Thursday, June 30, 2011

Puppet Mania, Wild Thing Juiced, Gimmie Video

Sifl & Olly inexplicably went off
the air in 1999.

The majority of today's Murph N Andy show was about puppet fetishes. It may have been the most enjoyable discussion I've ever had, hosting the show. It took me back to the days of the Sifl & Olly show, on MTV.

Two lockouts in one year? If we don't have an NFL season, or an NBA season, I'm becoming a soccer fan.

I'm sure steroids weren't
the only illegal drugs
Sheen was taking on set.
Charlie Sheen says he was on steroids when filming the movie, "Major League". Why?! The dude wore long sleeves in every pitching scene.

Jeff Peterson decided not to come back to Iowa. Big surprise. He chose Florida State as his final college destination. Sun is much better than snow...and FSU is much better than Iowa.

I'm excited to see how ISU's new scoreboard will impact the gameday experience. The $5-million videoboard is now the 16th largest of it's kind in college football. It's also a lot bigger than Iowa's board. I just hope they decide to use at least half of the board for video, unlike Iowa. There are more ads on Iowa's videoboard, than actual video. We don't need a bunch of dumb stats, either. I want to see video!

Also being replaced is the Jack Trice sound system, which was the worst of any BCS stadium I've been to. Hopefully they'll have speakers on both sides of the field.
Eventually, the video board will look like this --- but I'm not
sure they'll ever be able to hold Texas Tech to -45 points.
The only thing that could stop the I-Cubs, was an off-day. Iowa puts its 7-game win-streak on the line, Thursday night. It's going to be a hot one, but I won't be complaining. I've spent too many 40 and 50-degree nights at Principal Park.

As many of you know, Keith has been in Florida as his Mom was about to undergo surgery for liver cancer. I'm very happy to say that his mother made it through surgery, just fine, and the doctor said it went as smoothly as possible. That's great news. Hopefully Keith will be back, on time. He's supposed to come home Saturday night.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

James VandenGriffith, IceBorg's Hot Ride, Planking on the Radio

Every time I see James Vandenberg without his helmet on, I think of Opie from The Andy Griffith Show.
Opie and James. It's a stone cold look alike.
The I-Cubs won two games in one day, without benefit of a double-header. Monday night's game went 15 innings. It didn't end until Midnight. Then the Cubs had to turn around and play a noon game. No sweat. They've now won 7 in a row.

It's fitting that on a day when the I-Cubs won two games, the C-Cubs lost two games. 

Gagne's record may never be touched.
Joel Hanrahan is now 23-for-23 in saves. That's fantastic, but it's still nowhere near the Major League record. Dodgers closer, Eric Gagne, saved 63 straight from 2002 to 2003. I don't think anyone will ever top that.
The IceBorg stepped into a racecar for the first time in his life, Tuesday. NASCAR driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. took him around the Iowa Speedway at 170mph. Even though Zach wasn't driving, he says he has a new respect for drivers. I feel the same way. Last year, I was able to ride shotgun, and drive a stock car. It's amazing how hard it is to turn the steering wheel, and how hot it gets inside the cab. Some drivers lose as much as 15 pounds of fluid, each race.
North Korea had an excuse for losing to Team USA, 2-0, in the Women's World Cup --- lightning. The team claims that several of its players were struck by lightning, earlier in the month, and they weren't able to play as well as they could have. This story doesn't even need a punch line.

At 2:35pm, I became the first person
to ever plank on the radio.
Keith blogged about 'planking' a few weeks ago, but I didn't have any idea what it was, until today. Murph n Andy intern, Zach Spears (offensive lineman on ISU football team), said that all of his teammates were doing it this morning. I thought that it was something that gave you some sort of high, like the goof balls that asphyxiate themselves for fun, but there's no fun involved - ni fact, it hurts. All it is, is a test in core strength and endurance. 

Sometimes I wonder if the Tea Party is just some kind of a prank that I'm not in on.

After 30 years, the channel 13 newsroom is getting a much-needed carpet makeover. I never thought I could be this excited for new carpet, but I am. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Coincidence of all Coincidences, Sprayberry Reunion, and Sports Abyss


How this for a coincidence coming full-circle? In May, Marlon Byrd landed on the DL when he was beaned in the head with a pitch (in Beantown I might add). He was replaced in the game by Reed Johnson --- the same Reed Johnson that was beaned in the head earlier this month, during a rehab assignment of his own, in Des Moines. Tonight, Byrd stepped into the box for the first time since being hit, and he was hit again --- this time, in the ribs. Ouchy.

