Saturday, July 31, 2010

Circling the Track

Kyle Busch blew off most of the central Iowa media after finishing second at the U.S. Cellular 250 in 2009.  He was in a better mood Saturday night.  Busch had the best car, and it wasn't even close.  Once again, the weather and the sellout crowd were spectacular, but a little more competive race would have been nice.  I haven't seen the official totals on lead changes, but there couldn't have been very many.  Saturday's race is a perfect example of why Sprint Cup drivers could be ineligible for the Nationwide points race as soon as next season.

Is the Iowa Speedway in line for a second (additional) Nationwide Series race in 2011?  It's not likely.  Sure, the unfortunate situation with Gateway Raceway opens up two Nationwide dates for next season. But NASCAR officials seem to be looking for a reason to contract the schedule, and the Gateway situation gives them an easy way to do so.  It's been a struggle for many Nationwide teams to secure sponsorship for the entire season.  Trimming five or six races off the schedule would mean teams could ask for less money from sponsors, and that would make securing sponsors easier, especially in an uncertain economy.  Additionally, I question whether or not the fans would fill the stands at the Iowa Speedway and support two Nationwide races each year.  I'd rather see one spectacular event with 55,000 fans, than two races with 35,000 fans in the seats.  Expansion would take away some of the novelty.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Miss Iowa and the Wallace Brothers.

Katie Connors delivered a strike.  Okay, it was high and inside, but not bad for someone who didn't grow up playing softball.  Miss Iowa threw out the first pitch at the Washington Nationals game on Friday night.  Andy Fales was there.  Check out his story on

Rusty Wallace told me Thursday night both Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski have put their feud behind them.  I have a hard time believing there won't be another incident before the end of the season, even though both drivers are on probation. Both will run in Saturday's U.S. Cellular 250 at the Iowa Speedway.  Look for fireworks.

Rusty Wallace may be the face of the Iowa Speedway, but the most charismatic member of the family is his brother, Kenny.  Kenny met with the media Thursday night, beer in hand, and had everyone in stitches for the better part of 20 minutes.  NASCAR has indeed gone corporate in recent years, but the "good ole' boy" element of the sports is still what makes it so entertaining.


Miss Iowa's Pitch, Sims' Shopping, Over/Under Iowa

  • Miss Iowa knows how to make a pitch. Katie Connors told me she wanted to throw out the first pitch at a Nationals game, and the Nats invited her. By now, you know the backstory. (If you don't, please see previous blog entries.) Katie says she's been told Miguel Batista will catch her pitch. Miss Iowa is a Cubs fan, but she's willing to wear the Nationals jersey for one night. She'll be at Wrigley Field Tuesday anyway. Andy Fales is on his way to Washington DC to cover the Connors-Batista battery. I guess after three days with 35,000 Boy Scouts in 100 degree weather, Andy deserves this.
  • I don't know what kind of poise Katie Connors has on the runway, but she handled this entire deal perfectly. She turned what could have been a negative into a positive, and told me it's now the best thing that ever happened to her. She's everywhere the past 24 hours.

  • Martensdale - St. Mary's is 42-0. Anyone who's ever played baseball knows how amazing that is.
  • Is Lane Kiffin clueless, or that big of a D-bag?
  • Even if Cyclone star David Sims found the credit card on the sidewalk as claimed, he knows that doesn't mean go charge more than $400 worth of shoes at Foot Locker (not to mention gas and groceries). Come on. That's bad character. Anyone defending Sims alleged actions, ask yourself what your parents would think if you'd done that, or worse, if one of your kids did. It's not violent, and the Des Moines Register's Randy Peterson reports Sims has paid the money back to the victim, but Paul Rhoads needs to make sure every player knows this kind of decision won't be tolerated, and reflects poorly on the program.
  • Phillies add Roy Oswalt to the pitching staff? Katie Connors could come out of the bullpen and the Phils would still make the playoffs.
  • Vegas insider, and Iowa grad, BJ Brown loves the Hawkeyes with his heart, but his head says take the under on Iowa winning more or less than 8.5 games.
  • Can't wait for a weekend of racing at Iowa Speedway. Jenny and I are going Friday and Saturday night. I'm not a big racing fan, but they do it up right in Newton, and we always have fun. 
  • Finally, enjoy Press Hop 2.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Miss Iowa Brings The High Heat

