There is only ONE Oklahoma

Monday, November 27, 2006

Did I miss something here?

Thumbing through the latest cluster of SFC posts, I come across a post from the 'Mystic in Texas', concerning an article posted on MSNBC titled "Nascar Targets China and Europe" and got a giggle out of the knee-jerk responses that followed.

From, 'Nascar is forgetting their fans and where their roots are', to "Mystic's" retorts and interrogatives. Now first off Susan you may think I am picking on you but that is not the case, and you did end your post with, ' Whaddya think?' (after all, you and a handful of other inner circle SFCers read my blog daily, so lets break down what you had to say)

The Mystic writes: (in purple)

Does this mean that NASCAR sees it's fans as "only here for 4 hours on Sunday?" How would football fans feel if their favorite players/teams suddenly became "billboards" for a dozen or so corporate sponsors?

No, Nascar does not see the fans as 'only here for four hours' (if that was the case, NO COOLERS would be allowed at any race venue, just as in the NFL or MLB. You do understand that since 9/11, there has not been one FBI/CIA mandate to block coolers in stadiums? 'No coolers' has nothing to do with secruity as Eddie Gossage spoke of a few years ago), however they do see the Nascar fan with the same passion and devotion for their selected driver, just as the football (be it NFL or NCAA) fan does for their team. As for the NFL (and NCAA for that matter) players/teams being 'billboards', that is common and the norm. One only has to see the 'Nike swoosh' on the NCAA and better yet, see the absurd rules in the NFL concerning player apparel.

In 2003, Jon Kitna of the Cincinnati Bengals was fined $5000 for wearing a baseball cap with a cross on the front of it. According to NFL rules, doing so within 90 minutes after the end of a game is prohibited. During such a time players who want to wear hats must wear league-sanctioned gear only. The NFL doesn’t stop there. In 2002, Reebok had the official apparel and licensing agreement, yet many of the players in the NFL had contracts with rival companies like Nike, and Adidas. Sound familiar? Just to show how serious the NFL is in ‘protecting their investment’; they employ 32 observers, mostly retired NFL players, who make up the ‘fashion police’, on-site inspectors who report violations of the uniform rules to the league office.

If Kyle Petty wanted to honor his Father or Grandfather by running a ‘throwback’ scheme, would Nascar honestly take issue with that? However the NFL would not allow Colts quarterback Peyton Manning permission to wear black high-top shoes in honor of the late Johnny Unitas. NFL players have been fined for having the ‘wrong size’ towel tucked into their jersey.

Butch Davis was introduced as the UNC coach today (a slight 'Southern Gentleman' connection)...1.7 mil per year...Nike is
reportedly paying $150,000 of that annually.

Now take a good look at the pic above of the 'Tuna', I see 'FORD' a handful of times, do you?

Do football stadiums open up on Thursday before the big game and sell tickets to practices, sidelines, locker rooms?

As a matter of fact, yes they do. I guess you have never been to an Alabama home game (even when they are playing some 'directional school' where the RV lot starts to fill up by Wednesday night. Or never been to a NCAA bowl game (I guess you could say those are 'big games') where fans from either school begin to show up in the hosting city a week before the games.

And since you are from Austin you should be aware of just how much more intense the buzz is on '6th Street' truly was the 48 to 72 hours before the Ohio State game or even last week's game.

Selling tickets to practice has been a common site with the Dallas Cowboys since the late 70s. When the Cowboys had their training camps in San Antonio, a crowd of 35+ thousand was an everyday occurance, and yes, they paid their way in.

And lastly, there are fans at many other sports (NFL,NBA, NCAA football and basketball come to mind) that will spend days, and sometimes weeks, 'camping' out just to purchase tickets to 'big games'. That door swings in many different directions now doesn't it?

Where are the campgrounds at your local superdome?

Actually, if you would look around, they are there. Of course not to the extent of some Nascar tracks, but from first hand experience, the tracks that have an abundance of a campgrounds is more out of convenience and nessesity, because of the lack of Hotels in the area or the lack of good pre and post race traffic flow. Personally, I have Rved at such NFL stadiums as New Orleans, Houston, Denver and Kansas City. They are there.

Who are the corporate sponsors for the Houston Texans?

Just what stadium do the Texans play in again? There is a reason why it is called Reliant Stadium. Plus, to Jerry Jones' dismay, the NFL prohibites such sponsorship on uniforms, but that is only a matter of time before that changes.

Do professional football players get to go "practice" by playing college football games on Saturdays?

Now you have me on that one. Buschwacking stinks!

Who's the Commissioner of NASCAR?

Interesting thought, as most commissioners gets much critisism. If anything, Brian France (and his father and his father) has done what no other major sports league has been able to do, is to keep the sport's participants from forming a 'Union'. If you honeslty think that the NFL or MLB commissioners have done a better job at policing their respective sports, you are kidding yourself.

Will there now be a halftime during races?

