WDEL Blog: WDEL Sports

Blue Hens kick off season of interest

Tonight I will walk up the steps of Delaware Stadium to one of the worst press boxes in FCS football to start my 25th season of UD football coverage. In that time, many things have been improved at the stadium, including the field (Field Turf instead of grass), video scoreboard, and a cleaned up seating area. But one thing that has not changed is the ancient press box...no heat, no air conditioning, very little room to operate, tiny windows at the top that open just a little bit inward (it's usually at least 15 degrees warmer in the press box than outside at this time of year) and a pathetic "rest room" (commode and sink...no hot water...barely enough room to turn around).

But the fans that come to watch tonight's game against Jacksonville don't care whether the media have decent working codnitions (even adequate would be an improvement). They want a winner and new head coach Dave Brock will set out to accomplish that.

Delaware fans expect a winner. Coach K.C. Keeler won a national title and went to three championship games...but was fired after a 5-6 season and a slow decline in results (and team GPA). Still, Keeler's overall record would be the envy of most schools...and his departure only emphasized what the school is used to...not 7 win seasons but 9 and 10 win seasons.

The fan base seems to be at least intrigued by Brock's up-tempo offense...they'll get to see it tonight. Keeler was criticized for a boring offense and declining attendance was a result of that.

Anyway, the wraps come off the Brock model of UD football tonight...let's see what you've got.

Posted at 11:00am on August 29, 2013 by Big Don Voltz

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Comments on this post:

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Aug 29, 2013 1:11pm
When you're the only real football in town [Wilmington metro] you can do as you please. Both WDEL and WDSD bid to cover the games [the actual games aren't on WDEL any longer] so they've already gotten all the money they're going to get from you guys, so they don't have any incentive to invest in better facilities for the media. Doesn't make it right, but it is what it is.

So I assume from your comments that there are better media facilities and restrooms at Wesley where WDEL does air the actual games?

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 1:53pm
A "boring" offense may be part of the reason for dwindling attendance, but the school giving the shaft to long-time season ticket-holders who didn't opt to make additional "donations" to the program and school... that's probably a bigger reason.

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Aug 29, 2013 3:24pm
Shawn well said. I believe you hit the nail on the head.

The U of D has become more of an out-of-state favored school than for in-stater students - yes, the university makes more money, but it is a state-supported university that should favor Delawareans over out-of-staters. The U of D has an arrogant attitude even though we, as taxpayers, "contribute" to the U of D through state underwriting. Frankly, I believe the state should take any money it gives to the U of D, and split it up between Del State and Del Tech.

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 4:42pm
Oh, boo hoo! How thoughtless of the university to neglect the comfort of the media. Of course, real spectators are out, exposed to the elements, but who cares about them?

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 6:11pm
smh... First World problems

Big Don
Fri, Aug 30, 2013 8:39am
billsmith...It's called decent working conditions. It's my guess that most people, including you, would like a workplace where they at least clean the chairs you're going to sit in before the season starts (bird poop galore), the normal temp. for where you work isn't 90 degrees in September, and you don't need oxygen just to get there. Amazingly most schools have good press boxes. They, like Delaware, want coverage of their teams. They, unlike Delaware, don't insult those who cover them by giving them dirty and unacceptable working conditions.
Any idea how many computers were in use when the press box was built in the 1950's? That's right...none. That press box has never been updated so the electrical systems in there can't handle anything more than basic electrical needs. When we were doing the games in the late 80's and 90's, we were told we couldn't use a space-heater because it would blow the electric in the entire press box.
And one final thing...the whole press box is dangerous...it has one exit with, at times, as many as 75 people in there... a fire could be disastrous.
In 2003 when U.D. won the national title, ESPN announcers commented on how crappy the press box was...we thought that would embarrass the administration to take some action...nah. They weathered that because it's a lot cheaper to ignore it...and who cares about the media anyhow...don't we all love to hate them?

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 8:57am
Big Don - You should take your concerns to the people - you know, the ones who work on garbage trucks EVERYDAY (not 5 times a year) and have 90 degrees, 5 degrees, rain, snow, sleet, etc. Maybe the guys on industrial roofing jobs where the temps reach 130 degrees. I'm sure they will find favor with your complaints. You have to clean your own chairs? Poor thing. Im sure those working in Perdue's factory will feel bad for you. smh...don'f forget to point out all the free food and other stuff you guys get JUST TO SHOW up. Oldest line in the PR field "how do you get the press to show up? Give them free food."

