Welcome! Login | Register
 

RWU and Silent Witness Initiative To Launch Domestic Violence Online Database Tool—Roger Williams University and the Silent Witness Initiative…

Taco Pledges $400,000 to Support URI’s College of Engineering and Yes on 4—The Taco White Family Foundation will donate $400,000…

Rhody Ramble’s Upcoming Fall Events for Families—Rhody Ramble, launched in 2012, connects families with…

The Scoop: Kilmartin Hits Back at Hodgson, Harrop Urges Right-To-Work Municipal Ordinance, and More—Welcome back to The Scoop, the 4 p.m.…

Pawtucket Hall of Fame Taps Nesselbush As “Person of the Year”—Three City residents, Joan Crawley, former Director of…

Patriots Blown Out By Chiefs In Kansas City—Many billed the Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs…

NEW: Hodgson Blasts Kilmartin For No Bid Legal Contracts to State Legislator—Rhode Island State Senator Dawson Hodgson blasted Attorney…

Russell Moore: The GOP’s Curious Case of Catherine Taylor—Like most, this election year looks like it…

Providence PowerPlayer: Brown Athletic Director Jack Hayes—Each week, GoLocal shines the spotlight on one…

Smart Benefits: New IRS Guidance on FTE Look-Back Period—The IRS recently issued Notice 2014-49 related to…

 
 

John Rooke - Thinking Out Loud

Saturday, May 17, 2014

 

Thinking out loud…and wondering whatever happened to Casey Kasem?

WEEI re-tooled its midday show this week, keeping former PC and Red Sox infielder Lou Merloni, adding former Patriots’ TE Christian Fauria, and re-assigning Mike Mutnansky. I like Mut, but his sound and delivery never really stood out as unique…and it took station management a while to realize it. Tim Benz will join the show from the ESPN affiliate in Pittsburgh – his father is CEO of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute – but I’m not sure that a show “QB” is what that program needs…

• And as a result, another good guy in the biz lost his job…with John Ryder’s station exit and Mut taking over the Red Sox pre and post-game show duties. My guess? Mutnansky has a contract that station poobahs have to pay anyway. And that’s the trouble with broadcast suits…a bad move is usually followed by another…and another…

• To say that last weekend was big at Bryant would qualify as one of the understatements of the year in the local sports department. Beat Syracuse – at the Carrier Dome – in lacrosse. Win the NEC title in softball. Clinch the NEC regular season crown in baseball. And have a football player sign a FA deal in the NFL, with Indianapolis. That’s very cool. Now, the bar is raised…

• Not only was the lax win over the powerhouse Syracuse program the biggest athletic win in Bryant’s sports history – forget just since moving up to Division I, we’re talking all time – but it’s also probably the biggest win ever within the Northeast Conference, a league with 10 mostly private (except for Central Connecticut), northeastern schools as members that started out as the ECAC Metro when it launched in 1981. Bryant joined in 2008, when they made the move from Division II. Two years ago, you’ll recall Robert Morris defeated Kentucky in hoops…but that was in the “we don’t really care” NIT for the Wildcats…

• Thoughts and best wishes go out to Providence College hockey forward Drew Brown, who has returned home to Michigan to begin treatment for cancer. Brown was receiving treatment for a lower body injury during this past post-season when an MRI revealed a tumor, discovered to be Ewing’s sarcoma – a form of bone cancer. Brown has played 75 games over three seasons for the Friars…

• They barely register a blip on the local radar…but it might be time to start paying attention to the New England Revolution. I know, I know…it’s soccer. But here’s why you might want to keep an eye out for the Revs – 1) it’s a World Cup summer, and soccer will take over much of the national sports coverage and conversation in about a month; 2) the Revs, after a slow start to this season, are turning out to be pretty good. They just thrashed the supposed best team in Major League Soccer last Sunday at Gillette Stadium (beating Seattle 5-0), and have one of the top, exciting young players in the game in pied piper/rock star Diego Fagundez. Fagundez is just 19 years old, but has been playing professionally since he was 15. He still lives at home in Leominster, MA with his mom and dad, too…

Not for nuthin’…but the Revs are undefeated at home so far this season (3-0-1), and haven’t even allowed a goal at Gillette. Hard for anyone to beat you when you play defense like that…

