Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Four Overrated Sports Players Who Play Sports

Adam Vinatieri

Some pundits (possibly Peter King) believe Vinatieri is worthy of Canton-----and I believe that anyone who believes such nonsense should have their media credentials revoked. Outside of one spectacular kick, Vinatieri's merely been pretty decent at his lucrative day job.

Among active kickers, Vinatieri ranks 14th in career field goal percentage. 14th! Again, he's been solid and reliable and blah, blah, blah...but this man is no Hall of Famer.

Adam Vinatieri is responsible for the greatest kick of all time -- 45 yards, in a semi-blizzard, forcing overtime of the Tuck Rule Game -- and nothing else overly impressive. Sure, he nailed game-winning kicks in the final seconds of both the Pats/Rams and Pats/Panthers Super Bowls, but those were under optimal conditions. Any kicker could've connected on those suckers; he was just lucky enough to be on great teams. Making those kicks didn't make him clutch, it just kept him from being labeled a choke artist.

Good kicker. Absurdly overrated.

(Note: The Vinatieri section just as easily could have been about Robert Horry.)


Pete Mackanin

I'm somewhere around 100 percent sure there isn't a single person outside of Cincinnati who remembers the name of the Reds' 2007 interim manager. And hell, there might not be fifteen or twenty Reds fans who remember the guy. Either way, the guy is overrated. In related news, I hate his guts.

Pete Mackanin replaced Reds manager Jerry Narron in July, 2007. He controlled the ship for eighty games and guided the lowly Reds to a 41-39 record. This provided optimism for more than a couple mammals in my fair city.

It also drove me nuts. For those who can't remember what they ate for breakfast, much less the details of the 2007 Reds, I'll briefly fill you in: Josh Hamilton was the best player on the team (not to mention the best story in baseball) and his manager didn't seem to notice.

Mackanin routinely benched Hamilton (a lefty) whenever they faced left-handed starting pitchers-----and I'm not talking about Sandy Koufax. That is, unless you place Paul Maholm and Tom Gorzelanny on Koufax's level. Even worse, if Hamilton was given the start, he was often pulled late in the games when a left-handed relief pitcher came on to face him. Even worse than that (worser?), Hamilton was often pulled for Norris Hopper (aka "a crappier version of Ryan Freel with no power").

It was inexplicable on every level. And yet, if the Reds somehow pulled out a victory that night, fans would conveniently forget the inhumane treatment dealt in Hamilton's direction. All anybody wanted to discuss on talk radio the following day was how Pete Mackanin was the manager of the future (or whatever).

I'm not saying Pete Mackanin is regularly the topic of dinner conversations, but any time I've heard his name mentioned over the past two years, it's always in a positive light.

And that makes me want to blow up buildings.


Alice in Chains

Everyone born between 1974 and 1982 seems to think their music was exceptional. Well, everyone not named me. I hate them. They suck. These are the types of things that make Alice in Chains overrated.


Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods and Michael Phelps

Ahhh...nothing is more fun that aggravating unathletic-types.

Seemingly every year since 1997 one credible publication or another has voted either Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong or Michael Phelps (or all three of them, somehow) their Athlete of the Year. This makes me want to punch babies and/or shove blind people down the steps.

Tiger Woods isn't an athlete. Okay, he might be, but how would I know? All he does is hit a motionless ball and walk around for a few hours. Oh, I concede that he's the best motionless ball-hitter and walker arounder I've ever seen, but that alone doesn't make him an athlete; it just makes him rich. Could he properly orchestrate a 3-on-2 fastbreak? Could he turn a 6-4-3 double play? Could he cheat on his wife, get caught, not care, and rush for 181 yards the following day? Highly unlikely.

But there are thousands upon thousands of athletes from other sports who could've been Tiger's rival had they decided to play golf at an early age. On the flip side, I'm guessing Tiger -- even with maniacal lifelong focus to basketball, beginning at age four -- would never have been good enough to play beyond the high school level.

As for Lance Armstrong and Michael Phelps, well, I'm using the same argument. Armstrong has great endurance and is a really fast peddler. Does that alone make him an athlete? No. It just means he has great endurance and is a really fast peddler. And Phelps...ditto. Just replace "really fast peddler" with really good arm mover in water.

Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong and Michael Phelps might be the best participants golf, cycling and swimming have ever seen. But let's stop the praise right about there. Shower them with all the awards imaginable in their desired fields, just don't tell me tell me their individual achievements are on par with Tom Brady, LeBron James, Willy Taveras, et al.


Keep the change, you filthy animals.

-Brad Spieser (


RampantRedsFan said...

I'll give you that golf is not quite a sport, but there are two things in the last section I don't agree with:

Tiger is not only good because of practice, he has extreme talent. Therefore I don't think that there is one player in any other sport that could have started golf at 4 and been just as good as he is.

Swimming and Cycling are both functions of practice, athleticism, and talent (unlike golf that is a function of practice and talent). Therefore they are just as much of sports as basketball, football, or baseball. Let me see WT screw up a pack of bikers as well as he does a routine flyball in center. He could ever do it as well as Lance Armstrong.

Twin Killing dot Com said...

Plenty of athletes from other sports are scratch golfers -- Tony Romo, for example -- and they spend most of their time focused on the sport that pays them millions. But what if they'd spent every waking second for twenty years perfecting the "sport" of golf?

Trust me, if every great athlete tried to become a great golfer, Tiger Woods would have tons and tons of competition.

Re: swimming/cycling: question.


Talent...gimme a break. Unless you consider "having big lungs" talent.

And if Willy Taveras WANTED to become the best cyclist in the world, it wouldn't take him long to accomplish said goal (assuming he has big lungs). I'm somewhere around 100 percent sure Taveras can move his legs faster than Lance Armstrong.

Regardless, thanks for dropping a line.