Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Jon Heyman: 7% Chance That A-Rod Retires or Dies This Off-Season

You may remember John Heyman as the SI writer who was befuddled at the Rockies Vegas odds of 28% to beat the Red Sox in the World Series when he himself gave them an implied 27% chance of beating the Red Sox before the playoffs even started. He changed his pick before the WS to the Rockies winning in 7, and then they were swept. I guess what I’m saying is that this guy is a trainwreck when it comes to numbers. He’s also the guy who made fun of sabermetric stats and then wrote an article about stupid made-up attributes like Fun Factor. This time he’s writing about potential suitors for Alex Rodriguez in the free agent market. The analysis is boring and pretty much common knowledge, but the fun is in the odds that Jon provides that Rodriguez will land with certain teams. Let’s take a look at those odds (I’ve added the percentages):

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: 4-1 – 20%
Boston Red Sox: 6-1 – 14%
San Francisco Giants: 7-1 – 13%
Los Angeles Dodgers: 8-1 – 11%
New York Mets: 10-1 – 9%
Chicago Cubs: 20-1 – 5%
New York Yankees: 25-1 – 4%
Philadelphia Phillies: 30-1 – 3%
The Rest of the Field: 6-1 – 14%

Total: 93%

I see. Since there are 30 teams in MLB, Heyman basically thinks the Yankees odds are about equal to those of the average MLB team and there is really no point in separating out the Phillies at all. Also, the Angels are 5 times more likely to sign A-Rod than the Yankees. I guess what I’m saying is, bad blood and all, I would have had the Yankees a little higher since they are one of a handful of teams that can afford him and have shown a willingness to shell out for expensive players.

I suppose that last 7% is Heyman's sneaky way of saying that maybe no one will pony up for A-Rod. But I think he would have told us that.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Yup, That’s the Only Reason

From Bill Simmons’ mailbag today. The underline is mine.

Q: Is it just me or does Manny not like keeping his batting helmet on when he is running the bases? Pretty sure I just saw him toss his helmet off before trotting into third and almost getting thrown out for overtrotting the base.--Steve, Madison, Wis.

SG: Funny you should mention this. I had the following conversation with my Dad during Game 2:

ME: You notice how Manny always flips his helmet off every time he runs the bases? He does it every time now.

DAD: Yeah, so?

ME: Well, why would you wear a batting helmet if you're going to flip it off every time you have to run? Isn't the whole point of the batting helmet to give protection and keep you from getting hit in the head by a ball on a close slide? Why wear the helmet at all? Why not just wear a cap?

DAD (thinking): Wait, why are you asking me this? It's Manny Ramirez! I'm supposed to explain something strange Manny Ramirez does??? He's Manny Ramirez!

Ha! That's true... it is Manny! Manny being Manny! So funny!

He also may wear a batting helmet so that, oh I don’t know, he doesn’t DIE if the ball hits him in the head while he’s at bat. He flips it off sometimes because it can bounce all over the place, mostly forward and over his eyes. Was that hard?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bill Simmons Has Good Memory, Part III

Bill Simmons’ latest column is a prediction of who will win the NBA title this year. Here are some excerpts:

If you aren't picking the Spurs to take the 2008 NBA title, your reasoning is simple: They won last year.

You don't care that the Spurs have the best player, best coach and most experience. You don't care that they play so beautifully together, that they didn't lose anyone who matters from last season's team, that they went basically unchallenged last spring except for a brief moment in their series with the Suns. You don't care that no other potential contenders improved except Houston, Boston and maybe Chicago. The Spurs won last season, which means they can't win this season. That's the logic.

Who’s Logic? Since (and including) the 1987-88 Lakers, there have been 6 repeat champions (3 of them were three-peats). I could see that logic in baseball, maybe, but no one carries that thinking into the NBA. I haven't heard of anyone not picking the Spurs because they won last year.

So the Spurs are the only logical pick ... unless you're banking on history, the third -- and best -- approach to choosing an NBA champ. For years now, it has been nearly impossible to repeat without a player like MJ or Magic leading the way.

History suggests that it’s unlikely for the Spurs to repeat? What??? Sure you need Jordan or Magic…..or Isiah Thomas (1989-1990) or Hakeem Olajuwon (1994-1995) or Shaquille O’Neal (2000-2002). Are you saying that Tim Duncan isn’t in that class? I don’t think that’s what you’re saying, but you’re not making sense. Are you saying that the rest of us don’t think he is, and that's why we're not picking them to repeat? I mean, they clearly are not a one and done champion, historically, because they've won a bunch of championships lately.

Even in a diluted league, the Spurs have won only in alternate years -- 2003, 2005 and 2007, although they came damned close in 2004, the year of Derek Fisher's miracle shot, and 2006, the year of Dirk's three-point play. You need to stay healthy and hungry, need a little luck, need your dominant player to be just that, need to avoid the pitfalls that come with success.

So it sounds like you’re saying they were sort of unlucky not to repeat. Why are you saying that “the logic” of so many is that they can’t repeat? This all makes zero sense.

