Sunday, May 31, 2020

Cleaning out the Inbox

The sports inbox cleaning concludes with a few notes from outside the baseball world.

The recent documentary on Michael Jordan was one that I had no problems skipping because I had seen that film before.
Mainly because it almost always ended with Jordan leading North Carolina over Maryland, the Bulls getting by the Cavaliers and I didn't need to see those endings again.

However, one episode covered Jordan's "Shot" that began his dominance over Cleveland and placed the Cavaliers firmly in a group of teams that could have been great but were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Ron Harper claimed that he told Cavaliers coach Lenny Wilkens that he would "take" Jordan defensively on the inbounds pass that led to Jordan's shot over Craig Ehlo for the Bulls win, but Wilkens refused Harper's request and placed Ehlo in the defensive position.

Sports Illustrated writes of what Really may have doomed those Cavaliers against those Bulls as SI discusses the story behind Cleveland's trade of Harper to the Clippers for Danny Ferry.
Most of this story has been written in a book that is over twenty-five years old now, but it is essential history to getting to know the Cavaliers of the 70s and 80s.
Cavs from Fitch to Fratello by Joe Menzer and Burt Graeff isn't available on Kindle, but for a Cavalier fan, it is a must for your library.
As for the poster, I had this at one time and I am not sure if it is still around somewhere or not.

The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix writes about the CFL simulation board game "Sports Action" and the cult following that the game continues to have with players even today.
The article talks to Terry Appleby, the creator of the game that sold the game out of his home from 1974-89 before selling his game to another company, who promptly shuttered the game thereafter to eliminate a competitor as well as a man named "Garth" who provides downloads of ratings for players from every season since to keep the game up to date.

The Athletic writes of the one-season record holder in passing yards in B.J. Symons of Texas Tech, who threw for 5,833 yards in 2003 for the Red Raiders.
Symons, who played in 13 games that season, held off Joe Burrow's run last season to keep the passing record, although Burrow did take Symons' total offense record in his 15 game season.
As a Tech fan, I saw many of those games and Symons was the first to prove that in the Mike Leach system that a quarterback with a quick release can thrive as Symons had sat behind Kliff Kingsbury for three seasons in Lubbock before getting his chance to play.
Symons injured his knee midway through the season, which cost him his mobility against the rush and a small drop in his play before finishing tenth in Heisman voting.
Symons would be drafted in the seventh round by Houston and played one year for the Texans before bouncing around various minor leagues.

I am going to add one goodbye to this post as it's the one person that really doesn't fit into the subjects of the two tribute posts in the words as Pepper Rodgers passed away at the age of 88.
The colorful and media-savvy Rodgers was a fun coach to watch and listen, but you wonder how good he was as a coach in college stops at Kansas, UCLA, and Georgia Tech, Rodgers compiled a record of 73-65-3 with only two bowl teams.
To be fair, two of his three UCLA teams would have been bowl teams had the archaic Pac 8 (at the time) rule of only the champion could make the postseason, but still not an outstanding record by any means.
Pepper was much better known to me as the coach of the two seasons of the Memphis Showboats in the USFL and the one year tenure of the Memphis Mad Dogs in the CFL.
Rodgers took the Showboats to an 11-7 record in their second year, won a playoff game over the Denver Gold before losing in Oakland in the league semi-finals.
Rodgers might have been a better personnel man than a coach as many of the Showboat players would move onto NFL careers after the two-year life of the Showboats, including players such as Reggie White and Tim Spencer among others.
Rodgers also was the coach/personnel man that discovered Joe Horn with the CFL Mad Dogs before Horn would become a star with the Chiefs and Saints.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Cleaning out the Inbox-Baseball

Before I start, please allow me to mention this to Blogger and Google- the new Blogger Interface SUCKS!

