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Duke Castiglione used to play catch with the old guy who

was his father's partner, a fascinating fellow who regaled him with ancient

tales and could throw harder than a 60-something should.

"He taught me a lot about World War II," Castiglione said more than a

quarter-century later. "A lot more than I ever learned in school."

Duke, then 9, eventually learned something else.

"I didn't know Bob was one of the greatest pitchers of all time," he said.

That's Bob as in Feller, who broadcast Indians games alongside Duke's dad,

Joe Castiglione, in the early 1980s.

Nice perk for a young fan and player. But that was only the start, and an

education that indirectly led to his current life as Ch. 5's lead sportscaster.

By age 10, Duke was working in the visiting locker room at Fenway Park,

where Joe was beginning a run on the Red Sox broadcast team that is in its 25th


The gig provided a trove of stories, from serving Billy Martin his postgame

meal of Salisbury steak and rice to getting thrown in a hamper by George Bell

to watching Tom Seaver change shirts after every inning on a hot night.

"Being around it, you see these guys have problems just like anybody else

in the world," said Duke, 35. "Some are real nice guys. Some aren't so nice."

For example ... "Ted was very nice to me." Ted? That would be Ted Williams.

"It's like being a ballplayer's kid," Joe said. "You're comfortable in the

environment and you are not awestruck.

"I was awestruck when I started out. It took me a long time to work up the

nerve to ask Ted Williams for an interview when he was managing the Senators."

Naturally, Duke grew up a Red Sox fan, which makes for a peculiar dynamic

when the team faces the marquee franchise in his adopted town, as it will over

the holiday weekend.

But not as weird as for his father, who grew up in Connecticut as ... a

Yankees fan.

"I always wanted to work in New York," Joe said. "Mel Allen and Mickey

Mantle were my heroes ... I loved the Yankees, everything about them."

Joe obviously is in no position to root for the Yankees these days. He

forever will be associated with the Bosox, most famously as narrator of the

historic moment when they won the 2004 World Series.

"Oh-four was a miracle, and about ending curses and winning one for your

deceased relatives and all the tears and passions and emotion," Joe said.

"Oh-seven was about being the best team in baseball."

Spoken like a pillar of Red Sox Nation.

Joe, 61, still loves Yankee Stadium despite "probably the most

uncomfortable broadcast booth" in the league. But he dreads those "grinders"

the teams usually play.

"They last so long, they might as well start every count at 3-and-2," he


Before he turned to TV, Duke was a good catcher who played at Stonehill

College in Easton, Mass., and had a powerful arm. It didn't hurt that he worked

with Red Sox catcher Tony Pe�a in the early '90s.

But soon enough, he turned to the family business.

"Obviously, he had some doors open because of the genes, but you still have

to earn your keep," Joe said. "It's like a ballplayer who might be scouted

because your father was a player."

Duke's real name is Joe. But the family didn't want to call him Junior.

Said his father: "'Duke' sounded like a ballplayer."

PSLs cause a stir

No New York-area team has a season ticket base as entrenched as that of the

Giants, which makes the team's decision to use personal seat licenses to help

fund its new stadium particularly emotional.

PSLs always - and understandably - anger fans, but what makes the Giants'

situation unusual is that many multi-decade ticket-holders have excellent seats

based on seniority, seats that until now have been priced below market value.

Those locations' PSL and ticket prices are going to be beyond the means of

many fans who currently occupy them, and will cause tectonic shifts in the

seating chart in the transition to a new building.

When the dust settles, the crowds likely will be richer and younger, and

perhaps more energetic.

But pieces of the franchise's institutional memory can't help but be lost

in translation.

New York Sports