So yesterday, good friend and fellow Deuce of Davenporter Turd Ferguson posted this. And while I respect his opinion on many, many sports-related matters, I have to take him to task on what he wrote about my beloved Major League Baseball. If his article appeared on any other respected website, I’d do the same. So Turd, no hard feelings. Read the rest of this entry
I rarely write about baseball, mostly because it’s just not that appealing to me. If the ratings are to be believed then I far from alone. I can pretty much predict all the teams that will be in it every season. Oh, sure, some “smaller market” clubs can break through here and there, like the Detroit Tigers, or the Tampa Bay Rays (or the Milwaukee Brewers), but we all know that the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, and Braves are almost assured to be in it and that they get the dominant coverage.
It doesn’t even matter that there have been five different clubs that have won the World Series the last five years; including a “small market” St. Louis Cardinals team. It was pretty lame for me to watch Indians Pitcher Cliff Lee face off against former Indians pitcher CC Sabathia in Game 1 of the 2009 World Series but that’s not the worst for me, either. It sucks that every August, just as the division races heat up, wealthier teams swarm like vultures and just scoop up players from other teams that either a) can’t afford to resign them or b) aren’t playing for anything. That’s bad, but not the worst, either. That’s not what I hate the most about baseball. No, the worst in when one of those clubs DOESN’T make it; because then we have to hear about all the time.
Case-in-point; the Red Sox absolutely collapsed down the stretch to piss away the AL East division crown and slip out of the playoffs. No big deal, right? The Cleveland Indians were in first place at the all-star break, and shit the bed as well, it happens. But, this is the Red Sox, why how will WE EVER BE ABLE TO WATCH THE POSTSEASON WITHOUT THEM!? ESPN has been running constant coverage of the Red Sox; interviews with David Ortiz; “analysis” from
fake bleeder Curt Schilling; and grainy footage of Terry Francona in dad jeans leaving the Red Sox podium. I have heard more about the “lack of chemistry” and “too much partying” in the Red Sox clubhouse then I have heard about the entire rest of the postseason. Baseball players party ALL THE TIME. It’s not like baseball is a grueling sport to play. But because the Red Sox cleaned out their lockers last week we MUST HAVE ANSWERS!
That’s wrong; that’s part of why baseball is awful.
Do you think the NFL yammers away when the Cowboys miss the postseason AGAIN? No, they move on; because they rightfully recognize that the to sustain interest in the sport you have to look for more compelling stories then just the same stuff with the same teams. In 2007, Alex Rodriguez opted out of his $252 million contract with the New York Yankees just before Game 4 of the World Series. It pissed off a lot of people because it took away interest from the game. Not ESPN; they ran 24/7 coverage and moved the two teams playing in the World Series to the back of the bus. More Yankees stories, YES PLEASE? (claps like a seal)
It illustrates the other thing I hate about baseball. ESPN is a huge part of the problem. They spent years building up the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry to some obnoxious crescendo. It helped that they had willing participants; why, who could forget Pedro Martinez, who grew up in the Dominican, and started his career with the Expos, throwing down former Red Sox bench coach Don Zimmer, who looked curiously like Don Rickles. Or the footage of
A-Fraud Alex Rodriguez and Jason Veritek sissy-fighting was played thousands of times. In the process of building up this phony rivalry, they managed to make the game stale. How much breath and footage can be wasted on this? ESPN plans to find out.
Look, I don’t give a shit that Theo Epstein is going to go try to fix the Chicago Cubs, another team that doesn’t do shit every season but we have to hear about it because Michael Wilbon likes to remind people that he once lived in the midwest more than 30 years ago. GMs move teams all the time. I don’t even care that Terry Francona is being made the scapegoat for the collapse of his team; doesn’t that happen with EVERY coach that gets the door? I just know that everytime one of the “evil empire” teams misses the postseason ESPN runs about a thousand stories; and an angel gets it’s wings. I also know that many more people would rather watch pre-game coverage of an early season NFL game when airing opposed to October baseball.
Lobotomy-candidate and ordained asshole Mike Florio should be proud of himself. Only someone with a true absence of any integrity whatsoever would initiate a story about a hardrunning, Jesus-loving, truck towing, football player sitting out a game after losing 10-12 lbs. and flip it into an act of defiance in the midst of brutal contract negotiations. And then, in a culmination of his own efforts to cast doubt on the temerity of that player, and potentially irreparably harm the mutual hope at securing a deal, simply withdraw from the story.
To recap, Florio speculated on the story of Browns runningback Peyton Hillis sitting out a game because of strep throat. He specifically suggested that Hillis was sitting out the game, at least in part, because he was not signed to a long-term deal by the Browns. A few days later, ESPN
evil leprechaun Adam Schefter offered a report by “anonymous sources” that said that teammates in the Browns locker room believed that Hillis was sitting out the game due to his contract negotiations not going well. Florio cited that report, and made no attempt to connect his speculative analysis preceding the report.
Florio then sent another note reporting on an appendectomy that Browns Center Alex Mack had the evening after a losing effort by the Browns against the Tennessee Titans. Florio took the story as an opportunity to remind his readers that Hillis had sat out with mere strep throat. Florio followed up that “report” with one that Hillis’ agent advised him not to play based on his illness, fanning the flames of a controversy that Florio created.
Rebutting anonymous sources, former Browns headcoach Eric Mangini completely refuted the notion that Hillis would sit out for a new deal, mentioning how Hillis continued to play despite injuries late last season. Current Browns head coach Pat Shurmur echoed that sentiment; along with teammates Greg Little, and Josh Cribbs. Hard to compete with “anonymous sources,” but it’s close.
Browns President Mike Holmgren has already admitted that they were working hard to sign Hillis to a long-term deal; and Hillis has never wavered from his desire to stay in Cleveland. When players sign new agents, the agents want to negotiate a new deal for the player because otherwise the agent doesn’t get paid, makes sense, right? Also, why not strike while the iron is hot. Still, Hillis had a great season last year, but injuries, and the lack of imagination slowed down his production towards the end of the season. Therefore, to what advent is it for him to sit out a game when another runningback who the Browns also really like, could be challenging him for playing time?
This level of speculation is apparently void from the creative mind of Mike Florio; who shoots first and never asks questions.
Finally, on Oct. 8, after planting the initial question that Hillis must be engaging in a negotiating tactic; Florio backpedaled quicker then Derrelle Revis with this little bit of “analysis:”
So even though it became a big story (especially in Cleveland), it’s apparently a non-story. Indeed, if the Browns had any reason to believe that Hillis didn’t play because of his contract, would team president Mike Holmgren agree to continue to have discussions on a long-term deal, at least until Hillis regains the franchise’s trust? We don’t think so.
Why do that when you can sit in your cozy New York office and just pontificate to the masses. Nice job creating a story, perpetuating a falsehood, and then declaring it to be a “nonstory.” You suck.
In continuance of unreasonable gloating by yours truly, I criticized the Manning extension earlier this summer, mostly because I thought it was a shitload of greenbacks to throw at a guy who just had a second neck surgery in 15 months, and I didn’t think that the word “charity” should have been applied so liberally to the consummation of the deal. Unless Manning is donating his salary to one. He’s not.
Earlier this week, we learned that Manning was out indefinitely, and that he was having a third neck surgery, a bad sign unless you’re a Patriots or Jets fan. But now, in spite of my best efforts, I look Peter Kingesque in trying to predict something, getting it partially correct, and then helping myself to self-praise. News of MTV’s-the-head-lookalike and DirecTV spokeswhore Peyton Manning’s third neck surgery in 19 months is easily the biggest story in the NFL heading into week one. Now, Florio over on Profootballtalk is reporting that Manning’s 5-year $90 million extension did not come with the requirement that Manning pass a physical.
Holy shit who let that happen:
Per a league source, that new five-year, $90 million contract was given to Manning without the quarterback having to pass a physical. In other words, he got $20 million to sign, and the Colts didn’t insist on obtaining medical clearance that he can play before giving it to him. (He eventually passed a physical before being cleared to practice last week — before suffering the setback that caused the latest procedure.)
With the Colts choosing to keep Manning on the active roster, he’ll also pocket his $3.4 million base salary for the new season, along with a $3 million roster bonus tied to Manning being on the 53-man roster for any one game in 2011.
So why did the Colts sign Manning to this deal in the first place? Peter King of NBC and Sports Illustrated explained during the debut of NBC SportsTalk that the Colts had no concerns about the most recent surgery at the time it was conducted in May 2011, and that team Vice Chairman Bill Polian said on the day of the prior procedure that it would not impact the contract talks.
Six-time NFL executive of the year Bill Polian has announced a groin-kicking booth setup for Lucas Oil stadium’s home opener to encourage fan attendance. Better make room on that shelf for a 7th trophy (do they get a trophy? Let’s pretend they do.).
As a lifelong football fan; I can tell you that to this point, it’s been a mostly one-way love affair. The league will take, and take, and take…but give precious little. Oh sure, we have experienced three exciting, and competitive Super Bowls in a row, and NFL parody has blessed us with at least six new playoff teams each season; each seemingly with their own set of compelling storylines. But, for every good thing the game and its administrators brings, there is at least one negative. Some more serious then others.