Thursday, July 31, 2008

Obligatory Day-After-White-Sox-Make-A-Trade Post

The Man Whose Columns I Shall Not Link is making noise again. I have made many of my posts on this site in the wee hours of the A.M. For undisclosed reasons, making posts at this time is probably going to end with this one. So this is it. I'm going to pull up a nice bag of Wheat Thins, get comfy in this chair in my sweatpants, and watch Jay Mariotti delay my sleeping hours for one last time.

Griffey's presence will help, but White Sox still flawed

Couldn't be more giddy. Talks about how Griffey physically being there is more valuable than him doing anything baseball-wise.

Please understand this: The White Sox are not getting the first-ballot Hall of Famer, the Ken Griffey Jr. once endorsed for president by Nike, the phenom who scaled fences and blasted home runs in flurries and defined the essence of the five-tool stud.

::gathers up every person in the state of Illinois::

Sit down everyone. Now listen carefully. If any of you think that the Ken Griffey Jr. that is coming to the White Sox is anywhere near as good as the Ken Griffey Jr. from say, 10, even 5 years ago, please stand up.

::no one moves::

Useful first sentence, Jay!

Please know they're getting Griffey in his 38-year-old twilight, the Griffey who hasn't played center field regularly since 2006, the Griffey who has gained weight, the Griffey who wasn't coveted by anyone but Ken Williams.

Coveted? He sent away a fringe middle reliever and a 2B who seems to be on the verge of washing out. I would have been worried if either of those guys was of any importance, but clearly, this was just a move that required absolutely no risk to make.

What they're looking for is some stability in center, some power in the No. 6 hole and a way to demote Paul Konerko, whose mysterious demise no longer is tolerable. But the Mark Teixiera trade, this is not.

No shit.

A plan-another-parade trade, this is not. If the Sox truly were gunning for another championship, they would have thought bigger, bolder and younger -- and also would have addressed their pitching, defense and speed issues.

I would love to see Jay Mariotti be a GM! It would be so much fun!

Jay Mariotti: What's out there on that market! We need to get power, pitching, defense and speed, right away!

Assistant: Well, there's several good candidates out there, but....

Jay Mariotti: But WHAT? Let's get them!

Assistant: Well, you traded away your farm system last year in the "Bigger, Bolder and Younger" campaign last year.

Jay Mariotti: Nonsense! There has to be someone good still playing down in the minors for us to deal.....

Assistant: No, I mean you literally traded away your farm system. We don't even have any minor league teams anymore.

Jay Mariotti: When the fuck did I do that? What do we even have to show for it?

Assistant: The guys you've been whining about acquiring for what seems like forever! Mark Teixeira, Torii Hunter, Dwyane Wade, Derek Anderson, and Coco Crisp. Sir.....a couple of those men don't even play baseball....are you sure that you know what you're doing here?

Jay Mariotti: Duh! Appeasing insatiable blowhard columnists! That's what general managers do, right?

Assistant: Sir, Wade just threw his 8th wild pitch of this game.

Jay Mariotti: Piss off already.

In failing to land Huston Street or another reliever, Williams leaves the Sox scarily vulnerable in the bullpen.

Because he didn't want to trade away Aaron Poreda, a man whose existence I'm quite sure you're unaware of.

They are not, in other words, going to win another World Series this year.

Uh oh, Jay's busting out the crystal ball again! Might I remind you that there is no possible way you can say that with confidence?

The Sox remain a big, plodding, muscular team that hits for power -- Carlos Quentin, Jermaine Dye, Jim Thome, Griffey, Joe Crede when he returns -- but has trouble manufacturing runs any other way.

The White Sox have scored 539 big, plodding, muscular runs this season. That's some good ploddin' lemme tells ya. Good for third in the AL, it is. But they haven't produced any runs from their Run Factory Manufacturing Production Plant System Depot Building For Manufacturing Runs. Which would be a concern, except, IT DOESN'T MATTER HOW THE FUCK YOU SCORE YOUR RUNS AS LONG AS YOU SCORE THEM!

