Tuesday, December 14, 2010

12/14 Quickie: Lee Eclipses Favre

The biggest winner from Cliff Lee's decision to pick the Phillies over the Yankees and Rangers? People sick of Brett Favre.

As of last night, we were looking at a news cycle of continuous coverage of Brett Favre's STREAK ENDING. It was eye-roll-worthy within 5 minutes of it being announced.

Then, overnight, a truly shocking bit of news: Lee to the Phillies. Celebration in Philly. Dejection in Texas. Despondence in New York. (Yankee schadenfreude for the rest of us.)

Start with this: Lee took less to play in Philly, the team that traded him away last season to make room for Roy Halladay. How refreshing: The most money doesn't always win.

Now, the superlatives: Can you think of the most recent pitching foursome as spectacular as Halladay-Lee-Oswalt-Hamels?

The closest I have seen is folks bringing up the Braves in '97: Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz -- three future Hall of Famers -- along with Denny Neagle. And Philly has four, which I immediately dubbed the "Phab Four." (With "Phab Phour" thrown out for inelegance.)

Then again, that Braves rotation killed it in the regular season... then couldn't get past the Florida Marlins in the '97 NLCS.

And, not unlike the Heat's Superfriends, that's the burden of the Phab Four: It's World Series championship or bust.

(It is no coincidence that the best #realtalk coming from Twitter in the wake of the Lee news was from Giants fans, who saw their team beat back the Phillies AND Cliff Lee -- twice.)

But between the Yankees getting snubbed -- and now facing the same questions about their rotation that they had last season (not to mention a rejuvinated Red Sox rival) -- and the Phillies' new bounty, Cliff Lee has already done the improbable:

He stole the spotlight from the Yankees... AND Brett Favre.


Brett Favre sits: I think celebrating a streak for streak's sake is kind of lame. (This coming from someone who continually brings up writing his daily column 420 weekdays in a row.)

However, that's not to say that it wasn't the most impressive thing about Brett Favre's career. (It's not like I'd say it was the "gunslingerness" -- his feast-or-famine TD-INT ratio.)

In a sport as brutal as pro football, to string together that many weeks in a row IS worth a respectful hat-tip. The bigger question: Is his career over, period?


MNF: As it turns out, the Vikings-Giants game was horrible -- the game was listless, not insubstantially because the fans in Detroit, there for the free football, just weren't that into it. As it turns out, it helps to have fans who care about one team or the other, not just the cheerleaders and the notion of a free ticket to any old NFL game.

MNF, the OTHER game: Meanwhile, the Texans-Ravens game was kind of awesome. The Ravens were in complete control, let Houston rally back into it in the 4th quarter (including that 2-point conversion to tie), then won the game on a pick-6 of goat-to-hero-to-goat Matt Schaub (whose 4th quarter cost me a spot in one of my fantasy leagues -- anyone else?)


CFB: Turns out Gus Malzahn won't be going to Vanderbilt after all. He will stay at Auburn as offensive coordinator (sure to get a head-coaching job next December). It's a shame he didn't want to take on the Vandy challenge -- if any school could have tested out his theories, it was Vandy. Instead, Auburn -- even without Cam Newton -- should remain tough in 2011.

Trouble at Iowa: Something very very wrong is happening at Iowa. This has become a hallmark of Kirk Ferentz's time there, but the school's administration seems intent on backing him no matter what. Tracking....

The Big Ten's new logo and division names: The logo didn't get a great reception, but that was nothing compared to the howls of ridicule for the league's new divisions -- "Legends" and "Leaders." I'm inclined to appreciate a little innovation in brand marketing, but this idea is terrible. These names are awful. The connection to the teams they cover is arbitrary, at best. They are meaningless. Ultimately, who really cares -- but what a misstep by the conference.


MLB Hot Stove: So will Zack Greinke end up with the Yankees? It's not that they can't use him -- it is whether they are willing to give up their top prospects to get him (they should).


NBA: Heat win 9th straight. The early-season troubles are long-forgotten. This is the team we expected from the start. Still: We can appreciate what they are doing now, yet still remain skeptical until they can win 4 of 7 from the Celtics in the playoffs.


Finally: Sal Alosi, the Jets strength coach who tripped a Dolphins player running down the field on Sunday, was suspended by the team for the rest of the season (and fined $25K). It feels a bit ridiculous that they feel compelled to ban him for the rest of the year, but think it would be OK if he showed back up for work next spring -- let alone was on the sidelines next fall. Despite the superlatives, I consider myself a relativist, and even I think this was an obviously fireable offense.


What to expect the rest of the day around the Web: Lots of Cliff Lee "What Does It All Mean?" talk, less Favre post-mortems than we would have had if Lee had not signed and a bonus post from me a bit later this morning about the state of my new company.

-- D.S.


BLT said...

Comparing the Phils starters to the Braves is good, what about the Oakland A's from 2001. Hudson (18 wins), Mulder (21 wins), Zito (17 wins) and Cory Lidle (13 wins). If the number four starter with Philly gets 13 wins is that a disappointment or what we expect?

Unknown said...

"Something very very wrong is happening at Iowa."

And that would be what? Don't make me Google it...

WuzUpG said...

Phillies best pitching rotation? Are we forgetting the SF Giants, whom beat that pitching rotation and Cliff Lee twice, in this year's playoffs?

To the 2010 SF Giants, they make the best batting practice rotation!