Unbridled Euphoria…

Well, at least it was not a phantom injury. Reports this morning say that Manny Pacquiao will undergo surgery for a “significant tear” in his right rotator cuff and will not be able to train for about 9 months. All too often the use of an injury to explain a defeat or a failing sort of rings hollow. However, if someone says he was injured during a competition and then goes under the knife to repair an injury that indeed would affect athletic abilities, one had to acknowledge that the injury was there during the event.

Nevertheless, given the lackluster reviews and commentaries subsequent to the “Fight of the Century”, I am not sure there will be any sort of clamor for a rematch from the public. I will not be surprised if the two camps try to figure a way to put together a rematch in a year or two simply because of the revenue the first fight generated, but I think they will have to sell the rematch whereas the original fight sold itself.

More than a couple of folks have said that American Pharoah’s win in the Kentucky Derby – along with his previous racing credentials – makes him a serious contender to “break the streak” and win the first Triple Crown since Affirmed won it in 1978. A subset of those folks who are on American Pharoah’s bandwagon thinks that this crop of 3-year olds is a strong one and that would make American Pharoah a worthy addition to the list of Triple Crown winners.

I have exactly no idea at the moment if American Pharoah is going to win the Triple Crown nor am I ready to pronounce this year’s 3-year old crop a top shelf commodity. However, one of the outputs from Curmudgeon Central is a dose of reality when faced with unbridled euphoria. Therefore, please consider:

    1. American Pharoah got an easy trip in the Derby settling nicely in third and fourth place just off the pace. He had to navigate exactly no traffic jams in that race.

    2. American Pharoah ran the mile-and-a-quarter in 2:03 on a fast track. Secretariat ran the Derby in 1:59 2/5. Using handicappers’ metrics, that means American Pharoah would have been 18 lengths behind Secretariat.

    3. American Pharoah ran the final quarter mile of that race in 26 2/5 seconds. Handicappers look at horse workouts and gauge a good workout by the mnemonic “eighths in twelve” meaning a good workout is 12 seconds for each eighth of a mile in the workout. American Pharoah’s final quarter for the Derby was more than 2 seconds slower that a good workout time.

    4. The fact that a whole bunch of other 3-year olds finished behind American Pharoah means to me that this year’s crop of 3-year olds has a lot to show in the next 7 months before I would anoint it as “great”.

Another area of unbridled euphoria that is out and about in the land has to do with the NFL Draft. In the few days subsequent to the Draft, it is commonplace to read analysts’ grades for the Draft team by team. Since there is no real way to know how all of those players will transition to the NFL about now – and it will be at least 2 years and probably 3 until we do know – these commentaries are a tad silly. However, they are made sillier by the unbridled euphoria that infuses them.

I am going to pick on Mark Maske of the Washington Post here but he is NOT alone. Mark Maske covers the NFL at large for the Post and I think he does a good job at it. However, when it comes to grading the teams after this year’s draft, the worst grade he assigned was a “C-“to two teams. Every other team was “C” or better. Now you can call that unbridled euphoria if you want because certainly a couple of teams are going to come out of this draft with next to nothing to show for their efforts – or – you can attribute this to the Lake Woebegone effect where all the children are slightly above average. Whatever…

Oh, I said that grading drafts two days after the fact is a tad silly. Let me put that on a spectrum for you. It is not nearly as silly creating the “Big Board” for the 2016 NFL Draft right about now. If you go to Google and search for “NFL Draft 2016 mock” you will find more than a couple of pages worth of links to articles available online on the subject. Get a grip…

Former NY Yankee centerfielder, Bernie Williams announced his retirement about a week ago. According to the stats I could find, his last game in MLB was in 2006. I do not know about you, but I sort of figured that he had already retired from the game and took up a musical career with guitar stylings. However, I learned that one does not retire from MLB simply by not playing for almost a decade; one has to make an affirmative declaration of retirement for one to move to that status. So, now it is official…

Here is an item I ran across in Greg Drinnan’s blog, Taking Note/Keeping Score:

“Molly Schuyler, a competitive eater, took all of 20 minutes to down three 72-ounce steaks, three baked potatoes, three shrimp cocktails, three salads and three dinner rolls. . . . ‘Or as they call it in Texas,’ said NBC-TV’s Seth Meyers, ‘a kids meal.’ . . . Did we mention that Schuyler weighs in at 120 pounds? With an appetite like that, I can’t imagine her being a cheap date.”

Finally, having mentioned Bernie Williams’ retirement above, here is a relevant comment from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald:

“The Yankees announced they would retire the numbers of Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Bernie Williams. Hmm. Who else remembers when only all-time greats got their numbers retired?”

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

10 thoughts on “Unbridled Euphoria…”

  1. Sir: I also noted Mr. Maske’s enthusiastic grade of the NFL draft in Sunday’s WashPoo. Either the teams are getting better at finding good players to fill their actual needs, or…or Maske didn’t want to hurt the widdle FEE-wings of the front offices of NFL teams.

    1. Siggurdsson:

      I prefer to chalk it up to unbridled euphoria for 2 reasons.

      1. I do not think ever team is getting so much better than no team will wind up sucking wind from this draft after 3 years goes by.

      2. Mark Maske has shown that he is perfectly willing to hurt some feelings in and around the league in previous offerings.


  2. The Yankees should retire the numbers of Pettitte, Posada and Williams because, along with Rivera and Jeter, they were the last “real Yankee stars”. Everybody since has been a mercenary.

    1. david egbert:

      However, my thought – and clearly Greg Cote’s thought – on that subject is that Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter were significantly better players and significantly more valuable to the Yankees for a longer period of time than Pettite, Williams and Posada. That is why rivera and Jeter deserve to have numbers retired.

      I think Rivera and Jeter belong in the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. I think Williams, Pettite and Posada belong in the Hall of Very Good Players.

  3. Agree with you regarding Jeter and Rivera.

    A bit of minutia from the NFL draft. No one would argue Georgia Tech is a powerful passing team, yet they had two wide receivers picked. It seems NFL teams want their pass catchers to also knock people down occasionally.

  4. I think talking of retiring your number starts AFTER you make the Hall of Fame. You are saying you were SO good no one can wear your number again. I’d say retiring your number is the HIGHER honor. Even the Yankees felt that way – they reissued Bill Dickey’s number – to Yogi, only a few years later. SEVEN guys wore #3 after Ruth. Jeter will likely get in the HOF first ballot. I can see retiring his number. Rivera’s IS retired – but not for him. Rivera wore #42…. which has been retired for Jackie Robinson. Anyone who was already wearing it like Rivera or Mo Vaughn, IIRC, could continue – but no one else would be issued the number again.

    …waiting for Horace Clarke to get his plaque in Memorial Park in CF….. or Roy White to get his number retired…. (BTW, Bill James compared him to Jim Rice – different era and parks… and prefers White. Baseball-reference gives Rice the edge in WAR… by .7 games over the course of their careers… granted, I do not see it with my Mark 1 Eyeball, but…. )

  5. Ed:

    I agree with you about retiring numbers. If a player is not deemed worthy of the HoF, it ought to be a stretch for a team to retire his number.

    By that criterion, Williams and Posada should not have their numbers retired. Pettite may in fact get into the HoF somewhere down the line meaning the Yankees might choose to retire the number after that.

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