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 April 16
WINNER OF THE WEEK: Jim Thome - Reports of Thome's demise are apparently VERY incorrect. The
Wite Sox slugger, acquired this winter from Philadelphia, is off to an incredible start this season, with
seven homers in first 12 games. The home run total equals his entire output from 2005 and is a huge
boost for the defending World Champs' lineup.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Jorge Julio - The new Met reliever is off to a rough start with his new club after
being acquired for Kris Benson (and his meddlesome wife) this winter. The start is so rough, in fact,
that just two weeks into the season, Met fans are already chanting "Bring Back Benson". And this was
before Julio served up a moonshot to Milwaukee's Geoff Jenkins that crashed well up into the Shea
Stadium right field scoreboard.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Rick DiPietro - "All we need is the fans to come out on Tuesday when we kick
the Rangers' ass." When you are not going to be in the playoffs, as DiPietro's Islanders are, this is
what the last part of the season is all about. The Islanders took the game from the Rangers at
Madison Square Garden, but the Rangers are gearing up for the postseason, while the Islanders are
making tee time reservations.
MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Vicente Padilla - Three pitches, three home runs. That is what Ranger
pitcher Padilla served up in the fifth inning on Saturday in Oakland. Eric Chavez, Frank Thomas and
Milton Bradley had the honors of pulling one of the rarer feats in baseball.
Week ending April 9
WINNER OF THE WEEK: Phil Mickelson - Back to back winner awards for Lefty, who took home his
second green jacket in three years with a two stroke win in The Masters. On Sunday, as other players
charged and faded, Mickelson truly was Master-ful, bogeying just one hole (18, after the outcome was
cemented). Mickelson now owns three major championships, including two straight.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Duke lacrosse - A sordid story that has been going on for two weeks gets
worse and worse. This week, the program's coach, Mike Pressler finally handed in his resignation.
Duke athletic Director Joe Alleva might not (and should not) be too far behind. The details of this rape
scandal are too brutal for me to rehash, but let's just say more heads need to roll before all is said
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Lindy Ruff - "I want him suspended," the Sabres coach said about Maple
Leafs forward Darcy Tucker Monday night. "I want him fined. I'll come to the hearing. I haven't called
the league once; I'll call them 10 times tomorrow. If you go knee on knee and take a shot at a guy's
head at the same time, you don't deserve to be in the game. We're going to the playoffs and you're
going to take out of our best players because you couldn't take a hit? That's a joke, that's an absolute
joke." Known cheap shot artist and dirty player Tucker took out Buffalo forward Jochen Hecht with a hit
to the knee and a shot to the head on the same play. The Sabres are headed to the playoffs, while
Toronto is headed for the golf course. Tucker was not punished by the NHL for the play, despite his
laundry list of past offenses.
MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Florida Gators win National Championship - While a classic NCAA
Tournament was capped off by a paralyzingly boring Final Four and National Championship game,
no one can deny the greatness of this season's champs. With all but one player coming back from
their rotation, are we looking at a possible repeat winner in 2007?
Week ending April 2
WINNER OF THE WEEK: Phil Mickelson - 28 under par. A 13 stroke win. Those are the numbers Lefty
posted this weekend at the BellSouth Classic. Not exactly a bad way to play the week before the
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Rasheed Wallace - Who cares how far in front of the division his team is?
Wallace picked up his 16th technical foul of the season Sunday, earning himself an automatic one
game suspension. Some people will never learn, especially loudmouth blowhards like Wallace.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Bud Selig - "The goal here is to determine facts, not engage in supposition,
speculation, rumor or innuendo." So, after Selig and his investigation, led by former Senate Majority
Leader George Mitchell, are complete doing all of what he says, then what? It is all after the fact - what
can be done to any cheaters now? When that question is answered, then maybe fans will be happy.
MOMENT OF THE WEEK: MLB Opening Night - Sing along with me...It's the most wonderful time of the
Week ending March 26
Let's be honest here - only one sports story deserves an award this week. And no, it isn't that whiny
little baby Alfonso Soriano. Congrats to the George Mason Patriots for crashing the college basketball
establishment. Is this the beginning of a whole new world or a fluke? Only time will tell.
Week ending March 19
The war of words between Knicks coach Larry Brown and guard Stephon Marbury was fought through
the media this week. A relationship that many knew would blow up before the season started officially
has done just that. The two are trying to say that fences have been mended, but if they are, it won't last
for long. Here are just some of the quotes from these two as the Knicks continue one of the worst
seasons in franchise history.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK #1: Stephon Marbury - "I went into this year trying to do something, to put
myself in a situation where we can win, OK? To help the team win games. Unfortunately, that didn't
happen. So, what do I do now, as far as the way I play? I go back to playing like Stephon Marbury, aka
Starbury. I haven't been Starbury this year. I've been some other dude this year."
QUOTE OF THE WEEK #2: Larry Brown - "Now you want freedom? How are you gonna have freedom
with those stats?"
QUOTE OF THE WEEK #3: Larry Brown - "I've been coaching how many years? A long time," Brown
said. "I never left a team in worse shape than I got it. Not once. Now think about that. Think about me
and think about the guy who's talking. All right? I've never asked anything of my players any different
than I'm doing right now. Think about that."
QUOTE OF THE WEEK #4: Stephon Marbury - "I think it's personal now. I don't think it's about
basketball anymore. Now it's to the point where he's putting his 30-year career against my 10-year
career. You know, coach is a great coach is what everyone says. We're supposed to be better than
what we are. Did it happen now? No."
Week ending March 12
WINNER OF THE WEEK: Shaun Alexander - The NFL's MVP finally signed a long term deal with
Seattle, to the tune of $62 million. After playing this season on a one year deal, Alexander led the
Seahawks to their first-ever Super Bowl and earned every penny of his new deal.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: MetroStars - Well, it finally happened. The MetroStars of MLS have been
named Red Bull New York ,after the owners of the drink of the same name purchased the team. Let's
be honest, though. It was just a matter of time before a team name was sold like this.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: David Wells - "If you say something derogatory toward Bud, he wants an
apology. My question is, why is he even wasting his time on something like that? What's the
purpose? Does he have to let people know that he's there? Tell him to come talk to me. I've had
issues with him the last few years. He said, 'Oh, we need to talk.' He said, 'I'll take you to dinner when
I come to Boston.' Has he done it? [Heck] no. He's a piece of [expletive]. And you can quote me on
that." The fat pitcher with the fat mouth is at it again, now yapping in the direction of Bud Selig
regarding the World Baseball Classic. I don't care who you are, I don't care whether he is right or
wrong. A player does not say something like this about a commissioner. Period. End of story. A hefty
(pun intended) fine is warranted.
MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Edgerrin James - The first big name free agent to switch teams this
offseason is a doozy, as Edge moves from the Colts to...the Cardinals? In one move, the Colts
offense suffers an enormous blow by losing its starting RB, while the Arizona offense has its best
in-his-prime running back since, well, anyone. What a way to get free agency rolling.
Week ending March 5
WINNER OF THE WEEK: Davidson Wildcats - Karma. That is the only way to describe it. Last season,
Davidson went unbeaten during the Southern Conference season, but lost in their conference
tournament and was snubbed by the NCAA Tournament selection committee. So, this year, following
a regular season that saw them earn the NO. 3 seed in the SoCon Tournament, the Wildcats walked
through the league tourney and got an automatic bid. It might be a year too late, but it must taste
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Duke Blue Devils - The number one team in men's basketball lost twice this
week, including Saturday night at home to archrival North Carolina. The question now is whether
those two losses, given their timing, will cost the Blue Devils a number one seed in the upcoming
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: James Dolan - "We're going to continue on with the strategy. I believe in the
plan. I believe in the strategy. I believe in the guys who are executing it." That is how the Knicks owner
described the team's situation, as they languish with the NBA's worst record despite the highest
payroll - and no first rounder pick this season and, most likely, next season, not to mention a
completely mismatched roster featuring three shoot-first point guards. Yeah, that is a plan that HAS to
work. Folks, this team will be bad for a long, long, LONG time.
MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Kirby Puckett - The Twins Hall of Famer suffered a stroke this weekend. As
of this writing, no further information on his condition was available. It certainly sounds like a serious
situation, and our thoughts go out to Puckett for a full and speedy recovery.
Week ending February 26
WINNER OF THE WEEK: Sweden hockey team - In a tournament filled with All-Star Teams, Sweden
came out of top in the Olympics to win gold. Led by Ranger goalie Henrik Lundqvist and a powerful
offense and defense, the Swedes topped the surprising (to everyone except TheMirl.com, who had
them picked to win the gold) Finns to win one of the Games' signature events.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Isiah Thomas - This is getting to be a regular appearance for the Knicks' GM.
