Quick Take

    Regardless of my respect for Rick Neuheisel as a head coach, he has a history of putting his job and his employer, in this case the U. of Washington, in harmís way with the NCAA. The latter certainly has its own hypocritical laundry; I am no great fan of the NCAA.   A thought was triggered by the episode of Neuheisel being canned by the U. of Washington for betting on college basketball in an office pool. I am not sitting in judgment of his termination; before doing so, I would have to read his contract as well as the NCAA rules on the subject. 

    However, too many college coaches commit obvious flagrant violations of NCAA rules, and when they are tossed from their jobs for same, the college programs they leave face NCAA sanctions as punishment. The universities that hire these deposed coaches should inherit the sanctions instead. It is unfair to punish the former employers unless the latter knew of the violation. The guilty coaches should be forced to carry their baggage with them to their new employers. And when these rules violators cannot find jobs because no university will want to inherit NCAA sanctions, the funny stuff practiced by university head coaches will cease. 

    I have sent this bleeping brilliant suggestion to the NCAA; I wonít hold my breath for an answer.

Story of the Week

HARRY CARAY

    "Itís a beautiful baseball day in St. Louis. Hello again everybody. This is Harry Caray speaking to you from Sportsmanís Park." Thatís what I grew up on as a kid, listening to one of the most colorful sports figures of all time doing his play-by-play radio announcing of Cardinals games.

    Yes, colorful he was, throughout his illustrious career on both radio and television. He was a "homer" in the truest sense of the word. When he described a particular performance by a player dressed in his employerís uniform, it sounded a good deal different from how he announced an effort by the opposing team. When Caray broadcast a routine Cardinal fly ball, it was "thereís a drive way back in right field, but the wind (what wind?!) is keeping it in the old ballpark, and the ball is caught near the right field pavillion wall." Conversely, the same ball hit by the opposition would be described as nothing more than what it was, routine. Sitting in the left-center field bleachers of Sportsmanís Park as a kid, and listening to Harry announce those Cardinals games on the radio, I often wondered if he and I were watching the same game. But listening to him was a treat Iíll never forget.

    Harry patented phrases like "It might be, it could be, it is, a home run" and his other signature "Holy cow" after big plays. Caray was absolutely anything but boring. Redbird fans loved him. He sold a ton of Budweiser beer for Anheuser-Busch. And it is well documented that he drank a ton of Budweiser beer as well, before, during and after the games.

    Born Harry Carabina, he grew up in St. Louis, He played on two local semi-pro baseball teams before starting his radio career. After announcing both Cardinals and Browns road games in 1945, Caray was the featured broadcaster for the Cardinals until 1969. One of baseballís best-loved announcers, he then called Oakland Aís and Chicago White Sox games before capping his career with the Chicago Cubs. He also announced St. Louis Hawks basketball, University of Missouri football, and three Cotton Bowls.

    Harry Caray accomplished every possible accolade, having been inducted into the broadcastersí wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame, and having been named "Baseball Announcer of the Year" seven years in a row by the Sporting News.

    Harry will always be remembered at Wrigley Field in Chicago for his famous singing of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame," which he performed during the seventh inning stretch of every Cubs game. This tradition began one day when he was singing to himself, and someone put the public address system on in the booth. His voice was echoed throughout the stadium. He wasnít exactly Sinatra, but it was great fun. (His voice is one of my very best impressions, and for the right amount of money, Iíll perform it for you.) And letís not forget the infamous net he made famous; on a foul tip onto the screen behind home plate, Harry used a net on an extended pole to reach down for the foul ball, frequently coming close to falling out of his booth and onto the screen below.

    Harry Caray broadcast baseball for 52 seasons, and may well be remembered as the most famous announcer of them all. He is one of my favorite broadcasters of all time, combining great charisma and flair with knowledge of the game. He passed away in 1998. There is nothing "might be" or "could be" about it; Harry Caray "is" a legend.

Last Weekís Trivia

    What former major league baseball player was the star of a hit action television series after his playing career? What was the series that was aired from 1958-1963? Chuck Connors. Having played a collective and undistinguished 67 big league games with the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs, Connors reached star-status on television as the Rifleman.

Trivia Question of the Week

    Who holds the major league career record for most home runs hit in one ballpark? See next weekís Sports Junkie for the answer.