Sunday State of Mind: May 20th-June 26th

Some major sports developments in the past seven days. Thank goodness for SSM to remind of us all that was good in sports this week.

Hey Lord Stanley’s Cup, Colorado’s your new home
Avs are your new champs, sitting on top of the throne
Beat the Bolts in six, won it down in Tampa Bay
Lotta young pups on that squad, call it child’s play

Men’s college world series, time to talk some ping
Ole Miss and Oklahoma came out and did their thing
No action through five, then the runs came pouring in
Three run rally in the eighth gave the Rebs the win

Another baseball battle, this one in The Show
Had some real fists fly between the M’s and the Halos
Unwritten rules of baseball, as old as they are dumb
Real baseball fights are rare though, nice to see a scrum

NBA Draft on Thursday, dreams being made
Not too many surprises, they pick and we grade
Kind of a boring watch, most picks are gonna miss
Give it two or three years, guys are bound for the abyss

Sunday State of Mind: May 13th-June 19th

It’s a special Juneteenth and Father’s Day edition of SSM.

Only one place to start, and that’s out in The Bay
The Warriors are champions again as of Thursday
Steph Curry was the MVP, a well earned award
The stupid “No Steph with KD” talk can now be ignored

The Colorado Avalanche are the perfect name
The Lightning are the target, and they’ve got perfect aim
Up 2-0 in the series, looking absolutely tough
Only two wins away from hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup

The Atlanta Braves, 14-game winning streak
Weekend series in Chicago, Cubbies looking bleak
Baseball did the baseball thing, Cubs won the series
After losing 10 in a row, beat Atlanta two of three

Sunday State of Mind: May 6th-June 12th

Guess who’s back? SSM, that’s who.

We’ve got our first pink slip handed out in MLB
The Angles fired Joe Maddon during a losing spree
The Halos started strong this year, formerly first place
Twelve straight losses gets you canned, an unfortunate case

Another manager made waves, and not the calming kind
Tony La Russa made a move and seemed to lose his mind
Gave Trea Turner a free base, the count was 1-2
Any way you look at it, that call really blew

The NBA Finals are tight, all tied at two a piece
Both teams are two wins away from making the series cease
Steph Curry’s a monster, but we all knew that
He’s all the Warriors have, rest of the team’s been flat

The battle for Lord Stanley is now set in stone
Lightning and the Avalanche for the hockey throne
Tampa Bay will go for their third straight championship
Colorado’s young, could be champs in their first trip

Sunday State of Mind: May 30th-June 5th

The weather has turned as we are past the unofficial opening of summer. The beautiful forecast calls for some beautiful sports poetry.

The NBA Finals, Boston and The Bay
Warriors and Celtics are here to play
Al Horford and the boys took game one on the road
If they win again tonight Draymond might explode

Capital One’s The Match, the QB edition
Four of our top quarterbacks in the competition
Brady, Rodgers, Patty, Josh, young guns verse the old
ARod and TB12 took it to them for the gold

Baseball staying relevant, thanks to the NFL
Tommy Pham’s a wildcard, we’re saying “what the hell?”
Who hasn’t wanted to slap a fellow league member
Fantasy football means a lot, Tommy’s got a temper

Avalanche and Rangers, not a lot of spoilers
Both looking for a sweep against the Lightning and the Oilers
Only a few shots left for Tampa and Edmonton
If they don’t get it in gear both squads will soon be done

Who Wore it Best? 19-10

Photo: Dr. Odd

The finish line is in sight on our recurring series “Who Wore It Best.” In our penultimate edition, we’re getting into the teens.

19 – Johnny Unitas

Starting off young, fresh, and hip. While 19 turns out to be an incredibly strongly represented number, Unitas is widely known as one of the best quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL. Four championships, three MVPs, and a member of all three of the 50th, 75th and 100th NFL Anniversary Teams gives Johnny U the nod.

Honorable Mentions: Tony Gwynn, Willis Reed, Steve Yzerman, Jonathan Toews

18 – Peyton Manning

Photo: CBS

Back to back Colts quarterbacks to get us started here. A member of the most recent Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee class, Manning put up some unreal numbers en route to two Super Bowl wins. Manning’s trophy case is busting at the seams with five MVPs, the 2012 Comeback Player of the Year Award, and number retirement plaques for his number 18 in both Indianapolis and Denver.

Honorable Mention: Denis Savard

17 – Todd Helton

Photo: Fansided

Todd Helton played baseball and football at University of Tennessee, and was a teammate of Peyton Manning’s. However, Helton makes our list for his accomplishments on the diamond. Helton retired in 2013 with a career average of .316, 369 home runs, and 2,519 hits. Along the way, he won three Gold Gloves, four Silver Sluggers, and a batting title in 2000.

