Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Classic Edition – Scoop Jackson “The 1.3 Percent Doctrine”

Since I’m on a Scoop Jackson is one overly dramatic dude kick, I figured I’d dig into my scrap heap of posts that I drafted but never posted for whatever reason and find another Scoop gem. Just in case you think I’m lazy or something because I don’t post much, there’s over 75,000 posts in that file.

Since this was from a Scoop Jackson column from 2006, we’ll call it the “classic edition”. See we here at GGAS aren’t very creative and we’re fairly lazy, so from time to time the 7 person research team will just dig up an old column that we vented about in our executive board room over a game of RBI baseball but didn’t blog about because we didn’t know about this whole “internet” thing (who did, in 2006?) Scoop has a unique style, but that’s okay. But sometimes the drama is a bit thick.

In this piece from 2006, (insider only) Scoop writes a story about racism in journalism. Not racist journalists writing about racist stuff, but instead the lack of black journalists and editors. I have no problem with the general premise of his story, as Scoop is black and works in the business and knows a lot more about the subjects than I do. I think, overall, his point is a good one, and it’s an interesting perspective. My points are around the drama described as a result of what he says to groups of high school/college students.

There's a story I tell whenever I go to a high school or college to speak.

I ask everyone to tell me how many black professional basketball players they know. Depending on the size of the room, 90 percent of the time, the students say they can name most of the players in the NBA.

This makes sense, as when I was in high school I watched so much NBA that I could name, from memory, about a half dozen dunks thrown down by total scrubs, like a couple of nasty reverses that token white guy David Wood threw down in garbage time, or that near half court alley-oop half windmill that the Pacers’ Kenny Williams caught and threw down in New Jersey. I could see a few students being like that (dorks), in the room (depending on the size). Most of them would struggle to name “most of the players”, but whatever, I’m down, Scoop.

There are roughly 350 players in the League, about 85 percent of them black. We usually round to about 300 -- therefore, the students claim to know for a fact that there are 300 professional basketball players.

Okay, that’s weird math, but I think I’m with you. It seems odd that they do this quick math and then say the product of it is “fact”. I mean, it looks like you’re saying that 50 of the players in the league aren’t professional players or something. I think you meant to say “black” professional players, but this is a long piece and you don’t have an editor. According to this, the number was 75% which amounts to 330 players. So pretty close. Last year the number was 73%. Insignificant difference. Go on Scoop.

Then I ask them to name 300 black sportswriters.

The room always gets eerily quiet. Beyond mortuary.

Michael Wilbon's name comes up, Stephen A.'s, "that black man with the beard who's on 'SportsReporters' a lot" gets mentioned (for the record, William C. Rhoden), and, if they're seriously official with their sports journalist knowledge, Phil Taylor and Ralph Wiley will get nods.

Past that, more silence.

I’m not arguing Scoop’s general point, which means I’m going to pick on little things and semantics and just be a jerk-ass. Here’s my quick problem with this line of questioning, which led to such dramatic results.

Scoop asked, “Can you name 300 black sportswriters?” I’ll remove a word. “Can you name 300 sportswriters?” I bet you 2 American Dollars that they couldn’t. Can you name 100 sportswriters? Can you, the reader of this awesome blog, name 50 sportswriters? Maybe, right, but not quickly? Do you see where this is going? I’m not saying his general point is wrong. But the drama described around that line of questioning is pretty silly, when you think of the question.

Then I make a point.

"Do you know why you can't name 300 black sportswriters?" I say to them. "Because 300 of us don't exist."

The room becomes less quiet. Mumbling. Private conversations break out.

I seriously doubt a room full of teenagers would react to that question with “stunned silence”. I bet it’s more like, “how the hell would I know 300 black sportswriters - even if they did exist? I can’t name 300 sportswriters + book authors + columnists + cartoonists – white or black, living or dead….you crazy man. Now tell us some stories about NBA players and make it long so I don’t have to go back to class.”

Then I make the point: "Which means you all have a better chance to make it to the NBA than you do doing what I do for a living."

I wish I wrote well enough to describe the looks on their faces. Every time.

My guess is: Way way beyond mortuary?

Actually I think that look could be described as, "why are you lying to us?" I’ve seen a bunch of different statistics on this, but the odds of a high school basketball player (on the varsity team) making the NBA are a few thousand to 1 and I’ve even seen 5 digits quoted there (10,000 or greater). Whatever it is, I doubt that the odds of a good black high school journalism student (good enough to make a ‘journalism team’, if one existed) who wants to write about sports becoming a sportswriter are higher than that. A better way of saying this would have been, “there are more black NBA players than black sportswriters”. Unless he’s talking to a room of athletic males who play basketball very well and project to be easily over 6 feet, what he’s saying just can't be correct.

Again, semantics, but the drama he describes these semantic differences creating is what gets me. His overall point is valid, and the column is much longer than the intro that I've put up there (and I haven't read it in a year, but I think the rest of it was fine). Not trying to pick on his message, just the drama - and the fact that his conclusion doesn't seem correct.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Top 24 High School Players play at Rucker Park

Cool, right? No. It’s monumental. A picture of the players is “the single most significant basketball portrait taken in the 21st century." Scoop Jackson has a lot of hyperbole passed off as profound…ness in his latest column for Page 2. Look, I just don’t get Scoop. Everything he writes has this air of “how can I make this sound a hundred times more meaningful than it is” around it. I’ll just give you some passages and let you decide. You can read the whole thing here. I read this on Friday and originally wasn't going to comment, but a reader e-mail made me re-read the column and it's not the story that I feel the need to post about. It's the drama that Scoop writes with.

You’re looking at the single most significant basketball portrait taken in the 21st century. No one believed anyone could gather this many talents and temperaments so very early on a summer evening but it all happened like magic, and the world will one day be smitten with this picture.

