Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Earthquakes and the "PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedEx Cup"

I have always thought that New Jersey got a bad rap. Anytime someone says they are from New Jersey the first question they get asked is, “what exit?”

Everyone in New Jersey lives near an exit of The New Jersey Turnpike. Or so legend has it.

I am not a big fan of The Turnpike having driven it hundreds of times and the Garden State Parkway is often worse. But there are plenty of pretty places in New Jersey, especially in the western part of the state and if you pull off The Palisades Parkway just north of The George Washington Bridge you can find some spectacular views.

That said, the state is, well, quirky.

In many places, if you want to make a left turn, you have to turn right—and go around a jughandle to cross the road which always involves an extra light. You can’t put gas in your car. Full serve only. The prices are good—very good in fact—but when you are a control freak like me you don’t like waiting for someone to show up and ask you what you need. Often, if you’re traveling The Turnpike and don’t want to get off at an exit the lines at the rest stops bring back memories of the gas crisis 30-plus years ago. I always try to make sure I have enough gas to get through New Jersey, going north or south, even though if I was willing to wait on line the Jersey gas would be cheaper.

There’s another thing about New Jersey: You MUST get lost. There is no way to find anything without getting lost either because of roads criss-crossing one another; jug-handle turns or roads changing names when you aren’t looking. (To be fair, this can happen in downtown Washington too).

The first golf tournament I covered while researching ‘A Good Walk Spoiled,’ was the 1993 U.S. Open at Baltusrol. I don’t want to say I drove around in circles trying to find the golf course but I think two presidential elections were held while I was searching for the place.

When I finally found the media parking lot it was smack in the middle—I’m not exaggerating— of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s mounds of ashes in ‘The Great Gatsby.’ Another 45 minutes later, after riding on a school bus that I was convinced was going down at any minute, I arrived at the front gate of the golf club. (And friends of mine wonder why I obsess about parking).

I wasn’t the only person to have this sort of experience. Several bus drivers en route from the media hotel (which was at Newark Airport) got completely lost too. One was halfway to Pennsylvania before someone started screaming at him. The great Bob Verdi arrived one day and promptly told then-USGA Executive Director David B. Fay, “I don’t want to say we were lost for a long time but I need to shave again.”

So here we are in New Jersey 18 years later for the first round of the “PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedEx Cup.” If you have nothing better to do the next few days, count the number of times my Golf Channel colleagues and my CBS non-colleagues use this phrase. I’d say the over-under for the four days might approach 100.

Plainfield Country Club is the site this year and I was able to find the place with relatively few glitches by paying close attention to road changes and by staying very patient with the cop who was trying to tell me the road leading to the clubhouse entrance was closed even though I had a parking pass for the clubhouse. (No ashes for me again, thank-you very much).

The players seem to like the golf course although it has a lot of blind shots and a lot of side hill lies. I’m sure Ian Baker-Finch will think it is magnificent.

I spent some time with my buddy Paul Goydos while he was on the range this afternoon. He asked me if I’d heard his line about Atlanta Athletic Club—I didn’t make it to The PGA so I hadn’t.

“Only golf course I’ve ever played with a three-shot par four and a drivable par-three.”

If you play golf you know how funny that line is. Goydos is always funny.

Joe Ogilvie is also funny. After the earthquake yesterday he tweeted that if an earthquake would push those on the left in Washington and those on the right in Washington closer to the center then he was in favor of earthquakes.

I was in my car when the earthquake hit. The car started to shudder and I thought something was wrong with one of my tires. It stopped and I drove on. A little while later I got in the car to drive up here and started to go through my call list, which I routinely do when I have a long trip. Except I couldn’t make any calls.

I finally got a call through to Matt Rennie, the deputy sports editor at The Washington Post.

“Jesus,” I said. “Something’s wrong with my phone, you’re the first person I’ve been able to get through to in half an hour.”

“Well an earthquake will do that,” he said.

