Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mike Bauman Has The Memory of That Guy in Memento

Mike Bauman over at has a revelation about this year’s baseball award winners in his column “Awards season is all about what’s new”. What’s new? The stars of baseball. Who knew of these new guys before this year? C.C. Sabathia? Jake Peavy? Who are these characters and what have you done with Pedro Martinez and Roger Clemens!

Looking for a theme in the 2007 individual baseball awards? Look no further than newness.

Of the six major awards as voted upon by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, five went to first-time winners. And in fact, some of these races were dominated by several players who were relatively new to this sort of prominence. That is good news for the grand old game.

This is much different than in 2006, when five awards went to new winners. Or in 2005, when 5 awards went to new winners. Hooray newness!

6 Awards includes two rookies of the year – so I won’t address them. One race that was dominated was the NL Cy Young award, won by Jake Peavy, who beat out last year’s winner Brandon Webb. Peavy has been a presence, if not with the award voters, with MLB fans, since he won the ERA title 4 seasons ago. Also, that new character named Alex Rodriguez dominated the voting in winning his third AL MVP. In the AL CY race, we have CC Sabathia, Josh Beckett and John Lackey as the top 3. Really? These are new names? Jimmy Rollins won the NL MVP in the most heavily disputed vote of the year. But the top 10 was Rollins, Matt Holliday, Prince Fielder, David Wright, Ryan Howard (last year’s winner), Chipper Jones (’99 winner), Peavy, Chase Utley, and Albert Pujols (’05 winner). I may not be a big enough baseball fan to write for, but are those really new names? There are 3 past winners in there.

The two rookies of the year, Dustin Pedroia in the AL and Ryan Braun in the NL, are, of course, new by definition. To count them would be a form of cheating, sort of illicitly bulking up this theme. But they are both young and they both give promise of being impact players, each in his own fashion.

Yes, it is cheating to say that ROY awards help signal the newness of this year’s MLB awards. Of course Pedroia and Braun are very unlike last year’s ROY winners Justin Verlander and Hanley Ramirez, who are both 37 years old and don’t project the promise of being impact players. Thank god we have a new angle on this tired award.

The only repeat winner among the rest of the recipients was the American League MVP; Alex Rodriguez. This was A-Rod's third MVP award. He has finished second in this balloting twice and third once, so he is the ultimate familiar face when November rolls around and the writers' ballots are tabulated.

AL MVP = nothing new.

If he doesn't fit the newness theme, that's perfectly all right, because he had a season for the ages.

So A-Rod = not new, but he had a great year! That’s sort of new! By that rationale Barry Bonds’ award winning seasons were “all right” from a newness perspective because they were historically good.

There was some consternation in some New York quarters because his selection was not unanimous, but this was not particularly tragic. Magglio Ordonez had a wonderful campaign, leading the AL with a .363 average and 54 doubles and driving in 139 runs. An exceptional season such as this normally wins the MVP, but this one was eclipsed by A-Rod's work. The two Detroit writers who voted for Ordonez, and witnessed his worth every day, gave him a bit of recognition in an election Rodriguez was sure to win. This gesture might have been more humane than wrong.

That’s awesome insight that has nothing to do with your column. Also, I don't really understand that last sentence.

Elsewhere, newcomers dominated. Both Cy Youngs went to first-time winners. Jake Peavy was a unanimous choice in the National League, and deservedly so. This voting unanimity is relatively rare. It was bestowed upon Sandy Koufax three times and Greg Maddux twice, so you see the kind of company Peavy is keeping.

Both Cy Young winners were new….just like in 2005 (Carpenter/Colon). In 2006, one Cy Young winner was new, but both MVP’s were new. This year – 1 MVP was new, and both CYs were new. Is this interesting?

In the AL, C.C. Sabathia won his first Cy Young, narrowly over Josh Beckett. Yes, of course, Beckett, with a legendary postseason performance, would have won if the voting had been done at the end of October instead of the end of September. But these awards are not about the postseason. If they were, then Ernie Banks never could have been MVP, and that would have been wrong.

