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by Isaac Thorn 12.10.2008
Posted In: baseball at 11:49 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Remembering Glenn Sample

It's too bad you don't get to see your own funeral, because if you lived a really good life and had a lot of close friends it'd be a good time. Monday night a coworker and I headed over to the Fifth Third Arena for Glenn Sample's memorial service.

I met Glenn last year when I began working for Major League Baseball at Great American Ballpark, and like everybody else says, he was the nicest guy you could ever meet. He would write down people's names upon meeting them so he wouldn't forget their names later. Glenn wore many hats throughout his life, and his nearly 30-year tenure as Official Scorer for the Reds is what led me to meet him.

Glenn loved UC athletics. He has a street named after him on campus and is a member of the school’s Hall of Fame (and eight others). In some ways, he reminded me of Jerry Orbach's character from Law & Order in that he was distinctly from another era and knew a ton more than you. He grasped a great deal of the sort of knowledge and life skills which are timeless.

The only player who ever hated Glenn was Davey Concepcion. Apparently, Davey thought he had never committed an error as a member of the Reds. Not once. Sometimes Concepcion would come off the field, angered that he had been charged with an error, and offer Glenn his extended middle finger or another vulgar gesture. Others in the booth would say, "Glenn, I think Davey's really mad with you this time!" to which he would reply "No. That's Spanish for ‘I love you.’”

I remember when the Mets were in town last year and their catcher Brian Schneider came up to bat. Before he was done digging in at the plate, he had purposely kicked and muddied up the batter's box so that all the lines were pretty much disintegrated. Obviously, Schneider was doing this so that he could creep up an inch or two further than he was allowed when he was back there catching: an old veteran shady move that vets try to get away with all the time.

I can say this was the only time I ever saw Glenn get angry. He said, "He can't do that! It's against the rules. They should throw him out of the game for doing that."

Somehow, it made me realize how guided an individual he was, and that nothing could affront him more than breaking the rules.

Many people's funeral video slideshows would consist largely of beer-in-one-hand poses and other forgetful occurrences. What I found impressive the night of Glenn’s service was how many years were spanned during the slideshow, and not a single picture was of him sitting on his butt doing nothing. They were all hitting, catching, coaching, refereeing — action shots.

Perhaps that's why I was so stunned to hear of his death. When I worked the last game of the season (which was a makeup game vs. Florida scheduled on a Tuesday afternoon that Fox SportsNet didn't even broadcast), he was as lively and full of vigor as ever.

To see Don Zimmer get up on stage, weep, and compare Glenn's jump shot to Shaquille O'Neal's foul shots was something else. These guys played high school ball together on the West Side and have had their lives intertwine for more than 50 years since then. The same Don Zimmer that got so pissed off at Pedro Martinez that he tried to attack him was moved to tears.

Former UC wrestler Frank Shaut cried through his eulogy, and while he was speaking I glanced up to see a photo of him from his wrestling days. In the photo he looks like a guy who would beat your ass and not think twice about it. To see him so hurt by Glenn's passing was a testament to the kind of life he lived.

Memorials are never fun, but this one was educational.

 
 
by Isaac Thorn 06.03.2009
Posted In: baseball at 03:03 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
 
 

Random Sports Ramblings

I went out of town and you wouldn't believe the things I saw! It sure was different!

As you can see, I've been working on my leads and intro paragraphs. I spent a week in Maine and had more fun watching the New England Sports Network I ever could have imagined. My little brother went to college up there, so he had four years of watching/enduring their unique brand of sports coverage.

The folks at that station really exemplify what it means to be a homer. Aside from that, I hear they have a regular segment in which a man takes a woman on a date to Fenway Park. The most confusing footage I watched was when former Patriots tight end Christian Fauria did a segment at McGreevy's bar, and he was holding this mammoth burger called the "Josh Beckett Burger."

It's for charity or something, which is good. Fauria's assessment of the burger was something else entirely. The camera focused on him, he held the burger up and said "This thing will go right through you!"

I'm not sure if that means something else up there by the Freedom Trail, but around here that is not how you describe something you want someone to purchase and eat.

The Boston Red Sox have many smart, level-headed fans. They also have a lot of fans who wear Red Sox hats and T-shirts that say things like "YANKEES SUCK" across the front.

My brother is correct in thinking that these folks exhibit the behavior of someone who has been bullied somehow. Yankees fans aren't nearly as concerned with Boston. I think they just want to win, and if they get to climb over the Red Sox to get there, then all the better.

The lunatic Red Sox fan has some distorted notion that the Yankees are a big market "Evil Empire," when their team is run no differently. I understand why A's and Twins fans might feel this way, but for Boston fans to makes no sense to me.

The more I watch Jonathan Papelbon the less I care for him. Also, the Dunkin Donuts ads featuring Dustin Pedroia are shot so that Pedroia looks like he's 6-5 and not 5-8 or whatever he is.

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The worse my fantasy baseball team plays, the less I'm going to talk about it. I'm playing like the Diamondbacks.

I will say that Volquez's mystery-voodoo ailment coupled with Mike Cameron deciding his knees hurt on MONDAY really helps. A lot. Thanks.

I think I still love sports, but SportsCenter is getting harder and harder to watch. I just can't shake the notion that until they can routinely call the Mets catcher "Omir" instead of "Omar" Santos they should shy away from having Barry Melrose offer baseball analysis and certainly shelve those moronic moments in front of a screen where two or three anchors stand around sipping coffee, somehow trying to make their personalities (of which there is little) shine into the stories they are supposed to be telling.

More objective, coherent content to follow.

Image: Dustin Pedroia in yet another coffee-themed optical illusion.  