See what I’m saying. “Most significant” “No one believed”…. I mean..why is it that hard to believe? Cool? Yes, absolutely…but “the world” will not be smitten with the picture, ever. Scoop likens it to a picture taken in 1958 featuring a collection of the greatest and most well known jazz musicians of the day.

The court? The Apollo Theater of basketball: Rucker Park. Harlem, no doubt.

No doubt, yo.

Sadly, the game of basketball has lost its purity. Corrupted by greed and exploitation, pride replaced by purpose, basketball -- particularly at the high-stakes high school level -- is no longer a game played simply for the sake of playing a game.

Um, okay. That’s why I play it?! Oh okay, at the high school level. It's so corrupted. In every high school, in every size school. Sure.

And if the Elite 24 hadn't been created, none of these players would get to experience this feeling of freedom on a basketball court ever again.

Not ever? Or ever ever ever? Not after they retired? Not just messing around on a sunny afternoon with their friends? Not playing with their kids and teaching them the game?

Look at Noel Johnson, and his innocent face. Look for the game in his eyes. Because Noel is the son of one of NYC's playground sons.

I saw rugby in his eyes? Does that count?

He has a connection to this NYC playground that he inherited the second he was born. This game birthed him.

This game birthed him? Man, that is corny.

As the legendary David Ladson of the Bronx, aka "The Human Playground," once said, "There's a difference between having a hoop on your back and doing nothing and having a hoop on your back and doing something." Peep the metaphor. Everyone in this photo has a hoop on their back. They know it, we know it.

That doesn't make any sense. Also, peep the metaphor?

Stop trying to seem so fucking profound.

Monday, August 20, 2007

“Too Little Too Late for Yankees to Make Playoffs”

Well that sounds dumb, right? I’ll let Steve Phillips tell you why you’re the dumb one. Dummy.

Vinny (New York): With a gun to your head, still Seatle over the Yanks for the Wild Card? Yankees are looking pretty impressive, just taking care of most people's "best team in baseball."

Steve Phillips: The Yanks looked good beating an undermanned Tigers team, I agree with you. But I think the Mariners will hold on and win the Wild Card. Their starting pitching is just good enough and their bullpen in unreal. They have one of the best defenses in babseball, and they are starting to produce on offense. I think it is too little too late for the Yankees to make the playoffs.

With 38 games remaining, the Yankees are 4 games behind Boston to win the division and .5 (that’s POINT FIVE) behind the Mariners for the wild card. They play Boston 6 times and they play Seattle 3 times. Obviously, at this point, ANYTHING could happen. They could take the AL East or (more likely) the Wild Card or collapse and miss the playoffs.

Now how the hell could anyone conclude that it’s “too little too late” for them to make the playoffs? It’s not like there’s 7 games left - and if there were would that even be too late? Does he just hate the Yankees?

Overheard at Shea Stadium on Sunday

The entire staff of GGAS – not to be confused with these hot chicks (GGS) – attended the Marlins – Mets game at Shea Stadium last Sunday. The guys behind us had the following exchanges:

Guy 1: Yeah [the Phillies] named their new ballpark “Citizens Bank Park.”
Guy 2: After the watch company?
Guy 1: No.
Guy 1: It was named after the bank.

Guy 2: Yeah the golf courses at Atlantis are ridiculously expensive.
Guy 1: How much?
Guy 2: I don’t know, a lot, like how much is a round of golf usually?
Guy 1: About $25
Guy 2: It was like over $300.
Guy 1: Wow that is a lot
Guy 2: Yeah, but it was designed….by this….famous….architect…..guy

Friday, August 17, 2007

Stuart Scott Is Not Surprised That Others Yell Booyah at Work

Stuart Scott does a bi-weekly chat called the “Two-Way”, on A handful of questions and answers get used for a one-page write-up in ESPN the Magazine. I checked out this week’s expecting the normal bland question and answer session. What I got was a trainwreck of booyahs and suckups. All grammatical errors (in the bold print) are as they were in the chat. It starts out like a normal chat, and then the wheels come off a bit. I cut several items out because it was way too long.

SprungOnSports (Long Island): How long can Donaghy end up in the slammer? Will we always be suspicious now when a controversial call is made?

Stuart Scott: (4:10 PM ET ) Not alegal expert.

Really? The Sportscenter anchors aren’t all lawyers? I pegged the “winner winner chicken dinner” guy as a Yale Law man. I think Sprung on Sports realizes you’re not an expert, but is just curious as to what your opinion is. Although I find it annoying that Sprung asks token questions in like every chat.

No idea how long, I've heard up to 25, but I have no expertise in that field.

Okay, not a lawyer – fair enough. Let’s move on.

I didn't get law degree.

Are you serious? You didn’t get (a) law degree to spout “Booyah” and “cool as the other side of the pillow” on TV. Also, you just said the same thing in three straight sentences.

Unfortunately and unfairly so I think a questionable call some might stop and doesn't make sense. if it's as Stern sense, one bad apple, there's no realistic reason to quesion calls. No reason to think every QB is going to be charged with a crime because one has been charges. And that doesn't mean he did it...

Are you sure you don’t have a law degree? Those are some well crafted sentences. Can anyone parse this? Is it me or did this answer morph into a Michael Vick answer? Booyah!

SprungOnSports (Long Island): Do you think that Imus deserves another shot in radio?

Sprung on Sports gets up every day and reads the headlines, and says “I’m going to ask 3 different ESPN personalities what they think about THIS!”

Stuart Scott: (4:11 PM ET ) To be honest I could care less. I don't wonder if he deserves another shot. If someone wants to give him another shot I'm not losing sleep. If he's blackballed from radio I'm not losing sleep. I don't care to wonder about his future.

How To Say The Same Thing In 5 Consecutive Sentences, by Stuart Scott.

