Saturday, June 30, 2007

A Day Late, 100 Cents Short

...on my part, but this article from evaluates NBA draft day and somehow comes to the conclusion that the Celtics were geniuses for trading for Ray Allen.

Time will bear out whether that is the case, but I loved this bit of spin doctoring Chris Mannix uses to prove his point:

For starters, Boston's acquisition of Jesus Shuttlesworth, er, Ray Allen was a stroke of genius. In Allen, Ainge picks up arguably the league's best perimeter shooter whose presence alone will open up huge driving lanes for Pierce. Despite playing in just 55 games for the floundering Sonics last season, Allen averaged 26.4 points on 43.8 percent shooting.

Some Boston pole-smoking from a likely Massachusettsan...I love how missing nearly 30 games is used as evidence that Allen's points average is even more impressive. Too bad almost everyone knows that the less games a player has played in, the more distorted his average numbers will be. There is a reason why, for instance, major league baseball has a minimum number of plate appearances to qualify for the batting title, etc.

Also, it's pretty funny that in trying to praise this deal, Mannix brings up one of the major flaws in this deal: Allen has been less than healthy lately. Here, by way of contrast, is how another writer discussed this deal:

Worst Deal: This is a tough call, but we're going with Danny Ainge and the Celtics on this one. Jeff Green is going to be a quality player in the NBA and he was dealt for a soon-to-be 32-year-old Ray Allen who is coming off two ankle surgeries. Unless Ainge makes another deal, this is a team that won't be able to stop anyone — and also won't have enough guys who make anyone better.

Methinks Mannix needs to put down his copy of "He Got Game," and his glass of green Kool Aid and wake up to the fact that Allen's not getting much younger and that he has shown that he's really not good enough to carry a lousy (and yes the Celtics are an absolutely lousy team) team to contender status.

If anything, this trade is reminiscent of the ill-conceived Payton trade that sent Allen to Seattle in the first place.

I mean EVEN BILL SIMMONS thought this was a lousy deal

Friday, June 29, 2007

the definition of lazy journalism

is embodied in this piece titled "In or out? Will these stars of today be HOF-bound tomorrow?" by's pete prisco. for some reason, most likely "people are stupid", this passes as high quality writing fit for mass consumption. here's how pete works his magic: he takes a list of 50 or so recognizable "big name" players active in the nfl today and tells you whether or not he thinks they're hall of fame worthy. it's an annoying concept to begin with, as many of these guys are barely halfway through their careers. pete then pushes it to near intolerability by making his analysis as dimwitted and trite as possible.

We're about a month away from the Pro Football Hall of Fame inductions, the unofficial kickoff to the new NFL season.

Since we're in a dead month before the open of training camp, I thought it a good time to break down Hall of Fame prospects from among 45 active NFL stars.

no pete. it's not a good time to do this, at least for most of these guys. why do we care about this? let the HOF debates begin when a guy is retired, or at least very very near retirement (like brett favre).

For example, is Peyton Manning in no matter what happens to him the rest of the way? What about Tom Brady? Isaac Bruce? Torry Holt?

Players with at least six years of experience are the ones I considered, and I used four categories in deciding HOF verdicts for each player:

• 1. The best is "Welcome to Canton" -- they're in.
• 2. Next is "On the Bubble" -- they're close.
• 3. Then it's "Needs more Work."
• 4. "No way."

the simplicity of these categorizations will be even more evident when you team them with pete's non-analysis.

Just shy of six years are players like Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed, San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates and Carolina Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers. They're all off to good starts, but they haven't played enough seasons to qualify for consideration here.

Enjoy the list. And, as usual, I'm prepared for those nasty replies that will tell me a lot of things. Like how many of you think my father runs CBS, which is why I have a job. Or that I have no chance to ever make it into the writer's wing of the Hall.

i wish my dad ran a major sports network. i'd be made in the shade for sure. one day some smarmy kids with too much time on their hands could start

I'm used to all of it by now ... bring it on.

you're so tough. let's begin. (i'm not going to do all 45, but you should be able to get a sense of how stupid this stuff is from the ones i do cover.)

Shaun Alexander, RB, Seattle Seahawks
Decision: Needs more work.
He's 25th on the all-time rushing list, so he has a chance. He needs to bounce back with a season like he had in 2005.

very informative. thanks pete. glad to know a guy who once held the record for most touchdowns in a single season has a "chance" at getting into the hall.

Champ Bailey, CB, Denver Broncos
Decision: Welcome to Canton.
I think he's the best defensive player in the league, and two more years playing at the same level will give him 10. He's then a lock on all lists.

so he's a lock for everyone else as soon as he's topped your personal list of best defenders in the league for 10 seasons (8 not being enough).

Ronde Barber, CB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Decision: No way.
His brother, Tiki, has a better chance. Ronde has been the perfect corner for the Bucs' Cover-2 scheme, but is he a great corner? I say no.

i don't know how the people that actually choose who goes into the hall make their decisions, but i sure as hell hope they do it differently than this. "hey bill, what about this guy, was he great?" "meh, probably not. hard to say. no." "alright, he's not getting in."

Derrick Brooks, LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Decision: Welcome to Canton.
He redefined the outside linebacker position, which is a sign of greatness. He made it a speed position. Plus, he's been a great player in doing so.

file that part about redefining the position under "anecdotal bullshit." oh, and in contrast to ronde barber, i'm glad we have clarified that brooks was indeed great. therefore, he's in!

Tedy Bruschi, LB, New England Patriots
Decision: No way.
He was a feisty player who helped those Patriots win three Super Bowls, but was he ever the best defensive player on the field?

just the fact that bruschi made this list for consideration is an insult to football fans with brains everywhere. also, if you've never heard this before, you're missing out big time.

Brian Dawkins, S, Philadelphia Eagles
Decision: On the bubble.
He has been one of the most-dominant safeties for a long time. But safeties have a tough time getting in, for whatever reason. If he can have a year or two like he did in 2006, he has a chance.

if you can't even suggest a theory as to why safeties have a hard time getting in, you should not be writing this column.

Rodney Harrison, S, New England Patriots
Decision: On the bubble.
Some will say he should get in, but I think he's another who was just very good, but not great. Winning a Super Bowl with the Pats will help.

more "good vs. great" horsecrap.

Torry Holt, WR, St. Louis Rams
Decision: Needs more work.
He's still relatively young and playing at a high level, so he has time to get the work done. But for whatever reason, he doesn't get the due he deserves and that may hurt down the road.

que? excuse me? is prisco trying to intentionally distract his readers from relevant information?

Joe Horn, WR, Atlanta Falcons

Decision: No way.
He was a nice player, but not a Hall of Fame player. Was he ever one of the league's truly great receivers?

i don't know, how the hell are we supposed to answer that? look at his stats? i guess not. hearsay and conjecture will have to do for now.

Chad Johnson, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

Decision: Needs more work.
He has 466 catches in his first six seasons, and has averaged over 90 each of the past four seasons. He would need to do that for another five to seven seasons to be considered.

a great example as to why this list is a stupid idea in the first place. if a guy is at least 5 seasons away from being strongly considered as a hall candidate, there is no point in discussing said candidacy.

Walter Jones, T, Seattle Seahawks
Decision: Welcome to Canton.
For the past seven years, he has been the best offensive lineman in the league. That's high praise.

according to whom? who makes these offensive lineman rankings? i'm not saying there aren't scouts out there who rate offensive lineman and could try to quantify which of them is "best", but if they do indeed exist, there's no way prisco knows about them.

Ty Law, CB, Kansas City Chiefs
Decision: On the bubble.
Some people will say he's a candidate, but I don't think he will get in. He's been a nice player, but not a great one.

yet another guy who never achieved "greatness". if only he had done so, and not just merely been "nice", this discussion would be totally different.

