Friday, May 31, 2013

Stick a Fork In This Clown

Will someone please stick a fork in Gordon Gee already. The Ohio State president is done. Overdone. The pitiful guy should be put out to pasture. Not tomorrow. Today. Gee is a goofball with the biggest mouth--a mouth with an acid tongue--in higher education.
Gee, What a Knucklehead President He Is
In comments obtained by the AP, Gee ripped into folks at Notre Dame and other Catholics. At a meeting attended by athletic director Gene Smith [a former Iowa State director] and several other athletic department members, along with professors and students.
Gee saod. 'You just can't trust those damn Catholics on a Thursday or a Friday, and so, literally, I can say that,' said Gee, a Mormon." If an athletic director or a coach said stuff like that, he [or she] would be fired immediately. And that's what should happen to Gee.

Sportswriting Boosterism At Its Worst

The most embarrassing example of sportswriting boosterism of this or any other century is Derrick Goold, who works for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Goold wrapped up a long night at the Cardinals' ballpark this morning
by neglecting to mention in his account of the game how the St. Louis fans booed relief pitcher Mitchell Boggs after he gave up a game-tying home run to the Kansas City Royals in the top of the ninth inning. The Royals went on to win, 4-2, after a 4-hour 32-minute rain delay. The game ended at 3:14 a.m. today. All Goold seemed to be interested in was how tired he'd be when he drove his kid to school this morning. Evidently, Goold -- the perfect example of a sportswriting "homer" -- didn't want to get on the wrong side of Boggs or the rest of the Cardinals by conveniently forgetting to write about how the fans showered Boggs with boos in the ninth inning. Horrible.

Sunday, May 26, 2013


This was 70 or so years ago. The little girl from the city 50 miles away would come out to the house on the
farm to visit relatives. The little girl was four years younger than her cousin. The little girl and her older cousin [actually, she was little, too] would talk for hours. They would dream about going to California. They knew they'd go; it was just a matter of how they'd get there.  It could be in an airplane, it could be on a train, it could be in a car, maybe even a bus. The years sailed by. The little girl married and had a family, moving from one city to another. The older girl had been born with some physical problems, but she was a fighter nonetheless. She stayed in the close-knit farm community, becoming an accomplished pianist. She could play the piano so well that she taught it to anyone who was interested in learning. She remained vibrant. She was witty. Finally, she began spending more time in her wheelchair, and lived her last years in a care center. The little girl had gone to California a number of times, taking a train once, flying there more than a half-dozen other times. The little girl and the older girl would see one another at family reunions, picnics in July, weddings and funerals. As always, they enjoyed visiting with one another. Sadly, the older girl never got to take that California trip she talked about so much. Her name was Marilyn Neuhaus, and she died the other day at the care center, one day short of her 81st  birthday. Her funeral is Tuesday at St. John's Lutheran, the country church near Victor. The little girl will be at the service. Looking back, one or two people wish they'd taken the time to arrange that trip to California for Marilyn.

[Text by Ron Maly; photo of Marilyn Neuhaus courtesy of Smith Funeral Home in Victor].

Friday, May 24, 2013

Jim Zabel Was Everywhere

An e-mail from former Iowan Mike Swan:


You are certainly among the many writing and talking about the passing of Jim Zabel.  I personally remember so many things about his broadcasts and interactions with people.  Before universities went the exclusivity route in radio broadcasts, it seemed like Jim was everywhere:  Drake, Iowa State, Iowa, in addition to the boys' and girls' basketball tournaments.  "Beat the Bear" on television!  What a fun show that was.  Also, the ads and
endorsements he did.  The list goes on and on.  Oh, and the late night radio scoreboard show when they would start to get a little punchy.  This is another tough one, Ron, but it also brings lots of laughter with the memories, so that is certainly a good thing. 

Keep writing,

Mike Swan

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Good hearing from you, Mike. Too bad we had to communicate about a death, but I'm glad you and many others have positive memories of Jim Zabel].

