Tim Marcin’s The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

By Tim Marcin

Elm Staff Writer

The Good.

Devin Hester is back—and that my friends, is good for all of us who watch football. Remember Devin Hester a couple of years back? The lightning fast sparkplug of a return man for the Chicago Bears? It was like every time he touched the ball, you almost expected him to take it to the house. It was a forgone conclusion that he was going to break a big return every game. And then the Bears got greedy. They tried to make him into a big-time wide receiver, getting him the ball even more frequently. The only problem was his return game plummeted with the transition. With all he had on his plate, he seemed to have lost the spark as a special teams phenomenon. His last touchdown return came in the season finale of the 2007 season. That is, until last Monday night. Hester barked out a resounding “I’m Back!” against the Green Bay Packers, after a two-year hiatus. His first big return was a 28-yarder, which would have been a touchdown, had the punter not made a great play to stop him.

Nonetheless, it set up the Bears’ only offensive touchdown of the game. Hester’s second big return was nothing short of vintage Devin Hester. He weaved his way 62 yards to the end zone, giving the Bears a 14-10 lead, in what would ultimately be a 20-17 win over the Packers. It was by far the biggest play in a huge win for the Bears. They rose above Green Bay to take the division lead, and are now the top dog in the NFC, being the only undefeated team left at 3-0. After almost being benched as the return man, Hester has come back with a vengeance. For all football fans it should be quite a show to watch. To quote the wise Terrell Owens, “Get your popcorn ready.”

The Bad

The Atlanta Braves have played like dogs in the home stretch of the season. As in “roll over” and “play dead”. After having as big of a division lead of 7.5 games, they pretty much handed the NL East title to the Philadelphia Phillies. Granted the Phillies have been red hot—and honestly the talented squad outmatched the Braves. But in a series which determined the season, they could not pull out one win. Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt, and Roy Halladay cruised right through the Braves, extending the Phillies division lead to 6 games and all but ending the NL East race. Eventually the Phillies clinched and the Braves are in a heated wildcard race.

They are a young squad, with fresh stars like Tommy Hanson and Jason Heyward, but it seems like they have played their way into a hole. A few weeks ago it seemed like the Braves had a playoff spot all but locked up. At the time of this article’s writing, the Braves are narrowly gripping on to a half game lead over San Diego in the wild card race.

They may pull it off after all and break into October baseball, where anything can happen. That does not mean however, that they did not squander a chance at a division title.

The Ugly

Simply put, The Melo Situation. At the time of writing this article, Carmelo Anthony was reporting to camp for the Denver Nuggets. It could not be a more awkward situation. Anthony and his team of agents are essentially trying to strong arm the Nuggets into trading him away, Melo being unsatisfied with his Denver situation. Anthony’s contract runs out at the end of the year, and he is essentially telling them I am not going to re-sign at the year’s end, so just trade me now. By the time camp opened however, no deal could be reached—despite getting close with the New Jersey Nets.

So Carmelo has to shuffle into camp, presumably head held low, dodging the people he so desperately wants to ditch. He has apparently told sources that he wants to be sent off to New York or Chicago (but will probably also accept New Jersey or Houston). The whole while, the Nuggets are practically begging him to reconsider. It is just an ugly situation, that Melo brought on himself. It is a situation where a superstar puts his needs before the team, caring solely for his instant desires and gratification. After seeing Lebron James, Chris Bosh, and Amare Stoudamire leave in free agency, and all the hoopla and bright promise of those situations, he wants the same. Carmelo is a little kid at lunch that is mad his friends got a better dessert than he did, fussing about it until he gets what he wants. Carmelo should just stick the season out like a man, and then see where things go afterwards.

It is not like the Nuggets are a terrible team (finishing with 88 wins last year), in fact they could still do very well in the upcoming year. Instead Anthony caused a huge stir, and is now disrupting everything around Denver. How he can go back to the Nuggets camp and look the Coach George Karl or team leader Chauncey Billups in the eyes I do not know. He may still get traded, and for the Nuggets, perhaps that is what’s best. If Melo wants out that bad, then by all means send him packing, and at least get something back in return.

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