Tuesday, February 1, 2011



Written by: Mike in DA
Date posted: 2/1/2011


In Sunday’s (1/23) Houston Chronicle, Richard Justice in his column wrote the following about Carl Crawford who recently signed with the Red Sox, “He's already one of the best players in baseball, an impact performer in the outfield, on the bases and at home plate, a modern-day Roberto Clemente.”

Hey, Richard if you want to compare Carl Crawford to a Hall of Famer, compare him to Ichiro, but not to Roberto.

Clemente experienced a great deal of frustration his first few years in Pittsburgh, after first joining the team as a 20-year-old in 1955. While dark-skinned players always had a difficult time being accepted into the world of white baseball throughout the period immediately following the breaking of the color barrier, things were particularly hard on Clemente. Not only did he have to deal with the prejudices that were bound to come his way because of the color of his skin, but he also had to learn a new culture and a new language. However, neither the members of the media nor most of Clemente's own teammates made his transition an easy one.

The newspaper columnists and broadcasters of the day seemed unwilling to fully accept his Latin heritage. Clemente's speech was openly mocked by the writers in their newspaper articles, and broadcasters attempted to Americanize his name by referring to him as either "Bob" or "Bobby", instead of "Roberto", which was the name he wished to be called by. Even most of Clemente's teammates, with whom he rarely socialized, failed to call him by his proper name.

Further alienating Clemente to both the media and his teammates was the general perception they held towards him that he was a hypochondriac who lacked proper motivation. Constantly complaining of aches and pains, Roberto typically missed a significant number of games each season due to the various physical ailments that plagued him. Not generally known, though, was the fact that much of Clemente's discomfort stemmed from a partially damaged spinal column he suffered from as the result of a serious car accident he was involved in midway through his rookie season. Even with that, he averaged playing over 130 games per year in his 18 major league seasons.

Clemente was sensitive to the prejudice against Latin players and was quick to speak out against being slighted. He deserved more MVP Awards than the one he won in 1966, He was handicapped by playing his entire career in Pittsburgh instead of Brooklyn or Los Angeles.

Carl Crawford’s statistical career to this point may look a lot like Clemente’s, but it is a flawed comparison, no question, but an interesting one anyway. Clemente played 18 years in the majors while Crawford has played nine so far. If the second half of Crawford’s career follows Clemente’s pattern then Richard may be onto something statistics-wise, but nothing compared to the problems Roberto had to endure as mentioned above.

But don’t forget that in Clemente’s last nine years in the majors, he averaged around .330 with three batting titles, won a World Series MVP at age 37 and a regular season MVP (1966), and had three 200 hit seasons. In his last four seasons, at ages 35 through 38, he batted .345, .352, .341, and .312, respectively.

During his career, Roberto led the Pittsburgh Pirates to two world championships, hitting .362 in the World Series. His great showcase was in 1971, when he hit .414 and led the Bucs to a seven-game victory over the Baltimore Orioles. Only then did some of his biggest critics admit his greatness.

Clemente is one of the greatest outfielders of all-time. He won twelve consecutive Gold Glove awards. With his fabulous throwing arm, he set an NL record by leading in assists five times. In his prime, I saw him throw a ball over 400 feet on the fly.

Since 1971, Major League Baseball has annually presented an award that recognizes the player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement, and the individual's contribution to his team.

In 1973, the award formerly know as the Commissioner's Award, was renamed to honor Clemente, following his death in a plane crash while delivering supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua on New Year's Eve, while Richard Justice was probably preparing to welcome in 1973 with his girlfriend or buddies. 

Roberto's body was never recovered. The usual five-year waiting period was waived, and Roberto was named to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Clemente was also the second ballplayer to be honored by a postage stamp behind Jackie Robinson.

When Crawford has most of the following, then you can mention him in the same breath as Roberto:

A lifetime BA of over .300
A World Series ring
A U.S. Postage stamp
A stadium, an arena, a state park, a museum, a bridge, at least one public school, and a bunch of other public places named after him
A statue outside his team's stadium
His number retired by his team
A medal presented by Congress and/or the President 
A place on the All-Time Golden Glove Team
A Baseball Hall of Fame Plaque with over 90% of the votes - END

With all that said, anyone who thinks Carl Crawford is the "modern day" Robert Clemente is just plain biased and/or ignorant.


