The SportsTalk Shop: 2017 Year-in-Review

First of all, props to Morning Call sports writer Steven Gross—not only did he recently get married and treat his new bride to an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour at Yankee Stadium (yes, she’s a die-hard pinstripe fan!), he captured the “Best of RCN-TV” award by receiving the most votes for our “SportsTalk” program during a contest held recently on our website.

To see Steve’s “winning” appearance from this past year, tune in to RCN-TV on January 1st for the entire lineup of the top moments from our broadcasting schedule from this past calendar year!

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Speaking of holiday programming…

Morning Call Senior Sports Writer Keith Groller and I conducted our annual “Year-in-Review” show live last Thursday at 7pm on RCN-TV.

We’ve gotten quite a bit of feedback following the initial airing of the show and invite you to check out the show when it repeats again as part of the holiday’s special programming schedule coming up this week (check out the entire RCN-TV broadcast schedule over the next week here on the website).

Just to give you a little sample of what we talked about, here are a few “brief” responses to most of the topics we discussed on this program. Keep in mind, there was quite a bit of “cross-talk” and debate about a few of these issues, along with some interesting opinions and some “fun and games” we also had on the show, which we hope you will check out for yourself.

“Year-in-Review Topics for 2017”

    1. Best collection of sophomores?

Keith:  How about Carson Wentz, Doug Pedersen and the entire Eagles coaching staff? After some first-year mistakes, this crew has definitely avoided any notion of a sophomore jinx.

Me:  Nazareth Football, a team I got to see five out of six weeks in a row this year—and boy did they never disappoint! Anthony Harris (one of several great 10-th grade QBs in the area), Nate Stefanik (who made the catch of the year at BASD setting up a big win), Kyle Paccio (an underrated running back in a pass-happy offense), Jake Wilson (probably the most underrated two-way lineman among any under classmen) and more.  Definitely a team to watch for next year.

    2. 2017’s Sign the Sports Apocalypse was at hand?

Keith:  The Yankees firing Joe Girardi, who took the team within a win of the World Series and hiring Aaron Boone, who has no previous managerial experience

Me:  A parent attending a high school sports practice while watching a program (I “think” it was “The Walking Dead”) with the volume up while the coach was trying to teach his players

    3. Biggest sports embarrassment?

Keith:  The US team failing to qualify for the World Cup

Me:  Chip Kelly’s hiring at UCLA…not necessarily the move itself but one of the comments from their President saying that Kelly would restore “respect” to the program (he’s replacing, Jim Mora, who was a classy guy, while Kelly was on probation while at Oregon, had some major PR issues and a checkered past with Philadelphia and San Francisco and wasn’t really “respected” as an analyst this past fall)

    4. Worst story of 2017?

Keith:  The tragic way Roy Halladay died.

Me:  Continued issues of inappropriate hazing and multiple stories of disrespect between schools, including a few incidents when one football team ran out onto the field showing up another team—and one time an administrator got involved in the back-and-forth of school on Twitter

    5. Favorite Lehigh Valley story?

Keith:  The two nights the PPL Center rocked with high school or college sports fans – the District 11 6A semifinals packing the place for basketball and the Lehigh-Penn State match bringing all the wrestling fans out.

Me:  All the LV state champions we had this past year on our “SportsTalk” show …the fact we had zero this fall shows how rare and how special it was to have so many during the ‘17 school year

    6. Biggest “National” Question Mark of 2017?

Keith:  With the national anthem controversy taking hold and the continuing concerns about concussions and other major injuries, is the sport of football headed for a big dip in popularity – both from fans and participants

Me:  Phillies new manager and the “new direction of baseball”…trend is towards analytics and I love stats, but we’re losing the personality of baseball and some of the traditions of the sport (first time since 1970 the Phillies don’t have a former player on their coaching staff)

    7. Most underrated sports program?

Keith:  Southern Lehigh

Me:  Northwestern Soccer is one of the single sports programs that gets overlooked the most. If you look district-wide and across all sports… Bangor comes in second

    8. Most overrated team/personality?

Keith:  LaVar Ball. A poster boy for everything that’s wrong with sports parenting.

Me:  Roger Goodell…new deal/extension for over $25-million … acts like a czar one minute for things like over-inflating footballs by an ounce, then hides on other issues, including the awful brutality of NFL players against women

    9. Most underrated head coach?

Keith:  Freedom football coach Jason Roeder

Me:  Joe Stellato/Joe Arndt/Eric Snider – all three have issues they had to overcome this past year, yet all are overly welcoming when I come to their practices and games, year after year

    10. Best national sports story?

Keith:  The Houston Astros, just a couple of months after the city was ravaged by a hurricane, getting its first World Series title.

Me:  My answer to this was pretty descriptive and you really need to check out the show to hear my response to this in its entirety.

    11. Nicest Sports Group of 2017?

Keith:  Tie between three groups. Enjoyed our shows with the state champs from Moravian Academy field hockey, CCHS volleyball and Becahi girls basketball – all great kids as well as well as great athletes.

Me:  Pen Argyl girls soccer. A great turnaround story that made the district playoffs for the first time in a long time.  They were a very classy group and great to speak with when our cameras were up at their place to do a story on them—and it certainly was nice of them to promote us on their social media pages this year as well!

For more “year-in-review” comments, topics and opinions, make sure you watch the show on RCN-TV, on RCN On-Demand and our podcast, found here on the RCN-TV website!