Thursday, November 22, 2012

Stuff yourself silly with the 2012 Turkeys of the Year

It's that time of the year, when thoughts turn to the turkey on our plates and the Turkeys who inhabit the sportosphere.

My tradition of choosing a Turkey of the Year goes back to my first year as Copley Newspapers' Chicago columnist, 1998, when Bears president Michael McCaskey was so inept that his mommy fired him.

Since then, it's been a parade of clowns, cads, chokers and chumps: 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); Mark McGwire (2010); Joe Paterno & Penn State Enablers (2011).

(You'll notice that from 1998-2009, most Turkeys of the Year had Chicago and/or Midwest connections because of where I lived and columnized. Now in my second full year as a Southern boy, the Turkey Countdown has a different flavor.)

As always, I dedicate this tradition to my absent friend, Gene Seymour, my Copley columnist predecessor, the founder of Copley's sports turkey awards and one of the great guys journalism has ever known.

10. RYAN KALIL: The Panthers center took out a full-page newspaper ad before the season promising Carolina fans that the team would win the Super Bowl. By the time the Panthers reached their bye week, they were 1-4 and Kalil was done for the season with a foot injury. Great. Now nobody will take out full-page newspaper ads. As if the business isn't in bad enough shape.

9. JEFFREY LORIA: The Marlins owner got taxpayers to foot the bill for a new ballpark and then filled it with expensive players ... for about half a season. When the team stunk, he dumped just about every player who made more than 12 cents and fired Ozzie Guillen for being what Ozzie Guillen always has been. And hey, even Loria's ballpark is ugly.

8. LANCE ARMSTRONG: Yeah ... I know ... it's only really a headline if a cyclist doesn't dope. Still ... this was Lance Freakin' Armstrong, all-American hero, who spent most of a decade cheating and lying.

7. BOBBY VALENTINE: The biggest Boston disaster since Cheers went off the air.

6. NHL OWNERS, PLAYERS & COMMISH GARY BETTMAN: Working together marvelously to keep hockey an irrelevant, niche sport.
5. REX RYAN: The Jets had just signed Mark Sanchez to a huge, long-term deal when Ryan traded for Tim Tebow -- ensuring that ever-patient New York fans would be calling for Tebow to play every time Sanchez threw an incomplete pass. Even Jets players know Tebow is terrible, but why should that stop fans from praying for a Tebow miracle?

4. MELKY CABRERA: He was All-Star Game MVP for the winning NL team, thereby giving his Giants homefield advantage in the World Series. Cabrera wasn't there to see the Series, though, having been suspended for juicing. The cool thing is that the Giants won without him. I wonder if he'll get a championship ring?

3. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS FANS: By cheering when QB Matt Cassel got hurt, these yahoos proved that they belong in a second-rate sports town

2. ALEX RODRIGUEZ: Followed a bad season with an almost surreal postseason. The richest man in baseball history was benched for three playoff games and pinch-hit for six times. The good news for A-Dud is that the $114 million left on his Yankees contract can buy lots of HGH and plenty of masking agents.

And now, the 2012 Turkeys of the Year:


There are chokes, there are Cubbie chokes and then there was this, arguably the most complete choke-job in the history of professional sports.

The chokiest of chokers was Jim Furyk. His collapse in his pivotal match capped a year in which he also frittered away the U.S. Open and two PGA Tour events.

This result hardly could be pinned on Furyk alone, however. Tiger Woods didn't record a single point in the entire event. Neither did Steve Stricker, who was joined by Furyk, Bubba Watson, Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson on the list of Americans who wet themselves down the stretch.

Holy Heimlich, Batman ... talk about a total team effort.


  1. Happy Thanksgiving to you your and your family Mike. And for keeping the Turkeys of the Year tradition alive and well!

  2. Thanks for being a loyal reader, Mike.