John Lynch, S, Denver Broncos
Decision: On the bubble.
A lot of people will say he should go in, but I think he's been a good, not great player. There have been a handful of better safeties in the league his entire NFL career.

i love it when writers make arguments about why someone is good that are based entirely on other people being better than them. did jim kelly's hall candidacy suffer from the fact that he played during the heyday of montana, elway, and marino? evidently not, because he got in.

Kevin Mawae, C, Tennessee Titans
Decision: No way.
He's been a damn good center, but he probably isn't going to get in. He'll get considered, but he'll probably miss out.

an in-depth look at mawae's credentials.

Keenan McCardell, WR, Unsigned
Decision: Needs more work.
He is ninth all time with 861 catches, but he's done so mostly out of the spotlight. He did win a Super Bowl with Tampa Bay, which will help. He says he wants to play until he gets 1,000 catches. If that happens, who knows?

certainly not you.

Donovan McNabb, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
Decision: Needs more work.
He's been a good quarterback, but has he ever been the best in the NFL? He hasn't done enough yet, and needs some big years to get there.

again: see kelly, jim.

Randy Moss, WR, New England Patriots
Decision: Needs more work.
I've seen some opinions that no matter what he does, he can't get in because he quit on his team. That's crazy. If he can revert to the old Moss, and put up big numbers for a few more years, he deserves to get in.

congratulations, pete: whoever said that stuff about moss never being allowed in is even dumber than you. you're no longer at the bottom of the barrel.

Orlando Pace, T, St. Louis Rams
Decision: On the bubble.
He wasn't as good as Ogden and he's not as good as Jones. But he's been a heck of a player for a long time.

in other words, uhhhhhhhhh i dunno.

Rod Smith, WR, Denver Broncos
Decision: On the bubble.
He has the numbers, but was he ever a truly great player? His numbers will carry a lot of weight when it's his time, but it's going to be a tough sell.

because according to some asshole at cbssportsline, he managed to end up in the top 10 in career receptions and top 15 in receiving yards without being "truly great."

Zach Thomas, LB, Miami Dolphins
Decision: No way.
He was a good player but overrated at times. He's in the Hall of Good, but not the Hall of Fame.

man, if the hall of fame is in canton ohio (not that nice of a town), i can only guess where the hall of good is. tyler, texas? wibeaux, montana?

Brian Urlacher, LB, Chicago Bears
Decision: Needs more work.
He's got a good start, but he has a long way to go to be a Hall of Fame player. Then again, the lineage of his middle linebacker spot with the Bears is a good one.

so urlacher will probably get in because mike singletary played for the same team a long time ago, and he's in.

Adam Vinatieri, K, Indianapolis Colts
Decision: On the bubble.
It's tough to get kickers into the Hall, but his clutch kicking for the Patriots, helping them to three Super Bowl victories, will help. Also, he's far from done.

yeah, he's money from 40ish yards away on astroturf. totally "clutch." i love how everyone drools all over vinatieri for those kicks; as if no other kickers could have hit them. you're SUPPOSED to make kicks like that if you're playing this position for an nfl team. you should be at 80% or higher for your career from that distance on that surface. this is like saying basketball players that make free throws late in games are automatically "clutch." although i hate the concept of clutch in the first place, at least with baseball hitters, you're only looking at 25-30% chance of getting a hit for most guys in any given at bat. so if they consistently get hits at, say, a 35% rate in big situations, yeah, i guess they're clutch-ish. more clutch-ish than an nfl kicker hitting 41 yarders on turf anyways.

Kurt Warner, QB, Arizona Cardinals
Decision: No way.
Despite being a two-time MVP, Warner's success was too short. But he should go into the Good-guy Hall of Fame.

the good guy hall of fame is in barrow, alaska.

a happy/sad week at fjm

as you may or may not have heard, woody paige is in serious trouble for some sexual harassment-type stuff he allegedly did while working on "around the horn". obviously this is a double edged sword; sure, it would be great if he got fired, but how many other idiots out there can do what woody does in order for us to mock it?

oh yeah, i forgot. many.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

hands down, best article ever

it's not even close. it's like comparing "dirty work" to other comedies from the late 90s. it's like comparing charlie weis to other girthy college football coaches. it's like comparing something that's really awesome to some other stuff that sucks in comparison. you'll see what i mean by all this hype, as soon as you read resident espn outdoorsman jeff mckinnis's article about quite possibly the most dominant athlete in any sport, ever. i'm honestly embarrassed that i'm taking the time to make fun of this article... i just can't help myself.

Raise an eyebrow toward KVD
Is the Sooner Run champion possibly the best ever — in any sport?

never heard of KVD? he's kevin vandam, and he's a professional... bass fisherman. that's right. i don't want to waste my time, or anyone else's, by getting into a lengthy discussion about what is or is not a sport. nascar? bowling? poker? all receive major airtime on "sports" tv networks. all are debatably un-sporty, at least when compared to baseball or hockey or boxing. but fishing? really? what percentage of one's ability to fish well is function of athleticism, and what percentage is a function is fine tuned skill? if it's not a 0/100 split, it's damn close. and there are literally thousands of competitive activities out there that share that same 0/100 split. many of them are not sports. that's all i'm saying.

If this article gets no further than the core fishing fans, then I'm only preaching to the choir.

While I hope the choir enjoys it, I'm really hoping that someone else out there stumbles across it, and it raises at least one eyebrow. With that said, let me assure you that I'm not a writer, I'm just a guy with some thoughts about professional bass fishing that I just have to spout off about.

both my eyebrows are completely unraised as of right now. but i suppose that could change. spout away, jeff.

I am an absolute sports nut. I drive to work every morning with "Mike & Mike" on the radio, and ESPNews is on my TV all day, with its lower right-hand corner giving me "breaking news" as it happens in the sports world. Yes, I know I need to get a life.

I'm pretty smart about my sports, and I know that the reality is bass fishing will never be a major sport, but it absolutely can become super strong in the "niche" category if for no other reason than for the amount of people across the nation who play the game.

i'm going to go waaaaaaaaay out on a limb and say kevin tragically overestimates the number of americans who "play" bass fishing. do you think more people fish than bowl? than play poker? than play pool? i'm not a fisherman myself, nor did i have any as friends growing up, but if you put a gun to my head and made me guess fishing's place in that hierarchy (with pool, bowling, poker, and other "fringe sports" that get tv time) among the american public, i'd have to put it dead last. furthermore, in terms of enjoyability, fishing seems to be a highly personal kind of thing. i think you can get a certain level of enjoyment from watching an amazing bowler finish off a 285 game, or watching that crazy looking asian lady sink a ridiculous 4 ball combo (everyone knows who i'm talking about, right? that lady is ALWAYS playing whenever womens pool is on). but watching someone fish... i mean, how do you enjoy that? the weigh-ins might be somewhat interesting, but as for the competition as a whole, i'm postulating that fishing is crappy television. even if you yourself love to fish, i can't see how you'd get any enjoyment out of watching it.

ok enough stupid analysis of fishing. let's just allow mckinnis to go ahead and say a lot of hilariously outrageous stuff about fishing. that was, after all, why i made this post in the first place and hyped it up so much in my intro.

One more thing before I get to the point. If the sports world knew how hard it is to excel as a professional bass fisherman, these writings would be more impressive. If you had any idea how hard these guys practice in all weather conditions, how hard they compete in all weather conditions, you would be amazed.

if i knew how to insert an mp3 of a sitcom laugh track that played immediately after you read that, i would do so. seriously- these guys MAKE THEIR LIVING CATCHING FISH. you have no idea how hard that is.

If you just had a clue of the hand-eye coordination, the decision making, the stamina and the vision and instincts these bass pros are blessed with, you would stop thinking about Jason Giambi and his steroid issues at least for a few minutes.

the laugh track i was talking about would continue for a while here, as well.

as a side note, i have this friend that's effing ridiculous at guitar hero II on playstation. should he get some recognition for that? you have no idea how amazing his hand-eye coordination, decision making, stamina, vision, and instincts are.

