For the first time since Ronald Reagan’s first term as president, spring training has opened without Jamie Moyer in somebody’s camp.
Every spring since 1984, Jamie Moyer was toeing the slab for a major or minor league squad. But at age 50, this might finally be the end of the road. Last year at this time, Moyer was considered an important component of the Colorado Rockies starting rotation. At first, Moyer pitched well in Denver; he became the oldest pitcher to post a major league win. Moyer posted a 2-5 mark with a 5.70 ERA in 10 starts before the Rockies designated him for assignment.
After Colorado, Moyer signed with the Baltimore Orioles, who assigned him to Triple-A Norfolk. The trouble came when after Moyer pitched well in the minors, it became clear the Orioles weren’t committed to calling up Moyer for their play-off run. steam),” said Moyer. That prompted Moyer to ask for his release, which the Orioles granted.
The next stop for the Moyer train was signing with the Toronto Blue Jays, who then assigned him to their Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas. Things didn’t go so well in Las Vegas; in two starts Moyer got lit up for He allowed 17 hits, including three home runs, in 11 innings. His stint in Las Vegas ended with Moyer tallying one win, one loss, and an 8.18 ERA. This time, Moyer didn’t have to ask for his release.
Tyler Raborn from Sports Righting.com was right…he said I would be updating this map regularly, and not even a week later, here we are. Now that Louisville is the latest defection from the Big East, several new factors have come into play.
1) Don’t look now, but the ACC seems to be interested in making in-roads into SEC territory. Kentucky joins Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina as states split between the SEC and the ACC.
2) The Big East is in it’s death throes as a major conference. It might as well just merge with Conference USA at this point.
3) Which conference is going to be the first to move into the vast expanse of Unconquered Territory? We still consider Boise State to be available, because you know they are going to bail on the Big East just like TCU did. Not to mention,
Mormon Notre Dame BYU is still in play as well, much like pretty much anybody in the Mountain West Conference, unless it manages to reform as a serious competitor to the Big 12.
What is all boils down to is we are clearly on a march to a college football world with four uber-conferences. It just a question of which of the five shown on this map will be the next to meet the fate of the Big East?
The other important question: How long before we are updating this map yet again?
Do you remember the board game Risk? If you don’t there’s really something wrong with you. Anyway, with the continuing re-alignment of college football conferences, it occurred to Mrs. Dubsism that the college football world is beginning to resemble a Risk map.
Now that Rutgers and Maryland have opted for the Big Ten, New Jersey and Maryland become B1G blue. Syracuse and Pittsburgh heading into the ACC puts the Empire state in ACC teal, and splits Pennsylvania with the Big Ten.
Given the splits you see on the map, and given that re-alignment isn’t over, what will be the next shoe to drop?
Apologies in advance for the “Mothership“- style lead, but this question came up in a conversation and I really think it has some probative value.
At first it sounds ridiculous, but if you stop to think about it, no matter what you think of Derek Jeter and the Yankees, there’s really no question that the current Yankee captain is headed for the Hall of Fame and the Yankee’s Monument Park. Having said that, it seems logical to wonder where does Jeter rank amongst those Yankees of yore?
First of all, this is about everyday players, not pitchers. Let ESPN try to convince you that Andy Pettitte is the greatest Yankee pitcher ever because he won the most post-season games.
Secondly, this list only considers players who spent at minimum something at least close to half their careers in pinstripes. That’s why there’s no Reggie Jackson on this list. To make the list of ten finalists, both myself and Dick Marple, the Chairman of the Dubsism Advisory Board compiled a list of who we thought could be considered as the greatest Yankees ever.
Third, and most importantly, don’t forget that both J-Dub and Marple are avowed haters of all things Yanqui. But the question has been asked on several other outlets, and so we felt it necessary to settle it.
- Babe Ruth
- Lou Gehrig
- Mickey Mantle
- Joe DiMaggio
- Yogi Berra
- Derek Jeter *
- Robinson Cano**
- Bill Dickey
- Don Mattingly
- Tie – Earle Combs, Tommy Henrich, Bob Meusel, Tony Lazzeri, Phil Rizzuto
* Shoot me now. I really do want to see him die on the field after being struck by lightning.
** Could end up as high as 6 or even 5-if he stays healthy, stays in NY and doesn’t turn into a total asshole.
*** Can’t vote for anyone who became a Y because of their economic advantage over other teams who discovered talent. Therefore no A-Rod, Dave Winfield, or Reggie Jackson.
****Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but I liked Bernie Williams as a player and fantasy league guy, but I just don’t think he was a big impact player.
Editor’s note: It should be noted that less than 48 hours after we posed this question to Mr. Marple, Jeter shattered his ankle.
