Hot takes for Dec 1-7 covered Alabama, Omar Vizquel, USC-Ohio State and more.

Welcome to another edition of This Week In Hot Takes! This time around, we’re covering the hottest sports media takes from Dec. 1-7.

5. Kevin Reynolds calls Giancarlo Stanton “a pansy and a spoiled child”: Reynolds, a long-time St. Louis Cardinals’ writer now covering them on StlCardsNStuff, threw out quite the terms about the Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton reportedly not wanting to go to St. Louis or San Francisco in a trade:

While a player’s list of preferred teams can certainly be questioned, those questions tend to have more force when not coming from someone in a snubbed market. But beyond that, it’s the language Reynolds uses that’s particularly hot. Annoyance at the limited teams Stanton is willing to accept a trade to is valid, but that’s also his right as per the full no-trade clause he was able to get in his contract, and it doesn’t make him a “pansy” or a “spoiled child.” And the idea of an “I DON’T WANNA!” hissy fit is bizarre here; first off, Stanton isn’t rejecting all suitors (Ken Rosenthal recently reported that he’s most interested in the Dodgers and Yankees), second, he’d be within his rights to do so, and third, choosing where to play when you have that kind of leverage hardly seems like childish behavior. In fact, it’s a much more adult move than just lobbing a bunch of insults the way Reynolds did.

Rating: ???

4. David Bahnsen calls USC vs. Ohio State “good versus evil”: Bahnsen is the managing partner of his own investment group, but more importantly for media purposes, his Twitter bio states that he’s a “Market commentator at CNBC and Fox Business” and a “contributor at Forbes and the National Review Online.” And the hot take he dropped this week didn’t have anything to do with the markets:

It’s hard to tell what the best part of this is. It could be the difficulty in identifying which team he thinks is the good one here, or it could be using “committed murder” as a way to slander the school that doesn’t have O.J. Simpson as a prominent alumnus.

Rating: ???

3. Bill Livingston submits a Baseball Hall of Fame ballot featuring only Cleveland Indians: Remember the days when columnists looked down on fans and bloggers, saying that they and only they could provide the necessary objective analysis (even when much of it was neither objective nor analysis)? Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Bill Livingston sure doesn’t seem to subscribe to that, turning in a Baseball of Fame ballot that only featured Indians’ players Omar Vizquel and Jim Thome:

But if it’s possible, his explanation somehow even tops this. After a long digression about how he initially voted for suspected steroid users because they were “the best of a corrupt era,” then sent in a blank ballot last year because he was upset steroid users were crowding out “players who were probably clean” and Major League Baseball wasn’t ruling on the steroid era (MLB doesn’t actually handle the Hall of Fame vote, but sure), Livingston starts talking about why he voted all Indians this year:

Now the debate wasn’t so much about the head and the reasonable objection I had to failure to set criteria for the steroid era or even try to define it.

Now it was a matter of the heart.

Now it was a recollection of how happy were the 1990s here when the Cleveland Indians had an All-Star at every position, went to two world Series, dominated their division, and, in the vacuum left by the deserting Cleveland Browns, won back the love of the city.

How in good conscience could I not vote for Omar Vizquel, the best shortstop I ever saw, the winner of a Fort Knox vault full of Gold Gloves, the defensive mainstay of those slugging teams? Vizquel is one of my favorite players in any sport ever.

How were 600-plus home runs by Jim Thome not enough, for all that he traveled the land as a mercenary after saying they would have to tear the Indians shirt off his back?

On the rest of the field, I didn’t make a call due to the absence of policy on the steroid era.

Some will call this a “homer” vote.

Some will say I wanted to have it both ways with this ballot.

But the heart of the fan inside me, which we sportswriters try to subordinate to objectivity in service to the great god Journalism, will go where the heart will go.

I mean, it’s pretty clear there’s no objectivity at all there, subordinated or otherwise. And “the great god Journalism” is a hilarious line from someone who just sent in a ballot featuring votes only for Vizquel and Thome. And refusing to vote thanks to a “lack of policy,” only to change that practice to vote for people you like who played for the team you cover, is one of the funniest takes in a while. Of course, Livingston got roundly roasted for this:


But hey, sometimes you have to take a little roasting in service to “the great god Journalism,” right?

