Saturday, February 28, 2009
The 4 letter network (based on fan vote) has dubbed the state of Illinois with the best Mt. Rushmore Of Sports!! That's right!!!! Illinois took down dubvious contenders like New York, Pennsylvania, Alabama, and California. We took down the Governator!!!
You should be proud fellow Illinoisans (?)....our Mt. Rushmore included the likes of Michael Jordan (duh!), Walter Payton (duh!), Ernie Banks (ah....yeah), and of course Da Coach!!
It's true that Illinois (Chicago mostly) has had some sports greats. You could have included Dick Butkis, Scottie Pippen, Sammy Sosa, Frank Thomas, Bobby Hull, Ozzie Guillen, and many others in the list for contenders for the "Mt. Rushmore of Sports."
It's a great award and I'm sure the thousands of people that actually sat at their computer with their pants off and voted for Illinois are extremely happy their state won the award.
But let's turn it around.....let's do something to celebrate the worst careers in sports history!!
The Puente Hills Landfill is the largest landfill in the United States located in the heart of Los Angeles County in California. Believe it or not the landfill is open to the public for tours Monday through Saturday from 6:00am to 5:00pm for of all things....a tour of the facilities!! If you'd like more information on touring the landfill...CLICK HERE
So if I were to take a tour of the Puente Hills Landfill in Los Angeles County, California....who's Chicago career in sports would I see lying next to used Big Mac wrappers and soiled diapers? Let's choose one player from each of the 5 teams in town (Cubs/White Sox/Bulls/Bears/Blackhawks).
Let's start with an obvious one....
THE WORST CHICAGO WHITE SOX CAREER
Billy Koch (2003-2004)
When Billy Koch was traded to the Chicago White Sox from the Oakland Athletics for Keith Foulke, Mark Johnson and some cash....White Sox fans thought their closer situation had all been resolved. Koch coming off a career year in Oakland finishing with 44 saves in 2002 and averaging 36 saves a season heading into Chicago, every Sox fan was excited to see the "Billy Goat" head to the south side. Koch's career however took a turn for the south as he finishing 2003 with 11 saves in 55 appearances making around 4.3 million that year. Koch's post Chicago career included being traded to the Marlins in 2004 and working 25 games for the Marlins that year. Koch was promptly released after the 2004 season and never sniffed the majors ever again. What hurt even worse is Keith Foulke (traded for Koch) had a career year in 2003 with the Oakland Athletics.
Honorable Mentions: Joe Borchard, Nick Swisher, David Wells
THE WORST CHICAGO CUBS CAREER
Todd Hundley (2001-2002)
It seemed like such a no-brainer at the time didn't it?? Local guy who grew up in Palantine, attended Fremd High School and the son of a revered Chicago Cubs Randy Hundley. When the Cubs signed Todd Hundley to a 4 yr/24 million dollar contract in the winter of 2000, it was hailed by both fans and media. The two years of his short-lived Cubs career puts Hundley with the worst career of a Chicago Cub in history. In 2000, Hundley hit .187 with 12 homers and 37 rbi only to follow that poor year with a 2001 season where he hit .211 with 16 home runs and 35 rbi. Simply put the Cubbie faithful turned on Hundley quickly and Todd could never work his way over sucking!!! Hundley was traded in the winter of 2002 to the LA Dodgers where he promptly ended his career after 33 at bats in LA hitting .182.
Honorable Mentions: Corey Patterson, Mark Prior, Todd Zeile
THE WORST CHICAGO BULLS CAREER
Jay Williams (2002-2003)
Selected with the 2nd pick in the 2002 NBA Draft, Jason "Jay" Williams was thought to be the savior of a franchise that had lost 230 games since the last title of Michael Jordan's career. Williams was considered the best player in NCAA Basketball leading Duke to an NCAA title in 2001. The Bulls took Williams with the 2nd pick in the draft and went 30-52 in 2002-2003 which was a 9 win improvement from the year previous under new head coach Bill Cartwright. Things were looking promising as the Bulls looked to increase the role of Williams in the Bulls offense for years to come. Then one night Williams crashed his motorcycle into a pole in Chicago and nearly lost his life. He never returned to the NBA. Williams career in Chicago ended averaging 9.5 pts and 4.7 assists per game in one NBA season.
