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Thursday, August 29, 2019

Long Day's Journey Into Night - Why I Will Always Remember Al Jackson

The longest day in baseball history started with a Al Jackson fastball!

By Harry Cummins

     Rolled neatly in blue plastic, the news landed on my doorstep last week with a dispirited thud.

     The New York Times reported that Al Jackson, a left-handed pitcher for the original New York Mets, had passed away at the age of 83.

     It was on a Sunday morning, fifty-five years earlier, that another newspaper arrived at my Manhattan hotel room, announcing the pitching match-ups for the big doubleheader out at Shea that afternoon with the visiting San Francisco Giants.  The 1964 World's Fair was in full-swing in neighboring Flushing Meadows and the Today's Pitchers line in the paper read Juan Marichal vs Al Jackson in Game 1.  It was a promising day to be in the greatest city in the world.

     I was quickly off to the nearest subway station and a chance to see the great Juan Marichal and Willie Mays, and to enjoy a Sunday in the 'Park with 57,037 other fans of the hapless, but lovable, last place Mets. It was the largest crowd in the major leagues that year in America's newest MLB stadium.   Little did any of us know what was in store on that historic afternoon, forever stamping this day (and night) as one of the most memorable in baseball history.

     When the little lefty Al Jackson toed the hill for the Mets at 1:08 pm and fired a fastball at Giants leadoff hitter Harvey Kuenn to open the twin bill, who knew that this would be the day baseball actually ran out of "peanuts and cracker jacks" and some of us wondered if "we would ever get back."

     Jackson pitched well in that first game but was no match for Marichal, who ran his early season record to 8-1 and the Giants took the contest 5-3 behind 3 hits from Orlando Cepeda.  Marichal's only mistake came on a 3 run home run by Jim Hickman, accounting for all of the Mets runs. Time of game: 2 hours 27 minutes.

     Game 2 of the doubleheader began at 4:02 that afternoon.

     Here, in brief statements, is an attempt to describe a nearly ineffable second game.

** The Giants were up 6-3 in the last of the 7th inning, when Joe Christopher's 3 run drive to deep centerfield barely eluded the glove of a leaping Willie Mays at the wall and tied the game 6-6.  In what was almost a miraculous catch high over the fence by Mays.. was instead ...a tie ball game.

** The game remained deadlocked going into extra innings. Lots of extra innings!

** When the historians remember Game 2, this is what they may or may not recall:

** Willie Mays played 3 innings at shortstop, the 11th,12th, and 13th innings.  He then went back to CF where he belongs, and where he was to play for another 10 innings!! This was the season Mays would go on to hit 47 home runs.

** Mets shortstop Roy McMillan grabbed an extra-innings smash off the bat of Tom Haller near second base and swipe tagged Orlando Cepeda out, in what Giants manager Alvin Dark called "one of the greatest plays I have ever seen."  A few innings later, McMillan nearly pulled off an unassisted triple play that sent the Mets faithful into a frenzy.  The rare triple killing occurred in the 15th inning, one inning after manager Dark was ejected from the game.  Long ago, this had stopped being an ordinary game, or day!

** What a 25 year-old Gaylord Perry of the Giants did in this game is now legendary.  The future Hall of Fame pitcher entered the contest in the 13th inning and proceeded to pitch TEN scoreless innings in relief, striking out 9 and walking just one.

**Duke Snider and Willie McCovey of the Giants, both made pinch hitting appearances in Game 2.

** Finally, at 11:25 P.M. with the concession stands now long closed, emptied of all food, and less than 15,000 fans remaining in the once packed stadium, the end came.

**  Galen Cisco of the Mets was pitching his 9th inning of shutout relief when Jimmy Davenport led off  the Giants top half of the 23rd with a triple.  Back-up catcher Del Crandall was then brought into the game as a pinch hitter for Gaylord Perry. Cisco threw a ball low and away ("the perfect pitch" said catcher Chris Cannizzaro later) but Crandall reached out and lined it to right for a ground rule double.  Then Jesus Alou, who went 4 for 10 in the game, beat out an infield roller for the insurance run.

** A scoreless bottom of the 23rd and it was over.  It was almost Monday when the Giants completed the Sunday twin bill sweep with a marathon 8-6 win.  Mets catcher Cannizzaro caught all 23 innings.  Tom Haller caught 22 innings for the Giants.

** Mays, Cepeda and Alou played all 32 innings of the doubleheader.  Christopher, McMillan and Ed Kranepool did the same for the Mets.

** The 23 inning second game took 7 hours and 23 minutes, in time, the longest major league baseball game ever played. The doubleheader was the longest ever (32 innings) and took a record 9 hours and 50 minutes to complete.  Mets manager Casey Stengel, never precise at math, said afterwards "the fans got 3 games for the price of one."  They got more than that.

......and Al Jackson, the man who started the longest day's journey into night with his pitch to Harvey Kuenn eons earlier, well, he also entered Game 2 as a pinch runner in a second inning rally that plated the Mets first run.  "He's artistic," Stengal once said of his athletic pitcher. "I know this because he was fielding all the bunted balls."

Al Jackson finished his major league career with a 67-99 won-lost record.  He once tossed all 15 innings in a 3-1 loss to the Phillies one August afternoon in 1962.  He threw 215 pitches that day.

But I will always remember Al Jackson for that first pitch he threw on the last day in May,1964...Memorial Day.

It was indeed a day, and a man, to preserve in remembrance!





Sunday, August 25, 2019

This Is The X..F..L?

By Steven Weldon

    In 2001, Vince McMahon, the World Wrestling Entertainment CEO, started a football league that was to be aired on NBC during the late winter-early spring months. No competition with the NFL's ratings, no problem. It was meant to be an even more gritty version of football, an alternative to the increasingly stuffy big league game.

  It flopped miserably.

  Don't worry though, they're trying again. Announced in 2018, with millions upon millions of dollars backing it, Vince McMahon announced a revival in 2020. The caveat continues to be that it's going to be different than the NFL. I trust that it will be, they have the blueprints laid down by multiple leagues that have failed before.

  The one thing that I do question is the logos and branding for the eight franchises.

  The teams are as follows;

  • Dallas Renegades
  • Houston Roughnecks
  • Los Angeles Wildcats 
  • New York Guardians
  • St. Louis Battlehawks
  • Seattle Dragons
  • Tampa Bay Vipers
  • DC Defenders

 I do not understand who had a hand in naming any of these teams. Granted, most of the decision making was made by multi-millionaires in Stamford, Connecticut who have no connection to any of these cities. The AAF had creative team names that related to their region. The XFL's team names? You can probably find them all in Madden NFL 2005's create-a-team mode. 

I'm ready for the XFL. Are the cities ready for the cookie-cutter teams?

I'll be watching for more of the XFL as the league's news heats up. Follow me on twitter, @Airweldon.

Beavers will upset Oklahoma State

By Gregory Crawford @wchoops

On Friday night Oklahoma State will make a rare visit to Northwest to play the Oregon State Beavers. Yes both schools OSU and both team colors black and orange.

What you didn’t know, in a wild game the
final score will be:

Oregon State 41 Oklahoma State 39.

Tell me Saturday how right I was and thank you.

College Football "Week Zero" Bursts Onto The Scene

By Steven Weldon

    The people involved in making the schedules for FBS schools could not have made better selections this past Saturday night.

    There were only two games on the schedule, but both were very entertaining non-conference battles that could be considered rivalries if the teams played in the same conference. The Florida Gators squared off against the Miami Hurricanes at Camping World Stadium in Orlando in a prime-time game, with the later game 4,640 miles west in Aloha Stadium, the Arizona Wildcats took on the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.

     FLORIDA 24 MIAMI(FL) 20

    A tightly contested game that came down to the final quarter, the 'Canes took the lead on a Deejay Dallas 50-yard run, giving them the 20-17 advantage early in the fourth, but Gators quarterback Felepie Franks made a short run for a touchdown midway through the quarter that would end up being the final score.

     Franks was largely inconsistent, but the Gators defense held on and made it work. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes will need to learn how to stop quarterbacks like Franks from picking them apart.


   Expect a shootout whenever Hawaii steps onto the field. Expect a shootout whenever Arizona steps on the field. This game was quintessential college football, Hawaii took a double-digit lead; lost said lead, came back and won the game at 0:00 by stopping Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate at the 1 yard line on a long run, preventing him from tying the game.

     Khalil Tate put the 'Cats on his back, leading them in rushing and obviously passing. Sadly, his two interceptions were most likely a catalyst in allowing the Rainbow Warriors to score. On the flip side, Hawaii quarterback Cole McDonald threw four touchdowns and four interceptions, so it was only expected for this game to end on a surprising rush stopped at the one-yard line. These two teams are going to have issues against really talented teams, but I'd watch this kind of game all the time.

I'll be posting my reactions to a few college games every weekend. Be sure to follow me on twitter, @Airweldon.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Food at Sporting Events

By Gregory Crawford @wchoops

Your thoughts at Craw’s Corner always count. So please comment on these questions in our great comment section.

1. Where was best food inside an arena or stadium you have had?

2. Are you vegetarians and vegans out there getting enough choices at sporting events?

PLEASE NOTE: We are always looking for great contributors at Craw’s Corner, especially the major sports and looking for great prep writer to cover Oregon high school sports. Love to hear from you at

NHL Western Conference-Pacific Division, 1 question

One question for each team in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference

Calgary Flames  Will this team be the team we saw in last year's regular season who scored the most points or the team we saw in the playoffs who looked a step slow against the Avalanche with shaky goaltending?

San Jose Sharks  Will losing leading goal scorer Joe Pavelski to the Dallas Stars and staying with Martin Jones in net be the start of a regression for this franchise?

Vegas Golden Knights  Will this team, viewed by many as a Western Conference favorite, now live up to the high expectations and win a Stanley Cup?

Arizona Coyotes Will the addition of Phil Kessel from the Pittsburgh Penguins add enough scoring punch to end the Yotes 7 year playoff drought?

Vancouver Canucks  Is goaltender Jacob Markstrom a true #1 and good enough to make the Canucks into a playoff contender?

Anaheim Ducks  Is the crash and burn from last season the beginning of a long rebuild and multiple years of missing the playoffs?

Edmonton Oilers  Can new General Manager Ken Holland right the ship and turn this underachieving franchise around and appease a very disgruntled fan base?

Los Angeles Kings  With so many bad contracts and their core players all in their 30's will this team be the worst in the Western Conference?

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

NHL Western Conference-Central Division, 1 question

A question for each team in the Central Division of the Western Conference

Nashville Predators  Will the added offensive depth with the free agent signing of Matt Duchene make up for the loss on the defensive side of P.K. Subban to the New Jersey Devils?

Winnipeg Jets  Will the Jets with one of the most talented rosters in the league finally put it all together and make a Stanley Cup run?

St Louis Blues Will Jordan Binnington prove his stellar 2nd half of the regular season and equally stellar playoff run was not a fluke and prove he is an elite goaltender for a full regular season?

Dallas Stars  With a nice mix of talented youngsters and battled tested veterans could the Stars be the sleeper team in the Western Conference?

Colorado Avalanche  Will Phillip Grubauer prove last season's spectacular play in net in the 2nd half was not a fluke and live up to expectations as a #1 goaltender for this young talented team on the rise?

Chicago Blackhawks Will the signing of free agent goaltender Robin Lehner improve a woeful Blackhawk defense that gave up the 2nd most goals last season?

Minnesota Wild  Should the Wild  be in the process of rebuilding per their 2 leading scorers last year were Zach Parise at age 35 and Eric Staal at age 34 with no other Wild player scoring over 50 points?

Home Run Histrionics!


By Harry Cummins

     I am sure you've heard by now about all the home run records being established this year in major league baseball.

     I had pretty much dismissed all those conspiracy claims citing juiced baseballs, juiced players, etc.......until last night.

     That's when Anthony Rizzo (Cubs); Bo Bichette (Jays) and Freddie Freeman (Braves); all connected for a pair of home runs on the same night.  Not so astounding, you say.

    Here is what IS remarkable:  For the 37th CONSECUTIVE DAY, somewhere in the major leagues, a player has hit at least 2 home runs in a game!!!

     If that doesn't hit you over the head with a Louisville Slugger, I don't know what will.  Stay tuned for tonight's box scores and maybe a Congressional Investigation!

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

NHL Eastern Conference-Metropolitan Division, 1 question

A question for each Metropolitan Division team as we get near the opening of Training Camps.

Washington Capitals  With Alex Ovechkin starting his 14th season at age 34 is the window finally starting to close for the Caps to make another Stanley Cup run?

NY Islanders  Will the team who gave up the fewest goals last season and losing arguably the best goaltender in then NHL last season Robin Lehner to the Chicago Blackhawks make them only a fringe playoff team or are they still a serious threat to make a Stanley Cup run?

Pittsburgh Penguins  Is it out of the question that the Penguins could miss the playoffs with a major regression?

Carolina Hurricanes  Is this team capable of winning the division with a very young roster and making another major run in the playoffs?

Columbus Blue Jackets  Will losing Sergei Bobrovsky and Artemi Panarin to free agency prove to much overcome?

Philadelphia Flyers  Will the Flyers be the sleeper team in the conference with a full season of young and talented Carter Hart in net?

NY Rangers  Will the big free agency signing of Artemi Panarin and the 2nd overall pick in Finnish scoring sensation Kaapo Kakko propel the Rangers into the playoffs?

New Jersey Devils Will new additions P.K. Subban acquired in a trade along with 1st overall pick Jack Hughes and a healthy Taylor Hall propel the Devils into playoff contention?

Adley Rutschman's 5 for 5 Night!!

By Harry Cummins

     Clap your hands...Adley Rutschman is now officially on the professional fast track!!!

     Major League baseball's Number 1 overall draft pick in 2019 exploded for a 5 for 5 night at the plate Monday in Aberdeen's 6-2 win over Vermont.  Included in the offensive onslaught was a 3-run triple and a solo home run.

     The former Oregon State Beaver extended his current hit streak to 10 games with 5 multi-hit  game performances in that span.  Rutschman is batting a sizzling .461 during the streak for the Class A short-season affiliate of the Orioles.

     'Can you Hear The A-Train A-Comin'?

P.S.  In a forgivable mishap last night, Rutschman was thrown out at home plate as he attempted to stretch his 3 run triple into a inside-the-park grand slam home run!  Mr. Excitement is on the way to Baltimore!

Aberdeen's IronBirds now travel to Staten Island this week to open the biggest series of the season in the New York Penn League, as the two teams are deadlocked for first place.  Rutschman will be only a ferry ride away from Broadway's bright lights. Boats,trains, and automobiles...they are coming to see the pride of Beaver nation.

Monday, August 19, 2019

NHL Eastern Conference-Atlantic Division, 1 question

As we get near the opening of training camps on September 11th I pose the key question for each team in the Atlantic Division.

Tampa Bay Lightning  Will the team with the most talented roster be able to come close to duplicating their spectacular regular season last season and avoid another playoff disaster?

Boston Bruins  Will the window start closing on the Bruins to win another Stanley Cup with a roster starting to age?

Toronto Maple Leafs  Will the huge blue line addition of Tyson Barrie from the Colorado Avalanche be the final piece to the puzzle for the Leafs to finally end their 53 year drought of winning the Stanley Cup?

Montreal Canadiens  Will veterans Shea Weber and Carey Price stay healthy and productive enough for the majority of the season along with continued production from their young front line scorers to make the playoffs after just missing last year?

Florida Panthers  Will arguably the biggest free agent signing this off season, goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky from the Columbus Blue Jackets, be the final piece for the Panthers to make the playoffs?

Buffalo Sabres  Will this team finally put a full season together and be a playoff threat after fading badly at the end of the regular losing 15 of their last 18?

Detroit Red Wings  Will this team miss the playoffs for the 4th straight season with another very mediocre roster and goaltender Jimmy Howard on his last legs?

Ottawa Senators  Will the team with the lowest point total last season sink even lower with a very young and inexperienced roster?

Saturday, August 17, 2019

The Tragedy of Bryce Love

By Steven Weldon

        Running backs possess a strange shelf life as football players. While most of them follow the blueprint of 7-8 seasons in the NFL and a slight drop off in talent, others such as Frank Gore or Adrian Peterson go strong for 13+ seasons. The same can be said for most NFL players, but largely the running back position is a revolving door for teams unless they have a superstar on their hands.

       This dynamic presents a unique opportunity to younger running backs trying to make the league out of college. The idea is that the sooner you start in the NFL, the better chance you have of sticking if you're talented.

       Some backs don't take advantage of that opportunity. It's the dreaded "returning to school for unfinished business" motive. The move is an emotional play, one that ideally helps the college team at the behest of the potential contract and security of the NFL. It happens to all college athletes, but a significant number come from football.

        A YouTube Creator known as "FlemLo Raps" is a former college football player that has a significant amount of videos that detail where certain former NFL or college stars are in their careers at this point. Some you've seen on the big stage, others who seemingly appeared out of nowhere on the college scene and disappeared. A common theme in his videos happens as follows; a star player collects big statistics and the team wins a lot but does not win a championship. The player then decides he has "unfinished business" with a year left of eligibility. He comes back, has a reasonable season, but it hurts his NFL Draft stock. The player finds himself drafted low, and struggles to make an NFL roster.

        I certainly hope that doesn't end up happening to former college star Bryce Love. Love recently finished his senior season at Stanford after posting Heisman Trophy-potential winning statistics his junior season. Had Love come out for the 2018 NFL draft, he may have been a first or second-round pick. He did not. Love returned to Stanford for his senior season, but played far fewer games due to nagging injuries. His final season he amassed 739 yards rushing and had six rushing touchdowns, a considerable step down from his junior season numbers of 2,118 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns.

       His season and potential football career was derailed by a torn ACL injury in the final PAC-12 game of the 2018 season against the Cal Bears. Love would enter the NFL Draft in 2019, but was selected in the fourth round by the Redskins. Ahead of him on the depth chart is Derrius Guice, drafted in 2018 in the second round. Guice, like Love, is coming off of a torn ACL sustained in the first preseason game of last season. The difference in their situation, however, is duly noted.

       Derrius Guice decided to forgo his senior season at Lousiana State University to pursue his NFL career, and was rewarded with a 4.54 million dollar contract for being selected in the second round.

       Bryce Love had the same injury but in college. He was not already guaranteed money.

       Let's hope things work out for Bryce Love.

       I'm so ready for the college football season. Follow me on twitter, @Airweldon for my thoughts.

The good foul

Every basketball fan, coach or player knows what a good foul is, and you can hear it regularly praised from the stands by people who can’t tell a zone press from press pass.

A good foul is bear hugging a shooter about to take a layup.
A good foul sends a weak foul shooter to the line, where his chances of making two shots are slim. Hack a Shack may not have looked like good basketball, but it was shrewd strategy.

It’s smart to deliberately foul a player before he can take a three-point shot that might tie a game in the closing seconds.
If a dribbler is about to flash by you on a path to the basket, grab his arm. If your team is not yet in the bonus, it’s like a Get Out of Jail Free card. Imagine that in any other sport. When a batter launches a deep drive, can the pitcher tackle him before he reaches base? Can a tennis ace by nullified at the opponent’s discretion?

Back to basketball. Even if it’s in the bonus situation, there is less than a 50-50 chance that a 70 percent foul shooter will make both free throws (.7x.7=.49) so it’s only slightly more costly than an average possession by the opposing team, which is worth just under one point on average. And if the first free throw is missed, it’s a great possession for the defense.
Never foul a jump shooter, it is said. But it’s hardly a cardinal sin. Two foul shot attempts are worth 1.4 points for a 70-percent shooter. The unmolested jump shot, would have had slightly less than a 50 percent chance of going in, so it was worth just less than one point. However, even a miss would have been rebounded by the offense about one-third of the time for a likely high percentage put-back. Fouling the shooter results in a small fraction of one point of difference. There are worse crimes.
Even an unwise foul is often forgiven by a missed foul shot, so a blind witness could cry “good foul” after every whistle and generally be on the money.

I’ve assumed a 70-percent foul shooter for these hypotheticals, but that’s generous. Only one of eight teams in this year’s 6A boys’ tournament made 70 percent for the tourney. At lower levels of play, 60 percent may be a more realistic assumption.

It’s ironic that foul shots are called “free” throws, when we say a player denied a layup by a deliberate foul is said to have been forced to “earn” the points.

As field goal shooting percentages over the years, foul shooting skills have plateaued. Factor in the advent of three-point shooting and the average possession is worth more now than when most current rules were adopted.

Is it any wonder that the game is more physical now? Players and coaches realize that fouling involves a small penalty and often a benefit. The modest minds in the stands shouting “good foul” left and right are on to something.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Sports Journalism: Ever Evolving

By Steven Weldon

   Print journalism is dying.

   Long gone are the days of competing newspapers, looking to get the scoop on a story as soon as possible and send it to print for the next day. We live in an era of live news. If it happened tonight, it can be read about tonight. Details come later. Feed us the stories now.

  This can be especially seen in sports journalism. Twitter is more than likely one of the biggest resources for sports news because posts are made live. If a trade was made, one of the reporters for a big media outlet is tweeting about it hours before the players even hear about it. If a player has a transgression off the field, oftentimes, that transgression can be seen via video instantaneously.

  But imagine if you write in the field of sports, but most of your best work involves the individual stories of the players, or an off-the-field influence on the team, or possibly a rallying point you recall while covering the team. Newspapers don't have time for those long pieces of incredible, gripping journalism. Twitter is restricted to 280 characters. Where's the outlet?

  Enter the world of The Athletic.

  If you want a newspaper, you pay money for it. The newspaper made money off the ad revenue, as well as circulation revenue. Those revenue sources are drying up, and newspapers are beginning to be owned by large conglomerates. Those large conglomerates are trying to cut costs; in doing that they alienate and push out the best writers. The Oregonian once had some of my favorite writers covering the teams that matter to me. Those writers soon turned up on The Athletic. If you follow sports, it's likely you've seen the advertisements. It's slowly taking over, picking up very esteemed writers along the way. Instead of paying for a subscription to a bunch of news one probably could pass by in print news, the subscription covers all of The Athletic's writers.

 Honestly, this post looks like an advertisement for The Athletic. I'll be honest though, I've only had a subscription during the free trial period. While I would like to read my favorite writers' stories covering my favorite teams, I struggle with adding another subscription service. I am very happy that these writers are (possibly) making a better living with more creative freedom for their stories. It's this exact freedom that made their stories compelling to read, making them my favorite writers. They inspire me.

 It seems as though The Athletic has created a new standard for the ever-evolving sports journalism field. Are you ready for a paywall?

If you're reading this, I'm not talented or experienced enough to be paid for my writing yet. You can follow me on twitter, @Airweldon, I'm funnier there.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

NFL Preview: Super Bowl Potential Teams

By Steven Weldon

    In the last post, I detailed where 23 of the NFL's teams would land this season. In short, on the outside looking in. Today, I'll explain why nine of the best teams in the league have a shot at winning the Vince Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl XLIV.


After a down year that included an injury to Aaron Rodgers, the Pack look much stronger on offense and in the secondary. New coach Matt Lafleur could breathe life back into the Packers offense, which finally has a running back that can handle a considerable amount of carries. Look for the Packers to challenge for the NFC North title, and possibly the Super Bowl.


They've got a damn good defense led by Khalil Mack as well as a potent offense. This is Mitchell Trubisky's third year in the league; it's time to shine. He's got some nice pieces around him, and they're the true favorites in the NFC North. They're an outside favorite to win the Super Bowl, provided things go to plan quicker than expected.


Carson Wentz is finally healthy, and former Bears standout running back Jordan Howard has entered the fold. The Eagles also added key pieces on their defense, and have a ton of weapons coming back from injury. The Super Bowl hangover could end this season, and the Eagles could visit the big game for the third time in 15 years.


It's finally coming together! Andrew Luck, Marlon Mack, T.Y. Hilton, a few star offensive linemen. These guys are the dark horse in the AFC. There is one problem, however, and it relates to injuries and Andrew Luck. If he's healthy this season, I'm not sure many teams can stop them. He could land them in the Super Bowl.


Right now, they're the better team in Los Angeles. They've got the tools to make it back to the Super Bowl, but if Todd Gurley isn't healthy, they've only got a rookie running back to lean on. Luckily, Jared Goff is a very talented passer and the LA defense was still good enough to hold the Patriots to 13 points. We may see this team in the Super Bowl if no other team interferes like they did last year. Yes, that was a pun.


Phillip Rivers is finally hitting his stride super late in his career, with the help of his defense. Melvin Gordon needs to get back on the practice field to contribute to the very high chance of the Chargers taking their talents to the Super Bowl. They nabbed the one-seed in the playoffs last season but promptly blew it to the Patriots. It's gut-check time, LAC.


The Chiefs were 45 seconds away from the Super Bowl, and then the defense could not wrap up the game. They have a very good chance at redemption, but they'll have to do it with a different running attack than last season. Patrick Mahomes third season will be a test, as he's rocketed up every "Best QB" ranking list. We'll see if the Chiefs have the cajones to make the Super Bowl this season.


Look, we all knew it was coming. Tom Brady is still there, and Bill Belichick still gets everything he possibly can out of every possible player. It's just a winning culture, and even when we all think that it's over, it just comes back and kicks us in the shin. The Pats lost Rob Gronkowski to retirement, but there's plenty of skilled offensive players to make up for it. The defense is probably the best in the NFL as well.

I didn't pick the Patriots to win the Super Bowl though.

I selected:


This is the best offense in the league. Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas, these are some of the best players in our game today. The defense is solid, and they were a mere penalty call away from last season's Super Bowl. They had the tools to beat New England.

I say the Saints win the Super Bowl over the Patriots. 

There it is! It's in stone. Follow me on twitter, @Airweldon, to see if I back off of my prediction. 

Big League Dreams Deferred

Two For The Show...Baseball's Star-Crossed Zimmer Brothers 

"How long I have been running for that
morning flight..
..through the whispered promises and
the changing light..
      Late for the sky.

      -Jackson Browne

By Harry Cummins

     They were both supposed to be halfway to the Hall of Fame by now, twin comets launched skyward from the seaside Shangri-la of La Jolla, California.

     La Jolla was my own private paradise as well, having grown up mere blocks from La Jolla High School, the early proving ground of athletic prowess for the brothers Kyle and Bradley Zimmer.

     Playing every sport imaginable, including lacrosse and water polo, the Zimmer boys eventually settled on baseball.  Piggy-backing their prep exploits, the pair would go on to spend a year together playing college baseball for the University of San Francisco.  Kyle, a pitcher, left USF after his Junior year by virtue of his selection as the fifth overall pick in the 2012 MLB draft by the Kansas City Royals.  He received a $3 million signing bonus.

     Bradley Zimmer, an outfielder, followed his brother into professional baseball two years later when he was ranked as the top bat in the 2014 MLB draft.  He was selected in the first round by the Cleveland Indians who, like the Royals, reside in the Central Division of the American League.

     Like everyone else, I anticipated the soon to come day when Bradley would step into a major league batter's box and stare out at his brother, 60 feet 6 inches away, ready to release a mid 90's lightning bolt in his direction.

     However, an absurdly improbable series of crippling injuries to both Kyle and Bradley have left us all still waiting for this brotherly breakout.  Still waiting for the predicted stratospheric ascension of the next great brother act to rival that of the DiMaggio's, Alou's and Alomar's.

     Misfortune visited Kyle Zimmer first.  He had bone chips removed in 2012.  He missed key time in 2013 with elbow tendinitus.  He spent most of the next two seasons recovering from surgery to repair his right labrum and rotator cuff.  When it looked like he was finally healthy, he was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrone.  He underwent surgery in July of 2016 for this potentially career ending injury.  He suffered shoulder soreness all of the 2017 season, and shoulder fatigue in 2018,  ending his season after retiring just one batter in spring training.

     Thanks to a unique form of athletic training with Driveline Baseball at an industrail park outside of Seattle, Zimmer has finally made his major league debut with Kansas City this year, seven years after he was first drafted by the Royals.  Last week in a mid game relief appearance, one of his pitches was clocked at 99mph.  Several days later however, the Royals returned him to the minors to continue to refine his rusty mechanics and regain his feel for pitching.  He appears to be healthy and the Royals will explore employing him as a late inning piece for their bullpen.

     At about the same time last week as his brother Kyle returned to the minors, Bradley Zimmer was finally pronounced ready to begin playing baseball again after a season long absence from the game.  Brad made his MLB debut in 2017 and as one of the fastest players in the game, proceeded to steal 18 bases in 19 attempts. Statcast showed him with the hardest hit ball of the 2017 season by a Cleveland Indian (114.6 mph)  The Indians began to envision their lead-off hitter and defensive stalwart in centerfield for years to come.

    However, the Zimmer injury curse was about to visit brother Bradley with equal fury.  He suffered a concussion while attempting a diving catch in the outfield and made his first trip to the injured list.  Soon after, he was ruled out of the rest of that 2017 season with a broken hand.  Finally ready to resume activities from that injury, Bradley hurt his shoulder and in July of 2018, had surgery that carried a crushing 8-12 months recovery period.

