Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Easterbrook Again Makes Meaningless, Incorrect Assertion

Check out this post for a comment from last week's TMQ regarding Drew Brees potentially breaking Dan Marino's single season passing yards record.

Below is an excerpt from this week's TMQ:

The football gods did not want Drew Brees to break Dan Marino's single-season passing yards record -- because that record was set in a Miami playoff year when the yards were needed, whereas Brees' breaking the record for the eliminated Saints would have been a stunt.

It’s an odd little swipe at Brees, attempting to discredit the yards he threw for this year as less important than the yards that Marino threw for in a 14-2 Dolphins season, when they cruised into the playoffs. By Easterbrook’s rationale, all of Tom Brady’s yards last year were needed, as the Patriots were in a playoff year. Gregg would never say that, right?

Also, this football gods thing….is tired.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Easterbrook Just Makes Shit Up

Don’t ask me why I’m breaking such a long hiatus to write this post, but this week’s TMQ includes this line in reference to the possibility that Drew Brees could break Dan Marino’s single season passing yards record:

In this case, if Brees succeeds, it will be essentially a stunt, given the finale game has no meaning to the eliminated Saints. Marino's record year came as the Dolphins reached the Super Bowl -- those were all yards the team needed to win pressure games.

The 1984 Dolphins finished 14-2. In second place in the AFC East were the Patriots at 7-9. The Dolphins were 12-2 when Marino threw for 404 and 340 yards in the last two games.

So, Greggggg, how exactly were “all” those yards needed to win “pressure” games?

New Orleans is 8-7. Maybe Brees will rack up yards because he’s a competitor who wants to win? Maybe they want to finish above .500? Maybe they are psyched up to play a good Carolina team with a good passing defense?

Nope, says Gregg, it’ll be a “stunt”.

I wasn’t going to post about this, as I mentioned it instead in the reader comments over at FireJayMariotti, but this was in TMQ a few weeks ago and it is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever read from Easterbrook:

Trailing Cleveland 6-0, Tennessee went for it on fourth-and-1 on the Browns' 28 and got a touchdown; the Titans won. (Tennessee cleverly threw to blocking back Ahmard Hall, who lost a fumble on fourth-and-1 earlier in the year; knowing that, Cleveland totally ignored Hall.)

Do you really think that Cleveland “totally ignored” Hall by design? If they did, do you think it’s BECAUSE EARLIER THIS YEAR HALL HAD A FUMBLE THAT HAPPENED TO BE A FOURTH DOWN PLAY????

I do not. I think that’s asinine.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Scott Miller – Digging up the Dirt

Okay okay I’m about to finish my paragraph supporting Albert Pujols for MVP. I needs to hammer this baby home with that final sentence that summarizes exactly how MVP-like Pujols was this year. Should I drag out numbers? No, numbers don’t tell the story. Perhaps recall an at-bat, or a play? Too singular. Lots of people have great plays. I’ve got it, a quote! Yes, a quote from a highly respected baseball man! A broadcaster or writer? A current player like Greg Maddux? A former player? A hall of famer like Nolan Ryan or something? I’ve got it, a GM! People are really intrigued by GMs!

Hey, Kevin Towers, tell me what you think of Albert Pujols!

"Pujols is a frickin' ­­­baseball player," Padres general manager Kevin Towers says.

Frickin’? Is he trying to be Dr. Evil? Oh well. Almost done.



Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Jon Heyman More Valuable than Tom Verducci, but Verducci Better

There’s nothing that draws out crazy failures in logic like MVP and CY Young voting. I just stumbled onto CNNSI and checked out Tom Verducci and Jon Heyman’s picks, and there’s a whole lotta wrong to be discussed. To be honest, I didn’t follow baseball as much this year as I have in prior years. I had a really busy summer at work and personally. It’s also pretty late and I’m tired. So instead of doing a bunch of research and using numbers to dissect their picks, which strike me as odd, I’ll just try to approach it more high level, with some basic logic.

First, Verducci, who is generally decent. Unlike Heyman, who must have incriminating pictures of someone important at SI.


1. Albert Pujols
2. Lance Berkman
3. Ryan Howard
4. Ryan Braun
5. Manny Ramirez
6. Brad Lidge
7. CC Sabathia
8. David Wright
9. Johan Santana
10. Hanley Ramirez

The guy is just posting his opinion, so just because I think Chase Utley should be on the ballot and he doesn’t have him, I’m not going to throw a fit. But Manny Ramirez played in 53 games. Brad Lidge had a great year. He threw 70 innings with a 1.95 ERA. But I have a fundamental problem with closers being MVP’s unless they are historically awesome.

But here’s my bigger problem. Based on the above list, how is Verducci’s CY ballot not:


Here it is:

NL Cy Young

1. Tim Lincecum
2. Johan Santana
3. Brandon Webb

Verducci tells us the CY is meant to honor the best pitcher in the league, and correctly says that the pitcher with the most wins isn’t necessarily that pitcher. But how the fuck isn’t the best pitcher more valuable than the second best pitcher? How is the most valuable pitcher not one of the 3 best pitchers? And how is the best starter not more valuable than 2 other starters? In my mind, any attempt to reconcile this position is a failure to understand the singular nature of baseball performances. It’s not Lincecum’s fault the Giants suck. He can’t control what the other 4 pitchers do, or what the hitters do.

Similarly, Verducci had Francisco Rodriguez ninth as the most valuable pitcher in the AL, but not among the top 3 pitchers. Aren’t the pitchers who pitch better more valuable?

Now to Jon Heyman.


1. Manny Ramirez, Dodgers. The savant saved the storied franchise, slugging .743 and lifting the Dodger dogs to the NL West title.

Okay, but 53 games? Even if you include all his games in Boston, Pujols still had 147 Runs Created vs. Ramirez’s 134. Ramirez RC number in the NL was 60.9. The Dodgers won the NL West because the NL West sucked. If they were in the NL East, and the Mets were in the NL West, Heyman’s first 4 players are Mets. Why is this so hard?

2. CC Sabathia, Brewers. Carried them with three straight outings on three days' rest, and oh yes, had a league-leading seven complete games.

It’s just a philosophical difference here on Ramirez and Sabathia that’s not worth debating further. Sabathia is more defensible (to be on the Cy ballot), to me. For the rest of them, I’ll just show the list without the explanations because I have the same point that I had with Verducci.

3. Ryan Howard, Phillies.
4. Brad Lidge, Phillies.
5. Albert Pujols, Cardinals.

Pujols just finished his best season. He posted the best OPS+ in baseball (190) since Barry Bonds in 2004. The best by someone not named Bonds in the NL since Sammy Sosa in 2001 (64 homers, .437 OBP). Manny Ramirez’s (highest full season OPS+ was 186 in 2000) was higher in his 53 games in LA. I’m going with the guy who played 148 games in the NL.

6. Ryan Braun, Brewers.
7. Johan Santana, Mets.
8. Carlos Delgado, Mets.
9. Chase Utley, Phillies.
10. Lance Berkman, Astros.

So his CY ballot must be Sabathia, Lidge, Santana?

NL Cy Young

1. Santana. Gets edge over CC for ERA title and for being in the NL all year.

But, in the MVP race…….you had….Sabathia SECOND, and said you could easily have flipped him with Ramirez! Why….here…does being the NL all year mean more??

2. Sabathia. Sheer second-half dominance.

What about the first half? Does that count?

3. Lidge. Though tough to leave out Webb and especially Lincecum (18-5, with a league-leading 265 strikeouts) in this year with at least five deserving candidates.

NL Cy Old: Tom Gorzelanny. Ugliest numbers ever, including a demonic 6.66 ERA.

Ugliest ever? Cy Old is lame and doesn't make sense. Wouldn't the Cy Old be....like.....the best old pitcher?


1. Francisco Rodriguez, Angels. An alltime great season with a record 62 saves.

Ladies and gentleman, your AL MVP…..the 4th best closer in the league!

2. Carlos Quentin, White Sox.
3. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox.
4. Justin Morneau, Twins.
5. Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox.
6. Joe Nathan, Twins.
7. Joe Mauer, Twins.
8. Jermaine Dye, White Sox.
9. Josh Hamilton, Rangers.
10. Evan Longoria, Rays.

Apparently Grady Sizemore and Alex Rodriguez were not as valuable as any of these 10 players because the other players on their teams did not play as well as the other players on the above teams.

Okay, so his Cy Young ballot must start with Rodriguez and Nathan?


AL Cy Young

1. Cliff Lee, Indians.
2. Roy Halladay, Blue Jays.
3. Francisco Rodriguez.

I know that Heyman thinks this makes total sense and that I'm just a geek and he would say that I don’t understand baseball and pennant races and cracker jack and locker rooms and sweat, but this is a giant failure to exercise defensible logic.

I suppose Verducci and Heyman feel that good closers are very valuable, but they aren't necessarily worthy of being deemed the best pitchers, but how can Heyman defend having two starters 1 order in the MVP balloting (Sabathia / Santana) with good separation between them, but then have the order reversed in the CY balloting?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hollywood VORP

Forbes magazine recently posted an annual review of the most overpaid movie stars. I’ve seen this linked on Yahoo, MSNBC, and various other places on the Internet. While I see some commentary about the list, everyone seems to take it at face value.

It’s extremely difficult to judge the actual value a movie star has on a movie, because you can’t separate the star power of the actor from the actual quality/marketing/buzz of the movie, and some combination of these things is what drives profits. To me, the true value of Russell Crowe is the dollar value of profit that he adds to a movies profit over what another actor would contribute in the same movie (released at the same time, same script, etc.). I think Forbes has a big flaw in their analysis, which I’ll try to illustrate, because they entirely focus on the ratio of the profit to the actor’s salary.

