For over 30 years Red Sox Nation has listened to Joe Castglione call Boston baseball on the airwaves. Over that time, the Connecticut native has called some of the highest highs (the World Series titles that broke “The Curse of the Bambino”) and the lowest of lows (the team’s collapse down the stretch against the Rays, the walk-off loss to the Yankees), but through it all the Colgate University graduate has kept fans informed and entertained. Castiglione recently penned his story at the mic for the Red Sox, “Can You Believe It? 30 Years Of Insider Stories With The Boston Red Sox,” (with Douglas Lyons).
We caught up with Castiglione to talk baseball, broadcasting and all things Red Sox.
What has been the most positive and the most negative aspect of broadcasting that you have seen in your career?
First, getting information and entertainment to all of the passionate baseball fans and especially to the people who consider baseball to be the main source of entertainment in their life. The use of automation and getting away from local programming in local radio stations in sports markets is a negative trend. There are certain markets where local programming has faded away and most of the radio shows are now nationally syndicated.
Taking away those final World Series calls, what is your next best-memory of calling the Sox?
The “Morgan Magic” Era of 1988 when Joe Morgan took over as manager: Winning 12 games in a row and 19 of 20 and winning 24 straight at home.
What was the toughest?
The Yankees’ Aaron Boone’s walk-off home run 2003 NLCS off Tim Wakefield.
Of all the athletes you have talked to over the years, who are the three best interviews and why?
It’s impossible to pick the three best, but here are a few of my favorites.
– Pedro Martinez is the most charismatic athlete I’ve ever met.
– Kirby Puckett was such a nice person and easy to interview. His enthusiasm was infectious and he was a really fun guy to be around.
– Joe Maddon is always so insightful and innovative in his interviews.
What do you think of all the use of social media today for fans and athletes? Does it help or hinder the game?
It does both. It spreads a lot of interest but I think it can be disruptive to a team. Too much private information is being spread about players’ personal lives. I don’t tweet because I don’t think any good would come of it. I have a microphone to get my message across so I really don’t need Twitter.
Your son Duke is quite an accomplished broadcaster as well in New York with Fox Five. What advice did you give him as he started in the business?
I told him to take care of the people you work with, especially your cameramen and editors, because they can make or break you. I warned him about the “perils” of management. I taught him how to be prepared for the day-to-day of his job, which no one ever really taught me.
You have had an array of partners over the years, any favorite memories from them?
I have great memories from all of them. I’ll always remember Bob Feller and watching him play catch with my kids. Ken Coleman brought me to Boston and I’ll always appreciate that, too.
The Sox seem to have lost their way again from the end of last season to the slow start this year; does it make it any less interesting for you when the team struggles?
It doesn’t make it less interesting, but it’s not nearly as much fun when you’re losing. But you always look for good games and individual performances. You’re always looking for something positive.
For example, in September 1996 the Sox played the Tigers in Detroit. Neither team was going anywhere that year, but all of the sudden Clemens goes out and strikes out 20 batters for the second time in his career.
So much is made of Red Sox nation, what makes it so special to you?
The loyalty, the passion of the fans both home and away, and the worldwide appeal makes it so special and powerful. People are literally listening from all over the world.
Anything in baseball you haven’t yet called that you hope you will?
I’ve never called a perfect game. I’ve done no-hitters, but calling a perfect game would be something special.