Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Time for a Vacay!

Tomorrow (Thursday, July 30th) I'm on a plane to San Francisco. Former Swift Current Indians pitcher John de Visser is getting married and I'm MCing the wedding. I'll be spending five days in San Fran, Modesto and Oakdale California.

...and I'll be in no condition to blog.

I'm leaving for Calgary later today to fly out tomorrow morning. At around noon today, I'd appreciate you (yes, YOU!) sending me an e-mail to remind me to remember my passport. If we're friends on facebook, send me a message...if we're not, quit big leaguing and add me!

I'll get back to blogging in mid August depending on my motivation levels. As of now, the Blackberry is OFF.



Sunday, July 26, 2009

Myself and Kelly Horaska at our makeshift broadcast location before the Swift Current Indians' 7-5 Extra Innings Win Over the Regina Red Sox on Friday

Swift Current Indians Baseball is back on the Eagle tonight. 6:50 pregame show, play by play at 7:05. Hopefully, former league MVP Kelly Horaska will be doing color. When Horse is on the radio...anything can happen.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Impromptu Night Off

If you're visiting here through the plug that Jon Keen gave me, check the post below for all the fun with Gregg Drinnan. Make sure and hit the comments section.

***UPDATE...WE LOOK TO BE BACK ON FOR TONITE...6:55 Pregame show! Thanks to Red Sox President/Sask Tel Guy Gary Brotzel***


I was supposed to be going to Regina for a Swift Current baseball broadcast tonight. Now I'll just go for a few beers and a hot dog.

In order for The Eagle 94-1 to do a broadcast, we need a working phone line. It seems the league is too concerned with internet broadcasts and having Sask Tel Max do their two games a year than accomodate any visiting media. Call me crazy, but I would think a combination of a 100,000 watt radio station and world wide online coverage would get some attention from the league office. More and more parks are cancelling their phone lines. For the record, we use a toll free line. It doesn't cost teams anything to have use come to their park.

Back in 2004, The Eagle 94-1 provided on air and online coverage of the Swift Current Indians and the WMBL. The first broadcast a game on air and online. Webcasting has since become common place in the league and The Eagle paved the way. To give the WMBL the exposure we do, we staff people for long hours on weekends, pay travel expenses...and yes the station does make a few bucks off sponsors but in some cases we barely break even. No one's getting rich off WMBL baseball.

The league needs to be accomodating to all media. It gives the WMBL credibility and helps attract better talent to play in Western Canada. I don't even know who the commissioner is this year. I'm sure he's too busy trying to devise the most complicated playoff structure possible and trying to sell the concept of the WMBL to a small city in Alberta that will support a team for one season MAX.

My hotel room is booked for Regina already tonight, so I'm a Swift Current Indians fan tonight. Go Tribe!


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We Almost Made it.

The Swift Current Bronco Hall of Fame Banquet was a success. The 1989 Swift Current Broncos are immortalized in the Bronco Hall of Fame. Kudos to Keegan Goodrich who had the unenviable task of organizing a ceremony that involved more than 20 inductees and all the hassles of getting them back to Swift Current. If you see Keegan Goodrich on the street, give him some props on a five star job. I've had plenty of compliments on my MCing role, but the real props should go to Keegan.

What an amazing night. When Dan Lambert and Sheldon Kennedy gave the induction speech it was a truly memorable moment in Bronco history. I had a few people ask me why I didn't crack more jokes. Truth is, I had a few zingers ready to go about Mark McFarlane climbing the glass to fight a guy in the penalty box, women in attendance who wanted Peter Soberlak to sign their breasts, Danny Lambert and Lorne Frey's roles in Kelowna and some other fodder. In broadcasting a rule is "if you can't top it, stop it" and on my best day I wouldn't have been able to top Sheldon Kennedy and Dan Lambert's moment at the mic.

This night was all about the players. It was awesome to see a jovial Sheldon Kennedy back in the building formerly known as the Civic Center. His presence added to the weekend. For the first time in more than a decade a Sheldon Kennedy appearance was all about hockey, and his time as a Bronco. Remembering his role as team captain, cracking jokes at the expense of Lorne Frey, ribbing his teammates and remembering the moments on the ice.