In his book "Showtime," Pat Riley unveiled "the disease of more" and argued that "success is often the first step toward disaster." According to Riley, after the 1980 Lakers won, everyone shifted into a more selfish mode. They had sublimated their respective games to win as a group; now they wanted to reap the rewards as individuals, even if those rewards meant having to spend way too much time at Jack Nicholson's house. Everyone wanted more money, playing time and recognition. Eventually they lost perspective and stopped doing the little things that make teams win and keep winning, eventually imploding in the first round of the postseason. So much for defending the title.

And here is where his memory fails. After the 80’s Lakers last championship, a repeat in 1988, these were their playoff exits:

1989 – Lost in Finals
1990 (Kareem now retired) – Lost in Conference Semi-Finals
1991 (Mike Dunleavy now coach) – Lost in Finals
1992 (Magic Johnson now retired) – Lost in first round

So yes, Riley’s Lakers really showed their loss of perspective and lack of doing the little things by losing in the first round…..after Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had retired and while Pat Riley wasn’t coaching the team anymore. The Lakers top 3 scorers in 1991-92 were James Worthy, Sam Perkins, and Sedale Threatt. Of course we all know it was always more more more with Sedale Threatt.

Update: I read this wrong, see comments.

Which makes me wonder how TD and the Spurs get psyched for another 100-game grind. How do they keep tapping into that hunger when it's already been sated? The Bulls never let up because MJ wouldn't let them. Boston never let up because Russell wouldn't let them. What's driving the Spurs? Duncan and Popovich love winning, but they aren't puking before big games like Russell did, and they certainly aren't suffering from Jordan's severe competitive disorder (we learned this for sure in 2004 and 2006).

True, they don’t have Michael Jordan or Bill Russell. But I don’t know, maybe they do it the same way that Magic’s Lakers, Isiah’s Pistons, Hakeem’s Rockets and Shaq’s Lakers did it?

I realize Simmons didn’t forget about all these repeat championships, but he’s acting like his readers must have. He tells us why we’re not picking the Spurs because we think they can’t repeat, and that this particular line of thinking is wrong. Then he's telling us why it will be so hard for them to repeat. Ignoring the fact that repeat champions in the NBA has been fairly common for the last 20 years.

Stuart Scott's Bad Decisions Would Include Jason Giambi Pitching

From today’s chat:

Lane (Kukuihaele, HI): If you were to manage the Yankees next season could you win 100 games?

Stuart Scott: (4:22 PM ET ) No. I'm not abaseball manager, don't even play one on TV. I fI said yes I'd be disrespecting every manager. They have jobs for a reason. Other people can't do them. Joe couldn't do a flawless hour on SportsCenter.

Stuart Scott: (4:22 PM ET ) If I amange Yanks my bad dec Arod would hit .160, Jeter would be catching, Giambi pitching...hint for all armchair people who think you could...you can't.

I can’t. I agree. He's kidding, obviously, but what the fuck?

Also, Pam(Princeton), can you get off his dick?

Pam(Princeton): Stu, I find men who love hanging out with their daughters very sexy

Stuart Scott: (4:30 PM ET ) Not really what I was after, but I'm flattered, thank you.

Remember this post from mid-August?

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

Can someone out there get Pam in Princeton a fucking date?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Two Minus Three Equals Negative FUN!

More fun with numbers, this time courtesy of Jon Heyman at CNNSI. You no doubt remember this post where I linked to Jon Heyman’s playoff preview. Well as part of his playoff preview, Heyman provided his odds that each team would win the World Series. Now, hang in there, but I’ve dropped those odds into Excel, and computed the % likelihood that is implicit with the applicable odds.

Yankees - 5 to 2 - 28.6%
Red Sox - 3 to 1 - 25.0%
Diamondbacks - 5 to 1 - 16.7%
Rockies - 10 to 1 - 9.1%
Phillies - 11 to 1 - 8.3%
Angels - 12 to 1 - 7.7%
Indians - 15 to 1 - 6.3%
Cubs - 25 to 1 - 3.8%

You’ll notice the following:

- The combined odds exceed 100% (105.5%), which I realized when I posted earlier but didn't think it was worth noting (though it is retarded).
- The Red Sox odds imply that Heyman thought they were 2.75 times more likely than the Rockies to win.

Why is this relevant you ask? Well in today’s daily scoop, Heyman noted the following:

Baseball is filled with number crunchers, sabermetricians and stat geeks. So can someone please explain to me why the bookmakers have installed the Red Sox as 2½-to-1 favorites over the red-hot Rockies in the 103rd World Series? I just don't get it. The numbers don't compute.

They've played .950 baseball over the last month. Yet the oddsmakers are saying that they have only a 28 percent chance to win the Series.

If you now focus only on the odds that Heyman gave for the Red Sox and Rockies earlier, the total percentage is 34.1% that either of them will win. The Rockies’ percentage of that? 27% (The Red Sox = 73%)

So there you go Jon, I'm not a sabermetrician and I really don't consider myself a stat geek, but I've explained it to you using your own numbers.

