Tag Archives: Chicago Cubs

SBM Exclusive Feature – Tales of Depression and Sorrow: The Chicago Cubs

tales of depression chicago cubs

Up until now, this series has been about certain instances, or specific seasons which would make sports fans cringe in horror and pain. This installment expands on that to take a hard look at the long-suffering fans of franchises who have tortured their supporters for decades.

In other words, today’s Tale of Depression and Sorrow is an interview given to us here at Sports Blog Movement by Andy, one of the founding members of the best Chicago Cubs fan site out there, Ivy Envy. Andy lives in Rock Island, Illinois, and just so happens to be the brother-in-law of SBM contributor Ryan Meehan, which is probably why he was willing to take time from creating a good blog to bother with this one.

J-Dub:  Andy, How long have you been a fan of the Cubs?

Andy: Since the mid-1980s.

J-Dub: What made you become a fan of the Cubs?

Click Here To Continue Reading…

Leave it to Tommy Lasorda To Have A Heart Attack on the Day I Usually Attack Him Yet Again

A few days ago marked a High Holy Day in the religion of Tommy Lasorda Hating. June 4th marks the anniversary of the  “the Kingman tirade,” which is fabled in song and story (rated R for language, definitely not safe for work).  It all gets started by some dumb-ass reporter asking a typical dumb-ass question, which inevitably propels Lasorda into channeling Joe Pesci.

Lasorda: Dropping more F-bombs than the 8th Air Force

Normally, this would be the lead-in to 500 heated anti-Lasorda words, but the rules of common decency prevent that this year. Seems the son of a bitch went and had himself a heart attack. According to the celebrity website TMZ, the 84-year-old Lasorda — who ended his managerial career after a prior heart attack in 1996 — was in New York representing the Los Angeles Dodgers at the Major League Baseball Draft. Sadly, their sources say the attack was “mild” and baseball’s Anti-Christ Tommy is expected to be just fine. In fact, he may have already been released from the hospital as of this writing.

Looks like the bottle of champagne I’ve saving to celebrate the death of this Dodger Blue Dickbreath lives to see another day….goddamnit.

So, now the plan becomes looking at some other great managerial episodes.

An obscure, yet personal favorite of mine comes from Kash Beauchamp of the minor league Wichita Wingnuts. First of all, the dude totally looks like Stone Cold Steve Austin. Second of all, it’s really hard to take a guy seriously when he is resplendent in bright red socks.

Then, there’s the general buffoonery of Bobby Cox, the manager who got punted from more major league games than any other.

Keeping this in the Braves’ family means going to the classic meltdown by Mississippi Braves manager Phillip Wellman. How do you not love a guy who uses the rosin bag as an ersatz hand grenade?

No matter what you do, there comes a time to get away from the usual on-field tirades. This can only means a revisit of the Hal McRae episode in Kansas City.

Then there is the classic example of frustration meeting a ill-timed radio interview.  That honor is reserved for a 1983 tirade from then-Chicago Cubs’ manager Lee Elia, musing on the lack of fan support from the “Bleacher Bums” of Wrigley Field.

In any event, it just shows baseball managers can be tempermental. Who knew?

The 10 Worst Baseball Pennant Race Collapses – The Red Sox Weren’t The Worst, Just The Most Fun

Given what happened the other night, there’s a lot of superlatives being bandied about…while the Red Sox and Braves both managed a serious dose of  “epic fail,” neither of them are the worst choke job in pennant race history.  So, before you let anybody tell you the Red Sox pulled off the worst collapse in history, compare it to some of the truly titanic throat-closers of all time.

10) 1987 Toronto Blue Jays

"I've got to make room for Sil Campusano."

The favorite American League sons of the Great White North were 96-59 and had a 3.5-game over the Detroit Tigers with seven games to play. On the second-to-last Sunday of the season,  Toronto had a one-run lead over the Tigers headed into the ninth inning, until Kirk Gibson’s solo shot tied the game. The Tigers went on to win in 13 innings; the Blue Jays didn’t win again that season.  Toronto ended the 1987 season at 96-66, which allowed the Tigers to snatch the AL East with a sweep of the Blue Jays on the final weekend of the season.

9) 1951 Brooklyn Dodgers

It’s hard to paint a team that posted a 26-22 record down stretch with the “collapse” brush, but it’s also hard to say a team that gagged away a 13.5 game lead and lost a playoff didn’t fold.  Trouble is, the New York Giants got crazy hot; they won 37 out of their final 44 games and tied Brooklyn on the final day of the season. The Dodgers lost the three-game playoff, thanks to Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard Round The World.”

8 ) 2011 Atlanta Braves

This was like the “stealth” collapse; nobody really seemed to understand this was a choke job until the Braves were only leading the Cardinals by three games with five to play.  St. Louis trailed the Braves by 10.5 games in late August, and the lead only shrank to 8.5 games by the first week in September, which is largely why this went unnoticed until the last weekend of the season. The Braves forgot how to hit, posted a record of 9-18 in September, and lost the wild-card on the last day of the season.

7) 2011 Boston Red Sox

The power of the present makes people want to think this tank-job rates higher on the list, especially those wacky Red Sox fans who want to believe they didn’t beat their wives and/or blow their brains out over #7 on the list.  Granted, this is the worst collapse that happened entirely in September, but it genesis lies throughout the season. The Sox stumbled out of the gate, but recovered to lead the AL East for most of the second half. But they fell behind the Yankees early in September, and the free-fall continued. In short, what killed this team in April simply resurfaced in September.

The Sox figured they could always win the wild-card, as they led the Rays by nine games on Labor Day.  However, since the Red Sox only won seven games the rest of the way, Tampa Bay ran them down on the second-to-last day of the season, which led to the dramatic Wednesday night finish, which saw the Sox blow a 3-2 lead with two outs in the ninth against last-place Baltimore, while at the same time the Rays rallied from a 7-0 early pasting to beat the Yankees 8-7 in extra innings to claim the AL Wild Card.

6) 2007 New York Mets

In 2007, the Phillies had not yet emerged as the current uber-squad they are perceived to be today. In fact, they trailed the Mets by seven games on September 12th, but since the Shea crew had Pedro Martinez back on the mound after surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff,  the Mets were the favorite in what was considered to be a weak National League field. That was before the Flushing Nine went down the stretch to finish the season one game behind the surging Phillies.

5) 1969 Chicago Cubs

The Amazin’ Mets of 1969 would have never been if it weren’t for this Chicago fold. 1969 was the first season in which there was divisional play, and for the entirety of the season, the Cubs had led the newly-formed NL East.

However, this was before the Cubs swallowed their own tongue. Chicago held a solid 9.5-game lead on August 14th, but within two weeks, the Mets had closed the gap to two games. The Cubs collapse continued as they dropped 14 of their final 20 games, and New York won the division by eight full games.

4) 2009 Detroit Tigers

From May 10th until the final day of the 2009 season – a total of 164 days – the Detroit Tigers enjoyed the driver’s seat in the AL Central.  The problem was they let the Minnesota Twins hang around, so much so the Twins were able to sweep the last three games of the season against the Tigers to force a one-game playoff. The Twins won 6-5 in a classic 12-inning affair, leaving the Tigers as the only team to blow a three-game lead with four to play.

3) 1978 Boston Red Sox

Three words: Bucky F–king Dent. Yes, this is the scenario which forever immortalized in the loathe-zone of Red Sox faithful from Falmouth to Fort Lauderdale a man whose name sounds more like a tooth-care product for beavers.

July 1978 saw the Sox with a 14-game lead over the defending world champion Yankees. But, the Bronx Bombers chipped away at that deficit until it was down to a still-formidable 7.5-game lead with only 32 games to play. However, the Red Sox gagged 14 of 17 games which allowed the Yanks to pull into the left lane and pass Boston.

However, the Sox won their final eight which forced a one-game playoff at Fenway Park.  That’s the last day Bucky Dent’s name was ever uttered in Sox Nation without the extra frigative, as the Yankees’ light-hitting shortstop hit a 7th-inning game winning homer (his 5th of the season) to send the Yankees eventually to their second consecutive World Series title.

2) 1995 California Angels

Just like the ’78 Red Sox, the Angels blew a huge lead, only to make a late rally, only to choke in a one-game playoff. California held a lead of 11.5 games in Mid-August, but went 12-27 in their final 39 games (including winning their last five games) which allowed the Seattle Mariners to force a one-game playoff. However, in that game, Seattle ace Randy Johnson mowed the Angels like they were his back yard to the tune of a 9-1 shellacking.

1) 1964 Philadelphia Phillies

It’s hard for many baseball fans born after 1985 to understand that for nearly a century, the Phillies were even more of a hard-luck franchise than the Cubs. The Phillies were the last original National League team win a pennant when they finally did so after nearly 70 years of existence in 1950. They went 30 more years before they became the last original member of the senior circuit to win a World Series in 1980. That’s why 1964 is such a big deal.

Nobody had a greater streak of futility than the Phillies. From 1919 to 1947, the Phillies finished in last  place a total of 17 times, and next to last seven times. This is why the Phils were the first major league franchise to post 10,000 losses. They spent the 1950’s oscillating between decent and deplorable, but they seemed to turn the corner in the early 1960’s.  1962 and 1963 found the Phillies climbing back to respectability, and throughout the 1964 season, they seemed destined to make it to the World Series. Philadelphia boasted a stocked line-up, featuring stars like rookie third baseman Dick Allen, outfielders Johnny Callison and Cookie Rojas, catcher Gus Triandos, and pitchers Jim Bunning and Chris Short.

1964 seemed to be the Phillies year for the taking. The first indicator that the Phils were the team of destiny came on Father’s Day, when future U.S. Senator and Hall-of-Famer Jim Bunning pitched a perfect game. This was the first National League perfecto since 1880, and even the Shea Stadium faithful found themselves cheering for the visiting hurler given the rarity of the event.

T.S. Eliot said April is the cruelest month; had he been a Phillies fan, he would have saved that designation for September 1964.  The Phils held a 6.5 game lead over the Cardinals and Reds with 12 games to go that month. Then, thanks to the “managerial genius” of Gene Mauch, Philadelphia lost 10 games in a row and ended up one game behind St. Louis in a tie for second place with Cincinnati.

Other collapses worthy of consideration:

  • 1962 Los Angeles Dodgers: Blew a 4 game lead with 7 left to play
  • 1938 Pittsburgh Pirates: Lost a September 1st lead of 7 games
  • 1993 San Francisco Giants: Dropped a Mid-August lead of 9 games
  • 1983 Atlanta Braves: Gagged away a 6.5 game lead in under 30 games
  • 1942 Brooklyn Dodgers: Blew a 7.5 game in under 25 games
  • 2005 Cleveland Indians: Dropped 6 of their final 7 after taking lead in Wild Card race
Apologies for the history lesson, but it really is the only way to show Red Sox fans that what happened this September and culminated Wednesday isn’t the worst collapse ever…it is just the Red Sox latest entry in the Futility Sweepstakes.

The 15 Worst Sports Owners Not Named McCourt or Wilpon

Editor’s Note: This article is a collaborative effort between Dubsism and Ryan Meehan from First Order Historians. Ryan also has his own blog, East End Philadelphia, which is featured in our BlogRoll and it is well worth the read.

Lately, all the attention for bad ownership has been focused on that shithead who owns the Los Angeles Dodgers and the horse-thief who owns the New York Mets. But the fires created by these two douche-nozzles are sucking the oxygen out of a room full of bad owners; these are guys who really should not be slipping under anybody’s radar.

There’s really three main types of owners who are bad for sports. There’s the “only in it for the money” guy, there’s the “I’m the owner so I know everything about this sport” guy, and there’s the “Incompetent and/or Insane” guy. Peruse the following list and remember, some owners may represent more than one type.

15) Jeremy Jacobs, Boston Bruins

This pick may be hard to understand considering the Bruins just won the Stanley Cup, and a great deal of you don’t give a rat’s ass about hockey. However, that recent victory still doesn’t hide the fact that for most of his nearly 40 years of ownership, the Bruins have had one of the lowest payrolls in the league despite the fact Boston is a Top 10 market. This would be like buying the best strip club in town and filling it with chicks who look like Tim Tebow.

It also helps to remember that before 2009, the Bruins went for a decade without winning a playoff series, largely because even when Jacobs had stars like Ray Bourque or Cam Neely, he never put enough of a supporting cast around them to make the team a winner.  In other words, Jacobs is the first on this list of what will prove to be a long line of cheapskate assholes.

14) Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys

Jerry Fucking Jones…where do we start?  The Dallas Cowboys are one of the most storied franchises in the NFL, and we’ve all had  that “America’s Team” bullshit rammed so far down our throats that little brown drops of it land in our shorts every time we sneeze.

We are convinced that at least half of all currently worshipped deities hate the Cowboys because the Gods keep fucking with them. You know they were sitting around in some big “God” club drinking whatever “God” type dudes drink laughing their collective “God” asses off when Tony Romo fumble-dicked that extra point hold against the Seahawks a few years back. The best part was that was a year where the NFC was weaker than no-alcohol beer as hell and the Cowboys were flying down the E-Z Pass lane toward the Super Bowl until Romo slammed the bus into the toll booth.

Even though they have tons of moments like that in their history, nobody ever seems to remember the Cowboys haven’t won shit in 15 years. That’s pretty much Jerry’s fault. Nobody ever seems to remember Jones has a long track record of making some of the stupidest decisions (Dave Campo, Chan Gailey, and Wade Phillips for openers…) because he IS the front office. Nobody ever seems to remember Jones is a megalomaniac who has a thirst for power rivaled only by Kim Kardashian’s thirst for B-grade jock spooge.

That amnesia on Jerry Jones completely escapes me since sports fans hate him more than groin kicks and flat beer combined. He’s the perfect guy for blue-collar America to hate because blue-collar America loves to blame all its problems on big money businessman, especially if they are obnoxious Texans who own sports teams.  Its like he’s a drunker, louder version of George W. Bush.

Bush gets blamed for everything from male pattern baldness to the terribly high lesbian ratio in the LPGA, yet Jones gets a free pass for screwing up the Super Bowl by selling tickets to seats that were not usable.  Plus, it’s a nuclear-powered level of hilarious that he worked his spotted, flabby ass off to get the Super Bowl in his very own building only to watch his team leave their season floating in the locker room shitter.  Hey, if they’re America’s Team, and America loves to hate, l then we’re just being patriotic.

13) Charles Wang, New York Islanders

It’s time to play a little game-show we like to call “Stereotype.”  You would think that an Asian guy who got rich building his own computer company would be good at math, right? Sorry, but if you were to assume that about Wang, you would be hearing a loud buzzer right about now and finding out about our lovely consolation prizes.

It takes a special kind of idiot to buy a sports franchise in an era of explosive growth and actually find a way to lower the value of the franchise, and Wang is that special kind of idiot.  Wang bought the Islanders in 2000, and since has found a way to wang himself out of millions through some seriously stupid decisions.

First, the fact he employed Mike Milbury speaks for itself. His nickname “Mad Mike” doesn’t really lend creedence to what a terrible general manager he was; were he in the NFL, he would have made Matt Millen look like a fucking genius. Hockey fans remember monstrous Milbury moves like inking an underachieving Alexei Yashin to a 10-year, $87.5 million deal, trading away star goaltender Roberto Luongo for a case of urinal cakes, and taking Rick DiPietro with the first pick in the 2000 NHL entry draft ahead of future stars Dany Heatley and Marian Gaborik.  To top it all off, it was Milbury’s idea to sign DiPietro to a franchise-risking 15-year, $67.5 million contract extension which at the time it was signed was the biggest sports contract in history.

Sadder still is the fact the atrocities committed by Milbury with Wang’s blessing aren’t even the worst.  My favorite Wang jerk-off move happens to be when he hired Neil Smith as general manager in 2006, only to fire him 40 days later and replace him with the backup goalie.

Things have gone so bad there is talk of this franchise leaving New York for Kansas Fucking City. Seriously, what could Kansas City offer over New York? More corn? Fatter chicks? A night life as exciting as spending an evening with your face buried in George Brett’s ass crack?

Not to mention, the NHL already failed in Kansas City. To find the old “Kansas City Scouts,” you have to look under “New Jersey Devils.”

12) Peter Angelos, Baltimore Orioles

Peter Angelos is Greek, and according to the Urban Dictionary, “greek” is a euphemism for anal sex. This is fitting, because nobody has butt-fucked Baltimore baseball more than Angelos has.

Before Angelos, the O’s were one of the most storied franchises in baseball; they had been to the World Series six times in the 25 years prior to Angelos. The O’s won three World Series Championships in that time.  Now in the nearly two decades of Angelos’ ownership, the Orioles have made only two post-season appearances.

The contract that exemplifies Angelos’ extreme dumb-assery was the deal he inked with Albert Belle. This gargantuan bank-buster made Belle the highest paid player in baseball. Despite the fact Belle’s career would be in the shitter two years later, due to the terms of the contract he had to remain on the Orioles’ roster for the final three years of the deal.

But the biggest “peter” Angelos has wedged into the collective anus of Balitmorians everywhere is the fact there are a ton of Hall-of-Famers who have no role within the Orioles’ organization simply because Angelos’ values his pride more than his franchise.

First off, I stand by the story. Every single word.

Orioles’ owner Peter Angelos and Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. have taken turns denying parts of my report from last Friday, the gist of which was that Angelos recently declined to hire Ripken to help his wonderful team.Both declined opportunities to comment before I went with the story, and that’s fine.

Both dispute that Angelos told Ripken he didn’t want Ripken to receive credit once the team returned to prominence — a detail confirmed by three sources — and that’s fine, too. But now that both are in such talking moods, I have a few more questions, mostly for Angelos.

  • Why isn’t Ripken already working for the Orioles?
  • Why isn’t Brooks Robinson involved with the team?
  • Why isn’t Frank Robinson?
  • Why is a franchise with such a glorious history not taking better advantage of someof the greatest natural resources the game has to offer?

Funny, I don’t think it’s because the Orioles have all the answers.

A number of former Orioles — including Hall of Famers Jim Palmer and Eddie Murray —serve the club as paid broadcasters, but the O’s need to draw from their tradition inways that go beyond Boog Powell cooking ribs on Eutaw Street. It’s damning — and a direct reflection on Angelos’ tone-deaf ownership — that Hall ofFamers Ripken, Brooks Robinson and Frank Robinson are nowhere to be found at Camden Yards.

What else can you say? Angelos is that kind of guy as described by Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket – “He’s the kind of person who would fuck somebody in the ass and not even have the common courtesy to give them a reach-around.”

11) Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, Golden State Warriors

Granted, The Warriors have been a doormat of the NBA for two generations now, and granted, they just bought the team from Chris Cohan, a douchebag worthy of this list in his own right because under Cohan, they missed the playoffs every year from 1994 to 2007. That’s the longest drought in NBA history. The single shining moment of non-suckititude came in 2007 when they upset the #1 playoff seed Dallas Mavericks.

Lacob and Guber get on this list for being David Stern’s poster-children in his attempt to cut the balls off the NBA player’s union. Something stinks about the way these two fuckwads got into the ownership ranks. The “sale” was rigged; it included $150 million in league loans to get it done and the league forced multiple small percentage owners to raise the cash for the “sale” after the supposed bid was completed in July 2010. The whole reason these two exist are to be more of Stern’s stormtroopers against the union.

10) William Clay Ford, Detroit Lions

You’ll notice a theme developing here; one of a franchise having success until it was purchased by a hemmorhoid with a big wallet. Picture a time when the Lions weren’t a dingleberry on the anus of the NFL. You’ll have to set the Wayback Machine for the 1950’s, when Lions arguably were the most successful team in the league. They appeared in four NFL Championship Games, winning three.

Then, in 1964 William Clay Ford purchased the Lions and they have not been in a championship game since. In the 47 years Ford has owned the Lions, they have a single playoff win. Even the Bengals and Cardinals have more than that. That’s fucking pathetic.

Right now, the Lions fins themselves digging out of a hole dug by the steam-shovel of suck known as Matt Millen. Lets’ make one thing clear; we don’t have an issue with Millen as a broadcaster.  He was simply the prototypical shitty general manager.  He took a franchise that was already in the shitter and kept inventing ways to keep shitting on it. By the time he was done, the Lions’ franchise was like the Matterhorn of shit.

Watching Millen manage was like watching a retard masturbate. His eight-year jack-off-to-nowhere spree as head of the franchise led to the worst record in the history of the modern NFL (31-97 / .319), yet it took Ford until a month into the 2008 season to fire his ass.  Billboards were actually being erected in Detroit, some which simply said “Fire Millen.” Others had a picture of what the Lions’ Super Bowl ring would have looked like, captioned with  “Not this MILLENium.” Not like it mattered, English has been spoken only as third language in Detroit ever since they burned the city to the ground in the 60s.

Plus, the only time people read billboards is when they are on their way to work. Since nobody in Detroit has a goddamn job (because Ford also sucks at running a car company) the only people that noticed were the national media.

9) Daniel Snyder, Washington Redskins

It’s no fucking wonder that a guy who is the chairman of the board and majority owner of a chain of amusement parks would make watching the Redskins a roller-coaster of nausea. Snyder purchased the Redskins in 1999, and since then its been far more down than up on the Redskin roller-coaster.

In fact, there’s been no up; 1999 was the best season the Redskins had since their last Super Bowl win in 1991.  It’s no accident 1999 also happens to be the best season they have had during Snyder’s tenure. Snyder loves to spend like the proverbial drunken sailor, but he also gets drunken results.  He’s replaced a Pro Bowl quarterback (Brad Johnson) with an aging head case (Jeff George).  He pumped a Potomac River of money into a washed-up Bruce Smith and a way past primetime Deion Sanders.  He thought Richie Pettibone, Norv Turner, Jim Zorn, and Steve “ol’ Ball Coach” Spurrier were NFL head coaches.

If you have any question as to how football-clueless Snyder is, just  look at the last eighteen months.  In that period, he signed Donovan McNabb (only to trade him to the Vikings for a ham sandwich, a move made much more hilarious by the fact Snyder is Jewish), made virtually no improvement in quite possibly the most active offseason free agency period in the history of the NFL.  Of course, there is no need to improve on a team that in a single game elevated Michael Vick’s status in white America from “degenerate dog killer” to “allowed to doggie-fuck my daughter.”

Now Washington should actually be a good team, not one that needs a minor miracle to beat a shitheap franchise like Detroit. The franchise has a prime location (there’s a lot of money in DC), they have a huge, new stadium, and they have a ton of history. Not even the liberal cry-babys who bitch about everything don’t give a fuck about this team, otherwise you’d be hearing their bitching about that “racist” nickname somewhere other than Rachel Maddow’s penis.

The really messed-up part is that Snyder has done incredibly well with the Redskins from a business standpoint; the Redskins are the second-most valuable franchise in the league. Of course that success doesn’t keep him off this list as he has stooped to such extreme ass-hattery like suing his very own season ticket holders to ensure that the Redskins remain profitable.

8 ) Al Davis, Oakland Raiders

For those of you under 30, you may not believe there was a time when Al Davis wasn’t a batshit crazy Cryptkeeper look-alike and the Raiders were not the laughing stock of the NFL.  In an 18-year span during the 70’s and 80’s, the Raiders won 13 division championships, made 15 playoff appearances, and took home three Lombardi trophies. This is the era when the Raiders were the winningest team in all of professional sports, and love him or hate him, Davis was a respected and visionary leader who helped build the AFL into a league so successful the NFL couldn’t beat it so they joined with it.

But somewhere along the line; somewhere right around 1992, it all went wrong. Horribly, horribly wrong.

Since 1992, the Raiders have had just five winning seasons. Their 2002 Super Bowl crushing at the hands of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers led to a stretch of seven straight season in which the Raiders never won more than 5 games, and they have yet to have a winning season since then.

How can this happen? Simple. Davis is destroying that which he built. You could call it “suicide by head coach and draft pick.”

Rather than list the rash of terrible draft picks the Raiders have made in the last decade, let’s focus on the most telling.

“JaMarcus Russell is a good quarterback” – Al Davis

Davis drafted JaMarcus Russell in 2007, and he got glowing reviews from a lot sports “experts” at the time, despite the fact there were some warning signs he would become “fat and lazy.”

JaMarcus Russell, moments before the fire department had to use the "jaws of life" to get Mylie Cyrus out of his throat.

Other NFL scouts literally shattered bones in their haste to jump off the Russell bandwagon once they heard him talk about how much he was going to “relax and eat” after the draft.

Not Al.

Other teams thought it was sheer insanity to pay roughly the gross domestic product of Australia to a completely unproven rookie.

Not Al.

Most other owners would have seen their big-money rookie fatting up like a Christmas goose, especially since that rookie holdout made him miss all of training camp and several weeks of the regular season.

Not Al.

Most other owners would realize that when his big-money rookie has cheeseburgered his way into being JaMarcus the Hutt, that’s nobody but the big-money rookie’s fault.

Not Al.

Most other owners would realize when the head coach says the big-money rookie sucks, he probably sucks.

Not Al.

When Lane Kiffin dared tell Al that JaMarcus Russell was as much an NFL quarterback as Jayne Russell, Al told Kiffin that Russell didn’t suck…he did.

“He is a great player. Get over it and coach this team on the field. That is what you were hired to do. We can win with this team.”

Then he did Kiffin the best favor he possibly could by firing him.

The beauty was that off-season proved to be a delicious one, Russell showed up at camp so fat he exerted his own gravitational pull. He was putting Shake N’ Bake in his Gatorade. When he wasn’t gasping for air or sweating bacon grease, he was showing his “commitment to excellence” by snoozing through team meetings, or just skipping them to go on a bling-gasm in Las Vegas.

Finally, even Al had to see his big-money rookie was just big.  Four sets of  “back-titties” big.  Before being released, rumors were that Russell was well over 300 pounds, far above the 255 he weighed in his prime just 3 years prior. It takes a lot of prime rib to get that far away from your prime in only 3 fucking years.

But the Kiffin thing takes us back to Al’s relationships with his head coaches in the past 20 years.

Al hired Bill Callahan, a head coach who inspired so much trust in his players they accused him of ” sabotaging the season.” To regain their trust, Callahan said the Raiders were “the dumbest team in America in terms of playing the game.” We must admit we really don’t understand that motivational technique, but it worked since Callahan was the last coach to post a winning record in Oakland and the last to lead the Raiders to the Super Bowl.

Then it starts to get scary. Let’s look at the lowlights…Al hired Norv Turner as coach; the Raiders went a combined 9-23 in his two seasons. Al hired Art Shell twice, the first time went OK;  the second brought a franchise-worst 2-14 record.

Then, Al hired Lane Kiffin, threatened to fire him on a weekly basis, and when he finally did, it was a great moment in “Crotchety Old Man” history; Al held a press conference during which he put his “Kiffin Bitch List” on an overhead projector! You read that right, it was the dawn of the 21st century, and in the shadow of Silicon Valley,  and Al is using the same technology as your Dad’s 5th-grade teacher.

Then, Al  hired Tom Cable, a man who most famously broke the jaw of his assistant coach with a sucker punch, then threatened to kill him.

The thing all of us can see that Al can’t is the Raiders have massive trust issues. Al doesn’t trust his coaches to make good draft selections, Al’s players don’t trust his coaches, the fans don’t trust Al’s “commitment to excellence” enough to purchase season tickets, and even those of us who don’t give a fuck about the Raiders don’t trust their franchise not to suck.

What this all comes down to is Al Davis is old and he’s lost it.  Nobody like hearing that because it reminds us all our time is coming; it’s disturbing to know someday we will all no longer be able to control when we do and do not shit ourselves.  Most people who are lucky enough to live that long don’t run their own professional sports team.  Even though Al Davis is now the kind of boss that walks into your office and gives you the choice of lancing a boil on his back or letting him drop his band-aid into your coffee (and you MUST drink it), he’s still just an old man who needs to retire so we don’t have to keep watching him shit his pants.

7) Tom Ricketts, Chicago Cubs

Tom Ricketts is the CEO of of Incapital LLC, a Chicago, an investment bank that packages corporate bonds for retail investors.  He’s also the son of the guy who founded Ameritrade, so if you the typical blue-collar American who gets off on o hating people who are born into money, this is a good place to start.

The Cubs suffer from a lack of real direction, and this is partially Ricketts’ fault.  He took over the Cubs in the beginning of 2009, inheriting the Alfonso Soriano contract, which might be considered a good deal if the entire planet’s economy ran off of how much money we could all light on fire all at once.  Since then, the Cubs have grown one of the highest payrolls in baseball, and have one of the worst records.  They’re in a market that is extremely critical of all of their sports teams, and radio is brutal even when your winning.  Just ask the last season’s Chicago Bears.

Since Meehan is a regular guest on a Chicago Cubs internet radio (insert shameless plug for ivyenvy.com here) you might expect him to have more of an opinion on Ricketts. But the truth is, unless the Cubs go on a five game winning streak, the guy’s a fucking ghost.  (Editor’s note:  The Cubs didn’t win five in a row this season until last week.)  To be quite honest with you, if Meehan’s producer hadn’t attended a press conference with Ricketts a few weeks back http://ivyenvy.com/?p=6034, he might fall into that same level of “does he exist” along with Sasquatch and Oprah Winfrey’s heterosexuality.

Let’s just put it this way, Ricketts and his family believed in 2009 the Cubs were worth 900 million dollars with a relic of a stadium that’s falling apart and countless personnel and financial issues, and he hasn’t done much to change it.

6) Mike Brown, Cincinnati Bengals

Sometimes taking over the family business isn’t as easy as it looks. But when you get handed the keys to an organization built by a legend and you fuck it up beyond belief…that’s how you end up one of the most hated owners in sports.

Welcome to the world of Mike Brown. When the legendary Paul Brown passed away in 1991, Mike Brown assumed control of the Bengals. Since then, the Bengals’ record is a cesspool-worthy 124-211-1, with a single playoff appearance.

If the cavalcade of losing wasn’t enough to make fans want to piss in his hollowed-out skull, Brown continues to give the Bengal faithful all the reason they would need to want to drag his lifeless corpse around Paul Brown Stadium.

For some reason ESPN has continued to report on the Cincinnati Bengals situation.  For the longest time, it was a complete fucking mystery why the World Wide Leader gives a tire-squished shit about the Queen City Kitties. But we finally figured it out.

ESPN is betting on curiosity…curiosity as to what will finally kill the Cats’ owner.

