Accomplished Analyst and Author Ray Didinger Retires, ‘A Man for All Seasons’ – Mainline Media News

It’s Mother’s Day, and for Catholics it’s Good Shepherd Day, a special day in every way because Ray Didinger has announced that he is retiring after a brilliant career, and he does so with modesty. and enthusiasm.

I wish I could say Ray and I have been going back a long time, but we first met at a rehab gym in Wynnewood in the summer of 2014, introduced by my husband Jim Brown, then Senior Associate Manager sports at Saint Joe’s.

After 11.30 am mass this morning at Saint Margaret’s in Narberth I waited outside the post office for my husband to drop by in our Toyota Tundra with a key so I could check the post office box for Narberth bills Athletic Association, causing a slight delay at home on the day of the Phillies game.

Based on the pouring, cold rain Friday and yesterday, the Phillies’ Game 2 of their series with the Mets was postponed and Games 3 and 4 turned into a double-header today.

It was no surprise the Philadelphia Bats were facing Mets top pitcher Max Scherzer, so I was lining up a kitchen brunch at the top of the 4th inning when I heard the familiar voice of Tom McCarthy, in the broadcast booth with Mike Schmidt and John Kruk.

With his usual diamond ease, Tom revealed to Phillies fans that longtime writer and sports analyst Ray Didinger was retiring and he backed him up with a video call to Ray’s son David, Phillies cameraman.

As the game progressed to the traditional rendition of our national anthem in the 7th inning by the lovely Alison Rose Cisik, in semi-dramatic fashion the Phillies ended Scherzer’s 24-start unbeaten streak. with a score of 3-2 in the first game. of the twin bill at Citizens Bank Park.

All the while, I was thinking about what Ray Didinger meant to sports in Philadelphia.

First of all, it’s no news to anyone that Ray Didinger, over a career spanning 53 years, is a famous sports journalist, author, screenwriter, radio personality and sports commentator, and member of Pro Football Hall of Fame, inducted in 1995.

Didinger also won six Emmy Awards for his work as a writer and producer at NFL Films. The five-time “Sportswriter of the Year” from Pennsylvania was a consistent writer and analyst for NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Also, pre-COVID my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing his play ‘Tommy and Me’ at the Media Theater after which he led a fascinating Q&A.

To me, Ray has been the most generous sports personality in Philadelphia, especially when it comes to giving his time to young people.

I say this, and Main Line Media News Sports Editor Bruce Adams can attest to this, because over the past few years, pre-COVID, Ray has taken the time to visit football players in Lower Merion to respond to their questions about his various areas of expertise, the Philadelphia Eagles and football history.

My God, Ray is retiring. What does this mean for me? A lot. A die-hard Eagles fan, I tuned into Sports Radio 94WIP with Glen Macnow and Ray Didinger before the game to focus on Eagles games.

Ray is my favorite sportswriter. Sure, I get “laughs” from Jason Gay of the WSJ, but Ray delivers wealth, pedigree, wisdom and heart in his observations and analysis.

Along the way, Ray figured out that Lower Merion and Radnor had the longest continuous rivalry of public high schools in the nation, a significant fact.

Hard to believe, but I’ve been watching football in Lower Merion since 1980, when I started teaching Latin there.

Every year since 2008, I have sponsored the annual Lower Merion Youth Soccer Clinic in May-June to raise funds for the Lower Merion Township Scholarship Fund, since 2010 “in memoriam” Dr Joe Foote.

This clinic held at the historic General Henry “Hap” Arnold Grounds on Montgomery Avenue in Ardmore introduces local children to the legacy of this intercity rivalry, established in 1897.

This rivalry lives up to Ray in terms of interest and fascination. It’s really quite remarkable that even COVID didn’t interrupt the series. Last fall, Tom Ryan’s Raiders took an overall lead over Lower Merion.

Tonight, Michael Barkann along with Reuben Amara, whose father played shortstop for the Phillies when I was a kid, devoted the final part of their NBC Sports Philadelphia postgame live to honoring Ray.

My God, during the Birds clash, no more pencil notes on the yellow lined notepads. I can easily hear Barkann, a little flustered and with Seth Joyner and Barrett Brooks having bet in their two cents, asking, “and what do you think, Ray?”

Never, never did Ray miss a piece, a stat, an audible, a subtlety.

It’s too early for wishful thinking considering Ray’s son David today pointed out with Tom McCarthy that his dad is stepping back from everything, yes, everything.

But maybe, just maybe, Ray might have time to turn up for Game 126 of the Lower Merion vs Radnor game in November at the newly refurbished historic Jules Prevost Ground in Radnor.

Mary Brown, a longtime Latin teacher at Lower Merion and now an assistant professor at Saint Joseph University, is sponsoring the Lower Merion Coed Youth Football Clinic on Sunday morning June 5 at Arnold Field. For the $15 registration form, email: [email protected]

Lola R. McClure