Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Greatest Coaching Press Conferences Ever

Dennis Green's "The Bears Were Who We Thought They Were" speech

Jim Mora's "Playoffs" speech.

Mike Gundy's "I'm forty" speech

Hal McRae Tearing Up His Office

John Chaney's "I'll kill ya!" rant

John L. Smith walking off the field

Jim Boeheim defending Gerry McNamara.  "Not 10 f'n games!"

Friday, November 16, 2007

R.I.P. Joe Nuxhall

                                      Joe Nuxhall

CINCINNATI -- Joe Nuxhall, who was the youngest player in major league history and the beloved "old left-hander" on Cincinnati Reds radio broadcasts, died overnight following a bout with cancer, the team said Friday. He was 79.

Nuxhall's health problems multiplied in recent years but couldn't keep him away from the game or the broadcast booth for long. He had surgery for prostate cancer in 1992, followed by a mild heart attack in 2001.

The cancer returned last February, when Nuxhall was preparing for the Reds' spring training in Sarasota, Fla. The broadcaster called some games last season even though his left leg was swollen by tumors. He was hospitalized again this week.

He retired as a full-time radio broadcaster after the 2004 season, the 60th anniversary of his historic pitching debut.

Nuxhall and play-by-play announcer Marty Brennaman described the Big Red Machine's two World Series titles in the 1970s, Pete Rose's return as player-manager and then banishment for gambling in the 1980s, and another World Series championship in 1990.

Nuxhall's place in baseball lore was secured the moment he stepped onto a big-league field. With major league rosters depleted during World War II, he got a chance to pitch inrelief for the Reds on June 10, 1944.

No one in modern baseball history has played in the majors at such a young age -- 15 years, 10 months, 11 days old. He got two outs against St. Louis before losing his composure, then went eight years before pitching for the Reds again.

"When you think of all the individuals that played at the major league level and you're the youngest in the history of the game and in the Guinness Book of Records, it does make you in awe of it," Nuxhall said on the 50th anniversary of his debut.

He got the chance purely by chance.

Nuxhall grew up in nearby Hamilton, Ohio, and was still too young to shave when the Reds were looking for wartime replacement players. They came to see his father, Orville, who pitched in a Sunday league in Hamilton.

"My dad could throw hard," Nuxhall said. "They were really scouting him. Almost by accident, they found me."

Nuxhall was big for his age -- 6-foot-3, around 190 pounds -- and could throw 85 mph. The Reds offered a contract, and Nuxhall's parents let him join the team when junior high classes let out in 1944.

He spent most of the time watching from the bench, assuming he'd never get into a game. The Reds were trailing Stan Musial's St. Louis Cardinals 13-0 after eight innings on June 10, 1944, when manager Bill McKechnie decided to give the kid a chance.

Nuxhall was so rattled when summoned to warm up that he tripped on the top step of the dugout and fell on his face in front of 3,510 fans at Crosley Field. He was terrified when it came time to walk to the mound.

"Probably two weeks prior to that, I was pitching against seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders, kids 13 and 14 years old," he said. "All of a sudden, I look up and there's Stan Musial and the likes. It was a very scary situation."

Nuxhall walked one and retired two batters before glancing at the on-deck circle and seeing Musial. Nuxhall unraveled -- Musial got a line-drive single, and the Cardinals scored five runs as the young pitcher lost his ability to throw a strike and failed to get another out.

"Those people that were at Crosley Field that afternoon probably said, 'Well, that's the last we'll see of that kid,"' Nuxhall said.

The Reds sent him to the minors. Eight years later, he was back with the Reds, picking up on a career that eventually got him into the team's Hall of Fame. He spent 15 of his 16 big-league seasons with the Reds, going 135-117 before his retirement in 1966.

A year later, Nuxhall started doing radio broadcasts, describing games in a slow-paced, down-home manner that caught on with listeners. Brennaman became the play-by-play announcer in 1974, and the "Marty and Joe" tandem spent the next 28 seasons chatting about their golf games, their gardens and some of the biggest moments in franchise history.

Brennaman made the broadcasters' wing of baseball's Hall of Fame with his blunt, outspoken style; Nuxhall rarely produced controversy with his folksy manner.

They had one high-profile moment together. Both were summoned to commissioner Bart Giamatti's office in 1988 because of their on-air comments after Rose bumped umpire Dave Pallone and was ejected. Angry fans threw debris on the field for 15 minutes as Brennaman harshly criticized the umpire.

Nuxhall became more critical as his broadcasting career wound down. He created a stir in 2001 by suggesting on the air that Barry Larkin was no longer capable of playing shortstop. Larkin, the team captain at the time, replied that he was hampered by injuries.

