Thursday, January 15, 2015

Murray Chass opines about the HOF results; is an ass


Well first of all, let me cram my fucking foot as far into my mouth as I can get it re: Simmons.  He only went 2-2 straight up in picking the divisional games last weekend, but he went 3-1 against the spread.  And much more importantly from the perspective of me and this angry blog, 1) he nailed his prediction for the GREATriots, correctly picking them to not cover but advance (in a game they really should have lost), and even better, 2) the one game he missed against the spread, and completely whiffed on straight up, was the Denver-Indy game.  As I've probably made clear, I'm a Denver fan.  So that was a really fun little cherry on top of a shit sports weekend.  MAYBE THEY LOST BECAUSE BILL JINXED THEM IN SAYING THEY'D WIN EASILY.  THAT MUST BE IT.  WHAT OTHER EXPLANATION IS THERE?  DAMN YOU SIMMONS YOU HAVE FOILED PEYTON AGAIN!  Anyways, fuck the Patriots and fuck John Fox.  I now hate all four teams remaining in the playoffs, but I hate the Patriots most of all, so besides go meteor, go Colts, I guess.  The good news is that if they move on, Seattle is going to toast them in the Super Bowl.  I hope.  MAYBE.

Moving along to things that make me slightly less angry, HOF voters managed to not totally fuck the dog, in electing four very deserving members to Cooperstown last week.  I mean, they still blew the dog and/or jerked off the dog by leaving Piazza and Bagwell out, but this was progress.  What does Murray Chass think about all this?  Caution: HOT TAEKS ahead.

As Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa sink slowly in tandem toward steroids oblivion, reprising their relationship in their electrifying home run derby of 1998 but in a different direction, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens run slowly in place, doomed to their personal Groundhog Day in baseball cleats. 

Or so Murray hopes.  He's already reneged on this promise, and I'm going to guess the reason is so that he can help continue to keep CHEATING CHEATERS who CHEAT and are BAD PEOPLE out of the Hall.  We'll know in a decade or so whether he succeeded.

Mike Piazza, meanwhile, is very likely headed, undeserved as it may be, 

DIE

to having the last laugh on his nemesis Clemens.

I'm surprised he admits defeat in his quest to keep Piazza unenshrined.

That, in brief, sums up my view of the results of this year’s voting for the Hall of Fame, 

I like how his view is entirely focused on five dudes who didn't get elected.  He doesn't give a shit about baseball greatness--he's just in it for the witch hunting.

[Dumb summary of the vote totals of McGwire and Sosa, who are TOTALLY GETTING WHAT THEY HAD COMING TO THEM MUHAHAHAHAHA ALL IS RIGHT WITH THE WORLD, omitted]

Bonds and Clemens aren’t in danger of falling off the face of the earth, but they aren’t in danger either of reaching the doors of the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.  Voters have been remarkably consistent in their treatment of the pair. In their first two years on the ballot, Bonds and Clemens each received votes in the mid-30 percent, and that’s precisely where they wound up this week, 36.8 percent for Bonds, 37.5 percent for Clemens.  Each actually went up 2.1 percent, but with seven more chances, at that rate they won’t very likely get where they want to go.

I don't know--every year the electorate gets a little less curmudgeonly as people like Chass retire or die and are replaced by younger voters who are less likely to be fucking stupid.  I'm not aware of (nor could I find) any public opinion polls about how the baseball-following public generally feels about the Steroid Era, but I would wager that attitudes towards the accomplishments of its most accomplished players soften every year.  It sucks for Bonds and Clemens that they are victims of the reduced number of years on the ballot rule that was recently adopted, but I am still hopeful they both get elected (assholes though they are).

By the way, Chass's moralizing got even funnier this week when this news broke, which should remind everyone that not only does the HOF contain horrible shitty people, but it contains other people, like MacPhail, who are also guilty of compromising the integrity of the game.  That second fact is important, because of course the stock comeback from dipshits like Chass when you point out that Ty Cobb was a racist and an asshole and he's in the Hall so why shouldn't Bonds be is "But what Bonds did WAS AN AFFRONT TO BASEBALL ITSELF."  Even if that argument is granted, segregationists like MacPhail actively worked to block talented players from entering MLB for decades, and thus robbed fans of watching exciting players and better teams.  Just food for thought next time you read some asswiping-worthy scree about Bonds or Clemens.

There would seem to be a hardcore group of voters and no one else who ignore the steroids/HGH elements of their careers and believe Bonds and Clemens belong in the Hall of Fame even if they cheated and used illegal substances.

They've only been on the ballot three years, and those were three very crowded ballots.  I'd wager they start trending up next year, when the only sure thing new arrival is Griffey.

What puzzles me is the different vote totals for the pair. If a writer opts to ignore the cheating aspects of their careers, why doesn’t he or she vote for both? 

He actually did a piece on this, which I'm not going to link to and didn't read, because after reading a brief excerpt on HardballTalk my head almost exploded.  Go check it out if you want to read things that really dumb people think.

Yet this year 206 voted for Clemens, 202 for Bonds. Does that mean four voters have a different reason for believing that Bonds doesn’t belong in the Hall?

BBWA members are among the biggest cuntswabbers on earth.  I don't think a little inconsistency among their voting preferences for steroid era guys is anything to be surprised by.

Tim Raines’ vote total also was cause for excitement for some analysts. The outfielder went from 46.1 percent to 55.0, but a year ago he tumbled from 52.2 to 46.1. He has two more chances.

The departure of fringe guys like him from the ballot (even though he might get replaced by Jim Edmonds or Trevor Hoffman, who I think should be out and in, respectively) should also help Bonds and Clemens eventually.

I think the primary reason for the excitement for both Schilling and Raines was that they rank high on the lists of the practitioners of the monster metrics, 

Monster metrics?  That's actually a really cool and non-pejorative sounding name for it.  What happened to calling advanced stats "FWARP, GORP, and other made up computer numbers for nerds in their parents' basements"?

who seemed to be thrilled that the writers were finally starting to get it right where those two players are concerned.

Imagine that--the people who like analyzing baseball using the modern tools that EVERY MLB team are now using (at least to some extent--looking at you, Diamondbacks) to evaluate players would like HOF voters to follow in the steps of those teams.  You know, the ones with huge financial stakes in the success or failure of their franchises.  The ones who are generally (not always, but generally) the right entities to look to if you want to know how people are figuring out which baseball players are good.  Funny that.

Interestingly, while watching one of those shows, I saw a film clip from another show, in which Brian Kenny of MLB.com was arguing with Chris Russo, a talk show host, about which players belong in the Hall of Fame.

Chris "Mad Dog" Russo probably has a hard time tying his shoes and remembering his own birthday.  You do not want to be on his side in an argument, Murray.

Getting nowhere and becoming exasperated with Russo, Kenny, a major proponent of monster metrics, said, “Well, what basic methodology do you use to rate players?”

“I watch the games,” Russo said.

Really?  Do you watch ALL the games?  Would you vote for Raines for the HOF?  Why or why not?  How many of his games have you seen?  He played in over 2500 of them.  He had many 4 and 5 hit nights.  I'm sure he also had plenty of nights with no hits and an error or 2.  How would you know how good he really was unless you watched a statistically significant number of games from throughout every phase of his career, which I'm sure you haven't done?  Needless to say, "analysts" like Mad Dog should be punched in the face and then sent to live somewhere in Montana with no phone or internet service.

I have always avoided listening to Russo, who screams too much and too loud for my liking, 

Yes!  He's going to reach the conclusion that he and Russo have more in common than he originally thought, without realizing that the reason for that is they are both fucking morons!  Yes!

but in this instance, he won my allegiance. In four words, he made the case for those of us who prefer to judge players on what we see on the field, not on the computer screen.

It's glorious!  I told you that was about to happen!  I hope you believed me!

How should we judge Piazza, whose 69.9 percent puts him on the brink of walking into the Hall a year from now? Based on that vote, most writers don’t believe or even suspect that he used steroids. That is probably naïve of them.

One very vocal blogger named Murray Chass is utterly convinced that Piazza used steroids with only the most pathetic and flimsy evidence available to support this position.  That is probably fucking unprofessional and horrid of him.

Using the New York newspapers as a barometer, the New York Post’s Mike Vaccaro wrote a column about Piazza in which he didn’t mention even the possibility of the catcher’s use of performance-enhancing drugs. 

WE NEED TO HEAR BOTH SIDES OF THE STORY!  THAT'S IRRESPONSIBLE JOURNALISM!  KIDS NEED TO BE TAUGHT IN SCHOOLS ABOUT EVOLUTION AND CREATIONISM EQUALLY!  ALL NEWS STORIES ABOUT CONVICTED MURDERERS SHOULD ALSO CONTAIN INFORMATION ABOUT THE PEOPLE IN THEIR LIVES THEY WERE NICE TO!  THAT'S DEFINITELY THE WAY THINGS SHOULD WORK!  I'M ON METH RIGHT NOW!

If he doesn’t believe Piazza used them, why didn’t Vaccaro write that the accusations are baseless?

Oh my God.  If that alone doesn't raise your blood pressure a few points, this blog is not for you.  I want to go kick a tree after reading that.  It's so insanely idiotic.  THE PERSON WHO BLOGGED THAT LAST SENTENCE GETS A HALL OF FAME VOTE.  HOLY JESUS CHRIST ON A FERRIS WHEEL.  WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THIS PROCESS?

John Harper of the Daily News did not duck the issue.

Get ready for some courageous truth bombs!

“The problem is we can’t know for sure and there was so much whispering about Piazza and PEDs during his career that you can’t help but have at least some reservations about voting for him.

If you're dumb, yes.