Megan and Marlon in the 1995
Sprayberry High Yearbook.
Megan Salois is a big Marlon Byrd fan. She went to school with him at Sprayberry High School, in Georgia. Not only do I love the name Sprayberry, I love how Megan looks like someone straight out of the 1970's with that black and white pic.

The Big Cubs play a double-header, Tuesday. They're so bad, even Ernie Banks is saying.Let's just play one."
Tuesday, the IceBorg is going to hop into a racecar, at Iowa Speedway. I'm not too worried though. Our interns tell me the dude refuses to go over 50mph on I-80.

Andy and I talked a lot about the abyiss that is the sports landscape this summer, on Murph n Andy. There's really no interesting sporting event taking place, until the start of college football, except the British Open. I can't wait to see what Rory does on his home turf. Andy is pretty upset that there's nothing to keep his interest, but I'm just happy that college football is now only two months away. Bring on September 3rd!

My golfing buddy is obsessed with playing before 8:00am. I don't understand it, either, because he works until 10:30pm just like me. Last night, I went to bed at 4:00am, and had to get up at 7:15am to golf. I'm running on Diet 7up and garden salsa Sun Chips.

You can't argue with the fact that
indycars look cooler than stock cars.
I don't know why, but I enjoy open-wheel racing way more than stock car racing. NASCAR doesn't do it for me, but Indycars are pretty cool (especially when you can see the vapor trail behind the wings).

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Cubs Win Streak, Broomed, Perrier


For the first time this season, the Cubs have a five game winning streak!  Wait, my apologies, the Iowa Cubs have a five game winning streak.  Sorry to try and wake Chicago fans from this coma inducing year.

Tough to get a read on these I-Cubs.  They go from hot to cold in a heartbeat.  Probably won't be a playoff team in the PCL, my guess is third place.  But they will be entertaining.  And to about 99 percent of people who go to I-Cub games, that's all that matter.

What a stink bomb of a week for local baseball teams.  Cubs, Cards, Twins all swept, and the White Sox lose two of three to Washington.  Is it football season yet?

Lot of comments rolling in on the "What's Bugging Andy" regarding the Des Moines Register.  I want to tread lightly on this as I've only been back for three months now and haven't known everyone who lost a job.  I and my dad always read Sean Keeler and had some good discussions on his columns.  Though we work in a business where firings of coaches is routine and newsworthy, you hate to see anyone lose a job, and Andy made a great point about staff reductions lowering the overall quality of what viewers and readers get.  What's scary and sad is that it seldom ever has anything to do with the quality of one's work. 

I'm thinking about dropping a Twitter bomb on Andy to start tweeting on his Twitter.  Every day a thousand people should send him a message on Twitter asking him to make a tweet.  Then again, do that and he may well leave the thing.

Either Andy's pissed about the Cards or trying to figure out how Twitter works
As I sit here I'm drinking a small bottle of Perrier with some Lemon and Lime mixed in.  I've always heard people say this stuff tastes great and so I finally decided to try it.  I think those people are full of crap.  This stuff is terrible.  Then again, what else would I expect from something made by the French?  They've been on a losing streak since they invented French Fries.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Andretti Wins, Barney Back, Cubs Still Suck


As I was running the WHO Sports ship solo tonight (though our intern Tad was in Newton for the race and worked his butt off as well), shooting a few events, and trying to navigate through some technical difficulties, I didn't get to follow the Iowa Corn Indy 250 too closely.  I kinda wish I could have been there.  Racing on live TV bores the heck out of me.  Being there in person is really fun.

My initial impression-how the hell did an Andretti go 78 races and five years without a win?

On a night when there were plenty of wrecks, Marco Andretti made a bold move to pass Tony Kanaan on lap 232.  As a guy who knows a thing or two about belated gifts, nice post fathers day treat for his dad Michael.
Several years in and I still don't know what Go Daddy does.  Guess I get distracted....

Danica Patrick finished 10th and, from what I saw, never really was in contention.  It's hard to get a read on her.  Over-hyped?  Certainly, but most figures in pro sports are anyway.  Frankly, I like her attitude.  She is sassy and has a bit of swagger/arrogance in her.  I think if you're going to be in that spotlight, and going to be a champion, you need to have that.  Now she just needs to win a bit more.  Won't get any easier going forward.  This is probably her last appearance in Iowa with Indy Car before she heads to the Nationwide Series.