Franco (Philly): Stu I recently got kicked out of a board meeting for repeatedly yelling, "Booyah", do you think they were right to kick me out?

At this point I figured Franco was just making a friendly jab at Stu, and I would have thought Stu would ignore him. But Stu actually answers this, like it’s a real question. By the time Franco is done posting in this chat though I can’t tell what the F is going on.

Stuart Scott: (4:15 PM ET ) If you are yelling anything during aboard meeting you should get kicked out. You should listen, instead of yelling out random quotes.

Stu, I don’t think Franco REALLY got kicked out of a board meeting for repeatedly yelling Booyah, I think he’s just trying to be dorky and see if you’ll respond. No normal human being uses Booyah in an office setting, never mind in the presence of the bosses in a serious meeting.

Stu then had to step out for a few minutes….

Franco (Philly): Damn Stu I thought you would have my back with yelling "Booyah!"

Booyah Franco, Booyah.

Marsh (St. Louis): Stu, right on about board meetings, BOOOYAH!

I think Stu is wrong on board meetings, I think all board minutes should be written in rhymes or Snoop Dogg-ized:

“AGREED, that the P.I.M.P. who be the CEO should be grizzanted 50,000 shares of Cizzommon S to the T ock. Playa has guizzided this mothafuckin company to record dollas for 8 Quarters in a row, true dat”

Moderator: (4:28 PM ET ) What's a better, less ominous title? Keep it clean, please!

What are people writing in that we have to keep it clean? This chat is getting out of control. It only gets weirder from here.

Sean (Philly): Same thing happened to me Franco, except mine was "Winner Winner Chicken Dinner".

That’s what Sportscenter has come to. Winner winner chicken dinner.

Stuart Scott: (4:31 PM ET ) Sorry bout that

No problem.

Ben (Lawrence, KS): I think the moderator was actually Franco from Philly. He was kicked out for yelling Booyah!

Sure Ben.

Fach (NY): Stu, who would be the worse cell mate, vick or donaghy?

Stuart Scott: (4:34 PM ET ) You are making a joke of two serious situations. It's too bad for Donaghy and his family but he's an admitted felon. Vick as we speak isn't a criminal. Now the only one who could be anyone's cellmate is Donaghy.

Vick has been indicted; couldn’t he be someone’s cellmate, if convicted? Last I heard he hadn't pleaded out of any jail time.

justin (appleton, wi): Stu do you play madden,if you do what's your username i'd love to take you on head to head. Oh sorry head to cheese head

Stuart Scott: (4:37 PM ET ) Don't play video games, have no idea about fantasy FB..

Madden is a video game; not fantasy football.

sorry, I burst your bubble.

It ok Stu it ok my bubble burst but ok

In summer I work, work out, some golf, real FB and I spend free time with my family and friends. I watch Entourage, Rescue M eand So You Think with my two daughters..can't find the time to play Madden

A favorite of Stu is to tell you how he’s too f’ing busy to do whatever loser things you do, loser. He’s playing football and working out while you’re playing your fantasy Maddens, loser! Play real football!

Pam(Princeton): Stu, you seem a little testy today, everything alright/

No Pam, that’s just Stu. Stuart Scott: (4:40 PM ET ) Laughing.

Yeah right…

I'm great. Gonna do SC tonight, hosting halftime of the preseason game on ESPN>.only concern is, have to wait til tomorrow to watch So You's probly gonna be Danny, I want Sabra, though...both of them are drop dead phenomenal

Did everyone follow that? Me neither - let’s move on.

Paul (Portland, OR): Thank goodness! Someone who doesn't play video games...or it sounds like, doesn't watch reality TV either (not counting sports, which is a version of reality TV I guess).

Paul I don’t think you had to qualify your statement to clarify that watching sports is different than watching Rock of Love.

Stuart Scott: (4:41 PM ET ) no one please clal me tonight and tell me who won. I'll watch on DVR tomorrow

This was really his answer to Paul’s, um, statement.

“no one please clal me tonight and tell me who won. I'll watch on DVR tomorrow”

This is “Mr. I play football and watch cool TV shows and have no time for your stupid fantasy sports booyah” guy? He’s now imploring people on an ESPN chat to not tell him who won some stupid reality show I’ve never heard of.

Paul (Portland, OR): Whoops. Didn't realize you were referring to "So You Think You Can Dance". I guess you DO watch "reality" tv.

For some reason Stuart posts Paul’s disappointed response – he’s coming to the realization that Stu isn’t as cool as he thought. Let’s see how Stu responds!

Stuart Scott: (4:44 PM ET ) big ups to M.D. now M.D.R. and her man K.R.

Bill Simmons has a long running joke about "speaking Stu Scott". I honestly think we’ve crossed through another dimension here. Sort of like the space-time continuum put in a blender with a bunch of abbreviations and Booyahs. I guess he’s congratulating someone for getting married, as a response to Paul’s observation?

Franco (Philly): Stu do you think it would be acceptable if at the next board meeting instead of yelling "Booyah" if i told my boss that he was "as cool as the other side of the pillow!"

I can’t tell if Franco is cool and is making fun of Stu (like me!) or if he’s very very very lame and he wants Stu to like him.

Stuart Scott: (4:49 PM ET ) Franco--Sucking up isn't pretty either. Boss'd be more impressed if you did more listening! Listen more, talk less, suck up less

Stu is opting for none of the above and thinks Franco just needs advice on how to act at work. Which I’m beginning to think is the right way to go.

Stuart Scott: (4:50 PM ET ) stop groveling man, save the booyah for when you get home

Or, never? You could use the booyah…never? Because at this point it’s like saying “whoomp, there it is!”

Krackman (Newark, NJ): Stu I thing Franco want to be you? Next he will get a fade and wear suite like you. Careful he may be a groupy.

Stu wanted us to read this, but there’s no response. I will say that I would expect nothing less than the above from a guy named Krackman in Newark.

