Monthly Archives: December 2010

Donald Fehr and the NHLPA

NAVA BRAHE: Any baseball fan knows the name “Donald Fehr” is synonymous with labor unrest. Even though he may be older and mellower than he was when he whipped the Major League Baseball Players Association into a frenzy, I don’t put it past him to wreak havoc once the NHL’s current collective bargaining agreement expires. The NHL, such as it is, is a combustible mix of a Napoleonic commissioner, an ever-growing group of bad owners, and a players’ union that doesn’t seem to know its ass from its elbow. That combined with teams in cities they have no business being in, spells unequivocal disaster.

JASON CLINKSCALES: Maybe, just maybe, Donald Fehr sees an oyster just waiting to be pried open. Maybe he genuinely sees money left on the table for players. The biggest cynic would probably see Fehr as someone looking to methodically tear down the National Hockey League in the way that Major League Baseball was upended with the 1994 strike and the PEDs/steroids scandals.

Fair enough.

Yet, could he be the stubborn bull that finally has the strength to locks horns with Gary Bettman? Continue reading

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Sportsman of the Year: Drew Brees, Michael Vick or LeBron James

Krysten Oliphant: The sports person of the year has to be New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

CHRIS PUMMER: Brees might be a nice guy, but nothing defines the competitive spirit of the modern athlete better than knowing you’re so good that you can tell everyone else to go fuck themselves. That’s why LeBron James is my Sportsman of the Year. Continue reading

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NFL Week 16 in Review

CHRIS PUMMER: Disappointing teams have been cleaning house early this season. The 49ers got started by making Mike Singletary the fourth coach dismissed before the end of the regular season.

When the pink slips get handed out is less interesting…

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Larry Walker: Hall of Famer?

HOWARD MEGDAL: I understand why Chuck Klein took so long to enter the Baseball Hall of Fame. Sure, he’d put up terrific numbers, but they took place with Klein playing his home games for years at the Baker Bowl, a very generous hitting environment. He retired in 1944, and without stats that can appropriately adjust raw numbers to reflect era and ballpark, it was impossible to know just how good Klein was for many years.

Well, that’s not true of Larry Walker, and here’s what we know: he was offensively superior to Klein, along with nearly everyone else to play right field, and his career was about 10 percent longer than Klein, a 1980 inductee. In fact, Walker is better than many right fielders in the Hall-to find right fielders superior to him, one needs to look at the Hall’s inner circle. Walker is an easy choice.

CHRIS PUMMER: It’s not clear that it would be a travesty should Walker not make it into the Hall of Fame. That’s even before anyone mentions Coors Field and whatever benefit Walker may have gained in playing there.

If a extreme Big Hall guy like me is on the fence about Walker’s candidacy, then it’s hard to say he has a slam-dunk case. Continue reading

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In Briefs: New York Times Vows Hoopla

HOWARD MEGDAL: So: thoughts on the couple in Vows who left their spouses after meeting at their kids’ school? And what about the uproar over the Times publishing it?

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/19/fashion/weddings/19vows.html?_r=2&ref=weddings

LAURA ROBERTS: Hmm. A strange place to put the story, under “Vows,” as some of the commenters mention, but is it really wrong to write about these people? Continue reading

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TV Review: Perfect Couples Pilot

HOWARD MEGDAL: Do yourself a favor and move beyond the tired cliches of married life found in the opening sequence of Perfect Couples, NBC’s new sitcom, which aired last week. The remainder of the pilot runs at a fast pace, particularly for a pilot, and provides hope that a strong addition to the prime time lineup has arrived.

ZOË RICE: Based on NBC’s promos for this new sitcom, I was expecting something along the lines of Bravo’s short-lived, hilarious Significant Others. Both shows involve couples in counseling, and both feature established marrieds as well as newlyweds (or nearly so). However in execution, Perfect Couples has so far turned out to be more like the doomed American Coupling to the irreverently fun British Coupling–unfortunately a lesser version. Continue reading

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In Briefs: Commenting On Weight of Others

ZOË RICE: I know you may “boo hoo” and take out your tiny violins, but I recently lost 4 lbs–only 4 lbs!–from changing my workout routine, and if one more person tells me to eat more or asks me…

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Smoking Politicians

ZOË RICE: Tom Brokaw, allow me to virtually fist bump you for writing this recent op-ed piece. Perhaps I will seem square for shaking my fist at cigarettes, and indeed I’m a former smoker myself (nearly ten years past quitting). But the toll this devastating habit takes on our country’s health shouldn’t be downplayed. Obesity may be the health-epidemic-du-jour (and a worthy one), but could Michelle Obama take an equally firm stance against smoking? She and her family stand in all their leanness as examples of fighting childhood obesity, a cause she publicly rallies against. However her husband, our President, can not act as a role model in the fight against tobacco addiction. And I think that should be part of his job.

AKIE BERMISS: I can completely understand where Zoë is coming from, but I disagree wholeheartedly. I mean, I agree that smoking is probably the most horrible and deadly of all bad habits, that far too many Americans do it, and that many of us are likely to die from it. On the other hand, as a smoker (of cigars), I understand what it means to have a vice. I understand how worldly pressures can lead to comfort in acting out “bad” habits. There’s nothing I crave more at the end of a hard day than a nice cigar and some peace and quiet. And I say, let a man have his vices. Assuredly, too many vices is not a good thing but a person with no vices at all? That’s just disturbing.
Continue reading

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Long-Term Contracts For Relievers

JESSICA BADER: It’s been a pretty eventful and unpredictable Hot Stove season thus far (really, who had Carl Crawford signing with a team other than the Angels, or Cliff Lee returning to Philadelphia?), one that has seen a couple of star players being traded for prospects and quite a few marginal players being non-tendered and signed for a good deal less than what they would have received in arbitration. But the one thing that has really shocked me this offseason is the way teams are tripping over themselves to hand out three-year, eight-figure contracts to free agent relief pitchers. It’s pretty crazy on a couple of levels.

CHRIS PUMMER: While it’s probably not a good idea to give a free agent relief pitcher more than two guaranteed years, the cries that ignorance has returned among baseball front offices are probably mildly overblown. Continue reading

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Obama Tax Cut Deal and the Democratic Party

AKIE BERMISS: Last week’s big political hubbub was the Obama Tax Cut deal. Apparently, it was the straw the broke the camel’s back… for everyone. People on the Left couldn’t stand that Obama had “caved” on the Estate Tax and tax cuts for people making over $250,000 a year. People on the Right were upset because the tax cuts represent a huge deficit expense (it bears mentioning, however, that the Right is often the champion of cutting taxes… so its a big hypocritical craw-sticker there). And the rest of the country was pretty much just confused — and also angry that they are out of work, things don’t seem to be getting better, and nobody in Washington appears to be doing anything about it.

Continue reading

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