Tuesday, July 31, 2007

MSNBC.com Needs New Analysts....

.....like Michael Ventre needs a new job.

This guy is a total joke. Everything he writes is laughable. Admittedly, there are a few Celizic articles that are hard to tear apart, but this guy just never says anything of value. We're going to have an "INSIGHT" comment after each section, telling you what you can learn from Ventre each time.

Dodger fans will abuse Bonds more than ever
Environment will be truly hostile as Giant seeks record-tying 755th HR

Ooh GREAT! An article about how fans of a divison rival.....don't like Barry very much! What foresight, what ANALYSIS, what STUFF PEOPLE COULDN'T HAVE TOLD THEMSELVES. No really man, really, I expect that you'll write multiple, excellent paragraphs that will make me understand this in a new, more profound way. And if I haven't conveyed this yet, simply an AWESOME topic to write about.

In professional wrestling, it is common to see a villainous figure climb into the ring and spew nasty comments at the crowd. The fans, many of whom work themselves into the equivalent of a ‘roids rage without even taking steroids, scream back at the instigating hulk, questioning his manhood, his ancestry, the whereabouts of his spouse (often suggesting she’s someplace she isn’t supposed to be) and bathing him in every combination of expletives imaginable.

Oh man, gotta love this setup, the wrestling analogy...the angry fans, the "instigating hulk"....how could you NOT draw this comparison?

INSIGHT: None. Just things about wrestling. We'll forgive him later though if this is somehow useful.

Take that scenario, multiply it by 10, and it will approximate the scene at Dodger Stadium this week when Barry Bonds attempts to tie, and then break, Hank Aaron’s career home-run record.

So....the fans won't just be hostile, they're going to be VERY hostile. Continue with this awesome, awesome analogy (and continue saying such awesomely insightful stuff!)

INSIGHT: Dodger fans don't like Barry Bonds, and will jeer, heckle, and boo him intensely. Anyone else not know this already? Because I sure didn't.

The pro wrestling analogy is fitting not simply because Bonds, like many pro wrestlers, resembles one of those huge Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade balloons that appears inflated to the brink of bursting. It’s also appropriate because when Bonds and Dodger fans get together, there is a visceral reaction, a primal, savage, beastly burst of ferocity that rivals scenes on “Animal Planet” when a lion hunts down and then devours a zebra.

Can you imagine a giant Barry Bonds balloon floating down the street during the Macy's parade? Thanks to Michael Ventre, I sure can now. And this "Animal Planet" thing sounds pretty cool. Maybe I should watch that. What's this article about again? Oh yeah. Baseball.

INSIGHT: Barry Bonds got big on steroids. Dodger fans don't like Barry Bonds, and will jeer, heckle, and boo him intensely.

And that’s just during batting practice.

So I was looking up the definition of "hyperbole" in the dictionary the other day, and....hey!

Starting Tuesday, the gloves come off.

Woah....careful man. "Gloves" are boxing equipment, not wrestling equipment. Your extended metaphor is dying.....

Bonds has been showered in boos, catcalls and suggestive remarks every time he has appeared in Chavez Ravine in the past. After all, he’s a Giant. He wears the uniform of a pagan horde, at least in the minds of the locals. When they look at Bonds, they don’t think “home run,” they think “pillage.” They want to roast mutton by an open fire, drink grog, and then battle him to the death.

INSIGHT: Tuesday, Barry Bonds plays in Dodger Stadium. Dodger fans don't like Barry Bonds, and will jeer, heckle, and boo him intensely.

This time, emotions will run even higher. Bonds is attempting to stain the record book by trying to hit Nos. 755 and 756. But he also wants to do it against the Dodgers. Bonds gets off on that.

"Bonds gets off on that"? "stain the record books?" There's something sexual here! Suppose Bonds hits 2 homers Tuesday night, here comes Ventre's article title the next day:

"Record Books Stained as Bonds Excitedly Shoots Off Two Orgasmic Homers Against Rival Dodgers"

INSIGHT: Bonds doesn't like the Dodgers, and (probably?) wants to break the record against them.

Like the aforementioned meat-headed juicers who oil their bodies and then slam each others’ heads into the mat, Bonds has a lot of anger. He is perturbed that a ticker-tape parade isn’t being held every time he enters a new city. He scoffs at detractors who suggest that somehow his accomplishments aren’t worthy of admiration. He mocks those who have followed the legal process and believe that eventually he might be forced to trade in McCovey Cove for Pelican Bay.

Ah, back to wrestling, good. Somehow I doubt that Bonds cares that a "ticker-tape parade" doesn't happen wherever he goes.

INSIGHT: Bonds is an angry man who believes he is doing something great and hates people who say otherwise. (we need people to tell us this???)

Bonds enjoys being despised — usually. He revels in it — for the most part.

INSIGHT: Bonds likes being hated.

But this historic pairing of controversial slugger and proud rival fan base is actually ideal, because whether he wants to admit it or not, this is one situation in which he’d rather not have to deal with resistance. In a perfect world, he’d rather break the record, be greeted with an outpouring of love and appreciation, and then get carried around the stadium on an opulent litter like the kind Cleopatra used to ride in.

More dumb, hyperbolic crap. What a waste of (cyber)space.

INSIGHT: Bonds won't be loved in Dodger Stadium, but ideally, he wants to be loved and appreciated. (This seems VERY contradictory to your last insight!)

Bonds would like the Dodgers to stop the game so that the fans can give him as long a standing ovation as possible without having to be burdened with mundane details like finishing the game. Bonds would love Bud Selig to get on one knee, say, “I’m not worthy,” and then hand him keys to a yacht. Bonds would like a hug from Henry Aaron. Bonds wants a video tribute on the big scoreboard showing his career highlights, but one that is digitally enhanced so it doesn’t appear as if he went from looking like a cyclist to an offensive lineman practically overnight.

Ideally, Bonds would love to orchestrate every detail of his record-breaking performance in Dodger Stadium the way Eva Longoria planned her wedding in France.

Ain’t gonna happen.

Stop, just STOP already. This is nonsense. It's like you realized 4 paragraphs ago you had no point, so you're just spewing hyperbole and analogy left and right.

INSIGHT: Ideally, Bonds wants to be loved and appreciated.

On April 8, 1974 in Atlanta, Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s record for career home runs. He whacked No. 715 off a Dodger, Al Downing. Since then, Downing has been an answer to a trivia question, even though he’s more than that. He had a fine career over 17 major league seasons, most with the Yankees and Dodgers, and has also worked in the Dodgers’ organization.

Downing’s name doesn’t live in infamy. He just happened to give up the record-breaking blast to a great player and a great person. If it wasn’t him, it would have been somebody else.

What does this have to do with anything? I mean it's hard to say you're off topic in an article with no point, but somehow, I REALLY think Downing is irrelevant to talking about Dodger fans hating Bonds. And by the way, great last sentence of this section.

INSIGHT: Al Downing gave up Aaron's record breaking home run, but don't sell him short! He had a nice career, and if he didn't give up that home run, someone else would have!

But pity the Dodger pitcher who gives up Bonds’ record-tying and/or record-breaking dingers this week. Brad Penny will be the L.A. starter on Tuesday night, followed by Mark Hendrickson on Wednesday and Brett Tomko on Thursday. And there are relievers who could be victimized also.

INSIGHT: It would suck to give one of the next two Bonds home runs (duh), and there are several different people who might do that.

There may be a segment of Dodger fans who want to see Bonds break the record this week against the Dodgers for two very different reasons: 1) they want to tell their grandchildren someday that they were present when history was made, or 2) of all the fans in the majors, they feel they are best equipped to unleash a torrent of horrors not seen since medieval times.

INSIGHT: Dodger fans don't like Barry Bonds, and will jeer, heckle, and boo him intensely. (I've pressed CTRL-V 3 times for this already)

Yet most Dodger fans probably want Bonds to be foiled in his quest. They don’t want to see him break the record at all, but they know that’s unrealistic because even if he were on life support he’d somehow blink his eyes and convince the Giants to wheel him out to home plate so he could stick his bat out.

INSIGHT: Dodger fans don't want Barry to break the record, but he will anyway. I am a terrible sportswriter who just uses weird hyperboles to fill up space.

