Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Print edition for 02/13/09

Have I ever mentioned that there’s a unicycle in my office? I’m not exactly sure why. I mean, I certainly wouldn’t be riding it. At least with a bicycle there are TWO wheels to carry the weight. Also, there’s the balance problem.
In my younger days (before the separated shoulder) I probably wouldn’t given it a second thought before hopping on and testing my luck. Now, though? Well, that particular injury hurt too danged much to consider tweaking it. It’s the same reason I’ll go to Centennial Park and WATCH the ice skaters, but am hesitant to lace up a pair myself.
That still doesn’t explain WHY there’s a unicycle in my office. And no one at work seems to know. It was here when I got here. It’ll be here when I leave (IF I ever leave, IF I ever win the lottery- ‘cause it sure doesn’t seem like I’m ever going to be able to afford to retire)…

You know another thing I don’t get? (And yes- I know there are so many to choose from).
The whole debate about putting the transition to digital television on hold. I mean, haven’t the networks, stations and government been talking about this for three years or so now? Haven’t they warned- repeatedly- that old sets wouldn’t work with over the air signals without a converter box during every other commercial break on most every channel (even cable and satellite- which are unaffected) since?
If viewers without cable or satellite aren’t prepared yet, really- whose fault is that?

From the mailbag, Sandi pointed out that “Some Wendy's are open for breakfast. Bluffton and HHI ones are.” I think I knew that. But, Shelby’s story about the guy passing out at the drive thru and getting busted waiting for biscuits because it wasn’t makes it a lot funnier…

Barbara added her take on falling asleep behind the wheel: “Picture this… small town Colchester, Connecticut, some years back. Ronnie (her husband) coming home for the weekend from somewhere like Maine. Stops at the stop sign in the center of town. Wakes up about an hour later.”
She said “maybe it isn't so strange, after all it is Ronnie I am talking about.”
(Ronnie does nod off rather- um- easily)…

Steve had this to add about the Super Bowl’s super boring pregame hoopla: “…(Did) you see Journey perform during the pregame show? An Oriental guy replaced Steve Perry... not even close. Missed some parts by at least an octave. Make that an octave and a half. If he missed it by just an octave, it would have still been in key!” (Thankfully, I missed that.)

And, for favorite announcers, Steve asked “What about Gary McCord with the bikini wax greens at Augusta?” That’s a good one I’d forgotten about. That comment got McCord the axe from Masters’ coverage- to which McCord told a reporter from Golf Magazine he didn’t “give a (darn, hoot, flip, pick your adjective).”
McCord added he gets more exposure by not being an analyst at the tournament.

Wally from Decatur had some comments about his favorite announcers, agreeing with “36. Chris Schenkel (hey, how many of these announcers could do bowling, ya know?).”
He also concurred on my inclusion of Skip and Pete and added his own to the list:
“51. Lloyd Pettit - Chicago Blackhawks Hockey”
“52. John Rooney - National Radio MLB Playoff announcer and current Cardinals play by play man. Sets a scene with the best of anybody working today.”
“53. Harry Kalas - Not in the top 50? In what universe do you leave him out?” (Man, I completely forgot about Kalas. Boo me!)
“54. Brad Nessler - Smooth, smart, funny. More ESPN announcers should be this good.
“55/56. Mary Carillo/Cliff Drysdale - Clearly love the game of tennis, funny…, good on long one sided matches; great on five set nailbiters.”
“57. Al McGuire - Made the unlikely double analyst pairing with Billy Packer a winner. The dynamic of them together eclipsed anything they did apart.”
“OK, so I've listened to a few announcers in my time. The great ones transcend their sports and draw you in because they belong in front of a microphone.”

