Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Clayborn is no Bielema, King has no ring, Team Sharkboy

  • Adrian Clayborn is no Fred Barr or Bret Bielema. The more I think about it, the more I don't think Clayborn was taking an intentional shot at Iowa State when he told the Des Moines Register Iowa is "the only team in the state". I think Clayborn was just trying to express what it's like being in the fishbowl of Hawkeye football in a state with no pro teams. That doesn't mean we've heard the end of it.
  • Chris Bono leaving Iowa State before taking another job first could certainly make one speculate there's more to this story, but we just don't know. At least I don't. Bono won a national championship for the Cyclones in 1996 before two stints as an assistant coach.
  • Shawn Johnson still keeps popping up everywhere, including the Twilight premier. Her fame will make it much  harder for her to focus on training for 2012. She's still in demand.
  • How can the Cubs keep losing to the Pirates?
  • I am tired of all the "Courting the King" coverage. Le Bron James is an amazing talent, but it's all just too much for a king with no ring.
  • Can't believe we're back to flood watch alert. The video of the rising water is a sight. We all hope no one loses too much.
  • I'm off to Boston for July 4th weekend. I'm taking my wife to see Lady Gaga---yeah, I don't get her either---but the trade off is two Red Sox games. This is a lose/win/win. Actually, I hear Ms. Gaga puts on a good show. As long as she doesn't sing that earworm, Poker Face. "Mum mum mum mah Mum mum mum mah Mum mum mum mah Mum mum mum mah Mum mum mum mah I wanna hold em like they do in Texas please..." See.
  • That screaming you hear is either coming from girls watching Bieber at the Well, or girls watching Twilight at the theater. Can you believe Jacob was once Sharkboy?

Clayborn Forgets Iowa State, Ricky Loves Rocky

  • Great way for the College World Series to end a spectacular run at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha. South Carolina wins on a walk-off single in extra innings.
  • The hits just keep on coming for Iowa basketball. Sophomore forward Brennan Cougill didn't make grades.  He's transferring to Kirkwood and hopes to return to Iowa. Fran McCaffery sounds like that's no sure thing.
  • Shawn Terrell interviewed a bunch of Iowa football players Tuesday. Most Hawks are doing their best to convince us they're unaware of all the hype. Don't believe it. They know what's going on.
  • All-American Adrian Clayborn admits there's so much talk, he tries to stay in the house. Clayborn told the Des Moines Register, “It comes with being a Hawkeye football player. I mean we’re the only team in the state, as far as I know. And it comes with being us, I guess." It probably feels that way when you're a Hawkeye star in Iowa City, but the Cyclones won't care for the comment. If Clayborn plays the way he did in the Orange Bowl, he can get away with saying whatever he wants.
  • Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi loves Rocky IV. It is underrated. Essentially one long music video of training montages, but it could be used in an editing class. Apollo Creed dying, roided-up Drago saying "I will break you", Soviet citizens chanting "Rocky, Rocky", what's not to love.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What's Bugging Andy? We have an answer.

  • The bugs have their revenge. Andy was reporting live on the new bridge in downtown Des Moines when he swallowed a bug. You can't make it up. Andy tried to soldier on, but he just couldn't talk. Immediately the emails and texts started, "I know what's bugging Andy tonight..." Yes, it was on a tee. If you missed it, here it is. The bug's revenge starts at 1:40.
  • A few of our listeners on the Murph and Andy Show on KXnO, and viewers on the channel 13 news, misunderstood our discussion on disappointing crowds at the USA Track and Field National Championships. Drake did a great job, as expected; athletes, for the most part, raved; the fans who did show enjoyed world class competition. It's just many people, like Lolo Jones, expected a full house like we see Saturdays at the Drake Relays. That was probably not realistic. The Relays is as much about tradition and community pride as it is track and field. Plus, this week's event had to compete with I-Cubs, Barnstormers, Arts Festival, vacations, kids baseball & softball tournaments, etc. Still, Lolo worries the half-empty looking stadium on national TV could hurt Des Moines' ability to draw an Olympic Trials. It may, but Drake Stadium is bigger than comparable sites, and no one would should expect sellouts in a non-Olympic year. Drake and Des Moines did a great job.
  • Carlos Zambrano and the Cubs finally do something smart: get him some help. Hopefully, Big Z takes it seriously.
  • Is anyone watching Persons Unknown on NBC? This mind-bender is the best thing going on TV this summer. Well, next to Andy live.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Hold the Oil, Stinky Tourists, Movie Reviews

