Happy holidays, Chumpeteers!
We once again find ourselves smack dab in the middle of Christmas season, yet some of us have been short on the holiday spirit lately, and not just because we’ve heard White Christmas for the umpteenth time.
I know we’re all broke, but isn’t this the time of year when we’re supposed to spread good will towards our fellow man? Well, the following sports personalities didn’t get that memo.
Over the past few weeks, we have seen a whole lot of coal dumped into other people’s stockings. So, in honor of my favorite holiday movie, Bad Santa, here’s a top five list of those who could use a good dose of holiday cheer.
Five) Golden Domes: Notre Dame versus the Big Ten
If anyone were in the Christmas spirit this season, you think it would be the folks at Touchdown Jesus. Although their bootstraps might be a little tight with that $18 million check they just cut Charlie Weis, at least they’re about to embark on the Brian Kelly era.
This off-season the Big Ten is once again toying with the idea of adding a twelfth team (Yes, there are eleven teams in the Big Ten. Go figure!). In 1999, the Big Ten invited Notre Dame to join their conference yet Irish brass turned them down, opting to remain independent.
The Big Ten is now reportedly looking at Pitt, West Virginia, Syracuse, Iowa State, Rutgers and Missouri, but probably not Notre Dame. When the Domers became aware that the Big Ten would not actively seek them out as a twelfth member this time around, Notre Dame went all nanny-nanny boo-boo on them and said they wouldn’t be interested in joining the conference anyway. Notre Dame might want to soon replace their “Play Like a Champion” mantra to Groucho Marx’s “I would never belong to any club that would have me as a member.”
In the past, the SEC, Big 12 and ACC have all expanded, as well as added a conference championship game. The Big Ten has yet to do so, traditionally finishing its conference schedule by Thanksgiving weekend; the grand spectacle between Ohio State and Michigan completed before turkeys are even basted. When bowl-worthy, these teams might wait up to six weeks before taking the field again.
Adding another major program and championship game is likely years away but the move would add some credibility to a conference that has taken some hits lately for its overall competitiveness. It would also bring the Big Ten millions in revenue just in time for Christmas.
Four) Calling Birds: The Philadelphia Phillies versus Cliff Lee
The Phillies just pulled off a blockbuster, three-team trade with the Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays. In an effort to bolster their starting rotation, Philadelphia landed Roy Halladay, who many consider the best pitcher in the game. In doing so, they parted with Cliff Lee, who they acquired late last season as part of their World Series run. Both Lee and Halladay are former AL Cy Young Award Winners, Halladay in 2003 and Lee in 2008, but Philadelphia obviously felt Halladay was the more sound investment.
It was widely reported that the Phillies didn’t make an effort to re-sign Lee because he wouldn’t agree to a long term deal, however in a recent ESPN interview, a surprised Lee said nothing could be further from the truth. He would have gladly signed a long-term deal to stay in Philadelphia and retire a Phillie.
Chalk it up to miscommunication. Either way, Lee now finds himself in Seattle, a three thousand mile sleigh ride away from Philly. At least in Seattle, they don’t boo Santa Claus.
Three) Clinched Hens: The Indianapolis Colts versus The Loss Column
The Colts have been very unfair to the loss column this football season. In fact, they’ve been downright Scrooge-like. Fifteen weeks into the season, the Colts have yet to lose, jingling all the way to home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
With their latest victory, the Colts have actually extended their winning streak to 23 regular season games, an NFL record. They have a rookie head coach who has yet to lose a game in the league and perhaps the greatest quarterback to ever play the game. They’re doing their best to remain humble as they try for an undefeated season. But we’re getting way ahead of ourselves. They still have the Jets and Bills to play. Two more wins ‘til perfection means we’ve already had our first Mercury Morris sighting.
Debate rages on over whether the Colts should rest their starters or strive for an undefeated regular season. In the words of the Houston Astrodome fans in Bad News Bears In Breaking Training, I say “Let them play!”
