Saturday, January 31, 2009

MY Week in Review

First off, I have to tell you, I didn't watch ONE MINUTE of Blago fest on any of the tv stations this week. His ousting was imminent, and I didn't need to waste my time. Pat Quinn is a great guy and will do everything in his power to help the people of Illinois. He is a stand-up guy and deserves the position. I am proud to say I know Pat a little bit from our talks on the air with Mike Murphy back in the day at the Score. It doesn't hurt that he is a White Sox fan. It's great to have a South Side fan in charge of the State, as well as the Country!

Monday, I had the opportunity to join Mike North, Dan Jiggetts, and Jen Patterson on Monsters in the Morning on Comcast. It was great to see the guys, and it's always great seeing Jen. We talked Super Bowl XLIII, (I would like to see Arizona win, but it won't be easy.). The set looks much bigger on tv than it really is. The guys are just three weeks in and I feel the show gets better each day. It's a work in progress, and I am confident they will get to where they want to be.

Now that my heart issues have been resolved, after last weeks cardioversion to get my heart back to its regular rhythm, I joined Cardinal Fitness. Took it slow the first day. I hope to make it a three times a week stop. I have the time!

Wednesday, the Chicago Fire soccer schedule was released for the upcoming season. They open the year in Dallas March 21, but the most exciting stop was when they head north of the border.

Saturday, May 16, the Fire play Toronto FC (stands for football club), at BMO Field in Toronto. That same weekend, the White Sox have a four game series with the BlueJays, also in Toronto.

My 52nd birthday is May 15, and I can't think of a better weekend celebration than heading to Canada for some baseball/soccer action.

The middle of the week was also, unfortunately, highlighted by a blowout my wife, Pat, had with her car. It turned out to be an expensive one, as we eventually needed to get new tires, and of course, when they removed the back tires, they found out we also needed rear brakes. It's just like my favorite saying goes, "It's always something, and it never ends!"

Thursday night, Pat and I had a chance to check out Scapa Italian restaurant in downtown Clarendon Hills. The grilled calamari was excellent, as was the Italian wedding soup. Try out the place for yourself and let me know what you think. Say hi to John and Joe.

Friday, I had the chance to join attorney David Spada, and former Bear tight end/fullback, Robin Earl, on the Barely Legal show at TalkZone.com. This is a Mike North Production, that is at the same place Mike did the webio show, and still has the Monsters show on the web. We had Hall of Famer, Ted Hendricks join us to talk Super Bowl, and discussed the Bears, Sox, and Cubs the rest of the hour. It was great being in front of a microphone again.

Finally, last night, I joined several of my high school buds, (Steve Jagielo, Larry Griffin and Mark "Moofer" Molaro), to watch our alma mater, Morton, play at Downers Grove South. Morton was without one of their stars, Luke Scarlatta, but hung tough thanks to the rebounding and hustle of Raul Guzman. DGS won in overtime, but the game wouldn't have gotten that far if my guys could have made some free throws. They were terrible at the line and need to improve as tournament time approaches. By the way, the three referees were BRUTAL! Worst I have seen in sometime, for both sides.

As for Super Bowl XLIII, I have avoided all the hype, (not working at the Score anymore allowed me to do that). I would love to see a good game, close into the fourth quarter, and what a story it would be if the Cardinals could pull it off.

More from this Idle Mind soon!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I'll Take Hodge Podge for 500, Alex

It's a little bit of a lot of things as I sit down to write this Sunday morning at 2:17am. My wife is out with her friends for their monthly get together. This one is an overnighter, allowing me to stay up late to watch a dvd...tonight it was "Max Payne", (I'd give it 2 stars...special effects were good, story a little confusing). Saw "Righteous Kill" with DeNiro and Pacino last night. That one also gets 2 stars. Tropic Thunder awaits. I'll probably get to that later this week.

For those who have been reading my Facebook page, you know I had some heart problems in October, but Friday I went in for a cardioversion, where they basically hit the reset button on your heart by shocking it. It worked and my heart beat is back to regular. I am ready to go.

