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The All Star Power Outage, Live on ESPN

Hello there, sports fans! Chris Berman here, aka Boomer, aka The Big Dog, aka Leatherman, aka The Back-Back-Back Guy, aka Sheila under the right circumstances. It’s certainly a thrill for all of you to view me again in my annual sojourn into America’s pasttime, The Home Run Derby. Unfortunately, a rash of injuries has caused many of the game’s biggest stars to bow out of this year’s All Star Game. Jose Reyes has a hamstring issue, Alex Rodriguez is getting knee surgery, Shane Victorino sprained his douche-bone, and Derek Jeter came down with a case of I-Dont-Wanna-Go-to-Arizona-in-July-itis. But this is still technically the Midsummer Classic, and it should still be a barburner, ain’t that right, Krukie?


Great, so the diet’s working! As I mentioned, a good number of stars have bowed out, but we still want to honor those team players who decided to show up. That’s why we’ve organized this new event called the Scramblethon. The game’s grittiest, most pint sized players will compete against each other in a series of thrilling skills competitions. First, we’ll see who can beat out the most Baltimore chops and swinging bunts. Players will be penalized for any ball hit out of the infield. Then, we’ll see which players can make a throw from shortstop to first without bouncing it. And finally, each uniform will receive a special black-light scan to determine which one has the most accumulated caked-in dirt. The winner will receive the coveted Bronze Lunchpail and a $50 gift certificate to Lowe’s.


Special event captains David Eckstein and Joe McEwing have picked out a stellar lineup of tiny, tiny players for this event: Sam Fuld, Matt Young, Augie Ojeda, Aaron Miles, Jamey Carroll…the list goes on, but frankly, I see no point in continuing to read it. Dustin Pedroia lobbied to be included, but was disqualified for having hit more than 5 home runs in his career.


Now the players are being carted out onto the field and unpackaged. Remember, most of these guys are made of extremely delicate material and must be stored on dry ice in between games.


The first up is Sam Fuld, who’s originally from Durham, New Hampshire but makes his winter home in a fur storage facility in Boca Raton. And here’s his first try, it’s a beautiful check-swing, and that one’s going backbackbackback, all the way past the pitcher’s mound, they’ll never throw him out! Oh, wait, he’s wheezing just shy of the first base bag. My best guess is he may have collapsed a lung; they are made of papier maché, after all.


Well, this is certainly a bleak turn of events, and I for one am at a loss to think of a quote from a dinosaur rock song to properly mark this occasion, so it looks like it’s time for an injury timeout. When we come back, we’ll have the Clap-Off. Participants stand on the top step of the dugout and cheer vociferously while a more talented teammate bats! We’ll be right backbackbackbackbackback…oh please Lord, take me now.

Why LeBronenfreude Is Okay

As much as I wanted the Mavericks beat the Heat, I also dreaded it, because I knew it would bring out the holiest of the holier-than-thous in the sportswriting racket, ready to leap all over LeBron James because he had not earned it yet. I’m assuming such people dislike him in large part because of the way he left Cleveland, which brings up a thorny sports-related issue I’ve discussed on this site before: If you think an athlete did something that makes them a bad human being, saying that a loss on the playing field/court is “just deserts” for that offense implies that a win would have redeemed the offender.

LeBron James is nowhere near as awful as some of the examples I’ve cited in the past. Really, his only “crime” was to turn his back on the established narrative of his career. If you want, you can add toying with Cleveland’s emotions to the list, plus rubbing salt in the city’s collective wound by celebrating his move to Miami like a 45-year-old creep who just divorced a woman his age and snared a trophy wife. All crummy behavior, to be sure, but not as bad as guys like Ben Roethlisberger or Michael Vick, whose failures to win championships were seen by some sportswriters as “payback” for their off-the-field deeds, an attitude that suggested winning would have forgiven them their trespasses.

So in the immediate aftermath, I cringed at the thought of such pieces on LeBron. I even considered feeling sorry for a 26-year-old billionaire who had so many expectations resting on his shoulders. Not to mention that obsessing over what he did or did not do during the Finals served to diminish what the Mavericks accomplished. By concentrating on LeBron’s “failures,” you essentially say that Miami lost the series more than Dallas won it, which seems extremely unfair to everyone involved. Then there was the narrative of the Mavs being a “team-oriented” squad while the Heat were a “superstar” one, which is usually sportswriter code for “we’re rooting for the white guy.”

