Archive for the ‘sports’ Category

Howard Baldwin on “Face the State with Dennis House”
April 12, 2010

In case you missed it, here is former Hartford Whalers owner Howard Baldwin talking about bringing the NHL and the Whalers back to your capital city.

part 1 http://www.wfsb.com/video/23125085/index.html

part 2 http://www.wfsb.com/video/23125231/index.html

Also, as we mentioned on Face the State,  Whalers gear is a hot seller these days.  I noticed this store in Newport , RI (aka Hartford by the sea) selling Whalers merchandise.  The folks there told me they cannot keep with the demand.   Newport is a big destination for people from the Hartford area and in fact all of Connecticut, so it is no surprise.

Super Bowl Sunday
January 31, 2007

Super Bowl Sunday is upon us. The big game is the big enchilada of television: it is the most-watched event of the year.

This year, we have the Indianapolis Colts and the Chicago Bears, and I’m rooting for the Bears. You see, my first reporting job was in Rockford, Ill., some 70 or so miles west of Chicago — Bears country.

There were some cheeseheads drifting in from nearby Beloit, Wis., but the Bears fans ruled. My station, WREX, had a Bears show on Sunday complete with a fake bear head in the studio. I used to collect Bears glasses that came free with a fill-up at the gas station and they were my glassware until Kara and I got married and we tossed ‘em out!

I moved to Illinois in the winter of 1988-89, and the Bears team that won the Super Bowl in 1986 was on the decline. Walter Payton had retired, and they still had Richard Dent, the Refrigerator Perry and Mike Singletary, but the days of the Super Bowl Shuffle starring Yale grad Gary Fencik were fading fast. What amazed me though, was the loyalty of the fans, who had an unconditional love for their Monsters of the Midway.

Maybe it is their long history. The Bears are one of the oldest teams around. Maybe it is because they were immortalized in the movie “Brian’s Song” and satirized on “Saturday Night Live.” Who knows. All I know is that there is something about the Chicago Bears.

On a cold October night in 1989, I was asked to cover the Bears-Eagles game that was to be on Monday Night Football. It was an awesome assignment. There I was, walking around on historic Soldier Field, while a brisk wind from Lake Michigan made it feel like January. Actor Jim Belushi was on the sidelines with us, along with a few Prairie State dignitaries.

The Bears won and we quickly rushed into the locker room to talk to players, and the man feared by reporters across the NFL: Mike Ditka. Iron Mike had a reputation of cutting down reporters with surgical precision. As a cub reporter, I was understandably afraid to ask him a question, but knew I had to.

I asked him something about his arch rival Buddy Ryan, then head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. My voice rose a few octaves as I tried to appear confident. Surprisingly, Coach Ditka answered the question politely. Whew.

Anyway … you gotta love “Da Bears!”

P.S. My apologies to Eyewitness News editor Tom Zukowski, who bleeds Colt blue. He has five different Indianapolis Colts jerseys that he has been wearing to WFSB since the AFC championship.

It is hard to root for the Carolina Hurricanes of the NFL. Remember, the last time the Colts were in the Super Bowl? They were the Baltimore Colts. Can you imagine the Louisville Bears?

(p.s. – It’s hard to root for the Colts, whom I consider the Carolina)

Don’t miss our special interactive guide to the Super Bowl, replete with game coverage and the anticipated TV commercials. JUST CLICK HERE

What’s In a Name?
November 24, 2006

What a year we’ve had for Friday Night Football!

FNF is one of the highlights of Eyewitness News, and I look forward to it every fall.

It’s fascinating to follow the different teams from all over Connecticut, and we love to talk about the mascots.

And, there are some great ones, including the Wreckers of Staples High School is one of my favorites, along with the Whippets of Windham. They are originals, as are the New London Whalers — appropriate for the Whaling City — and the Wilbur Cross (New Haven) Governors.

Wilbur Cross was governor of Connecticut from 1931 to 1939. One of the best: The Danbury Hatters, a perfect choice for the Hat City.

Another great name is the East Hampton Bellringers, although they do not have a football team. Bells were made there for years.

Two team names represent geography: The New Milford Green Wave, an homage to the Litchfield Hills surrounding this bucolic town. Ditto for Darien: The Blue Wave is a salute to Long Island Sound, where this town sits.

Some schools have nicknames that you won’t hear anywhere else in our state, includes, among others:

  • The Bloomfield Warhawks
  • Fairfield Prep Jesuits
  • Hartford Public Owls
  • Hyde-New Haven Howling Wolves
  • New Britain Golden Hurricanes
  • Shelton Gaels

Would the real Indians please stand up?

Many other names are far less original. There are no fewer than eight schools that call themselves the Indians, and some towns are actually right next to each other!

Farmington and Newington share a border and have identical nicknames, and right next door in West Hartford, Northwest Catholic is also the Indians.

A few miles away, these Indians can play the Manchester Indians, and Indians also play in North Haven, Guilford, Montville, and Watertown.

Other towns have nicknames that honor Native Americans like the RHAM (Hebron) Sachems, the Coventry Chieftains, and the Wilton Warriors.

There is also a flock of football Falcons, including:

  • Avon
  • Fermi of Enfield
  • Fitch of Groton
  • Ludlowe of Fairfield
  • Barlow of Redding
  • St. Paul of Bristol
  • Xavier of Middletown

Another interesting thing about some schools is that they are named for people rather than the town, even when they are the only school in town. Other examples include Staples of Westport, Daniel Hand of Madison, Morgan of Clinton. I’ve lived in several different states and I find this phenomenon unique to Connecticut.

Have a great Thanksgiving watching football, or maybe even playing football, and I’d like to know what you think. Click on the “Comments” link as follows.

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