Monday, May 31, 2010

Hassel loses Mancard, Pirates Own Cubs, "There Are No Words"

  • I don't mind working holidays, except for the time away from the family, which is no small matter. However, the phone doesn't ring, emails screech to a halt, small-talk is nearly non-existent because smaller staff means smarter work habits, and someone always brings treats. All things considered, a pretty good day.
  • Never mind. I just got back from dinner. It's B-E-A-UTIFUL outside.
  • I'm watching the Stanley Cup finals. Hockey is the sport I appreciate more each year. I just love it in person, and with HD, it's like being there. 
  • I love elementary school "field days/Olympics" in Iowa. I've been to seven at Perkins Academy in Des Moines, and I'm always so impressed how encouraging the kids are to each other. Not a hater in sight. (Unfortunately, that's learned by some later in life.)
  • For those of you asking, Chris Hassel will be allowed back on SoundOFF Sunday night. We had to pull his mancard for seeing Sex & The City 2 on opening weekend. The best review I've seen says it's "awful and way too long".
  • The Cubs can't contend when they can't beat the lowly Pirates. The Cubs have lost 8 of 9 to the Pirates! That's terrible.
  • No one's hoping for better weather more than the Principal Charity Classic. It's a great tourney, and the skill humbles, but most fans won't sit in the rain---not for golf. I'm with most. 
  • Ate a good meal at Lonestar Steakhouse in Des Moines tonight, but for dessert I ordered a space heater. I remember from my days of working at the movie theater, the active employees set the thermostat for themselves, not the people sitting and freezing.
  • Andy just left for his annual trek to the Boundary Waters. He loves it. I'd rather watch Dancing with the Stars. 
  • I brought it too strong. I'd rather camp.
  • Andy left with a buzz cut to fight off ticks. You can't make it up. The way his hair grows, he'll return with an afro.
  • "Special Relationship" on HBO is good. Michael Sheen should play Tony Blair as much as possible. I couldn't picture Dennis Quaid as Bill Clinton, but Quaid pulled it off, though he's no Sheen as Blair.
  • My wife hates smores. Who hates smores? Sure they're messy, but that make up for it in sweet awesomeness.
  • "There Are No Words" promo for the Stanley Cup is great.
  • My heart says Celtics, my head Lakers.
  • Shawn Terrell claims he's been in Peterson, Iowa. I have no proof that such a town even exists.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Staying Alive, Streaking, Sex (and the City)


Matt Dermody pitched Norwalk to a state title, last year. This year, he's hoping to pitch Iowa to a Big Ten title. The freshman earned the win in an 8-3 Hawkeye victory in the Big Ten tourney. Iowa has now won two games in the tournament. Two more than they had won since the Bush administration. The George H.W. Bush administration.

The most impressive sports streak, in the nation, belongs to Garrett Wittles. Not only does the FIU sophomore have a 52 game hitting streak...last night, he pitched 3 innings, and got the win, in an 18-16 victory in the conference tourney!

One Bill Fennelly is good. Another Bill Fennelly is better. Bill hires son Billy to be ISU's new director of player development. Big Bill calls it 'A dream come true'.

Randy Wells gave up 5 runs in 0 innings, Friday. The Cubs' starter was taken out before retiring a batter. Ouch.

A day after Ryne Sandberg blew a gasket, the I-Cubs blew a game. After coming back from a 4-0 deficit to take a 5-4 lead into the bottom of the 9th, the Cubbies lose on a walk-off homer, in Nashville. A win would have moved them into a tie for first.

Boston, finally, put an end to the Magic. I'd love to see the Suns take LA to a game 7...but who the heck wants to see a Boston-Phoenix final? Not me.

If you're a man, and you've already seen 'Sex and the City 2', you have no excuse. That's why I'm not going to tell you that, my wife, made me go.

Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, Saturday night. Time to break out the old Griswold double-zero Blackhawks jersey. 49 years of waiting may soon be over for Chicago hockey fans. At least, I hope so.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Last Team Standing, 2:30 Kick, Pants On The Ground

  • Could Boston possibly choke away two 3-0 leads in the same post-season? The Bruins did it, and the Celtics sure look old and tired.
  • It's ridiculous the University of Iowa is the only D1 school left in our state playing baseball, but at least they're winning. Nice job, Hawks. First post-season win in 20 years.
  • I'm headed to the I-Cubs noon game Thursday. Ed tells me it will be a perfect day. I'm hoping for a fast game so I can see it all before our radio show starts at two.
  • The baseball gods still don't like lights at Wrigley. Power outage for 18 minutes Wednesday night.
  • The Iowa State at Iowa football game will kick at 2:30 p.m. Perfect. 11 a.m. is too early, 6 p.m. too late (and too many drunks).
  • If you need tickets to the sold out CyHawk game, call Kansas. Someone there can hook you up.
  • Twins fans are still cheering rain. That won't last.
  • Would you pay $5 for an edible logo of your favorite team on a pizza? Me either. What if you were hosting a watch-party? Maybe.
  • Can't wait for the holiday weekend. We're headed to Clear Lake for some R&R. I hope you have a great one. (Non-American Idol viewers might want to stop here.)
  • Watching American Idol finale on DVR. Might as well blog as I go... Christina Aguilera and Carrie Underwood can flat out wail. Alanis Morissette, Michael McDonald and Hall & Oates still sound good---Barry Gibb, Chicago not so much. It was good to see Bret Michaels rocking again too.
  • Oh no, "Pants On The Ground" guy gets another 15 minutes. He's right though.
  • Nice touch. Paula Abdul appears. Never mind. Blows moment with bad jokes.
  • All winning Idols appear to thank Simon. This show is one long tribute to Simon. Crystal and Lee forgotten. Then again, the entire season has been somewhat forgettable.
  • Janet Jackson sounding more like Michael than ever.
  • Joe Cocker appears. I immediately miss John Belushi. Cocker still has it.
  • The wrong singer wins (again). Lee DeWyze seems like a nice guy, and he's got some talent, but Crystal Bowersox sang him off his feet Tuesday night.
  • Oh well, at least the show ends with U2's Beautiful Day. Get well, Bono.
  • Simon's done with Idol, so am I.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Talking With No Teeth, RichRod Slapped, Put Me In Coach

