Michael Schneider of Variety reports that CBS News is not going to dump Katie Couric from the CBS Evening News... "McManus backed that up, dismissing talk of Couric's leave: "I can say and have said it's not true." Couric called the amount of attention she's received in the job "befuddling." ...
Brian Christopherson from the Lincoln Journal Star writes how Nebraska's 1976 win over Texas Tech in the Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl is one to remember because head coach Tom Osborne may have been fired if he lost that game... "It’s one of those interesting tales that — three national titles, a statue and an Osborne-named building later — seems to warrant a note in Husker history. If there was any validity in what the regent told Osborne, one could consider NU’s comeback in a now-defunct bowl game to be among Nebraska’s more significant victories." ...
The Zone Blitz has an interesting story about how President George W. Bush has an autographed baseball on his desk in the Oval Office...the ball is signed by John Danks of the Chicago White Sox...find out why W. has this ball on his desk...
The Youngstown Vindicator is reporting that middleweight boxing champ Kelly "The Ghost" Pavlik will be fighting Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins in his next fight...the fight will be a non-title fight...
Bryan Mullen of the Nashville Tennessean writes how Tennessee Volunteer head coach Phil Fulmer thought for sure he was going to lose running back Arian Foster to the NFL... ""When he left Tampa, I really didn't think he would be coming back," Fulmer said Friday at a media golf event in Knoxville. "His fondness for school has not always been where it should be. And he had a chance to be a second-round pick." ...
Al Lesar of the South Bend Tribune writes about College Football Hall of Fame enshrinee W.C. Gorden from Jackson State...the 77-year-old Gorden is finally recognized for his work at Jackson State... "Changing Jackson State's style brought criticism, but Gorden wouldn't relent. Instead, he turned to a guy who had success with the wishbone — Alabama coach Bear Bryant — for advice." ...
Steve Lowe of the South Bend Tribune writes about former Notre Dame great Chris Zorich who is being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame...Zorich was one of the most inspirational stories in college football and one of its toughest competitors... "Zorich, 39, is one of the youngest players to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, but a scan of his personal bio (a healthy three pages long) proves that his football career, while one of the most important aspects of his life so far, does not define him." ...
Sam Farmer of The Los Angeles Times provides some NFL news including Tony Romo has never won a playoff game, even in college at Eastern Illinois... "Gil Lebreton of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram notes that in the last three years Romo was the starter at Eastern Illinois, his team lost each of its three first-round games in the Division I-AA playoffs." ...
Dan Arritt of The Los Angeles Times writes about UCF fighter Quinton "Rampage" Jackson who was hospitalized... "Popular mixed martial artist Quinton "Rampage" Jackson was hospitalized Wednesday for a mental health evaluation after acquaintances flagged down a patrol car outside his Irvine home, telling police they were concerned for his well-being." ...
Jay Mariotti of the Chicago Sun-Times writes about Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster... "We're only 96 days from Game 1 of the World Series, 14 weeks from the unspeakable Cubbie dream, and I've yet to make fun of Ryan Dempster." ...
Dennis Dodd from CBS Sports Line writes how speed will be the new mantra at Michigan... "That's what gets Barwis going -- the physical change. Everywhere. He and Rich Rod took one look at Michigan's weight room in December and decided to gut it. It was outdated for their needs. Six weeks and more than $1 million later, there were machines in the building that a layman would never recognize. To get to the weight room, players passed under a sign with a bold proclamation: Through these doors walks the best-conditioned, hardest-working team in America." ...
A woman who is in her 4os and is often overlooked for hotness is Tea Leoni...the wife of Fox Mulder from the X-Files, Leoni has been out of the spotlight of late....
Pronounced Tay uh Tea Leoni was born Elizabeth Tea Pantaleoni on February 25, 1966, in New York City....she played first base in the film "A League of their Own"...her first big hit came in the 1995 box-office hit, "Bad Boys" which starred Will Smith and Martin Lawrence...
Leoni was married in 1991 to television producer Neil Tardio...they divorced in 1995...in 1997 she married David Duchovny after only a nine week courtship...they have two kids...
The blog Ask Men rated Leoni an 84 out of 100...in that blog she was quoted as saying, "I don't do T&A very well because I haven't got much of either."...it is reported she is a big golf addict...
My thoughts: I always thought Leoni had this sexy hotness to her...she has sexy eyes...she claims she does not have T&A, but I will say that she has great legs...she has aged well and for 42-years old, she can still hold her own...with those eyes and legs, my vote is "yes" she is hot...this leads to the question:
For those who live outside the Mahoning Valley, you will not be familiar with this story...longtime Mahoning County attorney and former Democratic Party Leader Don Hanni died Wednesday...Hanni, known as Bull Moose, will lie in state on Sunday at the Mahoning County Courthouse...The following story appeared in The Vindicator
By William K. Alcorn ‘One thing I would say, his word was always good with me,’ said William Binning.
YOUNGSTOWN — Atty. Don L. Hanni Jr., who defined some of the best and worst in Youngstown law and politics during a career that spanned more than a half-century, died at his Coitsville home Wednesday morning.
As a lawyer, Hanni had a reputation as an accomplished student of the law and as a courtroom brawler who was faster on his feet than almost any opponent. As a politician, his own success at the ballot box was mixed, but as a Democratic Party chairman he made and broke more political careers than any chairman before him — or likely any that will follow him.
Friends and adversaries, sometimes one person being both, depending on the circumstances, talked about Hanni, 82, the lawyer, the politician and the man.
He was nicknamed “Bullmoose” by Julaine Gilmartin, the wife of his good friend Atty. Vincent Gilmartin. Mrs. Gilmartin said Hanni reminded her of a character, “General Bullmoose, in the “Li’l Abner” cartoon, who was always telling everybody what to do, she said with a laugh.
“He always had the greatest stories. We’re losing all the curmudgeons. It’s the end of an era,” she said.
“We were very dear friends,” said Gilmartin, who had an office in the same building as Hanni at 219 W. Boardman St., after his 16-year stint as county prosecutor.
“He was a very honorable sort of person, very straightforward, very alert and kind-hearted,” he added.
Gilmartin said he and Hanni faced each other numerous times as prosecutor and defense attorney. “I found him to be very well-prepared, always knowledgeable about what we were doing, and aware of what the law required. He was a very good attorney,” Gilmartin said.
One of Hanni’s fiercest political foes over the years was William Binning, who was chairman of the Mahoning County Republican Party at the same time Hanni was head of the county Democratic Party.
Binning said sometimes their relationship was friendly, but they often were bitter enemies and had nasty fights.
“It depended on the issue of the day,” said Binning, professor emeritus at Youngstown State University and former chairman of the school’s political science department.
“One thing I would say, his word was always good with me. I had great respect for him because of that. He was one of the great colorful figures of the Mahoning Valley, and his passing is a great loss to the Valley,” Binning said.
Another political foe with whom Hanni locked horns was Atty. Michael Morley, who replaced Hanni as county Democratic Party chairman in 1994.
“While Don and I had our political differences, we maintained a civil and cordial relationship over the years. I offer my condolences to his family. I visited him in the nursing home a couple of weeks ago and wished him well.
“We would see each other at events and he would call me chairman and I would call him chairman, and occasionally we would share a story,” Morley said.
“Don Hanni and I were close friends. We used to have lunch on Fridays together and have a drink or two together,” said R. Scott Krichbaum, a Mahoning County Common Pleas Court judge and a former defense lawyer.
“But he and I battled, too. We were great adversaries at one point. He was Democratic Party chairman and I was the Republican candidate for judge. We had to send the sheriff up to secure the ballots once the voting was done. It was a very close race,” Judge Krichbaum said.
On the other hand, however, the judge said Hanni was “probably as good a trial lawyer as this area ever produced. He was absolutely brilliant in cross-examination. He was much more concerned with the facts than with the law. His method was very effective. He could pretty much take any case and give the defendant the best defense available.
“We respected each other as trial lawyers. It causes me a great deal of sorrow that I’ve lost him as a friend and as a colleague. His death is a tremendous loss to his family and the community,” Judge Krichbaum said.
Former Sen. Harry Meshel’s relationship with Hanni went back to pre-college days when they used to frequent the Ritz Bar on Wilson Avenue on the East Side. They were both World War II veterans — Hanni in Europe and Meshel in the Pacific.
“We used to argue about who won the war,” Meshel said with a laugh.
They were at Youngstown College and on its student council at the same time. Despite that relationship, they quarreled about politics from time to time. “He never hesitated to argue, even with his friends, and even ruled against them in court,” Meshel said.
“The last time I visited him, not too many days ago, he was screaming about politics. He said, ‘You got to run for mayor.’ I said, ‘I will if you’ll be my law director,’” Meshel said.
“I think people would remember him for his sense of humor and sense of purpose, and his skill as a lawyer. He was highly respected in the legal profession. The judges will tell you he was prepared and clients got their money’s worth,” Meshel said.
“He was one of a kind. People don’t know the things he did,” said Joyce Kale Pesta, deputy director of Mahoning County Board of Elections and a longtime Hanni associate.
When he found out people who lived in the old Pick Ohio Hotel had no place to eat in downtown Youngstown, he fed them out of his office on Boardman Street. “Sometimes he would cook and sometimes I would cook,” Pesta said.
“He always said ‘Don’t kick anybody when they’re down, because you never know when you’ll be down.’ Even his worst enemies he’d stick up for when they were down. That’s how [former county sheriff and U.S. Rep. James] Traficant and he became friends after being enemies for many years,” she said. He served in the Army during World War II and was with the Allied Forces who landed on Normandy beach on D-Day on June 6, 1944. He said it was horrific, but he never talked about it much, Pesta said.
The Rev. Lonnie Simon, pastor emeritus of New Bethel Baptist Church on Hillman Street, said Hanni was “Mr. Democrat in Youngstown as far as I was concerned.”
“He was very well-liked in the black community, and I got along with him well,” said the Rev. Mr. Simon, who, when he came to Youngstown in 1946, registered as a Republican.
Hanni was a mentor for Atty. Alan R. Kretzer in his early days and a client in a high-profile case when Hanni ran his car into the post office building in downtown Youngstown in 1985. Hanni was charged with driving under the influence; however, it was dismissed because of lack of evidence, but a charge of reckless operation was allowed to stand.
Kretzer said Hanni took that case and all cases seriously, but always had a sense of humor. When they were considering how the case might go, Kretzer said Hanni told him that if he had to spend a few days in jail, at least he wouldn’t have to listen to his telephone ring all day long.
Other local lawyers and government officials remembered Hanni as a widely respected giant in local legal and political circles.
Kathi McNabb Welsh, chief deputy Mahoning County clerk of courts, remembered well her days as an assistant county prosecutor in the 1990 murder trial of Christopher W. Magourias, who was defended by Hanni and Atty. J. Gerald Ingram and acquitted in the stabbing death of Kenmore Drake.
“It was quite a legal education for me to watch his mastery of the rules of evidence and his control of the courtroom,” she said of Hanni.
“He will best be remembered as a great lawyer, a very zealous litigator, a person who really went out of his way to advocate his client’s position and did a wonderful job of that,” said Atty. Vincent Wloch, a magistrate in Mahoning County Probate Court.
“There was nobody better here locally with regard to cross-examination. He thought quick on his feet,” said Wloch, who shared an office with Hanni from 1979 to 1985.
Wloch said he learned a great deal from his experience as co-counsel with Hanni in the defense of Steven T. Masters, whose 1980 murder trial lasted 10 weeks. Masters was convicted of killing his wife, Jodi, in what was then the longest criminal trial in Mahoning County history.
“He was just a Democratic giant in our field of politics,” said Lisa Antonini, Mahoning County treasurer and Democratic Party chairwoman. Hanni’s humor and ability to “get a message out on Democratic Party politics” will be missed, she said.
“What a historian. We’ll miss him for that. He always taught me that you have to understand your history to move forward into the future. He never shied away from calling me when he thought I needed a history lesson,” she recalled.