     Late in Spring Training of this season, ahead of the predicted rehab schedule for the shoulder surgery, Brad seriously injured both oblique muscles months apart..  He has yet to play a game in this 2019 season, but the Indians say he will soon begin to work his way back up the ladder as he is once again healthy.  He is hopeful he can rejoin the major league club when rosters expand September 1st. Opportunity still awaits in the Tribe outfield.

    "Bradley is a freak of nature," says Indians teammate Adam Cimber, who played with Zimmer at the University of San Francisco.  "He's tall and fast, he got a great arm and he can swing it for power"

     Both Bradley and Kyle now hope their physical problems are finally behind them.  Thru prolonged and cruel adversity, the snake-bit brothers have learned the value of patience... and of dreams deferred.  Sometimes, reaching a dream's destination turns out to be simply its beginning.

     Spoken with much more than my hometown optimism, I firmly predict that sometime during the 2020 MLB season, at either Progressive Field in Cleveland or Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, we at last shall see the once celebrated but now nearly forgotten Zimmer brothers go head to head in a big league game.

     This rare senario has only happened five times in the last 50 years of major league baseball.  It last played out in 2013 when Toronto's Colby Rasmus doubled off his brother Cory, who was pitching for the Atlanta Braves.

      Or how about this for the full-blown arrival of a big league dream...Kyle and Bradley Zimmer representing the American League in the 2020 All-Star Game to be held in sunny Southern California.  Injuries now vanished in the rear-view mirror and living life as they once did as boys in carefree La Jolla.....where everyday is a perfect beach day.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

NFL Preview: Non-Super Bowl Attendees

By Steven Weldon

     The NFL has an incredible amount of parity. In the past ten years, fifteen different teams have made the Super Bowl. No other league has a similar rate of teams making it to the championship game. Some factors attributing to the level playing field include collective bargaining agreement's revenue sharing, as well as player contract structures and player ability.

    HOWEVER, there are far too many NFL teams who have not won the biggest game of them all. Some have won one and haven't succeeded since. I have some ideas on who will join the club this season.


The MIAMI DOLPHINS are running Ryan Fitzpatrick as their starting quarterback. The team lost Jarvis Landry to Cleveland, and their run game and defense will be non-factors. Done.

The ARIZONA CARDINALS do have a new quarterback in Kyler Murray, but it will not be enough to turn this team back to prominence. David Johnson is coming off of an injury, but there's a reason the Cardinals finished with the number one pick in the draft.

The OAKLAND RAIDERS have a nice story coming out of training camp with HBO's Hard Knocks being on campus, but receiver Antonio Brown is having...issues. Combine that with older defensive players and not much of a running attack and that brings another year of Jon Gruden's ten-year deal being a waste.

The NEW YORK GIANTS are still a few years away, as they continue riding Eli Manning's final seasons. This season begins the development of Daniel Jones and will be a continuation of Saquon Barkley's impressive career, but it won't amount to much.

The WASHINGTON REDSKINS have a ton of work to do as well. They've picked up a few talented young players and reasonably overpaid for a talented safety in Landon Collins, but it's not enough to get them over the hump in even just their division.

The CINCINNATI BENGALS will be missing arguably their best player AJ Green for a few weeks, and even that doesn't matter that much. They were a non-factor last season, and they'll be a non-factor again.

The DETROIT LIONS have some pieces but they need to stay consistent and healthy. They also have one of the better divisions to deal with, which only adds to their uphill climb.

The DENVER BRONCOS have a reasonable quarterback in Joe Flacco, but he isn't the answer to this season's questions. The rest of their team needs work, in addition to the fact they changed head coaches in the offseason.


The BUFFALO BILLS have some nice pieces and have a reasonable case for being the second-best team in the division...if things go better than planned. Josh Allen may prove his worth this season by leading the Bills to improvement.

The SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS will have a full year of Jimmy Garappalo and an improved offense, and I'd say it's good enough for third in their division. It's still not playoff-worthy, however.

The TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS have improved their coach, their linebackers and may have improved their special teams. What they didn't improve are their secondary, wide receivers and running backs. It's up to new head coach Bruce Arians to get the most out of this team with the least options. It's Jameis Winston's contract year, as well.

The JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS have had a significant step back this past season. Nick Foles got a considerable deal to be the starter, so we'll see if the former Super Bowl winner has the guts to lead the team to the playoffs. Leonard Fournette needs to stay as healthy as possible as well.

The TENNESSEE TITANS will absolutely have to have a better year from Marcus Mariota before they lose a grip on him. They can lean on Derrick Henry, but for how long? This is also Mariota's contract year, so if he wants to redeem his #2 pick quality, he'll need to move the Titans out of 9 wins and into the playoffs again.

The NEW YORK JETS have made some big improvements, but is Sam Darnold ready for primetime? Additionally, will Leveon Bell make noise after a season off? At least their jerseys look amazing.

The CAROLINA PANTHERS still have Cam Newton and a multi-talented back in Christian McCaffrey, but they also lost Devin Funchess in free agency. Luke Kuechly is an incredible linebacker, but he can't play all the other positions at once. They're slightly better than the Buccaneers.

The MINNESOTA VIKINGS look good, but Kirk Cousins isn't as good as advertised. Dalvin Cook is primed for a better season, but it likely won't be enough to overtake the other top two in their division.

The SEATTLE SEAHAWKS had a shockingly good season last year, but I think that losing their best wide receiver and a few talented defensive players won't help their case for making the playoffs. It's Russell Wilson and not much else out there. Maybe Chris Carson.

The BALTIMORE RAVENS have handed the keys to Lamar Jackson and he did very well in the drivers' seat, but the competition in the AFC is brutal. Their defense lost a considerable amount of talent.


The ATLANTA FALCONS are hands down the second-best team in the NFC South. They're likely to make the playoffs, but not go all the way. 28-3.

The CLEVELAND BROWNS will 100% be better than the previous year barring a massive setback. They're not poised to win the big game, but it could be a stepping stone with some magic this year.

The DALLAS COWBOYS made some noise last season that lead many to believe they'll be in the mix this season unless Ezekiel Elliot isn't there. Though, like Jerry Jones says, you don't need to have a rushing champion to win the Super Bowl. Be that as it may, it certainly helps get a team to the playoffs as well as general success as a whole.

The PITTSBURGH STEELERS show the entire league that if you have the right personnel and system in place, the replacement players can give a boost. James Conner proved that, and it looks like the rest of the Steelers' wide receivers will have to do the same this season. They're good enough to make the playoffs, but not win the whole enchilada.

The HOUSTON TEXANS look very talented on paper, but football games aren't played on fantasy fields. They can bring it all the way to the playoffs, but not over the hump.

Nine teams are a real contender. One will be the champion. Find out on Tuesday who I think takes Super Bowl 54. 

Craw’s Corner Golf

By Gregory Crawford @wchoops

It was a pleasure and honor to personally know Bob Cupp, who passed away August 19th, 2016. As a golf course designer , Bob has left an imprint on golf that will last forever.

This weekend proves as such. Bob Cupp designed both Liberty National and Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, both courses getting major exposure on TV this weekend, hosting PGA FedEx Cup Playoffs and the final regular season event on Korn Ferry Tour. Bob we know you re looking down smiling.
The iconic 12th hole, Pumpkin Ridge (Witch Hollow Course)

Craw’s Corner Publishing Days

By Gregory Crawford @wchoops

A note to our great readers and followers. In order to better accommodate your busy schedules, with a  few rare exceptions, effective today, August 11th, we will only post content on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursdays. You asked for us to be more consistent and we are obliging.

