Now that 2010 is in the books, it is time to recognize some truly great achievements in the world of sport that may otherwise go unnoticed. With that, I give you the 2010 Dubsy Awards.
The Mickey Klutts Award for Unfortunate Naming
Winner: Gregor Fucka
I don’t care if he’s almost 40 years old, an NBA team needs to bring Fucka to North America. Fucka is a 7’1″ center/forward who most recently played with Fortitudo Bologna in the Italian League. But this isn’t about talent, this is about all the great nicknames and headlines that a name like Fucka would bring. You know you would be lining up for you “Mean Mutha Fucka” T-shirt.
The Bobby KnightAward for Achievements in Dramatic Public Meltdowns
Winner: Lou Piniella
This award may have been the closest vote amongst the staff here at Dubsism, but in the end Cubs manager Lou Pinella prevailed for his tirade about White Sox broadcaster Steve Stone. In all honesty, Lou won over several qualified nominees because Lou not only raised the bar by calling out a fellow player who moved onto another facet of the game, he did so by producing another Pinella gem of a meltdown. Sure, he wasn’t chucking second base into the outfield or kicking dirt on an umpire, but it was classic Lou as only Lou can do.
Winner: Alphie the Wolf
What would make a perfect mascot for a team named the Aces? Well, if you are in Reno, the answer is a Grimace rip-off and a low-rent wolf borrowed from the local university who is headed for a workmen’s compensation claim.
The Budd Dwyer Award for Excellence in Career Suicide
Winner: Dan Hawkins
What do you call a coach who racked up a record of 19-39 over five seasons, never won more than six games in a season, never won a bowl game, and asked for a raise? A) Not likely to keep his job, and B) not likely to get another job.
Kyle Ringo of the The BOULDER (CO) DAILY CAMERA reports that Hawkins, who is under contract until 2012 and has gone 16-33 in his career at CU – 3-9 last season – recently confirmed on the record that he had requested a contract extension.
In a meeting of head coaches in the Colorado athletic department earlier this summer, a senior staff member asked the Buffs` head football coach if there was one thing the department could do to help his program succeed this season, what would it be? Multiple sources in the room that day told the Camera Hawkins responded by saying the school could give him a contract extension.
Nearly as stunning as his tone deaf request was Hawkins confirming the conversation on the record. Hawkins confirmed the story after practice Wednesday. When asked why he chose to answer the question the way he did, he said, “Just the continuity, stability.”
When Ringo cited the fact that Hawkins still had three years left on his contract, Hawkins said, “To some degree. But you`re talking to recruits and guys on your team and all that kind of stuff.” Ringo reported that in response to the request, Colorado Athletic Director Mike Bohn indicated, “he hasn’t had any discussions with Hawkins about an extension and there are no plans for such a discussion.”
Bohn quote: “Speculation about coach`s tenure is always a delicate issue.Our process involving approval from the chancellor followed by approval from the Board of Regents is well documented, and I have great confidence and respect for our long-term contracts. We support Dan and we will evaluate him and the football program at the end of the season just as we do with all of our coaches.”
That response is almost worthy of an award of its own for pure diplomacy, considering it was widely reported last year that Hawkins went over Bohn’s head to the school chancellor and board of regents to save his job after a 3-9 2009 season. But the last straw had to be after not having won a road game in nearly three years, the Buffaloes blew a 45-17 lead in only 12 minutes against the uber-crappy Kansas Jayhawks.
The Ed Hochuli Award for the Best Call
Winner: The guy holding the sign
Honorable Mention: Houston Astros field reporter Amy What’s-Her-Name for nicknaming this guy “Bo the Bailer.” Honestly, we’ve been big fans of Amy’s ever since she was accosted on live television by Jim Deshaies’ dad. We just wish we could remember her name.
The Jason Sehorn Award for Being Completely Overrated
Co-Winners: Tim Tebow and LeBron James
These two guys are really two sides of the same coin; that coin being having never accomplished anything at the professional level. Tim Tebow became the the most sold jersey before he ever took an NFL snap, and the only thing LeBron has ever done to this point is make the Cleveland Cavaliers not suck for a few brief years. Even now, Tebow is a rookie quarterback on a lousy team that isn’t likely to not be lousy anytime soon, and LeBron is a star, but in a dying league. Yet they both draw a monstrously inordinate amount of attention.
The Clinton-Nixon Award for Cover-Up Futility
Winner: Mike Garrett
Let’s face it…As the USC athletic director, Garrett’s attempt to make us all think Rome wasn’t burning was about as successful as the original attempt, minus the violin. It became very apparent early on that the whole Reggie Bush – OJ Mayo thing was going to become a monstrous problem. It is one thing to slip a kid some cash or even a car, but when you are buying houses for parents, that’s a bit harder to maintain the “discreet” factor at a level that won’t have the NCAA parachuting into your parking lot. The “smoking gun moment” came when head coach Pete Carroll skulked out of town Irsay-like in the middle of the night for the Seattle Seahawks’ job despite the fact he had already failed twice as an NFL coach.
