Friday, April 27, 2007

Update: CSI: Boston Draws Conclusion

All is well in The Hub (Boston), following an intensive investigation by the folks at CSI: Boston who have concluded that it was indeed bood on Curt Schilling's sock in the 2004 ALCS.

Gordon Edes follow-up story is here.

In Washington, the President said that he was relieved to receive the news so that we could all go back to focusing on winning the war in Iraq. Hillary Clinton called it a "vast right-wing conspiracy." Barak Obama blamed it on Don Imus.

And I slept much better.

Seriously it seems like somebody's brain went into the drive position and cooler heads prevailed. Gary Thorne didn't get his arse kicked, and Doug Mirabelli and the Sox (no pun intended) were all content to make it out to be a misunderstanding. Whatever it was, I'm glad it's over.

Now it's back to how pathetically sad the Yankees are. That's the reality of it, folks. With Phil Hughes on the mound last night, the Yanks were listless. Derek Jeter sat the game out, the result of a Scott Kazmir fastball (and you Mets fans thought nothing good would come of that trade). Now on come the Red Sox (again, weather permitting) with Andy Pettitte ready to face Dice-K, and The Wife and I having to decide if we want to ride out possible rain delays and wet seats, or do something else with our evening.

I do know this - the Yankees will call the game by about 4:00, or won't call it at all. They want to try to get 56,000 crammed into the big ball yard and at least get as much out of our pockets in terms of concession dollars before sending us home with a rain out, or making through the game (with possible rain delays). Don't know if I'm in the mood, quite frankly, to ride out the rain delays. Thus I'll brainstorm during the day to see if there's a Plan B (I know Mick will doing so as well).

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Cardinals Travel and Bloody Sox?

Two stories of interest today - one that I'm a few days behind and another that popped up yesterday.

We start with the Greenwich Cardinals (whose football games I think I'll be calling again). According to Tim Parry (who got it from Sean Patraick Bowley in the Connecticut Post), the Cards have an open date in their 2007 schedule, and might hit the road against a "national" power. Further, that game might be broadcast on ESPN.

Read Tim's post here, then read Sean here.

My take on it is that it would be great...and I sincerely hope that we will broadcast the game on WGCH. That is probably all that I can rightly say about it. From a personal perspective, just let me know the date and the details and I will make sure that I am available. It would be especially nice if it could be dovetailed into a little get away for the family.


Now onto issue number two. The Boston Globe is reporting this morning that, according to Gary Thorne on MASN (the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network) Curt Schilling's infamous "bloody sock" from Game Six of the 2004 American League Championship Series was a fake. Gordon Edes writes in today's Globe:

"Thorne said on the air, while the Orioles were batting in the fifth, that he'd been told by Sox catcher Doug Mirabelli that was not blood, but paint, on the sock Schilling wore during Game 6 of the 2004 American League Championship Series against the Yankees. It was done for the public relations effect, Thorne said."

No doubt Red Sox Nation is up in arms as well. The story is here

Now why does this matter? To me it doesn't. Schilling and the Sox won that night, and the following night as well, completing the greatest meltdown and comeback in post-season history. Yes Schilling's credibility is at stake, but is it really? We know he's a great pitcher, but we also know that he's a PR machine, and loves attention. He doens't love when attention is taken away from him (see Randy Johnson and Dice K). So really, who cares? Can't we add this to the wonderful legends of sports, like Babe Ruth's "called shot" in 1932? Now as for Thorne, he's the one who might have a little problem with credibility today. Not only did he shoot down the legned of the sock, but he named names! So he's got Doug Mirabelli, Curt Schilling, and manager Terry Francona all furious at him.

Great theatre, great legend, and it's not about the Yankees (at least not directly). I see that as a win-win.

As for the Yankees, the Bombers were rained out last night and that's OK with me. That means they couldn't lose. Tonight, young phenom Phil Hughes makes his debut against the Blue Jays at the Stadium (weather permitting). Some have compared him to the great Roger Clemens, but hold on please. Let this kid create his own legend, if it is possible. Andy Pettitte goes up against Dice K tomorrow as the Yanks and Sox renew the rivalry in the Bronx. The Wife and I will be there, weather permitting.

A few more quickies: first, happy news, as I wish a very happy birthday to my mom who turned a large round number on April 24th. She's not shy about her age, but I'm not going to post the number here, except to say that it's between 65 and 75. Now sad news, as we lost a family friend after a truly strong battle against cancer. Dave passed away yesterday morning and our thoughts are with his family. Lastly, as we round off our trip of life, congratulations to my friend Lisa, who gave birth to little Evan last thursday. Mother and son are doing great, and father, sister and brother are all elated.

Best wishes to all.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

And Now For Something COMPLETELY Different!

Yes, ala Monty Python, I bring you a British Biscuit to chew on. Occasionally I get the urge to hear some UK Radio, and opted to listen to Capital Radio (95.8 FM) streaming from the heart of Leicester Square in London. Some of what I heard was typical for this type of station (The Fray and the like - much like a Z-100 here in New York - basically a Top 40 station). What's different, of course, is the type of songs that don't ever make so much as a ripple here in the States but are huge everywhere else (ever heard of Cliff Richard? That's what I thought).

I couldn't help but notice this one song for two reasons - 1) because it had a cool beat to it and 2) it seemed to mention Stella, as in Stella Artois, the Belgian beer that has become ubiquitous in my house, and is The Wife's favorite. She had recently mentioned a song to me that mentioned the very same Stella, and for a moment, I thought this was the song. It turns out that she was talking about Amy Winehouse's "You Know I'm No Good", which includes the line "Hand me my Stella and fly." So I Googled the one line that I remembered from the song and it turns out it's from a singer/songwriter named Jamie T, and the song is called "Sheila."

Now maybe I'm just not hip to this song, because it's about a year old but if you haven't heard it, and if you enjoy this kind of pop fusion (for lack of a better term), then give it a shot. I posted the video - which is the second version. The first one features Jamie T singing, while drunken monkeys party away. In this version, actor Bob Hoskins takes on Jamie T's role. I'll warn you that I didn't see the ending coming, so be prepared.

Besides, I'd rather talk about cheeky pop songs than about the Yankees.

With that said - Cheers!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Play Ball!

Hello, proud father Coach Rob here to tell you about the debut of the Carmel T-ball Association Giants, who played the Angels on Saturday. In fact, the Giants will play the Angels in EVERY game, as there are only two teams in the league. Anyway I wanted you to see The Son's great debut, as he had two hits, an RBI, and two runs scored. That said, in the interest of full disclosure, EVERY child had two hits (both singles) and at least one RBI with two runs scored, and there was no winning or losing team.

We organized the players by uniform number for their first time up. The Son is number 10, and is busy working on manicuring the field. But enough about that - let's have a look at his first career at bat. Note the fluid swing, the power behind the contact, and the way he flies down the line.

Just to make sure I've bored you enough, have a look at his second at bat. I wish you could see the whole thing on this video because what happened was classic. As he went to hit, suddenly the parents figured out what his name was and began to cheer for him. He approached home plate, heard the commotion, and turned around with a huge smile on his face. I couldn't help but ask him if he wanted to tip his helmet to the crowd. You had to be there to understand how funny it was.

He seems to be enjoying himself, and that's what I want him to do. So long as he's having fun, getting active, and learning, I'm pleased. It was a nice start.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Hokie Nation

Dedicated to the people of Virginia Tech, who were there to learn, teach, and live.

On this, the eighth anniversary of the Columbine massacre, there really is no way to make any sense of what happened in Blacksburg, VA at Virginia Tech University on Monday. Four days later it still doesn’t seem real. For me, I think I was too hung up on the amount of water that we were dealing with in New York because I was not in my usual “glued to the media” mode. There’s just been too much stuff going on with us, but I’m not out of touch with it.

What is it about this week? Oklahoma City (1995), Columbine (1999) and now Virginia Tech (2007) all happened during this week. Eerie, that's all - and symbolic of nothing...I think.

Anyway, it goes without saying that like the rest of the nation (at least I hope like the rest of the nation), I send my condolences to the victims families and those who survived. I heard this morning that today would be the day of mourning for our brothers and sisters at VA Tech, and in the spirit of that, people should wear the colors of the Hokies. So I’m doing that very thing – with a maroon polo shirt and a yellow t-shirt underneath that has orange writing (it’s a stretch but it works). Guess I was the only one in New Rochelle who got that memo.

As someone who has worked in the media, still dabbles in it occasionally (are you listening up there in Greenwich? I’m available! Hello!!??), and is a student of it, I watched what went on with the shooter’s manifesto very carefully. The reality of this is that NBC News, like ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX and virtually everybody else is in the business of ratings. They have to get ratings to get advertisers. Thus they get money…and there is the bottom line. As a news director, I think I would have felt compelled to air something from the video – sound, still frames, or actual footage. As a viewer/voyeur, I absolutely wanted to see it. It’s an important document to me, and I always use things like that as indelible images. They make me never forget the event. I’ll watch the images of September 11, 2001 because I want to be reminded of it every time. I want to remember the anger, the horror, and even the sense of good that existed briefly afterwards and now seems long gone. Just as with any other thing we see or hear, we have the option of changing the channel.

Still there is an outrage at NBC for showing any portion of the manifesto. The belief is that it will bring copycats to the forefront. The thinking is that since the VA Tech wacko got his stuff shown on the TV, why can’t we? It’s understandable for sure, but is it really that realistic? Anyway my concern is that the NBC executives and personalities (who have come off oh so well lately) have tried to spin this, when they should just admit that they did it for ratings. And that’s what everybody in the media would have done.

This was explained perfectly, some 25 years ago (!) when Don Henley sang “Dirty Laundry.” Listen to it today and you’ll hear the relevancy.

So as I sat here in my Hokie garb, I listened to a Richmond-based online rock station. They trudged through most of the usual stuff – Boston, Kansas, Skynyrd, Joe Walsh – until the DJ announced that the station would take part in the national moment of silence at 12:00. Just before Noon, they played a special version of Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven”, spliced with actualities such as President Bush, news pieces, and quotes, then the airwaves went dead for maybe 30 seconds, before some high energy station promo/ID kicked in. Then it was on to Derek and Dominos “Layla.”

I suppose we could quarrel with whether or not it was handled appropriately but why bother? That would be senseless, and extremely sensitive. Life goes on. But, even just for today, I’m happy to be a Hokie. Unfortunately we think we’re immune but the reality is that we witnessed a sad piece of history.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Off The Bench (The SANJAYA! Edition)

I’m not going to kid you. Just because the Imus furor has died down, doesn’t mean that I’m not going to continue to write about it. In case you’re interested, this site contains contact info (some of it admittedly outdated) for the blowhards who fired the I-man in the first place. Meanwhile, over on Power 105 here in New York (a Hip Hop station), they hosted a round table of sorts (including Reverend Al, natch) and the determination was that they would stop playing “that type of music. Not that we played that much anymore.” And oh, this had nothing to do with Imus, they said.

Puhleeze. They finally realized that they couldn’t organize a witch hunt for Don Imus’s head and not do more to satisfy the side that was now ripping the rap industry.

The truth of the matter, for me, is that I don’t necessarily want “them” to do away with the raunchy hip hop music. This is a free country, so stop being so puritanical. As with anything else on the radio, if you don’t like it, then don’t listen to it. I like plenty of R&B and hip hop, but Power 105 wasn’t a station that I listened to. Conversely plenty of people didn’t listen to Imus. What Imus said was satire. He was parodying the speech of the hip hop industry, which they had been doing for years. Funny how people laugh at me whenever I utter some “slang” reference like “I hear ya’ humming, yo” or something stupid like that. Folks found it funny because that kind of speech sounds strange emanating from me. That’s what was supposed to be Imus’s shtick. It had nothing to do with him being a racist, which I still believe he is not.

But enough already. As I said last week, we have much bigger fish to fry. For instance, we have a national tragedy at Virginia Tech. If you’ve been under a rock, then you might not know that 32 people were killed in a shooting on the college campus. VA Tech officials and police have some explaining to do for the timeline of events, especially after the gunmen killed two people around 7:15 AM then killed the other 30 over two hours later. The campus was never shut down so more students were permitted to be in classes and roaming the grounds.

I’m blaming Imus for it. After all, he was responsible for New Jersey Governor John Corzine’s car accident, right? Never mind the fact that the good gov’nor thought he was above the law and wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.

Apparently, the gov thought he could buy his way out of it…just as he’s bought his elections.

Back to the radio. Mike and the Mad Dog, along with Charles McCord are carrying on in the I-man aftermath on WFAN and the affiliates that are still carrying the show. Despite what writers like Bob Raissman say, the trio is doing a remarkable job. Monday’s show had a lot to do with the hypocrisy of the entire situation, including taking shots at CBS and NBC for their mishandling of the affair, and at former “I-faves” who have not come off well in the post-nappy-headed era. Tim Russert, I’m afraid, is front and center on the hit list, along with Senator Christopher Dodd, Mike Wallace, and Harold Ford, Jr. Then there was Ana Marie Cox, David Brooks, and even Newsweek people like Evan Thomas who questioned why they ever went on the show in the first place.

With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Question – Chuck is working with Mike and the Mad Dog. Lou Ruffino is serving as their engineer. Tracy Burgess is still doing traffic and Chris Carlin is doing sports. In other words, the whole Imus crew is there, with one notable exception (other than the I-man). So where the heck is Bernard McGuirk?

I have a funny feeling he’s there, and even serving as producer, but not saying a peep. Regardless, all of this is why I think that Imus will be back on WFAN, as soon as within two weeks. CBS Radio has a new boss. WFAN still lists the Imus show on their website (including archives). Maybe guest hosts will keep the chair warm until Imus returns, probably after the summer.

He’ll be back, I’m telling you.

UPDATE (Friday, 4/20) - Bernard has been fired, and apparently was not at WFAN.

And sitting there, patting themselves on the back, are the fine folks at Media Matters for America a so-called “watchdog” group that got the Imus ball rolling in the first place two weeks ago. Twenty-six year-old Ryan Chiachiere gets the booby prize, as it was he who listened to the “nappy” comment and put the machine in motion. Guess that’s his job, and I suppose their mission is noble in theory, but I’ve also heard plenty of rhetoric about them as well. I’ll reserve judgment, but Rush Limbaugh (who I am NOT, repeat NOT, a fan of) called them “Stalinist” and part of the “Clinton machine agenda.” I’ll leave this subject at this: like I said, we have a national tragedy on our hands today, and Media Matters is more concerned with the ongoing Imus story, among other things. You’ll have to scroll a bit before you see a mention of the coverage of Virginia Tech.

OK, let’s move along again. So, I guess the great Mariano’s career is over, right? I mean if Marco Scutaro can hit a game-winning homer against you, then we’ve begun the decline of civilization, right?

