I decided to go a different direction with the most recent open-mic, and make my list of ten athletes who need to retire immediately. This is a list of guys that either don't have the skill or the body to compete any longer.
Note: This article does reflect my personal ignorance, because I have only included athletes from the sports that I follow: baseball, basketball, and football. But, feel free to add or comment about athletes from other sports. I'd love to hear it.
10. Pedro Martinez (baseball)- It's sad to see Pedro pitch so terribly, when he is probably the best pitcher since I was born (1988). At his best, Pedro was top-notch. He's had two seasons with an ERA under two, but at 36 years old, he just doesn't have it anymore.
This season Pedro is 3-2 with an ERA of 6.25. His body just isn't holding up. He most recently had a start delayed with groin problems. Ouch. Hang it up now Pedro. You're a definite HOF guy.
9. Mark Brunell (football)- I didn't even realize this guy was still in the league (he's a backup on the Saints). Dude, retire. You are 37 years old, taking some kid's roster spot. Brunell hasn't seen game action since 2006, and was never that great to begin with.
8. Ricky Williams (football)- Barring a miracle this year, Williams has solidified his status as NFL garbage. Once considered one of the best players in the league, Ricky is clearly just after a paycheck now. Once a running back who ran for over 1,800 yards in a season, Williams didn't even make it through his first game in 2007 without getting "hurt".
The NFL needs to stop giving Ricky weed money. He hasn't put up respectable numbers since 2005. There have to be better options.
7. Alonso Mourning (basketball)- I know that the Heat will probably suck again in 2008 and he will be able to contribute, but I don't want to see this fan-favorite as a scrub. Mourning has overcome multiple injuries, including a kidney disease that almost ended his career.
At his peak, 'Zo averaged 20.1 PPG, 11.0 RPG, and 3.9 BPG. Last year before a serious knee injury, he averaged only 6.0 PPG, 3.7 RPG, and 1.2 BPG. He's clearly a shadow of his former self.
Mourning is a charismatic figure. He clearly has a career in broadcasting after his playing days. He'd be wise to start early on those interests rather then come back and play on a (probably) bad team as a shell of his former self.
6. John Smoltz (baseball)- His heart is telling him no, but his body's telling him yes. Smoltz's right arm simply cannot pitch anymore. Although he had only a 2.57 ERA before shutting it down to surgery this year, Smoltzy obviously isn't healthy enough to play in the MLB. He's a sure-fire Hall-of-Famer.
5. Omar Vizquel (baseball)- If there was a "designated fielder" position, Omar could play until he was 55. But there's not, and Omar is hitting a measly .166 with 10 RBI this season in 157 AB. That's disgraceful.
He's still a good fielder, and should be remembered more for his graceful moves at shortstop and good, timely contact hitting. But his days are long over, and nobody likes to watch a popular vet look stupid.
4. Mark Mulder (baseball)- As a Cardinals fan, this one rings particularly true to me. From 2001 to 2005 he was one of the best pitchers in baseball, but since then he has become complete trash. This season, Mulder has gone 1.2 IP with a 10.80 ERA.
It's not necessarily his fault. Mulder has dealt with constant arm injuries, and attempted to come back from all of them. But he has told media that he won't undergo any more surgerys in a comeback attempt, so with his latest setback, it looks like the show's over.
3. Trent Green (football)- Green might have been a product of Al Saunder's offense in KC, throwing for over 4,000 yards three straight seasons in a row, but his possible retirement is as much about his health as it is his skill.
Green, 38, was terrible for the Miami Dolphins last season, throwing for five TD and seven INT before suffering his third concussion in three seasons, and his most serious yet.
Doctors have been cautioning Trent about his head trauma for years now, and he has failed to heed their warning. The public has seen what constant blows to the head can do to an athlete, but Green is still determined to play, now as a backup for my St. Louis Rams.
It doesn't appear that he is up-to-par in the NFL anymore anyway, but the main concern is Green suffering from a head injury that leaves him in a tragic condition.
2. Mike Hampton (baseball)- Holy crap. How many times can one guy get injured? Hampton was scheduled to pitch for the Braves (again) this season, but suffered a strained pectoral and has failed to make his debut.
In his prime, Hampton was very good. In 1999, he had a 22-4 record with a 2.90 ERA. But the last time he pitched in the bigs was August 19, 2005, to the tune of seven ER in 3.1 IP.
It's a sad story, but with that humongous contract Hampton should retire at 35 knowing he did the best he could with a fragile body, and that he's a rich man.
1. Barry Bonds (baseball)- Barry: Go Away! Nobody wants you in the game anymore. That is evident by the fact that nobody has offered you a contract.
It's hilarious to me that his agent is trying to say that there's a conspiracy, and that every team in the MLB should want Bonds on their roster. Um, are you serious?
I know that I personally would not want the negative, rude, lawsuit plagued, face of steroids around to sour my clubhouse. And since his knees are shot, he has no chance in the NL.
Barry Bonds needs to officially retire and go away. The sooner, the better.
People I intentionally left off: Brett Favre, Shaquille O'Neal, Mark Prior, Jason Isringhausen.