Big Don
Fri, Aug 30, 2013 9:24am
Arthur...I appreciate those who have to work outdoors to make a living...that's not what I and many others chose to do. When I cover a football game, it becomes very difficult when it's 90 degrees inside the press box with no air movement. I do not deny that we get food in the press box...if you think it's gourmet, guess again. And if you think we cover the games for the free food, you're nuts.

As far as the chairs are concerned, they belong to the University of Delaware. It is their responsibility to clean the bird mess, and they have never done that in the 25 years they have used those same chairs (they simply wait for it to dry).
No one who works in the press box think it needs to be the Taj Mahal. Functional yes....clean yes...windows that you can open for some air yes. Amazingly other schools, with far less money and commitment to football, have managed to do that. Sadly, Delaware has not.
And just for the record, I covered the game last night, I made it up the steps with my creaky old knees, enjoyed the time there (and yes, partook of the exciting sandwich and water they had) and found Dave Brock's offense to be interesting...and hopefully hard to defend by the better teams they'll face.
And one final word...thank you sanitation workers and roofers...and anyone else who happens to work outside. You have my admiration...but Arthur, you're comparing apples to oranges.

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 9:26am
"...That's not what I and many others chose to do" You can also choose to quit your job 'cause the conditions are so horrible. I'm sure you can file a complaint with OSHA...free games, free food, stress-free work environment, etc. It is apples to apples. It's complaining about work environments that everyone deals with. Some are better and more comforting than others, nonetheless, sports reporters are a pretty soft bunch. Then again, bitter old white men can find anything to complain about and find it to be legitimate.

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 9:36am
Don: Most people don't consider going to a football game "work." For most people, it's something they do to get away from work. And they pay to be at the game and their seats aren't as good as yours (and the setting not as comfortable).

Since your station is not broadcasting the game (as pointed out), do you really need to be there? If it's such an unpleasant experience and you can see the game on cable or PPV.

Big Don
Fri, Aug 30, 2013 10:47am
First of all, let me say I was not trying to drum up sympathy for my "plight". Let me also say the press box at Delaware Stadium is the subject of ridicule by virtually every visiting team, group of writers, and broadcast crew that comes there... and is the subject of a great deal of exasperation by many of the Delaware people that have to use it all the time. It is not just me.

That being said, the place still is probably unsafe and needs to be replaced in spite of me being a "soft" sports reporter. But I know that Arthur and Bill hold the majority, uninformed opinion of everyone who thinks we should never voice our opinions because we have such a cushy, stress-free, great job covering games. I will keep doing my easy, stress-free job, someday hoping before I retire that Delaware will finally build a press box that is worthy of the football program...and the many quality people who have worked there over the years.

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Aug 30, 2013 11:50am
Big Don, I totally understand your point.

As a former WILM employee [part-time] back when the station was still at 12th and French Streets, in that old miserable falling-apart building [an old row house] that had equipment so old and outdated [I'd used during the Viet Nam War while on Armed Forces Radio,] I can relate to how working in a poor facility with poor broken equipment can make doing the job more difficult. I remember visiting WDEL one time, and WOW, what a difference. You guys have modern state-of-the-art equipment in a modern building.

Of course, NOW WILM has a modern state-of-the-art facility, in a modern building in the suburbs too, but no employees [sort of ironic].

The U of D isn't exactly strapped for cash either, so you'd think the university would want to provide a reasonable and safe place for you folks to work.

There should be a second path of egress [exit] for you folks at the bare minimum, even if they do nothing else [75 folks jammed into that booth, not a good situation in an emergency]. It's hard to believe there are 75 reporters [both print/radio/TV] covering a U of D game. You all must literally be sitting "cheek to cheek".

So what sort of booth do you have at Wesley? I'm assuming it's a better situation than the one at U of D.

Good luck getting them to upgrade the press box. You may well be retired by the time that happens.

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 1:08pm
This is pathetic. MikeFromDelaware is trying to ingratiate himself again. Part time? Meaning whenever they got really desperate. Maybe once or twice a year. The most off of the off hours. And based on that, he claims to be an expert on the radio biz with intimate knowledge of the people who work in it. If it weren't for his presumption and arrogance, one could almost feel sorry for him.

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Aug 30, 2013 4:24pm
Billsmith: I worked a regular scheduled 8 hour shift every Saturday for 7 years, while at WILM; and similar hours on Saturdays and sometimes Sundays at WAMS, WNRK, and WNNN-FM. I have about 28 years of Weekend shifts under my belt at these various radio stations.

I've never claimed to an any sort of expert on the radio biz.

Man, what is YOUR problem? Are you just totally unable to have an intelligent dialog with someone, you don't see eye to eye with on every topic? Well, I guess its back to ignoring and not reading your posts.