Will it be his ability to pinch a penny so hard he can make Abe Lincoln fart? Brown is notorious as cheapskate asshole. The Bungles have the most understaffed scouting departments in the league and he simply does not spend money on free-agents.

Perhaps, it will be his colossal stubborn streak. If there’s anything we’ve learned in the past, it’s that Mike Brown is one of the most stubborn owners in professional sports, and that also makes him exceptionally stupid. He steadfastly refuses to hire a general manager, which may explain this team’s terrible record.

He refused to grant Carson Palmer a trade, thus forcing Palmer to call Brown’s bluff and retire, thus forcing Brown to eat his value and not reap any of the benefits of such a trade.  Granted, Palmer is also a total dick; he made it no secret that he thought Ohio sports fans were weak and simple since Day One.  But when you consider all of the bullshit he had to put up with during his tenure with the Bengals, one can clearly see Brown is a dick of a higher order.

Not to mention Brown was the one who kept letting Chad Johnson act like a jackass, all the while believing that Chris Henry was going to turn his life around only to see him die by falling out of the back of a truck.

These issues are just the tip of the Brown-hating iceberg. Anyway you slice it, Bengals’ fans strive to ensure Brown knows they hate him, ranging from boycotts to erecting billboards to an anti-Brown website, fans in the Queen City have been nothing short of creative in their efforts.

What it comes down to is that Brown isn’t really a big dick; he’s actually a tiny, little dick who can’t get out from under the shadow of Daddy. Brown has been for years trying to prove to the sports media and the fans that on his watch the Bengals won’t take any shit from anybody and that you’d better do what he tells you if you know what’s good for you.

Typical pathetic little raisin-sac bullshit.

But in the end, it’s obvious nobody thinks Brown matters so nobody pays any attention to his false pride largely because nobody gave a fuck to begin with. After all, if you know you can’t finish higher than 3rd in your division for the next decade, then what the fuck difference does your pride make?

5) David Glass, Kansas City Royals

Glass may have been a great business executive, but he’s a shitty owner. In ten seasons as owner of the Royals, his team has finished and in that time – they have finished with a record above .500 just once, have lost 100 games or more four times, and have averaged nearly 95 losses for every season of the Glass regime.

Prior to his purchase of the Royals, Glass was the CEO of Wal-Mart. This is where he earned the reputation as one of the nation’s premier executives. In business, the Glass model was rather successful; reasonable products at dirt-cheap prices. That’s the same approach Glass has used with the Royals, and while the team’s revenue has increased every year, on the field performance and the player salaries have not.

This makes Glass the perfect representative of the parasitic effect silly things like “luxury taxes” in baseball have. They actually make it possible to be profitable and terrible at the same time, which is a cancer on the world of sport, not just baseball.

4) Jeffrey Loria, Florida Marlins

Very few people have shown the ability to drive a franchise over the brink, and this turdpipe has done it twice. Of course, what should we expect from a guy who made his money as an “art dealer?” I bet it isn’t even “real” art, I bet it is that “Elvis on black velvet” crap you see being sold at abandoned gas stations hanging on a chain-link fence.

There’s no coincidence in the fact that he owned two teams long rumored to be on the contraction block. His refusal to put any money in the Montreal Expos guaranteed their sale to MLB so they could be reborn as the Nationals and so he could buy the Marlins. His dismal leadership immediately placed the Marlins in a “build a new stadium or face the consequences” dilemma; and Miami knuckled under…the new ball park opens next season.

3) Bill Bidwill, Arizona Cardinals

The Bidwill family has owned the Cardinals for close to 50 years.  In that time, have one exactly four playoff games. Three of those came a few years back when the Cards made that miracle run to the Super Bowl.  Just the fact he is holding an NFC Championship trophy is proof a blind squirrel can occasional find a nut.

A common comparison is that the Cardinals are the Clippers of the NFL; it would be more accurate to say the Clippers who are the Cardinals of the NBA. The Cards have been the model were the model of dysfunctionality  in the sports when the Clippers franchise were still the Buffalo Braves. The comparison stems largely from the fact these are both franchises that have had to move twice because of horrid ownership decisions.

2) James Dolan, New York Knicks and New York Rangers

James Dolan’s reign as the owner of the New York Knicks and Rangers has been an exercise in following the Steinbrenner model with the Yankees of the 80s; money does not cure bad decisions.  Since 1999 when Dolan took control of both franchises, fans of both teams would be well within their rights to join the paper bag squad.

Dolan has pumped a river of money into the Rangers; they have the highest average salary  in the NHL, yet they have only made the playoffs four times and have not once been past the semifinals.  There’s a school of thought which believes the blame should fall on general manager Glen Sather, but the people who think that rode to that school on the short bus.

First of all, Dolan refuses to fire Sather despite his blatant incompetence. Second of all, Sather doesn’t control the Knicks, who have exactly the same problems, which makes Dolan the common thread.  Dolan has overseen the Knicks through nearly a decade full of seasons of fewer than 40 wins, to go along with just two playoff appearance, despite having one of the top payrolls in the NBA.

Then’s there whole Isiah Thomas fiasco. Insert your own rant on that mess here.

1) Donald Sterling, Los Angeles Clippers

Sterling is possibly the best example of a guy being both a genius businessman and a complete shit-stain in the Fruit of the Looms of the sports world.  There’s so many ways to look at the sporting idiocy that is Donald Sterling. There’s the numbers:

  • 31 – Number of seasons he has owned the Clippers
  • 2 – Number of seasons they have finished with a winning record
  • .341 – Team winning percentage in those seasons
The problem is that the Clippers and Sterling are like a really bad marriage of really bad people; they deserve each other. As mentioned earlier, this franchise began its trail of tears in 1970 as the Buffalo Braves. By 1981, the team had already failed in Buffalo and moved to San Diego where they were also failing. This is where Sterling comes along and buys the team for a pittance.
The Clippers spend the next two seasons in San Diego struggling to draw 4,500 fans.  In 1984, Sterling makes the one good decision he ever made with the Clippers; naturally, it was a business decision. He moves the team to Los Angeles, which is the sole move that allowed the value of the Clippers to rise from$12.5 million back in the summer of 1981 to an estimated $350 million today.

That is Donald Sterling’s sports resume in  nutshell; great for the bankbook, lousy for on-the-court performance. The team has been a  joke for over three decades, but Sterling keeps laughing all the way to the bank.   Sterling has faithfully followed the model of keeping the payroll at “paying in recyclable cans” levels of cheap to maximize profit while never once giving a damn about the won-loss column. The Clippers have finished in the Draft Lottery so many times they’ve seen more balls than an Ava Devine gang-bang.

What do porn stars and the Clippers have in common? They both dribble before they shoot.

I know it won’t come as a shock to read that a miser like Sterling might also be just a bad human being. What kind of guy heckles his own players?  We can’t imagine this would be productive under any circumstance, but of all of the sports where this would be a bad idea, basketball would have to be the worst.  To top it off, of the all players not to piss off,  you might think Baron Davis would be in the top five.   For that matter, how sweet would it have been if Rasheed Wallace had ever played for the Clippers?  He would have killed Sterling.  Just picture ‘Sheed “keeping it real” by yanking Donnie Boy’s bow-tied ass out of his seat and dribbling his head off the scorer’s table for about five minutes.

I’m not sure there is a more telling commentary of Sterling complete level of tone-deafness than this:

It is actually fitting to use Blake Griffin in this ad. He is only half black, and this attempt by Sterling to reach out to the black community was completely half-assed, if for no other reason that Black History Month is in February.

But of all the stories, allegations, accusations and observations, this is my favorite:

“While ignoring my suggestions and isolating me from decisions customarily reserved for general managers, the Clippers attempted to place the blame for the team’s failures on me,” Baylor said in the declaration. “During this same period, players Sam Cassell, Elton Brand and Corey Maggette complained to me that DONALD STERLING would bring women into the locker room after games, while the players were showering, and make comments such as, ‘Look at those beautiful black bodies.’ I brought this to Sterling’s attention, but he continued to bring women into the locker room.”

There you have it, fifteen owners who haven’t been getting the attention they deserve. Like we’ve said, just because the world is fixated on the antics of the Frank McCourts and Fred Wilpons of the world, these guys still need to have the light shone on them; there’s no better disinfectant than sunlight.

Stay tuned to Dubsism and East End Philadelphia for more up to the minute advice on how to be undeniably awesome.

-J-Dub and Meehan

Dubsism on Cubsism

First, let me define the concept of Cubsism. Named for the Chicago Cubs, Cubsism is an ideaology that permeates a sports franchise. It is characterized by the ability to be essentially viable while remaining an exercise in futulity on the field.  It is named for the Cubs because no other franchise in sports embodies it nearly as much as the Chicago North Siders do.

A microcosm of most recent century of  futility of this franchise lies in the last eighteen months. Look at what has happened before and after the sudden retirement of Lou Piniella last summer.

Usually, when a team makes a change at manager, the idea is to change the culture of the clubhouse by changing the leadership. Sometimes, when you make a change, the team doesn’t respond. That’s what happened last year at this time. Why? Because Lou Piniella was a respected “baseball guy.”

Just a few weeks ago, the rumors began circulating that new manager Mike Quade and general manager Jim Hendry will return next season in their respective positions. The logic is that Hendry is the guy who made the decision to hire Quade, knowing that  Quade was never intended to be a long-term solution. The thought was Quade would be a bridge until the Cubs found an established manager when the team is ready to  contend.

The problem is Quade should have never been the Cubs manager in the first place.  There’s so many reasons why, and they all illustrate the concept of Cubsism.

Go back to the day Piniella pulled the plug. Not the day he walked for good; rather go back to the day he said he was leaving at the end of the year. While every sports writer rejoiced at the thought of not having to write another “fire Lou Piniella” column, they all missed the main point.

Why let a manager appoint himself into a “lame-duck” status? To that point, the team was certainly going nowhere; they were lifeless and unmotivated, and now they are playing for a manager who has decided to fall on his own sword. There was nothing left to inspire the team to play hard; to not look they rolled over and died. What is to be gained by that?

The answer is absolutely nothing.  There’s one thing the Cubs have seemingly forgotten about their fans is that they live on hope. They have little other option; the Cubs have given them nothing else in over a century.

Flash forward one year, and the Cubs find themselves in essentially the same position. The Cubs collapsed early, fingers were pointed, and it looks like another change is coming somewhere in the leadership chain of the Cubs.

I don’t know how much hope that inspires in Cub fans, because I don’t know what the changes are going to be. Suffice it to say the Cubs are likely to make what I call a “Cubs-Type Decision (CTD).”

CTDs are the heart of Cubsism, and Cubsism is caused by four contributing factors, all of which have a long association with the  Cubs.

1) Leadership and a fan base that doesn’t understand the difference between “good” and “great.”

This point is exemplified by Quade. He was a terrible hire not because he is a terrible manager, rather there was a much better and completely obvious hire, and he was already in your organization.

Face it, Chicago. Mike Quade was the “good” hire; Ryne Sandberg was the “great” hire.  He was perfect for the job; let’s review why.

Sandberg became a Cub hero in the 1980′s being the best second baseman of that decade and arguably one of the top five at that position ever.  Sandberg became the Wrigley fixture Cub fans latched onto as a transition in to the Harry Caray-less days after 1998.  Sandberg was one of the smartest players in the game, and few played the truly complete game he did. Not only that, but Sandberg is not some Hall-of-Fame guy who thinks he should be able to blow into town and get the manager’s job on his name alone. Whether in his playing days or in his managerial career in the bus leagues, Sandberg has never been a guy to trade on marquee value, although he clearly could.

But instead of waltzing into the Cubs front office and saying “The fans that you need to keep want me in the dugout; I will be by before the Winter Meetings to pick the keys to my office,” Sandberg had spent the past four seasons prior to last year managing in the Cubs’ farm system. In fact, few managers in the minor leagues have built the reputation Sandberg has, and due to his humility, most of that has happened well beneath the radar. Sandberg has clearly “paid his dues” all while showing himself to be a cerebral skipper who can get his players to think before they act (Carlos Zambrano, I’m looking at you…)

In other words, he was the perfect man for the Cubs’ managerial job. How could the Cubs possibly entertain the idea of doing anything other than hiring the perfect candidate to end all perfect candidates? Because they are the Cubs, and they make Cubs-Type Decisions.

2) Terrible player/personnel decisions

In case you need a refresher, let’s review a few of my favorite CTDs:

  • Trading Lou Brock to the Cardinals for Ernie Broglio (future Hall-of-Famer for washed-up pitcher)
  • Trading Rafael Palmeiro to Texas for Mitch Williams (3,000 hit/500 home run guy for a relief pitcher whose stay in Chicago wasn’t as long as some people who change planes at O’Hare Airport)
  • Drafting Josh Hamilton as a Rule 5 player, then promptly trading him to Cincinnati for a small amount of cash (3-time All-Star and reigning American League MVP for a few dollars when the Cubs were one of the richest teams in the league)
  • Trading Sergio Mitre and Ricky Nolasco for Juan Pierre (one serviceable starting pitcher and one on the verge of becoming an ace for a “legitimate leadoff hitter” for a guy who in his ONE season as a Cub got caught stealing 20 times in 78 attempts).
  • Letting Greg Maddox go to free agency (deciding a guy who would go on to win 355 games and 4 Cy Young awards wasn’t “the kind of pitcher who could help us long-term”)
  • Trading Dennis Eckersley for three minor-leaguers (Once in Oakland, Eckersley becomes the dominant closer of his era)
  • Trading Bill Madlock for Bobby Murcer (a solid defensive third-baseman who also would win four batting titles for a slugging outfielder whose career decline began immediately after this trade)
  • Trading Bruce Sutter for Leon Durham and Ken Reitz (another dominant closer for two “bags of magic beans”)
  • Trading Lee Smith for Calvin Schraldi and Al Nipper (another dominant closer for two “bags of magic beans”)
  • Trading Manny Trillo for Barry Foote and Ted Sizemore (a second baseman who still holds the record for most consecutive chances without an error for one of the great mustaches of all-time )

3) Belief in the “quick fix” for decades of problems

The Fukudome era...only slightly racist while being completely futile.

Just in the past dozen or so years, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard (insert new phenom and/or big free-agent signing) will change the fortunes of Cub nation…Kerry Wood, Todd Hundley, LaTroy Hawkins (even if he was only supposed to save the bullpen, I still can’t believe I just wrote that), Mark Prior, Nomar Garciaparra, Alfonso Soriano,   Kosuke Fukudome, Milton Bradley, blah, blah, blah…Look at the knob-slobbing happening for Tyler Colvin, Darwin Barney, and Starlin Castro. How much you want to bet at least two of those names are on this list in five years? Doubt that? Just look back at what Cubs fans were bleating about Geovany Soto and Ryan Theriot…

This is the same reason Cubs’ fans always love deals like Carlos Silva for Milton Bradley. Remember, they loved Ernie Broglio for Lou Brock, too…

4) A fan base ignorant of the fundamentals of the game

Picture it…Chicago, sometime in the late 90’s. I’m at Wrigley taking in a summer afternoon affair against the Dodgers. It’s the top of the ninth inning, the score is tied and the Dodgers have a runner on third with one out. The Dodgers hit a long fly ball into left field, and the family seated in front me (resplendent in their Cubs gear) is wildly cheering the out, completely unaware the Dodgers had just scored what would prove to be the  winning run on the sacrifice.

That family is the Cubs fanbase in a nutshell.

Having said all that, the next time you are looking to explain a franchise’s long term dysfunction, refer back to the four points of Cubsism. It runs rampant in professional sports; it takes little to see it.

Now for the fun part – here are ten franchises we have identified as having a very high Cubsism rating. Remember that Cubsism is not a short-term affliction; to be on this list a franchise must have shown a track record of futility for decades or have a generally dismal record with only the fleetingest glimpses of non-suck.

Guest Column: Joe McGrath on Stupidity

Editor’s Note: Mr. McGrath has long and storied history in the management of professional sports franchises, most notably as the general manager of the Charlestown Chiefs of the now-defunct Federal League. Oh, and this is probably a good time to mention that Mr. McGrath’s views are his own, and do not necessarily reflect those of Dubsism, our staff, or anybody else whose house you might want to burn to the ground.

What a lot of you don’t know about me is that I love to read in my spare time. I picked up this habit on those long bus trips to places like Peterborough back in my Federal League days. The other night I found this book of quotes, and it had a section on stupidity. As I read through some of these quotes, it occurred to me just how rampant stupidity is in our world.  Albert Einstien once said only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity. I don’t that guy ever said anything ever more important. The funny part is that so many of these quotes, eve if they are hundreds of years old still apply to some of the shitheads we have out there today.

1) Bud Selig, Commissioner, Major League Baseball

“The only thing that ever consoles man for the stupid things he does is the praise he always gives himself for doing them.” – Oscar Wilde

For life of me, I can’t figure out what this shit-for-brains was thinking. He has one guy who wanted to buy the Dodgers and had the money, cash goddamn money, and all of it that day. Instead, Commissioner Big Brain sells to a guy that has less than 2% of the cash up-front, and has the rest of the money in a financing plan shakier Oprah’s flabby ass.

2) Brian Sabean, General Manager, San Francisco Giants

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and consciencious stupidity.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

You baseball guys are such pussies sometimes. In hockey, if our star goalie gets plowed over, we just send a few of the big boys out to exact some “street justice.” But when Buster Posey got creamed on a play where deserved to get creamed, you bitched about it so long and loud you probably went through two full menstrual cycles while you did it. Teach your boys to play hard, but play smart, and most of all, keep your little fairy-yap shut. The game is about them, not your soft, fluffy ass.

3) David Kahn, General Manager, Minnesota Timberwolves

“Success in almost any field depends more on energy and drive than it does on intelligence. This explains why we have so many stupid leaders.”  – Sloan Wilson

This is right in my wheelhouse, as I was a general manger you far more years than I care to remember. There’s tow parts to the bottom line to success in that job.

  1. Never question the integrity of the league commissioner, even if you know the cocksucker is so crooked his driver’s license picture looks like a question mark.
  2. Never fire a coach who is happy to have a shitty job.

I rarely see a guy who steps in it like this moulyak. He blew through both of these in less than a month. First, he essentially calls NBA Commissioner David Stern a crook by insinuating the league’s draft lottery is fixed. Of course Stern’s a crook, he’s a Commissioner. To be a Commissioner, you have to be a politician, and to be a politician, you have have to be slimier that a snot-covered pile of worm-filled horse shit. You just can’t say it.

Then he jerks around Kurt Rambis on the Wolves’ head coaching job. Look, I get Rambis couldn’t coach his way out of a paper bag if you gave him a map and a blowtorch, but nobody in their right mind wants that job. If you have a guy whose is happy to fail in a job where you expect failure, be happy with that.

4) Jim Hendry, General Manager, Chicago Cubs

“The ugly and the stupid have the best of it in this world. They can sit at their ease and gape at the play. If they know nothing of victory, they are at least spared the knowledge of defeat.” – Oscar Wilde

Let’s be honest, anybody in a leadership role with the Cubs clearly understands this. Without the thrill of victory, there is no point of reference for the agony of defeat. That means if you are Jim Hendry, there’s just of lot of confused staring into the opposing dugout and wondering, “Why do those guys all seem so happy?”

5) Jim Riggleman, ex-Manager, Washington Nationals

“Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest motives.” – Oscar Wilde

I understand how the blue-collar set thinks Riggleman standing up for his pride is a noble and honorable act. That’s exactly why they are on the lower rung of the social ladder and will never climb it. Riggleman wasn’t some ball-scratcher making eleven bucks an hour on some assembly line; he had signed a binding contract to do a job, for which he was to be paid in one year what the people worshipping his titanic act of stupidity make in a decade.  Instead, Riggleman doesn’t have the raisins to live with his pride being wounded a bit and commits career suicide over it.

6) E. Gordon Gee, President,  Ohio State Penitentiary University

“Between a fellow who is stupid and honest and one who is smart and crooked, I will take the first. I won’t get much out of him, but with that other guy I can’t keep what I’ve got.” – General Lewis B. Hershey

Time for some brutal honesty for Brutus F. Buckeye. The “resignation” of Jim Tressel was not an attempt of the university to ward off NCAA sanctions. It was attempt by Gee to yank his ass out of the fire. Gee committed the cardinal sin of letting a subordinate get away with murder because he was producing results. Every once in a while, you have to make sure your people aren’t doing things for which you ultimately will be held accountable.

When you find out something on which you need to act, there are plenty of ways to deal with such a problem that still insulate yourself. Put a sealed letter of reprimand in his file that contains a clause to the effect of  “you are on double-secret probation for period of time X, at the end of which this letter will be removed from your file.”

The trick is you keep that letter in your file along with a log of everytime the farted in the wrong key; that way you have a record that you acted on known bad behavior, and you have plenty of stuff to introduce into the record for any potential legal proceedings.

Either way, you will have cards to play instead of losing your job for “looking the other way.”  Denial always means death when the word gets out.

Famous Sports Rivalries In Which I Hate Both Sides

The sporting world is full of rivalries which engender so much passion there are clear battle lines drawn between the camps. But what happens to those of us who may feel animus toward both sides? Here’s a list of several such examples that make the collective colon here at Dubsism slam shut like a steel bear trap.

12 ) Chicago Cubs vs. Chicago White Sox

It is almost impossible to find two teams that exemplify their shit-hole of a city more. Where better to put the two retarded little brothers of baseball who while steeped in history have accounted for one championship in 90 years than in one of the largest cities in the world that matters the least to anybody?

11) LeBron James vs. the City of Cleveland

Sometimes, you really have to wonder if we have completely succeeded in this country in growing a generation of complete morons we’ve put on pedestals. Nobody in the world would have blamed LeBron James for leaving Cleveland; nobody wants to be in Cleveland.  It’s little more than a “Mini-Me” to Chicago; a rust-belt, blue-collar city that nobody wants to be in; Cleveland’s population has been dropping steadily for 80 years. All he had to do was not be a douche-bag about it.  It really leaves you in a situation where you can’t figure out who is dumber, LeBron for screwing up a move millions of Clevelanders have made themselves or those same Clevelanders for managing collectively to sound like a bitter ex-wife.

10) Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

Hate is actually too strong a term for this. The problem is the “Rhett Butler” approach is too weak, but it is closer to accurate.  Let’s face it;  I don’t really give a damn. I spent big chunks of my childhood in Southern California, which isn’t exactly where you develop strong feelings about Canadian hockey teams, and even though I loved the old-school Los Angeles Kings (seriously, we are talking about the pre-Gretzky Kings with the purple and gold uniforms that clothed an NHL retirement home; the Kings of my childhood featured such past-their-prime legends like Butch Goring and Marcel Dionne), you couldn’t watch the 12-team NHL of the 1970’s without knowing these two teams hated each other.  All I cared about in those days is that both of these teams arrived at the L.A. Forum with a boatload of Canadians who weren’t past their prime and put as ass-whipping on the Kings.  Even to this day, all I can say is “screw both of them; Canada sucks.”

9) Manchester United vs. Manchester City

For those of you not familiar with the English Premier League, picture this rivalry with the Red Devils of Manchester United as the New York Yankees with Manchester City as the old Brooklyn Dodgers. You perhaps didn’t really like the Dodgers, but they made a perfect underdog foil to those goddamn Yankees. But then the Dodgers went Hollywood, started winning and blew their lovability in the process, much like the Los Angeles Dodgers. 15 years ago, Man City was lovable in their feebleness, but then new ownership pumped that team full of money, and now they are every bit as douche-tastic as their cross-town rivals.

8 ) Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins

As a Philadelphia Eagle fan, this one is really a no-brainer. There’s an old saying that culture in an organization comes from the top down, and Jerry Jones and Daniel Snyder are a marvelous reflection of that. While we here at Dubsism have postulated that Al Davis makes the Oakland Raiders the “North Korea of the NFL,” Jones and Snyder are both in line to ascend to the NFL’s “Crazy Old Man Owner” throne. Thankfully, their leadership (or lack thereof) has made these two franchises combine for a grand total of three playoff wins in the past 15 years.

7) Oklahoma Sooners vs. Texas Longhorns

Our Proposed Logo for the "Red River Rivalry"

The way these two preen over that silly Saturday in October…well, it really is sad to think either of these two believe anybody gives a shit about them or their “make-believe” rivalry.  It’s really sad that a couple of goofy-ass schools like Nebraska and Colorado are the ones who figured out the Big 12 is a repository for football nobody cares about.

6) Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings vs. Chicago Bears

This is much like the “love triangle” situation outline in the 1980 J. Geils’ Band hit “Love Stinks.” The Vikings think the Packers are their main rival, The Packers think the Bears are their main rival, and neither the Packers or the Bears even know who the Vikings are.

5) Arsenal vs. Chelsea

More from the English Premier League, so I will make another baseball reference…Earlier I compared Manchester United to the Yankees. Continuing on this theme, Arsenal would be the Red Sox and Chelsea would be the Mets, only if the Mets didn’t suck. They are two of the biggest clubs in the league, and they can buy pretty much any player they want. Whenever these two get together, it is an exercise in dysfunction that somehow manages to be successful, like a photo negative of the Dallas Cowboys.

4) Auburn vs. Alabama

When these two compete in the annual “Iron Bowl,” they are battling for the bragging right for the entire state of Alabama. This is like two bums fighting over the least piss-stained raincoat at Goodwill. Do you know what the best thing that ever came out of the state of Alabama was? An empty bus.  Alabama is just a collection of bimbos whose boyfriends still think Bear Bryant is alive, and Auburn thinks it is a real university.

3) Duke vs. North Carolina

What can we say about Duke that we haven’t said before? No matter their record, no matter their talent, no matter anything, Duke sucks.  As much as we have beat on Mike Krzyzewski for being a pompous ass-hat, North Carolina’s Roy Williams is in the same league, and not just figuratively. My favorite was last spring when Williams compared having a losing ACC record to the earthquake in Haiti.

“Our massage therapist told me, ‘You know, coach, what happened in Haiti is a catastrophe. What you’re having is a disappointment,’ ” said Williams. “I told her that depends on what chair you’re sitting in. It does feel like a catastrophe to me, because it is my life.”

I’m not sure what the state of North Carolina did to deserve such a pair of pure, uncut assholes, but better them than the rest of us.

2) Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees

The Yankees – Red Sox rivalry is one of the oldest, most famous and fiercest rivalries in North American professional sports.  For over 100 years, Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees of the American League have been intense rivals.  For nearly as long, fans of both teams have thoroughly annoyed the living shit out of the rest of us.

The rivalry is sometimes so polarizing that it is often a heated subject, like religion or politics, in the Northeastern United States.  In fact, since ESPN is also based in the Northeastern US, they believe the Yankees and the Red Sox are the only two teams in Major League Baseball, judging by their broadcast schedule.

1) Michigan Wolverines vs. Ohio State Buckeyes

College football gives us the twelve greatest Saturdays of the year, and it also give us the two greatest evils in sports. Ohio State and Michigan both represent all that is wrong with college football, and every evil that it contains.  Recent events have shown that Jim Tressel, a.k.a. Cheatypants McSweatervest is a disingenuous, lying prick, and the Michigan fan base just hasn’t come to terms with the fact they are not an elite program anymore. I can only hope and pray that the NCAA grows the balls to make an example out of Ohio State, but they likely won’t, and I hope it takes Michigan at least three more head coaches before they figure out that “elite” programs don’t get man-handled by Purdue.

The Ten Most Dysfunctional Franchises In Professional Sports

#10) Minnesota Vikings

What can I say about the Vikings that I haven’t already said? Go over to the tag cloud on the right, click on the “Minnesota Vikings” tag, and you will see that I’ve written the Vikings’ football miasma time and time again. But that’s because there’s so much to write about. Even in their heyday in the first half of the Bud Grant era, this team simply couldn’t push the sled over the hill. Over the past half-century, this team has had more talent and more opportunities and has less to show for them than any other franchise in the history of professional football.

There’s a simple reason for this. Pro football is a quarterback driven league, and the Vikings historically have had no idea how to handle that position. In 1967, the Vikings traded future Hall-of-Famer Fran Tarkenton to the New York Giants for a bag of magic beans. In 1969, Joe Kapp led them to an NFL Championship, threw 7 touchdown passes in one game, and the Vikes let him walk after that season. There’s Tommy Kramer, who earned the nickname “Two Minute Tommy” for many late game come-from-behind victories. Kramer, who was the first quarterback to throw for over 450 yards in a game twice, also ended up with a drinking problem. The Viking’s ham-fisted handling of the situation led to the demise of his career.

If those three were the bricks in their quarterback wall, the Vikings’ mortar in that wall has been an amalgam of over-rated talent (Daunte Culpepper, Brad Johnson, Wade Wilson, Rich Gannon, Jeff George),  somebody’s else cast-offs (Gary Cuozzo, Bob Berry, Gus Frerotte, Bob Lee, Norm Snead) and a bouquet of faded roses from days gone by (Warren Moon, Randall Cunningham, Jim McMahon, Brett Favre).

#9) Chicago Cubs

This past winter illustrates the Cubs quite nicely. If Major League Baseball were the block you grew up on as a kid, the Cubs would be that rich, childless older couple who always had a new Cadillac in the driveway and a lawn covered in dog shit. The Cubs go out and look for a landscaper who can clean up the mess that is their lawn, their nephew Ryne Sandberg shows up as member of the family who is the perfect candidate and wanting the job, and the Cubs give the job to the paperboy because as child  little Ryno farted in their house once 30 years ago.

#8 ) Oakland Raiders

Let’s face facts. The Raiders have become the North Korea of the NFL and Al Davis it’s Kim Jong-Il. Davis has sunk into some sort of self-deluded alternate reality that has him believing he can get a coach better than Tom Cable and that JaMarcus Russell was an NFL quarterback. Finally they stopped drinking the Kool-Aid, or Purple Drank in the Russell case, but there have been so many other bizarre tales emanating from Oakland that all have one thing in common: Al Davis has total control of this organization, as it clearly mirrors his dysfunctional personality. This is why Cable is no longer the head coach, and why they had to promote from within; nobody else will take the job.

#7) New Orleans Hornets

The Hornets seem to have all the characteristics of franchises on this list. Some teams are owned by morons, failed in more than one city, failed in cities where a team in the same sport already failed, are on the verge of being assumed by the league, have a history of making terrible player personnel decisions, or have just plain sucked forever. The Hornets have it all.

#6) Atlanta Thrashers

The Thrashers are dangerously close to being the second Atlanta-based NHL team to head for Canada. Thirty years ago, the Flames ditched Dixie for Calgary, and now the rumors are swirling the Thrashers may be heading to the garden spot known as Winnipeg. Honestly, this may be more of a reflection of the city of the city that its teams; Atlanta is a shitty sports town.  The only franchise in that city that has ever drawn a reasonable number of fans are the Falcons (don’t talk to me about the Braves, I’ve seen playoff games at Turner Field with less than 15,00 people in the  ballpark), but in the last decade you could have put an NFL franchise in Bettendorf, Iowa and it would fill a 65,000 seat stadium. But on the other hand, the Thrashers have never done anything of consequence.

#5) Los Angeles Dodgers

Thanks to their ownership of the Dodgers and their divorce which is threatening to become the ugliest in the history of California, we have to care about Frank and Jamie McCourt. Their dysfunction has totally spilled over into the operation of the team; they are hundreds of millions of dollars in debt while clinging to a grasp on ownership which is becoming ever so tenuous, especially now that Major League Baseball has cut them off from any new lenders.  This is only going to get worse, stay tuned if you get off on train wrecks.

#4) Cincinnati Bengals

Does life imitate art, or does art imitate life? Does a city imitate a franchise, or does a franchise imitate a city. Cincinnati is a city that takes every good thing about it and totally fucks it up somehow. Take a deep breath while I list the examples….

First there’s the food. I love chili, but that shit they call chili in Cincinnati…well, I don’t know what the fuck it really is, but I know what it isn’t.  Chili. Want to know how I know that? Ask any real American whether chili has cocoa, cinnamon, and allspice in it. Know what they are going to say? FUCK NO!  More importantly, it doesn’t even taste like chili. It tastes more like a fetal cow that before it was brutally aborted was stuffed full of the world’s worst gingerbread cookies.

Then there’s the only show about Cincinnati that ever mattered; WKRP in Cincinnati.  I didn’t get what a great show this was when I was younger; it wasn’t until my adult years when I realized that this show ruled because it had characters that you worked with every day. Look at the list:

  • Mr. Carlson: the “boss” who only is the boss because he’s “juiced in;” in his case, Mommy owned the damn station.
  • Herb Tarlek: Who doesn’t work with an idiotic sales guy?
  • Venus Flytrap: The prototypical “smoove brotha.”
  • Dr. Johnny Fever: The stoner.
  • Bailey Quarters: Every office has that one chick who you know could be totally hot if you could get rid of her big, dorky glasses and “tomboy” wardrobe, more importantly, you know she might be a freak in the sack if the time was right.

But then they fucked everything up with Jennifer Marlowe. Leave it to Cincinnati to get a big-titted, blond character all wrong.  First of all, they are always leaving the viewer with the impression that she is either independently wealthy, or has some big-time connections, yet she’s answering phones at the 14th-ranked radio station in a shithole like Cincinnati.

Then there’s the whole matter of her hair.  Look at that shit; theres so much industrial strength hair spray in that mess it has become some sort of razor-sharp, rock-hard, bleached cotton-candy winged beehive of death. Like if that woman were giving you a “trouser-friendly kiss” and she suddenly jerked her head in the wrong direction, that hair could slice through your junk like a fucking light saber.

Let’s take this back to sports, and let’s start with basketball. Remember the Cincinnati Royals? They are the most-moved franchise in professional sports. They began as the Rochester Royals, who moved to the Queen City in 1957. In 1972, the shipped off to the midwest for nearly ten years of splitting time between Kansas City and Omaha being known as the Kings. Then came the 80’s, the  decade when the Kings headed west for the greener pastures of Sacramento. Six months from now, they will probably be in domicile #6, Anaheim.  This franchise is drawn to crappy cities for sports, and there’s a reason why Cincinnati is on the list.

Then’s there’s baseball. Forget about the “Big Red Machine,” forget about the current young crop of promising Reds. Cincinnati is where Joe Morgan made enough of a name for himself that he was able to spend over two decades torturing our ears as a broadcaster and for that crime against humanity, there is no forgiveness.

But let’s get this back to the Bengals. Some people in Cincinnati are fans of the Cincinnati Bengals. But many, many more are not. It is really hard not to understand why. Take the currently unfolding Carson Palmer situation for example. No wonder the guy wants out; he’s stuck in the only NFL hell for quarterbacks worse than Minnesota. The Bengals share many characteristics with the Vikings in this area; namely you can drop all their signal-callers into a few distinct buckets.  There’s the over-rated talent (Akili Smith, David Klingler, Virgil Carter, Greg Cook, Jack Thompson, John Reaves), somebody else’s cast-offs (Jay Schroeder, Jon Kitna, Gus Frerotte, Scott Mitchell, Neil O’Donnell), B-students they tried to move to the head of the class (John Stofa, Dewey Warren, Sam Wyche, Wayne Clark, Turk Schonert, Jeff Blake, Ryan Fitzpatrick), and legitimate, top-flight NFL quarterbacks (Ken Anderson, Boomer Esaison).

In 2005, Palmer was on the verge of ending up in that last bucket.  Four years ago, Palmer was primed to join Peyton Manning and Tom Brady at the top of the NFL quarterback list. He was remarkably poised; his downfield touch was perfect, he led the Bengals to their first winning season in fifteen years. He had that moment in time where he could effortlessly slip the rush and flick the ball downfield at 30 yards.  He was oozing confidence, he was getting the ball to nine or ten different receivers a game. It seemed as if this was the the dawn of a new era of Bengal football; the vision of Palmer leading the Bengals 10+ wins a year suddenly didn’t seem ridiculous.

Then came that knee injury against the Steelers in the playoffs. I watched that moment (while recovering from a major leg injury of my own) and I wanted to puke.  Not just because at the time I had a heightened sensitivity to that sort of thing, but because I knew that was the beginning of the end.  It had to be, you don’t stay that snake-bit as a franchise without having those course-defining moments.  The football gods really want to forgive the Bengals for shit like the “Ickey Shuffle,” but then they draft Akili Smith. This is why bad shit always happens in Cincinnati. Chad “Ocho” Johnson went batshit crazy, Marvin Lewis’ balls fell off, Palmer’s elbow turned into tapioca pudding, and Chris Henry learned the hard way the beds of pickup trucks don’t have seat belts.

By education, I’m an engineer, which means I have a big background in risk management and failure analysis, which is just a nice way of saying “recreating the scene of the crash.” In that field, the first thing you learn is that all disasters are not the result of one cataclysmic event; rather the are the culmination of a series of small events that link together. Take one link out of that chain, and the disaster is likely averted.  But the Bengals can’t figure that out; in fact, they keep adding links thinking the longer the chain, the further away they are from that one link on which they blame all their troubles.

#3) Phoenix Coyotes

How bad do you have to be when a even a small Canadian city that has done nothing but bitch for for fifteen years about losing the NHL doesn’t want this franchise?

Point the finger anyway you like — at the City of Glendale, the NHL, Matthew Hulsizer or the Goldwater Institute — but the bottom line is no one wants the Phoenix Coyotes.  Or more to the point, no one wants to pay for them.  Hulsizer wants to own the Coyotes but he either can’t or won’t fork over the US$170 million the NHL wants for the franchise it bought out of bankruptcy over a year ago.

Dissect this. The Coyotes were led by Wayne Gretzky, the most mythic figure in hockey, and they still couldn’t turn out fans in a city crammed with northern transplants. To understand what that really means, imagine a baseball team owned by Babe Ruth in 1940 that drew sixty thousand fans a year.  Epic fail.

#2) New York Mets

What else can you say? New York hasn’t seen a mess like this since Ground Zero; an economic terrorist like Bernie Madoff is on the verge of turning one of the “big-money” franchises into a pauper for the next quarter-century, and it couldn’t happen to a better organization. The Mets have pissed away every advantage they’ve had in baseball thanks to a couple of greedy mental pygmys like  Wilpon and Saul Katz. Not only did these guys get caught with their hands in the Ponzi Scheme cookie jar, they have the unmitigated balls to somehow get Bud Selig, Major League Baseball commissioner, to buy that bullshit “too big to fail” argument that got us into that fucking Bush/Obama bailout. This is exactly why Big Brother Bud (who also happens to be drinking buddies with Wilpon) just gave the Mets’ owners $25 million to help the team with financial woes.

Yeah, that doesn’t totally smell like the Bush/Obama two-stage bailout in which drinking buddies/cronies/contributors weren’t bailed out of their bad decisions courtesy of the public coffers. These buttloafs make a series of bad decisions, and every person who has ever aimed a buck at Major League Baseball gets to pay for it.  Nothing says dysfunctional like rewarding bad decisions.

Here’s the best part; Selig is pumping money into a liability that ranges anywhere from $400 million to over a billion, depending on who you talk to and who decides to file a lawsuit.   Wilpon and Katz could be deep-sixed financially if a lawsuit filed from victims of the Bernard Madoff rules in victims favor. According to the New York Times, the victims are seeking upward of $1 billion from the Mets and related business partners through trustee Irving H. Picard. The victims claim that Wilpon and Katz ignored warnings about investments made with Madoff and acted only through self-interest.  The Times also has reported that the Mets are in over $400 million in debt, so even if they get hit on the lawsuit, they won’t be able to pay the tab. That means Major League Baseball gets stuck with it.  Wilpon and Katz already have blown through the $75 million allocated as general credit to teams in need of financial assistance, but their cratering situation threatens to take an even bigger bite.   Selig should have cut these guys off a long time ago.

In the meantime, until Selig grows a pair and starves these guys out like he is doing with the Los Angeles Dodgers ownership situation, the fact is the Mets will remain a financial dumpster fire.  The proof will be evident on the field; this team can’t sign new players considering they sucked more than the new girl at the Tijuana donkey show last year. It ain’t easy getting players to come to a team with no money that consistently fails to make the playoffs.  This will lead to the Mets ballpark looking levery year ike the Sahara Desert by the time August rolls around.

#1) Los Angeles Clippers

This is just a team that gets to be on the list for sheer shitty. They’ve only had 4 playoff berths in a nearly 30-year history in the best basketball market in America. They might have good players, and a star like Blake Griffin, but their management and  coaching just flat out sucks, and it always has. Not to mention owner Donald Sterling celebrating Black history in March should tell you all you need to know.

Open Letter to The Chicago Cubs: You Need Ed’s Deal

Here it is nearing the end of the 2010 season, and once again, all is amiss in Wrigleyville. Derrek Lee is gone, Carlos Zambrano is a headcase, Alfonso Soriano is a bust, and thanks to Carlos Silva’s heart issues, the Cubs most effective pitcher is arguably some guy named Tom Gorzelanny. Manager Lou Piniella couldn’t take it anymore, and general manager Jim Hendry is just generally clueless. What it all boils down to is once again the Cubs once again find themselves in complete disarray; they are clearly in need of a leader who can bring them out of malaise that has descended upon the North Side.

Fortunately for the Cubs, this leader is in waiting in their very own farm system. The name “Ryne Sandberg” has been bandied about ever since Piniella left rubber all the way down Waveland Avenue on his way out of town. Face it, Chicago. He’s perfect for the job.

Sandberg became a Cub hero in the 1980’s being the best second baseman of that decade and arguably one of the top five at that position ever.  Sandberg became the Wrigley fixture Cub fans latched onto as a transition in to the Harry Caray-less days after 1998.  Sandberg was one of the smartest players in the game, and few played the truly complete game he did. Not only that, but Sandberg is not some Hall-of-Fame guy who  thinks he should be able to blow into town and get the manager’s job on his name alone. Whether in his playing days or in his managerial career in the bus leagues, Sandberg has never been a guy to trade on marquee value, although he clearly could.

But instead of waltzing into the Cubs front office and saying “The fans that you need to keep want me in the dugout; I will be by before the Winter Meetings to pick the keys to my office,” Sandberg has spent the past four years managing in the Cubs’ farm system, including this season with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs. In fact, few managers in the minor leagues have built the reputation Sandberg has, and due to his humility, most of that has happened well beneath the radar. Sandberg has clearly “paid his dues” all while showing himself to be a cerebral skipper who can get his players to think before they act ( Carlos Zambrano, I’m looking at you…)

Will the bus from Cooperstown to Des Moines stop at Wrigley? Probably not, because hiring Sandberg would be the smart move.

In other words, he is the perfect man for the Cubs’ managerial job. How could the Cubs possibly entertain the idea of doing anything other than hiring the perfect candidate to end all perfect candidates? Because they are the Cubs, and they make Cubs-type decisions.

The only smart thing they have done so far is not pumping up false hopes for third-base coach turned interim manager Mike Quade. Even he knows that Sandberg is the guy for the job; by announcing Quade is not in the running for the job on a permanent basis at this point takes all the heat off of a guy who has to keep this team from imploding so completely no competent manager would take the job without a ridiculously high paycheck. But to be in Cubland is to be delusional; Google “Cubs manager job” and you will scroll past stories about Joe Girardi taking the job before you get to one mentioning Sandberg. If the Cubbies think Girardi would leave the best franchise in the sport which is currently fielding the best team in the game to play “FEMA disaster clean-up” for them, they’ve clearly lost their minds. In other words, get ready for another CTD (Cubs-Type Decision).

In case you need a refresher, let’s review a few of my favorite CTDs:

  • Trading Lou Brock to the Cardinals for Ernie Broglio (future Hall-of-Famer for washed-up pitcher)
  • Trading Rafael Palmeiro to Texas for Mitch Williams (3,000 hit/500 home run guy for a relief pitcher whose stay in Chicago wasn’t as long as some people who change planes at O’Hare Airport)
  • Drafting Josh Hamilton as a Rule 5 player, then promptly trading him to Cincinnati for a small amount of cash (3-time All-Star currently hitting .357/30 HR/93 RBI for a a few dollars when the Cubs are one of the richest teams in the league)
  • Trading Sergio Mitre and Ricky Nolasco for Juan Pierre (one serviceable starting pitcher and one on the verge of becoming an ace for a “legitimate leadoff hitter” for a guy who in his ONE season as a Cub got caught stealing 20 times in 78 attempts).
  • Letting Greg Maddox go to free agency (deciding a guy who would go on to win 355 games and 4 Cy Young awards wasn’t “the kind of pitcher who could help us long-term”)
  • Trading Dennis Eckersley for three minor-leaguers (Once in Oakland, Eckersley becomes the dominant closer of his era)
  • Trading Bill Madlock for Bobby Murcer (a solid defensive third-baseman who also would win four batting titles for a slugger outfielder whose career decline began immediately after this trade)
  • Trading Bruce Sutter for Leon Durham and Ken Reitz (another dominant closer for two “bags of magic beans”)
  • Trading Lee Smith for Calvin Schraldi and Al Nipper (another dominant closer for two “bags of magic beans”)
  • Trading Manny Trillo for Barry Foote and Ted Sizemore (a second baseman who still holds the record for most consecutive chances without an error for one of the great mustaches of all-time)

So, here’s the deal, Cubbies. If you re not going to hire Sandberg, at least let me suggest a “dark horse” candidate that you really should hire. His name is Ed Hession, and if you are smart enough to make this man your manager AND general manager, he can save you from becoming a slightly richer version of the Pirates.

Now, I understand if you don’t live in greater Lafayette, Indiana, you’ve likely never heard of Mr. Hession. In short, he is the appliance king of west-central Indiana, and his sense of business acumen is exactly what the Cubs need. In other words, “Ed’s Deal” could be a great deal for Wrigleyville.

At this point, I understand you may now be asking how can a guy who sells washers and dryers help a major league baseball franchise. The answer is rather simple. Whether you are selling Maytags or tickets, business is business; the basics are universal. Ed Hession is a guy who started his business is his own garage and grew it into what it is today. He did this by following the basics, which is something about which the Cubs franchise has clearly forgotten. To prove my point, I’m going to use a few quotes taken directly from his website and do a bit of  “compare and contrast” with the what the Cubs have done in the last ten twenty thirty forty hundred years.

A guy who sells washing machines is perfect for a franchise that needs a complete cultural cleaning.

If you’ve ever seen an “Ed’s Deal” commercial, you know that Ed believes there is nothing like “Brand New.” Think about what this really means. Everybody wants to buy “brand new,” and the guy who who takes the sting out of “brand new” prices is going to own the marker. Couple that with the fact that a brand new washer is going to work better than the one you got out of your grandmother’s basement and you see the concept.  Just like the 23-year-old quality outfielder is going to be a better investment over time than the “experienced” free-agent who was a star “back in the day,” Ed’s Deal would bring you a lot more Tyler Colvins and a lot less Alfonso Sorianos.

Another theme Ed hits harder than Dave Kingman (don’t  forget his 48 homers as a Cub in ’79) does  a hanging curveball is the phrase “You Control Your Payments.”  Do you think right now the Cubs would like to re-evaluate what they are paying for Alfonso Soriano and  Carlos Zambrano?

Ed Hession also believes in “Good People.” In Ed’s own words, he has “seen all the reasons why good people, through no fault of their own, have been deprived of life’s necessities.” There are Cubs’ fans who are good people, and a necessity of sport is the occasional win. Most sports fans would define occasional as an interval somewhat less the the current Cubs’ measure of 102 years.

Like any good businessman, Ed has a keen grasp of pricing. This is why buying an appliance from Mr. Hession means  you are always going to pay sale price. It only makes sense that if Ed can afford to pass on “sale price;” he knows how to buy at less than sale price. Let’s be honest, Cubs fans; after the Jim Hendry era, which one of you wouldn’t love to sign a free-agent for less than $90 million?

Another thing Ed would bring to Wrigleyville is the exact understanding of what Cubs fans would expect. Ed makes sure you know what you get for your dollar.

Ryne Sandberg may be a Hall-of-Famer, but does he have the endorsement of the original Maytag Repairman?

Finally, Ed isn’t going to destroy your budget on those “rent-to-own” players intended to boost your playoff run. You know the type; you just did that deal to the Braves for your dear departed Derrek Lee. Recent history is full of that kind of arrangement; Mark Texieira to the Angels, Cliff Lee to the Phillies, CC Sabathia to the Brewers; just look to the South Side to see what the White Sox have done with Manny Ramirez…Ed isn’t blowing the savings account on this kind of crap.

Please understand the message here, Cubs Nation. Failing to take Ed’s Deal means you will spend another century doing the baseball equivalent of beating your clothes on a rock down by the river.

Goodbye, Sweet Lou…

Piniella with Portland of the Pacific Coast League, 1966

After announcing that his retirement originally scheduled for the end of this season was moving up to today, it is time to give Lou Piniella the send-off he richly deserves. 18 years as a player, 23 years as a manager, three World Series rings; his 1,835 wins as a manager rank him behind only Tony LaRussa, Bobby Cox, and Joe Torre (three lead-pipe cinch Hall-of-Famers) for active managers, and ranks him ahead of Hall-of-Famers Tommy Lasorda, Dick Williams, and Clark Griffith. As a player, Piniella was the American League Rookie of the Year for 1969, and while he wouldn’t make Cooperstown from his efforts on the field, he’d certainly make the Hall of Pretty Damn Good.

Piniella during the five at-bats he collected as a Cleveland Indian in 1968.

Piniella during his Rookie of the Year season.

With that, I would like to offer the Dubsism version of the Dean Martin Roast, the photo retrospective known as the File Dump.

Many people are unaware that in addition to his baseball prowess, Piniella excelled at basketball at the University of Tampa.

Throughout his managerial career, Piniella often liked to show off his passing ability.

Lou was known to be a tad bit excitable. During his time as a Yankee, he developed a warm loving relationship with Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk. During a 1976 match, Piniella slid hard into Fisk, who bluntly expressed his displeasure, and the love fest began.

Naturally, once Piniella matured into a leadership role, he mellowed.

Actually, not even being in his sixties mellowed “Sweet” Lou.

Actually, it was his down time at the salon that he used to calm his temperament.

Salons not withstanding, Lou always has a sense of cool.

Of course, Piniella’s sense of style is one of the reasons why he remains as part of the Yankee family to this day.

But in all seriousness, Piniella’s World Series win at the helm of the underdog Cincinnati Reds rates as one of the all-time managerial achievements of all time.

Mr. Piniella, you were a pleasure to watch both on the field and in the dugout and baseball fans everywhere owe you a sincere tip of the cap and a wish that your retirement offers you as much enjoyment as your career gave us.

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