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Where the 15 Minutes of Fame Never End
Dan Marcin is a basketball columnist for Obscure Athletes
I’m sure I speak for the majority of NBA fans when I profess my underwhelmed surprise at Kevin McHale being selected as
the new coach of the Houston Rockets. As good a player as McHale was during his playing days with the Boston Celtics, he doesn’t exactly bring an Auerbach-like coaching resume to an already mediocre team. By signing a three year deal, he dooms this Rockets franchise and its once passionate fanbase (prone to such creative proclivities as rewording a billboard ‘Akeem, I saw, I conquered’ during the 1986 finals) to about a thousand days of stunningly mediocre basketball.
In his Celtics days, McHale had a definite player profile. He was your prototypical finesse power forward, electing to use sly post moves to out manuever an opponent and drop the ball in the bucket with a nifty up an under while the defender went looking for his PF Flyers, rather than relying on raw aggression and athleticism to overpower and punish an opponent above the rim. His coaching profile, however, was decidedly undefined. He coached the Minnesota Timberwolves on two separate occasions, coaching a total of 94 games and missing the playoffs both times. During the 2004-2005 NBA season he replaced Flip Saunders ( who had gone 25-26 when McHale superseded him) and, orchestrating the last 31 games, amassed a 19-12 record, during which he found himself in the middle of a five game winning streak that was Windexed by a 107-98 Pheonix Suns victory on April 1st, 2005.
His second stint was, by all accounts, as exhaustively underwhelming as his fist. With the 2008-2009 season already underway, McHale was brought in again to breath some life into the stagnant Timberwolves, who, under then coach Randy Whittman had started out a putrid 4-15. Coach McHale took proverbial clipboard in hand and thundered to a resoundingly awful 20-43 record, helping the hapless ‘Wolves rank near last in the ratings both offensively (24th) and defensively (25th). Did the Rockets’ basketball executives even manage a glimpse at one of many easily accessible websites that contain this information to review his coaching record? What about this dreadful resume screams, “Hire me!”? Does the Houston staff expect Coach McHale to be the architect of a miraculous turnaround in fortune for the Rockets? I’m going to throw a guess out there and assume that the answer to all three of these questions is a resounding ‘no’. It looks like three years of Kevin McHale-helmed Houston Rockets will be more Challenger than Skylab 2.
After hearing the news that Cliff Lee was headed to Philadelphia, I was as surprised as anyone. In hindsight, should
anyone really be surprised? For the majority of this off-season, who was of higher priority to the Yankees: Derek Jeter or Cliff Lee? I adamantly believe that the distraction Jeter created has played a role in Lee getting away to Philly. I mean, you’ve been targeting this guy for a couple of years now. You reportedly offered him 6 years for $138 MM with a vesting option for 16 MM. How the FUCK do you let him get away? This is the offseason from hell for Brian Cashman and the Yankees. What’s their next step, snagging the human time bomb that is KC’s Zach Greinke? This is going to be hilarious.
PS: Here are some FA’s that the Yankees may now have to settle for now that Lee isn’t walking through that door, fans: Jeremy Bonderman, Justin Duchscherer, Jeff Francis, Freddy Garcia, Rich Harden, Rodrigo Lopez, Kevin Millwood, Brian Moehler, Brandon Webb, Nate Robinson, Jeff Suppan and… Carl Pavano.
Amid all the Otis Nixon-related excitement yesterday here at Obscure Athletes, and our boycott of Monday Night’s game, we somehow forgot to touch on the Derek Anderson blowup! Let me just say, those Worldwide Leader types must have creamed their collective pants as it was going down–because, just as I predicted, the game was a snoozer and had nothing compelling to offer even the most dedicated of football fans, and what better than a good old fashioned media blowup for that dickhead Skip Bayless to talk about on First and Ten on a Tuesday?
I rate this meltdown a 8.5/10. It featured an obscure athlete, there was yelling, and it ended the press conference abruptly. I’d say it’s pretty damn good. So we wanna know, where does this rank for you in terms of most hilarious sporting meltdowns?
NFL, come on, what are we doing here? It’s WEEK 12, and you’re giving us Niners-Cardinals on Monday Night Football? These two
teams that, combined, have fewer wins than 11 NFL teams? Going into the season any moron could have pinned this NFC West matchup as a dumb one to showcase for the world on ESPN, but now that it’s finally happening, I’m in disbelief. How, in the era of Flex games and everybody making a shitload of money, could anyone in the NFL have let this happen?
In fact, most in the media are disregarding tonight’s game in favor of week-away analysis of next Monday’s Pats-Jets primetime showdown. Except the Worldwide Leader, who, if you watched their network’s pregame show this weekend, spent ample time ripping on the NFC West. Sorry guys, ya can’t say “The NFC West blows” all weekend and then Monday look into the camera and say “But it’s on our network, so watch it!” Sorry, Worldwide Leader, this game sucks, and I’m not gonna watch it. And I suggest you don’t either. It’ll be bad enough come January when an 8-8 team out of that division will be hosting a playoff game. Until then, I’m boycotting the NFC west. And the AFC West while I’m at it.
This paragraph does not count as the single paragraph. OA’s new segment is called Single-Paragraph editorials, where, in 150 words or less, usually within the midst of a fit of rage, I talk about whatever I want in the wide, topical world of sports. I’ll probably end up saying things I shouldn’t, but we’ll just have to see what happens…
I saw Bob Sheppard once. In early 2008 I was at Logan Airport on my way to Washington, DC, and a friend of mine with whom I was traveling–a diehard Yankees fan, said to me, “Hey, it’s Bob Sheppard, the voice of Yankee Stadium!” Andthen he was gone. We never got to say Hi to Mr. Sheppard, as he seemed to disappear into the crowd. Bob Sheppard gave 56 years to the Yanks and another overlapping 50 to the Giants as the PA announcer of both teams, and his voice has long since been iconic within the annals of New York sporting lore. Sheppard died yesterday in Baldwin, New York, at the age of 99. He saw more baseball and football than I can even fathom. Sports lost an icon yesterday. I saw him once, never getting to actually meet him, but the godlike sound of the voice he brought to the announcer’s box will not soon be forgotten by sports fans everywhere–New York and otherwise.