- Babe Ruth
- Lou Gehrig
- Mickey Mantle
- Derek Jeter
- Joe DiMaggio
- Tie -Alex Rodriguez, Bill Dickey
- Yogi Berra
- Dave Winfield
- Don Mattingly
- Bernie Williams
From those lists, a list of ten finalists was assembled. Here’s the synopsis on those finalists, presented in alphabetical order:
1) Yogi Berra:
No single player in baseball history has more World Series rings than Yogi Berra. Having played 18 seasons as a Yankee, Yogi played in 14 World Series and won 10 of them, making him the winning champion in Major League Baseball history.
Berra was a fan favorite; he was one of the most beloved players in all of New York sports history. To this day he is an icon to Yankee fans everywhere, largely because he was one of the greatest catchers of all time. Berra hit 358 home runs and knocked in 1,430 RBIs. He won three MVP titles, including back-to-back awards in 1954 and 1955. He also played in 15 consecutive All-Star games.
2) Joe DiMaggio:
DiMaggio is obviously one of the greatest hitters of all time; his greatest achievement being his legendary 56-game hitting streak, which is believed by many to be an unbreakable record. A three-time MVP, DiMaggio hit .325 with 361 home runs and 1,537 RBI. Unfortunately, his career was interrupted by WWII, his military service took three years out of his baseball career.
In 13 seasons as a Yankee, DiMaggio won nine World Series championships, and he was an All-Star in every season of his career. However,
3) Lou Gehrig:
Lou Gehrig was often over-shadowed by the monstrous numbers of Babe Ruth, but make no mistake…Gehrig was one of the all-time greats in all of baseball all on his own. Gehrig hit 493 home runs and drove in 1,995 runs while scoring 1,888 runs himself. He had a .340 career average with 2,721 hits over his 17 seasons as a Yankee. He won two MVP awards and played in only seven All-Star games, but you have to remember the All-Star game wasn’t around until Gehrig’s last seven seasons.
4) Derek Jeter:
Before his ankle injury the other night, Derek Jeter was considered by many to be the next player to be able to reach 4,000 hits. Regardless of what happens regarding the rest of his career, Jeter has become as much of a Yankee icon as any other on this list.
Of all the accomplished players on this list, Jeter is the only member of the 3,000 hit club. He was named the 11th captain of the Yankees in 2003, making him the first since Don Mattingly retired in 1995.
Jeter also holds several Yankee franchise record, including most hits and plate appearances, most games played, and stolen bases.
5) Don Mattingly:
The 1985 MVP, Mattingly played his entire career with the Yankees and was the captain of the team from 1991 through the end of his career in 1995. Unlike the other players on this list, Mattingly played in a down for the Bronx Bombers. Despite his individual success, the team did not endure the same success. The 1980s were the only decade so far in which the Yankees did not win a World Series title.
6) Mickey Mantle:
“The Mick” was the end of a line of legendary Yankee heroes, from Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, through Joe DiMaggio, and to the end of his career. No one was there to pick up where Mantle left off in the late ’60s and the Yankees went into a World Series drought, not winning one from 1962 till 1977. Mantle belted 536 home runs with 1,509 RBI, while scoring 1,677 runs, and was arguable the greatest switch-hitter of all time.
7) Alex Rodriguez:
Forget about the steroid thing for a minute…of you are a regular reader of this blog, you know what I think of the whole steroid issue. Alex Rodriguez is one of the greatest players of all-time, regardless of how the writers and the other self-appointed steroid moralists care to view him. To date, he has 2,901 hits, 647 home runs and 1.950 RBIs.
8) Babe Ruth:
It’s pretty hard to argue that Babe Ruth is not the greatest player to ever wear the pinstripes. Before he became a Yankee, Ruth was a pitcher for the Red Sox who had a record of 89-46 with a 2.19 ERA.
Then the Yankees figured out he might be able to hit. Over his 15 seasons in the Bronx, Babe Ruth hit 659 home runs, had 1,971 RBI, scored 1,959 runs, walked 1,852 times, and hit .349. That pretty much says it all.
9) Bernie Williams:
Bernie Williams played his entire 16-season career in pinstripes and was a key member to the recent dynasty years, winning four World Series titles with the Yankees. Williams hit .297 with 287 home runs and 1,257 RBI. He also scored 1,366 runs and had 2,336 hits. His 449 doubles ranks third on the Yankees all-time list. He appeared in five straight All-Star games and won four Gold Gloves.
10) Dave Winfield:
At 6’6″ Winfield was a giant of a man, but he was also a true “five-tool” player athlete who never spent a day in the Minor Leagues. While Winfield played for six major league teams in 22 seasons, the prime years of his career were spent in New York. Like Mattingly, Winfield earned six All-Star appearances with some pretty bad Yankee teams of the 1980′s.
If you are more of a numbers guys, compare the career stats of the ten finalists.
To remove the skew for guys like Winfield and Rodriguez who didn’t play there entire careers in New York, compare what the average single-season numbers for these players are.
Note that Jeter compares favorably with DiMaggio in hits and doubles, and leads in stolen bases.
So, having considered all that, where does Derek Jeter fit in terms of all-time Yankee greats?
