UPDATE (3.17.14): Common Man and Tenna-B discussed this post on the noon-to-three “progrum” (discussion starts around 2:25, continues about two and a half minutes).
“The Preposterous Statement Tournament” is an annual, NCAA March Madness-style tournament put on by Minnesota’s KFAN 100.3 FM radio station consisting mostly of absurd statements made by sports analysts, players, coaches, and front office-types. “The Common Man” Dan Cole and his sidekick, Brandon Mileski (aka “Tenna-B”), are the puppet masters of the preposterousness, and the tournament has increased in popularity so much that there was a rather well-attended “Selection Show” this year (although the budget for the production of said show clearly needs a boost).
The tournament is simply fantastic. It’s a 68-statement bracket of sports self-deprecation, highlighting just how irrationally serious America is about a collection of games. And the Common Man is the perfect conduit for the satire: his three-hour afternoon show is a daily roast of the sports world, with his dedication to long-winded diatribes about his golf game serving as a tongue-in-cheek comment on how completely irrelevant 90% of the “hot sports topics” are that other TV and radio personalities fabricate in order to fill air time and give themselves excuses to yell at each other. (Ironically, the worst offender of “taking himself way too seriously and making outrageously stupid sports statements” happens to be Paul Allen, the radio voice of the Minnesota Vikings and host of the nine-to-noon program that immediately precedes The Common Man.)
Last year, Amy Van Dycken, an Olympic gold-medalist in swimming and now a Fox Sports radio personality, won the tournament when she said that Drew Brees holding out for a new contract was “awesome” because he needs to provide for his family and “doesn’t know where his next meal is coming from.” In homage to the NCAA’s “One Shining Moment” that is played every year after the championship game is decided, the program produced an outstanding “One Preposterous Statement” song to honor the jaw-dropping preposterousness of Dycken’s even longer rant on the subject.
And on that note, let’s get into my preposterously in-depth analysis of this year’s preposterous statement bracket.
The Simply Absurd Category:
- Ken Rosenthal: tweeted “Young (Delmon) coming off microfracture surgery on right ankle, #Phillies think he may be able to regain mobility in OF”
- As my fantasy baseball league knows, I’ve long been a Delmon Young detractor, and even when healthy, he moves like his legs are made of Lincoln Logs.
- Ron Gardenhire: on Drew Butera, “Drew is a very good catcher. He doesn’t belong in Triple-A. He’s a Major Leaguer.”
- Drew Butera’s career batting line: .181/.229/.262. Not a typo.
- Jimmy Howard (Red Wings Goalie): on NHL moving Detroit from Western Conference to Eastern Conference, “It’d be unbelievable. The travel takes years off of all our lives.”
- Headline on SBNation.com: “Christian Ponder likely out another game for fantasy owners.”
- Karl Malone: Said he would put Scottie Pippen on his all-time starting 5 over Michael Jordan.
- Sore loser.
- Reggie Miller: before the All-Star Game (where nobody plays a lick of defense and/or tries), “You will see some of the best basketball ever played in the world here tonight.”
- Donald Trump: “The people I resonate best with are poor people and people that are really blue collar.”
- Titus Young: “Like I’ve said, I’ve never been selfish, but if I’m not going to get the football, I don’t want to play anymore.”
- The innate preposterousness of this statement is tempered because Young may have mental health issues, but still, it’s stunning to read.
Homer-ism at its Finest
- John Bonnes: “The Twins will be a fun team to watch this spring.”
- Why it was so preposterous: the Twins’ only above-average player was Joe Mauer, whose best skills are drawing walks and hitting singles. He’s great, don’t get me wrong, but “fun” and Joe Mauer are patently incongruous. Meanwhile, the rest of the roster consisted of the same mediocre, low-ceiling veteran-types who had contributed to the two previous 96- and 99-loss seasons.
- Roy Smalley: after Chris Collabello hit an opposite field home run, “I don’t think I’ve seen anyone other than Miguel Cabrera have the kind of power to the opposite field gap that this kid has.”
- Phil Rogers of MLB.com: “Joe Benson (former Twin) is a five-tool player just like Mike Trout.”
Joe Benson will turn 26 in March, has 74 career major league plate appearances, and probably won’t make the horrible Marlins’ team out of spring training. Mike Trout is 22 and finished 2nd in AL MVP voting in each of the past 2 seasons. In other words, yes, they are just like each other.
- @GopherHole: tweeted “Just leaving the Big House. Their student section is very large but nowhere near as loud or rowdy as #Gophers student section”
On Tubby Smith (the same coach who once instructed his team to hold the ball for the final shot when his team was losing, and who also had multiple talented players transfer to play meaningful roles for other D-I teams (Justin Cobb, Colten Iverson, Royce White, Paul Carter, Devoe Joseph):
- Sean Farnham (ESPN Analyst): “Minnesota is lucky to have a coach like Tubby Smith.”