Sam Farmer of The Los Angeles Times writes that former NFL great Tim Browns feels Brett Favre should stay retired... "Brown, who retired in 2005 after 16 seasons with the Raiders and one with Tampa Bay and has been an NFL commentator on FSN, said all Favre can do at this point by coming back is damage his legacy." ...
Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times writes about the retirement of Hideo Nomo... "Hideo Nomo, who opened doors for Japanese players to come to the major leagues with his groundbreaking move to the Dodgers in 1995, announced his retirement today on his official website." ...
After writing about Ronnie Woo Woo Wickers from the Chicago Cubs, it got me thinking about another fanatic who used to be at Cleveland Browns games...the younger generation will not remember Abe Abraham, The Man in the Brown Suit...the blog, Indian Fever had a nice little write up about The Man in the Brown Suit and his devotion to the Cleveland Browns...
Not an Indian oddity but certainly worth mentioning, Abe Abraham was perhaps the most popular non-player in Browns history, until Big Dawg John Thompson came along. Abraham was affectionately known as "The Man in the Brown Suit" during his days with the team. Abe's main duty was retrieving extra point and field goal tries behind the goalposts in the closed end of the stadium. On September 20, 1964, Abe missed the start of the Browns-Cardinals game, the first and only time he was ever late for a game. When he finally arrived at the stadium, he received a louder ovation than many of the Browns players themselves. Later, Abe claimed that he was late because he couldn't find those famous Brown pants.
Jay Mariotti of the Chicago Sun Times writes about Tuesday's All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium... "If you care about sports, a slice of your soul dies when a baseball cathedral shuts down, even when it's located on 161st Street in the town Chicagoans are instructed to loathe out of the womb." ...
Jay Mariotti writes about the NHL holding a hockey game at Wrigley Field... "Hang some ivy. Rent the rooftops. Use the center-field scoreboard. Play the organ. Open the Cubby Bear and Harry Caray's. Let the bleacher creatures mate and throw back flying pucks. Have players dress in the clubhouses. Tell Ronnie Woo Woo to stay at home. Ask the singer to do winter jingles between periods as the Zambrano -- I mean, the Zamboni -- cleans the ice." ...
Today is the 67th anniversary of when the greatest record in sports history ended...the Cleveland Indians snapped Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak...
July 17, 1941: DiMaggio's streak ends at 56 games By Craig Muder
It might be baseball's most famous record and most recognizable number: 56 in 1941.
Joe DiMaggio's hitting streak was stopped on July 17 of that year by pitchers Al Smith and Jim Bagby Jr. of the Cleveland Indians -- with help from two sparkling defensive plays by third baseman Ken Keltner.
In the 67 years since, no one has even approached the record.
DiMaggio started the streak on May 15 against the Chicago White Sox. And after the 67,468 fans witnessed the end of the streak in Cleveland, DiMaggio hit in another 16 straight games -- reaching base with a hit in an other-worldly 72 of 73 games.
During the streak, DiMaggio hit 15 home runs and drove in 55 runs. He finished the season with 30 homers, 125 RBIs and a batting average of .357. He struck out just 13 times in 541 at-bats.
Since 1941, Pete Rose is the only player to even produce a 40-game hitting streak. Rose hit in 44 straight games in 1978, capturing the nation's attention as he chased DiMaggio. During Rose's streak, he drove in just 11 runs and did not homer.
In honor of the Yankee Clipper, enjoy this 3 minute video clip of the song Joltin' Joe DiMaggio by the Les Brown Orchestra...
The Detroit Free Press is reporting that Houston Rockets guard Tracey McGrady is interested in a possible trade to the Detroit Pistons... "ESPN's Stephen A. Smith reported on ESPN late Tuesday night that he spoke with McGrady and that McGrady wouldn't mind a trade to Detroit." ...
Tom Boswell of The Washington Post writes about The Boss - George Steinbrenner's shining moment at the All-Star Game... "When Steinbrenner, who seldom appears in public and never speaks when he does, rode a golf cart from the Yankees bullpen to the pitcher's mound on this evening, the symbolism pulled the whole night together." ...
This article appeared in the July 15th edition of the New York Post...it was a heartwarming story of a girl who lost her dog only to have him return six years later...
July 15, 2008 -- When her beagle, Rocco, squeezed himself under the backyard gate and disappeared into the streets of Queens, 5-year-old Natalie Villacis refused to believe - as her parents reluctantly told her - that she would never see the puppy again.
That was in 2003.
Last weekend, Rocco came home - after being found in Georgia.
The prodigal pooch turned up in a shelter 850 miles away in Hinesville, and by a combination of chance and chip - the one embedded in his back - was reunited with Natalie, now 11, and her family.
"When my mom told me they found Rocco, I cried hysterically - just like I did when they told me he was lost," Natalie told The Post. "I felt like I was in a dream, like my head was spinning."
Someone dropped Rocco off as a stray at the Liberty County Animal Control in Hinseville on July 5, supervisor Randy Durrence said.
After scanning the pooch's identity microchip, one of thousands routinely implanted in the skin of many pets today, Durrence traced Rocco to Queens.
Rocco's disappearance had been traumatic for both Natalie and her parents. In the days after he vanished, the weeping child and her father, Jorge, plastered their neighborhood with signs in search of the dog. But it soon became clear Rocco would not return.
Even after the family later brought a poodle mix named Bonita into the home, Natalie said she never stopped wondering "what happened to Rocco, where he went, and if someone good found him.
"Every time I would see a dog on the street, I would say to my mom, 'Maybe Rocco will come back,' " Natalie said. "She would say that he probably isn't going to come back. I would say, 'I know, but maybe he will.' "
She even refused to part with his favorite toy, a stuffed cat.
"At night, I would wish, 'Please Rocco, come home.' And now that wish came true," she said.
When Natalie's parents, Jorge and Cristina, listened to the voice mail Durrence left for the family, they thought he or the computer must have made a mistake.
"We didn't think it could possibly be him - Natalie never stopped thinking about him, but we thought he was gone for good," Jorge said.
Jorge flew down to Georgia, and though he didn't quite recognize Rocco, was pleased to see that aside from a scratch on his ear, he was in perfect health.
"We have reunited families with their dogs before but never after so many years - this is unheard of," Durrence said.
Durrence said he could not imagine how a dog could make this journey but speculated that since the town is home to Fort Stewart and the Army's Third Infantry Division, "perhaps it was someone in the military."
Natalie said she was nervous about Rocco's return, in part because she was unsure how Bonita, the poodle mix the family got in 2004, would react.
"I don't think he recognized me, but I told him I loved him as much as always," she said. "Rocco seemed a little confused, but happy. He looked at me like, 'I don't know who you are, but I love you, too.' "
One of the first things she did was give Rocco his toy back.
Bonita has not decided if there is room for a beagle in the house, she said, "but at least she hasn't tried to bite him. Rocco doesn't mind. He's as calm as pie."
Embracing Rocco, Natalie asked her mother, "Where do you think he has been all this time?"
"I don't know," her mother told her. "But if he could tell us, I'm sure he has more than enough material for a novel."
I was looking through the Internet and found this April 25, 2008 interview that David Brown of Yahoo Sports did with Erin Andrews also known as EA...most may have already read it, but here it is for those who have not...also, scroll down three posts to see the latest photos of Erin Andrews...
Seeing as we're between Big Ten basketball seasons, ESPN's Erin Andrews found herself free to pop by the Yankees-White Sox game in Chicago to say hello the other day. OK, she also was working -— covering the dugouts, getting seeds thrown at her by Johnny Damon, apparently rebuffing (but not really, she now says) Joba Chamberlain — you know, the usual.
Andrews, who was voted Playboy's Sexiest Sportscaster 2008 (denying Pat Summerall's bid for a three-peat) often finds herself a focus of the event she works, though she somehow doesn't believe Hef would "even be interested." She turns 30 in a couple of weeks, and she knows people will stop staring someday. In what amounts to be a "mini" Answer (Wo)man, Andrews frankly discusses what it's like to have so many eyes — and, sometimes, hands — on her.
Q: When you're doing baseball games, and you're down here as a field reporter, how do you get your information — do you talk to the manager or the players between innings, or is there a liaison who does it for you? What are you doing down here? Erin Andrews: It's obviously very different from college football and college basketball, where, I'm allowed to be behind huddles. You don't get that in Major League Baseball. You basically get all of your information in BP, or in huddles and scrums. It is a lot different, and sometimes you kind of have to justify why you'd want to have a sideline reporter, but I do believe there is a reason. My gosh, when Barry Bonds hit the home run last year, he gave me a one-on-one interview on the field. It's different, though, than college hoops.
Q: What about the attention you receive for being a sports personality when you're not an athlete? E.A.: It's flattering. At the same time, I don't play. I've never won a national championship. Never won a World Series. I've never managed a game. I don't throw seeds at people [glares at a meddlesome and well-armed Johnny Damon]. I know that there's a window of time where people think, "Oh, she's a big deal." You know that's going to run out. You kind of just look at it and laugh. I grew up in the media; my dad is in the industry as well. I know there's a time frame and this will all go away and I'll go, 'Wait a minute! What about me?' I know it's nothing to get freaked out over.
Q: Did you want to be a reporter when you grew up? E.A.: Yeah, I did. My dad is on television at Tampa. Sports was my dad and I's connection. We always were sports fans. He has no boys, just two daughters, and even the dogs are girls. That was how we used to bond on the couch; we used to root for the Boston Celtics and the Red Sox. Green Bay Packers — because he grew up a Bart Starr fan. So I grew up a Brett Favre fan. That was my connection with my father. I knew I wanted to do it; I watched Hannah Storm do "NBA on NBC." I was like, "Her job is so cool."
Q: So, was she an idol? E.A.: Yeah, I think so. Seeing what women like Lesley Visser, Shelley Smith, Linda Cohn... Even Melissa Stark. She was kind of the young one to start. Good-lookin' girl. She proved she could do her work and hold her own on Monday Night Football — she was on when I was in college, and I was like, "I want to do this."
Q: There's the pic on the Internet from a couple years ago of someone groping you in Iowa. Did you get the word out to family and friends that it was fake, lest they be worried about you being molested? E.A.: I think, that all my friends and family knew, that if that had happened in real life, that the camera would have been lodged so far either up somewhere or down somewhere, or in the back of somewhere. There's no way that would have happened. I have such a big mouth that I would have told all my friends, "Oh my gosh, do you know what happened?" Some people ask if it's real.
Q: Does it look real to you? E.A.: His arm is very awkward in it. I was bending over because I was taking a photo with a young girl and he Photoshopped himself in there. I never even took a photo with that kid.
Q: Have you ever talked with the photo perps who altered the image? E.A.: I do Big Ten basketball and Steve Alford, the coach at the time, was like, "Oh my gosh! I'm so sorry!" I'm like, "Why? I'm never coming to your school again." I think that kid got in touch with CNNSI.com and said something about it. "Whatever," is my view. It's creative. It could have been a lot worse.
Q: How often do you get asked out? E.A.: I get marriage proposals quite a bit, but my biggest thing is, there's never a ring. I'm going to get, you know, proposed to, can you have a platinum, 3-karat diamond waiting? C'mon. I did a football game at Arizona this past year, and I had done an interview on the Internet and I said, "The next time someone asks me out and if they bring a ring, they may get a 'yes.' " Well, we go there on the field and we're talking to coaches and five kids in the stands have these lolipop rings. I'm like, I should have said a real ring — not cherry flavored! It's flattering. You can't take it too seriously because you know the next best thing is going to walk through the door and I'm going to be too old for this.
Q: Any athlete or coach ever been a big jerk to you, and you're not afraid to say who? E.A.: No. I think that's one of the coolest things about the gig so far. People see that I don't just do one sport, they see that I do everything on ESPN. I do college football, college basketball, I do Major League Baseball. And it's cool for me to see players and go, "Hey, what do you think about how Michigan's going to be this year? How's Florida?" I think that everyone is real skeptical when a female comes around. They want to know why she's in the business, but everyone has been great.
Q: Has Playboy, or anyone like it, approached you to do a layout? E.A.: No. You know what? I think I would laugh at it. This [moves hand up and down self], how I dress for on-air, is not how I am in real life. I'm a jeans, T-shirt, baseball hat kind of girl. Sneakers. That "Playboy" poll came out and everyone was like, "Did they ask you to pose?" Absolutely not. I don't look like the girls on the "The Girls Next Door" show. I look nothing like them. I don't know why Hugh would even be interested in me. They haven't asked.
Q: Do you get credit for asking good questions? E.A.: I feel like I am now. You know, my first couple of years, everyone on the Internet and people were very skeptical — as they should be. We're still in the man's territory. People like Lesley Visser, Shelley Smith, Linda Cohn, they've all done a good job opening the doors. They've made it a lot easier. I think people are realizing now, "She does her homework." And if they can't tell, they can look at my notepad with the 12 pages of notes. Within the past year, I think I've proven to myself that I could do it. That's really the only thing I care about. If people pay attention and actually listen, they'll hear that I do my job.
Q: What is your best interview? E.A.: The interview I did that made the most impact was a kid named Derek O'Dell. I interviewed him at Virginia Tech's home opener. He was one of the victims who held the door shut as the gunman was coming in. I have goosebumps telling you this right now. This kid, I was taller than him. I probably weighed more than him, too. The fact that he was able to protect these kids in the class by holding the door, this was most unbelievable thing. We were there to do a football game. This kid saved lives. Afterward, I had to take a minute. We went to a commercial break and Mike Tirico got in my ear and said, "Good job, E.A. Good job." And I was like, guys, "I'm just going to need 5 minutes." And I lost it. I just started bawling. That day will stay with me forever.
The best John Madden impersenator is Frank Caliendo...enjoy this seven minute clip of Caliendo on The Late Show with David Letterman...he talks about Al Michaels, flying, turkeys, and of course Brett Favre
BTW, the Erin Andrews photos are two posts below...
First off, the Erin Andrews photos are below...Bruce Feldman from ESPN.com stopped in Ann Arbor this past winter to get a first hand view of Michigan's new strength coach - Mike Barwis...maybe this is one reason Justin Boren left Ann Arbor...
It's five minutes before 11 a.m. on a snowy Monday in late March when Victor Hobson walks into the Michigan weight room grinning. He glances into the small cramped coaches office and just nods. Hobson, a former Wolverine linebacker with a neck as thick as a tractor tire, is the first player to arrive. Hobson plunks down on a stationary bike and starts pedaling. Soon he will be joined cycling away by running backs Mike Hart and Avon Cobourne. Braylon Edwards, another former UM star, shows up totting an open laptop computer in the crook of his arm. Before Edwards gets on one of the bikes, the Cleveland Brown receiver hooks up the computer to the gym's speaker system so he can play DJ. Welcome to Camp Barwis.
Over the next three hours, every muscle in their bodies will be challenged as a gravel-voiced man alternately shouts encouragement and jokes with them. Following the bike warm-up will come a series of sprint starts where the players burst out of their stances while a belt harness rigged to a wall attempts to hold them back. After that, Barwis implores the players to snake their way in procession over, around and through a group of high hurdles. This is the warm-up portion of Camp Barwis before the heavy lifting begins.
Camp Barwis is like nothing Hobson or Edwards had ever experienced before. Hobson came back to Ann Arbor because he had heard stories about Mike Barwis, Michigan's new strength coach. Hobson, who had spent previous off-seasons working out with a boxing coach, was always in search of cutting edge training methods that might help him get better, so he asked Barwis if he would work with him. Barwis said he'd love to. He already was training some former Mountaineer players who had relocated to Ann Arbor.
Cobourne, a compactly built CFL running back who starred at West Virginia in Rich Rodriguez's first season as the Mountaineers head coach, had even rented a one-bedroom in Ann Arbor for the winter just so he could train with the new Wolverine coach. Owen Schmitt, Steve Slaton and Ryan Mundy, a trio of former Mountaineer players, also had moved up to Michigan to have Barwis get them ready for the NFL Draft.
Hobson says after the first week he felt quicker and more explosive. He was so impressed with his gains, he told other former Michigan players. Edwards opted to join in, as did Steelers linebacker Larry Foote.
The buzz about the coach has grown from his days in Morgantown. Barwis had become a folk hero among West Virginia football players who say he is as responsible as anyone for victories over heavily favored Georgia and Oklahoma in BCS bowls in recent years. Kay-Jay Harris, a former WVU RB now playing with the NY Giants, says it's not just type of workout Barwis coaches, which is a combination of plyometrics, Olympic lifts, core training and generous amounts of sprint work, but it's the intensity he demands. Barwis is a 190-pound Philly area native with the kind of presence that scares grown men.
Football players, many outweighing Barwis by 100 pounds, speak in awe of the guy like he's some sort of Chuck Norris figure. His reputation, which quickly turned him into an internet star among Wolverine fans, is indeed larger than life. "I think he had a freakin' pet wolf at home," says Harris. "Now, c'mon, who has a pet wolf?" It doesn't hurt that there is just enough info about Barwis' MMA background to spook his protégés, especially those who have seen Barwis roll with any of their teammates who have tried to submit him, regardless of how much of an advantage he gives them to start out.
Barwis prefers to sidestep the MMA thing or detail his martial arts background. "I really try not to talk too much about it," he says, adding that he'd rather talk about the athletes than himself. Says Hobson, "It's like he's in the CIA or something. Those are the kinds of guys you really don't want to mess with."
The training regimen the players are put through is something many wouldn't want to mess with either. A half-hour into the session, the players assemble in pairs in front of a row of squat racks as they begin to load bumper plates onto their barbells. Barwis' instructs the group through hang cleans, an exercise you probably won't see at your local gym. Most of the guys in here had never done hang cleans. Many had never done squats either or taken nutritional supplements. (The old Michigan program didn't include any of that in the Wolverines regimen.)
