SSTN Interviews Cary Greene
SSTN: Today we are here with Cary Greene.
Cary is a sales leader in corporate America, who was a stand out, multi-sport athlete in high school and college. He began his professional career as high school English teacher, varsity baseball and basketball coach and professional fly-fishing guide in the Catskills, before moving into corporate-America where he worked in various leadership capacities for companies including Orvis, Cabelas, Benjamin Moore - to name a few. Cary is now in the estate planning industry and he works with individuals who are getting ready to retire, helping them plan and transfer retirement savings into financial products designed to provide lifetime retirement income, death benefits and guaranteed safety during these challenging and unpredictable times.
Cary is a popular blogger who not only writes for Start Spreading the News, but he also frequently contributes to stripersonline.com and other fishing-related blogs.
His life-long passion for the outdoors centers around fly-fishing, both in saltwater for species like Stripers, Permit, Tarpon, Giant Trevally, Tarpon and also in freshwater, for Trout, Greyling and all species of Salmon including elusive Atlantic Salmon. Cary became an expert-level fly-tyer and he's taught freshwater and saltwater fly-tying and fly-fishing schools for over 30 years.
Besides his love for fly-fishing, Cary is also an avid surf-fisherman who uses both conventional and spinning surf rods and reels to throw custom-made wood "plugs" (lures), Tins and all sorts of other saltwater lures in pursuit of saltwater species from open beaches and jetties along the New England coastlines.
In his downtime, Cary does presentations on a wide range of subjects for large fishing clubs and he's also a foodie who enjoys grilling, spending time on the water, beach combing, fine dining and gardening and of course following Yankee baseball. In addition to loving the Yankees his whole life, Cary also follows the Pirates, the A's, the Steelers, the Raiders, the Patriots and of course, Syracuse Basketball. There's often a ballgame playing in the background when Cary is on the water.
Cary, it's great to talk with you in this forum and to allow our readers to get to know you better.
Super happy to have this discussion with you Paul, I've been a big fan of SSTN and also your writing - which I think is really cool! To begin, please tell us how you became a baseball fan. I became a baseball fan as a kid, my dad - a former New York State "Teacher of the Year" in Industrial Arts at Newark Valley High School in the Southern-Tier, located in upstate, NY - passed his passion for baseball to me. Baseball was extremely popular in the town I grew up in and it seemed like a really big percentage of the elementary and middle-school age kids were super into baseball. We had a big little league program and everybody collected baseball cards we played a ton of pickup baseball and stickball games back in those days - something you really don't see kids doing in today's world. We also played a lot of sandlot football and outdoor basketball so sports were a really big deal for a kid like me. My parents gave me a mitt, a few balls and that's all it took. I was "all-in!" My dad took me to the hall of fame when I was eight-years-old and my room was soon decorated with souvenirs. I was a huge fan of the game and I just thought baseball was a fantastic game in all regards. What is your first great baseball memory? My first great baseball memory was watching the 1972 A's beat the Reds in a 7-game World Series classic. It might have been one of the best series ever played as the seventh and decisive game was a real thriller. Catfish Hunter got the win and I was only seven but I was pretty glued to the spectacle and the drama of the series. It was also really cool having a televised game as sports wasn't on TV like it is today. I remember bouncing off the walls when it was over! As Sparky Anderson said in reference to the '72 Series, "Everybody says the Cincinnati-Boston World Series in 1975 was the best in history," "I don't. I'll always maintain that the best Series I was ever involved in was the 1972 World Series against Oakland. That's because those were two of the finest ball clubs to go against each other that you'll ever see in I don't know how long." Certainly I didn't grasp all that at the young age of seven-years-old, but all I knew is that it was fascinating, beyond anything I had ever imagined. I became obsessed with baseball then and collecting baseball cards became amazingly fun. Imagine the joy of buying a pack or two, or three of bubble-gum