Now, I get that Heyman may have given different odds if you asked him who would win a head to head series. But if he did it right, I'm not sure he should have to.

Update: I just noticed that at the end of the preview Heyman had changed his tune and said the following: Conclusion: I see Rocktober spilling into Rockvember, and Colorado winning in 7. So apparently the Rockies chances (in comparison to the Red Sox only) have about doubled in Heyman's mind, while the Red Sox have gone down about a third.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Gregg Easterbrook Is Still Very Wordy

In this week's TMQ, Gregg Easterbrook spends 1,800 words on the Patriots being evil. This isn’t written in the guise of comedy or to be witty or something. Since GGAS recently moved our offices to New England, I’ll put this out there in the interest of full disclosure; I root for New England teams. Now I’ll balance that out with this: I’m not really an NFL fan. I enjoy watching the Patriots because they are good, not because they are “my team”, because they are not. Now, much of TMQ is essentially calling Bill Belichick and Tom Brady classless assholes who were running up the score against the Dolphins on Sunday and have been the NFL embodiment (on the field and off) of evil, while the Colts (specifically Dungy and Manning) represent all that is good. I have nothing against Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning, but I just think Easterbrook's entire premise and arguments against the Patriots is silly.

To address the accusation of running up the score in yesterdays win against the Dolphins, he spends a lot of time on the logistics of the plays that were called to support his claims. Personally, I don’t give a shit if they were, but is it really a big issue today? It’s not like it was 63-0 and they continued to try to score. It just seems like a non-issue when you consider it was 42-7 at halftime and the final was 49-28. I mean, I got to think they’d be a little better about running up the score than to be outscored 21-7 in the second half.

It also makes little sense when you consider one of his “stats of the week:”

Stat of the Week No. 2: At one point, Tennessee led Houston 32-7 and held a 311-34 advantage in offensive yards, yet the Titans ended up needing a field goal on the final snap to win.

Look, the Patriots had a massive lead at halftime, and the odds of the Dolphins coming back were slim, but come-backs do happen. I think if Matt Cassel didn't get picked and the Dolphins weren't putting points on the board he would have finished off the game. Get over it. Oh no wait, write 1,800 words about it. Yeah, that makes more sense.

I’ll try to parse out some specific items that I thought were a little over the top/unfair.

Their coach, Tony Dungy, smiles in public and answers honestly whatever he is asked: He never yells at players or grimaces at bad plays and, when defeated, doesn't act as though it's the end of the world.

Okay, so that’s the mark of a “good” coach. So Red Auerbach, who yelled at his players on the court…he’s evil? Bobby Knight? That guy must be the devil. Doesn’t Peyton Manning yell at people from time to time and even (gasp) grimace after a bad play? Is this worth our time? Did Vince Lombardi, the man credited with “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing” act like it was the end of the world when he lost (sounds like it)? These are rhetorical questions that I realize don’t directly address his point, that Tony Dungy is the embodiment of “good”, but is the antithesis of these acts really the embodiment of “evil”. That’s stupid.

The team has three Super Bowl triumphs, yet its players regularly whine about not being revered enough.

I honestly have to disagree. Other than the standard locker room fare that teams use to search for motivation (‘the other team is favored to win’ kind of stuff), I have never heard the mainstays on these Patriots teams (or the new players, since they joined the Patriots) whining about not being revered enough. If there are examples, then I’ll admit I’m wrong, because I’m not soaking up a ton of NFL media. But don’t say “regularly” without giving me one example.

The team's star, Tom Brady, is a smirking sybarite who dates actresses and supermodels but whose public charity appearances are infrequent. That constant smirk on Brady's face reminds one of Dick Cheney; people who smirk are fairly broadcasting the message, "I'm hiding something."

This is a very petty attack on Tom Brady. Let’s review:

Smirking sybarite:

Okay, I had to look up the word sybarite because I’m not as smart as Gregg Easterbrook, but dictionary.com defines it as the following: a person devoted to luxury and pleasure.

So we’re making an attack on Tom Brady for smirking - which implies that he’s going out of his way to put on a negative vibe - and apparently liking luxury and pleasure. What-fucking-ever man. I recommend you not study Tom Brady’s face so much.

Dates actresses and supermodels

So? Is that evil? What if he dated cheerleaders like the ones you pretend to like and post all over TMQ, to compensate for the fact that you are kind of a dork? Check it out! I like chicks too!

..but whose public charity appearances are infrequent.

True, Brady’s ratio of supermodels dated to charitable donations is pretty low. Evil!

That constant smirk on Brady's face reminds one of Dick Cheney; people who smirk are fairly broadcasting the message, "I'm hiding something."

What the fuck are you talking about? This is very irresponsible ad-hominem attacks in the name of being righteous. You can’t say “he smirks” and then leap to “he’s dishonest”. Gregg, your writing REAKS of pomposity and arrogance. That tells me that you’re an asshole. Is that fair?

