Friday, December 16, 2005

Sans Stats

If anyone watched The Colbert Report on Tuesday night, you know exactly what I’m going for with this weekly Sans Stats column. Every week, I try to compile a list of absurd sports stories and tell them in a satirical manner. Problem is, I’m just not that funny, so for every successful joke I crack, there are about two pounds of babble to wade through.

Stephen Colbert did a phenomenal job satirizing sports during his show, even bringing on Bob Costas as his guest. It makes me wish that I was funny. But, as they say in baseball, gotta concentrate on what you can do, not what you can’t. So I’m going to keep doing this, whether it’s funny or not. And if it’s not, well, I guess I should start to notice quite a dip in traffic on Fridays.

On a quick opening note (I know, how unprofessional of me), I just want to point out a little bit on the front page of ESPN.com. Now, the article is Insider content, and since the Insider isn’t worth the toilet paper I wipe my ass with, I can’t attest for the whole article. But resident idiot Steve Phillips penned an article on where the remaining free agents fit in, and the teaser mentioned Bengie Molina and the Dodgers.

Let’s see. They have Jason Phillips under contract, and Dioner Navarro kicked some tail during the second half of last year. Yeah, that’s the first move I would make, bringing in a 31-year-old catcher whose best year was his walk year. Do I need to make a joke about this, or are we all content calling Phillips a flippin’ moron?

ANYWAY

The big story this week: the "Love Boat" incident finally comes to a head, as Vikings Daunte Culpepper, Fred Smoot, Bryant McKinnie, and Moe Williams were chard with…misdemeanors? That’s all we’re getting, three lousy misdemeanor charges each?

There was a report circulating that McKinnie had been seen dumping evidence of the party at a construction dumpster. Minnesota’s KSTP went garbage picking, and claimed to have found a list of women’s numbers – purportedly a list of prostitutes trafficked over state lines, a felony – in addition to marijuana residue and remnants of gutted cigars. Yet prosecutors couldn’t put together enough of a case to charge the players with a felony. This brings an important point to light: don’t trust garbage pickers.

ESPN reports that each charged player could spend a maximum of 90 days in jail, but when was the last time a pro athlete spent time in jail on a misdemeanor? Hell, it took cocaine trafficking to land Jamal Lewis behind bars, and that was a highly reduced sentence. Official predictions? Well, if the prosecution couldn’t put together a felony case, they probably won’t be able to send any of them to jail. Maybe probation and community service, and that’s if they can hang in there and get a conviction. Smoot, McKinnie, and Culepper will likely serve a league-imposed suspension in the case of a conviction, and chances are Moe Williams will be released regardless.

More pro athletes facing misdemeanors: Utah Jazz rookies Deron Williams and Michael Whaley reportedly gave false names to police following an altercation at a local club. Figures that they’re rookies, since all veterans know that pro athletes can get away with murder (I will not make a Ray Lewis joke, I will not make Ray Lewis joke).

Furthermore, when Whaley was faced with questions about a cut in his hand that required six stitches, he doled out contradicting stories. First was that he cut his hand on a glass in the bar, which would have been true if he hadn’t specifically mentioned that it had nothing to do with the altercation, which it surely did. But then he went and told coach Jerry Sloan that he cut it when he found his 2-year-old son playing with a butchers knife. Said his son, "why you always gotta drag me into shit like this?"

Sticking with the theme of legal troubles, two MLB players are serving time in jail this week. Former Orioles pitcher Sidney Ponson is behind bars for five days as a penalty for his umpteenth DUI charge. Quipped Ponson upon arrival at the prison, "I hope they have Grey Goose at this joint."

The other player, Ugueth Urbina, is serving time in his native Venezuela on slightly more serious charges. A judge denied him bail on Wednesday, but Urbina is still confident that he will receive clemency in the coming weeks.

Both players are still seeking employment next year; Urbina’s contract expired following the 2005 season, and the Orioles terminated Ponson’s deal due to breach of contract. If either player has half a brain left, the next logical move would be to the Yankees, as George Steinbrenner has a soft spot (or is it a hard on?) for criminals – Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, and Steve Howe immediately come to mind.

Matt Leinart’s draft stock is dropping, according to experts. The 2004 Heisman Trophy winner would have been the No. 1 overall selection in the 2005 draft had he not chosen to return to USC for his senior year. According to a report over at Pro Football Talk, "there's some talk that Leinart's growing reputation as a "party guy" could end up knocking him lower than No. 2 in the 2006 NFL draft."

They also cite pictures taken on Saturday night as a source of this "party guy" mentality.



Commented Leinart, "What? You think that’s the hottest chick I’ve gotten with?"

Proving that only dumb writers play the race card, there has been an uproar regarding an article about Eagles QB Donovan McNabb, in which Philadelphia NAACP President J. Whyatt Mondesire called the injured QB "mediocre at best."

Lost in Mondesire’s criticism is any mention of the Madden Curse, which loomed its ugly head over McNabb this season. The list of victims of said curse is getting longer, including Eddie George, Daunte Culpepper, Marshall Faulk, Michael Vick, and now McNabb. In fact, the only player not directly affected by the curse is 2005 cover boy Ray Lewis, though he did have a sub-par season. Commented Lewis, "What? I got away with murder. What more do you want from me?"

Instead of going with the Idiots of the Week this week, I think I’m going to hit the “complete opposite” button and go with the Smartest People of the Week. Really, I’ve already mentioned the idiots of the week.

Bill Mueller -- Yes, it was a no-brainer decision to pick the Dodgers over the Pirates. But he had us all wondering there for a minute.
Ron Artest -- For leaving all the shit behind him and requesting a trade from Indiana.
Arn Tellem -- For putting out reports that Nomar could decide his new team by Thursday, thereby increasing the chance of an impulsive “last-minute” offer from one of his four suitors.

And ya know, that’s all I can really come up with. So I guess I should dole out THE Idiot of the Week. This week, it’s ESPN’s Skip Bayless for continuing to write. Yes, that’s it. In fact, I think Bayless will hold this title until he does the respectable thing and retires. When a pro athlete sucks, he often gets cut or retires. Why can’t it be the same way for columnists that suck?