One of my favourite goofy sports movies growing up was Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller’s Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. A battle between David and Goliath, fast-paced dodgeball action and an old-man drinking his own urine because it’s sterile and he likes the taste. It had everything.
The recent Colin Kaepernik saga has got me thinking about all of the other discarded free agents in pro sports today and wondering where in the world they could fit in. Then it dawned on me. Like Vince Vaughn, I could round up the boys to hopefully build one of the most dominant dodgeball teams the world has ever seen. I imagine hitting the road and touring America leaving dodgeball-welted victims in our wake. It’d be like the ’92 Dream Team through Spain except probably a lot grittier and way more underwhelming. Without further ado, here is the list of athletes that I’m targeting with my own personal pitch as owner, GM and captain of “The Leftovers: Dodgeball for the Drunk and Washed-Up”. Read more
The World Cup of Hockey is right around the corner and… to be honest I don’t know how I feel about it. On one hand I will probably tune in because I love hockey. But on the other hand, I really just don’t care about the result. The NHL is branding this as a replacement for the Olympics, but the mere presence of the Under-23 North American team and the Rest-of-Europe team has rendered this tournament to be a bit of a joke.
It’s a good thing that I enjoy a good joke. I am actually kind of excited to see a team purely built on the young talent of the NHL and how they’ll stack up against the likes of Canada, Russia, and the US. My problem with the World Cup is the fact that the NHL is marketing this as a serious tournament that will definitively prove the best nation in hockey. How will they decide which anthem is played if team Europe wins? Or for team North America for that matter? How will people react to the US program if they come in last despite conceding a bulk of their talent (Eichel, Matthews, Gaudreau, Jones, Gostisbehere, Gibson) to this Young Guns team? The NHL should embrace the joke instead of claiming that this tournament is an Olympics replacement. Play every game 3 on 3. Let fans vote on what song plays for team North America’s anthem. Add even more gimmick teams to the tournament roster.
Real World Cup Rosters on NHL.com Read more
To make this team I looked at all of the players in the Toronto Maple Leafs organization that are under 27 (the cut off for restricted free agency). James Van Riemsdyk wasn’t included because he turns 27 this May. The rankings below have taken into account each player’s current skill as well as their potential.
After hearing Thursday’s All Star roster announcements, I was tempted to write about my own picks for the mid-season exhibition. But after looking at the list, I realized that I don’t have any problems with the reserves. The only issues I had were with Wade and Kobe starting, but at this point the starters are set. I’m not going to make a team and pretend that the vote for the starting lineup just didn’t happen. So me being the All-Star snub of everyday life, it occurred to me that I should craft a team that is the best of the rest. An “All-Snubs Team”. The other guys.
I have been stuck on this concept since my brother and I were talking basketball last weekend. He had just recently reread Bill Simmons’ “The Book of Basketball” so he was pretty jacked up to talk hoops. After a half hour of bouncing ideas back and forth, he asked me, “in a pick-up game to 21, you can pick any player in NBA history, your life depends on this game, who’s on your team?” He then started listing off the five best basketball players in NBA history, “Magic, Jordan, Bird…” It can’t be that simple can it? This quickly turned into an argument because I wanted Gary Payton and Dikembe Mutombo on my team and after half an hour of this back and forth, I could not come up with a team.
Well, after a week to cool down from our heated debate, I finally have my team. But before I can say who’s on it, I need to establish the assumptions I’ve made while making my team. I am picking players for a pickup basketball game, where the winner is the first team to 21 points. The teams are five players per side, full-court, no shot clocks, three-pointers count for 2 points and anything scored within the arc is worth 1 point (a flawed system, but it is what it is). For each player I pick I will specify which year/version of that player that I am picking.