So, it seems that our long national nightmare is over. No, it’s not anything important like the war in Afghanistan (forgot about that, didn’t ya?). Today, America is rejoicing over the fact that we are getting back the shitty union NFL referees to replace the ever-shittier replacement referees.
We all saw what a sham this turned out to be. Some of us were pointing this out after Week 1. But it took a debacle to happen on national television robbing one of the most popular teams in the league to get any action to resolve this mess. Some of us predicted that a month before the season started…and we knew exactly why as well.
It should a huge indicator what a flaming asshole Roger Goodell is when I (who happens to be exceptionally anti-union) have some empathy for the referees. Just look at how the NFL put a strong-arm job on the players, which just happens to be the one union that matters to the NFL. The league learned the hard way in 1987 that people won’t watch a game full of replacement players, but they are gambling that you won’t care about scab referees. Therefore, you can bet the NFL will put the long, unlubricated, Turkish-prison-style rape-job to the referees…
…Ever since the advent of free-agency, the scum-bag role has been reserved for the unions. Roger Goodell’s level of assholery has managed to reverse that polarity. Worse yet, he has political cover for now; it’s going to take a train-wreck of monstrous proportions by the replacement refs for the locked-out officials to get public sentiment on their side. Until that happens, Kommissar Goodell holds all the cards.
Well, well, well…looky what happened. Granted, another blown call pales in comparison to the tragedy it took to end the last NFL-Referees labor stoppage…
The most recent labor agreement between the referees and the NFL expired May 31, and the zebras got locked out three days later, right after the NFL broke off a marathon negotiating session with a federal mediator. This is the same tactic the NFL used to strong-arm the players, with the league upping the ante by hiring replacement officials to work the exhibition season and possibly the regular season.
As ugly as the lockout with the players got, the NFL never brought in scabs, having learned the aforementioned lesson in 1987. That lesson didn’t carry over to the last dispute with the referees. The NFL used replacements briefly in 2001 during the exhibition season and for the first week the regular season. Then came Tuesday, September 11th. In the aftermath, the league and the union figured out that not doing everything within their power to help America “get back to normal” would have been a cataclysmic approach.
…but it seems that when Kommissar Goodell gets 70,00 angry voice-mails, the blow-dries at ESPN who usually line up to lap up his ginger-spooge turn on him, and even President Potato-Head weighed in (another thing I told you would happen), it is time to abandon the union-busting plan and admit defeat.
Make no mistake, anything short of making the union referees crawl is an unmitigated loss for the Kommissar and the NFL owners. Which is exactly why the apology issued by the Kommissar today rings about as hollow as a half-deflated beach ball.
Commissioner Roger Goodell has apologized to the fans who fretted through three weeks of replacement officials calling their favorite teams’ games.
“Obviously when you go through something like this, it’s painful for everybody. Most importantly, it’s painful for fans,” he said on a conference call Thursday, about 12 hours after the league reached a deal to bring back the regular officials.
So, now he gives a shit about the fans. In other news, Goodell only wants to put the tip in, and he will still respect me in the morning…
Bullshit, you have a call on the white courtesy phone…but it gets better.
“We’re sorry to have to put fans through that,” Goodell said. “Sometimes you have to go through something like that in the short term for the right agreement for the long term.”
Uh huh. Both regular Dubsism collaborator Ryan Meehan and I hit on this before as well, and nothing has changed in the last seven weeks.
J-Dub: Whatever happens, the reality of the situation is quite clear: Football will take place regardless of who is wearing the stripes. As long as you keep watching, the NFL couldn’t give a shit less about the quality of the product they are putting on the field. Face it. They’ve already got you paying full price to watch pre-season games loaded with guys who will be loading trucks at UPS next week.
Meehan: He’s [J-Dub] right, and there’s nothing you can do about it. However, I do believe that if the quality of the NFL’s product begins to dip, the sports fans that are real die hards will begin to make their voices heard and criticize it to greater lengths. But even then…BAAAAAAAAA…
I know this starting sound a bit “nah nah nah boo boo,” I told you so,” but the real point here is that when the Kommissar promised you he would only put the tip in, he didn’t tell that meant it would be in the back of your throat after he grabbed your hips and rammed it there from the back way.
During this process, Goodell never once gave a shit about the fans, until they showed up at the gates of the NFL castle, complete with their torches and pitchforks. The following blatant lie proves that.
Goodell insisted the two sides were already in “intense negotiations” the last two weeks and that the Monday night mess was not a major factor in completing a deal. “It may have pushed the parties along,” he said.
Let’s see…the two sides weren’t even talking to each other on Monday, the Monday Night Fiasco happens, and by Thursday we have a deal in priciple…”may have,” my ass. The Kommissar and the owners panicked, and for good reason.
However, in true Goodell form, that isn’t the biggest dick-move he pulls in his so-called apology; he goes full-on Level 10 Dick when he defends the replacement referees by throwing the union guys under the NFL bus.
But he dismissed assertions that the presence of replacement officials increased the chances an egregious mistake would occur. Goodell repeatedly reminded reporters that the regular officials have botched plenty of calls over the years.
Let’s translate that, shall we? “Sure, I know the replacement guys that I forced on you with no training or resources, the ones I figured you wouldn’t give a damn about, the same ones who fucked things up so publicly that there was no choice but to end this fiasco on terms I didn’t want…but, hey, don’t forget the regular refs suck dog balls, too.”
There’s only two types of guys who would say something like that before the union he’s just insulted has even voted; an idiot, or an unconscionable dick? Which is Goodell? You be the judge.
The feel-good story of the 2012 baseball season appears to be over, and for all the new ground Jamie Moyer broke in his quest fighting Father Time, ironically what may be the end of the road set yet another milestone, On Wednesday, Moyer became the oldest player to be designated for assignment.
We here at Dubsism have been following Jamie Moyer since before his nearly-miraculous recovery from Tommy John surgery at age 49; we’ve been trumpeting the Moyer story for two years now, when Moyer was still an effective fifth starter for the Philadelphia Phillies. Check out this graphic from 2010 when there was a point in time when a legitimate case could be made that Moyer was as valuable pitcher as two-time defending Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum.
Even today, the day Moyer was designated for assignment, Moyer’s ERA is 5.70; Lincecum’ s is 6.41.
Over the last few months we’ve watched the “johnny-come-latelies” descend on this story, and why shouldn’t they? It was a fun, if not inspirational story; as a guy closer to 45 than 35, I was pulling for Moyer. It wasn’t just because he’s six years my senior and still pitching in the major leagues. It wasn’t just because Moyer seemed to set a record every time he took the mound. He was the oldest player to record a win. He was the oldest player to drive in a run. He was the oldest player to score a run. Moyer just seemed like a guy who kept going out there because he loves the game.
The trouble is that Moyer had a 5.70 ERA in 10 starts with the Rockies, and he allowed a league-high 75 hits in 53 innings. He also gave up 11 home runs, which would be a lot even by Coors Field standards, but five of them came in his last two starts on the road in Miami and Cincinnati.
It’s not like we didn’t see this coming; our Jamie Moyer Update most previous to this one bore that out. Moyer’s ERA and WHIP were both trending in the wrong direction, and with the Rockies looking to build for the future and looking to get their young pitchers some innings, it was clear Moyer was the odd man out. To replace Moyer in the rotation, the Rockies called up Carlos Torres, a 29-year-old right-hander who had a 2.45 ERA and 32/12 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 33 innings at Colorado Springs.
Rather than bemoaning the probable end, let’s look at what Moyer has accomplished.
Check out how many Hall-of-Famers are listed on that chart. Check out how many Hall-of-Famers Moyer outpaces. Check out this sample of ex-big leaguers with whom Moyer shares his birth year (1962): Oddibe McDowell, Danny Tartabull, Wally Joyner, Kevin Seitzer, Darren Daulton, and Darryl Strawberry. Moyer is 12 days older than Bo Jackson.
OK, enough of pointing out the age thing. The real truth is Moyer was only designated for assignment; he wasn’t executed. Jamie Moyer will land somewhere in baseball again. If the role he snags with another team happens to be on the field, then Your Jamie Moyer Update will continue as you have come to know it. I hope that is the case, if for no other reason the man has been a great source of content for us here at Dubsism. After all, we’ve made a lot of blog hay off Jamie Moyer.
If not, it isn’t hard to picture Moyer as a pitching coach. Now, we just wait to see what the next chapter in the Moyer saga brings.
The numbers from last night’s history-setting performance: 7 innings pitched, 2 walks, 1 strikeout, 3 inning-ending double plays all while allowing nary a single earned run. But the number that really mattered…49 years, 150 days. That number sets the new standard as it passed Jack Quinn’s win for the Brooklyn Dodgers on September 13, 1932, when he was 49 years, 70 days old.
That’s the number that will get Moyer’s uniform, and other assorted memorabilia a trip to Cooperstown as Moyer became the oldest pitcher to win a regular season game. Let’s be honest, no matter where you are on the “Is Moyer is a Hall-of -Famer” debate; no matter what there will be Moyer memorabilia in the the Hall of Fame.
Whether it is shipping a package to Cooperstown, or tossing seven effective innings against the Padres, Moyer delivered. Moyer not only set this record, but more importantly, his performance stopped a two-game skid for Colorado. This record-setting win was Moyer’s 268th, which ties him with Hall-of-Famer Jim Palmer at 34th place on the career list. To get there, Moyer dealt the Padres a steady diet of a wood-dodging cutter, his usual marshmallow curve, and a “heater” that never once topped 79 mph which allowed him to scatter six hits and two unearned runs by being the classic Jamie Moyer…keeping the Padres’ batters off balance and guessing.
This now also means the Moyer Watch here at Dubsism now becomes an exercise in a) how long can Moyer continue this miracle run and b) how many more Hall-of-Famers can Moyer pass in some career statistics?
