Friday, February 27, 2009

Thanks, Yanks

As you may or may not know, I was a Yankees' partial season ticket holder for 11 years. I wrote my farewells to the old House and the friends who sat with me here and here, but I thought I was only saying goodbye to the building. Now it seems I'm not going to be with my friends anymore and, alas, I might not even go to the new Stadium.

At least not with my own seat account.

I almost declined my seat package last year, but Cousin Kris stepped up big time and saved me. Now I'm just another in the long line of disgruntled Yankees' fans/ticket holders. After all those years of Section Five/Row G/Seats Four and Five, beginning at $13 per game and ending at $26, things have changed.

I got my invoice last week after months of waiting. The result? Seats in Section 205/Row 20, Seats 22-23. That means we're on the aisle, 20 rows from the field. OK so far. We're even under the overhang. That's good. But it also means we're out in right field (Section Five was to the first base side of home plate). All of this would be acceptable except...for...one...thing.

The tickets are $50 each.

From $13 in 1998 to $26 last year - all in Section Five, to $50 this year in a bad economy to sit in right field? No thanks.

I've declined the offer and have gone back into the pool. As for the rest of our crew, Kelly and Ken wound up closer to our original seats; Mick and Chris are in the bleachers. Everyone except Mick and I have accepted their offer. Funny thing is, I'd sit in the bleachers as opposed to paying $50. I could do that for a year. Why not?

At this moment, I could be content meeting my friends on Friday's for pizza/wings/frosties at somebody's house and watch the game there. I could also be content maybe going to Renegades or Bluefish games.

The Yankees, MY Yankees, have priced me out, and pushed me away. Are they testing my loyalty?

Don't weep for me though. Kris has already offered to let me go with him to some games (he has another package) so I'll get to see The House That Greed Built and judge for myself if this thing is worth it. Yet with OBSTRUCTED VIEWS (how the heck is that possible?) behind girders and to the side of a restaurant, how is this any better than the magnificent old building alongside? Tell Lonn Trost and Randy Levine "thanks" on behalf of all of us, OK?

Onto to the links:
First, semi-Stadium related from PeteAbe. A patch on the back of the hat? I can hear Yogurt from "Spaceballs" now: "MERCHandising!" Get it, I do not.

From Neil Best, thoughts on an interview with Lonn Trost. Incidentally, Newsday will likely go to charging for their web content. Of course, they're owned by Cablevision who charges for content on their News 12 wesbsite to non-subscribers.

More from Neil on his blog, with further links (provided Newsday isn't charging yet).

Probably the best, and most scathing commentary, from Jay Jaffe at Baesball Prospecus.

River Ave. Blues offers their thoughts and more links.

Jeez, This is Not Good

Greenwich beat Brien McMahon in boy's basketball the other night, 62-39. The win clinched the Cardinals' standing in the FCIAC playoffs; so congratulations to coach Bill Brehm and company. They play Stamford tomorrow in the tournament.

So what's the "not good" part, Rob?

From my friend Paul Silverfarb, the Sports Editor at the Greenwich Post:
...there was still some nerve-racking moments after the game, as shots were fired outside of the high school in Norwalk.

According to the initial police report, officers were called to the front of Brien McMahon High School at 8:28 p.m. when witnesses said they heard gunfire. A 19-year-old Hartford teenager, who was with a cousin from Norwalk, was shot in the upper right thigh. Officers said the boy was taken to the restroom after the incident where police saw the wound on his leg. No one else was injured in the shooting.
Scary stuff there, but don't let it serve to make you fearful of attending a game at McMahon or anywhere else. That would be silly, as I have broadcast games from there for years. I've never felt threatened at any game and security officials do everything to make sure we're all safe.

Don't make any more of it than that.

The Random Album Generator

Facebook has some really cool things come across from time to time. The latest is the random album cover generator. The world-famous "Jon from Richmond, VA, USA" passed this onto me, and my first thought was, "Wait...he MADE albums. Maybe this would be for his solo album or spinoff band!" Anyway, the rules are simple:

1 - Go to "wikipedia." Hit “random... Read More”
or click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - Go to "Random quotations"
or click http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3
The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

3 - Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”
or click http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days
Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 - Use photoshop or similar to put it all together.

I would recommend being somewhat selective. I don't remember the specifics but my first try seemed just wrong (or inappropriate).

As for my final result, I like the picture (and wish I had made note of the photographer to give proper credit...my bad, and I apologize). Otherwise, I hate it for a band since it looks like I just made an album cover for a Kenny G tribute.



Then again, I opined that the music was really Hip Hip. Or thrash metal. Or maybe a lame current "alternative" band (I sense a rant coming...I'll stop).

Monday, February 23, 2009

Renney Out As Rangers Coach

This broke about a half-hour ago - Tom Renney has been fired as coach of the New York Rangers.

A successor has not been named but the buzz is that John Tortorella will get the job. "Torts" won a Cup with the Lightning in 2003-04.

For what it's worth (and it's worth nothing), Tortorella's Wikipedia page has already named him as Rangers coach.

Is Tortorella the right guy? Who would you want? There are some interesting names to be had, but Tortorella intrigues me. We'll see.

I don't know if he actually will, be keep an eye on Sean "Rangers in Seven" Kilkelly for more on this. I sure wish he would update more.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

My First Road Meet

I've told you several times that I accept my love of America's roads, and my interest in taking pictures of signs as being unique. I've also long said that I'll accept your interesting hobbies if you'll accept mine.

In other words, I'll see your Magic the Gathering and raise you an Interstate 95.