• No Puck Luck...the Boston Bruins caught more iron against the Canadiens than Eskimos catch colds. But as much as it must pain Bruins’ fans, credit goes to Montreal for selling out on the blocked shots against the B’s throughout the series. The “best team in hockey” was weak offensively, forechecking was woefully inconsistent and mistakes were plentiful – not exactly how a President’s Trophy team should perform in the post-season. But they did…

• Worst moment in franchise history? Absolutely, it’s a disappointment…but that’s because we helped build the expectations to a level that turned out to be difficult to reach. The team was assembled to win, and didn’t win the ultimate prize. But worst moment? No. They missed the playoffs for almost the entire decade of the 1960’s, and had a losing record as recently as 2007. But biggest disappointment? That’s a different question, with a different answer…

• Love the fact that the Habs played the “disrespect” card to the hilt. It worked. Sometimes, you need that extra “somethin’ somethin’” in order to play with (and beat) a superior team. And if Milan Lucic is as poor a sport as he’s being made out to be, he deserved every bit of what he got. Actions, not words, Looch…

Iginla? Think I’ll pass. Marchand? I could live without. Comes up small in the big moments…zero goals in the playoffs. Lucic (zero shots on goal in Game 7) looked slow and unsure of himself. Thornton? His spraying P.K. Subban seemed to keep Montreal’s fire lit as the B’s failed to close out a 3-2 series lead with one goal in seven periods (103 scoreless minutes)! That’s just plain awful. Even Zdeno Chara lumbered way too much. Montreal had too much speed overall, and perhaps that should be an off-season focus…

• Another off-season focus – we’re spoilt. That is all

• My buddy Statbeast sez you can’t be spoiled if you do your own ironing. So that’s it. More ironing…

• Umm…misery loves company…the New York Rangers came back from a 3-1 deficit to beat Pittsburgh in their Stanley Cup series. Heads will probably roll somewhere in the Steel City. No matter how bad you think you have it, someone else has it just as bad, or worse…

• I must admit – I was a little disappointed overall with the Patriots’ draft efforts last week. Not that I disagree with the players they selected, but in the apparent philosophy going forward. Clearly, there is now an eye toward the future, a future without TB12 as the man under center. And yes, I have advocated for turning-the-page here for a couple of years now. But with some of the other players selected, like RB James White, it was more about games-to-come in two or three years, rather than games-to-play NOW. Sure, a team has to rebuild, and the Pats recognize this. But as most fans surely realize, the coming season has to be about winning NOW. Not in two or three years…

• We don’t know if top pick Dominique Easley can help the defense this year, or not. Yet. Perhaps OL Bryan Stork can help this year, but he also had injury problems at Florida State. If you were hoping for an immediate impact player, you didn’t get one. Are the Patriots that stacked across the board where they don’t need immediate help? The one position that cries out for a little of that, at tight end (as Rob Gronkowski continues to recover from multiple injuries), they didn’t even draft a player. They did pick up THREE TE’s with their free agent signings, however. Makes you wonder just a bit, doesn’t it?

• In Bill We Still Trust, or In Bill We Have A GM Who Is Out Of Touch And Off His Rocker?

• Have to think the organization feels good about the players they have in-house, feels good about the players returning from injury (Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, Gronk), and feels good enough about their depth. Otherwise, they don’t make some of the selections they made in this draft. Here’s something you can bank on, however – some of the new player(s) will be expected to produce right away. And if injuries are a factor again (when are they not?), they’ll have to…

• Easley told the media in Foxboro this week that he plans “to do everything that they (Patriots) ask me to.” With his recovery from TWO ACL injuries, let’s start with getting healthy, shall we?

