Last year, there was such a dearth of trade deadline moves in baseball that I skipped my annual Shark Week Trade Deadline comparison. That is certainly not the case this year. If you aren’t familiar with the concept, the premise is that in baseball, trading is a shark-eat-shark world; some sharks do the eating, and some sharks get eaten. It is along those lines that I draw comparisons to the moves made by baseball teams at the trading deadline.
Why such a comparison? Because no matter what, one thing is certain. Where there is trading , there is bleeding, and nothing draws the sharks like blood in the water.
The bottom line is I’m just not willing to wait for two years to see who are the bleeders and who are the eaters. As the format suggests, there is obviously a “food chain” involved here, so why not give the rating of trading winners and losers a ”swim with the sharks” twist?
Great White Shark:
Let’s just cut to the chase here…this country is fucked. The signs of it are around us every day. The one that really got me going was listening the the President of the United States say in reference to the Trayvon Martin case “that could have been me.” There’s approximately 1,567,836 reasons for that being one of dumbest things ever said by a President. For example, we didn’t even have Skittles in 1975. But what really drove me over the edge was the fact that the President of the United States fancies himself a juvenile delinquent to stupid to run away from a power-hungry dipshit with a gun.
In order to get my mind off weeping for the future of this country, I surfed around one of my favorite websites, Listverse.com. Jamie Frater authored a piece about Eight Differences Between the 1950 and Now which offered the perfect fodder for another patented Dubsism comparison with the world of sports.
For purposes of clarity the Cultural Scenarios listed below are Frater’s; the Sports Scenarios are pure Dubsism.
Cultural Scenario: Jack goes quail hunting before school, pulls into school parking lot with shotgun in gun rack.
- 1950s: Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack’s shotgun, goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack.
- Today: School goes into lock down, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.
Equivalent Sports Scenario: Player is unhappy with contract and holds out for a renegotiated deal.
- 1950s: Player gets benched or released outright, and no other team picks him up because he is a pain in the ass.
- Today: Player’s contract is traded to a team who will knuckle under to his demands. New club realizes too late they’ve just spent 30% of their salary cap on a guy who will destroy their team.
Cultural Scenario: Johnny and Mark get into a fistfight after school.
- 1950s: Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies.
- Today: Police called, SWAT team arrives, arrests Johnny and Mark. Charge them with assault, both expelled even though Johnny started it.
Equivalent Sports Scenario: Baseball player does a “take-out” slide into second base.
- 1950s: Guy who did the slide gets drilled in his next at-bat. All is considered even, and everybody moves on.
- Today: Two games later, pitcher lets a curveball slip inside. Pitcher is ejected, both benches empty, and about eight guys get suspended for what amounts to little more than a shoving match.
Cultural Scenario: Jeffrey won’t be still in class, disrupts other students.
- 195os: Jeffrey sent to office and given a good paddling by the Principal. Returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.
- Today: Jeffrey given huge doses of Ritalin. Becomes a zombie. Tested for ADD. School gets extra money from state because Jeffrey has a disability.
Equivalent Sports Scenario: College player has a long record of disciplinary problems
- 1950s: Player never gets drafted because leagues won’t tolerate bad publicity.
- Today: Owner who just want to win signs player to bazillion-dollar contract, which he uses to by an AK-47 with which he shoots up a Wal-Mart. Owner then tries to claim “that he had no idea.”
Cultural Scenario: Billy breaks a window in his neighbor’s car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.
- 1950s: Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college, and becomes a successful businessman.
- Today: Billy’s dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy removed to foster care and joins a gang. State psychologist tells Billy’s sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison. Billy’s mom has affair with psychologist.
Equivalent Sports Scenario: Star player gets picked up for his 3rd DUI.
- 1950s: Team either hires a baby-sitter to keep him out of trouble or he quietly gets sent to rehab in the off-season.
- Today: Player is suspended by the league, but does nothing about his alcoholism, which just means being suspended gives him more time to get shit-hammered and plow his SUV into a bus-load of nuns.
Cultural Scenario: Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.
- 1950s: Mark shares aspirin with Principal out on the smoking dock.
- Today: Police called, Mark expelled from school for drug violations. Car searched for drugs and weapons.
Equivalent Sports Scenario: Player shows up at training in best shape of his career, then has MVP-type season.
- 1950s: Player leads league, goes to All-Star Game, wins a championship, and marries a movie star.
- Today: Player leads league, goes to All-Star Game, wins a championship, makes a sex tape with a stripper, and gets accused of being on steroids.
Cultural Scenario: Pedro fails high school English.
- 195os: Pedro goes to summer school, passes English, goes to college.
- Today: Pedro’s cause is taken up by state. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against state school system and Pedro’s English teacher. English banned from core curriculum. Pedro given diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.
Equivalent Sports Scenario: Football player fails pass college academic entrance exams.
- 1950s: Player discovers that inability to read means a life of loading boxes on the docks.
- Today: Player is sent to a junior college which pads his grade point average enough to get him into school. He then gets drafted, gets a 4 on the Wunderlich test, but still gets a $40 million contract.Blows all his money and ends up loading trucks at UPS.
Cultural Scenario: Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from 4th of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle, blows up a red ant bed.
- 1950s: Ants die.
- Today: ATF, Homeland Security, FBI called. Johnny charged with domestic terrorism, FBI investigates parents, siblings removed from home, computers confiscated, Johnny’s Dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.
Equivalent Sports Scenario: Famous athlete is charged with a serious crime.
- 1950s: Famous athlete discovers first hand what “Cool Hand Luke” was like, since he gets sentenced to 35 years on a chain gang.
- Today: Athlete hires 75 Harvard lawyers, crowds of idiots proclaim his innocence, then athlete writes a book.
Cultural Scenario: Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him.
- 1950s: In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.
- Today: Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in State Prison. Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy. Johnny’s parents sue the school for negligence and the teacher for emotional trauma and win both cases. Mary, jobless and indebted, commits suicide by jumping off of a tall building. When she lands, she hits a car and also damages a potted pot. The car’s owner and the plant’s owner sue Mary’s estate for destruction of property. They both win.
Equivalent Sports Scenario: Kids gets hit by a ball during a Little League Game
- 1950s: Kid cries…at which point his coach, his parents, and every other kid on the team tells him to stop being such a “pussy.” Kids shakes it off, and grows up to be a man who can handle a little bit of adversity.
- Today: Kids’ parents sue the league out of existence. Every other league makes all kids wear a uniform made of Nerf and bubble wrap. As a result, an entire generation grows up to be even bigger pussies than the French. They go to liberal arts colleges, where a bunch of limped-dicked professors complete their pussification. Thanks to this indoctrination, most of them become Democrats, and one will get elected President, who then will complete the process of selling this country off to the Chinese.
While this may be a bit tongue-in-cheek, you know there is a shitload of truth in all of these examples, be they Frater’s or mine. Now, maybe you understand why I weep for the future of this country.
When it comes to hockey, I grew up on the Los Angeles Kings and the Philadelphia Flyers of the 1970’s , which means I am a connoisseur of the knuckles-in-your-mouth style of play. There’s an art to sheer bad-assery; the trouble in hockey is that bad-assery is really limited to the realm of the skull-buster. But when it comes to some of my favorite television and movie cops, the art of being a bad-ass has so much more license; but make no mistake, it is bad-assery nevertheless.
So, in honor of the soon-to-be end of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, let’s take a journey of comparison between 15 all-time hockey knucklemen and their fictional cop counterparts.
15) Derek Boogaard
The story of Derek Boogaaard is one that is at the same time bizarre yet awesome; hilarious yet tragic. Boogaard was born in a Mennonite community in Saskatchewan where he towered over the other kids. Due to his size and the fact that he was the son of an RCMP officer, he was a frequent target of bullies, until he shit-hammered one of them and a legend was born. All through his rise to the NHL, Boogaard garnered a reputation for winning fights decisively. In particular, there was an instance while Boogaard played for the Melfort Mustangs in which he charged the opposing bench and proceeded to dismantle several players. Scouts from the Western Hockey League’s Regina Pats were so impressed that they signed Boogaard the next day.
Once he got to the NHL, Boogaard became known as “The Mountie” and was literally feared as an enforcer, especially after he caved in fellow enforcer Todd Fedoruk’s face with a hammer-like right hand. Boogaard was so intimidating as a brawler that Georges Laraque, one of Boogaard’s prime knuckle-throwing rivals, atrtributed his retirement to not wanting anymore of Boogaards’ savage beatings.
Sadly, Boogaard met a tragic and premature end by his own hand.
Fictional Cop Counterpart: Officer Andy Kilvinski, The New Centurions
While no brute, Andy Kilvinski was no less legendary. He was best known for his unique manner of imparting wisdom into his younger counterparts as though it were a non-Euclidean geometric postulate. Many an L.A.P.D. rookie in his charge were subjected to a finger-wagging lecture beginining with the header “as Kilvinski’s Law dictates…” What followed was a harsh, yet useful life lesson delivered in a wizened, cynical, and crusty manner heavily salted with gallows humor.
Sadly, Andy Kilvinski also met a tragic and premature end by his own hand.
It’s time for another one of our patented Dubsism comparisons with another gem we found over at Listverse. As the title suggests, we found a list of ten books that literally defy explanation, until you realize the sports world is full of figure who could have easily written such strange stuff.
10) How to Abandon Ship – Written by Phil Richards and John J. Banigan
Apparently, getting off a sinking ship is more complicated than you’d think! First published in 1938, this novel little volume was written from the voice of experience since one of its authors was forced by the Nazis to abandon the Robin Moor before they torpedoed it in 1941. While the authors do discuss the necessity of departing one’s ship in an orderly fashion due to a variety of circumstances, they also explore concepts like buoyancy and open sea boatmanship. Just in case you thought jumping off was a matter of counting three and hoping for the best, give this informative survival guide a try if you have any plans to go sailing.
Could Have Been Written By: Bobby Petrino
Honestly, who knows more about jumping ship than Petrino? He bailed on Louisville, then bailed on the Atlanta Falcons before the season was even over, then bailed on his wife which ultimately got him tossed over overboard at Arkansas.
9) Gangsta Rap Coloring Book – Written by Anthony “Aye Jay” Moreno
Many adults do enjoy coloring and this is certainly a selection better suited to a grown-up than a kid since it features a cover-size gun, well, right on the cover. Many of hip-hop’s most memorable and, indeed, colorful rappers are depicted by thick black illustrations that await the bold hand of an artist. Biggie dares you to color him pink. Thugs to some and musical superstars to many, these rappers will have you sharpening your kids’ Crayolas in no time (see bizarre book selection #3 for assistance). Since this book was published in 2004, copies are still widely available from venues like Amazon.com.
Could Have Been Written By: Ron Artest
While not an exact match, it isn’t hard to imagine that a guy just enough off-center to pen a rap shout-out to his therapist might be the same guy to make a gangsta coloring book. It makes about as much sense as celebrating an NBA Championship with a song written long before Artest joined the Lakers.
8 ) The Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices – Written by Brenda Love
This book might stifle conversations as much as it starts them depending on who you invite over. In general, this is not mother-in-law material, so hide it from the coffee table when she visits. With 700 entries that include everything from love potions to the most unusual sexual practices on earth, this book does contain and portray some highly unusual stuff that is not for the faint of heart. Anyone interested in the bizarre or, at least, highly unusual practices of humans will be both shocked and entertained to learn what floats some people’s boats when it comes to sexuality.
Could Have Been Written By: Rex Ryan
7) Urine Therapy! Confessions of a Mad Pee Drinker - Written by P.P. Powers
One would expect this to be a joke book given the pseudonym of the author, but urine drinking for health benefits is a real concept and this isn’t the only book devoted to it – just the one with the best title, book jacket, and personal reflections. Published in 2007, this intriguing “self-improvement” book, as described by its own author, suggests that drinking one’s own urine over a period of time can cure chronic ailments. The author describes his own experiences drinking “midstream morning urine” and how the practice cured his depression, fatigue, dandruff, irritable bowel syndrome, bad skin and fibromyalgia (many readers will be wondering if he’s on Match.com). According to P.P., the fountain of youth may truly be inside each and every one of us.
Could Have Been Written By: Ray Lewis
In a world full of performance-enhancing drugs, Lewis is claiming to have found a fountain of youth in some unknown vegetable juice concoction. I’m not casting any aspersions here, but I’ve always been suspicious of “miracle” diets and vitamin supplements…especially ever since the Jim Carrey Juice Weasel.
6) Manifold Destiny – Written by Chris Maynard and Bill Scheller
It’s true that twenty-first century vehicles are far better insulated than twentieth century cars, making this a nearly-obsolete cookbook unless you have a vintage car – probably anything pre-1990. On the other hand, if your engine runs hot, this cookbook is still in print and filled with many great recipes that you can make right on your car engine. Ideal for traveling cooks who don’t mind cooking with fumes, this book covers one-of-kind cookery. One reviewer maintained that engines steam everything and always leave his vegetables al dente, but if you can discover the knack of this vehicular art, you’ll never have to pull into a greasy roadside diner again! You can crank open your hood and run your own!
Could Have Been Written By: Prince Fielder
Prince’s dad traveled everywhere…Toronto, Detroit, Japan, New York. Prince has logged a few lies himself between Milwaukee and Detroit. You would think a couple of big guys putting on some big miles might have tried a manifold burger at some point…especially since I never swallowed that “Prince Fielder is a vegetarian” twaddle.
5) Natural Bust Enlargement – Written by Donald L. Wilson
Published by the Total Mind Power Institute in 1979, this book takes the “I think I can, I think I can” concept to a surprising new level. One must assume that there might be a few glitches contained in this highly unusual do-it-yourself book or the cosmetic surgery industry wouldn’t be booked quite so solid with breast enhancement appointments. As an odd publication, it does, however, have its place in lists of bizarre books. Kudos to the book’s cover, as well.
Could Have Been Written By: Morganna, The Kissing Bandit
Obviously, there’s two reasons why Morganna is the choice for authoring this book.
4) If We Can Keep a Severed Head Alive – Written by Chet Fleming
Published in 1988, this book also contains the author and inventor’s patent for a device that keeps the head of a mammal alive. A considerable portion of this book provides an explanation as to why this inventor, who is also a practicing attorney, devised a patent he says he does not intend to use. It’s unclear as to whether or not Fleming advocates the practice of keeping severed heads alive or simply wants to explore the possibilities that the marvels of science and technology may provide in the future.
Could Have Been Written By: Dick Vitale
Honestly, has there been a better example of a severed head being kept needlessly alive that Dickie V?
3) How to Sharpen Pencils – Written by David Rees
If you’ve ever lamented that you stuck your pencil into a cheap twenty-five-cent plastic sharpener – those children’s gadgets that break more tips than they sharpen – this book is for you! Painstakingly crafted and nearly exhaustive in its coverage of an unusual subject, this author treats pencil sharpening seriously and, upon reading it, you’ll take it more seriously, too. Witty and informative, this highly irregular volume may seem bizarre unless you happen to be sitting there with a broken pencil and are unsure how to best sharpen it for use again.
Could Have Been Written By: Vince Young
Anybody with a Wonderlic score of 6 obviously is a dumb ass who might need a step-by-step to sharpen a pencil.
2) C is for Chafing – Written by Mark Remy
A child’s alphabet book of running, this strange little book and its correspondingly disturbing cover is about the good and the bad, the pretty and the ugly sides of running. The title, of course, simply dares the onlooker to open this book up and give it a whirl, but some of the subject matter, like vomiting after a race, is about as gross a topic as that covered in Walter the Farting Dog: Banned from the Beach by William Kotzwinkle, an honorable mention and runner up for this list of bizarre books.
Could Have Been Written By: Olympic Speedwalkers
If that walking motion doesn’t give you a chafing problem, then it doing with a load in your shorts must guarantee a dose of “fire crotch.”
1) Gadsby – Written by Ernest Vincent Wright
It’s unclear what the author had against this most popular of vowels when he wrote this novel of constrained writing, but there is, indeed, no trace of this letter in the work. Considering all the English verbs that require the –ed ending, this is a remarkable, albeit bizarre, achievement. This self-published work is a highly collectible book in spite of its unusual treatment of a popular letter. Published in 1939, this odd novel is perfectly readable and contains a reasonable plot, proving that the letter “e” is not as e-ssential as one might have thought.
Could Have Been Written By: Former Baltimore Ravens Head Coach Brian Billick
Not only does his name also have no “e” in it, he won a Super Bowl with no “O.”
Once again, courtesy of the good people at Listverse, I’ve found the fodder for another one of my patented comparisons. People hung the nickname “The Freak” on Tim Lincecum, but he really isn’t a “freak” so much as he is an oddity. The author of the piece which I’m using for comparative purposes uses the word “freak;” I just think it is a bit to broad for my purposes. That may sound like so many mule muffins, but the fact remains that list has a corresponding one drawn strictly from the world of sports.
10) The Hilton Sisters – Violet and Daisy Hilton
Not Paris and Nicky – although they are a different sort of freak – these sisters were twins. Conjoined, to be exact. They shared a common blood and nervous system, which means they truly felt all the same pain. They were sold as slaves by their impecunious mother to a midwife, who greedily took advantage of their misfortune; while they sang, danced, played instruments in circus sideshows, their veritable slave-owner kept all their earnings and forbade them from socializing. Eventually a lawyer helped them escape their proverbial shackles and even reacquire the money they were swindled out of. They went on to do movies (including 1932’s Freaks) and earned as much as $5000 at the height of their showbiz careers.
Equivalent Sports Oddity: Harvey and Horace Grant
The twin bespectacled forwards patrolled the paint of the NBA for a big part of the 80s and 90s. The Grants both were respected defensive rebounders and reliable third or fourth scoring options throughout their careers. Horace was drafted 10th overall by the Chicago Bulls and was named NBA All-Defensive team on four occasions. He also teamed with Michael Jordan for three of his four championships. Meanwhile, Harvey had three seasons (1990-1993) where he averaged 18 or more points per game, but he never got the credit for his defensive presence that he was due.
9) The Wild Men of Borneo
These “wild men” were actually a twin pair of mentally-retarded midgets, for which there’d be no hope of employment if not for those ever-gawking circus-goers providing seemingly limitless opportunity (at least back in 1852). They were bought from their mother at the age of 26 by a man named Lyman Warner, and were taught their routine by P.T. Barnum, an act which included acrobatics, dancing, speaking in “their native language” (actually gibberish), and reciting poems in English. Enslaved in the Warner family for three generations, they kept on performing for almost fifty years – steady occupation, to say the least.
Equivalent Sports Oddity: Manute Bol and Muggsy Bogues
Mutt and Jeff of the NBA…or perhaps you prefer the Odd Couple. For one season in 1987-88, theWashington Bullets paired the 7’7″ Manute Bol with the 5’3″ Muggsy Bogues. At the time, the union of the tallest and shortest players in the league combined for 2,764 minutes played, 569 points, and three magazine covers.
8 ) The Puppet-Woman: Lucia Zarate
Born as more of a “finger puppet,” at a weight of 8 ounces and a height of 7 inches, Zarate weighed less than a cat as an adult. She is the smallest recorded human being on Earth, a fact that had no trouble drawing a big crowd at the circus. When she came to America – she was born in Mexico in 1864 – at the age of 12, she was the highest paid dwarf at the time (at $20/hour). Sadly, she died at the age of 26 when her train got stopped in the Rocky Mountains during a snowstorm.
Equivalent Sports Oddity: Spud Webb
It’s no accident that in a world of gigantism, acromegaly, and other disorders that cause people to grow to gargantuan proportions, a list of sporting oddities would be flush with basketball player. But Spud Webb was certainly no giant, and he’s the second roundballer to make this list for not being a walking skyscraper. At 5’7″, Webb remains the shortest man to ever win the NBA Slam Dunk competition.
7) The Texas Giant: Jack Earle
Earle had a condition called acromegalic gigantism, the clinical term for what a circus – such as the Ringling Brothers or Barnum and Bailey – would label simply “a giant.” He traveled with both of the aforementioned for 14 years, longer than his original one-year contract. He also appeared in movies, like Jack and the Beanstalk (guess who he played). While it’s not easy for a “freak” to find normal work, Earle did just that, showing what he was capable of beyond the exploitation of his appearance: he was a salesmen for a wine company, eventually becoming their PR rep, as well as a sculptor, painter, and poet (published in a 1950 book called “Long Shadows”).
