Every week, Eric Mirlis will name winners of four awards: Winner, Loser, Quote and Moment of the Week. These four awards comprise "The Mirly Awards".
Week ending Sunday, July 17 WINNER OF THE WEEK: Rafael Palmeiro - Congrats to the Orioles first baseman on the 3,000th hit of his long (if not illustrious) career. By joining Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray as the only players in Major League history with 500 HRs and 3,000 hits, the sweet swinging Palmeiro has cemented his Cooperstown credentials, despite the cries that he is more a product of a long career than a great one. The statistics don't lie - Raffy is a Hall of Famer. Period. LOSER OF THE WEEK: Tubby Smith - The head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats is letting one of the inmates run the asylum. After declaring for the draft, letting the program know by fax, then not returning and calls from the coaching staff, Randolph Morris is running back to Lexington with his tail between his legs, having not been drafted. And instead of shunning the center, which is clearly warranted given his behavior, Smith is standing there with open arms, allowing Morris back in. Way to maintain control and stand up for yourself, Tubby. Just goes to show that college coaches will do anything, including swallowing their pride, to win. QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Bertrand Delanoe - Paris "will not be a candidate ... and if I can support a South American or an African bid, I will do it gladly." The Paris mayor showed graciousness after losing out on the 2012 Olympics with this beauty of a quote. Why pick favorites? Who cares who Paris votes for in 2016? You lost. Suck it up and act like an adult. What is French for "boo hoo"? MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Jack Nicklaus - A true legend hangs it up. The scene at St. Andrews on Friday morning as Nicklaus' final round in the British Open wound down made it tough to stifle a tear. Rarely is such a tribute warranted, from Ernie Els standing on the balcony of the Old Course Hotel to watch Jack play the Road Hole, to the throngs lining the street next to 18, to the countless photos taken as he crossed Swilcan Bridge on 18. Of course, it was only fitting that Nicklaus ended his round with a birdie.
Week ending Sunday, July 10 WINNER OF THE WEEK: Kobe Bryant - It pains me to do it, but anyone who has had his public image go through what Kobe's has been through and then, a year later gets an endorsement deal (in this case with Nike) is doing something right. Love him or hate him, he is starting to repair his image, so get ready to see him all over the place before too long. LOSER OF THE WEEK: Johnny Damon - Last time I checked, Manager and General Manager are not Damon's position with the Boston Red Sox. He is the centerfielder and personnel decisions are not his to make. So, if Theo Epstein and Terry Francona feel that Curt Schilling is better suited for the bullpen as he recuperates from an injury (at a time when the Sox' bullpen has just lost its closer, no less), then shut up and either play centerfield or go get a haircut. Either way, the team will be better off. QUOTE OF THE WEEK: David Wells - "Some guy's being aggressive with a woman, and she says no, and he keeps on doing it. Well, you know what's going to happen. No is no in anything, when it comes to sexual or you know, whatever it is. No is no. And I'm sure Kenny said, 'Hey, get it out of my face, don't do it.' But no, they want the big story, they want the scoop, you know?" That is Wells' take on Kenny Rogers' shoving of a cameraman. Can the media please STOP putting a microphone in front of this fat load. Oh, wait. I forgot. The media loves ignorant quotes like this. MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Roy Halladay - When the line drive off the bat of Texas' Kevin Mench struck his shin, causing a fracture, the AL Cy Young race swung drastically in favor of Chicago's Mark Buehrle, and the American League sighed in relief for not having to face Toronto's ace (and the best pitcher in the AL in the first half) for at least a month.
Week ending Monday, July 4 WINNER OF THE WEEK: Roger Federer - Let the debate being...is he the greatest ever? His straight set dismantling of Andy Roddick in Sunday's Wimbledon Final gives him his third straight championship at the All-England Club and definitely moves him into the sport's elite class. A couple more years of domination like Sunday and the question I asked earlier might be an easy one to answer. LOSER OF THE WEEK: John Rocker - Baseball's least favorite piece of white trash might have thrown his last pitch after getting cut by the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League this week. As stated here when he was first signed back in April, this move was a mistake by the Ducks in the first place. Let's hope we have seen the end of him once and for all. QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Jay Bilas - "I don't know who told Matt Walsh he was a going to be a first round pick, but whoever told him that is an idiot." This came during ESPN's broadcast of Tuesday's NBA Draft. Thank you, Jay, for saying it. The only problem is that there are about thiry other players whose name can be plugged in where Matt Walsh's name is. Let's hope future players learn from these mistakes, even though I'm really not counting on it. MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Craig Biggio - I'd be remiss if I didn't include my fellow Kings Park High grad for breaking MLB's modern day record for getting hit by pitch in a career. Even though I said my piece earlier in the week, I'll say it again...Congrats, Craig.
Week ending Sunday, June 26 WINNER OF THE WEEK: Andrew Bogut - Yes, he is in this spot before this Tuesday's Draft. Why? Because he showed up for his workout and interview with the Milwaukee Bucks wearing a suit and carrying a resume. Why can't all potential picks approach this as professionally? Hell, why can't the current pros do it this way? LOSER OF THE WEEK: Bernie Ecclestone - With auto racing embracing the dawning of the Danica Patrick Era and working to maximize their publicity to the benefit of their "sport" (I refuse to acknowledge auto racing as a real sport), the President and CEO of Formula One made a trek to the Stone Age with his comments about women in racing..."You know, I've got one of those wonderful ideas...women should be dressed in white like all the other domestic appliances." And, if that isn't bad enough, he then repeated the comments on the phone while talking to Patrick. Good thing he runs an international sports federation - the sports world needs one fewer. QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Felipe Alou - "It's not like he murered somebody or stole the Mona Lisa." This comes on the signing of Alex Sanchez, who was the first major league baseball player suspended under baseball's new steroid policy and, more recently, was cut by the struggling Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Of course, if he had committed either of those crimes, he would have been free and clear under baseball's CBA. MOMENT OF THE WEEK: San Antonio Spurs - I had to get them in somewhere. Congrats to the Spurs on their third NBA Championship in seven years.
Week ending Sunday, June 19 WINNER OF THE WEEK: Michael Campbell - There are some that will say Tiger Woods lost the U.S. Open. But it says here that Campbell won it. Showing the poise Retief Goosen wished he had today, Campbell outlasted a field that didn't seem to want to win the Open at a very difficult Pinehurst and held off a late Tiger charge that fizzled with bogies at 16 and 17. The Maori from New Zealand has made the All-Blacks proud today. LOSER OF THE WEEK: New York Mets - Talk about a team that can't wait for interleague play to end. First, they lost two of three to the Yankees a couple weeks ago. Then, in the last nine, they dropped two of three at home against Anaheim (I refuse to call them anything else, sorry), two of three in Oakland and capped it with a three game sweep in Seattle. All that is left is a three game set at Yankee Stadium next weekend and they can start blaming their lost season on the American League. QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Billy Hunter - "It would be a death knell for the NBA," said Hunter, on the repercussions of an NBA lockout. Can you say hyperbole? What is this, the NHL? This quote was on Thursday - by the weekend, word was out that the two sides were working up a draft of the new CBA already. Now, Hunter will probably take credit for inspiring everyone to get a deal done. MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Derek Jeter - One of the more ignominious streaks in baseball came to an end Saturday when Jeter hit his first grand slam against the Cubs. It was his first in 136 career at bats with the bases loaded and the first of his 157 career homers. Jeter is easily the most beloved athlete in New York today and by the time it is all over, might be the most popular Yankee ever, if not the most athlete in New York sports history and the reception the slam received wasn't a normal home run reception.