  • It's good to be back from a "trip" to Florida. As you parents know, with kids,  it's a trip. No kids, and it's a vacation.
  • We went to Daytona Beach. It was more crowded than previous years because so many people had to switch coasts due to the oil. Sad.
  • It felt about 110 degrees in Orlando, which made the airport security checkpoint a real stinkfest. Tourists removing shoes in those conditions is just awful.
  • I like flying Allegiant Air, but I still can't get used to the flight attendants working so hard to sell drinks, food, and souvenirs.
  • We visited the Kennedy Space Center, and I loved it, as always. I've always found space travel and astronauts fascinting, but these days it seems a little like visiting a beeper store.
  • Loved seeing Drake Stadium on national TV, but wish there were more people in the seats. I knew attendance was down when Lolo Jones sent a tweet asking for more people to show up and represent. Drake did a great job, just a lot going on in late June.
  • Want to see a sellout? The NCAA Wrestling Championships belong in Iowa, and it's great to learn the tournament is coming in 2013. It won't be the last time.
  • I saw three movies on vacation. Toy Story 3 is fantastic. Hard to live up to the quality of the first two Toy Storys, and 3 may have surpassed them. Michael Keaton steals the show as Ken. Karate Kid is very entertaining. It's a little hard to see a 12 year old getting beat up, but Jaden Smith does his parents proud, and Jackie Chan shows depth I never knew he had. China is also a star. Too long, but a real crowd-please. Grown Ups was disappointing. I enjoy Adam Sandler movies, but this one isn't that funny. It's mindless, sophomoric fun if you need to pass 90 minutes, but I suspect the actors had more fun making Grown Ups than you will watching it.  

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saturday Scattershots

Lolo Jones' child-like enthusiasm is infectious.  Lolo has won countless big races.  Still, she celebrated like she just won the lottery following her win Saturday at the U.S. Track and Field Championships.

Good to see the Barnstormers build a big lead and maintain it.  Granted Utah stinks, but considering the 'Stormers had lost three straight home games, it's a big win.

How does the U.S. soccer team come out flat in the first half of a World Cup elimination game?  I love pun, so I'll close by saying the Americans are going, going, Ghana.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Singlets, Trousers, and Rosin bags

Shouldn't Des Moines host the NCAA Wrestling Championships every year?  Iowans say yes, but the folks at Minnesota, Oklahoma State, and Cornell, among others, would probably disagree.  As we reported Thursday night, Iowa State will be the host school for the national tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in March of 2013.  An official announcement is expected Friday afternoon. It's a huge "get" for the city and The Des Moines Sports Commission, which continues to bring bigger and better sporting events to the metro with each passing year. 

I covered the NCAA Wrestling Championships in Omaha this past March, and loved it.  I never wrestled, but I did grow up in Iowa, and any sports fan that spends their formative years between the Missouri and Mississipi Rivers should at least have an appreciation for the sport.

Our photographer (and my roommate) Brandon McCauley captured some great video of Craig Brackins' reaction after being picked 21st in the NBA draft.  It's a little higher than I thought Craig would be selected, but good things tend to happen to selfless people.  Craig could have left Iowa State after his sophomore year, but gambled on a special junior season in Ames.  It didn't turn out like anyone hoped, but hindsight is always 20/20.

Who dressed Wesley Johnson for the NBA draft?  Yellow shirt, red tie, navy coat, and plaid trousers?  The trousers looked like pajama bottoms.  Granted, I don't subscribe to Vogue.  Maybe Wes' outfit represents some new trend.  But I just thought he looked goofy.

