Friday, September 08, 2006

Portland.... Thank you and goodbye!

It has been fun. Almost four years in Portland/Vancouver have come to an end. In our business, it isn't often you get to leave on your own, without a box waiting at your cubicle and security escorting you out of the building, and maybe in the end that is what I am most thankful for. I not only walked out on my own, but I did so to go to a great opportunity in my hometown at 950 KJR in Seattle.

But what about Portland? It has been exciting, frustrating, entertaining, enlightening, and more than anything.... fun. Sports are all about fun. Sports ARE entertainment. Someone in upper management told me once that sports radio needs to have more "entertainment" which was management code for "act like an FM ass" on the air. I like to have fun, I like to throw a few back, talk like a guy, act like a guy, and make idiotic comments about the hot woman driving the beverage cart at the golf course, just like anyone else. But I always felt as if that type of "entertainment" was not what the Portland sports fan wanted from their only all-sports station's only local show. I may have been right, or maybe I was wrong. It really doesn't matter now. I just want you to know that everyday I worked my ass off to make sure you, as a true sports fan, knew what was going in the world of sports, especially locally. As the so-called "lead host" for the station, it was my responsibility. There are many other staff members at the Fan who are also commited to doing the same. You may have liked what I did, you may not have. But do know this: I spent a lot of nights at the Rose Garden or driving to Eugene or Corvallis because I felt that to talk about something, you have to be AT the games or practices, as much as possible. You have to talk to the coaches, the players, and the front office staff to really understand what is going on. I did that, and hopefully it showed in what I did on the air everyday.

There are many who say Portland is a bad sports town. I am not sure about that label. It is a great Blazer town, even when things aren't going well, people are still in love with their one major league franchise. It is also a great college football town, even though the two state schools are at least 90 minutes away. The problem is Portland is a one sport town in regards to major league teams. Does that make it a bad sports city? Not really. It just means there are fewer options for the sports fan, and as a result, there isn't a lot to keep the fringe fan interested in sports.

What is important is the community itself. There are some incredible people here who I had a chance to meet during my time. People who invest in the community you live in, people who I had the chance to work with to make this a better place. People like Harvey Platt of Platt Electric Supply, Mike Scanlon from the Rose Garden, John Canzano, Justin Marquardt and Ryan Duchene from Caddies 4 Cure, Gary Schuler from Dick Hannah, the Maletis family who donate millions to local charities through the LPGA tourney, Gregg Leblanc and Tori Harms of McCormick and Schmick's who stepped up everytime we needed something to make a fundraising effort just a little more appealing. These are all great people who I am proud to have had a chance to meet, and will miss dearly.

Believe it or not, I will also miss the Blazer front office. Guys like "The Henchman" (aka Art Sasse from the Blazers) and the conversations and e-mails we had. I like The Henchman because he knew how to play the game, and he does it very, very well. I will also miss Blazer PR guy Mike Hanson who is the poster boy for corporate stress. I will miss seeing the hotline ring or my cell phone buzz when Hanson called to point out an "error in what I said, not because I am mad or anything, but because I just want to make sure you have all the information to be accurate on your show." I will say this, and I can only speak for myself and my experiences, Mike Hanson NEVER lied to me in my four years here, and for that, I will always be thankful. Of course, the same can't be said for some of the people who rank higher than him in that organization, but their record speaks for itself.

Lets do the Playmate thing, since my favorite guest in studio, not including Rowdy Roddy Piper who is in a league all his own, was Playboy Playmate Sarah Jean Underwood.

LIKES: The Hot Seat Bar and Grill, Langdon Farms, Camas Meadows, any McCormick and Schmick's, the Vancouver School District and the best principal in the history of elementary schools Joe Lapidis, Columbian sports writer Nich Dashel's afro and his Pac-10 coverage, Kerry Eggers old school attitude, Dwight Jaynes, Jason Quick's bulldog reporting, Maurice Cheeks, the Nike employee store, W+K ad agency, Mike Williamson and the Winter Hawks, John Cunningham and the PGE Park crew, Marv Albert doing tailgater traffic, a certain KGW sports reporters pretty eyebrows, Blazer dance team members Ione and Melissa, callers like Buddy Jay, Ozone, Angry Kevin, Joel P. Fan Club sudden death guy, and MIR. Finally many of the people I met here.