So there were a few reasons, initially, to not want to join in piling on LeBron. Until he opened his mouth, that is. Then I realized all the haterade was justified. Maybe even necessary. Because the truth is, he is one eminently hateable human being.

First, it was his postgame press conference response to questions about the hate that’s heaped on him, and how that makes him feel. Now, there’s no easy way to answer this. It’s the kind of question for which a million different responses can come across as whiny or insensitive. Luckily for us, LeBron left no room for ambiguity. He exposed his soul by giving the absolute most head-slappingly douchey answer possible.

All the people that was rooting on me to fail, at the end of the day they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today. They have the same personal problems they had today.

As bad as that looks in print, it was even worse when voiced. It was not an off-the-cuff remark spoken without thinking in a moment of weakness and frustration. The ease with which he said these words indicated they were thoroughly premeditated, a line he either rehearsed or believes in his heart of hearts.

Now, do people who actively root for the failure of others have problems? Yes, to varying degrees, depending on how deep and sincere those wishes are. And I suppose anyone’s life appears to be full of “personal problems” compared to someone who will never have to worry about money. But to actually say something like this out loud, that only people with crappy lives dislike you, that takes a colossal amount of ego and self delusion. About the same amount that would make you call yourself “King James” when you’ve yet to win anything, I guess.

Not long after this insanity, he tweeted that the Heat didn’t win because “The Greater Man upstairs know when it’s my time. Right now isn’t the time.” Amazingly, after years of comedians joking about athletes blaming God when they lose, someone actually went and did it. It wasn’t LeBron who failed to show up in the fourth quarter of every game this series, but God.

Also, note the use of the phrase “The Greater Man.” I’ve never heard that used to mean “God.” People usually say, “The Big Man Upstairs,” or something like that. The use of a comparative word (Greater) implies that LeBron thinks he’s on a plane comparable to The Almighty. You know, not quite as big as The Creator, just a few ticks below.

To top it all off, we find out on Monday that LeBron didn’t talk to ABC or ESPN because, according to Jack Ramsay, “James felt the network didn’t report “The Decision” accurately.” That goes beyond chrome-plated balls. That takes gonads made of pure adamantium.

How the holy hell could ESPN not have reported “The Decision” accurately?! They gave LeBron an hour-long infomercial and asked him exactly zero hard questions! ESPN could not have treated him more reverently. The network has LeBron in the same space in their pantheon as Brett Favre (pre-dick pics), someone whose every move will be obsessively followed but never questioned. What more could LeBron want from them? The Oprah soft-focus-lens treatment on every dunk?

I wonder if LeBron is trying to play The Heel, because I can’t think of another reason why he would say such inflammatory things otherwise. Well, except that maybe he’s still a spoiled child whose had nothing but sycophants and enablers in his life for so long that he has zero perspective.

LeBron has been told he’s The Best for so long that the words have no literal meaning to him. LeBron James is The Best. The Best is LeBron James. Everything else in his life must be redefined to fit into these parameters. Those who deny his Bestness do so only because they have personal problems. If he is denied a championship, it is because of an act of God. If “The Decision” makes him look like a creep in the eyes of some, it must be the faulty reportage of the network that carried it, even though said network gave him complete creative control.

If you believe this might be a form of mental illness, you’re free to reserve judgment. Otherwise, hate away.

No Brain, No Pain: Chili Pepper Division

This weekend, my brother reminded me of this gem from a college football game broadcast on ESPN in 2007. I remember watching this live and nearly choking to death from laughter. Fun!

In this clip, sideline reporter Rob Stone visits the Chili Pepper Institute at New Mexico State. While there, he tries to act all tough in the face of some the most tongue searing substances in the world. The head of the institute hands him a tiny pepper, which Stone does not treat with the proper respect.

PROFESSOR: This is the Bhut Jolokia, the world’s hottest chili pepper.

STONE: [crunch]

PROFESSOR: A million Scoville units.

STONE: What is that?

The timing and cluelessness displayed here is amazing. This man knows he’s at the Chili Pepper Institute. He is well aware that chili peppers are hot. And yet, he immediately chows down on something without any idea how spicy it might be. Better yet, when told exactly how spicy it is, he continues to act with misplaced bravado and ignorance. “What is that?

Shortly after taking a huge bite of THE HOTTEST THING IN THE WORLD, Stone starts to experience some serious distress. The professor hands him some milk, but it does him no good. “I’m not even feeling it,” he says, as his brow rapidly moistens with sweat. The professor doesn’t help Stone’s state when he informs him that the effects may last five to six hours.

