Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My Love Affair With Sports Radio Part One

A friend on Facebook had a post about the late, great Dr. Don Rose from KFRC 610 AM. He was the undisputed king of Bay Area radio. I loved his morning show as a teenager. I listened to KFRC all the time. I would fall asleep to it. It was in my room I had dreams of being on the radio. I also dreamt of being the next Johnny Carson, but that didn't happen. (Jimmy Fallon, you're no Johnny Carson). 
I also loved sports, so I wanted to eventually be a play by play guy or host a pre game or post game show. My heroes were Vin Scully, Hank Greenwald and Lon Simmons. You just knew it was spring when Lon Simmons was on the radio, reporting from Phoenix Muni where the A's played spring training games. I always thought the games and stories sounded better from Spring Training. 
On the Giants side of the AM dial, the Giants broadcasters would report live from the bat at The Pink Pony in Scottsdale. Every spring they were at this magical place called The Pink Pony. It was where all of baseball would meet, eat and drink. The place would sound packed with people as Hank Greenwald would interview players from the past and present. It was known as THE HOT SPOT to been seen or just see. I went there for the first time ever as an adult last year,and the place was DEAD! It was reminiscent of the scene in Swingers when Trent and Mike went to the Stardust thinking the place would be hopping, and it was nothing but old people around! The bartender at The Pink Pony was happy to see us. He told us everyone was at Don and Charlie's! (More on Arizona on a future post)
My point mentioning this is I thought radio was gonna take me places I could only dream about. Well, it did in my mind as a teenager when I would try to imagine what Phoenix Muni looked liked or where in the world HoHoKam Park was. I dreamed radio would actually take me to these places.
All it turned out to be was dreams. Once I went to high school, I encountered a bunch of guys from the other Jr. High School who had the looks, intellect, connections, money and confidence to succeed in not only school but in life. They were the guys all the guys wanted to be or hang out with, and they were the guys the girls wanted to be with. In my mind they were the New York Yankees. They had all the resources I could only have dreamt of. I was from a single parent home. We were the Cleveland Indians. We weren't rich and we weren't poor, but we got by. I was ashamed of my home life then. Now I look back and I'm proud. My mom did the best she could. She ruled the house like George Steinbrenner and spent money wisely like Gene Autry! 
I look back and I wonder why I let a bunch of Jack asses from high school crush my dream. It was just my mind set back then. I didn't think I had what it took. I'm happy with my life now. So now when I listen to the radio, I dream of where I could have been. But I'm happy where I'm at. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Last Of The Core Four

The 2014 season just started and a baseball legend is going to call it a career after the season is over.
Derek Jeter, Mr. November, Yankee captain, announced his retirement.
With that, the last of the Yankee Core Four will be out of baseball.
It will be the end of a era for New York baseball.
Mr. Jeter was drafted a Yankee in 1992. He got his first taste of the big leagues in 1995. He was Rookie of the Year in 1996. He has five World Series rings. He's our generations Joe DiMaggio. He carries himself with dignity, style and class. It's never about him. It's about playing and winning for the New York Yankees. He puts the team first.
I personally couldn't stand him when the Yankees were winning all those championships. He always came through in the clutch. He was always the catalyst. He always beat the Red Sox.
But over the years I have grown to admire him. He shows up to work everyday, quietly goes about his business and wins. If I were to start a franchise, Derek Jeter would be the man I would build the team around.
But the young man who sparked a dynasty has grown older. Injuries have taken a toll. The grind that is baseball has caught up to him.
Mr. Jeter doesn't do anything half heartedly. So as he told Mariano Rivera last year, its time to go.
The Derek Jeter retirement party will take place throughout the season. I first saw Mr. Jeter on Opening Night 1999 in Oakland. He led of the Yankees season with a homerun. The Yankees play in Oakland in June. I hope I get a chance to see baseball greatness one last time.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Pitch Patch Potch

This is a very short entry. Now that football season is over, it's officially baseball season! The Dodgers pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on Thursday! Thank The Lord!!!
That is all.

Defense Really Does Win Championships

The Seattle Seahawks shocked the football world by winning the NFL Big Game Championship. The game was Super and played in a Bowl shaped stadium. (NFL Legal Dept can't get me for saying that).
I only saw about fifteen minutes of the game at work on a very small TV screen at the in store bank branch. Once I see the video tape I will offer more of an opinion.
The old adage in sports is offense wins games, defense wins championships. It proved true tonight. As I said, I didn't see much of the game, but the score tells the story. The best defense in the NFL shut down the best player in football and his high scoring offense. I boasted yesterday that the Broncos were going to destroy, pummel, annihilate and humiliate the Seahawks. I thought Peyton Manning and company were going to light up the score board like a Fourth of July fireworks show. My prediction was 63-24 Broncos. Good thing I don't make my living as a pigskin prognosticator. I would starve! 
The final score was Seattle 43-Denver 8. What happened? 
Let's start from the beginning. I mean let's go way back.
Pete Carroll was a failed NFL coach for the New York Jets and the New England Patriots. He left the NFL for the comfortable, cushy confines of the University of Southern California. He had a very successful tenure there. Won a national championship. He really won two, but one was taken away due to NCAA violations. (On a side note, if you want to live the good life, be a college football player. $1000 handshakes, free cars, gifts from the booster club, women. Plus free travel, room and board and your tuition paid for. And you don't even need to go to class! Scholar/athlete? Sure, okay. Cue eye roll.)
When the poop was about to hit the fan in 2009, Carroll left USC and was replaced by Lane Kiffin. (Don't get me started on him. The word douche bag comes to mind.) Anyways, after a brief break from coaching, Carroll was hired by the Seahawks. Many felt he was just a big name hire to give the fan base false hope for the future. And Carroll could continue cashing large pay checks. Everyone would be happy. 
Seattle was always the team that was SO CLOSE to winning, but could never get over the hump. The Seahawks came so close to winning Big Game 40 before the refs handed the game to the Steelers. (Don't get me started. When I die, I'm going to ask God if the fix was in in some questionable games. Only HE could give me the straight answer.) 
But while everyone ignored the Seahawks, Pete Carroll quietly built a championship team.( Things aren't so quiet when it involves himself, Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers. I see a book about their pissing, bitching and moaning matches. I'll be the first to buy it. Perhaps I should write it!)
Tonight's win proves to me that Carroll is a very intelligent football coach who gets the most out of everyone. I just thought he was the laid back college coach who enjoyed a good time in So Cal. I always read of him playing golf, goofing off in practice or being great copy to sports writers. 
Something tells me Carroll and his coaching staff saw something in Peyton Manning that they could easily exploit. His defense obviously contained Manning and his weapons. 
The Seattle defense must have gotten in Manning's head literally and figuratively. He played like the Seahawks were going to attack him all day long, and the Seattle defense must have thought what Manning was thinking. It was as if they had the Broncos Playbook. Maybe they figured out what Omaha means. (Slow news day when an audible code name is a major story.)
As the game was going on, I was texting someone (Hi Kimmy!) about how mean the Seahawks were. Their defense, the LOB, Legend Of Boom, are filled with brash loud and foul mouthed bad guys and  bad boys with bad attitudes. But their QB, young Russell Wilson, who is a fine outstanding young man (who briefly played in the Texas Rangers minor league system forgoing bus rides, cheap motels and fast food meals for a chance to be the third string QB in the NFL) and good guy head coach Pete Carroll lead the team to victory. 
But in the end, football historians will look back and say, The Bad Guys won. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

That's A Wrap! Big Game Edition

For legal purposes I cannot use the words Super and Bowl in a headline.  The Skips C's legal department doesn't want a lawsuit to deal with.
Anyways,  the Big Game is tomorrow.  Unfortunately I'm working tomorrow so I will miss the whole game.  I'm rooting for Denver. Final score Denver 63 Seattle 24.