I was very sorry to learn of the death, at 91, of legendary sports broadcaster Jim Zabel. I worked in press boxes in Iowa City and other places around the nation with Zabel for 40 years or so, and got to know the man very well. Although "Z" and I were in a professional competition--he in the radio and TV business, me in the newspaper business--we had a strong mutual respect for one another. We witnessed countless collegiate football and basketball games together, and it was good to know that he was still doing the thing he did best--talking on the radio--right up to the end. He was still doing a weekly show for Des Moines station WHO. .Zabel and I were among the 20 charter members of the media Wall of Fame in the Kinnick Stadium press box at the University of Iowa, and it was good to see him when we were honored that day in 2006. "Z" had been spending most of his time in Arizona, and I guess that was the last time I saw him in person. However, I was able to talk with him a number of times on the phone since. I'm miss seeing "Z" in the press box. and I'll miss talking with him about the good old days. Rest in peace, Jim.

Jim Zabel. Photo courtesy of Google.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Chicago Tribune Looking for a Baseball Reporter: 'The Preferred Candidate Will Have 3-5 Years Covering a Beat At a Major Metropolitan Newspaper. Previous. Experience Covering Baseball Is Helpful, But Not Required'

Job opening via Twitter: 

Description: The Chicago Tribune is seeking a baseball reporter focused on the Chicago Cubs and White Sox. The ideal
candidate will have the skills, experience and desire to cover either or both teams in town as a beat, breaking news for as well as adding meaning beyond the results on the field in the next day’s print. This reporter will provide understanding of the moves of the whole of the organization, from the draft and minor league prospects to free agents and the big league clubhouse, delivering news and information that matter so much to our readers. This hire will be a self-starter with a track record in enterprise beat reporting, bring a desire to add context beyond the box score and demonstrate a comfort level with posting news and video online, including via Twitter and Facebook.

Requirement: The preferred candidate will have 3-5 years covering a beat at a major metropolitan newspaper.  Previous experience covering baseball is helpful but not required.

I wonder who's leaving? Maybe someone who had no experience covering baseball. 

Or, like the Cubs,  people who have no experience playing baseball.

I'm sorry to hear that people want to have a gambling casino built in Cedar Rapids. I thought they were smarter over there. Maybe the flooding in and around Cedar Rapids has screwed up peoples' thinking. If that hasn't affected their intelligence, the cigarette smoking and lung cancer that a casino produces will. The people in Norwalk had the right idea. They decided they wanted no part of a casino.. The worst part of the Cedar Rapids situation is that the casino would be built on the southwest side of town. That's the part of the city that gets the factories, too. If I had my way, I'd build the casino near Howard Hall;'s place on First Avenue East. Let that part of town get the people who have no business gambling away their hard-earned money.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hawkeye Downs Speedway Honors 2013 Wall Of Famers

Hawkeye Downs Speedway in Cedar Rapids will honor its 2013 Wall of Fame class Friday.
The inductees include Bill Barthelmes, Merle and Evy Gardemann, Walt and Judy Hickey, Al Miller, Ed Otten, John Schlemmer, Keith Siefken and Bill Stepanek.

Bill Barthelmes, from Central City, was a successful driver who competed in the Late Model division at Hawkeye Downs from 1968 to 1981. Always a top-10 competitor, he raced weekly against Wall of Fame inductees that include Ed Sanger, Curt Hansen and Bill Zwanziger.

The late Merle and Evy Gardemann of Shellsburg will be honored as the first race fans inducted into the Wall. They were lifetime race fans at Hawkeye Downs and could be seen weekly during the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

Walt Hickey raced in the novice division at Hawkeye Downs in 1963 and continued to compete in modifieds well into the late 1970s. Judy competed in demolition derbies in the late 60s and was one of the first women to take part in the Women on Wheels division in the early-70s.