• Was the Patriots’ scouting report on Johnny “Football” Manziel, who slipped down to #22 in the 1st round of the draft to Cleveland, the real deal? Or was it a hoax? Bill Belichick claimed he didn’t know what anyone was talking about when asked about it this week…but a website claimed the report was leaked to media and had a copy of it. It didn’t paint a very good picture of the former Heisman winner…

Johnny Manziel

• Very happy that the Dallas Cowboys didn’t draft Manziel, but it sure would have made for a great story. Dallas, however, has already invested millions in a quarterback who can’t win (Tony Romo), so Manziel’s signing might have ruined the franchise forever. But I am happy to see they’ve picked up a QB with a great sense of humor, and self-worth – even if he’s kidding. Dustin Vaughan signed a free agent deal with the Cowboys, and has one of the funniest promo videos out there…

• Here’s a tidbit from the NFL Draft you might not have expected: Michael Sam’s new St. Louis Rams jersey sold more often than #1 pick Jadaveon Clowney’s new Houston Texans’ jersey over the past week, even though Clowney’s was on sale 49 hours earlier than Sam’s…

Tweet of the Week – from @DanHellie: “How likely is it that Michael Sam is on Rams opening day roster? In 2013, 54% of 7th Rd picks were on week #1 active roster…”

• Not really sure what to make of Marshall Henderson’s inflamed Tweets about Michael Sam. Henderson is the Ole Miss basketball player who is, um, a bit more outspoken and different than most college basketball players you might cross. If you missed his Twitter “experiment” in the aftermath of Sam’s kissing his boyfriend after being drafted, let’s just say he is one smart, conniving cookie…or he just backpedaled like few others have ever backpedaled before…

• And a shocking leftover from the NFL Draft that is undoubtedly a huge reason for the changeover in coaching at the University of Texas…the 2014 draft was the first time since 1937 that NO Longhorns were selected. Whoa

Aaron Hernandez brings to mind the word “waste” on so many levels…

• Hey Rutgers? Maybe you should just close up shop and start over. Yet another PR embarrassment for the State U of NJ this week, with QB Philip Nelson being charged with assault for kicking a former player in the head and leaving him in grave condition. Nelson is a transfer from Minnesota and was prepared to sit out the upcoming season anyway…which may now have to be in jail. Rutgers actually followed up by kicking him off of the team…which is the first move they’ve made that’s made sense in eons…

• Maybe Donald Sterling is working with Rutgers’ PR people? Sterling told CNN’s Anderson Cooper last week that, among other things, Magic Johnson wasn’t exactly “a good example for the children of Los Angeles.” Reportedly, Sterling did call Johnson to explain and apologize for his initial racist comments that have set the NBA on its ear, and have Sterling on his way to being an ex-owner of the LA Clippers. Sterling may have a point – but butting heads with someone as beloved as Johnson isn’t the way to go about cleaning up your own mess. As in all mea culpas in life, come clean and apologize, Mr. Sterling. I don’t think that’s what you did on CNN. Admit your mistakes, and perhaps the public will take you back, even if the NBA does not. That’s part of what happened to Magic, who made his famous HIV pronouncement more than 20 years ago. He was one of the great players of our time, and a personality that has helped define a sport. For him, slack was cut a long time ago. Sterling can’t win – no one can win – a PR battle with Magic…

• Jumping on the bandwagon…LeBron James says he might lead a boycott if Sterling is still the owner of the Clippers by the time the next season starts. Good. Sure, the move would make a statement. Even better if they pick it up right around Christmas-time, as early season NBA games are irrelevant, anyway…

Got Grades? The most recent Academic Progress Rate figures for the 2012-13 academic year were released this week by the NCAA, and eight basketball programs will miss the 2015 post-season – three of them from the Southland Conference: Houston Baptist, Lamar and Central Arkansas will sit on the sidelines next season, along with Alabama State, Appalachian State, Florida A&M, San Jose State and Wisconsin-Milwaukee. No power conference teams were on the list, and a few additional teams received lesser penalties (less practice time, financial aid restrictions, game restrictions) for not meeting academic standards. Binghamton, a Friar opponent next season, received a Level One sanction, which means they’ll have reduced practice time in favor of more study hours…as did former Atlantic-10 member Charlotte (from Conference USA) and Fairleigh-Dickinson from the NEC…

• Programs must now average of score of 930 over a four-year period, or a score of 940 for a two-year average in order to be eligible for the post-season in all sports. UConn, after spending the 2013 basketball post-season on the sidelines for low APR scores, returned this past year with a vengeance. After some initial concern that Providence might have trouble meeting either one of the measurement standards for men’s basketball, largely due to transfers and others leaving the program (under a different eligibility scale, PC scored a 915 for 2011-12), PC’s score of 947 helps the Friars make the grade…

