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!

2009 World Series: The New Jersey Turnpike Tussle

Never before has the New Jersey Turnpike been considered such chic conversation.

The typical chatter concerning this 100+ mile stretch of congested concrete and toll toting traffic known as Interstate 95 and connecting Gotham and the City of Brotherly Love normally evokes the ire of irritated travellers.

However, this week the two hour long slab of cement has surfaced as the sports world’s salient subject – now known to Northeasterners as the Turnpike Tussle and pitts baseball’s legendary NY Yankees against the reigning world champion Philadelphia Phillies.

Expect this year’s Fall Classic to be bigger than baseball bragging rights. The 2009 World Series stakes second fiddle Philadelphia against its northerly nemesis, the more ballyhooed Big Apple.

Yes, this series should settle scores more serious than any sports rivalry. At stake are decades of debates, disputes and disagreements surrounding each city’s icononclastic idols like Rocky vs. Rudy, Broad Street vs. Broadway, Lady Liberty vs. the Liberty Bell and the critically important delicacies of Cheesesteak vs. Pizza.

So, whether you say, “Yo,” or “How you doin?” this tussle will be well worth every Turnpike toll to a World Series game….and don’t you fugghedaboutit!Straight talk. No static.

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

Adjusting The Fellas is a Major League Baseball Problem

In addition to steroids, the public display of adjusting the fellas must be banished from baseball.

And yes, baseball fans, you know exactly what fellas I’m talking about. These fellas are the twins. That’s right, they’re the two little round guys who hang out with Richard. They should be snugly housed under the front flap of a player’s baseball pants in that medievally designed athletic supporter of almost underwear minus fabric for the butt. And they should stay there.

So how aggravating for fans in attendance, and especially for those watching in the stunning visual clarity of HDTV from the comfort of our living room couch, to witness these cherished twins endlessly being adjusted – whether in the batter’s box, at second base, on the pitcher’s mound, in the outfield or while walking out of the dugout in everybody’s plain sight.

I realize how egregious baseball’s steroid scandal has been, but it can’t be much worse than this continued, right-out-in-the-open rearrangement of the unmentionables.

The quick pinch, the gentle scratch, the polite poke, the painless pull, and especially the double fisted groin grab for those really needy players have absolutely gotta go.

That’s why I say. . .

Banish the Adjusting of the Fellas from Major League Baseball today!

Straight talk. No static.

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

Another Fallen Skirt Chaser

Another skirt chaser in the sports world has fallen.

ESPN baseball analyst Steve Phillips announced his leave of absence from the Network after confessing to more marital infidelity.

The skirt chasing Phillips, whose foolish philandering a few years ago cost him his GM job and the Mets a considerable amount of out-of-court cash, fessed up to fooling around yet again – this time with a 22-year-old ESPN production assistant. ESPN responded ridiculously, handing Phillips a mere one week suspension. Ouch, that hand slap must’ve really hurt!

The media’s had lots of fallen skirt chasers to report on these days. Louisville ’s Rick Pitino was forced into asking for forgiveness when confessing to his duplicitous decisions. Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger regretted running after a Reno resort vixen. Even CBS’ David Letterman’s laughter lapsed recently when reporting his lurid lifestyle to loyal late night TV viewers.

So . . . it’ll be interesting to witness which philandering philosophy ESPN embraces as the lurid details of Phillips’ recent frolickling unfolds. Will ESPN face Phillips’ foibles straight forwardly and formally kick his can to the curb for violating the Network’s morality policy? Or, will this World Wide Leader in Sports staunchly stand by its “stud” like Louisville ’s laughable loyalty to Rick Pitino?

ESPN has the opportunity to take a stand by setting an example that wanna-be womanizers need to keep their zippers zipped. Otherwise, the Network’s sports news won’t be about the game, but about another fallen skirt chasing sports “stud”.

Straight talk. No static.

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

Sports Cliche: Ain’t Over Til Fat Lady Sings

Have you ever stopped to think about the ridiculous sports cliché, “It ain’t over until the fat lady sings?”

Well, I have… plenty of times.

This totally insensitive and seemingly inexplicable expression has always bugged me, and now begs me to ask these pointed questions.

Who exactly is this mysterious beefy woman, and at what weight did she tip the scales to qualify for her important role? That’s role as in r-o-l-e.

Where was this full figured female found?

What happens if Princess Bigness can’t make it to the park until 3am? Do the fans remain in their seats until her big butt waddles in?

