Only A Game

Saturdays, 7am - 8am
  • Hosted by Bill Littlefield

Listeners can enjoy this weekly tour of the world of sports in the context of its cultural significance, while keeping the games we play in proper perspective. Commentator-author Bill Littlefield hosts this sound-rich, one-hour magazine, exploring sports at all levels.

Only A Game's 20th Anniversary

Jul 26, 2013
http://onlyagame.wbur.org/

Usually, mention of "secret sauce" in regards to sports is met with derision and disappointment. Not so with Only A Game. The "secret sauce" of public radio's nationally syndicated sports show is a special blend of the love of sports, both watching and playing, and a history of excellent journalism. How long a history? Oh, twenty years this broadcast.

Bob Greenberg died this week at the age of 67. He was a sportscaster who happened to be blind. When I've told people he's one of the most extraordinary people I've ever worked with, there's usually polite incomprehension: A blind sportscaster?

Bob worked for WBEZ in Chicago, and he could be cranky, blustery and loud. But it was a marvel to watch him work.

The bucking bull has long been the embodiment of the American rodeo, and it takes just four seconds for a strong young bull to reap its owner as much as $50,000 in prize money.

Four seconds is how long each 1- or 2-year-old bull will wear a weight strapped to its back as the massive animal is judged on how high it kicks and how much it twists.

In the past 10 years, bucking bulls have become a major industry. The price of the best bloodlines can soar to $250,000, and competitions take place everywhere from Madison Square Garden to Wyoming.

Some of us are old enough to remember when electric football first became one of the coolest toys.

Versions had been around since just after World War II. But when the NFL attached its name to the vibrating game in 1967, it quickly became one of those must-haves for many young boys.

Not that most of us could really get the plastic players to do what we wanted.

Jim Bouton is a former All-Star pitcher for the New York Yankees. His classic baseball memoir Ball Four, which was first published in 1970, is just out as an e-book.

Bouton famously wrote about shenanigans in baseball, which have arguably gotten worse since then. But compared to other sports around the world, baseball players are hardly immoral at all. We're going to ask him three questions about people who really know how to cheat.

Berlin's streets came to a halt as Berliners squeezed themselves into neighborhood bars to watch the European Soccer Championship.

But at Lausitzerplatz in Kreuzberg, Emmanus Church was the main attraction as visitors and international guests filled the pews to watch the June 22nd match between Germany and Greece on a big screen TV. The game was accompanied by organ music by Stephan von Bothmer.

Von Bothmer is Germany's leading silent film composer. He is known for his sold out silent film performances at iconic venues like the Berliner Dom and Babylon Theater.

"My grandfather stuck it in the attic a hundred years ago and here it is now, a blessing to his grandchildren."

A blessing for sure.

As the Toledo Blade reports, when Karl Kissner and his cousins were clearing out his grandfather's home in Defiance, Ohio, on Feb. 29 they came across a box of very rare and very valuable baseball cards.

Sports is more ubiquitous than ever on television. And sports is almost the only thing that's left, live, on TV. NBC Universal is even going to let Americans see the Olympics live this year.

Nevertheless, despite TV's charm, last week as Andy Murray, Great Britain's homeboy, drew closer to making the Wimbledon final, the word was that tickets for actual Centre Court seats would be scalped for up to £32,000 a pair. If you're not hanging around the currency exchange market, that comes to something like $50,000. For two tickets. To a game.

R.A. Dickey's career as a major league pitcher has been as unpredictable as his signature pitch, the knuckleball.

And on Tuesday night, the New York Mets' 37-year-old phenomenon will hit a new pinnacle: the pitching mound at baseball's All-Star Game.

He won't be starting for the National League — manager Tony La Russa chose Matt Cain of the San Francisco Giants for that honor. But the manager says says Dickey will pitch.