Scutaro was hitting .059 when he stepped up against Mo. He’s now hitting .095.

It seems that people fell into two categories this week: those who were cleaning up post-storm messes and those who weren’t.

Media reports made New Rochelle out to be like a war zone, with a state of emergency existing in the Queen City. It would stand to reason that my office would have been closed, and that it would have been very hard for me to get to work, right?

Wrong. They were opened, and many said that roads (the right ones – like I-95, 287, and 684) were passable. A little patience was needed.

Oh well, a day’s pay got lost on Monday, but I look like a good son for cleaning out my mother’s basement and building a new trench for her.

As for my own fun, it began at 1:15 AM with the sound of raining pelting the roof of The Wife’s house (it’s not mine, of course. If she reads this, please know, dear, that it is sass).

Believe me, I am hardly complaining; just telling a story. In places like New Rochelle and Mamaroneck, it was bad. Really bad. My heart goes out to those people.

So Bernie Williams, how does that decision to not go to spring training look now? You could have been playing a whole lot with the various Yankees injuries. Instead, the only thing you’re playing is a guitar.

I frankly have never liked reality shows, but I’m loving the Sanjaya controversy. This guy apparently has the talent of your average Karaoke singer and he continues to survive week after week. It’s driving the AI faithful crazy, and that’s what people like me are enjoying about it. That being said, they’re absolutely elated now that he’s gone. Adios.

Personally, give me “Deal or No Deal.”

When I’m not watching, “The Sopranos”, of course.

The NHL playoffs are off and running and the entertainment value is high. You probably wouldn’t know because you’re probably not watching. And that’s too bad.

I’m not going to tell you that I’m watching every game, but I’ve definitely got my finger on the pulse.

Yet with the Rangers sweeping the Thrashers out of the Garden, watch out for Rangers mania. Unfortunately that’s the bandwagon mentality, but the loyal Rangers fans have been there all along, and they might be the best in New York.

Oh, and you can listen to NHL games for free on their website.

The Wife and I tried a new “hang out” last Saturday (OK, it’s a bar, but I didn’t want to call it that). It’s called Vintage, and it’s in White Plains. In theory, it was OK, but I wasn’t totally blown away by it. It had a good collection of taps, and cover (which I’m not a fan of but understand why it’s charged) was a reasonable five dollars. Still the band was just so-so. Nothing more than a nice-sounding bar band, which is another way of calling it “background music.” None of their stuff made us want to get up and dance. Then again, there wasn’t a dance floor anyway.

I’d go back, but I wouldn’t make a special trip for it.

The 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers was this past Sunday, and there’s no way to ever downplay the cultural significance of that moment, or the grace with which Robinson conducted himself. That is the reason that Robinson was chosen by Branch Rickey to be the player to cross the color line in 1947. There were other Negro League players that were better (Josh Gibson and Satchel Page both come to mind) but few could do it with as much class as Jackie. I don’t think he is the most significant person of the 20th Century, as some has tried to say (Dr. King’s name springs to mind, along with a few others), but there’s no doubt that he was the right man for the awesome responsibility.

You know there’s a “but” coming here, don’t you?

But…I stay strong in my belief that Robinson’s number 42 should have never been retired across baseball. Not so long as Babe Ruth’s number 3 is still used, for instance (not by the Yankees, of course). Plus it creates a politically correct precedence that can be dangerous. Puerto Ricans, for instance, want to retire Roberto Clemente’s number 21. Where does it stop?

I think it probably stopped with Robinson, to be honest. On Sunday, players were allowed to wear the number 42 as it was unretired for the day. The Dodgers, Brewers, Cardinals, and a few other teams wore the number en masse. Others had a few representatives. Willie Randolph will wear it for the Mets (their game was rained out). Joe Torre, Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano and Mariano Rivera wore it for the Yankees (Rivera, it should be noted, is the only active player who continues to wear the number). I thought the tribute might have gotten a touch watered-down but unfortunately, as we’ve learned, if you go against the popular PC opinion, you’re condemned. Only Peter Abraham in The Journal News dared to say that he disagreed with the way the tribute was handled as well. Baseball has the most glorious history of any sport, despite the travesty of the color barrier. Yet when it has a chance to do something noble, the sport seems to botch it up.

Incidentally, Rachel Robinson, “Jack’s” wonderful widow, was initially not in favor of the number retirement when it happened in 1997. Now she likes it, and feels that Sunday’s tribute was fitting and well-done.

The ceremony at Dodger Stadium, attended by Rachel Robinson, was largely perfect, but a few things stand out to me. First, because it was broadcast on ESPN, we had to endure Stuart Scott. Joe Morgan, frankly, would have been a better choice. Secondly, while people were interested in the ceremony, Dodger Stadium had a lot of empty seats during the tribute. Third, and this is most interesting to me, was who got the loudest and longest standing ovation. Not Mrs. Robinson and not even Hank Aaron or Frank Robinson, who threw out ceremonial first pitches. The person who got the loudest ovation was none other than Vincent Edward Scully, the long-time legendary Dodgers broadcaster, who seemed downright embarrassed by the attention.

Oh, one postscript to the ceremony was Jennifer Hudson, who cracked windows at Chavez Ravine with her rendition of our National Anthem.

All of this, while being so PC indicates that we have a lot to do with regard to race in this country. And that, friends, means work from BOTH sides. Not just whites, or blacks, but everybody, and not because we need to just eliminate racism but every “ism.”

Oh, nice of the Rutgers coach, C Vivian Stringer, to say that she’s signed a book deal. I know her story is quite unique, but could she maybe say “no” to an interview request once in a while? Will she give a cut to Imus, or let him write the forward?

Solidarity, Sanjaya fans!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

And So It Ends: CBS Fires Imus

The headline says it all. I have nothing to add, except to add my congratulations to Al and Jesse, who I know will now apologize for Tawana Brawley and "Hymietown", and do everything in their power to clean up music and other entertainment that exploits PEOPLE, not just minorities. And since Ms. Winfrey has gotten involved, I'm sure she will be building a school here in the US, right?

I'm sure NBC and CBS, part of conglomerates that put out said music and entertainment, will also clean up their acts.

A lot of skeletons to be dealt with here in the United States of Hypocrisy. God bless us all.

PS - Imus's radiothon, which will be hosted by Charles McCord and Deirdre Imus tomorrow, is on pace for a record. Hmmm...

Watch for the pendulum to swing, folks, and for the cowboy hat to rise again.


This is STRICTLY A RUMOR, and not something that, as a reporter, I prefer to report, but since this topic has been so over the top, I will tell you exactly what I have heard, and hope that the rumor is just that.

This, coming from Allan Sniffen (former DJ on K104 "back in the day"), who is the creator of perhaps the greatst radio tribute site, Musicradio 77 WABC, and the moderator of the New York Radio Message Board, is reporting the following:

I'm hearing Imus will be gone after tomorrow's show. I can't be more specific than that nor can I say this is absolute fact. I can say that I *think* it's true as I'm hearing it from more than one source. When this will be officially announced is not clear.

Scott Fybush, who writes the tremendous North East Radio Watch, says that he is hearing the same thing. All I can say is that it is sad that smart media companies are allowing this to happen, but the advertisers are the ones who are speaking. Unfortunately it also gives power to those who should have no power at all. The question becomes, assuming this is all true, is what next for the I-Crew? Do they follow Opie and Anthony and head to satellite? Will some other outlet pick them up?

