Behind the Broadcast: Wolfe back in ‘arena’

If you get an opportunity to watch tonight’s Arena Football League Nat­ional Conference div­isional

If you get an opportunity to watch tonight’s Arena Football League Nat­ional Conference div­isional playoff game between the New York Dragons and Philadelphia Soul at 7 on ESPN and ESPN HD, there will be someone familiar to Capital Region sports fans calling the play-by-play.

Ari Wolfe, who was the voice of the AFL’s Albany Firebirds, the Northeast League’s Albany-Colonie Diamond Dogs and the College of Saint Rose men’s basketball team in the late 1990s, will call the action.

Wolfe fondly recalls his time in the Capital Region, especially 1999. That was a magical year for Wolfe, who called the Firebirds’ ArenaBowl victory over Orlando in August, and the Diamond Dogs winning the Northern League title over Winnipeg, the first year of the merger between the Northeast and Northern leagues.

“It’s certainly a thrill for me, having worked in the Arena Football League for 11 years,” Wolfe said in a telephone interview this week from Philadelphia. “I really fell in love with the game when I worked for the Albany Firebirds. We had a great organization, and we had a great coach in Mike Dailey, who is one of the most important mentors in my life. To see it come to this point and get this kind of exposure is pretty neat.”

Wolfe, who called Monday’s AFL Northeast Conference wild-card Cleveland-Orlando game on ESPN2, will have to remain even-keeled when he calls the game. That’s because he is the radio play-by-play voice of the Soul.

“[It’s] going to be a little bit difficult,” Wolfe said. “I can be a bit of a homer doing Soul radio. But with this being a nationally televised game, I’ve got to be completely neutral, and drive it straight down the fairway. Internally, I know that I’ll be emotional. But on the air, I’ll be doing my best to sound completely objective.”

Since leaving the Capital Reg­ion in 2000, when he followed the Firebirds to Indiana, Wolfe has done well for himself. He is the television play-by-play voice for the University of Louisville football and men’s basketball teams. He won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Play-by-Play for his composite work on the Cardinals’ broadcasts. He also has worked some college basketball games for ESPN.

Wolfe also does the play-by-play for the Minnesota Vikings’ preseason TV games. Before that, he did the Philadelphia Eagles’ preseason TV games in 2005.

During the NFL regular season, Wolfe is a sideline reporter for Sports USA Radio Network. Wolfe was also the TV voice of the AFL on Outdoor Life Network (now Versus) in the 2006, when the cable channel had the TV rights.

“It’s been an incredible run,” Wolfe said. “All the different gigs fit perfectly into a puzzle. It makes every time of year exciting. I feel incredibly blessed. I keep trying to keep it going. Apparently, I’m fooling people enough, and they keep writing me checks, and I’m going to keep it going as long as I can.”

Wolfe may have the best boss in the world. The owner of the Soul is legendary rocker Jon Bon Jovi.

“Working for Jon Bon Jovi is great,” Wolfe said. “He is truly a fan. He cares passionately about the Philadelphia Soul. He’s just so appreciative of the work that I do. It’s just nice to work for somebody who cares passionately about the team.”

boy for sinkoffs

Congratulations to WTMM-FM (104.5) program director and sports­talk show host Brian Sinkoff, who became a father for the first time last Friday. Sinkoff’s wife gave birth to Zachary Samuel Sinkoff at 1:33 p.m. at Albany Med.

soccer ratings

The first U.S. network telecast of a European Championship final was seen by 3.76 million viewers on ABC.

Spain’s 1-0 victory over Ger­many in last Sunday’s final got a 2.3 national rating, the network said Thursday. It was seen in 2.55 million homes.

When ABC broadcast the 2006 World Cup final, Italy’s penalty-kicks victory over France in the 2006 World Cup final got a 7.0 nat­ional rating.

parting shots

TBS will televise the “Major League Baseball All-Star Game Sel­ection Show” at 2 p.m. Sunday. The cable network will then show the Chicago Cubs-St. Louis Cardinals game at 3 p.m. . . .

To no one’s surprise, the Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees series gets the national treatment this weekend. Fox Sports (WXXA Ch. 23 and WXXA HD) has the game today at 3:55 p.m. ESPN and ESPN HD will televise the game Sunday night at 8. . . .

Sunday’s Tri-City ValleyCats’ game at the Hudson Valley Renegades will be televised at 5 p.m. by Time Warner Cable channel 3. . . .

TW-3 will broadcast the New York Collegiate Baseball League All-Star Game at 7 p.m. Monday. That will be preceded by the NYCBL home run derby at 4 p.m. . . .

Still more baseball on TW-3 Tuesday. It will televise an International League double-header between Syracuse and Buffalo starting at 5 p.m. . . .

Wimbledon wraps up this weekend on NBC (WNYT Ch. 13). The Williams sisters will battle for the women’s singles title today at

9 a.m. The gentlemen’s singles final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, is at 9 a.m. Sunday. . . .

The Tour de France begins today at 8:30 a.m. on Versus.

Categories: Sports

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