And as always, we will continue to offer some fun Jamie Moyer facts: For example, did you know Jamie Moyer has allowed more home runs (513) than several current players have hit:
Player (years in the league, age) Home Runs
- Chipper Jones (19, 40) 456
- Vladimir Guerrero (16, 37) 449
- Albert Pujols (12, 32) 445
- Jason Giambi (18, 41) 428
- Andruw Jones (17, 35) 421
- Paul Konerko (16, 36) 397
- David Ortiz (16, 36) 378
- Adam Dunn (12, 32) 366
- Lance Berkman (14, 36) 358
- Carlos Lee (14, 36) 350
- Todd Helton (16, 38) 347
- Alfonso Soriano (14, 36) 340
- Derrek Lee (15, 36) 331
- Aramis Ramirez (15, 34) 315
- Mark Teixeira (10, 32) 314
- Adrian Beltre (15, 33) 311
- Ivan Rodriguez (21, 40) 311
- Scott Rolen (17, 37) 308
- Carlos Beltran (15, 35) 305
- Miguel Tejada (15, 38) 304
- Magglio Ordonez (15, 38) 294
- Pat Burrell (12, 35) 292
- Ryan Howard (8, 32) 286
- Bobby Abreu (17, 38) 284
- Torii Hunter (16, 36) 281
- Miguel Cabrera (10, 29) 280
- Mike Cameron (17, 39) 278
The only current players who have hit more home runs than Moyer has allowed are:
Player (years in the league, age) Home Runs
- Alex Rodriguez (19, 36) 630
- Jim Thome (22, 41) 604
- Manny Ramirez (19, 40) 555
Here’s another fun fact about Moyer’s career. There are 102 pitchers who have appeared in at least 700 games, and Moyer is not one of them; yesterday’s win was his 689th appearance in a Major League Game. Now, since this stat favors relief pitchers (Jesse Orosco is the all-time leader at 1,252 and Mariano Rivera is the active leader at 1,046), Moyer is one of only five pitchers with more than 4,000 innings pitched and less than 700 appearances.
- Pete Alexander* – 5, 190 innings pitched, 696 career appearances
- Eppa Rixey* – 4, 992.2 innings pitched, 692 career appearances
- Bert Blyleven* – 4, 970 innings pitched, 692 career appearances
- Early Wynn* – 4, 564 innings pitched, 691 career appearances
- Jamie Moyer – 4, 038 innings pitched, 689 career appearances
* Denotes Hall-of-Famer
It gets even better if you look at what happens if Moyer makes 12 more appearance to pass 700 total. This list also contains nothing but guys who are in the Hall-of-Fame or should be (don’t start the “Steroid” argument here with me over Clemens). Seriously, look at how many Hall-of-Famers are on the list of pitchers with more than 700 appearances and more than 4,000 innings pitched:
- Cy Young* – 7, 356 innings pitched, 906 career appearances
- Pud Galvin* – 6, 003.1 innings pitched, 705 appearances
- Walter Johnson* – 5, 914.1 innings pitched, 802 career appearances
- Phil Niekro* – 5, 404 innings pitched, 864 career appearances
- Nolan Ryan* – 5, 386 innings pitched, 807 career appearances
- Gaylord Perry* – 5, 350 innings pitched, 777 career appearances
- Don Sutton* – 5,282.1 innings pitched, 774 career appearances
- Warren Spahn* – 5, 243 innings pitched, 750 career appearances
- Steve Carlton* – 5, 217 innings pitched, 741 career appearances
- Greg Maddux – 5, 008.1 innings pitched, 744 career appearances
- Roger Clemens – 4, 916 innings pitched, 705 career appearances
- Tommy John – 4, 710.1 innings pitched, 760 career appearances
- Jim Kaat – 4, 530.1 innings pitched, 898 career appearances
Again, you can decide which side of the “Is Moyer a Hall-of-Famer” fence you want to be on, but this is yet another set of numbers where Moyer is living on a street where many of his neighbors have Cooperstown addresses.
Now for the obvious comparison. Since Moyer is the oldest pitcher to win a regular-season game, just how big the the age difference between him and the youngest winner?
If you really want to crawl into the “Wayback Machine,” Willie McGill was born on November 10, 1873 and he won his 1st game on May 8, 1890, making him 16 years, 178 days old when he notched his first “W,” ironically for the Cleveland Infants. Since 1900, the mark belongs to Philadelphia Phillies’ southpaw Rogers McKee, who was born on September 16, 1926 and won his 1st and only Major League game on October 3, 1942, making him 17 years and 17 days old.
As for the youngest “pitcher of note” to tally a major league win, that distinction belongs to Hall-of-Famer Bob Feller, who racked up the first of his 266 wins on August 23, 1936 at the ripe old age of 17 years, 201 days.