- Rex Chapman (NCAA Basketball Analyst): “Tubby’s teams play hard all the time. They’ll run through a wall for Tubby.”
The Paul Allen section:
- PA: on why Cordarrelle Patterson isn’t playing more, “Vikings have an embarrassment of riches at the wide receiver position”
- PA: said on his showpage, “There is some serious damage we can do with Mike Wallace on one side and Jerome Simpson on the other.”
- PA: “Antoine Winfield is not going to play for the Cleveland Browns for $6 million if he can get 2 or 3 here.”
- PA: “Oh my God, we’re going to win the fricking Super Bowl. Forget 10-6. We’re going 15-1 and I’m having a hard time finding that one loss.”
Statements that made the tourney, but shouldn’t have (i.e., the “least preposterous)
The “Comparison” Category
- #17 seed, Joe Nelson: “Oswaldo Arcia reminds me of a young David Ortiz”
- #16 seed, Jim Souhan: “Miguel Sano could be reminding people of Miguel Cabrera in the big leagues by next season.” (And I’m no fan of Souhan’s).
- #5 seed, Jim Callis (Baseball America): “Minor Leaguers Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano could become a close approximation to Mike Trout and Bryce Harper.”
My reasoning: the young David Ortiz was injury-prone, and while he put up better numbers than Arcia, besides the on-base %, they weren’t preposterously better than Arcia’s:
|Player||Age||Plate App.||Batting Avg.||On-Base %||Slugging %|
Plus, the statement is completely subjective – if someone reminds you of someone else, that statement is true for you, right? So how preposterous can it really be?
As for Ortiz, he was limited to just 25 plate appearances in his age-23 season due to injuries, but his next three seasons were quite good before the Twins released him for the immortal Jose Morban. Who? Exactly. You can see for yourself, but Ortiz’s OPS was .810, .799, and .839 in those three seasons. But we didn’t need him! Good job, Twins’ front office.
The next two statements disqualify themselves through the use of the modifier could. Miguel Sano could remind people of Miguel Cabrera. Is it likely? No, but he’s one of the top 5 prospects in baseball according to any list, he’s huge, he plays third, and he mashes the ball, the latter three qualities of which also apply to Miguel Cabrera. The same goes for the Buxton-Sano vs. Trout-Harper comp. Buxton is the #1 prospect in baseball according to every list I’ve seen, and at the same stage of his career, Trout’s numbers were eerily similar to Buxton’s. And Harper has been good, but nowhere near Trout-like, so Sano “matching” him isn’t out of the question, either.
The “Meh” Category
- #16 seed Lavelle E. Neal: “Baseball Managers have to make hundreds of decisions a night.”
- I get it, being a baseball manager isn’t exactly rocket science, but they still have to make a lot of decisions, and this statement is just too bland to inspire much in terms of preposterousness.
- #8 seed, former NFL Ref Bernie Kukar: on how refs are chosen for the Super Bowl, “Normally they don’t take the guys that worked the Championship games into the Super Bowl, what they usually do is take them out of the first or second round of the playoffs because they don’t want a guy sitting around for 5 weeks or so not having any games to officiate, they could get a little rusty so they like to take them out of the first or second rounds so they don’t have too much of a lag between the next game and the Super Bowl.”
- I’m still confused by both the statement and its inclusion in the tournament.
The “These Statements Might Be True?!?” Category
- #3 seed, Rick Anderson: says NL hitters keep swinging at Francisco Liriano’s slider because, “They just don’t know him real well.”
- I understand the logic behind wanting to hammer on Anderson for this statement – Anderson, the Twins’ pitching coach, was defensive because Liriano was thriving for the Pirates after having performed rather poorly for the Twins, under Anderson’s tutelage, for years – but still, the seeding committee must have fallen asleep at the wheel on this one. A #3 seed? This statement probably shouldn’t have made the tournament, let alone earned a high seed. The reason? It’s probably at least partially true.
- #11 seed, Leonardo DiCaprio: said he may need to take a break from acting because filming three movies in two years has left him exhausted, “I’m a little bit drained. I am now going to take a long, long break.”
- If the guy is exhausted and drained, the guy is exhausted and drained, right? Walking a mile probably shouldn’t leave people exhausted and drained, but for some people, it does. From what I understand, making movies takes a long time, and they often shoot for long hours, so the statement simply is not preposterous.
Plus, it’s nothing compared to #4 seed Tom Cruise’s statement from the same category of “I take my work as an actor WAY too seriously:”
“My work as an actor is as hard as fighting in Afghanistan.”
