About three months ago, back when bars existed, I was spouting off at my local about something. Why I now love the idea of a London NFL franchise. Why Lee Trevino is underrated historically. Why Korean women dominate the LPGA but Korean men are non-existent on the men’s tour. (I think it’s about size and that’s why Sungjae Im is breaking through.) A friend of mine said, “You should have a sports radio show.”
I responded how I always respond.
“Find me the market where I can talk exclusively about football and golf and I’m in.” (I’ve narrowed these markets down to Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida and the greater Pinehurst, North Carolina metropolitan area.)
I then went into my routine refrain. I talked about Marc Silverman. Silvy of Waddle & Silvy.
Before a Long Time, There’s a First Time.
I remember when Waddle & Silvy started.
It was about two years after DBB did. I was working a desk job, as the Associate General Manager of the Helen Hayes Theatre on Broadway (a job I was TERRIBLE at), and I gave their show a shot because Tom Waddle was my favorite player growing up. To that point in my life I had only listened to one sports station (WFAN in NY) and truly only one show (Mike and the Mad Dog). But if I was going to do this blog thing seriously, I needed to know what was being discussed in Chicago. So why not listen to Waddle and this other guy?
I had never heard of Marc Silverman.
Then I heard him.
The first thing that stood out to me was the voice. It was like Malört pouring through my computer speakers. I didn’t feel like I was in Manhattan listening to a show in Chicago. I felt like I was in Chicago, sitting on my favorite bar stool at Pippin’s, listening to a guy from Skokie tell me why I was wrong about everything. The accent lent an authenticity to the opinion. It commanded attention.
The second thing, the more important thing, was the passion. And still to this day, I’m mesmerized by it. Cubs. Bulls. Blackhawks. Bears. The entire year, every season, every team. What always amazed me about Mike and the Dog was their ability to yell and scream about a decision made by the Mets manager in the fourth inning of a ballgame in May. It was obvious from that first listen that Silvy was the same. This wasn’t produced rage. It wasn’t performance. It was authentic passion. Silvy gave a shit.
And sports radio, good local sports radio, is all about giving a shit. The airwaves are littered with folks who take a third-person approach to sports, treating ballgames as comic fodder. They all think they’re Norm Macdonald. (They’re not.) They all wanna be Howard Stern. (Ain’t happening.) Those of us who truly love sports know what it means to give a shit.
Emotionally investing is hard. Emotionally investing in a public forum is even harder. It’s an art form. And Marc Silverman is a master.
That Thing He Did.
I have no idea what year.
I have no idea why I wasn’t at some job.
I was walking around, listening to Fiddler on the Roof, I’m sure, debating which bar stool to plop my ass down on for the afternoon.
I chose Spring Lounge. In those days, I chose Spring Lounge a lot.