Note to Self – The 2007 Note to Self awards

Brian Murphy

Brian Murphy

Hello everyone and welcome to the second-annual Note to Self awards. Last year, in our first installment, we focused only on the National Football League. After some internal discussions, we’ve decided to expand our awards to all of professional sports. So without further adieu, let’s hand out some Selfies.

The “just happy to be here” award goes to the city of Cleveland, who hasn’t had a reason to cheer since running back Jim Brown brought home a championship back in 1964. You might have heard that a local kid named LeBron something or other has the city’s basketball team reaching new heights these days.

Well, even on the best day Cleveland has to set the bar low – the Cavaliers made it to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history and what music did they choose to come out to in game one? The Undertaker’s theme for the WWF’s glory days. Only in Cleveland could a team know they’re a “dead man walking” before the Finals even begins.

The George W. Bush “decision maker” award goes to RB Reggie Bush. The last time we saw Reggie he was running backwards for a touchdown to ensure he pissed off Brian Urlacher and the Chicago Bears defense enough to bury his New Orleans Saints in the playoffs. Well, it’s been a busy offseason for the youngster.

His former college teammate introduced him to a friend of a friend for a brief fling, which probably wouldn’t be noteworthy, if not for the fact that the friend of a friend was Kim Kardashian, who former USC quarterback Matt Leinart knew from his brief relationship with Paris Hilton.

So, to recap, Bush took money in college, missed out on being the top pick because he wanted more money, turned in an uneven freshman season in the NFL and then hooked up with a chick who is only known because she (much like Hilton) has an Internet sex tape floating around out there. I know NFL teams put clauses in player contracts all the time banning sky diving, riding motorcycles and other dangerous activities – you’re telling me two sentences ordering players like Bush to avoid walking Herpes Machines like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian is a bad thing?

Let’s just say I’d highly recommend avoiding Reggie when it’s time to draft your fantasy football team this year. If for no other reason than it’s hard to focus on avoiding defensive linemen and dodging linebackers when your crotch is on fire (just ask Ron Mexico).

Britney Spears “didn’t you used to be relevant?” award goes to QB Daunte Culpepper. While I might not have been a big fan of either, they were both, at one time, known as one of the best in their respective professions. Britney splits from Justin Timberlake; Daunte and Randy Moss go their separate ways. Neither has been the same since. So enjoy their comeback tours – fat and bald Britney lip-synching her own songs during 12-minute sets and Culpepper collecting a paycheck to work just as hard in Jacksonville.

The Marion Barry “bitch set me up” award – we all know former major leaguer Rafael Palmeiro has earned the lifetime achievement award for his preposterous claim that teammate Miguel Tejada gave him steroids when he thought they were vitamin shots. But we might have to make room for Mike Vick’s cousin, Davon Boddie.

Boddie, you see, is the winner who was living in the now infamous house in Surry County, Virginia that is tied to one of the biggest possible dog fighting cases our country has ever seen. Well, a week or so ago, while doing an interview with a local TV station, Boddie seemingly suggested that that the 66 live dogs in his backyard may have been planted by investigators. No seriously. The guy tried to play dumb and then said, “I got a little French poodle, man. That’s all I know.”

This guy has stones the size of footballs if he thinks “the cops set me up” is going to fly when people ask why more than 60 malnourished dogs are in cages in your backyard. Even mayor-for-life Barry couldn’t say that with a straight face.

The Ron Burgundy “milk was a bad choice” award goes to Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano, who beat out his own manager, Lou Piniella, for the award. The man they call “Big Z” is eligible for arbitration at the end of the 2007 season, and is rumored to be looking for something in the neighborhood of Barry Zito’s five-year, $80 million contract. Zambrano’s people and Cubs management remained in contact prior to the season, but couldn’t work something out. So Carlos knows he’s essentially playing this season for his next big pay day.

Well, the portly pitcher isn’t really doing himself any favors with a 7-6 record and an earned run average of 4.53, but the Cubs have been losers for so long they’ll patiently wait for him to work out of this slump. That is, unless he continues to act like he did on June 1st, when he decided to confront his own catcher, Michael Barrett, after a passed ball and errant throw on the same play by Barrett. With cameras focused on Zambrano, he sucker punched his own catcher until teammates separated the two “grown” men. Carlos was then told to leave by Piniella, walked down the hall and then challenged Barrett to a fight. Hey tough guy, maybe if you focused that energy on the opposition (instead of the guy you have to throw your pitches to) you wouldn’t have statistics comparable to nobodies like Jeff Suppan, Miguel Batista and Adam Eaton.

The Donald Rumsfeld “revisionist history” award goes to Joe Gibbs. The man in charge of the Washington Redskins and Joe Gibbs Racing is admittedly a spiritual man, a man of principals. So I can’t say I was overly surprised to hear that his NASCAR team might have issues signing free-agent-to-be Dale Earnhardt, Jr. because he drives the Budweiser car. And I also understand that because he’s a Hall of Fame coach with multiple Super Bowls rings and NASCAR championships, he’s pretty much allowed to do and say whatever he wants without question.

But I really feel the need to point out that avoiding the squeaky-clean Earnhardt because of his beer-sponsored car while re-signing “Core Redskin” and Love Boat captain Fred Smoot is slightly hypocritical. Little E spends his weekends with both hands on the wheel. When Smoot uses both hands it’s typically time to ensure all small children and farm animals have left the room. I’m just sayin’.

Brian Murphy is the 2005 Defense Department’s sportswriter of the year. And he still doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about. Contact him at murf@the5holes.com.

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