In addition to our great writers Harry Cummins, Air Weldon and Hermo Strong, we are looking to add to our team. Even if you think you can’t write, but love sports, contact us

Thank you, Gregory Crawford

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Dreams Deferred - Baseball's Star-Crossed Brothers

"How long have I been running for that morning flight..
...through the whispered promises and the changing light...
         late for the sky."

       -Jackson Browne


By Harry Cummins

     They were both supposed to be halfway to the Hall of Fame by now, twin comets launched skyward from the seaside Shangri-la of La Jolla, Calfornia.

     La Jolla was my paradise as well, having grown up mere blocks from La Jolla High School, the early proving ground of athletic prowess for the brothers Kyle and Bradley Zimmer.

     Piggy-backing their prep exploits,the pair would go on to spend a year together playing for the University of San Francisco Dons of the West Coast Conference.  Kyle, a pitcher, left USF after his junior year by virtue of his selection as the fifth overall pick in the 2012 MLB draft by the Kansas City Royals.  He received a $3 million signing bonus.

     Bradley Zimmer, an outfielder, continued to follow his brother into professional baseball two years later, ranked as the top bat in the 2014 MLB draft. He was a first round pick of the Cleveland Indians. Like everyone else, I anticipated the day Bradley would step into a major league batter's box and see his brother 60 feet, 6 inches away, ready to release a mid-90's lightning bolt in his direction.

     Thanks to an absurdly improbable series of crippling injuries to both Kyle and Brad, five years later we are all still waiting for this brotherly breakout.  Still waiting for the predicted stratospheric ascension of this next great brother act, following in the footsteps of the DiMaggios, Alou's, and Alomar's.  The Zimmer siblings were, and still are, that talented!

                       (A full version of this feature will appear in the August 13th edition of Craw's Corner)











Thursday, August 8, 2019

Five Things: NFL Football

By Steven Weldon

170 miles north of the Portland Metro Area lies the Pacific Northwest's only National Football League team. For eight weekends of the NFL's regular season, Seattle is the only viable option for seeing a game without taking a plane or a long arduous road trip. Thousands of people make the trip; as dedicated fans of the new American pastime enjoy the trip itself, tailgating and a game that the entire country may be watching at any given time.

I've never experienced an NFL gameday live.

Alas, I am still incredibly excited about the upcoming season. Here are five things I can't wait for.

5. Will A Team Dethrone the Patriots?

We ask this question every year, even when the Patriots are not champions. When the Patriots are sitting at 3-2, many-including me-say, "Well, I guess they're done!" Are they ever done? No. Death, Taxes, Patriots football being competitive. The three constants in life since the year 2001. Is THIS the year though? They just lost Rob Gronkowski to retirement and Tom Brady just got another year older. You could say that those two things may break the camel's back, but you also must remember there will be 51 other players on the roster ready to make an impact. Bill Belichick usually gets the most out of his unknown or unheralded players. It is currently a to-be-determined on the death of the Patriots dynasty. Know that their days are still numbered. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

4. How Will The Oakland Raiders Be Received On The Way Out?

Las Vegas Stadium is almost done, and the 2019 season is the swan song for the Oakland-based version of the Raiders. Oakland Coliseum is outdated, dreary and needs to be put out to stadium-pasture. Mount Davis, the large structure placed in the outfield of the baseball configuration is largely unused, particularly at the top, and the team struggles to fill seats with how dismal they have been lately. In the end, all that matters is how the fans feel. So many will be incredibly sad to lose the east bay area franchise, but I personally know far more Raiders fans excited that they'll be moving to the desert. Airfare is less expensive, and the stadium will be right on the Las Vegas Strip. The last game in Oakland will be an interesting one. We've seen far too many teams move at the drop of the hat this decade.

3. Fantasy Football

A billion-dollar industry that won't stop growing is one of my favorite things about the NFL season. I struggle to watch my favorite team; so I adopt the players that are on my fantasy teams. In 2007, Andre Johnson, a former wide receiver of the Texans, made me like him so much that I purchased his jersey. I still have it, and it's all because he was on my fantasy team. I'm a member of three reasonably serious leagues of all sorts, with different scoring intricacies and a wide variety of people to play against. I've only won a league once in all 13+ years I've been playing, but I'll keep trying. Weldon will win.

2. Football Starts At 10 AM

In deep contrast to why I'm excited about college football, I love the fact that being on the west coast means games begin at 10 o'clock in the morning. I'm also up extra early due to children, but being able to see a game with some breakfast is nice. My favorite team, The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, play more than half their games on the east coast, so finding them early is a nice surprise. They don't play in prime-time very often. It's a struggle. In any case, this also means that the next set of games is at 1, and then the nightcap at 5:30. The consistent schedule of Thursday, Sunday, Monday is also easy to pay attention to.

1. I Will Be There

After a long 17 years of paying attention to the NFL, I'm finally going to see a game live. On November 3rd, the Buccaneers visit Seattle for a once-every-six-years event. I missed the 2013 game, but I won't be missing this one. Unlike a large majority of NFL stadiums, a ticket to see the Seahawks is almost double the average. It may be due to the experience, or the fact that the Seahawks are the only game available. I've heard that CenturyLink Field is loud, and I'm ready. In a sea of blue and green, I'll be a small dot wearing white and red. I'll share my experience right here at Craw's Corner, as well. It is the number one thing I am excited about this NFL season.

I'll be covering the NFL and College Football this season, and likely some other pieces. Follow me on Twitter, @Airweldon for consistent updates on what I share.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Craw’s Corner Golf News

By Gregory Crawford @wchoops

Liberty National is one of great golf courses in world and site of this week’s FedEx playoffs.

Due to a severe storm blowing through the course on Wednesday night, the gates will not open for first round of the tournament on Thursday morning until 10:00 am ET. Significance here, first tee times will remain at 7:10 am ET.

At least for 3 hours no one will be told “quiet please” or “turn your ringer on phone off.”

This may be first for PGA Tour. Starting a tournament with no spectators.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Sofia Kenin Shocks Tennis World....Again!

Kenin Upends No.1 Barty 6-7, 6-3, 6-4

By Harry Cummins

     20 year-old phenom Sofia Kenin shocked the world's No 1 ranked women's tennis player  Tuesday, knocking Australian Ash Barty from the second round of the Rogers Cup in Toronto and continuing her own 2019 breakout season that now numbers 29 match wins, two WTA Crowns, and her first ever victory over a top 5 WTA player.

     Earlier this season, Kenin stunned Serena Williams in straight sets at the French Open, before loosing in 3 sets to Barty in the fourth round in Paris. Barty ultimately went on to capture the French Open, her first major title along with the No 1 ranking in women's tennis.

     Born in Russia and raised in Florida, Sofia Kenin is now rocketing up the rankings, knocking on the door of the top 20 players in the world. She will next play either former world No 1 Victoria Azarenka, or Ukraine's Dayana Yastremska in Rogers Cup play which is part of the US Open Series leading up to the year's final grand slam in New York.

     Craw's Corner first reported on Kenin in a January 11,2019 post entitled 'Sofia Down-Under, A Tennis Prodigy Comes of Age.'  You can find this detailed story on Kenin in our Blog Achive.

     With her win over Barty, Kenin becomes the youngest American to defeat a reigning No 1 since 2011.  Known as Sonya to her friends, Kenin turned pro in 2017 at the age of 18.  She turned down a University of Miami scholarship in making her decision.