Week ending Sunday, June 12 WINNER OF THE WEEK: Annika Sorenstam - A win at this weekend's LPGA Championship (her third straight LPGA title) gets her to the midway point of the Women's Grand Slam. Sorenstam is the best golfer in the world right now, bar none and has dominated the women's game more than any other athlete has ever dominated their sport. Let her play against the men on a regular basis. She has nothing left to prove against the women. LOSER OF THE WEEK: Mike Tyson - Looks like he is done...........finally. The circus that is the Mike Tyson Freak Show has seemingly come to an end with his quitting mid match against Kevin McBride (who?) on Saturday night. And for most sports fans, this is a relief. He had turned into nothing more than a punch line and a joke. Of course, the sports media will miss him. And that might just mean he comes back for yet another ridiculous payday that he no longer deserves. Please let his words mean something this time - I'll believe it when I see it. QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Cliff Floyd - "When you do stupid stuff like that, you're taking chances on hurting people, taking a chance on losing people for games. For just the sake of what - I don't want to face you? So put me on. Four pitches. It's simple. But when our egos get in the way, that's how people end up in prisons, end up dead. It's unfortunate." All this over getting hit by a Roy Oswalt pitch. Settle down, Cliff. The hyperbole is a bit much. MOMENT OF THE WEEK - Manu Ginobili - After a Detroit Pistons run cut the San Antonio Spurs lead to seven late in the fourth quarter, Manu came up with a great drive to the hoop for two and immediately followed with a three pointer to put the game away. And with that, the step up to the elite of the NBA is complete for the Argentine star.
Week ending Sunday, June 5 WINNER OF THE WEEK: San Antonio Spurs - They are officially the Best of the West. While the basketball viewing world was pulling for Phoenix and their TV friendly style of play, substance won out over the style. And now, they get a week of to rest their bumps and bruises (and Tim Duncan's ankle) before they face the winner of the Detroit-Miami war. As always, the cream rises to the top. LOSER OF THE WEEK: Kirk Reynolds - The now-former PR Director of the San Francisco 49ers crossed the line from learning tool to tasteless video with his in-house media relations training film. The video, featuring lesbians, topless strippers and swipes at numerous ethnic groups, not to mention the Mayor of San Francisco (whose office was used for part of the taping) was leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle for viewing and has led to the dismissal of Reynolds. As a former PR person, I'm a bit surprised at this lack of judgment. Isn't this what he should have been teaching his players NOT to do? QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Shaquille O'Neal - "I heard they were having some trouble, some problems, so if you contact the Heat office, I would like to pay for the funeral.'' Shaq is one of the rarities among today's athletes - someone who understands history. The respect he has for NBA legend George Mikan, who passed away this week, is obvious with his statements (which also included, "Without George Mikan, there is no Shaq.") and is a tribute not just to Mikan, but to Shaq himself. MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Rafael Nadal - A star is born. His win on Friday against #1 Roger Federer in the French Open Semifinals (on his 19th borthday, no less) was a starmaking turn. His subsequent tournament win makes him the most eagerly awaited star in a few weeks at Wimbledon. The question now is whether he is a one-surface wonder, or if he can repeat his success on the London grass.
Week ending Monday, May 30 WINNER OF THE WEEK: Danica Patrick - Who cares if she didn't win the Indy 500? The attention she created was a needed influx of adrenaline for one of the country's signature sporting events. She will win one of these before it is all over - if she doesn't leave racing for a modeling career first, that is. LOSER OF THE WEEK: Jim O'Brien - The inmates are running the asylum in Philadelphia. Following a season that exceeded expectations for the Sixers, O'Brien was let go this week, replaced by former Sixer guard Maurice Cheeks. Billy King might be team President and GM, but this move have Allen Iverson's name all over it. QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Ted Leonsis - "I will say that the Mystics are managed and have been running better than the Washington Capitals. At least they're playing and have a shot at making money." Leonsis' holding company, Lincoln Holdings, purchased the Washington Mystics this week. They also own the Capitals. MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Derek Jeter - His catch while climbing over the back of second baseman Robinson Cano is just the latest career highlight reel play for the Yankee captain.