Gooble, gobble, gobbledegoop: How Sterling, D’Antoni, Nash, Voynov and Chivas USA headline our turkey table for 2014

147742_600Donald Sterling got a really nice mention in the year-end issue of GQ magazine, the one focused on its “Men of the Year” accolades.

Sure, this comes with a giant asterisk, because the nefarious list that the former Clippers owner made was far from gentlemanly. He was one of 25, along with sporties such as Derek Jeter, Roger Goodell, Dwayne Wade and the Brazilian soccer team, lumped into a lineup of “The Least Influential People of 2014.”

Deadspin.com’s Drew Magary wrote about Sterling in that piece:

“The racist/slumlord/pervert/nudist ex-NBA owner displayed a remarkable lack of power in 2014. He failed to keep his girlfriend from recording him saying a bunch of horrible (stuff) about black people. He failed to keep the NBA team from taking over his Los Angeles Clippers. He failed to keep his wife from selling the Clippers to that bald guy from Microsoft. He failed at every attempt to sue his way back into ownership. He failed to win even a shred of our sympathy in a hilariously misguided interview with Anderson Cooper. And the best part is that it all caught him completely off guard.”

147837_600And we’d always thought of Sterling as more of a scatter-shooting guard than an off guard, but we get the point.

Thursday, when we give overwhelming thanks for all the things we are supposed to appreciate in our lives, we know there is a tomorrow when we’re trying to calculate our depreciation of our Friday assets: The Tupperware container of crushed cranberries, a bag of off-green green beans with Bac-o-Bits and two cans of yams that didn’t even get opened.

The leftovers.

boro-sterlingSterling, in our L.A. sports world of 2014, has become one of those leftovers. Because we’re so over him.

On our scale of 1-to-10, he’s the No. 1 person we’ll be referring to 10 years from now in analogies of something that’s gone incredibly wrong.

We serve him up as the main course on our turkey day. On a tarnished sterling platter, obviously. All ready to be a leftover.

Say, why not make this a real pity party? For those who did such a spectacular job in falling from grace in L.A. this year, and likely to be gone for good from our line of sight in the future, take a spot at our November Nine table with the cornucopia of rotting gourds as the center piece:

Mike D’Antoni:
The former Lakers coach is best served cold, as our minced-meat appetizer. That’s because of the way he was carved up repeatedly by Kobe Bryant during the course of a 67-win, 87-loss staycation over two seasons. He came in as Mike Brown’s relief man, picked over Phil Jackson, yet it came to an inglorious end when the 63-year-old walked away from the organization in April because he wasn’t given a contract extension. The latest reports is he’s still looking for a gig, but turned down going back to his alma mater, Marshall University. Maybe they played too much defense to his liking.

nashSteve Nash:
Care for some extra gravy on those Nash-ed tater tots? Careful lifting the heavy ladle. It could lead to major back-to-back back issues. The future Hall of Famer who is the oldest NBA player under contract – he turns 41 in February – isn’t come back any time soon. Nor is the coach of his current employer waiting for a return call any more. Next time you want to send a letter of apology to unnerved Lakers fans, at least wait until this team puts together a three-game winning streak. In other words, never.

Chivas USA:
gexThe funky, now-defunct Major League Soccer franchise becomes that bowl of guacamole that turned brown because someone forgot to leave the avocado pit in the middle. Besides, a second MLS team in L.A. just didn’t seem to fit on the menu, no matter what galaxy you’re living in. Maybe what got our goats is the letter that team president Nelson Rodriguez posted last month to its fans on the franchise website:
“History will say many things about Chivas USA, but the one, undeniable truth will be that in every instance – no matter the circumstance, setting or outcome – our resiliency was supported by the indomitable spirit of our most loyal and proud fans.”
History will also say once made these fans wear red-and-white stripped shirts with the brand name “Bimbos” across the front.

Joe Blanton:
Kansas City Royals v Los Angeles Angels of AnaheimHe’s our stove-top stuffing mix left in the oven that burned to a crisp. The Dodgers grabbed the one-time tons-o-fun 16-game winner in August, 2012 for the playoff push, and he pushed back with a 2-4 mark in his 10 starts. The Angels pushed the issue even more – picking him up as free agent in 2013, but he fattened up to a 2-14 record in 28 starts, a minus-2.0 WAR, and was shut down in early September. Why the Angels kept him through 2014 spring training is more a mystery. Then they released him – owning $7.5 million. The 33-year-old dropped a few pounds and signed a minor league deal with the organization he once starred for, Oakland, but gave up seven runs in 10 2/3 innings in two Triple-A starts, then retired. Baseball-Reference.com says Blanton earned about $40 million in his 11-year career. Say it ain’t so, Joe.

Josh Shaw:
1409167710000-C01-V2-SHAW-0827-66753316Let’s not leap to any conclusions here, but who’s going to explain why this turkey has two bruised drumsticks? The USC defensive back and captain provided too much baloney on his hero sandwich, and so his final year of eligibility has been highlighted thus far by a tackle made on special teams last week against UCLA. Nope, he did not rescue his 7-year-old nephew from drowning in a pool. The 22-year-old tried to cover up a stupid injury – once cause by jumping off the balcony of his apartment in what became a police investigation involving a relationship matter – and finally fessed up after the media when it really got a way from him. All this shouldn’t really hurt his NFL chances, right Manti Teo?

Slava Voynov:
635494297740510008-2014-10-20-Voynov-mugshotThe Russian dressing on our Caesar salad might be a little too strong for our tastes. Technically, the legal system hasn’t played out yet with the Kings’ 25-year-old defenseman, charged now with felony spousal abuse. But it paints the team and league into a corner – will Kings GM Dean Lombardi trade him away once this is all sorted out? At a time when the NFL is taking a huge black eye for bungling its own domestic violence policies, the NHL has this situation that at the very least has resulted in a suspension. There’s nothing lost in translation here: Voynov may have helped the Kings to two Stanley Cup championships, but he’s on thin ice now.

MLB: NLDS-Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis CardinalsScott Elbert:
No one relishes the fact that this left-over lefthander was a prime pick for the Dodgers in the first round of the 2004 draft who then missed more than two years of his 11 seasons with the organization because of three left elbow surgeries. But somehow, he made the 2014 playoff roster because, well, he was a lefthanded pitcher. So in the seventh inning of a pivotal Game 3 of the NL Division Series in St. Louis, Elbert would become the poster kid for the Dodgers’ swiss-cheese bullpen as manager Don Mattingly called on him to hold a 1-1 tie. Before he could get out of the inning, Elbert gave up Kolton Wong’s go-ahead two-run homer. Once the season ended, the Dodgers may have declined an option to keep one-time All-Star Chad Billingsley after the 2003 first-round pick had all kinds of arm problems as well. But Elbert’s eventual departure spoke more volumes about the franchise’s failure to have the right arms in the right places. Which may be more related to …

Ned Colletti:
la_u_colletti01_200Think of him as the box of Arm & Hammer sitting the back of the refrigerator. He’s supposed to keep the Dodgers from really stinking it up even though he’s been relieved of his general manager duties and then put into quasi-retirement. That’s the thanks he gets for an above-average eight years of building the roster into a playoff contender that always seemed to be missing one vital part. Dodgers president Stan Kasten has kept him on the payroll, with the implication that he’s not signed by someone else to give away team secrets. He could always break free and take that dream job he once told us about — GM for an NHL team. He wouldn’t be tempted to make a trade for someone like Voynov, would he?

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