Monday, August 30, 2010

The Attic Fan's Colossal NFL Preview: Part I: The AFC

You know in the movie Kicking and Screaming (the one with Will Ferrell) when in the Championship game, Byong Son and Ambrose team together to make a Mega-person (Which consists of Byong-Son sitting on Ambrose's shoulders)? That is what the NFL is like now, a mega-person. It dominates the sports landscape, and takes up covers of Sports Illustrated every week dating back to mid-July. Baseball may have been our national pastime, but football has lapped it in popularity. The only problem with football is that it does not really translate around the world. I feel like American football to the rest of the world is what cricket is to us.

America: Games that go on for three days? Please. The only thing that can captivate me for that long is well, nothing. Either that or the 12 different kinds of CSI.

Rest of World: A game where you throw an oblong ball around? And you get to have Parkinson's by the time you are 45? What?

That was the politically correct version. Now back to Kicking and Screaming and today's column. Today, the AFC is going to be spotlighted. The AFC is the Ambrose in the mega-person that is football, and the NFC is the short, semi-useless Byong-Son. But even though the AFC seems a lot better, the NFC looks like it will come out on top. In today's AFC preview, there are 8 teams with 10 or more wins. Last year, the top 4 picks in the NFL draft were from the NFC, but the Super Bowl winner was from the NFC. How does this happen? Let us use the Ambrose-Byong Sun theory again. Although Byong-Son is shorter, he is the one that score's the goal in the Megaperson, with his head. The NFC rides the AFC for the first few months, but then ends up winning the main thing, that is the Super Bowl. That happened this year to.

Time to now predict the standings and records. Wish me luck.

AFC East

1. Miami Dolphins (10-6)

Surprise! It is not just the addition of Brandon Marshall that I think puts this team over the top, but I think it helps. They have one of the best running back duos in all of football, with Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown. Chad Henne will have a breakout season this year, with Marshall to now throw to. The big addition here is linebacker Karlos Dansby, a dominate force for the Arizona Cardinals these last couple of years. The youth and athleticism of these Dolphins should overtake the aging and decrepit rest of the division. They also probably have the easiest second half schedule in the NFL.

2. New York Jets (10-6)

I cannot see the hype in the Jets. Really, I just can't. This team is predicted by the Sporting News to win the Super Bowl and they have them ranked as a 95. A 95! I don't even think the 1978 Steelers were ranked as a 95. I think the removal of Thomas Jones hurts them, and was done a year too early. Shonn Greene definitely has a lot to prove. Can we get to Mark Sanchez for a moment? A guy who threw 12 touchdowns to 20 interceptions last season is by no means a Super Bowl quarterback. This is one of the tougher divisions in football, and with this guy as your quarterback, I cannot see you getting past the first round. They are still extremely talented on defense however, and the addition of Santonio Holmes gives them a big-play guy they so desperately needed last season.

And another thing! I do not like the additions of Jason Taylor and Antonio Cromartie and LaDanian Tomlinson. Taylor is about two years past his prime, and same with Tomlinson. Cromartie is one of the NFL's most overrated defense players in recent memory. The reason for those interceptions in San Diego was because quarterbacks did not want to attack Quentin Jammer. Eventually, Cromartie's freak athleticism allowed him to get a few picks, and that will probably happen this year with Revis on the other side and what not. But he will allow more touchdowns than have interceptions, so do not call him an elite defender. Please.

3. New England Patriots (9-7)

A lot of guys just past their prime, and Ty Warren's season ending injury kills them. They do not really have any game breakers on offense anymore. You feel like Randy Moss is eventually going to run out of gas, and Wes Welker's knee seems like a time bomb. The one thing they got going for them is a pissed off Tom Brady. He is angry about the contract situation, and the last time we saw Brady angry, he unleashed a 50 touchdown assault upon the NFL. I have them not making the playoffs, but Brady could surprise some people. Like me.

4. Buffalo Bills (2-14)

Brian Brohm or Ryan Fitzpatrick? Who will lead the Bills to more than two wins? Neither, is the answer to that, and a Top 2 NFL Draft selection seems imminent for Bufallo. C.J. Spiller was the wrong draft choice for this team, as they already had Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson. The line is atrocious, they have no defense as well. It will be another obscure year for a team people are starting to forget about.

AFC North

1. Baltimore Ravens (12-4)

These team probably scares me the most out of any, and that kills me to say as a diehard Steeler fan. Boldin gives them a legitimate threat now in the passing game. Flacco should have a breakout season in year three. Ray Rice (My #4 Overall Fantasy Pick) is a smaller version of 2000 Marshall Faulk. The defense is disgusting and will be even more vile once Ed Reed aka Young Redd Foxx comes back from his hip surgery. Gah! I hate myself now.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6)

The Roethlisberger suspension absolutely kills them here. If Ben was playing the first four games, they go a minimum of 3-1. Now it is at best 2-2, likely worst. Once Ben comes back, however, they should be ready to go. I am kind of worried about Rashard Mendenhall for some reason. I feel like he'll be one of those running backs who will have a 3.0 YPC, a Tim Hightower type back. I am begging that he is wrong, because eventually Roethlisberger's luck will run out due to the fact he'll be throwing the ball 40 times a game if their running attack sucks again. The defense really depends on Troy Polamalu, who is one more concussion away from turning into a pile of mush. Their linebackers are as strong as ever, and if they do not give up a kickoff return touchdown a game, they should make it into the playoffs.

3. Cincinnati Bengals (7-9)

Poor Carson Palmer. He is going to have to live with Owens and "Ochocinco" constantly complaining about not getting the ball enough. I am not even sure Palmer is good anymore. Let's be honest, did Palmer ever really recover from his injury? I had him on my fantasy team last year and his weekly stats were somewhere along the lines of: 9-20, 155 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT. 6 fantasy points from a QB is not going to cut it. The defense seems a little shaky, and in a top-heavy division, the Bengals are thrown somewhere in the middle.

4. Cleveland Browns (2-14)

Every year, there is one team where you look at their roster and you say: "Hey! This team has a chance to go 0-16!" This year it is the awful Cleveland Browns. Jake Delhomme is a shell of himself. Honestly, I think they would be better if Josh Cribbs spent the entire game as the quarterback in the Wildcat offense. They have no offense and no defense. It will be another long year for Cleveland fans, doing nothing to distract them from LeBron.

AFC South

1. Indianapolis Colts (13-3)

The number one seed in the AFC, and easily too. Even though they play in one of the tougher divisions in football, they will still get it done with little effort/emotion. They have their deepest receiving core in years, with Anthony Gonzalez finally at full health. If Bob Sanders can actually stay healthy for the entire season, the Colts will be scary good. That is asking a lot, because Bob Sanders has played eight games the past two seasons, and played in only two more games than I did last season. Even without Sanders, they are still the team to beat in the AFC.

2. Tennessee Titans (10-6)

I don't really like the Titans. In fact I kind of hate them. Ever since they stomped on the Terrible Towel in 2008 I have really hated them (But the Steelers won the Super Bowl that year so take that! Ha!) Chris Johnson obviously will not have the same season as last year, but he is still a breakout player. I am not really crazy about Vince Young. He is after all, a member of the East Fragile Psyche All-Star Squad. The receiving core is already pretty weak to begin with, and when you have a quarterback with sub par skills, you are asking for trouble. As usual, the defense is solid. They'll be good this year, but I think they'll just miss out on the playoffs.

3. Houston Texans (9-7)

This team has a good chance to make the playoffs, but the loss of running back Ben Tate really hurts them. Now they are forced to have Steve Slaton getting wrecked everytime he runs up the middle. Matt Schaub is a budding star, and Andre Johnson seems to get better and better. DeMeco Ryans is a certified monster at linebacker (He actually has a certificate), and Brian Cushing could be insane if he was not out for the first four games for injecting drugs that would make him into a monster. The Texans are always the team that seems on the verge of the playoffs, but never make it. Remember that old ESPN commercial when the Texans were first formed. Some hick said "The Texans will win a Super Bowl in three years." Oh you don't remember that. Damn it. Anyway, the Texans always seem to have a lot of optimism going into the season, and always fall short. Just as they will this season.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11)


The forgotten team in the AFC South, and for good reason. Without Maurice Jones-Drew, do you think the Jaguars would ever be mentioned in anything ever? They play in a division with three high-profile teams, and are thrown to the bottom of the barrel. David Garrard (Who plays quarterback, by the way), is years past his prime, whatever that was. This team will compete in some games, but at the end of the day, they will remember that they are the Jaguars.

AFC West

1. San Diego Chargers (11-5)

It pains me to say that the Chargers are this good, it really does. For years they have thrived on playing in the worst division in football, and then losing to the Steelers in the 1st Round of the playoffs. This year, however, the look a lot different, as the face of their franchise is now gone (LT will now waste carries in New York). My friend Alec, who somehow is a Chargers fan, will explain in great detail and vocabulary how the Chargers will do this year:

"Slightly better than last year cause we got rid of tomlinson who sucks (expletive), my boy gates is health, the defense can only get better...and we dont have vjax which hurts us but not much cause malcolm floyd and naanee are big as hell...its good we lost cromartie cause all he does is draw flags"

This was sent over a text. Just clearing that up so you don't think Alec has some kind of mental disability. But he's right. The Jackson holdout will kill them, but unlike Alec I am not sure about the rest of the receivers. I do think that rookie running back Ryan Mathews will be worth the Chargers draft pick. What I find weird about the Chargers running attack is the situation where Darren Sproles is the 3rd Down back. Am I the only person on this planet who finds that incredibly dumb? He weighs about 155 pounds, and on 3rd down, it is usual about picking up hard yardage, where you have to knock over defenders and fight through. Sproles will get destroyed trying to take on a defensive line on 3rd & 2. Just saying.

2. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)

Surprise number 2! This team is prime for a breakout season. I feel like the addition of Weis and Crennel as coordinators can only help, as those guys are much better suited for coordinators rather than crappy head coaches. They have the best running attack in football with Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones, and you have like Matt Cassel will have a better season this year. The defense has a lot of problems, and the Chiefs will probably find themselves in an absurd amount of shootouts this season. Look for kick returners Javier Arenas and Dexter McCluster to really have an impact on games this season. I have to expect this pick will draw the most amount of hate mail directed toward me, so bring it on! Although the Chiefs bandwagon is getting bigger by the day, so maybe bring it off.

3. Oakland Raiders (7-9)

Any team that loses JaMarcus Russel (Level 0 Athlete) is bound to improve. After a 5 win 2009 and stealing wins from a couple high caliber teams, the Raiders should not be atrocious. But not if Al Davis has anything to say about it! I want to say the Raiders will be semi-decent this season, and adding Jason Campbell as their QB really helps. But as long as Al Davis is in charge, I just feel like that franchise is always doomed.

4. Denver Broncos (5-11)

This team has a chance to be really bad this season, as they have no offensive weapons. You kind of have to feel as if their 1st round draft choice could have been better used on somebody other than Tim Tebow. They have one of the tougher schedules in the NFL, and the team just seems like it is filled with players who are either too old or too young to have an impact. Long year in Denver.

There are the standings, as I feel will happen. And they will happen. Now on to the playoffs: (Complete with homer edition and non-homer edition!)

Non-Homer Edition:

Wildcard:

Steelers vs. Chargers

Dolphins vs. Jets


Divisional:

Steelers vs. Colts

Jets vs. Ravens


Conference:

Ravens vs. Colts

Colts back in the Super Bowl. Real risky by me.


Homer Edition:

Wildcard:

Chargers vs. Steelers

Dolphins vs. Jets


Divisional:

Steelers vs. Colts

Jets vs. Ravens


Conference:

Steelers vs. Ravens

The fan in me wants the Steelers to go to the Super Bowl, but the analysis and pure numbers point to the Colts going back. Come back Thursday as we go over the Byong Sun of professional football, the NFC.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The 10 Levels of Being an Athlete

I just finished reading a Sports Illustrated today, the College Football Preview. Good issue, I guess, but I do not understand the point of putting Boise State as high as third if they have no real chance to make it into a BCS Championship game. Just saying, but this will be for another column. Anyway, I got through the issue and made it to Number 17 in the polls, which was USC (Isn't it kind of mean putting USC in the polls in the first place, if they have no chance to even make it to a bowl game?) The article seemed to focus on sophomore quarterback Matt Barkley and his progression as the starting QB. Barkley remarked at one point in the article:

"I think I can now be that Level 10 athlete."

I thought to myself, What in the name of God does that mean? Are there level nine athletes? Level eight? Maybe even level two? Has this ever been established? So I decided to take a shot. And Matt Barkley, you have a long way to go to be a level 10 athlete, according to my criteria. Now, Barkley may have been refering to a "collegiate" level 10 athlete, but I am not talking about college, I am talking about the whole state, the whole experience of being an athlete.

Level Zero: Squandered Potential

Examples: Ryan Leaf, JaMarcus Russell

These are the guys that get sports fans, sports personalities, sports whatever riled up. These are guys who had all the talent in the world, but squandered it basically because they were too lazy. These are athletes for whatever reason, decided that being a professional athlete was too tough. I am not saying it is not, it is definitely one of the most demanding jobs out there. But most great athletes do not care, they just push through the pain and suffering. These guys did not. These guys have inspired entire cities to be infuriated with them. What other profession is there that can have entire cities want to rip your face off? Politician is the only one I can think of.

Russell and Leaf are the two biggest examples out there. Both guys had enormous potential coming out of college, but let their laziness and appetites take over. There is a difference between the two guys however, in how they were portrayed coming out of college. With Leaf, there were a few reports of questional behavior. Were there ever really any with Russell? Other than his weight there was nothing, and it was hard to imagine he would balloon into a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade version of himself.
The celebrity example of this is obviously Lindsay Lohan. She showed talent in Mean Girls most notably, but then fell into partying, drugs, and alcohol. She also has a reputation around Hollywood as a movie-killer, someone who shows up late and argues with the director. Just like Russell and Leaf! Hey guys, you are just like Lindsay Lohan!

Level 1: College Burnouts

Examples: Eric Crouch, Andre Ware, Danny Manning

Very similar to level zero, but these guys may have worked hard, but still did not have what it took to succeed in the pros. Guys who succeed in high-flying offenses in college (Like every Texas Tech or Hawaii quarterback for the past ten years) could not translate in the more organized setting of the pros. Some were undersized, like Crouch, the Heisman Trophy Winner from Nebraska. Some were consistently injured, like Manning and his knees. For whatever reason, these guys just could not translate to the pros. The only thing is, guys like these are less sinners than the level zero guys because it seems as if these guys made an effort to not be a useless pile of trash.

Level Two: There Because of Desperation

Examples: Yuniesky Betancourt

Betancourt gets shelled by sports bloggers for his low OBP and the fact that he probably should not be on a major league roster. Betancourt actually has the lowest OBP and Slugging percentage out of any major league baseball player, which I assume also includes pitchers. Betancourt has a job in the major leagues for one reason: Desperation. Would the Yankees or any high quality team ever touch Betancourt with anything more than a Double A contract? No, they do not need to. Teams like the Royals take any players they can get, due to injuries and low payroll. You see this in every professional sports, guys just there because teams need to fill a spot.

Level 2.5: Perennial Bench-stars

Examples: Brian Scalabrine, Adam Morrison

These are guys that have somehow managed to float around in the league for years, but will never be anything more than bench players. In fact, I am pretty sure Scalabrine spent more time in a suit than in a jersey this season. And no, he was not injured. Yet, Scalabrine has made $15 million the past five years, just for sitting down extremely well.

Level 3: The Temptations

Examples: Darryl Strawberry, Len Bias, Doc Gooden

Guys who have fallen into the temptations of various vices, whether it be drugs or alcohol. All three of these examples had their careers cut short due to cocaine, although Bias's was cut short because he was dead. You could even put a guy like Mickey Mantle in this category, because he could have been so much better if he was not showing up to games hungover.

I am not going to include guys like Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa, because the drugs they used were in a sick pursuit to be better than everybody else. These guys used drugs because they had a psychological dependency on them. I am not saying one is better than the other, or one is more acceptable than the other, but it is easier to feel sorry for the Strawberry's and Bias's of the world, basically.

Level 4: Scrappers

Examples: David Eckstein

Although these players may not have any discernable talent, they bust their ass every time they step on a field, a court, a pitch, a bowling alley, or wherever. Whatever they lack in talent, they make up in hustle, hard work, and hustle. Otherwise known as the Three H's. So when you see me refer to a guy as a 3H player, you will no longer give me one of those stupid looks again.
Note: Dustin Pedroia is not to be included in this. He is a 3H player but is extremely talented. He is the only Red Sox player I do not want to stab with a rusty knife, so he has that going for him too.

Level 4.5: Journeyman

The infamous Journeyman category is broken down into 2 groups:

A) "The Superstar" (Examples: Gary Sheffield, Ron Artest)

These are guys with supreme talent but they have one problem: Attitude. This allows them to bounce from team to team, performing well but being run out of town in a year or two. Sheffield and Artest probably have the poorest attitudes out of any players of the past 20 years, and this contributes to them never finding a steady home.

B) "Role Players" (Examples: Mike Myers, Mike Morgan, Matt Stairs)

These guys move from team from team a lot because although their role is always in demand, the are dispensable. There is always a team that needs a left-handed specialist, so that is where Myers comes in. When you need a righty, Morgan is your man. These guys are valuable to a team, but dispensable enough that you do not want to keep them on the payroll for more than a year or two, since there is bound to be another specialist. If you need a bat off the bench, Stairs is the guy. The problem with his position is, there are inifinite number of players who can come off the bench in Major League Baseball.

Level 5: Hype

Examples: Matt Barkeley, Terrelle Pryor, Bryce Harper

This is where Barkeley falls in the overall state of things. He is not a level 10 athlete, yet. But these guys are the most likely to reach that area. These are the college stars, the guys who have never played in the pros, but are showered with expectations. Think of these guys as the cast of the Harry Potter movies. Having only appeared in really one major movie for their entire lives, they will soon have to make the jump into other forms of entertainment. My guess is Hermione will have the best success, because I am sure you cared.

Level 5.5: One-Shot Wonders

Examples: Ickey Woods, Buster Douglas, Mark Fidyrich

These are kind of like the level one guys, except they had a great season in the pros instead of a great collegiate career. Then, they burned out too. Woods and Fidyrich were gone because of injuries, and Douglas decided to pull a JaMarcus Russell and weigh about 900 pounds. Douglas beating Mike Tyson is like Carl Spackler actually winning the Masters, it was so improbable. The seasons these guy had are the equivalent of the one-hit wonder in the music industry. Buster Douglas is the Macerena of this category.

Are they better athletes than the Hype guys? No, not by a long shot. But they actually have proved themselves on the professional level, albeit one season.

Level 6: Congrats, You Get to Go to (Insert City Here) For the Week!