They'd be great in Home Run Derby. A recipe for glory, it is not.

Do I have to bring up the 2006 Cardinals again? I do, don't I? The recipe for glory involves things like Scott Spezio and Jeff Weaver. The White Sox have....Griffey. Nope, not on the list, sorry.

Do give Williams props in one respect, though. He senses a good story, an opportunity for an all-time great to revitalize his career in a pennant race and reach down for a big homer here, an important catch there while offering a daily clubhouse reminder that he never has played in the Series.

That's what Williams is trying to do! He sure doesn't care if he wins playoff games, but dadgummit, it's a good story!

The Angels clearly became the team to beat in October with their dynamic acquisition of Teixiera, whose power production answers their only deficiency.

Apparently playing Maicer Izturis and Jeff Mathis every day doesn't qualify as a "deficiency".

Every team has problems. The Angels aren't infallible or anything.

But at least Williams gave his ballclub an impetus to outlast the Twins and Tigers in the American League Central. Maybe Sox players who wear 2005 rings, and aren't necessarily driven to win another, will feed off the motivation to win for Junior.

I challenge you to find one player on the Chicago White Sox that does not want to win a World Series very badly. It's not like I have some sort of proof that they all do. It's just that I'm calling you out on having no clue what the hell you're talking about.

Maybe everyday players who are struggling or don't inspire confidence -- Konerko, Nick Swisher, Brian Anderson -- will be inspired to perform now that a legend is bumping their playing time.

Apparently, logging 139 ABs through the end of July without any DL stints earns you the title of "everyday player" in Jay's mind.

I mean, this is Ken Griffey Jr. Can't he help just by being around?


"One of the things that factored into this was a guy who has had a great career but has not won a championship and how motivated he's going to be to get on that stage," Williams said. "That is a factor and will always be a factor for me."

Or, as Swisher told the media in Minnesota, "I just think there's a lot of added things he can bring. I mean, I had posters of that guy on my wall growing up. So I think it's going to be an awesome thing for all of us."

This is all very nice to include, Jay. But somehow, I don't think Griffey never having won a World Series or the number of posters of Griffey that Nick Swisher had in his room growing up really have any effect. Just a hunch.....

And the rotation has become a roulette wheel, with Jose Contreras reduced to limbo, Mark Buehrle and Javier Vazquez not performing like aces and too much riding on young John Danks and Gavin Floyd, neither of whom has pitched in a pennant race.

Number of 2007 Colorado Rockies starting pitchers that had previously pitched in a pennant race: 0.

I am so sick of people making a big fucking deal out of whether someone has pitched in a pennant race before. It's the same game with the same rules on April 15th as it is on September 13th.

What the Griffey deal does, I suppose, is pacify the Blizzard of Oz and save his liver, at least for a day or two.

If this is the main function of the Griffey deal, Kenny Williams not only needs to be fired, but he should be legally forced to suck Jay Mariotti's balls as well.

Indeed, no promises have been made to Griffey about next year or the $16 million. He is here to win a World Series.

Too bad I can't say the same about the Sox.

Yes, "too bad." You clearly want them to win very badly.


Don't Believe Anything You Hear from a GM

An ordinary day here in Cincinnati. I wake up, ease into my morning, glance through the local rag. In it, I find out that Walt Jocketty's got a few soundbites for us:

"I'd be surprised if something happens," he said. "It's been pretty quiet. I've called some teams just to talk. But everyone's saying it's quiet."

I wonder what happened when Walt called Kenny Williams "just to talk". Maybe they talked about the Reds emulating the recent smash-success promotion the White Sox held on July 19. (I was there. It was great.). Maybe Walt called him just to talk about how their bitchy wives just didn't understand why the trade deadline was so important. I can just hear Kenny: "I don't know how many times I have to explain the waiver system to her, she just doesn't get it! She just keeps asking 'Why can't you just let that guy go play somewhere else?'"

Maybe they called to talk about trading the most high-profile player the Reds have ever had.

