Turkey of the Year candidates are in

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 26, 2008

By Tom Jones
St. Petersburg Times
It’s that time of year again for our Turkey of the Year choices. If you goofed up, embarrassed yourself or generally acted like an idiot, you have the chance to be recognized.
– Hank Steinbrenner: If Hank had spent as much time trying to fix his Yankees roster of old geezers as he did whining about why the Rays were ahead of him, maybe his club would’ve been in the World Series. Be a man, Hank. Admit your team wasn’t as good this year. Nobody likes a crybaby.
– Isiah Thomas: Who knows why an ambulance was really called to Thomas’ home last month for what was called an “accidental overdose?” But it’s apparent that the ambulance was not for Thomas’ 17-year-old daughter, as the former Knicks president claimed. “It wasn’t his daughter,” Harrison (N.Y.) Police Chief David Hall told the Associated Press. “And why they’re throwing her under the bus is beyond my ability to understand.” It’s beyond our ability, too.
– Angel Matos: There’s a right way to protest a ref’s decision. Kicking said ref in the face isn’t it. Matos, a tae kwon do star from Cuba, was disqualified from an Olympic bronze-medal match and showed his disdain by kicking the ref in the face, pushing a judge and then spitting on the floor.
– Mike Milano: Steve Kampfer is a star on the University of Michigan hockey team. But his season is on hold because Milano, a walk-on running back for the Wolverines, is accused of slamming Kampfer headfirst onto a sidewalk, fracturing his skull. Milano has been charged with two counts of assault.
– Phillies fans: Booing the Rays in the World Series is one thing. Dumping beer on their fans, screaming at babies and throwing mustard at kids is another. Then when St. Petersburg Times sports columnist John Romano wrote about it, the Times was flooded with e-mails from Philly fans either calling the story a lie or telling Rays fans to lump it if they didn’t like it. One actually wrote, “If that bothered you, then we were doing our jobs!” It would be funny if it wasn’t so true and sad.
– Buck Burnette: The backup center was kicked off Texas’ football team for posting on his Facebook page what he said was a text message from a friend that referred to Barack Obama with a racial slur the day after Obama was elected president. Burnette apologized several times, but coach Mack Brown booted him anyway.
– Brett Favre: The whole teary-eyed retirement announcement followed by a soap opera about unretiring and being traded gave us a daily migraine. Oh, yeah, add that according to a media report, he shared Packers secrets with the Lions (he denies it) and we think we speak for all football fans, minus those in New York, when we say he should’ve stayed retired.
– Horse racing: Another Triple Crown race, another horse put down. Yeah, the horse lovers will tell us how great horse racing is and how great the horses are treated and how horses are born to race and blah, blah, blah. Bottom line, filly Eight Belles is 6 feet under because she was forced to race. Her last race was the Kentucky Derby.
– Alex Rodriguez: One word: Madonna.
– Florida State receivers: You know it’s bad when you’re not even liked on your campus. Taiwan Easterling, Bert Reed, Corey Surrency, Cameron Wade and Richard Goodman put their egos ahead of the team and got into brawl on campus. All five were suspended for a crucial loss to Boston College, a game that might have cost the Seminoles a chance at the ACC title game.
รณ Julio Castillo: A brawl between minor-league affiliates of the Cubs and Reds ended with 15 players and both managers ejected, and one fan hospitalized. That’s because Cubs pitching prospect Julio Castillo fired a ball at the other dugout and instead hit the fan in the stands.
– LPGA Tour: The tour actually tried to put in a rule that golfers would be suspended if they couldn’t speak English well enough. Gee, why not suspend golfers who are left-handed or have brown eyes? Thankfully, the tour quickly nixed the idea following a public outcry.
– Rich Rodriguez: The Michigan coach blasted fans critical of his crummy 3-9 team. “Get a life,” he said. Then he pointed to bigger problems: “Look at the economy.” Economy? This guy is making $2.5 million, and his new school had to pay his old school, another $2.5 million to get him out of his contract. Plus, the school is in the midst of a $226-million stadium facelift. Maybe the fans have a right to expect you to beat MAC teams at home.
– Jim Leyritz: The former Yankees catcher was charged with DUI manslaughter, in an accident while driving drunk and killing a young mother. But that’s not all. He asked a judge to remove a Breathalyzer device from his car because it was “bothersome.” His lawyers complained that he couldn’t leave a car with a valet because they could not start it with the device in it. And his ex-wife moaned that he “can’t eat things like chicken marsala” because certain foods cause false positives on drug tests. Sadly, this is not a joke.

And the Turkey of the Year is … Phillies fans: Let’s get one thing straight. We honestly didn’t care who won the World Series. We slept just fine after the Rays lost. But we don’t sleep well knowing there are fans who were so desperate for a championship that they felt the need to harass children, wives, moms, dads and loved ones who simply went to a game to watch their loved ones in the World Series. Maybe now that Philly has its precious championship, its fans will act like decent humans.