2010 Year-End Sports Review: What We Already Knew

Let’s be honest: Sports bloggers know everything. Just ask us. As part of our 2010 Year-End Sports Review, our list of things we already knew this year includes Brad Childress’ biggest fail, Wade Phillips’ demise in Dallas and John Calipari’s troubles. We also knew Kevin Durant was the next great superstar (who didn’t see that coming?), Roger Clemens is the ultimate windbag and that “Matty Ice” knows fourth-quarter comebacks. We should have gone to medical school…

Contributors: Anthony Stalter, John Paulsen, Paul Costanzo, Drew Ellis and Mike Farley

LeBron is a frontrunner.

We all were a little surprised that LeBron left Cleveland, but the writing was on the wall. Growing up, LeBron didn’t root for the local teams. He followed the Yankees, Bulls and Cowboys, which in the 1990s constituted the Holy Triumvirate of Frontrunning. He wore his Yankee cap to an Indians game and was seen hobnobbing on the Cowboy sidelines during a Browns game. He says he’s loyal, but he’s only loyal to winners…unless they only win in the regular season, of course.

July 08, 2010 - Greenwich, CONNECTICUT, United States - epa02241974 Handout photo from ESPN showing LaBron James (L), NBA's reigning two-time MVP, as he ends months of speculation and announces 08 July 2010 on ESPN 'The Decision' in Greenwich, Connecticut, USA, that he will go to the Miami Heat where he will play basketball next 2010-11 season. James said his decision was based on the fact that he wanted to play with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

Brad Childress’ biggest flaw cost him his job in the end.

There were many reasons why the Vikings decided to fire head coach Brad Childress roughly a year after they signed him to a contract extension. One of the reasons was because he lost with a talented roster. Another was because he never quite figured out how to best utilize Adrian Peterson, which is a sin given how talented AP is. But the main reason “Chilly” was ousted in Minnesota was because he didn’t know how to manage NFL-caliber personalities. He didn’t know how to handle Brett Favre, which led to blowups on the sidelines and multiple face-to-face confrontations. He also didn’t have a clue how to deal with Randy Moss’ crass attitude, so he released him just four weeks after the team acquired him in a trade from New England. Childress was hired in part to help clean up the mess in Minnesota after the whole “Love Boat” scandal. But the problem with a disciplinarian that hasn’t first earned respect is that his demands fall on deaf ears. In the end, Childress’ inability to command respect from his players cost him his job. You know, on top of the fact that he was losing with a talented roster, he didn’t know how to best utilize Adrian Peterson, he…

Love him or hate him, George Steinbrenner will forever be one of baseball’s icons.

You may have hated his brash attitude, the way he ran his team or the way he conducted his business. You may even feel that he ruined baseball. But regardless of how you may have felt about him, there’s little denying that George Steinbrenner will forever be one of Major League Baseball’s icons. Steinbrenner passed away in July of this year. He will forever be a man known for helping revolutionize the business side of baseball by being the first owner to sell TV cable rights to the MSG Network. When things eventually went south with MSG, he created the YES Network, which is currently the Yankees’ very own TV station that generates millions in revenue. During his tenure, he took the Yankees from a $10 million franchise to a $1.2 billion juggernaut. In 2005, the Yankees became the first professional sports franchise to be worth an estimated one billion dollars. While many baseball fans came to despise the way he ran his team (mainly because he purchased high priced free agents with reckless abandon due to the fact that he could and others couldn’t), don’t miss the message he often made year in and year out: The Yankees are here to win. He didn’t line his pockets with extra revenue (albeit he generated a lot of extra revenue for his club) – he dumped his money back into the on-field product. Losing wasn’t acceptable and if the Bombers came up short one year, you could bet that Steinbrenner would go after the best talent in the offseason, regardless of what others thought of the approach. How many Pirates and Royals fans wish they had an owner with the same appetite for victory?

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Braves make it official, hire Fredi Gonzalez through 2013

Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox leaves the dugout for pre-game ceremonies before their MLB National League baseball game against the Washington Nationals in Washington September 26, 2010. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com is reporting that Fredi Gonzalez will receive a three-year contract to manage the Braves with an option for a fourth year.

This was absolutely the right decision for the Braves. They could go 10-152 next year and this would still have been the right decision for the Braves.

Look, nobody is going to replace Bobby Cox – he’s Bobby Cox. Usually when a manager leaves, it’s because everyone from the media to the fans wanted him gone (if not dead in some cities). But Cox has been one of the most well respected managers in the game of baseball for a very long time, so it’s hard to say that anyone can “replace” him.

But why not hire someone who has worked under Cox? Why not hire someone who is also well liked by the players, the media and the fans? Furthermore, why drag the process out if you know he’s going to be the one to win the position in the end?

I like what the Braves did here. They didn’t prolong the search process when they knew Gonzalez was going to be the choice and they moved quickly to secure his services. Too many teams drag the process out because they’re scared of making the wrong decision. But Atlanta knew whom it waned and went out and got him.

Good luck, Fredi. You have some big shoes to fill.

Fredi Gonzalez to replace Bobby Cox in Atlanta?

Atlanta Braves Bobby Cox is lifted up by his players while celebrating after clinching the National League wild card in Atlanta, Georgia, October 3, 2010. The Braves clinched after the San Diego Padres lost their game to the San Francisco Giants. At left is the Braves Matt Diaz. REUTERS/Tami Chappell (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Ken Rodriguez of FOX 5 in Atlanta is reporting that former Marlins’ manager Fredi Gonzalez will be named the Braves’ next manager.

Bobby Cox managed his last game in Atlanta on Monday as the Giants eliminated the Braves in Game 4 of the ALDS. He said before the season started that he would retire at the end of the year and it’s been long rumored that Gonzalez would eventually take his spot.

Gonzalez was Atlanta’s third base coach in 2007 before he was hired by the Marlins. He was let go not too long after he butted heads with star shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who failed to hustle after a ball that he booted into the outfield during a regular season game. Even though the media lauded him for the way he handled the situation, Florida eventually decided to move in another direction and Gonzalez was replaced.

Despite his struggles in Florida this year, he’s a solid manager and is well respected in Atlanta. He’s the perfect candidate to take over a team that has some budding young stars, but who generally needs an overhaul at the position spots. Assuming he is named their next manager (Cox’s farewell press conference is held for Wednesday, so Atlanta may make an announcement soon thereafter), it would be a good move for the Braves.

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