Tuesday, April 14, 2009

R.I.P. Harry Kalas

The news of legendary Philadelphia Phillies play by play man Harry Kalas dying hit everyone in baseball hard yesterday. Kalas wasn't just one of the great voices of the game, he was a well liked person. There are some successful announcers who are simply not very nice people. Kalas remained friendly to those he crossed paths with despite his extra fame from NFL Films work, commercials, even the Puppy Bowl. We had him on the show a couple of times during my time in Jacksonville, and he couldn't have been a nicer guy. I feel for whoever has to try and fill those shoes in Philadelphia. Every team still has radio broadcasts, but the play by play guy doesn't have the same connection with the fans anymore that ones of the era when Harry broke in did thanks to practically all the games being available on TV. Vin Scully in Los Angeles becomes even more of a treasure every year.

Isiah Thomas is the new head basketball coach at FIU. It apparently hasn't registered with them that everything he touches turns to crap. Thomas bankrupted the CBA and ruined the Knicks. He was emboiled in a sexual harassment suit that cost his employers 11.5 million. Thomas said - ON VIDEOTAPE! - that it was alright for a black man to call a woman a bitch but not a white man. This past October, Thomas was reported to have been taken to the hospital for an overdose of pills. He than claimed it was his daughter, despite officers flatly saying he was lying. Isiah Thomas is the guy FIU's athletic director thinks is the right man to teach college kids anything? Wow.

Former Gator basketball player David Huertas has decided to turn pro early. No, really. He's going to play in Puerto Rico. This was the year Huertas had been dreaming of. Ole Miss suffered enough injuries that he got to shoot all the time by default. Only one teammate was within 184 shots attempted of him. Huertas shot 41 percent from the field and 35 percent from three while having more turnovers than assists. Not awe-inspiring numbers to me, but Huertas has always thought very highly of himself. I wish I could see a videotape of the meeting when Huertas came in after the 2006 title and told Billy Donovan he needed to shoot twenty times a game. Five future NBA players and one of the great NCAA three point shooters are back from a team celebrated for its unselfishness and Huertas says "give me the rock or I walk". You can't be more clueless than that.

Sergio Garcia still hasn't won a major despite having several chances over the years. Some people thought this might be the year for him at Augusta, but it didn't happen. Garcia's crybaby reaction afterward tells me it probably won't happen anywhere else anytime soon either...

"I don't like" the course, Garcia said in an interview with The Golf Channel. "It's too tricky. I don't think it's fair."

The nerve of those Augusta National people, making their course so challenging. No one could be expected to hit double figures on such a course! Well, except the three guys who tied at twelve under. It's not Sergio's fault 37 people did better than him, it's the course's. You betcha.

The NCAA's preferred method of handling modern communication technology's improvements is to order everyone to pretend they don't exist. They banned text messaging rather than try to come up with a common sense approach to it. Coaches can't accept return messages from anyone on Twitter because if it's from a recruit that could be considered an extra contact. Now, the NCAA's demanding Facebook groups designed to encourage a recruit to choose a specific school shut down. That's got their attention while the third anniversary of the Reggie Bush agent scandal being exposed is this month. Memo to Myles Brand and company: you're never going to be able to stay ahead of technology, so stop worrying about it. Even things like phone call limits can be worked around by using a purchased prepaid cel that's not in a coach's name. Find ways to tighten up the seamy stuff going on with AAU basketball. Do everything you can to get agents under control. There's lots to be done, but worrying about people naive enough to think a little more internet ego stroking is going to sway the heart of a highly recruited point guard is simply stupid. Not to mention that if it could get another school in trouble, troublemakers will start groups to "encourage" recruits to go to their rival's school.

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