Thanksgiving Leftovers

With Thanksgiving in the rear-view mirror for 2010, I think there are a couple of examples of people who had good reason to be thankful:

    1. Tiger Woods had to be thankful that Thanksgiving 2010 was less eventful than Thanksgiving 2009.

    2. Headline writers and page designers at the Memphis Commercial Appeal had to be thankful that a simple assault story did not blossom into anything more than that. Let me explain…

Memphis Grizzlies center, Hamed Haddadi and his girlfriend were arrested last week on charges of assault. According to police reports, what started as a verbal confrontation took on a “physical nature” and both were taken to the hospital for treatment of bruises and scratches. Why would headline writers or page designers in Memphis care about this story? Here is the girlfriend’s name:

    Goolnaz Karbalaeinematmoeenev

If her name is in a headline, the story has to be three columns wide…

Now that Vikings’ interim coach, Leslie Frazier has won his first game with the Vikings, it might be interesting see how Zygi Wilf reacts. I get the idea that Wilf is a meddlesome owner who does not flout his meddling nearly to the extent that a Jerry Jones or an Al Davis or a Danny Boy Snyder does. Nonetheless, I think he meddles. If he didn’t meddle, why all the hoopla a couple of weeks ago when Randy Moss was sent packing without informing him beforehand? [Aside: Please note the total lack of impact Moss has had with the Tennessee Titans in his two games there – – the most recent of which was a shutout at the hands of the worst pass defense in the NFL.] Tom Powers writes for the St. Paul Pioneer-Press and his assessment of Zygi Wilf’s ability to deal with public relations issues is summed up in this line regarding Wilf’s announcement of the change in Vikings’ coaches and what that might portend for the future:

“And when he had to vary from the written notes in front of him, well, Zygi couldn’t ad lib a belch after downing a quart of ginger ale.”

By the way, according to one report I read, Brad Childress will be receiving $6.6M as his buyout from his contract. That is not a bad parting gift…

So, two NFL teams have changed head coaches and both teams won their first game under the new regime. Neither firing was an outrageous act; both the Vikings and the Cowboys were highly disappointing this year under Childress and Wade Phillips. However, it is interesting to note that both of the fired coaches not only won their division last year, both also won playoff games last year. Success breeds expectations and expectations set the table for dismissals…

Brad Childress – – in fact – – won the NFC North two years in a row and won it two years ago with Tarvaris Jackson as the QB. If the NFL awarded style points for anything, they ought to give some to Childress for winning a division with Jackson at the helm. Overall, Childress’ record with the Vikings was 39-35.

It is currently fashionable to bash Wade Phillips as a head coach – – and his performance as the leader of the 2010 Cowboys makes that an easy thing to do. However, consider Phillips overall record. He coached the Saints and Falcons as an interim coach for 7 games – – meaning he did not inherit teams destined for glory. Other than that, he was the head man in Buffalo, Denver and Dallas and his overall record as a head coach is 82-59. That means he won 58% of his games. That will not get him into the Hall of Fame by any means – – but there have been coaches who had far less success than that…

Last week – – on 23 Nov. to be exact – – there was a story in the Washington Post where Washington Mystics’ owner, Ted Leonsis, was quoted saying that the Mystics had lost money every year of the franchise’s existence. This was a story about how the team was restructuring and coming up with a new “business model” and yada yada…

When the WNBA started out with the NBA’s drumbeating PR apparatus behind it, the Washington Mystics were the model franchise – – not in terms of championships but in terms of attendance and attachment to the community. The Mystics used to claim that they averaged over 14,000 fans per game. When skeptics like me would suggest that there might be just a bit of legerdemain in those numbers – – such as promotions where if you buy one ticket you can get up to 25 free tickets if you promise that at least 15 of those tickets will put a fanny in a seat – – we were called misogynists and haters and a few other things too. Well, back in the mid-90s when the WNBA started, player salaries were really low – even lower than today when many WNBA players find it necessary to play basketball in Europe too just to make ends meet. So now that we know that the Mystics lost money every year of their existence, how did they manage to do that if all of those 14,000 fans every game actually purchased their tickets at face value?

The reason the Mystics need a new “business model”? These days, they cannot fill the house even with free tickets. So charting a course to a “break-even situation” will be challenging indeed… Maybe the team needs to be a front for a counterfeiting operation that turns out bogus $100 bills. That might get the team to break even – – if someone could come up with a scenario where the team would be able to pass off those counterfeit bills…

The NY Yankees made Derek Jeter an offer of 3 years and $45M and Jeter rejected it. If anyone thought that Jeter would accept the Yankees’ first offer or that the Yankees would accept Jeter’s first offer for a contract, that person would probably also think that Pokemon is a Rastafarian proctologist. However, an unnamed Yankees’ official dismissed Jeter’s refusal asking where he would get a better offer:

“Where’s he gonna go? Cincinnati?”

Derek Jeter had a significantly poor year for him last season. His performance in the field showed “limited range” – – and that is being polite – – and his batting average was off by 40 points. At age 36, Jeter is not a prime candidate for a long-term contract. Having said all of that, Derek Jeter is “Mr. Yankee”. There was a time early in my life when Joe DiMaggio was “Mr. Yankee”; then it was Yogi Berra/Mickey Mantle/Whitey Ford; now it is Derek Jeter. [Reggie Jackson was never “Mr. Yankee” nor was Catfish Hunter. Maybe – – I said maybe – – you could anoint Don Mattingly with that title even though I would not.] And therein lies the issue facing the Yankees in this negotiation. Just as it would have been “wrong” ever to see DiMaggio or Mantle in another MLB uniform, it would also be just as “wrong” to see Derek Jeter in a Tampa uniform. Both sides have to find a way to make this work…

Finally, since I started off today with a comment about Tiger Woods, here is a comment from Mike Bianchi in the Orlando Sentinel on Tiger Woods:

“It was good to see Tiger Woods in the house at the [Orlando] Magic’s new $480 million arena Thursday night. Tiger was probably thinking, ‘$480 million? That’s my alimony payment!’ “

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…

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Comments

  • Peter  On November 29, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Wait a minute … a guy who plays center in the NBA gets injured in a fight with his girlfriend? I guess the legend of the Amazon tribe is true.

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On November 30, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Peter:

    That is what the wire reports related to this story said. What would be very strange would be if he suffered the “bruises” and she suffered the “scratches”. Somehow, I think it would have been a bigger story had that been the case…

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