Hate-Watching the 2013 NFL Draft: A Timeline

“Come forth young players of the football, and prepare for thy first concussion.”

***

I don’t watch football anymore. I tried to watch the NFL Draft. This is how it went.

7:47 PM: ESPN cuts away to what is most likely their final commercial before the draft begins. There is an intense montage showcasing three athletic looking humans that I have never seen in my life. One of them is named Geno.

7:52 PM: Mel Kiper is yelling at me about Geno’s mobility. They don’t seem to be listing his home to first time, so it’s hard to say how fast he actually is.

7:57 PM:  They’re discussing potential top pick Eric Fisher who is approximately 7″4 and 478 lbs. He apparently plays on the offensive line which I assume is a line of similar 20 grade bodies who only profile at first base.

8:02 PM: Chris Berman seems already be intoxicated and I’m reminded that I know nothing about football anymore. I am delightfully content with this. “It’s as if we’re kicking off the season tonight!”, Berman exclaims. No. Just no.

8:04 PM: Commissioner Roger Goodell gives heartwarming introduction. While attempting to remember the victims of the West, Texas and Boston bombing tragedies, he is booed mercilessly by the drunken ballfoot fans of New York. USA chants break out. What the hell is this?

8:11 PM: Kiper mentions trading down for someone named Ryan Madson. I was almost positive he was on the DL, but maybe he’s draft eligible…? Not sure this would be the best career move for him. While admittedly the role as Angels closer is an intimidating task, entering the League of National Football seems ill-conceived.

8:12 PM: Barkevious Mingo sounds like an awful, awful disease. And is unquestionably straight from Key & Peele.

8:17 PM: The aforementioned unfathomably large Fisher is taken number one overall by the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s nice to be reminded that the #BARVES and the Indians aren’t the only professional teams left offending Native Americans on a daily basis.

8:20 PM: I switch over to the Reds-Nationals game and am instantly more entertained by Bronson Arroyo’s facial hair than anything that has happened in the NFL Draft so far. Bryce Harper doubles down the left field line because duh.

8:31 PM: Berman is yelling random stuff at Kiper and Jon Gruden and they literally don’t know how to respond, resulting in an uncomfortable amount of silence.

8:33 PM: The Raiders trade their pick to the Dolphins for some reason that I don’t care about but man oh man I wish teams could trade draft picks in the MLB draft.

8:35 PM: Miami takes a guy named Dion Jordan who is on the phone in tears and an underwhelming bow-tie. Gruden looks mortified. HOW COULD THEY DO THIS TO HIM ?!?!?!?!?! When asked about the trade, Jordan explains to Suzy Kolber “it surprised me, cause it’s my first time”. As opposed to…?

8:43 PM: I’m reminded that a lot of the music played over ESPN football highlights sounds like it’s straight from Mario Kart 64. The E-A-G-L-E-S take another large human named Lane Johnson. Lane’s VIP table in the back includes a young woman with braces (who I can only assume is related to Alcides Escobar) and a short old man with a 70 grade mustache and a cowboy hat.

8:47 PM: Chris Berman compares the draft to playing with Legos. Not sure where to go from here.

8:51 PM: With the fifth pick, The Lions take a guy who is apparently from Ghana named Ezekiel Ansah. He gives who I presume is his mother an extremely slow hug. He has cornrows and is wearing hipster glasses that I’m 83% sure do not have lenses. Wait no, 100% sure. Wow. Apparently he plays football.

8:55 PM: The Cleveland Oranges take Mingo. He looks like a fine upstanding citizen but more importantly HIS NAME IS LITERALLY BARKEVIOUS MINGO. HOW EVEN

9:10 PM: The St. Louis Rams take speedy WR Tavon Austin. Would Tavon be better than Trayvon in center field? These are the vital questions that ESPN fails to ask.

9:17 PM: The Jets are about to draft someone and everyone is going to boo. It’s the excessive pitching change of the NFL Draft.

9:18 PM: The Jets draft someone and everyone boos.