“I heard some of it myself over the years from people in baseball, but in the end I don’t think it’s fair to deny a player the highest honor in baseball without more proof than there is on Piazza.
THERE IS NO PROOF.  NONE.  THERE IS ONLY RETARDED-ASS SPECULATION BASED ON ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE THAT AMOUNTS TO JUST AN ASS HAIR ABOVE "FUCKING NOTHING."

“So after withholding my vote for his first year of eligibility, as a statement of sorts on all the suspicion, I’ve voted for him the last two years. And it seems there are other voters taking a similar tack, feeling more compelled to vote for Piazza with each year that passes.”

This is what progress looks like in the BWAA.  I'd like to say mean things about John Harper, but you know what, the BWAA needs more John Harpers.  So I'll let it slide.

Harper quoted from Piazza’s 2013 autobiography, which in itself was controversial. 

No way!  I'm sure that had nothing to do with the publisher's desire to sell books!

Michael Bamberger, a fine writer from Philadelphia, was originally going to collaborate on the book with Piazza, but he withdrew from the project when Piazza declined to commit to being forthcoming about steroids.

Michael Bamberger is not solely a sportswriter, and when he does write about sports, he is a fucking golf writer.  As far as baseball is concerned, fuck him and fuck any opinions or suspicions he had or has.

When Piazza was writing the book with Lonnie Wheeler, I asked their Simon & Schuster editor if Piazza would include steroids in it. He said Piazza would cover the subject. He, of course, did not admit to using PEDs, saying training and diet were responsible for his bigger, more muscular body.

WHY DIDN'T HE JUST DENY IT IF HE HAS NOTHING TO oh wait, that's what he did.

Had he acknowledged a use of PEDs, he would have killed his chances of making the Hall of Fame, which he desperately wanted to do and now is in position to do.

Conclusion: If Murray Chass says a guy used steroids based solely on Murray claiming that guy had back acne at one point, from that point on we can't trust anything the guy says, because the guy is obviously lying about those steroids he obviously took.  Makes sense.

The New York Times mentioned Piazza and steroids in the same story, and that was by far my favorite. On at least two occasions, maybe three, during Piazza’s years with the New York Mets (1998-2005), 

Glad to hear you're super sure about how this all went down.

as a baseball writer and columnist for The New York Times, I wanted to write about Piazza and the possibility that he had used steroids.

I wonder what Piazza did to Chass to put Chass on this stupid crusade?  My guess: failed to give Chass a juicy quote for a story and brushed him off because he needed to be at some stupid charity event when Chass REALLY was running up against deadline.

However, I was told I could not because Piazza hadn’t tested positive for steroids use and hadn’t been named anywhere as a suspected user.

THE EDITOR WAS IN ON THIS CONSPIRACY TOO.  WAKE UP SHEEPLE

An article in the Times Wednesday cited Piazza’s 427 career home runs and .308 batting average and said, “Those are standout numbers. But in an era in which the voting is shadowed by baseball’s entanglement with steroids, Piazza has suffered from the perception, among some writers, that he might have been a user, although no evidence has emerged that he was.”

Subtext: some writers (by which I mean bloggers like Murray Chass) are unprofessional fuckheads who should never be listened to.

The article was written by Jay Schreiber, who was the editor who said I couldn’t write about Piazza and steroids.

And then, like his previous post I wrote about last month, the blog post just ends.  Was that supposed to be a SPINE TINGLING conclusion or something?  MY GOD.  JAY SCHREIBER SEEMS NOT TO HAVE CHANGED HIS POSITION ON FLIMSY STEROID ACCUSATIONS AT ALL.  CONNECT THE DOTS YOU FOOLS!  IT'S ALL RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU!  

Murray Chass is a fundamentally bad person.  Do not be like him.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Seems like the "wrongest thing that has ever been said about baseball" label could use another entry

Guys. Guys.  GUYS.  Fellow bloggers and baseball fans. Listen up. All of the Hall of Fame stuff you've read these last few weeks is great.  You've read about backne and BALCO and bWAR, but you don't realize that there's one simple fact out there that shows how bad HOF voting is bad. Good thing there's Forbes.com writer Chris Smith to point it out for us.  I won't discuss the whole article because you know the boring parts about Bonds and Clemens, but here's the crux of it:

There are plenty of arguments to be made about what’s wrong with the Hall of Fame, but there may be no simpler example of just how messed up the current format is than this one simple fact: Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens received a different number of votes. This year Clemens received 206 votes, or 37.5% of the total, while Bonds got 202 votes (36.8%). That marks the third straight year that this has happened. In 2013, Clemens received 214 votes (37.6%) to 206 votes (36.2%) for Bonds; last year Clemens again outpaced Bonds, 202 (35.4%) to 198 (34.7%).

So guys: Chris Smith has disovered the one simple fact that shows how bad this voting is. The fact here isn't that the best-hitting catcher in baseball history wasn't elected, or that two writers actually (actually!) voted for one-time all-star Aaron Boone, two voted for one-time AL saves leader Tom Gordon, and one for this guy.  Heck, I would argue that it's more of a travesty that 15 actual human beings returned ballots that apparently did not vote for a guy who won four straight Cy Youngs and has the second-most strikeouts in baseball history.  OR that 49 actual human beings did vote for a guy with the highest ERA+ of any starting pitcher in history.

Apparently the real problem is that three writers, for some reason, don't believe that Bonds and Clemens have exactly the same steroid resume.  But you know - there's a lot of gray area there. In fact, Mr. Smith even acknowledges that Clemens was found not guilty of perjury and the charges againstn Bonds were dropped.  Maybe someone out there has a slightly different view of the evidence in these cases. That seems a lot more plausible than the terrible voting decisions I pointed out last paragraph, all of which are grounds for some justice.

Anyways, thanks for the enlightenment, Mr. Smith. Armed with this one simple fact, I will now go to the BBWAA and they will recognize the error of their ways, reform the voting system to be a beacon of justice and fairness and the American Way. 

Now that that's said, I also happen to think that John Smoltz should've been like a sixth-ballot Hall of Famer.  Has there ever been another guy whose HOF candidacy was indirectly boosted by an injury that forced him to switch positions and generate an unusual stat line?  But that's for some other post.



Thursday, January 8, 2015

Bill's momentum keeps on rolling, right into the playoffs


First of all, I guess everyone is saying this but I might as well too: rest in peace Stu Scott.  I'd be lying if I said I thought he was the greatest, or if I tried to pretend like I never wrote anything mean about him on this blog.  But when push comes to shove, he was an entertaining dude who made sports fun.  That's all that really matters.

With that out of the way, let's get back to the important task of hating everything.  I'll comment more about the Hall of Fame election next week, and how dumb it is that Piazza and Bagwell are still not and (and not even good bets to make it next year--watch the voters only put in Griffey and no one else).

For now, though, let's get back to sports gambling savant Bill Simmons, who has a well-refined manifesto that is perfectly internally consistent, and who is apt at spotting a Vegas line that is a point too high or too low.  I lost track of his total numbers, but when we last left him a month ago, I had him at 59-61 plus some pushes.  He claimed at the end of last week's wild card round picks that he finished the regular season at 101-93 (after subtracting out the perfect 58-0 score he gave himself for the time he was suspended).  Something went awry in there, because at that time there were only four regular season weeks left for the NFL, and he has himself having picked roughly 75 games, or roughly 19 per week.  I dunno.  I'm not going to check his work, I'm just going to reiterate that he's a fucking dumbshit, and let him back that up as I analyze his wild card picks below.  He did the never-entertaining "Things about both teams that could make you regret picking them" format, and I'm commenting just on his logic for the teams that ended up winning, because, come on, isn't it great that when he publishes a set of picks in that format he's spoon feeding us a well-developed line of idiotic thinking that, if he followed it while placing bets, could have him going 0-for on the week?

He went 1-3 against the spread and 2-2 straight up.  THANKS FOR THE FREE MONEY, VEGAS!

PANTHERS (-6.5) over Cardinals


Obviously the only one he got right against the spread.

Why You Eventually Regretted Taking the Panthers: You laid nearly a touchdown with a lame division champ that went 64 days between wins. 

Against a team starting Ryan Lindley on the road.  (Really, I could just copy and paste that sentence for all of his comments about this game, but I'll get creative and actually mention other stuff as well.)

You backed a 7-8-1 team with the 25th DVOA over an 11-5 team with the 22nd overall DVOA. 

Don't those rankings show that the Cardinals were even more flagrant overachievers than the Panthers?  The Panthers probably would have been a 4-12 team in most other divisions, but cripes, the Cardinals were really only a 5-11 or 6-10 team themselves.  At least the Panthers didn't really have an identity crisis.  I'm sure they're aware their season sucked.

You got too carried away with an end-of-the-season winning streak over four teams that finished a combined 22-42. 

I don't think anyone who took the Panthers was really that enthralled with that winning streak.  But they might have been pretty interested in the way the Cardinals fell apart in November and December.

You ignored an old-school Playoff Manifesto Rule: 

ALERT ALERT TOP SECRET MANIFESTO GENIUS TIP AHEAD

“When In Doubt, Check the Coaching Match-ups” (Rivera vs. President-Elect Arians). 

Arians is (supposedly) really good (with the caveat that he doesn't have a huge body of work).  Rivera is definitely nothing special, but he's at least average.  I'm not sure how any of that accounts for Cam Newton vs. Ryan Lindley.

You didn’t see Barnwell’s nugget about how three of the other four “Worst QBs To Start A Playoff Game Since 1972” won those games. 

Oh, Bill has a little Peter King in him these days!  So good to be receiving nuggets from both of them!  I don't know any other method of conveyance of factoids I prefer to nuggets.

You spent too much time worrying about Arizona scoring and not enough time wondering what would happen in a 13-10 game if Cam made one dumb mistake. 

