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Gil Santos retiring from WBZ, but staying with WBCN

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by BadMoFo, Jan 29, 2009.

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  1. BadMoFo

    BadMoFo Rookie

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    Just saw it on the Herald.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2009
  2. BadMoFo

    BadMoFo Rookie

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    Re: Gil Santos retiring

    Longtime Boston WBZ sportscaster Santos retires
    1/29/2009, 4:32 p.m. EST
    By MARK PRATT
    The Associated Press

    BOSTON (AP) — The first contract sportscaster Gil Santos signed with WBZ radio was for 13 weeks.

    If they liked him, they said, they'd keep him.

    They loved him.

    Santos is retiring from the station after a 38-year run that covered six Boston Celtics NBA championships, three New England Patriots Super Bowl wins, two Boston Red Sox World Series crowns, world record-setting Boston Marathon finishes and two Boston Bruins Stanley Cup titles.

    "I have been a lucky guy," he said in summing up his career.

    Santos has spent a half-century in broadcasting during which his silky, deep voice became a comforting sound to generations of New England sports fans, both through his morning reports on the radio and as the play-by-play voice of the Patriots, a job he will continue after his retirement Friday.

    Santos, 70, had planned on staying at the station until 2010, but a white-knuckle car ride into work from his home south of Boston during an ice storm in December convinced him that it was time to step aside.

    "I love the work, but I just don't want to drive through this junk anymore," Santos, wearing a glittering Patriots Super Bowl ring, said just days before his final morning broadcast. "And let's face it, 3:30 in the morning is an awful time to get up."

    He'll continue to do the Patriots' games on WBZ's sister station, WBCN-FM, because play-by-play is what he loves most. He calls the Patriots 20-17 Super Bowl win over the St. Louis Rams in New Orleans in 2002 the highlight of his career.

    Santos, who's also been the radio voice of Boston College and Penn State football, did television broadcasts for the NBA's Boston Celtics during the Larry Bird era in the 1980s when the team won three championships.

    But on television, you're talking about a game the viewers can already see.

    "On radio, you're an artist," he said. "You're painting a picture on a canvas, because the listeners can't see it. And that's a lot more fun."

    Santos is old school, said Gary LaPierre, a 42-year veteran of the station who retired two years ago after working side-by-side with Santos for three decades.

    He's unassuming, he's not flamboyant, he doesn't need catch phrases or pizazz," LaPierre said. "He was just good."

    Right up to his final day at WBZ, Santos wrote his scripts on yellow paper using a vintage 1950s typewriter.

    Yet he also embraced technology, using the Internet to prepare for upcoming Patriots games by reading as much as possible on the team's opponent.

    "He's more prepared than (Patriots coach Bill) Belichick," LaPierre said. "He knows what the other team is, what they are not, and what the Patriots are going to do to against them."

    It was that preparation that stands out to his partners on the air.

    "Obviously he has a gift of a great voice," said Patriots color analyst Gino Cappelletti, a former Patriots wide receiver and kicker who has worked with Santos for 25 years. "But he also is one who's really a stickler for preparation. Sometimes I sit there and marvel."

    His familiar voice made him the radio station's biggest celebrity.

    "High school tours would come through the newsroom, and kids would hear that 'clack, clack, clack' of the typewriter, and they'd say 'What the heck is that?' because 14-year-olds these days have never heard a typewriter," Lapierre said. "But as soon as they found it was Gil, they flocked to his desk. He was the highlight of the tour."

    The Fairhaven native's professional career began in 1959 when he was hired by WNBH-AM in New Bedford to be a disc jockey and play-by-play man for local high school football and basketball broadcasts.

    Santos hadn't even finished college, but he landed the only job he'd ever wanted since he was 10 years old and listened to the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day.

    "Mel Allen was doing the game and he said, 'It's 80 degrees and sunny here in Pasadena,' and I was thinking, 'Geez, it's snowing here, it's 80 degrees there, and this guy's there to broadcast the game. What a great way to make a living,' and that's when I decided that's what I wanted to do."

    Santos plans on pretty much doing nothing in February. He'll eventually seek some part-time work, and continue to do commercial voiceovers. He'll still watch sports, but now it will be his grandson Jacob's hockey games, and granddaughter Hannah's softball games. He's looking forward to staying up past 8 p.m. with Roberta, his wife of 48 years.

    The station, meanwhile, is still looking for someone to permanently take over Santos' early morning shift.

    "But we'll never replace him," said programming director Peter Casey.
  3. Urgent

    Urgent Rookie

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    Re: Gil Santos retiring

    Retiring from his news radio; still will do Patriots play-by-play.
  4. cavtroop

    cavtroop Rookie

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    Re: Gil Santos retiring

    Im torn. Gil is an institution, however listening to him lately has been incredibly painful.

    "Bruschi with the tackle. No wait, it was Guyton. No, the runner is still going! Field goal by Tom Brady is good!"

