For all the baseball writers who didn’t vote for Seattle Mariners great Edgar Martinez and left him a few votes short of the Hall of Fame, the photo above is where you belong.
BBWAA voters, stop penalizing guys for being a Designated Hitter. It's part of the game.
Martinez is deserving by any logical statistical measurement. He hit .312 in an 18-year career and had a .418 on-base percentage. Martinez had 2,247 hits, 1,261 RBI and 309 home runs. He was a seven-time All-Star and a won five Silver Slugger awards.
Chances are good Martinez will make it in on his final year of eligibility in 2019. No player in history who garnered at least 70 percent of the vote (Martinez had 70.4 percent this year) has failed to get the required 75 percent. But there are no guarantees and the fact that he has to wait 10 years to find out is a product of old-timers not wanting to vote for a DH.
Martinez also was a solid third baseman when he played in the field. He didn't choose to be a DH. The rules chose him.
So voters who left him off your ballot, enjoy your Walk of Shame
Do you want to see a bunch of talented guys pretend to play football? You can on Sunday. You probably know it as the Pro Bowl, although there isn’t much professional about it.
It’s the most meaningless game in pro sports. The Pseudo Bowl. If you doubt it, take a close look at the line play (or lack of play) up front during the game. I’ve seen more aggressive blocking in a touch football game at the Y.
It's also a game that doesn't include players from the two best teams. No one from the New England Patriots or the Philadelphia Eagles play in the game because they’re preparing for the Super Bowl next weekend.
So Tom Brady, the best quarterback in history, won’t be on the field. Nor will nine other players from those teams.
The risk of injury makes it a no-go, which also is a factor for many others players voted to the Pro Bowl. They opt out because they have an injury that keeps them from playing or they don’t want to risk aggravating an injury they had when the regular season ended.
They played in a real game with those injuries, but they won’t play in a fake one. And I don’t blame them, but it means more than a few replacement guys are in the game who wouldn’t be there otherwise.
In the past this game was played in Honolulu, which made the game week a little more fun for the participants and the people covering it. The game is in Orlando this year. Well, maybe the MVP can go to Disneyworld.
The no-defense All-Star games for the NBA and the NHL aren't much better, but at least they take place in the middle of the season.
No one on the field Sunday will be playing NFL football, but it is a chance to see some of your favorite players have some fun in a glorified exhibition of a few athletic skills.
There will be some amazing offensive plays, mainly because no one is trying too hard to stop them. And you might see a pseudo sack or an impressive interception, as well.
The circus is in town. Or maybe a better description is a Las Vegas magic act. None of it is real, but it’s entertaining in a fantasyland sort of way.
Give me the Vegas magician. At least he can fool me.
You want to know how March Madness became what it is today, a multi-billion dollar success story. Or why the Final Four often is played at huge stadiums built for football and baseball? Or why you now can watch 10 to 20 college basketball games across the country on any night of the week?
Just look at the photo above and you have the answer to all those questions. College basketball is what it is today because of a game that just celebrated its 50-year anniversary.
It was billed, “The Game of the Century” and it lived up to the hype. Over 52,000 fans filled the cavernous Astrodome, the first time a college hoops was played in a stadium that size and the first national telecast of a regular season game. It also was the first national telecast for legendary sportscaster Dick Enberg, who passed away last month.
The University of Houston defeated UCLA 71-69 in a battle of unbeaten teams, which ended the Bruins 47-game winning streak. UH center Elvin Hayes had the game of his life, scoring 39 points against Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then known as Lew Alcindor).
The real importance of the game was what it proved, showing college basketball could thrive on a national scale at major stadiums.
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The Lombardi Award was the most prestigious honor for college linemen and the one they all hoped to win. Now that the award is open to all positions, it has lost its importance, no matter who wins it.
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Kris Richard, let go by the Seahawks last week from his duties as the defensive coordinator, is the new defensive passing game coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys.
And he didn’t have to run to the Dallas locker room after a game and say, “Come get me’’ to get hired.
Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas is still waiting after making that ridiculous request to Dallas coach Jason Garrett after the Seattle victory on Christmas Eve.
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During the NASCAR Media Tour in Charlotte this week, Kyle Busch said this when asked his opinion on NASCAR promoting young drivers over veterans: “I think it’s stupid,” … Says the man who became a full-time Cup driver at age 19.
Busch feels the circumstances are different. He advanced on merit and feels some young drivers now are promoted because they are more marketable for sponsors than older drivers.
This is nothing new in motorsports and it’s more prevalent today than ever. You could be the greatest driver on the planet, but if won’t be enough to get a top-tier car and team if you’re Bluto Blutarsky from Animal House.
And you can be less than a title contender and earn a top ride if sponsors believe you can help sell their products. Hello Danica Patrick.
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I’m all for safety with the increased emphasis on potential head injuries. I get it, but it’s just impossible for defensive backs to play football anymore in the NFL on downfield passes.
