Hope springs eternal. It’s finally here, folks; it’s baseball season. Summer is around the corner, and we’ll all soon be sitting in the sun at our favorite ballparks inhaling hot dogs and ice cold beer.
Everyone is doing prediction content, we know that. But our official 2022 prognostications will be coming via the reminiscing route.
Who doesn’t love a good baseball name from from the 90’s or early aughts? So that’s how we’re giving our picks, via our favorite throwback name from each team.
Toronto Blue Jays – Gregg Zaun, C
Boston Red Sox – Trot Nixon, RF
Tampa Bay Rays – Miguel Cairo, 2B
New York Yankees – Scott Brosius, 3B
Baltimore Orioles – Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B
Chicago White Sox – José Valentín, 3B
Minnesota Twins – Matt Lawton, CF
Cleveland Guardians – Carlos Baerga, 2B
Detroit Tigers – José Macías, 3B
Kansas City Royals – Mark Grudzielanek, 2B
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – Scott Spiezio, 1B
Houston Astros – Julio Lugo, SS
Seattle Mariners – Mike Cameron, CF
Texas Rangers – Royce Clayton, SS
Oakland A’s – Matt Stairs, DH
Philadelphia Phillies – Mickey Morandini, 2B
Atlanta Braves – Ryan Klesko, RF
New York Mets – Benny Agbayani, LF
Miami Marlins – Hee-Seop Choi, 1B
Washington Nationals – José Vidro, 2B
St. Louis Cardinals – Fernando Vina, 2B
Milwaukee Brewers – Jeromy Burnitz, RF
Chicago Cubs – Ron Coomer, 3B
Cincinnati Reds – Pokey Reese, 2B
Pittsburgh Pirates – Tony Womack, SS
Colorado Rockies – Dante Bichette, RF
San Francisco Giants – Benito Santiago, C
Los Angeles Dodgers – César Izturis, SS
San Diego Padres – Mark Kotsay, CF
Arizona Diamondbacks – Lyle Overbay, 1B
God, that was amazing…I think I need a cigarette. So many great names, so much boring baseball to have on in the background until October. Let’s go.
There’s nothing that says “Monday” more than long, useless memos.
On this Monday, Kyler Murray and Derek Jeter decided to push more paper onto the Arizona Cardinals and Miami Marlins staffs:
Since no one wants to read anything as long as the above-mentioned official corporate memorandums; we decided to do the work for you. Essentially, Murray wants more money and Jeter is out ASAP. Kyler’s statement is comically long, and Jeter’s is almost annoyingly short for such a large member/investor of a team leaving immediately.
We hope KM gets his money and Jeets finally catches a break in life in his post-Marlins tenure. But we’re here as the end all be all rankers of these two very important statements. Please find our extensively researched, categorically honest rankings below:
2 – Derek Jeter’s “Peace I’m Outta Here” Letter
Much like Jeter’s playing career, this was (literally) a black and white, plain Jane, professional statement. Just like he handled the media while with the Yankees, it was a large collection of words that didn’t really say anything.
After a few truths stretched (e.g., “we transformed every aspect of the franchise”) and a yawn or two incurred, a tsunami of drowsiness washed over me while reading. The former CEO’s statement came out as flat as the energy at loanDepot Park during Marlins home games.
As great of a defensive shortstop as Jeter was, he’s an even better defender of being or saying anything interesting.
1 – Kyler Murray’s “It’s Not Me, It’s You” Letter
This thing was a superb mess. Scrubbing your social media of anything relating to your team one week, and releasing this manifesto saying you need more from them the next is an all time power move. While we’ve all seen the “it’s not you, it’s me” checkers move played either to us or to someone we know, Kyler and his agent Erik Burkhardt are playing chess by flipping that bad boy right on its head.
Before so graciously looping in his teammates and coaches, Kyler noted how proud he is of the “extreme turnaround of competitiveness and success since his arrival,” after being “tasked with stepping into a tough situation” in Arizona. Translation: you guys blew before I got here, now pay up. Also, the shade thrown in reminding the Cardinals that he thinks he’s the guy to “deliver the valley their first Super Bowl in 33+ years” was a real *chef’s kiss* in this tour de force.
