LeBronchelorette.

WHAT was that.

Seriously, what WAS that?!?!

How many athletes could – would – commandeer over an HOUR of prime time ESPN programming just so people could watch him play pin-the-tail-on-the-team?  Or more appropriately, shove a knife in the back of your former team?

(Okay actually, Brett Favre could – and has – also done both.  Ew.)

LeBron:  the Decision.

If you had only heard the intro, knowing nothing about the situation, you might have thought you were watching

A.  LeBron deciding whether or not to run for President
B.  A dramatic reenactment of LeBron choosing to give a kidney to a dying relative
C.  LeBron admitting to steroid use though never having been accused, because his conscience couldn’t keep it from all those girls and boys in that club.

But you would be wrong about all of those.

No, what we just witnessed was this season’s most compelling episode of The Bachelorette yet.  This was ugly and heartless.  It was everything that good (Read: voyeuristic and terrible) reality TV should be.

Was it really between all 4 teams, LeBron?  All 4 teams were foaming at the mouth to be chosen, and you continued to give all 4 of them roses, week after excruciating week.  I do believe he was at least a little bit in love with all of them at some point, though for different reasons.  Chicago was the successful one who had its act together and knew what it wanted.  New York was the fun one, and he saw its potential but knew it was just too immature for him.

And then there’s Cleveland.  The lovable loser, the slightly socially awkward one who stuck around because it always managed to pull on his heartstrings at just the right moment, even though he knew he couldn’t see a future there.

And in the end, he did what they all do:  he picked the hot one.

There goes the neighborhood.

Chicago and New York will get over it – they know they’re hot stuff too (okay, New York is more of a hot mess, but close enough).  But Cleveland?  Cleveland will be wounded for decades.  Instead of sending it home graciously he gave it false hope.  Toying with the emotions of generations of downtrodden fans is the worst kind of cruel.

And like any good, bitter, spurned Bachelorette contestant, Cleveland shot back.  In case you missed this morning’s edition of LeBron:  After the Final Rose, allow me to provide a link to the Open Letter to Fans from Cavaliers Majority Owner Dan Gilbert.

Ouch.  (Athough no one in his right mind can take that font seriously, Dan.  Comic sans, really?)

“The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you.”

…”If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to Cleveland, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our “motivation” to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels.”

Cleveland, maybe if you had made it abundantly clear to LeBron that you were in it for the right reasons, and that you would do whatever it takes to guard and protect his heart, he would have proposed to you.  Instead, like Nelson from the Simpsons, he pointed at you and said “Ha ha!” He shouted “If you liked it then you should have put a ring on it!” laughed at his pun, and hopped a plane for South Beach.

But everyone knows that by choosing “the hot one” he’s almost guaranteed a messy breakup in a couple years.  Sorry Miami, no one’s convinced you’re marriage material.

On the bright side Cleveland, we know that when the poor spurned lovable loser returns home…suddenly it’s a lot easier for him to get a date.

(Good luck, Cavs!  If I were a free agent, I would totally go out with you!  Er, sign with you.)

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And if the Twins win the World Series, he will run for mayor!

Thankfully this news story made minor headlines instead of major ones (i.e. no press conference called), but really…seriously…this is villainous.

Brett Favre hangs NFL future on College World Series.

Favre says that if the Southern Miss baseball team can make it to the College World Series for a second straight year, he will return to the NFL for one more season (that’s season number 20 in case you lost count).

Well color me purple and call me Barney if that isn’t the most heinous thing yet to come out of Brett Favre’s mouth (and that’s saying a lot).

I don’t know if he’s trying to be funny, but I doubt anyone on the Vikings roster or coaching staff is amused, let alone the fans, let alone anyone else who breathes.

Or maybe he considers it the ultimate way to inspire his alma mater’s baseball team, believing that he is such an inspiration to them, that they want so badly to see him play again next year, that they will somehow tap into a competitive level not yet reached and band together to win an unlikely championship.

Or maybe we’re all suckers, and while we’re sitting here believing that Favre is so attached to football he can’t bear to give up the game even though his body and family (and America) are screaming at him to retire, he is now the secret mastermind of his own life, which he is orchestrating to make into a movie.  “Legendary quasi-retired quarterback pins decision on college baseball team, inspires them to championship, makes his own comeback (again again again), leads team to Super Bowl, retires on top of the world.”

Sounds like a box-office hit, doesn’t it?  Mark my words.

And if Southern Miss doesn’t make the CWS, we get a teary press conference where Favre announces he’s coming back anyway, and he’s gonna win this one for Southern Miss.

Either way, his word is garbage, as will be the movie.

Get in your home! Are you too good for your home?!

favre-in-wranglersDUH.  Brett Favre is going to play for the Minnesota Vikings.  Shocker.

I don’t blame him a bit for wanting to play, but I’m not cool with the way it’s gone down.

For starters, does every retirement/unretirement/retirement/unretirement press conference have to be such sentimental garb?  

captainplanet

We didn’t summon our collective fanpower to bring him back to “fix” football.  He’s not Captain Planet.

