Wednesday, June 3, 2009

15 comments LeBron James Is An Asshole/Competitor/Sending A Message By Not Shaking Hands With the Magic

I don't know if anyone heard but LeBron James had a handshake that did not happen heard 'round the world after the Cavs lost to the Magic. In typical mainstream media fashion many columnists took this lack of a handshake to mean many things about LeBron James. Apparently when a player is not in the mood to shake hands after losing an important game, it becomes a big, big deal. There are three different viewpoints that have been written and I think two of them are wrong and one is right. Then I have been studying up and am going to give out my list of the top 10 relievers of all time, which will undoubtedly be wrong.

Let's start first with Michael Rosenberg of FoxSports who thinks LeBron is just a total asshole for not shaking hands after the Game 6 loss.

Can somebody please tell LeBron James that "King" is not an official title?

Forget Conan O'Brien, we need Michael Rosenberg as the new host of the Tonight Show. Those one liners are pure gold.

LeBron followed up by refusing to shake hands with the Magic, storming out of Amway Arena in Orlando without answering reporters' questions and then defending himself when he was finally cornered Sunday.

Ok, now we know what this is all about. We were talking about Jim Rice yesterday and his attitude toward the media, and how the media pretty much hated him for this bad attitude he had. The media will NOT be ignored. If you don't answer their questions, they get pretty pissy. This story has nothing to do with a handshake and has more to do with the media not getting their dumb questions answered.

I'm with you on that, LeBron. Absolutely, it is hard. Not as hard as, say, putting in 12-hour days at a manufacturing plant, and certainly not as hard as getting laid off from the aforementioned manufacturing plant, but it's hard.

Oh, rim shot!

Well, that certainly came out of left field. I think LeBron was just saying after losing an important game, he was not in the mood to shake hands. I am not sure he was looking for a pissing contest on who has the hardest job.

"It's not being a poor sport or anything like that. If somebody beats you up, you're not going to congratulate them. That doesn't make sense to me."

I don't know if I agree with that statement completely...but James said "beats you up," not "beats you," so I think he was differentiating between a competition and a fight...maybe.

This is the part where Michael Rosenberg starts picking out old quotes showing what great sports other athletes are.

Well, it does make sense to me. And you know who agrees with me?

Michael Jordan!

Michael Jordan? The same guy who treated his own teammates like shit, allegedly got his father killed for his gambling debts he refused to pay due to his competitive nature, the guy who is currently running the Bobcats into the ground and yelled at my fiance for offering him Powerade over Gatorade (Gatorade was not available and he requested a drink) at a golf tournament? I am not sure I like him enough to agree with Michael.

And you know who agrees with me?

Magic Johnson!

Yes, Magic Johnson was always a great sport and he is a good businessman. He is also famous for finding the cure for AIDS, which turns out to be money (Top 20 South Park episode of all time for me).

In 1991, Jordan said the two-time defending champion Pistons had been bad for basketball with their overly physical play. The Pistons took offense, and after the Bulls swept them, several Pistons walked off the floor without shaking the Bulls' hands.

That Pistons team included Isiah Thomas, which is why Michael Rosenberg is not including him on the list of good sports, even though he was generally a good sport. If he included Isiah Thomas as someone who was a good sport, it would disprove his idea that LeBron James was completely in the wrong by allowing the Magic to celebrate on their homecourt and wait until later to congratulate them because Isiah did something similar in his career.

He wasn't being competitive. He was just being a sore loser. And nobody likes a sore loser.

I disagree for reasons I will share later. I think he was being a sort of sore loser but he had good reasoning for it.

The difference between athletes and movie stars is that athletes can't just storm off the set. They are held accountable.

Another major difference is that athletes and movie stars have completely different professions. There are also probably 1,000 other differences before you get to the fact athletes are accountable and actors are not, which I am not sure is even true. This is not a good comparison.

And you know who agrees with me?

LeBron James!

