Friday, August 31, 2007

I Mean, It IS the Title of the Site, Right?

My apologies for hitting the same guy twice in one day. But as soon as I finished the last post, I noticed he had published this garbage. I'm starting to agree with Jay/Chris W. on the "Fire Ozzie" issue, so his point is right, but Jay sinks ridiculously low in this one. I'll save time and just cut out the highlights.

I am genuinely concerned that Ozzie Guillen is about to say or do something that will shame him and his bosses forever. Hey, have I been wrong about him yet?

You are constantly wrong about him. I can think of maybe two things in the past you have said about Ozzie that were not wrong.

Not only is this man-child a poor loser, he's a scary loser, capable of who knows what as the $108 million White Sox stumble to one of the most underachieving and farcical seasons in baseball history.

Again, Williams paid the wrong players too much. Preseason predicted record: 72-90. I am starting to repeat myself as much as Jay.

[Please] note that the more he lights into his ballplayers, the further they go into the tank. After their 18th loss in 23 games Thursday evening, there is only one sensible conclusion about Guillen's leadership breakdowns amid a 94-122 nosedive since July 2 of last year.

Record of the Sox since July 2 of last year. There it is again. People, this is getting ridiculous. I bet most of you thought I was exaggerating last time when I said he mentions this in every single White Sox column.

He must be fired. Now, today, yesterday -- before the Sox lose every fan they cultivated two years ago.

You openly said last week that you weren't advocating firing him right now.

''Don't like me but win for me, and everything will be fine,'' he said. ''I'd rather they say that than, 'Oh, Ozzie is great, he's my friend, he love my kids and we're in last place.' [Expletive] that. When they see my wife, I hope they say, 'Look at that [expletive], that's Ozzie's wife, she's [married] to a piece of [expletive] like him.' Good, as long as in October we have the trophy. That's what I want.''

My God, is nothing sacred in his life? Yes, it's clubhouse boys' talk, but it's also another example of how clueless he is about handling adversity.

You are a fat, white, middle-aged man in a suit with a cushy job writing about sports. And you have the fucking nerve to tell someone belonging to an ethnic minority who is under the public eye and criticized constantly that he has no idea how to handle adversity. Mariotti, you have no fucking clue what adversity is.

Wednesday, he sounded hideous when he said, here in the 21st century, that his team is ''killing'' him, ''killing'' his family, ''killing'' his coaching staff, ''killing'' the fans, ''killing'' the owner and ''killing everyone.'' No one is dying here, chief. If the Sox have faded into their usual irrelevance, after a brief and aberrational run as champs, let's keep in mind that no lives have been spared.

Jay's Editor: Uhhh, Jay, you might want to change the last word of that paragraph.

Jay: Shut up Jeffrey. I don't need an editor.

Jay's Editor: But you see, you just wrote that no lives were spared, which means everyone is dead, the exact opposite of your point. I think you meant "no lives have been lo-"

Jay: Dammit Jeffrey, you've pissed me off more times since July 2nd of last year than I can even count. Get out of my face, you're fired.

Jay's Editor: Fine! You smell awful! I wonder if Mike Celizic needs an editor.....

But what really should bother us about his latest tirade is that Guillen, more strongly than ever, continues to harshly deflect blame onto his players. In truth, he is primarily responsible for the dismal, lifeless culture that has produced a 28-games-under-.500 reversal since the Sox ruled the baseball world.

You could put the best leader in history in charge of the White Sox, and they would still be awful. I don't know how else to explain it.

Just so you know, the perfect replacement could be available, too. Don't you think La Russa would whip them into shape? You may remember him as a young buck who managed the Sox to a division title in 1983. He was fired three years later by Hawk Harrelson, who somehow was dumber as a general manager than as a Reinsdorf-bobo broadcaster, and he went on to a Hall of Fame career in Oakland and St. Louis. This would be a nice way to rectify one mistake.

And eliminate another.

Right. OK. Sure. Tony La Russa could fix the White Sox. Totally uncrazy. Normal. Sane. Cool. That has about the same chance of happening as Michael Jackson fixing the national debt or Paris Hilton stopping the war in Iraq.

Won't Somebody PLEASE Fire Jay Mariotti Already

In this column, Jay proves himself wrong about something he's claimed billions of times, then claims it again.

The seventh inning Wednesday night brought one such agonizing moment. Not to tap into the dark past, the black cat and the billy goat and the Bartman, but would someone explain why a baseball -- which also starts with a 'b,' as in black magic -- suddenly rolled in from the bullpen to the third-base area just as Milwaukee's Ryan Braun was lining a shot down the line past a diving Aramis Ramirez? I'm not saying this at all affected Ramirez's concentration, because Brooks Robinson wouldn't have caught Braun's laser that went for a break-open two-run double. But to witness two baseballs passing in the night, on the same damning play, is just too creepy.

The seventh inning Wednesday night brought one such agonizing moment. Not to tap into the dark past, the black cat and the billy goat and the Bartman, but would someone explain why a baseball -- which also starts with a 'b,' as in black magic -- suddenly rolled in from the bullpen to the third-base area just as Milwaukee's Ryan Braun was lining a shot down the line past a diving Aramis Ramirez? I'm not saying this at all affected Ramirez's concentration, because Brooks Robinson wouldn't have caught Braun's laser that went for a break-open two-run double. But to witness two baseballs passing in the night, on the same damning play, is just too creepy.

If you know what I mean.

If you know what I mean.

I didn't make a mistake here. Jay actually printed that twice. OK. Let's parse that. Keep in mind, Jay is paid to write.

The seventh inning Wednesday night brought one such agonizing moment. Not to tap into the dark past, the black cat and the billy goat and the Bartman, but would someone explain why a baseball -- which also starts with a 'b,' as in black magic -- suddenly rolled in from the bullpen to the third-base area just as Milwaukee's Ryan Braun was lining a shot down the line past a diving Aramis Ramirez?

Sure. I'd be happy to. The Cubs have a shitty field where the bullpen is located down the line where a batter could smoke a foul ball and severely injure the catchers (who face away from the plate). A wild pitch was thrown in said bullpen, and it got on the field. Why the hell is this so complicated/worth paying attention to?

Oh yeah, and because "baseball" starts with a 'b' (linking it deeply with 'black magic'), this is yet another mark of a cursed team. Hold on a second while I explode here.


Ahem. It is my belief that Jay is not a good writer, because the things he writes are useless.

I'm not saying this at all affected Ramirez's concentration, because Brooks Robinson wouldn't have caught Braun's laser that went for a break-open two-run double. But to witness two baseballs passing in the night, on the same damning play, is just too creepy.

I'm putting the probability of Jay overreacting about this at about 71 percent.

But seriously guys, isn't it interesting that "baseball" and "Bartman" start with a 'b'?

Not that the Cubs weren't contributing to their own misery in a 6-1 loss to Ben Sheets and the Brewers. This wasn't exactly a textbook lesson on how to take charge of a flimsy division race -- not with Ryan Theriot dropping a relay on a sure double-play ball and opening the floodgates to a four-run seventh for the Brewers, not with the Cubs leaving runners on base all night in another display of impotence, not with Carlos Zambrano failing again and doing little more than snorting and stomping around for his new $91.5 million contract.

Right, a few of the Cubs players played poorly.

All of which serves as another reminder that Lou Piniella is the most important factor in whether the Cubs win a division title. Having turned chaos into contention this season, can he now work a bigger miracle the final five weeks? From the dugout, can he manufacture enough runs to rescue his feeble hitters from themselves?

Let me get this straight.

1) Carlos Zambrano, a player, pitched poorly in an inning
2) Ryan Theriot, a player, made a poor defensive play.
3) Conclusion: These things indicate that Lou Piniella, the manager, is the most important factor in whether the Cubs win a division title.

Not Zambrano pitching better.
Not Theriot being flawless with the glove.
Piniella giving people the bunt sign from the dugout will be the difference in the pennant race.
Piniella needs to "manufacture" runs because he has "feeble" hitters like Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, and Derrek Lee.

Jay, you literally gave PERFECT reasoning why Lou Piniella is much less a factor in the pennant race than the players by illustrating how poor performances from two PLAYERS costed the Cubs the game. I am beginning to go beyond believing you merely have the cognitive ability of an 8-year old bastard daughter of a Nigerian crack-whore. No. It's worse than that. You don't think at all.

And to sum it up.....we've heard Loupy Lounacy, Louphoria, Loubik's Cube, and several others. Jay tops them all here.

