Peter King is notorious for constantly complaining, but this is one of the more outrageous tweets I’ve seen in a long time. Competitive eating is sinful? Just calm down dude, we’re talking about guys eating boiled meat in buns, not fucking murder.Continue reading Peter King: Just Take It Easy, Man
It’s been over two months since we last had a real sporting event, and I’m losing my mind. I miss everything about them. Watching them, talking about them, betting on them. I’m like Champ Kind telling Ron Burgundy how much he misses him in Anchorman.
Not only do I miss my own teams, I miss just watching random games. It seems like a million years ago that you could turn on your TV at basically any point in time and live sports would be on. I literally can’t even grasp that concept anymore. The best thing about it was you could make even the most boring sporting event interesting by betting on it. Who cares about Cavs-Hornets on a Wednesday night? Certainly not I. But throw some money on the over and all of a sudden you’ve got a very entertaining basketball game.Continue reading I Miss Gambling On Sports
I love many TV jingles for sports. These are the instrumental pieces that open broadcasts and take us into commercials. To me, a good jingle can make an average game feel good and can make a good game feel great. Additionally, there is a symbiotic relationship between sporting events and their jingles. The more great moments with which I associate a jingle, the greater the jingle seems to me. I love jingles, and I have even been known to download some to put on my running playlists. There is great motivational power in a great jingle. Therefore, I have decided I would like to create a countdown of my 10 favorite sports jingles of all time.Continue reading My Top-10 Sports Jingles of All Time
With The Last Dance coming to an end last night, it got me thinking: what other sports topics should be made into documentaries? ESPN has already announced they’re coming out with docs on the 1998 Home Run race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, as well as one on Lance Armstrong, which will both be awesome. But what should be next? Continue reading Four Sports Documentaries That Should Be Made Next
You’ve heard of Instagram challenges. You’ve heard of TikTok Challenges. But you’ve NEVER heard of BTB Sports Challenges…which is probably because they never existed until this blog. Anybody could do a dance or post a picture. A real challenge is getting one season to turn the sewer stain roster of the Detroit Tigers into a win-now team.
That’s what I’ve attempted here, and I invite you to do the same with other professional teams. MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, your call. Your only challenge is to win this year, and this year only. Utilizing the Godsend that is MLB The Show 20, I tried to give the city of Detroit their first glimmer of sports hope since they remembered they weren’t Cleveland.
Before we start, I just want you all to know that I have to make up about 80+ wins here. They were 67 games below .500 at 47-114. That’s the 16th worst winning percentage in MLB history, behind a short list that mostly includes teams that don’t exist anymore and franchises like the Orioles and Mets. That’s as bad as being included on a list of things to remember with the Alamo.
Here’s the lineup and rotation before any moves were made:
|RF Victor Reyes, 73 Overall|
|SS Niko Goodrum, 79|
|DH Miguel Cabrera, 81|
|1B C.J. Cron, 81|
|2B Jonathon Schoop, 80|
|3B Jeimer Candelario, 71|
|LF Christian Stewart, 65|
|C Austin Romine, 76|
|CF Jacoby Jones, 64|
|Matthew Boyd, 82 Overall|
|Jordan Zimmerman, 70|
|Daniel Norris, 77|
|Ivan Nova, 70|
|Spencer Turnbill, 73|
First order of business was sadly trading legend Miguel Cabrera. He’s one of the greatest hitters ever, but at this point in his career he’s not worth $31 million a season. If we’re winning now, we need some cap space. Here was the trade:
Mets get: 1B Miguel Cabrera, CP Joe Nimenez, and 3B Isaac Paredes (B-level prospect) Tigers get: SP Steven Matz, SP Rick Porcello, and RP Jeurys Familia
I had to take Porcello and Familia for budget purposes. Miggy’s contract was too big to dish off without taking something back. But wait a beat, they won’t be here long.
Then I took a deep dive at what we needed to immediately improve. I decided that Michael Fulmer, despite being a former ROTY, had one of those ‘peaked in high school’ attitudes. He had decent pull, so I made a straight trade with Minnesota:
Twins get: SP Michael Fulmer Tigers get: SP Kenta Maeda
I also saw we had a few pitchers that were dead-weight, so I paired them up and got a decent deal with the A’s:
A’s get: SP Shao-Ching Chang, SP Zach Godley, and SP Spencer Turnbill Tigers get: SP Frankie Montas
I still felt like I needed a top-of-the-rotation guy, so I checked on my top prospects and aimed at Blake Snell. And ladies and gentlemen…
Rays get: SP Tarik Skubal (A-level Prospect), SP Rick Porcello (Smell ya), and SP Matt Manning (B-level Prospect) Tigers get: SP Blake Snell
Then obviously we gotta bolster the pen with a bonafide closer:
Braves get: SP Daniel Morris, RP Jeurys Familia (Smell ya Part 2), and 1B Frank Schwindel (B-level prospect) Tigers get: RP Will Smith
Pitchers gotta throw to somebody right? Minnesota…u up?
