30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Monday, June 13, 2011

My father used to say... "Sometimes... things are better left unsaid."

And... I think he was 100% correct... but I'll get to that later.

First things first...

One of the things sports fans consider when determining a player's greatness is how many titles they've won. Barkley, Ewing, Malone, Miller, Stockton, Wilkins... the list goes on and on. Well now... you can scratch two names off of that list.

Congratulations to Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, and the rest of the Dallas Mavericks organization and fans on winning their first NBA Championship in franchise history.

Ever since the Lakers were knocked out of the playoffs... I have been pulling for anyone except Miami. Not because I hate the Heat. I actually like a few of their players... but one player I just don't like is King James. And just when I thought things couldn't get worse... he goes and opens his mouth... again.

Now you can take video and spin it anyway you want. But here's my take. Lebron James might not have an NBA title, but he's rich... and I don't have an NBA title... nor do I have a lot money... but one thing I do have... is problems.

Well Lebron... you're right. And I honestly don't have any issues with you saying what you said... because... it is what it is. But my question is... why do you have to say these things at a press conference?

It's like the whole thing about joking around about Nowitzki's cold. I realize people make fun of each other... and there's not a day that goes by in my life that isn't filled with at least a little banter with friends, family, or students.

But... why do you have to be a jerk about it?

I get it... you're okay with people not liking you. I'm actually the same way... and realize I'm never going to please everyone. But what I don't get... is why do you want people to dislike you? It's almost to the point where I feel bad for you.

I just wish we could go back to last year... when you were not only the best player in the league... but you were also loyal... positive... and well liked by both the fans and the media.

If you ever decide to go back to the way things were... I still have my 6 foot tall Fathead of you... just waiting to be hung up on my classroom wall. Until then... Yoda's not a bad replacement.

That's it... I just wanted to get that off of my chest. No more negativity for me today... it's all about the "positive".

So... let's move on to the contest. In a few minutes... I'll be shutting down the contest entries for yesterday's post. But here's today's Question of the Day:

As a fan... how much emphasis do you place on the number of championships a player has won in terms of their overall "greatness"?

Personally... I think a player can still be great without a ring. However... I can't deny that it does take a little "something" off of their luster. The best example I can think of is Dan Marino. I apologize in advance for changing sports... but he's the first guy who popped into my head (& Tony Gwynn was the second). Marino is no doubt one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game. But the fact is... he never won the Super Bowl. But if you were like me and watched Dan Marino participate in the NFL QB Challenge during the early 90's... there's no denying... this guy was amazing.

Well... you know the routine. Answer the question... earn a point. Thanks for participating.

I hope to update the contest totals in the next hour or so. You can check it here and it should have yesterday's comments added (if not... wait a few minutes and it'll be there).

By the way... if you guessed 2010 Panini Gridiron Gear... you were right. I love how it's hard to tell whether or not they're using photos or painting... and although it's far from being great... I think the design is pretty damn good compared to most of their product designs.

Have a great day everyone... and until the next post... Sayonara!


  1. I agree with you, as great as a player is, not winning the big one at least once takes a bit away from a great career. Patrick Ewing fall into that catagory for me.

  2. There are great players with no championships. But to be a Great, you have to show up, and LeFraud did not.
    Today is Lebron day, everybody gets to leave 12 minutes early.

  3. Championships matter. It's something I like about Fred McGriff, who won his one. But playoffs are important too. If you excelled in the regular season and the playoffs then people can't really blame you for not winning it all.

  4. I put exactly ZERO emphasis on team accomplishments (titles) when determining how good an individual performed.

    Because if rings actually matter, then LeBron, Dirk, Wade, and a host of others aren't even as good as Adam Morrison or Luke Walton. And Robert Horry would be better than MJ.

    So yeah, it doesn't matter one bit to me.

    Dirk was one of the all-time greats before the ring, as was Kidd. Just as Malone, Stockton, and the rest without rings, including LeBron, were and are great.

    LeBron's a top-ten all-time player, ring or no ring, one ring or ten rings. He may go down as the most talented ever.

    And for those who say rings matter, they can't matter when knocking down LeBron, but then not matter with the above argument about Horry and MJ, Walton and Morrison, etc etc.

    They either matter in all situations, or they don't.

    /rant over.

  5. I put absolutely zero value on it! I think it adds to a players aura with casual fans but to me it doesn't make or break anyone. And I think Lebron comes out of this series looking a lot less great than before. I think the better than MJ discussions should end now.

  6. I think basketball is different than baseball in the regard that a great player can make so much difference.Kobe can drain 60+ points and the rest of the team only need to play an average game,and in all likelyhood the Lakers win. Pujols could hit 4 homers and his team lose because no one else hit or the pitchers had a bad outing. Should greatness depend on championships? To much is placed on being first.You can be a great player on a bad team or a great player on a great team,and you would still be great.

  7. How much emphasis?

    In baseball: not much

    In basketball: a lot

    I think truly great basketball players have a huge impact on how far their team goes in the playoffs. In baseball that impact is much much smaller.

  8. I disagree. A great career is a great career regardless of titles.

    In my mind, John Stockton had a MUCH better career as point guard than Steve Kerr, even though Stockton has no rings and Kerr has five. There are countless schlubs who've won Super Bowls who are 1/10th the QB that Marino was. And How many members of Cooperstown never sniffed at a World Series?

