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Rick Sanchez to announce FIU football on radio

So I'm standing in Target with an armload of leggings for the kid, wondering if she'll like the Sinestro or Abin Sur action figures when my cellphone exploded with News of the Say What? Rick Sanchez will be doing color on FIU's football radio broadcasts this season.

"Are you sure it's the same Rick Sanchez?" I asked the first caller. I've been in South Florida 22 years, so I don't assume any Sanchez, Garcia, Gomez, Fernandez, Hernandez or Gonzalez the other person's speaking of is the one that comes to my mind.

Yep, that Rick Sanchez, I was assured. The Rick Sanchez who epitomized Channel 7's stylized, highly dramatic, semi-apocalyptic news delivery that ruled the local news timeslots in the late 1980s and early 1990s (I've always thought some were riveted by their state-of-the-art graphics, scary teases and great video while others watched it as a parody of TV news, a sort of nightly Weekend Update). The Rick Sanchez who kneeled over a map of Cuba the same way he kneeled in the streets of Miami over chalk outlines or blood stains as a Channel 7 crime reporter in the Cocaine Cowboys era.

The same Rick Sanchez who rose to CNN, got his own show, then got booted when he went OFF during a radio interview. He claimed he was picked on by The Daily Show's Jon Stewart because he was a Latino and then brushed off the idea that Jewish people were an "oppressed minority" by saying that those who run CNN and many networks are just like Stewart.

The Rick Sanchez with 137,221 Twitter followers, some of whom might tune in just to hear how he does the games. And FIU AD Pete Garcia definitely had that on his mind.

I got home, threw some turkey marsala down my neck and called Jorge Sedano (follow him on Twitter, http://www.twitter.com/SedanoShow), the former football color guy. Sedano couldn't stop laughing. It actually made his life easier because he's got a weekend show on Channel 4. As he said, it's hard to have a weekend gig and have to ask for multiple weekends off.
"I had a great time going it," Sedano said. "It was fun. I want to thank all the guys over there. It was great. But the reality is, I would be a tough position because I would have to juggle my weekend show on CBS-4 and games."

FIU told Sedano they were dumping Jeremy Marks-Peltz (http://www.twitter.com/jmpeltz on Twitter) as play-by-play man, but wanted to know if he wanted to stay on to do color. Sedano, the morning drive host on 790 The Ticket, tried to argue for keeping JMP. When that didn't work, he said he'd stay on the broadcasts only if he could do play-by-play. Next thing Sedano had heard, FIU had brought Sanchez on board.

A couple of hours later, Sanchez called. I spent about an hour on the phone with him, easily the best hour of my afternoon/evening.

We yakked about myriad topics: the media, his image, hard wood floors vs. carpet for pets, the Dolphins, FIU, not necessarily in that order. Some of that wound up in the story that'll be in the Local section of Friday's paper or online now.

When he talked about what happened, he said the general point of his radio rant was there were too many people in the national media who came from the same ethno-economic background. There needed to be more diversity.

He laughed off the idea of any tension with FIU President Mark Rosenberg over his comments about Jewish people in the media by saying he and Rosenberg have talked often and have a great relationship.

I knew he had an affinity for FIU, but he truly adores the school. It's one of the reasons he's working for free. And he's a football nut -- played in high school, partial scholarship to Minnesota State Moorhead, still calls folks he knows in the Dolphins organization to obsess about the team. He went to several road games last year, including the Christmas Day bowl game.

(Now, that's a fan. I've never loved any team enough to want to be in Detroit on Christmas Day. That's like spending Easter in Chernobyl. My mother lived in Detroit for almost 24 years and once said from her hospital bed as I walked in, "Hockey and me in the hospital -- that's the only things that'll get my son to Detroit.")

Why Sanchez loves FIU is obvious: he's a proud Cuban-American and feels FIU's the South Florida campus that reached out the most to minorities, particularly Hispanics. That Mario Cristobal is head coach and Sanchez's longtime friend Garcia is AD only further bursts his buttons. He loved doing the CNN piece on FIU, with its roster of white kids, black kids and "kids with last names ending in Zs," he said, going to play mighty Alabama.

