Nets/Bulls, first quarter, Tom Dore.
These New Jersey Nets get their hands on a lot of balls.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Nets/Bulls, first quarter, Tom Dore.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
If you've read this blog at all, the decision Mike Lupica made in titling his article (or perhaps that his editor made) should give you some idea what's got CW so riled up:
"Bid farewell to A-Rod, the gold-plated phony."
Are you fucking serious?
Ok. Deep breath:
Alex Rodriguez and his agent, Scott Boras, have become the kind of phonies that aspiring phonies now study in sports, somewhat the way scientists study lab rats.
A fairly...well...innocuous first paragraph, in that nothing here hasn't been said a million times. There's no egregious oversteps of logic, and, well, frankly, Boras is a piece of shit. But just curious: who's writing this article, Holden Caulfield? "Phonies"? Already, this is obviously a column chockfull of childish name-calling. I can't help but think of Mike Lupica as that dude on the Family Guy who keeps calling Peter a "great big phony."
Here was Boras the other night, getting his client A-Rod into the World Series the only way he can, having him opt out of his Yankees contract on the night the Boston Red Sox were about to sweep the Colorado Rockies.
This has been beaten to death of course, not the least of which in this blog...obviously, Boras understood the timing of his announcment, but it's not anyone's fault but the media that it "upstaged" the world series...anyway Lupica uses this piddling idea to set up what he obviously thinks is a grand wag of the Wildean tradition:
In so doing, Boras unwittingly gave us a fitting epitaph to A-Rod's Yankee career:
He upstaged more World Series games than he actually played in.
Ba-Fucking Zing. Consider A-Rod posterized! That damned fool couldn't even take a marginally talented team and, with the help of his 13 extra Wins Against Replacement, take them singlehandedly (embarrassingly pathetic starting pitching and all) to a world championship. For shame! What a phony! This guy's a great big phony!
Remember when Babe fucking Ruth singlehandedly won a bunch of World Serieses? He had mediocre starting pitching right? And it's not like he had a hall-of-famer hitting behind him. How many hall-of-famers were hitting behind A-Rod this year, when he still managed to put up monster numbers? How many hall-of-fame pitchers did he have in a rotation he managed to single-handedly carry to the playoffs?
The answer to the first question is zero (unless you count Posada...which you don't) and the answer to the second question is also zero.
Nevertheless, Lupica is right, in the most literal sense--A-Rod did not win a WS in NY. This is misleading criticism, but at least accurate criticism. He really gets off the rails as this column goes on:
First of all:
It was the late George Young, general manager of the football Giants, who once said to me, "When they say it's not about the money, it's always about the money."
It is always about the money with A-Rod. He just won't ever say that, even if you threaten him with one of his own baseball bats.
What the fuck?
Second of all:
No seriously what the fuck?
What does this have to do with anything? Of course A-Rod's concerned with money. He signed the richest contract in baseball history. But how is A-Rod's pursuit of free agency riches different from anyone not named Jermaine Dye (who turned down higher paying gigs than the White Sox in 2004's offseason since he had given Kenny Williams his word. Class act, Jermaine Dye, but beside the point)? And how can we overlook the fact that A-Rod requested permission from the Player's Association to restructure his deal when the A-Rod to Boston trade was pending in order to help Boston and Texas meet salary needs? Though the request was denied, the fact remains that A-Rod was willing to take less money to go play for a winner. Therefore this asinine claim that "it's always all about the money with A-Rod" is unequivocally false. Seriously. It is completely a lie by a piece of shit sports journalist.
Oh wait! There's more bullshit from Lupica
So he tries to make it about his teammates, some of whose names he actually knows. So here was Boras, who never seems to run out of saliva - or angles - talking about Mo Rivera and Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte instead of the $300 million he thinks he can get for A-Rod someplace else.
"Alex's decision was one based on not knowing what his closer, his catcher and one of his statured starting pitchers was going to do," Boras said in one interview he gave Sunday night while Game 4 of the Series was still going on.
Sure this might be a little bullshit on A-Rod and Boras's part, but it's clear that A-Rod is interested in winning championships. The Yankees are going to be absolutely for shit next year and the fact of the matter is the increase in pay A-Rod's looking at over what the Yankees offered is going to be piddling when compared to the money he's already amassed through salary and endorsements.
Are we really supposed to be fed the line that A-Rod values an extra 30 million out of over 600 million he stands to earn in his career over everything else--atmosphere, teammates (i.e. not that piece of shit Jeter who refused to help his team by letting a far superior ss play his natural position? the same piece of shit Jeter who threw his struggling teammate under the bus in 2006? the same piece of shit Jeter who shits gold and lets A-Rod eat shit at every opportunity?), and winning?
I don't buy it. Frankly, this whole situation reminds me of the excellent movie 61* (go see it, stat) and the dynamic between Maris and the Yankees fans, media, and team. If Maris played in the free agent era, don't you suppose he'd have loved to get the fuck out of that piece of shit journalism haven and den of classless baseball fans and go play for an equally contending team in some less dystopian environ?
I do. And I think that's exactly what A-Rod's doing. Why on earth would he play in NY
1.) They're going to be no good next year without A-Rod. With him, they're going to be a Wild Card team at best.
2.) They have no pitching
3.) Jeter's a piece of shit who A-Rod doesn't get along with
4.) The Media is completely unethical, uninformed, and out to get A-Rod for his every misstep
5.) The fans have booed him frequently
6.) Even after singlehandedly taking the Yankees to the playoffs this year, he got very little appreciation for it from the media, who preferred to focus on two hitless playoff games.
The rest of the article is in the same vein, and therefore isn't really worth discussing...blah blah blah A-Rod's selfish, blah blah blah Boras wants money. But here's a few choice quotes:
So he tries to make it about his teammates, some of whose names he actually knows.
I have even heard some broadcasters suggest that Joe Torre leaving the Yankees might also have been a reason why A-Rod wanted to leave. Every time I did, I had the same reaction: That anybody thinking Rodriguez had loyalty to any manager - especially one who batted him eighth in a playoff game against the Detroit Tigers last year - must be drunk
You can go up and down the Red Sox batting order, pick any name, and find somebody who did more for his team than A-Rod did for the Yankees in the last three Octobers he played for them.
He was a gold-plated phony coming in the door and he is the same leaving.
He's even got a graphic chronologizing A-Rod's blunders and ignoring A-Rod's positive contributions.
What a sad, pathetic little man Mike Lupica most obviously is.
Monday, October 29, 2007
If you're CBSSportsline's Clark Judge, you approach this challenge by simply copying Peter King's "10 Things I Know" format. And somehow, through pure determination and perseverance, you manage to do an even worse job than King himself.
1. If the NFL can move the regular season to London, it can move the Super Bowl to November. And it just did. Because that's what next Sunday's Patriots-Colts game is.
Awful, awful segue.
Forget about the NFC. It doesn't matter, and New England and Indianapolis just reminded us. They just torched two of the conference's top clubs by a combined score of 83-14. Uh-huh, the Colts and Pats are that much better than everyone.
This week the Panthers and Redskins got their balls handed to them by the Colts and Patriots. True. Unfortunately for Clark, neither the Panthers or Redskins are among the 3 best teams in the NFC. (Cowboys, Giants, Packers, not necessarily in that order.) Sure, Indy and New England look leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else. But beating up on maybe the 4th and 5th best (with Seattle in the mix) teams in the NFC doesn't prove that the Super Bowl will be a joke. NE's win over Dallas two weeks ago is more telling, but that game was closer than the final score indicates. Let's not go writing off the biggest sports television event of the year more than 3 months before it happens just yet.
(Besides, everyone knows you only watch it for the commercials anyways! Those commercials are so clever. I love it when animals act like peoples.)
2. So the Patriots leave Tom Brady in the fourth period to throw another touchdown pass, this time making it 45-0 with nine minutes to go. Great. My only question is: Why didn't they try an onside kick afterward?
Incorrect- the dumb joke we were looking for was, "Why didn't they go for two?"
4. That, folks, is not how you create interest in the NFL overseas. (That's all Miller includes for this item)
Want to elaborate on that? No? Do you mean because the game involved one of the worst teams in the league? Because it was played in a torrential downpour? Were either of these factors, which amount to 95% of the reason the game was boring, under the control of the league office? Don't get me wrong, I'm not defending the idea of trying to force football (no, real football... not dumb footvaginasoccer) on European people. It's a bad idea. I really don't think they care. NFL Europe folded for a reason. Still, this particular game mostly sucked because the Dolphins sucked and the weather sucked. If the Jacksonville/Tampa Bay thriller had been played in Londonville instead of the pissbucket of an excuse that was New York/Miami, Scott's campy little one liner wouldn't work nearly as well.
6. This is why passer ratings are overrated: The Tennessee Titans' Vince Young ranks among the league's bottom feeders when it comes to quarterback numbers. Except this one: Wins. All Young has done is win 10 of his past 13 starts. I keep saying it, and I'll say it again: Not a great quarterback; a great leader.
Where to begin, where to begin... shall we start with the fact that Tennessee's defense is 5th in the league in yards per game allowed? That they're 7th in points per game allowed? What about the possibly significant fact that they're 3rd in takeaways? No, I'm sure none of that has anything to do with their 5-2 record in 2007. How about we break down their offensive production instead: They're 3rd in rushing yards per game (only a small portion of which is due to VY... his rushing is way down compared to last year). But what's that? They're 29th in passing yard per game? Young has 3 TDs and 6 picks? And averages less than 6 yards per attempt? Doesn't matter. Doesn't matter. This is all about correlation, not causation. The Titans have won a lot of games recently; Vince Young is their QB; therefore, Vince Young is a great leader. Makes sense to me! Screw you, Titans defense and RBs. You're a bunch of tiny-dicked pansies.
To explain Clark's reasoning in baseball terminology: Vince Young = David Eckstein. Carson Palmer = Alex Rodriguez. Which one would you rather have on your team- the guy who just flat out wins, or the selfish guy who only cares about regular season stats? I thought so.
7. New England's Mike Vrabel scores a touchdown, has three sacks and forces three fumbles. Any chance he can be the AFC Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week?
With a whole whopping 1 catch for 1 yard, he's going to have a hard time pulling down the first of those awards.
9. There is nobody worse than St. Louis, and I'm not talking about the Rams' winless record. I'm talking about their record of guarantees. The way I see it, Randy McMichael, Steven Jackson and Isaac Bruce are forbidden from dressing as Nostradamus on Halloween. Oh, and remind me not to consult them for predictions on Indy-New England.
Buh-ZING! Facial on you, St. Louis players who have been trying to fire up your teammates by predicting wins. I also really like the "There's nobody worse than (subject)... and I'm not talking about (what you expected me to be talking about)!" style of joke. Truly the work of a master comedic craftsman. I think the last time I saw one of those pulled off well, it was in a Jackie Harvey column. And he did it completely by accident.
11. No, I don't think the Eagles will press Dallas or the Giants in the NFC East, but this is why I would be careful before burying them: There is no one better at overcoming adversity. They won two division titles without Donovan McNabb. They won the NFC Championship Game without Terrell Owens. They were 5-6 a year ago and went on to win the division.
"I am burying the Eagles. However, I hesitated briefly before doing so because of things that happened in the past with different players on the roster and under different circumstances." Nice job by Judge hedging his bets here- if the Eagles fade and finish 4-12, he told you so. On the other hand, if they suddenly catch fire and finish 10-6, he told you so.
12. Al Davis, move over. If New England wins another Super Bowl, the Dolphins' Randy Mueller can be measured for a ring, too. He's the genius who traded Wes Welker to New England. It's bad enough to deal him within the division, but to deal him to the division champ? I would like an explanation.
Welker in 2006: 67 catches for 687 yards, 1 TD
Welker so far in 2007: 56 catches, 613 yards, 6 TDs
Hmmmm... I wonder what's responsible for those numbers getting bumped up so much? Could it be that there are massive talent and coaching discrepancies between the 2006 Dolphins and 2007 Patriots? No, that's a silly dumb fart of a thought. I'm sure Welker would have those exact same numbers were he still in Miami, running routes for Cleo Lemon.
Side discussion: If Tom Brady and Derek Jeter had a baby, hot would he/she be? How clutch? Which one of the two of them would actually carry the baby during pregnancy? Discuss in the comments.
15. From the You Had to Be There Department: The Chargers had 21 first-half plays and 35 points. What's more, they led 28-3 after 20 minutes after running off 11 plays and holding the ball 5:35. Yes, you can start taking these guys seriously again.
I have no idea why this is from the You Had to Be There Department. I read about the game, looked at the box score, and got a very good understanding of how great San Diego played. Furthermore, with wins over the Bears, Broncos, Raiders, and Texans (combined record: 11-19) and losses to New England, Green Bay, and Kansas City (who stack up at 17-4), I don't think it's time to climb back on the Charger bandwagon just yet. Let's see how they deal with Indy and Jacksonville before we start dry humping them.
Well that's about it for this week, but Clark's little column here has the potential to be a regular feature here on FireJay. Gregg Easterbrook's ego is so crushed from the abuse I've been giving him all season that he didn't even publish a TMQ this week! (So far.) That's why I'm excited Judge is stepping up to the plate for me. I mean... I've got to bitch about someone's bad NFL analysis, don't I?
A mini-PTI during Monday Night Football. I really like Michael Wilbon. I think he's smarter than most people who work for ESPN. He's smart and has good reasons for thinking the things he does. Tonight, the question was pitched to him: "Are the Yankees better off without A-Rod?"
(quote not exact, but close)
Absolutely. It's simple, you just look back at what happened before he got there! The Yankees won 4 championships just before he arrived, and have won zero since. What does that tell you?
It tells me, Mike, that baseball is a game where you not only need good hitting to win a World Series, but also good pitching. A-Rod can't supernaturally transplant his greatness into Mike Mussina's body, Mike Mussina needs to learn how to get hitters out himself. It also tells me that the MLB playoffs unfold in such random ways that the best team probably doesn't even win it all 50% of the time.
It does not tell me that A-Rod is some sort of Yankee poison that causes them to double over and barf awful performances all over the baseball diamond when the month of October strikes.
The correct answer to the general form of that question: "Is any team better off without the best fucking baseball player in the world?" is "no".
Tony Kornheiser and Ron Jaworski are describing Jay Cutler's passes on Monday Night Football as "lasers." Why is that a bad thing? Because they're saying "laser" like Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers movies. Repeatedly. Hey guys, we know you're trying to sound young and hip... but you're at least six or seven years late on that one.
There's no bigger stage in the baseball world than the World Series, and we saw a couple of really good games this year. Yes, this truly is a great ga... oh wait, there's a rumbling out of New York City... Joe Torre ripped his pants? No, wait, ARod opted out of his contract. Let's talk about it during the World Series! I link to SI.com because they were credited for breaking the story, which had it's coattails grabbed onto by FOX and ESPN.
Yes, it's a classless act by Scott Boras. What do you expect?
Easy solution for FOX and ESPN: Launch into your gigantic spiral of New York City coverage AFTER the game is over. In 2004, I would have loved to have been in that bar after my team lost to see some other news than Jimmy Fallon celebrating in my ballpark. Any distraction would have been welcome. Boston fans were out rioting last night anyways, so the rest of the country- - the 80% of America that despises New England - - could have waited to see what Scott Boras leaked after the game, the celebration, the presentation of corporate prizes, the interivews, and Jeanine Zelasko's 20 pounds of make up. You can blame ARod and Boras all you want, but some of the blame needs to be put on FOX and ESPN. SI.com broke the story online, and then ESPN and FOX talked about it. The channels lost the ability to claim they broke the story, so they should have waited until after the Rockies and Red Sox were done playing. But instead, I had to endure Joe Buck (who I like... it's a St. Louis thing) speculating where ARod won't be appreciated next year.
Really, I can only shake my head when I read what Buster Olney wrote:
The way this played out could not have been more apropos, because A-Rod needs to be bigger than the game; he needs to be more important than the Red Sox or the Rockies or any other team, or any other player. He is one of the greatest players in history at compiling statistics, the greatest ever at compiling wealth, and his next employer will have to buy into that. The World Series can't matter as much as A-Rod.
I know it wasn't Buster who was on TV talking about it, but give me a break. Who made this story bigger than the World Series? ARod, or those who talked about it during the game? "Reporting" this during the game's grandest spectacle isn't about journalism, so why bring it up?
[note: I came in late during the game when it was brought up, as I had to ask my parents to pick up more Doritos at the store. It seemed to me that FOX tried to legitimize the discussion of the story by having Ken Rosenthal and Joe Buck talk about it. I would have mentioned this, but I wasn't watching when it was initially mentioned on FOX and I would hate to have anonymous commenters flame away for incorrect information on this humble blog.]
