20-Second Timeout: March 2011


Follow the team all season long with the 20-Second Timeout blog by Bill Schoening, The Radio Voice of the Spurs for the past 10 years. Bill has over 30 years of play-by-play experience including broadcasting Major League Baseball, the NFL and the NBA. *Timeout Archive: October 10 | November 10 | December 10 | January 11 | February 11


Keeping Up The Tempo On Spanish Radio
by
Bill Schoening | March 30, 2011

Paul Castro
The young Paul Castro wanted to direct television and music videos. That is why he attended Oregon State University. However, success in another career field awaited Castro, something that wasn't anywhere on his radar.

Castro, who split time growing up between his hometown of San Miguel, Mexico and Oregon, was hosting a music show at a radio station in Portland when that station obtained the rights to broadcast the Portland Trail Blazers games in Spanish. Castro was encouraged to send a tape, but he had no play by play experience. So he sits down in front of his television set one night with a cassette recorder and describes a Blazers-Lakers game.

Believe it or not, that tape got Castro the gig, and for the next three seasons, Castro got to call the games of Buck Williams and Terry Porter.

When the Blazers decided to discontinue the Spanish broadcasts three seasons later, Castro was already skilled enough to get the Spurs job, in time for the '92-'93 season. He has been with the Spurs ever since.

My favorite story about Paul (who is known affectionately as "Publio" among the Spurs family) occurred about six years ago when the Pacers had a shooting guard from Lithuania named Sarunas Jasikevicius. When Castro had a tough time with that name (justifiably so) he told me that he would just refer to Sarunas as "Yes We Have Cabbages!". That night, on KCOR Radio, Yes We Have Cabbages scored 14 points.

Muy Bueno Publiio!


Tiago Hangs Tough
by Bill Schoening | March 24, 2011

Tiago Splitter
It has not been an ideal rookie season for Spurs center Tiago Splitter. I remember the look of frustration on his face when he injured his calf during the first week of training camp. The injury forced him to miss valuable court time during training camp and in preseason games.

When the Spurs got off to the best start in franchise history, there were not a lot of extra minutes to go around.

During the rodeo road trip, Splitter came up big with a 16-point, nine-rebound game against the Kings, but suffered a hamstring injury in Toronto which forced him to miss the rest of the trip.

Splitter easily could have gotten down on himself, but teammates (especially Manu Ginobili) encouraged Splitter to keep working hard. Tiago is now getting an opportunity due to Tim Duncan's sprained ankle. He has shown toughness, a willingness to defend and rebound, and a penchant for pick and roll, something he did well in Europe.

Splitter says he has a long way to go in his development as an NBA player, but seems optimistic, "I am now much more comfortable and confident, and I want to improve in all areas so I can help my team."


Manu's Global Popularity
by Bill Schoening | March 16, 2011

Manu Ginobili
Last summer I had the good fortune to visit Rome. It had been on my bucket list for awhile since I love history, old cathedrals, and Italian food. One night while dining at a restaurant in the Piazza Navona, a young man with a thick accent approached me. He noticed the Spurs logo on my shirt. He wanted to know if I knew Manu Ginobili. When I told him I did, he got so excited I had a REALLY hard time understanding him.

His name was Carlos and he was from Buenos Aires. He had moved to Rome a number of years earlier, but he was still a very proud Argentinean and wanted me to tell Manu I had met him. Carlos even remembered Manu when he played for Reggio Calabria in Italy.

The reason I share this story is because Ginobili's popularity in his home country is literally off the charts. I can't recall an NBA arena this season where there weren't multiple Argentina flags and jerseys. Manu, of course, is always very gracious-posing for pictures, shaking hands and signing autographs. It is a scene repeated in every arena each night the Spurs are the road.

After his playing days are done, Manu could return to Argentina and do whatever he wanted. If he ran for office it's not a question if he would win, but if it would be a unanimous vote.


A Team Effort Leads to Home Success
by Bill Schoening | March 9, 2011

This Is Our House
Okay, so the 22 game homecourt winning streak at the AT&T Center is over. You might have noticed it lasted a little while. The Spurs went from Thanksgiving weekend all the way past Texas Independence Day without a home loss. In the long and storied history of the Silver and Black, it is their longest home winning streak.

One of the reasons the Spurs were able to go on such a streak is the atmosphere in the arena. Take it from someone who has been to every NBA arena on multiple occasions, Spurs fans have a sharp sense of when the team needs a bit of a pick up. I have used the term "playoff like atmosphere" multiple times this season, and most of those games were played in San Antonio.

I think the Coyote is by far the best mascot in the NBA. I honestly don't know much about dance routines, but I know the Silver Dancers put in countless hours perfecting their performances. Of course, nothing tops the game itself when you have the most consistent team in the NBA. It was overlooked by much of the media outside South Texas, but the Spurs 50th win this season put them in very unique company.

Only the Magic Johnson Era Lakers won 50 games for 12 straight seasons. All of that combined helps make the entire Spurs Experience good for the fans, players, and even the media!


Bonner's Humor Pokes at Himself
by Bill Schoening | March 1, 2011

There may be some players in professional sports who tend to get caught up in making lots of money and being on a huge stage, so their lifestyle includes an entourage, limos, and lots of extra jewelry. The antithesis of that athlete is Matt Bonner, who still is the guy next door.

Yes, Bonner became well known in Toronto for riding public transportation to the Air Canada Centre, and here in San Antonio, fans enjoyed reading his weekly Sandwich Hunter blog about his favorite sandwiches around the league. Bonner's about as blue collar as they come.

Former Raptors play by play man Chuck Swirsky (now with the Bulls) told me that Bonner met him for lunch one day at a Subway and produced coupons at the counter. He saved nearly three dollars! Bonner's self deprecating humor is apparent in his new "Coach B' segment on Spurs.com, where he openly brags about his "47 inch vertical". Yes, there was some heavy editing going on! The segment has the feel of low power community TV meets bad instructional video. Of course, Matt struggles going to his left.

All of us could do well to adhere to one philosophy that seems to fit Bonner's attitude- Take what you do seriously, but don't take yourself seriously. Now I have to get back to the Coach B segment...he's talking about his new nickname, "The Medium Fundamental".