The Major League Baseball playoffs are here and there are some great stories as the 2012 regular season comes to a close.
Two small-market teams — Cincinnati and Oakland — are in the mix and have as good a chance as anyone to be in the World Series.
It’s always nice to have teams that aren’t “the best teams money can buy” in the mix and be very legitimate contenders.
The faith of Billy Beane in his money-ball concept has finally paid off with perhaps the surprise team — on a positive side — of 2012.
I think a lot of people thought the Reds were going to make a legitimate run this year.
The Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim — especially with their big-money signing of Albert Pujols in the off-season — are probably the surprise teams in a negative way.
Who’d have guessed that none of them — and throw in the suddenly-flush Los Angeles Dodgers and their many August acquisitions as well — would make the playoffs?
In all, with all the great pitching and with the temperatures cooling as we enter October, I wonder how many low-scoring, 1-run games we will see when it’s all over and the champions are crowned.
I don’t know if anyone could have guessed what kind of impact the loss of head coach Sean Payton was going to have on the New Orleans Saints.
Surely, no one could have anticipated they would be 0-4 a quarter of the way through the National Football League season and really struggling — especially from what we’re used to offensively from Drew Brees and Company; the defense was never this bad under Payton’s watch.
Understand, as soon as I write this, they could right the ship and go on an unprecedented rally to make the playoffs.
One wonders, though, if they aren’t demoralized.
I have to ask the question: if the players who were suspended by Commissioner Roger Goodell because of Bountygate could win their appeal, why can’t Payton?
Or doesn’t he have the same rights as the players do?
I’m sure he’s thought of it.
It’s no surprise that Dallas is 2-2 after another slow start and debacle on Monday Night Football.
It isn’t going to get any better, either, with Baltimore after this week’s bye and with a rematch with the defending Super Bowl champion Giants in the next month or so.
This stat is perfect illustrative of the reign of Jerry Jones as owner/general manager/director of player personnel/scouting director/chief drafter/the “true” head coach; since 1997, since he made America’s Team (a phrase I abhor) “Jerry Jones’ Team” — they have gone 122-122.
I will not blame Monday’s meltdown completely on “All-Star” quarterback Tony Romo — he had five picks but at least two were because of either receivers that can’t catch a ball or can’t run a simple route against a blitz — but he is the one making loads of money; with great power (moolah) comes great responsibility. In other words, you make the money, you get the credit/blame.
Dez Bryant has also come in for withering criticism and rightly so; he is the one that messed up on the “sight adjustment” on one of the Pick-6s and continues to be maddeningly inconsistent, definitely not playing to his prodigious talent.
The problem is, Jerry has been known to keep guys that are “head cases”/”problem children”/”troubled talents” to the detriment of the team.
Again, this should be laid at the one constant in all of these years; the owner.
He got rid of head coach Jimmy Johnson because he couldn’t share the credit after winning two Super Bowls — with a team that possibly was on the verge of a dynasty — and actually wanted more than he thought he was getting in his own right.
You got what you wanted and the results are plain to see.
Some people try to say Johnson didn’t have to navigate the salary cup but he won with the rules as they were and I believe would have continued to win under the salary cap. New England and Pittsburgh have done pretty well.
Heck, even Daniel Snyder has backed off thinking he could do the same thing in our nation’s capital and they seem to be on the right track.
One wonders how long it will be before “the prodigy” Jason Garrett gets his walking papers.
I really don’t know if he was worthy of being the head coach to begin with so young — he really hadn’t paid his dues in the NFL coaching ranks but perhaps that is OK when looking for supposedly fresh ideas in the modern game — but the very same areas that the Cowboys (read Jerry Jones) have been working on for so many years: the offensive line and the secondary; are still a mess.
Even the Bengals and owner Mike Brown seem to have learned a valuable lesson lately.
Of course, the owner will not fire himself, guaranteed.