Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bob Ryan from the Boston Globe

Bangor’s sports station, WZON, has again had another successful event. This time it was having Bob Ryan, long-time sports reporter for The Boston Globe, come and speak to a group of 350+ sports fans at the Bangor Event Center tonight.

For only $10 per ticket, we were treated to over 90 minutes of Mr Ryan’s incredible knowledge of all things Boston-sports. While a majority of the conversation was focused on the Red Sox (AL Wild Card team) who are getting ready for the post-season, and the New England Patriots, who have started their new season decently while questions about Tom Brady’s recovery from the off-season knee surgery continue to bounce around the great Northeast, he also touched upon the Boston Bruins, who will be starting their season tomorrow night, and the Boston Celtics who have just started training camp.

Mr. Ryan was asked “which Boston athlete has/had the biggest ego”: Roger Clemens. He was asked greatest Celtic player: Bill Russell. Regarding Boston Bruins #4, Bobby Orr, Bob Ryan feels that he was the greatest hockey player....EVER. While tipping his cap to the incredible talent of Wayne Gretzky, he singled out that in Orr’s days, the defensemen pretty much stuck to defense and would only score 15 or 20 points a season. But Orr came in and would get 100 points in a season, and would give a check as well as he would take one, something that Gretzky didn’t do very much of.

He also discussed other Boston sports related topics such as Celtics announcer Johnny Most (“some stories I just can’t tell”), Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski, Celtic Larry Bird, Fenway Park’s upgrades, his honest opinion that the Yankees are the likely team to win the World Series this year (and since they’ve spent over $423 million trying to buy another championship, it seems that this year they’ve finally bought their best opportunity in the past 10 years, he said), and his inside info on the ESPN show Pardon The Interruption and hosts Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon, crediting executive producer Erik Rydholm with creating the countdown-clock format, the games on the show, the 5-Good-Minutes segment and others. Bob did say that Kornheiser and Wilbon have been friends for a long time due to their jobs at the Washington Post and apparently they would have these sports-talks, going back and forth on a topic and then switching topics. Somewhere along the line, it became a show for ESPN, and Rydholm was instrumental in giving the show it’s format, a format that is copied by so many other shows now. And by the way, PTI has been on the air for 8 years now!

Prior to his presentation, Ann Marie’s Kitchen had a buffet (part of the ticket fee) which was great. I mention this because in addition to WZON, there are other sponsors who help bring these types of events up here to our area. Thanks also to EBS Building Supply, Eastern Maine Medical Center, Charles Dean Memorial Hospital, Dunnet Inc, and the Bangor Daily News for making this one happen.

Before his presentation ended, Bob was asked: who is the better writer, him (Ryan) or Dan Shaughnessy (another Boston Globe writer). Bob acknowledged that they’re both good writers and the Globe is lucky to have them! haha! He did the straighten-my-tie move as he said it. Good stuff.

WZON's Jeff Solari (left) with Bob Ryan (that's my Bruins jersey on the wall, by the way)

Thanks always to the WZON crew - Dale Duff, Clem LaBree, Jeff Solari, Pat Spekhardt, Toby Nelson, and the sales staff (Bill, Carrie, Kenny V and Jim), the interns and anybody I missed. The biggest thanks go to Bob Ryan for taking time out of a very busy schedule to come up to our little neck of New England: Bangor, Maine.

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