Friday, May 30, 2008
Not much else going on sports wise, so if you're looking for something to amuse yourself and kill some time I give you Japanese Bug Fights!
Former Minnesota coach Glen Mason is an arrogant guy who was always looking to get his next gig. Remember when he took the Georgia job and then changed his mind and stayed at Kansas a few days later? He practically begged for the Ohio State job when it was last open. After being squeezed for extra money over and over, it finally dawned on Minnesota that Mason's not all that good a coach. He'd win four garbage non conference games, stumble to a couple of Big 10 wins, and head to the Sun Bowl again. Now, two seasons after being bounced, Mason says he's moved on from coaching. Sure, Glen, I believe you're a long termer as "vice president of business development for Marquette Asset Management". You bet.
50 Cent will be having a more interesting weekend than me, and hopefully you as well. See you Monday.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
If you're the NBA, you simply can not have Joey Crawford working critical Spurs playoff games. With all the referees available, the guy you want out there in game four to decide whether to call a critical foul is not someone who has had multiple embarassing public episodes involving one of the teams. That's because when Crawford blows an incredibly obvious call, as the league has now acknowledged he did, you give fuel to the conspiracy theorists fire. "THEY want the Lakers and Celtics, and they'll rig the games to get it! Oh, you don't believe me? Then why is the ESPN Club in Orlando already selling this?"
Can't wait to see Jeff Demps in a Florida uniform? You might have to.
Former Tampa Bay offensive lineman Tom McHale seemed like a pretty sharp guy. He was a Cornell grad who made the Buccaneers as a free agent and lasted eight years in the league. After the pro football career ended, he opened some reasonably successful restaurants in Tampa. Not sure when things went wrong for McHale, but he's now dead at 45. Say no to drugs, kids.
As I mentioned at the end of last week, Mark Madden of ESPN 1250 in Pittsburgh has been an embarassment to those of us who work in sports radio for quite a while. He was the classic screaming insults stereotype sports talk host. Emphasis, mercifully on WAS. It's always nice when the bad guys lose.
This is a great piece from Spin magazine by Jeff Pearlman explaining one of the mysteries of our time - how did "YMCA" become a staple at sporting events and weddings? Some people in our society clearly don't pay much attention to song lyrics.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Gator baseball goes to Tallahassee for the regional as a two seed and will face Tulane. It's a better draw than Miami, but still looks pretty tough. I've always hated the fact that in baseball it seems like everyone has already seen at least one if not more of the teams they'll face. South Carolina already played their first day opponent Charlotte during the year as well.
Let me get this straight. Vince Young says his response to his first year in the NFL was that he wanted to quit because it "wasn't fun anymore". When you go pro early and get millions of dollars, that does tend to lead to things being less laid back. As Joakim Noah could tell you, Vince, going from a championship to pro mediocrity is tough. It gets tougher when you're on the net shirtless and drinking Patron straight from the bottle after you got your last OC fired because his offense was too tough for you to learn.
Playboy convinces a pro tennis player to pose minus clothing, and it's Ashley Harkleroad? How far down the list of possible "celebrity" pictorials did they get before this name came up? Was Daniela Hantuchova's phone busy?
I certainly have no issue with football coaches trying to do their part to assist in boosting the morale of troops overseas. Having said that, the decision by Charlie Weis to put these pictures on his website ranks right up there with the John Kerry campaign setting this photo op up. Sticking to posed pictures with soldiers would have been a much better call.
While I was writing this blog and watching the Celtics lose, I just saw this Dockers commercial again. Check out the guy putting at the end - apparently they hired an actor who's never played golf or else this guy's trying to make a 200 foot putt. Good song, though - Marlena Shaw's "California Soul", if you were wondering.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Also, is there some reason two characters spend the entire second half of the movie wearing leather jackets in the South American jungle? Doesn't look all that chilly. They've made Indiana Jones into a cartoon character. Fred from Scooby Doo always has his ascot, and Indy only wears two outfits - leather jacket or suit with bow tie and glasses when he's teaching. Crystal Skull's not unwatchable, but it's clearly not in the class of the other three.
