Megan’s Song

One of the great things about the sports world is that there are moments that transcend the events on the playing field and into social conscience. I was nine years old when the US Olympic hockey team took the gold medal and seemed (at least to my youthful eyes) to unite the country.

Nearly four decades later, we may be a week shy of another such watershed moment – depending on how things go with the United States women’s soccer team at the Women’s World Cup. Behind arguably the best player on the distaff side of the game in 34 year-old winger Megan Rapinoe – the US are heavily favored to take the trophy with only England and the winner between Sweden and the Netherlands in their semifinal left to stop them.

There’s very little middle ground of opinion when it comes to Rapinoe, who’s been criticized as of late for not singing the National Anthem and for being a staunch liberal. Perhaps this is more of a commentary of our times as opposed to ourselves that there’s this sense of overreach when someone playing on a national team doesn’t sing along to the anthem – and I would say as long as she’s not taking that moment to demonstrate, what she does is fine.

As for teams going to the White House or not – if that’s what you care about the most, you’re not living in the real world. Half the country is going to have one opinion, and half is going to have another. I’m a supporter of the President, but there are people who like him and people who don’t – and that’s just the reality of life as long as he’s there.

To use this as a fulcrum to continue to spew political virtue signaling and sentiment – I wish both sides would put a stop to that sort of thing. Some things in life just are what they are.

Aircheck: WLCY-TV, 1977

A few notes about this clip from 1977, if you please.

First, this was before Channel 10 became WTSP – a name change that would take place the following year in September of 1978. Back then, Channel 10 was not a CBS station as it is now – but an ABC station, which it was up until the “Big Switch” of 1994.

Secondly, and this is mind-boggling to think about these days – one of Channel 10’s popular shows in the mid-1970’s was their wrestling show that aired Sundays at 1pm, often airing in place of whatever news or sports programs ABC had. The big professional circuit of note of that era and area, Championship Wrestling from Florida (CWF), had two locally televised shows in the Tampa Bay market: one would air Saturdays at 7pm on WTOG, Channel 44, and would stay there until the circuit’s demise in 1987.

That show would host matches from the Sportatorium in Tampa where the top talent would be featured against lesser-known grapplers usually there to lose, although that didn’t always happen – and the show was basically an “infomercial” for upcoming cards in the various arenas in Florida, with scripted “angles” taking place on TV so that fans had added incentive to go to the shows. Tampa had a card every week at the Ft. Homer Hesterly Armory, one of many stops during the course of a given week. On most Saturdays, additional cards would be held at either the Lakeland Civic Center, the Bayfront Center in St. Pete, or Sarasota’s Robarts Arena.

The “second show” that Channel 10 had often used different formats and would often air on different channels in that era. For a brief while around 1980, WFLA aired it on Friday nights after Johnny Carson – then WTOG would air the “B-show” on Sundays at 7pm. Sometimes it would just be a replay of the Saturday edition, sometimes it would be repackaged, and other times Gordon Solie would interview someone in the wrestling world for a half-hour or so, then show highlights the rest of the way.

Here, Gordon’s interviewing one Andre Roussimoff, better known to the world as merely Andre The Giant – one of most in-demand performers of the era.

How I’d Fix Big Brother

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The twenty-first civilian Big Brother season kicks off tomorrow night- the twentieth such season to take place in the summertime, and the first summer season I’ll be boycotting since the series began in 2000. I’ve mentioned before why a few times – the show needs a new host (in light of the whole Julie Chen/Les Moonves fiasco), and the casting and various twists have gotten way too predictable for my taste in recent seasons.

Somebody asked me recently if I had better ideas – and I said, why yes, yes I do. But the “better ideas” I have assumes those running the show want better ideas – and I’ve seen no indication that a better summer reality show that’s been around nearly two decades already is what they want. In turn, how do you make a show get better that doesn’t want to get better?

But if someone waved a magic wand and put me in charge, I would do the following:

First, wave goodbye to Julie Chen. Find me a younger, less robotic host that can handle doing three hours of live TV a week. Which hints at my second idea, doesn’t it?

