6-27-08: Pantheon of Hate & DFTU

Hello again everybody...

I hope you're as happy as me to reach the end of yet another work week. Can you believe that next weekend's the 4th of July already?! It doesn't feel like we should be that far into the summer already, but we are.

With that in mind, today I'm going to write the segment I've been threatening to write for a while now, The Sports Take's "Pantheon of Hate". I'm going to list off the teams I despise most and the reasons for which I loathe them. Hopefully you'll agree with some, and disagree with others and feel inspired to argue your points. Or at the very least you'll be able to provide me with contact information for a good therapist. And to round out the week, I'll drop some DFTU on you!

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pan·the·on (pān'thē-ŏn', -ən), n.
-A group of persons most highly regarded for contributions to a field or endeavor.

In this case, I'm listing the teams most highly regarded for annoying me to the point where I officially hate them. So without further ado, I give you the Pantheon of Hate:

1. Boston Red Sox (whom I hate) - This one of course comes at no surprise to any regular reader of The Sports Take. I simply loathe the Red Sox (whom I hate) more than any other franchise, professional or amateur, in popular sports. But I don't know that I've sufficently explained why.

The Red Sox (whom I hate) are a group of arrogant, self-important, insecure, mindless, game-insulting jackasses. Really. I can back this up!

In 2004, Alex Rodriguez was traded from the Texas Rangers to the New York Yankees. That deal was consumated after a deal to trade him to the Red Sox (whom I hate) fell through because MLB rejected certain clauses in the contract. After his clubs negotiating ineptitude and getting out-done by the Yankees yet again, Red Sox (whom I hate) managing partner John Henry held a press conference where he railed against the Yankees:

"Baseball doesn't have an answer for the Yankees. Revenue sharing can only accomplish so much. At some point it becomes confiscation. It has not and it will not solve what is a very obvious problem."-- John Henry, Red Sox owner, Feb. 18, 2004

Do you know who had the second-highest payroll in baseball and would have, in fact, had the highest had they managed to complete the trade for Rodriguez? That's right, the Boston Red Sox (whom I hate). So shut up John. If revenue disparity is a problem in baseball, you're just as big a part of the problem as anybody.

This is a team that lives with a constant inferiority complex. They're constantly whining about not getting the respect the Yankees get. Only they're on TV as much if not more than New York. ESPN is basically the Red Sox (whom I hate) National Network. And they've won 2 out of the last 4 Worlds Championships! How much more respect do you need?!

I'm sorry to tell you this Bostonians, but you're not the Yankees. The Yankees have been Major League Baseball's most successful franchise with 26 World Series Championships and 39 American League Pennants. The Red Sox (whom I hate) have 7 World Series Championships and 12 American League Pennants. The disparity could not be more clear. Stop trying to be New York. You're not. Just stop it!

And finally, there's the player-culture that's grown up in Boston. Jason Varitek, Mike Lowell, Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury. Those guys are all players and I can't complain about them. But Manny Ramirez is possibly the most dis-respectful player in the game. Not only does he not run out balls on "obvious" outs, but he poses and preens every time he hits a home run. Seriously, he should lead the league in "chin music recieved". And unfortunately his attitude has spread to guys like David Ortiz and Coco Crisp. Add to that group a guy like Kevin Youklis who apparently feels the need to destroy a piece of equipment every time he makes an out and you have a team who's "respect for the game" can be easily called into question.

So to make a long story short, I hate the Red Sox. I really, really do.

2. Dallas Stars - Hopefully this one's also obvious. The Dallas Stars were formerly the Minnesota North Stars until bealzebub, er, Norm Green, left town for the hockey Mecca that is Dallas/Ft. Worth. I try as much as I can to pretend that they're two separate franchises. And to Dallas' credit, they've refrained from using the North Star logo in any significant way. They haven't tried to go "retro" with the green and gold sweater.

But as much as I've tried to get over this one, I just can't. I hate this team for leaving. I hate this team for having success after they left. I hate this team for developing the ugliest alternate sweater in the history of the NHL. In short I just hate this team.

Last spring I was visiting my parents in Phoenix and attending a Spring Training game hosted by the Texas Rangers. Sitting behind us were some folks from the Dallas area. A friend of my parents was chatting them up and out of the corner of my ear I hear him say something about the "North Stars". One of the Texas gals said, (insert Texas-sized drawl here) "Oh you mean the Stawrrrs?" It was at this point my dad put his hand on my arm in an attempt to restrain me from the visceral reaction he knew was coming. I looked over my shoulder and said, "Ma'am. You stole my hockey team. I can't ever forgive you for that." Her response was a very kindly, "Well, we're takin gewd cahr of them fer y'all..."

I mananged not to weep... but it was touch and go there for a moment...

So I can't help it. I still hate the Stars.

3. University of Minnesota Golden Gophers - This covers mostly their football and basketball programs. I attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for the first 3 years of my college education (the last 2 were at UW-Eau Claire... Go Blugolds!... don't ask me what a Blugold is, I have no idea).

During my 3 years in Madison an athletic program renaissance was taking place. The football team went to it's first Rose Bowl in 32 years. And the basketball program was finally becoming competative in the Big Ten. And yet the Badgers couldn't seem to beat the Gophers at anything.

In 1993-94, during their Rose Bowl run, the Badger football team went 10-1-1. Their only loss on the season? Yep, to the the Gophers. And not only was I in attendance for that debacle, but my younger brother and his fellow Gopher fan friend were there to rub it in. Not cool.

At it was that kind of thing that really soured me on the Gophers. Every time they'd beat the Badgers - and they did... repeatedly... football, basketball, hockey, club-level underwater basket weaving... it didn't matter, Minnesota won - I'd get phone call after phone call, "Neener, neenering" me over the Wisconsin loss. And most of those people didn't even attend the U of M! They were just calling to rub it in. And that grates on a guy after a while.

Fortunately for me, the programs have gone in nearly opposite directions. The Badger football team has won 11 of the last 13 match-ups with Minnesota including the last 4 in a row. The Badger basketball team has been in a Final Four in the last ten years. The last time the Gophers made the Final Four, the accomplishment was stricken from NCAA records because the players couldn't write their own term papers.

Thanks to my job, I've been able to meet most of the Gopher athletic staff. AD Joel Maturi is a good guy, but the only coaching decision he's made that can be lauded is the hiring of Tubby Smith. And the way he dealt with the dismissals of Glen Mason and Dan Monson left quite a bit to be desired. Football coach Tim Brewster has a lot of sizzle, but I've yet to see much steak. Perhaps the most intruiging guy in the department is wrestling coach J. Robinson. This guy's part coach/part drill sergeant. But my point is, there hasn't been any of them that have won me over to the point that I've stopped hating the University as a whole.

So there you have it. The top three rungs on the Pantheon of Hate. Hopefully some of my rumblings and grumblings make more sense. Or perhaps you think I'm completely out of my mind. Either way, I feel much better now!

To wrap up the week, here's everybody's favorite segment, Dan's Favorite Teams Update!

Minnesota Twins: The Twins are 43-36, in second place in the AL Central, only a half-game behind the Chicago White Sox.

Oh my are the Twins hot right now. The hottest team in all of baseball as a matter of fact. They've won 9 in a row and 11 of their last 12. They've swept 3 straight series over the Nationals, Diamondbacks and Padres respectively. Granted none of those teams are running well right now, but as they say in baseball, all you can do is play the team that's in front of you. I don't care who you play, three straight sweeps is an accomplishment.

They're getting offense from unexpected places. Brendan Harris and Brian Buscher have been driving in runs all over the place. The expected sources (Mauer and Morneau) have been hitting well too. And perhaps the most under-rated move of the year has been sliding Alexi Casilla in the 2nd spot behind Carlos Gomez. Having that kind of speed at the top of your line-up creates all kinds of havoc.

But the hot streak also be largely credited to the starting pitching staff. If my math is correct, the Twins starters are working on a streak of 9 Quality Starts in a row. Quality Starts aren't the end-all be-all of pitching statistics, but if I could promise a manager that they'd get 6+ innings giving up 3-runs or less for a week and half straight, they'd take that in a heartbeat!.

This weekend is the 2nd installment of the I-94 clash between the Twins and Brewers. Crew fans, the Twins are up 2-1. Welcome to the Terror-Dome! The Brewers aren't exactly scuffling though. Winners in 8 of their last 10, they'll be formidable opponents for the Twins. Should be 3 fun games. Hope you're able to tune in!

Arizona Diamondbacks: The D'backs are 40-39, in first place in the NL West and 3.5 games in front of the L.A. Dodgers.

It hasn't been a pleasant road trip for the Snakes. They got swept in Minnesota and dropped 2 of 3 to the REd Sox (whom I hate). And now they're in Florida to take on the Marlins who swept them in Miami just last month.

Needless to say, Arizona needs help and needs it quickly. I think they were hoping that a returning Eric Byrnes would spark the line-up. And to a degree he did in Boston. But I fear it's going to take more than him to get this ship righted.

And something needs to be done about the middle-relief as well. Chad Qualls has gotten pounded in his last two outings. Tony Pena and Juan Cruz have had moments of brilliance, but haven't been consistent either. Brandon Lyons has been solid as the closer, but getting the game to him has been a big issue.

I can only assume that G.M. Josh Byrnes is working the phones trying to see where he can find some help. A veteran hitter and/or a solid late-innings relief pitcher would work nicely. Unfortunately there are 29 other clubs looking for the same thing.

There still aren't any other strong contenders out West, so that's going in the D'backs' favor. But a G.M. has to be looking forward at all times. And if this club wants to be any kind of force in the playoffs, they're going to have to make some additions soon.

As I previously mentioned, the Snakes hit Miami this weekend. Then it's home for 4 versus the Brewers. So for the next week straight, I'm going to be at odds with you Crew fans! Best of luck!

That's it for today folks. I'm back on Monday to recap the first portion of "Operation: Beat the Crew"!

1 comment:

  1. What about a poll for us to all vote on our own pantheon of hate? And I agree with the Stars, of course. I mean, really. But I would have hoped that the Cowboys would have made #3 instead of the Gophers.