That was evident again in the NFC Championship when Jacksonville safety Barry Church was flagged for a hit on New England tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Church was running full speed toward Gronk and trying to make initial contact with his shoulder. Gronk ducked slightly as he made the catch and the two players made contact with helmets. There was no intent by Church to spear Gronk with the helmet.
Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, who was watching at home, sent out this tweet about the hit:
“The hit on Gronk is the only way Church could have done his job without just obliterating Gronk’s knee. If he would have just hit him low, most people would call him dirty. So there is nothing he can do to make everyone happy and do his job. Unless you think he should let him catch it.”
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Comeback comment of the week goes to Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett.
On NFL GameDay Morning on the NFL Network, Terrell Davis said this to Bennett about the Patriots and Tom Brady: “You guys played them in the Super Bowl, were up on them and he came back on you.”
Bennett: “We threw the ball on the 1-yard line! And we had Marshawn Lynch!”
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Want to know why the Philadelphia Eagles won in a 38-7 blowout over the Minnesota Vikings?
Nick Foles? A great defense? Well, sure. But the biggest reason is the wrong team won a week earlier. The Minnesota Miracle was a great moment in sports history, but no way the New Orleans Saints would have gone to Philly and lost by 31 points with Drew Brees calling signals.
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In a year of fun and whacky end-zone shows, a curling impression wouldn’t have made my top 10 guesses for the first TD celebration by the Eagles in the NFC Championship. Bonus points for creativity and nod to our Canadian neighbors.
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Just wondering, what is a Jag Wire? Is that a rusty steel cable? Both announcers, you know who they are, kept saying that during the AFC Championship.
But I do know the word 99 percent of America said when that game ended. It starts with an F.
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A non-sports mention. Happy to see Gary Oldman win the SAG Award Sunday night. His performance as Winston Churchill was extraordinary, like a look back in time. Hopefully he takes the Oscar, too.
SEATTLE – If you miss 17 shots from the 3-point line and get outrebounded by 20 boards, winning isn’t much of an option.
Yet, there the Washington Huskies were with less than four minutes to play Saturday, down only two points to Stanford. UW has been strong down the stretch, one of the reasons they’ve won games no one believed they could win. Not this time.
The bigger and stronger Cardinal team held on to win it 73-64 and the young Huskies learned some valuable lessons at home in front of 8,256 rowdy fans at Alaska Airlines Arena.
“We have to be mentally strong,’’ said point guard David Crisp. “If you get outrebounded by 20 … there’s no excuse for it. You’ve got to put a body on someone.”
Crisp, who had 11 points but missed six of seven 3-point shots, wasn’t just blaming the guys under the basket. The 3-point line has become kryptonite for the Huskies in Pac-12 play.
The Huskies (13-5 and 3-2 in conference play) were shooting 28.4 percent from the arc in Pac-12 games before Saturday’s game. They shot 22.7 percent against Stanford, making only 5 of 22 treys.
“Put that on me for not properly executing my sets and being out of place,’’ Crisp said. “We were trying to force things.”
Freshman Jaylen Nowell scored 20 points, but was only 1-for-5 on shots beyond the arc. Guard Matisse Thybulle, who took two ill-advised quick shots down the stretch, missed all four of his 3-point shots.
The UW offense went dark for long stretches – four minutes in the first half and six minutes in the second. That means a lot of balls up for rebounds, but the Huskies couldn’t handle Stanford’s physicality inside, losing the battle of the boards 48-28. The Cardinal outscored UW 13-2 on second-chance points.
Incredibly, UW still had a chance to win before back-to-back 3-pointers by Stanford – one by Daejon Davis and one by Dorian Pickens -- sealed it after the Huskies had closed the gap to 62-60 with 3:52 to go.
Stanford (10-8 and 4-1) had made only two 3-pointers all game before that point.
“Those were the two backbreakers and that was on me,’’ said UW coach Mike Hopkins. “They were killing us with the double-post, so we wanted to clog the paint. After we pulled within two, I told our guys to pack it in a little.”
It was a big night for Davis, the former Seattle Garfield High guard. The Stanford freshman had 16 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Davis and Nowell were high school teammates.
“I knew he would come out and go at us,’’ Nowell said of Davis. “That’s the type of player he is.”
If there was any good news in the outcome for the Huskies it’s learning they still have a chance to win when they aren’t playing well.
“I thought our guys fought really hard,’’ Hopkins said. “We just got stagnant on offense a few times and there wasn’t a lot of flow to it. It’s a long season and we just have to keep getting better.”
The Seahawks fans can stop screaming now. The two men they constantly criticized are gone.
Tuesday’s big coaching staff moves by the Seahawks are only the beginning. Firing offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and offensive line coach Tom Cable were popular moves for many of the fans.