Twins get: C Austin Romine, C James Rogers (B prospect) Tigers get: C Mitch Garver
Wait…is that…Mr. 2013 himself? Jordan Zimmerman? What’s that…he’s making $22 million dollars? How ’bout a hike, Jordan.
Braves get: SP Jordan Zimmerman, SP Dario Agrazal Tigers get: RP Marc Melancon
Now that pitching is a little cleaner, let’s wake up the bats a little here. I need a middle of the lineup guy, because it certainly isn’t C.J. Cron. Apparently Minnesota has no interest in being good anymore because this is the third trade we’ve made now and we’re in the same division.
Twins get: SP Casey Mize (A-level prospect), OF Christian Stewart (B-Level Prospect) Tigers get: OF Eddie Rosario
Our current center fielder is young with potential, but that screams rebuild. So Victor Reyes…
Diamondbacks get: OF Victor Reyes, OF Travis Demeritte, OF Jose Azocar Tigers get: OF Starling Marte
How about a big bat, huh?
Indians get: OF Jorge Bonafacio, SP Ethan Navarro, RP Gerson Moreno Tigers get: OF/DH/Absolute Unit Franmil Reyes
Our infield was decent with Cron, 2B Jonathon Schoop, and SS Niko Goodrum. Considering all the other holes we had, this wasn’t priority, but I still wanted to get better at the hot corner.
Yankees get: 3B Jeimer Candelario, 2B Dawel Lugo, LF Lyle Mitcheltree Tiger gets: 3B Gio Urshela
After all this my minor league managers are looking around their locker room like it’s an episode of The Big Bang Theory: no talent.
With no more trades possible without giving up big league guys, I had to go to the free agents to fix the bullpen and add some depth. Luckily, I got:
OF Yasiel Puig RP Colin McHugh RP Pat Neshek RP Arodys Vizciano
And with that, we were ready for battle.
OPENING DAY LINEUPS AND ROTATION
|Starling Marte, 87|
|Eddie Rosario, 86|
|Gio Urshela, 83|
|Mitch Garver, 84|
|Franmil Reyes, 76|
|Yasiel Puig, 79|
|Jonathon Schoop, 78|
|Niko Goodrum, 79|
|C.J. Cron, 81|
|Blake Snell, 89|
|Kenta Maeda, 83|
|Matthew Boyd, 81|
|Frankie Montas, 78|
|Steven Matz, 75|
By no means is this the 1927 Yankees, but considering where we started I feel like we’ve got a solid roster that can compete. We got an ace, rotation depth, and some sticks in the lineup.
70 GAMES IN
My decision to hold onto SS Niko Goodrum and 2B Jonathon Schoop proved horrible. They were both batting a buck seventy (.170), so I went to where else….Minnesota. It’s like a damn jailbreak out there:
Twins get: SS Niko Goodrum, RP Kenny Ziemecki Tigers get: SS Jorge Polanco
Pittsburgh is also the Michael Jordan of trading away talented players for nothing, so…
Pirates get: 2B Jonathon Schoop Tigers get: 2B Adam Frazier, RP Michael Feliz
Note: Polanco went on to win the batting title and come in 3rd in the MVP race, while Frazier batted .320. Two things you love to see.
We’re a few games out of first, but we’re in contention for the second Wild Card spot. The rotation was mostly pitching well, but the lineup wasn’t holding up their end of the bargain. I thought about getting rid of Marte or Rosario to improve our top bats, but the market wasn’t really there. So I figured, let’s take one of the new draft picks and kick C.J. Cron out the door.
A’s get: 1B C.J. Cron, CF A-level prospect Tigers get: 1B Matt Olson (who would go on to tear his calf in late August)
Matz was also pitching to an unacceptable 4.35 ERA. Not on my roster:
Astros get: SP Steven Matz Tigers get: SP Austin Pruitt, RP Brad Peacock
With 3 games left in the regular season, we were tied for the second Wild Card spot. We won one, lost one, and in a classic Detroit Tigers showing, won the final game 10-1 to clinch it. We’re in.