Rating: ????

2. Ryen Russillo goes off on others’ supposed college football biases: Speaking of that whole objectivity thing, we saw a hilarious rant on it from the other side this week, with ESPN’s Ryen Russillo insisting that he’s the only one viewers should listen to about who should be in the College Football Playoff…because everyone else is lying? Because they went to schools that had football programs, unlike Russillo, who went to Vermont? Because he’s so objective that he openly admits to rooting for particular teams?

“I’m coming to you as the guy who is not biased. I went to Vermont, okay? Vermont. We don’t have football. I’m from New England, okay? I’ve rooted for Texas because of Colt McCoy, I’ve rooted for Oregon because of Chip and Helfrich, and yes, I have fun at LSU. That’s it!”

“When I listen to other people talk who have a background with teams, whether it’s Joey [Galloway] with the Buckeyes, Des[mond Howard] with the Wolverines, I think there are times where Booger [McFarland] actually trashes LSU to make it seem like he’s not being pro-SEC, I sat next to Danny who I think is maybe the most biased, because he’s so anti-SEC, the most biased voice in college football, who is just going to call the committee liars because he didn’t get what he wanted. He wanted to make fun of Bama and troll them on Twitter all night long. And then he calls them liars! Joel Klatt, who I love, on the [Big Ten Championship] broadcast, I thought he was going to start doing a ‘Bama Sucks’ chant with Urban Meyer as they presented him the trophy.”

“Here’s the deal. I understand the schedule, I understand the disappointment in Alabama’s schedule, but [Ohio State’s] Iowa loss is tough to get by. And if everyone on that committee said ‘The Iowa loss is too much, I don’t know how you argue with them there.’ All I’m telling you is listen to me more often, because I’m the one that’s telling you the truth when everybody else has some weird anti-deal, whether it’s a Fox guy that played in the Pac-12, hates us, hates ESPN, called us co-conspirators two years ago with the entire committee…I’m the one not lying to you!”

As noted when we covered this earlier, Klatt played in the Big 12, not the Pac-12. But, as we’ll see in the next entry, Russillo has at least a partial point with him.  And if this had stopped at noting that players’ college affiliations should be considered when contemplating their commentary, it wouldn’t be in this column. But the “I’m the one that’s telling you the truth when everyone else has some weird anti-deal…I’m the one not lying to you!” is pretty hilarious. It feels like something that would be expected from some fringe conspiracy theorist, not an ESPN Radio host. Or maybe even Howard Beale. And “I’m the one not lying to you!” seems like a weird slam on the rest of Russillo’s company, which employs a whole ton of college football analysts. Are they all lying, Ryen?

Rating: ?????

1. Joel Klatt says “everything in the first three years [of the CFP committee] was a lie”: As mentioned in the last entry, though, Russillo does appear to have a point when it comes to Klatt, who has spent the last three years discussing college football conspiracy theories. (This hasn’t received more attention because he’s been doing it on midday FS1 studio programming, seen by tens of viewers.) And Klatt’s commentary during the Big Ten championship trophy presentation does deserve some criticism. But the real hot take came in this rant about Alabama:

“Everything in the first three years was a lie. That’s all that you can come to the conclusion. It was a lie! So again, dishonest, inaccurate, and unreliable. That’s what the committee has proven to be.”

There are plenty of reasonable arguments to make in favor of Ohio State or in favor of Alabama. But dialing up the rhetoric the way people have on both sides is just hot takery. Sure, if you’re making an argument that the committee’s choice doesn’t actually follow some of their stated criteria, that’s fine. (It does follow others, though, such as judging teams for bad losses and for having two losses versus one.) But saying it’s all “dishonest” and “a lie” driven by some agenda is a piping hot take.

Rating: ?????

Honorable mentions: Skip Bayless says Nick Saban runs college football, Ray Lewis says the NFL is turning into “flag football.”

Notable absences: Bayless, Stephen A. Smith, Phil Mushnick.