  • Is there anyone in the NBA tougher than Steve Nash. One eye, reset nose, whatever it takes. He's Rocky, and the Suns "don't know it's an exhibition. They think it's a damn fight!" (to paraphrase Apollo Creed's trainer). Not even Steve Nash is tougher than Chicago's Duncan Keith. The Blackhawk loses seven teeth, still plays, then gives an on-camera interview, and then seeks medical attention.
  • Flyers vs. Blackhawks. Bad for Canada. Good for us.
  • ESPN reports back channel talks are going on between Phil Jackson and the Bulls. Back channel talks are code for everyone maintains plausable denial. Jackson will shoot this all down, if he hasn't already by the time you read this.
  • Michigan completed its internal investigation into the football program and basically slapped itself, and coach RichRod on the wrist. Michigan practiced too much---all programs work the gray areas---the Wolverines just had ticked off players who didn't like the coach and told the teacher. 
  • Tiger says he'll play in the Memorial. I'm surprised to find I don't even care.
  • New York/New Jersey lands the 2014 Super Bowl. Good. The biggest game should occasionally be played in football weather. Plus, no wardrobe malfunctions.
  • Does anyone care about doping in sports anymore, or are you just tired of it? Floyd Landis' bombshells mostly brought yawns.
  • The Hall of Fame will honor John Fogerty's Centerfield. Can you hear the handclaps in your head?
  • The American Idol final features two good singers, who seem like nice people, but are kind of boring. Crystal deserves to win, Lee is more what the show is about. Who you got?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Magic Heart, Warner's Eye, Football Weather

  • Hey Magic, you surprised me. I thought you had no heart. You proved me wrong. Nice job.
  • The question of the week: "What's wrong with Kurt Warner's eye?". Kurt says he was recently poked in the eye. It should be fine soon.
  • LeBron Cavs fired Mike Brown. Winningest coach in the NBA can't keep his job. I actually understand too. He seems overmatched in the playoffs.
  • NBA series take way too long. Several days between games? Stupid. Hard to get traction of interest.
  • RIP Law & Order. You were good to us.
  • "Lost" lost me a long time ago. Did it turn out to be purgatory? That was always my guess, but then I was raised Catholic.
  • I hope NY/NJ gets the Super Bowl in 2014 (we find out Tuesday). Why shouldn't the big game be played in football weather? Most of the people in the stands are corporate types, not true blue fans anyway.
  • The Blackhawks vs. Flyers. Nice. Two sweet jerseys too. Edge to the Blackhawks. Simply classic.
  • I worked the Little League concession stand over the weekend. I remembered the most important thing: avoid the cash register. If you're new to Little League parental duties, don't forget this all important tip.
  • We're still moving into our new HD house. Like any move, we're finding challenges, but overall, thanks to the hard work of a lot of people who understand stuff I don't, it's gone smoothly. We weren't all systems go for SoundOFF, but we appreciate your patience, understanding, and all the nice comments about the sweet new look. Thanks.

Photo Finish, Where's the Beef, Rant Writer


Great finish to the Goodyear Dealers of Iowa 200, Sunday night. Max Gresham nosed out Ty Dillon by .039 seconds to take the checkers. It's too bad Grimes resident Brett Moffitt wasn't in the mix at the end. The 17-year-old led 54 laps, fell back to 2nd, and then was spun into the wall with 5 laps to go. Afterwards he had this to say, to the Des Moines Register, about the wreck, "Just racing with idiots, that's what you're going to get." Now that's a kid speakin' his mind.

There's, definitely, something going on between Kurt Warner and Northern Iowa. He's such a nice guy. He makes all the right moves. He loves giving back to the people that helped him get his start. So why has it been 16 years since he's been back to his alma mater? He says it's because he's not the kind of guy that likes being in the spotlight. Isn't that exactly what he did at the Barnstormers game, Friday? Of course, it is.

The biggest question to come out of Warner's appearance was this: "What's wrong with his eye?" Answer: I don't know. I was at the press conference, but I couldn't muster up the courage to ask him why his right eye was swollen. Now that we're HD, that's all anyone noticed.

What a great year for the game of hockey. First, the US faces Canada, in the Gold Medal game. Now, the Blackhawks are in the Stanley Cup Finals! Okay, so I'm biased. But, no one can say they don't have one of the best jersey's in all of sports. If it was socially acceptable to wear a hockey sweater, in public, I'd have one. I may still get one, anyway. If Clark Griswold can pull it off, so can I.

Some are already complaining about the "hot" and steamy weather. Give me a break. Just be glad the winter coats won't be coming out of the closet for a few months.