I feel, like this is written, for/by, a fourth grader, both, because of the use of commas, and the content. Thanks for clarifying that the voting for the season’s awards takes place before the postseason as I wasn’t reminded of this 100 times during the ALCS.

The point in this election, while the top spot was a close call between Sabathia and Beckett, was among all eight pitchers who received a first, second or third place vote, there was not a graybeard in the bunch. More promise of future greatness was written all over the AL Cy Young balloting.

Wow is that misleading. Included in the 8 pitchers who received votes were two time winner Johan Santana (who should have also won in ’05) and ’04 winner Roy Halladay. The only guy on that list who anybody was really surprised by was Fausto Carmona. Beckett was a mild surprise to do as well as he did because of how he struggled last year, but Beckett’s talent wasn’t a new thing this year given how he rose to national prominence in the 2003 World Series (as third place finisher John Lackey did in the 2002 World Series).

In another exceedingly close election, the one that ended the award season on Tuesday, Jimmy Rollins won his first MVP. It was Rollins who had said repeatedly last offseason that his Phillies were the team to beat in the NL East. Laughter followed him for much of the campaign, but Rollins and the Phils laughed last, winning the division as the Mets evaporated down the stretch.

There were strong statistical arguments to be made also for Matt Holliday and Prince Fielder in this race. Any of the three would have been worthy winners, but again in this election, but the writers may have additionally appreciated Rollins for putting his offense and his defense where his mouth was, backing up his rhetoric with a superb performance. And again, the leading vote-getters were all new to this level of recognition. There was not an "old" player on the NL MVP list until you reached Chipper Jones at the sixth spot.

Ugh, an “old” player hasn’t won a major award since 2004 (Bonds/Clemens), so this is absolutely not fucking new. Also, there were statistical arguments that could have been made for David Wright and Chase Utley too. The leading vote getters were not “new” to this level of recognition. Rollins has had MVP votes 4 times in the past including a top 10 finish. Matt Holliday was 15th last year, Wright was 9th in the voting last year, and then Ryan Howard actually won the award last year. How can you say he’s new to this level of recognition, when he won the MVP last year. Fielder is pretty new, but he’s been projected to be great for a while now, so I don’t think he surprised many this year. But yes, he is new.

Also, tell me when you spot the “graybeard” in the NL MVP voting last year:

1. Ryan Howard
2. Albert Pujols
3. Lance Berkman
4. Carlos Beltran
5. Miguel Cabrera
6. Alfonso Soriano
7. Jose Reyes
8. Chase Utley
9. David Wright
10. Trevor Hoffman (hint, it’s him).

So how is this year different from a newness perspective than last year? Why are you writing this column?

Deleted – Manager of the Year and NL ROY talk.

And that's what you come away with after pondering these elections. There were more than enough worthy candidates in all categories, and in the majority of them, position players, pitchers and managers, a new era of excellence was in evidence. The debates can go on all winter, but so can the expectations that even better days are ahead for baseball.

Really? This year’s award winners are evidence that there are better days ahead for baseball? Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Pedro Martinez, the five best pitchers of the last 25 years, are no longer able to compete for awards and have been replaced by very good, but mostly lesser, pitchers. This is a sign of better days?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Jon Heyman, Folks. Don’t Forget to Tip Your Server.

Jon Heyman of SI, on the subject of Kenny Rogers’ contract negotiations, in today’s Daily Scoop:

Rogers is a talented pitcher. But he should stop taking business advice from Gary Sheffield, who's no Warren Buffett or Boras. Maybe Rogers and Sheffield could start their own agency for cheap players and call it "Knuckleheads Incorporated."

Maybe Heyman should start his own magazine called "Stupidheads Illustrated"!

Also, is it too soon to point out that Heyman predicted the Yankees chance of signing A-Rod this offseason at 25-1, or 4%? Those odds were lower than the Cubs, who have an All-Star third baseman under contract and are trying to be sold.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Deadline Time…Errr A-Rod Sucks!

What kind of a jerk of a free agent in baseball opts out of his contract as he is contractually able to do and is friends with Warren Buffett? Give up? It’s Alex Rodrasshole, that’s who. Scott Miller is here to call him out on it!*

*with jokes!

Phew, good thing newly minted American League Most Valuable Player Alex Rodriguez was advised by Warren Buffett, not singer Jimmy Buffett, in closing his spanking new 10-year, $275 million deal with the Yankees.

I get it. They have the same last name, but vastly different vocations!

Now officially armed with a third AL MVP award and another record-setting contract (soon as the ink dries), our favorite opt-out action hero has enough dough to buy pretty much all of South Florida, not just his hometown of Miami.

He could try from now until he wins a World Series ring to squander these riches. It ain't happening. But oh, if only money could purchase a World Series ring. ...

Oh my god you’re right – he’s never made a World Series. I haven’t heard that before. He’s the highest paid player in baseball but has been unable to personally deliver his team a championship. Is any writer for a mainstream site, anywhere, at all original?

He does have a pirate's plunder worth of image rehabbing to do, though he's not quite there yet. A-Rod made it quite clear in a conference call Monday that he only wanted to talk about the 2007 season, and while he knows that "everything that's been going on since the end of the season has been news" he prefers not to delve into other subjects until later, reminding that "the finish line is in sight."

I have a hard time seeing what is wrong with that. But, of course, I don’t have a deadline to meet to write strained and pointless column.

Presumably, he'll open up after the i's are dotted and the t's crossed in his new Yankees deal, and it sounds as if he's preparing for a formal news conference in the Bronx sometime next week. It may be the first news conference that requires attendance from Mr. Opt Out, the Sons of Steinbrenner, the New York Times, Warren Buffett and Dr. Phil. Yikes.

Yikes is right. So far this column has been widely known information and terrible anecdotes.

(2 paragraphs deleted - nothing new)

Seriously, though ... have we reached a point in the Grand Old Game where Warren Buffett plays Henry Kissinger in the peace talks? Commissioner Bud Selig must not be kidding when he speaks of the game's record-setting $6 billion in revenues in '07. It's like those old E.F. Hutton commercials -- even Warren Buffett pays attention.

A lot of Warren Buffett references, right? Yeah, he's not close to being done. Why is it to A-Rod’s discredit that he is friends with Warren Buffett, who is by most accounts a smart, generous, ethical businessman? Can this guy do anything right? Other than hit baseballs of course, which is the only thing we should care about.

"Warren and I have a wonderful relationship," Rodriguez said. "I can expand on that when all of this is done and finished."

Asshole. Scott Miller wants to know now.

But it is true the ol' financial mogul said late last summer he knew A-Rod was going to have a slam-bang season based on a conversation between the two early in the year.

"I don't know," Rodriguez said. "We usually visit every year. Warren and I are friends. He maybe saw the passion in my eyes. You've got to ask Warren. He's very reachable in Omaha.

"He's good at foreseeing things in business, and now he's doing it in baseball, too. That's pretty good."

Lord, this does get more twisted with every turn. There are more angles to this guy than in a geometry classroom.

What? What is confusing about this? Or twisted? Or at all worthy of being made fun of? I seriously think Scott just hit a deadline and had nothing to write about. He’s barely adding anything here. His formula is Quote + Pop culture reference + A-Rod insult = Gold.

The latest, most up-to-date field guide on the new AL MVP:

He then goes on to tell us each of the media’s terrible nicknames for Rodriguez and their origins. Yes, it’s as interesting as it sounds. I’ll just show you the nicknames and cut all the bullshit out. You can seriously surmise everything that Scott said just by reading the names, because he added no value.

K-Rod: Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez. The term "K-Rod" actually has nothing to do with "A-Rod."

