 years. The facility in downtown Newark will be the home of the New Jersey Devils, New Jersey Ironmen of the Major Indoor Soccer League and Seton Hall Men’s Basketball.

However it’s a concert, not a sporting event which will christen the area on Thursday when Bon Jovi performs the first of ten concerts. During our media tour Friday it didn’t take a genius to figure out workers will be putting the finishing touches probably about the same time Bon Jovi takes the stage.

However “The Rock” is nothing short of spectacular and will seat 17,625 for hockey, 18,500 for basketball and 19,500 for concerts. If you happen to know someone who invites you into one of the 76 luxury suites or more than 2,300 club seats don’t say no….unless you call me and offer the tickets.

When plans were first announced much was made over the location but downtown Newark is experiencing a resurgence and the Prudential Center is very close to Penn Station. For those of us living at the shore the train might be the best bet as it’s a short walk from train station to the arena and special ambassadors will be on hand the first couple of weeks to guide walkers. There is no real on-site parking, except for private lots and garages so that could pose a problem for some. However New Jersey Transit is going to add trains on days of events and the real push is to use that service.

The Devils are the cornerstone of the Prudential Center and after playing their first 9 games on the road they finally get to test their new home Saturday night when they host Ottawa. They will also practice there with a beautiful 800-seat facility which you can see from one of the several restaurants and bars. Seton Hall basketball debuts on Sunday, November 11th when they welcome Monmouth University.

Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek told me he never had doubts about this project and believes fans will take to his team’s new home from the time the first puck is dropped.

From what I witnessed Friday I would have to agree.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Nobody has asked my opinion….however...

The latest to suffer from our way-over-the-top concerns over being politically correct is Halloween, which all of a sudden is this satanic and demonic-like event. It seems some are offended by the dark nature of Halloween; others view it as anti-religion and now more and more are
saying there are racial overtones. Maybe I missed something because I always thought of Halloween as a day for kids to get dressed-up and go around their neighborhood to collect candy and goodies. While I think some adults go over the top on what I view as a time for kids critics of
Halloween should spend their time on something more constructive. Plus I look forward to raiding my daughter’s candy collection.

The real story will eventually come out but it does not seem too difficult to figure out why Joe Torre is not coming back to manage the New York Yankees. The team was in a sticky situation after aging owner George Steinbrenner said a first-round loss to Cleveland would result in a managerial change and of course the Yanks did lose that series. It appears the front office was divided over whether or not to bring back the popular Torre so as to save face they offered him a one-year deal with a base salary that was 50% less than what he earned this season. The fact that incentives could have made him another $3 million is irrelevant. The Yankees have wasted a lot of money over the years so to nit-pick with Torre at this point in his career was nothing more than trying to force his hand. I truly believe that most of the Yankee front office officials are happy that Joe said “no” and they can close the book on an era.

Rutgers win last night over #2 South Florida was not as significant as the victory over Louisville on a Thursday night last season but it was huge. The
Scarlet Knights elevate themselves back into the national spotlight and with a win over West Virginia next Saturday would put themselves in position to win the Big East title and earn a nice bowl game invite.

So you don’t believe in global warming? It’s October 19th and we’re looking at thunderstorms and warm, muggy conditions.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Thursday Items Of Interest

Summer refuses to give way to fall and the warm weather is a good thing when you’re sitting atop a large billboard on Route 88 in Brick as is Dr. Phil LoCasio of our sister station 105.7 The Hawk. For the third straight October our Dr. Phil (not to be confused by the TV guy) has committed to living on a billboard for 105 hours or until he raises $105,700 for Ocean of Love, an Ocean County-based organization that gives financial and emotional support to families of children stricken with cancer. Click for more information.

Dr. Phil went up on the billboard Monday evening and there are a couple of ways in which you can support his effort. You can visit the billboard on Route 88 just east of Van Zile Road in the parking lot of J’s Garden Spot or you can call 1-877-HAWK-1057 to make a donation.

When I first started at WOBM in 1979 one of those who showed me the ropes when it came to high school sports was Jackson Memorial Athletic Director Don Connor and it was 20 years ago today we lost one of the all-time great characters when the “Duck” died way too young. He has certainly not be forgotten in Jackson as the high school is on Don Connor Boulevard and beginning next year his name will be synonymous with the football rivalry between the Jaguars and the new Jackson Liberty High School. The Board of Education announced earlier this week that the winner of the game will hold onto the “Connor Cup” for at least a year.

Toms River North will host Brick Memorial Friday night in a football game that will feature a pre-game ceremony honoring Marine PFC Vincent Frassetto, who was killed just over a year ago while serving his country in Iraq. Frassetto was a 2003 North graduate who played football for the Mariners and during the ceremony his jersey will be retired. Several guests will be on hand to make remarks and for more information you can call the Toms River Regional School’s Communications Office at (732) 505-5570.

High School Football will be the topic of conversation tonight on the AutoLenders Football Show. Guests include Toms River North’s Austin Kugler and Coaches Corey Davies of Howell and Frank Edgerly of Red Bank Catholic. The show airs from 6-8pm on 1160AM or on the web at