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This and That

There comes a time every year, generally around the middle of August, when it seems necessary to clean out that Word file known as ‘Stuff.’ This is where various things that catch my eye during my Net travels tend to end up. It seems about time to do just that and empty it, or as much as I can remember of what was on my dead computer.

My impeccable sense of timing remains finely honed. No sooner, in my last post, had I mentioned Roanoke sports personality Greg Roberts than the very next day the Roanoke Times informed me and all other readers that Greg had quit as the afternoon drive guy at the regional ESPN radio. Needless to say, I was quite surprised.

It seems that a reason for Greg’s departure was due to his receiving a piece of the advertising action from his show, specifically from a Roanoke eatery that had little interest in the extra advertising cost involved in reaching the regionalized radio market that had been developed that included not only Roanoke but Lynchburg, Bedford and Danville. Apparently they felt the possibilities of significant amounts of people driving from Danville to Roanoke in order to dine at their establishment were small.

I have eaten at this place a few times, although it was not the primary reason for my trip to the Star City, or at least its suburbs. I judge any sandwich shop by the quality of their Reuben and can report that the one to be had at the Brambleton Deli is first-rate. It would seem Greg thought so, too.

It would also seem that in order to continue to enjoy those Reubens at, no doubt, a price quite a bit less than I was charged, Greg has made the business decision to move to another station, one whose strength of signal is confined to the Roanoke County line, thus keeping his audience as small as possible. It’s a good thing this rather remarkable display of little picture thinking was not shared over the years by guys named Paul Torgerson, Charles Steger, Dave Braine, Jim Weaver and Frank Beamer.

The fall-out from Greg’s decision means, that at least for the time being, I am no longer listening to the local ESPN Radio from 4-6 in the afternoons, or at any other time. I feel certain that the guy in Lynchburg running the operation is working hard to recover from this devastating loss of audience. It took me about ten seconds last Monday afternoon to change the station after hearing some ESPN network guy blabbering about Barry Bonds.

Speaking of baseball’s new chemically-enhanced home run king, while I point with pride to the fact that every one of Barry’s homers were hit without benefit of my watching, not a one, I did, over the years, watch on television and in person, former slugging king Hank Aaron hit quite a few. I have paid casual attention to the inevitable Bonds vs. Aaron discussions.

I would point out that Aaron walked into the big leagues swatting home runs at a prodigious rate, generally forty a year. Bonds was known during the first years of his career as a doubles hitter, albeit a very good one. It wasn’t until Barry showed up at Spring Training one year with a physique resembling that of the Incredible Hulk did he become known as a power hitter. That seems just a tad unusual.

Aside from the question as to whether Bonds used an assist from modern pharmacology to achieve his numbers [he did], it is hard not to notice the difference in the size of the ballparks. AT&T Park is not exactly known as a pitcher’s paradise and neither are many of the newer ones, seemingly designed with the idea that there is a relation between paying customers and the numbers of balls flying over fences. For the most part, Aaron was hitting in much larger stadiums.

Then there is the little matter of pitching. Hank Aaron was hitting against guys named Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Juan Marichal, Tom Seaver and Bob Gibson. Bonds is playing during an expansion era when most pitching staffs seem watered down to the Double A level.

When facing guys like Drysdale and Gibson, the hitter dug in at the plate at his peril and with the knowledge that the first pitch would likely be a fastball aimed at his chin. Power pitchers in the 60s and 70s regarded the outside of the plate as their exclusive domain and woe to the batter that attempted to venture into that territory. Crowding the plate in order to reach pitches delivered in that vicinity was not greeted with amusement or tolerance. These days, most attempts by pitchers to pitch inside will result in bench-clearing brawls and fines. It makes a difference.

So much for baseball and the odious character Barry Bonds. Returning to football, I notice that the noted football powerhouse at the University of North Carolina at the People’s Republic of Chapel Hill has engaged in a mass mailing that invites its fans to pack Lane Stadium come September 29 and ‘Turn It Blue.’ Humor just floats around in the air waiting to be plucked.

One would naturally think that Carolina would concentrate on turning its own stadium blue and attempting to end those ever-popular ‘Aluminum Out’ days at Kenan before trying to return the favor of Tech fans packing many sections of that picturesque structure, but the ways of Heels’ AD DickieB often confound many. Somebody also needs to inform the Carolina athletics brain trust that places that sell out their football stadiums by the end of April tend to work against strong fan showings by visiting teams. There is a difference between occupancy levels at Lane and, say, the ACC’s football showpiece Wallace Wade.

Speaking of places with lousy fan support, it has been noticed that the Canes’ attempts to quit the Orange Bowl in favor of a stadium that is not falling apart and near condemnation, namely, the one played in by the Miami Dolphins, is not being universally-hailed. It seems that last Saturday, a rally was held outside the dump of a stadium in an attempt to convince the Canes to continue to play there, presumably even after it falls down.

A whopping crowd of sixty-five people attended. This number included all season ticket holders of Canes football along with numerous South Florida gang members concerned about the loss of revenue that would come from no longer being able to mug the handful of fans still attending games at the aged relic. There was no response from the Dwarf Dyke of Miami, nor from the Canes’ AD, since they don’t have one and seem to be experiencing the same difficulty in finding somebody to take the job as they did in finding a new football coach. Moving the games even further away from Miami’s campus should do wonders for the Canes’ attendance problems as well as reduce the strain on Miami’s overcrowded hospital emergency rooms.

That seems to cover the ‘Stuff’ file on the new computer. I haven’t gotten around to any from the old one, nor do I seem to remember much of it. Oh, well. Maybe one of these days I will get around to recovering that hard drive. In the meantime, only three weeks to go.

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