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Steve Kerr

Pure.

 

Stephen Douglas Kerr is the most accurate three point shooter in NBA history.  In that way he is not mediocre.  However, the fact that he brought very little else to the table is what makes him mediocre.

Steve Kerr was born in  Beirut, Lebanon of all places.  Are you with me in thinking that Steve doesn’t look middle eastern at all?  Here’s why:  His father, Malcolm, was an academic sort who specialized in the Middle East.    Steve split his high school time between sunny California and the even sunnier Cairo, Egypt.  Upon graduating from high school, Steve accepted a basketball scholarship to the University of Arizona.  In 1984, when Steve was just an 18 year old freshman, his father was assassinated in in Beirut by supposed nationalists in Lebanon.  Yikes.

Steve continued his play at Arizona and started at the point there for three plus seasons even though he was commonly referred to as being “two steps too slow”.  During Steve’s senior season he teamed with Sean Elliott (mediocre) and Kenny Lofton (Big Dog) to lead the Wildcats to the Final Four.  In that senior season, Kerr hit 57% of his three point attempts, an NCAA record to this day.

Kerr was drafted by Phoenix and traded to the Cavs for a second round pick.  Kerr would spend his first three seasons with the Cavs and forming a white out in the backcourt with the immortal Craig Ehlo.  Steve was traded in the middle of the 1992 season to the Magic before signing a free agent deal with the Chicago Bulls prior to the 1993 season.  It was in that 1993-94 season (without Michael Jordan) that Kerr set his career high for scoring when he dropped in a respectable 8.6 points per game.  During his first four seasons with the Bulls, Kerr was phenomenally consistent.  In those four years he scoring average ranged from 8.1-8.6 a game while playing between 22-24 minutes a game.  He had finally found his role.

Kerr won four Champions in a row, three with the Bulls and one with the Spurs.  He was a member of the legendary 72-10 Bulls team in 1995-96.  Kerr wrapped up his career with 5 rings (3 with chicago, 2 with San Antonio) and was the winner of the 3pt shoot out at the 1997 All Star Game.  Many three point shooters are classified as “gunners”, not Steve Kerr.  Kerr knew where to be and when to be there.  He was a calculated marksman.

Kerr would go on to be the General Manager of the Phoenix Suns, where he did a pretty mediocre job before returning to the sidelines to call NBA games where he is one of the best in the business.  I am pretty confident that Steve Kerr, right now at the age of 46 could step onto the court of an NBA game and knock down a big-time three pointer if he had to.

Tim Tebow

“Dude, I’m sure, I’m totally into girls.”

 

Mediocre: of only ordinary or moderate quality; neither good nor bad.

I think this fits Tim Tebow to a tee (pun intended).  Tim Tebow is not a good quarterback.  His completion percentage is awful and he cannot throw the ball downfield.  However, I think he would probably make a decent third-down back in the NFL or maybe a possession receiver.  Put all of this together and I think you have a perfectly mediocre football player.

Tim Tebow is the Derek Jeter of the NFL, but without the talent.  I’ll be the first in line for the Jeter-haters.  He’ll endorse any product that flashes him the cash and he is beloved by almost everyone and I’m not sure most of them can tell you why.  I find that annoying.  That is my personal problem, I admit.  However, I can admit that Jeter has talent.  He has hung around for about 20 years and he has reached some very lofty personal accomplishments.  Tebow is just not that guy.  I don’t see him reaching any sort of major milestone.

I live in the state of Florida.  I hear about Tebow all of the time.  If you think the media is obsessed with him where you live, you outta come doawn to northeast Florida, it’s nuts.  Tebow played high school football for Nease HS even though he never went to school there.  Tebow was home-schooled for all of his pre-college years.  You know what they say about hom-schooled kids, they are big time weirdos.  I can only assume that Tebow is no different.  However, Tebow was a beast at Nease and continued his roll at the University of Florida.