Watching this video again for the first time in years, I suspect this whole scene may be somewhat staged. However, I also suspect that Stone was told by his producers to take a big bite out of the hottest pepper known to man without any clear idea of just how hot it would be. In either case, it led to pure televisual hilarity.

ESPN Cranks Up the Ultraviolence

stuart_scott.jpgI’m sorry, I have to say something, because I’m boiling up over here. The NFL’s new rules against helmet-to-helmet contact and other vicious hits are just ridiculous. They get my lowest rating ever–only seven booyahs!

millen.jpgI agree with you one hundred percent, Stu. Football is MAN’S sport. It is played by MEN. This is what men DO–smash into one another over and over again until one of their brains is sloshing around like Jello in a Ziploc bag.

stuart_scott.jpgIt’s gonna fag-ify the entire league! Just like in the 80s, when they said Lyle Alzado couldn’t bring his crossbow on the field anymore!


steveyoung.jpgHold on, guys. You don’t have to like all the new rules, but they’re put in place to protect the players. I wish some of them had been enacted when I still played. Maybe that way, I could still tie my own shoes without twitching or crying.

Continue reading ESPN Cranks Up the Ultraviolence

LeBron James and the Beginning of the End

lebron.jpgLeBron James’ one-hour ESPN special–THE DECISION–marks a sea change in sports, media, and sports media. And none of these changes are good.

I struggled to think of something snotty or sarcastic to write about this event, but the more I wracked my brain, the more I came back to this simple fact: This is not funny at all. This is deeply, deeply fucked up.

Yes, LeBron is donating advertising proceeds for this thing to The Boys and Girls Clubs (how much of the total proceeds remains to be seen). But that just sugarcoats what this really is: An enormous figure in a certain field buying a glorified infomercial on the number one news outlet for that field. ESPN is supposed to be a news organization, and this pretty much destroys any objectivity and credibility they have.

It’s certainly not the first time ESPN has kowtowed before a huge star in a certain sport. They cover each agonizing Brett Favre retirement saga with unquestioning reverence. Despite whispers that Tiger Woods might not be the best guy in the world, ESPN never had any tough questions for him until his personal problems became un-ignorable.

Such glossing-over and looking the other way is unremarkable in sports media. There’s always been an undercurrent of Hero Worship amongst sports reporters, and most of them would rather keep locker room access than lose it by asking pointed questions. But to actually allow an athlete to, for all intents and purposes, buy time on your network to erect a monument to himself? That brings this to a whole other, creepy level.

LeBron has chosen ESPN to be the stage for this exclusive show, which makes sense, since he’s been their lead story every single day since the NBA Finals ended. But what kind of favor does that buy? What happens when a news network becomes so invested in a certain person that person can not fail and can not be made to look bad? If you took a peek at FOX News between the years of 2000 and 2008, you might have an idea.

And yes, of course, the stakes are much, much lower for anything LeBron will do with his life than the things that FOX News covers on a daily basis. It’s not a perfect analogy, but I think you can see parallels, no?

What is the purpose of this event? The purpose of this event is to be an event. THE DECISION has nothing to do with the NBA, or basketball, or even sports, really. It is just another spectacle in the never-ending summer blockbuster that is LeBron James. He’s not a competitor–he’s a conglomerate. There are many athletes in many sports about whom you could say the same, but LeBron is the ne plus ultra.

There’s always been something unseemly about LeBron James the Public Figure, something unapproachable and removed from mere humanity, right down to his nickname: King James. What is his biggest ad campaign? We Are All Witnesses. There is no interaction between LeBron and the rest of the world. We must simply stand back and watch what he does, because we could never hope to touch his regal garments.

Even when he gets goofy, it’s weirdly insular. Like the ads from a few years ago, where he played different members of a fictional LeBron family. It’s still LeBron playing with himself. Only LeBron is good enough to be with LeBron.

Whoever LeBron signs with, this special will be a celebration of nothing but himself. We’ll get the obligatory soft-focus interview, with softball questions about how tough this all must be for him. Slo-mo shots of LeBron throwing the chalk dust in the air (ironically, in front of adoring crowds he will, in all likelihood, now turn his back on). And then he’ll hand the rose to some lucky team, and ESPN will get to EXCLUSIVELY dissect the move and what it means for the NBA–while never mentioning the fact that the NBA is a joke for allowing this grotesque spectacle to happen.

And for what? So a “legend” can feel more legendary. So a guy who received $90 million from Nike before he bounced a single professional dribble can extend his brand to that 0.0001% portion of the globe that doesn’t know him already. All from an athlete who has said lots of things about marketing over the years (like how he wants to be the world’s first billion dollar athlete), but precious little about winning anything.