Forbes’ list is derived from a “payback” figure they compute to determine how fairly paid the star is in relation to studio profits. Below is the gist of how the figure was computed:

To calculate our payback figures, we took half of each film's worldwide box office (to roughly approximate the studio's cut of each ticket). Then we added the first three months of DVD revenues and subtracted the budget to derive the film's gross income. After that, the actor's total compensation (upfront pay plus any money earned from sharing in the film's profits) was divided into the gross income to get the actor's payback figure for the film. The payback for the last three movies for each actor was averaged to calculate ultimate payback. We deliberately used gross income rather than net income in our analysis because the latter figure is so easily manipulated by studio accountants, with marketing expenses treated differently for almost every film.

So it’s obviously more of a ball-park calculation, but, still, it sounds like a lot of thought went into the analysis.

Here’s an excerpt from the results:

Our list of the top 10 overpaid celebrities is rife with some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Tom Cruise ranks third with a $4 return for every dollar he was paid mostly because of last year's stinker "Lions for Lambs," which Cruise's studio, United Artists, produced. For every dollar the star earned the film returned only $1.88.

That the list is rife with the biggest names in Hollywood should be obvious, since the analysis focused on stars whose average fee was over $5 million and, more importantly, it severly penalizes big paydays, even if they are justified.

Cameron Diaz may be the highest-paid actress in Hollywood, with $50 million in income between June 2006 and June 2007, but studios might want to question whether she's worth the money. Her films returned a lowly $4 for every dollar Diaz earned.

The main problem is that their value is being distorted by only focusing on how much the movie’s gross income was in proportion to the actor’s compensation. They should focus on the impact the star had on the dollar value of the profit, not the percentage.

Here’s a very extreme scenario to prove my point:

Let’s say Tom Cruise is compensated $1 billion for his role in “The Little Albino That Could: The David Eckstein Story”, which we’ll just call “the movie”. The movie has a budget of $1.1 billion, including Cruise’s comp – so $100 million of non-Cruise budgetary costs. The movie then has gross receipts of $4 billion (the ½ box office + DVD sales). $4 billion less $1.1 billion is $2.9 billion of “gross income” as defined above. $2.9 billion divided by $1 billion is a “payback” of a mere $2.90 for every dollar that Cruise earned.

Now let’s say that David Eckstein stars in the movie, and is paid $5 million for his efforts. This is the same script, same director, same everything else except lead actor. David Eckstein grits out a tough movie, but ultimately doesn’t have the box office pop that Tom Cruise does. The movie grosses a highly respectable total (ludicrously high for a movie staring David Eckstein) of $300 million. The budget is now $105 million, leaving “gross income” of $195 million. The movie’s “payback” is a kickass $39.00 for every dollar earned by Eckstein.

$39.00 would make Eckstein a world class movie value and underpaid in the eyes of Forbes. Cruise would be way overpaid at $2.90.

So if you own a studio, would you rather make $2.9 billion in the first scenario or $195 million (that’s 93% less) in the second? I’ve rigged the analysis to look ludicrous to prove a point.

Further exacerbating the flaws in this analysis is the fact that top flight movie-stars typically earn a portion of the profits (as Forbes notes above). Movie accounting is terribly complex and I don’t have the requisite industry knowledge to really be thorough here (or the time to do the research), but I suspect what further skews these results is the fact that top stars often get a piece of the profits once the movie is in the black, which narrows the proportional gap between the movie’s profits and their pay….but only because the movie was wildly profitable, partly because of the star.

Let’s run through an example to show how Forbes’ analysis is distortive:

Again take two exact same movies and budgets – more realistic numbers (but still made-up and probably retarded). Use a budget of $50 million, except for lead actor’s pay. Eckstein and Cruise both agree to a $5 million base salary, except Cruise is a big star, is also acting as a Producer and will be heavily promoting the movie. So he is going to get 30% of the profits (in exchange for taking such a low base, for him) after the movie has gross receipts (the ½ tickets + DVD’s) of $100 million – to cover marketing and other ancillary costs that must be recouped by the studio on top of the budget. If the movie makes $100 million, then the "payback" for both Cruise and Eckstein would be $9.00. But a movie that makes $100 million with David Eckstein as its big star might make $300 million with Cruise, which is why he’d command a share of the profits. In my model, at $300 million, Cruise would take home $65 million. Forbes would say that his “payback” is only $2.85 per dollar earned. In their eyes, Cruise is 3 times more overpaid than Eckstein, because Eckstein’s pay as a percentage of gross profit is much less. But Cruise’s movie had “gross income” as defined by Forbes of $185 million compared to Eckstein’s $45 million. He only made more money because his movie generated more.

How is Cruise overpaid in relation to Eckstein in that scenario? I think the studio would happily take the extra $145 million. The only risk to the studio was that the movie was so good that Eckstein could have carried it to the same gross income (before 30% profit-share) as Cruise and the studio could have pocketed that profit-share money. I do realize how off these numbers are to reality, but the theory should hold.

I’m not saying Forbes’ method wouldn’t point out some overpaid stars, but I think it’s a terrible way to conclusively list them. In Forbes’ defense, I think they sort of realized the flaw in their logic and used the $5 million per picture floor in computing the pool of actors to review, which removes extreme outliers (if you paid me $.01, I could have a higher payback than any actor). But I have to think this can be done in a better way. The other glaring issue is that the movie may make no money for various reasons that have nothing to do with the ability of its star to generate box office receipts. The movie, not the star, could just be terrible – that doesn’t mean the star is overpaid.

Forbes had this revelation later:

In general, actors who earned under $10 million per picture did better on our list.

This is not surprising. If you pay Jennifer Love Hewitt $5 million and Angelina Jolie $15 million, the Jolie movie’s gross income doesn’t need to be triple Hewitt’s to justify the cost, it just needs to be $10,000,001 higher. Forbes would require Jolie to generate three times the income, and that makes no sense. There’s no variable costs tied to Jolie that would justify that extra profit burden on her.

So how should Forbes have modeled the calculation to be more reflective of the actual return on the actor’s value? Is there some way to measure a Hollywood equivalent of baseball’s VORP? VORA - Value Over Replacement Actor...tied to movie profitability? There probably is, but it would take someone with intimate knowledge of Hollywood’s accounting/compensation practices and someone much smarter than me to build that model.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Peter King: Hotelnerdness

From this week's Monday Morning Quarterback.

Enjoyable/Aggravating Travel Note of the Week

Sometimes I forget the things that annoy me on the road, and Saturday, at an NBC rehearsal for the 2008 TV season, Bob Costas reminded me of one.

At hotels now -- and this has been happening for four or five years -- when you order room service, the male or female waiter who comes to the door always asks: "May I come in?''

I’m not as old as Peter “skunk stripe” King or Bob “I look like a mini-Luke Skywalker….which is hard because Mark Hamill is small” Costas, but I don’t think I’ve ever had room service just barge into the room without knocking or anything. Nor do I want them to.

Which prompted Costas, coming off a month in a hotel in Beijing, to say: "May I come in?! No! I'll eat the meal in the hallway! What do you mean, 'May I come in?' ''

Good point, Bobby.

No, no it’s not. See, maybe the hotel staff is acting professional because they don’t want to walk in on Bob Costas jerking off (to his interview with Nastia Luikin) or taking a dump (to his interview with Michael Phelps).

Seriously, hotel staff ...asking if it's okay for them to come in….is a nuisance?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mike Freeman Demands Immediate Satisfaction

Remember the Olympics? Yeah, the Olympics…the collection of athletic contests that ended Sunday. Remember Usain Bolt, that fast guy? Mike Freeman thinks it’s the biggest joke in sports that he’s not in talks with an NFL team as of Wednesday. 3 days after the Olympics ended. Biggest joke in sports. By the way, I'm going to be lazy and assume that Bolt has not played much football. If that's wrong, well Freeman should have brought it up.

Yeah, so there’s a lot of hyperbole on the way.

Why is NFL so slow to go after lightning-fast Bolt?

I know right, it’s been 3 fucking days! Why isn’t Bolt lining up in practice right NOW! Also, matching lightning with “Bolt”? Friggin’ brilliant.

The National Football League is run by smart and hyper-successful people. Well, except for the Cincinnati Bengals. Other than the team that re-signs misdemeanor generator Chris Henry, the league is brilliantly engineered -- which is why it's so puzzling no team has made a strong play for Olympic speed demon Usain Bolt.

Has he ever played a down of organized football? Has he ever run in pads? Has he ever been tackled? Do Sprinters automatically have great hands? Do Sprinters have to memorize inch-thick playbooks? Could he be great? Sure. Is he such a sure thing that NFL teams should have made a move 3 days after the Olympics ended?

Bolt would instantly be the fastest person in the sport, yet teams are signing retread jerks at wide receiver like Henry, whose buffoonery has embarrassed an entire city.

I’m dizzy trying to connect these dots. I bet Mike Freeman every penny I have that Chris Henry is a more valuable wide receiver than Usain Bolt right now. Also, I suspect that Cincinattionians or whatever are not personally embarrassed by Chris Henry.

Maybe Bolt will say he's not interested. Well, make him interested. Make him an offer he can't refuse. Throw millions of dollars and some Black Uhuru CDs at him.

Yeah! Fuck the salary cap! Give millions of dollars to a guy who we don’t know has ever actually caught a football! This is smart business.

