Friday, May 28, 2010

ABL Podcast - Episodes Three and Four

As many of you know, I love the radio. My goal has always been to broadcast sports, but doing them on the radio would be even better. That's why I started the ABL podcast. It gives me a chance to talk about sports, which is exactly what I love to do. And I hope you love listening. In episode three, Carter Rodriguez tries to fuel my new love for the NBA playoffs in our NBA podcast, and in episode four, Rob Guliano and I talk about everything else: playoff beards, NHL playoffs, favorite scenes from sports movies, and we list our favorite sports media personalities. Plus, in episode four, Rob and I have another installment of "Today in Craig Sager's Wardrobe"...what a great segment. Thanks for listening!

Episode Three

Episode Four

The picture we talk about during the Craig Sager segment (aka the funfetti cake plus a carnival lollipop plus a Litebrite toy)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sports Fan Kryptonite

This is the most dangerous sentence for a sports fan:

If (hopeful statement about your favorite team)...(pause) never know.

For example, I live in Athens, Ohio. I go to Ohio University. I go to school with a LOT of Cincinnati Reds fans and a LOT of Cleveland sports fans. For fan bases that have been deprived of championships (or simply winning, in Cleveland's case), that sentence has been verbally sputtered prematurely so many times that it makes the sports fan in me weep, because t's nearly impossible to avoid.

In most cases, I root for every drought-prone franchise to win - Chicago Cubs? Yup. pre-2004 Boston Red Sox? Absolutely. Detroit Lions? Matthew Stafford, let's win a ring. Philadelphia Flyers?........don't get crazy.

I want fans from everywhere to feel the joy I felt when the Steelers won the Super Bowl or the total euphoria that washed over me when the Penguins won the Stanley Cup (the second of those being much more rewarding.) But the Reds are 26-20, tied for first place in the NL Central, and I frequently have conversations with my roommate Tony that go a little like this:


Grant: I saw that! Another come-from-behind win too, that's pretty sweet. Think they can keep it up?

Tony: I definitely think so...I mean if they can survive until July, get (Edison) Volquez off the DL and call up (Aroldis) Chapman, they can move some guys to the bullpen and win 90 games. 90 games wins the NL Central, or at least gets the wild card spot...You never know.

The funniest part? As a similarly woe-stricken Pirates fan (Pirates haven't had a winning season since '92, Reds haven't won a World Series since '90), I completely understand his logic. Take, for example, April 18, 2010...just a little over a month Pirates had just finished a three-game home sweep of Tony's Reds, were 7-5 and were a half game out of first place. Conversation, please (note: ever since NBA teams started using "Los (nickname)" on their jerseys, we've called the Pirates exactly what I did in this conversation):

Grant: LOS BUCCOS! They win again!

Jason (friend from Pittsburgh): Dude, stop. You do this every year. Just stop.

Grant: But seriously! If they can sustain this pitching until June, they can call up (Pedro) Alvarez, stick him at third, move Andy Laroche - who's batting almost .400, by the way - to second, and have a killer lineup! Dude, you never know!

There was room for optimism in Pittsburgh. All the Pirates had to do was compete in their next series, a three-gamer at home against Milwaukee, a team Pittsburgh never plays well. Even if they won one of three, but genuinely competed with the Brewers, I'd have been one happy fan. Heck, 8-7 in the first fifteen games is 86 wins in a season!

Series result? 
Game one: Milwaukee - 8; Pittsburgh - 1. 
Game two: Milwaukee - 8; Pittsburgh - 0. 
Game three: Milwaukee - 20; Pittsburgh - 0.

So I've finally figured out that this is not only a problem, but a genuine disease. Attention championship-deprived sports fans: avoid the You-Never-Know syndrome. Symptoms include: throbbing headaches, misplaced hope way too early in a season and mindlessly believing that the plot from "Major League" could actually happen.

The You-Never-Know syndrome - the kryptonite of all sports fans. 

"But Grant, is there an antidote besides finally winning a title?"

I wish I had a better answer for you, friends, but there is not. However, if you believe you have the symptoms of YNK, there is a silver lining. 

You're completely normal. There's no way out, but having hope, even when misplaced, is better than having no hope at all. If you never have hope, you weren't a fan of that team in the first place. 

Because, for me, I'd rather have hope at 26-20, 7-5 or even at 0-0 than to start the season saying, "there's no way this is our year. I know it isn't."