  • I'm finally watching Mad Men, since Mediacom put AMC in HD. I like Mad Men so far, though I do worry it makes me want to drink a cocktail, which I certainly don't need at midnight on a Wednesday.
  • Table for one at Dinner for Schmucks. Make it two---I'll try to drag my wife. Steve Carrell & Paul Rudd = comic gold.
  • Anyone see Salt? Looks like good, mindless fun.
  • Nice move from the Des Moines Bucs. Regg Simon is a good fit as both head coach & GM.
  • 0 CIML from the metro make it to the state baseball semifinals. Have to let the rest of the state win something, or root for Mason City. The Mohawks technically represent the CIML: Central Iowa Metro League.
  • Miss Iowa brings the heat. A game Katherine Connors came on our radio show and said she wasn't offended at all by Miguel Batista's comment. Batista said he understood Nationals fans booing him when he was a last minute sub for Stephen Strasburg because that would be like expecting Miss Universe but getting Miss Iowa. Katherine, a big Cubs fans, said she can throw a pitch or two, but she wonders if Batista can walk a runway in a swimsuit. Batista told the Washington Post Saturday he's sending Connors flowers, and thinks she's gorgeous. You be the judge:

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sims Punishment, WWTD, Defending Miss Iowa

  • Iowa State football star David Sims is innocent until proven guilty, but coach Paul Rhoads expression of "deep disappointment in Sims' actions" is a clear indicator Rhoads believes Sims was charged with fifth degree theft---unauthorized use of a credit card---for a reason. At this point, Rhoads is saying discipline will be handled internally, but I think Rhoads has to suspend Sims for at least one game.
  • Ochocinco and T-O on the same team? Why don't the Bengals also sign The Situation, Spencer Pratt, and Tana Goertz. Let's make this reality show really worth watching.
  • What Would Jesus Do? I doubt he'd endorse tighty-whiteys, but Tim Tebow is. Tebow's the new spokesperson for Jockey underwear.
  • I'm a failure at wearing contacts. I just can't put my finger on my eye. My wife, Jenny, does it like she's casually touching her nose. She blinks less than a goldfish. I blink like I just walked into a techno club.
  • Miguel Batista says fans expecting to see Stephen Strasburg pitch Tuesday night, but had to settle for Batista must have felt like they went to see Miss Universe, but ended up with Miss Iowa. Hey! Miss Iowa is beautiful. (Isn't she? I don't know. I'm guessing here. Standing up for the lovely women of Iowa.)
  • Eminem's new album is #1 for weeks on end for a reason. It's great. Once the rapper releases "Won't Back Down" with Pink, you can excpect to hear that song at sporting events and game telecasts for months.
  • Denis Leary hitting rock bottom on Rescue Me Tuesday night was some of the finest acting I've seen on television this year. Leary deserves more respect. The Ref is an underrated movie too.
  • Too bad no one is watching NBC's Persons Unknown. It's actually good. NBC has served up a lot of crap the past few years, so I guess the network will have to earn back the benefit of the doubt.
  • Speaking of quality on NBC, I just caught up with the latest season of Friday Night Lights on my DVR. Phenomenal. Nice to see the Taylors finally receive much deserved Emmy nods. No show is doing a better job of showing the struggle of lower income people in this bad economy.
  • We're working hard to try and find a picture of Andy in a Boy Scouts uniform. This, I've got to see.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Messages for Dez, Lance, Hassel and others.

