Thursday, January 31, 2008

Off The Bench

I was checking out Neil Best's Watchdog this morning and read a couple of things that had me scratching my head. First...
SNY is excited about a more modest bit of news: the inaugural SNY Invitational, a high school basketball event that debuts Friday and Saturday at NYU and features four city basketball teams: Lincoln, Cardozo, Kennedy and Frederick Douglass.

Gary Cohen will handle the play by play alongside analyst John Celestand and with sideline reporter Kevin Burkhardt. The production team is headed by producer Gregg Picker and director Bill Webb, who work the station's Mets telecasts.

The event plans to add a Long Island team in '09.
Now it's groovy and all that they're doing this, but I sort of hate to see the big dogs get involved in high school stuff, since it can often lead to an overglorification of it and brings a seedy side to the forefront. I think we do a pretty passable job on WGCH (Radio, of course, not TV) without everyone going for their best dunk. And with that said, would it be possible for Gary Cohen (or any other top-notch broadcaster) to maybe give a little guy a chance to call a game like this? There must be some Lawn Guyland broadcasters who would like their moment.

Neil also had this nugget about SNY:
I'm hearing SNY is planning some sort of new show (and/or shows) that likely will feature Joe Benigno, Scott Ferrall and Chris Carlin, who have become regular personalities on the station.
OK, bad enough. Then it got worse:
I should add the name Adam Schein to the list of guys I mentioned yesterday as likely to have a role in whatever new show(s) SNY is planning. (The others are Chris Carlin, Scott Ferrall and Joe Benigno.)
Ferrall is barely tolerable, bordering on annoying, and I've softened somewhat on Carlin, thanks to his work with Kim Jones, but Benigno and Schein? How about that stooge Evan Roberts? It's amazing to me how these people get work.

I guess they're just making it easier for me to not turn SNY on.

UniWatch reminded me of a really interesting site - full of pictures of ballplayers from the 60's and 70's (including one Mr. Bobby Ray Murcer). I'd post a sample here, but the site seems a little paranoid about people probably trying to sell the pics as their own, so a lot of the pictures are watermarked. Go see for yourself. You will be reminded of some of the dreadful-yet lovable looks (like the mid-70's White Sox uniforms). You'll also see that baseball had trouble putting fannies in the seats. Chris Russo is always happy to harp on the Yankees troubles drawing during that time, but I see pictures of DODGERS STADIUM that look virtually empty. Facts are such painful things.

Oh, and the magnificent Murcer is photographed with each of his teams (Yankees, Giants, and Cubs). There's a picture of him as a Cub where it looks like he had easten a sour lemon - proof of how miserable he was away from the Yankees.

Oh, speaking of idiotic debates, I nearly lost it on the subject of great quarterbacks. Kenn Tomasch was discussing if Terry Bradshaw was overrated as a player ( and did a very detailed job of defending the Blonde Bomber. I thanked him for doing so, but got in trouble when I dared to not worship the great Lord Joseph Montana the 49er of San Francisco. From there, Kenn (who is a master debater and has a great wit) seemed to lose all focus, getting hung up on my mentioning of Otto Graham. When I think a debate like that might turn sour, I cash my chips, even if I know I have more facts to back my point. He felt I "dissed" Lord Joe by calling him a system quarterback. I just said that he was part of a system - that's all. I didn't diss him as a system QB. He was part of why the system was great, but Bradshaw, Dan Marino, Johnny Unitas, and a lot of others would have had great success in that same system. I also praised LJM the 49er of SF (eventually).

He also failed to see the point that Graham and the Browns joined the NFL and won the title in their first year in the league. Whatever. He's fun to get fired up. He borders on nasty at those moments.

I met Allan Houston (the former Knick, for those who might not know) yesterday at a luncheon in Greenwich. We see so much bad in our athletes these days, especially in the NBA (quite frankly). He was classy, gracious, and a pleasure to listen to and speak with. He even gave me a business card, and I'm hopeful I can count on speaking with him again in the future. In other words, he was everything that I always thought he would be.

A couple of radio things are in my mind as we close today. First, the 106.3 FM frequency from Mount Kisco has switched from being a simulcast of Poughkeepsie's 101.5 (classic rock) to that of White Plains' 103.9 (soft rock). One word - boring. Is it that hard to put some new concepts on the radio? It might open up some jobs to people, and give listeners another outlet for news, music, sports, talk, or whatever.

The other radio note is that I've heard (and it's no secret) that K-Rock (92.3 FM) is in trouble of switching formats. The hot rumor is that it might go country. I don't know how well country music will play in New York but it can't be worse than what's on 92.3 at this point. This new K-Rock has done nothing to expand the horizons of alt-rock; instead they play lame popular alt-rock stuff (I'm not naming names). That's why I continue to say that the only local music station that seems to think "outside the box" is The Peak (at 107.1). I have my criticisms of them (they've effectively ruined reggae for me, and there's that whole Caroline Corley/Rolling Stones thing) but they're otherwise the only music station that gets any significant amount of listening time from me.

Oh - Johan Santana+Mets=good move. It does not, however, mean the Mets are now the runaway favorite in the National League. I do think that the Yankees and Red Sox did right thing by not giving up their future (and break the bank) for Santana. I also think the Mets made a great deal - one that they HAD to make.

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