Tell me the last time you watched part of a Milwaukee Brewers game. You can’t, unless it was this:
There are the Yankees and Dodgers and Red Sox and Cardinals, then your Rangers/Braves/Tigers/Pirates, and then the Brewers, Royals, Rays, and Padres – teams you think of last when doing this trivia question.
But Carlos Gomez has altered this. Whether you like him or not, Gomez’s short fuse and propensity to get under opponents’ skin has shed his vulnerability to indifference, a trait too easy to tag to anyone who plays in Wisconsin, no offense.
Bernie Mac didn’t play for the Red Sox or Phillies in Mr. 3000. He played for the Milwaukee Brewers; it was slightly more expensive than making up an MLB team #LikeMike.
Maybe you love Carlos Gomez. Maybe you don’t. But if you’re familiar with his work over the last ten months, it’s hard to not have an opinion on him. Indifference is a television program’s worst nightmare.
When was the last time you had a reason to watch the Milwaukee Brewers. Any Robin Yount fans reading this?
In TV, it’s all about the ratings, and Gomez has finally given the Brewers a semblance of attraction to the average fan. Brewers ratings will be a a tad higher this year than any since their playoff push in 2008. I’ll guarantee it.
On November 4th 2001, I was lying in bed listening to game 7 of the 2001 World Series on radio. My father wouldn’t let me watch past a certain time because I had school the next day. I forget when, but at some point he came into my room and invited me into his to watch. I’ll never forget that.
My team was coming off three consecutive World Series wins and on the verge of number four. As an 11 year old, I had only seen success. Four World Series championships watered down by my spoiled subconscious telling me, “Of course the Yankees will win.” I had never seen anything different.
And then this happened.
In that moment, shock, confusion, and disbelief showed me sports are never scripted. It’s the ultimate reality television. My team is mortal.
But wasn’t it supposed to be the perfect storm?
The Capital of the World, ravaged by arguably the worst terrorist attack in recordable history, overcomes all odds to win the championship of America’s Pastime, odds that included:
– A month earlier: Derek Jeter’s game-saving flip to Jorge Posada against the Athletics helped the Yankees rally from two games down to win the ALDS
– Four days prior: A ninth-inning, two-run, game-tying home run preceded an extra-inning walk-off win at Yankee Stadium
– Three days prior: The same thing, off the same pitcher
(According to baseball reference, entering the ninth inning, the Yankees had a 10% chance to win those games. One in 100 to win both)
It’s tough to paint the Yankees as the victim in sports’ greatest tragedy, but that’s what gives this story the added dimension – everyone hates the Yankees. September 11th temporarily changed that, and never again will the Evil Empire have more likeability than they did that postseason.
My thesis statement here is the headline of this article. The pieces were in place for a perfect story.
Until the last chapter, it was.
The goat of that last chapter, Mariano Rivera will retire at the end of the 2013 season. The greatest closer of all time will no longer throw his golden pitch. The number 42 will never again make the red carpet jog from the Yankee Stadium bullpen to its mound. Enter Sandman will be retired.
Yes, players of all sports post tangible numbers, but different fans assign different weight to different stats, thus rarely is one player unanimously rendered “The Greatest”.
Can you make the argument why Mariano Rivera isn’t the greatest closer of all time?
*Arguing a “closer” needs to throw more than an inning, ala Goose Gossage or Dennis Eckersley, is the sole sound argument I’ve heard against Rivera, but I think that argument is lame when stacked up against Rivera’s consistent numbers.*
His career’s only beauty mark came November 4th, 2001.
On baseball’s biggest stage, in the world’s biggest city, facing the world’s worst terroist attack in recent memory, a country came together as the tattered American flag from the North Tower waved bravely above Yankee Stadium, where 13 miles away the fire still burned. Instead, a small market team from Arizona celebrated.
What sports tragedy compares? For argument’s sake, I don’t count stories like the Marshall University tragedy or similar others that transcend sports. If you can think of others, I want to hear. I don’t want my bias as a Yankees fan to influence my opinion. I simply couldn’t think of another sports tragedy equal.
It’s nice to see spring training back in gear. I can finally sense a shade of optimism scattered through the depressing 40 degree, cloudy days New Jersey Februarys are so well known for.
At this point I’m almost excited for allergy season.
I came across a great Sporcle. Challenging but fun – Name every MLB team’s active hits leader. The Easter egg in this is you can name any active player in the team’s top 150 (I think) all time and it’ll give you credit for it.
It took less than an inning. Picking up right where the Yankees left off in last year’s ALDS, a broken forearm will sideline all-star outfielder Curtis Granderson until May. The knee-jerk reaction is “here we go again,” “that sucks,” and other one-liners emanating negativity and pessimism.
