My Corner of the World

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Wow, just when I thought the NBA's Western Conference final was over, the Mavs get Suns burned last night, losing 106-86. It's the first real blowout loss for Dallas in their 14 playoff games this year.

These things have a way of working out; some coaches would say it's good to get it out of your system. If I were the Mavericks I would just make sure I take care of the Suns in game six... don't give Phoenix a chance at a full seven=game series.


With the Detroit Pistons facing elimination by Miami in the Eastern Conference final, it makes you wonder if they wish they still had Larry Brown around. Center Ben Wallace criticized coach Flip Saunders for spending too much time working on offense, with Saunders firing back, "We all know how Ben gets at times."

Tayshaun Prince wants to know why Lindsey Hunter is not guarding the Heat's Dwayne Wade, to which Saunders pointed the finger back at Prince, saying "Because Tay wasn't scoring."

In a way I find this all amusing. After winning the championship in 2004, then making it to game seven of the finals a year ago, they couldn't wait to run Brown out of town. Don't get me wrong, Brown's name being tied to other job openings while knee-deep in the playoffs did him no good. But in the end he made it clear he wanted to stay in Detroit. But players & upper management made it clear Brown wasn't needed for their success to continue.

In the meantime, Brown's misery with the New York Knicks continues. Remember, this was supposed to be his dream job. The New York Daily News reports this morning that Brown says, "I feel like a dead man walking."


Major League Baseball has been abuzz over the last 24 hours as teams competing in the Roger Clemens lottery feel a decision by The Rocket is imminent. The Texas Rangers know they are no longer in the running. Any hopes of him wearing those Yankee pinstripes are probably over as well.

The Houston Chronicle reports Houston Astros owner Drayton McLane negotiated with Clemens' agents (so he needs more than one?) late into last night, then boarded a jet in St. Louis at 7 a.m. this morning to return to Houston leaving many to believe he's finalizing the deal.

McLane told reporters it's too early to speculate whether there will be a press conference called today. Instead he said, "Just sit tight."


It's hard to believe it's been nearly four years since Adelphia filed chapter 11 bankruptcy, then missed a payment & was removed as the name of the Coliseum the Tennessee Titans call home in Nashville. I still slip up every now-and-then & call the stadium by it's old name.

It seems the Titans are close to finding another naming-rights partnet for their home. An agreement could be reached soon with Louisiana-Pacific Corporation.

Shall we call the Titans new home the Lou-Pac?


Not only did Dutch investigators clear cyclist Lance Armstrong of any doping allegations this morning, they blamed authorities with misconduct & recommended an investigation into their actions. The 132-page report dealt with allegations from Armstrong's 1999 Tour de France competition.


The Steve Spurrier Show made an appearance at yesterday's SEC spring meeting in Destin. As usual, Darth Visor was full of opinions & ready to share.

His Gamecocks' wins over Tennessee, Arkansas & Florida last season: "Truly a miracle stretch for us."

Did he receive a break or two from the officials? "You guys never heard me complaining about the refereeing, did you? It was beautiful. I couldn't believe it. It was different. I don't know if I should say that. I hope the refs don't say, 'We're going to pay him back.' We got some good calls. The other team dropped passes, fumbled in the end zone and did all the good stuff for us."

Working the crowd like part politician, part David Letterman, Spurrier gave his opinion on UT women's basketball coach Pat Summitt & her new big contract. Oh, he also took a shot or two at the Vols' Phil Fulmer as well. Are you surprised? Read the whole thing at the by clicking here.


In other SEC meeting news, some coaches are complaining about academics getting in the way of their sports. (That was just a joke, folks.)

The Academic Progress Rate was discussed with some coaches feeling it's not a good idea. The system is tied to graduation rates with points earned or subtracted based on general graduation rates which are determined by, among other things, athletes leaving a program early to enter pro sports & athletes transferring from one school to the next.

Auburn had the highest rate of all SEC football programs & coach Tommy Tuberville is all smiles because it helps recruiting. It also helps his high score factors into an system that helps Auburn's basketball program, which numbers aren't so high.


The NCAA has added the coach's challenge to their instant replay rule. This was needed for the sport & it will help the game's replay look closer to what we see in the NFL. A coach will now be allowed to throw one flag a game asking for a challenge, as long as they have a timeout. If they lose the challenge, they lose the timeout.

Booth officials will also retain the right to review any play if he feels the officials on the field got it wrong.

In the meantime, the instant replay debate has re-entered Major League Baseball after a debate over whether Cinci's Ryan Freel stroked a ninth-inning homerun against the Cubbies Monday.


Minor League Baseball umpires have agreed to end their strike by ratifying a new contract & receiving a slight raise at all levels. They are expected to return to work by June 12.


Former Mississippi basketball coach Rod Barnes has landed as an assistant on the staff of new Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel. Barnes was fired from the Rebels in March after another disappointing season in Oxford.


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A little history for you... This blog has been around for almost 18 mos. I toyed with it most of 2005, then blew it up & started over when things came to an end at WMC. I wanted to stay in practice of doing daily showprep by reading numerous websites. Through this blog I share with you what I find.

Most visitors are from the Memphis area, but I am surprised at how many people from around the US, even the world find their way to my little ol' blog by searching Yahoo! or Google for my name or many other terms. Some days traffic is pretty consistent, others they trickle in.

One of the things I would like to see more of is user posting in the comments sectin. To make it easier on the average reader I have changed it to where anybody can post. No longer do you have to be a blogger member to leave a comment. There is word verification you have to type in before posting (this stops the bots), but other than that is is pretty painless. So take time & leave a comment or two.