Very few people sense those things, so outside of the "choir," I'll be viewed as just another bass nutt. Here it goes anyway.

Bass fishing is not the next NASCAR because we don't get 100,000 people to our weigh-ins.

bass fishing is not the next nascar because people would rather watch cars drive 180 mph and crash into each other than watch some dude sit in a boat and fish.

Kevin VanDam is not exactly the Tiger Woods of the sport. No disrespect to Tiger, but KVD dominates more, in a more demanding sport.

i cannot put into words how funny that sounds. i'm not saying that i know, 100% objectively, that pro golf is more demanding than pro fishing. what i am saying is- that last sentence is hilarious.

Wow! Here we go. Kevin VanDam is the point of this outburst.

Why isn't KVD ever in that "breaking news" box on ESPNNews?

i'm having a hard time coming up for an answer to this question; every time i try to ponder it, "turkey in the straw" and "dueling banjos" just keep playing on repeat in my brain.

Actually, I know. It's because it's just not on anyone's radar.

But why isn't it?

I know that answer as well. Most people just don't understand what KVD is accomplishing. In the world of professional bass fishing, most competitors strive for good finishes and maybe one win every 5 years. I'm betting that professional golf is about the same.

rafael nadal recently set an all-time record by winning like 80 straight tennis matches and 12 straight tournaments on clay, and most people didn't hear about that. why? because people weren't aware of it? the executives at the major sports news outlets had no idea that it had happened? false. because no one really gives a shit about tennis, thus it's not worth those networks' airtime and print space to talk about it. now, take this concept that the sports media doesn't really cover much tennis, and extend it to fishing...

Well, KVD has won two out of the last three Bassmaster Elite Series events, and please be aware that the field he competes against is hands down the strongest there has ever been. It's the big leagues of bass fishing.

"the big leagues of bass fishing" sounds like "the big leagues of pogo stick jumping" or "the big leagues of juggling".

Then there's winning a Bassmaster major, which for an angler's career can compare to a golfer winning one of its majors.

Two years ago, KVD won three out of the four major tournaments. When I think about that, I realize it's unfathomable. Can't be done. Where in the world is a Sports Illustrated writer? How do all the bass feats things go unnoticed?

how indeed! i'm dying here. is this guy serious? the further i go into this article, the more i keep checking my calendar to make sure it's not april 1st. also, tiger woods won 4 majors in a row in 2000-2001.

When an NFL team wins a Super Bowl one time, it's in the mind of a sports fan, forever. Mr. VanDam has won the bass fishing Super Bowl (Bassmaster Classic) twice in recent years. So you'd think someone from Fox's Best Damn Sports Show Period would be all over that.

seriously, mckinnis, i'm at work here. you're going to get me in trouble. people are giving me looks. of course, the irony here is that BDSSP (as those of us in the know refer to it) is so dumb, i wouldn't put it past them to report on fishing.

Take KVD out of the mix and I could make the statement that bass fishing, unlike other sports, can't be dominated because no other sport deals with a live, unpredictable creature — the bass. Kevin is dominating it, though. He is doing the unthinkable. He's defeating Mother Nature.

just like that british guy with the show on discovery channel about surviving ridiculous situations in the wild does. the difference- the british guy is entertaining to watch.

Now, you might be wondering, what difference does all this make to me? Well I guess my motives are selfish because I'm obsessed with elevating the sport of bass fishing. The quicker everyone sees that we have, dare I say it, a freak of nature on our hands, the sooner and stronger the spotlight will hit this very unique and special sport.

jai alai is a very unique and special sport. i don't think they're going to be attracting any spotlight anytime soon, and they're definitely in line in front of fishing in my book.

KVD has held up the winner's trophy 13 times in his young career and is by far the leading money winner in Bassmaster history with $2.5 million, and I could continue listing his accomplishments, but I won't. I'm stopping right here.

i'm sure kevin appreciates that. actually, i just thought about him sitting at a computer reading this article and just being really embarrassed by the hyperbole. that would be great. if he has a website, i'd love for him to release a statement on it along the lines of:

"sorry some of you read that outrageous piece on about me. i promise you, i don't take myself that seriously. i'm great at fishing and i enjoy my life, but i try to keep it all in perspective. also, i have never given nor will ever give an interview to jeff mckinnis because he's insane."

I could also tell you why I think he's reaching these heights, but I'm going to leave that to someone else. I will say, don't believe the "cape and phone booth story," though.

thank you jeff. i will be sure not to confuse kevin vandam, real life pro fisher, with superman, fictional character, no matter how many people insist they acquire their prowess the same way.

No, the why and how is not important to me. That he's doing it right before everyone's eyes is important to me.

Kevin VanDam is a young, clean cut gentleman, who is loved and respected by all his competitors. He's extremely smart about life and sees the big picture when it comes to his sport of bass fishing.

the big picture hopefully being- "man, i can't believe i make my living catching fish while wearing a jacket with 350 different corporate logos on it. this is awesome."

To top it all off, he's blessed with a wonderful family. Kevin and his wife Sherry have twin sons, and like most bass pros, struggle with being away most of the time.

they also deal with the potential danger of kevin one day being tricked into going on an ill-fated fishing trip with roy scheider, richard dreyfus, and robert shaw in pursuit of a gigantic shark.

Say this is starting to sound like I'm after the job of being KVD's agent, doesn't it? No way! I just want to see the Bassmaster Elite Series advance one more step, which can happen if the sports world gets a feel for the path this talented angler is traveling right now.

So, hey USAToday! Come on Greeney and Golic (Mike & Mike in the Morning). What do you say People Magazine? This is possibly the most dominating competitor that any sport has ever seen.

i'm speechless.

Someone please show and tell us what KVD is all about. Raise at least one eyebrow.

the answer, from everyone except people who already know about and love fishing: no.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Miseducation of Jemele Hill...

Jemele Hill is a terrible writer. This story is on the lack of respek for the spurs. It's a few weeks old, but it's so goddamed terrible I had to write on it. Seriously, how does such a shitty writer like Hill get a job writing professionally about sports? I mean I can understand how she was on the staff for the Orlando Sentinel. It's a shitty newspaper in a fucking god awful city, and there's only one sports team in town (that nobody cares about). But ESPN? I mean, I know they have thir share of incompetant writers, but goddamn this fucking idiot takes the cake. This one is example #2,315 of why women shouldn't write about men's sports.

Put the Spurs in Doc's DeLorean. Turn the dial to the 1980s, or early-to-mid 1990s. Just put them in a time when basketball fans weren't huge hypocrites.

Oh boy, I can't wait to hear this one. You'll notice later on this is her first of approximately 200 pop culture refrences jammed into this 10 paragraph article, describing why basketball today is nothing like it was in the 80s and 90s

You know how they say some people are before their time? Well, the Spurs are behind their time. In today's Paris Hilton-obsessin', 360-degree-dunkin'-lovin,' sexy-soundbite-wantin', entertain-me-me-me culture, the Spurs are an Atari in a land full of Wiis.

You got that? Let's go over it again:

In today's Paris Hilton-obsessin'

Who was a small child in the 80s. I'm not even sure what this line means. What the hell does Paris Hilton have to with basketball? And what the hell is the difference between the sexual exploits of Paris Hilton and Madonna back in the 80s?


When was the last time the All-Star dunk contest was relevant? Oh that's right, well over 10 years ago, during your golden age of basketball.


Do you have an editor, Jemele? What the hell does this mean? Is this cryptic code for something? Are you sending messages through Page 2 to Terrorists in Iran? To be honest, though the first thing I thought of when I read this was that video game, "NBA JAM." You guys remember that fucking game? I loved it. Players taking off for enormous tomahawk dunks from the 3 point like... "OOOHHHHHH BOOM SHAKALAKA!" Half court 3-point jumpers "from WAAAY DOWNTOWN. HE'S ON FIRE!!!!"

