Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Too Much Gossip by Tannen

When I first began doing this show on our local ESPN affiliate I expressed my concern about the gossip end of the once brilliant all sports network. It hasn't gotten any better. I just caught the morning SportsCenter and a main story was how new Bronco coach Josh McDaniels is going to talk with quarterback Jay Cutler about the tension between them. WHAT? That's newsworthy? Next we should be getting an update on Suzie hoping to sit at little Joey's table during 4th grade lunch. Maybe Cutler and Coach M should head to the nearest drug store for a supply of Midol! Watching football up close you realize the insane physical nature of this game. Why is it that guys like Terrel Owens and Cutler can actually seem like such wussies off the field when you know they put their neck on the line on it? It's an amazing contrast. Cutler is upset he was almost traded for the Patriot's Matt Cassell. When did freaking Jay Cutler become an untouchable? Can't be due to all those Denver playoff victories he's engineered cause the knucklehead hasn't even been in a post season game. Plus he was under center for last season's complete & total tank job. What a putz!
Keeping along the lines of moronic sports coverage. ESPN also has a piece online about how Tiger Woods has struggled during his comeback. This one almost put me on the floor. Guy had knee surgery and has been back for 2 appearances. Won a first rounder in the match play, then finished in the Top 10 of the only traditional tournament he's played. Did they expect him to bring the cure for the economy back from his layoff? Again.....gossip, gossip, gossip. Can we actually talk sports? Oh yeah! We'll get to that at 3pm. Catch you then.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


216 lifetime wins is not an automatic lock as far as Baseball's Hall of Fame. As a huge fan of the game and it's history I truly believe intangibles come into play as much, if not more than any other sport. In football, Troy Aikman was a first ballot Canton guy despite statistics that don't jump off the page. In my mind Troy is a definitive Hall of Famer. Winner. Leader. A model of efficiency and a true class act who added to the NFL by his mere presence. With Curt Shilling, we had someone I would likely get into a screaming match over politics and certain social issues, but I'd also go toe to toe with anyone who feels he is NOT hall worthy. Sandy Koufax compiled a mere 165 victories during a career that began in Brooklyn with his having trouble finding the plate and ended in LA as perhaps the most dominant pitcher of all time. He won 3 Cy Young awards when they only gave out one for all of baseball. He fronted a pitching staff that won 3 World Series and 4 NL Pennants. Shilling put up more than 3000 strikeouts, had over 300 in three different seasons and threw over 250 innings four different times, amazing in this pitcher coddled era. His post season success is legendary with an 11 & 2 record and dirt low 2.3 era. As for being a winner, well he was the ace or at least co-ace for 3 different franchises who won the pennant and got World Series rings with the 2001 Diamondbacks and twice(04 & 07) with the Red Sox. His bloody sock performance in game 6 of the comeback during the 2004 ALCS against the hated Yankees is the stuff you tell your grandkids about. Basically he brings all the intangibles to the table that favor his induction into Cooperstown that Jim Rice didn't have when he laughingly got voted in this past January. My question is which hat will appear on Shillings bust?

