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Where the 15 Minutes of Fame Never End
In about 15 minutes, an announcement is going to be made that the Atlanta Thrashers will be sold off, and moved to
Winnepeg. Here are some things to consider about this now-imminent move:
-Atlanta might be the worst sports city in North America. They’re the only city in the history of the continent to have a major sporting franchise leave their city in favor of greener pastures…in Canada. Except now it’s happening for the second time. The first was the loss of the Flames to Calgary in 1980. Whose idea was it to give those schmucks in Atlanta another chance at an NHL franchise?
-A team that plays in a league that, by all recent accounts, is more popular than the NBA, is moving. So I went to CBS Sportsline, SI, and the Worldwide Leader, to see what appears on their headlines this morning. Not a single headline mentions the sale and/or relocation of the Thrashers. Some headlines that DO appear on these sites:
So Thrashers Fan(s), please take a moment, or even 15 minutes if you want, to reflect on the years of complete futility and overall embarrassment that your franchise has brought to the NHL, and the complete waste of time, money, energy, natural resources, and space, that your team has represented over the past 13 years, and take a deep breath knowing that it’s all gonna end in mere minutes. And one of the worst markets in sports history–Atlanta, will only be burdened with three bottom-feeding franchises.
You need to watch this. It’s on right now, and it’s better than any sporting event that you’ll find as you go up and down the dial. Some typical 30 for 30 bullshit is on ESPN, and on the Deuce is nothing other than World’s Strongest Man reruns. Do yourself a favor, forget about sports tonight, and watch the highly-anticipated debut of Gettysburg, part of Civil War Week on the History Channel.
Just listen to the words to this song. My favorite part is “stay alive every day of our lives.” And this band is called Neon Deathshow 85. That sounds like a fucking email address. Neondeathshow85@yahoo.com. Looks like they have merch too, according to this video. Neon Death Show 85 hoodies and t-shirts: Because Father’s Day is coming up!
I’d advise against listening to the last :30 or so, it just becomes too much to stomach.
Unless you’re one of our many, many Japanese fans, our next Obscure Spotlight will be a guy whose name you haven’t heard in quite some time. The Nippon league’s single-season hit leader, with 214, is not Ichiro, as you may expect, but instead that record belongs to American Obscure Athlete Matt Murton.
Murton was picked 32nd overall by the Red Sox in 2003. His time in the Boston organization was brief, however, as in 2004 Murton was involved in the trade that sent Nomar Garciaparra to the Cubs. He made his Major League debut for the Cubs on July 8, 2005, two years to the date after signing his first pro deal with Boston.
Murton spent the ’06 season starting in the Cubs’ outfield. He became a fan favorite and enjoyed a successful campaign, hitting .297 with 13 homers and 62 RBI. Cubs’ GM Jim Hendry, ever the masterful evaluator of baseball talent, however, decided during that ’06 offseason that the team could do better in left field. So he brought in one of the true unsung kings of the Steroid Era, Cliff Floyd. Murton played in only 94 games in 2007 as a result.
Murton was never the same after being platooned with Floyd. In July of ’08 he was moved along with the truly obscure Eric Patterson and Sean Gallagher to the Athletics for Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin. He would play in just 38 more games in his Major League career, spending time with the A’s and then the Rockies in ’09.
Matt Murton’s greatest source of notoriety instead comes from his time in the Japanese Nippon Professional Baseball League, where ‘s become one of the premiere hitters in the country. Perhaps one day the 29-year-old pro veteran will make a return to the Majors. For now we’ll have to settle for watching him from the other side of the world, tearing it up with the Hanshin Tigers. Not the Detroit ones.
I was watching ESPN Classic this morning and they had a sweet rerun of an old show you may remember, starring Kenny Mayne, called Two -Minute Drill. It was the worldwide leader’s trivia precursor to Stump the Schwab, and one of Mayne’s questions to a well-dressed Claude Julien-lookalike was “What journeyman quarterback led the 1995 Kansas City Chiefs to a 13-3 regular season record?” I was completely stumped, and surprised to find out it was one-year wonder Steve Bono. So let’s talk about this fellow.