Second, all the shows should have live TV elements in them. Do the nominations live, do the “Power Of Veto” game live, and do the veto decision live – and the eviction live as that has almost always been done. The only time the feeds would be blacked out is from when the CBS show is on in the East Coast to when the show goes off on the West Coast – a four-hour window each time. That way, all the viewers will know when to tune back-in instead of the guessing game going on now. Finally, on eviction nights, don’t play the “HOH competition” until the feeds come back.

Third on the list: casting. I’d tell the show producers to find me fifty men and fifty women to sit in the crowd opening night – ready to go into the house for eleven weeks if chosen. On the live “Opening Night” show, I’d have the new host show index cards of the names of these 100 “candidates” as they go into two pots based on gender. In ten randomly drawn groups, I’d pick one man and one woman to enter the house until you had 20 houseguests in ten waves of two. Once that show ends on the West Coast, the feeds would start.

Lastly, I’d get rid of a lot of houseguests right away. I would hold three triple-evictions the first three weeks of the show to narrow the field quickly from 20 to the “jury pool” of 11. The Head Of Household would have four nominees for eviction as opposed to two, the “Power Of Veto” games would have a randomly drawn sixth competitor, and the house who chose the nominee to keep as opposed to deciding whom to evict. After that – it would just be a classic Big Brother game, and with two more double-evictions, plus “Closing Night” which decides the top three. Start the season right after Memorial Day, end the season right before Labor Day so it doesn’t encroach upon the NFL and NCAA football seasons all too long.

CBS – you’re free to use my ideas. I just doubt you would.

The Beginning Of The End Of Raysville

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In its infinite wisdom, Major League Baseball announced this past week that the Tampa Bay Rays have been given permission to move some of its home games to Montreal in future seasons. This is oddly enough similar to the arrangement the Montreal Expos had in the early part of this century, playing several home games in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Was I surprised? No. I see the Rays moving as something that’s inevitable – just as was the case with the Montreal Expos moving the D.C. and becoming the Washington Nationals in the 2000’s. Just as that happened – the Rays will find a new home somewhere sometime after 2027 when their lease expires.

Do some people have their “thumbs on the scale” here? Probably. Outside what I’ve been mentioning on this blog about the Rays going “paperless” and scaring the seniors away who don’t like surrendering debit and credit cards – and all of the minor league teams in the other major cities making up the Tampa Bay area, who knows. Even MLB’s commissioner of the time of the late 1980’s, Peter Ueberroth, tried to warn our area NOT to build what became Tropicana Field – thinking the area wasn’t ready for the big leagues, which now turns out looking more and more prophetic with the passing of time.

I guess they want our area to just be the home of Spring Training and nothing else. Am I warm here?

The 2020 Sweepstakes

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The 2020 elections are now about 16 1/2 months away, but the first Democratic debates will be held next week – plus the current President, Donald Trump, announced his intent to run for a second term last night in Orlando.

I’m not a big fan of the setup for this first debate NBC is hosting in Miami next week – where only 20 of the 24 candidates will be allowed to debate based on polling. You would think after the 2016 elections and a Democratic primary series that left many noting how Hillary Clinton got all the breaks at the expense of Bernie Sanders – that the DNC would be a bit more transparent, but I guess not.

Speaking of transparency, if there’s going to be some sort of random draw to determine who debates in which debate – why not do that publicly? Again, a lack of transparency – and the appearance that the DNC has their thumbs on the scale. I guess there are some things that never change. Heck, I remember Ron Brown (at the time, the head of the Democratic National Committee) making remarks in 1992 that he hoped Bill Clinton would win the nomination – before the series of primaries had ended.

As for Trump running again – we haven’t had a President decline the chance to run for re-election since Lyndon Johnson in 1968, and there was nothing to indicate POTUS wouldn’t be running again. I kind of wonder how he’s doing it health-wise, but if he can do it – he should be allowed the chance.

Who wins? I have no clue.

