Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sounding off on SoundOFF

  • SoundOff 700 is in the books. It was a lot of fun, though I can't say I want to sit in a dark edit bay and review any more tapes. Challenges for a highlights show after 14 years include tape formats switching many times, hundreds of live shows not being recorded, logged or saved, and there's no way to include everything we'd like.
  • In the 24 hours since the show, I've received more feedback than any SoundOff ever, partly because Twitter and Facebook make it so easy to reach me with your thoughts, which is (mostly) a good thing. The most frequent moments you wanted to see but didn't were: 1) The time Andy may or may not have passed gas and made his co-host laugh uncontrollably. 2) The Tiny Ref, and 3) The high school couple who spent their prom night slow-dancing on SoundOff. We'll keep looking.
  • A big part of SoundOff's success is strong opinions from the hosts on the hot topics of the week ("I Think", "FaceOff", etc). However, these type segments are quickly dated, and don't work well in a highlights show, so it kind of turns into the funnier moments, which means a lot of Andy and Hassel. Shawn Terrell has filled in many times, and always does good work, but he's rarely in skits.
  • SoundOff has had three co-hosts: Round Guy, Andy, and Heather Burnside. Round Guy was prominently featured in our "Early Years" segment, though the video is fading faster than the Cardinals. We had only a couple tapes saved from Heather's months, but she deserves special credit for not only taking on the thankless role of following Andy, and doing it well, but then gracefully exiting without complaint when Andy returned.
  • SoundOff started when then news director Al Setka asked me to come up with a show idea to replace the long-running, "Beat the Bear". Al and I decided on SoundOff, synergizing/stealing the name from 1040 WHO's Sound Off (two words), which I was hosting on the radio at the time. Al also hired Andy. After managing us for a few years, he left to run the Great Ape Trust. Yes, it was an easy transition. Our first "congratulations on 700" note came from Al.
  • Rod Peterson is now the news director, Dale Woods the GM. We're fortunate they never micromanage the show, and back us when we need it. You can't do the show we do without the support. You wouldn't find it at most stations. Seriously.
  • I'm embarrassed at how I laugh like a hyena on-air at times. Take being caught off guard by something funny, and add discomfort to it, and there you have it. Same thing used to happen to me as an altar boy. My parents enjoyed that less.
  • Anyway, enough SoundOff talk, save for one final thank you for letting us do something we enjoy so much, and making us feel like you enjoy it too. We appreciate it.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Show 1000, Chiz-Whiz, Predictions

Congrats to Keith and Andy on a great 700th episode of SoundOFF. The show has been going strong for nearly 14 years, and I'm proud to say that I've been a small part of the program for 4 of them. If my math is correct, we should expect show 1,000 to come around in the fall of 2016. That's assuming the world doesn't come to an end in 2012.

What the heck is wrong with the Cardinals?! I'll admit, I picked St. Louis to win the NL Central by 10+ games, before the season began. With one month to go, they're dangerously close to losing the division by 10+ games. 5 games out on August 30? I'm still taking them over the Reds.

I'm so ready for football that I'm watching the NFL Yearbook on the CLEVELAND BROWNS. My fantasy draft was on Saturday, and there wasn't a single Brown taken in the first 100 picks. Although, I must say, they may have a better year than my poor Bears. Jay Cutler...ouch.

Iowa State holds its first weekly press conference, Monday. It's such a different feeling up there, under Paul Rhoads, than it was with Chizik. I never really got the sense that anyone was having fun during those two painful seasons. I'm sure it helps when you win more games in Rhoads' first season, than in the previous two with the Chiz-Whiz.

Season prediction:
Iowa State 5-7
Iowa 10-2
St. Ambrose 10-0

And Finally, here's your news blooper of the day

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Football Friday: the Good, the Bad, and the Retro Andy

The "Big Game" was a good one, this week. To be honest, I didn't think Ames would be able to stay with #5 Ankeny, but they sure proved me wrong. The Little Cyclones moved the ball, at will, all night ---- until they reached the red zone. On three different occasions, Ames went inside the Ankeny 15, and failed to score a single point. The 20-7 defeat was a tough one for the lil clones, but they showed that they are a legitimate contender in the CIML Iowa division.

We like to reward people for checking out the blog, so here's a little inside info on one of our recent newscasts. If you watched Friday night's 6pm sportscast, you probably noticed the part where I blew Keith off (by not responding to his question during my live shot). Well, here's the real story. I'm refusing to answer any questions unless he refers to me as Johnny Bench. Just kidding (although Keith did demand that at one point during his childhood). The truth is, my IFB (the thing in my ear) cut out at the last second, so I couldn't hear him. I was hoping he wasn't going to ask me a question. I just saw the recording...ouch! I think Keith was a little hurt.

I find it hard to read the box scores from games involving Hoover and North. The two schools are a combined 0-4, this season...and they've been outscored 199-15. I can't imagine how hard it must be for the coaches and players on those teams to continue to compete, day in and day out. It would be nice if there was a simple solution to the problem facing metro schools around the state. Growing up in eastern Iowa, I saw the same exact things in Davenport. The city schools would take a beating, in football, just about every week. The good news is, Des Moines has created a junior football league in hopes of getting more youngsters involved in the sport before the middle school stage. But I think it's going to take more than that to get things turned around ---- a lot more.