This will be the third rewrite of the same post as the new version wouldn't allow me to save, move pictures, or even label.
I've returned to the "legacy" version which has served me so well for 13 years, but Google/Blogger plans an elimination of this by late July and a forced move to the new version.
I'm sure that they are working on the flaws and hopefully fix them before then because if not, I'll be looking for a new home for TRS.
This is supposed to be fun and it's not fun to spend hours writing the same thing three times because what you expect to be reliable lets you down.
On to what's more fun to write and hopefully for you-read.

Bob Watson's recent passing (I'll have more on Watson in the next passings post) made me think of the contest to see who would score the one-millionth run in baseball history in 1976.
The contest sponsored by Tootsie Roll (what a way to have kids pay attention!) and Seiko would give prizes to the player that scored it and prizes to various fans had more interest than one would think and came down to Watson in San Francisco and Dave Concepcion in Cincinnati racing around the bases as fast as they could in an attempt to be number one million.
The 2015 article from the New York Daily News looked back at the contest and then estimated that MLB's two-millionth run was on track to be scored sometime in the 2020 season, but I've been unable to find any other notes on the status.

Will Clark's era in San Francisco was before my start of Giants fandom, but I've always been a fan of Clark, who had such a beautiful swing from the left side of the plate, is starting to gather some steam as a potential induction to the Hall of Fame and this article from The Athletic uses the oral history format to speak with "the Thrill's" teammates to talk about Clark's Giants tenure.
While I am a fan of Clark, I'm not sure I'm quite on board for a Cooperstown train.
His Giants numbers are certainly of that ilk, but after leaving San Francisco ( the surprising thing is the numbers declining after leaving Candlestick Park!), Clark hit more than 20 homers only twice and exceeded 100 RBI once along with some problems staying in the lineup with nagging injuries.
As a fan, I'd like to see Clark in, but honestly, I think his numbers fall a little short.

Slate takes a swing at one of the oldest myths from the life of Donald Trump- Was he a baseball player of the level that would have major league teams scouting him in the middle 1960s?
In what would surprise few, that doesn't appear to be the case in the slightest, although Trump did play on his high school team as what appears to be an extremely light-hitting first baseman.
The "best" part was reading the Trump claim that he appeared to be "the best player in New York State" and the even better- "Pro Ball was in the equation until a Giants tryout with a young player named Willie McCovey".
Yes, as in Hall of Famer Willie McCovey.
For the record, when Donald Trump was a high school senior for this supposed tryout, Willie McCovey was entering his sixth year in the big leagues, was coming off a season that saw him smack 44 homers to lead the National League, and had already hit 108 homers in his career.
Insert your snicker here.

Sports Illustrated writes of the "sports card boom" during the pandemic and what is "Fueling it", which is "Box Breaks" online.
Box Breaking is basically this- someone breaks a box of cards, oftentimes as much as a case of cards, and after you purchase a team either on a straight purchase or in an auction, you receive all of the cards from that particular team from the opened product.
The auction is streamed live online to keep everything above board and apparently it is very popular.
I've never participated in any of these, although I'm not against it, I don't see it happening anytime soon!

The Athletic writes about baseball cards as well with an article about Topps and mostly about the card that every modern card traces back to in the 1952 Topps set.
The 1952 Topps set was the first with stats, thicker card stock, and is far closer in size to the modern baseball card than those of the leader in the industry before 1952 in Bowman.
Bowman sued Topps over the set for using players that Bowman had exclusive contracts with, but by the time the suit hit the courts (which Topps would lose), Topps had shoved Bowman aside for dominance in the hobby and would buy the Bowman company in 1956.
Honestly, while the Topps sets of the 50s are the sets that started baseball cards toward the trail traveled today, I've never been a huge fan of those seasons.
I like the simplistic look of 1957, but the photographs often look like they were taken at dusk and for some reason, they seem to fade easier than other sets of the era and that's my favorite set of the decade.
If I'm placing 1957 against the sets of the sixties, it doesn't beat the top five (in order 1965, 1963, 1968, 1967, and 1962) and would be in a tough battle to lead the bottom five (my sixth choice would be 1966).