Despite what it says below, I'm not so torn up inside that I can't point out how ridiculous FOX's "Keys to the Game" were tonight. (As read by Tim "The Voice of Reason" McCarver)
Try to wrap up lopsided series
Desperate times; just try to win tonight
Soooooo... the key for the Red Sox was to try to win. Whereas the Rockies were trying to win. I guess that explains the outcome!
On that note here's my "Keys to the Game" for the 2008 presidential election:
Try to hold on to office
Try to get more electoral votes than other guys
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Another sadly short World Series. In the last 4 seasons, the team that has lost the World Series has claimed a mere one game.
And of course, the Red Sox just had to win. I suppose every cloud has a silver lining, though. This is going to elicit a wonderful volley of awful east-coast malarkey for me to read.
One thing from the broadcast today made me smile. A Rockies player, Spilborghs I want to say, slapped a soft, traditional 3-hopper to Julio Lugo, who casually moved a bit to his left and made the routine play that the majority of MLB shortstops will make 100 out of 100 times.
Joe Buck: "Tough play for Lugo"
Boy, is my face red right about now. Earlier tonight, I sat down to lampoon this terrible piece of sportswriting I found, but something was wrong. I just couldn't go through with it. Why not? See, as most of our regular readers and those casual readers with a discerning eye may have been able to tell from some past posts we've written, myself and eriz are big Rockies fans. And of course, earlier in the evening I got to watch them play like a bag of ass on baseball's biggest stage. Again. Great, way to show up for the Series, guys. Nicely done. Anyways, I promised myself I wouldn't let my feelings about the end of my team's season affect my ability to blog. I mean, how hard could that be? Bad sportswriting is bad sportswriting, and it needs to be shat on regardless of what's going on in my little world. It's pretty simple. But try as I might, I just couldn't put anything together. Turned out to be a lot more difficult than I thought it would be.
And that's when I realized, Rick Reilly has been right all along- sports are just beautiful, aren't they? I mean, this is going to end up being incredibly lame, indulge me. Let's break down the situation and try to figure out whether or not this makes sense. For starters, I'm 23. I'm probably a liiiiiiiiiiittle too old to get all bummed out over my favorite baseball team losing in the World Series. I also have a lot going on in my life; a wide variety of responsibilities and deadlines and obligations keep my mind occupied pretty much anytime I'm awake. Living in your parents' basement is tougher than you think. Pop Tarts don't grow on trees; I have to go grab a fresh box from the pantry upstairs every couple of days. Furthermore, when it comes to sports, I have at least five other teams in both the college and professional ranks that I follow just as closely as the Rockies. It's not like all my eggs are in one basket. And finally, prior to this season, the Rockies had won a grand total of one playoff game in 14 years of existence. This year they won seven times that, plus their first pennant. Shouldn't that be enough for me to consider the season a flying success regardless of the WS outcome?
Well, enough of all that self-analytical nonsense. The bottom line is, why did tonight's shitbomb of the game (and the three awful shitbombs of games that preceded it) prevent me from doing the one thing I actually enjoy in life? In the end, I think it's probably because sports are so goddamn beautiful. No matter how old you are, what else is going on in your life, how many other teams you follow, or how great a season was- unless they win it all, the day your team has to close up shop and wait for next year can really throw you off your game. But I'm not worried about it. Tomorrow I'll be back. Until then, you're just going to have to make fun of Dayn Perry and Gene Wojceichowski on your own.
(If any of our twelve readers are big Red Sox fans and want to leave an insulting comment because I crap on Boston all the time, let me remind them of three things:
1. Chris W (White Sox), pnoles (White Sox), dan-bob (Reds), and jarrett (Cardinals) don't give a shit about the Rockies. So you can leave them out of it.
2. This whole post is really just sour grapes by me. That should be pretty obvious. Take it for what it is. I mean, I don't really like your team... but meh.
3. A whiny fuckbag of a journalist who regularly references "The Hills" in his columns and is in a fued with DANE COOK of all people speaks for your whole fanbase. I know, it sucks. Deal with it.)
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Who are we writing about?
Hey Rockies, who’s the hot team now?
Hear that, Garrett Atkins? Tony Massarotti is talking shit to your team!
BOSTON - Maybe we all had it wrong. Maybe the Red Sox are the team on the roll.
For some reason, the stupid momentum topic was the focus of tons of debate prior to the series (it would be a sin for ESPN analysts to try to analyze the Rockies). After much useless debate, most people decided the Red Sox had the "momentum". So I don't see who "we" is when you say "we all had it wrong".
For all of the talk about the miraculous run of the Colorado Rockies, after all, Game 1 of the World Series was nothing short of a bloodbath on the hallowed ground of fabled Fenway Park. The final score was Boston 13, Colorado, 1, which might be entirely meaningless were it not for one small fact.
What fact, pray tell? What is the grand saviour of the meaning of the score of the first game of the World Series?
Since the sixth inning of Game 4 of the American League Championship Series — the Cleveland Indians led by a 7-0 score at the time en route to a 3-1 series edge — the Red Sox have responded by outscoring their opponents by the preposterous total of 46-6.
Ah. If it weren't for beating the Indians in the ALCS by HUGE margins, winning Game 1 of the World Series would be meaningless. Good point.
In New England at this time of year, those kinds of numbers typically are generated only on Sundays.
Wha...Sundays? New England? High scores? I couldn't possibly fathom what you're getting at!
By the Patriots.
THANKS DUDE! I WAS SO CONFUSED!
“It gives us a lot of confidence,” Red Sox shortstop Julio Lugo said following Boston's resounding victory. “We know we can hit anybody. Some days you're not going to hit, but we know we can hit anybody.”
Given Lugo's recent history, that is quite a statement. Prior to going 3-for-4 in Game 1, Lugo batted .237 during the regular season and was hitting just .229 in the postseason, which made him one of the few sure outs in Boston's lineup.
Getting on base 29.4% of the time = sure out. I like what Massarotti has done here, likening a Major League hitter to that guy who bats last on your Little League team who strikes out every time, then cries about it afterwards. (I always think...."dude, shouldn't you be used to it by now?")
Can you imagine how confident David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez must feel at the moment?
Can you imagine just how little a sentence can fit into a column? You write 2 paragraphs about Julio Lugo sucking, then randomly you write this, and then transitionless, go into talking about Jeff Francis! This sentence is a desert island, my friend. You sorely need an editor.
A 17-game winner in the National league this season, Colorado starter Jeff Francis today must feel like a college freshman.
Better comparisons can be drawn. Something like "Jeff Francis today must feel like Casey Fossum". When I see "college freshman", images of being bad at pitching or being defeated don't exactly just jump into my head.
The possessor of a 2-0 record and 2.13 ERA in two postseason outings before Game 1, Francis learned what so many others have been preaching for the better part of the last several years. Pitching in the American League is an entirely different animal
Jeff Francis, 2007 regular season, vs AL: 26.1 IP, 2.07 ERA, 1.15 WHIP.
Two of the teams he faced were the Red Sox and Yankees.
The Red Sox didn't score against him.
My only logical conclusion is that Jeff Francis lacks some NL-borne illness that prevents him from getting American League hitters out.
which is why aging pitching icons like Pedro Martinez go out to pasture in the National League.
This has nothing to do with why Pedro Martinez is in the National League.
The Red Sox, naturally, are not your average AL lineup, finishing third in the league in runs scored this season.
Granted, important, true. How can you make the rest of this paragraph as irrelevant and pointless as possible?
Still, Boston's lineup scored nearly 100 fewer runs than it did in, say, 2003, when the Red Sox reached Game 7 of the ALCS. In 2004, when the Sox went 45-15 in their final 60 games to win their first World Series since World War I, they also made this current club look like, well, the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Oh. Like that. Talking about the high-scoringness of past Red Sox teams.
Poor Jeff Francis.
He must have felt as if Dorothy were looking down at him and declaring, “We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto.”
What if, in the movie, Toto decided to look back up at Dorothy and say, "Bitch, I been here before. I tossed 5 innings of shutout ball here a few months back!"
What's also funny about that game was that Josh Beckett was the one thumped in the 7-1 Rockies win.
Now, with their karma sufficiently stifled, the Rockies enter Game 2 entrusting rookie Ubaldo Jimenez with the responsibility of shutting down a Red Sox team that clearly has more than just David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez. And so the question now isn't whether the Red Sox can derail the Rockies, but whether the Rockies can derail the Red Sox.
“I mean, I know it has to come, so just let it come,” Jimenez before Game 1. I'm not worried about it. I'm just going to go out there and just face everybody like it's the same, just throw strikes and go after them.”
