Friday, December 02, 2005

Sans Stats

Hello, and welcome to Sans Stats, the weekly column dedicated to ridiculing the increasing absurdity in the world of sports.

We here at the Sporting Brews would like to extend a “thank you” to Mike Holmgren for providing ammunition this week. In the days following the Seahawks 24-21 overtime victory over the New York Football Giants, news leaked that the NFL had found two touchdown decisions – both reviewed by the referees on the field – were, in fact, incomplete passes. Apparently, reviews like this by the NFL are not uncommon, but leaking them into the public forum isn’t considered acceptable behavior.

The prevalent question here is: why would Holmgren leak this information? The first thing he should have asked himself was, “have I ever seen any other coaches make any remarks like this?” If he had done his homework, the answer would have been “no.” The second question he should have pondered was, “what will I accomplish by bringing this to the public?”

Quite frankly, this seems like an effort to quell the thought that the Giants should have won the game on three separate instances, all of which were botched by kicker Jay Feely. Many Giants players, as they had following an embarrassing loss to the Vikings, declared after the game that despite the results, they proved they were the better team. Apparently the New York media can ruffle feathers as far away as Washington, and Holmgren brought forth this information as his trump card.

But in the end, all it cost him was a few thousand in fines ("Now, because of the potential fines, my kids won't get Christmas stockings," quipped Holmgren, making me hate him just a little bit more) and a bit of dignity, of which little is remaining.

Justifying his beach of a confidentiality agreement, Holmgren said that, "there were some mistakes that took place, which we felt at the time." No shit, Holmgren, you thought that a close call on a touchdown for your opponent was a mistake? Of course you did, just like Jeremy Shockey thought Feely’s initial field goal was good. But that’s no reason to come out with this sort of information that is not only confidential, but a certain PR mess for the NFL.

Mike Holmgren: I’d rather have an offensive lineman coaching my team.

To the NBA now, where there’s always a supply of FAAAAAAAAAAN-tastic stories. This week’s top billing: Portland Trailblazers forward Ruben Patterson has demanded to play 25 minutes a game, or he shouldn’t be played at all. Coach Nate McMillan retorted by saying that 25 minutes were “starter minutes,” and that Patterson was inhibited by the guys above him, Darius Miles and Zach Randolph.

Now, I know it’s hard for an egomaniac like Patterson to understand, but when you’re 30 in the NBA, you don’t exactly have a lot of leverage. Add to that the two guys ahead of him in the rotation, and you have the equivalent of Nelson De La Rosa trying to pull a 10-foot lever.

This also brings into question the learning ability of Patterson. I wonder if he noticed a guy named Latrell Sprewell sitting at home, unable to even attain a veteran minimum contract because of his immature outbursts. And really, a multi-millionaire talking about having enough money to feed his family is about as ridiculous as a 30-year-old who has averaged 23.5 minutes a game demanding more playing time.

Hello, Ruben, and welcome to the inactive list. Your waiting time is estimated as indefinite.

Back in the land of the gridiron, where we know there’s at least one guy who understands the value of absurdity. Chad Johnson has become infamous for his elaborate touchdown celebrations, which have been frequent this year because, well, he and Carson Palmer simply kick ass. He is currently prepping a steel-themed celebration for this Sunday as he and the Bengals march out onto Heinz Field. Oh, if only there was a way to make a football resemble a ketchup bottle.

Showboating is not normally shone in a favorable light, but Johnson is so creative and downright hilarious with his antics that they’re hard to downplay. I think the biggest difference between T.O.’s touchdown antics and those of Chad are that we know Chad is joking. He’s merely having fun, and his demeanor reinforces that. T.O. on the other hand seems to have the implicit message that he’s better than everyone when he celebrates a TD. Maybe that’s just me being biased, but I feel that due to their between game comments, it becomes clear that T.O. is being arrogant and Chad is just having fun.

I don’t normally like to do this to fellow Internet writers, because we are all entitled to our opinion. But a biiiiiiiiiiig F.U. to the folks at nyynews.com, who reported on Tuesday night that Kyle Farnsworth had signed with the Yankees. You know, guys, signing means putting his name on a contract, which means that he would have taken and passed a physical. Without pen to paper, they are said to have come to terms, but these negotiations haven’t even gotten that far.

ESPN (you know, a news source that has journalistic credibility) is reporting that the Texas Rangers are now in on the Farnsworth bidding. So let’s see here: no contract signed, no terms agreed to, and of course no apology from the folks at that site. They’ll just keep dancing along as if nothing happened, which is the beauty of having no accountability.

I will now shapeshift out of my “guy who is trying to be funny” body and back into my “Yankees nerd” mold. Please, Cashman, please (and I know if I scream loud enough, you can hear me) don’t go batty bidding for Kyle Farnsworth. Yes, I defended him in this space yesterday, but that doesn’t mean committing more dollars to a relief pitcher, the shakiest of all signings. In fact, the only way I would advocate further bidding on Farnsworth is if George Steinbrenner uttered the following words:

“Brian, you have unlimited funds for the duration of your contract. I don’t care if you spend $800 million on players. Get them and win.”

(Which I would react to by offering John Henry $200 million for Manny, straight up.)

And who knows, George may be crazy and senile enough at this point to pull such a stunt. But it’s highly unlikely, which means that the Yankees still need to fit into some unknown budget. That budget would be quite burdened by a reliever making $7 million a season. And since the Yankees should be very familiar with the volatility and uncertainty of relief pitchers (Hammonds, Karsay, Quantrill, this one’s for you), bidding higher than the current deal of 3 years, $17 million should basically be out of the question.

Yet, I have this feeling that I’m going to click on ESPN.com today and see “Yanks and Farnsworth agree to 4-year, $26 million contract.” I will then commit hari kari with the nearest sharp object.