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Thursday, May 27, 2004

Class Act

Let me start this post by saying that C-Town State University's baseball coach, Greg Appleton, is truly a class act.

CSU's run through the Division II National Championship didn't last nearly as long as they'd hoped. They only played three games before being eliminated in a barn-burner late last night. I won't go into too much detail, but here's the summary:

CSU took a pretty hefty lead after hitting three home runs in the third inning. But Rollins College (The "Tars") chipped away with a little small-ball. A lot of RBI singles and sacrifice bunts. Rollins took the lead, and Larry Pittmon hit his second home run of the night to make it 7-7 in the fifth inning. Rollins took the lead back (more RBI singles and groundouts) in the bottom of the sixth.

Then in the top of the ninth, Larry Pittmon hit his third home run of the game, to tie it at nine. At this point CSU has nine runs, every one of them scored on a homer. They pick up one more run on an RBI Double to take a 10-9 lead going into the bottom of the ninth inning.

So CSU's powered their way into the lead with home run after home run. Rollins has stayed in it with 10 hits, most of them singles, none of them home runs. What happens in the bottom of the ninth? With two outs and a runner on, Rollins hits a home run. The kid had struck out three times, hadn't gotten a hit all night, and he jacks one out of the park to end the game, and end the Cougars' season.

Bummer.

Here's the tricky part: I'm supposed to do a live story from Montgomery on the 11:00 news (at about 11:25 ET). At 11pm, they're still playing. We had to keep feeding video back. David, who was running the satellite truck, had to keep running back and forth to get more video from me. Every time he'd send some video back, CSU would get another run, he'd have to get the tape from me, run back to the truck, and send the video back again. The game ended at 10:10 local time (That's 11:10 in C-Town, where the newscast was up and running). I might add, I'm awfully sweaty and slobby-looking from a full day in the sun (and night in the bugs) shooting baseball.

I slap on some powder and lipstick, comb my hair, throw a jacket over my sweaty t-shirt, and wait for coach Appleton to finish talking to the team. I know he's not going to want to do a live on-air interview ten minutes after his team gets eliminated from the championship.

He does it anyway.

What a great guy. His heart's been broken just minutes earlier and he sucks it up, does the interview, and even smiles a couple times doing it.

I asked him during the commercial break "Is doing this [interview] the crummiest part of the job?"

"No," he answered. "The crummiest part is losing in the bottom of the ninth inning."

Well said, coach.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Live Evil

For the first time in months, I'll be doing a live shot on tomorrow's newscasts. Remember, "Live" spelled backwards is "Evil."

I'll be going to Montgomery for the Division II College World Series, where Columbus State is now just three wins away from another national championship. And though I love reporting live, I usually only get the opportunity two or three times a year (I went a stretch of over ten months from last May to this March without doing a single live report.)

As a result, I always get a little nervous when I have to report live. It's not that I can't do it, it's just that there's the potential for so much to go wrong.

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Friday, May 21, 2004

Housebound

I tweaked my back a couple of days ago, and I haven't been quite right since then. It isn't too bad when I wake up in the morning, but by mid-afternoon, it starts to hurt. Of course, it didn't help that I shot a baseball game yesterday afternoon. By 6pm, walking was difficult.

It's starting to hurt again this afternoon. I think maybe I just need to take some ibuprophen and go back to bed.

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Earworms

I've had a song stuck in my head all day, and it won't go away.

The problem is that I listen to very little "new" music. There aren't any good college or high school stations around here, playing "college" music, so my choices are Country, Gospel, Top 40 or Classic Rock. Given those choices, I'll always take Classic Rock. I know all the songs, can sing along with them, and many of the tunes bring back fun memories of high school (not that I have many fun memories from that part of my life. I've repressed as much as I can).

So when I hear a catchy new tune, it gets stuck in my head. Often, I can only remember a little snippet of the chorus. Sometimes, it's a song I heard on a commercial.