Think he's aware that they'll be coming after him?
Nope. Someone inform Ubaldo that the Red Sox will be carrying bats to the plate as a countermeasure to his pitchings.
I know what you're saying- isn't this an anti-sports media blog? Well the answer, of course, is yes. We do specialize bitching and moaning. However, our contract with Google states that we are legally allowed to make three (3) posts that are in support of a sportswriter per calendar year. And after reading what CNNSI.com's resident college football mailbag answerer had to say about the "my conference is better than your conference!" argument, I felt compelled to use one of our exemptions. After all, they don't roll over to 2008. Why not use 'em while you've got 'em?
You see, there's nothing that frustrates me more than fans getting hot and bothered about which conference is more powerful than the next. I rant about this to my real life friends (all two of them) at least once a week every fall. Honestly, people... how the hell can you tell which conferences are better than others unless a variety of teams from each square off against each other? You can speculate about common opponents, strength of schedule, coolest fight songs, and best tailgates all you want. But in the end there is no other way to judge conference A against conference B unless a bunch of their teams play. There just isn't.
Sadly, I often feel like I'm pretty much alone in holding this opinion. We live in a culture obsessed with trying to figure out what's going to happen next, rather than just basking in the here and now. Sports and sports media hype today is all about predicting the unpredictable. Which 9th grader is going to be the next 1,500 yard rusher in the NFL? I guarantee there are dozens of creepy rivals.com analysts out there who could debate this topic for hours. Who should be placed atop the eternally meaningless "power rankings" column on your favorite sports website? If you want to lose hope for humanity, check out the comments section attached to a power rankings article anywhere. How so many people so hung up on where a random sportswriter ranks their team is beyond me. How many more years will (suffering team X) go without a title? It's a topic tailor made for "Around the Horn."
And of course, debating the relative strengths of conferences fits right into this clusterfuck of unbridled speculation. But this doesn't stop it from happening ad nauseam every year from August until the first week of January. People just eat this shit up. Everyone and their brother wants "experts" to weigh in this meaningless argument and side with their local conference. It drives me bonkers. How about we just worry about the games that are actually being played? Do we really need to waste energy figuring out whether the Sun Belt is better or worse than the MAC at the halfway point of the season?
So on that note- thanks, Stewart, for articulating my feelings on the matter better than I ever could have. Either click the link and read his whole mailbag (which is very good), or if you're pressed for time, sit back and enjoy these excerpts.
Mind you, this whole thing is a relatively recent phenomenon. While people used to complain about certain teams' soft non-conference schedules (Kansas State, Virginia Tech, etc.), I really don't remember reading any 12-page manifestos championing the Big Ten over the Big 12 or the SEC over the Pac-10. These days, however, some fans get as worked up about defending their favorite conference's honor as they do cheering on their favorite team.
It seems to me this can be traced back to Auburn's 2004 exclusion from the BCS championship. While there were certainly BCS controversies before that one, I rarely remember conference affiliation entering the equation. But when this happened, fans of not only Auburn, but also the entire SEC, were indignant. To them, this wasn't just about an undefeated team being deprived an opportunity at the title; this was about an SEC team getting shafted.
And so, over the two years that followed, SEC coaches and fans alike took every opportunity to make sure such an injustice wouldn't happen again, beating it into the rest of the country's brains just how much tougher their conference was than everybody else's. This of course only intensified after Florida demolished season-long media darling Ohio State last January -- which in turn has caused backlash against the SEC from fans in the rest of the country.
All over a topic for which -- and I can't emphasize this enough -- THERE IS NO RIGHT ANSWER.
We could literally go on like this for days, people, and we'd just keep going in circles. The only way to truly gauge the respective conferences is when their teams play each other, usually either early in the season or in the bowls, and even then, those results invariably come with asterisks.
When it comes to the various conference loyalists versus critics, it seems the truth is often whatever you want to make it. For the love of humanity -- and more importantly, my sanity -- can we please move on to some other topics?
I like it when professional journalists feel the same way I do! Almost makes me feel like I'm not living in my parents' basement and eating Pop Tarts three meals a day. If they can get paid for feeling this way, why can't I? You know, besides the fact that I have no journalism experience, no connections, and no writing skills.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Skip Bayless, on 1st and 10, explains the New York Yankees losing in the postseason in recent years (quote obv not exact, close).
They've lost 13 of 17 postseason games because [Torre] is so nonchalant and lackadaisical in the postseason! He's like, "I'm Joe Torre and you're not!" That doesn't cut it!
Throw team talent, small sample sizes, everything the players do, and even every decision a manager makes clear out the window. All that matters in a postseason series is the manager's attitude!
In 2006, Tony LaRussa was saying "I'm Tony LaRussa, and we're gonna win!"
For the zero of you new to FireJay since the last time I did this, the acronym stands for "Wednesday Morning Tuesday Morning Quarterback Review." Anyways, it's been way too long since I confronted the pretentious douche otherwise known as Gregg Easterbrook. I'll try to make it a more regular thing, as per the request of commenter "anonymous" last week.
Anyways, before I sat down to dismember his "shit pile" (term stolen from the same anonymous quoted above) of an article this week, I checked out what Good Guy At Sports had to say about it. And I was nearly moved to tears. So much so that after careful consideration I decided I didn't have much to add. Is this because I'm lazy and would rather link you to his analysis than spend time articulating mine? Maybe. But he definitely did do a pretty fantastic job.
Now, in case you actually care what I think about what Easterbrook said, which you don't, here's my quick take. The difference between me and GGAS is that he's a mild Patriots supporter whereas I want to vomit all over my TV whenever they get brought up. But even I have to admit... Easterbrook has gone way over the top during the past few weeks to trash the (stupid TMQ nickname alert) "Flying Elvii." Yes, their coach is a wife-stealing asshole. Yes, I would probably try to break Tom Brady's kneecaps if I had the chance. And yes, more so than anything else having to do with the team, the incessant knob schlobbing they receive from the media is nothing short of an embarrassment. But really, is characterizing the Pats as an evil foil to the Colts (who allegedly represent all that is good because Peyton Manning likes to smile) fair? In the end it's just two teams full of professional athletes. Both probably employ some really nice guys. Both probably employ some gigantic assholes. The only real difference between the teams in terms of good/evilness lies in the personalities of the two head coaches. Oh, and the fact that the Patriots have some of the most insufferable fans in all of professional sports. But that's about it. In the end those two reasons aren't enough for me to agree with what TMQ writes. At all.
Don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't hate the Patriots anymore. It's just... come on, Easterbrook. Get your shit together and write about something else.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Here we are with 10 reasons to watch the World Series. Most people watch the World Series because it's the championship of baseball, a sport they like a lot. But for those of you who aren't sold by watching exciting, high-pressure baseball games, or championships in general, you're lucky our fedora-wearing friend was kind enough to point out some things that you may have forgotten about.
I’ve been around for a lot of Super Bowls, and I don’t remember ever writing about how the broadcasting network or the NFL is worried about the ratings because marquee teams aren’t playing.
Could be because it's the most watched TV event in the world.....
Instead, every year I get a list of Roman numerals telling me the XLI things to look for in Super Bowl XLI. They’re silly things, most of them, because they’re designed for all those people who are going to a party on the first Sunday in February and feel the need to know the names of the teams that are playing so they won’t look as ignorant as they are.
Why do you get these lists if they're for ignorant people? Tell the truth, are you speaking from experience, Mike?
Nah, he was never invited to a "party".
Several more dumb comparisons of the World Series and the Super Bowl later, we get to the reasons.
I: The Rockies
Ah. One of the Ten reasons is the Rockies.
Reason II: The Red Sox.
Okay, so you don’t know who they are because the nasty East Coast media
No need to address this again. We've covered it before.
which is responsible for all of the world’s ills going back to the plague, didn’t bother to mention them until the very end of the season, and you didn’t notice them winning 21 of their last 22 games on the way to the first World Series in franchise history.
Booooooooooring. Fantastic run-on, by the way.
But aren’t we a country that loves things that are fresh and out of the ordinary? And aren’t sports fans always whining about overpaid and arrogant stars? Well, the Rockies are fresh and extraordinary. They also have one of the lowest payrolls in baseball.
Everyone get excited for some fresh, non-whiny, low-paid action!
Here’s our Cinderella, folks. You love Cinderella during the NCAA basketball tournament, why not in the World Series?