Sunday (1/30) on CBS, St. John’s was up by 20 points over Duke at Madison Square Garden with less than a half-minute left in the first half when annoncer, Clark Kellogg, said that Coach K (Mike Kryzewski for the nickname-challenged) knew that he’d be facing a revved-up Red Storm team. I wish Clark told me that before the game, so that I could put a huge wager in on SJU. But then isn't every team supposed to get revved-up at home vs. Duke.


Today’s sports nicknames are terrible, such as A-Rod, L.T., and K-Rod. They are nothing more than a combination of a player’s first and last name. But nicknames haven’t always been so bad.

Here is another cool one from the past: “The Grim Reaper”.

Don't mess with the "Grim Reaper"(left)
Stu “The Grim Reaper” Grimson was a 6’6” and 240 pound hockey enforcer and when your last name begins with "Grim-" you really have no choice for a nickname; you have to be the "Grim Reaper". Grimson earned his moniker, though, by racking up over 2100 penalty minutes throughout his career. His career peaked with his 1997-98 season with the Carolina Hurricanes when he finally became an elite fighter and recorded 7 points, 204 penalty minutes, and a 14 bloody opponents' faces. Despite being a left wing, he only scored 17 goals in 729 career games — and those goals likely came by shoving the puck up the goalie’s ass, and then hurling him through the back of the net.


Over the past week, KGOW 1560, has run a promo telling us that some of their staff will be on Radio Row in Dallas during Super Bowl Week. In that same promo, they say that no other local stations will be represented there, which is incorrect.

As mentioned in the 1/28 Peanut Gallery, all of the local sports talk stations have representation in Dallas. But just because they are broadcasting from there doesn't mean their shows will be any better than when they are back in the studio.

As 1560 continues to lag behind the others in ratings and listenership, it continues to belittle their competition. They even did a disservice to the U.S. Marine Corps in their promo with the Marine Hymn music in the background with the announcer barking out orders to his 1560 troops as they prepare to battle the corporate piles of dung. What you have here are a bunch of fake tough guys who are cowards hiding behind a microphone taking cheap shots at any and everybody they want.

And speaking of corporate piles of dung, KGOW getting into bed with Sporting News Radio has made itself a corporate pile of dung. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.


Continuing with gangsta names for our local sports talk hosts with the use of gangstanames.com, here are the names for the SR610 hosts to replace their boring-ass names for something harder:

Marc Vandermeer – Mercedes-Rollin Baller
John Lopez – Chewy the Mint Flava
Mike Meltser - Supa-Hard Jungle Robba
Rich Lord - Trip-n-Fall Hung Daddy
Josh Innes - Two-Time Robba
Barry Warner - Good-ass Monkey Hunta
Shaun Bijani - Rotten Ho Slappa


Who was the first person to SING the National Anthem at the Super Bowl?

Hint #1: It was at Super Bowl III. Bands played the National Anthem at Super Bowl I and Super Bowl II (aka NFL-AFL Championship Game).

Hint #2: There is a connection between the vocalist and the venue of the game.

That trivia question and answer meets the critical criterion for trivia excellence - when you hear the answer to the question your immediate reaction is “So what?”


In the 1/28 Peanut Gallery, in the section entitled, “MANY OF THE LOCAL SPORTS TALKERS WILL BE AT THE SUPER BOWL’S 'RADIO ROW' NEXT WEEK!”, a reference was made to the porno industry and unless you’ve been living in a Buddhist monastery, you know the porno industry has been exploding, especially since the Internet came into being.

I read that a group of current and former NFL players are attempting to fight the porno industry head on. NFL QBs John Kitna and Matt Hasselbeck and Packer DT Ryan Pickett are part of a group looking to rid the world of that nasty and lewd behavior. The moral police have spoken and their words are powerful.

Kitna says, ‘‘You are not a real man if you’re into laptop pornography.’’ Not sure we need Kitna and his NFL buddies telling people how they should use their hard drives. We’ve become used to athletes and entertainers delivering Public Service Announcements on drugs, violence, guns, and other negative-like activity, but anti-porn messages will take some getting used to.