Roman (Waco, TX): Hey Stu, in my opinion, the top five shows on T.V. are CSI (Las Vegas), PTI (with both Kornheiser and Wilbon), America's Test Kitchen, House, and of course SportsCenter. What is your top five?

Stuart Scott: (4:58 PM ET ) 24, FNLights, Grays Anatomy, Rescue Me, Lost....

In all seriousness, Stuart usually spends his chats offering real opinions on current subjects, and it’s not usually this terrible (it is difficult to read, though), but this became a Bill Simmons chat a half hour ago. Without the jokes. He has to be in a meeting or eating dinner or something while he does this. It's all so half-assed.

Ben (Lawrence, KS): Is ESPN making a "Sportscenter Anchors" poster series? Where can I get a vintage Bob Ley?

I have no idea what to add. Neither did Stu he didn’t respond. Ben, you’re weird.

Pam(Princeton): Krackman needs to lay off the krack! that's some grammer job

And that is perfect irony. No response from Stu.

Pam(Princeton): Stu, not sucking up here, but I think you are really handsome

Yeah that’s not sucking up at all.

Stuart Scott: (5:00 PM ET ) Pam---Thank you. And I was telling Franco the Groveler about work stuff..genuine flattery I'm all good with!

Work stuff? FRANCO DID NOT REALLY GET KICKED OUT OF A BOARD MEETING YOU IDIOT! Why am I getting upset about this?

Oh right, I’m a petty asshole.

Sean (Philly): America's Test Kitchen? I may have to DVR that so I can find out what it is.

You do that. See in Keith Law chats there are a lot of book recommendations, but what you don’t see is this:

Joe blow: Keith, what are you reading?
Keith Law: I’m reading “In Search of Lost Time”
Joe blow: Hey cool I’ve never heard of that book. I will now “log on” to, and I will enter that name in the search field with my credit card in hand and I will purchase it.

Because Joe blow is just wasting our time. Stu? He puts that shit in. With no response.

Ben (Lawrence, KS): Stu, If ESPN does a "Sportscenter Anchors" poster series, will yours feature you dunking on Shawn Bradley?

Ben this is the second time you’ve asked about getting Sportscenter anchor posters. This is not amusing and is a little disturbing. Also, wouldn’t the poster just be him sitting behind a desk with that stupid smirk on his face?

Stuart Scott: (5:01 PM ET ) No, it'll feature me catching TD pass over Champ Bailey

Oh, or that of course.

Ryan (Schulenburg, TX): Stuart, i'll give you major cash if you can catch a TD pass over my favorite player, champ bailey.

Stuart Scott: (5:03 PM ET ) Ryan, I make enough cash...that's about my own pride

You’re rich and awesome. Pride isn't getting you to catch a pass over Champ Bailey.

Franco (Philly): Agree with you on Grey's Anatomy pal!

This is not interesting! I don’t read chats to hear what Franco in Philly likes! I read them to try to figure out what Stu is saying so I can make fun of it! Also, Franco, please put Stu’s dick down for a few minutes, okay buddy? I thought you were picking on him with the board room booyah thing, but now I’m thinking you’re just kissing his ass.

Pam(Princeton): You are welcome! Now, can we please talk CFB next time?

If you wanted to talk college football, Pam, then maybe you should have asked him a college football question instead of hitting on him. He's here to answer questions, not just toss topics out there.

In case you haven’t noticed, Pam, Ben, Sean and Franco have like 200 posts in this chat.

Sean (Philly): I still haven't seen Rock 4.5 (Rocky 5 never really happened in my mind), have you seen it?

What movie is he talking about, Rocky Balboa? That’s topical.

Sean (Philly): Mental Booyah's Franco, Mental...

Yes, those posts are exactly as they went down, with no response. Sean in Philly had 8 posts.

Ryan (Schulenburg, TX): I wanna see Chris Berman rob a Barry Bonds homerun in one of those poster series!

I’m so lost. What poster series? Is this really fun? I want to see Linda Cohn 69 Pam Oliver in a poster series! No!! I don’t!!!

Pam(Princeton): FN lights is the best show no one watches

Pam, thanks so much for that insight. That was your 8th post. Also, you could have asked a college football question there as well, since that's what you want him to talk about.

Franco (Philly): Relax there Krackman. Just because I have a little mancrush on Stu doesn't mean I wanna be like him.

Franco after your first post I thought you were kind of funny, now you're just a whacko. The Philly/New Jersey/New York area apparently grinds to a screeching halt when Stuart Scott is chatting.

I can’t wait to see them actually craft this into an ESPN the Magazine column.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Steve Phillips Was GM of The NY Mets

The above statement is a fact. I don’t know what Jonah Keri has done for work, but I'm willing to be he wasn't given the keys to a major market team with a lot of money to spend. Let’s compare their views on the Yankees acquiring Johan Santana.

Keri, from today’s chat:

Matt, MN: Santana to the Yankees for Hughs and Cabrera. If your the Twins do you take it? If your the Yankees do you offer it?

Jonah Keri: It just wouldn't happen. Simmons had a good column on this for the Mag...teams very rarely make this kind of ballsy trade anymore. He was referring to the NBA, but there's plenty of "I don't want to look bad, so I'm going to go the safe route" going on in MLB front offices too.

If were the Twins, though? Yes, I'd take it.

Okay - so that's Keri's opinion.

Colie (NYC): I know Santana is a great pitcher. but why would the yanks trade away years and years of talent on a FA after 2008???

Jonah Keri: Exactly. They wouldn't.

I think Jonah’s right, unless the Yankees are suddenly sour on Hughes. Hughes is cost controlled, young and they could just buy Santana after next year and have them both, if they want. It’s not like Clemens, Pettitte and Mussina are young, and Pettitte has a $16 million player option for next year and Mussina is under contract (at $11.5m). Makes sense to make a run at Santana after next season and slot him in during 2009 with the aforementioned big money guys coming off the payroll (Clemens this year) and younger, cheaper pitchers (Hughes, Chamberlain, etc.) emerging alongside Wang. They could really build a great, young rotation.

Hey Steve Phillips, what do you think?

Al (Basking Ridge, NJ): Mr. Phillips, if you are the Yankees GM, would you make a trade for Johan Santana and what pieces would you be willing to part with? Thanks.

Steve Phillips: I would do just about anything to get him. If money is a factor, and I am the Yankees, I would not resign A-Rod and use that money for Santana. Instead of giving A-Rod 36 mil. per year, why not give Santana 22 mil. and go out and get a 14 mil. per year 3B. I would put Hughes in the deal, along with Cabrera and another young prospect if neccesary. Hughes may blossom as time goes on, but he is not going to be Santana-like.

Oh, a solid young outfielder who could start in CF for you + Hughes + ANOTHER prospect for a year and half of Johan Santana, and THEN extend him for $22 million a year.

Steve Phillips, I Don't Like You

Has anyone ever noticed that Steve Phillips either doesn’t move his hands at all when he talks, or he moves them around like a mad man – like every word gets some dramatic hand movement?

Yeah… me neither…let’s look at some chat answers. These aren’t Joe Morgan level bad but I’ve already started typing.

Greg (Gig Harbor, WA): Morning Steve. I'm curious about your thoughts on the Mariners. Do you think they have the starting pitching to reach the playoffs? They seem to just be steady and I think that's a great asset in this league.

Steve Phillips: Here is something you should know, there have been only two teams to ever make the playoffs with a starting rotation with a record below .500. The Mariners starting pitchers are currently just under the .500 mark. But with the improvement in the offense and one of the best bullpens aound, I think the Mariners have a great chance to win a Wild Card and even the West if they get hot.

Summary – Mariners’ starting pitching is not that good, but offense is “improved” and they have one of the best bullpens. They have a great chance to make the playoffs.

I’m going to reorder a couple of questions here to get this one next:

Mike (Fresno): True or false - the Yankees will make the playoffs.

Steve Phillips: False. The easy thing to say right now is that they will make it because of how they have played out of the All-Star break. But the reason they are winning now is because of their offense, which is very, very good. But to be a playoff team you have to pitch. And I have my doubts that the offense will continue to go as it is going, and I do not think they have the pitching to bail them out when the offense is not there. But they deserve a lot of credit for fighting their way back into this race, because myself, along with many others, counted them out a long time ago.

Summary – Very, very good offense (an understatement), but pitching not good enough.

Let’s take a crude look at some quick stats:

Post All-Star Break:
Runs Scored:
Mariners – 157 – 7th in AL
Yankees – 246 – 1st in AL

Team ERA:
Mariners – 4.98
Yankees – 4.48

To me, this is an odd train of thought. The Yankees have better hitting and better starters, but the Mariners will get in because their hitting is “improved” and their bullpen is very good. The Yankees score substantially more runs and give up less runs, but their pitching is not good enough, in comparison to the Mariners, whose starters have a sub .500 W/L record, which to you (Steve Phillips) is meaningful in a historical sense. Oh okay.

The Mariners run differential so far this year is 6. The Yankees’ is 149.

Liz ( Big Apple): Please tell me the Idea of Tony Larussa Managing the Yankees next year or in my lifetime is a joke? (I'm 29)

Steve Phillips: I would be surprised if LaRussa would want to come to New York to manage. He is a tremendous manager, and he may be having his best year ever with all the adveristy he has faced in St. Louis this year. But I do not think Tony, at this stage in his career, would want to deal with the NY media and all that comes with it. There has been speculation that he will go to the Reds, but I find that hard to believe, since it will be difficult to put a winning team together in that ball park. Joe Torre should be the Yankees manager for as long as we wants, in my opinion. Nobody could have done a better job in the last 12 years.

Why will it be difficult to put a winning team together in that ball park? Why would OPPOSING TEAMS have a better chance of winning in Cincinnati than the Reds, if they can field a quality team? He must mean that Riverfront Stadium is old and out dated (not enough luxury boxes) and therefore is not “economically viable” to generate the required revenues to field a competitive team. Oh…their ballpark… is new?

Being serious for a second, is the thought behind this that it's easier to hit homeruns, and therefore it increases the variability of results (lesser players can hit homeruns easier). If that is the case, you can focus the pitching staff on pitchers who give up fewer homeruns and load the team with power hitters. As opposed to, say, flyball pitchers and guys who steal bases. I'm being overly simplistic, but you get the point - no team should be doomed to losing because of their ballpark.

Adam (Flushing, NY): What are the chances that A-Rod signs with the red Sox next season? What would they have to give up in order to get him.

Steve Phillips: Well if he is a FA they would not have to give up anything, and the Yanks would never trade him to the Red Sox. But it will cost somewhere inthe range for 30 million dollars per year for 8 or more seaons to sign him. remmeber this, he is a great player, but he has yet to win a title, and baseball is not just an individual game. You need to have a balanced and deep roster to win, and no matter what your payroll, giving one guy 30 mil. limits what you can do with your roster.

That’s true, since there’s a salary cap in baseball and you can’t just spend a ton of money on other players…we wouldn’t want teams like New York and Boston doing that! His point is moot if you can afford to spend $150 million plus on the rest of the team. Really, are we looking at baseball players this way in 2007? Measuring them in championships? You can not treat MLB players like NBA players. Ted Williams and Barry Bonds never won championships…so fucking what? They are arguably the two best offensive players ever.

MATT (MINN): Where is Tory Hunter going to end up?