Finally, after years of saying that I wanted to attend a meeting of fellow "road enthusiasts" I made it to my first road meet yesterday. It was an easy trip to me - essentially NY 52 to Ludingtonville Road to Interstate 84 to US 6 in Milford, PA. That's it - four basic moves, 76 miles, and just under one hour of driving. I soon stood in the parking lot of the Apple Valley Restaurant meeting my new friends for the first time. That's what it felt like - a very accepting group of men (and one child) all there to talk about roads, work, things, whatever.

It was a perfect driving day. Sunny an chilly, with wide open roads and good tunes.

A quick note about the restaurant. Wonderful. That will do. Basic Americana, with a large variety. I'll go back.

We settled into five cars after lunch for our trip that would stretch as far as Narrowsburg, New York. I would ride with Bob and his son Peter (soon to be eight, which made me think that a certain little boy might one day join me). Our first stop (after a false start in Matamoras, Pa) was at the Tri-States Monument. This is familiar territory, and the last time I was there, a few things were different. All hell broke loose just after. That day, Sean stood on the top of the monument (in which, theoretically, you're in all three states, but that's really honorary). This time, I did the honors.

Word is the real tri-state border is in the Delaware River. Whatever. Works for me.

Next up was the drive from Port Jervis up NY 97 (and it's unnecessary concurrency with NY 42) through the gorgeous Hawks Nest area to Pond Eddy. This is a town that consists of an abandoned motel, restaurant, and not much else. Except for a one-lane bridge to Pond Eddy, Pennsylvania.

So what, you say? Well to a road enthusiast, it's cool to walk a bridge that serves as the only way in and out of a town. What sits across the water are dead end streets. Plus I read that the powers-that-be would like to replace the bridge.

Adam Moss served as our leader/tour guide. As such, he set the agenda. Truth is, I had just driven all of this back in December when I did New York route 52 from end to end. Still I hadn't done it with these people, and not to this detail.

Plus it was much warmer.

Back to our route, we gathered for the traditional group photo on the Pond Eddy Bridge.

Adam Moss, Bob Mortell and Peter Mortell, me, Doug Kerr (kneeling), Dylan Lainhart, HB Elkins, Mike Tantillo, and Oscar Voss. Adam's father is photographer. Since the bridge is maintained by Penn DOT, and I'm not entirely sure which state we're in, I'll credit this to PA. Photo courtesy of Adam Moss.

Incidentally, all of my photos are on my Flickr site. Adam Moss also shot a bunch of photos. They're here. Lastly, Doug Kerr, who was telling me that he has shot roughly 20,000 road photos, has his shots from our meet here. HB Elkins said he will also have some photos up in a few days as well. I'll add more if there's more to say.

Next up was Barryville, NY. This small hamlet connects with Shohola, PA via a bridge but to me, it's the end of NY 55.

Fifty-five. You don't need to be hit over the head to get significance, do you? (For those of you who are new...look at the name of the blog)

We walked the bridge, and I got some more snaps of that...ahem...number.

New York route 55 will hopefully be my next end-to-end trip. It begins here at the PA border (or just a few feet short, depending on your take) and stretches clear across into Connecticut.

We moved on, next stopping very briefly at Minisink Battle Ground Road, which is signed as Sullivan County Route 168. It's very short, and we returned quickly to NY 97 and our next stop - the Roebling Bridge.

Our next stop was in Narrowsburg, significant for a few reasons, including being the termination of an old US route - US 106, which was decommissioned in 1972.

Of significance to me is that Narrowsburg is connected to Carmel...by NY Route 52. It is the western terminus of the state highway that begins near my current front door in the county seat of Putnam County. That was why I wanted to drive 52 from beginning to end - which I did back in December.

I'll get those pictures up eventually.

Anywho, back to our final stop - the Narrowsburg-Darbyville Bridge. This is where we also said goodbye to Doug, HB, and Dylan Lainhart. The rest of us made the trip back to Milford. There we called it a day around 5:30. For me, I finished up with a few more pictures around Milford before daylight was gone. Then I picked up some hot dog rolls at the Wal-Mart in Matamoras and made the drive back to Carmel. I was home by 7:30.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Not Done with the Steelers Yet

I love this.


From Behind The Steel Curtain, it is now OK to compare Ben Roethlisberger to Terry Bradshaw. I'm even OK with it.

The BTSC group also gives Brad (the Steeler, pre-TV broadcaster) his props. Terry Bradshaw was one of the great quarterbacks ever. I think that sometimes gets forgotten.

Linkage

I've got another collection of links to click on to occupy you.

Via Sliding into Home, The Sporting News thinks the Yankees are going to win it all. I've heard this one before.

If you care about the World Baseball Classic, the announcing schedule is here, courtesy of Awful Announcing. Overall I'm going to hold me tongue, but I will say that I hope the announcers aren't sitting in a studio. Obviously it's better than nothing, but I'm of the belief an announcer needs to be on-site.

From Ken McMillan comes word that Jim Nantz is the 2008 National Sportscaster of the Year. I can't think of anybody who had a better year, so OK then.

I just came across this list of the Top 50 Network TV Announcers. David Halberstam created the list and I give him props - his book “Sports on New York Radio: A Play-by-Play History” is a must-read for historians. As for his choice of Howard Cosell at number one - well - I'm not a fan. Thanks to Neil Best for the link.

You know my love of Minor League Baseball. The Lakewood BlueClaws - one of the better organizations I've come across (though I've never attended a game there!) is going to let kids eat free at all 2009 games.

Via Deadspin, Jeff Pearlman is at it again. He calls A-Rod's Yankees teammates "frauds." Jeff - here's the thing. Your family - whether you like them or not - screws up. You show up to support them. It's that easy. Did they not teach you compassion at Mahopac High School?

