This Week In Hot Takes for Nov. 30-Dec. 6.

Welcome to another edition of This Week In Hot Takes. This time, we’re covering the hottest takes from Nov. 30-Dec. 6.

5. Bill Madden seemingly goes against his own criteria by voting for Placido Polanco for the Hall of Fame: Baseball Hall of Fame voting often produces some weird takes, and one of the latest comes from Bill Madden of The New York Daily News. Madden decided to vote for Placido Polanco, and seemed to even contradict himself in why he did so:

One of the first people I checked off was the player whose name probably drew the most immediate “what the hell?” sneers from critics questioning how the Baseball Writers Association could include him on the ballot. But let me tell you something. Placido Polanco is no joke, neither his presence on the Hall of Fame ballot nor a vote for him that anyone chooses to do. 

If nothing else, consider it a vote for defense, for Polanco is the only player in history to hold the lifetime fielding percentage records at two different positions – second base (.993) and third base (.983). He also holds the lifetime records for most consecutive error-less games at second (186) and most consecutive chances (911) without an error. In addition, Poloanco is one of only two players in history to win Gold Glove awards at multiple positions and the only one to have won them both in the infield.

He was also no slouch as a hitter with a lifetime batting average of .297 with 2,142 hits and 1,009 runs. Who knew?

Now, full disclosure, I have always considered myself a very strict voter, who has never used up all ten spots allotted on the ballot. My first two criteria are quite simple.

(1) The “see” test. Did I look at a player through the years and say ‘I’m looking at a Hall-of-Famer’?

(2) The boldface test. Did this man dominate the game at his position? As in the “denotes led league” boldface on his Baseball Encyclopedia page (or Baseball Reference’s website).

In all the years I watched Polanco, I never thought to myself, ‘I’m looking at a Hall-of-Famer’ but I am voting for him this year because he does have some extraordinary defensive records and I’m hoping enough people will vote for him to keep him from falling under the necessary 5 percent to remain on the ballot.

So, Polanco violates Madden’s own “see” test (which is a stupid test, but whatever), and didn’t particularly dominate the game at his position (in fact, Madden’s main argument here is that he won Gold Gloves at multiple positions), but he’s voting for him strategically because of fielding percentage and Gold Gloves, and concluding that “he was also no slouch as a hitter” thanks to batting average. It should be noted that fielding percentage and batting average are both flawed stats, and that Polanco’s full career slash line is .297/.343/.397, giving him a career OPS of just .740. He also produced just 38.4 wins above replacement (by Fangraphs’ reckoning) over his career. So, yeah, probably not the greatest pick.

Rating: 🔥🔥

4. Kirk Herbstreit says “Politics, for the first time in five years, got the better of the committee,” argues Urban Meyer won’t coach again because “he’s an Ohio State guy to his core”: ESPN’s Herbstreit has been known for some out-there takes at times, and he delivered on that front twice this week. First, there was his rant on The Paul Finebaum Show accusing the college football committee of making their decisions based on politics because they didn’t pick the team he preferred for the last spot:

As AA’s Sean Keeley noted, even if you buy Herbstreit’s argument that this was about conference politics rather than merit, college football has always been that way to some extent. But there’s also no clear definition of “four best teams,” which is why there’s a committee in the first place. Herbstreit may like Georgia more than Oklahoma and Ohio State, but others would make the opposite case. Concluding that the Sooners are in over the Bulldogs only because of “politics” is quite the take. Also, on SportsCenter Tuesday, Herbstreit said Urban Meyer won’t be returning to coaching because…”he’s an Ohio State guy“?

“He will not be back in coaching,” Herbstreit said on SportsCenter this morning. “If he is, I will be shocked. He’s an Ohio State guy to his core. He’s not a Notre Dame guy the way the national media kind of portray him at times. He’s an Ohio State guy. His legacy to him is everything.”

Yes, Meyer was born in Ohio, but he played at Cincinnati, and while his first college job was as a graduate assistant at Ohio State (and he got his master’s degree there), he only held that role from 1986 to 1987. Since then, he worked all over the country, including five years as a receivers’ coach at Notre Dame and head coaching jobs at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida (where he coached for six seasons, almost as as long as the seven years he spent at Ohio State this last time around). “He’s an Ohio State guy to his core” doesn’t really seem to hold up.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥 for each take.