Bevell never completely recovered from the infamous interception at the goal line in the Super Bowl three years ago. Cable, who also was the assistant head coach the run game coordinator, has been the ire of the 12s for years over an offensive line that consistently underperformed.
No doubt Tuesday was an extremely difficult day for Pete Carroll, as loyal a head coach as you'll find. But it was time to move on and get a fresh start with his assistant coaches.
Other coaching staff changes could happen depending on who gets offered what from other teams. Defensive coordinator Kris Richard’s future is uncertain.
More changes are coming. Big ones. Probably some that fans won’t like. This isn’t a rebuild for the Seahawks, but it is a retool and a significant change of direction. A team that has Russell Wilson at quarterback and Bobby Wagner at middle linebacker will remain a playoff contender if the right moves are made around them.
Here are 10 things the Seahawks need to do moving forward:
1) Draft a top-tier running back -- This is an outstanding draft for talented running backs. Do whatever it takes to get one of the best _ Shaquon Barkley, Bryce Love, Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, Rashaad Penny, etc.
The Seahawks have the No. 18 pick in the first round, but don’t have a second or third round pick. That usually means trading down for more picks. Don’t do it unless it’s still possible to draft one of these running backs. Barkley likely will be gone before the 18th pick, but the Seahawks should take Love if he’s available at 18. Get additional picks by trading players.
2) End the zone-blocking scheme -- This is the system of O-line blocking that Cable used and Carroll endorsed, but it doesn’t work in today’s offensive systems and current rules where a lineman’s blocking options are limited while moving laterally. The Seahawks need to hire an O-Line who will go with a man-blocking scheme.
3) Give up on Germain Ifedi at right tackle and let Luke Joeckel leave -- After two full season, Ifedi still hasn’t progressed and continues to make too many mental mistakes. He was flagged 20 times in 2017, the most of any offensive lineman in the NFL. It isn’t working and it isn’t going to work.
Joeckel wasn’t worth the $7 million the Seahawks paid him to play left guard in 2017 and continuing knee problems make it obvious the team should look elsewhere to fill that spot.
4) Let Graham go: Jimmy Graham had 10 TD catches and was a real asset on post-up passes in the end zone, but the negatives far outweigh the positives.
The man is a big negative in blocking, something that is essential if the Seahawks hope to return to a power-running team. And he drops too many passes in the middle of the field.
Even if those things weren’t true, the Seahawks can’t afford him now. He’s a free agent who will want $10 million a year in a multi-year deal, and truthfully, he likely doesn’t want to stay.
5) Accept the retirement of defensive end Cliff Avril and safety Kam Chancellor: Both men had outstanding careers, but serious neck injuries in 2017 leave their future in doubt. Chancellor has hinted he might want to continue playing. He shouldn’t, but if he does, it should be elsewhere. This is one of those difficult cap-space moves the Seahawks must make.
6) Move on from defensive end Michael Bennett: He deserves accolades for playing 2017 with a plantar fascia foot injury and a bad knee. But the Seahawks need to get younger and Bennett will be 33 at midseason of 2018. This is another area where the team can save cap space.
7) Add a quality No. 2 receiver: Doug Baldwin is headed to the Pro Bowl, and deservedly so, with his ability to get open and make big plays at key moments. But the Seahawks are below average at best with the rest of the receiving corp. They need a big-body receiver opposite Baldwin, which Paul Richardson and Tyler Lockett are not.
8) Keep Thomas and Sherman, unless…: Earl Thomas made himself look ridiculous by running to the Cowboys locker room after the Seahawks victory and telling Dallas coach Jason Garrett, “Come get me.”
Thomas is a flaky dude, but he also is the best free safety in the league. He will be in the last year of his contract and wants top dollar (probably four years at $50 million) in a new one. If another team is willing to part with top-line players and at least two top draft picks, let Thomas go. If not, the Seahawks need him, especially if Chancellor’s career is over.
Sherman is in a similar position. He’s still a top cornerback, but coming off Achilles tendon surgery makes his trade value an all-time low. It’s unlikely the Seahawks could get enough to justify trading him.
9) Make a major upgrade at kicker -- Blair Walsh is gone and the Seahawks signed former Jacksonville kicker Jason Myers. Not good enough. Bring at least half a dozen kickers in, including the top guys from college.
CenturyLink Field can be a tough place to kick because of rain and wind. Find a guy with an edge who isn’t intimidated by the conditions.
10) Emphasize field discipline – The Seahawks led the league in penalty yards (1,342) and penalties called against them (148). They averaged 84 yards in penalties per game. That equates to one free trip to the red zone for the opponent.
There was a time when this team could get away with the over-aggression. They lived off the physicality and the intimidation, but so many of these flags were senseless mistakes that cost the Seahawks dearly in field position.
Carroll has said cleaning up the careless penalties is a priority for 2018. Bring in more players who know the difference between physical play and childish penalties.
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