 
 
by 01.22.2009
at 03:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Using Two Wheels is for Wimps

There are some sports that are so jaw-dropping and unique that you can't help but stare and beg for more.  The sports that inspire this kind of reaction are usually very dangerous or really funny. Few are both. But it's your lucky day, I found one.

Off-road unicycling.

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Need I say more. Check out more about unicycling here. Be sure to look at the gallery to see more great photos.

uni3.jpg

 
 
by Danny Cross 04.11.2012
Posted In: Basketball, football at 11:12 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
cincinnatisports_t640

The Helicopter Is Back!

Former UC basketball player Eric Hicks to suit up for Cincinnati Commandos

Anyone who misses the days of Eric “The Helicopter” Hicks jamming on people’s heads for the University of Cincinnati basketball team will have a chance to see Hicks suit up for another local team later this month, but this time he’ll be playing football.

Hicks signed a one-day contract to play in the Cincinnati Commandos game against the Marion Blue Racers on April 28. He’ll be in town practicing with the United Indoor Football League team during the next couple of weeks. He calls it his “OchoCinco moment.”

Although he never played in the NBA, Hicks has been a professional basketball player since leaving UC after his senior season in 2006. Hicks has been a very good player in several European leagues, having played on championship and All-Star teams in such countries as Belgium, Poland, Russia, Israel, China and Spain.

Several notable NFL players had college basketball experience, including tight ends Antonio Gates, Jimmie Graham and Rob Gronkowski. Hicks, who is 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds, hasn’t played football since his sophomore year of high school in North Carolina. Although he doesn’t expect to end up in the NFL any time soon, Commandos coach Billy Back says his size and athleticism could be real advantages in this league.

“He’s an all-time fan favorite Bearcat and one of my favorites as well,” Back said. “He’s an athlete, and we can use his height to our advantage.”

Hicks plans to return to Europe soon to resume his basketball career, but said in a release that he’s excited about playing for the Commandos.

In addition to the April 28 game in which Hicks will play, the Commandos have home games at the Cincinnati Gardens May 12, May 26 and June 2. Tickets are $10-$22 and available through Ticket Master or the Cincinnati Gardens ticket office, 513-631-7793 or 2250 Seymour Ave. Find the team's website here.

Here’s a video showing a bunch of cool stuff Hicks did as a Bearcat.

 
 
by Matthew Murray 07.13.2009
Posted In: football at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 

The Big Gamble — Bengals Agree To Do 'Hard Knocks'

Drama, controversy and possibility. Three ingredients for television success and three ingredients the Cincinnati Bengals are all too familiar with. So when HBO’s Hard Knocks, a television series that follows NFL teams through their preseason regiments, had to select a team to feature for the upcoming season, it would have been hard-pressed to find a team more fitting than the Cincinnati Bengals.

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by Danny Cross 03.14.2009
Posted In: Air Hockey at 03:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 

Live Webcam of Air Hockey World Championship

The Air Hockey World Championship brackets have been announced in Las Vegas, and the first-round is underway as of 4:30 p.m. The USAA is streaming the matches live at airhockeyworld.com.

The 65-man bracket has Jason Cornell as the 54 seed and Jeff Huisman the 56. They will be matched up against the 11th and 9th seeds, respectively.

A live chatroom is also up and running, so get in there and support the local air hockey dudes. Cornell's opponend is a left-handed 57-year-old air hockey veteran with two national championships under his belt.

Go dudes go! Hit that puck hard!

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by Danny Cross 10.21.2009
Posted In: football at 03:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

UC Alum: 'One Great Season' of College Football

University of Cincinnati football fans have enjoyed a couple of pretty great seasons the last two years. That’s partly why UC grad John Wise is in town during this homecoming weekend as part of his “One Great Season” project, a multi-media documentation of the 2009 college football season. 

But although UC's recent success and 6-0 start this year is deserving of the recognition, Wise wouldn’t be here if he didn’t lose his job at WNBC-TV during the summer and choose a passion project over a job search. Wise, a 1994 UC graduate who's enjoyed a successful reporting career, decided to resurrect an idea he came up with back when he was in school at UC — to travel the country during an entire college football season, witnessing the year’s most intriguing games and its most historic programs.

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by Danny Cross 05.07.2009
Posted In: baseball at 04:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

The Cowboy: An Expert on Barbecue and Twitter

There are times during Reds TV broadcasts when one just shakes his head and thinks, “Goddammit George Grande, the world ain’t all that great.” And there are times when you might say, “Welshy, I really miss your mustache and I think it's funny how uncomfortable George Grande makes you.” And then there are times when Jeff Brantley talks about himself, and all you can do is laugh out loud.

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by Danny Cross 11.10.2008
Posted In: football at 04:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)
 
 

Brian Kelly Tried To Ruin My Night

I spent part of Saturday night lying in my front yard, refusing to come inside the apartment until I found a cat to chase. I was supposed to spend the evening celebrating a big important Bearcat football win, but because of ill-advised strategy and an impressive comeback by West Virginia, my celebratory evening turned into a terrified binge.

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by Danny Cross 04.16.2009
Posted In: baseball at 01:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)
 
 

Re: Nachos

Dear Cincinnati Reds:

I recently attended a baseball game between the Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ballpark. I don’t usually go to your stadium to watch the games live because walking across Fort Washington Way and looking at the Pepsi Smokestacks in the outfield kind of make me hate being there. I don’t mind the Mountain Dew bottles racing each other on the scoreboard or how Mr. Red always loses the Skyline Chili race because he is too tempted by a 3-Way to finish the competition. That guy’s lack of dedication kills me every time.

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