Yesterday, Michael sent me a pretty funny email about someone surfing onto BTSC after googling my name. Why's that funny, you ask? Because, if you google my name, some of the first things that pop up are items about people that, let's just say, don't live on the right side of the law. I already knew about that. Like most people, I've googled myself numerous times. When you have a common first name and a fairly unique last name, you like to see how far up the search ladder you are. I'm still pretty far down the Anthony Defeo search ladder, but there are only 62 of us in the United States and when one of us acts up, it's a black mark on the AD brand name.
Anyway, Michael's email got me thinking about a time when a local Pittsburgh radio station mistakenly thought I was a Raiders fan. Oh the horror of it! Hopefully, I can fight through the emotional trauma that I suffered and share my story with you.
Years ago, on 1250 ESPN radio, Pittsburgh sports personalities Guy Junker and Eddy Crow had a show called "The Junker and Crow show." I was a regular listener and would often email the show and share my opinions on various sports topics. Occasionally, during their email segments, they would even read my email over the air which I thought was pretty cool.
However, one night back in 2006, I got a strange email from the show that said, "How about them RAIDERS! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" I don't know who sent that email to me. It could have been one of the hosts, an intern, a producer, maybe even someone from the cleaning crew, but I didn't know what to make of it. The email was obviously mocking the Raiders who had just lost that day and were on their way to having a horrible 2-14 season. I don't remember my exact reply to that email, but it was something along the lines of: "Ummm, yeah. I'm a Steelers fan. What do I care about the Raiders? I'm glad they stink."
Fast forward to a a couple of years later. Eddy Crow was gone and Stan Savran was now Guy's partner on the "Stan and Guy show." It was basically the same format with the same features and I was still providing my insight via email. And one day, one of the hosts, I forget who, came upon an email I had just sent in and said something along the lines of: "Oh, here's an email from that idiot Tony from Crafton, the Raider fan who is always calling our "Yinzer Yapline" and making fun of the Steelers. I don't think I'll read this one from that jerk! I'm surprised he can even type."
Besides email and live calls, another way listeners of the show could voice their opinions was by using the "Yinzer Yapline." For those of you who don't know, Yinzer is a word commonly used to describe Pittsburghers and the "Yinzer Yapline" was a number the station provided for fans to call where they could leave a voicemail. Callers would often use the number to vent about a player, a call, a game, just about anything related to Pittsburgh sports. The calls were never live, but the more entertaining ones were played over the air. A regular contributor to the "Yinzer Yapline" was a "Tony from Crafton" who would often leave nonsensical messages dissing the Steelers and praising the Raiders for being such a great and proud organization. You could tell by his accent that the guy was a true Pittsburgher so why he decided to shun the Black and Gold and adopt the Raiders as his team was beyond me; there's no accounting for taste.
After I put two and two togther, I realized why I got that email a couple of years prior. You see, I always signed my emails "Tony from Crafton." Crafton is a small suburb right outside of Pittsburgh and my place of residence for many years and I would use that moniker whenever I emailed the show.
The hosts were mistaking me for the Raider "Tony from Crafton." I couldn't believe it. What were the odds that two Tonys from Crafton would not only listen to the same sports show but also be regular contributors? And just my luck that my fellow "Tony from Crafton" was a diehard Raiders fan. I quickly emailed the show and tried to explain the situation. Initially, things were okay and when they would read an email of mine over the air, they would refer to me as the other "Tony from Crafton" or even "Anthony from Crafton." Neither one was as catchy as "Tony from Crafton" but at least I wasn't being called a Raiders fan.
Unfortunately, they would still get me confused with the other guy from time to time. I'm not surprised and it's not their fault. I mean, after all, they dealt with countless callers and emailers every week. No way could they keep track of everyone.
Ironically enough, I actually had a brief encounter with the Raider "Tony from Crafton" just two years ago although he didn't know it. One morning, I was waiting in line to buy breakfast at the local Mcdonalds, and much to my surprise, he was only a few people ahead of me in line. He looked like someone straight out of the Sopranos. I'd say he was probably in his 50's, about 5'4, sporting sweatpants, loafers and about 7 gold chains. I knew it was him because he was bragging to anyone who would listen about being the "Tony from Crafton" that always called the "Yinzer Yapline." This was the day after the Steelers gut-wrenching overtime loss in Kansas City that helped knock them out of the playoffs and he was super-excited about it. He was holding court with a few people in line who seemed to be buying his bs about how great the Raiders were and he even accused the Rooney family of brainwashing Steelers fans
Okay, excuse me while I digress a bit. Since 1972, the Pittsburgh Steelers have been to the playoffs 26 times, have won their division 20 times, been to the AFC Championship Game 15 times, appeared in the Super Bowl 8 times and won it a record 6 times. If that's what you consider being brainwashed, please, continue to wash my brain with that kind of success.
Anyway, 1250 ESPN eventually went off the air and I'm not sure if they ever knew the whole story. Well, guys, if you're reading this, please believe me when I tell you that I'm not that "Tony from Crafton." I'm the good one. The one who always wrote the intelligent emails, not the one who called your Yapline to spew his Raider gibberish. I'm the "Tony from Crafton" that loves the Steelers.
So there you have it, the whole tragic story. Now I know how Richard Kimble and Dr. David Banner felt. I wonder if I'll ever fully clear my name or if I'll have to change my moniker to "Tony from Coraopolis" or "Tom from Bridgeville".
Maybe someday I can have the accusation of "Raiders fan" permanently expunged from my record.