Friday, January 30, 2009

My Favorite Sportscasters

Believe it or not, I'm tired of reading, and listening, to all the Super Bowl hype. I've had enough, it's time to play the game. Anyway, I was surfing my way through Yahoo Sports earlier today and I found an article listing the 50 best sportscasters of all time, as well as the 50 worst. Two things jumped out at me. First, they listed Howard Cosell at the top of the 50 best list. That man annoyed me to no end back in the day, and I'm still amazed that I never shot the television, threw a brick through the screen, or shoved a pencil in my ear every time he opened his mouth. Second, when you're making a list of the 50 best and 50 worst of whatever it is, it seems to me that you can't have the same person, place, or thing on both lists. Something is either good, or bad...right? This article had four of five broadcasters named on both lists. Needless to say, after reading this article I found myself going, hmmm.....

Therefore I've decided to come up with my own list. It is not scientific by any stroke of the's really just for fun. Here we go.

10. Dick Enberg.

Dick doesn't know how to call a bad game. Dick makes the bad games sound good. Dick enjoys his work so much you can actually hear him smile. (Think about that one for a minute) Another added treat is when Dick hollers "Oh my" over a big play. It's got to be good to get an oh my out of Dick.

9. Jim McKay.

The voice of ABC's Wide World of Sports, and for me, the ultimate host of the Olympic Games. Jim was professional, polished, and personable. He was also a Maryland boy! It was his sad duty to bring us the news of the terrorist kidnappings at the 1972 Summer Olympic Games. Among his other duties was to help cover the Triple Crown each year, and I'm glad, because I generally find horse racing boring, but Jim made it interesting.

8. Vin Scully.

One of the best baseball announcers to ever come along. And with a voice like aged Kentucky bourbon, listening to Vin reminds me of sitting with a favorite uncle while listening to him tell a good story.

7. Jon Miller.

Another one of baseball's best announcers. Jon's smooth delivery style, sense of humor, and knowledge of the game, makes even the most boring game sound like game seven of the World Series. And he's a snappy dresser!

6. Joe Garagiola.

Another baseball announcer, and maybe the funniest. Joe used to be a catcher with the Cardinals and played with Stan Musial. He brought every funny story and joke from his playing days to the broadcast booth with him. Growing up, I never missed NBC's Saturday game of the week as long as Joe and partner Tony Kubek were in the booth.

5. Keith Jackson.

The golden voice of college football. Keith called every big game there was...more then once. He told it like it was and made fall Saturday afternoons a blast, with his trademark 'Whoa Nellie,' exclamation following a big play.

4. Mike Patrick.

How can you not like a guy who starts every broadcast with "Good evening, it's great to have you with us." Mike started out locally for one of the Washington DC stations and moved on to bigger and better things. For a time he did ESPN's Sunday Night Football with Joe Thiesman and Paul Maguire. Mike's also done the NCAA Women's basketball National Championship several times, and currently does college football and basketball for ESPN. He just makes things interesting, and I love it when theres a big play and he'll exclaim "Are you kidding me."

3. Curt Gowdy.

I loved Kurt no matter what event he was covering. He had a down home charm that invited the audience to sit down and enjoy. He called the World Series on numerous occasions, as well as six or seven Super Bowls. And for a time, Kurt hosted The American Sportsman on ABC, I think it was ABC.

2. Pat Summerall.

The absolute dean of football announcers. After watching one of his games you walk away with the feeling like you've been sitting in his living room for the last three hours listening to him tell one great story after another.

1. Al Michaels.

I've been a fan of Al's work for years. Be it baseball, football, or someother sporting event, Al is always prepared, doesn't talk over or down to the listeners and is genuinely funny. Al gets the number one spot on my list for one reason. Click on the video and you'll see why.

Over the years I've rooted the Steelers to 5 Super Bowl wins, (soon to be 6), the Pirates to 2 World Series, Richard Petty to 7 Daytona 500 wins, the Lady Vols to 7 National Championships and watched Secretariat thunder into the history books, but what Team USA did in 1980 is my single favorite moment from any sporting event. And Al Michaels call at the end was the cherry on top of the whipped creme.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

For more WW participants, click here.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Pep Rally - Part 2

Here's a little video tribute to the Steelers defense.

I had a few minutes to kill so I wandered through the Steelers Walk of Fame. I've never made any secret of the fact that Jack Lambert is my favorite Steeler.