We may get instant replay in MLB. To me, anything that gets calls right is worth waiting for a couple of minutes. You can't use this for balls and strikes, but if it means we never see a Don Denkinger moment from the 85 World Series again, bring it on.
Hard to argue with any of the names Dennis Dodd puts forth as the coaches on the hottest seats in college football. I was amazed Syracuse, Arizona and UNLV didn't fire their coaches last year. No SEC coach is higher than Vandy's Bobby Johnson at 3, but look who the next hottest seat in the league supposedly is - Steve Spurrier at 2.5. Dodd thinking Spurrier's job status is less safe than that of Phillip Fulmer or Sylvester Croom is nuts. He should be at 1.
At least a few times a year, someone in my profession says something that makes me embarassed to be in the same field as them. Mark Madden's show on ESPN 1250 in Pittsburgh gave me one of those moments yesterday. Absolutely disgraceful.
The guy who's always on the radio and TV hyping his ID theft prevention company had his identity stolen. Sign me up!
I'm traveling back to Florida today. It'll be good to spend some time in Tampa as well as at my home in Gainesville (and yes, I still have one). I probably won't blog until Tuesday unless something really huge happens between now and then. I hope you have a great holiday weekend.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Give Mack Brown credit for honesty. He acknowledges that it's an enormous conflict of interest for coaches to be voting in the national championship selection formula. The coaches poll should have been done away with years ago for exactly that reason. I don't blame Brown for choosing to vote despite the ethical question. Urban Meyer refuses to vote, but probably should start doing so. It would be in UF's best interest to have at least one ballot they can count on in a tight vote, since other schools they're competing with likely do.
Not trying to have a Big 12 lovefest here, but their commissioner is pushing for five years of eligibility for football. Since most kids are staying five years anyway thanks to redshirting, I'd be all for this. How many more bogus "season ending" ankle and shoulder injuries do we need to see to freshmen players in weeks two and three? I think kids would do better with regards to academics and discipline as well as on the practice field if they know there's still a chance they will get to play. If you know you're redshirting no matter what, where's the incentive to give your best as a freshman?
For the fourth straight year, college football fans tuning in for ESPN's College Gameday will be treated to the nightmare that is Big & Rich. They taped the new intro in Tampa this week. Thanks to the magic of youtube, you can look into the future and see your 2008 Saturday mornings at 10AM now. If I can find out who in the ESPN power structure these guys are related to or have blackmail material on, I'll let you know.
Speaking of our buddies in Bristol, ESPN thinks you might be interested in spending 300 dollars on a universal remote. No, I'm not kidding. The good news is that you can sign up to fight Jose Canseco in Atlantic City July 12 and have enough to buy an ESPN remote for every TV in your house, plus at least a half tank of gas!
I'm still feeling dirty about posting that Big & Rich thing. Here's a Ben Folds cover version of the Postal Service's "Such Great Heights" to make up for it (and yes, if you didn't know what the UPS commercial song was before, this is it).
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
So the NBA draft lottery serves the first pick up to Chicago. The Heat gets whichever of Rose or Beasley they don't select. The bigger question for Florida fans is what this all means for Marreese Speights. Chad Ford of ESPN claims he goes 16th to Philly. Mike DeCourcy of Sporting News doesn't think he goes first round. I don't generally put a lot of stock in Ford, but I do think Speights stays in and gets into the lower half of the round somewhere.
It remains to be seen whether Mets manager Willie Randolph will be fired before Ned Yost gets the boot in Milwaukee, but I'm pretty sure trying to claim racism is why he's being criticized and then backtracking two days later just sped his timetable up. You'd think by now people would understand these kind of accusations are like a gun - don't pull it out unless you're prepared to really use it.
Giada DeLaurentis is normally the only cooking show I would consider watching. But if this idea gets off the ground, Michael Irvin probably has some interesting menu suggestions he could share as well.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
An NFL labor stoppage would probably mean even more money for college football. In case anyone wasn't clear on how big a business the sport is these days, Vanderbilt announced it's going to spend 50 million on facilities improvements, largely on their football stadium. That's the same high school looking place Commodore fans don't fill regularly right now. Applying the Field of Dreams logic of "if we build it, recruits will come", they're pouring the big bucks in anyway.