Soooo, is that a joke? Was I supposed to laugh there? It is as relevant as all this other bullshit you’re throwing in here anyway.

The Cooler

Listening to his dreamy descriptions, he felt, we can be sure, almost like a Cheeseburger in Paradise. Had he been on the receiving end of tips from Jimmy Buffett instead of Warren, of course.

Column ends there. Some problems with this reference/joke:

1. How do you feel like a Cheeseburger?
2. If you feel like a Cheeseburger, how do you have ears to listen with?
3. You already used the Jimmy/Warren Buffett “angle”.
4. It doesn’t make any sense.
5. It is not funny.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Gimme from Mike Celizic

From his blog – “Open Mike”:

The better things are going, the more some people worry. These are the glass-half-full folks, the ones who can watch the most gorgeous sunset ever seen on earth and worry about whether it means it’s going to rain the next day.

Yes, first graders – he got the analogy backwards. The rest of the blog post is some stupidness where he posts an e-mail from a writer friend of his (suuuure Mike) about how maybe the Patriots are better off without home field advantage and Mike pontificates that they probably are better off with home field advantage.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Add Sal Paolantonio To The List

Add Sal Paolantonio to the list of sportswriters who have no understanding of the phrase “small sample size”. I read over at The Big Lead today about Sal’s assertion that Barry Sanders is among the most over-rated players in NFL history. Now the NFL isn’t exactly my expertise, so I’ll leave Sal’s conclusion alone. Although I’ll say Sanders is one of the 10 most exciting athletes I’ve ever seen. The focus of this post is the way Sal gets to his conclusion. I’ve cut and pasted excerpts from his book that were excerpted on here.

He first focuses on Sanders’ touchdowns in his playoff games. Yes, 6 playoff games. The crazy thing is, Barry Sanders is known for sort of falling off in the playoffs, but having an unreal career over the regular season. As far as I can see, he is “rated” just fine. But here’s where it gets nutty:

Sanders' postseason performance supports the notion that he was a product of the cozy, climate-controlled Silverdome. Nice carpet for easy, stop-on-a-dime maneuvering. Seventy-two degrees. Detroit faithful keeping the defensive line off balance with high decibel support.

In four career outdoor postseason games, Sanders averaged a paltry 2.8 yards per carry. He never scored a touchdown. And he never ran for more than 65 yards in a single game. With Sanders, the Lions went 0-4 in outdoor playoff games, losing by an average of 17 points.

But this picture of perfection has a nasty blemish. Once Sanders got to the big stage, and got out of the Silverdome, he was a bust.

Holy shit. Four games! He then talks about how Barry had more help than you realize (really, did he have Emmitt Smith’s help? What about Terrell Davis?) and how the way that Sanders left was abrupt and mysterious. Who gives a shit? That shouldn’t impact how we view his performance on the field. Also, if you take out one horrific game (-1 yards) versus a very good Green Bay team, his average in the other three games was 3.8 YPC. Not Barry Sanders good, but not 2.8 either.

Now, let’s get back to this Silverdome thing. See, I think that when a running back plays for 10 years, then perhaps you can’t conclude that they were over-rated and benefited from their home stadium just because of how they performed on the road….in the playoffs….in 4 games. I was unable to find home/road splits for Sanders so I compiled them myself (took about 20 minutes, Sal) from this site.

These are numbers I compiled, and have not been subject to review. If someone is really anal out there, e-mail me and I’ll e-mail you my data. There’s probably a site out there with this but I couldn’t find it.

These are regular season only:

Career at Home: 78 Games – 1,619 Carries – 8,053 yards – 5.0 YPC
Career on Road: 75 Games – 1,443 Carries – 7,216 yards – 5.0 YPC

Now, since he also implied that the temperature controlled Dome played a role, I’ve bifurcated the road numbers into Indoor/Outdoor games:

Indoor Road Games – 18 Games – 316 Carries – 1,528 yards – 4.84 YPC
Outdoor Road Games – 57 Games – 1,127 Carries – 5,688 yards – 5.05 YPC

I did this split myself, as the site didn't indicate the type of stadium. Note that I counted 1 game in Dallas as outdoors because the field is at least open to the elements.

Now, this is simplistic of course – the dome games may have been against inferior defenses over all. But the fact is simply that it’s a wash. I do not buy the; it was the “big stage” of the playoffs coupled with the non-climate controlled stadium with the crowd noise. I think he looked at 4 games, and I think that is stupid.

At least this was published in an innocuous little post on…..oh wait, yeah …’s in his book.

I’ll also point to this post on armchair GM which has a different view on some of the playoff numbers.

Friday, November 9, 2007

This Sounds Like the Work of Crazy Old Jemele Hill

Firejaymariotti scooped me on this (even though we’re both a week late). I did have this written and ready to post it just needed some review, but screw that nerdy shit.

Jemele Hill has decided to write an article that compares Alex Rodriguez to Kobe Bryant. The column defends Bryant and points out his differences to A-Rod and, in general, why she would choose to have Kobe over A-Rod (ignoring the fact that they play different sports). Mainly that A-Rod was a distraction to his team during the playoffs during his rape trial, hasn’t gotten his team out of the first round in three years and seems to be whining all off-season every year. Oh wait, that’s Kobe Bryant. Those items either aren’t mentioned or are glossed over. The column defends Kobe’s antics because he just wants to win while A-Rod’s are lambasted as signs that he only cares about himself.

Give me Kobe over A-Rod any day

Say what you will about Kobe Bryant, but at least he's not a mercenary who wants all of the money, but none of the pressure, and doesn't perform in the playoffs.

In other words, at least he's not Alex Rodriguez.

Okay. So we’re comparing an NBA player to an MLB player. Good to recognize this up front, because the leagues and sports are VERY different. Like, if the NBA was set up like MLB, Kobe Bryant wouldn’t have led his team to the playoffs last year or the year before, where he lost in the first round (both years). Also he wouldn’t have led his team to the playoffs the year prior to that, when he…didn’t…lead..his…team to the playoffs. That’s if the performance of these players, in these sports, was really capable of being easily analogized, which they are not.

Both players are generally viewed as selfish, whiny divas. But as we approach the unusual sports phenomenon of having the best player in baseball head to a new team and arguably the best player in basketball also potentially on the move, understand that A-Rod and Kobe are two very different creatures.

Right, one plays baseball and one plays basketball. This is easy, because those sports are very dissimilar. If you try to play baseball using a basketball, pitchers would never throw a strike. So there's one difference. There's probably 2 or 3 more. There are no bases in basketball, no baskets in baseball. One is a sport of 5 guys playing in unison where 1 player can have a dramatic impact on the success of every game, the other is mostly a sport of individual achievements where a team needs many different individuals to achieve, all by themselves, in order for the team to win. In baseball, they have to play as a team, sure, but not like basketball. So I agree, very different.

A-Rod's decision to opt-out of New York is far more self-absorbed than Kobe's finagling to get out of Los Angeles.

How do you know? What if he just didn’t want to play in New York anymore because the media never left him alone, he was unfairly blamed for just about everything that went wrong, and a certain star teammate didn’t want to have sleepovers anymore?

Now, A-Rod’s opting out is likely due to a great deal of greed, and is pretty much the worst thing he can do for his image. But, let’s not be too easy on Kobe, okay? He pretty much imploded the team so it could be “his team” and then put up the gawdy numbers he wanted before noticing that people generally aren’t that impressed by gawdy numbers in the NBA when you can’t get your team out of the first round. Because this is the NBA, where individual players can have a large impact on the success of the team, this is somewhat damaging to Kobe’s legacy.

Despite Kobe's flaws, we at least know he is consumed with winning championships. A-Rod is consumed with being A-Rod.

Michael Jordan took a pay cut so the Bulls could sign Dennis Hopson, who they thought could help them reach the next level. Dennis Hopson sucked. Kobe Bryant couldn’t get along with Shaquille O’Neal in the interest of winning championships.

