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Tuesday, 09 June 2009 09:06

This week in Panhandle sports history: In 1912, WILLIAM L. POWELL was born in Lubbock, Texas. In virtually no time, the lad's family relocated to Amarillo and soon young William was attending Amarillo High School and attempting to fulfill his dream of playing football for the famed Golden Sandies. Half-kiddingly, the head coach of the Sandstorm suggested William might better serve society in a football press box than on a football field, so William walked away, marched himself to the then-named Amarillo Times office and launched a career that spanned over sixty years with the publication. After ten years of working for no pay, the now-named "PUTT" POWELL (a nickname given to him by a schoolboy friend due to his stuttering tendencies) was finally added to the paper's payroll by legendary pioneer publisher GENE HOWE. Howe took aside the budding scribe, looked him straight in the eye and advised, "Columnists can go one of two ways. They can be absolutely dull and liked by everyone. Or, they can be honest and opinionated, liked by a few, despised by a few, and read by everyone." Following Powell's passing, Globe-News sports editor JON MARK BEILUE recalled the encounter and noted, "Is there any question which route Putt took?" Beilue also pointed out Powell's hard line devotion to Amarillo High, half-jokingly writing that Powell's spelling ability was so weak he felt "In proofreading his copy, it seemed at times the only two words he could always spell right were 'Golden' and 'Sandies'." Always characteristicly unapologetic and forthright to his critics concerning his love for AHS, Powell often explained, "I have nothing against the teams from Tascosa, Palo Duro or Caprock. I hope the Rebels, Dons and Longhorns win all of their games each year except one." At the height of his career, Powell was offered a position with the Associated Press by legendary sports editor HAROLD RATLIFF at double his Globe-News pay. Powell declined, explaining, "I have a good wife, a comfortable home, a drivable car, three meals a day--and besides, I get free tickets to all Amarillo High School athletic events. What else could anyone want?" This outlook undoubtedly help explain the view Powell's lifelong friend C.L. DUNIVAN (late Amarillo civic leader) had when he described him as "The only completely satisfied person I have ever known." Along the way, Powell was inducted into the Texas Sportswriters Hall of Fame, was co-founder and later an inductee into the Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame and a charter member of both the Hall of Champions at West Texas State/A&M, and, perhaps climatically, the Amarillo High School Hall of Fame. For longtime area newspaper readers, he is undoubtedly best remembered for his daily "Short Putts" column, proven through demographic studies to be the most-read portion of Amarillo newspapers--including the advertising--for decades. The final edition of "Short Putts" ran a mere six days before Powell's death at age 80 on Christmas Eve of 1992. More than twenty years after his passing, he remains unquestionably our area's most controversial yet respected sports media figure in its history.---MIKE HIGGINS


TIM HUNTER, comedy writer, suggesting on the last day of the regular season three sure signs your favorite baseball team will not be participating in the playoffs: "A player in the on-deck circle has his suitcase next to him, another has a new 'See you next spring' tattoo and still another is rounding third, told to go home and then heads for his car."...From the sports area of satire website TheOnion.com: "A new exhibit at the Pro Football Hall of Fame now allows visitors a chance to experience what it is like to have a concussion."....New England Patriots quarterback TOM BRADY was asked by Vanity Fair magazine to reveal his favorite articles of clothing. He answered, "My wife's lingerie."....University of Cincinnati quarterback MUNCHIE LEGAUX had his season come to a tragic end when he underwent surgery for torn knee ligaments suffered in the Bearcats' second game against Illinois. However, all is not lost for the senior from New Orleans with his induction into the Short Rutts Name Hall of Fame....Questions and answers with BRETT BEESLEY, Dumas High School principal and a former assistant football and baseball coach at Tascosa High School: First sports heroes? "Outfielders DALE MURPHY and BRETT BUTLERof the Atlanta Braves." Biggest sports thrill as participant? "Serving as the Tascosa defensive coordinator when we defeated El Paso Coronado at the Sun Bowl in El Paso in the 2007 class 5A state playoffs for Tascosa's first post-season football win in 39 years." Biggest sports thrill as observer? "Enduring two rain delays at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington as starting pitchersC.J. WILSON of the Rangers and AL Cy Young Award winner JUSTIN VERLANDER of the Detroit Tigers faced each other in Game One of the 2011 American League Championship Series. The Rangers won, 3-2." Favorite all time athletes in the clutch? "JOHN SMOLTZ of the Braves and TED WILLIAMS of the Boston Red Sox." Sports event would most like to see in person? "Any Super Bowl." Living persons would most like to have lunch with? "JIMMY CARTER, GEORGE H.W. BUSH,BILL CLINTON, GEORGE W. BUSH, BARACK OBAMA and MICHAEL JORDAN." Favorite cities outside of Texas? "Las Vegas, Nevada and Red River, New Mexico." Favorite sports nicknames? "Dallas 'Cowboys' and Atlanta 'Braves'." Most famous person shaken hands with? "CHIPPER JONES."....Responding to claims by Houston Texans running back ARIAN FOSTER that he was slipped cash payments by University of Tennessee boosters during his time with the Volunteers, GREG COTE of the Miami Herald says, "OK, this is getting ridiculous. Let's start assuming all college football players get paid and only make it newsworthy when they don't."....BRAD DICKSON, Omaha World-Herald: "It's good to see the NFL season start so the players will get off 'Cops' and get back on 'NFL Live'."....Overheard: "My childhood was just like being drunk because everyone remembers what happened except me."---MIKE HIGGINS

BRAD DICKSON of the Omaha World-Herald on the eve of this year's Wisconsin Duck and Goose Calling Championship: "In a sign of the times, instead of calling, all the ducks and geese were texted."....Unknown: "The fastest way to a man's heart is through his stomach but remember to thrust upward into the rib cage."....The recent passing of former West Texas State basketball great SIMMIE HILL was sad to learn and it was disappointing his death was totally ignored by the Amarillo sports media. The Midland, Pennsylvania native was named a first-team All-American by The Sporting News as he led the Buffaloes to the 1968-69 National Invitational Tournament before they were eliminated in the first round by Ohio University at Madison Square Garden in New York...With 11-year old CARSON HUEY-YOU beginning his freshman year at TCU at the age of 11, armchair quipster BILL LITTLEJOHN of Lake Tahoe, Nevada says, "He says the most fun part of being in college so far is getting to tutor the football team."....From sports satire website Sportspickle.com: Texas A&M quarterback JOHNNY MANZIEL is not only an award-winning athlete, but a scholar, too. Manziel recently submitted an independent study research paper for his Sociology 419 class that his professor calls 'simply the most brilliant paper I have seen in 30 years as an educator'. The 214-page thesis reveals that Manziel spent more than a year developing a larger-than-life college sports personality in order to track and analyze the behavior of the national sports media. Manziel says he is close to finishing research for his Human Biology class on the effects of alcohol on the human liver."...After two men were arrested for breaking into Wrigley Field in the middle of the night in an attempt to swipe some of the hallowed ivy of the outfield wall,REGGIE HAYES of the Ft. Wayne News-Sentinel commented, "In keeping with Chicago Cubs tradition, the steal was not successful."....GREG COTE, Miami Herald: "I am planning to hold an NFL reality draft. Players are selected and score points based on often they test positive or get arrested, suspended or fined."....Overheard: "Why does my phone ring for such a short period of time when I run to answer it but it seems to ring forever when I ignore it?

Some quotes I'll never forget....Ohio State basketball coach FRED TAYLOR, analyzing a series of coaching resignations brought on by players with disciplinary issues: "You could put the brains of three hummingbirds inside those guys and they would still fly backwards."....J.C. SNEAD was an infielder in the old Washington Senators farm system before turning to professional golf. Comparing his ability as a baseball player to that as a golfer, the nephew of legendary linkster SAM SNEAD said, "I hit a long ball in baseball just as I do in golf. I just didn't hit it often enough."....Addressing the potential of rookie forward CHRISTIAN LAETTNER in 1992, Minnesota Timberwolves coach JACK McCLOSKEY remarked, "I think he will eventully have the credentials to back up everything he thinks of himself."....University of Kentucky athletic directorCLIFF HAGAN on his relationship with the press: "I resent seeing in the papers that I was 'unavailable for comment'. I am always available for comment, even if 'no comment' is my comment.".....Pro football great GEORGE BLANDA on why he was still quarterbacking the Oakland Raiders at age 43: "I have to keep playing so everyone over 40 will have someone to root for on Sunday afternoons."....Colorful New York Mets radio broadcaster and baseball Hall-of-Famer RALPH KINER noted in a broadcast that STEVE TROUT of the New York Yankees was the son of former major league pitcher DIZZY TROUT and then stated, "There's a lot of heredity in that family."....SMU field goal kicker CHIPPER JOHNSON, asked what his qualifications were to serve as a weekend sportscaster on a Dallas television station: "I dress nice and I don't have any pimples."....After his University of Tulsa football team defeated Idaho State 58-0 in 1967, Golden Hurriance head coachGLENN DOBBS commented, "I have no apologies. I am not going to punt on first or second down."....MARIA MITCHELL: "We have a hunger of the mind which asks for knowledge of all around us. The more we gain, the more is our desire. And the more we see, the more we are capable of seeing."....Speaking at the Texas High School Coaches Association Convention when he was governor, JOHN CONNALLY told the gathering, "You are the only group of people that get more advice on how to run your business than we public officials do."....TIM BABB, head basketball coach at John Carroll University, commenting on the length of the Blue Streaks season: "I love basketball and I love my mother-in-law. But I wouldn't think of living with her for sixth months."....Actor SYLVESTER STALLONE on the broad appeal of arm wrestling: "You have guys from MIT and guys that can't even spell MIT."....Amarillo attorney MIKE MOORE was owner of the Amarillo Texans summer collegiate baseball team in the early 1990s and was once ejected from the stadium in Elkhart, Kansas for verbally abusing the umpires. He later told the Amarillo Globe-News, "I was not intoxicated. I had only drunk five beers, and I didn't drink them in the stands. I drank them under the stands."....ANNE BRADSTREET: "If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant. If we do not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome."....After aging boxer FELIX TRINIDAD went back into retirement after losing a bout to WINKY WRIGHT in Las Vegas, DAVID THOMAS of the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram wrote, "He should stay retired after losing a fight to someone named Winky."....Seattle Seahawks great STEVE LARGENT, asked what record he owns that he treasures most: "Probably The Beatles' 'White Album'."---MIKE HIGGINS

 

Comedian ARGUS HAMILTON, following the announcement that the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks will open the 2014 Major League Baseball season in Sydney, Australia: "Who else? The teams just had a bloody brawl sparked by several pitches to the batter's head in a beautiful display of Australian Rules Baseball."....Unknown: "We should always follow our hearts while never forgetting to always bring our brains along."....During Friday's Chicago Cubs-Houston Astros broadcast on WGN, Cubs play-by-play voice LEN KASPER asked color commentator JIM DESHAIES if players covered their mouths with their gloves during conferences on the mound during his time as a big league pitcher. Deshaies answered, "No, but we did have to walk ten miles uphill in the rain every day just to get to the ballparks."....With rumors abound that the NFL will be placing a franchise in London, STEVE SCHRADER of the Detroit Free press suggests the team be called the "Old England Redcoats". He explains, "Why not? They've been itching for a rematch with the Patriots."....How many times has a high school football game at Dick Bivins Stadium featured a future National Football League player on one team and a future Major League Baseball player on the other as was the case on November 15, 2003 when Palo Duro and Wolfforth Frenship met in a class 4A bi-district playoff game? The Palo Duro defense was led by current Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker ZIGGY HOOD and the Frenship quarterback was sophomore TYLER LYONS--now a rookie pitcher with the St. Louis Cardinals--as Palo Duro avenged a 42-0 early-season loss to the Tigers with a 16-14 win....The NFL has announced it will honor the memory of the recently-passed DEACON JONES by giving its leader in sacks each season an award bearing the name of the Los Angeles Rams legend....While Jones is accurately credited with coining the term "sack" during his playing days, he denied having invented the since-banned "headslap" that was his trademark, adding, "But, of course,REMBRANDT did not invent painting."....BRAD DICKSON of the Omaha World-Herald on the quirky uniforms worn by the University of Louisville at the College World Series: "Their players look like they came from a garage sale at LADY GAGA's house."....AARON RODGERS, Green Bay Packers quarterback: "I think people forget sometimes I do have to go to the grocery store, I do enjoy going out to dinner and I do have to get my oiled changed from time to time. I do all the normal things like cut my grass and people tend to forget we do all the stuff everybody else does. But we all have our talents and mine is football."....Overheard: "Making mistakes is a lot more honorable than making nothing."---MIKE HIGGINS

5/24/2013

Some quotes I'll never forget.....JOHN BREEN, general manager of the Houston Oilers in the early 1970s: "We are tipping off our plays. After our huddle breaks, three players are laughing and one is white as a ghost.".....After the Chicago White Sox defeated the Houston Astros to win the 2005 World Series, comedian ALEX KANESBERG observed, "For Cubs fans, it was like seeing your ex-mother-in-law win Powerball.".....Baseball legend DON ZIMMER was approached at a banquet in Los Angeles once by a stranger requesting his autograph. After the man departed, Zimmer asked a bystander who the fellow was and was told, "That's KEVIN COSTNER. You know, 'Dances With Wolves'." A bewildered Zimmer replied, "He does?"......CASEY STENGEL: "Most games are lost, not won.".....BUD GRACIE of the San Jose Mercury News, revealing to his readers how he learned the Great Lakes Storm of the Continental Basketball Association had signed foward MARVIN GAY: "I heard it through the grapevine.".....An assistant football coach at Randall High School once hung a sign in the Raiders' locker room stating "No Profound Language Will Be Tolerated!"......BLACKIE SHERROD, Dallas Morning News: "And then there was the jilted girlfriend who returned the scrapbooks and photos but kept the jewelry for sentimental reasons."......Lineman BOBBY BELL of the Kansas City Chiefs, a Minnesota resident, was asked before the first Super Bowl in 1967 how he felt about the game being played at a neutral site. He answered, "I don't like it. It means I have to pay taxes in three states.".....Unknown: "Those who discourage your dreams have probably given up on their own.".....Michigan State football coach DUFFY DAUGHERTY, asked following two consecutive losing seasons whom he was most happy to see returning to the Spartans: "Me.".....Former Amarillo Giants and major league third baseman "DIRTY AL" GALLAGHER, recalling his biggest thrill in baseball: "When I was with the California Angels in 1973, I collided at home plate with catcherCARLTON FISK of the Boston Red Sox in a play at home plate at Fenway Park. I hit him so hard I went on the disabled list with two broken ribs and he went on to play 21 seasons and make the Hall of Fame".....The late FELIX PHILLIPS, longtime author of "The Polk Street Professor" and a 2006 inductee into the Panhandle Press Association Hall of Fame, commenting in a July, 1961 edition of the Amarillo Globe-Times: "My daughter says she prays each night that everything my youngest grandson does each day is legal."....1978 Heisman Trophy winner BILLY SIMS worked at a Texaco gas station when he was in high school in his hometown of Hooks, Texas. He placed a sign in front the of the station declaring, "You can trust your car to the man that is a star.".....After BARRY BONDS launched his official website in 2002, TOM HOFFARTH of the Los Angeles Times commented, "The first question we will ask is 'How do you juice up a high-speed Internet connection?'"....Baseball executive BRANCH RICKEY: "Man may penetrate the outer reaches of the universe and even solve the mystery of eternity itself. But for me, the ultimate experience is to witness the flawless execution of a hit-and-run.".....Nationally syndicated columnist NORMAN CHAD on ESPN's coverage of the National Football League draft: "They kept running a crawl that read 'For more extensive coverage, log on to ESPN.com'. More extensive coverage? What do they provide on there, DNA analysis?"....Overheard: "I am going away to find myself. If I should show up before I get back, please let me know where I have been."---MIKE HIGGINS

05/01/13

JIMMY FALLON of NBC on the release of TIM TEBOW by the New York Jets: "I guess all that praying finally paid off."....Unknown: "What is all this we are hearing about a guy playing basketball in a closet?"....The passing of Claude High School athletic great and onetime Texas Tech All-American football player DENTON FOX is sad to learn. Longtime area Dallas Cowboys fans will always remember the pride they felt when the Cowboys used two of their first three choices in the 1970 NFL draft to pick running back DUANE THOMAS of West Texas State in the first round and Fox in the third round....From sports satire website Sportspickle.com: "The Washington Nationals have placed pitcher STEPHEN STRASBURG on a strict losses limit."....Judge MORRIS OVERSTREET first made a name for himself as a standout basketball player at Amarillo High School and as a track sprinter at both AHS and Angelo State University prior to a distinguished law career that led to him serving several years on the Texas State Court of Criminal Appeals. With absolutely no pun intended whatsoever, it is a great honor to welcome Judge Overstreet to Rutthead Nation....LANCE LAHNERT of the Amarillo Globe-News following the hiring of Tascosa defensive coordinator CHAD DUNNAM as the new head football coach at Dumas High School: "I dare you to find another coach on the planet that has more entusiasum for coaching."....Condolences are extended to Texas Rangers fan MARTHA TERRY of Keller, Texas. She was Tuesday night's contestant on the Rangers television network for the "Sonic Slam Inning" and thus qualified to win $25,000 if a Texas player hit a grand slam during the inning. The table was set for Mrs. Terry with the bases loaded and Rangers slugger ADRIAN BELTRE at bat, but Chicago White Sox pitcher NATE JONES threw a wild pitch that got past catcher HECTOR GIMENEZ and allowed Texas base runner IAN KINSLER to score from third base. After ELVIS ANDRUS of the Rangers raced home following another wild pitch by Jones, Beltre knocked a home run into the left-centerfield seats. Although Mrs. Terry still won $300 and a free meal from Sonic, the first wild pitch esentially cost her the opportunity to collect an additional $24,700....Bumper sticker: "My first five days after my weekend are always my hardest."....The Big Ten Conference will have fourteen members when Rutgers and Maryland join in 2014 and will have no longer have its "Legends Division" and "Leaders Division" in favor of a more conventional "East Division" and "West Division". DWIGHT PERRY of the Seattle Times comments, "Now that they have finally aced geography, maybe they can move on to math."....ARGUS HAMILTON: "The NFL draft gives many football players a chance to feel for the first time what it is like to not be picked in gym class."....Overheard: "I am a people person. I am just not a stupid people person."---MIKE HIGGINS

4/11/13

ARGUS HAMILTON, responding to a group of North Carolina lawmakers expressing a desire to declare an official state religion: "There's precedent. Last year, Texas upheld the executions of three housewives who walked in front of a television set during a football game."....Reacting to the announcement that a 3-D version of "Jurassic Park" is in the works, DAVID LETTERMAN of CBS says, "Honestly, if I want to watch dinosaurs run around, I'll just go to a New York Yankees game."....Also from Letterman on possible reasons your favorite baseball team may be in for a long year: "Your first baseman is so fat he is also your second baseman, your cleanup hitter has been asked to work from home and the Opening Day giveaway is a letter of apology from the general manager."....Former Amarillo High and Texas A&M volleyball greatKELSEY BLACK has been named an assistant volleyball coach at the University of Arkansas....Hereford's PARKER BRIDWELL begins his fourth season as a pitcher in the Baltimore Orioles farm system with the Delmarva Shorebirds of the class A South Atlantic League. Despite being charged with the loss in a 4-2 loss to Kannapolis (N.C.) Intimidators on Wednesday night, the former football, basketball and baseball standout for the Whitefaces carries a 1.69 ERA after two starts for Delmarva....PHIL MUSHNICK of the New York Post, paying homage to VIN SCULLY as the broadcasting legend begins his 64th season as the radio voice of the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers: "It is highly unlikely Scully, if he were today a young man, could get a second audition from ESPN or any TV or radio entity that broadcasts baseball. Scully works without gimmicks and prefers to work alone. That he is a thoughtful, literate speaker of baseball, disinclined to parrot the latest, foolish expressions, would work against him. Today, if it were JOHN STERLING Vs. Vin Scully? No contest--Sterling would get the job."....From the sports area of satire website TheOnion.com: "New England Patriots quarterback TOM BRADY has cut the hair of DANNY AMENDOLA so he will look just like WES WELKER.."....After a headline on Yahoo Sports stated the Detroit Lions had signed a "younger kicker" to replace JASON HANSON, Seattle Times columnist DWIGHT PERRY commented and asked, "Hanson is 42. Well, duh, you expected them to sign 70-year old JAN STENERUD?"....On his retiring from the Lions after 21 years of performing at one of the more pressure-packed positions in sports, Hanson says, "I am sure I might grow some hair back now."....A quote I'll never forget: During the heyday of 335-pound Chicago Bears lineman WILLIAM "THE REFRIGERATOR" PERRY, University of Cincinnati head football coach DAVE CURREY said, "We don't have any Refrigerators. We do have a few pot-bellied stoves, but they are all on the coaching staff."....Overheard: "I think I may need a few more bad relationships just so I can finally appreciate a good one.

4/5/2013

MICHAEL ROSENBERG, analyzing the this weekend's Final Four on the Sports Illustrated website: "This is what a Final Four is supposed to look like. We have a clear favorite in Louisville, two teams that plausibly could win it in Michigan and Syracuse and a random team that appears to have accidently hopped on the wrong bus in Wichita State."....Strong feelings of nostalgia will be felt by longtime West Texas State/A&M basketball fans watching Saturday's Louisville-Wichita State game as they recall the many times the Cardinals and Shockers came to the Amarillo Civic Center Coliseum to play the Buffaloes when the three schools were members of the Missouri Valley Conference....Comparing Washington Nationals pitcherSTEPHEN STRASBURG to some other workers in the District of Columbia, comedian ALAN RAY says, "When he is on the hill, something actually gets done."....LEN BERMAN of ThatsSports.com: "They have come up with so many new baseball stats, but here is one they should consider: WAP for 'Wins Against Payroll'."....NASCAR's TONY STEWART has suggested his fellow drivers should start resolving their conflicts with fist fights and points out the method is traditionally used by players in the National Hockey League. STEVE SCHRADER of the Detroit Free Press responds, "And maybe NHL players can start settling their squabbles with a demolition derby in the parking lot."....Amarillo High School product VICTOR BLACK appears to be on track to become the first baseball player out of an Amarillo Independent School District high school to reach the major leagues. Now in his fifth season in the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system, the 6' 4", 215-pound relief pitcher begins the 2013 season with the Indianapolis Indians, the Pirates' class AAA affiliate in the International League. With the Altoona (Pa.) Curve in 2012, Black struck out 85 hitters in only 60 innings and was named to the All-Star team of the class AA Eastern League. He made his class AAA debut on Thursday night for Indianapolis, serving up pitches clocked as high as 95 mph and striking out four in 1.2 innings of work against the Columbus Clippers, an affiliate of the Cleveland Indians....Black becomes the fourth player out of an AISD high school to reach the class AAA level of professional baseball. All three having previously done so played at Palo Duro High School, they being outfielder-first baseman JAMES COVINGTON in the Montreal Expos farm system in 1971, pitcher PAT McKEAN in the Atlanta Braves chain in 1973 and catcher JOHNNY CARDENAS--now head baseball coach at Stephen F. Austin State University--as a Texas Rangers farmhand in 1997....From sports satire website Sportspickle.com: "Rutgers basketball gets commitment from highly-touted 5-star masochist."....DAVID LETTERMAN, offering his observation of DEREK JETER and ALEX RODRIGUEZ of the New York Yankees opening the season on the disabled list: "Jeter, of course, is getting over a broken ankle and A-Rod is still getting over CAMERON DIAZ."....Chinese golfer WOCHENG YE has qualified to play in a European Tour event at the age of 12. He says, "I have been dreaming of this ever since I was a boy."....BRAD DICKSON, Omaha World-Herald "The IRS has announced that taxpayers are making fewer mistakes. Just wait until they realize I mistakenly sent them my NCAA tournament bracket rather than my 1040 form."....Overheard: "Beneath my gruff exterior lies an even gruffer interior."

3/29/13

This coming Monday marks the 44th anniversary of Amarillo hosting its only Major League Baseball exhibition game ever as the San Francisco Giants and Cleveland Indians squared off on April 1, 1969 at The Ballpark Southwest of the Coors Distribution Center....CHICK O'MALLEY, general manager of the Amarillo Giants--San Francisco's class AA farm club in the Texas League--made the announcement of the game's scheduling months earlier, bringing several media outlets to feel a need to point out the game would not be an April Fools Day joke....The game actually was in limbo four days before it was played as America prepared for an official "Day of Mourning" with the passing on March 28 of DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, our nation's 34th president....ROBERT ASHWORTH, superintendent of the Amarillo Independent School District, announced that students attending the contest would be given an excused absence for the day's sixth period in order to make the game's 3 p.m. start....I was not so fortunate at having an opportunity to experience Mr. Ashworth's grace. Due to low grades and ongoing mischievous behavior, my grandparents made me attend sixth period and endure the class and the often odd methods of teaching utilized by the enigmatic ANNA MAE McCUNE, longtime social studies teacher at Stephen F. Austin Junior High (now Middle) School. Miss McCune is remembered for many things, most of all her daily fashion statement of wearing chopsticks in her hair. In accordance with her mysterious ways, we watched "The Match Game" with host GENE RAYBURN on television in her class that day and it will always be the longest 30 minutes of my life....My grandfather and I finally got to the stadium in the fourth inning and didn't see future Hall of Famers WILLIE MAYS andWILLIE McCOVEY play for the Giants. They both played three innings and were done for the day. Mays had walked twice and was picked off first base by Cleveland pitcher MIKE PAUL....TOM WILSON, president and CEO of the Fort Worth-based Leadership Network, was an Austin health teacher/coach at the time and recalls, "My very first day to teach at Austin, Miss McCune told me to get out of the hall and get to class or I would have to report to the office of principal CHARLES DOUGLAS. I was young, but I didn't think I looked that young. She and I had the same prep period, and she asked me one day if I would mind going home with her during our off-period to help her light her floor furnace. I reluctantly agreed. The following morning, with the office full of teachers getting their mail, she said in her loud voice, 'Mr. Douglas, is it okay if Mr. Wilson goes home with me today and lights my fire?'. Teachers were laughing so hard they scattered like a covey of quail, including Mr. Douglas, who went in his office and closed his door he was laughing so hard. I went with her, but for the record, I only lit her floor furnace."....HARLON VOYLES, longtime Austin physical education instructor: "Tom Wilson is telling the truth. We laughed for months and teased him unmercifilly the rest of the year."....One of the game accounts for the Amarillo Daily News and Globe Times was written by LES GILES, then in his second year with the publication. He retired from the now-named Amarillo Globe-News just last year and is an extra nice fellow.....Mays wasn't the only one to commit an embarassing blunder in front of the capacity crowd of over 5,000. KFDA-TV sports director DEAN KELLEYwas filming the game down the left field line when a Cleveland batter hit a ball his way that landed in fair territory. Kelley thought the ball had landed foul, so he picked it and threw it back towards the infield. Umpires awarded the Indians hitter a ground-rule double.....DREW BERGEN, general manager of Amarillo's Zip Print: "I did not attend the game. I didn't even know they were playing. However, I do recall one time Miss McCune got her wig stuck in a fish hook that had been placed above her classroom door as part of a display.".....For reasons only known to him, longtime local sports columnist PUTT POWELL incorrectly reported for many years that Mays refused to play in the game because of the legendary poor condition of the stadium's playing field. Powell did, however, do an extensive feature in his column the following day on the football exploits of Cleveland third baseman MAX ALVIS, a Jasper, Texas product and former footballer under DARRELL ROYAL at the University of Texas.....DR. PAUL MATNEY, president of Amarillo College: "I was in attendance that day and the thought that two major league teams were playing in Amarillo was almost more than I could imagine. It was a tremendous experience for someone who loved baseball more than anything in the world. I would have gladly been the batboy for either team. I also remember when I was a student at Austin, Miss McCune got a pencil stuck in her teeth and she had to leave in the middle of the day to see a dentist and get it removed."....A rather obscure player was the star of the game in Cleveland outfielder RICHIE SCHIENBLUM. The native of Long Island, New York had a pair of key doubles as the Indians of manager ALVIN DARK defeated the Giants of skipper CHARLIE FOX by a 7-6 score....DAVID THOMAS, Albuquerque attorney and a former Austin student: "I did not attend the game, but Miss McCune was a freak, chopsticks and all."....JANICE HARSCH, recently retired Amarillo High School home economics teacher who was completing the first year of her 40-year career at Austin: "I went through lots of extensive training to hopefully become a good teacher, but nothing trained me better than havingMIKE HIGGINS for homeroom my first two years to teach. May Miss McCune rest in peace. Oh, my. What are they going to be saying about me after I am gone?"---MIKE HIGGINS

3/26/13

BRAD DICKSON of the Omaha World-Herald, commenting on Virginia Commonweath clobbering the University of Akron by 46 points in the opening round of the NCAA basketball tournament: "You know a game is out of control when a team cuts down the nets before halftime."....All Major League Baseball players, managers, coaches and umpires will wear a uniform patch on Opening Day to honor the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings....When BARACK OBAMAdeparted for Israel shortly after the official announcement was made of his March Madness selections, STEVE SCHRADERof the Detroit Free-Press commented, "Or, as he calls it, the Middle East Regional."....JIMMY KIMMEL of ABC: "Between March Madness, Facebook and Twitter, they say the average worker will work a total of 12 minutes over the next three weeks."....Also from Kimmel: "If you didn't fill out a bracket, it's too late, although you could still throw your $10 into the garbage disposal and run it through."....CRAIG FERGUSON, CBS: "I love the name 'March Madness'. I am glad the PC police haven't made us change it to 'early spring psychosis'."....Thanks to Lubbock Avalanche-Journal scribe DON WILLIAMS for writing to nominate Cumberland (Tenn.) University basketball player CALAMITY JANE COLEY for induction into the Short Rutts Name Hall of Fame and congratulations to the freshman center from Lafayette, Indiana on her immediate enshrinement....Four lines suitable for family reading from "Seven Worst NCAA Tournament Pickup Lines" as offered by sports satire website Sportspickle.com are: (1) "You may think I am fat and ugly, but everyone loves an underdog in March." (2) "You are the number one seed of my heart." (3) "Why don't we make like Pitt and get out of here?" and (4) "I must be a Duke player trying hard to draw a cheap foul, because I have fallen hard for you."....Texas Tech's spring football game on April 20 will be televised live from Jones AT&T Stadium by Fox Sports Southwest....Prior to his San Diego State basketball team becoming the second upset victim of Florida Gulf Coast University in the NCAA tournament, SDSU playerJAMAAL FRANKLIN was asked what he knew about the school that had knocked off Georgetown in the opening round. Franklin answered. "It's in Florida."....Comedian ARGUS HAMILTON, noting that skiing is a certain common bond betweenTIGER WOODS and his new love interest LINDSEY VONN: "She is a seven-time world champion, and three Thanksgivings ago, he set a new world's record in the men's downhill."....Unknown: "When I was a kid my social network was called 'outside'."....After the news broke that New York Yankees first baseman MARK TEIXEIRA would be on the shelf with a sprain of the ECU tendon in his right wrist, JACK FINARELLI of SportsCurmudgeon.com stated, "Who knew there was a tendon named after East Carolina University?"....Overheard: "What has two eyes, hates riddles, and is me?"---MIKE HIGGINS

3/14/13

IAN HAMILTON of the Regina (Sask.) Leader-Post, commenting on Dallas Cowboys ownerJERRY JONES unveiling a new luxury bus valued at $2 million and dubbed "The Elegant Lady": "Her addition gives disillusioned Cowboys fans a new bus to throw TONY ROMOunder."....Best of luck to anyone who thinks they can fill out what proves to be a perfect bracket prior to the NCAA basketball tournament because the odds of doing so are 9,223,372,036,854,755,808 to one. To shed some light on that figure, consider if every human being on Earth filled out a different bracket, the odds of just one person getting every game right are still over a million to one ....DOUG FERGUSON of the Associated Press points outSTEVE STRICKLER has won three PGA tournaments this year and made $1.82 million whileARNOLD PALMER played in 734 tournaments in his career and made $1,861,857....Strickler's wife NICKI STRICKLER was recently asked if she does a good job the one time each year she serves as her husband's caddie. She answered, "What do they say about caddies? Show up, keep up and shut up? So yes, I'm a good caddie."....Unknown: "Common sense is like deodorant. It is noticed most when it isn't used.".... MIKE BIANCHI, Orlando Sentinel: "The mascot of the new American 12 Conference should be Lady Liberty herself: 'Give me your tired, your poor and your displaced Conference USA teams.' "....A total of six current Major League Baseball field managers played or managed at The Ballpark South of the Railroad Tracks when Amarillo was a member of the Texas League. Those that did so as players are RON GARDENHIRE of the Minnesota Twins and the 1980 Jackson Mets, MIKE SCIOSCIA of the Los Angeles Angels and the 1978 San Antonio Dodgers, DUSTY BAKER of the Cincinnati Reds and the 1967 Austin Braves and 1969 Shreveport Braves, RON ROENICKE of the Milwaukee Brewers and the 1978 and 1979 San Antonio Dodgers, NED YOST of the Kansas City Royals and the 1976 Jackson Mets and RON WASHINGTON of the Texas Rangers and the 1977 San Antonio Dodgers. Washington Nationals manager DAVEY JOHNSON visited as he served in the same position with the Jackson Mets in 1979....A quote I'll never forget: After losing a 1-0 game to the Boston Red Sox, pitcher JOE HORLEN of the Chicago White Sox was asked what he threw TONY CONIGILARO when the Boston slugger provided the game's only run with a home run. Horlen answered, "It was a baseball."....MICHAEL PHELPS: "I'd give up a bronze medal to shoot under 70 playing golf. I don't know about the gold medals, though. I worked too hard to get them."....Overheard: "Please be patient. I am making a complete mess of this situation as fast as I can."---MIKE HIGGINS3/7/13

JIM BARACH, Charlestion (W.Va.) sportscaster, noting ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER has been named executive editor of Muscle and Fitness magazine: "Apparently he was turned down for the same position at Good Housekeeping."...Texas Tech has announced its 2013 football season opener against SMU has been moved to Friday, August 30 in order for it to be carried on ESPN....MIKE HARGROVE was interviewed for the manager's job with the Toronto Blue Jays last year and says he hopes the door is still open for him to manage again. The Perryton native led the Cleveland Indians to American League championships in 1995 and 1997 and last managed in the big leagues with the Seattle Mariners in 2007. Speaking to CBSSports.com at the Indians spring training base in Goodyear, Arizona where as he works as a consultant to the team, the 63-year old Panhandle Sports Hall of Famer said, "Hopefully, I'll get another shot. The situation would have to be part of the equation. If it happens again, good. If it doesn't happen, that's OK."....Following the finish at the Daytona 500 by DANICA PATRICK being the highest ever attained in the race by a woman, REGGIE HAYES of the Ft. Wayne (Ind.) News-Sentinel observed, "Race winner JIMMIE JOHNSON tied the record for best-ever finish by a man."....Offering his support of heavy penalties for PED offenders. Boston Red Sox star DUSTIN PEDROIA states, "As professional athletes we are responsible to know what we put into our bodies. We have strength coaches and trainers giving us accurate information about what is good for us and what isn't."....Congratulations to Wichita State University basketball player CLEANTHONY EARLY and Miami of Ohio football player JACK SNOWBALL on their inductions into the Short Rutts Name Hall of Fame....The Mobile BlackBears--class AA affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Southern League--will honor American POW/MIA soldiers this season with a stadium seat that will be painted black and remain unoccupied....USA Today reports DAVID WILLIAMS of Vanderbilt is the highest paid college athletic director in the nation with an annual salary of $3.2 million....A movie starring KEVIN COSTNER as the embattled general manager of a last-place NFL team is in the works. The original script called for the team to be the Buffalo Bills but producers have switched it to be the Cleveland Browns....From sports satire website Sportspickle.com: "The San Francisco 49ers have traded quarterbacks ALEX SMITH and COLIN KAEPERNICK to the Kansas City Chiefs just to torture Smith."....Two school bus drivers in Iowa Falls, Iowa have been fired after taking part in a mutual drag race while carrying elementary school-aged students through snow-covered streets to a Valentine's Day field trip....After Texas A&M quarterback and 2012 Heisman Trophy winner JOHNNY MANZIEL filed a lawsuit over the production of "Johnny Football" t-shirts, GREG COTE of the Miami Herald commented, "You know what I want to start selling? 'Honk if you are sick of Johnny Manziel' bumper stickers."....Also from Cote on JOHN HUH being named the PGA Tour rookie of the year: "Huh? Yes. Who? Huh!"....Overheard: "So we shipped DENNIS RODMAN to North Korea. Why didn't we think of that twenty years ago?"---MIKE HIGGINS

2/28/13

MIKE BIANCHI of the Orlando Sentinel, offering a prediction of three events to take place at the recent running of the Daytona 500: "There will be at least 5,000 fans named 'Earl' attend the race, a fight will break out in the infield between two fans arguing over whether the black Trans Am from 'Smokey and the Bandit' or The General Lee from 'The Dukes of Hazzard' is the better car and someone in the infield will lose a tooth trying to open a bottle of beer."....Also from Bianchi on possible Valentine's Day gifts NASCAR driver RICKY STENHOUSE gave love interest and fellow driver DANICA PATRICK: "A heart-shaped box of chocolate-covered lug nuts and a dozen long-stemmed socket wrenches."....What is the most effective way a college basketball coach can get a player to avoid being called for a three seconds in the lane violation? Comedian ALAN RAY suggests they yell, "Hey, pretend it's a classroom."....The recent passing of former West Texas State and NFL defensive back JOHN HOLT is sad to learn. Buffalo grid fans recall the Enid, Oklahoma native getting the 1979 season off to an electrifying start by recovering an onside kick attempt against Southern Illinois at Kimbrough Stadium. The Salukis had been tabbed by Missouri Valley Conference coaches and writers as pre-season favorites to win the league title and the Buffaloes to finish last, but the play opened the gate for WT to record a 14-0 upset of SIU and the Buffs went on to win their second MVC championship in three years under head coach BILL YUNG....The jersey worn by United States Olympic hockey team captain MIKE ERUZIONE in the team's epic capture of the gold medal at the 1980 Winter Olympics recently fetched $657,250 at an auction....Florida Atlantic University--nicknamed the Owls--has sold the naming rights of its football stadium to a company that operates prisons. GREG COTE of the Miami Herald states, "Even odds on the facility being nicknamed 'Owlcatraz'."....New Texas Tech football coach KLIFF KINGSBURYhas a clause in his contract allowing him to design the Red Raider uniforms. Among his creations are eight different helmet designs Tech will wear in 2013....DWIGHT PERRY, Seattle Times: "New York Yankees general manager BRIAN CASHMAN has been ordered to pay more than $1 million a year in alimony and child support. Even worse, he is still stuck with full custody of ALEX RODRIGUEZ."....Retired Los Angeles Dodgers pitching great SANDY KOUFAX has served the team as a spring training instructor for many years and says of the role, "With some, you have to have clay to mold. Then some guys are granite, and you have to chip at it."....Headline from sports satire website Sportspickle.com: "Report: MICHAEL JORDAN to turn 51 years old in approximately one year"....Overheard: "My old man says since bears hibernate in the winter, it's only fair he gets to stay inside from November until March and do nothing but watch sports."---MIKE HIGGINS

1/29/13

GREGG DRINNAN, Kamloops (B.C.) Daily News: "I regret to inform the National Hockey League that, as the commissioner of my home, I have locked out the owners and players."....Offering his theory on why the NHL labor dispute lasted so long, comedian ALAN RAY said, "The union's original proposal of free dental care would have bankrupted the league."....The NHL attempted to close the door on the lockout by placing full-page ads expressing remorse in 40 daily newspapers across the United States and Canada. STEVE SCHRADER of the Detroit Free Press responded, "A nice gesture, sure. But if NHL commissioner GARY BETTMAN had really meant it, he would have told it to OPRAHWINFREY."....With brothers JIM HARBAUGH of the San Francisco 49ers and JOHN HARBAUGH of the Baltimore Ravens meeting as head coaches in Super Bowl XVVII, satire website TheOnion.com declares in its sports area, "For the first time in its nine-year history, Animal Planet's annual Puppy Bowl will feature a coaching matchup between puppies of the same litter."....From the same site: "ADRIAN PETERSEN of the Minnesota Vikings has re-torn his ACL in preparation for the 2013 season."....Trivia question: What quarterback was the victim of the first professional sack administered by retiring Ravens linebacker RAY LEWIS? Answer: Jim Harbaugh of the Indianapolis Colts as the Ravens lost to the Colts 26-21 on October 13, 1996 at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis....Note to LARRY TOLLIVER of Bakersfield, California: It has been a great pleasure visiting with you over the past few weeks as we fondly recall your days as a pitcher with the Texas League's Amarillo Giants from 1968-70....A quote I'll never forget: After playing his last game as an SMU quarterback in an 18-16 loss to TCU in 1971, Mustangs quarterback GARY HAMMOND reflected, "You start out college worrying about growing up, and when you finish college you start to worry about growing old."....Forbes Magazine reports the Manchester United soccer team is the world's most valuable professional sports franchise with an estimated worth of $3 billion. The Dallas Cowboys are second with an estimated value of $2.1 billion....With the U.S. Figure Skating Championships taking place in Omaha, columnist BRAD DICKSON of the Omaha World-Herald stated, "This morning I saw a triple Salchow, a double lutz and a figure eight, and that was just in my morning commute in the snow."....Unknown: "If you use 'your' when you should use 'you're' is it lousy spelling or lousy grammar?"....In case you missed it: Spain defeated Denmark 35-19 on Sunday in Barcelona to win the World Handball Championships....Comedian GARY BACHMAN: "It has been so cold throughout most of the country LANCE ARMSTRONG has injected himself with soup."....From sports satire website Sportspickle.com: "Lance Armstrong has filed suit against Lance Armstrong for saying that Lance Armstrong took steroids."....Those that follow the sport of curling were puzzled recently when Tiny, Ontario resident GLENN HOWARD chose longtime rival JOHN MORRIS of Edmonton, Alberta to be his teammate at the Dominion All-Star Curling Skins Game taking place in Rama, Ontario. RJ CURRIE of Sportsdeke.com labeled Howard's choice as "Sweeping With The Enemy."....Overheard: "Reach for the stars? I am too lazy to even reach for my remote."---MIKE HIGGINS

01/03/13

GREG COTE. Miami Herald: "This season's roster of 70 schools in bowl games includes 15 teams with five losses, 14 with six losses and two--Georgia Tech and Duke--with seven. The math, therefore, says that 31 of 70 bowl teams, almost half, had seasons that would get the coach's house egged in any self-respecting college town."....Also from Cote: "Two Texas Longhorn players were suspended at the Alamo Bowl. I wonder if that was without pay."....Green Bay Packers quarterback AARON RODGERS: "My teammate JEFF SATURDAY is the perfect center because he has low sweat ratio and solid butt height."....Note to DON WILLIAMS and RYAN HYATT, Lubbock: The ending of "The Williams and Hyatt Show" after almost 19 years on Hub City radio and in recent times via the Internet is sad to learn....Oklahoma State sophomore and Amarillo High product JAMES CASTLEMANstarted at defensive end for OSU as the Cowboys wiped out Purdue by a 58-14 score in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on Monday at the Cotton Bowl....Bumper sticker: "If you can read this, the Mayans were wrong."....This week in Panhandle sports history: In 1988, head coach BOB SCHNEIDER engineered a unique motivational ploy to inspire his West Texas State women's basketball team before their Lone Star Conference game with Midwestern State as he had public address announcer PHIL WOODALL inform the Lady Buffs and the crowd at the WT Fieldhouse in Canyon that his 11-0 team had reached the top ranking in the country in NCAA Division II. WT then rolled to a 71-35 win with TERESA TINNER leading all scorers with 16 points, 14 of them in the first half. VANESSA WELLS added 13 points for the Lady Buffs withLEONA GERBER and VON TUCKER scoring ten points each and ANGELA SEAY contributing a game-high nine assists. In 1979, Indiana State All-American LARRY BIRD made his third and final Amarillo appearance a productive one, scoring 32 points and pulling down 20 rebounds as the Sycamores crushed WT 98-75 in Missouri Valley Conference action at the Amarillo Civic Center Coliseum. In 1971, Palo Duro lineman GARY MONROE was selected as the only two-way member of the Texas Sports Writers Association class AAAA all-state football team. Also named to the first team were Tascosa linebacker DAVID HERBER and defensive back DAVID KRILL of Amarillo High while Palo Duro defensive tackle GUY DUTTONwas voted to the second team. In 1968, a frenzied, near-capacity crowd at the Amarillo Sports Arena had barely settled into their seats when they learned bitter rivals THUNDERBOLT PATTERSON and ALEX PEREZ would be meeting with their hands taped together due to previous illegal and unsportsmanlike methods the pair had used on each other in the past. Patterson did not appear hindered as he knocked out Perez barely a minute into the fifth round of the conflict. Additional action on the night had KARL VAN BRAUNER make quick work ofTHE LAWMAN with a bulldog headlock and a knee drop, his brother KURT VAN BRAUNERfinish DIRTY DICK MURDOCH with an abdominal stretch and T.Y. CHUNG put away JERRY KOZAK as controversy rose its ugly head with the unruly Chung appearing to toss salt into Kozak's eyes....Headline at sports satire website Sportspickle.com: "ADRIAN PETERSONfalls 903 rushing yards short of 3,000."....Unknown: "To forgive, simply accept the apology you didn't get."....After the Jacksonville Jaguars showed general manager GENE SMITH the door following a 2-14 season, comedian ALAN RAY stated, "To make sure the players were nowhere to be found, the announcement took place in the end zone."....Overheard: "If your Christmas tree is still up in February, you are lazy. If it is still up in May, you are an artist."---MIKE HIGGINS

12/26/12

Some quotes I'll never forget....BOB KNIGHT: "If anyone gets caught cheating in college basketball they should be shot because they are too dumb to be alive."....On being paid for the first time as a rookie with the NBA's Utah Jazz, 7-foot, 240-pound center CHRIS BORCHARDT said, "The first things I bought were some clothes that fit. You can't just walk in a store and buy 38-38 pants off the rack."....Sign outside a Chicago bar: "Positively no soccer shown here."....One of the parole conditions for MARTHA STEWART after she was released from prison was being forbidden from having any contact with convicted felons. CAM HUTCHINSON of the Saskatoon (Sask.) StarPhoenix commented, "So much for her havingMIKE TYSON over for tea and dainties."....Longtime minor league field manager and 1968-69 Amarillo Giants third baseman ALAN "DIRTY AL" GALLAGHER: "My biggest sports disappointment as a participant came when I was injured in a home plate collision with Boston Red Sox catcher CARLTON FISK at Fenway Park while playing for the California (now Los Angeles) Angels in 1973. I hit him so hard I went on the disabled list for two months with several broken ribs and he went on to play 21 years in the big leagues and make the Hall of Fame."....After DICK VITALE was nominated for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, MIKE BIANCHI of the Orlando Sentinel said, "Electing him to the Basketball Hall of Fame would be like electing WEIRD AL YANKOVIC to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame."....When former Texas Tech baseball star STUBBY CLAPP was traded from the Cleveland Indians to the Toronto Blue Jays, columnist BUD GERACIE of the San Jose Mercury-News wrote, "He was traded for a player to be named better."....OREL LEONARD QUINTON HERSHISER IV of Cherry Hill, New Jersey pitched several times at The Ballpark South of the Railroad Tracks for the Texas League's San Antonio Dodgers against the Amarillo Gold Sox in 1980 and 1981. Hershiser, later a National League Cy Young Award winner, World Series MVP and currently a studio commentator and game analyst for ESPN, mentions in his autobiography "Out of the Blue" of meeting the woman who would become his wife at a party in San Antonio the night before departing for Amarillo on a road trip. He approached her and said, "Hello, my name is Orel Hershisher." She replied, "I'm JAMIE BYERS. What is your real name?"....Hershiser also says Byers asked him during their first encounter if he had any plans to play professional baseball. That brings to mind the time MIKE HARGROVE of the Texas Rangers came to Amarillo for a promotional appearance in 1976 and was asked by a naive news reporter for KGNC radio, "How would you compare the Rangers to a professional team?". Hargrove relayed the encounter to the media when he returned to the Metroplex and the incident later received national attention....As the ongoing legal woes for the 1968 Heisman Trophy winner came to include pirating satellite television signals in 2004, PETER VECSEY of the New York Times stated, "(The accused) is claiming MARK FUHRMAN planted DirectTV in his home."....Professional basketball television commentator and former NBA player JOHN SALLEY, asked if he had ever received a police escort: "Yes, in my hometown of New York City. I was in the backseat of the car."....Overheard: "Now that you have flunked out of toll booth school, have you considered a career as a speed bump?"----MIKE

12/14/12

Bumper sticker: "It's not anyone else's job to like you, it's yours."....With his Minnesota Vikings having put up a 6-1 record in Minneapolis this season and yet only a 1-5 record on the road, wide receiver MICHAEL JENKINS says, "Maybe we should just pick up the Metrodome sign and move it to other teams' stadiums."....Texas Rangers fans looking forward to an opportunity to boo JOSH HAMILTON as a visiting player for the first time won't have to wait long. Hamilton and his new Los Angeles Angels teammates provide the opposition for the Rangers in their home opener on April 5....Unknown: "Worrying works because 90% of the things we worry about will never happen. Just try it."....The latest Short Rutts "When You're Hot, You're Hot Award" goes to CHAD McLEAN of Gainesville, Florida. He made the Guinness Book of World Records on Monday by bowling nine strikes in a single minute and took only fourteen attempts to do it....As 33-year old KLIFF KINGSBURY takes over as head football coach at Texas Tech, many comparisons have been made to his hiring at such a young age to that of the University of Texas bringing in DARRELL ROYAL when he was also 33 in 1957. Few seemingly have noted Royal was only 30 when he was hired as a head coach for the first time three years earlier at Mississippi State....Kingsbury isn't even the youngest head coach in the athletic history of Texas Tech. For starters, longtime women's basketball coach and Tulia native MARSHA SHARP was 30 when she took over the Lady Raiders in the fall of 1982 and coached them for 23 seasons before retiring in the spring of 2006....Kingsbury will be officially introduced as the new Tech coach at 11:30 am Friday with a pep rally/news conference taking place at United Spirit Arena....Heisman Trophy winner and Texas A&M quarterback JOHNNY MANZIEL tweeted on the loss of his position coach and offensive coordinator with Kingsbury's departure: "Bittersweet. I am happy for him, though. It couldn't happen to a better guy and a great coach."....On the other end of the age spectrum, 63-year old TOM WATSON has been named captain of the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup golf team....It's sad to learn The Sporting News will cease producing a print edition on January 1. The publication once accurately titled itself "The Bible of Baseball"....JIMMY FALLON of NBC: "Last night on Twitter, DONALD TRUMP mistakenly called BILL BELICHICK, the head coach of the New England Patriots, 'Bob Belichick'. He then said, 'I want to apologize to the entire Patriots organization and especially to their quarterback, JAN BRADY'."....On the readerboard outside a church in Glendale, Arizona: "No one is beyond God's help. Not even the Cardinals."....Before the University of Colorado hired San Jose State's MIKE MacINTYRE to replace the fired JON EMBREE as its head football coach, rumors were abound Brigham Young University coach BRONCO MENDENHALL was a top candidate to lead the Buffaloes. Mendenhall had told the Salt Lake Deseret News, "I didn't express any interest, haven't been contacted, didn't interview and didn't even know I was a candidate. Other than that, I guess I am a finalist, or so I've been told."....Overheard: "If you insist on talking so loudly on your telephone, please at least talk about something fascinating."---MIKE HIGGINS12/11/12

ALEX KASEBERG: "As a result of Washington state voters approving the legalization of marijuana, the University of Washington is changing its nickname from the 'Huskies' to the 'Snoop Dogs'."....After Detroit Lions running back KEVIN SMITH denied having tweeted a desire to play for the Miami Dolphins, STEVE SCHRADER of the Detroit Free Press responded, "It was a good thing, too, before the league fines him for tampering with himself."....On the heels of the controversial decision by San Antonio Spurs coach GREG POPOVICH to rest his starters in a recent game against the Miami Heat, BRIAN SCHMITZ of the Orlando Sentinel states, "The Rolling Stones have announced they are holding out MICK JAGGER, KEITH RICHARDS and RON WOOD for their concert at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn because they are old, tired, and have been on the road forever."....Questions and answers with West Texas A&M senior guard AARON MULLANE, Tascosa High School product and 2012 finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, awarded annually by the National Football Foundation to a college player based on academic achievement, community service and on-field performance: First sports heroes? "TROY AIKMAN and EMMITT SMITH of the Dallas Cowboys." Biggest sports thrill as participant? "Beating undefeated Colorado State-Pueblo this season in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II playoffs. Making history for WT and redeeming one of our losses this year is precious to me." Biggest sports disappointment as participant? "Losing to Midwestern State at home this season on Senior Day. When we were up by ten points with two minutes left, my eyes filled up with tears thinking we had won the Lone Star Conference championship outright. I am thankful the loss did not define our season." Biggest sports thrill as observer? "I made an unofficial visit to Texas Tech in 2007 and watched them beat Oklahoma and knock them out of the BCS race. We rushed the field after the game and had our pictures taken with GRAHAM HARRELL and MICHAEL CRABTREE." Biggest sports disappointment as observer? "Every Dallas Cowboys season since Super Bowl XXX in 1996." Favorite sports nickname? "Our running back KHIRY "THE MAILMAN" ROBINSON. When our offensive line would walk up to the line of scrimmage, we would talk of the post office being open again." Favorite all time athletes in the clutch? "MICHAEL JORDAN and TOM BRADY." Favorite city outside of Texas? "New York City." Living persons would most like to have lunch with? "TIM TEBOW and PEYTON MANNING." Most famous persons shaken hands with? "At the Campbell Trophy presentation in New York, I was honored to meet many members of 'football royalty' including ROGER STAUBACH,LYNN SWANN, R.C. SLOCUM, JIMMY JOHNSON, ARCHIE MANNING, BARRY SWITZERand EDDIE GEORGE, just to name a few."....Responding to the announcement that the New Orleans Hornets of the NBA plan to change their nickname to 'Pelicans', BOB MOLINARO of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot says, "Whatever it takes to remind people that they are still in the league."....Noting the Hornets chose the new tag of 'Pelicans' over that of 'Brass', JIMMY FALLON of NBC remarked, "Even celebrity babies are saying these are awful names."....Overheard: "Everyone we meet has a story. That is why I never leave my house."---MIKE HIGGINS