Lately, Cory's been listening to a CD by a band called "Franz Ferdinand." Don't you just love the name? The CD is great... The best way I can describe it is The-Strokes-meet-Blondie. Maybe with a little dash of The Fixx or The Clash mixed in.

Funny thing, though. Until five minutes ago, I didn't even know the name of the song that's been stuck in my head. I finally went to iTunes and listened to samples from the CD until I found out the name. "The Dark of the Matinee," in case you're curious. If you want to watch the video, you can see it here.

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Thursday, May 20, 2004

Pomp and Circumstance

I don't remember who spoke at my college graduation, either for my BA or for my MA. In fact, I don't remember anything about the speeches. As a former professor, I've attended about a dozen commencement ceremonies. And I remember very little about any of those, except for the time that another professor and I ordered a pizza to be delivered to the lawn at the stadium. Good times.

I'm guessing that the graduating class at William And Mary will remember this year's commencement address for a good long time. Jon Stewart opened his address by this simple statement:

Thank you Mr. President, I had forgotten how crushingly dull these ceremonies are.

You can read the entire speech here.

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Think You're a Slob?

Read this, and then think again.

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Perfection

The other interesting thing that happened last night was Randy Johnson's perfect game. For those of you who aren't baseball enthusiasts, a perfect game is just about the most rare thing in sports. To throw a perfect game, you can't allow any hits. You can't walk any batters. You can't hit a batter with a pitch. Your teammates can't make any errors in the field that would allow a runner to reach base. Basically, it's the most dominant performance that one single athlete can achieve in a team sport.

Until last night, there had only been 16 perfect games in major league baseball history. Only 15 of them had come in baseball's "Modern Era" (Since 1901).

Last night, at Turner Field, Arizona pitcher Randy Johnson pitched the 17th perfect game. At the age of 40, no less.

When a pitcher is throwing a perfect game, or even a no-hitter, baseball fans go a little nutty. So do baseball players. His teammates will avoid him like the plague, afraid that they'll jinx him by saying something stupid and getting in his head. Baseball fans, on the other hand, start calling each other in about the 6th or 7th inning, saying "Hey, you gotta turn the Braves game! Randy Johnson is throwing a f**king perfect game!"

The funny part is that I just kind of assumed that Cory knew it was happening. He'd been watching the game with me on his dinner break, and he headed back to the station in about the third inning. Because all Cory does is watch baseball, I assumed that he was watching the game at work (one of the perks of working at a tv station... everyone has a television in their office).

We had planned to meet at the movie theater at 10 p.m. You can't miss the final out of a no-hitter. You have to stay, staring at the television, watching the drama unfold, knowing that every single pitch could be the one that ends it. At 9:30, the game was in the 8th inning, so I knew I'd have enough time to watch the end of the game, then haul ass to the theater. When the phone rang at 9:40, I figured that Cory was calling to say that he wasn't planning to leave the station until the game was over. It was Cory... and he immediately started talking about the sitcom he'd been watching. When he finished, I said...

"Um, you know Randy Johnson's three outs away from a perfect game."


He didn't know.
Needless to say, the phone conversation was brief. He had to get off the phone and watch the last inning. Actually, being a much better baseball fan than I am, he had to tell everyone at the station that Randy Johnson was in the 9th inning of a perfect game, and a small crowd gathered to watch the bottom of the 9th with him.

By the way, we were five minutes late for the movie. Hmm... 17 perfect games in baseball history? I guess I can be five minutes late.

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Read it and Weep

The last couple of weeks, I've had kind of a strange work schedule. Because the Georgia High School baseball playoff games have been smack-dab in the middle of the week, I've taken Tuesday and Friday nights off. So, on the downside I never get a "weekend," but on the up-side, I have a very short work week. I work three days, get a day off, work two more days, get another day off.

Last night (on one of my days off), Cory and I were happy to see that "Mystic River" had come back to the dollar theater. It had been playing there a few weeks ago, then left. The funny thing, though, was that it was the Open Caption version of the film.