“What the hell does that have to do with anything?”

“We just had an earthquake you idiot! You didn’t notice?”

That was when I remembered the car shuddering.

I was instantly reminded of the other time I was in an earthquake. It was not San Francisco 1989 but San Diego—also during The World Series—in 1984. I was in my hotel room getting ready to take a shower when the room began to shake. Unlike yesterday there was absolutely no doubt about what was happening.

It stopped and the phone rang. It was Tony Kornheiser, who was also in the hotel.

“Did you feel that?” he said.

“Yeah I did,” I answered. “I’m guessing it was an earthquake.”

“Well, what are you going to do?”

“I’m going to take a shower.”

“You’re going to take a shower in the middle of an EARTHQUAKE?”

“Look, either there will be an aftershock and the building will come down or there won’t be and I need to shower before the game.”

“But there was an earthquake! I’m going down to the front desk.”

“Fine. I’m sure the building won’t collapse down there.”

For years Tony told the story about me getting in the shower in the middle of an earthquake.

Yesterday, shortly after I arrived here and checked into my hotel, Tony called.

“Did you feel the earthquake?” he said.

“Yeah, I did. I was in my car but I didn’t know what it was at the time.”

I told him the story about Rennie.

“So what are you doing right now?” he asked.

I told him the truth. “I’m about to take a shower.”

“I should have known.”

Time now to venture out again on the roads of New Jersey. I should be safe—at least until the hurricane hits. I hope we'll have hot water.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Washington Post column: Fixing college sports requires less talk, more action

Here is today's The Washington Post column on college sports. ---------

When Mark Emmert was named NCAA president in April 2010, the natural question to ask was this: Who will he choose to emulate in his new role?

We now know the answer. He is Don Vito Corleone.

Earlier this month, Emmert called for a meeting of the five families — also known as the 50 university presidents — to discuss the seemingly out-of-control cheating going on in college football. With both schools from last season’s championship football game (Auburn and Oregon) joining Ohio State, USC and North Carolina in running afoul of NCAA rules, it was time to put an end to this war.

One can almost see Emmert standing in the middle of a long table surrounded by the presidents with all their various functionaries sitting behind them.

“How did it all come to this?” Don Emmert undoubtedly asked. “We are all reasonable men (and a handful of women). It is time for us to make the peace.”

The upshot of the meeting was that the presidents were all shocked — shocked — to learn there was cheating going on, even as they were being presented with their winnings as they left. They also said academic standards needed to be tightened. Novel idea.

Then they went back to raiding each other’s conferences, all in pursuit of extra TV dollars.

Just to review in case you weren’t paying attention: Nebraska is now in the Big Ten, which has 12 teams. The Big 12 has 10 teams. Colorado and Utah are in the Pac-10, which at least had the decency to rename itself the Pac-12. Brigham Young is an independent.

Wait, there’s more: Texas A&M wants out of the Big 12 to join the SEC. The SEC says no thanks — for now. The SEC might recruit Florida State, Clemson and Missouri. Or it might not. If the ACC were to lose Florida State and Clemson, it would try to raid the Big East again — because that worked out so well last time.

Click here for the rest of the column:  Fixing college sports requires less talk, more action

'Hard-working' isn't reason enough for some umpires to stay in the Majors

For the first time in a while I had the chance to collapse in front of the TV last night with the remote in my hand and flip from one baseball game to another. I have to admit in some ways I miss the old days when I would sit down and watch ONE game—usually keeping score—from start to finish.

Now, I’m addicted to the remote. Sometimes I will change the channel between pitches much less between innings.

As luck would have it, I hit on the Yankees and Royals at precisely the moment that Billy Butler hit his ‘home run,’ in the bottom of the fourth inning to give the Royals a 4-2 lead. Except for this: It wasn’t a home run. The ball clearly hit the padding just in front of the fence that is the home run line in left field in Kauffman Stadium.

