WHO’S ON FIRST VIDEO FEATURING ABBOTT & COSTELLO
It’s the very best five minutes in sports video history. It is the most famous baseball skit of all time. The absolute brilliance and timing of Lou Costello and his straight man, Bud Abbott, are clearly evidenced in this classic. As you watch the short video, you can’t help but appreciate the validity of the preceding statement. It has been played in the Baseball Hall of Fame for decades; I watched it there way back in 1980. Many people know the skit, but no one I’ve ever asked has known the name of the fictitious team depicted in the act; it’s the St. Louis Wolves.
Click on the Who’s on first? link directly below while depressing your control key.
Who's on first?
Abbott and Costello perform the classic "Who's on first?" baseball sketch in their 1945 film "The Naughty Nineties.”
WADE REDDEN. A CLASSIC CASE OF MISMANAGEMENT.
Wade Redden, no longer a salary cap burden for the New York Rangers, has reported to Hartford, where he will put his 13 years of NHL experience to good use as a mentor and top defenseman for the Wolfpack and — by far — the highest-paid player in the American Hockey League. Hartford is the AHL affiliate of the Rangers. And Redden has Rangers general manager Glen Sather to thank for it, literally and financially.
"I'm coming with a good attitude," Redden told Jeff Jacobs of the Hartford Courant. He’s also coming with tons of New York Rangers money.
That’s what happens sometimes when a player signs a six-year, $39 million contract and then falls short of expectations. With four of those years and $26 million still remaining on his deal, Redden became a roster liability and Sather decided to bury his contract in the minors, thus ridding the Rangers of the $6.5 million cap hit if not the obligation to continue paying a player who no longer fits in their plans.
The former Ottawa star has remained open and classy while taking shots from critics who label his free-agent contract as one of the worst in NHL history. And the whispers won’t stop as he makes his first excursion through the AHL.
There will be plenty to whisper about. In 1990, according to Jacobs, the Hartford Whalers—a NHL team that later became the Carolina Hurricanes—had an entire payroll that was $300,000 less than Redden’s salary this season.
But, as Jacobs points out, the best perspective might come from the $65,000 average salary projection for AHL players this season. Redden makes $81,000 per game in the minors. Now here’s the cherry on Redden’s cake. By going to Hartford, he gets a 17% raise, ditching New York state and city tax.
The New York Rangers will likely change their AHL affiliation from the Hartford Wolfpack to the Rochester Americans beginning in the 2011-12 season, a source close to the situation told Biz of Hockey. Not a problem for Redden. I suspect he’ll be able to afford to buy a house in Rochester. On second thought, he’ll be able to afford to buy Rochester.
TO HELL WITH THE FANS. MAKE ‘EM PAY.
It's costing more to watch the NFL in person this season, especially for fans of the Giants and Jets.
The “Team Marketing Report” recently stated that average ticket prices for NFL games increased 4.5 percent this year to $76.47, up from a 3.9 percent hike last season.
The New York teams had the steepest increases after moving into the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
Jets non-premium tickets went up 31.8 percent to $114.64 on average, and the Giants rose 26 percent to $111.69. New Orleans raised its average 20.5 percent to $74.99 after winning the Super Bowl.
New England's prices stayed flat, but it still had the highest average cost - $117.84. Dallas is fourth at $110.20, also with no increase.
Cleveland has the lowest average ticket price at $54.51, a drop of 0.3 percent. Twenty-one of the 32 teams kept their average ticket cost the same or lowered it.
Among premium seats, the Patriots also were first at $566.67, followed by the Giants ($464.75), Chicago Bears ($372), Cowboys ($340), Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($295) and Jets ($287.41).
There were pockets of empty club seats at the Meadowlands for the first regular-season home games of both the Giants and Jets - but the games were not blacked out in local markets because “premium seats” aren't included when the NFL counts sellouts for black-out purposes. Not like the old days when every seat had to be ticketed to prevent a local black-out.
The NFL's premium seat average was $238.94, an increase of 5.6 percent. And this while NFL attendance has been down two years running, and is expected to be down again this year.
In comparison, the average non-premium ticket for Major League Baseball was up 1.5 percent to $26.74 this year. The average was $48.90 last season in the NBA and $51.27 in the NHL.
I have a basic question. Aside from not having to sit in a rest room during the game, what the hell, by definition, constitutes a “premium seat?” I was not able to get a definitive answer to that one.
L.A. LAKERS ALL-TIME TOP 10 TRADES
This article appeared on Bleacher Report in April of this year. I take no credit for it, just as I take no credit for any articles I publish on my site that I do not personally write. I have elected to print the trades in reverse order of rankings as the article was written. We’ll work our way down to #1; if you’re a Lakers fan, as I, you know those details in this #1 undisputed selection. My editorial comments will follow the article.
10. The Lakers acquired Harold "Happy" Hairston from the Detroit Pistons in 1969 for Bill Hewitt and a third round draft pick in 1970. Hairston helped the Lakers win the 1972 NBA title and later led the team in rebounds and field goal percentage in both 1973-74 and 1974-75. Meanwhile, Hewitt only lasted a few more seasons in the league.
9. The Lakers added a valuable reserve in 1981 when they traded a 1983 second round draft pick to the New Jersey Nets for five-time All-Star and three-time scoring champ Bob McAdoo. McAdoo spent four seasons in Los Angeles helping the Lakers win titles in 1982 and 1985. In the 1982 playoffs, McAdoo ranked third on the team in rebounds and fifth in scoring.
