Batting Around is BC Sports’ look back at the week’s happenings in the world o’ sports, presented in a lineup card format for some undisclosed reason.
The Lineup Card
1. F/C Kevin Garnett
2. WR Terrell Owens
3. #48 Jimmie Johnson
4. QB Tim Tebow
5. RB Chris “Beanie” Wells
6. 1B Aubrey Huff
7. K Phil Dawson
8. #38 Northern Iowa Panthers
9. SP Tom Glavine
Coach: Lloyd Carr
1. F/C Kevin Garnett — No one player on the Boston Celtics is standing out, but Garnett is the tallest, so let’s go with him.
He, along with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, are all averaging at least 20 points a game. (The next highest scorer is 10-points-per-game Rajon Rondo.) Admittedly looking way ahead nine games into an 82-game season, I was curious when the last time was that three players finished a season with 20 points a game.
The last time a team fielded three 20-point scorers was the legendary 1993-94 Clippers, who finished dead last in the Pacific Division. The Donald Sterling Triune of Dominique Wilkins (29.1), Danny Manning (23.7), and Ron Harper (20.1) finished 27-55.
Unless you can make seamless Harper-to-Allen, Manning-to-Pierce, and Nique-to-KG comparisons (and you can’t, save for the latter), the three 20-point scorers stat may just be an aberration. After all, the Aught Seven-Aught Eight Celtics are 8-1 and the 93-94 Clips didn’t have eight wins until they first had 10 losses.
Sorry, sports world. You just may have to endure another dominant team from New England.
2. WR Terrell Owens — I know hearing about someone’s fantasy football team is akin to hearing what DVDs your girlfriend owns. Blah blah blah, we get it, you have a lot of DVDs, can I go up your shirt now?
But my fantasy football team’s main problems — aside from the lack of the brain dead manager not rotating out injured and/or bye-week players — has been primarily at quarterback, running back, tight end, kicker, and defense. The bright spot is Owens, who caught four touchdowns in the Cowboys’ 28-23 win over the Washington Redskins.
After the game, Owens said to Fox’s Pam Oliver, “I’m playing with a chip on my shoulder. People still don’t want to give me any credit.” Really? With an NFC-leading 1,028 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns, nobody wants to credit you as a large part of the Cowboys’ success? How could one even … wait. This is how you want to think. You want to play pissed off. You want to keep the illusion that people still hate you. It’s this frame of mind that’s helped the Cowboys to a 9-1 start, and the only reason I have fantasy football wins.
You suck, T.O. You couldn’t catch a one-legged turtle even if you had a jet pack. Just retire already.
3. #48 Jimmie Johnson — Know what’s more boring than winning a championship? When the No. 2 guy is only sort of half-assing the level of competition with the man out in front. But that’ll happen when they’re teammates.
Johnson captured his second straight Nextel Cup title Sunday afternoon, holding off fellow Hendrick Motorsports racer Jeff Gordon at Miami Speedway, although he didn’t need to do too much — just not finish 19th or worse. He finished 7th to Gordon’s 4th, and finished 77 points ahead of Gordon for the season.
Somehow he quietly won the previous four races before Miami, vaulting him ahead of the “regular season” winner Jeff Gordon. And Gordon seemed moderately okay with it, probably because they both receive a check signed by the same guy. So while it’s really helpful for Johnson to have that kind of support behind him in second place, looking out for him and the entire team, it really sucks for the viewers.
It’s kind of like the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, and having the Indianapolis Colts in the stands shooting tranquilizer darts at the opponent. Wait … maybe I shouldn’t give the Patriots any ideas.
4. QB Tim Tebow — For some inexplicable reason, I do not want this guy to win the Heisman. I have no rational reason why. Maybe it’s because the girl pictured to the right of Tebow here has really large breasts. Is that good reason enough?
Because all I have to counter it with logic is that the Florida quarterback became the first Division I player ever to have 20 passing and 20 rushing touchdowns. He’s also the first SEC player of any position to have 20 rushing touchdowns. The previous trio with 19 touchdowns featured Garrison Hearst, Shaun Alexander, and LaBrandon Toefield.
So yes, he’s a great quarterback and halfback, which I learned in algebra makes him an amazing three-quarters back. But maybe my displeasure in a guy like Tim Tebow winning the Heisman is because the award always goes to the quarterback or running back of a Top 15 football team. If it goes to the best player in college football, why not award it to someone like Michigan lineman Jake Long? Sure, he’s “just” an offensive lineman, but if he’s projected to be one of the top picks in the NFL Draft — coupled with the fact that he could have gone pro last year, but gave up the money for another year of pro bono football — then why isn’t he even on the Heisman radar?
Is it because his girlfriend is ugly? Because that has to be the only reason. What a chauvinistic man’s world.
5. RB Chris “Beanie” Wells — The nickname “Beanie” was given to him by his family as a kid. Granted, it’s a dumb name, but he’s bigger and stronger than me, which means his nickname is just fine the way it is.
Wells ran for 222 yards in Ohio State’s 14-3 win over Michigan. And I guess he just loves running rampant on any team from Michigan, because his other 200-yard game was a 221-yard effort against Michigan State. Or maybe it’s just a statistical anomaly, and I love reading too much into things. Either way.
6. 1B Aubrey Huff — Holy Christ, I hope you didn’t miss this, and that this entry is but a repeat in your world. For some reason, the Baltimore Orioles first-baseman-and-sometimes-third-baseman appeared on Sirius’s Bubba The Love Sponge radio show, and … ya know, I’m going to let the NSFW video speak for itself. How NSFW? Well, you can see some really hot girl’s vagina.
Another part of the show, I’m assuming it was a topical Q&A, gave us to this week’s Batting Sixth Quote Of The Week:
“When you are hung over, how horny are you? I’m horny, when I’m hungover, I’m horny. So I’m just gonna beat off. And that’s all I do.”
Hey, fantastic. So if I’m the equipment manager, I’d take a black light to that batting donut.
It’s safe to assume that an appearance on such a lewd show like Bubba The Love Sponge would normally hurt any baseball team’s image, but these are the Orioles. Until they can finish with a .500 record and not give up 30 runs a game, maybe the Orioles should collectively be punished by having one of their team members appear on Bubba The Love Sponge once a week until they make the playoffs. That’ll learn ‘em.
7. K Phil Dawson — First, watch:
That kick, after review, gave the Cleveland Browns a 30-30 tie with the Baltimore Ravens at the end of regulation, which propelled the Brownies to an overtime 33-30 win. Now our own Craig Lyndall has to accept that this team’s disappointment may extend beyond the regular season.
And the question that Ravens fans may ask is, “but this kind of play isn’t reviewable, and they reviewed it!” As much as I hate to say it, it’s a valid argument, and given the laundry list of things NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has told the league it cannot do, it’s odd to see an officiating crew take an activist position on a no-brainer call. They got it wrong, they knew it, and they had time to correct it. Now, expect a heavy fine from the commissioner’s office, and for field goals of this caliber to be reviewable effective 2008. (If that ever, ever happens again.)
8. #38 Northern Iowa Panthers — Back when Appalachian State broke the Football Championship Subdivision (I-AA) barrier in the Associated Press poll, I didn’t think any other teams would crack the “also receiving” list this year. There were no more possible seismic upsets of Bowl Subdivision teams courtesy of top-ranked FCS teams.
But here we are, and the top ranked (in the Championship Subdivision) Northern Iowa Panthers finished their regular season 11-0. One lonely soul put UNI in the rankings, obviously to commend them on their regular season accolades, including a win over a Bowl Subdivision team, even if it was Iowa State.
Certainly it was some local AP yokel who put them as their 25th team … but nope, it wasn’t the guy from Iowa. Instead, it was San Francisco Chronicle columnist Ray Ratto who gave them a complimentary nod. So as a result, UNI is ranked 38th, tied with Conference USA contender Tulsa.
So congratulations to the Northern Part of Iowa Panthers. They play New Hampshire in the first round of the FCS playoffs. Two-time defending national champion Appalachian State, if you’re curious, finished at 9-2 and plays James Madison, who won the FCS title back in Aught Four.
9. SP Tom Glavine — They say a seagull never goes deep into the ocean except when they are about to die. It was on an episode of The Simpsons — that’s how I learn most of my biological urban legends.
I’m not sure why I brought this unrelated fact up in an item about 300-game winner Tom Glavine, who will be 42 next March, returning to the Atlanta Braves in 2008 on a one-year deal.
Coach: Lloyd Carr — And so it materializes. From the mouth of Brian Cook at mgoblog, to “rumors” in the mainstream media, and finally confirmed by ESPN (the Wikipedia of beat writing!), the Michigan head coach steps down after one really, really, really weird season in Ann Arbor.
Suddenly Lady Rumor’s eyesight makes a beeline for Baton Rouge to see if they can gather any tells from the facial expressions of LSU coach Les Miles, a Michigan man through and through. From a football standpoint, Miles to Michigan makes no flippin’ sense. LSU is a perennial national championship contender. They’re No. 1 this year. Michigan is but 23rd and losing several key pieces of a four-loss team. But from a sentimental perspective … aw, you just hate to see the maize and blue suffer like that. If Miles doesn’t show interest in the job, perhaps the sinister Jim Harbaugh usurps the throne, forcing a young, unproven Michigan team to do backbreaking labor during practices, such as the little things required to win games, and hustle.
No, I don’t like Les Miles coaching Michigan, and look no further than Notre Dame and Charlie Weis to see that homecomings don’t necessarily work.
You want a rumor? I’ll start a goddamn rumor for you: Grand Valley State’s Chuck Martin to Michigan. GVSU is a Division II football powerhouse located in Allendale, Michigan. Under Martin, GVSU is the two-time defending D-II national champions. A third one isn’t out of the question this year, since the top-ranked Lakers are a perfect 10-0 heading into the playoffs. Central Michigan and Cincinnati cashed in on quick success of former GVSU head coach Brian Kelly, and Ohio State tapped into the I-AA level to find Jim Tressel.
There’s your advice, Michigan. And there’s your rumor, America.