Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Monday, Bloody Monday

From Sunday evening into early Monday afternoon, five NFL head coaches lost their jobs:

  • Rob Chudzinski, one-year head coach of the Browns (record with the Browns: 4-12)
  • Leslie Frazier, 3.5-year head coach of the Vikings (record with the Vikings: 21-32, with one playoff appearance -- a loss to the Packers in 2012)
  • Mike Shanahan, 4-year head coach of the Washington football club (record with Washington: 24-40 with one playoff appearance -- a loss in the wild card round while hosting the Seahawks in 2012)
  • Buccaneers 2-year head coach Greg Schiano (record with Tampa: 11-21)
  • Lions 5-year head coach Jim Schwartz (record with Detroit: 29-51 with one playoff appearance -- a wild card loss)

Monday, December 30, 2013

That's the Back, Jack

Lost in the tumult from yesterday's Romopocalypse, wherein some dude randomly taking his shirt off in the owner's box after the final play - presumably for a ritual flogging - has become a national sensation, is the fact that the NFL is apparently going to fine the Cowboys. Not for being the Cowboys or inflicting Kyle Orton on a national television audience, though Lord knows, either of them is certainly a hanging offense. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Your Upcoming Cowboys-Eagles Clash

Sunday night, the Eagles and the Cowboys go at it for all the marbles in the NFC East, which basically means "the chance to play a pissed-off Wild Card team from a superior division in the first round". The winner goes to the playoffs; the loser goes home. Adding spice to the mixture is the common knowledge that if the Cowboys don't win, coach Jason Garrett can start cleaning out his office, and the fact that Dallas QB/human lightning rod Tony Romo, who took PR lessons from Alex Rodriguez, is allegedly out with a bad back. Whether this is actually the case, no one knows, as the Jerrydome leaks rumors like a drunk contributor to Crazy Days and Nights. With that in mind, here are a few possible scenarios we'll see on Sunday.

(Bear in mind that very few of them involve the Cowboys actually winning)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Tip of the Cap

Just remember, on Christmas Day, that when you're watching a basketball game or a Bowl, you're not just watching the players. You're watching the camera operators and the broadcast crew, the hot dog vendors and the ticket takers, the venue security and the venue cleanup crew, the guys standing in the parking lot in orange vests getting people in and out as fast as possible and the people who got there early to make sure the beer taps were turned on and the nacho sauce melted.

Nothing happens in a vacuum, and a lot of people give up their Christmases at home with family and loved ones in order to give us something to throw popcorn at the screen over when we just can't stand talking politics with crazy uncle Louie from Poughkeepsie any more. So tip your caps to everyone who makes it possible for us to watch sports on Christmas, and Thanksgiving, and every other holiday. Because their work matters, too.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

All We Want For Christmas

Here at Sportsthodoxy, we're a simple lot. We like our games good, our sports team owners insane, our municipalities unwilling to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to support corporate welfare, and our mascots ridiculous. Which is why we have but a few basic things we want for Christmas, or the religiously appropriate seasonal equivalent thereof. Here's what we want under the tree (or menorah):

  1. Someone to record and shoot a video for "What Does Coach O Say", starring Ed Orgeron. (Hint: It sounds like YO YO YO YO YO YO YO FOOBAW").
  2. John Clayton to finally admit that, yes, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew is his father.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Boras Fails! Except Math!

One of the narratives going around today is how Scott Boras, in getting his client Shin-Soo Choo picked up by Texas, "failed". 

Look, as the producers of the American version of Godzilla were told after their "flop" of a movie grossed $379M worldwide, "Fail like this every time". He got an outfielder on the wrong side of 30 a 7 year contract worth $18M a year. This, in a year when free agents recently signed to long-term deals are the second hottest item (after David Price) on the trade market, because, hey, someone figured out what the words "decline phase" means. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Parting of the Hairston

The coverup is worse than the crime.

That's the takeaway from the messy, pointless conclusion to the P.J. Hairston mess at  UNC. Hairston, the team's leading scorer last year, was suspended for "impermissible benefits" before the season. He was caught driving a rental car (and good luck getting one of those if you're under 25 and not a star athlete) provided by known criminal "Fats" Thomas, then ran into trouble in a couple more borrowed cars over the next few months.

(Side note: On a certain level, it's weirdly old-school for the crook in this piece to be nicknamed "Fats". It's like we just took a sharp left turn into a '30s gangster movie. But I digress.)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

What's The Phanatic Say?

Somewhere in this house, there is a picture of the Phillie Phanatic planting his snout on top of the head of a 10 year old Richard Dansky, taken at "Sports Night" at the lost, lamented Temple Judea of northeast Philadelphia. Also in attendance: local sports reporter Rod Luck, but that's neither here nor. Suffice to say that the Phanatic and I go way, way, waaaay back, and that I have always been staunchly pro-Phanatic.

Until, perhaps, now.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Your Handy-Dandy ACC Bowl Season Preview

Look, bowl season won-loss records absolutely don't matter. For all that they're supposed to be all star-caliber showdowns on the order of Hulk taking on Thor or suchlike, all too often they're played under circumstances that prevent them from being good football games. Coaches get fired or moved on, meaning that teams have to get used to new coaching staffs in time for one game. Players misbehave and get suspended, or get injured and sit out. Unglamorous match ups lead to uninspired performances, especially from teams that viewed the trip to Shreveport or Memphis or whatever as the real reward, or from ones who couldn't care less that they were playing the second place team in the Sun Belt conference. The teams that take the field for the bowl game rarely are the same, in composition or in attitude, as the ones that played the regular season, and that, my ducklings, is why the Big East consistently had a winning bowl record year after year.

Which brings us to the current bowl season, and the ACC's participation in it. On paper, this was a great year for the conference - three teams bouncing around the top 10 for much of the season, a team in the national championship game, and Duke finally picked itself off the mat. As a result, ACC teams are playing in a ridiculous 11 bowls, roughly 1/3 of the ones that are out there (at the moment).

And yet. It only takes 6-6 to get to a bowl, with no more than 1 win coming over an FCS team. An awful lot of the conference's bowl reps are sitting at or just above that magical 6-6 mark, meaning they just squeaked in, and if their opponents show up, it could be a long bowl season indeed. 

Here, then, is a quick and uninformed look at the ACC's bowl lineup. Quick, because there are people whose entire career revolves around writing up detailed predictions of the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl and we're not going to try to compete with that. Uninformed because if you actually spend the time to do in-depth research on the subtle nuances of the AdvoCare  V100 Bowl matchup, you clearly have too much time on your hands.

So without further ado:

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

MLB Revenues Are Large

And the numbers are in. for 2013, Major League Baseball revenues crossed the magical $8B barrier, up from $7.5B the year before. And with new television contracts kicking in, that number's potentially going to rise above $9B for 2014.

That would be "B", as in "Billion".

He's My Cherry Pie!

Don Cherry is an idiot.

He says that the 15 game suspension to Shawn Thornton was too much.  Now, let's get the accusations of Homerism out of the way:  yes, I am a fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Yes, Thornton concussed Brooks Orpik, who is a Pens player.  Therefore, I can be accused of bias.  Let me nip that in the bud here:

1>  No player deserves to get slewfooted, knocked down and punched in the head twice while flat on his back on the ice.  Ever.  Not even Eric Lindros.

2>  James Neal got 5 games for kneeing Brad Marchand in the same game.  That's hardly enough.

3>  Puck Daddy (Yahoo's hockey blog) agrees with 15 games.

To get back to Don Cherry, this is a guy gets mad when the Toronto Maple Leafs don't have any players from Ontario.  Talk about Homerism.  No wonder they missed the playoffs for so many years.

Another point against him:  You fight, you get hurt.  Really?  I think fighting has its place in the NHL, but the guy is basically condoning concussions.

He's a dinosaur that needs to shut the hell up, and preferably soon.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Data Points

For the record, the single most commonly searched term that brings people to this blog is, and I quote, "Pro Bowl sucks".

"Ryan Braun Jewish Conspiracy" is fifth.

That is all.

Baseball's Silly Season - For Commentators

So the offseason baseball grades are starting to come out. Which teams helped themselves, which teams hurt themselves, which players made bank for their agents - you get the idea. Many, many thousands of words and column inches are going to be devoted to these Solonic analyses of where exactly Seattle is going to stick all their immobile DH-1B types, or if they're going to simply stack them at first base like cordwood.