At the very least try to get him into the NFL. That's my problem; I've spoke to NFL team officials over the past few days and there is no indication a team is even trying to convince Bolt to play football.

I know right, and the Olympics have been over for days! Don’t these teams want to win?

The fact no one has attempted is one of the biggest jokes in all of sports.

Can I nominate this for Hyperbole of the Year?

When Bolt runs, time moves backward. His 40-yard dash time is in milliseconds. Bolt is the only thing in the known universe that can escape the gravitational pull of a black hole.

"I'm not so sure I can beat him," says a speeding bullet.

He’s fast, we get it. This is intentional hyperbole, so this doesn’t count.

If someone could teach Bolt to catch the football and absorb punishment, he would instantly become one of the top three most dangerous weapons in the NFL. Put him with the right quarterback and he'd possibly be the most lethal.

Instantly top 3? Am I the only one who thinks this is nuts?

A guy who is 22 years old, 6-foot-5 and 190 pounds, and might run a sub-4.2 40-yard dash? You tell me what his potential would be.

This “guy”, he’s never played organized football right?

Please read carefully. This isn't to say Bolt is guaranteed NFL success. But why aren't some of the wealthier owners known to take chances, like Jerry Jones, throwing cash at this guy?

Salary caps? They are busy paying attention to guys who actually play football, perhaps?

History might indeed be against Bolt succeeding on the NFL level. Track stars don't have a long NFL pedigree. So what? That doesn't mean Bolt can't do it.

Yeah – so what? Throw millions at him! That’ll fix that little bit of history!

It might not work.

Then why is the non-pursuit “the biggest joke in all of sports”??????????

But these five reasons explain why and how it could:

1. Bob Hayes. Bolt and Hayes have almost identical backgrounds. Hayes set world records at the 1964 Olympics and then was signed by the Cowboys with limited football experience. (Hayes should be in the Hall of Fame, but anti-Cowboys sentiment among voters has kept him out.)

Good point. Plus, professional football has hardly changed since the 1960’s!

Actually, wait, there’s another small difference….Bob Hayes played college football. Relevant, right? Also, there’s been a bunch of sprinters who failed.

This is from the SI Vault:

Hayes differed from the sprinters who would follow him into and out of the NFL, because he was not merely a sprinter who happened to play football. He was, as he liked to put it, "a football player first, then a runner." There were lots of fast guys on Jake Gaither's Florida A&M squad, and he'd shuffle them in and out, align them in different formations. Hayes was listed as a halfback, but he'd line up all over the place—on the wing, in the slot, wherever he was needed.

People have said that his college career was only so-so, but he was a starter at wide receiver in the 1965 College All-Star Game, and the quarterback who started that game for his team, Roger Staubach, would, in the years that followed, go on to launch many deep strikes to Hayesfor the Cowboys.

So that’s a pretty shitty example.

2. The biggest reason why Bolt wouldn't work is the NFL might not be able to afford him. Bolt will make a ridiculous amount of endorsement money in the coming months. (Bolt endorses Porsche, Bolt endorses Nike, Bolt makes a commercial for a speedy pregnancy test.)

Yeah, because track stars make way more than NFL players.

No, really….here’s SI’s “Fortunate 50” – please count the track stars and football players. Something tells me they could make that the “fortunate 500” before we see a track star on there. Admittedly, it's just US athletes, and maybe track stars make a ton of money overseas. But still, I would bet that the NFL brings more riches.

What a team says to Bolt is this: How much more money do you think you'd make if you were a two-sport star?

But what they should say first is….. "have you ever caught a football?”

Then they'd educate Bolt about Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson. Sanders played a nine-year, part-time MLB career while playing football. Why can't Bolt do something similar?

Ahhh Deion and Bo…..these are two athletes who were freakishly fast, but also had the athletic ability to hit a 95 MPH baseball and agility to maneuver through huge, fast athletes, in full pads, with ease.

So far we know that Bolt can run straight, on a track. Do you think it’s safe to assume Bolt has the variety of athletic skills that Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson had? I’d say not.

Play to his ego -- and if you don't think he has a fat ego, rewind the end of that gold medal race when he taunted fellow runners after activating the second stage of his Saturn V rocket boosters.

Bolt could race around the world, make his money, and then play in NFL games. They have these things called airplanes. Some have props, some have jets. He can hop on one.

That’s true, since the NFL is soooo easy. Plus he wouldn't be at all tired from sprinting against world class athletes. He wouldn’t need to practice or anything. Those off-season workouts that Jerry Rice put himself through? Waste of time.

3. His size. Remember, Bolt is a sturdy 6-5 and 190 pounds. This doesn't mean he's ready to take a hit from Bob Sanders (who the hell is?) but a team can slowly get Bolt accustomed to physical contact the way Dallas did with Hayes.

Also, the way Hayes got accustomed to physical contact when he was playing football in college.

4. Jerry Rice. Hire Rice as a consultant to work with Bolt. Or Michael Irvin or even Deion Sanders to teach him about the chess game defensive backs play with wideouts. Just make sure Rice doesn't teach Bolt how to dance or Irvin doesn't teach him about drug paraphernalia.

Ahar har har.

So after you dump millions and millions of dollars on Bolt, go hire some high price consultants so that he can learn a playbook.


5. This quote from Scouts Inc.'s Jeremy Green to ESPN says it all: "We all go to the combine every year to look at receivers who are 5-11 and run a 4.7 40. Why not this kid? I could see it."

It's definitely a long shot and tough sell to Bolt and it's likely Bolt might state he's not interested. He grew up in Jamaica and might care less about professional football.

He might be more focused on, I don’t know…sprinting?

You won't know until you give it a chance. If he says no way, ask again. If he says no after that, ask once more. Do what it takes to get him on a football field.

Okay, fine….you want to see Bolt play football. Me too….sort of. By why all the hyperbole? Why should anyone take Mike Freeman seriously when he writes garbage like this?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

You Can Not Fool the TMQ

I’m not a batman geek. I’ve seen The Dark Night, and I liked it, but I don’t recall the details all that well. That shouldn’t overcome the general point of this post, which is that Gregg Easterbrook is a fucking killjoy who doesn’t understand when you’re supposed to take your thinking cap off and enjoy life for 2 ½ hours….and I’m not talking about pretending to be turned on by cheerleaders. There’s a difference between picking on unrealities in a Batman movie and in a movie that intends to be realistic despite the unrealistic premise, like Point Break or Speed (or any Keanu Reeves between Bill & Ted’s and The Matrix).

The latest Batman installment is a hit, and well-made from a cinematography standpoint, but the Joker character was unrealism carried to an extreme, even by Hollywood's low standards. The Joker has hundreds of obedient, superefficient henchmen, including surgeons and high-ranking police officers, who serve him without question -- even though they know he murders his own henchmen.

He is a criminal mastermind. They have a lot of henchmen. It’s a fictional movie based on a fucking comic book character.

The Joker knows things no one could possibly know, such as what street the police van carrying Harvey Dent will turn down during a wild chase. (He has henchmen positioned on that street, one of dozens the van might have turned down).

Wasn’t there a tractor trailer rigged to block the alternative path, so that they were more likely to go down the street they went down? I may be confusing scenes here. I also thought that the whole exercise of carrying Dent in the police van was a ploy to try to draw the Joker out, so they weren’t trying to be secretive.

Also, he’s a criminal mastermind in a fictional movie.

The Joker can get poison into the police commissioner's private office without anyone suspecting anything.

Well, I think he probably broke in, or had someone on the inside break in. I don’t think he just walked in during the day and put the poison in the bottle and no one suspected anything.

He was able to break in because he’s a criminal mastermind in a fictional movie, and they do things like that.

City officials make a sudden decision to load several hundred people into ferries; in just a few hours, Joker is able to place thousands of pounds of explosives aboard the ferries without anyone noticing, plus rig devices to take over the ferries' engines.

I think a ten year old would have realized that he did this well in advance of the people getting on the ferries. Also, I thought they were put on ferries as part of an evacuation, masterminded by the criminal mastermind, the Joker? Man, my memory sucks.

Anyway, he’s a criminal mastermind, and those fuckers think ahead.

Joker is able to move thousands of pounds of explosives into Gotham General Hospital without anyone noticing.

How do you know that no one noticed? Maybe 20 people noticed and he killed them all. They do that, those criminal masterminds in fictional movies.

Positioning the explosives for the two giant-blast sequences in "The Dark Night" would have required large trucks and a front-loader carrying multiple heavy objects through places crawling with police officers without anyone noticing.

Um, what about the warehouses full of explosives used on Harvey and Rachel? Wasn’t THAT unlikely!

Answer, yes. But these are both examples of scenes orchestrated by a fictional character in a fictional movie about a billionaire playboy that dresses up like a bat.

Joker always knows exactly where everyone he wants to kill is in a huge city (how?);

Maybe he follows them? The people he wants to kill are, like, the most famous people in the city and they are frequently the target of media. I guess the Joker (criminal mastermind) finds them the same way that paparazzi find Britney Spears. I don’t think he “always” knows “exactly” where they are. He first finds Harvey Dent at a fundraiser thrown….for….Harvey Dent.

he's beaten to a pulp by Batman, yet just minutes later, easily overpowers a huge policeman;

He really wasn’t beaten up that much really, and that police officer was not huge and he looked about 50.

Joker steals from the mob, yet no mob soldier simply shoots him.

Because they are frightened of him, and also because he guarantees he can deliver things to them (the Asian dude, all their money back, Batman).