Ana Beatriz, Mike Conway and points leader Will Power all threw out first pitches at the I-Cubs game on Wednesday night.  All three wrecked and were DQ'd Saturday (Conway and Beatriz actually wrecked with each other).  The curse of Cubbie Bear I guess.
Bet Cubbie wouldn't have wrecked
Darwin Barney made his rehab start with the I-Cubs and went 1-3 in Iowa's win over the Albuquerque Isotopes.  I like the Barney story.  Not necessarily a top prospect, but a guy who worked his way up to become a pretty good player in the bigs.  Hard not to root for him, and if the Cubs are ever going to contend for anything meaningful again, they need to take a page from other teams and get more of their homegrown talent to produce on the big stage rather than dole out terrible deals to fading veterans.

Speaking of the Cubs.......well lets just not speak of the Cubs.  To quote the sage Homer Simpson: "that team sure did suck last night.  They just plain sucked!  I've seen teams suck before, but they were the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked!"
Jim Hendry is offering this guy 42 Million for 4 Years

Saw a trailer for the movie "Moneyball" (  I'm somewhat interested in seeing it, partly because I'm curious how much Hollywood will embellish the story.  It's based on the 2002 Oakland A's that were built on Billy Beane's sabermetric approach.  While they won 20 games in a row at one point that year, they also had been a playoff team prior to that year, and subsequently lost in 5 games in the ALDS to another financially strapped winner, Minnesota.  Beane is the hero of the movie, but it's not been a great run of late in real life.  The A's have fallen on hard times on the field and in the ticket counter (actually trying to move to San Jose), and Beane has made several bad deals that seemed to go counter to his "Moneyball" philosophy.  Though I doubt it would happen, how weird would it be if the movie about Billy Beane's baseball genius came out AFTER Beane just got canned?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Danica's Ovaries, Old-time Football, Andy's Moonshine

IceBorg snapped this photo
of Danica cooling off the pits

Danica Patrick is always good for a head-turning quote, or two, when she comes to Newton. Friday was no different. When talking about last year's event, Danica mentioned how uncomfortable she was going over the bumps on turns 1 and 2. Then this... "Last year in practice, I don’t know if I went flat-out until qualifying. That took some ovaries to do because I wasn’t really excited to do it — but I did it." We'll see if she goes ovaries-to-the-wall, Saturday night.

It always fascinates me to watch 'Big Ten Film Vault' on BTN. If you're unfamiliar, it's a program that airs Big Ten season recaps from the mid-50's to the mid-60's. A couple of the things that strike me: - There are thousands of empty seats at every stadium (which were much smaller back then)
- The Cheerleaders looked absolutely ridiculous
- There was a lot of toilet paper throwing after touchdowns
- And the game was played in black and white

These MSU cheerleaders were
often mistaken for refs.
Our Internet content guru, Alisa (who also helps out with SoundOFF), is getting chewed out tonight. She said a few of her friends were coming in from out of state, so she told them to go to an I-Cubs game. They asked if there was any chance it would be sold out. She said "no" ... and when they got to Principal Park, all they had left were standing room only seats. To top it all off, they hate Iowa. Good start to the weekend.

Principal Park is great, especially when it's packed. The I-Cubs played in front of 13,549 fans, Friday night. Baseball, beautiful weather, and free fireworks --- can't beat it.

Andy's cousin, Randy, concocting
a batch of moonshine for the party.

Andy made a big batch of moonshine for a get-together at his house, tonight. I'm a guy that likes to stay away from any kind of hard alcohol, but Andy already said he won't let me come unless I promise to drink some. He says it takes like apple pie. Sounds kind of girlie for such a manly drink.

I can't say I'm too surprised that Diante Garrett didn't get drafted. If not for the experts predicting a 2nd round draft choice, I wouldn't have thought he even had a chance. NBA teams must see something in him. Garrett says he's already received several offers, with guaranteed money, to try out for the team. My guess is, he ends up playing somewhere in the D-League, next season.

Poor Phillie Phanatic

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Car Sneezing, Painted Toes, Bieber is Street Tough


I found out, today, that Indycar drivers are only able to breathe one time every six seconds, at the Iowa Speedway. The G-forces don't allow them to take a breath in the turns. I wonder what would happen if one of them had to sneeze?

I'm not, at all, entertained by the NBA Draft, but there's nothing else on TV. Currently, we're at the end of the first round. Most people believe Diante Garrett will be taken mid-to-late 2nd round. I hope they're right, but I wouldn't be shocked if he wasn't picked.

At this rate, the NBA is about to surpass the NHL in number of foreigners in the league. Americans are about as common as a Big Ten player being drafted.

