Tag Archives: John Sterling

The scourge on my ears perpetrated by John Sterling. Mr. Rogers, remembered. And IKEA comes up with a way to make men happy

The Yankees are cruising toward the baseball playoffs, and I find myself getting sucked into following them, like I usually do in late September. Baseball is never more thrilling to me than at playoff time, which is fast approaching.
But that pull is being thwarted lately, because while in the car, and curious how the Bombers are doing, I turn the radio to WCBS 880 for the score and am hit with it, like a punch in the face.
John Sterling, the most obnoxious and God-awful sportscaster I’ve ever heard, is doing the play-by-play.
And I am reminded that the scourge continues. And if I want to hear the Yankees in the car, I must suffer that man.
Here’s the thing about Sterling, who’s been butchering Yankees broadcasts, and making them all about his own ego and grandiosity, for more than two decades now: Even Yankees fans hate him. So I can only imagine how the rest of you would feel if he ever infected your ears.
A quick rundown of Sterling’s awfulness: He constantly gets the details wrong on his call. He has all these signature shtick phrases for home runs (“An A-bomb, from A-Rod!”, “The Grandy-man can” for Curtis Granderson, and my other favorite, “Mark Teixeira has just sent a Tex message!”) that he repeats, ad nauseum.
He believes he is more important than the game. He prattles on and on, pontificating and ignoring the reality on the field, believing what he has to say is more important.
As the great critic Phil Mushnick has pointed out time and again, it’s embarrassing that such a prestigious organization as the Yankees has such a horrible representative calling their games.

Please, Hank Steinbrenner, owner of all things Yankee, remove this man from our ears. It would be an act of mercy rarely seen before.
Until then, I’ll be waiting until I get home to check the score.

**Stumbled upon this, sort of randomly, on Andrew Sullivan’s blog today. And it made me smile broadly.
It’s the late Fred “Mr.” Rogers, accepting the lifetime achievement Emmy Award in 1997, five years before he died. Take a few minutes and listen to it; I guarantee you’ll be smiling by the end.

Hope, and optimism, is a very good thing.

**If you’re a man and you’ve ever been trapped in an IKEA store for hours while your girlfriend/wife tries to decide exactly which kind of wood the new desk for the home office would go best with the decor, you will appreciate this next story.
The good Swedes at IKEA have come up with a new area of the store called “ManLand,” where women can park their fellas and the guys can play video games, pinball, foosball, or watch TV on a super-cool flatscreen.
But that’s not the best part (although that is pretty awesome). The best part is that the store will also give the women “buzzers” that remind them to collect their men after 30 minutes of play.

I could totally see women leaving men there. And I could totally see men saying “let’s see: stay here in Manland and keep playing pinball, or go home and put together the damn furniture she just bought over the next three hours.”
“I’m fine here, honey, I’ll take a cab home.”

Friday grab-blog: The power of David Stern, the glory of Kevin Spacey, and the hell of John Sterling

NBArefs

So I think it’s pretty obvious to most fans who the most powerful man in sports is, but just in case it’s not, let me make yet another case for a vertically-challenged Jewish lawyer who works in New York.

His name is David Stern, and he’s the commissioner of the NBA.

David Stern could’ve made Mother Teresa attack someone with a knife. He could’ve gotten Noah to bring the animals on to the Ark one at a time. He could have convinced Thomas Edison: “You know what? People like it dark.”

Stern can do absolutely anything he wants, I am completely certain. His fingerprints are on every decision made by any commissioner in the last 25 years.

And in the last few weeks, Stern decided that there was no way in HIS green earth that disgraced referee Tim Donaghy was going to publish a book further tarnishing his officials’ integrity.

You remember Donaghy: He was the guy who was caught gambling on NBA games, and making calls that affected the point spread in games he bet on and was refereeing. He was disgraced, and he said he wasn’t working alone, and yet, after initial outrage (especially from Sacramento and Phoenix fans, who could finally say “A-HA, I knew we got screwed in the playoffs”) the tumult died down. No more refs were implicated, the fans moved on, and King Stern had his league back to normal.

Only now, Donaghy has written a book. And man, does he spill the beans. In excerpts published on the popular sports blog Deadspin, Donaghy dishes all sorts of explosive details. He talks about he and his fellow striped shirts making wagers on who can go the longest without calling a foul. He talks about noted homer referee Dick Bavetta intentionally trying to let the Lakers win Game 6 of the 2002 NBA Western Finals, and about how Steve Javie had a personal vendetta against Allen Iverson.

Could Donaghy be making all this up? Perhaps. But read that excerpt; this is a guy who has a ton of details in there, details that would be hard to make up.

This book was going to make huge waves in the media and with fans, and David Stern couldn’t have that. And so, curiously, Random House has decided not to publish the book after all.

The NBA says it never threatened a lawsuit. And sure, it’s possible that Random House, after reviewing the final draft, full of uncorroborated accusations, veiled threats, and other possibly-litigious material, decided on its own to yank the book.

But I’m not buying it. This is David Stern’s work. Of course I have no proof, but I have little doubt he and the league brought pressure to bear.

He’s just that powerful.

**Covered a high school volleyball game Thursday night. I really enjoy covering the sport, mostly. The points are fast and exciting, the players are the happiest athletes during their competition I’ve ever seen, and there’s great athleticism on display.

But man, the shrieking. The players shriek. The fans shriek. Everyone seems to shriek at a volleyball match. Admission should come with two Advil.

ali-holmes

***ESPN is now 3-for-4 in my book in its “30 for 30” documentary series, scoring another great one this week with “Muhammad and Larry,” a film about the 1980 Larry Holmes-Muhammad Ali fight. This was the fight that never should have happened, as a way past his prime Ali was just pulverized by the heavyweight champ, Holmes. Great behind the scenes footage from before the fight, and some great interviews from the present day with Holmes and Ali’s friends.

It’s on again Sunday, I think, at 3 p.m. on ESPN.

**Finally, a few thoughts on Thursday night’s World Series game, won by the Yankees (whoo-hoo!)

1. I’ll tell you what one circle of Hell is: Driving home in the car, the only radio broadcast of the game I could pick up was the WCBS 880 feed from New York, with John Sterling doing the play by play. Absolutely the worst announcer of any sport working today; even lots of Yankees fans don’t like him. He’s so pompous he makes James Lipton look humble, he constantly gets his facts wrong, and often blatantly misrepresents the action.

2. Why did FOX hire Ozzie Guillen to be a commentator? The man is pretty unintelligible.

3. It was fun booing Pedro Martinez one more time. As much as I hated the guy throughout his career, I think he’s the best pitcher of my lifetime. Better than Clemens. Better than Maddux.

Well, since I was talking about James Lipton earlier, I stumbled upon a few minutes of genius here, as the great Kevin Spacey perfectly impersonates some fantastic acting voices: