August 9, 2023
It was August 1978. Forty-five years ago. Yikes!
The first professional athlete that I was fortunate to interview was Red Sox second baseman Jerry Remy. We talked while leaning against the infield tarp located down the right field line at Fenway Park. I remember it like it was yesterday.
Prior to the interview, I was thrilled to meet multiple players during batting practice…and for simply being on the field itself. Hell, I was standing on my beloved Fenway Park baseball diamond where Ted Williams and my favorite player as a young boy, Tony Conigliaro, stood. I thought I was dreaming.
Remy would later go on to become an American League All-Star, an iconic Red Sox color analyst on NESN (New England Sports Network), and a member of the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame.
I interviewed Jerry for the first edition of my new publication, Southeastern Sports & Entertainment – a monthly tabloid publication serving Southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod. The publication focused mostly on high school and local amateur sports. However, it also featured my personal column known as Pro Profile.
Remy was chosen as my first interview since he was a baseball star and graduate of Somerset High School, which was in my publication’s distribution area.
Sadly, Jerry passed away from cancer in 2021 at the age of 68. He has been greatly missed in the Boston sports scene.
However, prior to my interview with Jerry, memories take me back to when (and how) I got started in journalism and the Publishing Industry…
My interest in sports media began in 1977.
While living in Marina Del Rey, California, a good friend of mine introduced me to someone who worked for the monthly publication, Los Angles Sports Magazine. I never worked for the publication, but I was allowed to visit the office to watch them produce their magazine. It was fun and intriguing.
Interestingly, back then, ‘cut and paste’ in the production department of a publication meant that one would actually ‘cut’ the paper on which the written copy was printed…then, literally, ‘paste’ it to the layout board, which would go to the printer. Ahh…the good ‘ole days.
Soon thereafter, I got a job for the publication, Burbank Sports & Entertainment – a bimonthly tabloid publication focused on amateur sports in the northern LA area. I sold ads for the publication for a brief time.
From those experiences, I was driven to get into the Publishing Industry.
In the winter of 1978, I drove from LA back to my hometown in Massachusetts to begin my media journey.
Yes, you read that correctly…the winter of 1978. I got home the night the ‘Blizzard of ’78’ began! For those unfamiliar with that storm, the northeast got hit with over 2-feet of snow. Highways were shut down up and down the east coast.
The ‘Man upstairs’ took safe care of me during that trip across the USA. But that’s a blog for another time.
Since my original objective was to develop a monthly, regional, sports tabloid, I only needed a small, part-time staff, plus contract laborers to commence. Luckily, I knew a production manager of a local newspaper, so that key position was quickly filled. My job was to plan editorial content and manage advertising sales. And since the publication was focused on high school sports, the first edition was scheduled for September, so I had about six months to put it all together.
While the venture was far more work than I could have ever imagined, it was my Pro Profile column that gave me the most anxiety. I wasn’t overly worried about the actual interviews; it was gaining interviews that was my biggest concern.
From the beginning, I knew who I wanted for my first column. Jerry Remy, a native of Southeastern Massachusetts, had just been traded to the Red Sox from the Anaheim Angles, so he was perfect. However, I was told that dealing with the Red Sox was no easy chore. Plus, Remy had a reputation of being a cranky guy.
Both proved to be correct, but I prevailed.
So, on an August afternoon in Boston, I picked up my press credentials and walked onto the field at Fenway Park. It was a moment in my life that I’ll never forget.
And, yes, Remy was indeed a surly little guy, but the interview went well – and my first column was a big hit. I used Jerry’s photo as my publication’s first cover…and it flew off the shelves.
Within a year, I started plans for a weekly newspaper and my publishing company was off and running.
Now, 45 years later, here I am. It has been both fun and an incredible adventure.