I had a good time catching up with Paul Rhoads and Bill Fennelly at the Iowa Cubs game on Thursday night.  Both coaches, along with basketball assistant Jeff Grayer, threw out first pitches before the game.  Rhoads fired a fastball for a strike, then saluted the mob of Cyclone faithful in the crowd.  But Fennelly stole the show.  He fluffed the rosin bag, shook off the catcher three times, and then lobbed a change-up for a strike.  Afterward, Fennelly (tongue in cheek) compared himself to Trevor Hoffman.  The only difference... they didn't play Hells Bells before Bill took the mound.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Gavels, Gaga, and Grand Slams


I am not a soccer fan (I hate it), but I like the World Cup. Today was a prime example of why I welcome the event. I got into the sports office about 1:30pm. Instead of dealing with Judge Joe Brown background noise, I was able to watch Spain beat up on some patsy. I'll take vuvuzela's over daytime TV, any day of the week.

The high school football season starts on August 20th, this year. That means CIML teams will have four games in the books before the NFL kicks things off on September 12. Only 8 non-Football Friday's, left.

It was a bittersweet weekend for Iowa Speedway officials. The racing was great (perhaps the best in the Iowa Corn Indy 250's 4-year history), but attendance was not. Just over 35,000 fans passed through the gates, Sunday...the smallest crowd of the four.

Lada Gaga made a special appearance at last weekend's Yankees-Mets the clubhouse: The assistant to the traveling secretary is said to be handling the matter behind closed doors:

The I-Cubs were shut out 4-0, on Sunday. On Monday afternoon, they scored 12 runs...and still lost by 4. The Isotopes hit two grand slams. Gotta love the PCL.

The most-sought after free agent in NBA history has his first off-season offer, and the deal comes with a host family:

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pebble Beach, IRL, and Alex from Green Mountain

The U.S. Open is my favorite major, but Sunday's final round was a train wreck.  Graeme McDowell won because he played "less worse" than everyone else in the field.  After Lefty and Tiger each turned in 66's on Friday and Saturday, respectively, there was potential for great drama.  We didn't get it. 

On a positive note, I absolutely loved having a major broadcast in primetime.  Pebble Beach is the one of the few major venues (Torrey Pines is the only other I can think of off the top of my head) in the Pacific time zone.  That's too bad because, without Musco Lighting and a course on the left coast, it's a little difficult for a major to air live in primetime.

The 2010 version of the Iowa Corn Indy 250 featured the best racing in the event's four-year history.  The threat of rain kept some fans away, but 35,000 in the stands is still pretty solid.

I hosted SoundOFF with Andy on Sunday night.  The show generates a lot of feedback, most of which is respectful and thought-provoking.  There are also emails like the one I received from Alex-

get out more offten

get to know your small towns you putts
quite smoking dope in ames with half the clowns
and explore the small towns of iowa
hell do a sports story on iowa gatorade female athlete from conrad
or is that to hard?

Alex was upset that I had never heard of Green Mountain, IA.  I now know that Green Mountain is in Marshall County and consists of at least four blocks, not counting the cemetery.  I'll try to do better next time.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Channel Changer, OJ's Run, Mullet Wars

