The Mirl
The Website of Eric Mirlis
Winner and Loser of the Week

Week ending April 3
WINNER: Baseball Fans - For one reason and one reason alone. It's Opening Day. Finally. Enjoy the season.
LOSER: Alex Sanchez - For being the first person suspended under baseball's new steroid policy. Lots of words come to mind to
describe this. Stupid is way up there. But I like Loser best.

Week ending March 27
WINNER: Dieter Kochan, Bridgeport Sound Tigers goaltender - For finally saying it. Finally, an active hockey player has spoken out
against the NHLers who are going to the minor leagues and Europe and taking jobs from players in those leagues. In an Alan Hahn
article this week on the prospects of replacement players in the NHL next season, Kochan, a journeyman who has had a cup of
coffee in the NHL but has spent the bulk of his career in the minors, was asked if he would be interested in being a replacement
player. His reply was essentially this.....Normally I would say no, but since a lot of NHLers have taken jobs away from other players,
yes. And since they've done that, they really have no right holding it against anyone who does. Thank you, Dieter, for saying what lots
of hockey people have thought since this whole lockout mess began. May you get one more cup of the NHL coffee.
LOSER: Barry Bonds - I can't stand the guy. I've passed on him in my fantasy leagues for years because I just don't like him. But I
have absolutely no sympathy for this guy. He refuses to fess up about steroids. He has alienated himself from teammates and
managers for almost his entire career. He is belligerent to the media, yet plays them like a fiddle whwnever he wants. But I, for one,
have had enough of his act. Please retire. Please don't come back. Baseball will not miss you as much as you think. I know I won't.
Of course, with that said, he'll probably be back early, just to piss everyone off and to tell everyone that they overreacted in the first
place.

Week ending March 20
LOSER: Cablevision/Madison Square Garden - Yes, again. But in the form of the entire company this time. And it is for two reasons:
1. They are being sued by the Jets. Yes, there are a myriad of ways to describe why, but it all boils down to MSG's attempt to block
the building of the new football stadium on the West Side. The greed of the Garden is the only reason they are trying to stop it, of
course, since it would create a little competition for events. But in the big scheme of things, it might also cost NYC their Olympic bid.
2. For keeping Time Warner customers from getting MSG Network and Fox Sports New York, among other cable channels. Yes,
there is a dispute with Time Warner over rights fees. But again, it is about $$$. Cablevision is trying to squeeze every last penny out
of its properties and Time Warner is standing up to them. Of course, that does no good to fans of the Knicks and Mets. I guess I
could have called New York sports fans the Losers of the Week for this one, but since baseball is still in spring training and the
Knicks suck, maybe it is better that they can't be seen.

Week ending March 13 - NCAA Tournament edition
WINNER: Illinois - The best teams in their bracket aren't that good - #2 Oklahoma State, #3 Arizona and #4 Boston College. Looks
like a light road to St. Louis.
LOSERS: Miami (Ohio), Buffalo, Holy Cross and Davidson - The four most deserving teams not int the NCAAs. If UAB, NC State and
UAB were bumped for either Miami or Buffalo, as well as the other two teams, no one would have batted an eye. At least one of them
(Northern Iowa) isn't in a power conference.

Week ending March 6
WINNER: Tiger Woods - He's baaaaaaack. After hearing the whispers (OK, loud roar) that his best days may already be behind him,
Tiger is starting to begin Phase Two of his career. Today, he did the following: Win the For Championships at Doral; win Doral while
playing in the final pairing with Phil Mickelson, the world's hottest golfer; and regain the World #1 ranking. That should quiet the
naysayers for a little while. And if he wins at Augusta in a few weeks, I think we can all start watching golf biggest attraction regain
the luster on his career, even though it never should have dimmed to begin with.
LOSER: Davidson College basketball - Say hello to the new poster boys for the unfairness that exists in Division I basketball. 16-0 in
their conference the season won't be enough to get the Wildcats into the NCAAs. Why? Because they lost in the conference
tournament semifinals. And since small conference teams (this is not a mid-major program) need to win the conference tourney to
get into the Big Dance, Davidson will be left out in the cold. Is it fair? No. But at the same time, when you go 4-7 outside of your
conference, and three of the four wins are against non-DI schools, this is what happens. Now, they have to watch Chattanooga
represent the Southern Conference instead of them, all because of one bad day. Just wait 'til next year, guys.