  • Dez Bryant, just pick the pads up, keep your head down, and act like a good teammate. Good gosh, hazing isn't carrying a helmet 50 yards, it's being blindfolded in the dark and forced to listen to the Apocalypse Now soundtrack for 12 straight hours. Not that I'd know anything about that.
  • Lance Armstrong, I wish you would've stayed retired, but if Jordan and Ali couldn't resist, I guess it's not easy.
  • Chris Hassel, I know you're having trouble sleeping. Just listen to Bo Pelini's news conference from Big 12 Media Days right before bed.
  • Shawn Terrell, I know you love Kings of Leon, but your boys have to find some stones. Quitting a show three songs in because pigeons were pooping on them?! That's not very rock-n-roll.
  • Andy Fales, a Cardinals fan, Allan Knudsen, sent this picture from Wrigley Field:
  • Karlos Kirby, former Olympian from Des Moines, we're all proud of you. This is even more impressive than a fast bobsled run:
(Karlos on left, along with Gen. Petraeus and the head of NATO Sec Gen. Rasmussen)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Landsee Returns, 'Z' Must Apologize, Don Draper

Bob Landsee returned to Wells Fargo Arena, without incident. I have to say, I'm a little disappointed. Last season's epic blowup after the Barnstormers-Blizzard game will go down as one of the more interesting moments in my television career. The only thing between me and that mad man was my $10,000 camera.
WARNING: EXPLICIT CONTENT!!!! (The sound begins around 2 minutes) 

It turns out Carlos Zambrano wasn't shunning the Central Iowa media, on purpose...he was ordered to. Cubs manager Lou Piniella says that 'Big Z' can't talk to the media until he apologizes to Derek Lee, for last month's dugout tirade. This information would have been useful, on Tuesday.

The big Cubs are playing their best baseball of the season. They're now 9 1/2 games out of 1st place. The only good news, for Cubs' fans is that they've knocked the Cardinals into 2nd.

Congrats to Central Iowa's trio of softball champions: Valley, Carlisle, and BCLUW. And how about that undefeated Martensdale St. Mary's baseball team? The Blue Devils scored 12 runs in their quarterfinal the FIRST inning. MSM is now 41-0.

A familiar face will be waving the green flag at the Brickyard 400, on Sunday. Iowa's own, Dallas Clark, is the Grand Marshal for the NASCAR event.

I hadn't seen an animated movie since the original 'Shrek' debuted in 2001, but I've now seen two in the last two weeks. 'Toy Story 3' was great, and 'Despicable Me' was even better. Next up...semi-animation. I'm going to see 'Inception' in I-MAX.

The wait is finally over. Don Draper is back. If you're unaware of what I'm talking about...I feel sorry for you.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Cheering Big Z, East vs. West, B-Ross in Manpris

  • Carlos Zambrano is currently one of the most overpaid, underproducing players in all of sports. He has a near $100 million dollar contract, and he's a starting pitcher demoted to the bullpen. Worse, he can't control his temper, and even lashes out at  his teammates, forcing the Cubs to suspend him. So how do I-Cubs fans greet Zambrano? With a standing ovation. Hey, we're Iowans; we're nice! Sure, there were a few scattered boo birds, or Cardinals, but mostly cheers. I wouldn't cheer---because of the clubhouse disruption, not the bad pitching---but I wouldn't boo either. Big Z's our guest, albeit not a very talkative one. He cancelled two press conferences. Manny Ramirez thinks Zambrano needs to talk more. Steve Carlton wants him to open up. Harper Lee thinks it's time Zambrano talk... You get the idea.
  • Nearly 13,000 fans at Principal Park Thursday night due mainly to the cult of personality that Living Colour once sang about. The Cubs in general, and President Sam Bernabe in particular, really needed a big night. Weather has wiped out so many marquee nights, Bernabe threatened Ed Wilson with a Louisville Slugger.
  • "Royal Pains" is a perfect summer show. Fun, bright, breezy, if forgettable.
  • A-Rod hit home run #599.  Yawn.
  • Iowa State football star David Sims has not been charged with a crime, but there are a number of people in Cyclone country holding their breath. Sims is an impact player, and anytime a student is being investigated in connection with a stolen credit card and subsequent unlawful use, it's cause for concern. Football season is six weeks away.
  • Example of how to give a real apology and accept resonsibility, see Tom Vilsack. 
  • East vs. West at the softball 'ship... who you got?
  • The debate rages on. Is B-Ross wearing manpris?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dog Days, Dead Last, Big Z