And don't even get me started on the hypocrisy of someone who writes for ESPN complaining about "sexy soundbites"

entertain-me-me-me culture

Did you know that the NBA was only recently watched for entertainment purposes? Back in the 80s, various court systems made convicted felons attend basketball games as an alternative form of punishment. I mean, I'm old school and all, so I don't go to Basketball games to be entertained, like these kids today, that's for sure.

the Spurs are an Atari in a land full of Wiis.

I just want to make sure we got this right. So what you're saying is that the Spurs are a popular video game system in a land full of popular video game systems? I just want to make sure you and I are on the same page here Jemele.

These millennium Spurs, now winners of four titles in nine years, were born at the wrong time. That's why they are, by far, the most underappreciated, disrespected champion in NBA history.

Man we ain't get no respek. The reason here is that, while the Spurs are a very, very good basketball team, (a) they play in a tiny market, and (b) they are boring to watch, regardless of era.

But imagine them in the '80s with Bird, Kareem, Magic and Zeke. Imagine their execution facing the Pistons' toughness. Imagine Duncan against McHale. Imagine Rodman and Bowen competing for most irritating. Bet we wouldn't call the Spurs unwatchable then.

I would still call them unwatchable. I'd rather see Magic vs Bird (west vs east) than Duncan vs Bird any day of the week. Sorry. And don't even try to compare Rodman to Bowen. Rodman was a riot on and off the court. He was a pest on the court, getting into other players' faces and committing hard fouls. Bowen's calling card, on the other hand, is attempting to ruin other players' careers by shattering their ankles.

Bird, Kareem, Magic, Zeke, Rodman, McHale, Jordan: Not boring
Duncan and the Spurs: Boring

Imagine the Spurs in the early-to-mid '90s playing Jordan. Imagine Duncan versus Malone. Imagine Duncan versus Barkley. Imagine Popovich versus Sloan. Imagine the Spurs' big three rolling to Chicago trying to take the crown from Mike. Bet the television ratings wouldn't be so bad then.

The ratings wouldn't be bad because Jordan, Malone, and Barkley would have been playing.

Imagine the Spurs against the '82-83 Sixers. Imagine Moses Malone's "fo', fo', fo'" prediction contrasting with Tony Parker's French accent. Bet we wouldn't call the Spurs boring then.

We would have just waved our "Beat It" jackets in the air and cheered for the Spurs.

No "we" wouldn't have done this. As much as you want to look back on the past with your rosy goggles, It's simply not true. Lots of people hated the Bird-era Celtics, the Jordan-era Bulls, and the Magic-era Lakers. Why? because people don't like watching the same team win over and over again, unless they are from that city, or a huge bandwagoning faggot who like rooting for the team that always wins.

Ask yourself: When was the last time one of the Spurs was arrested? When was the last time one of the Spurs whined about playing time? More money? Demanded a trade?

Think about that the next time you groan because the Spurs were in the Finals.

I'm not sure how this is relevant, but okay, I guess.

We treat the Spurs like they're a punishment. It's not the Spurs' fault they still do things the '80s way.

Flopping, like it or not, is a new aspect of the game. It also happens to be one of the things the Spurs do best. I don't want to get into the whole "omg u flopped" argument, but it's the truth. Once european players were introduced into the game, they started taking advantage of NBA refs who called fouls based on the reaction of the "fouled" player. I'm not saying the Spurs are an illegtimate champion, but a huge part of their success has been milking the refs for fouls. Is it legal? sure. Is it annoying? You decide.

It's not the Spurs' fault that most teams in the NBA aren't committed to defense.

Hey, what do you know? Halfway through the article, Jemele Hill finally makes a valid point.

It's not the Spurs' fault the Eastern Conference is the professional version of the NCAA's Patriot League.

Yes, which is why 2 out of the last 4 NBA champions have come from the East.

It's not the Spurs' fault they're the best-run organization in the NBA.

Once again, this is very true. The Spurs run a tight ship, are good at scouting and developing players, and maintaining a winning team with very few contract issues.

It's not the Spurs' fault that Tim Duncan, the most accomplished player in the post-Jordan era, doesn't fit the stereotype of black male athletes and therefore won't garner widespread, national attention until he holds up a 7-Eleven.

Oh, okay. But Jemele, how do you explain the incredible success of black athletes like Jordan and Tiger Woods? Don't worry, she has an answer in this abortion of an article she wrote about black athletes (who believe it or not, don't get any respek either)

Excellence is a big reason Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods became the most popular athletes on Earth, but part of their appeal is they have nonthreatening personalities and rarely take a stance on controversial issues.

Gotcha. Let's hear about the Spurs again.

We're always quick to lament how much today's athlete has changed, but the truth is our fan values have changed just as much. It was once a no-brainer to embrace a team like the Spurs. Wish we could transport them back to a time when we cared more about what they stand for.

They stand for winning basketball games, which is nice, but you haven't made any point in this article, except for masturbating about NBA matchups that can't exist. Hyperbole and pop culture references will only get you so far. She still didn't address two points:

1. The Spurs are a small market team
2. The Spurs are boring. She addressed this one in a roundabout fashion, "If the Spurs played an exciting team from the past, bet you wouldn't call the Spurs boring." I would and here's why. Their 3 best players are a mousy Frenchman, another forgien guy who falls down a lot, and a cyborg named Tim Duncan. Duncan, while a great basketball player, is boring as fuck to watch. He has gigantic arms, a 6 inch vertical jump, and scores on exactly the same play every single possesion. They win, but as ratings have shown, nobody cares because it's boring to watch and the Spurs, once again, are a small market team. Maybe fans don't appreciate old skool basketball, but maybe they'd would rather watch Dancing with the Stars because they're sick of seeing the same fucking play/game/series on a repeated loop season after season.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Little Tribute to the Arts

Instead of merely discussing yet another bad All-Star Game article, I've decided to make up a little screenplay that occurs during the writing of Gene Wojciechowski's latest article. I figure it's more interesting this way. Let's meet the cast of characters!

Gene Wojciechowski (GW): A writer for, and our story's protagonist. He struggles to prove to the audience why 2 baseball players should be in the All-Star Game

Gene Wojciechowski's Train of Thought (GWTOT): A metaphorical entity that represent's GW's line of thinking. GWTOT is often forgetful.

Conductor: The personified, fictitious "conductor" of Gene Wojciechowski's Train of Thought. Gene cannot hear the Conductor.

pnoles: A dashing, handsome young man who serves as the antagonist of the story. He struggles bravely for reason and opposes GW's article's completion and publication as written at all costs.

Scene: Gene Wojciechowski is sitting at a computer typing. Gene's Train of Thought and it's Conductor are present inside Gene's head.

Enter pnoles, who stands behind Gene and watches him type

GW: (unaware of pnoles's presence) Let's see now, what do I call this masterpiece?

Sammy and Barry have earned their All-Star roster spots


GWTOT: Barry....Sammy.....they cheat a lot.....steroids......I'm on the introduction.....should make this attention-getting.....Conclusion: MAKE FUN OF THEM!

GW: Maybe a quick joke or two will liven up the ol' readers eh?

I think Barry Bonds' and Sammy Sosa's home run numbers, circa 1998-2004, are as fake as silicone breast implants. I think they cheated, just like I think Mark McGwire did. I think the only way they should get into the Baseball Hall of Fame is if they pay the $14.50 admission fee.

GW: Ho ho....Bah-ZING! I'll be here all week folks.

Conductor: BACKTRACK!

And yet -- and I'm going to need years of therapy to deal with this one -- I think Bonds and Sosa should be named to the 2007 All-Star Game rosters.

Conductor: Train is stalled briefly, hold on just a second!

GWTOT: I've got nothing. Rephrase last thing.

MLB commissioner Bud Selig is going to suffer dry heaves at the thought, but Bonds and Sosa belong on the AT&T Park first- and third-base foul lines when the National League and American League lineups are introduced the evening of July 10.