"We went up against a better team," James said in 2007, after losing to the San Antonio Spurs in his only Finals appearance so far. "We know the Spurs are definitely the better team in this series."

Clearly LeBron James did not feel the Magic were the best team in the series. He was frustrated and did not want to say something he may regret at a press conference or on the court. He did not want to act like an ass, so he gave himself time to get over it, then spoke about it. That seems sort of logical to me.

Or was that true? Phil Taylor thinks LeBron may have had ulterior motives and in that exact moment he wasn't thinking of how the Cavs had just lost the game, but how he could send a secret message to the Cavs.

There's not much debate to be had there. You're not likely to find anyone who would seriously argue that snubbing the Magic was a classy move on King James' part.

No, it was not classy at all. I will 100% agree with that idea but there was some sort of logic to LeBron's decision to act like a baby. Not to mention, it really wasn't that big of a deal. Sure, he acted like an ass but it's doubtful in that moment the Magic were incredibly angry with him.

The more interesting question is, Why did LeBron do it?

Because he was very upset what he viewed as a superior Cavs team lost to the Magic and played so poorly in doing so. That's pretty much it.

"I'm a competitor," he said. "That's what I do. It doesn't make sense to me to go over and shake somebody's hand."

That's almost believable, because James has grown up in an era in which the definition of a great competitor has been badly skewed. We heap so much praise on an athlete who "hates to lose" that some players don't even recognize when that hatred goes too far.

He was actually asked the question and answered the question. His answer is 100% believable...not "almost" believable.

It's been said that Michael Jordan would have cheated his own grandmother to win at cards. That's not passion. That's unhealthy.

But Michael Rosenberg holds him up as a beacon of sportsmanship light in this dreary world of assholes. This can't be true.

It's hard to believe he was just so overcome by disappointment that he forgot his manners.

How is that hard to believe? Hasn't Phil Taylor ever been upset? I have acted like a baby before when I was disappointed playing sports, so it makes sense LeBron just left the court before he acted like a jerk. He chose the lesser of two evils because he is human after all.

By not uttering a word, he was speaking volumes to Cavs management.

This is probably 2% likely. I would imagine at that moment when LeBron James was disappointed he knew Cavs management would get his super secret message that walking off the court and not shaking hands with the opposing team would convey. If James really had a problem with Cavs management I think talking to them, which he will do, is more effective than walking off the court.

James was putting Ferry on notice that he has no intention of trying to drag this group to a championship again. More help had better be on the way next year, King James seemed to be saying, or tell the Knicks to start getting my uniform ready.

James may have been thinking this at some point during the game, but I really doubt he thought that not shaking hands with the Magic would show that he did not like his supporting cast that much. I doubt this because it really makes no sense. Maybe he is frustrated with his supporting cast, but I don't think walking off the court and being kind of classless would convey that message.

Now, James isn't ready to say all that publicly yet. That's where the public relations savvy comes in. He has another year in Cleveland, at least, and he doesn't want to spend it being portrayed as the demanding superstar threatening the franchise,

So LeBron sent a super secret warning shot across the bow of Cavs management and now he will be quiet in hopes they understood it. Cavs management probably know James needs more help already because they won 66 games in the regular season and did not even make the NBA Finals.

That's more of a Kobe way to play it.

No it isn't. Kobe would dump on his teammates in public and then demand a trade. He actually did that too.

James was telling the Cavs that if he has to walk away like this at the end of next season, he just might keep walking all the way to New York.

That super secret message of walking off the court without shaking hands also had a super secret walk that showed Cavs management not only was he going to be a free agent, but he was going to New York. It's amazing how much a walk can tell a person. It was his "I'm going to New York, not any other city, when I am a free agent" walk.

It might have seemed like James had finally made a little mistake, but don't be fooled. He knew exactly where he was going.

Sure, buddy. I find it more likely he was angry with his team's performance and did not feel like shaking hands and he will later ask for more team help in the off season...using words to express the feelings, and not hoping his walking off the court without shaking hands conveyed his displeasure.