And when it comes to football, I think that pride in Miami and being raised a Cuban-American in Hialeah plays a role in his zeal. That's me saying that, not him.

Young Cuban-Americans reading this blog -- especially the ones juggle three fantasy football teams or have the NFL and college dish packages or spend their down time arguing T.Y. Hilton vs. Leonard Hankerson -- might be shocked to hear what I heard when I first got down here in 1989.

"Cubans can't play football."
"Cubans don't want to play football -- they're too into cars and they're not tough enough."
"The Dolphins will be in trouble in 15 years because there's going to be so many Cubans in South Florida and so few white and black people, there won't be anybody to be Dolphins fans."

Those folks, some of whom were high school head coaches, ignored one fact: assimilation happens.
So imagine the stuff Sanchez had to hear in the mid-1970s playing what's still the most American of the three team sports we truly love. As a black guy who grew up playing hockey, I can tell you that sometimes when you hear stuff like that, it just makes you embrace the game/activity even more almost to rub it in the face of the prejudiced. And, then, it's not just in your blood, it's in your bone marrow and you're embracing it so much because you can't let go.

It'll be interesting to see how this works out on the air with Sanchez and play-by-play man Tony Calatayud. As I said to Sanchez, he was always so "earnest" when delivering the news at Channel 7, the pauses and phrases weighed down with such gravity. That actually would be funny as play-by-play. As color, it would be a disaster. Seeing as how he's doing color instead of play-by-play, I'm betting we'll see more of the fired up show-hosting Sanchez rather than the anchorman Sanchez.

Garcia said no matter how this works out this year with Sanchez, the former broadcaster will be part of the FIU program going forward. I'm sure. Sanchez has one son at FIU with another getting ready to enroll. Being on the broadcasts gives him a chance to spend about the perfect amount of time with his college-age kids (perfect for the kids.)

I asked Sanchez if he would move back here. He now lives in Atlanta with his wife and a dog that pees on the floor (hence the earlier floor topic). He said from a business standpoint, though he's not chasing on-air jobs now, he insisted, LA, New York and Chicago would be better.
"But the heart says get back to your roots," Sanchez said.
He recalled a recent drive around Miami with someone and how every other streetcorner retained a memory for him -- personal or professional from those years on the crime beat.
"I do think within the next year, I'm probably going to make a move."

Anchoring an extended shift while covering natural disasters or big stories isn't easy, but live sports is an animal that's constantly yapping at a broadcaster's heels like the product of a Marvin Gaye night between a greyhound and a Doberman. Sanchez hasn't done sports before. Some days, it won't be pretty.

But, like those Channel 7 newscasts of yore, it'll never be boring.

 


Comments

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oh God! Sanchez is uber-dramatic. And who is Tony Calatayud?

Rick is a big time FIU fan. He did his show live from GC a couple of years ago. I also saw him on the field at the Bowl Game last season. Glad to have an FIU Alumni who actually supports the University take the spot of an FIU Alumni that is constantly up UM's rear end (I'm talking to YOU SEDANO)!!

Good for him!
He got railroaded out of CNN for speaking factually!!

you want factual, Juanito? Here's factual. FIU is the University of Havana.

Just don't squat over the FIU logo at midfield, please....

LOL! Deskboy, I actually got that reference! I can still see him squatting over the map of Cuba!

You can keep that loser!

I've met Rick a couple of times, really outgoing and if he's a huge FIU fan...all the better.

I think he'll do a good job, he's been a big supporter of FIU.

"And your final score from FIU Stadium... FIU 42, UCF 10"

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhocking!!!

PikeDanny,

Couldn't agree with you more!

they actually announce fiu games on any medium???

I really enjoyed Rick on CNN. Rick has flair!!
I know he will bring his A-game to this job as
well. YOU GO RICK YOU GO !!!!

POSTED BY BE-BE

This idiot can only have fans in Miami. But I guess it's a good move for FIU.

Forever Inferior to the U! All that needs to be said, Rick was a disaster on CNN, or else he would still be there right? The guy is a loser and if he wanted a real education would have gone to the U, maybe grade issues, what do you think? LMAO FIU keep trying, you guys remind me of the little engine that Never Did!

