Much of my 4th installment of Champ and Chump is centered around Detroit. Both my Champ and Chump involve players and teams from the beautiful Great Lakes State. It’s a beautiful time to be in Michigan as fall weather comes in. The leaves on the trees take on gorgeous shades of red, orange, yellow and collectively they paint a beautiful picture for us Michiganders to take in and enjoy. At many a local watering hole on Monday evening plenty of pints took on the same golden, amber hues as they painted the insides of our stomachs with happiness. That is until late Monday night when the wonderful fall colors of Michigan were stained by one call. By one individual wearing such boring and drab stripes of black and white…and with that let’s get to the Champs and Chumps of the week ladies and gentlemen!
Champ: Miguel Cabrera
Won his 4th batting title in 5 years
I have only spent some 29+ years on this Earth, and more than likely only around twenty of those glued to baseball and sports in general. However, I can say confidently that Miguel Cabrera is the best pure hitter that I have ever seen, and assuming his career doesn’t completely fall off in the next couple of years, he may go down as the best hitter to ever play the game. Before everyone jumps down my throat, really consider what this guy has done, at such a consistent level mind you. 4 batting titles, a Triple Crown, 5 Silver Sluggers, 2 MVP’s, a career .321 hitter, and more than half of his career spent in a pitcher’s ballpark in Detroit. Hitting .338 this season, Miguel Cabrera barely qualified for the award because he missed six weeks during the season due to a calf injury, only to return and hit .360 for the month without needing any sort of minor league rehab start. I’m convinced, that if Miguel Cabrera was stranded on a deserted island like Tom Hanks in the movie “Castaway,” Miggy would simply need a quick bite, a few sips of Gatorade and he’d be ready to step into the batter’s box. After taking two pitches to get reacquainted with the speed of the game, he would rope one into the right field gap for an RBI double. He is just that good, and it’s a luxury getting to watch him day in and day out. If you’re a Tiger’s fan or just a baseball fan even, cherish the memories of watching this legend, because in some 50 years, he’ll be the one you tell your grand-kids about.
Texas Rangers- Came out of nowhere to win the AL West and thus clinch a playoff berth. A year removed from losing 95 games, and trailing by as many as 8 games back in early August.
Florida Gators football- Had their coach in the “Chumps” section a couple weeks ago for a sideline tantrum, however the Gators are looking strong at 5-0 (3-0). Knocked off #3 Ole Miss over the weekend with ease and appear to be an SEC contender.
Texas A&M football- Sticking with the SEC, the Aggies struggled mightily in their first season without Johnny Manziel last year, but have cleaned it up and are off to a 5-0 start following a win over Mississippi State.
Chump: NFL Refs in Detroit-Seattle Monday Night Game
Let me first start off by saying that I am a big Detroit Lions fan, and growing up in the metro-Detroit area in fact has made me a big Detroit sports fan in general. However, there is absolutely no bias with this argument, complaint, rant or what have you. What happened at the end of the Monday Night game is undoubtedly inexcusable on multiple levels. First off, as you’ll see below, it was inexcusable for the Lions to even put the refs in this position because Calvin Johnson needs to hold on to the damn ball! But that aside, having an NFL referee, or multiple referees, screw up that call is garbage. To me there’s only two possible explanations for what happened with the back judge, and I’m not sure which would frustrate me more: First one being, simply, the back judge didn’t know the rule well enough to call it, or option two being that he was intimidated by the “12th man” in Seattle and therefore left the flag in his pants. According to multiple outlets, the refs determined that the bat wasn’t “overt” enough and thus they didn’t feel they had enough evidence to make the call, but I am not buying that at all. It sounds like a save your ass type excuse because the ref had a clear, perfect view of the play. By having the combination of 3rd grade science, and the experience of watching 10 minutes of a football game, you could tell that the ball was clearly batted the other way intentionally. Simply look at Newton’s laws of motion, and the fact that football players don’t use a flat hand to recover a fumble! The NFL has to find a measure to eliminate crucial errors like this. They have made it so that all scoring plays are automatically reviewed and I think turnovers need to be added to that category because while there was a lot of time left, the Lions very possibly had a win stripped away from them…again (See 2014 NFL Wild Card game).
Calvin Johnson- Fumbled the ball at the 1-yard line with just under 2 minutes to go at Seattle on MNF. Detroit was down 13-10 at that point.
Texas Longhorn’s football- 1-4 in 2015, lost 50-7 vs TCU Saturday. Crazy to think this team was in the national championship game just a few years ago, the program looks so lost. Charlie Strong will unfairly be the scapegoat.
Miami Dolphins- Perhaps I’m the chump here by thinking Miami would win the AFC East this year, (granted at the time, Brady was suspended for 4 games) yet the Dolphins apparently suck on two continents now by losing in London over the weekend. 1-3 on the year and the first team to fire their head coach this season.