What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
It’s the oldest tradition we have here at Dubsism…every January since this blog was created, we have given awards for achievements during the previous year in under-recognized categories in the world of sports. In the early years, the nominations for the awards were done exclusively by an internal committee, but then we realized we are bloggers, and not Soviet-era kommissars. Once we opened the nominations to you, the blog-reading public, we had so much success that we had no choice but to continue that.
Between our committee and our valued readers, we had more quality nominations than we could ever possibly use. Again, we received a comfortable five-figure number of nominations, and believe it or not, we read every goddamn one of them. That number of nominations means somebody out there is reading this blog, and thank you so much for that!!!
More detailed information on last year’s winners can be found here.
With that, and after careful consideration…here are the winners!
The Mickey Klutts Award for Unfortunate Naming
This year, the theme for this award is all about potentially mistaken identities.
Long-time Dubsist Marty Sparty originally submitted this nomination for last year’s awards when Lombardi was doing his signal-calling duties for his beloved Michigan State Spartans.
As was said last year when Lombardi pulled in the Honorable Mention in this category…if you play American Football and your name is a combination of the the biggest movie boxing legend ever and the one on the trophy given to the Super Bowl winners, you had better kick football ass like a Ninja Navy SEAL. That he moved on to a smaller school should tell all on that subject, but not nearly as much as the fact that Marty Sparty still nominated him.
As for this year’s Honorable Mention, this is all about a recent “cutting of the cable” here at Dubsism World Headquarters and a discovery of the panoply of classic game shows which abounds in the “stream-a-verse.” After all, the jokes write themselves.
Previous Winner: Faraj Fartass, Left Wing, French Rugby Club Vannes
The Bobby Knight Award for Achievements in Dramatic Public Meltdowns
Just look at that kid.
If you want to fight somebody, be a fucking man about it. Call them out and fight. That’s the way it has been done in sports for decades. But double-pucker punches in the handshake line is beyond cowardly. In fact, the authorities in Carlisle, Iowa considered it a chargeable case of assault.
As for the Florida Gators, what else can you say about a football team that gave the leviathan known as Alabama all they could handle, then did a “Bataan Death March” to a string of embarrassing losses capped by a whimpering bowl loss to Central Florida?
Previous Winner: The Atlanta Falcons
While technically neither of our finalists are “mascots” per se, they are both animals who have come to represent both the teams in question, if only for a fleeting moment.
If nothing else, is there anything more American than rescuing a cat in distress with “The Star-Spangled Banner” at a football game?
Although, in a land which has a talon-laden bird of prey as it’s emblem, a raptor ready to rip the scalp of somebody comes pretty close.
Previous Winner: Melba Mills, Kansas City Chiefs “Super Fan”
The Budd Dwyer Award for Excellence in Career Suicide
One might think neither of these guys will ever work again, as bereft of morality as is big-time football in America (College or Professional). But since both of these douche-hammers are championship-winning coaches, that trumps any “racist” and/or “sexist/abusive” tags which were hung on them, despite the years-long track records which support either charge.
That means both these knuckle-heads have every chance to get jobs again, especially since they both seem to have tasty grounds for breach of contact/wrongful termination lawsuits (Gruden’s has already been filed)…because the only thing more bereft of morality than big-time football is the American civil justice system.
Although, in the case of Jon Gruden, our own Dubsism special investigator doesn’t think this was a suicide…
Previous Winner: Kevin Warren, B1G Ten Commissioner
The Ed Hochuli Award for the Best Call
In case you were wondering, that pic is what Drinkwitz is going after. Last year after Florida beat Missouri, Gator head coach Dan Mullen showed up at the post-game press conference in full Darth Vader regalia. And T.J. Moe was right; this loss was what got Mullen shown the road out of Gainesville.
While the Philadelphia Flyers have recovered from some early-season crappiness, they are still solidly orbiting “Planet Mediocre” and an early exit from the play-offs seems like their “best case scenario”…if they make the post-season at all.
Previous Winner: Josh Donaldson, Third Baseman, Minnesota Twins
The Jason Sehorn Award for Being Completely Overrated
I’ll be the first to admit I fell for it as well. Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden all together? Are you kidding me? Those guys are three of the top scorers in the modern game.
The problem is, they had no depth and had developed no chemistry. That plus they were injured…and you have a collection of superstars that will ultimately, grossly underachieve for all those reasons and more.
