Sports Extra: Talk radio, and, sigh, the NFL

Sports Extra: Talk radio, and, sigh, the NFL

Driving an hour to and from the suburbs of St. Louis each day, I have no problem finding the perfect way to pass the time. I cross the Clark Bridge into Alton, finagling my way to Fosterburg Road, to the Brighton-Bunker Hill Road, to the Shipman Blacktop and finally up to Carlinville.

It takes, from my house, exactly an hour. So to fill that spot, I usually listen to a morning radio show to hear the “Google Buster” question, then switch off to sports talk radio.

St. Louis has some of the best sports talk radio shows in the business. The best, in my humble opinion, is the Bernie Mikalsz Show, each weekday from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Kevin Wheeler takes over from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., followed by The Turn with Anthony Stalter and former Cardinal Chris Duncan from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Finally, the heartbeat of the station, The Fast Lane, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. with Randy Karaker, former Cardinal Brad Thompson and until last week, former Ram D’Marco Farr.

Last week, Farr announced he would no longer be participating  on the Fast Lane, as he is in Los Angeles dealing with some family illnesses, and has gone ahead and is eying a radio broadcasting gig with the Rams out in L.A.

Sad as I was to hear this news, it was not surprising. In fact, I kind of saw it coming. I wish him well.

Primarily, I hear portions of the Bernie Mikalsz Show and the Fast Lane while driving to and from work each day. On game nights, I’ll miss the latter. Sometimes I’ll hear portions of Kevin Wheeler over lunch hour, and rarely do I hear The Turn.

But the sports radio station in St. Louis has been like a friend as I wind through the roads of southwestern Illinois up to Carlinville each day.

The Bernie Mikalsz Show is fantastic. First, he’s an outright opinionated sports journalist who has spent the past three decades or so in the newspaper business, primarily at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. About a year ago, he got his a.m. radio gig in St. Louis, and boy am I ever thankful.

He has contacts and friends all over the place. I know when I listen to him in the morning, I will be smarter and likely be laughing at something before my day gets started. It’s a great way to start the day. Or I’ll be ‘boiling’ over a topic that comes up.

Friday morning, during his “Boiling Point,” segment, he went coo-coo over a sports writer in Chicago comparing Jason Heyward to Stephen Piscotty. Kept calling the dude “Sparky,” which is also the name of my old chihuahua at home, and quite frankly, made me chuckle quite a bit.

Karaker is one of the most knowledgeable old-school sports journalists in St. Louis history. He leads The Fast Lane and there’s a great reason why he was chosen to do so at the inception of the radio station in 2009. His knowledge of St. Louis sports history is fantastic, and he led a brigade last fall with a riveting speech to the NFL’s relocation committee task force as to why St. Louis is a football town and why the Rams should have stayed. He’s a great asset to the St. Louis community.

I’ve taken a liking to Brad Thompson on The Fast Lane, primarily because they way he comes across, and his ability to sound like Albert Pujols on a moment’s notice.

There’s been a lot to talk about lately in St. Louis sports. The Cardinals have been up and down all season; the Rams left; the Blues made a bunch of moves; University of Missouri athletics is in shambles; University of Illinois hired Lovie Smith as its new football coach: and SLU got Travis Ford as its new men’s basketball coach.

I’ll listen to the area station here after Friday night football or basketball games, driving home, just to try and catch the scores from the area. WSMI does an outstanding job of covering the prep sports in the area, as do most of the other small-town radio stations in the area which have the privilege to broadcast high school sports.

Radio is still a terrific form of media, especially while driving.

***

Sorry to end this piece on such a “Debbie Downer, but here’s another reason to dislike the “largest professional football league” in the world.

The NFL “inadvertently” on its Youtube channel omitted part of former St. Louis Rams’ tackle Orlando Pace’s speech as he was inducted into the Hall of Fame Saturday night.

Part of the omission was his thanking the fans of St. Louis and proud to bring a world championship to the city.

The other speeches were fine – none of which was missing any parts of the speech whatsoever, including Brett Favre’s 36-minute speech. The NFL claims a technical glitch was to blame. Okay, yep, whatever. I’d say more like editing, but call it as you will.

First off, its a slap in the face to the Pace family. Second of all, wouldn’t you think that the NFL would double check to make sure it was good to go before putting it on Youtube?

The entire speech by Pace is now on the Youtube channel, as the NFL did correct the so-called error, but only after being caught of again trying to dis the city of St. Louie.

Enough is enough, NFL. Okay, you decided to bring the NFL back to St. Louis in 1995. You decided to take it away in 2016. Fine, that’s your decision. But why all the hostility and lack of respect to the fine people of St. Louis. What exactly has St. Louis done to be so vilified by so many in the NFL?

Oh, by the way, if you’re going to have a Hall of Fame game, make sure  the field is in proper playing condition. It’s the NFL’s responsibility, not the Hall of Fame’s, to make sure that the field is ready for such games to take place.

When I heard it was canceled, I thought, ‘Good.’ Sobeit.

What a fiasco that has turned into. To those who actually spent money to travel to the game and watch a meaningless game, I do not feel bad for you. Don’t feel bad you spent money on souvenirs and food/beer at an event that was canceled. It’s just too bad that didn’t happen in the regular season, or better yet, the Super Bowl. Can you imagine the NFL postponing the Super Bowl because of hard paint causing the field to be unplayable?

Yes, I’m being extremely harsh with the NFL, but I do not wish injury to any of the players involved and do think this was a serious issue and the right decision was made. But can’t the NFL do anything right? Oh yeah, it’s the commissioner’s 10th anniversary as taking over of the league. Not going to wish him any glad tidings here, however.

So when do the Cavies hit the field for real? August 26? Good, because I like football, and that will be by far the most entertaining team to watch this year.