Honorable Mention: Philip Rivers

16 – Joe Montana

Photo: Esquire

Much like Unitas, Montana is a firm part of the “best quarterback of all-time” conversation. Montana lead the 49ers to four Super Bowl rings, while being the MVP in three of those four wins. One of the more accurate quarterbacks of his time, he lead the NFL in completion percentage five separate seasons.

Honorable Mentions: Whitey Ford, Brett Hull

15 – Bart Starr

If we’re including Johnny Unitas, it’s only fair to involve Bart Starr. The quarterback who lead the Packers to victories in Super Bowls I and II, while winning MVP in both games, finished his career with five championships, a regular season MVP award, and four Pro Bowls.

Honorable Mentions: Carlos Beltran, Jim Edmonds

14 – Pete Rose

Photo: Time

Taking a bit of gamble including Rose on our list, but here we are. The all-time hit king (4,256) does have a stellar on-field resumé. Seventeen All-Star games, three World Series rings, the 1973 NL MVP, and two Gold Gloves.

Honorable Mentions: Ernie Banks, Oscar Robertson, Dan Fouts

13 – Wilt Chamberlain

Photo: SB Nation

Of course the only man to score 100 points in an NBA game is making our list. Wilt the Stilt averaged a silly 30.9 points per game and 22.9 rebounds per game over his 15 year career. He also won two rings, four MVPs, was a seven time scoring champion, as well as an 11 time rebound champion.

Honorable Mentions: Alex Rodriguez, Dan Marino

12 – Tom Brady

Photo: Amazon

The greatest quarterback of all time at the most important position in sports. TB12’s resumé is too long to outline here; but it’s headlined by his seven Super Bowl rings. On top of that, Brady has lead the league at one point in his career in passing touchdowns, yards, and rating.

Honorable Mentions: John Stockton, Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach, Jim Kelly, Joe Namath, Bob Griese, Aaron Rodgers, Jarome Iginla

11 – Mark Messier

Being the center piece of a dynasty goes a long way in lists like these. Messier was the unquestioned leader & captain in Edmonton, where he lead the Oilers to five Stanley Cups. He also became the only player to captain two separate teams to Stanley Cup victories when he lead the Rangers to the cup in 1994.

Honorable Mentions: Barry Larkin, Larry Fitzgerald

10 – Fran Tarkenton

Fran Tarkenton walked to Steve Young, Michael Vick, and the like could run. Not only did Tarkenton sling it for 47,003 yards and 342 touchdowns, he also ran for 3,674 yards and 32 touchdowns in his career. Another fun fact: his only MVP season came in 1975, his 15th year in the NFL.

Honorable Mentions: Walt Frazier, Guy Lafleur

Heavy quarterback representation here. Any other noise was a faint whisper from baseball. Abysmal showing by hockey and basketball. We’ll bid farewell to our ongoing series in the next edition of “Who Wore It Best.”

Who Wore it Best? 29-20

Photo: Dr. Odd

We’ve arrived at an incredibly important edition of “Who Wore It Best.” In our latest, we’re digging into the roaring 20’s. Let’s find out together who made the cut in this extremely paramount, career-defining list.

29 – Eric Dickerson

Photo: SB Nation

His athletic excellence barely surpassed that of the rec specs. Dickerson put together the greatest single season rushing the football in 1984, going for an NFL record 2,105 yards. He wasn’t just a one season wonder, however. Before being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999, Dickerson was a five time first team All-Pro, four time rushing leader, has his number 29 retired by the LA Rams, and is in the Indianapolis Colts Ring of Honor.

Honorable Mentions: Adrian Beltre, Ken Dryden, Marc-André Fleury

28 – Marshall Faulk

Back to back running backs who played for the Rams and Colts. Much like Dickerson, Faulk both has his number retired by the Rams as well as being a member of the Colts Ring of Honor. Unlike Dickerson, Faulk has a Super Bowl ring. He also tacked on a MVP, three offensive player of the year awards, as well as three first team All-Pro selections.

Honorable Mentions: Bert Blyleven, Curtis Martin, Darrell Green

27 – Vladimir Guerrero Sr.

Photo: SB Nation

Vlad the Impaler was a 2018 Hall of Fame inductee. He earned his spot in Cooperstown after winning the 2004 MVP, hitting 449 career home runs while maintaining a .318 career batting average, and winning an incredible eight Silver Slugger awards.

