Saturday, April 30, 2011

Lolo Loses, Half-dozen Hawks, Dancing Kid


There was a time when Lolo couldn't lose, at the Drake Relays. Now, she can't seem to win. Another 2nd place finish makes it three years without a victory for the former #1-ranked hurdler in the world. She said, after the race, that she probably won't be back next season, due to the 2012 London Olympics.

The Hawkeyes tied a school record (set in 2009) with a half-dozen draftees, this week. That just goes to show just how badly the 2010 team underachieved. I said, from day one, that this was the most talented Hawkeye team I had ever seen, and despite their 8-5 record, I'm sticking to my guns. The only difference between 2009, and 2010, is a little bit of luck.

DJK went undrafted, much to the surprise of no one. He'll get his chance as an undrafted free agent.

I'm not sold on Adrian Clayborn being a top-notch defensive lineman, in the NFL. I hope he proves me wrong.

Iowa State didn't have a single draft pick. That fact wasn't lost on former Hawkeye Brandon Myers. The Raiders tight end tweeted "How many cyclones got drafted this year?" ... Yes, it's a slap in the face, but it goes to show what kind of a job Paul Rhoads is doing. He took a team with very little talent, and won 12 games in two years. That's pretty good.

I'm not going to say the Iowa Barnstormers have a bad defense -- because they don't have one. Iowa gave up 76 points to the, previously 1-6, Philadelphia Soul. The Stormers have now lost 4 straight. They're 2-6 on the year.

To add injury to insult, Barnstormers head coach John Gregory got his headset cleaned. The 72-year-old got run over in the 2nd quarter. Then, at halftime, TV cameras caught him yelling at the sideline reporter to hurry up. Ouchy.

Maybe they should've put in PA guy, Scott Casber. Even after calling the Energy game, Friday night, he seemed to be the only guy showing any excitement.

If you haven't seen the greatest dancing kid in the history of the Channel 13 News, take a look:

Energy Surge, Relays Record, Expensive Doobie

Nice to see the Iowa Energy win the NBA D-League championship. Fans took a while to warm-up to the Energy---having past team pro teams pull the rug out from under them will do that---but local ownership worked tirelessly to build trust, and four years, not to mention the league's best team, won fans over. As the celebration showed, the players cared too...

Workers at Wells Fargo Arena have to turn a basketball court into a football field in 18 hours. The Barnstormers host the Philadelphia Soul, minus Jon Bon Jovi. I'm taking the family. Looking forward to it...

Record Friday night crowd at the Drake Relays. Great weather will do that. Nothing beats seeing a high school kid experience the thrill of grabbing his or her first flag...

Lolo Jones will light the place up Saturday afternoon...

Did you see the U of Alabama track athlete from Tuscaloosa talk about the devastation in her hometown? Heartbreaking...

Those who predicted Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi would go as high as the second round of the NFL draft were wrong, and then some. Stanzi has dropped to at least the fourth round...

I don't know what marijuana costs, but it sure cost Iowa's Christian Ballard a lot, maybe millions. Ballard reportedly tested positive at the NFL combine. He has gone from projected second round, to fourth round or lower...

Shout out to Chris Hassel and  Zach Borg. They got it done Friday with long days, dual live shots, and excellent video and reporting, with an assist from Brandon McCauley. I'm thankful...

Friday, April 29, 2011

Hoiberg's Headache, Amazing Pocket Chair

Nice to see Iowa's Adrian Clayborn drafted in the first round, at the high end of projections, #20 to the Bucs. Clayborn didn't have to return for his senior season, but he did, and many thought his stock dropped. It appears if it did, it wasn't much, and college is a lot of fun, though it doesn't pay as well...

Fred Hoiberg is giving several players second chances. He didn't expect to do the same for an assistant coach one week after hiring him. I can't imagine how frustrated Hoiberg was upon hearing police arrested Cornell Mann for OWI. Some Cyclone fans think Hoiberg should drop Mann now, but it appears Mann's job is safe...

Nice weather, glad you're finally here. The Drake Relays thanks you. So do I...

The Iowa Energy is again running several promotions to try and attract a large crowd Friday night. I don't see any way fans show up the way they did for Wednesday night's game, but an announced crowd of 10,000 wouldn't shock me. Its great to see the support. Solid rep attracts more entertainment options...

The funniest show on television right now is... The Pocket Chair.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Energy Shortage, Mall Vaulting, Judging None

The Iowa Energy had everything in place for a championship to remember: buzz, record crowd, white out, stage for celebration, local celebrities, live trucks for television coverage... you name it. But the Energy forgot the most important thing: basketball. The Rio Grande Valley Vipers thumped the Energy by 19. Iowa played no defense and it was over before the fourth quarter began. Curtis Stinson summed it up on 10 p.m. newscast when he said he appreciates everything the fans did to "come out here and waste their money". That's too harsh, but Stinson felt bad Iowa played so poorly, and promised a better effort in Friday's winner take all finale...

Great job by the Energy attracting an (announced) crowd of 14,036. There weren't actually that many people in seats, but it's still a breakthrough night for a locally owned and managed franchise that's worked hard for four years. It's working. There were a lot of bandwagon fans Wednesday night, but that's a good thing. If you're going to the next level you need to court bandwagon fans, and then win them over so they one day become true fans. That makes the missed opportunity of a party at The Well more disappointing...

Pole Vaulting at the Mall is a great idea. Another huge crowd for the Drake Relays indoor event which begins near pretzels and ends in perfume...

Did you see Kevin Durant finish off the Nuggets? Wow...

Repeating myself, but these NBA playoffs are must see TV...

American Idol is nearing unwatchable status. The judges simply won't critique. Everyone is "amazing" and "in it to win it". A season that started with such promise has become karaoke at Billy Joe's without the beer...

I ate breakfast for lunch at the Waveland. If you haven't done this lately, try it, you'll thank me...

I had the privilege of hosting Heroes for Homeless Wednesday night. Congratulations to Jim Cownie and Christine Hensley...

When is this better weather arriving?...

For those asking, the Stella was not mine. I don't drink while working. Well, I don't drink alcohol, but I hit the Rockstar...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Papa Andy, Candid Derrell, Nervous Jim

Andy Fales is a father. Wow. I'm so excited and happy for him. I think he'll be a great dad too. Andy and his wife, Kahala, had a cute baby girl with a full head of hair, Elin. I can't imagine what it's like raising a girl. I hear it's great---until all the drama starts in middle school...

I've done many interviews, but I've never seen reaction and feedback like Andy and I had after our sit down with Derrell Johnson-Koulianos. DJK was an open book. I, and many others, found that refreshing. I also believed Derrell when he said the worst parts of being arrested for seven drug charges were having to call his mother from  jail, and having his little brothers taunted at school. Derrell got caught up in being DJK. He screwed up big and bad. He's paid a price, one that continues. Instead of being drafted into the NFL, Johnson-Koulianos will likely have to hope someone takes a free agent flyer on him. I hope he's sincere about learning from his mistakes---I think he is---but it always comes down to actions, not words. I like Derrell. I wish him well... (if you missed it:

Many NFL players smoke pot. NFL GM's and coaches know that. The problem for former Hawkeye Christian Ballard is he reportedly tested positive for marijuana at the NFL combine. The (apparent) stupidity of being caught in the most important job interview of your life raises red flags. He'll be drafted in the first three rounds anyway (see Warren Sapp, among others)...