cards, opening them up and discovering a Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Gene Tenace, Rollie Fingers or Catfish Hunter card? My lord. It was like you'd won the lottery. We weren't even aware baseball cards would one day be valuable. That's not what collecting them back in those days was remotely about. As a young fan, what did you do to keep your interest in the game? (Did you play ball, collect cards, etc...?) I'd have to credit Baseball Card collecting in this department. As I became a teenager, it became fun to play advanced baseball games like Strat-O-Matic Baseball, where my friends and I could literally manage a team for an entire season. We had informal leagues in middle-school, where big groups of kids would play out entire seasons. We also played complex military strategy games like Rise and Decline of the Third Reich - an Avalon Hill board-game. Who are some of your favorite players over the years? Some of my favorite players that played in my lifetime were Brooks Robinson, Graig Nettles, Thurman Munson, Ron Guidry, David Wells, Tommy John, Reggie Jackson, Vida Blue, Catfish Hunter, Willie Randolph, Paul O'Neill, Derek Jeter, Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench, Carl Yastrzemski, Willie Stargell, Dave Parker and Mariano Rivera. Currently, my favorite player is Nestor Cortes Jr. Does he even belong in the same sentence with all these other players I've mentioned? Time will tell. Why do you write about baseball? Mainly I do it for my friends on this site, off the top of my head, people like fuster, the Professor, OB, Hammer, CP, Phil, Andy, Owen, Chiggie, ETB, Tim, Derek, Paul, Jack, Seeker, Sal, Ethan, EJ, Mack and so many of the other really cool Yankee fans that form this community and participate in all the threads. I love reading all of their comments and I write about baseball to entertain them and to commune with them regarding Yankee baseball. A little known fact that our readers wouldn't understand unless I pointed it out is that you Paul, have inspired me to write. You've meant so much to me and so has Andy Singer. It's a real privilege to have experts help a relative novice do something they all enjoy. I'm an expert and fishing and fly-tying. You guys are baseball experts. Some of the people I mentioned above are also really knowledgeable baseball fans. I've always thought the Yankees had the most knowledgeable, savvy fan base of any team in any city. I know there are tons of wonderful fans out there from all teams and I say this humbly and with respect to all of them. But the Yankee fans are really amazing, they're into the New York Yankees. Religiously. They used to even expect World Series championships every year - something that perhaps Hal Steinbrenner has undermined with the way he runs the team (had to get a zinger in there). What do you like to focus on in your writing? Nothing really. I think influences like yourself, Andy and EJ open up topics that are fascinating. Other baseball blogs out there just don't compare. Also, the tolerance for opposing opinions and the way the participants here get along is really special. No one is condescending or full of themselves. That's a reflection of the environment that you and Ethan and Andy have created I'm quite sure. When I was in college, the art majors used to come to me for ideas on projects. I was an English-Major and I have always been very creative. It's never hard to find a person who has a lot of ideas. It's more about what you do with an idea and how you implement it that really matters, so towards that end, I tend to write articles that have more of a global perspective - in the Yankees case, that means I look around at the competition a lot. I tend to become bored with an over-focus on just one thing or team. That's what's cool about baseball. There's more going on than just the goings-on of a particular team. That's why it's hard for me to listen to New York talk-radio. I can't listen to Giants-Jets-Yankees-Mets-Nets-Knicks all day long. My attention span for that would be about 15 minutes, on a good day. Why, do you believe, are people so drawn to baseball and its stories, legends, and people? Because baseball truly is America's national pastime. Go to a fireman's BBQ in a small town some place and you'll likely see little league games going on and bands playing in pavilions and maybe a carnival or some sort of festival happening. The history that baseball has recorded has made it a truly significant game, one that is easy to like. When the playoffs start every year, we really see the passion of the fans. Baseball is a game that fans love. They don't just like it.
There's a lot of talk about baseball needing to be "fixed." Is baseball broken? If you were the Commissioner of Baseball what change(s) if any would you make to the current game? If I were the Commissioner of MLB, I'd start by fixing the Hall of Fame so that Double-Standards don't exist. This would be one of the items I would want addressed. I'd also build a diverse and significant team of people that understand the game around me and I'd depend upon their input to implement any changes that need to be made, not only pertaining to the Hall of Fame but to the game itself. Any changes we came up with would need to be supported by the players union, so my team would have numerous past and current players on it. Their input would be vital. I'd like my team to create a list of focus-items, perhaps adhering to guiding principles that they identify - such as how to prevent cheating, how to speed the pace of play up and how to make the game more interesting for young people. I believe that changing things because I want them changed is akin to a Dictator making decisions without feedback. Often, the best ideas come from the quietest person in the room. Regarding what specifically we'd change to make the Hall of Fame a place of enshrinement where double standards don't exist, that would depend entirely upon what my team came up with. What I do know is that considering players linked to PED's, players who may or may not have used them, players who did use them and factoring in other players who were known cheaters in different ways all would need to be considered. I'd want my team to come up with clear guidelines we could all live with, that specify eligibility and eliminate the concept of election being basically a popularity contest. In looking at the history of the Yankees, or baseball in general, what person or event would you like to see a book written about? I'd like to see more books written about managers. There's so much we don't know. Those kinds of books would have a lot of behind the scenes information and lot's of interviews with former players and of course, quotes and insights from the managers themselves. In the book and the movie The Natural, the main character wants nothing more than to walk down the street and have people say, "There goes Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was." Who was the best baseball player you ever saw? The best baseball player I ever watched play in person was Joe Morgan. My dad, a diehard Yankee fan, took me to watch the Reds vs the Pirates at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh. Morgan was the heart and soul of the Big Red Machine and he seemed to be in the middle of the "cloud of dust" very often. Joe Morgan was a two way player, with speed, power and a knack for coming up clutch. He's a 100.4 WAR player, so certainly there are numerous players who had even more amazing careers, but in his era and on that Cincinnati Red's team which was one of the best dynasties ever, Joe Morgan was really good. I'm not talking about Joe Morgan the baseball announcer. I'm talking about Joe Morgan the player. There's plenty of announcers we love to hate and many never cared for Joe Morgan about as much as they cared for Doug Gottlieb or Lee Corso Stephen A. Smith but in fairness to Morgan on the microphone, he wasn't as unlistenable as these other guys we love to hate were. If I turn on the radio and hear the mere sound of Stephen A. Smith's voice, I have a reaction akin to swatting a mosquito that just landed on my hand - I immediately shut the radio off. I don't even change the channel, I'm too irritated and I've entirely lost my desire to see what's on. Joe Morgan knows the game of baseball so well, he came off as a bit condescending but he was actually easy to listen to and he didn't spout off about opinions formed from never having played the game. I've seen lots of tremendous players over the years, but if I were drafting a team for the ages, I'd be very happy with Joe Morgan handling the keystone.
Our final question is really just a collection of short answers...
What was your favorite baseball team growing up? Was there a team other than the Yankees you ever rooted for? The Pirates were my favorite team growing up. I was also a huge Steelers fan. I loved both teams and still do to this day.
What is your most prized collectible?
I don't really collect baseball things to be honest but I do collect Fly-Fishing items. My most prized collection is comprised of old HL Leonard Fly Rods and House of Hardy Fly-Reels. Who is your favorite musical group or artist? My favorite all-tie band is the Clash. Their hits were really cool. Rock the Casbah, the Magnificent Seven, I Fought the Law, Spanish Bombs, Somebody Got Murdered, Radio Clash, Should I Stay or Should I Go?, London Calling, Dead Rebel Waltz and so many more really fun songs about very politically charged topics. What is your favorite food (if it is pizza, what is your favorite pizza restaurant)? I'm a big fan of wild-game recipes and as an avid fisherman and hunter, I'd have to say I most like Wild Pheasant in a Sherry Cream Sauce with a Side of Wild-Pepper Cornbread and some Long-Grain Rice - with a Talisker Scotch tasting for desert. I also do a Pan-Seared Blackfish on a bed of Linguini with a Wild-Mushroom and Ginger sauce that's a close second and that would be accompanied by a Jibe, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and some Wild Greens in a Black Raspberry Vinegrette with Panko-encrusted Goat Cheese rounds. Please share anything else you'd like with our audience - To Yankee fans everywhere I say god-bless you and your families during these difficult times. Invest in your kids for they are the hope of the future! Enjoy the 2022 baseball season and show not only your love for the Yankees, but your class and good sportsmanship when you visit Yankee stadium and participate in fan related activities!
Great job Cary! This was so much fun.
We can't wait to read your next article. Thanks for adding so much to SSTN!