Friday, December 23, 2005

Sans Stats

Welcome, welcome, welcome. Another week is in the books, and that means it’s time for Friday’s installment of Sans Stats. Big week in sports, and baseball in particular, as hot stove season just turned up the gas. The non-tender deadline was Tuesday, but the new flurry of free agents was overshadowed by none other than Jesus himself. Or, at least aesthetically close.

Johnny Damon signed with the Yanks amidst mixed emotions from Yankees fans. You can read various opinions on the Damon signing by visiting any one of the Yankees links over on the left side of your screen, or even scrolling down (or clicking here).

The Red Sox responded swiftly, signing former Yankees catcher John Flaherty. Now with Flaherty’s .165/.206/.252 averages, the Red Sox can afford to deal Manny without a severe offensive repercussion.

I open with this topic not because of the vast information and opinions available, but because of the new Idiot of the Week. It was just last week that I crowned Skip Bayless with this title until further notice. Silly me to think that ESPN wouldn’t send out some other hack columnist to snatch the title just a week later.

On Wednesday, during the tumultuous aftermath of the Damon signing, ESPN’s Jim Caple penned this piece of shit. (Editor’s Note: I know some are offended by profanity, so I try to keep it to a minimum. But vulgarities are meant to add emphasis, and I really can’t think of a better term to describe Caple’s so called writing).

His main reason to bash the Damon signing: the Yankees strict dress code. Jigga-what? So you’re telling me that Johnny Damon won’t perform in New York because he has to cut his hair and shave his beard? Oh, oh, they’re just symbolic of his free-spirited nature, which makes perfect sense! Remember when the Orioles stole the free spirit from Albert Belle?

Of course, Caple uses Giambi as precedent, saying that he wasn’t the same player after he cut his hair and shaved his goatee. ‘Scuse me? Yes, I realize that his marks didn’t quite match his MVP year in Oakland, but he still hit 40 homers in each of his first two seasons with the Yanks – and still kept that OBP above .400.

But what else would you expect from a guy who wrote a book called The Devil Wears Pinstripes?

Moving to the gridiron, and a story that really hits the heart, New York Jets receiver Wayne Chrebet is retiring from the NFL after 11 seasons. Chrebet’s story is well-known, an undrafted free-agent from Hofstra who became synonymous with the Jets franchise. The term “great white hope” is tossed around from time to time, describing a white guy playing a skill position other than quarterback. But at 5 foot 10 and 188 pounds, Chrebet truly was the great white hope.

Speaking of the Jets, how did Jonathan Vilma get snubbed for the Pro Bowl? Am I just a jaded Jets fan? I’m not quite sure how a guy’s number of tackles represents his ability, but really, Vilma does lead the league in them. Doesn’t that at least count for something?

Keeping with the local theme, I came across one of those Insider links at ESPN.com that teased, "Jalen Rose still going for a Penny?" Penny’s contract expires in 2006, and such moves have become a trademark of Isaiah Thomas. I’m so numb to his GM regime that my initial reaction is, "well, it’s not like we could have signed anybody with Penny’s contract off the books, anyway."

That’s about it for today’s edition of Sans Stats. Merry Christmas, all (that’s what I celebrate, so that’s what I’ll say). But before we shut down for the holiday…

We already have THE Idiot of the Week, but Caple’s not the only one. Here’s the rest of the gang.

Fox Sport’s Kevin Hench: Because I found out he’s the head writer of the worst show to debut in 2005, Too Late With Adam Carrolla.
The Treasury Department: For not allowing Cuba to participate in the World Baseball Classic. Listen, guys, this is the WORLD Baseball Classic, and last time I checked, Cuba was part of the world.
Pac Man Jones: Because not paying your clubhouse dues and getting into an argument with an attendant really bolsters your already putrid reputation.
Ron Artest: Oops, I actually commended him last week. My bad. Brain fart.
Canada: Guy who intentionally broke someone’s neck or hyped up rookie?
Isaiah Thomas: He should be here weekly.
Jimmy Damon: Johnny is of Ruthian proportions? Guess he has a flair for hyperbole.
Johnny Damon: What Idiot list would be complete without him? Yeah, I’m still a little bitter over it, but whatever.

And finally, we here at the Sporting Brews send our condolences to the Dungy family. Not much needs to be said here. We can only imagine their pain.