Friday, May 04, 2007

Off The Bench (The TGIF Edition)

Back with hopefully more sunny, witty, and insightful thoughts.

Then I realized that it was me typing this and smacked myself in the face.

So Boomer Esiason’s post-Imus week is over, and I’ll say it: he was good. So was Monica Crowley. I don’t know if I could take a daily diet of that, but it wasn’t what I thought it would be. Next week it’s the McEnroe brother – John and Patrick. I’ll give a listen on Monday.

Neil Best writes in today’s Metsday…ooops, that’s Newsday, that another native New Yorker’s name has surfaced as a possible I-replacement: Bob Costas. Oh the irony of the person who the I-man himself called “that little shrimp” taking his place.

Let me put it this way: not…happening.

Costas is a media-savvy person, but he is not the slightest bit interested (in my opinion), nor do I think he’s got the bite to hold morning drive.

In the same column, Best talks about the failures of WFAN and how 1050-ESPN is gaining in the ratings. That’s because WFAN is now the home of Mike and the Mad Dog and nothing else. Steve Somers is still entertaining but the rest of their stuff is pitiful. Let’s start with the sports broadcasts that they’re offering. The Devils? The Nets? Oooh, rating bonanzas there! The do have the Mets and Giants, so that’s something, but you can’t call yourself “New York’s Sports Leader” when the Yankees, Knicks, Rangers, Jets, St. John’s basketball and even the Islanders are on other stations, particularly when the MSG teams are on 1050.

Then there are the show hosts. Obviously they lost huge with the end of Imus, but besides M&MD, what is there? I’ve made it very clear that I am not a fan of Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts (aka the Mets twins). Roberts is basically a smug punk and Benigno is…annoying (easy, Rob, I can feel the blood pressure rising). Tony Paige is…um…I have nothing nice to say, so I won’t. These guys have almost made Chris Carlin seem acceptable, or made me pine for Russ Salzberg. Jeez, Anne Liquori would be nice to have back.

"The Mary Anne Show" would be better than any of this stuff, and she doesn't know the first thing about sports.

You know things are bad when you’re willing to listen to StevenASmiffinthehouse. He, if you don’t know, is over on 1050, as is Michael Kay, who I find even more unctuous on the radio then he is on YES. Then there are the two buffoons in the morning (Mike and Mike), and I’m telling you, I’ll listen to Opie and Anthony before I’ll take that in.

This is what iPods are great for.

So what does the FAN do? Hire me? Please, let’s be real. First of all, I’m a Yankees guy, and other than Mike Francesa, they don’t tolerate that there. I’d actually be willing to go rip-city on the Mets, and no, that wouldn’t be acceptable either. Only Francesa and Mark Malusis can do that. Malusis by the way, could use more airtime, and there are others (like Kevin Burkhart). How about plucking somebody fresh and new? I always thought my friend and once-WGCH colleague Dave Rothenberg would be good, because he was like another Francesa to me though he would HATE me for saying that). Dave is super-knowledgeable, and I have no idea how he ever found a woman to marry him, because he was all about sports. He is also super-opinionated. In other words, he’d be great.

Despite what Neil Best is saying, the FANnies can’t be that worried. There’s still a pretty wide chasm. For now.

Oh, since we're talking about newspapers, I actually emailed a columnist a week or so ago (I never do that). I read Bob Raissman's stuff all the time and he has a decided bias against a bunch of people in the business - most notably Mike and the Mad Dog and John Sterling. In a recent column, B-Raze (since he has pithy little nicknames for everybody else) complimented Atlanta broadcaster Skip Caray (ugh!) for his ripping of a stadium lackey for the way they were running the scoreboard, sounds, etc. After years of reading the bald-yet-mustachioed one's drivel, I figured it was time to say hello. I told him that I read his stuff, and know that he is the master of all things PC but that he's also a huge hypocrite with some mighty bias. John Sterling has been saying the same things as Skip Caray for years. Shockingly Mr. Raissman didn't respond.

See, here's the things about Sterling. I know he's not Vin Scully. I know he's not a great baseball announcer. I do think he's entertaining and that's fine. Harry Caray was entertaining, so was Howard Cosell. I'm a critic of John Sterling, but after a while, I just get so tired of the Sterling-bashing that I've begun to defend the guy. If everyone could just LAUGH at Sterling (ala M&MD) then we'd all be happier.

The Kentucky Derby is tomorrow, and I have to admit that I’m no good at analyzing horse racing. I’m content to be near a TV (or even a radio) around post time, and watch them run. Then I’m back to whatever I was doing. It’s fascinating but I don’t put that much effort into it. That being said, my friend Sean Kilkelly (another guy who would be FAN-ariffic) knows a bundle about the ponies. When we did our talk shows together, he would often get a horse racing guest on, and I would just sit back and listen. I’m not putting any pressure on him, but don’t be surprised if you pop over to his blog and he has the Derby all analyzed.

Oh, and he’ll probably be drinking a Mint Julep with the Queen. She’ll be there tomorrow.

If you care, the Golden State Warriors pulled off a major upset, shutting down the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks. Great. Mark Cuban is still in the middle of meltdown.

Leave it to George to send off a missive and have the Yankees respond. It was either that or the firing of the strength coach.


Allow me to point out some blogs that are worth reading. They mock all kinds of things and it’s good stuff. I frankly don’t know what they do with their lives. Anyway, check these out:

Awful Announcing – related to sports announcing (hope my name never shows up here).
Deadspin – the Mother of all sports blogs (most sports fans have heard of it, but I'm here to educate)
The London Underground Tube Diary – since The Wife and I are such anglophiles.

There there are what I like to call the great name blogs:
Kissing Suzy Kolber - so named because of the infamous Joe Namath interview with ESPN's Suzy Kolber, in which Broadway Joe was so knackered that he kept asking for a smooch.
With Leather - this one also has an ESPN ring to, but is a little harder to explain. Allow Wikipedia to do so here. This one has the same kind of origins as another current popular underground phrase, "more cowbell."

All of these phrases have a little age on them but better late than never. I think they're all funny.

There are countless other blogs out there worth reading (of which I hope you count this as one) and I'm always interested to learn about others.

See, I've set you up with lots of reading, and listening.

From the idiot department, Stuart Scott (stop laughing people!) defends Pacman Jones and wrappers who use the term “ho” but thinks Don Imus is a racist. Gotta love it.

Normally, I hate prank calls. The ones that Scott and Todd did back in the 90’s (and are still doing on WPLJ) were beyond irritating. But this cracked me up. It’s a couple of Howard Stern cronies, who call this public access show in New York hosted by Jonah Falcon, who apparently, has, um, a big bat. See his Wikipedia entry for more. Whatever, listening to him get riled up is good stuff. (PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE IS QUESTIONABLE LANGUAGE AND CONCEPTS IN THESE LINKS. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED)

Go here, here, here, and here.

I'm way off course here now, so I'll stop...then come back for more.

Today's post needed more cowbell. Oh well, you're with me, Leather.

See, you're beginning to understand.

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