    In my mind, there is more to greatness than rings on a finger.

    To me, the reason LeBron did not have a successful season this year was not because he failed to win a title. I believe he failed to live up to John Wooden's definition of success: "Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming."

    For me, win or lose, that is the yardstick all careers should be measured.

  9. Theres great and then theres GREAT---you can be great but until you win the big one, you can't graduate to GREAT

  10. There are a lot of multi championship winners that I don't consider great. Greatness comes not only through stats, but through the character of the person.

    Did they represent the game well? The expression "I never said I was a roll model" is a cop out. When you are in the public eye, you don't have a say in the matter. That's why I consider players like Gehrig to be greater than Ruth. Not a surprise I would consider Ripken Jr. the greatest player of the modern day. Willie Mays & Hank Aaron with always be greater that Bonds & McGwire.

    There is greatness staying loyal to a smaller market team, more so than there is moving to a big market to capture a ring.

  11. winning does enhance the legacy, but does not define it

  12. I'd take Kobe at his best any day. He doesn't win every time and went cold in game 7, but played his guts out. You can't teach that. Lebron has no heart.

  13. winning titles looks great on a resume and yeah, it's discussed when talking about great players. But I can name you a lot of crappy over rated no bodies who have six championships. And that does not make them more than a benchwarmer.

    Great players are great. Period. Circumstances make them champions.

  14. Quick first thought - I don't think LeBron meant it the way you're interpreting. I think he got asked a few unprofessional questions by the media ("did you choke"). And he snapped back.

    I think he meant,
    "you all hate me, but you should direct your hate elsewhere" not:
    "I'm leaving here in a Bentley and the rest of you are poor"

    that said - he shouldn't have said something like that. He has to learn to be bigger than that. Dirk was right - he is still showing himself to be a bit childish.

    Next up - in the NBA, championships do matter. More than any other sport, except maybe for QBs in football. But you can't take them as the ultimate. Garnett winning a title (and Dirk) puts them a little ahead of guys like Barkley in my mind. But not necessarily ahead of Malone. I don't think Kidd is ahead of Stockton because he won 1 title in his twilight as Dallas's 4th or 5th best player. It matters, but it's not the only thing.

  15. Holy smokes... this is easily the best discussion to take place in one of my posts. I love looking at all of the different points of view... Keep 'em comin'.

    Zakwin - I agree... Lebron will probably go down as one of the top players of all-time... and definitely one of the most physically gifted.

    Hairylemon/Nathan - I love your breakdown between the difference between basketball & baseball

    Eric L - Love the Wooden quote... and agree to a certain extent. I teach my students to always make the effort to do their best.

    Baseball Nut - Excellent analogy... and I agree with all of your comparisons & statements. It's one of the main reasons Tony Gwynn is my favorite baseball player.

    Markz - well said

    stusigpi - Yeah... some people hate Kobe's passion...but I for one appreciate it.

    lifetimetopps - yeah... I know he was frustrated with some of the media's questions. And whether or not he meant it that way... IMO he shouldn't have said it. I want him to fix his image and come out on top. I know I come off as a Lebron hater... but I actually just dislike his actions... more than the human being. Everyone makes mistakes... and (in most instances) as long as we learn from those mistakes...it's all good. He's what? 26 years old... he has time to mature... I just hope it's sooner than later.

  16. I feel like only the strongest leaders win titles and that's important. I still think that you can be one of the best without a title though.

  17. I think players can be amazing in their own rite, but at the end of the day titles do matter. I don't think I put as much stock in the number or rings though.

  18. It depends in what sports if the same few teams are winning the silverware, then it doesn't matter.

    I agree with Dan Marino,

    And would like to see Ichiro at least make the play-offs which sadly won't happen.

    As for Hockey I can remember Rod Brind'amour winning his first and hoping he did it.

  19. well, thinking about this, Earnhardt had 7 NASCAR championships to his name, but he never considered his career close to successful until he finally won Daytona, and that was just one race. Championships are nice but I think setting and meeting goals is what makes any person successful.

  20. While I'm sure most people think that winning championships is a contributing factor to greatness, I don't agree. There are many great players that never won a ring.

    As you said, Tony Gwynn is a great example. If you are a fan of a player, no one can tell you if you are right or wrong to believe in the greatness of your player.

  21. I think players can be great without winning but I would have a hard time putting them in the top 5 or 10 of all-time without atleast 1 ring. Also, since you dislike LeBron so much is that jersey card annd any other LeBron cards you have one of the prizes : )?

  22. I dont think it matters at all. A great player IS a great player regardless of how many championships they may have won.
    There are plenty of players covering all sports, a few which have already been mentioned, that were recognised as the best in the game at various points of their career but never won a championship.
    And on the other hand you have plenty of average players that go on to win multiple championships, would that make them great?

    So in short, it doesn't matter.

  23. jnkben - sorry... the jersey card was a prize i won from charles... and i could never give that away. as for other lebrons... probably not. I don't think i have any other of value... except for some base cards.

  24. Thanks for all of the comments... future comments will not be counted towards the contest... but feel free to keep them coming.