2008 Turkeys Of The Year
We're all for moving up. But you signed a long-term deal in West Virginia, bolted for Michigan less than a year later and then tried to back out of paying the price? And now, after the worst year ever in Ann Arbor, you knuckle-slap the fans? Maybe it's you that ought to be looking for a life, Rich.
Chad Ocho Cinco
It was hilarious at first, and then simply cute, and after a while it slid into barely mildly amusing. The on-field antics, the non-stop mouth, the constant preening in front of the cameras ... the name change, for Pete's sake. It's well past annoying now, Mr. Johnson. Quit talking. Start playing.
The young slugging outfielder went from unwanted in Arizona to an MVP candidate on the South Side of Chicago, but it all came crashing down when, in a fleeting moment of frustration, he took an innocent swipe at his bat after a bad swing and broke his wrist. Bye bye, MVP. Bye bye, Sox.
He's retired. He isn't. He's retired. He isn't -- and now he wants his old starting job back. And if he can't have it, he's demanding a trade. Or maybe not. Or ... yes, he is! He's going to the Vikings. No, he's not! Favre's good name took a beating with this summer charade. Hope it was worth it.
The Mets' bullpen
A year after a late-September collapse that cost them the National League East title, the Mets again stumbled and burned down the stretch. This time, though, it was less their manager's fault -- they had already canned him -- than a bullpen, sans closer, that simply couldn't seal the deal.
He came out swinging at last year's Mitchell Report and his main accuser, Brian McNamee. Unfortunately for the Rocket, everybody swung back. A New York paper uncovered a long-term affair with country singer Mindy McCready, and a battered Clemens is left singing the blues.
Big, mean, bearded street fighter, an Internet You Tube sensation, fights in a hugely hyped mixed martial arts bout on prime-time TV, faces a last-minute replacement and -- of course -- has his big, mean, bearded head handed to him 14 seconds later. Snorrrrre.
Memphis free-throw shooters
It's amazing, really, that the Tigers made it all the way to the NCAA title game in April shooting freebies the way that they did. They ranked 339th of 341 teams. Against Kansas, things finally caught up to them. Ahead by six with 1:23 left, they bricked four straight FTs, then lost in OT.
The intense stare, the force of personality, his history as a feared middle linebacker in the NFL probably should have been enough. But Singletary, the new coach of the 49ers, felt that dropping his pants for a halftime speech was needed to rally his guys. Another typical rookie mistake.
The Dodgers gave this one-time star centerfielder $36.2 million for two years of work. After hitting just .158, with 76 Ks in 75 games of a mercifully injury-shortened season, it's now clear that the Dodgers would have had a better chance putting their money into the Dow Jones than this Jones.
After 15 years away from the bench, ESPN's hockey mullet was hired by the Tampa Bay Lightning amid great fanfare and lasted all of 16 games before receiving a pink slip. Melrose later complained to Hockey Night in Canada that his players were a bunch of lazy, overpaid whiners, but the Bolts were in the basement mostly due to his antiquated system that moved team co-owner Len Barrie to visit the locker room during games and diagram plays.
The new Boss stepped into George's spotlight, and it's as if the Yankees never missed a beat. He pushed Joe Torre out of town, ripped into Red Sox Nation, whined about divisional alignments ... and then was strangely silent as the Yanks whiffed on the playoffs for the first time since '93.
Hey, we're all innocent until proven otherwise, and nobody's laid a thing on the high-rolling, outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks just yet. But these insider trading charges against Cuban, who's making a bid to buy the Cubs? They aren't making him look any more loveable.
Finally out of prison after admitting she lied to federal prosecutors and everyone else, freed of her medals from the 2000 Olympics because of doping charges, what's one of the first things this former sprinting sweetheart does? She tells Oprah, "I didn't love myself enough to tell the truth."
It's OK to admit that the Big Goof is amusing sometimes. He can be, in his own way, kind of charmingly churlish. In an impromptu late-night rap in June, Shaq took to the mic and asked, in a fractured rhyme, "Kobe, tell me how my a-- taste?" Don't know what it means. Don't want to.
The controversial trainer of Big Brown didn't have it in his nature, unfortunately, to play it cool about his horse's chances of winning the Belmont Stakes and wrapping up the first Triple Crown since '78. He called the win a "foregone conclusion." BB finished last in the nine-horse field.
The Detroit Lions
The Lions finally canned Matt Millen in September -- you win 31 games in seven-plus years, you have it coming -- but remain one of the most inept franchises in the game. They haven't been to the playoffs since '99 or had a winning season since 2000. Aren't going to this year, either.
You have to feel a little sad for a guy who misses a Super Bowl win because of an injury, who is forced to watch it in a suite, far above his teammates. But then he opens his mouth, whines, yells at his GM until he gets traded and ... well, at least it's a little quieter around the Giants these days.
Cody Martin, Matthew Hill, Stephens County (Ga.) High
Trailing 8-1, his team complaining about calls behind the plate, catcher Hill seemingly ducked out of the way of a Martin pitch, allowing it to smack the ump in the facemask. Video of the play became an Internet scourge and the year's prime example of alarmingly poor sportsmanship.
The captain of the European Ryder Cup team tripped over the Opening Ceremonies in Louisville -- "thrashing away in the verbal bunker," according to a UK newspaper -- benched one of his best players and then lost the Cup to the Americans for the first time since '99. Bloody bad show.
The track-suit wearing Raiders owner has always been one of the weirdest cats in sports. His press conference in September detailing his firing of head coach Lane Kiffin -- after a public standoff that lasted months -- was so compellingly absurd you couldn't take your eyes off of it.
See Manny hit. Nobody hits like Manny. See him smile. What a great guy! See Manny play left field. What a goofball! See Manny push down an elderly employee, sit out games in a selfish funk, force his way out of Boston for money and get everyone in L.A. to buy into his act. Oh, Manny!
The Peoria Chiefs and Dayton Dragons
On July 24, these Midwest League Class A rivals got into an all-out brawl that escalated when one misguided young dope -- pitcher Julio Castillo of the Chiefs -- hurled a ball at the Dragons' dugout. Only he missed, conking an innocent fan on the head. He's facing two felony charges.