Equivalent Sports Oddity: Gheorghe Muresan
The Romanian giant towered over the other trees in the NBA with his imposing 7’7”, 300 pound presence. His height was the result of a pituitary disorder, but it also allowed him to play in the NBA from 1993-2000. During that time, Muresan averaged 9.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game while maintaining a 57% field goal percentage. However, due to nagging injuries, Muresan never played a complete season.
Quasimodo is not fictional. Not entirely anyway. Appearing in Victor Hugo’s ultimate tale about being a victim of pure disposition, the eponymous Hunchback of Notre Dame may have been inspired by an actual hunchback who lived in Notre Dame. A British researcher found a memoir excerpt that told of a “humpbacked stone carver” that worked in a cathedral Hugo was very much involved with. Speculation is that he must have come across this rather antisocial individual, given the workers level of involvement on government-commissioned projects. Nicknamed “Le Bossu,” it’s not hard to see how this individual could have led to some fanciful speculations in Hugo’s fertile mind, as this was also about the time he was penning the novel (c.1831).
Here’s is the one time in this entire piece where I will use the work “freak.” Let’s face it, Alexander Karelin defined the word “freak.” He collected nicknames like “The Experiment” because the conventional wisdom was that he wasn’t human, rather he was the result of some sort of Soviet gene-splicing experiment to make another Ivan Drago type athletic machine.
That all really was just a colorful way of saying Karelin was one of the most feared athletes ever because he was geniunely the toughest son-of-a-bitch in his sport.
Karelin won gold medals as super heavyweight Greco-Roman wrestler at the 1988, 1992, and 1996 Olympic Games. He went undefeated in international competition from 1987 to 2000. He was so dominating that didn’t give up a single point in the last six years of that 13-year undefeated streak.
Karelin was 6’4 and wrestled at 289 pounds. His signature move was aptly named the “Karelin Lift,” where he would take a 300-pound opponent through a reverse lift and slam them into the mat in a manner more reminiscent of the WWE than the Olympics. He managed this through super-Herculean strength which Karelin always attributed to his extreme training regimen.
Karelin was said to power clean and press over 420 pounds. His morning routine consisted of drinking a half a gallon of milk, then running through the Siberian forest for two hours through thigh-deep snow. It is rumored Karelin once carried a refrigerator loaded to twice his bodyweight up eight flights of stairs.
5) The Mule-Faced Woman: Grace McDaniels
Not a pleasant thing to be nicknamed, this women was born with a facial deformity that rendered her simply unpleasant to look at (what some might call ugly… or mule-faced). She was actually billed as “the ugliest woman in the world” as if that were an achievement worth aspiring to. In spite of her physical appearance, she was actually a nice person, and was married with child (who didn’t inherit the deformity, but became a problem drinker and criminal – which is to say, more of a social outcast than her).
Equivalent Sports Oddity: Don Mossi
Don Mossi was a major league pitcher from 1954 to 1965. A lefty who specialized in control, Mossi’s strikeout-to-walk ratio was regularly amongst the league leaders; in fact, he led the league in this category in 1961. Mossi retired with a career ERA of 3.43, 101 wins, and 50 saves. He also retired as one of the biggest mule-faces in league history.
4) Jo-Jo, the Dog-Faced Boy: Fedor Jeftichew
This dog-boy actually had a canine-like father as well. The dad, Adrian, was a bitter drunk, and ran from his village and into the woods one day, living in the feral manner a stray dog might. He himself faced mockery and ample shunning, and performed in sideshows to make money (billed as the son of a bear and a peasant woman). After he conceived a child, equally as hairy, they toured together until Adrian ended up dying a drunken death. The boy, however, went on to continue performing faithfully – under P.T. Barnum’s top hat – just as a trained dog might, barking and growling on command. In actuality, he wasn’t a dog-child, obviously, he had a condition called hypertrichosis; and more than just barking, he could speak English, Russian, and German (making him essentially quadrilingual).
Equivalent Sports Oddity: Kimbo Slice
I’m not really sure what Kimbo Slice is; he might be a boxer, he might be an MMA fighter, or he might be a new century version of Mr. T who put his gold in his mouth rather than around his neck. Either way, that beard is just not human.
3) Julia Pastrana
This indigenous Mexican woman’s memory is literally preserved, as she – following her death in 1860 – was stuffed and put on display the very way she had been while alive. Also born with hypertrichosis, her features were more characteristic of a gorilla than a dog; her nose and ears were especially large, her face was covered with hair, and she had a double pair of teeth which pronounced her mouth as such. She had a husband named Theodor Lent – who had originally purchased her and taught her to be a performer – and eventually a child of the same affliction, who died after three days. She died five days after that (complications from birth), and her exploitative husband had both her and the baby mummified and placed in a glass cabinet. Lent went on to marry another woman with a similar condition, and was later admitted to a mental hospital.
Equivalent Sports Oddity: Caster Semenya
Semenya was one of the original topics of discussion on this blog when the whole is “She a he?” thing broke out in 2009. Much like Julia Pastrana was not a gorilla despite her resemblance to one, Semenya is not a dude even though “Dude Looks Like a Lady.”
2) Schlitzie: Simon Metz
“Pinheads” were an especially big draw in the circus sideshows, and Schlitzie was one of them. Having a condition called microcephalus, his cranium was incredibly underdeveloped and sat like a baby’s head on the shoulders of a grown man. Schlitzie, as far as his brain was concerned anyway, was three. Nonetheless, he sang and danced, could count to 10, and starred in the movie Freaks at the physical age of 40. Also, if you’ve ever read the comic strip Zippy the Pinhead in the Sunday funnies, you can see where the inspiration comes from.
Equivalent Sports Oddity: Nikolai Valuev
Shaving with the ax is a nice touch, but since I’m not an anthropologist, I don’t know if Zinjanthropus Man was capable of using tools. I understand microcephalus in a medical condition, where the Zinjanthropan simply hasn’t evolved yet, but with their complete lack of cranial space, neither of them would have a place to put a brain even if you gave them one.
Thankfully, Valuev didn’ t need brains; he came with plenty of braun at seven feet and 300 pounds. That came in handy as a heavyweight boxer known for simply crusing opponents with his mastodon-like size.
The real problem with Valuev With the 1980s movie was really which likeness to use for his analogy. There’s the aforementioned “pinhead” reeference, which would have been covered nicely by the old National Lampoon cartoon character Zippy the Pinhead. There’s also the Sloth, Baby Ruth eating monster from the classic ’80s movie The Goonies. Then, there’s good, ol’ Zinny the Caveman. So many choices…
1) The Human Caterpillar: Prince Randian
No, not a Human Centipede; this was a real person, although no less startling while dressed in that sleeveless sock outfit. Just a head and a torso, this P.T. Barnum attraction was capable enough as a quadriplegic that he could light a cigarette with just his mouth – not to mention the fact that he had a wife and kids (none of which shared his affliction). He shows up in the movie Freaks, and performs the aforementioned cigarette “trick” – although its hardly a trick when you have no other limbs to rely on.
Equivalent Sports Oddity: Bobby Martin
Bobby Martin was born with a rare affliction called Caudal Regression Syndrome, which means his body just stops at the pelvis. Forget the fact he lacks legs; he’s got a full, complete share of awesome. First of all, he’s a better football player than a lot of guys with legs. This video shows some of the most amazing stuff I’ve ever seen. Not only does he have dreams of playing in the National Football League (NFL), but look at the :45 second mark in the video when he talks about being a ladies’ man. He’s got a son to prove his prowess wit hthe fairer sex. He was also the homecoming king in high school. Once, officilas tried to bar him from a game as there was an obscure rule that all players were required to wear shoes. Martin tied a pair of shoes around his waist, and that rule has since been changed.
Guest Column: King George VI on The Top 10 Worst Generals in British History and Their Sports General Manager Equivalents
Editor’s Note: Thanks to the Movie The King’s Speech, George VI came back into the view of the American populace. If it weren’t for that movie, most Yanks had long since forgotten George VI’s role as a wartime leader and the fact he ruled sovereign over a quarter of the world.
Much as he did through the Second World War, His Majesty George the Sixth, King of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas, Defender of the Faith, and Last Emperor of India endeavors to offer insights on the world of sport.
If you recall, I first came to commentary on this electronic screed back during the dark days of the NFL Lockout. Since then, I’ve become a dedicated fan of both blogs and American sport. One aspect that I particularly enjoy is one that is a common theme here on Dubsism; the comparison of something historical to something sporting. This is why I thought it might be a ripping good bit of fun to expand the horizons of the average Dubsism reader. I’m pretty sure many of you are aware that Great Britain has a long and storied military history. But I’m sure that your familarity with it’s depth may be quite limited.
After all, the British Empire once controlled a quarter of the known world. To accomplish that, we had to produce an inordinate amount of gifted military leaders. The paradox is that in order to produce such a big number of talented generals, one must also produce a significant number of incompetents. So that the typical American sports fan can get a better grasp of that issue, I’ve decided to compare a splendid list I found on Listverse of the 10 Worst British Generals of all time against a list of the 10 worst general mangers in American sport.
Be advised that you will notice many of these managers also happened to toil under the tutelage of some of the worst owners in the world of sport as well. That’s a frightful coincidence.
10) James Abercrombie (1706-1781)
Poor Edward Braddock always gets a drubbing for his mismanagement of the Monongahela Campaign. But the French and Indian War saw an equally stupid disaster perpetrated by James Abercrombie, who wasted thousands of men in a futile assault against Fort Ticonderoga in July 1758.
The French position at Ticonderoga was not insurmountable. The terrain gave the British a chance to flank the fort without difficulty, while unoccupied hills nearby offered prime artillery positions. “It is rare in military history for a commander to be faced by such a range of options,” notes Geoffrey Regan, “any one of which guaranteed success.”
Instead, Abercrombie opted for a suicidal frontal assault. The result was a bloodbath: 2,000 men fell, including nearly half of the famous “Black Watch” Highland regiment, and the attack was repulsed. Abercrombie lost his job to Edward Amherst, who captured Ticonderoga a year later with fewer men at a fraction of the cost.