Pickett was hoping to attend a religious service called, National Porn Sunday (February 6), but he has a prior obligation on Super Bowl Sunday. National Porn Sunday will feature an anti-pornography message, and will be broadcast to 300 churches across the country the morning of the big game. You can check out the promo for yourself:

It’s ironic that this message will take place on the day the entire world will focus on Dallas, TX. Dallas is the site of the most famous porn movie of all-time, “Debbie Does Dallas”.


Over the weekend, some of the local sports talk was that Tennessee Titans’ owner, Bud Adams, fired Coach Jeff Fisher after previously saying that Fisher would remain the Titans’ coach and Vince Young would ply his trade elsewhere. Jeff Fisher had been the head coach in Tennessee and here in Houston before the Titans moved to Tennessee for 17 years; he was the NFL coach who had the longest job tenure up until this weekend. The honor now passes to Andy Reid in Philly.

Jeff Fisher’s career record is 147-126. Considering that he took over a bad team in Houston and then coached through a couple of years where the Oilers were playing out the string in Houston waiting for their new stadium to be ready, they were never really playing any home games, so that is a good record indeed. Of the active coaches in the league, only Bill Belichick and Mike Shanahan have more wins than Jeff Fisher has.

The lateness of this firing means that all of the obvious coaching slots have been filled. After being the head guy for 17 years, I suspect that Jeff Fisher is not about to take a job as a defensive backs coach anywhere. Therefore, I expect him to be hired by one of the TV networks to do commentary/studio analysis for at least a year. Maybe he will bump into Brett Favre at ESPN.


Most of the local sports talkers here last week told us of Robert Burton, a wealthy Connecticut businessman, who demanded the return of $3 million from his donation to the UConn football program because he wasn't a part of the process to name the school's new football coach. Apparently, it was Burton's assumption that his donation came with strings, if not ropes, attached.

So it ain't just down South or way out West that boosters give financial aid to college athletic programs. It happens all over. Nearly all Division I basketball and/or football schools are reliant on the liberal giving of moneyed louts.

The first talk hosts who jumped all over the story were Mike Meltser (SR610) and Matt Thomas (Sports Talk 790). They could have expounded on it, telling us more about big college donors, such as Robert Burton who continue to have a negative influence on college athletics.

There's little so pathetically curious as a fully-grown rich man who throws his heart, soul, wallet, clout, and ego at Division I basketball and/or football programs. Men whose happiness and fulfillment is driven by and contingent upon the results of games played by big and/or fast kids.

And there's little so pathetically scandalous than the schools that embrace such men, doing whatever it takes to keep them satisfied, if not pleased. There are scores of such nothing-better-to do donors, many of whom think and act straight except when it comes to "their" college's athletics.

Robert Brennan : Seton Hall Recruiter/Booster
 Mike and Matt then could have chosen one or two big donors and briefly told their story. All they had to do was "google'. Since they mentioned Robert Burton, they could have told the story of Robert Brennan whose name sometimes gets confused with Burton’s.

Robert Brennan is a currently imprisoned big time stock swindler, as he and his people specialized in targeting and ruining retirees. He donated millions of dirty dollars to Seton Hall University, with the pledge of millions more to come. In return, Seton Hall allowed Brennan to call the shots for its basketball team, which became loaded with his recruits, all enrolled only to play basketball. "School" began the day practice began and ended after the last game of the season.

Brennan even ordered Seton Hall to give a full scholarship to a player who spoke no English. When the academic adviser who was a theologian, no less, and a man who admitted to looking the other way on behalf of sustaining a top-rated team grew fed up with the scams and tried to blow the whistle, the school stripped him of his position.

Personally, in the 1980’s when I taught night classes at St. John’s for a couple of years, I was acquainted with a guy who was very successful and a right-headed guy except that he got nervous right before the school played. He was a big donor and a member of the “Chieftain’s Club” (SJU was known as the ‘Redmen” then). Thus he had the best seats, plus an open-door invite to whatever luxury boxes the school may have had access to on game day.

