The Locker Room

Go beyond the shows!Here in The Fan Locker Room you'll get insight and commentary from your favorite Fan personalities and reporters. Everything is game here, so you're guaranteed to find out what 97.1 The Fan thinks.

Cheers to Our English Friends!

What’s a Brit to do when visiting Columbus, Ohio? That’s the dilemma facing fans of Crystal Palace F.C., the English Premier League team playing against the Crew tonight.

And assuming their fans crossed the pond to join them on their “American adventure,” the Eagles put together this handy visitor’s guide to the city. You’ll be especially amused to learn who Londoners believe to be the most prolific people from the area. Oh, yeah.

If you’re attending tonight’s contest, please, enjoy yourself, but watch out for a team bus driving on the wrong side of the road.

Posted by Lori Schmidt Posted on Jul 23, 2014 0 Comments

Lights, Camera...MACtion!

Two teams from the Mid American Conference have both channeled their inner-Steven Spielberg in an attempt to sell season tickets.

The first is from Miami, whose Lil' Harbaugh ad harkens back to Nike's Lil Penny.

Ohio's effort to sell tickets is more an homage to a Reebok spot: Terry Tate, Office Linebacker. Meet his successor: Tarrell Bashman, Office Enforcer.

I was going to post a poll here as to which ad campaign you found more effective, but let's face it, there's only one right answer. #StandUpAndCheer

(Hat tip on to Lil' Garrett Downing on the Miami commercial.)

Posted by Lori Schmidt Posted on Jul 22, 2014 0 Comments

Ohio State/Michigan Game Cracks Top 5

ESPN has named 25 college football games from this past season as the best of 2013, and ESPNU will be televising replays of most of these contests in the coming days.

For Ohio State fans, this is both good and bad. The Buckeyes loss to Clemson in the Orange Bowl ranks 19th on the ESPN list, and the Big Ten Championship Game, in which OSU fell 34-24 to Michigan State is 9th.*

However, the Scarlet and Gray’s victory over Michigan is somewhere in the top 5, where exactly that game lands will depend on a fan vote. To cast your vote, click here.

*ESPN won’t be airing the Big Ten title game.

Posted by Lori Schmidt Posted on Jul 21, 2014 0 Comments

Troy Smith Still Finding His Stride

The Montreal Alouttes of the Canadian Football League have apparently reached a crossroads with quarterback Troy Smith.

The signal caller turned 30 this past weekend and has shown signs of promise this season. However, there have also been games like the 41-5 loss to BC. In that contest, Smith only completed one first-half pass for positive yards. By the end, he was 5/17 throwing.

It was so rough, the Alouettes coach refused to name Smith his starter for Montreal’s next game, and who do the Alouettes hope will ride to their rescue?

Apparently, the GM checks in with Tim Tebow’s agent every now and then to gauge his interest.

“We would love to see him,” Jim Popp told the National Football Post. “If there was ever a time when (Tebow) wanted a great shot, now is the time.”

Montreal is the team that owns the CFL rights to Tebow. (NFP also notes they Michael Sam on their negotiation list.)

While it may seem unlikely that Tebow would accept the pay cut necessary for him to play the pivot in Montreal, it also seems like Smith could probably stand to even out his performances in order to reduce the allure of the former Florida QB.

Posted by Lori Schmidt Posted on Jul 21, 2014 0 Comments

Best Sign Yet for Cavs Fans?

Did Akron Beacon Journal crime and courts reporter Phil Trexler come up with the scoop of the year, when it comes to the NBA hardcourt? Here he is on 97.1 The Fan discussing what LeBron James people have told Akron police about a possible announcement tonight.

Posted by Lori Schmidt Posted on Jul 10, 2014 0 Comments

LeBron Has Us On a Roller Coaster Ride

Cedar point today tweeted the following:

This is not just idle talk a Cedar Point spokesman assured me. CEO Matt Ouimet threw out the idea this very morning, and the park is now committed to following through.

According to the spokesman, if LeBron James decides to return, there will be internal discussions as to which roller coaster gets a name change, and James is welcome to have some input.

"If he calls," said Bryan Edwards, "we'll certainly pick up the phone. He knows the park."

But what if James decides to stay in Miami? What part of the park might be renamed in honor of that Decision?

Edwards laughed and said, "Well, he certainly wouldn't be getting a roller coaster in that case."

As for the appropriateness of a roller coaster, given how the free agency drama has played out, that's apparently just a coincidence.

"This all goes back to our pride in calling Ohio home," Edwards said.

Posted by Lori Schmidt Posted on Jul 9, 2014 0 Comments

Sonny Milano Joins The Fan

Blue Jackets first-round draft pick, Sonny Milano joined us in the 97.1 The Fan studio today. Here he is speaking to Bishop and Rothman.

