Average to Savage
Average to Savage

Episode · 7 months ago

Ryan Ruocco | Average To Savage EP123

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This is the one hundred and twenty-third episode of the Average to Savage podcast featuring sports broadcaster Ryan Ruocco. Paul Guarino talked with Ryan Ruocco discussing how he got into broadcasting, his podcast R2C2 with CC Sabathia, being a hybrid covering basketball, baseball, and boxing.

Follow Ryan Ruocco

https://www.instagram.com/ryrukes/

This podcast interview with Ryan Ruocco was originally recorded on April 8, 2021

...this is the Average to Savage podcastwith paul Guerrino. Everyone in, anyone athletes, celebsand much more. What's up everybody? I'm back for another episode. The averageSavage podcast. Our special guest today is Ryan, Ruocco Ryan. How's it going?Good man, good, happy to be with you, paul, I appreciate you coming on. Uhlet's just go back in time a little bit. How about how did you get started inbroadcasting? Oh man, I uh I always wanted to be in broadcasting. I meanbasically since I was 10 years old, I would pay attention to the announcerswhen listening to games with my dad. Um and I always, I thought I can't play, Iwould want to announce. Uh and then I went to Fordham uh Wfuv at Fordham orradio station there, my mentor bob erin's just really accelerated thelearning curve. I had an internship with the Yes network um and then via mywork at WfuV was exposed to a lot of people in the industry, a lot of bosses,producers directors, I mean, Time of ESPN radio in new york. Um andso he loved my work, I wanted to give me a chance at ESPN radio, I starteddoing random updates, uh that was while I was doing stats um and interning atthe Yes Network, and then just kind of slowly built up each thing toeventually uh get to the place where I'm fortunate enough to be it today.Yeah, for sure now, I know, so, so tell me a bit, a little bit about like,maybe like your first broadcasting job and like, just like odd jobs that youhad, like in between, and like before you quote unquote, made it out to. Sowhen I was in college I worked for uh I think I started my senior year of highschool and then I my sophomore year of college, I also work for a GMC uhsupplement store. Um And uh it's the only job I've ever been fired from. ButI I was just I was putting in more and more time into my broadcasting and mymanager there was like look like I, you know, I'm sure you're gonna do great,but like I have to let you go, you're too unreliable with this because I was,you know, calling out left and right to go do broadcast and stuff at Fordham.So it was the right move by her. Um And uh and uh when I first started insenior year of high school that summer, my best friend and I both worked at aGNC. Together and we would literally like it was the story we're at, thelocation was so just dead. There was like no one there. So we were literallylike make tape balls and try and throw them at the co Q 10 supplements and seeif we can get them to fall off the shelves, Like that's what we would do.Um Which luckily they didn't break when they fell off the shelves, otherwise itwould have been a problem. But uh but yeah, but then my first uh my first jobwas doing stats in the booth for yankee...

