More Media Memories of Alan Greenberg

The thoughts and memories from those who knew Alan Greenberg just keep coming in. This has really been an amazing experience, and I’m awed that there has been such an effort by so many to reach out at this tough point for all of those who knew him. I’m humbled that I’ve been allowed to read and post all of these thoughts.

I also think that has in a large way humanized many of those who you might only know from their articles or TV and Radio appearances. Alan was clearly someone special to many people and I’m glad we’re getting to hear all of these expressions.

Here’s the next batch:

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Bruce -

A lot of guys say their family is way more important to them than their jobs. Many are not exactly faking it, but are also not being totally honest. On deadline, the job takes precedence. With Alan, I don’t even think deadline won out. You never questioned his sincerity about his kids. I think because he had a family relatively late in life, he appreciated his wife and children even more. He was so proud of them all — and equally eager to hear about the pride of other parents. I always looked forward to seeing him in a press box because I could brag about my kids and know he didn’t mind — because he’d brag even more about his.

Back in the 1970′s and 1980′s, when the two of us were young and energetic sportswriters and were positive that we knew everything about everything, Alan and I spent a lot of time together on the road. We usually talked about topics other than sports. They were always hours well spent. I know of few people who enjoyed writing as much as Alan. And he had such a great sense of humor, especially about himself. Has anyone mentioned his disastrous appearance on “Jeopardy?” That was when he worked in Los Angeles, shortly after I left the Times and warned him not to be sucked in by the LA glitz and glamour (I wasn’t being serious, but made sure to remind him of my warning after I saw him fcing off with Art Fleming). I think Alan only got a few questions/answers correct — and then delighted in telling me how he was trounced by an accountant from El Centro or someplace.

Alan was wearing a polo shirt for the appearance, of course.

That story will make me smile again about Alan, one day. But not today. This is such a sad day for our business. But if this horrible thing had happened to someone else, I know where Alan’s focus would be right now: His family deserves our maximum support. If you ever admired anything he wrote or said, please think about contributing to the trust fund for his children.

Mark Purdy,
Sports Columnist,
San Jose Mercury News
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Bruce:

You’ve done a good thing to allow my fellow writers to express their feelings about Alan Greenberg on your site.

I’ve just come in from a long day on the school basketball trail, which is my defense mechanism against being inconsolable over Alan’s death. I learned of his passing late Tuesday night while I was at a game, and got a very emotional call from Mike Reiss early Wednesday morning that really drove home the loss. At that time, I decided to sit down and put my thoughts about Alan in a column which will run sometime in the next few days (up to my editors), but certainly no later than my usual Sunday slot.

I just didn’t have the heart after that to repeat everything … too draining.

I got to know Alan quite well over the last five years or so, and we usually teamed up on the road for dinners or drives to and from the stadiums. I used to think he talked so lovingly about his kids because he was trying not to pay attention to my driving skills, but I soon realized that his family really did mean that much to him. I still can’t believe he’s gone. I can’t believe that on the first road trip this year, he won’t be calling me first thing in the morning looking for a ride to the stadium.

Rather than use these thoughts, and I know it’s pretty late and you have to move on, I just hope you will run a link to my column when the editors do post it. I don’t think it will be in Thursday’s paper; wish I could tell you when, but if it runs at a time when you might not see it, I’ll send it along.

Thanks again for letting Alan’s friends express their thoughts.

–Mark Farinella
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Bruce,

Thanks for providing an outlet for us to express our feelings about Alan. In reading some of the posts, I think everyone in some way has captured the essence and beauty of him. I had spent some time on the road with him last season covering Patriots games. And yes, he let me in on his most sacred topic, his family. I also heard many stories about the family dog. Alan was
a riot talking about the dog, and all the hoops he had to jump through to take care of the dog.

He was such a good guy, a terrific writer, and a wonderful foil for Belichick. It’s been such a sad day thinking about his loss. I hope his family can take some comfort and solace in knowing how much he was loved by his peers.

Karen Guregian

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Bruce,

I have been moved by the stirring tributes to a man who loved his work nearly as much as he did his family. Alan always struck me as a man who loved covering the personalities in the game and felt the stories of the people in sports always told the better story than the sports themselves. This was something he always told me about his experience in covering the LA Olympics in 1984. He said people love reading about other people and relating to them in very special and unique ways.

And, I had forgotten just how powerful the Nadav Henefeld UConn story was until Jeff Goldberg refreshed it for me in his remembrance of Alan’s work. Telling that type of story was right in Alan’s wheelhouse and he never failed to hit it out of the park. I also greatly appreciated what Bill Belichick had to say because I was in that room this year when Alan brought the widest smile to the coach’s face that I can remember in the years I’ve been covering the Patriots. Like Belichick said, Alan had a very tough but fair way of asking the questions that needed to be asked. And that was the way Alan approached his job. But what I remember about him as a person tells an even more important story.