  • Now that was a game 7. The Lakers won, but the Celtics went down swinging. Great final minute.
  • I'm glad the series is over just so we don't have to see more of Kobe Bryant's ridiculous post-game news conferences. Kobe is great. One of the all time greats. But his calculated act grows tired fast.
  • Gotta love Ron Artest, who came up big at crunch time. Artest thanked  his 'hood and his psychiatrist.
  • Kudos to ABC's Doris Burke. Sideline/courtside reporting is an often thankless job, too often occupied by eye candy, but Burke asks thoughtful questions and actually listens to the answers. That's harder than it looks.
  • Can you believe that's the first game 7 Phil Jackson has ever coached in the finals? 11 rings, and that was the first. He's now 48-0 in series when his team wins the first game. The man is as good as he thinks he is.
  • I've been tired of the Staples, "WOW! THAT'S A GREAT PRICE!" commercial for a while, but  I've now reached the point where I'll change the channel for 30 seconds. I find it that annoying. What makes you change the channel? (I know. That's on a tee.)
  • I just watched the new ESPN documentary "June 17th, 1994". It's the day OJ Simpson wrote a suicide note, put a gun to his head, and threatened to kill himself in the back of a white Bronco driving slow on the highway while the Knicks and Rockets played game 5 of the NBA Finals. I was in Boston with my best friend, John. We had just finished John's wedding rehearsal and sat glued to the TV in a bar. Still hard to believe all those morons cheering OJ on like he was running from a defense, not an alleged double murder.
  • I loved watching OJ run the football. My dad took me to see him play, and he glided across the field like no one else. I even wore the OJ Spotbilts with the orange bottoms.
  • The enitre OJ trial saga still makes me mad and sad. I hate the way it created a racial divide.
  • IndyCar drivers are the most accomodating and friendly professional athletes I've ever been around.
  • Phil Mickelson became my favorite golfer the moment he pulled up to the Krisp Kreme drive-through wearing his green Masters jacket.
  • Still not into the World Cup, but trying.
  • Fred Hoiberg has 0 wins as a D1 coach. Bobby Lutz has 399. Hoiberg just hired exactly who he needs in an assistant. Part of being successful is knowing when you need help, and Fred is making all the right moves. He'll need to learn fast with the two easiest teams to beat in the Big 12 leaving soon.
  • 47 year old pitcher Jamie Moyer just beat the Yankees. That means I'm still young enough to pitch in the Major Leagues!
  • Sanford in Ames emails that Nebraska joining the Big Ten means there's no possibility of a Cornhusker Network. Sanford says we'll miss out on these shows: 1. Extreme Home Trailer Makeover 2. Cops: The Lawrence Phillips Years 3. Mullet Wars 4. Pimp My Pinto 5. Bridezillas: I Married My Cousin Edition.
  • The SoundOFF video here on of Cornhusker fan Cooter Ray Cornhowler (pronounced corn-hole-er) is approaching 25,000 views.
  • Congratulations to Iowa's Gayle Blevins on a hall of fame career.
  • The Fort Dodge Flash, Lisa Koll, wins a new honor seemingly every day. Good. She's what a student-athlete should be.
  • I can't wait to see Toy Story 3.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cy of Relief

  • If Mark Twain authored this blog, he'd write, "Rumors of the Big 12's death were greatly exagerrated". Plus, the blog would be a lot better.
  • Various reports had the Big 12 down to five teams by Wednesday, but for me, it always came back to one question: Why would Texas want to leave the Big 12? The Longhorns have it good, really good, and you knew it would only get better if the Longhorns stayed.
  • ISU AD Jamie Pollard was right. He said he thought the Big 12 would stay largely aintact, though Pollard acknowledged it was out of Iowa State's control. That's not completely true, as Pollard was one of the players convincing Texas to stay.
  • A number of you have asked how the Big 12 could suddenly come up with millions it didn't have a few weeks ago. I think it's a lot like the experience many of us have had in our professional lives (for me, not at channel 13). You go to the boss, make your case, ask for a raise, but you're told there's no money. Later you go back to the boss to turn in your resignation, you have a better paying job offer, and suddenly like magic, the unavailable money appears. It's called leverage. 
  • Ultimately, Texas went with the devil it knew, versus the devil it doesn't--- though many see Texas as the devil of the Big 12 (maybe less so now).
  • It's a great sigh (cy?) of relief for Iowa State. It's a helpless feeling when you can't control your own destiny, and there was no option on the horizon for ISU better than the Big 12 remaining intact. It's also good for the state of Iowa as a whole, not to mention sportscasts, sports talk radio, and SoundOFF.
  • Define irony: The Big 12 has 10 teams, the Big Ten has 12. This may allow Alanis Morissette to finally figure it out.
  • The Big 12 will likely play a 9 game football schedule, and an 18 game basketball schedule, so everyone plays everyone else in football, and everyone plays everyone home and away in basketball. This is one real positive. I'm with Kirk Ferentz, you should play everyone in your conference. Can't do that with 12 teams. Well, you can, and should, but no one wants to give up those extra home games and easy wins.
  • The Big 12 will have to give up the championship game in football. Hard to imagine this lasting too long with all that money going unclaimed, but Nebraska and Colorado will help for a couple years, thanks to the buyout money they owe (up to $20 million).
  • The Big 12 just became a better basketball conference. Losing Colorado and Nebraska is addition by subtraction (not true in football).
  • Tom Osborne said Friday, "One school leaving a conference does not break up a conferences. Two schools leaving a conference does not break up a conference. Six schools leaving a conference breaks up a conference." Correct.
  • Most Nebraska fans laughed at Chris Hassel's way over-the-top SoundOFF spoof of Cornhusker fans. Anyone who took that seriously probably thinks pro wrestling is real.
  • Moving forward, one cautionary tale from conference armageddon: the use of unnamed sources in news stories. At one time or another, and to varying degrees, Joe Schad at ESPN, KCTV and WHB in Kansas City, and even the lead reporter accurately breaking most of the news, Chip Brown at, were all burned by unnamed sources. All are reputable and do good work, and I don't doubt the sources were well placed and well intended, but when someone doesn't go on the record, you can never be sure what their motive or agenda is. With no accountability, those sources are more likely to be reckless on a fluid story like this one (i.e. "It was true at the time I told you."). I've used unnamed sources, and though I haven't been notably burned, everyone in journalism should pause and reflect. The era of social media is mostly a good thing, but the rush to be first is pressuring reporters to forget their tenets. 
  • Schad looked noticeably uncomfortable after backpeddling like Darrelle Revis. He's a good reporter who should hang in there. Ten days ago, Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe had the body language of a BP exec, and now he's a conquering hero. This too shall pass.
  • Texas used reporters, conferences, and schools to get exactly what it wanted: far more money, and the potential for its own TV network.
  • Aren't you glad this is (seemingly) over? I'm exhausted.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Big XII Conference: 1996-2011