Posted by Lori Schmidt Posted on Jul 9, 2014 0 Comments

We Listened to Miami Sports Talk, So You Didn't Have To

A lot has been made of how crazy Cleveland sports radio has been of late. The LeBron James talk has whipped the locals up into a frenzy, the story goes. The tweets of cupcake factories as well as those of street wear models are being taken as gospel. Guests are being put on their air when their sole credential is their brother once met James at a Benihana. Every segment is preceded by a chorus of Skylar Grey singing, "I'm Coming Home."

Okay, that last thing might be true.

However, it's not like Miami sports talk has been an island of sanity. In fact, we sampled WQAM today and heard the following:

Caller "Craig" insisted that LeBron will stick with the Miami Heat because, "People get settled into a situation, and moving is kind of stressful, you know?" (To his credit, Craig did eventually acknowledge that James still has a home in Akron, but not before also criticizing Dan Gilbert's "witchcraft letter.")

Although not accusing the Cavaliers owner of consorting with the dark forces, caller Rick also felt LeBron was staying put. "Does LeBron go home for the better future, or stay in Miami and take the status quo? Well, the status quo is alternating years winning championships and making it to the finals every year."

Now his point about the Cavs' roster being unproven is fine, but apparently the Heat are guaranteed to take the title this upcoming season, because they'll play for it in an odd year?

It had the hosts of the Guzio and Donno Show wondering if all this was necessary. "That's what I haven't understood with any of this. Opting out? It puts pressure on Pat Riley? The guy knows he needs to make moves."

They also wondered if pitching the idea of playing with Kyrie Irving and Andrew Wiggins was such a great move for Cleveland. "That is a big mistake for the Cavaliers. You're going to sell future to LeBron? He wants to win now."

Actually, he probably wants to win now and in the future, but that's not the pitch you want to use if you're selling the Heat.

Next on the air was Adam Kuperstein and former Dolphin Channing Crowder. Crowder, you may remember once said...well, some not very nice things about Cleveland.

He continued playfully tearing into the city again today. "They usually sit there and watch the Cavs win 30 games and the Cavs win 5. Cleveland's a tough place to live, man." That, he said, is why they're so excited about the thought of LeBron returning.

It's more than excitement, assured his co-host. It's downright delusion. "They think because a cupcake shop has reported LeBron James is coming, because some random dude tweeted that all the Cavs players think LeBron is coming, they all believe this is happening."

Cupcake shop is apparently Chris Broussard's new nickname.

Finally, The Marc Hochman Show with Zach Krantz opened with a nearly 4 minute musical tribute to LeBron, starting with James announcing his Decision four years ago today.

After that, they got a little bit distracted watching the beautiful women of Brazil mourning their team's performance at the World Cup. "A Brazilian wax is surely better than a German wax," Hochman assured us.

It was crazy, passionate sometimes contradictory conversation...In other words, just like the discussion going on in Cleveland, it was pretty fun.

Of course, for the best (in our biased opinion) sports radio, listen to 97.1 The Fan. Plus, be sure to check out our webcam!

Posted by Lori Schmidt Posted on Jul 8, 2014 0 Comments

Sprinkle Arrest Report

You’ve probably read a summary of the police report elsewhere; but since we couldn’t find the full report on the web, we are posting the complete* account of police as to why they ended up arresting Buckeye Tracy Sprinkle at a nightclub in Lorain July 5th.

To read it, click here.

Ohio State today announced today that Sprinkle is not part of the team, pending the outcome of his legal case.

*Well, nearly complete. We did redact some information when it came to phone numbers and addresses of witnesses, and so forth. These redactions were made by us, not the police.

Posted by Lori Schmidt Posted on Jul 7, 2014 0 Comments

Is This Real Life?

It’s Wednesday, and if this was still winter or spring, Ohio State football players would be getting lessons on “Real Life” from a speaker brought in by head coach Urban Meyer.

Some of the speakers were former Buckeyes like Clark Kellogg and Robert Smith. Zach Domicone’s speech might have been especially impactful, given that he only graduated two years ago, and so is now himself starting to put in place the principles being taught.

“Now that Zach talked it out, about the pathway,” said offensive lineman Joel Hale, “it’s a lot more visible to me and how it works.”

“He’s got a steady job with good income,” added fellow offensive lineman Taylor Decker, “and just for him to lay that out so you can really see how he put it into effect and it really worked for him, it was pretty interesting.”

Even a player like Decker, who anticipates going to the NFL, says Domicone’s experience has taught him he needs a “plan B.”

Teammate Michael Bennett is in a similar situation.

Realizing the average NFL career is only about 3 years, Bennett says he has been exploring his options.

“People always ask what you’re going to do after football,” said Bennett, “and I’m not sure yet. So the plan is to get my name out there, try to talk to some people, find out what I like and what I would like to build a career out of, not just a job.”