As crazy and facetious as your comment was meant to be, you really may not have a bad idea for some tracks. 'Tricking' up the race formats at tracks like California or even plate tracks where it specific points of the race, the race is red flaged, and only a certain percentage of cars 'advance' to the next segment might not be such a bad idea. Would give TeVee their much need commercial time and might make some of these 'marathon' races have a bit more drama early on for them.

IMHO, perhaps our favorite sport needs to address a few things at home before "expanding" to foreign markets.....

Now I have read and re-read this article a couple of times and I still have to ask just what did I missing something here? Nascar has 'zero', 'nada', 'nyet', intentions of expanding the Nextel Cup series to these markets. What they do seem to be looking at is getting an early foothold on 'brand recognition' and business model that has been very successful over the past 50 or so years and forming a new series there. I still can remember that skeptics turned their heads on the idea of 'NFL Europe' lasting more than a season. Turns out they were wrong as well and NFL Europe has made the world wide market share of the NFL just that much more stronger.

Now before I get the 'hate emails' which usually follows any blog in which I comment on the goings on 'in Emporia and with the pod people', this same type of knee-jerk reaction is prevalent on a handful of other driver boards. But then again, I have never had my RV door knocked on at close to two in the morning by one of their PR/Spotters. However on a more personal note to the 'Mystic' (you have my email and an IM is just a request away), I commend you on your latest efforts to get more 'race type talk' on SFC, many might know that I to attempted this for a few years and was unsuccessful in the end. Keep it up! As it is/was needed.

And after all of this, I still have not touched on what I really intended to blog about this week concerning the 'goings on' at SFC since the end of the season.
But then again, I guess there is almost 90 days to feed that monster (Wow, and spotterman, says its 'only 3 hours to the next feeding', irony at its finest!!!!!! That might be the most honest statement he has said in years!). And as he loves to say with his famous tag line, 'have a great week'!

There is only one....Oklahoma

I'll keep this short

"Oklahoma is about winning championships"
Bob Stoops

"These people don't know what it means to be champions... Oklahoma invented it"
the 'King', Barry Switzer

Very few teams in Oklahoma history have fought through more adversity both on and off the field as this Sooner Football team. Now give your best effort Sooners in Kansas City this Saturday night, and bring home 'number 40'.

(BTW, lots of interesting chat going on at SFC that just cannot be ignored. maybe later this week.)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

That Time of Year Again

So its 'BEDLAM' week, the football game played between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State (aka Okie Lite) Universities. But it has been anything but BEDLAM for OU and most of their fans.

The delima for OU, is that this honestly is just another game, while for Okie Lite, this is their Super Bowl. Problem is , that Okie Lite has lost their self proclaimed super bowl 71 times, while only winning 16, with 7 ties. So roughly 80% of the time, Okie Lite comes out on the short end of the stick when it comes to BEDLAM.

But there is something interesting about this lopsided series, and that is, 'strange things seem to happen when this game is played in Stillwater' for some reason.

*From blowing 18 point leads in the final 10 minutes culminating with a 'failed' onside kick in which the kicking team was told the kick was going to be 'normal and deep', but the coaching staff failed to tell the kicker. Who then attempted an onside kick, but miss hit the ball, resulting in a line drive that bounced off an Okie Lite All-Amercian's face mask, and recovered by OU.

* A seemingly perfect game winning Okie Lite pass on the final play, only to be dropped in the end zone.

* Even in the last OU National Championship year, Okie Lite was in the red zone in the final moments only to come up short again.

But perhaps when of the strangest moments in BEDLAM history came in 1904 in the first ever Bedlam game held in Guthrie, Ok (basically half way between the two Universities and at that time, the state's capital) where on a cold, and very windy day with the temperatures well below the freezing mark and a nearby creek, Cottonwood Creek, was nearly frozen. At one moment in the game when the then Okie Lite Aggies were punting, the wind carried the ball backwards behind the kicker. (yes, he actually punted the ball backwards) If the Oklahoma Lite squad recovered the ball it would be a touch back and if the University of Oklahoma squad recovered it, it would be a touchdown. The ball kept going backwards and rolled down a hill into the half-frozen creek. Since a touchdown was at stake, members of both teams dove into the icy waters to recover the ball. A member of the OU team came out with the ball and downed it for a touchdown, eventually winning the game 77-0.

But maybe the most insulting aspect of BEDLAM is that the University of Oklahoma has adapted the state song, 'Oklahoma' by Rodgers and Hammerstein, as their school song with their own special musical arrangement, which has aided their bonding with the people of Oklahoma as the unofficial number one state university. So, for the administration, faculty, fans and the Oklahoma State football team themselves, the week preceding their annual game with the University of Oklahoma is truly a Bedlam Week, their 'super bowl'. But for the administration, faculty, fans and Sooners team, it's usually just another hum-drum day at the office.