I'll say this - if they do go to satellite, I don't know how much more terrestrial radio I'll listen to. To me, WFAN will now be a waste of time, with only Mike and the Mad Dog of interest to me. The rest of the station is largely unlistenable. I listen to WCBS (880 AM) for traffic and weather together, but I can get that on satellite as well. As for music, I really only listen to The Peak and maybe a few other stations. All of that is accessible guessed it! Satellite.

In the meantime, the radiothon this morning was doing exceptionally well, and I suspect it will continue on pace with last year, if not surpass it. It's going on over at WFAN.

There has been so much rhetoric, and much of it has been brutal. Some, on the other hand, has been spot on. Here's Jason Whitlock's take, from the Kansas City Star.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Imus off MSNBC

MSNBC announced a few hours ago that they are ending their satellite of the Imus in the Morning program. This is due to the number of advertisers who have pulled their spots from the show, though NBC News is saying that they are upholding a certain standard.

I'm talked out about the subject.

Time To Move Along (or Off The Bench)

Back to reality, I suppose.

So A-Rod, what have you been up to lately? I'm guessing from the chorus of "boos" that you haven't been coming through in the clutch lately.

Wait...what do you mean he hit a game-winning grand slam last Saturday?

I'm sorry that My Mets won't be going 173-0, after dropping a couple in Atlanta. Still 171-2 is possible, right?

Hank Aaron has announced that he will not be playing any role in celebrating Barry Bonds passing his home run record this season. Good for him. We need more people like the Hammer.

No, not MC Hammer.

I love the NHL, but they really don't use their heads in the league office. Why would they schedule the Rangers, Islanders, and Devils to all play game one of their respective playoff series on the same night? It would be good for metro New Yorkers to be able to see these games. Oh well.

Guess the Knicks can save the "Welcome to the playoffs" speech for another season.

And hope those ping pong balls don't go well for them, because the Eddie Curry trade might then look legendarily bad.

As opposed to really bad.

Glad we all know who the father of Anna Nicole's baby is now. I'm sleeping better as a result.

After gathering all of the evidence, I've decided that Pacman Jonesis a man I want to party with.

Speaking of which, how about the Duke lacrosse players getting cleared? The prosecutor dropped all the charges.

While we wage war on this country on tedious subjects, let's get back to the world at home, with this headline that I just read: "Iran may be helping Iraqis build bombs."

Puts things back into some sort of normalcy, no?

Contributing to the Chaos

As I sit here in the Queen City of the Golden Apple, I sometimes think of Bill O’Shaughessy, the owner and on-air personality at WVOX (“vox populi”) in New Rochelle. For that, to hear my friends tell it is how Mr. O’Shaughnessy refers to “New Ro.” I’ve never met him, but have read and heard quite a but about him. Regardless, Bill O’Shaughessy, he of the ego the size of which matches the size of New Rochelle itself, was quoted in The Journal News today as saying would not have suspended Don Imus, as the firestorm continues.

"Imus misfired, there's no question about it," said O'Shaughnessy, the president and CEO of Whitney Radio, which owns WVOX (1460 AM) in New Rochelle. "But should Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton be threatening his livelihood? I don't think so."

I must admit that I initially bristled as I read the article, figuring that Mr. O’Shauhnessy, along with countless others who have lined up to criticize Imus, would take him down also. It seems that nobody has the guts to come out and say that this is a witch hunt. Those paragons of brilliance at ESPN Radio, Mike and Mike in the morning, went so far as to say that what’s great about this is society is deciding. You know, the court of public opinion.

Say what?

To be specific, it was Mike Greenberg who said this, and I’ll be the first to say that he’s just another in a long line of clowns that baffle me as to how he got his job in the first place. But there he was, and it astounded me to the point that I tried to dial into their show, to no avail. Al Shaprton, along with Jesse Jackson, and the media as a whole has been telling the court of public opinion how to react. Glad to see that they got to Mike and Mike and properly brainwashed them. Let’s ask the question to these men, and all of the other hypocrites. Did you react like this when you first heard the comments, or after the storm began to build? You know, because you were SUPPOSED to be upset by the comments, otherwise, you should be condemned as well. Because if you weren’t offended at first, then you are just feigning outrage.

Then all credibility was lost when Stuart Scott appeared with these two jokers and said that, despite his apology, that Don Imus really meant these words; they’re in his heart. Oh, thanks Stu. Glad to see you know so much about the topic. BOOYAH, you jackass.

I was gone.

Now let’s talk about the young women on the Rutgers team. I heard their press conference yesterday, and admire them for willing to meet with Imus, at an undisclosed time and location. I think that is extremely mature of them, especially after reading that one of the young girls’ mothers wouldn’t accept the apology. Clearly her daughter has more decency than she does. That’s where I wonder about a lot of this outrage, and where it’s coming from. I’ve met plenty of 17 and 18 year-old athletes in both high school and college. They don’t care the first thing about what some idiot in the media is saying about them. They care about their coaches, their teammates, their opponents, and their personal responsibilities. It’s only after their parents (or Al Shapton) or the media tell them that they should be angry that something comes of it.

It goes back to the concept of “Oh, Snap!” Maybe you remember that from the 90’s when these comedians (black, by the way) would hurl insults and end the line with “Oh, snap!” That’s where the sticks and stones, and the overwhelming sensitivity of society come in to play. Imus’s comment was idiotic (along with Bernard McGuirk, who’s getting off easy, if you ask me) but was nothing more than a street slang comment. If Chris Rock had said it? No biggie – then it’s a comedy bit by a black comedian. Once again though, let me be clear - all of this is no excuse.

Oh, and before I finish with the Rutgers team, let me just say this. The idea that they are a group of PRIVATE women is ludicrous. We know how college athletics is in 2007 – it’s a big business. The minute you hit the hardwood and your games are on ESPN and so on, you’re now public. Now they are not public to the extent that, say, Imus is, but they still have some notoriety, and a responsibility to uphold an image for Rutgers. I’m not implying that they haven’t done so. They seem to be extremely honorable women who are going to have very productive lives. Their efforts in the NCAA tournament were wonderful, and their grace in this situation is remarkable.

Everybody seems to have a dog in this fight, and I’d love to be as perfect as those who are holding Imus in contempt because they’ve clearly never said or done anything bad. Whoopi Goldberg condemned Imus before she was asked about the Ted Danson blackface thing from years ago. She ended the interview immediately. Yes, there have been sponsors dropping off, and that is their right. Bigelow tea, Staples, Proctor and Glamble. My right is to then make sure that they don’t get my business, right? And what of the guests? Already Cal Ripken Jr – who had never been on the Imus show – cancelled his appearance. I have no issue with this, but I’m also not going to make him into a hero for it. I would have had more respect for him if he had appeared on the show, and maybe one day he will, but no harm either way. Instead I’m more impressed by those who have rallied, as I suggested the other day that they should. Senator John McCain has already said he’ll be on the show. Mike Barnicle and Jeff Greenfield were on. Rudy Guiliani supports him. Bill Maher and James Carville do the same. These people all showed their willingness to forgive – another thing we seem to have forgotten how to do. There are so many other things worth getting upset about.

I can’t tell you who else has been on the show because frankly I haven’t been listening to every minute, since this topic is sickening me (yet here I am writing about it again). On the Michael Kay Show on ESPN Radio, Spike Lee appeared initially to correct some of the rhetoric being used. Part of the comments from Bernard McGuirk were lifted from Lee’s move, School Daze. Lee wanted no part of that and in the process said that the entire Imus show should be fired. He also said that it will be interesting to see who appears on the show going forward. He bet Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton would not appear.