More and more national college football "experts" say Ohio State's Jim Tressel won't survive lying to the NCAA and covering up violations. I think they're wrong. Why? Because he's 9-1 against Michigan...

Brian Brown does a great job running the Drake Relays. The Grand Blue Mile is just one more way the iconic event keeps growing...

Paul Rhoads told me Tuesday the Iowa State quarterback job is Jerome Tiller's to lose...

How sad is it that Chicago police are worried Arizona State's new mark is too similar to a street gang called Satan's Disciples? Police fear some innocent person wearing ASU gear being shot, stabbed, or beaten by a rival street gang...

I'm not a hater. I wish William and Kate the best. But I could not care less about the royal wedding...

NBC wore me down with its relentless promos for The Voice. I'm watching it on DVR as I type. So far, I'm surprised I like it as much as I do. There's something appealing about people being judged on their talent before anyone sees their looks...


Monday, April 25, 2011

Baby Fales, LoLo a GoGo, Hubbard's Past


It took 40 years, but Andy finally did it -- his boys can swim! Congratulations to Andy, and his wife, on their baby girl Elin. If I had a picture, I'd share it, but Andy says that no one cares about it, and no one wants to see it. Gotta love that attitude. Those people that shove pictures of their kids down your throat are very annoying. We'll see if he keeps his word.

Oh, and it's pronounced 'e-lin' ... like Tiger's ex.

I hope Elin Fales doesn't grow up
to look like this --- for Andy's sake.

More amazing than the fact that the Grizzlies are absolutely destroying the Spurs -- the fact that San Antonio started the year 37-6.

Lolo Jones is going to run at the Drake Relays. She waited about 363 days before making it official. Lolo definitely has a flare for the dramatic. I think she got a kick out of people questioning her about coming home. She'll race at 2:41pm, Saturday. Believe it, or not, after winning 4 straight titles from 2005-2009, she's failed to win each of the last two years.

It's Iowa Energy week! Des Moines mayor, Frank Cownie, made the declaration, Monday. I have no idea how that affects us. I was thinking it might mean dollar beers all over the city. My friends say that's not the case. Oh well...maybe Nick Nurse will get a nice box of Cuban's, or something.

I'm actually considering going to the Energy game, Wednesday night. I rarely ever attend games on my off-days, but it sounds like it's going to be a great atmosphere. Nurse says they're expecting over 10-thousand fans. That would be about 9-thousand more than Rio Grande Valley had for game 1.

Anthony Hubbard

There was a lot of talk, on Murph N Andy, today, about new Hawkeye Anthony Hubbard. I'm aware that the guy spent 4 years in prison. I'm aware that he was charged with malicious intent, and illegal use of a firearm. I'm also aware that he was convicted of robbery. But, I think Fran McCaffery needed to make this move. Hubbard is a darn good player. He was a JUCO All-American, averaging 22 points and 11 rebounds a game. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Iowa is desperate. McCaffery missed out on most of his big recruiting targets, this off-season. He needed someone with talent, and he got one. Franny Mac believes Hubbard has proven himself in the 8 years after the incident. Time will tell....

The NFL lockout is OVE---- wait no it's not. A U.S. District Judge sided with the players, and ordered an immediate end to the lockout, but the owners will definitely appeal.

I went to shoot the 1 vs. 2 soccer match, between the Valley and Johnston boys. What a disaster. It was pouring down rain, so much so that I couldn't even get out of the car. Not only did I not want to get soaked, I didn't want to ruin the camera (at least that's the excuse I'm going with).

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Blackhawks Comeback, Energy Title, Old School I-Cubs American Association, & I Suck At Technology


I realize Des Moines and Iowa aren't exactly hockey hotbeds.  Aside from the Bucs and smattering of USHL teams across the state, we never caught on to it like our neighbors to the north.  But the NHL Playoffs are, save maybe the NFL and the NCAA Basketball Tournament, some of the best playoffs you can watch.  There is nothing better than a sudden death overtime playoff hockey game, especially if it goes several overtimes. 

The Blackhawks comeback is amazing, yet not that improbable.  If any team could rally from down 3-0, it's a defending Stanley Cup champion.  And with Patrick Kane and Jonathon Toews (I swear he looks no different than when I covered him as a sophomore at North Dakota) it's not like they are a typical #8 seed.  The Canucks have a history of gagging in the playoffs, and it's got to be weighing on them.  I say the Blackhawks finish the comeback and take Game 7.

The Iowa Energy are on the verge of a title in the D-League after winning Game 1 at Rio Grande Valley Sunday night.  They're back home Wednesday for what could be the title clincher.  Get a good look at Nick Nurse and Curtis Stinson since they will likely be heading for greener NBA pastures next year. 

The Energy have struggled at times to draw, but in the playoffs they've had brilliant promotions to help get more people out.  The White Out promotion will be a big hit and hopefully the boost they need to bring home a title.

Speaking of, when was the last time a professional team in Des Moines won a league championship?  Excluding the Bucs (since it's mostly college and high school age guys I don't think you can call them the pros), I think you'd have to go back to 1993 when the Iowa Cubs won the American Association.  That's a drought people.....

One Crazy Dude

I remember that team well.  They had some legit pitching talent (Steve Trachsel, Jim Bullinger, Shawn Boskie, Ed Vosberg, and one of the great all time characters in Turk Wendell).  They played Nashville for the title and when they came back to Des Moines for Game 4 I saw my first ever Grand Slam, and my dad ran me over to make a diving catch of a foul ball. 

I watched Game 7 on Iowa Public TV.  The game went to extra innings and around ten I turned away for just a moment to watch (not kidding here), the WHO news at ten, only to have them show a live aerial shot of Sec Taylor Stadium (what us old folks called the place back in the day) and say "And Karl (Tuffy) Rhoads has just hit a game winning homerun!"  Never turn off a tied baseball or hockey game.  And I miss the American Association and going to games with my dad.

In last night's blog Chris talked about his Playstation network and his NetFlix and all this and that.  It makes me realize that I suck at technology.  My TV is the one I got for my birthday in 1996 and thus not HD (Which means Keith looks at me as some form of lower life form).  I've only just switched to DVD's from VHS and now apparently I have to get blue ray and Internet movies?  I do have a Playstation 2 but apparently the kids play a third one or XBOX.  I thought my IPod was cool until it got stolen and the next generation thing is barely the size of a paper clip and twice as expensive.  I don't know what half the hashtag lingo on Twitter means (but you can still follow me @IceBorg).  I guess I miss going to games with my dad because I have BECOME my dad.

Happy 600th, Record-setting Cubs, Birthday Shirt


Happy 600th, Murphy's Law! Only 399 more blog posts until we hit one-thousand. According to my math, that should occur in late May of 2012. Oh...and Happy Easter.

The Hawkeye football program has earned its fair share of negative publicity, over the last few months. On Saturday, they earned some positive publicity.

I've really been struggling to find entertainment, late at night. The 'Playstation Network' has been down, since Wednesday. That means no Netflix! It's 2:41am (Sunday Morning), and I'm watching some show about gigolos. Sadly, it's kind of entertaining.

