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John Rooke - Thinking Out Loud

Saturday, January 19, 2013

 

Thinking out loud…and wondering whatever happened to Peter Tomarken?

Terry Francona wrote a book? And it’s critical of Red Sox ownership? Whoa…didn’t see that coming…

• I’m glad Francona said what he did, and perhaps now meddling ownership can be exposed for what they really are…businessmen who really care very little about baseball on the field. However, I will add that it IS their team. But still, if the Red Sox don’t truly belong to the “fans,” what team does?

• What gets me is – if accurate – the need to draw “sexy” players to appeal to the pink hats in order to drive more revenue. The need to win more exciting games. The need to drive bigger ratings on NESN. Hey, I’d settle for a few nifty 1-0, two-hour-and-57-minute specials right now – because that would mean the Sox have pitching. Boring is good…if you’re winning. Winning cures everything, even for the pink hats…

• Kinda knocks some of the luster off of the star that was Theo Epstein now, doesn’t it? He had to carry out ownership’s wishes…and some of this certainly could help explain his desire to move on…

Mike Napoli? Whoopdee doo. With a one-year deal in place, there’s simply no way he can meet the over-inflated expectations of the Red Sox, or of Red Sox nation. He’s got a bad hip…he doesn’t hit for average or have a high OBP. He has adequate power, perhaps, and an alleged swing “made” for Fenway Park. Nice knowin’ ya, Mike…

• Houston Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph still thinks his team is better than New England. Hey, Johnathan? Umm, 83-42. That is all

• Ok, who’s rooting for the “Harbaugh Bowl?” Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

• As a fan, are you uncomfortable with the point spread for the AFC title game? Nine or 9.5 points? Didn’t the Patriots LOSE to Baltimore in September? Pro Football Reference reports this week there have been 71 games since 1978 where a team has been favored by nine or more points…57 of those 71 advanced to the next round, 40 covered the spread. Just sayin’

Tweet of the Week, from @ESPNStatsInfo: “Ravens QB Joe Flacco is 4-for-5 on throws 40+ yards downfield this postseason. He was 3-19 on such throws in regular season.” Uh oh

• Look for Brendon Ayanbadejo on Google, and you’ll find a bio, a Twitter page, a profile page and “Brendon Ayanbadejo rips Patriots” featured prominently among the listings. What comes a little later is an apology for ripping the same Patriots. He’s probably a decent person, he has family and friends who think well of him. Tough to have your life measured by one stupid comment, huh?

• Somehow, I think Manti Te’o is thinking similarly right about now…

• What a bizarre tale surrounding Te’o, the Notre Dame linebacker. His grandmother and girlfriend had passed away within hours of each other this past September, and this week it was learned the very existence of his girlfriend was a hoax. She simply never existed…

• Te’o and Notre Dame steadfastly maintain he was the victim of a cruel trick someone played on him, as Te’o had actually never met the girl in question – they had met on line, and had communicated frequently. There are some suggestions, however, that the ND linebacker was in on the hoax in order to hype his popularity during a season in which he won a bunch of post-season awards and finished as runner-up for the Heisman Trophy. For his sake, he had best hope that he was duped, and not the dope…

• Make no mistake about it…with athletes under scrutiny for off-field actions as well as their on-field play, Te’o will be asked about this by NFL scouts prior to April’s draft…where he is thought to be a Top 10 selection. This strange story could not only cost Te’o a lot of money, it could also cost a further erosion of national trust…and forever put a stain on the reputation of Golden Domers. Notre Dame’s myth-making legacy is well founded, but this myth is off the charts…

• The real shame here…is that the issue of trust even comes into play. I hate that we must be cynical. Are we all naïve enough to believe everything that is said should be trusted, or otherwise believed? What happened to someone’s word actually meaning something other than a lie?