Here lies the Big 12 conference.  Its downfall is surreal.  The word "surreal" is over-used a lot, but it's the only way I can describe what has happened and what appears could happen.

Iowa State fans are walking around in a daze, and it's hard to blame them. Based on what's been reported so far, ISU and Baylor appear to be the only Big 12 teams without a decent backup plan.  For the Cyclones and Bears, the only good option is to hold on to the Big 12 for dear life and hope it stays afloat.

If there's a sliver of a silver lining for Iowa State, it's that everyone seems to be in store for a quick resolution. An extended period of limbo would kill recruiting.  The Texas Board of Regents meets Tuesday, and after that meeting, we should have a pretty good idea which conference The University of Texas wants to belong to.

At this point, what can the Big 12 do to convince Texas to stay?  Offer the Longhorns a bigger share of the revenue split?  That wouldn't be fair if we were talking about any school in the Big 12, let alone Texas, which already has one of the biggest athletic budgets in the nation.  But giving Texas a one-sided deal to stay in the Big 12 is still better than the alternative for most of the remaining schools.

I understand why Nebraska jumped to the Big Ten.  It's a good fit, and it makes sense on several levels.  But I had to chuckle at a few of the reasons offerered by Athletic Director Tom Osborne.  Osborne went on at length, stating how many of the Huskers' outdoor sports were at a competitive disadvantage because of the climate in Nebraska vs. the climate in Texas.  Last I checked, Nebraska had pretty solid baseball and softball programs. 

Shifting gears, is there a more polarizing sport in the United States than soccer?  I find most people either love it or hate it.  The cool thing about the World Cup is that it unites soccers' passionate fans with others who don't follow the sport at all.  Everyone seems to be able to cheer for the red, white, and blue.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Conference Chaos, Hawk-Husker Hate, A-Team

  • Can you believe what we're seeing on a daily basis... checking every few minutes to see the latest rumor on which college team is going where. Mind-boggling.
  • Credit Colorado with being proactive, getting the jump on Baylor. The Buffs aren't a big player in all this, but they were the surprising first team to start the dominoes.
  • Nebraska hasn't even officially joined the Big Ten and we already have Cornhusker and Hawkeye fans spewing hate and smack on our radio show. The Nebraska - Iowa rivalry will get nasty, and great.
  • Even when/if Texas leaves the Big 12, don't write the obit. Whoever's left will try hard to hang on to the brand and find some way to keep it going. 
  • Is it pointless to fire Dan Beebe at this point?
  • Missouri wants out of the Big 12 in the worst way, but if no one wants Mizzou, it will have to stay, and the Big 12 is desperate enough to play nice.
  • I feel for Cyclone employees and fans. It's always worse when you feel you can't do anything. It's why parents are far more stressed watching their kids play a game than they were to play in one themselves. Still, Jamie Pollard is right. It's not the end of the world, and it's not over yet.
  • Pete Carroll, John Calipari is proud of how you got out of town just ahead of the posse. Nice.
  • Tom Izzo, call Tim Floyd before you take Cavs job.
  • I'm watching SportsCenter and Stuart Scott is YELLING AT ME.
  • I want to see the A-Team. There, I said it.
  • Colin is doing great. Thanks for your nice thoughts and emails. Besides, chicks dig casts.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Birthday dinner at the ER