I’m not going to debate Tebow’s dominance in college football.  He was the man at Florida in the same way that Charlie Ward was the man at Florida State.  The same way in that Danny Wuerffel was the man with the Gators.  All three of these guys (and the list goes on) were great in college.  However, none of these guys really projected as NFL talents.  Wuerffel never really accomplished anything in the NFL and Charlie Ward took his talents to the NBA and never even bothered trying to make it in the NFL.  Ward was too short and didn’t really have the throwing skills that would translate into NFL success;  sound familiar?

Since arriving in the NFL in 2010, Tebow has picked up the annoying reputation as a “winner”.  People said the same shit about Trent Dilfer.  This is basically a word for a white guy that generally is not very good at what he does, but his team does pretty well anyway.  Tebow is this guy.  Tebow has a record of 8-6 as a starter.  That’s borderline playoff level in the NFL and is quite possibly the least anyone has ever done to be labeled a “winner”.

Statistically, as a passer, there is just not a lot of good you can say about Timmy.  He led the NFL in fumbles in 2011 even though he only started 11 games.  He completed only 46% of his passes which is something he really should be embarrassed about.  That is shameful.  He was very seldom asked to thrown the ball down field, and while throwing only short passes, still fell below the half way mark.

Since 1980, only 20 QBs have thrown at least 270 passes and completed less than half of them.  Some of the guys with better completion percentages than 2011 Tim Tebow are: Bubby Brister, the rookie version of Kerry Collins, and the legendary Joey Harrington.  In fact, his 46.5% completion mark is the WORST in the NFL since Rusty Hilger’s big year in 1988.  That’s right, Tim Tebow is the least accurate quarterback of the last quarter century.

Tebow is a dynamic running threat.  No one can deny that.  He ran for 660 yards last season.  I think that actually sums him up about right.  Tim Tebow is a running back that can get you between 500-900 yards a season if you play him in the right situation.  There is nothing wrong with that.  I am Detroit Lions fan and they could really use him at RB since they already have a real quarterback.

What really grinds my gears about Tebow is just how much you are forced to hear about the guy even though he’s just not that good.  He has made it so I just don’t watch ESPN during the NFL season.  That may seem extreme to you but it was just much easier to go about my day-to-day if I cut down my Tebow intake.  Check out this really annoying quote from what I assume is a very annoying advertising strategist (most soulless job in the world?):

“He’s become an icon; he’s bigger than football, I can’t see him beating New England (on Sunday) but I didn’t see him beating Pittsburgh, either. But that’s the thing with this guy — he keeps defying logic. Everybody keeps waiting for him to fail but it doesn’t happen. He has the kind of marketing potential that could put him in the Tom Brady or Peyton Manning category.”

Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are icons and Hall of Fame quarterbacks.  I know this is from an advertising standpoint and not totally based on his skill as a player, but seriously, how bad does this guy have to play for people to stop talking about him?  I would assume that they are plenty of attractive, white, Christian men in the NFL, why am I not hearing about them?

Tebow is a tough guy to write about because there really are not a lot of statistics on the guy just yet.  He’s only been around for 23 NFL games.  On that note, I will say this:  Sure, he may turn it around and continue to “shock the world”.  However, I think there’s a much larger chance he follows the career path of Kordell Stewart.  Flashes of excitement tied to his versatility.  Then someone will really hand him the starting QB job and we’ll see that he’s really lot that great in large doses.  We’ll see.

 

Seriously, look how old Jamie Moyer is!!

Fans of Mediocrity is making a comeback!  Just like the mediocre comebacks of Randy Moss, Ricky Williams, and Michael’s Jordan’s Wizard days, we aspire to (at the very best) pick up where we left off.  We’ll probably be a step slower, but what we lost in footspeed and hops, we will make up for in guts and guile.  Thanks for caring and we are excited to be back.

Matt Stairs

Matt Stairs is a man of many uniforms.