  • Rivals Valley and Dowling play baseball with a trip to state on the line, and it comes down to the final at bat. You know the Maroons will never forget the feeling of winning that one.
  • This weather is flat our crazy and tired. I can add no more.
  • Big props to our intern Zach Spears. He's an offensive lineman at Iowa State. The coaches want Zach to put on about 10 pounds before practice starts, and Wednesday night, Zach figured out a good way to get started. He went to dollar dog night at the I-Cubs game and ate 20 hot dogs. He finished during the 7th inning stretch. My stomach hurts just thinking about it.
  • Big 12 media pick Iowa State to finish dead last in the Big 12 North. Not a lot of respect coming off a bowl win. Then again, have you seen that schedule?
  • I'm watching "2012" on HBO as I type. I liked this movie better when it was called "Day After Tomorrow".
  • Fewer than 2,000 grandstand seats remain for the NASCAR Nationwide race at Iowa Speedway. That's 53,000+ sold and counting. Jenny and I went last year and really enjoyed it.
  • Carlos Zambrano arrived in Des Moines Tuesday, then couldn't make his scheduled news conference Wednesday because his travel plans changed, but he'll be back at Principal Park to pitch Thursday. Say what? Maybe Big Z flew back to Chicago to apologize to his teammates.
  • Mediacom now has AMC in HD. Time to start watching Mad Men.
  • Props to the Iowa Sports Connection for another great golf outing, "Hack Nation Invitational". I've been banned from playing, but they still let me visit.
  • Shawn Terrell will attempt to cover eight girls state softball games Thursday. The world record is seven.
  • Chris Hassel now writes for Juice. Well, until they fire him.

Ryno On Deck, Big Z Rehabs, Roasting Frank

  • Cubs Nation had its eyes more on Principal Park than Wrigley Field Tuesday. Lou Piniella announced he'll retire at the end of the season (though he's looked done since last season). Cue Ryno. I think the I-Cubs manager is on deck for 2011.
  • Also at Principal Park Tuesday, Carlos Zambrano. Big Z is here to rehab his temper. He'll talk to the media Wednesday in Des Moines. It will be the first time he's talked since his infamous dugout meltdown.
  • Forget what I said about Cubs Nation turning its lonely eyes to Des Moines. Aramis Ramirez just hit his third home run of the game. He's hot. Keep him, or trade him for some future help?
  • If the Cubs don't sweep the Cardinals, it's time to start selling.
  • Cedar Rapids Jefferson star Jarrod Uthoff choosing Wisconsin over Iowa isn't devastating to Fran McCaffery, but it's disappointing. It's further evidence just how far the Iowa basketball program has fallen. Can't blame Uthoff.  He's going with a proven winner over a promising newcomer.
  • As I write this, I'm watching the roast of Bob Saget. I'm still not sure if Norm Macdonald was serious, but man that dude makes me laugh. The roast reminds me of being a kid and watching my dad laugh at the Dean Martin Roasts. He loved those. Here's Don Rickles roasting Frank Sinatra.
  • And for the grandparents, we close with a shot of Colin struggling to eat corn on the cob without his two front teeth

