As 2012 morphs into a new year over this long holiday weekend, it offers me the chance to look back on some of the quotes, stories and personalities that shaped my Off The Couch column this past year. Here are some [but far from all] of those for your reading pleasure. At least I hope you enjoy this stuff as much as I do…
“We are very excited to name Romeo [Crennel] the new head coach of the Chiefs. In 30 years as a coach in the National Football League, Romeo has established an outstanding track record of success, and we believe his experience and proven ability make him the best person to help us reach our goal of consistently competing for championships.”
Clark Hunt, Chiefs Chairman and CEO, in official statement
“I just shit myself!”
Bill Maas, a Pittsburgh native, moments after Tebow’s 80-yard overtime TD pass to Damarious Thomas defeated the Steelers in the playoffs, Twitter
“The media in this town is very corrupt. That’s the sports media I should say. Honestly, it seemed like it was a bigger story nationally than here in Kansas City. I was interested and sort of amused by what the reaction was by certain people. Certain radio stations that I won’t name. Certain TV stations that I won’t name. It’s disappointing on a couple of levels. One of which is it’s a pretty major story in Kansas City. And for some of the people in Kansas City to just ignore it, that’s their prerogative but it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when you have a big story to talk about and you turn a blind eye. A lot of us in the media have to decide which master to serve because there are many temptations in this business. You can either serve your readers, listeners, viewers or you can serve the very teams that you are supposed to hold accountable. A lot of the
media in this town are more interested in serving the master they should be holding accountable. To me that’s shameful. That’s not the type of journalism I respect.”
Kent Babb, after his “Arrowhead Anxiety” expose on Scott Pioli’s iron-handed and often bizarre control of the Chiefs’ organization was heralded by the national media, Royalmanreport.com
GH: Babb got a gig from the Washington Post out of his Arrowhead Anxiety story. The local media got a “candy wrapper” punch line that I have been guilty of overusing as well. But Babb’s comments about the local media in his quotes to Chris Kamler during an appearance on the webcast Royalmanreport.com, should concern all who work in Kansas City media or partake of their work. Babb is not some disgruntled former employee. Babb is not blogging in his u-trough from his mom’s basement. Babb is not some faceless, nameless nobody. Babb works with and around the very people he slices open with his words. My hope is that some were listening.
“If you can be bought or swayed or whatever, I’ve learned one thing and that is opinions are cheap in a lot of sports towns, not just here but around the country. If you can be talked into having a certain opinion, then your opinion isn’t worth much at all. Maybe I don’t have the friends in the media [that I had prior to the story] but that’s okay. I didn’t get into this business to make friends.”
Kent Babb, Royalmanreport.com
GH: On the heels of Jack Harry’s comments this week about his “friend” Scott Pioli, Babb’s words could not be more timely.
“The only thing I can compare [the stories about Chiefs employee’s being forced to work under intimidating conditions] to is when I used to work for Jason Whitlock at this radio station. I didn’t have a lot of contact with the real bosses here because Jason was my boss. And he motivated us – myself and [Magnificent] Megan by fear. He would harass us. Send us emails outlining how horrible we were as people and how horrible we were at our jobs. He would tell us how much everyone hated us at work and how everyday they wanted to fire us and he had to fight for our jobs. He had me in so much fear that I would come to work each day thinking, ‘How am I not going to get fired, since everyone hates me here. Oh my God!’ Every day that’s how it would be. Every day I would wonder, ‘What’s he going to yell at me for?’ It was fear! You never felt comfortable in your job. You were told everyone hated you and that you were just a step away from being fired.”
Steven St. John, 810 AM
“I came into the Royals’ locker room [in Surprise] and I heard some players talking to [Salvador] Perez. They were asking him, ‘Was it seven for five? Seven for five???’ ”
Soren Petro, intimating that some of Perez’s Royals’ teammates may have been questioning the logic in signing a long-term contract that pays him only $7 million over the first five years, 810 AM
GH: I believe this signing by Dayton Moore may prove to be his most important move as the Royals’ GM. The young catcher has that large of an upside as he prepares for his first full season with the Royals and their newly rebuilt pitching staff.