12/10/12

Some quotes I'll never forget....OTTIS MOONEY, assistant football coach at the University of Miami, recalling being neck-and-neck with head coach BEAR BRYANT of Alabama in the pursuit of a coveted recruit: "I decided I had better work on the parents, so I dined and danced with the boy's mother. Unfortunately, the boy signed with Alabama and his mother enrolled at Miami."....After Indiana University managed to defeat the University of Minnesota in football despite falling far short of the Golden Gophers' totals in yards gained and first downs, English professor EDWIN CATY of IU said, "We have had plenty of moral victories over the years. It's high time we have an immoral one."....STANLEY CRAWFORD: "Winter is a time of promise because there is so little to do or because we can permit ourselves the luxury of thinking so."....As he was quarterbacking the Philadelphia Eagles into the Super Bowl in 1980, RON JAWORSKI said, "People say that I am cocky, but I am not that at all. I just feel if you ask me to throw a hundred passes, I will complete a hundred passes."....Noting the vast improvement of the Minnesota Twins a season after he was fired as the team's field manager,SAM MELE commented, "They finally got right after I finally left."....Asked what is was like to be hit by a defender at the same time a pass arrives, Denver Broncos receiver AL DENSONanswered, "It's like walking out of a store with a bag of groceries and getting hit by a car. Sometimes you don't care what happens to the bag."....Professional boxer TRACY STEELElost six of his first nine professional fights but refused to retire in stating, "I have the heart of a racehorse trapped inside the body of a jackass."....ROBIN MORGAN: "Knowledge is power and information is power. Secretly or hoarding knowledge or information can be seen as an act of tyranny or it can be camouflaged as humility."....When the Cincinnati Reds honored retiring catcher JOHNNY BENCH by offering a limited-edition bronze sculpture of him that sold for $975, Hall of Fame pitcher WAITE HOYT responded, "In my day, you could have gotten a live catcher along with his entire family for $975."....The longtime minor league baseball stadium in Memphis, Tennessee was named in honor of native son TIM McCARVER just as the longtime major league catcher was nearing the end of his playing career with the Philadelphia Phillies. Asked if he were bothered by the facility carrying the awkward name of "Tim McCarver Memorial Stadium", McCarver answered, "No, they are naming it after my arm."....Rodeo promoter GUTHRIE PACKHARD, prior to staging an event in Denver, on the toughness of some of the city's bars: "I know of one bar on East Colfax that is so tough if you don't have a gun when you get there, they'll give you one."....M. SCOTT PECK: "Our finest moments are likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy or unfulfilled. Only in these moments are we likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers."....Plainview native RONNIE PERET on the influence his grandmother EFFIE PEREThad on his choosing to accept a basketball scholarship to her alma mater of Texas A&M: "At first, she just said I'd do fine there. Eventually, she put tremendous pressure on me when she told me she'd cut off all my cakes and pies if I didn't go there."---MIKE HIGGINS

12/3/12

Some quotes I'll never forget....JACK NICKLAUS II on fans following him around as he plays golf due to his famous name: "It's nice to have people watching. They even help me find my ball sometimes.".....ELEANOR ROOSEVELT: "We not only have a right to be an individual, we have an obligation to be one, too.".....Following a football game played in a driving rainstorm by Mercyhurst College of Erie, Pennsylvania, head coach TONY DeMEO said, "It was so muddy people went out on the field at halftime and planted rice."....GEORGE BLANDA, age 41, teamed with 37-year old COTTON DAVIDSON to quarterback the Oakland Raiders to a 43-7 win over the Denver Broncos in 1968. Raiders minority owner WAYNE VALLEY later noted, "We are the only team in professional football with two quarterbacks old enough to be president.".....University of Michigan center MATT ELLIOTT was the last player chosen in the 1992 NFL draft and was highly familiar with Ohio State linebacker ALONZO SPELLMAN, the first-round pick of the Chicago Bears in the same draft. Asked to assess Spellman after playing against him throughout their college careers, Elliott stated, "Physically, he's a world-beater. Mentally, he's an eggbeater."......Childress High School football coaching legendCHARLIE JOHNSTON, addressing the crowd at his induction into the Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame in 2005: "I learned very early in my career it was important to show up at this thing each year because if you didn't you would have to read about failing to do so in PUTT POWELL's 'Short Putts' column.".....GENE CONLEY was both a guard with basketball's Boston Celtics and a pitcher with the Boston Red Sox in the early 1960s. Conley's basketball teammate BILL RUSSELL once said, "After each season with the Celtics, he couldn't pitch for the Red Sox for a month because it took him that long to get out of shape.".....After football players from Yale and Harvard got into a post-game spat a few years back, one scribe commented, "There were no punches exchanged, only a bunch of big words."....HELEN KELLER: "The most wonderful things in life cannot be seen or touched, but are felt in the heart.".....Former Detroit Red Wings head coach HARRY NEALE, joking about the high turnover rate at his onetime job with the National Hockey League team: "We had a golf tournament once for ex-Red Wing coaches and had to rent three courses.".....Kansas City Royals relief pitcher DAN QUISENBERRY, asked during spring training what it would take for his team to have a successful season: "Our fielders are either going to have to catch a lot of balls or deflect them to someone who can.".....Distinguished 19th century astronomer MARIA MITCHELL: "We have a hunger of the mind which asks for knowledge of all around us. The more we gain, the more we desire, and the more we see, the more capable we are of seeing.".....After the NFL rules committee banned the placement of stickem on the hands of pass receivers, Clarendon native KENNY KING of the Oakland Raiders commented, "You'll still see great catches, they just won't be made with the elbows.".....When a University of Indiana freshman football player failed to report for fall practice one season and said he was making too much money at home, Hoosiers head coach LEE CORSO said, "I have lost recruits because I couldn't get them jobs, now I have lost one because I did.".....New York Mets outfielder ELLIOTT MADDOX, asked if he was bilingual: "Yes, I have an off-season vocabulary and a during-season vocabulary."---MIKE HIGGINS

11/26/12

SAM FARMER, Los Angeles Times: "Say what you will about the Detroit Lions, but at least they have a consistent, reliable kicker. Of course, I am referring to NDAMUKONGSUH."....Unknown: "Life is too short to knit with cheap yarn."....Former Amarillo High and Dumas High head football coach BURL BARTLETT passed away on Thursday in Enid, Oklahoma at age 85. After coaching the Demons for six seasons and leading them to the 1961 Class AAA state championship, he replaced BUM PHILLIPS at AHS and was later an assistant under J.T. KING at Texas Tech. A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Tuesday at Central Christian Church in Enid....Headline from sports satire website Sportspickle.com: "10,000 fans meet at airport to greet Philadelphia Eagles team plane with rocks"....From the same site: "The Big 10 Conference is changing its name to 'The Big 64' and insists it will no longer expand."....Following the addition of Maryland and Rutgers to The Big 10, Syracuse head basketball coach JIM BOEHEIM said, "If these guys were running the United States during colonial times, Brazil and Argentina would be states because they have something we need."....BILL MAYO was an assistant coach on the Caprock High School football staff under JOHN McGUIRE when the school opened for the 1963-64 school year before moving on to serve 30 years as a high school athletic director, including 25 years in his hometown of Blytheville, South Carolina. He will be inducted into the Hall of Fame of the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association during the organization's annual convention December 18th in San Antonio....A quote I'll never forget: Recalling his time growing up in Pampa, former University of Houston football coach JOHN JENKINS said, "My crowd was a bunch of rowdies in a place where cracking someone over the head with a beer bottle wasn't assault and battery. It was entertainment."....Correction: It was reported here last week that CLARENCE "POOKIE" REDIC was the kicker for West Texas State when head coach JOE KERBEL elected to try a 96-yard field goal in the Buffaloes' 23-7 win at Bowling Green in 1970. Truth be told, the attempt--a creative alternative to the Buffaloes attempting to punt from their own end zone while facing a stiff wind amid falling snow--was made by MATIASGARZA. Short Rutts regrets the error....The town of Benham, Kentucky (population: 500) has honored favorite son BERNIE BICKERSTAFF with the unveiling of Bernie Bickerstaff Boulevard. The longtime NBA coach and executive points out, "You have to drive on it because it's the only street in town."....Eccentric New York Jets loyalist "FIREMAN ED" ANZOLEwalked out at halftime of his team's blowout loss to the New England Patriots with the Jets trailing, 35-3. MIKE FREEMAN of CBSSports.com commented, "That about says it all. That's the equivalent of WALTER CRONKITE saying the Vietnam war is lost."...Overheard: "I am looking for someone to steal my identity because they will then have to pay off my college loans."---MIKE HIGGINS

11/20/12

LEN BERMAN of ThatsSports.com, reacting to DEREK JETER of the New York Yankees missing out by one vote i the American League MVP race of getting a $2 million bonus tacked on to his $16 million base salary: "Time to hold a benefit." ....MIKE TROUT of the Los Angeles Angels was named the AL Rookie of the Year last week and is the first Angels player to win the award since TIM SALMON in 1993. Armchair quipster BILL LITTLEJOHN of Lake Tahoe, Nevada asks, "Do you think their scouts used the same bait?"....Unknown: "Can the rest of us sign the Texas secession petition or just Texans?"....A new $50 million baseball stadium is expected to open in 2014 in downtown El Paso to house the Pacific Coast League franchise currently playing in Tuscon, Arizona that is the class AAA affiliate of the San Diego Padres....A quote I'll never forget: Asked if had any football-related superstitions, Bucknell College defensive lineman JOHN CAMPANA answered, "Yes, I always make it a point to not jump out of tall buildings before games."....The West Texas A&M football program visits the state of Ohio for the fourth time in its history on Saturday as the Buffaloes play Ashland University in the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs at Jack Miller Stadium in Ashland, Ohio. One previous trip to The Buckeye State for the Buffaloes brought on something that had never happened before in college football while a second trip produced something that will likely never happen again. In 1965, HANK WASHINGTON of WT became the first African-American to start at quarterback for a southern-based major college and tossed a scoring pass to receiver RONNIE MANKIN for the game's only score in a 7-0 win for the Buffs over Ohio University. Five years later, WT was playing Bowling Green University at Bowling Green, Ohio amidfalling snow and wind gusts reaching 40 mph coming off nearby Lake Michigan. With the Buffaloes pinned inside their own 20-yard line and facing both fourth down and the wind, head coach JOE KERBEL chose to attempt a 96-yard "field goal" by kicker CLARENCE "POOKIE" REDIC rather than take the risk of punting against the wind from the end zone. Today, a missed field goal returns the ball to the line of scrimmage with a possession switch, but that was not the case in 1970....WT coaches, players, support personel and fans might get even more fired up than they already are about winning on Saturday upon knowing Ashland is the alma mater of the late MADALYN MURRAY O'HAIR, once accurately labled as "The Most Hated Woman in America"....JIM CAPLE of ESPN.com, predicting a few happenings in baseball over the coming weeks: "On Thanksgiving Day, World Series MVP PABLO SANDOVAL tests positive for too much pumpkin pie. On December 1, an eight-year old girl named VIRGINIA writes the New York Sun to ask if the Yankees' offense really exists. On December 5, the Yankees put ALEX RODRIGUEZ on Craigslist. On December 7, the Houston Astros unveil their new uniforms, which feature a star and 'H' on the cap, a rainbow pattern across the front of the jersey and 'Chico's Bail Bonds' across the back. On December 27, the Seattle Mariners announce they are moving third base closer to home plate in an attempt to score more runs."....Overheard: "Of course I can keep a secret. It's the people I tell it to that can't."---MIKE HIGGINS

11/13/12

BRAD DICKSON of the Omaha World-Herald, commenting on professional wrestler CM PUNK accidentally punching an innocent spectator at a recent WWE Raw event in Nashville: "Ironically, the fan was the only one who left the arena thinking that professional wrestling is real."....The Amarillo High School football program will have history on its side on Thursday night as the Sandies open the Class AAAA state playoffs by hosting Lubbock High as AHS has defeated the Westerners an amazing 38 consecutive times. To measure Lubbock High's lack of success in recent decades against Amarillo High, consider the last two times the Westerners have beaten AHS at Dick Bivins Stadium the top pop songs on the Billboard chart have been "Tie A Yellow Ribbon 'Round The Old Oak Tree" by TONY ORLANDO and Dawn in 1973 and "Oh, My Papa" by EDDIE FISHER in 1954....Reports say the family of freshman Texas A&M football sensation JOHNNY MANZIEL are seeking a copyright on his much-circulated nickname of "Johnny Football". Taking into consideration the similar nickname of the late TED WILLIAMS and that the remains of the baseball great are stored in an Arizona cryonics facility, DWIGHT PERRY of the Seattle Times comments, "Teddy Ballgame, we imagine, is off somewhere spinning in his freezer."....The West Texas A&M football program makes its third-ever trip to the state of Nebraska on Saturday as the Buffaloes play at Chadron State in the opening round of the NCAA Division II playoffs. WT is 0-2 in games played in The Cornhusker State, losing in the final minute to Nebraska-Kearney by a 17-14 score in 1990 and falling to Chadron State--led by current New England Patriots running back DANNY WOODHEAD--by a 43-17 score in the second round of the Division II playoffs in 2006....Longtime WT football followers recall STEVE HATERIUS as an outstanding defensive back for the Buffaloes from 1964-67 who still holds school records for career interceptions with 18 and interceptions in a season with 11 in 1967 for a team that went 8-2 and defeated San Fernando Valley State (now Cal-State Northridge) 35-13 in the Junior Rose Bowl at Pasadena, California. The Stamford, Texas product is now Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture in Washington, D.C....Unknown: "Don't people who pay for college know that Google and Wikipedia are free?"....University of Oregon running back KENJON BARNER is taking a ballet class this semester and states, "I was worried we were going to wear tights because I am not a tights guy. But we wear shorts."....MIKE BIANCHI of the Orlando Sentinel: "An Apple device for athletes to get instant access to steroids is coming soon. It is called an iPED."....Overheard: "Things would finally get a lot quieter around here if only these people would start speaking their minds."---MIKE HIGGINS

9/28/12

Some quotes I'll never forget....ROBERT LOUIS STEPHENSON: "An aim in life is the only fortune worth finding.".....Shortly after 14-year old soccer prodigy FREDDIE ADU joined Major League Soccer's D.C. United, SCOTT OSTLER of the San Francisco Chronicle commented, "Teammates say they hope he stays with the team a long time because his mom brings the coolest snacks.".....RANDY MONTGOMERY of The Daily Oklahoman after Oklahoma State head basketball coach EDDIE SUTTON was forced into early retirement following a drunk driving charge: "He and his wife have purchased a new RV and are now looking forward to swerving around the country.".....Longtime West Texas State/A&M basketball fans will never forget the performance put on by Weber State's WILLIE SOJOURNER against the Buffaloes in 1969 at Ogden, Utah as he scored 34 points and pulled down 29 rebounds in a 97-78 win for the Wildcats. The following season, Sojourner was a rookie with the Virginia Squires of the American Basketball Association and was asked following a practice what he thought of the acrobatic moves made by a fellow first-year player. He replied, "You never know what the doctor will pull out of his bag next." Thus became the nickname of JULIUS "DR. J" ERVING....Bumper sticker: "Forget world peace. Visualize your turn signal"......From sports satire website Sportspickle.com: "Florida State head football coach BOBBY BOWDEN, robbed and sodomized recently by one of his own star players, has stated the subject 'is a good kid who made a mistake' and that no disciplinary action against him will be taken.".....ERIC HOFFER: "We can never get enough of what we do not need to make us happy.".....Noting the Kansas City Royals infield included second baseman MARK GRUDZIELANEK and first baseman DOUG MIENTKIEWICZ, San Antonio Express-News columnist RICHARD OLIVER stated, "Following a recent game, team radio announcers DENNY MATTHEWS and FRED WHITE had to be treated for tongue depression.".....BABE RUTH, making his first visit to Chicago's ten-year old Wrigley Field to play in the 1923 World Series with the New York Yankees: "I'd give up half a year's salary to hit in this dump."....JERRY SEINFELD on the era of free agency in sports: "Players change teams so much so the only thing that stays the same is the uniforms. We are literally rooting for laundry.".....After he was elected to the city council in Anoka, Minnesota, heavyweight boxer SCOTT LeDOUX said, "I am not a politician because I talk the truth. I am sure I may offend some people at the Legislature, but what are they going to do, beat me up?".....YOGI BERRA, expressing his feeling of the the primary benefit of youth baseball: "It keeps the parents off the streets.".....After TONY ROBERTS was fired after 26 years as the radio voice of Notre Dame football on the Mutual Broadcasting System, Fighting Irish head coach LOU HOLTZ declared, "I don't understand it. He was never more critical of me than my wife was.".....BLACKIE SHERROD, legendary Dallas Times Herald and Dallas Morning News scribe: "And then there was the town in the Texas Panhandle so small the Howard Johnson's had only three flavors.".....Overheard: "A lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can put on its boots."---MIKE HIGGINS

9/25/12

BUM PHILLIPS: "There are only two ways to build a team. You either get the players you already have to play better or you get better players than the ones you already have."....JEFF FLEMING of Reno, Nevada lives next to the 16th hole at Lakeridge Golf Course and is facing assault and battery charges for allegedly firing a shotgun at a pair of golfers after a wayward ball came crashing through one of his windows. One golfer was unharmed but two bullets struck the other, bringing IAN HAMILTON of the Regina (Sask.) Leader-Post to comment, "He fired at two golfers but only put holes in one."...The name of BRIAN HARTLINE was familiar to few until the Miami Dolphins player vented publicly over the media attention given to TIM TEBOW. Orlando Sentinel columnist MIKE BIANCHI comments, "A no-name Dolphins receiver questioning Tebow's football credentials is like BARNEY FIFE questioning the gunmanship credentials of MATT DILLON."....A quote I'll never forget: Longtime Caprock High School football coach RAY BASINGER was never one to take good-natured kidding too hard pertaining to his ability to carry a few extra pounds. After the seemingly undermanned Longhorns upset Lubbock Monterey 26-0 in Caprock's last game of the 1985 season, CHS assistant coach KEVIN POPE told Basinger, "Coach, the team wanted to carry you off the field on their shoulders, but I told them to forget it because we only had 26 guys out there."....From sports satire website Sportspickle.com: "National Hockey League owners are saying they cannot afford to pay the amounts of money to players they already have been paying them."....The engagement of tennis star MARIA SHARAPOVA and former NBA player SASHA VUJACIC is off with Sharapova giving the reason as "our busy schedules". RJ CURRIE of Sportsdeke.com responds, "For those of you scoring at home, make that a double fault."....Also from Currie on a ski resort's plans to open a restaruant 10,000 feet up Wildspitze Mountain in the Austrian Alps: "It is expected to have great food, but not a whole lot of atmosphere."....The financially-crippled athletic department at Savannah State pocketed over $900,000 in return for the Tiger football team showing up at Oklahoma State to lose 84-0 and at Florida State by a 55-0 score in a game ended in the third quarter due to lightning. LEN BERMAN of ThatsSports.com observes, "Take the money and fumble."....Following those blowouts, BRAD DICKSON of the Omaha World-Herald noted Savannah State was a 70 1/2-point underdog to Oklahoma State and a 67 1/2-point underdog to Florida State and added, "I am not sure what Savannah State's problem is this year, but we can rule out overconfidence."....After further video review, NFL officials fined Houston Texans tackle ANTONIO SMITH $21,000 for kicking Miami Dolphins guard RICHIE INCOGNITO during the Texans' 30-10 win on September 9. Incognito later told The Associated Press, "The eye in the sky does not lie."....Overheard: "They are called 'man-hours' because what takes a man an hour to do can be done by a woman in twenty minutes."---MIKE HIGGINS

9/21/12

BOB MOLINARO of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot: "Just so there is no misunderstanding, I really don't want to know how your fantasy team is doing."....From Fark.com: "Texas Tech basketball players are missing the easy-going, laid-back days when BOBBY KNIGHT was their coach."....Fox Deportes has announced plans to carry stock car races in Spanish beginning next year. GREG COTE of the Miami Herald states, "Currently, NASCAR is broadcast in only two languages. They are English and Redneck."....Short Rutts readers and Dallas residents GAINES BATY and JOE FORAN write asking who the first Hispanic scholarship football player was in the Southwest Conference. Their fellow Rutthead ROGER FENLAW of Amarillo suggests it was ABEL "FRITO" GONZALES, a running back at SMU in the early 1940s....DAVID LETTERMAN: "You know it is almost autumn in New York because temperatures are dropping, leaves are dropping and the Yankees are dropping."....Question for LANCE LAHNERT, sports editor of the Amarillo Globe-News: With the exception of the final score, why was there not a word of coverage in your publication last weekend of Friday's Pampa-Dumas football game?....Former major league pitcher TOMMY JOHN is probably remembered more these days for the revolutionary surgery performed on his throwing arm in 1974 than for winning 288 games in a 25-year big league career that ended in 1989. Syndicated columnist NORMAN CHAD observes, "Why is it called 'Tommy John surgery'? Shouldn't the procedure be indentified with DR. FRANK JOBE, who was the first surgeon to perform it? After all, the Heimlich maneuver isn't named for the person that was choking."....Comedian TIM HUNTER: "You know you are too excited about the start of football season if you are breaking in a new set of stadium cushions at work."....Former Palo Duro High School and Texas Christian University baseball standout JOHNNY CARDENAS is one of only two products of Amarillo Independent School District high schools that have reached the class AAA level playing professional baseball as he did while a Texas Rangers farmhand in 1997. He is now head baseball coach at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches....How many professional athletes have spent half their life or more with one team like Detroit Lions kicker JASON HANSON? He is 42 years old and just began his 21st season with the team....After SHANNON EASTIN recently became the first woman to officiate a regular season NFL game, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker LARRY FOOTE commented, "Women are more honest and more fair than men and they are also a lot better at catching a man that is cheating."....After enduring a 15-4 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers last week, Chicago Cubs manager DALE SVEUM was asked if it was a game he wanted to forget. He answered, "I certainly hope so, because I sure don't want to think about it too much longer."....Former Notre Dame running back ALLEN PINKETT is now the color commentator on Fighting Irish radio broadcasts and made waves recently by saying the team needed "a few more criminals" on its roster. MIKE BIANCHI of the Orlando Sentinel responded, "I guess Pinkett wants to also change the name of 'Touchdown Jesus' to 'Hands Up Jesus'."....Overheard: "We are a sorry lot indeed if people do good things only because they fear punishment or because they are hoping for a reward."---MIKE HIGGINS

8/14/12

DAVE BARRY: "The word 'equestrian' comes from two Greek words. 'Eques' means 'horses' and 'trian' means 'ridden by people with large inheritances and names like EDWINA PONCE-TWICKENDALE'."....Congratulations to Houston Astros relief pitcher CHUCKIE FICK and to Toronto Blue Jays shortstop ADEINY HECHAVARRIA on their recent promotions to the big leagues and their subsequent inductions into the Short Rutts Name Hall of Fame....Headline at sports satire website Sportspickle.com: "Penn State's Nittany Lion mascot transferring to Toledo."....Noting college football's Insight Bowl will now be known as the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, CHRIS DEFRESNE of the Los Angeles Times adds, "Ticket prices, we hear, will range from 'mild' to 'Jammin' Jalepeno' to 'Blazin' '."....Dumas High School head football coach MIKE BURT was an assistant coach under his current offensive coordinator QUE BRITTAIN for several years at Flower Mound Marcus High School including when the Marauders won the class 5A state championship in 1997. Addressing his role with the Demons during a "Meet The Team" cookout over the weekend, Brittain kidded the gathering in saying, "Coach Burt is the head coach and I am the offensive coordinator. That means he calls the plays that work and I call the plays that don't work."....DWIGHT PERRY, Seattle Times: "The first clue you might be wound up too tight as an NFL fan is you think the use of replacement referees might jeopardize the integrity of the exhibition season."....The slumping Los Angeles Angels have fallen eight games behind the Texas Rangers in the American League West and are 3-7 since completing a critical series against them in the relentless Arlington heat two weeks ago. Noting the Angels scored 40 runs in the four-game series but came away with only two wins, BILL PLUNKETT of the Orange County Register commented, "Like a fat guy on a treadmill, the Angels expended a lot of sweat but didn't really get anywhere."....Following the announcement that rapper SNOOP DOGG is changing his name to SNOOP LION, comedy writer ARGUS HAMILTON responded, "And in a related story, ICE-T just changed his name to ARNOLD PALMER."....After the Oakland A's held a 'Dog Night' promotion, SCOTT OSTLER of the San Francisco Chronicle stated, "In a straw poll, the dogs were asked to name their all-time favorite pitcher. In a landslide, it was RED RUFFING."....Overheard: "I always demand honesty when you have something nice to say about me."---MIKE HIGGINS

