Guest blogger: Mark Romeo … a dream and a memory


By Mark Romeo

Ralph Kiner’s passing reminds me of … The Rangers winning the Stanley Cup.

And not because the Rangers were defending Stanley Cup Champions when Ralph graduated from Alhambra High School in California and signed his first pro contract with Pirates. I guess I should explain. Here goes.
Any time we hear that someone that we knew, loved, or even someone well known, passes away, we usually run through our memories of that person. It’s only natural. Of course the degree of emotion in these times will vary depending on our closeness to that person.
When Ralph Kiner passed last week, many of us thought back, with a warm amusement, to Ralph’s many malaprops and vocal fumbles while broadcasting not just the Mets games but more so Kiner’s Korner.
Kiner’s Korner: a 1960s and 70s gem, albeit a dull one, of a television production the likes of which will never be seen again, for a variety of reasons.
I went through all those memories and more: Ralph interviewing Casey Stengel, Nolan Ryan dumping champagne on his head. But nothing topped off a mid-August Mets error clinic, like the awkward, forced back-and- forth between Ralph and a sweaty Ron Hodges or Jack Hamilton. Yet in our A/C challenged four-bedroom house in Metuchen, we were riveted to the black and white Magnavox.
I always wished I could have seen him play, they said the ball jumped off his bat like few others.
But the first thing I thought of last week when I heard the news of Kiner’s passing was Game 5, 1994 Eastern Conference Finals.
I don’t have to spell out the range of emotions we all went through that spring. It was such an all-consuming roller coaster, I was a mess. If I wasn’t working for my father at the time I probably would have been fired. Not so much in rounds one or two, but by the time Mother’s Day rolled around it was looking like this group of Rangers may have what it takes.
The way they dismissed The Islanders and Capitals raised expectations. And with expectations come anxiety; ask any Rangers fan. The Devils series raised the angst to a troubling level. And now we were on the brink of elimination to who — The Devils? Back then, before Lou Lamarello was anointed a genius, the team from New Jersey were the unwanted step-children of both the NHL and the metropolitan area.
Sure, maybe it would be one more year that we would have to listen to “1940!” but we weren’t supposed to lose to the Devils, they can’t be for real. Maybe the Canadiens or some more formidable, respectable foe than the Mickey Mouse monikered misfits from across the Hudson.
I’m sure I wasn’t the only one with a general sense of doom, as I rode the escalator in silence, leaving the Garden on May 23. Penn Station had a few anguished outbursts from Blueshirt faithful. Some pure anger and frustration, some beer assisted. The worst part was, if you lived in New Jersey like me, that you had to ride the train home with Devils fans! Most of whom were wise enough to not rub salt in the wounds of Rangers fans. So it was an eerily quiet train ride.
Not even an emotional shot in the arm from Bill Clement himself could raise my confidence that we wouldn’t be looking at another empty summer. Clement was on the train and in our car, riding home to Philadelphia himself after working the game for ESPN with Gary “1940 is history!” Thorne. A small crowd of Rangers fans was gathered around him and asking “Do we have a shot?” and “What’s wrong with the Rangers?” Even he couldn’t sugar coat it, The Devils were hitting on all cylinders and the situation was, well, bleak. He did however say that you can’t sell short the veteran leadership of the Rangers.
So, with the sense of dread and mentally exhausted I went to sleep and slept surprisingly well. I woke the next morning in the middle of a most realistic dream. Ralph Kiner had died. Now I’m no psychic, heck Ralph lived almost another 20 years. But it was so depressing, so real I had to turn on the FAN to see if it was real or not. No luck there since Imus was on. There was nothing in the Star-Ledger about and it was 1994: no smart phones tablets, etc. This is ridiculous. I tell myself it was just a dream. Finally the 20-20 flash came and went with no mention.
What a random dream. Why Ralph Kiner? Maybe it was my subconscious telling me that while things were looking pretty bad: Hey, nobody died!
I felt much better, way better. I had a good day of work and the next day I woke to the phone ringing. It was my brother yelling “Did you see what Messier did?!”
I told my brother: “We’re gonna be alright.”

Photo by Getty Images.


In Sochi:

Four medal-round qualification games today: Slovenia-Austria, Russia-Norway, Switzerland-Latvia, Czech Republic-Slovakia.

Quarterfinals tomorrow.


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  1. iWicky "Frag Out!!!" on

    Oh, and first yet again!!

    These overnight shifts really suck the south end of a northbound moose!!

  2. Thanks Romeo, enjoyed the story. Loved Kiner as a broadcaster and his many ” Kinerisms” a lot like Roenickisms.

    I guess I’m fourth, so off the podium for me.

    LGR !!!