Saturday was a fun day, as I had a chance to see some of the Chicago Fire soccer players and coaches before they leave for training camp in Florida on Monday. The team has their starting 11 back from last season, with a full season of Brian McBride. With the MLS reducing rosters from 28 to 24, camp is going to be tough for players trying to grab a spot. C.J. Brown is healthy and is going to give it a try for another season after missing most of last year with an injury. Defender, Dasan Robinson is also back healthy, with forward, Calen Carr hoping to get ready for the start of the regular season.

I had a chance to meet the Fire's first pick in the SuperDraft, Baggio Husidic from UIC. He is pumped to be with the Fire and would love to help at an attacking midfield position. Maybe he could replace the loss of Stephen King, who was selected by Seattle in the expansion draft.

The season opener is March 21st in Dallas.

At Hawthorne Race Course Saturday Night, they held the 16 inch softball Hall Of Fame inductions. I was pleased to see my wife's cousin, Pat Caputo go into the Hall. He has played for some 39 years and won numerous titles. One heck of a pitcher, Patty deserved it. My guy, Mike North, also was honored along with Steve Kashul, going in as media members. If you remember, Mike and Steve did 16 inch games on Sports Channel back in the day, when local television actually took some chances.

Super Bowl XLIII is just a week away and people are planning their viewing parties for the BIG game. If you listen to ESPN radio this week, you just may hear a familiar voice promoting Uncle Bub's BBQ in Westmont for the place to get your catering and take out needs for the tilt between Arizona and Pittsburgh. Mark and Jay are buddies of mine and I was pleased to help them out with a few spots.

Monday, January 19, 2009

What Do We Really Expect to CHANGE!!! and how about the NFL!

It's the day before the big inauguration, and a lot of Chicago is either in D.C., or on their way.

Barack Obama becomes the country's 44th President tomorrow, when he is sworn in. The concert seemed amazing yesterday, from what I saw of it, and the number of people just blows me away.

We know these are tough economic times, but people are leaving their homes to get to the Nation's capitol anyway they can. There are inauguration parties throughout the week, costing millions of dollars. Couldn't some of this money be put to better use? And how is everyone getting out of work to travel to D.C. to see the inauguration? Or are all the people who are making the trip, out of work already? I can sympathize.

Call me a naysayer, or whatever else you would like, but tell me the last time you could buy a hat or t-shirt with the President's name or face on it, when they were not being criticized?

President Obama is one heck of a guy, and what we have seen, not a bad hoopster. He likes to find the open man, and knows how to get to the hole. Back in the day, he joined us on the Mike North Morning Show, and all he wanted to talk about was his beloved White Sox, which we got a kick out of. My question is what exactly does this country expect from their newest President, and how long before his supporters will begin to turn on him?

Now I am not a political expert, and lord knows I don't have all the answers...I don't even know the questions. I am just wondering...

Now for something I do know a little bit about, the National Football League.

I love it that Arizona is going to SB43! They clinched early, being in a weak NFC West, then stumbled to the finish. But Ken Whisenhunt had these guys ready on both sides of the ball and Larry Fitzgerald is amazing! What a wide receiver. I can't remember the last WR I saw that could get that high and had hands like that.

As for Donovan McNabb...I know he's a Chicago guy, but he just can't win the big game. He was not good in the first half, and then he wasn't helped out at all in the second half by Hank Baskett, who must have had Kendra on his mind instead of the game.

The Steelers win didn't surprise me. Their defense turned it up and the Ravens rookie QB couldn't pull out another one.

The Big Game could be a good one if AZ can get Fitzgerald the ball and they also can't forget their running game. Edgerrin James has played better and Hightower is a bruiser.

I wonder who Obama likes in the game?

Friday, January 16, 2009

What's Going On!

I sat down at my computer at 12:30am Saturday, just to look at some e-mails and my Facebook account, when I was shocked to see that ESPN had gotten rid of their ONE star...Dan McNeil.

I had hoped to see McNeil at the station next week when I plan on being in the area, but now I guess I could see him anytime...anytime two out of work guys want to get together that is.

Danny Mac was the MAN at ESPN. The economy being the way it is, I guess it was ESPN's time to cut costs, and Danny was the victim.

It should be some interesting listening the next couple of weeks as to which direction that show goes, and how the Boers and Bernstein show on the Score may benefit from McNeil's absence. Fred, Jurko and Harry...Hmm, sounds inviting! It would even be my initials...FJH!

