Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Tiki the Beeyotch

Tiki Barber in his soon-to-hit-the-stands autobiography reportedly blames Tom Coughlin for his recent retirement.

According to multiple sources, Barber wrote, "If Tom Coughlin had not remained as head coach of the New York Giants, I might still be in a Giants uniform, (Coughlin) robbed me of what had been the most important thing I had in my life, which was the joy I felt playing football. I had lost that. He had taken it away."

He also claims that the Giants shorted him $10 million in what he was worth as a top flight running back.

Let's start with the money - as a player, if you don't like what they're offering you, then don't sign the contract. Nobody held a gun to your head and made you sign. Don't use the franchise tag as an excuse either. If you're getting franchised, you're still getting the money. So stop whining about money.

Now, let's deal with the Coughlin thing. Don't pin this on him. He saved your career.

In 2003 Barber was 4th overall amongst running backs with six fumbles lost, and near the bottom of the league in fumbles total with nine. It was his fourth straight season with at least eight, and the third of four seasons with nine. There were whispers that the Giants were frustrated with his propensity to put the ball on the ground. Scouts talked about him as a third-down back and wrote pieces that attributed his fumble-itis to the fact that he just wasn't built to be an every-down back.

It was believed that Barber, in spite of his great yardage, was likely to end up on some other team's roster as a change of pace back.

Not the most lucrative of positions - certainly not compared to starter's money.

Coughlin came in and fixed him. The coach changed the way Barber carried the ball. In the three subsequent seasons Barber fumbled the ball a total of eight times. Coughlin made Barber one of the premier backs in the league.

For that, he gets an ungrateful pissant retiree who is engaging in revisionist history to make himself feel better about retiring early.

If he can't separate facts from the fictions in his mind, I'd really prefer it if Barber just went quietly away...although, at this point I would settle for him just going away.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Feet of Clay

Breaking with tradition during September call-ups...

Traditionally, this is the time when teams that are no longer in a race - whether so far ahead that the team has run away with the division, or so far behind that only the die-hards are still watching - showcase next year's rookies. Normally, teams like the Red Sox who have a lead that can still go away will only be playing those September call-ups in blow-outs.

Seldom will those rookies get field time on a first place team still looking to put the division away...after all - the veterans got them this far, and front offices don't want to crush the sometimes fragile psyche of their potential stars of tomorrow (see Craig Hansen).

The Red Sox in particular have a habit of protecting their rookie call-ups - particularly the pitchers. Under Theo, they have traditionally brought their future starters out of the pen, easing them into their transition to the bigs.

Never made sense to me, but that's what they did.

This year they threw Brandon Moss, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Clay Buchholz into the heat of a pennant race. They've been rewarded with sterling defense, a home-run that provided the team with its margin of victory in a close game, and a no-hitter.

Not bad, considering the veteran leaders let the team down in a three game set against New York.

Other thoughts...

One -

Rodney...after two straight seasons with catastrophic injuries, I understand what you were thinking. I'm not happy about the four game suspension, nor your use of HGh that got you that suspension.

I respect that you manned up and admitted to it. I respect that you didn't try to hide behind the concept that your name was on a list, but you didn't do anything...who was the player who claimed to have ordered human growth hormone, but claimed to have never used it? I respect that you didn't try to hide behind excuses, or the union.

I know how hard it is to come back from injuries having screwed up the tendons in both my ankles after the age of thirty.

I understand it. I really do.

I also have no words for how disappointed I am in you.

Two -

I'm not a big college football guy. I'll watch Penn State and Boston College football games, but not a whole lot else.

However - how great was it to see Michigan's "easy" early season opponent, Division 1 AA's Appalachian State out play Michigan in every facet of the game, and seal the deal on a block of a short field goal attempt that would have given Michigan the win?

Chalk one up for the underdog.

Three -

How is it the Yanks can play the Sox so tough in a three game set, holding the Sox to an average of two runs per game, and then play the lowly Devil Rays, dropping two of three while giving up an average of just under eight runs per game? As I write this, they are losing to the Mariners by a score of 6-1.

Four -

I know this hasn't been a good year for JD Drew. He's been a catastrophe and a rally killer at the plate - but I have to give him props for the way he gunned down the Baltimore player at the plate to help get Lester out of the first inning. It was nice seeing the Sox right fielder channeling Dwight Evans.