...telecasts after I was an intern JaredDashnak Ashley for Gezi to executives, Yes, who are two of my favorite people,they noticed my work ethic um and when I was an intern and they were like,they noticed that I knew the game, they knew I was that for them and I wasdoing broadcasting there, and they were like, hey, we have this opening forbeing a statistician in the booth for Yankees telecasts at home, would you beinterested? And I've never done stats, but I was like, hell yeah, I'm going toget to be in the booth during Yankee games. Are you kidding me? Of course,Gonna get to sit with Michael. Kay and me ken, Singleton and bobby Murcer anddavid cone and paul o'neill and out lighter and john flaherty and I just, Ithought was the coolest thing ever. Um and so uh I started doing stats and Ikind of like, I didn't really have a blueprint as to how to do it. I justkind of um thought about it through the perspective of like, what would I wantto know if I was at home watching and how can I help Michael? Um and Icrushed that role and was able to um, to, to really learn uh like more aboutthe broadcast industry, as I was sitting there doing stats for Michaelin the booth. Yeah, that's awesome. Now, I know you're like, you're like ahybrid because you do basketball, baseball, uh, boxing to, um, I don'tknow how many people do it, but I mean, I think you do everything really well.So how did, how did you like, how did you maneuver into going from baseball,the basketball now? Boxing too? Yeah, I think like, you know, my, so being atFordham, I, I kinda, I learned to play by play for baseball, softball,basketball, football. And I got a good amount of reps in all those sports viathe broadcast. I did on air there at WfuV, and then also via demo broadcastthat I would do. Um, and I liked all of them. Like, I enjoyed all of them. Uh,there was a, just an energy to being on the air with all of them. and I alwaysthought I'd like baseball best, but when I was in college I actually likebroadcasting basketball and football even more because I like the action ofit. Um Now I like them all equal I'd say because to do Yankees maybe I'dfeel differently if it was a different team I was doing, but getting to do theYankees makes it pretty great. Um But I I just kind of like tried to, I mean Ihad I was a diehard sports saying, so I was very familiar with the sports andlike the strategy and you know, I always prided myself on having acoach's type mind when it came to baseball especially, but then alsobasketball and football and then I was around amazing analysts and I wouldlearn more from them. So there were certain nuances to the NBA game Ididn't know, but you know, by working with mike fratello, by working with JimSpon article, by working with Hubie Brown, you know, I, I learned, um, andI learned more and more about the game and uh, and then, uh, you know, youjust like learn little piece of...

...terminology, little strategy, thingslike that and it helps you, and with football, I, you know, same kind ofthing, you know, like doing games with Bill Polian all of a sudden you learneven more about strategy and with boxing. I was always a casual fan, butI didn't really know the sport at all. And I just had to do a ton of homework,um, to be able to feel like I could be on the air and give the representativebroadcast. Uh, you know, so I talked to max Kellerman, um, and I talked to joeTessitore uh, and they both were unbelievably helpful. And I just, and Italked to um, you know, a variety of different steve Farhood who runs uh,ring magazine and uh, and uh, Barry Tompkins and people were dumb boxingforever. And, and they just really taught me a lot and I studied a ton andI watched all these old fights, like I was watching old fights on Youtube forhours upon hours a day, because I just think it's like if you, if you takepride in what you do, you will, you will do whatever you have to do toprepare to be able to do that, you know, and that's the way I looked at it isI'm never going to get on the air unless I feel prepared. So what do Ihave to do to feel prepared? And I tried to come up with that and was ableto kind of come up with a formula which, which boxing events have you covered sofar? So I've done um I've done a couple canelo fights. I've done uh one of thebiggest fights I did for the, I did the international feed when Andy Ruiz uhupset Joshua dot the world. Yeah, at the garden, That was amazing. That wasAnthony, Joshua's first fight um in the United States. Um So that's one of thebigger ones. I did Uh Canellos 1st Fight at Madison Square Garden. I diduh canelo against daniel Jacobs in las Vegas. I did. So I've done I've donesome really, really good, really fun ones I'd say. Uh I did one of theseforget if I did jake or Logan paul, but I did one of those fights to in Miamiaround Super Bowl last year in 2020. So yeah, so I've got to do some fun events.All right. So now I just got to ask you, do you think jake paul is going to beBen Aspirin man? You know the one thing I wait,Which one is the older brother, Logan? Okay, so Jakes the younger brother. Idid j spite then his first professional fight. I wouldn't bet against that guybecause he he's just, he takes it super seriously. Like he really, he really,really like studies the art of it. He has a breathing coach. Um He's like,he's seriously invested. So before I can make an official prediction, I haveto dive more into the fight and what I think about it and kind of reallyevaluating. But I will say like, I...

