Three more in the hallowed halls of Cooperstown...
Greetings from the Hoodwood, where we're just grinding away...
Rice Gets 2 games…seriously?
Ray Rice, has been a steady dependable running back for the Ravens and has been so going back to his days at Rutgers, I was seriously disappointed in his actions where he was in a physically abusive altercation with his then fiancé now wife. Rice, to his credit owned up to the deed. But the NFL gave him a two game suspension, consider that Albert Haynesworth got 5 games for stomping on an opponent during a game, a coach got 6 games for his involvement in Bountygate, Odell Thurman was out multiple seasons. The most suspect of suspensions was the 5 game dock that was given to Terrelle Pryor for his involvement in the tattoos for memorabilia that ultimately brought down the reign of Jim Tressel at Ohio State. Sheriff Goodell has hand a long history of being heavy on those miscreants that he feel has violated the conduct standard that the NFL holds strict to. The phrase “Protect the Shield” has rung long and often by officials and former players. But this suspension is a joke, and NFL VP Adolpho Birch went on Mike & Mike Monday Morning in a feeble attempt to defend and justify their actions. Greenberg and Golic lit in to him and repeatedly tried to pin him down on giving a justifiable reason for such a puny disciplinary action. He couldn’t and I applauded Mike Greenberg for his sharp criticism of the suspension and the words of Mike Golic who pointed out that had either of his football playing sons had been the focus of the suspensions for those actions, that they would face a lot worse discipline from him than a coach or league.
Hall of Fame gets a classy class
Cooperstown got a real class group this year. Four I thought were no doubters and two I was never big fans of but the numbers are just too good to ignore. The four no-doubters are Tom Glavine, long time ace of the Braves, Greg Maddux the Clark Kent clone who seemed to crank out wins and strikeouts as the years went by. Managers Joe Torre and Bobby Cox who managed lots of places but were most famed for winning with powerhouse teams in the Yankees and Braves respectively. The two I shrugged on were Frank Thomas and Tony LaRussa.
In depth: Glavine won 20 or more games 5 times and netted 2 Cy Youngs, never an overpowering pitcher, he always was on point with his control and was a reliable pitcher. Starting in 1991 he had 13 consecutive winning seasons. Glavine was nothing if not consistent and he won. He passed the 300 win threshold in 2007 and might be the last pitcher to win 300 games.
I wanted to despise Greg Maddux, because he was so good and I detested the Braves. But Maddux looked more like Clark Kent or an accountant than a beastly pitcher. Like Glavine, Maddux took a couple years to get his sea legs then became a model of consistency. Look at his season by season numbers and you might not be impressed until you see that they cross 23 years spanning 3 decades. He only won 20 games twice once as he was hitting his free agent year with the Cubs and the first with the Braves where he spent the bulk of his career. He won four Cy Youngs in a row from 92-95. Maddux won 15 or more games each season from 1988-2004 and struck out 100 or more batter for 21 consecutive seasons from 1987-2007, that’s the hallmark of consistency. He was an innings eater and workhorse stopper. Don’t let the specs fool ya, he was a game competitor who took pride in his craft, fielding (he won 13 consecutive Gold Gloves, missed a year then won 5 more) and batting.
I have always loathed the White Sox, though for some reason I’ve always liked their colorful play by play guy Hawk Harrelson, he was the one that gave the quiet slugger Frank Thomas his nickname “The Big Hurt” Lord, that man could hurt ya. He swung like he was trying to hit the ball into Lake Michigan when the Sox played at Comiskey and more often than not hit he’d hit it hard. Say what you want about the so-called steroid era, Thomas was legitimately strong. My relatives down south used to call it country strong. Made his debut in 1990 and everyone knew he was gonna be special, from 1991-1998 he knocked in 100 or more RBI’s every year; he hit .300 better in all but one season from 1991-2000. He won 2 MVP’s and was a consistent long ball threat. I wasn’t a fan of his, and didn’t think much of his numbers till I looked at them over the course of his career. He was good and where 500 homers is shrugged at now as no big deal, he still had 521 homers and few every doubted that he earned them, he was always a home run hitter and for a while was the frightening combo of power and average
On the Managerial side, all three skippers have won World Series rings. Bobby Cox managed like forever for the Braves and cranked out divisional titles in assembly line style. Though his career started forgettable with Braves in the late 70s and was replaced by some guy named Torre (but we’ll get to that forgettable guy later) He resurfaced with the Blue Jays and made them steadily better but was haunted by his team blowing a 3-1 lead in the ALCS to the Royals, he returned to the Braves as GM and then returned to the bench in 1990 and after a rough 40-57 conclusion to that season began to win and win and win. From 1991-2005 the Braves never had a losing season and made the postseason every year. Read that last part again… Every year that there were playoffs from 1991-2005, the Braves were there they won 100+ games 6 times, 4 NL Pennants and the 1995 World Series. Cox was seemingly always getting tossed from games, but his players loved his straightforward style and played hard for him consistently.
Cox got replaced in his first stint as Braves Manager by Joe Torre. Torre won a division title with those Braves in 1982, but not much else his first three managerial gigs with the Mets and Cards and when he was hired by the Yanks in 1996, the papers derided the decision with one paper blaring the headline “Clueless Joe” But Torre instead proved to be the perfect buffer between the players and the Boss, he could parry with the media who held him in high regards and backed with Yankee money skillfully managed the Bombers to 12 consecutive playoff appearances and Five AL pennants and four World Series titles, rings that eluded him as player he got as a skipper and the call from Cooperstown that also was just out of his grasp as a player was a no brainer as a manager.