"To trade a player away from our team, we'd have to get someone who would help us in the future," Jocketty said.

Well, I'm not sure a shortstop with a minor-league OPS of .779 and a left-handed pitcher with a minor-league record of 31-49 and a WHIP of 1.46 are going to help the Reds a whole lot in the future, barring some Rookie of the Year accidents for these gentlemen.

Let's keep in mind that I'm not really opposed to this trade; I just thought that the general public should be aware that 97% of what comes out of a general manager's mouth is space-filling bullshit.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fine. I'll Do This Myself

So I'm pretty tired and my brain's fried and I want to go to bed, and I'm sure you really really care about my personal state of mind. But anyway, I tried to get Larry to do this article, but he wouldn't respond to my g-chat. However, this article must be done (to the extent, of course, that it can be considered essential for us knuckleheads to entertain one another). So I'll do it myself, I suppose.

Anyway, Ray Ratto--a man who looks like a walrus--wrote an article about the California Angels.

Hark! The not-so-heralded Angels swing, pitch, win in obscurity

So earlier today, I posted what I thought was the absolute nadir of bad sports journalism headline puns when some copy editor, titling a brief on Amani Toomer showing up late for camp, referenced Arnold Schwarzenegger and tired obvious homonyms all in one brisk swoop with the bon mot "Not a Toomer."

That, my friends, was delightfully, tragically, preposterously bad.

This is just retarded. It gets worse:

It must be galling for the kids back east to discover that the best team in baseball isn't the Yankees, Red Sox, White Sox, Cubs, Mets or Nationals.

Fortunately, through the powers of rationalization, the fans of those teams can always say, "Well, we'll see how they do in October," or "Well, who has the World Series trophy now?" or "Yeah, well, where's your NFL team?"

There's a million things that can be said about the first paragraph but I'd like to focus on the casual dismissal of these extremely relevant questions Ratto discards in the latter paragraph here.

--"Well, we'll see how they do in October"

Totally ridiculous retort. I mean, the team with the best regular season record is more or less guaranteed to win the world series. And of all teams, the Angels are a slam dunk. I mean, they've never looked bad in the postseason before, right?

--"Well, who has the World Series trophy now?"

Presumably this comes from Red Sox fans, otherwise it JUST PLAIN DOESN'T MAKE SENSE.

Can you imagine a Yankees fan taunting an Angels fan like this?

Angels fan: "Hey Tony, guess who's got the best record in baseball?"
Yanks fan: "Oh yeah, Cody-Jonathan, well WHO HAS THE WORLD SERIES TROPHY NOW?"
Cody-Jonathan (Angels fans have silly names): "....Boston?"

*Tony the Yankees fan is sad*

At any rate who DOES have the trophy now? Certainly not the Angels. And until they start giving out WS trophies in August to the team with the best record in baseball, I wouldn't fault any Red Sox fan who gives this retort.

--"Yeah? Where's your NFL team?"

Well...where is it, LA? There's really no excuse for a major city to be unable to sustain an NFL team...but that's another story.

More from Ratto:

Truth is, though, The The Angels Angels of Anaheim -- as their name is translated from the Spanish "The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim" -- have been stealthing their way to the top for some time now, despite not having the kind of glittering peripheral statistics that blind mathematicians, the kind of helpful geography that the earth's rotation defeats with every fresh spin, or even the glamour of fans who beat up other fans for having the wrong license plates.

I feel lame picking this shit apart. Really. I mean I could point out all this crap like "translating the name of a city is stupid" or "expecting people to be impressed by your ability to speak rudimentary Spanish is pathetic" or point out how the LAA are really fucking lucky this year, or point out that heralding LAA fans for not beating each other up ignores the fact that LA fans are the worst fans in sports....

but really it's ridiculous. This is one of those articles that's just plain retarded and I really am too fucking exhausted to deal with this. Here are some choice selections SIC. Imagine I'm saying something really bitter after every one of them. The "jokes" kind of write themselves, I suppose.

The Angels don't have the pure insanity of Red Sox Nation, the hypercritical narcissism of Steinbrenner Nation, the gift for self-absorption of Mets Nation, the "It's Our Turn To Win Because Everyone Loves Us" delusion of Cubs Nation, the Ozzie Guillen-ness of Guillen Nation, or the staggering historical incompetence of Nationals ... er, Nation. last editorial--what is up with this guy and the Nationals. He mentioned them in the first sentence of the paragraph as a team that the East Coast wanted to win. Now he mentions them among the other formidable franchises most likely because he was amused with some gay ass pun he made up.

I guess I just answered my own question...but it was rhetorical anyway. The fucking Nationals. Seriously. This is a major fucking sports website, not the fucking Washington Courier Sentinal Shopper Quarterly.

Of course, it could all go hideously south, which given the current state of the Padres probably isn't all that apt an analogy. Frankie Rodriguez, who has 138 saves this year, could break down. Teixeira could come just in time for Vladimir Guerrero to go into a slump. One of their starting pitchers could come up arm-lame. Manager Mike Scioscia could decide to retire and learn the accordion

One last note. I promise. I think he meant "Angels" not Padres. Although, maybe he meant Padres. I don't know.

Man....I just can't avoid commenting on these...they're so bad they go beyond bad.

But the realization that 2T3A -- oh, hell, they're just the Angels, no matter what we try to do for them -- were better positioned for glory than the more glamorous teams force-fed to us on a daily basis was, in and of itself, a triumph, because one of the great faults of the 24/7 sports news cycle is that it fills itself not with more coverage of everyone, but with too much coverage of the same old stuff.

See Favre, Brett. See Ramirez, Manny.

Tuesday, Favre learned to use a fax machine, and Ramirez didn't run out a couple of balls. This was the big-deal news of the day, at least for anyone not emotionally invested in Tim Donaghy's new summer job.

The Angels, who have only won two of every three games since May 17, had to come to Boston, trade for Teixeira and nearly get a no-hitter from John Lackey to get people to say, "Hey, look what I found!"

(a) The Angels are blessed with their facelessness;
(b) You cannot teach old dogs to sniff out new dogs, media-wise;

They're just not having to deal with the same levels of daily idiocy, and anyone who thinks that doesn't improve your day is, well, an idiot.

They don't have anyone coining phrases like, "That's just Izturis being Izturis." They don't have Arte Moreno coming out every week or so saying things like, "If we don't start winning, I will see to it that my starting outfield is flayed alive on Old-Timers Day," like H. Piehole Steinbrenner. They don't have a cult of Scioscia the way there are cults of Piniella or Guillen. They don't have the Mets' desperate need to be noticed.

And they don't have whatever it is the Nationals have, to their great relief.

They are just a very good baseball team that is too nondescript to hold the attention of the ravenous obsessives for too long -- once they get out of Yankee Stadium this Sunday, they can go back to their lives, while Brett Favre and Manny Ramirez torture you with theirs.

See? Everyone wins in the end. Except, of course, the Nationals. There are some things not even nature can overcome.

I'm sorry about the haphazard, scattered nature of this post. I'm absolutely exhausted and I knew if I didn't post this I would forget to tomorrow.

But seriously, I know this is probably a phrase bandied about a lot here* but this is legitimately the worst article I've ever read. I've seen articles that were poorly written. And I've seen articles with worse analysis than this. But this is like the ultimate hodgepodge of crappery I've ever seen--awful writing, nightmarishly bad structure, a stupid nonentity of the topic ("der...da angelz is good even do they is not da yankees"), absolutely lame jokes.

I know. I know. That's the worst article I've ever read and this is the worst post YOU'VE ever read.

Fair enough. But Ratto's article still sucks.

*phrase not bandied about nearly enough here: "bandied about"

Rick Reilly Is a Proffesional Sports Writer

Rick Reilly is paid makes around a million bucks a year as a sports journalist and enjoys a celebrity status held by few others in his industry. He also hates people who write on blogs, as they do not have the perspective and access to write the in-depth pieces that he produces. With hard hitting articles like this one, it's hard not to agree with him:

My Favorite Olympic Sport? Translating the Anthems.

