The worlds of football, baseball, basketball and something called hockey are colliding, so there’s lots to talk about. Well in the case of the NBA and NHL there’s stuff to make fun of.
Football Versus Baseball. I’m a huge football fan. I played. I coach. I watch. But there’s something about football that’s starting to bug me. Everything in football – especially the NFL – is so damned “figured out” and analyzed to the minutest level that the game seems almost soulless at times. There’s no better example of this trend than the goings on that surround the NFL draft where experts, general managers, and coaches alike all obsess over how many repetitions a guy does on the bench press or over a few tenths of a second in the 40 yard dash. When was the last time you heard of a coach or a GM, or anyone involved in a football game, play a hunch? Contrast this to baseball where mangers like Bobby Cox and Joe Torre have made their bones playing hunches. And they win, too.
The NFL Draft. There’s too much emphasis placed on the first few picks in the draft when you consider that the teams that earn that pick need way more than what that one player can give them. A high first round draft pick eats up a ton of cap dollars, dollars that could be better spent spread out among several pieces of the team puzzle.
The pressure to produce that’s put on a high first round pick – combined with the huge investment – can make the already difficult job of adapting to the pro game impossible. The Texans and the Saints are two great examples of teams that need way more than one guy, and would be better off trading down and adding depth. Although Reggie Bush is a very big temptation and might be special enough to turn the Texans around if they can do enough to protect David Carr a little better this season.
Allen Iverson and Chris Webber. The 76’ers failed to make the playoffs this year and these two malcontents decided that they weren’t going to play in their team’s final home game the other night. Head coach Mo Cheeks and team president Billy King weren’t very happy when the two also decided not to show up to fan appreciation night until tip off. The Sixers underachieved this season, and with two losers like Iverson and Webber on the roster it’s no wonder. Iverson – one of the most overrated players in pro sports – is nothing more than a ball hog.
He scores 30 points a game but needs to take 25 shots from the field and go to the charity stripe 11 times a game because he’s not a good outside shooter. Take lay ups out of his career 42% shooting average and you’ll realize how bad of an outside shooter Iverson is. Webber is one of those guys who has many physical gifts, but few mental ones, and has been a problem everywhere he’s played. These two have never won and never will. Now that they’re both over 30, their antics will not be as tolerated in a league that tolerates and cultivates this kind of anti-team, anti-professional behavior.
The Knicks. What took Larry Brown so long to fall apart? He deserves credit for being able to stick around this long without having a physical breakdown. Actually, the shock is that Brown didn’t suffer a heart attack or a stroke from having to watch the group of check cashers that Isaiah Thomas collected to “play” at Madison Square Garden.
Meet The Mets. Over the past few seasons the Mets have made more good moves than bad moves and have put themselves in a position to seriously compete for the pennant this season. They have gotten off to a great start and are the first team in history to have had a 5 game lead after only 12 games. To long suffering Met fans, the only thing that this statistical anomaly represents is the opportunity for the Mets to be the only team to have a 5 game lead after 12 games, and not make the playoffs.
And for all the great moves the team has made, trading young lefty pitcher Scott Kazmir to Tampa Bay for wild, underachieving, constantly shelled Victor Zambrano will go down in history as one of the worst trades in Mets history, which is saying a lot. To show you how wild Zambrano is, he led the American League in walks in 2004 despite being traded to the Mets, in the National League, at the trading deadline.
The Media’s Coverage Of Tiger Woods. During the Masters Tiger Woods choked. In any other sport, that’s the story. I don’t care how far back in the pack he was or for any other excuse provided by Woods’ fans. On the final day he missed putts he should have made, putts that would have put him back in the green jacket. Compare Woods’ performance to the quarterback who repeatedly drives his team downfield only to throw interceptions in the red zone, or to the closer who comes in to wrap up games in the playoffs in the ninth inning and blows the leads. With the quarterback and the closer the big story would be how these guys couldn’t get the job done, and you’d hear the “C” word mentioned. After Woods final round at Augusta all we heard from the guys covering golf was that Tiger drove the ball well, struck the ball well, hit fairways, etc but just didn’t sink a couple of putts. During an interview on CBS the guy interviewing Woods seemed afraid to ask about the putts, and prefaced his questions with remarks about how well Woods played everywhere but the putting green. Guys, that’s called choking.
Oh Yea, The NHL. Here’s a good story that accentuates the negative. Despite having at least two weeks to clinch the top spot in their division by needing to win just one game, the New York Rangers failed. That’s it. That’s all the time the NHL is worth.
Great Quotes Of The Past Week. Here is a great quote provided by steroid expert Dr. Charles Yesalis of Penn State in response to some people referring to this season as the “post-steroid era.”
“That is naiveté that borders on moronic. We’re really still at the front part of the drug era in baseball. It’s evolving. When you see silliness about juicing the ball, and every other excuse, my mouth is agape. What we saw last year and the year before is a learning curve. Guys had to learn how to get around drug tests.”
Truer words were never spoken, remember them.