Who's tougher: NFL players or NHL players?
I don’t care what the Boston Bruins say, and I don’t care that they even disclosed the actual injury, which is the National Hockey League sign for “he ain’t playing no more.” Gregory Campbell, who broke his leg stopping a shot Wednesday night in Boston’s 2-1 double-overtime win over Pittsburgh and finished his minute-long shift before leaving the ice, is day-to-day, damn it, and I’ll brook no dissent on this.
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It’s early yet, but if San Antonio wins the NBA Finals, we can now give you the percentages of the post mortems:
LeBron Can’t Win The Big One By Himself: 28.9 percent.
Dwayne Wade Is Finished: 21.1 percent.
Erik Spoelstra Should Be Replaced By George Karl: 11.6 percent.
Erik Spoelstra Should Be Replaced By Claude Julien: 10.8 percent.
Gregg Popovich Has Trended In-Game Interview Brusqueness: 9.5 percent.
Tim Duncan Is Bill Russell: 7.3 percent.
Tim Duncan Is Getting A Messy Divorce: 7.29 percent.
Tiago Splitter Is The Next Roy Hibbert: 3.5 Percent.
The Spurs Are A Historically Great Team And Not Boring At All, And We’re All Sorry For Saying So: 0.01 percent.
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It’s easy to say that the Miami Marlins are an awful team because of Jeff Loria and David Samson – largely because it’s true. But for you numbers wonks, the ancillary reason is that they are one of the worst hitting teams ever. And we do mean ever.
As of this nanosecond, they have scored 177 runs in 60 games, putting them on pace for 477 for the season and a hideous average of 2.95 runs per game – the 23rd lowest average of any of the current 30 franchises. Again, ever. For context, the laughably hideous 2011 Giants scored 570.
But we digress. Of the other 22 teams, 15 were in the Dead Ball era, one was during World War II, when balls (and many players) were made of anything from concrete to flannel, and the other six were . . . well, let’s break them down for you:
HOUSTON, 1963: The Astros were a second-year franchise loaded with bad old players in a huge ballpark (Colt Stadium), and they finished lower than even the New York Mets, who had lost 120 games the year before – AND HAD A BETTER OFFENSE DOING SO.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX, 1968: A year before, the Sox went to the last weekend of the season before being knocked out of the World Series, and then averaged 2.86 runs per game to nosedive into eighth. That’s what happens when you replace J.C. Martin with Duane Josephson.
SAN DIEGO, 1969: Expansion team. Enormous ballpark. Marine atmosphere. Sea level. Case closed.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS, 1968: And this is why Major League Baseball expanded and lowered the mounds shortly thereafter.
NEW YORK METS, 1968: The year before it all came together, and the best year the Mets ever had until that one. They couldn’t score (2.90) but neither could the other team (3.08). Made for nice quick games.
CALIFORNIA ANGELS, 1972: Best hitter? Bob Oliver, with an OPS of .743. Total homers that year? 78. Nolan Ryan won 19 games with run support of 2.4 runs per game. How?
In summary, then, it’s Loria’s fault. And when Giancarlo Stanton gets traded . . . well, we rest our case.
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Oh, and in case you were wondering, the worst offensive team ever we could find was the 1884 Wilmington Quicksteps, who scored 35 runs in 18 games as a late-season placeholder in a higher league for a team that had folded. The Quicksteps won two of them. Manager Joe Simmons, though, won Executive of the Year when he pulled his team from the field and disbanded them on September 21, unable to pay the $60 gate fee to the visiting Kansas City Cowboys because his attendance that day was zero.
Thus, leading us right back to Jeff Loria. The circle of life strikes again.
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If Our Team's hockey analyst Mike Milbury called Dennis Rodman a knucklehead once Thursday night, he called him one four times. Why this mattered, we do not have the slightest earthly idea.
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The Jacksonville Jaguars’ ongoing attempts to replace Dagenham & Redbridge as London’s 13th favorite football team seem as hilarious as they are foreordained. After all, the NFL never met a bad idea it couldn’t insist upon anyway, and Jacksonville owner Shahid Khan has all but come out as the league’s Washington Generals anyway.
But it will be great fun if the Jaguars ever get good again to see the mad late-seasons scramble to watch teams desperately trying to avoid that first-round playoff game in London. I can already hear Rex Ryan saying, “What if we met them halfway?
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So George Karl gets it in Denver, barely a month after the Warriors take them out in the first round? Seems a trend is at work here – the Warriors are not only coach killers for their own, but when they are good, they do the same to others as well.
Six years earlier, the We Believe team stunned Dallas, and coach Avery Johnson was out within a year. In 1991, the Warriors did San Antonio the same way, and Larry Brown gets smoked the following season. In 1987 and ’89, the Warriors beat Utah, and in ’87, Frank Layden survives but in ’89 gets fired for Jerry Sloan, who finished that year and only 25 others. In 1976 and 1977, the Warriors beat Detroit in the first round, and Herb Brown (Larry’s brother) didn’t last through the end of the ’77 calendar year. In 1975, Dick Motta (Chicago) and K.C. Jones (Washington) lost to the Warriors and were fired after 1976.
In short, the only coach the Warriors couldn’t kill was Sloan, which seems only fair, since he is more ornery than death.
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And finally, if the NHL’s conference finals only give us a sweep and a five-gamer, we have every right to be as miserable about it as Gregory Campbell. Who, we needn’t add, remains day-to-day (bifurcated fibula).