The finale though, the pie de resistance if you will, is the ending. The 24 year old quarterback told the team that drafted him number one overall in 2019 to shit or get off the pot when it comes to giving him a new contract, while referring to himself as a “rapidly improving…already 2x Pro Bowl QB.” Just an all-time self-confident sign off that I wish I had an ounce of in my personal life.
A few big statements from the MLB and NFL today. Appropriately, one was as boring as a four hour baseball game. The other had the fireworks of a regular season NFL game that America cannot get enough of. You know where we stand.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
We’re sadly on the downhill turn of “Who Wore It Best.” In this edition, we get into the 30’s.
39 – Dominik Hašek
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
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.
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
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 hottakeartist.
Honorable Mentions: Steve Carlton, Sandy Koufax, Marcus Allen, Jim Brown
31 – Greg Maddux
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.
The dog days are over, the dog days are done, and “Who Wore it Best” has returned. In this edition, we’re checking out the GOATs of the 50’s.
59 – London Fletcher
One of the most underrated players in NFL history. Fletcher racked up 2,031 tackles, four Pro Bowls, and a Super Bowl ring in 16 seasons. He also never missed a game, which is incredible considering the beating an NFL linebacker takes season in and season out.
Honorable Mentions: Luke Kuechly, Carlos Carrasco, Jack Ham
58 – Jack Lambert
This man was MEAN. One of the stalwarts in the Steel Curtain Defense of the 70’s, Lambert racked up pretty much any award that was available. Six time first team All-Pro, NFL Defensive Player of the Year, NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, and a partridge in a pear tree.
Honorable Mention: Jonathan Papelbon
57 – Johan Santana
Johan Santana had some nasty stuff. Over his 12 year career, he won 139 games while maintaining a career 3.20 ERA, was a two-time Cy Young winner, and tacked on a Gold Glove in 2007. “No-han” threw an unbelievable 134-pitch no hitter in 2012.
Honorable Mention: Rickey Jackson
56 – Lawrence Taylor
Lawrence Taylor was an absolute DAWG. We’ve gushed over LT in previous blogs, but he’s that good that we’re going to do it again. Two Super Bowls, an MVP, three Defensive Player of the Year awards, and eight first team All-Pros are just a fraction of what Taylor accomplished over his incredible career.
Honorable Mention: Mark Buehrle
55 – Dikembe Mutombo
Dikembe Mutombo was way more than his infamous finger wag; he was a defensive stud. Mutombo lead the NBA in blocks three times and rebounds twice. He made eight All-Star games, won Defensive Player of the Year four times, and has his number retired by two different franchises in the Nuggets and Hawks.
Honorable Mentions: Junior Seau, Orel Hershiser
54 – Brian Urlacher
Brian Urlacher was the epitome of a Chicago Bears middle linebacker. He played his entire 13-year career in Chicago; tallying 1,361 tackles, two NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards, and four first team All-Pros. The eight time Pro Bowler was also named to the NFL 2000’s All-Decade Team. Honorable Mentions: Goose Gossage, Horace Grant, Randy White, Zach Thomas
53 – Artis Gilmore
Artis Gilmore was a stud in both the ABA and NBA. If you combine his career between both leagues, he was the Rookie of the Year, an MVP, made 11 All-Star games, and scored a shade under 25,000 points.
Honorable Mentions: Bobby Abreu, Mick Tingelhoff
52 – Ray Lewis
Say what you will about the overzealous speeches, or don’t say anything about the off field issues, but Ray Lewis could flat out ball. Two Super Bowls (including MVP in one), two NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards, and a seven time first team All-Pro.
Honorable Mentions: CC Sabathia, Patrick Willis, Clay Matthews
51 – Randy Johnson
The Big Unit! Easily one of the most dominant pitchers we’ve seen. Johnson ended his 22-year career with a 3.29 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 303 wins, a perfect game, one no hitter, five Cy Young trophies, and was the MVP of one of the biggest World Series upsets when the Diamondbacks beat the Yankees in 2001.
