Quick Takes


          The Angels are hot, the Dodgers are not, but it’s the Twins who are now MLB’s new big shot. Hallmark definitely needs me!


          Who would have thunk it a few weeks ago?! Minnesota is now just ½ game out in the AL wild card race. While White Sox combustible manager Ozzie Guillen spends his time and energy plotting to plunk opposing batters, very underrated Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has brought his team into a dead heat with the Sox in the AL Central, baseball’s best division.     


          Bob Wahl is a poker dealer at Sunset Station. He and wife Cheryl are very proud of their nephew, and with good reason. Jason VanMeetren of the Chico (CA.) Outlaws was MVP of the inaugural Golden Baseball League’s All-Star Game on 7/18. The league is an independent league comprised of teams from Arizona and California. In addition to Jason’s tie-breaking homer in the eighth inning, the Chico outfielder also had a single and a stolen base. No less than Jose Canseco (Long Beach) won the home run derby. I want to be Jason’s agent.


          There’s no more famous sports skit in show business than the great Abbott and Costello “Who’s On First?” I’ll bet you don’t know the name of the team in the skit? It’s the fictitious St. Louis Wolves. Paul Angelos, also a poker dealer at Sunset Station, is the only person I asked who got it. Paul knows trivia!


          Reggie Bush is trying to get top dollar out of Tom Benson in New Orleans. Good luck. Benson’s favorite book is “How To Negotiate With Pro Football Players And Their Agents” by Bill Bidwill. Just in case you don’t know, Bidwill owns the Chicago-St. Louis-Arizona Cardinals, and has a long head start on Benson when it comes to royally screwing up a NFL franchise.    


          The animals in the Bronx Zoo are doing exactly what they shouldn’t be doing. Alex Rodriguez is a member of their Yankees, yet they’re getting on him unmercifully during his hitting and fielding slump. Team captain Derek Jeter should step up and tell those idiots that they’re hurting Rodriguez as well as the team by their behavior. Just throw ‘em all some raw meat.


          Donovan McNabb is truly a class act. In a recent ESPN interview, he was more professional about Terrell Owens’ antics than I would have been. If I were McNabb, I’d have told Owens where to shove his new book. I suspect Bill Parcells will eventually; it’s just a matter of time.


Did you know……………the New York Giants had to forfeit a home game? On April 11, 1907, the day before the Giants were to host the Phillies on  opening day of the season at the Polo Grounds, there was a huge blizzard. The field was cleared in time for the game, but the snowball fights went from the stands onto the field. Order couldn’t be restored, and after plate umpire Bill Klem was hit a few times, he forfeited the game to the Phils. The really sad part of this story...........I was there!


Story of the Week



        A couple of months ago, ESPN Classic did a show on the top sports comebacks of all time. Frank Reich’s heroics were duly noted by ESPN twice. I’ve noted them as well before, but it occurred to me that Reich truly does deserve to be the star of one of my weekly shows. What he accomplished on two different football fields is a story that defies the longest of odds.


        Frank Reich is most assuredly the king of incredible comebacks. In 1984, down by more than 30 points, he engineered a record-setting comeback in college football. In 1993, he did it again as a professional.

        After backing up well known quarterback Boomer Esiason for three years, Frank became a starter for the University of Maryland. His hard work and patience paid off, and he was eager to make the most of the golden opportunity. But when he got injured in the fourth game of his senior season, the chance to play professional football seemed lost.

        Then, in a game against the Miami Hurricanes in 1984, namely the Sun Bowl, Reich came off the bench to play a key role in the high point of the season. Down by a daunting 31 to 0, Frank entered the game, directed Maryland's first points and led the team to a remarkable 42-40 victory. That comeback still stands as the greatest in college football history.

        He could not have known that history would repeat itself nine years later. With starting QB Jim Kelly out due to injury, Frank started for the Buffalo Bills in the playoff game against the Houston Oilers in 1993, where the losing team would be eliminated from the race to the Super Bowl. Stunned as the Oilers charged to a 35-3 lead, Frank looked to stop their stampede one play at a time. Although no team had ever won after being down by 32 points, when the Bills scored two quick touchdowns in the third quarter, Frank recalled his college comeback. Buffalo captured the lead in the final minutes of the game and eventually won in overtime 41 to 38, a NFL comeback record that still stands today. (What gets overlooked in this incredible comeback is the fact that Bills star running back Thurman Thomas also missed that game due to injury, and was replaced by Kenneth Davis.)

        Less than a month later, the Bills made it to Super Bowl XXVII. In the second quarter, starting quarterback Jim Kelly had to leave the game due to injury. Reich came in to relieve Kelly. But it wasn’t to be that day. The Bills lost to the Dallas Cowboys, 52 to17, in one of the most lopsided Super Bowls of all time.


        It doesn’t matter. Frank Reich’s place in football folklore is quite safe. He owns two records, college and pro, that will probably never be tied or broken.


Last Week’s Trivia


          Joe Louis holds the record for the most successful consecutive boxing title defenses for a career. His 25 defenses started in June, 1937 and ended 11½ years later. 21 of those defenses were won by knockout. By any standards, fantastic!


Trivia Question of the Week


          He’s in the Baseball Hall of Fame. His great athletic ability caused him to be drafted by four pro teams in three different sports. Who is he? Name the teams that selected him. See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.