7/29/12

NORMAN CHAD, syndicated columnist, analyzing the American League and National League failing to be on common ground involving use and non-use of the designated hitter: "In the National Football League, would they have four downs in the NFC and five in the AFC? In the National Basketball Association, would they have no three-point shot in the Western Conference and no three-point line in the East? In Major League Soccer, would they have a goaltender in the Western Conference and no goaltender in the East? Hmmm. I like that idea."....An anonymous email to ThatsSports.com states, "I was never in favor of bringing the Olympics to New York City. However, if they bring back live pigeon shooting, I might have to reconsider."....Washington State defensive lineman ANTHONY LAURENZI was kicked off the Cougar football team last week by new head coach MIKE LEACH after being arrested and charged with suspicion of third-degree theft for allegedly shoplifting stereo headphones from a Walmart in Pullman. Leach previously showed linebacker C.J. MIZELL the door after the sophomore was charged with misdemeanor assault and trespassing in February while redshirt sophomore linebacker SEKOPE KAUFUSI met the same fate in March after being charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia....Leach coaches his first game since his stormy departure in 2009 from Texas Tech against his alma mater as Washington State plays at Brigham Young on August 30. The Thursday night contest will be carried on ESPN....The two opening lines of an obituary in the Massena (N.Y.) Daily Courier-Observer: "MARYLOU CUNNINGHAM BELLES of Bethel, Connecticut died July 13, 2012 after giving cancer the finger for 27 years. She was also a lifelong New York Mets fan, though surprisingly, that wasn't what killed her."....Whoops !! Dallas Cowboys owner JERRY JONES addressed the media for the first time this season on Sunday and uttered the team is yearning to return to its "glory hole" days....Outfielder DANIEL NAVA of the Boston Red Sox will always be remembered for becoming only the second batter in big league history to hit the first pitch he ever saw in the majors for a grand slam as he did in his debut for the Red Sox against the Philadelphia Phillies in June of 2010. The son of former West Texas State quarterback DON NAVA is hitting .251 with four home runs and 27 RBI in 66 games for Boston this season following his May callup from class AAA Pawtucket of the International League....DAVID MAYO, Detroit-based sports scribe and a former Amarillo Daily News and Globe Times staffer: "Instead of taking down the statue of JOE PATERNO, maybe those people at Penn State should have just turned it around so he would be looking the other way."....The recently-divorced KOBE BRYANT has reportedly lost 16 pounds since his Los Angeles Lakers were eliminated from the NBA playoffs in May. RJ CURRIE of Sportsdeke.com comments, "Translation? One of his rings is missing."....Golfer LEE WESTWOOD gives two reasons he and his family are relocating from their native Great Britian to Orlando, Florida, those being "English winters and the English summers."....Overhead: "I am willing to accept the prize for being the world's laziest person only if they are willing to deliver it."---MIKE HIGGINS

7/19/12

GREG COTE of the Miami Herald on the Tour de France: "The winner used to be the first to pass the finish line. Now, the winner is the first to pass a urine test."....Also from Cote: "JAMIE MOYER is so old he remembers when 'roids meant hemorrhoids."....Unknown: "If you are always the smartest person in a room, you need to find better rooms."....Upon learning ERIN ANDREWS had resigned from ESPN to join Fox Sports, BRAD DICKSON of the Omaha World-Herald commented, "No word yet on if this means the college football season has been canceled."....The recent passing of longtime Southwestern University baseball coach JIM MALLON is sad to learn. The Abilene High School and Baylor University product is remembered for being as intense a competitor as longtime Amarillo baseball fans have seen from his time as a first baseman/outfielder with the Texas League's Amarillo Giants from 1968 to 1970. Referring to a pair of players that were carving out Hall of Fame careers with the parent San Francisco Giants at the time, Mallon once remarked, "There were two people that kept me from playing in the major leagues--WILLIE MAYS and WILLIE McCOVEY." Mallon retired from professional baseball during the heart of the 1970 season to take the position he held at Southwestern for 24 years before retiring with 1,197 wins--at the time the third-most among college coaches among all levels of the NCAA. He also served as an assistant basketball coach at Southwestern under BILLY TUBBS, including when the Pirates came to the Amarillo Civic Center Coliseum in 1973 and gave West Texas State all they could handle before the Buffaloes prevailed in a triple-overtime thriller....DAVE HENRY, Amarillo Globe-News: "With TIM TADLOCK taking over the baseball program at Texas Tech--and TOMMY TUBERVILLE trudging along with football--former NBAer TIM THOMAS would be a good fit for Texas Tech men's hoops, while TED TURNER could be tabbed to start a Red Raider TV network. I know. Too much for the tongue-tied."....Bumper sticker: "This is the worst Monday I have had since last Monday."....The left field wall at The Diamond--home stadium of the class AA Eastern League's Richmond (Va.) Flying Squirrels--was blown down by a violent storm before being restored in time for the team to draw a sellout crowd on the Fourth of July. ERIC KOLENICH of the Richmond Times-Dispatch stated, "Rebuild it, and they will come."....Addressing the loads of criticism LeBRON JAMES dealt with before finally winning his first NBA title last month, DAN LE BATARD of the Miami Herald says, "If I am in LeBron James' shoes, I'm going to have a hard time not putting that championship ring on my middle finger."....Sports satire website Sportspickle.com has taken some sports movies from the past and suggested updated lines that could be used if the films were made today. They include: From "A League Of Their Own": "Are you crying? Is it because of the unfair pressures put on women in our society? Because I can understand how tough that would be." From "Rudy": "You are better than this place, kid. You have the talent to walk on at a Big East school." From "Bad News Bears": "Good news, Bears. This league doesn't keep score because it's bad for self-esteem. So, we're all winners. Yay!" From "Rocky": "I got big plans, Adrian. I want to become the greatest UFC fighter of all time."....Headline from the same site: "TIGER WOODS sets PGA record for 'most times back' in a single season."....Overheard: "None of us alone is even close to being as dumb as all of us put together."---MIKE HIGGINS

7/17/12

Bumper sticker: "I can never be as good as you. But I will always be as good as me."....After ROGER FEDERER defeated ANDY MURRAY for a record-tying seventh Wimbledon championship, comedian ALEX KANESBERG said, "He has done better on grass than WILLIE NELSON."....Electric Football inventor NORMAN SAS passed away June 28 at age 87. Satire website TheOnion.com honors his memory by offering classic moments in the game's history that include, "In 1948, Sas designs the frustratingly shaky and uncontrollable movements of Electric Football players to provide the perfect foreshadowing of post-NFL life for actual players. In 1968, three different players shatter the record for passes completed in a game, with two. In 1987, the first confirmed intentional touchdown was scored."....Couples wishing to get married on the field at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor may now do so by paying $6,000 to the University of Michigan athletic department....The late RON SANTO will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this weekend and becomes the 19th personality enshrined in Cooperstown to have practiced a given craft at The Ballpark Southwest of the Coors Distribution Center. Others having done so include Santo's teammate BILLY WILLIAMS on the 1959 San Antonio Missions, manager DUKE SNIDER of the 1972 Alexandria Aces, minor league pitching instructor WARREN SPAHN of the then-named California Angels in 1980, San Francisco Giants teammates WILLIE MAYS, WILLIE McCOVEY, JUAN MARICHAL and GAYLORD PERRY--also as a member of the 1959 Corpus Christi Giants and 1960 Rio Grande Valley Giants--in a 1969 exhibition game against the Cleveland Indians, pitcher BRUCE SUTTER of the 1974 Midland Cubs, pitcher DON SUTTON of the 1965 Albuquerque Dodgers, outfielder TONY GWYNN of the 1981 Amarillo Gold Sox, pitcher PHIL NIEKRO of the 1961 Austin Senators, Boston Red Sox scout BILLY HERMAN, St. Louis Cardinals minor league hitting instructor JOE "DUCKY" MEDWICK, San Francisco Giants minor league director CARL HUBBELL, pitcher DENNIS ECKERSLEY of the 1974 San Antonio Brewers, manager DICK WILLIAMS of the San Diego Padres in a 1982 exhibition game against the Gold Sox and exhibition pitching appearances against local players by RICH "GOOSE" GOSSAGE in 2001 and numerous times by BOB FELLER...Sports Business Journal reports ESPN is nearing a deal to fork out $80 million annually to televise the Rose Bowl....A quote I'll never forget: After benches emptied as players on the Montreal Expos and Pittsburgh Pirates got sideways in a 1969 game at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, 6' 6", 265-pound pitcher DICK "THE MONSTER" RADATZ of the Expos approached 5' 6", 165-pound infielder FRED PATEK of the Pirates and told him, "I'll take on you and a player to be named later."....MARTY BROWN is manager of the Las Vegas 51s, the class AAA affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays in the Pacific Coast League. Despite making 40 fielding errors while playing for the Cedar Rapids (Ia.) Reds in 1986, the Lawton, Oklahoma native was still named as having the best arm among Midwest League infielders. He says, "I think I got all my votes from people in the stands behind first base."....Overheard: "Never drink and derive. Alcohol and calculus do not mix."----MIKE HIGGINS

7/2/12

BRYAN BURWELL of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "The Bowl Championship Series--a.k.a. 'That bogus piece of garbage that has been posing as college football's so-called national championship'--has finally been rendered obsolete. At long, long last, someone finally took the BCS out back, wiped the lipstick off its lips and recognized it for the butt-ugly pig that it is and humanely slaughtered it."....Anonymous: "If you ever have second thoughts, don't be concerned. You are two thoughts ahead of most people."....An Amarillo Globe-News reader with obvious ties to the University of Kansas and seemingly quite familiar with the school's athletic history comments on the publication's website concerning the success of Jayhawk hurdler and Olympic hopeful MICHAEL STIGLER of Canyon High School: "In the tradition of CLIFF CUSHMAN, another great Jayhawk 400-meter hurdler. He won the silver medal in this event at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome and was favored to win it at in 1964 at Tokyo. However, he hit a hurdle, fell, and did not qualify. Major Cushman was shot down over Vietnam in 1966 and his body was never recovered. Wouldn't it be grand if Michael won it all for his brother Jayhawk?"....DAVID LETTERMAN: "The New York Knicks and KIM KARDASHIAN share the same draft philosophy: 'Take the best athlete available'."....Also from Letterman on a swim competition covering 28 miles around Manhattan: "The winner gets a trophy and hepatitis."...Trivia question: What player was on the field when HANK AARON broke BABE RUTH's record for career home runs and again 11 years later when PETE ROSE passed TY COBB for career base hits? Answer: STEVE GARVEY of the 1974 Los Angeles Dodgers and the 1985 San Diego Padres....I'll never forget watching Garvey make three fielding errors in his first game at the class AA level while playing for the Albuquerque Dodgers against the Amarillo Giants in August of 1969. It would be safe to say no one in the crowd at The Ballpark Southeast of the Stockyards would have remotely thought he would go on to play 18 years in the big leagues, be a four-time Gold Glove winner, a ten-time National League All-Star and win the NL's Most Valuable Player award in 1974....JIM BARACH, meteorologist at WCHS-TV in Charleston, West Virginia: "A report says the world population is 17 tons overweight, which means the sea level isn't rising at all. We are just so fat the land is sinking into the ocean."....Rookie pitcher TREVOR BAUER of the Arizona Diamondbacks made his big league debut against the Atlanta Braves last week and was asked to discard the ball he used to throw his first pitch so it could be saved for him to have as a keepsake. He then turned and threw it into the Braves dugout....Unknown: "A person is wealthy in proportion to the things he can live without."....Center ROBERT SACRE of Gongaza became the last player chosen in the recent NBA draft when he was taken as the 60th overall pick by the Los Angeles Lakers. He later told the Los Angeles Times, "My role will be to shut my mouth, play my butt off, know my role and help KOBE BRYANT get another ring."....Overheard: "You have the right to remain silent, but obviously not the ability."---MIKE HIGGINS

6/18/12

GREG COTE, Miami Herald: "Boxer FLOYD MAYWEATHER, JR. is in jail on a child support rap and is in solitary because officials worry about his safety if he is integrated with other inmates. Really? Now, JERRY SANDUSKY I might worry about, but I sort of think Floyd might be okay."....Ohio State head football coach URBAN MEYER says he went through a lengthy clearance process in order to participate this summer in a high school football camp. STEVE SCHRADER of the Detroit Free Press said, "If he is talking about the compliance office at Ohio State, hopefully he got a second opinion."....Dallas Cowboys running back LAWRENCE VICKERS left a team practice early last week when a group of fire ants found its way into his uniform pants. BRAD DICKSON of the Omaha World-Herald commented, "But first he demonstrated the best open-field moves since GALE SAYERS."....Several members of the Arizona Diamondbacks were unwrapping packs of baseball cards in their clubhouse recently when pitcher J.J. PUTZ came upon a specially planted card valued at $4,000 featuring singer JUSTIN BIEBER....Diamondbacks field manager KIRK GIBSON stayed with his team last week rather than attend his son's high school graduation ceremony. He explained, "You are supposed to graduate."....This week in Panhandle sports history: In 1968, the local debut of The Infernos took place as the reputed villains tested local favorites DORY FUNK, JR. and TERRY FUNK before a near-capacity crowd at the Amarillo Sports Arena. The teams split the first two falls as INFERNO #1 nailed Terry with a knee to the stomach at 17:52 before Dory, Jr. took down INFERNO #2 with a jack-knife. Controversy then arose in the deciding fall when Inferno #2 kicked Terry in the head with a leaded shoe, forcing Dory, Jr. to go at it alone in a two-on-one mismatch. Funk, Jr. put up a courageous but ultimately fruitless effort before being put away with a flying cat leap applied by Inferno #1. Additional action on the evening had LORD PATRICK PATTERSON finish off RAPID RICKY ROMERO with an airplane spin and the team of CHRIS TOLAS and THE SNIPER whip the tandem of DIRTY DICK MURDOCH and THE HANGMAN. In 1961, the Amarillo Gold Sox defeated the Austin Senators by a 6-2 score in Texas League action at The Ballpark Southeast of the Stockyards with 22-year old right hander PHIL NIEKRO pitching a perfect inning in relief for Austin. The Blaine, Ohio native went on to win 318 games over 24 big league seasons--primarily with the Atlanta Braves--and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997....Unknown: "The softest pillow is a clear conscience."....NOLAN RYAN, making his weekly live appearance on the Texas Rangers television network last week: "When the New York Mets signed me in 1965, they sent me to Marion, Tennessee to play for their rookie league affiliate in the Appalachian League. When I got there no one was around to pick me up at the bus station so I called scout RED MURFF for help. He said he would call me back in five minutes. When he called back, he informed me they had mistakenly sent me to Marion, Tennessee rather than the team's actual location in Marion, Virginia."....That story brings to mind the occasion when basketball recruit JAMES "FLY" WILLIAMS left his New York City home for the first time to play college basketball for Austin Peay College in Clarksville, Tenneseee. When no one was around to pick him up an the airport, he called the Austin Peay coach for help and learned he had flown to where he thought the school was located--that being Austin, Texas....A report out of Chicago says former Playboy playmate JENNY McCARTHY attempted to email a nude picture of herself to Chicago Bears linebacker BRIAN URLACHER, who is her boyfriend. Instead, the picture went to the dentist of McCarthy's son....Overheard: "I have come to see the proper amount of sleep I need is always just ten minutes more."---MIKE HIGGINS

6/13/12

Some quotes I'll never forget....HAROLD B. MELCHART: "We should live each day as if climbing a mountain. An occasional glance toward the summit keeps the goal in mind, but many new scenes are observed from each new vantage point."....After American journalist NICHOLAS DANILOFF was detained in Moscow by the KGB and charged with espionage in 1986, University of Indiana head basketball coach BOB KNIGHT stated, "I am going to write a letter to President RONALD REAGAN and tell him if the Soviets would like a journalist, I know of about a hundred of the s.o.b.'s I'd be glad to give them."....Rock music critic STEVE HUEY: "Rolling Stones bass player BILL WYMAN was 51 years old when he married 24-year old model MANDY SMITH in 1989. Later, STEPHEN WYMAN--Bill's 27-year old son from his first marriage--became engaged to PATRICIA SMITH, who was Mandy's 46-year old mother. Although the marriage did not last and the engagement was called off, Stephen came close to marrying his stepmother's mother. His wife would have been both Mandy's mother and stepmother, which would have made his wife also his grandmother. Anyone married to your grandmother must be your grandfather, so Stephen would have been his own grandfather."....ELIZABETH J. CANHAM: "There is no freedom like seeing ourselves as we really are and not losing heart."....Asked prior to the baseball season which league he felt would win the World Series, Vice President HUBERT H. HUMPHREY answered, "I am taking a national view of the American League and an American view of the National League."....The then-named California Angels took a two games-to-none lead in the 1982 American League Championship Series before over losing three consecutive games and the AL title to the Milwaukee Brewers. Later, JOHNNY CARSON told his audience, "Angels owner GENE AUTRY has been in touch with ROY ROGERS. He wants to know how to stuff an entire baseball team."....JACKIE SMITH, operations manager of Amarillo's KACV-TV: "My first sports heroes were MICKEY MANTLE and ROGER MARIS of the New York Yankees from back in the days when the World Series was played in the sunlight and in black-and-white."....When the controversial and aptly-named JOE DON LOONEY was asked if he had ever met someone he didn't like, the late Fort Worth native and former University of Oklahoma football star answered, "Yeah, WILL ROGERS."....Shortly after HARRY NEALE lost his job as head coach of the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League, a writer pointed out the team had recorded a losing record both at home and on the road during his tenture. Neale responded, "I suppose that means my failure as a coach was that I couldn't think of anywhere else to play."....Golfer GEORGE ARCHER, expressing hope for playing on the Senior Tour after undergoing several reconstuctive surgeries: "My knee is only a few months old, my back is only 17, and I recently got a new hip. I am afraid  I might now be too young to qualify."....Overheard: "I am not looking for a longer weekend, only for a shorter week."---MIKE HIGGINS

6/4/12

MIKE BIANCHI, Orlando Sentinel: "Unless you were attacked by a crocodile, nobody wants to hear about your golf game. Make that unless two crocodiles that were interrupted during mating by your errant tee shot."....Green Bay Packers wide receiver DONALD DRIVER recently said winning "Dancing with the Stars" was equally as challenging as winning the Super Bowl. BRAD DICKSON of the Omaha World-Herald disagreed in responding, "To win the Super Bowl, you have to get past RAY LEWIS. To take 'Dancing with the Stars', all Driver had to do was defeat the guy that played STEVE URKEL."....Texas Rangers television announcers DAVE BARNETT and TOM GRIEVE gave a stirring tribute to the late BOBBY BRAGAN during a broadcast last week and probably did not realize the Rangers had created the exact situation on the field that was a punch line to one of the legendary former player, manager and baseball ambassador's better jokes. Bragan told it many times during his visits to Amarillo during his tenure as president of the Texas League when he would say, "What do you have when a group of cranky old women get drunk at a baseball game? It's the bottom of the fifth and the bags are loaded."....Sports satire website Sportspickle.com suggests this being the morning itinerary at the TERRELL OWENS Youth Football Camp: "9-9:30 am: Touchdown celebration practice; 9:30-10 am: Making fun of the quarterbacks at camp; 10-10:15 am: Scheduled walking out of practice in a huff; 10:15-10:45 am: Driveway exercise; 10:45 am: Blaming your fellow campers for your mistakes; 11 am: Being asked to leave."....Lee Bivins Elementary School principal TOM PANGER is turning a pair of pages in his life after serving 36 years with the Amarillo Independent School District and 20 years as a Lone Star Conference football official. The 1973 graduate of Tascosa High School and member of the school's Hall of Fame says, "I had back surgery prior to the 2011 season and surgeries on both of my knees after last season because of hits I took in games. I am apparantly not fast enough to get out of the way anymore. The surgeries went well and I am fortunate to be healthy as I begin retirement, and I am excited about the future and look forward to having the time to paint, fish, and play golf again."....Outfielder TORII HUNTER of the Los Angeles Angels: "Winning cures everything. Losing is a disease and winning is the antibiotic."....With summer upon us, former Amarillo High School football player JEREMY HEATH is recalled stating during his time as a sportswriter at the Amarillo Globe-News, "This is the time of year when many of the area's elder statesmen of golf get out early in the morning and attempt to shoot their age. For me, it is the time of year when the afternoon heat gives me an opportunity to take on a more attainable goal of shooting the temperature."....LEN BERMAN of ThatsSports.com: "Do young people even know that TOMMY JOHN was a pitcher and not an orthopedic surgeon?"....The St. Louis Post-Dispatch placed an asterisk next to its headline above coverage of the controversial no-hitter thrown against the Cardinals on Friday night by JOHAN SANTANA of the New York Mets. A headline in the New York Daily News shot back, "Hey St. Loo Paper--Kiss Our Asterisk"....DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: "It is a real challenge to be in a relationship with someone like me. I am not very easy to get along with."....LARRY BROWN is now 71 years old and in his 14th head coaching position as he takes over the men's basketball program at SMU. The sports area at satire website TheOnion.com states, "SMU has added a 'do not resusitate' clause to his contract."....Overheard: "No one else on Earth can be me, which goes to show just how splendid I am at it."---

5/28/12

CAM HUTCHINSON of the Saskatoon (Sask.) Express, responding to a veterinarian telling CBS that toys, golf balls, needles and fish hooks are among the items he has spotted in the stomachs of dogs during X-Rays: "He has pretty much seen it all except, well, homework."....Former Texas Tech head football coach SPIKE DYKES honors the memory of wife SHARON DYKES while raising money for Alzheimer's research in hosting the Spike Dykes Charity Golf Tournament on June 21 at Barton Creek Resort and Spa. Further information is available at spikedykes.com or by calling 214-459-0016....The latest Short Rutts "When You're Hot, You're Hot Award" goes to Beaumont native and former NFL All-Pro defensive lineman LOUIE KELCHER. He made his first hole-in-one on May 18 at The Golf Club of Dallas and hours later was inducted into the Southern Methodist University Hall of Fame....I'll never forget Kelcher being introduced along with his fellow members of the Associated Press All-America football team by BOB HOPE on the iconic comedian's annual Christmas television show in 1974. Hope said, "Louie stands 6-4 and weighs 315 pounds. Weekends, he works as a control tower at the new Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport."....DON LARSEN has announced plans to auction off the uniform he wore while pitching a perfect game for the New York Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series....Pitcher ERIC BEDARD took the hill for the Pittsburgh Pirates in their May 9 game against the Washington Nationals but was forced to leave due to back spasms after throwing just eight pitches. GENE COLLIER of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette later commented, "No one was saying much about it, but it was reassuring that they didn't have him on a pitch count of eight."....Baseball Hall of Famer and former Amarillo Gold Sox outfielder TONY GWYNN is one in a group of investors looking into purchasing the San Diego Padres....Unknown: "Fear is temporary, but regret is forever."....University of Kentucky men's basketball coach JOHN CALIPARI has announced via his website the Wildcat men's and women's teams will play Baylor in a doubleheader at Arlington's Cowboys Stadium during the 2013-14 season....Detroit Lions kicker JASON HANSON recently took part in team workouts at defensive back and told the Detroit Free Press, "I feel like I am in good shape and I feel like I can move, but I am definitely playing the position I should be playing." That has to be a more than fair assessment considering the veteran of 20 NFL seasons turns 42 years old on June 17....This year's Stanley Cup Finals between the Los Angeles Kings and the New Jersey Devils represents the first time both teams have had American-born captains in DUSTIN BROWN of the Kings and ZACH PARISE of the Devils....From sports satire website Sportspickle.com: "While the New York Knicks failed to get out of the first round of the NBA playoffs again, the team is starting to get a lot of postseason recognition. TYSON CHANDLER was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year and to the NBA's All-Defensive 2nd Team. while teammates CARMELO ANTHONY and AMARE STOUDEMIRE were named to the All-Defensive 28th team. Stoudemire and Anthony are joined on the All-Defensive 28th team by STEVE NASH of the Phoenix Suns and teammates HEDO TURKOGLU and J.J. REDICK of the Orlando Magic. The 29th and 30th teams were made up entirely of players from the Sacamento Kings and Charlotte Bobcats."....Overheard: "In order to lose weight, I will be going on a strict diet and starting an intense exercise program beginning next month. So far, I am doing real good

5/22/12

Some quotes I'll never forget....JOHN WOODEN: "Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be."....During his first training camp as a Miami Dolphins rookie, former Florida State quarterback KIM HAMMOND was asked to comment on the differences between college football and pro football. He answered, "The ball is shaped the same. However, the players aren't."....A few weeks before being released from prison after serving a six-year term for rape, boxer MIKE TYSON declared his desire to return to the ring in saying, "All I know how to do is fight. What else am I going to do, man, be a nuclear scientist?"....SEN. EVERETT DIRKSEN, longtime Illinois politician and Senate Minority Leader, on gun control: "I once shot a sparrow when I was a boy, and I still feel badly about it."....After the Brigham Young University football team was invited to the Holiday Bowl in San Diego for the seventh consecutive year, Cougars wide receiver GREG KOWSLOWSKI said, "Last year we got official Holiday Bowl watches. This year we hope they offer to fix our official Holiday Bowl watches."....PHIL MALONEY, general manager and coach of the National Hockey League's Vancouver Canucks, describing the traits he looked for in a prospective player: "I try for good players and I try for good character. If necessary, though, I settle for the player."....Pro Football Hall of Famer OTTO GRAHAM had an mediocre run as head coach of the Washington Redskins from 1966 until 1968, compiling a record of 17-22-3. National Press Club Board of Governors chairman MIKE HUDOBA introduced him at a luncheon during the run and told the crowd, "Coach Graham has been here before. You recall he promised no miracles, and he has faithfully kept that promise."....When the National Basketball Association placed an expansion team in Phoenix in 1968, among the minority owners of the franchise were singers BOBBIE GENTRY, ANDY WILLIAMS and ED AMES along with composer HENRY MANCINI. Head coach JOHNNY KERR commented, "My main concern may be who is going to sing the national anthem on opening night."....The Pittsburgh Maulers of the United States Football League lasted just one season before folding in 1984. Team president PAUL MARTHA said, "I would like to apologize to one person in particular, that being the guy who won our 'Name The Team' contest and got a lifetime pass."....The late MAURINE REAGAN: "I will feel equality has arrived when we can elect women to office who are just as incompetent as some of the men that are already there."....Immediately after leading the Miami Dolphins past the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl VIII at Houston's Rice Stadium in 1974, football coaching great DON SHULA took a vacation to a remote beach town in Maine. He and wife DOROTHY SHULA headed to a small movie house and were greeted as they entered by a round of applause from the small gathering before Shula turned to the crowd and said, "Thank you very much. We appreciate it, but winning the Super Bowl just isn't that big a deal." A man in the back of the theatre shouted, "We don't even know who you are. They weren't going to show the movie unless ten people showed up, and you and your wife are the ninth and tenth people here."....Shortly after Ohio State clinched at least a share of the 1993 Big Ten football championship with a 23-17 win over Indiana, Buckeyes quarterback BOBBY HOYING said, "I am really happy for coach JOHN COOPER and for all the guys that have been around here six or seven years, especially the seniors."....CLEM HASKINS, men's basketball coach at the University of Minnesota: "As much money as we make--and I understand the people who say it's too much--it is also not enough."....Overheard: "I have no objections to your shortcomings, only to your long stayings."---

