Thursday, October 22, 2009

Night of the Jasons

One of the beauties of today's information culture is this: you can double-check your memory.

Sometimes, you find out the old memory is a little lacking. Other times, you're thrilled to find you had it exactly right.

I was watching Jayson Werth of the Phillies lay waste to his old Dodger teammates in the NLCS when I flashed back to a night at Coors Field 4 years ago. A big bunch of my extended family had gone to see the Dodgers and Rockies play (a distant cousin is a Rockies employee and we'd all been together for a family reunion in Estes Park).

I don't know if Dodgers manager Jim Tracy was aware of the history he made that night, but I feel fairly certain that never before in the history of baseball had a team started a game with four Jasons (well, technically, three Jasons and a Jayson) in the lineup. To make it more epic, when the Dodgers trotted to the field in the bottom of the 1st, the outfield was pure Ja(y)son: Werth, Repko, and Grabowski. The fourth Jason had a great view of all this: Phillips was behind the plate.

My then-16-year-old son and I commented on the Jason-ness of all this at the time. In fact, we were amused even further that three of these name-mates were in consecutive slots in the batting order.

At least that's the way I remembered things. And lo and behold, it really did happen that way. Here's the boxscore to prove it.

It's just a shame that only 21,000 people were there to see history unfold.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Super Socks

You either loved them or you hated them.

But you couldn't ignore them.

I'm talking about those yellow-and-brown vertically-striped "throwback" socks (some would call them "throw-up" socks) the Broncos wore in their game against the Patriots.

Yes, youngsters, those really were historically-accurate uniforms. The Broncos wore that look in 1960 and 1961, and famously, retired the socks in a public bonfire after the '61 season.

This season's celebration of the AFL's 50th anniversary has produced some cool looks (how about those original Chargers' uniforms?) and some not-so-swell ones (there's probably a reason
the New York franchise retired the uniforms along with the "Titans" nickname).

But until the Broncs brought out the verticals, nobody had managed to put a personal stamp on the archive-wear. Give Denver wide receiver Jabar Gaffney credit for that. Look closely at the photo and you'll see how Gaffney has put a little twist into his socks, creating the never-before-seen barber-pole look.

Check it out. You might be looking at a streetwear trend in the making. Where can a guy buy a pair of mustard-and-brown socks anyway?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Enough's Enough

I'm sure it will be little noted nor long remembered, but I'm hereby drawing my line in the sand.

We will no longer book interview guests who have something to sell (with one important exception, which I'll address in a moment).

My new policy starts immediately; we'll take a pass on an offer to bring golf guru Hank Haney on with John Madden. I'm sure Haney would be a great interview, what with the President's Cup getting underway. And I'm sure we'd have some fun letting John ask Haney for swing advice (after all, this is the swing doctor who tried to fix Charles Barkley's hack).

So where's the downside? Here it is: the pitch from the marketing people says the following: "Hank is appearing on behalf of Charles Schwab, and would also like to talk about a few quick money saving tips for retirement".

With all due respect, if we wanted to talk to a retirement expert, we wouldn't call Hank Haney.

This pitch is part of a burgeoning trend. If you don't believe me, just listen to sports-talk radio or watch the sports TV shows around Super Bowl or World Series time. You'll see and hear a parade of big names chatting about sports, but also slipping in a pitch for whoever's paying them. Car companies, insurance companies, financial planners, you name it.

We've played this game here at KCBS. And we've always felt a little uncomfortable about it. It probably reached its low point one morning when former Raider great Kenny Stabler joined us on the Madden segment, and then proceeded to deliver some of the clumsiest pitches for whatever it was he was selling (I honestly can't remember). It got so bad that John Madden began poking fun at Stabler's shilling.

We may reach the point where we can't book a sports celebrity interview, because everybody's selling something. So be it.

Now, I mentioned earlier that I'm willing to consider an exception to my new rule. Here it is: if the guest is selling himself, I'm OK with that. In other words: if you're talking about your new book or TV show or charity event, you're welcome here. In that case, we're talking about you and your work, as opposed to letting you deliver a commercial message for somebody else.

Bottom line: if you want to sell something, talk to our sales department. They're fine people, and they'll happily take your money in exchange for access to our fine listeners (that's how our business works).