The WNEW blog strikes again. Darryl Hall (yes, from Hall and Oates) hosts online concerts from his house. Go. Now. Watch. Listen. He features different artists, and it's great stuff. And maybe brings a little "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)."

Bob Sheppard hopes to be back for Opening Day. Good.

The Baseball Assistance Team has created the Bobby Murcer Award. Well done.

This is a joke, right? Five billion bucks (or whatever) to build the new Stadium and not only are there obstructed views in center field (thanks to the restaurant) but there are girders blocking views. WHAT?

Speaking of Yankee Stadium, the destruction has begun. And with it goes a piece of me.

JoePo shows great taste in music. Ben Folds "Way to Normal" is a terrific CD.

Mundane Road Madness

For those who care about roads, especially within Westchester County, NY, check out this YouTube goodness from Otto Yamomoto as he speeds from Croton-on-Hudson to Croton Falls, NY in under 7:00.

For those who have no interest, keep moving. Nothing to see here.

I may actually attend my first road meet - tomorrow - in Milford, PA. I'll let you know, as I'm sure you will all be holding your breath.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Where's Our John Lennon?

A great, great piece by Alex Young on the WNEW Blog regarding the current state of music and the lack of legendary presences. His point, and I'll echo it, is that when you look at the scene today, do you see any up and coming legends? We still have Bruce, and Dylan, and Macca can show up at the Grammy's, do "I Saw her Standing There" and bring the house down, but it also serves to remind us that so much of what exists today is...well...lame.

I know, I've been down this road before, but Alex hits the nail on the head. Read on...
Regardless of the reasons, the fact is my generation - the twenty-somethings who devour music like it's chocolate, attend concerts like they are the second coming - lacks its version of Beatlemania, a Joe Strummer, or band of punk misfits who not only created a movement, but helped change a culture. Yet for whatever reason, we don't really seem to mind, or even realize it until such opportunities like a visit to the Rock and Roll Hall-of-Fame present themselves. Instead, we blast our ear drums with Animal Collective, and take to music festivals where Kings of Leon and the Killers, bands which wouldn't even have been given a second listen in the '60s and '70s, perform to hundreds of thousands. We've become immune to mediocrity, and it's primarily our own doing. Seriously, who ever thought snooty hipster cynicism was a good idea? In cases like these, the idea of "the good old days" couldn't be more appropriate.
Now I know of late-thirty-somethings who are behaving like this, but the fact of the matter is that it's a rather clueless way to go.

I'm not going to throw all contemporary artists to the curb. Kings of Leon have their moments, for instance, and there are plenty of other acts that are OK, but none of them are, at least to me, going to be sitting on the mighty throne with the Beatles, Hendrix, Elvis, The Clash, The Stones, Springsteen, and so on. You have to figure that at least once in a generation we get something beyond. Hell the 90's at least gave us Cobain. Right now, though, I don't see it.

I just don't sense the true amazing overwhelming greatness. Maybe that's why so many of these acts bring all style and zero substance to their stage shows to hide the fact that they just...might...not be very good. (I wanted to use another word that rhymes with "cluck" and is what you do when using a straw, but I've been reminded that you never know who's reading).

Just sayin'.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy...Pitchers and Catchers Day!

Today is known for something else; something supposedly about love or something like that (or an excuse to...hey hi how are ya?).

Yet for me and thousands of others, today is about one thing only - first day of workouts for Spring Training!

So Happy Spring Training - the only pure couple of days we'll have before the A-Rod fiasco returns.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mom's Fine, But Thanks for Asking!

In my last post, I mentioned that my mother was heading off for eye surgery. She's back home now and doing well (a little discomfort, but that's to be expected). She had the same surgery done last week - inserting a lens to take care of cataracts.

Her doctor went to Mahopac High School, graduating two years before I did. I graduated with his brother.

Thanks for the concern of those who asked.

More A-Rod Fallout

OK, Joe Posnanski gets his say.

Jeff Pearlman, Mahopac High School's most famous media member, has his say, and rips Peter Gammons in the process.

Pearlman's been in trouble with me ever since he wrote about Mahopac on Sports Illustrated and while he spoke glowingly of his days as a youth, even mentioning Carmelo's barber shop (which I faithfully went to), he still had some unkind things to say about my beloved hometown. Then tack on his glowing love for the dirtbag Mets of the 80's, and you can kind of figure out what I think of him. Not that I dislike him of course, he's a heck of a writer and was on WGCH with us in the late 90's. It's just that we don't always share the same opinions.

Oh, one other thing. Pearlman's Wikipedia page says he was born in the 'Pac. To my knowledge, I don't think that's possible unless he was born at home. Mahopac Hospital closed down in the late 60's, I think, and Pearlman is younger than me. I suppose it's possible, but I also suppose it's irrelevant.

Jeez, Google a guy and you get more. Pearlman wants MHS to change our mascot from an Indian.

If I ever get a show, I'll try to get Pearlman on.

OK, back on topic. Far be it for me to defend Gammons, yet I think he was in a tough spot with the A-Rod interview.

Enough A-Rod. I'd rather write and read about things like WNEW's blog wanting Spinal Tap to reunite. They say since Blink-182 is coming back, the Tap should reunite.

Sound like a good idea, but it begs a question: who knew that Blink-182 was done and, better yet, who cares? People with limited musical taste and knowledge?

I'll stop. Gotta take Mom to the hospital for her second round of eye surgery (don't worry - she's fine).

Farewell, Courier

This will have little or no impact on you, and perhaps most people here in "The 845." Yet it's another sign of the problems that are running through our economy and the media, specifically on the print side.