It wasn't long ago when he was IncogniLou, wearing dark glasses and a ballcap so he wouldn't be noticed on Michigan Avenue.



Thursday, August 30, 2007

This One's For You, Larry

THANK YOU, Jim Caple

bill simmons gets around to admitting the obvious

in yet another column about one of his favorite teams (seriously, just move back to boston already, maybe then you'll actually be able to write about something else once in a while) bill makes this stunning admission:

Again, I'd rather be a Sox fan in 2007 than 2003. I just wasn't prepared to root for the Yankees, and as sad as this sounds, we've kinda sorta maybe turned into the Yankees. Like them, we spend more money than everyone else. Like them, we make expensive roster mistakes (Drew, Lugo, Matt Clement, Edgar RenterĂ­a, et al.) without any repercussions. Like them, we're detested by opposing fans because we invade their stadiums and taunt their teams. And like them, we're sucking in all the soulless bandwagon kids who pick their favorite teams in first grade based on winning percentages and superstars.

i'm not going to lie- it feels good to hear him admit this. still, i will now light myself on fire after throwing up in my mouth a little and answering my own rhetorical question(s).

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Alert! There's Been Sightings of Bad Analogies, Bad Jokes, and WRONG!

Scott Miller

Pads' 'Operation' needs Milton Bradley's skills, not his games

Boo! Get off the Stage!

Hey, didn't you hear? Coco Crisp's name sounds like he should be a breakfast food! Yo Crisp! The Red Sox need your skills, not your cereal!

SAN DIEGO -- That Milton Bradley was quietly working a USA Today crossword puzzle at his locker before the start of this week's key NL West series with Arizona is perfect in that six years and five organizations into his major-league career, he remains unsolved and far from completely filled in.

God that's bad. But what if Bradley's a pretty smart dude and had that crossword filled in? I bet he did!

Unfulfilled talent? Troublemaker? Still maturing? Misunderstood?

All of the above?

The hardball Life and Times of Milton Bradley, usually located straddling Sorry! and Ants in the Pants, has moved two spaces, and now it's San Diego that is rolling the dice.

ZOMG! It's almost as if there's some sort of corporation that manufactured those things, and Bradley's name is somehow connected to it!

Even in their Tim Hudson-Jason Giambi-Miguel Tejada heyday, Oakland never advanced to the ALCS. With Bradley last year, they did.

Milton Bradley, 2006 ALDS: 1-13, 1 HR. That HR was a 2-run homer in an 8-3 win. Thank God for Milton fucking Bradley, without whom the A's might never have broken that stupid curse.

"One guy really can make a difference in the lineup," Padres shortstop Khalil Greene says. "Look at Philadelphia with Chase Utley. When he's in the lineup, it changes everything."

I really hope Khalil Greene doesn't think Milton Bradley has anywhere near the same influence as Chase Utley. Like, I really, really hope not. Even given Bradley's awesome last 100 ABs, that's crap.

Since they acquired him from Oakland on June 29, when he's been in the lineup, the switch-hitting Bradley has been to the San Diego lineup -- a lineup that ranks 15th in the NL in on-base percentage, 15th in batting average and 12th in runs scored -- what a hydraulic car lift is for an auto mechanic.

Wow. There you have it. Milton Bradley:Padres :: hydraulic car lift:auto mechanic

Weak. I mean not that it doesn't make sense or anything, it's just wordy and stupid. Tell ya what. In the comments section, leave behind an analogy in the following form.

Milton Bradley:Padres :: (thing):(profession)

Most creative analogy gets my personal thumbs up.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bad Baseball Analysis of a Bad Division

Phil Rogers' latest on the NL Central race from

Mr. Rogers decides to have a look at the three teams in contention in the NL Central - the Cubs, Brewers and Cards. Unfortunately for readers, his article is an amalgamation of random statistics, a few quotes, and some stabs at analysis. Let's take a few closer looks:


Claudio Vargas, the Brewers' most effective starter with a 10-4 record, got knocked out in the first inning at San Francisco on Friday and appears headed for the disabled list with back problems.

1. Four other Brewers starters have lower ERAs - and Vargas's 5.14 barely edges out the much-maligned Capuano's 5.40
2. Vargas has the worst WHIP of any Brewers starter - an abysmal 1.56.
3. The Amazing Claudio Vargas has a 10-4 record.

Clearly he is their most effective starter. Hey! Maybe this is why their team sucks: their most effective starter sucks!

Yovani Gallardo, a tough kid from the hardscrabble side of Fort Worth, Texas, has lost the mojo that made Yost believe he could bail out the disappointing veterans.

Lunchpail alert! Hardscrabble alert! Mojo alert!

I bet the kids on the hardscrabble side of Forth Worth play their Scrabble with rusty metal game boards and broken glass letter tiles. The kids on the softscrabble side of Forth Worth are given these on their tenth birthdays.


Entering the Brewers series, the Cubs are on pace to finish the season with 131 home runs, their lowest total since 1997, and have hit an NL-low 30 in 42 second-half games.

Good. Phil, if you're going to focus on the Cubs' lack of offense, be sure not to point out the most obvious measure of a team's offensive output (runs scored) and be sure to focus on one component of that output (home runs). Why not just see if the Cubs have fewer singles than the Brewers? I mean, they've only scored about 20 fewer runs than the Brewers. But hey, let's talk more about home runs! I love home runs!

Then Phil goes on to talk about some other crap. Like mentioning a lot of junk about the Cubs' lack of offense and Carlos' Zambrano's big mouth and big contract. A few standard Lou Pinella quotations, and you get my drift. Booooring, standard Cubs-articles-fare. Here's my problem with this article:

1. The article mentions nothing about Ted Lilly, who has better numbers than Zambrano and has outperformed his career WHIP and ERA by like a standard deviation... at 6 million per, his 3.85 ERA is a fucking STEAL. Talk about a signing paying off.
2. The article cites a three-team race in the title, but doesn't even mention the Cards. Not that the Cards are any good - their team ERA is shitty and their team runs scored is shitty - but anyone can see that they could catch a streak and outperform their Pythag for the next 33 games or whatever. They're just as likely as the other bad teams.
3. I am just so fucking tired of hearing about the Brewers and the Cubs. Nobody cares about the this-year-feel-good-Brewers or the pity-party-Cub-losers.

Just let one of them make the playoffs and lose already.

Monday, August 27, 2007

just what the world needs: more eli manning coverage

not that anyone cares, but due to a cross country move and subsequent job search i'm not going to have a ton of time to contribute here for the next couple of weeks. fortunately, i still have a mind like a steel trap for ridiculous quotes i hear. espn football "analyst" and former player eric allen, on manning's performance during the giants' saturday night preseason game against the jets:

"He proved he could be a proven football player on the football field."

excuse me??

Follow-up From Hey, Man!

First off, if you haven't read eriz's excellent post below this one, do that before reading this.

Second, here's Jon Heyman's follow-up, as he ridiculously defends himself against his readers in arguments re: Schilling = loco and re: regular season awrads in his latest mailbag. Questions in sharp, biting italics, Heyman's answers in stupid, arrogant bold.

Regarding your NL MVP candidates, how about those two guys in Florida? Yes, the Marlins are not in playoff contention, but it's hard to ignore Hanley Ramirez and Miguel Cabrera, especially considering they're first and second, respectively, in the NL in VORP, and rank in the top three in Runs Created. It looks like you went through all the playoff-contending teams, and chose a "good" player from each. Let me ask you: If Cabrera were on a playoff-contender this season, would there be any doubt who the MVP was?
-- Carolyn, Boca Raton, Fla

Actually, you're right. That's exactly what I did, and how I came up with Prince Fielder as my NL MVP leader. His "good'' year is actually more than good, and the Brewers are right in the thick of the playoff race. While I understand your sentiments, I am more interested in "wins created'' than runs created. And the day I consider VORP is the day I get out of the business. The idea of the MVP is to honor the player who has had the biggest positive impact on the pennant races. I have been a big champion for Ramirez, but I would not consider him a true candidate to win the MVP award.

Heyman says exactly one correct thing in this paragraph. Prince Fielder's year has definitely been more than just "good". Now for the bad.

I am more interested in "wins created'' than runs created.

Fine. Have it your way.

Prince Fielder WARP1: 5.2 (awful, awful defense)
Miguel Cabrera WARP1: 8.1
Hanley Ramirez WARP1: 6.6 (defense hurts him a good deal, too)

You're punishing Cabrera and Ramirez because their team is bad. Are you saying they wouldn't be as excellent if the Marlins were good?