When Stephen Strasburg burst onto the scene, earlier this year, he reminded me of Mark Prior, and Kerry Wood. Both pitchers were "Can't Miss" prospects, and both (in many ways) missed, thanks to major arm injuries. Sure enough, just 12 starts in to his major league career, Strasburg is on the shelf. The 22-year-old tore a ligament in his throwing elbow, and likely won't be pitching again until the 2012 season. He'll undergo the dreaded "Tommy John Surgery" that some pitchers never recover from. Here's to hoping he comes back as strong as Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter. He's 31-9 since having the surgery in 2007.

I can't wait for the 700th episode of SoundOFF. Keith has been slaving away in the edit bay, putting together some of the most memorable clips in SoundOFF history. I always hated when my favorite tv show played a bunch of old clips for an episode, and called it "new", but this is different. I guarantee you're going to see some clips you've either never seen before, or have completely forgotten about. Half the show will be new, and the other half will be legendary. We can do this, now, because we're finally going back to an hour! Sorry Buck McNeely.

 Check out this picture I found of Andy from the mid 60's. He was in President Kennedy's cabinet.

Friday, August 27, 2010

SoundOff 700, Orr Bronzed, Pack Attack

  • I'll keep it brief, because it's 12:30 AM and I just finished looking through more SoundOff tapes. Sunday is our 700th show, and we're going to show a lot of clips from the first 699. This week is one of the rare times I wish I worked at a network where a staff of dozens goes through all the tape. Here, it's me. It has provided me with laughs and cringes. I also can make the time by my hair getting shorter and grayer.
  • I've warmed to the idea of honoring Johnny Orr with a statue at Hilton Coliseum. I pushed for the Johnny Orr Court, or Orr Floor, but Cyclone fans can't really have their picture taken with a wooden court. They'll gather around the Orr statue the way Bulls fans do with Michael Jordan at the United Center. That's better for a guy like Johnny who's always at his best making fans smile.
  • It's only preseason, but the Packers sure looked great Thursday night. 59 points! If only fantasy season had begun.
  • The Cardinals are making Andy Fales, Bill Fennelly, and Dave Price really grumpy.
  • Back to the video tapes. Please join us for SoundOff 700 Sunday night at 10:30 PM. We're back to an hour.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Elin Interest, Hawk Hype, Chips Ahoy!

  • I have zero interest in reading Elin Nordegren's interview in People magazine about her marriage and divorce with Tiger. I just don't think it's really any of our business.
  • I care even less about Lindsay Lohan's release from jail---or whatever it is she's doing these days.
  • ESPN college football analyst Ivan Maisel picks Iowa vs. Alabama for the BCS championship game. This gives some Hawkeye fans goose bumps, others worry worts.
  • Mike Quade is making the most of his time as Cubs manager. The former Iowa skipper is 3-0, which with these Cubs, is not easy.
  • Scottie Pippen is one of the nicer NBA stars I've ever interviewed, so I'm glad to hear he's getting a statue at the United Center, even if I don't quite think of Pippen as statue-worthy.
  • I can't stop eating those little Chips-Ahoy! cookies. I have one, then two, three, four, five...
  • If you're not watching HBO's Hard Knocks, what are you waiting for?! Andy even got his wife hooked on this show.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Jordan Rides Bus, Favre Needs Receivers, Grayer Leaves Bummed

  • Another terrific 30 for 30 from ESPN. Ron Shelton's "Jordan Rides the Bus" takes us back to what now seems couldn't have really happened: Michael Jordan temporarily stopped playing basketball in his prime and switched to baseball. The video of Jordan swinging the bat for the Birmingham Barons remains surreal.
  • The documentary makes the strong case the murder of Jordan's father, and the love they shared of baseball, gave MJ an outlet to take his mind off his grief and, at the same time, honor his dad. The theory the NBA forced Jordan out because of his gambling problem comes off as laughable (Commissioner David Stern understandably begged Jordan to reconsider).
  • As I look back, I regret I was snarky about Jordan's pursuit. I now see it as something that took guts, sacrifice, and hard work. Since it was sincere, it's really one of the coolest things a superstar has ever done. I was wrong.
  • Brett Favre better call a couple of the receivers in his Wranglers commercial.
  • All Carlos Zambrano needed to rehab his temper is a little time in Des Moines.
  • I feel bad for Jeff Grayer. The Cyclone legend really wanted to coach at Iowa State, but Fred Hoiberg, who was in a tough spot, didn't name Grayer one of his three fulltime assistants. Hoiberg did offer Grayer an administrative position, but Jeff decided he'd rather return to Michigan and be with his family. No one's at fault here---Greg McDermott hired Grayer, not Hoiberg---it's just a shame Grayer leaves without fulfilling his dream.
  • Milwaukee just put up a statue of Bud Selig at Miller Park. He's not looking the other way. Brewers fans do appreciate that Selig brought baseball back to Milwaukee.
  • I watched Sunday's Vikings game with Packer fans in a Milwaukee bar. The loudest cheer of the night---by far---was when the 49ers sacked Favre and he fumbled.
  • One of my co-workers said today that fantasy football players are worse than comic book geeks. He might be right. They're now even starting to wear t-shirts. Here are some that don't suck: http://www.smwclothing.com/

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Indianola Stays, Coutdown Begins, Joyce's Near Redemption

Indianola is staying in the CIML. The school board didn't even vote on the proposal to leave for the Little Hawkeye Conference because no one seconded the motion. I, for one, think its the right move not to move. We heard from a great deal of Indianola fans, on the Murph n Andy show, today, that felt the same way. Indianola can, and has, competed in the CIML. They were beating North 41-0 in the SECOND quarter, in their first football game, Friday. I know what the athletics director was hoping to do, by moving to a smaller conference, but I don't think it would've sent the right message. The Indians are better off than a handful of other CIML programs.