But nothing against Granderson, and I don’t wish injury upon anybody, but it wouldn’t bother me if he was out for the year.
Since the Yankees’ scrappy dynasty of the late 90’s, the Steinbrenner wallet has headed the forefront of the New York Yankees product – cashmere-quality athletes who, on paper, should give the Yankees a World Series every two or three years.
About 12 years have gone by since the subjective start of this philosophy and the trend has been anything but what the Evil Empire expected – while borderline unfair, one championship in 12 years isn’t acceptable in the Bronx.
Personally, I want to see young guns get a chance to showcase their skills for the team who’s scouts handpicked them. There’s something different about cheering for a Robinson Cano vs. Alex Rodriguez, Brett Gardner vs. Mark Teixeira.
I’m not hating on A-Rod nor Teixeira, but the majesty of, for instance, the ’98 Yankees came partially due to the homegrown talent that together created the perfect jigsaw puzzle: Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, David Cone, Mariano Rivera.
As a die-hard Yankee fan it seems my team today is kind of…. artificial.
It’s why I don’t mind watching Cashman wiggle his way out of paying a cent in luxury tax. Give your homegrown talent a chance to shine. The big bully free agency strategy is nice in theory, but has not shown the results we’ve come to expect out of the Bronx Bombers.
Remember Tony Womack? In 2005 the Yankees signed the veteran second baseman to a deal, only to forfeit that position to a young Robinson Cano that May due to Womack’s inability to do anything.
I don’t expect a home run like this to come from Granderson’s strike of bad luck, but there are Jeremy Lins out there waiting for their time.
Take as much time as you need Curtis. We want you healthy… but hopefully more good will come out of this than bad, and I hope a 22-year old Joe Schmo will have the chance to cash in.
Once Dez Bryant’s knuckles were ruled out of bounds on this play October 28th, the New York Giants sat comfortably atop the NFC East at 6-2, 2.5 games ahead of the Eagles and Cowboys, primed for another playoff appearance. Coming off a Super Bowl championship, it was logical to feel confident the experienced Eli Manning could lead his team through a serious championship push for the second straight year.
Ultimately, it seemed the Giants grew complacent with their game and let their guard down to ultimately miss the playoffs entirely, an utter disappointment for a franchise and fan base expecting more.
But 2013 will be different for Eli & Co. The brightest light at the end of 2012’s depressive tunnel was a renaissance of New York’s running game, one with energy we haven’t seen since Tiki Barber’s pre-Eli days. Journeyman-turned puzzle piece Andre Brown showed fans his brute force capabilities and rookie David Wilson showed us the explosive step Ahmad Bradshaw never offered. Couple this with New York’s weaker schedule and the fresh pressure to avoid a second straight “losing” season, the New York Giants will contend for the Super Bowl in 2013.
An athletic neophyte, Wilson’s agility and 4.40 40-yard dash (video) offer a glimmer of hope Big Blue can represent a game-changing back comparable to a Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, or even Robert Griffin III (According to the New York Times, Wilson has run the 40 in 4.29 seconds). While a long shot, there’s finally enough quickness to evoke a glimmer of hope.
In the last five games of the regular season, Brown recorded five touchdowns on only 35 carries, many in Brandon Jacobs-like short yardage situations. While I couldn’t find the numbers, I don’t remember Brown rushing for a loss many times in those games.
If there’s chemistry, this duo has the potential to propel the Giants to the other end of the rushing spectrum. Both of their ’12 performances qualify for guaranteed rushes in ’13, but this “friendly” competition will add fuel to their respective fires. That extra drive should ultimately bring out the best in one, if not both of the Giants’ running backs.
In its best-case scenario, the Giants’ new-found rushing game will force defenses to allocate more attention on the ground, therefore leading to more open receivers and an even more successful passing game.
*How the Giants won last year’s Super Bowl with the league’s worst rushing numbers is a mystery I will never solve. And while given his fair share of kudos, I feel Eli’s 2011-12 accomplishment is still underrated given that statistic.*
The only other silver-lining of New York’s underachieving season is the motivation it offers for the upcoming campaign. Before this year’s Baltimore Ravens, no team since the 2006 Steelers won a Super Bowl the year after winning a playoff game. While winning is always the ultimate goal, I theorize an underachieving season finale is heavier motivation to win than the fire to repeat. Look at the 2012 Miami Heat.
But while arguments supporting New York’s new rushing game and theories of losing seasons are nice, they’re subjective. Plus, coming into 2012 Wilson and Brown combined for four career rushes. How will they tweak their game to counter defenses’ adjustments? Brown will enter 2013 off a broken fibula and Casper the Friendly Ghost could have blocked better than Wilson. But New York’s 2013 strength of schedule is the most tangible reason the Giants will at least make the playoffs. The scheduling committee gave the Super Bowl champion Giants games against all winners of the ’11 NFC conferences – Packers, Saints, and 49ers. This year, New York will face a much weaker schedule, one that includes the dreadful AFC West. Take out the 13-3 Broncos and that conference boasted a 13-35 overall record this year (2012 standings).
With fresh assets at hand in 2013, a favorable schedule and a new-found motivation to elude the taste of failure, it will be a season Giants fans should look forward to. I correctly predicted the Giants would not make the playoffs in 2012, but am predicting a serious playoff representation in 2013.
Plus, the Giants have home-field advantage in this year’s Super Bowl whether they play or not. That cherry-on-top motivation may put them over the hump should they hit their stride come December.
It started with Michael Vick. A revolutionary quarterback who forced defenses to sacrifice a defender for a spy. A quarterback who can turn a broken play into a 20 yard run.
Sounds enticing, but Vick never was a great quarterback, just one that makes magic with his feet. Vick didn’t throw to a 60% completion percentage until his eighth year in the league and probably won’t win a Super Bowl. And we all know about his turnover rate.
But imagine Peyton Manning with Vick’s legs. Picture Aaron Rodgers en route to a game-winning 78-yard touchdown run after his third and fourth options were covered.
In his rookie season, the Washington Redskins’ Robert Griffin III averaged fewer interceptions per pass than every other starting quarterback (five int. in 258 attempts; 1.3%) and threw to a 65.6% completion rate. For their careers, Manning sits at 65.2% and Rodgers at 65.7%.
In his seven full seasons as a starter, Vick eclipsed RGIII’s 2012 total of 3200 passing yards only once (2011) and only twice rushed for more yards than Griffin’s 2012 tally of 815.
But it was Griffin’s 4.41 dash in the ’12 combine that foreshadowed his dazzling ground work during the regular season. Like Vick, Griffin can break out for 13 fantasy points on one play (below). Unlike Vick, it seems Griffin can protect the football and throw accurately.
If Griffin can somehow extract enough passing potential to work up to Manning or Rodgers’ level, then his edge in the footrace department would put him at a separate level of any quarterback in NFL history.
Before we get gung-ho, we must acknowledge health when evaluating RGIII’s style of play. If he wants to remain in the league, he needs to become a pass-first quarterback who can dive into the arsenal if needed, not the other way around.
Picture this scenario – it happened week 13 against the New York Giants.
Redskins up a point with four minutes to go in the fourth quarter. The Redskins have the ball and the Giants have two timeouts.
In this situation most offenses run the ball to eat up clock. The defense knows, so late-game situations such as these usually result in a three-and-out and a punt with two minutes or so left.
But with RGIII you don’t hand the ball off, you run the option. The defense now has to worry about a separate threat with a proportion of attention on each. What is usually a gimme three-and-out is now a mind game between Griffin and the defense.
In that game, the Giants couldn’t stop the combination of Griffin and rookie running back Alfred Morris, the Redskins ran out the clock, and took a must-win away from the defending Super Bowl Champions.
Griffin’s unique late-game threat will lead to more wins such as these.
Take this likeable fella and evaluate his numbers. In four years compare his passing numbers the elite ones and his running numbers to Vick’s. If he keeps pace with those guys like he did this season, you could be watching the greatest quarterback of all time.
The Reds have agreed to a three-year extension with reliever Jonathan Broxton, presumably to fill their closer role and finally thrust the Cuban hurler Arolids Chapman into the rotation — as was their intention this year until Ryan Madson tore his pitching elbow.
This move will blow out Chapman’s arm and bring his career to a Greg Oden-like halt. It will break a 97-win team from this year and turn Reds clubhouse to side-choosing – Do we start him? Do we put him in the bullpen?
I don’t understand the near unanimous mindset among professional baseball teams that starting pitching is exponentially more important than a quality middle reliever.
Remember Joba Chamberlain?
Chapman can throw the ball up to 106 miles an hour, harder than any human on Earth. As a side note, I think throwing a ball that hard in any volume will blow out an arm, but why have him throw upwards of 200 innings a year when his previous high is 71.2?
A few years ago, Chapman got “105” tattooed on his body. When he threw the ball a mile an hour faster the following year, he got it changed to “106.”
Chapman has the hotts for heat. He will try to throw the ball 107. If you put him in the rotation, he will have to sacrifice some mph, something I don’t think he really wants to do.
Don’t underestimate that tattoo. You don’t put something on your body if it doesn’t have substance to who are as a being. If he gets an adrenaline rush by throwing the ball hard, then cater to it.
Keep him in the bullpen. Keep his innings important. Keep his adrenaline pumping. Someone who can throw that hard is already walking on eggshells – the human arm simply cannot keep that pace up.
In 2007, Yankees pitching prospect Joba Chamberlain was brought up to a world of success. A starting pitcher his entire pre-MLB career, Chamberlain and his 98 mph fastball threw to an unimaginable 0.38 ERA in 24 relief innings for the Yankees down the stretch.
A year later, the Yankees forced him into the rotation, and he transformed into a mediocre pitcher. He missed all of 2011 recovering from Tommy John surgery, his fastball finally hit 94 mph this year, and New York still holds onto unrealistic expectations we’ll somehow see glimmers of 2007 at some point in his career.
Starting pitchers used to always throw complete games. As we learned the dangers of that, we slowly started to limit pitcher’s outings (Here are the numbers that back it up) to the point where today, six innings or 100 pitches is a “quality” outing.
With relief pitching as important today as ever, team’s should start to emphasize the importance of not just a closer, but a seventh and eighth inning pitcher.
In the playoffs, you need three good starters plus a solid bullpen. Give your offense the best chance to score late, knowing Chapman will shut down the team in the eighth inning.
Cincinnati, don’t fix what isn’t broken. Understand the limits of the human body. By forcing Chapman into the rotation, you genetically alter a pitcher who belongs in the bullpen.
Keep that fastball at 105. Keep those innings down. Keep those wins coming. The playoff wins will follow.
1) The NFL is missing out on an untapped level of excitement
2) With the new overtime rules, ties will start to occur at a higher rate
3) No longer could a team sit on the ball in overtime to back into the playoffs
Remember this game?
In probably my favorite basketball game of all time, the Connecticut Huskies and Syracuse Orange men’s basketball teams went to an unrealistic six overtimes in a 2009 thriller at Madison Square Garden. One of those games that, according to the laws of sports, is illegal to turn off.
Now obviously, football will never see a six overtime game. It would require a shutout by both teams for almost three halves. I like the rule changes (click here for all changes) the NFL has instilled, but I say take it a step further. If the score is tied at the end of overtime, play until the tie is broken.
1) The NFL is missing out on an untapped level of excitement
Overtime or extra innings are one of the few ways to scratch deep enough to see the true heart of every player and team. When you’ve played so long that the unanimous thought is, “Well, if I’m gonna play for this long, I’d better win.”
It’s the purest form of sports. When every player is focused solely on winning, not money, not girls, not any outside force.
At the human brink of exhaustion, “I’ll bet I can last longer and play harder than you,” is fun to watch from the outside. Regardless of the outcome, a double overtime football game would headline all sports talk the following day.
It’s why I hold true that sports are the ultimate reality television. The NBA didn’t give scripts to Reggie Miller and Spike Lee or Magic and Larry.
You want to see the human body in its truest and purest form of determination? Show me Ray Lewis and the Ravens against Roethlisberger and the Steelers to start the third overtime.
2) With the new overtime rules, ties occur at a higher rate
You may not like ties. I don’t, and neither did the NHL. Hockey cut ties with ties (intended) after the 2005 lockout to a world of success. The excitement was higher and the conclusions became more fun to watch.
Think of any book or TV show you ever enjoyed. Imagine the book ending before the climax.
Yes, hockey gets ties at higher rates, but I think it’s wrong to cut any sports game off before it has been decided.
The new NFL rules will generate more ties because the game no longer ends simply when one team has scored. How many ties will it take before the fans get mad? The NHL fans hit their limit about eight years ago. I believe NFL fans will hit theirs once they realize there are now multiple ties a year, not one every four.
3) No longer can a team sit on the ball in overtime to back into the playoffs
Imagine this scenario:
The Giants and Eagles are both 9-6, playing for the final NFC playoff spot in the final game of the regular season. It’s Monday Night Football. The Giants beat the Eagles earlier in the year, but the Eagles would own the tiebreaker with a win.
Giants get to the playoffs with a win or tie.
Eagles get to the playoffs with a win only.
After a big interception at the two minute warning in overtime, the Giants find themselves backed up at their own five-yard line. The Eagles have no timeouts, and New York kneels the ball three times to secure their playoff spot.
I don’t think that’s the “right” way to settle a game so important. Herm Edwards is right: You play to win the game. I don’t think sports should ever put a team in a situation where that’s not necessarily the case.
Yes, injuries are the downside of multiple overtimes. And with the concussion mess the NFL finds themselves in, I don’t believe the timing is right to instill additional risk.
But in the worst case scenario where doctors discover a heavy link between almost all NFL players and concussions, the sport will not stop anywhere in the near future. You can’t tell a kid he can’t play football.
On the professional level, players will not take themselves out of a double overtime game because they risk a concussion. The players want to play. The fans want more football. Advertisers want more air time and the NFL wants more money.
All variables considered, the NFL should flirt with a rules change. Make regular season games like playoff ones. No winner has been decided after 75 minutes? Keep going. You play to win the game.