Just as Brennaman is known for his "This one belongs to the Reds" proclamation after a win, Nuxhall developed a signature signoff. He concluded postgame interviews by saying, "This is the old left-hander, rounding third and heading for home," a saying that is illuminated across the top of the Reds' administration building.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Calling the Bengals' Shots


I'd like to take this time to give a shout out to those who think I'm an idiot for things I say. No, I don't get everything correct, but I did peg this Bengals season thus far. Not all these things are a direct blast at me. So, let's take a gander at some of the criticism I've received.

From Cincy Jungle about me asking if it was too late to save the season:

Sportz Assassin -- I can't tell you how much I love fictitious names from those that provide commentary and opinion -- wonders if it's too late to save the season? Let's get one thing out of the way. We're heading into week #4. It's early.

I understand SA's points. But the first three games is hardly a forecast for this team. Not because we're heading into week four. This team just has several things not going their way. Additionally, the other lesser-known weapons will return and the soften schedule in the second half, will gain confidence and a rhythm. As long as the Bengals can weather the storm in the first half of the season, I really believe they'll make a great run for a wild card spot. I ain't giving up yet.

Some of his reasoning was health, schedule, cohesiveness and wildcard. I did agree with the schedule and wildcard ... but they've since gone out the window. I hate the health and cohesiveness issues since all 32 NFL teams have some sort of problems at those points. Even the might Patriots and Colts have been hit by these things.

Over at the Bengals Brigade, I was taken to task about if Rudi Johnson's job was in trouble. Oh, and I asked that in July:

He says that the drafting of Kenny Irons could mean that Rudi would be the secondary back in a shared backfield. Yes, Rudi's yards per carry were down last year but I think some of that was due to the line getting used to playing together.

The Bengals will still need Rudi as a workhorse and I believe he can play even better this year. By the way, I noticed a comment on the Sportz Assassin's website from someone who said the only people needing to worry about their job were Chris Perry and the Sportz Assassin.

I'm still here and Rudi's job is being questioned. Sure, it isn't Irons that is doing that [he blew out his knee in the preseason] but Rudi's injury opened the door wide open for Kenny Watson, who is taking advantage of it. Watson, like Irons, gives the Bengals the opportunity to break off a big run ... something Johnson hasn't been able to do. In fact, the Brigade later admits "the offense seems to be running ok and if Kenny Watson can continue to play well the rest of the season, he only makes them more dangerous."

Even on my own blogging, I get taken to task. During my
water cooler chat over a month ago with Bengals fans, I asked if Chad Johnson should be dangled as trade bait for some defensive help.

William: No way!!! Chad and TJ are essentially the franchise ... along with Carson [Palmer] and Rudi [Johnson]. Next year the rookies and free agents will have a little more experience. The Bengals must recruit better proven defensive players.

Tom: Chad and TJ are Cincy icons (like Pete Rose). They won't deal Chad 'cause he puts the 'flash' on the 'stripes'. They won't drop TJ until his contract is up and he asks for what he's worth. And no defensive player worth his salt would play for a team notorious for being soft.

Boy, has this taken an about-face. Both are now more willing to deal Ocho Cinco [as are more local Bengals fans that would care to admit] and the boo-birds have rained down a bit.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Never Mind The Colts-Pats ... What a Week 9!

This was a wild Week 9 in the NFL.  Wild!

*Okay, the Pats beat the Colts, meaning that New England still roams with a 9-0 record and has won AT Indianapolis and AT Dallas ... the two "other" best teams in the NFL.  Looks like 16-0 is a possibility. 

*Two records were broken in the Chargers-Vikings game.  First one was the Bolts' Antonio Cromartie returning a missed FG attempt for a 109 yard TD.  There can never be a longer play in NFL history ... unless they screw with the field.  And that was about 109 yards, 2 feet and 11 inches.  Dude caught the thing as it went just inches from hitting the crossbar. 

Next one was the 296 rushing yards from Adrian Peterson ... an NFL record.  He's only really been named the absolute starter for three weeks or so and he's already breaking NFL records.  He has played just 8 NFL games and is already over 1,000 yards!

*Do you want an NFL quarterback?  Wait.  Look at the top passers of yesterday:  Tony Romo, Matt Hasselbeck, Tom Brady, Brett Favre and Jon Kitna.  All weren't really big time draft picks.  Drew Brees trumped them all ... but was a free agent because the Chargers dealt for high pick Philip Rivers.

*The Bengals are sitting at 2-6.  Who woulda thunk it?  Or that Chad Johnson's mouth would've led him to getting smacked by an opposing safety?  Okay, that was a bit more expected.

*The NFC flexed their muscle this week.  The Vikings crushed the Chargers; Packers slid by the Chiefs;  The Lions blew out the Broncos; Saints rolled over the Jaguars.  All those were matchups against teams fighting for playoff berths ... and the AFC's best shot was the Amazin' Browns popping Seattle in overtime.

*Speaking of the Browns, they are 5-3.  Yes ... they are 5-3!