A-Rod is consumed with being, like, one of the best players ever – and getting paid like it.

Kobe doesn't always demonstrate his aspirations maturely. It also can't be ignored that a key aspect of his championship ambitions is that he has to be the guy in the lead role. But if the worst you can say about Kobe -- whose competitive streak was cloned from Michael Jordan's -- is he no longer wanted to play alongside a once-dominant, but injury-prone center, it's not exactly a sign of the apocalypse.

I love how she brushed by Kobe’s flaws by setting such a high hurdle for it to be newsworthy (um, the apocalypse). Is it a sign of a selfish player, Jemele? Is it a sign of a player who was maybe putting the possibility of winning a championship somewhere other than “first” on his list of priorities?

The worst I can say about Kobe is that he may have raped a girl. The worst I can say about him on the court is that he has not exhibited himself as the best team player that he could be. When criticized about shooting too much, he’s even pouted and then he won’t take shots that he should be taking. He’s sort of a baby that way.

Phil Jackson, arguably the best coach in NBA history, called Kobe Bryant “uncoachable” in his book.

And considering some of the things that Lakers owner Jerry Buss has said about Kobe in recent weeks, we've seen that Buss is his own man -- if he really wanted to keep Shaq, he would have kept him. Buss' main concern was dumping another $100 million into the fourth Fu-Schniken.

Um, right. He could have kept Shaq, and Phil Jackson, and Kobe Bryant would have signed with the LA Clippers. That was Kobe’s move; he was a free agent threatening to sign elsewhere unless Shaq was traded. So Kobe Bryant is absolved from his role in Shaq being traded because Jerry Buss is his “own man”? You don’t think that Kobe could have helped keep Shaq in town, if he really wanted to keep winning? Considering that both Phil Jackson and Shaq were exited from LA, and that's what Kobe wanted, I'm pretty sure he could have had a big say in them staying. The fact is, even if Buss wouldn't have listened to him, what happened was what Kobe wanted to happen.

But does anything in A-Rod's history or demeanor suggest he's remotely obsessed with winning the way Kobe is? A-Rod seems more obsessed with being loved than winning. He wants all the perks, but none of the responsibility. He wants 100-plus RBIs, and to eventually be the home run king. Just don't expect him to bring any of the necessary intangibles it takes to win something meaningful.

Does A-Rod really seem obsessed with being loved? Opting out of his contract during the 8th inning of the deciding game of the World Series is hardly the act of a player who wants to be loved. While I may not expect him to bring any of the necessary intangibles it takes to win, because I don’t know what those are, I do expect him to bring very necessary TANGIBLES for winning. Things like “hits” and “home runs”.

Sounds like a perfect fit for the Chicago Cubs.


A-Rod isn't a leader, comes off as insecure and teams mysteriously seem better off when he's gone. Kobe? The three-time champion thrives under pressure and the low opinions some people have of him.

Hmm, okay. Has Kobe really performed better as an NBA player than A-Rod has as an MLB player since those low opinions were formed, primarily during his rape trial and him being accused of pushing Shaq out? Has Kobe really outperformed A-Rod in the last 3 years? A-Rod should soon have two league MVPs in that time and has helped his team get to the playoffs in each of those years. Kobe hasn’t made it out of the first round w/out Shaq. It’s a lot easier to make the NBA playoffs than the MLB playoffs – and it’s a lot easier for one player to impact his team making the playoffs in the NBA. Now, there are a million other factors at play here, but if you’re going to oversimplify to make convenient arguments then so am I.

Also – see FireJay’s post for numbers regarding A-Rod’s teams after he leaves. You are mentally retarded if you think that teams are better without the best player on the planet because he left….you can’t just look at records and ignore ALL other factors driving the change in records.

Kobe was criticized for brutally assessing the Lakers' lack of progress. But when A-Rod was a Yankee, the only thing that seemed to bother him was his own personal slumps.