The Cubs set an MLB record, Saturday -- a record for mediocrity. They become the first team in major league history to go 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5, 6-6, 7-7, 8-8, 9-9, and 10-10. Who knows, maybe 81-81 will win the division.

Dallas Clark offered up some positive news on the NFL lockout. The Colts tight end says he isn't worried about the lockout affecting the season. Clark says he's confident the players and owners will come to an agreement before the season begins. If he's wrong, bowling will finally get its opportunity to go mainstream.

The Barnstormers lost by one point, on a last-second field goal.
The Barnstormers lost by one point, on a last-second field goal.
It happened two weeks in a row.

How can any man use an electric razor? Every time I'm forced to use an electric razor, like today, I feel like I went face first into a porcupine.

My Mom, wife, sisters, and I, went out to dinner at a local Mexican joint, tonight. I had no idea what soccer game was on, but there were, at times, 6 employees standing right in front of the tv (which was right next to our table). I couldn't see the screen, by from the high-fiving, and dancing, it must have been the highest scoring game in soccer history. There was also a woman that came in wearing a tank top that read "It's my birthday B!TCH". Can't make it up....

Friday, April 22, 2011

Fog, DJK, Ark


If it can delay a game, it's happened at Principal Park. From snow, to rain, to floods, to FOG -- yep, tonight's game was delayed due to fog rolling in off the river. Iowa ended its 8-game home stand, Friday night. It was a home stand that never saw a game time temp above 55-degrees. Ouch.

Murph N Andy's interview, with Darrell Johnson-Koulianos, was fantastic. They asked all the right questions, and DJK had all the right answers (for the most part). He admitted some things that he probably shouldn't have. One that comes to mind is when he was telling a story about how he and Ricky Stanzi would knock down some cold ones after practice, freshman year.

After talking to Keith and Andy for over an hour, DJK joined me for a shorter interview for Channel 13. I could tell he was talked out. I'm sure it took a lot out of him to open up, like he did, with so many people listening. I asked him where he pictures himself five years from now, and he told me that he's going to be one of the best receivers in the NFL. He doesn't seem to be worried about his arrest, because he doesn't believe that's him. In his mind, it was a mistake, and it will never happen again. I hope he's right.

The only thing I didn't like about his interviews, is the fact that he was smacking his gum the entire time. I guess if that's his biggest problem, moving forward, he's going to be all right.

Kyle Korver is destroying the hopes and dreams of the Indiana Pacers. Every time they think they have a chance to beat the Bulls, Korver unloads another last-minute 3-point bomb. He's 7-of-8 from behind the arch, in the series. Not bad for a kid that played in wooden basketball shoes, growing up in Pella.

I ate dinner, tonight, at Noah's Ark. My sisters (from Muscatine) say they have never seen anything like it. Apparently, Muscatine kids have culture shock in any place but Applebees. I used to be big into the chain restaurants, but you can't beat a good 'hole in the wall'.

Anyone else, with Mediacom, get a crappy signal on TNT? At my house, and at Andy's, there's some under water strobe effect, that drives me nuts (on the HD channel). Another reason why I should buy a house -- just so I can ditch cable.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

U-S-A, Bonds*, Brrf

Bill Fennelly will coach Team USA this summer. That's quite an honor, and one Fennelly accepts, even if does mean missing a few Cardinals games...

The NL Central gets little respect, but maybe it should. This could be the most top-to-bottom mediocre division in baseball history. There's something to be said for near perfect parity. Not much, but something...

Commissioner Bud Selig says he will not remove Barry Bonds' home run records from the books, even though Bonds is a convicted felon and admitted he (unknowingly---wink, wink, nudge, nudge) used performance enhancers. This ensures 762 and 73 will never mean to the kids of today, what 714, 755, and 61 meant to baseball fans for generations. I had to look up how many career homers Bonds had because I couldn't remember. Enough said*...

The Miller & Brinson Show debuted on 1460 KXnO Thursday. Brinson has worked in many big markets, and provided play-by-play for several networks. He moved to Des Moines a couple weeks ago, and seems genuinely excited about the new show. Ken Miller has been part of a few highly rated sports talk shows, so odds are this one will be too. The one unknown: chemistry. Can't be manufactured. Either have it or you don't. Show one sounded like the boys were having fun, and that's half the battle...

Iowa Energy calling for a record crowd and a "White Out" Wednesday night. It will be game 2 of the NBA D-League finals. Nate Bjorkgren is now promoted to, basically, "head coach in waiting". The Energy expects Nick Nurse on an NBA bench soon...

If you're still holding out on the NBA---like Andy---come back. The NBA is good again, and the playoffs are the perfect time to re-enter...

Doesn't all this lousy weather mean it's going to be perfect for the Drake Relays? I sure hope. The I-Cubs gave out stocking caps to the first 2,000 fans Thursday night. I'm sure they have leftovers...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Big Board, Cubbie Bear, Dubble Bubble

Good gosh the new scoreboard at Jack Trice Stadium looks big. It's a serious upgrade, and a needed one. The sound system also gets a boost, which may be needed even more.

Andy hopes this means the end of Sweet Caroline. It won't, and I'm glad. How can you ever hear too much Neil Diamond, the Jewish Elvis. (Sweet Caroline is played before the bottom of the 8th inning at Fenway Park, and there's nothing like it. Every single person is singing and swaying. Last Summer, it almost won my wife over to the song. Almost.)...

The Cubs are in first place! So are the Reds. And Brewers. And Cardinals...

I took my son, Colin, to Principal Park for a long lunch and a few innings of I-Cubs baseball Wednesday afternoon. I remember my grandpa taking me out of school and to a game when I was a kid, and I'll never forget it. I forgot a lot of school days (daze), but not that one. Anyway, Colin had a blast, and I can't say enough about how nice I-Cubs employees are. Even on a cold day when you could count the fans, the I-Cubs tried to make it a memorable experience. (See Zach Borg's story in the video player on one of the world's most upbeat vendors for more proof.)...

Over the dinner break, I went to a Little League game and had my first piece of Dubble Bubble this year. How is it this gum goes from great to gross in 10 seconds?...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ferentz Limo, Point-Shaving, Short Irons

Kirk Ferentz made an appearance at the Polk County I-Club Banquet, Tuesday evening. Not only did Captain Kirk fly from Iowa City to Des Moines, he pulled up in a limo -- a stretch hummer limo. As you probably assumed, his personal sheriff was by his side, as well.

I'm happy to see the Iowa Energy make the D-League finals. It's nice to see the franchise gaining some traction, here in Central Iowa. When the team returns for game two of the finals, there will be a white-out at Wells Fargo Arena. All fans will be given white t-shirts (even though some will refuse to wear them), and they're hoping for a huge crowd. How big? Head coach Nick Nurse says he wants the stadium to be completely full. That's not going to happen, but the crowd should be north of 8-thousand. Jerry Crawford told me, Tuesday, that they're expecting to have another dollar beer night. No word on whether or not the Hooters girls will be back on the sidelines.

The Iowa basketball team will play Creighton, at Wells Fargo Arena, next season. I like it. Here's to hoping that it as exciting as the ISU-Creighton game, last season.

A lot of people are asking if I was actually trying when I was playing the Globetrotters, Sunday. Of course I wasn't trying. I had a lot of money on that game -- and it wasn't on my own team. The only thing real is my hate for the Generals head coach. I vowed to get him back for kicking me out of the game, and it didn't take long for me to get my revenge. After the game, I stole his cane.

