A fistful of comments, asides and quick hits on the state of sports.
Just wondering: Do we really need another reason to be confused by the mysterious quarterback rating? Well, there’s this: The NFL QBs with the 24th and 28th best ratings (among those with at least 100 completions) are a combined 15-1 thus far this season. That would be Carolina’s Cam Newton and Denver’s Peyton Manning. Colin Kaepernick has a 78.5 rating and is benched. Newton has an 81.4 and is the next great commercial spokesman for the NFL.
The ghost of Garry Templeton
I admit it, I’m not taking this Andrelton Simmons trade very well. Locking up the best defensive player in baseball – a player who beyond his physical skills was one of the most innately intelligent and clever performers around – was among Frank Wren’s good moves. It’s really OK to admit that he made a couple and move on. You don’t have to erase every trace of his Braves existence like he was graffiti on a bathroom wall.
It is getting downright Orwellian around here as a team trumpets building for the future by trading away the future.
The Braves know there is no pitching prospect rewards program, right? They do know that if only acquire two more, they don’t get a free one and large Coke, right?
Immediately the swap of shortstops with the Angels had invoked the memory of the 1982 deal in which San Diego traded future Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith to St. Louis for Garry Templeton. And, yes, Simmons is a defensive player of near Ozz-ian dimensions.
But at least Templeton went on to a 10-year career in San Diego that included one World Series appearance (in which he hit .316) and eventual inclusion in the Padres Hall of Fame.
The just-acquired Erick Aybar is best seen as a place-holder until another prospect comes along to take his place.
The good, the bad, the plug ugly
We have been told that the gap between the haves and have-nots is rapidly widening.
And here’s the proof (no, it’s not my pay stub):
There is a solid collection of unbeatens at the halfway point of the NFL season – New England, Cincinnati and Carolina. And at the same time, only about a third of the league – 12 teams – has a winning record.
There already is a whole division, the AFC South, without anyone above .500. Two other divisions, the NFC East and West, have only one team over break-even.
There’s just a large portion of the NFL now that is the equivalent of the poor sap who is about to use up his severance pay. And then there are the Pats, Bengals and Panthers, the few at the top who go into panic if there are not warm Egyptian cotton towels and triple milled French soap in the executive washroom.
The kid will be alright
I don’t know J.T. Barrett from J.C. Penney. But by all accounts, the Ohio State quarterback was greatly wounded by his arrest for driving while impaired, and was suitably contrite and embarrassed during his one-game suspension.
It may be reflex by now to assume that Urban Meyer and Ohio State let Barrett get away with something here – because isn’t that what big-time programs always do? We have been conditioned to assume the worst and take an automatic stance of outrage.
But sometimes the punishment fits the transgression, especially when the college kid in question really takes it to heart.
Do know this much: You don’t want to be Illinois Saturday. While the Buckeyes sometimes have been underwhelming, that won’t be the case on this game day. Their quarterback has something to prove.
The late, unlamented bowl streak
Now that it is dead and buried, may we speak a few truths about the Georgia Tech bowl streak?
Isn’t it something of a relief that the Yellow Jackets were eliminated from any sort of postseason piffle with Thursday night’s loss to Virginia Tech? That was a merciful blow, really.
No need now to pretend to be excited about a trip to a city lesser than your own and some half-filled stadium. No need to go through the motions of some extra practices that are supposed to be good for you (but so is a kale smoothie, and who wants that). No need to try to guilt your fans into buying a ticket none of them want.
When the last play is run against Georgia, Tech can take whatever the outcome may be and begin the process of forgetting 2015 ever happened. It’s all for the best.
Keeping that streak alive for 18 years had been something of a burden really, requiring along the way journeys to bowls now long gone – the Seattle Bowl, the Silicon Valley Bowl – as well as to those unfortunately renamed – the Humanitarian Bowl, which is now the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
A streak did not end Thursday night so much as a burden had been lifted.
Moe, Larry the cheese
Tough news for the Denver Broncos, who will lose the services of cornerback Aquib Talib Sunday against Kansas City. Talib was suspended for one game for poking Indy tight end Dwayne Allen in the eye during the dust-up at the end of the Broncos first loss.
But good news, really, for Talib, who passed his audition for the next Three Stooges remake.
And so the line of succession goes: Moe, Larry, Curley, Shemp and Aquib.