THE FICTITIOUS WORLD OF DAN LE BATARD

July 19, 2019

By DINO COSTA

You’ll need to forgive me for being a little bit confused these days.

There was a time in my on-air career when it seemed that I was alone in
pointing out the failings and the irresponsible decisions of NFL
Commissioner Roger Goodell. I was told by some in the business (no names
as I seek to protect the embarrassed) to stop doing this because after
all, I was as wrong as could be, Goodell at the time was near-universally
loved, and my forecasts for NFL problems on the horizon back then (2010)
was considered silly and so utterly contrarian.

Now, 9-years later, the bash Roger Goodell line stretches from one end of
the country to the other with people who almost seem to make a living
criticizing the NFL Commish.

Things change, I guess?

Did I already mention the year 2010?

It was during that time that our country was led by one of the most
polarizing and divisive (some would say one the worst) President’s our
country has ever known, his last name was Obama.

Because my shows have always been issues-oriented (I’m an issues-based guy
and I do an issues-based show) and because over the last 10-years we have
seen such an inundation of political and societal elements being introduced
within the world of sports, it seems that those whose primary function is
to talk or write about the sports world also has these people turning and
commenting more and more on the political theatre of the day with
consistency.

Now back then, Obama came into the narrative on my national shows only
every now and again. After all, he was driving policy in the country, he
himself would sometimes talk about sports, he was one of ESPN’s favorite
people, and sometimes, he would say things that had nothing to do with
sports, but it would compel me to comment on it briefly anyway.

 

READ FULL STORY HERE

THE COWARDLY SACRIFICE OF GERRY CALLAHAN

July 18, 2019

By DINO COSTA

I’ve been meaning to weigh in on this since the day it became news…but
wanted to wait to see if there was any other additional fallout from this
chicken shit move pulled by a Boston sports radio station.

Just last week word came down that WEEI morning sports radio host Gerry
Callahan was let go from a position that he had for the last 20-years.

The move was sudden and it came without any warning, for Callahan, as well
as for his colleague’s at the radio station.

Last month as the Blues and Bruins were going head to head for the Stanley
Cup, I got into some playful and spirited back and forth with a few of the
shows on WEEI, and I’ve gotten to know Gerry over the last few years, ever
since we started semi-regular communication when I found out that Gerry was
a fan of my national show on SiriusXM Radio.

The feeling was mutual because Gerry was one of the very few in the
industry who spoke about sports that I could tolerate for more than
3-seconds.

Callahan has hosted successful, introspective, and humorous morning sports
radio for the last two decades with a few different co-hosts. For many
years he partnered with John Dennis, who has been retired for a few years
now. In addition, he teamed with Kirk Minihane, who my former producer at
SXM, Andrew Caplan, has accused of stealing my on-air act, and most
recently after Minihane was fired from WEEI, Callahan and the very
professional and versatile Mike “Mut” Mutnansky formed WEEI’s morning team.

 

READ FULL STORY HERE

STILL DIPPIN’…& SPITTIN’

July 17, 2019

By DINO COSTA

Earl Campbell still dips, and his favorite brand is Skoal.

Walt Garrison, the old cowboy, he’s still reaching into his back pocket for
another pinch of Copenhagen…or like Earl Campbell, does Walt prefer Skoal
too? I think that Walt might still be a Skoal man to this very day.

A good old boy from Georgia who goes by the name of Madison Bumgarner…I’m
positive that MadBum is a Copenhagen southern blend kinda guy.

Oakland Athletics team President Billy Beane still spits into a paper cup,
although I’ve never been able to figure out what the Moneyball man’s
favorite chew is.

Does Carlton Fisk still put a pinch between his cheek and gum…or did he
only do that when he was chopping up some firewood at his home in Vermont?

 

READ FULL STORY HERE

THE WONDERFUL REDEMPTION OF RYAN LEAF

July 17, 2019

By DINO COSTA

Every so often someone will ask me who my favorite interview (I call them
conversations) was with, in my career as a talk show host?

My reply is always the same; I have no one favorite interview with any one
of the hundreds of people who have appeared as guests on my various shows
over the years. I’ve enjoyed many of them for different reasons, some I
liked less than others, but no matter who has agreed to appear on my shows,
I always try to get into a discussion that is hopefully a few layers deep,
procuring informational content that hopefully, my audience will enjoy.

