pic courtesy the one and only Derek Erdman. I’m in Derek’s former hometown of Chicago, IL tonight and as such, I’m FUCKING FREEZING. Such conditions require a proper coat. And removing such a garment is best accomplished with a coat rack. And if a one-dimensional Robert Griffin III can take care of my coat half as well as the three dimensional RG III took care of the football en route to an NFC East Championship, I might not die of hypothermia.
Whether it’s being ultra-late to discover a player’s injury, or being oblivious to the fact an insubordinate star was benched by an assistant (see the Santonio and Schotty show, Miami, Week 17, 2011 season), Ryan is forever the last to know what’s happening with his team. On arrival in Florham Park, N.J., four years ago, Rex said he burned to become a better head coach than his father, Buddy, architect of the defense that defined the ’85 Chicago Bears.
But like his old man, Ryan was born to be a coordinator, and a great one. Just not the ultimate game-day leader of a franchise. Go ahead and name the last head coach in a major team spot that won a championship, or multiple championships, with a persona as outsized and an approach as loud and wildly inconsistent as Rex’s.
The big winners — the Bill Belichicks and Tom Coughlins and Joe Torres — almost always have a steadiness running through the core of their programs, with tweaks applied here and there. Ryan has been all over the place the last two years, and it’s no coincidence his team has followed suit. If it used to be a compliment when people said the Jets had taken on their coach’s personality, it’s a compliment no more.
Apologies if you’ve already seen the above clip (swiped from Pro Basketball Talk) in which Bucks PG Monta Ellis claims with a straight face the only thing separating him from Dwyane Wade is “more wins and two championships”. It’s a fascinating argument, and one that brings to mind other historic comparisons (eg. wasn’t Jeff George every bit as good as Joe Montana? At the end of the day, wasn’t Andy Pettitte just Scott Erickson with more jewelery?)
(the first thought that comes to mind is, “you sell flowers by the side of the highway”)
It’s almost January 1 and there’s only one team in Major League Baseball yet to sign a single free agent this offseason. No prizes if you already guess that franchise is the New York Mets, who despite having unloaded R.A. Dickey and Jason Bay this winter, seem in no hurry to bolster a 2013 roster with holes aplenty. Whether the club is methodically building for the future or barely hanging on by the skin of ownership’s teeth, is a matter of opinion, though it seems there’s one impartial body leaning towards the latter point of view, as the New York Times’ Ken Belson explains.
On Dec. 21, Standard & Poor’s lowered its rating on the almost $700 million in bonds issued to finance Citi Field, and it said the outlook for them remains negative. The bonds are now rated BB, from BB+. That’s two notches below investment grade, junk bonds in the parlance of the debt market.
Jodi Hecht, an analyst at Standard & Poor’s, cited “cash flow volatility,” noting that “a large portion” of the money pledged to pay off the bonds is “game-day revenue,” which includes sales of club-seat tickets, concessions and parking. How the Mets play will affect the prospects for this revenue, she said. Standard & Poor’s “may lower the rating if cash flows continue to decline due to a combination of poor team performance, slow economic recovery, overcapacity in the New York region,” she added.
“People have spent hard-earned money on tickets for games, they’ve been through so much and we’ve given them hardly anything in return,” he says before Sunday’s visit of Liverpool. “You have to give something back. People say some footballers live in their own little world, where it’s all about expensive watches, glitz and glamour, but that life’s all false. Things like the visit to [Hillingdon] hospital the other day, seeing wards full of sick children … that opens your eyes. That’s real life.
Those words were not supposed to boom out at a struggling club where at least one player did not deign to sit on the bench for that derby against Fulham. Indeed, Mbia has since expressed a desire for José Bosingwa to patch up his differences with Harry Redknapp for the good of a group hastily flung together by two sacked managers and whose defeat at home to West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday left them with one win and 10 points from the first half of the season. Yet the contrast in attitudes is still telling. The professional in Mbia would not stoop so low. “My life is easy: I play football,” he says. “I have a chance to go through my life with a smile, joke, enjoy myself and try to make people happy. On the pitch it’s different: that’s my job, the serious stuff. But that’s how this all works.”
Hideki Matsui announced his retirement from professional baseball earlier today, his 332 HR’s in a decade’s work for the Yomuiri Giants followed by a celebrated 7 seasons in pinstripes that included the Yankees’ 2009 World Series triumph. While Big League Stew’s Dave Brown uses the occasion of Matsui’s farewell to the game as a cheap excuse to recall the outfielder’s bizarre 2008 marriage declaration, I prefer to focus on the substantial portions of Matsui’s legacy.
It was all the way back in 2005 when a CSTB reader brought our attention to the following passage from a 2003 edition of Time Magazine ;
“Indeed, his only eccentricity, if it can be called that, is his extensive private library of adult videos. His refreshing ability to laugh self-deprecatingly about his porno collection, reporters say, is one reason why fans and even nonfans have taken to him so much.”
The humble porn collector in question? Former Yankee OF Hideki Matsui, whose potential arrival in Oakland caused avid Googler Joe Eskenazi of the SF Weekly to gush, “the possibility of Matsui toting his legendary collection of nasty videos to the Bay Area makes this no ordinary signing,” but how, exactly? Surely Eskenazi is aware the A’s previously employed notorious degenerate Jason Giambi, who almost certainly possesses materials that should arouse suspicion amongst the law enforcement community (and he might have porn, too).
Robert Whiting’s casual reference to Matsui’s arsenal of wank material continues to make waves more than 7 years after it was first mentioned. In the unlikely event Matsui is still an active player in 2015, I fully expect some comedy blogger (if there’s a blogosphere in 5 years) to raise the matter yet again. Imagine how quickly this entire matter could’ve been quashed had Suzyn Waldman taken it up during a post-game interview in the earlier part of this century?
“Of course, many of us were surprised to see what happened in Brooklyn. From my perspective, Avery’s not a good coach, he’s a very good coach. He’s a hell of a coach. He’s proven that. There aren’t too many of us out there who have ever won 67 games in a season. He’s taken a team to the Finals. If my memory serves me correct, he was Coach of the Month. It sort of shows what a fickle, volatile business we’re in. We all know that. Avery knows that, too.
“Often times, situations like that have nothing to do with the ability of the coach. It has more to do with circumstances. We’ve seen it before. I can’t help but think sometimes a little patience could go a long way.
“You think about coaches … I believe Dean Smith, they did a little effigy in his honor in the beginning when things weren’t going well. Johnny Wooden had a rough patch in the beginning. Mike Krzyzewski, arguably our best coach we have in basketball today, things didn’t go very well in the beginning. He had an AD who was smart enough to know what he had. He exhibited a lot of patience, so now you see where Coach K is. I think we all understand that. But circumstances, especially in the NBA, have a whole lot more to do with firings than how well or how poorly a coach did. It’s unfortunate. But we all move on, including Avery.”
Williams’ sub-40-percent shooting and inability to curb his insistence on chucking 3-pointers (despite a 29 percent mark from long range) did in the former Dallas Mavericks coach. But it’s also probably true that Avery wasn’t right for this job. Williams refuses to be the penetrator he was in Utah, that’s to be sure, but it was always going to take a different voice to pull something new out of the team’s most important player – and you can’t bide time for 67 games with Williams during a rebuilding project from February 2011 until April 2012 and expect the same voice and player to flip the switch once they get some free-agent help.
It’s human nature, sadly. Johnson and Williams never got over working in that rebuilding mode. On top of that, Johnson rarely adjusted and expectations weren’t met. His team has been hit by injuries and his roster was less than ideal in spots. High-priced players, workers featuring contracts that weren’t always on par with production. An $83.5 million lineup, four players making double-figure salaries and a .500 record. Throw in the nationally televised Christmas day embarrassment that saw no Net besides Gerald Wallace seeming to care about his team’s fortunes, the fortune the team’s high-profile owners were spending and the decidedly un-cool and old-school New York Knicks running away with the division, and you can see why it got to be too much.