Friday, July 27, 2007

Strip Club Discussions with Ron Mercer Can Escalate Fast

Reported by the AP:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Former NBA player Ron Mercer surrendered to police on Wednesday to face a misdemeanor assault charge stemming from a scuffle in a strip club in April, police said...

Police said Mercer's friend, 34-year-old Robert Edward Johnson, was also charged with felony aggravated assault for stabbing a bouncer at the club in the same incident.

The pair got into a verbal argument with a dancer at Anthony's Show Place on April 21 and were asked to leave by the security guard, Keith Battle.

A fight broke out among the three men and Johnson admitted to police that he stabbed the bouncer in the right side and shoulder with a knife. Battle was not seriously hurt.

Another bouncer, William Beels Jr., was punched in the face by Mercer, police said.

Rob Johnson: "Boy, that escalated quickly... I mean, that really got out of hand fast.""
Ron Mercer: "It did didn't it."
Rob Johnson: "I stabbed a guy in the arm."
Ron Mercer: "I saw that!"

Who knows how the bouncer “asked them to leave”, but to respond by stabbing him and punching another bouncer just seems a little excessive. In reality, I'm sure it was somehow all the stripper's fault.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Todd in Irvine, Please Leave Keith Law Alone

From today's chat:

Todd (Irvine, CA): Keith, there's word out of San Diego that the Padres could be after Jason Jennings and Mark Loretta, and that Marcus Giles could be part of that deal.

Keith Law: (1:51 PM ET ) I haven't heard anything about this other than the note you sent to my mailbag and the ten times you've asked it today!

Another highlight from the chat:

T Yuba City CA: It seems like many of the baseball folks at ESPN are Angel Haters. What gives??

Keith Law: (2:33 PM ET ) It's something we did at orientation when I was first hired. We spent a whole hour on Angel-hating - the why, the how, the when, etc.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Buster Olney, what?

From Today’s chat:

swayne (Delmar, NY): Buster, Do you see the Yanks making any significant deals by July 31? What are they targeting? Also: who would you rather have down the stretch -- Lackey or Chris Young?

Buster Olney: (1:21 PM ET ) Swayne: Young. Pitchers' park.

I don’t know why this question would involve ballparks. Buster doesn't get many fantasy questions and this wasn't framed as such. I think the question was supposed to be about which pitcher would you want on your team with the ballpark being whatever park you're playing in.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

My January E-mail Argument With Bill Conlin

Pre-GGAS, back in January, Bill Conlin wrote this column about Pat Burrell striking out a lot. It was discussed a bit on FireJoeMorgan. I would recommend going there to read about how crazy it is. It’s an imaginary conversation between one side of Pat Burrell’s brain and Bill. Seriously, go to FJM….I’ll wait.

I’ve always sensed that Bill was a surly guy, but I took him up on his offer to “send e-mail to bill1chair@aol.com.” Why not, right?

I don’t have the first one saved. But I wrote an e-mail regarding his column and pointed out that Ryan Howard struck out 181 times and strikeouts are not always a bad thing, etc.

His first response:

My IQ against yours. . .

Ooookay?

My response:

“The following players struck out more than Pat Burrell last year:

Adam Dunn
Ryan Howard
Alfonso Soriano
Jason Bay
rady Sizemore
Bobby Abreu
Alex Rodriquez
Chase Utley
.... And more.

So you writing that masterpiece pointing out Joe Dimaggio's strikeout totals and giving Pat Burrell hitting tips, presumably to strike out less, was sort of a waste of time. Don't feel bad, I'm wasting my time here. You know who else struck out a lot? Babe Ruth.”

(I threw the Ruth remark in there to get him to do some research and thinking because he loves the old timey guys. I had already looked up Ruth’s strikeout marks, which were not nearly Burrell level but were high compared to hitters in his era).

His response:

Shows what you know, phony. . .Over a 22-year career, Babe Ruth struck out an average of 60 times a season and never struck out more than 93. Burrell had 84 fewer at bats than Abreu and struck out just 7 times less. Do the average strikeouts per at bat number, loser.

Phony. Loser. Bill Conlin is one mean-spirited, conceited dude.

My response:

“Different eras, Bill. Also, you INCLUDED THE YEARS BABE RUTH WAS A PITCHER!

Babe Ruth was number 1 or 2 in the league in strikeouts for 11 straight years. You have to compare them against their contemporaries. Even with the years as a pitcher, he held the all-time record for strikeouts until 1963, when Mantle passed him.

My point is only that striking out a lot is not indicative of an ineffective hitter. A point I would win.

Also - did you run the math on Ryan Howard's K's/AB? Yeah you did, which is why you cherry picked Abreu for your example.”

(Using the years that Ruth was a pitcher was pretty weak. Ruth’s 162 game K average, per Baseball-reference.com, was 86. It’s funny that Conlin uses crazy math to compute Ruth’s average K’s mark while calling me a loser for not using K’s/AB.)

His response:

Nah, I kept getting stuck on Howard's RBIs. By the way, I picked this crap off my blocked list, which I check to see if some legit e-mails were diverted. You're still blocked. Click!

My response:

“All those RBI's...hmmm...so you're saying you CAN strike out a lot and still be very very good, which is what history has born out and what I was trying to prove to you.

Well I agree Bill. I agree. Thanks for your time.”

And apparently that one was blocked or something because he didn't respond. Click!

Folks, not my best arguing. I was tempted to play with it here but that would be dishonest. I didn’t intend to defend Burrell’s performance in 2006 (which I really didn’t) but just to make the point that strikeouts are not always indicative of a bad player. I certainly could have used a better example than Ruth (Jackson, Mantle, etc.), but I wanted to get his attention with a big name that he wasn't expecting. It just seemed odd to me that he would harp on Burrell’s strikeouts when Utley, Howard and Abreu had such high strikeout rates, and Howard and Utley were especially awesome in 2006.

The column also included this:

(Pat Burrell's Brain - don't ask) Yeah, but he (Dimaggio) never had to face closers. And setup men. And guys throwing close to 100 mph.

And you never had to face big-league pitching at a time when there were just 16 teams and major league baseball dwarfed every other sport in importance.

Do you see a problem with this logic? The Population of the US in 1941 (the year Conlin focuses on for Dimaggio) was about 135 million. The Population now is about 300 million, and the MLB talent pool is hardly limited to the US (I realize that the current population is not the best benchmark, but using the two dates provides some gauge of the growth rate of the number of potential baseball players). 1941 was also pre-integration, and there were no pitchers from the Far East or Latin America that I know of (if there were, there weren't many). Also, hitters got to see the same pitchers much more often, since pitchers went later in games, pitched in smaller rotations, and there were fewer teams. They didn’t face middle relief specialists or closers in the same way they do today.

This is offset partially by the size of ballparks and various other nuances (mound heights I assume). But I have a hard time believing that it was tougher to be a major league hitter in 1941 than it is now because there were fewer teams and baseball dwarfed the other sports. Given the height of the mounds, the size of the ballparks and, if Conlin’s right, vastly inferior pitching, then the league Pat Burrell played in during 2006 must have had a much different offensive output (more runs) than the 1941 AL that Dimaggio played in, right?

Comparing the 1941 AL to 2006 NL you get the following:
Runs/Game: 4.74 / 4.76 (1941 / 2006)
League BA: .266 / .265
OBP: .341 / .334
SLG: .389 / .427
K’s/game: 3.6 / 6.7
HR’s/game: .59 / 1.1

Looking solely at the numbers, it seems to be easier to hit homeruns, but runs were scored at the same rate and hitters struck out much less. Conlin’s assertion that 1941 was a difficult year to hit in compared to 2006 doesn’t hold much water. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t (my analysis was pretty crude), but saying that there were only 16 teams and ignoring the impact of minorities, international players, and the growth in the talent pool in the US seems sloppy. He's basically assuming that baseball is the same as it was in 1941, but now there are more teams so it's simple pitcher dilution.

So, Bill Conlin, the Jerk Store called.... and they’re running out of you!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Garciaparra Content With His Suckiness This Year

The alternative title was: "Bill Plaschke Makes Sense in His Own Annoying Way"

Bill Plaschke’s latest work is a marathon of one-sentence paragraphs about Nomar Garciaparra’s offensive ineptitude this year. It includes some pretty standard, but difficult to believe, statements from Garciaparra and to Plaschke’s credit he sort of calls him on it. Large portions deleted to maintain your sanity.