Your stated problem isn't that not enough people are rooting for the Rockies, it's that not enough people are watching. Keep it straight.
Plus, they wear black uniforms with purple numbers. How often do you get to see that in baseball?
Plenty. All you have to do is pay attention to the Rockies when they aren't in the World Series.
II: The Red Sox
Wow....I actually hadn't read the 2nd reason before now. It actually was the Red Sox!
That loveable team from Boston was even more popular as a road draw than the Yankees this year. Unlike the Yankees, no one outside of the New York metropolitan area hates them.
Wow. Wowwwwwwwow. This is fantastic. Anyone need more proof that this clown doesn't know anything that isn't about New York. If only he read Fire Jay Mariotti and took note of the "i hate boston's sports teams" label!
When they won the World Series in 2004, it was their second crown in just 86 years. This year, they can make it their second in three years. Do you want to miss out on the establishment of the Red Sox dynasty?
Winning the World Series 3 years apart = sole criteria for establishing a "dynasty".
This better be a pet name for a player, because if it's about the precipi-
It snowed over the weekend in Denver, the mile-high home of the Rockies. With any luck at all, it will snow again when the Series moves West.
Will they break out the orange baseballs? Will the players need chains on their shoes to negotiate the base paths? If you saw Matt Holiday sliding on his face in the dirt earlier in October, can you afford to miss him with snow to slide on? I’m also thinking chimineas in the bullpens — maybe weenie roasts, too. And, instead of bench-clearing brawls, how about a bench-clearing snowball fight?
a) That was when Celizic learned who Matt Holliday was (2 "l"s please!)
b) Rather than giving him the benefit of the doubt, I'm going to believe Celizic thinks that angry athletes would rather throw snow at each other than punch each other.
IV: Tulowitzki — No, it’s not an exotic Denver ballpark snack that comes from a part of the cow you don’t want to know about.
Right. It's a tropical disease. Remember?
It’s the Rockies' exciting rookie shortstop, Troy Tulowitzki. The kid could be rookie of the year, but you have to watch him because of the name alone.
Read: His name is the only thing Celizic knows about him.
V: Pedroia — Dustin Pedroia, like Tulowitzki, is a rookie and a middle infielder, playing second base for the Red Sox. He says he’s 5-2 and 115 pounds, but that’s just bragging.
Don't even know how to respond to that one.
Very specific to this World Series. I like it.
If you find defense boring, don’t worry. The thin atmosphere in Denver makes for a lot of home runs and Coors Field has an enormous outfield that generates hits like few other parks. One of those others is Boston’s Fenway Park, built in 1912 for guys who weren’t strong enough to get the top off a mayonnaise jar. It’s only the most venerable, most charming and most beloved park in baseball. Just looking at the field is reason enough to turn the television to the game. Plus, the Red Sox score a lot of runs there.
Awww, Celizic's getting a hard-on for the east coast again...isn't that cute?
VIII: Manny — There’s not a freer spirit in any game than Boston’s dreadlocked left fielder, Manny Ramirez
Chad Johnson. Your move.
who also happens to be as good a hitter as there is in the game, especially in October.
Manny Ramirez, 2007 EqA: .291
As Good a Hitter as There Is in the Game, 2007 EqA: .339
(Okay, Barry's is better, but we get it)
He’s also guaranteed to produce multiple moments that make you scratch your head and wonder which planet he calls home. He’ll stand at the plate admiring the wonderfulness of what he thinks is a home run, only to be held to a single when it bounces off the wall. Or he’ll say something that makes no sense at all.
What a free spirit.
And whenever he does something that would get other players roasted alive in the sports columns, all you’ll hear about him is, “It’s just Manny being Manny.”
Only from dumbasses.
IX: Big Papi — We’ve mentioned David Ortiz’s nickname once before, but a guy as big as the Red Sox’s designated hitter deserves his own paragraph, not to mention his own zip code.
::Celizic opens and begins frantically flipping through an MLB rule book.::
What will make this Series fun is watching him play first base in Denver, where National League rules will apply and there will be no designated hitter.
::Celizic breathes a sigh of relief and closes the book::
He’s as nimble as an ocean liner, except his team isn’t allowed to employ tugboats to nudge him around the infield.
Where does someone get the idea that it's good to write this?
At the plate, he’s always a threat to hit it out. In the field, he’s just a threat.
X: River Dance – If the Red Sox win it all, their relief ace, Jonathan Papelbon, is going to do the most frightening rendition of that Lords of the Dance thing you’ve ever seen. No one this side of Simon Cowell can adequately characterize it. So just hang in there to the last game and see for yourself. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry — and if you’re actually a dancer, you’ll probably throw.
That one is actually pretty interesting.
1) You listed both teams, and then 4 individual players.
2) Of those 4 players, there is 1 Rockie, and 3 Red Sox.
3) The Red Sox best player this year, Josh Beckett, was not one of them.
4) The best player in the World Series this year, Matt Holliday, was not one of them.
5) Offense and defense are listed were two reasons. Another good reason to watch: baseball. And does this mean that pitching is not a reason to watch the World Series?
6) ZOMG SNOW????
But you know, other than that, it was pretty interesting.
Raise your hand if you give a flying shit about where Kobe Bryant plays this season, whether or not he cleaned out his locker last week, or how he relationship with the Lakers' front office is going.
Didn't think so.
Monday, October 22, 2007
According To The Mini Biography That Appears At The End Of Everything He Writes, Gene Wojciechowski Is The Senior National Columnist For ESPN.com
But why? Someone down at the World Wide Leader needs to start asking some questions as to how this guy has a job at all, let alone a job as "the senior national columnist" for their website. Next to Gregg Easterbrook and Bill Simmons, there isn't a more annoying idiot writing there. It's columns like this one that really separate Gene from the pack when it comes to not knowing anything about sports despite being paid to analyze them.
Even in victory, Broncos can't hide flaws
DENVER -- About the nicest thing you can say about the Denver Broncos is that their uniforms make them look like very large traffic cones. Otherwise, there's no reason to pay attention to this team.
Not yet, at least.
Traffic cones? Either Gene hasn't watched a Broncos game since they changed uniform designs in the mid 90s or the department of transportation where he lives uses blue cones. I'd imagine those would be hard to see at night, but I guess it's possible.
Yes, I know, they upset the sluggish Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-28, on a meat-freezer-cold Sunday night at Invesco Field. Thing is, you couldn't tell who was more surprised by the outcome, the Steelers or the Broncos.
OK, that's not exactly true. The Broncos insist that the last-second victory was no accident, that they were never as crummy as their 2-3 record and three-game losing streak made them look.
"I kept telling you guys we were confident in the locker room," said quarterback Jay Cutler, who remains a work in progress. "We had a bye week. We knew we were a good team. We just weren't playing up to our potential."
So: we have a strong statement of opinion from Gene about game. Followed immediately by quote from a player that directly contradicts said statement. Now that's journalism. "I had a hamburger for lunch today. Well, that's not exactly true. I actually had some pizza."
Cutler wasn't the only one to chide reporters about their lack of faith in the Broncos. Cornerback Dre Bly, whose injured right shoulder featured a puncture mark from a pain-killing shot, happily provided the obligatory cliché.
"Nobody was giving us any shot to win this game," Bly said.
Maybe that's because the Broncos hadn't earned the benefit of the doubt. With the exception of Jason Elam (Is it a good thing when the best player on your team is the place-kicker?), nobody on this team had played exceptionally or consistently well.
Obviously the term "best player" is being applied loosely here. A kicker is like a closer; they don't get into games very often relative to the rest of the players on their team, but when they do it's often in high-leverage situations. So simple minded fans might be tempted to think when they play well, as Elam has, they are their squad's best player. In reality, it's incredibly difficult to measure their abilities against those of other players, but it's probably a huge reach to say that anyone on Denver's roster not named "Champ Bailey" is the best player on the team.
Sheesh, where are my manners, listen to me ramble on and on like a cocaine addict... what I'm trying to say is that Gene is a travesty of a writer.
Also, let's look his main point so far, which is: the Broncos won, but they shouldn't be happy about it. That's right. They should not claim that their previous losses were caused by them failing to playing up to their potential, or be excited about the fact that they beat a favored Pittsburgh team. No. Instead, they should tell the media "We wanted to lose. We expected to lose. We are ashamed to have won. More than anything we'd like to thank the Steelers for graciously handing us this victory, which was 100% due to their lack of execution and 0% due to our own good play." Sounds about right.