Facial IOC, total facial.

Here come the Olympics, when we are reminded of the unquenchable spirit of the athlete, the true fellowship of nations through sport—and the Spam-brained quality of most national anthems.

National anthems are anachronistic holdovers from an ugly part of world history. No one need spend any amount of time analyzing them.

It's so sad when bad anthems happen to good countries. America, for one. Ours goes up and down so many octaves only certain German shepherds can hear all of it.

Really sticking your neck out there, Rick.

Andorra. I look forward with great zeal to the day when a 350-pound Andorran shot-putter with phone booths for arms stands on the podium and sings: "I was born a princess, a maiden!" Hey, with today's medical breakthroughs, it's possible.

A man singing a line as if he was a woman? LOLZ!

Ukraine. I love it because it asks so little. The first line: "Ukraine has not perished." I call that managing national expectations: "We're not dead, okay? Give us that."

1. I'm sure that as with all these anthems, the translations are not perfect. My guess would be "perished" is translated from a word that doesn't exist in English.
2. Just off the top of my head, Ukraine has been under the brutal oppression of the following countries: The Mongolian Horde, Tsarist Russia, Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, and Soviet Russia again. So the fact that Ukraine has survived is actually a pretty big deal.
3. You rip on their anthem for bragging about its nation's survival, whilst our anthem brags about a battle that we didn't win (we survived an attack) in a war that we pretty much lost (War of 1812, Washington was burned to the ground).

This anthem is played each day at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. It declares, "Every inch of Thailand belongs to the Thais." Odd.

Yeah, not a lot of disputes going on in the world over land and which nation has legitimate claim to it. Not Cyprus, the Balkans, Northern Ireland. Nowhere .

Was anyone under the impression it belonged to Diddy?

Obligatory reference to Sean Combs to prove article is topical - check.

Algeria. "We have taken the noise of gunpowder as our rhythm and the sound of machine guns as our melody." This is why no one invites your band anywhere.

That is kind of funny.

Sweden. Here is a national anthem that has almost nothing to do with the country it honors. It's mostly about the Nordic way of life. Swedes are like that. Once, at an Olympic soccer game, I listened to Swedish fans chanting and singing. Finally, I asked one what they were urging their players to do. "The players?" she said. "We simply chant: 'We are from Sweden, we have come a long way and we are drunk!'"

Hey, this has nothing to with the topic I've laid out, but this one time this Swedish person told me about a hilarious phrase they were chanting.

China. The Chinese change their national anthem about every other Tuesday, but the latest, approved in 2004, talks about putting up a "new Great Wall!" If I'm Chinese, and I'm looking at the 4,500-mile one that took 19 centuries to build, I'm thinking, Look, we'll do a Good Wall, but Great? No way.

Why oh why did no one consider Rick Reilly for replacing Leno?

The national anthem of Spain is easy to learn. It contains no words. Don't you wish the same could be said of Imus?

Don't you wish Don Imus didn't contain any words? Holy shit that makes a lot of sense.

Hate to admit it, but France's "La Marseillaise" is very good. Remember how it drowned out the Nazis in Casablanca?

Remember in that fictional movie about a story that never happened, when that song drowned out the Nazis? It totally ruled!

(Watch out Simmons)

The best, though, is Great Britain's "God Save the Queen."

It's embarrassing for Andorrans to sing "I was born a princess, a maiden," but not for England, a country stereotyped for effemine acting men, to say "God save the QUEEN." Just throwing it out there.

For catchiness it ranks only slightly behind "It's a Small World (After All)."

And since it is the catchiest song I have ever heard in my life, "Girlfriend" by Avril Lavinge is the indisputable best song of all time.