In the Wild Card game, we went on to face the Texas Rangers and Corey Kluber. And I must say, I severely underestimated Kluber’s ability to shut me the hell down.
We went 8 innings recording just two hits, and Kluber pitched into the ninth with 115+ pitches. He took a line drive off the shin early in the game, so it turned into a real Greg Jennings-like performance by the end.
In the second inning, Snell (me) left a fastball over the heart of the plate that got hit a minimum of 700 feet. That made the game 2-0 and was pretty much the only action we got until the ninth.
In said ninth, we got to the pen with a runner on second base and one out. Franmil Reyes was the first player up to face the new arm and piped a line-drive double into the gap. We were now down 2-1.
Gio struck out and we had Eddie Rosario up. Cameron Maybin pinch-running on second. He missed a fastball, and then crushes a hanging slider…
Right at the second baseman. We lost.
It’s not how you want these things to end, and let me tell you the clubhouse after was a quiet one. We all believed we had a chance to do the impossible, but alas it wasn’t meant to be.
I failed the challenge, so I’ll be doing another one soon. But as challenges go, I nominate you guys want to do one and submit it through BTB’s Twitter DMs. Win or lose, I’ll write it up and post it. Happy winning.
Up to this point, 2020 can be summed up as one big shot “Below the Belt,” which is not only the name of this blog but also a euphemism for “kick in the dick.” I’m grateful for the health and safety of myself and those around me, but I think I speak for everyone on Earth when I say that this year hasn’t gone as planned.
Am I gonna sit here and compare tough sports losses to a global pandemic? Absolutely not. But any real fan knows the feeling of a painful loss, and it’s best described as a kick in the dick. Here are some of the worst Below the Belt shots in my years of fandom. Continue reading The Biggest “Below the Belt” Shots in my Sports Fandom
Today marks six weeks since the NBA was shut down. It’s no secret that we all miss sports, and we’re doing everything we can to entertain ourselves until they come back.
Since there haven’t been any sports on, there also hasn’t been any reason to watch live TV. Everyone and their mother watched ‘The Last Dance’ Parts 1 and 2 on Sunday night (which was fire by the way), and it was probably the first time most of us saw commercials all quarantine. One of those commercials was for tonight’s NFL Draft, mercifully giving us another beacon of hope. The commercial played the ESPN “the pick is in” noise, and let me tell you, that shit made it MOVE.
The other night, Rajon Rondo spit on Chris Paul. Yet, the next day Chris Paul is being loaded with bad press…
Definitely a tough week for CP3. Not many times are you going to get another man’s sweaty saliva catapulted all over your face mid-professional basketball game, then get hit with another bombshell that most of the people you’ve played with for 14 seasons don’t actually like you. This is the type of “Bad Day” Daniel Powter was talking about (that’s a 2005 reference, if you don’t know what song I’m talking about you are too old for this blog).
But Glenn Davis’ comments actually got me thinking. Whether or not Paul is a bad teammate, I think it’s interesting to note who really is. So I made a compilation of some of the worst teammates in sports history. Bleacher Report did an article similar to this in 2010, and I actually had the idea to do this before I saw the article, but I’m not trying to get called out or anything. Plus, I think there have been a surplus of bad teammates in the past eight years that aren’t on their list.
It’s also important to note that I don’t think somebody is a “bad” teammate for being cocky/lazy when they’re the star (ie: TO, Randy Moss, Allen Iverson). Being a stud athlete is a way of life, and sometimes passion/arrogance gets the best of people. If it doesn’t affect the play, I don’t classify it as being any worse than what these guys below do. I don’t agree with it, but it’s hard to classify them as being “bad”. Odell, Steve Smith, and a lot of other players get caught up in the center of drama because the media loves to play off them, but a lot of guys in the locker room respect the passion, and that’s what it is all about. I also don’t consider Le’Veon Bell or Aaron Donald bad teammates for holdouts. They’re trying to get their generational wealth and be paid like they are supposed to, I don’t blame them. If you were working at a job that wasn’t paying your worth, you’d be mad too. I just wish I didn’t trade for Bell in fantasy.
