Joe and Duke

This weeks burger is dedicated to two men who I owe a deep debt of gratitude to; Joe and Duke Castiglione. And to be honest, I owe that gratitude to the entire Castiglione family: Jan, Tom, Rachael, Kate and Mike. They have been like a second family to me.

Joe Castig as you may already know, is the voice of the Boston Red Sox. We have shared many great adventures at ballparks and Italian restaurants across the country. It all started with his son Duke, who recently relocated back to Boston to take on news, but before that he was one of the best known sports anchors in NYC for the past 25 years.

So how did this little Irish guy get to become friends with two giants in the sports media world?

Well, back in 2001, before Foley’s, I was bartending at a midtown bar. One Sunday evening. it was dead and I may have been torturing two guys from Boston about their Sawx. (It was 2001, it was too hard back then not to tease them a little.) I remember this guy coming in to the bar to smoke a stogie (it was 2001, remember). We started chatting and he tells me he’s is hosting a sports show on NY1. So, we started talking Mets, since this was shortly after the Bobby Valentine “disguise” incident. I proposed to Duke that, in my humble opinion, it was a play by Valentine to get fired. Duke was interested in my opinion. We had a good chat and he left. I didn’t think anymore about it until a few nights later, when I was off and I happen tune into Duke’s show. There he was, opening the show with his thoughts that Bobby’s act of putting on glasses and a mustache and sneaking back into the dugout after he was tossed was really an attempt to get fired!! (Hmmmm...now where did he get that idea?!?!) I thought ”That SOB!!”, but that began many years of baseball debate and a great friendship. We’ve had many, many, many adventures and I hope more to come. We certainly miss him, his lovely wife Kiki and their gorgeous daughter Charlee.

When it comes to adventures, I’ve had as many with Duke’s father Joe. I’ve gone the length and breadth of this country with Joe to see the Red Sox play. We’ve broken bread in many fine Italian restaurants. And we’ve shared many great stories with GMs, owners, scouts, players and even a few Hall of Famers. One of my favorite “Joe stories,” revolves around the first time my son Ryan met Joe. It was after a Sox- Yankees game and we met Joe at his hotel. Ryan was around six or seven-years old. At one point, I see Ryan has Joe cornered and is talking up a storm. (Hmm, I wonder where Ryan gets his chattiness?) Later, when I can get a hold of him, I ask Ryan what were you talking to Joe about. He said ”I asked him if he said ‘It is high, it is far,’ (like John Sterling) or ‘See Ya,’ (like Michael Kay )when the Red Sox hit a home run. And if he said ‘Ballgame over.‘Red Sox win, theeeeeee Red Sox win,’ (like Sterling) when the red Sox won.” Luckily, Ryan’s a charming little Irish lad at this point and Joe was a great sport. Several Red Sox World Series rings later, Joe has his own catch phrase,”can you believe it”

So this week’s burger is a huge thank you to the Castigs for their continued support and also for helping to spread the word about Foley’s.

The Castig is stuffed with Italian Sausage, fresh Mozzarella cheese and topped with Marinara Sauce.

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