Monday, May 16, 2005

Mama Said Knock You Out

Okey Dokey, after a week off, I'm back. Of course a bunch of stuff has happened in the last seven days and let me see if I can hit the highlights.

First things first. A few weeks ago I posted some random thoughts from the NFL draft and I made the following observation concerning the Redskins and their drafting strategy:
"... The Redskins have solidified themselves as the worst organization in professional football. Let me see if I got this straight -- they took CB Carlos Rogers with their #9 pick (which was a good one), but inexplicably took QB Jason Campbell at #25. The always lucid Joe Gibbs explained the Campbell selection as a "pick for the future...we expect Patrick Ramsey to take us to many playoff and championship games, but Campbell is the QB of the future..."

QB of the future? Isn't Ramsey 26 years old? And what kind of sense does it make to carry three QBs on your roster with all making ridiculous amounts of mone (especially third-stringer Mark Brunell)? But the funny thing is, the Campbell pick wasn't even close to being the worst one of the weekend for the Redskins. It was clear to just about everyone (except those guys actually making the picks) that Washington needed to get a lot better on offense. There WRs were pretty bad and their offensive line was, well, offensive (that joke never gets old -- it has yet to be funny, but it never gets old). I guess Gibbs thinks 43-yr. old offensive tackle Ray Brown can still get it done because after Campbell the Skins drafted two linebackers and two fullbacks. Who the hell drafts two fullbacks? Especially when you have so many other needs. And on what planet does it make sense to take two defensive players when (a) you had one of the best defenses in the league in 2004, and (b) you have a lot more holes on offense? The good news for me is that I've never been a Redskins fan and I look forward to seeing them get another top-10 draft pick in 2006 -- whoops, they traded that pick to Denver for the right to draft Jason Campbell. Good thinking."
Inexplicably, I get some perverse pleasure from bad-mouthing the Redskins. I think part of it has to do with the fact that I'm stuck in the D.C. area and all I've heard for the last year and a half is that Joe Gibbs will save the Redskins from themselves while the reality is that not even Jesus Christ could fix the mess Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato (aka Smithers) have made. Anyway, I'm getting off-topic. After my little diatribe about the Redskins, Ben left this comment:
-Your take on the Campbell pick is accurate, and I agree with you on the foolishness of investing such a ridiculous amount of money and picks into a guy who ideally won't start for three years. I liked the Rogers pick, but Campbell makes zero sense, and I hate the move - I hate it.

-However, just to quibble with you, the Manuel White and Nehemiah Broughton picks were actually for two different positions: White is moving to H-Back, and Broughton will hopefully be the big Tailback that Gibbs wanted last year.

-Also, O-Line is hardly a need for the Skins. Ray Brown is a backup, and was only called on to start when All-Pro Jon Jansen went down with a season-ending injury in the first preseason game. Last year the Skins drafted two O-Lineman who were both decent in relief. And this offseason the Skins signed the best free agent center prospect, Ravens C Casey Rabach.

Their starting O-Line for the coming season is Jansen, Randy Thomas, Rabach, Derrick Dockery, and Chris Samuels. That's arguably the best O-Line in the NFC East; Dockery's the weakest link, but he's a big young Guard out of Texas who came on quite well down the stretch last season.
Yep. Fair point. And extra credit for Ben's level-headed response. If some numbnut like me had written something similarly derogatory about the Steelers I would probably be inclined to fire off a particularly sarcastic email explaining to the author why they're an idiot doomed to go through life starting one day dumber than they ended the last. And yes I've sent this email to Mark Madden more than once.

Also related to me not knowing what I'm talking about, last Monday I mentioned that maybe during my week off Millar could mix in a few homers since he hadn't hit one since 2004. I'll refer you to Son1's comment:
Nice! No sooner do you drop some snarky-love Millar's way, but he hits two home-runs, including one game-winner! Sweeeeet..."
That sounds about right. I remember during the end of last summer, I spent way too much time whining about how bad Millar was. Of course he went on to hit something like .800 for the rest of the season and pull a Tino Martinez and hit more homers than he had at-bats (by the way, has anyone given that guy a drug test? I mean seriously, he's 58 and he's hit 8 HRs in his last 7 games. Hmmm. Tino's success leads me to believe you might here this sometime in the very near future: "Now batting for the Columbus Clippers, DH Jason Giambi..."). Now for my next trick: Edgar Renteria will hit .300 this season, but only after hitting .145 up till the All-Star break; Bill Mueller will not hit a ball out of the infield ... ever. Cla Meredith (since, in the words of Fred Smoot, he's "skrugglin'", I'm calling him "Cluh" -- not "Clay" -- until he plays better) will get somebody out; and Keith Foulke will decide his new trend of giving up at least one homer in each outing is a bad idea.

OK, let's see how these work out.

