Tuesday, July 27, 2010



Written by: Mike in DA
Date posted: July 28, 2010 


I don’t expect many local talk show hosts with maybe the exception of KCOH 1430’s, Ralph Cooper, to be aware of this, but there are two new postage stamps that recently hit local post offices.

Last week, two new 44-cent stamps were dedicated by the U. S. Postal Service (USPS) to commemorate the Negro National League, the first long-lasting professional league for Black ballplayers, which ran from 1920 to 1960, and showcased some of the best baseball talent before MLB was integrated.

One stamp shows a runner (Cool Papa Bell for the Negro League-challenged) being called safe after sliding into home plate, while the other shows the founder of the league, Andrew "Rube" Foster. The two stamps, painted by artist and author Kadir Nelson, are actually one continuous image.

Three Negro Leaguers, Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige and Jackie Robinson, were among those honored with individual stamps in a 20-player commemorative baseball series in 2000.

The Negro Leagues and most of their stars are dead, but give credit to the USPS for help in preserving the memory of something that was part of baseball history.

The amount of Negro League history that local sports talk hosts on the four sports stations know can probably be written on the back of a postage stamp.


HMW likes to get feedback from readers and appreciates and thanks those who take time out to comment whether pro or con to what we write. 

Several e-mails came in regarding my blog of July 16, "Nightmare on African-American Street" (http://sheltonmedia.blogspot.com/2010/07/nightmare-on-african-american-street.html?showComment=1279565271445#comment-c5653239760352896673).

Reader "Sportsfan" commented:

"Hmmm...Houston Media Watch, or Craig's Axe to Grind? Maybe you should rename the blog "Craig Playing the Race Card Instead of Getting Off His Ass and Getting a Radio Job". White guys have to pay as many dues as black guys do. Boo hoo."

Avid HMW reader "robnemar" responded to "Sportsfan":

"At sportsfan, your response is the reason this article was written in the first place. Your response lacks the comprehension for what this issue is really about. I would take it your experiences and the vision you bring to the table everyday might be rather limited. But that is just what I gather from your short response. The point isn't that "white guys" don't pay their dues. The point is that at least in our sports market, they seem to be the ONLY core group that pays their dues by their representation in the market. Of course, there is an axe to grind. The powers that be are trying to find a balanced and level playing field as far as representation goes. The people that do the hiring and the firing and the broadcasting are part of the same core group. The question is, “Is it coincidence or strategy?”

In addition, "robnemar" had the following to say about the same article:

"What the article says is very true. When I heard Mighty Gwinn start to trash the President for a Final Four bracket, I knew from that point in the way he delivered that message, how he got to be on the air.

I was really racking my brain asking myself how this guy got that sort of high profile job? Then it clicked that he was a Michael Berry protege. I think that even more than the landscape of the sports talk hosts in this town being pretty one dimensional as far as an ethnic background goes, the way that landscape does their job is even more concerning to me. Mighty Gwinn is an easy case and point to make again. I think he brings a lot of baggage to the table as far as biases go. Which to me I think are cultural biases. I thought when he delivered his nuclear option saying David Carr was a better quarterback than Vince Young was maybe just an antagonistic approach for ratings. But when he dropped the John Stockton being better than Magic Johnson speech, I knew this guy really has some issues that make him not capable of doing a fair and objective nor professional job on his radio program. These guys let their opinions get in the way of doing their job. They think the opinions they bare equate to the truth. There is nothing true about Vince Young being a lesser NFL player than David Carr or Magic being a lesser point guard than Stockton, but his baggage really makes him see that to be the truth and that is sad. On 610 when Rich Lord and Robert Henslee were talking about the World Cup, it made me cringe because I swear it was similar to listening to Klan radio talking about them there foreigners not knowing nuttin' about these here sports in our good ole U.S. of A. It was sad at times to hear their opinions about South Africa, the people of South Africa, and the participants in the World Cup at large. That wasn't just them, but they made me cringe the most. It is hard to stomach sometimes. That is my biggest concern about the whole thing. How they do their job in this landscape with their respective cultural and ethnic backgrounds..... The best thing about this site is that it is a place to vent with the truth about the truth. Keeping on doing what you do."

