500th Post Special: My ‘Super Sarge Salute’ Tour of WBZ

Wow, it feels like yesterday when I started my website.  Today marks my 500th post.  I’ve had some awesome experiences along the way.  I was a guest writer for Bruins.com, had a 3-day internship at the Boston Herald, had my “Baseball Bits” quoted on Felger & Mazz on 98.5 The Sports Hub, did some sample recordings at 98.5, and was the co-MC of the Flutie Foundation 5K where I handed out awards with Doug Flutie.  Recently, I attended a 98.5 Patriots charity event for Families First at Mr. Sid and met Mike ‘Sarge’ Riley, a sports reporter for 98.5 and WBZ 1030 AM Radio.  He invited me for a tour of WBZ that would be known as the ”Super Sarge Salute.”

Yesterday Sarge gave me and my family an all-access tour of WBZ Studios, home of WBZ-TV, WSBK-TV, and WBZ 1030 AM Radio.  When I first walked in, I noticed images of some of my favorite WBZ Newscasters like Steve Burton, Dan Roche, Barry Burbank and David Wade.  I even saw digital posters of two of my favorite CBS shows, Young Sheldon and The Big Bang Theory.

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Sarge greeted us in the lobby and we began our tour.  He told us about the history of the station.  It started as a radio station in 1921.  It was one of the first radio stations in the country and the first in New England.  In 1948, WBZ-TV began airing.

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Me in front of a vintage radio and television.
First, we went to the Sports News anchors’ offices that included offices for Steve Burton and Dan Roche.  They had sports pictures all over the walls and it felt like being inside a miniature Boston sports hall of fame!

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After that, we entered the huge newsroom.  TV reporters were on one side and radio reporters on the other.  The TV side was quiet but the radio side is always busy.  I got to meet Charlie Bergeron, another WBZ Radio sports reporter who I had just heard on the radio on the way to the studio.  He took the time to tell me about the specifics of his job and show me the sports update script he was currently working on.  I even got to go into the studio to watch his next live broadcast!

Next, I met the radio traffic reporters and saw a live image of the current traffic, which was noticeably quieter during the weekend.  I also saw part of their script for their next report.  After the newsroom, we visited a huge control room.  Sarge said that even he’s overwhelmed by it.

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Then came the best part of my tour.  We got to visit both TV studios.  The first one we visited was mainly used as a backup studio but they did traffic reports there when the other studio was being renovated.

Me on the left on the stage of the old studio and my brother Ryan on the right cheering me on in the studio audience.

 

But when I saw their main studio, I felt like I had just walked into my TV when WBZ News was on.

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Me and my brother at the news desk doing a mock broadcast.
When I first walked in, I saw Barry Burbank, a meteorologist who I had grown up watching.  I had previously met him when he came to my elementary school, Peaslee in 2015, but I didn’t get the chance to talk to him until this day.

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Then we saw the news anchors’ desk, the couch that was often used during Patriots 5th Quarter, and the area where they filmed the weather forecast.  We even saw snow in Michigan on the current radar, and according to Barry, it could be coming our way, but he didn’t want to forecast it yet.

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My brother and I were shocked to see snow on the radar.
On our way out, we got a glance at the WBZ Hall of Fame.  We continued to listen to Sarge on the radio on our way home.

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That wraps it up for my 500th article on Boston Sports Mania.  This tour was an unforgettable experience and I’m grateful that I got to learn so much as I continue my pursuit to become a sports journalist.  I’d like to thank Mike ‘Sarge’ Riley and give him a huge #sargesalute for this amazing experience.

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Me with Sarge in the WBZ Studio doing the #sargesalute.
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An Inside Look at Working at the Boston Herald

This past week, I had an amazing chance to see what’s it’s like to work as a journalist at the Herald.  Not only did I see how the newspaper works, but I had a full multimedia experience by observing both a radio show and video for the website.

I started on Wednesday morning, and I got up early and caught the 7:30 train for my first commute. I arrived at the Herald a little bit before 9:00 and Editor-in-Chief Joe Sciacca’s assistant Barbara Long met me in the lobby.  She gave me an extended tour, and we read the paper.  

Barbara told me, “When people come in, the first thing they do is read the paper.” 

Once we were done, I met an editor and radio host, Zuri Berry.  I spent the morning observing Zuri and then eating lunch with him.  He was working on editing the other interns’ articles and looking for news that had been sent to the special Boston Herald inbox.  One of the interns, Peter, was an 18 year old sports fan going to Auburn in the fall.  Zuri told me that someone always has to keep an eye on the Herald email account to see if any news was sent to them.  Although my passion is sports, Zuri told me that journalists need to keep on top of all news.   

In the afternoon after Zuri prepared for his radio show, I sat with managing editor Joe Dwinell and he showed me all the drafted articles on the website waiting to be edited.  Then the sports editor Sean Leahy showed me the sports budget that would be presented at the news meeting.  The sports budget shows what articles will fit into the space allocated for the sports section. During the meeting, I presented the entire sports budget!  One of the articles I presented even made the front cover.  It was about Tom Brady’s 40th birthday and what it meant for his career.  After the news meeting, it was time for me to go.  It was a great first day.

When I came in the next day, I saw the article I presented on the cover as I read the paper.  As a gift, they gave me a poster of the Herald’s front cover from the day after Super Bowl 51.  The headline was “Roger That” with a picture of Tom Brady holding the Lombardi trophy.  


By the time I was done reading the paper, sports editor Rachel Fox was there and I spent the morning with her.  She had a TV by her desk and I put on SportsCenter while she looked at what sports articles were going up on the website.  At noon, I went with sports reporter Meredith Gorman to a birthday party for Tom Brady at Faneuil Hall.  TB12 wasn’t there, but there was a goat with a Tom Brady jersey!

Meredith picked up lunch for us at Quincy Market and we took an Uber back to the Herald.  After lunch, I sat in on Zuri Berry’s radio show and observed in the radio control room for a bit.  It was a great experience to see the radio show in action.  I stayed with Zuri until the 3:30 news meeting, where I listened and took notes.  

For my third and final day, I came in right at 9:00 and read the paper.  The Red Sox recap and Pats camp notes were the most interesting to me, especially since the Red Sox won in a high scoring game, 9-5.  After finishing the paper, Barbara let me use her computer to write an article for my blog.  Once Zuri Berry had arrived and read the paper, I spent the rest of the morning with him.  I stayed with Zuri to watch the first hour of his radio show.  Later, I went to see the sports budget that Sean had made and attented the 3:30 news meeting for the third straight day.  At the meeting, I presented the Patriots articles planned for the sports section.  Before I left, I talked to Joe Sciacca about the great week for a bit and said my goodbyes to Sean, Zuri, Barbara and everyone else.  

I’d like to thank Joe Sciacca, Barbara Long, Zuri Berry, Jenny Miller, Mark Murphy, Sean Leahy, Rachel Fox, Meredith Gorman, Joe Dwinell, Peter Santo and everyone at the Herald that made my first internship experience great.

I learned so much in only three days.  My favorite part was learning how the Paper came together each day.  I can’t wait to come back and learn more.  

Red Sox Drop Another To Twins, 3 Errors Costly

           I left today’s game with my first loss attending Fenway, making my record 7-1, but it wasn’t a total loss.  Blake Swihart hit his first career home run. At the end of the 5th inning, I met Boston Herald editor and chief Joe Sciacca.  I also met Managing Editor Gustavo Leon and News Anchor Matt Fitzgerald, both from the Boston Herald.
                                                                                                                                                                                              The Sox loaded the bases in the 1st inning right off the bat, but had RISP troubles again.  Steven Wright also pitched well into the 5th inning.  The Sox scored with bases loaded in the second.  It started with a double by Mookie Betts, followed by Pedroia walking.  1st and 2nd 2 outs.  Ramirez singles to load the bases.  Then Big Papi reaches on an error by the shortstop and Napoli singled.  2-0 Sox just like that.  Swihart homered to break up a 1-2-3 3rd.  Swihart picked up the first major league home run of his career.  3-0 Red Sox.
                                                                                                                                                                                           Wright blew his 1-hitter in the 4th, and gave up a 3 run home run to Torii Hunter in the fifth.  After 6 okay innings and giving up a fourth run by an error sending Eduardo Escobar to second and scoring him on Kurt Suzuki’s 3rd straight hit, Wright was pulled and Junichi Tazawa came in.
                                                                 A couple guys were caught stealing or intentionally walked, but otherwise the game had no significant action until the top of the 9th after the Twins tied it in the 6th.  Brian Dozier led off the 9th with a base hit off Koji.  Torii Hunter then walked.  1st and 2nd.  Then Joe Mauer suprisingly attempted to bunt.   The bunt rolled only a few inches in front of home plate and Swihart threw to Pablo Sandoval on what should have been a force out, or maybe even a double play.  But no.  Sandoval fails to catch it, and Ramirez is left to grab it in the outfield.  They signed Sandoval and Ramirez big contracts, and they’ve struggled utterly along with Big Papi.  Nobody they’re paying a lot is doing much.  Could it be possible that the cheap guys are better than the multi-million makers?  Maybe.  The utter failure continued in the 9th as  Trevor Plouffe scored Hunter on a base hit, and it was 6-4 Twins.  Dozier had scored on the error.  Then Eduardo Escobar singled to make it first and third, then they walked the bases loaded intentionally with Suzuki.  Then Shane Robinson hit a sacrifice fly, and it was 8-4 Twins.  After a 1-2-3 inning for the Sox, the Twins had finished the comeback win.
             The Twins tied the series with the underperforming Red Sox.  With all these supposed big players, the Sox should perform like they have a monster lineup and rotation.  By July, I predict that Joe Kelly will be a reliever.  I think rotation will be: Miley, Porcello, Rodriguez, Wright, Buchholz.  Eddie Rodriguez will continue to perform, maybe even earn the No. 1 spot in the Sox rotation eventually.  It’s time for another new chapter for the Red Sox.