Nomar Garciaparra welcomes you to his locker in the middle of a Tuesday afternoon, same nice guy, different nice guy.

His smile is like his swing.

Huge but vacant. His voice is like his power. Once resounding, now soft.

I hate the way you write. Nomar’s power seems to be gone. His voice is soft too? What? Was his voice ever "powerful"? I say no.

In the middle of the strangest of Dodgers seasons, Nomar Garciaparra is the strangest of Dodgers.

He's there, but he's not.

I understand, but I don’t.

"I don't look at my stats, I never look at my stats," he says. "As long as we're winning, that's all I care about, nothing else."

Of course you care about winning, but how do you feel about helping the team win? Because your stats suggest that your team would be better if you were performing at least like an average big leaguer. Currently you sport a .274/.319/.332 line with an OPS+ of SEVENTY-TWO. You have fifteen extra base hits. Two home runs.

"This team is where we need to be right now, and that's all I'm concerned about," he says.

That’s just crazy. Let’s say, for a second, that I was awesome at this blogging thing. Like Firejoemorgan awesome. Lots of people visit the site. People love me (except Joe Morgan, presumably) and I get thousands of visitors a day. I do interviews. I’m in Sports Illustrated and life is sweet.

Then, I get writers block and I start sucking at blogging, like Goodguyatsports. I can’t do anything right, and I’m a shadow of my former self. Every day I get up wondering where it went, and if I still have the talent/skill to deliver like I used to. I should have had like another 4-5 years of solid blogging ahead of me. The other bloggers who I was once compared to (Derek Jeteblog and A-Blog), have won World Series (of blogging) rings or have dominated offensively blogging at historically awesome levels. I’m the guy who was traded for three other so-so bloggers who helped my old blog blog themselves to a blogging championshipblog. Blog.

If that’s me, I’m a little perturbed by that. I went from a potential hall-of-fame blogger to below average.

The Dodgers are in first place, indeed, but they are also in other places.

They are in a quandary if they go into September with a corner infielder who doesn't hit the ball any harder than the slap-hitting center fielder. Yeah, Garciaparra has become Juan Pierre without the speed.


Wow, “Juan Pierre without the speed” is the worst thing you can call a baseball player. Seriously. That’s like saying “he’s as valuable as David Ortiz without the bat” or “Johan Santana with his left arm amputated.”

"Hey, I had a year when I hit 35 homers and we didn't win anything, so how much fun is that?" he said.

Well you won 92 games and made the playoffs. And you remember your stats pretty well don’t you, for a guy who doesn’t pay attention to them (that was nine years ago)? How do you not understand that the team winning has little positive to do with you? You are not doing you’re job very well, and you’re lucky the team is winning in spite of you. That’s like a COO being so bad that they are demoted to mailroom clerk and saying, “it’s cool man, as long as the stock stays up.”

Surely this can't be much fun either.

At least Plaschke calls Nomar out on his thinking.

He doesn't wince when he is moved to third base because the Dodgers needed a stronger hitter at first base in James Loney.

"When I signed my contract, I told them I'd do whatever they needed, and I'm not going to change now," he says.

Okay, they need you to hit, not be so accepting of your suckiness.

He doesn't gripe when he is benched for Wilson Betemit, an occurrence that could become more common as the Dodgers seek more power.

"Whatever is best for the team, I'll do, that's always been how I feel," he says.

Nomar, this good guy attitude is cool, but they really just want you to hit the baseball away from fielders more and not slug .332.

When he's playing well, Garciaparra is the lovably quiet enigma. When he's struggling, he's just an enigma.

So he’s not “lovably quiet” now? But his voice is soft, like you said above? Huh? So he's quiet but not lovable? Never mind.

The Dodgers compute his age, watch his work habits and remain confident he can find himself before September finds him.

Now I know the Dodgers think sabermetrics is sort of hocus pocus, but I figured they were beyond “compute his age” stage in the ballgame. That makes me picture this scene at a Dodgers pre-draft meeting:

Scout: “Well you’re right Ned, that Joe Needlenose looks like a ballplayer.”
Ned Colletti: “Great!”
Scout: “He’s got a winning attitude, a stoney faced presence at the plate, especially with runners on and 2 strikes. The kids got grit.”
Ned Colletti: Puts snakeskin boots up on the table, folds arms behind his head. Let’s draft him, how old is he?”
Scout: “Let me get my calculathingy out and I’ll do an age computation. He’s 2007 minus 1987. That’s……..20."
Ned Colletti: “Perfect.”
Other Scout: “He does have a good attitude, but, well….he hasn’t drawn a walk since little league and all he hits are singles. His slugging and OBP are equal to his batting average, which is only .275.”
Ned Colletti: “Oh really? You don’t say. Well, you’re fired...... numbers boy.”

What they need to do now is face the truth that this player no longer exists.

Maybe his physical changes have finally robbed him of his power.

Maybe his years of fighting injuries have finally stolen some of his reflexes.

Maybe we'll never know.The only thing certain is, whoever this Garciaparra person is, he's gone, and the bewildered Dodgers miss him already.

Plaschke’s right, the demise of Nomar Garciaparra is rather curious. His career path reminds me vaguely of Don Mattingly’s, a player a liked watching growing up. They both had quick starts at the ages of 23-28, and hit an injury bug that seemed to drain their power before tailing off much earlier than expected. Neither walked much, but both were somewhat difficult to K. They both topped out with similar power numbers and had a career OPS+ of 127. They both played for flagship franchises and were supposed to lead them for a long time, but left somewhat prematurely without winning only to have their team win immediately after they left.

Monday, July 16, 2007

It’s Alex Rodriguez’s Fault Teams Want To Pay Him A Lot

Gregg “I want to tinkle on Barry Bonds” Doyel has written an anti-A-Rod / anti-big salary column for his latest work. It’s here, and is titled, “Big deals mean raw deals for Joe fan.”

The number to kill all numbers is coming soon, and I wish to God I was talking about Barry Bonds and the number 756. Instead I'm talking about Alex Rodriguez and the number $35 million, which is the annual salary he and ruthless agent Scott Boras will pry from some team this offseason after A-Rod opts out of the final three years of his contract with the Yankees and becomes a free agent.

How exactly, will they “pry” $35 million a year from some team? Don’t you think the team will make a conscious decision here, with a lot of thought towards risks/rewards and ROI, both on the field and on their P&L? No? You think A-Rod and Boras will go into negotiations wearing ski masks and carrying semi-automatics?

A-Rod learned nothing from his last contract, that 10-year, $252 million monstrosity he stole from the Texas Rangers in 2001, when he doubled the previous record contract in U.S. sports history and -- congratulations! -- became universally despised for his shocking greed.

Again, stole? He stole the money? Texas willingly overpaid him and he was unbelievably good in Texas. It’s not his fault they also overpaid for sucky players too. Why did that make him greedy?

Oh wait, I forgot, a Scott Boras thug was holding Tom Hicks over a balcony by his ankles. That's why they signed him. Why did he give Hicks the Suge Knight / Vanilla Ice (alleged) treatment? Because they only wanted to pay A-Rod $249 million over 10 years. That greedy motherfucker Rodriguez wasn't having it. He said "I want my $250m bitch, and now you better give me another 2 cuz you insulted me, motherfucker." A-Rod is hard f'ing core.

A $35 million or even $40 million annual contract is coming. You can feel it in the air, like a bad storm. You can smell it, like a bad bowel movement. The perfect confluence of events is here: the great player having the career season ... the desperate team with too much money and not enough recent World Series titles ... and the brilliantly unscrupulous agent.

Okay, and whatever a team decides to pay A-Rod, that is their choice. They don’t have to sign him. Scott Boras and Rodriguez are doing nothing wrong here. If a team has too much money, why do you care what they do with it?

Like a bad bowel movement? First you want to “tinkle” on Barry Bonds, now you smell impending contracts like bowel movements. You are one weird fuck.

