Monday, July 28, 2014

Coaches and Managers

Tony LaRussa went in to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY yesterday.

LaRussa racked up an impressive record as manager of the White Sox, Athletics, and Cardinals from 1979 to 2011, but as I've always said, it's the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Numbers.

LaRussa managed his share of performance enhancing drug users.  Those people shouldn't be in the Hall, and they probably won't be.  All pile up anemic numbers in the yearly voting.  The same should be true for their manager.  How did LaRussa NOT see what was going on?

Below is what LaRussa said in an ESPN interview last week:

"I know that there's people that have accused me because of some of the guys that helped us win in Oakland and St. Louis, so the only thing I can say is I know 100 percent that our program was absolutely clean for everything that we could control," he said.

Are you kidding me?

The Hall of Fame retains some integrity because it has so far kept out admitted liar and gambler Pete Rose, but its credibility really took a hit yesterday when LaRussa was enshrined.

And that brings us to former NFL head coach Tony Dungy.

Dungy almost became one of those coaches famous for running decent teams, but failing to win the big one.  He can thank the ineptitude of the Chicago Bears in 2007 for saving him from that.

Last week, Dungy said he wouldn't have drafted Michael Sam because of the distraction an alternative lifestyle player would cause for the rest of the team.

Dungy is clearly entitled to his opinion when it comes to religion and the way it views these matters.  No one is arguing with that.

It should also be noted that this is the same guy who offered to help admitted dog killer Michael Vick return to the NFL.

I really enjoyed how ESPN's Keith Olbermann used Dungy's own words to lay him out.

It sounds like Coach Dungy needs a lesson in compassion and common sense.

And finally, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.  He suspended Ray Rice two games for knocking his fiance, now wife, out cold in an elevator.  TWO GAMES!  Others have received stiffer penalties for doing less.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Andy's Angles: College Construction Weekend

If there's ever a project that inspires mixed feelings, this is it.

My alma mater, Marywood, is building a new library.  No one will argue that there's a need.  The current library is functional, but it's old and needs an update.  It needs to reflect new technology.  Below is Marywood's answer, The Learning Commons.
The library will be in the center of campus, as it should be.  A good library is the heart and soul of any college or university.

My concern is the look.  It's a modern glass and steel building in the middle of a cluster of brick.  It doesn't look like it fits.  We'll see if the finished project blends, or obtrusively sticks out.  Completion is set for fall of '15.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Andy's Angles: College Construction Weekend

The University of Scranton's new physical therapy building is going up at the corner of Linden and Jefferson.

The U fought to tear down Leahy Hall-- a building that had outlived its usefulness.  While it had some history, it was small and old.  It was neither architecturally unique or outstanding.  Getting rid of it didn't seem like a bad idea.  The University of Scranton is perhaps the only entity actually drawing people and money to the city.

I saw the plan and the sketches.  It's a lot different in person.  Opponents feared the U's new building would overwhelm the neighborhood.  They could have a point.  We'll have to wait and see how the new building integrates into this part of the city.

Friday, July 25, 2014


It's time for a break.  I'm taking a few days off.  Bill Wadell has the pleasure of manning the weekend morning desk.  Treat him well.

As for my week off, I'll still be here to offer a word or two.  Like most of my vacations, there are no plans, other than to catch up on some sleep and relax by doing absolutely nothing.  I'll probably do a bit of wandering, and some photography if the weather allows.

Really looking forward to that sleep.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Lowering the Bar

What happened to pizza around here?

I've been noticing an increasing number of pizzerias getting away from traditional and tasty mozzarella cheese and using a blend of off tasting junk.

I know most Old Forge style pizzas never had mozzarella and never will.  For the most part, the pizzas in question here are what I favor-- round, New York style, thin and crispy crust.

I don't think it's a matter of taste preference on the part of pizzerias.  It's cost.  Dairy products are expensive, and the best stuff costs even more.  Save a buck by throwing some awful mixture of the cheap stuff on the pie.

Note to pizzerias:  loyal customers will pay a little more for quality.

A pizza isn't the same without mozzarella, and I hope pizzerias that are cheaping out have the guts to tell you, on the menu, what type of cheese they use.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Must We?

Any time there's a "name the team" contest here in our area, "Miners" comes up.  And, as I always say, the mines closed a long time ago, leaving scarred earth and workers with coal dust filled lungs.  It's a throw back to the bad old days, and it reinforces every negative stereotype of our area-- that we're a bunch of coal crackers stuck in the 1940's.
Well, here we go again.  The mining mentality phenomenon is rearing its ugly head. The Moonshine Theater on Adams Avenue in Scranton is looking for a new name.  It's between The Anthracite and The Leonard.  You already know how I feel about the Anthracite.  The Leonard comes from the hardware store that used to occupy the first floor here. I made several trips here while I worked for the old channel 22.  Our operations manager loved the place.  Workers here were capable of duplicating any key you would ever want.  I frequently volunteered to take a walk over from the Lackawanna Avenue office to help out the ops manager.  It was a fun place to visit.
I'm not a member of Scranton's artsy crowd and I severely doubt I'll ever set foot inside to see a show.  I'm sure it will be great stuff, but it's not for me.  If Anthracite is chosen, the sun will still rise tomorrow.