Conductor: Ready to go!

GWTOT: We just made a step: EVIDENCE!

They belong in San Francisco because of precedent,

pnoles: (to himself) Irrelevant.....

because of MLB's own All-Star selection rules,

GW: Genie boy you are on a ROLL!

and because this might be the last time Selig and Bonds are in the same ballpark together.

pnoles: Who cares?

GW: Eh? Who's there!?!?!? G-Dubs cares, that's who!


GWTOT: WHEEEEEEEE!!!!!! Selig! Paulie Walnuts! pitching machine! Dr. James Andrews! Henry Aaron! 600-homers! Rafael Palmeiro! Mark McGwire! Sosa no speak English! House of Representatives! Marky no testify! Hall of Fame!

If it were up to Selig, he'd have Paulie Walnuts make Bonds' career home run chase, uh, disappear. There'd be a tragic pitching machine "accident" in the stadium batting cage. Nothing fatal, just something requiring Dr. James Andrews and the permanent use of a walking cane.

Selig adores Henry Aaron, as well as Aaron's baseball and personal legacy. But the only thing separating Bonds from passing Aaron's record 755 home runs is seven more dingers. And steroid allegations. This is why Selig has yet to announce whether he'll be in attendance when Bonds eventually breaks the most cherished record in American sports.

Sosa, who just reached the 600-homer mark, isn't a threat to surpass Aaron. But he is an annoyance, a reminder of that seminal congressional steroids hearing in 2005 when Rafael Palmeiro and McGwire committed career and Hall of Fame suicide, and Sosa conveniently forgot how to speak English.

Palmeiro pointed at the House committee members that March day and said he had never used steroids. About five months later he was suspended for -- wait for it -- testing positive for steroids.

Meanwhile, McGwire didn't want to testify about "the past," which is what you say when you don't want to lie under oath. And Sosa, who needed a lawyer that day to read his statement, must have done some serious Berlitz work since then. He hasn't had any difficulty lobbying reporters, in perfectly understandable English, for his inclusion into the Hall of Fame.

Conductor: WHEW! Finally got it! We're normal again.

GWTOT: Wait....what were we talking about again? Oh right, All-Star game.

GW: Hey...wait...what's going on here??? None of this stuff I wrote has anything to do with anything! And to think I spent 3 hours on those 5 paragraphs. Well, I most certainly don't want to delete them.....hmmmm....this calls for one of those transition sentence thingamajiggers.

Conductor: HALT! REVERSE!

But the All-Star Game doesn't have anything to do with home run records, legacies and induction speeches at Cooperstown.

GW: Good thing I thought of this to justify everything I already wrote.

Conductor: The train's stuck! It can't go anyplace new for awhile......

GWTOT: All-star game - define? Selected by fans. Once Cancelled. Decides home-field in World Series.

It's an exhibition game whose rosters are primarily determined by baseball fans. It's so screwed up that Selig once called the game with the score tied in the 11th inning. That led to the equally screwy decision to give World Series home-field advantage (no small thing) to the league that wins the All-Star Game.

GW: Everyone knows these things. Why in the world am I writing them? ::points to head:: What's going on up there!?!?!

pnoles: Just delete the damned thing and take the day off.


GWTOT: Repeat article thesis. Joke. Describe current status of article's goal.

Even if you think Bonds and Sosa are slimier than the Delaware River mud they use to rub up baseballs, they deserve All-Star jerseys. The latest fan ballot totals had Bonds trailing the Chicago Cubs' Alfonso Soriano for the third and final starting outfield spot. Sosa was in 13th place in the AL outfielder voting.

If the margins holds up, Bonds and Sosa would need help from their peers (the players choose the backups), or managers Tony La Russa (NL) and Jim Leyland (AL), or from online voters (who pick the final roster spot). For what it's worth, La Russa was noncommittal when asked recently about picking Bonds.

pnoles: You can't print this crap. You haven't done anything yet except say what the All-Star game is, how to get to play in it, and how Sammy and Barry are currently doing. Plus for some reason, Rafael Palmeiro's name came up.

GW: DAMMIT! Get out of here! Which one of us has a job writing about sports? ME! THAT MAKES ME INSIGHTFUL!

Conductor: Whew! We've got her up and running better than usual!

GWTOT: Barry Bonds.....legitimate reasons he should be in the All-Star game. Every team needs a guy. Bonds's teammates suck.

MLB rules say that each team has to have at least one All-Star representative. The Giants, who will finish dead last in the NL West, need somebody, so that somebody ought to be Mr. Martyr instead of the other two San Francisco candidates: catcher Bengie Molina and pitcher Matt Morris.

Molina's batting average and RBI totals have tumbled during the month, and Morris has given up 12 runs and 22 hits in his last two starts. That leaves Bonds, who can't throw, can't run that well and is nowhere to be found among the league leaders in batting average, RBIs, hits, total bases and extra-base hits. But he does have those 15 home runs (OK, so only four in his last 105 at-bats), a .293 batting average and more walks and intentional walks than anybody in the majors (you'd walk him, too, if you saw who was hitting behind him).


Conductor: Don't worry, just a minor spike in the power here....we'll be back up shortly!

Plus, the Giants' own Web site implores fans to "Vote Bonds."

pnoles: (nearly falls over laughing)

GW: You're a cold-hearted bastard.

pnoles: were sooooo close to a good paragraph there! Didn't it occur to you that every team implores fans to vote for their players? Just delete it and redeem yourself.

GW: Ah what do you know, anyway!? Why should I change anything just because you, a no-sports-writing-job-man-bloghead-wannabe says so? ::to himself:: Fuck....he's got me there.

Conductor: We're up and running, but going the wrong way!

GWTOT: Bonds...anyone else get into the game on legacy without great stats? RIPKEN!

GW: Eureka!

Bonds' '07 numbers aren't All-Star worthy, but they don't have to be. That's because the game has a history of sticking stiffs out there long past their prime. Example: Cal Ripken.

Ripken made his final All-Star appearances in 2001, even though he was hitting just .240 and had only four homers and 28 RBIs at the time. The fans voted him in. Ripken homered in his first at-bat and got the MVP award as a parting gift. It was dramatic stuff, but the simple truth is that Ripken wasn't an All-Star-caliber player that year.

GW: they'll HAVE to believe me that Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro will never make the Hall of Fame! I mean, uh, Bonds should play in that game!

GWTOT: Ripken = loved by fans, long honest career, set record for consecutive games played showing dedication and durability, clear Hall of Famer at retirement. Bonds = hated by most, cheated, chance of not making Hall of Fame due to aforementioned cheating. Conclusion: SAME SITUATION.

Bonds isn't either, but if you made an exception for Ripken, you've got to do the same for Flaxseed Man.

GWTOT: Isn't there another guy I'm sorta supposedly writing about too? Yeah, give him a token appearance here.

The same goes for Sosa, whose 13 homers and 59 RBIs are actually respectable numbers on a Texas Rangers team without a no-brainer All-Star candidate.

GW: That's enough about Sosa....he's not even in the title of the article, so let's not mention him again.

GWTOT: I bet there's some guy out there that agrees with me. Good ol' logical, sane....Ozzie Guillen? Whatever, go with it.

"What, you take [Ripken] because he 'saved baseball?'" said Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, who managed the AL All-Stars a year ago. "Bonds should play."

Guillen meant no disrespect toward Ripken. He said Ripken belonged in the '01 All-Star Game, no questions asked. But if Ripken, and that .240 average, was in the starting lineup, Bonds' .293 average should at least be in the NL dugout. Perceptions and steroid allegations shouldn't matter, he said. Bonds is an active player who deserves the same courtesy that Ripken got six years ago.

Conductor: We're stalled again!

GWTOT: Repeat last thing. No new thoughts.