• In case you were wondering about RI’s other D1 basketball programsBrown’s APR score was 988, Bryant’s 971 and URI’s 932. Rhody remains eligible next year…

• The ACC announced this week they would stay with an 8-game conference football schedule, even though there are 15 schools now playing football in the league – with Notre Dame included in the mix. Do the math. This is what happens when you try to fit 15 pounds of dung into an 8-pound bag…it’s not going to fit. As a result, for instance, Duke and NC State have only played each other three times in the last 10 years, are scheduled to play just one time in the next 11 years…and they’re a mere 35 miles apart. Make any sense to you? League schools are now going to consider “non-conference” games against teams from the other division in the conference…like Miami facing Syracuse. Excuse me, but do you think Miami and Syracuse planned on NOT playing each other when they left the Big East? Stupid is as stupid does

• The ACC basketball tournament is moving its championship game to Saturday night, rather than play on Sunday afternoons as they have in the recent past. Which means, of course, the tournament goes exactly head-to-head with the Big East Tournament, and will run Tuesday through Saturday. Should be quite the traffic jam in 2017 when the ACC plays in Brooklyn…

• Can’t say you see this everyday…Yale’s Brandon Sherrod, a 6-6 junior forward, is leaving the basketball program. He’s not transferring to another school for playing time, or doing anything like that. Sherrod was selected for inclusion into the “Whiffenpoofs,” the school’s famous male a cappella singing group. They tour the world, and members are expected to take off a year from school in order to fulfill the demands of the schedule. Some choice to make. The Bulldogs were 19-14 this past season, and could challenge Harvard for the Ivy title next year…

Marquette passed on former Pitt and UCLA coach Ben Howland, and Howland this week passed on replacing former Brown coach Craig Robinson at Oregon State. ESPN first reported that Howland apparently said “no thanks,” which means now the Beavers will likely turn to the ranks of assistants to find their next head coach…

• Memories may be a little short in Cincinnati…the Bearcats and Xavier Musketeers have decided to take their annual basketball “battle” back to a home-and-home series, rather than play at the neutral downtown US Bank Arena. You’ll recall, of course, that in 2011 the two teams brawled on the Cintas Center floor at XU, leading to the cooling-off period away from campus. Xavier’s Chris Mack has been a proponent of getting the game back in the campus arenas, while Cincinnati’s Mick Cronin originally wanted to keep it downtown. With both schools’ athletic directors relatively new in their positions (neither was in their job when the fight occurred), Cronin has followed the consensus decision to move the game back on campus. Mark down February 18 for what’s being billed as the “Crosstown Classic” at UC’s Fifth Third Arena, as opposed to formerly being known as the “Crosstown Shootout…”

CBSSports.com reported this week that UMass is in talks with the Sun Belt Conference on potential membership…for football only. The Minutemen earlier this spring announced a pullout in 2015 from the Mid-American Conference in football since they would not fulfill all-sports member status that was required of their athletic program…leaving football in limbo. The Sun Belt is seeking a 12th football member so a conference title game could be played, and divisions set up. The Sun Belt? With Texas State, Arkansas State, Western Kentucky and South Alabama? And newcomers Georgia Southern, Idaho and New Mexico State? Those are some big-league road trips. Makes as much sense as anything else these days…and necessity is the mother of invention…

• It’s not going well for the NCAA. The Ed O’Bannon trial, where the plaintiffs are seeking an injunction that would keep the NCAA from restricting compensation to football and basketball players for using their likenesses, names and images is proceeding…scheduled to begin June 9th. The NCAA had two appeal attempts denied by the 9th US Circuit Court in the past week, arguing they shouldn’t have to pay men’s players because of the financial support they give to women’s sports and non-revenue men’s sports…

• But here’s a case where the NCAA bounced back, and proved its possible to do the right thing…Antoine Turner is headed to Boise State to play football this summer, but he’s currently homeless in New Orleans, a long-lasting victim of the effects of Hurricane Katrina. BSU’s athletic department warned boosters and friends of the program from trying to help Turner, since that would qualify as a violation of NCAA rules for giving impermissible gifts. Boise State asked for a waiver of the impermissible benefits rule, and lo-and-behold, someone at the NCAA did the right thing

