Earlier this week, I said that I hoped that President Trump would break with recent tradition and avoid picking March Madness brackets. I figured that the best way to accomplish that end would be for ESPN to “forget to ask him” to do so. I was wrong. Evidently, ESPN has asked but President Trump has turned down the offer. I guess I should just file this under:
“All’s Well That Ends Well”
Earlier this week, I was having lunch with a former colleague who has been reading these rants even before they hit the Internet. His sports irritant of the moment was the fallout “discussion” after the Super Bowl considering if Tom Brady is or is not the G.O.A.T. – greatest of all time – as a QB or even as an NFL player. I agreed that those discussions had run their course and people had taken sides and any further discussion was superfluous. He then said that he found it ironic that the acronym for greatest of all time – GOAT – had a double meaning since the player responsible for losing a game or a championship is often referred to as “the goat”. He pointed out that “GOAT” and “the goat” are almost antonyms. Then he told me what I should do; this is a paraphrase:
- Find a phone booth and put on your super-hero curmudgeon costume and figure out which “goat” was the “GOAT of goats” – the greatest goat of all time.
I was afraid the list would be too long to put in a rant, but as I pondered this “challenge” it seemed to boil down to only a few people/happenstances. I will put them here in alphabetical order to let you decide which of these is the most egregious. Or perhaps you can add to the list …
- Bill Buckner: Even if you were born after the misplayed ground ball in the World Series that cost the Red Sox the 1986 World Series, you have to know about that event. I suspect that a lot of fans in Boston will not need to read any further into this list.
- Scott Norwood: His missed field goal as time expired cost the Buffalo Bills a win in the Super Bowl. Mitigating his claim to this ignominious title is the fact that the kick was from 47 yards; it was not a chip shot.
- John Starks: In the 1994 NBA Finals, Starks had a disastrously bad game in Game 7 of the series. He was 2 for 18 for the game and 0 for 10 in the fourth quarter of the game. The Knicks lost to the Rockets by 6 points that night.
- Willie Shoemaker: In the 1957 Kentucky Derby, Shoemaker was riding Gallant Man comfortably to a victory when he misjudged the finish line and stood up in the stirrups with about a sixteenth of a mile to go. Gallant Man finished second in that race to Iron Liege by a nose.
There is a category of “goats” that would have multiple entries here so I would prefer to lump them into one. There are pitchers who gave up home runs that ended the World Series to the disadvantage of their team.
- Ralph Branca: He gave up the “Shot Heard Round the World” to Bobby Thomson in 1951 putting the NY Giants into the World Series at the expense of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
- Ralph Terry: He served up the pitch that Bill Mazeroski hit out of the park in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7 to give the Pirates the World Series at the expense of the Yankees.
- Mitch Williams: He gave up a walk-off home run to Joe Carter in Game 6 of the 1993 World Series giving the Blue Jays the World Series over the Phillies.
There is one other entry for this list but the identity of the potential “GOAT of goats” remains a mystery. I shall identify him here as:
- Joe Flabeetz: He is the guy who called the pass play for the Seattle Seahawks at the 1-yardline with about 30 seconds to play – and with several timeouts in his pocket and Marshawn Lynch in the game – and saw it intercepted by Malcom Butler giving the Patriots the title instead of the Seahawks. From a coaching standpoint, that is the worst brain-cramp ever.
There you have my “Egregious Eight” as the candidates for “GOAT of goats”. If any of the FIFA World Cup final games has ever been decided by an “own goal”, then the person responsible for that should be on this list. However, I do not know if that ever happened. I do recall the US Men’s Team winning a World Cup game when a Colombian opponent scored an “own goal”. However, that game was nowhere near the finals of the tournament so I did not bother to go and find the details of that happening. The reason this event sticks in my mind is that the Colombian player who scored the “own goal” was murdered in Colombia as some sort of retribution for the “own goal” that led to Colombia’s elimination from the World Cup Tournament.
The actions of the folks on my list of the “Egregious Eight” fortunately have not incited any fan to attempt violence against any of the individuals. I like sports and I take the games seriously – – but not that seriously.
Finally, here are comments from two columnists on the same topic:
“Defensive-end prospect Donovan Winter was unable to sign his letter of intent with Michigan State on Wednesday, the Orlando Sentinel reported, because he’d been jailed on burglary charges.
“Probably not the kind of ‘recruiting steal’ that Spartans coaches had in mind.” [Dwight Perry, Seattle Times]
“A Michigan State defensive end prospect missed signing day because he was in jail on burglary charges. Any statements about him leading the team in takeaways the next four years are inappropriate.” [Brad Dickson, Omaha World-Herald]
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………