I don't like the way the Bulls are playing against the Pacers. Sure, they're up 2-0 in the series, but the first two games have been too close for comfort. If not for D-Rose, the Bulls would be a mediocre team, at best. He's the best player in the league, in my opinion. No one is as quick as Rose, and no one can get to the rim like Rose. You have to see his moves in slow motion to really appreciate them.

This weather is disgusting. I've been so excited to get out and golf, and I've only had two opportunities to do so. I found out that I've been playing with irons that are an inch too short. I've been playing with them since I was a sophomore in High School. Now I know why I got so mad and punched that dude on the golf course my senior year.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Barnes Studies, Chizik Bombs, Borg Learns

Harrison Barnes is not only good, he's smart. The NBA money can wait, and there's labor unrest anyway, Harrison should enjoy the fun of college while he can...

Funniest tweet of the day from @davesanderson: "I think Barnes should have held an ISU pep rally at Ames High to announce he's staying at NC."...

North Carolina now returns all five starters and will likely begin the season at #1. Barnes doesn't want to leave NC without a national title. Keeping up with his hero, Michael Jordan, won't be easy...

No wonder Iowa State lost Gene Chizik's final 10 games as a head coach. Did you see him at Talladega Sunday? Lamest "(War Eagle) Gentleman Start Your Engines" ever...

How 'bout one decent day of weather for the I-Cubs first homestand? Goodness...

More than seven thousand (announced) fans watched the Iowa Energy advance to the NBA D-League championship for the first time. How did the Energy attract such a big crowd on a Monday night? $1 beer. That's something you don't see every day at Wells Fargo Arena...

Congratulations to Curtis Stinson for winning D-League MVP, he deserves it, and to Nick Nurse for coach of the year. Ditto. Remember that day Nurse was a Cyclone assistant?...

Weather impacted the spring football crowds in Ames and Iowa City, but I think many Hawkeye fans have figured out just how boring it is to watch "practice". They'd like to see a game...

Cy's House of Trivia at Hilton Coliseum was once again sold out. It's the most fun event of its kind I've ever hosted. Every school should steal this idea. It's hard to describe, but it's a blast for those playing along, and fun for the hosts too (Andy and me). The fans there drank 25 kegs of beer too...

Nick Price sat in on our radio show Monday and he was a terrific guest. Someone should get this guy a TV gig...

I laughed hard at Chris Hassel taking on the Globetrotters. Seeing the Trotters is one of my fondest childhood memories. Thanks Gram!...

I love how Zach Borg, aka IceBorg, has written just a few blog entries and each time one of you has kept him on his toes in the comments section. I love that about our viewers/readers/followers. We learn from each other...

Spring Flings, Super Starlin, Hassel No Dazzle, & Fat Keith & Andy


For a "spring game", Iowa State's version sure was physical.  There were several slobberknocker hits.  Don't get me wrong, it was fun to see, but just seemed to be tempting fate a bit.  That said, since they didn't have a bowl game and the four weeks of practice last December, maybe they needed the extra time.  Lets hope they are this physical when the opponents wear different colored helmets.

The quarterback battle between Steele Jantz and Jerome Tiller isn't over yet, but if the Cyclones had to play a real game next week, Tiller would start and it wouldn't even be close.  Even with an injured elbow Tiller looked better than a healthy Jantz.  He seemed to move the offense better and, most telling of all, he didn't turn the ball over.  Jantz fumbled on his first possession and later threw a bad pick.

What to say about Iowa's spring game....I mean scrimmage....I mean practice....

Are they playing basketball in Kinnick now?
Down in the south and in Corn land out in Lincoln, spring games draw big.  I've never seen it firsthand, but the actual game itself is not the event.  Getting people to tailgate and drink on an April  weekend like they would in the fall is the big hook.  Can't Iowa find some way to capitalize on that at least?

I've got a hunch this Hawkeye team is going to be A LOT better than most are expecting.  Vandenberg really seems to have control of this team, more than you'd think a first time starter would.  Beyond that, it just seems the Hawks always overachieve when nothing is expected and fall short in "big years".

Not sure what happened to the Barnstormers.  Looked like they'd blow the doors off Chicago when they were up 21-7 in the first.  For whatever reason, their execution at home is not nearly as good as it has been on the road.  This was the second straight time an opponent rallied and set itself up for a game winning field goal.  If not for Spokane's quarterback having a brain fart and throwing an interception, the Stormers could easily be 0-2 at the Well despite nearly 20,000 fans showing up in two games.

Good to say the Iowa Cubs back.  Bad to see the winter/cold weather is still here.

The only reason to watch the 2011 Chicago Cubs
Troy Tulowitzki is easily the best shortstop in the National League.  I think Starlin Castro is second best in the NL, and by year's end, it may not even be close.  If he bulks up and adds some more power (as scouts say he will), this guy may be the best at short for the Cubbies since Ernie Banks.

If the Cubs are going to become relevant again they need to do it from within.  It's how smaller market teams like Colorado, San Francisco, Tampa Bay and so on have been to the World Series in recent years while the Cubs still flounder.  Of Colorado's everyday lineup, 7-8 of their players are guys who came up through their farm system, and three of their five starters are as well.  Even big spenders like the Yankees have home grown guys (Posada, Jeter, Pettite before he retired) at their nucleus.  Most of the free agents the Cubs sign to big deals always seem to be nearing the downside of their careers.  Why not develop some good young talent and reap the benefits while they're entering and in the prime of their careers?  The Cubs are fortunate in that they have money to spend and they can afford a superstar (See Pujols, Albert).  But they'll need 24 other guys to win a title even if they get Pujols, and wasting time on Carlos Silva's and Kosuke Fukudome's won't make them any better.

The NBA regular season is unwatchable.  But the playoffs?  Wow.  Sunday's finishes were some of the best I've ever seen.

Our own Chris Hassel debuted for the Washington Generals against the Harlem Globetrotters.  Strangely, it was also his final game as he was sent to the glue factory......I mean retired following the game.  He's not taking it well. 

I say look on the bright side.  The Generals have been one of the worst franchises in basketball history, yet for all the crappy players who've worn the green and brown, Chris Hassel was called the worst to ever wear the uniform.  That says a lot, and isn't it better to remembered for something rather than nothing?

Finally, Andy out of Ankeny sent us a couple of photos showing what Fales and Keith would look like with fat faces thanks to something called a FatBooth app.  Just when you think apps can't get any more pointless, but who knows, in another 10 or so years we'll have to compare.  Fortunately, I have no need for this app.  I just look in the mirror.  ;)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Wash-out, #42, French Cuffs

Mother Nature hates the I-Cubs. From snow, to rain, to floods -- it's always something. For the 2nd time in 4 years, Iowa's opening day is postponed. They aren't making up the game until late June, which is smart. No one wants to see (or play in) a douple-dip, Saturday.

Big sports day, Saturday. Both the Hawks and Cyclones hold their respective spring games, the I-Cubs open at home, and the Barnstormers are home for just the 2nd time in 5 weeks. If I had my choice of attending any of those 4 events, I'd choose Barnstormers...and it's not even close.