Honorable Mentions: Eddie Robinson, Eddy Curry, Corie Blount
THE WORST CHICAGO BEARS CAREER
Cade Mcnown (1999-2000)
Cade Mcnown's name is on the list of QB's that have started for the Bears since Jim McMahon. This list includes names like Chad Hutchinson, Jonathan Quinn, Kordell Stewart, and Henry Burris. By far however Cade Mcnown had the worst career in Chicago because it began and ended in Chicago. Mcnown was selected with the 12th pick in the 1999 NFL Draft out of UCLA and promptly started 15 games in his 2 year career for the Chicago Bears and never found the field ever again. Hated by the fans, problems with playmates, and overall just a bad starting QB...Cade McNown wins the worst career as a Chicago Bear award....and that's saying something!
Honorable Mentions: Rashaan Salam, Curtis Enis, Cedric Benson, David Terrell.
THE WORST CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS CAREER
Theoren Fleury (2002-2003)
Theo Fleury was one hell of a hockey player in his days in Calgary scoring over 40 goals 3 times in his career. He was the captain of the Calgary Flames for many years and played 11 seasons for the Flames with one stanley cup to his name in his rookie season of 1988-1989. When the Blackhawks acquired Fleury signing him as a free agent in the summer of 2002, Hawks fans knew Fleury was on the downside of his career and didn't expect much from the 7-time all star. However Fleury had a substance abuse problem which flared up and led to a 25 game suspension before the Hawks even saw Fleury on their home ice. Once Fleury joined the club...he missed a practice claiming he overslept and then was involved in an incident at a Columbus, Ohio strip club where Theo was intoxicated and got into a fight. He wasn't suspended by the NHL as the Hawks called it a team matter. The NHL however did suspend him for substance abuse again in 2003 and that led to Fleury's exit from the NHL for good.
Honorable Mentions: Tuomo Ruutu, Alexander Karpovtsev
So as you pass through the walls of Puente Hills Landfill in LA County, California...make sure to be on the lookout for these Chicago athletes careers lying in the trash and stinking up the joint....cause that's what they did here.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
So finally the Bears decided that Rex Grossman will no longer be a part of the Chicago Bears franchise. The 22nd overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft a.k.a. "Sexy Rexy" has officially played his last season as a Chicago Bear and therefore will be added to the grocery list of QB's to come through this town since the departure of a funky QB.
What's funny to me however is reading and listening the local media today and how they're saying that the fans booing Rex was not fair, deliberate and mean. So we wait in the media till a guy leave to start defending him? Is that a new rule? Is that a new law? Did I miss the company e-mail from Mitch on this one?
Listen....and forgive me for sounding like a fan fellow media members.
REX GROSSMAN WAS JUST ANOTHER BELOW AVERAGE QUARTERBACK THAT JERRY ANGELO AND THE ORGANIZATION FORCED DOWN THE FANS THROATS AND MADE THEM LIKE IT NO MATTER WHAT THE OUTCOME OF THE SEASON(S).
I understand that Rex may be a nice guy at heart and has the desire to win and all....but the guy couldn't stay healthy for a full season....in fact in only one of his anointed "Rex Is Our Starting Quarterback" type season...Rex started all 16 games only once in a season (2006).
This is a QB who threw for over 1,000 yards only twice in 4 seasons as the anoited starting QB for this team. For those 4 years as well, he threw more interceptions than touchdowns in each year except 2006, and led the Bears to the postseason twice in his 6 year career.
And how about that wonderful 2006 season. Rex had a great start the first 5 games of the year winning the NFC Offensive Player Of The Month Award...then he had that stellar game against the Cardinals in the desert. A 10.2 QB RATING!! 10.2!!! Granted the Bears won the game, but the great Rex Grossman didn't return to consistent stellar play game in and game out the rest of the year. In fact down the stretch of that magical year of 2006....Rex had QB ratings of 36.8/23.7/1.3/and a goose egg in the final game of the year at home against the hated Packers. Granted the game didn't matter and that point was made even more evident when Rex said in the postgame:
" It was New Year's Eve -- there were so many other factors that brought my focus away from what is actually important, and that's something that I am never going to do again."
Apparently partying it up with Chicago locals was more important than beating your rival division opponent. Remember what Lovie's number #1 goal was when he was hired?? BEAT THE PACKERS!! Rex must have missed the memo on that one.
Rex Grossman was babied throughout his entire career here in Chicago. No matter what the situation..."Rex Is Our QB." No matter what kind of injury Rex is coming off of...."Rex Is Our QB." No matter what kind of sub-par season Rex had the year previous..."Rex is our QB."