Al Miller, now living in Flushing, MI. covered Hawkeye Downs Speedway and area racing for the Cedar Rapids Gazette, starting in 1963. His racing column, Al Miller on Racing, would be a weekly staple in the paper until 1975.Miller was a former standout football player at the University of Iowa in the Forest Evashevski coaching era.

Ed Otten of Coralville became a race official at Hawkeye Downs in 1974 and became the full-time flagman in 1979 when Hawkeye Downs became the first official NASCAR-sanctioned track in the Midwest. In 1983 he became the chief pit steward.  
Johns Schlemmer of Grundy Center started his career at Hawkeye Downs in the Modified class in 1956 and would graduate to the IMCA stock car division in 1960 racing weekly against Wall of Fame inductees such as Verlin Eaker, Darrell Dake and Red Droste until 1971.
Keith Siefken of Cedar Rapids started racing at Hawkeye Downs in the Modified division in 1991. He would later compete in the late model class with great success, ending his career back in the modifieds in 2005. He would also promote the Modified Challenge in 1992 and 1993.
Bill Stepanek started at Hawkeye Downs as a sponsor (Northtowne Fitness and Cycling) of Gerald Seger-built race cars in 1989 and eventually got behind the wheel of a Modified in 1990, competing until 1994 with great success. Continuing to sponsor race cars after hanging up the helmet, he would sponsor Dave Naylor's championship season in the modified division in 1997.
The gates open at 6 p.m, with hot laps at 6:35 and racing to follow at 7:30. Wall of Fame Inductions will be made during intermission. 

[This story was written for Ron Maly by Kyle Ealy of Cedar Rapids].

Monday, May 20, 2013

2013 Confirmands At Mount Olive Lutheran

"This past weekend was a magnificent weekend as Mount Olive Lutheran Church & School celebrated along with 13 confirmands as they had Q & A and gave their testimonies on Saturday night and then the Confirmation service on Sunday morning at the 10:30 a.m. service. Many people came to celebrate. What a great weekend and what an awesome Confirmation class! Proud of all of you!"

-- Text by Rev. Kendall Meyer on Facebook. Photo by Orv Spence.

Friday, May 17, 2013

I Need To Do Better


I promised myself a few years ago that I would look up some people from my past who needed being looked-up. 

Far too often I thought of men and women I knew in my childhood, or earlier in my adulthood, who remained in my past, not my present. 

A few, obviously,  I wanted to remain in my past. 

However,  I wanted to be updated on a number of people

Like Bill Fitch, who grew up a block or so from me on 18th Avenue Southwest in the Young's Hill area of Cedar Rapids. 

Fitch is older than me, and he was always interested in sports. 

He was a good athlete at old Wilson High School in Cedar Rapids, and he went on to become an outstanding basketball coach in collegiate jobs that included the University of Minnesota, and NBA jobs that included the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics. 

Fitch, an only child, was always thinking up new games that would test his competitiveness and the competitiveness of others. 

Like me. 

No wonder the guy wound up drawing up plays for the Celtics. 

I mean, the guy was always trying to out-smart people, on or off the playing field and court. 

Even the guy who drove the Thune's Pie Truck.

It was a panel truck that loaded and unloaded from the back. 

It made deliveries to the small corner grocery store that sat next to the home owned by Fitch's parents. 

Fitch found out when the Thune's delivery guy would be inside the store, and timed it so he could swipe a pie or two from the back of the truck. 

A lot of us liked to be around Fitch after he stole the pies. 
I always liked the berry pies. Especially raspberry.

But Fitch wasn't the only good athlete who grew up on Young's Hill.

Chuck Fulton and his younger brother Jack also knew how to play the game--or, rather, games.

Chuck and Jack were multi-sport athletes at Wilson.  Much better than me. 

They were older than me, and I liked hanging around them because they did the stuff I liked to do. 

Their dad was a good guy, and he had a good car. 

He'd take Chuck, Jack and their mother to countless games involving teams from Wilson, and they often took me along. 

We rarely had a car at my house.

 Chuck and Jack--especially Jack--would take me to various Wilson basketball games around Cedar Rapids. 