But this time around, it is a doozy. Thomas' deal to acquire Steve Francis might be the dumbest move
ever. The last thing the Knicks needed was an overpaid, sensitive shoot-first point guard - they
already had two. They now are crippled in the salary cap department for a good three to five years at a
minimum. Thomas seems to want to firmly cement his legacy as the worst GM in the history of pro
sports. He may eventually get there, but for now, he just has to live with the fact that this award might
have to be named the Isiah Thomas of the Week.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Kenny Williams - "He's an idiot. He's selfish. That's why we don't miss him,"
said the White Sox GM regarding the now-departed Frank Thomas. The slugger, arguably the best
hitter in White Sox history, has been open about his displeasure for the way his 16-year Sox career
ended, but it looks like hasn't left too many friends behind in Chicago.
MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto - Their silver medal in ice dancing in Torino
did two things - it gave America its highest-ever finish in the event, and it gave America a new sex
symbol from the world of sports in Belbin. Something tells me this is just the beginning of the ride for
Week ending February 19
WINNER OF THE WEEK: Rufus - The bull terrier was named Best in Show at this week's Westminster
Kennel Club dog show over, among others, a pug, a golden retriever and a dalmatian. Rufus is the
first bull terrier to win the show's top prize.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Lindsey Jacobellis - The favorite in the Olympic debut of snowboard cross
was well on her way to winning the event, with a commanding lead approaching the finish line in the
Finals. But then, on the last jump of the race, Jacobellis opted to show off and do a stunt while in the
air. She crashed on landing, and her nearest competitor ended up passing her for the gold while she
ended up having to settle for silver. And people wonder why Americans are usually rooted against at
international competitions. Of course, what should be a learning experience for other athletes will
undoubtedly go ignored.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Ozzie Guillen - "He knew he wasn't going to play for the Dominicans. He's not
a Dominican. I hate hypocrites. He's full of [bleep]," is what the White Sox manager said about Alex
Rodriguez' decision to play for the US in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. While many are
scraming about A-Rod continual flip-flopping on his decision who to play for, it is ultimately his, and
only his, choice. No one should question why or why not. Of course, Guillen has a big mouth, so
opening it is nothing new.
MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Shani Davis - Davis became the first African-American man to win an
individual gold at the Winter Olympics when he triumphed in the 1000m speed skating race. While he
might not be the most popular person amongst his teammates, no one can deny his talent or take
away this result, not to mention the groundbreaking feat he accomplished.
Week ending February 12
WINNER OF THE WEEK: Dick Bavetta - One of the greatest referees in NBA history (or any sport, for
that matter) set the all-time NBA Games Refereed record, when he took the court for game number
2,135 on Wednesday night - all without missing a game. (Note from Eric Mirlis - On a person note, I
had the chance to work with Dick for seven years. Records like this are always sweeter when broken
by those who deserve the accolades. Dick Bavetta is overwhelmingly worthy of this honor. He is
someone I am proud to call a friend.)
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Rick Tocchet - The central figure of the NHL's gambling scandal easily earns
this nod. Let's just hope that no more big names are added to the scandal - Wayne Gretzky's is
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Mark Cuban - "I own Phil Jackson." Love him or hate him, you have to hand it
to Cuban. The owner of the Dallas Mavericks certainly plays mind games with the best of them. And
he clearly has gotten under the skin of Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who has repeatedly accused
Cuban of influencing the refs with his comments and refereeing studies.
MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Torino Olympic Games - Let the Games begin. The Winter version of the
world's greatest sporting event is here. It is time for everyone to sit back and enjoy luge, curling and
ski jumping again.
Week ending February 5
WINNER OF THE WEEK: Bill Cowher - The Pittsburgh Steelers coach finally won the big one Sunday,
leading the Steelers to a Super Bowl victory. It is a crowning moment for one of the longest tenured,
and most respected, coaches in all of sports.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Isiah Thomas - The Mirly Awards' favorite target is back, this time for his deal
Friday, when he traded Antonio Davis to Toronto for Jalen Rose and a first round pick. Thomas
should be doing whatever he can to get out of bad contracts and clear some salary cap space.
Instead, he has picked up another high paying deal that has time remaining, not to mention someone
who plays the same position as three other players on the roster. Amazingly, Thomas continues to
show he has no idea how to run a team.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Ed Grezinksy - "We play the schedule we're dealt and some of those teams
are weak. But I didn't think I should punish Epiphanny for that." Grezinsky is the head coach at Murry
Bergtraum High School in NYC and allowed Epiphanny Prince, his star guard, to score 113 points
against an undermanned Brandeis HS team in a 137-32 Bergtraum win. Bergtraum has run up the
score on opponents all season. Clearly, the lesson of sportsmanship is not being taught at the
MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Hines Ward - His TD reception off Antwan Randel-El's reverse was the key
play to the Super Bowl and will go down as one of the great plays in the history of football's biggest
stage. We'll be seeing this replay for a long, long time.
