Pitchers | Blyleven vs Langston | Ep 14

Shoes on fire!! So begins a romp through pitchers’ territory with two pitching personalities who let it fly.

The Pitchers

Bert Blyleven is a Hall of Fame right-hander who came to the majors at age 19 with a curveball that HOF member Brooks Robinson described as “nasty…enough to make your knees buckle…a dominating pitcher.”

Bert won 287 games, with 3701 strikeouts and a no-hitter. He will tell you that of all the figures that brought him to the HOF, he takes great pride in a couple of other numbers that speak to durability and competitiveness.

Blyleven has a Jose Canseco story that Langston loves. Not many pitchers have followed a hitter out of the batter’s box on the way to first base, but leave that to Blyleven to explain.

A spitter in baseball? Could it be so? Again, Blyleven went to the well to learn about that pitch with a story that involves another HOF member.

Mark Langston had a 16-year MLB career with 179 wins, 7 gold gloves and four All-Star Game selections. Mark was a competitor against Blyleven when he pitched for Seattle and Bert was with the Indians and Twins.

The Rivalry

They only faced each other in three starts with Bert besting Mark in those games 2-1. However, their awareness of each other as opponents went well beyond those games.

These two would end up as teammates for two years-1990 and 1992-with the Angels. That’s when the rivalry really got “hot” as Mark will explain.

Bert gets Mark to tell the story of his first start with the Angels, when they were teammates, and what ended up being a game that became a piece of baseball history.

Neither has a problem remembering who they least wanted to see at the plate when they pitched and they’ll tell you why.

When two players who love the game and the stories that go with it come together to talk baseball, we all have an inside look that delights us as fans. Langston and Blyleven are those two you get to enjoy today.

Keep an eye on your shoes!

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Coaches | Raftery vs Carlesimo | Ep 13

If you derive a headache from constantly smiling widely or laughing uncontrollably, you better have a bottle of aspirin at hand for this matchup of coaches.

Bill Raftery and P.J. Carlesimo have run the gamut of basketball coaching and broadcasting, from college to the NBA, from regional networks to the Final Four.

They were direct coaching rivals from 1976 to 1981 when Carlesimo was the head coach at Wagner College and Raftery was the same at Seton Hall. There were some wild games between the schools, including a New Year’s Eve game that went to double OT, and boy, do these two ever give you some memories about that game.

The Coaches

Raftery coached college ball from 1963 to 1981 and then went on to become one of the most popular TV commentators in a college basketball HOF career covering the last 33 years. His infectious laugh and sense of humor shine through in that job and it shines brightly in this podcast.

P.J. Carlesimo

Carlesimo began his coaching career in 1971, most notably putting Seton Hall on the basketball map between 1982-1994, arriving just one year at the Hall after Raftery left.

P.J. went on to head coach in the NBA with the Trail Blazers, Warriors, and SuperSonics/Thunder.

In between the coaching stints, Carlesimo also joined the ranks of TV analysts with TNT, ESPN, and NBC.

The Rivalry

What was the relationship between these two as they coached against one another? Raftery will kick it off with one big smile, “I never liked P.J.,” and off we go!

There were the weekly press conferences in New York City and New Jersey that turned into Broadway productions with the likes of Jim Valvano, Lou Carnesecca, and Tom Penders.

There were late-night feasts after games the likes of which may not exist today. There were antics and fireworks during the games that both coaches will regale you with.

Did priests really ref games? What about that picture of Raftery flying off the bench in midair parallel to the court? An endless needling by these two of one another continues here.

Joyful, insightful, unabashed, and unique are just some of the adjectives that describe what you will hear from two of basketball’s most delightful and knowledgeable individuals and coaches.

Prepare to smile.

Further Listening:

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Reporters | Adamson vs Coakley | Ep 12

As sports reporters, it is all about getting the story.  That is no easy task when you are surrounded by others who want the same thing from the same people and want it now.

You are about to hear from two women who took on the rivalries not only for the stories, but also for the jobs that are so sought after in sports coverage.

The Sports Reporters

Ashley Adamson

Ashley Adamson has been a reporter and host for the Pac-12 Network since 2012, primarily covering the conference’s football and basketball schedules.  That job is part of a career in sports television that goes back to 2008 and includes coverage of just about every sport and doing so as an anchor, reporter and host.  

She has covered NASCAR, Indy Car, the NBA and the NFL.   

Jeané Coakley

Jeané Coakley has followed a similar journey.  Jeané is the beat reporter covering the New York Jets for SportsNet New York (SNY) since 2009.   She and Ashley have literally been at the same career path at times and they will tell you how that happened and led to an ongoing friendship.

