A few weeks ago, Brad Dickson had this comment in the Omaha World-Herald:
“Brian Urlacher is retiring after 13 years with the Chicago Bears. Experts say, in another five years, Urlacher should stop hearing Jay Cutler whining in his sleep.”
I have no idea if Brian Urlacher hears Jay Cutler whining in his sleep, but word came this week that Brian Urlacher will be starting a second career related to football. The first report I saw was on The Big Lead; ultimately both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times confirmed that Urlacher will join FOX Sports 1 – the new network that seems to want to challenge ESPN’s supremacy as the cable sports network giant. Reports say that he will be part of a studio program called Fox Football Daily which will air opposite ESPN’s SportsCenter at 6:00 PM Eastern Time.
Brian Urlacher’s reputation is as a stand-up guy who tells you what he thinks. That kind of on-air persona has worked marvelously for Charles Barkley partly because Sir Charles mixes in almost pixie-like humor once in a while. [Aside: If you do not think it is difficult for Barkley to do anything in a pixie-like fashion, you have just not been paying attention to the way he lives 99% of his life.] It would seem to me that Brian Urlacher might evolve into a better color analyst for game day than a studio analyst/host/whatever. However, that may also be why I am not in the television casting business.
Last week at media day for the Big 12 football coaches, Charlie Weis caused a stir. Someone asked him what his recruiting pitch to prospects was and Weis in his well-known blunt and candid way said something along these lines:
“You want to play, right? Everyone wants to play. Well, have you taken a look at that pile of crap out there [meaning the Kansas football team that went 1-11 last year]. If you don’t think you can play here, where exactly do you think you can play?”
I have no idea what grade that might get in a Marketing 101 class as a way to recruit folks to your cause, but it is certainly a different answer than the questioner should have expected. The problem is that lots of folks got their knickers in a knot because they felt that Charlie Weis was calling “his kids” a pile of crap. Michael Wilbon said on PTI that parents of current and future players at Kansas should be outraged. Frankly, I think that takes this whole situation further than it needs to go.
Charlie Weis could have used a more polite metaphor than a “pile of crap” when referring to the accomplishments of his Kansas team last year. Nevertheless, any apt metaphor would not be flattering to the team and if his message is along the lines of “You can play here sooner than you can at Alabama because we have less talent ahead of you in line than they do,” then he is simply telling the truth. Parents of current and future Kansas players ought to think highly of a coach who tells his players the truth…
Frankly, Greg Cote summarized this situation well in last weekend’s column in the Miami Herald:
“Parting thought: Kansas football coach Charlie Weis this week referred to last year’s 1-11 team as “a pile of crap.” It was considered an insult. To crap.”
A recent report in the New York Times said that the New York City Council wants Madison Square Garden to close its doors in 2023 to make way for development on its site. If this happens – and there is far too much time that has to pass between now and 2023 to consider this political position to be cast in concrete – the Rangers and the Knicks would need to find or build themselves a new playpen. I do not know anything at all about where there might be a chunk of land in NYC that might be appropriate for whatever a new facility might be called, so I will refrain from making any predictions there. I do think, however, that this is an interesting twist on the more common way that teams seek new arenas.
Normally, the team tells the local politicians, the press and the fans that they just have to have new facilities. In fact, it is because of the teams’ undying devotion to the “greatest fans in the world” that they are asking the politicians to foot all or most of the bill for the new digs.
In this case, the politicians are telling the teams to move on because there is more economic benefit to be had for the city if they use the land under Madison Square Garden for more productive endeavors.
Lots of new sports facilities are sporting upscale restaurants these days probably to accommodate the fans who really do not care much about the game on the field but instead care about being part of the “eventness” of the game on the field. Some folks are at a game for the purpose of being seen at the game rather than being there to see the game. In Atlanta, it seems that Turner Field is bucking that trend.
There will be a new restaurant coming to Turner Field. It is well known in the Atlanta area – and in other parts of the Southeastern US – but few would characterize it as upscale or prestigious. What is coming to Turner Field is a – - Waffle House. This particular restaurant will be the first Waffle House in the chain that will not be open 24/7. I wonder if they will feature the Pork Chop Dinner entrée – that’s 3 pork chops, Texas Toast, hash browns and a salad. Waiter, may I see the wine list please…?
Finally, Dwight Perry ruminated on the Miami Marlins’ place in the cosmos recently in the Seattle Times:
“Scientists have discovered a planet 300 light years from earth.
Or roughly the same distance between the Marlins and playoff contention.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………