Examples: Gilbert Arenas, Vince Carter

Why care about team success, when you can just take 30 shots a game a win a three-day trip to Orlando. Guys like Arenas and Carter are really only concerned with personal success. This is not saying they are not talented, which they really are. Their careers are just ruined in my eyes because they never made a concerned effort to help their teams. Carter's cousin, Tracy McGrady is also in this category. Has there ever been a family that has been worse in the playoffs than McGrady-Carter? I dare you, try and find one.

Level 6.5: All-stars Who Give Two Craps About Team Success

Examples: Everyone except Arenas and McGrady-Carter

Level 7: So Close

Examples: Karl Malone, Charles Barkley

Malone and Barkley and Ted Williams and Ernie Banks's careers are marked with a little asterik, all because they never won a championship. Still, all four of those guys had remarkable careers in which they transcened their various sports. But they never won, and isn't that what you play sports for? Dan Marino and Dan Fouts are two other guys just like this. I think it is something with the name Dan and football.

Entertainment Example: Martin Scorcese until The Departed finally won him Best Director. Seriously, Dances With Wolves over Goodfellas in 1990? If the Academy knew that Waterworld was going to happen, they never would have given Costner the freedom he got after winning Best Director and Best Picture.

Level 7.5: Last Chance

Examples: Karl Malone, Gary Payton

A subcategory of the "So Close", when aging superstars realize it is getting late in their careers, and sell out in order to get a championship. The 2004 Lakers with Malone and Payton are probably the best example of this.

Level 8: Winner

Example: Robert Horry, Yogi Berra, Derek Jeter

Maybe not as talented as the guys in level 7, but these guys get it done. Horry and Berra did whatever it took to ensure victory for their respective teams. For Horry it was being a role player who made big shots. For Berra it was being a solid hitter who worked great with pitchers. For Jeter it was doing all the little things. They may not be the biggest stars on the team (Horry had Shaq and Kobe, Berra had Mantle, Jeter was). In sports, the most important thing is to win, and this is just what these guys did.

Level 9: Best In the Game

Examples: Albert Pujols, Lionel Messi, Sidney Crosby, LeBron James, Peyton Manning

The undisputed best players around in their respective sports. All of these guys have won championships except for, well, "King" James. You know what, maybe we take James down. But he is the most talented basketball player alive. You reach this level when you are far and away the best active player in the sport. How do you reach this plateau you ask? Statistical dominance. All five of these guys stats are way better than anything else out there.

Level 10: Legendary

Examples: Larry Bird, Willy Mays, Hank Aaron, Lou Gehrig

Most of these guys are level 9 or the best of the level 6.5. These are not quite level 11 (Yes there is an eleventh level), but they are considered legends for a few reasons:

1) Did something to transcend the sport
2) Statistical Dominance
3) Did things that people still talk about today
4) Hall-of-Famers
5) Remembered with reverance by the fans of the team they played for

Basically, if you fit the qualifications for all 5, you are a legend.

Level 11) G.O.A.T.

This rarified air is reserved for the greatest of all-time. Not just self-bestowed G.O.A.T. status (Ali, no way you are the best boxer ever), or any gray areas (Baseball and football has too many guys vying for the top spot). There are really only 3 G.O.A.T.'s.

1) Michael Jordan

2) Wayne Gretzky

3) Pele

The beautiful thing about all three guys is that there will never be anyone else like them. There will probably never be another Michael Jordan, and we will be forced to compare the Jonathan Bender's (Level 1) of the world to His Airness. There will never another Jordan, another Gretzky, or another Pele, just imitations.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Analyzing Ben Roethlisberger's First Preseason Start

Was there a preseason start more ballyhooed than Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's return? Everyone knows Roethlisberger's deal by now: sexually assaulted another girl at another bar, and now will be suspended for the first six games of the season (although it appears as if it will be shortened to four). Roethlisberger is not the best quarterback in the NFL, but he is definitely one of the five most capable and popular, playing as he does for a national team, i.e., SteelersNation. Seriously, Steelers fans are more dispersed throughout the country than the Corleone crime family after the Don dropped dead in his tomato plants.

This is about the eighth stupid thing Roethlisberger has done in the past five years, according to my calculations, but this is the first one that appears to have a significant impact on the field. Roethlisberger almost died in a motorcycle accident, but he did not really miss any time for it (one could argue, of course, that it did have an impact, contributing to mental and physical lapses, but that is mere speculation).

Roethlisberger is probably the most infuriating athlete I have ever seen. Yet I love him as a quarterback, and I wouldn't have anyone else. He does many dumb and reckless things off the field, as well as on. Last year, for example, he led the NFL in near interceptions. His refusal to throw away the ball allowed him to get sacked 50 times last season. On the opening game of last season, on NBC, he was sacked for a 19 yard loss because he was trying to make a play. But that is what Steeler fans love about Roethlisberger, his ability to make plays. You lose his mobility when Byron Leftwich is playing quarterback. You lose his pure passing ability when Dennis Dixon is in the game.

The love affair between Steelers fans and Big Ben can only be comparable to the latest season of Jersey Shore. In every episode this season, Sammi's on and off boyfriend Ronnie cheats on her at the club, then comes home to snuggle with Sammi as if nothing happened. Lately, it has been the Steelers fans who are Sammi. Roethlisberger goes out and does all these horrific things (motorcycle incident, still does not ride with a helmet, two speculated sexual assaults) and still comes home to Heinz field as if nothing happened. Last NFL Draft, I was so mad at Roethlisberger I was practically begging for a trade. After seeing Roethlisberger last night, I realized Jimmy Clausen has nothing on Roethlisberger. I want to hate Roethlisberger, but then I see him play, the winner of two Super Bowls. I am so conflicted. I am sure my dad is real proud I compared him and his childhood team to a show that he despises.

I do not really agree with how the Steelers are dealing with this whole quarterback situation, and I will get to that in a moment. Here is how Roethlisberger's three drives went last night against the Giants:

First Drive:

To no one's surprise, the always predictable Bruce Arians picked a running play first. In my years as a Steelers fan, I think I have seen the Steelers throw on first down about six times.

Play action pass to favorite target Heath Miller for a gain of eight and a first down. Roethlisberger sells that play action better than any quarterback in the NFL, probably because the defense assumes Pittsburgh is going to run every time. Usually they are correct.

Another pass to Heath Miller goes 12 yards and another first down. Roethlisberger looked his usual mobile self in the pocket, pump faking at least five times before throwing the football.

After two failed running plays which included a 13 yard loss on a Randle El end around (Which looked like it was going to be a pass) sets up a 3 & 21 for Roethlisberger. An eight yard pass to Mendenhall is not enough for the first down, and the Steelers are forced to punt.

On the Drive: 3-3, 28 yards.

Second Drive:


Feels pressure from the four unblocked Giants who I can only assume the Steelers offensive line forgot to block. Ben somehows dodges them all, and lobs up a classic Big Ben pass to Mike Wallace. You know, the one where he somehow manages to dodge the entire defense and throws up a prayer that is somehow caught. Only this time, it was caught by Corey Webster, who plays for the Giants. This looked like the end to every one of the Steelers seven losses last season.

So far: 3-4, 28 yard, 1 INT

Third Drive:

Big Ben comes back to life in the third drive, with a vintage Big Ben passing sequence. He does three pump fakes, has enough composure to stay in the pocket, and rifles one to Matt Spaeth for a gain of 18.

After a few running plays and a hold by Flozell Adams (Who has done everything in his power not to impress anyone at Steelers camp), Ben throws a 12 yard strike to Heath Miller while once again dodging the entire Giant defensive line.

Right after this, Ben throws a laser to Antwaan Randel El for a first down, a gain of 17 to put the Steelers inside the Giants ten.

After Roethlisberger was sacked, the Steelers were faced with a 3rd and goal situation. A fade to Hines Ward in the end zone fell incomplete, and the two looked really out of a sync. The ball landed ten yards away from Ward, and Ward had not even looked up for the ball by the time the ball reached the ground.

Big Ben finished at: 6-8, 76 yards, 1 INT, 1 sack.

Roethlisberger, I thought, looked pretty good. Take away the interception that was forced by the Steelers inability to block for longer than two seconds, and Roethlisberger had himself a pretty good game. He looked even more mobile than usual and was throwing strikes up and down the field. This gave me confidence for when he comes back, that he will be okay and not too rusty. As long as he practices with the team. All that being said, I feel as if the Steelers are all wrong with the quarterback situation. Ben had no right starting this game. Let me tell you what the Steelers should be doing:

1) It is much more important that Leftwich and Dixon get reps with the first team than Roethlisberger.

Roethlisberger has played years with that team and knows everyone well. The line, running backs and receivers barely know Dixon and Leftwich's tendancies in a game. Ben should not have started this game, as it is much more important that Dixon and Leftwich get reps against better defenses and play with better players. Ben already knows what to do in these situations, the other two, especially Dixon, are going to have some trouble. Ben should not have started at least until the next preseason game. His starting just got in the way of what should have been an even evalutation of the other two quarterbacks. This did not happen.

2) Dennis Dixon needs reps against better defenses.

Putting Dixon in for the whole second half is not doing him any good. Sure he is getting reps, but not against the quality he needs. This is a guy who may have the lead on Leftwich for starter come Week 1. It is doing him and the team no good having him play the third and fourth quarter against the T.C. Williams High Titans. If you really want to evaluate Dixon and Leftwich, have them play against nearly the same competition. Which brings us to...

3) Choose the starter after the third game.