There’s plenty of season left to unwrap but watching the 18-0 Colts strive for perfection in the Super Bowl would be one belated Christmas present we all could enjoy.
Two) Swedish Loves: Tiger Woods versus Elin Nordegren
What more can be said about the year’s most famous breakup? You’ve seen the collection of spoof videos. You’ve seen the never-ending parade of mistresses. The only thing we haven’t seen is Tiger himself.
After his various indiscretions came to light over the past few weeks, Tiger has apologized for his rampant infidelity but even shopping at Jared’s won’t get him out of this jam. Tiger also wrote, on his website, that he will be taking an indefinite leave from golf, meaning the PGA Tour’s television ratings should decline like this year’s holiday spending.
As Tiger’s sponsors continue to pack up, apparently so has his wife. There’s speculation that Elin is leaving Tiger and heading back closer to the North Pole.
When is enough coverage enough? Apparently never. Tiger’s infidelity updates are played more often than Christmas jingles in your local mall. The New York Post has now led its front page with a Tiger Woods headline nineteen straight days, breaking the former record held by its coverage of 9/11. As Jim Rome mentioned on J.R.I.B., so much for priorities.
Perhaps we should keep things in perspective this December and remind ourselves what’s really important.
One) General in a Pear Tree: Bobby Knight versus John Calipari
A mutual respect resides among the sports coaching fraternity. Coaches generally don’t go after one another. They understand the constant pressure and scrutiny their jobs entail. Losing is not an option. If a coach is fired or falls upon tough times, other coaches are quick to have his back. Not so much this Christmas.
This week, a silver-haired, big-bellied, red-clad gentlemen proved not to be so jolly. No, not Santa Claus. I speak of Bobby Knight.
In a recent speech at the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, the winningest coach in men’s college basketball history, said the modern game suffers from a lack of integrity, referring to one coach in particular: Kentucky’s John Calipari.
With regards to Calipari, Knight quipped “We’ve gotten into this situation where integrity is really lacking and that’s why I’m glad I’m not coaching. We’ve got a coach at Kentucky who put two schools on probation and he’s still coaching.”
You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch.
Knight’s comments might not have been as physically threatening as John Chaney’s when he threatened to kick Calipari’s ass in a post-game press conference some fifteen years ago, but Knight’s words probably carried more weight. This was an all-out Calibody slam by one of the sport’s most legendary coaches. So much for Christmas cheer.
Knight has had his share of anger issues over the years but he never had Final Four banners removed from anywhere he’s ever coached. Calipari has at both UMass and Memphis. Knight was quick to point that out.
Even though Coach Cal’s current program looks poised to make a deep run in March, don’t expect him to send Coach Knight a Christmas card any time soon.
Happy Holidays from everyone here at Sportschump!
I agree With Mr. Bobby Knight. He should be suspended also. If the NCAA adopts a measure where if a coach recruit or play inelegible players they should be supended or fine, Besides I like Bobby Knight anyway. Never forget the chair slidding across the court. That is big COJONES.
Angel… speaking of cojones, did you see Mike Tomlin coaching the Steelers tonight go for the onside kick? Don’t come much bigger than that.
Oye, I heard about your boy Steinmann. I’ll be heading to el Rio Indio some time soon, all unexpected like.
Preparate and tell the wifey you’re going out for the night sin excusas.
I think Salsero beat you to it.
E for effort, tho.
Just say when
Asi me gusta, loco. That’s what I like to hear.
Don’t get me wrong I admire Knight as a coach but he’s also a friggin’ hypocrite and a misogynist. So why the hell would anyone want to listen to a guy who lays his hands on his players and then denigrates female employees with sexual undertones and innuendos ? This after all was the same guy who remarked to Connie Chung in an interview that if a woman is being sexually assaulted she ought to lay back and enjoy it ? WTF ?
As for the other things on your Xmas wish list I can’t fault you on any of them at all.
I’m not saying Knight was either right or wrong in blasting Calipari, Al.