  • After Wednesday's 6 p.m. news, I took a break from realignment overload to celebrate my mom's birthday. I was halfway to Woody's Smoke Shack when my wife called to say, "head to Mercy Hospital instead". My son Colin, who's 6, fell down the stairs on his way to the car. He fractured his elbow, which is extremely painful. In the ER room next to us was Governor Culver and his son. We exchanged ER stories, past and present. Both boys are now doing fine. Mom's birthday dinner moved to the Mercy McDonald's with a shirtless Colin sporting a new cast and a sling that looks like it was cut from one of my Dad's loud shirts.
  • While in the ER, I joked that I was surprised to find the Governor, but not the Big 12. Someone immediately snapped back with, "Check intensive care", another added, "Look in the morgue".
  • Been a long night. I need to end this early. Thank you for stopping by, and congrats to all the Blackhawk fans. Cubs, you're on the clock.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Expansion Overload

  • What a great job by Big 12 bully Texas of making Nebraska look like the heavy. If Nebraska leaves the Big 12, Texas will likely take five teams with it, and join the Pac 10. If Nebraska stays, Texas stays. No one really cares what Missouri does (expect Missouri and its fans). If Missouri is the only team to exit, which seems unlikely, the Big 12 would just invite someone else.
  • Nebraska is tired of the Texas tilt in the Big 12. If the Big Ten invites Nebraska, I think it's clear the Cornhuskers are gone. And really, the Big Ten is a better fit. Obviously, the Big Ten is at least interested.
  • The Big Ten started this entire dust up, in part, to try and force Notre Dame to look into the future and see itself on the outside looking in. It may work. I doubt it.
  • Forget the 18 months. This is all going down soon. Iowa State fans are worried when the music stops, the Cyclones won't have a chair. Cyclone fans who want to stay in a BCS conference should hope the Big 12 stays together, which it may. If not, the Cyclones will land somewhere, but it won't be the Big Ten. Iowa State doesn't offer the TV market, football following, or revenue that the Big Ten cares about. It's not about education. What a joke.
  • Hawkeye fans are much more excited. Just thinking about rivalries with Nebraska and Notre Dame is enough to quicken the pulse. There's a downside too. Iowa risks being a less important cog in the conference.
  • I find it a little sad that we're seeing the extent college football runs the show. It's all about football. More accurately, it's all about football money. Presidents and ADs have seen what kind of money conference championships and TV deals bring. Now they're eyeing some kind of mega-conference playoff. Nothing will ever be the same.
  • It is nice to have something passionate to talk about in Iowa in June.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Kid Mistakes

Don't condemn Jewel Hampton and Jordan Bernstine for their arrests in Iowa City early Saturday morning. I know a few Hawkeye fans that favor a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to scrapes with the law.  That's asinine. Maybe it's because I know a lot of former college athletes, or maybe it's because I lived in Iowa City for four years and know the culture, but I almost consider off the field incidents to be like injuries... you have to expect a few from time to time.  It's unrealistic to think 100 members of a BCS football team will "toe the line" 365 days a year. 

Now, two or three years ago, the Iowa football team had a problem. Many of the off the field incidents were not simple misdemeanors, which is what Hampton and Bernstine are accused of.  I'm not sticking up for players accused of possessing/selling illegal drugs or sexual assault.  Kirk Ferentz was a little slow to recognize, back then, that he had a serious problem.  But Ferentz did address the problems eventually, and even with these latest arrests, Iowa's off the field incidents have slowed to a trickle.  And Ferentz deserves some credit for that.

Based on what has come to light thus far, Hampton and Bernstine were drunk in a bar on a Friday during a time when school was not in session.  Hampton got into a argument/fight (haven't seen any report of injuries) and Bernstine is guilty of not walking away and shutting his mouth when he should have.  These are kid mistakes, and since the spring of 2008, most of the off the field incidents involing the Hawkeyes have also been kid mistakes (public intox, interference with official acts, public urination).