Most Dodger fans want Bonds to strike out every time up, so they can jeer and taunt him. They’ve been doing it to him his entire career, but especially since 1993, when he joined the heathens to the north. They’ve been especially vociferous in their heckling since 2001, when it became clear that Bonds had put on a few extra pounds of muscle.

INSIGHT: CTRL-V! Dodger fans don't like Barry Bonds, and will jeer, heckle, and boo him intensely.

Barry Bonds is coming to Dodger Stadium. It may not be an event as scripted as a pro wrestling match, but Dodger fans definitely know their lines.

INSIGHT: Barry Bonds is coming to Dodger Stadium. What will happen is unknown, but the one thing for certain is.....(CTRL-V!) Dodger fans don't like Barry Bonds, and will jeer, heckle, and boo him intensely.

To those of you reading this. Scroll up to the top. Read it again, but only read the sections marked "INSIGHT" Ask yourself if you learned anything in these sections that you didn't already know (except for that stuff about Al Downing). If the answer is "yes", there's a 97% chance you've never heard of "baseball" before.

Again, really, Ventre, thank you oh so very much for being a baseball analyst who says smart, informed, wise things about baseball that are so obscured to the casual fan.

I'm off to play poker!

Monday, July 30, 2007

um. what?

Dr. Z:

Remember my story about Vic Ziegel, my old buddy on the New York Post, and the Weatherman explosion right near his house in the East Village and how the TV lady backed off because she spotted his movie book? Guess what? I heard from him, and you're not going to like what he has to say:

"Thanks for telling my story," he writes. "Now it's my turn to tell the one about the time you shredded that cigarette into the woman's drink in Kansas City?"

Hey, I don't do stuff like that ... I mean I didn't do stuff like that ... and how can you remember, you were as drunk as I was? What I do remember is that they were having this big debate in the papers about fluoridating the water in K.C. and we were in this all night cafeteria and you told us, "Watch how I operate" and went over to this lady and leaned on her table and stared into her eyes and said, "What do you think about fluoridating the water?" And her answer was, "I'm waiting for someone." And how about on that same Yankees trip when you wired the paper, from Minneapolis, for more money, and Gellis said, "What happened to the hundred I gave you?" and you said, "I guess it was just blown away." You want to start trading stories? You're gonna lose.


puff piece writing at its finest

and about a guy who is extremely difficult to "puff", no less. yes that's right. cbssportsline.com's dennis dodd want you to know what a cool guy nick saban is.

i refuse to analyze the entire article piece by piece, because i would spend so much time laughing at some of the ridiculous shit in here that i wouldn't finish the post until next week. instead, i'll offer you some highlights and if you think you'd like to read something really funny, just click on the link above and read the whole thing yourself.

Perfect fit to be with Tide? Saban can slog through the insanity

Cedric Burns knows Alabama coaches. Bear Bryant hired him 27 years ago as athletic relations coordinator. From Perkins to Shula, the humble Guy Friday has quietly observed the ebb and flow of the Tide over the years.

Until now. Today's the day he is about to blow the lid off of college football with an incredible revelation.

Sitting over a modest biscuit and hash brown breakfast Thursday morning at the Alabama football complex, Burns gushed.

"He is one of the most well-mannered people," Burns said. "You can tell he was raised well by his father and mother. He just fits this place."

that's right. let's get the puff piecing started early. alabama's own athletics relations coordinator says saban is a good guy. therefore, you, reader of dodd's article, should feel the same. i mean, would cedric burns lie to you? if i were a diehard miami dolphins fan (i know there aren't many, but there have to be SOME) i would have already punched my computer monitor at this point.

The subject of Cedric's praise pulls up shortly before 7 a.m., an untied tie draped around his neck. He enters the building. No one cringes. Paint doesn't peel. After a quick stop at his office, Nick Saban turns to Burns, his driver today, and a notebook-toting passenger and says, "You ready?"

Whoa, whoa, whoa. This can't be right. Well mannered? The man who "lied" about taking the job at Alabama, has a soul? The bully who made a player cry on the practice field at Miami is just "a country boy who grew up in West Virginia and pumped gas" from the time he was 10 years old?

so basically what dodd is saying with these rhetorical questions is that nick saban is a good guy, because he's nice to a guy who works for him. makes sense. everyone i personally know who is a liar and behaves unprofessionally is also rude and mean to every single person they interact with. it makes them easy to spot. the second i see someone treating someone else with respect, i instantly know that the guy (the first one) is a great all around person who probably pumped gas at a young age.


The cloying adoration of the program that sh-- on Shula, freaked out Fran and Bible-thumped Mike Price out of town has found a man of steel it can't crack.

boy, 6 months or so into his tenure and after playing zero games, they still love this guy! i think we can definitively conclude that he's going to become the joe paterno of alabama and coach here until the day he dies. never before has a "big name" coach been wildly popular with his fan base under these circumstances!

now, let's really get to the good stuff (more anecdotes, please!)-

"He cares about what people think of him (and) it hurts him," said close friend Lenny Lemoine, a Lafayette, La., contractor. "He is a very passionate and compassionate person."

There are Dolphins staffers maybe gagging over that last quote. Reporters who hold him accountable for saying he wouldn't take the Alabama job.

"In no way was I trying to be dishonest," he said.

As if it matters. Saban got out of South Florida. 'Bama got its man.

read that last part again. and again. if you're like me, you can't possibly read it more than three times in a row without holding your head in your hands. are you kidding me? what kind of journalism is that? yes. "as if it matters." look, i don't mean to take things too far in the other direction and imply that saban is a horrible person who should be castrated and thrown in prison just because he broke a promise to his employer. but he's still a slimy, unlikable guy. i don't think that's very hard to agree with as long as you're not an alabama fan. and dodd wants readers nation wide to dismiss this near-fact with the phrase "as if it matters" and some vague anti-logic which basically says the ends justify the means. except that in this case, the ends aren't even indisputably "good". it's not like "sure, saban lied to and quit on the dolphins. but he did so to kick his heroin addiction." instead it's "sure, saban lied to and quit on the dolphins. but he did so in order to take another coaching job." what?

"The first question at every Red Elephant Club is, 'When are we going to win the national championship?'" Saban said, complaining only slightly.

If he stays long enough -- never a certainty -- and Alabama will have him, Saban will deliver because he already has.

write that down, college football fans. saban WILL win a championship at 'bama. how do we know?

Armed with NFL experience, residence in Bill Belichick's coaching tree and the 2003 national championship at LSU, Saban is the new Spurrier.

i know the two programs are very different, but let's just say spurrier isn't exactly threatening to win it all at south carolina anytime soon.

Both more or less flopped in the NFL. Both are back in the SEC. Like the Steve Spurrier of old, Saban is now the one hated everywhere in the conference, except where it counts. Sweet Home Alabama.

That was obvious this summer when, Saban said, an Alabama administrative assistant who used to work at LSU had her tires slashed. She was back in Baton Rouge for a wedding.

"I think we're very aware of the backlash," Saban said, "live it every day."

Saban could have his own ax ready to grind, but chooses not to.

he "could" have an ax to grind about what, exactly? about the fact that lsu fans hate him? as if that's not justified. as if saban is taking the fucking moral high ground by not "grinding his ax". puh. lease. that is pathetic.

ok, here's the puffiest part in this whole puff piece, are you ready?

Remember "coon-ass"? Saban was insensitive but the reporter who gave those off-the-record comments to a radio station was unprofessional.

wow. just.... wow. that's epic. that last sentence is so bold, and yet so insulting, to me as a reader that i'm not entirely sure how to process it. sure, saban may very well be a mild racist... but i think we should overlook it in light of the fact that the guy who reported those comments was being unprofessional. do-over for saban! do-over! what he said doesn't count.

Saban could have flushed the whole profession down the toilet.

i assume he means the profession of journalist who covers the alabama football team. yeah, i bet he could have totally done that. people wouldn't have been upset about that at all.

more puffing later on-

There are also workers near Saban's Lake Burton home in north Georgia who he slips an extra $20 for working on his boat. Back in T-town, there are kids who don't yet realize they are going to benefit from the $100,000 Saban donated to Alabama to start a first-generation scholarship program.

history has shown that all people who give money to other people are not slimy at all, and deserve to be gushed over by the media for doing so.