Saturday, August 3, 2019

The Surprise Of The Pac-12 South: Khalil Tate

By Steven Weldon

    In 21 days from this post, quarterback Khalil Tate will take the field for the Arizona Wildcats in his senior season. He'll start his final season in the second most beautiful state in the union, Hawaii. He deserves to start his swan song here. He has earned it.

   Tate's entire college football career has been hidden from most everyone. As Arizona competes in the Pac-12 conference, they're relegated to playing most of their games very late at night; on the east coast, at least. This is a disadvantage to the casual viewer, but an advantage for the Wildcats. The state of Arizona is constantly hot, making playing football after the sun sets an important defense against the sweltering heat.

   The Wildcats have also largely underwhelmed recently in football. In the 2018 season, a 5-6 finish was not good enough for a bowl berth. In 2017, the Wildcats made the Foster Farms Bowl with a 7-6 record, but they fell to the Purdue Boilermakers. Former head coach Rich Rodriguez, who was a catalyst to Khalil Tate's impressive sophomore season with his wide-open offense, was fired due to a sexual harassment scandal. Tate started his college career with one coach, and halfway through is ending it with a different one. That's not easy to succeed under.

   Khalil Tate was in the Heisman Trophy conversation in the 2017 season after a few events. First, breaking the single-game rushing record for a quarterback, notching 327 yards on the ground against Colorado. Next, a three-game winning streak over higher tier Pac-12 opponents and four straight offensive player of the week honors.

  Coming back for the 2018 season, Tate had more to prove. His junior season needed to be stellar in order to set up his draft stock and the rest of his football career.

  Things did not go to plan. In his first game, he threw one touchdown against Brigham Young, but it was not enough; as the Wildcats fell 28-23. In the next game against the Houston Cougars, Tate had to take his attack through the air more, leading to a total of 45 pass attempts. He threw two interceptions, and the Wildcats had the doors blown off, losing 45-18.

  Defense not holding up their end of the bargain would be a semi-common theme of the Arizona Wildcats 2018 season, but Tate was magnificent. At the close of the season, he finished with 26 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. He had seven multi-touchdown games and didn't throw more than two interceptions after the Houston Cougars game. In Pac-12 play, the Wildcats finished 4-4, with decisive victories over Oregon and Oregon State.

 Khalil Tate is primed for an impressive senior season, and may very well be one of the best quarterbacks in college football. The true question is, will the Wildcats defense help him?

  We'll all have to stay up late to find out.

   The Arizona Wildcats begin their season August 24th at 7:30 PM in the tropics of Hawaii, facing the Rainbow Warriors on CBS Sports Network. 

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Why I Became a Play By Play Announcer

by Voice of Westside Mobile Media Trevor Beard

Ever since I was old enough to read (about age 3 or 4) I had wanted to read out loud growing up. Books, magazines, newspapers whatever I could get my hands on, I wanted to announce it. It didn't take long to figure out my path in life. When my brain had begun developing enough to really form solid memories, I began a photographic file of major events in Oregon history that occurred in my life time (beginning with Mount St Helens eruption, Rajneeshee  group and others begun to paint mental pictures in my conscious, the way Van Gogh painted on canvas). Some learning disabilities early in life caused me some delayed speech abilities and I really did not start to really speak or be verbal until about age 2. People joked that my delayed speaking abilities caused me to "run at the  mouth" and "try to make up for lost time" By the time I was about 10 years old I was talking to everyone I could about things I watched on the news or in pop culture almost to the point where people would get tired of hearing me talk. Being a social studies and geography buff, I would follow and share anything I watched on TV whether people cared or not, sometimes just to hear myself speak. Politics, sports, news, pop culture, it didn't matter. If I seen or heard about it, I had to tell other people about it too.

Fast forward to middle school. After a baseball career that ended in 3rd grade Pee Week due to a lack of playing time for fear of getting hit, I concentrated on basketball at age 12. Teaching myself how to shoot on a homemade hoop much the same way Larry Bird was self taught. Picturing myself with a chance to win at the buzzer with Oregon broadcast legends like Bill Schonely, Jerry Allen, and Darrel Aune (then Voice of the Oregon State Beavers) on the call. By the time I reached high school I felt I had a chance to play at the next level if I had a chance to develop my basketball skills over the summer but a family life that consisted of helping raise cattle and sheep, driving tractor and bucking hay on 80 acres north of Roseburg limited my basketball career to in-season only. By the time I reached my Senior year in 1994, David Inouye (my then Senior Careers advisor) told me something that summed it all up and pretty much set my career goals in place, "Do something you enjoy doing, and choose that for a career. If you do that your job will never feel like work" Shortly after that conversation I got to do a 10 minute phone interview about basic career based questions with Mr. Allen who was very gracious and understanding and I've considered him a mentor since.

The summer I graduated, my family moved to the Newport, Oregon area and I canvassed every radio station booth at the Lincoln County Fair harassing whoever I could to give me an opportunity, whether it paid or not. The Fall of 1994 as an 18 year old I got my first experience behind the mic with current Voice of Marshfield Matt Jarvis, who then owned AM 820 KORC in Waldport. Helping as a Volunteer Color Analyst helping with stats and carrying equipment getting about 10 minutes of air time per game on Waldport football and boys and girls basketball from 1994-1996. I went on two a couple other radio positions (most notably as a weekend on-air announcer at Yaquina Bay Communications, and KYTE FM 102.7) from 1999-2005.  No play by play but still an opportunity to be around the field I loved. Although not specifically as a Play By Play Announcer, I still had a chance to be up close and personal with play by play as our stations were the sports center of the universe for that area. Newport Cubs, Oregon State Beavers, Toledo Boomers, Taft Tigers, and Oregon Ducks athletics were all carried by our stations. Through that my allegiance changed from Oregon to Oregon State. Being the son of an OSU alumnus, and working for one of the first OSU network affiliates during  a historic season of OSU football, including the end of a generations long streak of below .500 seasons that ended with Dennis Erickson and included a 34-9 thrashing of Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl, I became a Beaver. 

The summer of 2005 my time in Newport had come to an end due to some youthful mistakes I made. That, coupled with the birth of my son, saw my family move to Banks to be closer to my (then) wife's family, and what I thought would be better opportunity to get into broadcasting full-time. Fast forward to the Spring of 2014. After speaking with some of my contemporaries, and people I trained under growing up, the wheels were set in motion to start brainstorming to begin broadcasting Banks High School athletics. My first broadcast came in late August of 2015 at the Gladstone football jamboree. That first year I gave away free advertising to whoever wanted to have their businesses mentioned during broadcasts. I did not have a business name and my business was not licensed so I could not legally charge for commercials. July 2016, Westside Mobile Media was launched as an LLC to legally seek payed advertising partners that would help cover broadcasting costs. Since 2015, over 40,000 listeners (how we initially started out broadcasting online audio only through London based streaming audio platform Mixlr) and viewers (switching over to video streaming) in July 2019.

The internet has opened up a whole new world for budding entrepreneurs especially those serious about their own broadcasting careers. Gone are the days of needing to find someone to give you a chance at an "over the air" radio or television station. If no one does, or will, you can start your own, and there are plenty of networking groups on social media that will help anyone who wants to get started on their own. Current Voice of The Beavers Mike Parker, and former Portland Trailblazer Radio Voice Brian Wheeler have both personally told me the future of broadcasting is internet. 

