Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lucky Lane

Lane Kiffin, after weeks of rampant speculation, has been relieved of his duties as head coach of the Oakland Raiders.

Lucky Lane.

He has been continually undermined by team owner Al Davis, who clearly has not been a supporter of Kiffin. Though other than signing his name to paychecks, his opinion isn't exactly valued in NFL circles.

Below is video of Davis, speaking about his decision to fire Kiffin.



Gross. I probably should've warned that the footage of the decrepit owner wasn't safe for work. A real class act, that Al Davis. He didn't even fire Kiffin in a face-to-face meeting; it was done via telephone. And now, a letter to Kiffin - from Davis - has surfaced, explaining the possibility of a firing with cause. Or, more specifically, without pay.

And I have that letter.

Well, ESPN.com had the letter, as do numerous other sites on the web, and I've copied and pasted it for you on this site. Note that it is the real, actual letter Kiffin received

Dear Lane:

Over the past months, you have made a number of public statements that were highly critical of, and designed to embarrass and discredit, this organization, its players and its coaches. I left you alone during training camp in hopes that you would cease your immature and destructive campaign.

However, you continue to make public statements that are critical of the organization, its players as whole as well as individual players. Such statements constitute conduct detrimental to the Raiders and I will no longer stand silently by while you continue to hurt this organization.

Further, your contract is quite clear that you work "subject to the direction and supervision of the General Partner" and that the General Partner has "the exclusive right to do all things, which in its sole discretion are necessary to maintain and improve the Club, the football organization and their activities."

I realized when I hired you that you were young and inexperienced and that there would be a learning process for you. Your mistakes on player personnel and coaches were overlooked based on our patience with you. But I never dreamt that you would be untruthful in statements to the press as well as on so many other issues. Your actions are those of a coach looking to makes (sic) excuses for not winning, rather than a coach focused on winning.

For example, with the exception of Gibril Wilson, you were involved in recruiting all free agents and determining salaries for them and you were explicit about your desire to sign Javon Walker and DeAngelo Hall amongst others. All were a must to sign in your eyes, Hall, in particular, because he played for Greg Knapp in Atlanta and Knapp gave him high grades. Do not run from that now.

I do realize that you did not want us to draft JaMarcus Russell. He is a great player. Get over it and coach this team on the field, that is what you were hired to do. We can win with this team!

In regards to your recent fabrications about the defense, during the final cuts you made every cut on offense and every cut on defense except for (Fred) Wakefield on defense and (Seth) Wand on offense. Furthermore, during the game Monday night (defensive coordinator) Rob (Ryan) played your Cover-2 defense and we got killed on an approximately 50-yard touchdown pass and an approximately 70-yard gain that led to a field goal.

You meet every week with the defensive coaches to go over both the past game and to get a general feel for what will happen during the week in practice. You have the ability and authority to provide your input during those meetings and the preparation of the game plan. I do not have weekly meetings with Rob -- you do.

During the week no one has ever told you what to do on either offense or defense. In addition, no one has ever told you during a game what to do on either offense or defense and you call every play on offense. During a game if you want to blitz more, all you have to do is let Rob know what blitz you want and he will do it.

Although you continue to use the media to express your dissatisfaction with others, no one has publicly pointed out to you that in four preseason games and one regular-season game played this year, your offense has scored one first-half touchdown. That put tremendous pressure on the defense.

I know that you wanted to bring your father in to run the defense and that Monte told me that he wanted to come here even though he as (sic) under contract to Tampa. However I did not want to tamper with another team. In any event that was over seven months ago. Do not now also run from the defense and your responsibilities.

This letter constitutes notice that if you further violate any term of your contract, in any manner whatsoever, you will be terminated for cause. I trust that this will not occur.


Though Davis attempts to demonstrate that Kiffin is the sole reason for the Raiders troubles, all I see is the most naive owner in the history of sports. My personal favorite is Davis's blaming of Kiffin for poor player acquisitions, then saying he could win this team. Riiiiiiiight...

And how awkward does this letter make things for JaMarcus Russell in the Raiders locker room?

The following is video of Kiffin's reaction to the circus that was his firing.