If we're going to choose a name from the past, let's make sure it's the right one.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Unfinished Business

I hope you never lose a job.  Having been through it a few times, you become a lot more sensitive when you learn about what other people are going through.  When several Arby's around here closed, most people thought "Where am I going to get my curly fries?"  I saw the faces of people who showed up for work, and who were met with silence from their bosses, along with locked doors.  You might say that they are only fast food jobs, they don't pay well, and there are a lot of them out there.  Maybe so, but any job is a good job when you really need one.

Due to the 45th anniversary of the first moon landing, I've been thinking about the space program.  If you haven't seen it, go to YouTube and look at Will McAvoy's speech from the opening episode of HBO's "The Newsroom."  He goes off on how America is no longer the world's greatest country because times have changed.  Said McAvoy, "We built great big things, made ungodly technological advances, explored the universe...."  The Saturn V rocket was a big thing.  Going to the moon was a big thing.  Do we do anything big these days?  We tried to free Iraq and Afghanistan.  I guess that was big.  Health care?  You can debate that one for months.  iPhone6?  Shampoo and conditioner in the same bottle?  AM Crunch Wrap?  We stopped going to the moon in 1972. The space shuttle was neat, and the same goes for the International Space Station.  It's fascinating that probes launched years ago still work from the outer fringes of the solar system.  Is it big?  Are we expanding our reach?  The jury is out.

I've expressed my affection for David Letterman's "Late Show" in this space in the past.  I hope you saw Monday night's show.  It started with a funny talk with Jeff Daniels.  It was followed by a sometimes serious, sometimes humorous chat with Norah O'Donnell of "CBS This Morning."  The show ended with Will Lee and a stage full of musicians performing "MacArthur Park."  It was a full orchestra, and it must have cost a fortune.  One of Letterman's best shows ever.

I produce WNEP's weekend morning newscasts, and I do try to be family sensitive by keeping dead animals and bodies at an absolute minimum.  We have a war in the Middle East and a jet crash in Ukraine.  Some of the images have been disturbing at any hour, especially the morning.  Keep in mind, we don't want to sanitize the horror, but we do want to make sure people, especially kids, aren't terrified by what they see on television.

Death by train:  a man took his own life by going under a train in Danville Saturday.  Police tell us it was the same man who wanted to jump off a bridge, into Interstate 81 traffic a couple of weeks ago.  I know it's a free country, and involuntary commitments can only go so far.  You cannot help those who don't want to be helped.  It doesn't lessen the tragedy.

Monday, July 21, 2014

11 + 45

So many of the "Where were you when..." events are tragedies.  Today, we celebrate a good one.

Neil Armstrong walked on the moon 45 years ago today.  I remember exactly where I was-- on the foot of my parents' bed, watching Walter Cronkite on a GE black and white portable television.  It had a blue plastic case.  I can still see it.

Consider the feat-- from Orville and Wilbur in 1903 to walking on the moon in less than 70 years. Wow!

It was a great time, a fascinating time to be a kid, a news good, a TV geek and a science aficionado.   Every second of the Apollo 11 mission was dissected during endless television coverage.  I was a member of a Cronkite family.  You can see what all three networks did back then, courtesy of YouTube.  Looking back, it was striking to see how big a cheerleader Cronkite was.  Maybe it was too much.  The other networks were solid, albeit a bit dry.

Even as a kid, I knew this was about more than science.  There were fresh woulds from Vietnam, the Kennedy assassinations, civil rights, MLK, etc.  We needed a "win."  America needed something good. NASA and three astronauts provided it.  The country was united again for one week in the summer of 1969.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Andy's Angles: City Hall

I've had a lot of Scranton assignments yesterday, so that explains the recent flurry of Scranton photos here recently.

I snapped this one of City Hall a few weeks ago.  It was built in 1888, and there have been a lot of renovations here over the years.  It's still in need of some tender, loving care.

In spite of the decisions or indecision made inside, it is still one of our area's most beautiful buildings.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Andy's Angles: The Samters Mystery

What happened here?

The Samters building, at Penn and Lackawanna in downtown Scranton was part of the mall development package.  At one time, it was filled with state offices.  Most, if not all, quietly left for other downtown buildings.

Yes, in spite of the 90's renovations, this is still a very old building.  It's filled with potential, but you know the story.  It needs work.  Money is scarce, and I'll probably be here one day soon to watch it get bulldozed.