Today's guest contestant on the 'Not My Job' segment of the NPR game quiz show Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me! is relief pitcher for the World Series-winning Washington Nationals, Sean Doolittle. The interview with host Peter Sagal is extremely pleasant, though a pretty straight-forward sports conversation -- however it takes a fun, albeit slight diversion when talking about "walk-up songs," and has several amusing interruptions by Paula Poundstone who clearly is not a sports follower.
We're in the Hot Stove period now between the end of the baseball season and the start of Spring Training, which is when the news pour in more than the stats. But even for those whose eyes roll wearily at any time when baseball is mentioned, this still this is notable.
The Chicago Cubs just hired Rachel Folden as a hitting coach for Rookie League. She's believed to be the first woman on a coaching staff in a MLB organization.
"She's going to be a star. She's the first person I brought in for an interview," said Justin Stone, Cubs hitting director, adding "Rachel's been working alongside me for the last couple years, and there is nobody more confident. You worry, or you take a second thought of, 'How are guys going to react to the first time they've ever been coached by a woman in their life?' Rachel's the perfect person to cross this barrier, because not only is she one of the most talented people in our industry, she's extremely confident. And, if somebody gives her crap, she'll get in the cage and probably outswing them."
You can read more about it here.
Even if you don't like hockey -- or sports -- this is a total hoot.
At every home game, the NHL Washington Capitals have an event between periods where they let a lot of little kids play, and then select one of them to be the "Mite of the Nite." On this particular night two weeks ago, the winner was young Jackson Friedlander who, as is the custom, got interviewed and waxed eloquent on Alexander Ovechkin (pronounced oh-vetch-kin) and pet tarantulas, among other subjects.
How fun was it? Even the team itself notes this this might be "the greatest Mite of the Night interview EVER.".
You may have seen the news of fans at tonight’s World Series game booing Trump and chanting “Lock him up!” But what leaped out so notably to me beyond the reality of that – on national television – is something most people haven’t commented on. And it’s that the team colors of the Washington Nationals are...red! So, you have a sea of red caps and red shirts looking like a Trump rally shouting "Lock him up!" and booing.
Anyway, this is what happens when Trump attends a massive crowd event when it isn't a rally of his acolytes --.
Today's guest contestant on the 'Not My Job' segment of the NPR game quiz show is former race car driver Danica Patrick, the first woman to win a NASCAR race. She and host Peter Sagal have an amusing conversation about her driving habits off the track, and then it morphs into the challenges of growing up in Chicago as a Bears fan and living now in Green Bay, Wisconsin, with her boyfriend Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
WGN television carried Chicago Cubs baseball games for 72 years! To put in perspective how remarkable that is, television hasn't been broadcasting much longer than that. However, the other day was their last game, since the Cubs will have their own cable network starting next years.
Thanks to Eric Boardman who sent me a heads-up to this video tribute that WGN made as a tribute to its long history broadcasting baseball and the Cubs.
That said, much as I enjoyed the piece, I think it's only fair. Too much is just generic about how one broadcasts a game, any game. And they show very few highlights that have occurred over seven decades But mostly, there is more focus on Harry Carey than Hall-of-Famer Jack Brickhouse. Though Harry is far better known to most Americans through the WGA superstation, he only covered the team for 17 years. A long time, to be sure, but Jack Brickhouse announced their games for 33 years. Further, for 20 of those years on WGN, Jack didn't just broadcast the Cubs, but also the White Sox. So, for 20 years, he did the play-by-play of both the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox!!
Since this is a piece on WGN broadcasting the Cubs, I don't fault them for not referencing the White Sox. But they sure could have focused more on Jack Brickhouse broadcasting almost half of the station's 72 years with the team.
Happily, he at least is part of the story, and it's handled fairly nicely. With the baseball season ending on Sunday, here's the tribute.
The Mystery Guest on this episode of What's My Line? is one of the all-time greats in baseball history, which is no hyperbole -- Joe DiMaggio. It doesn't take them long to guess, but this is one of the few occasions when that's a good thing, since it leaves more time for host John Daly to talk with him, and there aren't many interview with the Hall of Famer.
There's one whimsical moment here that's very quiet and could get lost. After DiMaggio sits down, panelist Arlene Francis notes the ovation and says, "Nobody's ever had a hand like that other than Eisenhower and Monroe" -- which gets a reaction from DiMaggio since he and Marilyn Monroe were married at the time, September, 1955. (Though just barely, since the would divorce the next month.
This is the full broadcast. If you want to jump to the Mystery Guest segment directly, go to the 17:30 mark.
