Archive for April, 2009

New Turf @ Progressive Field

April 7, 2009


Pic from Newschopper 5 shows a bare dirt Progressive Field in October 2008 after grass was ripped up.

Pic from Newschopper 5 shows a bare dirt Progressive Field in October 2008 after grass was ripped up.

When the Indians take the field Friday for their home opener against the Blue Jays they will be doing it on a brand new field.  As soon as the season ended last fall crews went right to work ripping out the old turf and laying a new one. 

During the playoff run two years ago they replaced the sod in the foul territory from third base down around home plate and over to first and they occassionally fix up the areas in the outfield where the players tend to stand and wear out but this is the first time in while they’ve done the complete overhaul.

27 out of the 30 major league teams use natural grass and nationwide there are more than 2,100 sod farms but the key to good grass apparently lies in the Garden State.  Slam New Jersey if you will but its sandy soil is perfect for drainage leading to hardy blend of Kentucky Blue Grass.

This picture was taken from the Chopper a few days before the one above.  Crews put the sod strips down, then pulled them all up.

Tuckahoe Turf Farms in between Philly and Atlantic City is the choice of many sports teams including the Cleveland Browns and the Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles to name a few. 

No word from the Indians on where this particular field came from, in the past Cygnet turf near Bowling Green has supplied the turf for the Indians.   



The WMGM-TV 40 Years; 1990-94

April 6, 2009

Just a few of the people I had a chance to meet while working in Atlantic City

                 Atlantic City New Jersey, World’s Favorite Playground and my second job in television. After 10 months at KQTV in St. Joseph, Missouri I was now headed homeI started to write this particular blog about a half dozen times trying to figure how to cram some of the most unique experiences I’ve had in television into one blog.  A book yes, a blog no.  So I’ll start by skimming the surface.

              I started at WMGM-TV 40, the NBC affiliate in South Jersey, in late June of 1990.  I was now making a whopping $16,000 as weekend anchor (I’d get a raise to $19,000 a few months later when I was promoted to 11 p.m. weeknight anchor.)

              I can say without a doubt there is no small market in television that offered such a wide range of news to cover!  From the glitz and excitement of the casinos to the grit and crime of the city itself to the experience of living in a bustling beach resort in the summer and a desolate barrier island in the winter this place was awesome.


              Understand my time in Atlantic City came at the end of a golden era of sorts.  It was before the internet started and when not everyone had cable, a time when people relied on the local station for local news like never before.  As a result the casinos were phenomenal to deal with in part because their workers were our audience and in part because our audience represented the people who could see a story on a headliner at 6 and be there for the show later that night.  As a result, with the exception of Frank Sinatra, they made just about every headliner available to us. 

            As I look up at the above montage of pictures there’s a story behind each one of them. 

  *There’s Steve Allen, the first host of the Tonight Show who went head to head with Ed Sullivan back in the day talking about the news that week in 1993 that David Letterman was leaving NBC to go head to head with Jay Leno. 

    *There’s Al Sharpton on set in his more radical days talking about his plans in 1990 to shut down the A.C. Expressway the next morning to protest the lack of recreational activities for kids. 

   *I interviewed the legendary Jimmy Stewart April 4, 1991 and as I walked into the Flanders Hotel in Ocean City my news director was waiting for me outside. He wanted to tell me the news he just learned that Pennsylvania Senator John Heinz, who I knew and almost went to work for, was just killed in a plane crash.

   *I did my interview with Paul Anka and after we were done we were talking about legendary songwriter Sammy Cahn (also pictured) who had just died.  We were talking about how Sammy wrote Three Coins in a Fountain.  He said “did you ever hear the story of how I wrote My Way for Sinatra?”  We fired up the camera again and captured the great story.

I’ll share that story down the road and the other tales and experiences I had in South Jersey especially with Tony Bennett, Merv Griffin, Donald Trump and others.

Joe Bisicchia, John Kosich, Lisa Johnson, Megan Lopez

Joe Bisicchia, John Kosich, Lisa Johnson, Megan Lopez

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; The Gift That Keeps Giving

April 1, 2009
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and its host city shot from Newschopper 5

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and its host city shot from Newschopper 5


What would you say if someone said to you give me $92 and I’ll give you $107 back, then next year I’ll give you another $107 and so on and so on?   That is essentially the cash cow the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has been to Cleveland.   It cost $92 million to build the Rock Hall back in the early 90’s and it continues to pump $107 million annually into Northeast Ohio’s economy.  Not a bad return eh?

When I worked in politics years ago the Congressman I use to work for would always say “the roll of government isn’t to create jobs, the roll of government is to create the enviorment that enables the private sector to create jobs.”  Nothing exemplifies that more than the Rock Hall.

Since it’s opening in September 1995 more than 7-million visitors have passed through its doors.  It is the most attended Hall of Fame in the world.  More than 90% of them are from outside of the region, so they’re bringing their money from out of state and pumping it into not only the Rock Hall but our hotels and restaurants.   And if they’re here for an overnight stay they’re even more likely to check out Playhouse Square, University Circle or take in a Cavs or Indians game.  

But while it’s easy to look at the direct impact of the Hall there’s an impact you don’t see, it gives this city a sense of self!  Let’s face it the I.M. Pei designed building is a symbol synonomous with its host and enables Cleveland to offer conventions and sporting events something others can’t and never will have. 


When the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission pitches Cleveland to a major sporting event they usually have a mock up of the events logo with a Rock & Roll theme, work a guitar into it like they did with the NCAA Women’s Final Four in 2007.   Throw in the idea of the event hosting a reception at the Hall for its guests then all of a sudden you’ve landed a happening that will be putting more people in your hotel rooms and money in the regions pockets.   Not bad for a $92 million dollar investment.