Proper technique is a major concern so Barwis harps on strict form and uses Cobourne as his model. Soon, a rhythm develops. Heels snap on the floor. The clink of the barbell getting hoisted up is followed by a "THUD-thud" as the bumper plates crash to the ground. "With the clean, you gotta be explosive and aggressive, you can't fake it," Barwis barks. "Just like football." Over the next two hours, the intensity level rarely dips as the players go from the squats racks to the bench press over to some grueling core work (the athletes try to balance themselves while kneeling on two stability balls) before heading back onto the field for some plyometric work and additional sprinting.
"You're either gettin' or you're gettin' worse," Barwis says, his voice cutting through the bass throb of Edwards' music.
Cobourne, the veteran of the workout group, says he's noticed a dramatic difference in the athletes, using Foote, an established NFL guy, as his prime example. "I saw Foote come in at the beginning, and he'd try and lollygag a little," says Cobourne. "And Mike's like 'Look, that ain't how we do it here.' Foote wasn't used to it. But now he's going right through it. These guys see what they're getting from it, 'Man, I was never explosive like this before. Wow this is really working for me.'"
Hobson says the impact the program will have is more than just physical. "If there are some soft people, these guys are gonna get them out of there," Hobson says of the new Wolverine staff, adding that Ann Arbor could have a Miami-like appeal amongst NFL players hoping to get in better shape during the off-season. "Word is going to get around, and that can only help the program when young recruits see a Braylon Edwards coming back here to train.
Jimmy Traina of Sports Illustrated's Hot Clicks had this story about ESPN's Erin Andrews who was hanging out on Saturday at the Major League Baseball All-Star Fan Fest...Andrews was approached by High Pitch Erik from the Howard Stern Show...enjoy the photos of Erin...
We were lucky enough to spend part of Saturday with Erin Andrews at Major League Baseball's All-Star FanFest in Manhattan. (Bonus picture of Andrews can be found here.) Andrews, who was there to greet fans and take pictures, thought nobody would show up to her area. She was wrong. We watched her interact with fans of all ages, including a baby who didn't want to be held by Andrews (he'll regret that later in life) and a middle-aged man who just stood about a foot away from Andrews and stared at her for about a full minute while shaking his head in disbelief and commenting over and over about how much prettier she is in person (which is true, but the scene was still creepy). But the highlight (or maybe, lowlight) was when Howard Stern wack packer High Pitch Erik stepped up. The longtime Stern character didn't get a picture taken with Andrews. He just asked her who she was and if she wanted to go on Stern's show. When Andrews told him that the show should go through ESPN to book her as a guest, he then asked her for her phone number. Seriously. And if being targeted by High Pitch Erik wasn't enough excitement for Andrews, she also was taken No. 1 overall in this Sports Network Fantasy Draft, which proves that, yes, you can have a draft for anything. (Thanks to Kristan K., of Shannon, Ill., for sending us the link.)
Aaron Rodgers should ask the Green Bay Packers to trade him...after Brett Favre's latest comment that he may show up at training camp to call the Packers organization bluff, Rodgers is being forced into the middle of this mess between an organization that wants to move forward and an egomaniac oldtimer who won't hang it up...if Favre shows up at training camp then Rodgers should not even bother to go out and bust his ass...all Rodgers has to have is one bad half in preseason and the entire nation will be clamoring for St. Brett to be put in as the starter...the Packer fans, Peter King, John Madden, etc. will want St. Brett to comeback and lead the Packers...this situation is not fair for Rodgers who has served as Favre's apprentice for the last three years...Rodgers does not deserve to be a pawn in this saga...Favre made his choice, now he has to deal with it...for the last three years he has forced the Packer organization to wait each offseason until he made a decision....a few years back Favre strung the team along all the way until late April....Favre was not fair to the Packer organization then, but now he wants to be treated fairly....what comes around, goes around...as each day passes, I am losing more respect for Favre..the following is an except from ESPN.com
MILWAUKEE -- Brett Favre says he's tempted to show up at the Green Bay Packers' training camp just to call the team's "bluff."
In the second part of an interview with Fox News, the quarterback says he knows his arrival in camp would cause a media circus but that might not stop him. Players are scheduled to report July 27.
The interview is on the show "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren" and is scheduled for broadcast Tuesday night. An excerpt was provided to The Associated Press.
Stiles Points is rolling out another new feature - "What ever happened to . . . "...it will feature former athletes and coaches who were not your Hall of Fame superstars - but are often forgotten once their time in the spotlight passes...so I hope you read through and enjoy....if by chance anyone knows the whereabouts of someone, please note it in the comments section....
Whatever happened to . . . Chris Sabo Chris (Spuds) Sabo debuted with the Cincinnati Reds in 1988 and played nine years in The Show...during that span, he helped the Reds win a World Series in 1990 and made three All-Star appearances...he also won the 1988 N.L. Rookie of the Year Award...
Sabo was a hard-nosed true baseball player who played a solid third base....he was drafted by the Reds in the second round out of the University of Michigan....in 1988 he made the All-Star Game as a true rookie...he finished the season with 46 stolen bases...his best year was 1991 when he hit .301 with 26 homers...
In 1990, he was one of many Reds who dismantled the powerful Oakland Athletics in four straight games in the World Series...Sabo finished the Series batting .563 with two homers...
In 1994 he moved on the Orioles followed by the White Sox and Cardinals....he ended his career in 1996 when he appeared in 54 games with the Reds...
Enjoy this 1:11 clip from a November 1, 1988 ESPN Sports Center as an 11-year-old kid praises Sabo...
Foreign company takes over another piece of American - now they own "our" beer - Budweiser...the following story was in the St. Louis Dispatch... InBev lays out its plans for A-B By Tim Logan and Jeremiah McWilliams ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH Monday, Jul. 14 2008 Expect "Blue Ocean" to get deeper, and Budweiser's reach to get wider.
In a conference call this morning, victorious executives from InBev laid out their plans to expand cost-cutting already underway at Anheuser-Busch Cos., and to build the world's dominant brewer around its new flagship brand: Budweiser.
