I’m on the hot seat. You’re on the hot seat. Heck, we’re all on the hot seat.
So can we all just chill with the “hot seat,” please?!
It’s now the most tiresome, overused cliche in sports. Click on any sports web site, or read your local sports section on any given day, and somebody’s on the hot seat.
In New York, New York Mets manager Willie Randolph, who has had three winning seasons (including a divisional title) in his first shot at the top-step gig, was on the H.S. … until the Mets swept the Yankees in a two-game set over the weekend. Now the H.S. is said to be squarely beneath the tush of Yankees rookie skipper Joe Girardi, who’s been their manager for about a month and a half!
In Chicago, White Sox manager (and World Series winner) Ozzie Guillen – who seems to enjoy lighting his own matches – is on the H.S. In Texas, manager Ron Washington, in only his second season, needs a dadgum fire suit.
The NBA playoffs has been rife with H.S. survivors. Last season, New Orleans Hornets coach Byron Scott and Doc Rivers of the Boston Celtics were in the crosshairs (another cliche, synonymous with the H.S.). Now Scott is the NBA’s Coach of the Year and Rivers is in the Eastern Conference finals.
Maurice Cheeks of the Philadelphia 76ers and the Atlanta Hawks‘ Mike Woodson were all but torched before leading their teams into the playoffs and to impressive first-round underdog efforts against the Pistons and Celtics, respectively.
And despite leading the Toronto Raptors to the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, head coach Sam Mitchell (for now) is still in the hot seat, according to some.
Let’s douse the hot seat on myriad grounds.
For one, every coach will tell you that they’re “hired to be fired.” It’s a bit of a cliche. as well, but oh, so true. Every head coach in sports, on almost any level, is sitting on a ticking clock and counting down their days when someone deems them expendable.
Well, almost every coach. Strike Pete Carroll, Jerry Sloan, Bill Belichick, Coach K, Jim Tressel and Gregg Popovich from that list. Oh yeah, and Coach Pa. Maybe a couple of others.
Other than that, they’re all gonna get burned someday.
I’m disgusted with the new fire-the-coach-now mentality that dominates our sports culture. We seem to want our head guys to have magic wands that cure all ills – i.e., poorly constructed rosters, injuries, lack of talent.
We want this despite the evidence that says, in almost all cases, consistency wins. Sure, the Florida Marlins will win the World Series every five years (then auction their talent before they have to pay market value). But there’s a reason the aforementioned coaches-for-life win.
For one, they have talent – through the seasons and lifespans of teams.
Two, and equally important, they’re allowed to weather the inevitable storms that can transform promise into sports poverty. They’re allowed to make mistakes and learn from them rather than pay for them.
Sure, some coaches deserved to be canned. No doubt. No question. But many of the coaches today with their backsides on the grill are being judged too quickly and perhaps too harshly.
Franchises that make quick executions are doomed to, well, be the Clippers, Royals or Raiders.
And that’s definitely not hot.