It’s time, once again, for one of my favorite segments – a little “Good Idea / Bad Idea,” where I give you four issues to consider, and I tell you whether each was a good idea or a bad idea.
Simple, right? I mean, did that really need explaining?
I mean, c’mon, seriously?
Ahem. Excuse me. Let’s just get started, shall we?
Issue: The San Francisco Giants designating 1B/OF Travis Ishikawa for assignment
Sometimes, the business of professional sport is just plain unfair.
That fact was made abundantly clear on Tuesday, when the San Francisco Giants designated 2014 NLCS hero Travis Ishikawa for assignment, after he was done with a minor league rehab stint. Ultimately, the Orange-and-Black simply didn’t have a spot for the 31-year-old journeyman on their 40-man roster.
He is currently on Day 3 of a 10-day state of limbo, after which he will be eligible to join fellow DFA Casey McGehee and accept an outright assignment to Triple-A Sacramento, if he clears waivers. The lone snag in that scenario? Ishikawa, a handy left-handed utility man, will likely be snatched up by another team before that happens.
In a word, the man who gave all Giants fans this heart-pounding moment …
… will most likely say goodbye to San Francisco for the second time in his career.
The sentimental side of this Giants fan certainly didn’t want to see this happen. After all, it was such a great story – the journeyman who came home to the team that drafted him in 2002, after the Pittsburgh Pirates did to him then, what the Giants are doing to him now.
The man who questioned whether or not he should have quit the game as he wallowed in the minors during the 2014 season, literally launched San Francisco into their third World Series in five years. And considering, you know, I was actually there to watch it, it will be a moment I will never forget.
How do you let go of a guy like that?
For a team like the Giants – one trying to make their first odd-year postseason since 2003 – it came down to cold, hard math.
The fact was Ishikawa had not seen the field for the Giants at all this season, and guys like Nori Aoki, Justin Maxwell and Brandon Belt stepped up as major contributors. He simply became obsolete. And in the business of sport – one where you’re only as good as what the present dictates – no one has time for sentiment.
As much as it pains me to say it, the Giants need to roll with the guys who got them to their current second-place standing in the NL West. As for Ishikawa … Thank you for everything.
And good luck.
Issue: 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick posting on Instagram about the Houston floods
Surely – whether you’re a 49ers fan, or a Kaepernick hater, or both – you’ve heard about this by now.
On Tuesday, the 27-year-old signal-caller – and regular Instagram user – has been doing a lot of chirping lately about his improved game, and how he can’t wait to show it off come the 2015 season. As a result, he’s been using the hashtag #7tormsComing.
Unfortunately, in an instance of tacky hashtags meets real-life tragedy, Kaepernick posted this, likely referring to the 49ers’ preseason matchup with the Houston Texans:
Little did he know, apparently, that the picture he had was a depiction of the deadly Houston flooding that had inundated the city at the time, and continues to wreak havoc. Five are known to be dead as a result, and that number could rise by next week. Kaepernick obviously apologized profusely for this act of general ignorance, but the damage (so to speak) had already been done.
Now, I don’t even have to get into why I think this is a bad idea – that goes without saying. What I do want to say is that Colin Kaepernick needs an intervention. A social media intervention that might be needed just as much for him as it is for his hundreds of thousands of social media followers.
Colin, if I may be frank … you need to be smarter than this. I know you have a brand to develop with your “7stormsComing” tweets and things, and I realize that, in this day and age, that it’s important for any young, promising athlete who needs to strike while the iron’s hot.
But, dude. All you had to do was a simple Google search – or maybe just check a national news site of some kind (because, you know, there are quite a few out there) to give yourself some kind of clue what’s going on in the rest of the world. That way, you can probably prevent these major foot-in-mouth incidents.
Or, better yet, maybe you should give yourself a self-imposed social media “timeout” – after all, this isn’t the first time you’ve inadvertently made a fool of yourself on social media. Do I have to remind you of the Twitter Troll Fiasco of 2015? That was barely three months ago!