He'll get no argument here. This isn't a steroid/performance enhancers issue. It's about what's fair. The beloved Ripken got an All-Star freebie in '01. The arrogant, smug Bonds should get one in '07.

pnoles: Hey man, who are you to decide what's fair? That isn't cool. If the fans love Ripken and vote him in purely in recognition of a great, honest career, and hate Bonds for his dishonesty and don't, it IS fair in the minds of many. You can't publish this.

GW: I CAN......AND I WILL! And as for YOU! ::takes a baseball bat, swings, and nails pnoles in the shin::


Conductor: Still stalled here, c'mon Gene come up with something!

pnoles: Whatever man, you're a jerk for that, I was right. I don't care how much that hurt.

GWTOT: Repeat last thought. No new thoughts.

GW: No I'M RIGH-.....hey....I've got it!

Right is right, even when it hurts to say so.

GW: Heh. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, nay-sayers.

::end scene::

another solution would be to never mess up any safe/out calls, ever's randy hill has just released a pretty boring piece in which he attacks tantrums in baseball (by managers/players toward umpires) as if they're some massive epidemic that must be stopped at all costs. it's not horrible enough to mock through and through, but i really liked this part about ways to prevent arguments from starting in the first place:

A fine start would be insisting on more strike-zone consistency. Each home-plate umpire seems to have his own interpretation. Sure, it's part of baseball's charm. But with the arguing of balls and strikes listed as baseball's unpardonable sin, wouldn't it be wise to provide less ammunition for debate?

that's a great point. umpires need to start standardizing that thing! it's time for bruce froemming to abandon his ridiculous triangle-shaped zone. and i'm sick and tired of bob davidson only calling a pitch a strike if the pitcher gets it into the zone after bouncing it off the dirt in front of home plate like in cricket. geez, is it really so damn hard to correctly call every single ball and strike on pitches going 75 to 100 mph, with batters' heights and the movement of the ball constantly varying? sarcasm aside, i understand there are certain guys who call high strikes and certain guys who give pitchers a few inches outside the black. not all strike zones are 100% identical. but in general, i don't think there's a whole lot of unfairness taking place in this area of the game. at the very least, when umps have a "bad" zone, they're giving it to both teams throughout a given game. the pitchers and batters just need to adjust to it for the rest of the day and not worry about it. you could have a computer using one of those k-zone things to call pitches and people would still find a way to bitch about it.

you don't really know much about baseball, do you, randy?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Hungry hungry hypocrite

Carol Slezak is an excellent writer and one fine piece of ass.

Wait wait wait. I’d like to apologize for that remark, because none of that statement is true. While I have no reason to believe that Carol isn’t a magnanimous person, I doubt she’s ever given a man an erection.

Then again, some men are attracted to girls who look like Stuart Little after a six-month bout of bulimia. And these guys aren’t hard to find—I’m pretty sure the law requires them to register whenever they move into a new neighborhood.

Calling Carol “one fine piece of ass” was degrading to women. But apologizing for it is upgrading to women. So now I guess women are back to being graded, which is the way it should be (on a 20-80 scale).

What’s past is past, and we should look to the present. And what is the present but one big package for me to give all women?

Judging by her recent column pushing for the Bulls to acquire Kobe, Carol feels exactly the same way.

When the best perimeter player in the game wants to join your team, don't you have to figure out a way to get the deal done?

Not that many players are “the best perimeter player in the game.” In fact, there are usually less than two. And there are even fewer players who take it to the hole like Kobe.

Bryant is hardly perfect. He is a modern superstar, complete with a huge ego and a stubborn streak. More disturbingly, he once faced criminal sexual assault charges. Though he has stayed out of trouble since his 2003 arrest, it's a factor the Bulls would have to consider.

Ok, ok, so he once stood trial for rape. But is that even much of a flaw? Kobe easily could have sat or even lain down trial for rape, but he chose to stand. Like a true man. And the truth set him free—the truth that his accuser was a gold-digging hoochie whose story folded after only a few weeks of embarrassing personal attacks and her identity being leaked to the media. The Bulls will have to consider that he could have knee surgery and be accused of rape by another member of The Lodge and Spa at Cordillera hotel in Eagle, Colorado. But, hey:

It's risky to make a big, bold deal. But you know what they say. No risk, no championship.

The Bulls made it to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in almost a decade. Who knows how long it’ll be until the window of opportunity slams shut? Who cares if Kobe Bryant may have raped someone? As Carol taught us in a front page story after the Bears’ draft, raping isn’t nearly as bad as rapping.

Olsen's rap makes Imus look like feminist

Rap music is filled with graphic language, and the rap song "7th Floor Crew" certainly has its share. I lost count of the number of times I heard the word "ho," or a certain b-word or a certain f-word. And the lewd sexual acts that are described? Well, let's just say they're not appropriate for this newspaper.
But apparently the Bears don't have much of a problem with them. The fact that the team's top draft pick, Greg Olsen, raps in the song doesn't bother the Bears a bit.
After listening to all 8 minutes and 56 seconds of this unbelievably disgusting rap, I was shaking in anger and shock. How is it possible for these young men to have such little respect -- or is it hatred? -- for women? If Don Imus got fired for the comments he made about the Rutgers women's basketball team, these guys deserve jail time by comparison.

The Bears might’ve been only a passing game away from becoming Super Bowl Champions. But instead of worrying about dropping passes from Rex Grossman, Olsen should be terrified of dropping the soap in Cook County lockup.

The Bears weren't the only NFL organization to overlook Olsen's rapping. He said his participation in the song was not an issue during any of his pre-draft interviews. That can mean only one of two things: Either the entire league has a short memory, or the entire league believes that misogyny is no big deal. Given everything I know about the NFL, I'm going with the latter. These guys just don't get it.

There are a number of things that these guys just don’t get, things which could get gotten really good from taking lessons away from Carol’s columns on Greg and Kobe.

1) Never brag about busting a nut in a chick’s eye.
Keep the nut in the butt. Where it belongs.

2).Never say what you would do. Only say what you didn’t do.
Even if the law has enough evidence against you to go to a criminal trial, even if you settle a civil case with the “victim” out of court, even if you tearfully admit to having adulterous sex with the “victim” that you believed was consensual, and even if you have to buy your wife a pink diamond bigger (but not more delicious) than most Ring Pops in order to convince her to stay married to you so you can keep up appearances, you’ll still have people believe you didn’t rape her because you have plausible deniability—when you were off rapping with Tyra Banks, you never once sexually assaulted her in rhyme.

3).If you mean to keep something in private, don’t record it.
Raps and sex tapes can be disseminated without the expressed written consent of the NBA, NFL, or Major League Baseball. It’s a loophole in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

And, really, when it comes down to it:

If Kobe Bryant wants to come to Chicago, how can the Bulls say no? ….Not only is Bryant a virtual scoring machine, he comes equipped with a killer instinct.

Even if the Bulls say no, he’ll force his way into Chicago. Maybe the best thing to do is just lay back and enjoy Kobe’s coming.


From Jim Molony at, about the current ballot leaders for the NL in the All-Star game.

Should these leaders remain in first place, Fielder, 23 years old, would join Utley (28), Wright (24), Martin (24) and Reyes (24) to form the youngest National League starting infield since 1970, when St. Louis first baseman Dick Allen (28 years old at the time) teamed with Chicago second baseman Glenn Beckert (29), shortstop Don Kessinger (28), Cincinnati third baseman Tony Perez (28) and Reds catcher Johnny Bench (21) in the NL lineup at the Midsummer Classic at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati.

So....this will be the youngest NL starting infield infield that was older?