Its off to the Coast for a few days of R&R, but the 'Spotterman' has been voicing some interesting opinions in the past day or so, that needs to be addressed. Until then, have a good Turkey day.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The High Cost of "BEDLAM"

Sometimes you just have to ask.....What the heck are they thinking?

We have heard for years that the rising tickets prices is 'killing Nascar attendance' and that may or may not be true. But something unthinkable is going to happen this Saturday in Stillwater when Oklahoma travels to Okie Lite. There will be empty seats!!!!! Yep, the state's BEDLAM game will not sell out, and what is more sad is that T. Boone Picken's Stadium only holds 43,500 fans.

Now you might be wonder how this can take place, after all, OU has sold out a 84,000 seat stadium for over 50 straight games (since the beginning of the '99 season), surely the Sooner faithful would love to gobble up those empty seats. Just as 20 or so thousand Sooner fans traveled to Waco the week before and 'outnumbered' the home team, the Baylor Bears. But if the Sooner fans wanted to go to this year's Beldam game they have/had a couple of choices.

1) Before Sept, Okie Lite sold a the three-game mini-pack included tickets to Missouri State, Baylor and Oklahoma for $160.
2) After Sept, Okie Lite sold tickets to Bedlam were released for single-game sale at $100.

Now understand, Tickets for a sold out Sooner home game range from $57 to $67, depending on the opponent and $98 for OU/Texas.

Students get the shaft even more.

3) Okie Lite is charging $100 for a student seat. (A student ticket for the Red River Shootout is $88, and that is a game where tickets are in high demand)

Now some might think those prices are not that high and should not be a factor in selling out a 43,500 seat stadium, but here is the catch. All those seats mentioned above were limited in the number of them, and availability. So what is left at the Big 12's smallest football venue?

As of 5 p.m. Monday, remaining tickets were priced at $250, $350 and $600. There were 43 of the $250 seats (located between the 25- and 35-yard lines on the south side) and 114 of the $300 tickets (at midfield on the south side) and each of the 1,426 remaining club seats that goes for $600.

Okie Lite Athletic Director, Mike holder defends his pricing with this comment: "
Good, stay home. Don't come, I don't care if any of them show up. Just bring that football team out here."

Pretty strong words considering that Okie Lite has yet to sell out its stadium at all this year, and that attendance is down from previous years.

BEDLAM is a big deal, but asking $75 to $500 more than an OU-Texas ticket is ridiculous. Why would Okie Lite raise prices like this? As no one wants to give that much money to a school that can't fill its own stadium.

Monday, November 20, 2006


1.a scene or state of wild uproar and confusion.

This Saturday marks the final regular season game for the Sooners and if you were to ask any 'Okie Lite' (aka Oklahoma State University) fan, they would tell you that this is their most important game of the season. Some going so far as to say, 'I wouldn't mind going 1-11 as long as that one win was against the Sooners'. more on 'Bedlam' week in a couple of days.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the 'Classy Ohio State Fans' and their 'tradition' of unrully behavior after their Buckeyes win a big game. Once agian, and sadly we see a repeat from the Buckeye faithful. I guess only 40 arrests is improvement, but it is sad that the city fathers in Columbus most pass laws prohibiting parking your car on some streets and forcing City crews to work overtime to empty trash bins, and heaven forbid someone have a couch on their porch only to find the charred remains a few hours later. Its too bad that one of the greatest College Football Traditions (the marching of the script Ohio and dotting the I) is paired with this other tradition.

If I had a vote in the polls. It would look like this;

1. The OSU - 12-0 (only played 4 teams with winning records, are they that good?)
2. USC - 9-1 (very consistant all season)
3a. ARK - 10-1 (early season loss to USC only blimish)
3b. FLORIDA - 10 -1 (SEC champ game with Ark will decide this tie)
5. MICHIGAN (while it was a nice effort last Sat, time to give another team a shot)
6. ND - 10-1 (will lose to USC and drop to the mid teens)
7. Boise - 11-0 ( I know, I know but 11-0 )
8. Wisc - 11-1 (a quiet 11 win season but the big 10 is pretty weak as a whole)
9. tx - 9-2 (big game Friday agaisnt A&M, Texas wins this one by 2 TDs)
10. OU - 9-2* (getting 'Ducked' may cost OU a BCS bowl game)
11. Aub - 10-2 (I really thought they were the team to beat in the SEC.... wrong again)
12. Lou - 9-1 (play somebody)
13. WV - 9-1 (see above)
14. LSU - 9-2 (still can't figure out this team, could play the spoiler this Friday against Ark)
15. RUT- 9- 1 (nice season, against weak teams)
Dear Waco ticket scalpers:
You have to be the dumbest bunch of ticket holders in the universe.

Me: How much you want for those tickets?
Scalper: $40 a piece
Me: $40??!?!? Those tickets are $37 at the ticket window and they said there's 15,000 left.
Scalper: Man, these are on the 35 yard line.
Me: And I'll give you $5!