I’m just astonished that he said anything at all. That was a direct hit.
Neither am I in the context of Knight’s speech. But I do believe it to be somewhat hyprocritical given his own actions over the years.
I see that Pavlik successfully defended his middleweight titles over the weekend ? Now Bob Arum is talking a bout against Paul Williams. If he takes that fight , Williams’ll make Pavlik his #1 bi_ch !
I did think the statement was a little odd and out of place, Al.
There may have even been a touch of jealousy involved.
But there’s no denying Calipari carries an air of sleaze with him.
Uh oh… here come the Cats Pause readers!
What has Bobby Knight got to be jealous with Calipari over ? I mean there’s no comparison as their careers .
Well unless Knight has seen Cal’s wife and wants a bite at the apple ?
So Kelly Pavlik having knocked out a tomato can , says he wants to fight Paul Williams but is prepared to fight Felix Sturm of Germany, first. Way to go Kelly , you and Bob Arum are just proving what I though about both you and Arum . You’re are indeed a bunch of p_ss artists !
Is it me but are the Browns a mess or what ? The GM , George Kokinis who was fired is now seeking arbitration and damages from the team. Never mind the fact he’ll receive a $4million payout as he still had time left on his contract. But yet he wants something else from the team ? What an a-hole ! I don’t know if this is meant to be a matter of principle or just a complete joke on his part.
Even bigger joke , Jim Brown wants Mangini to return next year . Jim’s been touching way too much of the hashish, way, way too much !
On the Knight-Calipari issue…..if Coach Cal were to lead Kentucky to an NCAA Championship, would the players have to wait three years to cut down the nets just to insure there wasn’t a violation along the way? Would the fans have to delay celebrations for three years? These are questions that have to go through UK fans’ minds.
All I got to say is this:
You are a buffoon Tiger!!! Elin is super hot!! What’s wrong with you!?!?!
Oh, and props to Bobby Knight, he’s 100% correct.
Knight just said what alot of us have been thinking! How can you keep getting probation, losing your job and keep getting hired?? This is supposed to be college sports where things like integrity and sportsmanship are taught. The new norm (in my best Kentucky drawl)is now “If you ain’t cheatin’ you ain’t tryin”!
Did a school ever want Knight as much as UK coveted Calipari? Cal was the only man for that gig. He now holds one of the most prized coaching positions in basketball. He’s young and will likely win at least one championship there.
If he has longevity, averaging 25-30 wins a year, he could conceivably challenge Knight’s all-time win record, again, if he decides to coach that long.
The only question is whether there will be an asterisk next to that number if he eventually passes him.
Al… I don’t know the relationship that exists between Holmgren and Mangini but it’s starting to sound like Holmgren will become Cleveland’s ‘czar.’ I hope he knows what he’s getting himself into.
If he builds a championship there, he might be able to get a reservation in that town quicker than LeBron.
Frank… that’s only after a UK fan rubbed it in your face that theirs is the greatest basketball program of all time.
Ryan… who would you rather have coaching your program? John Calipari or Tom Izzo?
Seth tellin’ it like it is.
Hey, man. Were you on Mario’s mailer? Apparently he’s having another Christmas party.
I think it’s safe to say that Holmgren knows what he’s getting himself into. The point is ,will he and Mangini see eye to eye over the personnel decisions that need to be made ?
As for Calipari , it just goes to show that the NCAA just isn’t worth a damn ! And we’re to believe that they’ve got the student athletes’ best interests at heart ?
Al… if Mangini and Holmgren don’t see eye-to-eye on personnel decisions, one of ’em will be gone.
And his first name won’t be Mike.
As it is Mangini is already on thin ice and that’s even with Jim Brown in his corner. Two managerial posts and already he’s proving to be a complete failure.
I’ve got to admit I found it funny the
‘alleged dust up’ between Favre and Childress. I can’t wait to see what’ll happen if things really turn bitter between the two !
Dropped this piece on the Bucs’ win over the lowly Seahawks.
