by Kent Sterling
New Years Eve and Day are traditional times for reflection, dreaming, and beginning a quest to be better people that might last as long as three days. Rather than fail miserably at my own resolution, my first order of business is to project resolutions onto others, so they become responsible not only for failing themselves but also some nut in Indiana.
Here are my wishes for those sports figures or teams would I either respect or hold in abject contempt:
Herb Simon – 30 years ago Herb and his brother Mel saved the Indiana Pacers by purchasing the team. Mel passed away in 2009, but Herb is still going strong at nearly 80, and the Pacers are in the best position in their history to win an NBA title. My resolution for Herb is that he continue to exemplify the traits of a great owner by understanding that hiring someone great to run the franchise is the only Pacers related task with which he needs to busy himself.
Bob Kravitz – The Star columnist is among the very elite at what he does. He’s thoughtful, fair, and expresses opinions supported by facts. I would like Bob to completely abandon his journalistic principles to go scorched earth all over somebody in this relentlessly nice city. Ryan Grigson and Larry Bird have done a nice job building rosters. Frank Vogel and Chuck Pagano are modest and polite leaders who defer praise to their players. The marquee players do and say the right things while winning, and the college teams all appear to be run by – at the minimum – competent guys. Time for a personal attack from our columnist just to stir things up. Get personal. Criticize their appearance. Mock something. I’m so sick and tired of reading and writing about these wonderful men I could puke.
Jim Irsay – Another owner who knows his place in the organization is to sign checks and hire a general manager. Irsay annoys people inside the offices of Colts headquarters by tweeting. What those tweets also do is energize the media, and provide prizes to those wily enough to correctly answer Irsay’s arcane trivia questions. My resolution for Irsay is to up the number of tweets he bestows upon us to three per day, and the more emotional the better. Bigger prizes, more ill-temper. Unleash the hounds!
Andrew Luck – This one’s easy. I want Luck so do something socially unacceptable, something that conveys the notion that he’s not quite perfect. Maybe Pat McAfee can give him swimming lessons in the White River at 3:30 in the morning. Maybe Luck can visit Joe Lefeged in DC for a night out on the town. Maybe he can roll drunk into Ike & Jonesy’s to cut a rug with Indy’s most eager cougars. Something, anything that allows us to see something other than a son that a dad would burst with pride over. Come on – no one is (or should be) this good a guy. He makes Peyton Manning look like Caligula.
Tom Crean – Indiana’s basketball coach does a lot of pacing back and forth on the sidelines. My wife walks a great deal as well. For Christmas, she requested a device called FitBit, which I was glad to get for her. She would love to have the results that all that pacing would provide for Crean. My resolution for Crean is that he is given a FitBit so he can see at the end of the day exactly how many steps he logs. Indiana may or may not win 20 games in 2013-2014, but if seeing 10,000 steps a day gives him the pleasure that my wife enjoys as a result of aggressive walking, he won’t mind as much if they don’t.
Dan Dakich – I would like Dan to write a book. His collection of anecdotes are priceless, and combined with his knowledge of basketball, Dan could write the most entertaining sports book ever. It’s not just the Bob Knight stuff that would be incredibly entertaining. His many interactions with coaches, players, and administrators are hilarious and paint a fascinating picture of college athletics.
Matt Painter – It would be wonderful for him to be able to grab another recruiting class like he enjoyed in 2007 with Robbie Hummel, E’Twaun Moore, JaJuan Johnson, and Scott Martin so he could win in West Lafayette. Luring prized ballers to West Lafayette has always been a tough putt, but he deserves seasons of success up there. His decision to reject Mizzou was the right call, as Columbia, Missouri, is West Lafayette but with a maddening level of arrogance.
Tom Ricketts – The Cubs owner has been a miserable failure through his first four years piloting the SS Minnow of Major League Baseball. He has been duplicitous as the Cubs continue to sell their assets like stolen copper piping while charging the third highest ticket prices in baseball. The latest gambit of claiming to seriously bid for Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is being lapped up by the idiot media and fans of Chicago as easily as they reported and bought Ricketts’ threat to move the Cubs from Wrigley Field if his improvement plan was not approved by the city. In 2014, the Cubs may be worse than in 2013, and he will claim victory saying that the farm system is poised to begin delivering quality major leaguers in 2016. That’s when fans should buy tickets – because to support the Ricketts agenda is to fund the regime of a liar. My resolution for Ricketts is that he develop the small nugget of a conscience needed to lower ticket prices to a level befitting a Triple A team because that is what the Cubs will be in 2014.
(An earlier version of this post include a sentence which incorrectly stated the terms of Tom Crean’s contract with Indiana University. A paragraph in an AP story about the contract extension read. My apologies for the error. A fuller explanation will be forthcoming.)