I swear those numb skulls outtside the stadium thought they were selling tickets to Michigan v. Ohio St.

Final price........ 4 tickets for $30....TOTAL!

On to 'go fast and turn left'
congrats to 'JJ' for winning a championship, by doing that feat alone you have vaulted yourself above such drivers as Mark Martin, Ricky Rudd and a few others, who consistently finished in the top ten in points, but never won a championship.

Another blown motor for the 19?
It just might be a bit of Karma as once again we saw the 19 have a good qualifying effort, only to see him fall to the mid 20s in the early laps of the race. Then a two tire stop puts him back in the top 10. Just once I would like to see him actually pass cars on the track, and not in the pits. Johnson showed it could be done, but then again he got a new trophy yesterday. I don't know that much about motor tuning, but I do know that they can be tuned to add a bit of horsepower, but that will give up longevity. Maybe that's the only way Evernham feels the 19 can stay with the leaders these days.
Mailing it in:
The 88 team once again mails in a race. (term used for just going through the motions) Or maybe we should use the term coined by a racing buddy. 'The 88 team UPSed it in'

Countdown to Daytona:
90 days and counting. I wish i had a job that gives you three straight months off. If anyone complains about the Cup schedule being 'so long and time consuming', don't believe them, after all, it is their choice, they could always fall back and sell cars at Daddy's dealership 50 weeks of the year.

It was just a few short years ago, we heard the whining from many Nascar Fans concerning 'car count' or lack there of. Now we are seeing fields with entries of 50 plus cars, and next season looks to be the same. This sport maybe in its most healthy eras in the past 40 years.
Don't look now:
But the Oklahoma Sooner Hockey team is undefeated (17-0-0) and ranked third in the country

Friday, November 17, 2006

When Free is not good enough:

Every couple of days I'll spend a few moments lurking on the SFC message board (and a few others) and this time there actually was a couple of a posts that helped drive today's blog.

'Spotterman', had to stay home last week and will be missing this week's race as well, as he is expecting a new arrival to his family (congrats Brett). For the first time this decade, he had to watch the TeVee broadcast of a Cup race. While his complaints were nothing we have not heard before, maybe it gave him a different perspective.

One of the complaints I saw was that NBC (this is applicable to Fox as well) refuses to give an update on a team that is having problems or deep in the field. But lets get into the head of the NBC producer who is making the calls for a moment. One unique aspect of a Nascar race, is that there are no ‘time outs’, no half time or any other ‘breaks’ in the action to review when a team has issues. The producer has 43 cars to follow and many times there just isn’t enough broadcast time to cover everyone. Try to watch the PGA sometime, you see every Tiger Woods shot no matter where he is in the field, but others you may only see a shot or two of their whole round.

In many ways it reminds me of how College Football used to be broadcast before the 70s and 80’s. Back then, for the most part, only a handful of teams out of the 100+ division 1A college football teams would be shown live on TV. If there was a slow moment or if something spectacular happened in another game, sometimes ABC might break away and give us an update from that game. Shortly after that came the emergence of ESPN and other cable networks that were happy to broadcast some of these ‘lesser’ known teams. Most of the fans of those teams were in a new-found heaven, simply because they got a glimpse of their favorite team every now and then, not just the ‘top teams’. Sound familiar doesn’t it?

However, still many fans wanted to see, or at least have the opportunity to see, every single moment of their favorite team’s full season. College football did ‘fix’ this problem by offering pay per view of almost every college football game on any given Saturday. Even the NFL, NBA, MLB has done this and that PPV continues to be expanded, so if one lives in Tampa and wants to see Seattle play, the only way to get that ‘total coverage’ is to go to pay per view.

But that is where Nascar fans seems to have their dilemma and differ from those College and NFL Football fans. They want ‘total’ coverage of a race, but they also want that at NO CHARGE. That most likely will never happen on network television, just the nature of the event being broadcasted, but don’t tell Nascar fans that. They want their “vision” coverage, they also expect that coverage should be able to predict cautions (or the ‘big one’) and not take a commercial break during those times. Like EVERY network television program, for every 30 minutes of television time, there is a percentage of that time that must be dedicated to the advertisers who are paying for those 30 minutes to be aired.

lets take a look at the past ten or so Nascar broadcasts in terms of commercials: (source http://www.cawsnjaws.com)

track total minutes of race broadcast total minutes of comercials during race total minutes of racing shown % of commercials time % of race shown
pheonix (fall) 221 71 150 32.13% 67.87%
TMS (fall) 289 75 214 25.95% 74.05%
ATL (fall) 228 74 154 32.46% 67.54%
Mville (fall) 241 68 173 28.22% 71.78%
Lowes (fall) 245 71 174 28.98% 71.02%
Dega (fall) 215 65 150 30.23% 69.77%
Kansas 216 66 150 30.56% 69.44%
Dover (fall) 231 74 157 32.03% 67.97%
New Hampshire 203 63 140 31.03% 68.97%
Richmond (fall) 194 59 135 30.41% 69.59%
Cal (fall) 244 73 171 29.92% 70.08%

totals 2527 759 1768 30.04% 69.96%

In rounded numbers, 70% of actual races are shown, which is right in line with any other major broadcasts on Network TeVee. During prime time, for every 30 minutes of programimg, on the average there is 9 minutes of commercial time, which ironicly fits right in line with the percentages for Nascar broadcasts.