The Putnam County Courier, which began publishing in 1841, is no more.

Michael Risinit writes in today's Journal News (owned by Gannett):
The Courier has been owned by the Journal Register Co. of Yardley, Pa., since 1997. The financially troubled company is also closing seven weekly papers in Dutchess County this week. A telephone message and an e-mail seeking comment from the weeklies' publisher wasn't returned. The company also owns the Kingston Daily Freeman in Ulster County.

"It is with regret that we are no longer going to be able to serve our many loyal readers and advertisers," said Publisher Tom Cincotta on the Freeman's Web site, referring to the closings.
The whole story is here (at least for now).

The Courier was something I'd pick up from time to time. It didn't have a lot of news - just enough to give you a taste. It gave you a reminder that, at times, Putnam County could still be a nice country area, where people came for vacation homes (like my grandparents did). The paper had some hunting and fishing details, news of board meetings and politics, and some sports. It was a nice, friendly little newspaper. It certainly didn't have the flash that, say, the Greenwich Citizen and Post have.

Yet with the demise of the Courier, we're reminded once again that the old days are gone. People live here full-time now, and this is no longer the country. Putnam County is part of the suburbs, largely swallowed up by Westchester County to the south.

And the newspaper industry is trying to hang on.

This, sadly, is progress.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Rodney Always Was a Little Off

I saw this last week on Awful Announcing and it made me laugh. Enjoy.

A-Rod Fallout


I said what I had to say about Mr. Alex Rodrigeuz the other day. There's been much more to come out since then, including his confession that he did indeed use steroids (or whatever term you want to use) while with the Rangers from 2001 to 2003.

Bravo for doing the right thing. Now go out and play ball, and don't be a jerk like Barry Bonds. That's why Bonds is so despised outside of San Francisco - he's just not very likable. A-Rod's only slightly more likable at this point, but he's not a jerk.

I stand by my initial assessment that I'm exceedingly disappointed. He's a hero to kids (including mine). I'm sick of the topic (and Joe Torre now seems so in the past).

And Derek Jeter's sick of addressing it as well.

Yet let's review. This is now, clearly, the steroid era. Before that, it was the cocaine era. The amphetamine era was prior to that. It was alcohol, and "white baseball" (the pre-Jackie Robinson) days, and I guess, even the spitball and gambling eras.

What I'm saying is that a lot of bad stuff has been in the sport. Some were illegal; some weren't.

Jim Kaat has some extremely interesting thoughts.
All of us former players would have understood. Everyone wants to get an edge if it's not illegal or they won't get caught. At the time a lot of these players were taking these substances, it wasn't illegal according to baseball rules. I'm sure I would have done the same thing if I knew that everyone else in the league had this edge over me. Jim Honochick, a veteran umpire, approached me about putting a foreign substance [pine tar] on the ball and I told him "Jim, it's not a foreign substance, it's made in North Carolina" and he laughed and went back to his position.
Great comments by Kitty. Read more here. I have enormous respect for him and broadcast booths haven't been the same since he left. He's a guy who deserves consideration as one of the best ever and a possible Frick candidate.

Let's be clear, all. I'm not even beginning to try to defend Alex Rodriguez. I will say this - he confessed. He came clean. Good. So did Giambi and Pettitte (both in a matter of speaking). From there they let there on-field performance and personality win fans back. What The Big G and Andy did can never be washed from my mind, but I'm more willing to give them another chance based on how they have behaved.

Now it's your move, A-Rod.

Be smart. Get away from the Madonna-types. Be cheerful and fun in interview sessions, but show leadership and firmness. Go on "Lettterman" or "Regis and Kelly." Continue to be contrite, and let your play on the field speak for itself. Talk to Mike...and the Mad Dog (you've always liked them). Be mysterious, to an extent, but don't shut down.

In short, BE LIKE JETER.

At this moment, if I have my way, Sean will become a Jeter fan. Or a Mark Teixeira fan.

For years, I heard talk of which shortstop people wanted. Nomar? A-Rod? Jeter?

You know what my answer was. Say what you want about the defense (it's overrated, to me), but for pure leadership, baseball smarts, clutch play, and overall intangibles (not overrated, in my opinion), it's number two every single time. And the behavior of A-Rod makes me appreciate him, Mo, and Posada more every day.

I want to root for A-Rod. Not simply because he's a Yankee but overall, he's a remarkable ballplayer. I want to believe that he made a bad choice, but was clean before and after his time in Texas (which I'm struggling to do). But his image of the straight ballplayer is gone forever. It is now tarnished.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

A-Roid?

Fool. Dope. Moron.

Way to go, A-Rod.

There are two reasons I'm not just blowing this off:

1) He's a member of the New York Yankees now.

2) He's my son's favorite player. My son's favorite number is 13 - because of A-Rod.

Why, ARod? Say it ain't so?!

Now, here's the thing. He's guilty of doping while he was playing for Texas, in 2003. If he is clean now and takes on the same sort of personality that The Big G has had, then I'm willing to let it slide, a la Andy Pettitte. But if he continues to be "A-Fraud", then he's going to slide in the court of public (and my) opinion.

Part of me was OK with him walking away after the 2007 season. I should have stayed with that emotion.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Ricky Riscica is a Fox!


A Marist Red Fox, that is.

Congratulations to Ricky, the Riscica (and Pitasi) family and everyone associated with the star Cardinal co-captain, who is going to take his playmaking skills to Poughkeepsie, New York this fall.

Former Cardinal Nic Zivic is on the roster as well.

Oh, and if they need a broadcaster, I think I know of one...after all, Poughkeepsie is just up the road from me in "the 845".

(I stole the picture of Ricky from his Facebook site. Hope that's OK)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Linkage

Things that have jumped out at me:

A warm thought - the Yankees' TV schedule on YES (including the woeful Spring Training games). Now let me see if I've got this straight - if the Bombers are playing the USA World Baseball Classic team, does that mean Captain Jeter will be playing against his own teammates?

UPDATE: Answer: Yes.

Playing in the WBC is about the only thing I disagree with Jeter on.

I personally didn't rip Alex Flanagan for the F. Scott Fitzgerald quote, I ripped her for being awful. The Fitzgerald quote only made me roll my eyes. So is Keith Olbermann going to call me Worst Person in the World?

Troy Polamalu is a pretty low-key guy, apparently with the exception of two places: 1) any football field and 2) celebratory parades.

Baseball is going to honor the 70th anniversary of Lou Gehrig's speech on July 4th, and call attention to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (the disease that now bears Gehrig's name) at the same time.

My friend and colleague Robert Crowley wants to do a jazz show
. He could use some help getting sponsors. I love the idea (and hope he has room for me to be an occasional guest). I would welcome the chance to go on the air and talk about the music of Brubeck, Miles, Parker, Coltrane, Monk, while reaching into the deeper past with Louis Armstrong and the forefathers. I'd even enjoy the chance to talk about the Big Band era (which gets readily dismissed by jazz aficionados the way latter-day folks dismiss The Jonas Brothers).

So give Rob your time and your advice.

Lastly, and far from least, Sean Patrick Bowley (better known as SPB) reports on some potential (read again - potential) changes to the high school football playoff scene in Connecticut.

Now...the 50 Worst Sportscasters

Based on my last post, here are the Top 50 Worst Sportscasters from Jay Busbee at Yahoo!

1. Billy Packer
2. Chris Berman
3. Joe Morgan
4. Tony Kornheiser
5. Dick Vitale
6. Bill Walton
7. Mike Patrick
8. Tim McCarver
9. Joe Buck
10. Bob Costas, post-2000
11. Stuart Scott
12. Tony Siragusa
13. Gus Johnson
14. Paul Maguire
15. Stephen A. Smith
16. Troy Aikman
17. John Sterling
18. Thom Brennaman
19. John Madden
20. Emmitt Smith
21. Johnny Miller
22. Lee Corso
23. Jim Gray
24. Merril Hoge
25. Digger Phelps
26. Tiki Barber
27. Darren Pang
28. Dick Stockton
29. Dick Enberg
30. Darrell Waltrip
31. Kelly Tilghman
32. Mike Francesa
33. Steve Phillips
34. Pam Ward
35. Shannon Sharpe
36. Skip Bayless
37. Warren Sapp
38. Lamar Thomas
39. Paul Allen
40. Ken Harrelson
41. Magic Johnson
42. Chip Caray
43. Dave Mishkin
44. Joe Theismann
45. Dan Dierdorf
46. John Kruk
47. Jenn Sterger
48. Larry Merchant
49. Michael Kay
50. Lou Holtz

OK, most of my same beefs continue here, but I have more issues with his selections. In short, once again, another Joe Buck-hater. I don't get it. Still don't get it. I also don't really get the hatred for Tim McCarver either. Sure he can annoy, but I think he's still OK. I like Troy Aikman, who is Fox's answer to Phil Simms (probably the best in the biz), and they're both answers to John Madden. The Bob Costas, post-2000 thing is just stupid and pretty much shows me validity of this list.

Dick Enberg? Now he's just being an ass. I'm surpirsed he didn't put the Great Scully on here.

As for John Sterling, let me say this: if he were screaming, "THHHHHEEEEEEE Mariners Win!!", would that make a difference? Of course it would. It's that he says "Yankees" that makes him torturous. And I understand.

Still, Dave Niehaus has been screaming on Mariners broadcasts for 30-plus years, and he's a Frick Award winner. Strange.

Just sayin'.

I agree with him on several (including the man-crush of all college students, GuJo). Thom Brennaman - agree. Chip Caray? Wholeheartedly agree, but he should be in the top five or ten.

If Mike Francesa is here (and I know he has a lot of critics), then how is Jim Rome, for instance, not here? Or Chris Russo? Or Mike and Mike?

Oh this list could be endless with the drivel that shows up, but I think many of his choices are off base. Still it makes you wonder how these people get their jobs.

One other thing - is this person a member of the Raissman/Mushnick department? Those who hyper-criticize yet have never so much as put on a headset in their lives?

Just curious.

The Top 50 Sportscasters

The American Sportscasting Association released their list of the Top 50 Sportscasters of All-Time last month. Ken McMillan is the sports radio and TV maven for the Times Herald-Record of Middletown, NY and he breaks it all down here.