Other than HatGuy describing the White Sox season as "aswul", this is the only thing that amused me today.

assorted funny quotes, vol. 1

tim mccarver, re: the all star voting process during fox's saturday broadcast of the giants vs. the yankees:

"even if major league baseball has to overhaul the entire all-star balloting program, they need to make sure bonds is the starting left fielder."

i'm not sure if he means overhaul it so that the guy with the top OPS at each position gets the starting nod, or overhaul it so that the guy tim mccarver likes the most at each position gets the starting nod. i can guess though.

cecil fielder on steroids in baseball:

"If we didn't know, we ought to really slap ourselves if we didn't think something was going on in baseball - from the commissioner's office on down," said Fielder, the manager of an independent league team. "Guys were getting too big and too strong. Little guys turned into big guys. Baseball was doing so well at the time, everybody was turning away from it and letting it go on."

i'm not at all saying this is funny because fielder was on the juice or something. this is funny because, whatever the reason (in this case probably bacon covered cheese fries), fielder is one of the most famous "big guys" in recent baseball history. i'm reading between the lines here and it seems cecil is saying "i got huge by eating a lot and occasionally lifting weights. all these guys that got big using drugs piss me off. i'm supposed to be the only ridiculously fat/strong guy around these parts." i'm also picturing him giving the quote while eating a sandwich.

lawl! lawl!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

they just don't make 'em like they used to

mike kahn of is tired of all the NBA draft hype. and hey, who isn't? i'm not disagreeing with the concept of his article. of course the NBA draft is overhyped. so is practically every-fucking-thing in the world of sports today; we're living in a golden age of hype. but i digress. the problem here is, rather than address the potential shortcomings of guys in the class, or point out notable busts from recent drafts (insert darko joke here!), kahn would rather just wax nostalgic about some of his personal favorite draft classes and express sincere doubt that this year's guys will live up to their standards because... because those old guys were really good! my point is- if you're going to complain about an event being overhyped, this is the exact opposite of how you should go about doing so.

After 11 years, we can conclude the 1996 draft class has certainly made the most noise from top to bottom. So I'm sticking with them for the time being as the best overall class in history.

Led by Iverson, Bryant, Nash, Ray Allen, Peja Stojakovic and Jermaine O'Neal, the class has dominated this era with style points, pure shooting and six different players with 11 championship rings for bragging rights. And that's not to mention outstanding players such as Marcus Camby, Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Stephon Marbury and solid starting centers from the past two NBA Finals — Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Erick Dampier.

Indeed, the class of 2007 has a long way to go to top that. Heck, so do the guys from 2003, which is why I'm not ready to jump on their bandwagon just yet.

After all, who can possibly say they will do more in the NBA than the 1984 crew of Hakeem Olajuwon, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley and John Stockton? That's eight championships out of the first two players, along with the most unique player of our time in Barkley, and Stockton is the all-time leader in assists and steals.

Heck, the 1974 draftees paced by Bill Walton, Bobby Jones, Maurice Lucas and Jamaal Wilkes, and the 1970 group of Bob Lanier, Rudy Tomjanovich, Pete Maravich, Dave Cowens and Geoff Petrie will be tough to top.

to sum up kahn's points- i'm tired of hearing about the 2007 draft class, because there have already been some really great drafts in the league's history. what?

As always, these guys haven't proven they can take their game to the next level...

and how would they go about doing so?

Of course, Durant is a special offensive player — the first freshman ever to be the NCAA player of the year — and Oden leading Ohio State to the championship game was no fluke because of his extraordinary defensive presence.

But they have yet to prove it against the best players in the world, and even if they do, it will require more than skill.


The draft is always exciting and unpredictable, and it's crucial for the NBA to retain that mystique heading into the fall. But you never know when the next "draft superstar" will land with the thud of a 3-pointer hurled by the illustrious Antoine Walker, class of '96.

that's the last sentence in the article. are you kidding me? you go 1,000ish words trying to point out that you're sick of the hype surrounding this year's draft class without bringing up a single overhyped player who "busted" from a past draft... and when you finally try to go in that direction... you choose ANTOINE WALKER? dude. you're killing me.

Friday, June 22, 2007

It's like the 2001 All-star game every single year

So I guess the editor of the Fox Sports website was feeling pretty generous. His wife came to him on behalf of her mentally handicapped half-brother, Dayn Perry.

"He only has one passion in life, and that is baseball," she told him. "Even when he was little, he would run around in circles outside screaming 'I'm buu-buu-buu Joe Dimmagiooo, I'm buu-buu-buu Hank Aaron!' over and over again, a shit-eating grin on his face, and I'm not talking about the metaphorical kind; maybe you can do something for him."

So the kind Editor, expecting to recieve more frequent sexual intercourse from his wife, decided to give little Dayn his very own MLB column on Fox Sports. "It's not like anybody reads this fucking website anyways," he told his higher ups to justify the hiring.

Well, mister editor, the gig is up. I do sometimes read your website. Dayn's latest column has to be one the most godawful things I HAVE EVER READ (and yes, that includes The DaVinci Code). I would be much happier if he had just repeatedly slammed his face into the keyboard and hit "send" than do what he did here:

To sum up: "Let's send players who haven't played well all season to the all-star game"

Let's talk All-Star Game.


On July 10 at AT&T Park in San Francisco, the 78th "Midsummer Classic" will go down. The online balloting wraps up on June 28, and that means it's time to opine on who should be on the 2007 All-Star teams.

First, a few words on the process. In picking All-Star teams, "star" should be the operative word. That is, when possible it should be a showcase of baseball's luminaries — those established performers who have put up the numbers for years. After all, passing over a true star for an unproven talent who's enjoyed a hot three months doesn't make much sense, and it's not in keeping with what an All-Star Game should be. So it's not all about the numbers. Sure, they matter, but it's the numbers in tandem with name value that informs these choices.

Hey man, forget numbers! Let's not waste all that paper on ballots and just send the exact same people who played in the all-star game last year.

Sure, the all-star game is kind of silly and not really that worth getting riled up about. Except for one thing. When people (especially sportswriters) are summing up a player's career, they'll say something like, "Career .298 BA, career .569 slugging, 4 Gold Gloves, and 5 time All-Star" We already know from past seasons that All-Star balloting is a joke, but why attempt to take any and all credibilty away from the recognition?

So with those criteria laid out, let's take a look at who should be taking the field in San Francisco.

American League


Winning the Vote: Ivan Rodriguez, Tigers

Who It Should Be: Jorge Posada, Yankees

This is an easy call. Posada's an established star (who might have a compelling Hall-of-Fame case by the time he retires), and this season he's hitting a robust .342 AVG/.399 OBP/.558 SLG. Rodriguez can't come close to those numbers.

All right, this is a good choice. Posada is having a monster year. Off to a good start Dayn (by the way, what kind of sick twisted fucker names their child DAYN?)

First Base

Winning the Vote: David Ortiz, Red Sox

Who It Should Be: Justin Morneau, Twins

Ortiz is the bigger name, but there's that minor problem about his not being a first baseman. Carlos Pena has actually been the most productive AL first baseman this season, but let's not pass over genuine stars to reward him for an aberrant few weeks of hot hitting. So Morneau, the defending AL MVP (albeit not a deserving one), gets the nod. He's a star, and he's on pace for 46 bombs this season.

Hey remember all that stuff he wrote about how payers should be picked based on star power? Not this time... after all last year's MVP needs to be on, despite him being an "unworthy MVP." Ortiz is the one with the "star power," and let's not forget that he's in the AL top 10 in OPS, BA, Slugging, and OBP, and leads Morneau in all of those categories. And if we're talking about a true first baseman, the nod should go to Kotchman, a great young star who's consistantly hitting better than any other "true" first baseman.

Second Base

Winning the Vote: Placido Polanco, Tigers

Who It Should Be: Placido Polanco, Tigers

You can make a case for Brian Roberts of the Orioles, but Polanco, his slick defense and his .339 batting average offer the best combo of performance and name value.

Once again, good choice. As a fan, I voted for Upton, although his troubles on defense have made me start to reget my vote.

Third Base

Winning the Vote: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees

Who It Should Be: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees

Does this one really need to be justified? He's A-Rod. He's slugging .688, and he leads the majors with 27 homers. Easiest call of the bunch.


