Burns: Looking for stability in Arizona
In these troubling times for local sports, who can we turn to for guidance? Stability? Leadership? Commitment?
The Bidwills. Yep. I just wrote that. The Bidwills.
While it probably sounds like some snarky backhanded remark, it’s not meant to be at all. I’m being very serious. Want to compare and contrast with me?
The Suns: We’ve read morale is low. We’ve heard the mood is sour. One national NBA writer used the word “bludgeoned” when describing what Robert Sarver did to Steve Kerr when Kerr tried to get more money for the people behind the Suns title run. “Bludgeoned” is a word usually described for aggravated assault charges, not NBA executives. When they hire their next GM, he will be their fourth GM in Sarver’s six years as owner. David Griffin, a loyal Suns employee of 18 years – a man who would bleed purple and orange if you cut him open – is walking away at the end of his deal. All the social equity they built up during their surprising playoff run is crashing like Ozzy Osborne after a 3 day bender.
The Diamondbacks: Whether you blame the players, AJ Hinch or Josh Byrnes, one thing is clear: It ain’t working. 2007’s NLCS run is looking flukier and flukier by the inning. It feels like we’re on the verge of a small nuclear detonation that will blow up the core of this team and send fragments flying throughout the league. Attendance is taking a hit, which means the payroll probably will too. I don’t know how much of it is Ken Kendrick’s fault. In fact he probably deserves at least a little credit for adding to the payroll in the offseason in a noble, but ill-advised attempt to go for it. But it doesn’t change the facts. The problems are so wide-spread and the mess so large, no one seems to know where to start and how to clean it up.
The Coyotes: If you’re looking for stability, you’re better off building a house on the San Andres fault line. Except it wouldn’t be a house. It would be an apartment that has a steady stream of unreliable renters. Ice Edge, Reinsdorf, Bettman, Ballsillie, Moyes, Glendale, Winnipeg. The Coyotes organization feels like that bowl of Life cereal that gets passed around the breakfast table because nobody wants to try it. (“let’s get Mikey…yeah, he’ll try anything”). Can Mikey buy the Coyotes?
ASU sports: One moment they’re in the Pac-16 with Texas and Oklahoma as part of the East division. The next, they’re in the Pac-12, potentially playing in a South division that features Colorado and Utah. Either way, it feels like forever and a day since this program has been a consistent player in the college football scene.
The Cardinals: A Ken Whisenhunt contract extension that pays the man what the market says he’s worth? Check. Rod Graves contract extension? Check. John Lott, the trainer that everyone says is a vital part of their success? Re-signed. Joey Porter to upgrade the pass rush? Pounce on Alan Faneca the moment he was cut by the Jets? On draft day, an aggressive approach, a total lack of fear when it comes to making deals and a little luck too? Check, check and check. Maybe they didn’t do enough to address Kurt Warner’s retirement. But something tells me that if they really thought they couldn’t win with what they have, they would have done something about it. The Cardinals organization was once the most scorned in professional sports. Now they’re the last-man-standing when it comes to stability, leadership and commitment. We two years ago and have had no reason to exhume the remains since.