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“Good Seats Still Available” is a curious little podcast devoted to the exploration of what used-to-be in professional sports. Each week, host Tim Hanlon interviews former players, owners, broadcasters, beat reporters, and surprisingly famous "super fans" of teams and leagues that have come and gone - in an attempt to unearth some of the most wild and woolly moments in (often forgotten) sports history.

Good Seats Still Available Tim Hanlon

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“Good Seats Still Available” is a curious little podcast devoted to the exploration of what used-to-be in professional sports. Each week, host Tim Hanlon interviews former players, owners, broadcasters, beat reporters, and surprisingly famous "super fans" of teams and leagues that have come and gone - in an attempt to unearth some of the most wild and woolly moments in (often forgotten) sports history.

    157: The NASL’s Chicago Sting – With Willy Roy (Part Two)

    157: The NASL’s Chicago Sting – With Willy Roy (Part Two)

    When 32-year-old Willy Roy and two of his NASL St. Louis Stars teammates were acquired by the still-yet-to-play expansion Chicago Sting in February 1975, the club had just four signed players and a hit movie-inspired logo to its name. 
    No one knew what to expect, and Chicago’s twin pro soccer flame-outs less than a decade earlier – the White Sox-owned USA/NASL Mustangs (1967-68) and the Roy-led 1967 NPSL Spurs – didn’t exactly inspire confidence the Sting would be any different.
    Indeed, the passion project of prominent Chicago commodities trader and youth soccer parent/convert Lee Stern floundered early and often during its first few seasons under first-time coach (but Manchester United playing legend) Bill Foulkes. 
    Despite a division title in 1976 – the first with the retired Roy as Assistant Coach – the Sting was largely uncompetitive during its first few seasons.  Crowds were abysmal, as the team shuffled games between Soldier Field, Comiskey Park, and Wrigley Field each summer.  By early-season 1978, the Sting was off to a ten-game losing streak and the worst attendance in the entire 24-team NASL – averaging just 4,188 fans a match.
    Over the objections of then-GM Clive Toye, owner Stern elevated Roy to interim, then permanent head coach – and the rest, as they say, is history.
    National Soccer Hall of Famer Roy joins for Part Two of our extended conversation – as we focus on the rise of the Sting into one of the NASL’s most exciting, attractive and memorable sides – and an indelible part of Chicago’s rich pro sports history. 

    • 1 時間14分
    156: National Soccer Hall of Famer Willy Roy

    156: National Soccer Hall of Famer Willy Roy

    Though he was born in Germany and still retains the distinctive vocal stylings to prove it, National Soccer Hall of Fame player/coach great Willy Roy has always been a Chicago kid in both heart and heritage.   
    A post-WWII transplant to the Windy City at the age of six, Roy became a standout youth and young adult player in his adopted hometown – and by the mid-1960s, was honing his scoring skills and drawing national attention in the hard-nosed, Chicago-based National Soccer League with the multi-title winning club Hansa.
    A few call-ups to a rag-tag US National Team soon followed (eventually notching nine goals in 20 caps over nine years and two World Cup qualifying cycles) – and, ultimately, an invitation to play with the Soldier Field-domiciled Chicago Spurs of the new 1967 National Professional Soccer League.  One of only eight US citizens across ten franchises, Roy became the NPSL’s second-leading scorer (17G, 5A), made the league All-Star team and won Rookie of the Year honors.
    When the NPSL merged with the rival United Soccer Association to form the successor North American Soccer League the following year, Roy followed the relocated Spurs to Kansas City – and by 1971 had cemented an anchor role with the NASL’s American-heavy St. Louis Stars, commuting regularly from Chicago to do so.
    But it was an eventual move to the league’s expansion Chicago Sting in 1975 – first as a player, then as an assistant coach, and finally as head coach (ten games into the 1978 season) – where Roy cemented his legacy as one of the NASL’s winningest coaches, including two memorable championship seasons (1981, 1984) that long-time Second City sports fans still remember fondly today.

    • 1 時間6分
    155: The Continental Basketball Association’s Albany Patroons – With Brendan Casey

    155: The Continental Basketball Association’s Albany Patroons – With Brendan Casey

    With the entirety of pro sports in unprecedented lock-down mode, we offer some respite with a rewind back to the curiously borderline major league Continental Basketball Association (1946-2009), and one of its most successful franchises – the original Albany Patroons (1982-92).
    Video production firm owner/sports doc filmmaker/Cap City native Brendan Casey (“The Minor League Mecca”) helps us trace the story arc of a team that spent ten memorable seasons punching above its weight both on and off the hardwood.
    On the court, the Patroons won two CBA titles (1984, 1988), five Eastern Division crowns and complied a league-smashing 50-6 regular season record (28-0 in home games) in its penultimate season – becoming a launching pad for eventual NBA coaching standouts like Phil Jackson, George Karl and Bill Musselman.  And a weigh station for notable big-league players past and future such as: Scott Brooks, Tod Murphy, Tony Campbell, Sidney Lowe, Mario Elie, Vincent Askew, and Michael Ray Richardson.
    In the stands, the Pats routinely squeezed sellout crowds into the city’s 1890s-era Washington Avenue Armory – a reliably intimidating environment where Albany’s rabid fans found themselves intimately part of the action. 
    The team’s quick success at the gate became the aspirational force for the construction of a new region-defining 15,000-seat Knickerbocker Arena (today’s Times Union Center) in 1990 – only to see attendances dwindle and the franchise eventually drown against a backdrop of rising costs and CBA expansion.