Or so it seems.~SportsChump
Now for today’s bit of foreshadowing…
The biggest problem with Russell Westbrook is his career is taking place 25 years too late. He would have been the perfect player for Don Nelson. What better combination is there for a coach who wins 55 games in the regular season but never got past the second round of the play-offs then a ball-hog guard who has a similar resumé?~Land O’ 10,000 Lakers
Have you ever had surgery? If so, then you know in the aftermath, one thing the nurses always ask you is to rate your pain on a scale of “1 to 10.” If the old saying about “the truth hurts” has even the slightest root in veracity, then Land O’ 10,000 Lakers’ nomination rates at least an “8.”
Previous Winner: The Los Angeles Clippers
If you’re not familiar with the world of American horse racing, suffice it to say that trainer/owner Bob Baffert came into last May’s Kentucky Derby as the unquestioned king of the “Sport of Kings.” When Baffert’s 3-year old colt Medina Spirit won “The Run for the Roses'” it marked the 7th time a Baffert horse captured The Kentucky Derby. That record seemed to cement Baffert’s place as the first face on the Mt. Rushmore of horse racing.
That was until Medina Spirit failed a post-race drug test. Baffert’s Medina Spirit tested positive for betamethasone, a corticosteroid which is a legal medication commonly used to treat joint inflammation. The catch is betamethasone is not legal to use one race day as it may mask injuries that would otherwise prevent a horse from running, thus possibly exposing it to incurring even greater damage.
Another problem is rumors about Baffert’s horses had been circulating throughout the racing world for quite some time; there were also several “issues” with other drug tests on other Baffert horses. As a result, Baffert was suspended from racing his horses by Churchill Downs and the New York Racing Association for both 2022 and 2023. When it issued the suspension, the Churchill Downs authorities addressed Baffert’s proclivity for living on the edge of the rules by skewering his never-ending cover stories with the term “increasingly extraordinary explanations.”
As for Brett Favre, it seems the all-time leader in interceptions got picked off by investigators in Mississippi who discovered he had a connection to a scheme embezzling funds from a state welfare fund.
“Former NFL quarterback Brett Favre must return $828,000 that he received from welfare funds, according to a statement from Mississippi State Auditor Shad White. The funds were supposed to go to families in need. Favre received a total of $1.1 million in funds from two non-profit organizations, whose owners have been indicted on federal and state charges concerning their alleged role in the largest embezzlement scheme in Mississippi history.”
“Favre isn’t facing any criminal charges for his involvement, but if he doesn’t repay the money within 30 days he will face a civil lawsuit, as will Favre Enterprises. White announced that Mississippi Department of Human Services former executive director John Davis isn’t so lucky, as he is currently awaiting trial on embezzlement charges related to the scheme.”~CBS Sports
In Favre’s defense, it’s entirely possible he was simply trying to repay some of the money he stole from the Minnesota Vikings.
Previous Winner: Ginny Fuchs, U.S. Women’s Olympic Boxer
The Charles O. Finley Award for Achievements in Cheap
What else can you say about the collection of Major League Baseball owners, who made the ultimate sleaze-monger move of using a pandemic as both an excuse to try to cut salaries while raising ticket prices…all while raking in billions in television before and during COVID.
When you combine that with their deliberate manipulation of players’ service time…a practice intended to delay the time before young players can qualify for free agency…it’s not hard to see the attempt to keep rosters younger and therefore cheaper. That’s why MLB is in a lock-out right now.
There’s almost no better example of the drive to go cheap than the Lerners. As the owners of the Washington Nationals, they took the 2019 World Champions and parted that team out like they were having a neighborhood garage sale. First, they let World Series hero third baseman Anthony Rendon walk off into free agency without even making him an offer. Then, rather than even consider a contract extension for Trea Turner (a five-tool shortstop and one the top ten players in the game who is just entering his prime years), they threw him into the Max Scherzer deal with the Dodgers like he was a pizza coupon.
What did they get back in that trade? Primarily minor-leaguers they can control for the foreseeable future. So, if you’re a Nationals fan, don’t think for a minute that pitchers Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin will be on your roster after August 1st. Also, if you want to enjoy the time you have left with Juan Soto…who is arbitration-eligible in 2023 and unrestricted free agency in 2025…prepare to pay 20% more for your season tickets.
