Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Britt List (9/22/09)

My friend Jim asked me last week, "Isn't it about time you write a blog about the latest antics of spoiled sports figures." And he carries a gun to work every day, so Jim gets what Jim wants (Go Seahawks, by the way).

I should probably find some sort of common thread that I could use to string all of these stories and non sequitors together into some sort of cohesive commentary. But that's much harder and I am not getting paid for this. Plus it's been a while since I've really written much and the "notes" section of my phone is getting really long and really need to just empty it out, so here goes...

1. How can I start a list of spoiled sports figures anywhere other than with Serena Williams? Two week ago she got smoked by eventual U.S. Open champion Kim Clijsters for 1 set, 5 games, and 2 points. Then two points from the end, she was called for a foot fault on her serve (that is, she stepped on the line while serving...probably a bad call). The penalty for this is the loss of that point. So that makes it match point.

But that little mistake isn't why she heads up this list. No, her out-of-control, profanity-laden, physical-harm-threatening breakdown that got her a 1-point penalty, which cost her the match because it was match point, is what got her on this list. It was definitely one of the most great freak-out's I've ever seen in sports, not up there with George Brett or the minor league baseball manager who pretended to be in a foxhole and toss a grenade of course, but it's impressive. It starts at about :46 in this video and peaks at about 5:20.

Serena later tried to be her normal disingenuously adorable self and said that it's just because she's so passionate and competitive and it got the better of her this time. That explains it; other athletes who get hosed on calls are just not competitive and that's why they act with grace and decorum. I've often felt that Serena Williams (and to a slightly lesser extent, Venus Williams) has been protected by the sports media with the same umbrella that they used to protect Roger Clemens for such a long time. "He's a fiery competitor." Or, "It's her intensity that makes her a champion." No, he was a 'roid raging egomaniac and she is a spoiled bully. I'd like to think that the press has finally turned on her and decided to finally write her off as the poor-sport that she is, but I think Kanye West might have distracted everyone too much with his blowup last week. (Seriously, is the jury still out on Kanye? So the guy sings a song every now and then about praying, and he cried on Leno, that doesn't mean he isn't just a huge asshole.) (And as a second side note, why is the adjectival form of "fire"not "firey?" I mean why suddenly move the "e" inside the "r"?)

2. Robert Henson of the Washington Redskins wrote the following on his Twitter page after some home fans booed the 'Skins in a home loss on Sunday: "All you fake half hearted Skins fans can...I won't go there but I dislike you very strongly, don't come to Fed Ex to boo dim wits!...The question is who are you to say you know what's best for the team and you work 9 to 5 at McDonalds."

There is no way I can write anything here that remotely compares to the sentiment and emotion expressed by Mike Greenberg of ESPN, so I won't bother. And there is nothing to add to Greeny's rant, so I won't. Except this: is it possible that this is all a grammatical misunderstanding? I mean, look at what he wrote: "Don't come to Fed Ex to boo dim wits!" Isn't Henson saying that he and the other players and coaches are "dim wits" and telling fans not to come and boo them? Yeah, probably not. He's just too dim witted to know what the comma is for.

3. Phillip Rivers seems like the perfect example of a kid who was always a really good athlete, so he just never really got put in his place on the field and was never disciplined by his parents, teachers, or coaches. Once again last week he took a penalty for taunting - he leaned over and yelled in the face of an opposing player who had fallen down next to Rivers. The problem is, he is still a really good athlete and won't be getting put in his place any time soon. And he's clearly too immature and/or stupid to realize that he'll never win a Super Bowl with this kind of leadership style, talent be damned.

4. It took Terrell Owens exactly one game to throw his new quarterback under the bus, saying that Trent Edwards showed poor judgement and missed plays where Owens was open. I know, I'm shocked too.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver came out after the team's Week 1 loss and said that he was hoping to draft Tim Tebow for next season. Tebow is the reigning Heisman Trophy winner and BCS Champion quarterback from Florida, which is in Jacksonville and is far more popular than the Jags. That's good. Way to piss on the millions of dollars spent by fans on tickets and TV packages for this season, let alone on your current players, by already writing the season off within hours of its start. But hey, the good news is that they're gonna get totally hosed if they don't get the #1 draft pick because if they want to move up to get Tebow, the price just went way up when Weaver tipped his hand 8 months before the draft. Whoops.

6. The Cowboys apparently sold something like 30,000 standing-room only tickets (called "Party Passes") to their opening night game against the Giants on Sunday (the Giants won because Tony Romo sucks). The goal was to set the record for the largest regular season crowd in football history, which they did (105,121). Sadly most of those folks who shelled out $29 to stand on a huge balcony facing but far away from the field couldn't actually see the field at all, and some were not allowed into the stadium. It nearly caused a riot and the extra fans couldn't help lift the Cowboys to a win anyway, but the only part of this paragraph that Jerry Jones is probably capable of comprehending is, "Cowboys...set the record for the largest regular season crowd in football history...face...lift...Jerry Jones."

7. Flozell Adams is a very, very fat former great NFL offensive lineman who now just resorts to cheating in order to stop players from exposing the staggeringly large weaknesses in his game. He has led the league in penalties in each of the past 3 seasons. This week the Giants' Justin Tuck apparently told him there was a gigantic plate of ribs over his left shoulder and when Adams went left to look, Tuck bolted the other way to go sack Tony Romo. Adams became angry that there weren't actually any ribs and rather than shift into position and block Tuck, he instead illegally stuck his hippopotamus-sized leg out and tripped him, causing Tuck to fall awkwardly, injure his shoulder and miss the rest of the game. Adams later blamed Tuck saying, "Tell him to stay up." Adams then leaned back over and continued eating from his trough.