But one conversation I didn’t enjoy so much was when I had the opportunity
to sit down and have a discussion with Ryan Leaf at Super Bowl XLVI in
February of 2012 in Indianapolis.

Leaf seemed agitated throughout our talk, shifty, nervous, and I even
thought he appeared to project himself with an arrogance that was clear to
see. He answered all of my inquiries but I could tell that something was
askew.

As we concluded, I wished Leaf all the best, we shook hands, and that was
that.

 

READ FULL STORY HERE

BASEBALL IS READY TO SELL IT’S SOUL

July 16, 2019

By DINO COSTA

One word: Disgusting.

Another: Shameful.

A third: Greedy.

‘Unnecessary’, does the trick as well.

Before I get to baseball, I’d like to thank the NBA for starting this
pathetic nightmare a few years ago.

Yes, advertising patches are apparently on their way to your favorite major
league uniforms within the next 2-3 years ahead.

According to a report yesterday in Sports Business Journal, Rob Manfred’s
greed will compel major league baseball to place advertising patches on the
front of uniforms as early as the 2022 season.

I have long criticized the NBA for this amateur stunt which is something
that should be confined to minor league sports exclusively, and my primary
objection to the NBA introducing uniform patches is simple and reasoned
enough: Does the NBA, a worldwide phenomenon that’s rolling in cash, do they
really need to take the few extra dollars that some companies are willing
to pay teams to place advertising patches on uniforms?

 

READ FULL STORY HERE

LES MILES TAKES ON MISSION IMPOSSIBLE AT KANSAS

July 16, 2019

By DINO COSTA

There he was on my television yesterday afternoon.

I was watching BIG 12 media days from Dallas which is being held at the
palace that Jerry Jones built.

Les Miles, 65 years young, now the head football coach at the University of
Kansas and just about a million miles away from his former home at LSU in
Baton Rouge.

Concerning anyone questioning his age or the wisdom of taking on this
monumental turnaround situation in Lawrence, Miles said; “To think I’m 65
is really not necessarily how I see it, you know? I’m having fun, and that
to me is hard work … and an opportunity to go win ballgames, which I look
forward to.”

They’ll be no grass for the Mad Hatter to chew on at Kansas’ home stadium.
Unlike the tasty blades that Miles enjoyed dining on at Tiger Stadium down
in the Bayou, the Jayhawks football stadium has synthetic FieldTurf for
their playing field.

Approximately 5000 fans showed up at David Booth Stadium in Lawrence for
the Kansas spring football game back in April. Considering the plight of
Jayhawks football over the last decade, I’m thinking that each and every
one of those people who showed up should have been given season tickets for
this upcoming year.

 

READ FULL STORY HERE

IS TODAY’S NHL TOO GOOD TO FIGHT ANYMORE?

July 15, 2019

By DINO COSTA

Never.

I never, ever, thought I would say this, think this, feel this, maybe even
want this.

There is no more red-blooded American male than the guy sitting at the
keyboard typing these words, okay?

Yes, I’ll admit, I love a good dust-up on the ice as much as any long-time
hockey fan.

Yes, I’ll acknowledge that just like you, I love my team’s enforcer while
loathing your team’s enforcer.

But there’s a problem with all of this. The problem is twofold. Firstly,
where are today’s hockey enforcers, and secondly, where are the good
dust-ups on the ice that I used to love so much?

So color me more shocked than anyone when I say that if NHL commissioner
Gary Bettman held a press conference tomorrow and said that the NHL has
completely outlawed fighting in the league…I’d have no problem with it.

I had to re-read my last sentence just to make sure it’s what I really
wrote and how I really feel.

I’m still good with it.

Now look it, so that nobody gets the wrong idea, so that nobody thinks for
even half a second that I’ve gone all snowflake on anyone, to dispel any
notions that I hit my head on a beam late last night, let me state
unequivocally that my new feelings concerning banning fighting in the NHL
has nothing to do with any of the virtue-signaling so many love to employ
these days, it has nothing to do with me buying into the concussion
propaganda, and it has not a single thing to do with anything resembling
the resentment of toxic masculinity, okay?

 

READ FULL STORY HERE

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER NEEDS TO MAKE A DECISION

July 15, 2019

By DINO COSTA

Soccer in America.