Robnemar was busy again when he commented on Craig Shelton's July 14 article, entitled "Sports and the Mighty Race Card" (http://sheltonmedia.blogspot.com/2010/07/sports-mighty-race-card-craig-shelton.html?showComment=1279129588024#comment-c5089341962420838737):

"I agree whole heartedly. It is hard to convey this message without getting emotional about it. I think you did a pretty decent job. I do believe there is a strong disconnect between the minority and non-minority points of view in this market and across the board. I will say that although there are some hosts in the city that aren't afraid to talk about the issue of race, their point of view can still be flawed and full of biases. I think Mighty Gwinn is the most difficult in that regard. Not solely in regard to race so much, but for everything I guess. Once he has an opinion, you can't reason with him. What really needs to change is the emergence of more minority voices in this market. At least just to provide a balance. One thing you don't want is an overwhelming slant in the opposite direction though. We don't want or need all minority radio. We just need a balance and a real attempt from the hosts to understand what this issue really means to people. No matter what the opinions of the hosts might be, the opinions or perspectives held by the callers and texters and e-mailers can be the truth and not just an opinion."

On June 29, I reviewed the John and Lance Morning Show on KGOW 1560 and rated the show as “Average” with a grade of 73 (http://sheltonmedia.blogspot.com/2010/06/review-john-and-lance-morning-show-june.html).

There were two responses to that, as shown below:

Steve wrote about the show:

"The only personality I can get with at 1560 is Lance. The rest of that whole station is straight wack. They really don't believe they need callers and the callers they do take are seminar callers. I think a 73 is pretty high. It don't make a lot of sense to tell these clowns to take more calls because they are so arrogant they will stick with the same losing formula. The sad part is, although they are bad to me, they are the best of the worse."

Herbert77060 wrote:

"I have no use for the local 1560 fellows. They try and be comedians. If I wanted comedy I'd go to a comedy club. I listen for pertinent sports information. I am not a sports junkie, but I do enjoy stats and projections instead of bs. The saving grace of 1560's offerings is the 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. time slot. The rest is crap."


As usual, there were a bunch yesterday (July 27) that I heard, but the most obvious was John Lopez (SportsRadio610 Morning Show) asking if  Alex Rodriguez will break Barry Bonds' home run record of 758. I might have misheard, but it sure sounded like he said, "758", not the "762" that I thought it was.

John was changing baseball history a little, just like Barry Warner did last Wednesday night (July 21) when he spoke of Willie Mays'  "greatest catch ever" in the 1954 World Series. Barry added that Willie turned it into a double play. No way! With the way Willie threw that "rainbow" back into the infield, my grandmother could have made it back to first or second base and she had bad knees. Barry, you're getting senile like me. Use the Internet for information.

And last night (July 27), Barry and his SR 610 co-host, Shaun Bijani,  didn't believe me when I called in and told them Hank Greenberg was the first $100,000 ballplayer. They insisted it was Babe Ruth who made more than President Hoover, which was true. However, Hoover's salary, which he donated to charity, was $75,000 while Babe's 1930 and 1931 salaries were both $80,000. FYI - Babe's salaries in 1932-35 were $75,000 (1932), $52,000 (1933), $37,500 (1934), and $25,000 (1935), respectively. Hey guys, Babe never made a $100,000 salary.

Thank God that talk show hosts don't teach in our education system. Can you imagine the misinformation that our youth would be getting?


Alabama coach, Nick Saban, complained last week about unscrupulous agents destroying the good name of big-time college football gave myself and others a good laugh.

My friend, Phil M., brought up the following story that occurred over two decades ago:

"Late In 1987, Pitt's star RB, Craig 'Ironhead' Heyward, was declared ineligible for signing with an agent, Bruce Allen, now the Redskins' GM and always the son of NFL Hall of Fame coach, George Allen.

After announcing that Heyward was out, done, Pitt coach, Mike Gottfried, now an ESPN analyst, ripped the agent for depriving Craig Heyward of his college education.

Heyward, at the time, hadn't attended a class for at least two consecutive semesters."