It wasn’t an easy call. You couldn’t blame umpire Dan DeMuth for missing it as he ran out in the direction of the fence to judge where the ball landed.

Thank goodness for replay.

While the umpires went into their room to watch the replay the Royals network showed the replay from several different angles. There wasn’t any doubt the ball had hit the padding just short of the fence. As they watched the replay from several angles, Royals announcers Ryan Lefebvre and Frank White said the ball was clearly not a home run.

“Billy’s going to have to put his helmet back on and go out to second base,” Lefebvre said at one point.

When replay first came in a couple of years ago one of the concerns was that it would slow games down—they’re already slow enough—the way replay now brings football games to a complete halt. Commissioner Bud Selig insisted that wouldn’t be a problem and estimated most replays wouldn’t delay the game for more than two minutes.

This one should have taken perhaps half that time.

It took more than five minutes. After a while Lefebvre and White began to wonder what was going on.

“Maybe they’re taking the time to get a cold drink,” Lefebvre said. “So Frank, what’d you have for dinner?”

Finally, the umpires came out and DeMuth—the crew chief—signaled home run, which sent Yankees manager Joe Girardi into an understandable tizzy. He argued. His bench argued. His bench was warned to keep quiet. After all, even if the call was wrong it was, well, um, a call.

I bring all this up not because I care who won the game; I truly don’t, although I’ve had a warm spot in my heart for the Royals since I covered their 1985 World Championship team which included White—a truly wonderful guy. I don’t bring it up because I think DeMuth’s a bad umpire although I’m baffled at how he could look at replay and not change his call.

I bring it up because it seems like very few nights go by when some umpire in some game doesn’t badly blow a call. I’m not talking about missing a high strike or even not seeing a ball barely short-hop an outfielder. People miss those calls because they’re human.

I’m talking screwing up ball and strike counts. I’m talking about Jerry Meals horribly missed call at home plate in the 19th inning of a Braves-Pirates game last month. I’m talking Phil Cuzzi being out of position and missing calls more often than I go back for seconds.

Meals, to his credit, apologized just as Jim Joyce did last year when he cost Armando Galarraga a perfect game with a blown call at first base that should have ended the game. Meals is a solid umpire and Joyce is a very good one. They aren’t the problem.

Here’s the problem: there are too many umpires like Cuzzi and Tony Randazzo and C.B. Bucknor and Angel Hernandez—those are my big four; I’m sure other people have others guys on their list—who simply aren’t good at what they do. You might throw Bob Davidson on that list because he’s so obsessed with calling balks he misses half the other calls he asked to make in a given night. Joe West’s temperament is less-than-great but he’s a competent umpire.

On most jobs if you aren’t doing it well you get fired. Supreme Court justices—sadly—don’t get fired. Neither do Major League Umpires. Basically, unless you break the law, you’ve got the job for life once you are vested as a big leaguer. Everyone in baseball knows who the bad umpires—the really bad ones—are but no one does anything about it.

Four years ago when I was working on my book, “Living on the Black,” with Mike Mussina and Tom Glavine, Mussina went nuts during a game in Tampa over C.B. Bucknor’s strike zone. Mussina had a reputation among umpires as one of the easiest pitcher in the game to work with (so did Glavine) because he almost never complained.

“I worked games with him for, I think, 13 years and if he walked up behind me and started talking I wouldn’t know who it was,” Rich Garcia, a long-time umpire told me one day. “I don’t think I ever heard him talk. He never complained.”

Garcia, you may remember, was the umpire who blew the Derek Jeter-Jeffrey Maier call in the 1996 playoffs and then came in after seeing a replay and told the media, “I blew it.”

After the game in Tampa I asked Mussina why he’d gotten so angry. He patiently explained that when an umpire consistently misses pitches, especially when you’re older, you become convinced those extra pitches you have to throw will come back and get you sooner or later.

“A lot of guys think C.B. Bucknor should be a Double-A umpire,” I said.