It's unavoidable. The Yankees already have given $28 million this season (pro-rated) to Roger Clemens, an old pitcher past his prime. A-Rod is on pace to hit .320 with 58 home runs, 160 runs and 165 RBI, which would merely be the best (clean) offensive season since the 1930s -- and he's just 31 years old.

Wow, that IS a hell of a year. It sure sounds like he should be worth a lot of money. JD Drew is $14 million/year, and you have a problem with double that for A-Rod? He’s literally double the production of a lot of $10-15 million/year players.

He could play at this level for another four or five seasons at least, and could play at an All-Star level until he is 40. If he stays healthy he will pass Ruth and Aaron and Bonds and not only become the all-time home run king, but put that record out of reach. He will sell tickets wherever he goes, he will raise the value of whatever television deal is in place for his franchise, and he will sell $125 jerseys like Ernie Banks once sold 12-cent baseball cards.

You are making a convincing argument for signing A-Rod for a $30 million/year contract.

Those are just some of the points Boras will hammer into the Yankees and any other team that joins the bidding for Rodriguez after this season, and if no other team joins the bidding, Boras will lie to the Yankees and make them believe otherwise.

Well lying isn’t a good thing, but it’s still the Yankees prerogative to determine if they want to spend the money. It’s not like Boras can say 10 teams are interested in A-Rod at that price tag. In fact, the Yankees are pretty smart guys, so they will probably know the market for A-Rod quite well.

Would I put it past Boras to promise a favor to another franchise down the road, a player delivered at a reasonable (for Boras) price, in exchange for that franchise pretending to get involved in the A-Rod bidding to pump up the price? Hell no I wouldn't put that scenario past Boras. He has a history of getting unwitting teams to bid against themselves.

Sounds like a smart guy. You feel bad for the Yankees? If the Yankees don’t have the money, or if they don’t want to spend it, then they won’t.

This guy is so shady, so good, that he'd pretend to have a terminal disease if he thought some team's sympathy would help him finagle a few extra bucks for a client. If you asked me to pick the more admirable form of life, Scott Boras or WWE president Vince McMahon, I'd ask to check the bottoms of their shoes in case a more palatable choice was squished underneath there.

Scott Boras may be shady, but I would pick him to represent me if I was a player. Do you remember the Barry Zito contract? The Giants did that to themselves. Any fan with half a brain could see that Zito was a middle of the rotation starter on a decline. Boras made him look like Steve Carlton and the Giants were stupid enough to bite. Shame on them, not Boras.


It's not like Rodriguez will need nefariousness to get the contract to end all contracts. In the past week alone, sports owners seem to have lost their collective minds.

Okay, good, now we’re talking. Why don’t you write a column on how dumb it is for teams to sign $100 million+ long-term guaranteed deals. Why is it in the fault of the players or agents?


In the NBA, the idiot in charge of the Magic gave a six-year, $118 million contract to an underachieving role player named Rashard Lewis.

The Lewis contract is terrible, but he’s not a role player. Steve Kerr was a role player.

Deleted: 3 paragraphs on recent contracts in sports that he doesn’t like. Not sure what the point is.

After this season, Alex Rodriguez will break the bank, and my fear -- or my hope -- is that his new contract will break baseball and then perhaps all of professional sports.


Spoiler alert: It won’t.

Fernando Alonso makes $40 million a year to drive an F1 car. Alex Rodriguez making $30 or $35 million really isn’t that big a deal at this point.


Maybe it will take $35 or $40 million per year to an athlete, any athlete, for sports fans to finally have enough with rising salaries and the rising ticket and apparel prices that come as an added bonus. Boycott a game. Embarrass a team by forcing it to play in front of 150 spectators.

I don’t have a problem with ticket prices/apparel prices. First, I don’t wear much “apparel”, because I’m not a dork. I’m mostly content to watch games on TV. The free markets will bear this out. If the ticket prices are *too* high, then people won’t go. I live in the most expensive baseball market in the country (I think). I paid $25 to park my car for a Red Sox game on Saturday, and $31 on 3 beers, a sausage and a hot dog. The place was sold out. Lots were full. There were lines for the concessions every time. The demand is there. The Red Sox are running a business. I don’t see a problem with this. I would only have a problem with ticket prices if no one was going. Because, what's the point? If teams are selling out with high ticket prices, well there's clearly a market.

Send a message to the Yankees or Magic or Colts or Indians or any of the other out-of-touch franchises: The everyday families who fund those franchises are struggling to buy homes and send kids to college and fill up their gas tank on a weekly basis, and we simply will not tolerate any more Monopoly contracts.

Every day families really don’t fund the franchises. It’s the corporate sponsors and businesses who advertise in the park, and who pay for luxury boxes and a lot of club seats/season tickets. Jane and John Smith with 2.3 kids aren’t footing the bill. The advertisers in the ballpark and on the YES network (or NESN), the corporate boxes, and the season ticket holders (generally not your poorer families) are footing the bill, mostly. Since I don’t see the financials this is more guesswork than anything, but I bet I’m closer than you are to the truth. I think working families play a role (if they attend games, of course), but it's not like the working class is paying Manny Ramirez's salary instead of putting food on the table.

You seem incredibly na├»ve. If Will Ferrell makes $25 million on his next movie, and it’s supposed to be awesome, will you pay to see it? You have the choice here. If you are unhappy with the product, or the salaries, then don’t go to games and don’t watch them on TV. What kind of chip is in your computer? Intel? Last year their CEO had a compensation package of about $10 million. The COO of Apple last year had a total comp package of $13 million. In 2005 Drew Barrymore made $22 million. These are not outliers, just totally random examples. You want an outlier? Keanu Reaves made over $150 million from the Matrix movies. Seriously, this is reality. You want another one? The CEO of Sally Mae had a total compensation package of almost $40 million in 2006. Get over it. Why shouldn’t one of the best baseball players ever, in a sport that makes a ton of money, accept all that a team will pay him?

I don’t even want to think about what Chris Berman makes.

It's not like Rodriguez will deliver a championship, either. He hasn't won a World Series. He hasn't even been to a World Series. This isn't the NBA, where one player can get it done. Give Michael Jordan $35 million a year, as the Chicago Bulls once did, and you have just won yourself an NBA championship. Give A-Rod $35 million and you have just ... given A-Rod $35 million. The championship is optional and maybe even irrelevant.

The championship is optional? Damn it, Chicago Cubs, why haven’t you chosen the “Championship Option” all these years? I don’t understand that last sentence at all.

Any fan base that thinks it’s the responsibility of their favorite team to deliver them a championship is unrealistic and stupid. I hope for a competitive team; a good product on the field.

Give A-Rod $35 million and what you have done, however, is given star-struck fans justification to spend $100 or $200 to come to the ballpark for one night. Why are baseball tickets so expensive in New York? Because A-Rod makes $35 million. Why will he make $35 million? Because tickets are so expensive. It's a vicious cycle.

Baseball tickets are expensive in certain cities because that’s what the market will bear. Why does A-Rod make $25 million/year? Because 1 owner was dumb enough to outbid the next highest bidder by more than $50 million. If the owner of a team with poor ticket sales wants to charge what the Red Sox charge, well then he’s screwed. Again, this is not A-Rod’s fault, or the Yankees fault. The Yankees have the money, so why not spend it on high priced players? The goal is to put a good team on the field, so that your fans will want to pay to watch them. Ask a Yankees fan if they’d rather be rooting for a perpetual .500 team that doesn’t make the postseason, but the tickets would be 75% of the price. I think they’ll take the high priced tickets and high priced talent. Never feel bad for Yankees fans or Red Sox fans because of the ticket prices. They don’t have to go.

True, if the average player made $1 million then teams would not need to charge as much to generate enough revenue to cover the payroll. But what makes you think they wouldn’t charge just as much and pocket the profits? These are businesses, remember. They will charge what the fans will pay.

I won’t really go into his crazy assertion that is A-Rod alone that has driven up ticket prices in New York.

In Seattle, the Mariners gave Ichiro Suzuki $90 million for the next five years, one of the richest contracts in U.S. sports history, for a player who turns 34 in October. At $18 million, Ichiro would make more in a single season than all of the 2006 Florida Marlins combined, which might be why Marlins president David Samson predicted in an interview with Miami radio station 790 AM that Ichiro's new contract "will take down the sport. ... It's the end of the world as we know it."