If anyone is as sad and pathetic as me and you're looking for a Fred Gibson t-shirt, here's where you can find it. And if my guess is right, many of you probably don't know (or care) who Fred Gibson is. For the unenlightened, he's the next Plaxico Burress. Except that he's an inch shorter, 20 lbs. lighter and was drafted three rounds later than Plax. And while I consider myself a pretty big nerd, I'm not one of those guys who watches a lot of college football and knows every player on every team by the time bowl season rolls around. But according to the subset of nerds focused on college football stuff, apparently Gibson's pretty good. In fact, he may have been the best receiver on his University of Georgia team (even though his teammate in college, Reggie Brown, was drafted by the Eagles in the second round), but he struggled with injuries and maturity and that's why he was drafted so late. Whatever. I'm glad the Steelers got him becaue they can't very well go through the season with three wideouts (Ward, Randle El and Wilson) who also serve as Smurfs at the mall in the offseason. And one more thing: if you're interested in one of those t-shirts, you better hurry up because there are only 95 left.

Speaking of the Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger's apparently not very smart. For some inane reason he wants to ride around on his motorcycle sans helmet. And before you give me the litany of reasons why it's OK, as an American, to do whatever he wants as long as it's legal, let me save you some trouble.

First, Roethlisberger doesn't work at Burger King, or dig ditches or deliver newspapers. Jobs that are all very important but certainly much easier to fill than NFL quarterback. Second (and this point is completely unoriginal but worth repeating), Roethlisberger only has a 5-15 year window to be a great athlete and do some amazing things. The window on that kind of opportunity is considerably smaller when he chooses not to wear a helmet while he cruises around town.

And yes I know that Roethlisberger is very safe on his bike and he's riding a Harley, not one of those crotch rockets Kellen Winslow was on when he lost a game of chicken to that curb (by the way -- and not to belabor the point -- but should you be tooling around on a missle with wheels if (a) you don't know how to operate it, (b) you have your helmet on, but it's not fastened, and (c) you're a professional athlete who's worth a couple million and has a contract that explicity states that you can't ride motorcycles?), but unless he's on a closed course made of goal post padding, it's a bad idea. The only thing more troublesome is the fact that the Steelers drew up a contract that didn't forbid such activity. From now on it'll be known as the Williams-Winslow clause, and will be a mandatory part of all contracts.

A few weeks ago my buddy Mike sent me this link to the "Boom Goes the Dynamite" segment from a Ball State University campus newscast. If you haven't seen it, it's hilarious. I showed it to my wife and her response was: "Guys are a lot different than girls. They like seeing people suffer. Girls don't think that's particularly funny." Fair enough, but you should still take a look at it (and for the record, I may be the last person on the planet to comment on this; it happened a couple of months ago, but like most things I'm usually the last guy to know about these things).

Anyway, freshman Brian Collins was a last minute fill-in on the sports segment for the campus news and to say this guy struggled reading the tele-prompter is like saying that Mark Bellhorn battles a mullet. And while this was definitely like watching a slow-motion train wreck (but much, much worse), Collins did save himself towards the end of the broadcast. After several minutes of flubbing lines, mispronouncing players and their teams and just choosing not to talk over highlights (which while it led to a lot of dead air and uncomfortable moments on this telecast, would be a welcome change to any SportsCenter episode), Collins busted out one of the best one-liners I've ever heard in any walk of life.

During a Pacers highlight Collins was lost, exasperated and it would have surprised no one if he just got up and walked off the set. But out of nowhere he went into survival mode; he quit trying to read the highlights and instead just started making stuff up. His shining moment came when a Pacer player drained a three and Collins busted out a: "... later he gets the rebound, passes it to the man, shoots it, and boom goes the Dynamite!"

That might have been the single funniest, most spontaneous sports moment in recent memory -- sports or otherwise. Anytime you can do play-by-play without actually mentioning anybody's name and still make people laugh, you're probably doing something right. It was then and there I new that Collins was special. I've watched probably a million hours of sports programming in my lifetime and I've never heard the phrase "boom goes the dynamite" in reference to a big basket, TD, home run, or whatever. And this guy did all this without naming names. He's a genius, pure and simple.

What's amazing is that this clip spread like wildfire across the internet and Collins is refusing to do any interviews because he's embarrassed. This guy's been famous for less than 15 minutes and he's already big-timing us! Unbelievable. I also heard he's got Drew Rosenhaus as his agent and he's holding out for more airtime before he returns to Ball State's newsroom. OK not really, but that would be pretty funny. In all honesty, I hope Collins doesn't take any of this too seriously. Apparently, a lot of college newscasts are similarly bad but the only difference is that some jerk at Ball State emailed Collins' performance and that got the ball rolling.

The funny thing is, if ESPN gave him a job today he'd be far and away the best SportsCenter anchor. Well, except for Stuart Scott. Just kidding.