OK, I’m going to speak s-l-o-w-l-y for you, Spike. Just last Friday, Don Imus told Donald Trump that Hillary Rodham Clinton will never…let’s repeat…never be on the Imus in the Morning Program. That’s not jive; he’s been saying that for probably 10 years or more. Mrs. Clinton said she would never go on the show after this. Listen up – Satan! You were NEVER going to be invited in the first place, even though that man played a huge role in you’re being in public office, and that is a point that you would be stupid to deny.

Again, what this proves is that most people don’t know the deal. Those who listen to the show get it. Writers like Bob Raissmann, Filip Bondy and Lisa Olson in the New York Daily News are complete hypocrites. What the hell do they know? Yet there they are, jumping on the bandwagon because they think it’s the right thing to do. God forbid any of these people have an original thought or dare to go against the masses. The Daily News, once home to great writers from Dick Young on down, has gone down. Long the paper that I read when my father got home at night, it is now the home of Mike Lupica (who also infuriates me but is a great writer), Bill Madden and not much more.

Now as for Mr. Imus himself, let me say that I’m not absolving him of any wrongdoing. Unfortunately we have learned in 2007 that there is a clear double standard. You can not just say anything anymore because people can’t handle it. We, as a society, have lost our sense of humor. Pick on anybody you want, but just don’t pick on me or my people – that’s the lesson – especially if there’s a powerful ally with the media in his back pocket. As a result, Don Imus should have (and frankly does) know better. Now he has to rebuild his image, if it is possible. That being said, he needs to shut up about it. Despite what Chris Russo said, I have no problem with his apology, which began in earnest on Friday. Russo feels that the apology should have begun immediately after the comment (which was made last Wednesday). Sometimes it’s not that easy. On Thursday, Imus said that people shouldn’t take things so seriously (obiviousle I agree with him here) but once the outrage began, he started apologizing. No problems there.

My issue with Imus is the loss of fire. Watching him nearly cry on Monday was tough enough, but listening to him continue to repeat himself on the topic, and defend his record has gotten tedious. He has become like A-Rod, not knowing when to shut up. Not knowing when to say (as he has too many times over the years), "no mas." As it has been proven, there are countless, respectable people willing to come to his defense (including right here). I wish, honestly, that the suspension had begun on Tuesday, for his own sake. A lot of the furor would have died down. I would have been OK with him coming back and doing the radiothon on Thursday and Friday, but I think his getting out of the spotlight would have been good for all parties. Instead the storm continues. Let the guests come on and smack him around a bit, then offer up their support. He doesn’t need to defend his honor. That’s where I think he has looked sad.

Oh one last thing. This issue is between Don Imus and the Rutgers women’s basketball team. Nobody else. Not the pundits, the critics, the Today show, Larry King, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, the person walking down below on Harrison Street. Not even me.

Back to Mike Lupica, and that’s how I will end this. As a friend of Imus who has sparred with him in the past, but knows the true man, I want you to read his column from today. It says many of the things that I feel as well, especially in regards to the Rutgers women, who showed immeasurable grace, and a willingness to listen and understand. Everyone should be that smart – starting with those in the media.

Monday, April 09, 2007

More: Imus Suspended

Don Imus has been suspended by both CBS Radio and MSNBC, effective Monday, April 16. I have written several things about this topic already, and had another post ready to go, but want to take a night to sleep on it because my blood is boiling so much right now that I want to be careful before I say anything foolish. I will offer that I think something is very wrong in our society and that we should all take a moment and look ourselves in the mirror. I also think MSNBC and CBS Radio capitulated to Al Sharpton out of fear, yet this man, along with Jesse Jackson, has no credibility whatsoever. One has uttered flat-out lies and the other called New York "Hymietown", yet neither had their feet held to the fire. I'm ashamed. Think twice before you listen to or watch these media outlets. Other than that, I will say no more...for now.

Sleep well, all.

Follow-up: Imus Appears on Sharpton's Radio Show

Don Imus appeared on Al Sharpton's radio show today and there was apparently nothing pleasant about it. The following comes from

In a contentious exchange, IMUS, who said "Our agenda is to be funny and sometimes we go too far. And this time we went way too far," denied SHARPTON's contention that he was getting off "unscathed" by apologizing for the comments, asking SHARPTON, "Are you crazy? How am I unscathed? Don't you think I've been humiliated?" "I'm trying to meet with these young women and the coach to ask for forgiveness," IMUS told SHARPTON.

"If I'd have been thinking, I wouldn't have said this," IMUS said of his comments, but the talk veered into a discussion of sickle cell anemia fundraising (IMUS said, "I bet I can raise a lot more money than you all can," with SHARPTON retorting that "before last WEDNESDAY you could") and several past incidents on IMUS' show.

Rep. CAROLYN CHEEKS KILPATRICK (D-MI), Chairman of the CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS, called in to voice her offense at IMUS' comments, adding "I don't know what it does to young children" to hear IMUS' comments. "We don't call it nappy hair- that's a child thing,' she said. "We call it good hair, and curly." She added that "Mr. IMUS doesn't understand the impact" of his comments, and said he and his crew "need to be fired."

KILPATRICK suggested that Congress should regulate speech on the airwaves and on MSNBC, and continued to rip IMUS for insulting women in general, leading IMUS to complain in exasperation, "I can't get anyplace with you people," drawing SHARPTON to suggest that the term "you people" meant something racist, which IMUS vehemently objected, saying that he clearly meant SHARPTON and KILPATRICK.

The part I want to stress is the last one. If you don't think Al Sharpton doesn't have a reversed racist agenda, when he feels the words "you people" are racist, then I don't know what to tell you. Oh, and nice of Al to have both sides of a story on. Make sure that Al Sharpton and Rep. Kilpatrick, both black, get to go off and beat up on the white guy. Fair and balanced, my arse.

One other thing - government should stay the hell out of broadcasting. Congress should regulate speech? What next for the government? We're heading towards being like the Soviets.

This story will continue to simmer, I'm afraid.

Stick and Stones

I’ve been called a lot of things. Fat. Stupid. Gay (or worse). Dumb. Another name for “Richard.” An a-hole. An F’ing a-hole. An idiot. Biased. Phony. A Mets fan.

And worse. I remember a teacher calling me “a little jerk” once. I’m sure I’ve been called a bad son, or a bad friend, or a bad father, or a bad husband (maybe not fair, but that’s what an opinion is). Yet for some reason, while some of it has hurt (especially the “fat” comments), I’m still breathing and generally, still surviving. It’s part of the game of life. I’ve called people things as well, because if I take it, then I can give it. My feeling has long been that life is about having a sense of humor, and without it, you’re shot.

I guess because I’m not a black basketball player, I have no right to get upset though. Why? Because we have another example of political correctness, and race relations in America running amok. Last Wednesday, on the Imus in the Morning radio program, while discussing the Rutgers women’s hoops program with producer Bernard McGuirk. the following exchange occurred:

"That's some rough girls from Rutgers," Imus said. "Man, they got tattoos..."

"Some hardcore hos," McGuirk said.

"That's some nappy-headed hos there, I'm going to tell you that," Imus said.

This was business as usual on IITM. No racism intended, just picking on whatever comes up. Yet by Thursday, Imus felt compelled to apologize, albeit informally. By Friday, he apologized again, with a written statement that he read on the program, which is carried on more than 70 radio stations, streamed on the internet, and televised live on MSNBC. That did not do enough to stave off the oncoming racial freight train, headed by…wait for it…the Rev Al Sharpton. Sharpton, along with Jesse Jackson, many in the media, and the NAACP, called for Imus’s dismissal. This morning, the entire show was dedicated to more apologizing:

"Here's what I've learned: that you can't make fun of everybody, because some people don't deserve it. And because the climate on this program has been what it's been for 30 years doesn't mean it's going to be what it's been for the next five years or whatever.

I'm not a bad person. I'm a good person, but I said a bad thing. But these young women deserve to know it was not said with malice."

Here’s what slays me: had this been said about an all-white women’s team, it would have been brushed off. Call Hilary Clinton “Satan”, and it’s no big deal. Call Oprah Winfrey “Satan” and look out, though I would offer that Mrs. Clinton has done more for the US than Ms. Winfrey. Conversely, Ms. Winfrey has done more for South Africa, but I’m getting off course here.

It’s so easy to brand a white person as a racist. It happens all the time (I pray I have never been called that, but again, it is easy to throw words around). I’ve been critical of the resignation of Jackie Robinson’s number in baseball, but does that make me a racist? It makes me honest, and a realist, and a baseball purist, and an historian but it does NOT make me a racist. I’m not going to sit here and pull the “Some of my closest friends are African-Americans” because what purpose would it make? Just as it would make no purpose to review the recent post I wrote about legendary coach Eddie Robinson, which I received some nice praise for. It’s irrelevant. I know in my heart what I am, and I think Don Imus know what he is as well.

You’ve got to know the person to understand the person, and to be able to judge them. While I don’t truly know Don Imus (having been in his presence all of twice, and I think I might have said two words to him), I’ve listened to his show for over a quarter of a century, and if there’s one thing he is not, it is a racist. When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, and the reaction to the plight of the Lower Ninth Ward was anything buy swift, it was Imus who said that it was racism (a point that I disagreed then and now with). It is Imus who has played Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech every year on the holiday that bears Dr. King’s name. It is Imus who has worked tirelessly for Sickle Cell Anemia research, and built a ranch for kids with cancer (regardless of race), and became a surrogate father to many of those children. It is Imus who screamed about the death benefits for soldiers’ families, and the deplorable conditions at VA hospitals across the country. Was he only lobbying for the Caucasian families? Hardly. He counts former congressman Harold Ford, Jr as an ally. He played the sermons of the late Bishop GE Patterson on his show. He had the Blind Boys of Alabama (a black musical group) on the show. He often played rap songs that a white guy like me had never heard. All of which, by the way, he was criticized for, by management, peers, and fans. Yet he did not waver.

To fire him or punish him for this would be beyond absurd, and it is now time for those who have supported him in the past to step up. Already, media people like Evan Thomas, Howard Fineman and Tom Oliphant have come to his defense. I suspect that we will soon hear from Tim Russert, James Carville, Mary Matalin, Jeff Greenfield, Paul Begalla, and others who will remind us all that the spirit of the show is rooted in humor – often mean-spirited, but the targets are always the same, and nobody gets shredded more than Imus himself. Many of these supporters will regard last weeks comments as a mistake, or deplorable, or whatever, but they will continue to support a man who they feel is decent and benevolent. They will speak out against the comments (lest they be branded a racist, or attached to the comments themselves). On the show, Chris Carlin will remain known as “fat”, McGuirk will be a “bald-headed Nazi”, Lou Ruffino will be a “runt” and Charles McCord will be a “four-eyed geek.” That is how it has always been in Imus-land. In comedy bits, or in the average show conversation, any one of the Imus cast would wish for demise of their leader. For instance, “Cardinal Egan” (McGuirk) will say “In the name of the father, the son, and the holy ghost. The Iman in a casket we want the most.” Unfortunately, based on this morning, I can already tell that the tone will change, because Imus did the one thing that nobody can do – make fun of a black person.

I’ve spewed about Sharpton before, and will do so again now. Has he ever apologized for being a part of a reverse-racism prank on all of us in 1987 with the Tawana Brawley episode? He defended that hoax, and was part of trying to ruin the reputations of many honorable people. Yet that’s OK. Instead that propelled him to fame beyond his wildest dreams. I don’t want to dislike or distrust Reverend Sharpton, and should follow the lead of Imus, who does like him, and speaks very highly of him, including this morning. I have a feeling I might like the man if I ever had a chance to grab a cup of coffee with him, and I shouldn't judge him because I don't know him, so perhaps I'm not being fair. Yet I just see no good whenever Reverend Sharpton appears somewhere.

Today, Don Imus will appear on his Al Sharpton’s radio program (more like his propaganda show) and will be contrite, but to his credit, I suspect he will also do as he did on his show this morning: remind people that he has done a lot of good (and will continue to do so this week, when he hosts his annual multi-million dollar radiothon). There is talk that Sharpton will then come on the Imus show tomorrow, and that the Rutgers women will talk to him down the road. All OK, I guess, but I found it strange and disheartening to listen to Imus nearly cry for fifteen minutes this morning as he apologized again, and I suppose it will continue that way for a while, as the furor dies down. I can tell that the show will change quite definitively. It will no longer be OK to make fun of everyone. There have been a few serious changes over the years on Imusin the Morning. The first was the move in the late 80's away from playing music to talk. The second, while subtle, was when Imus married Deirdre Coleman. The tone of the show changed signficantly. Now with this, there will be an almost-nervous attempt to soldier on. What does that say to those who have been loyal for all of these years. In my mind, I only think Don Imus should apologize for upsetting those who are politically correct and overly sensitive. Unfortunately we live in a time when everyone (present company often included) is too sensitive and uptight.

Lastly, and they’re always the easiest targets, but the media has nothing to be proud of. As usual, they’ve hopped on the liberal bandwagon. They love fanning the flames of an issue like this, and they’re practically orgasmic about this one. A chance to curry favor with Reverend Al, keep propagating the idea of racism in America, and heave some hate on a so-called “shock jock?” Well count us in! As you read, listen, or watch their work in these upcoming days, consider whether or not they have truly ever listened to Don Imus. I guarantee you that they have not. And ask them if they would have gotten this bent out of shape had the comments been made about a white team in, say, Montana or Wyoming.

Once again, we have learned that literally every word spoken theses days must be measured, as our society keeps heading toward hell in a handbag. I return to the things that my parents taught me as insults and teasing comments were thrown at me, and like a religious chant, we should all say them now:

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”

Maybe not, but the whole thing makes me sick.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Passing of a Legend

Eddie Robinson isn’t a name that many people know. Among sports fans, Robinson’s name is not a household word, despite the fact that he was the head football coach at Grambling State University for 57 years and was, at the time of his retirement in 1997, the winningest head coach in the history of college football.

People should know who Eddie Robinson was. I submit that he might have been the most important African American in sports. And by that, I mean more so than another Robinson – Jackie. For it was Eddie Robinson who was there first, built a program frfom the very dirt up, and did so was grace and class.

Robinson died late Tuesday night in Louisiana at the age of 88. He had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for almost a decade.

As the tributes begin to pour in, you see the scope of this man’s accomplishments: 408 wins, over 200 players made the NFL, largely trouble-free career (until the end, which was admittedly ugly). He coached the man who would become his successor and the first African American to win a Super Bowl at the quarterback position, Doug Williams. He coached multiple NFL hall of fame legends. And again, he did so in a way that was not flashy. He was just a humble leader.

