Friday, April 03, 2009

An absolute mugging

My initial thought was to describe the Bears trade for Jay Cutler an absolute mugging - the bears traded Kyle Orton and this year's first and third round picks as well as next year's first rounder for Cutler and Denver's fifth round pick this year. My wife pointed out that when one is mugged that the muggee doesn't look at the mugger and say, "here, take my credit cards and cash, and I'll put up some token resistance by making a half-hearted effort to scratch your face."

She's right. No. This was more like Denver telling the Bears to bend over and drop trou, and the Bears saying back, "with Vaseline or without?"

This was an absolute violation of the Catholic priest variety.

As mediocre as Kyle Orton has been, Cutler hasn't actually been significantly better. A quick look -

In three seasons Orton has played in 33 games while Cutler has played in 37 games. I will give Orton's actual numbers and his 37 game projections...

Yes, Cutler has a better completion percentage and put up more yardage - 62.5 percent and 9024 yards to Orton's 55.3 and 5319 yards (5964 over 37 games), but Cutler has also been throwing to the likes of Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal, Javon Walker and Rod Smith. Orton's two best targets in the last three seasons would both be picked after any one of the four above - Muhsin Muhammad and Bernard Berrian. The trade will answer the question as to whether the receivers made the QB or vice versa with these two.

But let's look at some other telling stats...

Cutler has thrown 37 interceptions in 37 games, Orton has had 27 in 33. Cutler has an average of 11.8 yards per catch to Orton's 10.5.

But here are some of the really important ones - Orton is 21-12 with and was instrumental in getting the Bears to at least one playoff appearance. Cutler is 17-20 with no playoff appearances. Cutler's best season was 8-8. Orton's? 10-5.

Considering that Cutler was drafted 11th and Orton 106th, I would expect more from Cutler than this.

And if I were a Bears fan this morning, I would be buying something to sooth that burning feeling coming from my sphincter.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Losing the game of chicken...

or Beware the Idiots of March...

A little translation of professional athlete speak - I want the team to show it's committed to me. Translation - I want to see more money in a new contract.

From New York Newsday -

ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported on the night of March 15, the day after Josh McDaniels met with [Jay] Cutler and his agent, Bus Cook, that the pair requested a trade. Which the Broncos verified.

"The Denver Broncos confirm that Jay Cutler has requested a trade," a team spokesman told the AP March 16.

Cutler, during what seemed an unambiguous interview, told Mortensen March 15, "Really, it's best for me to move on."

From a Fox report -

"I was surprised they decided to trade me this soon," Cutler said. "I didn't want to get traded. This wasn't me. (The Broncos) had been going back and forth saying things, wanting me to be their quarterback and then they didn't."

"I really didn't want this. I love Denver. I really like my teammates. I didn't want it to get this far."

If Jay Cutler has any credibility in any locker room anywhere ever again, I will be sorely disappointed in his future teammates. So...was he bluffing in order to get a new contract? Did he think that by showing up his new coach and GM that he was showing his Broncos teammates his sterling leadership qualities? Is this guy really this big an idiot?

Some really quick hits...

Good win for the Celtics against a Bobcats team that's beginning to peak at the right time for a playoff run.

Not really surprised that Clay Buchholz was sent to Pawtucket to start the season, but I will be surprised if we don't see him in Fenway again sometime this season.

Tommy Lasorda just doesn't get it. In his defense of nephew Mike Piazza (related to the recent allegations of steroid use), Lasorda said that Piazza busted his ass in the weight room. That was part of his reasoning that his nephew couldn't have been using. I guess he doesn't know that steroids don't magically give one muscles, that you have to spend time in the weight room or you just get fat. He also uses the idea that Piazza is church-going in his defense of his nephew.

Let's get something straight here - just because someone is inherently a good person, or regularly attends church, that doesn't exempt them from doing something bad or stupid. Andy Pettitte, by all accounts, is a very religious guy, and a good guy in the locker room. Nailed for HGH. Then of course history is littered with religious people that just were not good human beings - take Tomás de Torquemada or Hitler (by all accounts, extremely religious). And please don't think I'm comparing Piazza to Hitler or the grand inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition - I'm only trying to point out that religiousness is no defense and no guarantee of a person being good.

It looks like Donte Stallworth is getting charged by Miami authorities. It sounds like it's what I previously called. This should surprise no one, and should Stallworth work out a deal that avoids jail time, he's still going to miss games due to whatever suspension is handed down for his lapse in judgement.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

April Fools

We are on the precipice of a pagan holiday, once a celebration of the start of the spring planting season, All Fool's Day has developed into a day of practical jokes both erudite (see George Plympton's "Curious Case of Sid Finch") and ridiculous (see the idiot that put a whoopee cushion under his boss's ass). In honor of the day, I want to address some of the biggest fools we've had to deal with as sports fans in recent days.

Here five of my favorites. They are in no particular order -

Michael Vick - As noted here yesterday, this fool thinks he's going to come back from his legal issues and garner a contract worth $10 million per season as a quarterback in the NFL. That's the number he used to write his bankruptcy plan, the plan he's using to repay creditors. This is a man that, at best, might get a job as a back-up quarterback, and it's not even assured that his jail time is done given the fact that he may have plundered his entertainment marketing company, MV7's pension plan to pay some of his debts.

Plaxico Burress - This fool derailed the Giants Super Bowl hopes when he shot himself in the leg. In a nightclub. With an unregistered (illegally owned) handgun. Now he's in court, trying to work out a plea deal (adjourned until June 15). I guarantee that any plea will include jail time, and the man will miss at the very least a part of the season due to the impending suspension.