Appropriately enough, at the time the nattily attired Bennett made the remark, he had just finished handing out his resume at the Ohio State athletics department job fair.

“This is the culmination of ‘Real Life Wednesdays,’” he said.

Ohio State assistant Kerry Coombs instructs his players to go network.

Ohio State assistant Kerry Coombs instructs his players to go network.

There were more than 50 companies in attendance, some of which you would expect to be interested in hiring athletes. Nike sent representatives. ESPN was there. The Browns, Blue Jackets and Crew all spoke to the Ohio State players.

There were also grocery chains, real estate companies and the Columbus secret service.

They were all there to provide a chance to network, and make no mistake, networking is key.

“[Ohio State athletics director] Gene Smith never interviewed for a job, which is insane,” Hale said. “He spoke to us about networking, and who you know, creating relationships, being nice to people.”

Smith isn’t the only person for whom networking has paid off. Zoology major Decker says he received an internship with the Columbus Zoo thanks to who he met at last year’s job fair.

“I worked in the promotions department,” Decker explained. “Any events, we would travel, take the animals, mingle with people, talk about the animals. Then we also raised a lot of the baby animals. I loved it.”

OSU says they had 20 players interning with various companies this May.

“We live a surreal life right now, being a college athlete,” Hale said. “We don’t know what real life is, and that’s going to be the biggest transition, the hardest transition. I have to have my plan B ready to roll.”

Posted by Lori Schmidt Posted on Jun 25, 2014 0 Comments

The Ice is Right for LeBron?

LeBron James told the Heat this morning that he was opting out of his contract. No surprise there. Even less of a surprise? That decision (lowercase d) will result in a meeting with Miami's Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh sometime in the near future.Yahoo Sports says the three are trying to figure out if there's a way for them to remain with the Heat while simultaneously upgrading the rest of the roster.

What may be a surprise is that Yahoo also says LeBron is interested in a possible "sign-and-trade scenario with the Los Angeles Clippers in which James could play with close friend Chris Paul" as well.

LeBron, who seemingly has numerous friends in the NBA, is also described as being close with Carmelo Anthony, and ESPN has a piece today describing how a handful of teams, including the Lakers, Hawks and Cavaliers have all made moves giving them the flexibility they would need to sign James and Anthony.

But according to the Twittersphere, LeBron's options are even wider than that.

The hockey world has been especially aggressive in pursuing the 6'8", 250 pound forward. Here are a few of the teams hoping to be the beneficiary of a LeBron James' Decision (capital D).

It should be noted that not every team was quite as eager to jump on that bandwagon.

Posted by Lori Schmidt Posted on Jun 24, 2014 0 Comments

Philadelphia Hearts Hartnell

Yesterday the Blue Jackets traded left wing RJ Umberger and a 2015 fourth-round draft pick to Philadelphia for left wing and fan favorite Scott Hartnell.

Flyers fans have been taking it kind of hard.

Burn Baby Burn

Hope you did end up getting video of that, Donald! Until then, we have this Hartnell tribute to warm the cockles of our hearts.

Posted by Lori Schmidt Posted on Jun 24, 2014 0 Comments

Blue Jackets Add Scott Hartnell

The Blue Jackets traded 32-year-old left wing RJ Umberger and a fourth round draft pick in 2015 to Philadelphia for 32-year-old left wing Scott Hartnell. Here you can listen to the latest CBJ addition.

In this teleconference, he discussed how playing against Columbus last year made him wonder, "Who are these little turds?"

Then he joined Common Man and Company and described being the most hated man in Pittsburgh.

Posted by Lori Schmidt Posted on Jun 23, 2014 0 Comments

Remembering Columbus Days

If there’s one guy you think would have nothing but terrible memories of Columbus, Ohio, it might be former Blue Jackets bench boss Gerard Gallant. He took over when Doug MacLean stepped down as head coach January 1, 2004 and lasted until November 13, 2006 without experiencing much success.

But when he was introduced as the Panthers new head man today, Turk had this to say about his time leading the CBJ:

“I think that the Columbus days, you know, you look back at our record and I think I was 20 games under 500. To me, I thought the Columbus days were a real good experience for me. I mean, was I young coach at that time? Yes, I was. I didn’t have a whole lot of head coaching experience, but I had some assistant coaching experience…I think going back and getting fired from Columbus, what was real important for me…the key factor for me was going back [to the St. John's Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League] and working hard again, getting to work with young players. Getting the opportunity to go back after that to go to Montreal and coach two more years as an assistant there, I think the experience over the time is going to make me a better coach and a better person.”

Posted by Lori Schmidt Posted on Jun 23, 2014 0 Comments

Tim Hall Is Inspired To Improve His Craft

The NBA Draft is coming up, and there's only one person more excited to see if Buckeye Aaron Craft is taken than Aaron Craft.

Posted by Lori Schmidt Posted on Jun 23, 2014 0 Comments