The Dish: Buck Stops Here

Helle Neon Gambling Anmelden

Helle Neon Gambling Anmelden

Schadenfreude is the pleasure we feel at someone else’s misfortune. So sayeth Mr. Webster.

And I must say, I feel an inordinate amount of freude due to Buck Showalter’s recent schaden.

Showalter was fired this week as the manager of the Texas Rangers. I don’t know why, but ol’ Buck has always rubbed me the wrong way. I’ve never met the man, but I’ve got a feeling he’d be the mealy-mouthed backstabber in your first-grade classroom, rushing to tell the teacher that you were eating paste. Or that he’d be the one to start the rumor about you masturbating in the coat closet. Or that he’d come in second for the Science Prize, then accidentally sabotage the winner’s baking-soda volcano.

In three major-league stops, with the Yankees, the Diamondbacks and the Rangers, Showalter has made pro athletes (who, despite the occasional antiestablishment player, tend to be puppies in search of a lead dog) hate him. The year after Showalter’s last Yankee team choked away a playoff series against Seattle, Joe Torre came in and won the World Series. The year after Showalter’s last D-Backs team went 85-77, Bob Brenly came in and won the World Series. Gosh, you think the Texas Rangers hope history will repeat itself? Ditch Buck, win a title?

Showalter has alienated most of the veterans in every clubhouse he’s ever managed by getting in their faces about all the wrong stuff. His dress codes are legendary, his behavioral policies anachronistic, and his willingness to throw his players under the bus robust. He’s known as the ultimate clubhouse politician, talking bad about one guy to ingratiate himself with another. He complains about players to the front office. When he decides he can’t get along with someone, that’s it, there’s no winning. Guys like Alfonso Soriano and Kevin Mench are the leading examples of players who should still be stars in Texas, but got on the wrong side of the Showalter sneer. Even Alex Rodriguez, no p.r. genius himself, claimed that when he got to the Yankees, it was like a breath of fresh air. Man. The Yankees? A breath of fresh air? That franchise is more buttoned-down than Brooks Brothers. But everything smells good post-Buck.

Listen, the kid GM in Texas has made a bunch of mistakes (hello Adrian Gonzalez and Chris Young!). But Showalter’s politicking and micromanaging needed to go, and who cares if the door hits his backside on the way out. He mismanaged an absolute plethora of offensive talent, and left the cupboard barer than when he arrived. If anyone else ever gives him a major-league managing job again, well, they deserve their fate. In the meantime, you can be sure Showalter and his “insidery” views on the game will reappear on ESPN, perhaps as soon as this month. Oh, joy.

And the best 4-0 team in football is…? Baltimore? Indianapolis? Chicago? Why?

BoDog Bookmakers, Making this kind of decision is incredibly difficult, as everyone you ask will have a different opinion, and it’s quite easy to make a case for each of the three teams being “the best 4-0 team.” Both Baltimore and Chicago have very similar defensive styles, although, as was evident in Chicago’s last game, Rex Grossman has turned the Bears’ offense into a force to be reckoned with. Indianapolis, of course, has Peyton Manning and a very strong offense, but there’s no comparison between the defense of the Colts and the Bears. Chicago and Indianapolis are the two top teams of this list for one main reason: Steve McNair simply does not have the ability to control the pace of a game like Peyton Manning and the Bears defense do.

Do you think Kurt Warner deserves to be benched by the Cardinals? Will the team be better off with Matt Leinart? What other NFL QBs are on the hot seat, and could or should be replaced?

BDB, Kurt Warner absolutely deserves to be benched by the Cardinals. As we know, Leinart held out on signing a contract at the beginning of training camp until he got exactly what he wanted, and now it’s time for him to earn it and take his lumps along the way. The addition of Leinart won’t likely have an immediate effect on the Cardinals, as the learning curve for rookie QB’s coming into the NFL is definitely a steep one. It’s quite evident that Warner is on the downside of his career and the Cardinals would be better off putting Leinart behind the wheel to let him learn and improve his game, as opposed to trying to resurrect Warner’s declining career. If Leinart can sustain the pressure on the defensive line and call the right plays, his confidence and game play will improve quickly, and the fact that he’s got Edgerrin James in the backfield is sure to alleviate some of the pressure on Leinart. The other main two candidates I see as QBs in trouble are Mark Brunell and Vince Young/Kerry Collins. Pulling out an overtime win against the Jacksonville Jags on Sunday certainly earned Brunell at least another week at the helm, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Washington pulls the old switcheroo on him down the line. Keep an eye on Brunell, he’s definitely a candidate to get moved. Meanwhile, after the Titans got destroyed by the Cowboys, questions like “Did they put Vince in too soon?” are bound to pop up. It wouldn’t be a surprise if there was a bit of flip-flopping for a few weeks in Nashville, but usually once a rookie like Young is given a shot, he’s bound to go for at least a few weeks, unless of course they feel he is completely overmatched. The Titans might elect to go with the more experienced Collins this weekend, though, as they face off with the Indianapolis Colts. Keep an eye on these two, the results could prove interesting.

Which road team has the best chance of upsetting which home team in the MLB playoffs first round? Detroit over the Yankees? Oakland over Minnesota? The Dodgers over the Mets? St. Louis over San Diego? How come?

BDB, Realistically, there is potential for every road team to do something special in October, and the match-ups are very interesting. Can the Pedro-less Mets handle the deep pitching staff of the Dodgers? Can the Injury-plagued pitching staff of the Yankees survive to see the second round? Will St. Louis snap out of their funk and start playing like real contenders? Can the Twins rookies (Bonser, Garza & Baker) shine behind Johan Santana or will the Oakland A’s win the series after they face Santana? The team with the best potential for pulling off the upset is the Oakland A’s. Santana is an exceptional pitcher, but the outcome of the series will depend on whether or not the Twins rookies can step it up and come through in the end. The bullpens and bats are fairly evenly matched across the board, with the Twins having a slight edge in the bullpen and with the bats, but experience is what wins ball games in October. Either way, it’s should prove to be an exciting end to the season.

What’s your reaction to the latest news that the names of Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Miguel Tejada, Brian Roberts and Jay Gibbons were mentioned by confirmed steroid user Jason Grimsley as also using illegal performance-enhancing drugs?

BDB, The only surprise on this list is Andy Pettitte. Grimsley did play alongside Clemens and Pettitte in New York (99-00), but it’s hard to believe something like this would get past Joe Torre. Tejada, Roberts and Gibbons were all in Baltimore with Grimsley in 2004-2005, when Brian Roberts really came into his prime as an All-Star second basemen. This is big news to everyone in the MLB community and it should be interesting to watch how everything plays out. It could just be Grimsley making an attention grab since his playing days are over; he never earned the big paycheck and he wants extra exposure. The more interviews he does, the more money he gets. You never know.

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