Honorable Mentions: Eddie George, Scott Rolen

26 – Rod Woodson

Photo: SB Nation

Rod Woodson was one of the best ball hawks to ever do it; picking off 71 balls in his 17 NFL seasons. He was also a vital member of one of the greatest defenses of all time, the Super Bowl XXXV champion Baltimore Ravens. All of this (and more) cumulated in an induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009.

Honorable Mention: Wade Boggs

25 – Barry Bonds

Photo: CNN

Even before he went to the Giants and things…changed; Barry Bonds was one of the greatest players in baseball. In his seven seasons in Pittsburgh before moving to San Francisco, Bonds was a three time NL MVP, won five Gold Gloves, and five Silver Slugger awards.

Honorable Mention: Fred Biletnikoff

24 – Willie Mays

Photo: Pinterest

Absolute stacked number here, but Mays takes the cake. The stats are gawdy; 660 home runs, 1,903 RBI, and 338 stolen bases. Along the way Mays made 24 All-Star games, won twelve Gold Gloves, two NL MVPs, and a World Series in 1954.

Honorable Mentions: Ken Griffey Jr., Rickey Henderson, Miguel Cabrera, Manny Ramirez, Rick Barry, Champ Bailey, Chris Chelios

23 – Michael Jordan

Photo: Yardbarker

Next question.

Honorable Mentions: LeBron James, Ryne Sandberg, Devin Hester

22 – Emmitt Smith

Photo: USA Today

Emmitt Smith did it all in his 15 NFL seasons. The league’s all time leading rusher (18,355 yards) won three Super Bowls, the 1993 NFL MVP, was a four time first team All-Pro, and lead the NFL in touchdowns three separate seasons.

Honorable Mentions: Clayton Kershaw, Elgin Baylor, Roger Clemens

21 – Deion Sanders

Photo: SFGate

The swagiest swag that ever swagged. Deion was, and still is, one of the most raw athletes we’ve ever seen. He wasn’t too bad on the field either. Prime’s got two Super Bowl rings, six first team All-Pro selections, and is a member of both the 90’s All-Decade and NFL 100th Anniversary Teams. Oh, and he also played in the MLB for nine seasons. He was a .263 career hitter, with 39 home runs, 168 RBI, and 186 stolen bases. Absolute baller.

Honorable Mentions: Roberto Clemente, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, LaDainian Tomlinson, Stan Mikita, Peter Forsberg

20 – Barry Sanders

Photo: Giant Bomb

The twitchiest running back we’ve ever seen, just absolutely stupid stuff. A combo Heisman winner and NFL MVP, the four time first team All-Pro ran for over 15,000 yards and almost 100 touchdowns. Pretty good for a guy who retired early.

Honorable Mentions: Frank Robinson, Mike Schmidt, Gary Payton, Ed Reed, Brian Dawkins

The numbers get lower, and the lists get better. How about 24 and 21 just absolutely cleaning house? All four major sports represented on each. This was a great edition of “Who Wore It Best,” and we can only assume the names will get hotter the next time around.

Who Wore it Best? 39-30

Photo: Dr. Odd

We’re sadly on the downhill turn of “Who Wore It Best.” In this edition, we get into the 30’s.

39 – Dominik Hašek

Photo: NHL.com

Hot start for hockey! Hašek was one of the greatest goaltenders to ever do it. His career spanned four decades (1980-2011), and included two Stanley Cups, two Hart Memorial trophies, and six Vezina trophies.

Honorable Mention: Larry Csonka

38 – Pavol Demitra

Demitra seemed to be on track to becoming one of the best Czech players in the game. He recorded 768 points in 847 games before sadly passing in a plane accident in 2011.

Honorable Mention: N/A

37 – Patrice Bergeron

Photo: CBS Sports

Bergeron has been a steady force for the Bruins since 2003. A part of the 2011 Stanley Cup winning team, Bergeron also made All-Star games in 2015 and 2016.

Honorable Mention: N/A

36 – Jerome Bettis

“The Bus” comes rumblin’, stumblin’, bumblin’ onto our list at 36. Bettis won a Super Bowl (in his home town of Detroit), was a two time first team All-Pro, and made six Pro Bowls.

Honorable Mention: Gaylord Perry

35 – Kevin Durant

An easy choice for what ended up being a stacked slot. Durant is potentially (based on how much you love/hate Lebron) currently the best basketball player on the planet. In a career with plenty of years left, Durant has already put together an incredible resume. The Slim Reaper has two NBA titles (Finals MVP in both), a regular season MVP, six first team All-NBA selections, and 11 All-Star appearances.