I've seen plenty of subtitled films, but they've always been foreign films. It's not so distracting when you need to read the subtitles to understand the film. The open captioning last night kept throwing me for a loop. Sometimes the captioning wouldn't be exactly what the characters were saying. It made me wonder if the actors were ad-libbing the lines or if the caption typists just cut out extraneous and repetitive words because they felt kind of lazy. And then, while my mind was wandering off on the tangent, I would stop paying attention to the movie.

Still, it was pretty damn good. I totally see why Sean Penn won the Oscar. He managed to pull off sleazy and sympathetic all at the same time.

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Life's Difficult Questions

Sometimes there's a very simple answer to life's dilemmas.


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Monday, May 17, 2004

Airborne Attack

For the last two weeks, my allergies have been just plain horrible. It's kind of strange, actually. About two months ago, everything in Columbus was coated with a thick layer of pollen, but it didn't bother me at all (aside from having to wash my car repeatedly). Since early in the month, though, I've been in some pretty sad shape. One day, my left eye started watering at about noon, and it didn't stop until I went to bed that night. This morning, I woke up with a pretty bad sore throat, and as of my bedtime, it hasn't gone away.

I was so excited last year, when Claritin became available over the counter. I know, it's more expensive to buy it now, but it saves me from going to the doctor, or worse, to the allergist. I went to the allergist for years as a kid, at first getting injections three times a week. What good would going to the doctor now do?

So, I finally caved in a couple weeks ago and bought some Claritin (well, actually, I bought the Wal-Mart equivelant, which is half the price). I took some Claritin, and thought, "Geez, this isn't helping at all."

Then I went a couple days without it, and realized that it had been helping, just not enough. But it was better than nothing, and it was certainly better than taking Actifed, which knocks me out cold in fifteen minutes flat.

Here's the sad part: I just checked the pollen report for our area... and the pollen count is only medium right now. I'm screwed.

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Sunday, May 16, 2004

Let's Go Cougars!

Today, C-Town State University earned another trip to the Division II College World Series. Two years ago, CSU won the national championship, despite being an underdog and just squeaking into the regional tournament.

Well, guess what? This year, the Cougars started their season with just five wins in their first 15 games, and somehow, they squeaked into the regional as a #3 seed. Today, they beat North Florida by rallying for five runs in the bottom of the eighth, and they're on their way to the World Series again.

The very cool thing is that the DII College World Series is played at Paterson Field in Montgomery, only an hour and a half away from here. So, the week after next, I'll be spending a lot of time at Paterson Field. I had such a great time covering the Cougars there two years ago... I can't wait to do it all again this year.

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Saturday, May 15, 2004

Sweaty Girl

The Georgia High School baseball playoffs started today, and that means a four-week sweat marathon for the Sportslady.

I should preface this by saying that I don't always come to work looking very "professional." I spend too much time running up and down sidelines, squatting in the dirt, and carrying heavy equipment to wear a skirt, heels, or even a nice pair of dress pants (too much potential for spots, stains, and rips). My usual work outfit is a polo and a pair of jeans or khakis, with tennis shoes. If I know that I won't be shooting anything (and this only happens a couple times a month), I'll wear dress pants or dress shoes... but never a skirt, just in case a game was rescheduled or there's some kind of breaking news.

When the summer comes, I get much more casual. When it's baseball playoff season, I'm a downright slob. Standing outside for four hours when it's 95 degrees and sunny pretty much dictates slobbiness. In my desk at work, I have a summer survival kit: A drawer full of clean t-shirts, a can of "Wet Ones," a vat of scented body powder, a spare deodorant, and several ponytail holders, even though my hair is a little too short for ponytails.

Today, I broke out the "survival kit." And it's only mid-may. I can't wait for the Little League tournament in the middle of July.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Making A Mockery

The countdown is on... less than two months until Will Ferrell's newest movie:
"Anchorman"

I love it when people make a mockery of my business. Because it so often makes a mockery of itself, television news is a pretty easy target.