Previous Winner: The Kansas City Chiefs
The Joe Kapp Award for Being Run Out of Town
What do you get for taking a program to an National Championship and it’s first Heisman trophy since Billy Cannon in 1959? More specifically, what’s your reward after those accomplishments, and your team is now .500 because you had in the neighborhood of 20 players graduate to the NFL?
Thanks for your time, Ed Orgeron…security is here to escort you off the property.
What do you get for taking a team which was given up for dead in May, leading them a massive comeback to reach the MLB playoffs, including a 17-game winning streak which contributed to a September record of 21-7?
More specifically, what’s your reward for skippering a club through four seasons in which you never had a losing record, and you’re only two years removed from winning Manager of the Year?
Thanks for your time, Mike Shildt…security is here to escort you off the property.
What do you get when you have a six-shot lead in a PGA tournament and you’re about to collect a million-plus dollar payday? The same thing that gets you dis-invited to the Summer Olympics…a completely pointless COVID test, despite the fact both times you were completely asymptomatic.
By the way, between those tests he won the U.S. Open, and after the Olympics, he became the world’s #1 ranked golfer. Clearly, “having” COVID twice took it’s toll on him.
Thanks for your time, Jon Rahm…security is here to escort you off the property.
Previous Winner: The Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Raptors
The Bobby Layne Award for Best Performance While Drunk
In the “color me shocked” department…baseball players getting drunk…
Advancing to the postseason is an exciting moment and, if you ask Los Angeles Dodgers‘ pitcher Max Scherzer, it should be celebrated properly. For him, that celebration includes running around shirtless and admitting to being drunk on national television.
The Dodgers kept their season alive when they defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 3-1 with a walk-off home run in the National League Wild Card Game on Wednesday. The team went wild and the events that occurred after the win hindered Scherzer’s ability to speak to the media.
While talking on TBS after the win, Scherzer said:
“You gotta get rid of this echo. Can’t talk. I’m drunk, whatever.” – Max Scherzer~ CBS Sports
Again, in the “color me shocked” department…who would expect soccer players and ruggers to be unruly…let alone Australians?
The two teams were allegedly involved in hours of rowdy and drunken antics on the 10-hour return flight from Tokyo to Sydney that touched down on Friday morning, Sydney-based The Daily Telegraph said on Wednesday.
According to the report, other passengers on the flight said some of the players refused to follow instructions by airline staff to sit down and allegedly raided alcohol stored in the galley of the plane, despite pleas by the airline staff not to do so. In addition, one passenger reported that several athletes began vomiting, and one of the plane’s nearby toilets was “wasted.”~ Kyoto News
According to the report the Australian Olympic Committee promised to look into the complaint filed by Japan Airlines. I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for a response.
Previous Winner: David Ayres, Emergency Back-Up Goalie, Carolina Hurricanes
The Artis Gilmore Award for Achievements in Hair Boldness
For ten days in August, Ella Bruning became “America’s Daughter.” That came to be from her “girl next door” appearance and the fact that in every game she was in, she was the best player on the field…and at the toughest position on the diamond…the one behind the plate.
But it was her signature “bubble” pig-tails which became a “thing.” When ESPN KidsCast reporter Hayley Galindo interviewed her, Ella told the tale of her pre-game ritual of rubber-banding her long locks into those “bubbles” because that style was the most comfortable under her catcher’s mask. Next thing you know, even ESPN’s Julie Foudy was wearing them…along with every other 12-year old girl in America.
For another moment in brutal honesty, don’t even try to tell me that Grayson McCall doesn’t look like Billy Ray Cyrus bought the Back To The Future DeLorean in 1992 and set it to 88 miles per hour headed toward being a college football quarterback in 2021.
Previous Winner: Gardner Minshew II, Quarterback, Philadelphia Eagles (then of the Jacksonville Jaguars)
The Kyle Orton Award for Achievements in Partying
When you’re in the process of ending the play-off hopes of then-#2 Iowa, and somebody chucks a Bud Light at you, what else is there do? Not only that, but there’s just something right about giving an award named for one Boilermaker to another.
You don’t need an adult beverage to be recognized for achievements for partying, especially when you rate about a 9.7 on the “photobombing-o-meter.”
Previous Winner: Max Gilliam, Quarterback, University of Nevada-Las Vegas
The Vasily Alexseyev Award for Plus-Sized Achievement
Minnesota is known for having a large number of it’s inhabitants who boast Scandinavian heritage. Scandinavia is a region which is also home to a lot of those gigantic men you see on those “World Strongest Man” contests. That’s why both our winners in this category hail from the Land of 10,000 Lakes…as evidenced by their obvious Nordic bloodlines.