DISLIKES: Listeners who still don't understand that we are paid to give an opinion, the "can't do" attitude that exists in Portland, "rack me" or Rome and his "clones," Oregonians who don't understand that life exists across the river and that those sports fans in Clark County are as apathetic about the Ducks and Beavers as the Oregon fan is about the Dawgs and Cougs, candy asses who hide behind e-mails and forget that we are a TALK show format where you SPEAK verbally via the phone, and the rest of the people I met here.

Thanks to my good friend and former host of the show John Lund who helped open the KFXX door for me. Canadian PD and the guy who hired me Alan Davis. My first co-host Marc Amazon. My first three producers, the Jasons----Puckett, Parrish and Peterson. Swag and his willingness to take beating so we could laugh. Former Herd producer Ryan Lindsay who made me a better host, even though we didn't work together on a regular basis. Big thanks also to Suke, my co-host the last two years. Really, it is hard to thank everyone who I worked with, since in four years, I had three different show combinations, plus the now-cancelled BLOG (formerly 2-3 on Friday's with John Canzano). Canzano has been great to work with, and side by side as we chased down stories and entertained each other along the way.

One other thing. Since Entercom management is saying that there will be a rotating crew of hosts coming in to work with Suke, if you want in, send your resume to Dennis Glasgow at dglasgow@entercom.com or show producer Jason Swygard at jswygard@entercom.com

Seriously, they SAY they are searching for my replacement, although rumor has it that since Canzano turned the job down, the guy is in the building already and has a nickname that sounds like "ropp" or "mop." But you never know. They are looking for guests hosts, so drop an e-mail and resume to the above addresses. They will appreciate it. After all, I recived a lot of e-mails from guys who said they could do a better job than me. OK, prove it!

For everyone else....

THANK YOU AND GOODBYE!
Ian

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

It has been awhile....

I know, no posts lately.

Why? I really don't care about Zach's latest "boys night out" unless there really was a sexual assault, and the Little League World Series... well see the post below.

But I just found this nugget from Fox Sports.com. The top five coaches on the hot seat includes both Mike Riley and Bill Doba.

http://msn.foxsports.com/cfb/story/5886280

These are two of my favorite people in sports. But consider the source. Some dude named ERIC MONEYPENNY? Who are you?

First to Riley. They can't afford to fire him at OSU, even if they wanted to.

Now to Doba. See above. The Cougs signed him to a long term deal as well.

When you are trying to raise money to begin renovating your stadium (WSU) or continue the renovation (OSU) you probably are not ina financial position to fire your head coach when he has years remaining on his contract.

More importantly, neither coach deserves to be on the hot seat. Doba went through a personal crisis last season with his wife literally fighting for her life, a fight she lost at the end of spring practice, and yet he never brought it up or used it as an excuse. Both Doba and Riley had some incredible losses to grades (OSU) and injuries (both schools with names like Joe Newton, Will Derting, Jason Hill and Michael Bumpus) and the one thing we know about those two programs is they will only be as good as their luck with injuries and grades. Lets see what happens this year, and remember what the expectations are for the two NW Land Grant schools. Get us to a bowl game here and there, two or three times every five years, and things will be just fine.

Sure I want more from WSU, but I am somewhat realistic. We have two Pac-10 titles and three straight 10 win seasons in the last decade, and last I checked, Doba and some of his key staff members were big parts of those teams. Riley will be a better coach this year with Jay Locey and a senior in Matt Moore. GO COUGS!

Thank you and goodbye.
Ian

Monday, August 14, 2006

Why I don't watch the Little League World Series

The great thing about this job, and the fact that my "work" is basically watching sports and giving an opinion on those events, is that I love being a sports fan. I have been a sports fan since I was a kid. A love of sports, both playing and watching, is something that many of us are just born with. To make a living at it is an added bonus, especially when you don't have the gift of exceptional athletic skill, which is why I am a broadcaster!

But when I say I love watching sports, I draw a line with youth sports. Yes, it is my yearly rant about the Little League World Series!

