Thursday, May 27, 2010

Slammin' Sam on Sports Media Links

In a nod to Carmen DeFalco, Jurko and Harry on Chicago’s ESPN Radio 1000, we’ll call this edition of Slammin’ Sam on Sports Media Links “The Afternoon Saloon.”

First, the continued fallout commentary from yesterday’s ejections of Mark Buehrle and Ozzie Guillen. Everybody likes to hear from the White Sox skipper, right?

Staying in Chicago, Dwyane Wade isn’t so sure that the Bulls organization is one he wants to be associated with, according to this report.

One thing is certain. Wade, LeBron and Joe Johnson are doing a lot of consorting and consulting this summer.

Finally, the two grandest stories of the weekend have to be the Indy 500 and college football’s hall of fame announcements.

Read about Badgers coach Barry Alvarez' election, as well as that of former Wolverine Desmond Howard.

Here is a different angle on the Indy 500 celeb crowd.

Thanks for stopping by! I’ll see you Tuesday.

Sam Miller/Free Keon

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Dousing the Flames

Here's my latest post from Thanks for reading and watch out for Slammin' Sam on Sports Media Links on Thursday!

My, have the one-time accessories known as pitchers evolved. You see, when baseball began, pitchers served as a launching pad for batters’ rockets. Standing 50 feet from their counterpart, only a few moments snuck by before their rockets went up, up and away on contact.

As recently as 1980, relievers milled around in the shadows. “Relievers were like utility players who weren’t good enough to start,” seven-time All-Star and three-time Rolaids Relief Award winner Lee Smith says of his big-league beginnings in 1980 (vii, Fireman). Try to catch up with a 103 m.p.h. Joel Zumaya pitch in the present. The question is, how did we get here? Fran Zimniuch examines in “Fireman.”

Sam Miller/Free Keon

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Things People Do in the Name of Competition

Slammin' Sam on Sports Media
In “Field of Dreams”, Shoeless Joe Jackson comes out of a cornfield and can’t believe where he ended up. “Hey, is this heaven?” he asks in awe and wonder. If a baseball field in Iowa is as close as it gets to the great beyond, what’s the alternative? Leave it to Rick Reilly to answer that question in his new book, “Sports from Hell: My Search for the World’s Dumbest Competition.”

This Week in Golf

PGA Tour - The best golfers in the world stay in Texas this week for the HP Byron Nelson Championship. The TPC Las Colinas near Dallas traditionally allows any player in the field a sporting chance at victory. Some of the lesser-known recent victors of the championship include Brett Wetterich, Ted Purdy, Robert Damron, and Neal Lancaster. Expect to learn a few more new names this week as the event was not able to draw any players from the top 15 in the world. I predict the top ranked man in the field will win, though. Hunter Mahan won earlier this season in Phoenix, and we all know he is capable of more victories. Also watch out for young bomber Dustin Johnson, who won at Pebble. CBS carries the Nelson.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Slammin' Sam on Sports Media Links

Good day, Free Keon and Slammin’ Sam on Sports Media Readers!

I decided to do a switcharoo and give you the links today and Slammin’ Sam’s take on a recent read on Thursday. I hope you won’t mind.

As I mentioned this past Thursday, a whole lot loomed for the Cavs and LeBron. Turns out the Summer of LBJ got started a little bit earlier than most expected. At this point, let’s you and I get something straight. I’ll do my best not to make the links all about LeBron between now and July 8 when the King can make his ruling. But, when most of the news is about LeBron, then we may have a little extra about the Chosen One here. We’ll see how it all unfolds, but enough disclaimers. On with the show!

There’s more to basketball than LeBron, and that’s where we’ll start with the Lakers push for another title.

Tonight is a big night for those teams on the other end of the spectrum as well. It’s the NBA Lottery, aka Who Gets John Wall Night.

Up next, a piece about LeBron and current Kentucky coach John Calipari featured in the Lexington Herald-Leader. Should he stay or should he go now?

For a local twist to the story, let’s bring in a favorite Bull, drum roll please … current New York Knick Eddy Curry. Is this another sabotage attempt by Curry? Working out with none other than LeBron? The plot thickens.

Staying in New York, the Mets are always full of their own drama.

I hope you have a drama-free Tuesday. Check back here Thursday for more of Slammin’ Sam. Thanks for reading!

Sam Miller/Free Keon

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Slammin' Sam on Sports Media Links

Hello, and welcome to the Thursday Links Edition of Slammin’ Sam on Sports Media!

With game six hours away in Boston, a whole lot is on the line. No wonder LeBron is at the center of the sports universe today.

If that’s not enough, has a report about a possible successor to Cavs Coach Mike Brown.

