Let the NCAA College Basketball Nail Biting Begin!

Maddened by another early March malaise, munchers, crunchers and nibblers alike will be unwittingly fidgeting and feasting on fingernails while watching their favorite schools participate in College Basketball’s Big Dance of 2010.

I say, let the Nail Biting Begin!

MIKE – thee American made voice on sports!


……MIKE’s “Let the Nail Biting Begin” post was selected as a finalist in the nationally recognized Last Fan Standing 2010 Sports Blogging Contest. To read MIKE’s “Let the Nail Biting Begin” blog in its entirety, click this link at www.lastfanstanding2010.com/articles/pages/5/

Caught up with the Kardashians

I just caught up with the Kardashians.

How ironic! A month ago I had absolutely no idea what a Kardashian was. But now I do…even though I wish I never did…catch up with a Kardashian that is.

OK, sports fans, with the Saints’ recent Super Bowl success and the Lakers looming large to repeat as NBA Champs, the name Kardashian has become synonymous with sports.

Because a Kardashian is someone who has mastered a new sport; namely, Gold Digging for Athletes!

Lusting for luxurious lifestyles and seeking second-rate celebrity status, Khloe and Kim Kardashian have struck gold.

Yes, the Kardashian girls have hit the motherlode with Khloe landing Laker Lamar Odom in an E! sponsored wedding and Kim reuniting with Saints Running Back Reggie Bush.

These two reality show drama divas demonstrate for shiny toothed, buxom babes everywhere that there’s a fortune to be had in sports . . . even if you don’t play one.

To keep up with these Kardashians and become a Kardashian yourself, just follow these simple gold digging guidelines:

SHUT OUT…any discussions of ever having to work a real job.

GO DEEP. .. into the wallets of multi-million dollar athletes.

FAST BREAK…to an MTV crib you’ve never contributed a dime to build.

KNOCK OUT…your new man’s Platinum Card balance while shopping on Rodeo Drive.

TOUCH DOWN . . . in your hubby’s private jet and step out on his red-carpeted runway.

The tawdry tale of gold digging as sport won’t be fully told for another decade or so…’til these dabbling divas’ vocabulary fails to evolve past manicures, pedicures, texting and clubbing, and their men desire to discuss details other than shopping, shopping & more shopping.

When the clock winds down (and it will), we’ll be able to test the long term carat value -10, 14 or 24 carat, that is – of this sport known as Gold Digging for Athletes. Unless there’s some true burnishing going on and the players refine some nuggets within themselves, we might learn that Lamar and Reggie don’t want to extend the game. . . in which case, “keeping up with the Kardashians” will be a short-lived sport after all.

Straight Talk. No static.

MIKE – thee American made voice on sports!


The Winter “Olympic” Sport of Curling

While watching the Hammer Throw finals at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, I never imagined my sports spectating standards could sink any lower . . . until I caught this week’s comedic competition called Curling at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

Maybe – just maybe – somebody could cajole me into believing that flinging a chain linked projectile resembling some medieval instrument of torture by a big burly boy named Boris from Belarus actually constitutes an Olympic sport.

But, I’m sorry, nobody is ever going to convince me that the skinny Norwegian glee club members clad in those ridiculous red, blue and white harlequin pants, and swooshing plastic kitchen brooms across an ice skating rink, are genuine Olympians!

Who on planet Earth, other than their mothers, would ever consider these swashbuckling, Broadway wannabes . . . Olympians?

Just how inebriated were IOC members when they sanctioned Curling as an Olympic sport? If Curling is an official Winter Olympic sport, could ice fishing, snowman building and snow angel making be very far behind? Word has it on the slushy, just-about-snowless British Columbian hills that, after watching this week’s Curling competition on NBC, beer pongers and frisbee golfers are now petitioning the IOC for their sport’s inclusion in the 2012 London Summer Olympics.

Is it just me or do you also view Curling as scandalously skirting the sanctity of sports by not requiring even the slightest semblance of athleticism?

Let’s be honest. Have you ever heard anybody say, “I’m playing in a real competitive inner-city Curling league this season.” Or, “Who will you pick as your Sweeper in next season’s Fantasy Curling League?” Or, worse yet, “Let’s run on over to Dick’s Sporting Goods. I hear they just stocked their shelves with the latest Curling gear – and their Curling Broom assortment is awesome!”

Listen, as far as I’m concerned, any sport that rhymes with twirling can’t be any good at all. So, enough of this nonsense! All this talk of Curling makes me think about hurling . . . my lunch.

Straight Talk. No Static.

MIKE – thee American Made Voice on Sports!


Let’s NOT Be Fooled Again!

OK, football fans, let’s NOT be fooled again……..when the NFL announces that another by-gone generation of geriatric, gyrating rockers will be entertaining us during future Super Bowl halftime celebrations.

Expecting to see myself and feel myself mesmerized by rock luminaries Roger Daltrey and Peter Townshend during yesterday’s highly anticipated football game intermission, I instead found myself traumatically touched – as if visiting ancient uncles in their South Florida retirement home – given the languished lyrics in their opening rendition of “Pinball Wizard.”

