By Chris Mitchell
2017 was filled with anarchy and insanity, and with a over a week in January gone, I wanted to relive my most vivid and lasting memories from the past year. We are living in Trump World, after all. We have seen that every famous man in the last 60 years has improperly touched someone somehow. George Bush Sr.? Richard Dreyfuss? I mean, we knew Pee Wee Herman couldn’t keep his hands in the proper places at the appropriate times decades ago, but now we know almost nobody could. We have seen that ravenous, naked dishonesty is perfectly acceptable as long as you aren’t Hillary Clinton. We have seen that if you live in Puerto Rico, power and drinkable water officially ain’t all that important. That’s right. According to our government, if you live in Florida or Texas it certainly does, but Puerto Rico… meh, it’s not that big of a deal. We have seen that an NFL organization known for decades of futility can somehow, actually be worse. We saw in baseball, a lot like Trump being rewarded for lying, that if you tank you can not only be rewarded, but praised for it. The list goes on and on and because it does I decided to actually make one. It isn’t exhaustive, but it’s something.
My Best and Worst of the Past Year
The 0-16 Cleveland Browns
If there is a merciful God it would be avoided, but it happened and I love it. I was more of a Grinch guy than an Ole St. Nick type at the holidays and this was futility at its most majestic. I love historic events. Epic volcanic eruptions, Noah’s Ark-esque floods, a three hour baseball game. They don’t happen often and while I don’t take pleasure in the suffering that goes along with epic tragedies, I love them as events. They’re my jam. They are a great point of reference. The Browns have been really bad almost every single year of my life, but now that they finished a year 0-16 there will never be another season from them that stands out from the rest. 0-16, fair or not, accurate or not, did that. “Wow. Sashi Brown really built a pound of poop in Cleveland with his foray into analytical football analysis.” I was not rooting for Browns fan misery. I was rooting for historically atrocious futility, regardless of whose sweater they were wearing when they did it, like when the Lions accomplished the feat. If things can get worse than 0-16 then I absolutely cannot F***ing wait to see it.
I am so so tired of this story. At this point he has become a caricature for people with causes to distort to suit their agenda. Those that support his “stance” have tried to make him out to be a civil rights trailblazer, while those that hate the protests have portrayed him as a flawed, unappreciative frontman of an Anti-American crusade. I don’t know where Kaepernick fits on the spectrum of nobility to infamy, but I love the Fro Yo. What I do know is that I am exhausted by the witless on Twitter who fight and claw to get recognized with the same moronic comments that are all variations of, “you’re telling me Kaepernick isn’t better than that?” “Kaepernick couldn’t have thrown four, not five interceptions?”
Jimmy Garoppolo’s last 6 games as 49er
1,565 total yds
7 TDS and 5 INTs
Colin Kaepernick’s last 6 games as 49er
65.1 % completion
1,305 total yards
9 TDs and 2 INTs
96.2 rating https://t.co/KiJfW3iMEx
— Exavier Pope (@exavierpope) January 5, 2018
People, let me try to make this simple. If Colin Kaepernick was more like Russell Wilson and not worse than Tyrod Taylor, he would have been on a roster in 2017. Michael Vick. Greg Hardy. The list of dubious characters that have been accepted by fans is lengthy and the reason is obvious, THEY COULD PLAY. At least do me this favor in 2018. Make your “witty” comments clever, insightful, something. Please Please Please stop with the “Kaepernick isn’t better than this guy??” Snark. It just ain’t good enough brah. Thank you in advance.
Wild Success: The 2017 Minnesota Twins
The Minnesota Twins were the worst team in baseball in 2016. They lost 103 games with an opening day payroll of $108 million – ranking them 18 out of 30 teams in total payroll. They paid almost a million dollars per loss. In November of 2016, they named Thad Levine Senior Vice President and General Manager. Their offseason “Hot Stove” moves amounted to agreeing to terms with future All-Stars like RHP Kyle Gibson, RHP Ryan Vogelsong, LHP Hector Santiago, RHP Brandon Kintzler and RHP Matt Belisle and then they proceeded to qualify for the American League WIld Card to face the $201 million Aaron Judge-led New York Yankees.
They managed to accomplish that while ranking 16th in home runs and 19th in Earned Run Average, but fourth best in both errors and Fielding Percentage. They had six pitchers start 14 games or more and only two had an ERA under 4.50 or a WHIP of less than 1.44 (Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios). In spite of these band of mediocre misfits, the Twins do have some talent, but to see it emerge like it did in 2017 was surprising. Byron Buxton began to show signs of becoming the star everyone always knew he would be. Miguel Sano and Brian Dozier slugged their way onto Fantasy radars while Eddie Rosario and Eduardo Escobar both smashed over 20 bombs. The lack of starting pitching and the expectation that guys like Rosario and Escobar will regress undoubtedly will lead to a swarm of doubters about the Twins’ chances in 2018, but to go from the worst to the Wild Card in a great sports state like Minnesota was a fantastic 2017 story.
Miami Marlins Sale
Who could have thought that replacing Jeffery Loria as owner of the Miami Marlins with baseball legend Derek Jeter, would have been worse for the organization’s future? Marlins fans have been grunting and growling about their displeasure with Loria for years. They finally got their wish and instead of bliss, the new owners proved the maxim, “Be careful what you ask for because you just might get it.” Instead of Jeter and his band of wealthies, Marlins fans got the same ole same ole. Another bait and switch. Bye bye Giancarlo, Mr. Ozuna and Dee Gordon too. It’s bad enough that they lost Jose Fernandez to a tragedy in 2016, but these wounds were self–inflicted. It’s ironic that Jeter came to take over A–Rod’s town, and while A–Rod has become a media darling, Jeter is already a south beach pariah. This team was a free agent investment away from being a World Series contender and instead they have bright neon signs up saying “bargain basement shopping, no marketable talent unavailable.” They could have had a World Series contender fronted by the Legend Derek Jeter and led by Giancarlo Stanton, the Wile E. Coyote Dee Gordon, the rambunctious Marcell Ozuna and Mr. Nice Guy, Christian Yelich. Only Major League Baseball could blow something so simple. Well, okay, so could the Cleveland Browns and the Trump administration. Incompetence comes in threes also, I guess.