Joker has a bomb sneaked into the jail where he's being held -- somehow he knew in advance what cell he would be in! -- and it blasts open the jail wall, plus kills all the police officers standing around the Joker, but does not hurt him.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Am I Crazy or This a Double Standard?

I don’t know much about Alan Abrahamson, who is writing for NBCOlympics.com, but I’ll concede that he knows more about Track & Field and any related stories of doping than I do. But I have to object to the way he starts his column about Usain Bolt.

BEIJING -- Usain Bolt of Jamaica etched his name into history Wednesday as one of the Olympic greats, indeed one of the greatest athletes of all time.

What an asshole, right! Who does Abrahamson think he is?

Okay, that’s not the part I meant. On this point I have to agree. I was impressed when he so easily ran the fastest 100M ever, but I thought Michael Johnson’s record was relatively safe.

Assuming he's clean.

This is the second line in the column. Has anyone said this about Michael Phelps, even though swimming has historically been a doped up sport as well?

Aren’t we assuming everyone is clean? Isn’t that where we start? Does it have to be said?

And while no evidence of any sort has surfaced to suggest he's not, it's naïve not to wonder how Bolt is able to run so fast.

Just like one has to wonder how all the gold medalists in track and swimming can run and swim so fast. On the list of how he can run so fast, where is “he may be on drugs?” What about simply thinking that he’s a freak of nature/gifted, he trains really hard, and he’s in amazing physical condition….. these things take a back seat? This strikes me as a bit of a pessimistic way to start a column on the day Bolt broke the record when you've heard no evidence of any sort. Did Alan Abrahamson write about Michael Johnson with this skepticism in 1996 when Johnson ran 19.32? Usain Bolt runs 2/100ths of a second faster and you immediately default to ….hey, great race…..IF he’s clean.

If there’s no evidence of any sort, then why cast that shadow over his accomplishment?

Because no one in the history of human beings, from the first primitive soul desperately trying to outrun a saber-toothed tiger to the sophisticated races of our times, has ever run as fast as Usain Bolt has run at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Has anyone ever swum as fast as Michael Phelps? Does that mean he’s doped up?

"I am the best," Bolt declared late Wednesday night. "I proved it at the Olympics."

Yeah, if you weren’t on drugs, druggie. You can’t fool us.

The rest of the column was a perfectly fine summary of the race, and the background on Johnson’s record falling.

In this column about Phelps, Abrahamson’s title/header is as follows:

Built to succeed ... and assume his place in history

Mental strength, intense focus drove Phelps to epic 8-for-8 in Beijing

There is no mention of steroids or the possibility of Phelps' using PEDs. This is appropriate. Why put “assuming he’s clean” as the second line in a story about Bolt’s impressive feat?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Gregg Easterbrook Totally Calls out DC Comics

This paragraph is in this week's Tuesday Morning Quarterback on ESPN.com:

Meanwhile, I read that Christian Bale, who plays Batman in "The Dark Knight" -- the movie bore no relation whatsoever to Frank Miller's 1986 graphic novel "The Dark Knight," which revived the Batman craze -- says his favorite of the many Batman graphic novels is "Dark Victory." I got a copy. In it, Batman battles the Joker, Harvey Dent, Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, Pengy and the rest in the sewers of Gotham City. The sewers are cavernous, with only trickles of water running along the bottom; so large the giant Solomon Grundy, who's 20 feet tall, strides through them easily. The sewers lead to doors that open throughout Gotham City, allowing Joker and the rest to strike, then vanish. Gotham's enormous cathedral-ceiling sewers appear to be the greatest public-works project in human history, yet no one knows they exist. Batman has to discover the sewers to determine how the super-villains are moving around the city. And the sewers have a door that leads to the Batcave, which contains -- a bottomless pit.

What the fuck DC Comics? Can’t you write a story about a billionaire playboy who moonlights as a bat while fighting crime against a grown man-penguin, a guy in a cryogenic suit who shoots ice and a guy with a half normal/half terribly deformed face that flips a coin to decide if he’s going to kill someone AND INCLUDE A BELIEVABLE PORTRAYAL OF THIS FICTIONAL CITY’S SEWER SYSTEM! You can’t fool the TMQ, bitches!

Now, who will answer to the TMQ about the insanity of the subway system in Metropolis or the Daily Bugle’s lack of any required Federal labor laws posted in the break room! Please answer the comic gods!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Jemele Hill Is Not the Michael Phelps of Columnists

Phelps' eight gold medals makes us rethink greatness

This is long enough, let’s just jump right in.

What's an athlete?

One who competes in an exercise activity or sport at some level above terrible. I’m an athlete.
Just to warn you, I’m about to waste a lot of both of our time parsing this bullshit column. I should probably just avoid it.

Who's an athlete?

Like hundreds of millions of people.

What's mental toughness?

I’ll loosely define mental toughness as the ability to sustain focus and execute at a high level in the face if adversity and/or pressure. What’s with the fucking quiz to start the column?

What are limits?

I’ll defer to your nearest fifth grader to define limits.

What is greatness?

Well I'm tired already. What is a moronic way to open a column?

Lance Armstrong's seven Tour de France victories in a row. Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak. Wilt Chamberlain's 100 points. The Tiger Slam.

Yes? Those are “great” things in the context of athletic achievement.

We thought we knew those answers before Michael Phelps. But now that we've witnessed Phelps win eight gold medals, it turns out we didn't know anything.

Fuck that, I’m wicked smart. I know lots of stuff. You don’t know anything, but I already knew that. You’re just catching up with me Jemele.

Forget your previous notions. Forget other things you've seen from the other world's best athletes. What Phelps has done is as remarkably different as God giving us the sun one day and the seas the next.

I’m getting down right giddy about how she’s going to explain why 8 Gold Medals from Michael Phelps is more impressive than Lance Armstrong winning 7 straight Tours after beating cancer.

Because it’s not. At least not in any clear way.

But his greatest achievement at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing isn't the gold medals, or breaking Mark Spitz's 1972 record for most golds at a single Games. Phelps has changed the way we think about sport.

Yeah, he’s made me say: “What the fuck, there are a ton of chances to win medals if you’re a swimmer!” If you are the very best female gymnast in the world, and you dominate every apparatus and have very good teammates, you can have a flawless Olympics and you’ll win, at best, 6 Golds. I would argue that a gymnast who has mastered all 4 apparatus to that level is more impressive than Phelps, but she would not be able to compete in terms of medal count.

What Usain Bolt did in his one 100 Meter final damn impressive by itself even though it's "only" 1 record. That one gold/record, to me, carries the weight of a few swimming gold medals. Everyone can run. Rich, poor, whatever. Not everyone grows up with the access that Michael Phelps had to swimming and coaching. Bolt ran the fastest 100 ever and was celebrating with 15 meters left. Sprinters have to come out of like 3-4 prelims just to make the medal round. There’s a definite risk of fatigue or injury.

Phelps has redefined athletics, and athleticism.


He has returned us to the ancient, Olympic ideal.

Legend says Zeus' son, Hercules, created the Olympic Games after completing 12 labors over 12 years. Some of Hercules' tasks included having to bring back a three-headed dog from hell and retrieve golden apples that promised eternal life.

This is relevant how?

For Phelps, it was completing 17 races in eight days and amassing seven world records. As the Hercules myth spells out, the Games' origins are rooted in endurance. That is why we must consider Phelps' achievements in these Olympics as the greatest athletic feat ever accomplished.

Woah woah woah. Woah.


Let’s simplify this little bit of knowledge that Jemele has dropped on us and see if it makes sense.
The Olympics are about endurance, therefore Phelps’ winning 8 gold medals is the greatest athletic feat ever accomplished.

Isn’t that thinking a tad narrowly? Why is athletic accomplishment only relevant in the Olympics? Why does some ancient myth about what the Olympics are about determine what kind of athletic accomplishment is the best ever?

Back in ancient times all the kruglidites of super happy land defined the best athletes as those who could accurately strike small objects with curved sticks. Therefore, Tiger Woods is the best athlete ever.

It's not just about what he has done. It's about what he has endured.

That’s true, Lance Armstrong does not have the endurance that Michael Phelps does. Neither do those ultra-marathoners. Neither do Ironman triathletes, who swim like 2+ miles in the Ocean, bike 112 miles and then run a full marathon in the Hawaiian heat.

Endurance should be the key element that distinguishes greatness. What did Jordan endure when he won six NBA titles? Did he push his body to the limits Phelps has? Not even close.

If your measure of athletic greatness is limited to endurance, then you can throw out virtually all team-sport athletes. I think this is retarded. How many basketball games did Jordan play at an absurdly high level on his way to 6 championships? Like 600? Ha! Trivial!

How much endurance does it take to land some crazy ass vault like a gymnast, or to do some flips on a balance beam? Clearly not Michael Phelps’ level endurance, but can’t those athletic achievements be just as impressive? Is every marathoner a better athlete than every basketball player, football player, gymnast, etc. ever? HOW DOES THIS MAKE ANY SENSE?

What if an athlete existed that could long-jump 40 feet. 10+ feet further than anyone, ever. This same athlete could also hit cleanup for the Yankees and hit 75 homeruns and kick a football 85 yards with precision under NFL pressure. But all definitions of being an endurance athlete, this superhuman would fail to be a better athlete than Michael Phelps. SEE HOW THIS MAKES NO SENSE?

Of course, no one is disputing Jordan wasn't the best basketball player in the world, but Jordan's flu game couldn't compete with Phelps, who had a week's worth of flu games at the Olympics.

That’s a double negative, dingbat. You’re saying that Jordan was undisputedly not the best basketball player in the world. Who says Jordan’s “flu game” is his best athletic achievement? Why did Phelps have a week’s worth of flu games? What?