Monday, March 23, 2009


The Dance is always great. For one day, the Super Bowl is awesome. Still get a kick out of New Years Day and all the bowl games. But these 17-18 days involving so many teams and sub-plots takes the cake. 3 years ago we had George Mason from the Colonial League make it all the way to the Final 4 before the bubble burst against eventual champion Florida. We can all recite the end of Valparaiso over Mississippi as a #13 seed, but that was way back in 1998 when they reached the Sweet 16. Last year we had all the top seeds make the Final 4 for the first time ever. We did have Davidson come within a whisker of the National Semi-finals as a 10 seed. Otherwise it was all 1 through 4 seeds in that Elite 8. This year as Gonzaga beat Western Kentucky with a second left, only Arizona was still standing after the first weekend with a low seed. But come on! It's freaking Arizona. They've been to the tournament 25 straight years. This is hardly Cinderella. In two brackets it's down to the top four seeds and with #5 Purdue taking out #4 Washington, that West is down to a 1-2-3 & 5, not exactly miracle city. Another interesting factor is how the Big East has in fact held up well in the Dance with 5 teams still standing. As for the performance of the Pac-10, save Arizona, UCLA got torched by Villanova. Nova was also playing in their backyard in Philly. To me it looked like the Huskies were taken by surprise against the Boilermakers. Washington is used to being the gritty team with a speed advantage as well. Purdue matched them physically and I think the Dawgs were thrown off by the Boilers in your face, lightning quick defense. Arizona State got outcoached as that Syracuse zone took James Harden out of the game and on the other end, got Pendergraff to foul out with about 9 minutes left in. We'll have much more on what I witnessed 1st hand at the Rose Garden on both Thursday & Saturday because it was amazing to be a part of this.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Had a few folks during the week insinuate that Washington might be walking into hostile territory in Portland. Yeah Right! People aren't going to spend big bucks
for a major event just to boo a rival. This is a freaking home game for UW, the place is flowing with purple and the Dawgs are feeding off it leading by 11 at the half.
Most of this with Jon Brockman and Matthew Bryan-Amaning in foul trouble. Unfortunately Mississippi State is unable to capitalize because their interior force, Jarvis Varnado has been limited to just 6 1/2 minutes of action with his own foul issues. MSU can't throw it in the ocean hitting just 30% from the field while Washington is shooting exceptionally well at 50%. Their very athletic defense has contributed to 9 Bulldog turnovers in this first half. Both teams are doing a good job attacking the glass. Quincy Pondexter has been a one man wrecking crew with 15 points. Guy is such a terrific all purpose contributor, much like Bobby Jones was for
Coach Romar a few years back when they were a regular Big Dance participant. I imagine this place is going to be equally, if not more bonkers in a partisan way when Gonzaga takes the floor versus Akron after this. FYI, if you haven't been able to attend an NCAA tournament game, I highly recommend it as quite the experience.


This is my first Big Dance as a member of the media. I was instantly struck by the magnitude. I guess when CBS is spending a billion dollars you get that. Game one is Purdue versus Northern Iowa and I'm shocked at the speed of the Boilers, particularly on defense. The Panthers are really struggling just to get a clean look, with PU challenging every shot. Purdue is up a dozen at the half despite their top gun, Robbie Hummel scoring just 2 points. Considering we have a pair of teams from the middle of the country, the turnout for a late morning tip off is terrific. Then again, it's been more than a quarter century since the Tournament has been in Oregon.
NIU best spring from the locker room with a plan to do more than spread the floor and work for shots. I'm thinking they will benefit from perhaps trying to beat PU downcourt before coach Matt Painter can set his defense. Catch up in a bit

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Nothing worse than being so close to perfection or in the case of Alabama State & Moorehead State, a dream...then having it ripped from you. I really love the Big Dance. The first Thursday & Friday it takes over the world of sports and it's a beautiful thing. Now we need to get to work on eliminating this moronic 'play-in' game. It should be called the "PLAY-OUT" game. These teams won their respective league tournaments and the right to participate in the NCAA Tournament and be a part of that magic. Then because the idiot powers that be who run this thing decided to add this when the Western Athletic Conference split up back in 1998 to form the Mountain West. Instead of simply eliminating one of the 34 at large bids, we get this abomination on a Tuesday. I have news, the NCAA's take place from Thursday to Sunday, period. Think of the fans of these smaller schools storming the floor with the confetting falling from the rafters earning the right to be a part of the brackets. The team who loses this will not get to enjoy that experience which might come along once in a lifetime. This piece of garbage has got to go.
You've often heard me talk about guys like Brett Farve, Terrell Owens or Manny Ramirez as nothing more than big babies who either whine for attention or when things don't go exactly their way. Let's add current Denver Bronco quarterback Jay Cutler to that list. This bozo thinks he's John Elway. Heck of a talent, but with a much deserved rep as a mental midget who is not that strong upstairs. He's bummed the team tried to trade him to New England for Matt Cassel. Wah, Wah, Wah. Guy has not only failed to win a playoff game, but hasn't taken his club into the post season. Who cares what he thinks? His job is to run the offense, not the franchise. Plus if he was as brilliant and valuable as he thinks, he and his pathetic team wouldn't have gone in the tank down the stretch, choke and miss the playoffs alltogether. All he's done these past few weeks is making the list of selfish, spoiled, crybaby athletes with minimal accomplishments who have a higher opinion of themselves than any one else. Your thoughts when we rally for SportsTalk.