Week ending January 29
WINNER OF THE WEEK: Roger Federer - The Swiss tennis star won the Australian Open Sunday to
earn his seventh career Grand Slam title. The question isn't whether he is the best, but this: Can
anyone slow him down on the way to Pete Sampras' 14 career titles? A calendar year Grand Slam is
definitely not out of the question.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Chris Andersen - The NBA kicked the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornet
forward out of the league this week for drug use. While the details are not public, we do know that he
tested positive a drug more serious than marijuana, since a positive test for that carries a lighter
punishment. Let's hope Andersen straightens his life out and that this doesn't cause a more serious
issue for him. He is eligible for potential reinstatement in two years - hopefully he will be able to
continue his career then, and not become the next Roy Tarpley.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Bode Miller - "Right now, if you want to cheat, you can: Barry Bonds and those
guys are just knowingly cheating, but there's all sorts of loopholes," Miller told Rolling Stone
magazine. "If you say it has to be 'knowingly,' you do what Lance (Armstrong) and all those guys do,
where every morning their doctor gives them a box of pills and they don't ask anything, they just take
the pills." This from the same guy who admitted to skiing in races while drunk. Credibility? I'd say he
has none - especially after this little diatribe.
MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Ron Artest - The troublesome forward was dealt by Indiana to Sacramento
for Peja Stojakovic on Wednesday, just one day after saying he did not want to be traded to Sac-Town.
Artest is proof that not every player is worth the trouble, regardless of how good he is (and Artest is
really good). Over/under on his first bit of mischief with the Kings? I give him a month.
Week ending January 22
WINNER OF THE WEEK: Ben Roethlisberger - Two seasons, two AFC Championship Games, and
now, his first Super Bowl. Methinks it is time to anoint Big Ben as the leader of the young NFL QBs
turning up all over the league - he certainly has proven himself as a leader and an elite quarterback.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Antonio Davis - Yes, he acted as any man would (or is it should) in defending
his wife. But Antonio Davis should not have entered the stands Wednesday in Chicago. No one can
fault him for doing it, and defending his actions are not wrong. But rules are rules, so Davis is out for
five Knicks' games. Apparently this is not the first time his wife has been in this situation, and the
evidence seems to overwhelmingly indicate she was the one who started the confrontation, so the
bigger question now is this...Should she be attending the games?
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Theo Epstein and the Boston Red Sox - "Theo's departure has brought us
closer together in many respects, and, thanks to these conversations, we now enjoy the bonds of a
shared vision for the organization's future that did not exist on Oct. 31." Welcome back to the BoSox,
Theo. I hope you enjoyed your short vacation. Now get back to work. What a farce - since when is the
GM a bigger story than the team?
MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Pat Summitt - The legendary coach of the University of Tennessee women's
basketball team became the first coach in college history to win 900 games when the Lady Vols beat
Vanderbilt on Thursday. With a minimum of 10 to 15 years of running the bench in Knoxville still
ahead of her, who knows just how high that number will go.
Week ending January 15
WINNER OF THE WEEK: Denver Broncos - This team wins on a number of levels. First, they advance
to the AFC Championship Game by beating the New England Patriots. That win earned them the
respect they felt the were not receiving. Then, the next day, they are the beneficiary of Indianapolis'
loss and now will host the game next Sunday against Pittsburgh, rather than having to visit the Colts.
I'd say they had a pretty good weekend.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Marcus Vick - Arrests and poor sportsmanship piled upon each other in a
very short time for the Virginia Tech QB. The indiscretions are many and caused him to be dismissed
from the Hokies for his senior season. Looks like Michael's little brother has a lot of growing up to do
as he enters his adulthood a year earlier than he probably expected.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Charles Wang - "It is clear that changes need to be made with the Islanders
and I am taking the responsibility of delivering the message firsthand.' The Isles owner finally made
changes that were long overdo on the Island. For more on this, read this article.
MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Mike Vanderjagt - His miss at the end of the Colts-Steelers game Sunday
capped one of the most breathtaking final five minutes of a football game in recent memory. It was a
fitting end to an instant classic. One can only wonder what Peyton Manning (who threw his offensive
line under the bus in his postgame press conference) thinks of the "idiot kicker" now.