Remember the old North American Soccer League that was around from 1968
through 1984?

Remember the Tulsa Roughnecks and the Oakland Stompers? The Hartford
Bicentennials and the Tampa Bay Rowdies? The Washington Diplomats and the
Minnesota Kicks?

To say nothing of the world famous Cosmos, right?

To this day I still remember my first Cosmos game…because I still have
the game program from that day!

I was one of over forty-thousand to show up at Giants Stadium in East
Rutherford on the afternoon of July 1, 1979, and saw the Cosmos defeat the
Rochester Lancers by the score of 5-2.

Little did anyone at the game that day (including Joe Manfredi?) know
that there would only be 5-more Cosmos seasons to follow, and only 5-more
seasons of what would turn out to be a scaled-down version of the NASL (
9-teams) by the time the final 1984 season came around.

When I was a kid there were two soccer teams I followed. The aforementioned
Cosmos, and the indoor-playing New York Arrows, led by Bronko Segota
and the “scoring machine”, Steve Zungel.

Back then, I wasn’t a fan of the European game simply because I knew very
little about it (if anything at all), and because there was practically
nothing in the way of media coverage of English or German or Italian
football to be found in the states.

Further, and so I don’t mislead anyone, admittedly, soccer was a game that
I went back and forth with during those days. Baseball and all the other
pro sports leagues in America were what mattered most to me, but I always
had an appreciation for soccer and found that appreciation growing as I
entered adulthood. My enthusiasm and curiosity with the game went to
another level once I was able to follow the game Online, with stories and
reports from overseas, not to mention a plethora of games available on
television from around the world.

To this day I don’t consider myself an expert on the game (far from it),
but my knowledge continues to increase as my appetite continues to grow for
the game, and I relish any opportunity I get when I’m able to ask questions
and pick the brain of someone else who has a much deeper knowledge of the
game and knows the history of the game much better than I do.

Keep much of this in mind as you continue to read because I’m sure there
may be some who might disagree with some of the thoughts and ideas I have
about the state of the current professional league we have here in North
America, Major League Soccer.

 

READ FULL STORY HERE

BEST NBA OFF-SEASON EVER?

July 12, 2019

By DINO COSTA

Most of the smoke has now settled and nearly all the dust has cleared, and
the nuclear fall out from this year’s fast and furious NBA draft and
free-agency period has not only remade the league, but it’s also done
something for the NBA that the league has needed since forever.

It’s provided the league with an upcoming season that should be as
uncertain as it’s been in years.

The words ‘uncertain’ and ‘NBA’ haven’t exactly been friends too many years
now have they?

Over the past 14-years, the NBA has pretty much been dominated by only a
select few teams (and players), and fans have pretty much been able to
predict with near sureness which team(s) would eventually be crowned the
champion each June, or at the very least, which two teams would meet in the
Finals.

Over these last 14 seasons, with the exception of Finals appearances but a
single time by such teams as Oklahoma City, and Orlando (if you would like
to you may feel free to also insert this year’s Toronto team into the mix),
the league has seen regular appearances by only seven (7) other clubs
during this stretch.

Led by Golden State’s 5 trips to the Finals (winning 3 times), Cleveland’s
5 trips to the Finals (winning 1 time) Miami’s 5 trips to the Finals
(winning 3 times), San Antonio’s 3 trips to the Finals (winning 2 times),
Dallas’ 2 Finals appearances (winning 1 time), the Lakers 3 trips to the
Finals (winning 1 time), and Boston’s 2 trips to the Finals (winning 1
time), the remainder of the league has been playing the role of filler,
seemingly there only to get the eventual championship teams in each
conference in shape to get to their eventual Finals destination.

I’ve been noting for a long time now (and I’m far from alone), that while
the NBA is a breathtaking league full of some of the greatest professional
athletes under one roof, the prevailing thought in too many people’s
opinion, is that the league suffers from a big-time competitive balance
issue. And this is nothing new, of course, because the league has gone
through cycles over the past 40-years in which the same situation exists
only with slight alterations to what teams are at the top of the NBA food
chain.

READ FULL STORY HERE

WE NOW RETURN YOU TO REALITY

July 10, 2019

By DINO COSTA

The world we live in can’t be real, there’s simply no way.

Someone please fess up and let the cat out of the bag, alright?