Though I think LeBron acted like an ass, I do agree with LZ Granderson's take on this issue.

He starts with a story about his kid, which is pretty hyperbolic, but it does make sense given this situation.

Well, call me a contrarian because I don't have a problem with the way LeBron handled the situation. In fact, I thought it was rather intelligent given the circumstances.


How many times have we seen quotes taken immediately after a tough loss, blown up and spiral into a greater controversy because the person talking was angry?

Now let me hedge a little bit. I think LeBron was acting like an ass by not shaking hands with the Magic, but we don't know exactly what was going through his head. Maybe at that point he was fed up with his teammates (which would be conveyed verbally, not through the magic walk off the court) or something else and he knew it wasn't the best time to speak to the media either. He possibly knew he would say something that wasn't smart, so the best thing to do is walk away and calm down.

Dwight Howard and the Magic hardly looked disappointed that LeBron didn't stick around after the horn.

I guess this is another thing that gets me. The Magic were in the middle of celebrating their victory, they probably did not even care LeBron walked off the court. They wanted to celebrate at that point, not shake everyone's hand.

A ritual of insincere gestures being sold as good sportsmanship is yet one more step in the march toward mediocrity -- like telling young players, "Good job," when actually they didn't do a very good job at all.

I feel like I am LZ's brother right now. There is such a thin line between giving people false confidence and building them up. I think even an insincere gesture is better than no gesture at all, but I do see what LZ is saying.

That's like the un-apology apology public figures are famous for giving when they're more sorry they got caught than they are for the action that got them in trouble.

We as a people do love apologies, whether they are sincere or not. I don't think someone should really apologize if they are not sorry, but I know I am in the minority on that opinion.

You want to know what's poor sportsmanship?

Brett Favre cutting off all communication with his mentee and supposed friend Aaron Rogers after being traded to the Jets. Or Shaq freestyling about Kobe's Finals loss -- more than four years after being traded from L.A.

It's very hard to continue to agree with LZ's position when he goes off topic like this, but I still do agree. Though both situations are not great sportsmanship, they don't pertain that much to this situation.

Taking a day to calm down and gather your thoughts, that's a sign of maturity.

This is actually where I agree. Rather than say or do something stupid, it is more mature to just walk away from the situation...though I know people will argue walking away from the situation is immature.

That to me is much better than ripping teammates he may have to play with or a coach he may have to play under next season. I always tend to believe that teams function better when you keep unrest in the family.

So LZ seems to think that LeBron James was not happy with his supporting cast, but he doesn't believe his actual walking off the court meant anything to Cleveland management, it meant more that he was disappointed and frustrated.

You catch an irate LeBron James talking after a series in which he literally had to carry his teammates in the fourth quarter each game, then you're likely to get him saying some things that could interrupt the chemistry that got them to 66 wins.

LeBron was one of the few Cleveland players that showed up in the series and I think he really struggled with that. I think it is better to walk off the floor, not fake congratulate someone or do a press conference after the game angrily, and give yourself time to gather your thoughts before you start bitching.

Besides, I tend to think good sportsmanship isn't just about what you do in the heat of battle but what you premeditate and what you do afterward.

An interesting way to look at it. He separates sportsmanship in the heat of battle, or immediately after the heat of battle, from sportsmanship at a press conference afterwards and during the days after the game.

As he said, he's a competitor and like him, I believe competition isn't always nice.

Though I think LeBron James should have shaken hands with the Magic, I do think he is a jerk for not doing this but don't have a problem with him not speaking to the media after the game. He did not want to say something he would later regret and he probably wanted to take out any problem he had in private...which is what should happen. I also think James was frustrated with his supporting cast but his walking off the court was not a show for Cavs management to see, he was truly upset.

It is hard to make a list of the top 10 relievers of all time, especially since the role has changed so much over the past several years. Here's my list:

1. Mariano Rivera- I don't see how this can be argued and he is even better when you throw in the postseason numbers.

2. Dennis Eckersley- He did it for a shorter amount of time because he was a starter for a while but was incredibly dominant.

3. Hoyt Wilhelm- He was a different kind of reliever from today but he was incredibly successful with just a knuckleball.

4. Rollie Fingers- He was pretty consistent his whole career and is one of the first famous closers.

5. Rich Gossage- He stayed around a little too long but he pitched longer innings and had great numbers in his prime.

6. Trevor Hoffman- He averaged just over an inning per appearance in his career, so he is the poster boy for the new reliever/closer. I don't know where to rank him really, cwhen compared to the other relievers who pitched 1-2+ innings so I put him here. It's hard to balance the innings pitched with the numbers he has put up.

7. Bruce Sutter- I may have ranked him above Trevor Hoffman if I did this tomorrow or any other day. His career was a little shorter than I would like to be in the top 10, but he was money in his prime in the late 70's/early 80's.

8. Dan Quisenberry- Great career in the 80's and he even pitched more than one inning per outing and still got saves.

9. Lee Smith- I am not as high on Smith as other people are. He appeared dominant and intimidating on the mound and he could be at times.

10. Jeff Reardon- He had success no matter where he went. John Wetteland almost made this spot but did not because he did not pitch as long and well as Hoffman and rarely pitched more than an inning, so I rank the other relievers over him.

Go ahead and tear me apart or disagree if you like. This was very hard, so I know I was wrong on something.


KentAllard said...

What if Lebron had stumbled slightly, transforming his "I'm going to New York next year" walk into "I'm going to Poughkeepsie next year."? Imagine how confused the Cavs would be.

Bengoodfella said...

The Cavs would be totally confused, though if there is a basketball team in Poughkeepsie, LeBron may be better off choosing that team over the Knicks.

AJ said...

I don't care for James much and I really don't care if he went up to the Magic after he lost. What I do care about is his piss poor attitude and the way he acts, not to mention the fact he can not define something that is simple to define.

He said he wasn't being a poor sport by not going up to the Magic after because you don't do that to people that beat you up. I'm just going to assume he means beat, and not beat up, since he did not get into any fights or anything like that. Being a poor sport is exactly what he was, and maybe if he had any sort of education he would know that.

This is a guy that act like a complete clown by dancing around and making sure he is the center of attention before and during games, but when things don't go his way he completely changes and acts like a jackass. It's like all of a sudden he just turned on his teammates after realizing they were playing way over their skill level the whole year. A superstar would not run away like he did, would face his mandatory media sessions, and take his beating like a pro. He gets played to play a game, you win and you lose, if you can't take that then find something else to do.

As far as relief guys, I'm not going to disagree with your list or anything like that...I just don't have the info to make a top 10 list on them, since I believe it's the most over rated position in baseball. Its to hard to compare eras, considering now they just pitch 1 inning and sometimes even less then that. You are only as good as your team is, and you are only valuable in one inning of one game. Sometimes you don't even pitch for a week, sometimes you just pitch when the game is out of hand and you need to get work in.

But I do agree, I believe Rivera is the best "closer" of all time. The guys stats speak for themselves.

Bengoodfella said...

AJ, I am glad you got fired up about this, it's always good to see. You have a valid argument when you talk about how he preens before the game and puts on a big show, but when he gets beat he doesn't stick around to talk about it. I guess it is somewhat analogous to Papelbon throwing a towel at the camera, except LeBron may have walked off to prevent that. On that end, you do have a point and I do think not shaking hands with the Cavs was a bitch thing to do.

I see what you are saying, but I think part of the reasoning for my point of view is pure speculation. I am assuming that LeBron wasn't just being an asshole and was going to say or do something he would regret after the game. I think the media secretly/not so secretly wanted to see him blow up and give them a story to cover...but I guess his walking off did that as well.

I think relievers are overrated in the category of statistics. Obviously, you need a good bullpen to have a good team in baseball, but the saves category is very misleading, as are some of the other categories that relievers get judged upon. It does rely on the position a reliever is put in and how good his team is.