Thursday, May 28, 2020

NHL Plans Return-Devils Season Ends

The NHL announced their plans to return in July to conclude the 2019-20 season with a set of playoffs that will include an expanded playoff format with twelve teams making the postseason from each conference and with a play-in series that brings back memories of the NBA and NHL of the 1970s playoffs.

The league's return still is far from certain, but there is a plan in place with an unofficial agreement with the players, so now it's a matter of things falling into place for these playoffs to take place.

Under these terms and the additional eight teams making the "Postseason", the New Jersey Devils still did not qualify, which places them in the draft lottery for the third time in the last four seasons.
The Devils will hope for a lucky draw as in their previous two lotteries, New Jersey won the whole damn thing (Paraphrasing Jake Taylor in Major League) allowing them to select Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes with those picks.

New Jersey will have a 7.5 percent chance of pulling the top pick in the draft and could have as many as three first-rounders or only their own first-rounder as the Devils await the results of the Arizona vs Nashville and the Vancouver vs Minnesota series to determine if the Devils will receive picks from Arizona ( from the Taylor Hall trade) and Tampa Bay ( the Vancouver pick was acquired through Tampa Bay in the Blake Coleman trade) in this draft or wait until the 2021 draft.

New Jersey's own pick could range from first to eighth, depending on how the lottery balls would bounce.

New Jersey would receive the Arizona selection unless the Coyotes would lose in the first round of the playoffs to Nashville and then make their way into the top three picks.
Should that occur, the Devils would have to wait until 2021 for that pick to arrive.
Arizona is the eleventh seed and the underdog to the sixth-ranked Predators, who finished with four more points in one fewer game played.

As for the pick added from Vancouver (Through Tampa Bay), if the Canucks win their series against the Minnesota Wild, New Jersey would add the Canucks 2020 first-rounder.
Should Minnesota pull the mild upset ( Vancouver is seeded seventh to Minnesota's tenth, but Vancouver finished with only one point more than the Wild ), the Devils will be receiving the 2021 top pick of the Lightning.

The perfect scenario for the Devils would be the Coyotes losing in the first round and not reaching the top three in the lottery, which would see the Devils pick as high as eighth (this would take Montreal and Chicago winning in the first round), ninth (Montreal OR Chicago winning in the first round), or tenth (should Montreal and Chicago both lose).
The wrench in the works could be one of the first-round losers winding their way into the top three lottery picks and dropping that pick by one spot.

As for the Vancouver pick, I'm rooting for the Canucks to win that series because even though that means that pick would be between sixteenth and twenty-third, I still think that will be a more desirable pick than Tampa's 2021 choice, which I would think would be near the bottom of the first round.

The Devils finish the disappointing and abbreviated season with 68 points, which placed them firmly in the basement of the Metropolitan Division and eleven points behind the closest team in the New York Rangers.
However, the team was playing well when the season was interrupted and had they won their final game in Pittsburgh against the Penguins, the Devils would have slid into the playoffs ahead of Montreal for the twelfth spot which would have paired them against Pittsburgh.

I may do a season recap for the Devils later, but in case I do not- Kyle Palmieri led the team in goals and points with 25 and 45, Nikita Gusev led the Devils in assists with 31 and of players that played more than 45 games and remained with the team, Kyle Palmieri finished with the best plus/minus at negative four and led in power-play points with eighteen.

Damon Severson led the defensemen in goals and assists with eight and twenty-three as well as power-play points with twelve.
Mackenzie Blackwood led the goaltenders across the board in his first season as the number one netminder with twenty-two wins, a save percentage of .915 and a goals allowed average of 2.77.
The Devils would win only six games that Blackwood did not start with Cory Schneider and the departed Louis Domingue splitting the half-dozen victories.