Blue and Pink for prostate and breast
cancer. Black and Yellow for the Bucs.
Joel Hanrahan must be whipped. His girlfriend was somehow able to get him to get a pedicure, after saving his 20th game in 20 tries, Wednesday night.

I was at a friend's house playing NHL '10 on ps3, until 4am. We stopped playing games at 2am --- that's when my Democratic friend got into it with my Republican friend. I would say it was like being the moderator on 'Crossfire' ... but I'm pretty sure these two don't know a thing about politics.

I have Bieber Fieber
Justin Bieber was attacked at a fragrance unveiling. But wait, it gets better. Bieber was taunting the attacker by yelling, "What? What?!". As it turns out, the attacker wasn't an attacker --- it was a police officer trying to help Bieber when the crowd got unruly. Bieber suffered a few scratches, but his wig was unharmed.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

College Football Predictions, 'Open' Ratings Tumble, Right on Red


I was going through all the highlights of Iowa's 2010 football season, Wednesday afternoon. The Hawks led, or were tied for the lead, in all 13 games, with under 5 minutes to play. Sometimes I forget how close the Hawkeyes were to being great, last season.
These two Hawk fans have yet to leave
TCF Bank Stadium, in Minneapolis. 
Phil Steele was on the Murph n Andy show, and he gave his predictions for the 2011 season. you can listen to him here: He thinks the Hawks will surprise some people, and finish 9-3.

The news isn't as good for the Cyclones. Steele doesn't think the Rhoads crew will be able to match last year's win total, of 5. He did, however, say that he's underestimated the Cyclones in each of Rhoads' first two seasons as head coach. I'm not sure what to think, from either team. The main reasons are the big question marks under center.

Believe it, or not, The Chicken talks
while he performs. Just wrong.
This is my fifth summer, in Des Moines, and I've now seen the "Famous Chicken" five times --- too many. The Chicken makes the Globetrotters' act look as fresh as sweet corn in July. The worst part is, the dude inside the mascot, talks! And to make matters worse, when he talks, he spreads his beak apart, and you can see his face. The Chicken continues to frighten generation, after generation, of kids...including me.

This weather sucks.

Diante Garrett hopes to hear his name called in Thursday's NBA Draft. The former Cyclone point guard is projected to go somewhere in the middle-to-late second round. It would be one of the all-time upsets, if Garrett gets picked. This was a guy that was highly criticised through his first three years at ISU. Many didn't even think he was a Big 12 quality guard. He certainly proved his doubters wrong. Credit Fred Hoiberg for that.

As expected, the ratings for the final round of the U.S. Open were abysmal (26% lower than the 2010 Open). I found it interesting that Murph and Andy (two non-golf fans) said they were more enthralled with Rory's runaway, than most other years. For huge golf fans, like myself, it was the most uneventful final round in the 20 years I've been watching. That being said, it's nothing but great for the game of golf, in the long run. Rory McIlroy now has more star-power than any other golfer, not named 'Tiger'.

Andy made a great point that I completely agree with, on SoundOFF. No matter what Rory does, he will never be an American. That's the one, and only, problem I have with him. I really like the guy. He's engaging, and fun to watch...but he's not one of ours. Come on Tiger, we need you.

Red-light cameras don't prohibit you
from turning right on red.
I saw it happen, in Davenport, and it's happening in Des Moines. Motorists are scared to death of the red-light cameras. Now, even if it's an intersection where you're allowed to turn right on red, some people are too scared to risk it. I've decided that every minute of my life that's wasted is worth $1 ... therefore, I'll be billing the city, every week, for all the time I lose thanks to these ridiculous cameras.

Andy is now on Twitter. You can try to follow him @AndyFales ... but I think he has it set up in a way that blocks anyone from following him.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Keith, his mother, and the entire Murphy family, this week. As Keith mentioned in Tuesday's blog, he's going to be in Florida for the next 10 days, as his Mom battles cancer for a second time. Keith cares more about his job that anyone I've ever worked with, but it doesn't even approach the love he has for his family. I'm sure he got it from his parents.