Bono was a two-sport star at UCLA, earning letters as both the catcher of the school’s baseball team and as the Bruins’ starting quarterback. Bono ultimately chose football, and was picked in the sixth round in 1985 by the Vikings. In four seasons spent between Minnesota and then Pittsburgh, he played in just seven games, starting three of them. It wouldn’t be until the 49ers started him in six games in 1991 that Bono would get his first significant playing action. In that ’91 season Bono went 5-1 as a starter, throwing 11 touchdowns and four interceptions, filling in for Joe Montana, before being moved back to the bench in favor of the rapidly ascending Steve Young.
After being moved to Kansas City following the 1993 season, Bono was once again relegated to backing up Montana. He waited out Montana’s retirement and was given the starting job in 1995. His only season as a sixteen-game starter went swimmingly in KC. The team went 13-3 and Bono would go on to Honolulu for his first and only Pro Bowl. He threw for 3121 yards despite completing only 56.3 percent of his passes.
When the Colts visited Arrowhead in a divisional round matchup following KC’s first-round bye week, Steve Bono was
thrust into the spotlight in the most important game of his career. Against Jim Harbaugh and the Colts, Bono went 11-for-25 for 122 yards, including one touchdown and three interceptions. Bono was benched late in the fourth quarter for Rich Gannon, and the team went on to lose 10-7, while the Colts went on to face the Steelers in one of the greatest AFC Championship games ever played.
Bono never did recapture the magic of his ’95 season, and after 1996 was released in favor of future Kansas City great Elvis Grbac. He spent his final three seasons in Green Bay, St Louis, and then Carolina, starting only two more games in his career, both in St. Louis. He went 0-2 as a starter.
Remember when Kobe called a referee a “fucking faggot?” And the ridiculous backlash that followed? ESPN created that story out of thin air because they COULDN’T WAIT to demonize Kobe Bryant. They questioned his sensitivity toward the gay community and effectively forced an apology from him. Lest we not forget, the Kobe incident occurred ON THE FUCKING COURT of an NBA basketball game. If you think that was the worst thing that was said on the court that night, you’re nuts. Yet there was the worldwide leader, once again creating news and coercing Bryant into making a public apology.
Notice anything about the media response to this story? Like how nonexistent it was? The Lebron incident is quite obviously the more egregious of the two–this occurred during a press conference… ya know, where everything you say is INTENDED to be heard by the media–that’s what a press conference is. Not some kneejerk reaction on the sidelines of an NBA game during the heat of the moment. It was in a press conference, in which your words are made for public consumption, he called the reporter asking the question retarded. And yet, crickets out of Bristol.
Could this be because ESPN would rather draw negative attention to a guy like Kobe, whom they’ve already changed the image of multiple times, because over the course of a lengthy career with a tremendous record of leadership and winning, they’ve essentially run out of ways to sell him to us? And that the latest season surrounding the drama of the big three in Miami, is FAR, FAR more marketable than Kobe ever even dreamed of being? ESPN couldn’t wait to make an insensitive bastard out of Kobe, while their silence on this latest Lebron mishap, given the influence the network has in the sporting world, constitutes an active cover-up of the incident. It’s quite simple: If ESPN can make a huge deal out of Kobe calling a referee a faggot, then they wield the same power to make it so the more profitable Lebron James, calling a reporter retarded, essentially never happened. Bunch of fucking faggots over at the Worldwide Leader.
Herm Edwards was just on ESPN, yelling at Chad OchoCinco for his continued Twitter-Antics, and telling him
to “Strap the helmet on and just play football!” (Follow @obscureathletes on twitter) Aside from how absurdly hypocritical this helmet-wielding rant from Edwards is, considering the fact that he’s employed by a network that actively promotes Twitter and actually has fucking segments during SportsCenter to talk about tweets from athletes, has anyone else had just about enough of this clown?