I don't think most fans realize the effect playing football at a high level has on these athletes.  Football is a violent game, and playing it requires a mindset and an intensity that is abnormal.  And these are 18-22 year old kids that are not yet fully mature mentally and emotionally.  At times, some of them will struggle to turn off the "switch" when they walk off the field.  They deserve a few chances to figure it out.

Based on what I know about the incident, and based on Ferentz's track record with discipline, a one-game suspension is the maximum penalty either player will receive.  Frankly, I'll be surprised if either player misses a game.  I'll throw a qualifyer in though... Ferentz sort of keeps a mental file on each of his players.  That file includes not only scrapes with the law, but also behind the scenes stuff that the public rarely hears about (skipping class, late for practice/meetings, etc.)  If either player was in Ferentz's doghouse before this incident, then the punishment could involve game suspensions.  Most likely though, I'm guessing the punishment will involve Hampton and Bernstine running the Kinnick stairs until they puke, and both will be in uniform against Eastern Illinois.

Bottom line, for all the reasons I mentioned above, very few college athletic programs have zero tolerance policies.  What do you think that would do to recruiting?  Any kid that only wants to eat, sleep, study, and play football usually enrolls at Army or Navy.  And last I checked, Iowa City was nothing like West Point.


Friday, June 04, 2010

The Wizard, Conference Expansion, and The Rat Pack.

I've been sitting at the keyboard for ten minutes trying to sum up my feelings for John Wooden, who passed away Friday at the age of 99.  Like many, I've always admired him from a distance for many reasons.  The biggest reason... Wooden always struck me as a man that tried to live each day better than the day before.  That's a pretty good motto to live by.

It took me awhile to come around, but I'm finally getting caught up in all the speculation regarding conference expansion.  I'm a traditionalist when it comes to expansion/realignment, so I'm not in favor of it.  I think it's all about greed.  But as someone that enjoys college athletics more than sports at any other level, it's becoming very difficult not to pay increased attention to the topic.

I seem to enjoy the Principal Charity Classic more and more every year, mostly because I get older every year.  It's always been a phenomenal event, but with each passing year, more and more of the golfers I grew up watching on the PGA Tour join the Champions Tour.  It's a real priviledge to be able to interview and watch guys like Fred Couples, Nick Price, Fred Funk, and Corey Pavin up close.  And believe me, these guys can still play.

For some strange reason, Dan Winters and I have this unusual ritual at work... We'll often sing dumb songs to each other in passing, like we're Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.  Tonight in the make-up room (yes we all wear make-up) I had the pleasure of giving Dan an "earworm" before the 10 pm news.  It was straight out of Willy Wonka... "come with me... and you'll be... in a world of pure imagination."  The song was still stuck in Dan's head when Jay Leno started.  Erin Kiernan thinks we're weird.  I think I agree with her.


A Lesson In Grace, Red Card Regret, Another Karate Kid?

  • I will respect and remember Armando Galarraga far more for the class and intergrity he's shown than if he had pitched an official perfect game. Galarraga's compassion for umpire Jim Joyce's pain over the blown call is one of the best examples of character and sportsmanship I've seen on a big stage in a long time. Credit too to Joyce for manning up, apologizing, and owning the mistake. Galarraga and Joyce showed grace and class, so it did not surprise me when less than 18 hours after outrage, Tiger fans cheered Joyce. They took their cue from Galarraga. There's a real lesson here.
  • Commissioner Bud Selig made the right call. You can't overturn a call the next day. What if it had happened in the 5th inning, and then Galarraga was perfect the rest of the way? The missed call's legacy will be more use of replay---I just hope someone figures out how to do it without slowing the game down more.
  • Ankeny boys soccer coach Rick Isaacson drew a red card at state after officials took a late game-tying goal for the Hawks off the scoreboard. Isaacson immediately felt bad about losing control of his emotions and stopped to talk to our Shawn Terrell on camera. Isaacson said he needed to set a better example for his players. You  know what Coach, you've already started doing that.
  • Legendary coach John Wooden is 99 years old. He's had a remarkable life. Wooden is reportedly in bad shape and not expected to leave the hospital. One of the great privileges of my life was a lengthy talk with Coach Wooden about basketball. I also sat next to him at the McDonald's All-American Banquet that I hosted. Wooden had absolutely no arrogance or airs about him. I've never seen anyone near that famous be so humble and down to earth. It was easy to see why his players love him so much, even though they often didn't realize how much until after all his lessons started impacting their lives in positive ways.
  • The Lakers made it look easy in game one. A Phil Jackson coached team has never lost a series after winning game one.
  • Ben Roethlisberger pledges a better lifestyle. That won't be hard.
  • Touchdown Tim Dodge retires from the Barnstormers to take a job with the Ankeny Police Department. That's good for Ankeny, bad for the Barnstormers (and criminals). Dodge always represented the Hawkeyes, Steamwheelers, and Barnstormers with class.
  • It's already time for a Karate Kid remake? That makes me feel old. I'll take the kids to the new one, then excitedly take them home to see the real deal on DVD. They'll think the new one is better.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Blown Call, Kid Retires, Horner Hired