Keeler Out, Goodbye Norm, Finding Rory

  • I really feel for the many talented people at the Des Moines Register who lost their jobs Tuesday. There's just nothing good about it for anyone.
  • It's a gut-punch to hear talented sports columnist Sean Keeler is out. Sean's perspective is one of the main reasons I subscribe to the Register and read it daily. I often agreed with Sean's takes, but appreciated him even more when I didn't. A good writer challenges and deepens our thoughts. I can't remember the last time I was at a big sporting event and didn't see Keeler there. He worked hard, and kept improving.
  • On our radio show, we quickly heard from Cyclone fans who thought Sean was too hard on ISU, and Hawkeye fans who didn't think Sean was fair to Iowa. In other words, he wasn't a cheerleader. We don't need that from a columnist; we can get that 47 places on-line. Increasingly, regardless of media, we know the news instantly---who won, who lost---what we need is context, perspective, opinion.
  • Last month, we had a really silly idea for a SoundOFF video: The never-before-seen Hollywood trailer for the 1927 version of The Hangover. Chris Hassel called Sean Keeler and asked him to play the part of Zach Galifianakis. Sean came right over, strapped his baby in as required, and stole the show.
  • I'm told I need to watch The Company Men. Sounds like the perfect week.

  • Comedy Central just cancelled the Norm Macdonald Sports Show. What?! It was irreverent and funny, and had a loyal niche audience. It  couldn't cost much to make. I guess sports comedy just won't work. The Onion SportsDome parody already got the ax.

  • The Voice has found a solid group of finalists. The show is entertaining, even when Christina is babbling, or threatening to spill out of her blouse. Javier Colon sang one of my favorite concert songs, the Coldplay tearjerker/anthem Fix You. He did okay too.
  • Rory McIlroy made the cover of  Sports Illustrated, though you have to look close to see him.

  • I'll be gone for a while. My mother is having another fight with cancer. As usual, she's more worried about everyone else. Mom's the most unselfish person I've ever known. I wish I could do more.

  • Please be kind to Chris, Zach, and Andy... they're covering for me.
Thanks, and be well.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Chicken, Alec Baldwin, Miss Iowa

  • I'll be stunned if Albert Pujols is back in four weeks, and surprised if he even makes it in six.
  • Pujols reportedly turned down a LOT of money from the Cardinals. Since then he had a slow start, heated up, now an injury. I wonder if he'll even be offered what he turned down. I think it's reasonable to ask if we've already seen Pujols at his best.
  • The Chicken will bring all the same routines to Principal Park Tuesday night. And by all the same, I mean all the same genius routines. Love The Chicken.

  • Wednesday is Jeremy Hellickson bobble-head night at the I-Cubs. Mini-Hellboy is in a Hoover uniform, which makes it more local.

  • I found Rory McIlroy's complete domination at the U-S Open riveting. I watched most of it.
  • McIlroy comparisons to Tiger are inevitable, though at 14 to 1 in majors, perhaps a tad premature. McIlroy's skills look comparable, as is his back story, but Rory seems like he actually enjoys and appreciates fans, a big improvement from Tiger.
  • Rick Brown of the Des Moines Register has forgotten more golf than I know.
  • My family made me feel special on Father's Day. It doesn't get much better than that.
  • Played bocci ball with friends at Tumea & Sons Saturday. Not only was it a blast, the people who work there could not have been nicer. We'll definitely be back soon.
  • Can it really be 25 years since Len Bias died?
  • Iowa State signed Alec Baldwin to a track scholarship. I hope he shows up in better shape than the most recent season of 30 Rock.

  • Miss USA overlooked Miss Iowa again. Rebecca Goldsmith, we love you more than Trump.

  • Severe weather will find you anywhere this year, even the College World Series.
  • I think the Iowa Corn Indy 250 at night will the take the event up a notch, and it was already pretty darn cool. Indy cars go 35 miles an hour or so faster at Iowa Speedway than the NASCAR cars.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

McIlroaring, ISU's Rolls Royce


Rory McIlroy will probably play professional golf for about another 30 years and win several majors.  But I'd put money on him NEVER playing that well again in a major tournament (or maybe any other tournament).  -16 at the US Open is the definition of being in the zone.

It was a nearly flawless performance from a guy who had been very flawed at previous majors.  The Masters this year.  The British Open and PGA Championship last year.  And that's the scary part now.  He was close before, and now he seems to have learned from his past mistakes, and he's only 22.

I keep hearing the claim that he is the next Tiger Woods.  For his sake I kinda hope not.  Hopefully he has a little more maturity and control of his personal life as his fame grows (IE not hooking up with every Perkins waitress he meets in every city).  Tiger's life and game has gone to hell in big part because of it.  He'll always be one of the great golfers in history, but I believe he was on track to be THE greatest, and I think that window is fast shutting.  On second thought, McIlroy's performance and arrival may have slammed it shut.  It's going to be a lot tougher for Tiger to win majors when he returns.