“That,” Mussina said, “would be an insult to Double-A umpires.”

Mussina is now retired; Bucknor is still in the Major Leagues.

I don’t want to pick on any one individual. I’m sure these guys are nice men who work hard at their job. But that’s not enough—not in any job. You need to do the job WELL. Angel Hernandez has had an attitude problem since he first got to the big leagues and still does.

MLB keeps changing the way it administers umpires. The latest guy in charge is Joe Torre, who knows something about the game. But if he doesn’t have the authority to tell umpires they aren’t doing the job; to put them on notice that they might be sent to Triple-A (the same way a player not performing might be sent to Triple-A) if they don’t improve, then all the knowledge in the world doesn’t help.

On Thursday, Torre said that DeMuth had missed the call. He said the problem wasn’t with the angles he saw on replay but with the fact that he DIDN’T KNOW THE GROUND RULE ON WHAT WAS A HOME RUN!

Seriously. The ballpark was re-designed in 2009 so the rule has been there for three years. The umpires go over the ground rules prior to the first game of every series. Was DeMuth getting a cold drink while this conversation took place?

What’s more, DeMuth took the coward’s way out, refusing to talk to reporters after the game. And yet Torre talked about how hard DeMuth works and the fact that he’s a good umpire.

Great. How about a five game suspension without pay for not knowing the ground rules? While you’re at it, you might throw in the rest of the crew. Didn’t SOMEONE know the ground rules? Apparently not. Inexcusable. And yet, no one will be punished and tonight or tomorrow another ‘hard-working,’ umpire will badly botch another call.

Good players make bad plays; we all know that. But if a player makes enough bad plays or fails to perform he’s not going to have a job in The Major Leagues anymore.

No one is saying Jim Joyce should be umpiring anywhere but in the big leagues and he’s a proven class act.

But right now Armando Galarraga is pitching in Reno. That happens to players. It doesn’t happen to umpires.

It should.

This week's radio segments (The Mike Wise Show, The Gas Man)

Here is the link to last week's radio segments, including the new continuing appearance on The Mike Wise Show. Click the permalink below, then the link to the audio links, for the newest available interviews.

Wednesday I joined The Mike Wise Show in my weekly spot, and this week we spent most of the time focused on the situation down at Miami. In it, I suggest my ideas for what direction the NCAA and it's leadership direction should go. After the scandal discussion, we moved onto golf and the Steve Williams saga.

Click here to listen to the segment: The Mike Wise Show


I joined The Gas Man, out of Seattle, for my weekly spot at 5:35 PT. Click below for the audio of this week's segment. This week we started out discussing Tiger Woods and his continuing struggles, including insight from two weeks ago in Akron and where his next tournament may be (Europe?). As expected we transitioned into talk about the scandals in college sports, and specifically what can and will happen to the programs involved.

Click here to listen to the segment: The Gas Man

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Steve Williams taking the low road; Odds and ends

A couple of weeks ago in a column for I suggested that the title of the book Steve Williams was proposing to write should be, “Somebody Had to Carry the Bag.” I have now revised the title. The book should be called, “The Low Road ALWAYS Taken.”

Let’s give old Stevie some credit. He did the impossible: Turned Tiger Woods into a semi-sympathetic figure for at least a couple of days. Some people have said he should have turned down CBS’s request for a post-round interview after his new man, Adam Scott, cruised to an impressive four-stroke victory at The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

I had no problem with CBS asking to talk to him or in Williams talking. He was clearly part of the story: His split with Woods had been much talked about (mostly by Williams) since it happened and the fact that his new player won in the first week he was officially his full time caddie while Woods was struggling along to a 37th place finish in his first week back since May, was clearly a story.

Now, I’ve been around Williams enough to know he’s not stupid. Obnoxious, yes. Arrogant beyond belief, yes. Rude…You get the picture. But stupid? No. And he’s talked to the media enough in recent years that the notion that he was overwhelmed by it all doesn’t play. He said what he wanted to say; what he had planned to say. Let’s remember he repeated the whole thing a few minutes later behind the green talking to the rest of the media.

