Noah Coslov spoke on Sukkot at Beth Sholom about LeBron James, Philadelphia Phillie Ryan Howard and how he got “Popped’ by a renowned media curmudgeon.
The irony certainly wasn’t lost on Noah Coslov in the moments leading up to him stepping to the podium to address the Beth Sholom Men’s Club — along with a few women — at their annual sports dinner last month.
The kid who had virtually grown up in the Elkins Park synagogue, seeing all those familiar faces in the crowd, even standing next to his Bar Mitzvah plaque engraved on the wall, had truly come home.
For the guy who’s covered World Series, Super Bowls, NBA Finals, NCAA Final Fours, Stanley Cup Finals, Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic — even a Boston Red Sox-Oakland A’s series in Japan — it all had to be surreal. One minute, he’s talking to the man who used to drive him to Hebrew school in the carpool, and to his basketball-playing buddy from the time they won a bunch of titles together in the building next door. The next, he’s telling them about interviewing Cleveland Cavalier LeBron James or Philadelphia Phillie Ryan Howard or how he got “Popped’ by renowned media curmudgeon and San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich during a press conference.
“This place means a lot to me,” said the 34-year-old Coslov, whose mother, Sarah, was the synagogue’s first woman president, while his father-in-law, Arthur Frankel, is current president. “We played ball in that gym over there and I knew many of these people.
“For some reason, I was a big Michigan fan. I’ll never forget right before my Bar Mitzvah party [Colorado quarterback] Kordell Stewart threw a Hail Mary to beat Michigan. When I came into the reception, everyone wanted to know if I was all right.”
Young Noah would “recover” to graduate from Abington High, then attend Boston University, where his passionate love of sports started to formulate into a possible career. After interning for NBA.com during his senior year, he caught his first big break not too far from home: doing radio play-by-play for the Reading Phillies, featuring Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz, with Cole Hamels soon to follow
“I got there 40 days into the season and Ryan was a monster,” said Coslov, recalling that 2004 campaign in which Howard slugged 46 homers with 131 RBIs between Reading and Scranton/Wilkes Barre. “Michael Bourn was also there and that was the year Chooch [Ruiz’ nickname] became a prospect. I was the no. 2 guy on radio doing the middle innings.”
He returned there for the 2005 season, then happened to be in services at Beth Sholom during the High Holidays when he realized something about a girl he’d known since he was 10 years old. “I saw her across the way from where we sit,” he recalled. “I said to myself, ‘Marissa Frankel is kind of hot.’ ”
Before long, they were dating and in 2011, they married, with daughter Eden born just a year ago.
By that time Coslov had gone from working for NBA.com for a few years, to MLB.com — where, among other duties, he covered his hometown Phillies’ 2008 World Series run — before finally becoming host and managing director at CineSport in 2010. He’s been at CineSport, which boasts of having the largest online network of original sports video content, ever since, in addition to hosting a weekend NBA talk show on Sirius Satellite radio.
And he can’t help but think back and laugh about how absurd the whole thing is. “When I was a kid, I’d listen to WIP morning, noon and night,” said Coslov, whose next goal is to become an NBA play-by-play man. “I’d fall asleep and wake up listening to it.
“And I used to try to make my voice sound older, so I could get on the air. I remember sitting on hold for like an hour hoping they’d let me on. Now, as a host, I try not to let anyone wait more than eight minutes.”
At Beth Sholom, they couldn’t wait to hear their favorite son tell stories about what it’s like to be in a major league clubhouse, about hobnobbing with the players and celebrities and about maintaining trying to his cool while witnessing classic events like Game 6 of the 2014 NBA Finals or Game 6 of the 2011 World Series.
While Coslov’s list is pretty impressive, it has a ways to go to top that of his father. In fact, Pittsburgh native Sonny Coslov can top just about anybody. “I was 11 years old and went with my family to the game,” said Sonny, an eyewitness to Pittsburgh Pirate Bill Mazeroski’s dramatic bottom-of-the-ninth Series-winning homer off New York Yankee Ralph Terry in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series. “We didn’t go to school that day.
“We were sitting behind the Yankees’ dugout. Those days, you could just about reach out and touch the players.
“When Mazeroski hit it, right away you could see Yogi Berra, who was in leftfield, look up and see it was going over the wall. The place went nuts. It was crazy.”
The only thing that might come close to that was Dec. 23, 1972, when Sonny was in Three Rivers Stadium at the time of Franco Harris’ “Immaculate Reception” for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Only problem was, he didn’t really see it. “We left to beat the crowd,” confessed Sonny, who was also on hand three months earlier when Roberto Clemente got his 3,000th — and last — hit. “As we’re walking out we hear all this screaming.
“We run back in there just in time to see Franco run into the end zone.”
Now Noah’s following in his father’s impressive footsteps. “This is all he ever wanted to do since he was 4 years old,” said Sonny, who worked in the scrap iron and steel business in Pittsburgh, before moving across the state, where he met Sarah and where Noah and his older brother Max, were born. “He’d come to Hebrew school and tell all the fathers who’d won the games the night before and who did what. He used to go in the basement and do play-by-play for basketball and hockey games.”
Just imagine, now Noah Coslov is getting paid to do all that. “We handle sports video for 500 different sites,” explained Coslov, whose family (then spelled Koslov) migrated from Russia to Savannah, Ga., before winding up in Pittsburgh. “On any given day I can go from talking Alabama football, to golf, to the St. Louis Blues, to NASCAR, to hoops.
“We’re partners with AOL and MSN. They take our content and promote it. Certain videos can get 100,000 views.”
Coslov has come a long way from the kid who broadcast games in his basement and used to try to make voice sound more mature to get on the air. Yet as much as he loves what he does, he’s come to appreciate other things more.
“I’ve seen LeBron James do the most amazing things in my life,” he said, winding up his speech at Beth Sholom. “but childbirth?
“There’s nothing close.”