Again, Lucky Lane. Wherever he surfaces next will surely be better than the situation Oakland.

I'm back

I'm back from vacation. Physically more than mentally, so bear with me as I catch up on real life responsibilities. Hope everyone enjoyed a college football weekend that was littered with upsets.

**Tuesday afternoon update**

While I'm still playing "catch up" at work, check out this week's Bottom 10 at ESPN.com.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

It's my Friday

It's essentially my Friday, as I'm leaving town Thursday afternoon for Lincoln, NE for the Virginia Tech - Nebraska game. ABC Saturday night prime time (in some areas), in case you're planning on watching.

Anyhow, I figured a mascot brawl compilation would be appropriate, so enjoy!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It's over


It's finally over. For the first time in 14 years, the Yankees will miss the playoffs.

Is it a surprise that the run would come to an end in 2008? For most, probably not. They needed an amazing second half of baseball in '07 to get in, and last year's squad certainly didn't get any younger.

Even casual fans could see the end coming, and most were probably surprised it didn't end sooner.

There have been a couple of problems that have lead to this point, the biggest being the age of the team. Jorge Posada, Bobby Abreu, Jason Giambi, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettite, and Mike Mussina are all long past their prime playing years (Mussina's career year non-withstanding). And their young talent - namely Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy - have failed, so far, to live up to expectations.

Alex Rodriguez has been a constant distraction. Though he'll likely go down as the best player to ever play the game (or will certainly be in the argument, at the very least), he simply hasn't justified his exorbitant contract.

So where do the Yanks go from here?

The contracts of Giambi, Abreu, Pettite, and Carl Pavano (finally!) will expire in about a month. Will General Manager Brian Cashman stay on board and continue to try to rebuild through the draft? Or will Hank Steinbrenner make like his father and throw big bucks at impending free agents CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Mark Teixeira?

One thing for certain is that this will likely be a very different team in 2009, and it has to be, since the AL East is no longer just a two headed monster.

The only thing left for me to wonder about now is what to do with all the newfound free time I'll have in October. I already watch a ton of college football. I have yet to reach a fantasy football league playoff in the main league I follow, so perhaps I'll dedicate more time there.

I'm sure I'll watch some, if not most, of the MLB post-season action, though it won't be the same. But admit it, love 'em or hate 'em, you'll miss the Yankees in October.

Sheffield vs. Carmona

Almost forgot to post this. Enjoy it before MLB cracks down...

**UPDATE**

Surprise, surprise... MLB cracked down and this video, like nearly all others associated with Major League Baseball has been pulled from the web. But fear not, loyal readers: I've found a site that still has the video posted. Check it out here.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Got a case of the Mondays?

I usually save videos for Fridays, but this gem is too good to pass up.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Less famous family members

When I first started this site, I made a list of various feature stories to run for slower times, knowing that material might not be as easy to come by as the baseball season wound down. One of those ideas was "Less Famous Family Members", because I always wondered what it must be like to live under the shadow of a significantly more talented (in the sports world) brother or father (or sister or mother, though I can't think of any mothers more famous than their sons or daughters off the top of my head), especially when both family members were at least both good enough to play professional level sports.

Because to be one of the best in the world, yet clearly not the best in your own family? Ouch.

Today I'm featuring a guy I like to call "the little brother that could."

First, lets compare career (to date) stats.

Player A: 372 hits, 209 RBIs, 52 HRs, 251 BBs, and has earned a combined (again, to date) $3,775,500.
Player B: 1805 hits, 1276 RBIs, 395 HRs, 1200 BBs, and has earned a combined $101,630,425 ... not counting endorsements.

Though when it comes to appearances in the Mitchell report, both are tied at one.

Player A, both less talented and famous, is this guy.

Other than the money he's earned (although low by athlete standards), life has really sucked for Jeremy Giambi. Him and his brother, Jason, were both raging steroid users, yet the drugs seemed only to have worked for one of them; Jason has hit over 1,400 more homers. And while Jason might "only" be remembered for one flaw (the 'roids), Jeremy will never, ever live down his non-slide in the 2001 American League Division Series against the Yankees. You know, the one where a horribly out of position Derek Jeter miraculously flipped an errant relay throw to Jorge Posada, who proceded to tag Giambi on the shin.