    Sign Cally.

  3. Guess my remarks are too politically charged? Awaiting moderation? Viva Caminero! Now that’s a hockey game in the art world.

  4. Zuc out with a hand injury, not playing against the ruskies. No word on how serious this is

    We all know how hand injuries can linger. This could be a mess for our boys.

  5. First Olympic injury for the Rangers. Report says Zucc hand isn’t broke. So I guess it could be worse.

  6. Thanks Carp and thanks boneheads. Great circa 1979 photo of Ralph with- I’m guessing John Candalaria and Willie Stargell.

    This is a true story, by the way. I’m giving wildplaces the benefit of doubt that “Romero” is a typo, but I think I have the most often misspelled 5-letter last name in the country. Romero, Romano, and the worst: Romo. I’m sure Dad and oldest brother hate that one the most being as they are both named Tony.

  7. To expand: Ovehckin tends to leave his feet to deliver explosive, high hits very often. For him to not get a call is kind of retribution for me.

    Also, I’m completely biased because I want Russia to lose this game very badly (even though there is a 0% chance of that happening).

  8. Ralph was a bit “notorious” too, for being part of one of the most storied outfields in baseball, the Chicago Cubs, of the early 50’s, after they acquired Ralph.

    The Cubs featured a gazelle of a CF in Frankie Baumholtz, and two “stone monuments” at the outfield corner positions, Ralph Kiner and Hank Sauer. Well the joke around baseball circles was that Frankie Baumholtz was the first major league player to cover all three outfield positions at once. Man, was Frankie B. a busy boy, given that Ralph and Hank were not especially mobile, to be kind.

    R.I.P. to a really good, soul, who is probably trading malaprops with Casey, Don Drysdale, Jerry Coleman, and that “Holy Cow” guy, by now.

  9. Norway doesn’t have a single NHL player in the lineup today, Russia should be blowing them out of the building. Finland plays tough, physical game, as Norway does, but it’s a much more skilled team with good goaltending.

  10. Sweden is not very lucky to get Slovakia either. They have really turned it around in the last two games and might give Sweden something to actually contend with.

  11. My all-time favorite malaprop is the well-circulated Jerry Coleman line: “There’s a long fly ball – Winfield going back- he bangs his head against the wall – it’s rolling toward second base!”

  12. Rob in Beantown on

    Sweden looks primed to be upset. They had the easiest group and even had some trouble still winning those games.

  13. Honestly, I don’t understand how anyone (foreigners included) can misspell or mispronounce such a classical and most romantic name – R-O-M-E-O. Shakespeare is turning and blushing in his Stratford-upon-Avon.
    As for those injuries, as I mention in yesterday’s thread, not one, but 3 Rangers were involved – Hank at practice by Karlsson and Hagelin and Zuc in irrelevant games against Latvia and Austria. Would be a shame if it is really serious. Making me mad.

  14. Manny-O-War, King of Metal on

    Today, the NYC based *Death Metal* band, *Artificial Brain* released their debut Full Length album entitled
    _Labyrinth Constellation_ . It’s a real barn burner! The band consists of members of Biolich, Revocation and Castevet.

    From Profound Lore, who released the album:

    _Like past bands such as Nocturnus, ARTIFICIAL BRAIN bring a sci-fi element into their brand of twisted guttural death metal. More or less thematically and aesthetically (as witnessed on their stunning album cover painted by Paolo “Madman” Girardi), the sci-fi themes that run rampant throughout ARTIFICIAL BRAIN’s music complement the complex brutality that ARTIFICIAL BRAIN offer with their brand of cosmic dissonant dark death metal._

    Check it out!

  15. _First Olympic injury for the Rangers. Report says Zucc hand isn’t broke. So I guess it could be worse._

    I’m not a real *doctor*, but I thought I was told *stress fractures* can be worse than true breaks because they linger versus heal. Is this *false information*?

  16. This clip brings back lots of memories.

    2007 Was a Very Good Year.

    Watching Duncan-Toews-Oshie line was

    Duncan was 5’6″, basically the Sioux version of Zucc. He won the Hobey Baker award in 2007. He had a shot from the bottom of the faceoff circle that could not miss. I think he had 16 goals from that spot alone. The other team couldn’t focus on just Toews or Oshie, because both would get him the puck and he would just wire a shot into the back of the net. Duncan Donuts. All Day Long.

    I remember it like it was yesterday.

  17. Who knew our leading scorer would get hurt at the Olympics. When we were all worried about Callahan getting injured, nope. The leading scorer has to sit out in the big tournament.

  18. I know, this is ‘Murica and all…but the anti-Russian mood on this blog is disgusting! Even from my fellow Russkies… fckd up.