So, I do have an interest in those two first-round series, should the league manage to make its way back to play due to their effects on the Devils draft.
It was a disappointing season for New Jersey, one that I had hoped would have seen possibilities for a playoff berth.
Instead, it was a season filled with losses and one that seemed to only to tease with promise.
The late-season rush did give me some hope, but there is a longer path to walk than I had hoped to see and the Devils will need to address gaps before I get excited again.

Not sure whether the next post will be another Friends and Family, inbox cleaning, or boxing ratings, but I'll be back tonight!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Big Don's Day

We move forward in the Friends and Family series as our fan that has been with us longer than almost anyone as Big Don joins us with his request for the series.

Big Don was the first person that I met through autographing/minor league baseball that became a fan of the blog and the support that he has given through the years has been very important in keeping things rolling along at TRS, even at times in the early to middle years that I wasn't sure that I was going to continue to write this little project.

Big Don asked two questions and with the increasing likelihood of a second batch of Friends and Family looming, I've decided to hold the second one for the potential next run.
Big Don asked this: As things stand today, the Hagerstown Suns likely have played their final game.
Do you have any particular memories of the franchise from games, autographing, people, etc?

Well, I have plenty of them and even though the team started here in 1981, the majority of my memories come from 2005 and after as the period of my second run in the autographing hobby.
But for this piece, I think I am going to stick to one day- I attended the first game in Hagerstown Suns history.

My dad came and took me out of school early for the day, which really wasn't like him at all.
That day is the only day that I remember him taking me out of school early or allowing me to stay home for a sporting event ( Note- The keyword here is ALLOWING as I used to find ways to stay home for the first round of the ACC basketball tournament and in the last two years of my school  terms, the NFL Draft when it was on cable and on a weekday)

The Muni didn't look a lot different than it does today other than the electronic scoreboard of the age and the higher hill in left field with the original left-field dimensions in play.
The Suns were a "co-op" team consisting of players loaned from the Indians, Pirates, Orioles, Twins, and I think players from two other teams and played in the Carolina League under an Oriole coaching staff that was led by future major league manager Grady Little.

I don't remember much about the game itself, which was a 6-2 win over the Peninsula Pilots, other than local pitcher Dane Anthony got the win and the first homer in Hagerstown Suns history was hit by shortstop Ron Wotus, who was dubbed "Boom Boom" by his next at-bat!
Wotus is the long-time coach for the San Francisco Giants and I think that homer was one of only two he hit for Hagerstown that season.

Those Suns were quite a power-hitting outfit as they hit 158 homers, which is a huge feat considering the Suns then used the original dimensions of Municipal Stadium in a park that would be a pitchers park in today's alignment.
Matt Tyner hit thirty-one homers, John Stefero smashed twenty-five, and Paul Croft added twenty to pace the Hagerstown attack that won the Carolina League's Northern Division and then topped Peninsula to win the Carolina League championship.
The Hagerstown Suns had won a championship in their first season and almost 40 years later as the team prepares for its likely end, it would be the only championship in team history.

The unlikely champions with players that weren't thought of as top prospects at the time (why else would they be sent to a co-op team, except for the Orioles ) did have a few players that would see some time in the majors.
Ron Wotus would have two brief stints with Pittsburgh (58 at-bats) and three of the Hagerstown catchers would eventually play in the bigs as Orioles backups as John Stefero (187 at-bats), Al Pardo (129 at-bats), and Carl Nichols (186 at-bats) would have short stays in the show.
Two pitchers on the 1981 Suns would make the majors with Ken Dixon having the most success with 26 wins for the Orioles in four seasons.
Ramon Romero threw sixty-four innings for the 1985 Indians, who lost 102 games as Romero would be traded to the Minnesota Twins in the off-season, but would never pitch in the majors again.

What I remember most about that day was the genuine excitement to have baseball in a baseball town.
I'm not sure if you are under 35 and have lived through the malaise of the last thirty years of Hagerstown baseball that you can truly understand what it was like at the Muni for those Carolina League and Eastern League seasons.
The stadium even then was well into the dark and damaged stage, but the crowds were very strong, and going to a game was fun.