If you want to see something resembling a football game, you better head to Ames. Iowa's spring "game" is no more than a practice inside Kinnick Stadium. It's, without a doubt, the most boring spring "game" I've ever seen. If you like watching players stretch, and hone their blocking skills, you might like it. If not, stay away. If Kirk Ferentz had it his way, wins and losses would be determined by which team has the more fundamentally sound practice. I can't argue with his results, but it makes for one boring day. That's why Iowa draws 15-thousand to it's spring "game", and Nebraska draws 70-thousand.

The Iowa Energy are one in away from the D-League finals. I wish people cared more about the outcome of Energy games. It would be fun to see 8 to 10 thousand fans inside Wells Fargo Arena for a D-League final, but it's just not going to happen. The Energy run a great show, but in the end, people just aren't that interested in the end result.

Iowa State suffered a huge blow, losing Jake Knott to a broken arm. The JR linebacker is one of the premier players on this years team. Knott underwent surgery, Friday, and he's expected to be back in time for August practice. If there's one unit I wasn't worried about, going into 2011, it's the ISU linebacking core -- Knott and A.J. Klein are fun to watch.

I'm all for Major League Baseball honoring Jackie Robinson, but the #42 weekend has me all jacked up. It's hard to tell one player from another when they're all wearing #42. I watched Albert Pujols hit a homer, and I actually had to ask a friend who hit it. Apparently my friend isn't having any problems adjusting.

Lolo Jones says she's coming to the Drake Relays, but she may not run. Why?!? I don't have any interest in seeing Lolo watching the events in the press box. She needs to run. I'm sure Relays director, Brian Brown, agrees.

The NBA Playoffs start, Saturday. As a Bulls fan, I'm all fired up. The problem is, the playoffs last waaaaay too long. You should be playing games every other day. No one needs two days off. If you sweep someone, you could get two weeks off! It's hard to build momentm when you're playing once or twice a week. The NHL does it the right way.

My friends made fun of me for wearing a shirt with French Cuffs, tonight. Are they out of style? I've had the shirt for 5 years, but I never thought I was wearing something that's outdated. Then again, I was a huge fan of 'jorts' until I moved to Des Moines. Keith and Andy had a field day with that one -- then again, Andy wears flannel shirts, and Keith wears Jerry Garcis ties. We all have our faults...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Second Chances, #1 Seeds, Three Fans

Fred Hoiberg believes in second chances. Does he believe in third? Jordan Railey hopes so. We'll find out soon...

@bengodar tweets, "Anyone who claims they want to watch a clean athletic program has a variety of Division III teams to choose from", and "I'll take a team of Kenny Pratt's any day. The calls for "clean" always ring hypocritical." At least he's being honest. Most fans care about one thing far more than anything else: winning. When winning, nearly all is excused. When losing, all problems are excuses for a change...

Auburn will soon build statues of all its Heisman Trophy winners. I wouldn't make Cam Newton's out of bronze...
The Sacramento Kings are likely moving. That will tear the hearts out of those fans. Just ask a Stars/Chops fan (and yes, there were some)...

The Energy will have a big crowd for Monday's playoff game. $1 beer night...

The Bulls are the NBA's overall #1 seed for the first time since Jordan, but no one's picking the Bulls. Why?...
American Idol. The show with judges who don't judge. I was sorry to see Joey Donia voted off Thursday night...

I'm taking my sons Colin and Cade to I-Cubs opening night. We're bringing a space heater...

Criminal Minds, Criminal Trial, Criminal Vote

Reports of the Big 12's death were greatly exaggerated. The new TV deal brings stability to the conference, and a much needed cash windfall for Iowa State. Cyclone fans are just excited to learn every football game will finally be televised. And in HD. About time...

I've never watched Criminal Minds, but Dallas Clark was on Wednesday night. Anyone see if he has chops?...

How much does yelling an anti-gay slur cost? If you're Kobe Bryant, $100,000...

Barry Bonds used steroids. Barry Bonds lied to a grand jury about not knowingly using steroids. Federal prosecutors know this, but they can't prove it. Not beyond a doubt. Not with Greg Anderson in jail. So it's time to move on. Take the guilty for obstruction of justice, know that Bonds is also already guilty in the court of public opinion, and stop wasting millions of tax payer dollars. Enough...

I still can't belive Pia was voted off American Idol...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Brady 6, Veterans Day, I-Cubs Opener

ESPN's latest documentary, The Brady 6, was fascinating, and if it doesn't make you respect Tom Brady, you're a hater. The movie tells the story of the six quarterbacks drafted ahead of the only player in history voted unanimous MVP. Brady was the 199th player selected overall. It's not an exact science..

North Carolina will play a basketball game against Michigan State aboard an aircraft carrier on Veterans Day. Cool idea, and another reason Harrison Barnes should consider a return...

Energy advances as Curtis Stinson leads the way. How is it no NBA teams gives Stinson a shot? Dude can play...

If a basketball college star wants, or needs, a fresh start somewhere else, I'm now assuming he'll land at Iowa State...

Fred Hoiberg wins the coaches Shots from the Heart contest. If Hoiberg made 252 of 253 free throws and didn't win, we'd need an investigation...

My son, Colin, asked me to take him to I-Cubs opening day. We dads dream of such questions. So yes, even though the weather sounds miserable, I'll be there...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Globetrotters in for a Big Hassel


Last fall, the Globetrotters called and asked me if I'd like to play with them when they make their trip to Des Moines, April 17th. Of course, I immediately responded by saying, "absolutely not". I'm an American patriot. I take pride in my country, and pride in the greatest franchise of all-time; the Washington Generals.

So when some trickster, by the name of Wun "The Shot" Versher, showed up at the TV station, I was a little confused. I could tell he was a Globetrotter, given his ridiculous nickname and outfit, so I figured he was here to beg me to be on his team (again) -- but he didn't. He presented me with a Generals jersey, and told me that I'd be playing for my favorite team of all time. It's great for me, but what the heck are the Globetrotters thinking? Apparently, they have no idea that about about to bring the pain.

I've been attending Generals games for nearly 25 years. I've never seen them win, but I think it's just a simple lack of leadership. I know the Globetrotter ins and outs. They've been running the same freakin' plays for 100 years! I'm not going to get caught up in all that circus trick-play crap. It's about getting a hand in their face, pushing them around, and showing them that we aren't going to lay down for anyone -- especially the most overrated team in sports history.

In case you aren't aware, I was quite the athlete in my day. I played all the way to 9th grade, in the Muscatine roundball system. The only reason I'm not playing professionally, now, is because I was forced to quit. I was the star of the non-traveling B-team, before things got out of hand. I was kicked out of three straight games, and forced to retire -- an "honorable discharge" if you will.

I look forward to bringing my talents to Wells Fargo Arena, at 2pm, on Sunday. The Globetrotters will enter with a 40-year winning streak, but they'll leave with a big fat "L".

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rory McAvoy, May The Schwartzel Be With Ya, & Andy's Cardinal Agony


I had to go do an interview with the Iowa Energy and when I stepped out of watching the Masters, Rory McIlroy had a one shot lead.  When I got back to watching he was suddenly five shots back.  He should have listened to his caddie Romeo/Cheech and lay up with the seven iron instead of taking that 12.
McAvoy Thinks McIlroy's Final Round Was Painful
Kidding aside, maybe it was inevitable that a 21-year old would fade on final round Sunday.  And maybe it's inevitable that he will eventually have his day and win a Major, as several announcers were commenting.  Or maybe not.  Remember when we said that about a young pup named Sergio Garcia after he nearly beat Tiger Woods in the PGA Championship?  People said he'd have his day in the Major sun too.  That was in 1999.  You can NEVER count on winning Majors.