As Daltrey sequed from his strained, off-key, slow motion intro into his second sluggish song, the clownishly striped coated old codger sounded more like a tired turtle trudging through the neighboring South Florida Everglades swamps than the iconic British vocalist of the late 60’s and early 70’s.

To compound an already discordant performance, Daltrey’s next Greatest Hit was anything BUT. Who’d a thunk the aging Brit’s 2010 vocal version of Baba O’Reilly would vex some viewers about as vilely as a Bill O’Reilly vociferation.

Moving onto the group’s third song which seemed to stick around for hours, I embarrassingly broke out into my own chorus of “Who Are They?” rather than “Who Are You?” and simultaneously prayed for the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts to prematurely race back on the field.

Sadly, if not for the halftime show’s pyrotechnic and laser lighting displays, 74,000 stunned Sun Life Stadium spectators and 100 million tepid television viewers may have abandoned these comical caricatures completely for an obligatory bathroom break.

So, football fans, when the NFL announces performers for its Super Bowl XLV halftime celebration, we all need to remember the lackluster lyrics that Sunday evening’s fossilized British rockers recited while closing their Super Bowl XLIV halftime set……………………let’s NOT be fooled again.

Straight talk. No static.

MIKE – thee American made voice on sports!


Nike – Just (Can’t) Do It!

Nike – the world’s leading sports brand…just CAN’T do it!

Fire Tiger Woods, that is.

Earlier this week Sports Business Journal quoted Nike Chairman and Co-founder Phil Knight’s carelessly casual comment concerning Woods’ X-rated, extra-marital escapades. Knight said, “When Tiger’s career is over, you’ll look back on these indescretions as a minor blip, but the media is making a big deal out of it now.”

Wow! What a hyprocritical swaggering of swoosh swirling from Nike’s swanky Board Room!

For all his supposed moxie, corporate clout and sports world innovation, Knight is taking the coward’s way out… proffering the company’s support for the world’s most celebrated athlete and serial adulterer . . . and hoping we’ll continue to buy the millions of dollars of “Tiger-gear” still remaining in Nike’s inventory.

Knight’s irresponsible, insensitive and absurdly chauvinistic comment all but negates his company’s corporate mission statement about fostering social responsibility.

Nike’s decision is anything but socially responsible. To the contrary, by sticking with the foolishly philandering Woods, the sneaker giant made a mockery of the time honored social virtues of family, faithfulness and forthrightness.

What message is Nike sending to youth around the world? Hey Tiger Woods fans, keep over-paying for over-priced footware and apparel donned by our over-sexed golfing legend who overtly lied to fans, police, the Press and (sadly) his wife and young family.

Let’s call a swoosh a swoosh. Because in this case, where so much money has been financed to fabricate a phony family friendly facade, Nike…the world’s leading sports brand…just CAN’T do it! Fire Tiger Woods, that is!

We can all forgive Tiger if and when he’s contrite, but let’s never defend the arrogance of a corporate titan who summarizes serial adultery as a “minor blip”.

Instead, make Nike a “minor blip” in your future sports apparel purchasing.

Buy Adidas, Champion or Reebok instead.

Straight talk. No static.

MIKE – thee American made voice on sports!


Sports’ Deadly Language

Sports’ deadly language is absolutely lethal.

Sure, my post sounds depressing, but don’t blame me. Blame the morbid manner the media reports on sports.

Over the past few weeks I’ve spent lots of quality time surfing several sports events on the big screen.. . . only to be assaulted by the deadly language that sportscasters regularly employ.

Tell me if some of these don’t make you, too, feel like you’re being clunked on the head by a coffin:

The QB made a fatal mistake and got buried by the linebacker.

The base runner was a dead duck when the batter failed to execute the suicide squeeze play.

Time expired forcing sudden death overtime in this life or death soccer match.

A couple college football teams play their home games in Death Valley.

The opponents deadly 3 point shooting murdered us.

Now, do you get it?

Sportscasters lethal language must change; otherwise, it may kill us all.

Straight talk. No static.

MIKE – thee American made voice on sports!


Football’s Instant Replay

Football’s instant replay is anything but instant.

Seems like you can read all 1,990 pages of President Obama’s new Health Care Reform Bill…twice…faster than it takes a ref to acknowledge a challenging coach’s red flag, run over to the sidelines, stick his head under the little black curtain, then re-watch (what appears like a hundred times) the very same play that he and his officiating crew just witnessed live on the playing field only a few minutes before.

OK, while all of us at home, after raiding the refrigerator, hitting the head and following our fantasy picks on the internet, sit stewing on the sofa, the zebra clad man slowly and seriously studies replays from every conceivable angle – even appearing to access footage from the Hubble Space Telescope.

His decision should be easy . . . and considerably much quicker, but it’s NOT, because the actions of the main man in stripes always seems slower than a slug’s.

So, exactly what is the ref doing under that black curtain?

Checking emails?

Watching ESPN Sports Center?

Tweezing unwanted nasal hairs?

Calling Domino’s for a post-game delivery?