For me, the real crux of the press conference came with this question:  “Do you think Packer fans will feel betrayed by this decision?

Favre’s response:   “No.  I think true Packer fans will understand.”

EARTH TO BRETT:  you are dead wrong.

Yes, there was some management controversy surrounding his first return.  Maybe the Packers didn’t want him back.  You can’t blame a guy for not wanting to be forced into retirement.  But don’t confuse the fans with the management.  Any faithful Cheeseheads who stuck with him through his Brett-the-Jet phase are sure not going to follow him to a division rival.  Yes, it sounds harsh and irrational to scorn a guy your team didn’t want just because he wants to keep playing.  Welcome to professional sports:  this is how fan loyalties work.  It’s why I hated on Thurman Thomas (juuuust a little) for signing with the Dolphins for a season after 12 in Buffalo.  (I let it go when he came back.  After all, I have a stuffed animal named after him.)

But then, on top of it, Brett used the worst catchphrase ever:  “I’m doing this for the right reasons.”  So were all 30 guys on The Bachelorette, as they told the cameras repeatedly, which only meant they were there to win the hot girl, and the hot girl alone.  Noble.  

In football terms, returning for the wrong reasons would be returning for what – fame?  money?  records?  spite?  So returning for the right reasons means returning for…what?  A Super Bowl ring?  He’s got one.  For his teammates?  Nope, they’re brand new.  

The right reason is clearly that he wants to play, period.  The right – and realistic – answer to that question was, “Yes, Packer fans probably won’t love this.  I love Green Bay fans – they supported me well throughout my career, but if I want to keep playing football this is the right step for me.  I’m not ready to call it a career, and I’m thrilled to be a Viking.”

But that’s not what he said.  Instead he played the situation like it was neutral, though he’s the only one who thinks it is.  He treated us all with tact and diplomacy, but what fans needed to see was a little extra honesty and heart.  

I would have said that maybe when he’s all done in Minnesota, Favre should have pulled a Thurman, but with that one simple answer Favre essentially indicated that he has wiped Green Bay from his slate.  I bet Packer fans will do him the same favor.

I pulled a Favre.

I used to be hockey-crazed.  I say “used to be” more because I no longer have the time because of the focus I need to put on football, not for lack of desire.  

My freshman year of college I entered into a fantasy hockey league comprised of a freshman guy, 4 senior guys, and a junior guy.  My team was called The Burke Conspiracy.  I won this league.  It was quite a coup.

I promptly retired from fantasy sports.

Last year I un-retired and joined 2 leagues, one at work and one with my roommates.  Here I learned 3 valuable things: 
1. that working in football does not necessarily make you good at fantasy football, 2. that 16 people is too many for a fantasy league, and
3. that 20 clients, 1 real team, and 2 fantasy teams was too much for me.

After a strong season I floundered heading into playoffs and forgot to re-set my rosters one week.  I considered re-retiring. 

But then K.Stat and her 2-Slice Special came along and made me an offer.  I said no, but she persisted.  I said I needed off the entire month of October.  She said ‘done.’  I said I wanted to pick my own October sub.  She said ‘done.’  I said I didn’t want to attend training camp and I’d need a private jet to fly my family to all the games.  She said ‘are we still talking about fantasy football?’  I said I needed some time to think about it.  She said to take all the time I needed.

And, well, all that to say…I got cajoled into giving it another go.

Apparently so did Brett Favre.

Vikings ship captain-less?

And in yet another interesting twist, Vikings QB Tarvaris Jackson is out temporarily with a sprained MCL.  Maybe it won’t be a long injury, but the Vikings have got to be wondering exactly what they’ve gotten themselves into.  The expectation throughout the off-season was that Favre would choose to play.  He had the surgery, he made the effort.  And then like the kid with all the marbles, he packed them up and said “nah, I’m going home,” leaving the Vikings organization to figure out what’s left to do.

My question is, are the Vikings actually confident enough in Rosenfels and/or Jackson for one of them to be the starter, or were they looking at them as solid backups all along?  How confident could they possibly be if they were trying to talk a proven veteran out of retirement, with an open-door that lasted until day 1 of training camp?

If Tarvaris Jackson’s injury turns into a longer or bigger ordeal than expected, the Vikings could have quite the offensive situation on their hands this season.  They might anyways.

Additionally…the Favre saga continues.  Vikings open training camp this week.  Still no word.  Have to agree with ESPN’s Mark Schlereth though that the situation was mishandled by the Vikings, who continue to try to act aloof.  What is this, a 3rd grade lunch trade?  You can’t play it cool if you’re salivating over the snack pack.  Schlereth’s comment was that the Vikings should have come out right at the start and said ‘Listen, we believe Brett Favre gives us the best chance to win this year, and we are prepared to wait on his response.”  Instead, their feigned nonchalance is confusing and not believable.  And if it appears this way to fans, you’d better believe it feels this way to Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson who just want to know if the spot is even theirs to fight for. T-2 days until training camp.  The saga will be over soon…or will it…?