Look, I get it. The raw emotion, a once in a lifetime opportunity for these kids, probably the pinnacle of their athletic "careers." But why do YOU care if your kid isn’t playing? Why do we get excited about watching a 12 year old hit a 200 foot home run? Yes, there is tradition, and the name Williamsport is synonymous with this big global event. But to me, the Little League World Series is a culmination of everything that is wrong with youth sports. Before there was the psycho soccer mom, basketball dad, or softball parent we had the biggest, baddest and most dangerous of all parental species: the Little League Parent. The LLP has actually taken a back seat in recent years to the monsters mentioned above. The soccer mom who is convinced her seven year old daughter is the next Christine Sinclair. Watch her on the sidelines at the game, barking at the 14 year old referee and pissed off at the volunteer coach who won’t let her kid play forward the entire game of a blowout so she can score three more goals in a 15-2 blowout.
The softball mom/dad is equally as dangerous. That parent convinces the other parents on the team that every kid needs to have a matching bat bag, with a $100 bat inside. The softball parent keeps score and goes home to input the numbers into a spread sheet so they have updated batting averages and stats by the next morning.

How irrelevant is this event? Think about this. Murrayhill is the first Oregon team to advance to Williamsport since 1958. I think the baseball played in this state at the youth level must be pretty good though. Didn’t the most recent College World Series winner feature mostly Oregon-born players? But yet, none of them played in the Little League World Series, BEFORE they reached puberty.

I don’t know any of the parents from Murrayhill, and even though it is Oregon, I have no emotional tie to the team. It is much the same as I couldn’t care less when Oregon and SW Washington select soccer teams or AAU basketball teams play for a championship. If it were my kids, I would care. If not, point me to the part of the sports section that gives me more on the Oregon and Oregon State football scrimmages and the latest Blazer trade rumor. Heck, give me more information on who will replace Sinclair at Portland instead of LLWS recaps.

My point is simple. Let the kids play. Let your kids play. Let them play as many sports as they want, if they want, and they will enjoy sports so much more, both as participants and as spectators. There is a time and a place for elevated competition and select and premier teams. But that time should be after puberty, as they become young men and women and they are old enough to decide how serious they want to take their respective sports, and if they want to specialize in one sport. I may be in the minority in this area, but I will not be watching the so-called action from Williamsport, the 65 mile and hour fastballs, the 12 year old ruining his arm by throwing breaking balls, and the mammoth 200 foot home runs. Tonight I am going to PGE Park to watch the next stars of major league baseball, the guy who is one phone call away from San Diego or Seattle. I will watch the same up and comers with the Portland WinterHawks next season, or the best basketball has to offer with the NBA.

I will watch youth sports, my kids games, but not your kids games. That is something you should enjoy.

We will talk about this today on the show, 3-7 on 1080 The Fan and at www.1080thefan.com

Sunday, August 06, 2006

What will this week bring?

That is the question I have. Think about what we had going on last week.

Monday: Jamaal Magloire is officially traded to Portland
Wednesday: Westview High School's Andy Poling, as reported by www.oregonpreps.com, announces he will follow the lead of Love and Singler, and leave Oregon to play his college basketball at Gonzaga.
Wednesday: Blazers announce their 2006-07 schedule.
Thursday AM: The Oregonian reports that PAM and Vulcan are reviewing multiple offers to purchase the Rose Garden and the NBA team.
Thursday at Noon: Paul Allen announces he will not be selling the team.
Thursday: Oregon State Football Media Day-Beavs show up with a chip on their shoulders, and in the case of most, those shoulders have become bigger and stronger in the offseason!

Lets take a look back and ahead. I have not commented on this blog about the Blazers' sale or lack thereof, because really I have spent the past few days trying to talk to people inside the situation, and some who are around the NBA on the business side, and find out what is REALLY going on.