Hot Take Standings: 

Stephen A. Smith – 150
Skip Bayless – 120
Phil Mushnick – 100
Colin Cowherd – 43
Shannon Sharpe – 30
Rob Parker – 23
Doug Gottlieb – 22
Charles Barkley – 19
JT The Brick – 17
Albert Breer – 16
Don Cherry – 15
Ray Lewis – 14
Rick Morrissey – 13
Berry Tramel – 10
Kristine Leahy – 10
Chris Broussard – 10
Ryen Russillo – 9
Garth Crooks – 9
C.J. Nitkowski – 9
Bill Plaschke – 9
Michael Rapaport – 8
Tony Massarotti – 8
Jason McIntyre – 8
Bart Hubbuch – 8
Pat Forde – 7
Danny Kanell – 7
Dan Dakich – 7
Mike Francesa – 6
Keith Olbermann – 6
Michael DeCourcy – 6
Luke Kerr-Dineen – 6
Terry Bradshaw – 6
Greg A. Bedard – 6
Joel Klatt – 5
Steve Buffery – 5
Joe Morgan – 5
Michael Felger – 5
Howard Eskin – 5
Nancy Armour – 5
Richard Justice – 5
John Middlekauff – 5
Bill Plaschke – 5
Ameer Hasan Loggins – 5
Jesse Watters – 5
Jeremy Roenick – 5
John McGrath – 5
Ross Tucker  – 5
Mike Sielski – 5
Gordon Monson – 5
Scott Fowler – 5
Bob Brookover – 5
Mike Bianchi – 5
Terry Frei – 5
David Jones – 5
Sabrina Parr – 5
Abbey Mastracco – 5
Terry Cushman – 5
Rob Rossi – 5
Rick Bozich – 5
Michael O’Doherty – 5
Simon Briggs – 5
Dan Wetzel – 5
Mike Parry – 5
Bob Ryan – 5
Robert Reed – 5
Pete Dougherty – 5
Dan Le Batard – 5
Marcus Hayes – 5
Kyle Turley – 5
Mike Ditka – 5
Erril Laborde – 5
Lowell Cohn – 5
Rosie DiManno – 5
Frank Isola – 5
Bill Livingston – 4
Michael Irvin – 4
Shawn Windsor – 4
Brock Huard – 4
Byron Tau – 4
Maggie Gray  – 4
Michael Powell – 4
Mark Spector – 4
Chad Forbes – 4
Gary Myers – 4
Mark Schlereth – 4
Andy Gray – 4
David Fleming – 4
The Sporting News – 4
Jeff Pearlman – 4
Tony Grossi – 4
FanSided – 4
Cris Carter – 4
Kirk Herbstreit – 4
Tony Kornheiser – 4
Mike Felger – 4
USA Today op-eds – 4
Nathan Ruiz – 4
David Bahnsen – 3
Kevin Reynolds – 3
Mike Sheahan – 3
Bob Ford – 3
Dan Shaughnessy – 3
Steve Greenberg – 3
Matt Burke – 3
Malcolm Gladwell – 3
Mike Milbury – 3
Mac Engel – 3
Nick Kypreos – 3
Jason Smith – 3
Caron Butler – 3
Don Brennan – 3
Robert Tychkowski – 3
Mike Johnston – 3
Jeff Mans – 3
Joe Browne – 3
Mike Harrington – 3
Greg Mitchell – 3
Seth Greenberg  – 2
Doug Smith  – 2
Newsweek – 2
Teddy Cutler – 2
Will Cain – 2
Bill Cowher – 2
Paul Finebaum – 2
Charley Casserly – 2
Amin Elhassan – 2
Jim Henneman – 2
Mitch Lawrence – 2
Nick Wright – 2
Domonique Foxworth – 2
Gary Parrish – 2
Michael Farber – 2
Andy Furman – 2
Donovan McNabb – 2
Seth Davis – 2
Jon Heyman – 2
Jason La Canfora – 2
Dan Wolken – 2
Booger McFarland – 2
Joe Schad – 2
Cork Gaines – 2

Thanks for reading! Tune in next week for more This Week In Hot Takes. As always, you can send submissions to me via e-mail or on Twitter.

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.