Monday, March 29, 2010

Remembering one of Cleveland's own

I learned last Friday, Cleveland businessman and former sports talk host Geoff Sindelar passed away. Geoff was known on the airwaves as the "Professor" and many considered him to be the 'authority' on sports collectible items in the area.

During my awkward high school years, my interest in sports exploded, I collected cards, I joined and started fantasy sports leagues, and I listened to sports talk radio regularly. At night I'd be up in my room playing computer games and listening to sports talk, when there wasn't an Indians or Cavs game on.

I listened to the Professor all the time, first when he was on WWWE hosting their evening show and then when he first moved over as the prime host for the new Cleveland sports station at the time WKNR.

Listening to the professor was like being let into a very knowledgeable sports conversation. Granted it was 20 years ago and the focus on sports talk was on games, players, and a little bit of the financial situations teams found themselves in. There wasn't the scandal driven conversation that goes on today.

The Professor's first love was baseball and he'd talk about it all year long. I wish I could describe the knowledge or insight he shared, but you would have had to listen to him to understand it. His passion for the sport and young players was infectious. He was a stat head like no other, and one of the few sports hosts that had the knowledge to talk about prospects from every team. On top of that he'd usually teach you a couple things about players you hadn't heard of yet either. As a stat-head baseball fan, it was a dream come true.

Mr. Sindelar was also the premiere sports collectible authority. You couldn't make it through one of his shows without 5-10 requests in regards to sports collectibles. Those were the regular shows, occasionally he'd run a full show dedicated to collectibles and he'd take callers for 3-4 hours straight and hit them rapid fire with his thoughts and estimates on what the item was worth.

He also was extremely entertaining to listen to, he had no problem expressing his opinions of which he had many, but at the same time it never seemed to bother Geoff to hear someone disagree with him, it simply meant they were going to have a good discussion. His broadcasts were colored with unique terms and grumblings that were his exclusives. You couldn't go through a broadcast, without hearing "That's a good item, " "Give me a second, let me grab my crayon ", "Neighbors" or him berating his producer Bob "Karlovic" in a fun manner.

During the last couple years he had his show, it was evident that there were some changes that were happening that he wasn't fond of, and as that seemed to play out, he decided to stop doing the shows. Being a sports talk host was more of a hobby for Mr. Sindelar then his 9 to 5 job as he had been running his own business full time for many years. With some management changes and not allowing him to do things the way he wanted he left. He'd still turn up as a guest on shows at the beginning of football or baseball season, but it definitely left a void in sports talk in the Cleveland area.

That's the background from my perspective, all I can add to it is, for an awkward teenager with a huge baseball interest, he had me glued to the radio regularly and I can't express how much enjoyment and knowledge I gained from listening to him.

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