5/18/12

DWIGHT PERRY, Seattle Times: "STEPHEN A. SMITH has become a full-time commentator opposite SKIP BAYLESS on ESPN2's 'First Take'. Gentlemen, start your mute buttons."....Anyone interested in American history, baseball or the combination of the two will enjoy the recently-released "Summer of '68--The Season That Changed Baseball and America Forever" as author TIM WENDEL examines one of the more violent years the United States has ever experienced being soothed somewhat by "The Year of the Pitcher"....Sentimentalists of baseball in the late 1960s will also appreciate the look of the Houston Astros on Friday night as they wear their "shooting star" uniforms from that era against the Texas Rangers in the opener of a three-game series between the teams at Minute Maid Park....A group of 400 sidetracked soccer fans from Spain found themselves in Budapest, Hungary this week while their team was actually playing in Bucharest, Romania. BUDD BAILEY of the Buffalo (N.Y.) News comments, "Next up for the confused group is a trip to Madison Square Garden in New York to see JOSH HAMILTON and the Rangers."....Headline from sports satire website Sportspickle.com: "Injury-riddled NBA announces Finals to be played with 3-on-3 format."....Former Amarillo Giants and big league outfielder GARY MATTHEWS led the crowd at Chicago's Wrigley Field in the traditional singing of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" during the seventh inning stretch of Thursday's night's game between the Cubs and the Philadelphia Phillies. "The Sarge" is now a Phillies broadcaster and does not appear to be missing any meals....JON MARK BEILUE of the Amarillo Globe-News, reflecting on the election this week of former Texas Tech great GABE "SENOR SACK" RIVERA to the College Football Hall of Fame: "Tech was pretty mediocre during Rivera's day and sometimes fans would amuse themselves. I remember hearing from the press box after one particular tackle behind the line, 'Two bits, four bits, six bits, a peso. All for Rivera, stand up and say so.' "....This week in Panhandle sports history: In 1986, CHESTER DUNIVAN and JIM WILCOXSON became Amarillo Independent School District pioneers as they were named the first males to serve as head basketball coaches for a local girls high school program. Dunivan, a onetime hoops standout at Amarillo High School, was named coach at Caprock while Wilcoxson took the same position at Tascosa. In 1975, multi-sport standout SHERI HAYNES of McLean High School signed a letter-of-intent to play college basketball at national power Delta State College in Cleveland, Mississippi. McLean head coach JOEL NELSON said Haynes had received approximately 25 scholarship offers but had narrowed her choices to Delta State, Nevada-Las Vegas and her original preference--Wayland Baptist--but had not gotten an offer from the Plainview school. Haynes later transferred after one season at Delta State to Wayland and was a three-year starter for the Flying Queens. In 1965, a fired-up gathering at the Amarillo Sports Arena saw things go haywire during the North American Wrestling Championship conflict between DORY FUNK, JR. and JOE SCARPA as longtime Funk nemesis IRON MIKE DiBIASE appeared in the ring unannounced to rip up Funk's sports jacket and cowboy hat before going to the parking lot and bashing in the hood of the former West Texas State football player's Cadillac. A revenge-minded Funk then located DiBiase and bloodied him up with a boot before returning to his match with Scarpa, but the unruly DiBiase reappeared, distracted referee NICK ROBERTS and illegally assisted Scarpa in pinning Funk as most in the near-capacity crowd roared its disapproval....Unknown: "Anyone who agrees with everything you say is either a fool or preparing to do you ill."....With the European Chess Union announcing plans to begin enforcing a dress code, syndicated columnist NORMAN CHAD says, "Chess needs a dress code like Switzerland needs a navy. Poker needs a dress code. At the moment, all the twentysomething savants favor shades, baseball caps and hoodies, usually adorned in black. Card rooms these days look like funeral homes with chips."....Following reports that a group of scientists have located a gene linked to obesity, comedian ALAN RAY responded, "Tests on engineered lab mice proved inconclusive. All they wanted to do was lie around all day and play video games."....Overheard: "The biggest problem with stupidity is that it cannot be seen in a mirror."---

5/7/12

The late GEORGE "GOOBER PYLE" LINDSEY, a onetime high school football coach and a former quarterback at the University of North Alabama: "I approached one of my players once and asked, 'Son, do you think you can you pass this ball?' He answered, 'No, I don't even think I can swallow it.' "....Amid rumors the NFL will suspend its Pro Bowl all-star game and eventually eliminate it, GREG COTE of the Miami Herald says, "Fans of the Pro Bowl are outraged. Well, one fan is. I couldn't reach the other one."....Also from Cote: "NBC-TV had a three-hour Kentucky Derby preview show Saturday for a two-minute race. Unless the horses started talking, that strikes me as a bit excessive."....After the latest "Wrestlemania" drew a crowd of more than 70,000 to Sun Life Stadium in Miami, BRAD DICKSON of the Omaha World-Herald observed, "With America forced to go 18 months between ADAM SANDLER movies, we are starved for bad acting."....LILLIAN MUSIAL--wife of baseball great STAN MUSIAL--passed away on Thursday at age 91. The couple met as teenagers in their hometown of Donora, Pennsylvania and recently celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary....Amarillo High product VICTOR BLACK has come out of the bullpen 11 times this season for the Altoona (Pa.) Curve--class AA farm club of the Pittsburgh Pirates--and ranks second in the Eastern League in total pitching appearances....WILLIE MAYS turned 81 years old on Sunday....Former big league pitcher DENNIS "OIL CAN" BOYD reveals in his newly-released autobiography he smoked crack cocaine daily while with the Boston Red Sox in 1986. IAN HAMILTON of the Regina (Sask.) Leader-Post responded, "Maybe it's time for Boyd to change his nickname to 'Coke Can'."....Bumper sticker: "Always give 100%, except when donating blood."....A first in Major League Baseball took place last week at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati as the starting pitchers for both sides were taking the hill on their respective birthdays. Neither HOMER BAILEY of the Reds (age 26) nor RYAN DEMPSTER of the Cubs (age 35) were involved in the decisions as the Reds won, 4-3. Bailey later told MLB.com, "I was in the training room after the game and the Hall of Fame came in with some balls we were asked to sign. It's pretty neat. I guess if you are going to be in Cooperstown, there are worse ways you can get there."....LUKE MOGHADDAS-DAVIES of Sudbury, England stopped 800 yards short of the finish line while running in the recent London Marathon and proposed to his girlfriend YVETTE PAGE. NBC's JIMMY FALLON commented, "Unfortunately, a guy from Kenya had passed him and ended up proposing first."....A quote I'll never forget: Following Bowling Green University's 21-0 win over Los Angeles State in 1965, a Los Angeles State defensive player paid tribute to Bowling Green fullback STEW WILLIAMS --named a pre-season All-American by a number of publications--in stating, "He doesn't run over you, he scatters you." The following week, Williams and the Falcons visited Canyon's Buffalo Bowl to play West Texas State and he was a non-factor as the Buffaloes won, 34-0....DWIGHT PERRY, Seattle Times: "What do you get when you cross TOM OSBORNE with grunge music? We are about to find out. Nebraska just got an oral commitment from a linebacker named COURTNEY LOVE."....Overheard: "I didn't make it to the gym today. That makes seven years in a row."---MIKE HIGGINS

5/1/2012

Some quotes I'll never forget....LUCILLE BALL: "I don't know anything about luck. I have never banked on it and have always been afraid of people that do. Luck is combining hard work with knowing what an opportunity is and what isn't."....Asked by ESPN if he had been consulted by his alma mater of Texas Tech before the school hired BOB KNIGHT as its men's basketball coach in 2001, Pampa and White Deer product ZACH THOMAS, then with the NFL's Miami Dolphins, answered, "No, I wasn't. I seem to only hear from them when they want money."....RONALD REAGAN was highly critical of the 1960s counterculture movement when he was governor of California. One year he commented on the pre-season hopes of the Cal football in stating, "We are looking forward to a great season, but only if we can find a way to put cleats on their sandals."....Comedian ALEX KASEBERG: "Golfer JOHN DALY is 50 pounds overweight, chain smokes and chugs soda pops during his rounds. He has to be the only player on the PGA Tour whose four-round total is lower than his cholesterol count."....After the Dallas Cowboys chose LSU defensive lineman MARCUS SPEARS in the first round of the NFL draft, DAN DALY of the Washington Times commented, "Is that a great name for an offensive lineman, or what? It's like drafting an offensive lineman named FRED CLIPS."....Bumper sticker: "I would much rather be rich than stupid."....A.J. FOYT: "I feel a lot safer driving in a race than I do driving the freeways of Houston."....Offering an new way to stimulate interest in basketball, Notre Dame athletic director ED KRAUSE suggested, "Record all fouls on both teams, but have no free throws during regulation play. When the game is over, fans such as I can get up and go home. Everyone else can stick around and watch a free throw shooting contest."....FLOYD CHIFFER, former pitcher with the Amarillo Gold Sox and San Diego Padres: "Some of the best times I had playing professional baseball were in the minor leagues. We were young and didn't make much money, but we loved playing the game. My fondest memories of playing in Amarillo were horseback riding in Palo Duro Canyon, two-stepping at the Texas Moon Palace and having great fans that provided great Texas hospitality."....After Texas A&M hung a 73-10 football defeat on Baylor a few years back, Bears quarterback AARON KARAS was asked by a television reporter what the mood was like in the Baylor locker room. Karas answered, "We got beat by 63 points. What do you think it is?"....Baltimore Orioles outfielder DAVID NEWHAN, son of Los Angeles Times scribe ROSS NEWHAN, on the odds of a sportswriter reaching the major leagues: "Pretty long. Look at the genes I had to overcome."....After a Texas Tech-Texas A&M football game in Lubbock was moved to a 9:10 p.m. kickoff to accommodate Fox Sports television, DON WILLIAMS of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal said, "This will be the first time in history Aggie fans will have the opportunity to have midnight yell practice between the third and fourth quarters."....A 27-year old physical education teacher and golfer from Altoon, Illinois named RICHARD M. NIXON carded a hole-in-one and later told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "We turned it into the newspaper, but my friends said we would never see it published because they would think it was a joke.".....BRYAN MILLARD, former Dumas High School and University of Texas football standout, commenting on the aggressive style of linebacker FREDD YOUNG when the pair were teammates with the NFL's Seattle Seahawks: "I would rather rub sandpaper on the butt of a bobcat in a phone booth than to be tackled by Fredd."....With Dallas Cowboys quarterbacksand teammates QUINCY CARTER, DREW HENSON and CHAD HUTCHINSON all being former professional baseball players, ESPN commentator JOE THEISMANN said, "They are just one player away from having a hell of an infield."....Overheard: "Some choose to drink from the fountain of knowledge. Others choose to just gargle."----MIKE HIGGINS