When he heard I was the proud papa of two adopted girls from China, he asked me where we lived and I told him Lincoln (Mass.), because the schools there are so good. Alan, who lived in nearby Sudbury and was the proud father of three, said you can never go wrong doing the right thing for your kids. Amen, Alan. You are already deeply missed.

Mike Petraglia

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Hi Bruce,

Thank you for the opportunity to share memories of Alan. As a very young reporter, I would see Alan at Patriots press conferences and marvel at his wit and unabashed pursuit of his story. He had no fear just as I was scared to death. Over time, we became friends, and every morning he would say to Alice Cook and me, “How are my favorite blonds today?”, to which I would always reply, “How is my favorite chauvinist today?” We would laugh, because, in reality, he was anything but.

About a year and a half ago , I found myself returning from a Patriots game and Alan was seated next to me on the flight. I was facing some important career decisions and also beginning to think about a family and the challenges of balancing both. Alan was so honest and articulate about my strenghths and weaknesses and the joys of what really mattered most, especially to him. It was the most respectful and insightful conversation I had with anyone during that time and I have often thought back to his wise words. I am thouroughly heartbroken for the beautiful family he adored and already dread the day when I walk into a Patriots press conference and he isn’t there. Since I was not blessed with his use of words, I can only say, it just isn’t fair.

Wendi Nix

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Dear Bruce:

In a business where most enjoy venting their frustrations, Alan was perpetually good-humored. Not always happy, but able to be fundamentally content no matter what.We talked about our families, paying for college, and investments (we had differing philosophies there).

Alan was a fine reporter for the same reason everyone liked him. When you spoke with him, he truly listened. He was interested in what others said, a gift that can’t be faked.

He was one of the people I missed most from my former job. His loss is an insupportable tragedy.

Michael Gee

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Bruce,

Alan was a role model for all young journalists and his passing has offered me a tremendous amount of perspective.

He cared very much about his job, but understood that it was just a game played by average guys like you and me.

The game of life was what was important to him and the great irony is that this man that who’d reached the conclusion that some never find had his taken away from him far too soon.

In a field filled with pretense, he was real.

I will miss him walking up to me in Pats locker room with humorous observations on life and the team that we both covered.

He’ll be missed and is an individual for whom you hope there truly is something better for at the end of all this.

Chris Ryan

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Bruce:

I wanted to add my memory of Alan, which is very much like the others on your site. I first got to know Alan many years ago when he worked at the L.A. Times. The years passed, but he stayed the same — those Polo shirts in virtually every color, the chatty personality, the ever-present smile, the wonderful talent for writing. He was a nice guy who clearly cherished his family. Although I had not seen him for more than 10 years, I still considered him a colleague and a friend. And I still do.

Michael Martinez
Travel Writer
San Jose Mercury News

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From an emailer simply named “TerryNBA”

The NBA sends its thoughts and prayers out to Alan’s family. I have always had a special bond with the Boston-area media and Alan was one of the many reporters I enjoyed spending time with during the great NBA Playoff series of the 80s and beyond.

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Mike Giardi on NECN posted his own memories of Greenberg on the NECN sports blog.

Dan Barreiro of KFAN radio in Minneanapolis, remembers Greenberg on his blog.

Dan Duggan of the Herald has thoughts on Greenberg in his blog as well.

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In addition, the New England Patriots and coach Bill Belichick expressed their sadness at the passing of Greenberg.

This was from Belichick earlier today as quoted in that link:

“On a personal note, and on behalf of the organization, we’re shocked and saddened by the news today about Alan. We want to express our deepest sympathies and condolences to his family and our prayers and thoughts are with them. We’re extremely saddened at the loss of a member of the family and person that I had contact with virtually every day for the past several years. It’s obviously a very, very sad loss. As I said, our thoughts and prayers are with them.

“He was a person that definitely added a lot of levity to the press conferences, even though he asked a lot of very difficult questions. He had a unique way of phrasing some of his opinions and questions, but he certainly added a flavor to the conferences that was very unique and I think we all came to appreciate his sense of humor, which at times was self-deprecating, but also he could definitely be tough and put you on the spot, which he did that many times to me, but in a respectful way. I enjoyed our interactions and the exchanges with him. It was, again, a very unique part of those daily sessions.”

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Hi Bruce,

Thanks for giving us a forum to express our thoughts on the passing of Alan Greenberg.

Those of us who cover the Patriots were fortunate to know Alan as a person. On a beat where there can be high school-type hierarchy with cliques and “in” crowds, Alan was friendly with everyone from the “big names” on the major papers to the raw young guys cutting their teeth on the small papers. He had a smile for everyone and his back-and-forth with Belichick was always the highlight of any press conference. His good nature made him popular with the players, and his ease around them is something I will always admire. His writing was so consistently sharp that I think it might have been taken for granted just how good he was.

Alan will be missed greatly. The press box will never be the same.

Ian M. Clark

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