Now I’m not the biggest Ichiro fan, but can someone walk me through how Hampton, Zito, Soriano, Kevin Brown, Vernon Wells etc. etc. etc. were okay but this is the contract that will sink the ship? Also, the hyperbole of the week awards goes to David Samson.


If only.

I don’t think you like sports.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Your English Teacher Would Dislike Bill Plaschke

Bill Plaschke of the LA Times has a writing style that I can’t take very often. He could be writing about ME and I would tune him out after 7 one-sentence paragraphs. He also will throw in all these little cutesy statements that are supposed to be clever and/or give us a warm feeling. If you look here, you can see a good representation of his style. There is nothing particularly egregious as far as content goes, this is just his standard work.

A quick summary:
- 878 words
- 33 one sentence paragraphs. 33! His other paragraphs were just as short anyway.
- 40 paragraphs total.

This line:

We're so busy worrying about You Know Who lying, we are missing Ichiro flying, and Junior striding, and K-Rod nearly crying.

But were they all trying? I don’t know I was just eyeing. Larussa had an excuse for shying away from using Pujols in the ninth but I wasn’t buying, and who cares it was so long I was dying.

…and this line:

With Vladimir Guerrero winning the home run-hitting contest and Rodriguez earning the save, the two days were touched by Angels indeed.

Awwwwwwww.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

You Want To Do What To Barry Bonds?

This column was discussed on FireJayMariotti, but I can’t let this slide.

Gregg Doyel of CBS Sportsline talking about the All-Star game and Barry Bonds. Take it away you sick, unfunny sonofabitch:

Even the pregame introductions are cool. One by one, the greatest players in America's greatest game trot onto the field. Sometimes the crowd cheers, sometimes the crowd boos, and half the fun is trying to guess what the reception will be. And then there's that goose-bump moment when the home stadium's All-Star is introduced. That guy, whoever it is, always gets the biggest cheer of the night. That's the way it should be, and even though I know it's coming, I still get tingly every time.

I don't want to tingle tonight. I would tinkle, however, all over Bonds if I could. I'd tinkle on Bonds and then the 30,000 or 40,000 hypocritical San Francisco fans who will cheer him tonight, their misguided applause producing a moment that would never give me goose bumps -- but might give me goiter.

Put aside the silly outrage. Put aside the hyperbole. How does something this stupid end up on a mainstream web site?

I have not heard the word tinkle since I was six.

I have nothing to add. I have a feeling this isn't the last I'll be featuring this wackjob though.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

An Open Letter To Bud Selig

Bud,

I realize that you’re a busy man. As Commissioner of Major League Baseball your job is to make important decisions, drive strategic direction around marketing and rulemaking, work with the owners and the unions, look after the financial picture and much more. I'm sure you have a lot on your plate.

But about this whole “I haven’t made up my mind” routine with respect to your attendance when Barry Bonds breaks the home-run record. I have a problem with that. You don’t have to go to every game after he’s hit 755 until he breaks it, but you should give it 3 or 4. It is widely regarded as one the top records in American sports history. This isn’t 3,000 hits or 300 wins or 700 homers. Those are arbitrary round numbers that we’ve decided mean something. This is the most homeruns, ever. According to this NY Times abstract, Peter Ueberroth was there when Rose tied the hit record. He was doing his job.

It’s your job to make an attempt to be there, to celebrate a historical moment in baseball. I have read/heard through media outlets no less than 100 times that “Bud Selig has not yet made up his mind if he’ll be there.” That’s ridiculous, and I’ll tell you why.

You had the chance to right this ship a long time ago. But you ignored it. You and the rest of baseball’s owners and general leadership (and of course, the union and players) did nothing about it. This is what that apathy has sewn, and you must deal with it. You don’t get to make a stance now, it’s too late. Just because you’ve stopped pretending that performance enhancing drugs weren’t being used by MLB players, it doesn’t mean you get to now conclude that what Bonds is doing doesn’t deserve your attendance.

You were in the stands when Cal Ripken Jr. broke Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games played record, and you’ve been in the stands for countless other moments while commissioner. I, as Joe MLB consumer, get to decide what I want to do with this record, and how I want to honor it. But you shouldn’t get this same right. This record is the logical, on field conclusion to the steroid era that you and MLB helped create by doing nothing.

So go to the game, and celebrate that.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Brad Evans: Punsmith Extraordinaire

Brad Evans is back with some head scratching pop-culture references and puns. Just a short summary.

Jason Bartlett:

Lowdown: Nah, na na na nah! Bartlett is the hot stepper.

Woah woah woah woah woah. Woah. Woah. Woah. Woah. (sorry I was in Peter Griffin mode) Ini fucking Kamoze? What? That’s terrible. I spent 3 years trying to get that song out of my head. In fact I read this column a few days ago and I’ve had it in my head off and on since then. Reader of this blog, If you’ve never heard it or you forget it, just forget that you read this. Whatever you do, don’t go here. it will be in your head for months. You’re going there aren’t you? Well maybe it won’t stick for you, it was on MTV all the time in like 1994.

Zack Greinke:

Lowdown: If "preppie" Zack Greinke is ever given the ball in the ninth, he should enter games with this "Saved by the Bell" Zack Attack classic playing over the loudspeakers.

Unlike Barlett’s, this statement at least has something remotely to do with the players name. I would have given him extra points if we had Ms. Bliss worked in there, but this is still a pretty cool reference. Seriously, it’s a good reference that most people of a certain age will get and chuckle at. We need more of this, Brad Evans.

Nick Swisher

Lowdown: Swish, dude, have you seen my bong? Immersed in an abhorrent 23-105 (.219 BA) slump since June 1, Swisher has puffed 35 points off his season average.

Brad, dude, all the goodwill from Zack Greinke and you come with this? Unless Nick Swisher had a pot bust that I missed, this is just a retarded, unfunny statement.

Troy Glaus

Glaus' maddening boom-and-bust cycles makes him fantasy's version of irritable bowel syndrome.

I’m going to do what your editor did and just leave that alone. It’s not what he should have done though.

Rickie Weeks

"Nine ½" Weeks' batting average has tumbled faster than Mickey Rourke's career.

9 ½ weeks? Eh, that’s a little too Chris Berman for me. Meaning, it’s a little too obvious, and it sucks donkey balls.

Dan Haren:

Lowdown: Grab a sharpened razor and shave Haren – along with his Bruce Sutter beard– off your team.

Shave. Haren. Hair. En. I get it. Ha ha. Somewhat saved by the Bruce Sutter reference, but not completely.

But how about that Zack Attack reference folks!

I Tried To Get Buster Olney to Fight Rob Neyer

But it didn’t work.

Jeff (Ogdenville): Buster, Rob Neyer disagrees with your statements from last week's chat, where you were doubtful that any other pitcher would win 300 games, except Sabathia. Do you really think he's the last chance to win 300 games?

Buster Olney: What did that motherfucker say? I'll fuck his shit up, yo! You think I was named Buster by my momma? I was named Buster by my gang... the motherfucking Killaz! West siiiiiiiiide!

Okay that's not what he really said...real response below:

Buster Olney: Jeff: I don't have the breakdown in front of me, but it stands to reason that as time goes on, starting pitchers will continue to have fewer and fewer victories, which cuts down the 300 chances... Right now, among young and active pitchers, C.C. has the best shot. Rob and I will check back in 25 years and fight it out then...

It stands to reason that starting pitchers will continue to have fewer and fewer victories? Why would starting pitchers win less games than starting pitchers during the Maddux/Glavine/Clemens/Johnson era? Anyway, this topic is dead.

So let’s just move on to this:

Hal (Florida): favorite song?

Buster Olney: Shine, Collective Soul...

Buster and I are similar actually. Shine would be my answer to that question too. If you qualified it as the favorite Collective Soul song from the early 90’s that was on MTV/VH1 50 times a day that I never want to hear again.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

A Voice of Reason in the 300 Win Discussion

This post, which you’ve no doubt read dozens of times by now, was basically about Mark Kriedlers’ insane assertion that we would see less players achieving 3,000 hits in the future because they were getting too rich or something. Numbers, logic, and history make that assessment sound sort of unrealstic. If anything, we seem to be trending towards more 3,000 hit club members. But the other point that Mark Kriedler was making was that there would be less 300 game winners. That’s a reasonable assumption, although it’s worth noting we have two active 300 game winners (way over 300) and two pitchers who are very close to 300. But 3 of those pitchers are on the short list of the best pitchers of the last 50 years, and the other is a first ballot hall of famer.