Rivera is a clear #1, though I was surprised how good Wilhelm was. I probably knew how good he was when I was 9 years old but I had forgotten about him.

Martin said...

Don't be talking smack about my boy Hoyt! And yes I have no idea why he's a guy who I knew about and could discuss ever since I was young. Maybe because he was such an oddity as a relief pitcher. I've always thought since though that he's a sports geek kinda player. Nobody else would know who the hell he is, but once you've seen what he did, ya just kinda have to roll with it whenever he's brought up in a discussion like this one.

You're list is solid Ben, I might shuffle a couple guys aorund, but at that point it's adjusting ribbon on a wrapped package. The only guy I might change would be Tom Henke instead of Reardon.

Jeremy Conlin said...

I have to defend LeBron, because if I'm in that situation, I would do the exact same thing. And it isn't being a sore loser. It really isn't.

If I'm LeBron, why should I congratulate Orlando for doing something that, in my opinion, doesn't deserve congratulating. Nothing in those 6 games told me that Orlando was a better team. There were three games that could have gone either way and were complete washes (Games 1, 2, and 4). Games 5 and 6 cancel each other out (and I'm leaving out some mildly questionable officiating in Game 6), and Game 3 was the single worst officiated game from every standpoint since Game 5 of the '06 Finals. I can draw no conclusions from those games.

Therefore, I'm going to go with what I can draw conclusions from, the regular season and the first 2 rounds of the playoffs, and in both cases, Cleveland performed better, period. So, in my opinion, Cleveland had the superior team. So what am I congratulating Orlando on? Being the beneficiary of horrific officiating? I don't see how that makes sense.

And at least to me, the problem extends beyond sports. This country's economy is going down the tubes, and one of the reasons is we promote people just for showing up for work every day. We're rewarding mediocrity when we shouldn't be. Let's say 10 years from now I have a son, and he goes 0-4 with 4 strikeouts in his Little League game. Should I tell him he played well? Of course not! I should say he tried his best, or he gave good effort, or whatever. Why are we treating everyone the same when we have hundreds of thousands of years of evidence that tell us that everyone isn't the same?

Professional athletes are competitive. They don't like to lose. We expect them to compete to their fullest abilities during the game. But as soon as the game is over, we should pretend that the same hyper-competitive athletes aren't affected by whether they won or lost? Does that make any sense? Why should LeBron go over and admit to Dwight Howard that the Magic out-played them in Game 6? Dwight Howard is his adversary. It's in LeBron's best interest as a basketball player to try to gain any advantage he can, whether it's physical or mental. Why should he hand over that psychological advantage to Howard? If I'm LeBron, I don't want Howard to think that he can beat me. I want him to think that he can only beat me with help from the refs.

And if I'm a parent, I'm not showing my kids the NBA for a lesson in sportsmanship. I'm showing them the NBA so that they can see the best athletes on the planet perform extraordinary tasks. It's not LeBron's job to teach kids good sportsmanship. That's my job, as a parent. And if my son wants to act like that, I tell him that he can, once he signs a $110 Million contract in the NBA.

If you want to criticize someone in the NBA, point your finger at guys like Vince Carter and Larry Hughes, who have essentially been stealing NBA paychecks for the better part of 10 years. Their job is to win basketball games, and they perform their job poorly. They have the ability to perform their job well, but they choose not to. If you're going to criticize, criticize them.

End of Rambling.

ivn said...

Jeremy, I see what you mean, but saying something like "why should I congratulate Orlando for doing something that, in my opinion, doesn't deserve congratulating. Nothing in those 6 games told me that Orlando was a better team," is pretty much a textbook case being in a sore loser. Cleveland is the better team for running up the score on the likes of the New Jersey Nets and the Memphis Grizzlies? A better team for sweeping a sub-.500 "playoff" team? Give me a break. Isn't saying "three of those games could have gone the other way!" is essentially admitting that one team was better than the other?

if you blow three 20-point leads in one playoff series you really aren't the better team, I'm sorry.

what annoys me about the LeBron situation is more about how the MVP and Cleveland's team "leader" (well, he at least leads them into singing and dancing to Rick fucking Astley when they're blowing someone out; when they lose it's obviously everyone else's fault) completely blew off his team and left them twisting in the wind after they lost.

KentAllard said...

Add me to those giving props to Hoyt Wilhelm. It's very difficult to compare relievers of the older era, who were expected to pitch a lot longer in a game than today, but Hoyt was a helluva pitcher. You've also got to admire a guy who hits a home run in his first at bat in the majors, says "done that" and never does it again, even though he played forever. :-)

Watching guys like Niekro, Wilhelm, Wilbur Wood, etc. throw the knuckler was something else. When they were on, they could make the ball do strange things. My wife was a huge Phil Niekro fan; after the Braves treated him badly in 1983, she turned against them and has never gotten over it.

Bengoodfella said...

I looked at Henke and thought Reardon was a little better based on the numbers, though I could of course be wrong. I think Hoyt Wilhelm is a player on a game I used to play and I liked pitching with him because of that knuckleball. The list of relievers was kind of difficult for me.

My only real point, regardless of which team was better, is that LeBron was probably pretty pissed off after losing to the Magic and did not want to say or do anything that he would later regret. Not that it excuses his not shaking their hands after the game, but in the end he may not have felt up to discussing the loss at that point. It may make him a baby in the eyes of many.

I don't think it was right to leave his teammates hanging in the wind like that and defending him at a press conference but they left him hanging many times this year. I would say they owe him one when he is not in the mood to talk. As I said before, I think reporters and columnists just really wanted LeBron to bash his teammates so they would have something to talk about. I don't know if he took the high road but he definitely made sure his kept his negative emotions of the limelight.

Jeremy, unfortunately you are like me. Positive reinforcement for kids is a good thing so they don't grow up and think everyone hates them, but when I meet some kids these days I think they need a little bit less reinforcement and some reality checks. That's a different story I guess than what we are talking about.

Please don't give me free rein to accuse Vince Carter of stealing money or anything of the like. I will completely take you up on that. He could never be Michael Jordan, but he also doesn't give a shit about even trying.

Ivn, I will agree with you about the Cavs blowing those leads. I don't know if that is a sign they are the better team, of course they also had big leads to blow, so at some point in the game they got it together, but lost it I guess. I don't have a real strong case on this one, I realize that, but saying the other team is not better is either being a sore loser or having too much confidence when you can't back it up. The walking off the court thing did not bother me that much really, I just think everyone wanted a show and he did not gite it to them.

Bengoodfella said...

Why don't more pitchers throw a knuckleball? If you perfect it, then you have a great chance at success in the majors. Of course first you have to perfect it, but it is easier on the arm and it is tough as shit to hit, unless you are Aaron Boone.

Fred Trigger said...

I think because a knuckleball is insanely tough to throw, and to master it is a whole different story. The sox brought up a pitcher, Charlie Zink, who featured a knuckleball. Only problem was it just kind of dropped like a curveball, instead of dancing like Wakefields does, so he got smacked around. R.A Dickey is another one to feature the knuckler and if you look up his career stats you will find that just because you throw a knuckler, doesnt mean you will have success. Unless your names are Niekro, Wilhelm, Wood, Candiotti, Hough, or Wakefield.

Martin said...

Tossing out game 3, which I didn't see, but let's say it was a badly officiated game. I did see 6, and the officiating didn't seem any worse then any other game in these playoffs. Based on that, the Magic are still better 60% of the time. 3-2. Just because a game could have gone either way means nothing. The Magic won. If the Magic win 10 games in a row that could have gone either way, are we suppossed to believe that the Cavs are the better team? The giving of more credit to the team that LOST close games then the team that WON 2 of the 3 close games is silly. The not shaking hands doesn't mean squat to me, but the fact that he could shower, get dressed and still be a pouting sore loser by not addressing the media is evidence that this was more then just a spur of the moment thing. This was someone who was pissed that he lost, and showed no respect for anybody else involved, on his own team, in the NBA, or on the Magic by leaving like a 12 year old who didn't get the last piece of pizza.

On the other hand...Top 10 Pitchers
in no particular order.

Lefty Grove
Grover Alexander
Walter Johnson
Christy Matthewson
Steve Carlton
Bob Gibson
Warren Spahn
Randy Johnson
Pedro Martinez
Greg Maddux

Special Mention, Sandy Koufax

Cy Young, Roger Clemens. One was truly dominate, but in an era that was so completely different as to almost be another game with Young. The other could take the place of 3-5 guys on that list, but someone had to get left out, and the guy who has looked so pathetic during the PED scandal gets the nod.

Spahn and Koufax are to me a sort of yin and yang. Spahn has his overall stats weighed down by some down years the last couple years he was active, but was a model of high end consistancy for years. Koufax was absolutly brilliant for 5 full years in his career, to the point that it overwhelms a sluggish start to his injury shortened playing days. Astounding fact about him, in his second to last year, he started 41 games, completed 27 and he had 2 saves. Somehow his manager thought a guy with a chronicly bad elbow should be relieving twice in that year. At his peak 4 years, he might have been the best pitcher ever. I jsut don't think that those 5 fantastic years are enough to make him in the 10 Best though.

One thing I think this list shows is that any modern reliever in the top 20 best pitchers ever is probably a stretch. A pretty big stretch. Guys who got left off...

Whitey Ford
Nolan Ryan
Juan Marichal
Carl Hubbell
Tom Seaver
Jim Palmer
Bob Feller, who lost 4 of the prime years of his fighting in WW2.

There's 20 right there.

Bengoodfella said...

Fred, fine hit me with logic. I still think it would be cool if a player tried to perfect the knuckleball like Wakefield. They spend so much time on all the other pitches and if they spent time seeing if they could throw a good knuckler, it would be fun to watch.

Martin, I think the Magic were clearly the better team, no matter how the game was officiated. The games were close but the Magic ended up winning them, so I give them credit. I think I am bored with defending LeBron at this point. He acted like a baby and he decided leaving the court and not shaking hands and doing a press conference was the lesser of two evils, rather than saying something he would regret. He may have been wrong.

That's a pretty good list, though Chris W and I discussed this a couple of weeks ago and we would replace Spahn with Koufax. You are right they are the ying and yang because one person had prolonged success and the other person had short success that was pretty awesome, so which one is better? I think we decided in this situation we would go with the short success. Really, there is no way to be wrong anyway.

A manager today would never put Koufax in for two appearances in relief. The fans and writers would tear him apart. It is hard to put a reliever in the category of top pitchers of all time, though I think Rivera would be the one who could make it if we did that. Imagine Bob Feller's numbers if he did not go to WWII...

Overall, pretty good list, though I would move Seaver up the list a little and try to sneak Tom Glavine in there somewhere just to be a homer.

The Casey said...

I wonder if those two games were extra-inning affairs or something. If it's the 14th, there may not have been anyone else to pitch.

I don't think LeBron put that much thought into it. I think we was just pissed at a variety of people, including himself, and would have been just as likely to suckerpunch someone as shake their hand.

I have worked 12-hour shifts in a factory, and I didn't want to shake anyone's hand when I got off work. I wanted to have a couple of beers and go to sleep.

Bengoodfella said...

I need to hire someone to do research for this blog. Kind of like Stat Boy for PTI. I would bet that they may have been extra inning games because that doesn't seem to make a lot of sense.

I was not trying to defend LeBron James but I have been angry enough after a sporting event to not shake an opponent's hand, and that was in tennis and that is a HUGE no-no. The guy was a cheating asshole so I didn't even feel bad.

I haven't worked 12 hour shifts in a factory or anything but I can imagine I would just want to go to bed. I would skip the beer and sleep.