...think like I don't laugh at like jakepaul's ability. I'm like, no, no, he can he can box. All right. it's comingup soon. So I guess we'll see. Yeah, I gotta do my homework quickly. Um Andthen yeah, just going to like the yes network and the Yankees like what aboutany predictions for the Yankees this year, man? I mean, I think this is ayankee team that has as good a chance to win the World Series as anybody, youknow, in the majors. Maybe you say the Dodgers more because they're thedefending champs and they, you know retooled and already stacked team. Butyou know, I look at the Yankees and health is the number one key, but to methe biggest question mark going into the season was the starting pitchingand so far through a week, they have acquitted themselves beautifully. UhCorey Kluber looked really good. Jamison Tyrone look great. JordanMontgomery looked outstanding and Garrett polls looked like gerrit cole.Um So I feel good about that. I also feel good about some of the arms andhave to pick up the slack with Zach britton out with Justin Wilson now. Uhsome guys who you're going to get back at some point this season Britain beingthe most important one. So I think that, you know, I think that the lingeringquestions will be the shortstop, defensive labor Torres and then alsomaking sure there's enough versatility in the lineup that you don't have toomany of the same kind of hitters. Uh and you know, those could end upproving to be difficult questions to answer. But as of now, I feel, I feel Ifeel really good about this nicotine. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. I feel thesame way. I feel like they're just missing every couple of past years.Yeah, I know they're close there on the doorstep, there on the doorstep. Yeahexactly. Um Since you're a hybrid going into now W. N. B. A. I know you cover alot basically. That's why it's like funny because like I know you've donethe boxing and stuff and I definitely heard you, I just couldn't remember anyof them. I always feel like I just hear your voice even on like social media.Like the clip, it's always I'm like that's definitely Ryan again. Wellthat's good man. Uh you know, it's not bad to be ubiquitous so I'll take it.Yeah, for sure. Um So yeah going into the W. N. B. A. Like I know you've beencovering it for a while, like what what are the changes you've seen? Like thegrowth in? And I see a ton of growth? Um I see,you know, first of all let's just say this first and foremost before we getto anything, you know, extra about how amazing these women are off the floor,which they are um about what change makers they are, which they are abouttheir social consciousness, which is incredible and admirable. First andforemost, they're great at basketball, you know, like, and it's entertainingbasketball and I think that, you know, maybe people don't understand how farthe game has come from where it started in this league, but it's an incrediblyentertaining product. It really is, and I didn't know that when I first gotinvolved. Now, it'll be visibly my ninth season, so nine years ago. Um butit is, it's an incredible product. And...

...so I think first and foremost the gameis in better shape than it's ever been before. I think there's more attentionon it than ever before. I think by almost every measurable metric we'reseeing growth which is super encouraging. Um And I just feel reallyexcited about people now, feeling invested uh and energized to check outthis product and um I believe that once they check it out there going to behooked because that's how great the basketball is. Uh and that's howamazing these young women are. So I'm really excited to uh to kind of seewhere the league goes this year and the and the growth especially coming offhistoric ratings for the N. C. A. Women's tournament, which I wasfortunate enough to get to broadcast with ESPN. I'm super excited to seewhere the W. Grows from here. Yeah, for sure. I don't know if you saw today,they released the new jersey, did you get this morning? Yeah. What do youthink of those? Uh Dude, I love them. Any favorites, but you know, you justsaw him. We just saw him like they just really like an hour ago. Seattle's lookgreat to me. I really like Seattle's I think if I remember right, I reallylike Chicago's as well. Those 1/2 think stood out the most. Yeah, yeah. So I'mexcited to look into the, but these are the kind of things we need to do right?Like I can say this with total and complete confidence. Cathy Engelbert isjust a game changer. She is an incredible commissioner. I think shejust is so on top of the different ways to grow this, this game. Um, and uh,and this is one of the ways, right? So I'm really excited to see where shecontinues to believe this league. Yeah, definitely. And then lastly on thebasketball side, uh, do you think the nets are gonna, are gonna pull it off?I do I do. I think that you know, I think that the most talented team inthe league which is not me going out on that much of a limb. But I think thatyou know look the number one key for them is going to be getting healthy.You know. KD just getting back after missing 23 straight games. Harden hasbeen the M. V. P. In my opinion this season. But now he's down with ahamstring injury. How long does he, how long is he out? And then you're notgoing to have much of a runway to get the chemistry right um before theplayoffs start. But I'll say this, you know the nets have found ways to wineven with guys out there just like 19 and four with Katie hurt. Um And Ithink they've had so much change to the roster from the start of the season.Plus this is a year that requires more malleability than normally anyway,because of covid and the restrictions and just, you know, protocols and whateverybody's having to deal with that. I believe that we will see um the netsfind a way as long as, as long as they...