• One other thing…did Manti Te’o lie because he wanted the Heisman, or because he was embarrassed to find out his online girlfriend wasn’t real? He needs to step up, and face the rush on this one…

• Speaking of lying… I’m not sure what to think of Lance Armstrong’s pronouncement that he only did what everyone else did in cycling, in order to compete. Am I mad at him? Not really, just sad for him. He put himself up on a pedestal for all of us to cheer on, and praise…and in the end he disgraced himself and embarrassed those of us who believed in him…

• The really sad part here…is he’ll be remembered more for cheating, than for his Livestrong Foundation, the cancer-fighting charity he began in 1997. That’s a big part of the reason why he agreed to the Oprah mea culpa to begin with…

• As for the sport of cycling – in case you actually care – I can’t see where Armstrong’s confession cleans anything up. At all. Stupid is as stupid does

Not for nuthin’…but do you think Armstrong is happy to have some of the spotlight glare deflected by Te’o’s weird story?

• When did we start giving names to winter storms? Did I miss the memo on that?

• My buddy Statbeast sez all he knows is when it snows out, he follows the snow plows on the road. He did that last week, and it was taking him forever to get home. The snowplow driver stopped, got out of his cab and asked him what he was doing. When he said “following you home,” the driver said “ok, well, I’m done with Wal-Mart, you can follow me over to K-Mart now.”

• A really good take on play in Big East basketball thus far this year from CBSSports.com…”a bingo-ball bin of unpredictability and odds-defying outcomes.” If ya’ gotta go down, go down swingin’…

• Seriously getting the vibe that the “Hoop Seven” breakaway, while in the forefront of fans’ minds, is on the back-burner where it probably counts most…and that’s with the schools themselves. Best bet – a one-year media deal encompassing the 18-team Big East next year, with the Texas schools, UCF and Memphis – allowing more time to work out details on an amicable (i.e. financial) split between the “old” and “new” Big East…

• But it’s still a good thing to keep the flame for the future burning…there is an eventual media deal of their own to work out, and the Hoop Seven seem to having a willing partner in Fox (and perhaps NBC, too) if you believe the stories. The sheer novelty of an actual basketball-centric league does have more cache nationally than first believed. By media and fans with football-shaped heads, probably…

• The first half of basketball played by Georgetown Wednesday night in DC had to have been as close to a perfect half as any team – anywhere – can play. The Hoyas were aggressive on both ends, suffocating with their defense, and hit 2/3rds of their shots on offense. The Friars never knew what hit them, and were undoubtedly stunned by the performance…it came from the same team that scored just 37 points IN A WIN against Tennessee earlier this season…

• Give PC credit for playing on, and making things interesting in the second half, however. Moral victories count for zero…but character is built on the ability to fight back when all appears lost. At some point, however, teams need more than just character. They need wins…

• Getting those wins are the Bryant Bulldogs. Currently sitting at 12-4 and undefeated in the Northeast Conference at 5-0…this is a team that finished 2-28 last season. Two-and-twenty-eight! While Alex Francis and Frankie Dobbs have weathered the storm of growing pains within the program’s ascent into Division I, transfers Dyami Starks (Columbia) and Joe O’Shea (Holy Cross) have given the Bulldogs a real boost in the depth department. If you’re looking for a team to root for…if you need a Cinderella story to complete your season…suggest you look no further than Smithfield, RI…

• I read this week where Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said one of his priorities in future non-conference scheduling would be to line up Villanova, because Philadelphia is very important to his program’s recruiting focus. Look, I’m all for building your own program…but if the Villanova’s and Providence’s schedule the likes of Pitt or Syracuse any time soon – after being told, basically, you stink, we’re outta here – then the Nova’s and PC’s are no better than the schools who stabbed you in the back in the first place. There needs to be an adjustment period. And repercussion for reckless decision-making by school presidents based on greed…or the hits will just keep on coming…

• Like him or not, LeBron James’ becoming the youngest player to hit 20,000 career points is noteworthy…in that he is younger than the ageless Kobe Bryant when passing the mark, and that he’s only 28 years old. Twenty-eight. What were you doing when YOU were 28?

