Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ruminating on Bills uniforms, Boeheim's fantasy camp and Detective Columbo

I'm old school when it comes to the Buffalo Bills uniforms. I've long advocated a return to the 1960s uni's with the royal blue jerseys and the classic red, grazing buffalo on the white helmet.

But I must admit, at first glance, I like the new Bills threads, even with the return of the charging buffalo. There is a retro feel, especially with the return to the white helmets, and the color scheme of the jerseys and pants.

They're a marked improvement over the uniform changes Tom Donahoe instituted back in 2002. Maybe the Bills can hold a ceremony where they burn a jersey from that era. It would be a symbolic gesture to divorce themselves from the worst stretch in franchise history.


Kudos to CEO Russ Brandon and the Bills front office for having members of the military model the uniforms last night at the Ralph. Classy move.


The announcement that the Jets will not be staging their training camp at Cortland State this summer doesn't bode well for the Bills coming back to St. John Fisher late next month. The lockout is forcing NFL teams to stage their camps at home, and I fear that the Bills will be making a similar announcement if a new labor agreement isn't ironed out by the Fourth of July.


Jim Boeheim has come up with another creative way to raise money for his charitable foundation. This August, he's staging a three-day fantasy camp for adults 35-and-older in which participants will get to play with and be coached by SU basketball legends, including Pearl Washington, Roosevelt Bouie, Billy Owens and John Wallace. The price is steep ($5,500 per camper), but it sounds like a cool experience for those who really, really bleed orange. Thirty of the 35 openings have been filled. For more information, you can check out Boeheim's website.

Now, to make the camp even more realistic, I think Coach Jim should have a sportswriter on hand to grill the campers after practices and games. For the right price, I would be happy to play the role.


Looking forward to seeing the inaugural class of the Section V Baseball Hall of Fame honored before tomorrow's Red Wings game at Frontier Field. It's a very impressive group of inductees, featuring a number of Rochester-area ballplayers who went on to enjoy big-league success.

Among them are George "Twinkle Toes" Selkirk, who had the uneviable task of playing right field for the Yankees immediately after they got rid of a guy by the name of Babe Ruth. Selkirk wound up having a nice major-league career, but the bleacher creatures in the Bronx were brutal toward him.

Another one of tomorrow's honorees will be Johnny Antonelli, the former Jefferson High ace pitcher who won 125 games in the majors and was a five-time All-Star and a World Series champion. He's also one of the nicest and most humble men you'll ever meet.

Johnny and I have sat down for several interview sessions. We're collaborating on his autobiography, which will be published by RIT Press next spring. He has some fabulous stories of playing for the New York Giants in the 1950s, when the Big Apple featured three big-league clubs and was the capital of baseball.


It's a marvelous day for western New York hockey fans, now that the Buffalo Sabres and Rochester Americans have reconciled after a three-year separation. I think it's great that Sabres owner Terry Pegula purchased the Amerks, but let's also give credit to the man he bought the team from - Curt Styres. Styres inherited a minor-league hockey franchise heavily in debt, and lost millions of dollars attempting to revive it. Without his efforts, the team very well might have left town.


Ah, just one more thing. I was saddenned to hear of Peter Falk's death yesterday. His portrayal of Lt. Columbo, the dis-jointed, cigar-chomping detective in the rumpled trench coat was one of my all-time favorite television characters.

Falk earned his master's degree from Syracuse University in 1953 and applied to work for the CIA, but was rejected. The CIA's loss was our gain, as Falk embarked on a successful acting career that saw him earn two Oscar nominations before his immensely popular 1970s tv series.

Falk lost his eye to cancer at age 3 and early in his acting career a producer told him he would never make it because of his glass eye. Fortunately, Falk didn't listen to that negative nabob.

Falk reveled in telling the story of disputing an umpire's call during a Little League Baseball game as an 11-year-old. At one point, Falk became so infuriated that he actually removed his glass eye and said to the arbiter, "Here, maybe you can use this."

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