Enough explaining, here’s the list:
Delonte West: If you don’t know this story, read a book. Delonte West is notorious for sleeping with LeBron James’ mom. That is a line that you do not cross. Rumors of the “happening” rose around in the first round of the playoffs, and led to the Cavs being knocked out immediately. LBJ shot .340 from the field in the last three games, and I don’t have game clip from the series, but I’d be shocked if LeBron even passed the ball once to West that entire series. Not to mention, West was in trouble with the law for gun possession.
Manny Ramirez: It really pains me to put him on this list because the excuse “It’s just Manny being Manny” is a solid one and my absolute favorite line ever (see This Is Sportscenter commercial below). But when you need to get forcefully traded from the team that you helped end their 84-year championship drought because your teammates hate you, I think that’s a lock for the bad teammate list.
Plaxico Burress: When Plaxico Cheddar Bob’d himself in 2008, it was pretty much the beginning of the end. He had his teammate lie and try to cover up the situation. According to Bleacher Report, he also got fined over FIFTY times in four seasons. C’mon man.
Gilbert Arenas: I mean, pulling a gun on your teammate in your locker room isn’t going to be great for bonding. As Girardi would say, “It’s not what you want”. And please, we can never forget this video of him basically breaking and entering into Nick Young’s house while he was going through a breakup.
Tonya Harding: The knee and the hammer thing. Duh.
Carmelo Anthony: He might be one of the few people in the history of life to make cornrows look iconic. Regardless, once his play declined, his attitude no longer became worth it. He doesn’t even bother trying on defense and takes every shot on offense. Anthony won’t even consider coming off the bench this year. That’s a spot-on “Me Guy” thought, and is the main reason why the Rockets cannot possibly win this year.
Richie Incognito: This was one of those events that Sportscenter kept covering a few years ago that I simply could not follow. It’s not that the Miami Dolphins aren’t an exciting team to follow, it’s just that they aren’t an exciting team to follow. Granted the situation, it’s something I should have paid more attention to because this guy is an absolute prick, and that’s a relatively nice adjective for him. He verbally abused his teammate Jonathon Martin by threatening to hurt his mom and gave him death threats. There needs to be another list for this guy to describe how truly bad he is.
Dwight Howard: This guy used to be the answer to every team’s question. Remember the “Superman” dunk? He was the shining star of the NBA after that. Although, he 100% peaked there, and the fame got to his head. He thought he was a megastar and turned into a cancer in every locker room he went to. Howard couldn’t mesh well with anyone, and became the game’s most talented journeyman.
Carlos Zambrano: He punched his catcher mid-game, screamed at his teammates, and basically gave up on in baseball in the middle of one game. Maybe this is where Vontae Davis got his retirement idea from. Apparently, Zambrano has matured since he has left baseball, which is good to hear.
Sammy Sosa: Back-to-back Cubs here, sorry Chicago. Not only did Sammy cork his bat, but he did a lot of steroids. He was also described as a major cancer by his teams.
Barry Bonds: There’s a long list of why this guy is a shitty teammate, but I don’t even want to talk about them. You really didn’t want to be in our childhood video games, Barry? We had to play with Reggie Stocker and Jon Dowd. That’s how you want to be remembered? The greatest home run in baseball history (*) is named Jon Dowd, per MVP 2005. Absolute disgrace, and Bonds should be left out of the Hall of Fame for that reason alone. If he makes it in, I hope somebody spraypaints Jon Dowd across his plate.
Jimmy Butler: This is confusing to me. While I think Butler strongly compares to the likes of TO, Randy Moss, etc in terms of that cockiness, there is something different about Butler. He is a shitty teammate because he wants to win so bad, which is kind of like Catch-22 (again, read a book). If he can grow up one day and learn how to be a leader, he can get himself off this list.
JaMarcus Russell: Like I said above, cocky or lazy can be backed up with good play. Problem with JaMarcus Russell is he wasn’t good, so that hurts that theory. No problem though, he can throw a football 80 yards from his knees.
Jeff Kent: To be honest, when I started doing research for this blog, I did not think I would come across former second baseman Jeff Kent. Apparently, this guy was a total scum. He didn’t talk to anyone, and when he did, it was to big-league them. Literally not a single person he ever played with like him. A ripe 0.00%. Kudos to Kent, that’s tough to pull off.
Kawhi Leonard: One thing that is a lock to get you on this list is being sketchy, and that’s exactly what Kawhi has been for the past year or so. Not playing all last year even though he got cleared by certain doctors, requesting a trade, having rumors be spread he will NOT stay in Toronto, then saying he’s gonna play in Toronto year…maybe. Plus this laugh…THIS LAUGH. I Do Not Trust Him.