Well what the fuck else should bother him? Should A-Rod criticize Brian Cashman for the Yankees’ pitching woes at points in the season? Should Derek Jeter’s slumps bother him? Should he be riding Roger Clemens, Mike Mussina and Andy Pettite to pitch better? People like you would be all over him.

Wouldn't you prefer a player who gets upset about losing more than a player who seems fine with it as long as he can stare at his pretty statistics and pay stubs? Can you blame Kobe for complaining about any plan that included passing on a skilled player who could help the Lakers in the present in favor of the long-term coddling of Andrew Bynum? Has A-Rod ever exhibited that kind of passion and determination? Has he ever given answers that didn't sound rehearsed?

Did Michael Jordan ever give answers that didn’t sound rehearsed (no)? Did Dennis Rodman (yes)? What’s your point? What reason did A-Rod have for lashing out at Yankee management? Should he just invent one to seem more passionate?

Even if A-Rod somehow wound up playing for the world champion Red Sox -- and if you're listening Boston, adding this guy to your clubhouse is akin to putting Britney Spears on "Nanny 911" -- it would be difficult to interpret A-Rod's actions as that of a man driven to win.

Putting up the best numbers in baseball = not the actions of a man driven to win.

A-Rod, of course, has the right to chase as much money as he wants. It's not his fault if the market dictates he earn an astronomical figure. There's no denying there were times he was unfairly brutalized in New York. The stalking by the tabloids was unacceptable, as was the fascination with his personal life. But the problems he had there will follow him into his next clubhouse.

Really? Did they exist in Seattle? What about Texas?

It's fair to accuse A-Rod and Kobe of being types who can't operate in a locker room unless they control it.

The difference is, there've been signs that Kobe has outgrown some of that. A-Rod doesn't seem like he ever will.

Right, because Kobe has been really mature this off-season.

There are two fundamental points not addressed by Jemele at all, as follows:

1. In the hypothetical situation that you own an NBA team and an MLB team, and you get one player to start that team (say, for 1 season, because of the impact of age in the two sports is so disparate), of course you take Kobe Bryant. But that’s because of the make-up of the sports. In the NBA, a top notch superstar helps to assure fans in the seats and a much better shot at a title contention. Baseball is just different. I don’t know how she can’t address this. If baseball was played on a smaller field with 5 players on the field and at bat, and A-Rod was able to get the most AB’s on the team by far, then the impact of Alex Rodriguez would be much much greater and he would be as valuable as a Kobe Bryant is in the NBA – probably more valuable.

2. A-Rod is all about the money and the personal accolades. That’s what she implies. He isn’t as interested in winning as Kobe. Let’s break this down:

Money: There is no salary cap in baseball. Baseball players who become free agents are truly paid market value for their services. Rodriguez, being the best player in the game, thinks he should be paid a lot of money for his services, so he gets it. You never hear about Kobe Bryant and money problems for a simple reason. In the NBA, it’s very structured. He makes damn near the most money he can possible make, per the CBA/Salary cap structure. By the way, he makes close to A-Rod money in salary. There is literally nothing for Kobe to complain about, money-wise. If it was truly a free market – with no limit on how much teams could sign free agents for and no salary cap - and Charlotte offered Kobe Bryant $40 million a year, and that was much more than anyone else was offering, would he take it? Would you fault him for taking it? This is another fundamental unfairness that never gets addressed.

Statistics/accolades/records: I don’t see a problem with an offensive player in baseball being concerned with putting up the best offensive statistics he can. It’s mind-boggling how this is turned into a negative quality in baseball.

“Boy, look at Johnny Hanrahan, that guy hit .215 last year and he doesn’t give a shit! He doesn’t care about his numbers! He just wants to win! Now look at selfish Bobby Smith who hit 55 home runs but cared more about hitting those home runs than he did winning. I know this because Johnny Hanrahan is killing himself out there and Bobby Smith is playing in a very smooth, unemotional manner.”

