A sad day
Wednesday was a sad day, indeed, for anyone from Pittsburgh. Myron Cope, the longtime Steelers announcer, passed away at 79.
Whenever Cope's name came up, the first thing mentioned was how he invented the "Terrible Towel'' and popularized the term "Immaculate Reception.'' But for those who grew up with Cope, the Terrible Towel and Immaculate Reception were mere footnotes, afterthoughts to a man so much more than that. Myron was to Pittsburgh what Johnny Most was to Boston or what Chick Hearn was to Los Angeles or what Harry Caray was to Chicago.
True Steelers fans would turn down the sound on the TV and turn up the radio just to hear Cope.
Even small children could imitate the cartoonish voice of Cope as he concluded his TV commentaries by saying, "This is Myron Cope … on sports.'' Cope was as much a part of Pittsburgh as the fountain at Point State Park, the Duquesne Incline and Iron City Beer. He's an icon that will be missed, but never forgotten.
Changes at ESPN
Sean Salisbury, the caustic yet entertaining football analyst, is out at ESPN. Salisbury released a statement saying, "I want to thank ESPN for 12 great years of talking football on TV and the radio. I have grown as much as I can at ESPN and decided to expand my horizons. I have created a brand, and it's time to expand into other opportunities in TV, radio, Internet, publishing, movies and public speaking, among others. My resume speaks for itself as a football analyst, and I believe I can talk all sports with the best of them."
Honestly, it's hard to believe a guy would leave ESPN without another gig lined up. And ESPN's brief statement — "Sean Salisbury has made many contributions to our efforts for the past 12 years. We thank him and wish him all the best." — leads one to believe that Salisbury was asked to leave.
Oh, incidently, on the same day, ESPN announced that it had hired Cris Carter, the former HBO's Inside the NFL analyst.
Naming rights for a proposed new football stadium at Florida Atlantic might fetch as much as $20-million. And now FAU students have started a campaign called "Get Hooters to Sponsor Our Stadium.'' According to the Palm Beach Post, nearly 350 students have signed a petition on a Facebook page to show their support for the idea.
Can't see it ever happening, but it does make a little sense. Hooters' logo features an owl, and the FAU mascot is an owl.
Blog of the day
Did you know there is a blog on the Internet called WhyTradeKazmir?
The headline on it says "Why Duquette Why?'' referring to former Mets GM Jim Duquette, who traded Scott Kazmir to the Rays.
Underneath the headline, the point of the blog is explained:
"Two years ago, the New York Mets traded young flamethrower Scott Kazmir for the injured, underwhelming Victor Zambrano. It was a mistake of historic proportions. These two Mets fans can't get over it. Allow them to complain.''
Meantime, another New York sports blog (BigAppleSports.net) took a shot at some Mets fans who are actively rooting against Kazmir. Under a tongue-in-cheek headline that read "Good News Mets Fans!'' the blog relayed the information about Kazmir needing an MRI exam for pain in his elbow before then ripping into those pathetic Mets fans who might take joy in seeing Kazmir injured.
Line of the day
Colts coach Tony Dungy is featured on the cover of EA Sports' NFL Head Coach '09. When asked if there are any cheat codes on the game, Dungy let loose with this zinger: "We'll probably only let New England have cheat codes.''
What team is the most popular in the world?
Well, probably the Spanish soccer (oops, sorry, we mean football) club FC Barcelona. According research by a European sports marketing group, approximately 50.3-million consider themselves supporters of Barcelona. That would make it the most popular soccer team in the world, and that would have to make it the most popular sports team, don't you think?
Three things that popped into my head
1. I might feel a bit more optimistic about Mike Smith working out as the Lightning's No. 1 goalie if the team hadn't already swung and missed on John Grahame, Marc Denis and Johan Holmqvist — the other supposed "No. 1 goalies'' that have rolled through town the past three years.
2. Mets reliever Billy Wagner came off looking like a jerk (the strongest word allowed here in a family newspaper) when he got ticked that a University of Michigan player attempted to bunt in an exhibition game. "Play to win against Villanova,'' Wagner said. Hey, this is a big moment for a bunch of college kids to play a major-league team. Anyway, it's a "game.'' They kept score for a reason, no?
3. Someone please explain to me why former Indiana basketball coach Kelvin Sampson does a bunch of illegal stuff that could end up getting IU in hot water with the NCAA, and yet he is paid a lump sum of money from the university to promise he won't turn around and sue them for terminating his contract. Does that make sense to you?
Things that go Boo
Good thing Boo Weekley plays golf. That means he doesn't have to watch it.
Speaking Wednesday at the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Weekley, who is from Jay (outside of Pensacola) said, "I'm not a big golf watcher. I know I'm supposed to be representing the tour, but I'd much rather be watching NASCAR.''
Times staff writer Tom Jones offers up his two cents on the world of sports.