Friday, July 29, 2005

BlogPoll Question #4

This week's BlogPoll Roundtable Question is brought to you by the letters B, G, S and the number 4.

This week, we're talking rivals. Not the scam artists at, but college football rivals where both programs really hate each other and will play above their heads every time they meet. And no one does it better than college football. Yeah, there are some rivalries at the pro level, but free agency has lessened the hatred as favorite players often wind up playing for a "rival" the next year.

1. Who are your rival(s)? The big games. The ones you always get up for, no matter how poor the teams might be during any given season. While we all might have a general sense of what the well-known national rivalries are (Army/Navy, Auburn/Alabama, etc) this is a chance to expound a little bit on your own personal bloodfeuds. Give us a little history, a little flavor, maybe a piece of lore or a notable prank that happened in the course of this feud. Also, feel free to use this question to talk about some rivalries in your team's history that may have faded away over the years.
I'm one of these college football purists that thinks a rivalry is about mutual hatred, so it's hard to think of cases where Texas Tech has a rival in the classic sense. Tech has always measured itself academically and athletically against the other state schools, Texas and Texas A&M.

Tech fans hate Texas because West Texas is very conservative and they regard UT as "The People's Republic of Austin." UT fans, however, try to ignore Texas Tech.

Texas A&M is another story. For most of A&M and Tech's existence in the same conference, there hasn't really been much mutual hatred. Texas Tech always felt like it had something to prove, while A&M has never really cared. In the last 10 years, however, it's become closer to a true rivalry for a number of reasons. First, Tech has dramatically improved on the gridiron while A&M has fallen off. Second, A&M suddenly seems to have the yips every time they make a trip to Lubbock. Finally, Tech seems to have acquired a reputation in Big XII circles similar to what Philly fan has nationally, and this ticks the allegedly more honorable A&M fan off to no end.
For better or worse, those are the two games Tech gets up for.

I recall three interesting games with Texas A&M. In 1999, Spike Dykes' last season, Texas Tech barely held off a Top-10 ranked A&M team in Lubbock 21-19. The students ran onto the field, tore down the goal post and paraded it down University Avenue. (I still have a piece of the goal post.)

Two years later, Tech upset A&M in Lubbock again, and again the fans in tore down the goal post. Unfortunately, the fans decided to deposit it in the visiting fans section of Jones Stadium and a riot ensued in between the A&M fans and Tech fans. Among the spectators for A&M was the chief of staff for Governor Rick Perry, who got punched in the melee and blamed it on a Lubbock resident. Later it was discovered on videotape that Perry's chief of staff got hit by a fellow Aggie.

(Perry made good later by speaking at Tech's graduation and carried just about every county in West Texas in the gubenatorial election)

I can't remember if it was a year or 2 years after that, but the The Texas A&M Media guide wrote that Tech fans were "classless clowns" and that Texas Tech deserved to have Bobby Knight. A&M lost to Texas Tech on the football field and went 0-2 against Tech in basketball.

Incidentally, there's a statue of Will Rogers on a horse on the Tech campus (Rogers was a big donor to the Tech band). The horse is facing west and to the north in such a way that the other end of the horse points toward College Station.

My best memory of a Texas Tech-Texas game was Kliff Kingsbury's senior year where Kingsbury threw 3 touchdown passes to beat the Longhorns and "Chrissy" Simms.

2. Size up your chances in your rival games this year. Pretty straightforward. Try to be objective.
This is probably the best team A&M has fielded in 4 years. So it will definitely be close. However, The game is in Lubbock, and it's a potential look-ahead game for A&M with Oklahoma the next week. Plus the last time Reggie McNeal came to Lubbock, he had a bad game.

As for Texas, well, they need to figure out a better way to stop Vince Young than the game plan they used last year.

3. If you could start up a new rivalry with another team, who would it be? Is there a team out there that you think would make a perfect rival for your team? Maybe you've played them a few times in the past and the games got a little heated, or perhaps there's an oldtime rivalry of yours that you'd like to rekindle. Pick a team (or two) that you'd love to battle year in and year out.
We've tried to establish regional rivalries with New Mexico, SMU, and TCU, but it hasn't worked out because Tech keeps blowing them out and the ADs get ticked at us.

I'd like to get the Air Force Academy in on a regular basis. Wouldn't that be a great clash of two completely opposite styles and personalities? The wishbone vs. The Air Raid. The straight-laced Fisher DeBerry vs. Mike Leach. Plus, you could probably charter a few buses to bring servicemen from Dyess AFB and Goodfellow AFB who might want to go.

4. Overall, what do you think the best rivalry in college football is? Try to pick one that doesn't involve your own team. What makes that rivalry so much better than all the others?
Best rivalry? It's like picking between my future children. But if you were to interrogate me James Bond Villain-style, I'd probably say Michigan-Ohio State since it always seems to have some bearing on the national picture.

5. Lastly, game trophies. What are the best and worst rivalry trophies out there? There's a lot of crazy stuff changing hands every football season: Golden Axes and Beehive Boots, Old Wagon Wheels and War Canoes. Which trophies are cool? Which trophy would you be embarrassed to see your team hoist aloft after winning a rivalry game? Here's a cribsheet to help you pick out your favorite and/or most ridiculous. And if nothing seems to fit, and you'd like to design your own trophy, you can mention that too.
I think the best trophy, because of it's uniqueness, has to be the Iron Skillet, which goes to the TCU-SMU winner. The worst trophy is any kind of bell, cup or plain trophy. It shows that the two schools really haven't put much thought into the award.
I'd like to see them award a pair of golden goalposts to the winner of the A&M-Tech game just because tearing down the goalposts have seemed to define the recent rivalry.

Monday: Trade Winds

Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Miseducation of Terrell Owens

(Quick Shout Out: Bugs Bunny turns turns 65 today. Happy Birthday, Doc!)

A rough timeline of Terrell Owens' pro career to date.


  • 49ers draft Terrell Owens out of Division 1-AA Tennessee-Chattanooga with the 89th overall pick


  • Owens catches a Hail Mary pass from Steve Young, known in NFL lore as "The Catch II"


  • Terrell Owens showboats on the Star in the middle of Texas Stadium not once, but twice. The second time produces a hit from Cowboys' safety George Teague, and a melee ensues.
  • Owens was fined and suspended by Niners' management for the incident, causing a rift between the two that would never heal.
  • Owens sets an NFL record in Jerry Rice's last game as a 49er with 20 catches in the game.


  • After blowing a 19 point lead to Chicago, Owens accuses Niners' head coach Steve Mariucci of protecting his "buddy" Dick Jauron
  • Niners lose in the playoffs to Green Bay. Terrell vents during the post game press conference, drawing the ire of teammate Jeremy Newberry.


  • During a 28-21 victory by the 49ers, Terrell Owens pulls a Sharpie out of his sock and autographs the ball. He tosses the ball into the box. Somehow, a national uproar ensues about Owens display of disrespect.
  • The next week, Owens hurts his case by dropping the race card in an interview.
  • Owens finishes the season with a career high 100 catches.
  • In the Niners' playoff game against the Giants, Owens leads the Niners to a comeback win.
  • The Niners follow up the comeback by getting pounded 31-6 by the eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Bucs. Mariucci is fired as 49ers coach after the loss and replaced by Dennis Erickson.


  • Quarterback issues and Dennis Erickson's lack of control spiral the 49ers out of control.
  • A frustrated Owens gets in the face of offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, which ends up being the final straw. The Niners and Owens agree to part ways at seasons' end


  • Owens' agent fails to file paperwork making Terrell Owens a free agent.
  • Owens gets traded to Baltimore, causing Owens to protest to an arbitrator because he wanted to go to Philly. Eventually a 3-way deal is worked out so that Terrell Owens will go to Philly.
  • On the way out, Terrell Owens gives an interview to Playboy where he hints that former teammate Jeff Garcia is gay. (To which he later apologizes)
  • Owens signs a new deal with the Eagles.
  • On opening weekend against the Giants, Terrell Owens catches 3 touchdown passes, equalling the highest total of any Philly wideout the previous year
  • In 5 of the Eagles first 7 games, Owens tops 100 yards
  • In a game against Cleveland and Garcia, Owens catches 2 touchdown passes and both times rips down signs berating him.
  • The next week in Baltimore, Owens mocks Ray Lewis's dance while catching the game clinching touchdown.
  • Before a Monday Night Game against Dallas, T.O. shoots a racy promo with "Desperate Housewives" star Nicolette Sheridan, which causes a firestorm of controversy. Lost in the controversy was that Owens had 6 catches for 134 yards, apparently inspired by"acting skills"
  • In the return game against Dallas, Cowboys safety Roy Williams horse-collars Owens, which causes his foot to stick in the turf and fracture his leg, sidelining Owens for what appeared to be the rest of the season
  • Donovan McNabb leads Philly to two playoff wins and a Super Bowl berth in Owens' absence
  • Owens ignores every doctor and plays in Super Bowl XXXIX anyway, catching 9 balls for 122 yards in a loss to the New England Patriots.


  • Owens dumps his former agent (the one that screwed up the paperwork) in favor of Drew Rosenhaus, a move that signaled his intent to re-negotiate his contract after one season.
  • Owens gives an interview where he says he "wasn't the one who got tired in the Super Bowl," a remark apparently directed at McNabb. McNabb responds angrily.
  • Owens, along with other Rosenhaus clients like Javon Walker, threaten to hold out.
  • Owens is denied permission to play for the Sacramento Kings summer league team by Philly management
  • After Eagles' president Joe Banner states that Owens and Rosenhaus are "not thinking rationally" Owens demands publicly that Banner give Rosenhaus permission to seek a trade and lists Atlanta as a possible destination.
  • Owens states that he will report to camp on time, but he won't be happy about it.
And the future?

Owens' talent and drive is undeniable, and he usually produces. Plus, he doesn't beat women, he doesn't do drugs, and he doesn't get arrested. And after the many good seasons he's had, I can understand why he'd want to re-negotiate.

If he had let Drew Rosenhaus do all the talking, he'd probably have people on his side.

The problem here is, T.O. has called out Donovan McNabb, one of the few marketable stars of the league and one of the guys that's universally liked, and demanded a trade. This gives people a chance to recall his history of being a locker room cancer in San Francisco. Now the Eagles have "the nuts" in this high stakes game of PR poker.

There is one card that can save T.O. on the river: another Pro Bowl season by him that ends in a Super Bowl trip. Anything less and it's T.O.'s fault. Fair or not.

Oh, and you may think the system is unfair to the players, but the alternative is labor hell like the NHL went through.

Tomorrow: BlogPoll

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

FinishSTRONG: The Responses

I got a lot of good responses to my recent post on Lance Armstrong, most of which appeared to be first timers who got the link through the Austin Bloggers meta-blog. (I'll try to make it down to a Austin blogger get-together when time and budget permit, I promise.)

Anway, I just want to thank all of you who took the time to read and or comment.

That said, in the future, please comment using the link that says "Sound Off Here", and not the link that says "Comments" on the individual post page. The "Sound Off Here" link goes to my Haloscan comments, which keeps me from being flooded with "comment spam". I read those comments regularly and occasionally reply with a comment of my own. If you comment via the "Comments" link on the post page, it goes to my e-mail, and unless you know me personally, it goes into the junk e-mail folder. There's no guarantee I will read it because I don't check each individual page and I don't always pick through the junk e-mail to see if someone I know accidentally gets filtered out.

If the Haloscan comment window causes a problem for your pop-up blocker, set your blocker to accept pop-ups from "" or turn it off.

Now that we got that straight, here's a few of your responses.

"Monty B.", I'm guessing from somewhere in Central Texas since I recieved it after the post went up on Austin Bloggers, emailed to say that there is a "Triple Crown" in cycling which is the Tour De France, the Giro D'Italia (Tour of Italy), and the World Road Cycling Championships, which he's right about and I forgot. However, it's not a "Grand Slam" which is four established major events.

"TexasTommy", one of our link partners, responded with the following:
I'd give Armstrong the same props you do....his achievements defy explanation. I heard that he has some type of freakish heart and lung capacity that gives him an edge, but he's certainly done a lot of disciplined training to get where he is.

It still looks bad, tho', that he left his wife who stood by his side when he had cancer, after he hit the big time so he could take up with Cheryl[sic] Crow.
I can see where Armstrong's personal life would probably get in the way of someone looking up to him as a role model. In fact, I think what happened between Armstrong, Crow, and his wife will probably keep him from any political aspirations. After all, he can't run as a Republican because hints of infidelity are Republican career-killers, and he can't run as a Democrat, even though Democrats tolerate that sort of thing, because the best he can do in the State of Texas is "State Senator from Austin." Which, if you don't live here, means while you may be high-profile in the blogging community and in the Austin media, you can forget about anyone in a position of power in Texas taking you seriously.

(Ugh, political takes, I feel like I need to take a shower after that.)

In any case, the skeletons ain't affecting his cycling game.

"CherubofCA77" stated:
I believe that cycling over 2000 miles over hills and thru valleys is much harder than anything that was done in the Olympics and he deserves due credit for that great accomplishment. Even if he had not beat cancer, it would be something that maybe 1% of the people would even try. Good for him!
A bunch of people, including regular commenter "Marquette Hoops", pointed out to me that cycling is a team sport. Well, yes and no. True, there are cycling teams where one or two feature riders are surrounded by sprinters, climbers, the cyclist who goes back to the team car for energy bars and water, and other specialists, but ultimately, a race like the Tour de France is determined by who is the best feature rider, and that's what makes it an individual sport, in my opinion.

I compare it to auto racing, which is individual as well. There's a whole pit crew behind a driver, but in the end, the race goes to the better driver.

If that's not your view of cycling, we can agree to disagree.

Then there was this nasty note sent by "adamrice", who didn't have the guts to leave a return e-mail address.
Apart from the individual time-trial stages (and solo events), cycling is not an individual sport, and it shows you haven't spent much time in the saddle if you think it is.
Adam, you don't have to play football, baseball or basketball to understand those sports, explain to me why I have to ride a bike competitively to talk about cycling? Do I also have to be Michaelangelo to comment on art? That's exactly the kind of fraternity initiation-style fan attitude that has hurt hockey in the United States. If you want cycling to grow after Lance Armstrong, y'all need to re-think that attitude.

Finally, Corey, who's a regular commenter, was the only one to actually suggest athletes, and he named one that could give Armstrong a run for the money: Former Iowa State freestyle wrestler Cael Sanderson, who was undefeated in 4 years of NCAA competition (159-0 when it was all said and done), and is the reigining Olympic gold medalist at 185 lbs.

Let's wait to compare until we see how Sanderson does at the World Championships in Budapest later this year. If he wins, it will give him roughly the same time frame of dominance as Lance.

Thanks for your comments.

Michaels to stay on Monday Night Football.

When it was announced that Monday Night Football was moving to ESPN, I was a bit worried that this would leave MNF in the hands of the worst football announce team in sports: Mike Patrick, Joe Theismann, and Paul McGwire.

The good news is that Al Michaels, "Mr. Monday Night", is replacing Patrick and McGwire will be gone. The bad news is that the self-absorbed, self-important Theismann is staying on.

Rounding out the team will be Suzy Kolber and Michelle Tafoya. Tafoya is a great journalist who can fill in the booth if necessary, but Kolber seems to be there for eye candy. I would have preferred that they get someone like Pam Oliver from Fox or Armen Keteyan from CBS, or even stayed in house and got Dr. Jerry Punch (a medical doctor who can explain injuries in layman's terms).

While we're on the subject of broadcasters, I wish CBS golf commentator David Feherty would learn to talk football:
(Click play to view. WARNING: some language may be NSFW)

(Broadway Video/NBC)

Wouldn't it be cool to hear his wit and comedic timing during a football game?

Tomorrow: T.O. be or not T.O. be.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Ricky Williams Returns

Former Longhorn Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams has returned to Dolphins camp.

He shouldn't have to.

Yeah, I know, if he wasn't in camp he'd be off smoking dope, and that would be bad for him. If there weren't pot involved, people would be more sympathetic to him wanting to leave the sport. Football, as much as we like it, is a violent game.

Because of the pot, however, it simply reinforces what a lot of people think about pot users. (And in the case of other Big XII fans, the University of Texas in general)

But really, the only reason he's playing is because he will owe the Dolphins upwards of $8 Million if he doesn't, and unless he's got a really good biotech idea with which to start a company, there aren't any other ways that he's going to pay that off.

Ricky just seems like one of those guys for whom money isn't enough of a motivator. And it's not fair to the fans, who pay their hard earned money to see these guys give it their best, or Ricky, who's heart isn't in it, to to force him to make a half-hearted attempt at playing, regardless if he has the talent to play well.

Another View: Greg Cote in the Miami Herald.

A Dutch view of Austin.

A Dutch TV Crew was in the Capital City covering Austin's reaction to Lance Armstrong's seventh Tour De France victory.

Here's the video entitled "Austin is trots op Lance Armstrong" (Which, I'm told, means "Austin is proud of Lance Armstrong", and we certainly are).

(Link courtesy Riding for Roses; Video courtesy

Monday, July 25, 2005


(Deborah Cannon/Austin American Statesman)
Lance Armstrong (center) celebrates Tour victory #7 (Deborah Cannon/Austin American-Statesman)

Armstrong riding to victory on the Champs-Elysees (Deborah Cannon/Austin American-Statesman)

Are you convinced yet?

Are you willing to look outside your "3 major sport" frame of reference and name this guy the greatest North American athlete of all time?

Or are you going to be one of the haters who can't give the man his proper respect?

If you don't think the Tour De France is a physically demanding event, know this: you could eat a baker's dozen of donuts and still not come close replace the calories it takes to pedal a typical Tour De France stage.

Lance Armstrong did this for a full 3 weeks, and was the fastest man to do so. Seven years running.

You think cycling isn't a sport and you can do what he did? I don't see you rushing to sign up.

Yes, there are other athletes who have overcome cancer. While Mario Lemieux and John Cullen are both inspiring stories, neither has been close to the top of their sport after their cancer treatments. Heck, most people don't even sniff the same physical level after cancer treatment because of chemotherapy.

Lance Armstrong not only recovered, he won his sports' greatest event by himself. (Remember, there's no "Grand Slam" in cycling.) And he did it seven times, which is a record.

Let me repeat that for you: Armstrong won the Super Bowl of his sport a record 7 times by himself after undergoing chemotherapy for cancer.

Some of you still think he's a doper. Show me a positive test. And remember, unlike baseball's joke of a testing system, cycling requires blood tests. At random. They can tell you at any time, "Go to the medical trailer, we need a blood sample." A Whizzinator ain't gonna help you there, especially since they can test the DNA to make sure it's your blood. (Oh, by the way, they can test for a wider variety of performance enhancers and masking agents than any "Big 3" professional sport.)

Lance rides in an individual sport. Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky had to have teammates to succeed, as does any team sport athlete you can think of.

Tiger Woods is certainly the world's most physically gifted golfer, but it's still golf. And I don't think he would have won as many majors if he had gone through chemotherapy at the beginning of his pro career.

Even the greatest track athletes you can name exert energy over short periods of time, and for no longer than a few days at a time. They don't exert energy all day, every day for weeks.

So what's really keeping you from considering Armstrong as the greatest athlete?

Tomorrow: TBA

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The Great Sports Talk Radio Faceoff

Since I'm a sports talk radio junkie, I decided to do a comparison of the two major sports talk networks: Fox Sports Radio and ESPN radio.

The Results may shock you.

Sorry, Sporting News Radio fans, we don't have you in the Austin market, so we couldn't rate you.

The Great Sports Talk Radio Faceoff
Part 1
Insomniacs in Florida: The Third Shift vs. All Night.
Part 2
Off to work with the Morning Drive: Steve Czaban vs. Mike and Mike
Part 3
Bad vs. Ugly in Mid Morning: The Extravaganza vs. The Herd.
Part 4
Live vs. Memorex: Steve Czaban vs. Dan Patrick
Driving Home: The Drive vs. The SportsBash
Part 5
The Handicap Match: Game Time Live and The Brick vs. GameNight
The Winner Revealed: Fox Sports Net vs. ESPN Radio

Friday, July 22, 2005

The Great Sports Radio Faceoff Part 5

Early Evening

Fox Sports Radio: Game Time Live, hosted by Craig Shemon and James Washington
ESPN Radio: Game Night, various hosts

Show Format
Game Time Live: Guests, live updates, Craig and James discuss.
Game Night: Guests, live updates, opinions from the hosts.
Edge: Push

Game Time Live: I like James Washington as a person and as a former Cowboy, I think he was robbed of the MVP for Super Bowl 28, and he knows his football stuff, but he's tough to understand at times. Craig Shemon is OK, but not great.
Game Night: Doug Gottlieb is great. His opinions are strong and he's not afraid to take on anyone, including ESPN. Chuck Wilson is a professional who sounds great on radio, the other two hosts are OK.
Edge: Game Night

Neither crew really participates and they have very few technical issues, so we're just gonna say...
Edge: Push

Sports Update Anchor
Game Time Live: Eddie Garcia sounds good and presents the news clearly
Game Night: Sometimes John Stashower, sometimes Jay Reynolds, either one is excellent
Edge: Game Night

Game Time Live: They try to involve fans a lot, and the callers don't detract from the show.
Game Night: Not many call segments.
Edge: Game Time Live

Game Night
Never underestimate the power of the point guard.

Late Evening

Fox Sports Radio: Game Time React, hosted by J.T. "The Brick"
ESPN Radio: Game Night (continued from earlier), various hosts

Show Format
The Brick: Lots and lots of calls, live updates, and "Pop Looney"
Game Night: Same as before
Edge: The Brick

The Brick: J.T. comes with very strong opinions, which is what you would expect from a former Jim Rome Smack-Off winner. He's not afraid to rip on anyone, even if it's his favorite team, the Yankees.
Game Night: Doug Gottlieb is really the only one of the four hosts that is remotely in the Brick's league.
Edge: The Brick

The Brick: Usually they do a good job keeping the show on the air and getting the callers through.
Game Night: No technical issues here either.
Edge: Push

Sports Update Anchor
The Brick: Tomm Looney's unique delivery and flair is what sets him apart from other anchors. Plus he contributes his own strong opinions and diversifies the show with his "Pop Looney" segment.
Game Night: Jon Stashower/Jay Reynolds tag team.
Edge: The Brick

The Brick: There's lots of opportunities to get on, and the people that do get on have really strong opinions and don't detract from the show. J.T., I think, recognizes more than any other host that callers are the essence of sports talk radio, probably because he started out as a caller.
Game Night: Well, they occasionally let people on, but not often.
Edge: The Brick

The Brick
There's really two shows that stand out in sports talk today: J.T. The Brick's show and Jim Rome's show.

The Final Tally

Overnight ESPN
Morning Drive: Push
Mid-Morning: ESPN
Afternoon: Fox Sports
Afternoon Drive: Fox Sports
Early Evening: ESPN
Late Evening: Fox Sports

Bonus Points
Fox Sports: Fox recently added the ability to text message their shows, which is key because it gets younger fans involved. Also has more attitude than ESPN, and attitude is a big part of sports talk.
ESPN: ESPN Radio is able to pull from the television network's large stable of experts on just about any topic, but that's their only edge.

The Winner
Fox Sports Radio
Surprisingly, Fox Sports Radio takes the title on the strength of it's interactivity, but the competition is very close. One or more changes in hosts or crew, and it could swing either way next time we check up.

Monday: Play, Trade, Cut, or Drag out?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Great Sports Radio Faceoff part 4

Early Afternoon

Fox Sports Radio: The First Team Reloaded, hosted by Steve Czaban
ESPN Radio: The Dan Patrick Show, host self-explanatory.

(Note: in many markets, the Fox affiliate will air the Jim Rome show, which is why they re-run the Steve Czaban show but since Romey's not with FSR, we'll leave him out to make things fair for Mr. Patrick.)

Show Format
First Team Reloaded: Again, Morning show a la Bob and Tom with news and sports updates. In this time slot, it can be a nice change from what usually airs around this time.
Dan Patrick: Mostly interviews, emails, a poll question, and Dan Patrick trying to be funny.
Edge: First Team Reloaded

First Team Reloaded: What can be said about Czabe that hasn't already been said?
Dan Patrick: I love Dan Patrick as a SportsCenter anchor and interviewer. The problem is Rob Dibble sort of brought out his personality, and now that Dibbs is gone, so is the personality. Now he just puts you to sleep.
Edge: First Team Reloaded

First Team Reloaded: The crew doesn't screw up, but they rarely appear on air, so we won't hold that against them
Dan Patrick: Let's just say there's a reason why Phil "The Showkiller" earns his name. He seems to have the worst time getting guests to call in, and he doesn't have a voice for radio. And the height/weight bell has to go.
Edge: First Team Reloaded

Sports Update Anchor
First Team Reloaded: Incomplete grade, I've had a hard time finding a radio station that actually streams Reloaded, so I don't know if it's the same person anchoring as before or not...
Dan Patrick: But it really doesn't matter, because whomever it is, it's tough to beat the Dan "The Duke" Davis's classic radio voice.
Edge: Dan Patrick

First Team Reloaded: Like we said earlier, the calls are well-screened for the most part.
Dan Patrick: Very intelligent callers, but they all need to stop giving out their height and weight. First off, we don't care. Second, we don't want to hear that stupid bell.
Edge: Push

First Team Reloaded
Dan, Dan, Dan, you lost out to a re-run. Far be it from me to tell a sports figure when to hang it up, but maybe you need to stick to SportsCenter.

Afternoon Drive

Fox Sports Radio: The Drive, hosted by Chris Myers.
ESPN Radio: The SportsBash, hosted by Erik Kuselias
(Local programming may air in your market)

Show Format
The Drive: Interviews, callers, opinions, Chris and co-host C.J. Silas talk.
The SportsBash: Interviews, callers, opinions, Erik and the crew talk.
Edge: Push

The Drive: Chris Myers was a really good interviewer when he was on ESPN, and it shows through on this show as well. C.J. Silas sounds like she knows what she's talking about when it comes to sports, and sounds like she could hang with any one when it comes to sports knowledge. Plus, they work well together.
The SportsBash: Erik Kuselias seems to come off as a bit whiny at times, especially when he's trying to emphasize a point. OK interviewer, not great.
Edge: The Drive

The Drive: We don't hear much from the crew, but they do keep the show running.
The SportsBash: Amanda Brown seems to know her horses (having picked the 1st and 2nd horses in the show Derby Pool), but not much else. Randy Moore doesn't add much to the show.
Edge: The Drive

Sports Update Anchor
The Drive: Vince Delisi shows why he's Fox Sports Radio's News Director
The SportsBash: Jon Stashower is a solid anchor.
Edge: Push

The Drive: Not too many bad callers.
The SportsBash: Mostly keep people involved through e-mail
Edge: The Drive

The Drive
I came into this thinking ESPN Radio would have an edge in this spot, but Fox has put together a solid show.

Die Hard Hockey Fans Must Change Their Attitudes.

In a recent ESPN column, Terry Frei gave voice to what a lot of Sun Belt hockey fans have been thinking for a long time:
"The sport's most fervent proponents, whether in the seats or the front offices, in Canada, Sweden or the U.S., ditch this proprietary, "our sport" mind-set. Potential new fans -- yes, especially in the U.S. -- have been turned off when they encounter the attitude that they should have to pass a rules and a history test to be allowed to buy a ticket for an NHL game, or that they must swear allegiance to hockey above all other sports to be considered a true fan.

The NHL has remained a niche and cult sport in the U.S. in part because some fans don't want to go through what sometimes can seem to be like a fraternity initiation to be accepted."
So true. Go to any general NHL hockey message board, or the boards for any Canadian or Northern U.S. team, and this attitude is persistent. Ask about a rule or argue a rule change, and fans will just say, "You don't know hockey." Question the fighting, and they will say, "You don't know hockey." Call out a player for taking a cheap shot on someone, and they will say, "You don't know hockey." If your profile says you're from a Sun Belt state, they will say, "You don't know hockey." And if they find out you're an African-American or Hispanic fan, the "You don't know hockey" is usually followed by a racial epithet.

And don't even try to ask why Florida is a bad market because the product stinks and they never sell out as a result while Chicago is a knowledgeable market because they never sell out due to the fact that the product stinks.

This sort of attitude is absolutely ridiculous. Baseball fans never act like this, and their sport has as long a history as hockey. In fact, most baseball fans will take the time to explain the nuances of the game. Some will even teach you how to keep score. Yes, there are purists, but baseball fans are at least open to dialogue, and they will try any change that improves interest in the sport, such as divisional play, the Wild Card, and sabermetrics, even if they don't like it at first.

Football fans will explain the finer points of a "Cover 2" scheme to anyone who will listen. Basketball fans are more than willing to share about the art of the slam dunk. And both will accept changes to the sport to bring in more fans.

So why do die-hard hockey fans act so poorly towards those seeking to understand it's game?

Unlike other sports, which have been able to adapt to the entertainment marketplace, hockey continues to struggle to gain acceptance, and it's hardcore fans are largely to blame. Hockey has been unable to curb the trap, in large part because its core fans complain that checking and defense, and the two line pass are being taken out of the game. Never mind that there's a gap in between the game's billing as one of the fastest, most athletic sports and the actual slow, unathletic, boring on-ice product.

Hockey was unable to control salaries because hockey fans demanded that their team sign free agents, whatever the cost. Never mind that hockey wasn't taking in the revenues because the product stunk. But hey, it's the product the hardcore fans wanted, right? Clutching and grabbing, trapping and locking, and those who don't understand it can go watch something else?

When the costs of salary escalation came due this past offseason, many core hockey fans demanded that teams in non-traditional markets be eliminated. Never mind that many Sun Belt teams were making enough profits to invest in youth hockey leagues and that Dallas and Tampa Bay had won the Stanley Cup. Never mind that at the same time teams in traditional markets like Boston, Chicago, Ottawa, and Pittsburgh were losing money and floundering. "The people in those southern markets aren't true hockey fans anyway," the hardcore fans reasoned.

Now hockey has to change it's ways to win back the public. It's die hard fans need to change also.
Tomorrow: The Final Battle.

(See, we may have missed yesterday, but we gave you 2 posts for the price of one to make up for it)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Great Sports Radio Face-Off Part 3

Mid Morning

Fox Sports Radio: The Morning Extravaganza, hosted by Van Earl Wright and Andrew Siciliano
ESPN Radio: The Herd, hosted by Colin Cowherd

Show Format
Morning Extravaganza: The show is the typical morning show. The difference here is that it still seems like it revolves around the humor of Tony Bruno, and Bruno got of that Titanic a long time ago.
The Herd: Mostly a lot of interviews with Colin Cowherd occasionally pontificating. The "Spanning the Globe" segments where Cowherd talks to local sports talk personalities or beat writers to get a local angle on a story is unique and keeps the show from being "cookie cutter".
Edge: The Herd (slightly)

Morning Extravaganza: Van Earl Wright is not entertaining at all, and he's a bad interviewer. He killed FSN's "National Sports Report" and he's killing this show. Andrew Siciliano is a good broacaster, but he needs a good host to play off of, and "Van Earl Wrong" is not a good host.
The Herd: Colin Cowherd plays the percentages too much and doesn't really stand out from the myriad of average talk show hosts out there. OK interviewer when dealing with other media personalities, soft on athletes.
Edge: Push First network to replace their host with a better host wins.