Jeané has also covered the gamut in sporting events, from high school sports to the Brickyard 400 to the Super Bowl. 

How valuable was working from the ground up to these reporters?  They will each tell you why they believe that ladder was an important one to climb.

The Rivalry

All of this has been done by women in what for so long was a field dominated by men.  You will hear their candid comments on what that journey entailed and where they believe we are today on this front.

Who were the mentors for both reporters when it came to women in sports?  How difficult was it for Ashley to take over a position held by Jeané at an Indianapolis TV station?  What changed in their mind set regarding their work when they married and became mothers? 

You are about to hear of an adventure by two women who chose a path less taken and found that path to be a journey they would not have missed.  In doing so, they have become trail blazers in their own right.

Enjoy.

Further Listening:

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In The Press Box | Nightengale vs Miller | Ep 11

In The Press Box

READ ALL ABOUT IT!!   GET YOUR PAPER HERE!

Ah, exclamations from the days when newspapers were plentiful, many cities had both a morning and an evening paper and all journalists, including sportswriters in the press box, were looking for the big scoop of the day.

From those times came a sports rivalry we may not think much about: sports journalists competing for THE story, hoping to be the one to break the sports headline of the moment.

That rivalry goes on today, but the circumstances are far different from the days of hawking newspapers on the corner, a time when for sports fans it was the written story that kept fans abreast of their teams.

The Sportswriters

Bob Nightengale

Bob Nightengale has covered baseball as a journalist for 35 years.  He has been at USA Today as a columnist for the last 22, after working at the Kansas City Star and the Los Angeles Times.  He has witnessed the evolving world of sportswriting, changes that seem to have come at the speed of light.

Scott Miller

Scott Miller has been a sports journalist for an equal number of years, at CBSSports.com, the Pioneer Press in Minnesota, the Los Angeles Times and now as a national baseball columnist at Bleacher Report.  He is co-author of the book “Ninety Percent Mental” with former pitcher Bob Tewksbury.

Listen as they describe the never-ending rivalry for the sports stories of the day.  

The Rivalry in the Press Box

They tell us how that job has dramatically changed with the advent of social media.   They discuss what “on and off the record” has come to mean in a day of instant publication on the many platforms available to the public.

You may not associate the word “paranoia” with sports journalism, but it is applicable and you’re about to hear why.  

What is the future of sports journalism and the rivalry among writers to get the story?

As fans, are we receiving more or less information that matters and how have the sources for this information changed?

Past, present and future in this discussion between two national sports journalists in a business where the rivalry is 24/7.  Enjoy.

Further Listening:

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1988 NLCS | Dodgers vs Mets | Ep 10

1988 NLCS

The 1988 NLCS was a tumultuous series between the LA Dodgers and NY Mets.

It went 7 games in the rain, sleet and hail and featured the likes of KIRK GIBSON, STEVE SAX, DOC GOODEN AND GARY CARTER.

This series also pitted the to be 1988 Cy Young Award winner, NLCS MVP and World Series MVP- Orel Hershiser– against a former NL MVP, two-time World Series Champion and arguably the game’s finest defensive first baseman ever-Keith Hernandez.

They are the guests on this podcast.

We are treated here to an inside look at this series the likes of which you will find nowhere else.

The Players

Hershiser will speak to the adrenaline gained for himself and the Dodgers from public comments made by Mets players during the series.

Hernandez will speak to one of those occasions on comments made by teammate pitcher David Cone and how he and the Mets felt when they read what Cone said.

Both players access what facing one another was like. Hershiser talks about his plan in pitching to one of the games toughest outs. Hernandez reflects on what he sat on as a hitter when facing Hershiser.

Orel and Keith will lead you through the unfolding of this series: the roller coaster ride, the turning points, a game 4 that turned a potential Mets win into an extra inning game on Dodger Mike Scioscia’s 9th inning home run off Gooden and a game winning 12th inning home run by Dodger Kirk Gibson.

Keith will describe what he calls the worst defensive play he ever made that occurred in this series and that he lives with today.

Orel describes what it took to pitch nearly half of the total innings thrown by Dodger pitchers in this series, including sneaking off to the bullpen, without manager Tommy Lasorda knowing, to earn a save.

The story of that series is magic enough, but the insight both of these players provide on what their mind sets were in this series and competing at the Major League level for their careers is beyond words.

The openness and honesty you will hear is so rare as to perhaps be unique. Enjoy.