4/23/12
WENDEL SLOAN, Clovis (N.M.) News-Journal: "Don't panic if you forgot my birthday. You've still got time to order tickets online from the Texas Rangers, Dallas Cowboys or Dallas Mavericks or a gift certificate from HairClub."....With an increasing number of athletes marketing designer colognes, JASON GAY of The Wall Street Journal asks, "What man wouldn't want to walk into a department store and walk out smelling like DIRK NOWITZKI midway through Game Six?"....Amarillo resident HEIDT MELSON and wife DIANNA MELSON carry far more than a passing interest in the fortunes of the Los Angeles Dodgers and their ace pitcher CLAYTON KERSHAW. The Melsons' niece--the former ELLEN MELSON--met Kershaw when the pair were junior high school classmates in Dallas and married the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner in 2010....Memorial services were held on Saturday for former Amarillo Gold Sox player and field manager GALE PRINGLE and closed with the gathering taking part in a rousing rendition of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame"....MARK LEE, Amarillo Sox general manager and a former relief pitcher with the San Diego Padres and Pittsburgh Pirates: "My biggest sports thrill as a participant came when I made my big league debut for the Padres in 1978 against the Atlanta Braves at then-named San Diego Stadium. Our manager ROGER CRAIG brought me in to face eventual National League MVP DALE MURPHY in the 8th inning with two runners on and I struck him out. We went on to win 5-4 in 14 innings."....This week in Panhandle sports history: In 2005, the charter members of the Kids, Inc. Hall of Fame were honored as the organization celebrated its 60th anniversary with a banquet at the Amarillo Civic Center. Inducted were CAL FARLEY, RALPH DYKEMAN, BUS DUGGER, THE WARE FAMILY, JIM BROCK, KIM HUDSON, BETTY SOLIS, PHYLLIS SQUIRES, LEWIS BRAZIER and BRANDON SLAY. In 1988, BRITT ROBINSON of Tahoka, Texas, won the 15th annual Texas State Trapshooting Tournament, defeating 316 of his fellow competitors at the Amarillo Gun Club. In 1974, Canyon High School righthander ED LAIR threw a no-hitter as the Eagles defeated Caprock 4-0 in district 3-AAA baseball play. In 1963, the Lamar Bees edged the Whittier Spiders 32-31 in Kids, Inc. softball with Lamar's CURTIS ALEXANDER hitting two home runs and earning individual recognition for outstanding sportsmanship. Alexander went on to become an all-district 3-AAAA third baseman for Amarillo High School and is now a longtime Big 12 Conference baseball umpire. In 1955, BOBBY SANDERS upset defending champion J.R. BROWN to capture the Amarillo Country Club Men's Championship Golf Tournament. Sanders and Brown reached the final with wins over DAN HIGGINS and GENE EDWARDS....Friday's broadcast of the Chicago Cubs-Miami Marlins game on WGN had play-by-play announcer LEN KASPER pointing out Marlins outfielder GIANCARLO STANTON is now going by his given first name after being previously known as MIKE STANTON. Color commentator BOB BRENLY added, "Being as he stands six-foot-five and weighs 245 pounds, I'll certainly call him anything he wants to be called."....JIMMY FALLON of NBC on the launching of the Ultimate Frisbee League: "It's the only sport where the players are tested to make sure they use drugs."....An anonymous resident of New Jersey paid $1.2 million last week for a 1909 HONUS WAGNER baseball card. Comic TORBIN ROLFSEN says, "Now he just needs a JAMIE MOYER to finish the set."....Overheard: "With the NFL draft just days away, a busy MEL KIPER, JR. is still finding time to throw around the old spreadsheet with his daughter."---MIKE HIGGINS
4/17/12
Some quotes I'll never forget....Ohio State basketball coach FRED TAYLOR, analyzing a series of coaching resignations brought on by players with disciplinary issues: "You could put the brains of three hummingbirds inside those guys and they would still fly backwards."....J.C. SNEAD was an infielder in the old Washington Senators farm system before turning to professional golf. Comparing his ability as a baseball player to that as a golfer, the nephew of legendary linkster SAM SNEAD said, "I hit a long ball in baseball just as I do in golf. I just didn't hit it often enough."....Addressing the potential of rookie forward CHRISTIAN LAETTNER in 1992, Minnesota Timberwolves coach JACK McCLOSKEY remarked, "I think he will eventully have the credentials to back up everything he thinks of himself."....University of Kentucky athletic director CLIFF HAGAN on his relationship with the press: "I resent seeing in the papers that I was 'unavailable for comment'. I am always available for comment, even if 'no comment' is my comment.".....Pro football great GEORGE BLANDA on why he was still quarterbacking the Oakland Raiders at age 43: "I have to keep playing so everyone over 40 will have someone to root for on Sunday afternoons."....Colorful New York Mets radio broadcaster and baseball Hall-of-Famer RALPH KINER noted in a broadcast that STEVE TROUT of the New York Yankees was the son of former major league pitcher DIZZY TROUT and then stated, "There's a lot of heredity in that family."....SMU field goal kicker CHIPPER JOHNSON, asked what his qualifications were to serve as a weekend sportscaster on a Dallas television station: "I dress nice and I don't have any pimples."....After his University of Tulsa football team defeated Idaho State 58-0 in 1967, Golden Hurriance head coach GLENN DOBBS commented, "I have no apologies. I am not going to punt on first or second down."....MARIA MITCHELL: "We have a hunger of the mind which asks for knowledge of all around us. The more we gain, the more is our desire. And the more we see, the more we are capable of seeing."....Speaking at the Texas High School Coaches Association Convention when he was governor, JOHN CONNALLY told the gathering, "You are the only group of people that get more advice on how to run your business than we public officials do."....TIM BABB, head basketball coach at John Carroll University, commenting on the length of the Blue Streaks season: "I love basketball and I love my mother-in-law. But I wouldn't think of living with her for sixth months."....Actor SYLVESTER STALLONE on the broad appeal of arm wrestling: "You have guys from MIT and guys that can't even spell MIT."....Amarillo attorney MIKE MOORE was owner of the Amarillo Texans summer collegiate baseball team in the early 1990s and was once ejected from the stadium in Elkhart, Kansas for verbally abusing the umpires. He later told the Amarillo Globe-News, "I was not intoxicated. I had only drunk five beers, and I didn't drink them in the stands. I drank them under the stands."....ANNE BRADSTREET: "If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant. If we do not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome."....After aging boxer FELIX TRINIDAD went back into retirement after losing a bout to WINKY WRIGHT in Las Vegas, DAVID THOMAS of the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram wrote, "He should stay retired after losing a fight to someone named Winky."....Seattle Seahawks great STEVE LARGENT, asked what record he owns that he treasures most: "Probably The Beatles' 'White Album'."---MIKE HIGGINS
4/16/12
JIMMY FALLON of ABC on the New York Mets starting the season with four straight wins: "I don't want to say it's surprising, but today the Mets tested themselves for steroids."....The Baltimore Orioles' home opener on April 6 against the Minnesota Twins was disrupted when 26-year old MARK HARVEY streaked onto the field wearing no more than a Batman costume. Harvey then spent 13 hours in jail on a trespassing charge, was banned for life from Oriole Park at Camden Yards and later told Baltimore's WJZ-TV, "I don't recommend no one doing it. Trust me, they tackle you hard."....Note to BUD SELIG, Commissioner of Major League Baseball: The cancelation of the MLB-produced "This Week in Baseball" after 34 years is sad to learn and highly disappointing....Organizers of the London Olympics recently contacted management of The Who in hopes of having drummer KEITH MOON perform at the closing ceremonies of the upcoming Summer Games. They quickly dropped the idea after learning Moon died of a drug overdose in September of 1978....Pitcher FREDDY GARCIA of the New York Yankees threw five wild pitches in just 4 2/3 innings of work last week against the Orioles, prompting Yankees television commentator KEN SINGLETON to tell his audience, "Catcher RUSSELL MARTIN is getting to personally know all of the fans behind home plate."....It's an honor to welcome Southern Methodist University law professor and noted baseball author PAUL ROGERS to Rutthead Nation....A mini-reunion of West Texas State basketball players from the mid-1970s took place last week at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City as BRAD SHRECK of Wichita, Kansas and REGGIE RAMEY of Lawton, Oklahoma took in a Thunder game while visiting their former Buffalo teammate MAURICE CHEEKS, now an Oklahoma City assistant coach....This week in Panhandle sports history: In 1984, Laredo Junior College basketball coach and athletic director GARY MOSS was named the new head cage coach at WT, replacing the fired KEN EDWARDS. In 1974, a rambunctious evening before a near-capacity crowd at the Amarillo Sports Arena climaxed with the popular duo of DORY FUNK, JR. and DICK MURDOCH defeating the shady tandem of KUNG FU LEE and JIM DILLON when Funk crushed Lee with a sunset press at 16:35. An infuriated and unsportsmanlike Dillon then jumped in the ring wearing brass knuckles, threw Funk over the ropes, socked referee ALEX PEREZ in the face and slugged Murdoch on the side of his head. In 1959, Texas League baseball made its debut at The Ballpark Southwest of the Coors Distribution Center as the Tulsa Oilers defeated the Amarillo Gold Sox by a 3-2 score. Beyond baseball, the highlight of the evening for the crowd of 2,533 came when JOY KOTARA--earlier in the week named "Miss Gold Sox"--braved the pre-game temperature of 41 degrees and strolled to home plate in a bathing suit....Headline from sports satire website Sportspickle.com: "2012 Draft Class Preemptively Sues NFL for Brain Damage"....It will be "Pine Tar Day" on May 5 at Kaufman Stadium in Kansas City as the Royals hand out 10,000 miniature pine-tar bats in recognition of the famous home run hit by GEORGE BRETT--then nullified by umpire TIM McCLELLAND--in June of 1983 at Yankee Stadium. LEN BERMAN of ThatsSports.com comments, "Perhaps this will start a trend. How about 'Corked Bat Day' in Chicago in honor of SAMMY SOSA? Or 'Vaseline Night' to honor pitcher GAYLORD PERRY and his doctored baseball? Then there's 'Syringe Night', not limited to any specific team."....Overheard: "Why is the winner of the Miss Universe pageant always a resident of Earth?"---MIKE HIGGINS
4/12/12
JAMIE MOYER of the Colorado Rockies was the losing pitcher in his first start of the season last week against the Houston Astros. BRAD DICKSON of the Omaha World-Herald blames that fate of the 49-year old on "The AARP Magazine cover jinx."....JON MARK BEILUE, Amarillo Globe-News: "I wonder how different today would be if Miami Marlins manager OZZIE GUILLEN had wrecked a motorcycle with a girl on the back and former University of Arkansas football coach BOBBY PETRINO had said he loved FIDEL CASTRO."....From sports satire website Sportspickle.com: "A contrite Guillen has clarified his remarks about Castro in saying, 'He never accomplished half of what JOSEPH STALIN did.' "....Newsflash from the same site: "Inspired Marlins defeat Phillies after receiving pep talk from Castro via satellite."....CHAUNCEY SPENCER. senior pastor of First Street Church of Christ in Dumas: "My first sports heroes were JACKIE ROBINSON, WILLIE MAYS, MUHAMMAD ALI, JOHNNY UNITAS, ROGER STAUBACH, BOB HAYES, LEN DAWSON, FRAN TARKENTON and JULIUS ERVING."....Texas State University officially moves from the Southland Conference to the Western Athletic Conference in June. The Bobcats get a quick baptism into college football's highest level when they host Texas Tech on September 2 at recently-remodeled Bobcat Stadium in San Marcos....This week in Panhandle sports history: In 1976, cold temperatures and wind gusts up to 50 mph failed to prevent 734 fans from welcoming Texas League baseball back to The Ballpark Southeast of the Stockyards after a year's absence as the San Antonio Brewers outslugged the Amarillo Gold Sox, 16-10. There was only home run hit in the contest, that coming off the bat of San Antonio's RUDY JARAMILLO, now in his fourth season as hitting coach for the Chicago Cubs after holding the same position for many years with the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers. In 1967, a near-capacity crowd at the Amarillo Sports Arena did not hesitate to express its displeasure following the disqualification of DORY FUNK, JR. after the local favorite lost his cool and socked two referees and opponent THUNDERBOLT PATTERSON. Earlier, at 12:44 of the tag team conflict having THE MEDICS face LITTLE EAGLE and PAT O'CONNOR, Little Eagle attempted to dive at Medic No. 1 but instead hit his head on the knee of Medic No 2. Little Eagle was then put in a near-comatose state by Medic No. 2 as the masked villains retained the cherished championship on a controversial decision by referee KEN FARBER. In 1959, West Texas State's on-campus football stadium hosted its final  game before the opening of ultra-modern Buffalo Bowl as coach CLARK JARRIGAN's Buffs closed out spring drills with the Maroons defeating the Whites, 36-22, before 2,000 fans and a television audience watching live coverage on KVII-TV....DWIGHT PERRY of the Seattle Times, suggesting a sure sign you live in a tough neighborhood: "A Little League batter charges the mound in T-ball game."....A quote I'll never forget: Baseball icon DON ZIMMER was approached for an autograph at a banquet by a man he didn't know nor recognize. Later, Zimmer asked a bystander who the fellow was and was told, "That's KEVIN COSTNER. You know, 'Dances With Wolves'." A bewilder Zimmer asked, "He does?"....Overheard: "Anyone who is considering getting a tattoo should be required to take a look at what a tattoo looks like on an old person."---MIKE HIGGINS
4/9/12
BOB MOLINARO of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot: "Anybody who gets all tingly over the release of the NFL exhibition schedule should be required to actually sit through the games."....JIMMY FALLON of ABC: "Remember baseball? It used to be our national pastime before Facebook."....Amarillo High product CLAYTON COOK began his fourth full season as a pitcher in the Cleveland Indians farm system last week as the Opening Day starter for the Carolina Mudcats, Cleveland's advanced-class A affiliate in the Carolina League. He went five innings, gave up two hits and an earned run and was credited with the win in an 11-2 victory for the team based in Zebulon, North Carolina over the Winston-Salem Dash. Hereford's PARKER BRIDWELL began his third season as a pitcher in the Baltimore Orioles system Saturday by pitching five innings, striking out four and getting the win as his Delmarva Shorebirds scored an 8-2 win over the Asheville Tourists in class A South Atlantic League play. Amarillo High's VICTOR BLACK started his fourth year in the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system on Saturday with the Altoona (Pa.) Curve of the class AA Eastern League, throwing an inning of relief while giving up two hits and a pair of earned runs in a 12-1 loss to the Erie SeaWolves.....LSU cornerback MORRIS CLAIBORN scored a paltry 4 on the Wonderlic intelligence test given at the recent NFL combine. GREG COTE of the Miami Herald comments, "Things went downhill after he misspelled 'L-S-U'."....This week in Panhandle sports history: In 1976, THE MIGHTY CANADIAN used a series of backbreakers and a windmill leg press to defeat THE SUPER DESTROYER and capture the International Wrestling Championship before a near-capacity crowd at the Amarillo Sports Arena. The evening began with THE LAWMAN doing in DAN BURDICK with a bulldog hold at 7:35 and BOB JIGGERS putting away JOE PALARDY with a reverse neck breaker at 12:35. In 1971, retired Amarillo High School basketball coach T.G. HULL was inducted into the Hall of Honor of the Texas High School Coaches Association. In 1962, running back  PISTOL PETE PEDRO scored three touchdowns as the West Texas State varsity of coach JOE KERBEL closed out spring football drills with a 26-0 win over the WT Alumni before 4,000 wet and cold fans at Buffalo Bowl. Guest coaches of the Buff exes were E.J. WEBB of Canyon High School and TOM LANDRY of the Dallas Cowboys....Headline from sports satire website Sportspickle.com: "ROBERT GRIFFIN III trying to enjoy his final weeks of happiness before becoming a Washington Redskin."....From the same site: "Piano sales spike as Masters begins."....The local roots of PGA tour member JOHNSON WAGNER run far deeper than was reported last week by the Amarillo Globe-News during his participation at the Masters. Wagner, born in Amarillo and a city resident until he was eight years old, is the great-grandson of M.T. "HAP" JOHNSON and a great-nephew of both NEIL JOHNSON and EDDIE JOHNSON, all residents of Amarillo following their days as football players at the University of Oklahoma. In addition to being a grandson of onetime Amarillo High quarterback, United States Golf Association treasurer and Panhandle Sports Hall of Famer M.T. JOHNSON, JR., Wagner is a nephew of both former Tascosa football great/OU defensive back MONTY JOHNSON and Tascosa/University of Houston golfer JAMES HERRING and a second cousin of former Golden Sandie football players EDDIE EDWARDS and JIM SHELTON....BRUCE DOWBIGGIN, Toronto Globe and Mail: "One thing Canadians do better than Americans is broadcast the Olympics. If proof were needed, it is offered by reports that NBC will be employing 'American Idol' host RYAN SEACRIST during this summer's London Olympics. No word yet on if STEVEN TYLER and RANDY JACKSON will be judges for synchronized swimming."....Overheard: "If we look back at anything with no regrets, it may well mean we simply didn't try hard enough."---MIKE HIGGINS
4/3/12
Some quotes I'll never forget....LEO BUSCAGLIA, motivational speaker, author and professor of special education at the University of Southern California: "Too often we underestimate the power of a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest complement or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the power to turn a life around."....After being elected president of the National Football League Players Association, defensive back DICK ANDERSON of the Miami Dolphins said, "I need this like I need another knee operation."....Late night talk show icon JOHNNY CARSON on the United States falling short in the number of Olympic medals earned to Russia over the years: "It is nothing to be ashamed of. We can be proud our wheat makes good athletes."....When outfielder DON DEMETER of the Detroit Tigers received an award in 1964 for being the outstanding baseball player from the state of Oklahoma, the product of Oklahoma City's Capital Hill High School commented, "I would like to thank MICKEY MANTLE for moving out of state, ALLIE REYNOLDS for retiring and WARREN SPAHN for getting old."....BILLY ALLEN, the son of SMU basketball coach SONNY ALLEN, was an all-state basketball player in high school. When the elder Allen was asked if he had offered a car to his son in exchange for signing with the Mustangs, he answered, "No, but I have considered taking one away if he doesn't.".... On being told the Oakland Athletics would be taking a commercial flight from Oakland to Toronto instead of a charter flight, outfielder WILLIE WILSON asked, "You mean we have to go with people?"....Unknown: "If we are irritated by every rub, how will our mirror be polished?"....GREG KAMPE became the youngest head college basketball coach in the country when he was hired by Oakland (Mich.) University at age 28. He then said, "I told my wife three years ago my goal was to be a head coach by the time I was 30. My goal now is to still be a head coach when I am 30."....Boxer AARON PRYOR on an impending comeback: "I wasn't retired. I was resting."....The Indiana Pacers of the NBA granted women's basketball great ANN MEYERS a tryout in 1977 but released the former UCLA and Olympic star after two exhibition games. Pacers coach JACK McCLOSKEY said, "She gave me a little peck on the cheek and a hug. It meant a lot to me. I've never gotten a kiss from a player who had just gotten cut.".....The Philadelphia Phillies traded pitcher ROGER McDOWELL to the Los Angeles Dodgers late in the 1991 season and immediately won 12 straight games. McDowell then commented, "They should have traded me before the season instead. They would be 120-0."....Actor JIM BOEKA, a former offensive lineman with the Dallas Cowboys: "I wasn't a 'bonus baby'. I went to coffee with a scout and he offered me $6,500. I not only signed, I bought the coffee."....Asked how he would like to be remembered, MUHAMMAD ALI replied, "That he took two cups of love and a one teaspoon of patience. One pint of kindness. One quart of laughter. Mixed it up and stirred it well. And then he spread it over the span of a lifetime and served it to every deserved person he met."....ABE LEMONS, legendary quipster and former basketball coach at Oklahoma City University, Pan American University and the University of Texas, showing concern over an explosion of wide-range recruiting: "One of these days the NCAA needs put in a rule that you have to have one player each year from your home state."....Offering thoughts on any personnel changes he planned with the trading deadline near and his Pittsburgh Pirates fading in the National League East race, manager DANNY MURTAUGH said, "I need a player who hits a home run every time he bats, a pitcher who strikes out every batter he faces and a player who is always thinking two innings ahead. The only trouble is for him to put down his cup of beer, come down out of the stands and do those things."....Cleveland Indians general manager PETER BAVASI, asked in spring training what American League team he feared the most: "Our own."---MIKE HIGGINS
3/30/12
JON MARK BEILUE, Amarillo Globe-News: "A friend of mine boarded a Southwest Airlines flight on Wednesday morning at Amarillo's Rick Husband International Airport. A flight attendant said over the intercom, 'Rest assured your crew has taken all its proper medication before boarding'."....Longtime Amarillo resident GALE PRINGLE passed away Wednesday at age 90. The Hollis, Oklahoma native finished a 17-year professional baseball career pitching for the Amarillo Gold Sox from 1956 through 1960 and went 14-3 for the Sox in 1958 while sharing managerial duties of the Western League team with EDDIE BOCKMAN. Pringle was with the Gold Sox in 1959 when our city joined the Texas League and was an affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles and again as he played his last season as a professional in 1960 when the Sox began a three-year run as the class AA farm team of the New York Yankees....North Carolina congressman BRAD MILLER recently expressed his devotion for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels by saying he would root against Duke "even if the Blue Devils were playing the Taliban". JIM LITKE of the Associated Press points out, "Guess who is not running for re-election."....SCOTT OSTLER of the San Francisco Chronicle: "I am no theologian, but I am pretty sure television evangelist PAT ROBERTSON offered God a bounty for a PEYTON MANNING cart-off."....MIKE TYSON struts down a new career path next month as he attempts to headline a Las Vegas stage show. Comedian JERRY PERISHO says, "It's all set to go just as soon as they find someone to play the part of EVANDER HOLYFIELD."....There are few good reasons for anyone to get out of bed in the middle of the night, but no baseball fan will regret doing so to watch "Inside Fenway Park: An Icon at 100" when the outstanding documentary produced by National Geographic airs on KACV-TV and PBS at 4 am this coming Monday morning....Unknown: "Everyone smiles in the same language."....PAT FORDE of Yahoo! Sports, reasoning why University of Kentucky basketball coach RICK PITINO looks older than his 59 years: "If you did as much in the past 25 years as he has, you'd look that way, too. In a peripatetic and melodramatic quarter-century, Pitino has been to six Final Fours, had five jobs, flirted with at least five other jobs, been a hero on three college campuses, written three books, taken two wildly divergent runs at coaching the pros, endured the sudden deaths of two brothers-in-law, grieved the loss of an infant son, coached the greatest second-half comeback in college history, lost the greatest game in college history, survived a scandalous extortion attempt and won one national title. He's been busy."....With SEN. DICK DURBIN calling for an investigation into the bounty situation hanging over the NFL, BRAD DICKSON of the Omaha World-Herald writes, "This may be a new low for the NFL: A politician from Illinois says you're dirty."....DALY DALY, Washington Times: "I'm all for MAGIC JOHNSON owning the Los Angeles Dodgers, especially if he puts pitchers and catchers on a 24-second clock."....As the Texas Rangers expand their concession options this season by introducing a $26 hot dog topped with shredded cheese, sauteed onions and chili, STEVE SCHRADER of the Detroit Free Press asks, "Hey, these days, do you know of a cheaper way to get gas?"....Overheard: "My life immediately got much easier when I finally decided to stop expecting people to make any sense."---MIKE HIGGINS
3/28/12
This weekend marks the 43rd anniversary of Amarillo hosting its only Major League Baseball exhibition game ever as the San Francisco Giants and Cleveland Indians squared off on April 1, 1969 at The Ballpark Southwest of the Grand Street Overpass....CHICK O'MALLEY, general manager of the Amarillo Giants--San Francisco's class AA farm club in the Texas League--made the announcement of the game's scheduling months earlier, bringing several media outlets to feel a need to point out the game would not be an April Fools Day joke....The game actually was in limbo four days before it was played as America prepared for an official "Day of Mourning" with the passing on March 28 of DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, our nation's 34th president....ROBERT ASHWORTH, superintendent of the Amarillo Independent School District, announced that students attending the contest would be given an excused absence for the day's sixth period in order to make the game's 3 p.m. start....I was not so fortunate at having an opportunity to experience Mr. Ashworth's grace. Due to low grades and ongoing mischievous behavior, my grandparents made me attend sixth period and endure the class and the often odd methods of teaching utilized by the enigmatic ANNA MAE McCUNE, longtime social studies teacher at Stephen F. Austin Junior High (now Middle) School. Miss McCune is remembered for many things, most of all her daily fashion statement of wearing chopsticks in her hair. In accordance with her mysterious ways, we watched "The Match Game" with host GENE RAYBURN on television in her class that day and it will always be the longest 30 minutes of my life....My grandfather and I finally got to the stadium in the fourth inning and didn't see future Hall of Famers WILLIE MAYS and WILLIE McCOVEY play for the Giants. They both played three innings and were done for the day. Mays had walked twice and was picked off first base by Cleveland pitcher MIKE PAUL....TOM WILSON, president and CEO of the Fort Worth-based Leadership Network, was an Austin health teacher/coach at the time and recalls, "My very first day to teach at Austin, Miss McCune told me to get out of the hall and get to class or I would have to report to the office of principal CHARLES DOUGLAS. I was young, but I didn't think I looked that young. She and I had the same prep period, and she asked me one day if I would mind going home with her during our off-period to help her light her floor furnace. I reluctantly agreed. The following morning, with the office full of teachers getting their mail, she said in her loud voice, 'Mr. Douglas, is it okay if Mr. Wilson goes home with me today and lights my fire?'. Teachers wbrere laughing so hard they scattered like a covey of quail, including Mr. Douglas, who went in his office and closed his door he was laughing so hard. I went with her, but for the record, I only lit her floor furnace."....HARLON VOYLES, longtime Austin physical education instructor: "Tom Wilson is telling the truth. We laughed for months and teased him unmercifilly the rest of the year."....One of the game accounts for the Amarillo Daily News and Globe Times was written by LES GILES, then in his second year with the publication. He retired from the now-named Amarillo Globe-News just last year and is an extra nice fellow.....Mays wasn't the only one to commit an embarassing blunder in front of the capacity crowd of over 5,000. KFDA-TV sports director DEAN KELLEY was filming the game down the left field line when a Cleveland batter hit a ball his way that landed in fair territory. Kelley thought the ball had landed foul, so he picked it and threw it back towards the infield. Umpires awarded the Indians hitter a ground-rule double.....DREW BERGEN, general manager of Amarillo's Zip Print: "I did not attend the game. I didn't even know they were playing. However, I do recall one time Miss McCune got her wig stuck in a fish hook that had been placed above her classroom door as part of a display.".....For reasons only known to him, longtime local sports columnist PUTT POWELL incorrectly reported for many years that Mays refused to play in the game because of the legendary poor condition of the stadium's playing field. Powell did, however, do an extensive feature in his column the following day on the football exploits of Cleveland third baseman MAX ALVIS, a Jasper, Texas product and former footballer under DARRELL ROYAL at the University of Texas.....DR. PAUL MATNEY, president of Amarillo College: "I was in attendance that day and the thought that two major league teams were playing in Amarillo was almost more than I could imagine. It was a tremendous experience for someone who loved baseball more than anything in the world. I would have gladly been the batboy for either team. I also remember when I was a student at Austin, Miss McCune got a pencil stuck in her teeth and she had to leave in the middle of the day to see a dentist and get it removed."....A rather obscure player was the star of the game in Cleveland outfielder RICHIE SCHIENBLUM. The native of Long Island, New York had a pair of key doubles as the Indians of manager ALVIN DARK defeated the Giants of skipper CHARLIE FOX by a 7-6 score....DAVID THOMAS, Albuquerque attorney and a former Austin student: "I did not attend the game, but Miss McCune was a freak, chopsticks and all."....JANICE HARSCH, recently retired Amarillo High School home economics teacher who was completing the first year of her 40-year career at Austin: "I went through lots of extensive training to hopefully become a good teacher, but nothing trained me better than having MIKE HIGGINS for homeroom my first two years to teach. May Miss McCune rest in peace. Oh, my. What are they going to be saying about me after I am gone?"---MIKE HIGGINS
3/23/12
SCOTT WOOD, North Carolina State junior forward, on the Wolfpack barely making the NCAA basketball tournament: "We were the last team picked. I definitely had to wash my drawers when I got home on Selection Sunday."....Bumper sticker: "If you want my opinion, go ask my wife."....The Amarillo community loses a great friend and one of its most passionate sports fans with the passing of BILL WARE. Concurrently, Rutthead Nation mourns the loss of an original and loyal citizen....New University of Kansas head football coach CHARLIE WEIS recently said he is publicly perceived as "some arrogant, obnoxious, loudmouth punk from New Jersey." BUDD BAILEY of the Buffalo (N.Y.) News responded, "Not so, Charlie. We didn't even know you were from New Jersey."....The Amarillo Sox open a three-game series against the Winnipeg Goldeyes at Shaw Field in Winnipeg, Manitoba on May 29, representing the first time our city's professional baseball team has played on foreign soil since the early 1960s. The Amarillo Gold Sox had a unique experience once during a trip to play the Mexico City Reds as they participated in the annual Pan American Series with Mexican League teams hosting Texas League teams. With the Gold Sox team bus having problems clearing customs at the Mexican border, field manager SHERIFF ROBINSON phoned team owner and city oilman JAY TAYLOR seeking assistance. Taylor then called on his close friend SEN. LYNDON B. JOHNSON in Washington, D.C., and within minutes the bus was across the border and on its way....A planned baseball stadium for downtown Amarillo isn't going to stop the Sox from continuing to upgrade The Ballpark Southwest of the Grand Street Overpass. Sox general manager MARK LEE told KVII-TV this week he is preparing for the team to play "another three to four years" at the storied but aged facility....Syndicated columnist NORMAN CHAD, offering his solution to the estimated cost of tickets, parking and concessions to attend a Sacramento Kings game being $250 per person: "What I would do is this: Get a bucket of Popeyes for 20 bucks and watch the game at Sears. If I get thrown out, I listen to the rest of it on the radio."....Newsflash from the sports area of satire website TheOnion.com: "PEYTON MANNING re-injures neck saying 'no' to Tennessee Titans."....Offering his take on Manning moving from the Indianapolis Colts to the Denver Broncos, REGGIE HAYES of the Ft. Wayne (Ind.) News-Sentinel says, "Turns out he will only play with teams that have horse-related nicknames."....BOB KNIGHT has no love lost for the basketball program at the University of Kentucky, nor for head coach JOHN CALIPARI. With Knight to the Wildcats only as "that team from the Southeastern Conference" during his duties as a commentator for ESPN, CHRIS CHASE of Yahoo.com comments, "When you watch Kentucky play on CBS this weekend, Calipari's vacated titles and shady recruiting practices will be glossed over. That's a far more egregious journalistic sin."....Overheard: "If I offended you with my opinion you should just be thankful for the ones I keep to myself."---MIKE HIGGINS
3/20/12
Some quotes I'll never forget....E.C. McKENZIE: "Close a door on the faults of others and a door of friendship will swing wide open."....Boxing promoter DON KING: "I never cease to amaze myself, and I say that humbly."....Asked what the ideal starter-backup quarterback tandem would be on a NFL depth chart, veteran general manager RUSS THOMAS answered, "A 24-year old quarterback with a 35-year old mind backed up by a 35-year old quarterback with a 24-year old body."....American League umpire MARTY SPRINGSTEAD on confrontational Baltimore Orioles manager EARL WEAVER: "The best way to test the durability of a Timex watch would be to strap it to his tongue."....Texas Tech defeated Oklahoma State 49-24 in a 2002 football game played at Lubbock amid wind gusts that reached 60 mph. BARRY TRAMMEL of The Daily Oklahoman wrote, "The tumbleweeds and the Cameros were racing down the Brownfield Highway and the tumbleweeds won. It was so windy the crop dusters around Jones Stadium turned on their windshield wipers and the dust won."....CASEY STENGEL: "I will always be thankful to my players for giving me the honor of being who I was."....A one-letter glitch on the message board at the Oakland Coliseum created this trivia question at an Athletics game: "Who hold the record for the most total babes in a single season--ROGERS HORNSBY, TY COBB, BABE RUTH or STAN MUSIAL?"....Athletics outfielder ERIC BYRNES once had a game where he lost one fly ball in the sun, had two drop for doubles and dropped yet another. He later explained, "The sun was rough out there, but it wasn't any worse than it has been at any other time over the last 10,000 years."....After 41-year old ROY TARPLEY applied for reinstatement into the National Basketball Association following several "lifetime" bans for substance abuse, BILL SCHEFT of Sports Illustrated commented, "He must be chasing his lifelong dream of becoming the first player in history to be suspended in three decades."....Journeyman pro basketball player TOM WORKMAN, comparing life in the National Basketball Association with that in the now-defunct American Basketball Association: "They tell you to join the NBA and see all the big cities--New York with all the lights, San Francisco with its night life and San Diego's sunshine. They also say join the ABA and see the USA. Unfortunately, I found this included Steubenville, Ohio, Cedar City, Utah, Biloxi, Mississippi and Amarillo, Texas."....After his football team at Pittsburgh's Keystone Oaks High School lost a game due to giving up a last-minute, two-point conversion, head coach JOHN DURHAM said, "I told my players, 'Watch the fake', and that's what they did, they watched the fake."....With a series of games against inferior opponants upcoming on the Boston Celtics schedule, guard SHERMAN DOUGLAS observed, "I don't want to shoot my mouth in the foot, but these are games we should win.".....Former Amarillo Gold Sox and major league pitcher DAVE DRAVECKY learned he would have to have his cancerous left arm amputated the same day the Chicago Bulls won the NBA championship in 1992. A headline in the San Jose Mercury-News declared: "Dravecky to lose arm; Bulls pull it off"....In the mid-1990s, pro golfer SANDY LYLE was asked what he thought of TIGER WOODS, an up-and-coming amateur. He said, "I don't know, I have never played there.".....Bucknell defensive lineman JOHN CAMPANA on his primary superstition: "I always make it a point to not jump out of tall buildings before games."----MIKE HIGGINS