The 300 game winner thinking was explored more on ESPN.com this past week, first in this chat, with Buster Olney.

Jonathan (Tampa, FL): Will there ever be another 300 game winner after Glavine and possibly Randy Johnson?

Buster Olney: Jonathan: C.C. Sabathia might give himself a chance -- he'll get to 100 later this summer, after he turns 27. But beyond that... I doubt it, with the way pitchers are protected at an early age and with the way teams will quickly place high-priced guys on the DL for even a minor injury.

So Buster seems to be saying that C.C. Sabathia may be the last guy with a chance to get to 300 wins. That’s pretty bold. C.C. Sabathia is a fine pitcher, but to insinuate that we’ve seen the last of the Sabathia’s of the world is nonsense. It’s not like Sabathia came up at 16 years old, or has done anything that dozens of other pitchers won’t do in the near future.

Jason (Brooklyn): Buster, I completely disagree with you that there will probably not be a 300 game winner beyond C.C. Just because the game is currently trending in a particular direction (protecting pitchers) doesn't mean that it will continue to do so in the future. Also, it always seems that every generation of baseball players have a few all time greats that are able to buck the trend. Who will it be? who knows, but someone probably will. I'll bet you any amount of money some guy you've probably never heard of will break 300 wins within the next 30-50 years.

Buster Olney: Jason: OK... disagree, but see your point.

Jason’s overall point is a decent one, but I disagree with his thoughts that “protecting pitchers” may go out of vogue. Not when good ones are more than $10 million a year and they are so scarce. If we had 50 Johan Santana type quality pitchers, then yes they would be pampered less, because the supply is greater. But I doubt that the quantity of great pitchers will ever become so skewed that pitcher protection becomes less important.

Let’s summarize Buster’s points:
1. Pitchers are protected at an early age
2. Teams quickly place high priced guys on the DL to avoid injury

Isn’t this likely to lead to more pitchers being healthy for longer and pitching into their 40’s? There’s always going to be injury prone pitchers, but there’s also always going to be those pitchers that escape injury and pitch long enough, under the right circumstances, to win 300 games. Tommy John won 288 games and had a certain well known arm ailment that required a surgery. With modern medical advances he was just able to pitch a very long time and was “pretty good”. He’s not in the Hall of Fame.

As usual, Rob Neyer came along as the voice of reason, with this blog post (on 7/3):

Somebody will win 300 again

(parts deleted)

In other news, Roger Clemens pitched well, which I find inherently more interesting than his reaching a round number. Nevertheless, the question does come to mind: Who among our current young moundsmen might even approach the lofty marks set by Mr. Rocket?

I've got a Baseball Digest article, somewhere in the pile of materials on my desk, that laments the imminent demise of the 200-game winner. This was published in the 1950s, and you probably know that a great number of pitchers have won 200 games since then. So yes, it's difficult to imagine any currently active young pitcher winning 300 games. My prediction, though: Somebody will do it. I don't want to run through a big list, but just looking at this page, I see a few intriguing combinations of youth, health, and success: Roy Oswalt, C.C. Sabathia, Johan Santana.

Will one of them win 300? Probably not. But somebody.

So what about 350? Clemens is there, and a year from now Greg Maddux probably will have joined him. But if it's hard to imagine any young pitcher someday winning 300, it's almost impossible to imagine one of them winning 350.

Is it really, though? Do we really have any idea what doctors and druggists will be doing for pitchers in 20 years, when Yovani Gallardo and Felix Hernandez are "only" 41? If I'm lucky here and there, I've got another 50-some years of being a baseball fan. And I believe someday I'll see a pitcher win more games than Roger Clemens won.

I took a rudimentary look at a handful of active pitchers focusing on their career wins and their ages. I then did a rather simple calculation. I calculated the years they had until turning 40 (using baseballreference’s age), and then plugged in an average win total of 15 per year, and lastly I added in their current win total. Full of flaws I know, but I wanted to just gauge where this situation was. I'm sure that people smarter than me have these things down to specific probabilities.

If the following pitchers can average 15 wins a year until they are 40, this will be their approximate win total at that time (this is really skewed because we are in the middle of a season, as well):

Sabathia – 303
Jeremy Bonderman – 294
Dontrelle Willis – 290
Carlos Zambrano – 284
Jon Garland – 283
Mark Buehrle – 282
Jake Peavy – 276
Barry Zito - 273
Roy Oswalt – 270
Johan Santana – 267
Josh Beckett – 263
Roy Halladay - 254
John Lackey/Ben Sheets – 251

Now, many of those guys won’t even win 200, so I’m not at all saying that they will win that many games. There’s a chance that none will. But if Johan Santana can stay healthy, I’d put some money on him getting to 250. Believe me, I get the flaws in this calculation, but I did it for a sanity check. I'm also not considering mechanics and current volume of innings.

I also get that hardly any of those guys projected to win 300 games. However running the same calculation on a 27 year old Clemens, Maddux, Glavine and Johnson would have projected them at 311, 310, 290 and 239, respectively. More than one of those guys above will likely pitch past 40 as well. Who knows, one or two could pitch to 44 or 45. If they are good enough to be in a major league rotation at that point, there's a decent chance they're winning 300.

Stating the obvious, to win 300, any player will need to play on good offensive teams for a while, be healthy, and a good bullpen will definitely help. A lot of things out of their control, which is why I don’t give a crap if a guy makes it to 300 wins anyway. You want to make a bet that as long as Santana is healthy he’s averaging at least 15 wins? I would take that bet. He’ll have a few years around 18-20 to help the cause too. Plus there’s guys like Verlander and Hamels, who are off to a great start to make a run at 300. The point is, one of those guys could hit their stride, stay healthy, and pitch into their 40's to get to 300. If they all fail, there will be the future generations.

So many variables are involved that’s its crazy to try to get too scientific. But please, tell me why we won’t see another Tom Glavine? That makes no sense.

So once again, Rob Neyer brings some reason to a discussion. Well, him and Jason from Brooklyn.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

The Bill Simmons Game

You may remember this post where I called out Bill Simmons for his nicknaming Kevin Durant. As a follow-up, let’s play a little game.

10 of these things were “analyzed” by Bill Simmons in this column about Kevin Durant and Greg Oden. The other 10 were not. Pick the 10 that you think are his.

1. Name: won by Durant
2. WOW Factor: Durant
3. Whammy! Factor: Durant
4. Unintentional Comedy: Oden
5. YouTube Clips: Durant
6. Intentional Comedy: Oden
7. Video Game Potential: Durant
8. Defense Repertoire: Oden
9. Clutch: Oden
10. Pantheon Potential: Durant
11. Vegas Factor: Durant
12. Impression made at NBA workouts: Oden
13. Fantasy Potential: Durant
14. Internet Presence: Even
15. Best “Skills”: Durant
16. Marketability: Durant
17. Stomach Punch Potential: Oden
18. Style/Swagger: Durant
19. Tremendous Upside Potential: Durant
20. Tremendous Downside Potential: Oden

The scoring grid

0-3 correct: This is actually hard to do, even if you just guessed. But you’ve probably never read Bill Simmons.
4-6 correct: You are reading the right amount of Bill Simmons, do not read any more. Keep skimming those 6,000 word mailbags.
7-9 correct: You are dangerously close to reading too much Bill Simmons.
10 correct: You imagine yourself chilling with Bill, J-Bug and Hench, and you probably named your dog “The Dooze 2”. Just stop.

I made up 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17, 18

If you think those categories are useless (yeah I know, he’s just having fun), check out the ones he used a while back to compare David Ortiz and Larry Bird (middle of page).

Friday, July 6, 2007

Jackie Robinson Was Not One of the Best Players...

….in the world when he integrated baseball

That’s a bold headline I wrote up there. For brevity I had to separate it a bit. I’ll put it here again, in bold.

