Tuesday, November 22, 2016
RIP Joe Resnick
Newspaper reports of his death list his lengthy resume. For over three decades he covered the Dodgers, Angels, Kings, Lakers, Clippers, Ducks, UCLA, USC, the Olympics, Hollywood Park, and probably cricket tournaments somewhere. For all the words I’ve typed out over the years, he probably cranked out ten times more.
He wrote for the Associated Press but also freelanced for Fox Sports and many of the major newspapers around the country. If you ever read a sports section anywhere and there was an LA byline, chances are you’ve read Joe Resnick.
But for Joe Resnick, the work was its own reward. And that’s what the newspaper obits won’t tell you. It’s fair to say he worked 340 days a year. Maybe more. The only time off he would get would occasionally be in October if the Dodgers and Angels weren’t in the playoffs. Then he would have a two-week window before the NBA and NHL seasons began. On some days he would have a Dodger game in the afternoon then a Lakers or Kings playoff game at night.
He had a long list of things that annoyed him – editors who tampered with his work, athletes who gave unintelligible quotes, pitching changes, loud PA systems, fireworks shows when he was trying to write, and journalists who he felt didn’t show the job and sport the proper respect.
I worked closely with Joe for years when I was doing Dodger Talk. He was always the first person to arrive at the park and the last to leave. I would sign-off Dodger Talk 90 minutes after the game was over and Joe would still be banging out his story, double-checking obscure statistics that would give his account a unique perspective.
For three years I had dinner every night with Joe and fellow journalist Norm Peters at Dodger Stadium. He was Lou Grant only funnier. And a great storyteller. Joe would regale us for hours with stories of sports legends and events he witnessed firsthand. Not only did he know ALL the sports greats -- they knew HIM.
He also loved Mary Tyler Moore, '60s music, classic sitcoms, Canter’s pastrami sandwiches, a good laugh, and Vin Scully. The top photo is one I took of Joe and Vinny.
You know that “Lost CHEERS scene” – the scene David Isaacs and I wrote that was aired one time only before the 1983 Super Bowl and never seen again? Remember how a few years ago I unearthed maybe the only copy of it (and have since posted it on my blog every Super Bowl Sunday)? You can thank Joe Resnick. One day he was telling me that he videotaped every Super Bowl. I asked if he ever captured any of the pre-game coverage? He said only the last few minutes of it. I asked if he would go back and check 1983. Our scene aired just before the start of the game. Sure enough, Joe had it. I digitized it and the rest is blog tradition.
No LA pressbox will ever be the same. He will be greatly missed. And any future production of my play, GOING GOING GONE will be dedicated to Joe Resnick.