We're less than 10 days away from the college football season opener at Jack Trice stadium. I'm not sure if I'll be able to sleep until then. It seems like every year I get more, and more, excited about football season coming around. We have a lot to look forward to this season. ISU is coming off a 7-win season that ended with a bowl victory...and the Hawks have already been labeled as national title contenders. And for the first time, maybe ever, some of those people live outside of Iowa City.

Iowa RB Brandon Wegher hasn't, yet, returned to the football team, but he has enrolled in classes. That's definitely a positive.

For now, at least we have high school football to keep our thirst for pigskin satisfied. This week's big game is #7 Ankeny @ Ames. Both teams are 1-0. Thanks to the creation of bye weeks in the CIML, this season, there aren't as many good matchups each week.

We almost had our 6th no-hitter of the MLB season, Monday. Joe Mauer broke up the no-no with one out in the 9th inning, in Texas. Umpire Jim Joyce was behind the plate. Yeah...that Jim Joyce http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJFIlAMHSyU&feature=related  

It's finally starting to feel like this awful summer is starting to lose its sting. I will take really hot over really cold any day, but there's nothing better than fall weather in the midwest. I think it's cooled off so much that the leaves are already starting to turn. Just try not to think about how, in 3 months, we'll be shoveling off the driveway.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

TGIFS, Eye to Eye w/ Shawn, Mascot Sighting

TGIFS. Thank goodness it's football season! Some people argue that "week 0" in high school starts too early, but I say it's never too early for the greatest sport on earth. My favorite duty as a sports reporter, here at channel 13, is standing on the sideline shooting football games on Friday night and Saturday afternoon.

It was sad to see Lou Piniella go out the way he did. I don't blame him for leaving a few weeks early. The team quit long before Piniella.

I was on the field after the I-Cubs game, Sunday, looking to talk to Ryne Sandberg about the move. Ryno respectfully decline to comment about the happenings in Chicago. He told me that all of his energy is being focused on the triple-A pennant race. I have to believe that Sandberg was hoping to be called up to Chicago to coach the remainder of the season. Instead, the Cubs made 3rd base coach Mike Quade the acting manager. If I had to guess, I'd say the Cubs are going to go after Joe Girardi. If he doesn't want to leave the Yanks, Ryno is the man.

Brett Favre came back, and that's how he ended his first game. The 40-year-old took 4 snaps in the Vikings preseason game in San Francisco, and he's still feeling that last play. When Favre got rocked, the newsroom exploded. I guess we didn't have any Vikes fans in the house, today. I don't want to see him get hurt, but I wouldn't mind seeing him get lit up a few more times.

In many ways, Shawn and I are polar opposites ---- but when it comes to the state fair, we see eye to eye. I've lived in Iowa my entire life and I've never willingly gone to the fair. I don't have a problem with people who enjoy it, as long as they're not putting human teeth into the cast your kernel jars (actually happened, last week).

After a two year hiatus, the worst mascot in sports has returned... http://twitpic.com/2h0vgn

The Mountain West Conference has been the talk of the college sports world over the past week. Here is what the latest transgressions would look like if the MWC was on Facebook http://www.blocku.com/2010/8/19/1632774/the-mountain-west-conference

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fairly Uninterested in the Fair.

I feel like I'm the only person living in Iowa that doesn't enjoy the State Fair.  I'm 32, and I've lived in Iowa almost my entire life, but I still don't understand the allure.  As Keith pointed out in a previous blog, the fair is incredibly expensive.  10 bucks for admission, 10 bucks for parking, and for what?  Over-priced food and drink?  But more than that, nothing at the fair seems to interest me.  I'm not shopping for a new hot tub, I don't raise livestock, and the "carnies" aren't all that interesting to talk to.  The strange part is, I'm surrounded by people that live for the fair.  I have college friends that live in downtown Chicago, and they annually make a five hour drive just for "East Side Night." I don't get it.  What am I missing?


Our State Fair Is A Greatly Overpriced State Fair

  • As predicted by everyone, including Nostradamus, the Hawkeyes will start the season in the AP top ten (9). Iowa has done much better in the Ferentz era with low expectations, but Iowa has the talent to win 10+ games, even while hunted.
  • Iowa State will play four (!) teams in the top ten. That's a brutal schedule. (Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas)
  • I received a sneak preview of the Register's special Hawkeye preview section. It's good. Look for it Sunday.
  • Kirk Ferentz unintentionally sent the Iowa media into a frenzy Friday night when he went on Fox Sports Radio's Petros & Money show on 1460 KXNO. It sounded to many like Ferentz said Brandon Wegher had returned to practice, but his heart wasn't in it, so he left again. Turns out Ferentz was talking about early in camp, and there was no "news". Wegher is still absent. You can always use a Wegher, but Jewel Hampton looks like the guy, with Adam Robinson a proven, productive option. Hampton is suspended for the first game though. Jewel, the folk singer, could play against Eastern Illinois, and Iowa would win. As long as she doesn't sing, "Who Will Save Your Soul".
  • Prices at the Iowa State Fair are absolutely ridiculous, if not scandalous. I don't know how many families afford it. Someone should seriously look into why it can't be more reasonable. $6 for a cinnamon roll? And it's $10 just to get in. Our state fair should be an affordable day for Iowa families, not a day at Disney.
  • Quick, what teams played in the Arena Bowl? I had to look it up. Spokane and Tampa Bay. Spokane won.
  • The documentary on former NFL player Pat Tillman is a movie I need to see, though I'm sure it's heartbreaking.
  • We're headed to Miller Park this weekend. My fourth of five planned MLB stadiums. (Wrigley, Fenway, Kauffman, Miller, Target)
  • Seriously, how is the state fair allowed to be that overpriced? I guess the short answer is, we're willing to pay.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Insert Creative Headline Here

I've started a letter-writing campaign.  I'm petioning HBO to make "Hard Knocks" a season-long show.  It's phenomenal television, but I'm already bummed out because there's only two episodes left.

As a Bears fan, I've never liked Brett Favre.  But I always respected him... that is, until two years ago.  What a flake.

I'm so starved for football, I've been watching football replays on the Big Ten Network for the last two weeks.  I've also been watching preseason game replays late at night on the NFL Network. I hate to see summer end, but the dawn of football season makes it easier to swallow.

I had no idea the restoration of Hilton Coliseum would take nearly three months.  What a shame.

The first "Big Game" of the High School football season is Dowling vs. Valley.  Who ya got?


Favre Blah Blah, Fantasy Football Shirts, Expendables Body Count

  • Brett Favre is like the hot girl in the club. He knows everyone wants him, but he needs to hear it anyway.
  • Favre blah, blah, blah.
  • HBO's Hard Knocks is the best sports show on television. This week featured the unintentional tragicomedy of Jets defensive back Antonio Cromartie struggling to remember all his many children.
  • The Jets also received Shake Weights. There just no way to watch someone using one without laughing.
  • The Iowa Speedway will sell out both NASCAR Nationwide races next year.
  • Keno Davis is catching grief for not releasing a player from his commitment to Providence. I wish more schools would do this, but they won't. Why? Because they know they'll gladly take other kids who back out of their commitments.
  • I first ate at Smokey Row in Oskaloosa when we stayed in the town square with RVTV. Loved it. Tonight, I tried the new Smokey Row in Des Moines on MLK. I don't know what took me so long. Cool place, tasty food. I was easy to spot too. I was the person without a laptop.
  • Looking for a shirt that shows your passion for fantasy football? Check this site for gear that's not lame. http://www.smwclothing.com/
  • I took my dad to the testosterone filmfest that is The Expendables. I liked it. Way over the top in that Tango & Cash kind of way, but if you know what you're getting into, you'll have a good time. You'll also lose track of the body count, which easily goes into the hundreds. Jason Statham steals the show from the old guys.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Flushed Out, Hawks #1, Keno Blasted

You have to feel for the Iowa State volleyball team. The Cyclones spent the last few years building up one of the best home court advantages in all of collegiate volleyball, and they won't even be able to play at home. The flood waters have forced the program to move all of its home games out of Hilton Coliseum, and into the Ames High School gym. ISU averaged 2,700 fans in 2009. Ames high only holds 2,000.

Hawkeye fans always think the Iowa football team has a chance to reach the BCS title game, and this year they're not alone. http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/preview10/news/story?id=5467170 

I've become somewhat of a Twitter junkie over the past few months (hassel13 if you wish to follow). Keith (murph_13) has been on board for a while, but Shawn and Andy have been stubborn holdouts. I expect Shawn to join in within the month. Andy is likely many months away.

Speaking of Twitter, I had been reading, all day, to stay away from spam known as Twifficiency. Some 17-year-old kid built a program to calculate your own Twitter efficiency, based on your numbers of tweets, and followers. Many warned me to stay away, but that just made me want to try it even more. It turns out my score is 18%. I have no idea what it means, and now I'm going to be worried about some teenager from Britain hacking into my account. Not worth it.

Drake head football coach, Chris Creighton, is Paul Rhoads lite. He's an entertaining guy to listen to, and he's very honest about how he runs his program. Every year, he spends 2-4 months coming up with a theme for the upcoming season. This years theme is "rabid". Creighton explained it by saying, "Rabid is off the chart. It's no longer in the normal realm and, at times, maybe even a bit irrational." Sounds like they're ready to have some fun.

Keno Davis is just two years removed from being named National Coach of the Year. After a pair of lackluster season's at Providence, the former Drake coach is starting to feel the heat. Fans are beginning to lose their patience, and a recruits father is now calling him a "bad guy". http://hoopsblog.projo.com/2010/08/joseph-young-lo.html

I'm a big fan of old sports clips. This one, is definitely in my top 5. If you like big comebacks and crazy announcers with Texas slang....you'll love it. If you haven't seen it, be patient. You won't be disappointed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHkABO0VwCg

Unruly Hawkeye Tailgaters, Rex Bleeping Ryan, My Huge Head

  • Can't believe how many one-liners we've received at SoundOff about the flooding at Iowa State. Example: Good to see they finally filled Hilton Coliseum with something. I think it's too soon for jokes. What do you think?
  • We went to Kansas City to see a Yankees "home game" Friday. I have never experienced heat like that, outside a sauna. Our car temperature gauge read 112, and it felt like 130. The temperature dropped 30 degrees for a two hour rain delay. The Royals won, which is nice. Kansas City baseball fans are great, Kauffman Stadium is now a cool venue, and Royals Nation---what's left of it---deserves a contender.
  • We went off the beaten path from Missouri to Mizzoura. Now I know where they filmed Dukes of Hazzard.
  • U of I Police say they'll crack down on unruly tailgating. Good luck with that. I'm not sure where you even start, but I suppose it's a little like what Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said when asked to define hard-core pornography. He said, "I know it when I see it". Let's hope police can do the same with tailgating. Most is fun, some is unruly, and you can usually see the difference.
  • Kirk Ferentz confirmed Saturday that Brandon Wegher is away from the team dealing with "personal issues". We don't need to know more than that. I hope Wegher returns soon, and I think he will.
  • No DJK interviews after Saturday's practice. Don't shut him down, Coach. Please!
  • Has any third string QB ever received more attention than Tim Tebow Sunday? No. And I kind of understand it.
  • Twins manager Ron Gardenhire removed pitcher Kevin Slowey after 7 innings of no-hit ball. Gardenhire was right. Slowey has tendinitis in his elbow. Fans booed. They were right too.
  • Tony Dungy says Commissioner Goodell should tell Jets coach Rex Ryan to tone his language down on HBO's terrific Hard Knocks. If Goodell does that, Hard Knocks becomes a lot less real. Many coaches, in many sports, use as much profanity as Ryan. And not just on the pro or college level. I had a high school coach who makes Ryan sound like Dungy.
  • One of the guys who started http://www.buildahead.com/ grew up watching SoundOFF. He sent some "heads" of Andy and me. Immediately a couple staffers at work had fun with them.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Cast Your Kernel

I spent Saturday afternoon manning Channel 13's "Cast Your Kernel" booth at the Iowa State Fair.  The object is simple.  Fair-goers chose who they want Iowa's next governor to be by placing a corn kernel in a mason jar representing either Terry Branstad or Chet Culver.  Below is a top ten list of the most frequent questions and comments uttered during my time at the booth.

10. Who are you? You work at Channel 13?
9.    I listen to you guys on the radio all the time.
8.   Where's the jar to vote for neither?
7.   Where's the jar to vote for Jonathan Narcisse?
6.   There's a chunk of corndog stuck in your front tooth.
5.   How do I get to the backgammon tournament?
4.   What's the deal with Brandon Wegher?
3.   I was on Channel 13 one time three years ago. Can you get me a copy of that?
2.   Hot enough for ya?!?
1.   Where's Ed Wilson?

Gotta love the State Fair.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Kirk and Kurt

On Friday, Kirk Ferentz confirmed what most Hawkeye fans already suspected... Brandon Wegher hasn't practiced all week because of undiclosed personal reasons.  Ferentz volunteered the information during an interview on ESPN Radio's Scott Van Pelt show.  Ferentz will undoubtedly be asked about Wegher on Saturday, following Iowa's open practice at Kinnick Stadium, but I'll be highly surprised if he offers much more information than he did on Friday.

Kurt Warner continues to dabble in broadcasting.  The Iowa native and two-time NFL MVP will be the color commentator for the NFL Network's broadcast of the Arena Bowl.  With a little work, Warner could easily end up in a network booth calling NFL games.  It just depends on if Warner wants to make that kind of commitment. 


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Perspective, F-bombs, and Uncle-hood.

The water in Ames is receding, but it won't be gone anytime soon.  And the forecast calls for more rain in northern Iowa in the coming days... here's hoping it's minimal. As I write this, the folks at Iowa State are pumping flood water out of Hilton Coliseum.  Until the water is gone, they won't know how long it will take to renovate Hilton or how much it will cost.  While the flooding at ISU is a huge inconvenience and expense, everyone at the university seems to have a good perspective... meaning they realize many others across the state have suffered greater tragedies.  The video and interviews with people that have lost loved ones or their homes is truly heartbreaking.

On a lighter note, I absolutely loved the first episode of "Hard Knocks" Wednesday night. Rex Ryan stole the show with both his candor and colorful language.  Ryan seems to be the definition of a "players' coach." "Hard Knocks" has been around for years, but the show is on its way to receiving unprecedented coverage from the media.  I've seen three seperate articles on espn.com today about information that was revealed in the show.  I'm guessing the fact that the Jets play in the country's top media market has something to do with it. One of the aforementioned articles dealt with Rex Ryan's mother.  Apparently, she didn't approve of her son's repeated use of the "f" word.  Ryan dropped at least a dozen f-bombs in the first episode.  I understand mom's position, but I hope Rex continues to spew away.  That's the sailor in me.

Finally, I met my nephew Henry for the first time on Thursday.  I've never been one to "ooh and ahh" over babies, but Henry is the exception.  My brother and his wife don't know it yet, but Henry is getting a drum set for Christmas this year. :)


Iowa State, home of Cyclones and Floods

  • Ames woke up in 1993 Wednesday morning. Maybe worse. It's hard to believe the video and pictures from Ames, a city under water, and without water. Those of us dealing with a damp basement now fully realized how fortunate we are compared to those in Ames, Four Mile Creek, Altoona, Colfax-Mingo and other flooded areas.
  • Hilton Coliseum was, perhaps, the most surreal sight. It looked like a giant dark pool inside, and the court was floating in eight feet of water.
  • When I talked to Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg, he was trapped at home. Hoiberg tried to reach Iowa State, but kept running into police road blocks set up to prevent people from driving into dangerous areas. Turn around, don't drown.
  • ISU women's coach Bill Fennelly told me he choked up and fought back tears when he saw the court and offices at Hilton. Fennelly also realizes materials can be replaced, people can't.
  • No football team in America worked harder than Iowa State Wednesday morning. Instead of practicing, the Cyclones sandbagged for hours. Everyone in Iowa, fans of all teams, cheer that effort.
  • Channel 13's Shawn Terrell was supposed to spend the day at his desk working on RVTV plans. Instead, he spent it all in Ames doing a terrific job of reporting on the flooding. I think Shawn's glad he went. He says it's something you had to see with your own eyes to believe. I think that's what was hard for some people in non-flooded areas, it seemed like just another day. It wasn't.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Enough Rain Already, Hellboy Tames Tigers, Newton Double Down

