2008 year-end poem: Game over


By Fred Lief
Associated Press

Don’t look at the clock, we know that it’s late,
And sometimes it’s hard to keep it all straight.

A game back in May? A blown double steal?
A lawsuit in August now on appeal?

Here in the fading days this December
Clemens well knows we can “misremember.”

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2008 passings in sports

Notable sports deaths in 2008, from the Associated Press, starting with our own former Daily News assistant sports editor Matt McHale, 50:


Eliot Asinof, 88
Skip Caray, 68
Dan Cook, 81
Myron Cope, 79
Jack Falla, 62
Red Foley, 79
Mary Garber, 92
Grits Gresham, 85
George Gross, 85
Chuck Heaton, 90
W.C. Heinz, 93
Jerome Holtzman, 82
Charlie Jones, 77
Barry Lorge, 60
Sherman “Jocko” Maxwell, 100
Jim McKay, 86
Steve Parry, 64
Paul Robbins, 68
Gib Shanley, 76;
Randy Smith, 61
Don Wittman, 71
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2008: The crazy stuff in sports


By Fred Lief
AP Sports Writer

Indignities come in all forms. John Odom, however, may have found a classification all his own.

Odom (pictured above) is a minor league pitcher, and not an especially good one. He was traded this year from the Calgary Vipers to the Laredo Broncos of the Golden Baseball League. He wasn’t traded for cash or even for those old reliable “future considerations” and “player to be named.”

Odom was traded for 10 bats.

No doubt, it could have been worse. A year or so ago, a European soccer player was said to have been traded for a slab of beef.

But for the Odom, the going price was 10 black, 34-inch maple bats. According to the manufacturer, they sell at discount for $65.50 each.

Odom was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in 2003 but released. He still thinks he’s got a shot at the big leagues. In the meantime, without a Robin for a sidekick, he has a nickname: Bat Man.

“I’m still in shock from this phenomenon,” he said. “I don’t know how to describe it. It’s mind-boggling.”

Humiliation is an equal opportunity employer, and in 2008 there was plenty to go around.

Consider Eliot Spitzer. It wasn’t enough that the former New York governor got caught in a tabloid inferno for his call-girl escapades. The Macon Music of minor league baseball’s South Coast League promoted — before ultimately backing off — an “Eliot Spitzer Night” in which any fan named Eliot, Spitzer or Kristen (his lady of choice) would get $1 off admission.

Or consider:

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The media learning curve: Dec. 19-26


Let’s make it quick: We’ve got people holding a spot for us at the local AMC theatre for that feel-good holidcay flick with Tom Cruise and the Nazis … it beats “Marley And Me” … and we smell rain coming.

This week, we learned at the Media Learning Center:

== Jeanne Zelasko has every reason to believe that she can work on her Juan Pierre home-run call (linked here)

== As fate would have it, NBC’s Bob Costas gets his shorts in a bunch when players on teams try to decide their own destiny (linked here)

== NBC jumped on that Chargers-Broncos game for Sunday pretty fast — it’s a 5:15 kickoff now (linked here)

== Detroit News columnist Rob Parker will not be appearing at the Laugh Factory anytime soon (linked here).

== The Associated Press’ male athlete of the year, and its sports event of the year, are liked by a tight Speedo (linked here).

== Sexy women have a better chance of making it into sportscasting … or do they? (linked here).

== In a related story, is ESPN sexing up “The Sports Reporters”? (linked here)

== In an unrelated story, ESPN’s Pam Ward will spend her Sunday in Shreveport, La. (linked here).

== In another unrelated story, ESPN’s Mike Tirico is ready for his closeup (linked here)

== Matt Vasgersian managed to use the word “turd” in a proper context (linked here)

== For the first time in 22 years, the NFL is considering other syndicated radio companies instead of Westwood One to handle its games in the future (linked here).

== NBC’s Johnny Miller got in hot water for a joke about Italian-Americans during the U.S. Open, but ESPN’s Chris Berman gets a free pass? (linked here).

== LeBron James and Ice Cube got an ABC “Friday Night Lights-Meets-Entourage” pilot in the works (linked here and linked here)

==More about the MLB Network launch from CNBC’s Darren Rovell (linked here)

==More weird stuff about Fox NFL analyst Brian Baldinger’s mangled digit (linked here)

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