With the NCAA Women’s Championship game tonight, it’s only fitting that this week’s episode of Game Time features Marah Strickland. The former McDonald’s All American just closed the book on a fascinating collegiate basketball career. Starting at the University of Maryland and ending at Fordham University, Strickland was a major reason for the Rams historic turnaround this season. The Maryland native finished the year as Fordham’s leading scorer with 14.8 ppg and was named to the All Atlantic 10 2nd Team. Marah and I sat down to talk about her time in the Bronx, her battle with hyperthyroidism and her relationship with NBA star Kevin Durant back in high school.
Excited to announce the launch of a weekly podcast here on Sixsmith’s Sports World called Game Time. The show will feature interviews with sports media personalities, sports business professionals, players and coaches. Game Time will provide a look at the state of sports and will also showcase how the nation’s most successful have risen to their current positions.
This week’s show features Yahoo Sports columnist Les Carpenter. Carpenter has worked at Yahoo for the last three years and writes about college basketball, the MLB and the NFL. Les and I discussed his career as a sports writer, the dying newspaper industry and the impact of social media.
On October 25th 1986, Mookie Wilson and Bill Buckner had their lives changed forever. While the Red Sox first baseman would like to forget that night ever happened, Wilson on the other hand wishes he could go back in time. 26 years later the Mets center fielder remains a member of the squad but in a much different role. After getting fired as first base coach in 2011, Mookie now works on the corporate side of the organization serving as one of the team’s leaders in community outreach. Wilson’s responsibilities include spending time with the fans and visiting all of the Mets minor league affiliates. I caught up with the Mets legend while he was spending the week in the Big Apple with the Brooklyn Cyclones. We chatted about memories of the past, the future of the Mets franchise and Mookie’s managerial dreams.
It has been almost three years since Martina Hingis last played a professional tennis match and yet at the age of 31, she still remains a dominant presence in the world of tennis. The ultra competitive Hingis spends her summer days playing on the World Tennis Tour for the New York Sportimes. The 5x Grand Slam winner plays both singles and doubles for the squad and even had the chance to be paired with tennis legend John Mcenroe in mixed doubles. I caught up with Hingis following a match in late July against the Philadelphia Freedoms.
While my dream is to one day call games all over the country, it is hard to say that I wouldn’t want to work in Bristol after spending the day at the ESPN studios yesterday. Thanks to the kindness of ESPN soccer analyst Tommy Smyth, I took the hour drive from Westport to Bristol with my WFUV colleague Jake Kring-Schreifels.
One of the main reasons why Jake and I visited ESPN is that we are starting a brand new show called When the Microphone is Off. The 30 minute podcast will feature interviews with the leading voices of the sports industry and feature an in-depth look into the lives of the people you listen to each week.
Smyth is just one of the many people who will be on the show. Today marks Tommy’s 20th anniversary at the World Wide Leader in Sports and ESPN’s platform has allowed him to become the face of soccer analysis across the globe. Smyth’s newly created soccer debate show Press Pass is seen around the world six nights a week. He is also a major fan of WFUV which is a nice added bonus. My conversation with the pride of Ireland will be available next week.
There were a few things that I learned at ESPN yesterday. For starters, Michelle Beadle is hilarious. The 36-year-old has really come into her own ever since leaving the YES Network for Bristol. Beadle’s outgoing personality and great chemistry with co-host Colin Cowherd make Sports Nation a must watch each afternoon. From a five-minute conversation with Beadle, it became immediately apparent that Michelle loves her work and that her coworkers throughly enjoy her company.
I also found it interesting that like a high school cafeteria, the ESPN Cafe has its cliques. The on-air personalities of each show sit with each other. For example, while I was eating my lunch, NFL Live host Trey Wingo sat with the jocks Mark Schlereth and Tedy Bruschi at the table to my left discussing the thing they know best in football. Then across the way sat the latest edition to the popular table Mr. Michael Smith and Charissa Thompson, the hosts of ESPN’s newest show Numbers Never Lie.
The show that features 30 minutes of sports statistical analysis made its debut this past September and can be found on ESPN2 each afternoon at 3:30. This is a show I will definitely be watching more of in 2012 as Smith’s strong journalism background gels perfectly with Thompson’s easy to like personality. Not sure if numbers never lie but I am sure that ESPN has a winner in this show.
Finally I have to give a shout out to my man Tommy Smyth. Despite battling a cold, Tommy spent three hours of his busy day with me and for that I am truly grateful. Smyth proves that there are some people at the top of their game in the media world who are egoless. Plus, spending the day with this guy made me want to like soccer (not sure if I can say I really do).
Five months ago at the beginning of the NFL season, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas was known as the guy the Denver Broncos chose over star wide out Dez Bryant. In fact, former head coach Josh McDaniels was so high on Thomas’ talent that he selected the Georgia Tech receiver three picks before a quarterback from Florida named Tim Tebow in the 2010 NFL Draft.
After tearing his ACL during an offseason work out in February, many wondered if Thomas would play a single down this year. Today Thomas is Tim Tebow’s favorite receiver and the man who vaulted Denver into the next round with a game winning 80 yard TD reception in overtime against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Thomas’ 204 receiving yards were just 36 yards shy of the post season record for most receiving yards in a game held by Eric Moulds. The former Buffalo Bills WR grabbed nine balls in his record-setting game while Thomas had just four receptions against last night. 51 yards per reception, not too bad for the Georgia Tech product’s first career post season game.
Thomas certainly has first round talent, but credit for the receiver’s success has to be given to Tim Tebow. Think about this, during the 10 games that Thomas played in with Kyle Orton as the starter last year, he caught just two touchdowns. This year with Tebow at helm, the former first rounder has five touchdown catches including last night’s game winner.
In fact, in Tebow’s first game as a starter vs. Miami, DT as he is affectionately called by his quarterback, caught three passes and scored a touchdown. The significance here is that this was Thomas’ first game since tearing his ACL. It had been nine months since Demaryius suited up for an NFL game and yet playing with Tebow made it seem like he hadn’t missed a beat.
But it wasn’t until Minnesota in early December that Thomas had his coming out party. After failing to get over 100 yards during his rookie season, DT eclipsed the century mark for the first time in his career against the Vikings. The man who was thought to be a bust had 144 yards receiving and two TD’s in that ball game. Denver’s 35-32 victory in the Metrodome Week 12 proved that Thomas was a legitimate receiver and that Tim Tebow truly had the ability to throw the football effectively.
For those who weren’t convinced about Thomas after his breakout performance, the Georgia native showed off his clutch gene in a wild matchup the following week against the Chicago Bears. Thomas’ fourth quarter TD reception with just over a minute to go, helped the Broncos force overtime. In that extra session, DT made several key receptions that set up a Matt (aka Darth Vader) Prater game winning field goal.
Thomas’ strong play made the city of Denver and Tim Tebow completely forget about Eric Decker. Decker has scored just one touchdown since his game winning catch against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 9 and is likely out for Saturday’s matchup against the Patriots after injuring his knee last night. That means more passes for Thomas.
Demaryius Thomas is just one of the many reasons why time and time again many like ESPN’s Skip Bayless have criticized the play of Eric Decker. Is it a coincidence that the very next play after Decker’s injury Tebow hooked up with Thomas for a 51 yard pass? Call it whatever you want, but the fact of the matter is that Tebow and Thomas have a much better rapport than Tebow and Decker ever did.
While Decker will certainly be missed for his ability to block down the field, Thomas provides everything and more that Decker did on the outside.It is true that Decker has twice as many touchdowns as Thomas this year, but with Tebow as quarterback Thomas has five TD receptions while Decker has just four.
It only makes sense that Thomas, who was born on Christmas morning, has had his NFL career christened by the Messiah of the Mile High Tim Tebow.
Happy New Year and welcome back to Sixsmith’s Sports World. It has been a while since my last post but my number one New Year’s Resolution is to rededicate myself to the blog. The new look and new URL are just a few of the changes coming to the website in 2012. DJSixsmith.com will now serve as the home for all of my print and broadcasting work as well as a brand new podcast.
After interviewing broadcasters in the past, I have decided to branch out. Coming soon is the Sports Media Now podcast which will feature the stories of various members of the sports industry. I plan on talking to broadcasters, business executives, agents, athletes and many more. If you have any suggestions please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To give you a preview of what is to come, here are the links to some interviews I have done in the past
ESPN’s Bob Ley: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c66SMsMS9FI
New York Knicks Guard Landry Fields: http://snd.sc/yaFMaS
Fox Sports’ Kenny Albert: http://snd.sc/l827qN
MSG’s Alan Hahn: http://snd.sc/jyUXZY