Honorable Mention: Dick Butkus
50 – David Robinson
The very rare story of a service academy athlete becoming one of the best to do it in professional sports. Robinson reached the rank of lieutenant during his three years of service in the Navy, a great achievement. He wasn’t a bad basketball player either; in three separate seasons he lead the NBA in points, rebounds, and blocks. The Admiral also won Rookie of the Year, MVP, and two championships.
Honorable Mentions: Mike Singletary, Corey Crawford
A lot of solid athletes in the 50’s; strong showing by football and baseball. A severe lack of hockey here; will they recover in the 40’s? We’ll have to wait and see…
Guess who’s back? Our “Who Wore It Best” series, that’s who. We last checked in on who wore numbers 79-70 best, now we dive into the 60’s.
69 – Jared Allen
Not a huge field of choices here, but a nice selection. Jared Allen played for the Chiefs, Vikings, Bears, and Panthers during an above-average 11 year NFL career. He made First Team All-Pro four times, lead the NFL twice in sacks, and made five Pro Bowls.
Honorable Mention: N/A
68 – Jaromir Jagr
The flow is enough to be included on our list. That head lettuce is a thing of beauty. Jagr wasn’t half bad in his 24 seasons in professional hockey either: most career game winning goals (135), five Art Ross trophies, and two Stanley Cups.
Honorable Mention: Will Shields
67 – Francisco Córdova
Remember this guy? Cordova gets the nod for pitching nine innings in a what ended up being a 10 inning no hitter for the Pirates against the Astros on June 12, 1997.
Honorable Mention: N/A
66 – Mario Lemieux
Surprisingly strong category here at 66. Lemieux takes it home as one of the best hockey players to ever do it. In fact, Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky are the only two players who occupy the list of top ten seasons for points and assists in a season. Pretty impressive company to keep.
Honorable Mentions: Ray Nitschke, Yasiel Puig
65 – James Paxton
Paxton may very well end up being the youngest athlete to make our list. However, “Big Maple” has earned his spot at 65 for recording a no-hitter for the Mariners in 2018.
Honorable Mention: Erik Karlsson
64 – Randall McDaniel
McDaniel was a stalwart offensive guard for 13 seasons, mostly with the Vikings. McDaniel started 220 of his career 222 games, made 12 Pro Bowls, and is a member of NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.
Honorable Mention: N/A
63 – Gene Upshaw
Another hard nosed, badass, old school NFL lineman. Upshaw played 14 years for the Raiders, scooping up three First Team All-Pro selections, five Second Team All-Pro selections, and two Super Bowl rings.
Honorable Mention: Brad Marchand
62 – Jim Langer
Jim Langer was the center for the only undefeated team in NFL history, the 1972 Dolphins. Langer won two Super Bowls and was a three time First Team All-Pro.
Honorable Mention: N/A
61 – Liván Hernández
Who else loved this absolute unit growing up? His career numbers aren’t stellar, but anyone who can hang around the majors for 17 seasons is impressive. Hernandez is a two time All-Star who won a ring as well as World Series MVP honors with the Marlins in 1997.
Honorable Mention: Rick Nash
60 – Dallas Keuchel
Not a lot of meat on the 60 bone, but a fine choice here. Keuchel has established himself as one of the steadiest pitchers in baseball since entering the bigs with the Astros in 2012. He has won four Gold Gloves, the 2015 Cy Young, and a World Series ring in 2017.
Honorable Mention: N/A
Another edition of “Who Wore It Best,” done and dusted. Nice representative spread in the the 60’s for football, hockey, and baseball. Total choke job from basketball here; maybe we’ll see some stronger effort in the 50’s?
You made it. You’re back. Every year, Spring rolls around and you reappear in our lives just when we’re all at our wit’s end with Winter.
Your debut is upon us, and league-wide hope is at a premium. Spring Training has wrapped, and all thirty teams have traveled back home to start the long, arduous road to a pennant. The weather is starting to turn; summer is creeping around the corner, and with it, thoughts of cold beer and hot dogs dance in our heads.