Morning Extravaganza: Doesn't really get involved, but they do keep the show on the air, the sound effects are timed right, and there are very few technical problems. They do, however, overuse the rimshot.
The Herd: "Ry Dogg" and "Compass" keep the show running, but they really detract when they try to add to the show.
Edge: Push

Sports Update Anchor
Morning Extravaganza: Krystal Fernandez just seems like she's there for ear candy. If they wanted a female anchor, they have better choices in house that they could go to.
The Herd: Dan "The Duke" Davis is one of the better anchors out there. Knowlegeable and articulate.
Edge: The Herd

Morning Extravaganza: Usually well-screened. A lot of them could do a better job on the radio than Van Earl.
The Herd: They don't involve the listeners a whole lot through the phone, which is a shame
Edge: Morning Extravaganza

The Herd
In what turns out to be a matchup of mediocre radio vs. bad radio, the mediocre radio show wins.

Tomorrow: Afternoons and Coffee Spoons

Monday, July 18, 2005

Is a T-Ball game worth a broken body?

(We'll get back to the The Great Sports Radio Face-Off tomorrow. This story broke over the weekend, and it's sickened me enough that I have to bring it up.)

Youth sports coaches are supposed to teach kids how to play the game. Teach them what it means to be a "good sport". In many cases, youth coaches often have to take the role of surrogate father.

I'm thankful for some of the coaches I've had: Coach Saenz and Coach Vandewalle, my youth basketball coaches, Coach Schmidt and Coach Warren, my freshman football coaches, Coach Craig, my JV football coach. While I never had the talent to make it in sports, these guys helped me appreciate the games I played and contributed to my understanding of sports. Thankfully, however, they always kept sports in perspective.

Somewhere along the way, our organized youth sports have become less about teaching and having fun, and more about wins and losses. Coaches are under pressure to win. Parents look to their kids to fulfill their star dreams. Shoe companies are scouting the playgrounds and ball fields for the next big star. Things have just gotten out of perspective.

Want proof? On Friday, a Pittsburgh coach was charged with paying his star player $25 dollars to assault an autistic teammate so the coach wouldn't have to play him according to league rules that stated that everyone got playing time.

The kid was autistic. The fact that the coach went after a disabled kid is just absolutely barbaric. There is NO T-Ball game important enough for a coach to take out an autistic child! NONE!

(Sorry, I have ADHD and things like this hit close to home for me.)

Sadly, this is a symptom of suburban baseball. Kids in the suburbs who dream of an athletic career, and the parents who push them, increasingly see baseball as the only way to fulfill their dreams, because it's one of the few sports where they feel they don't have to compete with the inner city kids.

And yes, the competitive pressure starts at the Little League level. Little League coaches push their kids to throw curve balls at age 12, years before a boy's arm is ready to handle the strain, because they need to show that they can win.

It's one thing for college sports and pro sports to be competitive. Those athletes are adults, legally capable of making their own decisions, and they chose to be there. Youth sports shouldn't be about competition.

It especially shouldn't be about beating up autistic kids to make a team more competitive.

(Hat tip: Message Board)

For those who said Tiger was in a slump...
(David Cannon/Getty Images)

So to everyone who said Tiger was on the downside of his career...

Would you like that crow blackened, sautéed, or grilled and over pasta with alfredo sauce?

Tomorrow: Mid-Morning Radio

Friday, July 15, 2005

The Great Sports Radio Face-Off Part 2

Morning Drive

Fox Sports Radio: The First Team, hosted by Steve Czaban
ESPN Radio: Mike and Mike in the Morning, hosted by Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic

Show Format
First Team: Sports radio version of a morning show complete with news updates. Sort of along the lines of Bob and Tom.
Mike and Mike: I like the dynamic of of the geeky sports guy(Greenberg) and the "Average Joe" sports guy(Golic), but other than that, it's a regular sports talk show.
Edge: First Team (I happen to think Bob and Tom is the gold standard of morning music radio)

First Team: Steve Czaban is someone who guys can relate to, and he manages to keep the show moving.
Mike and Mike: Mike Greenberg is about as knowledgeable and polished an on air personality as their is on radio. Mike Golic, unfortunately, in not as insightful as an ex-jock should be, and that drags the show down.
Edge: First Team

First Team: You don't hear much from the crew, but there are very few techinical issues, which considering the host is in D.C. and the rest of the show originates from L.A., is no small feat.
Mike and Mike: "Joaquin" gets major bonus points for the parody songs he comes up with.
Edge: Mike and Mike

Sports Update Anchor
First Team: Scott Linn is one of the up and coming update anchors in sports radio today
Mike and Mike: Bob Piccozi is a veteran professional who can come up with some real trivia stumpers
Edge: Push

First Team: Don't allow too many callers, but are well-screened.
Mike and Mike: Callers can call in for their trivia contest, but they still keep listeners involved through e-mail and internet polls (particularly the "Just Shut Up" award)
Edge: Mike and Mike

I don't think you can go wrong with either show, really. I couldn't pick a clear winner.

Monday: The Extravaganza vs. The Herd

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Great Sports Radio Faceoff Part 1

For the rest of the week, since there are no more college sports until mid-August, Lance Armstrong seems to have a firm grip on the Yellow Jersey, and there's really nothing to report from the baseball front for a while, Cheap Seats is going to do something a little different.

This is a blog post I've been wanting to do for a long time. ESPN Radio vs. Fox Sports Radio

As I've stated before, I'm a sports talk junkie. I have both major sports talk networks, ESPN and Fox Sports, in my market. So I have an opportunity to listen to both and compare. And my next few posts will be used to do a time slot by time slot comparison of each network.

Besides, it's the duty of the blogosphere to critique the rest of the media.

Here's the criteria I use:

Show Format: Anyone can have a show where the host talks and the callers respond, with an occasional guest thrown in, which is the format of most local shows. Does the show do anything different with the standard format? What type of guests do they have?
Host: Obviously, a host has to have personality and be able to communicate clearly. He also has to be able to keep the discussion moving, but at the same time allow all sides of an issue to be heard, not just the opinions he or she agrees with (Hanging up on a caller who disagrees with the host may work on the Rush Limbaugh show or Air America, but not on sports talk radio). A host can have personal preferences, but they have to be able to criticize their team or their guys. The host also has to be a good interviewer. The host has to have a well thought out opinion. If the host is a former player or coach, they also have to be able to provide insight.
Crew: The primary job of the crew is to keep the show flowing and take care of the technical side of the show. They are only evaluated on their on-air skills if they are a major part of the show ("Phil the Showkiller" on the Dan Patrick Show, for instance)
Sports Update Anchor: Must be clear and concise when delivering updates. If they are part of the show, they have to be able to add to it, not take away from it.
Callers: How well does the show screen callers and emailers? If the ones who make the air are intelligent and add to the discussion, then they are doing their job. Also, how does the show involve the callers?

So we start with the insomniacs...

Fox Sports Radio: The Third Shift, hosted by Jorge Sedano
ESPN Radio: All Night, hosted by Todd Wright

A battle of 2 Florida-based hosts (Sedano does the show out of Miami, and Wright does the show out of Tampa and occasionally the ESPN Club in Orlando), which is really strange because they both come on pretty late in the evening Florida time.