Preston Parker gets two games. The punishment is about right, but the two 1-AA opening games FSU's using to get around their NCAA academic suspensions make it completely meaningless.
If you listened to the show, you know I'm a giant skeptic of the recruiting hysteria surrounding big time prospects. I know it's not going away anytime soon, but it troubles me how seriously some people treat the decisions of high school kids. How do you get so off the rails mentally that you think this kind of thing is appropriate? From the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel's Hurricanes blog interview with incoming Miami player C.J. Holton...
SR: What were you hearing after made you made the switch, from FSU fans and the locals in Crawfordville, Fla.?
CJH: Well, a bunch of people were kind of shocked. I got it from a lot of people. I got a bunch of hate mail, just people talking crazy stuff. One dude told me before I leave that I better make sure to get a (bulletproof) vest. That was the craziest thing I heard.
If anyone you know ever ponders sending a kid hate mail or threats because the young man went to a different school than the one they root for, please get that person mental help.
It's been well established for a while that Hollywood is out of new ideas, but a Red Dawn remake? Come on!
Sunday, May 18, 2008
How many more 7-5 or 6-6 years does FSU have to turn in before they get treated like the mediocre program they truly are? Florida cannot continue to use FSU as the crutch to not schedule any other credible opponents because THEY are barely credible opponents.
It's funny you mention this, because FSU has shown a remarkable knack for scheduling this kind of game from the mid-90s on. They've played teams like Texas A&M, USC, BYU and Colorado that sounded like great non-conference opponents. Yet they always seemed to catch them at times where they weren't very good. Now, FSU and Miami will serve that role for UF this year, giving them cover for having a 1-AA opponent like Citadel. If FSU never gets to a better level than 7-5 again, eventually it could hurt UF's schedule perception but I think we're a number of years away from that. The SEC's strength insulates UF from having to be too worried about that, but Gator fans do deserve better than the other non conference crap that's been booked for them in coming seasons.
I don't get why you moved to Columbia. I know it's a bigger city, but what's better about working in a state with only two college teams and no pro franchises?
As noted in my initial blog entry, which you can read below, the reason for my move to Columbia is that it's where my fiancee works and there is no feasible way for her to work in Gainesville. I'm working with friends and 107.5 the Game is a very good station, but on my own I would not have left Gainesville for Columbia. That's not to say I would have never left under any circumstances, but not this particular one.
How worried are you about the Celtics, considering how poorly they've played the first two rounds? If Gibson didn't get hurt they lose to Cleveland.
I didn't expect them to struggle the way they have to this point, but I've never believed they were going to win it all this year. I hope they can beat the Pistons, but I suspect they will not. Ray Allen has got to start contributing this round or they're done.
Just a reminder - besides this blog, I'm still writing for scout.com's Florida website, fightingators.com - here's the link to my latest column , which deals with FSU president T.K. Wetherell's absurd proclamation that a college football playoff is inevitable. There's also plenty of stuff there from others on UF baseball and softball's big weekends - Kevin O'Sullivan should be a serious contender for SEC Coach of the Year for getting UF to the third seed.
Very nice pickup for Billy Donovan with the commitment of Deshawn Painter. Note that the Vernon Macklin transfer also helped out in a big way here. Beating Pitino out for a kid is never easy. In 2009-10 UF will have some serious size in the front court again.
I'm not sure which part of this report about Dolphins cornerback Will Allen being investigated for supposedly pulling a gun in a public place is more disturbing. WPLG television in South Florida reports that the gun was pulled because someone was demanding repayment from him for a loan used to pay gambling debts. If so, that's clearly got to be further investigated. But what was Will Allen doing allegedly acting gangsta in the parking lot of Bed, Bath & Beyond?
