Need a Hug? 10 Sports Figures Having a Bummer Summer
Summer is supposed to be a fun time for everyone. Kids are free from school, America's young adults have time off from the grind of college, and families get to go on some nice vacations.
It's even an exciting time for the sports world. We get to see the NBA Finals, the dog days of the Major League Baseball season and the start of the NFL campaign. Simply put, summertime is a critical time for professional sports teams and their players.
However, the perks of a great summer always come with a hefty chance of having a disappointing one. For basketball players, it could be an early playoff exit. For baseball players, it could be a long slump. And for football players, it could be a premature injury during training camp. Whatever it may be, there's always someone who has a bad summer.
So here's a list of 10 sports figures who need a hug after a bummer summer.
The expectations for Adam Dunn couldn't have been higher coming into the season. Prior to 2011, Dunn had 354 carer homers, had hit for 40 or more home runs in five seasons and drove in 100 or more runs in six seasons. He was also coming off a year where he hit .260, just seven points lower than his career high.
When inking Dunn to a four-year, $56 million contract, White Sox GM Kenny Williams probably thought he had reeled in a piece that would put his club over the top. And how couldn't he? He was adding one of the league's best power hitters to an already potent lineup in a ballpark that yields quite a few long balls.
However, Adam Dunn just hasn't been getting it done. Through 98 games, Dunn has managed a measly 11 home runs, has driven in just 40 runs and is hitting at a laughable .163 average. Adam's slugging percentage is at a weak .299 and his on-base percentage is struggling at .293, giving him a terribly low OPS of .592. According to ESPN.com, Adam Dunn is projected to finish with career lows in nearly every offensive category.
Here's another who many had high expectations for.
As we all know, Chris Bosh signed his way over to Miami to be joined by Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. The Heat reeled in three of the game's biggest stars and were tagged as the early favorites to capture the Larry O'Brien Trophy.
But the Basketball Gods had other plans for Bosh and the Heat. They didn't break any records, they didn't finish with the most wins, and they fell short in the NBA Finals. Bosh saw his points, rebounds, assists and field goal percentage decline from the prior season and came up stale in numerous late game spots. In fact, Bosh's disappointing season caused many fans to disregard him as an NBA superstar and refer to Miami's top players as just the "Big Two."
And top top it all off, ABC cameras followed Chris Bosh into the tunnel after the Heat's Game 6 loss and caught him in perhaps the weakest moment of his NBA career. Viewers witnessed the multi-million dollar athlete cry while slowly walking through back to the Heat locker room.
If that doesn't warrant a hug, I don't know what does.
Lazy, but talented.
That phrase rings ever so true for Florida's shortstop Hanley Ramirez. Ramirez is undoubtedly one of baseball's best players. He can hit for power and average, he is more than capable when fielding his position and he can swipe 30-plus bags a year. But his laid back approach and "la-di-da" attitude has barred him from being considered the game's best player.
And unfortunately for the young Ramirez, 2011 hasn't helped his cause either. Hanley has hit just 10 home runs, has racked only 43 runs batted in and struggled to get his batting average to .250. He has also suffered a few injuries, which has resulted in a number of DL stints in 2011, leaving Hanley to play in 92 of Florida's 117.
Whether it is his laziness, his injuries or just plain old bad luck, Hanley probably isn't having the summer or the season that he had hoped for.
The Broncos brought in a new coach with a new system. So with John Fox's new regime coming in, wouldn't it make sense for the Broncos to kick-start Tim Tebow's career?
Unfortunately for Tebow, the answer to that is "no." Fellow Denver quarterback Kyle Orton outperformed Tebow last season and continues to outperform him leading up to this season. Orton is the clear starter for Denver, leaving their 2010 first-round pick on the sidelines.
Is it the wrong choice? No.
Do the Broncos have a better shot to win with Tebow taking the snaps? No.
But is Tim Tebow getting stymied by the team? Looks like it.
Kyle Orton is the pick for the Broncos if they want to win right now. However, Denver is in the early stages of a rebuilding process. They had a miserable 4-12 record last season due to an obvious lack of talent and have begun to fix that. They invested perhaps a premature selection in Tebow, drafted a franchise-type linebacker in Von Miller and brought in a quality coach in John Fox. Orton is good for the short run, but Tebow is a better pick for the long run in Denver.
Not only is Tebow getting the cold shoulder from his own team, he was criticized by ESPN NFL analyst Merril Hoge. Hoge ripped into Tebow about his accuracy problems and lack of a reliable skills set. These comments were quickly publicized and put further doubt into the career of Tim.
And as if that wasn't enough, LeBron James came to his rescue after Merril Hoge's criticism. (It may not be a good thing when a man hated by 95 percent of the sports world backs you up.)