So the next time you hear someone complaining about the TV coverage for a Nascar race, remind them of a few things. First and foremost, (for the most part) it doesn’t cost you dime to watch. Today’s broadcasts are much more entertaining, and more professionally produced than in years past. And until the average TV watching Nascar fan is willing to pony up a few bucks each month in order to see their ‘ vision” broadcast, the 'free broadcast' is the best game going in town at this time.

I would be happy to pay for PPV, would you?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Pay Attention!

I guess I am just glad that Nascar actually attempts to crown their champion 'on the track', unlike College Football which relies on 'voting' from both Human and computers. Looking at the most recent AP College Football poll, (I guess now we know why the AP isn't a part of the BCS anymore) I noticed a couple of problems concerning my favorite team, the Oklahoma Sooners.

For instance, Jim Kleinpeter, a writer at the New Orleans Times Picayune and AP Voter, before last Saturday had voted the Sooners 15th in his poll. However, after a 10 point Saturday night Sooner win over Texas Tech, this same voter dropped the Sooners to 24th! While he admitted Tuesday he sent in his ballot Sunday morning thinking the Sooners had lost to Texas Tech on Saturday night, it is not a very good excuse considering the impact.

"I was in the press box after the LSU game that night and I remember . . . asking somebody, Did Oklahoma get beat? and somebody said 'Yes.' When I woke up the next morning, I rushed through my stuff and when I looked in the paper, I didn't see the score. It was still in my head that they lost."

These 'mistakes' are beginning to add up these days, and he says,
"It was an honest mistake. I'm going to correct it next week" which is all well and good, but the damage may have already been done. Had this writer voted the Sooners at the very least 15th (not raising or lowering them from the previous week's voted after a win) the Sooners would have jumped two over-all spots in the AP poll instead of just one.

That may not seem like alot, but in this late stage of the season, every spot up or down, does much for over-all perception.

Speaking of perception, this comment from another AP voter also surprised me somewhat.
Bud Withers (who voted OU 14th), a columnist for the Seattle Times, replied, "if the replay guy (Gordon Riese) had just used five minutes in the Oregon-Oklahoma game to get it right rather than feel hurried about it, Oklahoma could well be in the national-title picture as a one-loss team."

Translation: OU got screwed and should be in consideration for a title. But I'm still voting them #14. Just another example of the gutlessness of these voters. The excuse many voters give is that the 'Big 12' is down this year, but that was also the excuse many gave last year as well. Anyone else remember last year when ESPN was pimping that conference bowl championship thing? They wouldn't shut up about what conferences where doing in their bowl games. Until OU and Texas won, making the Big 12 the conference with the best bowl record. After that, very little was spoken of it. Rarely were standings shown, and no mention was made that the Big 12 had put together a better bowl record than the SEC, PAC-10, Big Ten, and Big East and the same record as the ACC.

Anyway, there are some great match ups this Saturday and look for a little more shake up in the polls, I just hope the voters actually pay attention to the final scores this week.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Its Deer Hunting season in Va, and we know what that means

For the "Southern Gentleman", it means 'mailing it in', for the last 5 or so races of the season.

I noticed a trend a few years ago of average to poor finishes late in seasons for ESad, but never really put two and two together until a friend mentioned some of his quotes about 'its almost deer season, and I am ready for that'. Heck, even his Fan Club Forum has a thread dedicated to the 'countdown to deer season'.

In eights seasons in Cup the 'countdown to deer season' (AKA the last five races of the season) is painfully obvious;

'99 20th Average finish 0 top 10s 0 top 5s
'00 27th Average finish 0 top 10s 0 top 5s
'01 27th Average finish 0 top 10s 0 top 5s
'02 17th Average finish 2 top 10s 0 top 5s
'03 21st Average finish 0 top 10s 0 top 5s
'04 33rd Average finish 0 top 10s 0 top 5s (Chase year)
'05 16th Average finish 2 top 10s 0 top 5s
'06 28th Average finish 0 top 10s 0 top 5s (after 4 races)

The total average in 8 seasons of the last five races is 24th with only 4 top 10s in 39 attempts and zero top 5s. So much for the 'bounce in the step', the Southern Gentleman claimed he was going to have for switching teams.

