Armchair Talking Head

Bigger and Newer: Is it Always Better?

I damn near cried the first time I went to St. Louis and saw the giant hole that used to be Busch Memorial Stadium. I went to my first Cards game with my Dad there. I learned that it was okay to love a baseball team like a woman there–you have your ups and downs, but you still lover her, dammit. My emotions were similar the first time my Dad and I set foot in New Busch Stadium where a whole slew of new memories have been made, none to top sitting on the first base line with Dad as the Budweiser Clydesdales galloped around the warning track with the 2006 World Series trohpy on opening day. As cool as new Busch Stadium is, something about me misses the old arches atop the old park. I liked the idea of watching Albert Pujols play at the same place my old man watched Bob Gibson hurl the ball. Progress is all good and well, and the topic of old baseball parks and the new-fangled “baseball parks” that focus on fan experience instead of baseball is an entirely different topic.

Credit: Crassic

I had a somewhat similar feeling as I drove down Bryant Drive today for the first time since it had opened post-South Endzone construction. It’s beautiful. It’s worth every penny spent on it. I oohed. I ahhed. I almost rear-ended a sorority girl back a week early for Rush in the BMW her daddy bought her because I was staring out the side window of my beaten down Chevy. A marvel of football, modern engineering, and a testament to the thousands of Alabama boys who have worn the Crimson and White on Saturdays in the fall sits between University Blvd. and Bryant Drive for sure, but I had a different reaction as I turned north on Wallace Wade Avenue.  Just as that street is named for a coach of old (Wade won 3 National Championships at Alabama from 1923-1930), the western side of Bryant-Denny tells a different story. Exposed beams, old but sturdy bricks dominate the view. You can see inside the stadium to an extent, and on game weeks you can often see the inner workings of getting the stadium ready for the 100K plus fans that will fill the seats that weekend. I kind of miss the ability to take a glimpse into the stadium, and the old feeling the stadium used to have. That oldness spoke to the tradition that so many Alabama fans love to talk about. I often wonder as I stand at the urinals tucked under the seats of the student section staring at the wood bolted to concrete and steel keeping us in our seats if the men who built the stadium in the 1920’s, or even people who have worked on it in the years in between, ever imagined the behemoth it has become.

In the changing, fast-paced, dog-eat-dog world of today’s college football, bigger and newer might mean more talented recruits, more fans, and more money. In fact, it might even play a part in the success of the team on the field, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it. I do like it, and I welcome progress, but  a little part of me hopes they never cover up the older parts of the stadium.

Kirby Smart
January 5, 2010, 7:32 pm
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Today I’ll spare you any further commentary on why Boise State deserves to play for the National Championship or any more pre-game fodder on the Tide. I just have a quick thought. Why in the Hell would Kirby Smart go to UGA? Sure he has ties, but he couldn’t be in a more solid position as DC than he is at Alabama, and Mark Richt might be the most precariously situated head coach in the SEC going into next season.

Kirby will be a head coach in a matter of a few years if he holds on with Saban at Alabama, but there’s no guarantee that he won’t be an unemployed DC after next season if he goes to UGA. For Coach Smart and the Tide’s sake, let’s hope he lives up to his name.

2 Days: Never Been So Happy Edition

Damn, I’ve never been so happy to see the NCAA issue a ruling than I was at about 7pm last night when the edict came down from on high (Indianapolis) that Julio Jones and Mark Ingram are clear to play Saturday against the Hokies upon paying restitution for their “improper benefits.”

Apparently, Julio and Mark have already made their payments.  If not however, might I suggest the “Human Fund”?

King a Queen?

So in further proof that I have successfully stopped obsessing over politics so much, I’ve totally missed this story.  Apparently the rumor mill on Goat Hill is churning ahead at full speed.  According to various sources on the internets, Alabama Attorney General Troy King is in the middle of a James McGreevey style homosexual scandal.  One source says that his wife found him in the throes with a dude and kicked him out of his home.

This story is even getting national exposure as the popular Wonkette blog has a story up.

My people on the ground say something is definitely afoot, but stopped short of acknowledging King’s status as a Queen.

What makes this ironic are the anti-gay pieces he wrote while at UA Law in the Crimson White.  I would offer you up a link, but the pieces are either down from the site, or the site has too much traffic as of this posting.  You should check out the video posted at the Locust Fork Journal with a song entitled “Latex in Montgomery,” set to the tune of John Prine’s classic “Angel from Montgomery.”  *Warning* There are penises on this video, so watch it in it’s hilarity somewhere other than work or school, lest your colleagues think you’ve been shacking up with the State’s chief law enforcement officer!

On a personal note, I never really cared particularly for Troy’s style.  However, I hope and pray for the sake of his wife, three children, and my beloved GOP, that this is untrue.

Is John Tyson working on his new tagline for the 2010 campaign?  Perhaps “I’m John Tyson I fight crime like pussy.”???

With the 49th Pick…

…the Golden State Warriors select former Bama big man Richard Hendrix. That’s mid-way through Round 2. No real shock there. Let’s hope his career goes a little bit better than another memorable UA alum who played at Golden State. The warriors used their first pick to pick another SEC player, LSU Freshman Anthony Randolph. Randolph was one of 12 freshmen selected on day one of the draft.

On a side note, I really, really want the Memphis Grizzlies to be good. Memphis is the nearest NBA team to my home, but it is a hopelessly run franchise. However, they made a very good selection tonight in that of Kevin Love out of UCLA. Still, one good draft pick doesn’t absolve the Grizz for trading Pau Gasol for next to nothing.


And as soon as I spoke of the Grizzlies, they traded Kevin Love and some extras to Minnesota for OJ Mayo and some extras.  Memphis loses Mike Miller in the deal, and I’m not sure that Love for Mayo is any more than a lateral move.  Screw it, if I’m going to pull for a southern team, it might as well be New Orleans.

The Snake Being Snake

As has been well covered, former standout Tide QB and current color announcer on Alabama football radio broadcasts, Ken Stabler was nabbed down in Robertsdale for a DUI. This was Stabler’s 3rd DUI since 1995, yet thanks to the statute of limitations in Alabama, this is technically Stabler’s first offense.

My first reaction when I discovered the news this morning on SportsByBrooks was to simply say, “Ah, that’s just “Snake” being “Snake.”  This was probably the wrong reaction, even for an immature 22 year old who could drink Stabler under the table.  The seriousness of the offense alone warrants action, but the pattern of recklessness on  Stabler’s behalf  causes serious alarm.  It will come as no surprise if the University in tandem with Learfield Communications and Crimson Tide Sports Marketing decides to gracefully part ways with him.

However, the multitude of callers to the sports show circuit today condemning Stabler comes off as supremely hypocritical.  As Finebaum noted on his show today, there are very few of us who haven’t driven when we shouldn’t have.

Kenny is an important part of the Alabama family, and one hell of a color announcer alongside Eli Gold.  CSM might see fit to replace him, but the Stabler naysayers would be well served to check themselves and dismount from their collective high horse before they condemn him.

As for the Snake’s potential replacement, anyone but Jay Barker.  It’s hard enough listening to him drivel on about Sara Evans from 6-10 each morning.  I couldn’t imagine having to put up with it during games.

Hopefully Kenny can get this issue under control while keeping his name out of the mud as much as possible.

All criminal defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.