The 2010 Winnipeg Goldeyes training camp has started, the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs are well on the way, the NBA has moved into the second round and the Major League Baseball season is one month into it.
It’s been an odd couple of weeks, but there is one thing we can always count on: Somebody will jerk over somebody else even if it’s just for a laugh.
Let’s ponder the strange and misguided…
1) The voice of my youth passed away on Tuesday night. Ernie Harwell, one of the nicest men I ever met, died of cancer at age 92. The voice of the Detroit Tigers from 1960-2002, Harwell was the quiet, pastoral sound in my head for almost every summer of my life.
I had a long interview with Harwell on the field at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Fla., in 2002. He was kind and funny and he could tell one heck of a story. He got his first play-by-play job with the minor league Atlanta Crackers in 1934 at the age of 16 and went on to become, among other things, the only broadcaster ever traded for a player.
In 1948, the Crackers let Harwell out of his contract in order to join the Brooklyn Dodgers as a fill-in for another legend, Red Barber, in exchange for Minor League catcher Cliff Dapper.
When Bo Schembechler took over the Tigers as president in 1992, one of Schembechler’s first decisions was to fire Ernie Harwell. Schembechler, an ex-football coach who proved he couldn’t run a one-car funeral, was eventually dumped and Harwell was re-hired.
Ernie Harwell wasn’t Vin Scully or Jon Miller or Jack Buck or John Gordon or Charley Steiner or Tom Hamilton, great announcers all. Ernie Harwell had a sweet southern accent and a homey approach to the game, and he was the best I ever heard.
2) There is talk in Toronto about changing the nickname of the city’s NBA team from the Raptors to the Huskies.
Only in Toronto would that discussion start. And it starts because the Leafs aren’t in the playoffs, nobody cares about the Argos and nobody knows anything about baseball.
3) I loved how the American media handled Brett Favre’s injured ankle this past week.
When it became apparent that Favre might need minor surgery to relieve pain in the ankle – an ankle he injured long before the Vikings lost the NFC final to New Orleans – it was written this way: “Brett Favre will not be able to return this season without ankle surgery.”
After Favre said he’d contacted noted orthopaedic surgeon James Andrews about the ankle, he posted the following on his website:
I want to add to the information provided in the article that was published this morning on ESPN’s website. Given the reaction to the article, and the typical conclusion jumping, I thought I’d clarify a few things.
While my ankle has been bothering me, the injury is not debilitating. For example, I’m able to work around my property without any problems. Sure – certain exercises cause some ankle pain, but it’s nothing that I haven’t experienced (or played with) before. In fact, many people don’t realize that I injured my ankle before the NFC Championship game. I’ve had surgery on this ankle twice before, and I’ve played with the pain before. The hits I took throughout the 2009 season, including the Saints game, just added to the ankle pain and likely caused some bone spurs.
I don’t believe major surgery on the ankle would be required for me to return in 2010. I’ve consulted with Dr. Andrews on the phone, and a relatively minor procedure could be done to improve the dexterity of the ankle, and to relieve the pain. I’ve put up with pain worse than this in my career, and I didn’t want anyone to assume that the possibility of surgery was the sole factor that would determine whether I return or not. Some people reacting to the ESPN story have made this assumption. I don’t blame them for doing so, given that the term “surgery” often covers a variety of procedures, some more complex than others.
The ankle pain is a factor, but one of many factors that I’ll need to consider in making my decision. Other factors include the input of my family, and the wonderful experience that I had last year with the Vikings.
— Brett Favre
Sounds like Brett Favre will return to the Vikings this season. Surgery or no surgery.