The team needs to know how they are going to attack the first four to six games of the season without Big Ben. Putting them in a state of limbo is doing them no good. Now, this option seems even more difficult because the last preseason game was essentially an evaluational waste. But the team needs to know what they are doing. Have Dixon play the first quarter and Leftwich the second in the next game. Ignore Roethlisberger for the first half, because he is not in the running. Tomlin screwed up the quarterback situation so far, but can still make it up.

Roethlisberger does not need to start any more of these games. They are useless, just send him in for a series if it is really that necessary for him to play. He looked fine last night, and the Steelers are just hampering their beginning of the season by messing up the quarterback situation in the pre-season.

Random Notes and Thoughts from Saturday Nights game:

Carl Banks really is making a strong case for worst color commentator alive.

Good to see Daniel Sepulveda back. The punting situation was brutal last season, and really showed how invaluable Sepulaveda is.

The Hakeem Nicks-Ike Taylor fight was awesome for a few reasons. Ike Taylor may be a crappy cornerback, but he threw a devestating underhook to Nicks' chin, really the only way you can punch a man with a helmet on. I spent most of the fight praying Nicks of all people wouldn't get hurt, because he is LRB's second receiver.

Have you ever seen somebody get ejected from an NFL game for actions on the field? I cannot remember the last time I saw this. I remember Joey Porter once got ejected before a game, but I do not remember somebody actually be thrown out for something they did on the field.

Hard to say who won the quarterback battle last night. Leftwich had a gorgeous pass to Mike Wallace for a long touchdown, but Dixon was more accuarate and had an impact with his feet. This probably was a draw, but if a gun was to my head, I would have to go with Dixon. Then again, Leftwich was facing better competition. Damn it Mike Tomlin! This is no way to judge quarterbacks.

The Attic Fan column can also be found on Yardbarker. Follow the Attic Fan at www.twitter.com/theatticfan

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Open Letter to Carmelo Anthony

Dear Carmelo Anthony,

All right Carmelo, I am going to make this short and sweet. This sentence anyway, I am not sure about the rest of the letter. You have got to come to New York. Not to Brooklyn or Newark or wherever the Nets are playing now, but to New York City. I know you are getting offers from Houston (Real good team they got going on down there) and the Nets (An even better team) but the Knicks are where it is at. Okay, maybe not right now, but it can be if you decide to come. Hey, maybe you can even bring your boy Chris Paul with you! He did mention at your wedding reception that he wanted to form a superteam with you and Amare Stoudamire in NYC. Maybe this was Paul's version of the drunk best man speech, but he did bring up an intriguing idea.

Can you imagine the three of you in the Big Apple together? It probably would rival the three down in Miami. If anything, you would have better role players around you a few years from now, as the ones in Miami are just playing for this year (Looking at you Juwan Howard). If anything, this would probably be a more balanced attack than the one in Miami. Stoudamire is a better offensive player than Bosh, you are probably the most clutch player out of the six, and Paul is the best facilitator out of all of everyone.

Do you want to know my real motive behind bringing you to New York, Melo? I am not really a Knicks fan, I have been a Celtic fan from birth. As it seems that it is highly unlikely that you will go to Boston, New York is the next best thing. I don't really care about whether you make the team better or not (but I am sure you do). But what I care about is bringing some sort of relevancy back to New York sports.

What? Doesn't New York dominate the front pages of sport sections everywhere? (Says a man I just made up)

New York does not dominate sports the way it should, the way a city with nine professional sports teams located in the area should. Only two teams are really relevant in the eyes of the sporting world, the Yankees and the Jets. The Yankees are fresh off the World Series win from last season, and the Jets are the current football media darlings, appearing on Hard Knocks and what not. Then there are the other seven. The Giants have really fallen off in terms of football relevancy since their most recent Super Bowl win, and the Mets are once again falling apart down the home stretch of the baseball season (at least for Mets fans sake, it's earlier this year). The Nets are fresh off of one of the worst seasons in professional basketball history, and are having an extreme struggle drawing players to play in Newark. It is not the team or the city's fault, it is just that Newark gets an unfair rap around the country, mainly a product of hyperbole. The Rangers and Devils are dwindling quickly, and apparently New York also has a team called the Islanders, which according to ESPN has the worst professional sports "arena" in the country.

Look at a city like Boston. All four of their sports teams are relevant. Only 22 percent of New York's teams even matter to the average sports fan.

That brings us to where you come in Carmelo, the New York Knicks.

The Knicks have not been relevant in the sporting world for a few years. And when they were, it was because Isiah Thomas single-handedly making that team into a disaster rivaling The Adventures of Pluto Nash. The Knicks were known for hard-nosed, boring games back in the 90's, but they were good. They were good in the 70's as well, with Reed and Frazier and the whole gang. You can bring relevancy back to this faltering franchise. Maybe you can even cancel out the fact that the Knicks just attempted to sign Isiah Thomas back on as a special consultant, which can only be compared to as the Republic bringing back Darth Vader to help Luke Skywalker with decisions, if Vader was still alive (I am sure these Star Wars references make you want to come even more). You can bring the Knicks back to relevancy not only in the basketball world, but in the sporting world in general. Bring New York back to what it used to be in terms of sports. This is not about the Knicks for me, it is about the city. Make the average fan care about New York.

Think of how big your star will get here. Playing in Denver, you were almost an after thought in the eyes of fans. In New York, you will be on billboards and buildings. This would be a good move for your wife. She has not been in anything since she hosted For the Love of Ray J, so I am sure she'll welcome the move. La La meet Gaga. I am sure we can make that happen (By we, I mean other people. I don't have those kind of connections). You'll be gold Carmelo, gold!
In short, the city needs you Carmelo. Bring basketball back to what it used to be in New York. Bring New York sports back what it used to be in the eyes of the average American fan.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Attic Fan's Fantasy Draft

It's fantasy time.

On Sunday, one of the biggest days of the year happened. It was my league's fantasy football draft, and little did I know all hell would break lose during it. I am about to give you a round by round summary of what happened and what was going through my mind (although sometimes it would appear as if nothing was going on). Kind of think of it as mock draft like one you would see in magazine. The rules on who pick are kind of weird, and the fact that there are 20 people in the league lead me to believe that I'll be drafting Ahman Green or Donte Stallworth eventually. Basically, by the later rounds, all you will be drafting is backups or fringe players. There were 360 overall picks, so the inevitable happened. Players like Jamal Lewis were picked, even though he is a free agent and is projected by ESPN to score 0 points this season. Hey, so am I! But it does not matter. My team, Little River Band, and I are destined to win a championship.

You Must Draft:

1 QB
2 RB
3 WR
1 TE
1 OP (Any offensive player)
1 D/ST
1 K
1 HC (Head Coach)
7 Bench

Head coach sounds even better in retrospect, because the maximum amount of points it can get you is 9, usually less than what kickers get. Ugh.

1 Day Before: My mom gets back from Shop-Rite and says she saw a guy in line with a shopping cart full of fantasy football magazines. Why does this make me feel bad?

8 Hours Before: Just bought ESPN's Fantasy Guide. Now it's serious.

1 Hour Before: Just logged in and I have...the fourth pick! RAY RICE! RAY RICE!

45 Mins Before: Over/Under on 5 hour draft time. My guess is over!

30 Mins Before: Just received 6th mini-heart attack from the "dun-dun-dun-DUUUH" that plays whenever somebody enters the draft.

10 Mins Before: Only half the league is here so far. Can you say autopick?

Round 1: Here are only the top ten picks in detail, since the twenty will get grueling not only to write, but to read. Do you really care about Cedric Benson or Ryan Grant? Do you really care about me complaining that in any other normal league, they are probably third round picks? You don't, so I'll save you the trouble. And don't worry the most of the league showed up.

1: Chris Johnson, RB, Titans

An obvious overall number one pick, so I am not sure why the owner of this team took the full 90 seconds to select Chris Johnson. This pick should be obvious. He'll score over 10 touchdowns, rush over 1,500 yards, and catch 50 balls. Don't waver any way, just pick Chris Johnson. And do it fast.

2: Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings

This took the full 90 seconds again, for some reason. Peterson is pretty much the consensus number two pick wherever you look. He tears it up on the ground, and will likely lead the NFL in touchdowns again, with the Vikings former 3rd down back Chester Taylor out of the way. Even with all this, Peterson was still kind of a disappointment when I drafted him last year. Sure, he scored 18 touchdowns, but he only ran for 1,300 yards and a lot of his touchdowns were scored in bunches. His yards-per-carry was way down, and towards the end of the season, he seemed to fumble every other game. He won't be the same explosive player he was in the 2007 season, but he is still worth a number 2 pick.

3. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars

This guy scores like there is no tomorrow. He can bust off long runs or he can punch it in from the one. Only concern here is that last season was his first with 200+ carries, and he had 312. You could really go either way with Jones-Drew or The Draft's number 4 pick.

4. Ray Rice, RB, Ravens

My first round selection, and I really got the guy I wanted here. This guy will get over 1,200 yards and score 10 running. His real value is in the receiving game, where he is projected to catch 84 balls and have 680 receiving yards. He is probably the best run-catch combo running back in the game, which is vital for fantasy.


Quick Rice story: I drafted him last year as a fourth-round pick. Sure I probably got him two or three rounds earlier than I could have, and eventually traded him for DeSean Jackson and fantasy bust Cedric Benson, but that's not the point. The point is, I predicted the future for once.


5. Steven Jackson, RB, Rams

Bruiser for a runner, will get insane amount of carriers this year in St. Louis. A big question is his durability. He looks like he can last, but if you look at the carries he's gotten in the past three years, he is bound to break down. Also, for some reason, for a guy that single-handidly carries an offense, he only had four touchdowns last year. Steven Jackson last season was kind of like a Mustang that had a Honda Accord's engine. He had some great runs and looked great, but the end result wasn't all that spectacular.

6. Drew Brees, QB, Saints

A little early for Brees to go, especially with Frank Gore still on the board. Still, Brees puts up huge numbers, and is more accurate than Legolas. I probably like Aaron Rodgers a little more than Brees, and I like Rodgers' receivers more, but Brees is still a Super Bowl Champion and will give you 30+ touchdowns. Not a bad pick, but I definitely don't think I would have taken him this high.
7. Frank Gore, RB, 49ers

A little late for Gore, who can score 10+ touchdowns rushing and will score a few receiving. The only real problem with Gore is that he is injury-prone and does not get many rushes. The fewer rushes you get, the fewer yards and touchdowns you get. Obviously. But when Gore does get the ball, he explodes. He had 3 touchdowns of over 64 yards last season. The problem with that is, those giant runs are all he does in that offense. Pick Gore, and pray that he will bust off big runs.

8. Andre Johnson, WR, Texans

The selection was by my little brother, participating in his very first fantasy draft. This is a big moment in a child's life, as this is the first time that you are exposed to gambling. Anyway, Johnson is the best receiver in The Draft, but I always feel that receivers are ranked way too high. Really, Johnson at 7 for ESPN's Big Board? It seems that every year, receivers move higher and higher in draft stock, and I am not sure why. They don't score as much as running backs, and unless you play in a points per reception league, receptions are worthless. I felt upset last year when Larry Fitzgerald was ranked tenth, and this was after almost single-handedly beating the Steelers in Super Bowl 43 and almost single-handedly making me blow up our TV. Johnson is good, and is the best WR available. I just don't think that I would draft him this high.

9. Randy Moss, WR, Patriots

I am also confused why people are so high on Moss this year. He is getting old, and eventually you have to figure that he won't be able to burn corners on deep routes like he used to. I find it ridiculous him being picked over a guy like Larry Fitzgerald. Also, I miss the old Moss. The one who would moon fans and hit police officers with their car. Where's the excitement? Belicheck has completely brainwashed a guy who five years ago you thought would have been the most likely professional athlete to punch a cop in the face. What happened?

10. Peyton Manning

Maybe a little high for Peyton, but the NFL MVP puts up the same numbers year in and year out, so you know what you are getting with Peyton. His offensive line is superb, so there is no real threat of him getting hurt, and he'll put up 4,000+ yards and 30+ passing touchdowns. Probably the safest pick in the draft.

How I would have drafted the top 10:

1. Chris Johnson 2. Adrian Peterson 3. Ray Rice 4. Maurice Jones-Drew 5. Steven Jackson 6. Frank Gore 7. Aaron Rodgers 8. Michael Turner 9. Drew Brees 10. Andre Johnson

That seems about right, right? Okay good. Although reading the rest of this column, you may or may not feel different about taking my advice with fantasy football.

The rest of Round One went with players like Cedric Benson, Rashard Mendenhall and Shonn Greene coming off the board. What kind of sick draft has these players in the First Round?

(In case you did not notice, I am still mad at Cedric Benson for not playing in the Bengals final game of last season, ruining my fantasy team's hopes at a championship. I hope you were well-rested for that one game you played in the playoffs, Cedric)

Second Round:

The first sighting of someone being picked that I wanted, Matt Schaub at 22. This disturbing trend almost inspired me to go on some kind of sick rampage like Michael Corelone does at the end of every Godfather movie. Some other selections in this round included Joe Flacco at 26 and Carson Palmer at 32, about 150 spots higher than I would have picked him. Palmer was the 22nd ranked QB by ESPN, even behind passing extraordinaire Vince Young. This marks the first dumb pick of the draft.

Also in this round, Tony Romo was selected at 36, one selection before when I was slated to pick him. This lack of getting Tony Romo inspired the sick turn of events that happened in Round 5. I ended up picking Running Back By Committee All-Star Jamaal Charles. Nice.

Third Round:

With the 44th pick, I was able to snag Sidney Rice. His performance really depends on whether Brett Favre plays or not. Just like my fantasy team. Rice had a break out year last season and is a good option with the number one receiver pick.

Other picks include Kevin Kolb going 50 picks too early, Donavan McNabb being picked which I can only presume to be by mistake, and somebody forgetting that C.J. Spiller is a definite back-up running back.

Fourth Round:

Highlights included Dez Bryant being selected along with somebody apparently remembering Santana Moss still plays football. Because frankly, I forgot. I got Hakeem Nicks, a receiver from the Giants at 77. Since I live in the New York Market, I am blessed with getting to watch every Giants game. Nicks impressed me last season, he is this tall, big kid who can run after the catch. At least that's what ESPN tells me.

Fifth Round:

Okay. Here we go.

I picked Brett Favre 84th overall.

Have you ever seen the first episode of Eastbound and Down where Kenny Powers starts cursing at his brother's kid for climbing on his Seadoo? Then he starts cursing at his brother's wife, then says "I immediately regret saying that."? Because that quote is what went through my head within ten seconds of clicking "Draft Player". I am still not sure why I picked a player who may or may not be retired, and may or may not play the season on one leg if he even does play.

I panicked, basically. I saw that I had gone four rounds without selecting a QB, and needed one fast, lest I have to pick Alex Smith or Matthew Stafford. The positives for Favre are there though. If he does play, he's a top 7 fantasy quarterback. He put up the best numbers of his career last year. He has a great running back, great receivers, and a great offensive line. But if he doesn't play, my team is ruined. Don't worry I will keep you posted with details.

Round Six:

Round six started off with somebody forgetting that Santonio Holmes was suspended for the first four games of the season, and then five picks later, somebody picked Mark Sanchez. I am on record during the draft saying "I would rather have a retired Favre than the Sanchize".

That was partially to save face, but also partially true. Sanchez had three games last year where he scored negative fantasy points. So maybe it is better to have retired Favre. I went on to pick the 49ers D/ST, mainly because Mike Singletary has turned that defense into a smaller version of the Bears teams he played on in the 80's. Linebacker Patrick Willis is an absolute beast, a football version of Keyser Soze.

Round Seven:

It only took seven rounds before autopick made the funniest pick of the draft, selecting Ben Roethlisberger in the seventh round. Autopick also seemed to forget that Roethlisberger is suspended for at least the first four games. Let's be honest, is there anything worse than autopick? It picks random players, has no concern that it just drafted seven wide receivers in a row, and will complete ignore the fact that a guy suspended almost half the NFL season is not the best player available. But the autopick is also brilliant at the same time. It is the perfect punishment for the jackass who decided not to show up to the fantasy draft they spent twenty bucks.

By the way, this new stat called "Near Interceptions" showed that Big Ben led the NFL with 30 last year. None of this comes as a surprise, as I spent the majority of Steelers games pulling my hair out.

I ended up picked Seattle's Golden Tate, a member of My All-Sleeper Team, Receiver Edition that included him, San Diego's WR Malcolm Floyd and New York's Nicks.

Round Eight:

For some strange reason, I think I saw Matt Leinart be chosen. That may just my eyes playing a trick on me, but wow. Other "highlights" included a kicker already be chosen, 65-year-old Joey Galloway be selected, and me picking Cincinnati's backup running back Bernard Scott. I am praying that Cedric Benson inevitably sucks, so this better version of Benson can have time to shine. At least he well get kickoffs, and at the OP, you really aren't asking for much other than to do something.

Round Nine:

At the halfway point, it has taken 90 minutes. Ugh. At least people seem to be autopicking now that most of their starters are selected. I picked John Carlson, who apparently plays tight end for Seattle. Awesome!

Round Ten:

So I picked Tavaris Jackson this round, so what. He is a faster Brett Favre. Only much, much worse.

Round Eleven:

Selected Dexter McCluster, who is some kind of weird receiver-running back hybrid for the Chiefs. See, this is what happens when there are almost 400 picks in a draft.

Round Twelve:

Finally decided to pick a kicker, Miami's Dan Carpenter. Why are these people even being drafted?

Round Thirteen:

With the 244th overall pick, my Steelers love showed, and I picked former fan favorite Nate "the Great" Washington. Nate now plays for Tennessee, and the Steelers could defiantly use their old number three receiver back. Nate the Great deserves his own statue in Pittsburgh or something.

Also in this round: Now officially retired former 49ers running back Glen Coffee was selected. God how I love autopick.

Round Fourteen:

Looks like I am going to miss the Roast of Hasslehoff. Bummer.

It only took 272 picks, but Mike Vick is finally off the board! He may get ten snaps total this year in Philly.

I selected another Steeler, number two tight-end Matt Spaeth. You may remember him from my Maurkice Pouncey article, as "Guy who urinated in public following a win against the Browns". We only pick winners here at Little River Band.

Round 15:

Due to the absurdity of the "head coach" position in fantasy, I was forced to use a pick of the Texans coach. If you are looking for a Fredo position in fantasy football, this is it right here, do not look any further. It is weak, dumb and stupid and will not give you more than nine points a game.

Round 16 & 17

I selected the two founding members of the "2010 Fantasy Football All-Hibernation Team", St. Louis's Mardy Gilyard and Seattle's Mike Williams, both wide receivers. Gilyard, a rookie out of Cincinnati, dominated in college but was not drafted until late due to some inevitable personal issue. Shocker. Williams is attempting to make a comeback after being a 2005 NFL Draft top 10 pick gone haywire. Williams became somewhat morbidly obese, and was out of the NFL, until Seattle's Pete Carrol gave him a shot. Williams recently had a short piece done him in Sports Illustrated, and scored a 51 yard touchdown in the opening preseason game. It does not really matter anyway, since there were so few people left in the draft it was either pick these two or Joe Namath and Jim Brown.

Round 18:

With the last pick in the draft, I turned on autopick and Tosh.0 at the same time, and watched the later. I think I picked Kansas City's ninth string running back. After 2 hours and 18 minutes, and the best players remaining JJ Arrington, Ryan Moats, Rob Gronkowski and Jamal Lewis, I decided to call it a night.

The fantasy draft was a minor success, I think, besides the time it took and the fact that my quarterback may never play another down in the NFL again. I think it was worth it. Right?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The State of the NBA According to Charles Barkley and The Attic Fan

When Charles Barkley talks, I tend to listen. I am not sure why that is, but every time Barkley has an interview on TV or is doing the pre-game show for TNT, I focus harder than Danny Torrance watching Roadrunner. Barkley has been made out to be a comical figure, usually by his relentless ad campaigns with random cell phone providers, and the fact that he gets ripped on by Kenny Smith on a nightly basis (Really? How does Chuck let this happen? Any guy with the career that Smith had should be torn about by one of the NBA's 50 greatest players). Barkley has arguably the worst golf swing in the history of mankind, another reason for his being made fun of.

But Barkley usually has good things to say. When he was on ESPN's Pardon the Interruption last week, he seemed to almost make a State of the Union address, although Barkley is not the commissioner of the NBA or anything close to it. A lot of what he had to say was really spot on and made a lot of sense. Well, not all of it. He did reveal that he was becoming a lefty golfer and just bought a lefty driver. That actually may prove to be a genius move on Barkley's part, because there is no real way that he can get any worse being a righty golfer.

When you think about the NBA right now, one thing comes to mind and that is LeBron and the Pips down in Miami. Barkley had a few things to say about LeBron:
3 in Miami = 1 in Cleveland

I'd have to say this is absolutely true. You cannot tell me that winning one in South Beach, with that all-star cast, is the equivalent of winning one in Cleveland with Mo Williams and Antwan Jamison. It just isn't. The NBA is such a star-dominant, top-heavy league that any team with two stars is guaranteed at least a spot in the Conference Finals. Of course, LeBron was the exception to the rule. He had brought basketball prominence to Cleveland literally all by himself. Everyone thought give him a few more years there, maybe get a few more role players, and Cleveland would be the Chicago of the 2010's. This is not the case, as LeBron left for greener pastures. One in Cleveland would be huge, that city has been championship dry for almost fifty years now. Technically, according to Barkley's math, if LeBron were to win this year, it would count as only a third of a championship. And I could not agree more.


LeBron should have had people come to him.

LeBron James, the league's two-time regining MVP, could not get anyone to play with him in Cleveland during his tenure there. This was probably because he never signed a long-term deal with the club, so anybody who ever thought about going there knew there would still be a chance that LeBron would leave town. You could not get anyone high-profile there, because LeBron's contract situation that he created an instability within the orginization.

The problem I have with LeBron (and there are many) is that he should have been making the moves. He is the best player in the NBA, and instead, this free-agent season was really determined by where a power forward who will be forgotten in ten years will go. James let Chris Bosh basically tell him what to do, and there is no real denying that. LeBron made a half-hearted effort to get Bosh to come to Cleveland, but Bosh was in love with any city near a major media market. Cleveland is no longer a major media market. Bosh is obsessed with his "brand", whatever that is. I guarantee if you ask any little kid to name five NBA players, Bosh will never be mentioned. Although that may not be the case anymore, as Bosh is now a member of the most hated franchise in sports (Finally, the Yankees are off the hook!).

Barkley also said that he was "disappointed" in LeBron. He went on to say that he should have given Cleveland some more time, and that playing with all the other greats in the NBA today is not something he would have done or any of the other great players from his and previous generations would have done. When Sir Charles is disappointed in you, well, you must have done something wrong.


T-Mac Needs to Learn to Come off the Bench

Another interesting topic Chuck brought up was Tracy McGrady's inability to come of the bench. T-Mac, in the convoluted brain that he and cousin Vince Carter share, believe that they are still and always will be superstars. Tracy, would you look a quick look at your statistics, because obviously you have not looked at them since 2006.

2006-2007: 24.6 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 6.5 APG, 43% FG, 33% 3P, 35.8 MPG

Tracy's last truly dominant season, and this was in his third season with the Rockets. McGrady was 27. Look at his numbers. Solid across the board, he even had his last good shooting season. His minutes per game was up, but of course none of this translated in team success. And why would it? He is a McGrady-Carter.

2007-2008: 21.6 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 5.9 APG, 41% FG, 29% 3P, 68% FT, 37.0 MPG

In the main statistics; points, rebounds and assists, there are only subtle drops from where they were last season. But look at his shooting, numbers and they are absolutely putrid for a guy who regularly takes 20 shots a game. He played in only 66 games this year, and that number will continue to go down.

2008-2009: 15.6 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 5.0 APG, 37% 3P, 80% FT, 35 games played

T-Mac's numbers were down all across the board, except for his shooting which went up dramatically. He also played in 35 games, yet another injury for a 29-year-old aging superstar.

2009-2010: 8.2 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 3.3 APG, 25% 3P, 30 games played, 22.4 MPG

McGrady's recent season were he played off the bench, shot terribly and had some of the worst numbers of his career. And this guy still wants to paid like a superstar? He should look at the most recent example of this. Allen Iverson wanted to be play and be paid like a superstar, but he found himself playing for the Grizzles and coming off the bench. He could not grasp the concept that his best years were behind him and defer to his other teammates. Unless McGrady can grasp this concept, he will be forced to a the rest of career being miserable and unhappy. He needs to take a page out of the book of...

Shaquille O'Neal

When this episode of PTI aired, Shaquille O'Neal aka Shaq had still not been signed by a professional team. The point that Chuck was trying to make was that he felt that it was crazy that Shaq, one of the greatest big man of all-time, had still not been signed by a team. Chuck felt that Shaq was still relevant, even though that he is now the oldest player in the NBA (Is it just me that thinks it weird that the NBA's oldest player is only 38?) Chuck brought up Shaq's playoff numbers from last postseason and said he played well. I looked up his stats (11 and a half points per game, five and half boards) and they were okay. They are not as good as they used to be, when Shaquille had people comparing him to Wilt Chamberlain, and not just because of their free throw shooting and bad rapping.
Shaq, now a Boston Celtic, still seems to have enough in the tank to be a relevant player off the bench. Shaq has sort of embraced the big-man-off-the-bench role, something that T-Mac will have to do wherever he goes (although he is not a big man). My only issue with Shaq going to the Celtics is this:

If he has to start for the first few months of the season due to the abscene of Kendrick Perkins, are the Celitcs in trouble? Because I think they are. Shaq's health is declining and you are not sure if he can play half a season starting. He won't be as dominant, but he is still a prescene down low. With the loss of Perkins, the C's are not really losing that much offense, but they are losing a prime rebounder and one of the better low post defenders in the Association. I think Shaq can help the Celtics if the gameplan when Shaq is in is not to get him his touches. That will throw the offense out of whack and halt Rajon Rondo's development as a budding superstar.

There you have it. The State of the NBA offseason includes three superstars and two former superstars. But isn't that what the NBA is about? Superstars?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Alex Rodriguez: The Quest for 600 Home Runs and My Wasted Time

&*%$#!^&!!!

(Calms self down)

Okay. Why did A-Rod have to hit number 600 today? I had a perfect piece written about him yesterday, about what Girardi should be doing (in 5 easy steps), what hitting coach Kevin Long should be doing, and what most importantly, A-Rod himself should be doing. All I had to do was press Publish Post this morning and he would have been in business. Nope. I had an orthodontist appointment then had to go hiking, literally right after another. I get in my car to head back home to finish the article, and I check my phone. I signed up for one of those alert text messages that alerts you when a player does something good, so I did the same for A-Rod. The only messages I had been recieving from that number were ones that said:

Alex Rodriguez (3B)

H/AB: 0/3

R: 0

RBI: 0

HR: 0

SB: 0

It was like this for about two weeks, with the occasional 0 for 4. Not today. It said:
New HR! 2RBI
My first thought: I just wasted two hours writing an article that is now obselete.
$%#&$%!!!
(Calms Self Down. Again)
A-Rod was 0 for his last 18, and 3 for his last 33 before his 600th home run. Hey, at least he is now 1 for his last 22, and 4 for his last 37. And he only left 5 guys on base today. Sure A-Rod hit his home run. But let's be honest. If this was home run number 587, people would be calling for A-Rod to go to bench. He is still only 4 for his last 37. He still is having the same habits when he hits. Look at his at-bats following the home run. Two ground balls and the A-Rod Classic, a pop-up that barely clears the infield. He still has mechanical issues as a hitter. As I would have said in the now dead column, Girardi needs to sit him. Let him take some swings, let him clear his mind. He is still in a slump, for crying out loud. Let him have one or two days off. Hell, I probably wouldn't have played him today, since it's a day game following a night game and all, and A-Rod probably had last night's futility square in his mind.

But really, thank God he hit it today. Can you imagine what Rodriguez would have been like had this gone on for another week? He is already a member of the All-Decade Fragile Psyche Team (which includes charter members Ron Artest, Vince Young, Terrell Owens, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and every other athlete who gives more than two craps about what everybody thinks about them and freak out when they feel somebody may not appreciate what they are doing). This would be in the back of his mind, and he would bring the Yankees down with him.

Remember that the pennant race? How many people knew that with last nights loss, the Yankees were in second in the AL East. The only thing they were leading was the Wild Card. It was all lost in this A-Rod hoopla, a media extravaganza created by baseball's reverence towards stats. The Yankees are still behind the Rays. To me losing the division to the Rays would be horrible. As a Yankee fan, I feel some weird kind of hatred to any team formed ten years ago that is beating us. With the Red Sox, it is different. It's historic and nobody likes them. But to have Tampa Bay beat us out for it? Neither team we could live with winning the division, and probably Boston we would feel worse about. Because their fans actually care. But Tampa Bay? They get about 18,000 fans a game, and the fans who are there, half of them are there because they think "Oh fun, baseball, we've done everything else, why not try this" or they are there because they got lost going to Disney World. There is no real fandom with Tampa the way there is with Boston. With Boston, you have the whole Red Sox Nation & Bandwagon you have to worry about. But Tampa Bay? What do they think their doing?

Where does Alex Rodriguez fit into history after this milestone home run? He is only one of seven to hit 600, and is only 350 hits away from 3,000. He has won 3 MVP's and a World Series. He also took Performance Enhancing Drugs. I can see why some feel whatever numbers he puts up are a cheat. The only real difference between Rodriguez and McGwire, Sosa and Bonds is that Rodriguez admitted to using the drugs. Albeit it be by force however. It is still hard to see him as a Yankee. When he is inducted into Cooperstown, which he will, odds are he'll have a Yankee cap on, the interlocking NY on his plaque. I can see some fans believe it wrong that the world-famous symbol, the one that is ubiquitous throughout the world, be on the head of a cheater, in baseball's most hallowed ground. A-Rod is really, really the strangest athlete, the one with the most troubles, I can ever remember. He is just so different than anybody else out there. You have to put him in the same category as the cheaters of the game, but he admitted to doing it, which nobody else had. It is almost as if his drug use has been forgotten by now. I haven't seen anything on it in the media, the same way Bonds's use was brought up when he reached 756. Maybe A-Rod's use will be brought up when he reaches 762 (or whatever weird number Bonds set).

Baseball is a weird sport, where number of championship don't really matter. It is great to win one, but if you don't win more than that, it's not the end of the world. Hank Aaron only won two, and he is still considered one of the greatest of all-time. They are saying down in South Beach, if LeBron doesn't win more than four he won't even be mentioned in the same breath as MJ. Yogi Berra won 13 championships as a player and coach, but you never see his name mentioned against the all-time greats. Baseball legacies are based on statistics and ability. A-Rod has more natural ability than maybe anyone ever, but he's only won one title. And yet, that won't be held against him in the long run. His legacy will be defined by his statistics, and unfortunately for him, his drug use.

This was excruciating, to say the least. It got to the point where you just assumed he was going to get out. I really felt like this when he got up to bat. There was just this weird feeling of no hope, as if I was Red in The Shawshank Redemption. "Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane". So instead of being like Andy Dufrense and ignoring Red, I took Red's advice. Why do you think I didn't publish the article right away? I figured I had enough time. I thought I could have a few days, actually. But he finally came through. Hey. At least this will tide over ESPN for a day, instead of the incessant Favre news.

**********

Random Thoughts from the World of Sport

  • Mark Teixiera is on fire. Honestly, if he hit like this during the whole season, is there any doubt that Yankees would already be at 100 wins? Okay, maybe at little, but is carrying the Yankees at this point, where everyone else is struggling.

  • Derek Jeter is batting .274. .274! I cannot remember the last time he has batted this low this late into the season. Recently, in the lonely world of baseball statisticians, the stat batting average has become obsolete. Even if it has, Jeter is only getting on base a little more than 33% of the time. He's the leadoff hitter! A leadoff hitter who is only getting on base as little as he is cannot help the team out. Jeter has to turn it around. But is there really any doubt that he won't?

  • Just once I would like to see ESPN's sources. Is it someone close to Brett Favre or Ed Werder's neighbor. Why even report this if you are not sure if he is retiring or not? Honestly, I think it is time for Favre to go. I'm sick of this relentless will he or won't he. Why tell Minnesota now? They could have drafted Jimmy Clausen or Colt McCoy or made an effort to sign Donovan McNabb. Favre has ruined another franchise.

  • Finally, Shaq. Can anyone imagine the clubhouse with Nate, Big Baby, and Shaq? It's like Shrek, Donkey and the Giant Gingerbread Man. In the first game of the season, Miami has the 3 Kings. We not only have the Big 3, but the cast of Shrek 3. Not really sure how I feel on Shaq yet. Do we really need Jermaine and Shaquille O'Neal. This would have been league changing in 2003. Not sure if either of them are still relevant in today's NBA.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The 27 Lamest Sports Injuries of All-Time

What is wrong with baseball players? In making the list of the 27 lamest sports injuries of all-time, baseball players make up 18 of the 27 players. The stuff that takes these players out of the games are absolutely ridiculous. No other sports seem to have this problem, so one would have to come to the conclusion that baseball players are complete spazzes. When the Florida Marlins' Chris Coghlan, last years NL Rookie of the Year, tore his meniscus giving a shaving cream pie to teammate Wes Helms, I figured that this injury would be close to the top. Spoiler alert: It is not, and not by a long shot. These athletes have injuries that no regular human being in civilized society could have.

Without further ado...

27. Geoff Blum, Houston Astros

This injury happened just this year actually. Somehow, hitting only .241 this year managed to be the least of Blum's problems. He went on the 15-day DL after feeling what only could described as a "pop" in his elbow. He now has to have arthroscopic surgery. The reason for the pop? Putting on a shirt, something he has done about 465,000 times in his life. How could this have happened? Putting on a shirt is one of the simpler aspects of life, something people do without thinking.

26. Doc Gooden, New York Mets

Doc Gooden missed a start in 1993 when Lame Injury MVP Vince Coleman struck him with a golf club, as if Coleman was a 1994 Jack Nicholson. Once again, this was another instance of an injury being the least of someones problems. Honestly, did anything go right for the Mets in the 90's? That year, the Mets went 59-103, and had a pitcher named Anthony Young go 1-16. Fun times for all in Queens.

25. LaRon Landry, Washington Redskins

Landry's injury can be described as the peak of the Physical Comedy Mountain. Which is simply, a guy getting hit in the balls. In a team-building outing in 2007, the Washington Redskins decided to hold paintball as one of the events, until you realize that they had world-renowned crazy people like Clinton Portis on their team. Anyway, Landry, the Redskins first round pick that year, got hit in the groin with a paintball, much to the amusement of anybody who has ever lived.

24. Kendry Morales, Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim

This injury could have ruined my fantasy baseball season. When Morales jumped on home plate after hitting a walk-off grand slam this season, he broke his leg pretty much on impact. I almost cried when I saw this, as Morales was having a stellar season and just starting to heat up. If not for a genius move to trade Matt Holliday for Adrian Gonzalez, I could have been left without a first baseman. Anyway, this broken leg changed the way people celebrate walk-offs forever. It is no longer a spectacle, as so much a mild celebration.

23. Carl Edwards, NASCAR

Using my infinite NASCAR knowledge, Edwards' has probably replaced Jeff Gordon (?) as the most hated driver today. I personally like the guy, mainly because he does a backflip off of his car when he wins. Come on, how cool is that? Edwards broke his foot last year, much to the delight of that Edwards haters around NASCAR. He broke it playing frisbee, naturally. This raises the question, was it done playing regular frisbee or ultimate frisbee. Ultimate is understandable, because they can do awesome stuff like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CElwYE1nkMc.

22. Monta Ellis, Golden State Warriors

In the 2008-2009 NBA season, the poor man's Kobe was suspended for 30 games. Why? Because he violated paragraph 12 of his contract, by being injured of non-basketball related activity. Originally, Ellis told Golden State he had been injured playing a pick up hoops game. He lied. He tore a ligament in his ankle in a low speed moped accident. Ellis reached a hallowed ground only few have seen before, where contract violators like Aaron Boone and Jeff Kent roam freely.

21. Chris Coghlan, Florida Marlins

The man of the hour, Chris Coghlan. Coghlan forever etched his name in lame sports injury history when he tore his meniscus giving out a shaving cream pie. Fortunately, this celebration has not been blacklisted the same way home run celebrations were by Kendry Morales. That is probably because all managers not named Edwin Gonzalez, have not overreacted to this injury. Gonzalez, manager of the Marlins banned these celebrations for his ballclub, as if this is a regular occurrence. This is the first recorded instance in the history of man where somebody has been hurt by a pie.

Speaking of the shaving cream pie celebration, self-appointed President of Shaving Cream Pies A.J. Burnett had an opinion about the whole deal. "You can't take the fun out of the game, but you have to do it right, I guess. It's an unfortunate event, but I am still going to throw pies." Shouldn't he be more concerned? Isn't he worried that the Yankees could lose their most erratic and unpredictable starting pitcher? God forbid the Yankees lose a guy with a 4.52 ERA and the league leader in hit by pitches!

20. Tony Allen, Boston Celtics

In 2007, Boston Celtics role player Tony Allen tore his ACL, while attempting a post-whistle slam dunk. For me, this act of arrogance is the Celtics lamest injury of the past 3 years, narrowly edging out Big Baby Davis's broken thumb he suffered fighting a childhood friend. Injuries like this make me thankful that the Celtics have some form of veteran leadership, or there would have been a decent chance that every young Celtic would have had some freak, stupid accident. Even with Kevin Garnett, who has made players cry, the Celtics still have trouble with lame injuries.