Consider when he took over as the head coach at the school, it was known as the Louisiana Negro Normal and Industrial Institute. Can you imagine that? Thankfully the name would change to Grambling State University. In the early years, Coach Robinson would do it all himself. Put the lines on the field. Make sandwiches for his players, who could not eat in “white only” restaurants in the South. If a player got banged up, there was no trainer to come to the rescue. It was all up to the coach.

Here’s some more for you to ponder. Robinson came from an uneducated house. His parents didn’t finish high school, and his father worked as a cotton sharecropper. It was everything that speaks of a stereotype, but Robinson’s parents wanted more. They encouraged young Eddie to get his education, which he did, at Leland College. As a quarterback there, Robinson began studying to be a coach. He would take over the eventual Grambling program in 1941.

I discovered a quote while reading up on Coach Robinson today, and it speaks volumes about him, and the way he dealt with the obvious inequalities that our world works to overcome:

"The best way to enjoy life in America is to first be an American, and I don't think you have to be white to do so. Blacks have had a hard time, but not many Americans haven't."

There was more:

"The framers of this Constitution, now they did some things. "If you aren't lazy, they fixed it for you. You've got to understand the system. It's just like in football, if you don't understand the system, you haven't got a chance."

Pretty eloquent, eh? No feeling sorry for anybody. Just accepting that things are wrong, and we need to do things about it.

How about this great story, courtesy of Marty Mulè in the New Orleans Times-Picayune : In 1945 the father of two Tigers, (“Our best running backs,” Robinson recalled,) pulled his sons off the team, explaining he needed them to pick cotton. “So I got all the boys on the team, we packed up and we went out there and picked the cotton.”

As their popularity grew, Robinson would take the Tigers on the road, placing them in the country’s biggest stadiums. Grambling would visit the LA Coliseum, the Astrodome, Tokyo and Yankee Stadium. I can remember Grambling making an annual New York-area appearance for a long time. Of course to many, our only real exposure to Grambling occurred every year when the Bayou Classic is shown on TV, pitting the Tigers against Southern University at the Louisiana Superdome. The game would be as famous for the performance of the two schools awesome marching bands at halftime as it would be for the game itself.

Initially, Robinson’s team was not successful, winning just three games in 1941. In his second year, the Tigers went 9-0 and did not allow a point. That’s right. Zero points against.

Championships and more football acclaim would follow, but Robinson would not go out gracefully. His players would graduate, and become great men themselves. But as the 1990’s moved along, Grambling would hit the skids. The team would have consecutive losing seasons, and off the field problems would include an NCAA investigation into recruiting violations, and rape charges against four players. Many called for Robinson’s dismissal. He was given one more season, when even the governor of Louisiana intervened, asking for a chance to let Coach Robinson depart gracefully. It was not a happy ending as the Tigers won just three games, just like they did in 1941.

Don’t let these missteps dim your view of this man. Eddie Robinson did it right, but perhaps because he was a modest man, didn’t get the total acclaim that he was worthy of. In fact his passing isn’t even the top story on many sportscasts today. Even I would admit that it should be reported before mentioning the Yankees being rained out against the Devil Rays. The impact that Eddie Robinson had on blacks, on the South, on football, and on America and the world should not be minimized. He should be celebrated, and discussed with the great people of the 20th century.

I thought you should know.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I Am Not Worthy

Effective today, I will be moving downstairs to live with Fred (the always escaping cat), if he'll have me. This is because The Wife demonstrated her prowess by winning the March Madness pool that we both entered at her job. I am tremendously proud of her for doing this (and with no help from me, by the way) but this now proves that I know nothing about sports, and as such, am no longer worthy of occupying the same bedroom. I bow to her greatness.

OK, except for the part about being really happy for her winning, I'm kidding.

What this proves is why March Madness, and the accompanying bracketology is one of the truly best things about sports. Throw 64 teams (not counting the play-in game) and see what comes out. Some years we see upsets galore. I got burned trying to pick those upsets. Pick according to the better seeds, uniform colors, places you've been, and schools that you like, and you too might win. That, according to the newly-named genius of the hoops, was her MO.

In the meantime, I really didn't want to write this, because when it has come to the major events of 2007 (along with a lot of other stuff), I've been a "Gloomy Gus." The college football National Championship? Awful. The Super Bowl? Stinker. The Grammy's? Boring. The Oscars? Lame. And now we have the men's basketball National Championship.

I can't say anything nice about it, either.

It was dreadful. In fact, I skipped a large chunk of each half because there was nothing to pull me in. Thanks to Direct TV for giving us a preview of their "MLB Extra Innings" package, I watched a lot of the opener between the Angels and Rangers. And I glanced at "Deal or No Deal." I think I might have stared off into space, and listened to The Wife tell me about her day at work at other times.

Anyway, seriously, congrats to The Wife. I think it's pretty cool. If she could spare a few bucks for me, that would be great. Fred and I will need to eat in the basement, and he doesn't like to share his cat food.

EDITOR’S NOTE – Personal rant warning!

OK, changing subjects. I am once again trying to lose weight, and have begun a vicious effort to find a new career/job/happiness. I won't reveal the numbers, but I have some weight goals in mind. I've been diligent about doing a small workout every day, and getting some walking in. It's not much, but it's a start. What I was reminded of was that, besides being a total wreck, I couldn't rely on anybody, even if only for moral support. Yes a few people reached out to me, and their efforts were appreciated, but I have to do this myself. The reality was that I wasn’t doing enough to find a job. I wasn’t really digging deep. I also wasn’t doing anything to help my health. I've heard one too many fat jokes made about me (Ricky Fritsch knows where I'm going here) and even had a crack made about my weight at my father in-law's birthday party a few weeks back. I can’t dwell on these and other hurtful comments because they will consume me. That does me no good at all.

OK, I get it. I have a weight problem. I don't think it's necessarily fair to call me "fat" but yes, I need to be concerned. Family history is all that you need to know. That is not to say that I will stay this motivated - maybe that's where the encouraging words of friends and loved ones would be nice - but I like the fact that I feel refreshed and a little more confident. Even though I've maybe lost a pound since I've started this, I like what I see a little better, because there’s a fire in my eyes again. The weekend was so good for me in that I did all kinds of things around the house, including helping to install our garage door opener. Even when I didn’t want to work out, or my muscles were hurting too much, I still did it. No pats on the back for me yet. There’s a long way to go. Roughly 20 resumes have gone flying from my keyboard as well, so there's hope.

I realized that although I’m no monster, I was not the best person that I could be. At times I was harsh and very judgmental. I wasn’t being fair. My temper was worse than ever. I was (am) paranoid, uptight, blah blah blah (not to be confused with Joanne’s Blah Blah Blog). I wasn’t using my head – you know, that thing three feet above my arse. It was, in fact, stuck up my arse. I can tell you where a lot of this came from, but why bother? Time to just move on, and learn from the mistakes. Beating myself up isn’t going to help. I know I can only help myself. The bottom line is that, while I was the throws of these issues, I was hurting the people I love and care for the most. I only hope I haven't done irreparable damage.

Incidentally, all of this is nice, but I think I need to prove it to all of you, and myself. As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words.

Monday, April 02, 2007


It wasn't pretty, to say the very least, but the Yankees got off to a good start in 2007, defeating the Devil Rays at Yankee Stadium, 9-5. Carl Pavano was OK on the mound, but has a long way to go. In fact, other than Mariano Rivera, not a single pitcher impressed me on either team. Defensively the Bombers were embarrassing, committing three ugly errors - one for Alex Rodrgiuez, Derek Jeter and Josh Phelps.