What?  I'm no TMQ, but that's a little hyperspecific for me for the purpose of betting.  "Sure, Newton is a million times better than Ryan fucking Lindley, and the Cardinals are coming apart at the seams, BUT WHAT IF IT'S 13-10 AND NEWTON THROWS A PICK SIX ON 3RD AND 2 FROM THE ARIZONA 27 WITH 4:25 REMAINING?"

Worst of all, you backed the wrong Wonk Team — you thought it was Carolina when it was really Arizona all along.

WONK TEAM!  ANOTHER MANIFESTO WEIRD TRICK THAT SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA MOMS USE TO MAKE THOUSANDS PER WEEK ON THE INTERNET!  "Wonk team" is about as cool as "hoops fan nerdgasm."  Don't say either unless you're super intoxicated or trying to annoy someone.

The Pick: Panthers 23, Cardinals 7

Not bad.  And it's all way, way, way downhill from here.

STEELERS (-3.5) over Ravens

Why You Eventually Regretted Taking the Ravens: You ignored the probability of Baltimore’s putrid secondary getting overpowered by the NFL’s most dangerous passing attack. 

Yeah, maybe Baltimore's secondary wasn't exactly full of A-listers, but they still ended up middle of the pack in most pass defense categories (17th and yards/attempt allowed, 19th in QB rating allowed).  This might have something to do with the fact that they tied for 2nd in sacks.  Hmmm, anyone see Saturday night's game?  Anyone happen to remember if Roethlisberger got his ass handed to himself like seven or eight times?

You mistakenly thought the weather might cripple Pittsburgh’s offense. 

Huh?

You forgot that the Lewis era officially died in Baltimore when Ed Reed left. 

"I can't possibly pick this 10-6 team that split its two regular season games against their upcoming opponent!  They had two really old HOFers on their team as of two seasons ago, and now they have zero old HOFers!"

You forgot that Baltimore’s offensive line was all kinds of banged up, and that Pittsburgh rushes the passer pretty well. 

Pittsburgh's offensive line was a disaster most of the year, and against the Ravens.  Pittsburgh also finished the season 26th in sacks.

You forgot how scary it was to wager against Big Ben in Big Games unless he’s going against Tim Tebow during the final 15 minutes of Fourth and God. 

I get that Roethlisberger has a good playoff career record (10-4 before this game), but he's also only got 21 TDs against 19 picks in those games, and an 83.3 rating.  His defense has bailed him out big time in some important games, notably Super Bowl XL against the Seahawks, and the 2008 and 2010 AFC championship games.  I think Tebow himself could have probably won all three of those games with the support Roethlisberger got.

You forgot that the Ravens went 4-0 against the NFC South (congratulations!) 

More damning--that, or the fact that the Steelers managed to lose to the Buccaneers at home?

and or that they beat one above-.500 team all season (in Week 2, no less). 

Fair point, but that team was the Steelers.

You forgot about Pittsburgh’s many playmakers, 

With Bell sitting, that list includes Antonio Brown and.... uh....

and you definitely forgot about the great Antonio Brown. 

Who had an amazing highlight-reel game on Sunday Night Football in week 17.  Easy to forget about that.

You forgot that Pittsburgh’s destiny might be taking out Manning on the road as heavy underdogs again, just like it did nine years ago. 

Yeah!  Destiny!  That's how gambling works!

Most of all, you forgot about karma. Was there a better karmic ending to this 2014 Ravens season then “Destroyed by their most hated rival in Round 1?” Of course not.

WHO SAYS NO

The Pick: Pittsburgh 37, Baltimore 24

Almost.

Bengals (+4) over COLTS

Given the way he journalistically fellates Luck (just like pretty much everyone else who writes about the NFL), this pick shocked me.  Was he going for THE DREADED DOUBLE REVERSE JINX to prevent THE FACKIN' PATS from having to face Luck if the Steelers and Colts had both won?  We may never know, but the answer is yes.  I hope the Ravens beat the Patriots by 50 this weekend.

Why You Eventually Regretted Taking the Colts: You forgot that the Colts were 2014’s Good Bad Team; they got destroyed three times in the last nine weeks. 

Not really.  Their game against New England wasn't really an ass kicking.  The Dallas game definitely was, and maybe Pittsburgh too, but the week before the Pittsburgh game they beat the Bengals 27-0, so yeah.

You forgot that Ahmad Bradshaw’s injury created the NFL’s most pathetic running back crew. 

It was pretty crappy even with Bradshaw.  I don't really think Chuck Pagano shit himself when Bradshaw went down, at least not to the same extent Mike Tomlin almost surely did when Bell went down.

You forgot that New England and Dallas ran the ball down Indy’s throat … and Jeremy Hill could do it, too. 

IN THEORY A RB COULD HAVE A GOOD GAME AGAINST THEM!  DIDN'T SEE THAT ONE COMING DID YOU??!?!!  

You forgot about the 3.3 percent chance that Jim Irsay would wander onto the field like Shooter in Hoosiers. 

*crickets*  *tumbleweed*

You forgot that Gio Bernard turned into a frightening third-down back. 

Who got way worse from his rookie year to his second year, always a sign of a dangerous player!

You forgot about A.J. Green’s Ewing Theory potential as well as the resulting “Nobody Believes In Us” potential. 

BRILLIANT

You forgot that Luck throws it up for grabs too much, 

Very true, and also the meanest thing I think I've heard anyone say about Luck in the last five months.  Seriously, the guy gets the kid gloves treatment worse than Jeter did this past summer.

and that Cincy’s excellent secondary loves picking off dumb passes. 

Other secondaries don't do that!  Only Cincy's!

You forgot that Indy’s home-field “advantage” just hadn’t been overpowering, 

Sure, only 19-5 since Luck arrived in 2012.

and that four favorites never cover in Round 1. 

That's a really good point.  Maybe I'll put my money on the Ravens and Lions.

You forgot that Cincy’s overall roster was just better than Indy’s roster. 

Correct.  Also like the 8th most important thing to consider when predicting the winner of a single playoff game.

You forgot that Matt Ryan, Peyton Manning and Randall Cunningham also lost THEIR first three playoff games. 

OH NO!  IF MATTY ICE AND HIS MEDIOCRITY COULDN'T DO IT, THERE'S NO WAY LUCK CAN EITHER!

You forgot that Dalton could destroy Cincy’s postseason without necessarily doing it this weekend.

That's a really good point, if Cincy had won this game, they'd still be playing this coming weekend.  Ppl forget that.

The Pick: Cincinnati 23, Indianapolis 20

Whiffffffffffffffffffffffffffff

COWBOYS (-7) over Lions

THIS SPREAD IS TWO POINTS TOO LOW!  EASY MONEY!

Why You Eventually Regretted Taking the Cowboys: Tony Romo. Jason Garrett. Tony Romo AND Jason Garrett. 

Huh?  I know they don't have the best playoff reputation or anything, but Detroit hasn't won a playoff game in decades.

You ignored how Dallas’s biggest strength (running the ball) conflicted with Detroit’s biggest strength (stopping the run). 

Good defense beats good offense, the team with the most playmakers who make plays always wins, and cold coach = victory.  Science.

You laid a touchdown with a crummy defense against a playoff team with multiple big-play weapons. 

That finished 19th in total offense and 22nd in points per game, while playing home games in a dome and with a mostly healthy Calvin Johnson.

You forgot about Megatron. 

No one forgot about Megatron.

You forgot it was Golden Tate’s destiny to have a Revenge Game in Seattle in Round 2. 

Maybe he can still be cut by the Lions and picked up by the Panthers?  It's his destiny!

You forgot that you were backing Jerry Jones in the playoffs, 

Haha, that's like the Romo + Garrett point but on super moron steroids.

that Dallas crowds sucked this season, 

Most NFL crowds suck these days.  The BEANTOWN FAITHFUL weren't exactly all smiles and support back when the Pats looked like assholes in September and early October.

that a worn-down DeMarco Murray had carried the ball 392 times already. 

He went for 100 yards on 20 carries in week 17.  I think it's pretty likely he wears down by, like, 2018.  I don't think it was very likely he'd wear down between week 17 and the wild card round.

You forgot how sad Troy Aikman sounds when he’s announcing a big Cowboys loss. 

*another tumbleweed*  *coyote howls*

You teased the Panthers and Cowboys and stupidly forgot to hedge with Lions +7. 

You're terrible at gambling.  Shut up.

You got a little too excited about Round 2: Romo vs. Rodgers in the Ice Bowl 2.0. 

THAT'S TOTALLY WHAT THEY SHOULD CALL IT, IT'LL BE JUST LIKE THE FIRST ONE

You forgot about Stafford’s Back Door cover potential. 

...

And you forgot that (a) Suh’s appeal getting reversed, 

That was odd.

(b) Suh shutting down Dallas’s run game as part of Detroit’s upset victory in Round 1, then (c) Suh signing with the New York Giants in March would be a classic under-25 Cowboys fan trifecta.

THAT'S why it made sense to pick the Lions.  Because Suh might leave Detroit via free agency this spring.

The Pick: Cowboys 33, Lions 14

But the Detroit run defense vs. the Cowboys run offense!  Strength vs. strength!  Oh wait, that's actually how it played out (73 rushing yards for Dallas).  Hmm.  Shit.  This looks kind of dumb when I mock him for explaining why Dallas might not cover, and then they don't even though they win the game.  Maybe when underdogs cover but lose, I should comment on his analysis for the team that COVERED, not the team that won.  Damn.  Well, I'll do it differently for the divisional games.  Go Ravens!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Dan Shaughnessy will see Murray Chass's stupidity, raise him lots more stupidity


I'll bet you thought this blog was dead.  Nope, not yet.  It's dying, true, but it's dying reeeeally slowly.  I don't think I'll stop posting entirely for another 15 years or so.  Anyways, back to the HOF articles, because like I said before, it's the most wonderful time of the year for bad sportswriting.  Apparently Dan saw what Murray did and was like "Fuck that, he's barely even trying.  I can top that in half the word count."

