Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Year End Valley Sports Roundup

I know, I'm just as surprised as you are that the world is still here. I even had  "12-21-12 world ends" written in my day planner. I mean, if you can't trust the looney predictions of some bat shit crazy nut jobs based on a fundamental misinterpretation of the calendar of an extinct civilization, what can you trust?

So, since it isn't the apocalypse after all, and too much holiday cheer has left me kind of groggy, we might as well take a close look at the Valley's sports scene:

Jesus, what a cesspool!

Where to begin?

Well, they say it's football season, though that would be hard to tell from what we've seen around here. So let's start with our beloved Arizona Cardinals.

One thing I know for sure, once a cheap SOB always a cheap SOB. That pretty much sums up my feelings about the Bidwill family's business. They got a new stadium and all the cash flow that went with it, and the franchise is now worth about a billion bucks. So why are the Bidwills always getting into fights over money? First it was with the Fiesta Bowl over signage, then Westgate over parking, now NAU over training facilities. For a franchise that has been mediocre at best for generations they have a tremendous sense of entitlement.  All that money and they still don't spend on depth. They are always one injury away from disaster. The defense is strong, but not strong enough to shut out every opponent, which is what they have to do to win. The offensive line is consistently awful. Their "running" game is a joke. Their GM is a joke, too. This is a team that passed on both Adrian Peterson and Terrell Suggs in the draft. As for the head coach's decision making regarding the quarterback position, well, let's just say that Jeff George is sitting somewhere right now waiting for his phone to ring. It is becoming clear that they were very lucky to have Kurt Warner and Todd Haley for the brief period of time that now looks like their Golden Age. The worst part of this whole debacle is that Larry Fitzgerald, who is still one of the top two or three receivers in the league, is spending a large part of his prime without an NFL quarterback to throw to him.

OK, what about "your" Phoenix Suns? Steve Nash made everybody around him look better--including Alvin Gentry. Steve Nash is gone. Goran Dragic is good, but he is still a work in progress. And the gap between "good" and "great" in the NBA is wide. Gortat was the best back-up center in the league--emphasis on back-up. Jared Dudley is a solid 6th man. Michael Beasley has a world of talent, and if he ever...blah blah blah. You can grow old waiting for people to change. The point guard they drafted, whose name escapes me, was briefly demoted to the D-League. And the rest of the roster is made up of guys who would be 8th, 9th, or 10th men on a good team. This all adds up to lots of empty seats at the Purple Palace. On the plus side, with Toronto still one of the worst teams in the league, at least we haven't had to hear the "if only Bryan Colangelo was still around" wails coming from the local media. Yep, Bryan has done such a great job as GM with the Raptors. Uh huh.

Remember a few seasons back when the Suns' roster was 10 swing men, a power forward and Steve Nash? Well, the Arizona Diamondbacks seem to be cornering the market on light hitting short-stops and middle relievers. (Hey, maybe they can trade Justin Upton for Eddie Brinkman. That'll show him!) I know, Kevin Towers is a genius, etc etc, but come on. I haven't checked with Bill James yet, but I'm pretty sure that nobody ever won a pennant with a team full of utility infielders. Of course, it probably doesn't matter what the D-backs do, because both the Giants and Dodgers have way superior talent. This all adds up to one thing: there will be plenty of good seats available to watch your favorite baseball teams when they come to town next summer.

Which brings us to hockey. Is there still a hockey team? There must be, because the city of Glendale has committed $300 million dollars to pay some guy to keep the Phoenix Coyotes in town. The city will have to divert this money from other services. This will mean cutbacks for the people who live in Glendale. Fortunately, this will not affect most hockey fans, because most hockey fans do not live in Glendale. So they couldn't care less about what happens to Glendale. Come to think of it, I don't really care what happens to Glendale either. But if I did, I'd be pissed off right about now.

And last, but not least, we have the ASU Sun Devils. Sure the baseball team used to win the College World Series on a regular basis, and the basketball team has sent several very good players to the NBA, including Jumpin' Joe Caldwell, Byron Scott, Fat Lever, and James Harden. But for those of us of a certain age, ASU will always mean Frank Kush. Do the names Mini Max Anderson, Curly Culp, Ron Pritchard, Fair Hooker, JD Hill, Joe Spagnola, Danny White, John Jefferson, Woody Green, and the Malone brothers, Art and Benny, ring a bell? (Yes, I really am that old.) Anyway, I'm pretty sure that Frank Kush would be embarrassed to take a 7-5 team to a bowl game. But, as Dylan reminds us, "things have changed."

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