The loss of Hagerstown baseball has felt inevitable for close to twenty years and I've always taken each season one at a time.
From ownership changes and threatened moves to pressure from MILB and the parent clubs ranging from the Blue Jays, Giants, Mets, and the current Nationals, one thing has always been consistent- the constantly dilapidated Hagerstown Municipal Stadium.
A new stadium has been mentioned for the Suns from the first day of the franchise and while you can blame the team for many things through the years, the lack of a stadium can only be blamed at the feet of the city of Hagerstown and Washington County.
The state of Maryland has its share as well as they contributed money to the following new facilities in the era following the 1981 Suns- Baltimore, Frederick, Bowie, Salisbury (Delmarva), Aberdeen, and Southern Maryland (Independent) all received funding for stadiums, while Hagerstown continued to patch and reupholster a stadium built in the Hoover Administration!

The stadium was the reason that the AA Suns left town, despite good attendance, and it's been downhill ever since as the cycle on this issue repeated itself over and over again.

Even today, there are still rumblings about a new stadium, even on the eve of Major League Baseball announcing that the Suns will be among the teams eliminated by their latest culling.
Any slim scrap of hope of that happening was likely ended by the Covid-19 crisis, but I must admit that I was hoping to see if the Suns could make through 2021 for a hoped-for reunion of the 1981 championship team.

Thirty-nine seasons is a long time between titles.
But as baseball prepares to pack up and leave Hagerstown ( and no matter the stadium situation, affiliated baseball will not return), if you are above a certain age there will always be one championship team from Hagerstown to remember- the 1981 Suns from a time that will be looked back on as the Golden Age of baseball in the Hub City.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary to my wonderful wife of now 33 years.

Cherie is kind, patient (boy, does she need that with me!) and loyal to a thought.
She's been tolerant of outside influences (some very good and others very bad) that could affect many marriages but drew us closer together without needing to suffocate the other.

While our life at home has been consistently good, she's managed to battle through dealings with people that had their selfish interests at heart, rather than be happy for our "team" happiness and be an excellent wife, mother, and daughter to the people that she cares about.

I'm not sure that I could have handled the stress of my mom's passing without her calm strength and fortitude.
Cherie's not the type of person that needs to have the lights of the center ring on her and she doesn't need to have her ego stroked, but if you are a member of our "family" which includes several of our friends, there is no better person to have your back when she is needed.

I don't like to play the "Greatest" ever this or "Best" that as so many do on social media and other platforms.
That's always so subjective and you always feel like "how can everyone be the greatest?", but I have no problems writing this- I couldn't have selected a better person for me to spend my life with and I do believe that my life would have taken a different and worse turn had I not been fortunate enough to have her say "yes".

A quick word of thanks to Ryan, Rachel, "Posey", family members, and all of our friends for being part of our lives.
I appreciate all that you do in the various forms as part of my "family" and what you have brought to my life.
I have a few special "shoutouts", but I'm holding onto those for my birthday post.

I'm still in the process of another Friends and Family post that I've started three times, so that will with luck will be finished soon...

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Battlin' Bob's Day

The Friends and Family series is back with more as there still isn't news from the sports world to be excited about.

Today's Battlin' Bob's time to take a swing at the plate with a few questions.
I caught Bob on short notice, so the Battler has only three questions, but they are good ones, so let's get started!

Battlin' Bob: Do you think that sports will come back strong after the Covid-19 crisis is over?

TRS: Yes and No.
Right away, television ratings will zoom through the roof because fans are hungry to watch live sports.
The UFC has performed very well in these times and boxing will be resuming a bit in June, so if the team sports can return with a tournament for the NBA or NHL for their playoffs and if football can resume on time, I think things will be strong.
However, live attendance is going to drop with or without permissions and that is going to be the way it is for quite a while.
The team sports need to find a way to stay in the eye of the fan (which is why I think the NBA will do whatever it takes to get some kind of resolution to finish their season) and cannot take a large amount of time off.
The key will be in the fall- will the NFL and college football start in the fall and can they stay on the field?
That answers a lot of questions.

Battlin' Bob: Do I think Barry Bonds deserves to be in the Hall of Fame?

TRS: Yes, I do.
My bottom line on these things arrives after asking this question- Would this player earn my Hall of Fame vote before any accusations?
In the case of Barry Bonds, his power numbers may not have been elite (How's that for irony?), but they were above average, and the rest of his game was part of the package that made him the best all-around player of his time.
Barry Bonds would get my vote with the asterisk that the Hall needs to notate about the suspicions of wrongdoing.

Battlin' Bob: What is your favorite piece of sports memorabilia?

TRS: This covers a LOT of ground!
My favorite single baseball card probably is the 1965 Topps Sandy Koufax or the 1962 Roberto Clemente.
My favorite completed set is the 1971 Topps set and while with all my autographed cards, I'm not sure I can pick one card because I'm sure I'd forget an obvious choice, my favorite set that I've worked on is the 2018 Bowman Top 100.
My favorite autographed item that I got myself (or was there for) would likely be my Bernie Kosar signed helmet, my Marco Antonio Barrera signed 16 x 20 or the 8 x 10 from the Barrera-Erik Morales fight that Fred Landucci was able to have both fighters sign for me.
My favorite program is likely my 1970 Ohio State-Michigan program or the 1984 USFL Western Conference final program between Los Angeles and Arizona.
My favorite media guides are the ABA media guide from their last season in the league, the 1979 Indians, and my three favorite teams from the USFL, but my favorite item that wouldn't fit in any of those departments would be my game-used World Football League football.
I'm sure there are plenty of things that I've forgotten about that would have been contenders to be

Thanks to Battlin' Bob for the questions and believe it or not- I still have others to work on for this series!.
I've enjoyed it thus far and the series has done exactly what I had hoped that it would do during the no-sports period!

Monday, May 18, 2020

Mike's Day

The Friends and Family series rolls on with five questions from Mike Oravec.
Mike is one of my two regular traveling partners from when there was actually baseball to watch and Mike was gracious enough to participate in the series.

Mike: What are your thoughts on Andy Kaufman's wrestling career?

TRS: Well, his spots on the Memphis television show are hilarious to watch even today as Kaufman plays the role of big Hollywood star talking down to the Southerners and driving them crazy by hitting them in their sore spot- the stereotypes that people from the South aren't very intelligent.
Very few things will make someone from the South madder than some bigshot from the West Coast (let alone that is originally from New York City) telling them how inferior they are and their quality of life is as well and Kaufman did that to the hilt.
Kaufman played the heel very well, but what isn't remembered as well is that Kaufman's run in Memphis didn't do as well at the box office as so many believe.
I wasn't positive though, so I asked an expert in John McAdam.
John is the host of the successful Stick to Wrestling podcast and I asked him about the legend of Lawler-Kaufman as an attendance hit.

"Jerry Lawler vs Kaufman with the neck brace angle on April 5, 1982, drew 8,091 (at the Memphis Mid-South Coliseum), Lawler vs the Colossus of Death with Andy Kaufman drew 9,194 on May 2, 1983, and Jimmy Hart and Andy Kaufman vs Lawler drew 8,774 on July 4, 1983.
All of these were slight upticks in attendance, but Kaufman vs Jimmy Hart on July 11, 1983, as an undercard match drew 7,466- No difference.
Lawler and Kaufman vs Jimmy Hart and Assassin #1 on July 18, 1983, drew 6,790- You can see where we're going here, the novelty was over.
On November 14, 1983, Andy Kaufman (wearing boxing gloves) and Jimmy Hart against Jerry Lawler drew 3,800.
Attendance was down anyway, but this didn't help and Kaufman vs Lawler in a "Wrestling vs Boxing" match on November 21, 1983, drew 3,800 in Kaufman's final appearance and you can see why"
In other words, as brilliant as the microphone work as Andy Kaufman was, it didn't pay off at the box office for the Memphis territory

Thanks to John McAdam for his thoughts on the drawing power of Andy Kaufman and if you like wrestling from the 70s and 80s, give Stick to Wrestling a listen as it is one of the top podcasts each week that I enjoy!