Jackie Robinson was not one of the best players in the world when he integrated baseball.

That can’t be right, can it? I’m sure Jemele Hill (yeah, again, sorry) would say I’m referencing her out of context, but I’d like you to be the judge. Her column is titled “Althea Gibson was as important as Jackie Robinson.

Unlike Robinson, Gibson was one of the best players in the world when she integrated tennis. She'd won 10 national championships in the American Tennis Association, the governing body for black tournaments.

So Jackie Robinson wasn’t one of the best players in the world when he integrated baseball? Even if you assume that she’s speaking only of the 1947 season and therefore discounting his MVP season in 1949, and the seasons he had from 1949 to 1954 where he OPS+’d north of 130 every year, he was still very good in 1947. MVP voting is of course flawed but the fact that he was 5th in the MVP voting means he rated pretty well to his peers. He had an OPS + of 111. He was 10th in the league in total bases, he scored 125 runs, and he stole 29 bases. He was also under, you know, a little pressure and a bit of a microscope that year.

He had similar results in 1948, then the aforementioned 1949-1954 stretch when he just tore shit up. In 1949, he was .342/.432/.528 with 16 homers, 12 triples and 37 steals and added 124 RBIs and 122 Runs. He was in the top 5 in the NL in BA, OBP, OPS, Runs, Hits, RBI, TB, Doubles, Triples, stolen bases, X-base hits, and he was 7th in walks. That’s a historically good all-around year for a second baseman. His other years in that period were comparable in many ways. I believe Robinson stole HOME 19 times in his career, most in the post-integration era. Since she quotes Gibson’s ATA mark, I’ll say that in Robinson’s one year in the Negro Leagues he hit .387.

Now maybe she meant to say “2 or 3” best players in the world, but she didn’t, and she didn’t imply that narrow a focus. Jackie Robinson was absolutely one of the best players in the world at the time he joined MLB, and is on the short list of the best 2B of all-time.

What an odd way to support Althea Gibson’s greatness - to discount Jackie Robinson’s.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Putting Kobayashi vs. Chestnut In Perspective

Joey Chestnut was able to take out Takeru Kobayashi earlier today at the Nathan’s annual hot dog eating contest at Coney Island. Below are some excerpts from ESPN.com.

Chestnut smashes world record, beats Kobayashi for title

Chestnut, the great red, white and blue hope in the annual Fourth of July competition, broke his own world record by inhaling 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes -- a staggering one every 10.9 seconds before a screaming crowd in Coney Island. Kobayashi finished with 63 HDBs -- hot dogs and buns eaten -- in his best performance ever. His previous high in the annual competition was 53½. The all-time record before Wednesday's remarkable contest was Chestnut's 59½, set just last month.

The two had each downed 60 hot dogs with 60 seconds to go when Chestnut, the veins on his forehead extended, put away the final franks to end Kobayashi's reign.


Just insane. Is there a sports equivalent to Chestnut putting down 66 dogs when the previous record was 59.5? It’s worth noting, as well, that 59.5 had easily bested the previous contest best of 53.5. Also, how about Kobayashi almost rising to this new challenger and putting down 10 more than his previous high? If this account is correct, Chestnut put down about 5 ½ per minute for 11 minutes, and then pounded 6 in the last minute. Kobayashi had the same pace as Chestnut but only could eat 3 in the final minute. I think it’s safe to say that Chestnut is Eckstein level clutch, and Kobayashi is an A-Rod level choker (kidding, really… no e-mails please).

I can’t think of many events in sports that could parallel this dynamic. Two men battling for the title. Both breaking the record with a minute to spare. The defending champ fighting off mouth-related injuries, and the lesser known rival beating him by such a margin that the injuries become irrelevant. These were some of the analogies that came to mind first:

McGwire & Sosa 1998 Home Run Chase

The summer of ’98 is remembered as the summer of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa making home run history. For the numbers based perspective, this is the most obvious reference.

Similarities: Roger Maris’ single-season home run record, set in 1961, had stood at 61 home runs for 37 years. These two clean living guys ate their Wheaties and spinach and said their prayers all the way to 70 and 66 dingers, shattering the previous record. McGwire’s 70 HRs were 15% ahead of the record. Chestnut’s numbers were 11% ahead of the record. Sosa bested the previous record by 8%, Kobayashi by 6%. Sosa and Kobyashi were both born outside of the US, McGwire and Chestnut were born in the US of A. It’s pretty much the same damn thing except for one is a totally unnecessary game played by millionaires and the other is needed for survival but has been taken to ridiculous lengths.

Differences: The guys playing baseball were taking illegal substances to help improve their strength. Yes, yes fucking way. Also, the season long HR record is a marathon, and eating hot dogs for 12 minutes is not.

Jordan vs. Wilkins: 1988 Dunk Contest

The 1988 Dunk Contest final with Michael Jordan vs. Dominique Wilkins is often seen as the ultimate dunking duel between the best dunkers ever. This is not entirely true, but that’s what TNT wants us to think every year when they reminisce about it. The two paired off in the finals in Chicago.

Similarities: Well right off the bat, Dominique Wilkins is as Japanese as they come. The duel was well hyped but actually delivered some good dunks and great drama, along with a controversy as to whether Jordan got some home-town scoring after Nique got a 45 on a sick two-handed windmill, or as the literal translation from it's Japanese name would read, the "Can You See I Am Serious?" dunk. The finals came down to the final jam, and Jordan needed a 48 to tie Dominique-san. He got a 50 to win at the end with his foot on the foul line dunk with a dramatic pump and leg kick, a similar furious finish as Chestnut's, who (like all of the eaters) was bouncing like a hyperglycemic eating a snickers bar. Also, all four of these dudes has a great nickname: "Air", "The Human Highlight Film", "Tsunami", and "Jaws".

Differences: The dunk contest was at the mercy of the judges, and the judges had no impact on the events of the day at Nathan’s. Chestnut pounded the most ‘dogs, no one can dispute that.

1989 NBA Finals

The Lakers were the champs, and the Pistons were the upstarts that had made noise in the playoffs in 1987 and had broken through to the finals in 1988, only to lose to the Lakers.

Similarities: The Lakers were the two-time defending champions and had won 5 of the last 9 rings; Kobayashi had won the last 6 Nathans’ contests. The Pistons were clearly the better team during the regular season, with 63 wins to the Lakers 57, just as Chestnut’s recent record setting day should have made him the favorite. But the Lakers were the Lakers, and had the national name recognition and had come through in the past, like Kobayashi. The Lakers lost Magic for two games and Byron Scott for two games due to injuries. Kobayashi almost couldn't compete due to a jaw injury. But neither the Lakers or Kobayashi were good enough to beat their opponent at that time, despite their injuries.

Differences: The Lakers were swept in the finals (after sweeping the first three series), however Kobayashi was able to keep it even until that final minute and he still put forth an effort good enough to have won in prior years. The NBA finals, by contrast, was a disappointment.

Ben Johnson vs. Carl Lewis – 1988 Olympics

Ben Johnson set a world record in the 100 meter sprint in Rome with a time of 9.83 in 1987. The 100M at the 1988 Olympics pitted Carl Lewis as the defending Olympic Champ in the 100 and widely renowned as the best track athlete in the world versus the recent record setter Johnson.

Similarities: Like Chestnut, Johnson had crushed the previous record, which stood at 9.9, and brought it to an unthinkable mark at the time. Before Johnson, the record had historically moved in small increments. The result of the race in Seoul mirrored the hot dog contest as Johnson beat Lewis, the defending champ, and set a new world record (9.79) by even besting his own relatively recently set record (another similarity). Carl Lewis ran the third fastest 100 meters in history (w/ electronic timing) of 9.92, behind only Ben Johnson’s runs in Rome and in that Olympic race in Seoul. It would be three years before Carl Lewis ran a faster 100 than he did that day.

Differences: Well Johnson had more steroids in him than a WWE battle royal. His Rome run and his Olympic run were thrown out, and Lewis was given the gold medal to repeat. If Joey Chestnut tests positive for some eating enhancement drug, then this is just eerily similar. Amazingly, if Ben Johnson's 100 had been clean, the record would have stood until 2005.