This is the worst part of all of this: The sport’s highest-profile player has zero interest in winning anything. The whole point of sports is that everyone playing is trying their best to win. If you don’t have that, what do you have? LeBron is not a basketball player. He’s a multimedia superstar who plays basketball. He would be doing the same thing if he played baseball or lacrosse or was a professional pillow fighter. Winning doesn’t matter to him because in his universe, he has already won.

I don’t care how humble LeBron’s origins are. This is as bad as if Donald Trump bought an hour of prime time to eat diamonds (which I guess is what The Apprentice is, in a way).

THE DECISION gross and decadent and monstrous and just plain wrong. I can imagine ancient Roman gladiators deciding who they would kill in the arena with such trumped up pomp and ceremony. It makes me ashamed to be a sports fan, and a little ashamed to be an American.

This is definitely an Alien vs. Predator situation: No matter who wins, we lose.

The Steve Phillips Press Conference to End All Steve Phillips Press Conferences

phillips2.jpgI’m going to make this press conference brief. As you all know by now, I had an affair with a 22-year-old ESPN employee. Because of that, I have been suspended indefinitely from my duties as an analyst for postseason games and ESPN’s Baseball Tonight. This woman has stalked and harassed my wife and children, so I ask that you please respect my privacy at this difficult time for me and my family. However, I will take a few brief questions. Yes, Buster Olney?
olney2.jpgIs this for real? Or are you just pretending to be a lecherous douchebag, like you pretended to be a GM in those “press conferences” you made us do a few years back? You know, those “press conferences” that robbed all of us of our professional dignity and integrity?
phillips2.jpgThis is totally real. Believe me, I wish it wasn’t…
olney2.jpgOh, so it’s like when you pretended to be GM of the Mets!
phillips2.jpgNo, Buster, I was an actual GM. You know, I’m pretty proud of what I…
jeremyschaap.jpgHey, Steve, Jeremy Schaap here. Are you attracted to the criminally insane? Or are those the only women you can convince to sleep with you?
phillips2.jpgOn the advice of my attorney, I’m going to have to…
gammons3.jpgSteve, Peter Gammons here. In the litany of bad decisions you’ve made in your life, which is worse: having sex with some random kookadook who ruined your life, or trading Melvin Mora for Mike Bordick?
phillips2.jpgMike Bordick had some pretty big hits for us down the stretch in…

gammons3.jpgHow about Jason Isringhausen for Billy Taylor?

phillips2.jpgBilly Taylor was a fine closer who…

gammons3.jpgHow about you trying to trade both Jose Reyes and David Wright while they were still prospects?

phillips2.jpgPeter, those deals didn’t go through, so…

olney2.jpgSteve, you nearly ruined the Mets, you were universally hated as a talking head, and now your personal life is in shambles and you’ve got zero credibility because you couldn’t keep it in your pants. All because you got off on a power trip to bedding a subordinate less than half your age.
phillips2.jpgDo you have a question, Buster?
olney2.jpgNo, I don’t, Steve. I just wanted to remind you how totally fucked you are right now.
phillips2.jpgThanks, Buster. Okay, thank you all for your time. I have to go now…
olney2.jpgOh no, Steve, you’re not going anywhere. This is where you stay now.
phillips2.jpgThis is where I stay now? I don’t understand.
olney2.jpgESPN has an Ironic Punishment room for all of its employees who commit sexual harassment.
gammons3.jpgYeah. This is where they’ve been keeping Sean Salisbury for the past two years. His cell phone constantly rings, but it’s always other dudes texting him pictures of their junk.

Strange Anomaly Renders Monday Night Football Speechless

mnf.jpgMINNEAPOLIS–Football fans tuning in to Monday night’s battle between the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings, which featured Brett Favre’s first start against his former team, were treated to long stretches of silence. The culprit, according to scientists, was a psycho-energetic anomaly known as a “word squall” that rendered ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcast team incapable of speaking the phrase, “He’s just having fun out there!”

“We’re still not sure what causes the word squall phenomenon,” said University of Minnesota physicist Jeff Gunderson. “Our theory is, sometimes the atmosphere is so filled with a certain series of words that it literally becomes saturated with them. In the leadup to the Packers/Vikings game, so many people had spoken that particular phrase that the air could not handle it any more.”

Unable to physically utter those words proved trying for the play-by-play men. During the second quarter, Mike Tirico stammered, “Favre…looks…looks like…it kinda seems as if he’s…enjoying himself…on the field.”