See, here's the thing: Jordan was sick. The Jazz were not sick. Phelps was not swimming under different conditions than the other swimmers. So he didn't have a week's worth of flu games. If all the Utah Jazz were also playing "flu games", then you'd have a point.

And it must be pointed out that Jordan, who ESPN SportsCentury named the greatest athlete ever, isn't even the biggest winner in his sport. Phelps is.

Again, this is poor sentence structure. To me, you just made it sound like Phelps is the biggest winner in Jordan’s sport. You can’t compare an NBA player to an Olympic swimmer.

And what did Joe DiMaggio's body endure when he hit in 56 consecutive games? Mentally, he was strained, just as Roger Maris was when he hit more home runs than anyone else in a single season. No disrespect to baseball players, but the fact that Babe Ruth -- who many consider the best baseball player to ever live -- could knock off a fifth of vodka every night during the season shows the level of physical commitment needed in baseball is a joke compared to what's physically required of Phelps, who burned as many calories each day during his quest as a marathoner does. What DiMaggio and Ruth did was a power walk.

Skill sport versus endurance sport. Again, if you think endurance is all that matters, then skill can’t win. The best athlete ever would be some ultramarathoner or triathlete.

How can you definitively say that Michael Phelps is a better athlete than Carl Lewis? Lewis dominated in sprinting various distances as well as long-jumping. He was, at one point, the fastest human in history and he also won Gold in long-jumping at 4 consecutive Olympics. Being a great athlete is more than endurance or speed. Some of the fastest people I’ve met happened to suck at team sports that require coordination, like basketball or baseball.

This is off-the charts in terms of piss poor, unenlightened analysis.

Tiger Woods, the best golfer in the world, won a major championship with a torn ACL. Phelps couldn't even dream of doing the same.

Because...his sport....is not...like golf?? Swimming is all the sudden the only sport that one can compete in to become the greatest athlete ever. Isn’t that pretty much what she’s saying?

Besides, is Tiger as dominant in golf as Phelps is in swimming?

Same. It’s harder for the best golfer to win every tournament than it is for the best swimmer to win every race. There is so much different here, it’s not even funny.

What if every golf tournament was played between 8 golfers? Imagine Tiger’s record then. What if every swimming race, Phelps had to beat like 40 other swimmers? What if instead of the race being a back and forth of continuous laps, Phelps had to get out of the pool after ever 2 laps, and gather his thoughts about the swim he just had, then all the swimmers lined up and he had to go through all the mental preparation for the next set of laps and do it again? What if he had to do this for 18 sets, for four straight days, against 40 or so swimmers? Do you think he’d win every tournament, as Hill seems to want Woods to do in order to be his equal? SEE HOW GOLF IS DIFFERENT FROM SWIMMING? Jemele Hill does not.

No way.

Fuck you.

Ask yourself this: Whose field is tougher? Tiger's or Phelps'?

Like you know a god damn thing about Phelp’s “field”. You, like me, watch swimming every four years and know exactly what Rowdy Gaines tells you, and little else.

Since Tiger shut down his season because of his knee injury, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh have spent his absence out-choking each other. But Phelps has had to beat Ian Crocker, Ryan Lochte and Laszlo Cseh in Beijing - all of whom were world-record holders.

They are world record holders because of the crazy swimsuits being used (also, something about faster pools). They are quickly breaking each other’s records. It’s sort of silly, really.

Phelps is beating his competition in their individual specialties. Imagine if Kobe Bryant sang a better national anthem than Marvin Gaye, or if Alex Rodriguez dunked better than Dwight Howard.

Folks, I say this often, but that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever read from Jemele Hill. IMAGINE IF....Kobe Bryant could sing like Marvin Gaye!

Why is it up to Alex Rodriguez to be anything more than a baseball player to be one of the best athletes ever? We're not asking Phelps to be anything more than a swimmer. Imagine if Michael Phelps hit better than Alex Rodriguez? Why is it that team sport athletes need to be better in other sports entirely, but Phelps just has to be a great swimmer at different swimming disciplines. Carl Lewis beat the best sprinters and the best long-jumpers. Both of those are often separate specialties, moreso than swimming frontwards versus swimming backwards.

Many Baseball players are great at hitting, fielding and baserunning. Are these not more varied disciplines using different tools and skills than the breast stroke, freestyle or the butterfly? I say….who knows...but I’m more open minded than Jemele.

Wayne Gretzky, hockey's greatest scorer, collected 2,857 career points -- over 21 years. In two Olympics, the 23-year-old Phelps became the most decorated Olympian ever.

So Gretzky’s accomplishments are invalidated from this argument because they took 21 years to achieve. This makes no sense. Phelps has had more opportunity! They award a fuckload of medals in swimming, how is this not clear? The most medals Kobe Bryant can win? 1. The most Shawn Johnson can win? 6. Phelps has done a monumentally impressive thing but please, calm the fuck down.

Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game is nice, but not more difficult than setting a world record in six consecutive, grueling events, including winning two golds in one day.

Why not? Oh, you’re done.

All I’ll say is this; World records fall every freaking race it seems, and no one is dropping 100 points in an NBA game ever again.

Lance Armstrong's seven straight Tour de France titles probably comes the closest to matching Phelps. But it's impossible to be confident in Armstrong's achievements because he dominated one of the dirtiest professional sports in the world. Even if you believe Armstrong was completely clean, he essentially is doing just one thing. Phelps is proficient in four different strokes, at different distances.

So we get to act like Phelps is some multi-sport dynamo because they are different strokes? Is he the only swimmer swimming different strokes at different distances? Nope. Also, if we get to assume Armstrong was clean, as you say, then isn’t it more impressive that he so dominated a dirty sport? Aren't the different tour stages at different distances?

Football feats also don't measure up.

Because they are different sport??????HMMMM?!!!??!?!?!?!?!?

Not Emmitt Smith's NFL-best 18,355 career rushing yards or Tom Brady's single-season record of 50 touchdown passes.

What about them?

Brett Favre is considered by some to be the greatest passer ever, but he also holds the all-time record for interceptions.

This is interesting, how?

Would Phelps even be in consideration for greatest athletic achiever if he lost nearly as many races as he'd won?

No Olympic swimmer has lost nearly as many races as they’d won. That’s why they are in the fucking Olympics. But good point. I mean, Michael Jordan missed thousands of shots! What’s up with that? I’m pretty sure Barry Bonds used to make outs. Michael Phelps never struck out while swimming!

Think about it, the crux of her argument is something like this:

The best athlete must be the athlete with the most endurance AND
The best athlete must have varied skills, such as swimming different ways AND
All skills within team sports are vaguely classified under the skill of “playing sport X well”, therefore they are not as versatile as swimmers AND
I love Michael Phelps so I’m just saying whatever crap I can to support my argument!

Television commentators are comparing Phelps to an actual fish, or an amphibian. When we think of the greatest athletes ever, fish aren't usually what comes to mind. But with Phelps, all conventional thinking goes out the window.

Television commentators are dumb. Let’s rephrase:

Dummies are comparing Phelps to an actual fish, or amphibian, because he swims awesomely and is the flavor of the month. When we think of greatest athlete ever, smart people know that you can’t compare team sport athletes to individual sport athletes across eras. But with my terrible analysis of Phelps, you’ll notice that I’m incapable of thinking rationally and doing legitimate analysis.

I Continue to Not be Impressed by Bill Plaschke

This is pretty late, but Bill Plashke’s column about the Men’s USA hoops team victory over China is good enough to read a little of if you feel like getting mad at something.

The title: Men's basketball: It was a billion to 1, and we did it

Not a good start when the title doesn’t make sense. China has over a billion people, got it, but the USA has 300 million. Also, “we” did nothing. YOU….ate a dick.

The U.S. men's team begins redeeming itself with an Olympic win led by a special K: Coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Special K. Awwww.

The first step was a stomp. The first greeting was a slap. The first words were sung with steals, stuffs and the angriest of slam dunks.

This opening is classic Bill Plaschke nonsense. The first greeting was a slap? Wha?

This wasn't a game, it was a star-spangled banger.

That wasn’t a pun; that was a god-awful pun.


The prettiest basketball country in the world returned to the Olympics and its roots Sunday with a 101-70 victory over a skilled team, a giant nation and an old stereotype.



It has been tagged as the most selfish basketball nation on Earth, but the U.S. showed teamwork intensity normally not seen at any place other than, say, Duke University.

First, the US is totally the most selfish basketball nation in the world. Have you seen the AND1 tour bullshit? We have a league of people who are devoted to playing selfish, showboat basketball. Second: what is teamwork intensity?

What a difference a K makes.

I get it – that rhymed with “day”. Pretty clever!

Kobe Bryant, Wade, James, Howard…..nawwww….it’s all the coach. I could have coached them over China.

Four years ago, the U.S. team selfishly blew a gold medal for the first time since it began sending NBA players to the Olympics in 1992, raising the question of whether our stars had forgotten how to play the game we invented.

How did they selfishly blow it? That makes no sense. The way that sentence is written it implies that they lost in the Olympics for their own gain. They were the wrong guys, coached by the wrong man, given very little time to put together a cohesive team. Kryzewski has better personnel, who have played together, and he has a team that doesn’t expect to just show up and blow teams out, like the ’04 team did. That team was the perfect storm of circumstances that left the US ripe to get beaten.

Here's guessing Coach Mike Krzyzewski won't let them.

In case you’re just figuring it out, this column is all about Plaschke wishing it was Coach K’s dick he was eating.


Then there were the assists. Seven guys had them, maybe more guys than in all of 2004, the Americans poking and prodding and passing to all those nasty slams.

Seven guys had assists? This is meaningful? Eight guys on China’s team had assists. From what I can quickly discern, between 6 and 8 guys had assists in each of the 2004 games.

But other than that, right on!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Michael Phelps is Also 1406 Stolen Bases Behind Rickey Henderson

After another Michael Phelps (that swimmer guy swimming in that tournament in that foreign place) piece on Sportscenter, Matt Weinert lead into a comparison of Phelps to other winners in other sports with this little nugget:

“He’s certainly the standard for Olympians, but he hasn’t matched any of these great champions.”

They then go into a little montage to explain that Bill Russell won 11 NBA championships, Rocket Richard won 11 Stanley Cups, Yogi Berra 10 won World Series and Charles Haley won 5 Super Bowls.

What, the fuck, does that intro mean?

I mean, he won more gold medals than any of them? The total of his gold medals is greater than any of those numbers. He has not, in fact, played another professional sport – so you got me there.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

“I Don’t Know Where Angola is But They in Trouble”

I remember Charles Barkley uttering the line above (or something real close to it) before the 1992 Olympics. The “Dream Team” (feel free to use that), went on to sneak past Angola 116-48. That’s quite a whooping. Which is why I was surprised to read the following snapshot from today’s game summary of the US’s game against Angola:

The United States improved to 4-0 against Angola, starting with the Dream Team's Olympic debut in 1992. That romp is best remembered for Charles Barkley's elbow to an unsuspecting Angolan player in a 116-48 victory.

Angola went down almost as easily this time.

There’s other wording in the summary to describe how easily the US beat Angola. The final score was 97-76, or a 21 point win. Angola outscored the US in the fourth by 7 points to keep the margin down, so I’m sure it wasn’t even that close. But c’mon, the 1992 team won by 68 points! That was way way way easier. The 1992 team’s margin of victory would have been only 23 points (close to today’s game) if Angola had avoided the FORTY SIX TO ONE run the US team went on.

Yeah, so, there’s nothing interesting on the internet these days.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Scoop Jackson and Whatnot

Scoop Jackson wrote about what a swell year 1998 was for Sports. The column included this paragraph:

Now think of the effect of that shot. That last one of Michael Jordan's true career, the end of the Bulls Era. (Note: The previous game -- the flu/food poison game -- is still considered by many as Jordan's greatest performance.)

Now think of how you, Scoop, Mr. NBA writer...former editor of Slam Magazine (I think)....didn't know the Flu game was game 5 of the '97 Finals, not '98. Seems minor, but any NBA writer would remember that the flu game was in Utah, as was game 6 of '98. So even if it's a typo on the year, he should have realized that they don't play game 5 and 6 in the same arena....in any round of the playoffs.

I've been working like 70 hours a week and neglecting my fantasy team, so I click a link on the yahoo page to check out some solid fantasy advice from Brad Evans.

Shrouded by Randy Johnson's hillbilly-sexy mullet, Eric Byrnes'medical record stacks and discarded tissues shed over Chris Snyder's originally-diagnosed-fractured-but-was-technically-bruised testicle is an underappreciated Snake that has slithered in the desert.

The pitcher poisonous reptile is Chad Tracy.

Brad Evans...you are trying way to hard. Like....10 x's too hard. You have an easy, bullshit job. Just tell me who to pick up.

Over the past three weeks, the corner infielder's swing has sizzled like the sweltering sun in the Sonoran sky.

Can't you just say: Pick up Chad Tracy, and then give me some stats? No? That's not "bringing the noise, yo", like only a 30 year old whiteboy can?

During that span he's hit safely in 13 of 17 games, hammering out 22 hits in 58 at-bats (.379 BA). His 14 RBIs, eight runs and eight extra-base hits in that stretch are equally impressive.

Hey! That's helpful.

Let's see what he has to say about Melvin Mora:

Mora has rampaged through opposing pitchers with Cal Ripken flair since the break. Injected with cortisone, and presumably the Iron Man's DNA, earlier this month.....

Injected with the "Iron Man's DNA" sounds kind of gay.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Update and Stuff

Sorry folks, I've been way too busy at work (picking blueberries) to read anything online or watch too much in the way of sports, hence the non-activity 'round these parts. My sports viewing died when the NBA finals ended.

I've been checking up on the links at right (FJMs and such) if you're looking for something non-constructive to do.

I did have one sports related observation this week that I found interesting. Listening to WEEI on Saturday morning (commuting to work!) I heard Craig Mustard and Larry Johnson talking about how there had been something like 50 complete games by AL pitchers this year and how that was a really high number.

Then, this (paraphrased) exchange:

Johnson: "Has there been one at Fenway this year?"

Me, at the radio: "Jon Lester's no hitter"

Mustard: "I don't remember seeing one."

Me, at the radio: "Morons."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hey, a Non-Sports Related Post!

So I stumbled on this random bit on Yahoo “Buzz!” about certain celebrities “real” names. The list included the top 20 searches for real names over the last past week.

Let’s see if you can spot the one that makes no fucking sense.

1. Tiger Woods (Eldrick Woods)
Madonna (Madonna Ciccone)
Lil' Wayne (Dwayne Carter Jr.)
Miley Cyrus (Destiny Hope Cyrus)
Coco Crisp (Covelli Crisp)
Hilary Banks (played by Karyn Parsons)
Gene Simmons (Chaim Witz)
Hulk Hogan (Terry Bollea)
Larry the Cable Guy (Daniel Lawrence Whitney)
Ray Stevens (Harold Ray Ragsdale)
Bow Wow (Shad Gregory Moss)
Soulja Boy (DeAndre Ramone Way)
Triple H (Paul Michael Levesque)
Bono (Paul Hewson)
Sting (Gordon Sumner)
Jay-Z (Shawn Carter)
Tila Tequila (Tila Nguyen)
Marilyn Manson (Brian Warner)
John Wayne (Marion Morrison)
Prince (Prince Rogers Nelson)

If you said “6”, congratulations, you’re correct. Let’s run down why this is retarded.

1. Hilary Banks isn’t a “stage name” or nickname, as all the other names are – it’s the name of a character on a mildly successful TV show (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air).
2. The last new episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air aired in 1996.
She wasn’t even the main character?!?!?
3. After her stint on Fresh Prince, she was in exactly 1 movie (The Ladies Man) and did 1-2 episodes of a few TV shows, the last being in 2002 (Static Shock was the show).
4. More searched than “Bono”??!??!?!??!

Maybe this is why Yahoo is getting its ass kicked by Google; its search data is crap. Other than Yahoo being fucked up, my guess is that Karyn Parsons has a stalker who looks her up online non-stop but can only remember her as “Hilary Banks”.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Was Magic Injured in the 1991 Playoffs?

I didn't think so. I mean, I suppose he could have been HIV positive, but it's tough to say that impacted his play (see numbers below). Also, it's not an injury. Bill Simmons felt the need to throw his "injury" into his on-the-fly list of the 10 biggest playoff injuries in the past 25 years:

(The 10 biggest playoff injuries of the past 25 years, in no particular order: Manu in '08; Isiah in '88; McHale and Walton in '87; D-Wade in '05; Duncan in '00; Malone in '04; Worthy in '83; Pippen in '98; Magic in '91; Doc Rivers in '94. All of those injuries potentially swung the Finals except for Pippen's back injury in '98 -- that was the year when Pippen played at 50 percent and MJ said, "Screw it, we're winning anyway.")

I don’t recall Magic being injured in the 1991 playoffs. In the 1991 finals, Magic Johnson played 43, 43, 50 (OT), 44, and 48 minutes. In the 1991 playoffs, Magic averaged 43.3 minutes, 21.8 points, 12.6 assists and 8.1 rebounds per game. That’s, you know, pretty good.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Colin Cowherd, That's Not What he Meant

On yesterday's radio show, Colin Cowherd discussed how he believed European players can't really be relied on to win an NBA championship.

It was a long (felt long) and painful discussion that included the following:

NBA General Managers love drafting European guys over American kids, not because they’re better, but because of the mystery or the unknown. That’s what I always say about Yoga. Do you know why Yoga is so popular? Because it’s so popular in India. If it was from Nashville, they’d call it stretching. But it’s from India – and they don’t have bathrooms, there’s rubble, and it’s different and most people haven’t been there – it’s mysterious – and we like what we can’t have.

If you've heard Cowherd you realize this kind of stuff is the norm. He basically puts down the general work ethic of the entire continent of Europe and implies that their basketball players are sort of lazy and soft. It was pretty stupid, but I don't have the energy to parse through it.

Anyway, this was near the end of his discussion:

Look at what Sasha Vujacic said about Ray Allen… "He got me. I was afraid to foul him – he just got me."

Afraid? You don’t hear a kid from Chicago say that. And I know I’ll get soccer fans or a guy listening on the web overseas. “Colin, you’re such an ugly American”. What…eva.
(yeah, he said it like that).

Vujacic was not literally fearful of the physical contact that comes with fouling a player, dipshit. He didn't want to send the seventh best FT shooter in NBA history to the free throw line.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Kobe v. Jordan Again

Well well well look what we've found here. So Jemele Hill has her own website, and she recently revived the Jordan/Bryant argument that she made here. She obviously used an obscure blog post on her website, instead of ESPN, to hide these words from me. I see right through it all. But here we are anyway. Nice try, Ms. Hill.

She actually acknowledges that she did a bad job supporting her opinion….