Elam's 49-yard walk-off field goal as time expired was his third game-winner of the season. Without him, the Broncos don't beat Buffalo on the road, don't beat Oakland in overtime and don't beat Pittsburgh. '
Well yeah. I guess. Assuming Elam wasn't there, and the Broncos didn't have anyone else try to kick the ball during the last play of those games and instead just snapped the ball to the holder so he could sit there like an idiot until he got tackled... you're right, they would have lost all three. But if they had a different kicker attempt the same plays, who knows what the outcome would have been? This is like saying "without David Eckstein, the Cardinals would never have won the World Series last year." Um, what if they replaced him with someone else who also played pretty well? The "without him" argument should only apply to ridiculous all-time greats like Michael Jordan.
"We'll take it if we can get it," Elam said. "If we can get 20 of 21, we will take it."
Elam was talking about the World Series-bound Colorado Rockies, who actually have won 21 of their past 22 games. If Elam thinks this team is going on some sort of Rockies-like miracle run, he's mildly nuts or oxygen-deprived. These Broncos have too many flaws to overcome. You can't keep winning on inside straights forever.
Apparently playing your opponent evenly all game, and then winning on a field goal as time expires, is the same as winning on an unlikely inside straight in poker.
Cutler completed 22 of 29 passes for 248 yards and three touchdowns. But he also threw two interceptions, including one on which the Steelers had a team photo shoot going around intended receiver Brandon Marshall.
Two? TWO? Fucking two fucking interceptions? What a piece of shit quarterback that guy is! I can't believe the game was even close at halftime! I mean, how many times has a team thrown two interceptions and gone on to win? What a miracle. They must've converted 100% of their third downs and averaged 8 yards per carry on the ground to overcome that Ryan Leaf-like performace.
"They kind of fooled me," Cutler said.
Obviously. Otherwise you wouldn't have thrown those two picks, like the total waste of a person you are.
Cutler is getting better. He did lead the Broncos from their own 20 to the Steelers' 31 in the last 70 seconds of the game, just close enough for Elam to do the hero thing again. Of course, it helped that Steelers linebacker James Harrison was nice enough to line up offsides on a third-and-1 play earlier in the drive. The mistake handed Denver a first down.
On that play, Cutler snuck for the first down anyways. But nice try. (And no, the three extra yards they gained due to the penalty didn't affect the field goal; it would have been good from at least 5 yards further back.)
"It's still early in the season, and we've got a lot of talent on this team," wide receiver Brandon Stokley said. "I think everybody around the league knows what we're capable of … The sky's the limit for us."
If the sky is the AFC West lead, then, yes, the Broncos have an outside chance at that. Otherwise, they're not going to reach playoff altitude. And even if they do sneak in somehow, does anyone really think they could beat the New England Patriots, the Indianapolis Colts or even these same Steelers again?
$%*# the heck? No one is touting the Broncos as some kind of championship caliber team... no one. Preseason, a handful of analysts picked them to win the AFC West. None that I heard claimed they were going to high-step to the Super Bowl. No one even implied they were on the level of the Colts or Patriots. And they certainly aren't doing now just because of this one close win. This is what we call a straw man argument. It's like saying "Sure, the Washington Nationals weren't as bad as people thought they would be last season. But I'm tired of everyone saying they're going to win the World Series next year."
Since losing to the Steelers in the 2005 playoffs, the Broncos have bordered on postseason irrelevancy.
Since that loss, there has been one postseason. The Broncos did not participate. That's not bordering on irrelevancy, that's being irrelevant. It's also a sample size of one. I can't tell which of those angles better proves that Gene is a moron.
Something happened to this franchise. It lost its mojo, and the rest of the NFL noticed.
Oh my God... I can't believe he set me up like this... maybe they should enlist Austin Powers to help them get it back! LOLOLOL! (I'm embarrassed. It's because of jokes like these that I'm writing this on a dusty old PC from my parents' basement while professional journalists like Gene write their articles on golden typewriters from their mansions on the moon.)
"You show any weakness in this league, and people stop fearing you," said veteran safety John Lynch. "The nature of this league is scoreboard, and we've struggled at home of late, in particular. The only way to change that is do something about it. And I think we took a step toward that tonight in beating a very good football team. Ever since they beat us in the championship game, we kind of lost that dominance at home."
There's a big difference between a step and a leap. The Broncos are 3-3, but four of their next six games are on the road. The two home games are against the Packers and Tennessee. So good luck with that.
Ha! Gene scoffs at your ambitions, Broncos. Why even show up for those games? Might as well save yourself the bumps, bruises, and airfare and just stay home.
"We know we're a championship-caliber team," Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams said. "Definitely a playoff team."
If that's a promise and a prediction, the Broncos need someone other than Elam to win games.
Lord knows no one else has helped them to those three victories. That's why they call football "the sport determined by kickers and kickers alone, unless you're the Patriots, in which case you're 53 guys working as one towards a common goal."
Otherwise, this city could become the unthinkable.
A Rockies town.
As if Gene cares which of their teams Denver residents like most at any given time.
Gene Wojciechowski is the senior national columnist for ESPN.com.
You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He co-authored Jerome Bettis' autobiography, "The Bus: My Life In and Out of a Helmet," which is available now.
Could this be the source of the sour grapes tone in this article? Because he wrote a biography of a former Steeler? I'd like to think so. The only other guess I can come up with is Gene was told by his editor on Sunday evening that he's not allowed to write anything about Lou Pinella for the next 5 months. This upset him, so as a result he decided to make himself feel better by journalistically shitting all over whichever team won the Sunday Night Football game that was happening when he received the news.
A quick Amazing Kreskin impression:
The words of Dallas Stars Color Commentator and official blogger Daryl Reaugh.
*tears open envelope*
Three things to use if out you're out of Charmin. HEY-OH!
Let's get down to business here. He's a ignoramus and I'm here to spell out why. His latest catastrophe is all about teams other than the Dallas Stars having a terrible message to send to people in their building. This, despite the fact that American Airlines Center has a Mariloff Diamond Ring showroom in the suites. No single event says "buy jewelry" quite like being at a game.
Here are some nuggets from the various venues where hockey, or some reasonable facsimile of the grand game, is played.
Nuggets indeed. We're in 100% agreement right now. Can we get together today?
The Sharks PR department was again busy last week, this time polishing the apple for their arena naming rights holder Hewlett Packard. A memo was sent out to all broadcasters imploring them to use the name "HP Pavilion at San Jose" when referring to the Sharks home rink instead of the popular and colorful "Shark Tank".
Guess not. I would imagine that a hockey team has a busy PR department every day during the regular season, with handling appearances, ticket donation requests, and shuffling away people who want interviews. I would also assume that the people who that the press to refer to the HP Pavilion as just that is, oh... I don't know, the company that paid $3.1 million a year until 2016 to have it named that.
Ironically, just days after the preachy e-mail HP Pavilion suffered a power outage that delayed the start of the Sharks-Bruins game. No word on whether they merely rebooted or switched the name to "Hand Written Note Pavilion at San Jose". (Suggestion to SJ PR; on hockey game nights clear it with Hewy Packard and call it "The HP Shark Tank". That'd be a nice little win-win for you little propaganda artists.)
Isn't irony used incorrectly here? I'm not a huge stickler for grammar or anything - - as I'm sure my fragments, run-ons, misspellings, and splices have shown - - but there's no irony here. Coincidence, yes. Maybe if the arena went out late at night and got a name change and then they had sent out the e-mail I would have been laughing.
The reason it's called HP Pavilion? Because that's a popular brand of laptops, Razor. It's not just a sexified Silicon Valley name for a building.
Suggestion to color commentators: Call it "HP Shark Tank" and sound like an uneducated yokel from Dallas.
Columbus has introduced a Civil War era cannon that is fired off whenever the Bluejackets score a goal. Its really friggin' loud, maybe too loud. Thank goodness Hitchcock's BJs
offense has the sting of a moth and the lethality of squirt gun so it'll probably only be heard once or twice a night and then promptly followed by the announcement - "Columbus goal scored by number 61 Rick Nash"...
In four home games, the Dallas Stars - Razor's employer - have 14 goals. Columbus: 11. That puts them just shy of the league average of 2.87 goals/game. The civil war cannon should clear up once and for all what their team name means.
In Chicago Frank Pellico endures and delights on Hawk game nights as his fingers dance across the keys of that throaty pipe organ. There's just something about organ music and hockey that seems a marriage made for eternity. And its a welcome respite from the audio flogging fans get at every whistle. There is nothing more jarringly artificial than "cuts" from pop music followed by complete silence (or what the league refers to as "Continuous Action"). Take that 11 seconds of Maroon 5 played at a shockingly high volume and cram it in an orifice.