  • Another storm as I blog? Really?! These aren't just mild storms either. They're movie special f/x, wake you up out of a dead sleep, trash the entire neighborhood type storms. Enough! Uncle.
  • Ed Wilson's off this week. He's building an ark.
  • Just got a text from my good friend, Rod Bodholdt, in Ames. He says it's getting bad up there. Our thoughts are with all people dealing with the flooding. Hang in there.
  • I-Cubs home game Wednesday should be nice and warm. Around 105 degrees on the heat index.  Think how the Famous Chicken felt Tuesday night. I hear he wears icepack underwear, but that might not be enough.
  • Jeremy Hellickson is the real deal. As good as Hellboy was in his major league debut, he was even better in game two. (The other rookie pitching phenom, Steven Strasburg was rocked on the same night.) It was nice to see how proud all Jeremy's family and friends are in Des Moines. They're nice people.
  • Jeremy's dad, Steve, tells me Jeremy's in the show for good now. If he's not, the Rays deserve to lose.
  • Brandon Wegher missed another practice Tuesday. I think he'll be back with the Hawkeyes soon.
  • Iowa is #6 in Sports Illustrated's first poll. That should help tamp down expectations.
  • Did you see that Reds-Cardinals brawl? This is going to be a fun pennant race.
  • The Iowa Speedway is a near lock to have two NASCAR Nationwide series races next year. That's a big deal for a track making all the right moves.
  • I'm disappointed Friday Night Lights is over for another season. It's so good, it makes me want to buy DirecTV just so I don't have to wait as long to see the final season (which will be show later on NBC).
  • Another great episode of Rescue Me. Emmy voters, stop ignoring Denis Leary.
  • If you like U2 or Radiohead, I think you'll love Arcade Fire's new album, The Suburbs.
  • Count me in for The Expendables. I love all those aging action stars. Well, most of them.
  • Pirahna 3D? Do we need to see fish eat human flesh in 3D.
  • I'm headed to KC this weekend to see the Royals & Royals. Damn Yankees.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Madden 2010 (yes 2010), Stanzi Cover Manzi, No Tweeting

  • The weather early Monday was NUTS. I ignored the good advice of one of our producers, Lisa Felton, and drove home around 12:30 a.m.  High winds, horizontal rain, constant lightning, flash flooding... this one had it all. I was looking around for a flying cow.
  • Nebraska fans, we're kidding. Don't tell.
  • That didn't take long. Bryan Bulaga competing for starting spot on Packers O-line.
  • Ricky Stanzi is on the regional cover of Sports Illustrated's Big Ten preview. Since only Iowa stores get this cover, it doesn't qualify for jinx consideration. The jinx is silly anyway.
  • Boise State's football players are not allowed to tweet during the season. Some will see this as censorship, but when you're on a team, you follow rules. Kind of like when you're in your parents' house; their house, their rules. I wouldn't be surprised to see Kirk Ferentz go to the no tweeting rule, though I hope he doesn't.
  • I wish DJK would join twitter. He's the best interview in the state right now. (By the way, my twitter name is now Murph_13.)
  • If you're on twitter, I recommend following Zachlopedia. Zach Spears plays on the offensive line at Iowa State, and he was our intern at SoundOff and on the Murph & Andy Show. He's bright, funny, and unpredictable. Well, he is in person. He's just starting on twitter, so we'll see if he keeps it real.
  • We're apparently ready for some football. The lackluster Bengals vs. Cowboys Hall of Fame game was the highest rated preseason clash in six years.
  • Preseason games are the worst part of the NFL. They just don't matter to anyone except the coaches and fringe players. In 2008, the Lions went undefeated in the preseason. Regular season record: 0-16.
  • As I type, it's thundering. You've got to be kidding.
  • Greatest NFL player of the past 25 years? To me, it's Jerry Rice.
  • Will Tiger Woods win another major? I think he will, and more than one, but he'll never be dominant the way he once was. He's past his prime, and lost his swagger. He'll get his game back, but never his aura of invincibility.
  • It's time for Madden 2011, or as my kids call it, Madden 2010. "See kids, it's 2010, just like the year it is now! Plus, none of that annoying shrink wrap. It's ready to play!"
  • There's plenty of passion in Indianola where the school board is voting whether Indianola leaves the CIML. Many in Indianola are tired of being the smallest school in the CIML. They'd like to join the Little Hawkeye conference where the Indians would be, by far, the largest school. The rub is that would make Indianola the bully, because the Indians are tired of being bullied.
  • A lightning bolt just knocked out all power for 5 minutes. When will this end?
  • Jeff Van Gundy is predicting the Heat will win more than 72 games, and could win more than 33 in a row, both records. Drug test Van Gundy stat.
  • Loved Will Ferrell's The Other Guys. Absolutely ridiculous, but I laughed hard several times. That's worth 7 bucks.
  • And now, two Pirates announcers who momentarily lose their minds, and all perspective: http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=10740021&c_id=pit&topic_id=8877442

Monday, August 09, 2010

Little Leaguers, Spiderman, Kinnick Expansion


Last year, Urbandale made the little league World Series. This year, a team from Des Moines is threatening to do the same. The boys from Grandview Little League are 2-0 in Midwest regional pool play, in Indianapolis...and they won both games by 10 runs! They play again, Monday, against Missouri.

Jeremy Hellickson could start as early as Tuesday, for the Rays. A pair of Tampa starters are banged up, so the organization decided to scratch Hellickson's scheduled Sunday start in triple-A Durham.