For those of you who try to be cute or are drive-by posters trying to slip one past, don't worry... I still have access to the delete key.


Sports announcers long for calling historic moments. Of course some moments are bigger than others, but for Dave Flemming, his call of Barry Bonds stroking homerrun no. 715 & bypassing Babe Ruth was surely one he wanted for the archives.

The hit was up & away, but then... nothing... at least from Flemming's microphone.

Conspiracy theories are flying all throughout the Bay area. Was it an accident? An act of terrorism? The curse of the Bambino?

Flemming wants answers... flagship station KNBR wants answers...

I think I'll just sit back & be glad it didn't happen to me.


The Dallas Mavericks can win the Western Conference Finals tonight if they beat Phoenix. The Mavs hold a three-game edge over the Suns in the best-of-seven & history tells us teams have only given up such an advantage eight times in NBA history.


The Detroit Pistons would also have to make history as they are now down in their series to Miami, 3-1, after last night's loss, 89-78.


The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel will meet today & vote on whether to keep college basketball's airborne timeout rule. The meeting will take place via conference call.

There was once a time when a player falling out of bounds or leaping to grab a loose ball & then calling timeout to retain possession was worthy of a standing ovation & instant replay on TV. Not anymore. You see it happen several times each game it seems.

The rationale for the change, according to the committee's recommendation: "Often the player has already committed a violation before the timeout is granted. This play is happening too frequently in the game today."


The SEC is starting their annual spring meeting today in Destin, Fla. Ron Higgins writes in today's Commercial Appeal: Football coaches will talk about a change in instant replay for the upcoming season, in which coaches will have a chance to challenge one officiating decision per game. Last year during the first year of instant replay, an instant replay official in the press box made all the decisions whether to stop a game to review a play. Also, football coaches will discuss an NCAA proposal on measures designed to shorten how much time it takes to play a game. As it stands now, most games that are televised run about 3 hours, 15 minutes or slightly longer.


In college baseball's World Series, the University of Mississippi will host Bethune-Cookman Friday night at 7 p.m. CUSA power Tulane will also be in Oxford to face South Alabama Friday afternoon.

Despite missing their conference tournament, Mississippi State is in as a no. 3 seed & will face Elon Friday in a regional site at Clemson.

Conference USA's Southern Miss makes their fourth-straight regional, as the Golden Eagles will travel to Tuscaloosa & face Troy in first-round action.


Monday, May 29, 2006

Happy Memorial Day. While enjoying our BBQ, burgers & cold drinks, let's not forget the purpose of this day & why we should remember those that gave our country the ultimate sacrifice.

God Bless America.


Race fans love the doubleheader of the Indy 500, then NASCAR's Coca Cola 600. Ok, in 2006 they probably care more about the NASCAR race, but yesterday was pretty exciting.

I felt in the early laps of the race that Dan Wheldon was about to repeat as Indianapolis 500 champion. Well, I was wrong. In the end Sam Hornish Jr. had to battle Marco Andretti for the win. Even more amazing was Marco's legendary father Mario was competitive & in the mix late in the race.

It's an old racing cliche' that finishing second just means you were the first one to lose. Marco's disappointment in the post-race surely backs up that point, although the kid is just 19-years old & made a statement on the track yesterday that he is going to be competitive at Indy for years to come.

Media darling Danica Patrick finished eighth, four spots lower than her 2005 finish, although the experts say she raced a better race yesterday compared to last year.

Meanwhile, Kasey Kahne wins the marathon NASCAR race, otherwise known as the Coca Cola 600. The win puts an end to a five-race win streak at LMS owned by Jimmie Johnson.


The Dallas Mavericks are just two wins away from the NBA Finals after beating the Suns yesterday in the Western Conference finals, 95-88.


Congrats to Memphis Tigers baseball coach Darron Schoenrock & the amazing turn-around this season for the team. The Tigers' season ended Saturday losing to Rice in the CUSA tournament in Houston. CUSA newcomer & consistent college baseball power Rice went on to win the tournament & will be a host site for the NCAA Regionals later this week.

Memphis finishes the 2006 campaign 32-28, an 18-game improvement over last season. Coach Rock is doing exactly what he promised with this team & 2007 could shape up to be a magical season for Tiger baseball.


As mentioned above, CUSA's Rice was selected Sunday as a host site for the NCAA tournament's regionals, along with five SEC schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky & Mississippi. Other regional sites are defending national champion Texas, Clemson, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Virginia, Cal State Fullerton, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon State & Pepperdine.


Jeff Maggert used some crafty putting on the back nine to pull away from the pack & win the 2006 FESJC at Southwind.


Pat Dooley wrote in Saturday's Gainesville Sun: Indiana hired a cheater. And they knew there were issues with the NCAA when they hired the cheater. I guess it could be worse. They could have hired a coach without a degree (see N.C. State) or one with a track record of not graduating players (see Kansas State).


Tigers in the NBA Draft:

Magic will take a look at Memphis' Carney, Orlando Sentinel


In regards to slugger Barry Bonds busting through the Babe's homerun record yesterday, Jeff Schultze of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes:

Barry Bonds hit his 715th home run Sunday. But every overblown ESPN news break-in couldn’t drown out the sad reality of the moment. It was as awkward as it was historical. Some wanted to watch. Most wanted to cover their eyes.

This wasn’t a player punctuating greatness. This was the most vilified sports star we’ve ever seen affirming his place among the five darkest moments in baseball history.