Steve Phillips: I think there are many places he could end up, from Boston to Atlanta to Philadelphia, Baltimore, Texas, and so on. I think he will be the most highly pursued FA this offseason, including if A-Rod is a free agent. Teams will look at the price tag on Rodriguez and think that they can sign Hunter and two other players for the same amount of money. He is still in his prime and would be a great addition to any team.

A summary of that Q & A:
MATT (MINN): Where is Tory Hunter going to end up?
Steve Phillips: Anywhere!

Also, Steve Phillips has the biggest hard-on for talking bad about A-Rod and/or the Yankees. I vividly remember Steve Phillips talking about A-Rod during his crazy-bad summer last year when he hit like 2 homeruns OPS’d .179. I remember him saying last July that A-Rod was intimidated by New York and would never get back to where he was if he stayed there. He and Harold Reynolds were saying this, and John Kruk was just saying that he was in a little bit of a slump and would be fine. You don’t forget moments when John Kruk is the only guy who is right.

Nick (Philly): Any chance Cole Hamels can pull out the Cy Young award this year? If it weren't for the bullpen, he'd be close to 20 wins already.

Steve Phillips: I think it will be very difficult for him, unless he rattles off seven or eight high quality performances that lower his ERA under 3. Chris Young (2.02) and Jake Peavy (2.23) have better ERAs. Hamels is a good young pitcher who will win a Cy Young award, but it just wont happen this year.

Side note: Young and Peavy pitch in a pitcher’s park. But check this out, Jake Peavy has a 1.06 ERA on the road.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Joe Morgan Does Research!

Just kidding.

I know it's sacrilegious to comment on a Joe Morgan chat, since Firejoemorgan invented it (and the whole "tear apart bad baseball journalism" thing). But I got one question into this week's chat and had to see if he was right.

John (Washington, DC): Joe, I was wondering if you were impressed with the Phillies this weekend, and if you think that they have the best offense in the National League?

Joe Morgan: (11:22 AM ET ) If you look at the numbers they are scoring more runs per game, but you also have to think about the fact that the games will be played in their ball park, which is a small park. I would not say they have the best offense in the NL, but they do have a core of very smart and patient players. But I think the numbers have a lot to do with the small ballpark.

Phillies runs per game:
Home - 5.55
Away - 5.39

Over the course of the year that would indicate a 12 run difference, or a run about every 7 games. The very best part about his response was the fact that he starts his answer by telling you to look at the numbers, but then just hypothesizes that they are scoring more at home due to the small park. Like there are no numbers to look at with respect to the home/away angle.

I'm sure Ken at FJM will do what I did but make it funny or something.

*Update: Junior at FJM picked it up. It's here.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Bill Simmons Has a Good Memory

The problem is, he trusts it too much and doesn't bother doing research. From his latest mailbag:

I feel the same way about Stern that I did about Red Auerbach during the six-month span when Auerbach turned down Dallas' offer of Sam Perkins and Detlef Schrempf for an aging Kevin McHale, traded Danny Ainge for Eddie Pinckney and Joe Kleine and picked Michael Smith over Tim Hardaway in the '89 draft. As we watched Smith run around like a spaz the next season while Hardaway was headed for rookie of the year, every die-hard Boston fan came to the realization he wasn't the magical Red Auerbach anymore.

His point is that Tim Hardaway was very good, and he's right. But David Robinson was the unanimous winner of the 1989-1990 NBA Rookie of the Year award, so I'm not sure what he's going for there.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

“Crumbs” Not a Good GM – Scoop Jackson

Scoop Jackson recently wrote a brief column on how the Kevin Garnett to Boston trade has lifted Danny Ainge out of the bad GM pile.

Okay. So who’s in that pile you ask?

So Danny Ainge has removed himself from the Jerry Krause list. The idiot has left the Garden. Congrats. The imbecilic role he had mastered over the last four years as Executive Director of Basketball Operations all makes sense now and can all be excused (and can all be worth it) once the KG era begins.

Jerry Krause, former GM of the Chicago Bulls. Now it’s well documented that Krause did not draft Michael Jordan, but he put together the core of the championship teams, including digging Phil Jackson out of the CBA. Krause did an exceptional job with the Bulls, for a very long time. They won 6 championships under his watch. The biggest reason was Michael Jordan, of course, but he needed some good players to help out with.

Krause made bad picks, of course. All GMs do. He also did this:

- 1987 draft: Traded Olden Polynice for Scottie Pippen. Drafted Horace Grant in the same draft.
- Traded Charles Oakley for Bill Cartwright, a move that was needed for them to make a championship run. He saw Grant’s ability before Jordan, who killed him for this trade but later admitted it was needed to take the Bulls to the next level.
- Drafted Toni Kukoc in the second round of the 1990 draft. This was well before the explosion of foreign players into the league. Kukoc was a solid contributor and won a 6th man award with the Bulls.
- Traded Will Purdue to San Antonio for Dennis Rodman before the ’95-96 season.
- Gave Phil Jackson his shot.

Krause’s problem is that his ego got big and he wanted more of the credit for the Bulls success. He’s famous for the “organizations with championships” quote, which was implied to downplay the impact that Jordan, Pippen, and Phil Jackson had on the team. He made some poor trades towards the tail end of his tenure (Brand, Artest/Miller, etc.), although he did draft pretty well. For all his faults, he did a real good job for 10 years of making sure that team had solid players around Jordan, while typically having such a low first round pick that it was not useful. He did it by finding guys like Steve Kerr, Luc Longley, Ron Harper and other role players who worked in the system perfectly.

Not my first choice for the list of terrible GMs, never mind naming the F’ing list after him.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Garnett and Culpepper Are Just NAMES

Ray Ratto was a scrub wrestler from the 1980’s. I remember him submitting in the Billy Jack Haynes full nelson in about 4 seconds. Okay just kidding, he’s a columnist at CBS, where I have never read a single decent column but feel the need to keep going back because it’s so terrible. Ray Ratto just sounds like a scrub wrestler name. His latest work, "K.G.? Daunte? NAMES will always fool us", is about how we shouldn’t get all riled up about NAMES. Because NAMES don’t mean anything and are over-rated.