The Yanks would go on to rally from two games down to win the series, 3-2. And since ESPN ranks it the 45th most memorable sports moment of the last 25 years, Jeremy gets to relive it over and over and over again.

And I bet if you asked their mother for her word association with "Giambi", she thinks of Jason, too.

He even signs his name like a jackass.

Now that I think about it, maybe "the little brother that could" is inappropriate. He's proven to be more the little brother that couldn't.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bottom 10

This week's Bottom 10 is up at ESPN. I feel so blessed living just a few miles down the road from the #2 team on the list...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Play of the Year

Congratulations, DeSean Jackson! Your complete lack of awareness on the football field resulted in what will likely end up being the Bad Baseball (and other sports on occasion!) Play of the Year.

In case you live in a cave and haven't it yet, here it is:



The best part is the celebration. Unreal.

Weis to wait


In case you missed it, Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis tore his MCL and ACL on the sideline Saturday. In case you missed it, Charlie Weis says he'll wait on having surgery. In case Charlie Weis missed it, his team stinks and might be better off without him.

"I don't see me having surgery in the foreseeable future."

He did comment that it would change the way he handles himself at practice, commenting that the only change is that he'll now do a little more sitting.

Look at the guy - he's 200 pounds overweight. I didn't think it was even possible for him to do any more sitting.

Speaking on the attention he received by staying on the sidelines, Weis said, "I didn't want to be a distraction or be part of any momentum change to the negative side. I didn't want to risk that."

What, exactly, would you be distracting, Chuck? A rousing second straight win? Congratulations, you squeaked by San Diego State in your opener, and Saturday day you beat a lousy Michigan team after they committed six turnovers. Start preparing your Coach of the Year award acceptance speech.

Weis said he would wait until Notre Dame's mid-October bye week to have surgery, should he have it done at all.

No-no


As if things couldn't get worse for the Astros (and I'm talking about off the field), what with Hurricane Ike ripping through their home city and all, a road "home" game in Milwaukee made things, well, worse.

Cubs starter Carlos Zabrano tossed a no-hitter, the first for the Cubs in 36 years, and the first ever in a game played at a neutral site. Zambrano needed 110 pitches to get it done, 73 of which were strikes. It was his first outing since September 2nd.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday reading

It's Friday, which means killing time for eight hours (more or less) until the weekend. To help you kill that time, here are some stories I've been checking out... check back throughout the day for updates.

... What would an Eagles - Cowboys game be without TO running his mouth?

... saw this link on UniWatch (check out the link to the left if you don't know what I'm talking about). It's fake, but still funny.

... The secret to the Pirates "success".

... What a nice guy.

... Master P screwed up his first contract, so Ricky's taking matters into his own hands this time.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bottom 10

New Bottom 10 posted here.

No major losses this week, though Notre Dame's struggle against San Diego State was a bit of a joke. Personally, I'm already over all of the requisite big school vs. school's-who'd-be-better-off-cutting-their-football-program match ups of the early college season and am ready for conference play... you?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Redefining "blow out"


I'm sure very few of you follow hockey at all, let alone women's hockey. But perhaps the worst sports performance of all time took place Saturday night in Liepaja, Latvia - a combined 82 goals were scored in the European Olympic pre-qualifying tournament match between Bulgaria and Slovakia.

Except Slovakia scored all 82 of the goals.

I don't even know what to call this sort of beat down. A rout? No; I'd imagine a hockey route would be more like 8-3. A drubbing? Again, that makes me picture 9-1, possibly even a 10-0 shutout.

But 82-0? Did Bulgaria play with a pulled goalie for the entire game? It gets worse: Slovakia outshot Bulgaria 139-0! How could they not have mustered one shot off the entire game? Not even one flail towards the goal from center ice? Did Bulgaria even touch the puck?

The Bulgarian women had previous losses of 30-1 (to Croatia) and 41-0 (to Italy) prior to this disaster.