The TMQ loves rhetorical questions. Let’s answer a few.

The New England players still might suffer some long-term harm from the cheating, though: Given the image New England is projecting, would you want Patriots' players endorsing your product?

I don’t think Tom Brady will have any trouble getting endorsements because of Belichick’s taping scandal. I see Patriots players advertising all sorts of shit in New England, and there really aren’t that many NFL stars involved in national ads, but Brady is one of them. So that’s bunk.

But if the Patriots are unfairly maligned, why the whole screw-you act they are staging?

If you were unfairly maligned, wouldn’t your mentality be of the “screw-you” variety? Mine would be. I peg you as saying:

Gregg: "I'm being unfairly maligned, but please please see that my heart is pure, and look at the ass on that one!"
Me: Gregg that's a man
Gregg: I like naked women!
Me: Sure.

If the Patriots were unfairly maligned, they'd be trying hard to convince us their hearts are pure, and that distinctly is not what they are doing.

Woah woah woah. Hearts are pure? Man I was kidding about that shit (okay I cheated). No, if a team is accused of cheating, they don’t then go out and play and try to barely win, but in a “our hearts are pure” kind of way. No. They try to win in a way that says, “do you see any cheating now, while I’m kicking your ass?” This is pretty simple.

But if the Patriots are so awesome they don't need to cheat, then why were they cheating in Week 1? The whole situation remains creepy. Should New England continue on and win the Super Bowl without a major attitude shift toward nice-guy behavior -- and should the year end without the NFL's ever explaining what New England evidence it destroyed or why -- there could be a huge amount of cynicism about this NFL season. Cynicism doesn't sell a sports product, nor is it what the NFL should be marketing to the young.

This is a great example of how Easterbrook can, in a passive way, make incredible leaps in logic that just make little sense. It’s a pretty innocent little set of sentences, but the statement that he’s making is pretty grandiose. I’ll just chime in and say that there won’t be a huge amount of cynicism if things play out with the Patriots winning the Super Bowl, for precisely the reason why you are wrote those 1,800 words. They are kicking everyone’s ass, and letting it be known that they are the better team, regardless of what your opinions of them and the taping scandal are. I’m not sure why this is so difficult to understand.

This entire post is less than 1,400 words - he wrote 1,800 about the Patriots being evil. That's a little obsessive.

Mike Freeman, You’re a Badass Motherfucker

Seriously, if you want comedy gold and topical observations, then your man is Mike Freeman at CBS Sportsline. Let’s look at a snapshot from his column on the Indians losing 3 in a row to the Red Sox. Imagine that! Losing three games in a row! These lines appear in this order with no breaks.

Nice performance, Cleveland.

That doesn’t make sense, you say? Because they lost? Well that’s a little fucking trick we in the writing biz (okay, I’m not a writer) call sarcasm. Look it up, then maybe you can start to hang with us.

What's the matter? Couldn't get a fresh supply of HGH in time for Games 6 and 7?

Bam! Wait, not enough.

BAM! Did you see the news this weekend? HGH, bitches. Mike is on top of this shit.

There's still time to hire Joe Torre, you know.

Ooooooooooohh fuck-ing snap! Joe Torre! The ex-manager of the Yankees! Oh I think HE’S been in the newspapers a lot lately!

Or a new BALCO chemist.

(I’m just dancing now, talk amongst yourselves for seventeen minutes).

If you're looking for the Indians to get a swell pat on the back for a golly-good effort, this is not the place.

Because this is Freeman-land, so you will be ridiculed. Strap yourselves in, Cleveland Bitchdians.

This shouldn't have happened. The Indians had the Red Sox in their mitts and lost. They had them. It was this close.

For about 30 seconds.

This wasn’t THAT close. I mean, this wasn’t 2004 or anything. Cleveland never had a lead in games 5-7.

Then Cleveland quit. There's no other way to say this. That's what they did. They flat out gave up.

Well we all saw that, didn’t we. They weren’t even trying. No other way to say it. They were trying in game 2, when they won in extra innings. They were trying in game 4, when they maybe really won because Tim Wakefield failed to field a ball or even to miss a ball so it could be fielded during Cleveland's one seven-run inning (the only inning they scored in). If that ball is fielded by Wakefield or someone else, it’s a likely double play and the Red Sox are leading by the bottom of the inning (Delcarmen doesn't come in to serve up the three run homer to Peralta). But in game 4, the Indians were trying, so Wakefield just stabbed at the ball and all runners were safe. Mike says, “there’s no other way to say this.” I honestly think the only thing you can’t say is that the Indians just gave up, because that's just lazy, terrible, stupid, retarded, fucked-up analysis. I think you can point to a combination of the following:

- Regression to the mean for certain Red Sox hitters
- Bad-luck in games 5-7
- Good-luck in games 2-4
- Red Sox good luck in games 5-7
- Red Sox bad luck in games 2-4
- Josh Beckett pitched well in game 5
- Fausto Carmona and CC Sabathia couldn’t throw strikes (but they were trying to)
- Lack of home field advantage

Plus like a thousand other things. But not 'C.C. Sabathia did not try'. I don't think that's giving either team enough credit, really.

This was as painful an unraveling amid a comedy of errors as you will ever see in any sport.
In the end, as it turns out, the Indians were lucky to make this a seven-game series. In the division series, they were aided by a swarm of bugs and a pitcher on HGH. Suddenly the bugs and HGH and luck all ran out.

So now the Indians beat the Yankees because of the bugs (that they had to deal with too) and the fact that Paul Byrd has used HGH. HGH doesn’t make those 85 MPH pitches more difficult to hit.

They Indians turned J.D. Drew into a hero. That's how bad this was for Cleveland.

Because we KNOW that J.D. Drew couldn’t have hit a home run all by himself. In fact, I’m not going to look this up but I bet he’s never hit a home run against non-Indians pitching in his career.

Losing three consecutive ALCS games is an embarrassment this franchise might not live down for years.

So, by that rationale, the Diamondbacks are screwed, because they lost 4 in a row in the LCS. What about those ’04 Cardinals, swept in the World Series! They’ll never be back! I personally would be more psychologically damaged by getting my ass kicked/swept then by losing in 7 games.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Colin Cowherd, No.

Today Colin Cowherd argued that Curt Schilling was worth the money he was asking for because (paraphrased) – “Schilling has a couple of years left of being good in the postseason. If he gets you to another series in the postseason... if he gets you to the World Series, and that’s 4 more games at home in the World Series, and that’s make about $10-12 million in revenue. Schilling pays for himself getting you to one more series!”

“If he can get you 4 more games at home, that’s a $15 million windfall! Schilling pays for himself.”

Where do you start with that? I would probably mention one of the following:

- The regular season. One hundred and sixty two games, folks.
- Beckett, Papelbon, Ortiz, Ramirez, etc. also play a small role in getting you to the World Series.
- The concept of “opportunity cost”
- Lower cost alternatives coming up – Lester/Buchholz
- Maybe pitching shitty in game 2 didn’t help get the Red Sox to the World Series.
- Schilling has been fading quite a bit over the last couple years and doesn’t show the ability to be a frontline starter for long stretches anymore.
- How baseball works

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Breaking News on Joe Torre

Courtesy of Jon Heyman at CNNSI.

• At least Joe Torre isn't waiting by the phone. Someone must be following him because he's been reported to be at a race track and various restaurants lately. Anyway, glad to see he's getting out.

Hmmmm this needs to be parsed – too much going on.

At least Joe Torre isn't waiting by the phone.

I see. Because people actually wait by phones in 2007, right? Instead of, I don’t know, carrying them everywhere.

Someone must be following him because he's been reported to be at a race track and various restaurants lately.

Jon, your first little test of who this mysterious “someone” who “must be” following him is would be to determine where you go this juicy little piece of gossip.

Anyway, glad to see he's getting out.

Right. Right, me too. I’m worried about all multi-millionaire baseball managers who are no longer alive in the playoffs that have expired contracts. Has anyone checked on Tony LaRussa lately? I haven’t heard about him going out to eat. Are we sure John McLaren’s not waiting by the phone with a loaded .38?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Rockies = Baseball Team

I’ve been wondering if the Rockies’ streak is going to spawn of any crazy columns about how they’ve been able to perform at such a high level. This column by Tracy Ringolsby at Foxsports.com wasn’t that bad, but I’ll just comment on a few paragraphs.

When the Yankees were running off four consecutive world championships, there was doom and gloom. Teams became convinced that baseball had fallen victim to the Golden Rule — he who has the gold is going to rule.

The Yankees last won 4 consecutive world championships during the period of 1949-1953, when they won 5 in a row. Tracy’s going way back for his/her analysis!

What’s that, oh, Tracy screwed up. So the Yankees won 4 out of five from 1996-2000 because they spent the most? I disagree. I think they had good homegrown players along with solid veterans. They did not have quite the roster of high priced all-stars like the ’01-’07 Yankees.

Then the simplistic work of "Moneyball" was published, taking a shallow view of the complex approach Billy Beane had taken to having success on a moderate budget in Oakland, and suddenly front offices were being filled with guys wearing pocket protectors.

I’m sooo tired of reading about Moneyball. Tracy calls Moneyball “simplistic.” I would love to hear Tracy’s thoughts on Moneyball. I wonder if it’s along the lines of “Moneyball baseball is all about walking and not running fast.” Of course, Moneyball is simplistic, but that doesn’t prevent 7 out of 10 baseball writers from butchering the meaning.

Now, maybe, the game is going to get back to its roots.

Like, back to when the Yankees last won 4 straight championships, in 1953?

Now, maybe, some owners will realize that for all the efforts to find new and improved versions, round is the best shape for a tire, and a home-grown product is the best method for success in baseball.

This is why I disagreed with your first statement. The Yankees of 1996-2000 were primarily, if anything, a team built on homegrown stars. Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, and Bernie Williams comprised the core of many of those teams. Guys like Paul O’Neill, Tino Martinez, Jimmy Key, etc. were hardly your typical all-stars who were just bought for extreme amounts of money because the Yankees outbid everyone for them (like, later, Jason Giambi and Mike Mussina were).

The rest of the column is about the amazing streak the Rockies are on. I’ll just leave you with this bit of wisdom from Tracy.

"This is unbelievable, amazing," said honorary NL President Bill Giles, former president of the Phillies and son of long-time exec Warren C. Giles, for whom the NL Championship trophy is named. "The Rockies have done something no other team in baseball history has done. It is absolutely amazing."

And they did it as a team.

Right on! Go teamwork! Unlike all those other good baseball teams who haven’t done it as a team. Did you know the 2003 Marlins were never actually on the field at the same time? They filmed those World Series games with a blue screen, kind of like how actors can have scenes with people who aren’t there and they can layer it together later. Each guy just did his thing and they later edited to make it look like a team. Originally, when Josh Beckett was pitching, the ball was actually caught by former major league Butch Wynegar and later Ivan Rodriguez caught the ball as thrown by former major leaguer Tom Niedenfuer. The rest was Hollywood magic. That’s how ex-players earn their pension checks. Manny Ramirez wasn’t even in the continental US during the ’04 series. That was George Bell. Some team that was!

See Mike Freeman and Scott Miller, I can make jokes that aren’t funny and make no sense too.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Won’t Somebody Think of the Children!

In the interest of keeping the topics on this blog nice and fresh, I’ve asked Mike Freeman of CBS Sportsline to write about a new, interesting topic that’s not discussed every year during the NBA and MLB playoffs. Take it away Mike!

Mike: Sure, here goes!

MLB playoffs? Great action, but it's past our bedtime


If these postseason baseball games go any later into the night they'll have to be simulcast on Cinemax.

Why? That doesn’t make any sense. Oh I know, so you can make a follow-up joke….

Sandwiched between Cheerleader Diaries 7 and Emmanuelle in London.

LOL. Let’s skip down to where Mike gets to his point.

A question for Major League Baseball: Have you ever heard of the word "afternoon"?

His point is to write the same column often written about the poor East coast fans, especially the kids, who can’t watch anything on TV that starts at 8 or 9. I’ve heard this blamed as the reason why MLB and NBA have, in the past, lost fans (ratings going down).

The playoffs have been surprisingly good, and the sport is healthy and vital. Commissioner Bud Selig has won over even the harshest of critics, proving to be a skilled and deft leader after initially being a stumbling clown.

What the fuck has Bud Selig done to be called a “skilled and deft leader”? The baseball is good. Bud Selig isn’t the one playing.

But these late games are where baseball continues to go grossly wrong. Not only do you lose hardcore baseball fans for the sake of corporate cash because people, you know, work and all. Worse than that is the self-inflicted damage baseball is doing to its future.

That second sentence sums up my frustration with this general point. People DO work, which is why you should have games on at prime-time on the East coast. How does starting the game at 5 or 6 East coast time help those working on the West Coast take in the game? Sure, the East coast kids get to see – but should we tailor the entire postseason schedule around 5-12 year-olds on the East coast? There is no perfect balance here. 7-8 PM EST makes the most sense to me.

One of the big reasons the NFL overtook baseball is because football respected its young fans. The bulk of pro football games are played at times when kids can put on their team's jersey and watch the game with Mom and Dad.

Mike, what do all but 1 of this week’s NFL football games have in common? Got it yet? They were played on Sunday! The NFL, when it plays during the week, NEVER plays during the afternoon.

That's how you build a young viewership that remains loyal for decades. You allow kids that are five, eight, 10, 15 years old to watch your games. Seems pretty simple.

Fuck that. I get home from work between 6:30 and 8. I don’t care if little 5 year old Timmy down the street gets to watch the rest of the playoff game.

Even the NFL's late games Sunday and Monday night end at a somewhat manageable hour. Most of football's postseason contests begin in the afternoon; the Super Bowl starts during the dinner hour.

No, sorry, the late games don’t end at a manageable hour for a kid with a normal bedtime. I don’t think you can compare the NFL to MLB in this situation, because, again, they play mostly on weekends. Their Monday night games end late – between 11:30 and midnight. 5-15 year olds aren’t watching that. The Super Bowl is on Sunday. Sundays are different. How many times does this need to be said?

You see, baseball has yet to grasp the concept that you can be greedy corporate bastards and still somewhat serve the fans. The NFL does it every day.

No, they do it on Sunday and Monday. Monday’s game is on at prime-time in the East.

Baseball isn't just greedy; baseball is stubborn and thick-headed. That's a bad combination.

The steps baseball can take to fix this problem are simple. They're so simple baseball needs to be slapped upside the head for not doing them.

First, play every game in the afternoon, particularly Sunday, the day before the work week starts. Sure, baseball will be competing against the NFL, but it does now anyway. Earlier games make fans happy, and that will pay dividends decades in the future.