And for the record, it was after the Dolphins' final game that he decided to talk to Alabama.

somehow this makes his broken promise thing less bad. i'm not sure how... but somehow. and so on and so forth. god, i hate journalism like this. remember that tim tebow article i compalined about earlier this month? ah, SEC football... you gotta love it!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

A quick question to ponder...

I know this has nothing to do with sports journalism, but I want to ask a question to fjm readers (all 5 of you). Seeing as Barry Bonds is on the verge of matching Hammerin' Hank's 755 HRs, the old question pops back up "why don't you just walk the guy every time he comes up?"

His season OPS is 1.073. Walking him every single time he comes up assures you an OPS of 1.000. He's a below average baserunner, and a massive threat as slugger. Aren't you as a manager, decreasing risk from Bonds by just walking him, even with the bases loaded? OPS seems to say that for every time he shows up at the plate, he's worth more than a single base; this advantage is furthered, one would think, by the fact that walking Bonds can only move baserunners up by one base at most. This contrasts with the multiple bases earned by most baserunners on a good majority of singles. I'm not suggesting a conclusion either way, it's just something that I'm curious what serious Baseball statheads think.

edit: just to clarify, I do realize his eqa would be at least a dumbfounding 1.500 (higher if he sucessfully steals bases)

Friday, July 27, 2007

The "Other" Dumb Mike of MSNBC.com

I feel bad for Michael Ventre. After all the coverage Mike Celizic has had here at FJM, he hasn't had a single thing written about him. It's not fair! He says stupid things too, ya know.

Red Sox on verge of Mickelson-like collapse?
NL East leaders hitting summer swoon as rival Yankees lurk

This is a pretty legitimate concern. The Red Sox are 62-40. The Yankees' Pythagenport is 61-40.

Yet I can’t help but think of the Red Sox as the Phil Mickelson of baseball.

Heh. Maybe. Go on.....

Lefty had once held the title of Best Golfer Never to Have Won a Major. Then in 2004, he won a major, the Masters. He added to his credentials by winning the PGA Championship in 2005, and another Masters in 2006. Life was good.

Red Sox win 1 thing in 1 year, Mickelson wins 3 things in 3 years. Continue.

But it appears Mickelson had intended only to visit his sport’s peak, not set up camp there. Since then, he collapsed in the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot. This year, he faltered badly in the Scottish Open, a warm-up tournament for the British Open, then missed the cut at Carnoustie.

So you're cherry picking Phil's worst moments to draw this comparison. In addition, you're comparing to how the Red Sox have only visited their "sport's peak" by winning the World Series, and then fell off, rather than set up camp there. Just one little problem, there, Ventre.


You know what, the Arizona Diamondbacks, LAAnaheims, Fish, ChiSox, and Redbirds are the "Phil Mickelsons of baseball" as well.

If you stare at Mickelson long enough, you can see Mike Torrez. If you look even harder, you can see Bill Buckner.

And if you study the Red Sox these days, the phenomenon is mutual. Stare intently at the wobbly American League East leaders and you’ll see Mickelson, smacking errant tee shots and bogeying three of the final five holes at Loch Lomond.

"anecdotal bullshit" label going on this one? You betcha....

It may not be completely fair to compare the two, since Boston’s bustling infirmary has had something to do with its recent vulnerability. David Ortiz is just recently back from resting a strained shoulder. Curt Schilling is rehabbing in the minors because of right shoulder tendinitis. Jon Lester recently returned to the team after battling a form of lymphoma. J.D. Drew has constant hamstring issues. Matt Clement is still working his way back from offseason shoulder surgery. Brendan Donnelly is recovering from a strained forearm.

It's not fair to say Boston is faltering, because they pay players with higher-than-average injury risk, and now those players are getting hurt. Oh wait, that is fair.

But the Red Sox have shown disturbing signs — for their anguished fans, at least — that they might not feel comfortable at the top. Despite their World Series breakthrough in 2004, their natural tendency to collapse appears to be surfacing.

This is more due to a surge coming from the Yankees than anything (who are STILL way behind their Pythagenport)

And the Red Sox collapsing is about them "not feeling comfortable at the top" and a "natural tendency to collapse". These are good explanations for baseball things, no?

Before Thursday’s games, they held a 6.5 game lead over the second-place New York Yankees, who had been stuck in as large a mental quagmire as they have ever had to try and overcome. It marked the first time since May 11 that Boston had held a lead of fewer than seven games. The Red Sox held a 12-game lead in early July, but the Yankees have somehow asserted themselves.

Somehow, a team that was scoring more runs than they were allowing started to win more games than they were losing! How I wish that there were explanations for things like these! Let's attribute it to a "mental quagmire". Yes, that's it, the Yankees busted out of their "mental quagmire".

And despite the fact that the Red Sox had won five straight before falling on Wednesday against Cleveland, the omens are present.

Oh boy, this is going to be a tough one to explain. "Despite winning 5 out of their last 6, the Red Sox look like they're about to collapse". Bring it.

For instance, on Wednesday night Boston lost to Fausto Carmona and the Indians, 1-0. Nothing to be ashamed of, yet it was unsettling that Josh Beckett threw an outstanding game but lost on one measly mistake to Franklin Gutierrez, which turned into a solo shot. And it was Beckett’s first road loss since last September.

Losing a 1-0 game to a pitcher who has thrown well pretty much all year = sign of imminent collapse. Got it.

Not a problem. Nothing to panic over. Sometimes a black cat crosses your path, and most of the time it means nothing. Most of the time.

You feeling okay there, Mike? They lost one game here, by one run, after winning the last five.....

Meanwhile, the Yankees, a team some consider the luckiest men on the planet — usually the people who believe that live in, or hail from, the New England area — have managed to avert a complete oil spill of a season and are making a run.

Some people consider them the luckiest men on the planet. Other, more informed men, look at the fact that they have been consistently 6 or so wins behind their Pythagenport for a long time and say "wow, they're very unlucky to not be only a game or two behind Boston right now!"

Much of New York’s recent thrust can be credited to white-hot Alex Rodriguez, who is having the kind of season that will enable him to opt out of his contract and will prompt his agent Scott Boras to ask for a new deal worth $35 million per season. A-Rod turns 32 on Friday and is approaching 500 career home runs.

Good. A little love for A-Rod. Finally.

The Yankees trailed by 14.5 games in late May, but they’ve won 11 of their last 13. Probably nothing to fret over. I’m sure the Red Sox will be cool. Historically, they’re known for their composure down the stretch, especially with the numeral “14” involved. They had a 14-game lead in 1978, but it disappeared down the stretch, and Bucky Dent put an exclamation mark on the disaster with a game-winning home run over the Green Monster in a playoff game.

I quote this just to cite that awful, awful connection and transition. I mean, look at it. "Some random date in May, the Red Sox were up by 14.5 games. Speaking of numbers involving '14', remember when...?"

But it’s silly to toss and turn over what might happen in the future. After all, what are the chances that the Boston Red Sox will somehow fail to live up to their promise? They have legions of devoted fans who live and die with their exploits. Why in the world would a team disappoint their fans like that?

pnoles: Hey Mike, will the Red Sox collapse this year?

Michael Ventre: Of course not. Why would they choose to do that? That would disappoint the fans!

David Ortiz has 16 home runs this season. Last year he finished with 54. I’m sure that if he bears down and goes on a tear he can match that total. I wouldn’t worry about it.

The team signed Drew to a five-year contract in the offseason worth $70 million. Lately he’s been limping a lot. So far he’s batting .247, with six home runs and 38 RBI. But he’ll catch fire soon, I’m sure.

In the past, Curt Schilling has been great at two things: popping off, and pitching baseballs. Recently he took a few shots at Barry Bonds during an interview with Bob Costas. That shows that Schilling is at the top of his craft in one area.

But this season he is just 6-4 with a 4.20 ERA in 15 starts, and he hasn’t pitched since June 18. Yet I feel certain that the 40-year-old veteran of 21 major-league seasons will spring to life soon and power the Red Sox to victory like he did in the days when he was pitching in Arizona alongside another invincible war horse, Randy Johnson.

J.D. Drew was playing at his worst when the Red Sox were playing at their best this year. He's improved slightly since the start of the season, and was never the reason for their success in the first place. And Ortiz is by no means having a bad season. .431 OBP, .560 SLG. And yeah, Schilling isn't what he used to be, but there's nothing wrong with a 4.20 ERA, especially when you aren't the number one or number two guy in the rotation.