I like JMP....I agree about Sedano. He is alum but is always sensitive about UM. That is his first love. Nice to hear bout Rick Sanchez.

"Rick was a disaster on CNN, or else he would still be there right?"

He got kicked off because of some controversial statements he said, but overall his show had decent ratings it was a prime time show for CNN. Why do the U trolls need to come on here and continually denigrate FIU, it must mean a lot to you guys to comment on our blogs.

And the anonymous cane haters come out once again. lol

go bask in your past

I loved Rick. I think he will do a Greeeeeatttt!!! Job!

Go and get them champion!!

He should do a creditable job. He is a professional. Just don't let him drive home after the game.

I wonder if Ricky knows FIU has a Jew president. Those Jews control all the universities!

I love FIU Not so much Rick Sanchez....by the way I am Cuban.

if you see him in a car,run or hide.rick/ one dead

So, Not-So-Little Ricky comes home to The Promised Land. I thought FIU sank as low as it could go when it "hired" Marco Rubio to "teach" a course, but this is a NEW low. A word of advice to young FIU fans; if you see Ricky driving away from the Golden Panther Arena after a game stand WAY clear....

Does anyone know if he's ever done any sports broadcasts? It's good they're getting someone who is well known, but does he know anything about sports?
And who is Calatayud?

the same Rick Sanchez that in 1990 struck a pedestrian outside Joe Robbie Stadium. The victim was paralyzed and died five years later. Sanchez's BAC was .15, above the legal limit.

and called Jon Stewart a "bigot" and implying that Jews control the media.

He'll do a good job as long as he isn't drinking and driving

The Zionists never forgive or forget. They did the same thing to Marlon Brando when he said on Larry King (who is a Jew), that Jews control Hollywood.

Nothing wrong with the University of Havana Douchebaggery. Plenty of improvements in FIU thanks to those from the University of Havana!

If he is on the show, I won't tune in.

Once a jerk ,always a jerk .Thats Sanchez.

Interesting development for sure. It has even gotten a response from some of the most insecure non-FIU fans out there, and the ones that always have a racial comment to make, as if to make them feel better. Oh well....

On the other part, I'm curious as to how this 'experiment' goes. I know Catalayud is a sports guy on the radio, and I also like JMP a lot.

You can be serious
Rick Sanchez is the worse of the worse
Has no integrity or values
He should be fire on the spot, they have an opening in Alaska, to follow Palin

Show him the door
He is a looser
Who gave him a job at FIU, a friend?

Gosh, I thought sanchez was deceased!

Agree with Ted, in addition he is a Jerk

Never heard Sanchez do sports so it should be interesting. Have heard Calatayud do football and he is going to bring great energy. These guys have a chance to be the best team here. Mike Inglis please pack ur bags and ur negativity

Damn, I thought we had seen the last of this fat Bozo blubbering after Hurricane Andrew when he went off to NYC to do MSNBC. Now he's back, calling football for crappy old FIU. What a loser...lucky us.

Rick Sanchez is in love with himself and has always been. He leans at a dramatic tilt instead of sitting up, reminiscent of the publicity photos of 1940s movie stars. He's a poser. I have never liked him, locally or on CNN. I was glad when CNN dumped him. Maybe he'll find a niche in sports reporting.

as an african american and fan of rick's long before hurricane andrew, i was deeply saddened by his departure from cnn news. but, i'm extremely elated that he came back HOME to miami, i too am seriously considering returning home to florida from georgia as well.

Sick Ranchez

Rick Sanchez is passionate about his work and he will excel at his new post. He will bring excitement to FIU football. Welcome HOME Rick.

To all the insecure scUM fans coming on here and belitting FIU, as you always do, without merit... I suggest you go back to your school's blog and concern yourself with the sub par state of YOUR athletic programs.

Or you could continue to show your insecurity about FIU, your choice.

My only regret is that Neil Rogers is not alive to exploit this.

I really enjoyed Rick when he was at WSVN 7, and also at CNN. He is really a professional, and he gave it his all when he reported. I am proud that he was a homegrown who had made it to the top. That he made some controversial statements, he was in good company: Oberman, and the other guy with the Cowboy hat, the other who said bad words on his radio station, both of which went on to satisfy audiences over the xm radio. Let's welcome Rick, and join hands in wishing him the best and pray for him.