8. We always hear what a genius Pete Carroll is, so it must be true. So when he disgracefully shunned his golden boy, Mark Sanchez, last spring when Sanchez chose to enter the NFL, some wondered why Carroll the Genius did it. Why go on record on the biggest day of Sanchez' career, a celebratory day marking his graduation from USC football, not just USC academics, and say the kid isn't ready for the NFL and he has stats that show that Sanchez will fail? Granted, it's only two games into his pro career, but Sanchez seems to pretty pretty damned ready for the NFL. I guess Carroll was wrong on that one.

Once Matt Barkley got the USC starting quarterback job, every time you heard Carroll talk about him you got a kinda creepy, borderline-inappropriate, "I want to carry his babies"-kind of feeling. Though you know Carroll is faking it since he had already named Aaron Corp his starter until Corp got hurt in preseason workouts. And having seen Corp play last weekend in Washington, we now see that Corp getting hurt and forcing Carroll to start Barkley was the best coaching move he'll make this year.

You might wonder why Carroll was singing the praises of Barkley so loudly, besides that the kid is pretty good. But you have to remember that this is Division I-A college football. The title game participants are chosen as much through the politics in the press room as they are through play on the field. USC couldn't afford to start the season ranked in the teens because that makes one-loss a season-ender. So Carroll had to convince voters in that first poll that Barkley is the best quarterback that had ever come through his program so they'd keep USC from tumbling out of the preseason top 5. Now they've lost a game and dropped to 12th, but can still climb back into the conversation. Had they started at 12th and lost, dropping to 20th or below, the season would be over. Maybe he is a genius.

The good news for USC fans is that we've already seen that they don't need to win, let alone play in, the BCS Championship Game to call themselves National Champions at USC. So the polliticking is all kind of a waste anyway, I guess.

9. This one isn't directly at any particular stupid/spoiled sports figure, but rather all the national reporters covering the Giants. Why is everyone so shocked at the skills and performance of Steve Smith? He came from a major college program (USC) where he was a star. He was a high draft pick (2nd round). He led the team in receptions last season (his first as a regular player, though he was still considered the third receiver). And as if all of that wasn't enough to gain him the notoriety he deserves, as a rookie Smith made the most skilled reception and play on that Super Bowl winning drive, saving the Giants' hopes. He is the victim of circumstance, it seems. No one remembers his play on the big drive because it was sandwiched between David Tyree's helmet catch and Plaxico Burress' touchdown. No one recognizes his name because when he came into the league, there already was a star-receiver named Steve Smith. No one remembers his 2008 success because it was overshadowed by the Burress-gun debacle. But it doesn't seem to bother Smith or Mario Manningham or any of the Giants' other younger receivers that they are considered the team's weakness. It just makes it easier to embarrass seemingly unsuspecting and overconfident secondaries (we're looking at you Terrence Newman, Orlando Scandrick, Keith Hamlin, Mike Jenkins...).

10. Who do I pick for the last one?

-LeGarrette Blount of Oregon for kissing his senior season (and draft status) goodbye when he punched a Boise State player and attacked BSU fans after their season opening loss.

-Whoever at Boise State thinks it is a good idea to have a blue field and blue uniforms that make their players invisible on TV, thus making their games unwatchable.

-Whoever at ESPN still think Lou Holtz should be a commentator? I mean he's knowledgeable, and you just wanna cuddle in his lap (with an umbrella) and hear stories about the olden days, but you can't understand a shingle thing that comesh out of hish mouth.

-Kick returners who call fair catches at the 5 yard-line or take kicks out from 8-yards deep in the endzone?

-Whoever at Yahoo! Fantasy Sports ranked LaDainian Tomlinson as highly as he did causing me to get a completely wasted first round draft pick because we've known for two years that LDT was toast?

-Whoever started calling Tomlinson, "LT," despite that there was already a better player in the same sport with the same nickname and you just don't do that?

-Whoever at ABC wrote the stat-list for Pete Carroll for Saturday's game that said he was a two-time National Champion with USC even though the team has only won the National Championship game once in his tenure. Either we have two polls, and its the same split-champion situation that the BCS was created to avoid, or not. But we can't have both. If only there was such a thing as an event where various teams met and played against one another in elimination games to determine the last team standing.

-Milton Bradley who is getting run out of yet-another baseball town after being suspended for the remainder of the season by the Cubs for being a surly prick all the time. If your playing the Milton Bradley home edition, the winning cards this season were: Bump an Ump: Get suspended two game, Throw a Ball Into the Stands With Only Two Outs: Move two baserunners up two bases each, Freak Out After a Flyout, Again: Get sent home during the game, and later get in a fight with the manager in the clubhouse, Say You Hate Coming to Wrigley Field Because The Fans Are Racist: Turn your last remaining supporters against you, and finally for a bonus... Rip the Fans and Local Media For Expecting You To Play Well for the $10,000,000 They're Paying You: Get suspended for the season.

-Bud Selig for lowering the four-game suspensions of Jorge Posada and Jesse Carlson to three-games after the two agreed not to appeal the suspension. So what are we saying here, that they always deserved a three-game suspension but you were gonna make it four for no good reason? Or that saying "I won't appeal," is just as effective as actually appealing?

Or maybe all of them will just tie for 10th. Yeah, that'll work.

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