Daunte Culpepper isn't likely to save the Oakland Raiders from another hard year.

Well, duh, he’s sucked or has been injured the last couple of years. He’s a huge question mark and is effectively a place holder for JaMarcus Russell. Plus, it’s football, and one guy doesn’t mean that much to a teams success, unlike basketball.

And Kevin Garnett won't make the Boston Celtics a title contender in the Eastern Conference.


Well, not alone. But he and Ray Allen combined with Paul Pierce immediately creates a pretty formidable line-up that everyone besides you thinks will challenge for the Eastern Conference. But I’m sure you have some good, sound, reasoned support for this logic.

But they are NAMES, and we love NAMES. NAMES have done great things in the past, or looked like they were going to. They make their new teams intriguing because their NAMES are attached to them.

Good god, this is unreadable.

We ask too much of them, though. We always do.

I see.

Garnett's trade to Boston in exchange for several itinerant Celtics and a four-year extension on his elephantine contract made the Celtics an Eastern Conference power again, after the lost 15 years of the post-Bird Era. That is, if you believed the drooly hysteria you read and heard over the last week.

Or if you have a passing knowledge of Kevin Garnett’s current ability and the relative competition in the Eastern Conference. Also, itinerant means nomadic. So they are…nomadic players? Like Al Jefferson, Gerald Green and draft picks?

But there is a lot more drool than truth here, because Garnett comes to a team with two other $20 million/per players (Paul Pierce, Ray Allen) around him, and a glorified D-League cornucopia after that. The Celtics were the worst team in the East last year, yet nobody asked to show how Garnett is suddenly worth 40 wins, except to say, "It's the East."

No one with a brain is saying he’s worth 40 wins. The biggest improvement ever was a Spurs team that added Tim Duncan and David Robinson coming back from injury (played 6 games the year before). You just made this up to refute it as stupid. I fucking hate that.

Paul Pierce only played in 47 games last year. Had he played 82 games, and the Celtics won the same % of games that they won in the games he played, they would have won like 35 games. Not good, but much better than 24 wins. I think, in effect, that many people are saying that Garnett and Ray Allen will result in about a 15-20 win improvement (on the 35 wins). But anything can happen in the playoffs.

Neither Paul Pierce or Ray Allen made $20 million last year. I don’t know their upcoming salaries but they’d need pretty good size raises to reach $20 million.

And nobody tries to explain how the Celtics are suddenly the equal of the Pistons, Heat, Bulls or Wizards, because they can't. Not with a straight face, anyway. They are, at best, scrambling to get to that second rung on the Eastern stepstool, the kind of team that wins 39 games and is in the hunt for a playoff berth until the end.

No one is delusional and thinks that three guys who have not played together will instantly gel into a 65 win team. But, if healthy, they seem to have the type of game and personality that would mesh pretty well together. Remember how well the Timberwolves did with Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell? Well, that’s what people are thinking, but in a weaker conference and with better stars than Cassell and Sprewell. You think they are a 39 win team, not nearly as good as the Wizards. I see. How many games did the Wizards win last year? 41. Makes sense, let’s move on!

But Garnett is a NAME, surrounded by two other NAMES in Allen and Pierce, and so those who don't say they can win the conference say that they are "relevant" again, which is a keen word that in this context means "OK, I'll watch 'em if I don't have anything better to do."

That’s not what relevant means. That’s what relative indifference means. Relevant means I’ll try to watch them, frequently. Also, you’re using keen like a word that means the exact opposite. Like nebulous. But you’re the writer and I’m internet columnist reader guy.

You see, while Garnett was and is a sensational player, he is once again surrounded by substandard support (and no, we are not speaking of Pierce and Allen as support, but the other nine players, if they can afford that many), plus he is working for a general manager and coach (Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers) who are probably holding their jobs by their teeth. This actually looks worse the longer you look at it, but we love stars, and Kevin Garnett is a star. Better, he is a NAME, and we think NAMES can solve any problem, even this one.

Why can’t we speak of Pierce and Allen as support? You need, like 2-3 stars, 3-4 functional players and a couple of serviceable guys who aren’t total fuckups to have a good basketball team. Are they deep? No, of course not. But most teams really aren’t either.

If Ainge and Rivers are barely holding onto their jobs, won’t that increase the pressure to win, now? How is that fact, in and of itself, bad for the Celtics performance in ’07-08? I say “in and of itself” because you do still have Doc Rivers coaching the team, and that’s not good.

So good luck on that one.

As for Culpepper, he has signed a one-year deal to rent in Oakland, who have been the Celtics of football for the last few years. Culpepper is a NAME, too, even though he was hurt all of 2005 and had a terrible experience with Nick Saban in Miami in '06. He is coming to a team that doesn't have equivalents for Paul Pierce or Ray Allen, one which managed last year to perform the extraordinary feat of finishing 12 games behind its division leader in a 16-game schedule. If anything, the Raiders of '06 were worse at what they did than the '07 Celtics were at what they did.

Right, I agree, these are two situations that are totally incomparable and it would be a waste of everyone’s time to compare them.

And unlike the Celtics, who are now married to Garnett for years to come, Culpepper goes to the Raiders as a layover until a better destination comes along next year.

Also, basketball is played on hardwood, and football is played on a big field. In addition, if you tried playing basketball with a football you would be very frustrated when dribbling, but outlet passes would rock.

He has superficial comparison points to unsigned draft choice JaMarcus Russell, and he could serve as a starter and mentor (or backup and mentor, if the Raiders want to irritate the hell out of him), but our interest is strictly based on Culpepper being a NAME.