And the day I consider VORP is the day I get out of the business.

The day you consider VORP, a stat specifically about "value", for the "most valuable player" award is the day you stop writing about baseball. Cool. Thanks for making sense.

Believe it or don't, I'm not of the belief that MVP awards should be awarded by pure sabermetrics. They are certainly not out of the question by any means, however.

The idea of the MVP is to honor the player who has had the biggest positive impact on the pennant races.

No. This is not something you can say like a fucking fact. The MVP goes to the "most valuable player". It's vague and broadly defined. There is nothing in the definition of "MVP" about pennant races. You can be of that opinion, and let it influence your decision, but that does not mean that it's how the award is defined. I'll listen to the "most valuable player to his team" argument as well, but none of these things are written in stone.

Still using wins to judge a pitcher? I thought we'd moved out of the Dark Ages. Beckett has received almost 7 runs per game of support whereas guys like Haren (5.44), Santana (5.24), and Bedard (4.60) have all received considerably less. Or are they supposed to will their teams to play better with their magical clutchness and playing of the game the right way like Beckett does? Also, VORP (one of those spooky, newfangled computer stats) has Kelvim Escobar first, followed by Santana, Bedard and Haren. Beckett is a distant seventh.
--Rob, Southington, Conn.

Very good question Rob.

There goes that VORP again. When the standings are determined by VORP, I think I will take it more seriously. But as you know, they still go by wins and losses. Like I said, I am an admirer of Bedard's. I had him second. Why don't you send your insults to Jim Leyland, who didn't even pick him for the All-Star team?

There goes that crazy, wonky VORP again. If you don't mind, I'm just gonna dismiss it as meaningless again while showing no indication that I have a clue what it means. Ah there, on to the rest of the question.

Standings are determined by TEAM wins and TEAM losses. Not by pitcher wins. I truly don't understand you, Heyman. Beckett getting 7-ish runs of support per game is the very definition of why W-L records are stupid. If Brian Bannister or Joe Kennedy got that kind of support, you'd have to put them in the discussion as well. This is possibly one of the most ill-informed, stubborn defenses I've ever seen. And Leyland probably didn't pick Bedard for the All-Star team beacuse his first 2.5 months were definitely worse than everything he's done since.

Sometimes I don't think Curt Schilling listens to himself. He comments that he wants to impress upon young pitchers and that Tampa could be just the place for him. What about mentoring Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Dice-K and Josh Beckett, who are all 28 or younger?

At this point, Jon Heyman's eyes light up, giddy with excitement. After 5 attacks, this is the first e-mail that LIKES his point of view.

Schilling thinks that everything that comes out of his mouth is a pearl when most of it is just garbage. His reasoning to want to pitch for Tampa Bay made no sense. You are absolutely right. Boston has just as many good young pitchers as Tampa Bay. And besides, I don't believe anyone in the history of baseball has chosen to sign a multi-million dollar contract for purposes of mentoring. If he wants to mentor, he should become a coach.

Reasons Schilling is a moron:

1) Wanting to live in an area you like and working with young talent "makes no sense"
2) No one in the history of baseball has ever done what he is doing before, making it unworthy and stupid.
3) Rather than becoming a coach he's choosing mentoring via "leading by example", which we all know is silly and pointless.

Maybe Schilling feels that he's wealthy enough so that he doesn't have to scrape for every extra dollar? Isn't that the kind of ballplayer who writers and fans say they want? If so, then why criticize Schilling for failing to be a money-grubber?
--James Silverglad, New York City

THANK you, James.

One reason he doesn't have an agent is that he doesn't think it's worth it. So I wouldn't say he isn't focused on money. What he doesn't realize is that he's cost himself money, because even an average agent could do more than 5 percent better than him. I admire players who are in it to win. And I do believe Schilling is a winner. So I have to give him that. And yet, I have to think he is full of baloney in his comments about wanting to be a Devil Ray. In any case, I don't think he should be discussing where he wants to play next when his team is in a pennant race.

Wow. This needs to be dissected.

One reason he doesn't have an agent is that he doesn't think it's worth it. So I wouldn't say he isn't focused on money.

What if "not worth it" means "not worth the hassle" or "not worth someone bargaining for me when I am fully capable of doing it myself" rather than "this costs too much!". What if you weren't such a closed-minded douche, Heyman? What-if?

What he doesn't realize is that he's cost himself money, because even an average agent could do more than 5 percent better than him.

I will bet thousands of dollars that you, Jon Heyman, have no evidence of this being true, and are just spewing words. You think it's safe to say this, because most people think Schilling is crazy. Quit making wild claims.

Check out eriz's post below (specifically, the very good comparison to John Smoltz) for perfectly sound reasoning for why this is not remotely close to true.

I admire players who are in it to win. And I do believe Schilling is a winner. So I have to give him that. And yet, I have to think he is full of baloney in his comments about wanting to be a Devil Ray.

If you truly had any admiration for Schilling, you wouldn't have wrote that load of crap about him being crazy. This is like saying, "while I admire, understand and respect the motivation for this guy's decision, it makes no sense and I fully condemn it."

Cox was a better GM than you are as a columnist. A far as on-field performance, name one other manager with his achievements since 1961. He took the Braves from worst to first and won with the Blue Jays in the '80s. And you have managed how many big league games? Cox may lack rings, but he defends his players better than anyone in the game.
-- Tally, Chester, S.C.

I concede that Cox is a very good manager. But he isn't better than Tony La Russa, Joe Torre, Lou Piniella, Tommy Lasorda or many others I could name, and his so-so in-game strategies are exposed come October.

Bobby Cox is a way, way, way....(way x 1000)...better manager than Tony La Russa. How could you have watched the All-Star Game this year (granted, it's the All-Star Game, but still) and still think that La Russa makes sense consistently? Pujols on the bench and Rowand at the bat with the game on the line? REALLY? And Lou Piniella is very similar to Cox with the tantrums and the so-so in-game strategies. You can't just say that one guy is worse than others without proof. You probably thought you could just list off a ton of big-name managers and expect no one to challenge you. Good try, jackass.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Heyman knows best...

I don't read John Heyman's "Daily Scoop" on that often, and I wish I had decided to skip it today. He squeezed out this turd of an article that basically says, "I don't like Curt Schilling because he talks too much"

After years and years of trying to figure out what makes that fascinating, hard-throwing blowhard Curt Schilling tick, I think I am finally on to something.

He's nuts.

OK, maybe he's not insane in any clinical way. But insane nonetheless. Insane in his own way. There can be no other good explanation as to why he would say aloud that he might like to join the Devil Rays next year as a free agent. The D-Rays. Think about that. No two-time World Series champ and borderline Hall of Famer with a massive ego and thirst for the spotlight willingly signs up to pitch his last season in Tropicana obscurity.

From the Sportswriter's bible, Book of "I Know What's best for you," chapter 12, verse 26-28: "If thouest are an aging great player, thou shall only play for the team with the best chance to winnith." Heyman may have had a point about Schilling being insane here if Schilling says he expects the D-Rays to win it all (or even get to the playoffs) in the next season or two. Luckily Heyman has a quote from Schilling to clear this up.

"It's one of those situations you'd certainly have to look at,'' Schilling said on his weekly radio spot on Boston radio station WEEI. "Knowing that I'm probably going to spend one more year playing, if circumstances happen and things happen and they made some moves that were positive, I'd love nothing more than to finish my career working on a pitching staff where I know that there are young guys that are going to be positively impacted by me being around [after] I was gone. I enjoy that. I love working and talking and being around young pitchers."

Oh, so Schilling would want to play for the D-Rays because he wants to be around young players in a developing franchise? Fuck him, he should be playing for the Yankees, because I'm John Heyman, God of Sportswriting.

Schilling, who is 7-5 with a 4.25 ERA, went on to speak fondly of having a home in the area at one time, as reported in the Boston Globe.

"I love Tampa, I love the area, I love everything about it," he said. "I loved living down there."

So Schilling wants to play in Tampa because

1) He likes Tampa
2) He wants to be around young players

Nowhere in your justification do you provide any evidence that Schilling wants a sweet new deal out of the Red Sox.

Putting aside the fact that Tampa Bay is trying to build for the future and has virtually no chance to win next year (it's never won more than 70 games), and would have no good reason to pursue an attention-starved 40-year-old pitcher, it makes no sense for Schilling to say such a thing from a business standpoint. As a negotiating ploy, it is nothing short of idiotic.

I'll bet Schilling could play for Tampa if he was willing to take a pay cut. Once again, nowhere here does he say anything about getting $13 million dollars out of the Rays, so right now you are just making shit up.

Of course there is one other possibility, and that is Schilling is simply the world's worst agent. Schilling, along with Gary Sheffield and Jamie Moyer, are a few of the very rare major leaguers who represent themselves. That's never a good idea, though Moyer manages to do it without making a spectacle of himself.

Let's look at this closer. If Schilling was such a terrible agent, as you say he is, how did he acquire a contract worth $13 million per year from the Red Sox? Let's look at someone who is very similar to Schilling: John Smoltz. They have an identical career ERA+ (126) as well as nearly identical numbers of Games Started, innings pitched and strikeouts. And to boot, Schilling is two years older. From 2004-2006, the three years guaranteed from the Sox, Schilling averaged $13 million per year, and Smoltz averaged $10.5 million. The going rate for an agent's take in the MLB is at least %5 (plus a waaaaay bigger percentage of endorsement deals), so that brings Smoltz down to under $10 million per year. Even if the Red Sox didn't have to option the fourth year of Schilling's deal, between 2004-07 Schilling would have made a cool $39 million only pitching three years. Smoltz, on the other hand, would have made under $40 million for pitching all 4 seasons. Such. A. terrible. agent. Worst Ever, in fact. What a crazy idiot.

Presumably, the reason players represent themselves is either because they are cheap, or because they think they know better. In Schilling's case, of course, it has to be because he thinks he knows better. Because he thinks he knows everything.

Presumably, idiot writers like John Heyman write stupid shit like this because they are clinically brain dead, or because they like to play armchair psychologist. In Heyman's case, he thinks he knows what's best for a player, knowing next to nothing about what the player actually wants.

After being ably represented for years by competent and accomplished agents Dennis Gilbert and Jeff Borris, Schilling decided to do it himself in recent years, and, ever since, all heck has broken loose. For his first deal with Boston, to get four years, Schilling put himself in position of having to win the World Series -- not a great bet since Boston hadn't won for 85 straight years. Yet, his pitching is a lot better than his agenting, and he helped them do just that, which guaranteed the 2007 season at $13 million, plus incentives. That brings us to today.

Yeah, all heck has broken loose. Let's say Schilling only signed a three year deal, no incentive extra year, worth a guaranteed $13 million per year. As a then 37 year old pitcher, that's a pretty darn good contract by itself. I'm not sure how the "World Series incentive" clause was written, but it sure seems like it worked out pretty well for all parties. Schilling got an extra year, 365 extra days, for $13 million; he likely couldn't have been able to pull that kind of dough for 4 years from any other team, even with an agent.

Just because you can throw a fastball and splitter at world-class proficiency -- not to mention become a World Series hero in two cities -- that doesn't make you an agent.

John, Just because you can bang your keyboard to spit out letters and hyphens and periods and shit -- that doesn't make you a good writer. It's also too bad Microsoft Word doesn't have a "This Sentence Reads like Shit" tool

Or even particularly sane.

So he's insane because he can negotiate a pretty true to market value contract without an agent? Or because he doesn't want to pitch for the team you want him to?

Regarding Schilling's negotiating skills, one general manager said yesterday, "He apparently didn't go to Agent's University.''

According to Internet blogger eriz, "John Heyman apparently didn't go to Write a Cohesive Argument University."

I could do this all day.

Not only has Schilling put the D-Rays into play, but worse, he's taken the Yankees out of the mix, saying they are the one team he would never, ever play for. And, of course, as everyone knows, the Yankees are the one team that could make the Red Sox sweat.


Instead of making Red Sox people sweat, Schilling made them laugh. These are the dog days of the pennant race, and even the executives of baseball's best team need a tension breaker at this time of the year. And this was theirs.

When Red Sox higher-ups finally stopped cackling at Schilling's latest D-Ray claim, I did get one of them to come to the phone. Red Sox GM Theo Epstein would only say that "out of respect to the player concerned,'' he wasn't going to talk about this. Epstein also said, "Our consideration now is to win the World Series.''

Yeah that quote is totally not the generic response journalists get from team management when they get asked about signing and trade rumors. Theo Epstein was totally like *wink wink* "Curt's a dumbass. Hahahahahahah." You could totally tell from that comment.

That makes sense. While Schilling dreams of the D-Rays, Red Sox people are thinking of October glory.

While Schilling makes a mess of this, Boston people play it perfectly. In reality, Schilling should be the one with bargaining strength here. If he were half as smart as he thinks he is, he should know he already has the advantage. Through the sheer luck of good timing, he is one of the better free-agent pitchers -- if not the best pitcher -- out there in the world's worst free-agent pitching class.

But instead of understanding that silence is golden, Schilling has done what he does incessantly, which is to talk. Schilling already has come down from a two-year request to one (at least he has on the airwaves).

Now we get around to the actual reason you wrote this article. You don't like listening to Schilling talk. Well, I don't like reading your work. So next time you sign on to a new sports publication, I'll write a post about your contract negotiations with CBS Sportsline using only hearsay and shit I make up. And then I'll finish the piece up by saying "plus he's a fucking atrocious writer."

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I*&^# the heck?!, Larry Dobrow!

A guy who reviews "ModernBride" magazine should not be writing articles telling people how to behave at baseball games.

Here's the best part:

Playing favorites: Avoid, with great prejudice, any shirt or related item that brands you as a newbie. For instance, right now my love for Joba Chamberlain and his Darting Slider Of Death is so intense that I'm beginning to question my heterosexuality. But heck to Betsy, the guy's thrown eight major league innings.

"heck to Betsy?! What?!. I googled the phrase with quotes around it, and discovered that the only articles to use that phrase are:

Larry Dobrow's review of ModernBride magazine
Larry Dobrow's review of Night Sky magazine
A couple of unsigned message board posts most likely made by Larry Dobrow.

If I were running a sports website, and I were going to get someone to write an article, I would make damn sure they knew shit about baseball, and also that they never wrote a review of Modern Bride magazine.

&*%$ the heck, SportsLine.

i might be missing something here

i'm not really a history buff, and i don't know much about our current president, but can anyone explain this to me?'s randy hill recently made a list of players who were most critical to their respective teams' playoff drives.

Eric Gagne, relief pitcher, Boston Red Sox: Since leaving the Rangers in a trade-deadline deal, Gagne has had the most scrutinized Texas-to-Boston transition since George W. Bush.

what? i'm hesitant to outright mock this, because it may very well be a reference to something that really happened. someone please let me know if i should change that stance and get rid of that hesitation.

It's that time of year again...

The air is starting to get cooler, days are getting shorter, school is starting up again, coeds are starting to aimlessly wander back home from frat houses at 1pm, and you all know what that means: no, I'm not talking about College Football starting up again. I'm talking about the greatest unintentional comedy every single Saturday. YES YES YES OH MY GOD YES! Lou Holtz is back on the TV. The man is a comic genius. It's like seeing your senile grandpa pulled out of the nursing home once a week, dressed up in a suit and put in front of a camera in order to babble the most incomprehensible, rambling nonsense possible. The last 2 seasons were goldmines of high hilarity from Holtz, be it his rant against text messaging recruiting, his inability to understand why Gary Barnett was in trouble at Colorado, or telling viewers that the reason Penn State went 11-1 in 2005 is because Joe Paterno coached old school, hard nose football.

This week he has started off the season fabulously.

1. Adamantly predicted Notre Dame to win at least 10, if not 11, games this season.
2. Repeatedly referred to Missouri coaches and players as he talked about his surprise team, Kansas
3. Picked Chad Henne as his preseason Heisman winner

Now let's play a game: if you had predict one media personality to become exactly like Holtz (pants shitting and all) in the next 30 years, who would you pick? My guess is College GameDay host Kirk Herbstreit, who had this gem this week:

"One thing you are well aware of.. the last 5 years: 11 or more wins for Pete Carrol (at USC). You know what that tells you? They are able to avoid Complacency. And that's the challenge this year. Let me make myself perfectly clear: Who's the team that will knock off USC this year: NOBODY. USC will be scared a handful of times, but the resiliency and the guts of this football team will be tested, and each time they will find a way to get it done. In my mind, I'm not saying they're not gonna have some close calls, just like they did two years ago with Matt Lienart and Reggie Bush. but they will find a way to win in some hostile environments."


And after they win the national championship, they will have the valour and honor to accept their victories with good sportsmanship, taught to them by their intrepid coach, Pete Carrol. And then they will drink and party with authority, tear through the coed population of USC with fervor, and pass Communications 101 with resiliency.

If only my CU Buffaloes had half the guts and killer instincts of USC, we wouldn't go 2-10 again.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Griffity Griffity Griff

Apartment life is great! My roommate and his girlfriend are excellent cooks, so I am eating very well these days. Much better than all the pizza and fast food that I used to get back when I lived in my mom's basement. That was back when I was a "blogger". Now I'm just some guy who writes on a website.

Anyway, onto the focus of today's "You Suckings", Richard Griffin. If you take the trouble to read his mailbag, he's a pretty informative guy. He might know more hard facts about his team than anyone I've seen (or at least usually he does his research). So why oh why does he show up here? Well, simply because often times he chooses to agree with readers in some messed up way rather than reporting the truth.

Here's the relevant part of the question:

Q: Richard,

I love your column and candor during the season. What do you think is the biggest thing missing from the Toronto offence?

a) Solid clutch hitter;

b) Speed;

c) Too many big bats with low averages, versus guys that can get on base (making long rallies tough to come by);

d) A combination of all of the above.

Greg Lawrie, United Kingdom

OK, Richard, it's a multiple choice question. There are 4 choices. Acceptable answers are a), b), c), and the one that shouldn't have even been written into the qusetion, d). Good luck!

As for your question that features four options.

a) Yes they need a solid clutch hitter. Two-out with runners in scoring position tells you a lot. You can't hand the situation off to the next batter. Jays hitting with two outs through Monday: Troy Glaus .180, Reed Johnson .143, John McDonald .211, Lyle Overbay .139, Alex Rios .216, Matt Stairs .174, Vernon Wells .180. Team .220.

Not really false, given those numbers, but, and there are a few qualifiers on this, there really is no such thing as a clutch hitter. Troy Glaus doesn't have any genetic dysfunction that prevents him from getting base hits with two outs (John McDonald does...he's bad at baseball). Fact of the matter is, that's just pure coincidence that the Jays are so far below their average with 2 outs. Also, note that these are not the averages with 2 outs, runners in scoring position, just the overall two-out averages, which tell you very, very little about how "clutch" the Jays have been.

b) Yes they need more speed. The Jays have 41 steals and have yielded 109. Rios has 12 steals to lead the team, but is no longer batting leadoff and has the brakes put on. Johnson has speed but is not a base stealer. Wells is a great instinctive base runner, but has eight steals. They need a better pure leadoff hitter and then can bat Johnson No. 2.

No. They don't need more speed in the form of steals. Stolen bases, because of the fact that stealing bases at a 75% clip is essentially break-even for run production, are very, very uncorrelated to the amount of runs a team scores. The league is stealing bases this year at a 73.75% rate, so teams trying to steal bases at all has probably decreased the amount of runs we've seen this season. I repeat. Stolen bases are the absolute most overrated commodity in an offensive player.

I really don't think I've beat this into people enough, so starting with the team that has stolen the most bases in the AL, the Angels, and ending with the Blue Jays (who have somehow stolen less than Billy Beane's A's), here are the rankings for total runs scored.

LAA: 4th
BAL: 9th
TB: 12th
MIN: 13th
NYY: 1st
DET: 2nd
TEX: 6th
BOS: 3rd
SEA: 5th
KC: 11th
CLE: 7th
CHW: 14th
OAK: 8th
TOR: 10th

Very little, if any, relationship. Here comes the part that really bothers me.

c) Yes, they have too many big bats with low on-base numbers.

Who? Who are these "big bats" with low on-base numbers? Other than Vernon Wells, who is at a poor .314 clip, here are some "big bat" OBPs.

Alex Rios: .366
Frank Thomas: .371
Troy Glaus: .345
Lyle Overbay: .343
Matt Stairs: .363

Griffin, this is your own team. I can't tell you how stupid and lazy that was. You want to know the REAL reason your team doesn't score? Reed Johnson is leading off for your team and OBPing .324. He doesn't have power, either. Royce Clayton and John McDonald platooning at short features two of the worst hitters in the game. Adam Lind has 235 ABs with a .274 OBP. The Jays can't afford to have such bad players being in the lineup without a single guy with a .300 EqA (Alex Rios: .294) to counterbalance them.

d) Yes, yes, yes, yes.

This was a multiple choice question, and you just answered "yes" to every choice.

manager has two first names, zero baseball sense

from the end of a boring article on the brewers, we see a gem about the d-backs

Oh, here's one other reason the D-Backs are dominating: Center fielder Chris Young leads all rookies with 26 homers (Milwaukee's Ryan Braun has 24), and he's adept at instant runs: His seven leadoff homers lead the majors.

I wonder if the correllation of teams that make the playoffs and teams that have the player with the most leadoff home runs is 100%. It probably is!

Arizona manager Bob Melvin on Young: "You look at his numbers and thnk he should be hitting in any other spot but the one spot. If he's a power guy, why don't I bat him lower? Well, I don't have anybody else I can put in the leadoff spot."

Oh, I don't know, Bob... maybe one of the six D-Back regulars with over 200 AB who have a higher OBP than Young's anemic .289? I figured even you could understand his .230 BA. But I guess he's your only leadoff guy, since he has 21 steals.

• Meanwhile, Arizona's usual cleanup hitter, Conor Jackson, has 42 RBI. Says Melvin: "Somehow, our lineup has been functionally dysfunctional."

Or maybe Conor Jackson should sack up and hit the ball out of the park more than nine times. Maybe, Bob, instead of spouting gibberish paradoxes to the media, you should change the lineup so that it is functionally functional, ostensibly by not batting Young leadoff?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

sportswriter agrees with baseball manager; both are wrong

sometimes looking on the bright side of things is the same as looking on the stupid side.'s scott miller wants to trot out some "conventional wisdom" in this piece about how it might be a good thing that brandon webb's scoreless innings streak got snapped. he ends up trotting out some "terrible analysis" instead.

A gassed Webb got to say so long after seven stressful innings against a rugged Milwaukee lineup. And what could become one of the most lethal weapons this October, Webb's right arm, got a jump on a few extra innings of rest before his next start, Tuesday in San Diego.

Just maybe, as the first-place Diamondbacks begin a 34-game sprint toward the finish line with Friday's game against the Chicago Cubs, Webb's checking in with the fifth-longest scoreless innings streak since 1940 -- instead of pushing it higher and longer -- is just about right.

you see what he's getting at, right? phew! what a relief! good thing webb had his streak broken, because he got more rest. and hey, d-backs manager bob melvin agrees.

"It's been incredible to the point of getting uncomfortable," Melvin said during a conversation in his office about an hour before Webb took the mound. "How many nine-inning games am I going to run him out there?"

ok, thank you bob, you've just accidentally touched on the first HUGE problem with your/scott miller's analysis. that is: webb doesn't have to pitch a complete game every time he goes out in order to break the record! i know that once he got to 42 innings, the math was very convenient- two more complete games would have him breaking hershiser's record by 1 inning. and when hershiser set his record, granted, he did it with 6 straight complete games (one was 10 innings, plus the last 4 innings of the start before the streak of shutouts, thus 59 total). but no one said it had to be broken that way. webb could have done so with three straight starts of 6 scoreless innings. or two of 5 innings and one of 8. see? those are "consecutive" "scoreless" "innings", just acquired differently. hell, webb even started this streak with two straight 7 inning outings, so it's not like he was going exclusively with CGs up to this point anyways. there's problem #1. problem #2 is almost worse.

"There is some discomfort with making a guy throw five consecutive complete games," Melvin said.

as we just discussed, HE DIDN'T HAVE TO THROW 5 CONSECUTIVE COMPLETE GAMES. besides that- really? when it comes to measuring stress placed on a pitcher's arm, are you sure there's not a hidden statistic that matters more than innings, bob? for example- if they were the same price, would you rather buy a used car that was made in 1998, or a used car that was made in 2004? but WAIT- what if i told you the car from 1998 had 25,000 miles on it, and the car from 2004 already had 75,000 miles? would that change your answer? pitch counts, bob, pitch counts. it doesn't matter how many innings a guy throws. it matters how many times he had to strain his tendons, ligaments, and muscles in order to do so. i'm going to go way out on a limb and postulate that a 85 pitch complete game is easier on a pitcher's arm than a 110 pitch outing that lasts 6 innings. but wait! bob's got that angle covered... or does he?

"In Atlanta (last Friday) in the extreme heat, he did it in 102 pitches."

i just went on, broke out my trusty slide rule, and spent 45 seconds figuring out how many pitches per start webb has averaged this year. the answer: 103.25. his pitch totals in the 3 consecutive shutouts prior to last night's outing? 102, 119, 102. so 2 of those 3 outings were actually below average for webb! granted, the 119 was a season high, but not by much. he's also gone for 118, 116 (twice), and 115 (twice). it's not like he was livan hernandez circa 1997 out there. don't be an idiot.

so use your imagination and rewind to last night. pretend prince fielder's 1 out RBI single in the first turns into a shallow fly out, and then webb strikes out ryan braun to end the inning. then pretend gabe gross's leadoff double in the 6th turns into a lineout to center, so he's not on base when craig counsell subsequently doubles. take the extra pitches webb had to throw to get out of those innings (in reality), which he now didn't have to throw because of the 2 extra outs in imaginary land, and scatter them around to other assorted 2 out fouls and such at various points during his 7 innings of work. well, looky there. ta-da! webb has now thrown the same number of pitches over the same number of innings, and his streak is still going strong. it's at 49. holy crap espn, get your people on the phone to arizona and buy up the rights to his next 2 starts! it's baseball history in the making! if you ran this thought experiment past miller and melvin, they would probably just stare blankly at you and blink a few times before walking away.

basically, although i did a terrible and disjointed job in attempting to do so, what i am saying is that these two guys are both very stupid. not smart, like me. all this time i spend down here in my parents' basement looking at wikipedia makes me way more intelligent than professional baseball writers and managers.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Guy Gets 10 RBI, Saves Team, Personifies Team, Rescues City From Hurricane, Doesn't Suck at Baseball Anymore

Michael Ventre has a few thoughts on Garret Anderson's 10 RBI evening last night. Since he's such a good writer and never shows up on blogs like this one, I'm sure we can expect things that are well-thought out with no wild claims and exaggerations, right?

Yeah....this is gonna be a disaster. I really hope I beat Fire Joe Morgan to this one.

Garret's eruption puts Angels back on radar
10 RBI night by Anderson reminds us all how good this team really is

Yes, Garret Anderson totally restored my belief that the Angels are a very good team. The fact that they have a very good starting rotation and bullpen, coupled with the fact that they have one of the best hitters in the game in Vlad didn't quite do it for me. I needed a 10 RBI night in an 18-9 blowout by a poor corner outfielder to REMIND me that this team is any good.

Garret Anderson probably will never have a model of shoe named after him. He’ll never spill his guts on “Oprah,” or be photographed coming out of a club with Paris Hilton, or do a talk-show tour demanding a trade.

I get it, he's not one of the most famous players in the world, but this is dumb. I'm guessing the point of this paragraph is to say that Anderson isn't very well-known, but here's the thing, lots of people know about Garret Anderson. They remember him for the 2002 World Series, as well as for being the 2003 Home Run Derby Champ / All-Star game MVP. There was a time that he was a good baseball player, and was relatively famous.

In fact, the only time the Angels’ outfielder is ever featured on “SportsCenter” is if he does something extraordinary.

In fact, this is true for pretty much all players who aren't any good!

There is no doubt today that the acutely low-key Anderson is a “Who’s Now” candidate after belting out 10 RBI Tuesday night.

I acknowledge that "Who's Now" was a very dumb ESPN publicity stunt, but seriously.....

WTF?? Tiger Woods (arguably the best golfer ever), LaDanian Tomlinson (sets NFL record for TD's in a season), Ronaldinho (best soccer player in the world), Garret Anderson (drove in 10 runs in that one regular-season blowout against the Yankees).

"There is no doubt today" that Garret Anderson belongs in the same breath as those people.

It is appropriate that Anderson seized the spotlight in an 18-9 Angels’ decision over the Yanks. It is almost as if the other Angels drew straws to determine which of them would remind the baseball world that they still exist and they’re still viable as championship timber.

So, when deciding who should "remind the baseball world" that the FIRST PLACE ANAHEIM ANGELS WHO ARE IN FIRST PLACE IN A MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL DIVISION FOR BEING ONE OF THE BEST BASEBALL TEAMS IN THE ENTIRE BASEBALL LEAGUE exist, the Angels "drew straws" (a supposedly random method) and Anderson won "appropriately". I don't follow.

This is a Yankees-Red Sox world, after all. Oh, occasionally Cleveland and Detroit will cause a dust-up in their lust for the AL Central crown, or Johan Santana will hurl a gem and in the process underline the Twins’ inadequacies, or the Mariners will scream for attention.

This is only a "Yankees-Red Sox world" for idiots who choose to immerse themselves in those two teams so far that they are oblivious to whatever else is going on in baseball.

Yet the Angels have often seemed so far under the radar that they can’t even be detected with sonar. They just happen to be 6-2 against the diva Yanks so far this season, and are 11-4 in their last 15 against them in Anaheim, including the 2005 playoffs.

ESPN must have been using some sort of ULTRA-sonar to constantly talk about the Angels at the trade deadline about adding another slugger to their lineup or about where A-Rod is going next year.

On Tuesday night, Anderson took a curtain call as a crowd of 45,257 lavished their appreciation. When asked if he expected more such reactions, Anderson said, “It took me 13 years to get that one. I don’t see myself playing for 26 years.”

If he did, he probably wouldn’t be any more of a household name –even in Orange County households – than he is today. And the Angels will likely still be the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, pining for bragging rights over the Dodgers in Southern California, a modest franchise with big dreams.

Please, STOP acting like no one knows who Garret Anderson is! 2002 World Series. 2003 Home Run Derby Champ, 2003 All-Star Game MVP. Granted, he's not one of the most famous baseball players, but he isn't fucking Yuniesky Betancourt either! Ventre, you suck.

This isn’t anything new. Movie cowboy Gene Autry, who owned the team over four decades, shelled out lots of dough to buy guys like Reggie Jackson, Fred Lynn and others in the early 1980s. That team generated a lot of attention, but it didn’t bring Autry a World Series championship.

What does this have to do with anything?

That achievement occurred in 2002, an unlikely crusade that culminated in a series victory over Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants. Back then, they were still known as the Anaheim Angels. The following year, they were sold to a Latino businessman named Arte Moreno, who made his millions in billboards.

But no matter how much advertising they have done, the Angels can’t seem to bust out of that small-market pigeonhole, even after replacing “Anaheim” with “Los Angeles” and putting together perhaps the best starting rotation in the majors.

First off, after reading this, I seriously don't think that Ventre knows that the full name of the team is the "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim".

Second, the Angels are 11th in team ERA, and they have a non-awful bullpen, so I'm going to go ahead and say they don't have the best starting rotation in the majors (if anyone can find a site where starting pitching is ranked, I'd actually really like to know, because I can't find one. Leave a comment). The Angels starters, except for that #5 Santana/Colon slot have been very good, however.

Third, and probably most absurdly of all, WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU MEAN "small-market pigeonhole"!?!?!??!?! Los Angeles is one of the biggest cities in the United States. The Angels have the 4th highest payroll in Major League Baseball. There is absolutely nothing small-market about the Angels. You, Ventre, are the definition of ignorant.

Garret Anderson is the personification of the Angels, at least for today.

The FUCK does that even mean? The "personification" of the Angels? He's a corner outfielder with a .242 EqA. The Angels have kept him around despite consistently low walk totals and shrinking power numbers. He has a .298 OBP. Garret Anderson is the personification of everything the Angels have done wrong in recent history. His 4-year $48M contract is the definition of "mistake". And you're saying that a bad player who had one hot game "personifies" a very good team? You clearly are one of those people who has his head stuck so far up the metaphorical ass of the Yankees and Red Sox to even GLANCE at what other teams are doing. I bet you wouldn't have even written this article if the 10 RBI didn't come against the Yankees.

That only occurred because he happened to become one of only 12 players in major league history to post double-digit RBI in a single game. Ordinarily, he can’t even hope to compete in the “player with the most talent who is most often overlooked” category with Vladimir Guerrero, the Angels’ lone superstar, currently batting .322 with 19 homers and 100 RBI.

Because he doesn't have very much talent. He's bad. He has a .298 OBP.

Anderson, Guerrero, Mike Scioscia, the team’s gently intense manager, and the rest are all a reflection of the stone man named Bill Stoneman.

And the award for greatest play on words in history goes to......

He’s the team’s general manager who is probably more notable for doing nothing at trade deadlines than any of his peers. In fact, his ability to do nothing has to be ranked up there with the greats.

Yet he must be doing something, because the Angels have held on to the AL West lead now deep into August, albeit by a shrinking margin. Stoneman and Moreno have embarked on a Gandhi-like path of passive resistance. They’ll compete, they just won’t go out and spend money on free agents to do so. That’s partly why some idle chatter about A-Rod eventually landing in Anaheim is the funniest stuff to come out of the region since Bob Hope was in his heyday as a standup.

WHLEF;asdf'asdfl;asdkflkals'dfasdklf'ja;sdfkj'asdflsda. The Angels pay their players a lot of money. All the talk about A-Rod going there, whether or not it will happen, is to be taken very seriously. Contrary to what you just said, the Angels splurge big on free agents quite a bit(e.g. Vlad Guerrero, Gary Matthews Jr.), it's just that they just are quiet at the trade deadline usually. Honestly, how can you be this stupid and uninformed and still publish your trash at a place like (then again, it IS, and they hired HatGuy).

Yet the larger implications have to do with another push toward another World Series title. Before Tuesday, the Angels had been the small independent film that everybody respected that would surely be forgotten when Oscar voters cast their ballots. Now they’re more like a studio picture with a little more national backing.

They don’t have what they want yet, but they’re getting there.

The Angels have been transformed...nay....TRANSCENDED by the performance of Garret Anderson into a team that must be considered by all as "legitimate" (they were not at all legitimate before last night). Thanks to him, they won a game by 9 runs when he drove in 10, and if you plug someone else in his place in the batting order, there's no way that they Angels would have won this game. They're nothing to be fucked with, because they have a bad player who got hot for a game. Be warned AL contenders, you may one day meet the wrath of Garret Anderson's powerful bat, as it put the Angels on the map. Thanks to him, they now mean BUSINESS.

what is the record for most atrocious jokes in a single column?

whatever it was before august 21, 2007,'s gene wojciechowski just shattered it in this "column" about fantasy football. i can't put into words how terrible it is. i almost didn't post it here, for fear of exposing it to any more readers than absolutely necessary. it's bad enough that a bunch of poor saps cruising through are going to read this abomination. i'll just post some highlights, and if you really want to not laugh (except if you're like chris w and like laughing at unfunny stuff), you can click on the link and check out the rest yourself. honestly... how is this guy a senior columnist at the country's most popular sports website? i was just thinking about what concessions i would make in order to get this guy fired. it's a tough call, but i think i would trade not complaining about bill simmons for one entire year in order to do so. he's that bad.

Losing your fantasy league is as easy as this

You know you're not going to win your NFL fantasy league when ...

-You select Cooper Manning with the No. 1 overall pick.

that's his first joke. that's how he chooses to get the ball rolling. this is equivalent to a stand up comedian coming on stage at a club and immediately being electrocuted by the microphone.

-In the second round you take Josh Scobee because, "The dude doesn't miss extra points, man.''

joke #2. drafting a kicker early! LOL! what kind of fool would do that?!??!

-Your roster is filled with players from the now-defunct NFL Liechtenstein.

i'm picturing gene studying a map of europe for hours before writing this, tearing himself up over which country would work best in the joke. little did he know, the answer was: none of them.

-You let your pet monkey consult on draft strategy.

monkeys = comedy, as we all know.

-You draft players based solely on Wonderlic scores.

great reference- you know that test they give guys entering the real NFL draft? REMEMBER THAT THING ANALYSTS ALWAYS TALK ABOUT? HAAHA

-You draft Vinny Testaverde for your keeper league.

because he is old ROFLCOPTERS

-You have to take an urgent phone call during the draft, so you ask your wife to make the next pick for you based on your cheat sheet. Instead, she chooses New York Giants free safety Will Demps because, she says, "he's a hottie."

-You agree.

if you are gay or bisexual (and with a wife no less... i smell a sitcom!) you will fail at fantasy football. good one, gene.

-You keep picking Dolphins players because a little voice tells you Nick Saban is going to turn it around in Miami this season.


-You've never heard of Terrell Owens.
-You've never quite figured out the scoring system.
-You didn't know there was an AFC and an NFC.

these aren't even jokes. they're just true statements. if these things describe you, you probably aren't going to succeed at fantasy football.

-As a general rule of thumb, you like to take at least four players from your alma mater, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

kind of a low blow towards people that didn't go to a traditional university, don't you think? stupid merchant marines! take THAT.

-Last year you took Albert Pujols with the first pick.


-Your pet monkey jumps to a different ownership group.

oh. my. god.

i hate to be a hypocrite about hating simmons by making a pop culture reference, but i just looked over these jokes and came to a conclusion: i think gene wojciechowski is basically like a real life version of michael scott from "the office." only less heartwarming.

Monday, August 20, 2007

apparently they're changing the definition of "productive"

the scene: monday night baseball. yankees vs. angels. angels catcher jeff mathis is on 2nd with 1 out. hustles mclunchpail, aka reggie willits, strikes out swinging. your thoughts, rick sutcliffe?

"You know, to me, that's a productive out."

rick was referring to the fact that willits started his at bat down 0-2, then worked it back to a full count and fouled off a few more pitches before whiffing. still.... NO. i wonder if mathis thought the out was productive as he continued to stand on second while willits walked back to the dugout.

the tuesday morning quarterback sympathizes with mike vick for some reason

(disclaimer: let me just make two things clear before i begin. one, i like mike vick, at least as as player. i've always wanted him to break through and silence the critics that say he's a terrible QB. two, i am not a dog person. can't stand 75% of the dogs i've ever met. more importantly i can't stand 99% of the dog owners i've ever met. i'm actually a huge cat fan. so i just wanted to clarify that i'm writing this critique of a pro-vick article, not because i hate vick or am a dog lover, but because it is horrendously written. let's begin.)

i've had a love/hate relationship with gregg easterbrook, aka the tuesday morning quarterback, ever since i started reading him regularly about 2 years ago. on the bright side: he's incredibly smart, reasonably funny, likes to mix in some interesting side topics along with his football analysis, and often calls out teams and coaches who overuse conventional wisdom in situations that would be better handled with outside the box thinking. on the dark side: he often comes off as heavily condescending, overuses unfunny and unclever nicknames he himself made up, and worst of all, absolutely abuses stats to prove his misguided points a lot of the time. a classic example would look something like this:

The turning point in [game X] came with [time] left in the 4th quarter. [Team Y] was trailing by 7 and had a 4th and 3 from [somewhere deep in their own territory]. Shockingly, they chose to punt, and no sooner had they done so that the TMQ closed the book on this game. The average NFL play gains 3.7 yards! [Team Y] probably isn't going to make the playoffs anyways; why not give your fans something to cheer for, and better yet, make the statistically correct decision by going for it there? The logic some coaches in this league use is completely wrong so often it's no wonder turnover is so high.

i mean, that was a made up example. but anyone who reads him regularly would have to agree with me; he constantly uses broadly accrued statistics to analyze very specific situations. that is dumb. a comparitive example would be to try to claim that "the average ameican has a median income of $x,000. therefore, the average resident of oldmoneysville, connectticut, as well as the average resident of shantytown, alabama, probably makes about that much money as well." stuff like this makes no sense and is the cause of a good part of the hate in my aforementioned love/hate relationship with him.

now, basically all of that irrelevant here. i just wanted to vent about easterbrook in general for a minute. let's move on to the article at hand, which is much different than the material he usually covers. today he wants to tell his readers he feels bad for mike vick. yes, that's right, feels bad for. why? i'll let him tell you (excerpted), and then i'll explain why he's being an idiot.

Vick: Villain or scoundrel ... or sympathetic figure?

I have an inclination to sympathize with Michael Vick, and not just because People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is denouncing him. They are popping champagne corks over at PETA, as Vick is the best thing to happen to the organization's profile and fundraising in years.

oh yeah, i should have added this to my clarifications at the beginning of the post: i hate PETA with a passion. what a bunch of dimwitted, out of touch morons.

Remember, the charges against Vick are accusations. The Duke lacrosse mess reminded us that accusations are not the same as guilt and that prosecutors might be unscrupulous.

the reason these two are not even close to similar: in one, the accused proclaimed their innocence throughout. in the other, even though easterbrook wrote this before vick agreed to cut his deal today, every other member of the accused party copped a plea within a month of the charges being filed. you don't usually see that type of behavior unless people are, you know, guilty. the prosecutor thing, well, we don't know much about that yet. but during the duke case, i remember the credibility of that nifong idiot being questioned almost instantly. i haven't heard jack crap about whoever the DA is in this case other than maybe they're putting extra effort into this because vick is a pro athlete. duuuuhhhhhh. any DA anywhere would do the same. doesn't make them wrong like nifong was.

moving onto easterbrook's reasons for sympathy- i will rank them all on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 meaning most legitimate.

One is that Vick became an athletic celebrity at age 16. Since then, has anyone ever said the word "no" to him? Did he ever hear "no" from his coaches, his teachers, Virginia Tech, the Atlanta Falcons, Reebok, Nike, Rawlings, the National Football League, ESPN or any of the sports-media companies, all of which were only too happy to indulge Vick so long as it benefited them? Vick might have believed he had become a Big Man -- someone no one could touch, someone above the rules. People who believe they are above the rules need to learn what integrity means. But only the gifted or philosophical can teach themselves character: The overwhelming majority of men and women need help from others to learn the lessons of character. Many such lessons begin with the word "no." Who in last 10 years has said "no" to Michael Vick? Of his friends, coaches, owners, university presidents or entourage, has anyone taken him aside and said, "Michael, it doesn't matter if you are on national television, it doesn't matter if you are rich, right is right and wrong is wrong." My guess is that no one close to Vick has told him this.

i give this a 2 on my scale. it basically amounts to "celebrities will be celebrities!" barely a reason for sympathy. how much slack are we supposed to cut people that are given everything and idolized? sure, it's a sick system, but it's not an excuse for illegal behavior. the ideal systemic change that would bring about an end to society's outrageous celebrity worshipping culture isn't coming anytime soon- therefore, it's up to athletes to keep themselves out of trouble. if they can't do it themselves, they should at least try to pay someone to tell them when they're doing something stupid.

In the end, Vick is responsible for his actions.

well there you go. why didn't you just say so?

Next, I feel some sympathy for Vick because of the "send a message" aspect of the case. There's no doubt that many celebrity athletes are getting away with too much. Celebrity athletes as a group have become arrogant, spoiled and even antisocial. This should be a major concern for the NFL, NBA, MLB and ESPN. But even if other celebrity athletes have gotten away with too much in other instances, Vick's case must be treated on its own merits. Some commentators argue that Vick must be dealt with severely to "send a message" about athlete's behavior. No: Vick must be dealt with fairly, to send a message about justice.

this is a 3, at most. has it occurred to gregg that maybe the case is being pursued harshly by the prosecutors in order to send a strong message about dogfighting? even if that isn't the case, and vick really has been targeted because he's an athlete, i doubt the prosecutor had the relatively underprosecuted transgressions of previous athletes (like ray lewis, as easterbrook points out) in mind. they're probably more concerned about something much more valuable to them and their job(s), such as public opinion. there's a fine line between the public not wanting an athlete to get away with crime and the public wanting them prosecuted excessively harshly. has this case crossed that line? i doubt it. it's subjective, but i don't see any bloodthirsty tactics being utilized. i don't hear vick or his attorneys complaining about the process.

Next, I feel sympathy for Vick because there is racial animus in the current turn of events. If Vick really is guilty of cruelty to animals and associating with lowlife gamblers, these things leave him open to a kind of condemnation that has nothing to do with race. But don't you just sense there are loads of people who are happy to have the chance to condemn the first African-American quarterback who was drafted first overall -- via an accusation that has nothing to do with race?

i'll put this at a 5. the racial undertones to the case do generate some sympathy for vick on my part. however, unlike in the duke case, i doubt there are any racial motivations on the part of the prosecutors themselves. the people that have always hated vick because he is black still hate him. people that didn't hate him before might now, but not because he is black. i mean, it's unfortunate that race is even a part of this whole situation, but i don't think it's a driving or motivating force. (on a side note,'s "e-ticket" feature ran an unbelievably good piece about this a little while ago.)

That there might be racial animus against Vick is not an excuse; he is responsible for his actions regardless of what others do or think.

again. thanks for making my point for me.

But suppose everything about the Michael Vick controversy was exactly the same except Vick was a white quarterback from an upper-middle-class family in Winnetka, Ill., Newport Beach, Calif., or Coral Gables, Fla. Can you say with a straight face that the public reaction and government action would the same?

on the part of the government, i absolutely without a trace of doubt can. zero doubt. on the part of the public? well, again, depends on which part of the public we're talking about. racists? no. crazy animal lovers? yes. anyone who doesn't fall into those two categories? yeah, probably. i say that with a straight face.

Next, I feel sympathy for Vick because he tripped into a "summer scandal." Starting around mid-July, legislatures recess, business executives and heads of state go on holiday, Hollywood airheads fly their private jets to Sag Harbor, N.Y., to relax in 10,000-square-foot mansions while complaining about greenhouse gas emissions: The news world slows down.

this scores out at a 1. maybe. next.

Next, I feel sympathy for Vick because he made his own problem worse.

read that again. you don't need to see the whole of the paragraph i excerpted that from. it doesn't help explain why this makes vick any more sympathetic. i'm going with a 0.

Next, I feel sympathy for Vick because he apparently is getting questionable legal advice.

wow... just... wow. you know who i feel bad for because they get questionable legal advice? every person charged with a crime who's ever had to utilize an overworked, inexperienced, mostly clueless public defender. easterbrook goes on to transcribe vick's official statement he read after pleading not guilty (initially) and picking it apart, showing why it's not a stereotypically good "i'm innocent" statement. guess what? none of that matters when it comes to how much sympathy vick deserves. if he hired the wrong top notch legal team, that's his problem. this is like saying a hollywood starlet who buys an ugly $4,000 dress for the oscars deserves sympathy. puh-lease.

Next, I feel sympathy for Vick because he apparently received poor advice long before lawyers stepped onto the stage. When the dogfighting and gambling charges first surfaced, Vick should have gone before the cameras, made a tearful apology, begged for forgiveness and offered the believable explanation you'll see in the next paragraph. Teary before the cameras, Vick would have offered his time and money to a campaign against the abuse of animals. Had he done this in April, the scandal would have gone away, and Vick would be admired for honesty. I feel sympathy for Vick because it's obvious no one gave him this kind of sensible public-relations advice.

this is a 1, maybe a 1 and a half. where to begin? that we're supposed to feel bad for vick because he didn't hire good PR people despite his millions of dollars? that we're supposed to believe there was anything vick could have said to diffuse the situation once he was indicted? as a cherry on the top of this mostly nonsensical article, read the "plausible explanation" easterbrook offers (in case you needed further proof that he's kind of out of touch with reality).

What believable explanation could Michael Vick have offered when the news broke? Not, of course, that cruelty to animals, or associating with gamblers, is OK. Rather, Vick could have said, "It's wrong what I did to those dogs, but we live in a world where governments, business and sports organizations don't hesitate for one second to do the same to human beings -- to exploit them, then throw them away. We need to change the way we treat animals, but most of all, we need to change the way we treat people."

gregg, send me a postcard from fantasyland. i'm sure things are nice there. meanwhile i'm stuck here in reality, where if a guy did what vick did and got exposed for it like vick did, he's screwed. no generic societal rambling will get him out of trouble. even if the charges were dropped, he'd still be surrounded by a cloud of negative press for years and years and years. a statement like this might improve public perception about him, for the tiny segment of society willing to synthesize this kind of complex message. on the other hand, the racists and the PETA members.... would probably be unmoved.

look, after rambling all over the place for a couple of hours during the writing of this article, i guess it pretty much comes down to a simple distinction. easterbrook says he feels "sympathetic" for vick because there's are a number of circumstances that, in his opinion, are exacerbating the situation for vick and making things worse than they should be. basically, it's like saying you feel sorry for someone who not wrecks their car while driving drunk but has the bad luck to get charged with a DUI as well! for starters even if we accept this definition/concept of sympathy, as i've spent this whole post explaining, i really don't feel like any of easterbrook's points illicit such sympathy. but more importantly, i want to argue with gregg's definition of "sympathy." i think an accused felon only really deserves it if we have strong reason to believe they are innocent. the fact that vick probably ran an illegal dogfighting ring (even though he hadn't made his plea at the time this article was written) trumps any other aspect of the situation. it's like the imaginary drunk driver incident i brought up earlier- the fact that the imaginary person drove drunk outweighs any other unfortunate situations they might have gotten themselves into. easterbrook might disagree with me, i guess. well... whatever. i'm spent.