I have many unpopular opinions/preferences. Here are 7 of them:
- Batman Begins is the best of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.
- Tiffany Haddish isn’t funny.
- Yuengling and Spotted Cow are just OK.
- Major League 2 was funnier than Major League.
- Mariah Carey is the greatest singer who ever lived.
- Hootie’s second album, the unpopular Fairweather Johnson, was better than Cracked Rear View.
- Whoppers are the best candy to eat at the movie theater.
And, I feel bad for Mitch Trubisky. I also feel bad for Addison Russell.
In the winter of 2017, I couldn’t believe Mitchell Trubisky was being considered as a top pick in the NFL Draft. I mean, I didn’t see it at all. Now I’m just a blogger sitting in my kitchen, but I saw him as a “3rd round & maybe stick in the league for a bit” guy. I lived in North Carolina when he was a backup (and made 13 starts) at North Carolina, and saw pretty much every game he played (and backed up). I saw him miss open receivers and lose to also-rans in the ACC.
I watched it, every week. And working alongside the sports media in the Triangle area gave me just a tiny bit of insight. Whoever got him into the conversation as a top draft pick is a GREAT public relations guy. Sure, he did have an OK season in 2016, and he’s muscle-y, pretty fast and has Quarterback Face…but 2nd overall????
He wasn’t (and isn’t) Deshaun Watson.
I consider Watson among the best college QBs I’ve ever seen. Clutch, fast, tough, smart, played on a winner. Living in that part of the country, you see every Clemson game as well. Watson was the most important player in the country, for a while.
And none of this is Mitch Trubisky’s fault. He’s just not a guy who should’ve been picked 2nd in the draft. I used to tell our basketball coaches when they were mad at referees, “You shouldn’t yell at Bill Covington. He’s just not good enough. Be mad at the assigner.” Chicago picking Trubisky at No. 2 in the draft (and trading up for him!) put him in a no-win situation.
If you gave anyone (anyone!) 5 minutes of video on each QB in college and a piece of paper listing their accomplishments, the choice would be easy. For anyone. Let alone people who are paid to evaluate football players.
Now, he’s over his head playing in Chicago (No. 3 media market with angry, mustachioed fans) and all of his failings are being dissected in the public. He’s 25 years old, under incredible pressure and scrutiny…and he’s not equipped physically or mentally to handle it. Bears GM Ryan Pace went on record this week saying that Trubisky will remain the starter in Chicago. Which is fine – they’re tied at the hip when it comes to fate. But the blame lies with management. As in basketball officiating, be mad at the assigner.
I feel bad for him.
I also feel for Addison Russell. To be clear, he shouldn’t be on the Chicago Cubs (or in MLB?) anymore. He can’t be. But here’s a young person who was under bright lights at 21 and probably found unsustainable success too soon. He drove in 95 runs and was an All-Star on a historic World Series team. Three years later, he’s a villain who can’t play and nobody wants him.
To be clear, he made much of this mess himself. He was placed on administrative league for 40 games after his ex-wife revealed allegations of his abuse against him. Heinous things. Big mistakes. He went through a long, arduous and very public rehabilitation and was allowed to play the 2019 season for an underachieving Cubs team. He was benched for mental mistakes (not knowing signs and throwing to wrong bases), underperformance (.308 OBP) and pretty much everything under the sun. He’s a distraction, just an OK player and probably not a good person. He’s likely not worth the trouble and MLB teams should proceed with caution before considering him.
But I feel bad for him. Here’s a young person, not terribly bright, having his shortcomings and weak moments played out in Chicago and across the world. He lost the ability to do the one thing that defined him. That’s a heavy situation for anyone. Without knowing the truth or having a lot of insight about him, I hope he and others find an equilibrium in life.
Whether Trubisky or Russell, I know I couldn’t handle the public scrutiny, the boos, the venom – and still have to go out there and produce on a blindingly bright stage. Neither young man is good enough. And for different reasons, I feel bad for both.
David Stern And Baseball
RIP to the legendary David Stern, NBA commissioner from 1984-2014 who might be the greatest pro sports commissioner ever (FIND SOME DEBATE ABOUT IT HERE). Alongside him, you have Pete Rozelle and Paul Tagliabue of the NFL and probably Bud Selig and Ford Frick of MLB. But Stern is probably the most famous due to his marketing wizardry and shrewd decision making.
The turning point for Stern and for the NBA came when he successfully leveraged the stars he was given. Magic and Bird from 1980-90 to make the league a national power. Michael Jordan from about 87-98 to take it global. You could say he got 2 lucky hands, but Stern played those brilliantly.
I can’t help but think baseball’s leadership is not doing the same thing with Mike Trout, the LA Angels outfielder who is numerically the best baseball player in the past 60 years.
Trout is a superhero from Philly who plays in the nation’s No. 2 media market. He’s unassuming and seems to shy from the spotlight, but he could walk down the street in Indianapolis, New Orleans and San Antonio unnoticed. That’s probably what he wants. But it’s not good for baseball, which could certainly do more to promote its stars. Kids should know who Mike Trout is and pretend to be like him, like I did in the driveway with Jordan.
Baseball’s leadership isn’t as good as Stern, but then again maybe nobody ever has been.
Here are 2 great pieces eulogizing David Stern:
- Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN: David Stern Was A Force Of Nature
- Howard Beck, Bleacher Report: My Encounters With David Stern…
Some College Sports Items
- DePaul University in Chicago is playing well early in the basketball season. A co-worker shared this video of some slick DOOH (digital-out-of-home) marketing they’re doing in Chicago to capitalize.
- So far…San Diego State is the best team I’ve seen this college basketball season.
- Shoutout to DePauw (in Greencastle, IN) University football coach Bill Lynch on his retirement. He was great to work with in 2012 at Butler – truly a first-class man.
Also, I want to share this video I shot at Ball State in early December. 5 am lift in ugly Christmas pajamas!
Picture Of My Kids
End On A Joke
I really enjoyed Ronny Chieng’s Nexflix special Asian Comedian Destroys America! Full recommendation – here’s a clip.