Robinson Has Had A Long And Interesting Career
By Joe McDonald
“The broadcasting bug hit me sometime in my early teens, but it seriously hit me at 15 when I broke my ankle badly playing football,” Robinson said.
“So, whatever meager athletic hope I had was shattered. It was very simple, if I couldn’t play the game, I might as well talk about it. So from that day on, I knew this is what I wanted to do.”
Over his career, Robinson has built a very impressive resume; he has touched millions with his voice in all sports and can easily change styles from one match to another.
The 48 year-old has been behind the Mets mike for the past four seasons after nine years calling the San Francisco Giants and six with the Minnesota Twins. Robinson has called games in all sports, but its baseball that gets his juices flowing.
“I feel blessed because I am around championship tennis and that’s a great thing,” Robinson thought. “But Baseball is the sport I love. If I could hit a curveball, I would play, but like most of us, I ended up doing something else.”
His chosen profession not only made him nationally known, but made him a better fan of the game too. By being in the booth with top baseball minds that have had great success paying the game, Robinson has learned so much about the National Pastime just by being next to them.
“Every game with Keith Hernandez, I learn something new,” Robinson explained. “And how else do I learn anything unless I am with someone who played. When I was with Joe Morgan in San Francisco for two years, he was the best teaching tool for me.”
The ability to learn has allowed the Notre Dame graduate to become one of the most versatile broadcasters in the business. Besides baseball, tennis, college basketball, Olympic sports and college football have all had Robinson’s voice stamped to it.
“The Olympics, without question, were the biggest events I broadcasted,” he said. “I will never broadcast a Super Bowl. I never called a World Series game. Wimbledon is great, but the Olympics are world wide.”
But the games are ever four years and Robinson calls three out of four Grand Slam tennis events every year. For NBC, he voices the French Open, Wimbledon and for the last 18 years has brought US Open tennis to the country.
Of the tournaments, Robinson said Wimbledon was his favorite because it was so steeped in tradition and since he has been involved with the sport since 1987, the broadcaster has seen some of the greatest tennis ever played. But some players stand out more than others.
“In the men’s game there are three, [Pete] Sampras, [Andre] Agassi, [Roger] Federer and Federer is the best of the three,” Robinson mused. “He would have beat Pete in his prime, even in Wimbledon. And that’s no shame on Pete.
“Steffi Graf, Monica Seles, Serena and Venus Williams are the best on the women’s side, because I saw [Chris] Everett and [Martina Navratilova] past their primes.”
Robinson also had a small cameo in the movie A Few Good Men, which was much as a surprise to him as many of his friends that called the broadcaster when the movie came out. He said, “Rob Reiner’s company used the clip and it was an actual clip. I had no idea, no one ever asked me and I never got a penny.”
This was not the case with his first job in college.
“The first assignment for money was a hockey game in college,” Robinson said. “Notre Dame was nationally ranked that year. I was doing the broadcasts for the college station and the person doing it for the commercial station left for another job. In an emergency, the station gave me a chance for 20 dollars a game. I didn’t care, since I was working.”
Besides producing a great broadcaster, the Fighting Irish can also thank Robinson for giving their current football coach his first job as a senior.
“I hired Charlie Weis,” Robinson said. “You rarely hire seniors, but Charlie knew his stuff, so I hired him.”
And at the time, no one thought he would be on the South Bend sidelines one day.
“Trust me, no one who knew Charlie thought he would be a successful football coach,” Robinson said. “This is a real “Rudy” story. He had one year on radio in college and became one of the country’s prominent coaches.”
Much like the way Robinson became one of the country’s top broadcasters..