  • Blown call. Detroit's Armando Galarraga pitched a perfect game, but he's not credited with one, thanks to Joyce's missed call on what should have been the final out. The scorebook says Galarraga pitched a 1-hitter, and the Tigers blanked the Indians 3-0.
  • Expect a non-stop media firestorm over this one. I think popular sentiment will be to overrule the call and award Galarraga the perfect game. I'm not in favor. Mistakes---even big ones---are part of baseball. The moment is gone. We already know Galarraga deserved a perfect game, but it didn't happen.
  • Props to umpire Jim Joyce for manning up and admitting he blew it. I'm guessing Joyce feels worse than anyone, including Galarraga. It wasn't even that close of a call. Joyce must have been overcompensating. He does have that Tombstone mustache.
  • Replays coming now. No stopping it. Just what we need, longer baseball games.
  • Why all the perfect games, including (should be) three in the past year from the American League? It's tougher in the AL because the DH gives you three quality at-bats the pitcher would not.
  • The Cubs didn't lose to the Pirates Wednesday night. It rained.
  • Ken Griffey Junior made us proud during an era many players let us down. We'll miss the Kid.
  • Playoff hockey is awesome. The Blackhawks are my second favorite team in the NHL, but I was kind of pulling for the Flyers just so this highly watched series would go at least five games. Game 3 was an OT classic, but since it was on Versus, not many  people saw it, and locally, Mediacom doesn't carry Versus in HD. We now know the series is going back to NBC for game 5, and as you may have heard, channel 13 is in HD.
  • As much as I'm loving hockey, if I had to watch just one Finals, I'm going with the NBA. Celtics-Lakers is as good as it gets.
  • Can you believe the Belmont Stakes is Saturday? Yeah, no one cares.
  • Good move by Valley hiring Jeff Horner. It's a high school version of the Hoiberg hire at Iowa State, but I think both will work. It will be far easier for Jeff.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Polls, Balls, and Mancards (never heard of it before today) ranks the Iowa football team #2 in the nation in its "Post-Spring Top 25."  That's too high.  Everyone seems to be forgetting how much experience the Hawks have to replace on the offensive line.  Riley Reiff is another first-round pick in the making at left tackle, but after that, there are four question mark... beginning with Julian Vandervelde.  Can he regain his 2008 form?  Vandervelde missed most of fall camp in 2009 and never really caught up.

Adidas rolls out (pun intended) its new "Jabulani" ball just in time for the World Cup, and every soccer player north of Cape Town hates it.  How does that happen?  I openely admit I don't understand soccer, and don't really want to.   But I play golf.  And if I showed up to the first tee and was told I had to play 18 holes with a Lady Precept, I wouldn't be very happy about it.

So Keith pulled Hassel's mancard after Chris reluctantly went to see "Sex and the City II?"  First of all, I didn't realize Chris was still in possession of his mancard.  I assumed it was revoked somewhere around the time Chris first pranced around half-nude on SoundOFF.   Second of all, many of the of the nipples-exposed antics on SoundOFF are Keith's idea, so I find all this mancard talk just a bit ironic.

Teri Hatcher is playing in the Principal Charity Classic Pro-Am Wednesday morning, and if my background check comes back clean (fingers crossed), I'll be within a few feet of her.  Everyone seems to remember Hatcher from "Seinfeld" or "Lois and Clark," but I remember Hatcher fondly from her days playing "Penny Parker" on "MacGyver."  I miss that show.