Months ago, when this site was still active, a reader suggested a post on Matt Stairs.  Since the writers of the blog took an unannounced 10 month break, it is doubtful that reader is still active here on the site, but if you are, this one is for you.

Everything I have ever read or heard about Matt Stairs is awesome.  I know that’s a big statement, but I mean every word.  Stairs has taken about the least likely path to big league success and is practically the definition of a journeyman.  Odds are, if you are a baseball fan, Matt Stairs has probably played for your team or at least hurt the team you root for.  When you play for twelve Major League teams over the span of 19 seasons, that’s bound to happen.

Matthew Wade Stairs was born in New Brunswick, Canada in 1968.  There are currently only five active Major League players who were born in the 1960s:

  1. Tim Wakefield  1966
  2. Omar Vizquel  1967
  3. Matt Stairs  1968
  4. Arthur Rhodes  1969 (October)
  5. Mariano Rivera  1969 (November)

So, as it stands, our friend is the third oldest player in all of baseball and is the oldest player in the National League.

Stairs crew up playing baseball and hockey (obviously) as a kid in Canada.  He played the equivalent of Independent League ball in Canada when he was in his teens and signed as a free agent with the Montreal Expos (obviously) in 1989.  Stairs got only 38 at-bats over two seasons in Montreal before he left and played in Japan for a year.  He then signed as a free agent with the Red Sox.  It was with the Red Sox that he hit his first home run in 1995, a solo shot off of Tom “Flash” Gordon.  Stairs didn’t stick in Boston though either and became a free agent after the ’95 season.

Prior to the 1997 season, Stairs signed a deal to join the Oakland A’s.  In 1997, Stairs saw his first real playing time, hitting 10 homers in only 137 at-bats and posting an OPS+ of 127.  Stairs’ strong play in 1997 earned him 352 at-bats in 1998.  Matt did not disappoint as he slugged 27 homers and a career-high OPS+ of 153.  Stairs was a full-time player the next three seasons in Oakland as he crushed 85 HR, including a career-high 38 in 1999.  While Stairs never made an All-Star team, he did finish 17th in MVP voting for his 1999 campaign.

Following his five season run in Oakland, Stairs never spent more than 2.5 years in any one city, which he did in Kansas City.  Despite moving all over the country, Stairs continued to mash hitting over 100 HR and having an OPS+ of 117 from 2001-2006.

Stairs’ biggest moment on the national stage came in 2008 when he was with the Phillies.  The Phillies were up against the Dodgers in the NLCS.  Philadelphia held a 2-1 series lead over Los Angeles.  However, the Dodgers were leading in game four and were threatening to tie the series.  With the score tied at 5 in the 8th inning, Stairs came in as a pinch-hitter to face Jonathan Broxton.  Stairs sent Broxton’s 3-1 pitch into the seats to help give the Phillies a commanding 3-1 series lead.  Interestingly, the Dodgers and Phillies would meet again in the 2009 postseason.  Stairs again faced Broxton, and the big reliever walked Stairs on four straight pitches.

Stairs is currently a pinch-hitter for the Washington Nationals and is 0-11 in this young season.  I really hope this isn’t the end of the line for Stairs.  The 5’9”, 200lb slugger has been a fixture in big leagues for the last twenty seasons and it just doesn’t seem like it’s time to go just yet.

As I wrap up this post, enjoy some of these terrific figures:

  • 265 career HR (2nd most by a Canadian)
  • 23 pinch hit HR (MLB record)
  • OPS+ of 118 (4th highest by a Canadian)

Now a list of some of the pitchers Stairs has homered off of with the career homer leading the way:

1.  Tom Gordon

20. Hideo Nomo

100. Sidney Ponson

108. Dwight Gooden

155. Roy Oswalt

180. Roy Halladay

183. Johan Santana

200. Carl Pavano

265. Matt Cain

His 265 home runs came against 29 different teams.  Awesome.