Count them. Like plagues:

1) Eight members of the Chicago White Sox are banned for conspiring to throw the 1919 World Series.
2) Pete Rose, the game’s greatest hitter, agrees to a lifetime ban for betting — on baseball.
3) Baseball cancels the 1994 World Series, not because of natural disaster but rather mutant labor negotiators.
4) Congress holds steroid hearings. Among the Murderers Row giving testimony: Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and Jose Canseco — who ironically turns out to be baseball’s shining light.
5) Bonds passes the great Ruth and closes in on the great Hank Aaron. But he’s the poster child of the steroid era, and his baggage and personality have led him to become the sport’s greatest pox instead of ambassador.


Ricky Williams became the highest paid running back in the CFL yesterday when he signed a deal to play for Toronto. Williams will sit out the 2006 NFL season after a fourth violation of the league's drug policy.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

It's official: Shawne Williams in one-and-done with the Memphis Tigers, as reports this morning he has hired Happy Walters of Immortal Sports.

Coach John Calipari has urged Williams all along to consider all options, meaning if he really needed to look close at the NBA. Cal calls Williams the surprise of the draft & I agree completely.

This could mean as many as three Tigers from this year's Elite Eight team could be drafted next month. Sophomore Darius Washington is expected to remain draft eligible & senior Rodney Carney could get a shot as well.


Ok, I am really confused over this boxing match set this fall for Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton to challenge former heavyweight champ Joe Frazier. Action News 5 reported Tuesday night the so-called fight would benefit Lemoyne-Owen College. Last night, the same TV station reported the event would benefit the Shelby County drug court.


One would assume such a chartiy event would require careful planning & such... but according to the Commercial Appeal, Lemoyne-Owen board chairman Robert Lipscomb knew nothing of the fundraiser until seeing it on TV! Now, a special assistant to the mayor says erroneous reports threaten to derail the event.


My initial reaction when hearing of the boxing match Tuesday night was that of embarrassment. I was embarrassed for the city of Memphis, the office of mayor & even Joe Frazier. But after thinking about it, I had a change of heart. The fundraiser was just that... a fundraiser for a local college in need of help. Boxing fans could come out & shake hands with a former champ. Win-win, right?

But as is the norm for politics in this city, it all takes a turn for the bizarre & it ain't over yet. Herenton antagonist & former talk show host Thaddeus Matthews has made an offer on his blog to fight the mayor.

Does this happen in other cities?


Steve Nash & the Suns take game 1 of the NBA Western Conference finals from Dallas, 121-118.


Grizzlies majority owner Michael Heisley says no coaching changes are expected on the Memphis bench, leaving head coach Mike Fratello safe for another season.


The Memphis Tigers face elimination today in the CUSA baseball tournament at Houston, after losing to Southern Miss last night, 6-2. The Tigers face UAB this afternoon at 12:30 p.m.

Other results:

Rice 9, UAB 3
East Carolina 4, Tulane 2
Houston 9, Marshall 1


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

To answer the emails, no, my post last night about Herenton vs. Frazier was not a joke. Click here to read the entire story at Action News 5's website.

The Memphis mayor is doing it raise money for Lemoyne-Owen College. Something tells me he could have raised even more money had he auctioned off the chance for a taxpayer to get in the ring & go one-on-one. Or maybe the media.


The fake news website has struck again, this time fooling the Drudge Report &'s Scorecard Daily with a bogus story on Barry Bonds.

This reminds me of a couple of practical jokes I pulled on Dave Woloshin when we did afternoons on WMC-AM. The first was a fake news story I put together on an template telling a story how Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker had quit & even slugged the team's GM. Wolo is a huge Cubs fan & after his initial shock, he caught on to my prank before we ever hit the airwaves.

My second prank happened just last year on April Fool's Day & it did make it on-the-air. Using the same mock template, I created a story stating Al Davis had told an Oakland radio station that he was moving the Raiders. Memphis & San Antonio were his top two choices, but he really preferred Memphis because of Tigers' running back DeAngelo Williams.

Some of you may have heard it when this story made it on our show. It was all I could do not to laugh & give it all away.

This is something I have done for years, sometimes just to see if the listeners are paying attention. I almost got punched 10 years ago when I had some folks in Cleveland, Miss., convinced Gene Hackman was building an amusement park there.

Ah, the good old days.


All I've got to say about Albert Pujols is I am glad he is a St. Louis Cardinal. "I don't want to be the next Barry Bonds, I want to be Albert Pujols and that's it," Pujols told reporters after his team beat the Giants last night & watched Bonds stay stuck another day at 714 career homers. By the way, Pujols stroked his 23rd of the season last night.


The Miami Heat take game one from Detroit in the NBA's Eastern Conference finals. Shaq's on a mission. Internet rumors say the big man might retire if Miami wins it all. I doubt it.


My AI predition: Birmingham's Taylor Hicks wins tonight. My second prediction: UAB will have to use him as halftime entertainment this football season or next just to get folks into the stadium, just like they did with Rueben Studdard a couple of years ago.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Action News 5 reported on their 10 p.m. newscast tonight that Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton will fight fomer heavyweight champ Joe Frazier this fall in the Peabody to benefit Lemoyne-Owen College.

No word yet if Jerry Lawler is on the undercard.


Fox 13 reported earlier tonight that Christian Laettner and Brian Davis arte moving closer to a deal to buy Michael Heisley's portion of the Memphis Grizzlies. The two were spotted at FedEx Forum last month & the subject of an opinion piece by Commercial Appeal sports columnist Geoff Calkins.


The Mavericks needed overtime to beat the Spurs last night, but with their win it sets up a Western Finals many were hoping for: Dirk vs. Nash.