*The Redskins won their 2nd overtime game this season.  The wins:  over the Dolphins and Jets ... a combined 1-16.  Still, they are 5-3 and entering a huge NFC East weekend.  The five wins match Washington's total from last year.

*We all have confirmation that David Carr sucks.  Steve Smith fantasy owners might go over to Carr's home and talk him into a GQ career.  I mean, dude spends more time with his hair and tidy gloves than he does seeing what's going on.  Since Vinny Testerverde isn't playing ... see what Drew Bledsoe, Jeff George, Tim Couch or John Elway are doing.

*It was interesting that the week that had the battle of the unbeatens also featured a bye for both of the league's winless teams.

*Every week goes by and Marty Schottenheimer's free agency value goes up.  Good call San Diego in canning him and bringing Norv Turner in.  The Chargers gave up over 550 yards to a team that was quarterbacked by Tavares Jackson and Brooks Bollinger yesterday and had a rookie running back. 

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Navy Beats Notre Dame: Fire Charlie


Navy beat Notre Dame yesterday for the first time since 1963 when Roger Staubach was running things for the Naval Academy.  The next 43 years saw 43 losses for Navy ... which was the longest dominance a team had over another.

Well, that's over.

Navy beat Notre Dame, 46-44 ... at Notre Dame Stadium ... ending that run.

Notre Dame is now 1-8.  They've lost for the first time to Navy since 1963.  They've lost five games at home ... the most in program history.  They lost to USC, 38-0, a few weeks back. 

Good thing he's not Ty Willingham or he'd be gone.  No wonder Urban Meyer wanted no part of this.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Agent Zero Pounds Kobe


Gilbert Arenas is a different cat.  That's why he has the stones to say this to SI.com:

"I don't understand that . I don't understand a player like him sometimes.''

"One, you want to get traded because you don't like your team, you don't think your team's good enough.  But any team you go to, they're going to have to get rid of a whole bunch of players for you, which basically puts you back in the same situation -- just in a
different city. I don't know how a player doesn't see that. If he just doesn't like the organization, then I understand that. But you hear the Chicago rumors: If they had to get rid of Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, [Andres] Nocioni -- that's your whole nucleus. Now you're stuck with Kirk Hinrich, you, Joe Smith, 'Kim Noah, Ben Wallace. That's great defense, but offensively you're going to be doing the same thing you were doing before."

"So it's like your situation is not changing. Unless somebody's going to trade you a one-for-one player, he's not going to be in a happy situation there either."

"I've never seen [Michael] Jordan act like that. I didn't even see AI [Allen Iverson], when he was going through them bad days, you know? They were always talking about trading him, and he was like, 'If they trade me, they trade me; if they don't, they don't; but this is my city.' And I don't understand how Kobe doesn't feel that about L.A. --
it's his city.''

"With the Lakers, he's always going to have the opportunity to attract players. A free agent is willing to go to a Laker uniform. Everybody wants to go to L.A. -- KG would want to go there.  Jason Kidd would want to go there. Jason Kidd is up next season, right? He's a free agent [in 2009]. Why don't you wait? Maybe he'll just come over there. You never know.''

Famous Chicks Who Were NFL Cheerleaders


In doing some research for The Fanhouse, I stumbled upon a list of NFL cheerleaders who when on to bigger, better things.  Enjoy.

Teri Hatcher [actress]:  49ers
Lisa Guerrero [sports reporter]:  Rams
Jenilee Harrison [actress, Three's Company]:  Rams
Tiffany Fallon [2005 Playmate of the Year]:  Falcons
Stacy Keibler [WWE]:  Ravens
Charisma Carpenter [actress, Buffy]:  Chargers
Sarah Shahi [actress, L Word]:  Cowboys
Jill Marie Jones [actress, Girlfriends]:  Cowboys
Kristin Holt [TV personality, G4's Cheat! and Poker Night]:  Cowboys
Kiana Tom [fitness shows]:  Raiders
Tatiana Anderson [Fitness host]:  Broncos
Anjelah Johnson [comedienne]:  Raiders
Kristianna Nichols [1992 Mrs. America]:  Redskins

By the way, didja know:

*Buffalo's cheerleaders are called the "Buffalo Jills"?
*New Orleans are called the "Saintsations"

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Choose Your Own Adventure ... A-Rod Edition

Alex Rodriguez

As a blogger for the Fanhouse, I get to be part of some of the best group of sports bloggers on the internets and privy to the behind the scenes of how they do what they do.

One of the finest blog readings I've come across is this:  Choose Your Own Rodventure: The Saga of Alex Rodriguez - FanHouse - AOL Sports Blog

If you are over the age of 25, you remember those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books.  You had a story, read a few pages, then a fork in the road comes up and you must choose to take one path or the other.  You then go to the page of the choice you picked and continue on to the story and come upon another decision.  And so on.

Please, read the link above, as it is the same sort of deal.  You choose Alex Rodriguez's adventure through free agency.