3. Albert Breer has thoughts on Cam Newton’s wardrobe and Alabama’s coaching staff salaries: Sports Illustrated‘s Breer is back on his takey bandwagon, this time around going in on how Carolina Panthers’ QB Cam Newton dresses:

Newton’s outfit has nothing to do with how he played, and Breer’s criticism here is ridiculous. It’s also just shocking that Mr. “There’s No Racism Anywhere, Ever” decided to criticize a black quarterback. Oh, but Breer’s here to stick up for the massive amounts of money Alabama coach Nick Saban and his assistants are paid:

Uh huh. If someone could get on a cost/benefit analysis of what Breer actually brings to Sports Illustrated, that would be great.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

2. Rob Parker says “Screw Baker Mayfield!”: Parker, the guy who had his ESPN contract not renewed after his “is he a real brother or cornball brother?” remarks about Robert Griffin III having a white fiancée, has been at Fox since 2015, and has been dropping plenty of hot takes there. The latest came on his Fox Sports Radio show with Chris Broussard, where Parker took exception to Cleveland Browns’ quarterback Baker Mayfield’s criticisms of former head coach Hue Jackson, and did so in strong terms:

Here’s the full clip:

Some highlights, starting at 4:30: “This makes no sense to me why he’s attacking a man of this stature, a man who’s coached all over the NFL and has coached multiple teams in this league.” (For the record, Jackson’s head coaching record is one 8-8 season with the Raiders, a 1-15 campaign with the Browns, a 0-16 season with the Browns and then this year’s 2-5-1 mark before he was fired.) …Go look at Hue Jackson’s resume before he acts like this guy’s a bum off the street.” Broussard then brings up Jackson’s record, and Parker says “That has nothing to do with whether or not you respect the guy who was fired, Chris! …He’s just a bratty, cocky kid who hasn’t done anything in the NFL. He’s won a couple of games against some bad teams and thinks he’s the all high and mighty who can talk to anyone any way. Screw Baker Mayfield!”

To say nothing of the strangeness of a pundit saying “Screw Baker Mayfield!”, it should be noted that “winning a couple of games against some bad teams” is more than Jackson managed in his first two seasons with the Browns.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

1. Matt Walsh uses Kareem Hunt video to make an absurd argument about gender equality: The video of Chiefs’ running back Kareem Hunt’s altercation with a woman in a hotel sparked massive condemnation and led to the team releasing him. But right-wing pundit Matt Walsh had a different take, using the situation to complain about liberals in a Daily Wire piece titled “An NFL Player Is Being Condemned For Hitting A Woman. She Hit Him, Too. What Happened To Gender Equality?” Some excerpts:

Kareem Hunt, star running back for the Kansas City Chiefs, has been cut from the team and suspended by the league after video surfaced of him “brutalizing” a woman. At least, “brutalizing” is the word that media has used. Actual footage of the altercation doesn’t seem to support that characterization.

…As Hunt is being restrained by another man, a woman is seen approaching Hunt and saying something to him. Hunt shoves the woman. The woman smacks him in the face. Things devolve from there. Hunt gets angrier and angrier as the woman keeps coming back to yell at him. Eventually the woman ends up on the ground after being accidentally knocked over by a different man. As she is still crouching on the floor, Hunt kicks her. It does not appear to be a very hard kick, but it was a kick nonetheless.

Hunt behaved wrongly and stupidly. He could have walked away at any time. The kick at the end was egregious. He also apparently lied to his employer about the incident, so he deserved to be fired for that reason alone. But the woman is no innocent flower. She appears to repeatedly escalate the confrontation. She kept coming back when she could have left. She smacked Hunt in the face. She is a participant in this drunken dispute, not a victim of it.

Now, I personally hold Hunt more culpable, and I find his actions more reprehensible, because he is a man and she is a woman. Barring cases of legitimate self-defense (I don’t think this qualified), I ascribe to the general philosophy that a man shouldn’t hit a woman. It’s not a big deal when men get into shoving matches with each other, but they shouldn’t act that way toward women. Men should treat women differently because women are different. The whole point of chivalry is that a man ought to recognize his physical advantages and use those advantages to serve and protect the members of the fairer sex, not dominate or intimidate them. Hunt’s behavior toward the woman might not seem all that awful if we view the two of them simply as human beings having a dispute. But if we view them as man and woman, and expect, based on the principles of chivalry, that a man will treat a woman like a woman and not like a man, then Hunt’s behavior can be especially condemned.

