(Long Island, NY) Remembering back when I was a kid, there was no cable television, satellite dishes and other modern day conveniences. If we wanted to watch a game, you had Channels 9 and 11. The big networks had sports on the weekends, but it was more specialized. The meat and potatoes were on the two channels. And they showed most of the games that were on the team’s schedule. Not like they have now with a few cameos.
Channel 9 was my favorite because they showed the Mets, Knicks and Rangers. You had Kiner’s Corner on after the Met game ended, with it usually being a loss in those days. And Ralph actually hosted his own show, unlike the more recent version.
Channel 11 showed the Yankees, and had some great announcers. The Scooter, Phil Rizzuto, being the best. Even though I was a Mets fan, I watched as many games as I could and always enjoyed that “Holy cow” when something exciting happened.
It’s ironic that the teams now have switched stations. The American League Yankees were always on 11, and the Mets followed the Brooklyn Dodgers as the National League team on 9.
Football was on the networks back then similar to now. The Jets were on Channel 4 and the Giants on Channel 2. Monday Night Football was on Channel 7 and had the three man booth headed by Howard Cosell. If you have never heard him call a game, you have done yourself a disservice. Loved by some and hated by most, he was one of a kind.
Channel 7 also carried “ABC’s Wide World of Sports” on Saturday afternoon (‘the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat’) and Friday Night Fights. Picture watching a heavyweight bout on free TV these days.
Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love all the sports channels out today. I’m an ESPN junkie. I’ll watch anything as long as they’re keeping score. And sports talk radio is another fabulous invention. Back in the day, all we had was a few hours a week on 770 AM WABC with “Sports Talk with Art Russ Jr.” I was even on the air once with him during a call-in segment.
My only complaint with today’s sports coverage is that the stations feel the need to go over the top competing with each other. It was more straight forward back then. No crazy graphics and screaming announcers. Just guys that knew the game telling us what was happening.
Sports, television and radio go hand in hand. The more coverage, the better. I’m just glad that they invented the remote control.