2013 Year in Review. July. Lovallo back to painting the baseball picture.
“You got a good sound, man.
Sounds like bells skipping across a clear lake.”
Eddie and the Cruisers
NEW BRITAIN – Dan Lovallo has always had a good sound and a big dream. And 41 years after his first radio broadcast nothing has changed.
You can find Lovallo these days on Fox Radio – 1410, calling games for the New Britain Rock Cats. The latest stop in a career full of sending out a sound across the air waves with Nat King Cole smoothness and never ending wave of enthusiasm.
On this sun-drenched Sunday Lovallo, nattily attired in white khakis and a black polo shirt that along with his svelte physique strongly challenge the 58-years that his birth certificate indicates, is ensconced in a somewhat closet-like makeshift radio booth. Hardly luxurious, clearly functional.
The air is heavy, the heat outside stifling. But, there is no better seat in the house and there is nowhere Lovallo would rather be.
Lovallo has seen and voiced much behind the microphone. That first broadcasting gig came during his senior year at Torrington High School in 1972 when Mr. Mike McKenna (yep, that Mike `Golden Foot’ McKenna who is now the Red Raiders Athletic Director), booted a game-winning field goal on Thanksgiving Day as Torrington beat archrival Watertown.
Lovallo would later cover Housatonic football for WKZE in Sharon. On the basketball beat he broadcast Hartford games when they were in the CBA and from 1996-98 he was the voice of the New England Blizzard of Jen Rizzotti, Carla Berube and Kara Walters in the American Basketball League. An assignment he still remembers with a big smile.
There was a stint doing the University of Hartford’s men games. There was even a hockey game in the mix.
Lovallo’s radio resume is not confined to the sports world. He worked the afternoon show for Buckley Broadcasting for several years which was carried on WSNG-Torrington, WWCO-Waterbury, WDRC-Hartford and WMMM – Meriden and included a mix of political and every-day talk and conversation.
Most recently Lovallo has been doing an afternoon show on WAPJ- Torrington on every day issues.
It’s all there, a lot of years and a lot of topics. And it has all been great. But, give Lovallo a baseball game and well, that’s his seventh heaven. And eighth, ninth and tenth. Forget the heat, the sweat, the idea that on a Sunday like this some would prefer to be on the back porch sipping a mint julep or in the hammock snoozing it all away.
While they are dreaming, this is living the dream. Lovallo broadcast the Kinston (N.C.) Blue Jays for a pair of seasons (1983-84) and then moved up to do the AAA Richmond Braves for four years (1984-88).
His work was good enough to grab the attention of the Pittsburg Pirates and Cleveland Indians.
“I came close a couple of times to getting a big league job,” says Lovallo. “I just missed out.”
Lovallo came home for family reasons after 1988 and continued his career on a state and local level.
When Buckley Broadcasting acquired the rights to the New Rock Cats in 2000, Lovallo was a natural fit to handle the microphone. For eight seasons he called Rock Cats games until Buckley stopped doing the games in 2008.
It was a rich time to be doing Rock Cat games as future major league stars, Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer came through along with pitcher Francisco Lariano.
After a five-year absence, Lovallo returned to the Rock Cats this season. Bill Dowling, who owned the team, sold to Josh Solomon who brought back Dowling to run the team the rest of the season.
“One of the first things Bill said was, let’s get Dan back,” said Lovallo.
Lovallo, who also works at Carbone’s Market in Torrington, expects to do about 25 games this season and is looking forward and beyond.
“It’s nice to be back and (broadcasting major league games) will always be the dream. So if you know anybody…..,” said Lovallo with a wistful smile.
Lovallo does both play-by-play and color, switching off with his partner Jeff Dooley.
“We work well together, we both know when to talk and when not to talk,” said Lovallo.
Play-by-play is his preference and he works his craft well.
“You have to paint a picture on radio and make it somewhat entertaining,” said Lovallo. “You’re working day-in and day-out and you have to be more than just balls and strikes. You form a bond with you audience.”
Listening to Lovall is listening to a master at work although he does admit that early in his career with Kinston he alerted the audience to some action in the bullpen by telling them the pitcher was, “throwing up in the bullpen.” After the game the owner told him he hoped the pitcher was feeling better and Lovallo didn’t know what the owner was talking about.
It all doesn’t hurt these days to be working for the Minnesota Twins organization.
“The Twins are as classy organization as you could be associated with,” said Lovallo. “They come through here a couple of times a year and GM Terry Ryan is always asking how’s Dan doing. It means a lot. “
On this day Lovallo is well-prepped as always and measured in his delivery as New Britain is on its way to a 1-0 win over the Trenton Thunder. It is a performance that two of his favorites, 85-year old Dodger announcer the legendary Vin Scully and former Yankee great Mel Allen would have respected.
So the dream lives on for Lovallo. Who knows maybe some smart GM will latch on to those bells skipping across a clear lake. If they don’t, it doesn’t matter. Lovallo will still be living the dream in the best seat in the house on any day.