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Phoenix teams' struggles frustrating fans

The Arizona Cardinals have lost seven straight games, the Suns and Diamondbacks have struggled, and the NHL lockout is preventing the Phoenix Coyotes from even playing.

Other than Arizona State University beating the University of Arizona in football last week, Valley sports fans have had little reason to cheer.

Fans on the patio of Marcel's Sports Grill in north Phoenix are frustrated with local sports scene.

"Especially with the Cardinals, it's a little tough," said Dan Kingsbury, adding that he'll keep supporting the local teams. "Sooner or later, you hope that they're going to turn it around."

Which team is coming out of the funk first? George Shatoo thinks it'll be ASU football.

"Their best players right now are sophomores and freshmen. I like them," he said. "I was up until 11 o'clock at night watching ASU beat the U of A last week. My neighbors next door were screaming."

Shatoo likes the Suns as well.

"They're trying to mesh together," he said. "It's not happening yet, but I always like them. I always have hope for them."

However, Shatoo was critical of the Diamondbacks.

"It's a long way before they're going to get up there again," he said. "We love Kirk Gibson, but maybe he's just too aggressive and thinks his players can do the same things that he did, like running the bases and being very devoted. They can't."

As for the Coyotes, customers said they root for them except when they're playing their favorite team from back home. Shatoo and his brother are Detroit Red Wings fans.

As for the Cardinals, Kingsbury thinks they may be among many NFL teams that soon will be making a head coaching change.

"I saw a recent sports report that said eight coaches will be without a job," he said. When asked if Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt is among those who could be fired, Kingsbury said "Sure he is and he should be."

Whisenhunt knows there are people who have that opinion.

"It's part of the job," Whisenhunt said after Sunday's loss to the St. Louis Rams. "There's a lot of speculation about everything. I think you've got to have thick skin."

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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