Aircheck: Various News Outlets, 6/17/1994

Twenty-five years ago tonight, the most news event of our time was taking place. Back in 2012, I mentioned what I was doing that night – working for the Sun Radio Network, and watching almost every news outlet watching this Ford Bronco.

Most of the footage is from CNN, with Larry King narrating the events as things began to develop when Larry King Live was on the air that Friday night. They took their footage from various Los Angeles stations including KTLA, KTTV, and KCAL

The person uploading the video must have been from the Seattle area as local anchors from KING-TV (the Seattle NBC station) cut in – a portion of the clip shows the NBA Finals game from that night (the Knicks beat the Rockets 91-84 to go up 3-2 in a series they’d eventually lose). Even NBC seemed flummoxed about what to do about the Simpson chase, showing it at times, split-screening it with the basketball game at other times.

All in all, a crazy night – as I said in 2012, easily the craziest night of my radio career.

Sports Shorts

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A few scenes from the sporting world this past week:

Everyone got their knickers in a knot over the USA beating Thailand 13-0 in a group stage match at the Women’s World Cup. Me, I don’t get it. With limited substitutions (three to a team), soccer isn’t really a game where if one team keeps getting shooting opportunities, and the other team cannot defend against it – the ball is going to find the target. On top of which, if there’s a tie in the group standings, the first tiebreaker is goal differential – so you’d want that to be as high as possible.

Congratulations to the Toronto Raptors on their first NBA title. I love it when teams win that first championship in a given sport, and I’ve love to see EVERY city win something at least one time if the average lifetime of a fan.

Speaking of which, as I am writing this – Gary Woodland is closing in on his first major golf title, leading the US Open at Pebble Beach. He has one hole left, and should win – barring disaster.

Hate to end on a downer, but I was reading the lurid details about the trial of Kellen Winslow Jr. this past week. The ex-Buccaneer had a habit of – ummm – watching pornography in the locker room, and opening doing what men do watching porn in public as opposed to doing that privately. Needless to say, that would leave a mess – or two, or three.

The Joe McGrath character in Slap Shot warned us about guys like him, I suppose.”I was coaching in Omaha in 1948…”

A few minutes have gone by – Gary Woodland did indeed win the US Open with a birdie on 18 for good measure, and he has my congratulations. With that, I’m out of here.

Move Over, Miracle Mets

The 2018-19 NHL hockey season will be remembered for two things. First, how the Tampa Bay Lightning were the best team in the sport – yet somehow lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the playoffs back in April.

Secondly, how the St. Louis Blues went from being the worst team in hockey in January to hoisting the Stanley Cup in Boston last night. On the road in enemy territory, the Blues trounced Boston 4-1 to win Game 7, avenging a couple of Stanley Cup defeats to the Bruins in the late 60’s and early 70’s.

As great as the accomplishment is for the long-suffering Blues fans and for the people of St. Louis, a town I once visited back in the 90’s – it is also not a cautionary tale that most of the sports seasons are just way too long? Do we really need a 162-game MLB season, or an 80-plus game NBA and NHL season? A college football season lasting 12-14 games, and an NFL season going at least 16 games – that seems to be easier to digest than these seemingly endless seasons of other sports.

The reason why do it is simple, of course – money. More games, more playoff teams, more playoff games, more money. If there were fewer games in these seasons – teams would make less money, and players would make less money.

Sooner or later, probably later – the issue will come to a head when a star player gets severely injured, maybe playing in a game where he (or she) had no business being there for one reason or another.

Treachery Afoot From Telenetwork

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Maybe I’m just getting old – but sometimes I can’t remember in a split-second what I did for half an hour three months ago. Yesterday, I got a call from Telenetwork about a test I took for them for employment – and they were making such expectations for me.

I passed on their offer out of hand.

With that done, I then read some E-mail, saying that I couldn’t re-apply for three months – all because I couldn’t remember in a split second the test I took for a half an hour three months ago on their cue.

Maybe I have a different expectation of fairness – but I didn’t find any with Telenetwork and their check-up by ambush. If those are their policies, I’m glad I’m not their employee.