Chapter 8: Catching a break with John Steadman at The News American

March 12, 2012 | Nestor Aparicio

Musberger, you had NOTHING on Marv Albert.

Kenny came to Baltimore to cut his teeth with Skipjacks in public relations and by doing the ‘Jacks games on WITH-AM 1230.

Because we had so much in common — we LOVED hockey and really because the ‘Jacks didn’t have much of anybody around in general in the way of media — Kenny and I got to know each other. He thought it would be a great idea for me to sit in the booth with him and do color commentary since I knew so much about the team and about hockey and hockey history in Baltimore. Knowing the Skipjacks was the main part of my job, as I saw it, and it was fun playing “radio guy” during the games, even though there couldn’t have been more than 100 people listening.

Kenny was invited by the “poobahs” at WITH to start a daily “New York-style” sports radio show before the games on weeknights that winter. Because of Skipjacks travel and other commitments, Kenny needed a sidekick and offered the chance to Jerry Coleman (the former 98 Rock sports guy) and me. At the time, WBAL was doing Orioles baseball — it was the offseason between Memorial Stadium and Camden Yards, so the buzz about baseball in Baltimore was palpable — and had started a pre-game afternoon talk show at 6 with Jeff Rimer (a show called “Sportsline”), who coincidentally knew as much hockey as Kenny, but less about Baltimore baseball than me.

The WITH show would begin at 5 — an hour jumpstart on WBAL — and would go until 7, when either the Skipjacks coverage would begin or we would just go home and the little radio station would revert back to playing Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra. It was a complete and total big band radio station, except when we were on the air screaming about the Orioles!

The first time I ever did radio alone was in February of 1992, when Kenny left me to fly solo with his father, who was visiting and wanted to sit in with his son for a radio hockey broadcast.

After 30 minutes of interviewing him — and with a full hour left to go before I threw to Kenny for the Skipjacks’ game — Marv Albert got up during a break, shook my hand and attempted to leave for the then-Baltimore Arena to be with his son.

I absolutely BEGGED him not to leave me in that studio because I really and truly didn’t know what I was doing. He patted me on the back, told me I’d be just fine and walked out the door, laughing at me.

I immediately rushed to the phone and called four of my beer buddies and told them to call at 15-minute intervals so I wouldn’t have to talk to myself. My first solo hour of sports radio on that cold February night was the longest hour of my life. Marv Albert threw me off the deck of the boat and told me to swim for the shore — and I suppose I did.

But, man, was his kid Kenny Albert GOOD on the radio, even at 23 in late 1991.

And 15 years later, Kenny is now one of the leading men of Fox Sports — doing EXACTLY what his father did before him and taught him to do. He is the voice of the NHL Rangers (his first love, through and through) and does MLB and NFL for the network each week. He has reached, if not surpassed, what his Dad has accomplished in sports broadcasting.

In my case, what could I possibly do that’s any greater than what my cousin had achieved by being in the baseball Hall of Fame?

I can talk my ass off, but I’m never gonna play shortstop for the Orioles, let alone do it at a Hall of Fame level!

For me, getting a job (and for the record, I’ve only really had about four real jobs in my life) was never about my last name. But my Pop always wanted me to keep the last name Aparicio —