…The problem is that all of the enlightened, egalitarian, progressive people in our culture do view, or pretend to view, a man and a woman simply as two human beings. They do not acknowledge any differences between men and women. They do not want men to treat women like women. They want men to treat women like they would each other. They want total equality — that is, sameness — between the sexes. Yet these same folks will still react with special horror at men like Kareem Hunt. They see a video of two drunken, belligerent idiots engaging in mutually violent behavior and place all of the blame on the man. This seems inconsistent.

Consider it this way: Take that video footage, keep everything exactly the same, but change the woman to a man. You can even change her to a man of the exact same size and physical stature. Let’s say that it was a scrawny little white dude shouting at Kareem Hunt, smacking him in the face, and then finding himself knocked on the ground and kicked. Would anyone care? Would anyone be able to muster even the slightest bit of outrage? Would feminists call for Hunt’s head on a platter? No, of course not.

Hunt’s sin isn’t that he battered a woman. His sin is that he treated a woman exactly as he would have treated a man. Those who insist on the absolute equality of the genders ought not blame him for this. Indeed, if they were being really consistent, they may even commend him. Only those of us who recognize the inequality of the sexes, and who unapologetically profess old fashioned ideals like chivalry, reserve the right to condemn Kareem Hunt’s behavior. But if you are a progressive or a feminist, you really have no basis to criticize. Hunt treated that woman like a dude. That’s what you want, isn’t it?

This is an incredibly dumb and twisted argument. First, Walsh’s argument that the woman was a participant is silly; yes, she makes some contact with Hunt, but the response from him is absolutely disproportionate. Second, there would still be plenty of outrage against Hunt if he’d thrown a guy across a hotel and then kicked him; yes, it likely wouldn’t reach the same level, but there aren’t a lot of people saying “This is acceptable behavior against a man.” Beyond that, Walsh is misstating the positions of many of the people he claims to be arguing with; “there are no differences at all between men and women” certainly isn’t a belief held by all “progressive” or “feminist” thinkers, and “people shouldn’t be discriminated against based on gender” is a far different argument. This is the kind of reductio ad absurdum argument that elementary school kids tend to use (“Oh, gravity’s constant? But a feather doesn’t fall at the same rate as a brick in atmosphere! Proved you wrong, science!”), and it’s an absurdly hot take. Oh, and it’s not sports, but can we also point out that Walsh has bad takes on dogs?

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Honorable mentions: Damien Cox and Jeremy Roenick for takes on William Nylander.

Hot Take Standings:

Jason Whitlock – Hall of Fame
Stephen A. Smith – 220
Skip Bayless – 198
Phil Mushnick – 167
Colin Cowherd – 74
Rob Parker – 51
Doug Gottlieb – 49
Shannon Sharpe – 35
Albert Breer – 29
Dan Shaughnessy – 26
Ray Lewis – 25
Danny Kanell – 20
Britt McHenry – 20
JT The Brick – 20
Charles Barkley – 19
Darren Rovell – 17
Jason McIntyre – 16
Andy Benoit – 15
Tony Massarotti – 15
Ben Maller – 15
Don Cherry – 15
Bill Plaschke – 14
Kirk Herbstreit – 13
Mike Felger – 13
The Sporting News – 13
Chris Broussard – 13
Dan Dakich – 13
Rick Morrissey – 13
Michael Wilbon – 12
John Middlekauff – 11
Michael DeCourcy – 11
Keith Olbermann – 11
Bill James – 10
Jason Smith – 10
Joe Simpson – 10
Bob Brookover – 10
Jeremy Roenick – 10
Berry Tramel – 10
Kristine Leahy – 10
Chris “Mad Dog” Russo – 9
Mike Francesa – 9
Ross Tucker – 9
Ryen Russillo – 9
Garth Crooks – 9
C.J. Nitkowski – 9
Steve Simmons – 8
Frank Isola – 8
Michael Rapaport – 8
Bart Hubbuch – 8
Trent Dilfer – 7
Damien Cox – 7
Mike Bianchi – 7
Cris Carter – 7
Pat Forde – 7
The Wall Street Journal – 6
Pat Leonard – 6
Luke Kerr-Dineen – 6
Terry Bradshaw – 6
Greg A. Bedard – 6
Matt Walsh – 5
Jon Steinberg – 5
Bill Welt – 5
Jack Todd – 5
Aaron Murray – 5
Chris Childers – 5
Mark Knight – 5
The Herald Sun – 5
David Booth – 5
Tom Nichols – 5
Keith Hernandez – 5
Bill O’Reilly – 5
Brandel Chamblee – 5
Michael McCarthy – 5
Mike “The Reputation Doctor®” Paul – 5
Dennis Dodd – 5
Rich Lowry – 5
Chris Reed – 5
San Diego Union-Tribune – 5
David Hookstead – 5
Tomm Looney – 5
Alex Shaw – 5
Rick Reilly – 5
Randall Mell – 5
Ian O’Connor – 5
Michael Bamberger – 5
Bob Bubka – 5
Cathal Kelly – 5
Pete Prisco – 5
Bill Simons – 5
Christine Flowers – 5
Jason Lieser – 5
John Steigerwald – 5
Josh Peter – 5
Alexi Lalas – 5
Greg Gabriel – 5
John Moody – 5
Marni Soupcoff – 5
Ryan Rishaug – 5
Kurtis Larson – 5
Rod Watson – 5
Dan Wolken – 5
Chuck Modiano – 5
Joel Klatt – 5
Steve Buffery – 5
Joe Morgan – 5
Howard Eskin – 5
Nancy Armour – 5
Richard Justice – 5
Ameer Hasan Loggins – 5
Jesse Watters – 5
John McGrath – 5
Mike Sielski – 5
Gordon Monson – 5
Scott Fowler – 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
Bruce Levine – 4
Malcolm Gladwell – 4
That’s Kappy – 4
Mitchell Nathanson – 4
The New York Daily News – 4
“Big” Jim Murray – 4
Jeff Diamond – 4
Marc Berman – 4
Evan Roberts – 4
Corbin Smith – 4
DJ Siddiqi – 4
The Express – 4
Mark Kiszla – 4
Greg Witter – 4
Myron Medcalf – 4
Bill Polian – 4
MJ Franklin – 4
Alex Reimer – 4
Joan Vennochi – 4
Graham Couch – 4
Matt Yglesias – 4
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
Jeff Pearlman – 4
Tony Grossi – 4
FanSided – 4
Tony Kornheiser – 4
USA Today op-eds – 4
Nathan Ruiz – 4
Jim Brady – 3
Bill Simmons – 3
Mark Teixeira – 3
Wally Hall – 3
Damien Woody – 3
Victor Cruz – 3
Andrew Walker – 3
Jim Kaat – 3
Jason Gay – 3
Steven J. Brams – 3
Aaron Isaksen – 3
Will Muschamp – 3
Buck Lanford – 3
John Feinstein – 3
Stan Fischler – 3
Sonnie Wooden – 3
Chris Jones – 3
Kelly Smith – 3
Reggie Miller – 3
Mark Madden – 3
Larry Brooks – 3
Dan Canova – 3
Steve Rosenbloom – 3
Stephen Jackson – 3
Mike Sando – 3
Walt Borla – 3
Nick Cafardo – 3
Ice Cube – 3
Justin Peters – 3
Elise Finch – 3
Kevin Skiver – 3
David Bahnsen – 3
Harold Reynolds – 3
Kevin Reynolds – 3
Mike Sheahan – 3
Bob Ford – 3
Steve Greenberg – 3
Matt Burke – 3
Malcolm Gladwell – 3
Mike Milbury – 3
Mac Engel – 3
Nick Kypreos – 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
Bill Madden – 2
Tony Gonzalez – 2
Mike Greenberg – 2
Grant Paulsen – 2
Jeff Ermann – 2
Ed Werder – 2
Ben Mulroney – 2
Ron Cook – 2
Brian Kenny – 2
Barrett Sallee – 2
Craig Calcaterra – 2
Max Kellerman – 2
Gareth Wheeler – 2
John Cornyn – 2
Tony Dungy – 2
Bruce Jenkins – 2
Chris Wesseling – 2
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
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.