I've never heard Maroon 5 at a hockey game. Ever. Not even during warm ups when players choose the music. Music people at hockey games look to entertain with jokes. Player has long hair? Give the fans Aerosmith's Dude (Looks Like a Lady.) Is it Christmas? Show the other team's coach or a referee on the video board and play "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch."
Next topic, "Kiss Cam". I don't know what frustrated and voyeristic cupid started this but enough. The NHL did away with "sister kissers" when they introduced the shootout, I suggest the public displays of spit swapping or "tonsil hockey" get retooled as well. In its stead may I suggest "Fight Cam"?
What pro sports team doesn't have a kiss cam? It's an easy way to have a commercial break sponsored. I can remember the Avalanche putting Doug Weight and Scott Mellanby on their kiss cam and getting fined for it back in 2001. Weight kissed Mellanby and the fans laughed it up in Denver. Fans love Kiss Cam. Or a team can go with your idea and encourage fans to have misdemeanor assault charges pressed against them. Sounds like a great idea. The team wouldn't get in any trouble at all.
The Predators have once again spearheaded an early season trend that appears to have been adopted by almost every building in the NHL - empty seats.
Only 4 teams are below 80% capacity, and Nashville isn't one of them. Technically there are 5, but New Jersey hasn't played a home game yet. I can't say ESPN's numbers are entirely correct. 19,150 is capacity for the Blues, so that would put attendance at 100% with 3 announced sellouts.
At the Pengrowth Saddle Dome (see San Jose PR, synergy) in Calgary they ignite a couple natural gas flames to celebrate goals. When they go on the road they must forget to pack an igniter cause, like unlit gas, they stink.
Flames on the road this year: 2-1-1
Stars on the road: 1-2-1
If he's going back to last year, I can see his point (13-20-8,) but why bring it up now?
Here in Dallas I have no issues. We have good people risking lives, taking grenades in an effort to entertain you the fan in the off-chance that the hockey team does not.
I haven't been to a Stars game this year, but if they're using live ammunition this year I'm not going. I've only been to 2 Stars games in their new building. It's a shame, because they really do put on a good show and the arena is beautiful. More so if you're in the market for jewelry AND Mark Cuban flipping his shit over a call.
And besides, wouldn't the world be a much better place if we all paused for a few minutes each day and played a robust round of "Mystery Moustache"?!
I'll bite... let's put this in a real world scenario.
Listen Iraq, I know we came into your country and you don't really like us right now, but let's play "Mystery Moustache" real quick.
I don't think it'll work.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Alas, since I'm not an "insider", I can't actually see the damn thing. What a tragedy. You can imagine, though, how awful it is. I'll have to settle for ripping the teaser line attached to the article on ESPN's front page.
It's been a tough week for the fans. OK, a tough decade.
Yeah, the '00s have been really rough for those Yankee fans. Seriously... only one championship? A measly three pennants? Only six division titles, and seven playoff appearances? IN SEVEN WHOLE YEARS? How are those fans coping? I hope they're getting by OK. Someone needs to organize a letter writing campaign for them, similar to the kind of thing people usually do for soldiers overseas. I know it would take a big effort, but anything that helps those lovable and unfortunate people get over the atrocious performance of their baseball team is worth it.
Will they have reason to smile anytime soon?
Probably not. Why would they? It's not like their team has any means by which they can acquire better players. They're pretty much stuck with the guys they've got. Their resources are pretty limited.
One man says yes.
That man is writing an article that might have the most ridiculous premise I've ever heard.
So the Red Sox finished off their comeback tonight, and defeated the Indians in a semi-thrilling game 7 of the ALCS. They'll open play in the Fall Classic against the Rockies this Wednesday. Game 1 starters will be Josh Beckett and Jeff Francis.
But let's cut to the real issue here: how does this affect the Yankees and their search to replace Joe Torre? Furthermore- how does it affect Torre and his availability for giving interviews for puff pieces this coming week?
I expect a 14 minute Sportscenter segment answering these and other crucial Torre/Yankees related questions tomorrow.
Just a couple weird things, just in the first inning....I'll be adding them as I see fit. That's right folks, I'm LIVEBLOGGING. Because it's live, all quotes are not exact, but close!
1) McCarver: They've been saying Grady Sizemore is Superman. It looks like Superman has lost his cape!
Ooh.....sorry Tim. The obligatory reference we were looking for was "Kryptonite".
2) McCarver: When you get 2 strikes on the batter, the advantage definitely swings to the pitcher
Update: This is lame. 5th inning, Boston winning, McCarver not ridiculous. These things need to change.
3) McCarver: And as you can see, Lofton was held up, because Skinner, the 3rd base coach, and as you can see this is a fair ball.
Quite the sentence, eh?
4) Tim McCarver just argued that Joel Skinner made the wrong move in holding Kenny Lofton because a) a double play followed and b) Franklin Gutierrez would still be on 2nd if Lofton was out.
The correctness of the decision to send a runner home is apparently independent of whether or not he is likely to be safe or out.
***End of 7th***
5) I'd like it if someone checked me on this, but it sounded like Joe Buck just said that Skinner, the 3rd base coach, was responsible for Lofton being thrown out (assuming he wasn't actually safe) earlier in the game.
Also, a serious question....with the Red Sox rookies playing very well in this game, can we still expect to see articles about the Indians' lack of postseason experience costing them if they don't wind up winning?
The Red Sox fans are chanting "M-V-P" for Mike Lowell. That's a joke, right?
Apparently the Red Sox and Indians are playing GAME SEVEN OF THE ALCS AT FENWAY AND THE GREEN MONSTER!!! Seriously, they are playing at FENWAY where the Red Sox have MADE MAGIC HAPPEN BEFORE. I don't know if you guys read or saw about this, so I'd thought I'd inform you.
The best thing that could happen in this game would be an ending that leads to Bill Simmons hanging himself.
Here's what I hope happens:
Bottom of the 9th. Two Outs. Red Sox down 8-4. Bases loaded for JD Drew: 0-2 count. Drew smashes a grand slam to tie the game up and send it to extra innings.
Fast forward to the bottom of the 15th. Indians up 9-8. David "king of clutch" Ortiz comes up with the bases juiced, nobody out and a 3-0 count. Ortiz then grounds into a game/series/season ending triple play.
This way, even the patriots couldn't save Simmons from himself.
We can only pray.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
It's a quickie from Mariotti's 24/7 EXCLUSIVE ONLINE COLUMN DUUUDES!
Torre would revive fading Sox
No. Good players and centerfielders not named Jerry would revive fading Sox. Signing A-Rod. Getting Rowand back. These things. Not Torre.
If the White Sox hired Joe Torre, I'd like their chances of winning 90 games next year.
For those of you new to this site, this sentence is why us crazies believe that Jay Mariotti should be fired on the spot.
Considering the best White Sox are either in their prime or past it (and their young players have very little upside), an extra year of aging would peg the same team to do a little worse this year. This means that Jay Mariotti thinks that Joe Torre's handwriting on the lineup sheet is worth more than 18 wins.
He would re-focus them, lead them like men, manage with dignity and end the circus-like silliness that has dogged this team the last season and a half.
Ah, there's the issue. Jerry Owens isn't bad at baseball....he's just not focused! Juan Uribe doesn't walk because he thinks he's in the circus! Jose Contreras can't get people out because he's not being led like a man! Bravo sir, nail on the head!
Torre would turn underachievement
*exact, spot-on, predicted achievement.
into purpose and have the Sox right back in contention, even with the Indians and Tigers in the same division.
The Indians are better at every position except right field, (Dye > Gutierrez) first base (Konerko > Garko) and third base (healthy Crede > Blake). Thome vs Hafner is essentially a wash over past 3 years. Indians have better starters, Indians have a better bullpen.
The Tigers are better everywhere but first (Konerko > Casey), DH (Thome > Iron Sheff) and left (Fields > black hole). Inge v Crede is basically a wash. The Tigers have better starters, the Tigers have a better bullpen.
None of this matters because the Sox would have: Torre.
But, oh, I forgot. They gave Ozzie Guillen an extension through 2012.
Rats. They did? You should write a really bad article about that sometime.
Torre is class. Torre is a winner who won four World Series championships and six American League pennants.
Torre won them. Not Jeter, not Bernie, not Posada, not Pettitte, not Mariano, not Scotty-B (looool!), not Tino, not D-Cone, the Rocket, Spence, or Chuck Knobby-knees. It was all because of Torre's winnery-ness.
Torre is a good man who made the clubhouse a comfortable place for most players, a near-impossibility in New York.
For this he deserves credit, but he is not worth 20 wins.
Torre is a no-nonsense professional who completely would transform the image of the franchise from the current tone of immature, hot-tempered, blustery idiocy.
It's ironic because most of Jay's writing can be classified under one or more of the following: (1) immature, (2) hot-tempered, (3) blustery idiocy. This one is just (3). My favorite example of (1) was when he devoted an entire column to talking about how some comedian called Rex Grossman a "retarded vagina".
But, oh, I forgot. They gave Ozzie Guillen an extension through 2012.
Heard you the first time. Jay is under the false pretense that repeating the same sarcasm makes his writing better.
Someone will hire Torre to manage. It was time for him to go in New York, but not before he showed us the size of his heart by pulling a Johnny Paycheck and telling George Steinbrenner and Sons, ``Take this job and shove it.'' Shame on the Steinbrenner clan for first making Torre twist in the wind, then offering him a paycut after all his fine duties in reaching the playoffs 12 straight years. How wonderful to see Torre prioritize pride over pinstripes and pay. After all those years of maniacally firing managers -- to be precise, 20 changes between 1973 and 1995, including Billy Martin more times than we can count -- The Boss and his kids had it shoved up their tails. A lot of people lived vicariously through the gumption of Torre, the first manager ever to fire Steinbrenner.
Can someone check some sports news sites and see if any of this actually happened? I've been watching ESPN for 3 days straight and I haven't heard a thing about it.
I'd love to have that kind of man's man on the South Side.
But, oh, I forgot. They gave Ozzie Guillen an extension through 2012.
For the love of shit. Ozzie doesn't hit. He doesn't pitch. He doesn't field. There aren't any plays to draw up in baseball. All he does is decide when to bunt (poorly), decide who bats where in the order (poorly), and decide when to pull certain pitchers to insert certain others (very well). He's not a good manager. He's also 0% of the reason the White Sox took a dive. Got it?
I suppose we should have a parade at this point. This is the first article Jay has written about the White Sox in months that did NOT make a nonsensical reference to July 2, 2006!
Friday, October 19, 2007
The Big Lead is reporting that Rick Reilly is leaving Sports Illustrated. Assuming it's true, what a fantastic turn of events for the publication! I really enjoy SI. In general I think it makes for great dentist office waiting room reading material. But I've always maintained that the one way they could make it even better would be to stop filling up the back page with mindless drivel made up of single sentence paragraphs and puns that wouldn't make the cut for Laffy Taffy wrappers. I'm OK with puff pieces; but his come off as heiniously preachy. And there may not be a better example anywhere in sports journalism of someone who is not nearly as clever as they think they are. More than anything, I would describe his style of prose as awkward. Seriously, Rick. You're a travesty. His nephew went to my high school, so they got him to speak at our fall athletic banquet my sophomore year. I'm happy to report he is even less entertaining in person than he is in print.
The sad part: popular opinion/conventional wisdom on this is going to be that it's a "big loss" for SI. In fact, The Big Lead says so in different words in their post. Are people like this reading the same Rick Reilly as I am? Just because hordes of stupid people love something heartwarming doesn't make it good. (See: popular comic strips, such as "For Better or For Worse" or "Baby Blues") There are literally a hundred sportswriters out there who, given the kind of access Reilly has to big time athletes, could do a waaaaaay better job than Rick. I'm already looking forward to reading the work of whoever replaces him. The kind of people who think Reilly won't easily be replaced are the kind of people who think Jay Mariotti is clever and informative.
It's noon on a Friday and I notice "SportsCenter Special" is on the screen. What is it for? The Yankees. Joe Torre not signing with the Yankees. In the middle of Rockies vs. Indians/Red Sox, there is somehow hours of Yankees coverage. Honest to God - it's called SportsCenter Special: 2007 Yankees The End of an Era Take a look.
If this is the new direction of 'This is SportsCenter' ads, then you can count me out. How is this any better than the repeat of the west coast show? At least then I could have seen highlights of the Rutgers/USF game... instead I'll have to watch FSN's Final Score.
The ALCS is still going on. I know nobody is really watching ESPN in the middle of the day, but c'mon. I'm watching in a bar and there's no volume or captioning, so I borrowed a computer and TiVoed it on over the internet. Here's the best of the best of what I heard from Joe Torre's news conference.
All times are central.
1:17 pm - and not very important - The TiVo was awakened from recording a suggested recording of Card Sharks to record. I join the press conference in progress, which is a shame. I really wanted to hear what was said when I was in the bar.
1:20 pm - Budd Mishkan, NY1 - "We've seen some strange things from the Yankees in years past. Managers fired, then the decision is reconsidered in the next couple days. Billy Martin was announced at an Oldtimers day a couple days after he was fired. I know it's a long shot, but in the next couple of days, they reconsider for whatever reason would you or is the door absolutely shut?"
I bring this up not because of how confusing the question seems at the end there, but what's on the screen. TheBottomLine has JOE TORRE STATISTICS scrolling along the bottom instead of who will play tonight and a meaningless stat about that match up or a player in that game. Moments later, the SportsCenter Pièce de résistance of live action split screen with vaguely related stat gives us Longest Tenured GM/Manager. No doubt that somewhere in Bristol, makers of these stat screens were sitting at the screen like parents at a children's beauty pageant. Quickly, they pace around a control room hoping that something is asked that kind of resembles their stat so that THEY get picked. Sure it's interesting that the four longest GM/Manager relationships all broke up this year, but maybe it's time that they moved on. I'm sure there are other managers looking for a GM out there. Better managers. Managers with feelings. And a boat.
1:23 - Amy Nelson, ESPN.com - "What is it that you're going to miss most about being manager of the Yankees?"
Hard hitting questions today. I can name a couple of the things that I would miss about being a manager:
Bottomless buckets of bubble gun and sunflower seeds.
Being the only coach that wears a uniform, therefore being the only coach allowed on the field in all of sports.
But let's see how Joe answers:
"Well, spring training is wonderful. Even though George'd never agree with me, I said spring training is great because you don't have to win games."
...and then he talks out of the side of his mouth, waiting for uproarious laughter from the press. Nothing. Boy, tough crowd. Maybe something a little blue will crack them up yet, Joe. Quick, SAVE IT!
"...but that didn't always sell on my part. I had a lot of fun with it though. The thing I'm gonna miss most are the players... I mean, the players and the game itself... uh... and my coaches. That was the most fun for me."
Well I guess I missed the mark. He could have two of the three of those things with a fantasy team and MLB Extra Innings.
1:30pm - Joe Torre: "I know Brian [Cashman] as General Manager has a lot of balls to keep in the air at the same time. As fas as I'm concerned it's pretty simple..."
A little out of context, juvenile quoting for you. I was actually typing the intro when I heard that and pressed pause so I could get right back to it.
1:34 pm - CJ Papa, TV55: "What was it like for you this morning when you woke up knowing you were not the manager of the Yankees anymore?"
Torre at the Improv: "Well, you know, it wasn't that tough. I mean, which time when I woke up?"
Torre brings out the laughs with incontinence. I really hope there's a follow-up question coming from NY1 that involves holding a lead. CJ Papa hiccups into the microphone laughing. Torre is probably kicking himself that he forgot his fart machine. That thing would have killed.
1:37 pm - Bob Wolf, News 12: "All of the sudden, the Yankee front office seems to believe that a 3 out of 5 series is more important than a 162 game campaign. Have you ever been able to convince them that it's just a matter of luck, you're going to do a short series like that?
Let me check real quick... nope, they still play a postseason. That would make a 3 out of 5 series more important than a 162 season. It would appear winning the regular season didn't get the Yankees a championship.
1:47 - Back to the studio, where we are told to tune to ESPNews
What's interesting about this is the last question that aired on ESPN was from ESPN, then they cut away. The studio crew takes us to the top of the hour, where the coverage is accidentally summed up by Karl Ravech as he throws it to Buster Olney to close it all out.
"Let's get Buster in here quickly. We had Donald Trump talk about the early 70s and we know how they struggled in the 80s. What crossroads do you think the next 6 months will be for the Yankees?"
That's right. To talk about baseball, ESPN called Donald Trump. They can bring in an endless parade of sports writers to be talking heads. But somebody said "GET ME DONALD TRUMP!" and it was so.