Folks who follow the Red Sox don’t stress when they see a sizeable lead in the AL East disappear like Whitey Bulger, and notice that the Yankees are making a move. That’s because they’re used to stress. They live with stress 24/7. They’ve had a lot of practice coping with stress. Compared to them, air traffic controllers at our busiest airports are Zen bunnies.

And..."hyperbolic crap"? Yep, that's another one of our labels. Perfect.

The PGA Championship is scheduled to take place in two weeks at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Okla. The best thing that could happen to the Red Sox would be for Mickelson to snap out of his funk and win another major. That would illustrate to them that negative habits can be broken.

Wow. That would be pretty damn good for them. I had an idea too, but yours is better. So here's what I think is the second best thing that could happen to the Red Sox: they don't lose another game this season.

Estimated number of Red Sox players who give a crap how Phil Mickelson golfs: 1.5

A generous 1.5

But if he doesn’t win? No big deal. The Red Sox will cope. They’re used to this. Really.

Phil Mickelson, the fate of the A.L. East is in your hands. Just know that if you mess this up, the Boston Red Sox will forever look to you as the reason they didn't make it this year, because you didn't lead them by example. Why is that your problem? Ventre said so.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

jonah keri tries to write a "who belongs in the hall of fame" article

and just like everyone else who's ever tried to do this, he fails miserably despite his best efforts to not sound stupid. i think the FCC (if they are allowed to set standards for print media... are they?) should ban sportswriters from ever writing these things. it's a total train wreck every single time. even when they're right, as keri (in my opinion) is in many cases here, they still manage to provide such piss-poor analysis that the whole purpose of writing the article is defeated. let's let jonah take us on a one way trip to non-analysisville, with a stop at cliche junction on the way.

A dozen for the Hall

Craig Biggio's announcement that he'll retire at the end of the season should have Astros fans making plans to hit Cooperstown in 2013. Biggio is one of a dozen eligible or soon-to-be eligible baseball figures deserving of election. The 12 noted here are ranked by strongest case for induction, given their eligibility dates.

Marvin Miller: Father of the Major League Baseball Players Association. Ended the system of indentured servitude the players had served under for nearly a century.

never heard of this guy, but that's pretty awesome. he should definitely be in the hall in some way shape or form. you think donald fehr will join him one day? mwah mwah. *rimshot*

Mark McGwire (583 home runs, seventh all-time): Suspect whatever you want -- his 583 homers and .982 career OPS are what matter here.

aaaaaaaaaaaand we're already in trouble. like i said, it's not that i think keri is wrong. i think mcgwire, sosa, and bonds should all be in the hall eventually (because we don't know for sure who did roids and who didn't, and punishing those guys, just because their usage was more obvious than others, is wrong). but what an atrocious sentence! when you use the format "say what you will about [A], but [B]," [A] and [B] cannot be related. here, i'll demonstrate:

right- "say what you will about the strong possibility that he probably killed 2 people, but oj simpson was one of the greatest NFL running backs of all time."

wrong- "say what you will about the strong possibility that he probably killed 2 people, but due to his performance in lethal weapon 2 and a half, it's clear that oj simpson was a good guy."

jonah, when a guy in all likelihood accumulated the numbers he did due to steroids, you can't dismiss the issue by saying "say what you will about steroids, BUT..." that's not how logic works. again, i think mcgwire does belong in. but don't write poorly when you try to explain why, that's all i ask.

Goose Gossage (nine years of 150 or better ERA+): One of the most dominant relief pitchers of all time. A true fireman who'd often come in with the game on the line, rather than being pampered and rested until his team was up two or three runs in the ninth.

again, good selection, dumb analysis. as if "modern" relievers never ever ever enter games in tight situations, and "old skool" relievers never ever ever got multiple days rest between appearances or entered the game when their team was up 2 or 3 runs. puh-lease. i'm officially declaring it cliched and hacky to write about "the good ol' days" of pitching. "back when men were men! and starters finished what they started! and relievers only pitched in high pressure situations! and a soda only cost a nickel." baseball writers of america: shut. up.

Bert Blyleven (287 wins; 3,701 strikeouts, fifth all-time): Blyleven played for some lousy teams, in ballparks that significantly favored offensive production. Adjust his stats to neutral run-support and park-factor levels and he's well over 300 wins with an ERA near or under 3.00.

good selection, good analysis. but jonah's only 1 for 3 when it comes to actual players so far.

Ron Santo (125 OPS+, five-time Gold Glover): Sentiment aside, Santo was one of the best offensive and defensive third basemen of all-time. The Hall needs to go beyond handing out tickets to one-dimensional home-run hitters at non-premium positions.

sentiment included, ron santo doesn't belong in the hall. the gold glove is a joke. check out the HOF monitors and "similar batters" on his baseball reference page. when gary gaetti is your #1 most comparable player... it's a bad sign for your HOF chances. and all the guys on his top 10 list who made it in were catchers. it's not an exact science, of course. but if santo wasn't a wildly popular cub and didn't contract lupus, he wouldn't be getting talked about at all these days. here, i'll explain it in terms other sportswriters can understand: he belongs in the hall of very good, not the hall of fame.

2008 Tim Raines (808 SBs, fifth all-time): Lou Brock with a better batting eye, Raines had tons of pop for a leadoff hitter, but he hit a lot more doubles than homers due partly to Olympic Stadium's high fences. Rickey Henderson played in the same era, but that doesn't diminish Raines' greatness.

raines's hall candidacy has been discussed extensively by dan-bob here on fjm in a previous post. but its borderline nature aside- are you kidding me? that thing about the doubles and homers and olympic stadium's high fences? what? that might be some of the most anecdotal anecdotal bullshit i've ever read. for what it's worth, olympic stadium was a fantastic hitter's park (for both doubles and home runs) in its waning years. check out its numbers in 2003, the last year the expos played there full time. i don't know, maybe at that point they had lowered the fences since when raines played there. probably not; more likely, jonah keri (i think he's in his late 20s) went to a bunch of expos games as a small child, and remembers a couple times raines doubled off the top of the wall. therefore- this happened to him during his entire expos career.

2009 Rickey Henderson (2,295 runs, 1,404 SBs, both first all-time): The best leadoff hitter of all time and one of the biggest characters the game will ever know.

doesn't jeff pearlman know it.

2010 Roberto Alomar (10-time Gold Glover, 12-time All-Star): A rare combination of power, speed, great batting stroke and dazzling defense, Alomar ranks just below the Morgan/Hornsby class on the "best second basemen of all time" list.

that makes 2 out of 7...

2010 Barry Larkin (1995 MVP, 12-time All-Star): Similar profile to Alomar's, only at shortstop. The prototype for the A-Rod/Nomar/Jeter class that took over the position in the mid-'90s.

sort of, not really. not at all. larkin finished his career with 198 HRs. all 3 of those guys will probably have over 300 when they hang up their cleats. arod may have 800. jeter's career slugging percentage is only slightly higher (.463 vs. .444), but nomar and arod are crushing it (.528 and .577). just because larkin was one of the best SSs in the game for the 10 or so years preceding those guys' rise to stardom doesn't make him the "prototype" for them.

2010 Edgar Martinez (.312/.418/.515, two-time batting champion): I agree with the general sentiment that DHs should be penalized for not having any defensive value. But that doesn't mean no DH should ever be allowed in. Edgar was one of the best hitters ever to play the game. That's good enough for me.

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO jonah keri, BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. 1- horrendously anecdotal. 2- best hitters ever to play the game, compared to who? anyone who's ever played little league? he's MAYBE a slightly better candidate than santo. MAYBE. hard to say, when you factor in santo playing 3B. but check out martinez's "HOF monitor" and "similar batters." is this a guy that should be mentioned as an all time great? really? that is not rhetorical, the answer is no.

2011 Jeff Bagwell (.948 OPS, 1994 MVP): In an era clogged with slugging first basemen, Bagwell's on-base ability (.408 career OBP), handy glove work and huge peak seasons stand out against his peers.

3 for 10. good batting average. atrocious "reasonable analysis" average.

2013 Craig Biggio (3,014 hits, 1,826 runs): Another all-around threat who did everything well, and for a long time. Sabermetrician Bill James famously called him the second-best player of the 1990s. Not sure about that, but you could make a strong case for top five.