So, winning-deprived fan bases, please keep the faith. Because you just never know.

Stay tuned for episodes three and four of the ABL podcast, when Rob Guliano joins me to talk about our favorite sports media personalities, and when Carter Rodriguez makes an appearance to fuel my sudden liking for the NBA playoffs.

Friday, May 21, 2010

ABL Podcast - Episode Two

Episode two of the ABL podcast is uploaded to the site! In the second episode, Tanner Smith and I talked about the NBA/NHL playoffs, mustaches, bad wardrobes, more crowd colors, and our favorite scenes from sports movies. Enjoy!

Green Men:

Hilliard Davidson Pranks Hilliard Darby Fans:

Our favorite sports movie scenes - the number ones

Tanner's favorite scene from a sports movie:

Grant's favorite scene:

Today in Craig Sager's Wardrobe - the Exploding Cantaloupe:

Trey Hillman - former KC Royals manager and owner of a great mustache:

Monday, May 10, 2010

ABL Podcast - Episode One

I have a new wrinkle to "A Brighter Look."

Podcasting. Short, fun, more personal audio files of me talking sports. Don't worry, I'll keep writing on the site, but talking is just so very fun, so I'm taking advantage.

A few things for you, now the listener, to know:

1. I'm asking for you to be a part of my cast. How can you do that? EMAIL ME. is the way to get in touch with the podcast and get your opinions heard. This week, if you listen, I'm asking you to submit your favorite crowd color (Penn State white, Golden State Yellow, etc.) you should definitely do that. I'll be reading the responses on the cast next episode.

2. This is just a trial thing for me, so if there's any way you think I could improve it, please let me know. I really enjoy radio, and since I can't quite broadcast radio straight to your ears, this is the next best thing.

Here are some pictures of the best crowd colors:

1. Penn State - White
2. Golden State - Yellow
3. Philadelphia - Orange
4. Champions League - Multi-colored (aka - making us look like amateurs)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Why the NHL Should be Rooting for Boston to Win the Cup

A few things for you to understand before I make this statement:

1. I'm from Pittsburgh, so the Penguins are my team, but in general I love hockey more. I think it's one of the two best sports in the world and I'd like nothing more than the sport that I love to have an NFL-sized fan base and a big TV contract.

2. Along those lines, the NHL is an extremely regional league. In most cases, the majority of a franchise's fans live (or have lived) very close to their team.

3. For reasons I can understand - it's the same way with me and the NBA - if you weren't "born" a hockey fan, you aren't currently a hockey fan.

4. More people read articles now than ever before, especially those written by Boston-native Bill Simmons, who has an absolutely enormous readership (for good reason).

So, that being said, the NHL advocate in me wouldn't totally hate it if the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup.

Before you Pittsburgh fans rush my dorm room to tar and feather me (obviously the correct punishment in this situation), I want you to consider a few things:

- If Boston were to win the Cup, the likelihood that the ever-popular Simmons would write post-season articles about hockey would skyrocket.

- In turn, his readers, hopefully in bulk, would at least entertain the idea of finding Versus on their televisions (a tough task) and watching amazing athletes play a sport on a sheet of ice. (Let me repeat: hockey players do things that other athletes do - pass, shoot, score - but they do it frozen water.)

- It's possible that some of those readers who weren't hockey fans before would be turned on to the game.

- the NHL might be able to overcome the regional nature of the game and attract fans from non-NHL cities.

- And hockey fans wouldn't have to deal with explaining themselves when asked the condescending question: "How can you like hockey? You can't even see the puck!" (the equivalent of "I've never watched a game in HD before!")

But because we can't rely on Gary Bettman to market the NHL, I'm saying it's now up to Bill Simmons to get the word out about hockey.

The problem is: by the time Simmons would write an article about the Bruins winning the Cup, the season would be over and there would be no more hockey for these new fans to watch...and that's a shame, because if that were the case, the commish wouldn't know what to do with all the new publicity. He'd probably just blow yet another chance to market his league. All the intrigued potential hockey fans would have no hockey to watch, and thus, to the casual sports fan who's bored by the thuggery and bad refereeing of the NBA or the horrible economics of MLB, the zeal of the new, fast, exciting NHL would fade away forever.

Penguins over Bruins in seven if they meet in the Eastern Conference Finals.

So this doesn't even matter. It won't happen. Go Pens

Thanks for reading.