Fans forget that Michael Jordan had an occasional poor game himself, writes Dan Le Batard. None, however, had the effect that James’ game five did.

At least the Cavs are still alive. The defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins are out.

So much drama, let’s end with a light update. Pardon the pun.

As always, thanks for spending part of your Thursday with Free Keon!

Sam Miller/Free Keon

This Week in Golf

PGA Tour - The Valero Texas Open tries out a new course this year at the TPC San Antonio. The track is a collaborative effort between Pete Dye and Greg Norman. Players and fans alike are excited to see what they have come up with. The course just opened in February of this year. The field following THE PLAYERS and preceding three more prestigious events is not stellar. Ernie Els was a late entry, but he is the only top ten player competing here. Justin Leonard, who always plays well in his home state, is my pick to win. The two-time Texas Open champion has not had a spectacular season in 2010, but he did make last year's President's Cup team and fought his way into a playoff in November at the Las Vegas tournament. He had a string of top 20 finishes leading up to the Masters, but since then, he has only one round in the sixties. He tied for 5th the last time the Tour visited San Antonio, and I foresee another strong showing from Leonard this week. Another fellow to keep an eye on is big bomber J.B. Holmes. J.B. has played solid golf this season. He is 17th in the FedEx Cup standings, and his opening round of 66 at Sawgrass last Thursday vaulted him to a T13 at THE PLAYERS. CBS will televise the Valero Texas Open.

Illinois Interest Item - Olympia High School graduate Randy Kindred writes about a debate that is brewing over an attempt at sportsmanship on the golf course near Chicago that involved a Bloomington native who attends Olivet Nazarene University. I say good sportsmanship. As a coach, I would be proud if one of my athletes made a similar decision. As a player, I probably would have ended up birdieing the hole if I was intentionally trying to play poorly. What is your take?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Once Considered Jewels, Baseball Cards Have Lost Luster

Hey Free Keon and Slammin' Sam on Sports Media Readers!
Allow me to preview my latest post. This book made me put off Rick Reilly's sure-fire hit, "Sports from Hell" off till next week if that tells you anything. Enjoy!

Remember the days when “gem” referred to the rock on a lady’s finger or to a pitcher’s performance? Remember the days when you’d scrounge up three or four dollars for a pack of cards, hoping that you’d find that 1:150 insert? Today we journey back to yesteryear with Dave Jamieson’s “Mint Condition: How Baseball Cards Became an American Obsession.”

Slammin' Sam on Sports Media Links returns on Thursday.

Sam Miller/Free Keon

Thursday, May 6, 2010

This Week in Golf

PGA Tour - THE PLAYERS Championship will be contested at the challenging TPC Sawgrass this week. The annual favorite of many fans moved from March to May a few years ago to give the Tour a big-time event in each month from April to August. The TPC Sawgrass is more than likely the most recognizable golf course because of the immense amount of TV coverage the famous 17th hole island green receives. The last stretch of 16-18 at Sawgrass is my personal favorite of any finish on Tour. It always provides drama. This week, the field has lost some lovable characters due to injury. Anthony Kim, Fred Couples, and Steve Stricker all had to withdraw from THE PLAYERS with nagging injuries. However, the top two names in golf will be teeing it up in Florida. Tiger and Phil will have to share the spotlight, though, with the Wachoiva Championship winner, Rory McIlroy. The now 21-year-old Northern Irishman won in dramatic fashion with a course record 62 at Quail Hollow last week to defeat Mickelson and Angel Cabrera for his first PGA Tour victory. My pick to win this week is Ernie Els. I just have a feeling. But watch out for another young European in Alvaro Quiros. The Spanish bomber won his national open last week, and he has been knocking on the door of victory more often than not. Johnny Miller and his crew over at NBC always take on THE PLAYERS and do a very nice job.

Slammin' Sam on Sports Media Links

Hello Free Keon and Slammin’ Sam Readers,

Looks to be a great sports day from all the stories that are circulating fairly early in the day. Let’s get started right away.

First, a story that made me go “Oh, my.” Butler guard Gordon Hayward is staying in the draft. I almost feel apologetic, but I guess I still thought of Butler and Hayward were a Cinderella story and not much more. Now reality sets in. I hope he has a solid NBA career. Bob Kravitz of the Indy Star has the details.

On to somebody I wish I could be surprised about, Milton Bradley. Jerry Brewer shares his opinions in Seattle.

Another guy I am rooting for to overcome his struggles is David Ortiz. Big Papi took another step last night.

Giants hurler Barry Zito is in the midst of his own comeback, Gwen Knapp writes.

Last, in case you didn’t get a chance to read it in your paper this morning, here’s a story on Wednesday night’s Blackhawks hero.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sam Miller/Free Keon

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Out of left field

I don't go to many Cubs games, basically one a year, but I did go last Sunday. And I witnessed the greatest individual hitting performance I've seen since Michael Brenly lit up the Quad City River Bandits last July in Peoria. Really, it was an electrifying afternoon at Wrigley Field.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Shocking Return ….. (Sorry)

Let me first start by thanking Sam and Steve for holding down the fort for the last month while all the other bloggers took some time off to concentrate on work and spend some quality time with friends, family, and pets. Their consistent posting kept the site alive for many weeks and is much appreciated.

With that being said, this is a call out to all other writers and fans affiliated with this site who have been slacking of late. It’s time to get off your bean bags and add some unresearched, illogical, and misguided opinions to the web. Baseball season has started, the NBA playoffs are afoot, and the World Cup is just over a month away, so come on and let out some hot air.

For my first contribution since the April sabbatical I would quickly like to discuss the young boy who got tased last night at a Philadelphia Phillies game for running onto the field before the eighth inning. There has been quite a bit of critical discussion concerning the severity of the security guard’s response and use of a taser on a 17 year old kid who, by all accounts, probably meant no harm.

Sounding Off on Mike and Mike

Slammin' Sam on Sports Media
Ahh… Nothing like a cup of coffee, the newspaper, and perhaps a morning show to start the day. In college, I used Mike and Mike in the Morning to jumpstart my day. I love the fact that the two of them come off average enough to be your buddy down the street.

At the same time, you know the two everymen have a firm grasp on what they’re talking about. The question is, does what you hear on the radio/TV carry over into print form? Today, we’re talking about Mike and Mike’s Rules for Sports and Life.

Here’s what you should know about the book:
1. True or false: One reason we enjoy broadcasts is that they are a break from reading.

I vote true. I’m not suggesting that we should be lazy and not read. After all, that’s one of the foundations of this blog. What I am saying is a good broadcast should put you in the middle of the action. When I watch Mike and Mike, it’s as if I were nodding or arguing with them. That’s not how I felt when I read the book. It was a lifeless script with no one to give it breath. The book is divided into four “hours” plus overtime, but it could take days to plow through.

2. Greeny and Golic do offer some interesting perspectives, as always.
For instance: Rule 1.26 states “Get rid of the Fourth of July.” Golic wastes no time stating, “I can tell you already that I’m going to veto this one.” Greeny’s defense – “I’ve looked into this, and in 1776, the Fourth of July – the actual date – fell on a Thursday.” Celebrating Independence Day, as opposed to July 4 would simplify the calendar and the holiday work week, the hosts decide (Mike, 26).

How about Rule 3.49? “Fans are crazy because people are crazy.”
Golic introduces this one with a story about attending a Holy War football game. Recall, Golic played eight years in the NFL. Clearly, he earned the right to cheer however he wanted to cheer. Or maybe not. “I was sitting on the very end of a row, and the disruptions were constant,” Golic says. “With the BC quarterback calling the signals on a key third-and-short play, I heard, Dude, get up. You’ve got to be kidding me. At one point, I looked around, stunned by what was going on. Everybody just glared back at me like I was the problem. Then a guy who had gotten up at least eight times already starts walking down the row again. I don’t say a word to him. I just give him the death stare.” (98-101)

Check out Rule 4.71 – Elect current players into the Hall.
Greeny starts, “Each sport’s Hall of Fame is nothing more than a museum. Do you think the Louvre and the Met had to wait five years after Picasso died before they could hang his stuff? Was Joe Montana a tough call in 1989? Or Magic Johnson? Why the holdup, exactly?” (171)

3. Getting back to those guys that I previously mentioned, Rule 3.50 reads, “Never forget where you came from.”

Greeny and Golic project themselves to be the same guys they were when they started the show 10 years ago: The “On Air” light flashed, and I just felt like making fun of this [Golic.] I’m thinking that if I do it, one of two things will happen. Either he’ll laugh and the next two days will be fun, or he’ll rear back and punch me in the face, Greeny shares. (150) Maintaining long-term relationships is something we should all strive for, even as we reach for success.

Before you go thinking these guys are all laughs and giggles, realize in 2002, Major League Baseball took Greeny seriously. Despite Golic’s overwhelming doubts, the powers that be took Greeny’s suggestion and made the All-Star Game determine home-field advantage in the World Series (7). Who’s laughing now?

In closing, Mike and Mike have their moments in this brand new book. But if you want to see a better example of a media crossover, check out Bill Simmons’ Book of Basketball instead. Leave Mike and Mike to the airwaves.

Sam Miller/Free Keon
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