InBev chief executive Carlos Brito, hours removed from the announcement of a $52 billion deal to buy the iconic St. Louis brewer, told analysts this morning said the merged company, to be known as Anheuser-Busch InBev, will be the leading provider of beer in the world's five biggest beer markets and the third-largest consumer products company in the world.
It will be 62 percent larger in terms of revenue than its next-largest brewing rival, SABMiller.Brito said Budweiser has unlocked potential in countries where the beer is not widely available, because even there, drinkers are aware of the beer — thanks to Anheuser-Busch's globe-spanning advertising of the World Cup and Olympics."In a more competitive global market," he said, "this transaction will create a stronger company.
"The deal will open up new markets for Budweiser, which InBev will push in 19 countries from Brazil to Ukraine where it is strong but A-B is not.And, he pledged, InBev takes the same "no-compromise" position towards quality that Anheuser does."Consumers can be assured that we will continue what makes Bud the great American lager," he said.
That push will begin in St. Louis, which will remain the company's North American headquarters, Brito said. He pledged to maintain the company's heritage, specifically mentioning Grant's Farm and Clydesdales and the Pestalozzi Street brewery. But changes are inevitable, and will begin with a deeper cost-cutting plan than the one A-B unveiled last month, when it was still trying to fend off InBev's advances.
That plan — known as "Blue Ocean" — to cut $1 billion in expenses over two years, will be expanded to a $1.5 billion effort over three. That means planned buyouts of up to 1,300 salaried employees will likely continue.
The approximately $500 million bump-up in savings will include about $360 million from greater leverage with suppliers, more aggressive production efficiencies and "elimination of corporate overlapping functions" — which will likely lead to some job losses at A-B's corporate headquarters in St. Louis.
Brito said he has no plans to cut Anheuser-Busch's marketing spending — one area the axe is widely expected to fall. "One of the things we like about Anheuser-Busch is its marketing expertise," he said.In a brief statement at the start of the call, Anheuser chief executive August Busch IV stressed that the deal was "friendly" and the best move for his company's shareholders.
"Carlos Brito is a strong leader," he said. "I respect him and he has my firm backing."Busch will not have an executive role with the new company, but will take a seat on InBev's board, as will one other current or former member of A-B's board. Brito said he hopes to close the deal by the end of the year.
Serious questions remain: Who, exactly, will run the North American operations? Which Anheuser-Busch executives will remain with the combined company, and in what role? Will benefits be cut, and how?
"I know this has been a difficult period of uncertainty," August Busch wrote Sunday night in a message to employees. "I thank each of you for your steady perseverance during this time. This has been an emotional decision for me."
With college football coming up fast, I went out and purchased a series of trivia books about various college football programs....the first book I purchased was Soonerology Trivia Challenge....the book has questions about Oklahoma football...here are a Baker's Dozen of interesting facts:
- Oklahoma first became known as the Sooners in 1908...prior to that they were known as Boomers or Rough Riders...
- Granville Liggins was Oklahoma's first African-American All-American...he was an All-American in 1966-67...
- The Oklahoma football program does not retire jersey numbers...
- Greg Pruitt holds the Oklahoma single game rushing record with 294 yards at Kansas State in 1971...
- The Barry Switzer Center, which was dedicated in 1999, houses locker and equipment rooms, coaches offices, sports medicine, and the Touchdown Club Legends lobby...
- The wishbone offense became popular when Oklahoma head coach Chuck Fairbanks and assistant coach Barry Switzer installed it in the fourth game of the 1970 season...
- Since its inception in 1985, the Butkus Award was awarded four times to Oklahoma players - Brian Bosworth (1985 & 1986), Rocky Calmus (2001) and Teddy Lehman (2003)
- The words "Play Like a Champion Today" is inscribed in the locker room that each Oklahoma player touches before taking the field...the saying is made popular by Notre Dame, but has been a long standing tradition at Oklahoma....
- Head coach Bob Stoops was born in Youngstown, Ohio on September 9, 1960...
- The winner of the Red River Shootout between Oklahoma and Texas receives the Golden Hat Trophy...the trophy is a gold ten-gallon hat...
- Two of the most colorful names played running back at Oklahoma - Elvis Peacock and Buster Ryhmes...
- Uve von Schamann kicked the game winning field goal for Oklahoma when they beat the Woody Hayes coached Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus in 1978...
- Marcus Dupree set the Oklahoma rushing mark for most yards in a bowl game when he rambled for 239 yards in the 1983 Fiesta Bowl against Arizona State...the Sooners lost the game...
Below is the clip of Keith Jackson's call of von Schamann's winning field goal over Ohio State...
ESPN.com writer Gene Wojciechowski writes about the Brett Favre saga...
Sunday, July 13, 2008 ESPN.com
The World Series of Poker isn't being played in Las Vegas. It's being played in Green Bay, Wis., and Hattiesburg, Miss. And so far a very amateurish Ted Thompson is trying to show strength in his hand.
Feel free to laugh the next time Green Bay Packers management, both past and present, starts talking about "preserving" Brett Favre's legacy and cherishing Favre's place in the team's "family." It means nothing.
The Packers are about the Packers, and that's fine, even expected, but at least say so from the beginning. Don't pretend you're genuinely concerned about Favre's standing in franchise lore when, in reality, you're more concerned about damage and image control.
Favre wants to unretire. And, yeah, it's a bit of a diva-ish thing to do. Tears in March. Text messages in July.
But Favre has earned his share of diva currency, enough for one Get Out Of Retirement card. He's played hurt. He's played with his heart heavy with grief. And he's played for the moment, not the money. There are bits and pieces of his body all over Lambeau Field.
Thompson, the Packers' GM, doesn't see it that way. His solution -- and remember, the Packers are the self-appointed guardians of Favre's football reputation -- is to announce that one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, the guy only seven months removed the NFC Championship, can return as, at best, a second-stringer. Think about it: Favre wearing a baseball cap and holding a clipboard.
Packers management wants it both ways. It says it wants to protect Favre from himself, but mostly it wants to protect Favre from becoming a free agent, signing with the Minnesota Vikings and possibly kicking the Packers' butts twice in the regular season. That's the reason behind not granting Favre his release -- nothing else.