I could have also analogized Kobayashi/Chestnut to the long-jump duels held by Carl Lewis and Mike Powell, including Powell's amazing jump in Tokyo in 1991 of (I think) 29' 4 1/2" inches to beat a 23 year old record set by Bob Beamon at the '68 Olympics. Beamon's record had bested the previous mark by about 2 feet. Anyway, Powell and Lewis squared off in the '92 Olympics and Lewis barely edged the record holder to take gold. I think that analogy works if Powell beats Lewis in the '92 games. I also might be crazy to be putting serious thought into this.

Ali vs. Frasier 1, 1971

Undefeated Muhammed Ali stepped into the ring against undefeated Joe Frazier in Madison Square Garden in 1971.

Similarities: Ali was the name, the vocal guy who got all the national attention for his charisma and his politics. Well, Kobayashi is the name in hot dog eating, and check out these quotes from after last year’s contest:

Interviewer: “Kobayashi you’re quite truculent”
Kobayashi: “Whatever truculent means, if that’s good, then I’m that. “I’m pretty, I’m pretty, I’m a baaad man! I shook up the world!”

Sound familiar?

Frazier was just the quiet guy kicking asses and winning belts. Though he had the belts because Ali was forced to give up the championship after he refused to enter the armed forces for religious reasons. Because he had recently set the record, Chestnut was the man to beat, just like Frazier, but no one would care unless he took out Kobayashi, his Ali. Frazier took down “The Greatest” in a 15 round unanimous decision.

Differences: Kobayashi was FOR the Vietnam war.

Lex Luger Body Slamming Yokozuna

On the fourth of July in 1993, The WWE's Yokozuna challenged all Americans to body slam him on the deck of the USS Intrepid. Many tried, many failed.....until.....

Similarities: Yokozuna, the smug Japanese man looking down his nose at us ugly, out of shape Americans who weren't in good enough shape to pick up and body slam like 600 pounds of fat is no different than Kobayashi constantly talking about how us out-of-shape Americans can't regularly pound 6,000 calories a day and still be ripped. He needed to be put in his place, and Lex Luger / Joey Chestnut emerged as the real American hero of the day, and came out of the crowd of us mortals to put the proud man from Japan in his place.

Differences: None. Well, except Joey Chestnut wasn't parading around as some dude called the Narcissist and being a total ass to everyone until one day he decided to be a good, all American guy. So there's that. Also, Kobayashi didn't let Chestnut win.

Updates: Awfulannouncing has linked the video. And here is Deadspin's first hand view of the events, with great pics.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Woody Paige

As numerous media outlets have noted, Woody Paige is part of a sexual harassment lawsuit. Here is Deadspin’s reporting.

Just for fun, let’s take a look at a couple of Woody Paige’s FAQ’s on his website:

How do you handle all the female attention?
WP: Often


If by "female attention" you mean unwanted attention that I give females and "handle" you mean grabbing their asses, hard.

When will you declare your run for the Presidency?
WP: As soon as they get better-looking interns in the White House.


Or makeup artists.

Sorry, that's going after some low-hanging fruit. By the way, he’s selling Woodypaige.com…who the fuck would buy woodypaige.com? Does it come with the content? Would that devalue it? His site has a million jokes but is the exact opposite of funny.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Bill Simmons Draft Diary Diary

I unfortunately had to miss the draft last week, but I knew that Bill Simmons would give me the scoop, with his annual draft diary. I started out tearing this mofo apart, but unfortunately I got pretty bored with it, so I've only briefly commented on a few posts, below.

4:30 p.m. (PT): Thanks to rumors that the Celtics might trade the No. 5 pick, Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West for a soon-to-be 32-year-old shooting guard coming off double ankle surgeries (Ray Allen), I just spent the last 20 minutes on basketball-reference.com trying to find one great shooting guard who didn't decline significantly in Years 12 through 14 of his NBA career. Here's the list: Reggie Miller. That's it. Also, I just threw up in my mouth and some of it went up the back of my nose.

Wow, right off the bat. I had post number 5 for the “threw up in my mouth” joke pool.

4:35: Jay Bilas calls Greg Oden "the ultimate high character guy." I would have gone with Gandhi.

I think when Bilas makes statements about players, he’s speaking about them in the context of them being NBA draft prospects. But, you know, good gag!

4:36: Stephen A. Smith on Portland taking Oden: "They better pick him -- THAT'S THE SENSIBLE THING TO DO." We're nearing the phase of his career when Smith might need to change his gimmick, kind of like when Puffy changed to P. Diddy. I think "Stevie A." or "The Notorious S.A.S." could buy him another two years. That's the sensible thing to do.

Billy S. The Sports Gentleman. Mr Sports Gal. You're just as stale, pal.

4:36: The Blazers select Greg Oden with the first pick -- a moment that would have been much more exciting if Ric Bucher and his new Gordon Gekko hairdo hadn't ruined it. (Note: After Buke's report, I wanted to "break" the report that the Sonics would pick Kevin Durant second; none of my editors would oblige. Cowards.) Meanwhile, Oden gets a full-fledged, "Thank God he seems like a good guy" smile from Stern during their handshake. If there was a bizarro version of the moment when he shook hands with J.R. Rider in 1995, that would have been it.

Rider was drafted in 1993, but close!


4:39: "You can't teach 7 feet!" The Notorious S.A.S. screams.
(See, it works. I told you.)


It didn’t work

4:40: I have to say, Oden seems like a legitimately good guy. Even Stu Scott seems charmed. If the Blazers were "Platoon," Oden would be Willem Dafoe, Zach Randolph would be Tom Berenger, and Brandon Roy would be the Charlie Sheen character caught in the middle between good and evil. The more I'm thinking about it, they might need to trade Zach. Like, right now.

Platoon, that’s topical. I can figure out the analogy based on the NBA dudes, but me and everyone else hasn’t seen Platoon in the last decade.

(Note: And just wait until John Hollinger comes out with his inevitable "Every quality 2-guard in NBA history declined as a player after Year 12 except Reggie Miller" feature to torture me. You know it's coming. Damn you, John Hollinger. Damn you.)

The majority of quality players have declined as a player after Year 12. This is not groundbreaking. It’s like saying, “no NFL running back improves after year 8.”

4:51: Al Horford speaks English, Spanish and Portuguese, but unfortunately, he doesn't speak Stu Scott. Have I used that joke before? Ah, screw it. I feel more depressed than an Elliott Smith album right now.

You have, but I love when ESPN guys make fun of other ESPN guys. I give Simmons kudos for this. He made jokes at Steven A. and Bilas' expense a bunch of times too.

5:12: Just had the following exchange with my buddy House:
House: "I'm driving home from softball, did your team make a trade?"Me: "Yeah, we traded the fifth pick, Wally and Delonte for Ray Allen."House: "Noooooooo!" (Raucous laughter.)


Fucking House, man. Tell me when something House says doesn't result in raucous laughter!

5:19: Just won a three-team parlay on Charlotte grabbing UNC's Brandan Wright at No. 8 (the old WNBA strategy strikes again!), Jay Bilas loving the pick ("He runs the floor like a deer!") and Bilas calling his wingspan "extraordinary" (easy money).

That Bilas is sooooo predicable, unlike Bill Simmons. I will now light myself on fire.

5:32: Looking disturbingly like Chris Mihm, Spencer Hawes goes 10th to the Kings. Now they have a young center who can't rebound or protect the rim, an aging center (Brad Miller) who can't rebound or protect the rim, a guy who started the biggest melee in NBA history (Ron Artest), the coach from "Hang Time" (Reggie Theus), tons of bad contracts, and owners (the Maloofs) who've made more reality-TV-show appearances than every other NBA owner combined. What a mess. O.J. Mayo should just buy a house in Sacramento now and get it over with.

Mark Cuban, an NBA owner, had a reality TV series (The Benefactor), so I don’t think that math will hold up.

5:37: The Notorious S.A.S. spends 60 seconds questioning Chicago's Noah pick, wonders why the Bulls didn't address low-post scoring without mentioning a single alternative (either in the draft or through trade), then adds at the end, "Again, [John] Paxson knows what he's doing, he's a phenomenal executive." I'd like that minute of my life back. No, really.