Speaking of Mr. Woods, I didn't think he had a prayer coming into the day.  Then after his front nine, I thought the rest of the field didn't have a prayer.  Either way, guessing the ratings spiked.  People who love or hate Tiger are like people who love or hate SoundOff.  If you love Tiger/SoundOff, you're watching anyway.  If you hate Tiger/SoundOff you'll curse it out and swear you'll never watch again, yet you'll be glued to your TV EVERY TIME.

The putter betrayed Tiger down the stretch as it did most all weekend long.  Is Woods back?  No.  He's shown flashes of his old greatness several times now, but he can't sustain it.  And it was a YOUNG field in contention for the title today.  In Tiger's prime veteran golfers would wilt when he made charges like the one he did today.  Further proof he's lost his invincibility when guys who look like they just got their drivers license are beating him.

So our winner is something called a Charl Schwartzel?  In Louis Oosthuizen fashion I'm sure he'll go back to anonymity soon, but at least we've got great headlines for this win.  I can see it now:  "Charl in Charge!"  "The Schwartz(el) Was With Him!"  As a SoundOff caller said best, maybe he can now afford to buy the letters E and S to put on the end of his first name.

Fred Hoiberg has some nice transfers and recruits coming in.  Will they pan out?  Who knows, but even if they don't, it won't cost Hoiberg.  The Mayor has more job security than ANY second year coach in America, and will get plenty of time to build ISU.  Personally, I think that's a good thing.  Unless you're a Lickliter-type and it's clear this thing ain't working, far to many coaches don't get enough time to rebuild programs thanks to fan bases and athletic departments that aren't patient.

I was warned about it before joining the WHO sports staff, and Andy's "Albert Pujols is leaving us" agony is everything it was advertised to be.  It's kind of like watching a train wreck in that super slow motion replay they show in baseball and football games.  I'm thinking about starting a pool on what Andy will do if (or should I say when?) Pujols is traded.  For my money, I think Andy will go all "Office Space" on a printer.   

Andy, Dave Price, and Bill Fennelly On July 31st
I wish my Rockies were in the NL Central division.  They'd have no problem winning that division because it stinks worse than the bathrooms at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln on Husker gameday.  And the kicker is, it's been that way for a while now.  Since the Cardinals won the World Series in 2006 (and don't forget they only won 83 games before they caught fire in the playoffs), four Central champs and one Wild Card team have gone 1-15 in the playoffs.  The worst teams in the NL seem to be clustered in the Central and, since you have to play every team in your division nearly 20 times, it's gotta be tough for the eventual champ to step up to teams out of the West and East who go through tougher gauntlets in the regular season (a big reason I think the 08' Cubs and 09' Cards flamed out).  The Reds will probably have an even easier road this year with all of St. Louis' problems.  

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Severe Weather Blowout, SJ Tightens Up, Rory Roars

Severe weather was the theme
of the night
Severe weather was the flavor of the day here in the Channel 13 studios. Jeriann and Brett had to break into Law & Order to keep us updated on a tornado outburst in north central Iowa. It always amazes me how many calls we get from angry viewers. We could break in on a tape delayed figure skating event in El Salvador, and we'd still get dozens of irate people calling up and letting us hear it. Hey, you know what? You're not the only ones being inconvenienced by severe weather -- the sports department included. We had our entire sportscast scrapped. It's inconvenient, but it's understandable. Get over it.

I know it's dangerous, but I always feel left out when others are experiencing severe weather, and it's totally fine where I'm located. I've always been fascinated with tornadoes and thunderstorms. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a meteorologist -- until I found out all the work that was involved.

Johnson is once again a lean,
mean, gymnastics machine
 If you didn't think Shawn Johnson was serious about making a run at the 2012 Olympics, you were wrong. Shawn is sporting a brand new body after months of hard work in the gym. She's quite a bitter taller than she was in 2008, and she's quite a bit older, as well. But, let's not forget, she was the best gymnast in the world. I wouldn't bet against her making it to London.

I honestly thought that Tiger was going to seize control in round 3 of the Masters. Instead, Tiger lost control. He fell down the leader board, and Rory McIlroy rose to the occasion. The 21-year-old has a 4-stroke lead heading into Sunday. Tiger is 7 back, and needing a miracle. It's hard to believe that it's been six years since he's won a green jacket. The good news is, it looks like he's close to finding his game again.

Brad Banks warned us that the Barnstormers would have a tough time with 0-3 Kansas City, this weekend -- and he was right. Iowa lost 62-48, falling to 2-2 on the season. The 'Stormers return home, Saturday, for a 7pm game with Chicago.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Spring (Football) Fever, Out Of The Woods, & What Is A Ke$ha?


Next Saturday both Iowa and Iowa State will hold their spring football scrimmage/practice/whatever they want to call it to make it not sound like a game.  Spoke with the Hawkeye football players for the second time today and new starting quarterback James Vandenberg for the first time.  He seems like a calm enough cat, but then again who doesn't in spring football?  He got thrown into some tough spots as a freshman in 2009 (IE starting at Ohio State), so you'd think he won't go in as wide-eyed.

It's natural to focus on QB but I'm guessing the success of this offense will hinge on whether or not the Marcus Coker we saw in the Insight Bowl is the Marcus Coker we're going to see this season. 

I really hope Paul Rhoads succeeds, and STAYS, in Ames.  It's hard not to get fired up listening to the guy speak, and that's just in his press conferences.  But it's going to be even more of an uphill battle in the Big 12-that's actually-10 now that they have to play the entire southern half of the league every year.

Speaking of conference realignment, with the release of the Big Ten future schedules, there is some talk of whether or not the Iowa-Iowa State football series will continue (Hawkeye Nation had an article on it recently:  Essentially, it all comes down to the logistics of getting another home game, revenue sharing, and a bunch of crap no football fan really cares about.

Just play the game.  I don't care what side of the fence you're on, it is a showcase for the whole state of Iowa, and what exactly is the alternative?  Kinda doubt ISU or Iowa is going to fill that hole in their schedule with a big name opponent on a regular basis.  So guess what we're stuck with?  Instead of Cy-Hawk, we get even more of teams like Kent State, Northern Illinois, and Tennessee Tech.  Goody!

Unfortunately, with all the conference shuffling, rivalries seem to be a dying thing.  No more Nebraska-OU.  The "Holy War" between Utah and Brigham Young may be a thing of the past in two more years.  When I worked in North Dakota the two major state schools stopped playing each other when they were separated by classification and then conference.  In most of those cases there is really bad blood or strained relations between the schools and their administrations.  Iowa and ISU seem to be above that.

And, perhaps most importantly, what would we do with RVTV?  It would be a little cold to be in an RV in November for an Iowa-Nebraska or ISU-Missouri game.

We'll warm up for the spring games with the I-Cubs home opener a week from tonight.  Emphasis on the warm hopefully.  The cold and gloomy weather sure makes it seem like football season.

If they can't score, all I ask is that they fight
Too bad the Des Moines Buccaneers just missed out on the USHL playoffs.  They've won five of their last seven and seem to be playing some of their best hockey of the season.  At least that's what I hear because I literally haven't seen it.  I've been to three periods in two games this year, and the Bucs were outscored 5-0 while I was there.  After I left Des Moines outscored their opponents 12-1. 

Tiger Woods was Tiger Woods again on Friday, which leaves us with a question that seemed impossible a few years ago.  Can he finish?  It's easy to point to his personal life leading to the decline, but this actually started before the stuff hit the fan (or the Escalade hit the fire hydrant in his case).  Go back to the 2009 PGA Championship which was just up the road at Hazeltine.  After leading for 54 holes, Woods lost to YE Yang on the final day, the first time he'd ever blown a lead on the final day.  Over the last few years he's shown the field that he is vulnerable and, even worse, he seems to believe he's human on a Sunday.  Whatever happens this week it's going to be quite the show.

I'm pretty eclectic in my music.  AC/DC, Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, Foo Fighters, Miles Davis, you name it.  I'd like to think I'll give just about any music a try.  That is unless I hear the same crappy stuff on every station. 

Enter something called Ke$ha.  Her latest "hit" single is titled "F*** Him, He's a DJ".  Talk about deep.  A group of high school girls at the mall talking about their favorite lip gloss would probably be more creative and sound the same.  If you're a fan of Kesha (her "music" is so bad I am dropping the $ sign), you do realize you're probably listening to Avril Lavigne singing hip-hop that's lip-synced by some random blonde girl right?
I'd pay $ to never hear her on the radio again

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Cyclone Crashes Party, Kauffman Experience, My So-Called Life


Adrian Clayborn and Tyler Sash signed autographs, at Merle Hay Mall, for hundreds of Hawkeye fans -- and one ISU fan. Some dude in an ISU sweatshrit strolled up, after waiting 45 minutes, for an autograph. After some good-natured ribbing from the former Hawks, the Cyclone fan got his signatures. Clayborn told the IceBorg that the fan admitted that he was a Hawkeye at heart.

It's a good thing the I-Cubs started their season down in Texas. Unfortunately, the poor high school soccer players didn't have that option. There are few things worse than a cold, rainy, day.

The Red Sox fell to 0-6, and the Celtics got blown out by the Bulls. I feel reeeeeeeeeal bad for Boston fans.

Wednesday, I went to KC for a Royals-White Sox game. Kauffman Stadium is fantastic. It was my second trip there since they completely revamped the aging park. In my other trip, the Royals blew a 5-run 9th inning lead, with two outs. Wednesday, they blew a 3-run lead with two outs. To make matters worse, both times I was at the game with the biggest Royals fan I know -- the only Royals fan I know.

Tickets were $12. Parking was $5. A beer was $9.

On Tuesday night I was up, shooting hoops with a friend, until 4:30am. Tonight, I'm headed out to play shuffleboard. Tomorrow, after work, I'm hosting a PS3 game-night at my pad (apartment). That's a little snap-shot of the life I lead. And some people are crazy enough to ask if my wife and I will be popping out a kid, soon. HAH!

Cubbie Visits, Hanrahan Saves, Legends Leaders

The I-Cubs start the season Thursday. We know, because Cubbie Bear came out of hibernation. He looks refreshed too (though I wish he'd wear pants)...
It's great to see so many Central Iowa guys impacting major league baseball. Wednesday alone, Des Moines Hoover's Jeremy Hellickson (Rays) was striking out ten, Indianola's Casey Blake (Dodgers) was tripling, and Norwalk's Joel Hanrahan (Pirates) was saving for the fourth time in the short season...

I used to be a person who didn't watch a lot of golf on TV, then came high definition. I'll watch as much of the Masters as I can. Phil's my favorite, but I'll pull for Zach, and we all know it will be more interesting if Tiger's in the hunt...

The Hawkeye-Husker football rivalry won't need any extra hype, but the Big Ten is making sure it's a showcase game by putting at the end of every season...

Quickly, is Iowa in Legends or Leaders? It's still as silly as ever. It's Legends...

When I hear Lady Gaga's Born This Way, I always think it's Madonna for a few seconds. Homage or ripoff?...

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

U-G-L-Y, A-G-G-I-E-S, R-H-A-B-D-O

An absolutely thrilling NCAA men's basketball tournament, capped off by one of the worst championship games in the history of major sports. Butler vs UConn was "U-G-L-Y, and they aint got no alibi". (I know the grammar's bad, but some cheers stand the test of time. "Watermelon, watermelon, watermelon rind, look at the scoreboard and see who's behind. YOU!")...

I feel for Butler. Imagine Drake playing in back-to-back NCAA title games, and you have an idea what Butler just accomplished. The horrific offensive display in the championship doesn't ruin Butler's amazing run, but it does leave a bad aftertaste. No one wants to save their worst for last. UConn couldn't shoot either, but when you win, you get over it...

Texas A&M won the women's basketball title. Raise your hand if you saw that coming...

Robert Cray sang, "The forecast calls for pain". The Iowa basketball forecast calls for no Payne. Cully is transferring. He saw Bryce Cartwright fill-in and must know that job's not coming back. Or maybe it was something else. I'm speculating. Cully just says he and his family decided a change was best. He thanked Hawkeye fans for the support...

I like Brad Banks. Not for his 10 touchdown passes in one game, but just because he's a good guy...

Fred Hoiberg should win the American Heart Association's "Shots from the Hearts" contest. Not only has Hoiberg made 125 of 125 free throws, which is staggering, but as Chris Hassel's Tuesday story showed, Hoiberg appreciates a working heart as much as anyone. The pictures and video of Hoiberg in the hospital after surgery showed just how scary those days were for the Hoibergs. Since Fred has been through all that, how is it he hasn't aged? He's 38 going on 28...

If you had the feeling you hadn't heard the last of the Rhabdo 13 reports, you were right. ESPN's Joe Schad reports defensive back Willie Lowe has requested a transfer, and Lowe says he's still suffering from weakness and headaches. Lowe tells Schad several of the hospitalized 13 are not back to full health. Iowa responded by saying Lowe, and the other 12, were all medically cleared. Iowa also told ESPN Lowe has permission to talk to other schools, but he's still wanted in Iowa City...

Our interview with gold medalist Shawn Johnson reminds us the Olympics are just over a year away. How can that be?...

Monday, April 04, 2011

The IceBorg Bloggeth: Barnstormers Banks On It, Bad Baseball In Every Direction


Hello blogland!  As I've been here for nearly a month, I suppose it's time to add my nuggets of sports insight to Murphy's Law.  Second to getting my first parking ticket from the University of Iowa parking enforcement staff, writing my first blog really makes me feel like one of the team.

He also leaps tall buildings in a single bound.
While it was great to see Brad Banks back in Iowa, you at first had to wonder if his signing with the Barnstormers was more about PR than PT (playing time).  Whoops.  Brad did everything but fly the team plane in their 76-69 win over San Jose, and he's pretty much had to all season.  The Barnstormers have scored 22 touchdowns in three games (19 passing, three rushing).  Guess who's scored all 22?