Jack Lambert - DA MAN!

Mean Joe Greene's locker.

A few final thoughts from Friday night:

It was a real treat hanging out with 20,000 other people who share the same affliction as we do.

We got to see a fight. Two women started shoving and slapping and pulling hair get the picture.

Got asked where me 'n Goody Two Shoes are from and people were surprised when we said we were from Western Maryland. "You're kidding," they said, to which Goody Two Shoes responded, "You might see some Ravens fans or Redskins fans where we live, but Western Maryland is Steelers country."

Really, really enjoyed the South Fayette HS Band. They were positively fantastic.

Lastly...I hope we all get to do all over again next year!


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Pep Rally - Pittsburgh Steelers Style

Went over to Heinz Field last night with about 25,000 other screaming Steelers fans. The weather was mild for late January in western Pennsylvania. The gates didn't open until 5:00 but two or three thousand were already waiting in line to get in when Goody Two Shoes 'n me arrived. Here are a few snaps from last nights festivities.

To be sure, there was tailgating...and music...and games...and drinking.

Waiting with everyone else for Gate A to open.

Steeler fans are a colorful lot, to be sure. Kind of like this old fella, who was getting interviewed when I took his picture.

Then there was this fella with a steel beam through his hard hat.

Some members of Steeler Nation go ape for their team. (Sorry, I couldn't help it)

Did I mention there was drinking? Okay, I did. These three guys, (who were feeling no pain) had a Steelers flag on a pole long enough that I couldn't get them and the flag in one shot. Anyway, they had little red birds tied off to the pole. (Look in the upper right corner and you can see them)

Finally, we're heading in. A first for me last night was getting patted down by security.

Former Steelers lineman and current Steelers broadcaster, Tunch Ilkin hanging out before the ceremonies begin.

The sign says it all.

Me 'n Goody Two Shoes

Goody Two Shoes before she started getting cold.

The Pittsburgh Poison All-star Dance Team got the crowd going.

Then the South Fayette High School Marching Band came out. We went to cheer on our Steelers as they get ready to go to Tampa, but we came away fans of these kids. They were fantastic! Their uniforms were what ever Steelers jersey they happened to own.

When it was time to play, they sprinted onto the field and went right into their first number.

They kicked, high-stepped, twirled, and danced while they played.

They even managed to play in 99 percent of all other bands do.

They even managed to play while flat on their backs.

And when it was time to go, they got in a conga line and danced off the field. This is the best high school band I've ever seen!

Then it was time for the Clarks, a local Pittsburgh favorite. Here they are performing a song called Cigarette.

After the Clarks it was time to get pumped because the Steelers were coming out.

HERE WE GO STEELERS, HERE WE GO! Feel the power of the Terrible Towel.

First, Mr. Rooney thanked everyone for coming out and supporting the Steelers.

Then Jeff Reed came out. Nice hair!

James Harrison.

And then came Big Ben.

On the stage, thanking everyone for coming out, and promising to bring a 'Six Pack' home to Pittsburgh.

We had a fantastic time. A big thanks to Suzy at Suzy's Bloomers for the timely info on the Pep Rally.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

Two Down, One to Go


It wasn't the prettiest win, and the Baltimore Ravens didn't go easy, but my Steelers are on their way to Tampa, Florida for Super Bowl XLIII.

Troy Polomalu (Goody Two Shoes favorite Steeler) with the play that broke Baltimore's back, a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Poor Little Raven

Overconfidence? I don't think so. I think a lot of people confuse overconfidence and faith. I have the latter. To which, I offer this little prayer. (With apologies to the Bible and the United Methodist Church, and anyone who may not see the well-intended humor.)

For all the fans of the black and gold:

Our Father (Mr. Rooney)
Who art in Pittsburgh
Football be thy game
Thy kingdom come
Five Super Bowls won
On earth as it is in Heinz Field (and 3-Rivers Stadium)
Give us this day a playoff victory
And forgive us our penalties
As we defeat those who play against us
And lead us not into third and long
But deliver us to Tampa
For thine is the dynasty
and the pride and the glory, forever

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Public Service Announcement

For all you fans of the feathered. Be it Baltimore, Philadelphia, or Phoenix. Here are all the driving directions you need to get to Super Bowl 43.