What he’s saying is factual, and would lead a listener to understand that they will likely be addressing the low-post scoring need. What do you want him to do, spout out massive 4 team deals that he thinks would solve everyone’s problems but no one would ever do, like you?

5:39: Our long national nightmare is over: The Hawks finally drafted a quality point guard (Acie Law IV). It's like Billy Knight just pooped in our fridge and ate a whole wheel of cheese, isn't it? Mark Jackson celebrates the occasion by making a midget joke.

I get the Anchorman reference, but I don’t get the joke. So we aren’t mad, because it’s amazing? Why would we be mad? What? Wouldn't the joke work better if he did something so dumb, even for him, that it amazed us? Never mind.

Yup, I’m one of his readers.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

3,000 Hits an Endangered Species?

Mark Kreidler has written a piece that pontificates if writers should measure impact, not numbers in determining hall of fame voting. Now, he doesn’t define impact, at all, so I can’t tell what the hell he’s talking about, but he does talk quite a bit about numbers. I had some thoughts on some of his comments about numbers, namely the implication that the 3,000 hit and 300 win clubs are a dying breed and that it makes it harder to decide who is hall worthy. I've deleted portions for brevity.

Impact, not numbers, should define a player's HOF status

And I'd add that there are important numbers -- wins, hits -- that seem to be sliding the other way, gradually farther from the view of today's player. Biggio's achievement, that is, may well stand taller as the years go by. Three thousand hits and 300 victories aren't merely difficult to attain; they're becoming endangered species as statistics.

27 hitters have amassed 3,000 hits in major league baseball history. Barry Bonds, at 2,898 is next up to take a run at 3,000, but he clearly has to play next year. Of active players, I’d say the following hitters with at least 1,000 hits have what I would call a “decent” shot at 3,000 hits (name, hit total, age – as June 29):

Barry Bonds, 2,898, 42
Derek Jeter, 2,255, 33
Alex Rodriguez, 2,163, 31
Vladimir Guerrero, 1,878, 31
Edgar Renteria, 1,867, 31
Miguel Tejada, 1,671, 31
Andruw Jones, 1,613, 30
Ichiro Suzuki, 1,469, 33
Albert Pujols, 1,244, 27

With Ichiro, age is a concern, but given that he looks like he’ll get around 200 hits in his sleep a few more years, he’ll get there if he plays until 42 or so. He appears to be in good enough physical shape, although those infield hits will go down. But these guys aren’t locks, just guys who appear to be on a path to maybe do it.

Now I would put the over/under on active players (other than Biggio) who will total 3,000 hits or more at 4 or 5. A guess, obviously, but considering those 9 players above, and the young guys who could put together a run (Reyes, Utley, Miguel Cabrera, etc.), I think that's pretty reasonable. 27 players have 3,000 hits in baseball history. You see where I’m going. Having about 5 more active players in that 3,000 club basically would tell me that there is no slowdown in this category. Let’s look at how many hitters hit the 3,000 hit mark, by decade:

1 = Pre 1900
0 = 1900-1910
2 = 1911-1919
3 = 1920’s
0 = 1930’s
1 = 1940’s
1 = 1950’s
0 = 1970’s
1 = 1980’s
7 = 1990’s
4 = 2000’s

That’s 11 of the 27 people in history hitting the plateau since 1990, so what would lead anyone to suggest that the 3,000 hit will be reached less than it has been, historically? How can you say it's an "endangered species?" Unlike 300 wins, which will be less frequently attained due to the 5 man rotation.

Increasingly, I think, that's going to be the rub. For lots of reasons, including their staggering salaries and the wealth of opportunity beyond baseball that is open to so many of the truly elite, you're going to see fewer Biggios, not more of them.

Honest question; are we really seeing players retire earlier because they’ve made more money? Or is this just guess-work? Wouldn’t the prospect of making another 10 million or so, for a great player, be motivation to hang around, regardless of how many hits or wins they have? Have we seen these guys on the march towards history hanging it up because they’ve made a lot of money? Guys like, say, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Craig Biggio, and Roger Clemens? My guess is that it has zero effect. These guys want the money, and they want to career numbers. That’s been made clear.

You're going to see fewer Greg Madduxes or Tom Glavines, players who just stay and stay and stay. With five-man rotations and a normal season's worth of work, even a great pitcher is going to average maybe 15, 16 wins a year. At that rate, you've got to stick in the bigs for two decades to get to 300. Maddux is in his 22nd year, Glavine his 21st. How many more such players figure to come down the pike?

The 5 man rotation is an obvious point, although it’s not like Maddux, Glavine and Clemens spent much, if any, of their careers in 4 man rotations. Why would the rate of pitchers pitching 2 decades go down? Shouldn’t that be more likely, with 5 man rotations and more teams (more starters being carried on rosters)? Why are we going to see less pitchers who are going to just stay and stay and stay? Are we seeing a lot of pitchers hang it up while they still have fuel in the tank? I'm not.

I wonder if, over time, 200 wins might become accepted as a career benchmark for pitchers -- the benchmark, maybe. You already see stories that celebrate a pitcher's 200th win, and rightfully so: every one of those victories was tough to get. Shoot, Mark Buehrle has 102 wins at age 28, and he's pretty good. Assuming 15 wins a year, he'll be about 35 by the time he gets to 200. Getting to 300 just looks out of the question.

Mark Buehrle is pretty good, but he’s not 300 win good, in any era. Does anyone think Mark Buehrle is a hall of fame pitcher? Maybe there are no pitchers currently in their 20’s that will win 300 games, but on the heels of Clemens and Maddux winning 300 (easily) and Glavine and Randy Johnson making runs at it, why do we think no one else will do it? Less frequent, yes, but it’ll be done again.

Also, 200 wins could be the benchmark for what exactly? The Hall of Fame? Are you ready to put David Wells, Jaime Moyer and Kenny Rogers in the hall? Did those guys pitch in a lot of 4 man rotations? Also, wins are a terrible measure of effectiveness.

If you care so much about win totals in determining Hall of Fame status, and you think 300 game winners will be reduced so much that it will become too tough a mark, why on Earth would you reduce your benchmark number by 100 wins? Why not, say, 275 wins? Or at least 250? Then what do you do with the pitchers from the past who cruised over those marks but are not in the hall? The whole idea and thought process is ridiculous.

And I think that's where the voters will have to go, too. Increasingly, we'll have to subtract some of our old notions from the Hall of Fame rubric. What if, over time, there just aren't any more 300-game winners? After Glavine (297) on the active list, there is Randy Johnson at 284. What if Johnson comes up, I don't know, seven shy? He was still, for years, the most feared and arguably most effective pitcher in baseball. That's worthy of a Hall conversation.

If you’re stupid enough to think that Randy Johnson isn’t hall worthy, right now, even if his arm falls off tomorrow, then you are retarded and shouldn’t have a vote. He’s on the short list of the greatest pitchers of all-time, or at least the last 50 years. That paragraph highlights the insane thinking that many writers use when deciding on their hall votes. “Well, he’s won 5 Cy Youngs, 4 ERA titles, he’s the all-time leader in K’s/inning, and he’s 3rd all time in strike-outs….but he did finish 7 wins short of 300….hmmmm.” Just insane. Wins. The most team dependant pitching stat. Depends on run support, defense, bullpen and luck in addition to pitcher performance.

For those who care: Curt Schilling, age 40, has 213 career victories. The bloody sock may spend more time in Cooperstown, unless voters begin to agree that numbers don't always tell the story.

Numbers DO tell most of the story, the problem is that the number that idiot voters focus on is “wins”. Whatever, yes, lets focus on “impact” because there will be less 300 game winners and (you think) 3,000 hit club members. What we need to focus on are the right numbers, not just blindly focus on career totals and hitting arbitrary milestones in categories like wins and hits.


Quick Note About ESPN "Who's Now"

ESPN's "Who's Now" brackets to determind "The Ultimate Sports Star", complete with coverage on Sportscenter and "analysis" is the biggest waste of time and effort that the folks at ESPN have put forth yet.

I mean, does anyone really think Matt Leinert, Amanda Beard, Chuck Liddell, Vince Young, or Tony Parker are going to pull off an upset and we'll discover that they are more relevant/popular-notorious/dominant than Tiger Woods or Barry Bonds or Peyton Manning?