Last week, too much was made of some remarks by Steelers’ LB, James Harrison regarding “participation trophies”. The reason I say too much was made of his opposition to such things is that just about everything that can be said on the matter has already been said.
Proponents like participation trophies because they reward effort and commitment. They supposedly make all the recipients feel good about themselves.
Opponents dislike participation trophies because they do not celebrate accomplishment.
The folks on either side of this “debate” have taken sides and no amount of repetition of any of these points is going to change anyone’s mind. Last week’s contretemps on this issue harkened back to the old Miller Lite commercials where people would shout at each other:
Next time the subject comes up, remember those ads…
Actually, I think the most cogent comment on the subject came from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald last weekend:
“Parting thought: There’s a big, renewed debate over whether all kids in youth sports, not just top finishers, should get “participation” trophies. ‘That’s a big fat YES!’ said the American Association of Trophy Manufacturers.”
Last November, the Oakland A’s traded third-baseman Josh Donaldson to the Blue Jays for third-baseman Brett Lawrie, RHP Kendall Graveman, LHP Shawn Nolin and SS Franklin Barreto. I wonder what advanced Moneyball analytics convinced Billy Beane that was a good idea. Here are some numbers as of yesterday:
Donaldson: .301/.369/.954 Leading the AL with 100 RBIs and 93 runs scored. Also 34 HRs. By the way, he is only 29 years old.
Lawrie: .266/.318/.713 11 HRs 46 RBIs 43 runs scored. He is 25 years old.
Graveman: 6-9 with a 4.27 ERA. WHIP 1.46 pitching for the A’s
Nolin: Did not pitch for the A’s yet this year. In 2 MLB appearances over the last 2 seasons, he had an ERA of 27.00.
Barreto: At Stockton (Class A) .297,/.352/.821. 12 HRs in 88 games and 45 RBI 47 runs scored.
Looking at those numbers – and conceding that I am not an advanced analytics guru – Nolin and Barreto will have to be productive MLB players somewhere down the road to make this anything other than a major loss for the A’s.
Back in April, the Washington Nationals looked like the best team in MLB for this year. As Michael Wilbon has pointed out on PTI several times this season, the media anointed the Nats as a reincarnation of the ’27 Yankees. It was a tad premature… The Nats are 5 games behind the Mets in the NL East as of this morning but that is the good news. If the Nats do not win the division, their only route to the playoffs would be as a wild card and they are 9.5 games behind the Cubbies for the second wild card slot at the moment.
Naturally, manager Matt Williams is taking heat for this underachievement and for myriad in-game tactical moves he has made. Interestingly, Williams was Manager of the Year just last season. It is amazing how he got so stupid so quickly…
As the NFL season approaches, the good folks who brew Bud Light are ready to roll out “team specific cans” of their swill for 28 of the 32 NFL teams. [Aside: The Bears, Packers, Vikings and Cowboys do not get “team specific cans” because they have sponsorship deals with Miller/Coors.] Each team-specific can carries the team logo and a custom tagline specific to each team that somehow relates to the Bud Light slogan “Up for Whatever”.
I’ll pause here for a moment while you catch your breath and get back to reading this rant after fist-pumping your way around the room. There…
Here is the way Alex Lembrecht, VP at Bud Light, described this marketing program:
“Ultimately, fans love football and the NFL, but what they really invest in emotionally each week is their individual team. Throughout the 2015-16 season, Bud Light and its team partners will be unrelenting in delivering incredible, one-of-a-kind experiences to fans in their local team stadiums and markets.”
A can of Bud Light is going to deliver an “incredible, one-of-a-kind experience”? Really? Just in case you do not appreciate the gravitas of this undertaking by the folks at Bud Light, you can check out this link to see some of these team specific cans and from that you might be able to concoct in your mind what sort of “one-of-a-kind experiences” they might introduce into your life.
Finally, here is an item from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times regarding FIFA and Sepp Blatter:
“FIFA presidential candidate Chung Mong-joon of South Korea, to the London Telegraph, on Sepp Blatter trying to distance himself from soccer’s mega scandal: ‘Blatter is like a cannibal eating his parents and then crying he’s an orphan.’”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………