“[Sal Perez] and his family are now one of the richest people in his country. Where is he from?”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
G: This is simply one of my favorite KK quotes of the year — on so many levels.
“The atmosphere Saturday was impossible to describe with words. Words do not adequately replicate the experience of absorbing the noise that topped 120 decibels at five or six points in this thrilling contest. This is like having your nose pressed against the hull of a 757 aircraft with the jet engines going full-bore for two hours. My ears still are ringing, and I want more. I want a lot more. I want this rivalry to keep going like a Groundhog Day dream, because this installment of the Border War might have been the finest of them all.”
Bryan Burwell, columnist, on KU overcoming a 19-point deficit at home to battle back and defeat Mizzou 87-86 in OT in the two schools’ final conference game, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
GH: This was simply the game of the year in Kansas City sports. I watched from my couch – much like most of you. Kansas State’s double OT 101-96 win over Xavier in the 2010 NCAA tourney is still the best college basketball game I’ve caught on my couch. But this one is sitting second with a bullet. And when you consider the two combatants and the barn they occupied – it screams to be called, “Daddy.”
“I can’t even put it into words. I don’t think I’m ever going to be part of something as big as this game was tonight.”
Thomas Robinson, following KU’s87-86 OT win, CJOnline.com
GH: The thought that no other Kansas or Missouri student athlete will ever share T-Rob’s experience still bothers me — and it should bother you as well no matter what colors you wear.
“I would give anything to go back to college and have to opportunity to pitch
against ku tomorrow and shove it up their @$$.”
Aaron Crow, current Royals pitcher and former Mizzou All-Big 12 hurler, Twitter
“ROCKCHALK JAYHAWK!!!! MUCK FIZZOU! 8 str8 big 12 chips!! Never been more proud of a group of guys at the K! Much Alum Love from Tel Aviv!!!”
Keith Langford, @keith_langford, former All-Big 12 KU player, Twitter
“That really was a good game. Just a great, great game to watch. Arrrrrrrggggh. I know it was a great game, but ohhhh man, I really do hate those bleeepin’ Jayhawks.”
Jon Sundvold,St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“The best sporting event I’ve ever gone to. That includes 5 superbowls, And nearly every great college football stadium #RCJHKU!!!!!!”
Charlie Weis Jr., @CJWJR23, son of KU’s new football coach, Twitter
“I’ve attended numerous Duke-North Carolina games, been to Rupp for Kentuckyand Louisvilleand was at plenty of UCLA-Arizona matchups in their heyday. I’ve been to no shortage of New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox games. This is right there. With all of them.”
Jeff Goodman, columnist, CBSSports.com
GH: And people still wonder why I pine so for this rivalry to be renewed? In the words of one of my favorite TV characters, Jean Luc Picard, ‘Make it so!’
“Do you know what those guys at Metro Sports do when that [ESPN feed] goes out? Nothing – because they don’t know! They’re watching the feed come into their newsroom. They have it off their satellite. They don’t even really know that it’s off the air.”
Kevin Kietzman, on TWC losing their ESPN feed for large portions of two Monday night Big 12 basketball games, 810 AM
GH: Time Warner’s inability to retain their satellite feed for these two Big 12 games [and a host of other performance issues no one at TW seemed able to resolve] motivated me to switch our service to AT&T’s U-verse. I like everything about my decision except the $200 monthly bill and no Metro Sports.
“God has called us to a higher place in Kansas Cityand we can’t wait. … I’m very sincere and I’m for real.”
Rex Hudler, the Royals new TV color analyst, on the former Angels’ broadcaster accepting a job as the Royals’ TV color analyst, 810 AM
“At first glance he sounds like a wrestling announcer.”
Kevin Kietzman, on his interview with Rex Hudler, 810 AM
GH: What can be said about Hudler that has not been said, written or screamed? Hudler is an acquired taste — and that is being as kind as one can be about the cornball color analyst. I find his style embarrassingly bad. He’s a fun radio interview but his goofy, good-guy, rah-rah rants on the Royals’ broadcasts are the stuff better left for the junior-high crowd.
“Ain’t nobody in life gonna make me do anything I don’t want to do! I don’t let people make me do anything. If the administration would have forced me to do something I didn’t want to do then I’d have two choices; to perform with what I don’t believe in or quit. This is all me.”
Frank Martin, when asked if pressure from the K-State administration was the reason for his change in attitude about cursing, 610 AM
GH: Frank is now the head coach at South Carolina. You draw your own conclusions.
“Can’t express enough thanks to all who helped usher in my retirement in such a warm
fashion. I heard from so many of you. I’m humbled.”
Mike DeArmond, after it was made known that Saturday would be his final game covering Mizzou for the Kansas City Star, Twitter
GH: If you follow the cantankerous DeArmond on Twitter as I do, you know not all of those he’s heard from were sorry to see him go. Which is pretty much how I am guessing MD likes it.
“I think you guys are making the best of an awful, terrible and embarrassing situation. … I believe these guys are complete and utter liars. I have a hard time believing it’s a joke. The video is horrific but Matt, Andrew and Tanner thank you for coming on.”
Nick Wright, after interviewing the three main MU students who starred in and produced the We Are Mizzou music video, 610 AM
GH: This music video went viral nationally — and not in a good way. Confession time: I thought the tune was kinda catchy.
“Just having a good relationship with the coaches, the people, the players, the whole atmosphere has been outstanding for me, to be able to fulfill my dreams at the Universityof Missouri.”
Dorial Green-Beckman, on his decision to sign with Mizzou, ESPNU
GH: DGB’s dreams almost went up in a puff of smoke early in the season but his strong finish has Tiger fans hoping he fulfills all of his MU dreams and theirs as well.
“Karma, karma, karma. Learn how to handle success. The Jayhawks nation knows how to handle success. Five times I believe, we’ve handled it really, really well.”
Sheahon Zenger, KU athletic director, in comments made to KU boosters in Omaha following MU’s upset loss to Norfolk State in round one of the NCAA tourney, captured on a video posted on YouTube [until it was quickly removed]
GH: An absolutely devastating first-round loss for Mizzou as Kansas fans sat in Omaha and gloated — much like MU fans do every time KU is rudely bounced from the tourney in an early-round upset. Zenger’s words simply adds fuel to he fire that still burns between these “former” rivals.
“We laid an egg. We laid an egg.”
Kim English, in his postgame comments following the loss toNorfolkState, TV 41
Mick Shaffer, @mickshaffer, following MU’s first-round loss, Twitter
“Kansas Cityis split. I still think Kansas Cityis more of a K-State, KU town than it is a Missouritown, at least the way we see it. If you are going to poll the people that are living in the 30-mile radius, I’d think you would have far more K-State and Kansaspeople than you would Missouripeople.”
Bill Self, responding to a question from WHB’s Todd Leabo, 810 AM
GH: I am hoping both Kansas and Mizzou win their respective conferences this season and the NCAA places them both at Sprint Center for their opening round games. These two fan bases can duel it out in March at the P&L as to which school owns Kansas City.
“You gotta shoot it. I had to shoot that shot! I had to! I had to make that one!”
Elijah Johnson, moments after the final buzzer, on his deep three-point basket late in the game to knock offNorth Carolina to reach the Final Four, Jayhawk Radio Network
“I had [Tyshawn] as my sleeper coming into the tournament and he’s been asleep the whole tournament. He was fantastic today. He’s the Energizer Bunny.”