Monday, July 19, 2010

Big Z's Reception, Tiger's Mojo, Inception Reception

  • Andy and I had an interesting discussion today: Should Cubs fans boo Carlos Zambrano in Des Moines? He's costing the team a fortune, underperforming, and disruptive in the clubhouse. I still say fans should not boo. He's our guest, a former I-Cub, and we're above booing. I'd be surprised if Z receives a rude welcome.
  • Michael Jordan is right when he says he wouldn't move to join other elite players in pursuit of a championship. He's just too competitive. LeBron isn't like that. If he were, he wouldn't have quit against the Celtics.
  • Tiger Woods needs his swagger, his mojo, his aura of invincibility. Without it, he suffers, and so does golf---though many enjoy both.
  • Props to the folks running girls state softball. It can rain sideways for an hour, and they still get those fields ready.
  • I made two good local discoveries this weekend: The rooftop at Tally's, and El Bait Shop. Who doesn't love hanging out with friends on a rooftop? And El Bait Shop has the best draft beer selection I've ever seen.
  • I really wanted to see "Inception", but I just couldn't get into it. The eye-popping visuals were great, the acting top notch, and the musical score made it all seem important, but the story is just too esoteric, weird, and far-fetched for me. I didn't like it. My wife wanted to stab herself in the eye with a fork. It should be noted everyone else I've talked to who's seen Inception loved it.
  • A-Rod will soon hit 600. I couldn't care less. He cheated for years. It's an artificial number. Quick, how many home runs did Barry Bonds end up with?... It's 762, but no one cares. 755 and 714 are still the real numbers.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Big Z at PP, Station Enshrined, Paddy Returns

(Chris Hassel writing)
Finally, some good luck for the I-Cubs. After all those rain-outs, the worm has turned. Iowa Cubs officials says 'Big Z' will be in Des Moines for Tuesday's double-header with Oklahoma City. The Des Moines Register reports that he may not pitch until Wednesday. Either way, Big Z is a big get for the folks at Principal Park. No matter how much Zambrano has struggled, there are thousands of Central Iowa fans that would welcome him to their home ballpark.

Congratulations to Larry Station, the newest member of the College Football Hall of Fame. They've been playing football at Iowa for 121 years, and Station is just the 14th to be enshrined.

Paddy O'Prado is back on the track. The Iowa-owned horse has made the switch to turf, instead of dirt. Paddy made bank by winning the Virginia Derby, Saturday night. His owners pocketed a cool 600K for the victory. I hope Paddy's night of celebration didn't include Beef-a-reeno.

The British Open has been interesting. I love to see the best in the world struggle, but I can't stand to see a leader board like this one. Of the top 17 golfers, heading into Sunday, only 1 has a major championship win. Say what you want about Tiger...but when he struggles, so does the sport.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Deception, Booger, Nothing

  • Summer is going way too fast.
  • Can't decide if I want to see "Inception" tonight, or not. I loved Chris Nolan's Dark Knight and Memento. Leonardo Dicaprio is an interesting actor who delivers in nearly every movie. It's just those previews look a little like a headache. Reviews are raves, but I may wait for word of mouth. Please shoot me an email if you go:
  • How bad does Sorcerer's Apprentice look. When did Nicolas Cage turn into a cartoon?
  • I stayed up until 3 a.m. to watch the start of the British Open and got sucked in by Revenge of the Nerds instead. Love Booger.
  • Right now St. Elmo's Fire is playing. I used to think this movie was cool. Has it always been this cheesy? It's definitely of its time: the 80s.
  • MLB All-Star game ratings were the lowest ever.
  • The Barnstormers are home Friday night. The lack of  buzz this season still puzzles me, and goes beyond a mediocre team.
  • I want to do something this weekend I haven't done in a long time. Nothing.

Iowa Class, Panther Power, Seth Rules

  • The ESPYs are usually unbearable. Bad jokes, smug superstars, and a self-serving network spraining its arm patting itself on the back. In other words, just a step above, "The Decision". However, Wednesday night the ESPYs were must-see-TV.
  • The highlight of the night, as it usually is, was the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. This year it went to the family of the late Ed Thomas. Brett Favre introduced a remarkable film narrated by Kiefer Sutherland. The documentary raised goosebumps and moved tears. It showed what a great coach Thomas was, but more importantly what a great man. The winning, the tornado, the rebuilding, and the senseless murder were all there. The story really hit home when it showed the compassion and forgiveness the Thomas family showed the Beckers. It set the tone for the entire community. It's hard to imagine any state could find a family that represents its best virtues more than the Thomas' do for Iowa. When the piece ended, hardened sports stars and Hollywood celebrities were crying, and everyone was on their feet. Aaron Thomas then gave a brief speech that would have made his father proud. Bravo.
  • UNI also picked up an ESPY for "Best Upset". The only bigger upset would have been if UNI didn't win. It was good to see Coach Jake, Ali, and Koch again. Do you know anyone, other than a Kansas fan, who didn't love sports the night UNI took down #1 KU?
  • Other than the dash of Iowa class our state dropped all over the ESPYs, the other thing that saved it from the usual train wreck was Seth Meyers hosting. He was funny without being mean. He also brought along many of his SNL buddies, including alum Will Ferrell. All told, a good night.
  • "The Decision" did not win an ESPY.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cub makes a difference, TO gets a clue, Big Stein tribute