Week ending February 27
WINNER: Million Dollar Baby - And another sports movie enters the pantheon. Was it the best sports movie ever? No. It wasn't even
the best boxing movie ever - I still put Raging Bull and Rocky ahead of it. And I don't even think it was the best movie of 2004 - that
should have gone to "The Incredibles", which wasn't even nominated for Best Picture. But I loved this movie. The acting nods were
certainly warranted. I would watch this movie over and over - it is that good. Go see it and enjoy it.
LOSER: Isiah Thomas, Knicks GM - Does he have a plan? More to the point, does he have a clue? What is he thinking and trying, let
alone trying to accomplish? As if he wasn't hamstrung before, now he picks up more bad contracts. The Knicks are guaranteed to
stink for the next five years, or until someone else comes in to clean up the mess he is making. Of course, none of this should
come as a surprise - he was terrible as Toronto GM, then ran the CBA out of business before this debacle. My question is why the
Garden even brought him in, because they should have known this was going to happen. Then again, the Garden's business
acumen the last few years haven't exactly shown through. You get what you deserve. Call it Marv Karma.

Week ending February 20
LOSER: NHL - Duh. No winner this week, since, as far as the NHL is concerned, everyone loses.

Week ending February 13
WINNER: Ray Charles - I'm breaking from the sports world for one week with this one. Eight Grammys are just the capper to his
career and life. In the past year, however, something more important than awards was added to his legacy. A whole new generation
was exposed to his music. That is something no award can ever top. And THAT is the way to go out.
LOSER: Jose Canseco - He is selling a lot of books, but at what cost. The less said about this, the better. When the dust clears, he
will end up in the same group as Pete Rose and remembered as nothing more than an attention seeking, money grubbing, selfish
jerk who is more concerned about himself than the feelings of others or the repercussions of his actions. And with that, I'm never
talking about this again.

Week ending February 6
CO-WINNERS: Bill Belichick and Tom Brady - The legacy is now set. Three Super Bowl titles in four years opens the debate for real
now. The best ever? Only time will tell. The best of this generation? Consider Troy Aikman's comments during the game, saying
how the Patriots winning three in four years is a better accomplishment than when his Cowboys did it in the early to mid 90's. For
those who have refused to give them their proper due, though, it is time. They deserve mention with the all-time great coaches and
quarterbacks, respectively. And remember, this is coming from a Jet fan.
CO-LOSERS: Chris Chelios and Derian Hatcher - This one is more a blanket award, given to all NHL players that accept work as
players with other teams, be them European or U.S.-based minor league teams. On Tuesday, perennial All-Star Detroit Red Wing
defensemen Chelios and Hatcher, along with teammate Kris Draper, signed contracts with the Motor City Mechanics of the United
Hockey League. So here are these players, refusing to sign a Collective bargaining Agreement (regardless of the terms of the deal),
opting to play with a team three levels below the NHL instead. And it isn't for the money, either - UHL players receive a maximum of
$1000 per week. Of course, these guys are probably hurting for money, considering it has been a while since they received their last
million dollar paycheck. In the meantime, they are taking jobs from players who need the experience and, more importantly, the
money. Nice union these guys are in. All my sympathy for these guys is gone (not that I had that much to begin with).

Week ending January 30
WINNER: Carlos Delgado - Imagine being chased by four teams, each throwing millions upon millions of dollars at you? Well, that
is what Delgado got to Experience the last few weeks, and it all came to a head early in the week, when he signed a four year, $52
million contract with the Florida Marlins. Now that he is playing in the States, watch him finally get the attention he deserves as one
of baseball's top sluggers. It's just a shame he isn't playing at Shea.
CO-LOSERS: Sally Anthony (Owner) and Ashley McElhiney (Coach), Nashville Rhythm, ABA - It might seem like a cop-out, but I can
never do this story justice. Just read this ESPN link and you'll see what I mean.
http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/news/story?id=1979675