The top 50 are:
1 - Vin Scully

2 - Mel Allen

3- Red Barber

4- Curt Gowdy

5- Howard Cosell

6- Bob Costas

7 - Jim McKay

8- Keith Jackson

9 - Al Michaels

10 - Dick Enberg

11 - Jack Buck

12 - Ted Husing

13- Jack Brickhouse

14- Don Dunphy

15 - Graham McNamee

16 - Ernie Harwell

17- Marv Albert

18 - Harry Caray

19 - Jon Miller

20 - Bill Stern

21 - Chick Hearn

22- Marty Glickman

23 - Jack Whitaker

24 - Jim Nantz

25- Chris Schenkel

26 - Lindsey Nelson

27 - Russ Hodges

28 - Ray Scott

29 - John Madden

30 - Bob Prince

31- Joe Buck

32 - Milo Hamilton

33- Bob Wolff

34 - Chuck Thompson

35 - Chris Berman

36 - Phil Rizzuto

37 - Marty Brennaman

38 - Clem McCarthy

39 - Bill Walton

40 - Foster Hewitt

41 - Harry Kalas

42 - Johnny Most

43 - Bob Elson

44 - Brent Musberger

45 - Pat Summerall

46 - Merle Harmon

47 - Dick Vitale

48 - Dick Stockton

49 - Tony Kubek

50 - Bud Collins

Runners up: Terry Bradshaw, James Brown, Andres Cantor, Skip Caray, Gary Cohen, Don Criqui, Jimmy Dudley, Joe Garagiola, Frank Gifford, Greg Gumbel, Tom Hammond, Sonny Hill, Ned Jarrett, Jaime Jarrin, Charlie Jones, Bill King, Jim Lampley, Cawood Ledford, Verne Lundquist, Tim McCarver, Joe Morgan, Bob Murphy, Van Patrick, Herb Score, Jim Simpson, Bob Uecker and Ken Venturi.

OK, of course I agree with Scully at number one, and have no problem with Allen at number two (I would have gone with Red Barber). I think Cosell gets way too much credit (he wasn't that popular during his prime). After that, it becomes crazy to argue who is ranked where. I don't think Bill Walton would be in my top-50 - that might be my biggest debate. Graham McNamee at number 15 proves what I've said for years - that he should be a recipient of the Frick Award.

What else? Let's see - the locals who have chimed in have screamed about Bob Murphy as an honorable mention, and no Ralph Kiner, yet fail to notice that Lindsey Nelson (probably the best of the three old Mets broadcasters) is at #27. Those same people rip Phil Rizzuto's placement. I've been down that road, and I'm not going there again. Listen to him call his three innings for Roger Maris' 61st home run and you'll hear a completely different announcer than the guy that did birthdays and anniversaries with Bill White, Bobby Murcer and others on WPIX. Personally, I'd like to see Frank Messer get a nod, but I'm going to yell about it.

I also think it's difficult to rank these men as one group. I get it - they're sportscasters in total, but many of them qualify as play-by-play men (Scully, Barber, etc), while others are analysts (Walton, Tony Kubek, Dick Vitale), and still others are, to me, anchors and reporters (Jack Whitaker, Brent Musberger, and Cosell).

It's all open to debate. Overall, I'd say it's not bad.

This is Where Joe Might Have Been Clueless


I've been fairly active on the blog-o-rific lately (unless you've been in a shelter and didn't know that the Steelers played in...and won...the Super Bowl).

Anyway, Sean from White Plains wanted to know why I haven't offered any thoughts about the former manager of the New York Yankees. Guess Mr. Torre wrote a book, eh?

Well I've been hesitant in part because there's so much rhetoric about St. Joe that I figured my $.02 wouldn't be worth much. Plus I have not read the book (and really haven't delved into the excerpts). Lastly, I had yet to hear from Joe Torre himself (and to be honest, I still haven't heard anything, as I've missed all of the interviews).

That being said, I'm disappointed that Joe (with Tom Verducci) felt it was necessary to wage, essentially, a war against the Yankees. I was a huge critic of the Yankees (especially Hank Steinbrenner and Randy Levine) when things fell apart with Torre, but this doesn't make things right. Now we run the risk of going into "Yogi" territory - 15 years or so before Joe Torre returns to Yankee Stadium to take his rightful place among the Bomber legends. Why would the team invite him back right now?

Overall, the book apparently isn't quite as bombastic as initially thought. The A-Fraud" thing was supposedly a joke (jeez, what a shock...has ANYBODY ever been among athletes before?). We all knew there was a rift between Joe Torre and David Wells. We know Rodriguez is driven by numbers. And on...and on...and on...

Of course, Jim Bouton doesn't see what the big deal is (yeah, that's because he wrote Ball Four, which opened the doors of the locker room years ago). I'm not sure I think it's that big of a deal either, considering the access that the media has to a team, and how nothing is protected anymore.

Quick thought on that though - the media does not travel with the team (as it used to). The writers aren't on the same plane (the broadcasters are). Still, the media reports everything these days.

Yet I would have liked to have seen Joe Torre keep this stuff tucked away for some time. One of Torre's pluses was that he protected his players, and seemed above the garbage that has infiltrated the locker rooms of today.

The reality is that I have not read the book, and I really don't intend to (unless somebody wants to give me a copy). I'm content to simply move on and get to pitchers and catchers (just a mere 11 days away).

In total, I do condemn Joe Torre for the book. I think it tarnishes his legacy, and it certainly casts a lot of people in a bad light. Torre, Brian Cashman, Randy Levine (though he doesn't need Torre's book to look bad), Wells, Pavano, and of course, A-Rod are just a few of the people who come off looking poor.

Gee, more fuel for the Yankees-haters fire (and for the Joe Torre-haters fire as well). Just what was needed.

It seemed unnecessary. It seemed sensationalistic. It seemed very un-Joe Torre-like.

Sad, really.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Just Cheesy



I thought Bruce Springsteen was going to Disney World?

Monday, February 02, 2009

Just In Case You Missed It...BRUUUUUCE!!

Part One


Part Two


WNEW has got more comments about the show here.

UPDATE: If you've hit "play" on these, you'll notice that they've been taken down, thanks to the jackasses in the NFL. Well played, then.

Super Bowl Highlights

Sly Fox delivers us all of the highlights from the little shindig in Tampa last night.

I still can't believe it. I enjoyed the experience, and was thrilled to watch it with Sean (though he bailed in the second half). I was able to sweat, pace, yell, analyze, clap, and generally emote until my heart was content. Then I needed a couple of hours to come down from the high. Now I'm exhausted.