Winning the Vote: Derek Jeter, Yankees

Who It Should Be: Derek Jeter, Yankees

Orlando Cabrera and the terminally underrated Carlos Guillen are both having excellent seasons, but Jeter is outdoing both of them with his gap power and .343 batting average. And, of course, he's Derek Jeter.

Wow, we're on a streak of good picks here, of course all of these are like picking between a McDonalds hamburger and Prime Rib


Winning the Vote: Vladimir Guerrero, Angels; Manny Ramirez, Red Sox; Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners

Who It Should Be: Manny Ramirez, Red Sox (LF); Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners (CF); Vladimir Guerrero, Angels (RF)

First off, whereas the official balloting makes no distinctions among outfield positions, this scribe does.

This line made me very angry for some reason. "Sure, I agree with the voters, and there's one All-star from each OF position, but I'm going to be a pompous ass and write out the positions anyways, and then point out that I did it and the all-star committee didn't"

Left field, center field and right field are, after all, different positions, and lumping them together makes no more sense than doing the same with second base, shortstop and third base. They're not interchangeable. So in this space you'll find outfielders recognized for the positions they actually play.

What a fuckstick. "I'm not going to worry about making coherent arguments, instead I'm going to waste 50 words writing about some arbitrary distinction that has never factored into all star voting"

With the mini-rant out of the way, let's point out that Ramirez and Ichiro — both stars, both productive — are the best at their respective positions this season. The tough call is in right. Magglio Ordonez has been the top right fielder in all of baseball in 2007, but he's not the established star that Guerrero is. Guerrero's star power in tandem with his exceptional numbers (.327 AVG/.431 OBP/.566 SLG) earn him the close nod.

Ordonez is hitting .383.
Ordonez is hitting .383.
Ordonez is hitting .383.
Ordonez is hitting .383.
Ordonez is hitting .383.

He is, without a doubt, the best hitter in the majors this season. And it hasn't been streaky or fluky. He has consistantly hit the ball, hard and well, all season. If the best hitter in the game right now isn't in the all star game, what the fuck are we watching?

Starting Pitcher

Who It Should Be: Dan Haren, A's

Haren's been a good performer in the past, but never has he reached this level. Perhaps you'd like to see a bigger name take the mound in San Francisco, but Haren's been so good this season that his numbers overwhelm those concerns. C.C. Sabathia and John Lackey can make their cases, but Haren's been too unbelievable.

National League


Winning the Vote: Russell Martin, Dodgers

Who It Should Be: Russell Martin, Dodgers

Not much to choose from in the NL in terms of well-established catchers. Paul Lo Duca's a five-time All-Star, but, frankly speaking, Martin is the superior and more compelling player these days. He hits, he runs the bases well, and he's athletic and heady behind the plate. Should be the first of many appearances for Martin.

First Base

Winning the Vote: Prince Fielder, Brewers

Who It Should Be: Albert Pujols, Cardinals

Tough call. Fielder has star appeal, and he's been the most productive first baseman in all of baseball this season. However, Pujols is finally hitting at his customary level, and he's one of the sport's biggest names. Fielder will have his place on the roster, but Pujols should be the starter.

And Dayn proposes continuing the long tradition of stupid NL all-star selections at first base. For years it was Mark "I don't play defense" McGwire getting the start, and then along comes Pujols, finally a worthy 1B starter. For the past several seasons, Pujols has been one of the best players, if not the best, in the majors. But he's simply not playing like an all-star. There are too many well-known firstbasmen in the NL who are having better seasons than Pujols to justify it.

Second Base

Winning the Vote: Chase Utley, Phillies

Who It Should Be: Chase Utley, Phillies

Take defense into the equation, and Orlando Hudson can make a case, but the nod goes to Utley. It's rare you find such power from a middle infielder (he's slugging .561 and on pace for 68 doubles), and he's already made one All-Star appearance.

Third Base

Winning the Vote: David Wright, Mets

Who It Should Be: Chipper Jones, Braves

Wright leads the voting, but Jones and Miguel Cabrera have both been more productive. Cabrera is tops in the numbers, but Jones, who's hitting .323 AVG/.411 OBP/.603 SLG, is a former MVP and five-time All-Star with one foot in the Hall of Fame. Again, "star" is the operative word.

Wright is a pretty undeserving all-star, and Jones is a good choice. Personally I'd go Cabrera, but hey that's me I guess.


Winning the Vote: Jose Reyes, Mets

Who It Should Be: Jose Reyes, Mets

The most exciting player in baseball is also tops at his position. Hanley Ramirez and Edgar Renteria both deserve nods of recognition, but Reyes combines performance and star appeal like no other shortstop in the NL.


Winning the Vote: Carlos Beltran, Mets; Ken Griffey Jr., Reds; Alfonso Soriano, Cubs

Who It Should Be: Barry Bonds, Giants (LF); Carlos Beltran, Mets (CF); Ken Griffey Jr., Reds (RF)

Again, we'll dispense with the inane practice of lumping all outfield positions together.

Fuck You

Bonds is an easy choice for left field. Matt Holliday of the Rockies has been better in 2007, but Bonds has still performed at a high level. As well, love him or — more likely — hate him, he's the biggest name in baseball.

Yes easy for people who don't actually watch baseball. Are you fucking kidding me? Barry Bonds. The same Barry Bonds who can't play in consecutive ball games, is hitting a pedestrian .283, is a complete liability on defense, is nearly universally hated, and has hit the same number of home runs this month (2) as Willy Taveras? Bonds has earned every single spot he's gotten on the all-star teams of past years, but this season, he is no all-star. I don't care if it's our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on the ballot; if Jesus is hitting below .300, there's no goddamned way he. deserves to be called an all-star.

Matt Holliday, the second best hitter in the Majors, and up and coming superstar, apparantly doesn't deserve a spot. But neither does the best hitter in basball (Ordonez), so I guess it's all fair.

Center field presents a serious dilemma. Philadelphia's Aaron Rowand has been rather easily the best at the position this season, but his star doesn't rise to the level of Beltran's. So Beltran, by the slimmest of margins, gets the nod over Rowand because of track record, a modest advantage in defense and a serious advantage in star power.

Beltran: career .280 hitter, 1350 career hits, and a lifetime .876 SPA (star power average). You know, this season he may be 17th among NL outfielders in OPS and OBP, 18th in Slugging, and 20th in BA, but his League leading 20 magazine interviews really helps his cause here. Let's not forget his 5.53 saturation on ESPN, and his 1/10 Greater New York area car dealership ad spokesman ratio is only topped by Derek Jeter. How can you not pick him?

As for Griffey in right, it doesn't get any easier than this.

Actually it does; I know I made light of Jesus Christ's current batting output, but it's so easy to forget his third season in the bigs. He was hitting .429, with .976 slugging (WOW) by the all star break, all while healing the sick, poor and hungry in each city he visited. I think that was probably an easier vote than Griffey this season.

He's a future first-ballot Hall of Famer and future member of the 600 home run club, and he's also the best at his position this season.

If by best, you mean, actually not the best, then yes, he is the best player at his position. Also I guess that means we'll have to clear up a spot for Sosa over there in the AL. I was gonna suggest we at least put Ordonez on the bench, but fuck that man. I wanna see me some Slammin' Sammy!

Starting Pitcher

Who It Should Be: Jake Peavy, Padres

Easy call here. Peavy's a rising star, and he's been absolutely dominant this season. He's already got an ERA title under his belt, and he's headed for a third consecutive 200-strikeout season. Also, at 9-1 and with a 1.98 ERA, he's the early favorite to win the NL Cy Young Award this season.

Here's a message for you Dayn: If I murdered you, made a suit out of your skin and shoved a rabid gorrila into my Dayn-suit, the folks over at your Fox Sports office wouldn't know the difference. In fact I'd bet Dayn ver 2.0 would get a raise for "huge increases in writing quality," and "significant decreases in poop throwing/smearing incidents around the office"