His message was clear: F--- you Tiger. Look, everyone gets upset about being fired and you can certainly make the case that Woods had no actual cause to fire Williams. He’s clearly a very good caddie and if Woods was going to fire him it should have been years ago when he was breaking cameras and screaming profanities at fans and publicly abusing Phil Mickelson.

He didn’t. This was a change made for change sake because Woods is struggling and perhaps because the relationship between the two men had cooled since Woods’ fall from grace almost two years ago. Williams had a right to feel wronged….Except for this: Caddies are like baseball managers. Ninety-nine percent of the time they are hired to be fired. Bruce Edwards with Tom Watson was an exception and so is Jim Mackay with Mickelson. There are a few others, but not many.

Williams knows that. He also knows that working for Woods made him rich beyond his wildest dreams even if the ending was graceless—whether it happened in person as Woods claims or by phone as Williams claims. When David Feherty practically fell on top of himself trying to ask a question in a way that would set Williams up to say something nice about Woods while taking his own post-victory bow, Williams wanted no part of it.

He talked about this being the greatest win of his career and the greatest week of his career. The 13 majors with Woods never happened. Then he went into a long diatribe about what a great front-runner HE was. My God, how many shots exactly did he hit on Sunday? Was Scott even there?

As Jim Nantz said when it was over, “wow.” Exactly—wow. In a moment of triumph, Steve Williams left no doubt about just who he is for millions to witness.

Oh, one more note on Stevie’s week. On Wednesday he was told by a PGA Tour official that he would need to abandon his habit of yanking off his caddie bib on the 18th green. He’d been doing it for years to show off the corporate logo he’s paid to wear by an oil company. Because The Tour didn’t want to mess with Tiger, he was allowed to do it in spite of complaints from sponsors—who want THEIR logo on TV in return for the $8 million they pony up annually—and from other caddies who had to follow the rule that says the bibs stay on until you are in the scoring area.

Gracious as ever, Stevie growled something about the fact that, “the sponsors have never done anything for ME.” Really? Does he think the huge purses that he got a cut of from all of Tiger’s winnings the last 12 years came from the heavens or from those sponsors? When that was pointed out to him, he whined about how uncomfortable the bibs were. Only then did he agree to keep his on—because if he didn’t, his new boss would get fined and that probably wasn’t the best way to start a new job.

I reported this on Golf Channel on both Thursday and Friday. Apparently Nick Faldo, who WORKS for Golf Channel some of the time doesn’t watch the network very much and neither do his researchers at CBS because when Faldo saw Stevie still wearing the bib on Sunday afternoon he said, “Well, it used to be Steve’s tradition to take off his bib on the 18th green. Maybe he’s starting a new tradition.”

Yeah, that’s it, he’s starting a new tradition.


Some odds and ends on different subjects:

Jose Reyes must really be hurt this time. Usually the Mets announce that he is ‘day-to-day,’ when he gets hurt and then put him on the DL two weeks later. This time he went straight to the DL. All kidding aside: Terry Collins deserves some manager-of-the-year consideration given the way he has held this team together with David Wright and Reyes and now Daniel Murphy (who was having an excellent year) hurt for long stretches; the trades of Francisco Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran and Johan Santana not throwing a single pitch…

Gordon Gee of Ohio State is one of the 50 NCAA Presidents invited to the ‘summit,’ on big-time college athletics called by the NCAA. Isn’t that a little bit like asking Gee’s former coach Jim Tressel to chair a committee on transparency when dealing with a difficult situation?...