  • Finally, the National League won the All-Star game. Cubs fans aren't expecting an extra game at Wrigley in October.
  • Marlon Byrd made the Cubs play of the year... in the All-Star game.
  • Love him or loathe him, George Steinbrenner wanted to win at any cost. Isn't that what most fans want from their owner?
  • Unsigned T.O. worried he's seen as troublemaker? Duh.
  • Man, those British reporters like making Tiger Woods squirm. He gives them nothing, but they keep asking.
  • And finally, for reading this far on black Wednesday, the worst day of the year for sports fans, you deserve a reward. Here are the top Big Stein moments from Seinfeld, thanks to FratHouseSports

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hoiberg Recruits, Roid Derby, Law Abiding Crap

  • Fred Hoiberg's NBA pitch is already paying dividends for Iowa State. Hoiberg knows the team with the best players usually wins, and he's going for it---even if it means taking on a guy with baggage.
  • Royce White is a potential difference-maker for the Cyclones, if, and it's a big if, if White stays out of trouble--- something he didn't do at Minnesota under Tubby Smith, a coach with a good rep. I think Hoiberg has to take a chance on some players, just as Tim Floyd did, though I doubt Hoiberg will work the gray areas with the gusto Floyd did. If you want to win at Iowa State, or Iowa, you have to give some second (or third) chances.
  • Fans rationalize when their team brings in a kid with a troubled past. Those fans would kill their rival for doing the same thing. It's universal. Same goes for arrests of current players.
  • Hoiberg still hasn't coached a game yet, but he has shown he can recruit. That's a great start.
  • We're in the sports dead zone. All-Star break. I did watch the Home Run Derby, which has completely changed now that the players are (seemingly) off the juice. Remember that Roid Rage Derby at Fenway Park in '99? Should have known something was up when McGwire hit one over the Green Monster with his forearm.
  • As I'm typing this, I'm also watching "Law Abiding Citizen". Who exactly are we supposed to root for in this movie? Disturbing. Thumbs down.
  • I loved the continuous action of the World Cup on television, even if it occasionally bored me. It's hard to go back to commercials every few minutes.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Worst Week Ever, #3 Lives, JDC Not On Par


It has begun. The week every sports fan dreads: All Star Week. This is the worst time of year for a sports addict, like me. No basketball, football, hockey, and now baseball. Heck, even the World Cup is over. What are we supposed to consume ourselves with? I guess I have a new episode of 'Entourage' on my DVR. That'll have to do.

It sounds like troubled Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano might be making his way to Des Moines. Cubs Owner Tom Ricketts told the Register's Randy Peterson that he expects Big Z will need at least one minor league appearance. That would certainly be a juicy nugget in a dry sports month.

The Iowa Speedway continues to amaze. Over 25K watched Austin Dillon race the #3 car to victory at the Lucas Oil 200. Expect the biggest crowd of the year on the 31st, this month, for the NASCAR Nationwide race. Keith and Andy say its a must-see event.

Steve Stricker came up a few strokes short of history, at the John Deere Classic, but he still held on to win. It's unfortunate that the JDC is one week before the British Open. The tournament is only 3 hours from Des Moines, but I don't know anyone who makes the trip to the QC. This years field was as good as its been in a while....that being said, I don't see it becoming a factor, on tour, unless they luck into a better position on the schedule.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Buzz Kill and Ray-Bans

The Hawkeyes sure know how to kill a good buzz... pun intended.  Three potential Iowa starters have been arrested on alcohol-related charges in the last six weeks.  It takes the edge off the unprecedented hype for the upcoming season.  Binns will (eventually) be suspended for the Eastern Illinois game... that's a given.  The big question is... will he have to sit against Iowa State the following week?  Kirk Ferentz had a track record of handing out a one-game suspension for OWI arrests.  But he bumped that up to two games when Shaun Prater was caught driving drunk before last season.  If Binns is wearing street clothes on September 11th, it could make a difference.

