I’ve been trying to avoid making The Manofesto too sporty, but this time of year it is really difficult. For you sports fans out there this isn’t an issue, but I know not everyone falls into that category.
The baseball season is winding to a conclusion and my Pittsburgh Pirates aren’t going to make it into the playoffs. The slight decline wasn’t completely unexpected, and after two decades of losing I can’t hardly complain about three straight playoff appearances followed by a season where the team isn’t mathematically eliminated until deep into September. Having said all that, I wouldn’t be opposed to some changes. I’m not sure that general manager Neil Huntington is the right man for the job at this point, and as great of a guy as he seems to be I think maybe manager Clint Hurdle needs to be politely shown the door. Kudos to those men for bringing back our Pirates from the abyss of interminable futility, but it seems as if they’ve taken the team as far as they can. Much like Moses observing the land of milk & honey from Mount Nebo I suspect that when the Pirates finally make it to the Promised Land of the World Series Hurdle & Huntington will be watching from afar.
As predicted FoxSports 1 has new acquisition Skip Bayless starring in a replica of First Take, his old ESPN show. I haven’t actually watched a single episode and have no plans to do so, but I did check out a couple of clips online. The new program, called Undisputed, pairs Bayless with former NFL tight end Shannon Sharpe, which makes me laugh. Honestly, one really needs subtitles to make sense of anything Sharpe says. He is not a good fit for television. I am quite sure that Bayless & Sharpe try to top each other with outlandish & controversial opinions, and I suppose some people enjoy that shtick. I’m just not one of them. As maddeningly leftist as ESPN can oftentimes be it is clear that FS1 isn’t on the same level and will remain a second tier channel as long as they continue to make desperation moves such as hiring blowhards like Bayless and fellow Bristol refugee Colin Cowherd.
A fat guy in a wheelchair would probably be considered by most to be an unlikely golf fan, but from a young age my father instilled in me an abiding fondness for the game. By the time I got into it though Arnold Palmer had long since moved onto the Senior Tour before retiring altogether a decade ago. However, way before the world got to know Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, & Jordan Spieth I was hearing stories and learning about Palmer. It helped that he became a pitchman for various products and an ambassador for the game, therefore never really disappearing from the pop culture consciousness. He, Jack Nicklaus, & Tom Watson were the first golfers that I became a fan of, even though I am too young to have seen many of their greatest moments. Most of the time death is a sad & tragic event, and fans of golf will undoubtedly miss ol’ Arnie, but in his 87 years on the planet the man certainly made an impact and created unforgettable memories, and we can’t be too sad about that.
Early thoughts on the NFL season:
- Eagles’ rookie QB Carson Wentz looks like the real deal. I wish I would have drafted him in my fantasy dynasty league.
- In my season preview I pondered whether or not RGIII would rejuvenate his career in Cleveland. Now I feel stupid for even asking the question.
- Who will be the first coach to lose his job?? Rex Ryan (Buffalo)?? Gus Bradley (Jacksonville)?? Mike McCoy (San Diego)?? Jay Gruden (Washington)??
- I was way wrong about the Minnesota Vikings. The desperation trade for QB Sam Bradford after losing starter Teddy Bridgewater in the pre-season was a masterstroke. Even after noted child abuser Adrian Peterson went down with a knee injury the Vikings haven’t missed a beat. Their defense has been amazing. This team looks like a legit Super Bowl contender.
- As much as I hate the New England Patriots I have to give credit where credit is due. It doesn’t seem to matter who plays quarterback…the team just keeps right on rolling. Belichick is an evil genius. Oftentimes I emphasize the evil part of that equation, but I’d be remiss not to give a respectful tip o’ the cap to the genius part.
I’ve expressed my opinion on the whole Colin Kaepernick anthem protest thing already, but let me just add a thought. What is more troubling than the hoopla itself is the fact that these types of demonstrations are spreading to college & pro football and other sports altogether. Suddenly it is cool & fashionable to disrespect our flag & the national anthem. It doesn’t help that the media has run the story into the ground and somehow made Kaepernick into a trailblazing hero. The whole thing makes me sad.