19. Kevin Brown, New York Yankees

This is the section of the column where I rant. If not for Carl Pavano or Kei Igawa or Jaret Wright, Brown would have been the Yankees worst free agent signing of the decade. Brown only trailed Joba Chamberlain and Kyle Farnsworth as pitchers who I physically pulled out hair while watching them pitch. The year of the injury, 2004, Brown went 10-6 with a 4.09 ERA. Decent numbers, but not for the money they were paying him. Brown was 39 years old at the time, and this was when the Yankees decided to sign anybody, no matter what age or how many prospects they had to give up for him. Brown, until that point, had a decent career. Baseball-reference.com says his career compares well to those of Catfish Hunter and Orel Hersheiser. Brown was a two-time ERA champ and once finished second in the Cy Young voting. But he was awful for the Yanks when it mattered most, he truly was. He shriveled in big situations, which we'll get to in a second.

Brown shattered his non-pitching hand after another crappy start in 2004. Although this is not the hand he threw with, it still seemed to affect his game. In the 2004 ALCS against the Red Sox, he had one of the worst postseasons of any player to my memory. He started two games, and went a combined total of 3.1 innings, an average of 1.2 a start. He allowed 8 earned runs for an ERA of 21.60. He was the losing pitcher in Game 7, where he got shellacked. He is the losing pitcher that allowed the Red Sox to reach the World Series. He is the losing pitcher on the game where the Yankees finally lost to the Red Sox in the postseason. And he always seemed indifferent about it. And for that, I can never forgive Brown.

18. Derrick Mason, Tennessee Titans

Mason broke his hand after an awkward swing during a charity-golf tournament hosted by his head coach, Jeff Fisher. Never mind that this is physically impossible, accidents at a charity-golf tournament always reminds me of Brick Tamland in Anchorman:

Ron Burgundy: Um, Brick before I let you go, are you still having your celebrity golf tournament?

Brick Tamland: Um, no, no. Too many people died last year.

Is Brick Tamland the funniest comedic character of all time in a movie? I don't know if he is, but he's pretty damn close. That character reaches the rarefied air of Frank the Tank, Bluto, Tommy DeVito, Alan from The Hangover, and Carl Spackler.

17. Clint Barmes, Colorado Rockies

In 2005, NL Rookie of the Year front runner Barmes injured his shoulder while hauling a slab of deer meat he killed on a hunting trip with teammate Todd Helton. Barmes ruined his candidacy, and eventually his career, as he has never been the same since. Why venison? At least haul something cool like buffalo or lion or polar bear.

16. Ken Griffey Jr., Seattle Mariners

In 2006, Griffey Junior pinched a testicle because his cup was too tight. There is no joke you can make about this, as it has reached the peak of comedy already.

15. Danny Ainge, Boston Celtics

Danny Ainge was bit by Tree Rollins in 1983 playoffs after Ainge and Rollins got into a scuffle. Ainge had to get stitches in his middle finger, and cannot flip anybody off anymore. According to Larry Bird, Ainge "got off the floor laughing saying, The sissy just bit me!" The icing on the cake is one of the greatest headlines of all-time, when the Boston Herald printed "Tree Bites Man"

14. John Smoltz, Atlanta Braves

Allegedly, Smoltz burned his chest ironing a shirt that he was wearing. He ironed the shirt while the shirt was still on him. To this day, Smoltz denies this vehemently. This is why this one is not ranked any higher due to the fact that it may not have happened. But I am pretty sure it did.

13. Steve Sparks, Milwaukee Brewers

Knuckleballer Sparks dislocated his shoulder in 1994. The cause? He ripped a phonebook in half and this caused enough stress to dislocate the shoulder. Apparently, Sparks was inspired by a motivational speaker who did the same thing. Sparks also forgot that he was not Lou Ferrigno, instead he is a 185 pound guy who rarely gets the ball over 70 mph. Sparks went 10-12 that year in minors.

12. Sammy Sosa, Chicago Cubs

Sosa, one of the greatest home runs hitters of all time, steroids or not, had back spasms in 2004. Back spasms is a common injury for an athlete, and Sosa went on the 15-day DL. Unfortunately for Sosa, and fortunately for everyone else, the cause of the spasms is one of lamest injuries of all time. Sosa apparently sneezed hard enough, TWICE, so that his back could be thrown out of whack. Who is this guy, Poseidon? Can't you see Kramer doing something like this on Seinfeld?

11. Gus Frerotte, Washington Redskins

Frerotte, so juiced up over a touchdown in a 1997 game against the Giants, he rammed his head into a concrete padded wall, spraining his neck. This was the second worse thing to happen in his life, only behind being named Gus.

10. Jose Cardenal, Chicago Cubs

In 1974, Cardenal missed a game because he couldn't blink. Again, there is no joke you can make about this, as this has already reached the peak of comedy.

9. Wade Boggs, Boston Red Sox

Wade Boggs strained his back putting on cowboy boots. Honestly, these last two have been ridiculous. One guy can't blink, and this guy can't put on cowboy boots without messing it up. Then again, he was probably getting ready for this:

8. Rickey Henderson, Toronto Blue Jays

Rickey being Dumb. Henderson may be one of the few people to ever get frostbite in August, so more power to him. Henderson missed 3 games in August because he fell asleep with an ice-pack on. The only thing I could find similar to this was in 2006, when Steelers (of course) guard Kendall Simmons received a disgusting bruise from an ice-pack he left on too long, and missed a Monday Night Football game in fear of it becoming infected. This type of injury really could only happen to Rickey, honestly. I cannot think of another professional athlete besides Vince Young having this happen to them.

My Top 5 Favorite Rickey Quotes of All-Time:

5) If they gonna pay me like Mike Gallego, I'm gonna play like Gallego.
4) Kevin, this is Rickey, calling on behalf of Rickey. Rickey wants to play baseball.
3) I'm a walking record.
2) I don't care about them...It's Rickey time (Them referring to Mickey Mantle and Joe D)
1) They kept that s--- a secret from me...I wish they had told me. My God, could you imagine Rickey on roids? Oh, baby, look out!

7. Joe Sakic, Colorado Avalanche

Usually, players who have to end their careers due to injury have to do it because of some debilitating injury suffered on the field. The list is endless. Sakic ended his career because he broke three fingers trying to start a snow blower. Has there ever been a lamer way to end a career? Joe Sakic was named the 94th greatest hockey player of all-time by the Sporting News. Pulp Fiction was named the 94th greatest movie of all-time by the American Film Institution. My God, could you imagine Pulp Fiction ending the way Sakic's career did? This would be like Honey Bunny and Pumpkin getting hit by a car when Jules and Vincent allowing them free. Or Jules messing up his Bible passage and getting shot in the face by Pumpkin. There is no real precedent for this kind of futility.

6. Chris Brown, San Francisco Giants

During a minor league game, the immortal Chris Brown whined out of game because he strained his eyelid. Oh, he slept on it funny, that was the cause of it. Thankfully, for the sake of the human race, only playing in six seasons in the majors. Somehow he made an All-star team in 1986. 1986! Were they really that desperate for players in 1986 they chose a guy whose line was .317, 7, 49 at the end of the season? Early contenders this year for Chris Brown Status are John Buck, Omar Infante, and Hong-Chih Kuo. I was unaware there was a baseball player named Hong-Chih Kuo before the All-Star game, I am not going to lie.

5. Orlando Brown, Cleveland Browns

No, this is not the actor who played 3J on Family Matters, but this is the guy who got a penalty flag thrown into his eye, a flag filled with popcorn kernels. Brown handled the situation calmly for a guy who just got a bag filled with food thrown at him, by pushing the referee who threw it over, garnering a suspension from the NFL. The NFL repealed the suspension when Brown's injury did not heal, and got a $25 million compensation from the NFL after Brown sued them. Brown had a loss of vision and had to sit out three seasons because of the eye injury.

4. Glenallen Hill, Toronto Blue Jays
To say Glenallen Hill just has arachnophobia is to say that Tommy DeVito just has anger problems. Both of these statements are true, but both really don't serve justice. Hill once popped out of his bed during a spider nightmare, broke a glass table and fell down a flight of stairs, all by sleeping. He had to go on the 15-day DL and earned the endearing nickname "Spiderman"

3. Joel Zumaya, Detroit Tigers

Zumaya, baseball's version of the Glass Man, seemingly gets hurt every other month. His most famous injury was in the 2006 ALCS, when he strained his arm playing too much Guitar Hero. Did he play the game for 6 days straight? How is this even possible? The Tigers would go on to lose the World Series as Zumaya seldom played in the ALCS.

2. Bill Gramatica, Arizona Cardinals

This was my first experience with lame sports injuries. Before watching this game, I thought athletes were invincible. Even if Gramatica was a kicker, it still changed my perception of the game. Gramatica celebrated a first quarter field goal by doing his usually jumping celebration, only this time it went down horribly. He tore his ACL on the way down on the jump, pretty much ending his NFL career. The craziest part I found out about this one is that Pat Tillman had to do the kickoff for the Cardinals following the field goal.

1. Vince Coleman, St. Louis Cardinals

Already on this list once for hitting Doc Gooden with a golfclub, Vince Coleman is the owner of the lamest and most costly lame sports injury of all-time. During stretching exercises, Coleman was run over by the automatic tarp at Busch Stadium before Game Four of the 1985 NLCS. The tarp going about two and a half miles per hour ran over a guy who had just set the rookie record for steals in a season, with 110. Coleman could not play for the rest of the World Series, and the Cardinals would go onto lose a seven game Series to the Royals. Does Derkinger's fatal call in that World Series ever happen? The Cardinals go onto win that series with Coleman! Never has a lame sports injury meant so much.