More than a quarter of a century after getting my first ballot,

And around 24 years after I should have stopped getting one,

the Hall of Fame selection progress just keeps getting more challenging.

Each year I say to myself, "How antagonize people who actually use their brains even more than I antagonized them last year?"

Wednesday my ballot will be mailed with boxes checked next to the names of Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, John Smoltz, Curt Schilling, Tim Raines, and Alan Trammell.

Big ups to him for voting for Raines and Trammell.  Big downs to him for everything else in this article or that he's ever done since entering the workforce.

This means I am not voting for (among others on the ballot), Craig Biggio, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Mike Mussina, Larry Walker, Lee Smith, Carlos Delgado, and Nomar Garciaparra. Oh, and I also am not voting for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Gary Sheffield, Mike Piazza, and Jeff Bagwell.

To be fair about one of my earlier jokes, if he were trying to be even more worthless than Chass in half the words, obviously he wouldn't have bothered to write those sentences.

Six votes. I think it’s a personal high.

OHHHHHH GOOD FOR YOU YOU FUCKING DICKHEAD

Yikes. Imagine going into a seven-game series with a roster of the guys I’m not voting for: Piazza behind the plate. An infield of McGwire, Biggio, Nomar, and Bagwell. An outfield of Bonds, Sosa, and Sheffield. Edgar at DH. Clemens on the mound. Lee Smith in the bullpen. Mussina ready to pitch Game 2. Who wouldn’t take their chances with that team against any team?

Where are you going?  Are you lost?  Do you need help?  Did you actually attend college and take any courses in writing or critical thinking?

So let it rip. Bring on the hate. 

Yeah, I mean, we can't rule out the idea that this is merely a troll act designed to increase pageviews.  (If that is the case, I sincerely hope he put at least Biggio and Mussina on his ballot, if not some of the other deserving guys from his obviously "not steroid users" list above.)

Bring on the humiliation.

Oh, it's here.

Bring on the blogboy outrage. 

Needs more reference to basements and virginity.

Bring on the analytic arrogance. 

"Bring on the people that use numbers to make arguments about how good people were at a quantifiable activity."

Bring on the PED Hall Pass. 

Hall of SHAME if you ask me.

It’s a tradition like no other.

Yes, the Masters Tournament certainly is.

Voting for the Hall is a great privilege. It’s the most important function of the vast lodge

of cuntrags

known as the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Some newspapers don’t allow their writers to vote. 

I have no idea what those papers' logic for that regulation might be, but no matter how misguided, they're probably doing baseball fans everywhere a favor.

Thankfully, the Globe still lets us participate. Still, it has become almost impossible to be consistent with this ballot.

Yeah, if you're a fucking idiot, I agree that it might be hard to apply a consistent standard to guys who all played the exact same game under substantially the exact same rules over time.

Voters in this election are baseball writers who were on the beat for at least 10 consecutive seasons. There are approximately 570 voters. 

HOLY SHIT WE KNOW.  THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOUR COLUMN.  STOP LISTING FACTS FROM THE BBWA WEBSITE AND GET TO EXPRESSING YOUR OPINION ALREADY.

We are allowed to vote for no more than 10 players. 

Or six, as the case may be.

Players are not eligible until five years after they retire. A candidate must be selected on three-quarters (75 percent) of all votes cast to walk into Cooperstown next July.

Thanks, Wikipedia!

In my view, Pedro, Johnson, Smoltz and Biggio will be announced as new Hall members on Jan. 6.

Which is exactly why he CAN'T vote for Biggio.

None will be unanimous. No one has ever been a unanimous selection. You cannot get 570 baseball writers to agree that the earth is round. 

Because at least twenty of them legitimately don't understand that fact.  IF IT'S ROUND WHY DON'T WE FALL OFF OF IT?????

Since no one has been elected unanimously, some voters withhold to keep that stupid record intact. 

If you're wondering whether he'll explain why he's not voting for Biggio, don't worry, he will, and it's awesome.

Brother Bob Ryan addressed this thinking nicely in a Nov. 30 Globe column. Look it up.

No thanks!

So don’t expect Pedro to be unanimous. 

WHAT?  FACK YOU!  FACK THE YANKEES!  GO PATS!

His win total of 219 (accompanied by a mere 100 losses) will put off some voters, but Pedro (three Cy Young awards) should come in well north of 90 percent. Johnson is a 300-game winner (always Hall-worthy, unless you cheated), won five Cy Youngs, and ranks second lifetime in strikeouts (behind Nolan Ryan). Johnson is a lock. Smoltz gets in because he’s the only pitcher with 200 wins (213) and 150 saves (154) and he went 15-4 in the postseason. 

Totally fair.  Of course Mussina's 270 wins, a 123 ERA+ and 83 WAR (one fewer than Pedro, and more than Ryan or Tom Glavine) gets left out, but he'll cover that with spectacular idiocy below.

Biggio missed by only two votes last year. He has 3,000 hits, four gold gloves, and almost 300 homers. I would put him in the Hall of Very Good (only one 200-hit season), 

BWAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

That's great.  Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron?  Three 200 hit seasons a piece.  I guess those two extra seasons where they exceeded a totally unimportant threshold that Biggio only exceeded once are the difference between being among the best ever and being in the Hall of Very Good.  On the other hand, Beantown legend Carl Yastrzemski NEVER had a 200 hit season.  Neither did Eddie Mathews or the greatest leadoff hitter of all time, Rickey Henderson.  REVOKE THEIR ADMISSION, BWAA.  HAVE YOU NO SHAME?

but that won’t matter. He’s going in. This year.

In spite.  Of my assholish.  Refusal to vote for him.

Raines and Trammell are problematic and I am guilty of inconsistency with their candidacies.

That's OK, Dan.  Even Mother Teresa wasn't perfect.

Raines was a rare combination of power (170 homers) and speed (808 steals). He had six 100-run seasons. Trammell is going to be off the ballot soon, and won’t make the Hall with the BBWAA, but there’s lots of value in a shortstop who hit .300 seven times, won four Gold Gloves, and should have been MVP (he lost to George Bell) in 1987.

Bringing up the MVP reminds me of that great post the other FJM did about Colin Cowherd yelling that anyone who won that award even once should be in the hall.

Schilling also is borderline. He won 216 games compared with 270 for Mussina. But Schill gets this vote because he went 11-2 in the postseason and was one of the great strike machines in baseball history. Who would you want on the mound in a big game — Mussina or Schill?

I know, right?  You can't vote for both.  It's not allowed.  Meanwhile, to answer that question, I dug around and found this one time that they opposed each other as starting pitchers.  Who would you have wanted on the mound in that game?  I have no clue what happened in their other matchups (if other matchups exist), but I think this one game sample answers the question for me.

The Roids Boys are the greatest burden on voters. 

Oh, woe is you!  Such a burden!  Keep pushing that rock up that hill, Sisyphus!

Some voters don’t care. Some cherry-pick the cheaters. 

You mean like if they wanted to vote for Bonds, because he was one of the best ever, but not for Sosa, because he really wasn't all that great?  How dare they!

Some turn away from anything that even looks dirty.

Like you, by designating Bagwell and Piazza as cheaters!

Withholding votes for guys who cheated and guys who look like they cheated is unfortunate, sometimes unfair, and almost impossible to impose consistently.

This is correct.  He has walked to the door of logic that has awareness and enlightenment on the other side.  All he has to do to pass through is realize that since it's so hard to impose this kind of thing consistently, maybe you should just vote for the guys who have HOF numbers and not vote for the guys who don't.  Unfortunately, he can't find the knob.

Objection to the Roids Boys is gradually eroding. As years pass and new voters replace older voters, it is likely there will be increased leniency. Each year there are more voters who don’t care about PEDs. The thinking becomes, “This was the era. They were all doing it.’’ Or, “Bonds and Clemens were already Hall of Famers before they started cheating.’’

The first one of those two justifications is flippant and not a great way to go about making voting decisions (although is also a truism that shouldn't be ignored).  The second one of those two justifications is a perfectly good way to go about making voting decisions, and it would be great if mouth breathers like Dan used it.

Sorry, I am not there. No votes for guys caught using. 

Fine, but Bagwell and Piazza--

And worse — no votes for guys who just don’t look right. Bagwell and Piazza are the two players most penalized for this arbitrary crime. By any statistical measurement, Bagwell and Piazza are first-ballot Hall of Famers, yet their vote totals (62 percent for Piazza last year, 54 percent for Bagwell) remain considerably lower than their résumés merit.

Thanks to shiteaters like you.

This was a lot more fun when it was just Trammell vs. Biggio, Schilling vs. Mussina, or Jim Kaat vs. Don Drysdale. When it was about baseball.

Yeah!  Who in the world ever decided to make it about something other than baseball????  Could it be... the moralizing chodes in the BWAA?  Why yes, I think that might be correct!

At this point in writing this article, I guess he realized that some kids were playing on his lawn, so he decided to wrap it up rather abruptly.

Happily, none of the bad stuff ever touched Pedro. Long after the votes are counted and the arguments subside, Cooperstown in July is going to be a Boston baseball party.

And there you go.  That's the only conclusion you get, dedicated Shaughnessy readers.  I'm glad we settled the whole steroid user/suspected steroid user debate though.  That was fun.

Six votes!  A personal record!  Good for Dan.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Here's something that doesn't suck


Normally I just link when I do a "something that doesn't suck" post, but this was ESPN Insider, so I'm posting it in full.  What you need to know is this: Buster Olney sometimes has dumb ideas.  This time, he has a really, really smart idea.