When you stop to think about it, you had to expect something like this to come up, didn’t you. After all, for as much of a feel-good story as Jamie Moyer’s comeback from Tommy John surgery is, you knew there was going to be some pain. Or if not pain, some stiffness perhaps; like the kind Moyer felt in his left leg that prompted Rockies’ Manager Jim Tracy to push Moyer’s minor-league start on Friday back to an undisclosed time.
The good news is that all signs point to this being a precautionary measure since Moyer’s left leg is his drive leg for pitching. Also, at least it’s nothing to do with Moyer’s 49-year old, surgically rebuilt elbow. However, when you are on the verge on qualifying for the early-bird special with your AARP card at the local diner, the significance of any little twinge becomes just all that much more concerning.
As of now, the Rockies’ have not established a timetable for Moyer to pitch again, but it is a certainty that if he is able to take the hill, he will because Moyer is in the mix for the fifth starter’s spot after posting a 1.80 ERA in five innings.
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With such a full weekend of college and NFL action, let’s just cut to the chase…
1) We still don’t know if Notre Dame is any good
Every year, Notre Dame gets over-rated, and every year, they prove that by the time they get to Purdue. This year, they’ve done nothing but send a mixed message; lost to South Florida and Michigan, and now have won three straight. but honestly, those wins are over mediocre Michigan State and Pittsburgh, and most recently against
West Lafayette Junior High Purdue. It doesn’t get any better since the Irish start their usual parade of service academies with Air Force this week.
2) Speaking of Purdue…
Yeah, I know Giant Drum A&M gets picked on every once in a while here, but they might get more respect if they quit doing things like this.
3) As long as we are in Indiana…
Memorial services for any hope of the Colts having a watchable season will be held Thursday at noon at Lucas Oil Field. When the most glowing reviews of Colts quarterback Curtis Painter are “not completely horrible,” it’s going to be a long season in Indianapolis.
4) The Detroit Lions – The Anti-Colts
Let’s face facts, this team has more upside that in all its previous 50 years combined. The Lions boast an emerging star at quarterback, a dominant weapon in Calvin Johnson, and a defense that is vastly improved, which is why they are the first team in NFL history to make two straight comebacks from 20+ points behind.
5) When is a fumble not a fumble, part III
First, there was the Rob Lytle “fumble” in the 1977 AFC Championship Game, then there was the infamous Tom Brady “Tuck” rule from 2001, now there’s Victor Cruz fiasco this past weekend. Now I know why there is no coincidence between why Ed Hochuli is the best referee in the NFL and he just so happens to be an attorney; you need a law degree to even understand half the rules in the NFL anymore. Note to the Rules Committee…it is time to start simplifying.
6) Illinois – Your Cup-Check University
If picture is worth a thousand words, you would think an animated GIF would be worth more, yet this one is only worth two…
7) As The Romo Turns
With all the ups and downs, one would think you would find the “Romo-Coaster” at Six Flags over Texas rather than Cowboys Stadium. Week 1, he’s a choke-artist. Weeks 2 and 3, he showed “a rare brand of guts and leadership.” Now, he sucks again. Even ESPN doens’t know what to do with him.
There’s the “pro” side, as evidenced by Eric Mangini.
“But ex-Jets coach Eric Mangini said a couple of Romo’s picks against the Lions were not his fault. The gutsy Romo has also led the Cowboys to two victories this season despite playing with injured ribs.”
Then’s there’s the “con” side…
“Really, you saw the best of Tony Romo in a brilliant first half as he pushed Dallas to a 20-3 lead that swelled to 27-3 after the Cowboys took the second-half kickoff and drove for a touchdown. Then we witnessed the worst of Romo. He threw three second-half interceptions — two were absolutely awful decisions — providing the catalyst for Detroit’s comeback.”
After all the hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth, NBC’s Bob Costas probably has the best observation…
“Here’s a guy who see-saws between hero’s laurels and goat horns, seemingly game to game. And today, it was half to half. Romo had three TD throws in the first 33 minutes against the undefeated Lions, but then, three picks – two of them returned for touchdowns,” said Costas.”This has been the pattern of Romo’s season, and, as it’s shaping up, his career. At any moment he is apt to rescue his team with feats of daring do, often showing the presence of mind to improvise his way out of one crisis after another. And then, the next week, or maybe the next moment, he’ll turn in a performance or make a decision that sends Cowboys fans to the ledge.”
After all, good Romo or bad Romo doesn’t matter…Cowboys’ fans ripping their collective hair out is what’s important.
8 ) By The Way, Romo’s Not The Only Thing Wrong in Dallas
Remember that crap Rob Ryan was spouting about how Detroit’s Calvin Johnson would “be the third’ best receiver on the team” if he played for the Cowboys. Who else took comfort in watching Johnson pack that bilge firmly in Ryan’s “Head and Shoulders commercial wannabe ass? Did anybody else notice the part where Ryan’ s “vaunted” defense had 12 guys on the field and STILL didn’t double-cover Calvin Johnson?