The FDA is recalling several thousand cans of corned beef because of higher than acceptable levels of a drug used to treat cattle for parasites. Fortunately, no sane person has purchased a can of corned beef since prohibition.
What do Mike Tyson, Allen Iverson, and 'Broadway Joe', have in common? They all paid this guy his services: ... they, also, like 'Modern Family'.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Flood Stage

There's no shortage of pun when discussing Katie Flood.  The Dowling senior was part of a historic female duo at the State Track Meet.  Flood, along with Dike-New Hartford senior Hannah Wilms, combined to win 25 state titles.  Unbelievable.  I always thought it would be cool to run fast, but I never could.  I won a green ribbon for finishing fourth in the sack race on track and field day back in 4th grade... that was pretty much the highlight of my sprinting career.

The I-Cubs have figured something out, and it's led to 11 wins in 12 games.  On Saturday, the I-Cubs beat Colorado Springs 1-0, which should re-ignite the "which sports is more boring... soccer or baseball?" debate.  Actually, the Menace outscored the I-Cubs on Saturday, beating St. Louis 2-1.

Finally this week, I took a passing glance at the NBA playoffs, and what I watched didn't hold my attention.  How does the Magic win eight straight games to start the playoffs and then forget how to play basketball?

I wish I could see more of the Stanley Cup playoffs.  Studid Dish Network.  Someone will inevitably respond to that statement by telling me how great Direct TV is, but it also has faults.  So does Mediacom.  It just depends where your viewing priorities lie.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Record Flood, Floyd the Cheat, Poker Face

  • Dowling Catholic's Katie Flood is amazing. Fastest high school 3000 meters in the nation. Flood's a nice role model for girls too. She's not an 85 pound stick; she looks athletic and healthy.
  • Harrison Barnes finished fifth in the high jump (6'4"). Hey, can't win everything.
  • Do you still believe Lance Armstrong's clean? Is it possible in the most corrupt doping sport in the world, the guy who was the best, was virtually the only one not cheating? I want to believe him, I really do.
  • Tour De France winner Floyd Landis denied doping so emphatically, he convinced many skeptics he must be telling the truth. He wasn't. It took years, but Landis now admits he was cheating his butt off. It was just like Pete Rose, only insert doping for gambling.
  • Love that Hall-of-Famers Andre Dawson and Tony Perez got right in Hanley Ramirez' face and told him he crossed the line. More legends need to do this. Fines don't work when a player makes $70 million.
  • "Kurt Warner Night" should fill The Well Friday night. Not sure which has happened more, Barnstormers retiring Warner's 13, or Brett Favre unretiring, but both seem to work out.
  • Warner will work the NFL Network broadcast booth with the guy Iowa recruited ahead of Warner back in the day, Paul Burmeister. You couldn't start a TV career next to a better guy than Paul, and Kurt will be a natural.
  • Remember Butterbean? He's now an MMA promoter.
  • Gale Sayers called out the Bears and Brian Urlacher didn't like it. Too bad. He's Gale Freaking Sayers.
  • If the Lakers and Celtics both sweep, they'll wait a week and a half between games.
  • 3-on-3 basketball could be come an Olympic sport. Really.
  • World Cup odds: Spain, the favorite, at 5-1, Brazil 6-1, USA 75-1.
  • Southwest Airlines sees a surge in business thanks to its "Bags Fly Free" campaign. Are you paying attention other airlines?
  • Lost in all the Leno-bashing is the fact that since returning he's taken NBC back to #1 in late night, and easily outpaced Conan's ratings.
  • Am I the only one who thinks it's ridiculous that poker players are allowed to wear sunglasses? Shouldn't a top tell come from someone's eyes? Dumb. Page Lady Gaga.
  • Maybe you've heard... our newscasts are now in HD. As readers of this blog know, I try not to watch anything not in HD, so I'm happy we're able to deliver the local news, weather, and most importantly, SPORTS!, in high definition. Once you see the difference, it's hard to settle for anything less. We're even going high def on SoundOFF. That could be a mistake.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Shirts My Dad Wears, PR for HB, Erin Andrews Tweets

  • I'm feeling another classic Celtics-Lakers match-up coming on. Man, I miss Bird vs. Magic.
  • Craig Sager's TNT suit Monday night had to be a dare. Even by Sager's standards it was ridiculous. My dad wouldn't even wear that suit, and we have a Facebook site devoted to my father, "Shirts My Dad Wears".!/pages/Shirts-My-Dad-Wears/171011848881?ref=ts
  • Paddy O'Prado, Super Saver, and Lookin' At Lucky will all skip the Belmont. Most of us can go back to not caring about horse racing until the next Derby.
  • Uh-oh. The Cubs gave Lou Piniella the dreaded vote of confidence. Actually, I think the Cubs will stick with Piniella through the rest of this lost season, but Ryne Sandberg better keep renting in Des Moines, just in case.
  • Glad Chris Hassel was able to do a story on Harrison Barnes, track star. It's time Barnes finally received some media coverage.
  • A package deal for John Calipari & LeBron James? Even if it were true, and I doubt it is, if I'm the Bulls, I pass.
  • Erin Andrews is now tweeting the phone number to vote for her on Dancing with the Stars. Edward R. Murrow first did this in the 60s.
  • I still haven't seen Iron Man 2. Do I need to make it a priority?
  • I have two Friday Night Lights waiting in the DVR. I've got to catch up. I hear the new season is great, even with the budget cuts to the show.
  • The worst part of my week is I can't get "We Built This City" out of my head. I blame Sioux City. And Starship.

World Cup, Brockmire, and Phone Tumors


Another ho-hum sports week is in the books. Andy Fales has learned that Paddy O'Prado won't race in the Belmont Stakes, in three weeks. That means Paddy's triple-crown career is over...and Andy's career as a horse racing reporter is likely over, as well.

