Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I knew it was you, Marian. You broke my heart.

A quick list of things I know:
1) The Detroit Red Wings are a very good hockey team.
2) The Pittsburgh Penguins are also a very good hockey team.
3) The Red Wings and the Penguins were the two best teams in hockey last year.
4) The Red Wings will be awesome next year because pretty much all of their players remain under contract.
5) The Penguins are at risk of losing most of their roster to unrestricted free agency.
6) The Penguins realized weeks, if not months ago that they would not be able to keep both Ryan Malone and Marian Hossa.
7) The Penguins decided to try and keep Hossa.
8) The Penguins offered Marian Hossa a five-year contract worth about $7 million a year.
9) Marian Hossa decided to test the free agent market, which is perfectly reasonable. If someone wants to offer him totally insane sums of money, he should at least entertain those offers.
10) Marian Hossa could have made a lot of money and had a chance at a Stanley Cup by staying in Pittsburgh, which...
11) Would have afforded him the opportunity to remain on a line with the best center in the game, who probably deserves some credit for changing Hossa's reputation for disappearing in the playoffs.
12) Marian Hossa signed with Detroit today. One year, $7.4. That's just $400k more than the Penguins were offering, which, when you're making $7 million to start with, is completely negligible.
13) The Steelers are so, SO screwed at guard this year.

Here's what I don't get: If Hossa just wanted a short-term deal that would allow him to play for a contending team and maybe increase his free-market value for next year, why not re-up with Pittsburgh? I mean, maybe I'm just spewing sour grapes here, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it. And unless another team -- Boston, Edmonton, whatever -- was going to dig deep into pocket to pay this guy $8.5 a year, why the hell would he leave?

I guess the short answer is that the Wings are still the better team, and they have less on the line this off-season, whereas the Penguins, with or without him, could wind up in a temporary state of rebuilding.

Whatever. I'm completely flabbergasted by this. But Ray Shero, to his credit, managed to lock up Malkin and Dupuis, and even added another goon (goodbye, Georges?). If they can lock up Brooks Orpik, this thing won't be totally broken, but they'll be back to about where they were before the start of last season from a personnel standpoint.

Worth noting:

Joe Buck hates sports. Colin Cowherd loves Joe Buck.
Everyone with half a brain hates both Joe Buck and Colin Cowherd.

Sean Avery is a vile human being.
Non-Penguins fans tell me I'd hate Jarkko Ruutu if he didn't play for my team. I don't know if that's true, but even if he winds up going somewhere else, I'll never stop liking Jarkko Ruutu. He's a neat little player with some legitimate and entertaining hockey skills, and he roughs guys up. He's a thorn in a lot of sides, but he's our thorn. And even when he's giving the Penguins fits next year or in two or three years, I'll always love the guy. Same with guys like Darius Kasparitis. That said, Sean Avery is someone I would never ever want on my hockey team under any circumstances. Ever. He belongs in a Flyers uniform.

Pirates manager John Russell really likes the idea of hitting the pitcher in the No. 8 spot of the batting order!
If hitting his insistence at Jack Wilson, Freddy Sanchez, Luis Rivas, Nyjer Morgan, Tracy Morgan, J.P. Morgan, John Hunt Morgan, Harry Morgan and anyone but Nate McLouth in the leadoff spot wasn't enough, now Johnny LaRussella is working to find new ways to stifle his own offense, presumably with the hope that it will make the pitching look less awful by comparison. What the hell kind of game does he think this is? Does he know that pitchers aren't especially good hitters, and that in one league, pitchers don't even bat? Has anyone in the organization bothered to tell him that there's no remotely reasonable argument based in fact or logic to suggest that it's even close to a good idea? Does he think Tom Gorzelanny is Old Hoss Radbourn? Do you think anyone told him that Old Hoss Radbourn died 111 years ago, which is the last time, other than during Babe Ruth's career, that it made sense for any pitcher to hit higher in the order than ninth? I'm now convinced that the Pirates are as good as they are despite John Russell's attempts to cripple the offense like a corrupt hedge fund executive. Even if you're of the opinion that a manager has little to no impact on the performance of a team -- and most right-thinking baseball people are -- how can anyone with two-thirds of a brain and at least six weeks of a fourth-grade education not be totally infuriated by this?

Sorry. I got a little worked up there. I just need to take my medicine. Where is my medicine?

(Side note: Here is a photo of the 1886 Boston Beaneaters. See that guy, top row left, giving you the finger? That's Old Hoss Radbourn. And he's giving you the finger because you do really dumb shit like hitting the pitcher in the eighth slot of the batting order.)

Happy 145th anniversary to Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and his 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry, who, on this day in 1863, executed an unorthodox and risky left-wing, right-wheel bayonet charge on Little Round Top at Gettysburg, preserving the left flank of the Union army. It was the decisive skirmish in the decisive battle of the war whose influence we feel even to this day.

On a side note, if the Battle of Gettysburg had been a regulation hockey game, the Three Stars would almost certainly look like this:
3) Brig. Gen. John Buford
2) Brig. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren
1) Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

I leave you with The Beardown, which today brings us pictures of hot girls who are also athletes. Enjoy.

No comments: