The worst moves of 2001
From the Page 2 mailbag

Here's how Page 2 editors ranked the worst moves of 2001:

1. Bud Selig announces plans to contract two teams just days after end of World Series
2. XFL is launched
3. George O'Leary embellishes his résumé and forgets to mention it to Notre Dame
4. For second time in less than two months, Nate Newton gets caught with large amount of marijuana
5. Randy Moss says he only plays hard when he "feels like it"
6. Bulls trade Elton Brand to the Clippers for rights to Tyson Chandler
7. Hasim Rahman decides not to sign a multi-bout deal after knocking out Lennox Lewis in their first bout
8. Bob Brenly brings back closer Byung-Hyun Kim for Game 5 of the World Series
9. BCS formula gives no credit for a team winning its conference championship
10. Red Sox fire Jimy Williams

The season for year-end lists continues.

After checking out Page 2's list of the top 10 worst moves of 2001, nearly 900 readers chimed in with their choices. Examine their picks below and then vote in the poll at right to crown the No. 1 worst move in sports of past 12 months.

1. Bud Selig announces plans to "contract" two teams just days after the conclusion of a feel-good World Series that had people in love with baseball again (137 letters)
Bud Selig and MLB's idiocy and utter lack of fiscal accountability rank far and above any other foolish sports moment of the last year, or even the last decade.

Billionaire owners holding cities ransom to build new stadiums under the threat of moving or contraction, and at the same time tossing multimillion dollar contracts to any dweeb who can hit 25 homers, or has an ERA under 5.00, while whining about lost revenues ... and still expecting the rest of the working world to bail them out.

It's far beyond the time for baseball, a business like any other, to lose their anti-trust exemption status, and start being held accountable for its own actions. Instead of fewer teams, how about salaries coming down from the stratosphere?
Los Angeles

Proof of the greatness of baseball is that it can thrive under its current "leadership." Bud Selig's genius allows him to testify to Congress that baseball is losing millions at the same time ballclubs are lining up to pay multiyear, multimillion dollar contracts to free agents.

Bud Selig
The timing for Bud Selig's contraction announcement didn't do baseball any favors.
Contraction threats are a cheap ploy to gain leverage over the players union because the owners cannot save themselves from themselves. Bud Selig, pillar of integrity.
T. Brady
Manchester, Conn.

You got it right. What Bug Selig did was sort of like taking your wife to a seaside bed-and-breakfast for your anniversary, and then asking for a divorce over a candlelight dinner.
Jim Stoddard
Reno, Nevada

2. The BCS formula gives no credit for a team winning its conference championship (52 letters)
The disgrace I witnessed after Colorado beat Nebraska and then Texas and then was snubbed by the BCS was bad for sports, bad for the kids, and bad for Miami.

Miami is now in a no-win situation. So is Division I football. No longer is there a need for championship games, since they don't mean anything. No longer should a team work hard after two losses because the incentive of a championship is gone.

A 32-team playoff would involve the whole country but only two teams would play those extra five games. With an 11-game season, everyone would play at least 12 games and some would play more, just like today. At the end, there would be no argument. It works with Division I-AA, basketball, volleyball, etc.

What we have had in the past is subjective and that does not work in sports. I know nobody who really believes there is a true champion in Division I. It is time for colleges to use their brains and do what's best for the athletes, the schools and the sport.
Roger Stanman
Glendale, Calif

Chris Brown
Chris Brown and Colorado routed Nebraska but were snubbed by the BCS.
This is two years in a row that the BCS folks have made themselves look like a bunch of idiots.

The system doesn't even have any credibility or criteria now for determining the bowl games. Losing your last game means nothing. Nebraska proved that point. Head-to-head competition? Margin of victory? Quality wins? Colorado beat Nebraska by 26 points and a week later they beat Texas (who beat them convincingly earlier in the year) to win their conference. If that's not quality, then what is?

Oregon didn't win its last game convincingly? So what? It was an arch-rival in a downpour. And the Ducks still won the game. Isn't that what really matters? And they only lost one game, to No. 10 Stanford. What's wrong with that?

Colorado has two losses? They avenged one of them by beating Texas in Texas. So really it was one loss. Very early in the year. Another moot point now. Besides, if they can put Nebraska in this game after they were beaten in their last game, they can put in the two-loss team that beat them.

I guess the BCS is just like most other things in life. It's all politics, it's who you know, who you like, money talks, etc. In this case, the bowl darling Nebraska gets to go to the big game rather than the team that really deserves to go (Oregon or Colorado). Just like last year, when Miami got screwed over in favor of the darling FSU. It pays to be a pet.

If we can't have a playoff, can we at least buy out the BCS contract and go back to the old system? It might not have been much better, but it sure as hell wasn't any worse.
Chris Wright
Easton, Pa.

This is a tough one, but I have to go with the BCS situation. Those other moves were pretty dumb, but they weren't so dumb that they made me vow never to watch the sport again (well, except for the XFL, but that's different).

College football can be forgotten about until the problem is fixed. It's a sham worse than boxing.
Lee Rosenberg

3. The XFL is launched (48 letters)
Jason Kaiser, Latario Rachal
While Page 2 will miss the easy target of the XFL, our readers will not.
What were these people thinking? The combination of bad announcers (Jesse Ventura) who knew nothing about football, bad football, He Hate Me, and those out-of-work go-go dancers as cheerleaders just made the XFL the worst sports entertainment to ever show up on TV.

Why didn't NBC just bring back Saturday Night Wrestling like they had in the 1980s with the WWF, and then Vince McMahon and NBC could make a lot more money than they lost with that piece of crap XFL.
Norristown, Pa.

Until this year there was no word in the English language that all at once meant "misogynistic, flamboyant, ugly, awful, wasteful idea that makes no sense, no money and simply does not work." Now we have one: XFL.
Juan Gonzalez

There was nothing X-treme about the XFL except that it was X-tremely forgettable.
Dover, Mass.

4. The Red Sox fire Jimy Williams (32 letters)
The Red Sox were a dysfunctional family in 2001, but they were Jimy's dysfunctional family. He somehow managed to keep them close to the Yankees with a makeshift rotation and three injured superstars, along with Crazy Carl Everett and a closer who seemed to forget how to close.

Unfortunately, Jimy got fired instead of the guy who fired him, Dan Duquette. Sox fans like me are still waiting for the ax to come down on him.
New Hampshire

Dan Duquette fires Jimy Williams when the Sox were four games behind the Yankees, and while Pedro and Nomar are due back from injuries. Then the Joe "39 lineups in 39 games" Kerrigan nine fall completely and hopelessly out of contention while the clubhouse implodes.
Paul Latimer
Norfolk, Mass.

Elton Brand
By trading Elton Brand, the Bulls achieved the once impossible: making the Clippers look smart.
5. The Bulls trade Elton Brand, established NBA star, to the Clippers for the rights to Tyson Chandler, high school student (23 letters)
When I saw David Stern step up to the podium on draft night and announce a trade had been made, the first thought trailing through my head was "Please don't let Jerry Krause do anything stupid."

And when Stern announced that the Bulls had traded away a guaranteed 20-10 player who had not even seen his 23rd birthday, who could win games for you every night ... for the captain of the high school basketball team ... I nearly threw up.

I, a longtime Bulls fan who had put up with so much after Krause dismembered one of the greatest dynasties of all- time, could not believe what happened. Brand for Chandler was not only the worst trade of the year, but of all-time.

This is exactly the sort of thing that makes me believe Jabba The Krause is an agent of the Dark Prince. If he keeps making deals like this, the Blackhawks are going to offer him a job.
Andy D.

6. George O'Leary embellishes his résumé, and forgets to mention it to Notre Dame (22 letters)
It's a résumé good enough to lose not one but two jobs in a month.
Kevin Joseph

Danny Almonte
Danny Almonte's parents and coaches cheated dozens of other Little Leaguers.
7. The Bronx Little League team tries to pass off Danny Almonte as a 12-year-old (19 letters)
The worst move of the year can only be the one that brought corruption and dishonesty to the last bastion of decency in sports, the Little League World Series.

Yes, chalk it up to the family and coaches of Danny Almonte, who cheated all kinds of kids younger than him out of a real LLWS experience by trotting out this ogre of a 14-year-old to mow down 11- and 12-year-old kids on national TV, all the while becoming national heroes, to boot.

We all rooted for them, felt sorry for them -- little did we know. We were all fooled, and Little League baseball will never be the same, as we found that even it is not immune to the evils that have permeated professional sports.
Mike Jaskowiak

8. (tie) For the second time in less than two months, Nate Newton gets caught with a large amount of marijuana in his car (18 letters)
I'd say the worst move of 2001 had to be Nate Newton getting his dumb self arrested twice within a span of six weeks, effectively announcing to the world: "I'm a pothead, I'm an idiot, and I don't learn from my mistakes. Laugh at me, everyone laugh at me ..."

I still am.
Eric Hoffman

Nate Newton
Nate Newton was caught not once, but twice with large amounts of marijuana.
It's unbelievable how a guy can earn millions of dollars playing pro ball just to wind up being the butt of the most e-mail jokes I ever received in one day. Imagine those Lamar Odom/Nate Newton shindigs ... holy smokes!
Dan Gallagher
Morristown, N.J.

8. (tie) Randy Moss says he only plays hard when he "feels like it," and then refuses to take it back when given a chance to "explain" himself (18 letters)
My vote for worst move of 2001 was definitely on your list. The remarks by Randy Moss show the selfishness that many of our "heroes" are exhibiting to our youngsters.

Since the Vikings saw fit to pay this malcontent a salary that precludes trading or cutting him, might I recommend benching him semi-permanently. No playing time, no Pro Bowl, no reaching any incentives, and certainly no Hall of Fame. They should also not forget to fine him whenever deemed necessary.

Too many of us work hard every day for a fraction of what he earns to listen to his line.
Bill Van Abs
Virginia Beach, Va.

Byung-Hyun Kim
Byung-Hyun Kim suffered further humiliation because of Bob Brenly.
10. Bob Brenly brings back closer Byung-Hyun Kim for Game 5 of the World Series (14 letters)
Come on, Brenly shouldn't have thrown Kim into that situation. Everybody in the country saw it coming. They should have brought out someone else. What's the worst that happens then? Lose the game? Instead, Brenly throws his young, still-shaken closer back into the fire, and he loses the game and his confidence.

Heck, Kim was the closer by default during the regular season, when Prinz and Mantei went down. Why all the confidence in him after he gets shelled?
Jeff Carmichael
Roebling, N.J.

Dishonorable Mentions

  • A's refuse to give Jason Giambi no-trade clause
  • Red Sox purchased by out of town low-bidders
  • Bill Grammatica's celebration
  • Jason Kidd traded for Stephon Marbury
  • Cowboys draft Quincy Carter as their quarterback solution
  • Cleveland fans litter the field after a controversial call
  • Mack Brown starts Chris Simms over Major Applewhite


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