As the teams headed to the locker rooms for halftime, Jon Gruden had similar difficulty. Each time he attempted to say the word “fun”, it came out as “funicular”. “I have no idea what that word means,” he said. “Jaws, I’m scared.” Ron Jaworski attempted to calm down Gruden by mentioning how much game film of Favre he’d watched over the years.

The situation came to a head in the game’s waning minutes, as Favre aired out a pass to a receiver deep down field that fell incomplete. Unable to explain such a play by means other than a phrase they could not say, the broadcast trio began foaming at the mouth, then collapsed in a heap. All three were rushed to nearby hospitals and are listed in stable condition.

Gunderson said that the word squall seemed to have passed sometime last night, sufficiently enough for Dick Vitale to use the phrase 742 times on Mike and Mike in the Morning. But this remains one of the worst incidents he’s ever seen. “Almost as bad as last year, when we had one involving the phrase ‘oh what a play by Jeter!’, and Michael Kay had an aneurysm.”

“Classic” Scratchbomb: Brett Favre and the Aw Shucks Method of Getting to Yes

favre-vikings.jpgIn a complete non-shocker, Brett Favre has unretired.

The Worldwide Leader reacted the way it always reacts to any Favre news, which is to say, batshit insane. ESPN brought its viewers live aerial footage of Brett Favre driving to Vikings training camp. A local hospital was kind enough to let them use a Medivac chopper for this historic event.  

But ESPN didn’t just show Favre driving to camp. Oh no. They showed us Favre exiting his car. They showed us Favre hugging random people. They showed us Favre climbing stairs.

And when he was finally inside the Vikings facility, out of the reach of helicopters, ESPN brought us extended coverage of the bare stage where he would eventually conduct a press conference, in a room that looked like a high school utility shed.

It was like the most boring student film you ever saw. For a whole day, ESPN abandoned sports news and dedicated itself to Andy Warhol-esque film experiments. (“Next up: Colin Cowherd stars in our remake of Sleep!”)

But who are they airing all this garbage for? Packer fans feel betrayed. Vikings fans are unenthused (to say the least). And everyone else is sick to death of this manipulative goober. Even Peter King is a little pissed at getting jerked around by him, and King was Favre’s number one jock sniffer as recently as two weeks ago.

There’s no point in piling on Favre when the entire world (outside of Bristol, CT) hates him. I pretty much agree with Big Daddy Drew’s sentiment: this guy doesn’t love football (as all his admirers in the media have gushed over the years), he just loves being the guy on the football field that gets the glory. All the stuff you have to do to attain that glory (watch film, actually attend training camp) is for the other slobs, not superstars like him!

So no more Favre bashing from me–linebackers will be doing enough of that this year. But if you feel like guzzling some Haterade, enjoy this post from just around this time last year, when Favre royally dicked over the Packers for the first time. Original post here.

* * * *

Continue reading “Classic” Scratchbomb: Brett Favre and the Aw Shucks Method of Getting to Yes

“Classic” Scratchbomb: Down with Dope, Up with Hype!

joshhamilton.jpg Hey, it’s the All Star Break! Celebrate with this piece from 2008, wherein  I recount how ESPN tried to turn Josh Hamilton’s very good performance at the Home Run Derby into The Greatest Story Ever Told. Smell the goodness after the jump. (Original post here.)

Continue reading “Classic” Scratchbomb: Down with Dope, Up with Hype!

Bring Me the Overly-Coiffed Head of Steve Phillips

Not long ago, I was forced to back-handedly apologize to Newsday‘s Wallace Matthews, my most hated sportswriter. For years, I insisted he was one of the worst writers ever. Then I ran into Howie Carr, and even I had to concede there are worse humans than Wally.

I find myself humbled again. Last week, I penned a post on the execrable play-by-play work of ESPN’s Chris Berman and Rick Sutcliffe. I even said they were worse than the unholy trinity of Jon Miller, Joe Morgan, and Steve Phillips.

Trust me, after last night, I will never write such words again.

Miller, Morgan, and Phillips decided to forego the piddling baseball game between the Mets and the Giants. Instead, they regaled the audience with a master class on Gut and Grit and Edge. To wit: The Mets don’t have it. They proceeded to discuss which member of the ‘core’ should be traded.

If you don’t listen to sports talk radio, you might not know what this refers to. Over the winter, Mike Francesa made quite a bit of hay positing the following theory: The Mets have a core of David Wright, Jose Reyes, and Carlos Beltran. Since they haven’t won in the last three years with this core, then one or more of them must be dealt away.