Charles Barkley, following KU’s win over UNC, CBS
“I will say this, I don’t know if I’ve ever enjoyed coaching a team as much as I enjoy coaching this one. I love coaching these guys.”
Bill Self, 610 AM
GH: Self has been just as effusive in his praise for his current squad, which starts four holdover seniors from last season’s Final Four qualifier. I love a coach who enjoys his work. Roy Williams often looked and acted like he was burdened with his occupation. I get the same vibe from Alabama‘s Nick Saban. Self is more like a Disney movie coach — tough but funny and friendly.
“Rejected by Withey!”
Marv Albert, as Withey made two huge blocks down the stretch to not only deny UNC but also start fast-break buckets for KU, CBS
GH: I heard Greg Gurley tell Bob Fescoe this week that Withey is the runaway pick for the college defensive player of the year. He also said if the votes were tabulated today, Withey would be a first-team All-American. Withey’s jersey will one day hang in the Allen Fieldhouse rafters alongside Wilt’s. I cannot think of a greater transformation since Cinderella hit the bookstore.
“I’m not disappointed in Gregg Williams and people need to back off of Gregg Williams! … Disciplining Gregg Williams is a joke! It’s a load of crap! The league loves big hits! I disapprove. He is merely a symptom. He is not the disease!”
Soren Petro, after Roger Goodell and the NFL came down hard with penalties and fines involving the New Orleans Saints Bountygate scandal, 810 AM
GH: Petro was far from the only member of the KC media who saw no harm in the Saints’ bountygate. Read on.
“Just about everywhere in football there is some sort of bounty program. I can’t get worked up about guys getting paid for hitting people.”
Nick Wright, 610 AM
“As much as everyone wants to be stunned, there’s nothing stunning about this.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Meanwhile, talk of concussions and litigation threaten the very existence of the game at the amateur level. Will we even have high school football in five years? Will massive college stadiums become the present day equivalent to the Roman Coliseum?
“Someone finally came out and brought it to the format and now they have evidence that it happened. … It’s been like that forever. Now however, it’s unfortunately that the coach gets the suspension behind it because he knows what’s happening. But if you put the coach on our own side of it, and you look at the inside of him and say, ‘Okay. The players does it on defense!’ ”
Neil Smith, 810 AM
GH: You cannot have a year-end best-of OTC without a slice of Neilbonics.
“I feel like I found a great new home, a great place and a great team to play for. So I’m excited about that.”
Eric Winston, the former Houston Texan offensive tackle, on signing a free-agent contract with the Chiefs, 610 AM
GH: How attractive Winston looked in March, remember? Before he went all sickening and disgusting on us.
“I’ll say this; your goal now is to be a Wild Card team. [The Chiefs] literally probably only beat the Broncos once every two years now – one out of four. This is absolutely awful.”
Kevin Kietzman, after Peyton Manning signed with the Broncos, 810 AM
GH: KK nailed this one from before Manning left Indy. He predicted the Broncos would win in AFC West in s rout and that the Chiefs would be doomed to fight for scraps. He said Peyton would be a Pro-Bowl QB and I questioned it all, thinking he would struggle coming off neck surgery and an inactive season. I was very wrong, KK was very right.
“I went to my management [at KSHB TV 41 on Tuesday] and I said if it will help you, I’m ready to step down. These people can have it. I don’t need it. I’m 69 years old. I’m out there and I know I make opinions, ruffle feathers and everything else. But I’ve never ever experienced and seen in my life [this kind of attack] the last three days. It has been awful!”
Jack Harry, on how frustrated and upset he is over some social media attacks he is receiving from Kansas fans following KU’s win over MU in Allen Fieldhouse, 810 AM
GH: One question: What the hell was the KSHB management thinking?
No promises, but I will try and put together a best of OTC for April, May and June over the weekend. The problem is it takes a lot more time and effort than it likely shows…and I have always been somewhat of a lazy cuss.