It was closure to the dark times in a way...that's the vibe I got anyway. The subject of this post is "We almost made it" a reference to the fact that the 1989 Swift Current Bronco team almost made it through the event without some smart ass media type referencing Graham James. Sadly another annoying and condescending asterisk has been put on the team. This was done on what is considered one of the WHL's most "respected" blogs.

I expected better Gregg Drinnan.

The plaque includes the names of almost everyone who played a prominent role with the team, including the governor (John Rittinger), assistant GM/assistant coach (Lorne Frey), athletic therapist (Grant Farquhar), public relations director (John Foster) and director of player personnel (Bruce Franklin). Missing from the plaque is the name of the team’s general manager and head coach. That would be Graham James, and we all know that story. Apparently, the Broncos and the WHL are hoping that by ignoring James, history will fade away. Unfortunately, some skeletons just never disappear from closets, no matter how much sweeping is done.

Gregg Drinnan is a hell of a writer. Despite being situated in Kamloops, he is able to give the illusion of a local writer to every market in the league. He is connected, he has skills and he has sources. Many call him the most respected member of the WHL media.

I just lost some of that respect.

When people remember sports dynasties, they remember the players. When talking about the Edmonton Oilers of the 1980's the conversation involves Gretzky, Messier, Coffey et al. Do people remember Wayne Gretzky hoisting the Stanley Cup, or do they talk about the Oilers owner at the time? The same one that would eventually be busted for bankrupcy fraud?

There are so many different angles to the Broncos story. The entire 1989 team, save three players, came back for this event. Yes, Brian Sakic was missing, but his big brother sure made a splash with his appearance.

There are no skeletons in the closet. It's all out in the open. Yes, the city and the organization was duped by an evil man. Everyone knows what happened with Graham James. The fact is, a very happy and healthy Sheldon Kennedy came back to Swift Current and accepted the induction plaque on behalf of the team. The 1989 Swift Current Broncos are a CHL miracle. This is a team that is still featured in the CHL record book numerous times that won a Memorial Cup a little more than two years after losing four players in a bus crash. The smallest market in the CHL, the tragedy to triumph, one of the best junior hockey teams in the world to ever share the ice.

Sheldon Kennedy certainly appears to have moved on, maybe some of the cynical scribes in the WHL media should do the same.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday Laundry

Tonight I am on The Eagle 94.1 with Swift Current Indians baseball. The Tribe plays Edmonton. Pre-game show at 6:50, play by play at 7:05. I would love to see you at the ball park...and I'm sure the Swift Current Indians would too.

There are some solid reasons to go watch the tribe, including import slugger Nik Gumeson. "Gummy" has already hit 11 home runs, which is a team record. The tribe has had some amazing bats in the lineup over the years. Gumeson is the type of player we don't see often in this league.

I go through lots of clothes.

I've been told by pretty much everyone I've ever lived with that I go through too much laundry...something I have always laughed off.

Until I saw my laundry bill.

The spin cycle jockeys at the Swift Current Laundry Basket break down the laundry on their receipts. Shakespeare says "the whole world's a stage", if that's the case, am I going through too many costume changes? Is it normal for a 32 year old male to go through this much clothing on his own?

In a week I go through:

6 pairs of Jeans or Dress Pants
26 t-shirts. 26!
5 golf shirts
4 dress shirts
22 pairs of socks
17 "underwears"
7 shorts

What is normal? looking at that, I really do get the sense I maybe change my socks and underwear a bit much.

Comment away!

Busiest Summer Ever

I wanted to blog more this summer, but a busy schedule has put online activity on the back burner. The only thing I do on the internet with any sort of consistency is update my facebook status.

This weekend, I'll be on the radio in Regina for Swift Current Indians Baseball on Friday night and at the Rider game on Saturday. Next weekend is a trip to Modesto, California for the de Vissar wedding I'm MCing.