Knicks coach Larry Brown surprised more than a few folks when he showed up Monday at the team's training center to work out four prospective draft picks. Many believe Brown is on the way out in New York after reports surfaced last week his contract would be bought out.


NBA commish David Stern is very wise & does a great job running his league. Further proof of this happened yesterday when New Orleans was awarded the 2008 All Star Game. It's seen as part of the healing process to the Big Easy's local sports scene which was devestated (like the rest of the region) by Hurricane Katrina last summer.

Does this indicate the NBA will persuade George Shinn to not move his team to the midwest? Probably not... instead, it's the politically correct thing for Stern to do. Add to it, the party scene in February each year is pretty good in New Orleans. The players will enjoy it; their wifes and/or girlfriends will enjoy it; the fans will enjoy it. It's a win-win-win situation.


Pat Summitt has become the first women's college basketball coach to receive a contract worth over a million annually. Tennessee gave her a raise to $1.125 million & extended her contract through 2011-12 season.


Tough times right now for Texas basketball coach Rick Barnes. Four of his top five players have left the program & now sophomore reserve Mike Williams is packing his bags, saying he might transfer to Louisville, Cincinatti or Birmingham Southern. The strong rumor floating around is he will be a Bearcat soon.

The good news for Barnes is Damion James committed to Texas Monday. Listed on most experts' top 20 lists, James originally signed with Oklahoma, but was released after Kelvin Sampson left to take the Indiana job.


Writing in today's Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Jennifer Floyd Engel offers the following suggestions to improve the image of professional golf:

1. Allow golfers to wear shorts. Nobody wants to see guys dressed like Brooks Brothers associates sweating around in dress casual for 18 holes.

2. Let fans cheer. If golf wants to be a spectator sport, let fans act like fans. This nonsense about absolute silence is silly. Can you imagine officials shushing basketball fans before free throws?

While I can't really argue with her first suggestion, should no. 2 ever be adopted it would turn the game into a real-life version of the fans in Happy Gilmore. If she wants us to take the cheering fans idea seriously, why not also add intro music when the golfer is announced?

My suggestions:

Tiger Woods - Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger."
John Daly - Hank Williams Jr.'s "Whiskey Bent & Hellbound"
Phil Mickelson - Aretha Franklin's "Respect"

This list could go on & on...


Troubled Tennessee Titans cornerback Pacman Jones is working on his image by speaking to a Nashville area boys/girls club. It's always great when an athlete takes time out of his busy schedule to talk to the kids; it's a pure shame when an athlete uses kids to create positive publicity & to sway public opinion.


Is Mississippi State baseball coach Ron Polk on the hotseat?


It's no secret I am a huge fan of the show "24" on Fox. It's one of only a handful of shows I never miss.

Laet night was the season finale & it took an interesting twist at the end. I won't say more in case there is someone reading this who recorded it, but hasn't watched it yet.

Since the conclusion of the show last night, I have glanced at a couple of messageboards & blogs to see the reaction. Most folks say it's the best season yet (I disagree, Season One is still the best); but some folks are complaining because the writers are asking us to suspend belief to make their plots work.

Huh? Isn't that what TV or movies are all about? Whether it's CSI, Superman or even Desperate Housewives, there has to be a certain level of fantasyland to keep us entertained. Otherwise, it's just life & I don't see that getting great ratings on a consistent basis.


Monday, May 22, 2006

On the local sports scenes, this is one of my favorite weeks of the year: the FedEx St. Jude Classic!


LeBron James is everything we were promised... maybe more. Detroit tossed his Cavaliers yesterday from the NBA playoffs by smothering King James in a defensive style the Pistons are well known for. But give this kid some tools to work with & he'll continue to be a force to be reckoned with in seasons to come.


Prayers go out to the family of Mississippi Valley State assistant basketball coach Cecil Dowell. He was killed in a one-car accident Saturday night near Como, Miss. Dowell was a native of Arlington & played basketball for the University of Mississippi in the early 1980s. He was in his first year on James Green's staff at the Valley.


A Q & A with Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer:

Q - Lets say that Foster does go down this year, at a critical point in the season (lets say around week 13). Do you think that Williams can come and make a difference? And if so how much of a difference?
Go Gordon (24), Matthews, NC 5/19/06

A - DeAngelo Williams (of Memphis) will make some difference whenever he's inserted. Good or bad? Hard to say. He could be fumble-prone. He could be wonderful. But he's going to get playing time. As Dan Henning said this week to Charlotte Touchdown Club, he looks like "Mighty Mouse" -- small but strong -- and he's going to get some carries right away when Foster needs a break.
Scott Fowler 5/19/06


When the NCAA purchased the NIT last summer, I made the prediction then that expansion of the NCAA men's basketball tournament wasn't too far behind. After all, there's no one that can sue them since they now own the NIT. More teams means more money... more money means a happier NCAA. Get the picture?

The rumblings of expansion started at the ACC's spring meetings last week. League members Maryland & Florida State feel shafted after being left out by the selection committee in March.

Will we see a tournament field of 80? How about more play-in games? I say leave it alone. The old saying, "If ain't broke, don't fix it," seems to apply.

Heck, if you feel you need to expand the field just follow the plan offered by Bobby Knight several years ago: just add a few extra rounds & let'em all play. After all, if that is not the plan, someone gets left out each year & that team & its fans get mad. But I can solve that problem.

Just win.


Former St. Louis Cardinals standout Ozzie Smith fired a shot at Tony La Russa in yesterday's St. Louis Post-Dispatch... today, the Cards' skipper fires back.


Surgeons warned this morning Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro has a long recovery ahead of him, following six hours of surgery yesterday to repair his broken leg. The colt's chances of survival are 50-50, an increase from what was originally stated. The good news is the horse is standing & even showing interest in the ladies.


Friday, May 19, 2006

I've had more response in my email box to American Idol comments than I ever had for sports content... should I change the format of the blog? Just kidding.

Have a great weekend. I'll have a full blog report on Monday.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Conference USA's athletic directors have unanimously chosen Memphis as the site of their 2007 men's basketball tournament. Next year's women's tourney will be at Tulsa.

CUSA's board of directors is expected to approve the measure next month.

I enjoy watching American Idol as much as the next guy, but there are some folks who take it too seriously. Along with messageboards filled with juvenile rantings over the contestants, there are the usual fan websites & even one called DialIdol which gives viewers the ability to easily vote for their favorite singer multiple times.

When it would be announced that 47 million folks voted, I often wondered how many of those were multiple voters. I would assume most folks are like me: they'll watch the show if they get a chance, but would never pick up a phone to vote (no matter how good looking Katherine McPhee is!).

I hate to sound like the rest of the kooks that claim football is fixed, NASCAR is fixed, etc. But I do wonder about the legitimate results of AI.


It took seven hours yesterday for the NFL Players Union & reps of the Tennessee Titans to present their respective sides in the ongoing dispute over Steve McNair & his use of team facilities during the offseason. It could be weeks before the arbitrator makes his decision.

Regardless of the politics behind the scenes of this dispute, there is hardly a way the Titans can emerge from this unharmed, even if they win their case. After all, it was the team that agreed to the contract that they are now wanting to re-work.

McNair will likely be in a Baltimore uniform this fall.


L.A. Lakers star Kobe Bryant will try his hand at being a studio analyst on TNT tonight. The invite comes after he got upset over comments by Charles Barkley in the Lakers game 7 playoff loss to Phoenix. Barkley claimed Kobe was selfish by not shotting the ball: "I think he stopped shooting so he could say, 'Those guys didn't help me.' "

Bryant used the 2006 method of responding to smacktalk by sending Barkley 20 text messages disagreeing with him.


It seems everyone is taking shots at NASCAR lately. The big debate in 2006 has been the so-called "BuschWhackers" in the Busch series. (For those that don't know, a "BuschWhacker" is term some apply to Cup drivers who also drive a Busch car.)

Now with more Saturday night races on the schedule that ever before, local tracks scattered around the country say that's hurting their attendance. But driver-turned TV analyst Darrell Waltrip tells Larry Woody of The Tennessean, "TV represents competition, certainly, but competition is part of any business, and you have to learn to deal with it. Track promoters have to be creative. There used to be a time when they could just open the gates and sell tickets. Those days are over."


Memphis basketball coach John Calipari was adamant last year that the new & weakened Conference USA needed only 14 conference games each season... and at least for one year he got his wish. But Cal tells Gary Parrish in the Commercial Appeal, "There was some talk about keeping it at 14 games, but I think what's happened is that it's just so hard for some of these schools to get non-conference games. I understand what some of these other schools are going through, so it's hard for me to sit there and argue with them ... even though I did because it could hurt me. But I'm fine with it, and we'll be fine."

It seems there was a five-hour debate over the issue yesterday as the conference's spring meeting continues in Destin, Fla. The NCAA is allowing schools 29 regular season games & there was concern from some schools in the league that they would have a hard time attracting opponents or afford to pay for buy games.


Guard Brandon Patterson, forward Mike Smith & center Marquis Young will not return to the Mississippi basketball team next season. The three asked for & were granted releases by new head coach Andy Kennedy.


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

It's quite fascinating to observe the off-season of college sports. No, I am not talking about from a coach's perspective or even that of the student-athlete. I am talking of the fan point-of-view.

Various college messageboards are littered with talk ranging from favorite country music song to thoughts on the 2012 recruiting class. Sure, there is still discussion & logical debate, but it's nothing compared to in-season for football or basketball.

Now let's bring talk radio into the mix. I've always been of the opinion there is always something to talk about. It's how you present it to your audience which determines if it's a hot topic or not. I never feared the summer months & doing my job.

I say all this to share with you a portion of the Paul Finebaum Show I heard while travelling home from Atlanta yesterday. It seems Alabama coach Mike Shula has allegedly switched Catholic churches after being hounded for autographs. It came to light after Sports Illustrated made a brief mention of it, crediting the Greg Larson Show in Jacksonville, Fla.

So add the ingredients of Finebaum, Alabama football & talk radio... there was never a dull moment & Finebaum worked it like a master, even questioning why the Tuscaloosa News sat on the story. It was definitely entertaining the hour-or-so I carried the signal.

When listening to such topics I often ask myself what I would do in a similar situation (if I still had a show). Let's just say it was Memphis coach Tommy West... is this even news? Is it worth spending hours talking about? Probably not... but in Alabama in the middle of May it was talk of Crimson Tide football & that was all that mattered to them.


In the meantime, I am sure the hot button item on Atlanta radio yesterday afternoon was University of Georgia president Michael Adams stating his objection to the phrase, "world's largest outdoor cocktail party," used in reference to the Bulldogs annual showdown against Florida. He has asked CBS not to use it during the broadcast this fall.


"This thing, it's like you're chasing two ghosts, you know. It's, like, it's crazy. I can imagine what Roger Maris (who broke Ruth's single-season record in 1961) went through. Babe Ruth, I think, just kind of hovers over people a lot. I just go home and sleep now. I don't work out or train. I'm just exhausted all the time. I'm just tired, always tired. I've never been like this before." - Barry Bonds, on chasing the Babe's homerun record. Bonds failed again last night to hit no. 714, but the Giants did beat Houston, 10-1.


