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A Conversation with Steve Gelbs, Reporter and Studio Host for SNY

Steve Gelbs described how he became a TV sports broadcaster for the New York Mets and Jets, and the highs and lows of his profession.

By Frank Scarpa

At the May 1st meeting of the Retired Men’s Association, Spike Lipschutz introduced Steve Gelbs, who spoke about his career as a sports anchor and reporter in New York.

Steve was born in Queens, but raised in Greenwich. His father, Scott, is a prominent physical therapist here, with a practice that has involved official positions with organizations like the New York Rangers. From as early as age 7, Steve expressed a desire to pursue a career in sports. Encouraged by his parents, this desire ultimately translated to attending Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications (“Sportscaster U”), graduating in 2009. In 2015 he joined Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, and Ron Darling as a member of Sports New York’s Emmy-winning New York Mets broadcasting team. Gelbs is also SNY’s Jets Studio programming host. He is a regular contributor to “Baseball Night in New York” and “Mets Hot Stove” on SNY.

Steve’s presentation mined his extensive experience in covering professional baseball, football, basketball and hockey, as well as college hockey. His accounts of his rising career were laced with some humorous and even self-deprecating anecdotes. For example, in answering a recruiting call for someone to cover high school sports, Steve had knowingly submitted a resume tape that had included a “stumble.”  Paradoxically, his candidness made a favorable impression, and a career was kick-started.

With help and encouragement from colleagues like Keith Hernandez, Steve Gelbs nurtured his own natural talent and personality traits that have led to success. He describes the “entertainment value” that derives from his insight into and respect for the professional athlete. On one occasion, during a whirlwind trip accompanying the team on a West Coast tour, Steve was so exhausted upon arrival at his hotel room that he fell asleep sitting on the edge of his bed in his business suit. He reflected on the fact that the players had to get out and perform on the field that next day.

A lively Q and A session followed Steve’s talk. (There seemed to be a number of knowledgeable Mets fans in the audience.)  During this session, Steve graced us with some of his “lessons learned”:

1) Be prepared, but do not memorize. “If I do not remember it, it must not be important.”
2) There is an evolution to the way you prepare for an interview.
3) Employ a “personal” interview technique. Usually, eschew recording devices, especially in a locker-room setting.
4) “No agenda” is sometimes the best approach. He cites Dan Rather: “The best question is the follow-up question.”

A few final comments centered on Steve’s optimism for the Mets’ future, now that they have acquired a top-tier farm system. Gelbs closed by discussing the challenges for young players dealing with social media vitriol and the pressure cooker of the New York market. He empathized, recalling a hateful tweet about his first SNY report that shook his confidence. But he eventually realized that listening to the loudest, most negative voices is unproductive. He believes that it takes a special mental fortitude to succeed in New York sports.

The talk can be viewed by going to the RMA website at https://greenwichrma.org, and clicking on “Speakers.”

The RMA’s upcoming presentation, “Connecting Through Song since 1967,” by The Grace Notes, is scheduled for 11 AM on Wednesday, May 15, 2024. The Grace Notes is an all-female a cappella group based in Greenwich CT, that has been entertaining and serving the community through song for nearly 60 years. Its focus is on bringing music to people at senior residential homes, adult day centers, and Alzheimer’s/dementia facilities, as well as at town events and community festivals, libraries and schools as part of a wider mission to connect and bring people together through music.
The group was formed in 1967 as part of the Junior League of Greenwich and became an independent, non-profit organization officially titled “The Therapeutical Music Organization” in 1972, changing to “The Grace Notes” in 1995. The members are women who stem from different backgrounds but are united by their personal love of singing and mutual desire to give back to the community. Dr. Eric Martin has been Music Director since 2008.

All members are volunteers. Every member dedicates over 90 hours of rehearsal time during the September through May season, plus at twice-monthly troupings and time spent at home learning music. Every member went through a stringent audition process to be accepted into the group.

Members are teachers, authors, artists, business owners, homemakers, working and retired executives, who each have a background in music and singing through school/college and church choirs, community theater, music degrees and training, professional singing and more. The group has ranged in size from small to large, with eight members at some times, to more than 30 during the 1980s when fewer women were working full-time. There are currently nine singers with two more joining this spring. Two current members have been singing in The Grace Notes for over 30 years!

To stream the presentation by The Grace Notes at 11 AM on Wednesday, May 15, click on https://bit.ly/30IBj21. This presentation will also be available on local public access TV channels, Verizon FIOS channel 24 and Optimum (Cablevision) channel 79.

Note: The views expressed in these presentations are those of the speakers. They are not intended to represent the views of the RMA or its members.

RMA speaker presentations are presented as a community service at no cost to in-person or Zoom attendees, regardless of gender. Any member of the public who would like to receive a weekly email announcement of future speakers should send a request to members@greenwichrma.org. The RMA urges all eligible individuals to consider becoming a member of our great organization, and thereby enjoy all the available fellowship, volunteer, and community service opportunities which the RMA offers to its members. For further information, go to https://greenwichrma.org/, or contact members@greenwichrma.org.

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