There's a hysterical side plot in the book I just read, Tricky Business by Dave Barry, about a news team covering a tropical storm in Miami. The tropical storm claims eight lives, all of them members of the media who were warning people not to go out in the storm, even though they're the only idiots out in the storm to begin with.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Bitter Irony

As many of you know, I'm a real stickler when it comes to the use of the word "irony." People misuse it on a daily basis.

Today's example of Irony is brought to you by the Bin Laden family.

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Sunday, May 09, 2004

Your Tax Money At Work

The Social Security Administration has issued their list of the most popular baby names for the previous year. In case you're curious, here are the ten most popular names for last year:

2003
Boys: Jacob, Michael, Joshua, Matthew, Andrew, Joseph, Ethan, Daniel, Christopher, Anthony
Girls: Emily, Emma, Madison, Hannah, Olivia, Abigail, Alexis, Ashley, Elizabeth, Samantha

My name was the 282nd most popular name for a girl, with 1,112 little versions of me born. That's a big drop from 1991, the most popular year, when 1,967 little you-know-whos entered the world.

By comparison, the most common names one century ago:

1903
Boys: John, William, James, George, Joseph, Charles, Robert, Frank, Walter, Henry
Girls: Mary, Margaret, Hel, Anna, Ruth, Marie, Elizabeth, Florence, Dorothy, Lillian

Hel? What's up with that name?

Glad to see our government officials hard at work.

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Happy Mother's Day

Let me be the first to wish you a happy Mother's day. Or for some of you, a happy Mutha's Day.

For the first time ever, Zoe got me a card. What a sweetie.

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Saturday, May 08, 2004

Feeling Frivolous

Went to Wal-Mart tonight, still a little bummed out after Thursday night's dose of job-related reality. Wanted to cheer myself up, so I bought a Hula Hoop.

The thought of owning a Hula Hoop, for the first time since I was about ten years old, cheered me up briefly. Then I got home, and tried it. Sometime in the last twenty-odd years, I forgot how to do it. Apparently, I'm either less coordinated than I was when I was ten (and that's pretty sad), or I had more of a waist when I was ten (and that's even sadder).

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Warning...

Your friendly neighborhood drag queen may be hiding something much bigger than... well, you know what he's hiding.

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Thursday, May 06, 2004

And The Winner Is...

The "Nice Guy of the Year" award goes to Jermaine O'Neal.

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Aloha Means Good-Bye

Tonight, yet another going-away party for a co-worker.

It's funny. Cory and I rarely go out with our colleagues. At least, we rarely did. But in the last three months, there's been an amazing out-flow of co-workers leaving for other jobs (or in some cases, just quitting because they got fed up with the way they've been treated). It seems like early every other week we have a going-away celebration at El Vacquero.

This one got to me more than some of the others... not because of who it was (Richard's a great guy, though I don't know him very well), but because he's one of the "new guys" in my mind.

See, I've been at this station for 2 1/2 years. Not a very long time by "normal job" standards, but that's an eon by small-market television standards. The expectation is that you stay at a station for a year or two, then either move up to a larger station, or settle down and stay there forever.

There are only a handful of people in our news department that have been there longer than I have. It's pretty much just the main anchors. There are only two reporters at the station who have been there longer than me, and one of them has a foot out the door already (the other just built a house, so it's not like she's going anywhere). Everyone else is "new" compared to me. And it's when one of the "new people" leaves that it gets to me.

So, after dinner, one of my other co-workers and I just sat there, staring off into space. He's been there for a year and a half now, and is one of the "old-timers" like me. I knew exactly what he was thinking.

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Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Why I Adore Conan

That's Conan O'Brien, by the way, not Conan the Barbarian.
And I love him because of jokes like the one he just uttered on Late Night:

You've heard the latest celebrity gossip, right?
Apparently, Anna Nicole Smith was at the Kentucky Derby... and she got into a shouting match with Kid Rock.
Yeah.
I think they were yelling, "Why are you famous again?"

