Vaya Con Dios, Nick Charles

Back in the days when CNN actually telecast news and not interview/opinion programming on a 24/7 basis, Nick Charles and Fred Hickman teamed up as the anchors on CNN’s nightly sports roundup. I recall Nick Charles from a previous stint that he did with a Baltimore TV station as the sports director there. He has been with Showtime for a while now as the host of their boxing programming. Last week, it was reported that Nick Charles is taking a leave of absence for treatment of Stage IV bladder cancer at the University of Texas Hospital Cancer Center. In return for all of the information and entertainment that he provided to me over the years, I am sending all the good thoughts I can muster in his direction…

Speaking of sports reporting, I ran across news that the US has a commanding lead over Europe in the Solheim Cup. How many people do you think could write a 50-word description of the Solheim Cup and the competition associated with it in two minutes time? How many could do it without “Googling”? For the record, I guessed the sport involved but had precisely nothing else correct in my guesses related to this event.

On a similar note, the Sky Blue won the Women’s Professional Soccer Championship over the Sol. Stop 100 people randomly on the street and ask them to identify the city and/or state represented by the “Sky Blue” and by the “Sol”. I am setting the Over/Under at 10.5 for the number of folks who can answer both correctly. What is your wager here?

    Here is a hint: If you have never heard of the “Sky Blue” but you guess its city/state correctly, you might also guess that a team named the “Gila Monsters” came from Fairbanks, Alaska.

Surely, you have read or heard about the “gender controversy” surrounding Caster Semanya – the South African track star who won the women’s 800 meters at the World Track and Field Championships in Germany last week. The track and field authorities say it will take weeks to do some gender identity tests; some folks believe that all that would be needed is a physical examination of Semanya’s “nether regions”. Somehow, I think both views are off base. If Semanya were born a male, a Y-chromosome would be present in virtually every cell of the body. Since the locus of that chromosome is well known and since its shape can distinguish that chromosome readily, why will this determination need to take several weeks?

Lest everyone think that there will be no more impact of last year’s economic turmoil on the sports world, consider these two items related to the NFL – - unquestionably one of the sporting world’s behemoths.

    The Miami Herald reported that the NFL will not be reserving nearly as many hotel rooms in Miami for the Super Bowl this year as had been expected. Supposedly, the league will block 10,000 rooms next January/February compared to a planning estimate of 17,000 set back when the game was awarded to Miami. For those keeping score at home, that is more than a 40% decrease…

    The Florida Times-Union reports that the Jacksonville Jaguars will not sell out any home games this year and the team will have the option to black out every home game. The Jags put a tarp over about 10,000 seats in their stadium a few years ago to shrink the stadium capacity so that home games might be telecast locally. This phenomenon is not limited to Jax; several teams offer single game tickets for sale on their websites, which can only mean their games, are not sold out either. See Raiders, Oakland and Chargers, San Diego and Lions, Detroit and …

I wonder if any of the folks in the NFL Front Office have thought about negating the blackout rules for the 2009 season sending the message that they want to bring the games to all of their fans – including the ones in cities where the recession led to some empty seats in the stands. If done with the right kind of presentation, this could generate some goodwill for the league as it enters CBA negotiations with the players – - just in case those negotiations get contentious.

Meanwhile, DirecTV and the Versus Network are in “stare-down mode” with DirecTV threatening to drop Versus at the end of this month. The issue of course is money; any and all other issues that may or may not exist here are trivial compared to the issue of money. Versus is the network that carries a lot of NHL games; so if DirecTV drops the network, that will reduce the footprint of NHL coverage on TV. Somehow, I do not think that is a condition that Gary Bettman has been wishing for.

The NHL has a problem here to be sure but I feel even sorrier for those other Versus dedicated viewers who will not be able to turn to local telecasts of bull riding, Indy car races and cycling events. NHL fans may have to cut back on their consumption of ice hockey games but those other fans will be on a starvation diet.

    Memo to the Washington Nationals: If you fire your manager – again – and hire John Calipari immediately, you may be able to convince MLB to vacate the 2009 season. It has never been done before, but think about it; do you really want this season to remain in the history of baseball for the rest of time?

    Just a thought…

There is no truth at all to the rumor that the Minnesota Vikings will decide on their #2 QB by using a best of three “rock/scissors/paper” competition between Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels. That would make no sense. They have to keep John David Booty in the mix here somehow…

Finally, here is a comment from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:

“George Steinbrenner High School opens its doors to 2,000 students for the first time Tuesday in Lutz, Fla.

“School officials plan to kick off the school year in style, signing a free-agent chemistry teacher to a $10 million deal and firing the baseball coach.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…

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  • Ed  On August 24, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Solheim – isn’t that the first name of the guy behind Ping irons? looks like Surgeon General Koop, IIRC? Golf. Ok, I’m done.

    10.5? I’ll take “under”

  • Ed  On August 24, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Oh, and as for the runner – I think sometimes intersexed people aren’t as black and white as that – you have XXY, XYY, etc. Can be a bit of a spectrum here. then you may have a case like Stella Walsh…

  • Rich  On August 24, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    I have been fortunate enough to watch the recent track and field championships from Berlin in HD on Versus. They have done a good job broadcasting in that sport. Hockey looks good in HD, too.
    Also, in the future, will I need a degree in Biochemistry to fully enjoy and understand the latest sports news?

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On August 24, 2009 at 7:46 pm


    Frankly, I think you are safe with the UNDER bet. It might be UNDER 6.5…

    Golf is correct! The details beyond that are many – - but not really interesting.

    I was trying to keep it simple with regard to the “X-Y” chromosomal pairings. You are right, there can be some very distinct and very undefined patterns on that gene. However, I think I would try to look for a simple “X-Y” or “X-X” pairing first before doing anything else. And that test should take a few hours at most…

    I love the standard description of Stella Walsh (other name was Stanizlawa Something-or-other) as a person with “ambiguous genitalia”. If I allow my mind to wander on that phraseology, I can get my thinking into some strange categories indeed.

    Rich: I have not yet seen a sport in HD that did not look better than it did on “regular TV”. They don’t become more interesting on HD, but they sure do look better. For example, ESPN now does the WSOP in HD. It isn’t any more interesting in that format than it was on plain vanilla ESPN, but you can see the pimples on the faces of some of the participants.

    Don’t know if a graduate degree in biochemistry will be necessary for sports viewing in the future, but a minor in biology as an undergrad will surely be an important thing to have under your belt.

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