Why hasn’t she inked a seven figure sponsorship deal with her favorite fast food franchise?

What if it’s all you can eat taco night at the park? Who’s responsible for prying this likeable large lady away from the concession stand to belt out a few bars at the end of the game, so then we can all go home?

Because we all know that… the game ain’t ever over until the fat lady sings!

Straight talk. No Static.

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

Los Angeles Dodgers Manny Ramirez: Me, Myself & I

Me, Myself and I are still the only three people on the planet that Los Angeles Dodger Manny Ramirez cares about.

Once again, the oft-maligned (and rightfully so) Manny made many murmur the other night following the Dodgers’ late inning lapse in losing to the fast finishing Phillies in Game 4 of the NLCS.

Sure, the media mumbled mildly upon learning that the mercurial Manny marched off to the Dodger locker room after Manager Joe Torre replaced him with a speedier, better fielding player in the 9th inning.

However, where was the post-game outcry when it was discovered that the malcontent Manny selfishly showered while his Dodger squad squandered a slim 9th inning lead?

Why should we tolerate this nonsense?

Why didn’t Dodger teammates collectively kick Ramirez in the rear?

Why didn’t Dodger faithful slow down Southern California servers with tweets, blog posts and nasty emails excoriating this dread-locked lout?

Why did Dodger Skipper Joe Torre soften his style and succumb to the silly theory that that’s just Manny being Manny?

How unconscionable for a $20 Million+ per year Major League Baseball All-Star to slink out of the dugout and forsake finishing an NCLS game!

However, when you only think about Me, Myself and I, and the $20 Million is already in the bank, it’s easy to understand why….. that’s just Manny being Manny.

Straight talk. No static.

MIKE – aka Mike Raffone – thee ultimate talking head on Sports.

Crack Pot Calls Out Kettle King of Conflict

A pair of uninvited bombastic blowhards barreled into the beaming lights of controversy surrounding this week’s potential NFL sale of the St. Louis Rams.

Professional preacher Al Sharpton blasted bloviating radio host Rush Limbaugh’s bold bid to buy into the St. Louis Rams football franchise.

The preying Pastor, who purposely parades around the powerful and high-profiled, placed the Pre-eminent Prince of Pontification in his scope and declared the demonic Dittohead denigrating, divisive, and a fomenter of fear from the far, far right.

Whoa! Reverend Al needs to stop the sermon right there!

If this left, left leaning Sharpton is so sincerely concerned about denigration and divisiveness in sports and society, where was he a few years ago when Jay Z, whose licentiously lewd lyrics and vile verses victimizing women, became part owner of the NJ Nets?

Before questioning and cackling about others’ cultural conflicts and bigoted boorish behavior, perhaps the charlatan Sharpton should first check on the crater-sized cracks in his own pot.

Straight talk. No static.

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

MIKE – aka Mike Raffone – Reporting on the Worst Job in Sports!

What’s your vote for the worst job in sports?

Is it Terrell Owens’ embattled Publicist who’s always apologizing for #81’s bratty boorish behavior?

Is it a fighter’s sparring partner whose job is to get the snot beat out of him – unmercifully, I might add – on a routine basis?

Or, is it any coaching position within the Memphis Grizzlies organization?

You choose. Or, email me your own unique pick.

But, before you do, click on the animation below to see my choice for the worst job in sports

It’ll give a whole new meaning to the work phrase, “I just can’t keep my head above water!”

Straight talk, no static, this is . . .

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

MIKE Raffone Reporting On…The Jock Strap

Hey, sports fans!

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

Check out the attached one minute video (guaranteed to make you laugh) that I recorded with my buddy, Boomer in Studio M – my very own virtual ESPN Sports Center type studio.

As the sports world’s premier uber-humorist, I report on a seemingly non-sensical mix of sports topics. In this video we pose the question, “Why’s a jock strap called an athletic supporter?”

Expect to see plenty more of these MIKE Reporting On…videos of me on top sports web sites as well as on Jumbotrons in arenas and stadiums across the country.

Yup, I report on “really important sports stuff” like The Jock Strap, Dippin Dots, Quitting Spitting in Baseball, The Sports Bra, The Worst Job in Sports, Why is Curling an Olympic Sport, The Worst Mascot in Sports, The Ivy at Wrigley, Ain’t Over “til the Fat Lady Sings, Kaka’, Pa-role Models, Change is Needed (on our President’ Jump Shot) and lots more!

Email me and let me know what you think of our MIKE Minute monologues.

Straight talk. No static.

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