And he had the full, first-name attention of the school's president and its athletic director. He thought they were very fond of him for something other than the checks he wrote.

He was once asked which he would choose between: St. John's making the 1985 Final Four or all the basketball team's players graduating with legitimate degrees. He couldn't choose both, so he chose the Final Four.


1. With pitchers and catchers ready to report to Spring Training, you will read a report in about a month or so saying that the pitchers are ahead of the hitters at that point in Spring Training. That report is one of the annual staples of Spring Training reporting and it also raises an interesting question: If the pitchers are always ahead of the hitters, why the fuck don’t the hitters report before the pitchers and catchers?

2. Word on the Vegas Strip from a reliable source is that MGM Grand accepted a $1 million wager on the Packers over the past weekend. The head of the sportsbook at MGM, Lamarr Mitchell, would not comment on that report, but did say that they “had taken some big money on the Packers”. I wonder if Paul Hornung was sighted in Las Vegas this past week before heading off to Dallas?

3. NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman, said at the NHL All-Star Game that the league was not considering any expansion or movement of franchises. With a half-dozen or so NHL teams losing money every year, I would think that expansion would be a bad idea about now. However, the idea that none of those annual money losers might relocate to parts of the world where they might make a buck makes no sense. There are a couple of Canadian cities that would support one of those money losers.

4. Speaking of the NHL All-Star Game, the final score was 11-10. Hope you didn’t take the Under there. Since no one is going to play defense in that game, why the hell do they bother naming goalies and defensemen in the first place? Why not just have open nets all game long. How much less like a typical All-Star Game would the score of that game be?

5. The NFL Pro Bowl ended with a score of 55-41. Hope you didn’t take the Under there either. For those who say the NFL is turning into flag football with rule changes protecting the offense, they should watch the Pro Bowl to see what football with no hitting looks like. Neither the NHL All-Star Game nor the Pro Bowl was worth watching unless you had the Over.

6. In a previous Peanut Gallery, mention was made here that Roger Goodell said he will take a salary of only $1 a year for any time that the NFL is in a work stoppage mode. However, there is no need to send food stamps or canned goods to the Goodell household because he took in close to $10M last year. It would not be that shocking to see NFLPA (National Football League Players Association for the acronym-challenged) leader, DeMaruice Smith, do something similar as a counter public relations move. And should that happen where both men are earning $1 a year, they would both still be overpaid!



Yesterday’s Record ATS: 3-0
Cumulative Season Record ATS (excludes “pushes”): 299-197

Today’s Action (for reading purposes only):



Here are two teams with completely opposite trends right now. The Hornets had been on a flat-out roll until a loss Sunday to the Suns while the Wizards lost their first 24 road games this season. Rashard Lewis has not been very aggressive since he left Orlando and Coach Flip Saunders has struggled with his rotation playing a full complement of a dozen players at times. That is no way to create team unity in reality. NEW ORLEANS, 115 - 96


BlueJay’s HC Greg McDermott has repeatedly noted that his kids seem to bear down to a greater sustained extent on the road. If that mindset continues, this could be easy, given the struggling Braves have dropped eleven straight in Missouri Valley competition, with no end of grief in sight. Playing at home is typically a scant advantage for teams playing as poorly as are the Braves, at this point. CREIGHTON, 69-59

Service academies always take the short end in this sport due to height restrictions, but this year’s Flyboys are an exceptionally-adept buncha sharpshooters from the floor, and are infinitely more talented than the bunch who got swept by the Lobos last season. New Mexico’s all tee’d up after taking care of business against Jimmer Fredette and friends, over the weekend. Could be even easier than it looks. AIR FORCE, 68-63



Email: houstonmediawatch@yahoo.com
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1 comment:

Earlis said...

Did you notice Mike the commish specifally stated salary when in actuallity he gets a additional bonus check...he is a lawyer and knows 
just what to say and i have not heard anyone call him on that but i did hear a national sportstalk guy bring it up...the first time I heard the commish on a soundbite I immediately wondered if he was keeping his bonus check, as you know these corporate exec's get fat bonus checks even if the company just got bailed out by the Federal Governments...The NFL Head Honcho is
no exception to the rule he is laughing all the way to the bank.