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Late Night Sports Radio

Voices in the Country

Voices in the Country

3:06 a.m. I wake up, flip on my bedside transistor to see what they are talking about on WFAN 660 AM out of New York City.

I’m in rural Chatham County, NC, with three acres, heavy woods with eight kinds of trees, and a creek. Crickets, cicadas, and tree frogs are chiming—the cacophony scared a visitor from Los Angeles once, and friends from Pittsburgh noted how dark it is at night out here.

The outstanding Tony Paige is hosting as usual. It occurs to me that he’s African American and that I rarely hear any callers with African American accents. Never any women, either. Obama won New York in 2008 with nearly two-thirds of the vote. I wonder how many Obama voters are listening to the radio right now.

The Yankees have won three in a row and are 19 games over .500, the third best record in baseball among 30 teams, yet the callers aren’t pleased.

Archie in Manhattan: “We’re stuck with (Yankee pitcher) A.J. Burnett, Tony. I don’t think he’s pitched a good game in two years.”

Justin in Milford: “We can’t rely on Burnett in the post-season. When we signed Burnett I thought he’d be a solid number-two starter. But we can’t rely on this guy.”

Jason in Bay Shore, Long Island: “Tony, why doesn’t Derek Jeter sign autographs?”

Paige: “Because he knows somebody will sell the autograph for thousands of dollars. He’s like Picasso in Spain; he can’t find home. If you gave Picasso a map of Spain to sign he wouldn’t sign it. It’s time for a commercial break. There are a couple of phone lines open. The number is 877-337-6666.”

The first spot is for the Feld Law Firm, a personal injury firm with a focus on construction and worksite injuries. I think of John Edwards; he and Elizabeth built a 28,000-square-foot home not far from here a few years ago. Two Americas, or at this hour, only one obsessive one?

3:23 a.m.

Sam Stephenson is currently working on a biography of W. Eugene Smith for Farrar, Straus and Giroux.  He is also working on Chaos Manor, a theater installation based on his The Jazz Loft Project (Knopf, 2009). More by Sam Stephenson

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