I definitely missed a few people, so comment anyone else that you think has been a trash teammate over the years.
It was a gloomy and gray Tuesday morning. I had to get up early to go to the DMV because Saturday they closed early on my ass when I was literally two people away. I had a three hour class and a full day of work right after. And to top it off, the Seahawks were embarrassed on Monday Night Football. Yet, on this day, and amongst all this, I found peace.
The score does not in any way indicate the way the Seahawks-Bears game went last night. They lost 24-17, with a less than 1% chance at tying it up in the last ten seconds if they recovered an onside kick. As a team, they had 276 total yards, but 99 of those came on the final drive when the Bears defense was in protect mode. They were 5 for 13 on 3rd down, lost 2 fumbles, threw a pick-six, and at one point were only averaging 2.9 yards per play. There was one time where I walked out of the room for a second right before first down, and by the time I came back they were already punting. But, as I said before, I have found peace.
The Seattle Seahawks are 0-2, with Dallas coming to them next week. They lost to the Broncos and the Bears, two teams with good defenses. The thing is, if you want to be a Super Bowl winning team, you have to beat teams with good defenses. That is not in the Seahawks destiny this year though, and now that I have come to realize that, I have found peace. I’ve said it three times now, so I’ll explain.
I’ve officially accepted the Seahawks run as a contender is over. It’s a hard reality to face, and one you don’t truly believe until it actually happens to you. I compare it to being on the receiving end of a dad-bod. You’re young, you workout a few times a week, but let’s be honest, you drink a lot of beer and McDonalds tastes so good. For a while, you’re in denial. The v-shape starts to fade away underneath a plump circle that is now your stomach. You think “Nah, I’ll just go for a run tomorrow and I’ll be back in shape in no time”. Similarly, the Seahawks thought, “We’ll sign average linebacker Barkevious Mingo and we’ll be back in contention, even though we lost Kam Chancellor, Michael Bennett, and Richard Sherman!”. Friends, it doesn’t work like that. Life doesn’t work like that. In football, and in dad-bods, there is a point of no return. One day you’ll look in the mirror and you’ll say to yourself “I think I’ve peaked”. The Seahawks have reached that point, and if this paragraph sounds a little familiar, you might have too. It’s better to just accept it. Once you embrace your current fate, life becomes a whole lot simpler. And you find your peace.
You see so many fans who get frustrated over every loss because on the surface they think their team has a chance to play on that Sunday in February, but deep down they know it’s over. When you wholeheartedly come to terms that your team is mediocre at best, everything around you opens up. The sun comes up, the grass gets greener, people get kinder. The games become easier to watch, and your Mondays through Saturday aren’t filled with “what ifs” and getting angry at Colin Cowherd for insulting your team’s “pitiful” performance.
This isn’t an overreaction to an 0-2 start, trust me. If the Seahawks of three years ago started 0-2, I probably wouldn’t even be panicking. They had an abundance of talent and usually found a way to figure it out. But this year, you can just see it. There’s a lot of young players who don’t really understand the flow of an NFL game, or what to do when they are forced to adjust on the fly. Beyond them, the veteran talent really isn’t there. They have the makeup of an average to below average team. And you know what, that’s okay. We had our reign at the top, it’s time for somebody else.
The frustrating part is when the team you know can’t compete does not just rebuild already. I would love nothing more than to see the Seahawks tank this year, get a top pick and impact player, and explode back onto the scene in two or three years before Russell Wilson leaves his prime. I pray Pete Carroll is thinking the same way, but it also gets me nervous because he might be trying to squeeze the last bit of success out of his former championship window so when he is done coaching after the 2019 season, he’ll retire knowing he at least gave it his all. I don’t think many coaches plan to start a rebuild at 67 years old, and I think it’s a reason Earl Thomas is still in a Seahawks uniform.
He believes in his team more than he should, which I respect. If the Seahawks turn it around this year, please, shove this article in my face forever. I’ll be glad to take the beating. But, it’s gonna be really annoying to see them try to capture the magic they’ve lost when they could bite the bullet now and find their way sooner than later.
A little advice from a hardcore fan, just press “Go” on the rebuild button. It’s green, it’s big, and it’s wrapped with a 5th overall pick in 2019 and a 12th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft (on top of the Cowboy’s picks when we finally trade Earl Thomas there). It’s a beautiful thing, and I’ll take hope for the future as opposed to dismay in the present any day. Delayed gratification is a beautiful thing, let’s get this thing started.