Do I cheer for âpopularâ teams? Yes. Do I live and die with the teams of the 90s? Primarily. And yes, Iâve heard every annoying and obnoxious comment about my fanhood from my friends. No, literally, every single friend has taken their shot at some point.
Guess what? Iâm 24 years old. The last time any of these teams celebrated a championship was 1998. I was 12. I wasnât even Bar Mitzvahâd yet. Needless to say, manhood has been tough.
So here are my 2010 New Yearâs Resolutions:
Dallas Cowboys â win a playoff game.
Just one. The following is true: the first suggested Google search after entering âlast cowâ wasâŚyou guessed itâŚâlast cowboys playoff win.â The answer is December 28th, 1996. Tony Romo was in high school. I wasnât.
Dallas, youâve had a number of chances to win. Many of blessed memory. In 2003, I spent my night on a Caribbean cruise locked up in my room to watch you lose to the Carolina Panthers. There was the bobbled hold in 2006 against the Seattle Seahawks. I found myself, coincidentally enough, laying in the same position as my beloved quarterback â laying motionless on the ground, head in my hands, helpless. And there was 2007. 13-3. No. 1 seed in the NFC. A blown 4th quarter lead against the New York Giants and Patrick Craytonâs sure first down and possible touchdown drop. Accepting defeat isn’t any easier.
But this could be the year. There have been ups and downs. There was also a victory over the previously undefeated New Orleans Saints! You are oozing of confidence and swagger. And youâre probably going to have another shot at winning the division against the Philadelphia Eagles. Donât blow it this time.
Chicago Bulls â bring respectability to the arena Michael Jordan built.
Letâs be honest, Bulls. This is embarrassing. Blowing 35-point leads? Losing to the New York Knicks? Iâd rather watch the 1998 Chicago Bulls suit up and play â today. Where are Jud Buechler and Dickey Simpkins when you need them? Derrick Rose said it best when he told reporters the team plays with a ânonchalant attitude.â Whoâs to blame? John Paxson? Vinny Del Negro? Derrick Rose?
I donât really care anymore. I do know I no longer have the patience to find out. Many people believed this team would build off last seasonâs epic playoff series against the Boston Celtics. Instead we are seeing a redux of the Bullsâ post-Miami Heat playoff sweep season.
Sure, the Bulls may finish with 40 wins and sneak into the 8th spot. All I ask is you stop making excuses. Start playing hard. There is no way Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade or even Carlos Boozer walk through that door if this continues.
In the time I spent writing this, I am still waiting for John Salmons to pass the ball.
Chicago Cubs â do I really have to say it?
Thereâs a reason I saved you for last, Cubbies. You are, by far, the most disappointing team Iâve ever had to watch. Fortunately, Iâm too young to understand the âlovable losersâ tag. Thank God. Because it was and is unacceptable.
Everyone knows the numbers. 101 years since your last World Series victory. 55 years since your last World Series appearance. Three years, $30 million for Milton Bradley.
Everything changed in 2003. You were the best team in baseball. Clearly, that wasnât enough. Prior to this season, you made the playoffs two consecutive years for the first time since the âaughts – of 1900. But in those two series, you won as many games as I did. Harsh, but true.
I believe in Lou. I believe in Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee and Alfonso Soriano (at least I want to). I still believe in Carlos Zambrano. Much like the Cowboys, and much unlike the Bulls, this team has the talent to make a deep playoff run. The question is whether they have the intestinal fortitude.
We know âit can happen,â but âwillâ it happen? Because I canât take it anymore. I want a World Series. There, I said it.
So there you have it. My 2010 New Yearâs Resolutions. That felt good to say. If only I could make a differenceâŚ
You know what? I can.
And Iâll start by running on the treadmill while reading the book I just bought at the half price store.
Here’s another post from newly minted writer Brent. His sports knowledge is vastly impressive and to be frank, a little worrisome. Below you’ll find a reference to Bo Jackson, someone named Charlie something and a Techmo Super Bowl video among other items. It’s quite the creation. We’ll try to get both new guys set up with accounts this week and cut out this bloviating middleman…
My fellow copywriter Ariel is giving you a taste of what youâll see in the playoffs this fall, but there is a lot you wonât see again until Spring Training.