Just … I’m telling you this for your own good: Maybe cool it on Twitter and Instagram until this blows over, huh? Please, Colin. You and the 49er Faithful have been through enough this offseason.
Issue: Houston Rockets C Dwight Howard saying he is “Still A Champion” after WCF loss to Golden State
The Golden State Warriors are champions of the Western Conference in 2015. Let that sink in for a moment.
Because that’s not what this is about, right now. This is about a member of the team they beat to get to the NBA Finals: One Dwight David Howard Jr. of the Houston Rockets.
It wasn’t very long after Houston fell on a turnover-ridden game at Oracle Arena in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals, shuffling their 2014-15 season off this mortal coil. Whatever aim he was trying to accomplish, Howard said the following in his post-game presser:
It’s tough, but I won’t stop fighting. I’m going to continue to push myself to the limit and remember that, no matter how the season ends, I’m still a champion. And I won’t let anyone tell me anything different.
On the one hand, he technically wasn’t lying – after all, he did lead Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy to a 2004 high school state championship. Also, he won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in 2008.
On the other hand … come on, man. Let’s forget the fact that you couldn’t make a stint with the Lakers and Kobe Bryant work before you got to Houston. Let’s forget that you probably should have gotten a Flagrant 2 in Game 3 against the Warriors. Let’s forget the fact that, in your 11-year career, you’ve had one NBA Finals appearance.
In any case, I understand that, probably in any other context, it was an admirable thing to say – something to hang your hat on as motivation for the future. But, not like that. Not in what can only be described as the most dishearteningly bitter way you could employ that card.
Issue: Declaring 49ers DL Arik Armstead a bust … before he’s played a down
The polarizing nature of one Arik Armstead continues for the San Francisco 49ers.
Chosen at 17th overall in this year’s NFL Draft, the raw Oregon defensive lineman was apparently a target of GM Trent Baalke’s for months – this, despite many of the fan base’s repeated outcries against drafting such an inexperienced prospect. And, considering the team’s much-scrutinized need for talent that could help the team in 2015, the 49ers front office stuck to a draft strategy that focused on one idea: draft based on their board, rather than for need.
As a result – and based on the Armstead pick, specifically – the 49ers continue to be scrutinized by media and fans, alike. So much so, that the website NumberFire.com has weighed in on the situation, placing Armstead No. 1 in their “Top Five Potential 2015 NFL Draft Busts”:
The problem is that he is highly unrefined in his pass-rushing skills and still hasn’t quite grown into his frame and strength against the run. If he was able to sit behind a seasoned veteran and learn to polish his technique, this wouldn’t be an issue. With the decimation that has occurred to the 49ers’ front seven this offseason, though, Armstead is going to be called into service sooner rather than later.
Now, let’s forget that the 49ers already drafted guys like Tank Carradine in 2013 to alleviate the immediate need for someone like Armstead “sooner rather than later,” as they say. Ultimately, that’s not the point.
Because, frankly, I’m kind of glad that they said this.
I want Armstead to take opinions like this – opinions of the media, the fans, and every 49ers critic out there – and use it as fuel to his young fire. While he refines his skills under Jim Tomsula, while he learns under guys like Aubrayo Franklin (who was – surprise! – hired as a defensive assistant this offseason) and Darnell Dockett, while he (hopefully) works relentlessly in the offseason, I hope he listens to every single doubter out there, and strives to prove them all wrong.
I want Armstead, whenever he becomes a major contributor to this defense, to be like Aldon Smith in 2011 and 2012 – be a prospect who went from “Why did we draft THAT guy?” to “I LOVE this guy!”
Those are probably lofty expectations for a dude who plays at a position that will demand constant double teams, freeing up edge rushers to sack the quarterback.
In any case, let not these criticisms fall on deaf ears, Arik. May these be the stinging barbs that propel you to defensive line greatness.