Unknowingly, we’re animated characters living inside a matrix and this life
is nothing more than a simulated computer game where those at the keyboard
are having a good laugh as they program the game to include all kinds of
bizarre situations and outcomes. Because when it comes to making sense out
of things, nothing else could explain the preposterous nature of what is
ongoing currently in regard to this Women’s National Soccer team and the
idea that they’re somehow underpaid and the idea they should be paid in
accordance with what their male counterparts make.

Today in New York City, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed equal pay legislation
before the recent World Cup winning US Women’s National Soccer team was
feted with a parade in the Big Apple.

Said Cuomo; “Women play the same game as men, only better, parades are
cool, equal pay is cooler.”

As you might imagine, madness has taken over some people’s brains and the
only way this is possible is for all of this to simply not be real.

Allow me to get into this piece by getting up on my own personal soapbox,
and just like Snoop Dog did, perhaps minus the expletives, tell everyone
that the women soccer players on the National team should be paid as much
as the men make so I can properly fit in with the One Flew Over The Cuckoos
Nest crowd.

 

READ FULL STORY HERE

THEY CAME AND GOT THE METS

July 8, 2019

By DINO COSTA

Right before the Mets introduced Brodie Van Wagenen as their new general
manager back in late October of last year, this is what I wrote in another
column that then appeared on my website when the Mets general manager list
appeared to come down to 3 individuals. Chaim Bloom (who should have been
hired), Doug Melvin…and a former player agent.

Here is what I wrote:

“Brodie Van Wagenen? Come on, the fact that this agent has actually made
it to the final round should be a sign that this franchise is in many ways
still too stupid to comprehend what is and what is not in their better
interests.”

Then, while many in the Mets fan base, mostly the ignorant ones, all hailed
this as a bold masterstroke, a cutting edge hire that was well outside the
box, I maintained that the Mets had goofed yet one more time in their
feeble attempts at putting a consistent winning product on the field at The
Ballpark In Queens (I refuse to call it by its corporate name).

Despite my feelings that this move was a colossal mistake, I found myself
fascinated with how this guy, Van Wagenen, would come off in his initial
press conference before the New York media.

I wasn’t disappointed.

“The Bro Show” got underway at the BIQ (Ballpark In Queens) with the Mets
very own “Spaulding” (Caddyshack 1980), Jeff Wilpon, telling the assembled
throng attending, that this was a hire that Spaulding’s dad (Fred Wilpon)
was absolutely thrilled with. Of course, he was.

Next, we watched as Van Wagenen came to the podium carrying with him cue
cards, with notes that I guess he had written down in advance, and with
every flip of the next card, Van Wagenen was on to a new point he wanted to
make. I found this…interesting?

Van Wagenen said a number of things at his introductory presser, and one of
them was that the Mets would; “win now, and win in the future.” Now since
I cannot tell the future (who can?) I can’t really speak to that, but so
far as the “now” part of Van Wagenen’s declaration is concerned, well, as
the Mets just hit the All-Star break, old Brodie’s troops limp into what
used to be the mid-summer classic with the worst record in the National
League.

 

READ FULL STORY HERE


-By DINO COSTA

July 5, 2019

We live in utterly fascinating times.

Another way to say it is that we live in spectacularly scary and insane
times.

Of course, this is nothing new, however, when one takes into account the
rapid acceleration, the frequency with which the world continues to see
evidence of these mentally-unhinged times we’re living through, for
rational people, it makes them step back for a moment and wonder where this
is all heading?

When Melvin Udall answered his door in the movie; ‘As Good As It Gets’ (1997),
and told the lady to; “sell crazy somewhere else”, because Melvin (Jack
Nicholson) was all stocked up at the time, who could have imagined that
22-years later, buying crazy would be so in fashion?

You want crazy? You need yourself some crazy? Crazy is overflowing these
days to such an extent that ‘crazy’, is now seen as a valuable commodity
used by deranged and psychotic people in all walks of life in an attempt to
bend societal norms to their liking…with these people giving no thought
to how absolutely out of their minds they appear to the rest of polite
society.

Crazy in the world of sports?

Where do we begin?

How about the fictitious and very misleading NFL player protests of the
past few years? I’m sorry to report that that particular agenda is only the
tip of the iceberg and made to seem almost normal when comparing it to much
of what has occurred since then.

 

READ FULL STORY HERE

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