Monday, December 16, 2013

See Previous Post, Dallas Cowboys Edition

In the wake of the Cowboys hairballing away a 23 point lead last night and losing 37-36, we at Sportsthodoxy are just going to quietly post a link to the bit on Tony Romo we ran a couple of days ago. 


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Three Thoughts on College Football

Because there was only one game on the schedule Saturday, and yet all sorts of action that  allowed a look behind the curtain. Here's a few thoughts on the big stories of the day.

1-Mack Brown was never going to come back as the coach at Texas.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Assessing the BCS

It is important to remember, in this last year of the Bowl Championship Series, that it is not now and never was "a series". It was a championship game, and then a few other well-paying games that were somehow portrayed as being somehow more meaningful than any of the other non-championship bowl games that were being played, but which ultimately had precisely zero outcome on the "championship" part of the thing's title. If you weren't in the big game, you might as well have been playing in the Crucial.com Humanitarian Bowl (or whatever they're calling that these days) on the SmurfTurf up at Boise, for all the impact it would have on the selection of the final "champion". Next year's move to a 4-team playoff, while explicitly a cash grab designed to forcibly separate schools like Boise State from even the remotest possibility of sniffing some of the big money, is actually more of a "series" in that it involves more than one game. Of course, the SEC is going to demand 3 of the 4 spots by virtue of being the SEC, but right now that's not important.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Your Handy-Dandy Guide To What's Going On In DC, Football-Wise

Initially this post was going to be about how selective the Hall of Fame's memory was, that they barred the door against even suspected PED users but welcomed in a couple of managers who rode the throbbing, twitching, back-acne spotted fast twitch of the PED generation into the postseason and the record books. But then Rick Reilly wrote something about exactly that same point over at ESPN.com, and I'm not comfortable any time there's an indication that Reilly and I shared a thought process.

So I'm going to talk about the Washington Professional Football Team instead.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

These Things I Tell You Are True

Look, Cowboys fans, this isn't going to be easy to accept, but you're going to have to try:

It's not Tony Romo's fault you have a terrible defense. 

Monday, December 09, 2013

The 10 million dollar beard

Is this beard worth 10 million dollars?

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Friday, December 06, 2013

What's the right Price? Houston, we have a solution!

Since the mystery of Robinson Cano and Jay-Z has now been solved, we can turn our attention to the fate of Cy Young winner, David Price. At the ripe age of 28, Price is in his perfect prime. Tampa Bay has shown time and time again that it's perfectly happy to part ways and to inherit up and coming prospects, rather than pony up.

Mandatory Post On the BCS Made Whilst Possibly Inebriated

To those who are fervently agitating for a one-loss SEC team to be chosen for the BCS Championship game over an unbeaten Ohio State team, I say to you this:

You're jerks.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Panic in the Fens

Word from back home is that my ten year old nephew, who is a Red Sox fan like I am a fan of oxygen, went ballistic this morning over the Yankees' signing of Jacoby Ellsbury for 7 years and roughly the gross national product of Lithuania.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Jack Morris Versus the Hall of Fame

Here is what I think about Jack Morris and the baseball Hall of Fame.

Jack Morris does not belong in the Hall of Fame.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Your Weekly ACC Football Update: Thank God It's Over Edition

Precisely one game in the ACC mattered: Duke beat a resurgent UNC team - barely - to win the Coastal Division and punch their ticket to the conference championship game next week, wherein without intervention from either the Divine or Florida law enforcement officials, they will be turned to chutney by Florida State.

(Note: Duke fans, please don't even pretend to get upset here. Duke is a wonderful story and a much better team than anyone had a right to expect this year. But scraping past the Wake Forests and UNCs of the world - the same teams FSU beat by 50 or so - is indicative of a slight talent gap. Whatever happens in Charlotte, it's going to be ugly.)

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Mad Dog Down

Greg Maddux will not be the first baseball player unanimously elected into the Hall of Fame.

It's not that he's not worthy, whatever that means. And for all the high-horse maundering about how if Ty Cobb didn't get voted in unanimously then ain't no one going in unanimously, that's not what's going to do it. Because even the most self-righteous of Hall of Fame voter types loves them some Maddux, with his Mickey Mouse watch and his glasses and his ne'er a whiff o' steroids and his command (which is the sort of thing baseball writers dream about having when they finally realize they'll never through 98 with movement). 
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