When Dominick Tringali says he’s “living a dream,” it’s not hyperbole. Over the last 20 years the veteran television stage manager and associate director has been paid to see some of the most legendary moments in New York sports history.
“The Rangers winning the Stanley Cup at Madison Square Garden; watching Wayne Gretzky skate off the ice for the last time in his career in 1999; working at Yankee Stadium for David Wells’ and David Cone’s perfect games; and the last game played at the old Yankee Stadium in 2008, to name just a few,” says the sports-crazy Brooklyn native who grew up and lives in New Jersey.
Although technology has radically changed how sports are covered and broadcast, Tringali says his job has remained “pretty much the same” since he joined the DGA 20 years ago with the MSG television network.
“Stage-managing live sports means interfacing with people,” he explains. “We’re equal parts traffic cop, bodyguard, caddy, and motivational coach no matter who it may be—broadcasters, players, public relations staff, or technicians.”
Tringali adds that while his producers may format pre- and post-game coverage and intermissions in the studio, “on the field, or the court, the game dictates everything, and we make it up as we go along.” And being the main “conduit” between the producer and director in the booth (or truck), and on-field broadcaster, means Tringali has worked with broadcasting’s elite tier. He rattles off quickly with obvious pride: “Dick Enberg, Marv Albert, Brent Musburger, Dick Stockton, Mike Breen, Joe Buck, Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick and Mike Tirico.”
Of course, it’s the mishaps that tend to stand out the most. “Like the time Roger Caras, aka the voice of the Westminster Dog Show, missed introducing the national anthem because they started before I could give him a cue,” laughs Tringali. “I’ll never forget him turning to me with his God-like voice, and saying: ‘In all my years, I have never missed an anthem—until now.’”
No sport has provided more surprises than Tringali’s personal passion: hockey. Cueing announcers in and out of commercials and promos, or doing post-game interviews on the ice, require a careful selection of footwear. Not to mention dealing with the unique nature of its athletes.
“Once I had to bring a hockey player to our studio during an intermission between periods,” Tringali recalls. “So I met him in the hallway off the ice, introduced myself, and as we began to walk, he stopped to ask if he could first go to the locker room to get his teeth. I stared for a beat, and then said ‘sure,’ relaying to the producer through the headset that his intermission guest would be delayed.
“There have been any number of reasons why guests have been late coming to the studio, but denture wear—or lack thereof—was a first, even for me.”