Paul Allen doesn't want to sell the Blazers
Really, it is that simple. Based on what I have been told by people both inside the Blazers front office, and those around the NBA, PA has made the decision that he wants to keep HIS team for now.
Why? Again, it is simple. To steal a phrase from the great philosopher Dale "Taser" Davis, at the end of the day, Paul Allen is a fan. Simple, easy, and really nothing more.
I look at PA as being exactly like Mark Cuban and Larry Miller. Owners who are fans first, and in terms of the teams they own, businessmen second. While I was always considered to be "anti-Jazz" while in Utah, I really liked Larry Miller. I loved his style. Yeah, I mocked him for crying at every press conference, but he showed real emotion for his team which is refreshing.
Think about it the difference between Seattle's new owners and PA, Cuban and Miller. The Oklahoma City contingent stated they bought the team because it was a "good investment, and we are investing in the league." PA, Cuban, and Miller own teams because they are fans who have the money to own their own team.
I have always stated on the radio show that I thought Paul Allen is a great owner. But I think Vulcan is a bad partner. They don't mix. Despite what many think, Vulcan is a group of smart businessmen who are hired to tell Paul Allen what he SHOULD do with his money. But Paul Allen is going to make the final decision, and he has obviously decided to not sell the team, despite the "broken financial model." It doesn't mean he won't sell it down the road, maybe even as it improves and becomes more appealing.
Why is Paul Allen a great owner? The same reason Mark Cuban and Larry Miller are great owners. They love watching their team play, like any die-hard fan would. Because of that, they never want to see their team turn into a loser. They will push the management to make moves to improve.
How do you explain the last three years? One guess is Vulcan told Paul Allen he had to get his financial house in order, trim payroll and cut back the business expenses. He did that, and watched his team, the team he loves watching and rooting for, become the worst franchise not named the Knicks in the NBA. Now it is obvious he has decided to become a fan again, at the expense of the business, and try to make this team better.
Really, he started last year when he spent a lot of money to hire Nate McMillan. Then he invested about $20 million dollars in picks and the salaries for those picks, on draft day. We SHOULD have known on June 28th that he wasn't interested in selling the team.
The Blazers appear to be a better basketball team today than they were at the end of the season.
The next move out of town won't be Paul Allen selling, it will probably be Darius Miles. The financial model is still broken, but at the end of the day one of the richest men in the world probably doesn't care.

Global Spectrum
The worst thing that could come out of this mess is PA buying the building back and Global Spectrum, the group that manages the Rose Garden, going away. Mike Scanlon and his staff have done a remarkable job booking events and turning a profit. They are far more involved in charitable events in the community than Oregon Arena Management was at the end of their reign of terror. Best case would be PA getting the building back, but retaining Scanlon and his staff. Of course I still believe in Santa too!

We will be in Eugene for Oregon Football Media Day on Monday, and we urge you to take a listen on the radio at 1080 The Fan (AM 1080) or via the web at www.1080thefan.com from
3-6.

Thank you and goodbye.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Done Deal

As reported first both on Sports Radio 1080 The Fan (streaming now available at www.1080thefan.com) and here on this blog last Thursday, the Bucks and Blazers did the deal: Blake/Skinner/Ha for Magloire. Great deal for Portland. Some bashing and bitterness from Milwaukee and others, trashing Magloire's game. Stuff like "can't finish," "limited offensively," "slow feet" etc. Who cares. He is a better player than the three they gave up.

The bottom line is the Blazers traded two backups, one of whom (Ha) is a borderline NBA player at best anyway, and what should be a backup point guard, for a player who started 82 games for a playoff team and is a former All-Star. That alone makes it a good deal. Add in the fact Magloire is only 28 years old and his contract expires, which gives you options, it is now a great deal.

Magloire averaged 10 and 10 before the All-Star break last year, slightly below that when terminally overmatched coach Terry Stotts determined Magloire didn't fit into his style of play. Portland was the worst rebounding team in the NBA last year, and the worst defensive rebounding team as well. With Magloire, Randolph, Przybilla and LaFrentz they are

The downside is the Blazers point guard is now Jarrett Jack, coming off surgery and with only four starts last year, two of which were at the shooting guard position. But he was going to be the guy anyway, with Dan Dickau (also coming off surgery) a solid backup. Brandon Roy can and will play the point, so you are ok at that position assuming the injuries are all healed.

The bigger thing is you have to love what the Blazers are doing in terms of making moves, trying to get better. My biggest criticism of this team is they were treading water and not making any real progress. That is no longer the case. For the first time in three years, since Bonzi, Sheed and McInnis were dealt, I see progress and a plan. And all indications are the dealing isn't done, there could be a minor deal (Dixon or Outlaw) or a major one (Miles or Randolph).

Are the Blazers a playoff team? No. But they are closer to contending for a playoff spot than the team that finished last season. This season has been about symbolism, and the signing of Przybilla was a positive move. This deal is the same.

Good offseason, good moves, and finally some real progress.