First, what you don’t expect a “big man” to do…toss a 41-mile per hour “Eephus” pitch.
Then, there’s something more suited to a “big man”…being a human bull-dozer.
We would just like to point out one thing here. Offensive linemen and swimsuit models have one thing in common. They are both sensitive about their weight. Sorry, Mr. Faalele, but we know “380” means more like “425.”
Previous Winner: Thomas “Snacks” Lee, Student Manager, Jackson State (Mississippi) University
The Jamie Moyer Award for Excellence in Geriatrics
In a blow struck for us old guys all over the world, Phil Mickelson became the oldest player to win a “Major” golf tournament at 50 years, 11 months, and 3 days old. The previous record was held by Julius Boros, who won the 1968 PGA Championship at age 48.
Now, speaking as an old guy…one who completely understands the sports jersey that’s now a smidge too tight…I want to know how Marques Johnson felt the morning after his “birthday dunk.”
Also…that “hand sanitizer” needs to be tested. You never know, it could have been supplied by Bob Baffert or the Russian track team…
Previous Winner: Vince Carter, retired from the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks
The Vinko Bogotaj Award For Epic Failure
For some reason, there seems to be a link between the University of Southern California firing a football coach and aircraft. First, there was the “mafia-hit” firing of Lane Kiffin in a dark corner of LAX in the wee hours of the morning literally steps from the team plane after a humiliating loss to Arizona State in 2013.
In 2021, literally days after USC fired Clay Helton, this happened.
The post-Clay Helton era at USC has gotten off to a bizarre start ahead of Saturday’s game at Washington State.
After landing in Lewiston, Idaho, on Friday, the Trojans’ team plane tipped backward on the tarmac, sending the plane’s nose into the air, after the grounds crew did not put the plane’s tail stand in place.
It happened during the deplaning process with coaches and staff members still on the plane, according to a USC spokesperson. The players, who sit in the front half of the plane, had exited and no one was injured, the spokesperson said.~ KABC, Los Angeles
Here’s advance warning to recently-hired Trojan head coach Lincoln Riley…when your time in Los Angeles is up, take the train out of town.
But unlike the Wisconsin Badgers, at least USC got their stuff on the plane.
Previous Winner: F.C. Seoul, South Korean Soccer Club
The Joe Theismann Award For Gruesome Injuries
In thirteen years of giving this award, we here at the Dubsism Nomination Committee, we’ve more than a fair share of horrifying injuries; plenty of limbs bent in cringe-worthy angles, protruding bones; we’ve even had a guy who got an extra mouth carved into his face by a hockey skate. But until now, we’ve never had someone who had a body part torn completely off.
That’s precisely what happened to Russian middleweight MMA fighter Khetag Pliev at a Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC) event earlier this year in Philadelphia. In retrospect, there’s really nothing which should surprise us about something completely off-the-rails happening which involved Russian cage-fighters in an event held in the City of
Bloody Brotherly Love.
Frankly, it shouldn’t even be surprising that Pliev’s left ring finger being severed isn’t the craziest component of this story. For that…just take your pick.
“In the second round, he caught my glove with one hand and held it. I felt my finger snapped. He kept pulling my glove and my finger snapped. We kept fighting. When the second round was finished, I see my [bone] was out in the open. I wanted to keep fighting, because I felt like I had this guy. But the doctor saw that and stopped the fight. “~ Khetag Pliev
Let’s take a careful walk through that quote. Let’s start with “my bone was out in the open.” What that really means is nobody knew where his fucking finger was! Despite what Pliev said, nobody knew when the injury happened, so there was really no clue as to where they severed digit could be. An extensive search was launched for the missing finger; an appeal to the crowd for assistance was made over the arena’s public address system.
Ultimately, Pliev’s finger was found wedged under the knuckle padding inside his glove. Both Pliev and the finger were taken to the hospital where as the old Peaches & Herb song goes…they were Re-United.
But…here’s my favorite part of Pliev’s quote. Hockey players have a reputation for being “tough;” they often get cracked up during games, get stitched up, and head right back to the ice. But I have yet to hear of one losing a finger and going back into the game…
On second thought, I’m amazed the Philly crowd didn’t throw start chucking batteries when the fight was stopped.