Now, let’s take a look at the list of the supposed “50 worst announcers in sports today”
1. Billy Packer (Can’t comment, not a basketball fan. But, as I said last week, the lists are subjective. Wally named Packer along with McGuire- who also made this list.)
2. Chris Berman (Oh, man- I am SO in agreement here. Berman’s shtick got old twenty years ago, when it was still relatively new.)
3. Joe Morgan (Oh yeah. Morgan is the first one on this list who’s also listed in the supposed “Best” list as well.)
4. Tony Kornheiser (The most amazing thing about his inclusion on the list is that anyone still watches Monday Night Football since it moved to ESPN.)
5. Dick Vitale
6. Bill Walton (Wasn’t he a basketball player or something?)
7. Mike Patrick
8. Tim McCarver (On the “best of” list, the people who compiled that one praised McCarver by quoting an SI story from years ago, saying (paraphrasing here) “If you asked McCarver what time it was, he’d tell you how a watch worked.” I mean, THAT’S praise? NO- it just illustrates what a rambling nincompoop McCarver is- droning on about stuff that has a tenuous connection- at best- to the topic at hand.)
9. Joe Buck (See last week’s comments, re Buck’s boredom.)
10. Bob Costas (Yep)
11. Stuart Scott (“Tired as this side of the pillow” was the description the list maker used.)
12. Tony Siragusa (Yeah. Shut up, you lumbering goof.)
13. Gus Johnson
14. Paul Maguire
15. Stephen A. Smith
16. Troy Aikman (Aikman has his moments of being really good. Unfortunately, they’re followed by far too many of his being really bad. Being paired with Joe Buck doesn’t help his cause, either.)
17. John Sterling (Remember when he was a Braves’ announcer? Yeah, I didn’t really care for him then, either.)
18. Thom Brennaman (okay- but how was his dad not on the “best” list?)
19. John Madden (On a “worst” list, Madden should be ranked higher. Or lower, depending on you perspective.)
20. Emmitt Smith
21. Johnny Miller
22. Lee Corso (They should name a brook somewhere after Corso.)
23. Jim Gray (I think his interview with Pete Rose at Game Two of the ’99 World Series was one of the best.)
24. Merril Hoge
25. Digger Phelps
26. Tiki Barber (Listening to Tiki- and Michael Irvin and Shannon Sharpe and countless other ex-players- reminds me of the character Orlando Jones played in “Office Space.”)
27. Darren Pang
28. Dick Stockton
29. Dick Enberg (Another surprising one, to me. I think his pairing with Merlin Olsen was a great one. And how did I forget Olsen- a fine example of how good a former player can be.)
30. Darrell Walt rip (Seriously- crying because your brother wins a race? Dude.)
31. Kelly Wightman (People actually watch the Golf Channel?)
32. Mike Francesa
33. Steve Phillips
34. Pam Ward (Better than a lot of her male counterparts. Of course, faint praise and all that.)
35. Shannon Sharpe (See 26.)
36. Skip Bayless
37. Warren Sapp
38. Lamar Thomas
39. Paul Allen
40. Ken Harrelson (What, you don’t like the “Hawk“? Eh, me neither.)
41. Magic Johnson
42. Chip Caray (Amen to this one. Another that should be ranked “higher”- especially considering his heritage.)
43. Dave Mishkin
44. Joe Theismann
45. Dan Dierdorf
46. John Kruk (I kind of like Kruk. He knows the game, and isn’t afraid to call players out. He just doesn’t do it enough.)
47. Jenn Sterger
48. Larry Merchant
49. Michael Kay
50. Lou Holtz (I just always want to punch Lou, for some reason.)
So, same as last week- who don’t you like? Who makes you want to punch out your own eardrums as soon as they opening their throat-holes? (Or, is that just me?) Send your nominations to the usual place…

Another accolade for the Falcons as GM Thomas Dimitroff was named NFL Executive of the Year by The Sporting News.
Dimitroff helped lead the charge as Atlanta rose from the ashes of 2007 to snare a playoff spot last year…

PETA has withdrawn an offer to shoot an anti-dogfighting public service announcement with Michael Vick when he’s released from prison after Vick’s lawyers sought the group’s support of Vick’s return to the NFL.
“Saying sorry and getting his ball back after being caught enjoying killing dogs in hideously cruel ways for many years doesn’t cut it,” said PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk. “Commissioner Goodell knows that he has an obligation to the league and to millions of fans, including children who look up to ballplayers as idols, to make sure that Michael Vick is mentally capable of remorse before he can touch, let alone wear, an NFL uniform again.”
PETA wants Vick to undergo a brain scan and a full psychiatric evaluation. They also released these “highlights” from Vick’s answers to their “Developing Empathy for Animals” test that Vick took right after he pled guilty to criminal charges (all spelling and grammatical errors are Vick’s):
He says "The Golden Rule" is doing "on to others as u want them to do on to u… (as long the feeling is mutual)." (Firm grasp there, huh? He must have missed that whole “turn the other cheek” sermon.)
“I think If people can’t provide adequate living conditions for the dog then it should be taken to a animal shelter or taken into custody by a someone who posses Empathy for all animals.”
“People who abuse animals dont have a heart and find it amusing to see animals suffer.” (Hmm- a little self analysis there, Mike?)
"My aunt Tina own a Rotti name Tico. Once my aunt and her boyfriend Wayne was having an intense fight ... [Tico] jump through a glass window & pinned my aunt boyfriend Wayne to the ground just growling ... Now that's loyalty."
Vick summed up his final essay question saying “I have the upmost respect for all living creatures and I wish I could have took this course 5 years ago.” (Translate that one, I guess, into “before I got caught.”)…

ABC/ESPN brass announced last week that the network had implemented a hiring freeze and wouldn’t be giving any raises to top executives because of slumping profits. The networks’ sports chief George Bodenheimer added that some 200 jobs will be cut within the next year, mostly by eliminating unfilled positions.
I’d imagine they could cut their catering bill in half if they fired Chris Berman…

That’s it for this week. I'll be back next time with more news, notes, and rumors from the sports world.
As always, send your questions, praises, or gripes to, or via snail mail to:
Bean Spouts
c/o Spirit Newspapers
P.O. Box 33
Pooler, GA 31322

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