Greetings from the sports desk located somewhere below decks of the Good Pirate Ship RedState. Your intrepid reporter trio — yours truly, along with Sammy the Shark and Karl the Kraken — are pumped, primed, and sufficiently peeved at hyper-liberal sportswriters (please pardon the redundancy) to get the ball rolling the right way. For those keeping tabs on RedState’s favorite sea monsters, Sammy still refuses to trade his Erik Karlsson action figure to Sammy or Perry the Penguin whenever he stops by.
We start with pro football by covering a story from a few days ago that still warrants examination.
Denver Broncos recently acquired head coach Sean Payton, best known for Drew Brees making him look like a genius during their tenure together with the New Orleans Saints, apparently didn’t find his office properly cleaned by his predecessor upon taking the job. This became apparent on July 27 when in an interview he blasted his predecessor at the Broncos, Nathanial Hackett.
During the spring, Payton had a video made that hammered home the point that the 2022 season was over and done with. The video included the image of some team equipment staff members riding off in the orange, 2022 Ford Bronco (with the rearview and side mirrors removed) that had been positioned near the practice field. Also, a scene was edited in from the movie “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” where John Candy’s character drove the wrong way on a freeway. And the video included a shot of a truck driving off a cliff.
Maybe there’s a part of Payton that wants to be a Hollywood film producer.
“That was a message,” Payton said. “They can only beat the (expletive) out of you so much. But everybody’s got a little stink on their hands. It’s not just (quarterback) Russell (Wilson). It was a (poor) offensive line. It might have been one of the worst coaching jobs in the history of the NFL. That’s how bad it was.”
There’s plenty more, but you get the drift.
Now, the Broncos in general (and Wilson in particular) were dreadful last year, thus giving credence to the notion that Hackett, in his first stint as a head coach, was in over his head. That said, Hackett has enjoyed success in coaching at the pro level as an offensive coordinator, including three years with the Green Bay Packers with Aaron Rodgers manning the quarterback position. Rodgers is now with the New York Jets. So is Hackett as their offensive coordinator. When Rodgers heard Payton’s comments, the aviation fuel hit the fan.
“Yeah, I love Nathaniel Hackett, and those comments were very surprising, for a coach to do that to another coach,” Rodgers told Peter Schrager on Back Together Weekend on NFL+.
Rodgers added: “I thought it was way out of line, inappropriate, and I think he needs to keep my coach’s name out of his mouth.”
“It made me feel bad that someone (Payton) who’s accomplished a lot in the league is that insecure that they have to take another man down to set themselves up for some sort of easy fall if it doesn’t go well for that team this year,” Rodgers said.
For his part, on July 28 Payton sort of apologized.
Payton told reporters on Friday that he regretted the comments he made about former head coach and current Jets OC Nathaniel Hackett, Denver’s offensive line from the 2022 season, and even his team’s own general manager in a published interview with USA Today’s Jarrett Bell.
“Listen, I had one of those moments where I still had my FOX hat on and not my coaching hat on,” Payton explained to reporters during his Friday news conference. “I said this to the team in a meeting yesterday, we’ve had a great offseason relative to that and I’ve been preaching that message, and here I am, the veteran, stepping in it. It was a learning experience for me, it was a mistake, obviously. I need a little bit more filter.”
No kidding, Sean. And yes, the Broncos and Jets play each other this season. We can hardly wait until the game ends and all involved meet on the field to see if the respective coaching staffs shake hands or throw them.
On to baseball.
When they’re not busy shooting themselves in both feet by pandering to the Alphabet Mafia, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been winning enough games to presently hold first place in the highly competitive National League Western Division. The Blue Crew made some trades at or just before the latest trading deadline to bolster their roster for yet another World Series run.
One player they attempted to acquire was Detroit Tigers pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez. He exercised the 10-team, no-trade clause in his contract to nix the deal, citing family reasons for why he chose to stay put. When your family would rather stay in Detroit than move to Los Angeles, what more needs enunciating about the sad state of the City of the Fallen Angels? Rodriguez spent some time away from the Tigers in 2022 due to a marriage-related personal issue, so there’s no reason to believe he doesn’t value family first.
Finally, the Tell Us You Haven’t Watched Baseball In The Past Five Years Without Telling Us You Haven’t Watched Baseball In The Past Five Years Award goes to The Grio whiner … er, writer Laurence Ware and his recent philippic regarding how White Man Bad crushed baseball’s spirit, or something.
There was a beautifully flamboyant style of play that was present in the Negro Leagues that was missing when they played in the major leagues. It was clear that baseball’s powers that be allowed Black players into the sport, but they were not as welcoming to Black culture.
Wait, what — society and culture were different in the late 1940s than now? Gee, who knew?
Ah, but there’s more.
Dunking is accepted in basketball. Spiking the ball is commonplace in football. But in baseball, if you show too much joy when you hit a home run, you might get hit with a ball the next time you are at bat.
As noted earlier, Ware obviously hasn’t watched a Major League Baseball game in a while. Bat flips are now commonplace. Elaborate dugout celebrations following a home run are the rule rather than the exception. The sheer joy of playing the game, fueled in no small part by the current generation of Latin players — Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Fernando Tatis Jr., Julio Rodriguez, Ronald Acuna Jr., Ella De La Cruz, and a slew of other absolute studs — with their unbridled enthusiasm have made baseball fun again. It’s unfortunate that Ware can’t see this as he views everything through a monochrome prism.
Never let someone steal your joy.