At some point Bill, you'll alienate everyone here at WDEL's blog to the level you have with me and will get to dialog with yourself. Talk about pathetic. I'll not waste any more of WDEL's blog space dialoging with you, because that is an oxymoron [Dialoging with Billsmith]. Be at peace. I wish you well.

Sat, Aug 31, 2013 3:19pm
I was intrigued by the conditions of the press box. Has a video been taken and posted on the web with a story of how deplorable conditions really are? No hot water or sanitizer soap is a violation of state and county health codes. That has to be fixed by law.

Hasn't the University figured out who votes for the top teams each week? After experiencing those conditions, why would anyone return the courtesy and give Delaware a good ranking?

Sat, Aug 31, 2013 10:23pm
MikeFromDelaware: Who said I was interested in "dialoging." For years I've been bullied by you Dittoheads, Tea Drinkers and Bible Thumpers. You talk about not wanting to dialog. Nobody is more resistant to dialog than self-righteous people who think they have a monopoly on patriotism and god's truth. You people are destroying this country and are generally a pain in the butt to be around. So, I get some small measure of satisfaction from telling you off.

Actually, I'd think you of all people would be able to relate. I recall some posts of yours about politically correct, White-male bashing "sensitivity training" sessions you were forced to endure. Well, I have felt the same way having conservative political opinions and fundamentalist religious dogma shoved down my throat in the workplace. Well, I don't have to take it any more. I'm giving you all back some of your own medicine. See how you all like it.

Mike from Delaware
Sun, Sep 1, 2013 12:07am
Billsmith: you had to listen fundamentalist teaching (preaching) in the work place? Where did work, at a BaptistChurch? Most work places won't tolerate proselytizing in the workplace. Harassing folks about their skin color, race, religious faith, or lack of, and sexual orientation are against federal laws. What exactly are you telling us?

After all of our posts here, you still equate me with fundamentalists?? I've tried to listen to your points & offer thoughtful replies, sometimes agreeing with you. But we don't agree totally, & that's when you seem to go off the deep end. I respect your right to have your views & lack of beliefs, but you don't respect my right to have my views & beliefs.

Saying I'm a Dittohead is a real insult to me. Calling me a fundamentalist is also an insult, because I'm neither.

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 7:05am
MikeFromDelaware: OK, you are not a Dittohead. I understand from your posts that you want to consider yourself an independent. But you state positions consistent with the Tea Party and the religious right.
I am surprised at your rejection of the term "fundamentalist." I realize that "evangelical" has become the preferred term, but from your posts you do adhere to the fundamental doctrines of the fundamentalist/evangelical movement. The Missouri Synod is generally considered fundamentalist (although they don't apply the term to themselves).

What I experienced was not outright proselytizing, but I was surrounded by dogmatic individuals (including but not limited to bosses) who felt free to keep imposing their views on those around them. Yes, most agreed, which made the situation even worse for one who did not and had to keep biting his tongue.

Mike from Delaware
Sun, Sep 1, 2013 4:45pm
Billsmith: I've been to fundamentalist churches & the LCMS (at least the one's I've been to here in Delaware ) are nothing like them. LCMS pastors have Masters degrees as a minimum. I've known fundamentalist pastors who didn't have a college degree yet were ordained ministers. As I've told you a few times here that I believe what I believe to be true & don't march in lock step with any denomination totally. My pastor knows (from our discussions) that I don't necessarily believe that it has to be literally 7 (24. Hr days) in the Genesis creation account for example.

My view of scripture is along the same path of Galileo who said scripture is never wrong, only our understanding of it. So he had no problem that the Bible & Science didn't agree about the earth going around the sun instead of the scripture saying the sun goes around the earth. Galileo also said that the scriptures tell us how to get to heaven & Science tells us how the heavens were made. So as we learn more & more our understanding of the scriptures may change , but the scriptures themselves were not in error, just our understanding.

That's why I get offended when you lump all Christians in the same pile. We all worship the same Risen Jesus Christ, but we all aren't cut from the same cookie cutter.

You've seen it here, Mrpizza, Kavips , EarlGrey, Allan, & myself all call ourselves Christians, we each are different, not just as people, but in our individual understanding of the Bible. We all agree on the main bedrock beliefs of Christianity, but beyond that we go in numerous directions.

I state some things that the Tea/conservatives agree with & other things where they call me a bleeding heart liberal (my support for Single Payor healthcare & Obamacare, wanting the upper 2% to be taxes more are just a couple examples of more liberal positions I've taken. Problem for a Moderate is conservatives consider you to be a liberal if you don't agree with them 100% of the time & liberals consider you to be conservative if you don't agree with them 100% of the time.

