Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Hey, Give Me Time--I'm Trying to Get Interested in the Iowa Stars

I'm trying to get interested in the new hockey team in town.

I really am.

I'm not there yet, but I'm trying.


It seems to me that lots of other people are still waiting to get hooked on the Iowa Stars, too.

Only 2,829 people showed up to watch their exhibition last night with Peoria.

That's not many in a new $220 million arena that seats 16,000 or so.

I wish 'em luck. I'm just glad I didn't invest any money in that outfit.


Speaking of hockey, the AP reports NBC is going ahead with plans to air a National Hockey League commercial [pictured above] showing a bare-chested player being dressed by--excuse the expression--a "scantily-clad woman."

The go-ahead came despite objections from Martha Burk, who led an unsuccessful effort to allow female members at Augusta National three years ago.

NBC said it had no problem with the ad, which first appeared last week on the NHL's website, and planned to air it on its NHL preview show Saturday.

"We've viewed the spot and find nothing objectionable," NBC spokeswoman Alana Russo said.

Opening night for the NHL is Oct. 5, when all 30 teams will be in action following the season-long lockout.

Hey, the NHL needs all the help it can get these days. But if it's going to take half-naked players to get people into the arenas and in front of their TVs to watch the games, it's a pretty sad-sack operation.


Nice going, Lisa Colonno, on putting an attendance figure -- whether it was phony or not -- in your story on last night's Iowa Stars exhibition.

Keep it up. Put the attendance figure in every one of your game stories.

It drives me nuts when reporters at the local paper don't bother putting the attendance -- whether it's actual or an estimate -- in their stories.

If the team you're covering doesn't issue an attendance figure, estimate it yourself. That's why you're a reporter.


Maybe the league the Iowa Stars play in has some sort of identity problem.

I mean, it doesn't show me much when I hear that they're going to be playing Peoria and Omaha.

But I suppose the people in Omaha don't think much of having to watch games against Des Moines and Peoria.


Has Mo Dana left town yet?


Trev Alberts, the Cedar Falls, Ia., native who played football at Nebraska, figures his TV broadcasting career is over.

The outspoken Alberts [pictured above on the right in this column, and not in the hockey ad with the scantily-clad woman] was fired recently by ESPN. There’s at least one thing he won’t miss about being a college football TV analyst, according to the Lincoln Journal Star in a story now on

“I’d be walking through an airport, and I might hear a fan of Oklahoma — or whoever — shout, ‘You’re wrong about the Sooners!’ ” Alberts said. “I look forward to a less public existence.”

Alberts, 35, was fired earlier this month because of a disagreement regarding his role in the network’s “College GameDay” lineup. He said he can’t talk about the situation because of pending litigation. But he spoke enthusiastically and optimistically about his future, saying he’s keeping an open mind and considering various options.

“My opportunities in broadcasting have probably been destroyed by ESPN,” said Alberts, who now lives in suburban Atlanta. “More than likely, I’ll be making a lifestyle and professional change, which I suppose isn’t always bad.

“My wife and I have been praying a lot and looking for direction.”

Alberts, the fifth overall pick in the 1994 NFL draft by the Indianapolis Colts, ended his playing career in 1996. He then worked for five years as a football analyst for CNN. He was in his fourth season at ESPN.

With his TV days apparently behind him, he said he’s become “intrigued” by potential opportunities in construction and real estate, among other possibilities.


The subject matter during our lunch at the Chinese place today was interesting.

One of the things we talked about was whether the rest of Iowa's football players like quarterback Drew Tate.

I know I wouldn't think much of him if I was a pass receiver and all he did was bitch at me when I came back to the huddle.


People I've talked with -- some of whom have been watching college football games a long, long time -- say they've never seen a quarterback throw the ball to the turf in anger the way Tate did Saturday at Ohio State.

It looked like he should've been taken out of the game and spanked.


Message from Barry "Born a Hawkeye, Always a Hawkeye" Crist:

"You're probably all aware of the debate about the pink locker rooms in Kinnick Stadium. There has been some student and faculty support for removing the pink locker rooms. However, there hasn't been much publicity from folks who would like to keep the long standing tradition initiated by Coach Fry. If you would like to show your support for the tradition of the pink locker rooms please share this message with anyone that may be in Kinnick on Saturday for the game against Illinois. A campaign is under way to try and get the entire stadium to start chanting, 'Keep It Pink!' when time expires at the end of the first quarter."


They're still talking about Ron Speer, the former Des Moines Tribune and Associated Press reporter who died this week.

One guy recalled the time he, Speer and others were covering an appearance by a very attractive woman from Ames who was running for a political office.

Speer leaned over to a man standing next to him and said, "She'd be all right if she had bigger tits."

Just one problem.

The man he was talking to was the candidate's husband.


Californian Bob Nicholas, aka Uncle Bob--whose nephew is Iowa tight end Scott Chandler--is upset with some things he's seeing from Iowa's football team. Here's his e-mail after the loss at Ohio State:


"After the past three seasons [my tenure as a Hawks fan], this year has been kind of hard to watch. It's not time yet to throw in the towel, but, wow, was that a lousy game. The offense should be better than last year. It's not. [Not yet anyway]. I can understand the defensive woes based upon a line that's gone. I have always felt the secondary was very suspect, with the exception of Bob Sanders and Sean Considine. We still have some great linebackers. No offense and no defense adds up to a long season.

"Basically, what I have witnessed is a lack of aggression. In the whole game, I only saw two tackles from Iowa [a tremendous hit on a poor slob trying to run back a punt and one hit that caused the quarterback to fumble, which by the way curtailed his running for the rest of the game.....pain has a way of doing that.] That's not good. EVERY play should have a Hawks initiated hit hard enough to take an old man like me out!

"Point being that it's far past time to start hitting. The only intense moments that I saw were Tate'soutbursts which, in my way of thinking, seemed pathetic. I can't understand a team with the pride that I have seen over the past three years, rolling
over and allowing a punking.

"Granted you're not always going to have a great season and I know it's far easier from an easy chair, but it's time for the coaches and players to fight.


"Best Regards,"

Uncle Bob Nicholas

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Lots of people closer to the scene are just as frustrated as you are, Uncle Bob. I'm figuring Iowa will drop a big number of pitiful Illinois this week, but the Hawkeyes still must play at Purdue and Wisconsin, plus take their chances against Michigan and Minnesota at home]. Obviously, this team began the season overrated, and coach Kirk Ferentz must do some magic tricks to make something out of the season].


Bad headline in today's local paper:

Wanna ticket
for ISU's game?
Lotsa luck, pal

I don't like the word "Wanna" and I don't like the word "Lotsa"

The copy editor who wrote that headline should be taken to the woodshed. High school papers do better than that.


Vol. 4, No. 388
Sept. 28, 2005