An arbitrator will hear the case today involving the situation between the Tennessee Titans & Steve McNair, which has kept the quarterbacck locked out of preseason workouts at Baptist Sports Park in Nashville. The players union is asking that McNair be allowed to workout or be released. The Titans want to renegotiate McNair's hefty contract before allowing him on the premises.

Meanwhile, the Titans are in limbo over who their QB is for the fall & training camp is less that two months away.


I've felt for awhile that the FESJC would eventually one day be held at Spring Creek Ranch, just north of Collierville. A story by Phil Stukenborg in today's Commercial Appeal only strengthens that belief.

Several things have to happen to make it feasible, & I am not just talking to the golf course itself. Parking & inadequate roads to handle the thousands that will show up come to mind everytime I drive by, so any move I believe is still years away.


While I was gone, CBS Sportsline's Dennis Dodd released his list of hot-seat ratings for every college football coach in Division 1A ball. No surprise, but Kentucky's Rich Brooks earned a 5, the highest ranking given, which means win now or you are outta there. Then again, I thought the same thing about Brooks last year. I guess predicting football at in Lexington is tougher than it looks.

Of local interest, Tigers' coach Tommy West was one of 33 total coaches to get a 0, meaning he can't be touched; Mississippi's Ed Orgeron gets a 1, equating very safe; down the road in Starkville, Mississippi State's Sylvester Croom draws a 2, safe & solid; Tennessee's Phillip Fulmer drew a 2.5, still in the safe category.

Click here for the complete list.


"Here is what you need to understand about coach (Alabama coach Paul 'Bear') Bryant. He had his weaknesses. He was a bit of a drunk in the offseason. He liked the ladies a little too randomly. A lot of the rich Alabamians with whom he ran -- and invested -- were of the coarse Snopesian stripe. But his foibles were private, and his virtues were public ones." - as written by former New York Times executive editor Howell Raines in his new book which reflects on his career, which included a stint in Birmingham. Raines was fired from the NYT in the wake of the Jayson Blair scandal.


Maybe I was wrong about Memphis standout Shawne Williams... maybe he will go pro. Only time will tell. If I was wrong, it's not the first time & it won't be my last.


The expansion of the ACC seems to be a hit, at least financially.


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Delmon Young should consider himself lucky... lucky that his suspension for throwing a bat at a minor league baseball umpire is only 50 games... lucky he didn't hurt the ump... lucky he will be allowed back in a kids game where he has a bright future.

In case you missed it, Young is a Tampa Bay prospect playing his AAA ball with Durham. On April 26 he was ejected in the first inning after taking a called third strike. He lingered in the batter's box, walked away, then turned & threw his bat end over end at the umpire, hitting him in the chest.

Something tells me there are probably some out there trying to find a way to justify his actions. "Are you proud of everything you did when you were young," they'll say when calling sportstalk shows.

No, I did a lot of stupid (some immature) things when I was young & in most cases I paid the appropriate price for each of them. The price Young is paying here is appropriate.


This incident reminds me we are nearing the 10th anniversary of the infamous Roberto Alomar spitting incident. It was Oct. 1, 1996, that umpire John Hirschbeck called a strike on Alomar of the Baltimore Orioles. I remember the TV footage well. There was no doubt about it, the second baseman spit in the ump's face.

Alomar was only suspended five games, umpires threatened to strike with MLB's postseason looming... it seems so tame compared to throwing a bat!

Unfortunately for Alomar, he tried to justify his actions & it turned many fans against him. He said Hirshbeck had changed since the death his son, who had been suffering from a rare brain disease.

Eventually, this story took a turn which gives it an almost Hollywood-eque ending. Alomar & Hirschbeck became close friends... Alomar, along with brother Sandy, began collecting autographed jerseys for auctions to benefit Hirschbeck's charity... sometimes unfortunate things happen as part of a bigger plan for us.

Speaking at his retirement in 2005, Alomar said, "We are now great friends. We have done some things with charity. God put us maybe in this situation for something. But I think people who know me, people who have had the chance to be with me on the same team, know what kind of person I am. Anything I ever did wrong, I would confront it and now it is OK."


Barry Bonds can rest easy at night: John Rocker has come to his defense!

"They’re basically just ganging up on him," Rocker said. "You can accuse him, and people who have never done steroids call themselves experts and say, ‘I know Barry did this, I know Barry did that.’ You can be as big and strong as you want, but you still have to hit them. You can walk into any gym in America and see these beefed-up, steroided-up guys and they’re not hitting 500 home runs."


The chair of the U.S. House Committee on Government Reform has sent a letter to MLB & it's players union saying there is "congressional concern" over the chance the league's drug testing policy could revert back to rules in 2005. It seems if a new contract is not in place by Aug. 1, the union has the option of ending the current & stiffer policy when the collective bargaining agreement expires.


The latest college bowl game has been announced. Birmingham will host the CUSA vs. Big East event Dec. 23 at Legion Field. Oh, this is also an ESPN-owned game, just like bowls in Hawaii, Las Vegas & Ft. Worth.


Here's something that will make you realize you're getting old quickly: ESPN's Chris Berman turns 51 today. "He could ... go ... all ... the ... way!"


If the CFL's Toronto Argonauts decide to drug test Ricky Williams, does that derail his chances of playing this year? Heck, he's SUSPENDED from the NFL so the bigger question is should Miami give him an ok to go play north of the border?