Forget about the annoying spectacle that was Lebron James' decision special on ESPN.  The video of LeBron wearing sunglasses in the pitch-black Miami night told me all I needed to know about the self-annointed king.  Who does this guy think he is, Corey Hart?


LeBron Decision Debacle

  • The LeBron James "Decision Special" is the most ridiculous made for television event I've watched since Geraldo opened Al Capone's vault. I'm embarrassed for ESPN, Stuart Scott, Jim Gray, and the "The King" himself. Only Michael Wilbon seemed to escape with his integrity somewhat intact, mostly because he's so smart, and even in a sham like this, Wilbon managed to ask intelligent questions.
  • It's been going around for years that James, Wade, and Bosh made a pact to join forces after the 2010 season. You can bet it's no coincidence that Stephen A. Smith reported weeks ago that all three were headed to Miami. That would make the "drama" and deliberations a bunch of nonsense.
  • LeBron James is the most talented basketball player in the world, though Kobe Bryant is better when it counts most. James has every right to get what he can. I just wish it didn't come with so much disingenuous drivel.
  • James now looks like a mercenary. No way he'll be held in the same esteem as Magic, Bird, Kobe, or Jordan. Those guys didn't have to abandon their teams, and in LeBron's case, his hometown to win a championship. Cleveland led the NBA in wins the past two seasons. Cavs management went out and did whatever LeBron wanted, including signing Shaq. No wonder the Cavs owner overreacted with this stinging letter aimed right at James' heart (if not his junk):               
  • It's hard to believe the content of that letter could be more shocking than the font Gilbert used, but it is. Gilbert needs to take a breath and remember James helped the Cavs win a lot of games, and make a lot of money, but I love his passion, and I'm sure fans will. Cavs fans burning James' jerseys are going too far too. It's crushing, but he has the right, albeit misguided, to look for an easier way to a ring, and he did.
  • Please no more stories about all the money James is "leaving on the table". Assuming he gets the max Miami can give him, LeBron will net more in five years with the Heat than he would have the first five years with the Cavs because Florida doesn't have state taxes (source: MSNBC). Granted, only Cleveland could offer the sixth year, but 5 to 5, it's advantage Miami.
  • I can't quite explain it---I'm trying---but Thursday night was a low point for sports fans---even those of the Heat. Our intelligence was insulted beyond reason. And I don't think LeBron James realizes he now will never be the legend he wants to be so badly.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

The Humble King, Camp Orton, Cardinals Choke

  • Nice to see LeBron James is going the low key, humble approach when announcing which team most effectively courted "The King". King James reveals his choice Thursday during a one hour prime time ESPN special. No word if he'll Skype, but Roy Williams will be on stand-by just in case.
  • Props to Kyle Orton and Sage Rosenfels. The two NFL quarterbacks will have a passing camp at Southeast Polk July 17th & 18th. It's only $25 and that includes a T-shirt and lunch. Pretty good deal. More info at
  • The Tour de France is now X-raying bicycles for small motors. You can't make it up.
  • The Cardinals blew a 6-run 9th inning lead at Colorado?! The Rockies scored 9 runs in the 9th to win 12-9. Andy Fales, Dave Price, and Bill Fennelly may all call in sick Wednesday.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Fenway, Gaga, McCracken

  • When I was a kid, I didn't appreciate just how awesome Fenway Park is, though Fenway's gotten better with age. The upgrades make it as modern as possible without losing the nostalgic charm. There is just no experience in baseball that even compares. Sold out every night with fans who are there as much for the game as they are for the party.
  • Two Red Sox games, 1 Lady Gaga concert. To my surprise, I enjoyed Gaga. It was more Cirque du Soleil than Springsteen, but entertaining.
  • After one of the Red Sox games, Jeff Lantz, formerly of the I-Cubs who now works for the Orioles, talked us into 1 a.m. bowling. It was here that I saw the autographs of my two favorite bowlers: former Iowa prep champ Roy Munson, and the one and only, Ernie McCracken, the Big Ern. What a thrill.