Friday, March 13, 2009

DEAR COACH B by Steve Tannen

When I heard the news this afternoon that Mike Bellotti was stepping aside as Oregon football coach all I could think of was "THANKS". Thanks for the tremendous work as offensive co-ordinator helping most of us see the Ducks in the Rose Bowl for the only time in our lives. Thanks for taking a program that went from doormat, to the middle of the pack to a major player on the national scene. At this point I look forward to putting it to you when we rally the troops for SportsTalk.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Time to get completely ridiculous. We briefly hit on this during yesterday's show after I mentioned seeing some heavy set older guy in the stands wearing the basketball jersey of his favorite college team. He looked like an idiot. Baseball, football, hockey, even soccer sweaters or uniforms are acceptable. My question requires a trip through history. Name the character and the uni that person would likely don if they were around today.
Obviously Atilla the Hun would wear a Raiders jersey, likely a Matuzak. Hate to say it, but George Washington has to put on a Husky uni, I'm thinking Billy Joe Hobert.
As a martyr Joan of Arc must go Cubs, preferably Ernie Banks. If it's football, Lions. Einstein absolutely would have been a fan of the 1965 Princeton team that future Knick & Senator Bill Bradley led to the Final 4 out of the thinking man's league, the Ivy. I guess the big question is what would we find in the closet that belonged to God? Hockey: Gretzky #99 from Edmonton. Baseball: Willie Mays #24 New York Giants. Football: Walter Payton. Basketball: Lew Alcindor #33 UCLA. Near perfection. Let's get into this. Here is a list of folks. You tell me the jersey.
Benedict Arnold, Rush Limbaugh, Bill Clinton, George Bush, Meryl Streep, The Sundance Kid, Ceasar, Hitler, Magellan. Or you can come up with some of your own.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

BEST vs FAVORITE by Tannen

Was thinking how people often let their hearts get in the way of their head. Kind of like those who confuse 'want' with 'need'. Same thing when we evaluate players and teams in sports. A guy puts on the jersey of the team you root for and suddenly he's better or maybe not so good because he's on a rival. Makes no sense but then again, people still listen to Rush Limbaugh. How different would your all-time favorite NFL team look versus the squad you think would be the best. Sure, there could be some overlap. A few examples.
Tannen Favorites: QB: Namath RB: Freeman McNeil/Emmit Smith WR: Al Toon/Michael Irvin/Paul Warfield
Best I've seen: QB: Elway RB: Walter Payton/Emmit Smith WR: Jerry Rice/Michael Irvin
How about the NBA: Personal all time team would be Walt Frazier & Jerry West in the backcourt, Willis Reed in the pivot with Bill Bradley and Dave Debusschere at forward, kind of top heavy with Knicks. But if the fate of the world was in the balance I'm going with Magic & Michael at guard, Bill Russel at center flanked at the forwards by Kevin McHale & the Good Doctor at forward. Kareem, Larry and Oscar Robertson would be on my bench. You get my point, plus it's fun to ponder these critical issues.
Not that there have been any easy ones, but Oregon squaring off with Washington State in the Pac 10 Tourney is a really bad one. Ducks hit a season low during their visit to Pullman a month ago. Cougs patience, defense & improved offensive production turned it into an embarassment. The U of O didn't hit even 40% of their shots in either game, but that one at WSU was a horror show at just over 20%. Marked improvement in that aspect of the game would be a nice starting point. Getting a win in this thing would be a nice way to end the season and send the guys into the spring with hope for 2009-2010.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I know I always use Gonzaga's free ride when talking about the Oregon men's coaching situation because people always throw out the name Mark Few. I like Few. Seems like a heck of a guy. But one more time, the WCC is a one horse race and it was front & center last night as the Zags ripped apart St. Mary's. There is talk of this maybe being Gonzaga's shot at the Final 4. Yeah Rite! They play a weak schedule, ranked 114th in the nation. What happens is they take on these pretty decent out of league teams in November or December. Then the tournament comes around and they've beaten up a bunch of patsies while most of the field puts their guts on the line night in and night out in a killer conference. Remember, the Zags have been given great seeds, overvalued in my opinion, and always fall on their face. In 2004 they were a #2 and got to play in the Seattle regional at Key Arena. Got toasted in round two by Nevada. The next year the committee gave them a gift #3 seed, beat Winthrop before Bobby Knight's Texas Tech team bounced them in round 2. Oregon on the other hand for those of you Ernie Kent bashers, has been given two favorable seeds. #2 in 2002 and a #3 in 2007, grabbed the bull by the horn and rolled to the Elite 8, somthing that's never happened with Mark Few running the show.
Sorry, I'm not giving in. Coach Kent absolutely deserves a shot at working with the guys he's brought in, including the exciting new kid from Racine, Jamil Wilson.
Lot of baseball today with a focus on the Red Sox, Twins, and Angels. Plus a wrap of the Madness that's already taking place this month & your thoughts on the logic of the NCAA taking away wins from Florida State football in the wake of some academic missteps. I think it makes no sense. See what's on your mind.