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

This is the first time today I have been able to post on the blog. I have no idea what the problem was, but it was frustrating as I had a full morning update to post. It's too late for it now.

Thanks for stopping by. See you Wednesday!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Unfortunately, the contraversy of Terrell Owens has grown bigger than the game of football itself. Whether it was by accident or design is debateable. Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells thinks he's found the solution... just don't talk about T.O.

Just two days after fielding 35 questions regarding the contraversial wide receiver,
Parcells told reporters Sunday that Owens talk is off limits until the start of training camp.

The zipped lip may stop Parcells from talking about Terrell, but that will be about it. This should be one lively summer for sportstalk radio in Dallas. Let's be honest, that's the way T.O. wants it, too.


Since I am writing about someone who likes attention, let's bring up Green Bay QB Brett Favre. Now that we know for sure, or are pretty sure, or at least believe Favre is back with the Pack this fall, he's already opening up debate for 2007, after telling us last month this was it: "I know I said that [in the offseason]...I hope you guys will respect me. I'm going to play this year, give it my best and not talk about it."

Brett, I want you to stay in the league as long as you want to stay or someone is willing to hire you. I just believe fans are growing tired of the mini-soap opera that has to take place each season.


The New York Post reports Fox Sports is strongly considering Pam Oliver or Jeanne Zelasko to host its Sunday NFL pregame show.


Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns easily wins the 2006 NBA MVP award.


According to the Houston Chronicle, USOC officials are in Houston today discussing the city as a potential site for the 2016 Olympic games.


"I'll be the first to admit that we had a lot more exposure over the last five or six years given to us that's sort of out line compared to what we've won and how we've run. I'm obvious to that — I'm not an idiot. So its good to get into Victory Lane every once in a while to back up the exposure and the hype." - Dale Earnhardt Jr., after winning Saturday night's Nextel Cup race at Richmond.

I am not sure who loves this guy more: the fans or the media. When Junior finally took the lead in the waning laps, you could clearly hear on TV the thunderous cheers & applause over the roar of the engines. After taking the checkered flag, several members of the Fox TV crew proclaimed Junior was back & this was likely the start of a big run for him.

Maybe so...

Maybe not...

Here's a glance at a handful of headlines from various newspaper websites around the country:

Late Victory Adds to Earnhardt's Legacy

Earnhardt Jr. serves notice that he's a contender for NASCAR title

‘Little E' win just what Nextel Cup needs

I was a big fan of Junior's old man, Dale Earnhardt. I hope "Little E" can live up to all the expectations. In the meantime I stand by a comment I made last November on Westwood One's Focus On Racing Radio: the heir-apparent to the NASCAR throne is Tony Stewart. He has two championships in four seasons; he's a bit of a bad boy; he knows what to say & do to get noticed.

If Dale Jr. wants to keep it in the family, a Cup championship in 2006 would be a good first step.


At first I thought it was a joke when I heard the IRL was considering holding a race in the PARKING LOT of Dodgers Stadium. Then I read where Dodgers' team officials have stopped talks with the racing league because the race would not make financial sense.


I give fans of the Philadelphia an "A" for effort, plus extra points for creativity after Frisco slugger Barry Bonds trip to the city I thought was known for brotherly love.

Fans holding posters of an asterisk speckled the stands over the weekend, but that has happened in other ballparks. Three guys dressed as juice boxes - that's a classic; others wore Bonds-like jerseys, sporting his no. 25 with the name "Roids" on the back.

Bonds did leave Philly with something to smile about: he stroked no. 713 to the upper deck Sunday, moving within one of tying Babe Ruth for second on the homerun list. Lost in this fact is the Giants lost... again... for the fourth time in-a-row.


Bloggin on DeAngelo:

(Carolina QB Jake) Delhomme will not be nervous around the Panthers' newest first-round draft choice, DeAngelo Williams. But he will be happy to have him in the backfield. Delhomme talked to reserve quarterback Stefan LeFors about Williams. LeFors played against Williams when the former was at Louisville and the latter was at Memphis. LeFors gave the rookie good reviews. - Tom Sorenson,


Saturday, May 06, 2006

The blog will return... Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

What would you do if you were Memphis Grizzlies' bossman Jerry West? Owner Michael Heisley? Coach Mike Fratello?

The Commercial Appeal mentioned this morning the team could be losing millions; consistent fan attendance is a problem; of course, it's well documented how poorly they performed in the offseason.

The team is clearly better than it was just five years ago. The fans I have spoken with are upset over losing to the Dallas Mavericks, but even more upset over what they felt was a lack of urgency from some of the Grizz stars. As one guy told me, "I told an usher after game 4 I deserved my money back, and she replied, 'Everyone here deserves it.'"

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

"I was shocked how they played us and the confidence they had," Memphis Grizzlies guard Bobby Jackson said. "They were arrogant, and that's how you have to be. They had that mentality of 'I'm going in the arena and beat their [expletive].' We didn't have that." - Mavs' arrogance impressed Memphis' Jackson, Dallas Morning News


Steve McNair's grievance with the Tennessee Titans will be heard by an arbitrator May 16. If the ruling goes in the QB's favor, the team would have to allow McNair to work out at their facility or release him. Meanwhile, rumors continue to swirl of a possible McNair-to-Baltimore trade, although the team will likely watch the situation closely & try to pick him up if he becomes a free agent.


And while the Titans are fighting to keep McNair out of workouts, they are asking Pacman Jones to please show up. However, the cornerback's agent has told him to stay away for awhile.