  19. It is always some others have to pay price (literally and figuratively) for one’s questionable patriotism, mass-approved participation and doubtful bragging rights.
    …and it’s always your bests are hurt the most. Arggghh!

  20. CCCP,
    you want a definition of REAL “disgusting”? Read any of Russian’s so called hockey blogs as an example, as well as officials and “celebrities” statements. Animals’ anti-Americanism (including in particular former compatriots like you and me)doesn’t do a scale to measure.

  21. There was a lot of discussion on yesterday’s post regarding Callahan and his impending free agency. I wanted to weigh in with a few thoughts.

    1. Has anyone considered that much of the discussion on terms is just posturing by both Sather and Callahan/his agent?
    2. Good negotiators will always tell you that you have to give something to get something.
    3. You don’t start out with the offer you’ll settle on – which is probably why Sather is at 5 years and Callahan is at 7.
    4. The same goes for the money – $6m versus $7m.
    5. I suspect that the Rangers genuinely do want to keep Callahan, otherwise a trade probably would have happened already.
    6. If they do trade him, I wouldn’t expect anything more than picks – a 2nd and a 3rd similar to Clowe.

    I believe that in all likelihood a deal gets done and its 6 years for $6+m. It will most likely be manageable. If Callahan is di ehard on testing free agency I’d bet the Rangers will ask for the opportunity to match any offers and will walk if he gets 7 by $7m.

  22. JJP,

    Towards your point #1, I think it’s a lot like the lockout.

    The point in the middle (ok, not really the middle) they eventually settled upon was easy to see by so many outside the negotiations. But no real traction was made until push came to shove and they were in danger of losing the season.

    Perhaps this is how the Callahan scenario plays out, movement starting March 3rd or so. Wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened

  23. A semi-major difference is that in the lockout, the owners’ opening side was preposterous and the players still ended up meeting them. I don’t think either side here is really that weird; Rangers valuing conservatively based on player type and Callahan asking for what he can almost assuredly get on the open market. If there’s movement, you’d have to think its the Rangers moving to Callahan and not vice-versa.

  24. Oh yeah, I don’t think he’s evil, just maybe a guy whose negotiation style sucks. Win at all costs to bring in guys he shouldn’t then play hardball over lower dollars with guys he shouldn’t let leave.

  25. Rob in Beantown on

    I’m probably going to watch Czech Republic vs. Slovakia to see who USA has to play. Who do we prefer?

  26. I think I want Czech Republic for the next game. Even though the boys already destroyed Slovakia, I still think that will be the easier matchup for them.

  27. Manny-O-War, King of Metal on

    Yea I’m watching Czech Republic and Slovakia. Slovakia scares me because they are trending upwards. But I still think I would rather face Slovakia.

  28. Manny-O-War, King of Metal on

    I almost want to watch the SUI vs. LAT game to avoid Doc Emrick.

    Kenny Albert > Doc Emrick

  29. “Manny, I thought we were friends but now I’m realizing AAAAAAAWWWWWWWHHHHHHH!!!!!!!” – Doc Emrick

  30. Manny-O-War, King of Metal on

    1-0 Latvia over Suisse. Hiller just gave up his first goal of the Olympics on a screen.

  31. True Slovakia’s goaltending sucks, but the Czech situation isn’t a whole lot better. I think the Slovaks have been looking better as a whole, while the Czechs look like they’re a mess.

    I haven’t see a minute of today’s game so this is based on previous ones. Either way I don’t care all that much because we will *slaughter* both of them.

  32. Manny-O-War, King of Metal on

    Slovenia cannot feel better about themselves heading into their game with Sweden. Slovenia is going to be loose.

  33. Almost time to cut out of work for a -doctor appointment- sampling of *Kane* Brewery deliciousness.

    I’m probably too excited.

  34. Still laugh when I remember the rookie Kiner being told by the Ump in extra innings: ‘Swing the bat, son, we didn’t eat yet.’

  35. Cloverleaf Tavern (Caldwell). 24 handles including a few mainstays in my top 10. One of which might be on the move down once I try *Dry-Hopped* *Overhead* for the first time.

  36. Looked outside this AM to see that -Al Gore- God has seen fit to aggravate the hell out of me again.

  37. Oh damn. I would totally show up without telling you and try to creep you out on here if I weren’t a little jammed up at work.

  38. Wonder if the new generation of fans from many of the countries in this tournament have super anathematical feelings about Russia as their parents/grandparents had and have.

  39. That Game 5 was the ultimate go to the ledge game.

    After the Devils completely shut them down many Blue Seaters were swearing that if they lost that series they would never watch another Ranger game. Also many Messier sucks.