Rex always had the support of the organization as well. Last season Rex was signed to a one year deal because Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith wanted to give him one more chance at starting for the Bears.....and after finally having a competition for the starting QB job in training camp.....Rex lost to a guy who was on the bench gathering pine watching "Sexy Rexy" throw dumb throw after dumb throw for the two seasons prior.
The fact that it took 4 years to have a competition for the starting QB when there was NOTHING from the previous year to say you have solidified that position is outright ridiculous. That's a bad reflection on the coaching staff. You realize that in Rex's career starts he has a record of 19-11...Kyle Orton has a record of 21-12....and Kyle's been a Bear two years less than Orton.
So to those (and you know who you are) who say that Bears fans were unwarranted to boo Rex Grossman and that wasn't fair to Rex....Bite Me! Fans are allowed to voice their opinion in any way they want and quite frankly that is what makes going to the game worth the price of admission. If you like what you see, cheer...if you don't, boo. I don't see why it's such a pity that fans boo'd Grossman like they did....he wasn't that damn good.
Chicago has suffered too long with garbage QB's that all that frustration maybe fell upon Rex...but there's no way you can reason that fans booing a player of Rex's caliber is undeserving. He was a stud in college, sucked in the pros and was just another face at a position on the Bears that hasn't had one since the days of McMahon.
I'm sure Rex will find work somewhere because teams need backup quarterbacks all the time. He'll never be a every game starter in the NFL ever again and maybe that's the way it should have been from the start. So in conclusion...good luck Rex....and if Joey Harrington can find a new home....so can you.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Even though today was the first exhibition of thirty eight games, how much emphasis can we put on these games? I know that there are position battles on both sides of town, but if Octavio Dotel has a bad outing (and he did) do we have to turn on him right away? There will be some "experts" either later tonight or tomorrow that will say O-Do-Tel (horrible nick btw) needs to be moved in the bullpen or sent down or whatever. The future "starter" Jeff Samardzija wasn't stellar either (2 IP 2 R 3 H 2 BB) in his spring debut, but is he automatically not the guy for the 5th starter role?
I understand the fact that baseball is officially back and I'm looking forward to a 82 win season for the Sox (HA! Nate Silver) and an NL division title for the Cubs......but I think that even most fans know exactly or at least know right around what they have in their teams and where they'll finish. I think this is one of those few years in baseball where Sox and Cubs fans know what they'll get way ahead of time.
I just feel like expectations for the N. Side of town are as high as ever and yet the S. Side fans I think would be happy with an around .500 team this season. I don't think there is one Sox fan that EXPECTS a division title this season. I know that ALL Cubs fans expect a division title this season. Sox fans know of the sophomore slump and don't expect the same years that Quentin, Ramirez, Floyd, and Danks had last year. Cubs fans know what they'll get from Ramirez, Lee, Soriano, and know that Milton Bradley will get hurt and lose his cool at least once this season. Sox fans know they can rely on AJ and Ozzie to entertain the south side masses and Cubs fans are already counting down till when Lou gets his first ejection of the year.
So if everything for the most part is already known......why do we have to suffer through 38 games of spring?
I think most Sox and Cubs fans don't have ANY questions about this upcoming season except pondering how they'll make a few games this season with the struggling economy.
My intention is not to ruin your baseball buzz....I PROMISE!!! I got the buzz now because I've already dusted off the box for MLB 08 The Show and adjusted rosters for this coming season. The buzz is there...but baseball's spring training is like a so-so comedy. Fast start with lots of one-liners/jokes gets you interested, then the story line in the middle with the romance part....lose some interest....then as the flick nears the end you fall asleep on your first date with a bangin' chick who leaves you and your bucket of jiffy pop at the AMC. That's spring training for me.
Can someone wake me up when April swings around!!!?
One good thing however for a guy like me who works early mornings and babysits during the day.....spring training baseball is great lullaby music...helps both son and daddy!!
Monday, February 23, 2009
So this past weekend marked the beginning of the most insignificant week in professional sports. NO...I'm not talking about the Bass Masters Championship or the week building up to the Indianapolis 500.....THE NFL COMBINE. This event single handily shows that there is too much emphasis put on the crap that doesn't matter in sports rather than if you think that this player can help you win. Seriously....this event makes ESPNU's coverage of National Signing Day look like a reunion show of Home Improvement. WHO DOESN'T LOVE HOME IMPROVEMENT??
Do I really care about a guys 3-cone drill time? How bout the 40 yard dash time? Do you know who had the fastest 40 time in this combine? Ever hear of Darrius Heyward-Bey?? He's a WR that projected to go late in the first round....does the 40 time improve his draft status?? What do I care if he's .08 seconds faster than the top WR's in the upcoming draft, and how bout that broad jump huh??
This is the biggest waste of time and money in professional sports. Worst than any draft, worst than the Pro Bowl, this is worse than the freakin' NHL preseason schedule!!! So I figure I'd come up with 5 things I'd rather do than tune into 24 hour coverage (way too much) of the NFL Combine.
#1 - Read the original script of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. If I had a nickel for every Bill S. Preston Esquire "Dude" and every Ted Theodore Logan "Whoh".....I wouldn't be in radio anymore.
#2 - Watch Fox News. That's enough to make a man lose his lunch.
#3 - Figure out how to bake a cake. I can't cook worth you know what....I once burned fried Ice Cream. I figure if I take the time to learn how to properly bake a desert of some kind without burning my apartment complex down or injuring a small farm animal....there's a reward. Sweet Chocolaty Goodness!!
#4 - Run a mile barefoot on a construction site. Sure it may hurt a little, but I can clock my 40 time while avoiding nails, glass and other sharp objects.
#5 - Breakdown the 2009 National Yo-Yo Contest!! Did you see this thing on CSN this afternoon!!
How bout that "walk the dog" followed by an "around the world" and LOOK AT THAT "creeper"!!!!
"FOLKS....THIS KID'S EATING SPAGHETTI!!"
This is by far more entertaining than the NFL Combine!!!
What would you rather do than watch the NFL Combine???? Join the conversation either here or at my facebook page!!
http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Donald-Mamola/633926634? <---Click here for my Facebook!!
Saturday, February 21, 2009
This Sunday is the 81st Academy Awards and probably like you (I may be wrong on this)....I don't give a damn about seeing actors/actresses I've never heard of win awards for movies I haven't seen nor have any interest in seeing even if it wins an award. The only award that is peaking my interest is to see if Hollywood falls all over itself complimenting the now deceased Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight saying how it stacks up with the great of the silver screen.
So let's take the top 5 categories (Lead Actor/Actress....Supporting Actor/Actress....Best Picture) and apply them to something we all enjoy.....professional sports!!
Now I PREDICT (said it like I mean it....*cough) that no one pays attention to womens' sports in this town. Am I wrong?? Are you like the extreme minority of people and watch Michelle Wie on the Golf Channel or catch a Chicago Sky game on..........are they even on TV?
So what we'll do is award the women's awards for coaches/managers and general managers. Lead Actress will be best manager/coach in sports and supporting role will be the best GM in professional sports.
Here we go.
THE AWARD FOR BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE (BEST GM IN SPORTS) GOES TO.....
KEN HOLLAND (DETROIT RED WINGS)
Now I know I may be breaking your hearts Blackhawks fans but let's face it....besides the Atlanta Braves/NY Yankees in baseball and the Lakers in basketball....there hasn't been a more consistent franchise that has made the postseason and won the title under one GM's reign than the Detroit Red Wings. I've always believed the Stanley Cup playoffs are the most unpredictable playoff series in professional sports and under Holland's reign the Red Wings have brought home 3 Cups in 10 seasons. The Wings have finished with under 100 points on a season only once in Holland's tenure and even with the departure of Scotty Bowman....the Wings are still one of (if not) the best teams in the NHL. Key players he brought in include Sergei Federov, Dominik Hasek, Chris Chelios, and Pavel Dutsuk. Hockeytown has simply been the example of how to run a franchise since Holland took over in 1997 therefore Ken Holland is simply the best GM in professional sports.
THE AWARD FOR BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE (BEST COACH/MANAGER IN SPORTS) GOES TO.....
BILL BELICHICK (NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS)
The New England Patriots are the dynasty of this decade in professional sports. With parody running rampant in the NFL and free agents going after the top dollar rather than a chance of glory....the New England Patriots have been the best team of the new millennium. Since Belichick took over the team in 2000...the Patriots have gone on to a record of 102-42 (.708 winning %) winning 3 Super Bowls and the only team to go unbeaten in the 16 game regular season era. Look at this past year, the Patriots won 11 games with Matt Cassell at quarterback. Tom Brady was a 6th round draft pick (198 players picked before Tom Brady.) This team won a Super Bowls with 5 foot 10 inch Troy Brown as their best receiver and Antowain Smith as their full time running back. Bill Belichick has made so many careers of players who wouldn't be on first squads of the most big name teams in the NFL and yet he keeps a wardrobe on the sidelines that you and me wear around the house on a day off. He's may be a boring interview and not be the most tv friendly coach in history...but the results are unquestionable.
THE AWARD FOR BEST LEAD ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE (MOST UNKNOWN SUPERSTAR IN SPORTS) GOES TO...
HANLEY RAMIREZ (FLORIDA MARLINS SHORTSTOP)
This was the toughest category to pick because when picking this one you have to know fantasy sports. When you get to the later rounds of fantasy sports you need to pick up the guy that you know produces but no one has ever heard of. I also had to think in today's internet age, most sports fans know pretty much something about each team in sports. So when deciding this category I looked for the most productive unknown athlete in sports rather than the most under-rated player because people debate under/over-rated all the time and it's boring.
You'd be shocked how many baseball fans don't know Hanley Ramirez who is now entering into his 4th season as the Florida Marlins shortstop. Here's all you need to know about Hanley Ramirez....
- Rookie Of The Year 2006
- Career Averages .308 27 HR 72 RBI 48 Stolen Bases A Season as a leadoff hitter.
- 1 Silver Slugger Award / Averages 199 hits a season
- Has only missed 21 games in 3 full seasons
All this on a team that has finished no higher than 3rd place in the NL East.
The 25 year old Dominican Republic native is single handily the most unknown superstar in Major League Baseball. When you think of SS in the NL, most baseball fans would run off names like Jimmy Rollins, Jose Reyes, Miguel Tejada. Very few fans of AL baseball have some clue of who Hanley is. Very few people would bring up the name Hanley Ramirez when asked who are the top shortstops in the NL...hence why Hanley Ramirez is the most unknown superstar in sports. Check him out when he comes to Wrigley April 30-May 3rd.
THE AWARD FOR BEST ACTOR IN A LEAD ROLE (BEST LEADER/CAPTAIN OF THEIR RESPECTIVE TEAM IN SPORTS) GOES TO.....
KOBE BRYANT (LOS ANGELES LAKERS)
In this category you can look at the likes of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, LeBron James, Sidney Crosby, Kevin Garnett, Derek Jeter, and others....but you got to give it to Kobe. Kobe embodies everything that made MJ great in his days with the Bulls. Kobe is the guy you want taking the last shot...he's the guy that can lock down on defense....and he's a guy that makes his teammates better. People say the only reason why Kobe has three titles is because he was teamed with the best center of this generation in Shaq. Can't you say the same thing about Shaq?? Without Kobe...would Shaq have won 3 straight titles in LA? Who made who in LA those 3 straight seasons in LA can be debated for years to come......but when it comes to a guy that can put a team on his shoulders if need be.....I want Kobe on my roster. He's more important to the Lakers than Jack Nicolson's court side seats. He brings people to arenas and gets cheered in the end. Kobe is the MJ of this generation and the best part about it......he came straight to the NBA from high school, changed his number in his prime, was smeared with public shame after those Denver sexual assault charges (yeah...remember those) and yet Kobe is still the face of the NBA and the best player in the game.
THE AWARD FOR BEST PICTURE (BEST ATHLETE/SUPERSTAR IN SPORTS) GOES TO.....
If this past year in the PGA proved anything.....it proved that the interest/focus in the sport of golf doesn't exist unless Tiger is playing. There is no other athlete that a sport is so dependent on than Tiger Woods. He not only brings in exposure to the game of golf but he brings something that golf needed since the glory days of The Golden Bear.....a superstar. Ask anyone in the world if they could name a professional golfer and it wouldn't even take a second to hear the name Tiger Woods. Tiger is so dominant at his sport that they make courses "Tiger-proof" by lengthening the holes and creating more hazard situations. Young people are hitting the range and learning the game of golf because of Tiger Woods. The Tiger Woods franchise of video games rivals the Madden franchise in sales. When you look at TV ratings when Tiger plays compared when he doesn't....an average of 25-35% increase when Tiger's playing. He's simply the only athlete where his sport's success depends on him playing. Were you watching the PGA these past 8 months?? I know I wasn't and I hate golf....but if Tiger's playing.....i'm hooked. Tiger Woods is simply the best athlete currently in sports.Let me know what you think!!!
Monday, February 16, 2009
Over 2,600,000 people lost their jobs last year in the United States mostly due to the economic climate the world is currently entrenched in. That in itself has normal everyday people fighting to make due on top of worrying about their own job if they'll lose it due to budget cuts or some other outside reason. I'm just like you when it comes to my job...I value it more everyday when I see 6,000 people cut today and 10,000 more tomorrow. With all the stress and pressure in your own job...can you imagine being a head coach in the NBA? Now that's scary!
Today former NBA point guard Terry Porter was released as head coach of the Phoenix Suns making him the 7th head coach THIS SEASON to be fired. That's 7 head coaches of the 30 teams in the NBA....THAT'S JUST UNDER A QUARTER (25%) OF THE TEAMS IN THE NBA WHO HAVE CHANGED THEIR MINDS ON WHO LEADS THE TEAM!!
Terry Porter joins a list that includes Eddie Jordan (WASH), Sam Mitchell (TOR), Reggie Theus (SAC), Maurice Cheeks (PHIL), P.J. Carlesimo (OKC), Randy Whittman (MIN), and Marc Iavaroni (MEM). Now I'm not saying that any of these names listed are top 5 head coaches, but could the position of NBA Head Coach be the most insecure position in employment history?
People makes careers at McDonalds even if they don't salt the french fries....but for Terry Porter 28-23 for the Phoenix Suns isn't good enough. The excuses that have been used is that Porter was a defensive minded head coach and with the talent that is currently on that roster...5 games over .500 is not good enough. Although I would give a guy who I signed to a 3 year deal more than 4 months to prove himself, I agree with the later. As for being a defensive minded coach....don't you know that when you interview him? So...in essence whoever interviewed/signed Porter to this deal obviously made a mistake as well as should lose their job. That would be Steve Kerr! Good ol #25.
Terry Porter didn't even get a shot to implement his scheme on this aging team, and it seems like the Suns are set on blowing up the D'Antoni style of team that they have now. If you look at it, Vinny Del Negro is sort of in the same situation. Del Negro was brought in for a team he didn't assemble with Paxson and it's showing that his schemes are necessarily working with the players. Hence the constant "We're working hard", "We're getting better" verbatim that you're getting from Vinny on a daily basis. When you hire a head coach, teams need to realize it takes time for a team to mold to a coach....and unfortunately the Suns aren't willing to wait. Most NBA teams seem to be real itchy with that trigger finger if things don't go good right away.
So is Terry Porter a victim of the economy? Is Terry Porter a victim of the state of head coaches in the NBA with a "win now or go home" mentality? Is Terry Porter just a bad head coach?
Firing Terry Porter only sets your organization back to where you began when you couldn't keep Mike D'Antoni. Now the Suns are shopping Amare Stoudamire and Shaq of all people plus their big acquisition from the off season (Jason Richardson) just got arrested on speeding and improper use of a child seat charges. It seems like the Sun has set on your Phoenix Suns.
So the next time your boss puts the heat on you over your TPS reports.....the next time a you're sweating at deadline....the next moment you get a bad grade on your yearly review....just remember.....at least you're not an NBA head coach.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Is it a surprise to anyone that follows the sport of baseball on a daily basis that Alex Rodriguez has admitted to using performance enhancing drugs? Not this baseball fan. This is just further proof that everyone (YES....EVERYONE) who played in the "steroid era" is guilty by association.
Because of players like Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco, Ken Caminiti, Mark McGwire, Jason (and Jeremy) Giambi, Rafael Palmeiro....baseball is now a game of cheaters and men who are driven by the love of the game...but by the dollar bill. Now Alex Rodriguez is lumped into the bunch of former MVP's, world champions, batting champs, Cy Young Award winners and overall superstars of a tainted game. It's not shocking however to me that A-Rod is now included in that group. When the original Mitchell Report came out in December of 2007....the thing to do was look at the players listed in the report and look at the teams and players they played on/with in that year. Rodriguez was teammates with both Juan Gonzalez and Palmeiro as well David Segui while a Seattle Mariner. To think that A-Rod who was the star of each of those teams was never influenced by teammates to use roids is just absurd and therefore this latest development is not shocking at all.
What bothers me about the whole MLB steroid problem is there is too much attention/money spent/investigation on the past rather than just admitting that baseball had/has a drug problem in it's inner workings and finding a way to fix the problem. Why is it that we in the media will go to great lengths to find out who did what and when and for how long they did it.....rather than fix the problem.
People bring up the records. Baseball more than any other sport holds their records to be a sacred trust. That trust is not only broken...but it's no more and as far as the records....maybe an (*) is the answer. That would only ensure that arguments over who is the greatest hitter/pitcher/player of all time will continue for generations. Maybe even make a separate record book for the "steroid era." I'm not sure what the answer is when it comes to the records of baseball....but that's something that can be debated in time.
What can't be put off is the drug problem is baseball. Rather than spending another reported 20 million dollars on another Mitchell Report....why not spend it working on a drug policy where both the owners, MLB and the players union agree to move on from the past and vow never to disrespect the game on this level ever again.
The game is no longer a game. If anything proves that point.......it's the steroid era. A game turned into a business driven by the almighty dollar and in the end it's cost lives, it's disgraced legends, and in the end the fans pay the ultimate price. MLB is no longer a kid's game played by men.....it's a business run by thieves.
If I had any advice for MLB and the Players Union...focus on what's important now rather than what was then.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
The LA Times is reporting that free agent outfielder (and hair club for men member) Manny Ramirez has turned down a one year/25,000,000 contract offer to play left field for the Dodgers this coming season. Manny Ramirez in 53 games for the Dodgers last season batted .396 with 17 HR and 53 RBI'S and on top of that hit over .500 with 4 HR and 10 RBI'S in 25 at bats last postseason before the eventual world champion Phillies ousted the Dodgers in the NLCS four games to one.
So after hearing that Manny turned down a 25,000,000 offer from the Dodgers with the state of the economy as it is today...it got me thinking. Does Manny need baseball or does baseball need Manny?
If you look at Manny's career....you know there are certain things you will get out of Manny as a member of your team.
1. Manny can rake the ball
There is no doubt that Manny Ramirez will go down in history as one of the greatest pure hitters of our time. With a career average of .314 and eclipsing the 500 HR mark last season he's for sure a hall of famer.
2. Manny helps you win the games (regular season/playoffs)
Manny was a key piece to that 2004 Boston Red Sox team that went on to win the world series. They swept a Cardinals team that won 105 games that year. They manhandled them in that series...outscoring the red birds 24-12 including holding the Cards to 1 run in 2 games at old Busch Stadium. Keep in mind that Manny has played 16 years in MLB and gone to the playoffs 10 seasons with 3 different teams (CLEV/BOS/LAD)
3. Manny can be a headache
Let's face it....he's a superstar...and superstars have egos. It's tough to handle when Manny is "being Manny" sometimes. For instance walking into the scoreboard at Fenway during a pitching change to make a phone call. Or how about the incident when he refused to pinch hit in a game against the Phillies and then was benched the next game for it. And of course as all fans know.....Manny likes to pose....even on deep fly balls that hit the warning track and he barely can leg out a double.
but most importantly....
4. Manny puts butts in the seats
Possibly the best reason to sign Manny for whatever Manny wants. He does bring in fans to games who buy his merchandise and therefore makes his salary worth it to the organization. The day Manny made his debut with the Dodgers, they set a franchise record for most single game tickets purchased for one game. "Manny Fever" reminded a lot in the Los Angeles area of the days of Fernando Valenzuela. Fans were buying everything from #99 jerseys to ball caps with fake dreadlocks on them like they were the last bits of food before the big hurricane hits. According to the LA Times....Manny single-handily generated 7.2 million dollars in revenue when you look at beverages sold, parking, food, and increased ticket sales. When you look at attendance....the Dodgers were up over 4,200 more fans PER GAME!! They sold Ramirez t-shirts at 30 bucks each....sold 14,000 of em. 6,000sets of fake dreadlocks sold at 25 dollars each. They sold 500 authentic jerseys (the ones you and I can't afford) at almost 300 dollars a clip....that's 700,000 dollars more for revenue. If people are coming out and buying the merchandise....can you imagine how the TV/Radio ratings went as well in the second largest market in the US?? THE BEST PART ABOUT THE WHOLE THING FOR THE DODGERS..........THEY DIDN'T PAY MANNY ONE CENT LAST YEAR!!!
Now someone has to pay Manny....but who?
So, I pose the question once again.....Does Manny need baseball or does baseball need Manny?
If I'm any team in major league baseball....look at the numbers. Manny makes your organization $$$$$. He alone brings people to see him play baseball (home and away) and that alone pays for at least half of whatever millions of dollars he wants on a new deal.
Manny Ramirez has made an estimated $162,000,000in his career and that's not including endorsement deals. He's 37 years old which for most baseball players is much past their prime....but Manny's still in his prime. He's finished in the top 10 of MVP voting NINE times in his career....including last year when he finished 4th in voting in the NL MVP race not even playing half a season in the senior circuit.
So with the economic climate the way it is and with baseball going to face it head on this coming summer.....why not put down the down payment on a skyscraper and bring Manny to your club.
Baseball needs Manny Ramirez.....he's a draw just like A-Fraud A-Rod, Pujols, Santana, Jeter...etc. MLB has been setting attendance records for each of the last 10 years....and this coming season is going to be an extreme challenge for teams to bring in fans if your not the Cubs/Yankees/Red Sox. Baseball needs Manny in a big market town (at least top 10) so that baseball as a whole can profit off "Manny Fever" and survive the recession that is crippling this country and the world on a daily basis.
Some players are desperate to get a new deal worked out (i.e. Bobby Abreu's offer from the White Sox 1yr/8 mil) before spring training....Manny I feel doesn't need baseball therefore the chips are all on his side of the table. We'll see if any team is willing to step up to his table and pay him what he wants......because the results are golden and baseball needs Manny Fever in '09.
Monday, February 2, 2009
So after two whole weeks of hype and stories of the ol’ ball coach that could’ve had the job but didn’t…..the whole Fitzgerald family tree exposed on top of the Kurt Warner praise for being Kurt Warner…..we finally played the damn game. Frankly speaking however from this football fan….this game was NOT the greatest game of all time. This game was NOT a good watch. Rather than Super Bowl XLIII….this was indeed Super BORE XLIII.
When did the Super Bowl turn into the NBA?? Everyone says the final 2 minutes of an NBA game are the best part…..can we relate that notion to yesterday’s Super Bowl? I think so.
Let’s face it!! These two teams weren’t going to be a good matchup anyway. You can’t honestly say that you looked forward to this matchup, even if it was week 8 and it was the late game on Fox when there was nothing else on TV…..I know I can’t. So, the matchup was bad from the get-go then comes the game itself. What was the score at the end of the first quarter..3-0….yeah, EXCITING!!!! AWESOME!!! DRAMATIC!!! Arizona only ran 6 plays in that quarter for a total net of 3 yards. Yeah, that vaunted Arizona offense is a must-see. Be careful, you might miss something!!!!
Then we get to the second quarter if the first one didn’t satisfy your hunger for gridiron greatness. The Steelers after scoring early in the quarter obviously lost interest in the game (much like I did). After Arizona got the lead down to 3 scoring with 8:34 left in the quarter, Pittsburgh ran 7 plays the remainder of the quarter for 22 yards and Arizona ran 11 plays for 44 yards. The final 8 minutes of the half, you had 2 punt and 2 interceptions and a total of 66 yards of offense. It wasn’t until the very tail end of the second quarter when James Harrison ran back a 100 yard interception for a touchdown where my interest peaked again….WOW WHAT A PLAY!! Ten point lead going into halftime seemed insurmountable and the game was over….in fact no team has come back from a 10 point deficit at halftime and won it……but I thought I’d stick around to see if the Cards had any fight in em. Plus Springsteen was coming up next!!
Bruce was a nice break from Petty/Prince/Stones/McCartney….it was nice to see a halftime act that actually sung their material live. When’s Zeppelin gonna make a run at the halftime entertainment?? That would be a must see.
Then came the third quarter and this is where I totally lost interest in the whole game. Arizona comes out and punts after a 7 play drive netting a whomping 27 yards and then the Steelers come back with a miraculous sixteen play drive over eight minutes long…….and only get 3 points. I felt like I was watching a bad Bears game and i needed another bowl of nachos and I was looking forward to my next bathroom run. That’s when the television was turned off, alarms were set for the morning and the lights dimmed to dark. Good night America!!
Now of course the Cards came back with two Larry Fitzgerald TD’s (who they should’ve been throwing to earlier in the game) and take the lead only to lose it in the final minute on a dazzling Santonio Holmes catch for a touchdown….Steelers win. Does the final 8 minutes of a football game make it a great game?? In my mind, a great game is when two teams go back and forth the ENTIRE GAME…..not when one team just seems to be consistantly playing much better for 3 1/2 quarters and then it’s a shootout towards the end.
The Steelers were the better of the two teams. All along most people/experts/fans expected the Steelers to win the ballgame. So maybe they don’t win it in the fashion you thought they would have, but does the final 8 minutes of a ballgame make it a great game or a great ending to a sub par game? This game was a total snoozer for me, it couldn’t keep my interest for more than 10 minutes, and it didn’t keep my viewership for the entire game.
I expected the Steelers to win and they did. I expected the commercials for the most part to be bad….and they were. I expected Bruce and E-Street to be entertaining and full of energy and by evidence of a power slide with a crotch full of camera….they we’re entertaining. I expected bad John Madden and I got plenty of that.
I got what I expected from two teams that were unevenly matched up (no matter what the “experts” say), and what I expected was what I got. I got a good 7 hours of sleep!!