Pacman has been a source of contraversy his entire time with Tennessee. In recent weeks he was at a gas station in the middle of the night when gunshots were fired. That came just days after Nashville police named Jones as an "aquaintance" of one of nine people arrested for drug trafficking.

Keep in mind neither of these two things are illegal & maybe the guy is just really unlucky. But his agent is only adding fuel to the fire because he wants to avoid a "media frenzy." Or maybe it's the wrath of some teammates not cool with the negative publicity he brings.

"If I thought it was practical for Pac to be there, he would be there," agent Michael Huyghue told The Tennessean. "But if I didn't remove him I think we probably could have reached some kind of real problem, so I just thought it makes sense if we kind of build some space and let tensions die down. I think if he comes back now, people are not just sitting in a three-point stance ready to jump on him."


Police are investigating Lakers center Kwame Brown for sexual assault. No charges have been filed & Brown has issued a statement proclaiming his innocence.


Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel writes today on how in the ongoing Kobe vs. Shaq debate, Bryant is now winning on the court, but not in the delivery room: At least Shaq got one win over Kobe this week. Monday, Kobe's wife and Shaq's wife both gave birth to girls. Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant was born at 2:03 a.m. PDT in California. Six minutes earlier, Mearah Sanaa O'Neal was born in Florida. Although this can't be confirmed, it is believed that little Mearah would have been born even earlier, but she had to sit in the birthing canal with three fouls.


The Raleigh News-Observer has a running count of days in N.C. State's search for a head basketball coach. How many have turned them down now? Three? Four? I have lost count. The latest name on Lee Fowler's list is Detroit Pistons assistant coach (plus, former Memphis Grizzlies coach) Sidney Lowe. Of course he was part of the 1983 title team of the Wolfpack.

Lowe doesn't have his bachelor's degree, something the university requires of its head coach. But Lowe says he will soon have it from, "a very credible university."


Ricky Williams' agent says his client is open to playing in the Canadian Football League while serving his suspension in the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy... again.

Is there a Mexico football league? After all, Mexican President Vicente Fox is expected to sign a bill that would legalize the use of nearly every drug or narcotic sold by the Mexican cartels.


Finally, I saw this quote somewhere recently & I have no idea who to attribute it to... but it sure applies in so many situations. Read it & think about it.

"The worst part of being lied to is knowing you aren't worth the truth."

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

So pro golfer John Daly has lost $50-60 mllion in gambling, according to his autobiography to be released Monday. Just add this to the list of demons which seem to chase the guy.

I've always found Daly entertaining, wandering around a golf course with a cigarette in one hand & Diet Coke in the other. Despite not quite living up to fan expectations after winning two majors early in his career, he has remained a gallery favorite, especially at the FESJC. Just follow the roar of the crowd at TPC Southwind & there would be Daly. If he made the cut on Friday, you could expect a larger crowd to be there for tee off Saturday.

Let's face it, we've all been pulling for the guy to win... not just at golf, but at life.

An amusing Daly story at the FESJC happened in 2002. After two rounds he was -4 or -5 & was looking to match his top 5 finish at the tournament a year earlier. But disaster struck on Saturday & Daly shot a 79. Ouch.

I remember arriving at the TPC Sunday morning expecting to catch the last six or so holes of Big John, but a final score had already been posted. I asked around what had happened. It seems Daly was pretty disgusted with his game so he played his final round in less than two hours. When asked by a reporter before he started the round what he expected that day, he replied that he expected to be poolside at his Arkansas home after lunch. I believe Daly's prediction came true.

Hopefully his wife Sherrie has been a positive influence in his life, although she has had well documented legal problems of her own.

Even with all his troubles, Daly is very active in fundraising for various charities through his John Daly Foundation. He has an upcoming celebrity pro-am in June at Cottonwoods Golf Course in Tunica.


Is the city's patience wearing thin with the Grizzlies? After last night's embarrassing loss to Dallas, the Grizz are now 0-12 in NBA playoff history. I have been hesitant to jump on the bash Jerry West bandwagon, because I look at where the team was when he got here. But you would think after three-straight trips to the postseason you would luck into one win.

Until this year, there had been some grumbling amongst Tiger fans over their lack of postseason success. It will be interesting to listen to sports talk radio today & see what the verdict is on the Grizzlies.

Meanwhile, here's what's being written:

Mavs have a rout to the second round, 102-76

No struggle for Mavs this time

Sweep success

These Mavs exhibited their killer instinct


The Houston Chronicle reports the Astros are ready to fork over some mighty big bucks to lure Roger Clemens back. The two sides are expected to meet today & rumors are the contract would be a prorated equivalent of the $18 million they paid him last season.


Monday, May 01, 2006

Grizzlies in the playoffs:

No time like now for Mavs

Mission impossible?

Grizzlies can make one last stand at FedExForum


Titans QB Steve McNair heading to Baltimore?


DeAngelo Williams draft news:

Is top pick another Steve Smith?
Their positions are different, but the Panthers believe the rookie running back brings the same kind of game-breaking ability Smith does. That's why the Panthers used the 27th overall pick on Williams, who will team with DeShaun Foster and Eric Shelton at running back. Foster is a back who can run inside and outside and the team believes Shelton can be effective in short-yardage and goal-line situations. But Williams might be different than any running back in franchise history. He's a flashy runner with breakaway speed who has the potential to be a consistent home-run threat.

Jersey number has meaning for Williams
"That's the number I wore in high school," Williams said at Bank of America Stadium. "I wore 34 in high school mainly because of Ricky Williams and what he did in college, when he played for Texas. Being in Arkansas, there were only two schools you'd ever see, Texas and Arkansas."