Mike Mussina spent each of his 18 seasons in the most treacherous waters pitchers have ever faced, among the whitecaps of what will always be remembered as an era of rampant steroid use -- and in the offense-rich American League East, no less. He was a fly ball pitcher who called two homer-happy ballparks -- Camden Yards and Yankee Stadium -- his home during his career.

It’s as if he navigated his way daily through one of those monstrous marble-hard golf courses in Scotland covered with bunkers that have names (such as St. Andrews' Road Hole Bunker), as compared to the Executive Par-3s of 2014. In 2000, Mussina’s last season with the Orioles, 47 hitters mashed 30 or more homers; in 2014, only 11 batters reached 30 homers.

Mussina finished his career with a 3.68 ERA and is 19th all time in strikeouts. He also is 24th in WAR among pitchers, and most of the guys ahead of him on the list are in the Hall of Fame. 

A park-independent stat would help (ERA+ of 123), but yeah, Mussina is a HOFer for sure.  UNLESS HE HAD BACKNE.

But his chances for induction will improve slightly this year because I’m abstaining from the voting for the first time, and won’t submit a ballot. The same is true for Curt Schilling, and Tim Raines, and at least two others who I think should be inducted into the Hall of Fame. 

Also both HOFers.  And I'm sure you all understand why Olney isn't voting, but I'll let him explain it.

To repeat: I think Mussina, Schilling and Raines and others are Hall of Famers, but it’s better for their candidacy if I don’t cast a ballot.

If that sounds backward, well, that’s how the Hall of Fame voting has evolved, squeezed between rules that badly need to be updated and the progression of the candidates linked to the use of performance-enhancing drugs. The process needs to be pruned to allow voters to get back to answering a simple question about each candidate: Was his career worthy of the Hall of Fame?


How novel.  It's almost like, let's just put the best players in the hall (allowing for disagreement re: steroid users; that's not even why I'm posting this, even though Olney agrees with me), instead of making some guys wait because fuck you I'm a self-important sportswriter, or not voting for guys like Rickey Henderson on the first ballot because no one's ever been unanimous, or whatever.  Christ.  Baseball writers are the worst people on earth (besides NFL-only fanboys).

When I started covering Major League Baseball, getting the opportunity to participate in the Hall of Fame voting was something to really look forward to, a nice carrot through the long days of spring training, the travel delays of the summer and extra-inning games. 

Well now you're just mocking those of us with regular shitty jobs.

After being a member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America for 10 years, receiving a blank Hall of Fame ballot for the first time, with voting instructions and pages of notes on each candidate also in the envelope, carried the same excitement as receiving a thick college admission letter.

So it's incredible that declining to cast a ballot is even a consideration. But in light of where we are, it seems like the right thing to do for the candidates involved, until the rules are adjusted.

For years, the rule that each writer can vote for no more than 10 candidates was probably irrelevant; it certainly was for me, given that I usually voted for anywhere from four to seven players. It's not clear why the "Rule of 10" was put in place, but I suspect it was originally designed to prevent writers from flooding their ballots with names of players who had no chance of being elected, just so they could report to their buddy that they had voted for them.


Christ.  Baseball writers are the worst people on earth (besides NFL-only fanboys).

A decade ago, nobody could have anticipated the quandary that has developed because of this rule, and because of the debate surrounding the steroid-era candidates.

Mark McGwire first appeared on the ballot in December 2006, five years after he retired, and he became the first real test case for what the voters would do with players either directly linked with performance-enhancing drugs or suspected of doing them.

As written in this space many times, I think all players should be judged within the context of the era in which they played, 

I'd like to burn that last phrase into Murray Chass's lawn.  Sadly, I won't be able to do that, because it's a crime, and because I don't know where he lives.

and during McGwire's career, the sport was saturated with performance-enhancing drugs, largely because over the period of about 15 years, no one within the institution of baseball -- not the union leaders, not MLB owners, not the commissioner, not the clean players, nor the media that covered the sport -- 

MURRAY SAW PIAZZA'S BACKNE.  HE SAW IT.  AND MAYBE HE REPORTED ON IT I'M NOT SURE, BUT PROBABLY NOT, BECAUSE IF HE HAD, WE'D NEVER HEAR THE END OF IT FROM HIM.

aggressively addressed the growing problem. 

Good thing Tony La Russa was triumphantly inducted into the HOF last summer!  Now there's a guy who is in no way linked to PEDs.

Through that inaction, what evolved was a chemical Frankenstein of a game. Like it or not, that's what the sport was in that time: no drug testing, lots of drug use, lots of drug users, lots of money being made by everybody. (And by the way, no team, baseball executive or player has offered to give back the money made in that time.) 

And this is why park- and era-adjusted stats are so useful--we can tell from McGwire's 163 OPS+ that even in an era when everyone and their brother was hitting 25 HRs per season, he was still way way way above and beyond most other players.  (I think he's a fringe HOFer, though; just 64 WAR, probably not on an HOF track when he started using.)

The idea of retroactive morality is ridiculous, 

I would also like to burn that into Chass's lawn.

especially given that the folks in the sport had a strong idea by the mid-'90s that there was a growing problem and nobody did anything about it. Here's Jose Canseco being asked about his steroid use on national television before the 1988 playoffs, right after Olympic sprinter Ben Johnson was stripped of his gold medal. And here's a Bob Nightengale story from 1995 in which then-interim commissioner Bud Selig was asked about the problem, and made mention of a "private meeting" the year before. Yet serious testing and penalties really weren't in place until 2006.

McGwire was a star during that time, with 583 homers, including his record-setting 70 homers in 1998, so I voted for him. That was a minority opinion, for sure: 23.5 percent of the 545 voters cast ballots for him, far short of the 75 percent needed for induction, but more than the 5 percent required to remain on the ballot. The McGwire test case continued, however, because his candidacy carried over to the next ballot, and so did that of Rafael Palmeiro and others, until they became stacked up like planes on a runway, their Hall of Fame situation stuck in a weird sort of purgatory.

This is how the rule that limits writers to 10 players became a serious problem. Roger Clemens became eligible, and Barry Bonds. Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza also hit the ballot, and while there is no indisputable evidence of steroid use by those two as there is for Palmeiro, who was suspended in 2005 after a positive test, a high number of voters apparently withheld votes for them because of suspicion of PED use. The career numbers for Bagwell and Piazza are overwhelmingly worthy for Hall of Fame election, but Bagwell has never finished higher than 59.6 percent in his four years on the ballot; Piazza, the all-time leader in homers for catchers, got only 57.8 percent of the vote in his first year.

If McGwire, Palmeiro and Sosa never make it, that's fine with me.  Bonds I will be more upset about, although it'll be annoying.  But fucking fuck, if Bagwell and Piazza never make it, I'm going to go to Cooperstown just to take a piss on that building.  Christ.  Baseball writers are the worst people on earth (besides NFL-only fanboys).

So the list of serious candidates grew well beyond 10 spots. Last year I counted 17 players I thought were Hall of Fame-worthy, from Greg Maddux to Tom Glavine to Craig Biggio. But because of the Rule of 10, I had to leave off seven players who I believe are of Hall of Fame caliber. That included Mussina, Schilling and Raines. For the first time since McGwire became eligible, I didn't cast a vote for him.

The way I picked among the 17 was to rank them in order among the first nine, from the best player on down, regardless of the PED question. I also included Jack Morris, who was in his last year of eligibility; I wanted to give Morris a fair last shot with my ballot, knowing that Mussina, Raines, Schilling and Jeff Kent probably would get enough votes to stay on the ballot for this winter.


Morris got his fair shot during his mediocre career, and during the previous 14 years.  But whatever.  This is all mostly reasonable.

But really, that didn't seem right, because there's nothing in the voting rules that suggest I should weigh the candidates against each other, or must consider the landscape of the ballot. There is no guidance for picking 10 players from a 17-man field of worthy candidates. There is only this:

"Voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played."


That's actually more complex than I thought it was.  That's a lot of criteria.  You could elect Jeter based on any one of them!  Especially integrity, or something!

The practical reality was that I wasn't deciding on whether to vote for Mussina based on career performance. My vote was predicated entirely on his standing among an extraordinary volume of candidates, from Maddux to Glavine to Bonds to Piazza to Frank Thomas. (Let's again dismiss the notion that the "character" was ever used by writers as a serious criterion for election before McGwire's name appeared on the 2007 ballot. We all know the stories about some of the racists, alleged cheats, drunkards and PED users who already are in the Hall of Fame.)

If that commenter from last week who made the slavery argument wants to come back and discuss that analogy further, I encourage him/her to do so.

And while I think Schilling and Mussina are Hall of Fame-worthy, my ballot hurt them. My ballot counted against their percentage. Five hundred seventy-one voters cast ballots last year, and my ballot was among the 450 that didn't have Mussina included, which lowered his percentage.

That makes no sense. 

HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN MORE LIKE JACK MORRIS AND HAD THROWN A SHUTOUT IN GAME 7 OF THE WORLD SERIES.  -stupid baseball writers

Christ.  Baseball writers are the worst people on earth (besides NFL-only fanboys).

The Rule of 10 seemed to factor heavily in the voting last year, dragging down the vote percentages for everyone from Morris to Clemens to Alan Trammell, whose numbers plummeted from 33.6 percent of the vote to just 20.6 percent. Clearly Trammell wasn't being judged based on his career; he lost votes last winter because of the choices made under the Rule of 10. 

Poor Trammell.  I'm sure White Sox fan Chris W feels the same way.