To be honest, I didn’t do a good job of really explaining why I feel that way (Kobe better than Jordan) in that initial ESPN column.

Yeah I caught that. Unfortunately, her blog is not very reader/blogger friendly. I have no idea how to copy/paste content out of it. Because there’s no way I’ll be transcribing all the content, I’ll have to just grab her main points.

The game evolves and so does the skill level. It’s obvious that Kobe has studied MJ’s every move. He’s not only perfected those moves, but developed particular skill sets faster than Jordan did. For example, Jordan was never as good a long-range shooter as Kobe. Over time, Jordan added that element of his game, but it came along for Kobe much faster – as did Kobe’s fadeaway, post-up game, and mid-range shooting. Kobe ceased strictly being an above-the-rim player a lot quicker than Jordan.

There’s nothing very egregious here. Skills do evolve over time, however I just can’t be so definitive in separating their time periods in the way that she can. But can I just point this out:

For example, Jordan was never as good a long-range shooter as Kobe.

Keep in mind that these two players play a very similar style game, and Kobe plays in a more stringent era in terms of defensive hand checking rules.

Career 3-point %’s:

Regular Season:
Jordan - .327
Bryant - .340

Jordan - .332
Bryant - .324

Virtually the same. I would love to see a career shot chart that parsed their shooting percentages based on the location of their shots – Jordan would beat Kobe inside the 3-point line (virtually the same outside). Jordan was a career 49.7 % FG shooter – Kobe is at 45.3%. To be fair, you should remove three’s from that % - when you do Jordan is 51% and Kobe is 48%. Their playoff non-3 % has a Jordan edge of 50.4% to 47.3%. Jordan's percentages during his Washington years were particularly bad, as well, but I've left them in there. We'll call that a dramatic decline phase that Kobe has not experienced.

If he’s such a better shooter, he must be worse at shot selection, because he makes less of them.

Quick sidebar - Charles Barkley was one of my favorite players to watch. One of his downfalls was he liked to take 3's. He took almost 2 a game for his career (as a power forward). Had Barkley never taken a 3-pointer, his career FG % would have been 58.13%, good for 3rd all-time behind Andris Beidrins (in only 4 seasons) and Artis Gilmore. Barkley was more efficient with his field goals, inside the three-point line, than Shaquille O'Neal, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Kevin McHale. Add that to the fact that he was a 6'6" (at best) power forward who led the league in rebounding and could handle the ball pretty well and he's one of the most uniquely talented offensive players in NBA history.

But here are some of the things that people always fail to consider in the never ending Kobe vs. Jordan debate.

1. Jordan is possibly the most magnetic sports figure of all time.

She goes on for a while on each point, but I’ll stick to the main points because it shows why she’s not going to convince me that Kobe is better. What the fuck does this have to do with anything?

2. Revisionist history has turned Jordan into the perfect human being.

What the fuck does this (that I disagree with anyway) have to do with anything?

3. Jordan didn’t have the Internets, and he missed out on a time in sports media where athletes personal lives are covered just as much as their on court performances.

Am I the only one that remembers the non-stop media frenzy that was Michael Jordan? Also, what the fuck does this have to do with anything?

4. We don’t seem to realize how the size - or lack thereof - during Jordan’s days contributed to his dominance.

That’s true, since Michael Jordan played most of his professional ball in China in the 1950’s. Seriously, this is what you’re spending your time on? Well, if only we had some sort of chart put out by a reputable source that showed us the average size of the NBA players through the years....hmmmmm. Wait, look what I found:

The average height of an NBA player over the last 20 years has stayed remarkably (expectedly?) consistent. The average weight is up a whopping 7 pounds, but you’ll notice it’s virtually unchanged since 1994. The point is, there’s not much of a difference. Are the players stronger, and more athletic? Yes - at least compared to the early stage of Jordan's career - but I would dispute this point with regards to the the later stage. Is Kobe's competition just plain "bigger"? Not really. The players Michael Jordan played against did not resemble the starting five from Hickory High, which is what Jemele seems to want you to envision. In fact, to be nitpicky and turn this non-point around on Jemele - the average player in ’98 was slightly taller and heavier than in ’08, and Jordan seemed to do okay that year, when (at age 35) he was the regular season MVP and the Finals MVP and he led the league in scoring. He also worked Kobe Bryant pretty good in the All-Star game too, in route to winning the MVP of the game. Not meaningful for this argument, but interesting.

She goes into more depth here, and actually talks about basketball and stuff (hey, it is the 4th point), so I’ll transcribe the section.

The players today are bigger, faster and stronger than they were when Jordan played. Granted, the players from Jordan’s era were more skilled and had a higher basketball IQ, but it’s a lot different having to shoot over Craig Ehlo versus someone like Tracy McGrady, who is 6-foot-9 and just as quick. Of course, I realize that assumes McGrady would be interested in playing defense.

She’s made this point before. Players today are better athletes, but players during Jordan’s era were more skilled and had a better basketball IQ. Do you see how pointless and difficult to argue this point is? It’s not like Jordan played in the 60’s. Jordan played through ’98 (ignoring the Washington years). Kobe’s first year was ’96-’97 – NBA players didn’t become superhuman after ’98. Of course, there’s an evolution in the capabilities of athletes, but I have a tough time identifying this separation in athletic prowess between the mid-‘90’s and the mid-‘00s. Does Allen Iverson have a tougher time scoring now than he did in ’97? Was Karl Malone way out of his element playing in this decade? Christ, Jordan had 40 point games playing at almost 40 years of age in 2003. This is not a good point to make. It’s virtually impossible to establish and she concedes that better athletes does not mean better players.

Why bring up McGrady if you’re acknowledging that he’s not that great a defender? Craig Ehlo DID play good defense. Just because he was white and he couldn’t jump out of the gym doesn’t mean he couldn’t play D. Also, wouldn’t a better point of reference be a guy like Dennis Rodman? I’d much rather have McGrady (or Bruce Bowen) on me than Rodman.

Anyway, guys on the wing are huge. You got a guy like 6-11 Lamar Odom, who is able to play four different positions.

Really? Jordan is going to be worried about Lamar Fucking Odom?

You have a 7-footer like Dirk Nowitzki playing the two (and by the way, foreign players were largely irrelevant during the Jordan era).

He does? He’s listed at power forward. He plays the two….once in a while? This is a big deal? Does he guard Kobe Bryant much? Does Kobe guard him? No? You know who could play 4 positions - ex-Blazer Cliff Robinson. Riveting, right?

I agree that the influx of foreign players has added to the talent level of the league. Congratulations, you’ve made a valid point.

You got Deron Williams playing the point at 6-5.

Wow, 6-5. We are truly in an age of superhuman basketball players. Magic was 6’9”. Jordan played against Kidd and Payton, who were taller than Williams (if this mattered, which it doesn't).

Also, Deron Williams is 6-3. I know this because the NBA, Jemele's employer, and Deron's website tell me this.

But, you know, good point otherwise.

Now, this is not to say that Jordan wouldn’t have averaged 30 a game. He would.

Since that's his career average, doesn't that make this manner of comparison a little pointless.

But we wouldn’t look at his athleticism in a vacuum if there were other players with just as much physical ability. Compared to Larry, Zeke and Magic, Jordan looked like a freak.

Did he look like an athletic freak next to Dominique Wilkins, Charles Barkley and Clyde Drexler? Oh, those guys aren't good examples, so just ignore them.

He wouldn’t look like a freak to us today with Kobe, Chris Paul, and LeBron James and others on the floor.

Sooo? Is anyone’s assertion anywhere that Jordan is better than Bryant because he’s a better athlete? Does anyone think this? That’s the point you’re making.

Which brings me to this: What would Jordan have done against LBJ, who is built like Julius Peppers and taller?

I don’t know, probably the same thing as Kobe Bryant? What would James have done against Jordan? He’d get smoked, that’s what. James had a tough enough time with Paul Pierce.

5. That Jordan never had to go through a dominating big man was a huge bonus. And no, I don’t count Shaq because he had diapers on. Olajuwon won his two when Jordan was out of the league. I MIGHT give you Patrick Ewing. Maybe even Karl Malone.

Comparing guards in sequential generations by analyzing the centers they played against is unbelievably stupid. But if you want to go there…

Jordan played against Patrick Ewing, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, and Alonzo Mourning in their primes. He played against Shaquille O’Neal from ’93-’98. Fuck that diapers shit, Shaq lead a 60 win Orlando team when he was 24 years old – his 4th year in the league. The year after he led them to the finals. Jordan’s Bulls destroyed them in ’96. ’96 – when the Bulls went through Mourning, Ewing and Shaq in sequential playoff series.

I guess what I’m saying is…..Jordan saw the best of a lot more big men the Kobe did, and (oh by the way), he didn’t have an all-time great like Shaq on his team for 8 years to handle those big men, as Kobe did. I love how it's to Kobe's credit to play against Shaq and Duncan when Shaq's prime was spent as Kobe's teammate.

That's like me saying..."There were great defenders during Jordan's day - like Scottie Pippen!"

But could in-his-prime Jordan have defeated in-his-prime Shaq in a seven-game series? Or what about Duncan? I have my doubts.

Kobe was Shaq’s teammate during Shaq’s prime??!??!?!?!??!!??!!???!?!??!?!? That’s a huge advantage. HE didn’t go through him. Jordan had many more battles (ahem, on court) with Shaq than Kobe has. What a stupid point.

