Friday, January 20, 2012

Politicos Banter Over State's Top Sports Stories Of First 100 Years, Plus: More On Susana's Grades 

It goes without saying that our readers enjoy the political fray, but for some of them their passion for sports is on par with their love of La Politica. We were reminded of that this week when we posted the top five sports stories since statehood was achieved in 1912. Or at least the top five as seen through the lens of longtime GOP political operative and lobbyist Bruce Donisthorpe. Talk about setting off an argument. Poor Bruce was excoriated for his efforts by a parade of other sports aficionados who then sent in their own lists of what they consider the top sports stories. Before we post them, Donisthorpe says we need to point out that his was actually a top ten list, but the blog trimmed it to the top five. As for the charge that he is an "Aggie" which was hurled at Donisthorpe who is a former top aide to southern NM GOP Rep. Joe Skeen, he retorts: "If I am such an Aggie, how come I left Lobogate off my top five?

Well, it seems these sports fans know more about negative campaigning than the politicos.

So what big stories were on the other lists? Let's find out. ABQ Dem State Rep. Moe Maestas, whose late father, Frank, was a longtime and top sports writer for the ABQ Journal, has sports in his DNA and comes with a "Top Six" list. Never mind that we were looking for the top five. You know how they count in Santa Fe:

July 4, 1912, New Mexico hosted the world heavyweight championship fight! Guess where? In Las Vegas of course. Jack Johnson overcame several head butts to knock out “Fireman” Jim Flynn in the 9th.

1920: Roy W. Johnson moved from Michigan to Albuquerque to recover from the effects of gas poisoning suffered in World War I. He took over as the one-man physical education department, coached every sport and served as Lobo athletic director until 1959.

October 27, 1922, argue-ably the best baseball player from NM, Ralph Kiner, was born in Santa Rita (near Bayard). Kiner was a five time NL All-Star and hit 54 HR’s for the Pirates in 1949.

1956: Highland High grad, Tommy McDonald, lead Oklahoma to its second straight national title and finished 3rd in the Heisman voting. At 5’7, 172, he’s the smallest player (and only New Mexican) in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

July 18, 1997: Although the fight did not take place in NM, Johnny Tapia defeated Danny Romero for the 114 lb. world championship in one of the greatest boxing matches in the history of the sport.

March 2, 1983: Still NM’s greatest moment as NC State and Coach Jimmy Valvano upsets Houston’s Phi Slama Jama (Hakeem Olajuwon & Clyde Drexler) in the PIT for the National Title. If I didn’t see it with my own eyes I would not have believed it.

Honorable mention, June 16, 1962: A young scribe from Highland’s University started working for the Journal and brought NM’s love of high school sports to NM’s largest newspaper (That would be Moe's dad, Frank).


Longtime blog reader Dave Matthews says Bruce's list was shortsighted in "a big city way" so he comes with his top fie stores since statehood:

1969. Eastern New Mexico Greyhounds won the NAIA National Men's Basketball Tournament, the nation's oldest such tourney, by defeating Maryland-Eastern Shore 99-76. This is the only national basketball championship by any college or university in NM, by the way.

1978. Ben Abruzzo, Maxie Anderson and Larry Newman piloted the first balloon to cross the Atlantic Ocean, and were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for their accomplishment.

1969-70. Hobbs High Eagles Boys Varsity basketball team set a national record for average points per game at 114.6, a record that stood until broken by a Houston High School team last season...that's 40 years.

1959. Ruidoso Downs Race Track establishes the annual All American futurity race, the fastest and richest race for American Quarter Horses racehorses. Also noted is the world speed record for racehorses was set in this race by No Secrets Here in 2006.

1983-90. The Clayton High Yellowjackets Girls Varsity basketball team won eight consecutive State championships. Eldorado High Eagles Girls Varsity basketball team won a total of 14 State championships from 1975-97.

1957-2010. Artesia High Bulldogs Boys Varsity football team won a total of 27 State championships.

Now that we've got the most important sports stories since statehood out of the way, you know the top political stories of the past 100 years can't be far behind. We'll let the fever over the sports stories subside before we go there.


On that KOB-TV viewer poll that gave Governor Susana below average grades for her performance on the key issues of the day and which we blogged about Thursday, a reader writes:

My understanding is that she received a lot of of "A's" as well as a lot of "F's." That gave her an average of C or C- on the issues polled. Politically motivated? She deserves few F's from anyone who is truly objective and even the Dems I hang out with gave her only a couple of D's. I suspect organized labor orchestrated the voting on the left. Hey, remember that if you have one foot on a block of ice and the other on a red hot stove, on average, you are very comfortable.

Could be. But leaving aside the grade she deserves or whether the poll was pushed by particular interest groups, we would think most observers would agree that little substantial legislation reached her desk during her first year.


We've argued for a large capital outlay bill from this Legislature to get the construction industry
back to work. That drew this reader inquiry:

Joe, you wrote, "The collapse of the housing and construction industries is a large part of the problem."But there is no point in building more houses when there is no one buying the ones that exist because no one has jobs. What kind of new construction do you have in mind?

The construction we have in mind includes roads, bridges, improvements to state buildings, public schools and the like. The housing problem the reader points out would not be helped directly by state capital outlay funds.


We're not so sure we agree with Inside the Capitol columnist Jay Miller about this, but it did catch our eye:

A change of one more seat from Democrat to Republican will put the House under GOP control. The redistricting map approved by a judge last week makes that possibility look very likely.

If New Mexico stays strong for Obama and we get the usual higher turnout for a presidential year, the Dems, in our view, should be able to hang on to control of the state House. But they are going to court over the redistricting plan approved by a district court judge, so maybe they agree with Jay that the situation is more dire for them than we suppose.


A reader informs:

The ABQ Journal is closing its downtown bureau. Lots and lots of consolidation going on at the Journal these days.

We're told there are no layoffs associated with the closure of the longtime downtown newspaper office on Silver SW, but it is a sign of the media times.


ABQ GOP congressional candidate Dan Lewis gets some serious experience as he signs Joyce Pullen as his field representative. Pullen, 73, served as office field manager for many years for former GOP Senator Pete Domenici. She recently left the office of ABQ GOP Mayor Berry where she served as a constituent services staffer. Lewis says Pullen will be coordinating volunteers and coalitions and organizing for the County Conventions. Lewis has also hired professional consulting firms out of DC--including the well-known Tarrance Group--to handle his campaign. Also running for the GOP nomination is former ABQ GOP State Rep. Janice Arnold Jones and retired Army Seargent Gary Smith.

Did we mention that another political veteran who was recently working for Mayor Berry is back in the political world? In case we didn't, Tito Madrid is now on board the campaign of GOP US Senate candidate Heather Wilson. It's familiar territory for Tito who worked the field for Heather when she was the ABQ US Rep. He is also known as a political pragmatist who works with all comers. That can't hurt.


From Jimmy Fallon:

Last night President Obama took Michelle out to a steak restaurant for her birthday, marking it the first time in months the word 'Obama' and 'well-done' appeared in the same sentence

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