(DIS)HONOR ROLL: The Worst of the CHEAP SEAT FAN, 2011

Posted: December 30, 2011 by Matt Whitener of CSP in MLB, NBA, NFL, The Lineup
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It’s time to round down another year in the CHEAP SEATS, and that can mean only one thing: it’s time to make fun of myself again. In the sports writing/predicting/claim staking world, there’s a lot of chance to hit the ball out the park…or strike out swinging, tee ball style. Many folks like to cover those errors up, find ways to make them not seem as bad as they were.

Well not me. I embrace the foolery that I do here, because hell I’m wrong sometimes and deserve to be chastised for it first-hand.  The good thing here: I got better from last year, in 2010’s edition of this column, I was littered with an amazing amount of “WTF was I on?” moments. But luckily this year, there were less “Bengals go to the Super Bowl” predictions or the Rams will win once claims (although both of those clubs will reappear again in this year’s version as well, for opposite reasons). This year, it’s more about, good and bad ideas. And it’s safe to add a VERY in front of the bad.

Yeah, I can relate. It looked like I was on beer & pain pills too writing some of this. But I kept my gig.

However, you’ll get all of that here shortly, so without further delay, here is the Worst of the CHEAP SEATS in 2011, including some straight snores, overly ambitiously boring efforts and the usual awful predictions that have me looking the other way every time the topic is brought up now. Check em out and if you had some personal favorite awful things I did…well keep that to yourself! Trust me, I know already.

10. Touch Em All: Final MLB Preview (March 30): Man, I really believed in the Red Sox this year. I mean by reading this it seemed like they had already won the Series and it was a season recap. Well needless to say after an epic pitching collapse and fall off the map, I came up wrong here in handing them another World Series off the bat. I even tossed Jon Lester a Cy Young in the process. At this rate, you’d figure I may have predicted a Ted Williams defrost and mid-season return to grab his first ring too.

In my defense, there was no way I could have predicted that chicken in beer in the dugout would come into play either. But still, I’ll take my lumps.

9. A Passing Interest (July 27): This was a terrible idea from the jump: to write a prediction on where players would fit in…while ESPN was announcing where they were really going. Terrible, terrible idea. What’s even worse? Tossing in a byline like this…

Kolb represents one of the few long term fixes for many of the teams in need...if Philly lets him loose

I actually said & believed that. Yeah…moving right along.

8. MLB Power Poll Series (April – June): This was a good idea, in theory: Following each team in baseball, game-by-game, every week and showing how they are doing against each other with some analysis too. Oh wait, that’s an awful idea that took 4 hours to write every Monday.

7. NFL’s 10 Greatest Wide Receivers (August 3): This started off as a tribute to Randy Moss’ retirement, but quickly became completely redundant and about as anti-climactic as any of the Lineup series list could have possibly been. I believe countdowns should have some drama, and while waiting to see who got the nod for #2 between Moss and TO could is guaranteed to spark some arguments, #1 was pointless. I mean when Jerry Rice, at his position, is stacked up against anybody it’s over. A list of most exciting ways to tie your shoes would be better.

6. NFL Lockout Is Almost Over…But Is This A Good Thing? (July 20th): What the F**k? Of course it is? Moving right along…

Because none of this was a good idea right? None of it....SMH.

5. Bradford’s Big Debut, Outside the Numbers (August 16): In this piece, I championed Bradford beginning to master the little things and about how his performance meant a lot more than his numbers on the board. Four months and 15 games later, those numbers still haven’t shown up for Savior Sam, and not coincidentally, not many numbers have been put up in the Rams’ win column either.

4. The People’s Choice NFL Top 50, Parts 1 & 2 (September 16/19): This is usually a nice bit of debate piece over who’s the best in the NFL before each season. This year I took it a step further and let folks cast ballots on who they’d put in their top 50 for it to be more than just me. After taking in a number of ballots that were spread out all over the place (including a few that didn’t have Patrick Willis, Michael Vick or Ray Lewis on them at all), it became a mess of epic proportions. Next year I’ll stick to casting & posting my ballot maybe again. (PS: In a small victory a few weeks ago, I got the caster of the Ray-less ballot to admit the error in his ways).

3. CSP’s 2011 AFC North Fearless Predictions(September 6): I’m just going to leave the Bengals alone. Last year, coming off a strong season, they picked up TO and looked ready to go over big…and went 4-12. Coming into this year, they dumped everything that resembled that club, lost their best defensive player Johnathan Joseph, made no change on the sidelines and started a second round rookie at QB…and are a game away from making the playoffs. Me? I gave them a chance of winning a grand total of 1 game this year in this year’s preview. I give up, I’m skipping them next year.

2. Late Registration-NFL Rookie QB ETAs (August 10): This was a colossal exercise in foolery right here, mostly because I was proven wrong right away by the first possible suspect that could do it. After I humbly predicted it would be week 10 before Mr. Newton took over the reins in Carolina, he went out and threw for 850 in his first two starts…in the first two weeks of the season. Christian Ponder joined in the prediction crashing party as well, as did Blaine Gabbert. At least in Blaine’s case, it may have helped if I was right though.

I feel like he's been laughing at me all year now...or least for 10 weeks. My bad man.

1. You Gotta STFU…Tony LaRussa (September 28): This may be the worst timed piece in the history of the site. While it held some weight several times over many years, picking the end of September 2011 to tell Tony LaRussa to shut up and get out the way was pretty stupid. He’d only guided the Cardinals back from the grave and was in the middle of the greatest stretch of coaching his career ever saw. And that’s saying a lot for guy that might as well go stand in the Hall of Fame and wait for his plaque to come take his place.

The “STFU Series” is on point and is my way of straightening out the mess some folks make for themselves watching these games. But in this case I may have been better off taking my own advice.

At any rate, come back a bit later for the BEST of CSP, including what rounded out as my best works to date on a pretty good year in sports for the Cheap Seat Fan. In the meantime, follow me on Twitter at that same name.

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