Management says the "finality" of Favre's retirement prompted the Packers to "move forward with our football team.'' But how can you move forward if Favre is still on the depth chart? If you don't want him as your starter, which is beyond astounding, then why want him at all?
Thompson has mixed a football Molotov cocktail. A short pour of Favre. A long pour of Aaron Rodgers. Topped off by Packers teammates and fans torn by their allegiances. Now light and throw.
Favre could make it easy on Thompson by staying retired. Of course, that's what Thompson is counting on: The great Brett Favre would never come back here as a backup. He wants Favre to fold.
But I'd love to see Favre report to Packers training camp later this month. I'd love to see the beads of sweat form on Thompson's forehead as he realizes he miscalculated the situation. Again.
If Favre shows up, Thompson has created an instant quarterback controversy. And by doing so, he has created the beginnings of a divided locker room. You don't think there are going to be pro-Favre guys vs. pro-Rodgers guys on that roster? You don't think the Lambeau crowd will start chanting No. 4's name the first time Rodgers struggles (and he will -- zero starts, 35 completions and one touchdown throw in three seasons)? You don't think Rodgers, Thompson's very first pick as GM in 2005, will be looking over his shoulder pads every time he makes a mistake?
Favre isn't blameless in this mess. He miscalculated, too. And for that, some Packers followers now consider him a whiner, not worth the trouble. Let's hear what they say if Rodgers bombs.
Thompson doesn't really want Favre back, unless it's for ribbon-cutting ceremonies or 20-year anniversaries. He wants the Rodgers Era to begin as soon as possible, preferably with Favre watching from his living room in Mississippi.
But sometimes you make exceptions for the exceptional. Favre has his faults, beginning with his penchant for changing his mind, but he still gives the Packers the best chance to win. Somehow that's been lost in the chaos. If Thompson wants to honor Favre's legacy, then grant him his release. If he signs with the Vikings and beats you, then that's how it goes. After all, Thompson had first crack at him as the Packers' starter.
Or if Favre truly wants to make this an amicable farewell, then he should tell the Packers he won't sign with an NFC North team. The wink-wink understanding might not be officially allowed by the league, but who has to know, right? The more likely scenario: The Packers could manipulate the trade process by making the price reasonable for, say, AFC teams, but cost-prohibitive for teams such as the division rival Vikings, Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions, or even 2008 NFC opponents Tampa Bay (Sept. 28 road game) and Carolina (Nov. 30 game at Lambeau) -- both rumored landing spots for Favre.
The whole situation is messier than eating barbecue ribs with your knuckles. And it could only get worse.
In the end, Thompson and the Packers are the ones jumping off the cliff without the bungee cord securely attached. They're betting everything on Rodgers' potential and Favre's sense of pride.
I'll bet on Favre. Lesser cards, better player.
Gene Wojciechowski is the senior national columnist for ESPN.com. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greg Cote of the Miami Herald already is thinking about Favre in a Dolphins uniform... "Brett Favre seems like he wants to parachute back into the NFL. They ought to be drawing a big ''X'' in the middle of the Dolphins' huddle and coaxing him to a soft landing right here in Miami." ...
Stan Olson of The Charlotte Observer writes about the calamity of Jason Varitek in the All-Star Game... "This result makes one thing obvious; many players – like many fans – don't exactly research their ballots thoroughly. My bet is many vote for friends or, like those fans, on the basis of reputation." ...
David King of the San Antonio Express-News writes how U.S. Olympic baseball coach Davey Johnson is ready to win a gold medal and bring baseball back to the Olympics... "They have to pick a team of players not on big-league rosters — in fact, not all that close to big-league rosters —work with them for a few weeks, and then beat the Cubans, the Japanese and everyone else in Beijing. Oh yes, and put on a good enough show to sway members of the International Olympic Committee, who will vote next year on restoring baseball to the Games in 2016 after tossing it out for 2012." ...
Bill Livingston of the (Cleveland) Plain Dealer writes how LeBron James is a man of many hats... "Over the years, he has said how fond he is of Southern Cal (when in Los Angeles), of Oregon (when in Portland), of North Carolina (in Charlotte), and of Michigan State (in Detroit.) If he had had to go to college, he would have needed a closet full of freshman beanies." ...
Brian Meehan of the (Portland) Oregonian questions why former Braves slugger Dale Murphy is not close to being considered for the Hall of Fame... "Few observers will argue that his career peak was Hall of Fame material. In the 1980s, the center fielder won consecutive MVP awards; he and Roger Maris are the only players with two consecutive MVPs who are not in the hall." ...
Tim Sullivan of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes that C.C. Sabathia's trade to Milwaukee was a positive move for small-market teams... "The Milwaukee Brewers, occupants of baseball's second-smallest market, landed the largest and most coveted commodity on the midseason market yesterday with the acquisition of His Hefty Leftiness, the 290-pound Cy Young Award winner, C.C. Sabathia." ...
Gordon Edes of The Boston Globe writes about how a Red Sox historian hates to see the fate of Yankee Stadium... "Janet Marie Smith is in the business of preserving the past, not tearing it down. She thinks of Yankee Stadium being dismantled - dis-Marised and dis-Berraed, dis-Reggied and dis-Jetered, too - and shudders to think that Fenway Park faced a similar death sentence until it was commuted by John W. Henry, Tom Werner, and Larry Lucchino." ...
Alan Schwarz of The New York Times writes about the Risk Brothers who had a troubled past, but are now starting All-Stars... "As their story lines continue to diverge, the dynamic of the Risk Brothers may say less about Hamilton and Bradley than about the road from wrong to redemption that so many athletes ride. Humility, contrition and candor with the news media are vital." ...
Joe Brescia of The New York Times writes about former Yankee Bernie Williams who has faded from the limelight... "The invitation to take part in the All-Star activities was extended by Major League Baseball, not the Yankees, an indication that the team and Williams still have work to do in repairing their relationship. The relationship was strained when the Yankees invited Williams to spring training in 2007, without guaranteeing him a spot on the roster. Williams declined to show up, and he has not played since." ...