Or, reading an unabridged edition of War and Peace?

OK, my impatience is now maxed out after watching a weekend’s worth of ridiculously long NCAA and NFL replays.

Football brass needs to act fast, or should I say, instantly, to bring the instant back into instant replay . .. before more impatient football fans like me, God forbid, start watching soccer instead.

Straight Talk. No Static.

MIKE – Thee American Made Voice on Sports!


Worst Position in Sports: Hiking a Football

Hiking a football is without doubt the worst position in sports!

I came to this conclusion watching the Monday Night Football game between the Patriots & Colts earlier this week.

While calling this contest from the comfort of my broadcast booth, I suddenly realized just how much I subconsciously scrunch away from the exchange between a center and quarterback on the football field. Every time I see a center break the huddle, rumble a few yards to the line of scrimmage, then bend over and fondle a motionless football on the ground like it’s some precious package pining for protection . . . I unwittingly find my grill grimacing, my bowtie tightening and my body (well, in my case, just my head) borrowing into my base. Eeek!!!

Allow me to philosophize about these facts surrounding the hiking of a football:

First, in nearly every play, immediately after hiking the football, nearly 3,000 pounds of snarling, sweating linemen pile on top of the center’s body.

Second, unless he’s in the shotgun formation, the quarterback’s hands are way too close to the hiker’s unmentionables.

Third, the only body part of a center that ever shows up on camera is a wide angle close up of his big ‘ole butt…well, that is, unless he’s flagged for holding…in which case every football fan in America gets to see his mug shot – while the ref marches the embarassed culprit’s team back another 10 yards.

Yup, hiking a football…the worst position in sports!

Straight talk. No static.

MIKE – aka Mike Raffone – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

Former US Tennis Open Champ Agassi’s Angst – “Open” About His Past

I have never been a tennis fan; however, last week I became a fan of Andre Agassi.

Agassi, the retired 39-year-old winner of 8 Men’s Grand Slam Singles Titles, shocked the tennis world when unexpected excerpts from his book, OPEN:An Autobiography, surfaced in Sports Illustrated and The London Times. Graphic depictions of Agassi’s 1997 clandestine recreation with crystal meth and his subsequent lying to the ATP governing body, which threatened to suspend him, stirred a storm of controversy in the sports world.

An outspoken Martina Navratilova was the first former tennis great to excoriate the remorseful and agonizing Agassi, carelessly comparing him to a recalcitrant Roger Clemens. As memories of her own misery momentarily morphed, Martina all-too-quickly leaped out of her own closet, jumped into an awaiting Subaru, and raced down to the first available media outlet to air her agitation against fellow athlete Agassi. Interestingly, this gender-challenged Czech chastised sports fans everywhere a few decades ago for failing to fancy her homosexual lifestyle at a time when such admissions produced public anxiety. Now, she was nay-saying the atoning Agassi for admitting to his personal, private addiction. Sadly, too many others followed the former leading lady of tennis by lacing into Agassi and tearing into this talented, tearful tennis player.

While I don’t condone his irresponsible behavior, I do admire Agassi’s brutally honest revelations and his desire to be OPEN, as his autobiography suggests, with fans. The retired tennis star’s transparent angst is abysmally absent from today’s celebrity athlete. Andre admitted errant antics and demonstrated deep regret . . . which today’s “Pa-Role Models” fail to display ’til uncomfortably cornered and forced to confront culpability and criticism to salvage their otherwise crumbling careers.

Let’s decry Agassi’s bad behavior; however, let’s acknowledge Andre’s sincere admissions, his altruistic contributions to the Las Vegas community and, most importantly, his decision to be OPEN with the sports world.

That’s why I’ve become a fan of Andre Agassi.

Straight Talk. No Static.

MIKE – aka Mike Raffone – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

Notice to MLB: I’m Muting the World Series

This season, I have officially muted the World Series games on television.

Whaaaat???? you wonder in wild protest.

That’s right, sports fans, you heard me the first time. I have employed the ultimate power tool – that glorious device known as the Remote Control – and exercised my God-given right to officially mute all MLB World Series telecasts.

Now don’t get me wrong on this. You bet I love baseball, but I loathe the litanies of insignificant facts and figures foisted upon me during TV telecasts.

You see, boring baseball statistics have always driven me bonkers.

Do I really need to listen to FOX’s Tim McCarver, Master of Minutiae, tell me how many hits a Phillies batter got while hitting lefty versus righty, or how many of his total hits were to the opposite field off right hand pitchers who were born to blond haired mothers whose father’s uncle’s milkman’s neighbor’s son batted .327 for the Yankees AA Farm Team in 1968 and who is 13 times more likely to scratch his crotch area with his right hand when entering the batter’s box during rain delayed Sunday afternoon double-headers in July?

Wheuh! Stupid MLB statistics stifle my baseball likeability!

During this Fall Classic, I’m opting to watch in silence and serenity the bountiful beauty of America’s favorite past time . . . without being burdened by baseball banalities.

Straight talk. No static.

MIKE – aka Mike Raffone – thee ultimate talking head on sports!