Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Top 5 Most Hopeless Franchises in the NBA, NFL, and MLB

The three big ones--in other words, screw hockey. I was feeling another sports Top 5.

Ryan's Top 5:

1. Washington Nationals - The Nationals have a long way to go. Cristian Guzman currently is their best offensive player, Lastings Milledge has the team lead in RBI (followed by Jesus Flores), and their pitching is scant. It's harder to turn around a franchise in baseball than in the NBA and NFL, so the Nationals get the nod over the teams to follow. They continue to employ Jim Bowden.

2. Miami Dolphins - The NFL is the league of parity, but you need some parts before that can happen. The Dolphins need way too much magic to happen at too many positions for them to become good. For starters they need one of their quarterbacks to become good, and by good I mean decent, and by decent I mean mediocre, like, better than Rex Grossman. I don't know if that can happen.

3. Memphis Grizzlies - This is probably a bit high, now that I think about it, I mean they do have that Spanish force in the low-post... oh no wait, they traded him to the Lakers for a can of beans. Yeah, you're going to need an inside presence to compete in the Western Conference. So they draft one (Kevin Love) and trade him away (for OJ Mayo). I just don't see it happening for a while, guys.

4. New York Knicks - The Celtics proved you can turn around a horrible team pretty quick in the NBA. That said, you need to have the parts to pull off trades like that. There's talk of them getting LeBron James in a couple years. OK, so, James goes from a Cleveland team with a poor supporting cast to a New York team with a worse supporting cast? Great, the Knicks will be able to make the playoffs in the wacky all-inclusive NBA and get beat in the first round. They need to make a play for an inside guy.

5. Seattle Mariners - Richie Sexson sucks. Jeremy Reed sucks. Kenji Johjima sucks. Adrian Beltre sucks. Carlos Silva sucks. Jarrod Washburn sucks. R.A. Dickey really sucks. Erik Bedard is getting paid way too much money. Etc. OK, they have money so they probably have a decent-ish shot of turning it around, but still, they deserve mention, because they really suck.

Honorable mentions: Kansas City Chiefs (as long as Carl Petersen is around, who knows what's going to happen...oh, right everyone--we're going to lose. Brodie Croyle does not inspire confidence and Larry Johnson is still owed too much money), Atlanta Falcons, Los Angeles Clippers, Atlanta Braves (I hate the Braves), Denver Broncos (Jay Cutler sucks)

Dan's Top 5:

1. The Pittsburgh Pirates - The worst thing that Barry Bonds ever did (beyond steroid abuse and leaving an irreparable stain on the entire game) was kill the Pirates. Since the very early 90's, the Pirates haven't had a winning season - that's 15 straight years under .500. This season, from what I can tell, Nady and McLouth have led the Pirates to their best first half in years, and they're still 41-47 (only one game ahead of last place). If they manage to have another losing season, they'll have broken the record. After my Cubs win a World Series - which may even happen this year - The Pirates are becoming my new masochist-fan team.

2. The Oakland Raiders - Remember the last time the Raiders were good? Yeah, me neither. I was too busy graduating from high school. I do remember them having Jerry Rice, the greatest receiver in the game's history, and still falling short. The only thing that keeps this team alive are the crazy, god-awful Raiders Fans. They are like cockroaches. Over the past five seasons, the team hasn't achieved more than 5 wins, so I equate that to about two nuclear blasts. But the fans are still there. Only good thing about the Raiders? DeAngelo Hall. And that's a personal bonus more than anything.

3. Seattle Supersonics - Quite literally a hopeless franchise, as the team is packing its bags - borrowed from the Expos - and are headed to glorious Oklahoma City. About the only good thing they have going for them is Kevin Durant, who doesn't seem to be enough to get the team to even break .250. Have fun trying to climb out of the league's basement and win fans in a new location at the same time.