9) As long as we are in Dallas…
Remember last year when Jason Garrett became the poster-child for uptight, straight-laced white guys everywhere when he was the guy who saved the Cowboys? Remember how this was all supposedly due to Garrett’s being a “disciplinarian?”
So, can somebody explain to me why this Cowboy team looks as undisciplined as ever? Seriously, this team can’t even manage it’s own snap count, half the roster looks like they don’t even know the playbook, and nobody is calling out
Howdy Doody Jason Garrett, the supposed Princeton Prince of Discipline.
10) Oh, and before I forget about the other Ryan brother…
Rex, you are one of my favorite guys in all of sports, but…
It’s “put up or shut up” time. I’ve watched your teams gag two straight AFC Championship games, and now your team is looking suspiciously over-rated. Start winning games you are supposed to win so I don’t have to start bashing you.
11) Speaking of “Time To Prove My Love” – The All-Pennsylvania Edition
The Eagles have managed in four short game to go from “The Dream Team” to “The Nightmare Team.” Two reasons – the hardest hit the offensive line has made all season was on their own quarterback, and in the immortal words of Jets’ linebacker Bart Scott, the defense “couldn’t stop a nosebleed.”
But the award for the worst offense in the Keystone State goes to Penn State. Don’t get me wrong, as a Nittany Lion fan, I’ve seen some Joe Paterno offenses that literally dated from the Paleozoic era, but this is the worst I’ve seen under the Galen Hall/Offensive Coordinator regime. With all due respect, GET RID OF THAT GODDAMN TWO QUARTERBACK SYSTEM!!!! I get they both suck, but pick one, shoot the other in the head and let’s move on.
12) Cam Newton Is Now A Poster Child
There’s new mentality in the football world…throwing the football is Nirvana, outcomes be damned. Cam Newton exemplifies this. The world is singing his praises as a young quarterback because in four games he has nearly 1,400 passing yard and 5 touchdowns.
But he also has 5 interceptions and more importantly, only one win as a starting quarterback. This makes him a stud in fantasy football, but not so much in the real game. But, for some reason, we let the fantasy mentality rule the day.
If you doubt that, look at it this way. This past weekend saw 11 quarterbacks post 300 passing yards, but only 4 of them won their games. In contrast, the running game (which has been relegated to the NFL scrap heap) saw 8 running backs rack up 100 rushing yards , and 5 of them played on winning teams.
13) The Dubsism Simplified College Football Top 25
- Everybody else
First, let me define the concept of Cubsism. Named for the Chicago Cubs, Cubsism is an ideaology that permeates a sports franchise. It is characterized by the ability to be essentially viable while remaining an exercise in futulity on the field. It is named for the Cubs because no other franchise in sports embodies it nearly as much as the Chicago North Siders do.
A microcosm of most recent century of futility of this franchise lies in the last eighteen months. Look at what has happened before and after the sudden retirement of Lou Piniella last summer.
Usually, when a team makes a change at manager, the idea is to change the culture of the clubhouse by changing the leadership. Sometimes, when you make a change, the team doesn’t respond. That’s what happened last year at this time. Why? Because Lou Piniella was a respected “baseball guy.”
Just a few weeks ago, the rumors began circulating that new manager Mike Quade and general manager Jim Hendry will return next season in their respective positions. The logic is that Hendry is the guy who made the decision to hire Quade, knowing that Quade was never intended to be a long-term solution. The thought was Quade would be a bridge until the Cubs found an established manager when the team is ready to contend.
The problem is Quade should have never been the Cubs manager in the first place. There’s so many reasons why, and they all illustrate the concept of Cubsism.
Go back to the day Piniella pulled the plug. Not the day he walked for good; rather go back to the day he said he was leaving at the end of the year. While every sports writer rejoiced at the thought of not having to write another “fire Lou Piniella” column, they all missed the main point.
Why let a manager appoint himself into a “lame-duck” status? To that point, the team was certainly going nowhere; they were lifeless and unmotivated, and now they are playing for a manager who has decided to fall on his own sword. There was nothing left to inspire the team to play hard; to not look they rolled over and died. What is to be gained by that?
The answer is absolutely nothing. There’s one thing the Cubs have seemingly forgotten about their fans is that they live on hope. They have little other option; the Cubs have given them nothing else in over a century.
Flash forward one year, and the Cubs find themselves in essentially the same position. The Cubs collapsed early, fingers were pointed, and it looks like another change is coming somewhere in the leadership chain of the Cubs.
I don’t know how much hope that inspires in Cub fans, because I don’t know what the changes are going to be. Suffice it to say the Cubs are likely to make what I call a “Cubs-Type Decision (CTD).”
CTDs are the heart of Cubsism, and Cubsism is caused by four contributing factors, all of which have a long association with the Cubs.
1) Leadership and a fan base that doesn’t understand the difference between “good” and “great.”
This point is exemplified by Quade. He was a terrible hire not because he is a terrible manager, rather there was a much better and completely obvious hire, and he was already in your organization.
