Snubbed to Ticket Stubbed

Truth? Starbury couldn't handle the truth!

Truth? Starbury couldn't handle the truth!

He says all he has to do is, “get free,” and once that happens, then “people will be shocked.”

Just when you thought you’ve seen or heard it all in sports, defunct New York Knicks guard Stephon Marbury certainly held true to his prediction-the moment he was making it.

Actually, I’d be more shocked if he didn’t “get free” seats for last night’s game.

Marbury didn’t conduct his recent public interview with reporters while dressed in a Santa Claus outfit, handing out gifts to those in need in Manhattan. Instead he gift wrapped an early holiday present of a made-to-order headliner to the media when he decided to watch the Knicks vs. Lakers game as a spectator.

Yes, he bought his own ticket…for a game in Los Angeles.

I’m going against my principles. I haven’t even ripped Barry Bonds yet. But I can’t stomach this guy any longer, so I’m going to go ahead and insult the Coney Island native: If an X-ray of Marbury’s cranium was somehow made available to the public, it’s very possible we would see nothing but a housefly in there.

“All I’ve got to do is get free,” Marbury said at halftime of a Laker victory. “Once I get free, the team I’m going to go to, I think a lot of people will be shocked. All the people that say nobody wants me on their team… I’m all of these different things…Frank Isola said I’m a cancer … I’m doing my thing though.”

Frank Isola, one of the most respected NBA writers out there, just happened to be the first guy to publicly state what everyone else already knew. After last night, you officially went from “cancer” to “brain-dead stalker.”

The whereabouts of Marbury’s near playing future is as up in the air now as it will ever be. Would an NBA GM (not named Pat Riley) really be crazy enough to think the former All-Star could really give his team the boost it needs to win a championship, let alone sell tickets?

The first guy I would pay to watch in this league, believe it or not, is Chris Paul (with LeBron and Kobe right behind, of course). Hypothetically speaking, if I lived in New Orleans, and the Hornets were to pick up Marbury, I wouldn’t pay a dime to watch the team play. In fact, I wouldn’t even go for free.

I can’t support a team that supports this guy. I’m even having trouble supporting a league that does.

This is the United States of America, where grown men usually get TWO chances. How many will this degenerate receive, or better yet, how many does he deserve?

Thanks to Wikipedia.com, here is a  Marbury list of notable transgressions:

*1998: Marbury fell out with Timberwolves management stemming from a dispute with coaches about his role in the offense, and his agent David Falk demanded a trade during the lockout-shortened 1999 season.

*Towards the end of the 2005-2006 season, the Knicks’ poor performance combined with Marbury’s public spats with then head coach Larry Brown led to a severe decline in Marbury’s popularity, with Frank Isola and Michael O’Keefe of the New York Daily News stating that Marbury is “the most reviled athlete in New York.”

*The start of the 2007-08 season found the Knicks again floundering and Marbury again involved in a public feud, this time with Knicks coach and president Isiah Thomas.

*There were reports that Marbury and Thomas actually came to blows on the team plane, and that Marbury threatened to blackmail Thomas for taking him out of the starting lineup—both in the presence of Knick teammates.

*Marbury, a married father, testified that he had sex with the intern in his truck after a group outing to a strip club in 2005.

*Playoff series won by teams with Stephon Marbury on roster: 0.

Maybe you should concentrate on selling cheap shoes, Starbury.

"It's Starbury. I paid enough. You know where the bathroom is?"

Reporter: "Steph, Steph...how much did you pay for the ticket?" Marbury: "It's Starbury. I paid enough. You know where the bathroom is?"

Etched in Tomb Stone?

Suppose this is what K-Rod did after signing for $37 million dollars?

Suppose this is what K-Rod did after signing for $37 million dollars?

Both the Mets and Yankees had no choice.

The Mets had to sign Francisco Rodriguez.

The Yankees had to sign C.C. Sabathia.

As a result, the Mets arguably made K-Rod the best closer in the National League (neck and neck with Brad Lidge), and the Yankees made Sabathia, once again, the best starting pitcher in the American League (all due respect to Cliff Lee).

With that said, however, the mainstream media hasn’t exactly headlined these deals as slam-dunks. From most of the columns I’ve been reading and radio I’ve listened to, nobody is rushing to make Subway Series predictions, or even suggesting that each player will prove he was worth the money.

But which one of these big-ticket free agents is more likely to keep the reputation that made him absurdly rich in the first place? The Big Apple, historically, opens its pearly gates only for the high-priced pitcher to find a grave yard on the other side. Ask Randy Johnson, Carl Pavano, Jaret Wright, Kris Benson, Pedro Martinez or Billy Wagner.

The common sense/gut reaction pick would be K-Rod, right? Only needing to pitch one inning at a time (and we do mean one), he is replacing former closer Billy Wagner, who’s closing numbers plunged in consecutive seasons. Wagner did enough to avoid the “bust” tag, but the Mets still have to think they got an upgrade at closer with better overall price when you compare the contracts and body of professional work.

But let’s not forget that the Mets’ haven’t been the worst team in baseball in September over the last two seasons combined because of Billy Wagner. It’s impossible to name one guy out of the bullpen who has lived up to his role in Queens in a long time.

What will rub Met fans the wrong way is what K-Rod already has in common with Wagner off the field: a reputation to evade the media and not go the extra mile. The guys that so often think they aren’t obligated to speak to the beast that is the New York media, are the guys who often fail in that town. And by not offering his services in the 8th inning, K-Rod is not helping his cause.

Let’s not forget, in all probability, the Mets are only one more disappointing season away from gutting its personnel from the inside-out. Omar Minaya would be the first to go, and with the exception of David Wright, you would have to think that everyone else is trade bait after that. In retrospect, the extension that the Angels offered K-Rod during the 2008 season would then begin to look like the more logical choice for the 26-year-old.

Then there’s Sabathia, who after signing the richest contract for a pitcher in history, now not only has so much to spend, but even more to lose. If the Yankees stitched their players’ last names on the back of their Jerseys, let’s just assume C.C.’s would look like this: $abathia.

Sabathia is a guy who now carries the burden of four stigmas (in order now): 1.) Makes too much money 2.) Can’t win the big game. 3.) When he’s off, its because he’s out of shape. 4.) When he’s on, he’s electric.

Sabathia is going to hear the same questions 100x’s over surrounding all four of the aforementioned characteristics in which he is most often identified. Is he going to be able to handle that?

If both of these young stars are to continue to juggle the monumental task of playing in New York at a high level with more cash than they know what to do with, then they’ll need to adopt the “can’t beat them, so cooperate with them” philosophy with the media.

That's not LeBron in '05. That's C.C. Sabathia, the richest pitcher in baseball.

That's not LeBron at a Browns game. That's C.C. Sabathia, the richest pitcher in baseball.

Electoral College Football

If the American people can vote for President of the United States, then why not for the participants of the BCS Championship Game?

If the American people can vote for President of the United States, then why not do the same for the participants of the BCS Championship Game?

In December, 2012, a little more than a month after we decide whether or not to re-elect Barack Obama for President of the United States, we should be sending our ballots in the mail once again.

This time, we will ultimately get to decide who we want to invest four hours of our time for the right to play football on a Monday night in mid-January. That’s right, we should vote to decide who gets the rights to play in the BCS National Championship game of I-A college football.

Here’s what I propose:

1.)    First and foremost, we need to form an electoral institution. So without further endue, let’s just go ahead and exercise conventional wisdom and hand the duties to ESPN. An appointment of this magnitude would create 1,000’s of jobs, in which The World Wide Leader could subsidize (and eventually rake in profits) through months of advertising.
2.)    One big advantage behind the voting process is early registration. The voters can begin to register online well before the season begins through ESPN’s newly created state-by-state websites. Voters (adults only) would need to be registered at least a month before the ballots are to be postmarked, which is the Tuesday following the release of the final regular season BCS standings.
3.)    To prevent as many potential voting inconveniences as possible (i.e.: ballot lost in mail, insufficient time for ESPN to correctly count votes, etc.) the ballot itself will be sent out a few weeks before the conclusion of the regular season, listing every BCS eligible team. The voter, however, can only choose two (and must choose two) of the top five teams in the final BCS standings for which they desire to see play in the BCS National Championship Game. No write-ins, and only a fraction of a possibility of taking a vote away from a top-five team presents itself. The ballot, of course, will not present the updated BCS standings. Therefore, it will be up to the voter to find the necessary information on his/her own. This may sound burdening, but it will be the year 2012 for goodness sakes. Information like that is all around us in now, in 2008. ESPN will provide both state-issued hotlines and websites for registered voters who may have been locked in a closet for that particular week or two.
4.)    The two teams who receive the most overall votes, or popular vote, will play in the BCS Championship Game. Because the voting process will take more time to determine the final results as opposed to seasons past, the game itself will be pushed back a week.

When you consider the amount of dollars that a bowl game cashes in on (and amount of time to sell with), the idea that an eight-team playoff system will ever be installed still seems a little far-fetched. The playoff games, with only a week for sponsors to fanny shake and parade their product, will not appease corporate brass.

The only losers under this proposal could be the undefeated teams (like Boise State and Utah this season) from weaker or smaller conferences, because a playoff system gives them the best chance to compete for a national title. This minor problem can be fixed, however. The BCS could work a deal with the NCAA to restructure its contract in the case a big fish from a smaller pond does run the table, then one spot could be made available in the top five of the final standings, therefore making them championship game eligible. If it happened to be two teams, like this season, then maybe a play-in game could be worked out.

The only glaring concern that stands out to me is the idea that we as voters ultimately get to decide. But we have to remind ourselves that the media, coaches, BCS formula and a small group of teams dictate who makes up the top five anyways. This is a busy street, but the voters are guided across by hand. How much could voters screw up in selecting two of the top five teams to choose from?

For all you college football purists out there, you have nothing to lose. The Rose Bowl will still be played on January 1st, along with two handfuls of other bowl games on that same day. The rest of the BCS bowl games will still be played during their usual date and times as well.

An elected BCS Championship event would create a media buzz of unprecedented proportions. We’re talking Super Bowl-level hype, here. Like Presidential candidates, coaches and universities can campaign all season long, while the media will eagerly provide the platform for them to do it on.

We’re talking about an election day for sports fans, with results finalized by sports fans.

If I was a University President with a contending team, I would hire the funniest woman alive, Kristen Wiig as my spokeswoman.

If I was the University President of a contending team, I would hire the funniest woman alive, Kristen Wiig, as my spokesperson.