Here's a recent article from GameRoom Magazine

Celebrities, Beer, Radio, and, Oh Yeah-Pinball 
By Robert Brink

The History

So one day, I hear about Classic Pinball (Clifton, NJ) from a commercial on the radio and decide to head down to the showroom to have a look. I was delighted to see so many vintage (and modern) arcade games and pinball machines for my viewing and purchasing pleasure-and so close to my home. I was introduced to Kevin McHugh after expressing interest in trading in my Williams "Fire" machine and obtaining a "Tron" stand-up arcade game. Kevin was friendly, funny, and accommodating. He was more than happy to offer me a beer, hang out and chew the fat, find me a Tron, and take "Fire" off my hands. After talking for a few hours, seems my career as a skateboard journalist tapped into the deep recesses of his subconscious and brought up memories of a time when he too, was a youthful, and much thinner skater. Likewise, like I reminisced of my childhood days in the arcades at the Jersey shore through his store full of video games. To put it simply, and way less Freudian, we hit it off. And we discovered that we could help each other out a bit. 

See, Kevin does lots of business in the NY/NJ area, he has lots of clients and a little bit of luck. But luck is what someone like Kevin deserves because of his genuine dedication, interest, and love for pinball and his business-if you give all you can to something, it will eventually treat you well in return (at least that what I have learned). Kevin luckily stumbled across the opportunity to have one of his pinball machines showcased on 102.7 FM's The Opie and Anthony Show in New York. For those of you who never heard of it, surely you have heard of Howard Stern. Well, Opie and Anthony are the first ever show to pose a serious threat to Stern's reign as king of the airwaves, and that's major. For lack of a long-winded explanation, let's just say they are the "next generation" Howard Stern Show, which, to most, is a good thing, since Stern can't go on forever. (It's a compliment guys, don't freak out on me.) 

So Opie and Anthony begin to regularly play, and discuss, Kevin's pinball machine on the air, and then they decide to smash it with a sledgehammer on the air as well-destruction equals ratings. All the while, Kevin is getting tons of plugs and promotion for his donation, not to mention getting aquatinted with Opie, Anthony, and others at the station. Once the machine is annihilated, Kevin is asked to donate another, which he gladly does (a Terminator 2 machine). Time passes and another 102.7 show that follows Opie and Anthony, Ron and Fez, decides they want to have a pinball tournament, sponsored by Kevin, live on the air with the T2. After sealing the deal on my Tron machine, Kevin thought it would be cool to invite me, the "journalist," to the upcoming pinball tournament. Since any such event is bound to be full of debauchery and story potential, I gladly accepted...

The Big Night

March 28, 2002: Kevin was already at the station with an extra "emergency" T2 in his van downstairs in case the one in the studio crapped out. I had to meet one of Kevin's pinball soldiers, John, at the showroom and wait for a ride from Matt Devoti, a 102.7 employee. He picked us up and we sat in rush hour tunnel traffic, while Kevin stressed in the green room fixing the machine up and calling John (riding shotgun) on his cell every 5 minutes-I could hear Kevin's voice as it projected into John's skull from the back seat where I was sitting. He speaks loudly, to say the least. Ron and Fez go on the air at 7 p.m. We got to the station at 7:02. Walking through the lobby, John and I were introduced as the "pinball guys" to a herd of anxious, ready-to-win-the-contest pinball geeks. They all cheered for us as we walked away. Luckily, Opie and Anthony were running late with a live performance from millennium glam rockers, Sevendust. While walking through the post-performance mayhem, I stepped on one of their feet. Normally I would be apologetic to such celebrities, but didn't really care because their record is a mediocre turd to me. 

At first glance, Kevin was leaning into the open, blinking machine, sweating profusely, and beet red. He and John discussed some pinball nerd mumbo jumbo. It's all foreign to me- something about wires, and soldering irons, and flippers. I was just there for free beer and a story to tell my kids (when I have them). I was able to snap one photo of Kevin in "stress mode" before Al Dukes, the lame-ass, balding "producer" told me I couldn't take pictures. Evidently, no one at Ron and Fez wants the public to see how fat and old they are or something. I was introduced to Opie who was a super cool guy. As it turns out, a magazine I work with, Stance, is doing a story on he and Anthony, so we had plenty to talk about. On top of this, there was free Samuel Adams (which John, Kevin, and I took full advantage of), and a host of white trash, (but cute) barely legal-looking girls running around in their underwear, feeling each other up and making out. It was Fez's birthday, so they were celebrating with tons of chicks that wanted to come in, expose themselves, and tongue tango with each other on the air. 

As the show progressed, the T2 was miraculously rigged to playable status. It was funny to see all the pinball kooks trying to study the machine, only to have the high strung dweeb of a producer yell at them. Even other players would accuse those who were just checking the machine out, of some sort of "cheating." I bet cooler people attend Star Trek conventions, if you know what I mean. 

The pinball contest got underway. The audience was given live contest updates and comedic interludes from the green room via Al Douche and a now, way less tense McHugh. Each player was given three balls and was paired against with another contestant. One game at a time, the duos played, and when the last ball dropped, the player with the lower score was eliminated. Girls made out all around us and flashed their little trailer park "we aren't 21 yet" boobies at the pinball contestants. Others lurked about the studio, smoked in the corner behind Dukes' back, drank beer, and ate off the big-budget radio station "dessert buffet," which was a stool with Funny Bones, Tasty Kakes, and Chocodiles on it. 

Hours passed and the pinball contest rejects began leaving. Things quieted down even further during the final round as the soon-to-be-winner, Eric Cardinale from Bradley Beach NJ, who seemed to be inseparable from his backpack, wearing it for the entire 5 hours-even during play, was just killing it (way into the multi-millions) on his first ball. He kicked ass and won a "Fireball" pinball machine from Kevin and ClassicPinball.com. The runner up, Kevin Somebody from Newark, NJ lost badly, but he was just genuinely psyched to have been a part of it all-as all of us were. Thanks Kevin, thanks Classic Pinball, thanks 102.7 WNEW, thanks Samuel Adams, and thanks young lesbians. No thanks Mr. Dukes-uptight producer who only let me snap one picture for this article and yelled at the smokers all night-grow a personality and a sense of humor, and learn about what might makes things interesting for your audience.

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