Honorable Mentions: Phil Niekro, Frank Thomas, Aeneas Williams, Tony Esposito

34 – Shaquille O’Neal

Another loaded number of selections here, but the most dominant big man of all time takes the cake. The Big Diesel’s career accolades are almost too much to list: four NBA championships, three NBA Finals MVPs, fifteen All-Star games, and eight first team All-NBA selections.

Honorable Mentions: Nolan Ryan, Kerry Wood, Hakeem Olajuwon, Walter Payton, Thurman Thomas, Earl Campbell

33 – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

For as much good as Kareem has done off the court, he was as great on it. Six rings, a matching number of MVPs, 10 first team All-NBA selections, five first team All-Defensive teams, and lead the NBA in blocks in four separate seasons.

Honorable Mentions: Eddie Murray, Scottie Pippen, Zdeno Chára, Henrik Sedin, Dustin Byfuglien

32 – Magic Johnson

Photo: Curbed

We all know how good Magic was as a player. For as good as he was on the court, he may have found his true life’s calling as a hot take artist.

Honorable Mentions: Steve Carlton, Sandy Koufax, Marcus Allen, Jim Brown

31 – Greg Maddux

Photo: Taddlr

Maddux is the second of the 90’s Braves big three to make the list, with Tom Glavine making the cut at 47. Mad Dog ended his 22 year career with 355 wins, 18 Gold Gloves, and four Cy Youngs.

Honorable Mention: Reggie Miller

30 – Terrell Davis

Probably going to be our shortest career to make the list. Davis only played in the NFL from 1995-2001, but was good enough to make the Hall of Fame in 2017. In seven seasons, he racked up two Super Bowls, an MVP, and three first team All-Pro selections.

Honorable Mentions: Tim Raines, Martin Brodeur

The 30’s were by far our most expansive edition yet. Huge names and the honorable mention lists were incredible, specifically 32-35. One can only assume the list is going to keep improving into the 20’s.

Sunday State of Mind: May 17th-May 23rd

Photo: Golf Pass

An absolute smorgasbord of sports this week. We review in this week’s SSM.

Everybody in the world loves Phil Mickelson
He won the PGA Championship, big consensus grin
Phil set the all-time record as the oldest major champ
The old man held up all weekend, no broken bones or cramps

The NBA Playoffs are off and running, a sight you love to see
The Association’s yearly tournament to award the Larry O’Brien Trophy
The regular season and play in games are finally behind us
We’re all going to sit on the couch and watch basketball, don’t mind us

More playoff action over at the NHL
For the Avs, Knights, Bruins, and Lightning, things are going well
The Oilers are in trouble, same with the Panthers, Blues and Caps
Playoff hockey is the best, no chance of boring gaps

We have our latest entry in strange baseball injuries
Kevin Kiermaier hurt by an eyelash, this one’s history
This one’s pretty funny, Rays are probably saying “oh geez”
Still not as bad Sammy Sosa’s back injury via sneeze

Who Wore it Best? 79-70

Photo: Dr. Odd

We continue our fashion countdown of who wore each number best. In this edition, we’re hopping into the 70’s. Will we get more NFL lineman? Will some random hockey or basketball players sneak in? Let’s dive in and find out.

79 – José Abreu

José Abreu has to be up there in the greatest players with the weirdest numbers category. According to Abreu, his mother picked his number so he would stand out. Stand out he has; Abreu was last year’s MVP, has garnered three All-Star selections, and even hit for the cycle in 2017.

Honorable Mention: N/A

78 – Bruce Smith

Bruce Smith is the all-time leader in sacks with an outlandish 200. His resume is long and silly; we won’t waste too much time here, but just know he was named to two different All-Decade teams in the 80’s and 90’s.

Honorable Mention: N/A

77 – Ray Bourque

Bouruqe was one of the best defensemen in NHL history. His offensive numbers are pretty impressive for a defensemen, scoring 1,506 points in 1,518 games played.

Honorable Mention: Vladimir Radmanović

76 – Orlando Pace

Photo: USA Today

Pace was about all you could ask for in a left tackle during his career. In college, he was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy in 1996, which is wild enough for a lineman. In the NFL, he earned seven trips to the Pro Bowl, was a three time first team All-Pro, and a member of the 2000’s All-Decade team.

Honorable Mention: PK Subban

75 – Joe Greene

“Mean” Joe Greene was one of the most dominant nose tackles in NFL history. He was a part of the “Steel Curtain” defense that won four Super Bowls in six years for the Steelers in the 70’s. Mean Joe was also named to the 1970’s All-Decade team on top of the 75th and 100th Anniversary All-Time teams.