It's good to see some of his fellow Senate Republicans are willing to say enough already to Arlen Specter's ridiculous talk about a Congressional investigation into the NFL's handling of the Patriots video taping scandal. As Arizona Senator Jon Kyl says "It doesn't seem to me that it's something the Congress should be involved in." I just paid 3.60 a gallon to fill up my car - it's POSSIBLE stuff like that might be higher on peoples lists of concern than the Patriots, but that's just a guess.
If Congress was looking to investigate something sports related, which they really shouldn't be, I'd suggest the Tim Donaghy NBA refereeing scandal might be a better target than the Patriots. With this report from the New York Daily News indicating he bet on more than 100 games he worked, there seem to be several questions still worth asking about what happened and how the NBA can be sure no one else was involved.
This is the initial review I've seen for the new Indiana Jones sequel. I'm hoping somehow this lives up to the standard of the previous three, but I'm not terribly optimistic about that happening.
Speaking of things that were great in the Eighties that are unfortunately less so today, I saw Jamie Lee Curtis doing an advertisement for a digestive yogurt. From this (no nudity, but be careful if you're at work) to this - sigh. I'm getting old.
One other pop culture note - Tom Waits is playing Jacksonville July 2. He rarely tours, so this is big news. Waits is one of the true original artists out there, and he's not for everyone. Here's his video for "Hold On", one of my favorites he did this decade. I'm going to catch the Atlanta show July 5 - should be great.
Friday, May 16, 2008
If your dream scenario to show just how far FSU football has fallen was to see them forced to line up on Boise's Smurf Turf at the Humanitarian Bowl, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but you are running out of time . The ACC's number eight team might end up in the Congressional Bowl in DC or in lovely Mobile. Whether FSU falls far enough to wind up in Boise or not, we'll always have the memory of Miami squeezing out a narrow win over Nevada there a couple of years ago. Speaking of FSU, good to see that Chris Rix has found work. His first lesson to the kids will be about the temptations of handicapped parking.
MLB is busy hyping it, but do you know a single soul who truly cares passionately about interleague play beginning today? Neither do I. Maybe it's matchups like Tampa Bay-St Louis and Florida-Kansas City that aren't getting people riled up, or maybe it's just that the novelty wore off a long time ago. This idea should be dropped for a decade and then brought back for two years at a time. That might actually make it meaningful again. By the way, former Gator and current Cincinnati Reds pitcher Josh Fogg was the victim of a pretty good Ken Griffey Jr. prank earlier this week.
I know Charles Barkley can afford to pay Wynn Las Vegas the 400 grand he apparently owes them. Even if the guy was waking up penniless this morning, he could make that much just by doing a couple of sports card shows and signing autographs. It still blows my mind, though. Once you've lost a quarter million dollars, you'd think some sort of internal signal that it's not your day would kick in. If nothing else, at that point stick with a friend of mine's approach - when he's getting crushed he leaves and goes to a strip club because he knows he'll get some enjoyment for his money.
Speaking of stripping, whoever told Vince Young of the Tennessee Titans this was a good idea did him no favors. Both he and Leinart have had offseasons that make people wonder how serious these two guys are about wanting to actually be NFL quarterbacks as opposed to playing them in nightclubs.
I'll post a mailbag sometime between now and Monday so send anything you want to ask about or get my take on to firstname.lastname@example.org over the next couple of days. Thanks and have a great weekend.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
I love when athletes say "play me or trade me", as if there are tons of teams lining up for the oppotunity to grab them. J.J. Redick is apparently operating under that delusion. The NBA has free agency, J.J. If teams think you're worth a crap, there will be a chance for them to give you big dollars eventually. Until then, you're making big money and considering most people thought Orlando was nuts to draft you where they did you have absolutely nothing to complain about.
College basketball officials could be moving toward eventually creating a union, as they try to get more money out of the NCAA for postseason. It's something to keep an eye on - there's absolutely no benefit to the way the current system is set up, with referees having ties to specific conferences. If eventually we could move to a national assignment office for all officials, it would make college sports better.
I thought video game fishing was the most ridiculous concept ever, then I heard about Major League Eating: The Game. I've never been a big video game guy, and I'm guessing this wont get me to start.
Saw "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" last night - pretty good movie, although there is frontal male nudity so be forewarned if you're bothered by that. The best thing about the movie (well, besides Mila Kunis) is that none of the characters is just a one note "bad guy". The girl who dumps the main character may be self-absorbed, but she's got a good side too. Considering most of us are not one dimensionally good or bad people, it's surprising how rare it is for characters to be written that way.
The blog's been hitting triple digit numbers in views all week, which I'm told is good for a startup site. I'm greedy, though. I want thousands of views, not hundreds. If you've got friends who listened to the show, please pass along the link to them. The email is email@example.com. I'll do a Q and A mailbag this weekend, so send in any questions and site improvement ideas you've got. Thanks for stopping by and giving me some of your time.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Brand would like to see the NBA require players to stay in school for "two, three or four years,"
Let's see... what we appear to have here is a situation where a player who had zero intention of going to college in the first place wound up having to put an obligatory year in as a result of a rules change. He may have engaged in behavior which violates your organization's rules and could get a prominent school put on probation. What would a good lesson to take from this be? Clearly, it's that you should have forced him to stay longer so he could do more damage and make even more of a farce out of the idea these are amateur athletes. Brilliant.
The ACC decided eight conference football games was enough for them after all. Going to nine was a bad idea for them and would have been even worse for the SEC to look at. Meanwhile, ACC bigwigs are supposedly watching to see if they should start a conference TV network like the Big Ten has and SEC likely will. Do you know how many ACC teams have won a BCS game this decade? That would be zero. Duke is reportedly ready to sell their 2010 home game with Alabama to Atlanta so they can rake in extra cash. Sure, all ACC football games being available on TV sounds like something we need really soon.
NOW David Stern notices that NBA games are loud and frustrating to go to? Can't wait to hear what he thinks about the finale of Seinfeld. When Indiana started playing race car sound effects over the game when the Pacers had the ball is when this trend should have been stopped in its tracks. Stern's right, but good luck removing the WWE element from the arena now.
So maybe you didn't have the cash handy to buy Chris Leak's BCS Championship Shoes for ten grand. Fret not, this a virtual steal of a deal.
It's remarkable to look at where the USA is with regards to racial harmony now versus forty years ago. But then you read a story like this and realize there are still some people who just don't get it. Absolutely disgraceful.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
In response to some emailed questions I've gotten, I want to emphasize again that my move had nothing to do with anything sports related (covering Spurrier versus Meyer, etc). If my fiancee was a sports anchor in Toledo and I could get a decent sports radio job there, I'd be getting ready to spend lots of quality time with Tom Amstutz and hear about how great the Hungarian hot dogs at Tony Packo's are. Some have asked my opinion about Terry Norvelle being hired as the replacement for me in the 11A-1P spot at the Star 99.5. While I've known Terry for a long time, I was not consulted on management's process for filling the spot. Terry was involved with potential All-American Football League broadcasts and came to the station's attention that way. Norvelle's been involved with sports radio for more than a decade, and I'm sure he'll do fine. Our styles are different, but I encourage you to give him a chance. I'm sure there were some Pat Dooley listeners who couldn't stand me at first when I began doing the show there who eventually came around.
On to the sports...
This Matt Patchan story continues to be really odd. We know that Patchan was shot on Friday night, apparently in a park. Apparently he was not seriously injured, which is a great relief to Gator fans who remember the losses of James McGriff and Eraste Autin too well. But how is it that four days after the shooting, no one can even seem to figure out what hospital he was taken to? I've seen three different ones reported by media covering the story. How did this situation happen in the first place? There are still a surprising number of questions that need to be answered considering how many days removed we are from the incident.
The Patchan story was originally posted on the gatorsports.com message board by a first time poster at 12:55 Saturday morning. Everyone feels like they're a reporter now. Message board rumors are always an adventure - there's no way to tell which ones are legit, which ones have an element of truth but are being posted by someone who doesn't know the full facts, and which ones are some guy making stuff up to screw with people. People who can confirm things like this don't appreciate being called everytime something funky shows up somewhere on the net. It's a very interesting time to be in sports media.