When I realized I would not be good enough to play in college or the pros, I found other ways to still be involved with sports, and it is the same for any athlete. Just because a point may come in your life where the game has passed your talent level by, it doesn't mean you have to give up the game. There are tons of other careers in sports besides just athletes. Coaches, officials, public address, play by play, statisticians, etc. The list goes on and on. Just because your playing days may be over, it does not mean your sports dreams have to.

If anyone has any questions about how to get started as an internet sportscaster, feel free to contact me. After doing this for 5 years, I consider myself to be sort of an internet sportscasting pioneer in Oregon as being one of only a handful of companies broadcasting high school sports online at that time. I like the feeling of being a new breed of broadcasters, and aways willing to help others do the same. If you have any questions about how to get started or would like to work with me, contact, Trevor Beard or Westside Mobile Media on Facebook or @westmobilmedia on Twitter.

Craw’s Corner, Sports Biz, 8/1/19

David Tepper, owner of Carolina Panthers wants a new stadium, with a retractable roof. New stadiums all over are the rage,  because things are looked at differently these days for revenue streams. Another words keep your stadium busy every single night if possible, way beyond games. Cost of a new retractable roof stadium in Charlotte, $1.5 billion or close.

By Gregory Crawford @wchoops

The Success of Banks High School

2019-20 Banks High School Athletics Gets Set For Another (Hopefully) Successful Year

by Trevor Beard (Voice of Westside Mobile Media)

Growing up the son of a teacher, I have had a pretty lengthy experience following high school sports from a very young age, probably about 35 years of my current 43 years on earth. Being raised in a small Southern Oregon logging community in Northern Douglas County (Yoncalla), it had a strong football program through the 80s and early 90s that made multiple trips to the (then) 2A OSAA State Playoffs under (retired) Mike Bendele who most recently was at Colton. Bendele, and Paul Gale (former head coach of then Western Baptist--now Corban) a current MLB scout who lead Yoncalla to two state titles. The basketball program was very successful as well making multiple trips to both Pendleton (2A) and Baker (1A) for basketball quarterfinals but never coming away with a championship.  

What does this have to do with 4A athletics you may ask? Well despite the success I witnessed and experienced as a basketball player at Yoncalla, I have never seen such success at any level of high school athletics as what was experienced at Banks High School during the 2018-19 campaign, and really since Westside Mobile Media has been broadcasting Banks athnletics. Some schools may have one miraculous season where one team may go undefeated and win a state title but then be the only program from the district to go to state. Some may have a couple teams go to state and have mediocre success with maybe a trip to the First Round. Not so in the case of Banks. Last year Banks did something that despite being the smallest school based on enrollment with 375 students (technically playing up from a 3A classification), was historic, not only for the school but for the state. Last year the program won their first ever boys state team title in football(31-20 over Seaside), then defeated Seaside for the boys basketball crown (62-56) and beat Henley (3-1) for the baseball trophy.

Last year, the 2018-19 football program, lost once and finished on an 11 game winning streak enroute to the 4A state title with their second victory of the season over Seaside. Their lone loss of the season came in Week 1 on the road to a tough Gladstone program that looks to be back again. That loss came in a tough back and forth affair that was decided by less than one touchdown, where most teams had seen a limited number of practices due to heat index issues. The game that probably decided the fate of the Braves football season was a 10-7 victory on the road at Seaside when both were 1 and 2 in state respectively. The difference in the game? One of few returners to this years squad, K/SS/WR Jacob Slifka. You might also know that name from basketball as well but we'll get back to that later. Slifka is one of few, probably anywhere in the state (including 6A) with the leg to make FG's at the high school level beyond 35 yards. Will Banks make it back to the 4A state title game again? That remains to be seen. Questions remain at QB and receiving positions as Hayden Vandehey, and TE Blake Gobel (2019 Oregon Sports Award Small School Athlete of The Year winner, also signing with Eastern Washington to play TE) are gone to graduation. However, they have a complimentary duo of backs returning in speedster Jamar Flippen, and power back Martial Stegemier.

Many of the players from last year's miraculous, once in a lifetime season, are gone. But with the strength of the "feeder" youth programs across all levels of boys and girls sports at Banks, nothing would surprise me. In the nearly 150 games I broadcast last season (football, volleyball, basketball--Boys and Girls, baseball, and softball) approximately 115 of those were victories, a winning percentage of over .750.

Although last season was the first boys team title, Banks has had incredible success for the past 10+ years in almost every sport but boys basketball, but even that has now changed. Boys Head Coach Marcus Roche (who took over a 9 win team prior to coming in) just missed league playoffs his first season. This winter, will be his 5th season, and his last 3 seasons have seen 4th place (victory over Gladstone), 5th place (loss in 3rd place game to Newport) and a state championship last year. Gobel (4A Player of The Year), Vandehey, and Dakota Bunn 3 starters from last year's title again are gone. 

Girls basketball has had tremendous success under Head Coach Brandon Begley and much of that is due to the longevity of the long time head coach. Begley has a fiery passion for the game, and an uncanny ability to get the most out of his players. Once again though graduation could hurt them after losing a handful of Seniors, most notably OSAA Girls Basketball Playoffs Scoring record holder Aspen Slifka (headed to Northwest Christian in Eugene). 

Softball last won a state title in 2016 and baseball keeps turning out incredible athletes as well. Most notable player from that team has ability to play in the Midwest Professional Softball League (MPSL) Makenna Partain has started every year at SS and has quietly become one of the best hitters in Big 10 softball, helping Minnesota to a trip to the NCAA Women's Softball World series in Oklahoma City earlier this year. Despite taking over this year Rosi Contri (former Corbett head) lead the girls to the semifinals against Henley. Joe Baumgartner (who is back for his 2nd stint) led the baseball program to a state title with just a handful of losses (including North Marion who was #1 most of the season, and 5A state title winner Central). The highlight of the baseball season was probably not only the best game of the entire 4A Playoffs but possibly the nest game at any level in the entire state as Banks held off Gladstone with late game heroics with a ground ball back up the middle from Senior C Trask Applegate in an epic 3 1/2 hour battle that took 13 innings to decide. (Then again with historic mascots like Braves and Gladiators you almost have to expect a competitive battle). 

Volleyball under 3rd year Head Coach Aubrey Rue, should expect a strong season with a large returning group of upperclassmen. The Braves defeated Stayton at home in the Play-in round of last year's state playoffs before losing n the First Round at eventual state runner-up Cottage Grove. Volleyball also has a history of success winning a state title over Sisters in 2015 with a team that saw nearly 1/2 it's squad go on to play the sport at the next level, most notably Megan Bunn at NAIA Eastern Oregon in La Grande.

So now you know a little bit about my sports background and the background for the team I cover and broadcast. What does the future hold for Banks athletics? As long as the youth programs continue with the same level of success they have, I see nothing but continued winning tradition for all 6 programs. The interesting thing to be seen is that the Cowapa which recently included Astoria, Banks, Scappoose, Seaside Tillamook, and Valley Catholic has been dropped to 5 teams with the recent jump of Scappoose to 5A. Molalla took it's place for football only for 2 years but that will end after this season. There has been talk of Gladstone or possibly another team coming over from the north end of the TriValley Conference. In my opinion the Gladiators or Estacada would be a good fit as both those teams have a history of playing Cowapa teams non-league.

I hope you've enjoyed this and I look forwards to getting to know my readers, and other bloggers here. If you have any questions feel free to follow me or my business Westside Mobile Media, or email and GO BRAVES!