The Charles O. Finley Award for Achievements in Cheap
Winner: The Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates made nearly $29.4 million in 2007 and 2008, according to team financial documents, years that were part of a streak of futility that has now reached 18 consecutive losing seasons. The team’s ownership also paid its partners $20.4 million in 2008. The documents offer a rare peek inside a team that made money by getting slightly less than half its income (about $70 million) from MLB sources — including revenue sharing, network TV, major league merchandise sales and MLB’s website. The team also held down costs, keeping player salaries near the bottom of the National League, shedding pricier talent and hoping that untested prospects would blossom. By 2010, the Pirates had baseball’s lowest opening-day payroll; $34.9 million or just $2 million more than in 1992, the club’s last winning season. It’s no coincidence the Pirates run of consecutive losing seasons is now the worst in the history of major American pro sports teams.
The Joe Kapp Award for Being Run Out of Town
Winner: Ralph Friedgen
Named in honor of the former NFL quarterback who was made the highest-paid player in the league by the then-Boston Patriots in 1970, only to be literally locked out of training camp the following season. This is an honor bestowed upon someone who gets the “bum’s rush” despite success. This year’s winner took a 2-10 Maryland club to a 9-4 mark, including a convincing bowl win over East Carolina. For his trouble, he was both named ACC Coach of the Year and fired.
The Bobby Layne Award for Best Performance While Drunk
Winner: Pat McAfee
Despite the fact they barely got under the wire into the playoffs, this has not been a good year for the Indianapolis Colts. First, there was the choke job in the Super Bowl by franchise quarterback “Fetushead” Manning. Then there has been the rash of injuries that reduced the Colts to the Ponies. But nothing tops having the Indianapolis police fish your drunken punter out of a canal.
McAfee seemed to be taking advantage of the Colts’ bye week by getting good and hammered, then taking a refreshing dip in an Indianapolis city canal. He had difficulty explaining to police why he was completely wet and half-naked as he stood in a popular neighborhood primarily known for its nightlife; other than “I am drunk.” The cops said that McAfee’s blood-alcohol content level was 0.15, when McAfee was taken into custody around 5 a.m. It seems McAfee was so bombed when police arrived, McAfee reportedly told them that he was waiting for a friend to come get him, but then told the officers that he was planning on taking a taxi home, and on story number three said he was walking home. That was when Indianapolis police decided the decision shouldn’t be left up to McAfee, so they arrested him. It also seems McAfee was so drunk that they had to help him stand up and take the the breathalyzer test; police became aware of the situation when they recieved a 911 call from a frantic woman, who said that a shirtless man approached her car. The woman apparently thought that McAfee was trying to get in her car, so she ran a red light and dropped a dime on McAfee.
The Artis Gilmore Award for Achievements in Hair Boldness
Winner: Troy Polamalu
This is a category that is never, ever short of qualified nominees, but the clear choice has to be Troy Polamalu, if for no other reason he has broken a barrier by introducing us to hair insurance.
The Kyle Orton Award for Achievements in Partying
Winner: Tim Lincecum
A major part of winning this award is building a solid reputation as a party animal. Lots of people get busted for possession of a little weed; and Dock Ellis broke the “pitching while wasted” barrier. But when you are on the cover of Sports Illustrated blasting champagne, you were picked because everybody knows you can party. Let’s be honest, that SI cover just ain’t working with Joe Paterno on it.
The Vinko Bogotaj Award For Epic Failure
Winner: Dee Dee Jernigan
Again, this is a category literally dripping with outstanding and well-deserving contenders. But to take home an award as prestigious as a Dubsy, you must set yourself apart in your category. Honestly, there really can’t be another winner than Xavier’s Dee Dee Jernigan. There is almost nothing more fundamental in basketball than a lay-up, and there can’t be anymore of a monumental failure than Jernigan’s bricking 2 undefended lay-ups in less than 12 seconds to cost her team a trip to the Womens’ Final Four.
The Gene Mauch Lifetime Achievement Award
Winner: Bud Grant
This award is given annually to somebody who has been around forever, but never won anything. This year, we finally got around to the legendary Minnesota Vikings head coach, who was notorious for banning heaters at outdoor games in Minnesota and forbidding players to have contact with their wives the night before a game. He’s the only guy in both the Canadian and American football Halls of Fame, but he’s also 0-4 in Super Bowls, which is why he so richly deserves this award.
After announcing that his retirement originally scheduled for the end of this season was moving up to today, it is time to give Lou Piniella the send-off he richly deserves. 18 years as a player, 23 years as a manager, three World Series rings; his 1,835 wins as a manager rank him behind only Tony LaRussa, Bobby Cox, and Joe Torre (three lead-pipe cinch Hall-of-Famers) for active managers, and ranks him ahead of Hall-of-Famers Tommy Lasorda, Dick Williams, and Clark Griffith. As a player, Piniella was the American League Rookie of the Year for 1969, and while he wouldn’t make Cooperstown from his efforts on the field, he’d certainly make the Hall of Pretty Damn Good.
