Friday, August 26, 2011

High School Football is Back!

Tonight it begins anew!  High School football is back.  Schools across the state are preparing to send their teams into battle.  Tonight FCA travels to Millersport to kickoff a new campaign.  Mark, now a junior, will see more playing time (hopefully) this year.  I will be back in the tv booth for nine of the ten games.  Once again, the games can be seen on the Lancaster School Network Sundays at 4 pm.  Next week I will have the opportunity to be in the radio booth for WFCO calling play by play.   I will admit, it is a nice perk, to get into high school football games for free, and all you have to do is talk about what you see into a microphone.  Football is back.   To be a small part of it is a blessing from the Lord

Thome's Home

At long last, an Wahoo Hero returns.  Jim Thome was traded by the Twins to the Tribe on Thursday.  Thome, who was brought up in the Indians' farm system and spent 12 years with the Tribe, returns to the Tribe lineup on Friday.  Do not underestimate this move for Tribe fans.  It is huge.  Why?  Let me try to explain.

Jim Thome was a hero to many Tribe fans.  He left via free agency.  After professing his love for Cleveland, he spurned a multi million dollar contract offered by the Indians for more millions offered by the Phillies.  No matter the reason, Indian fans were angry and hurt.  A local baseball icon left willingly, in spite of saying how much he loved Cleveland.  He could have stayed but chose to leave of his own volition. When Thome returned to Cleveland in a White Sox uni, he was roundly booed.  Indian fans let their anger be known loud and clear.

They say time heals all wounds.  I hope it has for many Indians fans.  A local hero returns.  Two of my kids, Emily and Drew, will be in attendance cheering their baseball hero.  I hope Jim Thome gets a standing ovation.  I hope he retires an Indian and is hired by the front office to work for the organization after his retirement.  He should go into the Hall of Fame as an Indian.  One of the greatest players of the modern era returns where it all began for him.  In this era of free agency, it is nigh impossible to hope that a player plays his entire career for one team, as did Feller or Musial.  Maybe this is as close as it gets as the local hero returns.  Presently, Cardinal fans are sweating bullets wondering if their local hero will resign with the team.  If you are Cardinal fan, please know that we Indian fans can relate.  What is going on with Albert is a microcosm of what we went through with Jim Thome.  We feel your pain.  we know what you are going through.  But tonight and for the month of September, there is joy in Cleveland.  Thome's home!  THOME'S HOME!!! Welcome home, Jim Thome, it is good to have you back where you belong.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Broadcasting after a break

As many of you know, I have had the opportunity to participate as a sports announcer for FCA on LSN (TV) and for high school sports in general on WFCO.  After a. break of a few months, I will once again be offered the opportunity to do play by play for high school sports.  On TV, I will be the color man for the telecasts.  Watch LSN on Sundays at 4pm to see the game.

On the radio side, I will be doing play by play for WFCO on the nights when I am not in the tv booth.  Listen to 90.9 FM for my calls.  I will try to post the list of games I will be doing in the future.  It is a nice hobby, a chance to something I always wanted to do, and I get to see high school sports for free!  You can't beat that

Saturday, August 6, 2011

So, how IS your golf game?

Fine, just thank you.  I have improved immensely since the start of the season.  My handicap ballooned to a 14 (for nine holes) at the beginning.  I was using my driver off of the tee, spraying the ball all over the place.  I was scoring in the low 50's for nine holes, not a good score at all for me.  But I made a couple of changes, for the better, and now I am scoring 45-48 per nine holes, a 3-5 stroke difference.

What did I do?  For one, I put the driver away.  I am now using a three wood off of the tee, giving me better accuracy as I am now hitting my second shot from the fairway instead of the deep rough.  I am rarely losing balls, now I am trying to just keep it in play.

The second adjustment has been moving the ball back in my stance.  This has allowed me to hit down on the ball, adding to my ball striking consistency.  As I am able to now strike the ball well more often, I am hitting more greens in regulation, giving me an opportunity for more pars and less double bogies.

My friend, Curt Kruse, has offered to give me a lesson or two to help out.  He knows me well, as Curt was my golfing partner for a number of years in church league.  He told me that I am a feel golfer, meaning that when I golf better when I think less of the mechanics of the swing, and just play the game, allowing the feel of the shot to take over.  Much like shooting a basketball well ( when you are in a zone, you are hard to stop) so too golfing by "feel" allows the golfer to just naturally play the game.   I will take Curt up on his offer sooner rather than later (he said it won't be for at least two weeks because our team is playing him), because Curt knows my swing and knows my game.  If he can help me, and if I can put his advice into practice, I should be lowering my score soon.  And that is what makes golf fun.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Buckeye Update

Alas, there are no buckeyes.  No, I am not talking about OSU Football, I am speaking of my beloved Buckeye tree.  This time last year I found one nut about to fall, and I harvested later in the summer my first buckeye.  This spring, the buckeye tree had CLUSTERS of nuts, I was expecting a bountiful harvest, at least one buckeye for each member of my family (yes, even the Hoosier of the bunch, Binkylu would be in line to receive the first of the harvest).  But alas, no buckeyes this year.  It isn't because of the debt limit debate, nor is it the fault of the NCAA investigation.  I lost all of the Buckeyes during one of the torrential spring storms we experienced.  No buckeyes this year, maybe next year.  It looks like I will be hunting buckeyes from other sources soon.