Look up, Tim. Do you see that? It's called a microscope.
Going into 2011, Shin-Soo Choo was perhaps the most overlooked player in baseball. Whenever I said the name Shin-Soo Choo to somebody, they would respond by saying, "God bless you."
However, this South Korean product is more than just a name that sounds like a sneeze. Shin-Soo Choo is one of the best talents in the game today. Choo hit for a respectable .300 average in 2010 along with 22 homers and 90 runs batted in. (And that was for a team who was ranked 26th in all of baseball in runs scored.) So Cleveland's right fielder was probably looking to have a breakout campaign in 2011.
But that didn't go quite as planned. Through 72 games, Choo hit for a lowly .244 average and only belted five long balls while driving in 28 runs.
Shin-Soo also encountered an off-field problem in addition to his on-field ones. On the morning of May 3, Choo was arrested on a DUI charge. He later apologized to his teammates as well as the Indians organization.
Then on June 24 against the defending champion Giants, Choo suffered a severely broken thumb. He underwent surgery and is just making his way back into the lineup.
Miami Dolphins Fans
You know you're desperate when your chanting for Kyle Orton. And that's exactly what the Miami Dolphins fans were doing at this year's training camp.
After the front office failed to swing a trade for Kyle Orton, Miami fans revolted and began to shout the quarterback's name during the team's practice. Orton isn't exactly everybody's ideal QB, but he's a hell of a lot better than what they have going on.
To put in its simplest terms, the quarterback situation in Miami is scary. There is no definite leader for this team and their fanbase knows it. And we all know that you need a quarterback to win.
So to make things a bit clearer for those who are unfamiliar with the dilemma in Miami, play some sad violin music and read off this list of post-Marino era quarterbacks:
Raise your hand if you saw this coming. Now, everyone who has their hands raised is a liar!
That's right, nobody saw Ichiro's stale season coming.
Through 115 games in 2011, Ichiro has hit only one homer, driven in only 27 runs and scored just 58 runs. The most surprising statistic of all is Ichiro's shockingly low batting average. He is hitting at a .268 clip, by far the lowest of his 11-year career in America.
Who would have thought a sure fire Hall-of-Famer would contribute so little to his team?
Who would have thought a guy whose career low in batting was .303 would be hitting .268?
Nobody, and that's why the 2011 season of Ichiro Suzuki is certainly a curious and disappointing one.
In the "What the hell were they thinking" department, the Minnesota Timberwolves fired Kurt Rambis after just two years as the team's head coach. During Kurt's brief run, the Wolves compiled a 32-132 record and finished last in the Western Conference for those two seasons.
But is Kurt Rambis to blame? Hell no!
What do you expect from a first time head coach that is given absolute crap?
The guy had nothing to work with in Minnesota. He had Kevin Love, Michael Beasley and (insert name here because that was about it.) Kurt Rambis is a human for goodness sakes, not a magician.
Unfortunately for Rambis, he passed up a future head coaching job for the Lakers for this one with Minnesota. He was, after all, the presumed successor to Phil Jackson at the time. So instead of coaching the league's best franchise with a championship ready team, he is sitting at home waiting for a new job.
If anyone on this list needs a hug, it has to be Kurt Rambis.
From a four-time World Series Champion catcher to a... bench player?
It sounds pretty sad for Jorge Posada, and quite frankly, it is.
Jorge Posada was always the masked man for sports' most storied franchise. New Yorkers could always rely on good ol' Jorge for at least 17 homers, 70 RBI and a nicely called game behind the dish.
However, Jorge Posada is a human. Humans age. And as humans age, they lose their edge.
In 2011, Posada is batting .230 with nine homers and 31 runs batted in. He went from starting to catcher, to designated hitter, to bench player within a year. Now only time will tell if Jorge even finishes the season on the roster.
If you didn't see this coming, then you must have been on a deserted island for the past two years. Everyone, and I mean everyone, should know about Tiger's personal life by now. He slept with 876 different women, his wife divorced him and he hasn't been the same golfer since. (By the way, don't quote me on that number.)
This is why Tiger needs a hug:
- Woods has gone from the world's undisputed No. 1 golfer, all the way down to 30th.
- His last major win came back in 2008.
- His wife bolted with $100 million of his fortune.
- He went from the Michael Jordan of golf to the DJ Mbenga of gold.
Most recently, Woods has opted out the 2011 U.S. Open and just shot one of his rounds of golf at the PGA Championship on Aug. 11.
He may have become quite the villain, but that doesn't mean Tiger Woods can't use a hug. I would give him one, but I don't want to smell of hooker sweat.