FSU's Preston Parker will be apparently soon be getting his charges dropped to a misdemeanor. This should come to the surprise of absolutely no one. For some reason, there was a perception from some Parker might have genuinely been in danger of losing his spot on the FSU team. He'll be back no later than game three against Wake Forest.
Baseball media is all excited about the 14th ever unassisted triple play last night. If you're one of those people who gets excited about this, I certainly don't begrudge your enjoyment of it but I don't get what the big deal is. Four homers in a game is a genuine individual feat. Hitting for the cycle is a feat, although one I don't think is that big a deal (wouldn't anyone rather have two homers, a triple and a double rather than being able to say they "hit for the cycle!"?). But an unassisted triple play always happens the same way - two runners are going, and someone hits a liner to a middle infielder. Wow - how captivating.
The Celtics still can't win on the road, which is disappointing but not shocking. I've wanted to believe all season, but I still can't. They'll beat the Cavs, but I don't see them winning the seventeenth banner this season.
Lindy's college football magazine is out - their earliest release ever. At some point they will hand the preview magazines out during the BCS title game celebration the way they do those quickie two page newspapers. In a world where instant information is available to us all, can anyone explain how these things still thrive? Is it just that you can't take the internet with you to the beach so you bring Lindy's instead? For the record, they have Georgia number one and UF at six. The Gators will supposedly face Missouri in the Sugar Bowl.
The post's title comes from the first song off Elvis Costello's new album Momofuku - the song's not on youtube anywhere, so here's the lyrics. It's an excellent album - if you've enjoyed Costello's stuff in the past, you'll like this a lot as well. The email's still firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to reach me directly, or feel free to comment here.
Friday, May 9, 2008
Typically, this is going to be where I share things I find interesting from my daily wanderings on the web, an opinion or two, and some other stuff. If you're reading it today, though, you're probably looking for answers on why I'm leaving my daily show at the Star 99.5. Here's what's going on:
Dating someone in sports broadcasting is tough - we work odd hours, travel a lot, are busy virtually every weekend from August to March, etc. For two people in the field to date is even tougher, because on top of all that career advancement is going to typically lead you to different cities. Long distance works for a while, but eventually you've got to get to the same place. For me, that time has come. As a result, I've accepted a job with WNKT FM in Columbia, SC. It's called 107.5 the Game, and it's the flagship station for Gamecock sports. I'm co-hosting daily from 4 to 7 PM there with my friend Mike Morgan, who you have likely heard discussing South Carolina topics with me when it's been relevant over the years. The station's website is at www.1075thegame.com - you can listen live to the show there as well as check out multiple bad photos of me. (I'm in radio for a reason!)
I've been doing two daily shows and commuting back and forth between Gainesville and Columbia since midway through basketball season. At some point though, as much as I hate to leave Gainesville, I was going to have to pare things down to one show per day. My fiancee's a TV sports anchor in Columbia, so that's where I have to be. The guys at the Star 99.5 couldn't have been better about this whole situation, and we've discussed me rejoining them for regular scheduled guest appearances (like Dooley) beginning at SEC football media days. There's even a chance I'll still be able to host our regular Saturday football pregame show this year, depending on how some scheduling issues work out. I'll update you here on the site once we work out the details about any future on air stuff in Gainesville.
Gainesville is a special place. I've lived here for all but two of the last seventeen years, and it's strange to imagine that soon I won't. I've been incredibly lucky to cover the things I have since I started as a student at WRUF in summer 94 - three Final Fours, back to back basketball national championships, two football national titles, a Heisman Trophy ceremony, and so many great games. The only reason I got to do any of it was because you took the time to listen to me - please know how much I appreciate that you did.
I don't know anything about designing a webpage. As you can tell, this site is still a work in progress and rather primitive at the moment compared to what I hope it can eventually be. We never did get the podcasts up and running on the Star website, but I think I can make that happen here. This blog is a new challenge, and one I'm looking forward to trying to make enjoyable for you to check in on regularly. I'll start regular updates on Tuesday.