Finally there is LaRussa, whom I was no fan of. I thought he was egotistical and the media always lauded over how great and smart he was. Yeah I get that he managed 33 years and won better than 2700 games, 6 pennant and with Sparky Anderson was one of two managers to win World Series in both leagues but I look at the fact that his teams won 100 or games 4 times and never won a World Series. I remember how he got outcoached in the 88 and 90 World Series and was cannon fodder for the 2004 Red Sox. He did go out with a bang, retiring after his Cards won a thrilling 2011 Series but I never was a fan of his.
McGwire: Too good for Canseco
Mark McGwire was a protégé of LaRussa and played almost all of his career under his stewardship, I find it humorous that the overly pious McGwire is um bashing Jose Canseco for his expose into the tawdry world of PEDs McGwire says that he will never speak to Canseco again and refused to do so during a 25th anniversary fete for the 1989 World Series champ A’s. I find it funny that McGwire acts like he was so pure and Canseco was the cheater when it seemed that he has that PEDs taint on himself too. Canseco who never came close to making the Hall of Fame looks like his usual hustlin’ for a buck self while the pious McGwire is the hitting coach for the Dodgers which I always found funny a .260 hitter teaching hitting.
Can Scott return the Lake Show to primetime?
The Lake Show finally has a coach. After 3 long years of Kobe running the team, he has finally decided to let an established coach with real playing credentials take the helm. I’m sorry, the pair of Mikes in the seemingly petrified Mike Brown who seemed frightened to even correct Kobe and the clueless Mike D’Antoni whose offensive style was ill-suited for the Lake Show and seemingly was getting more and more ignored by the player as their disastrous 27-55 death march season ground on, don’t count. Byron Scott was named head coach of the Lakers over the weekend. Scott is well traveled as a coach having had stints in Cleveland, New Orleans and most successfully in New Jersey where he lead the Nets to their only Finals appearances where they were sacrificial lambs to the Lakers and Spurs respectively. Scott would at least have the attention of Kobe who was a briefly a teammate of his for a season when Kobe was a rookie and Scott was at the end of solid career where he garnered 3 rings as a member of the Showtime Lakers. The Lake Show might have he first coach since Phil Jax that has the street cred and playing weight to put and keep Kobe in his place. Will the Lake Show be anything more than 3rd best in their building for a while? No, but I still think that Scott is a decent choice and gives the team a decent credibility bridge from its halcyon days of the 80s Scott is the 6th former Laker to coach the team (Mikan, West, Riley, Johnson, Rambis.)
The Red Sox have long had to labor under the immense shadow of their hated neighbors the New York Yankees but the Red Sox can hang their hat on the fact that in this Century they currently have a 3-1 lead on the Bombers in World Series titles. So it would be a bit surprising that a Yankee fan would return a Red Sox World Series ring but Luigi Militello, owner of Luke’s Bar and Grill in NYC, found the ring worth close to $30K belonging to Drew Weber who is the owner of one the Red Sox minor league affiliates. Weber who said that he hardly ever wears the ring left the ring in the men’s washroom and Militello found the precious bauble when Weber who had searched his domicile in vain for the ring called the eatery as a last resort, Militello reported he had found the ring after some good natured razzing. Weber who frequents the restaurant returned the next day. Militello refused any kind of reward money, but Weber did hook him up with tickets to the final games of Yankee Captain Derek Jeter’s career which will be play at Fenway.
ESPN for dropping the ball in the debate and discussion over abuse and the NFL’s handling of such matters. ESPN’s and First Take did a quick though weak repudiation of the loquacious of show debater Stephen A Smith’s comments that were made Friday which came off as sounding like that a woman provoked a fight and deserved the abuse. Smith, to his credit, did apologize and make an attempt to correct his comments while reiterating that he does not condone abuse in anyway. But instead of using that as a springboard for a thought provoking debate and discussion with First Take host Cari Champion or possibly Michelle Beadle who rightfully called Smith to task for his comments as misconstrued as they could have been, instead turned away from the topic to opine about LeBron James’s jersey number switch. ESPN and the powers that be at First Take blew a golden opportunity to take the lead on the discussion of the topic itself, not is so much Smith and his mea culpa which I attribute to poor phrasing and word choice in an attempt to sound more bombastic than his debate partner than braying hack that is Skip Bayless. The show proceeding First Take, Mike & Mike in the Morning were very eloquent in their opinion on the matter and were very clear on their stance as I pointed out. That was the kind of lead in and alley-oop that First Take should have hit 5 miles and slammed home. Bravo to Ms. Beadle who bravely called out a colleague but the Head Slap goes to First Take who missed a perfect opportunity to follow in the words of their show “Embrace Debate”
Sterling’s bid to block the sale of the Clippers has been tossed out…bye Felicia
Kevin Love decides against playing for the national team due to the trade concerns…ummm yeah.
Johnny Football jersey sells for $100k…for real?
Gordon wins the Brickyard…again
Derrick Rose feels good…how long is that going to last?
Thats the View From the Hoodwood, Until Next Post Fellow Sports Fans!