What do you want fans to do? They are simply tracking the news. Big name players, and players who were once really good, is generally news. No one thinks this means that the Raiders will be winning the Super Bowl.

He once led the Vikings to a 15-1 record, then without Randy Moss (who preceded him in Oakland and essentially removed himself from the Hall of Fame as a result) faded, was catastrophically injured, and served as his own agent to get a flexible deal that would put him back on the market next year.

So more on why the situations are incomparable, then you drop the comparison on us. NAME! Wham! Brilliant!

This, then, doesn't sound like anything other than two sides in a jam who happened to have what the other side wanted, and much less a matter of the Raiders wanting another NAME from that mythical Viking team nobody remembers anyway.

Um, yeah. Insightful! Let’s just look at your picture instead of parsing this mess.

New GGAS policy, no pictures of Ray Ratto.

Still, it has our interest because Culpepper is, in fact, still a NAME, and everyone is still a sucker for a NAME.

Culpepper really doesn’t have our interest, or at least mine. The Garnett situation does, because he’s been an awesome player for a long time and him going to the Celtics with Pierce and Allen is interesting to basketball fans. What, you goofy looking bastard, is so bad about that?

In fact, you know who else is a NAME? Michael Vick. But that's another story, or stories, for other times.

So, what are we as fans supposed to do? Not care about the NAMES? I don’t get the point? Write a fucking story about Jeff Suppan or Udonis Haslem if you don’t care about NAMES.


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Stuart Scott: Two Wya Reevew

Stuart Scott does a chat about every two weeks on (called the two-way). It’s usually pretty non-eventful and is riddled with typos and not so new analysis on subjects. Somehow ESPN the Magazine thinks it worth using in the magazine. I can only think he’s typing this up on a blackberry at a block party somewhere with Pookie and Ray-Ray. Let’s look at a few of Stuart’s answers from this week.

jamie (shaker heights): will glavin be the last 300-game winner in our lifetime?

Stuart Scott: (11:01 AM ET ) I tthink Randy Jophnson has a slim chance, but beyond that, I can't see any more than a lot of middle and late relievers and closers.

I will give you two American Dollars if you can tell me what the hell he’s talking about. I’m not going into the 300 game winner thing….again, but if you read that without guessing at his point it sounds like we’ll mostly see middle relievers and closers winning 300 games. Clearly not his point, but his point wasn’t clear.

joe (jamaica plains): it's tough not to like the Sox getting gagne, but their problem this year seems more hitting than pitching. What do you think?

Stuart Scott: (11:03 AM ET ) I think pitching wins championships. True the Sox aren't hitting, but if Eric is anywhere close near to the 82? saves he had a few years ago, the Sox are in good shape.

I realize that it’s common to put a question mark after something that you’re a little unsure about. But couldn't he take 30 seconds and clarify what he is saying? It sounds like he's saying 82 saves in a season. I realize now that he must mean Gagne's streak of 84 straight saves. But clearly Gagne is not THAT good this year. If he thinks Gagne saved 82 games in a year, that’s like saying; “well if Barry Bonds can put together another 115? Homerun season the Giants will be all set.”

Also, Boston is 5th in the Major Leagues in runs scored. Third since the All-Star break. Last year’s World Series champs were 16th in ERA during the regular season.

laurel (cherry hill nj): Seen the simpsons movie? How do you rate it?

Stuart Scott: (11:09 AM ET ) i've never even watched an episode. Never even 30 seconds of one. Nothing personal, just never got around to it.

This further supports how/why Stuart Scott and myself are the exact opposites in every way.

ariel (frankfurt germany): are you down with the Harry Potter series Stuart--movies or books--

Stuart Scott: (11:20 AM ET ) my oldest daughter is a bifg fan. Soi I haer about them from her. At Holloween, I was Dumbledore even though I didn't really know hwho he was til I did it with beard and cape.

I just left this in so you didn’t think I was exaggerating about typos and him not making sense.

He’s either:

A. On a blackberry
B. He can’t type
C. He’s dictating his answers to someone who doesn’t speak Stuart Scott (credit to Bill Simmons).
D. Booyah!

jerry: We know the Yanks and Sox watch each others moves very carefully, but do you thinik when a team like the Celts trades for a KG, it puts pressure on a team like the Red Sox to make a move as well, b/c of the fans?

Stuart Scott: (11:22 AM ET ) No I think its the other way around . The Sox don't feel pressure, but Boston fans do feel angst about any move any Boston or NY team makes. When the Pats won the first SB, fans ran around NO yelling Yankees suck Yankees suck. There's something wrong there, but they do hav ehelp for those kinds of problems.

I agree that Yankees suck chants are stupid at non-Yankees related events. Like the one we started at a wedding ceremony last month. But, see, Jerry is acknowledging that the Sox and Yankees watch each other, and his question was just about Boston teams watching other Boston teams. Booyah!

Bobby (ohio): do you think griffey can pass bonds?

Stuart Scott: (11:23 AM ET ) no, no way. Junior' s on e of the best players ever, but cmon. It's too late.

Yeah Bobby, what are you….stupid? Booyah!

Randy(Knoxville,TN): Fair point....but if you add a Mark Jackson/Rod Strickland type, and a P.J. Brown type, you likely win 65+ games....even if your bench is weak. Ask MJ if it cant work. Who was Jud Buechler anyway?

Stuart Scott: (11:26 AM ET ) i though you were a Mark Jackson type. That's why I put you in the lineup.

I am on a roll today….take that Randy! Booyah! Doesn’t make sense? What? Well boo-fucking-yah! Did that make sense?

The crazy thing is that Randy’s question was pretty stupid and easy to argue with. Mark Jackson/Rod Strickland types aren’t really available and are expensive if they are, and Jud Buechler was like the 11th man on those Bulls teams. They had much better complementary guards than him.