The Cardinals fell out of 1st place in the NL Central for the first time since July 31, 2009. I'm guessing it won't last long. The Reds have it going, right now, but 4 1/2 months is a long time. I think the Cards will win the division by 8-12 games.

My favorite part of SoundOFF was, during FaceOFF, when Andy did his best FIFA World Cup promo. I must admit, he knocked the South African accent out of the studio. I'll try to get into the World Cup, but I'm afraid I'll have to stick to watching highlights of the one or two goals scored a game. I really want to like the sport, but when there's no scoring, there's no excitement. I loved playing soccer as a kid, but we would actually put the ball in the net.

I'm much more interested in the NHL playoffs than the NBA playoffs. I like them both, but hockey has it going on this year. And if you think hockey is anything like soccer, check yourself.

Shawn is right. 'America, the Story of US' is an amazing series on the History channel. I get goose bumps every time they roll the open. It's a must-see. Chances are, if it's on History, or Discovery, I'm going to love it.

If you have a sense of humor, and don't mind a few dirty words, google 'Jim Brockmire'. He's a broadcasting "legend" ... I've memorized the entire 4-minute video. Believe me, it's much better than 'We Built Sioux City'.

Guess what? An international study has found that cell phones don't cause brain-tumors. Did anyone actually believe that rumor, in the first place? The study also found that telling a lie does, indeed, give you white deposits on your fingernails. Fascinating.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Paddy, NBA, and The Story of Us.

I don't profess to be a horse racing expert, but Paddy O'Prado looked down-right disinterested down the home stretch at The Preakness Stakes.  At one point, it looked as though Paddy forgot he was in the middle of a race, as he nuzzled up to the horse to his right.  He rebounded to finish sixth, which is disappointing to his owners at Donegal Racing.  After all, Paddy finished third at the Kentucky Derby, a race with nearly twice as many entrants as The Preakness.

Andy Fales reports no decision has been made about whether or not to enter the horse in the Belmont Stakes.  My guess is Paddy O'Prado will not run in New York in three weeks.

I can't get into the NBA playoffs.  Even the Lebron drama doesn't interest me.  Actually, I haven't watched much NBA since 1998.  The style of play, egos, and artificial arena noise are a total turn-off for me.  That being said, the Bulls of the Jordan era were the exception for me.  I never missed a game.

I love The History Channel, and America: The Story of Us is my latest obsession.  Check it out on Sunday nights.  It trumps The Pacific on HBO during the same time slot, and I never would have thought that a few months ago.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Getting Your Preak On, Scratch Harass, Big 12 Wakes Up

  • Andy Fales is in Baltimore "getting his Preak on". That's their slogan, not mine. It's meant to attract people back to the Preakness after not allowing fans to bring their own alcohol last year caused a huge attendance drop. This year, they're offering fans on the infield all they can drink for $20. This could be the next place we see a Taser used.
  • Andy reports Iowa owned Paddy O'Prado looked the best in workouts. Then again I used to play with a guy in high school who never missed a shot at practice. Not sure he ever made one in a game.
  • Famous race track announcer blooper, "Don't forget to scratch Harass".
  • Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe finally shows some fight. Beebe told WHB radio in KC that Big 12 schools need to remember how strong the conference is in football. Beebe says he's ready to find out who's in, and who's out. Well, if Missouri has the chance to join the Big Ten, it's obvious Missouri is out, (of the Big 12) probably Nebraska too. Beebe and the Big 12 are playing catch-up after being asleep at the wheel. The Big Ten is acting, Big 12 reacting.
  • NFL fans and writers just don't care about PEDs. Brian Cushing tests positive for a drug that masks steroid use, the AP asks for a re-vote of Cushing's defensive rookie of the year award, and he wins again. In baseball, no way that happens. Cushing denies cheating, but don't they all. He can't explain how the drug got in his system.
  • Roller derby is blowing up again. I feel like I'm back in the 70's. I'll have to check it out.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dr. J's Famous House Call, Red Socks on Red Sox, Booing Starlin Castro

  • It's the 30th anniversary of Dr. J's mind-blowing up-and-under move in game 4 of the NBA finals. The Lakers went on to beat the 76ers in the series,  but let's not forget, the Doctor made many of the moves before Air Jordan did.
  • The Atlanta Hawks should be ashamed of themselves. Our dog who sleeps 22 hours a day thinks the Hawks showed no effort.
  • In the best quarterfinal series, I look forward to Cavs-Celtics 5. LeBron says he'll D-up Rajon Rondo on occasion. No one could stop Rondo in game 4.
  • Props to Boston's Dustin Pedroia. At least one Red Sox player actually shows red socks. Enough with the stupid pajama bottoms.
  • Ken Griffey Jr. needs to stay out of the locker room during games, and naps are definitely out of bounds, but you can't cut the greatest player in Mariners history. Fine him, talk him into "retiring", but you can't cut him---even with his .208 average.
  • Didn't take Cubs fans long to boo Starlin Castro, but his effort going after the ball following his third error was inexcusable, and allowed the Marlins an extra base.
  • I love Jamie Moyer pitching a shutout at age 47. Anytime an active player is still getting it done, and he's older than me, I feel I've got some game left somewhere. Once all players are younger, it will be harder for me to kid myself.
  • USA Today has a front page story on I-Cubs manager Ryne Sandberg and the people who were named after him in the 80's. Here's another: Chris Ryne Hassel.
  • I need more info, but at first blush, I like the AP re-opening the vote for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year after Brian Cushing tested positive for performance enhancers.
  • UNI has called a news conference for Thursday at noon. Our friends at KWWL report Hawkeye assistant Doug Schwab will be announced as the next Panther wrestling coach.
  • The one recreational sport that's recession proof: hunting. Sales are up 22%. Hard hit sports include water skiing -20%, snow skiing -12%, and golf -11%.
  • I watched episode 9 of the Pacific on HBO last night. It was the hardest to watch yet. Brilliant, but joyless---which I'm sure is the point. Band of Brothers had more humor and male-bonding. Pacific makes the point, war is hell, and makes it as well as any production ever. Relentlessly.