4. Washington Nationals - Man, this team blows. Good thing I hate them.

5. Atlanta Falcons - Really, I think that if they just sort out the quarterback position and adjust their game plan into something that isn't Vick-centric, they should be able to do moderately well. Their place here is more of a testament to how reliant they were on a single player. Perhaps they should take a page from modern businesses and do background checks on their players before they sign them. It could have saved a lot of money in Michael Vick merchandise that has to be burned.

Tim's Top 5:

Might as well start where we all know I’m going to start –

1. Cincinnati Bengals – This team was great enough to make the playoffs once in the last 17 years, and on their first offensive play, Carson Palmer goes down with a knee injury. They have been in defensive rebuilding mode since…Tim Krumrie broke his leg and haven’t been able to draft impact players because they’re too busy replacing injured players (Chris Perry’s hurt? Draft Kenny Irons in the second round!), suspended players (way to go, Odell Thurman and Chris Henry), players threatening to hold out (We’ll show Chad Johnson, we’ll replace him with three rookies) or shitty players (everyone else). The good news is that the team is one step from returning to playoff contention. Unfortunately, that step is going to be really difficult, since there’s not that many elevator shafts that owner Mike Brown could fall into.

2. New York Knicks – Because of basketball’s funky salary cap, it’s hard for teams to make an impact via free agency, and it’s hard for any team that allows Isiah Thomas to run things to make any positive impact in anything. They had the highest payroll in the game, going way over the salary cap – a fact that I don’t even comprehend because of the NBA’s bizarre salary structure that says "Hey, Rashard Lewis…we have a salary cap, we can only pay you $20 million a year."

3. Washington Nationals – Ryan was spot on, this team isn’t going anywhere (in the standings), and it has no reason to, because it has no fans -- which is why they will be going somewhere (sorry, DC...). They threw a huge marketing campaign behind Nick Johnson and Dmitri Young. That tells you all you need to know about how bad this team was at the season’s outset – the players they considered their best…played the same position. Nick Johnson’s hurt again, Austin Kearns has scuffled all season, Milledge is okay, but nothing special. Really, all this team has to be excited about is Elijah Dukes playing adequately in recent weeks to give them a left fielder, and the team’s impending move to Las Vegas in 2018.

4. Pittsburgh Pirates – At least the Royals have cracked .500 in the last 15 years. Once. This team was supposed to be founded on a great young rotation – Duke, Snell, Maholm, Gorzelanny, … and who the hell cares who the fifth starter is! Did you read who the first four aces were? I’m not saying wrap up the World Series trophy…I’m saying pack it in foam, we have four young pitchers who can dominate games and turn this team around. Or…one (or fewer) of them is decent in any given season and they don’t pitch well until the team’s completely eliminated from contention for .500. This was one of the most loaded teams in baseball circa 1990. Since Drabek, Bonds, and Bonilla left via free agency, they’ve replaced none of them. Interesting fact – of the four pitchers I identified above, only one has a WHIP below 1.55 – Paul “Ten Finger” Maholm with a 1.31.

5. Chicago Bears – This team is a shambles. Their defense sucked last season, they chose the wrong running back in Cedric Benson, the wrong quarterback in Rex Grossman (or Kyle Orton), and their defense was awful last year too. They may still finish with a decent record, but that’s because they play in the dreadful NFC North. They make the list primarily because their hopelessness is so remarkable considering where the team was a year or two ago and because I want to dance on their grave, rather than the Arizona Cardinals, who mean nothing to me.

Honorable mention: Houston Astros – they put all their weight behind winning this year, trading a boatload of players for Miguel Tejada and dealing Brad Lidge for magic beans. They’re not going to win this year, so their team’s just getting older; Minnesota Timberwolves – before looking them up, I could name one player on their team – Rodney Carney, who was just traded to them by the Sixers; Carolina Panthers – who are hopeless only at meeting expectations, considering that every other year they’re supposed to be an amazing team and then they finish second or third in a really terrible division; Cincinnati Reds – they hired Dusty Baker. Enough said.; New England Patriots – sorry. I read 'hopeless' as 'shameless'.

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