Spent some time at the Capital City League.  From the stands to the floor it definetly has an Iowa State feel.  High profile transfers Royce White (Minnesota), Korie Lucious (Michigan State) and Will Clyburn (Utah) are all on the floor.  White will be eligible to play next season while Lucious and Clyburn have to wait till 2012-13.  White looks like he's 30 and plays like a man amongst boys.

I'll call my shot here-ISU will be in the NCAA Tournament in 2013.  These three bring a type of athleticism and talent on the floor that will be a game changer in Ames.  The only problem?  Making sure they all STAY together till then.  White's had a history of problems, though I think the fact he appears to have been a model citizen last season when he sat out bodes well.  Lucious had a big falling out at MSU.  White told me a year sitting out can go fast.  I hope so. 
Oh I know!  Our parents weren't brother and sister before they married!

I'm glad to see this Nebraska-Iowa rivalry is catching on.  This is already more serious than they treated their previous rival in name only Colorado.  But seriously Nebraska fan, come up with something better for the shirts.  You just wasted your first two comebacks for when Iowa beats you this fall.

I heard that rumors of the Yankees being interested in Carlos Zambrano were squashed.  Five bucks says Carlos started those rumors. 

With all the conference realignment in college sports we've been treated to a bevy of lame new logos and themes.  "Legends" and "Leaders" divisions from the Big Ten still takes the stupid cake, but we may have a challenger courtesy my Alma Mater's conference.  The Mountain West had a nice run as non-BCS buster for a while, but with BYU, Utah and TCU all headed out, they figured it was time for a new look.

Kind of subpar in my opinion.  Really subpar when it turns out they bastardized it off the British TV series "Doctor Who".

You know your conference is irrelevant when it pays millions of dollars only to get ripped off by a rip off.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tiger Lite, Soto Stinks, Menace Score,


There is no way Rory McIlroy is going to blow an 8-stroke lead. He reminds me a lot of a young Tiger Woods, from the twirl of his club, to his confident walk. He's Tiger Lite.

Golf needs a Tiger/Rory rivalry
The U.S. Open runaway is a bad thing for this year's ratings, but it's great for the game of golf. We've been waiting for 10 years, for someone to step up and become the next great golfer. Phil Mickelson nearly got there, but I think Rory will get there. The only question is, will Tiger ever revert back to the old Tiger? If he does, we could have a Nicklaus-Palmer type rivalry. Yes, they're 13 years apart, but Nicklaus was 11 years older than Palmer. The problem is, Nicklaus was in his prime in his mid-30's. Tiger seems to be on the downside of his career.

Soto went from Rookie of the Year, to
the Mendoza Line, in just 3 years.
I actually watched most of the Cubs-Yankees game today. It's the first baseball game I've paid attention to, all season. I wish I hadn't. The last time I watched a Cubs game, Geo Soto was a great hitter. The guy is barley batting over .200! What the heck happened?! I'm afriad the answer will end up in some tell-all book, someday. 

The Yanks have won 27 World Series titles since the Cubs last won a championship, but in 1908, the Yanks were the laughing stock of the league. The Cubbies had a pair of World Series titles, and 9 NL pennants. The Yankees had none of either.

We're beginning to see more and more empty seats at Barnstormers home games, as the season rolls on. One reason, is the weather...but the main reason, is the losing. Iowa has a bad team, this year. Still, the Barnstormers rank in the top 7 in the AFL in attendance.

You could've watched Gone
with the Wind, or the Menace's
333 min scoreless streak.
With the I-Cubs out of town, if you wanted to watch a sporting event, outside, you may have gone to the Menace game. I'm always surprised by how many people actually attend their home games, but the level of play is definitely good. The problem is, it's soccer. I was at the Menace game, Tuesday night, for 85 minutes of game time, and never saw a goal. As soon as I got to the car to head back to the station, someone finally scored. In fact, they scored their first goal in 333 minutes, Saturday night. That's basically 3 1/2 movies, unless we're talking 'Gone with the Wind' ... then it's just one.

Earlier this week, a friend asked me if I thought Chicago would be this decades Boston (meaning, could Chicago win titles in all four major pro sports). The answer is "Are you kidding me? No..."

Friday, June 17, 2011

Rory Roars, No New Year's Games, Peterson Ponders Return


McIlroy will try to put what happened
at Augusta behind him.
Zach Johnson is finally competing at the U.S. Open. Johnson who has never finished better than 45th, is in a tie for 3rd after two rounds. The problem is, he's NINE strokes behind roaring Rory McIlroy. The 22-year-old has held the lead in three of the last four major tournaments, but most seem to believe he's going to blow it --- again. After shooting 63 in the 1st round of the 2010 British Open, Rory carded an 80. After holding a 4-stroke lead heading into the final round of this year's Masters, Rory carded another 80. I may be in the minority, but I think he's finally going to break through. He's the next big thing, in the game of golf. It's just too bad he's not American.