Further Listening:

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GM vs Agent | Major League Baseball | Ep 9

GM vs Agent

GM vs Agent | As a sports agent, what is the best deal I can get for my client and exactly what does “best deal” mean?

As a GM negotiating with the agent, what is the best deal I can get for my club and just what does THAT mean?

Rarely do you get to hear those in the position of agent and GM talk openly about what goes on between them. Rarer still is to hear it from two who actually sat across the table from one another and went at it to get deals done.

Prepare yourself-here are those two in a candid and often humorous conversation.

The General Manager

Ned Colletti

Ned Colletti worked up through the baseball ranks, from the PR front office of the Chicago Cubs, to Assistant GM with the Giants to become the GM of the LA Dodgers from 2006-20014. No GM in the NL had a better win percentage in those years.

The Agent

Barry Axelrod is a UCLA law grad who has been a sports agent for 45 years. He has represented top clients such as Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Matt Morris, Mark Harmon and so many more. His practice has made him one of the most respected and acknowledged leaders in the field.

GM vs Agent | The Conversation

Today they will give you a peek inside the business of a GM vs Agent rivalry.

You will hear of the pressures that seem to come from all sides when talks are ongoing. The GM has owners and higher up executives intently watching the progress or lack thereof in multimillion dollar negotiations with some of the biggest names in sports.

The agent has one player looking at what others have signed for and wanting the same or more.

Both parties know what is agreed to today will become starting points for tomorrow and ripple through the industry.

What a treat to hear Barry and Ned discuss specific deals, tense exchanges, the coffee spilled (literally) at the apex of a negotiation. How about when Ned presents exhibit A during a negotiation and Barry sees his own quote being used against him?

Hear Ned say to Barry, “I don’t think I ever told you this,” and we get to listen in.

These are two good people who are experts at their jobs involving the highest level of sport contract negotiations.

Ready. Set. Negotiate.

GM vs Agent.

Further Listening:

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Army vs Navy | NCAA Football | Ep 8

Army vs Navy – it is the “nation’s football game.”  At the end of each football season, there unfolds a pageantry that began in 1890..

The Oath

Each player took the same oath that brought him to this game.  Each has a mission far beyond football. When arriving at a military academy, each person takes one of these oaths:

United States Military Academy Oath of Allegiance (ARMY)

I, (Name), do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and bear true allegiance to the National Government; that I will maintain and defend the sovereignty of the United States, paramount to any and all allegiance, sovereignty, or fealty I may owe to any State or Country whatsoever; and that I will at all times obey the legal orders of my superior officers, and the Uniform
Code of Military Justice.

United States Naval Academy Oath of Office (NAVY)

HAVING BEEN APPOINTED A MIDSHIPMAN IN THE UNITED STATES NAVY, DO YOU SOLEMNLY SWEAR (OR AFFIRM) THAT YOU WILL SUPPORT AND DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES AGAINST ALL ENEMIES, FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC; THAT YOU WILL BEAR TRUE FAITH AND ALLEGIANCE TO THE SAME; THAT YOU TAKE THIS OBLIGATION FREELY, WITHOUT ANY MENTAL RESERVATION OR PURPOSE OF EVASION; AND THAT YOU WILL WELL AND FAITHFULLY DISCHARGE THE DUTIES OF THE OFFICE ON WHICH YOU ARE ABOUT TO ENTER, SO HELP YOU GOD.

Not exactly a common oath one must take to play football somewhere. 

For this game, those sworn to the same mission are rivals for one glorious late Fall afternoon.

The Army-Navy football game has been played annually since 1930.  It has involved players who went on to sports careers as well as military service:  Glenn Davis, Roger Staubach, Pete Dawkins, Napoleon McCallum, Doc Blanchard, and so many more.

Army vs Navy – The Game

Keegan Wetzel played for Navy and in his senior year was selected as a 1st Team All Independent linebacker.  He played in the 2012 game that saw Navy beat Army for the 11th consecutive time.

Across the line from him for that game was Army quarterback Trent SteelmanSteelman is the only modern era Army QB to start every game in his four years at West Point.  He holds the Army career record for TDs and is second all-time in career yards.  

It was a game decided in the final minutes when Navy took the lead and held on as Army saw a final drive end on a turnover.

Steelman and Wetzel could not know this game would lead to a relationship that endures.

What was the intensity playing in those Army vs Navy games?  How did playing in those games shape the lives of the players involved?  What are the memories of Wetzel and Steelman about facing each other?

Listen to the depth of feeling from these two as they answer those questions and breathe individual life into the rigors and honor of playing football at the academies.  

Rivals? Army vs Navy and THE GAME, as good as it gets.  Enjoy.