Maddux was a slam-dunk candidate after posting 355 career wins and four Cy Young Awards, 

BUT DID YOU BUY A TICKET TO WATCH HIM PLAY???????????  -stupid baseball writers

Christ.  Baseball writers are the worst people on earth (besides NFL-only fanboys).

but he was left off 16 ballots entirely. I don't know who all of those 16 were, but a couple of writers mentioned to me privately that in dealing with the confines of the ballot limit, they thought about not voting for Maddux and Glavine, knowing that they'd probably get in anyway. It would be a shame to think that Maddux lost any votes because of the Rule of 10 problem.

I'm sure he did, as well as the "we can't vote anyone in unanimously because DURRRR" problem.

Christ.  Baseball writers are the worst people on earth (besides NFL-only fanboys).

During the summer, the Hall of Fame adjusted some of its rules. Voters are now required to register to receive a ballot, writers can lose the right to vote, 

DAN LE BATARD DISGRACED THE HOLY AND SACRED RITUAL OF THE PREVIOUSLY TOTALLY PERFECT VOTING PROCESS.  WE MUST MAKE SURE THIS NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN.  ALSO, JIM RICE IS A HALL OF FAMER AND LOU WHITTAKER ISN'T.

and players could remain on the ballot for a shorter period of time.

Surprisingly, however, the Rule of 10 was not altered. The same impossible math remains: I'm counting 15 worthy candidates right now for those 10 spots. Other writers are telling me they see anywhere from 12 to 20 worthy candidates, which means that in their eyes, they'll be leaving players they feel are Hall of Fame-worthy off their ballots. It means that as great as Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez were -- both should be unanimous, in light of their accomplishments -- they might lose votes as writers struggle with the question of how to deal with the ballot guideline that seems completely arbitrary. (Why not a ballot limit of 11? Why not 12? Why not eight? Why not six? Is it 10 only because it's a round number?) 

Since this was written a week ago, they have bumped it to 12.  Obviously the problem is now fixed, just like how the NFL fixed the totally idiotic fact that there are still ties by really really really mildly tweaking the regular season OT rules a couple years ago.  WE'VE GOT A GOLDEN GOOSE HERE, BOYS.  LET'S NOT MAKE A SENSIBLE RULE CHANGE AND RISK KILLING IT WHILE IT'S LAYING THESE GOLDEN EGGS.

Christ.  NFL owners are the worst people on earth (besides baseball writers and NFL-only fanboys).

Maybe I should've figured it out last year, but this puzzle cannot be solved. There's no way to judge each candidate strictly on his merits given the current ballot limitations, no fair way to vote.

I can't stand the protest ballots we've seen in the past, when someone signs a blank ballot that counts as a vote against all candidates. That's unfair. 

Someone, please fire this asshole and take away his ballot (and possibly his children, if he has any).

I've hated to hear the stories of voters who haven't voted for a player because they didn't like them personally. 

Baseball writers would never be so petty!  Don't be ridiculous!

The voting shouldn't be about the writer; it should be only about the players and whether they're worthy of induction.

You lost me there.  Please revisit that sentence, and figure out where backne fits in.

And I can't stand the idea of casting a ballot that works against players that I think should be inducted, such as Mussina, Schilling or others. So as much as it has been an honor in the past to participate in the voting, I'll abstain, and hope that in the future the rules change.

Christ.  You know the rest.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

IT'S HAPPENING, PEOPLE! IT'S HAPPENING!!!!!!


BONDS DREAMS ON AS SUPPORT SLIPS SLIDING AWAY
By Murray Chass


YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY 

It's the most wonderful time of the year for bad sportswriting!  Hall of Fame voting season!  

P.S.--I got this from Murray Chass's blog, because Murray Chass is a blogger who writes a blog.

(Before we begin, Simmons was back to his old tricks last weekend, going 5-11, yes that's right, 5-11, putting him at 59-61 on the season.  Dogs went 8-8, they are now 92-96.  Year of the Dog, Simmons is a dicktoaster, etc.)

Hear ye! hear ye! hear ye! 

I am listening!  Also, not sure if that's an olde tyme Englyshe thing there, but you should capitalize the first world of every sentence!

Barry Bonds deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, 

Correct.

and he shall be elected to the Hall of Fame.

Maybe, maybe not.

Who makes such a proclamation? 

As to the first part of your sentence, everyone who follows baseball and isn't a wrinkled old puckering asshole.  As to the second part, probably Bonds himself.

Why none other than Bonds himself.

True, he is arrogant.  Fun fact: he is the only arrogant pro athlete who has ever lived, and he should be pilloried for it in the town square.  How dare he request enshrinement after the career he had?  Chass favorite Jim Rice, of course, was guilty of the same thing, but Rice is different, because he's not a CHEATING CHEATER and also he was NOT THAT GOOD AT BASEBALL.

In a typically arrogant and self-serving interview with an MLB.com reporter who has long been a Bonds sycophant, Bonds said:

“I love Major League Baseball. I always have and I loved playing the game. I don’t have any doubts that I’ll get there in time. I’m bothered about it, but I don’t sit here going, ‘I’m not going to make it.’ I don’t see how it stays the way it’s going. In my mind, in my head, I’m a lot more positive about it than I am negative. I think eventually they’ll do the right thing.”

Wow, that's not even that arrogant.  That's more like "I like the idea of being in the HOF, so I picture myself being there, and I think voters will eventually elect me."  Old age has perhaps mellowed Barry's sociopathic ways.

And he said:

“I deserve to be there. Clemens deserves to be there. The guys that are supposed to be there are supposed to be there. Period. I don’t even know how to say it. We are Hall of Famers. Why are we having these conversations about it? Why are we talking about a baseball era that has come and gone?

OK, that's a lot more arrogant.  Barry needs some PR help.  Still, he's conservatively one of the twenty best hitters ever (if you take his career from start to 1999, when he allegedly started juicing--that's a mere 445 HR, 460 SB, a 163 OPS+, and 103 WAR--and then discount the numbers he put up from 2000 to 2007 against what you'd expect a non-user with his history to do during that period of his career).  So let's go ahead and put him in the Hall.  I probably hate Clemens even more than I hate Bonds, but he's conservatively one of the 20 best pitchers ever, so fuck it, let's put him in too.  Doesn't seem too complicated to me.

“Era, era, era. Do the best players in the game deserve to be in the Hall of Fame? Yes. Everything that everyone has accomplished in baseball is in that book. Correct? So if that’s correct, then we need to be in there. End of story.”

Well, that's less arrogant than brutally realistic.  I can get with that.  Not a bad look on Barry.  Maybe he hired that PR person I was just talking about in between quotes.

Bonds referred to the baseball record book, not the excellent 2006 book “Game of Shadows” that tells you all you need to know about Bonds and performance-enhancing drugs.

Pictured: Murray Chass



But Bonds indeed is in the record book – for having hit the most home runs in a single season (73) and for having hit the most home runs in a career (762). He is there, on page 19 of The Elias Book of Baseball Records, because Major League Baseball has not amended his achievements.

Because doing so would be insultingly stupid to any baseball fan or player with a brain.  You know the reasons why.  I don't need to list them.  If I were to pick my favorite, it would probably be "And what do we do with guys who used amphetamines in the 70s and beyond?  Or the guys who used coke in the 80s and beyond?  What do we do with guys who aren't so easily proven to have used steroids?  What, Murray?  WHAT WHAT WHAT NOW GO LIVE IN THE MOUNTAINS SOMEWHERE AND DON'T BOTHER PEOPLE ANYMORE."

Seymour Siwoff, decades-long head of Elias Sports Bureau, explained why Bonds is there.

"God dammit, is that you again, Chass?  Stop calling me.    No, I know it's not Bud Selig.  I know it's you.  Stop."

“He wasn’t accused of anything,” Siwoff said in a telephone interview Saturday, then referring specifically to the 73 home runs Bonds hit in 2001 added, “When he did it, he wasn’t guilty of anything we knew of so he was put in. It was the record. I couldn’t dispute it.”

In retrospect, Siwoff said, “We know it’s a fraud. He never hit more than 49 home runs and he suddenly hits 73.”

As if the 73 is the only argument he has for enshrinement.

As for Bonds’ linking the record book and the Hall of Fame, Siwoff said, “The book has no bearing on the Hall of Fame.”

That's a good point (from a guy who doesn't seem to like Bonds), one that Chass immediately drops, because Chass is a shitty writer and a shittier logician.

Bonds is not in the Hall of Fame because in the two years he has been on the ballot, the voters – members of the Baseball Writers Association – 

A group as known for its intellectual prowess as professional athletes themselves--

have rejected his achievements, believing they were chemically aided.

Voting individually but collectively coming to the same conclusion, they have done that because they believe Bonds achieved his record numbers with the aid of performance-enhancing drugs.

They have also come to many other conclusions, like the idea that Jim Rice was a HOFer and Alan Trammell was not.  So.  Yeah.

[bunch of garbage about how Bonds and Sosa were totally using steroids skipped]

Like Bonds, Sosa eluded detection, but is any more circumstantial evidence needed? Convicts have been executed on less.

Ah, yes, executions: those are definitely something to hang your hat on in terms of "the authorities always get it right."

In an interview a couple of years before the recent one, the same reporter, Barry Bloom, quoted Bonds as saying about the Hall of Fame:

“You have to vote on baseball the way baseball needs to be voted on. If you vote on your assumptions or what you believe or what you think might have been going on there, that’s your problem. You’re at fault. It has nothing to do with what your opinion is. Period.

“If that’s the case, you better go way, way back and start thinking about your opinions. If that’s how you feel life should be run, I would say then you run your Hall of Fame the way you want to run your Hall of Fame. That’s what I think. That’s my personal opinion. If you want to do the Hall of Fame the way the Hall of Fame is supposed to be done, then you make the right decision on that. If you don’t, that’s on you. To stamp something on your assumptions, it doesn’t work for me.”