After taking about six years away, I've fallen back in love with the game of golf. Unfortunately, my temper is also back. I got so mad the other day, I bent my putter. In hopes of ending my temper-tantrums once and for all, I'm punishing myself by continuing to use the putter for the rest of the year. I'm not happy with myself, but I need to teach myself a lesson.

There will be no New Year's Day bowl games, in 2012. January 1, 2012 falls on a Sunday, the same day the NFL regular season comes to a close. That's assuming there is a season.

The Cubs have won 4 of their last 5 games. I'm not getting my hopes up.

Jeremy Hellickson now has his own bobblehead...and he's repping Des Moines Hoover. They'll be handing these out to a select few at Wednesday's I-Cubs game.

According to the Des Moines Register, former Hawkeye Jeff Peterson is thinking about becoming a future Hawkeye. Two years ago, Peterson left with Jermaine Davis, David Palmer, and Jake Kelly. After two years at Arkansas, Peterson is transferring, again. He says it's down to Texas A&M, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Boston College, and Iowa. That's a little odd. I can't think of an example of a guy that began and ended his career at the same school, with another stop (of his own choosing) in between.
Peterson averaged 10 pts/gm as a soph.
I was at Quiznos, today, and there was a cute two-year-old girl running around while her Mom was eating. The girl could obviously tell I was a fine gentleman, so she was standing next to me while I was in line. The guy in front of my turned around and asked me how old she was. I've never been so relieved to say she wasn't mine. I'm, hopefully, still a few years away from holding that kind of responsibility.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

ALL IN: At Auburn, Not Iowa State. Duh.

Where to begin with excerpts from Gene Chizik's new book, "All In", obtained by the Associated Press?

Let's start with Chizik's criticism of Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard. Chizik says Pollard told him there was no need to meet after Chizik accepted the job at Auburn. Chizik also had a problem with public statements made by Pollard, and says "two fantastic years ended with two horrible days". Really? Two fantastic years? Chizik never seemed like he really wanted to be in Ames, and those "two fantastic years" included 10 straight losses when Chizik gave Pollard a mulligan, and a chance to hire a better fit, by taking Auburn's lifeline.

As for Pollard, he made Chizik the face of the program and got burned. If I were Pollard, I would have felt a combination of hurt and anger with a dash of understanding. Pollard wears his emotions on his sleeve, which has endeared him to Cyclone fans by coming across as a real person. (It also makes it more nonsensical that Pollard has, of late, refrained from commenting on many topics, like this one, that he could have a field day with.) Pollard went "All In' on Chizik, and it's clear Chizik always had an eye on Auburn.

Most reasonable people understand Chizik taking the Auburn job. It's better in nearly all ways. It's not the why, it's the how. Chizik broke his word, promises, and hearts, and he did it all with a hasty exit that Cyclone players who were on the team at the time still can't fathom. It was cold. Period. Like Lebron, it's the how, not the why.

For Chizik to put that ugly exit on Pollard explains how Chizik could stand in front of the media while accepting the Auburn job for 45 minutes without once thanking Iowa State. It took winning a national championship for Chizik to even acknowledge his years in Ames. Once you win it all, you stop sweating the 5-19.

I'm not surprised Chizik has succeeded at Auburn. He's a good fit there as CEO of Auburn football. He looks like the actor you'd cast as "college football coach" in a movie. What he can't do is more with less. He was a disaster at Iowa State, and it was getting worse, not better. This is truly a case of something working out better for everyone. For Chizik, for Pollard, for Auburn, for Iowa State, and for fans of both.

The book's title is "All In: What It Takes To Be The Best" (Cam Newton?). "Firmly Entrenched" didn't test well in Iowa.

I wish Pollard would talk about all this. He told me hasn't read the book, so he's not in position to comment. I get that. It's all in the past, and everyone is better for it. Still, I think it's clear Pollard could tell a side that would make for more interesting reading. It's forever a fascinating chapter in a book better left unfinished.

Anthony Hubbard, Boston Bruins, Golf Boys

The University of Iowa knows not everyone agrees with giving a basketball scholarship to convicted felon Anthony Hubbard. Iowa held a news conference Wednesday to allow reporters all the tough questions. I thought Hubbard handled it really well. He's 26, eight years past his guilty plea for robbery, and unlike many athletes who have criminal records, Hubbard actually paid a price for his big mistake; he served nearly four years in prison. Each person makes his own mind up whether Iowa should give Hubbard another chance---the Hawks wouldn't if they didn't desperately need an impact player---but I don't think Hubbard will burn Iowa, and he seems to realize both his mistakes, and the stakes...