- #13 seed, Michael Russo: said a goalie loses 5-10 pounds a game
- As a former wrestler who would weigh myself before and after every single practice and match, I’m guessing goalies probably do lose at least a couple pounds per game. (I’m guessing the motivation behind this seed was the fact that goalies barely move from the net, but still, they’re tense and definitely sweating for probably close to 3 hours).
- #11 seed, AJ Mansour: “Eli [Manning] is just as inconsistent as [Tony] Romo, the only difference is he won a couple of Super Bowls”
- 100% true, 0% preposterous. Another chart:
Eli had two semi-miraculous Super Bowl runs, thanks largely to strong running games and outstanding defenses (especially defensive lines). Plus the Helmet Catch. And only one of these two players (ahem, Manning), has multiple seasons of 20 or more interceptions (20 in ’07, (the same year as the first Super Bowl win), 25 in 2010, and 27 in 2013). Romo has zero such seasons.
- #14 seed, Dave St. Peter, the MN Twins’ President and de facto public relations guy: on the trade deadline, “There’s interest in a lot of our guys.”
- #6 seed, Dave St. Peter: “There isn’t a group of people more committed to winning than the Pohlads.”
- #10 seed, Star Tribune headline: “Vikings compare favorably to NFC champ 49ers.”
My Favorite Mid-to-Low-Seed Contenders (#6 seed or lower)
- #6 seed, Stuart Scott: called the celebrity basketball game “one of the most anticipated events in sports.” (He’s become the Paul Allen of ESPN . . . he’s so ridiculous that he’s really just a caricature of himself.)
- Why it won’t win: it starts by saying “one of the most,” which is one of those qualifiers that removes the definitive preposterousness of the statement.
- #7 seed, Randy Moss: “I’ve always been a team player. I’ve never been about self.”
- Why it won’t win: People love Randy Moss too much. There’s a reason everyone still quotes “Straight cash, homey.”
- #7 seed, Paul Allen: said that he could remember all of Adrian Peterson’s career runs and there were only three where he lowered the crown of his helmet.
- Why it won’t win: Paul Allen isn’t a real person, he’s just a troll and/or undercover agent sent from outer space and/or the owner’s offices to anger normal fans and/or brainwash homer-rific rubes to continually pay money to watch Minnesota’s consistently mediocre-to-terrible teams.
- #12 seed, Golf Analyst Brandel Chamblee: on the 2-stroke penalty against Tiger Woods in the Masters, “This will cast a dark shadow over the entire day of golf, over this entire event, but more importantly over his entire career for the rest of the life.”
- Why it won’t win: It’s golf. Nobody really cares.
- #14 seed, Paul Allen: on the 2013 Vikings, “Our offense next year is going to be like it was back in 1998.” (When the Vikings broke the record for most points in regular season history, led by Randy Moss and Cris Carter).
- Why it won’t win: Paul Allen has cried wolf so many times with his unrepentant, over-the-top homer-ism that it no longer registers as preposterous.
- #17 seed, Andy Fuhrman (Fox Sports Radio): on Wes Welker leaving the Patriots, “to let this guy walk, it’s like letting Babe Ruth walk from the Yankees.”
- Why it won’t win: I have no idea. I guess Welker is a good player, but Babe Ruth might have been the best baseball player ever.
- #17 seed, Paul Allen: asked Sage Rosenfels “Do you think Adrian Peterson beat up the Green Bay Packers so much over 2 games this season, that they were too beat up to stop the 49ers this weekend?”
- Why it won’t win: Solely because of the aforementioned bubble of absurdity that PA has surrounded himself with over the years. I mean, good god, the Vikings played the Packers on Oct. 27th and Nov. 24th. The Packers played five other teams before finally playing the 49ers on January 5th, a full 6 weeks after last seeing Adrian Peterson. This question is so asinine that only a truly sick, demented-level of homer could even dream it up, let alone ask it during an interview on live radio with a real person. And yet . . . it’s a #17 seed. There’s a reason Allen’s likeness has already been etched on Mount Preposterous.
(I assume this statement was in reference to the 2013 season, and the Packers’ postseason loss to the 49ers on 1/5/14, because the Vikings and Packers actually played three times in 2012 – two regular season, one postseason – before the Packers got thrashed by the 49ers on January 12, 2013. Either way . . . preposterous).
#12 seed, Dick Bremer (Twins’ TV play-by-play guy):
“Somewhere between Samuel Deduno and PJ Walters there’s a Cy Young Award winner.”
Deduno is 30, has thrown 192 major league innings, and has a career ERA of 4.06. Ok, not horrendous I guess. But Walters? He’s 28, has thrown 152 major league innings, and has a career ERA of 6.28. Yowza.
Regardless of who wins the tournament, this is one competition in which the fans truly are the winners. Thank you, Common Man, Tenna-B, and KFAN for this marvelous concept! (Next year, all I ask is that you make your brackets a little less preposterously un-user-friendly. Thanks).