...have those three healthy, as long asKyrie Harden and Katie are healthy uh for the, you know, for the conferencefinals and for the finals, I do believe the nets will find a way to emergevictorious, but um, don't count out Utah, don't count out the Lakers ifthey get healthy, you know, don't count out the clippers, don't count outMilwaukee or philadelphia, all those teams, you know, could still win aseven game series. I just think the nets well, yeah, sure. I'm a Yankeesand mets fan, so I'm hoping for for two. Yeah. Hey man, you know what you are?This is a rare breed right here, paul. It's like all the things I like and youdo like the WNBA's boxing. I'm into boxing. I do work with box or somethinglike that. I don't even know if, you know, we're kind of co workers. I didsome stuff for the yes, network on social media, uh, ran the live gamesfor the, for all the teams. Actually, I got to do all of them. Actually, thecraziest one was I was working when Aaron Boone uh, when he yelled at theamps and that one of my bottle, the savages. Yeah, that was that was one ofthe great viral moments. Major league history. Yeah. At the time I was justlike clipping and I was just like, this is pretty interesting and then justlike, blew up and I was like, all right, I don't think it's gonna be that big.Yeah, dude. Crazy, right? I mean it was it was great for the sport I think.Yeah, for sure. Yeah. And then obviously we're on a podcast now, youhave a podcast at C. C. Sabathia or to see too um how did how did you guys getthat started and why? You know, we um We always had this relationship sincehe came to the Yankees in 2009. I was at the time doing our in house, broughtin house hosting for the scoreboard for the Yankees and we connected over uhover our interest in basketball actually, um and watch them the Lakersin the finals. And we just developed a relationship and then I was hostingshows shortly after that on ESPN radio new york and CC with listening and we'dend up with um we ended up with some good common friends, shout out toManitoba amount max Siegel and uh we uh brian axelrod and we um, we justconnect and we used to say, hey, we should do something together, we shoulddo a podcast together someday, whatever and uh but we never did anything aboutit. And then 2017 in the spring, I have stopped doing my daily radio shows andCC reached out to me, he said, because it's time, let's do this. And we had agreat conversation about if we did a podcast, what we wanted to look like,the players tribune, thanks to them, they were the first to back it andsupport it and we just kind of grown it. Since then, Uninterrupted was a greatpartner after players tribune and now uh we have the ringer and Spotify as apartner and they've been fantastic. Yeah, that's awesome. Did you see likepodcast blowing up? Like it has? Yeah, I did. I actually oddly, Um, my highschool girlfriends father when I was 18...