4 for 11. maybe. at least keri didn't say something stupid like "say what you will about him sticking his elbow way out over the plate whenever possible, but biggio gets hit with a lot of pitches" or "the turf at the astrodome turned a lot of potential doubles into singles for him because they got to the outfielders too fast." keep trying, jonah. you're not in that groove just yet.

Best Side Job Ever

The Rocky Mountain News had a great writeup this morning about the guys who keep score for MLB's GameDay program (used by ESPN.com's Gamecast)

It's not an opinion piece, but I thought I'd post it because this looks like such an awesome job for someone who is a baseball fan.

Check it out

We Have an "articles that didn't need to be written" Label, Right?

Just checking

I'm so sick of the coverage of Barry Bonds blanketing the baseball pages at all the major sports web sites (at least msnbc.com has the decency to divide the news into two distinct sections titled "Baseball" and "Barry Bonds"). Every article's the same. Gregg Doyel decided to write some sort of piece on the guy that fills in for him.

SAN FRANCISCO -- They came for Barry Bonds.

They dragged a kayak into the Bay, dumped it into the water and paddled a mile to McCovey Cove. They got in their car in Carson City, Nev., and drove 300 miles to AT&T Park. They fought rush-hour traffic in downtown San Francisco, paid $30 to park in a dirt lot, walked a quarter-mile and paid $25 or more for a ticket.

They came for Barry Bonds. They came for history.

They got Fred Lewis.

My problem with anyone with complaints about this situation is that anyone who follows Bonds closely enough to care that much about seeing him play already KNOWS that he's not an everyday player, and that they run the risk of not seeing him play when they go to a Giants game.

"I never thought of it that way," Fred Lewis tells me, "until you mentioned it."

See, this is an idea that never needed to be developed, Doyel.

That's me. I am buzzkill. Or rather, Fred Lewis is buzzkill.

Right the first time.

Nobody came to AT&T Park on Wednesday night to see Fred Lewis play left field for the Giants, but there he was in left against the Atlanta Braves.

Fine, screw you Fred Lewis, it's all your fault, you uninteresting bag of nothingness.

Of course it's not Fred Lewis' fault. He plays when and where he is told to play. Bruce Bochy is the manager, and he's the one who draws up the lineup card. He drew it up Wednesday with Lewis in left and Bonds on the bench.

Hey yeah, nevermind, screw you Bochy, it's all your fault....don't you understand what the fans want to see?

Of course it's not Bruce Bochy's fault, either. Bonds is the 43-year-old behemoth whose torso is too big for his legs. When Bonds was put together -- by God, by Victor Conte, by someone -- he wasn't built with 240 pounds of skull and muscle in mind. His legs cannot take the grind of playing every day, and certainly not playing every day at such an unnatural weight.

So he needs more days off than the average ballplayer. Last week he took three consecutive days off. This week with the Giants at home for seven games, he might play five of them. After playing all 13 innings of San Francisco's 7-5 loss Tuesday night, he rested Wednesday.

Hey yeah, nevermind, screw you Barry, for being so big, which is the whole reason you became this interesting in the first place.

I'm REALLY missing the point, if there is one, of all this.

This came as a downer to me, since I flew across the country Wednesday to start what could be a four-week vigil. Until Bonds hits home run No. 756 to pass Hank Aaron and become baseball's all-time leader, I will follow him. I will follow him from San Francisco to Los Angeles to San Diego, then back to San Francisco, then to Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Florida if it takes that long.

Wednesday was my first day in town, first day on the Bonds watch, and he's off. Terrific.

So this is just one giant (no pun intended) Gregg Doyel complaint. This is not a blog. This is a sports column.

Could be worse, though. Imagine being Fred Lewis, the guy nobody wants to see.

Could be worse. Imagine being a professional baseball player being paid six figures to play a baseball game, in front of a lot of people, with the painful drawback being: you aren't famous.

Imagine being the guy in the orange kayak in McCovey Cove. He's wearing a bright orange rain jacket with the words BONDS NAVY in big, bold letters. He paddled across the Pacific two hours before the first pitch to get the best spot in the cove, just in case Bonds hits No. 754, 755 and even 756. Those balls could be worth six or seven figures. A man could retire on that kind of money.

Again, he's there by choice.....

I walked out to right field, leaned over the railing and yelled to the guy, "Barry's not playing!" The guy looked like he wanted to flip me off. Maybe he did flip me off. I didn't wait to see because I'm not here for a conversation. I'm a journalist, a deliverer of news, and I'm heading to center field and down the steps to the ballpark's marina entrance. At least 200 people are standing in line, maybe 50 of them wearing Bonds' No. 25. I walk through the crowd whispering the news.

Barry's not playing. Barry's not playing.

Much like a 13-year old girl whispering to all her friends who she has a crush on.

I love the triumphant-sounding proclamation: "I'm a journalist, a deliverer of news". I'm about to whisper something to a bunch of people who will find that thing out anyway in less than an hour. But I'm special, because I'm the first one to tell them! I'm a gossip queen! I mean uh...journalist...

And if you're a deliverer of news, what the hell is this column? So far the only "news" you've reported is "Fred Lewis took Barry Bonds's place in left field Wednesday, and myself and other baseball fans weren't happy." What insight, what genius!

I hear some groans. One person literally gets out of line and walks away. I almost feel bad, like I've ruined the ending of the final Harry Potter book. But this isn't my fault. I'm like everyone else here. I didn't come for Fred Lewis. No offense, Fred.

I love the "this isn't my fault" defense. First he "saves" Lewis and Bochy with it, now he acts as if someone is blaming him for Barry not playing.

"I understand what you're saying," he tells me, "but I don't care about that. I'm a rookie, and I understand nobody is here to see me (in left field), but one day that will be my position."

I love how in an "imagine how bad it would be to be Fred Lewis" column, Fred Lewis is quoted twice saying he doesn't even care.

Last week Kevin Frandsen was the guy nobody wanted to see. The Giants were at Wrigley Field in Chicago and Bonds was off. Frandsen played left. The bums in left serenaded him for three hours: "Bar-ry's back-up ... Barr-ry's back-up."

"I thought it was funny," Frandsen says. "I'm thinking, 'Yeah, I guess I am today. But there are worse jobs.'"

Thank you, Kevin Frandsen, for telling Doyel that there are worse jobs than one involving playing left field in a major league baseball game. I think he's the only one that needed to know (and he still doesn't seem convinced).

Worse than Fred Lewis' job Wednesday night? I'm not sure. It's a cold, windy night. The Giants are 16 games under .500. The Braves aren't the draw they used to be, certainly not when someone named Chuck James is pitching. But still there are roughly 30,000 people here.

The Braves didn't even sell out for some of their playoff games back in the 90's. They have a notoriously indifferent fan base.

They came to see Barry Bonds in left, but five minutes before the first pitch the Giants lineup was posted on the big scoreboard, and after a few seconds, when it became clear to everyone that Bonds' name wasn't up there in lights, AT&T Park deflated.

A murmur went through the crowd.

It didn't sound like, "Let's go, Fred Lewis!"

You essentially said this 6 different ways already.

Tough being Fred Lewis. On the left field wall is a mural shaped like a U.S. highway sign, with the words "Road to History" and a picture of Bonds inside the sign. In right-center field is the official Bonds home run count, with "Bonds 753" next to "Aaron 755." Down the right field line is the counter for "splash hits" into McCovey Cove, the count up to 44. Bonds has accounted for 34 of them.

Bonds is everywhere tonight. Everywhere but left field.

Make that 7.

Jason and Diana Albright drove from Carson City for this game. Husband and wife are wearing Bonds jerseys, and they're not thrilled when I tell them two hours before first pitch that Bonds isn't in the lineup. They don't leave, however. They came 300 miles for this. Maybe they'll see Bonds pinch hit.

"Don't forget," I tell them. "You'll get to see Fred Lewis."

"Who?" Diana Albright says back.

She makes a great point.

Fred Lewis isn't famous. This is Doyel's opinion of what a great point should be.

Again, to recap,

I'm not here for a conversation. I'm a journalist, a deliverer of news.

Then deliver some next time.

picking on dr. z for no reason

he might be the lowest low-hanging fruit on the lowest-branched low-hanging fruit tree located in the lowest-elevation part of the netherlands. still, sometimes i can't help myself.

Where would I rank KC's O-line of 2004-5 on my all-time list? OK, let's run that back a couple of years, so we can put John Tait in at RT for John Welbourn. Yes, the best of the decade, I believe, unless something surpasses it in the next few years.

personally i would rank that chiefs OL in the top 5 of the decade, unless 8 teams surpass them before 2012. but that's just me. keep up the good work, dr. z.

how long until every other sports media company besides espn shuts down?

not sure why he bothered to include this question (and subsequent answer) in his column. from stewart mandel's latest college football mailbag on cnnsi.com:

Why doesn't ESPN have any respect for the Georgia Bulldog program? We want a little RESPECT.-- Kenny L. Betsill, Fayetteville, Ga.

SM: I'm not sure, sir. You're going to have to take that up with the folks in Bristol.

this has the tone of a nerdy kid asking a slightly less nerdy kid why the cool kids don't like him (the first kid). kind of sad.

on the brighter side, later on stewart delivers this zinger to a media-hating reader who wishes he were cool enough to blog here at fjm:

Is your Daddy the CEO of SI or something? The reason I ask, is because you are a terrible writer. I too am a Journalist and the only way I can fathom how you got a job at Sports Illustrated is someone knew you personally and gave you a job you weren't qualified for. You need to go back to school and re-learn how to write.-- Joe, St. Louis

SM: Would it be like Billy Madison where I get to repeat each grade in two weeks? If so, I'm in. And while I'm there I'll be sure to pass along anything I learn about run-on sentences, capitalization and dangling prepositions that you might find useful in your role as a "Journalist."

joe from st. louis just got s-s-s-s-s-s-s-SLAMMED. how does it feel to be on a stewart mandel poster, joe? facial. total facial. joe will think twice the next time he wants to write a scathing "you is bad at riteing" email to a small-time sports journalist.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

No Wonder the Orioles Perpetually Suck.....

Jerry Crasnick's "Starting 9" is a useless space-filler on ESPN.com. This week's was 9 midseason acquisitions that paid "big dividends" in August, September, and October for World Series teams. You know, how guys like Jeff Weaver (who was poor in August and September) and Geoff Blum (who hit one home run in a series that would have almost definitely been won anyway, in a game that might have been won anyway) were major pickups.

Then we get to Mike Bordick. The Orioles traded him to the Mets in 2000 to replace Rey Ordonez.

The payoff: Bordick homers in his first at-bat as a Met and hits .324 in August, but slumps in September and October. After he's benched by manager Bobby Valentine in the finale of the Mets' World Series loss to the Yankees, it's revealed that Bordick has been playing with a broken thumb. His tenure with the Mets is brief, and he re-signs with Baltimore as a free agent in December 2000.

So.....this paid off because he hit a homer sometime in August and had a fluky .324 before having 2 horrible months? I missed the part where he helped his team get to the World Series.

Anyway....this isn't the part that bothers me. This one is.

"If we had nine Mike Bordicks, we would be in contention today,'' Syd Thrift, the Orioles' vice president of baseball operations, tells the Baltimore Sun.

The vice president of the Baltimore Orioles.


That if they have 9 Mike Bordicks play every day, they would be way better and in contention.

Fact 1: The Orioles are not in contention right now.

Fact 2: The Orioles score 4.44 runs per game.

Fact 3: The Orioles allow 4.43 runs per game.

Fact 4: Nine Mike Bordicks score 3.92 runs per game, somewhere between the Washington Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates.

So, Syd Thrift, in re: 9 Mike Bordicks will put us into contention, no, no it/they would not.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

oh, you think?

i didn't get a chance to save a screen capture of it, but last night espn.com had a pretty hilarious little blurb up about bonds on its front page. it said (not word for word, but this was the main idea):

Barry Bonds has a knack for hitting big home runs at home. Will this be the week he breaks Hank Aaron's record? The Giants open a 3 game series with the Braves at AT&T Park tonight!

i love the use of the figure of speech "[he] has a knack for" right there. oh, really? you're proposing that he just might hit numbers 755 and 756 at home (as he hit numbers 600, 660, 661, and 715), because that just seems like "something he would do?" i mean, yeah, if it happened that way, it would be a total coincidence. you know, i personally think they should sit him out this homestand and let him hit those on the road. i'm sure the fans in whatever stadium he happens to do it in would appreciate the achievement just as much as those in san fran. seriously, what a stupidass teaser. "hey, watch our network this week! the giants are playing at home, and you know how that barry bonds is! he just HAPPENS to hit milestone home runs at home, for some reason!" screw you espn.

this is not as bad, but in the same vein as the time earlier this season when they showed a graphic pointing out the interesting "coincidence" that all of the walkoff home runs mariano riveria has given up in his career have come on the road. really? you mean he's never given one up at yankee stadium, before his team gets a chance to bat in the bottom of the 9th? baseball's just a crazy game like that i guess.

Just.....Look Up the One Fact You Actually Use....Okay Jay?

Because I'm so absolutely sick of hearing about Beckham, Donaghy, and especially Barry Bonds, it's almost a relief to read another Jay-bashes-Ozzie column in which he makes a huge deal out of Ozzie calling White Sox fans factory workers.

All about spin, as usual, but things get dicey when Jay tries a little argumentative tactic called "using information".

The only position player who can be penciled in for '08, definitively, is Paul Konerko.

This requires so little work, and Jay won't do it. Go to Google. Type in "Chicago White Sox contracts". Click on the first link that shows up. Read stuff. Isn't the internet great?

Jim Thome is in through 2008 (with 2009 option). Pierzynski is signed through 2008. Those, my friend, are penciled in. Toby Hall is also signed for 2008, along with Pablo "I played replacement level baseball for 4 years and all I got was this lousy $1.25M 2008 paycheck" Ozuna. Mackowiak will almost definitely get signed for his 2008 option with the way he's played this year and the ChiSox's complete lack of an outfield.

And if Williams is smart, he'll stay away from Uribe's $5M option for 2008.

You're welcome, Jay.

Monday, July 23, 2007

gregg doyel baits the line; despite my attempts to resist, i bite

[note: good guy at sports has already covered this article in extensively hilarious fashion (see his post from july 16). feel free to just read his. or read both mine and his. or don't read either. why the hell are you here anyways?]

that's the thing about doyel. in most of his articles, i just KNOW he's baiting readers like me. he's knowingly making outrageous statements, ignoring cognitive thought processes, and generally saying anything stupid and controversial that will make people angry and thus generate "buzz" about his writing. that's the brilliant evil of gregg doyel. and usually, i manage to take what he writes with a grain of salt and not waste time blogging about it. unfortunately that's not going to happen today. this particular piece of crap is different, because doyel covers such a wide array of material. it's a disaster on a much bigger scale than what he usually comes up with. an analogy would be to say that reading average doyel column is like a getting punched in the face, but reading this doyel article is like getting punched in the face while also getting kicked in the crotch, bit by a doberman, and zapped with a taser. you'll see.

Big deals mean raw deals for Joe fan

The number to kill all numbers is coming soon, and I wish to God I was talking about Barry Bonds and the number 756. Instead I'm talking about Alex Rodriguez and the number $35 million, which is the annual salary he and ruthless agent Scott Boras will pry from some team this offseason after A-Rod opts out of the final three years of his contract with the Yankees and becomes a free agent.

it's true, that's a lot of money. salaries in baseball are spiraling out of control these days. but personally i'm getting pretty sick of reading about it; the topic is almost becoming the new steroids. a topic that everyone already agrees is a problem, which sportswriters can fall back on when they need to rant and rave and make themselves feel like keepers of the moral high ground. i mean, don't get me wrong. as a fan of a small/mediumish market team i am certainly bothered by the trend in question. my beloved local franchise has no shot whatsoever at landing top line free agents. hell, they're even out of the running for most "sort of good, kind of" free agents. they simply can't afford it. and that sucks, big time. but what are they going to do about it? they're going to look for any bargains they can, and develop talent from within their own organization. going all gregg doyel isn't going to help anything. speaking of which, where is the public outrage about members of the sports media who suck at their jobs but probably get paid in the high five figures/low six figures annually? this is ridiculous! we need a sports journalism salary cap! hello?

A-Rod learned nothing from his last contract, that 10-year, $252 million monstrosity he stole from the Texas Rangers in 2001, when he doubled the previous record contract in U.S. sports history and -- congratulations! -- became universally despised for his shocking greed.

he didn't "steal" it, you clod. rangers owner tom hicks was being stupid, and offered it to him. gregg doyel says: how dare he accept! also, arod didn't become "universally despised." people were mad at the situation, but not specifically at rodriguez. in his 3 years in texas, he finished 6th, 2nd, and 1st in MVP voting. he averaged 52 HR and 132 RBIs. no doubt he was overpaid relative even to other great players, but he definitely played like he was worth a hell of a lot of money. you want to know who is "universally despised?" the guy who plays left field for the giants. compare arod (even in the weeks and months immediately after arod's contract was finalized in 2001) to that guy. it's not even close.

A $35 million or even $40 million annual contract is coming. You can feel it in the air, like a bad storm. You can smell it, like a bad bowel movement. The perfect confluence of events is here: the great player having the career season ... the desperate team with too much money and not enough recent World Series titles ... and the brilliantly unscrupulous agent.

it's worth mentioning that if arod didn't opt out of his contract, it would have paid him more than $30 million annually already in these last 3 years, because it was backloaded. so he's not really going for that much of a raise. sort of. also, great poop joke.

It's unavoidable. The Yankees already have given $28 million this season (pro-rated) to Roger Clemens, an old pitcher past his prime. A-Rod is on pace to hit .320 with 58 home runs, 160 runs and 165 RBI, which would merely be the best (clean) offensive season since the 1930s -- and he's just 31 years old. He could play at this level for another four or five seasons at least, and could play at an All-Star level until he is 40. If he stays healthy he will pass Ruth and Aaron and Bonds and not only become the all-time home run king, but put that record out of reach. He will sell tickets wherever he goes, he will raise the value of whatever television deal is in place for his franchise, and he will sell $125 jerseys like Ernie Banks once sold 12-cent baseball cards.

so people are stupid. so what? supply and demand, my friend. if people pay for those tickets and jerseys, we really only can blame ourselves when a player gets a $40 million a year contract. i don't even have a snide comment to make here. as chris w would say, :shrug: . that's the way things work these days.

Those are just some of the points Boras will hammer into the Yankees and any other team that joins the bidding for Rodriguez after this season, and if no other team joins the bidding, Boras will lie to the Yankees and make them believe otherwise. Would I put it past Boras to promise a favor to another franchise down the road, a player delivered at a reasonable (for Boras) price, in exchange for that franchise pretending to get involved in the A-Rod bidding to pump up the price? Hell no I wouldn't put that scenario past Boras. He has a history of getting unwitting teams to bid against themselves. This guy is so shady, so good, that he'd pretend to have a terminal disease if he thought some team's sympathy would help him finagle a few extra bucks for a client. If you asked me to pick the more admirable form of life, Scott Boras or WWE president Vince McMahon, I'd ask to check the bottoms of their shoes in case a more palatable choice was squished underneath there.

whatever. wrestling is a shady business, obviously, but vince mcmahon is partially a fictional character. just saying comparing him to boras is stupid. let's get to the good stuff.

It's not like Rodriguez will need nefariousness to get the contract to end all contracts. In the past week alone, sports owners seem to have lost their collective minds.

this is the part i was describing at the beginning with the crotch kick, the doberman, and the taser.

In the NBA, the idiot in charge of the Magic gave a six-year, $118 million contract to an underachieving role player named Rashard Lewis.

it was indeed a horrible decision by the magic. but calling lewis "an underachieving role player" is hyperbole and detracts from the point. it's like if when the royals signed gil meche, some dumb analyst said "they just dropped $55 million on a guy that has never gotten a major league hitter out, ever!" lewis's contract will cripple the magic for years to come, but he's a pretty good player. check the stats.

In the NFL, the idiot in charge of the Colts gave Dwight Freeney, who is injury-prone

has yet to miss a regular season game in his NFL career. not saying he's never been hurt, but he isn't rex grossman or something.

and coming off a career-low 5½-sack season,

in which he was double and triple teamed most of the time, probably because he plied up FIFTY ONE sacks in his first four years in the league. doyel is implying that a 27 year old guy who was one of the most dominant pass rushers in the league for 4 years, is suddenly not good anymore because of one mediocre season. he is wrong.

a six-year, $72 million deal that features a $30 million signing bonus and is the richest contract in NFL history for a defender.

i don't want to get into the complexities of guaranteed money vs. non-guaranteed money in NFL contracts, the salary cap, and how franchise player tags work. i'm sure doyel has no fucking clue about any of the above. what you need to know is this: the colts avoided the stress of dealing with freeney on a year to year basis for the next couple of seasons (see how well that's working out for the bears and patriots with lance briggs and asante samuel right now), and less than half of that $72 million is guaranteed meaning if something goes wrong they're not on the hook for very much money at all. meanwhile, if he can average around 10 sacks a year for the next 10 years, which is unlikely but certainly not out of the question, he'll finish in the top 5 all time for career sacks. yeah.... wouldn't want to pay that guy to play for my football team. how outlandish of the colts to do such a thing.

In baseball, the idiot who owns the Indians gave $57 million for four years to a .260-hitting designated hitter named Travis Hafner, whose slugging percentage has taken a mysterious tumble from .659 last season to .452 this year.

what fools. just like freeney, its 100% clear that hafner will never be a good player again. for those unfamiliar with his play, hafner was arguably the best hitter in baseball last season. at this point in 2006 he was having roughly the same season arod is having 2007, minus a couple HRs and a handful of RBIs. how dare they sign him to a long term deal. cut and run, indians, cut and run!

Back to the NBA, the idiot in charge of the Detroit Pistons has committed three years and $11 million to Amir Johnson, or $1 million for every game he has played in a worthless two-year career. this one is a little questionable on the surface.

i don't know anything about amir johnson. apparently he tore up the NBA d-league last year for what that's worth. with that contract, the pistons are basically treating him like a mid/high paid first round draft pick, which is probably the production they expect out of him. i mean, like i said, it seems a little silly. but it's worth noting the pistons have been a very well run franchise for the last several years, excepting the darko milicic draft pick. joe dumars seems to know what he's doing.

After this season, Alex Rodriguez will break the bank, and my fear -- or my hope -- is that his new contract will break baseball and then perhaps all of professional sports. Maybe it will take $35 or $40 million per year to an athlete, any athlete, for sports fans to finally have enough with rising salaries and the rising ticket and apparel prices that come as an added bonus. Boycott a game. Embarrass a team by forcing it to play in front of 150 spectators.

fans of the pittsburgh pirates, arguably one of the worst run franchises in all of sports during the last 15 years, tried this less than a month ago. it didn't work out so well. i'm not saying this idea could never, ever work... but if it didn't work for pirates fans, i wouldn't be optimistic about it.

Send a message to the Yankees or Magic or Colts or Indians or any of the other out-of-touch franchises: The everyday families who fund those franchises are struggling to buy homes and send kids to college and fill up their gas tank on a weekly basis, and we simply will not tolerate any more Monopoly contracts.

preach, gregg. preach on.

It's not like Rodriguez will deliver a championship, either. yes. we know this to be objectively true. He hasn't won a World Series. He hasn't even been to a World Series.

yeah, in 2004, when the yankees lost to the red sox in the ALCS, (as well as 2000 when his mariners lost to the yankees) that was totally all his fault. i mean, in those two appearances, he's only OPSed 1.020 and driven in 10 runs. choke artist.

This isn't the NBA, where one player can get it done. Give Michael Jordan $35 million a year, as the Chicago Bulls once did, and you have just won yourself an NBA championship. Give A-Rod $35 million and you have just ... given A-Rod $35 million. The championship is optional and maybe even irrelevant.

thus, even if you're george steinbrenner and have more money than you know what to do with, why bother to pay great players to pay for your team? if they can't 100% guarantee you a championship they're not worth having around.

Give A-Rod $35 million and what you have done, however, is given star-struck fans justification to spend $100 or $200 to come to the ballpark for one night. Why are baseball tickets so expensive in New York? Because A-Rod makes $35 million. Why will he make $35 million? Because tickets are so expensive. It's a vicious cycle.

it sucks, big time. welcome to the 21st century gregg. supply and demand; supply and demand.