Did They Not Have the Special Cocktail Weenies?

This guy needs a hug. Or something stronger.

He rips Bruce's halftime show (and yeah, dude, I'm a REAL fan). He whines about the quality of the teams, the penalties, the lack of bombs (wait, what?), and Warner's failure to win. WAHHHHHH! He comes up with reasons why this wasn't such a great Super Bowl.

Here's the thing - it was a great Super Bowl, but I'm not ready to call it the best ever. I think I'm leaning towards last year's game, due to the circumstances and the finish. Still, if I have a chance to think about it, it's probably in the top two or three. Definitely top five.

Oh and somebody has already tried to tell me that this was a "dirty" win. Whatever.

Champions!

Thanks, again, to Awful Announcing.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The End of the First Half

Here's the James Harrison touchdown, courtesy of Awful Announcing<


I thought that would be the defining moment of Super Bowl XLIII. I was wrong about that.

Super Bowl XLIII Random Thoughts - 2nd Half



Don't you love that? Sean watched the 3D spots.

By the way, since I raved about Hines Ward's catch to start the game, he has been invisible.

Fumble? Yes, Challenge? No fumble. So Arizona's still has one challenges and the Steelers will still get the ball, since it's fourth down.

I haven't spent a whole lot of time on the commercials, but Disney is reviving the "Witch Mountain series? Are you kidding me?

Originality, gone.

OK, Hines has been found. Very nice.

The Cardinals have lost some control. Two personal fouls have aided this Steelers drive.

First and goal after Fast Willie busts it off the right side.

By the way, I'm going to fly by my text limit tonight. Nick Fox, Nick Angotto,
Ron Warzoha (the father - both dad and son are huge Steelers fans), and a few others have been heard from tonight.

Another personal foul on the Cardinals, and take the three off the board that Jeff Reed just knocked through. First and goal again.

Another near INT for the Cards, but Carey Davis saved the day.

What kind of call was that? A freaking quarterback draw? A chance to go up 24-7, but now they give Arizona life. Dumb.

Jeff Reed to the rescue. 20-7, Pittsburgh.

One quarter to go.

Sean is just about to fall asleep. At that point, it will be just me. I didn't think it was right to take him to a party that would keep us out late, and we would still have to drive home.

Guess I take my son's feelings into account.

Oh great, there's going to be complaining about the officiating in this game. And Mike Holmgren is in the house.

I don't want to hear it.

Hey! A Derek Jeter commercial. I hope that's the kind of 2009 that we'll have. Steelers tonight...Yankees in October.

Ben just got sacked, and the Cardinals continue to have life.

Warner is moving the Cards. My heart begins to beat faster.

Ike Taylor won't be the MVP - that's for sure. Instead of "swaggin" we might want to focus on football. He just got popped for a defensive holding call.

Sean just went to bed. He's six, and we've been up since about 6:30 this morning. I understand.

Touchdown. Damn.

20-14, Steelers. 7:33 to go.

Obviously, the Steelers need to move the ball and kill the clock. And (of course), another score would be mighty nice.

Ben getting sacked does not help.

I'm having bad visions.

And three and out they go.

Time for the defense to step up, as Arizona gets the ball at their own 25.

First play to Boldin and freking Ike Taylor's getting deep into my doghouse. Personal foul penalty, and Al Michaels takes a shot at "swaggin."

Dope. Taylor, not Al.

Draw play...nada.

The defense looks tired.

Deep catch and run to Breaston to the 26. Damn again.

Flags down. Holding. Stops the momentum.

And Polamalu almost sent me to nirvana. Second down.

Almost intercepted again. Third and twenty.

Warner gets hit as he throws. Incomplete. Fourth down.

They're going to punt. And it's down at the two. But there's a flag. Uh oh...

Unnecessary roughness...after the play on the Steelers. They get the ball at the one. That was close.

John Madden wants Harrison thrown out. That's not an unfair stance. The Steelers are making dumb plays.

First down is...a pass? Wait, what? Incomplete.

They run it with Parker, who...just...gets...out...of the end zone. Wow.

And my heart beats faster for two reasons...1) the ball placement and 2) the freaking woeful punting game.

I can't even believe what I just saw. A safety for a hold in the end zone, negating a first down completion. 20-16 with 2:58 to go.

Arizona gets the ball at the 36 with 2:53 to play.

Oh f***. Fitzgerald to the house with 2:37 to go. 23-20, Cardinals.

Oh my GOD!!! Ben to Santonio...TOUCHDOWN! I had already typed "Congratulations Cardinals." Not so fast. Review shows Holmes caught the call and had both feet in. Jeff Reed boots the extra point. 27-23. Twenty-three seconds to go...

Actually, NBC just corrected the scoreboard, but Al Michaels said nothing. There are 35 seconds left.

Fitzgerald to the 44. Twenty-two seconds to play.

(History lesson - the Immaculate Reception happened with :22 to play).

Complete to JJ Arrington at the Pitt 44. The Cardinals spend their last timeout.

I'm shaking.

Warner fumbles and Brett Keisel recovers. NIRVANA!!!!

And there you have it. The Pittsburgh Steelers are your Super Bowl Champions!

The final score. Steelers 27, Cardinals 23.

OH MY!

The MVP? Big Ben? Holmes? Harrison? I think it's Holmes.

The numbers - Roethlisberger - 21 of 30 for 256 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. He also ran for a score, and his scrambling created the opportunities on the last drive.

Holmes - 9 catches, 131 yards, 1 major, huge touchdown. An amazing catch.

Nice to have Joe Namath bringing the trophy in, but this is getting dumb. Let him get to the podium without the players pawing it. The NFL is just dumb about this on-field post-game stuff.