3/19/12
PHIL MUSHNICK, New York Post: "The NBA fined DERRICK ROSE of the Chicago Bulls the same amount--$25,000--for knocking the referees as it did J.R. SMITH of the New York Knicks for tweeting a nude photo of one of his female friends. How much is the fine for tweeting nude photos of NBA referees?"....A St. Patrick's Day toast from JANICE HOUGH of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com: "May your troubles last as long as your perfect brackets."....Fox Sports Southwest provides live coverage Monday afternoon as heralded Texas Rangers rookie YU DARVISH gets the starting nod against the Milwaukee Brewers in Cactus League action at Surprise, Arizona. DAVE BARNETT provides play-by-play with TOM GRIEVE adding color commentary beginning at 3 pm CDT....Those watching the late innings of the two-game series in Las Vegas between the Rangers and the Chicago Cubs on FSSW over the weekend saw players destined to spend the 2012 season in the minor leagues wearing uniform numbers more suitable for football defensive linemen. This brings to mind Hall-of-Famer RICKEY HENDERSON once offering close to an accurate assessment when he said, "A player has no chance of making a team if the single digits of his spring training uniform number add up to anything between eleven and eighteen."....Newsflash from Fark.com: "San Francisco 49ers sign RANDY MOSS; Organization begins treatments for clubhouse cancer."....This week in Panhandle sports history: In 1987, the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks set several school and tournament offensive records in downing California 112-80 to win the National Women's Invitational Tournament championship at the Amarillo Civic Center Coliseum. In 1974, FRED MITCHELL of Palo Duro High School became the sixth player from Amarillo ever to be chosen to play in the Texas High School Coaches Association basketball all-star game. Mitchell--later a standout at then-named North Texas State University--joined fellow Dons GENE ARRINGTON (1956) and STEVE CARTER (1961) along with Amarillo High's JEWELL McDOWELL (1947), GIB FORD (1950) and MELVIN WRIGHT (1953) in being selected for participation. In 1971, a near-capacity crowd made its way to the Amarillo Sports Arena to watch THE SPARTAN, WAHOO McDANIEL and CYCLONE NEGRO square off in a round-robin conflict with the winner gaining an opportunity to face DORY FUNK, JR. the following week for the World Wrestling Federation championship. The Spartan earned the right after body-slamming McDaniel at 5:42 and then doing in Negro with an Indian death lock at 6:48. In 1968, Texas A&M junior forward RONNIE PERET of Plainview was named to the first team of the All-Southwest Conference basketball squad as chosen by SWC coaches. In 1957, local sporting goods dealer VANCE HALL announced the creation of the Vance Hall Sporting Goods All-Sports Trophy to be awarded to the top high school athletic program in District 3-AAAA based on an overall points system....DWIGHT PERRY, Seattle Times: "Yet another sport was rocked by scandal last week when Canada's JIM ARMSTRONG was suspended 18 months for failing a drug test. But enough about wheelchair curling."....After ANDREW WENGER of Duke University was made the top pick in the Major League Soccer draft, GREG COTE of the Miami Herald commented, "Wenger has great quickness but must improve his headers, according to ESPN soccer draft analyst CLIVE KIPER, JR."....With CBS bringing in $600 million in advertising revenue over the course of the NCAA men's basketball tournament, JIMMY KIMMEL of ABC asks, "Of that, the players receive--what is zero percent of 600 million?"....Overheard: "All things come to pass, they do not come to stay."---MIKE HIGGINS
3/14/2012
Some quotes I'll never forget....MARGARET LAURENCE: "In the eternal scheme of things we are all small, but we are also all unique and irreplaceable as are all human beings in the world."....CAM HUTCHINSON of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix following the death of Triple Crown winner SEATTLE SLEW: "He must have gone to horsey heaven smiling. His final foal was born just weeks before, giving him 1,096 offspring and a lifetime achievement award from the National Basketball Association."....From sports satire website Sportspickle.com: "KEVIN GARNETT has been fined $100,000 by the National Basketball Players Association for acting outside the union's behavioral code by not being a totally despicable human being, playing hard at all times, being active in his community, never chewing out his coach, not committing felonies, not fathering any children out of wedlock and not smoking marijuana. The money collected from the infractions goes into the league's stripper and pot fund."....BROOKE SHIELDS: "Smoking kills. And if you are killed you have lost a very important part of your life."....1977-78 Amarillo Gold Sox infielder STEVE SMITH had a career batting average of only .249 with just 14 home runs in over seven years in the minor leagues. The Canton, Ohio native and part-time Hollywood stunt man was asked his secret to hitting effective pop-up fungoes to his players during his time as a longtime minor league manager and big league coach. He explained, "I just imagine I'm back in my playing days and the bases are loaded with two out."....The late RED SPICER, accepting a Special Achievement Award from the Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame: "Most of all, I'd like to thank my ex-wife for divorcing me and giving me more time to train."....West Texas State running back MERCURY MORRIS broke the NCAA record for career rushing yards in his final college game as the Buffaloes defeated Colorado State 22-17 in 1968, but only with some assistance involving an official's oversight. Morris and a Colorado State player got in a fight and were ejected, but the referee failed to write down the numbers of the two players and they were allowed back in. Shortly after he was tossed, Morris was on the sidelines with the WT offense on the field and was immediately interrogated by head coach JOE KERBEL. "I've been kicked out," Morris told Kerbel. The fiery mentor shot back, "Get your ass back in there. I'll be the one to tell you whether you've been kicked out or not."....JERRY GREENE of the Orlando Sentinel: "If you can't wait for MIKE TYSON's next fight, it is either because he owes you money, your shrink won't see you anymore or you have a missing body part and you think he might have it."....E.C. McKENZIE: "The person that does his best today will be a hard person to defeat tomorrow."....Following the announcement that DENNIS RODMAN would have a reality television show, JIM ARMSTRONG of the Denver Post asked, "Since when did anything in his life have anything to do with reality?"....JERRY TARKANIAN and JIM HARRICK shared less than stellar reputations for following NCAA rules during their days coaching college basketball. Harrick actually once said of Tarkanian, "He is about as straight as the letter 's'."....Unknown: "If at first you don't succeed, well, so much for skydiving."....Overheard: "Environmentalism isn't about saving Earth. It is about saving us."---MIKE HIGGINS
3/12/12
BRAD DICKSON of the Omaha World-Herald: "Spring football practice is right around the corner. For those unfamiliar with spring practice in Nebraska, this is the time of year when the third-string defensive end's vertical leap takes precedence over the presidential election."....New York Yankees managing general partner HAL STEINBRENNER has declared he would like see at least a 20% cut in the team's payroll by 2014. He adds, "I am looking at it as a goal, and my goals are usually a requirement."....The Western Athletic Conference has named senior associate commissioner JEFF HURD its interim commissioner. He is recalled locally for numerous visits to our area during his days as sports information director at the University of Tulsa and later as Director of Public Relations for the Missouri Valley Conference....Best wishes to anyone thinking they can fill out what becomes a perfect bracket prior to the start of the NCAA basketball tournament. The odds of doing so are 9,223,372,036,854,755,808 to 1. To put that figure in perspective, consider every person on Earth could fill out one bracket and the odds of anyone getting every game right are still approximately 500 million to 1....Comedian TIM HUNTER: "A sure sign your husband has a bad case of March Madness is when he does the entire family tree in brackets."....Even before the University of Pittsburgh went uninvited to The Big Dance, senior guard ASHTON GIBBS told the Hackensack (N.J.) Record he would be content with an NIT bid in stating, "It's why we come to college. To play basketball."....Congratulations to Texas Tech University defensive back HAPPINESS OSUNDE on his induction into the Short Rutts Name Hall of Fame....Headline from the sports area of satire website TheOnion.com: "Players drink soda, wear sneakers, drive trucks on grueling first day of NFL Endorsement Combine."....From the same site: "Carolina Panthers admit paying bounties to any defensive player that makes a tackle."....Following a recent electrical fire at Fenway Park in Boston, JIMMY FALLON of NBC commented, "Instead of calling 911, Boston fans just heckled the fire until it left."....Bumper sticker: "I would gladly trade everything I own for more and better stuff."....Reflecting on becoming the first runner in history to run a four-minute mile in 1954, ROGER BANNISTER says, "It's amazing to me that more people have climbed Mount Everest than have run a four-minute mile."....Bannister's thought might be better understood if the outlook astronaut NEIL ARMSTRONG has on jogging is the norm. Although "The First Man On The Moon" has never climbed Mount Everest, he says, "I believe that the good Lord gave us a finate number of heartbeats, and I'll be damned if I am going to use up any of mine running up and down a street."....The Kentucky High School Athletic Association has announced bass fishing will be a sanctioned high school varsity sport in the state beginning next fall....New England Patriots wide receiver CHAD OCHOCINCO attended a charity event in Miami Beach recently and was urinated on by a caged lion. BUDD BAILEY of the Buffalo News commented, "That shows when you catch only 15 passes in a season, everybody is a critic."....Overheard: "I tried my very best to be normal once. It turned into the worst five minutes of my life."---MIKE HIGGINS
3/7/12
Some quotes I'll never forget....After his wife took up writing a weekly sports column for a Utah newspaper, Brigham Young University head football coach LaVELL EDWARDS commented, "She was an awfully lot more fun to sleep with before she became a sportswriter."....JON ARNETT, All-Pro running back with the Los Angeles Rams: "Calling someone a great runner isn't always a complement. You can be a great runner and still be dumb."....Infielder FRED PATEK was known for many years as being the shortest player in the major leagues at 5' 5" and said the distinction "felt a lot better than being the shortest player in the minor leagues."....Equally diminutive catcher TOM SHOPAY of the Baltimore Orioles: "I am the only catcher in baseball that can give the pitcher his signs while standing up."....Higher up on the measuring stick, 6' 5" Hope College basketball player BRIAN VRIESMAN was asked who had the most influence on his basketball career. He answered, "My six-foot mother."....Dallas sportscaster BILL MacATEE on his relationship with Cowboys head coach TOM LANDRY: "The biggest milestone in anyone's career is when he finally calls you by your first name. The first time it happened to me I almost changed my name to what he called me, which was 'Ray'."....Bowling great DON CARTER: "The main advantage bowling has over golf is that it is a whole lot harder to lose a bowling ball."....Asked why two inmate football teams at the Clinton Correctional Facilty in Dannemora, New York had such nicknames as "Assassins" and "Body Snatchers", recreation director TON CONDON explained, "What are they going to call themselves--the Twinkletoes?"....After attending a dinner at the White House, YOGI BERRA reflected, "There were so many people talking it was hard to have a conversation with anyone."....The Sacramento Kings of the National Basketball Association gave head coach JERRY REYNOLDS a two-year contract extension despite him having a 49-93 record in the middle of his second season with the team. Kings part-owner GREGG LUKINBILL stated, "We are committed to him, he is committed to us, and we all ought to be committed."....After being chosen as one of the sexiest men in America by a female newspaper columnist, 39-year old backup quarterback JOE FERGUSON of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers said, "My wife hasn't said too much about it. She's been too busy rolling on the floor and laughing."....Slugging outfielder MIKE ANDERSON was considered one of the top prospects in professional baseball as a Philadelphia Phillies minor leaguer in the early 1970s. Asked to assess Anderson's future, Phillies manager DANNY OZARK observed, "His limitations are limitless."....University of South Carolina athletic director KING DIXON once nixed a proposal for The Rolling Stones to perform a concert at Columbia's Williams-Bryce Stadium despite the hefty revenue doing so would have brought the Gamecock athletic department. Asked why he passed on the opportunity, Dixon answered, "I have actually opened the door for us to have other kinds of events, such as tractor pulls."....Los Angeles Dodgers manager TOMMY LASORDA: "Nobody has to tell RICHARD BURTON he is a good actor, nobody has to tell ROBERT WAGNER he is handsome, and nobody has to tell me I am a good manager."---MIKE HIGGINS
3/1/12
RICKY WILLIAMS, 1998 Heisman Trophy winner lately with the NFL's Baltimore Ravens, announcing his retirement from pro football last week on Twitter: "I did not retire. I graduated with a degree as a millionaire."....The passing of MIKE ZOFFUTO is sad to learn. While the former West Texas State football player had a long and successful career as a high school coach--primarily at Richardson's Lake Highlands High School--he will be remembered nationally for teaming with broadcasters DENNY GARVER and former KAMR-TV sports director EDDY CLINTON in their colorful coverage of the epic John Tyler-Plano East state playoff football game at Texas Stadium in 1994....From the sports area of satire website TheOnion.com: "Little League World Series to begin testing for mustaches."....Actress REESE WITHERSPOON popped up last week at Legends Field in Tampa, Florida as the New York Yankees began spring training workouts, prompting DAVID LETTERMAN of CBS to remark, "The Yankees are looking at her as a possible ALEX RODRIGUEZ girlfriend."....Statements made last week by MARIANO RIVERA of the Yankees indicates the future Hall of Famer will be playing his final year in 2012. His bullpen mate DAVID ROBERTSON has hope that might not be the case, saying, "He may be hinting, but you never know. He could BRETT FAVRE us."....Questions and answers with JIM LANGDON, head track and field coach at Amarillo High School and longtime assistant football coach with the Golden Sandies: First sports heroes? "BILL RUSSELL of the Boston Celtics, BOB LILLY of the Dallas Cowboys and my father FRED LANGDON, known as "The Farley Flash" when he was a basketball player at Farley (N.M.) High School. He was offered a scholarship to Eastern New Mexico, but turned it down to take care of his mother and to marry my mother. He later played for the Phillips 66ers of the AAU." Favorite sports nickname? "PAUL 'BEAR' BRYANT." Favorite athletes in the clutch? "MICHAEL JORDAN, JOE MONTANA and NOLAN RYAN." Sports events in history would like to have seen in person? "Green Bay Packers defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in the first Super Bowl and two college football "Games of the Century"--Texas beating Arkansas 15-14 in 1969 and Nebraska with JOHNNY RODGERS, JERRY TAGGE and JEFF KINNEY defeating Oklahoma with JACK MILDREN and GREG PRUITT 35-31 in 1971 at Owen Field in Norman." Biggest sports thrill as participant? "Coaching Amarillo High in the 'Snow Bowl', a 10-7 win over Odessa Permian in the 1993 class 5-A quarterfinals at Jones Stadium in Lubbock. The win put AHS in the state semifinals for the first time since 1950." Biggest sports disappointment as participant? "DOMINIC RHODES of Abilene Cooper scoring on a 57-yard run on the last play of the game as they beat Amarillo High 20-14 in the 1996 class 5A Division II bi-district game at Lowrey Field in Lubbock. Cooper went on to play in the state championship game and Rhodes later played in the NFL, rushing for 113 yards and scoring a touchdown for the Indianapolis Colts as they defeated the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI." Biggest sports thrill as observer? "Amarillo High winning the 1986 class 5-A state championship in boys basketball with several players I had previously coached as eighth graders at Bonham Junior High (now Middle) School. It was my first time to coach and they taught me a lot more than I knew." Most famous persons shaken hands with? "MICKEY MANTLE, MACK BROWN, GENE STALLINGS, BUM PHILLIPS, DAVID McWILLIAMS, SPIKE DYKES and CHARLIE JOHNSTON." Living persons would most like to have lunch with? "GEORGE H.W. BUSH, BARBARA BUSH and TOM OSBORNE."....Downplaying the emphasis pro football scouts place on the times quarterbacks show in running a 40-yard dash, BOB MOLINARO of the Norfolk Virginian Pilot says, "PEYTON MANNING and TOM BRADY can't outrun the cast of 'The Biggest Loser', yet they've done pretty well for themselves."....With Nike founder PHIL KNIGHT due to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, MIKE BIANCHI of the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel asks, "Since when do shoe salesmen get in the Hall of Fame? Who is next--AL BUNDY or BUSTER BROWN?"....Overheard: "I do not think you are stupid. I just think you have real bad luck when it comes to thinking."---MIKE HIGGINS
2/27/12
Short Rutts readers reflect on the life and career of WARREN HASSE, legendary West Texas State radio play-by-play voice who passed away last week at age 88....Buffalo football icon "PISTOL" PETE PEDRO of Lynn, Massachusetts: "It is hard to put into words how much Warren Hasse will always mean to me. He was a great man with an unforgettable and ongoing smile and was a great help to me when I got to West Texas and was adjusting to life in the Texas Panhandle. Shortly after my senior season in the fall of 1963, my teammate Ollie Ross drove my girlfriend Gloria Jean Quintero and me to Pampa as we attempted to elope. As a clerk at the Gray County Courthouse was processing our papers, he recognized my name and before we knew it Warren was running down the stairs of the courthouse to congratulate us. I think Warren was more excited than we were. By the time we got back to Amarillo, it seemed everyone we knew had found out we had gotten married."....Perryton native and former Major League Baseball player and manager MIKE HARGROVE: "I happened to be in Amarillo last week for the funeral of my aunt, and I got to wondering how Warren was doing. Now I know. He was a genuinely great man that will be sorely missed."....DON CARTHEL, West Texas A&M head football coach: "Warren will always be remembered for having such a great voice for radio. I listened to every WT football and basketball game on KGNC I could not attend while growing up in Friona, often past my bedtime with a transistor radio under my pillow. I often kept statistics off his descriptions that would make me feel like I was in attendance, and I still have stats I was able to record on Corky Dawson, Pete Pedro, Hank Washington, Mercury Morris, Albie 'Double-O' Owens, Duane Thomas, Simmie Hill, Dale Blaut, David Cole, Mike Mitchell and many other great WT athletes. WT and the entire Panhandle have been truly blessed by his giving back to us over the years, and our hearts and prayers go out to his family."....TERRY FUNK, professional wrestling legend, actor and a former Buffalo offensive lineman: "The Texas Panhandle and the sports world have lost the world's greatest announcer, bar none. Who in the hell knew he was that good? We did. In this day and age the world needs another Warren Hasse. He loved sports and the people of the Texas Panhandle, and announcing was not his job, but his love and passion. He was simply better than there is, was, and there ever will be. Not long ago a reporter asked me what I would like to be remembered for when I die, and I told him I wanted to be remembered as a good man. That is a hard thing to be. Warren was a good man and we all loved him for being just that."....STEVE OAKLEY, former KAMR-TV sports director and a 1965-66 WT football and baseball player: "What a gentleman and humorist. He called me 'Ole Number 44' for over 40 years. Naturally, the football era under Joe Kerbel at West Texas State was spoken of with great zeal. Warren and his longtime broadcast partner Dick Risenhoover were the smooth talking voices of the program, and it is a time and era that will always be cherished and honored in the history of WT athletics. Warren was never timid about vocalizing his tenderhearted feelings, and those of us that were lucky enough to have shared in any of his ventures are better for it. I thank a wonderful friend."....BRAD SCHRECK, Wichita, Kansas financial advisor: "Warren Hasse was a true gentleman and will always be a WT legend. When I was playing basketball there he was always a friend a young man a long way from home could count on. Since leaving the Panhandle, he has always been my connection to keeping up with WT and I always enjoyed our phone conversations about the goings-on. I feel very lucky to have seen him a few years back at the Cager Club golf tournament where he was the same Warren, always engaging and eager to know how my family was doing. I will always miss him a great deal."....DR. PAUL MATNEY, Amarillo College president and a former WT speech communications professor: "I became of fan of listening to Warren doing play-by-play during the eras of football coaches Joe Kerbel and Gene Mayfield and of basketball coaches Jimmy Viramontes, Dennis Walling and Ron Ekker. He was a consummate professional, a great broadcaster who conveyed the excitement with his descriptions. Whenever I would see him he would always ask about my uncle Homer Matney, who played baseball for the Pampa Oilers in the 1940s. I also admired Warren so much for being such a proponent of Pampa."....Perryton native SCOTT DOORES, 1969-72 Buffalo basketball player: "Warren Hasse was a great man that did great things. The manner in which he lived his life built good character into all of us that knew him."....BILL HAMILTON, head girls basketball coach at Amarillo's Ascension Academy and a WT graduate: "As a 15-year old growing up in Dumas, I was fortunate to pitch a no-hitter against the Spearman-Stinnett All-Stars in a Babe Ruth tournament played at Optimist Park in Pampa. Warren did the play-by-play of the game on KPDN in Pampa and my mother recorded it. I am sure she still has it somewhere. I later worked at WT with Warren's son John Hasse and had many nice conversations with him. He was a class act and a wealth of information, and will be greatly missed by many."....GARY PITNER, executive director of the Panhandle Regional Planning Commission: "I have great memories of growing up in the 1960s in Pampa and Amarillo and spending what must have been hundreds of hours next to my Montgomery Ward 'Airline' transistor radio listening to Warren Hasse and my Buffaloes. He was a 'big time' broadcaster when WT played 'big time' college athletics. Those fall afternoons and evenings filled with Mercury Morris, Duane Thomas, Buffalo Bowl and 'The Shamrock Network for West Texas State University Football' were the highlights of most of my weekends. The winter would roll around and Warren would speak to me from places like Peoria, Des Moines, Carbondale, Omaha, Memphis, Louisville, Wichita, Tulsa and Las Cruces as he called Missouri Valley Conference basketball. He brought it all to life right there on my transistor and none have been better at the broadcasting craft."....WT graduate BILL BANDY, owner/operator of the area Herff Jones graduation apparel franchise: "Anyone who grew up in the KGNC radio listening area during the era when the iconic Warren Hasse did WT games remembers the class, poise and professionalism he demonstrated. This was especially true for me while growing up on a farm in Panhandle. The radio on my tractor was my friend. He will always be 'The Voice of the Buffaloes' and was a great ambassador for my university. May God bless and keep Warren Hasse."....DR. KYLE SUNDERMAN, Lubbock chiropractor, Canyon native and a former Buffalo basketball player: "Warren was a true professional and not only 'The Voice of the Buffaloes', but the voice of the entire university."....KENT JOHNSON, WTAMU associate athletic director: "Listening to Warren's broadcasts of WT basketball on KGNC at my home in Fort Worth in the winter of 1983 gave them a 'big time' appeal and led me to look into attending college there. I then worked with him during my two years as a WT student in 1983-85. Warren's knowledge of WT's athletic history was the result of his absolute love for the university. Not everyone holds that desire, nor does every institution have someone with that kind of devotion."....EARL WOOD, 1965-66 Buffalo linebacker and later a WT assistant coach under Gene Mayfield: "Warren was a great advocate of all sports, not just football, at WT. He was always positive with his warm smile and enthusiastic voice, and we all thank him."....NEIL HORN, radio play-by-play voice of Buffalo football since 1999: "When I think of Warren Hasse, two words come to mind: service and passion. Warren served in so many ways, but the most visible were as "The Voice of the Buffaloes" and as a key driving force behind the Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame. He put in countless hours of service beyond what people even realize, feeling a duty to keep alive the memories of athletes and coaches from long ago. He developed lifelong relationships with most everyone he came in contact with, not just at West Texas, but all across the nation. Some of my fondest memories of him involve his hosting the WT Cager Club luncheons, interacting with such coaching personalities as Denny Crum of Louisville, Gene Bartow of Memphis State, Dick Versace and Joe Stowell of Bradley, Bob Ortegal of Drake, Ken Hayes of New Mexico State and Tulsa, Nolan Richardson of Tulsa, Bill Blakely of North Texas, Lou Henson of New Mexico State and Paul Lambert of Southern Illinois, just to name a few. I, like so many others, have been blessed by the life of Warren Hasse, and we have lost a passionate, one-of-a-kind servant that will be greatly missed."....JIMMY LACKEY, executive director of Kids, Inc.: "Warren Hasse was one of the finest gentlemen I have ever met, a true Christian and humanitarian. Mr. Hasse has successfully passed those traits on to his children. There is a great deal to learn about how to treat your fellow man by knowing the Hasse family, and may God bless them all."....MIKE MITCHELL, starting guard on WT's 1968-69 National Invitational Tournament team: "In the first round of the NIT, I missed a jump shot in the final 20 seconds of our 82-80 loss to Ohio University at Madison Square Garden. Who later came by my hotel room following the game to try to cheer me up? It was Warren Hasse. That was the type of man he was and I have such fond memories of him. Warren was always the 'life of the party' for our 'Hearts' games on long bus trips. He was present the day I was inducted into the WT Hall of Champions and I was very honored that he had made the trip from Pampa. I am sure I am just one of a huge number of people throughout the Panhandle whose lives were impacted in a positive way by him. He is truly one of those rare individuals about whom can be said, 'Gone, but not forgotten'."....Dallas resident DAVID COLE, retired executive with Southwestern Bell/AT&T and a teammate of Mitchell on the 1968-69 NIT team: "I first met Mr. Hasse in 1966. We have kept in contact since and he was a great friend. One day in 1980, I was working in Wichita, Kansas and he invited me to join him on the broadcast of the West Texas-Wichita State game. It was the first and last time I had the headset on. I talked to him one evening last year and to my surprise, a few days later he had sent me the 1966 UIL State Basketball Tournament program featuring the Austin McCallum High School 'Knights', a team I was a part of. He must have saved everything regarding sports. My fondest memory of him were the 'Hearts' games we would play while traveling. He loved the game, and he loved beating Mitchell and me. He will always be missed."....TERRY DEAN, Pampa native: "In the early 1970s, the Pampa High School band was invited to New York to perform at halftime of a New York Jets game and Warren served as the public address announcer as they performed on the field at Shea Stadium. When
they returned home the talk of the town was not of them seeing the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty, but of how great Warren was. He made them sound like the best band in the country.".....SGT. EVERETT GARDNER, U.S. Army, a key cog on WT's Missouri Valley Conference champion 880-meter relay team in 1977 and later an Amarillo radio personality: "When I was playing basketball for Amarillo High School and Mr. Hasse was doing radio play-by-play of the Pampa Harvesters, I later learned after one of our games against them he had unknowingly referred to me as 'Garner Everett' each time I attempted a shot, managed to somehow get a rebound or score a basket, or committed another foul. All is forgiven. It was a great honor to later experience his professionalism and kindness during the days I worked the 'studio board' for WT football and basketball broadcasts."....BOB SLOAN, 1968-72 WT baseball coach: "Warren was honest to the core and I cannot say enough good things about him. He never had a bad word to say about a player or coach, and he always took the time to encourage us and say how proud he was of us."....JOE RAY HALSEY, Buffalo baseball player and assistant coach under Sloan and later an inductee into the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame: "Warren had a way with words that would paint wonderful images of the action. All WT athletes respected him and liked him and he was always a trusted and welcome friend. I served on the WT Hall of Champions selection committee with him and he was our key to the past. His life represented all of what we want the world to be that is good and honest."....TOM SIMONS, Deaf Smith County judge and longtime radio voice of the Hereford Whitefaces: "In 1973, my second year in Hereford, we played El Paso Coronado in the state football playoffs and it was broadcast on the Shamrock Network. Warren did the play-by-play and I did the color. It was a great experience. I was a little in awe of him, but he was very nice. That was my only time to broadcast with him, but we were always friends after that day."....MIKE LORENC, multi-sport athletic standout at Tascosa High School and a 1976-80 Buffalo basketball player: "The 'Voice of the Buffaloes' was a gentleman and a great man, and I am grateful to have known him. We had great conversations on road trips. Occasionally, he would come to our practices and suit out, showing us how to execute the set shot from the good ole days."....JON MARK BEILUE, general interest columnist and former sports editor for the Amarillo Globe-News: "I don't know if people actually realize how really talented he was, especially doing basketball. In his heyday in the 1960s and 1970s he was a good as anyone in the country. It is ironic that two broadcasters about 100 miles apart were so exceptional at the same time for decades. Warren Hasse at West Texas State and Jack Dale at Texas Tech were as good as it got. It is sadly ironic that both gentleman died within six months of each other and both will be long remembered not only for their talents, but for the way they lived their lives."....Amarillo native and Austin journalist ADAM JONES: "My parents were never without Warren Hasse's calls on the Buffalo radio network. He had a smooth delivery on play-by-play, a baritone with just a touch of nasal that aped the unaffected tone of the Midwestern broadcaster. Very few people knew he was orginally from Wisconsin. He affected a slight Texas twang which assured anyone within radio tower distance that he was one of us. The Buffs would make a great play and my mother, perhaps touching up the baseboard paint in the family room, would break her estimable concentration and let out a "Way to go, Buff-a-lows !!" She remained the unconditional fan, and we would listen through the postgame show until Warren gave way to the Ruby Lewis Show on KGNC."---MIKE HIGGINS
2/21/12
ALICE COOPER, rock music legend and fan of the National Hockey League's Phoenix Coyotes: "You can go see baseball, football or basketball, but there is never a game where you jump out of your seat like at a hockey game. I keep saying the game should be called 'OOHH', because that's what I do twenty times a night: go 'OOHH'. It is by far the most fun sport to watch live."....Are you looking for an everlasting gift for a diehard University of Alabama football fan? Perhaps a burial plot near the gravesite of Crimson Tide football coaching legend PAUL "BEAR" BRYANT would fit the bill. Such is being offered by a cemetery in Elmwood, Alabama at a rate of $2,200 per plot....With the National Basketball Association's labor dispute meaning shortened time in training camps and a cramped regular season schedule, a rash injuries have plagued the league with the Denver Nuggets having four of their starters on the shelf at once. JEFF SCHULTZ of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution comments, "If the NBA altered its iconic logo right now, it would be a silhouette of JERRY WEST with a crutch under one arm, a sling around the other, ice bags taped to both knees, ankles the size of cantaloupes and a red light bulb on his nose, just like the poor schlep on the 'Operation' game."....A correction is in store here involving the story of a lovely lady: It was accurately reported here last week the sister of the New England Patriots quarterback--a man named TOM BRADY--is engaged to Boston Red Sox infielder KEVIN YOUKILIS, but inaccurately reported her name is JANET BRADY. With the lady and the fellow soon enabling the group to form a family, it should be noted the bride's name is actually JULIE BRADY. That's the way Short Rutts came to regret the error....Bumper sticker: "In case of emergency: Well, good luck."....A baseball signed by reality television star KIM KARDASHIAN and ex-husband KRIS HUMPHRIES of the NBA's New Jersey Nets has been put up for auction by the Minnesota Twins with the top bid currently at $1,500. By contrast, a ball signed by the late JIM PERRY--a former Twins pitcher and the 1970 American League Cy Young Award winner--has received a top bid of $60....Dallas Mavericks owner MARK CUBAN has forked out $40,000 of his own money in the interest of rescuing Dallas' financially-strapped St. Patrick's Day parade. He explains, "I figured if I have lost enough brain cells there, everybody else should get that opportunity, too."....New Miami Dolphins head coach JOE PHILBIN has a completed staff consisting of 21 assistant coaches. GREG COTE of the Miami Herald comments, "The Dolphins are now the only team with assistant coaches in charge of counting other assistant coaches."....Overheard: "Words cannot describe how I feel about you because I do not feel anything about you."---MIKE HIGGINS