• The National September 11 Memorial Museum opens to the public next week in lower Manhattan, and from all reports, it is a moving experience not to be missed. 9/11/01 is a day where you knew where you were when you first heard the news of the hijacked airplanes crashing into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center…and a day where more than 3000 people lost their lives. I personally stayed, on several occasions, at the hotel situated between the two towers…took my kids to the observation deck many times for the fantastic view…have friends who lost loved ones...and still shake my head in disbelief whenever I see video of the towers crumbling. I will be returning to pay my respects and remember…so hopefully history is not forgotten, or repeated…

• Ever wondered why David Ortiz – or anyone else who has an infield shift employed in front of them during an at bat – doesn’t simply try to place or bunt the ball into an open area for a base hit? This explanatory piece from a former pitcher might provide a bit of insight into a game that is still rife with selfishness and stubbornness…

• I’m sorry, but John Farrell waits too long to pull his starting pitchers when they struggle. He did it this past week, again, when Jake Peavy was getting raked over the coals by the Minnesota Twins Tuesday night – in a game the Sox lost in the 9th inning anyway. Pull him a little earlier, maybe that extra run or two doesn’t score…and maybe that loss turns out as a win…

• Last year, his moves were impeccable for the most part…save for a few during the World Series that his players overcame. This year, Farrell’s moves are mostly questionable…his decision-making shaky. And with many of the players on his team struggling as well, there’s no one to save him. Add it all up, and mediocrity is the best anyone can hope for.  Just sayin'...

• Bizzarro World in the Bronx…The Yankees lost six straight to the Mets, until Masahiro Tanaka came to the rescue Wednesday night. The M-E-T-S. Six homeruns in two games against Yankee pitching, after hitting just 13 overall in their first 19 games at home…

• Maybe you thought the idea of a Boston/New England Olympic Games bid for 2024 was a bit unlikely? A short list of two or three cities, from among Boston, San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Dallas, Philadelphia and Washington, DC is expected to be released before the end of June by the US Olympic Committee as the contenders for a US bid. The United States will have gone 22 years without hosting an Olympics (since Salt Lake City in 2002) and 28 years without the Summer Games (Atlanta, 1996) by the time this rolls around. The dark horse here? New York. The city doesn’t have plans on the front burner, but Governor Andrew Cuomo apparently does. Expect this idea to gain some momentum…

• And you might expect some fallout from ESPN’s Jeremy Schapp reporting this week on the deaths of migrant workers building the infrastructure in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup. Good, solid, riveting investigative journalism…which we don’t see often enough. But will it be enough for FIFA to change course…or for Qatar to change its practices? As is usually the case, money is at the root of the problem…

Casey Kasem (blogspot.com)

A bizarre, sad story surrounding the iconic Casey Kasem, who is 82 years old and suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s disease, leaving him unable to speak. Kasem disappeared from his Los Angeles home after his daughter won conservatorship over his health care, as his children and wife Jean have been battling over for some time. Kasem is one of those voices you grew up with, as the former radio host of American Top 40 and the voice behind countless ads and characters – including Shaggy from Scooby Doo cartoon fame. He was found in Washington state, with his wife…

• From the mailbag this week – Ian from Marion, SC via Facebook comments on the Pats’ top draft pick, Dominique Easley: “Hopefully, the probability that he tears either of his ACL's again is very low. And he's young enough that he should be able to recover and return close to previous form. Without the injuries, he would've gone in the top 8. This could be a case of the genius Belichick getting maximum value at the position.” Ian: That’s exactly what Patriots’ fans should be hoping for – that this pick is a stroke of genius. Because otherwise, it really doesn’t make much sense. Apparently, BB and Easley had great conversations during workouts, and “genius Bill” liked what he heard. My doubt lies with “Dr. Bill,” and whether or not TWO ACL tears will ever get Easley near the form he’ll need to be in, in order to live up to being a #1 draft choice. I really doubt that…

• Interested in having your questions on local RI sports (including the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ‘em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions and comments to jrooke@golocalprov.com. We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/Tweets right here! Follow me on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster…and on Facebook, www.facebook.com/john.rooke ...

• Don’t forget to join us for GoLocal Sports on 103.7 FM, every Saturday from 7:00-9:00 am! Call in (401) 737-1287, or text us at 37937…and send email to the show - golocal@weei.com .

 

Related Articles

 

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.