Target???? Why not go to Wal-Mart. It is such a better store and less expensive. Im starting to wonder about you DNJ. I bet that call you got on the cell phone is on a Metro.

Hahahahahaha, Rick Sanchez, hahahahahhahhaha, ends up working for a school with a Jewish President. Give it a couple of years, he will end up doing something stupid and embarrasing FIU even further. FIU can you say NEPOTISM. Thanks for making national headlines again, for the wrong reasons.

Proud Panther. You are a total idiot, you think that this is all UM fans that are posting negative stuff. For you everything FIU does is the greatest thing in the world. Well, I am an FIU Alumn and am disgusted with this news. It seems like Pete Garcia does not get it, Isiah Thomas; Garrett Wittles; now hiring Slick Rick?

Garcia, somebody needs to take you to the cleaners. Stop embarring my school to try to make national news. You seem like a desperate fat chick.

Peter Weinstein, I can let many things go in the comments section of this blog. But stating Wal-Mart's a better store than Target I will not let pass without refutation.

You either have no taste or do very little of your family unit's shopping. Wal-Mart has tried to make changes in the clothes they carry with the all-but-stated goal of catching up to Target. Many Wal-Marts have McDonald's. Many Targets have Starbucks. I love MickeyD's like it was kinfolk and used to be a crew trainer there. But look at the clienteles of those two mega-chains and it pretty much sums up the difference between Target and Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart shoppers think Barney's is a toddlers' TV show.

Back to the Sanchez opinions...

Great piece DJN, we're lucky to have you here.

Pete Garcia -

I KNOW YOU ARE READING THIS. YOUR TIME IS COMING TO AN END SOON.

TURN IN YOUR Resignation OR IT WILL GET UGLY & THE WHOLE TRUTH WILL BE EXPOSED ABOUT YOUR TENURE @FIU.

Dr. Rosenberg you need to put an end to this.

Are you leading a University or just following?

Very good blog, DJN. Thanks for the info.

Not that it matters, but the bowl game was the 26th. I was able to spend Christmas with my family before spending that day in Detroit :)

Nice piece DJN. Love having Ricky Ticky on board. We need more people with us that have a true passion for FIU and where it's headed, and less of the scUM loyalists among our ranks - except for PG and MC, they've now earned their stripes.

As an alum and a fan of our athletic's program, I am not a fan of this hire. Rick Sanchez is a tainted figure, who hasn't owned up to his statements, and, more importantly, what he did to Jerry S. that night outside of Joe Robbie.

Pete, stop looking out for your buddies and start looking out for the program you're supposed to be managing.

Not sure about this hire but I think it will make for some interesting radio... lol

Cant wait for the season!

Loking forward to a big year!

One week away and no contract for MC? I think this has become a "urinating" contest to see who last longer. Here are the facts as of 2010 according to USA Today look it up!

$491,580 - MTSU (Rick Stockstill)
$437,382 - FIU (Mario Cristobal)
$407,905 - FAU (Howard Schnellenberger)
$356,000 - Troy (Larry Blakeney)
$313,200 - USA (Joey Jones)
$289,161 - UNT (Todd Dodge)
$226,000 - ULL (Rickey Bustle)
$225,000 - WKU (Willie Taggart)
$223,078 - ASU (Steve Roberts)
$215,000 - ULM (Todd Berry)

We need to close this chapter folks!! Sign MC already!

I dont think Cristobal is comming back, my money is that Pete Garcia is going to hire his old buddy Butch Davis.

Mr Neal, thank you for writing a good article about this. As much as I personally do not like the hire, you made it classy and brought up valid positives and negatives which was great unlike the rest of your herald crew. The points you brought up did their job and made me think more about it and think it might be somewhat of a positive. Glad you are covering the FIU beat now. You might know Bob Diamond which is one of my good friends that worked with you for many years at the herald and would say good things about you. He always told me you would write unbiased articles and just present the facts which you did. Good to have a fellow hockey lover on here and thanks again and welcome to the FIU community. You are always welcomed to our Section 112 gatherings.

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