Thank goodness the fans of Boston finally have a championship to cheer. It's been three long years. I'm not hating. I cheer the Boston teams in a nod to my Vermont birth and nostalgia for early childhood...

The Bruins complete the Mt. Rushmore of championships for Boston in a 10 year period. Stanley Cup, World Series, Super Bowl, NBA Finals. As the Iceborg pointed out, the Patriots have now had the longest drought in Boston. The Pats haven't won it all since 2005. I'm sure this breaks the heart of Vikings and Cubs fans...

If I've learned anything in hockey, it's this: the team with the best goalie usually wins...

As I was watching my sons' Little League games recently, I was reminded most local coaches give much of their time and provide terrific role models for fun and sportsmanship. We had two winners this season. The occasional overbearing knuckleheads we all hear about don't spoil it for everyone, and we can't let them...

Martensdale-St. Mary's won its 59th straight baseball game Wednesday night. That's crazy...

Enough with the Lebron bashing. And that from a guy who's done his share...

I think the "Golf Boys" viral video from four American PGA Tour stars is fantastic. I'm not sure John Bachman shares my enthusiasm, but John's old school with his respect and passion for golf...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fonz Stumbles, Voelker Preaches, HBO Serves

I think Alfonso Soriano is ready to re-join the Chicago Cubs. He's batting .077 for Iowa...

Terrelle Pryor apologized to everyone this side of the guy who gave him his tattoos. That's a start. Pryor's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, says Pryor is a first round draft pick. That's exactly what you'd expect Pryor's salesman to say. There is no way I'd use a first round pick on him...

Iowa State assistant wrestling coach Eric Voelker puts down his whistle and picks up a bible. He's joining the ministry full time. I respect all who follow a calling. Good luck, Eric...

It's midnight, and I'm wide awake. My wife brought me an energy drink this morning called Redline. It comes with more warnings than a pack of cigarettes. It has enough caffeine to drop a mule. Maybe I should try to learn to like coffee...

If you have HBO, do not miss the terrific documentary "Fire & Ice: McEnroe/Borg". It shows tennis at its absolute peak, and gives fascinating insight to a rivalry that ended way too soon. It's nice to learn McEnroe and Borg remain close, and they weren't as different as we thought. Ace...

Also good, though not as accessible is "Bobby Fischer Against the World". Fischer is considered by many the greatest chess player who ever lived, and at the height of the cold war, he was a rock star. His brain also made him increasingly mad...

Christina Aguilera rambled for so long on The Voice Tuesday night, I nearly turned it off. Every singer is "amazing", and while that's a nice sentiment, it made for bad television...

17-3, 4-2, Super 8

The Bruins outscored the Canucks 17-3 in Boston, yet they could still lose the Stanley Cup Wednesday night...

Lebron James just doesn't get it. It's that simple. He doesn't see himself the way most of the world does because he's lived such a life of entitlement and self-indulgence. As for his play, I think Lebron lacks killer instinct and mental toughness. Put another way, I believe he fears failure to the point it paralyzes him at crunch time. I believe history will show Lebron James was a great player, not a legend...

The Mavericks won their first NBA title and were talked about far less than the Heat losing. Why? Because the Heat losing, and the way the Heat lost (they eventually wilted and quit), is more interesting than the Mavs winning, and the way the Mavs won (they worked hard and made big shots)...

Chemistry still matters...

I saw Super 8 over the weekend. Abrams & Spielberg team up to make a really good---not great---summer popcorn movie. Super 8 is a combination of ET/Goonies/Stand By Me/Aliens, though not as good as three of those movies. The kids are all fantastic, especially Elle Fanning, and the movie is exciting throughout. The less you know going in, the better. I give it a B+...

I watched Just Go With It on DVD. I enjoy good, if I can use that word, Adam Sandler movies like The Wedding Singer and Happy Gilmore. This one is not good. Jennifer Aniston is easily the best thing about the movie, and Brooklyn Decker the worst, though it's not all her fault. The plot is written in such a way that Decker is forced to appear stupid in nearly every scene she's in. C-...

I intended to see Due Date, but my wife and I let the kids have their annual SchoolsOutForSummerPalooza and it was BONKERS. 11 kids for a sleepover, and 11 days off my life...