Miscellany Today …

Yesterday, Bob Ryan posted this Tweet as people recalled the greatness of Willie Mays the day after his passing:

“Aparicio is now the oldest living Baseball Hall of Famer.  But who is the “Greatest Living Ballplayer?”  Let the argument begin.”

Indeed, that “argument” has begun at several sites on the Internet but here in Curmudgeon Central we beat the rush and had this discussion last August.  I concluded then that Ken Griffey, Jr. was the best living player behind Willie Mays.  Recall that we made a distinction between position players and pitchers a year ago and came up with a separate candidate for the best living pitcher.  My choice was Sandy Koufax; let’s just say that selection was not greeted with unanimity.

Moving on …  Another bit of news from yesterday involves the Kansas State Legislature; that body has passed a bill and sent it along to the Governor authorizing the issuance of State bonds to fund new stadiums for the Royals and the Chiefs.  Currently, those teams play their games in KC, Missouri and the folks in that part of the world voted down a referendum seeking funds for either new stadiums or improvements to current stadiums for both teams.

The bonds in question would be paid for by revenues generated by sports betting, revenues from the Kansas State Lottery and revenues from “additional tax dollars generated in and around the new venues.”  It is not news when two cities bid to lure a pro team or to keep it where it is; now we have State Legislatures involved because the Missouri State Legislature is also in the process of considering taking a hand in the game.

I have never been to Arrowhead Stadium so I cannot comment on it’s “adequacy” as an NFL venue now and over the next 20-30 years.  All I can say about it is that it looks good on TV.  I have been to Kauffman Stadium to see the Royals several times – – albeit the last time was in the mid-90s.  My assessment is:

  • I like Kauffman Stadium a lot.  It is compact – – almost cozy – – with great sightlines for viewing the game.

Having said that, I recognize that the facility is now 50 years old and that makes it easy to imagine that it needs some upgraded “amenities”.  However, the underlying physical plant in KC is excellent.  I like it along with T-Mobile Park in Seattle, Camden Yards in Baltimore and PNC Park in Pittsburgh as great venues to watch a baseball game.

Switching gears …  The English Premier League season is over; Manchester City was the league champion beating out Arsenal by a slim two-point margin.  Liverpool and Aston Villa finished third and fourth in the standings meaning those two clubs will have a spot in the next UEFA Champions League and Tottenham finished fifth meaning it gets a slot in the upcoming Europa League tournament.  Some of the clubs who are often in the Top Five of the league are absent this year; Chelsea finished sixth and Manchester United finished eighth.

I always like to focus on the bottom of the EPL standings because of the relegation feature in English soccer.  Being demoted – – or sent down if you will – – from the Premier League to the Championship are:

  • Luton Town – – finished 18th with 26 points
  • Burnley – – finished 19th with 24 points
  • Sheffield United – – finished 20th with 16 points.

That result for Sheffield United is staggering.  Premier League scoring awards a team three points for a win and one point for a draw.  The league plays a completely balanced schedule; the season is 38 games long with each team playing every other team twice – – one at home and one on the road.  In that circumstance, Sheffield United only won 3 games and tied 7 while losing 28 times.  But wait, there’s more …

Sheffield United had a goal differential for the season of minus-69.  For a 38-game season, that means every time Sheffield United took the pitch, the expectation was that they would lose by 1.82 goals.  To put that number in perspective, Burnley – – also relegated – – had a goal differential of minus-37 for the season or less than 1 goal per game.

Naturally, I wondered if this was the worst team performance in EPL history – – which only goes back to the 1990s.  And no, there was at least one that was worse.

  • In the 2007/2008 season, Derby County finished last in the EPL registering only 11 points and also posting a goal differential of minus-69.
  • In that season, Derby County only won 1 game and drew 8 times in 38 contests.  For the record, that win was over Newcastle United early in the season.

Three teams from the English Championship will be promoted to the EPL next season to replace the relegated squads.

  1. Leicester City returns to the EPL after a year’s demotion by winning the Championship with 97 points in 46 games
  2. Ipswich Town is promoted for finishing second with 96 points
  3. Third place, Leeds United (90 points) and fourth place Southampton (87 points) had a playoff to determine the third promoted club.  Southampton won that match and will be in the EPL next season.

Finally, let me close today with some observations by Dorothy Parker:

“I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.”

And …

 “You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.”

And …

“Money cannot buy health, but I’d settle for a diamond-studded wheelchair.”

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



2 thoughts on “Miscellany Today …”

  1. Of stadiums and accolades: Ken Griffey, Jr. was a factor in Seattle Mariners’ T-Mobile Park being built. If you build it (and you win), they will come.

  2. WAR says Rickey. WAR says Rickey is better than Mantle. WAR – what is it good for? Absolutely nothing.

    I will differ and say Schmidt. Junior declined relatively young. After 30, 2 30 HR years, no 100 RBI years, no 100 run scored, and after 31 he only hit .280 once.

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