Monday, May 10, 2010

What the Crap, Ed?! Upstaged on Mother's Day, Bono turns 50.

  • Andy Fales has a new favorite athlete. Paddy O'Prado. Andy's following Paddy like Shawn Terrell follows Pearl Jam. Next stop: The Preakness Stakes (for Andy and Paddy, not Shawn and PJ).  I don't think the Preakness is even on Andy's bucket list, but after the great job he and photojournalist James Searls did at the Kentucky Derby, they were bound to get another assignment. Also headed to Baltimore, one of the country's premier writers on horse racing, Dan Johnson of the Des Moines Register. Not heading to Baltimore, a World Series.
  • Greg McDermott went right to work on discipline. McD booted P'Allen Stinnett off the Creighton team. No surprise. Hopefully, P'Allen calls Mike Taylor and learns it can be a good thing.
  • What the crap, Ed?! More yucky weather. The I-Cubs game Monday is rained out. Cubs don't return home until May 20th. Hopefully it will be at least 60 degrees by then.
  • What a Mother's Day moment from Dallas Braden! The A's pitcher tosses a no-hitter in front of the grandmother who raised him after his mother died of cancer. Just awesome. Braden did it against a good team too, the Rays.
  • I bought my mom that huge Oprah book by Kitty Kelly, and a chick flick DVD, "Definitely, Maybe". I was completely upstaged. My wife gave my mom one of her paintings, and this one should be titled "immediately forgetting Oprah book and whatever that DVD is called". It is a sweet painting.
  • Is the Yankees-Red Sox game over yet? I had to go to bed at 2 a.m.
  • A-Rod tied Frank Robinson for 7th on the all-time home run list with 586. Of all the many ways I despise what steroids have done to baseball, nothing makes me sadder, or madder, than a guy like A-Rod cheating his way to a once hallowed number like 586.
  • Good to see West Des Moines' Tim McClelland run Yankees manager Joe Girardi. No additional comment. I just like seeing the Yankees manager tossed.
  • You knew it was only a matter of time before the tasing went too far. Now a drunk fan is tased for heckling Tiger Woods? Giving Tiger an earful and running on the field (or course) are not the same thing. 
  • Are you buying Tiger's neck injury? I don't doubt he's in pain---physical and emotional---but if Tiger were in contention, there is ZERO percent chance he withdraws. Suddenly passing Jack's 18 majors doesn't look like a lock. Tiger just isn't intimidating any longer.
  • I'm getting into these NBA playoffs. Sunday was another great day. Rajon Rondo completely outplays LeBron James, a guy whose elbow only seems to be a problem when he's playing poorly. Over in San Antonio, the Suns swept away the Spurs, and the great Steve Nash looked like Rocky Balboa before Rock said, "You gotta cut me, Mick."
  • Should newspapers cheerlead? The NY Daily News has a column aimed at LeBron and why he should sign with the Knicks.
  •  Sunday night on SoundOFF, the 'Who's In Your 5" featured my favorite superheroes. At #3, I listed Superman. Our wonderful graphics artist, Jennifer Allison, who does an amazing job, used a picture of the late Christopher Reeve as Superman. We immediately received a fun email from Brandon Routh's parents asking why we didn't use the local guy. Love it.
  • Our big ol' family went to Honey Creek Resort on Rathbun Lake for a couple days. We had a great time, as we always do, but this time there was something different: people! It was sold out, and when we tried to book a cabin for a week in the summer, those were full too. I'm really happy to see the place doing well. It's received some bad pub, and we've always had a positive experience with really nice local people working hard.
  • At a cancer fundraiser Saturday night, the city of Albia presented me with a big petition to bring RVTV to the beautiful town square. Andy and I think it's time to retire RVTV, but if we're talked into it, Albia would be a perfect place to stop.
  • I'm not sure why the Barnstormers don't have the buzz they did the past two years, but back-to-back crowds of 8,000 confirms it. It's surprising since the Stormers stepped up to a better league, and this week entered with a two game winning streak on a Saturday night with cold weather. I hope the crowds return with the warmer weather.
  • It's not uncommon for refs to talk to soccer players about not playing dead to sell a penalty, but recently in Croatia, a player drew a yellow card for playing dead, and he was... dead. Heart attack.
  • Bono is 50?! The man remains cool, and more relevant than ever. Justin Bieber, you have 36 years to keep up. Good luck.
  • All weekend, I continued getting feedback on when it's appropriate for a grown man to wear a sports jersey. Lot of passion on this topic.

Perfecto, Ryno, O'Prado, Oh No


From no-name, to perfect game. Some dude with two first names threw the 19th no-hitter in Major League history, Sunday. Dallas Braden (or is it Braden Dallas?), had a career record of 16-23 when he took the mound against Rays who, right now, are the best team in baseball. A's fans will never forget him...all 72 of them.

