Where Bad Sports Journalism Came To Die

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Thursday, May 08, 2008


The Cold War

Sometimes we at FJM Headquarters receive so many emails about one particular article that we have no choice but to put aside our busy work as mild-mannered pension plan monitors and such and just like lay out the article for all to see. Such is the case with this pointless list of the "10 Worst Franchises in Sports," by a nefarious Russian named Dave Golokhov, from the venerable sports reporting media outlet I don't know about you, but I was raised never to trust a Ruskie. This is why.

10. Los Angeles Clippers

...Most of the Clippers' struggles can be traced to [Donald] Sterling. Their .365 franchise winning percentage is the third-worst in the NBA and the Clippers have only had two winning seasons since Sterling bought the team in 1981.

Fair enough. Though they did win 47 game a couple years ago...but yeah, they stink. Almost as bad as the Knicks.

9. Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies

The Vancouver Grizzlies were embarrassing in Canada and they haven't been much better since the move to Memphis. Vancouver compiled 56 wins throughout its first four seasons — a total that serious contenders top annually — and the team's downfall has been nightmarish draft days...

Okay, well, they kind of stink, too, but they did have three straight winning seasons from '03-04 to '05-06, including 50 wins that first year (though Jerry West is gone, I guess, so maybe that's old news). I don't know. I thought Rudy Gay was a great draft pick for them. Eh. They kind of stink too. But the Knicks definitely stink more. Can't wait to see where the Knicks rank on this list.

8. Atlanta Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks, averaging 28 wins per season between 1999-00 and 2007-08, were the Eastern Conference's whipping boy until the Charlotte Bobcats entered the league. The good news is that the Hawks are chock-full of upside since they've been selecting at the top of virtually every draft over the last decade. On paper, the Hawks have more potential than most teams, but they haven't learned to win or remove themselves from the worst sports franchises list.

Weird inclusion here, since they just stretched the 66-win Celtics to 7 games, and seem to have an awesome collection of young talent in the weak East. That Josh Smith fellow seems awfully good to me. This one is weird -- I would've put the Knicks here. But it's nowhere near as weird as number 7:

7. Minnesota Twins

"Moneyball" is to baseball what frugal is to cheap; it's a creative way of saying, "we're not going to pay for our stars or reward our veterans who have earned their keep."

There are 103 things wrong with this analogy. How many can you spot? Let me get you started: "Moneyball" has nothing to do with the Twins.

Sabermetrics and scientific stats are used to evaluate players and give a better indication of their worth, but teams like the Minnesota Twins use this strategy to kiss their superstars goodbye at the trade deadline or the first day of free agency.

Sometimes. Then they take the draft choices and turn them into young, excellent, cheap players who help them win baseball games at a rate that belies their small-market budget. This is called: being good at baseball management.

The Twins constantly sell proven veterans for prospects and draft picks, but when those youngsters finally develop, they get shipped away to start the cycle again. The Twins incessantly look to the future and winning now is not a priority. Translation: the Twins care more about the dollars than about winning.

Twins win totals, 2002-2006: 94, 90, 92, 83, 96. Four division titles in five years. You're telling me that a team that won four division titles in a five year stretch ending in 2006 is the seventh worst franchise in all of sports?

You know who's a terrible director? Scorsese. Did you see Kundun? Booooo-ring.

Puzzling personnel plays: Trading Johan Santana and failing to re-sign Torii Hunter.

I'm with you, kind of, on Santana, though what were they gonna do? It seems like they were right about not accepting Kennedy and Cabrera from the Yankees...maybe Lester and some other Sox prospects would have been better, but time will tell. As for Toriiii, well, let's look at that signing when the contract is up and see if the Angels got their money's worth. (Spoiler alert: they will have not gotten their money's worth.)

Remember ... 2002: A year removed from a contraction battle, the Minnesota Twins (under first-year manager Ron Gardenhire) make it to the American League Championship Series. With a solid roster and a light payroll, 2002 would have been the perfect season to sacrifice some future players to add some veteran players at the trade deadline and make a serious run. Instead, the Twins entered the playoffs with the youngest roster in the league and never stood a chance in the ALCS after beating fellow cheapskates, the Oakland Athletics, in the first round.'re bashing them for being "cheap" and following a "Moneyball" philosophy, because in 2002, with the 4th lowest payroll in the sport, they got all the way to the fucking ALCS. They were one of the 4 best teams in the league that year. And another one of the best teams was the Oakland A's, about whom the book "Moneyball" was written.

You know who didn't make it as far as the $41m Twins that year? The $132m Yankees, or the $108m Red Sox, or the $105m Rangers, or the $103m DBacks, or the $101m Dodgers. And this means the Twins are a bad franchise?

Congratulations! That is bone-dumb.

#6 is the Bruins. 5 is the Detroit Lions.

4. Tampa Bay Rays

Expansion teams are typically a laughingstock for a few years, but in the Rays' case it's been permanent. In fact, a perennial assumption is that the Rays will finish fifth in their division. The Rays' best finish was in 2004, when they climbed to fourth in the American League East. They have finished fifth every other season and have never won more than 70 games.

More inexplicability here. Have you seen the Rays play? They're kind of awesome. They just locked up Evan Longoria. Shields is awesome. Upton is awesome. Kazmir is awesome when he's not hurt. Crawford is awesome. Obviously they won't come out of the East, but damn, that team is fun to watch. Two years ago you would've had something. Now, this just looks like you haven't done any research. I haven't even mentioned the Knicks yet.

3. Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals logo appears next to "loser" in the NFL dictionary. The Cardinals have made just four playoff appearances in 45 years since Bill Bidwill got his hands on the team. Bidwill is known as a cheapo, which explains why the Cardinals are always short on star power and talent. The closest they've come to success was when Cuba Gooding, Jr. as Rod Tidwell, in the movie "Jerry McGuire," wore a Cardinals jersey.

I guess it's hard to argue this when you look at the last like 30 years, but again -- they won 8 games last year and were 7th in the league in points scored. If I were making this list, I would look for teams that are not only currently bad, but have bleak futures. Like the New York Knicks, who I assume will be listed here very shortly.

2. Kansas City Royals

Fine. Sure. They aren't very good. I guess that means the Knicks are #1?

1. Pittsburgh Pirates

Okay. That's fair. They are pretty rough. So, the Knicks are # 1/2?




Damn Ruskies did it to me again.

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