Airwaves: Oregon State coach finds ultimate recruit tool 

Every alum from Oregon State just got more interested in their men’s basketball program. When was the last time your coach spoke at a national political convention on worldwide TV?

Obviously not often.

But, as they say, only in Corvallis ... I mean, America. Monday in Denver, Oregon State coach Craig Robinson had the honor and distinction of introducing his sister, Michelle Obama, to the throngs of people attending the Democratic National Convention. She followed with a wonderful speech, addressing family values, yada, yada, yada.

But the Beavers family and Robinson were the real winners here. Just think what his appearance did for the recruiting, the notoriety and the exposure of OSU basketball. The nation got to see what he was all about and what kind of guy he really is.

Robinson was articulate and, like his sister, came across as a genuine person and someone you can trust your son’s athletic career with. His recruiting base just expanded after his heartfelt, 10-minute introduction.

He is going to need it, because the first-year coach inherits a program that went 6-25 last season.

> Let us not forget it is still baseball season. Reportedly, the A’s are considering leaving Comcast SportsNet Bay Area for Sacramento-based Comcast SportsNet West when their present TV contract is up after the 2011 season. If that were to occur, I am sure station ownership will be part of the agreement, a similar situation that the Giants have with CSNBA. Obviously, and I do not blame them, the A’s would want their own channel and identity. In addition, their own cable network will allow them to broadcast more games, which also translates into more money. To date, they appear satisfied with splitting games between CSNBA and KICU (Ch. 36). However, unless CSNBA develops another channel, it will lose Billy Beane’s team.

Of course, it also brings up the bigger question about what will eventually happen at the McAfee Coliseum when the Raiders, lease is up in a couple of years and who is going where.

The Fremont fantasy ballpark appears to be a pipe dream that will never happen. Why not just move the franchise to Sacramento and then it becomes the perfect tie in for CSN West? The state capital has very supportive fans, a perfect infrastructure for the ballpark and a market they would share with only one other professional franchise, the NBA’s Kings.

Of course, all this is way too logical.

Fox triumphs with Strahan staying put

Smart decision by Michael Strahan to stay retired and not rejoin the New York Giants.

Fox is going to make him a TV star, as evidenced by commercials and promotions this offseason. Next week, when the season begins, he will join the “Fox NFL Sunday” pregame show with Howie Long, Terry Bradshaw and Jimmy Johnson. Already a great program, Fox is gambling somewhat by adding him to the mix.

Sources (and very good ones) tell me he will be seated on the set between Howie and Jimmy. It is a wonderful opportunity for him. He has the personality and smarts to be a longtime star for the Fox family, both in sports and in entertainment. He should be a fun listen.

Also, for you weight watchers out there, Jimmy Johnson has lost a considerable amount of poundage this offseason. So don’t kick your flat screen — it is just a skinny version of the former roly-poly coach, who is fabulous on the show.

>  With the NFL season kicking off Thursday and continuing with 14 games Sunday, do not miss ESPN’s John Clayton for information and true updates. Unlike some of his co-workers, Clayton gets the facts and the correct information before he goes on TV. Too many of these guys just throw spaghetti on the wall and whatever sticks is the story they go with. Clayton is TV’s best information man.

>  I really miss pro football writer and insightful NFL expert Ira Miller. Ira and his lovely wife, Sharon, relocated to the Chicago area one year ago and are doing fine traveling and sipping wine from around the world. Now, he occasionally writes for NFL.com and various other Web sites. I gave him a snow shovel as a going away present.

Who said it

JAY ROTHMAN

“I think we may have been trying to overdeliver for all audiences and casual fans,” the ESPN senior coordinating producer said of “Monday Night Football” telecasts. ESPN is streamlining its “MNF” telecasts to focus more on the game rather than the surrounding spectacle.

GREG NORMAN

“This generation of golfers has been whipped by Tiger. They go out there thinking that they can’t beat him, so they don’t!” The Shark said this while being interviewed in Men’s Vogue magazine. This might have something to do with it, but so does the fact Tiger Woods is the greatest golfer to ever roam this planet.

One to watch

Redskins at Giants

The first official game of the 2008 NFL season is Thursday at 4 p.m. on KNTV (Ch. 11). The Washington Redskins, led by first-year coach Jim Zorn, travel to the Meadowlands to battle their NFC East rival and the reigning world-champion New York Giants, led by quarterback Eli Manning. The great Al Michaels and the coach, John Madden, will call the action. Should be a good one.

OFF TARGET

The NFL Network, allowing Sterling Sharpe to make his debut as a play-by-play announcer last week in a game involving the Indianapolis Colts and Buffalo Bills. The word “horrendous” is being too kind. Along with Marshall Faulk and Deion Sanders as the analysts, this might go down as one of the worst productions in the history of football.

Life by numbers

The cost of the new Tiger Woods-designed golf course in Dubai

$1.1 billion

Weeks since Tiger has played in a golf tournament

11

Percentage drop in TV viewership in Tiger-less tournaments from 2007

33

Artie Gigantino spent 25 years as a coach at the major-college and NFL levels,was lead college football analyst for Fox Sports Net for seven years, was with CBS for one year and was an executive with the Raiders for three years. E-mail him at agigantino@sfexaminer.com.

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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