My Most Embarrassing Moments As A Lifelong “DIE HARD” Sports Fan
On the heels of a “PSYCHOTIC” 62-year old Alabama Football fan who poisoned the the historic Toomer’s Corner oak trees at Auburn University as a show of his mental illness…uhh I mean Devotion to the Crimson Tide, something really hit me like a Cain Velazquez uppercut.
As a lifelong “DIE HARD” Sports Fan of Miami Hurricanes football, Arkansas Razorbacks Basketball, New York Mets, New York Knicks, & Oakland Raiders, I have certainly endured my share of embarrassing moments that will endure five lifetimes. Let me count the ways. Let’s start with the Rai-duhhhs as the Crypt-keeper Al Davis likes to say. Two Words: JaMarcus Russell! Davis’s insatiable desire to find the next Kenny “The Snake” Stabler resulted in the Silver & Black selecting “THE BIGGEST BUST IN NFL DRAFT HISTORY”. Russell singlehandedly made Ryan Leaf look like a smart pick. Next please…
The New York Mets. Oh Boy! Let’s go back to arguably “The WORST Trade in Major League Baseball History”. Despite the fact it was way before my time on this earth, The Amazins’ decided to trade a young sixth year player by the name of Nolan Ryan (who had helped them the World Series in 1969) in December for pitcher Don Rose, catcher Francisco Estrada and outfielder Leroy Stanton for shortstop Jim Fregosi. Ryan played in more seasons (27) than any other player in modern major league history. Ryan ranks first all-time in strikeouts (5,714), fewest hits allowed per nine innings (6.56), and no-hitters (7). He is also fifth in innings pitched (5,386), second in games started (773), seventh in shutouts (61) and is tied for 14th in wins (324). Fregosi never had a productive season with the Mets. Not to mention, the infamous trade in 1987 of Lenny Dykstra & Roger McDowell to the Phillies for Juan Samuel. And don’t even get me started about the Jeff Kent trade in 1996 with Jose Vizcaino to the Cleveland Indians for Álvaro Espinoza and Carlos Baerga. And I’d be remiss if i didn’t mention the late season collapses of 2007 (7 Game Lead with 17 Left) & 2008.
Scott Layden was named general manager of the New York Knicks after Ernie Grunfeld left. Layden passed on a teenage sensation out of Orlando’s Cypress Creek high School by the name of Amar’e Stoudemire for Nenê Hilario. He then proceeded to trade Hilario (later to be known as just Nenê) to the Phoenix Suns for Antonio McDyess. Unfortunately, McDyess wasn’t the player he was in Phoenix or the player he later became with the Pistons and Spurs. As Horrendous as Layden was, no one epitomized Incompetence & Ineptitude more than his eventual successor Isiah Thhomas. The former point guard of the Detroit Pistons Back-To-Back World Championships “BAD BOYS” teams (1989 & ’90) could not match his on the court Hall of Fame credentials with the Knicks off the court. As the team’s president & general manager, his first “Ingenious” (Facetiously) move brought home the kid from Brooklyn Stephon Marbury. Much to every Knicks’ fan’s dismay, the “Starbury” experience was an unmitigated disaster of monumental proportions. He became a cancer who personified the Knicks being voted as “The WORST Sports Franchise” by espn.com. Subsequently, Thomas named himself head coach; the team went 56-108. Throught the entire process, Thomas gave $30 Million to career journeyman center Jerome James whom averaged 4.3 points per game; he was found guilt of sexual harassment of a former female employee which cost owner James Dolan & Madison Square garden $11.6 Million in damages; and the franchise failed miserably with four straight losing seasons making them the laughingstock of the league.
Last, but definitely Not least, after the tumultuous 2006 season, the University of Miami hired a former player to be their next head football coach: Randy Shannon. A microcosm of how pathetic his tenure would be was the Final game ever in “The Greatest Stadium in College Football History”: better known as The Orange Bowl. In a hallowed place that former Cane & NFL Running Back Edgerrin James called: “The Greatest Stadium Ever”, the hometown Hurricanes got blown out & shut by Virginia (NOT Virginia Tech) 48-0!!! Not a single, freaking point against UVA. in a historical venue for the last game. This was a forecast of things to come in this “ERROR”. Randy Shannon made Fredo Corleone look like General Patton. Before he inevitably Fired at the end of the 2010 season, he compiled a record of 4-9 vs. Top 25 teams: 0-3 in 2010; 0-2 in Bowl games (including not even making a bowl in ’07); 16-16 in the “Average College Conference” otherwise known as the ACC; ending up with a barely above .500 record of 28-22. All of that goes without saying of the constant lack of preparation on gameday; consistent butchering of the English language as the face of a TOP 50 Academic Institution of Higher Learning. To be nice, Randy Sahnnon was a Total Embarrassment to The “U.” & the College Football Coaching Profession.
Like many other “DIE HARD” Sports Fans, we are all ashamed at one time or another of something our favorite team; favorite player; favorite coach; General Manager; Owner; or Fans have done. At this moment, I can’t think of anything quite so Mortifying than a 62-year old former State Trooper poisoning an historic landmark like Toomer’s Corner in Auburn to represent the Alabama football program as some sort of “Badge of Courage” in memory of the late, great Paul “Bear” Bryant. ROLL DAMN TIDE!!!