Monday, March 9, 2009


So last week I decided I wasn't buying into the nonsense that Terrel Owens was going to another high profile team. My main question surrounded the search for a solid team who was a big caliber wide out weapon away from the Super Bowl or at least a shot. I scoffed at the notion of the Patriots or Giants. So he lands in Buffalo a team who failed to win one division game last year and trust me, the Jets & Dolphins weren't that tough. The Bills wreaked of mediocrity last season on both sides of the ball, home & away and have a ton of holes. Add in T.O with a burner on one side like Lee Evans, a headcase but talented running back in Marshaun Lynch plus a young but smart, high upside QB like Trent Edwards and I see the move. They sorely lack a tight end and on defense, I'll give you 11-dollars if off the top of your head you can name a strong playmaker on defense. I would have accepted Kawika Mitchell who left the Giants after their Super Bowl season at outside linebacker. I also like their young safety Donte Whitner now entering his 4th year from Ohio State. Gotta say, even though I detest Owens, this was a pretty good move and let's face it, we're now talking about the Buffalo Bills. They haven't been relevant since the last Super Sunday disaster 15 years ago.
I gotta admit something painful. Was kind of happy to see Washington win the Pac 10 regular season title in men's hoops. I'm a big time admirer of Lorenzo Romar. He's an excellent coach and the few times I've been in his presence for interviews after games, a total class act. Here's my question. Is it me, or does a true hatred for a school sometimes focus on a particular sport. I detest Notre Dame football, but have nothing against their basketball team. I enjoy watching the Ducks beat the Huskies on the grid iron as much as anything in all of sports, but don't feel the same sentiment on the hardwood. Just what in the world of Steve Emtman is going on here?

Thursday, March 5, 2009


On yesterday's show I mentioned the story about the brass from the Mountain West Conference making a proposal at next month's meeting of the Bowl Championship Series clowns. They want an 8 team playoff to determine our national title winner in football. The four major bowls would in essence become quarter final games meaning an extra 3 playoff games, the grid iron version of the Final 4 and the one for all the marbles. A couple of callers sent me into a tailspin by pointing out the logistical and financial issues this would cause. How could fans of a team who ended up winning the whole thing pay for and show up for 3 post season games? Say Oregon was involved. What about the issues that would surface trying to get 12-15 thousand fans from our state to the semi final site on a week or 10 days notice? How many fans not named Kilkenny or Knight can logically afford multiple adventures? I hope you're all happy because now our brilliant plan to finally settle this thing on the field has had a major monkey wrench thrown into the works. On today's show I will put it to you all to help me remedy this horrifying turn of events. Perhaps allowing the Final Four to take place all at one venue would help. It's not even 10am, I haven't had breakfast or coffee and remain unable to solve this equation.
Here's hoping the Oregon men make a good showing with a win tonight at Troy and a competitive battle at Pauley against UCLA, then maybe steal on in next week's Pac 10 Tournament. I remain unyielding in my belief it would be unfair and just plain stupid to even consider a coaching change. I sit firmly in the corner of the greatest coach in program history, one Ernie Kent.

Monday, March 2, 2009


As the clock wound down and it was apparent Oregon had defeated the Beavs, extending the streak of "NOT" losing to OSU at Mac Court to 16 years, my only mixed feeling were who to be happier for. The coach who has taken a bunch of hits and has some of the spoiled brat clueless fans calling for his dismissal. The players who have been unyielding in how hard they've practiced, and laid it on the line regardless of how the losses and heat piled up. The fans for sure. Nearly 88-hundred on hand meaning a mere 250 empty chairs to support a team with one conference victory. Sure, the proximity meant a decent amount of support for the guys in Orange. Florida has won 2 recent National Championships and even though they have a shot at returning to the Big Dance has not played to capacity crowds in recent weeks. Virginia from the tradition rich ACC had a couple thousand empty seats for their most recent game at the John Paul Jones Arena versus powerhouse Wake Forrest. Do the folks showing up and rocking The Pit trump the smaller, but vocal group displeased with Coach Kent? I'm guessing with a sharp guy like Pat Kilkenny it will. I thought it was a great touch when Ernie grabbed the microphone as the students filled the court and thanked everyone for their unyielding support and loyalty for his team. In the post game he also made a great point. The players finally got rewarded for their effort and preparation with the Stanford and Civil War victories and that's important for young people to see some kind of payoff or withdrawl for all put in. Your thoughts on the big show, look forward to it.