As for our honorable mention…baseball players collide while tracking down a fly ball…one has his leg shattered (yawn)…
Previous Winner: A “Twitter-licious” Backyard Wrestler
The Dick Vermeil Award For Great Moments in Crying
“It would be nice to see him cry,” Koepka said of Stricker, who is known to cry after just about every victory in his career. “It would be awesome just because I know how much time he’s put in. Growing up in Wisconsin, there’s a lot of things [for Stricker] that just kind of are coming together where it would be the perfect storm if we were to win. Everybody knows that and everybody wants to play well.”~ PGA Golfer and Ryder Cup team member Brooks Koepka in GolfDigest
It was the ultimate setup…a “perfect storm” for a torrent of tears. It was a Sunday in September 2021 in Whistling Straits, Wisconsin. The United States – captained by Wisconsin native Steve Stricker – has just defeated the Europeans to win their first Ryder Cup. The Europeans have dominated this event since the 1980s. Stricker is the “Well-Respected Man About Town” in the golf universe, but he was a controversial pick to lead this squad despite his captaining the 2017 U.S. Presidents Cup team to victory. Many in the U.S. golf community felt that a guy who had never won a “major” championship wasn’t up to the task of wresting the Ryder Cup from the grasp of the Europeans.
Many of Stricker’s decision’s leading up to the competition (like leaving Patrick Reed off the team) were heavily scrutinized and even openly second-guessed. But that faded quickly on Saturday afternoon when the Americans had a commanding lead over the side from “across the pond.”
When the Americans sealed the deal on Sunday, there was a tremendous team celebration. But the post-match press conference belonged solely to Steve Stricker…the goal set for Team USA by Brooks Koepka had come to fruition.
For a moment almost as touching, one only need to travel one state to the southwest for “Senior Night” for the University of Iowa basketball team. The Hawkeyes were a team in the top end of the rankings, and emotions were running high for their last home game of the season. After a hard-fought…and important for tournament-seeding…77-75 win over Wisconsin, those emotions crested when it was announced right after the game senior center Luka Garza’s number would be retired.
Previous Winner: A Dallas Cowboys’ fan caught on camera during yet another disappointing loss
The Gene Mauch Lifetime Achievement Award
Winner: Don Nelson, former NBA Head Coach (nominated by the Dubsism Nomination committee)
When it comes to an award named for a coach who had a lengthy career but never won anything…frankly, how did it take us this long to get to Don Nelson? Here’s a guy who had a distinguished career as a player, but it’s his time as a coach which is almost the definition of somebody deserving of this recognition.
To hear Nelson tell the story, after his playing career was over, he was sitting with his family in a Maid Rite restaurant in Moline, Illinois. The next stage of his life would be one of three options; selling cars, becoming an (National Basketball Association) NBA referee, or accept an assistant coaching job with the Milwaukee Bucks. He gave his family a vote; the unanimous choice was coaching. In 1976, after the Bucks got off to a 3-15 start, head coach Larry Costello was shown the door, and “Nellie” took charge.
Thus began a coaching career which would span 31 seasons, see stints on the sidelines of the Milwaukee Bucks (1976–1987), Golden State Warriors (1988–1995 and 2006-2010), New York Knicks (1995–1996), and Dallas Mavericks (1997–2005). Nelson also served a stint leading Team USA at the 1994 FIBA World Championships.
As the namesake of this award, Gene Mauch kept getting jobs in baseball despite his crushing lack of success. That’s because he was regarded as an innovator and a great teacher of the game. There couldn’t be a better description of Don Nelson. As the inventor of “Nellie Ball”…most noted for the “point forward,” a tactic which in which a team’s offense runs through a forward rather than a guard…Nelson enjoyed much more success than Mauch.
Over 31 seasons as an NBA coach, an average “Nellie”-led team would go 49-33 and make the play-offs more often than not. “Nellie” was inducted as a coach into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012and he was named one of the Top 10 coaches in NBA history. That’s because nobody won more regular-season games as a NBA coach than Don Nelson (1,335). But he’s a winner of this award because he’s tied with Gene Mauch in the number of championships won (0).
If only Russell Westbrook was a forward…
Previous Winner: Sam Wyche, former National Football League Head Coach
P.S. For purposes of full disclosure Steve Stricker is a fan favorite in the Dubsism household, and there’s a great story as to why which was told way back in the days of the old Dubscast (circa 2013).
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