With that, I would like to offer the Dubsism version of the Dean Martin Roast, the photo retrospective known as the File Dump.
Lou was known to be a tad bit excitable. During his time as a Yankee, he developed a warm loving relationship with Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk. During a 1976 match, Piniella slid hard into Fisk, who bluntly expressed his displeasure, and the love fest began.
Mr. Piniella, you were a pleasure to watch both on the field and in the dugout and baseball fans everywhere owe you a sincere tip of the cap and a wish that your retirement offers you as much enjoyment as your career gave us.
Usually this takes until some time in August, or in a “good” year on the North Side we may get to an even more painful collapse in October, but for 2010, its official!
The Chicago Cubs are dead. They are as of today 11 games out of first place, they have as good a chance of catching the Wild Card as Osama Bin Laden does of joining the B’nai Brith, Lou Piniella is retiring so that he doesn’t get fired, Derrek Lee is rumored to be on the trading block, and their 90-million dollar pitcher is a major league headcase.
In other words, 2010 just becomes another typical year of Wrigley-based failure; the 102nd consecutive year the World Series remains thankfully Cub-free.
Oh, by the way, Carlos Zambrano is now probably available if you need a cancer in your clubhouse…more on that later.
Ok, Chicago, we here at Dubsism tried to warn you that a disaster was coming in Wrigley Field. The warning signs were all there. First, it was Milton “M-Bomb” Bradley talking smack from the safety of the west coast. Then it was manager Lou Piniella getting into a urinating contest with White Sox color man Steve Stone. And letting the most hated company in America sponsor your Crosstown Cup was just begging for trouble.
Now you got trouble, right there in Windy City; trouble that starts with Z, and that rhymes with P, which stands for the pitcher-turned-volcano known as Carlos Zambrano who finally erupted in the Cubs dugout. Naturally, this effectively shatters any illusions of the Cubs’ having unity, cohesion, or any other redeeming quality usually associated with winning teams.
Of course, to try and mitigate the damage, Zambrano has been suspended indefinitely, which usually means “his ass is on the way out the door.” Now, who would want this mental case who happens to be in the middle of a 5-year, $90+ million contract is anybody’s guess. After all, the Cubs love this sort of deal, but they already have him. In fact, the only other organization we can think of that would love a big-money, big waistline non-performer is the Oakland Raiders.
For those of you who had Friday, June 11th in the “Day Lou Piniella finally snaps and has one of his signature meltdowns,” please step forward to collect your money. Frankly, given the escalating level of Lou’s blood pressure during those every-day press conferences, you had to see this one coming.
As usual, it is June and the Cubs are underachieving. Cubs’ manager Lou Piniella has been taking sniper fire from the media for weeks now, particularly about why rookie Tyler Colvin isn’t playing every day when the anemic Cubbie offense could use his .290 average with six homers and 16 RBIs he’s posted despite limited playing time. Well, when White Sox broadcaster Steve Stone said to Comcast SportsNet that Colvin should be playing regularly (a subject he has been rather outspoken on, by the way), Lou hit the International Enough Line, and “pop went the weasel.”
“We’ve got a lot of people here that haven’t managed and won any games in the big leagues that know everything. I think they should try to put the uniform on and try this job, and see how they like it when they get criticized unjustly. That’s all I’ve got to say about that issue.”
But, as is Lou’s proclivity, that wasn’t all he had to say.
“And another thing I’m going to say—I won over 1,800 games as a manager, and I’m not a damn dummy. That, I can tell you. OK? There are only 13 others that have won more games than me, so I guess I think I know what the hell I’m doing. All right? Steve Stone, he’s got enough problems doing what he does with the White Sox. What job has he had in baseball besides talking on television or radio?” Piniella asked. “What has he done? Why isn’t he a farm director and bring some kids around? Why isn’t he a general manager? Why hasn’t he ever put the uniform on and been a pitching coach? Why hasn’t he been a field manager? There’s 30 teams out there that could use a guy’s expertise like that, you know? I’m tired of some of these guys, I really am.”
Naturally, Stone had a response to Piniella’s rant.
“It was an observance and when you need to have a front-office job to make an observance about baseball, there’s going to be nobody working in baseball. None of you media guys are going to be working in baseball because then you can’t say anything because you’ve never been in the front office. That might be one of the dumber things he’s said.”
If you are having a “Deja Vu” moment here, you are having it honestly. Stone is a great TV guy because he is willing to speak his mind. Stone was once the Cubs’ color analyst until 2004 when he left after publicly sparring with then-manager Dusty Baker as the team pulled their usual late-season collapse.
Granted, this evolved into a whole “back-and-forth” bit; the Chicago Tribune offers more detail on this pissing contest. However, if there were ever an award for saying “Fuck You” without actually speaking the words, it ought to go to Steve Stone.
“I think Lou conveniently forgets that I was one of the champions for him to get the job when a lot of people wanted Joe Girardi at that time.”
Suck on that, Louie.