Mike: Ball Four is a great book- What is your favorite story from the book?

TRS: Wow. This one is tough.
So many lines from the book are constantly swapped between Ryan and me and so many great stories that it's hard to choose one.
I've always been partial to the Astros team bus complete with singing "It makes a fellow proud to be an Astro'" and the players riding manager Harry Walker at an Old-Timers game.
I cannot think of Sicks Stadium without thinking of Jim Bouton breaking into the stadium to grab Gerry McNertney's knuckleball glove after hours, only to see that guard dogs were around after he had left.
But there can be only one and it is the story of Fred Talbot's "Home Run for the Money" that won Donald DuBois of Gladstone Oregon $27,000 (which currently would be over $188,000!).
Talbot hit a homer during a "home run inning" and won Dubois this money, so the Pilots bullpen sent Talbot a letter from "DuBois" promising him five thousand dollars with the joke progressing from there!

Mike: Name one sporting event on your bucket list and why so?

TRS: I'm not as much of an event person as I am a venue person.
For example, I'd like to see Churchill Downs, but I don't have to be there for the Kentucky Derby.
But to answer your question, I think I'd like to go to a college basketball tournament and see the entire tournament from start to finish.
And I think I'd also prefer a mid-major or small conference tournament so that the seats could be good without breaking the bank.
Examples for a few would be the MAC tournament in Cleveland, the Ohio Valley in Evansville, Indiana, or the CAA tournament in Washington.

Mike: Name your all-time baseball announcers for radio and television

TRS: It's funny that the current announcers that I'm familiar with are the television people, but the past announcers, I am better versed in the radio game-callers.

Television, I've always thought Bob Costas is top-notch nationally and his NBC game of the week pairing with Tony Kubek was outstanding.
Team announcers for television? I wouldn't have become a Giants fan without being hooked by San Francisco's team of Mike Krukow, Duane Kuiper, and Amy Gutierrez.
I was a big fan of Baltimore's' 1980s and 90s team of Mel Proctor and John Lowenstein.
I know Hawk Harrelson was a polarizing figure, but I got the biggest kick out of him during his years with the White Sox.
I've liked Bob Carpenter well before his time with Washington and I also think Brian Anderson of the Brewers is excellent.
I also like the teams in Texas with Dave Raymond, Tom Grieve, and Emily McCoy and Tampa Bay with veteran Dwayne Staats, the "other" Brian Anderson (the former Indians pitcher), and Tricia Whitaker.

On the radio, you have to love Vin Scully with the Dodgers and Bob Prince with the Pirates in the same manner as Hawk Harrelson.
I've always thought Pittsburgh lost a gem in Lanny Frattare when they let him go in 2008 and I loved the Reds duo of Marty Brennaman and Joe Nuxhall.

Mike: What is the one thing that you would change in professional sports today?

TRS: There are many things I would say, but the number one would eliminating the "one and done" rule for basketball players.
The NBA won't allow high schoolers to enter without one year in college and as a result, the college game has been weakened in quality with hired guns playing one year for most notably Duke and Kentucky among a few.
My answer would be this- Use the baseball rule.
You can enter the draft out of high school, but once you attend your first class you are not eligible for the draft for three years.
The college game will improve with better players for a longer time, the pro game can add those impact players right away, and for the player that isn't an impact player, has potential, but doesn't want to play the facade of college player?
That's where the NBA's minor league can come in with an agreement to farm out those players.
College basketball was so much fun before this rule and it needs to change to get back what it has lost.

Thanks to Mike for his questions and thanks again to John McAdam for his help!
I'll be back with more soon!