Thursday, January 23, 2014

Some frozen hot stove news

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

Here are some random observations from the Klondike region of West Virginia.

All this cold and snow makes me wish for a balmier climate, like Alaska. I’m not kidding, Thursday’s high temperature in Anchorage was 43, in my part of W.V. the high was 17, falling to the single digits by evening. Friday’s high is supposed to be around 25, so I’ll probably be on our front porch swing, fanning myself and drinking iced tea.

Immediately after my last column, I was interviewed by a local reporter who wanted my opinion about baseball writers and, as a tribute to Richard Sherman, I said “Don’t bring that sorry Buster Olney weak stuff into my face and I’M THE GREATEST BASEBALL WRITER EVER!”

Then I woke up. Stupid alarm clock!

BREAKING NEWS……Opening Day 2014 is only 66 days away!!!!

This past Sunday a streak was broken, and nobody mentioned it. The last two times the Boston Red Sox won the World Series, the following February the New England Patriots played in the Super Bowl. The Patriots were beaten in Sunday’s A.F.C. championship game by the Denver Broncos, led by Todd Helton’s backup quarterback at the University of Tennessee, some little known dude named Peyton Manning, perhaps you’ve heard of him.

Useless Trivia: The February after the Boston Red Sox won the 2004 World Series, the New England Patriots defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 24 – 21 in Super Bowl XXXIX. After the Sox won the 2007 title, the Patriots lost to the New York Giants 17 – 14 in Super Bowl XLII. That game saw the Patriots suffer its first defeat of the 2007 season.

According to Wikipedia, Hall of Fame class of 2014 inductee Greg Maddux earned a total of $153,845,000 pitching for the Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, and the San Diego Padres during his twenty three year career. Japanese pitching sensation Masahiro Tanaka has yet to throw a pitch in a Major League Baseball game, and the New York Yankees signed him to a seven year 155 million dollar contract, amazing, simply amazing.

The “Off-Season of Discontent” continues for Reds Nation now that Grady Sizemore was signed by the Boston Red Sox. I still believe that Walt Jocketty has something up his sleeve. I’m expecting a trade before the camp opens in February.

When I heard the news, in 2008, that baseball was following the footsteps of the other major American sports and getting its own television network, I was overjoyed. I couldn’t wait for MLB Network to debut on January 1, 2009. Five years later I wonder why I even bothered. MLB Network is definitely not the network I certainly hoped it would be. Sure they have a few decent programs, Intentional Talk is one of my favorites, along with Baseball Seasons but the rest of the shows are weak at best. I enjoy the replays of Ken Burns’ Baseball but I’d like to see less talk and more action. It would be great to see some classic baseball games from the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s WITHOUT panel discussions.

One program that has frustrates me is their MLB Network Countdown programs. A few months ago they counted down the fifty greatest announcer calls in baseball history. Joe Nuxhall’s description of Joe Oliver’s walk off single in game two of the 1990 World Series was not included. I nearly popped a gasket in my protest; I believe that’s the greatest play by play call in Reds history, period. Twenty three years later that call still gives me chills. Last week they counted down the forty best teams since 1961, the 1976 Reds placed eighth, while the 1975 Reds came in second behind the 1998 Yankees. What a joke. Look, I’m not saying that the ’75 – ’76 Reds should be 1a and 1b on the list but to place second behind an expansion year team is laughable. If you need more information about my opinion about the 1998 Yankees along with a position by position comparison to the 1975 Reds, please read my “Open Letter to Buster Olney” in the February 2013 archives of this website.

More Useless Trivia: Two Reds play by play calls that did make the fifty greatest list was Pete Rose 4192 and Al “Do You Believe in Miracles” Michaels play by play call of Johnny Bench’s game tying home run in game 5 of the 1972 National League Championship Series. Michaels was Reds lead announcer from 1971 to 1973.

Speaking of play by play broadcasts, a few years ago I had the honor of touring the home of Evansville, Indiana resident John Miley. I know what you’re thinking, who’s John Miley. He’s the owner of The Miley Collection, the world largest collection of sports play by play memorabilia. Whenever you hear a replay of Bobby Thompson’s 1951 walk off home run that sent the Giants to the World Series, it came from the Miley Collection. Miley owns the only original copy of Russ Hodges dramatic call, along with two other radio network broadcasts of the game. Being a radio junkie myself, and a degree in Electronics, I was literally a kid in a candy store. Every item in his collection was expertly catalogued. Miley even owns a wire recorder, which was one of the earliest audio recording devices. During the tour I asked him if he could put a price on his collection how much would it be worth. He stopped, though for a minute, and told me of all the interviews he’d done, ESPNNew York Times, WLW radio, NPR, and other major media outlets, no one ever asked him that. In my humble opinion his collection is priceless. That was a day I’ll never forget. Go to for more information.

Have a blessed week.

Dan Howard

No comments: