Monday, December 1, 2008
After getting done gritting my teeth over another "say goodbye to the lovable, awesome Phoenix Suns of old" type article the other day - and spending the requisite time cursing Shaquille O'Neal's improbable name - it occurred to me that my favorite teams employed quite a few scoundrels, varmints and general dick heads.
Sure, Shaq is personable. And occasionally hilarious with his monotone, space cadet delivery. But on the strength of Steve Kerr's conspiratorial aim to dismantle the Suns, Shaq managed to de-ball the only watchable team in the NBA.
With my hatred of Shaq boiling, let's take a look of other guys I hated even as they wore my favorite pieces of laundry:
The Giants are kicking an astounding amount of ass lately, but there have been far more instances of Big Blue kicking me in the balls. Thankfully, the most painful memories erased themselves from my brain thanks to the passage of time and ... college. Really, all that lingers from the REALLY bad days is a fear of Danny Kanell and a deep hatred of Dan Reeves.
So, really, the most distinct era before Eli took over involved coaches pushing the chips in, making bad poker analogies and Kerry Collins turning the ball over in the clutch. But as uncomfortable as it was to watch Collins bumble around like, well, a recovering alcoholic, no player drew my ire quite like Ron Dayne.
Before Ricky Williams bonged his way to the all-time NCAA rushing record, Dayne wrecked shit at the University of Wisconsin. Despite his collegiate heroics, most NFL teams had a small problem with him being kind of a fat, slow piece of shit who couldn't break a goddamn tackle.
Sadly, the Giants were not one of those teams. They drafted him and - mainly because of Tiki Barber starting his run at calling a co-host "a medal cunt" - the New York media dubbed him "Thunder" in "Thunder and Lightning." Sadly, a more appropriate moniker would have been "Blubber and Fumbling."
Being that baseball is approximately my 50th favorite sport, watching a shaky closer come to the mound is not a typical feeling for me. But watching Dayne amble onto the field probably produced the closest comparison: every time he would touch the ball, something awful would happen.
Watching Dayne run the ball is the NFL's equivalent to an endless loop of the Pre-Getting the Girl part of bland romantic comedies. Tedious and terrible. You just cannot wait until it is over.
Pittsburgh Penguins are treated a lot like UN ambassadors in my world. They are allowed to commit minor crimes and parking violations with nary a batted eyelash.
But there still were a few guys I hoped would crash through the ice and somehow drown.
Although he served the Pens with reasonable vigor, it never sat right with me to see the villainous John Leclair in a Penguins uniform. And, as if the karma of such a move wasn't questionable, don't forget that Leclair was involved in an on-ice collision that made Evgeni Malkin's wild rookie season that much more difficult.
The bigger douche, though, was probably Matthew Barnaby. Simply being himself was bad enough, but the Pens traded Stu Barnes for that meddlesome douche. Now, that will not do.
A Rod = the final nail in baseball's coffin.
So, those are the guys who found a way to bypass loyalties and bias and earn good, old fashioned disdain. What about you, wary reader? Which players stirred up your inner Philly fan? Who are the guys you wanted to pelt with boos and batteries?