Professional Rassling In A Different Form

Over the weekend, there was a big pay-per-view MMA fight between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov.  Khabib won the fight but that seems ever so unimportant this morning given two other events that occurred:

  1. Several months ago, McGregor and some of his attendants attacked a bus carrying Khabib and some of his attendants.  They threw object through the windows of the bus and there were some minor injuries.  McGregor was charged in the incident and plead no contest to a minor charge and did community service.
  2. After the fight on this weekend, Khabib climbed out of the ring and attacked one of McGregor’s coaches and several of Khabib’s attendants rushed the ring and attacked McGregor.  It was a melee.

I mention this as prelude to repeat something that I have said about MMA events and UFC and all of those other alphabet-soup fighting enterprises:

  • These entities are, at their core, professional wrestling where the blood is real and the punches actually land.  The outcomes are not pre-determined, but every outcome is exploited to hype the next fight.  Fighters – just like rasslers – are always involved in feuds and revenge and the like.

Today’s Washington Post has a story on the front of the Sports Section with this headline:

Post-match melee has UFC world still reeling

I cannot recall any other time when UFC got such a prominent placement in the Post; I will not be surprised when the “retribution” for Khabib’s post-match attack draws more attention to this matter.  Nor will I be surprised when UFC exploits it to promote the rematch.

The MLB playoffs roll on.  The Brewers swept their first round series shutting out the Rockies twice along the way.  The Astros hold a 2-0 lead over the Indians who will try to avoid elimination this afternoon in Cleveland.  The Dodgers had shut out the Braves twice in LA, but the Braves came back to win the first game in Atlanta last night by a score of 6-5.  The Red Sox and Yankees are tied at 1 game apiece with the series going to NYC this evening.  I will be rooting for a blowout game in either the Sox/Yankees contest or in the Monday Night Football game so that I do not wear out the batteries in my TV remote.

Last week, Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot summed up the baseball situation in Baltimore very succinctly:

“Idle thought: Was Orioles manager Buck Showalter fired? Or was he granted clemency?”

People who create rankings MLB teams in terms of the strength of the farm system all seem to say that the Orioles’ set of prospects is sub-standard.  Some have attributed that to a supposed edict from owner Peter Angelos to minimize spending on players from Latin America in general and the Dominican Republic specifically.  I have no idea if such an edict exists or when it may have been announced if in fact it does exist.  What seems to be a consensus among the “prospect raters” is that the Orioles are in deep yogurt.

That might not be so bad if the major league roster were a juggernaut.  News flash here; it is not.  The O’s lost 115 games this year; they do not hit well; their pitching is awful and good defense is not their forte.  It may be a while before the Orioles are relevant again and Buck Showalter is in his 60s.  It would not be difficult for you to convince me that he would not be overjoyed with the prospect of rebuilding a roster from scratch when the talent pool in the minor leagues is not very deep.

Looking at the Orioles’ situation, I wonder who would relish the job of manager – – or GM for that matter – – at this time.  Peter Angelos is getting up there in years and just may have lost a lot off his fastball; neither of his sons has had much experience in running the baseball side of the team and there appears to be little delegation of authority on that front.  The Orioles are a bad team today and could well be a bad team for more than a couple more years.  Managing a team that loses 100+ games or being the GM who assembles the roster for a team that loses 100+ games is not a way to build a baseball résumé.

Perhaps the only open job in baseball that might be as bad as the opening in Baltimore would be the GM for the Mets.  The problem there is simple:

  • The GM cannot make any deals without the specific approval of the Wilpons in the owners’ suite.
  • The GM will be [presumably] a baseball guy.  The Wilpons are not.

Good luck with that…

The MLB free-agency meat market will get rolling as soon as the World Series is over.  This is a bountiful crop of free agents led by Bryce Harper and Manny Machado who are in their mid-20s and are among the best players in the game.  Often, the big-name free agents are over 30 and are looking for long-term deals even though their prime production years are behind them.  GMs and owners will have to decide how much money they are willing to throw at these folks.  Here are a couple of guidelines I would use:

  1. If I were a GM and were going to be tempted to offer up $350 – 400M to a free agent this year, I would offer it to Manny Machado before I offered it to Bryce Harper.
  2. I would not give a long-term contract (anything longer than 3 years) to Clayton Kershaw if he opts out of his contract with the Dodgers.  Kershaw is a great pitcher, but he also has had 3 consecutive seasons that have been interrupted by “arm problems”.
  3. The same goes for David Price if he opts out of his Red Sox contract.  Price is not as effective as Kershaw, but he too has had “arm problems” in recent years.
  4. Dallas Keuchel is an interesting situation.  He is 30 years old; he has been with the Astros for 7 years – his entire MLB career; he was an Astro when the team was in the NL.  I worry about pitchers in their 30s but somehow when I watch him pitch, I don’t see a guy who has been around long enough to throw almost 1200 innings of MLB.  I do not know what I would offer him as a contract…

Finally, here is some solid career advice from humor-writer, Brad Dickson:

“If both your Twitter and Facebook profiles show you flipping off the camera, try to apply for jobs with companies that don’t check applicants’ social media.”

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