Francesa has no stated opinion on which of the three should go. Or rather, he has no coherent strategy. In the offseason, he advocated trading David Wright. After Wright started to hit and Reyes made some baserunning blunders, he spent an entire week begging the Mets to trade Reyes. Way to stick to your guns, Fatso.

He also has no idea how you’d replace the production that would be lost if any one of these players were traded. That hasn’t stopped him from hammering this point over and over again, when not shoving buttered Suzy Q’s into his snack-hole. Other NY media types followed suit, because everyone bows down to The Sports Pope. And now the national sports media has picked up the narrative–particularly lazy, unimaginative types like Miller, Morgan, and Phillips.

Keep in mind, the Mets had won 11 of their last 13 going into Sunday. Keep in mind that the Mets are in first place right now (though if this team has proven anything, it’s that first place in May means nothing). Keep in mind that they had come from behind to win the first two games of the series, including one game in which they trailed 5-1 to reigning Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum.

But if you just watched this broadcast, you woulda thought the Mets were 12 games out with no relief in sight. Kafka couldn’t have written a more hopeless script than the one delivered by the ESPN crew.

Do I think the Mets are perfect? Of course not. There’s a lot of things about this team that bother me and make me fear for its long-term success. And I’m perfectly willing to hear bad things about my favorite team. But I think the announcers might want mention at least one positive sign from the last two weeks, at least in passing, before shitting all over the team for three hours.

There was no room for this in ESPN’s telecast. Obviously, before the game, the hateful trio had decided they were gonna talk about Grit. And talk about it they did. For three goddamn innings.

Joe Morgan’s idiocy is well documented. His tortured ex-player logic is the epitome of low-hanging fruit. Although I actually laughed out loud when he said, despite the Mets winning 11 of 13, they hadn’t been playing well. They just took “advantage of other team’s mistakes.” I guess so, but only because you could technically define any good outcome for one team as a mistake made by the other. One team’s three-run homer is another team’s hanging slider.

Jon Miller is a homer and a clown. He didn’t contribute much to the Grit Argument. But he didn’t try and stop it either. How can you stand by and watch such atrocities take place in front of your own eyes?

Then there’s Steve Phillips. Look at this man. Just look at him.

steve_phillips.jpgEven if you have no idea who this is, isn’t that a face just begging to be slapped?

Who did Phillips want to trade? Carlos Beltran. You know, one of the best centerfielders in baseball. The guy putting up MVP numbers. That guy.

Of course, as Metsradamus points out, Phillips tried to trade both David Wright and Jose Reyes while he was the Mets’ GM. So by default, he’d have to pick Beltran, since the other two options wouldn’t be here now if it were up to him.

Beltran is hated for not being A Leader, but I’ve never seen a better centerfielder in my life. The man gets to balls that should not be caught and makes the plays look easy (as opposed to someone like Jim Edmonds, who got to balls that shouldn’t be caught and made them look hard so he could get on Web Gems).

And if you wanna talk Grit, how about breaking your face open trying to catch a ball, then coming back only a few weeks later? How about running up a fucking hill that shouldn’t be in the outfield in the first place to make a total Willie Mays catch and save a game? Is that enough Grit for you? No. Beltran is just a little too Brown to be gritty.

Just in case everyone forgot, Steve Phillips ruined the Mets. He took a team built on slick fielding and a solid bullpen and turned it into a fat, slow sieve with the likes of Mo Vaughn and Jeromy Burnitz and Roberto Alomar. And he got Bobby Valentine–the best manager the Mets ever had–fired because he couldn’t do anything with the blobulent mess he gave him.

To me, hearing Steve Phillips complain about the Mets is like hearing Dick Cheney complain about the Obama administration. You had your chance, you fucked up royal, and yet you still won’t go away and leave us alone. You keep flaring up like the festering little boil you are to insist that you could do it better than the current guy–even though there’s an enormous body of evidence proving your thorough incompetence (although in Cheney’s case, it was something more sinister than incompetence).

It doesn’t take Freud to figure out that Phillips is projecting his failures onto other still-employed baseball executives. When he blasts the Mets for assembling the team the way they have, what he’s really saying is Fuck, I traded Melvin Mora for Mike Bordick? I really am a douchebag, aren’t I?

Boomer and Sutcliffe, all is forgiven. I will take one of your information-free broadcasts any day of the week over Miller, Morgan, and The Hair Helmet.