Thanksgiving is all about tradition, so I'm back with my 13th edition of Turkey of the Year.
This tradition dates back to 1998, when Michael McCaskey had so mismanaged the Bears that his mommy took the team presidency away from him and sent him to his room without supper.
Since then, a veritable Who's Who of losers, lunkheads, dopers, dorks, bullies and boors have earned Top Turkey honors: Jerry Krause (1999); Bobby Knight (2000); David Wells & Frank Thomas (2001); Dick Jauron (2002); Sammy Sosa (2003 and 2004); Andy MacPhail, Jim Hendry & Dusty Baker (2005); Aramis Ramirez (2006); Charlie Weis (2007); Choking Cubbies (2008); Milton Bradley (2009).
You'll notice that most of those fine folks had Chicago connections. Even Knight (Big Ten) and Weis (Notre Dame) were in the region. That's because I columnized and blogged mostly about Chicago sports during those years.
Now that I'm a man of the world (North Carolina is part of the world, right?), the 2010 Turkey Countdown has a much different look.
As always, I dedicate this tradition to my absent friend, Gene Seymour, my Copley columnist predecessor and one of the great guys I ever encountered in journalism.
So let's get to it ...
10. OMAR MINAYA. Architect of the most expensive losers in baseball. Hey, at least the Mets were champs of something during Minaya's run as General Mismanager!
9. BOBBY KNIGHT. Mr. I Hate The Media is now part of the media. And on this Thanksgiving, I'm thankful that most members of the sports media are better at their jobs than Bobby is at his. The man is so awful as an ESPN analyst that I find myself wishing Dickie V were on the telecast instead. Really.
8. BRETT FAVRE. Seems the only thing he can make up his mind about is being a sleazebag.
7. MLB UMPS. I get that they have a tough job and that it's almost unfair to judge them based upon super-slo-mo replays. But these guys are so routinely bad that it's almost surprising when they get big calls right. And unlike Jim Joyce, most umps take no responsibility for their incompetence.
6. PETE CARROLL and REGGIE BUSH. They teamed up to do what no opponent could: bring USC football to its knees. They didn't even stick around to deal with the carnage they wrought, having bolted for the big bucks of the NFL. Makes you want to tell Reggie what he can do with that trophy.
5. BEN ROETHLISBERGER. Big Ben ... Good QB ... Bad Guy.
4. BRUCE PEARL. Years after he ratted out a dirty Illinois program, we learn that he's been running an even dirtier program at Tennessee. Wearing ugly orange blazers isn't punishment enough for this phony jerk.
3. LeBRON JAMES. Put on one of the most unnecessary, self-serving productions in the history of the world. But at least his talents have helped the Heat to an 8-7 start.
2. TIGER WOODS. Marriage? Over. PGA Tour victories? Zip. Ryder Cup? Back in Europe. New endorsement deals? Nada. No. 1 ranking? Now belongs to Lee Westwood. Talk about a rough year for the guy who had been the world's dominant athlete for more than a decade. I guess only bad things happen when a guy can't control his Eldrick.
And now ... drumstick roll, please ... the 2010 Turkey of the Year:
Big Mac finally admitted he spent years juicing - and spent years lying about it. But even his admission was full of misleading statements.
He claimed he only juiced so he could stay healthy enough to play but then said his juicing had nothing to do with his home-run totals. Uh ... hello? How do you get the HRs without staying on the field? It's hard to believe McGwire was too stupid to make the connection, so we'll just assume he was being his deceitful self.
He obviously came clean for only two reasons: One, to clear his conscience. And two, to get the job as Cardinals hitting coach for his Chief Enabler, Tony La Russa. McGwire then worked wonders with St. Louis batters, who finished in the middle of the pack in most categories. Remember: This is a group that includes the best hitter in baseball.
Redbird bats really slumbered down the stretch. And as McGwire's charges faded, the Cardinals handed Cincinnati the division title.
Sadly, Cardinals fans - who like to call themselves baseball's best - took every opportunity to cheer their beloved cheater, liar and fraud.
Turns out, they got exactly what they deserved in 2010.