Finally, a few smart baseball minds have suggested that if Stairs had been a regular his entire career he would have been a star and MAYBE a Hall of Fame type player.  Check it out.

Mark Brunell

Once a quarterback GOD, Mark Brunell holds onto footballs for kickers so that the ball won't fall over.

Mark Brunell was a special kind of player.  I know it’s a little bit early to say “was” since the dude is still playing, but he is certainly past his prime.  When Brunell was at the top of his game he sported a cannon for an arm and a sprinters gift of speed and agility.

Brunell played his college ball at the University of Washington.  While a pretty good college QB, he was not a constant at QB for the Huskies.  He split time with a couple of other guys, but was part of some great teams that featured the legendary Lincoln Kennedy.  Brunell left UW and was part of one of my favorite NFL Drafts ever in 1993.

The 1993 Draft featured top picks Drew Bledsoe and Rick Mirer.  Brunell didn’t get selected until the 5th round when he was selected by the Green Bay Packers.  Here are the QBs taken in the ’93 Draft:

1. Drew Bledsoe

2. Rick Mirer

58. Billy Joe Hobert (Hobert often started ahead of Brunell at UW)

118. Brunell

192: Gino Torretta

216: Alex Van Pelt

219: Elvis Grbac

222: Trent Green

Not a bad draft, actually.  Anyway, back to Brunell.  Mark went to Green Bay in the fall of 1993 and spent two years sitting on his ass behind Brett Favre (seriously, how many lives can that guy ruin?).  Despite throwing only 27 passes in his two years with the Packers, Brunell was in demand around the league.  He was traded prior to the 1995 season to the Jacksonville Jaguars for 3rd and 5th round picks.  Brunell was the club’s starting QB from 1995 to 2003 and set almost every team record you can think of.

Brunell was a three-time Pro Bowler with the Jags and was actually named the MVP of the 1997 Pro Bowl.  The Jags were competitive during most of his time as QB, highlighted by a 14-2 season in 1999 in which the club lost in the AFC title game to Steve McNair and the Tennessee Titans, 33-14 on their home field.  Ouch!

Mark eventually lost his job to the slowest QB ever, Byron Leftwich.  He was traded to the Washington Redskins and started a few games for them early in the 2000′s.  He has spent the last four or five seasons as a back up QB for Drew Brees in New Orleans and sex-maniac, Mark Sanchez with the Jets.

A few quick career highlights:

  • 14-2 season in 1999
  • Led the conference in yards in 1996, he could really air it out.
  • He loved getting sacked.  He led the league in sacks a few times.  He just craved that contact.
  • Owns the NFL record for most consecutive complete passes (22) in a single game.

In addition to his action on the field, he’s got a few things going off of the grid iron as well.  According to an anonymous tipster, Mark’s daughter is pretty hot.  She was named Miss America’s Outstanding Teen back in 2008.  He and his wife also have three sons who we can probably assume, are not as hot as their sister.

Mark declared bankruptcy last season which is surprising since he’s earned over $50M playing football.  He lists that he does have over $5M in assets, but he also owes over $25M in liabilities.  This would explain while he is still attempting to play in the NFL even though he turns 41 later this year.

Modesty?

This post is about Deion Sanders the baseball player.  He is not to be confused with his alter-ego football player.  Deion the football player was electric.  He went from sideline to sideline with relative ease, picking off passes and running back kicks.  However, Neon Deion received a lot of pub for playing two pro sports.  And while that is totally impressive, he was nothing more than a mediocre ball player.

Sanders was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 30th round of the 1988 draft.  He played in the minors for the Yankees while playing pro football with the Atlanta Falcons and really living up to his “Prime Time” nickname.  Honestly, I think Deion was probably rushed to the big leagues in 1989 when he made his debut with the Yankees.  This is back when the Yankees were a total train wreck, and the electric Sanders could create a little buzz around the team.