So grow that scruffy facial hair Elliott and get those dogs ready (is that really 'hunting' anyway?) as its 'deer season', and that means focus issues on the track, and mailing in your efforts.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Seniors..Thanks for the Memories

99 CJ Ah You, 42 Rufus Alexander, 92 Larry Birdine, 6 Jason Carter, 36 John Dailey, 46 Zach Latimer, 79 Chris Messner, 82 Laenar Nixon, 58 Calvin Thibodeaux, and and very special thanks to 12 Paul Thompson.

Mr. Thompson, I don't know if you have kids, but if you don't now, chances are you'll have them someday. Funny thing about kids: you never know when you'll have a chance to actually show them something positive around them.

Just this past weekend, I got to talk to a young Nascar fan (probably 10 or so years old), and show him something about character, about putting others and their needs and goals ahead of your own needs and goals, and how it can all work out.

This young Nascar fan, while watching the OU/A&M game with us, asked me to name my favorite player. Any team, any sport, pro or college.

The answer was easy.........."Paul Thompson" I answered.

And then I got to explain why. I told him how you had been faced with adversity almost every year of your five years at OU, and how you reacted. And how some other people had broken rules when tempted to do so, or had bolted when faced with adversity.

You have handled yourself in an absolutely exemplary manner, and you have shown a depth of character that is becoming more and more rare in sports these days. I am sure your trials over the past seasons have not been easy, and as you walk out of the SouthEast endzone tunnel Saturday night for the final time. You will be able to hold your head high and know that the Sooner Nation wishes there were more like you. I am just glad I will be at Owen Field to see it.

Thank you for giving me a chance to show this boy a good example about life. Thank you for being a positive influence. Paul, you are a champion at the game that matters most, life. You set an example that others want to follow and tell their children about, which is worth more than any amount of money. You have my respect. You somehow found a way to make it happen not only for yourself, but for the team, and for all of us fans.

Thank you, Paul, for being a Sooner.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Consistently Inconsistent?

With some of the recent fines and penalties Nascar has handed out once again the ole fallback by many Nascar fans is to point out just how inconsistent Nascar has been in their sanctions of teams or individuals. While I would agree that because the Nascar Rule Book is not public knowledge is the real problem here, I don't agree that Nascar is much different than any other sport when it comes to 'consistency' in handing out fines or penalties.

Let’s take a look at a more black and white issue from another sport and then look at the penalties accessed to the violators. I am speaking of using a ‘corked’ bat in Major League Baseball. Now one would think that this would be a black and white rule, and the penalty would be very consistent for each occurrence. Since 1974 there have been six instances of a player being caught with an ‘altered’ bat and the penalties were as follows:

  • Graig Nettles 1974—fined an undisclosed amount
  • Billy Hatcher 1987—10 day suspension
  • Albert Belle 1994—7 game suspension
  • Chris Sabo 1996—suspended 7 days with no pay and fined $25,000
  • Wilton Guerrero 1997—suspended 8 games, fined $1000
  • Sammy Sosa 2003--suspended 8 games
So how can such a black and white rule have such different penalties? The answer is as clear as the water in the Mississippi River. But it is not just baseball.

How many times do we hear how unfair officiating is in the NBA? That Shaq and a few others superstars get the ‘benefit of the doubt’ on official’s calls. That the NBA will do it’s best to have an LA or NY team in the finals, ‘because it is good for the ratings?’ Now where have we heard this before? How about the NFL? Some of the best receivers in the game have been accused of ‘pushing off’, only because of the name on their jersey or the emblem on their helmet. Even though he was penalized at times, was tennis turning the other cheek in the 80s after some of John McEnroe’s obscenity laced displays? Of course not, because people watched it, talked about it, then watched it some more!

Sometimes we hear the Nascar fan that is ‘done’, because ‘Nascar changes too many rules’.Well this too is an interesting concept and it usually depends on whether the fan agrees with the rule change or not. “No, no, not us, not the fans Phil, after all, all we want is ‘consistency’, right?!” Hmm, is it possible that consistency comes in many different flavors? There are very few other sports that have the equipment variable discrepancy that Nascar does. The closest just might be the PGA and their rules are changed annually, and yes, even in the middle of some seasons and in one case a few years ago, in the middle of a round in the middle of a tournament! Club lengths, club head sizes, ball criteria and other rules are constantly being changed. One might ask the question as to why a game as old as golf would need to change their rules. Could it be changes in technology, and how that technology gives one player an advantage over another? Sounds familiar doesn’t it?

The bottom line is that Nascar has to change their rules as the technology changes in the sport. The very nature of trying to make a car go as fast as possible on a closed circuit dictates that teams will try to gain a technological advantage over their competitors; and if Nascar determines that it is an unfair advantage, adjustments will be made.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

It's LOST day!

Hurry up and wait
It maybe LOST day, but it won't be for long. The short lived Season three will be put on the shelf until mid February? Someone help me get this ABC hook out of my mouth! So tonight is a 'semi' cliff hanger. Is tonight the night when Jack has to make the 'big choice'? I guess after tonight, we will have plenty of time to dissect the first 6 episodes of this season.