A Report From Pittsburgh

A couple of weeks ago I was able to go to Pittsburgh with my kids to see PNC Park.  We attended the Cards-Pirate game.  We were all interested in seeing PNC and it is safe to say we were not disappointed.  It is a gem of a ballpark.  It looks like a minor league park as you approach it, for it seems so small.  But it is far from minor league.  It has great sight lines, a wonderful panorama view of the Clemente Bridge and downtown Pittsburgh, and there doesn't seem to be a bad seat in the house.  It is a great venue to watch a game.  I always wanted to go, and after my experience, it is safe to say we will go again.  It was totally enjoyable and a tip of the cap to the Pirate organization for doing a great job.  And this is coming from a native Clevelander!


I have usually had the opportunity to listen to the radio A LOT in my travels.  If I am not listening to Sirius XM, then I am tuned into WKNR, 850 AM in Cleveland.  It is a sports talk format that I have enjoyed in the past.  Tony Rizzo is highly entertaining and I have enjoyed listening to Michael Reghi, Deron Cherry, and LeCharles Bentley as well.  While I may not always agree with them, their opinions get you thinking.  But I have turned off WKNR, because they now bore me.  There are a few personalities who think they know it all and their opinions are highly predictable.  Just who are these guys?  Hammer and Fedor on the Really Big Show and Kenny Roda on afternoons with Reghi and Roda are the three personalities who have no personality nor any original thoughts.

These three seemingly offer opinions which oppose what the interests are of most of the listeners.  They seemingly always take the contrary position.  In their own offense (not defense, for their styles are grating) they will rant on and root against anything positive happening on the Cleveland sports teams.  Examples are plentiful:

Hammer hates Ohio State.  All of his opinions reflect his bias.  There is no objectivity.  Seeing as he hails from Denver, he openly roots for Denver, including the Broncos.  He will have John Elway on his show soon.  Who in Cleveland is interested in hearing John Elway, admittedly a HOF player and a great person, but who is interested in him?

Fedor states that he is the objective personality of the Really Big Show.  Yet he is so negative that Rizzo has now given him a nickname: Negative Ned.  He bashes the Indians for not doing anything, and yet when they add pitching in their trade for Jimenez, Fedor rants that the Indians overpaid.  See my last post as for my opinion on the trade.  No one will know for a couple of years.  But Fedor will rant on and on, about Peyton Hillis being on the cover of Madden, on how Hillis in his opinion is not even in the top ten of running backs in the NFL.  He is entitled to his opinions, but his opinions are now boring and predictable.

Roda hails from Pittsburgh.  The Dolans can do no right with Roda.  But he bashes them for not added payroll (when they added Jimenez) and not getting a bat at the deadline.  Roda fails to realize that the one bat that would have made a difference (Beltran) DIDN"T want to come to Cleveland and the other players who were available wouldn't have been a big upgrade over what the Indians have now.  He also fails to understand that it takes two teams to make a trade.  The Indians can try to obtain all sorts of players, but if the other teams have a different opinion as to their players' value, and the two teams don't have a meeting of the minds, then a trade WON'T be made.  In fairness, perhaps Roda realizes this, but he takes a contrary position just to be controversial.  He isn't.  I find Roda, Hammer, and Fedor boring and predictable.

I have noticed that there will be a new kid in town, 92.3 FM in Cleveland that will offer sports talk as an alternative.  I predict that this station will be successful.  Why?  In part BECAUSE of Hammer, Roda, and Fedor.  Their styles and opinions are way too predictable.  Fans and listeners do not want personalities who continually seek to take an opposing position on an issue JUST TO STIR UP CONTROVERSY.   What fans want is honest dialogue and conversation.

If WKNR wants to see how this is done, just listen to Reghi, Cherry, Bentley, and Rizz.  They know what they are doing.  They are genuine and they get it.   The other three stooges don't.

A Trade at the Deadline

It has been a while since the Tribe made a significant trade at the deadline to add players for the stretch run.  This time is was for pitcher Ubaldo Jiminez, a true ace of the staff.  When I first heard about the trade, I was with Drew at the Clippers game last Saturday.  We were following the events on Twitter.  First White was to be traded, then Pomeranz, then both of them along with two other players.  At first, I thought, wow, this is too much.  Much as I hated to give up TWO FRONTLINE PITCHING PROSPECTS, I began to think through the trade.  By completing the trade, the Indians are saying that they are all in this year to win it.  Jiminez is a heck of a pitcher, he pitched a no hitter last year.  If he is on, he is the ace of the staff, a true number one pitcher who can match up with other aces of other staffs.
What I particularly like about the trade is that Chris Antonetti added pitching at the deadline.  Think about it, the Indians are where they are at this year because of pitching.  Pitching and defense wins ball games.  Yes, they need to hit, but with a good pitching staff a small market team can compete with the bigger clubs.  I think that this will be the Indians blueprint for the foreseeable future.  They have pitching prospects STILL in the minors: Chen, Hagadone, Judy, Gomez, Huff, and a few others.  If they Indians can continue to draft and develop pitching, bringing the studs to the big leagues, we may see a window of opportunity opening for the Tribe for a long, long time.  I like the trade.  Did the Indians give up too much?  That remains to be seen.  But right now, they got another front line pitcher in the rotation.  Ubaldo pitches tomorrow night.  And the eyes of all Indians fans will be watching and rooting for him to succeed.