Friday night, I visited Hinsdale South to watch my alma mater, Morton take on the Hornets.

6'5 senior forward, Raul Guzman put on quite a display in the first half, hitting his first six attempts from three point range. Guzman went 7 for 9 from the arc for the game, finishing, unofficially, with 33 points as the Mustangs won easily.

Luke Scarlatta wasn't a big part of the Mustangs offense in the game, but he did add a monster rebound slam dunk in the third quarter and another slam on a three on one break in the fourth.

Keep an eye on these guys as the tournament gets going in late February and March.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Boy...I'm exhausted!

It's easy to get into a rut when you are home between jobs.

You get up, do a couple of things around the house, grab some lunch, watch some tv, and the next thing you know, it's time for the wife to come home for dinner.

Not Today!

Today, I actually got out of the house.

A haircut and dye job. Yes, I dye my hair. My wife doesn't like gray hair, so I figured that's the least I could do to keep her happy.

Then, a visit to a cardiologist at Loyola Hospital for a second opinion on my heart woes. The good Dr. Moran agreed with my doctor, Dr. Clark from Edward Hospital and suggested I get my heart shocked as soon as I can so that I can return to normal. Little does he know, I have NEVER been normal.

Finally, a stop at my financial advisor. After sixteen plus years at the SCORE, my CBS 401k can now be moved to something that could possibly allow me some money in my old age. Several options to consider. I'm no financial wizard, so the decision won't be an easy one.

I was on my way home and my hard working wife asked if I could pick up dinner and bring it to her school, (she's in Guidance at a local HS). Being the good husband I am...or at least try to be, I obliged. I also helped with some paper work that she needed copied so she could work on other things so that she could be home before 9:00. We just made it.

Caught the Bulls 4th quarter as they beat LeBron and the Cavs. It is just fun to watch Derrick Rose. He is such a talent.

I, along with my high school buddies, had the chance to watch him for two years dominate in the State tournament in Peoria. What he is doing is no surprise to us. Now if Paxson can just get him some players to play with. Tyrus Thomas shows you flashes of good play, but he doesn't seem to be able to keep it going.

Friday, I think my alma mater, Morton is playing hoops at Hinsdale South. If so, I'll be there cheering them on. They are one of the top teams in the area...and that's a shocker for anyone that went to Morton back in the 70's.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Another Day Alone With My Thoughts!

Just after 6:15 this morning, my wife, Pat, told me, "Your buddy is outside!"

My neighbor, Chris had started his snow blower, and was on his way across the cul-de-sac to plow my drive.

Chris, and my other neighbor, Mike, have been great the last several years taking care of our small, but not too small, driveway, after I gave away the snow blower that my brother-in-law gave me. There was just not enough room in our already crowded garage...and I didn't mind shoveling anyway.

This year, Chris and Mike won't let me shovel, even if I wanted to.

In late October, I caught some sort of virus, and ended up in the hospital for six days. The virus attacked my chest and I developed fluid around the heart, an irregular heartbeat and a high heart rate. I am still dealing with the irregular heartbeat and am hopefully a week away from the doctors trying to "shock" it back into its proper rhythm.

The nice part about Chris doing the drive is that his dog, Mya, comes with. Mya is a brown labradoodle and tons of fun to play with in the snow. I am trying to make Mya, my buddy! So while Chris is cleaning MY drive, I am playing with his dog. I know, something about that just isn't right.

After being laid off from the SCORE, Sports Radio 670 after 16 plus years, I am beginning my search for a new position in Chicago sports media. It is a crowded field, with not a lot of opportunities, but I am confident that I will find the right fit.

I also look forward to hopefully doing play-by-play for the Chicago Fire again this season. Last season, I had the pleasure of working with color analyst, Chris Doran and sideline reporters Sarah Kustok and Amy Freeze. New Jersey based producer, Jeff Strauss worked all but one of our games last season, and I hope we continue again this year. Sarah won't be with the team as Comcast SportsNet scooped her up as a reporter for SportsNite. Wise move!

On this blog, I will attempt to post things that you may get a kick out of and it also gives me an outlet to get rid of all the sports knowledge and sports opinions that I currently have been keeping to myself.

Talk with you soon!