I must begin today by correcting an error from last week. In speaking about Frank Robinson being involved in a hugely one-sided trade between the Reds and the Orioles, I said that one of the players involved was Dick “Suitcase” Simpson. I received this email from the font of sports historical information in Houston:
“You got your Simpsons mixed up. Harry “Suitcase” Simpson was the traveler, playing with Cleveland, KC, NYY, KC again, CHW, and Pittsburgh from 1951-1959.
“Dick Simpson played with LAA, Cincy, St Louis, Houston, NYY, and Seattle from 1962-1969. He had no nickname, as he only had 518 ABs and a .207 BA over that period.
“The funny thing is that Dick was traded seven times to Harry’s four times (Harry was purchased twice also).
“Compared to many other players travels over the years, these guys’ movements among teams seems like a pittance.”
I stand corrected. Thanks to the reader in Houston for setting me straight.
I also said last week that I would take a look at some of the AAF games in their inaugural weekend. I did not watch any game from start to finish but I saw about half of the three games on TV in my area. Just a few generic observations:
- Generally, the talent level on the field is equal to or better than major college football teams. These guys are not weekend warriors by any means.
- Teams have been together for about a month with one exhibition game under their belts; some of the play was understandably ragged.
- I saw 7 QBs; none were impressive; Christian Hackenberg specifically was bleak.
- The pace of the games was fast; one of them ended 2 hours and 40 minutes after the TV start time.
- Interesting rule for the AAF limits blitzing to 5 pass rushers all of whom must be within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped. I’m not sure I like that one.
- I did not miss seeing PATs or kickoffs.
- I like having the replay official on camera and on the microphone as he deliberates challenged calls.
- Marvin Lewis did color for the Arizona/Salt Lake game; he obviously knows his stuff, but his presentation is verbal Ambien. They need to change his embalming fluid before he goes on the air…
- Stadium crowds were OK; none were filled to overflowing but the ones I saw looked to have better attendance than many college bowl games.
- The AAF is not “appointment TV”, but the AAF is a reasonable product.
The NY Post had a report over the weekend that Charles Woodson is out at ESPN from their Sunday studio show, Countdown to Kickoff. I’m sorry to hear that; I liked Charles Woodson in that role. To my mind, the “problem” with Countdown has little to do with Woodson; I think the problem is very simple – and very difficult to resolve:
- The ESPN studio lead-in to NFL football on Sundays was presented by a broadcasting icon – Chris Berman – for decades. He is not there anymore and no one in the cast of characters can pretend to be of a comparable stature.
That is not intended in any way to be a back-handed dismissal of Sam Ponder as the host of the program. That statement simply states the obvious; Sam Ponder does not have the broadcasting gravitas of Chris Berman; that is why it is immensely difficult to follow someone of high stature in any position. Moreover, Sam Ponder does not get a lot of help from her cohorts on the program:
- I said I like Charles Woodson; I think he is the best of the lot among the regulars but let me be clear and say that if he is measured by the standard of Tom Jackson as the counterbalance to the program host, he does not measure up.
- Rex Ryan is a one-trick pony; he ran out of interesting things to say a year ago.
- Randy Moss is excellent at times and “change-the-channel obtuse” at other times.
- Matt Hasselbeck often has interesting things to add, but he is as exciting as porridge pizza.
I ran across this statement by an NCAA official to ESPN:
“During the NCAA tournament, we will review all shots made at the buzzer, as necessary, in the interest of accuracy of score and team and player statistics and even if the outcome of the game isn’t riding on the officials’ call.”
Isn’t that an interesting coincidence? The NCAA tournament has been around since 1939; the NCAA has had access to replay technology since the 1970s; the “accuracy of score and team and player statistics” now becomes important enough to review buzzer shots the year after sports wagering has expanded. Only now has the “interest in accuracy” become so important…
Finally, here is a comment from Bob Molinaro in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot:
“Mulligan required: Maroon 5 wanted a do-over after its heavily criticized Super Bowl performance, but the State of the Union doesn’t have a halftime show.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………