Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Screwing Up Is Easy to Do These Days--Here Are Some Examples Of How It's Being Done

The local paper is screwing up on the Internet as much as it screws up in print.

Bud Appleby of Des Moines just sent me this e-mail:

"The home page of the Register's Internet site today plugs a story about Dustin Honken, and says he is 'the first Iowan to be put on death row since 1963.'

"The trouble is, the story does not say that, the headline on the story does not say that, and it is not true.

"The story accurately says Honken is the 'first person sentenced to death in an Iowa courtroom since 1963.'

"There is a difference.

"For the record, John Spenkelink of LeMars was sentenced to death in Florida in 1973 for a murder earlier that year in Tallahassee. He was executed in the Florida electric chair in 1979."

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: My suggestion is to blame Randy Brubaker for this screw-up. Paul Anger said a while back, after he dumped Brubaker from the sports editor job, that he [Brubaker] is now in charge of the local paper's Internet operation. The trouble is, Anger is presently doing his newspapering in Detroit -- a terrible place to be doing anything. I think Brubaker should address these errors in his blog, then see if he can keep anyone awake for more than 10 seconds while explaining them].


Still on the subject of screwing, Hawkeye fan Barry Crist of West Des Moines sent the following e-mail, the subject being, "Screw ESPN:"

"Screw ESPN for dumping out of the Iowa-Purdue game.

"You can lodge your complaint by calling ESPN at [860] 766-2000. You'll get an operator, ask to complain about the programming decisions and they'll put you to an extension you can leave a polite message about your disappointment."

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Crist was referring to ESPN ending coverage of the Iowa-Purdue football game prematurely last Saturday so it could switch to the Ohio State-Penn State game. I agree with Crist. It was bad TV].


There were more big-time screw-ups on FOX Sports tonight.

The most ridiculous mistake came in the ninth inning of the White Sox-Angels American League playoff game in Chicago.

Blame plate umpire Doug Eddings for that error in the Sox' 2-1 victory.

The winning run should never have scored. The runner [Sox catcher A. J. Pierzynski] shouldn't even have been on base. But, of course, Eddings and the other umpires didn't have the benefit of instant replay--as football officials do--and the Angels wound up getting hosed.

[The photo from, which appears at the upper left in this column, shows Angels reserve catcher Josh Paul about ready to catch the ball--which was the third strike on Pierzynski. The angry reaction of Angels manager Mike Scosia shows in the AP photo at the right].

This was a controversial finish that will be the subject of emotional discussion for years to come.

However, FOX, which televised the Sox-Angels game and the Cardinals-Astros National League game on different channels simultaneously, also deserves a ton of criticism, too.

Putting the two games on the tube at the same time caused enormous confusion for fans. I know one guy who was hoping the Sox would win and the Cardinals would lose, so he risked doing serious physical and mental damage to himself.

By 8:30 p.m., the guy was flipping the channels so feverishly that he was a mess.

FOX could have solved a lot of problems by staggering the starting times. The White Sox game could have started at 6 p.m. and the Cardinals' game could have started at 8 p.m.

I'd say the White Sox could have played in the afternoon and the Cardinals at night, but I wouldn't want to rob the working stiffs of the world their opportunity to see at least part of both games.

Maybe if the White Sox game had been in the afternoon, Eddings would have been awake and made the correct call in the ninth inning.


The Iowa State men’s basketball team is picked to finish sixth in the Big 12 Conference, according to a vote of the coaches.

Texas was the overwhelming favorite to win the title with 10 first-place votes, followed by Oklahaoma, which recieved two first-place votes. Kansas, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech rounded out the top-five.

Iowa State returns three starters from last season's team that advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament. Preseason all-American Curtis Stinson returns for his junior season as one of the best guards in the nation. Stinson, a two-time all-Big 12 honoree, averaged 17.2 points and 2.3 steals a game last year.

The Cyclones play their first exhibition game Nov. 5 against EA Sports start the regular season against Mountain State on Nov. 20.


1. Texas 120
2. Oklahoma 112
3. Kansas 89
4. Oklahoma State 84
5. Texas Tech 80
6. Iowa State 70
7. Texas A&M 68
8. Missouri 48
9. Colorado 43
10. Nebraska 40
11. Kansas State 25
12. Baylor 13

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: I think the Cyclones will finish higher. But sixth place will get them into the NCAA tournament].


I sat next to Chuck Schoffner, the longtime sports editor at the Associated Press in Des Moines, at Drake's basketball press conference today.

Schoffner was laughing. He was smiling.

He's announced his retirement from the AP, effective next month.

No wonder he's so happy.


It was good to see Jim Ecker of the Cedar Rapids Gazette at the Drake press conference. He's one of the two best reporters in the state. Ecker is a guy who's never shy about asking a tough question.

Ask Hayden Fry about that.


Dave Triplett, the former Iowa football player who was an assistant coach at both Iowa and Iowa State, and Drake sports information director Mike Mahon joined us for lunch at the Oriental restaurant in West Des Moines today.

Triplett, who lettered at Iowa in 1970 and 1971, was delightful in recalling his days as a football coach and player. His humorous stories about Hayden Fry and Earle Bruce were priceless. Triplett is now a fund-raiser at Iowa.