...years old told me like podcasts aregoing to be The next big thing watch and he was like, you know, 10 yearsahead of it, but he was a smart guy and so it always kind of in my mind that atsome point this is going to blow up and so you know, I did, I did see ithappening, you know, once I was doing our to see to like, I love the joeRogan podcast and thing I love about it is like the long form and getting toreally dive into nuance and, and getting to hear experts um be morespecific about certain topics. And so I understood the appeal of that almostlike an audio form of what grant land was when Bill Simmons started that atESPN, you know, that's what podcasts could and then, and then I would listento Bill Simmons podcast, I love that. And then Oprah super soul and so I sawall these things, I'm like, wow, this is amazing when I get in the car now Iwant to listen to a podcast. So yeah, I did, I did kind of feel like it wasgoing that way. Yeah, yeah, that's how I feel now. Like I don't even like, I'drather listen to podcasts now just than like watch tv almost. Yeah, yeah, no, Iagree. I'm in the same boat man, I'll take a podcast any day. Um what about,what advice would you give to other, like young sports broadcasters tryingto make it, you know, I always say this to, uh, when I talk to young kids andyoung broadcasting like in some ways it's the best time to be getting intothis business because, um, it's, you know, there's never been more mediaoutlets, right. There's never been more ways to get reps in. You know, the keyto getting better, but in some ways it's the hardest because there's neverbeen more competition. So I always say, like, you know, lean into your passions,make sure you're prepared every time you go on the air, get reps however youcan get them, even if it means, you know, into a microphone at home,calling a game off the tv recording podcast, just to yourself, all thatstuff gets you better be prepared. Uh, you know, don't take any opportunityfor grant every demo broadcast. You do treat like a real one. Um, and uh, whenyou get opportunities at a network or as an intern or whatever it might be,um, just show your work ethic and be a great teammate. Uh, you want to learnmore about you, your skill sets, your talent, your, you know, your desiresand uh, and some doors could end up opening as a result definitely. Are you ready for some funquestions? Yeah, let's do it. All right. What's your, what's your favorite songright now? Oh, my favorite song right now. Mm That's a good question. Because I feellike, uh, probably something from M and M's last new album. Um, let me see. Letme, let me look up what song I would say off of his album. Although I likethe, uh, it came out a couple of months...

...ago, but I really do like the driver's license, uh song what it'scalled? Driver's license, right? It's like super hip with Olivia Rodrigo, my wife helping me out.Yeah, I like that song. It's really good. It's really good. Uh Yeah, it'sreally good. But I would say Zeus by Eminem and white gold. I really likeZeus. That's that's a great song. All right. What about what are what arethree jerseys? You want that You don't have? Oh that's a good question. Um three jerseys. I want that. I don'thave. Are you a jersey guy? Yeah. Yeah, I you mean like and framed or to wear? Uh So where thewhere um joe DiMaggio? Uh Yankees five jersey? I don't have umI would say maradona napoli jersey. Um And then, you know, I used to have achris mullin jersey on the Warriors. He was like my first favorite NBA player.It doesn't fit anymore for me when I was eight, you know, I think I thinkchris mullin jersey, that'd be dope. All right, So you gotta give me now,which one would you want? Autographed? The christmas? Uh That's a goodquestion. Um mm I would say autograph wise, I would love to get an ensembleof the next Big Three this year. Um with with Harden KD and Kyrie. Um But I I would love a Griffey can Griffey Yeah,ken Griffey autograph jersey. Um and and I'm tom brady. I don't have anybrady autograph stuff, have some good uh merged to put a man cave at somepoint in my house. But I would say Griffey brady Um and the next big threeoutput in there. All right, I like that. All right. Last one who who's yourdream interview that you haven't been able to interview yet? Eminem is one of them. Although, youknow, he's very subdued in interviews but that's something I've always wantedinterview. But I think, you know, I feel like there's there's a few different people that Iwould choose, but I think that I would want to interview someone Star Warsrelated Um if I could only pick one person um and so I think I would choose, I think I would choose at this momentin time. Either Jon Favreau or Kathleen Kennedy one of them and I just want todo a deep dive on star wars. All right.

Yeah, well, Ryan, I appreciate youcoming on. And could you let the listeners know where they can followyou on social media? Yeah, you can follow me on instagram at Rye Rocks.Are y are you kes on twitter at Ryan Ruocco, R Y N R U zero cc o. Uh Followour to see to my podcast on Spotify new episodes. Every thursday we have bonusepisodes as well, uh and keep following Pg, appreciate it. Thanks a lot paul.

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