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March 5, 2008

Someone died today...I think

I want to apologize up front for deviating from the norm…but I think the news of the day warrants it.

Apparently Brett Favre died today.

I know what you’re thinking “ummm, I believe he just retired”…but I’d have to disagree. You see, I have two TVs in my office (yes, I’m THAT much of a prick that I believe one just isn't sufficient) and while one was tuned to whatever local affiliate I had on, the other was on ESPN or one of its subsidiaries.


Not because I was recently mentioned in one of Rob Neyer’s blogs on (check it out HERE), but because, like I said…apparently Brett Favre died. ESPN had around the clock coverage of this news story, but let’s face it…it wasn’t like this was a surprise.

I’m pretty sure that every year after the Green Bay Packers bow out of the playoffs or whatever lackluster season they just had, EVERYONE and their mother ASSUMES that Favre MIGHT not be coming back. Well, this year, evidently, he’s “mentally tired” and is saying goodbye.

Haven’t we heard this before from this guy?

Pretty much.

As sports fans, haven’t we heard this before from plenty of other athletes?

Yes…we have.

Pull out the crayons and color me skeptical, but I’m not 100% sold on the fact that we won’t see Brett Favre lace ‘em up and throw another one of his all-time leading interceptions (a record that people seem to forget that he holds)…but we’ve heard this song and dance before.

If it is indeed over, maybe it was fitting that Favre ended his career with an overtime turnover versus the Giants. Instead of picking up his ball and going home, he just heaved it down the field to the opponent.

And then, like Warren Sapp (who, by the way, ALSO retired today), he quit.

After all the tributes come and go (and there WILL be plenty), I guess Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk summed it up best when he said “the state of Wisconsin is going to be in mourning for a while”.

I’m just not sure why.

BallHype: hype it up!

March 2, 2008

Joel, Ethan...David?!? I'm conefused!

I understand that I’m late with this one, but as you all know by now…the Academy Awards were held last weekend. During the broadcast, my buddy Rob called and he and I got to talking about the Coen Brothers chances at winning “the big one”.

We both knew they had been nominated in the past and that their movies had garnered some awards…but they, essentially, had been shut out when it came to Best Director and Best Picture.

At the conclusion of the annual Oscar snoozefest (you can read E’s account of the evening here), No Country for Old Men walked away with four awards. The ear tugging Coens ended up on stage three separate times. Now, I’ve been a fan of theirs for some twenty years, but do these accolades somehow legitimize this FANTASTIC filmmaking team as “great”?

If they don’t…what does? And how does THAT translate to those who step between the white lines at least 162 times every year?

Guys like Ted Williams and Ernie Banks were sure bet Hall of Famers when they decided to hang ‘em up, but they’ll ALWAYS be saddled with that “they never won the Series” black eye.

That being said, the argument for Jack Morris is that he SHOULD be in the Hall because, conversely, he has…and has done so in grandiose fashion. Hell, I’ve even made that argumentTWICE! Furthermore…when Curt Schilling ultimately packs up his bloody sock and leaves the baseball world, people AGAIN will point to his post season heroics.

So what about a guy who ended his career just shy of 200 victories (194), a .606 winning percentage, nearly 2700 Ks, a Cy Young Award, a perfect game AND five (yes, FIVE) World Series rings?

I know what you’re thinking…PLENTY of guys have five or more World Series rings. And you’d be right. I'd then point out that a majority of them were Yankees that made their money before the Kennedy administration.

HOWEVER, of the players with five or more…a MAJORITY of them are Yankees and a majority of them made their money before the Kennedy administration.

So, am I saying that David Cone is a Hall of Famer?

Probably not. But I think you need to examine his career before you cast his career aside.

His 194 victory total isn’t THAT great. I’m sure HE would tell you that. But when you consider that he played amid the five man rotation and eleven out of twelve years there in the middle of his career he notched double digit wins…he wasn’t that shabby.

Coney also won sixty percent of his ballgames. In 1988, he had, arguably, one of the best ten seasons of the 1980s. How he went 20-3 with a 2.22 ERA, finished THIRD in the Cy Young voting and didn’t get a single first place vote is beyond me. Unanimous winner Orel Hershiser notched 23 victories and a World Series ring…but 20-3!

They vote for that thing PRIOR to the post season, right?!?

About that Cy Young award Cone DID get…it was in the strike shortened 1994 season. Cone was 16-5 and would have probably have gotten to 20 had the season played out how God intended. All and all, it is a little ironic considering Cone acted as the player’s representative during the whole ordeal.

Cone ended his career with 2668 strikeouts…good for twenty first on the all-time list. Of the twenty guys ahead of him on the all-time list, all but nine are Hall of Famers.

Of those nine, Mickey Lolich and Frank Tanana won’t get past the doors of Cooperstown without paying for their admittance. Bert Blyleven and Curt Schilling are both guys who MIGHT (in due time) make it in. The rest of the bunch (John Smoltz, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Greg Maddux and Roger Clemens) are pretty safe bets to be inducted.

I keep getting back to those five rings though.

This is a guy that was involved in each and every one of those seasons...he wasn't just some fortunate opportunist. His teams were 12-3 in the 15 series he played and he carried an 8-3 post season record. Was he THE determining factor? No…but neither was fellow five time champ Catfish Hunter and he is a Hall of Famer that Cone almost compares to the most.

Overall, Hunter was 224-166, whereas Cone was 194-126. Advantage Hunter, right? Not necessarily. During Catfish’s five year hot streak where he won twenty or more each year, he amassed an ASTOUNDING 111-49 record. Take away those five seasons and Hunter is a VERY average 113-117 for his career. I guess it is safe to say that Cone had a more consistent career…not just one big peak like Catfish.

Both men took home a Cy Young award and finished in the top five three other times. Hunter had a better career ERA (3.26 compared to 3.46), but if you look at the rest of the league at the time…Cone was FAR better than his contemporaries, whereas Hunter was about average.

Both men were known for their control…but as I’ve mentioned before, Cone did amass quite a healthy strikeout total. By comparison, Hunter punched out 2012 opponents…some 650 less than Cone.

I’m by no means going to sit here and bang the drum for David Cone’s inclusion in the Hall of Fame. He wasn’t a big character guy. His alleged cocaine use, adulterous behavior and penchant for public masturbation are all well documented...thanks Google!

But you could do a lot worse.

***Note: The "is David Cone a Hall of Famer?" poll garnered the following results...Yes-12%, No-63 and Dear God No-24%.***

BallHype: hype it up!