Free Kobi, Change the Rules, Double Rainbow


The biggest story of the day, in sports, involved a ton of hot dogs, and one arrest. Free Kobi!

If the Major League All-Star game 'counts', they better tweak the rules. Reds 1st baseman Joey Votto is arguably the NL MVP of the first half, yet he was left off the team. The same thing happened in the American League with Boston's Kevin Youkilis getting the snub. The two have combined for 36 HR's, 111 RBI, and a .305 average.

Someone in Lebron's 'camp' says he may delay his decision until later this week. ESPN can only hope.

Have you seen the 'double rainbow' video yet? Thank Keith for this one. 

I'm ready for July to be over. This is the worst sports month of the year for one simple fact. It's the only month without football, or basketball.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

A cup, a clock, a curb, and a crybaby


Who ya got in the World Cup? Four teams remain: Germany, Spain, Netherlands, and Uruguay. Most will pick Germany, but I'm going with the Netherlands. I silently picked them as my Cup 'sleeper' before the event started. It still counts, in my book.

Someone, who wishes to remain nameless (Andy), said he would rather watch soccer than Golf. World Cup, yes. Anything else, no. My two best TV watching days of the year involved nothing but 6 consecutive hours of golf.

After seeing a replay of Dale Jr's Nationwide win at Daytona, on Friday, I tried to watch the Sprint (or is it Nextel?) Cup race, tonight. I'm not sure what TNT is thinking with their commentators. It's not that they're's that you rarely get to hear them. They played a picture-in-picture Coors Light ad 6 times in a 25 minute span. The finish was fantastic, though.

A broken clock is right twice a day, and the Cubs seem to win about twice a week. The only thing Cubs fans have to cheer for, this year, is a possible no-hitter. I heard Randy Wells had a no-no working into the 7th, and, as soon as I tuned in, he coughed it up. The same thing happened when Ted Lilly took a no-hitter into the 9th against the White Sox. When Big Z tossed his no-no in '08, I didn't get to watch because I was anchoring the 9pm sportscast. It's definitely me.

The wife and I just finished season 3 of 'Dexter'. We like it so much, I'm thinking about paying an extra 10 bucks a month so we can get Showtime in time for the season premier, in September. Speaking of great shows...Mad Men returns July 25th, and Curb Your Enthusiasm is back sometime in 2011.

I've decided to give Jimmy Fallon a second chance. I watched the train wreck known as his first episode (the one where Robert De Niro was giving one word answers), and gave up hope. When I tuned in a few days ago, he was a different host. He's definitely better than Magic Johnson.

Just when you thought Sioux City was beginning to lose its strangle hold on the viral universe...  They just love being in the spotlight.

Two months from today, college football season beings with opening Saturday. Hopefully, that means an updated version of the best Hawkeye rap song in history is on the way.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Holiday plans = Hippo Dip

The potential flooding has put a major kink in my holiday plans, as I'm sure it has for many others.  For the last decade, a large group of my family and friends (affectionately called the Redneck Yacht Club) have organized a canoe trip near my hometown of Peterson on the Fourth of July.  After years of missing out on the fun, I finally made plans to attend this year.  But thanks to five inches of rain last weekend, the Little Sioux River is out of its banks.  Alas, it's not safe to canoe.  Fortunately, a member of the Redneck Yacht Club has a pool, affectionately called the Hippo Dip (everything in Peterson has a nickname), and we've decided to have a pool party instead.  Something tells me we'll still have fun.

I realize my complaints about flooding are small in comparison to those in other parts of the state, and near the Birdland levee.  Here's hoping the levees hold, and another tragedy is averted.

Happy Fourth!