Equivalent Incompetent Sports General Manager: Jim Paxson, Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers under Jim Paxson never learned the lesson we did with the Royal Navy. Back in the days when we used the practice of impressment to bulk out ranks of sailors, eventually we discovered that we had to use other means to make matters complete. Sure, Paxson drafted LeBron James, and that begot him his sole winning campaign amongst the six he captained, but during and after the Paxson regime, Cleveland never learned to either develop talent or hire good
mercenaries free agents, not rabble like Trajan Langdon and DeSegana Diop.
9) FitzRoy James Henry Somerset, the 2nd Baron Raglan (1788-1855)
The Crimean War (1853-1856) is the apotheosis of British military incompetence, a conflict mismanaged on every level. Presiding over it was Lord Raglan, a former aide to the Duke of Wellington completely out of his depth. “Without the military trappings,” wrote Cecil Woodham-Smith, “one would never have guessed him to be a soldier.”
Raglan was an amiable man but at 65 years-old he was senile and unhealthy. On multiple occasions, he referred to the Russians as “the French,” forgetting France was now his ally. His inability to sort out differences amongst his subordinates, especially cavalry commanders Lucan and Cardigan, led to disaster in Balaclava’s infamous Charge of the Light Brigade.
Raglan blundered into victory at the Alma, making assaults to capture and recapture the same ground and allowing the routed Russians to escape unhindered. His mismanagement of Balaclava turned a potential victory into an epochal gaffe; the Light Brigade’s fate hinged on his inability to articulate a clear order. His troops then hunkered into trenches before Sebastopol, dying of disease and cold from atrocious medical care and inadequate provisions. Raglan suffered along with his troops, and in 1855 died of dysentery.
Equivalent Incompetent Sports General Manager: Tie - Woody Woodward, Seattle Mariners and Randy Smith, Detroit Tigers
Trades always seem to have a victor and a vanquished. In 1938, when Neville Chamberlain traded the Suedetenland for a worthless piece of paper, he really set the tone for the career of Woody Woodward. Despite the fact this chap architected teams which included such pips as Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, and Edgar Martinez, they consistently managed losing campaigns. This is because Woodward’s true legacy is in some of the truly ghastly trades he made; deals so bad they buggered the Mariners for nearly a decade after his departure. The flagship of his fleet of bad deals was Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe for Heathcliff Slocumb. But that was a large fleet…
- Tino Martinez, Jeff Nelson, and Jim Mecir for Russ Davis and Sterling Hitchcock
- Omar Vizquel for Felix Fermin and Reggie Jefferson
- Mike Hampton and Mike Felder for Eric Anthony
- David Ortiz for Dave Hollins
One really can’t elaborate on such a bloody awful record such as that.
As far as Smith is concerned, what can you say about a bloke who traded six players for Juan Gonzalez, then offered him $140 million and got turned down. He quite needlessly chased himself up the money tree by giving gargatuan contracts to players like Bobby Higginson and Damion Easley in whom nobody else showed any appreciable interest. He then traded away Luis Gonzalez, Travis Fryman, David Wells, Cecil Fielder, and Brad Ausmus (twice) in lopsided deals. The capper was the fact he captained three 100-loss teams, including the 43-119 debacle which finally got him sacked.
8 ) Sir Redvers Buller (1839-1908)
“A brave man who loved action but feared responsibility for the lives of others” (Byron Farwell), Buller was Britain’s equivalent of Ambrose Burnside. Affable and well-liked, he had no business commanding an army. Early in the Boer War he lost battle after battle, never realizing infantry assaults against well-entrenched opponents rarely works. Spion Kop (January 23-24, 1900) is a representative case.
Buller’s first mistake was delegating responsibility to Charles Warren, his equally incompetent second-in-command. Warren’s lead brigade smashed into the teeth of the Boer position, becoming pinned down between two Boer forces. Without entrenchment tools, artillery support or proper leadership they were forced to endure a brutal crossfire.
Buller’s non-management is inexplicable. He made no effort to reinforce Warren, even calling off a flank attack that may have won the day. 1,700 troops fought while 28,000 remained idle. When Highland troops launched an unauthorized charge he angrily ordered them to withdrawal – after it succeeded! Ultimately 1,500 men died pointlessly. The bright side? Buller and Warren were finally sacked.
Equivalent Incompetent Sports General Manager: Kevin McHale, Minnesota Timberwolves
Note: I deferred to J-Dub on this commentary as the simple mention of the name “Kevin McHale” sets him off like a rabid wolfhound.
For the longest time, I wanted Kevin McHale dead. And not just dead; I wanted to drink beer out of his hollowed-out skull and piss on what was left of him. Like most Laker fans, I will always remember “McFail” for his clothesline of Kurt Rambis in the 1984 Finals. Had that flagrant foul happened in the NBA of today, he would have been suspended and fined. Instead, this play seemed to help shift some of the series momentum towards Boston, and McHale showed the world yet another Celtics player willing to be a cheap bitch.
But his complete and total failure as an NBA general manager was the sweetest plum. Run down the list of Kevin McHale draft picks…try to not to shudder when you see this level of not understanding talent:
- 1995 1st Round: Kevin Garnett
- 1995 2nd Round: Mark Davis
- 1995 2nd Round: Jerome Allen
- 1996 1st Round: Ray Allen (traded to Milwaukee)
- 1997 1st Round: Paul Grant
- 1997 2nd Round: Gordon Malone
- 1998 1st Round: Rasho Nesterovič
- 1998 2nd Round: Andrae Patterson
- 1999 1st Round: Wally Szczerbiak
- 1999 1st Round: William Avery
- 1999 2nd Round: Louis Bullock
- 2000 2nd Round: Igor Rakočević
- 2001 2nd Round: Loren Woods
- 2002 2nd Round: Marcus Taylor
- 2003 1st Round: Ndudi Ebi
- 2003 2nd Round: Rick Rickert
- 2004 2nd Round: Blake Stepp
- 2005 1st Round: Rashard McCants
- 2005 2nd Round: Bracey Wright
- 2006 1st Round: Brandon Roy (traded to Portland)
- 2006 2nd Round: Craig Smith
- 2006 2nd Round: Bobby Jones
- 2006 2nd Round: Loukas Mavrokefalidis
- 2007 1st Round: Corey Brewer
- 2007 1st Round: Chris Richard
- 2008 1st Round: O. J. Mayo (traded to Memphis)
- 2008 2nd Round: Nikola Peković
- 2008 2nd Round: Mario Chalmers (traded to Miami)
- 2009 1st Round: Ricky Rubio
- 2009 1st Round: Jonny Flynn
- 2009 1st Round: Ty Lawson (traded to Denver)
- 2009 1st Round: Wayne Ellington
- 2009 2nd Round: Nick Calathes
- 2009 2nd Round: Henk Norel
Let that sink in for a moment. Think of that anytime in the future anybody tries to tell you what a great basketball guy “McFail” is.
7) William Howe, the 5th Viscount Howe (1729-1814)
As Britain’s commander-in-chief in the Revolutionary War, Howe won several battles and executed one brilliant campaign. But nearly all were Pyrrhic victories, Howe winning the battlefield while forfeiting long-term advantage.
Howe managed the Battle of Bunker Hill in June 1775, winning a tactical victory only after suffering 30 percent casualties. Howe then offered a passive defense of Boston, playing cards instead of campaigning and ultimately abandoning the city without a fight.
Howe redeemed himself routing George Washington’s army on Long Island and seizing New York City. Howe’s hesitance in attacking Brooklyn Heights, however, allowed Washington to escape. Worse, Howe left scattered outposts throughout New Jersey, allowing Washington easy victories at Trenton and Princeton that winter.
Howe’s final blunder came during 1777’s Saratoga Campaign. John Burgoyne’s New York offensive threatened to split the colonies in two, and Howe was to join in a pincer movement against Horatio Gates’ Continentals. Howe instead marched on Philadelphia. He won a costly victory at Brandywine and captured Philadelphia but again allowed Washington to escape. Meanwhile Burgoyne was trounced by Gates and forced to surrender – an event that brought France into the war. After this debacle, Howe was finally sacked.
Equivalent Incompetent Sports General Manager: Mike Milbury, New York Islanders
If this list were solely about general managers who were just bloody awful twats, Milbury would be a far and away winner. A noted yeller and screamer, he was dubbed “Mad Mike” for his propensity for the “blockbuster” trade. To be fair to the chap, he was saddled had to deal with cheapskate ownership which forced him into a lot of “dump” deals; players who were exiled off Long Island included Zdeno Chara, Wade Redden, Bryan Berard, Tommy Salo, Olli Jokinen, Todd Bertuzzi, and Raffi Torres. But Milbury will be best remembered for three moves which doomed the Islanders to the doldrums of the Eastern Conference. That’s correct isn’t it? They don’t callit the Prince of Wales Conference anymore? Bloody Canucks…
- Selecting goalie Rick DiPietro #1 overall (and paying him ridiculous money) in 2000 over future stars Dany Heatley, Marian Gaborik, Scott Hartnell, and Ilya Bryzgalov.
- Trading future star goalie Roberto Luongo for a bag of magic beans known as Oleg Kvasha.
- The Alexi Yashin saga – beginning with massively overpaying to get him in a trade; Mad Mike gave up Zdeno Chara, Bill Muckalt, and #2 overall draft pick Jason Spezza to get Yashin, then he gave the pouty Russian a 10-year, $87.5 million contract only to watch Yashin’s career hit the crapper after he got the big money.
6) John Whitelocke 1757-1833
Sir John Fortescue described Whitelocke as “bound up indissolubly with foolish expeditions.” He spent most of his career in the West Indies, notably in Britain’s disastrous attempts to conquer Santo Domingo during Touissant L’Overture’s slave revolt. He earns his place here for mismanaging the 1807 Buenos Aires expedition, a costly sideshow of the Napoleonic Wars.
Whitelocke’s troops landed outside Buenos Aires on July 1st and routed a token Spanish force. However, Whitelocke delayed following up, giving local militia time to organize. Whitelocke’s troops marched into the city, only to face a hostile citizenry. Every window housed a sniper, an artilleryman or an angry local with a pot full of boiling oil. Whitelocke exercised little control, allowing his force to be divided and attacked piecemeal in the streets.
Trapped in Buenos Ares, Whitelocke capitulated to Spanish General Liniares on August 12th. He’d lost more than 3,000 of his 10,000-man force in the meantime. He was ignominiously cashiered upon returning to England.
Equivalent Incompetent Sports General Manager: Tie – Bill Bavasi, California/Anaheim Angels and Seattle Mariners and the Dave Littlefield/Cam Bonifay tandem with the Pittsburgh Pirates
Despite the fact Bavasi did a masterful job of developing the Angels minor league system, he made some seriously questionable moves as a general manager of both Angels and Mariners. First, he signed fat, past-his-prime first baseman Mo Vaughn to a disastrous multi-year contract in Anaheim, then repeated that same mistake is Seattle with skinny, past-his-prime first baseman Richie Sexson.
Meanwhile in Pittsburgh, no general manager built a better resume for trading talent for a bag of bollocks. Established stars were allowed to go for nearly nothing, like Jason Schmidt and Aramis Ramirez. He gave away players who developed elsewhere, like Chris Young and Oliver Perez. Then there was the Dunkirk-like disaster of trading for Matt Morris with an astronomical $9.5 million left on his contract. However, Littlefield’s predecessor fared little better, which is why we must consider them as two parts of the same whole. Cam Bonifay’s portion of the madness included huge dollar, multi-year contracts for heaps like Kevin Young, Pat Meares, and Mike Benjamin. The capper was a six-year, $60 million deal for Jason Kendall which was put together when the Pirates were teetering on the verge of bankruptcy.
5) Sir Charles Vere Ferrers Townshend (1861-1924)
To hear Charles Townshend tell it, he was a genius comparable to Napoleon and Clausewitz. The 43,000 troops lost during the Siege of Kut might beg to differ. Driven by ambition and overconfidence, Townshend led his 6th Indian Division into Britain’s greatest humiliation of World War I.
Ordered to advance on Baghdad in September 1915, Townshend expressed private misgivings. Publicly though, he leaped at the chance for glory, dreaming himself Governor of Mesopotamia. After several initial victories, stiffening Turkish resistance and heavy casualties stopped Townshend’s advance. Ordered to withdraw to Basra, Townshend instead hunkered down in the village of Kut.
Townshend’s men endured a horrific 147-day siege. Townshend made little effort to escape or prevent the Turks from surrounding him. He even forbade sorties on the grounds that “withdrawing” afterwards sapped morale! A hastily-organized relief force lost 23,000 men trying to raise the siege. His troops decimated by starvation and cholera, Townshend finally surrendered on April 29th, 1916.
Townshend enjoyed a cushy captivity in Constantinople while his troops endured forced labor. The British government was so embarrassed by Kut that they censored mention of it. Townshend became a Lieutenant-General, knight and MP, but history remembers him as an arrogant boob.
Equivalent Incompetent Sports General Manager: Billy Knight, Atlanta Hawks
Knight was less a knight and more a (hard) court jester. To wax Napoleonic, the point guard position would prove to be Knight’s Waterloo. Honestly, he did bring the Hawks talent like Joe Johnson, Mike Bibby, Josh Smith, and Al Horford. But he never could get a star on the point, which has been a millstone around this team’s neck for years. It’s not like he didn’t have opportunities; in 2005, Knight drafted forward Marvin Williams over Chris Paul and Deron Williams. A year later, Knight passed on Rajon Rondo to pick Shelden Williams; he really needed to have Duke’s next ghastly failure on his roster. We need hardly mention to folly of giving the crown jewels to Speedy Claxton in a Quixotic exercise in abject futilty to fix Atlanta’s point guard woes.
4) Arthur Percival (1887-1966)
When Japan entered World War II, Britain was understandably preoccupied with Nazi Germany. The Japanese overran Hong Kong, Malay and Burma in lightning campaigns. The biggest prize, however, was Singapore, the heavily-fortified port considered “the Gibraltar of the East.” Fortunately for Japan, its opponent was the singularly inept Arthur Percival.
Percival apparently occupied a strong position. His 85,000 Commonwealth troops vastly outnumbered Yamashita’s 36,000 Japanese. But his men were badly overstretched, with few tanks or modern planes to oppose Yamashita. Percival’s myopic focus on a naval attack – he believed landward defenses would be “bad for the morale of troops and civilians” – ceded initiative to Yamashita, who navigated the “impassible” Malay jungle and overwhelmed the British. Percival folded with a whimper, surrendering to Yamashita in “the worst disaster in British history” (Winston Churchill).
Unlike Townshend, Percival endured imprisonment just as bad as his men. Percival came out of it worse, however; he became the only Lieutenant-General in British history not to receive a knighthood.
Equivalent Incompetent Sports General Manager: Bobby Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers
On top of being another one of those damn Canadians, Clarke’s lasting legacy is that he is the father of that bloody awful neutral zone trap might which ushered in the big, slow, clutch-and-grab style of play that almost killed the league.
Yet, Clarke also managed to trade for Eric Lindros, while though literally giving away the store in the form of Peter Forsberg and a cavalcade of players and picks which the Colorado Avalanche turned into Hall-of-Fame goalkeeper Patrick Roy, who led them to a pair of Stanley Cup championships. If that weren’t enough, during his reign general manager 1998 Canadian Olympic hockey team, which just so happened to be the first Olympic hockey tournament to allow professional players, he somehow managed to lead the country which produces the lion’s share of the professional players to an out-of-the-medals finish. Stupid git.
3) Sir Charles MacCarthy (1764-1824)
What’s worse than surrendering an entire army? How about utterly destroying one? “A decent, proud, but stupid man” (James M. Perry), MacCarthy inherited a difficult situation as Governor of Africa’s Gold Coast. Ongoing disputes with the powerful Ashanti tribe led to war in 1824. MacCarthy mismanaged the resultant campaign in bizarrely comic fashion.
MacCarthy anticipated a colonial mistake repeated by Custer, Chelmsford and Baratieri. Starting with a 6,000-man force, he divided it into four uneven columns. MacCarthy’s own force numbered a mere 500, against 10,000 Ashanti. When the Ashanti initiated battle on January 20th, the other columns were tens of miles away.
At the battle’s onset, MacCarthy ordered his musicians to play God Save the King, thinking this would scare the Ashanti away. It did not. A ferocious battle ensued, MacCarthy’s troops holding their own until ammunition began running out. Hard-pressed, MacCarthy called up his reserve ammunition, only to find macaroni instead of bullets!
The Ashanti overran and massacred the British force, with only 20 survivors. MacCarthy was killed, his heart eaten and head used as a fetish for years. It took 50 years of intermittent warfare to subdue the Ashanti.
Equivalent Incompetent Sports General Manager: Tie – M. Donald Grant, New York Mets and Harry Frazee, Boston Red Sox
Grant was a complete codger; part of the old guard who continued to see players as indentured servants well after the advent of free agency in baseball. This meant he eschewed top-flight talent, preferring to trade them away for more economical players. In conjunction, he refused to grant salaries even remotely resembling a reasonable market value. This philosophy led to the infamous trade of Tom Seaver, an event which still sends many Mets’ supporters over the brink. Then there was the debacle of the Nolan Ryan package deal for Jim Fregosi. Had the Mets not had their miracle win in 1969, Grant easily could have topped this list.
As far as Frazee is concerend, it is a common bit of piffle that he sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees to fund a Broadway musical. The bloody awful truth is far worse; Ruth was a crashing boor and Frazee simply tired of Ruth’s antics. Hence, Frazee sent him packing rather than harness his remarkable ability of the man who would cause the ascendance of professional sport in North America. What a buggery pillock.
2) William Hicks (1830-1883)
Assigned to suppress the Mahdist Uprising in the Sudan, Hicks led what Winston Churchill called “the worst Army that has ever marched to war” – a rabble of Egyptian prisoners and ex-rebels, some shipped to the front in shackles. Arrogant British officials assumed this paltry force would put the pesky Mohammedans in their place. Hicks proved them wrong.
In fall 1883, Hicks marched his jerry-rigged 10,000-man army into Sudan. Misled by treacherous guides, Hicks’ army fell victim to the desert clime, losing hundreds to desertion and dehydration. On November 3rd, the Mahdists, 40,000 strong, finally pounced at the oasis of El Obeid. After two days of desperate fighting, the army was overrun and massacred, with all but 500 men killed (Hicks included). Hicks’ stupendous failure set the stage for Charles Gordon’s doomed stand at Khartoum and fifteen years of fighting in Sudan.
Equivalent Incompetent Sports General Manager: Tie – Isiah Thomas, New York Knicks and Elgin Baylor, Los Angeles Clippers
Not only are these two former roundballers largely responsible for their franchises both dredging the cesspool for at least a decade, but they also both worked for dreadful owners. In the case of Thomas, ownership wasn’t so much a problem as was his own complete ham-handedness as a decision maker. Exhibit A was when Thomas traded four players, two draft picks, and cash to the Phoenix Suns in order to build his team around shoot-first-ask-questions-later point guard Stephon Marbury.
To fix the Marbury problem, Thomas thought partnering one shoot-firster with another was a “can’t miss” proposition. Needless to say, the Steve Francis-Stephon Marbury backcourt marriage was a short one.
Then, Thomas sent three players and four draft picks to the Chicago Bulls to get the soon-to-be morbidly obese Eddy Curry, all 37 stone of him.
All this meant Thomas managed to build a team with a corpulent payroll which couldn’t win 30 games a season. Under Thomas, the Knicks morphed into a team of overpaid underachievers which had no draft picks and spent millions in luxury taxes for being over the salary cap.
As far as Elgin Baylor is concerned, he did have a major handicap by being employed by legendary cheapskate cock-up Donald Sterling. But that doesn’t change the fact many teams succeeded with miniscule payrolls. Somehow, Baylor lasted as the Clippers’ general manager for 22 years during which the Clips racked up exactly two winning seasons. This span of futility includes a 12-70 season and five seasons of 65 or more losses and just two winning seasons.
This level of terrible was accomplished largely through Baylor’s either making a McHale-esque cavalcade of terrible draft picks and/or not retaining the picks which weren’t bloody awful.
- 2008, pick #7: Eric Gordon, Indiana (traded in 2011 to New Orleans as part of the Chris Paul trade)
- 2008, pick #35: DeAndre Jordan, Texas Tech (still a Clipper)
- 2007, pick #14: Al Thornton, Florida State (traded to Washington as part of three-team deal for Drew Gooden)
- 2005, pick #12: Yaroslav Korolev, CSKA Moscow (sucked, waived in 2007)
- 2004, pick #4: Shaun Livingston, Peoria Central H.S. (Illinois) (sucked, released in 2008)
- 2003, pick #6: Chris Kaman, Central Michigan (traded in 2011 to New Orleans as part of the Chris Paul trade)
- 2002, pick#8: Chris Wilcox, Maryland (traded to Seattle in 2006 for Vladimir Radmanovic)
- 2002, pick #12: Melvin Ely, Fresno State (traded in 2004 to Charlotte for Daniel Ewing and Paul Davis)
- 2001, pick #2: Tyson Chandler, Dominguez H.S. (California) (traded on Draft Day 2001 to Chicago for Elton Brand, who left via free agency in 2008)
- 2000, pick #3: Darius Miles, East St. Louis H.S. (Missouri) (traded in 2002 to Cleveland for Andre Miller and Bryant Stith)
- 2000, pick #18: Quentin Richardson, Depaul (left via free agency in 2004)
- 1999, pick#4: Lamar Odom, Rhode Island (left via free agency in 2003)
- 1998, pick #1: Michael Olowokandi, Pacific (sucked, left via free agency in 2003)
- 1998, pick #22: Brian Skinner, Baylor (traded on Draft Day 2001 to Chicago for Elton Brand, who left via free agency in 2008)
- 1997, pick #14: Maurice Taylor, Michigan (left via free agency in 2000)
- 1996, pick #7: Lorenzen Wright, Memphis (traded to Atlanta in 1999 for two future draft picks – Chris Wilcox and Quentin Richardson)
- 1995, pick#2: Antonio McDyess, Alabama (traded on Draft Day 1995 to Denver for Brent Barry and Rodney Rogers)
- 1994, pick #7: Lamond Murray, California (traded in 1999 to Cleveland for Derek Andern and Johnny Newman)
- 1994, pick #25: Greg Minor, Louisville (traded the day after the draft in 1994 to Indiana for Eric Piatkowski, Pooh Richardson, and Malik Sealy)
- 1993, pick#13: Terry Dehere, Seton Hall (sucked, waived in 1997)
- 1992, pick #16: Randy Woods, La Salle (sucked, traded on Draft Day 1995 to Denver for Brent Barry and Rodney Rogers)
- 1992, pick#25: Elmore Spencer, UNLV (sucked, traded in 1995 to Denver for Bison Dele)
- 1991, pick #22: LeRon Ellis, Syracuse (sucked, released in 1992)
- 1990, pick#8: Bo Kimble, Loyola Marymount (sucked, traded to New York as part of a three-team deal for Mark Jackson and a draft pick)
- 1990, pick #13: Loy Vaught, Michigan (left via free agency in 1999)
- 1989, pick #2: Danny Ferry, Duke (sucked, traded in 1989 to Cleveland for Ron Harper, and three draft picks – Loy Vaught, Joe Wylie and Elmore Spencer)
- 1988, pick#1: Danny Manning, Kansas (traded in 1994 to Atlanta for Dominique Wilkins and a draft pick – Greg Minor)
- 1988, pick#6: Hersey Hawkins, Bradley(traded on Draft Day 1988 to Philadelphia for Charles Smith)
- 1987, pick#4: Reggie Williams, Georgetown (sucked, traded in 1989 to Cleveland for Ron Harper, and three draft picks – Loy Vaught, Joe Wylie and Elmore Spencer)
- 1987, pick #13: Joe Wolf, North Carolina (left via free agency in 1990)
- 1987, pick# 19: Ken Norman, Illinois (left via free agency in 1993)
1) William George Keith Elphinstone (1782-1842)
Britain won the Anglo-Afghan War’s first round, routing Dost Mohammed and capturing Kabul. But the Afghans hated English rule and quickly revolted. Into this firestorm stepped William Elphinstone, the only man to lose an entire British army.
Riddled with gout and heart disease, Elphinstone was a poor choice to command. He arrived in Kabul in 1842, with disaster looming. British encampments were sighted lower than Kabul’s city walls, with provisions located outside them. Afghan bandits murdered Britons who ventured out of camp.
Patrick Macrory characterizes Elphinstone as “[seeking] every man’s advice… he was at the mercy of the last speaker.” Fatally indecisive, he allowed Afghans to kill envoys Alexander Burns and William Macnaghten, capture his supplies and snipe at his men without response. Elphinstone finally capitulated, agreeing to withdraw his army to India.
Elphinstone’s army, accompanied by thousands of camp followers, staggered through the Afghan mountains. Their numbers were whittled down by disease, cold weather and incessant Afghan attacks. In the Khyber passes, the Afghans finally massacred the survivors. A single European, Dr. Brydon, survived of 16,000 who’d left Kabul. Elphinstone himself died in Afghan captivity.
Novelist George Macdonald Fraser aptly called Elphinstone “the greatest military idiot, of our own or any day.”
Equivalent Incompetent Sports General Manager: Matt Millen, Detroit Lions
There really couldn’t be another choice to head this list, he is the Maximus Regis of blithering idiots. Not only was Millen brutally incompetent, but he actually got owner William Clay Ford to give him a five-year contract extension at $5 million per year; this coming after his first four years on the job during which the Lions never once won more than six games. Not only did this set the table for Millen to lead the Lions into the abyss of an 0-16 season in 2008, it cemented Ford as one of the worst owners ever. Honestly it takes work to be this bad. Again, Millen mastered butchering draft picks, from the Joey Harrington debacle to selecting every underperforming wide receiver available. It would actually be easier to name the first-round picks Millen didn’t blow (Calvin Johnson).
Whether is is back in England or with you bloody colonial revolutionaries, we are all sports fans, and as such, one of our favorite pastimes is to look down upon the architects of our beloved teams with our perfect hindsight and second-guess their every move. We may never fully appreciate just how difficult it is to construct and then maintain a winning team, and we may be horribly awry in believing we could do it better. However, every so often a general manager comes along and fuels our mistaken beliefs with his own spectacular idiocy.
May He bless and keep us all.
- King George VI
Being that the holiday season is upon us, there is a lot of thought begin given to gift-giving. If you are reading this, then you must be thinking, “Gee, what do I get for the sports blogger in my life?”
This allows for another of our comparison pieces with a list published by the good people at Listverse. Since most sports bloggers spend a lot of time around their computers, and since most sports blogs (especially this one) are generally pointless, what better that a list of pointless USB devices and blogging it up by comparing it to a list of equally useless sports figures.
10) USB Fridge
“The time has come to stop forcing yourself to drink tepid Pepsi while forgetting yourself in the mountains of work at your desk! Plug the USB Fridge into your computer while you are working, place a beverage inside and get ready to enjoy your choice of tasty liquid at a cool 47 degrees Fahrenheit.”
Equally Useless Sports Figure: Curtis Painter
What better way to represent a refrigerator which only holds one drink, and only partially cools it than with a quarterback who can’t complete passes and only gets close to winning?
9) USB Monitor Smasher
“As useful and compliant as your PC may be, at some point you probably just want to clobber it into a million tiny pieces. Here we introduce the device that will save you thousands of dollars and hours of cleanup time. The ScreenSmasher is a foam mallet that comes with a USB sensor. Take the stress relieving smack at your screen and your Windows Desktop will automatically display the image of shattered glass – also with a realistic crash sound effect.”
Equally Useless Sports Figure: The Regular Season in College Basketball
What better description is there for the college basketball regular season than a foam rubber mallet which allows you to expend a ton of time and energy and not get anywhere? Last sesson’s run by Connecticut proves it. The Huskies finished the regular season with a 9-9 record in conference play for a 9th place finish in the Big East. Yet, they hit a ten-game winning streak at just the right time, sweeping throught he Big East and NCAA tournaments. The 22 wins before that meant nothing.
8 ) USB Gold Flash Drive
“True, the flash drive is a far cry from a bizarre USB device – but it is the price tag of this attractive accessory that puts it on this list. Introduced at the CeBIT show in Hannover, Germany, this exclusive USB key seems to be marketed mainly for its exquisite exterior – as its memory capacity wasn’t even mentioned at its premiere. It was later released that capacities will include 128MB, 256MB, 512MB and 1024MB. This gold-plated, diamond-encrusted USB memory stick is also adorned with a hefty price tag of 2,950-euro or $3,500!”
Equally Useless Sports Figure: The Ridiculously Over-Priced Free Agent
I’m not singling out Soriano per se, but he does make a perfect example of a guy who has been paid far more than he’s performed. Let’s be honest, every team that’s ever spent money has bought a $20 flash drive for $3,500 at some point.
7) USB Hampster Wheel
“Tired of your monotonous office work day after day, caught up in the rat race of the working world? Ready for the perfect way to lift your spirits and send laughter tearing through the office? Introducing the USB Hampster Wheel! Just plug it into your USB port, load the software provided and watch your furry friend as you type: the hampster gets running and spins the wheel around in the process, spinning even faster as your typing speed increases!”
Equally Useless Sports Figure: ESPN News
For a media outlet to continue to run a sports-news network that does little more than runs the same 30-minute show all damn day long suggest they a) don’t understand that now every sports fan in the world has a smartphone which obviates TV newscasts, b) never heard of the internet, and c) actually believe people want to see the same highlight clips 75 times per day.
6) USB Exercising Dog
“You’ve got to do something with your unused USB ports, so why not fill it up with something totally useless like these USB dogs? A more family-friendly version then its “humping dog” predecessor, you can watch the USB Exercising Dog as he works his washboard abs to perfection!”
Equally Useless Sports Figure: Pitching Coaches
What does a pitching coach do for a major-league moundsman? That is besides walking out to tell him “Uh, Skip’s thinking of pulling you if you don’t start throwing strikes…so, uh, you probably want to start throwing strikes.”
5) USB Ghost Radar
“For the multitasking, facebook-addicted Ghostbuster, here is the USB device you’ve been searching for. The USB Ghost Radar supposedly does just as it says, detect ghosts. This gadget is actually quite complex. Using sensors and alert lights, and an algorithm it detects any paranormal activity – all the while factoring in biometric feedback from your skin, along with many other features. Plug in the USB Ghost Radar and it will beep in rhythm with specific light patterns depending on the paranormal activity around you. The volume and intensity of the beeps supposedly indicates how close your ghost is. The lights help you figure out the ghost’s position, movement, and the risk possibilities.”
Equally Useless Sports Figure: The Radar Gun Guy
Isn’t this guy’s job really to tell us what we already know? The first time I saw Justin Verlander’s fastball I said “Holy shit! That kid’s got a heater!” I didn’t say “Holy shit! I wish there was a radar gun guy around to tell me that kid’s got a heater.”
4) Mr. Tengu
“Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little buddy that could just sit right next to your computer and make stupid faces? Plug Mr. Tengu into your USB port and he will sit contently at your desk making weird faces with changes in sound, and will take naps when his daily face making routine becomes too exhausting.”
Equally Useless Sports Figure: Tim McCarver
Honestly, when I read the description “he will sit contently at your desk making weird faces with changes in sound, and will take naps when his daily face making routine becomes too exhausting,” I thought all they have to do is add “comment on the completely obvious” and Mr. Tengu would be a perfect McCarver-Bot.
3) Coffee Mug-Mouse
“Now I know what you’re thinking…. “Besides the high ‘coffee-spilling-all-over-the-desk’ chances, isn’t that going to be tough to use?” In fact, the MugMouse was created with the deliberate intention by SLOWEB Peripherals “to provide an alternative to the fast global flow of information”. This infrared mouse follows your movements and the mouse button at the bottom of the mug is clicked by pushing the whole mug towards the table; And as an added bonus, this handy mug not only holds 150mL of your favourite hot drink, but keeps it steamy with the built-in heater. So for those who are looking for a speed reduced computer mouse that doubles as a coffee mug – this little diddy is for you!”
Equally Useless Sports Figure: The NFL Playoff Overtime Rule
Until I discovered this coffee-mug mouse, I thought having different rules for the regular season and the playoffs was the dumbest thing I ever heard. Even the officials can’t keep it straight.
2) Bowling Ball-Flash Drive
“Though this “heavy duty” memory stick is not yet patented and ready to sell to the public – I can’t help but applaud this device’s creator Chris Spurgeon for attempting to find the solution to our age’s miniature flash drives going missing. Converting his 16 pound bowling ball into a memory stick he asks himself “Let’s see if I send that through the laundry by mistake!” On the practical side though, I hope when using it he doesn’t attach it directly to his laptop…”
Equally Useless Sports Figure: A 96-team College Basketball Tournament Format
I can’t think of two better examples of taking a good thing so far over the top as to make it completely impractical.
1) USB Scan Toaster
“Ever wonder what it would feel like to see your face on a 5 dollar bill? A postage stamp? How about a piece of toast? A finalist in the 2008 Electrolux Design Lap competition, the USB Scan toaster uses hot wires that rotate within a 30° radius to “burn” anything you want onto your piece of toast; the news, weather or snapshots – the delicious possibilities are endless!”
Equally Useless Sports Figure: The NFL Pre-Season
Remember the saying “neccessity is the mother of invention.” Whoever decided they needed to place their likeness on a slice of toast is likely the same type person who thought it was a good idea to schedule a slew of games every year that mean nothing, for which fans get to pay full ride only to see guys who will be loading trucks at UPS in a few weeks.
Esteban over at Total Pro Sports put together a thought provoking list. A while ago, that site did a list of the fattest paychecks in sports, and it’s what you would expect, except for the Formula 1 racing guys and Manny Pacquiao. Granted, I didn’t think of those guys at first, but it makes sense if you think about it.
Then, Esteban took that a step further by looking at some of the most bankable figures from sports which wouldn’t necessarily pop into your head. Originally, I was simply going to comment on his site, but the more I composed my thoughts, I realized this needed a Dubsism-style break-down. Let’s be honest, there some serious social commentary hidden in Esteban’s piece; commentary which really needs to be brought out.
Peruse his list understanding that his premise is ranking the entries on the list by “the disparity between the size of the salary and the obscurity of the sport.” Interspersed with Esteban’s list will be the hidden commentary which may only be visible to my bourbon-soaked brain.
13) Phillip Dalhausser/Tedd Rogers – Beach Volleyball: $387,700
“Beach Volleyball isn’t that obscure. It’s always one of the most popular events at the Summer Olympics (though, the bikini-clad women are the bigger draw). Still, it’s not particularly popular as a pro sport. You might catch a tournament here or there on ESPN2 at 11AM on a Wednesday, but that’s about it. And yet American duo managed to pull in over three-hundred grand last year. That’s almost as much as the minimum salary for a Major League Baseball player!”
I re-read this three times before it dawned on me…it took two guys to make that amount of money, which means when you split it down the middle, they only made about $140,000 each. I’ve made that much in a year, which means this sport doesn’t really count in terms of a “professional” sport in which you can get rich…at least not for dudes. Misty May-Treanor could probably make that much just by letting dudes stick dollar bills in her volley-thong.
12) Kelly Slater – Surfing: $516,000
“Just so we’re clear, Florida native Kelly Slater is a dude. A surfer dude, to be precise. And he’s doing well for himself. In fact, half a million is just about what I would have expected for the top pro surfer, which is why Kelly only ranks #12 on this list. He also makes a good chunk of change on endorsements and has a super hot girlfriend. So it definitely wouldn’t suck to be Kelly Slater these days. (Plus, do you get to see stuff like this when you go to work?)”
If you recall the Dubsism test of what constitutes a sport, I’m not sure surfing passes. But let’s be honest, half a million and hot chicks…well, that’s hard to argue with. Besides, there’s always the off-chance he gets eaten.
11) Tim Don – Triathlon: $223,600
“This one is kind of mysterious. British triathlete Tim Don has never been ranked higher than #3 in the world, and he did that only once. In 2010 he finished 15th, and yet somehow he on top of the money list with over two-hundred grand. I guess he won the events with the biggest purses. Still, doesn’t really seem fair, does it?”
I had no idea suicide could be profitable. Have you ever seen what the back-end of a triathlon looks like.? It’s a bunch of skinny exercise addicts who have so over-exerted themselves they are losing their bowel control while running. I have no idea who would pay to see that.
10) Kane Waselenchuk – Racquetball: $300,000
“Where, exactly, is professional racquetball a popular sport? I assumed maybe in Europe or Asia, but all of the major events seem to be held in North America. That includes the most prestigious event, the U.S. Open, which is held in Minneapolis.”
“In any case, Canadian Kane Waselenchuk is the top-earning racquetball player in the world these days, pulling in a decent $300,000. (This figure, unlike the others presented here, is actually the sum of his winnings, appearance fees, and endorsements. So Waselenchuk’s salary is probably more like $150,000-$200,000.)”
I tried to play racquetball once. I couldn’t understand the object of the game. It seems to me this whole game is about getting a ball to bounce off two walls before slamming into your opponent’s testicles at meteor-speed.
9) Darren Appleton – Billiards : $118,494
“With many or most of the sports on this list, it would almost seem like a waste to put so much hard work and effort into earning such paltry salaries. Sure, you can make $500,000 surfing, but how much of that do you have to spend on travel and other expenses? A whole lot, I’m guessing. And then one day you’ll be too old to make money surfing, and what will you have? (Sorry, Kelly Slater.)”
“But with billiards it’s different. You can afford to make only $118,494 because the expenses are low relative to other sports, and you can be competitive well into your 50s or 60s (as long as you don’t get early onset arthritis). So Darren Appleton here might be okay.”
I wonder if this guy gets paid in quarters. There’s three types of people who are always on the Jones for quarters: people who need them for laundromats, people who ride the bus, and guys who play a lot of bar pool.
And another thing…don’t be that guy who goes to the bar with his own cue. Even if you can end up as this guy, it’s not worth half a million quarters to be such a colossal douche-hammer.
8 ) Nick Matthew – Squash: $166,929
“I thought squash was just some game that rich people played as “the club.” I had no idea there was a Professional Squash Association (PSA) and a Women’s International Squash Players Association (WISPA). But there is. And as top dog Nick Matthew shows, you can’t count of squash to make you rich. So I guess you’d better be playing for the love of the game.”
Is it just me, or does that guy look just a bit too much like Colin Cowherd? That in and of itself tells you this sport has an astronomically-high “Nancy-Boy” factor. Besides, the obvious point is well-taken…if this is a “rich guy club” sport, why does Colin up there make less than almost anybody else on this list?
7) Trevor Brazile – Rodeo: $507,920
“I think I expected the top-earners from the world of Rodeo to earn a little more than this. The sport is pretty popular in certain regions (like Texas and Calgary), and the costs involved—well-bred horses and lots and lots of cattle—are pretty high. How much of that $507,920 does Texan Trevor Brazile get to put in the bank at the end of the year?”
This is where Esteban and I part ways. I was shocked to see the top rodeo guy nets half a million bucks a year. I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve it; I just had no idea there was that much money in it.
Not to mention, look at the look that horse’s eyes. You can just tell he thinks he deserves 57 percent of that half a million. In fact, I think Bryant Gumbel just called rodeo horses “slaves.”
6) Renato Nunes – Bull Riding: $1,594,527
“For most people, bull riding is a bit of a novelty. You see people do it on TV, or you hear about bars that have mechanical bull contests, but you kind of forget that this is an actual sport people pay money to watch. So that’s why bull riding ranks to high on the list. It’s certainly not because Brazilian Renato Nunes didn’t earn every penny of that $1.5 million. He most definitely did.”
This guy doesn’t make nearly enough. For all of you NBA panty-wastes who bitch about being underpaid, try doing for one week what this guy does all year long. This event should be called “Professional Testicle-Smashing Which May Also Cripple You And/Or Get a Big Horn Rammed Up Your Anus.”
5) Hakuho – Sumo: $400,000
“See, now I thought the top-earning Sumo wrestler would make a hell of a lot more money that this. Though it’s totally a novelty here (like Rodeo), isn’t Sumo kind of a big deal in Japan? You’d think the top sumo wrestler could at least clear $1,000,000. After all, the average salary of a baseball player in Japan is about $450,000. And if they paid them more, maybe Sumo wrestlers wouldn’t have to resort to stealing ATMs.”
This guy only makes $400,000? He eats that much at the $5.99 all-you-can-eat Asian buffet.
4) Walter Ray Williams, Jr. – Bowling: $152,670
“Given how much bowling is on TV compared to some of the other sports on this list (like Triathalon), I expected the top-earning pro bowler to be pulling down at least a quarter million, but probably something more along the lines of half a million. Now, I’m sure Walter Ray also has a solid income from endorsements; nevertheless, his actually salary seems shockingly low to me.”
