SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

From the Ridiculous to the Absurd in. . . Philadelphia

It was bad enough that the Orioles beat the Phillies 19-3 last night, setting a team record for home runs in the process.  It is bad enough that the Phillies are having their worst road trip ever, dating back to 1883 and that the team is on pace to lose 108 games.  Atop that, the Tonight Show-like jokes keep coming.  Inquirer columnist Mike Sielski tweeted that the Cardinals also tried to hack into the Phillies' computer network, but they couldn't figure out how to solve for DOS. 

The sad thing is that the 76ers might be creating and drawing worse headlines.  On Saturday night at 9:42, the team announced the 2014 first-round pick Joel Embiid suffered a set back in his recovery from a broken foot.  When you announce something that late on a Saturday night, it means that you are trying to get people to miss it.  Atop that, former coach Larry Brown is lobbying the front office to hire former star Allen Iverson as an Assistant General Manager. 

Okay, so OF Jeff Francouer finished the game up in Baltimore last night, laboring through two innings because, among other things, the bullpen phone was off the hook.  That was tough enough to watch.  But a third straight year of potential awful seasons will be tough to swallow.  It's no one's fault, per se, and what's worse is that reports were that Embiid looked great in workouts in Los Angeles prior to this announcement.  The truth is -- if and when healthy -- Embiid is a beast.  Perhaps now a beast lost or a lost beast or a beached beast, but a beast.  The only articulate word is "aaarrgh."

And so the draft looms, and that's a big media event for the 76ers.  But what's almost comical is Brown's suggestion -- Allen Iverson as an assistant general manager.  What, precisely, would he manage?  He had trouble managing himself and perhaps was the worst team captain in the history of professional sports.  It was all about Iverson, not about anyone else, and while he was a supreme talent who didn't usually have a good supporting cast, he wasn't a team guy.  Ergo, put him in the front office.  And Brown's recommendation is curious -- Iverson drove him nuts and had the putative owner (a 1%er named Pat Croce) intervene between him and Iverson. 

All that eclipses the many and sometimes puzzling moves of Eagles' coach Chip Kelly, who makes the media darlings often times miss Andy Reid, who somehow missed the training session for coaches who have to deal with the media.  The discussion around the release of one-time Pro Bowl guard Evan Mathis was somewhat baffling. 

At least the Eagles have a chance to win. . .

At least the 76ers have some hope. . .

At least the Phillies have the memory of 2008.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Sepp Blatter

When I was in high school, the hippie chick teacher came to school with her arm in a sling and a black eye.  She offered that her VW van got into an accident.  By the time I was a senior, she had four accidents in three years, one of which put her in the hospital for a few months.  My father advised, "Son, when you have one accident in a while, it's probably an accident.  But if you have four accidents in three years, you have a driving problem."

It would be one thing if FIFA were known as this pristine organization and if international soccer were bribe-free.  Today, the FIFA board makes the IOC board look like the College of Cardinals.  Scandal upon riddle upon nuance upon scandal make this an ethical meal along the lines that the ethics version of Adam Richman would try (and fail) to eat in an episode of "Man versus Food."  There's just too much smoke and fire around FIFA.

Sepp Blatter tried to save himself, and despite his shortcomings realized that it was too little too late and for the game he loves, he had to resign.  It was the wise decision, because Sepp Blatter presided over a culture that seemingly became rotten to the core.  It would have been hard to expect him to clean it up, given that the apparent rot that occurred over decades happened on his watch.  How could any reasonable fan expect him to clean up all of the mess?

That fan couldn't, and now FIFA has to pick someone with the stature to fix things.  In a world where deals are made every day and leaders have to make difficult decisions, it will be hard to find someone who hasn't been a part of something that didn't go wrong at some point.  Find the person without any blemishes, and it could be that that person didn't lead anything of substance or try and fail at something.  There are warts everywhere.  The key will be to find someone who found something, spoke up about it and fixed it.  Whoever that may be.

FIFA couldn't continue with Sepp Blatter.  But who can they find who can help reform it? 

Many will want and take the job.  The question is who is worthy.