Someone asked recently why more of my books aren’t on tape. Good question: All my kids books are available on tape in their entirety. I am blessed to work with great people at Knopf. The non-fiction books, especially the more recent ones, are hit and miss largely because the people I’ve dealt with at Hachette Audio seem to be more interested in saving a few dollars on production costs than in putting out a quality product. To be honest, I stopped dealing with them about six books ago because it wasn’t worth the effort…

Finally: A belated Happy Birthday to my pal Jackson Diehl, who is the Deputy Editor of The Washington Post’s editorial page. Even though we last agreed political in, I think, 1979, we’ve been friends forever, dating to our days working in The Post’s Prince George’s County bureau in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Most important, Jackson is aging up and I fully expect to see him swim the 200 fly at next spring’s short course nationals…

Thursday, August 4, 2011

News from Akron: Tiger (gasp) and McIlroy make news; Last nail in the coffin for the Islanders?

Where to begin this morning. Actually the answer is easy: in Akron where Tiger Woods’ return to the PGA Tour is being treated (naturally) as slightly more important than the government not shutting down earlier this week.

Which is fine. While 99 percent of my colleagues will be chronicling Tiger’s every practice swing, deep breath and glance at his new caddie this afternoon, I’m going to walk for a while with Rickie Fowler and Matteo Manassero. I haven’t seen much of Fowler this year and I have never seen Manassero in person—something I’d really like to do. Plus, there should be plenty of room to walk around the golf course since they tee off 30 minutes prior to Tiger and Darren Clarke.

The big news yesterday—when Woods hit balls and practiced but didn’t speak to the media since he had done so on Tuesday—was that he was spotted with a Scotty Cameron putter in his bag. There was a great deal of analysis in the media center about what that meant or might mean when he gets out on the golf course.

As I listened to the discourse I was reminded of something Nick Faldo said years ago after he’d struggled on the greens during a PGA Championship:

“Nick, was the putter your biggest problem?” someone asked.

“The problem,” Faldo answered, “was the puttee.”

Exactly. If Tiger Woods is putting like Tiger Woods he could be using my old bent-shaft two-way (I putt lefty) putter and he’d make everything. If he’s not confident on the greens it doesn’t matter if he’s got a Scotty Cameron putter or a Scottie Pippen putter. It isn’t going to matter.

I actually wrote a column on yesterday (click here for the article) kind of mocking the media for their Tiger-obsession. I understand how important he is and, as I’ve said before, I’ve never seen anyone play golf the way he has played golf for very long stretches in the past. That’s said with all due respect to Jack Nicklaus.

But on a day when Woods hit balls for an hour and played nine practice holes, the announcement that Rory McIlroy has decided to come back to The PGA Tour next year was far more important than standing on the range trying to guess Tiger’s weight—which some guys were, quite literally, doing.

McIlroy’s decision to pass up a few appearance fees in Europe—he’s going to make so much as a U.S. Open champion when he does play there it really doesn’t matter—to come and play in the U.S. is a big deal. He likes the golf courses here and he likes the weather here. And, as his dad Gerry, who is traveling with him this week pointed out, there’s a tendency for people to assume a kid from Northern Ireland grew up playing links golf. Rory didn’t. Holywood Golf Club isn’t a links and McIlroy has always been a high-ball hitter. (That said I still think he’ll win a British Open and next year’s site, Royal Lytham and St. Anne’s might be his favorite British Open venue).

It’s simply impossible not to like McIlroy. On Tuesday night when I got here, I walked across the street from my hotel to grab a quick dinner at the fabulous TGI-Friday’s. Who was sitting two seats down from me at the bar? The McIlroy’s. Rory posed for photos with anyone who asked, chatted with people who came up to tell him exactly where they were when he holed out during the second round at Congressional and got out of his chair so he could lean down and chat with the little kids who wanted his autograph.

If anyone can be a 22-year-old multi-millionaire and come close to being normal, McIlroy is the guy. I know he’s been criticized for his comments about the weather at The British Open. The British media acted as if he had suggested the monarchy be abandoned.

He doesn’t like cold and rainy weather. Seriously, tell me golfers who do like cold and rainy weather? Tom Watson. That’s about the list. The notion that because he grew up in Northern Ireland so he should like bad weather is silly. I grew up in New York City. That doesn’t mean I like traffic.

Then last week he got into a twitter-exchange with Jay Townsend, who does European Tour golf for Golf Channel. Townsend was critical of McIlroy’s course-management and took some shots at his caddie along the way. McIlroy ripped him on twitter—probably going too far by calling Townsend a “failed golfer.” That’s not germane to the argument. You don’t have to be a U.S. Open champion to recognize poor course management. On the other hand, Townsend also went too far when he said he expected that sort of course management from a 10-year-old.

Okay fellas, break it up. McIlroy got a little nuts because he thought Townsend was ripping his caddie. If that’s his worst sin this year then he’s had a really good year.

What was interesting about yesterday’s column were some of the responses from readers. A couple of people wondered if I was trying to make nice with Tiger because I’m hoping he’ll start talking to me. Seriously? Others said I was still angry because he doesn’t talk to me. Again: Seriously? Folks, honestly, I don’t expect Tiger Woods to talk to me and, even if he did (ha!) what would he tell me? That he and Steiny had a really good dinner last night?

So we’ll see how Woods plays today. If he’s in the hunt the networks might break in with live coverage tomorrow. Forget the stock market being down a million points.


The most important news of the week as far as I’m concerned took place on Monday when voters in Nassau County voted overwhelmingly against funding a new arena for my beloved New York Islanders. The vote may have been the last nail in the coffin for the Islanders because I know NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman will shed few tears if the team moves to Quebec or Kansas City or even Las Vegas (!!) when the current lease in The Nassau Coliseum is up in 2015.

This is a classic chicken-and-egg deal: Owner Charles Wang says he doesn’t want to sink big money into his payroll until and unless he has the guarantee of a new arena. The fans, who have watched bad hockey for close to 20 years now—the Islanders last won a playoff series in 1993—just don’t find the Islanders compelling enough to commit public funds to them at a time when the economy is what it is.

There’s no question the team needs a new building. I’ve got lots of fond memories of The Coliseum but it is ridiculously outdated and trying to convince any top-line free agent to come and play there is just about impossible even if Wang was willing to open his wallet.

Garth Snow has actually done a nice job as general manager making deals—like the signing of Michael Grabner last fall—without a lot of flexibility. But no one is going to get all that excited if the Islanders are in contention for the 8th playoff spot next spring. Last year they were eliminated from playoff contention by Thanksgiving.

I’m biased. I don’t want to see the Islanders leave. But unless some private investor comes along and makes a deal with Wang to help him come up with the funds to get a new building built the Islanders are likely to go the way of the Atlanta Flames (who they came into the league with 39 years ago) and the Atlanta Thrashers.

Where in the world are Billy Smith, Brian Trottier, Mike Bossy, Denis Potvin and my favorite Islander, Bob Bourne when you really need them? Sigh.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Newest radio segments (The Gas Man, The Sports Junkies)

Here is the link to last week's radio segments, including the new continuing appearance on The Sports Junkies. Click the permalink below, then the link to the audio links, for the newest available interviews.

I joined The Gas Man, out of Seattle, for my weekly spot at 5:35 PT. Click below for the audio of this week's segment. We spend the majority of our time this week discussing the NFL and the end of the lockout, including its comparison to other strikes/lockouts in sports, before finishing off discussing Tiger Woods and Steve Williams. Also, I was able to sprinkle in some favorite jokes by my mother.

Click here to listen to the segment: The Gas Man


I also joined The Sports Junkies in my new normal timeslot, Friday's at 7:25am. This week we spent much of the time discussing Tiger Woods and the outlook for him with his comeback at the Bridgestone Invitational. We followed the Tiger talk with looking at the NFL and whether missed OTA's are going to make a difference, and finished off talking about whether Bill Bilichick is the new version of the Oakland Raiders.

Click here to listen to the segment: The Sports Junkies