Opening Day is a time and feeling unlike any other. It’s like waking up in the middle of the night thinking your alarm’s about to go off, to find you’ve only been asleep for an hour. It’s like taking out your contacts after a long day, or hitting every green light when you’re running late. It’s hard to exactly describe it, but have you ever found a $20 bill in your pants that you forgot about? That’s what it feels like having you back.
From Wrigley to Fenway, Yankee Stadium to Petco Park, let the hum of fastballs and pop of catcher’s mitts fill the air for the next seven months. Let the home runs fly out of Coors Field, pop ups die in the acres of foul territory at RingCentral Coliseum, and Bernie Brewer take all of the home run slides his heart desires.
Who cares if the pace of play is a little slow? Who doesn’t want to to piss in a urinal trough, pay $12 for a mini helmet full of ice cream that melts in five minutes, or step in dropped neon yellow nacho cheese while awkwardly scootching past eight of your fellow attendees all while squeezing into undersized seats in 98 degree weather?
We definitely don’t get embarrassed when our favorite players get injured in hilarious ways while playing a noncontact sport. We don’t care that you make a bunch of old men squeeze into baseball uniforms, or that your Hall of Fame voting is incredibly flawed, or that your fields of play aren’t equal in size like every other legitimate professional sport. No reason to complain about the fact that the DH rule isn’t universal, unwritten rules are dumb, and that hitting at this point is either home runs or strikeouts.
Baseball, we could not be happier that you are back.
We have finally reached the end of a brutal February. What happened in sports during the last week of this snow-filled month? We recap in this week’s SSM.
A single car wreck rocked the golf universe Tiger Woods’ accident luckily could have been worse Today we had a nice tribute after a week full of dread Golfers at the Workday Championship, wearing Sunday Tiger Red
Rooting for a guy who has been through absolute hell Teammates once again with Johnny Manziel Another chapter in the Josh Gordon story A hopeful step to a return to NFL glory
Bryce Harper came to Spring Training with a hot take for all He says the NL East “is the best division in baseball” Top to bottom he may be right, the division is a beast What about the other league? An argument for the AL East?
The Minnesota Timberwolves’ season looking bleak As of this weekend they’re on a seven game losing streak In a long and loss-filled season, someone has to give them shine Unfortunately for the ‘Wolves, plenty more losses down the line
On the other side of the spectrum, the Nets won eight in a row Their last win came on Thursday when they beat up on Orlando But the Mavs came into Brooklyn, and the win streak was no more Dallas took it to Brooklyn, 115-98 was the final score
Another weekend come and gone…let’s reflect on the week that was in this weeks SSM.
The Miami Marlins, shattering the ceiling The team has hired the first female GM, an absolute awesome feeling Kim Ng has been hired to run the show for the Marlins Here’s hoping it all goes well, and she leads the team to many wins
The 2020 Masters was as always a treat Dustin Johnson, simply could not be beat Yes DJ took home his first green jacket He’s the #1 golfer in the world, in his own bracket
The Bills and Cardinals, holy shit Kyler to DeAndre, Cards didn’t quit On the last extra point, the Cards took a knee An incredible cover, for those who had Buffalo +3
The Tompa Bay Bucs got back on track TB12 with four touchdowns, put the team on his back Ronald Jones went yard with a 98-yard score The Buccaneers are gelling more and more
Happy Sunday, dear readers…gently glide into your Sunday evening with this week’s SSM.
Bad news first, in the MLB COVID is spreading, Miami and St. Louie The Marlins and Cardinals, positive tests aplenty Cardinals with six, Marlins with upwards of twenty
The list of NFL opt outs continues to grow The pandemic drags on, and players won’t show The Lions previewed, what may be the future of locker rooms Hopefully this and other precautions work, as football season looms
Some non-pandemic news, from the NFL Patrick Mahomes roots in KC further fell The Super Bowl MVP, now part owner of the Royals Ten year football contract and baseball team ownership, can’t say the man’s not loyal
The NBA is back, and in full swing Full schedule and no positive testing, a beautiful thing It seems in the bubble, things are going pretty well The Association is thriving, while baseball is going to hell