I guess I was their project.

The first game I remember was when the Ramblers were playing at Roosevelt, the high school on the northwest side of town. 

Wilson [now a middle school] is on the southwest side. 

I was awe-struck the minute I got inside the Roosevelt gym the night Wilson played there. 

I immediately liked the excitement of a high school basketball game, and made it a point to go to as many as I could--or as many as the Fulton brothers would take me to. 

To illustrate how naive I was when I went to that  first Wilson-Roosevelt game when I was 10 or so years of age, I noticed that some baskets counted two points and some counted one point.

 I had to ask the Fultons why.

 "Because there are both field goals and free throws in basketball games," Jack Fulton explained to me.  "Field goals count two points, free throws count one point."

The reason I bring all of this up is that Jack Fulton died earlier this week in Virginia.  He was 81. The funeral is tomorrow.

His brother Chuck died a few years ago in Cedar Rapids. 

Unfortunately, I didn't look either guy up before he died. 

Shame on me.

I didn't even know that they have a younger brother who lives in Cedar Rapids and a younger sister who lives in Des Moines.

 I did call Bill Fitch a couple of years ago, though. 

I found out he lives close to Houston, TX, and we had a nice conversation about the old days. 

I need to start doing more of that type of thing. 

I'm doing better. Still, I need improvement.

I heard the other day that another of my high school classmates died.  

I never talked to her since the last day I saw her at Wilson 60 years ago. 

Like I said, a shame.

Some of you can expect a call from me soon.

Time is running out.

Checking the Numbers

An e-mail from Numbers Checker from a Far-Away Time Zone, not his real name:


"You should attack this release...anytime you see a release [such as the one printed below that was issued yesterday] on a basketball recruit who averages an even number  (ex: 18.0 ppg...6.0 rpg, shot 54 percent ) the figure is a dead giveaway that it was arrived by either a lazy coach or SID who didn't bother to check proper person to get proper stats...The release could also have mention Caird's  3-point shooting, which was pretty good as well as enjoying 12 20-plus scoring games capped by season high 35 against Ellsworth

"Right off a website here are the CORRECT stats for Drake recruit Chris can also tie in the fact that Drake was only school in Missouri Valley Conference that didn't post an online basketball media guide for this past season...Drake should do a better job of policing things in-house before it wants to spend money on an on-campus practice facility...By the way, Butler has never had a designated basketball-only practice facility. 

1Rahiem Holloway FrG30274.92.2-
3Cameron Robinson SoG2743.62.0-5.536.20.4-1.429.71.0-1.760.05.4
4Jamyles Coleman SoG3042.72.2-5.539.60.7-
5Matej Delinac SoG30284.93.9-10.437.51.9-4.838.62.2-2.973.911.8
20Terrell Clyburn FrF2401.21.1-1.859.10.0-
21Chris Caird SoF31296.25.9-13.543.82.8-6.940.82.9-3.679.517.5
22Pierce Kelly FrG171.90.1-0.912.50.1-0.416.70.0-0.0-0.3
24Marlon Williams FrF2711.21.9-3.949.00.1-0.416.71.4-
31Jamal Gatali FrF31255.92.9-
32Troidell Carter FrF29225.04.9-
33Stephon Edwards SoF1201.52.1-
34Lamont Adair FrG2923.02.0-4.741.60.0-
42Kenny Strong FrG1701.10.8-
45Chris Brue FrG10-1.00.3-
1Rahiem Holloway FrG30274.
3Cameron Robinson SoG2743.
4Jamyles Coleman SoG3042.
5Matej Delinac SoG30284.
20Terrell Clyburn FrF2401.
21Chris Caird SoF31296.
22Pierce Kelly FrG171.
24Marlon Williams FrF2711.
31Jamal Gatali FrF31255.
32Troidell Carter FrF29225.
33Stephon Edwards SoF1201.
34Lamont Adair FrG2923.
42Kenny Strong FrG1701.
45Chris Brue FrG10-