    He either can't see the field, or has slowed down so much, that he has no idea whats happening. Its sad to listen to, to a point.
  5. Jimke

    Jimke Rookie

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    Re: Gil Santos retiring

    My favorite sportscaster for many years.
  6. BadMoFo

    BadMoFo Rookie

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    Re: Gil Santos retiring

    If anyone has ever heard Vin Scully, now that is the man. Also, a big fan of the late Chick Hearns. As much as I personally can't stand him, I think the Eagles have a legend in Merrill Reese.
  7. MassPats38

    MassPats38 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Re: Gil Santos retiring

    Good to hear he's still doing play-by-play. Definitely the voice of the Patriots.
  8. Patriots2001

    Patriots2001 Rookie

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    Re: Gil Santos retiring

    Just one more reminder of how old we are getting..Good luck Gil you are one of the best.
  9. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    Re: Gil Santos retiring


    I know what you mean. Next thing you know Howard Cossell will be stepping down. Boy, Monday Night Football just won't be the same without him.
  10. brady2brown

    brady2brown Rookie

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    Re: Gil Santos retiring

    Me, too. I remember him doing our football games for New Bedford High, but my favorite was him and Cousy doing the Celtics. Those two were awesome together.
  11. AFPatsFan12

    AFPatsFan12 Rookie

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    Re: Gil Santos retiring

    Gil certainly has lost a lot off of his play-by-play fastball, and it's nearly impossible to actually follow the game based solely on his call... but he's still got great pipes, and is still one of the best radio play-by-play guys in the game. If anyone feels compelled to complain about Gil, try sitting through a Bob Lamey (Colts) broadcast, or a Gene Deckerhoff (Bucs) broadcast, or a Steve Raible (Seahawks) broadcast, or a Dave Lapham (Bengals color analyst) broadcast.

    Gil, warts and all, is still in the upper tier of radio guys. I'd put him up there with Bob Papa (Giants), Bob Wischusen (Jets), and a couple of others whose names escape me (the Broncos play by play guy, for example).
  12. Patriot Power

    Patriot Power Rookie

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    Great pipes, great TD calls... but his time has passed, has for about 4 years now.

    The man cannot follow the play anymore. This year I did a lot of driving from point A to point B during halftimes, and I would usually have to catch the first part of 3rd quarter in my car before I arrived at point B.

    You can learn what happens in a play (whether its a positive or negative play) by listening to the roar of the crowd... Gil's call of the play will come 2-3 seconds after that.

    Anyone who heard his "call" of the Brady to Gaffney game winning TD in the Ravens game in 07 knows exactly what I'm talking about... the guy missed the entire play.

    Great career Gil, thanks for the memories... but its time to hang it up and let someone who can actually see call the game... in real time... not in geriatric delay.
  13. Patriot Power

    Patriot Power Rookie

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    Re: Gil Santos retiring

    +1. Nostalgia has no place in play by play. If you can't do the job anymore, you can't do the job... hang it up Gil, you suck these days.
  14. groundgame

    groundgame Rookie

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    Re: Gil Santos retiring


    Scully right up there with Curt Gowdy as two of the top 5 play-by-play announcers in the 20th century. My picks: 1. Harry Carey. 2. Curt Gowdy 3. Mel Allen 4. Vin Scully 5. Al Michaels
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2009
  15. pats60

    pats60 Rookie

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    He was the Ted Williams of the radio.
  16. AFPatsFan12

    AFPatsFan12 Rookie

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    Re: Gil Santos retiring

    His Brady to Moss to Brady to Gaffney call against Pittsburgh in 2007 was extremely painful. Poor Gil spent about 2 full minutes trying to convince himself that it was Brady to Moss to Brady to Stallworth... ugh...

    What's stunning is how many PBP guys are just as bad, if not worse. Bill Hillgrove in Pittsburgh is another one, and is probably the Steelers "Gil"; a great voice with great TD calls to this day... but he can't follow a basic play.

    As I said earlier, though, I'll still take Gil and Gino over most other broadcast teams today. Call me nuts, but I'd rather have Gil and Gino over the Miami guys any day of the week. I'll cringe along with every Gil mistake, but it's still better than this:

    Dolphins score on a 1 yard rushing TD in the first quarter:

    PBP: Brown, with the car...
    Random Color Guy #1: YEEESSSSSSSSSS
    RGC #2: THERE YA GO!!!!!!!
    RGC #1: ALLLLLLRIIIIIGGGHHHHHTTT MIAAAAAAAMMMMMIIIIIIII!!!!!!
    RGC #2 NICE PLAY!!! WAY TO GO RONNIE!!!!
    RGC #1: I'LL TELL YA, HE JUST HIT THAT HOLE AND GOT THE DOLPHINS 6!! YES!!!
    PBP: Carpenter hits the Extra P...
    RGC #2 GREAT PLAY!!!!

    Ugh... it's embarrassing. Gil's homerism is scattered and very subtle, which is exactly what you want from the hometown radio guys. The Dolphins guys are clowns, and I'm afraid that after Gil and Gino ride off into the sunset, we'll get stuck with two knuckleheads like that.
  17. captadamnj

    captadamnj Rookie

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    Love his calls, even if they aren't always accurate. He eventually gets it right...usually! Love the Pats radio broadcasts! Even when watching on TV, many times will listen to it on the radio for the call over the announcers on TV. Also nice to listen to at the game itself.
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