Last night before the Chicago Bears football game with their century-old rival the Green Bay Packers game, NBC ran a funny one-minute video honoring the start of the NFL’s 100th season. It was basically a debate of sorts between Packer-great quarterback Bret Favre and Bill Swirski's Superfans from Saturday Night Live (George Wendt and Robert Smigel), the "Mike Ditka is God and 'da Bearsss' are heaven" guys. It was very cute, but had an especially-funny end. I thought I’d see if I could track down the video for a friend who's out of the country at the moment..
It turns out that that was only a very short excerpt of a five-minute video! (Fortunately the video was great fun because da Bears stunk...)
Here ‘is the whole thing.
(Side Note: Robert Smigel's other well-known character is that he's the guy behind Triumpth the Insult Comic Dog. And here's a fun fact -- Smigel is not an actor, and was nervous about originally playing the character, but when the sunglasses were added, he realized that it would let him read the cue cards without anyone noticing.)
With the Women's World Cup closing in on its finals, and the U.S. women just having a significant upset victory of host-country France, this seemed an appropriate time to post this. Because of a rain delay during a baseball game the other day, ESPN re-ran a documentary made six years ago about the 1999 women’s soccer team that won the World Cup Championship. It was absolutely wonderful – really well-done and unique. What made it so special is that one of the players -- Julie Foudy -- had a video camera and filmed all the time behind-the-scenes, and they used all that. Plus, they got many of the players together to site around on the Rose Bowl field to talk about it with great insight, humor and affection, and that may have been the best part.
This comes from the ESPN documentary series, Nine on IX," nine documentaries named after.Title IX, the law that helped provide federal funding for, among other things, women's sports in schools.
A few weeks back, I wrote a rave review about a great documentary, Maiden, about the first-ever, all-female crew for the Whitbread, a 32,000-mile around-the-world sailing race in 1989, which you can read here. As I wrote, in brief, the documentary surprisingly was extremely exciting for a film about sailing, and equally-surprisingly was often deeply emotional.
The Los Angeles Times main film critic Kenneth Turan reviewed the film on Wednesday. How big a glowing rave is it? Let's just say -- I tries nots to steer you wrong. He begins this way: "Maiden tells a mighty tale about the majesty of the human spirit and the power of women, and it’s all true." And it goes from there.
Here are two, extended passages. The first --
No matter what your expectations, this heartening doc about disregarding skeptics and moving ahead has the ways and means to take you by surprise, thrill you and make you cry.
And the review ends with this --
As if more complications were needed, Edwards, 26 when the race began, confesses to self-destructive insecurities, doubts and fears that led to conflicts with crew members, including a last-minute confrontation that made her so angry with one woman “I wanted to rip her throat out.”
You can read the full review here.
I tries nots to steer you wrong.
Here's a brief, 4-minute interview with Tracy Edwards, the skipper who was the driving force putting together the team, and Alex Holmes who directed the film -- which he got the idea to make after attending a speech by Edwards at his young daughter's school.
By the way, one of the things I referenced in my original article was that the documentary leaps out because they had SO much footage aboard the boat -- along with great archival footage of Tracy Edwards' life before she got into sailing. In an L.A. Times article by Susan King that I read, it explained more in detail how this came about.
Director Holmes said that he initially envisioned the project as a narrative film, because it never occurred to him that there would be footage of the race. It was only after Tracy Edwards told him that they actually did have cameras on board that he realized it might be possible to make as a documentary.
Edwards herself fills in the holes how that surprising reality came about --.
"The Royal Naval Sailing Association, which was our race committee, had this quite revolutionary idea to film stuff. It was all very exciting. All the other boats were going 'No, no no — we’re too busy racing; we’re too serious to take cameras on board.'
"We said, 'We’ll take them.' We did feel that we wanted to, whatever happened, capture this for posterity. I think we were probably the only boat with two cameras because Jo, as the cook, said, 'I am not doing the watch, so I’ll do the filming.' And we put a camera on the mast as well. If you heard 'All hands on deck,' the job of the last person out was to hit the panic button and that would start the filming. So that’s how we got footage in extreme conditions."
Robert J. Elisberg is a two-time recipient of the Lucille Ball Award for comedy screenwriting. He's written for film, TV, the stage, and two best-selling novels, is a regular columnist for the Writers Guild of America and was for the Huffington Post. Among his other writing, he has a long-time column on technology (which he sometimes understands), and co-wrote a book on world travel. As a lyricist, he is a member of ASCAP, and has contributed to numerous publications.
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