Former NBA Commissioner, David Stern, is in serious condition after surgery was required to alleviate a “brain hemorrhage”. I often had less than totally positive things to say about his “Commissioner-ship”, but I certainly do not wish this sort of thing on anyone. Notwithstanding previous contrary views to his, I do wish him a full recovery.
As of this morning, we are 97% of the way through the Calendar Year and I would like to pose a question for comment:
- Who/What in the sports world was the biggest disappointment in 2019?
An alternative way to put the question could be:
- What sports figure had the biggest “crash and burn” event of 2019?
I will offer three nominees here; I am certain there are others:
- Chris Davis – Baltimore Orioles: In 2015, Davis led the major leagues in home runs with 47 and he drove in 117 runs. The O’s recognized that performance with a monster contract – 7 years and $161M. His performance in 2016 – 2018 was more than disappointing but as the 2019 season dawned folks were talking about his having lost weight and his “re-engineered swing”. Those are standard stories from MLB Spring Training sites, but there was a momentum to the multiple stories of that type. Here are the stats from 2019:
BA = .179 OPS = .601 SO = 139 HR = 12 RBI = 36
- There are 3 years left on that monster contract he signed with the Orioles – at $23M per year. It looks as if this career is over.
- Antonio Brown – Free Agent WR: As 2019 dawned, Antonio Brown was considered to be one of the top 3 WRs in the NFL – and many folks would have argued he was THE best WR in the NFL. Like some of his WR brethren, he was a diva and was the source of those dreaded distractions in the locker room. The Steelers decided they could live without him and he signed on with Jon Gruden and the Raiders. Training camp with the Raiders was a circus – remember his blistered feet and his arrival in a hot air balloon? His career with the Raiders lasted exactly ZERO games whereupon he signed with the Pats where he lasted exactly ONE game. Intertwined with all those events are allegations of sexual assault.
- Brown is too talented to have his career ended by that. However, his career is in tatters; and he now brings so much baggage with him that his diva behaviors will need to be toned down a bit to accommodate the “optics” involving whichever team signs him next.
- The Alliance of American Football – Defunct professional football league: When 2019 began, the AAF was on the launching pad ready to satisfy the national hunger for football starting the week after the Super Bowl. It had recognizable names on the league’s letterhead; seven of its eight head coaches had been in that position in the NFL or at major college programs; the league had a TV deal with CBS Sports and the NFL Network was going to carry AAF games too. There was reason for optimism; after all, professional spring football had succeeded as the USFL up to the time when that league chose to try to go head-to-head with the NFL. The AAF could not even finish its first season and could not pay off all the contracts that were liabilities to the league.
- All of the optimism that permeated the news involving the AAF juxtaposed with its rapid dissolution calls to mind an observation by Voltaire:
“Optimism is the madness of maintaining that everything is right when it is wrong.”
Other nominations are welcome in the “Comments” section below. And of course, we must leave open the possibility of a yet unidentified “crash and burn” in the remaining 3% of Calendar Year 2019…
There was a report last week about the ad sales for next summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo. The report said that NBC has already sold more than $1B of time slots for those games. To put that in perspective, the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro generated $1.2B in ad revenues; that was the highest ad revenue for the Olympics in history; the games will not start for another 7 months so it would appear that NBC will set another new record in 2020.
NBC announced that the “span” of advertising partners reaches from financial services firms through pharmaceutical companies all the way to fast food establishments. If you are planning to watch the Summer Olympics, you will find on all the NBC platforms a bit more than 7000 hours of programming. If that sounds like an awful lot of programming time, you are correct; consider that there are 8760 hours in a year…
Finally, since I cited Voltaire above with his comment on optimism, let me close with a definition from The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm:
“Optimist: One who sees the glass half full, even when it is half full of urine.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………