In Seattle, the Mariners gave Ichiro Suzuki $90 million for the next five years, one of the richest contracts in U.S. sports history, for a player who turns 34 in October. At $18 million, Ichiro would make more in a single season than all of the 2006 Florida Marlins combined, which might be why Marlins president David Samson predicted in an interview with Miami radio station 790 AM that Ichiro's new contract "will take down the sport. ... It's the end of the world as we know it."

5 years from now, when baseball is still alive and well and ichiro is still hitting over .300 (which is likely because his game depends so little on raw power) and playing good defense in right field every day at age 39, i expect doyel and samson to each publicly apologize for their statements here. i mean, will he be worth $18 million? probably not. but the list of guys that were/are going to be comically overpaid in the last couple years of long term deals is, needless to say, very very very long. that's the nature of the beast.

If only.

yes. if only the apocalypse would come, due to a professional athlete signing a lucrative contract. that would be awesome and totally appropriate.

My Hero

Tim Donaghy is my hero.

His actions led to a weekend in sports journalism totally free of hyperbole, ridiculous overreactions, and baseless accusations. Oh wai...

Seriously though, if anybody who reads this blog was out camping or fishing or doing some other gay outdoor shit this weekend, and you're now just booting up your computer for the first time; don't. Throw your computer out of the window. Don't turn on ESPN, don't read the sports section, and for the love of god don't boot up SI.com unless you want to rip your eyeballs out of their sockets to ease your suffering. This is making me sick. It's like after 9/11 when all the congressmen were outside the capitol holding hands and singing "America the Beautiful," and Bill O'Reiley was screaming for the heads of all arabs, and we had to hear about how every single person who melted/got crushed/died of smoke inhalation was a "hero"

Let's say sportswriters are like Star Trek fans. This NBA "crisis" is like Halle Berry, buck naked, wearing Klingon makeup, in the middle of a Trek convention. These guys are so ramped up for any action they can pounce upon. It's a shitty metaphor, but since we're talking about sportswriters here, awkward, poorly thought out metaphors seem to be right in place.

Hours after all of this stuff came to light, 3 different SI columnists wrote basically the same exact article. Like one column about:

(a) outrage over such a betrayal of trust
(b) this is really gonna hurt the NBA
(c) well we all knew that NBA reffing has been questionable for years

wasn't enough.

The only thing I got out of this situation is:

1. Sportswriters are huge, unoriginal pussies


2. Tim Donaghy is a badass

Peter and Lisa Mansueto claimed that Donaghy vandalized their property and stalked them, even to the point of following Mrs. Mansueto around Radley Run Country Club, where Donaghy and the Mansuetos were members. After an internal investigation, Donaghy was suspended from Radley Run for the summer and early fall of 2004. The suit also alleged that Donaghy set fire to the Mansuetos' tractor and crashed their golf cart into a ravine.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Sometimes facts are fun to make up

I like John Donovan of Sports Illustrated. He has two first names. Some cool initials. A thundercock. You know, the sort of things people generally look for in sportswriters. It's too bad, though, that he doesn't have all his facts right in his latest story:

Jose Contreras, SP, White SoxOther teams would probably rather see Sox GM
Kenny Williams make Javier Vazquez available, or Jon Garland. But Contreras
(5-11, 5.32 ERA) is No. 1 on the block. He's 35 with some injury problems, and
his fastball has to speed up to reach into the low 90s. But he's postseason
tested (4-1, 3.77 in 12 games), relatively cheap (what's left of about $6
million) and he has no other strings (a free agent this winter).Prediction:

Contreras is actually signed for $9 million this season (any team that trades for him would be on the hook for "what's left" of that). And he'll be a free agent only after he makes $10 million in 2008... and another $10 million in 2009. Other than that, he's relatively cheap and has no other strings attached.

Just the Slickest of Moves.....

I'm absolutely sick of people saying the recent Cubs trade was any good. I hear it all over the place. Work. Home. Internet. It's really starting to piss me off. Jim Hendry is by no means a "genius" for pulling this move off. Billy Beane didn't get "robbed". "Kendall" isn't any "good" at "baseball" "anymore". And yet, Tracy Ringolsby thinks it's brilliant.

Cubs made slick move with Kendall

Snuck him right out from under Billy Beane's nose.

While the NL Central-leading Brewers were finding out that the ace of their rotation, Ben Sheets, was headed back to the disabled list for as long as six weeks, the Cubs were finding an answer to their question behind the plate, landing Jason Kendall.

The answer: Search the entire major leagues for ALL players that have 200 AB or more. Cross out Dioner Navarro's name. Now find a way to get the guy on the list with the lowest EqA of them all.

Maybe it was a coincidence, but ever since the Cubs unloaded Michael Barrett they have played like an NL Central championship team. GM Jim Hendry is looking for ways to fill the cracks in the wall, and Kendall is a major addition. With Henry Blanco on the disabled list, Kendall gives the Cubs a low-cost, veteran presence who is excellent at handling pitchers.

I want proof that Kendall is better at handling pitchers than say....Joe Mauer. Or like.....Chris Iannetta. Or Gregg Zaun. Or Brad Ausmus. This is just a claim. How does one prove that a catcher is excellent at handling pitchers? There's literally no good way to support that. You probably just looked at Kendall's stat line, remembered that he used to be pretty good, but couldn't find anything indicating that now, so just made up that he's "excellent at handling pitchers". Michael Barrett aside, I want you to convince me that there is one catcher in major league baseball better at this than another catcher. Don't get me wrong...I'm not saying that some aren't better than others, I just want some proof that there's something special about Kendall. The A's pitchers are very good. Kendall wasn't the reason they were getting outs.

Kendall is low-cost. And he is a veteran. But didn't you stop to think that a guy with practically no power that has lost his patience at the plate (just 12 BB in 292 ABs this year) who has a -3 FRAA to show for his glovework might just be another one of those cracks Hendry was trying to fill?

The Cubs went into Tuesday very much on the attack, having won 16 of their last 20 games, pulling to within three games in the wild-card race and 3 1/2 games of Milwaukee.

What does this have to do with anything? If this relates at all, it's evidence AGAINST the Cubs needing to make any changes.

Yes, Kendall is in an offensive funk,

It's been disguised by Kendall's batting averages, but Kendall hasn't been an above-average offensive player since 2004. .241/.251/.187 EqA's for 2005/2006/2007. And for some fun with small sample sizes, he has a -.213 EqA with the Cubs!

but on the flip side the A's wouldn't be so willing to part with him if he wasn't hitting .226 with only two home runs and 12 RBIs.

Billy Beane is a very intelligent GM that bases his decisions on process rather than results. If there was reason for him to think Kendall would rebound, he would have held on to him DESPITE these bad stats. But how can Kendall rebound with low patience and lower power? (Rob Bowen has him trumped in both departments.) Pitchers don't have to be careful of walking him or giving up HR to him! I don't see the patience coming back, seeing as how they beat it down your throat in Oakland and less emphasis is placed on it elsewhere. He hasn't had power for years.

What the Cubs are looking to happen is for Kendall to be rejuvenated by the change.

Even if he "rejuvenates" his batting average and hits .280 the rest of the year, he's still well below average without walks and power. That would just make him less godawful.

The Cubs didn't have to cough up much. Catcher Ryan Bowen had been designated for assignment earlier in the day and lefty Jerry Blevins was a 17th-round draft choice three years ago out of the University of Dayton who recently moved up to Double-A.

I guess Ryan Bowen wasn't doing better than Kyler Hill or Harry Blanco to support the guys around him in the lineup like Mike DeRosa and Bryan Theriot.

OK, I wore that joke out last time. But people who write for sports web sites should know players' names, right?

I like how he gives "Ryan (sic) Bowen had been designated for assignment earlier in the day" as a reason for "The Cubs didn't have to cough up much". Maybe I'm the biggest Rob Bowen fan on the planet, but the Cubs reacted WAY too quickly on this one. Bowen walks a lot, and had a rough 31 ABs. It's that simple. He was sporting a .280 EqA as Bard's backup in San Diego before getting traded. All of his recent statistics have suggested that he will be at the very least an average catcher, save those of his brief Cubs stint.

Even if Hendry really didn't get "screwed" in the deal, he didn't make a good one either.