Friday, January 27, 2006

Dishing out the "Haterade"

The recent GQ list of the 10 most hated athletes in sports got me to thinking. One, how did a bass fisherman get on the list? Michael Iaconelli? Who? Isn't he Christopher on "The Sopranos?" Two, who have Detroiters despised over the years? It got me to thinking even more. Here's whom I've felt the "Haterade" for over the years.

1. Claude Lemieux - Unquestionably the most hated man ever in this area. The only thing that would make Detroiters happier than they were seeing "The Turtle" get pummled by Darren McCarty would be if the Lions won the Super Bowl. Claude Lemieux = Pure Evil.

2. Michael Jordan - It was bad enough he singlehandedly ended the Bad Boy's reign. After the Bulls started winning titles, Jordan decided rub salt into a gaping wound with his infamous quote that the Pistons title run was bad for basketball. He seemed to especially delight in beating the Pistons. Detroit was one of the few places were Jordan was deservedly booed.

3. The Boston Celtics starting lineup of the mid-late 80's - Was there a more hated bunch than that Celtics crew? The most unlikable team ever. They still stick in my craw. Danny Ainge might have been the most annoying player I've ever seen. Dennis Johnson might have been the ugliest palyer I've ever seen. Who can forget Robert Parrish sucker punching Bill Laimbeer with unmitigated malice? Larry Legend talking trash while draining circus shots. Kevin McHale looked like Lurch but his battles with Rick Mahorn were legendary. Every time the Bird steal gets replayed, I turn the channel. I still can't bear to watch... Both teams and their fans wished the depths of Hell upon each other. A honorable mention goes to the despicable Tommy Heinsohn, you could feel his love for the Celtics during those CBS broadcasts.

4. Patrick Roy - Was there a more arrogant bastard than Patty Waaah? Roy was at the Ainge level of annoying, but he was an all-world talent, which made it even more frustrating. Seeing Mike Vernon take him out in the 1997 fight is still one of my favorite memories. Second, in my mind anyway, would be the "Statue of Liberty" move that backfired on him in the 2002 Western Confrence finals. Thinking about Brendan Shanahan shoving the puck behind him still brings a smile to my face to this day. God damn, was Roy smug!

5. Scott Mitchell - I wasn't going to add a Detroit player to the list, as those lists have been done. But the bile Mitchell brings up leaves a bad taste in all our mouths. Mitchell's spot stands for all the Detroit players that have raised our considerable ire, from Tim Cheveldae, to Bobby Higginson, to Juan Gone. I can't go on any further, as just thinking about them causes my blood pressure to rise...

6. Ron Artest - Artest is not a fun kind of crazy. Artest is "I'm scared to death of him as he might stick a shiv in me" crazy. If it had been anyone other than Artest, the Palace brawl would never have escalated as it did. This area will never live that night down, thanks to his lack of common sense. What was worse is that he seemed to have the Pistons number. The Detroit-Indy rivalry was on the verge of going to the Wings-Avs level, but Artest cut the legs out from under the Pacers. I'm thrilled to see that crazy mofo out of the division. Sacramento, hide the children and lock your doors.

7. Minnesota Vikings, circa 70's Purple People Eaters - Growing up, I hated HATED HATED the Vikings. The Lions could never, ever beat that damn team. It wasn't as if we are talking blowouts either. This was the era the Lions became the "Lions," where they found any and every way to lose a game, especially to the Vikings. But for some damn reason, what still sticks in my mind is how Herman "Thunderfoot" Weaver always seemed to choke playing them. There always seemed to be a blocked or shanked punt that would just decimate the Lions when victory seemed within their grasp. "Thunderfoot" made a young Big Al cry...

8. Jerry Hairston - Hairston was a utility player who hit like Ruth, Bonds, and Cobb combined whenever the White Sox played the Tigers. Breaking up Milt Wilcox's perfect game was bad enough. But no matter what the situation, no matter who was pitching, Hairston always got the big hit against the Tigers. I don't ever remember him making an out...

9. Lamar Hunt - Not an athlete, but he belongs on the list. Hunt is the Grinch to our Cindy Lou Who. His repeated attempts to take our Thanksiving Day game away never ends. The topic comes up every few years, with him as the point man. Thank goodness the Fords react with the wrath of a wronged woman whenever Hunt tries to gain support for rotating the game. But it still doesn't deter him. Trust me, the evil old SOB will try again.

10. Chris Chelios - Hard to believe he's now a beloved Red Wing. But in his Blackhawk days? I wished neverending pain upon him. When the big trade was made for Chelios in 1999, there was much consternation amongst the Wings faithful. How could we root for such a despicable individual? It's the Bill Laimbeer corollary at it's finest. Chris Chelios is a horrible prick, but now he's our horrible prick.


  1. Hate Scott Mitchell all you want - I think we all do. But remember this: In 1995 he threw for over 4,000 yards, had 32 TD's and only 16 INT's. He was, by far, the best QB this city has ever seen.

    Sad, isn't it?

  2. Good list. Jordan and Chelios are the ones that really stand out for me and would be #1 and #2 on my list.

    Good old Scott Mitchell, I wonder if I still have his Autographics card, I am sure that would be valuable to someone? anyone?

  3. Kevin, I agree that Mitchell was sad... Seriously, it is a sad commentary about the Lions that Mitchell's mid 90's seasons were the best of any QB since Layne. I had to add him to the list as the D's representative due to the hatred for him had reached Millenesque porportions by the end of his tenure. It was either Mitchell or Cheveldea, Mitchell won the coin flip!

    Sports Pig, I almost moved Chelios up the list, he was barely a notch below The Turtle, way back when. But Chelios has generated so much goodwill over the years that I could forgive most of his past sins. Not all, but most...

  4. Here's a littlew reminder about the '95 Lions and Mr. Mitchell:

  5. I think it was 32TDs and 12INTs in 1995. And stunningly, he didn't even make the Pro Bowl. I won't bother to look up who did, but they must have had some damn nice seasons.

    That said, I fully support his place on Al's list. Because Mitchell's problem wasn't the fact that he largely sucked or even that he didn't deliver on his oversized contract. We've had a lot of guys in the D suck a fat one after getting a huge deal (*cough* Bobby Higginson *cough*), but never one who was as big of a douchebag about it as Mitchell.

  6. Brian-

    Exactly right, it was 12. Had 16 stuck in my mind for some reason.

  7. Al...

    I did a column/post about how I hate the Vikings. Wish I had it for you more conveniently, but you'll have to scroll through either my December or November archives if you wish to read it.

    And Kevin's right; Scott Mitchell sold his soul to the devil for his 1995 REGULAR season. Clearly that transaction expired in the playoffs, when his clock struck midnight.

    But when you think about it, Mitchell forged a career all because Dan Marino popped his achilles, allowing Mitchell to parlay a decent half-season in 1993 into big bucks -- not once, but TWICE from the Lions.