The game was an emotional roller coaster from the get-go, as the Yankees were introduced to thunderous applause from the portion of the 55,000 plus on hand. For the record, Pavano and A-Rod received polite applause, including a big cheer for the much-maligned A-Rod. But to no surprise, the biggest ovations were reserved for the usual cast of characters: Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Don Mattingly, Joe Torre and Derek Jeter. Cory Lidle's widow and son threw out the first pitches. That, by the way, was botched by YES, as they apparently took their instructions from the ding-dongs at FOX. Yes was in commercial when the first pitch happened.

For me, the highlight (other than the win) came in the third inning when, to my surprise, Bobby Ray Murcer visited the booth. I did not think that Murcer, still recovering from brain cancer, would be able to make it to New York for the home opener. Looking sharp in a suit and tie, Murcer spent two innings laughing with Michael Kay, Ken Singleton and Joe Girardi. Murcer showed off a completely bald head, and was in good spirits. Girardi called Murcer "one of my idols growing up" when he was on the Cubs. Coincidentally or otherwise, when Girardi was with the Cubs, he wore number seven. Bobby Murcer wore number seven in Chicago, where he played from 1977 to 1979.

Rodriguez, as mentioned, served as his usual lightning rod. In the first, he completely overran a foul pop up, giving him the aforementioned error. In his first at bat, he struck out, allowing the boo birds to rear their ugly heads. Rodriguez would put the cherry on the afternoon though when he hit a long home run in the bottom of the eighth.

The bottom line is that the Yankees got the win, but there were lots of things to be troubled by. The teams play the second of three on Wednesday at one.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Opening Day. It should be it’s own national holiday. And yes, I mean THE Opening Day. Not of trout season, or the Congressional session, or of the newest “Survivor”, but Opening Day of baseball season. Now don’t get me wrong. They played a game last night in St. Louis, and the Mets (MY Mets) beat the defending World Champion St. Louis Cardinals, 6-1. Nine more wins to 300 for Tom Glavine. But the point is (sorry, ESPN) that it is opening DAY, not opening NIGHT. For the record, I didn’t even like it when the Yankees opened at night a few years back against the Red Sox.

Opening Day used to mean a certain thing. It meant a parade in Cincinnati, home of the first professional baseball team. Cincinnati always got the season going, with a noon start before the rest of the games got underway an hour later. Until Bud Selig and ESPN got their grimy paws on it. I like Mr. Selig because he is an historian, but sometimes he has taken the beauty of tradition and promptly urinated on it with somebody’s dollars.

So here we are, looking at the real thing. In the Bronx, the bunting will be hanging and the pinstripes will be freshly pressed. They’ll stop wearing those god-awful hats from spring training and put on the classic, can’t-nobody-top-it navy hat with the white interlocking NY. The grass will look fantastic, and I’m sure there will be a fresh coat of paint somewhere on the big ballpark, now entering it’s (SOB) second-to-last season. I will be there on Friday, with The Son in tow. Mick and the gang (and some new faces) will join us in Section 5.

Incidentally, since I’ve mentioned the Yankees hat, I must query: what the hell was going on with the Mets helmets last night? Royal blue fading into black? Must we revisit the Colin Cowherd rant again? With that said, let us have a look-see at the predictions for 2007!

We’ll start in the National League East, where it will be all Mets, all the time. The kings of Queens will roll to a second-straight National League East title, especially after the D-train (known as Dontrelle Willis) arrives at Shea. The Phillies will come in second, and contend for the wild card, while the Braves, Marlins and the awful Nationals round out the division.

In the NL Central, there are two reasons I give the Cubs the edge over the Cardinals: first – it is very hard to repeat. And where are the Cards going to get the pitching from. Chris Carpenter hardly looked good last night. Second, Lou Piniella is a very good manager, and I suspect he will get the most out of the north siders. The Brewers will contend and could even be an upset special. I’ll give the Astros a punchers chance, and Pirates and Reds will round things out. This is not a pleasant division.

To the NL West, where I think the Padres have just enough to knock out the Dodgers. If Barry Zito can live up to his money and Barry Bonds is able to mask the juice, the Giants will be third, followed by Randy and the D-backs, and the Rockies. Apparently they’re still scheduled to play baseball in Denver.

In The American League East – surprise! – the Red Sox will win the division for the first time since 1995. Dice-K seems to be the real deal. My only question is how will he get through the dog days? The Japanese season is so much shorter than the US. The Yankees should get the wild card, but I just have too many questions about their pitching. Injuries and age will be a factor – just look at the start of the season for Chien Ming Wang and Andy Pettitte. Oh, and Carl Pavano gets the ball today? Puh-leeze! The Blue Jays will finish third, followed by the Orioles and Devil Rays.

In the AL Central, we see baseball’s new best division. I was picking the Tigers until Kenny Rogers went down for four months. So now I think we could see playoff baseball in two spots in Chicago. The White Sox will win, setting up both New York and Chicago teams as post-season participants. The Tigers will finish second, followed by the Twins, Indians and Royals.

In the West, the Angels are clearly the best team. The A’s will be OK, but not good enough. The Rangers and Mariners round out the division.

In the post-season, the Yankees will meet the White Sox, and I have no faith in them getting past the first round again. The White Sox will win, and Joe Torre and Alex Rodriguez will be those heading out of New York in the aftermath. The Red Sox will finish off the Angles. The Sox will then win the American League. Wait, you say! Which Sox? The Red ones.

Back to the NL, where the Phillies will get the wild card, and beat the Padres in the playoffs, while the Mets will beat the Cubs. The Mets will then beat the Phillies, en route to the World Series.

Let’s party like it’s 1986 all over again! The Red Sox and Mets will play for the title. Everybody Wang Chung tonight! And just like in ‘86, the Mets will win, as a ball will trickle under David Ortiz’s glove at first. Big Papi will be forced to play the field at Shea, thanks to the lack of a DH.

So there you have it. In fact, with last night’s win by the Metropolitans, I boldly predict two things. First – the Mets will go 173-0 (that’s 162 wins in the regular season, plus the 11 post-season games), and will wear 173 different uniforms – all of which are on sale at Mets shop near you!

Then again, I could be wrong.

Let’s get away from major league ball for a moment. I am proud to say that The Son will make his T-ball debut this week. Our first practice (since I’m the assistant coach) will be tomorrow, and our first game is this Saturday at Noon. The Son is not happy about it, but he was drafted by the Giants. Personally I’m fine with it, but he wanted to be a Yankee. Fortunately, nobody in the Carmel Sports Association Teeball Division can be a Yankee, or a Met, or a Red Sock. They don’t exist!

Also this week, my friend, coach Mike Mora, and the Greenwich High School Cardinals will start the 2007 season against the Norwalk Bears. I will try to get to some games, but will be playing a special role for the team, as I am their official statistician, after missing last year. It’s a lot of fun for me, so I’m looking forward to it.

Lastly, I just noticed that legendary Twins broadcaster Herb Carneal died yesterday at the age of 83. Mr. Carneal died of congestive heart failure. In one form or another, Carneal broadcast Twins fames for 45 years, and was scheduled to have limited duty again in 2007. He won the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award, which recognizes broadcasting excellence, in 1996. As I note Mr. Carneal’s passing, I’m glad to note that the great Mr. Scully continues his magic in Los Angeles. Vin Scully will begin his, gulp!, 58th season as the true voice of the Dodgers. The point is that there aren’t too many of the great giants of old-time play-by-play left. We must enjoy them while we still have them. Time to pull up a chair and check them out!

Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to say those two most important and happiest of words: PLAY BALL!!