Face it, Chicago. Mike Quade was the “good” hire; Ryne Sandberg was the “great” hire. He was perfect for the job; let’s review why.
Sandberg became a Cub hero in the 1980′s being the best second baseman of that decade and arguably one of the top five at that position ever. Sandberg became the Wrigley fixture Cub fans latched onto as a transition in to the Harry Caray-less days after 1998. Sandberg was one of the smartest players in the game, and few played the truly complete game he did. Not only that, but Sandberg is not some Hall-of-Fame guy who thinks he should be able to blow into town and get the manager’s job on his name alone. Whether in his playing days or in his managerial career in the bus leagues, Sandberg has never been a guy to trade on marquee value, although he clearly could.
But instead of waltzing into the Cubs front office and saying “The fans that you need to keep want me in the dugout; I will be by before the Winter Meetings to pick the keys to my office,” Sandberg had spent the past four seasons prior to last year managing in the Cubs’ farm system. In fact, few managers in the minor leagues have built the reputation Sandberg has, and due to his humility, most of that has happened well beneath the radar. Sandberg has clearly “paid his dues” all while showing himself to be a cerebral skipper who can get his players to think before they act (Carlos Zambrano, I’m looking at you…)
In other words, he was the perfect man for the Cubs’ managerial job. How could the Cubs possibly entertain the idea of doing anything other than hiring the perfect candidate to end all perfect candidates? Because they are the Cubs, and they make Cubs-Type Decisions.
2) Terrible player/personnel decisions
In case you need a refresher, let’s review a few of my favorite CTDs:
- Trading Lou Brock to the Cardinals for Ernie Broglio (future Hall-of-Famer for washed-up pitcher)
- Trading Rafael Palmeiro to Texas for Mitch Williams (3,000 hit/500 home run guy for a relief pitcher whose stay in Chicago wasn’t as long as some people who change planes at O’Hare Airport)
- Drafting Josh Hamilton as a Rule 5 player, then promptly trading him to Cincinnati for a small amount of cash (3-time All-Star and reigning American League MVP for a few dollars when the Cubs were one of the richest teams in the league)
- Trading Sergio Mitre and Ricky Nolasco for Juan Pierre (one serviceable starting pitcher and one on the verge of becoming an ace for a “legitimate leadoff hitter” for a guy who in his ONE season as a Cub got caught stealing 20 times in 78 attempts).
- Letting Greg Maddox go to free agency (deciding a guy who would go on to win 355 games and 4 Cy Young awards wasn’t “the kind of pitcher who could help us long-term”)
- Trading Dennis Eckersley for three minor-leaguers (Once in Oakland, Eckersley becomes the dominant closer of his era)
- Trading Bill Madlock for Bobby Murcer (a solid defensive third-baseman who also would win four batting titles for a slugging outfielder whose career decline began immediately after this trade)
- Trading Bruce Sutter for Leon Durham and Ken Reitz (another dominant closer for two “bags of magic beans”)
- Trading Lee Smith for Calvin Schraldi and Al Nipper (another dominant closer for two “bags of magic beans”)
- Trading Manny Trillo for Barry Foote and Ted Sizemore (a second baseman who still holds the record for most consecutive chances without an error for one of the great mustaches of all-time )
3) Belief in the “quick fix” for decades of problems
Just in the past dozen or so years, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard (insert new phenom and/or big free-agent signing) will change the fortunes of Cub nation…Kerry Wood, Todd Hundley, LaTroy Hawkins (even if he was only supposed to save the bullpen, I still can’t believe I just wrote that), Mark Prior, Nomar Garciaparra, Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome, Milton Bradley, blah, blah, blah…Look at the knob-slobbing happening for Tyler Colvin, Darwin Barney, and Starlin Castro. How much you want to bet at least two of those names are on this list in five years? Doubt that? Just look back at what Cubs fans were bleating about Geovany Soto and Ryan Theriot…
This is the same reason Cubs’ fans always love deals like Carlos Silva for Milton Bradley. Remember, they loved Ernie Broglio for Lou Brock, too…
4) A fan base ignorant of the fundamentals of the game
Picture it…Chicago, sometime in the late 90′s. I’m at Wrigley taking in a summer afternoon affair against the Dodgers. It’s the top of the ninth inning, the score is tied and the Dodgers have a runner on third with one out. The Dodgers hit a long fly ball into left field, and the family seated in front me (resplendent in their Cubs gear) is wildly cheering the out, completely unaware the Dodgers had just scored what would prove to be the winning run on the sacrifice.
That family is the Cubs fanbase in a nutshell.
Having said all that, the next time you are looking to explain a franchise’s long term dysfunction, refer back to the four points of Cubsism. It runs rampant in professional sports; it takes little to see it.
Now for the fun part – here are ten franchises we have identified as having a very high Cubsism rating. Remember that Cubsism is not a short-term affliction; to be on this list a franchise must have shown a track record of futility for decades or have a generally dismal record with only the fleetingest glimpses of non-suck.