Just with my faith, I don't march in lock step with any one group. As my knowledge on a topic grows may affect my views on a political issue , continuing the Galileo approach.

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 8:12pm
MikeFromDelaware: You seem to forget that Galileo was a late 16th - early 17th century Catholic. He did not have the same relationship with the Bible you have. You were raised Catholic, so you should know what the teaching authority of the church would have meant to a renaissance Northern Italian. He probably never read the Bible (and if he did, he did it surreptitiously). I realize you are probably basing your ideas on that lecture by a preacher, who clearly is not an authority on history, certainly not the history of science. Or religion, for that matter.

Mike from Delaware
Sun, Sep 1, 2013 10:29pm
Billsmith: If I remember correctly you didn't read the piece I linked. In the article the Author quoted from the letter that Galileo wrote to Lady Christina where he said those things. The Catholic Church used that letter to condemn him.

The point I was making in the email above is how I practice my faith. I don't just blindly accept whatever a pastor is saying, I read the scriptures too, have some study aids that have the Greek & Hebrew words so I can see for myself what the scriptures are saying as best I can given the fact I am not a man of letters.

I also realize that it is not scripture that is in error, but my understanding of what it says (this mirrors in a way the attitude of Galileo &why I reference him). So as I learn more in Science that could & has changed how I understand what the Scriptures say at a given place in them , like the Creation account. I believe that passage was simply the headline- I The Lord God, the I AM, created the universe. He offers it in terms the people of that time could understand. So does it mean literally 6 twenty-four hour days ? I don't think so & science seems to bear that out. Yet thirty years ago, if asked that question, then I'd have said yes. That's an example of what I'm trying to say.

It's another reason I know I'm not a fundamentalist Christian. They accept whatever their pastor tells them. I've known some fundamentalists so I know from first hand experience. My faith is a living growing thing , not stagnant. I don't know how to better explain it to you .

A website you might find of interest is called, The Liberal Christian. I don't agree with everything they say there, but do agree with many of the things said there. You certainly can't call those folks fundamentalists, yet they are Christians, just as I am.

Mon, Sep 2, 2013 6:21am
MikeFromDelaware: I Googled "The Liberal Christian" but did not find a website by that name. I got "progressivechristian.org" and "thechristianleft.org." Did you mean either of those.

I can appreciate how some fundamentalists give fundamentalism as bad name. I was going by the traditional definition by which fundamentalists differentiated themselves from mainstream of liberal Christianity by their belief in fundamental doctrines:

Biblical inspiration and inerrancy of scripture
Virgin birth of Jesus
Christ's death as atonement for sin
Bodily resurrection of Jesus
Miracles of Jesus

Some fundamentalists, like the Missouri Synod, do use a high church liturgy but most do not. Liturgy is not the defining difference. Many fundamentalists are also evangelicals but the distinguishing feature of evangelicals is their emphasis on proselytizing. Since in your posts here you seem to want to spread the word, it would seem fair to call you an evangelical, as well (even if you are more willing to do your homework and draw your own conclusions than most).

As I've noted in the context of politics, some people have a need for authority - to follow authorities and defer to authorities. It's also true for such people in the area of religion. If you come across articles on The Authoritarian Personality, or Eric Hoffer's "True Believer," you might find them interesting.

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Sep 2, 2013 9:22am
Billsmith: It should have been,


I was on my IPod last night and I couldn't link it and couldn't remember totally the name. Those IPods are great, but limited vs the computer.

Every Christian denomination I'm familiar with [Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran [both ELCA and LCMS], United Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Baptists [both American and Southern], Assembly of God, and numerous Non-Denominational Churches in this area I've been to over the years have these as core beliefs:

Bible inspired by God [ in the original words/language]
Virgin birth of Jesus
Christ's death as atonement for sin
Bodily resurrection of Jesus
Miracles of Jesus

I'm sure the Unitarian Church doesn't share these beliefs [of course they also don't claim to be a Christian Church].

I have noticed in both ELCA and LCMS Lutheran Churches their lack of interest in evangelizing [Roman Catholic and today's United Methodists], so yes in that aspect I have an Evangelical heart.

The Original Methodists were big on Evangelizing, the famous Methodist Circuit Riders that brought the Christian message to folks in the wilderness of early America helped the Methodist Church become the largest Protestant denomination in the US from around the 1830's until 1968 when it started its decline as the Southern Baptists took over that spot. Interestingly John Wesley, the Founder of Methodism warned back then of this lack of fire and zeal and their church ever becoming just an institution.