The schedule is filling up for the weekend of August 8th and 9th too. I'm not sure of the exact time, but I have a date with the Stanley Cup in Regina. One of the cool things about my new GF is she is first cousins with Chris Kunitz of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Magic morning show on Monday, August 10th may sound rough.

I am planning a post of substance in the next few days. Stay tuned...or don''s summer and the weather is awesome, GO OUTSIDE!


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lac Pelletier from 1000 Feet

The North End of Lac Pelletier...if you look closely you can see Marc Habscheid.

My GF Christina and I flew the friendly skies above Pelletier yesterday. Local Top Gun Mike Campbell and his Great Circle Airways business is taking people up for tours this summer. After the flight we hit Clancy's on the Beach for the best bacon cheeseburger ever! They may have emptied an entire package of bacon bits on our two burgers.

The two of us pre-flight...don't even bother to leave a comment about how she is "too good looking for me" I've already heard it more than enough.

Mike, our pilot gets clearance from Pelletier Air Traffic Control.

Some of the luxurious lakefront cabins seen during lift off.

The Pelletier Golf Course. We were too high up to see Magic 97 Afternoon Jock Chris Martens double bogey.

A closer look at the North End as we make our runway approach.

Lac Pelltier is about a half hour south of Swift Current. Mike's number is 741 1881. He is usually at the lac on weekends and can give everyone in a group of five a window seat.


Friday, July 10, 2009

The Best Ever???

Broncos Two Best Players Ever Make Headlines in the Same Week

Joe Sakic is beyond a doubt the most noteworthy hockey player to ever wear a Swift Current Bronco jersey. A CHL player of the year as a Bronco, an olympic gold medalist, two time Stanley Cup winner, not to mention other NHL awards including NHL MVP, Joe is one of hockey's all time greats. Bronco fans watching hockey night in Canada were always quick to point out he was once one of ours. Be it as a Bronco or as a Nordique/Avalanche, I have watched Joe Sakic play hockey as long as I can remember. For kids who cheered for the Broncos after they moved back from Lethbridge, I don't think you can name a sports figure who gave us more good memories than Joe Sakic.

Dan Lambert is a new assistant coach in Kelowna. This announcement isn't getting as much hype as it should given Joe Sakic's news. This is why the Rockets organization is as good as it is, and more often than not a contender in the WHL championship scheme. They are going to look like geniuses for giving "Pep" his first coaching gig.

The names Dan Lambert and Joe Sakic are often spoke in the same sentence by me. While most would readily call Joe the best Bronco ever, I would disagree. Joe was the most skilled hands down and he did achieve the most after leaving Swift. Dan Lambert was a Bronco longer. He wore the "C" for two seasons, played in Swift for four, helped the organization win a Memorial Cup and paved the way with his leadership for the Bronco's 93 WHL title too. He put up hundreds of points as a D-man and despite being generously listed as "5'8" he was a man among boys on the ice in terms of skill and maturity. He is about to be the first Bronco inducted into the Bronco Hall of Fame TWICE, and this will only be the seventh induction ceremony.

The two best Broncos ever...both getting headlines in the same week. One for ending an amazing journey, the other for starting one.


Saturday, July 04, 2009

Picture Dump

I was going through my digital camera after my Dinner in the Sky. Here are some pics of the experience as well as I few I snapped in Okotoks from Swift Current Indians Baseball Play by Play.

The dinner table pre-launch for Dinner in the Sky.

Me enjoying champagne in the Sky, and getting the sweet "cool places" profile pic I was looking for.

SIGA's Media relations guy Steve Shaheen enjoying the food and the view of the luxurious Bessborough Hotel.

It was a totally awesome experience. Between trips to Jamaica and stuff like this, radio has been very good to me this year.

Just before lunch I went to meditate by Saskatoon's bust of Ghandi. A symbol of peace, understanding, compassion and good Kharma. As this picture was taken, I was asked by a local for some spare change. I told him to "get a job!"

Indians in Okotoks, June 12.