A Tale Of Two Teams ……
Merry Christmas to you and may you have a safe and Happy New Year.
Al… I think, fairly or not, the pressure and expectations on Favre and the Vikes were to get to the Super Bowl, if not the NFC Championship game.
His recent squabbles with Childress don’t surprise me one bit. I actually feel for Childress in this case. He needs to put his foot down, claim who’s boss and not let Favre bully him.
I wasn’t watching that game so I don’t know whether Favre was warranted but I’m assuming Childress has his and the team’s best interests in mind.
Or maybe not.
Aer… back at ya, man.
I wish you and yours nothing but health and happiness this holiday season.
Don’t quote me on this but if the Vikes make it to the Superbowl , I may well abstain from sex for three weeks. Well that’s if I can hold out for that long. What can one do to pass the time ?
So the Yankees obtain Javier Vasquez from the Braves ? What went wrong the first time around when they had him ? LOL,LOL,LOL !!! Now the Yankees have got to pay MLB $27 million for going over the luxury tax threshold ? Bear this in mind though of the $194 million that MLB has collected since this tax was first introduced , the Yankees have paid a whopping $172 million of it. All things being equal , who’s getting screwed here ?
Just Like Rodney Dangerfield Over The Course of His Career The Indianapolis Colts Can’t Get No Love Or Respect ……….
I’ve included a video segment of Dangerfield’s appearance on ‘The Tonight Show’ with then host , Johnny Carson. It’s riotous blast as Dangerfield is as funny as hell !
Holmgren or no Holmgren…the Browns are years away from sniffing .500. Other than Josh Cribbs and maybe a couple other players the cupboard is pretty bare. Cleveland will be hardpressed to win more than a half dozen games in 2010 or 2011. Well, unless Jerome Harrison can run for 286 yards and 3 touchdowns every game…
Ok, Al, go ahead and rank your NFC teams in the order that are most likely to get to the Super Bowl.
Tough division, PJ, but given a three year plan, I agree, they could make it happen.
I also agree with what Colin Cowherd said.
When they give Holmgren the reins, that means personalities like Jim Brown, etc can no longer have a say in the direction of the franchise.
It’s now Holmgren’s baby.
Rankings mean nothing, it’s like handicapping racehorses . You know there’ll be good and bad amongst the bunch . It’s no different in the NFL.
The Real Season In The NBA Starts Now Because It’s Christmas And David Stern Is Santa Clause …………
To you and your loyal followers , I trust you all have a great Christmas and a wonderful New Year !
It looks as if the superfight between Mayweather and Pacquiao may not take place after all. Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum feels that there ought not to be any mandatory testing of the fighters (in particularly his) outside the usual constraints. Now bear in mind it was Margarito (one of his charges) who when he fought Cotto had plaster of paris encased over both fists.
See my piece on the matter , a link has been left below.
Pret-A-Porter I’m Not Buying Into It At All …..
Need I remind you , I told you that I didn’t trust Arum or that I thought this fight would actually take place without there being some controversy .
You were right about the fight, Al.
I knew it was too good to be true.
I’m not quite sure I understand it all. Is that sort blood testing weeks before the fight standard?
Coming over to check out your piece.
The sport of boxing is so messed up now that its waning popularity mightn’t be enough for it to sustain itself in the ensuing years. After the likes of Pacquiao and Mayweather step away from the sport . There’ll be no one left for the fans to flock to.
To you and your immediate family as well your avid followers . Have a wonderful Christmas and a Prosperous 2010.
Just a sound off with regard to the year (2009) itself .
Here’s my piece on it but encapsulating the decade as a whole.
It Should Never Happened But It Did Breakin’ Up Is So Hard To Do …………
Alan Parkins 🙂
Al… boxing is in such bad shape, you’d think Selig was running the sport.
Apparently they never read David Stern’s “How Not To F*ck Up Your Sport.”
Merry Christmas to You and Yours and all you Chumpeteers!
Ath…. back at ya’, kiddo