As one who is looking forward to going to his first Hawkeye and Cyclone football games next fall (my folks could never afford a ticket when the IceBorg was just a little ice block), the Barnstormers wet the appetite for football.  All due respect to James Vandenberg at UI and Jerome Tiller/Steele Jantz at ISU, but if one of them doesn't play at least half as well as a Banks under center, 7-8 wins might be the best we can hope for.

Don't know and haven't spoken to Peter Jok yet, nor am I completely familiar with the Roosevelt coaching spat.  I'm not a big fan of open enrollment that allows kids to transfer anywhere without penalty, but since virtually every state has it, it's not going away, and kids have a right to be happy at their school.  I just hope they aren't emulating the LeBron James' and Carmelo Anthony's of the world and trying to just win a championship.  I was fortunate enough to play for a state championship team in high school and, while it is a great thing and memory I cherish to this day, it wasn't and shouldn't be the ONLY thing that defines high school.

Last night Chris picked Butler to beat Connecticut in the national title game.  Ditto on that from me.  Most pundits are too caught up in the Kemba Walker lovefest to see straight.  UConn may have the best player, but I think Butler consistently puts out the better and more fundamentally sound team. 

Speaking of Butler, last I heard Todd Lickliter was up for the head coaching job at something called Florida Gulf Coast university.  You know your stock is pretty low when even a school out in the ocean won't hire you.

So the UConn women actually lost in the NCAA Tournament?  So much for women's hoops being predictable.  Good for the sport overall, but probably bad for ESPN.  Right or wrong, dynasty's get better ratings, and a Stanford-UConn rematch would have drawn more casual interest than Notre Dame-Texas A&M.

Laugh now.  Come Rocktober I'll be enjoying playoff baseball
The guys here have given me some good natured ribbing about me being a Colorado Rockies fan.  Judging by the start of the season, if you're the casual fan looking for a team that has chance to play in October, best look west to the Rocks, because the options to the south, east and north aren't too good right now.

The best teams within earshot are probably the White Sox and Twins.  Then again, with Boston and New York out east, winning the AL Central is kind of like being the third party candidate in the presidential election.  The White Sox have a killer lineup, but if their pitching can't stay healthy their toast.  And when you're the second team in the second city it's kind of hard to get pumped about them.

The Twins will probably do what the Twins always do.  Win 87-95 games, get swept by the Yankees in the ALDS.

Did somebody drink Jobu's rum in the Cardinal clubhouse?  Pujols' contract, Wainright's season-ending injury, and now Matt Holliday's appendix decides to burst?  They need to get either a live chicken or a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken to end this hex. 

It is very bad to drink Jobu's rum.  Very bad.
The Kansas City Royals are 3-1 and have some nice young players.  That said, they're still the Kansas City Royals.  Book them for about 90-100 losses and wake me if they aren't ten games out of first at the All Star break. 

And then we come to the worst-the Cubbies.  It's no secret they are rebuilding after the Sweet Lou version of this team fell out of their 2007-2008 contending status earlier than expected.  The 2011 Cubs pursuit of a World Series would be like me going on a date with a super model.  On looks and talent alone, we don't have enough to go all the way.  So what do you?  Emphasize the details.  I can't buy the nice new car yet (Albert Pujols), so get a cheap rental and hope it doesn't crap out (Carlos Pena).  Go all out on a nice dinner even if you're overspending (Matt Garza trade).  Pull out that old suit and hope the holes in it don't get any bigger (Alfonso Soriano).  Basically, go all out and if she has low standards (or the NL Central really sucks), you might get lucky. 

Will the Cubs switching to Geico save them money on Pujols when their rental craps out?

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Deja Butler, Banks Record, Bad Commercials

Stevens turns 21 this month
Butler's head coach Brad Stevens has now reached more NCAA title games than Lute Olson and Tom Izzo. Pretty impressive for a guy that's not even old enough to drink.

I think Butler wins the national title. I have no words to explain my feelings, but that's how I feel. Do with it what you want.

Lickliter enjoys long walks in the park
and PBS programming
What do you think Todd Lickliter is thinking? More importantly, what do you think he's doing? I picture him watching some PBS program where some guy interviews another guy about writing a book. That's probably as exciting as it gets for 'Lick'.

Shaka Smart is still the head coach of the VCU Rams. Don't expect that to last long. The 33-year-old is the hottest coaching prospect outside of Brad Stevens. I guess that means he wasn't even the hottest coaching prospect on the floor, tonight.

A day after I officially proclaimed that the Cubs' season was over, I'm back on the bandwagon. The Cubbies came from 3 down to beat the Pirates. I'm happy, but I'm still not exciting. I'm going to need a lot of convincing before I start to believe that this team can compete.

Someone forgot to tell Brad Banks that Kurt Warner is the best QB in Barnstormers history. We're only three games into the 2011 season, and Banks has already topped Warner's mark for TD passes in a game. Banks threw 10 touchdowns in Friday's win at San Jose (he also ran for another). Banks has 18 touchdowns over the last two games -- so do the Barnstormers.

Is it just me, or is the acting in commercials getting comically bad?

- Southwest Airlines red tape commercial (bald guy on golf cart)
- Geico Radio commercial (radio host)

Maybe I'm just a stickler, but I get physically ill every time I see one of these commercials.

Friday, April 01, 2011

IceBorg the 'Rock', Fennelly TWEETS IN CAPS, Solid Gold (guys)


It was a successful start to the 2011 season for the Cubbies -- until they played the 5th inning. Chicago held a 2-0 lead on Pittsburgh when Ryan Dempster served up a grand slam to some dude named Neil Walker (seriously, have you ever heard of him?). I'd say I've already given up hope on the season, but I never had any hope to begin with.
Andy Fales and photographer Jimmy Vowell did a great job out in Cleveland. They were given fantastic access for all things Bob Feller on this special season opener. It's amazing to comprehend what Feller meant to the Indians organization. He's the best Cleveland Indian of all-time, and it's really not even close. If you missed any of Andy's reports, be sure to check them out on the video player.
IceBorg loves his Rockies
The IceBorg brought a vintage Dante Bichette jersey to work, today. It's the only known piece of Bichette memorabilia this side of the Missouri River -- other than his 3 Rockies bobbleheads.

Bill Fennelly was rumored to be interviewing for the open job at the University of Wisconsin -- until Fennelly, himself, caught wind of it. Fennelly responded to the report in the Wisconsin State Journal by tweeting (emphatically), "AMAZED at the LACK of facts in some reporting-Maybe they should ask ME what I AM doing! NOT INTERVIEWING AT WISCONSIN-LOVE IOWA STATE!" I'd say he left no doubt.

Solid GOLD
 How can you not love the 'Gold Guys'? Absolutely fantastic.

For the first time in my life, I went to The Keg Stand and didn't play shuffleboard. I filled in for Andy, on Murph 'N Andy, and cleaned out an entire bucket-o-fries. Keith made me eat most of them because he didn't want to off-set his energy-drink-to-food ratio. His diet only allowed for 500 solid calories a day. In conjunction with 4,000 liquid cals, the end result is Keith's John Basedow-like physique.

NetFlix has changed my life -- probably for the worse. I can't go to bed until I watch at least one 1930's, 40's, or 50's movie. There's just something about a movie in black and white that gets to me. That, and I love the phrase "ol' sport".