For all the seamheads out there, I have to take a short respite from baseball today, because I don't have much baseball material left. I do have
another example of the bizarre market for free agent pitchers to offer up. It seems that the Red Sox are going to offer Matt Clement $23M over 3
years, which is at least double, and possibly triple what I would think he is worth.
The reason that number is so wacky is that the Indians have already offered him 3 years and $21M. But just in case you think that the Earth is off its
axis and spinning into some point of oblivion in the Milky Way, there is indeed a point of stability in baseball to report. Terry Mulholland is on the
verge of signing with the Minnesota Twins for a contract in the $1M range. Mulholland is the epitome of stability and continuity; hell, I think he
voted for Abraham Lincoln; I'm almost certain he gave up a home run to Ty Cobb...
Two days ago, I said that I thought Mike Shanahan might be on a hot seat in Denver. Let's suppose he is for a moment. Here is a great challenge for
him. He leaves Denver to go and coach the San Francisco 49ers - who just have to fire Dennis Erickson once this miserable season is over. That way,
Shanahan can sit across the bay from Al Davis and build up Davis' local rival and return to the days when the 49ers sell out their all of their home
games, which is something the Raiders are far from doing in Oakland. The 49ers have a young and miserable team at the moment, but that is in contrast
to the Oakland Raiders who have an old and miserable team at the moment...
A couple of weeks ago, I said I was skeptical about Terry Robiskie's ability to inspire the Cleveland Browns to play hard for the rest of the year
because I saw what he did here in Washington in the same role about 5 years ago. Well, in an early team meeting, Robiskie challenged the Browns in the
locker room to be leaders. He asked the players who felt they were leaders to stand up and identify themselves to the team. Less than half the team
stood up. So that "Harry High School" maneuver backfired. Oh, and here is the outcome; the Browns under Robiskie's fiery guidance have lost 2 games by
scores of 42-15 and 37-7.
Memo to Terry Robiskie:
Real leaders on a team need not stand up and identify themselves to the rest of the team. The rest of the team will
already know who they are.
Memo to NFL Owners:
If you want to interview a minority candidate to satisfy the league hiring policies even though you have already decided on
a "white guy" as you next coach, interview Robiskie. His record as the head man on the sidelines is perfect cover for hiring just about anyone else --
although Richie Kotite might be a stretch here...
By the way in that 37-7 loss the other week to the Bills, the Cleveland Browns net offense was 17 yards. That is not a typo folks, the team gained 17
net yards for the entirety of an NFL football game. Because sack yardage is subtracted from yards gained on passes, the net passing yardage for the
Browns in the game was - 12 yards. They actually lost yardage on passing plays over the course of a game. That performance is a lot worse than
"pathetic" or "incompetent". Pick out your own descriptive adjective here. The Browns snapped the ball 38 times in the game; the Bills snapped the
ball 72 times; so the Browns' defense did not cover itself in glory either.
Other performances that were beyond miserable included Chris Chandler starting at QB for the Rams and throwing 6 INTs in the game against the
Panthers. As miserable as that was, Eli Manning had a QB Rating of ZERO for the game last week against the Ravens before he was mercifully pulled in
the second half. Eli Manning's stat line reads 4-18 for 27 yards with no TDs and 2 INTs. Hello?
The NY media has already fallen out of love with Eli Manning. Newsday said, "It's time to pass or fail." Then they went on to say that Eli has these
last three games of this year to prove that he is not merely the next QB in a line of "overhyped busts".
Two points here:
1. It is the NY media - such as Newsday - that does the overhyping; so even if Manning is a bust, the blame for the overhype belongs in the newsrooms
of Newsday and its competitors.
2. The kid has played four games in his career so far behind an offensive line that is much worse than “bad”. Peyton Manning would not excel
behind that line. Eli may indeed turn out to be a bust, but playing three more games behind an offensive line that pass-blocks like a troupe of
trained bears on roller skates will not be the definitive test.
The Chicago Bears ran the ball 14 times against the Jags on Sunday. They gained all of 31 yards in those tries and they achieved no first downs on the
ground. The Bears compounded that misery by committing 13 penalties for 104 yards. Let me summarize the Bears game for you. They could not run the
ball worth a damn. They completed 17 passes and were flagged for penalties 13 times. Do you understand now why they scored a total of 3 points in that
game? During the week prior to this game, QB Chad Hutchinson said, "I am definitely not the savior." He was referring to the Bears' season and not
making any religious references here. However, taking his comment on a religious plane, one might conclude that he may not have been a savior, but he
sure was prophetic.
According to a story in the San Jose Mercury-News, the Oakland Raiders have just completed a deal to extend the contract of Sebastian Janikowski by
five years. He was due to be a free agent after this year and this extension solves that problem for the Raiders. Now if they can find a way to keep
him sober and away from the local lock-ups...
In college football, the Harvard coach has reportedly been interviewed for the vacant job at Indiana. You'd think that being around Harvard football
players and Ivy League players in general would impart a small measure of "smarts" into a coach; obviously, it has not. Indiana cannot win in Big Ten
football without a major structural change in the university and its athletic program. You'd need Dr. Doolittle as the coach there so he could line up
elephants and rhinos at the line positions and cheetahs at wide receiver and ...
Interestingly, with all the college coaches being hired and fired this year, Rick Neuheisel still does not have a job. Remember, he has been cleared
by the NCAA to get back to coaching; yet, no job offers yet. Maybe ADs are becoming wary of guys who just happen to have problems follow them around
from job to job. Nah, I don't think so.
Jerry Greene wrote a column in the Orlando Sentinel yesterday about the way men do their Christmas shopping and then he included a list of great
sporting things to get for people on your list. All of the gifts are real. His commentary on male shopping patterns and on some of the gift
possibilities is very good. It is worth reading.
Finally, a comment from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald on the occasion of Mike Krzysewski winning his 700th game as a basketball coach:
"Congrats to Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski on his 700th career win. Coincidentally, the same night, he celebrated his 700th career
But don't get me wrong, I love sports...
Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon
[Edited on 12/20/04 by SportzWriter]