Honorable Mentions: Barry Zito, Howie Long

74 – Kenley Jansen

Jansen has been absolutely lights out since entering the Majors in 2010. He’s recorded 312 saves, a 2.39 ERA, and a 0.91 WHIP in 636 innings in his career.

Honorable Mention: TJ Oshie

73 – John Hannah

Hannah was a dominant guard for the Patriots from 1973-1985. Over that time, he went to nine Pro Bowls, was a 10 time All-Pro, is a member of the 70’s and 80’s All-Decade teams as well as the 75th and 100th Anniversary All-Time teams.

Honorable Mention: N/A

72 – Sergei Bobrovsky

Bobrovsky has had an impressive run since coming into the NHL with the Flyers in 2010. Since then, he has an impressive .921 save percentage and a 2.41 goals against average.

Honorable Mentions: Carlton Fisk, Dan Dierdorf

71 – Walter Jones

We’ve gushed over Walter Jones before, and we’re here to gush again. A bonafide Hall of Fame left tackle, nine Pro Bowls, four first team All-Pros, and never missed a start in 180 career games.

Honorable Mention: Evgeni Malkin

70 – Dennis Rodman

Photo: ESPN

Who remembers this weird shit? Rodman played 12 games for the Mavs in the 1999-2000 season. Honestly, this is an awful number for this list and we’re obviously stretching here.

Honorable Mention: N/A

Have to be honest, I thought this edition was going to rely heavy on NFL offensive/defensive lineman. Pleasantly surprised with the baseball, hockey, and basketball representation here. On to the 60’s!

Who Wore it Best? 99-90

Photo: Dr. Odd

We’re kicking off a new series; and we’re going by the numbers. This countdown is dedicated to the best players of all-time by each jersey number. No concrete formula here, just career stats, impact on the game, and some good old fashion opinion. Let’s hop right in.

99 – Wayne Gretzky

Photo: LA Biz

He’s called “The Great One” for a reason. Hard to pick a favorite stat to demonstrate Gretzky’s dominance, but one of my favorites is that if he never scored a goal, he still would have had 11 straight 100-point seasons and won four scoring titles.

Honorable Mentions: Manny Ramirez, George Mikan, Warren Sapp

98 – Casey Hampton

Not a widely popular number, so not our largest name on the list. Appropriately nicknamed “Big Snacks,” Hampton made five Pro Bowls as the Steelers nose tackle in the early aughts.

Honorable Mentions: Jason Collins

97 – Jeremy Roenick

Maybe not the best guy, but a pretty good hockey player. The eighth overall pick in the 1988 NHL draft scored 1,216 points in 1,363 games played.

Honorable Mentions: Bryant Young, Cam Heyward

96 – Cortez Kennedy

Kennedy recorded 58 sacks in his 11 seasons for the Seahawks. He recorded 569 tackles and 11 forced fumbles.

Honorable Mentions: Metta World Peace, Tomas Holmstrom

95 – Richard Dent

A bonafide Hall of Famer who was a part of one of the greatest defenses of all time, the ’85 Bears. What more can you ask for?

Honorable Mentions: N/A

94 – Charles Haley

The defensive centerpiece of two all-time franchises in the Cowboys and 49ers.

Honorable Mention: Demarcus Ware

93 – John Randle

Anyone who goes undrafted in their respective sport and go on to become a Hall of Famer is good enough for this list. Randle made seven Pro Bowls and was a six time first team All-Pro selection en route to Canton.

Honorable Mentions: Pat Neshak, Metta World Peace

92 – Reggie White

Photo: Quotes Gram

“The Minister of Defense” was one of the greatest free agent signings of all time, when he left the Philadelphia Eagles in 1992 and signed with the Green Bay Packers. He finished his career with 198 sacks, two NFL defensive player of the year awards, and a Super Bowl ring.

Honorable Mentions: DeShawn Stevenson, Gabriel Landeskog

91 – Dennis Rodman

An obvious answer for a surprisingly strong number. But Rodman’s five rings, seven NBA All-Defensive first selections, and nearly 12,000 career rebounds puts him on our list.

Honorable Mentions: Kevin Greene, Sergei Fedorov

90 – Ndamukong Suh

Suh has had a late-career number change to 93, but he donned 90 early in his career for the Lions when he was arguable at his best. During his time rocking the big 9-0, Suh was the NFL Rookie of the Year, made four Pro Bowls, and was a three time NFL First Team All-Pro.

Honorable Mention: Ryan O’Reilly

High numbers, a lot of hockey players and defensive lineman, to be expected. Will we have some different sports and positions represented in our next set of jersey numbers, 89-80? Only time will tell.