The I-Cubs haven't played many perfect games this season. I've been to at least 10 of them and I'm usually lucky to see one run. Today, I was able to see one inning! That's an offensive explosion for a team that's been struggling with the bats all season. Ryne Sandberg told us he hopes this is finally the end of the slump.

I was surprised to see all the empty seats in the lower bowl of Wells Fargo Arena at Saturday night's Barnstormers game. The announced crowd was just over 8,000, but I think the new AFL franchise wants to be doing a little better. Last year, they averaged 9,500, a game. And, after that 12,000-fan showing on opening night, I thought they'd be drawing no less than 9-10k a game. I was thinking, and hoping, there would be more 'buzz' surrounding the team.

I'm happy to see Paddy O'Prado will be given the chance to run at the 'Preakness', this Saturday, in Baltimore. The race is about a tenth of a mile shorter than the Kentucky Derby. As you may remember, Paddy faded fast on the final stretch, costing him a second-place finish. Perhaps the 1-3/16th mile track at Pimlico will be more to his liking. You can watch the race on Channel 13.

Tiger Woods picked up his ball, and went home. Some would say he 'quit'. Tiger says he left due to neck pain. He believes he might have a bulging disk (or disc). Not to be confused with a bulging...well...just listen for yourself:   It was inevitable.

I'm supposed to play in the Principal Charity Classic media event at Glen Oaks CC, Monday. The weather report calls for 47 degree temps, rain showers, and sustained 20 mph winds. I've already told myself I'm not going to cancel. I just hope, if the weather holds true, the fine folks at Glen Oaks cancel it for us. Insert Keith's "What the crap, Ed?!", here.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Saturday, May 8th 2010

The Barnstormers can't seem to sustain any momentum.  After two straight wins, the 'Stormer came home to face 1-3 Cleveland, but turnovers hamstrung the team.  What's more disconcerting, the crowd was pretty sparse by 'Stormer standards.  Officially, eight thousand and change showed up, but actually attendance was much lower.

Paddy O'Prado has a change of heart regarding The Preakness.  Paddy was originally going to skip the race, but now tells me (via a horse whisperer) that he plans to run at Pimlico.  Andy Fales is already angling for a trip to Baltimore.

There a running joke among I-Cubs staffers that anytime the weather takes a turn for the worse, the team must be returning from a road trip.  Another fine example of that this weekend.  I'm supposed to go to Principal Park (as a fan) tomorrow, but I'm strongly reconsidering.  Baseball isn't much fun to watch in person when there's a wind chill advisory.


Friday, May 07, 2010

McCaffery Undefeated at Iowa, Teri Hatcher Spectacular, Middle-Aged Men in Jerseys

  • Fran McCaffery has fired up Hawkeye fans more in three months than Todd Lickliter did in three years. Des Moines County I-Club fans gave McCaffery several standing ovations at their event Thursday night, and most hadn't heard of McCaffery before March. It was a record crowd, which again proves how hungry Hawk fans are to see some winning. McCaffery pushed all the right buttons, including saying Iowa won't play slow, which is another way of saying Iowa won't play Lickliter-style. All told, the night proved Iowa A.D. Gary Barta was right to make a change. Fans pay the bills.
  • Who is the all-time NFL draft bust? Overall #1 Jamarcus Russell belongs in the conversation. Oakland ignored the buzz on Russell, that he was lazy and disinterested, and bet their immediate future on him. Well, he turned out to be lazy and disinterested. The constantly overweight and underprepared Russelly won seven games in 3 years, which means the Raiders paid more than $5 million per win. Bust.
  • The Yankees and Red Sox resume the best rivalry in sports this weekend at glorious Fenway Park... but can they please SPEED UP! Good gosh, each pitch now takes longer than an at-bat used to. The games all push the four hour mark. That's too much, and they're losing the kids. The batter does not need to step out of the box and re-adjust his gloves, body armor, and cup every single pitch.
  • The umpire ejected Ryne Sandberg for arguing balls and strikes Thursday night. Good job, Ryno. It's good to see that fire. The way the I-Cubs are playing, it won't be the last time Ryno's run. The Cubs return to Des Moines this weekend, but Ed says you may need a space heater and blanket at Principal Park. Always allow for a 10 degree drop on the river.
  • Should off the field behavior cost you the Hall-of-Fame? Would you eject OJ and LT? I say no. Players are elected for what they did on the field, and their behavior while they represented the league. I've even flipped on Pete Rose over the years. I think it's time he was put in the Hall as a player, though I agree with Bob Costas: the plaque needs to tell how Rose was banned from baseball for gambling while managing the Reds.
  • Teri Hatcher will play in this year's Principal Charity Classic. Line of the day goes to Today in Iowa anchor, Pat Dix: "Her swing is real, and it's spectacular". (Seinfeld fans feel me.) The Pro-Am is June 2nd at Glen Oaks in West Des Moines.
  • Here's my ranking of the Pro-Am celebrities, the ones I remember, over the years in order of my personal "wow" reaction: 1) Michael J. Fox, icon. 2) Ron Livingston, an upset at #2, but when you've been in both Office Space and Band of Brothers, you're the man. 3) Rob Lowe, West Wing and About Last Night. 4) Teri Hatcher, Seinfeld guest. Don't care about the rest. 5) Jason Taylor. Football player. Yawn.
  • Anyone catch the midnight show of Iron Man 2? I loved Iron Man. Robert Downey Jr. proved in Shelock Holmes he can make even an average movie seem better than it is (and who could forget him  heckling divers in Back to School). I expect Iron Man 2 is good, but will fall short of the original because they'll try to do more of everything. That's the sequel mistake.
  • Taylor Swift sold out Wells Fargo Arena Thursday night. I'm interested to hear how the show was. She's a major talent, though her voice has sounded thin in many live television appearances. (By the way, Kanye was inexcusably rude, but also right. Beyonce's video was better and more influential.)
  • Pella is a nice town right out of a simpler era, or is that just nostalgia tugging at me? I've only been to Tulip Time once, but I enjoyed it for a few minutes. I can't stare at flowers all day. Too cold this weekend. Hope the tulips survive the wind.
  • Andy and I are debating how old a man can be and get away with wearing a jersey. I think a classic baseball jersey can be worn throughout life. Football and hockey jerseys are more tricky. In general, they don't fit well because they were designed to go with pads, and you better only wear it to a game, if then. For goodness sakes, make sure you don't put your last name on a 49ers 16 jersey... that's for Montana only. Basketball jerseys are simply a no. No one wants to see the hairy shoulders of a 40-year old man. If you have to wear Bird's 33 or Magic's 32, a t-shirt underneath is a must, but the Patrick Ewing look stinks anyway, so why bother. Agree? Disagree?
  • We're moving into a new electronic home at channel 13. Within weeks, virtually everything you see coming out of our station will be in high definition, and if you read this blog on a regular basis, or watch SoundOFF, or listen to Murph & Andy, you know no one will be happier than me. I'm an HD snob. However, like anytime you renovate your home, or move into a new one, there is going to be some tinkering and troubleshooting. Please bear with us. Once our contruction is complete, you'll love your new HD news home.
  • Where's the Barnstormer buzz? Two straight wins, let's see if the fans show up 10,000+ strong for Saturday night's game.
  • Ever wonder what it's like to catch a home run at a Major League game? Wonder no more:

  • Have a great weekend. Don't forget, Chris Hassel and I will be Albia Saturday night at the Skean Block, raising money for the Susan G. Komen foundation. Dinner at 6:30. Stop by if you can.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Marion Strikes Out, Orr Floor, Metro Football

  • I expect to see Des Moines' Montell Marion wrestling at the NCAA championships again, but it won't be for the Iowa Hawkeyes. The University had no choice after Marion stepped it in again. I hope Montell finally learns. He's got an upside.
  • Fred Couples just helped the Principal Charity Classic sell a few thousand tickets. Couples is the player to beat.
  • Fran McCaffery keeps reminding Hawkeye fans of better times. That's smart. Hiring former star Ryan Bowen is the latest shrewd move by McCaffery.
  • Fred Hoiberg now has 10 players! That will make scrimmaging easier.
  • I'm told Iowa State is considering several different ways to honor the father of Hilton Magic, Johnny Orr, including the "Johnny Orr Floor". The Orr Floor is meeting surprising opposition from some influential people. Some boosters/alums/faculty think it's too much. Jamie Pollard met with Orr in January to discuss options.
  • Whatever way of honoring Orr is chosen, the timing is perfect. Two of his favorite players are now on Iowa State's coaching staff: Hoiberg and Jeff Grayer, both Cyclone legends. Orr coached Michigan to the national championship game and took the Iowa State job the same year (for money). That was a shot of Cyclone self-esteem.
  • There is no way to make someone who wasn't ever there understand what Hilton Magic was like in the 80's and 90's. Even mediocre Iowa State teams were virtually unbeatable at home, and the crowd could get so loud the rim would move and the floor would shake. Hilton Coliseum was one of the best home court advantages in America. Before Orr arrived, Hilton was empty, and ISU basketball had no identity. No wonder Hoiberg wants to bring back the Magic.
  • Carver-Hawkeye Arena used to rock too---though it was hard to remember at this year's wakes. Like Hoiberg, McCaffery has made it a priority to bring the noise. He wants CHA loud and proud. "Let's Be Mad Again" notwithstanding, Iowa basketball is again showing a pulse.
  • We had an interesting conversation on "Murph & Andy" with Des Moines Roosevelt football coach Guy Rosenberg and former Waterloo East coach, Mike Sheeley (who coached B-Ross). They're part of a group that started a Des Moines football league for junior high kids. Besides the kids having fun playing football, it's an effort to help the city schools catch up and keep up with the suburban schools. For more info, go to and check under the Des Moines Metro Youth Football headline.
  • I like the new lanes on Ingersoll. Seems more like a neighborhood and less like a highway.
  • Lady Gaga tries too hard.
  • Chris Hassel and I will be in Albia Saturday night at the Skean Block restaurant to help raise money for the Susan G. Komen fight against breast cancer. If you can, come see us.
  • I'm using the appearance---with an assist from the grandparents---to take the kids to the Honey Creek Resort water park. They love it. It's a beautiful place.
  • Don't forget Mother's Day. (this last note was to myself)

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Wrestling with Mistakes, Shawn's Surprise, Taste the Taser