Yes, Jordan missed Duncan. I think the big men he faced more than offset Duncan. Give me a break. What an inane way to compare shooting guards….by comparing the big men who they didn’t guard and weren’t guarded by. How many more titles would Jordan have won if he was able to play with a dominating big man like Shaq in the early stage of HIS career? I'll give him the rings in '89 and '90 right now.

She then goes on to point out that Kobe did some things Jordan wouldn’t do – like pouting and fucking up the Phoenix series a couple years ago. She also tells us that the “Shaq situation” would have turned out the same with Jordan. She’s a psychic! Anyway, it’s meaningless when discussing their respective games anyway. I also have to disagree.

If the Lakers win the championship we'll be met with a lot of "Kobe Bryant is as good as Jordan" type columns. I personally love this stuff - comparing players in NBA history. Hopefully, it's more well thought out than this. In Jemele's defense, it was just a blog post on her site, but it's not much different than her column on ESPN.com.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Deadspin’s ESPN’s Featured Comment of the Day

Every day Deadspin picks on the ESPN comment of the day (rightfully so), and the commenters mock the ESPN comment.

I’m not a Deadspin commenter – and my fear of rejection has scared me away from the audition process (well, mostly it’s my fear of killing more than 15 minutes a day on the site). I really tense up and start pulling a Chris Farley and slapping myself upside the head and calling myself an idiot. Anyway, I may occasionally do my own comment here, for you, the readers of this blog. So basically Deadspin, which is a great site if you live under a rock and have never been, has done something clever, and instead of burying my comment in with the dozens or hundreds of theirs, I’ll just post it here instead.

Here’s today’s Featured Comment:

"I would only watch golf if it was full contact."exposrangers

Here’s what I would post in the comment section if I was funny enough to be a Deadspin commenter:

“I would only watch gay animal porn if it was bull contact”


“I only watch vintage Atlanta Hawks highlights if it’s full Koncak”

Wicked hilarious, right? See, Jon Koncak was a dorky looking stiff.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Some Sanity and Some Jibberish

I skimmed ESPN Page 2 today and noted that Tim Keown had a brief write-up on Robert Horry not being a Hall of Famer. It’ll be interesting to see how many posts I have up on this site after Horry retires responding to writers who argue for Horry to make the Hall, so I figured I’d link this now.

Then there’s Scoop Jackson.

There's a term used in the community called "thirsty."

“The community”. How about “the world”. There’s a term in the world of English speaking people. Why be so exclusionary, buddy?

It means what you think it means, but it's now being used in different contexts. Only to make a point of the extremes to which some people will go to get what they want. More severely, what they need.

Nooo…that’s pretty much what I figured you meant. You're not writing about nutrition on ESPN.com.

Kobe Bryant, for lack of more sophisticated terminology, is thirsty.

Gotcha. So what else are we going to talk about? Matchups? Some Lakers-Celtics history?
Oh, much much much more on Kobe Bryant’s thirst?

His thirst for another NBA title is that of an amplitude we may not have ever seen before. Not in sports, business, crime, corruption or politics.

Kobe Bryant, a 3-time NBA champion, is not more thirsty than John Elway was to end his career as the guy who kept losing the big game. He’s not more thirsty than Jordan, Isiah, or Shaq were to break through and win a championship. He’s not more thirsty than Andy Fastow was to siphon money out of Enron or than Bill Gates was when he started Microsoft.

Keeping it community: He's thirsty like a fiend.

Scoop, I’m just going to come out and ask you this. Do you not want me reading this? I’m white. Is “community” supposed to be “the black community”? Are you just talking to people in that community? Can you “keep it” in a more inclusionary manner please? Is this why I never understand you? Because you don’t want me to?

Now I understand how Bill Maher it is to use a dependency as an analogy to describe Kobe's mental range, scope and capacity and how wrong it probably is to compare "the greatest player of his generation" (as TNT labeled him to promote the Western Conference finals) to Ashy Larry or Bubbles, but it fits. Like disloyalty and Scott McClellan. In technical terms, Kobe is an obligate anti-carnivore.

I have no fucking idea what that paragraph means. None. Is Dennis Miller ghost-writing Scoop Jackson columns now? That doesn’t jibe with the “community” talk but it’s the only explanation.

This thirst -- whether he admits or denies or realizes it -- comes from a needing to do this without Shaquille O'Neal. It's a needing to come as close to Jordan and Jordan's legacy as any other basketball player alive right now … and maybe in the future. It's a needing to prove to himself what he's known and told himself ever since he challenged Brian Shaw to play one-on-one at age 11.

I agree – Kobe Bryant wants to win. Do we need a column for this? I say no.

Redemption, chip on his shoulder, edge, anger. None apply. There's a fiend-like component inside Kobe that exceeds all of the above labels that no athlete in any other sport possesses,

Not Tiger Woods?

and the closer he gets to attaining another championship ring, the more impossible it is going to be for anyone -- or any one team -- to deny him. His want has gone into an almost dependence stage of validation, of recognition, of being the last man standing.

You sir, are just making stuff up to fill up a column. You are offering nothing. No examples, no analysis – just jibberish.

There is no player or collection of players on Boston's squad -- no player(s) on any team that the Lakers have faced throughout the playoffs, no entire 12-man roster in the league, to be honest -- that can match his need to win this championship.

The Lakers are a good, young team. They will be awesome for the next few years. The Celtics have maybe 2 shots at a Championship. Garnett has never won. Kobe has won 3. I think Garnett’s “need” is on par with Bryant’s.

A compulsion to prove to himself -- and us -- that he's been right all along is what's at the center of this. Right that he's not a bad guy, a prima donna, arrogant, aloof or antisocial. Right that he is engaging and personable. Right that he might be the best basketball player your kids will ever see.

Look – only a grade A-moron would confuse basketball brilliance with not being a bad guy or a prima donna. He’ll diffuse very little of that by winning this championship.

Just as he was right about publicly forcing the Lakers to make some roster moves, in every fabric of his being he has to be right about how he sees himself and what he sees himself as. Even though he said in the ESPN Sunday Conversation that he was comfortable being the No. 2 guy while winning rings with Shaq, and in so many words to please stop the Jordan comparisons because there will never be another ("He's a different person … the greatest ever … let me do me …. Thank you!"), those who have watched his evolution -- his ascendance -- know better. He tries to cover it up in interviews and private conversations, but once he gets in "black" Jack Bauer mode it becomes clear as Claritin. He's on something extra. Something that once he calls it quits about five years and three more rings from now, he's going to need some serious form of detox to get out of his system.

He’s competitive. We know this.

Hopefully he has the sense that Jordan did not and just quietly ascends into retirement instead of botching the personnel thing, trying a comeback, and then doing whatever Jordan is doing now (I know his title, but I don’t know what he actually does, other than piss off people in Charlotte).

To everyone else, this is about basketball. To him … this is about survival.




No it’s not, it’s about basketball. Basketball is about throwing a ball into a hole. If I was actually going through any real drama in my life, like if I had cancer or something, I'd probably be offended by this column.

It's the life of a fiend. Trapped inside the shell of a basketball player who almost had the game taken from him. The fact that he could have been responsible for not being able to show the world this stage of his life probably still eats at his mind. It might be what ultimately drives him.

Did Kobe Bryant botch a suicide attempt at some point?

Maybe it's something deeper, something that revealed itself at birth. Who knows? And the beauty, he'll never -- not even in Spike Lee's documentary about him -- be the one to tell.

Do you think Scoop’s editor reads this and actually knows what the hell he is talking about?
What’s “it”. The fiendish thirst?

The Celtics are thirsty for that ring, too, but they aren't dying of thirst.

Well that clear’s that up.

Which essentially is the difference between Kobe and them -- maybe Kobe and maybe all other human beings. And until KG, Truth and Jesus (anyone: Tiger, Roger, Peyton, LeBron, Kimbo, etc.) can equate death with what it will mean to not win a championship on these terms, until they can make themselves believe -- as Kobe has -- that their survival depends on getting this ring, then their collective and collaborative effort may not be enough.

We’re lumping Kimbo Slice in with Tiger Woods at this point? This column is redefining the sports column as we know it. It literally is about nothing. It’s just a bunch of poetic-like sentences about absolutely nothing of substance. It’s terrible.

Winning is the difference between a mission and an addiction. The Celtics are on a season-long mission against a dude that for the last five years has forced an addiction on himself to win. Winning substantiates this dude.

Dude, is Paulie Shore writing this thing? Back to back sentences referring to Kobe as "dude"?

It eliminates every doubt that may have somehow crept into his überconfident mind about his ability to carry and lead a team at the highest level of this sport. He has tasted something his competition (outside of Sam Cassell and James Posey) has never tasted, is hooked on something they've yet to sample. Addiction does not come by osmosis, whether it's meth, crack, coke, chocolate, caffeine, nicotine, sex, gambling, drinking or body art. To feel what it feels like to want to experience that same feeling again, you would have had to have it in your system before. The power of that feeling always makes those who reach that level of necessity more powerful than those who wish they knew what it felt like.

For a guy so hell bent on winning, he sure hasn’t been very good at it the last few years. Funny how the addiction is driving him this year, when he’s playing with better teammates. Last year? Not so addicted.

Kobe has that feeling. The others don't. And he is still thirsty.

That sentence strikes me to the core of my being and leaves me with the undying desire to want to experience the feeling that Kobe Bryant is living and breathing……drinking, if you will.

As those who are close to the game and those who still hate him despite what he's done since the playoffs started will testify, you can't beat a fiend at his own game when his game is basketball and basketball is all he has.

Is that sort of like “Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!”?

Which leaves only one thing left that Kobe Bryant can do: Obey his thirst.