And that brings to mind a college football joke: The midterm grades for the team's star were out - four Ds and a C. So the coach calls him in. "Son," he says, "I think you're spending too much time on one subject."


Saban even went as far as calling agents “pimps” as far are their exploiting of football players and few would disagree with him, as agents do hustle many of the better players. But what Saban and his fellow big-time coaches are doing can also be considered pimping because they’re the ones who are selling the kids the opportunity to be exploited by the agents.

Saban gets a four-million dollar per year salary, a free country club membership, free cars, a luxury box at the stadium, and who knows what other perks. Alabama fans will tell you that he earned it all. But the kids who make it possible for Saban to live the great life are treated like prostitutes.

The main difference between a pimp and a big-time college football coach is that the coach has a playbook and a whistle.


Starting in 2008, the NCAA football season has begun with the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game in Atlanta and the sponsors/networks thought that a game between Tennessee and USC would be a good way to get things started in the 2011 season.

However, it won’t happen because Tennessee does not want the game. That’s too bad because it would have been an opportunity for Vol fans to bash Lane Kiffin, who abruptly left in January after one season as Vols’ head coach to take the USC job.

UT declined the invitation saying they could play USC in a few years, but they couldn’t make it work with their tough schedule next year, which now includes home games against Cincinnati, Georgia, and LSU and road games at Florida, North Carolina, Alabama, and Arkansas.Tennessee is already scheduled to face North Carolina State in the 2012 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.

The Tennessee AD said that the decision wasn't related to any hard feelings toward Kiffin although they would have gotten a nice payday of $1.9M. The two schools have a verbal agreement to play each other in Los Angeles in 2021 and Knoxville in 2022.

The report of the Vols' decision not to play the Trojans follows an announcement earlier this month by sophomore defensive end, Malik Jackson, that he would transfer from USC to Tennessee for the 2010 season.


I might have missed it, but I didn't hear any of the local talk shows discuss the passing away of Ralph Houk last Wednesday, July 21, at the age of 90, so I'll mention it here.

Ralph Houk was a well-respected baseball manager who managed in the major leagues for 20 seasons with the Yankees, Tigers, and Red Sox. He had his most success with the Yankees by winning three pennants and two World Series during his first three years of managing. He also had played for the Yankees as a backup catcher to Yogi Berra from 1947-54 and has six World Series rings to show for that experience.

Houk's nickname was "The Major". He got that nickname from his exploits during WW 2. And his nickname was a literal one, unlike the Houston Chronicle's John McClain's moniker of "The General", which is not combat-related.

Houk entered WW2 as a Lieutenant and finished the war as a Major as a result of battlefield promotions. He fought in the infamous "Battle of the Bulge" and was wounded in the calf, but returned immediately to combat.

Houk received the Purple Heart, Silver Star, Bronze Star with oak leaf cluster, four campaign stars and clusters during his service in Europe.

If you want to read more about "The Major", please check out the following link: http://www.baseballinwartime.com/player_biographies/houk_ralph.htm

Besides fighting in the "Battle of the Bulge", he spent three days alone behind enemy lines, and came back with a bullet hole in his helmet. He also captured nine Germans while on a patrol. 

Ralph was a real hero and it had nothing to do with a baseball field.

Rest In Peace, Major Houk


On his show yesterday (July 27), Matt Thomas (Sports Talk 790, Noon - 3 pm Daily) said that while he was at the Astros' game on Monday night vs. the Cubs at Minute Maid Park, some people told him, "We want to hear more from callers", or something to that effect.

Matt does a good job in taking calls and is lucky to have some very good (sometimes even a "bad" one can be "good") callers giving him a good rating in the "caller-driven/caller-friendly" show category. The same can be said of the Mighty Gwin (10 am - Noon daily) whose show precedes Matt's. The fact that they do their shows solo makes it easier for them to take calls. If they teamed up as co-hosts, I'm wondering if they would be as caller-friendly. The guess here is "probably not".

But it's nice to know that listeners out there agree with HMW that callers are an important part of a local sports talk show for it to be a real success. But there are some hosts who have such a high opinion of themselves and just never get it.


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