2/16/12
BRAD DICKSON of the Omaha World-Herald: "The National Football league draft begins April 26. Right now, owner ROBERT KRAFT and head coach BILL BELICHICK are waiting to hear from GISELE BUNDCHEN who the New England Patriots will pick first."....Infielder KEVIN YOUKILIS of the Boston Red Sox is engaged to JANET BRADY, sister of Patriots quarterback TOM BRADY. Columnist DWIGHT PERRY of the Seattle Times states, "Now comes the hard part: Keeping sister-in-law Gisele out of microphone range if somebody drops the bridal-bouquet throw."....After New York Giants running back BRANDON JACOBS said supermodel Bundchen should "stay cute and shut up", RJ CURRIE of Sportsdeke.com responded, "Cute? Isn't that like calling The Great Wall of China a fence?"....Bumper sticker: "Happy Single Awareness Day. I am single, and now you are aware."....Sunday's passing of former Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers wide receiver/kick return specialist FREDDIE SOLOMAN is sad to learn. He is  remembered locally as also an outstanding quarterback for the now-defunct football program at the University of Tampa, leading the Spartans against West Texas State in a 28-6 WT win at Canyon in 1973 and a 24-6 Buffalo victory at Tampa Stadium in 1974. Following the game in Canyon, the native of Sumter, South Carolina commented the turf at Kimbrough Stadium represented the first time he had ever seen grass that was brown....The Philadelphia Eagles have hired former 49ers and Washington Redskins defensive back TODD BOWLES as their secondary coach. Recalling what influenced his decision to retire after eight professional seasons in 1993, Bowles told the Philadelphia Inquirer, "When you start playing football, you can run through a brick wall. When you start counting the bricks, it's time to shut it down."....The re-named Miami (formerly Florida) Marlins play their first game under manager OZZIE GUILLEN and open their new stadium in Little Havana on April 4 with the shortest homestand in Major League Baseball history. They play one game against the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals and rookie manager MIKE MATHENY before traveling to Cincinnati to take on the Reds the following afternoon....On the other end of the spectrum, the Worcester (Mass.) Tornadoes join the American Association in 2012 and will take what might be the longest road trip in independent baseball history which includes a visit to The Ballpark Southeast of the Stockyards July 3-6 for a series against the Amarillo Sox. After closing a homestand in Worcester on June 27, they travel to Laredo, Texas for a series against the Lemurs, come to Amarillo, then move on to El Paso for a series with the Diablos before returning to Worcester. According to Mapquest, the trek covers just over 5,639 miles....Ohio State assistant basketball coach JEFF SOALS on the aggressive play of center JARED SULLINGER: "Obviously, he's got a big butt and he uses it to his advantage."....Overheard: " 'Obssesed' is no more than a word used by the lazy to describe the dedicated."---MIKE HIGGINS
2/9/12
JANICE HOUGH of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com: "I can't wait to hear what TOM BRADY has to say about the other women if GISELE BUNDCHEN ever plays in the Lingerie Bowl."....It took over three years of work with more than 30,000 Legos for BRIAN ALANO of Bloomington, Indiana to construct an impressive replica of Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium. JIMMY FALLON of NBC responded, "And this is even cooler: He had enough Legos left over to build himself a girlfriend."....Bumper sticker: "Roses are red and violets are blue. Please be my Valentine because you're the best I can do."....Reminder: The Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame ceremonies on Sunday feature the inductions of Amarillo High School product and longtime Dumas High School head football coach BILL SPANN, Nazareth High School multi-sport/West Texas A&M basketball great LEONA GERBER-WILHELM and area girls high school basketball and track coaching legend E.J. "JEEP" WEBB. The festivities begin at 2 p.m. at Amarillo College's Ordway Auditorium with a reception to follow in the second floor of AC's College Union Building....PSHOF attendees can again count on JON MARK BEILUE doing an outstanding job as Master of Ceremonies. He told the PSHOF crowd several years ago, "I was once asked how long I would be up here doing this, and I told them it was just like joining the Mafia--because once you are in, you are in for life."....Additional reminder: In 2003, Childress High School football coaching legend CHARLIE JOHNSTON told a packed house as he was inducted, "I learned very early in my career to show up for this thing each year because if you didn't you would have to read about failing to do so in PUTT POWELL's 'Short Putts' column."....Note to LANCE LAHNERT, Amarillo Globe-News sports editor: The list you run of the PSHOF's "Baseball Athlete of the Year" has had the last name of 1970 honoree CHRIS SPEIER misspelled for many years. Speier is currently the bench coach for the Cincinnati Reds and earned the PSHOF honor as a 19-year old shortstop for the Texas League's Amarillo Giants before going on to play 19 years in the big leagues in addition to being a three-time starter at shortstop on the National League All-Star team....A quote I'll never forget: When running back CHUCK MUNCIE was traded from the lowly New Orleans Saints to the contending San Diego Chargers during the 1980 season, he said, "If I wanted to put a finger on New Orleans' problems, I would need six pair of hands."....Overheard: "Nothing is sometimes the right thing to do, and more often than not, it is also the right thing to say."---MIKE HIGGINS
2/7/12
BOB MOLINARO of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot: "Just one time, I'd like to see those Winter X Games daredevils attempt their stunts on rented skis."....From sports satire website Sportspickle.com: "Cocky two-time Super Bowl champion/Most Valuable Player ELI MANNING will soon be legally changing his name to ELITE MANNING."....The West Texas A&M football program makes it's first-ever visit to the state of Georgia on October 27 as the Buffaloes take on the University of West Georgia at University Stadium in Carrolton, Georgia. The Wolves of head coach DARYL DICKEY are members of the Gulf South Conference and went 6-4 in 2011. The Buffaloes open their 2012 slate on Thursday, August 30 at Colorado State-Pueblo with their home opener coming September 8 against Western (Colo.) State....Is it a safe guess that new Texas Rangers pitcher YU DARVISH will be the first big league pitcher in history who is half-Japanese and half-Iranian?....NFL commissioner ROGER GODDELL recently compared the league's revenue sharing plan to socialism. Comedian ARGUS HAMILTON responded, "He's right. However, 600 guys splitting up $10 billion isn't exactly the way KARL MARX diagrammed the play on a chalkboard."....Questions and answers with WENDEL SLOAN, longtime Director of Media Relations at Eastern New Mexico University: First sports hero? "Quarterback DON MEREDITH of the Dallas Cowboys. We are both from Mount Vernon, Texas." Biggest sports thrill as participant? "Tagging out three base runners to make an unassisted triple play as a pee wee baseball player." Biggest sports thrill as observer? "Watching NOLAN RYAN pitch a no-hitter for the Texas Rangers." Biggest sports disappointment as observer? "Dallas Mavericks losing in the first round of the NBA playoffs when they were the top seed and the Warriors were the eighth seed." Favorite athletes in the clutch? "MICHAEL YOUNG of the Rangers and ROGER STAUBACH of the Cowboys." Sports event in history would most like to have seen in person? "BABE RUTH hitting the last three home runs of his career in one game playing for the Boston Braves against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Forbes Field in 1935." Favorite sports nicknames? "The Houston Astros original nickname of 'Colt 45s', University of Minnesota 'Golden Gophers', JIM "THE TOY CANNON" WYNN of the Astros and PETE "INKY STINKY" INCAGVILIA of the Rangers." Favorite cities outside of Texas and New Mexico? "Panama City Beach, Florida and Bangkok, Thailand." Living persons would most like to have lunch with? "Singers JIMMY BUFFETT and JOHN FOGERTY." Most famous persons shaken hands with? "Buffett and BILL CLINTON."....MIKE BIANCHI, Orlando Sentinel: "I am not saying I have been inundated with college football recruiting talk, but last week when my daughter asked me if I would help her with her homework, I gave her a 'soft verbal'."....After Los Angeles Clippers forward BLAKE GRIFFIN was criticized over a dunk that had him not even touching the rim, SCOTT OSTLER of the San Francisco Chronicle commented, "That's like saying VINCENT VAN GOGH was a fraud because he didn't paint any poker-playing dogs into Starry Night."....Overheard: "Why do I buy things I don't need with money I don't have to impress people I don't like?"----MIKE HIGGINS
1-31-12
Some quotes I'll never forget....HENRY FIELDING, 18th century novelist and dramatist: "Adversity is the trial of principle. Without it, a person hardly knows whether he or she is honest or not."....The late PHIL SMITH had an outstanding rookie season in helping the Golden State Warriors to the 1974-75 NBA championship and shortly afterwards married ANGELA BROWN, his college sweetheart from their days at the University of San Francisco. Just after being asked the key question by the minister performing the ceremony, Smith fainted. The minister then told the gathering, "There will be a short halftime intermission before we resume."....When a portion of the the Knight Commission on College Athletics released a portion of its report on academics, GREG COTE of the Miami Herald stated, "Analysts say the report's most surprising finding was that there actually are academics in college athletics."....DR. LESTER KEISER, M.D.: "We get so much in the habit of wearing a disguise before others that we eventually appear disguised before ourselves."....Media coverage across the country of a verbal spat between Texas Tech head basketball coach BOB KNIGHT and school president DR. DAVID SMITH reported the argument took place at an "upscale grocery store" in Lubbock. Comedian JERRY PERISHO offered, "You know you are in an 'upscale grocery store' in Lubbock, Texas when you ask where the Spam is and they direct you to the 'gourmet meats' section."....EARL CAMPBELL: "Someone will come along and break my records. What really counts is how I live."....Artist and writer ELBERT HUBBARD: "Everyone is a fool for at least five minutes every day. Wisdom consists in not exceeding the limit."....After rapper JAY-Z and basketball star LEBRON JAMES announced plans to collaborate on an album, television personality TOM ARNOLD asked, "What qualifies LeBron James to do a rap album? He's never even been shot."....University of Notre Dame administrator CHANDRA JOHNSON shaved her head in 2004 to protest the firing of Fighting Irish head football coach TYRONE WILLINGHAM. Ft. Worth Star-Telegram columnist DAVID THOMAS commented, "Win one for 'The Clipper'."....EDMUND BURKE, British political theorist: "Reading without reflecting is like eating without digesting."....Unknown: "Those that complain about the way the ball bounces are usually the ones that dropped it."....Hockey great GORDIE HOWE: "I find that I can have piece of mind, enjoy myself, and sleep better if I know I gave one hundred percent--win or lose."....Longtime Panhandle area baseball fans recall DICK STUART hitting some of the longer home runs ever seen The Ballpark Southwest of the Coors Distribution Center while playing for the Western League's Lincoln (Neb.) Chiefs against the Amarillo Gold Sox in the mid-1950s. He went on to swat 228 homers over ten big league seasons but was perhaps more known for being far less than an even average fielder. Possibly poking fun at his nickname of "Dr. Strangeglove", the Redwood City, California native said, "I once picked up a hot dog wrapper off the field at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh and 30,000 people gave me a standing ovation."....Houston native LINDA ELLERBEE, veteran broadcast journalist and breast cancer survivor: "I have always felt that laughter in the face of reality is the finest sound there is and will last until the game is called on account of darkness. The best time to laugh is any time we can."....Now serving time in a Nevada prison on an armed robbery conviction after being controversially acquitted of two murders in 1995, the 1968 Heisman Trophy winner once said, "The day you make it to the top is the day you take complete responsibility for yourself and stop making any excuses."....Overheard: "I love giving others advice. It's the way I test it before deciding if I should use it myself."---MIKE HIGGINS
1/30/12
JAY PATERNO, eulogizing his father last week at a memorial service on the Penn State campus: "JOE PATERNO indeed had an indomitable will, with one exception: when his will ran counter to that of his wife and my mother."....Rapper 50 CENT says he won $500,000 betting on the New York Giants to defeat the San Francsico 49ers in the NFC Championship Game. BRAD DICKSON of the Omaha World-Herald responds, "I'd be tempted to say 50 Cent has terrific luck, except for the fact that he has been shot something like 37 times."....RULON GARDNER, winner of the gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling at the 2000 Olympics, says he is in the process of losing fifty pounds with hopes to compete in this summer's Olympics in London. He explains, "I act young, I look old and I am crazy to be wrestling. How many 40-year old men are rolling around with other grown men?"....An Amarillo television station began giving long range weather forecasts last week for Indianapolis leading to the playing next Sunday of Super Bowl XLVI. Are station personel aware The Big Game will be played with the retractable roof closed at Lucas Oil Stadium?....Defenseman JUSTIN FALK of the National Hockey League's Minnesota Wild was born on October 11, 1988 in Snowflake, Manitoba, a place KEVIN PAUL DUPONT of the Boston Globe calls, "A town where no two people look alike.".....From the sports area of satire website TheOnion.com: "Green Bay Packers fans relieved to have more time to explore all Green Bay has to offer this winter."....A big win proved to come with a hefty price last week for Florence (Tex.) High School volleyball coach JOANNA HENSLEY. She defeated five fellow competitors in a oil wrestling match at a Georgetown bar but was later placed on administrative leave by the Florence Independent School District for her participation. Hensley later told Austin television station KVUE, "I approached the event as a competition, and I was raised to always believe you play to win, just as I encourage my student-athletes to do. I look forward to the future when life as normal will resume."....Last week's passing of SID BAYLESS is sad to learn. I'm confident the West Texas State University graduate and longtime Amarillo educator never participated in any oil wrestling matches, including during his time as assistant principal at Stephen F. Austin Junior High School, principal at Crockett Junior High School and later as assistant superintendent of personnel for the Amarillo Independent School District. I'll never forget running into Mr. Bayless at Dick Bivins Stadium once and commenting to him how much younger he looked several years after he had been my assistant principal at Austin. The former multi-sport athletic standout at Canadian High School modestly answered, "That's what that clean living will do."....Unknown: "When all else fails, use a bigger hammer."....DWIGHT PERRY, Seattle Times: "DIRK NOWITSKI, JASON TERRY and the rest of the Dallas Mavericks are sporting gaudy, new championship rings worth a reported $50,000 each. Or, worth roughly what the average WNBA player gets paid."....A report on ESPN.com says former Houston Astros and Phildelphia Phillies pitcher ROY OSWALT will meet with Texas Rangers officials this week and will sign with either the Rangers or the St. Louis Cardinals....After former Tennessee Titans head coach JEFF FISHER chose to take the head coaching job with the St. Louis Rams rather than the same position with the Miami Dolphins, MIKE BIANCHI of the Orlando Sentinel offered, "That's like choosing the beets over the Brussels sprouts."....Overheard: "Never underestimate the power of keeping your mouth shut."---MIKE HIGGINS
1/26/2012
Bumper sticker: "Life is hard and even harder if you are stupid."....BRENT MUSBURGER told his fellow sportscaster DAN PATRICK in October of 2008: "This is a tough one for me because I have to say up front that JOE PATERNO is a dear friend of mine. I will tell your listeners up front as to why he still coaches. He is fearful--and he looks back at BEAR BRYANT as the example--that he would not be with us if he stepped away. He doesn't fish, doesn't golf, and has no other interests beyond family and football. He is afraid what would happen with the rest of his life if he walked away."....Footnotes: Bryant announced his retirement prior to his Alabama team's 21-15 win in the 1982 Liberty Bowl and died four weeks to the day later. Paterno coached his last game at Penn State on October 29 before being fired and was dead in less than two months....Derek and the Dominos were a 1970s band remembered primarily for having rock music icon ERIC CLAPTON as their front man and their 1972 hit "Layla", a song Clapton wrote and sang in expressing his love for PATTI BOYD HARRISON, his future wife, eventual ex-wife and at the time the wife of his close friend GEORGE HARRISON. Following the signing by the Canadian Football League's Edmonton Eskimos of former South Dakota State linebacker DEREK DOMINO, Toronto Sun scribe STEVE SIMMONS asks, "I wonder if his theme song is 'Layla'. "....In other news from the CFL, an ESPN reporter recently offered an opinion that TERRELL OWENS could "name his salary" if he were to choose to take his game north of the border. RJ CURRIE of Sportsdeke.com responded, "Sure. Just avoid paltry or inadequate because they are taken."....It's hard to believe new Houston Astros owner JIM CRANE thinks team fans might approve of a nickname change when the Astros switch from the National League to the American League in 2013. Still, Crane has delighted Astros fans by announcing there will be no increases--and even in some cases, a decrease--in ticket and concession prices in 2012 and has also has hinted at the possibility of changing the style of the team's uniforms. The opinion here is that the Astros had among the best uniform designs in the history of the game with their "shooting star" look in the 1960s and later the worst with their multi-colored "rainbow"" look in the 1970s....Amarillo native GARY SCOGGIN, Texas City resident and a longtime Astros season ticket holder: "Every t-shirt I own is an Astros shirt. I hope he doesn't make my wardrobe obsolete. Actually, I like the fact he is bringing more Sabremetrics and advanced analysis into the organization, and all his personnel moves so far appear to have been good ones."....The Sacramento Kings of the NBA fired head coach PAUL WESTPHAL earlier this month and gave the job to assistant coach KEITH SMART on an "interim" basis. As a Minnesota Timberwolves fan heckled Smart in pointing out his temporary status during a 99-86 win for Minnesota on January 16 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Smart shot back, "But it's a real good part-time job--and pays really well."....Headline from sports satire website Sportspickle.com: "San Francisco 49ers head coach JIM HARBAUGH and Baltimore Ravens head coach JOHN HARBAUGH will meet in the Super Bowl--on XBox while drunk."....Former New York Knicks head coach JEFF VAN GUNDY tells HBO he was once so focused on his job he drove his car right through his closed garage door. He explained, "I am thinking GRANT HILL and I forgot to hit the button. I finally got in the garage, but not the right way."....Overheard: "All criticisms are byproducts of unmet expectations."---MIKE HIGGINS
1/23/12
RJ CURRIE of Sportsdeke.com: "Question: What is the difference between Australian Open tennis players LI NA and BARBORA ZAHLAVOVA STRYCOVA? Answer: Most of the alphabet."....GLENN "BIG BABY" DAVIS of the Orlando Magic was called for a technical foul last week for pulling down his shorts to protest a referee's call. MIKE BIANCHI of the Orlando Sentinel comments, "Yo, dude. I know your nickname is 'Big Baby', but let's keep the diaper on, okay?"....In additional news relating to bad basketball behavior, North Carolina-Wilmington head coach BUZZ PETERSEN was suspended for one game by the Colonial Athletic Association after being hit with two technicals during the Seahawks' 79-59 loss to Drexel on January 14. Petersen later said, "If I had gotten a technical in the first half and maybe one 10 minutes later, that's one thing. But to get them within four seconds? Heck, I was still on the same sentence."....In a similar but off-the-court matter, Dallas Mavericks assistant coach DARRELL ARMSTRONG was arrested last week on an outstanding debt of $37,500 to a Las Vegas casino....Former West Texas State sports information director BILL COUSINS: "I don't remember TED "THE MILLION DOLLAR MAN" DiBIASE playing much during his time as a WT football player as he was often injured. He may not have actually lettered, but he was on the team. He did not complete his eligibility, choosing instead to begin his professional wrestling career. I ran into Ted last spring at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston as he was headed to his home in Jackson, Mississippi after an appearance in San Diego. We had a nice, long talk about the old days."....Note to JEFF QUINLIN: Former WT offensive lineman and longtime pro rassler KELLY KINISKI is not a member of the WWE Hall of Fame as his father GENE KINISKI is....With the Oakland Raiders searching for a new head coach to replace the fired HUE JACKSON, San Francisco Chronicle columnist SCOTT OSTLER asks and comments, "Is there another Harbaugh brother? Actually, no. However, JIM HARBAUGH and JOHN HARBAUGH have a sister named JOANI HARBAUGH. And the Raiders have never been afraid to break new ground."....A quote I'll never forget: In the early 1980s, ESPN baseball commentator CHRIS BERMAN utilized a portion of the lyrics from a song recorded by GENE AUTRY, LOUIS ARMSTRONG and most famously in 1956 by FATS DOMINO in nicknaming Chicago Cubs catcher DAMON "I FOUND MY THRILL ON BLUE" BERRYHILL....Pitchers FAUSTINO CARMONA of the Cleveland Indians and LEO NUNEZ of the Miami Marlins were both busted recently for using fake names and ages on federal documents. JANICE HOUGH of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com offers, "If they are ever traded for each other, it could be the first trade solely of two players to be named later."....Comedian TORBEN ROLFSEN: "Carmona must have told them he was DANNY ALMONTE."....A group from New Zealand is campaigning to make sheepshearing an Olympic sport. A headline in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazzette declares, "Baa, humbug!"....With the Disney Corporation reportedly interested in buying the Los Angeles Dodgers, laughman JERRY PERISHO says, "The Dodgers might still suck, but at least the restrooms will be clean."....Overheard: "My boss does not seem to care about what I do, at least not until I don't do it."---MIKE HIGGINS/20/12
Fark.com: "DEION SANDERS' wife has filed for divorce, saying he 'suffers from a narcissist personality disorder'. Well, duh."....Thursday marked the 75th anniversary of HOWARD HUGHES flying from New York to Los Angeles in 7 hours, 28 minutes and 25 seconds. LEN BERMAN of ThatsSports.com comments, "Or roughly the same length of the Super Bowl pregame show."....After the Indianapolis Colts showed head coach JIM CALDWELL the door following a 2-14 season, comedian JERRY PERISHO says, "That's just two more wins than you had, and you weren't even coaching."....Amarillo Globe-News sportswriter DAVE HENRY was called on the carpet in Short Rutts earlier this week over information he provided in his "Short List" column concerning former West Texas State football players that rassled professionally before becoming members of the WWE Hall of Fame. Henry responds, "If you read The Short List, you should understand it said 'lettermen', which means individuals that earned a letter in a respective sport. TED "THE MILLION DOLLAR MAN" DiBIASE is not listed as a WT football letterman, and neither is DUSTY "THE AMERICAN DREAM" RHODES. Therefore they were not included. MERCED "TITO SANTANA" SOLIS did letter and should have been included. Your inclusion of DiBiase and Rhodes is wrong, while I was wrong in not including Solis/Santana."....Note to MICHAEL McBROOM, West Texas A&M athletic director: While none of the WT athletic media relations directors over the years can be held responsible for inheriting inaccurate or incomplete information, there are numerous mistakes and inclusions in the WT Football Records Book. I am willing to guess that DiBiase not being listed as a football letterman is one of them....Headline from sports satire website Sportspickle.com: "STEVE SPURRIER endorses 4-star quarterback in South Carolina primary."....From the same site: "Green Bay Packers stock has plummeted to an all-time low of $0.46 cents per share."....As the Allen (Tex.) Wranglers arena football team announced the signing this week of TERRELL OWENS, team co-owner JOE FRANKEL actually said, "I want to make the Allen Wranglers the number one attraction in Collin County."....Unknown: "You do not get to destroy the Internet just because it doesn't fit your business model."....Analyzing the free throw style utilized by DWIGHT HOWARD of the NBA's Orlando Magic, SCOTT OSTLER of the San Francisco Chronicle observes, "Is that a follow-through or a karate chop? He is like a golfer who has a marvelous game, tee-to-green, then putts with an umbrella."....What could top former Tennessee Titans running back EDDIE GEORGE playing JULIUS CAESAR in a Nashville stage production as he is currently doing? ROBERT COX of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazzete suggests, "Baltimore Ravens linebacker RAY LEWIS for the role of BRUTUS."....Overheard: "With all these websites blacked out, I am quite confident the government's plan is working."---MIKE HIGGINS
1/17/11
RICK REILLY of ESPN.com: "KOBE BRYANT is still going strong at age 33--an irresistible force of nature, like an avalanche or JUSTIN BIEBER."....Alabama and LSU met in men's basketball at Tuscaloosa just two days after the Crimson Tide's epic defensive performance in their 21-0 win over the Tigers in the BCS Championship Game. An Alabama fan in the stands at the basketball game held a sign asking, "Will LSU cross half court?"....T.C. CHONG: "LSU total offense: 92 yards. LSU marching band: 200 total yards."....Headline at sports satire website Sportspickle.com: "Stop kneeling on my lawn: OREL HERSHISER invented Tebowing back in 1988."....Good news: The improving health of TROY BURRUS, former West Texas State basketball great and Panhandle Sports Hall of Famer....JIMMY FALLON of NBC on 'smart' televisions that change channels by voice command: "I'm not sure it works. When I yelled 'Crap!' during a football game, the television put on 'Jersey Shore'."....Note to DAVE HENRY, Amarillo Globe-News: Your list of former West Texas State football players that are members of the WWE Hall of Fame offered in your Tuesday morning "Short List" column was incomplete and thus, well, too short a list. You are correct that former Buffalo quarterback TULLY BLANCHARD of "The Four Horseman" will soon join former WT offensive linemen TERRY FUNK and onetime Buff linebacker DORY FUNK, JR. in the shrine. However, you failed to include TED "THE MILLION DOLLAR MAN" DiBIASE, TITO SANTANA and DUSTY "THE AMERICAN DREAM" RHODES. DiBiase and Santana--whose real name is MERCED SOLIS--were not only teammates on the Buffaloes in the early 1970s, both were WT tight ends with Blanchard as their quarterback. Rhodes--whose real name is VIRGIL RUNNELS, JR.--was briefly a WT football player in the 1960s and a teammate of the Funk brothers....Bumper sticker: "I know crazy and I know how to use it."....A new scientific study suggests there are as many as 160 billion planets in the Milky Way galaxy. CAM HUTCHINSON of the Saskatoon (Sask.) Express comments, "I am thinking DENNIS RODMAN has visited every one of them."....BRAD DICKSON of the Omaha World-Herald: "For those that don't follow politics closely, I'll put it in these terms: In the New Hampshire primary, MITT ROMNEY was Alabama in the BCS Championship Game, and everybody else was LSU."....Unknown: "Everyone won in New Hampshire according to everyone who didn't win in New Hampshire."....A quote I'll never forget: After second baseman JOE MORGAN of the Cincinnati Reds was named the National League's Most Valuable Player for the second straight season in 1976, he said, "This is like having children. The first is something, but you love them both just as much."....Overheard: "Knowledge is knowing tomatoes are a fruit. Wisdom is not putting them in a fruit salad."---MIKE HIGGINS
1/10/12
Some quotes I'll never forget....Actor DENZEL WASHINGTON: "When I was growing up in Mt. Vernon, New York, I played for a Boys Club football team called the 'Red Raiders'. While I was playing high school football I wanted to go to Texas Tech University in Lubbock because they were also the 'Red Raiders' and had uniforms just like ours."....BLACKIE SHERROD, legendary Dallas Times Herald and Dallas Morning News scribe: "Our neighbor Jones says he has learned to never believe anything until his old lady has denied it."....Also from Sherrod: "Professional golfer COREY PAVIN's nickname is 'Bulldog'. He looks about as much like a bulldog as MIKE TYSON does a violin teacher."....JOHN WOODEN: "The main ingredient for stardom is the rest of the team."....With a severe energy crunch gripping the United States in the mid-1970s, football great BOBBY LAYNE told the Washington Post from his Lubbock home: "Things are so bad down here, we Texans are having to wear two-gallon hats."....Asked why he was still playing professional golf at age 68, links legend and master quipster CHI CHI RODRIGUEZ answered, "Because when you retire, your wife gets twice as much husband but only half as much money."....Film critic REX REED: "SYLVESTER STALLONE has done for acting what LIBERACE did for pumping iron."....Questioned during spring training as to which team he would fear most during the upcoming season, Cincinnati Reds manager FRED HUTCHINSON said, "Mine."....The Chicago Tribune once offered a list of world events that had taken place since the Chicago Cubs last won a World Series including: "Halley's Comet has passed the Earth. Twice. HARRY CARAY was born and has died. The United States has elected sixteen presidents. Poles were erected on the Wrigley Field roof to fly World Series pennants, only to be taken down. And man has landed on the moon, just like a lot of home runs given up by Cub pitchers.".....Following the selection of Bristol, Virginia high school pitcher DOODLE HICKS by the Cleveland Indians in the Major League Baseball free agent draft, an unknown New York Post scribe asked, "How could the New York Yankees have passed on a player named Doodle?"....Bumper sticker: "I am single and looking. But not here."....When a labor dispute wiped out the entire National Hockey League season in 2004, MICHAEL HUNT of the Milwaukee Journal looked at the bright side in observing, "Just think, some kid in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan is spending his Saturday night reading a book."....GEORGE SANTAYANA: "Every wise saying has an opposite one, no less wise, to balance it."....After a football recruit at Miami (Fla.) was placed on probation and required to wear an ankle bracelet, CHRIS DEFRESNE of the Los Angeles Times stated, "And to think coaches once had to worry about their players wearing earrings."....GERTRUDE EDERLE swam 26 miles across New York Bay as she trained for her famous conquest of the English Channel in 1926. Forty-seven years later at age 66, she said, "I could do the same thing today, except I would just float across on the garbage."....As he approached his 65th birthday in 1978, Ohio State football coach WOODY HAYES was asked if he had any retirement plans. He said, "I will not quit. When I do leave, I'll die on the 50-yard line at Ohio Stadium in front of the usual 87,000 people. And if we aren't winning, I won't die."....Overheard: "Why don't you slip into something more comfortable, like a coma?"---MIKE HIGGINS
01/09/11
Bumper sticker: "I do not do Mondays."....Asked by The New York Times what he has learned since arriving in New Orleans to prepare for Monday night's BCS Championship Game against LSU, University of Alabama running back TRENT RICHARDSON answered: "Don't walk and text because horses are everywhere doing their business."....BRAD DICKSON, Omaha World-Herald: "Just a reminder. If the groundhog sees his shadow on February 2, it will mean six more weeks of college football."....Also from Dickson: "KIM JONG UN, the new leader of North Korea, is a four-star general. That's according to Rivals.com."....With the Orange Bowl and Federal Express rumored to be ending their longtime sponsorship aggreement, comedian TORBEN ROLFSEN says, "FedEx must have just thoughtlessly tossed the check over the bowl committee's fence."....I'm just as excited about ROMEO CRENNEL being named head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs based on his being a former Texas Tech assistant coach as I am of his having a twin sister with the birth name of JULIET CRENNEL....San Antonio attorney L. LAURENCE MACON completed 113 marathons last year at age 67. That adds up to running a total of just over 2,963 miles....Retired Amarillo Independent School District physical education teacher HARLON VOYLES of Littlefield is the grand prize winner in this year's contest sponsored by the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal for readers to pick the outcomes of football games throughout the season. He thus wins enough chicken dinners and pizza to feed his several grandchildren for at least a month along with a free weekly car wash for a year--a sure treasure for anyone living on the South Plains. Voyles also wins an expenses-paid trip for two to Las Vegas and $500 in spending money which he intends to utilize this week in celebrating his 53rd wedding anniversary with wife PAT VOYLES, also a former longtime AISD educator. Noting Voyles was also a longtime high school and college referee in both football and basketball, editor TERRY GREENBERG of the Avalanche-Journal says, "We are planning a March Madness game. Given Harlon's experience running up and down the hardwood, I wouldn't be surprised if we are talking to him again in a few months."....An unknown quipster: "I'd like to be young again if it weren't for algebra."....DWIGHT PERRY, Seattle Times: "The luckiest burglar in the world is that guy that broke into a Las Vegas hotel room, then fled when he heard the soozing occupant stirring. Who knew MIKE TYSON was such a light sleeper?"....Note to Amarillo native SLOANE CITRON of Menlo Park, California: The photos you shared from our YMCA baseball days were enjoyed by many. Ironically, the baseball field at Stephen F. Austin Junior High (now Middle) School in the background of the team picture from 1968 was torn down just last month....After the New Orleans Saints gained 626 total yards in their 45-28 win over the Detroit Lions on Saturday, STEVE SCHRADER of the Detroit Free Press stated, "Do you believe in, no, I can't say it. Do you believe in tackling?"....TNT studio analyst CHARLES BARKLEY on the so-called "Princeton offense": "I want my attorney to come from Princeton, not my players."....Overheard: "Too much money is just as bad as too little and there is no such thing as just enough."---MIKE HIGGINS