The Tribe prepares for the WMBL main event vs. The Dawgs

No expense was spared in the making of Seaman Stadium

The Tribe prepares to face the 'always tough' Dawgs bats. There is seldom an easy out vs. Okotoks. The Dawgs would win this game 6-3.

Me fueling up before the broadcast.


Thursday, July 02, 2009

above pic snapped at Tim Horton's in Swift Current. Vehicle had BC plates.

Holiday Blogging

I'm in the midst of some time off. Not going anywhere, just blogging and drinking coffee. I haven't updated in a few days because nothing has been on my brain. I don't really have much on my mind now, but I'm on my laptop with some time to kill so lets see what oozes out of my brain through the keyboard.

-I saw Transformers 2. Critics hate it, fanboys want to love it. It wasn't awful by any means. There was a lot of Robot fighting. You couldn't tell which robot was winning the fights as they are big and clunky. There was explosions, emotions, death and carnage...and all of it for some magic dust. Yes, without spoiling too much of the movie, the plot and fate of the world rests on magic dust. The movie will contunue to make a killing and sell critics don't have to like it.

-The post that I was debating about posting, won't see the light of day. The important people already know me, and some people who like to judge quite frankly don't deserve an in depth look into my life.

-If I had a nickel for everytime someone asked me who the Swift Current Broncos next coach is, I'd be buying a house. When the news breaks Jon will have it first. Having said prediction based on everything I've heard is Mark Lamb. Yes, his mom is my kids' sitter, but "Gramma Willa" is not my fact I don't have a source, I'm just making a semi educated guess. For all I know it's Scotty Bowman.

Please don't hit any WHL related forums saying "Switzer says Scotty Bowman is the new coach of the Broncos".

-Michael Jackson. I'm amazed no one saw this coming. He was constantly photographed in wheelchairs, he could barely speak above a whisper and he wore a mask to hide his face. Rehearsing for a show probably killed him. So frail.

What a sad life. He had NO hope of ever being a normal adult. From 5 years old, he was a product. When he should have been going through normal teenage growing pains and admiring the underwear section of the Sears Catalog, he was performing on Johnny Carson and playing sold out shows. It's no wonder he always wanted to surround himself with children...he ever had the chance to grow up. He probably never touched a kid in a bad way, but he had billions of dollars and was an EASY and incredibly naive target.

Of course he was weird. Fame does that to kids. Look how messed up Britney Spears is. She was introduced to fame at age 17. She had a normal childhood until 17. Michael Jackson was pushed into the spotlight at five. FIVE YEARS OLD! All parenting and upbringing stopped at age five. At that point he became a product. He didn't have a prayer in the real world. Surrounded by people who didn't care about him except to make a dollar off him. His only friend where the only people he could relate to. Children...children who had parent who, like everyone else, tried to make a buck off him.

...And now his Dad is using the media spotlight of his son's death to pimp his new record label. The music industry is an UGLY place.

-Radio people using facebook to push their shows...Interesting and insightful, annoying or "don't care". Please leave your thoughts in the comment section.

-Upon further review and studying, the "rat" that I had on my patio has been ruled a squirrel. A mangy disgusting squirrel...but it came back and I got a better look. The radio station crew walked in the Frontier Days Parade, shaking hands and greeting people along the way. I was amazed at how many people referenced that blog post along the way. Thanks for reading and taking an interest in my boring life.

-I had the priveledge of having coffee today with former Swift Current Indians MVP and WMBL pitcher of the year Kelly Horaska, current coach and former WMBL MVP Joe Carnahan, Indians third baseman and last year's WMBL coach of the year Jordan Blundell and multiple WMBL coach of the year winner Harv Martinez. Quite the round table. As a guy who broadcasts games, it was my turn to be the quiet one and just take in their conversation. I've called nearly a hundred WMBL games over the last five years, but I learn so much more about the game everytime I'm within earshot of that crew.

-Lots of houses for sale in Swift Current right now. What are prices like? Still expensive, or has it cooled down a little?

-That's all I can muster for now. Maybe I'll do this again tomorrow.