No, this doesn’t work. If you play every game in the afternoon, then the kids are at school/sports on the West Coast, the parents on the West Coast are at work, and the East Coast parents are working/just getting home for the end. So the only people that benefit are the kids on the East Coast who don’t play any after school sports. See how this makes no sense?

It also makes zero business sense. So, yeah, let's piss off millions of fans and make less money so the East coast kids can watch!

Second, no game should start later than 6 p.m. ET. Baseball maintains this will hurt West Coast fans, but trust me: They'll find a way to watch in California, dude. My Eastern bias might be showing, but the remainder of the country is better served by earlier starts.

Your Eastern bias is showing a tad, dude. Actually, the entire country, EXCEPT the east coast, is not better served by (somewhat) earlier starts. Afternoon starts make no sense….anywhere.

If baseball continues down the path of its games ending so late, they'll bleed young fans forever.

I would like to bet Mike Freeman eleventy-seventy gillian dollars that baseball will not “bleed young fans” just because the playoffs start during prime time on the East coast. I would also bet that ratings would be murdered if games started in the afternoon, during the week, as he suggested. It’s not like they recently started the current TV schedule, they’ve been doing it for a long time, and baseball seems pretty popular to me….even with the poor children. If Mike was right then we would be seeing a disproportionate amount of baseball fans on the West Coast. Does that seem to be the case? Nope.

Cinemax, anyone?

Still makes no sense.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Scott Miller Is Still Working on His Material

Scott Miller at CBS sportsline is still pounding away the jokes. You may remember this post, where I implored him to be a little bit more economical with is material, because it’s repetitive and sucky. No dice. Let’s take a look at some of his review of the ALCS game 1 from Friday night.

How about next time C.C. Sabathia simply hands over his lunch money to Manny Ramirez before the trouble starts?

Manny Ramirez owns C.C. Sabathia, as the numbers show (Miller give us these numbers, Ramirez is hitting .609 lifetime against Sabathia).

What happened after school at the bus stop between the neighborhood bully and the neighborhood shrimp was civil in comparison.

Got it. As John Kerry would say, Manny Ortiz has been dominating.

And oh, while he's at it, Sabathia might want to just present David Ortiz with the keys to his Hummer, or whatever ride he's cruising around in now.

Is everyone on board with Scott’s line of humor now? Don't worry, he'll drive this home for you more than Ramirez and Ortiz crossed home last night! Ding!

Probably, genuflecting in front of the both of them is out of the question. But it sure merits consideration.

Fuck you.

I think before game 2, Fausto Carmona should just blow Manny Ramirez!

Okay that was mine.

Here we were at the much-anticipated pitching showdown between two of the top American League Cy Young candidates in Game 1 here Friday night, and a Josh Beckett hoedown broke out. Or mow down. As Beckett soared, Sabathia was gored.

Somewhere in Los Angeles, Bill Plaschke just wiped a single tear off his cheek while he read this. “Such poetry!” he proclaimed. Then he chastised Miller for having three sentences in a paragraph. One and done, that’s his motto.

Or before Manny and Big Papi swipe their wallets and wedding rings, too.

Is everyone up to speed? Manny and Big Papi are hitting real good. We have numbers to support this, but that’s not enough color, right? So we need Scott Miller, in the same column, saying that the Indians/Sabathia should just hand over lunch money, keys to a Hummer, wallets and wedding rings, then bow in admiration. Can’t numbers just say this much more effectively.

Actually, let’s look at the numbers. No jokes here, but the numbers are insane, so I had to leave them in there.

And the two of them together? This postseason, Ortiz has reached base in 16 of 18 plate appearances, and Ramirez has reached in 13 of 18 plate appearances.

Together, they've reached in 29 of 36 plate appearances, going 12-for-19 (.805 on-base percentage) with 16 walks, one hit batter (Ortiz) and 12 runs scored. It's ludicrous.

Those numbers are ludicrous, and they speak for themselves.

"I've never seen anything like it," Boston third baseman Mike Lowell said.

"That's kind of extreme," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said.

"Would you like some fries with all those shakes?" said the Indians.

Yes, those three quotes appear in order. I’ve read this joke like 50 times and I can’t figure out what it means.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Fun With Numbers, Mark Kriegel Edition

Mark Kriegel of Foxsports has come to the original thought that the current day Red Sox aren’t all that different from the Yankees. What with the sprawled out fan base and massive payrolls. Welcome to the party pal.

He talks about salary gaps and ownership and whatnot, and ends with this stupid point:

Do the math. Add the salaries of C.C. Sabathia, Fausto Carmona, Grady Sizemore, Franklin Guttierrez, Jhonny Peralta, Chris Gomez, Rafael Betancourt, Rafael Perez and Ryan Garko.
Now what do you have?

About a half million less than J.D. Drew.

Do the math. Add the salaries of Hideki Okajima (all-star), Jonathan Papelbon (arguable best closer in baseball), Kevin Youkilis (greek god of walks), Jon Lester, and Dustin Pedroia (likely ROY).