This article is like 25% quotes from Bonds, showing that he's kind of a jerk, and maybe in denial about the fact that everyone knows he used steroids.  OK, cool story.  It's only been told about 5,000 times in the last ten years.  I know you're a blogger, Chass, but let's start making some point or drawing some conclusions or something.

Bonds, I believe, uttered that mouthful before the voters judged him for the first time. 

You "believe?"  Does the interview have a fucking date on it or doesn't it?  Here, I'll Google.

/Larry B spends ten seconds copying and pasting a couple of those sentences into Google

August 6, 2012, which was before his first appearance on the ballot.  Do some fucking research for your blog, you dumb fucking hack. 

His words did not sway them. With 75 percent of the vote needed for election, Bonds received 36.2 percent, less than half. In his second appearance on the ballot last year, he fared even worse, dropping to 34.7 percent.

All of this is true.  Also true: last year's ballot was astonishingly stacked, and some of the socketfuckers in the BBWA have among their many unwritten HOF ballot rules "Don't vote for more than three guys even though you can vote for up to ten," so he probably lost some votes that way.  I'd be surprised if many voters who voted for or against him solely on his own merits/faults changed their mind between the 2013 and 2014 ballots.

The history of Hall of Fame voting shows that when players of star status appear for the first time, others on the ballot suffer. There’s no sensible logic to that because with 10 spots on the ballot, voters can vote for the super first-timers and still vote for others.

And yet they don't.  Look at this dolt who just revealed his ballot: he didn't vote for Randy Johnson.  Or John Smoltz.  Or Tim Raines.  Or Curt Schilling.  BBWA voters are the stupidest fucking people on earth.  They're stupider than NFL fanboys and fangirls.  Yes, I said it.

However, the ballot presence of Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine did not affect Bonds. If any of the writers wanted to ignore the PED allegations and put an X next to his name, they would have done it.

Foolproof logic.  WE KNOW THIS TO BE TRUE.  The HOF voting process is broken, and should be fixed, starting with sending Murray Chass on a one way trip to Jupiter.

It is always possible that something could happen that would catapult Bonds into the Hall of Fame, but he shouldn’t hold his breath. The voters generally have demonstrated their unwillingness to elect tainted players, and a huge bloc of them would have to change their stance.

Yeah, definitely no tainted players of any kind in the HOF.  None at all.  If you aren't pure as driven snow, you're out.  Just ask Ty Cobb, Mickey Mantle, etc.

The Hall’s board of directors has made Bonds’ task more difficult with a change in rules of eligibility that also applies to other candidates. Players will no longer be eligible for 15 years; the board has cut that period to 10 years.

That change leaves Bonds with 8 years of eligibility instead of 13, a significantly shorter period in which lightning could strike on Bonds’ behalf.

Give Murray this: he's got subtraction down pat.

The Hall’s board also knows that players already in the Hall object to being joined by players whose credentials includes PEDs. 

Let's send Goose Gossage on that one way trip to Jupiter, too, while we're at it.  Here's what I'd say: ask the guys in the HOF who played with and against Bonds if they want him in there.  Ask Tony Gwynn, Greg Maddux, etc.  See what they have to say.  I'm pretty confident I know how it would turn out.

Some members have gone so far as to say they would boycott induction ceremonies if steroids users are elected.

OH MY!!!!!!  NOT A BOYCOTT OF A CEREMONY!  ANYTHING BUT THAT!  WHAT WILL THE HOTELIERS OF COOPERSTOWN DO!  THINK OF HOW INSULTING TO SAINT DEREK THAT WOULD BE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This far into the candidacy of PED players the Hall of Famers need have no fear of bad guys being elected. The decline in Bonds’ percentage of votes fits the pattern of voting for the most seriously challenged PED candidates. Their percentages have continued to drop, moving farther away from the 75 percent needed.

Yes, McGwire and Sosa and Palmeiro (off the ballot already) haven't fared well.  But here's the thing: add up the career WAR of those three guys--you get 172.0.  Bonds, on his own, had 162.4.  So there you go.

[Summary of the decline experienced by Clemens, McGwire, Sosa and Palmeiro skipped, because this is what we came for coming up next.  This is the good stuff.  This is the meat.]

Three other players on the ballot have resumes that are foggier than these five. 

Do tell--bring on the backne stories!

Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza and Craig Biggio have never been linked to steroids by anything other than news media mention, 

And we know how reliable those baseball writers are.  Why, take fringe one day-HOFer Todd Helton, a guy whose career arc couldn't scream much more emphatically "I DIDN'T DO STEROIDS."  Some asshole with a microphone decided to throw him under a bus once.  As a Rockies fan, I won't be furious if he never gets into the Hall (LOL COORZ FEELD), but I will go on a puppy punting spree if any writer dares to say "He was once linked to steroids by the baseball media..."

but in my view more time is needed to learn more about their past practices.

Like fucking what?  What the hell can we learn in the next however many years?  Should we wait for other players to out them?  Should we wait for Doc Brown and Marty McFly to show up and take you back to 1994, so you can see with your own eyes what those guys did in the locker room?

I voted for Bagwell on his first appearance on the ballot, when he received 41.7 percent of the votes. After several people told me that he had been heavily involved in steroids, 

Oh my God.  Kill yourselves, all of you anonymous Murray Chass sources/assholes.

I left him off my ballot the second year. He received 56 percent of the votes that year and climbed to 59.6 percent the next year. But last year he slipped to 54.3 percent, perhaps a victim of the newcomers on the ballot.

BUT BONDS WASN'T.  WE KNOW THIS TO BE TRUE FOR SURE FOR DEFINITELY.

Biggio will almost certainly be elected this time. He was only two votes short of election in the last election and should clear the threshold, even though a reporter friend told me that a dozen or more players told him that Biggio used steroids. 

Another strong killself candidate right there.

When I wrote that, Biggio’s fans were outraged.

Why, it's almost like a guy was having his character assassinated for no reason and people got mad about that!

If it’s not clear by now, I don’t vote for steroids-tainted players. 

Classic blogger self-righteousness.  

If steroids were legal, I’d have no problem with players using them. But they are illegal, and players who use them cheat. I can’t vote for players who cheat at the expense of their fellow players who don’t cheat.

Or for players who were once linked to them by quadruple hearsay, apparently.  Seriously, you "need more time" to figure out if the douchecanoe who told you that about Biggio was right or not?  What's the presumption here?  

/Larry B's head explodes

That brings me to Piazza. Piazza has been on the ballot for two years and avoided the falloff problem in his second year. 

Wait for it

He gained 57.8 percent, then 62.2 percent, an indication that he could be headed for election. 

Wait for it

But I have written about my belief that he was one of the steroids gang.

WAIT FOR IIIIIIIITTTTT

His many fans have excoriated me for my view, but they are blind to what I believe is strong evidence of his use. When he played for the New York Mets, he didn’t hide his acne-covered back. 

/game show sirens and buzzers and bells
/confetti falls from ceiling
/crowd cheers wildly

Steroids experts say that Piazza’s condition is one of the signs of steroids use.

I am happy to have the relative anonymity of the internet to tell everyone reading this two things that are absolutely true: 1) I have never used steroids, and 2) I have a medium amount of acne on my back.  Draw what conclusions you will.  You're welcome for the visual, by the way.

When I first wrote about Piazza’s possible use several years ago, his fans ridiculed me. They completely ignored a critical aspect of what I wrote. Piazza’s back cleared up completely when baseball began testing for steroids and remained clear to his retirement. It was not a stretch to conclude that Piazza had stopped using steroids to avoid being caught by a urine test.

OK, so, "not a stretch" that your hunch that was based on the flimsiest of anecdotal (and somewhat voyeuristic) evidence was not incorrect is the standard.  You know what?  I heard from a friend's grandpa whose uncle once worked the scoreboard at Shibe Park that Jimmie Foxx used to use pure opium to give himself superpowers.  REMOVE THAT MAN FROM THE HALL, BBWA.  HAVE YOU NO SHAME?????

Also, this next part is fun because it's the end of the article.  This is it.  Just a non-conclusory sentence, a chart, and blogger Murray Chass is done.  Time to go yell at the kids who are playing near his lawn, and then settle down with a nice warm glass of tomato juice.

Percentage of votes in Hall of Fame elections for players who have been linked to steroids use, some more specifically than others:

Chart (2014-11-30)

Murray Chass is a bad person who should be fired from his job as a blogger.  That is all.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Damn, no terrible baseball HOF articles are out yet


Come on, sportswriters of America!  They just released the ballot, so the time to get your moralizing and self-important posturing in is NOW!  NOW NOW NOW!  Talk about how Mike Piazza supposedly had back acne, or how Jeff Bagwell "was just a little too strong for it to have been only weightlifting, if you get my drift," or how Barry Bonds stabbed baseball to death with a screwdriver and danced on its grave.  Alas, I looked for a while and came up with nothing.  Give it a couple of weeks I guess.  Instead, who's up for some Bill?  His picks column from last week is all I've got, because I refuse to watch his dipshittery unfold on TV, and he's not writing anything else right now because he's too busy playing with the Trade Machine ZOMG TRADE MACHINE NERDGASM NERDBONER.

Gambling update: Gotta hand it to him; he's 18-11 since I last updated.  That puts him at 54-50 on the season, which is basically the break even point.  Good for him.  Meanwhile, Year of the Dog?  How could it NOT be Year of the Dog when they went 15-14 these past two weeks, leaving them at 84-88 on the season.  It's almost too easy!  THANKS FOR THE FREE MONEY, VEGAS!

Anyways, here are some LOWlights (lol) from his week 12 picks.  Someone should punch this man in the throat, yes, but let's not ignore His Readers (tm).  Most of them need a good throat-punchin' too.