The ESPN.com article doesn't specify, but I don't think Bulgaria qualified for the tourney.

Monday, September 8, 2008

A look ahead


The first NFL weekend has come and gone, leaving quite a bit of damage in its wake. The Patriots may have lost Tom Brady for the season, the Bears looked like the Super Bowl team of a couple years ago (against the Colts, no less), and the Chargers, although losing on a last second play, scored all of their TDs through the air - and none to LaDanian Tomlinson. And there's still two more games tonight!

In the college ranks, East Carolina, fresh off their win over Virginia Tech in week one, shut down Pat White and the West Virginia Mountaineers, resulting in their first appearance in the rankings in over a decade. Notre Dame barely beat San Diego State, and Ohio State was far from dominant against Ohio.

But let's not forget that baseball is in its home stretch, with plenty of Bad Baseball left to be played.

This week's featured match up: Sunday night, when the 62-80 Giants travel to San Diego to take on the 55-88 Padres. San Francisco sends Barry Zito (9-16, 5.45 ERA) to the mound against San Diego's Cha Seung Baek (4-10, 5.36 ERA). Not even a free ticket giveaway will draw fans to this snooze-fest.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Friday reading

Stuff I'm reading while counting down to the weekend....

... this probably wasn't the best idea in the first place.

... Foxsports.com has a list of this week's Top 10 upset specials. #1, as you can see, is San Diego State at Notre Dame. I know the Irish have fallen from college football relevance, but SDSU lost to Cal Poly last week. I just don't see this one happening.

... and would this really be the third biggest upset of the week?

... I'm pretty sure this logo is also on my clipart CD. Oklahoma City dropped the ball on this one.

... can't really blame him. Vodka Red Bulls are good!

... Thank you, Captain Obvious.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A rhetorical question


If two teams so far out of first play each other on a humid, weekday afternoon in a city where people don't care much about baseball as it is, did it ever really happen?

Ask the Braves and Marlins, who played in front of 600 fans Wednesday afternoon.

The Marlins aren't exactly known for drawing huge crowds, but just 600? Damn. It might've been cheaper to just keep the gates closed, and thus not needing to open concession stands, bathrooms, or a cleaning crew after the game.

My favorite part of the story was the announced attendance of over 11,000. I've worked in minor league baseball, and I remember day games when we barely hit double digit attendance numbers, but still announced (over the PA system, no less) crowds of over 1,000. Sure, official attendance is based on tickets sold or given away, suites, etc., and has more to do with advertising money, anyway. But "guess the attendance" on the scoreboard is always fun when you can count the fans attending on two hands, and then get to listen to everyone boo when you give the "official" number.

Here's a link to more coverage of the story.

Note from the editor:
You may have noticed that recaps haven't appeared in the past couple of days, and there are a few reasons for that. First, they're incredibly time consuming, and busier weeks of late - both work and personal - have left me with little time to sort through nightly box scores. Second, roster expansion call ups are so full of AAAA players that there are TONS of Bad Baseball worthy lines to cover. And finally, I suspect that regurgitating stats may have become a bit redundant for some of you.

Will recaps return next season? I haven't decided yet. Perhaps I'll turn it into a "worst of the week" type deal. For now, you'll see the site lean more towards presenting opinions and commentary on "bad" stories from the sports world and original content, especially with baseball winding down, and the rest of the major sports beginning (or nearing the beginning) of their seasons. "Bad Other Sports - and baseball on occasion" doesn't have quite the ring to it that just "Bad Baseball" does, but that'll inevitably be what you'll find here for the next six months or so. Just letting you all know.

In the mean time, there's still plenty of baseball yet to be played, with playoff spots up for grabs nearly every where, so there's sure to be a lot of disappointment around the league over the next few weeks. I'll be covering it all - along with increased attention paid to other sports - so keep reading!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Worst of the worst: College Football Edition

You may recall the ESPN.com feature I highlighted last week that highlights the worst from the college football world each week, aptly named "The Bottom 10".

The week one Bottom 10 rankings have been released, which you'll find here.