Show Format
Third Shift: Basically, you're listening to Sedano talk about sports while the crew reacts to his opinions. Then a caller talks. No guests at all. Boring.
All Night: Todd Wright does talk sports, but he also branches out to things guys are interested in: pop culture and beautiful women. The show also is able to land a lot of guests, from sports experts to Maxim models to TV actors. It also helps that he has regular guests like Trot Nixon and Ryan Longwell, guys that aren't stars, but athletes that fans can relate to. It breaks the mold of "host talks, then callers talk" trap that a lot of sports talk radio falls into.
Edge: All Night

Third Shift: Sedano has an unnaturally high amount of energy at that hour of the night, which helps for those listening who are pulling all-nighters (as many among the lower end of the male 18-34 "sports demographic" are usually doing at that hour) and keeps those listening drunk awake (as the majority of males 18-34 are doing at that hour). However, Sedano kills the show with his incessant homerism for most South Florida teams, especially the Heat (whom he works for during the basketball season). He also interrupts and hangs up on callers who disagree with his opinion, ask any Detroit fan who tried to get through during the Eastern Conference Finals or anyone trying to say that Steve Nash is the MVP.
All Night: Wright is witty, insightful, and an underrated interviewer. He's also fair and is willing to criticize anyone, even if the target is a regular guest or is a team that Wright likes. Wright also takes chances that others aren't willing to take if it means keeping the show fresh and interesting. He also refuses to let corporations dictate what a stadium should be called, which more radio hosts and broadcasters should do (after all, they don't get a cut of the naming rights money).
Edge: All Night

Third Shift: OK on the mic, but not great. Producer Marcel Hall tries to bring up other points, but all that does is give Jorge an excuse to shoot them down. Some of the sound effects they use seem mistimed and out of place. Rim shots are often late, for instance. Other than that, no one's too loud, and the bump music is on cue.
All Night: The sound levels are great and almost all the production elements work without detracting from the show. While many of the interviews are on tape, the producers are experts in making it sound live. "The Tussle" is where the crew really shines, however, as their frequently off-the-wall questions bring fresh topics into the discussion.
Edge: All Night

Sports Update Anchor
Third Shift: Karen Kay is a competent sports update anchor. However, the rest of the crew shoots down her opinions and badgers her too much about her personal life. Given the chance, she could add something to the discussion.
All Night: Jay Reynolds is probably one of the best, most professional sports update people out there, and adds to the discussion during "The Tussle".
Edge: All Night

Third Shift: Do they screen these guys at all? Too many callers slip past to drop "f-bombs" and "shizzles". When they are using normal language, a lot of them are just horrible.
All Night: When they open up the phone lines, they manage to find all the callers in North America that are coherent at 2:30 in the morning. They also have creative games to involve callers like "The All Night Aptitude Test" and "Know your Major Leaguers"
Edge: All Night

All Night
It's not even close, everything about All Night is better.

Tomorrow: The Morning Guys

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Hockey's back... now who's going to care?

Just over the wires today, the NHL and the NHLPA have finally agreed to a new deal, pending ratification by the owners and players.

The question is, are there enough people who care?

Anyway, the nuts and bolts of the deal are that there will be a salary cap. If you want more info, I direct you to this article by Scott Burnside.

Lance Armstrong regains Yellow Jersey

The other day, I said 2:18 was an eternity in cycling.

The time Lance Armstrong needed to make up that eternity: 1 mountain stage.

Lance Armstrong won stage 12 yesterday to reclaim the yellow leader's jersey, and held on to it in today's Stage 13 despite a challenge from Russian cyclist Alexandre Vinokourov

Tomorrow: Blah Blah Blah

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


(Steve Perez / The Detroit News)

If you were one of the ones complaining about the international format of this years' Home Run Derby, and you refused to watch, you missed out.

And by that I don't mean missed out on sideline reporter/eye candy Samantha "Sam" Ryan.

Bobby Abreu went for an event record 41 home runs in the Derby on the way to winning. 41 dingers!

That's a good season for a lot of people, and he did it in one night! (OK, so they were throwing gopher balls, but still!)

Put it another way: Barry Bonds is 5th on the career Home Run Derby home runs list and he has 47. (The leader: Ken Griffey Jr., with 70) Abreu pulled within 6 of Bonds in one night!

Good job by the former Astros farmhand.

Sadly, the BCS survives.

Chris Berman (speaking of Home Run Derbies) once compared Detroit Lions coach Wayne Fontes to Russian mystic Rasputin because the spiritual advisor to Czar Nicholas II's family seemingly couldn't be killed no matter how hard his detractors tried, and Fontes seemingly couldn't get fired no matter how hard his detractors hoped he would finally lose enough games to get fired.

One wonders if the BCS has similar Rasputin-like tendencies.

Rather than fold while scrambling to replace the loss of the AP poll, the BCS has somehow pulled it's house of cards together and found another poll.

Harris, who conducts coach's polls of high schools in Texas, has agreed to administer a second human poll for the BCS, whose voters will consist of former coaches, former players, administrators, and some members of the media.

If you were hoping for a playoff, sorry.

OU loses out on Stephenson

Gene Stephenson, college baseball coaching legend, was in the opposing dugout managing Wichita State as then-OU manager Larry Cochell was making racial comments to ESPN's Sean McDonough.

Today, Stephenson decided to return to Wichita State, hours after he had been formally announced as OU's new head coach.

The real shocker, if you will pardon the pun, is that Joe Castiglione, generally considered one of the best ADs in collegiate sports, made a big hiring mistake. He doesn't normally make mistakes like that. You'd think he'd know that you don't call a press conference unless you've got the guy signed on the dotted line.

Monday: Back in Yellow.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Kenny Rogers is going. Get over it.

It's official: Kenny Rogers is going to the All-Star Game whether any of us want him to or not.

And frankly I'm sick of talk show hosts and callers who think he shouldn't.

Yes, Kenny Rogers is a jerk. We know. We've heard.

Yes, Rogers' appealed the suspension and is still playing for now. It's called a grievance procedure. Your workplace has it too. Check your contract, check your employee handbook, check your HR people, check the bulletin board that has all those postings that you never read anyway, it should be there somewhere.

Most of the callers don't know the whole story of what's wrong with the Rangers. They are lowballing Rogers, their best pitcher at the moment, and leaking outright lies about Rogers to the media. Rangers' management also released Ryan Drese, who is now an anchor of the Washington Nationals' staff. There's a lot of tension in Arlington, and the camera push is the tip of a much larger iceberg that all these Kenny Rogers haters are refusing to see.

If anything, John Hart should be fired for his office putting out the statement that Rogers intentionally injured his hand so he wouldn't have to pitch against some good teams. Without that report, there's no incident.

So if all you talk show callers want to get on a real issue, start calling for Hart's head.

On a separate note, David Wells is an idiot. (courtesy Sporting Fools)

Armstrong gives up yellow, for now

Lance Armstrong conceded the Yellow Jersey in yesterday's Stage 9, a stage that also saw Armstrong's rival Jan Ullrich split his helmet during a crash.

Your leader after 9 stages: Jens Voigt of Germany, who is 2:18 up on Armstrong.

They say Armstrong will probably get the jersey back in the upcoming mountain stages. 2 minutes and 18 seconds is a lot to make up in cycling terms, though, so we'll see.

A look at education issues from those who lived them.

From time to time, I harp on education and/or youth sports issues, because I'm really passionate about them. I work in a school part time, after all.

This one falls under "education issues":

Steve "The Holywriter" Adams recently completed a series on a string of incidents that happened in his high school back in the late '90s. I would encourage you to read it. Why? Well, just like teenagers using steroids (my big pet issue), what happened at Steve's high school still could happen at your kids high school (or *your* high school if you are reading this and are of high school age), even if the groups in conflict have different names than "redneck" or "freak".

Here's the Nothing But The Truth Chronicles in their entirety:
Chronicle 1: Setting the stage
Chronicle 2: Celebrity, international and local
St. Mary's: A Dossier: Background on high school society in St. Mary's, West Virginia.
Chronicle 3: Freaks and 'Necks
Chronicle 4: Don't Look Back in Anger
Chronicle 5: Thefts and Bomb Threats
Chronicle 6: All The School Board's Men
Conclusion: A year later, Columbine.
Random...Not So Much: The effects of the incidents years later. (Not technically part of the series, but it should be)

Tomorrow: Home Field Advantage

Friday, July 8, 2005

A sad day for a global game

When the Olympics return to London for 2012, baseball and softball won't be coming with them.

The IOC voted to cut both sports from the Olympic program yesterday.

Never mind that the sport is going to have it's first real world championship in 2006 and that the Pacific Rim, the Caribbean, Canada, and Australia are into the sport.

Never mind that softball was eliminated only because it had to be eliminated with baseball and that now opportunities for female athletes have been reduced.

So what killed the sports at the Olympic level? Steroids, in part. The steroid scandals in the Major Leagues hurt the image of the sport internationally, and the IOC is pretty quick to react to doping issues.

What else killed it? Well, unlike basketball and hockey, which are willing to allow it's athletes to compete in the Olympics and expand the global reach of the sport, (in mid-season in hockey's case) Major League Baseball is unwilling to give it's players 3 weeks off to compete in the Games.

There's also a thought that the baseball and softball facilities don't get much use once the Olympics is over. (Here's a thought, maybe you could use the facilities to learn to play baseball?)

Anyway, the Olympics couldn't agree on a replacement. Golf, Karate, Rugby, Rollerblading, and Squash all failed to get the necessary votes.

(I don't understand why they couldn't get enough votes for golf? I mean, you could hand out at least 4 medals... stroke play, match play singles, match play doubles, alternating-shot. I don't understand why Rugby didn't make the cut either, the appeal of that one is fairly global also.)

Astros near .500

While the other baseball team in the state is apparently falling apart, The Astros have seemingly pulled things together, going 21-11 since the start of June. They can pull above the .500 mark if they sweep the slumping Dodgers this weekend. The ridiculous Roger Clemens trade rumors have stopped for the most part. And the team appears to be hitting a lot better now.

The funny thing about the baseball season is, most teams go through stretches where the team just plays really well. Even the bad ones. But since this is over an extended period of time, and because the Astros just took 2 of 3 from first-place San Diego, I think we can dismiss any talk of this being a fluke. Unfortunately, the All-Star break is Monday.

Monday: Home Run Derby

Thursday, July 7, 2005

Bittersweet week for the UK

Britons celebrating the award of the 2012 games to London in Trafalgar Square (Jane Mingay/AP)(Jane Mingay/AP)

First off, Congratulations to London and the UK on landing the 2012 Olympics. Second, thoughts and prayers go out to the folks in London and the UK because of the attacks on their subway system.

Now, before anyone gets on the "anti-American" vote thing, New York killed its own bid because it couldn't secure financing for a stadium. Also, a lot of New Yorkers (as in folks in New York City) didn't want the Olympics either because of the potential traffic nightmares, which is understandable when you're in a city that's not exactly built for cars.

Seriously, think about the North American cities since 1984 that have held or are scheduled to host an Olympics: Los Angeles, Calgary, Atlanta, Salt Lake, Vancouver. All those cities are spread out over a large area, and building venues would not have completely re-made the face of the city like it would New York City. Not only that, those cities do not require you to grease 50 palms just to build the weightlifting venue

As for the other cities, as much as this seems like a good opportunity to bash the French, I kinda feel sorry for them because their economy's in the tank and they really could have used the shot in the arm.

Madrid is a nice city, and Spain has hosted a World Cup and Olympics before, but it's not built for cars either and they have a lot of nice buildings that they can't really knock down. Plus, there's that pesky ETA problem. (not that I don't like Basque people, it's just that there's better ways of going about it. If the Olympics had known about Eric Rudolph, Athens probably would have gotten the Games years earlier than it did.)

Moscow would have been OK. The thought of an American Olympic team making good to the folks of Moscow 32 years after Jimmy Carter ruined the chances of a generation of athletes by boycotting the last Moscow Olympics (which didn't solve anything in Afghanistan and just led to the Russians and East Germans returning the favor 4 years later) would have been nice. Problem is, their internal corruption problem is worse than NYC's, and they would have had just as tough a time getting things approved.

While we're talking Olympics, Why not have a Texas city put in a bid for 2016? Why not Dallas? Why not Houston? Why not a joint bid from San Antonio and Austin? Come on Texas, step up to the plate, get organized, and let's land one of these things.

Oh my God, Kenny Apologized! You B@#$%rd!

Frankly, I was a bit disgusted at Kenny Rogers' scripted apology yesterday, and I'm one of the people who thinks the Rangers are the real bad guys in this mess.

Rogers just really mishandled this situation right from the get-go.

He didn't like the fake stories the Rangers were putting out about them, and the Dallas media wasn't happy with the fact that one of the teams' hardest workers was being accused of being a jake by management when it didn't match what Rogers was doing for the Rangers. Rogers wouldn't have merited an All-Star berth if he had not worked hard, and most of the Dallas media knew it.

Plus, the Dallas media has been aware for some time that the release of Ryan Drese has created a lot of tension in between the Rangers front office and the players. Add to that the fact that many reporters have complained about John Hart's aloofness and lack of availability, and the media could have been an ally for Kenny Rogers.

If he had gone to the media and told them that the Rangers front office was leaking false reports about them, and that the report about the motive behind the hand injury was false, they would have listened, and they probably would have called for Hart's head

Instead, Rogers turned a potential ally into an enemy when he shoved the cameraman. Then he compounded his media mistake with that fake apology yesterday.

So now, instead of focusing about how Rangers' management is making Kenny Rogers' life hell, how they screwed up with Ryan Drese, and how Mark Texiera, Michael Young, and Hank Blalock are all going to walk because of John Hart's mismanagement of this team, we're talking about how Rogers punched a cameraman and how he doesn't deserve to be in the All-Star game.
Tomorrow: Meanwhile, the other Texas team is coming together.

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Gotta love this fan funeral

James Henry Smith, a Pittsburgh Steelers fan who recently died at age 55 of prostate cancer had an unusual setup for his viewing.

The description has to be read to be believed:
The Samuel E. Coston Funeral Home erected a small stage in a viewing room, and arranged furniture on it much as it was in Smith's home on game day Sundays.

Smith's body was on the recliner, his feet crossed and a remote in his hand. He wore black and gold silk pajamas, slippers and a robe. A pack of cigarettes and a beer were at his side, while a high-definition TV played a continuous loop of Steelers highlights.

"I couldn't stop crying after looking at the Steeler blanket in his lap," said his sister, MaryAnn Nails, 58. "He loved football and nobody did [anything] until the game went off. It was just like he was at home."
Isn't that cool?

Tomorrow: TBA

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Scott Ferrall off the milk carton

This probably isn't big news to anyone unless you're a sports talk junkie like me, but Scott Ferrall guest hosted for J.T. The Brick yesterday, which is the first time the once up-and-coming sports talk host has been heard on national radio in about 5 years.

And, frankly, it was good to hear Ferrall's raspy voice and hyperactive style on the air again.

I don't think it means he's coming back to Fox Sports Radio permanently, but if he does go national again, that's really his only option. He's too interesting for ESPN Radio to consider.

Lance back on top in France

Thanks to Team Discovery Channel's third straight win in the Team Time Trial, Lance Armstrong is back in the Yellow Jersey at the the Tour de France, four stages in.

Before you say, "Wait a minute, wasn't he on a different team last year?" No, it's the same team, it was just called U.S. Postal last year. The sponsorship asking price for Lance's team got too rich for The Post Office to afford. (The team in the past has been sponsored by 7-Eleven and Motorola).

As for the Tour, there's about 4 more flat stages before they hit the mountains, so the maillot jeune could change hands a few times before then. But Lance Armstrong usually just keeps close to the leaders until the mountains, then slingshots around them in the mountain stages. That is, if he's the same Lance Armstrong.

What I think is significant is the fact that Armstrong took the yellow from another American, David Zabriskie. Why? It means that Lance Armstrong isn't the only American who could be a featured cyclist.

Zabriskie, by the way, is also a blogger. Check out his personal site. You'll find out such personal tidbits as his preference of religion (not Mormon), movies (Batman and Star Wars), and that apparently was once hit by a car (a peril I'm sure most American road cyclists have either been through or narrowly avoided).

My advice, Dave: move to Austin. They actually give cyclists some respect here

Note of trivia: Yesterday's stage started in Tours (which, coincidentally, is pronounced similar to "Tour" in French). Tours was the site of one of the biggest turning points in Western European history, a 732 AD battle where the Frankish general Charles Martel (great-grandfather of Charlemagne) defeated Muslim jihadists under Emir Abd er Rahman al-Ghafiq. The battle effectively stopped the Muslims advance into the Christian areas of Europe, and was the last time a Muslim nation would seriously threaten a Western nation until the 1970s.

R.I.P Hank Stram 1923-2005

Hank Stram's soul matriculated to heaven yesterday, after his body was in declining health for several years due to diabetes.

Stram got his pro coaching debut in Texas with the Dallas Texans and won the AFL championship in 1962 before the franchise moved to Kansas City. Stram, who was previously an assistant at "The U" and SMU before that (where he was position coach for Texans' owner Lamar Hunt), beat out legendary Oklahoma coach Bud Wilkinson for the job

Stram, however really shined when the franchise moved from Dallas to Kansas City due to stiff competition from the NFL's Cowboys. The re-christened Chiefs appeared in the first Super Bowl, where Stram's stack defense forced Vince Lombardi to change tactics and rely on short passes rather than the power sweep (If you know anything about Lombardi's style of football, you'll know that it was a pretty significant shift). Granted, the Chiefs lost, but the Packers had to play AFL-style football to win it.

In 1970, the Chiefs returned to the Super Bowl, this time to face the Vikings, whom they destroyed 23-7. This was notable for 3 things: First, it was the first time a coach was wearing a microphone on the sideline, which gave us such gems as "matriculating the ball down the field" and brought the fan virtually onto the sidelines. Second, it showcased the stack defense and the moving pocket, Stram's contributions to the game as we know it today. Third, it proved the New York Jets' victory the prior year was no fluke and that these AFL teams really are on par with the NFL.

Tomorrow: I'm R.D. Baker, and I approved of this message.

Monday, July 4, 2005

Kenny Rogers Update

Happy 4th of July everyone... to everyone serving the country overseas, thank you.

Anyway, the controversy still rages over Kenny Rogers and the camera incidents.

Kenny Rogers is suspended 20 games, pending appeal. No problem there. However, no one in the Rangers front office was punished for instigating the whole thing with the completely untrue press release about the reasons behind the injury to his non-throwing hand.

Rogers, however, was selected to pitch the All-Star Game, though many think he should have to give up his spot.

As far as the relationship between Rangers players and the front office... Well, between the way the Rangers have handled Kenny Rogers and the way they let go Ryan Drese, the damage has been done. Michael Young, Mark Texiera, and Hank Blalock may be gone as soon as their contracts are up.

That's all, Happy 4th!

Tomorrow: Yellow Jersey, Green Jersey, Polka-Dot Jersey?

Friday, July 1, 2005

Cheap Seats goes Paul Harvey on Kenny Rogers

I'm sure by now you've seen the footage of Kenny Rogers going off on the pitcher, if not, the footage is available at the KTVT website.

I have to admit, it was tempting to rip on Kenny Rogers, talking about how he "gambled away" his all-star appearance, how he didn't "know when to fold 'em", how he "roasted" the dude with the camera, how he didn't want to be "chicken", how he's going to "face the music" today. I'll leave that to other bloggers and writers that are wittier than I.

And really there isn't an excuse for going off on a camera guy, especially if you put one in the hospital. Rogers will probably get suspended, as well he should.

However, word out of Dallas is that there's another side to the story that may suggest bigger problems for the Texas Rangers organization.

With apologies to Paul Harvey, this is "The Rest of the Story"

A couple days ago, Rogers injured his non-throwing hand punching a water cooler, a la former Ranger Kevin Brown, who injured his pitching hand in a similar fashion with the Yankees last year. Rogers was upset after getting yanked after allowing 10 hits against the Anaheim Angels*.

Then a story surfaced, attributed to "unnamed Rangers officials" that Rogers had intentionally broken his hand so he could miss a few starts and pitch in the All-Star Game to help contract negotiations. Which, considering Rogers has only sat down one start during his career when not forced to by injury, is a curious statement to make. Rogers may have a chip on his shoulder, but he's not a jake. Buck Showalter even said such in the press conference.

So apparently the reporter attached to the Fox 4 camera crew confronted him with the report and that's what set Rogers off.

Again, the report is no excuse for going off on the cameraman.

However, Kevin Sherrington, had this in his column for the Dallas Morning News today:

Hart cited a report Thursday in The Dallas Morning News that a "club official"
floated a story accusing Rogers of faking the injury so he could miss a couple
of tough starts.

Hart called the report "laughable" on radio and "uninformed" at Thursday's news conference.

Accurate, is more like it. At least two members of the local media got the story, unsolicited.

And it's no secret. One player told me he's sure that Rogers is aware some faction
of the club is behind the media rips.

Couple that with reports from way back in spring training, also from "sources within the Rangers organization" that Rogers was threatening to retire if he didn't get an extension, and it seems like there's a problem between Rangers management and Rogers.

So where is Rangers GM John Hart in all this?

Mike Rhyner (from "The Hard Line" on 1310 AM "The Ticket" in Dallas), provided some interesting insights on Hart on the "Bucky and Erin" show on 1300 The Zone this morning(and I wish that The Zone podcasted the show so I could play the audio).

Among the things he said:

"Hart is aloof... It wouldn't surprise me if he had to be told by his staff if Kenny Rogers was a lefty or righty. You can go for a whole week of home games and not see John Hart."

"Hart was off in Frisco[, Texas] when the incident occured."

"You only hear from Rangers' management what they you want to hear."

"The players don't believe that management wants to win, and it goes back to the release of Ryan Drese."

"[Mark] Texiera and [Hank] Blalock are going to remember this when it comes time to renew their contracts."


By the way, John Hart's reaction to the leaked report? "Laughable" and "uninformed"

Considering, that at least 2 members of the Dallas media got the story unsolicited from the Rangers (according to Kevin Sherrington), Hart's statement is laughable because it shows he's the one who is uninformed.

No excuse for going after a camera man, but maybe some members of the Rangers front office need to be suspended. After all, don't you also punish accesories to a crime?

More on this as the situation develops.

UIL blacks out Tyler Lee game in Ohio

I don't like televised high school games. TV has already ruined amateur sports at the adult level, whether it's the NCAA or the Olympics, which is one thing because the participants for the most part are adults who can make decisions on whether or not to participate in that system for themselves. (From what we see with the NBA and MLB drafts, most people decide not to participate in the NCAA given the choice) When TV wants to get into youth sports, I have a problem. The adults don't have the right to make money off of the kids in their charge.

When the UIL decided to black out an ESPNU telecast of a pre-season game between 5A State Champion Tyler Robert E. Lee High School and Ohio's top-level state champ, most people were upset.

I think it's a step in the right direction. Now if they would just take the Texas Bowl off TV.

Monday: TBA

* - Out of respect for the residents of Orange County, Cheap Seats refuses to call them the "L-s Ang-l-s Angels of Anaheim."