Alex Rodriguez - To put it simply, this is a man that can't get out of his own way. In the last year he has been caught cheating on his wife, cheating the game of baseball, and cheating the fans. He's engaged in interviews that, within days of each other, contradicted his previous interviews. Heap that on top of a guy whose batting average, over the course of his career, is at its lowest in September (.285), and October (.250), (in no other month is his batting average below .299) you have a paper lion who needs to figure out how not to be his own worst enemy.

Pacman Jones - It's hard to know where to start with this bonehead. To put it succinctly, once thought to be one of the up and coming corners when with Tennessee, Jones' legal issues have made him radioactive around the league, but not so much so that Dallas wasn't willing to give him a flyer. After a lackluster season with the Cowboys, combined with his legal issues, Jones has failed to generate any interest - hell he's failed to generate even rumors of interest - in his services, and may have effectively worked his way out of the league.

Al Davis - Once the owner of the NFL's resident bad boys, and once a winning coach in his own right, Davis has become the league's unintentional jester. Changing coaches far more frequently than he changes 1970's jumpsuits, Davis has created instability at the team's most important position (coach), drafted poorly, undermined the authority of his coach, and has invariably blamed his team's failings on the coaching. The only common thread in his team's failures - Al Davis. It doesn't take a genius to figure this one out.

Celebrate the fools, it's their time.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Ankiel biter...

By the age of 20 Rick Ankiel had logged 208 innings pitched over the course of 40 appearances (35 starts) that spanned his rookie season and a September call-up when he was 19. He did it all with a very respectable 3.46 ERA.

He was a promising young pitcher with enormous upside. He was the sort of talent that general managers expect to be anchoring a staff by the precocious age of 25.

Instead, Ankiel melted down, wilting under the pressure of being the rising star with only 11 more appearances spanning only 36 total innings during the 2001 and 2004 seasons. During that time he gave up 25 earned runs (6.25 ERA), with a whopping 66 base runners. He couldn't have found the strike zone even if he were pitching to a line-up with the likes of Shaq, Yao Ming, and Robert Parrish.

Why, you might ask, is Ankiel, who disappeared from the mound by end of the 2004 season relevant right now. It's summed up with two words - Dontrelle Willis.

Between the 2007 and 2008 seasons the then free agent pitcher was considered the big prize of the hot stove season. On forum after forum there were members of Red Sox Nation calling for Theo Epstein to run out and trade for the D-Train. Readers here may recall, I railed against this, in no small part due to the fact that Willis was looking for Ace money in an extension, and I didn't think the man could carry a staff for a season.

Now, a little more than a year removed from the trade and contract extension that now has netted Willis another $22 million over the next two seasons, the pitcher finds himself on the verge of being out of the minors - even though the Tigers are on the hook for the $22 mil.

Willis, in his time on Detroit's dime will have earned $29 million for pitching a total of 24 innings. Twenty-four innings of brutal, bullpen destroying starts during which he gave up 25 runs.

While I didn't think Willis was any better than a third starter at best, and I saw his career heading in the wrong direction, I didn't think he would go Rick Ankiel and just drive his career off the edge of a cliff a-la Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. As for the medical excuse they came up with - I might be wrong about this, but something sounds really fishy about an anxiety disorder being diagnosed by blood tests. Never heard of that before.

The only question that remains is can Willis reinvent himself like Ankiel? If he wants to continue in baseball, then he needs to.

Wrapping the weekend

Condolences to Texans running back Ryan Moats who had to deal with a special level of stupidity last week while his mother-in-law lay dying in a hospital bed. If you click on the link and read the article, take the time to watch the footage of what happened.

Currently, the officer who detained Moats is on a paid suspension while the incident is under investigation.

My own opinion - if a police officer commits an act so egregious that it merits a suspension, then the person shouldn't get paid for getting to stay at home. I'm not saying the money should be lost either, should the officer be found to have acted properly - I think that the officer's pay should be held in trust until the end of any investigation. Should the officer be cleared, then that person receives their back pay. If the officer is found guilty, then the pay is forfeit. As the system is, the moron who detained Ryan Moats is, in essence, getting a paid vacation for what he did.

That's just ridiculous.

Brad Wilkerson was informed this weekend by Terry Francona that he would not be making the team. I still say this was a good signing. It was a low risk signing with the potential for a big payoff if Wilkerson reverted to his earlier career form. He didn't and now he's gone without the team in the hole for a big paycheck.

Michael Vick lives in a fantasy world...

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution,

The embattled Atlanta Falcons quarterback is hoping to earn as much as $10 million a year or more, according to court filings in his bankruptcy case. Under the plan he submitted to the court, Vick would keep the first $750,000 of his annual income over the next five years. After that, a percentage would go to his creditors based on a sliding scale.
I don't know who he's talking to that is telling him he'll be able to earn $10 million per year, but that number isn't the least bit realistic.

There are a few basic things that Vick needs to realize - one; he's never going to make that sort of annual salary in the NFL again. Two; few, if any, teams will give him a shot as their quarterback. Three; he's going to be on a really short leash wherever he goes, if anywhere. Like Pacman Jones short. He screws up, he misses a meeting and forgets to call the office, he accidentally spits on the coaches shoes, he's gone.

This isn't just about the incarceration - this is about a guy who has failed his first team in the NFL on every conceivable level. The quarterback is supposed to be the face of the franchise and no team is going to want to market a convicted felon, animal abuser, and drug user to families in their fan base. Nor are they going to want to have to deal with the hard sell that's trying to tell 52 other guys in the locker room that they need to follow the guy that didn't want to put the extra time in when he played for Atlanta, because he had illegal enterprises that took precedent over the team. I could go on, but I think I made my point.