OK, now why did Mr. Rooney need to thank the President? I know the Steelers are his second favorite team (he likes the Bears), but come on.

So far, I'm pleased with how the emphasis with Mike Tomlin is on what a coach he is, and that he's the youngest to win, and not a thing about the fact that he's the second black coach to win the Super Bowl. He's just a solid football coach. Period.

Holmes is the MVP. That's OK.

These postgame celebrations have just about gotten beyond stupid.

Great class by Kurt Warner. Hard to root against the guy (of course I did tonight), yet he's now 1-2 in the Super Bowl, despite now holding the top three spots in terms of passing yardage.

By the way, I would have voted for Big Ben for the MVP.

No complaints. Not one. I thought the Steelers had spit the bit, blowing the biggest second-half lead (13) and were going to have to scramble to pull it off. I was pacing; dying inside. Wow. Just wow.

The Steelers have won their sixth Lombardi Trophy. I'm still stunned that they pulled it off.

I don't know what else to say.

Bruce at the Half!

Had the Cardinals tied it or taken the lead, my mood would have been down for the halftime show. Now I'm delirious! So ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce Rock and Roll's true savior, Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band!

They opened with "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out", and Bruce is freaking into it!

IS THERE ANYBODY ALIVE OUT THERE?!?

Bruce just rocked into a cameraman, and came away smiling.

Now "Born to Run."

They had to go with something new (hell, they've got a new CD to sell). So they went with "Working on a Dream" (that's the title track).

Oh, the new CD is amazing. The first track "Outlaw Pete" might be my favorite.

Now it's "Glory Days." OK, and kind of predictable, considering the sports tie-in (he changed the lyrics to go from baseball to football).

The referee thing was a little silly, and the fireworks pleased Sean (I could do without them) but that's the Super Bowl Halftime Show for you.

Sorry, U2. You just lost your title. This is already the most amazing, rocking halftime show. E Street is on FIRE. I'm not thrilled with shortening the songs, but it's all good.

That rocked.

OK, onto the second half.

Super Bowl XLIII Random Thoughts

The teams have been on the field for 12 minutes and so far we've done nothing to kick the freaking thing off. Walter Payton Award...Faith Hill and "America the Beautiful" so far. Let's go, NFL.

Oh, now the Miracle on the Hudson crew. Nice. We could have done this an hour ago.

Still, good job of respect by both teams. Oh and a member of the crew has a TOWEL!

Now Jennifer Hudson, and the National Anthem.

I mean no offense to Ms. Hudson, but could we just sing the song? Ever since Marvin Gaye (and especially since Whitney Houston), everybody thinks this has to be some great interpretation. Sing the song, and play ball.

By the way, I listened to roughly two hours of Westwood One Radio's pregame coverage on the ride back from Pennsylvania. That's a lot more than I've ever listened to.

So far, it's pretty obvious that NBC is all over the Kurt Warner angle. That's OK - I get it. He was the main story of the week.

Back from commercial, and now we need Al and John to break things down one more time? So when all is said and done, the teams will be on the field for roughly a half hour of nothing (other than the National Anthem and the coin toss) before the first hit.

Lynn Swann and the Towel! Woo Hoo! Good job the crowd to recognize General Petraeus with the largest cheer though.

Arizona won the toss. That's fine.

Two plays in...Hines for 38! A fine start.

Oh great, another Ben touchdown controversy. And all the Stillers get is a three from Jeff Reed. Fudge. 3-0.

Early commercial returns...sigh...although the Pepsi spot was OK, and the Bud Lite one made me laugh.

Ike Taylor...swaggin...and I've noticed that Al Michaels can't stand that.

Steve Young? Fran Tarkenton? John Elway? No! Big Ben to Heath for a first down.

The Steelers are throwing the ball a lot and Ben looks good early on.

One quarter done...3-0, 'Burgh.

So I'm making dinner for Sean (did I mention we're home alone?) and trying to maintain sanity. It's not always easy to have your team in the big game.

I haven't really been able to watch the commercials, for instance.

OK, before I have to go all "Rule 55" on you (or just say what's on my mind), Gary Russell finds the end zone. 10-0, Steelers.

Early on, I don't think NBC has been ultra sharp. They've missed a couple of penalties, and...

Oh crap. Boldin for 45.

And double crap. Touchdown Arizona. 10-7 Steelers.

Momentum has officially shifted.

Oh, I tried to comment on NBC's coverage earlier. Like I said, I'm not sure they're sharp, but John Madden can still break a game down. And Al Michaels isn't that bad either.

They have their critics (including me, on occasion), but they're pretty darn good.

America has got a pretty good game so far...but I wish that wasn't the case. I was happier at 10-0.

And that interception didn't help my mood.

By the way, Ike Taylor may be "swaggin" but on two straight plays, he looked like crap.

OH...MY...GOD!!!! One of the great Super Bowl plays EVER by James Harrison! 100 yard Interception return, and our house just EXPLODED!

I was going to pick Harrison for MVP. He probably just won it.

After a review of the play, it is official. We go to the half, with the Steelers leading 17-7.

OK, I'm Nervous

It's 6:03...and my blood pressure is now off the charts.

This is what I get for not really thinking about "the Big Game" for the past two weeks.

I'm ready, but oh my!

It's just Sean and I at home...Terrible Towels ready..."Big Ben" jerseys on. Guess that says it all. He and I had another nice weekend in "Eagles Territory", yet I saw mostly Steelers garb today.

I suspect we'll talk again in a few hours.

Oh, and in case you're wondering...Steelers 26, Cardinals 14.

GO STEELERS!