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Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Sportslady News

Rather than dwell on the Red Wings heartbreaking overtime loss tonight, I've chosen to fill you in on some interesting news in the world of the Sportslady. Or in particular, news about Sports Ladies.

This morning, I found out that ABC has handed Monday Night Football sideline reporter Lisa Guerrero her walking papers. Thank goodness. Unlike her predecessor, Melissa Stark, Guerrero was an embarrassment to the worlds' Sports Ladies. She was a former soap opera actress-turned sports announcer. Previous to MNF, she was eye candy for Tom Arnold on "The Best Damn Sports Show Period." During one Monday night game, Guerrero did a sideline report about Brian Urlacher's budding relationship with Paris Hilton (seriously, she talked about how the two had been seen canoodling in a luxury box). Do men watch MNF for celebrity gossip? Not last time I checked.

Guerrero, by the way, will be replaced by ESPN basketball/football reporter Michele Tafoya, who actually has some credibility as a sports reporter. I hope she does well.

Of course, you're hearing this from a woman who actually said "You need a lot of stragedy to win a NASCAR race" on air today. Stragedy??? At least I caught myself and made a joke out of it... Ugh.

So the other interesting piece of Sports Lady news today came during the aforementioned Red Wings/Flames travesty. The ice-side reporter was none other than Erin Andrews, or as I like to call her, "the woman who has my career."

Let me explain. About four or five years ago, I started my first serious job search in television. I sent resume tapes to about half of the universe. I received some very nice rejection letters, which I framed and placed on the wall in my office to keep me humble. There was only one job that I really, really, really wanted: A sideline reporter position with the Tampa Bay Lightning for their cable broadcasts. How cool would that have been? Anyway, years later, I discovered that the woman who received the job was Erin Andrews, who by that point was working for Turner Sports as their studio anchor for Braves and Thrashers games.

Fast forward to 2003. Last year, Turner sent a letter to several sports reporters and anchors, looking for on-site reporters for their Braves broadcasts. Of course, I applied. No luck. On the first day of the season, there was Erin Andrews once again.

I'm aware that I've applied for hundreds of jobs in my time in sports broadcasting. I'm aware that nearly every one of those jobs have been offered to someone else (Generally someone more qualified and more attractive. This is television, after all). But Erin Andrews has held not one, but two of the jobs that I have applied for. That's why she's "the woman who has my career."

Now she's at ESPN, reporting from the Stanley Cup playoffs. Dangit.

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Monday, May 03, 2004

The Glamorous Life

I heard a new one at the store the other day. Cory and I were out browsing at Ross, when a woman approached me:

"Do you know, you look a lot like the girl that does sports on the TV. Has anyone ever told you that?"

Actually, I can't say that they have. Usually people just tell me, "Hey, you're the lady that does sports!" (Well, actually, they usually think that I do weather, even though our station hasn't had a female meterologist in nearly two years).

I toyed with telling her that I wasn't me, and that I don't watch the news, so I didn't know who she was talking about. Or maybe saying: "That girl? She's much shorter/fatter/uglier than I am!"

Of course, I didn't do that. But it was kind of a fun thought while it lasted.

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Poor Stevie

Ouch! Did anyone else cover their eyes in horror when Steve Yzerman got hit in the eye by a puck on Saturday afternoon? There I was, all aglow in hockey-watching, Kentucky Derby-anticipating excitement, when Stevie hit the ice. You could tell he was terrified, the way he scrambled around after being hit. He was kicking his legs in agony.

I just sat on the couch, hands over my face. It was seriously bad news. I kept checking ESPN.com all night to see if they had an update on his condition.

Now, I know, there are millions of people across the world who are much worse off than our Stevie Y... but there's something mortifyingabout watching a guy get hit in the face by a frozen-solid hunk of plastic traveling 80 miles an hour. My face hurts just thinking about it.

Get Well Soon, Stevie!

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