Week ending January 23
WINNER: Philadelphia Eagles - I was wrong. I'll admit it. This morning, I picked the Falcons to take the NFC Championship Game. I
said, "Prove me wrong." Well, the Eagles did just that and finally got the monkey off their back by winning this game in their fourth try.
Kudos to Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb, who were facing a world of pressure and a Falcons team that was, as Head Coach Jim
Mora Jr. said during the week, "Playing with house money." The Eagles did it the old fashioned way - they went out and earned it,
winning all facets of the game. Their offense was better, their defense was better, their special teams were better. Now, we get to
spend the next two weeks listening to Terrell Owens injury updates every five minutes.
CO-LOSERS: NHL and NHLPA - Can we please end the charade already? The 2004-05 season will not happen. Make the
announcement and just end it already. Stop stringing along the fans. Give them their season ticket money back if you haven't already
done so. But please, the game as you know it is over and done with. It is time to move on. The rest of the sports world already has.

Week ending January 16
WINNER: Miami Dolphins - I'm sure your reaction to this is "Huh?" Well, let me explain. This week, the Dolphins finally got rid of the
name Pro Player Stadium from their stadium (Pro Player went out of business years ago). However, they did not replace with
another corporate name, as one would expect. Instead, the stadium is now known as Dolphins Stadium. All I can say......It's about
time someone eschewed the corporate money and instead gave their stadium a real identity! Since I've started this site, a number
of people have asked me why I refuse to use corporate
names on stadiums. I joke that it is because I don't get paid to use them, so
until then, I won't. However, the real reason is this. You can't keep track of stadium names anymore, and I don't want to have to
change the names every time a corporate name changes. Think about it. The new arena in Philly is on its third name in less than
ten years. The old Candlestick Park in San Fran? What is it called this week? The highway exit signs don't even have it correct! The
arenas in Miami and Dallas have the same sponsor, except one is "Center" the other is "Arena", and I have no clue which one is
which unless I look it up. I just hate corporate names, so I am not dealing with them on this site. Of course, if one of the companies
wants to pay me..............
LOSER: Doug Brien, Jets kicker - He missed two game-winning field goal attempts in the final 2:02 in Saturday's overtime loss in
Pittsburgh. One hit the crossbar, the other wasn't even close. Miss one, that's life. Miss two? You are the game's goat. Pro kickers
must make at least one of those kicks. Period, end of story.

Week ending January 9
WINNER: Pete Carroll, USC football coach - After twice failing as an NFL head coach, Carroll is proving his coaching mettle on the
college level and now has consecutive NCAA Championships on his resume. While plenty of the credit for the Trojans 55-19
thrashing of Oklahoma Tuesday night should rightfully go to the players, the game also showed what a superior coach can do when
given three weeks to prepare for an opponent. Carroll's coaching future is firmly under his control - he can stay at USC forever if he
chooses, or take another stab at the pros. Either way, no one will ever question his ability again.
HONORABLE MENTION: Wade Boggs and Ryne Sandberg, Met GM Omar Minaya
LOSER: Brett Favre, Green Bay quarterback - I've long said that Brett Favre is one of a handful of NFL players I would actually pay to
see play. However, while the legacy will never be taken away from him, I think its time to say the mystique is gone and he is now just
another NFL quarterback. His four interception performance today on the frozen tundra leaves no question to that. He may still show
flashes of his old brilliance, but another home playoff loss shows that, for as much as we love to watch him and as much as we
appreciate him as a player, the end is near. It is a shame he couldn't treat us to one more signature run this season with the NFC
so wide open.
DISHONORABLE MENTION: Houston Astros, Denver Broncos

Week ending January 2
WINNER: St. John's basketball team - For their stunning 63-45 upset of #17 North Carolina State Thursday at Madison Square
Garden in the Finals of the Holiday Festival. SJU held the heavily favored Wolfpack to just ten points (yes, ten) in the first half on their
way to the victory. For a team picked to finish last in the Big East and with losses already this season to schools such  as St.
Francis, Niagara and Illinois State, this could very well end up being the highlight of the season.
LOSER: Herb Sendek, North Carolina State basketball coach - Not for losing to St. John's at MSG Thursday. Upsets happen all the
time in college basketball and will always be a part of the game. No, this is for his actions after the game. When called out to center
court to accept the runner-up trophy at the Holiday Festival, Sendek instead opted to be a sore loser and pout on the bench instead,
asking three of his players to go out to accept the trophy instead. Good to see a college basketball team being led by a baby. That
should help those players learn about maturity.
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