  • Des Moines' Montell Marion can't seem to stay out of trouble. Public intox, vandalism, and now worst of all, OWI. As Marion wrestled his way to a second place finish at the NCAA wrestling championships in March, he told our Shawn Terrell he was ready to put childish mistakes behind him and get on with being a man. Drunk driving is not what Montell had in mind. The University of Iowa has a three strikes and you're out policy (more info in Wednesday's Register). It will be interesting to see if Marion is out. He was not arrested for the 2009 vandalism, though he did admit to doing it.
  • Shawn Johnson knows how to make 8,000 screaming kids even louder: break news. Shawn announced at the Hy-Vee Hall "Exercise Your Character" rally that she's back to training at Chow's Gymnastics, and plans to compete in the 2012 Olympics in London. Good for her. It won't be easy. She's been away from competitive gymnastics for 20 months, she had reconstructive surgery on her knee a few months ago, and after growing several inches and aging two more years, she'll find the tumbling more challenging. Don't doubt her. Shawn's been so busy being a celebrity, we forget at one time she was the best gymnast on the planet, the world champ.
  • I think beyond the physical challenge---gymnasts peak in their mid teens---it will be difficult to give up all those treats Shawn finally tasted after years of going without. I'm talking about everything from junk food to hanging with friends to just doing nothing. When you're training for the Olympics, it takes an incredible amount of discipline and dedication. I couldn't do it. Shawn can.
  • Liang Chow is the man.
  • Shawn, Lolo, Keely (possibly) all headed for London. We should probably start planning early. Boss, are you reading this? My Visa is up to date.
  • Paddy O'Prado may not be a slacker after all. He says through an interpreter he's thinking of running in the Preakness. Way to go, Paddy! Now we have to wait and see if the Preakness is also on Andy's bucket list. Gosh, I hope not.
  • I just watched American Idol. Frank Sinatra wants his songs back.
  • Fans who run on the field in the middle of Major League Baseball games are fools who should feel the Taser if they're not quickly caught. I'll never forget seeing that Royals first base coach take a beating.
  • It's 12:30 a.m. I've got to start finishing these sooner! I still have to watch Parenthood.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Hoiberg's First Assist, Barnstormer Buzz, Mother's Day Mystery

  • Fred Hoiberg made his first good coaching decision. He either encouraged Charles Boozer to transfer, or quickly accepted Boozer's decision. Either way, it was the right call. Hoiberg has enough goodwill built up that he could have suspended Boozer and still claimed character counts, but the police report on Boozer's arrest was ugly, and there's no place on Hoiberg's team for a player who (allegedly) pushed, slapped, and kicked a woman. Boozer says he'll seek treatment. I hope he does. Before Saturday, Charles had a stellar reputation.
  • Jim Walden is wrong. Most coaches won't root against Fred Hoiberg suceeding. The unique circumstances that make Hoiberg a chance worth taking at Iowa State won't suddenly make coaching experience irrellevant, even if Fred wins championships.
  • I'll be interested to see if the buzz returns for the Barnstormers after two straight wins. I thought the move up to the top level of arena football would have more people talking, and more fans in the stands.
  • The Pacific on HBO is brilliant, but it's not always easy to watch.
  • Mother's Day confuses me. I thought I needed to buy my mother a present. Now I'm hearing I need to buy my wife a present because she's a mother, my sister a present because she's a mother... where does it end?!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Boozer Arrested, Cubbies Streaking, Broken English


It didn't take long for that warm and fuzzy feeling to fade away from the Iowa State basketball program. Three days after Fred Hoiberg was introduced as head coach, he already has a player problem. ISU guard Charles Boozer was arrested, on Saturday, and charged with simple assault. We don't know what exactly happened in Ames, that afternoon. Coach Hoiberg doesn't either. He was in Minneapolis tying up some loose ends at his former job. He said he will meet with ISU administrators when he returns.

Remember the days when the I-Cubs would put up 8, 9, even 10 runs a game? Yeah, all those players are now in the majors. It's been a rough opening month for Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg. To make matters worse, one of Iowa's top hitters is heading to the shelf. Jason Dubois will spend the better part of two weeks rehabbing a bad back in Arizona.

The C-Cubs are streaking, again. Three wins, three losses, three wins...they're more inconsistent than Oprah's diet. If you're keeping track, the Cardinals at 4.5 games ahead of the Cubbies after one month of play.

David Zabriskie...the football player? Sounds crazy, but ISU's 2010 NCAA wrestling champion is trading in the headgear for a helmet. The Browns are giving him a chance to compete for a spot on the team at mini-camp this spring. Most invitees don't make it, but the would-be linebacker sure knows how to tackle.

Andy and photographer James Searls did a fantastic job at the Derby, last week. I'm glad I wasn't the only one to notice the strange sounds of an English track announcer, in Louisville....where they don't speak English.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Paddy's Day

Sure, everyone in Iowa would have loved to see Paddy O'Prado win the Kentucky Derby, but a third place finish is incredible.  Perspective helps.  Just a few months ago, Paddy was a long-shot just to qualify for the Derby.  Jerry Crawford, one of the owner's with Donegal Racing, said Paddy was knocked off his stride in the final turn, which may have prevented the horse from winning.  Either way, the Central Iowans that make up Donegal Racing made millions on Saturday.  Paddy won't run the Preakness, and the Belmont remains up in the air.  But at the very least, he'll command a sizeable stud fee for the rest of his life.  It's a charmed life (I'm talking about the horse, of course).

Fran McCaffrey landed a recruit on Saturday...again.  According to, Meslahn Basabe will sign with Iowa.  Basabe is a 6'7" forward out of New York.  He originally signed on to play for McCaffery at Siena, but was released from his letter of intent when McCaffery left for Iowa.

I'm headed to Kansas City on Monday to see Pearl Jam at the Sprint Center, and I'm bringing Mark Meisenheimer with me.  Mark has never seen PJ live, so I'm interested to see his reaction.  This will be my 18th show, for those of you scoring at home.  I can't wait to hear some of the songs off the new album live for the first time, and to hear "Even Flow" for the 18th time.

Peace out,