Q: I have a six year old son. He is basically like a boney ball of energy that just wants to wrestle, run, jump, and climb everywhere and all the time. As a dad, it’s fun to horse around and let him win like a WWE style match. He loves it. But sometimes he gets a bit out of control and I need to pull him off a bookshelf or off my back. For everyone’s safety. He always has the same stunned reaction, like “How did you do that? You must be the strongest man in the world!” Watching the Pats game and Gronk’s ridiculous man handling of the Colts it reminded me of well, me as a dad. Gronk looks like he is just playing with a bunch of little kids. Its all fun and games, until he gets pissed and decides to toss defenders around like a dad that just took much crap. You’ve got a boy, ever go ‘Gronk ‘on him?
—Jim, Wharton, NJ


Let's run down the content of this email.

1) Writer letting other people know that, yes, he has conceived a child and is now raising that child, a feat previously never accomplished in recorded human history, so don't you just want to read about it?
2) Writer telling very unremarkable stories about said child
3) Chest-thumping about awesome parenting abilities, including the ability to monitor safety of said child
4) Talking about the GREATRIOTS to make sure Bill publishes your email
5) Answering your own question for Bill, to further make sure Bill publishes your email

Jim from Wharton, NJ, is a loser.

BS: We have the same son —

No you don't, fuckhead.  Most 6 year olds are alike.  YOU'RE NOT THE CENTER OF THE FUCKING UNIVERSE.

There’s nothing funnier than fake-wrestling a completely fearless little boy who weighs three times less than you. 

There are a lot of things funnier than that.  Norm MacDonald is funnier than that.  The Three Stooges are funnier than that.  It's a pretty long list.

They’re like a cross between a pinball and the amped-up dog in There’s Something About Mary. 

Timely!  Nothing brings the readers in like a reference to an obscure part of a somewhat good Ben Stiller movie from 15 years ago.

So as the dad, your job is to make sure neither of you get injured.

You don't say.  I was guessing the top priority would be to go totally ape shit in order to defeat your child at wrestling, but I guess that's why I don't have one!

Here’s how much I love Rob Gronkowski: I haven’t written a full-fledged Gronk column because I can’t risk putting the Simmons Stink on him, seeing him suffer another dumb injury because yet another safety cowardly took out his legs when Gronk wasn’t looking, 

All hail Bernard Pollard, my favorite football player of all time!

watching in horror as another Lombardi vanishes into a puff of smoke, 

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA fuck you.  Tell me all about the Lombardis your franchise has lost to injuries, Bill.  Tell me all about it.  It's never happened to any other good team; only to yours.  Sure, they choked away what could have been the greatest season ever, while they were fully healthy and their QB was in his prime.  But if only GRONK had been healthy, they surely would have won nine straight titles by now.  DIE.

then sentencing myself to a lifetime of head shakes from my father and caustic emails from bitter Patriots fans. No way. There will be no Gronk column.

I hope the Pats are 100% healthy come January, and Denver or Indy or whoever goes into Gillette and stomps the fuck out of them.  God, it warms my soul just to think about it.

Q: The QB is the NFL’s most important position. Because of that, a QB is going to win another MVP in 2014. 

Watch out, everyone.  Dr. Knowledge is in the house and he's writing HOT TAEK prescriptions.

Shouldn’t the NFL create a different award to recognize the non-QB who offers the most value to his team? 

AHHHHH RUN RUN RUN IT'S GREGGGGGGGGGG WRITING IN UNDER A PSEUDONYM THE CALLS ARE COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE RUNNNNNNNNNN

If this award was reality it would be a five-player race right now between Gronk, Watt, Antonio Brown, DeMarco Murray and maybe Justin Houston (if he breaks the sack record). 

Hmmm.  "Gronk" and "Watt" used as nicknames because they've already been mentioned in the previous question... either Bill is editing his readers' questions unnecessarily, or he writes these questions himself.  I know which one I hope is true.

Why not a non-QB MVP? It’s a better idea than sending teams to London, that’s for sure.
—Patrick, Rhode Island

Sending teams to London is dumb.  This award idea is also dumb.  Congrats.

BS: And you didn’t even mention this wrinkle — in a 30-year span from 1956 (when the award was created) through 1986, only 17 QBs won the MVP.

MY GOD.  IT'S ALMOST LIKE QUARTERBACK HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE GAME'S MOST IMPORTANT POSITION, AND RECENT RULE CHANGES HAVE BEEN DESIGNED TO CREATE MORE SCORING, WHICH ENHANCES THEIR VALUE.  FUCK ME SIDEWAYS.  MY DICK JUST FELL OFF.  THIS IS TRULY ASTONISHING.

Q: After watching Gronk’s 

Gronk.  Gronk Gronk Gronk.  Gronk?  Gronk.  Bill is a seven year old who just picked his favorite player, and thinks the rest of the world finds this just as exciting as he does.

extracurricular pancake block followed by his ridiculous touchdown in Sunday’s game, we came up with a new word. 

Why are you writing this email in tandem?  I don't care if you're best friends, lovers, or the only two owners of a newly-formed corporation.  Write your fucking sports mailbag emails solo.

LeBronk: A player who plays the game with such a unique level of swagger that you continue to watch lopsided games just to see if they do something outrageous. At any given time, there are only a few LeBronks out there. Who’s on the LeBronk Mount Rushmore right now? We’ve got LeBron, Gronk, The Brow, and J.J. Watt.
—Sam and Noam, Brooklyn

You're both douchenozzles and you should be punched in the throats.

BS: You nailed the current LeBronk Mount Rushmore

There is no LeBronk Mount Rushmore (why not just call it LeBronkMore????!?!?!?!?!).  There are only athletes who play sports, and teams that employ those athletes.  That's all this is.  If you have to make things more complicated than that, you don't actually like sports.  You're just in it for the water cooler talk.  Go fuck yourself.

Q: If Rob Gronkowski and JJ Watt fought each other in the Thunderdome and it was scored like a football game, what would the betting line be? 

HOLY FUCKING SHIT WHO CARES?  

My friends and I thought that the public would probably push the line to Watt -6.5, 

WHO SAYS NO?

so I’d take Gronk with those odds. 

What odds?  How the fuck do you score a physical fight like a football game?  Why is anyone entertained by this?  Who cares?  Just watch football and enjoy it for what it is, it's not this complicated.

Sure Watt has the size advantage, but I think Gronk’s hands would help him grab the weapon needed to give him the upper hand. What’s the line and how would you bet?
—Alex MG, NYC


BS: Yes! Yes! Yes! This is a GREAT mailbag question.

HOW IS THIS FUN FOR YOU?

RAIDERS (+7.5) over Chiefs

(The Raiders had already won at this point)

Why I picked against the Chiefs (via Instagram): “Trap Game + 8 Straight KC Covers + We’re Overdue for An Andy Reid Game.” I think that makes me Nostrasimmdus! Never change, Andy Reid. Never change.

Yeah, it was totally Andy Reid going 2 for 14 on 3rd down and letting the Raiders rack up 180 rushing yards.  All you, Andy.  You're a punchline for dumb fans.  Sorry about that.  Those of us with brains acknowledge that you've won almost 60% of the games you've ever coached.

Q: Heading into Week 12 games: did you know that, if there were a fantasy football player named “All The Chiefs Receivers,” ATCR would rank #26 on the WR list averaging 9.2 fantasy points/game.
—Dave, Rogersville, MO

This is actually a non-idiotic email.  That is an interesting stat.  What will Bill do with it?

BS: And … there’s your problem with the Chiefs. You can’t be one-dimensional for four straight playoff rounds. It’s never worked. 

Really?  Never?  Never?  Not in 1999, when the Greatest Show on Turf Rams ran for 111 yards TOTAL in their three playoff games?  Total, not average.  OK, cool.  Oh, I forgot--the GREATRIOTS beat them in the Super Bowl two seasons later, totally invalidating everything Kurt Warner and that iteration of the Rams accomplished.  My bad.

(Those K.C. receivers put up 9.5 points last night, by the way.) Here’s the strange thing: For all their faults, the Chiefs were (and are) the scariest AFC matchup for the Patriots.

And there's what Bill did with that interesting stat--turned it into a chance to be WEEI caller WILLY FROM WORCESTER and tell the host that the PATS DO NAWT FEA-AH MANNING BECAUSE HE IS A FACKIN' GASH, BUT THE CHIEFS, NOW THAT IS A TOUGHAH MATCHUP.  VAH-REE TOUGH MATCHUP.  

Q: Make a pick for the following prop bet: What Philadelphia team will have more wins this year, Sixers (-200) or Eagles (+170)?
—Steve D, Philadelphia

Hey assholes: not everything has to be expressed as a made up prop bet.

BS: I’d jump on that Eagles +170 bet. 

I'd play the role of the house and take that bet.  Last year's Sixers were certainly better than this year's, with Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes making them slightly un-terrible, but last year's team won 19 games.  That's a big cushion.  Only twice ever has a team won single digit games (or been on pace to win single digit games if the season were 82 games). 

I can’t see any scenario in which the 2014-15 Sixers reach 10 victories — 

None.  No scenarios.  Zero of them.  The East is a joke, Philly's division is ESPECIALLY a joke, but yeah.  There are literally ZERO WAYS they stumble to 10 wins.  Cool.

that’s a gruesome disgrace of a roster. Even though their front office played the bottoming-out thing correctly on paper, the fact remains, they’re disgracing the sport and defecating on their season-ticket holders.

This guy has a lot of nerve.  He really has a lot of fucking nerve, doesn't he?  Big fucking balls on this Simmons character.  I never, ever, EVER link directly to his stuff, but I'm going to do it here, because the out-of-both-sides-of-mouth talking display he's putting on here is truly something to behold.  Fuck Bill Simmons, fuck his readers (real or invented by him for mailbag purposes), fuck Thanksgiving, and fuck everything.  Have a nice holiday, everyone.