    • 1 時間22分
    154: The National Women’s Football League’s Houston Herricanes – With Olivia Kuan

    154: The National Women’s Football League’s Houston Herricanes – With Olivia Kuan

    Hollywood cinematographer and documentary filmmaker Olivia Kuan (Brick House) joins to discuss the revealing story of the Houston "Herricanes" of the pioneering National Women’s Football League (1974-88) – and their overlooked role in the historically rich and surprisingly resilient world of women’s pro football.
    The modern women’s pro game started innocently enough in 1967, when Cleveland talent agent Sid Friedman launched a barnstorming “Women’s Professional Football League” in which a team (later nine) of women toured the country playing men’s clubs in exhibitions and charity events – sometimes even as NFL and CFL game halftime entertainment.
    Led by the breakaway Toledo Troopers, the decidedly (and competitively) legit NWFL began play in 1974 with six teams; by 1976, the league had ballooned to 14 franchises from coast-to-coast, including three in football-mad Texas – led by the “Herricanes” of Houston.
    Though devoid of sustainable budgets, major media coverage or appreciable crowds, the Herricanes (and the league itself) featured a passionate breed of player – drawn to an unprecedented opportunity to play real men’s-style tackle football for pay – buttressed by emerging progressive era of Title IX, the Equal Rights Amendment and rampant sports league entrepreneurialism.  
    Most were ecstatic simply to play “for the love of the game” – a common theme that emerges quickly in Kuan’s early research and principal production for Brick House, beginning with the Herricanes’ starting safety – her own mother Basia.
    It’s not too late to plan your baseball Spring Training getaway at VisitArizona.com!

    • 1 時間18分
    153: The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League – With Anika Orrock

    153: The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League – With Anika Orrock

    Award-winning illustrator, cartoonist and unwitting baseball historian Anika Orrock (The Incredible Women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League) joins to discuss her delightfully visual take on the pioneering circuit that not only helped save America’s pastime – but also became the forerunner of women's professional league sports in the United States.
    With the US deep into WWII, attendance at Major League Baseball games by 1943 was dwindling and minor leagues were suspending operations as the nation’s war effort siphoned able-bodied men from pro baseball diamonds across the country.  To keep interest in the sport alive, Chicago Cubs owner Philip Wrigley spearheaded the formation of an all-female league that featured a spirited blend of competitive moxie and girl-next-door femininity that delighted hundreds of thousands of fans throughout the Midwest and garnered significant national publicity.
    The quality of play was surprisingly competitive, aided by ex-big league managers like Jimmy Foxx and Max Carey.  The AAGPBL also doubled as a kind of finishing school for its players – all of whom were expected to maintain high moral standards, rules of conduct and even a Helena Rubinstein-contracted beauty regimen – in an effort to project positive and patriotic female images both on and off the field.
    Orrock’s Incredible Women blends funny, charming, yet powerful vignettes told by the players themselves, with a whimsically stylized graphic design that delivers a remarkably detailed (and all-ages-accessible) oral history of the pioneering league’s 12-year run – and unique place in baseball history.
    PLUS:  The grocery-list stylings of San Francisco Giants’ radio voice Jon Miller!
    It’s not too late to plan your own baseball Spring Training getaway at VisitArizona.com!

    • 1 時間15分
    152: The Senior Professional Baseball Association – With Peter Golenbock

    152: The Senior Professional Baseball Association – With Peter Golenbock

    Spring training is finally under way, and we celebrate the National Pastime with a return visit to the 1989-90 curiosity known as the Senior Professional Baseball Association – with one of its few dedicated chroniclers, prolific sports author Peter Golenbock (The Forever Boys).
    The brainchild of real estate developer (and former college player) Jim Morley, the SPBA was envisioned as a kind of Senior PGA golf-type circuit for ex-Major League Baseball players aged 35 and older (32+ for catchers), played at Spring training facilities throughout Florida during the traditional baseball off-season. 
    Featuring former All-Star player/labor pioneer Curt Flood as commissioner – and a talent roster that included future Hall of Fame players and managers, Major League batting champions, and Cy Young-winning pitching aces – the “Senior League” drew in big names and sizable media attention, but minuscule crowds.
    The eight inaugural teams — the Bradenton Explorers, Fort Myers Sun Sox, Gold Coast Suns, Orlando Juice, St. Lucie Legends, St. Petersburg Pelicans, West Palm Beach Tropics, and Winter Haven Super Sox — averaged just 921 fans per game, roughly half of what Morley and his fellow owners envisioned.
    The Dick Williams-managed Tropics were the league’s 72-game regular season leaders, but it was the Pelicans – the team Golenbock just happened to be following for Forever Boys – who won the step-laddered post-season playoffs to capture what ultimately became the SPBA’s first- and last-ever champion.    
    Plan your own baseball Spring Training getaway at VisitArizona.com!

    • 1 時間18分

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