I was actually at the San Diego State game, even though I have no real ties to the school... unless you count the three years my wife logged in their Graduate school. But me, personally, no ties. I was just jonesing for some college pigskin. I wasn't disappointed; the FCS (formerly known as D1-AA) Cal Poly Mustangs looked to be the far superior program when compared to FBS (D1-A) SDSU.

Anyhow, while the real AP and Coaches rankings regularly stir up controversy, the Bottom 10 will never disappointed.

Highly recommended reading. Enjoy!

Ocho Cinco has gone loco


Hola! Bienvenido al mejor blog en todo el mundo. I thought I’d start with a little international flair… I figured if it was good enough for Bengals WR Chad Johnson, then it was good enough for me. It has been reported for several days now, after rumors had swirled for weeks, that the feisty and arrogant wideout had officially changed his last name from “Johnson” to “Ocho Cinco”. The name change, which was officially confirmed by Broward County, Florida officials on August 28th, is actually the culmination of a two-year long escapade.

On October 29, 2006, Johnson had “Ocho Cinco” printed on a velcro overlay that he colorfully flashed to fans before a game against the Falcons. He had been urging reporters for days before the game to call him “Ocho Cinco”, although the reason for the stunt is still unclear (severe mental illness?). Whatever the reason, Johnson was fined $5,000 by the league, but obviously this sum was a joke. BTW, the Bengals lost that game to the Falcons, with Johnson going for six catches, 78 yards, and one TD.

I have to admit… In high school I had a friend that was SO enamored with Japanese cartoons that every time a new, cool Japanese animation show hit American shows, he would run right out and legally change his name to that of the main character in the cartoon. Yeah… It is as lame as it sounds. I mean, is Johnson so starved for attention or so vindictive against his team and league that fined him two years ago that he felt the need to legally change his identity? I thought TO was the king of publicity and pretty much had the market cornered on obnoxious narcissism, but I was obviously mistaken. My sister, the psychologist, would have a field day with this guy!!

And, couldn’t he have thought of something more original than the number that is already printed on the back of his jersey? I mean, people who don’t speak English can still read the numbers “8” and “5”. Well, I thought I’d try my hand at some suggested obvious name changes for other players in the league, Chad Johnson-style…
How about Jets QB Brett El Viejo (Spanish)…? Or former Bears RB Cedric Misdadig (Dutch)…? Or Colts backup QB Jared Grasso (Italian)…? Or Dolphins RB Ricky _______ (Greek)…? That’s right, I went there.

At any rate, this guy has become the proverbial cancer. You never want to reward a guy when he is this obnoxious by trading him when he wants to be traded (think Manny Ramirez), but you run the risk of one player virtually ruining your season as a team if something is not done about his attitude. I don’t envy Marvin Lewis (who is on the hot seat this year anyway), but if you own Carson Palmer or TJ Houshmandzadeh on your fantasy team, you just have to hope that crazy isn’t contagious.

-RP

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

It's all down hill from here


Sometimes a story pops up that's so unbelievable, so out of the blue, that I can't even string together sentences to explain my thoughts on the situation.

Rudi Johnson got a bizarre welcome from teammate (and now backup) Tatum Bell when he arrived to meet with team officials from the Detroit Lions.

Bell stole Johnson's bags. Seriously.

Seriously as in yeah, it actually happened. But also seriously as in Bell wasn't playing a practical joke. Profootballtalk.com is reporting the story, so I'll simply provide you with this link to the site and let you read it for yourself.

You're welcome.

A look ahead


Hope everyone enjoyed their extended weekends. In the spirit of taking days off, I'm going to take a day off from the weekend recap. Cool? Cool. But that's certainly not to say that I don't have a Bad Baseball game of the week for ya'...

Check out Saturday night's snooze-fest when the 57-79 Pirates travel to San Francisco to take on the 59-78 Giants. Games like these must especially suck for guys like Pittsburgh scheduled starter Jeff Karstens (2-4, 3.62 ERA since switching leagues), who must be unfamiliar with meaningless baseball. Not long ago he was in New York, where every game means something, even if they really don't. Karstens will face Matt Cain, who is 8-11 with a 3.69 ERA.

Plenty of great seats still available for this one.