• You know…I don’t envy Doc Rivers having to coach against his son Austin this week. Every parent wants their child to succeed…and here’s Doc, in the position of having to beat his kid (and his kid’s team) to further his own season…if not career. That’s tough…

• If you weren’t paying attention, Austin scored eight points for New Orleans, as the Hornets beat the Celtics Wednesday night. It was only the 4th Father vs. Son battle in NBA history. Dad and Kid are still speaking…even after Dad put his best defender (Avery Bradley) on his son for a spell. That ought to create some good dinnertime conversation someday…

• Hey – did you see where the NBA All-Star starters were named, and included Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Garnett on the East team? Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the wall for those conversations…

• Something to look forward to? URI baseball was picked for #2 in the Atlantic-10 conference behind defending champion Saint Louis. Jim Foster’s team could make a run in the post-season…returning six regulars and last year’s A-10 Player of the Year, Cranston outfielder Jeff Roy – from Bishop Hendricken. The Rams will play 13 games this season against teams that reached last year’s NCAA’s…

• Hi. My name is John. And I’m a game show addict. Love all of the classics, and my personal favorites are the Match Game (from the 1970’s), Jeopardy! and Press Your Luck. Featuring a cartoon character known as “the Whammy,” Press Your Luck was hosted by Peter Tomarken on CBS in the mid-1980’s. Tomarken had good energy and a likeable personality about him…and between Tomarken, Wink Martindale (another favorite host) and Gene Rayburn, I really gave serious thought to being a game show host at one time. I still play around with game shows on the radio from time to time…and have fun – which is what it’s all about. Tragically, Tomarken died in a plane crash in 2006, while on a volunteer mission providing transportation to needy medical patients…

• Don’t forget - the 37th annual Cranston Sports Collectors Show returns to the West Valley Inn on Saturday, Feb. 2nd. Sponsored by the St. Joseph Men’s Guild of the Immaculate Conception Church, the sports memorabilia show is the oldest of its kind in New England, with more than 1800 dealers and collectors participating…and fans attending. Alan “Mr. Mint” Rosen will also once again be in attendance, buying your cards and other sports collectibles…if, of course, they’re actually worth something. But you won’t know unless you go…

• And a “Night for Newtown” will be held at The Met in Pawtucket Thursday night, January 24th…featuring the music of local band “The Closers.” All proceeds will go to the Newtown Memorial Fund

• Our mailbag question/comment this week comes from Mark in Witham, Essex (UK) via Facebook – “With the obvious growth of the NFL fan base in the UK and the fact that we are getting more games here do you think there is any chance that the big games at the end of the season might be moved into a better time for international fans to watch as well?” Mark: You pretty much answered your own question later in your post, when you said the fan base in America is huge, and their needs/wishes will be more important. But make no mistake, the European base is growing, and remains important to the NFL – that’s why another in-season game is being added to the schedule. Not sure if it’ll happen in my lifetime, but I can see a day when London, Barcelona and perhaps Frankfurt might be a part of a new “AFC East…”

• Interested in having your questions on local RI sports (including the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ‘em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions and comments to jrooke@golocalprov.com. We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/Tweets right here! Follow me on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster…and on Facebook, www.facebook.com/john.rooke ...

• You’re up early anyway…don’t forget to join us for GoLocal Sports on 103.7 FM, every Saturday from 7:00-9:00 am! Call in (401) 737-1287, or text 37937…and send email to the show - golocal@weei.com .

• Looking for your midweek football fix? Jump into the “Patriots Playbook” on Patriots.com Radio, every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 2:00-4:00 pm ET. We’re live with commentary, interviews and your calls and questions on the Patriots and the NFL via social media. It’s a great way to break up the day at work! But if you can’t make it for the live webcast, never fear…the podcast will be near…

• The recently released “Rhode Island Radio” from Arcadia Publishing is available for sale, and the book tells the story of the 90-year history of radio in our state through photographs, clippings and memories from many of the personalities who have graced our airwaves. Mark your calendars, and join me for a book signing event February 9th at Barnes & Noble on Route 2 in Warwick, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm! If you’re in search of the gift that says “Rhode Island,” you’ve found it. Or, find it in local bookstores and online right here… 
 

 

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