Maxim’s sports department needs some new blood

Why do I still read Maxim? Ah yes, for photos of girls like Stacy Keibler.

Whatever the reason, it sure isn’t for the sports analysis. Take this gem from “30 Reasons to Give Thanks” from the November issue:

#16 Devin Hester
The Bears have been – what’s the word? – f*ckin’ awful. But save the bathroom breaks for when Kyle Orton has the ball, because freak of nature Hester turns any kickoff into poetry. Sweaty, concussed poetry.

Um…the Bears are 4-3 and tied for first place in the NFC North. I’m not sure how far in advance Maxim goes to print, but even if it was as early as 10/6, they would have witnessed Chicago’s drubbing of the Lions, which made them 3-2. Mediocre? Yes. Decent? Yes. F*ckin’ awful? No.

As for Orton, he is 6th in the league in passing yards, 8th in TDs and tied for 5th in number of completions for 20+ yards. One of the reasons he’s playing so well is because the Bears are running Devin Hester at WR.

But I wouldn’t expect the boys at Maxim to know that.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

U.S. pole vaulting coach Rick Suhr is kind of a dick

Last night, NBC aired the finals of the pole vault competition and American Jenn Stuczynski, who has only been vaulting for four years, captured the silver medal. She lost to Russian pole vaulting phenom (and world record holder) Yelena Isinbayeva.

The fact that Stuczynski won the silver after only having pole vaulted for four years is amazing. But what is even more amazing is the post-competition speech delivered by her (ponderously) mic’ed up coach, Rick Suhr. Here’s the transcription (update: video link below):

It’s the same old same old, you’re losing takeoff at the big heights. (shrugs) Whaddaya gonna do? (shrugs, looks away) Gotta learn to keep takeoff. You got caught at that meat grinder. I did not – and I told 10 people – I didn’t wanna be caught in a meat grinder between 65 and 80. You had to, though. You weren’t on, your warmup didn’t go well. You were at 55. You got caught up in that meat grinder. Whaddaya gonna do? (shrugs, looks away) Whaddaya gonna do? (shrugs, looks away) Didn’t have the legs. Her legs are fresh. Hey, it’s a silver medal. Not bad for someone that’s been pole vaulting for four years. (looks down at his blackberry)

As you can see from the picture, it appears Stuczynski walked away from the interchange dejected that she only won a silver.

Regular readers know I played basketball for current Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan, so I’ve been on the wrong end of my fair share of tongue-lashings. But one thing Ryan always did – once the season/milestone was over, he was always positive.

Coach Suhr, your athlete just won the silver medal. That means that, after just four years of training, she is the second best pole vaulter in the world. Sure, Isinbayeva is kind of annoying and I’m sure you really wanted to beat her, but she’s probably the best pole vaulter ever and in the grand scheme of things, Stuczynski’s accomplishment is amazing. She doesn’t need to be lectured about what she did wrong on national television. Let her enjoy her Olympic moment for a minute. She deserves your support and a pat on the back. Don’t be such a dick.

Thanks to Steve Rudniki who provided this link to the video. You have to watch a commercial first, but it’s worth it.

8/22 Update: I think we’re dealing with two sets of extremes here. One side wants to hang the coach (or at least wants her to fire him) while the other says that clip was taken totally out of context and that Suhr is not at fault for any of this.

The truth is somewhere in between. You can’t take his body language out of context and you can’t take the fact that he was not encouraging or congratulatory (at all) out of context either.

The right thing to do there – even if she asked (or says she asked) him what she did wrong – is to give a brief overview (if that) tell her that she did a good job and to enjoy her silver medal moment. Then, when the dust settles and you get back to the States, you break the competition tape out and go through everything that kept her from winning the gold.

That’s my $0.02 and I’m sticking to it.

9/7 Update: Here is an interview that ESPN did with Jenn Stuczynski where responds to the controversy. In short, she says that she asked Suhr what she did wrong, that he was texting someone to tell them that she got the silver, and that she wasn’t looking down in dejection when she walked away. (She was trying not to trip.)

Ato Boldon said something stupid today

Ato Boldon answered a question from Bob Costas about Usain Bolt’s terrific 100m world record run at the beginning of NBC’s primetime coverage on Monday night.

Costas: “How in the world was he able to run 9.69?”

Boldon: “I haven’t had a chance to really wrap my mind around it yet, but a lot of people are just still awestruck by what he was able to do. We just didn’t think that someone that tall would be able to run that sort of time. And… uh… just a great performance, and so far the performance, by far, of these Games.

By far? Mr. Boldon, I’d like to introduce you to Michael Phelps. Not sure if you’ve heard, but he had a pretty good week in the pool.

Hank Stienbrenner is an idiot

The new genius running the Yankees had this to say recently:

The Yankees are missing starting pitcher Chien-Ming Wang, who likely will miss the rest of the season because of a foot injury, and Joba Chamberlain, who hopes to return from right rotator cuff tendinitis. Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy have missed most of the season.

“I think it’s very simple, we’ve been devastated by injuries. No team I’ve ever seen in baseball has been decimated like this. It would kill any team,” Steinbrenner said. “Imagine the Red Sox without [Josh] Beckett and [Jon] Lester. Pitching is 70 percent of the game. Wang won 19 games two straight years. Chamberlain became the most dominating pitcher in baseball. You can’t lose two guys like that.”

New York also is missing catcher Jorge Posada, out for the year after shoulder surgery, and left fielder Hideki Matsui, out since June 22 because of a knee injury.

“It’s not making excuses. It’s reality. That’s part of the game. That’s clearly our problem,” Steinbrenner said.

Make an excuse, and then claim you’re not making excuses. Brilliant. Also, in Hank’s world, no other team ever had it this bad. Huh?

Of course, Steinbrenner doesn’t address his own complicity regarding Joba Chamberlain. He pushed hard to have Chamberlain moved to the rotation from the bullpen. The Yankee coaching staff tried to be patient with Chamberlain, but eventually they made the move.

The problem here is that you had a hard-throwing reliever who was conditioned to work short relief. Of course it was tempting to put this huge talent in the rotation, but they had a great thing going with him in the bullpen. He was a dominating force. Moving him to the rotation was risky. You always risk arm trouble with hard-throwing pitchers when you increase their innings dramatically.

It may or may not have been a smart risk to take, but the risk was there. His injury, therefore, wasn’t a matter of bad luck. It was a calculated risk, and Hank and the Yankees took the risk and got burned. Hopefully the injury won’t be too serious.

Mike Greenberg said something stupid today

I was watching the Best of Mike & Mike in the Morning on good ol’ ESPN2 (the same network that brings us the daily rantings of Skip Bayless), and heard Mike Greenberg say the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard him say. I’m not a regular watcher/listener, but I’m familiar with the guy.

He and Mike Golic were discussing John Lackey’s near no-hitter against Boston, and “Greeny” said that since the Red Sox were going to lose anyway (they were down 6-0, so the chances of a comeback were indeed slim), if he were a Boston player he would root for the no-no because he would want to witness history.

This is the problem with having people who don’t have a competitive sports background commenting on sports. He does a fine job of giving his opinion of an average sports fan, but in a case like this – when he’s saying that the Red Sox players should be rooting for Lackey to complete the no-hitter – he’s spouting utter nonsense.

Anyone who has played sports at a high level – I’m talking about most college programs as well as a few of the more successful high school programs – would cringe at this thought. No one, and I mean no one, who considers themselves a true competitor would want to see a no-hitter thrown against their team. It’s not just a sign of great pitching; it’s a sign of inept hitting. No competitor wants the opposing team to have its way.

To my point, Golic, who had a long NFL career, disagreed with Greenberg’s comments.

My advice for Greeny is to stop trying to put yourself in the shoes of the athletes – just comment on sports from a fan’s perspective.

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