First, that name conjures images of dead girls in a windowless van. Second of all, have you ever watched bowling on television? If you had, you would notice every one of those tournaments which doesn’t happen in the off-Strip backwaters of Las Vegas takes place in exciting urban hot-spots like Columbus, Ohio and North Brunswick, New Jersey.
Besides, if you want to make the big money in bowling, you have to be willing to roll on Shomer Shabbos.
3) John Baker – Dog Sledding: $50,400
“John Baker’s $50,400 dog sledding salary ranks 3rd on this list because it’s surprising in a couple different ways.”
“On the one hand, it’s rather amazing that you can make any kind of living on dog sledding. Everyone’sheard of the Iditarod, but no one knows when it is or who the hell has won it. On the other hand, it’s hard to believe people can afford to compete professionally when making only $50,000 a year.”
“Then again, all the competitions take place in Alaska and northern Canada, so the travel expenses would be relatively low. And you can probably get sponsors to give you dog food, so that takes care of another $10,000 in expenses. So given the low cost of living in the regions where these folks live, I guess they can get by pretty well on fifty grand.”
It doesn’t shock me this guy makes less than I do. It doesn’t shock me this guy looks like his nuts are frozen to his leg. What shocks me is how does this guy get this much press coverage? There’s nine people trying to get some video or a sound bite off of this guy, and those are just the ones you can see. Either this sport is more popular than we ever imagined, or every single person in Nome, Alaska really needs fresh blog content.
2) Joey Chestnut – Major League Eating: $218,500
“Is competitive eating a sport? My instinct says not, but ESPN says yes. And who am I to argue with ESPN?”
“In any case, I was absolutely shocked to learn than you can make this much money by making a complete ass out of yourself on a regular basis. But hey, whatever floats your boat, Joey Chestnut.”
First of all, this is just f–king disgusting. Looking at that, you can just hear the diabetes. This guy must thank God everyday for the Heimlich maneuver.
1) Phil Taylor – Darts: $1,044,000
“British darts champ Phil Taylor made a million bucks in 2010. That just blows my mind. Who knew spending too much time at the pub could become so lucrative?”
We may have found the first guy with a seven-figure income who couldn’t get laid in a women’s prison if he had a fistful of keys. Want to know why? Remember the earlier comment about the guy who brings his own pool cue to the bar? He’s one notch up from the guy who brings his own darts.
Sure, I know it’s all about baseball, and I know I just wrote a rant asking this guy to kill himself, which is why after you see this picture, you simply cannot want to see success by the Brewers.
That’s right, today brings us a “Hate Brett Favre” double-feature. The worst part is after we saw this picture, we weren’t sure if that was Favre or longtime REAL brewer Geoff Jenkins.
Whether it’s stocks, fantasy baseball, or the real thing, trading can be a dangerous proposition. There’s no guarantee that the deal will work; only time will tell whether your investment pays off or whether you get to sell you blood to make the rent this month.
But, one thing that is certain; where there’s trading there’s bleeding, and nothing draws the sharks like blood in the water. Since we here at Dubsism are at the same time not willing to wait for two years to see who the bleeders are and stuck in the middle of the Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week,” we’ve decided to give the rating of winners and losers a bit of a “swim with the sharks” twist.
Great White Shark: San Francisco Giants
Key additions: SS Orlando Cabrera, 2B Jeff Keppinger, OF Carlos Beltran
Last season, the Giants were the Remora on this list. It is only fitting that a team makes such a jump up considering the city is located on a peninsula the Spanish named “Tiburon;” their word for “shark.” The Giants pitching staff is so dominant that any addition of offense makes them the apex predator in a seven-game series.
Tiger Shark: Texas Rangers
Key Additions: RHP Kohji Uehara, RHP Mike Adams
The one thing the Rangers needed was pitching. Since there really wasn’t a big-time starter available, the Rangers seriously upgraded their bullpen. This team now matches up favorably against anybody in the American League.
Bull Shark: Pittsburgh Pirates
Key Additions: 1B Derrek Lee, OF Ryan Ludwick
Yeah, I know, I can’t believe I’m writing about the Pirates in August. Bull sharks are notorious for conducting the most attacks on humans; the Pirates in recent history have committed the most atrocities against baseball. The Bucs have been a bottom-feeder for nearly two decades, and even if they swim into a gill net and finish the season as baseball’s equivalent of waste at the tuna cannery, it won’t be because they didn’t give an honest effort.
Mako Shark: Atlanta Braves
Key Additions: OF Michael Bourn
This is a case of a shark that is the fastest in the sea, and a seriously feared predator. If the Braves can stay healthy, the addition of a serious speed threat on the base paths mean Atlanta could easily blow past somebody.
Hammerhead Shark: Philadelphia Phillies
Key Additions: OF Hunter Pence
For the second year in a row, the Phillies are this odd, flat-headed creature. Just looking at a hammerhead, one gets the idea they are completely bereft of the ability to see either forward or backward. With some foresight, they might have seen that losing Jayson Werth would leave their line-up both far too-left-handed and with no protection for Ryan Howard. However, this move solves a part of that problem; another rightie bat in the Phils’ line-up and/or a good bullpen guy would make them the most complete team in baseball.
Blacktip Reef Shark: Arizona Diamondbacks
Key Additions: RHP Brad Ziegler, RHP Jason Marquis
Timid and skittish, the blacktip reef shark seldom poses a danger in the National League West. And yet, this is the second time the D-Backs find themselves in this spot. They find themselves here largely because two trades they made last year, and one they didn’t make this year.
This team entered 2011 looking like they needed to swim into a gill net and hope for a better lot in the next life. But in last year’s Dan Haren deal alone, they unloaded $30 million in salary while getting four pitchers in return, including Joe Saunders, a not-that-long-ago former All-Star. When you add how they fleeced the White Sux for the perenially shaky Edwin Jackson (whose since been dealt twice), the D-backs boast an organization with nine of the top 80 picks from the 2009 draft. After all that, stop and think where this team might be if they had traded Justin Upton.
Stingray: Cleveland Indians
Key Additions: OF Kosuke Fukudome, RHP Ubaldo Jimenez
Much like nobody expected a guy who wrestled crocodiles and handled deadly snakes to meet his maker via a swimming carpet, anybody who saw the Indians as a buyer at the deadline is either a visionary or full of shit. Not to mention, the Indians should get a mention for bringing up Jason Kipnis, who it seems hit about sixty home runs last week.
Nurse Shark: Boston Red Sox
Key Additions: LHP Erik Bedard, RHP Josh Fields
Much like a nurse shark is a large fearsome looking creature that actually has the aggression level of Mickey Mouse on valium, the Red Sox look like a contender until you take a hard look at them. Seriously, once you look past that gawdy offense, you see right away this team has a pitching staff that is smoke and mirrors show in an intensive care unit. Granted, Josh Beckett seems to finally found a way to not suck, Lester is trying his hardest not to suck, but there’s a big drop-off after that…Tim Wakefield? John Lackey? Could somebody in Red Sawwwx nation be sure to let me know when the funerals for Daisuke Matsuzaka, Rich Hill, Bobby Jenks, and Clay Buchholz will be?
To that train wreck, the BoSox only add a questionable big-league starter who had given up 11 earned runs in his last 13 innings pitched before the trade, and a guy who is sporting an ERA over 6.00 in Triple-A.
At least the Yankees can’t pitch either.
Skate: Cincinnati Reds
Key Additions: OF Bill Rhinehart, LHP Chris Manno
Much like the skate is hardly a shark, the Reds are hardly a contender. Granted, they have the reigning MVP in Joey Votto, and they have a Cy Young contender in Johnny Cueto (yeah, I can’t believe I just wrote that either). The problem is that’s only a pair in a poker hand that need three-of-a-kind at best to win.
The Reds really could have addressed some needs; every other team trying to win this shit heap of a division did so. Instead, the played the role of bottom feeder by trading an under-performer in Jonny Gomes for two serious “maybe in a few years” types. This is just another reason why the Reds in their current configuration never should be taken seriously.
Dogfish: Detroit Tigers
Key Additions: RHP Doug Fister, RHP David Pauley, 3B Wilson Betemit
Yeah, I get the pseudo-irony of a team with a decidedly feline mascot being slapped with the Dogfish, but let’s be honest…two of the three guys they acquired are dogs. Doug Fister might be a serviceable #3-#4 guy in a rotation, but who knows what Pauley is, and Betemit just plain sucks.
Remora: St. Louis Cardinals
Key Additions: RHP Octavio Dotel, RHP Edwin Jackson, LHP Marc Rzepczynski, SS Rafael Furcal, OF Corey Patterson
Yeah, we know a remora isn’t a shark, but you can’t watch Shark Week without seeing one. If you aren’t familiar, a remora is one of those little fish that just hangs around, cleaning up whatever bits the big sharks leave behind. Lots of other sharks had a major feeding, and the Cards sucked up a lot of remnants.
Bathtub Toy Shark: Milwaukee Brewers
Key Additions: IF/OF Jerry Hairston, Jr., RHP Francisco Rodriguez
A 35-year old utility player who hits .250 with no power, and an over-priced and possibly washed-up reliever. At least these type decisions are right at home in the NL Central.
The Chum Bucket: Los Angeles Angels & New York Yankees
Just as you would expect, this would a a mish-mash of the assorted pieces left over from those who really didn’t figure out what the trade game is all about. For example, the Los Angeles Angels did NOTHING despite the fact they desperately need another bat.
As far as New York is concerned, re-read the above paragraph and replace the word “Angels” with “Yankees,” and replace the word “bat” with the phrase “solid starting pitcher.”
The Idiot Who Gets Bitten Because He’s an Idiot:
Again, this is something that no Shark Week would be complete without. You’ve all seen this guy, usually a fisherman who while trying to retrieve a 40-cent hook somehow forgets that even small sharks have mouths full of razor-sharp teeth that make an exceptionally efficient finger-removal tool.
Welcome to the world of the Houston Astros, a team who last year actually gave the Yankees, a.k.a. the richest team in baseball $4 million to put Lance Berkman in pinstripes, and this year proceeded to have a fire sale of such proportions that the Astros may lose 100 games a season for the next half-decade.