Sax and Violins in the pits?
Remember Emily Litella from Saturday Night Live fame in the late 1970s? I can just hear it now from her sitting behind the 'Weekend Update' desk peering through her bifocals and reading her prepared statement. "What is all this stuff about Sax and Violins in the Nascar Pits? I would think that the noise from the cars alone would drowned out the sound of these instruments in the first place! And whats up with the women, dressed to the nines in fire suits on top of pit boxes?"

So a member of the 10 crew is suspended indefinitely for his part of the now infamous altercation. I have seen where a few fans think this might be a bit extreme and the Nascar has set the bar a bit higher then ever before. That is hardly the case, I have not seen Larry Lacky at a track since 2002.

So, the City of Dallas passed the bond...
package approving funding for renovations at the Cotton Bowl. Supposedly, work is to proceed in three phases with the first phase to begin after the Cotton Bowl game this January. Money is also to go to renovating other buildings at Fair Park and.. a DART train station is supposed to open at Fair Park in 2009.

Does this signify the likelihood of the OU/Texas game remaining at Fair Park for the long term future? With the Sea Hag (Laura Miller) not running for re-election and Jim Jordan, a staunch supporter of the Cotton Bowl one of the favs to replace her, there is increased hope that the greatest tradition in college football may stay as it is supposed to. I am not holding my breth on this one though as the Dallas City Council missed the boat when 'Jerry World' wanted to relocate the Cowboys to the Fair Park area. This 'band-aid' may help in the short term, but the Red River Shootout tradition maybe doomed, and that is a crime for college football.

Two peas in a pod
So the 'Southern Gentleman' was named an 'Honorary Texan' over the weekend, and the 'award' was presented by Texas Humorist, Author, Musician and Politician Richard "Kinky" Friedman. It is funny to compare the similarity of these two 'Texans'. Both at one time just a few short months ago were very popular and could even be considered successful. Both have committed 'public suicide', by doing one simple action, which is to speak publicly and opening up their true persona's. "Kinky" went from a projected 35+% of the state wide Governor's election popular vote in Texas (the re-elected Governor only finished with 37 or so percent), but after pulling a 'Jimmy Spencer', during the only public televised debate, he would not address issues with any attempt of a solution. Although he spoke in alot of words and lenghtly run on sentences, his substance was zero. Just like listening to Spencer on 'Nascar This Morning'. "Kinky" finished with about 12% of the Texas vote last night, much like his Nascar counterpart, the more people listen to him, the more they see through their respective smokes screens. But I guess now, the 'Southern Gentleman's" real/fake MySpace account is a little more truthful where he claims he is from 'Dallas, Tx'.

Kay Baily Hutchison and her staff should be ashamed of this duping. But then again, she is in the same business. And lastly, according to the official SFC press release, it was a 'large contingent of Sadler fans in the great state of Texas petitioned.......', that's sort of funny looking at the official press release pictures, as only one Texas resident was in attendance for this 'wonderful' ceremony.

The Return of "Small Ball"?
This week the Texas Rangers hired Ron Washington as their new Manager. While I have never been a Rangers fan that much, mainly because they play in the American League. I was impressed with Washington's first comments and over-all baseball philosophy. He stresses good infield play, staying ahead in the 'count' for pitchers, and maybe most importantly, getting runners into scoring position. I guess what caught my attention was him speaking of the lost art especially in the American League of 'moving runners over' with less than two outs. To me, this will be a refreshing change if he really means it, from the now seemingly endless string of a batted ball either resulting in a two or three run homer, or the more common, double play.

A 'Suit'?
Looks like new ESPN/ABC analyst Marty Smith has traded in his T-shirts for a coat and tie. Nascar fans in general don't accept change very well, but hopefully they will accept the usual good content of what Smith says, over the look.

The 'Tuna' ......the iron fisted coach?
So after this weeks debacle at Washington, the Dallas Cowboys are the most penalized team in the NFL. Wasn't the 'reputation' for the Big Tuna, Cowboy coach Bill Parcells, as being a disciplinarian and fundamentals coach? Well, in Dallas we haven't seen that in a three or so years. This Cowboy team is now 'his' team, with few other previous coach's players left on the roster. But then again, Parcells hasn't won a play-off game in almost ten years. I am not saying that it is time for a coaching change in Big D, but it maybe time to realize the the Big Tuna is a very average coach, coaching a very average team.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Do your deed today

I frequent a Sooner message board and saw this post last night, felt it was very important today and frankly, he said it better than I ever could (and this is applicable not only to Sooner fans, but everyone in this country), so please, go perform your deed today!

Okay, some of you folks enjoy reading the little history snippets I try to faithfully bring you each morning. If you enjoy them, or even if you don't, I'm asking for a favor this evening.

Here's the dealio. Unless you have been living in a cave, you know tomorrow is Election Day. I'm asking all true SOONERS to get off their duffs, head-out for work a little early in the morning, and VOTE. The polls open at 0700 and they close at 1900.

