Sprinkling The Infield

Pull up a seat, grab a coaster and let Todd Brommelkamp pour you a double shot of words with a punctuation chaser. Consider this the equivalent of giving your mind a stiff drink. Just remember this blog, like most things in life, is best enjoyed in moderation.

Never one to turn down a good time, Todd will hang out with anyone (even a pair of cardboard cutouts) as long as the drinks keep coming. Just don't tell him these guys aren't real because it would break his bacon-clogged little heart. 

Don't blame me for Dakich. It's Obama's fault

You can thank Barack Obama and Joni Ernst for helping to bring Dan Dakich to Eastern Iowa's airwaves Wednesday.

Or blame them, as I suppose the case will be.

I didn't watch much of Iowa's game against Wisconsin Tuesday night. I saw the final score. I didn't think I missed much of anything. Also absent from my television viewing that night, but of great interest at least to me, was the president's State of the Union address and the rebuttal (one of them, anyway) delivered by Iowa's freshman senator. Well after my wife had gone to bed I plopped myself on the couch and plugged Fox News into the remote. Then I dialed up MSNBC so I could hit the 'previous channel' button and toggle back and forth between the two. I like juxtaposition. I also crave information, which is why I usually have my phone and iPad near me while watching television. A quick scan of Twitter may turn up something of interest and I'll go to tablet to view video or read a longer story.

After growing bored with talk of raising and lowering taxes and the viability of bread bags as fashion accessory, I turned my attention to that night's game. It soon became clear that Dan Dakich had nearly caused a Twitter implosion among Hawkeyes fans. I watched the video. I heard the commentary. I read the back and forth and I knew one thing – Dan Dakich had to be a guest on our show, which was to air in about 15 hours.

The former Indiana player and assistant had already raised the ire of Hawkeye fans during his last broadcast during which he identified Aaron White as Andrew (Dakich has a son named Andrew who plays for Michigan) and confused the deceased Roy Tarpley for the alive-but-battling-cancer Roy Marble. His comments alongside Mike Tirico at the Kohl Center raised the ante considerably.

I don't know Dan Dakich. I once said hello to him as we passed each other in the tunnel of Carver-Hawkeye Arena and that's the extent of my interactions with the man. However, it's a well-known fact the man loves Twitter (something Iowa fans have certainly learned in recent days) so that's how I reached out to him.

"You have open invitation to come on Iowa City/Cedar Rapids ESPN affiliate today to discuss Woodbury reactions. We'll work you in"

Shortly after that, Dakich favorite something I had re-tweeted earlier in the evening. An acknowledgement, at least. Off to bed.

Wednesday morning I decided to take one last stab, hoping a good-natured reference would get the job done.

"You make great radio in market 39 every day. THIS is an opportunity to do it in market 205! Public Enemy No. 1 w/ #Hawkeyes fans"

And then, this from the man himself… "dude..I'm not doing this over twitter..get ahold of my producer and I'll be glad to help u out..do some work..btw we r 26th"

From there our producer and his went back and forth. There was just one problem. Dakich had driven home from Madison to Indianapolis after doing the ESPN broadcast, arriving around 5 AM EST. His own show, which airs on an ESPN affiliate in Indianapolis, began in six hours. When he got off the air at 2 he was going to go home and go to bed. Kyle, his producer, said he'd text him later in the evening.

While tweeting about our hope that Dan would join the program, he responded that he'd be happy to. We were relatively confident he'd be on with us and were aware that a request by a Des Moines station earlier in the day had been rebuffed because it wasn't an ESPN affiliate. The power of those four letters was on our side.

With a two hour window given to us, we took the air with the belief Dakich would join us somewhere between 5 and 7 locally. Doing a three hour radio show with two of those hours essentially "floating" isn't ideal, but the story wasn't dying and this was essentially going to be an exclusive. You make it work and we did.

The five o'clock hour passed and no Dakich. Shortly after six a tweet from Kyle was received, wanting confirmation we were indeed an ESPN affiliate. I sent him a link to our website. Dakich, at the time, was doing a radio hit in Madison, presumably talking about the actual game played between the Badgers and Hawkeyes. Finally, about 15 minutes before the interview took place, confirmation.

Dakich gave two guys in the middle of Iowa in a 200s market over 10 minutes of his time. He stood by his words, which wasn't totally unexpected. He said he liked Fran McCaffery and Iowa. Most telling, he said in no uncertain terms, he didn't get a rip what anyone thought about him. This is a Dakich staple. It's what allows him to say and do what he does and to also be highly successful as a broadcaster, despite what his many critics claim.

Depending on who you spoke to the segment was either fantastic or the majority of the time was spent kissing Dakich's ass and tossing him softballs. Dakich would brush that criticism off, I took it personally. That's why he's far more successful at this than I'll ever dream of being. To each their own though. I had a million questions for Dakich, most of which didn't pertain to the subject of Adam Woodbury gouging two opposing players in the eyes.

Later on Thursday evening, McCaffery took to the air during his own call-in show to address the matter further. Let's just say he's still a little agitated.

Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids Gazette summed up the entire affair appropriately on Thursday. The two men were both using this to further their own agendas. McCaffery, by backing his player unequivocally, was playing to a fan base that was too busy wrapping its arms around coach and player to worry about an embarrassing blowout loss. (Full disclosure: Wisconsin, playing the way it did Tuesday, would have waxed many a better team than the Hawkeyes) Dakich got the type of controversy that drives people to his radio show and Twitter account, where he thrives on playing with the emotions of fans who fail to see they're playing right into his hands.

Wisconsin and Iowa play again next week. It's entirely possible ESPN assigns Dakich to do the broadcast from Carver-Hawkeye Arena. That I can't guarantee. What I can tell you is that officials will be watching Woodbury a lot closer in each game he plays and that isn't the fault of any ESPN commentator.
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