8. Prior to the 1983-84 season, the Lakers shipped starting guard Norm Nixon, along with Eddie Jordan, and two future second-round picks to the San Diego Clippers for Swen Nater and Byron Scott, the fourth overall pick of the 1983 draft. Scott emerged as the Lakers' starting shooting guard for ten consecutive seasons and was a key member of the Lakers title teams of 1985, 1987, and 1988. Scott also led the team in scoring during the 1987-88 season with a career-high 21.7 points per game.
7. In January '97, the Lakers traded All-Star forward Cedric Ceballos and Rumeal Robinson to the Phoenix Suns for Robert Horry and Joe Klein. Horry never put up All-Star numbers for the Lakers. However, he emerged as one the game's greatest clutch shooters of all time. One of his biggest shots was his game-winning three-pointer during the '02 Western Conference Finals against the arch-rival Sacramento Kings. Horry helped the Lakers win three consecutive NBA titles from 2000-2002 playing with superstars Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant.
6. During the 2007-08 season, the Lakers were in search of an All-Star to pair with Kobe Bryant. A few weeks before the trade deadline, the Lakers found their man; Memphis Grizzlies' big man Pau Gasol. The Lakers acquired Gasol in exchange for Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Marc Gasol (Pau's little brother), and two future first round picks in 2008 and 2010. With Pau in the lineup, the Lakers reached the finals in 2008 and then won it all in 2009. The Lakers certainly wouldn't have captured that title if they hadn't made the deal.
5. The Lakers made a trade midway through the 1979-80 season that played a key role in their dynasty of the 80s. The team sent Don Ford and a 1980 first round pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Butch Lee and a 1982 first round pick. That pick in '82 ended up being the No. 1 overall pick, which the defending champion Lakers used to draft North Carolina forward James Worthy. "Big Game James" joined forces with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson to create one of the most dangerous trios ever. Worthy helped the Lakers win three NBA titles ('85,'87, and '88). He was named Finals MVP in '88.
4. In July 1968, the Lakers acquired perhaps one of the top five players in NBA history in reigning MVP Wilt Chamberlain. The team gave up Archie Clark, Jerry Chambers, and Darrall Imhoff to the Philadelphia 76ers in the blockbuster deal."Wilt the Stilt" teamed up with fellow superstar Jerry West to lead the Lakers to a NBA championship in 1973. He was named Finals MVP that year as well. In addition, Chamberlain garnered four rebounding titles and made the All-Star team four times during his memorable five seasons in L.A.
3. No one ever dreamed that a 17-year-old by the name of Kobe Bryant would one day be considered one of the NBA's greatest players of all time. That's probably why he wasn't selected until the 13th pick in the 1996 draft. A few weeks after being chosen by the Charlotte Hornets, Bryant was shipped to the Lakers in exchange for seven-year center Vlade Divac. Divac lasted only two seasons in Charlotte, before signing with Sacramento, while Bryant went on to help lead the Lakers to four championships. Not a bad deal for the Lakers. They traded away a solid big man for one of the ten best players in NBA history.
2. In October 1975, Milwaukee Bucks star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar grew tired of the Midwest so he requested a trade to either his hometown of New York or Los Angeles, where he played college ball at UCLA. It took eight months for the Bucks to finally move their franchise center. Abdul-Jabbar was shipped, along with Walt Wesley, to the Lakers in exchange for Elmore Smith, Brian Winters, Dave Meyers, and Junior Bridgeman. The four players who the Bucks received put up decent numbers in Milwaukee, but all Kareem did in L.A. was win three MVP awards and help lead the Lakers to five NBA titles.
1. Gail Goodrich's signing with the New Orleans (now Utah) Jazz in 1976 was maybe the best thing that ever happened to the storied Lakers franchise. Yes, even bigger than the signing of Shaquille O'Neal. When Goodrich signed with the Jazz, the Lakers received compensation: three future first-round picks in '77, '78, and '79 as well as a second-round selection in '80. Unfortunately for New Orleans, they ended up with the first overall pick in the '79 draft and had had to send it to the Lakers. The Lakers chose Ervin “Magic” Johnson (pretty wise choice) and you know how the story goes. Magic became the greatest point guard ever and led the Lakers to five titles in the '80s. And yep, that's right, the Jazz could have had a dynasty of their own with Magic leading the way.
My editorial comments re: this article
and the above rankings:
When I first read the article and saw that the acquisition of Pau Gasol ranked only sixth, I took temporary exception to it until I gave the entire article a chance to sink in and saw who was ranked ahead of Gasol. I then accepted Gasol’s ranking by the writer.
Keeping in mind that this article deals only with “trades” made by the Lakers, the great Elgin Baylor, drafted out of Seattle U., and Shaq O’Neal, a free agent signing, do not qualify. However, Gail Goodrich certainly does. He was drafted by the Lakers in 1965, then lost to Phoenix in the expansion draft in 1968, and was re-acquired in a trade by the Lakers with Phoenix in 1970. His stats as a Laker for the next six seasons speak for themselves. Because of Goodrich, I would have titled this article THE LAKERS ALL-TIME TOP 11 TRADES, placing the acquisition of Goodrich at #9 above.