Hardballed

Categories: News

Tampa Tribune

You have to love a debate that transcends the packaged messages and shakes a little truth from the rafters and moderator Chris Matthews and Reform Party candidate Max Linn delivered that last night in the nationally televised gubernatorial match-up. And guess who paid the price?

Charlie Crist, of course.

Linn, as the Miami Herald's Mary Ellen Klas and Beth Reinhard noted in their very well-done story this morning, had the line of the night: ''I traveled to Washington and all I found was an empty chair. And I traveled to Tallahassee, Charlie, and I looked for new direction from you, and all I found was an empty suit.''

Damn that's good. And Matthews made his mark on the debate as well, at times badgering the candidates a bit. He compared Crist to Marion Berry and made Jim Davis say he wasn't a liberal. Such editorializing can cross the line, but bringing in a real personality as moderator can be very revelatory about the candidates as it was last night. To read more, the Sun-Sentinel's Mark Hollis has a sturdy story on the debate and here's the Palm Beach Post's version (by S.V. Date and Brian E. Crowley).

After the jump: Football Fatties and A Damn Good Radio Show

-- Wanted to point you toward a stellar story about football and fat in the Palm Beach Post. Carlos Frias and William M. Hartnett write about how the sport has increasingly become dominated by lard asses. The the writers didn't just use anecdotal evidence, they tracked teams and over 40,000 players since 1920. And here's how they summarize their findings:

From 1920 to 1984, there were never more than eight players in any season who weighed 300 pounds or more. This year, there were 570 players who weighed 300 or more listed on 2006 NFL training camp rosters, nearly 20 percent of all players.

Other super-sized findings:

- Since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970, the average player is nearly 25 pounds heavier, averaging 245.
- Over the same period, the average offensive lineman is 62 pounds heavier; defensive lineman, 34 pounds.
- Running backs weigh 17 pounds more and quarterbacks are 26 pounds heavier.

Almost 600 players weighing over 300 pounds? That's sick. Literally. Good thing those guys retire early to give them a few good years before the heart attacks start knocking them down.

-- I was on "Wake Up, South Florida" this morning on 1080 WTPS-AM radio and had a blast. The hosts -- James T, Tamara G, and Joy Reid -- hit me with some tough questions about my Crist reporting and let me talk about how the story (this afternoon, it will be "stories") developed. Every caller -- there were five or six -- was in the Pulp's corner. Sweet. That's a damn good radio show, straightforward, hard-hitting, smart, and fun at the same time. (And I'll be linking Joy Reid's blog at right in the next couple of days).

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