In his two years in pinstripes, Sanders hit a paltry .178 with 5 homers and 9 steals in 180 at-bats.  Following the 1990 season, the Yankees released Deion, making him a free agent.  The Yanks were concerned that by splitting his time on baseball and football, he was not progressing as a player.  Fair enough.  The Atlanta Braves took a chance on him and signed him prior to the 1991 campaign.

Prime Time took his 4.1 40-yard-dash time to the Braves and had his best years as a ball player.  In 1991 he sucked, posting an OPS+ of only 68.  However, in 1992 he enjoyed his best season as a pro.  He appeared in only 97 games for the NL champion Braves, but still found time to lead the National League in triples with 14 (Huge).  Sanders also swiped 26 bases and hit over .300 for the only time in his career.

In the 1992 NLCS the Braves were in the midst of a big series (obviously) and Deion decided to play football the same week.  Nice.  For this, he was criticized by professional idiot, Tim McCarver.  Tim thought it was a strange decision (I happen to agree) for Deion to leave his baseball team during the playoffs to play in the NFL.  Deion took exception to this and reacted in the following manner:

Classy.  Deion never recaptured the magic on the diamond that he had in 1992.  Maybe karma caught up with him.  He bounced around a bit, playing with the Reds and the Giants before finally bowing out for good after the 2001 season (his first appearance since 1997).

Here are the career totals:

  • .263 batting average
  • .319 OBP
  • 80 OPS+
  • 39 HR
  • 186 SB

For the most part though, Deion is remembered for his attitude.  An attitude that for some reason flew in the NFL but not in MLB.  He was a pretty effective 4th outfielder during his prime, but that was about it.  His speed could change a game, even in baseball.

This is most people’s problem with Deion.  He really seemed to be in business for himself at all times.  He was a tremendous athlete, a mediocre baseball player, and Hall of Fame football player, and a petulant child.

Charles Smith

Two legends of Connecticut basketball: Manute Bol and Charles Smith

I remember when Charles Smith broke into the NBA.  His rookie season (1988-89) is probably when I first starting really following the NBA.  Smith had the poor luck of starting his career in Los Angeles with the Clippers.  Here in 2010 the Clippers are a total joke.  Things were no different in the late 1980s.  The franchise had already made its mark as an annual loser.

Smith was the third overall pick in the 1988 NBA Draft out of the University of Pittsburgh.  He was drafted behind Danny Manning and Rik Smits (two guys who deserve posts on this site).  Charles was actually drafted by the 76ers  but was swapped on draft night for Hersey Hawkins.  The Clippers thought they had their frontcourt of the future in Manning and Smith.

Charles averaged 16 points and 6 boards a game as a rookie and was named to the All-Rookie first team.  It would be his only career award in the NBA.  Smith would go on to put up at least 20 points a game in the next two seasons.  However, instead of being seen as a young, rising star, Smith was seen simply as a good player on a bad team.

After one more season with the Clips, the organization did him a huge favor:  They traded him to the Knicks in a deal for Mark Jackson.  Smith stepped in at forward for the Knicks in the mid-1990s and played on some very good teams.  Smith saw his playing time and scoring decrease, but at least he played on some playoff teams.

In the 1993 playoffs, the Knicks were up against Jordan’s Bulls.  New York took a 2-0 lead in the series only to see the Bulls battle back to tie the series at two wins apiece.  The pivotal game five took place at Madison Square Garden.  With 25 seconds remaining the Knicks trailed by one point and Charles Smith had the defining moment of his career:

Truly a tough break.  Smith saw his playing time decrease even further and was traded to the Spurs for a pile of crap in February of 1996.  Smith then played a couple of years in San Antonio before retiring at the age of 31.  He retired with a career scoring average of 14.4 points per game.  Nice.

Since retiring, Smith has been active on the business side of the NBA and created a youth center for teens in his hometown of Bridgeport, CT.

Read as Charles remembers Manute Bol.

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