Seriously, why is this hard to understand? A-Rod, by putting up crazy numbers, is trying to win. Yes, the last few postseason series were not up to par. But it’s like 70 at-bats spread out over 4 years. He’s the best player at baseball at getting you to the playoffs, and that’s the hard part. The playoffs are a crap shoot.

Nothing against Kobe, who is an unreal basketball player, but please remember that MLB is a free market system. Also, an NBA player has significantly more impact on his team’s overall success than an MLB player who gets 4-5 at-bats a game and 2-3 balls hit to him.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Ed Hardiman: 0 for 10

I have nothing to add, just that this is absolutely terrible.

This isn't a column with jokes, this is a list of jokes. They are all terrible.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Two Wrongs Make a Really Wrong

I'm not trying to be Johnny proofreader here, but this is clearly wrong. This is on (may be fixed by the time you view it). I originally wasn't going to post, but they then fixed the chart to get the SS/3B split correct, however they left Wright and Beltre in the wrong leagues. How do you notice that you have Wright at SS, but not notice you have him in the AL?

I'm too lazy to make it look good, just click for a bigger picture.

Credit to avid, everyday, non-stop reader Mike.

Does This Mean I’m Smarter than Gregg Easterbrook?

No, it doesn’t. From this week’s TMQ:

Obscure College Score of the Week No. 2: Rhode Island 12, Massachusetts 6 in overtime. As noted by reader Preston Jones of Harrisonburg, Va., UMass scored all its points on safeties. The Minutemen faithful lament: If only we'd gotten four more safeties!

Didn’t UMass just need one more safety, since the game was won in overtime?

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Remember When Dennis Rodman Played For the Lakers?

Barely, right? I mean, I think it was an SI cover, but he only ended up playing 23 games.

Over at SI’s Hot Mustard, they have Maroon 5 lead singer and ex-Maria Sharapova banger Adam Levine’s all-time Lakers team. There’s one glaring terrible terrible selection….

Point Guard: Magic Johnson
Shooting Guard: Kobe Bryant
Small Forward: James Worthy
Center: Shaquille O'Neal
Power Forward: Dennis Rodman
Sixth Man: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

"I'm such a big Laker fan that it hurts me to say that they have no chance at winning this year," says Levine. "But it is kind of cool that the Lakers are underdogs now because its easy to be a fan when you're on top. My all-time team? I'm going with Shaq at center because you can't go too vintage. Kurt Rambis had a lot of heart but Rodman will give you more rebounds. Kareem or Wilt as my sixth man? Damn, that's hard. I'm going with Kareem but it's too hard, man."

It is. It is too hard. Why don’t you take a nap you big Laker fan. What’s too vintage? Pre-1980? I am by no means a Lakers fan, so I don’t profess to have the history of the team down. Anyway, my team would be:

PG – Magic Johnson
SG – Kobe Bryant
C – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
SF – James Worthy
PF – Elgin Baylor
G – Jerry West
G – Gail Goodrich
C – Shaquille O’Neal
C – Wilt Chamberlain
C – George Mikan
F – Jamaal Wilkes
F – Michael Cooper

No, no Kurt Rambis Adam. Not even close. I’d still have Rambis way in front of Rodman though.

I’d give the edge to Kobe over Jerry West, but can understand people starting West. Shaquille at center is of course okay, but to me part of this has to encompass length of service, right? Kareem was a Laker for 14 years, 5 Championships, and 3 MVPs. I’m not sure how I’d rank Wilt, Shaq, and Jabbar all-time in the context of their NBA careers, but purely as Lakers, I’m going Jabbar, Shaq, then Wilt.

Dennis Rodman played 23 games for the Lakers. Baylor is arguably the best forward in league history before the 1980’s and Larry Bird joined the league. He was a dominant scorer and rebounder (27.4 PPG / 13.5 RPG, career). If you say that Baylor was really a small forward, then I’d start him over Worthy.