Given his ‘Pep talk’ rants and other outlandish NFL commentary, I ask you this, Obscure Readers. If you didn’t know Herm was a failed NFL head coach and successful ESPN pundit, wouldn’t you think he was a crack addict struggling mightily to get clean? I know I would. It must be way more difficult to brandish your “Fired Coaches Association” membership card over in Bristol, when unlike your counterpart Jon Gruden, you never won a goddamn thing as a pro coach. Even if Gruden basically stole Tony Dungy’s second ring.
I woke up around 8:50 this morning, and I seemed to have lost the remote. The channel was 35 (ESPN2) when I went to bed, and the sporting gods did have a hearty laugh at my expense, because like everyday Monday through Friday between 6-10AM, Mike and Mike on ESPN Radio was being simulcast on The Deuce. My hatred of Mike and Mike is well-documented, so rather than go on a rant about why I hate them so much, I’ve taken the time to make a short list of things that rank SLIGHTLY higher on my to-watch list.
Whatever crap is on the Golf Channel
That show Pat Robertson has
Yes, Dear reruns
Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS
As many pundits accurately predicted, top prospect Mike Stanton has started the season quite well for the Florida Marlins. He currently holds the #3 spot on Baseball America’s list of its top 100 prospects, and has hit 5 home runs and driven in 13 in 99 at-bats. Stanton is, by all accounts, one of the better young players in the game and a sure bet to be a Major League superstar sooner rather than later. But this culturally relevant Mike Stanton is only one of three Mike Stantons to have appeared in Major League Baseball games in the past 30 years. These two other, more obscure Mike Stantons, deserve nothing less than a spotlight today on Obscure Athletes. Because the rising star of the current Mike Stanton will continue to bury the legacy of these other Stantons with every accomplishment the future MLB great, puts on his resume.
Our first Mike Stanton is one you probably don’t remember much of. That is, of course, unless you don’t fall nicely into what our high-priced marketing department, complete with focus groups and double-blind studies, tells me our “chief demographic” is. The first Mike Stanton was a right-handed pitcher who spent 7 seasons in the majors over the course of ten years, between 1975-1985. He was drafted thrice before finally signing in 1973 with the Astros. He made his Major League debut for the team in 1975, but appeared in just seven games, five out of the bullpen. He pitched his way to a 7.27 ERA and an 0-2 record in just 17.1 IP. His big league
journey looked to be over, but alas five years later, in 1980, Stanton made the Indians’ roster out of camp and appeared in 51 games that season. Mike had his best season in 1983 with the Mariners, when he pitched in 50 games out of the Seattle bullpen, and posted a 3.32 ERA. He last appeared in 1985 for the White Sox. And the award for greatest mustache on a baseball player named Mike Stanton goes to….Mike Stanton, Right-handed pitcher!
The other ‘other’ Mike Stanton is the one you’re probably more familiar with. Drafted by the Braves in 1987, Stanton made his major league debut with the same team two years later in August of 1989. In parts of seven seasons with Atlanta, Stanton pitched 289.2 innings in his 304 appearances, all out of the bullpen.
Stanton made just one start in his career, for the Yankees in 1999. The Yanks were the team with which this Stanton enjoyed his highest level of success. He went 31-14 with a 3.77 cumulative ERA for the Bronx Bombers in parts of seven seasons. Stanton also spent time in Washington, Texas, and several other teams in his 19-year career. He made his
lone All-Star appearance in 2001, and to date remains the only Mike Stanton in the history of Major League Baseball to make an All-Star game. That’s the last beacon of notoriety that this Mike Stanton cleaves to as of May, 2011.
Why is Mike Stanton such a baseball name? I have no idea. One day I hope to make an “All-Mike-Stanton” team. We currently have two relievers and an outfielder.