Think about it this way, if I truly believe that Jesus is God's Son and he is the ONLY way to God the Father in heaven, and all others will spend an eternity in torment in what is called Hell, then how could I NOT share with folks to give them the head's up, so they too could avoid going over the cliff into the burning pit? It wouldn't be a loving attitude to say, well too bad for them I'm OK. That kind of has a Republican sound to it.

That is what motivates Christians to share their beliefs. There's no reward or "brownie points with God" for telling others, but if I have the Holy Spirit dwelling in me, how could I do less?

I believe the bigger issue is, HOW we Christians share our faith. It just can't be talk, we have to live our faith. THAT's what the 1st Century Christians did. THAT's what made their testimonies so powerful and drew Greeks, Romans, and many Jews to Jesus Christ and his infant church. They could see how those folks lived their lives and that this was a real thing, not just some talking point. These early Christians didn't have to say much, because their actions said it for them. When they did say something, their lives backed up their words. This is something those of us who call Jesus, Lord today, need to remember and do.

Next time I go to the library, I'll see if they have either or both of those books.

Mon, Sep 2, 2013 9:29am
MikeFromDelaware: In Otto Preminger's film "The Cardinal," the lead character says it is the church's teaching that anyone (including Protestants, Jews and Muslims) can get to heaven. Since the church put up money for the film and Joseph Ratzinger was on the set as technical adviser, I assume this is consistent with church teaching. But I was always curious about the details, but apparently you will have to put up with non-believers.

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Sep 2, 2013 12:13pm
Billsmith: I'll have to watch that movie again, it was many years ago when I watched it on TV. Hopefully Netflix has it.

To be quite honest with you, IF God chose or chooses to do it that way where anyone believing in the God of Abraham was "saved" so yes that would include Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and Muslims, that wouldn't upset me at all. God can do any of this any way he chooses.

I'm going on my reading and interpretation of what God's word says. Again, I reference the Galileo attitude, that scripture is never wrong, but our understanding of it may be.

I'd really enjoy hearing a Catholic discuss this view [as you stated it from the movie], because I've never heard it growing up as a Catholic and other than that statement the new Pope made recently [which I believe the Catholic Church didn't totally agree with in later press releases], never have heard anything remotely like this before from the Roman church.

That is very different from the teaching I heard as a kid, where all my Protestant friends [who were mostly Methodists] were going to Hell, because they weren't Catholic. We were forbidden to visit a Protestant church [not that this stopped me from going to my friends church if I spent the night on Saturday, I'd go to their Methodist church and they'd go to my Catholic church when they stayed at my house.

So Joseph Ratzinger may have been a technical adviser, but he probably didn't get the final say on stuff. So it's probable on this issue, to not offend many of the theatre goers they made it cover most folks rather than just Catholics, who at time would have been mainline Protestants and Jews along with the Catholics in the audience.

It wouldn't be the first time Hollywood changed a meaning of something.

Mon, Sep 2, 2013 12:42pm
MikeFromDelaware: As I said, the church provided financing for the film and had script approval. Ratzinger was on the set as the church's representative. If Preminger did take liberties with doctrinal statements, I imagine the church would have said so publicly. The Legion of Decency was still in business then and they did approve the film.

In the film, the character makes the statement in a confirmation class and apparently the students also have the idea that only Catholics can go to heaven. I did some Googling. I could not find a clear, official statement on this but apparently the idea is Jesus saved everybody, whether they believe it or not. So, anybody who tries to do good can get into heaven.

The film also had a scene in which the title character lets his sister die in child birth rather than allow a late-term abortion, and some people don't want to see that as the church's position either. Of course, the kid lived and grew up to look just like mom (both played by Carol Lynley) and so everybody was fine with the sister dying. Sort of like in Ol' Yeller, where they shoot the dog but everything's OK because they get another dog.

Tom Tyron played The Cardinal and later came out as gay. An additional, albeit unintended, bit of realism. Ratzinger might have had a problem with casting, had he known. Or maybe not, given his inaction on pedophile priests as Pope.

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Sep 2, 2013 12:56pm
I'll definitely have to see if Netflix has it and watch it.

Mon, Sep 2, 2013 6:28pm
The film was based on the 1950 novel of the same name. The novel was based on the life New York's Cardinal Francis Spellman. The older Cardinal was based on Boston's William O'Connell, who did not make it to two conclaves in time but in real life was very critical of Spellman. He also considered Einstein's theories "authentic atheism," which puts Einstein in the same class as Galileo and Darwin. He pushed Gloria Swanson to end her affair with Joe Kennedy and told priests to refuse communion to women wearing lipstick.

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