Further Listening:

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ACC College Basketball | MD vs VT | Ep 7

Would you really ask a college basketball player to throw up during a game if things were going bad, just to change the momentum?

What do you do when the water main breaks on campus when there is a big game to be played that day?  How about when the opposing coach has a suggestion of what to do and uses the water break as a rallying cry for his own team?

Fictional questions?  Well, no, they are part of what you are going to hear on this edition of The Sports Rivals.

The Coaches

Gary Williams is a Hall Of Fame college hoops coach who coached at American University, Boston College, Ohio State and at his alma mater, Maryland.  It was with the Terps that he won the 2002 NCAA Championship and where he spent 22 years on the bench in the conference which many consider to the best in college basketball year in and year out, the ACC.

Seth Greenberg spent 34 years as a college coach, including 2003-2012 at Virginia Tech as a Gary Williams coaching rival in the ACC.  Seth came through Long Beach State and the University of South Florida on his way to Virginia Tech.  He would face Williams’ teams between 2003-2011.

ACC College Basketball

Virginia Tech was a late arrival to ACC College Basketball and Gary Williams was not all that excited about adding to the league, especially when Tech started winning games in the conference.  He’ll tell you how the Tech addition just made the season that much tougher.  

These two outstanding coaches give you an inside peak into the ACC and what it was like to face the best college teams in the country on a nightly basis.  

They will take you through their own rivalry that is a history of intense games, overtimes and an “I can beat you” attitude that came from both coaches.   Neither missed the opportunity to find a way to inspire their team by using actions or words coming from the other side. This was a rivalry of “whatever it takes.”

Seth will take you through the impact Williams had on his coaching decisions in putting the Virginia Tech program together.  Williams will tell you his thoughts as he prepared to take on a Greenberg team.  

From two ends of the court, here is a coaching rivalry that had vivid games, great memories and the creation of a relationship of respect in the college coaching ranks.

Further Listening:

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UCLA vs Arizona | NCAA Mens’ Basketball | Ep 6

UCLA vs Arizona | NCAA Mens’ Basketball–Rivalries take time to build and this one has had decades.  UCLA and Arizona are two of college basketball’s premier programs.   Over the years the race for Pac-12 titles and the right to move to March madness has created high heat when they meet.

42 of the last 58 Pac-12 titles have gone to one of these teams. The intensity of their battles only increases.

Today we hear the magnitude of that rivalry from two who were in the middle of the spotlight.

Don MacLean played at UCLA from 1988 to 1992.  They won the Pac-12 championship in the ’91-’92 season. He thrived on the rivalry.

Matt Muehlebach played at AZ from 1987 to 1991.  His teams never lost a game at home. Ironically, that streak would be broken by UCLA and MacLean.

MacLean was a pot-stirrer, especially on the court.  Listen to Matt talk about that while Don tells you how that went over with former UCLA coach John Wooden.

Matt speaks to what it was like to be on each of these raucous home courts when the two great basketball programs went head to head.  He’ll tell you about the “offer the hand and take it back move” made by Don to one of Matt’s teammates.  

Enjoy the story of an epic basketball rivalry through the memories of two who helped create it.

Don MacLean with Coach Jim Harrick

Further Listening:

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2002 World Series | Giants vs Angels | Ep 5

They had been teammates on a World Champion Dodger team.

Dusty Baker and Mike Scioscia had a history that went back even further than that 1981 Dodger team.  Scioscia viewed Baker as a vital mentor in his career. Baker saw in Scioscia the drive to win and work at getting there-the kind of drive Baker has to this day.

Now they were a dugout apart. Baker managing the National League Champion Giants and Scioscia the AL champ Angels in the 2002 World Series.

2002 World Series

Would they talk before the Series? What were they thinking when they looked across the field at a lifetime friend they were each trying to beat.

The Series would go 7 games and the Angels would be World Champions, but this was a contest between two powerhouses where every decision mattered.

Would either have done differently if they had a redo on those decisions? What are the memories for each manager that first come to mind about this Series?

After all these years, they will recount the moments they felt most important and they will remember every pitch as though thrown moments ago.

Dusty will tell you about his 3-year-old bat boy son almost getting run over at the plate only to be saved by J.T. Snow.

Scioscia will tell how why he told his coaches not to talk to Dusty before or during the World Series and why he himself did not.

Most amazing, you are going to hear these two discuss with each other this World Series for the first time!!! They have never set down to talk about these games-never.

Each does so here, honestly, with an underlying respect for one another that shines through.

Enjoy, This is a piece of baseball history you will find nowhere else.

Further Listening:

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