  40. smiling. Only in NY, you don’t know what ‘I could care less’ means in print; you have to hear it. :)

  41. Manny-O-War, King of Metal on

    Saying you “could care less” means that you care and that there is plenty of room for you to reduce your amount of caring.

  42. They won’t be sleepwalking by the USA. They should win, but will need to be awake to do it.

    Unless you mean that semi is for the Gold.

  43. I could care less about pretty much everything, and thus could not not care less about pretty much anything.
    In other words, I couldn’t not care less. Or could care less.

  44. Manny-O-War, King of Metal on

    Who planned the Hockey schedule tomorrow? USA vs. CAN for Women’s Gold and USA/CZE & CAN/LAT Men’s QF’s at all at NOON.


  45. CCCP
    if it makes ya feel better
    i’d rather
    Russia win
    just could not stomach the thought of sid with medal

  46. Manny-O-War, King of Metal on

    In honor of *Duckbill*

    Baby platypus drinking some milk

  47. Relatives took me to a Met game at Shea in Candeleria’s rookie year where he pitched against Seaver. Both, I think, had one-hitters going after 8. All I remember, rather than appreciating the spectacular pitching is that it was boring and Candy looked like a giant on the mound.

  48. Doodie Machetto on

    Manny, I was looking in your direction. ilb and CCCP were my only other guesses as to who might.

    The games in Sochi have brought him to my mind and I’ve been listening lately. Powerful stuff.

  49. Manny-O-War, King of Metal on

    I like Shostakovitch although I can’t say I know much about his work. I know he’s a composer and I know my friends that play classical violin, especially those from Ukraine and Hungary, love his work. I always thought it was especially moving.

  50. A reading of Shostakavich’s life on the internet and the horrific, harsh, repressive regimes that he (and everyone else who did not sufficiently and enthusiastically preach the party line) had to live under as a native artist makes one angry and fearful.

  51. Manny-O-War, King of Metal on

    Also, Shostakovitch has a crazy life because Communism, under the Russian rule, is absolute insanity that destroys art and creativity. He was rejected multiple times before being forced to join the party to maintain his credibility as a composer.

  52. Manny-O-War, King of Metal on

    I also know that, growing up Jewish, despite Jews generally hating the Stalinist regime because of it’s rampant Anti-Semitism, Jews enjoy Shostakovitch because I think he was into Jewish music (whatever that is)

  53. Carp, why is my comment from 6:55 AM awaiting moderation? Was it too politically=-charged? Was it the word P****-riot? Yikes!;>))

  54. Better to be right headed than right handed, in hockey as well as all other useful endeavors. :)

  55. Kiev is erupting because they have one measly bronze medal.

    USA is co-leading the medal count and I’m flipping out.

  56. That piece conjures images of St. Michael the Archangel driving the Devil out of Paradise, then the calm that is resultant.

  57. I’m very concerned about Zuccarello. Not much news about our leading scorer’s injury has been reported. Considering he is Norway’s only hope, you got to think it’s a pretty bad injury…


  58. Sad reality of the NYR:

    Like Team Norway, Zucc is NYR’s best player offensively, so without him, it’s going to be tough to score.

  59. What’s with the Slovenia jersey? Their flag has none of those colors. Who decided that the color scheme of the Seattle Seahawks would be a good look?

  60. The Zucc situation is very bad for this team that relies heavily on the little guy. It’s going to be a big time concern.

    But I won’t let it affect me until the Olympics are over. No matter what I’m in favor of professionals playing in this tournament and it’s really exciting for me. I really want *Gold*

  61. That’s the right attitude Manny.

    Me, I could live without nhl players. I kinda want my hockey season back. A post season tourney, definitely. Who knows who else gets dinged up ?

    That said, let’s go USA.

  62. It’s a dangerous business, [Hobbit Wizard], going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.

  63. iWicky "Frag Out!!!" on

    Speaking of Slovenia, anyone see the female skier from there that won the gold in downhill?


  64. So Cindy Crosby divess and draws a penalty in the Finland game. Teemu Selanne confronts him and tells him that the Summer Olympics diving competition is not for another 2 years. Crosby responds that he is the world’s best player. Teemu says “I was the world’s best player when you were in diapers.”

  65. Hey Leetch, this is great hockey, IMO. I don’t miss the fighting and the headshots and the suspension videos. I am totally invested in Team USA…the Rangers and the Zuccarello injury can wait…

  66. Ozo looks pretty decent actually. Sign him NOW!

    Still another 2 1/2 until Sweden/Slovenia.

    If everything goes as expected, the semis should be a rematch of the last two Gold medal games.

    Sweden/Finland & USA/Canada

    Love it!

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