9:27 PM: The Titans, my favorite team as a child (RIP Steve McNair) draft an immense offensive lineman from Alabama who apparently could not find a jersey that fit him during his entire career there. Yay?

9:31 PM: I can’t take it anymore. I’m off to make more Darvish .gifs.

<3

Advertisements

Trades, Rivalry, and Youk

At first glance, the thought of Kevin Youkilis in a New York Yankees jersey seems wrong. The pinstripes just wouldn’t look right on a man so entrenched in “Red Sox lore”. Along with Dustin Pedroia, Youkilis opened the door for cliché after cliché to be slapped on Red Sox teams. They were gritty, they were gamers, they hustled, and boy were they scrappy. But why exactly does Youk signing with the Yanks feel so wrong to Sox fans? What does this signing have to say about the concept of rivalry? What really makes a fan’s stomach turn when they see a cornerstone of their favorite team sell their soul?

The simple answer is that rivals never trade. Well at least almost never. Take a look at baseball’s three biggest rivalries: Cubs and Cardinals, Dodgers and Giants, Yankees and Red Sox. The statistics are astounding.

The Yankees and Red Sox last traded in 1997; a deal that sent Tony Armas to the Sox in return for Mike Stanley. Other than a small purchase of waivers in 1994 the next deal between the two teams was in 1986 (Don Baylor to the Red Sox). The sports two biggest rivals have only traded twice since 1986. I was negative 9 in 1986. Thats a long time.

The Cards and Cubs last traded in 2002, when the Cubs shipped longtime journeyman pitcher Jeff Fassaro to the Cards for some players to be named later. Before that Todd Zeile got sent to Chi-Town in 1995. And before that was in 1980 when the Cardinals traded for an well-bearded Bruce Sutter. The Cardinals and Cubs have traded thrice since 1980. CNN was founded in 1980. Thats a long time. 

Of all the “rivals” the Giants and Dodgers have the most stingy trade relationship. They last traded in 2007, but the deal was small and was a career bench player traded to LA for a PTBNL. The most recent time before that was 27 years ago Tuesday, as the Dodgers shippedCandy Maldanado to the Giants. Before that it was 1968 when Ron Hunt when from the Dodgers to San Fran. 1968 was before the moon landing. And before that was in 1956 when the Dodgers tried to trade Jackie Robinson to the Giants for porn star Dick Littlefield and $30,000. Just think about how insane that is. Three trades since Jackie Robinson was valued around $30,000. THATS A LONG TIME.

When these rivals don’t trade with each other, it decreases turnover between the teams and increases a sense of continuity amongst the fan base. The lack of interaction between rivals could be interpreted as a lack of communication and hostility or it could just be an unwillingness from the front office to disappoint/alienate the fan base. There must be some sort of influence from the fan base because if it was only about improving the quality of the team on the field, the Dodgers and Giants would have traded more than 4 times since Ike was living it up in the Oval Office. This resistance towards transaction with rivals feeds back into the history between the two clubs, thus reinvigorating the sense of rivalry.

So now that we’ve established that 1956 was a long time ago and that rivals must hold back trading with each other for some reason, lets see why this has anything to do with people feeling sad about Kevin Youkilis. Considering how rare turnover between rival rosters is through trades, it makes the signings like Youk that much more shocking for the fan base. In recent memory each of these three rivalries has had a iconic players swap from one team to the other. All three were All Stars and faces of their respective franchises. And no I’m not talking Jose Vizcaino, Juan Uribe, and Alfredo Aceves.

Three very different players at three different points in their careers. Damon was probably at his peak, Kent just behind it, while Edmonds was pretty much done. It was hard for Giants, Cardinals, and Red Sox fans to see the former faces of their franchise make the conscious and well-thought out decision to play for the rival. Thats what really tugs at the heartstrings; the idea that those players bought into the concept of rivalry only to turn their back on an entire fan base. Of course thats not what the players are thinking at all. They are either trying to make as much money as possible or are just trying to survive one more season in the bigs. And hell, I wouldn’t mind living a year with a few jeers and insults if I was getting payed 12 Million Dollars to do it.

Jake Mintz