Who was first with the story?
We were, or more specifically I was. Really I know most fans don't care who was "first" with a story, but I do find it interesting that so many people in this media market like to take credit for "breaking" stories in this city. Apparently the Blazer flagship radio station has been promoting they were "first" with news on the trade today. Last night on KGW, they said the story was first reported in a Wisconsin newspaper. Once again, I first "reported" the story at 5:30 Thursday afternoon. Gavin Dawson went with it all day on Friday during our 20/20 Updates. Real GM and other national web sites picked up our story on Thursday. I am far from perfect, but I can make you one promise-you will never hear me take credit for something I or the station didn't do. Why do I bring this up again? When you work hard, build relationships, and get solid information for your listeners/readers first, it is easy to take offense at those who try to sneak in and take credit for your work. Nobody is first all the time and getting the story right is the most important thing. When other media members get a story first, I always give credit. In our little world of sports radio, where we have far fewer resources than television stations or newspapers, we usually are in the role of reacting to a story, so hopefully you can understand on those few occasions when we do break a story, and get something first, we will pound our chests, run promos and pat ourselves on the back.

Thank you and goodbye.
Ian

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Weekend Update

There has obviously been a lot of feedback from both Portland and Milwaukee in regards to a potential trade between the Bucks and Blazers, as I first spoke about on 1080 The Fan Thursday afternoon (now available via streaming at www.1080thefan.com). Here is one thought from Wisconsin in regards to the potential trade:
http://www.journaltimes.com/nucleus/index.php?itemid=7092

Speaking to some other media members in Milwaukee yesterday, the word there is the deal is indeed in Portland's court, pardon the pun. Those in the land of beer in cheese also told me that the Bucks may have wanted to delay the announcement because of the Brewer's activity (Carlos Lee trade) as we get close to the MLB trade deadline. In other words, get the biggest bang you can during a slow time of the offseason. Public Relations 101 says never share the headlines if you can avoid it.

We can relate to that here where the Blazers are now making every news conference a made for t.v. special with unique locations and themes. Those news conferences, as opposed to the traditional ones at a practice facility, take time to plan and organize. Think about it. You can't expect "The Henchman" and his minions to plan award winning events like "Przybilla on the River" or "Raef's Street of Dreams" overnight.

Seriously, one thing we do know with Kevin Pritchard is he is not afraid to make a deal. If, as is being speculated in Milwaukee, the trade is in the hands of the Blazers, you would think that the only thing they are waiting on is for the news conference to be organized by BOTH teams.

Or..... as is often the case by the time these things get out, the deal is dead. Stay tuned.

Kevin Love Loses a Recruit
Sort of. Nate McMillan's son, who was thinking about moving to the Portland area for his senior season, will stay at O'Dea in Seattle. YEAH! (note: I am an O'Dea alum and somewhat biased).
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/sports/2003160060_massey29.html
Of course the real recruit for the UCLA-bound Love is Kyle Singler who has to decide between the Bruins and Duke.

Have a great weekend, thank you and goodbye!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Blazer trade winds blowing??

As the tag line says, "FIRST ON THE FAN" and many of you heard it this afternoon either on 1080 The Fan or via the web since as of this afternoon we are now streaming via www.1080thefan.com.

I vowed no Blazer talk for awhile, but when the people you trust around the NBA tell you something, and these people have been bang on right in the past (for example the trade deadline deal when we were the first on 1080 The Fan to tell you the Kings were involved and it was a four team deal) you have to pass it along, so here goes.

Potential trade being discussed: Portland sends Steve Blake, Brian Skinner, and Ha Seung-Jin to Milwaukee for Jamaal Magloire.

Will it happen? Maybe. Hard to say but I do know the discussions between the two teams have taken place. If it doesn't, there will be denials and spinning coming from One Center Court, but I will stand by this, the Bucks and Blazers have discussed this deal.

What does it mean? A lot. This is where it gets interesting. It could mean Paul Allen is back in the game so to speak, and will continue to own the team because one guess is they would try to re-sign Magloire, which PA needs to ok. Also, Blake is a "Nash guy" brought in by the former GM, and easy to get rid of since there is a logjam at the PG position. All of a sudden the Blazers are not as overwhelmed at the point guard position, and and have some quality depth in the frontcourt. That frontcourt depth is also very flexible with multiple players who can play the four or the five.

Stay tuned.......

Pac-10 Media Poll
It is out and USC is the pick again. I was one of the seven votes for Cal. The rest of my ballot will be here this weekend, complete with why I think each team will finish where predicted. But you should know, this is the fourth media poll ballot I have filled out, and easily the one I struggled over the most, top to bottom. That means I expect it to be the most competitive season in a long, long time. The rest of the country will hammer us because some real good teams will have two or three conference losses. But let them criticize. I will just sit back and enjoy the football.

Thank you and goodbye.
Ian