Now what do you have?

Less than the Indians are paying fourth outfielder Trot Nixon.

If I wanted to get real cute I could throw future ace Clay “no-hitter in my second ML start” Buchholz and Jacoby Ellsbury in there and move up from Nixon to Casey Blake or Joe Borowski, with plenty of room to spare.

So what point did Kriegel make? Young players, who have not hit free agency, are cheap. So the Red Sox spend a lot, like the Yankees, and players are cheap before you have to start paying market value for them. Thanks for wasting my time, Mark Kriegel.

Bill Simmons Has a Good Memory, Part 2

I’m not going to go into Bill Simmons’ mailbag in a tremendous amount of detail, because FireJayMariotti beat me to it. But sometimes Bill likes to just selectively remember how shit went down in the past. He’s usually good at it, but sometimes he’s just way off. So off that even a quick read of his work makes me say, “what the fuck?”

So, Bill, what the fuck?

On the subject of Joe Borowski:

Can you win a World Series with a closer who makes the '96 John Wetteland look like Eric Gagne during his 84-save streak?

The implication, clearly, is that Borowski sucks so much he made a not-so-good closer look like Eric Gagne when Gagne was unreal. To me he has to be implying that Wetteland was not that good, or was even just average, because otherwise this makes no sense. You wouldn’t say, “he made Roger Clemens of ’97 look like Pedro Martinez of ’00!” That doesn’t make any sense.

John Wetteland:

1996 Regular Season: 63 innings, 69 K’s, 2.83 ERA, 179 ERA+.
1996 Playoffs: 12 1/3 innings, 15 K’s, 2.23 ERA, 7 saves, 4 World Series Saves, World Series MVP.

For what it's worth, he was also named Rolaids Reliever of the Decade for the 90’s. Yeah that guy sucked!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

New Hitting Metric – Run Production Pop

Sorry, but my memory sort of sucks….so this is paraphrased. Last night during the Red Sox-Angeles game I remember one of the TBS announcers saying something to the effect of:

Julio Lugo had 73 RBI’s this year. So the Red Sox have some good pop at the bottom of this lineup. Not home run pop, but run production pop.

I would love to have heard Steve Stone or Ted Robinson (who ever said it), define what that means to me.

Him: blah blah run production pop
Me: What the fuck does that mean?
Him: Well it means that he doesn’t hit home runs, but he has a good sense of when to drive in runs.
Me: Doesn’t he just try to get a hit every at bat, unless he’s making a concerted effort to move a runner by hitting to a certain side or to sacrifice bunt or something? But, like 90+% of the time, he’s just trying to get a hit, regardless of if runners are on base.
Him: But he has a good sense of the situation, and he focuses better with runners on base.
Me: Okay, good point. Thanks for your time.

I’m not very confrontational.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Yo New York Post Don’t Brag or Boast

On the recommendation of The Big Lead I read a brief write-up of the Anucha Browne Sanders trainwreck by Andrea Peyser of the New York Post. The title: “Brave Lady Sends Message”. Alrighty. It was pretty not good as TBL pointed out. I just liked some of the quotes, particularly this surprising question/answer.

So I asked Anucha - did she ever regret it? If she had to do it over again, would she take a drink, rather than sue Knick coach Isiah Thomas and Madison Square Garden for sexual harassment?

She did not hesitate.


Really? Given that you asked her this after the judgment, and her options (in hindsight) are as follows:

A. Sue and win over $11 million.
B. Put up with working with terrible, belligerent, tyrannical assholes.
C. Finding another job (probably) for a lot less money
D. “Take a drink” with Isiah Thomas and try to work out their issues. After Thomas and MSG dragged her through some mud during the trial.

I would think A is the choice. But good thing you asked the question, to make sure.

By the way Bill Simmons had a great summary of the trial (pre verdict) here.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Is Jon Heyman Kidding?

Jon Heyman has written a playoff preview (here), that actually included this line:

Boston has lorded over the Angels in the postseason (remember Dave Henderson?).

Yeah, I do. I was nine. I also remember how I had an Ellis Burks Starting Lineup figure that was actually Dave Henderson’s face. What’s your point?

Don’t you think the 2004 playoffs are more relevant to this little analysis?

Trick question, they both mean jack shit. It still would have made more sense though.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Fun With Numbers

In addition to the “Holliday” puns that FireJayMariotti pointed out, I had one small observation with Michael Knisley’s write-up of the Rockies/Padres game.

Holliday's triple in the bottom of the 13th was his second hit of the long night, and clinched the 2007 NL batting championship. He finished with an average of .3396226, slightly better than Chipper Jones’ .3372319; and he finished, too, as the league's top run producer with 137 RBIs.

Is there a need to bring that out to 4 additional decimals? To me, when that third number is different, you’re done.

The AL race was not as tight, as shown below:
1. Magglio Ordonez – .363025210084034
2. Ichiro Suzuki - .351032448377581