Look, I know many of you are sick of all the campaigning, hate the phone calls, signs and ads, but, please consider the following.

There are a lot of military veterans on here. The most important thing we defended during our period of service was your sacred franchise. Seriously.

See, true representative democracy is a rare thing on this spinning orb we call Earth. There are literally billions of people who don't know what it is to walk up to a polling place, and cast their vote without fear of government reprisal or fearing their vote won't matter.

No matter what the pundits on either side may say, your vote matters and everyone who loves this little political experiment we call the United States of America is depending on you to fulfill the obligation you owe to generations who suffered on your behalf to secure your right. Please trust me, its the grown-up thing to do. Our kids are depending on you to show them the way. Bring that little "I voted" sticker home and show them. That's the only way to bring them up right.

Hundreds of thousands of American men and women have died to win, and secure, your right to go to the polls tomorrow. So, please, show-up, greet the nice blue-haired retired lady or old Oklahoma gentleman, get your yellow paper ballot and "special pen" and fill in those arrows.

Now look, I'm begging you, donkey, or elephant, or something in between -- makes absolutely no diff. Get your tookus to the polls and do your duty as an American citizen. Our system depends on you. It just doesn't work as well if only the extreme looney left or extreme rabid right does all the voting. You can bet they'll be there tomorrow. How about joining them?

Thanks for your time. I appreciate it.

Ur pal,

Monday, November 06, 2006

Smoke and Mirrors

Are we home yet?
It was almost midnight Sunday night when we finally drove through the 'storms' that the expert Texas weathermen had been predicting would hit the DFW area all day. While the Texas Motor Speedway did an excellent job of post race traffic control, I guess they could not control the rains and high water on a few of the major roads surrounding the track. Like we normally do, we waited till about 9 o'clock to exit the Speedway grounds, only to be stuck in gridlock some 4 or 5 miles south of the track. So it was a long day, but once again well worth it. TMS truly does put on some of the best over-all racing events from the start of the racing weekend, till the final checkered flag.

Checkered Flags
Speaking of checkered flags, Stewart adds his name to the last of other 11 drivers to win a Cup race at this track. When will TMS finally have a repeat winner? Hopefully along time, as it surely is nice to see the variety of winners and what they had to endure to accomplish that. 'Smoke' had an great race car yesterday and for must of the race, the other 42 drivers were racing for second.

Thats Racin
Now I have never really been a 29 fan, but I have to defend the 29's 'contact' with the 10. The 10 exiting the corner was loose and really the 29 had little time (if any) to react to that under acceleration. I honesty wonder what the reaction would have been had it been the 6 car hitting the 10. I am guessing that it would be more like, 'of course Martin didn't mean to, it was just one of those racing deals'. As far as the post race crapolla between the 10 and 29 teams, it will be interesting to see the penalties that will most likely be handed out.

Bumps in the night
Had an 'visitor' Friday night (actually to be P.C., it should be called Saturday morning), at around 1:45 A.M. It seems that 'Mr Spotterman/Manager' decided that would be an appropriate time to 'talk'. Unfortunately, I had turned in for the night about 45 minutes earlier but from what I understand, there was an interesting conversation that took place. I honestly thought it was just some 'drunk Nascar fan', that we had possibly met from previous races wanting to stop by and pay a visit, so I wasn't about to lose any sleep over that. My guests got to see first hand the mental midget's handy work and got a giggle out of it though. Note to PR Dude: Nothing 'good' happens after the bars close, you should know that. If you want to have a live dialogue, that was not the time nor the place. I don't think you would appreciate anyone knocking on your doors at that time, not very professional or business like. I expected more, but once again, you fell short of those expectations. Had I known you wanted to stop by, I would have thrown another log on the fire and taken some 'no-doze'! The Virgina dealer plates was a nice touch though. Maybe next time.

Weatherman needed for the 11 team
Saw a couple of Denny Hamlin's post race quotes this morning. Especially this quote concerning the race set-up for the 11 car on Sunday. "We were counting on sunny weather." Now understand that even though they were wrong about the timing of the storms, the DFW area weathermen pretty much all agreed that the sun was not going to be seen much of the day. While it did make a brief appearance for about 30 seconds, that was about it. At least the 11 car salvaged a nice finish and still could be the dark horse Chase winner with a bit of luck.

Stoops has some major Cajones
Sure there was only a couple of inches the Sooners needed for a first down, but going for it on your own 29 yard line, on the road against a ranked team is pretty gutsy. But the Aggie '12th man', effected that play in an unexpected way. A&M had too many players on the field. Hats off to Allen Patrick's 173 rushing yards (and a called back 75+ yard incredible run). That makes 440 yards in three games that Patrick has, since taking over for 'AD'. Not bad for a kid that was recruited as defensive back. Had some good natured banter with some A&M fans RVing just a couple of slots from us. Next up, TTECH and that 'crazy offense'.