I love Spring Training. I love that it gives every team a brand new start so they can suck and fall well short of expectations (New York Mets, Chicago Cubs), be awesome (Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees), or just experience more fledgling mediocrity (Milwaukee Brewers, Toronto Blue Jays). But for me, it doesnât get much better than post-season baseball. Iâm a Minnesota Twins fan and while the Twins havenât had much success in October in the last decade, they have at least been in the playoffs in four of the last seven seasons, including a Game 163 in 2008 that they lost to the Chicago White Sox. John Danks shut the Twins out in that game but could not deliver the same result in his regular season finale this year against the Detroit Tigers when he walked three in the first inning, including one with the bases loaded. Now the Twins and Tigers will square off in Game 163. 2009 is the third season in a row to require a 163rd game. Two years ago the Colorado Rockies beat the San Diego Padres 9-8 in 13 innings.
But there are guys who had phenomenal seasons who wonât see stadium lights after October 4th. Zack Greinke led the majors in ERA at 2.16, led the AL in WHIP at 1.07 and finished 3rd in strikeouts in all of baseball. And he won 16 games on a team that won 65 all season.
Albert Pujols got all the press this year in the NL, but what about Prince Fielder’smonster season? Prince set a Brewer record for RBIâs at 141, he hit 46 home runs, behind only 47 by Albert Pujols, and he hit .299 with an on-base percentage of .412.
Roy Halladayâs reputation speaks for itself and because Toronto couldnât get a deadline deal worked out (other than sending Alex Rios to the Chicago White Sox), he too will miss the playoffs, just as he has in every season of his career. The Toronto Blue Jays havenât seen the post-season since they won back-to-back World Series Championships in 1992 and 1993. Remember Joe Carter jumping around first base? That team also had Minnesota natives Paul Molitor, Jack Morris, and former Minnesota Golden Gopher basketball stand out Dave Winfield (yes, basketball, he was also drafted by the Minnesota Vikings without ever having played a down of football in his life) on the roster.
Fernandez went from the Pads to the Mets in 1992 in a deal involving former outfielder/running back D.J. Dozier and then the Mets traded Fernandez back to the Blue Jays in June of 1993. The Padres received McGriff, Dozier, and Wally Whitehurst in exchange for a World SeriesâŚ (more or less, Iâm blowing it out of proportion. But I canât help but be reminded of when the Vikings traded for now MMA fighter Herschel Walker and gave the Cowboys a dynasty. I think Hershal Walker also tried out to be an Olympic bobsledder at some point, too. He dabbles.).
Our old friend Charlie Leibrandt from a few paragraphs ago played with a couple of two-sport athletes. He was a teammate of Bo Jackson on the Royals, who of course was an Oakland Raider and legendary Tecmo Super Bowl player.
Besides getting ready to vacation in warm climates, what else do these guys have in common with Greinke, Fielder, and Halladay? In the next few years, theyâll each probably receive ginormous contract offers from teams you will see in the playoffs this year: Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, and The Los Angeles, California Angels of Aneheim, USA. Or other big market teams, like the New York Mets, Chicago Cubs, and Chicago White Sox.
Small market teams find it difficult to hold on to their best young talent, even through the playersâ arbitration years, after all, Ryan Howard was awarded $10 million in arbitration after striking out 199 times. I wonder what Mark Reynolds of the Arizona Diamondbacks will get after striking out over 400 times over the last two seasons?
There are pitfalls to rooting for both small market and big market teams, however. Small market teams, like my Twins, have to wave good-bye to guys like Johan Santana and Torii Hunter because they cannot afford to keep them. The Tampa Bay Rays will find out the same thing when they try to hold on to Carl Crawford and others. The Florida Marlins know this reality well and will face it again when it comes time to pay Josh Johnson, Dan Uggla, and Ramirez.
Big market teams throw money at players like they are Pacman Jones making it rain. But that comes with great risk sometimes, too. San Francisco gave Barry Zito $126 million over seven years and they got a #3 starter at best. The Cubs are locked in to Alfonso Soriano for more than any club would like to be. Mike Hampton signed a monster deal once upon a time and then spent much of that time on the DL. The same can be said about Carl Pavano, Kevin Brown, Jason Schmidt and others.
Things you should know that have happened sort of under-the-radar and may be of help to you in future fantasy drafts or baseball nerd conversations:
Jair Jurrjens had a 2.61 ERA for the Braves this year, good for 6th best in baseball.
The New York Mets hit 95 homers as a team, last in the league and 149 behind the league leading New York Yankess. The Mets could combine home run totals with seven other teams and still have fewer than the Yankees did. Handfuls of players could combine their home run totals to have the greater than sign in their favor when compared with the Mets.
Fielder, Braun, and Mike Cameron > 2009 Mets.
Mauer, Morneau, and Michael Cuddyer > 2009 Mets.
The second baseman of the AL East* > 2009 Mets.
Pujols, Fielder, and Carlos Zambrano > 2009 Mets.