Tuesday, April 8, 2014

From The Booth

The reason I call this blog “From The Booth” is because of the multitude of stories that emanated from the rickety old structure located at the corner of Highways E and 31 in beautiful Somers, Wisconsin. The booth wasn’t always rickety and old. But it got that way in a short amount of time. It took a beating. Just check out the photo at the top of the blog.

Occupying the historic booth in that photo from left to right are: Bruce Heide (barely visible in the shadows) Kurt “Sonny” Jorgensen, myself, Rick “Cardo” Bloomquist and Leon Rosko. Conservatively speaking, that’s about 1500 pounds of beef. And that’s with only five of us up there. You would easily double that number for tournament final games or on an all-star night.

You can understand that wooden floors that doubled as a ceiling for the concession stand creaked and squeaked with a good amount of regularity. I always felt that the ladies down below serving concessions should have been issued hardhats and received hazard pay.

Now, not all of crew that worked upstairs in the booth was as hefty as the bunch in the photo, but you get my point. Here is a fairly comprehensive list of the regular people:

The Booth Announcers
Jason Cruezinger
Randy Donais
Bob “Jocko” Harrison
Paul “PJ” Johnson
Bob Nyberg
Joe Perry
Jill Perry
Leon Rosko
Gregg Sinnen
Paul “Puddles” Vagnoni
Jim “the Screamer” Webber

The Booth Scoreboard Operators
Rick Anderson
Dave Fleming
Joe Ganero
Bruce Heide
Dave Mann
Mike Murphy
Alexander Sadowski III
Glen Skendzl
J.J. Steinhoff
Sam Steinhoff
Danielle Webber

Much chicanery took place in that booth. So much so, I wrote an entire chapter about it in my second book, “More Kenosha Softball.” Here is a short excerpt:

“The announcer’s booth soon became a major attraction at Finney’s West. With a clubhouse-like atmosphere, the booth was the place to be. Sports were discussed, hot dogs, popcorn and beers were consumed, cigarettes, cigars and what have you were smoked, farts were farted and nasty remarks were made on a nightly basis. Oh ya, and softball games were announced. All in that wooden booth that sat high atop the concession stand.”

Needless to say there were more than announcers and scoreboard operators up in that booth. We weren’t the only ones up there eating, drinking, farting and making nasty comments. Not by a long shots. Players and fans loved to stop upstairs if only to enjoy the view. Most of the time they stayed long enough to enjoy more than the view.

Characters like Rick “Cardo” Bloomquist, Kurt “Sonny” Jorgensen, John “Kool Papa” Schwarz and Craig “Hands” Tabbert made the booth an interesting and hilarious place to be. I have many tales from the booth that didn’t make my book that need to be told. I just need to figure out which ones are suitable to share. Hmm…

Until next time…from the booth.

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