Tony Stewart didn't make the trip for the US Cellular 250, but he won't miss the Knoxville Nationals. He'll be in Knoxville on Monday, and Tuesday.

If you weren't out driving around at midnight, Sunday, you're lucky. I'm not sure that I've ever driven anywhere in a worse rain storm. It took 30 minutes to get from downtown to 50th street in West Des Moines. I'm not sure when hydroplaning becomes floating, but I'm sure I was on the threshold. Hopefully Mother Nature is done throwing hissy fits for a while.

This guys nickname is 'Spiderman' ... and he's living up to it  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaxpAkOWNM0

When I got to work, Keith told me I looked too thin. A few hours later, a gracious co-worker ordered 3 pizza's for the newsroom. I proceeded to eat 8 pieces. Thanks, Keith.

Here's a question that I bet we're going to start hearing: Is Kinnick Stadium too small? With every ticket sold heading into 2010, it makes you think. Some Hawkeye fans will be on the outside looking in come game day...unless they want to pay at least 2x face value on a ticket. Kinnick holds 70,585 people, and it has the 6th largest stadium capacity in the Big ten. Sure, the Hawks could fill an 80,000 seat stadium, this year. But what about an average year? This year isn't the norm. I think Iowa could use an extra 5-10 thousand seats....but there are logistical problems. They would need to add an upper deck, and I don't see that happening in the near future.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Prior's Comeback, Hellickson to Bullpen, Tiger Will Roar


Mark Prior seemed to throw a towel more than he threw a baseball during his time in the big leagues, but he's having a tough time "throwing in the towel" on his career. The former Cubs phenom signed on with a team in the Independent League. He's been out of the majors for 4 years, but he's still only 29. There's time for a comeback, but I wouldn't bet on it.

A month ago, Iowa Cubs GM Sam Bernabe couldn't buy a break. His team was losing, and his fans were being kept away by Mother Nature. Now, the I-Cubs have the best record in the league, and the fans are flocking to Principal Park. Over 26,000 people saw Friday and Saturday night's games combined.

It seems as if Des Moines native Jeremy Hellickson is being prepped for a move to the bullpen. After a dazzling debut in a spot start for the Rays, Hellickson was sent back down to AAA Durham. Word is that he will be limited to 45 pitches per start in the minors. When Major League rosters expand, in September, he'll likely be called up to work out of the 'pen.

Another Des Moines Little League team is looking to make the trip to Williamsport. The kids from Grandview Little League beat Nebraska, 11-1, Saturday in Indianapolis. Grandview plays Kansas on Sunday night.

Is Tiger Woods done? No. He may be a shell of his former self, right now, but I'll bet the farm that he'll be back. He's the greatest golfer of our time, and he's in his prime. Once he gets his personal life in order, the golf world will return to order.

Friday, August 06, 2010

All Things Iowa

For the first time, every Iowa football game is sold out prior to the start of the season.  More than 59,000 season tickets have been sold.  That's impressive.  There is, however, a chance a few seats could become available later in the season.  Each opposing school is allotted 4000 tickets for each game, and if the opposing school returns any of those tickets, they will go on sale to the general public.  But those seats suck.  Plus, you'd be stuck with the opposing fans for the entire game.  Either way, scalpers will have a field day on Melrose this fall.

Iowa media day came and went, and we really don't know anything we didn't know on Monday.  Kirk Ferentz cleared the air at Big Ten Media days earlier in the week.  Still, Friday was one of the only times of the year that every player and coach is available for an interview.  After today, we won't hear anything from the true freshman, and Norm and Ken won't talk again until (presumably) before the bowl game.

Everyone always asks me how good the Hawks will be this year.  And my answer is always the same.  It depends which way the bounces go.  It's easy to forget, Iowa was a few plays away from being (record-wise) a mediocre football team in 2009.  Except for 2002, Kirk Ferentz hasn't really had a dominating team at Iowa.  But the Hawks had great records in '03, '04, '08, and '09 because the bounces went their way and they won most of the close games.  We'll find out soon what kind of karma Iowa has this season.  Kickoff is one month away.  Can't wait.


Thursday, August 05, 2010

Brawling at Graduation, Catch of the Century, A-Fraud

  • The Big Ten's first football championship game will take place in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium. That's no surprise. The home of the Colts is a nice place, though I still think of Big Ten football being outdoors in the December cold.
  • Paul Rhoads is so fired up right now, I hope he makes it all the way to the first game. Less than a month to go. Hang in there, coach. Save some.
  • A-Rod's 600th left me cold. I don't hate Alex Rodriguez---I don't know him---but I hate the way the cheaters forever ruined one of the best parts of baseball: meaningful numbers. A-Rod is a talented baseball player, but he'd be nowhere near 600 without all the steroids.
  • A-Rod apologists, i.e. Yankee fans, need to stop emailing me how, "at least A-Rod confessed and apologized". He didn't come forward because his conscience got to him, he did it because he got caught.
  • Iowa's Adrian Clayborn is now #5 on Mel Kiper's NFL draft list for next year. Clayborn lists Kiper #3 on his scary hairdo list.
  • Parents in California brawled at a kindergarten graduation because of a Facebook post dissing the Lakers. This begs the question... why was there a kindergarten graduation?
  • Remember when Mark Prior pitched for the Iowa Cubs. It was absolutely electric. Prior was cool too. He took his teammates out for dinner, and thanked all the fans in a Des Moines Register ad. Now at age 29, Prior signs with the Orange County Flyers. Who? The Orange County Flyers. Don't put Strasburg in the Hall of Fame yet.
  • Joe Posnanski's Sports Illustrated cover story on Stan Musial was perfect. What a great read.
  • Some roles should never be attempted because they were played perfectly the first time. Who had a worse idea, Adam Sandler attempting Paul Crewe in Longest Yard, or Steve Martin as Inspector Clouseau? Burt Reynolds and Peter Sellers, respectively, made sequels a bad idea.
  • I can't wait to see "The Other Guys". Yes, I love Will Ferrell movies, but this one is actually getting good reviews.
  • I leave you with the greatest baseball catch  I've ever seen:

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Don't Do It Kurt, Burt Reynolds' Prime, Football Friday Album

  • Not again, Brett. Why am I surprised. Oh yeah, I'm not. Who knows if Brett Favre really is done, and if he is, whether it's his ankle, his age, or simply desire. If he's not done, why's he crying wolf again? Is it more money? A ploy to miss training camp? The need to have his ego stroked? I don't know, and I really don't care. I do know the NFL is more interesting with Favre in it, and hope he comes back. For the first time, I don't think he will.
  • Et tu, Kurt? Dancing With The Stars? Please don't do it, Kurt. It's great for Shawn Johnson, maybe okay for Ochocinco, but Warner---he'd lose cool points on that hit cheesefest. Warner's made for television stardom, with his mouth, not feet.
  • Terrific story by Andy Fales on how much a visit by Fred Hoiberg meant to a young cancer patient 16 years ago. The current coach and former patient reunited at the Coaches vs. Cancer Golf Classic in Ankeny. http://www.whotv.com/news/who-story-coaches-vs-cancer-080310,0,3471123.story
  • Andy didn't just cover the 100 year anniversary of the Boys Scouts Jamboree. He looked back with pride.
It's belt canteen boy.

  • Iowa and Iowa State moving to 9-game conference schedules won't kill the Iowa-Iowa State game, but it will take cooperation and motivation to keep it going. Both sides will have to work hard to sync-up schedules when they're playing 5 conference road games, because both schools want, and need, 7 home games a season. Neither will want to give that up.
  • I'm watching the original Longest Yard as I write this. It's so much better than the sequel, it's not even debatable. Burt Reynolds vs. Adam Sandler as Paul Crew is worse than Peter Sellers vs. Steve Martin as Inspector Clouseau.
  • Why would a man want Andy to sign his chest? I don't know, but I hope it's not for a tattoo.
I don't want to know how he dotted the "i"

  • We shot the new Football Friday promo today. I'm embarrassed to report I wrenched my back while performing a solo. Really.
The Football Friday album cover

Monday, August 02, 2010

Hoover's Hellboy, Wing Dings, Seed Addiction

  • Hellboy raised hell Monday in Tampa. Des Moines' Jeremy Hellickson made his Major League debut against the Twins, and Hellickson dominated. The Hoover alum picks up the win as the Rays beat the Twins, 4-2. Hellickson belongs in The Show, but he's headed back to Durham. The Rays have so much pitching, they can afford to wait longer on a guy who's ready RIGHT NOW.
  • Hellickson's parents drove from Des Moines to Tampa. That's a haul that would give the Bandit pause. I talked to Steve Hellickson. He's bursting with pride---naturally---and said the drive was well worth it.
  • Hellickson's friends and family packed the new Buffalo Wild Wings in Des Moines to watch on TV. I don't think any of them were part of that crowd ten days ago that camped out to try and win free wings for a year. No one should love wings that much.
  • Cyclone star David Sims changed his plea to "guilty". If he stays out of trouble for 18 months, it'll be like it never happened. If he's smart, and I hope he is, he'll take zero chances.
  • The job of a sales staff is to---duh---sell. The Miami Heat sold out season tickets, so the Heat fired the entire sales staff. Don't need a sales staff if there's nothing to sell, I guess. Thanks for taking your talents to South Beach, LeBron.
  • A-Rod, please, go back to the 'roids for a week so I don't have to keep reading about you being stuck on 599.
  • Alright, I'm into Mad Men. Can't wait to see who Don Draper sexually harasses next.
  • I saw Sorcerer's Apprentice over the weekend. The kids liked it. I just tried to remember when Nicolas Cage made movies I enjoyed. "Put the bunny down".
  • Had a lot of fun at the Iowa Speedway over the weekend, save for Friday's night drive through the fog of death. Saturday, we were invited to the owner's luxury box, and though we couldn't have been treated better, I'd rather watch any live sporting event from the stands. It's more real, it's more fun. The box is like watching the tube.
  • I can't wait to see "The Other Guys". It looks like something I'll love, and Andy will think is stupid.
  • High school football season starts two weeks from Friday. How is that possible.
  • I'm addicted to David's ranch flavored sunflower seeds. I really have a problem. People are starting to talk.
  • I like most of what I heard from Big Ten Media Days in Chicago. Jim Delany is the Godfather, so whatever he says is going to happen. Nine conference games intead of eight is good for fans, a championship game will make the Big Ten more relevant, though the regular season less relevant, and the Big Ten brand is strong enough to not change the name, even if it remains an oxymoron. The next big news item is division alignment. I'm still hoping for geography, but many Hawk fans want Penn State with Iowa. I get that, though I wonder what happens after JoePa and Ferentz leave.
  • Expectations have never been higher for Hawkeye football. I can't help but think Iowa's bound to disappoint, but I hope I'm wrong. It's more fun for us when the local teams win, and win big. Everyone's happier.
  • Nice effort, Cubs. Way to show all the visiting Iowa media a good time at Wrigley. Losing to the Brewers 18 to 1 could be the new low point.
  • I need to go buy some seeds.