There's a bit more, but there's no point. Here are some things to ponder:

1. Rick Reilly writes 1 column a week, and this is what he came up with.
2. Exactly how many minutes of research did this require? 15? 10?
3. Which took longer, the "research" or the writing? Could the total time spent on the article be anywhere over 30 minutes?
4. If this were a post on, is there any shot in hell that it would get linked on Deadspin or The Big Lead?
5. This article was posted on the front page of the most frequented sports site in America.

Pardon the Idiocy, Part III

I LOOOOOOOOVE the "Odds" segment on Pardon the Interruption. It exposes Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon's total lack of understanding of the concept of "probability". Oh, and there was a very dumb Tony quote in the process. Quote as close as possible.

The question was: What are the odds the Minnesota Twins take first place in the AL Central tonight? Tony?

The Minnesota Twins are remarkable in that they lost Johan Santana and are still only a half game out this season, and they're one of the best teams in baseball in that regard. They've won the last two, they're playing at home, they've got the momentum, I'm percent.

1) The Minnesota Twins are one of the best teams in baseball at performing well after specifically losing Johan Santana. It's fair to say, because other teams have really tanked it after losing Johan Santana. Just ask the 1999 Quad City River Bandits, or the 2000 Michigan Battle Cats.
2) The White Sox should not even take the field tonight, because there is a zero percent chance they will win.

Searching for a voice of reason, we turn to Mike Wilbon, who says....

I like the White Sox tonight, I'm going with zero percent.

This is like the most highly regarded late afternoon sports program in the world.

ESPN, what kind of idiots do you have working here?

"The finest in New York."


ESPN brings out the Big Guns

I assume that I'm like most of America with and HDTV - you see what's on in HD, then if there's nothing good on, you watch something that looks amazing because it's in HD. Example - Sunrise Earth on Discovery's HD Theater. I would never wake up early enough to see the sun rise here at home, but you show me the sun rising over Machu Picchu, and I'm there. Sunday I fell victim to ABCHD's coverage of the ArenaBowl. A few years ago I watched the AFL on TNN because they had hilarious yokels call games, and more recently because it was on NBC when I woke up while at college. It makes for decent watching, I suppose, but where's the fucking defense? This year, I fell asleep while watching the San Jose/Philadelphia game and went to ESPN for the score and a column to make fun of. Big surprise - they just used the AP and then made up a stupid graphic to partner it with. So you don't have to click over to read what the AP said (basically, I should have stayed awake to watch the lack of defense,) here's the offending graphic:

A closer look at the "notable" leagues that gave Philadelphia championships:

World TeamTennis? Are you fucking kidding me? Multi Colored Courts, pro athletes that get drafted for a game, (and then back out because they realize that they have to play a game in St. Louis - good choice, Andy.) and get excited because they play music! But remain quiet at all other times.

The MISL? Let me tell you a little something about this league - I've held their MVP and championship trophy. It's nothing cool, just a good Facebook profile photo. The players think they're hot shit, when in fact, they play indoor soccer. Sure they get paid to play a game and sure they have much more skill at soccer than I do at anything, but it's FUCKING INDOOR SOCCER GIVE ME A FUCKING BREAK, ESPN. Really. What other shit leagues will you pull out?

How about another league that ESPN has a giant TV stake in - Major League Lacrosse. Not to be confused with the NLL, (which should be easy to do, they're in the same stat shot) the MLL will be broadcast on ESPN2 until 2016. And only ESPN2. Until they need to run ESPNews because Brett Favre has sent a text message which some might construe as him thinking he might want to play another year, then it will move over to ESPN Classic/3.

While I don't really have anything against minor league hockey or indoor lacrosse, how does one go about bragging about those championships? You live in a city with an NHL team and you're going to celebrate that the minor league team won? No wonder those people threw batteries at J.D. Drew, the biggest accomplishment in sports are the shitty teams winning all the trophies.

Most seem to think Philadelphia hasn't won a pro sports title since the 76ers in 1983.

And most who read your adorable graphic will realize that they have not, in fact, won anything of value.

From the "awful puns" department

This gem came from the print edition of USA Today. Forgive the terrible image quality.

Hey, a New Joke: Olympic Baseball!

Check this out:

Doesn't it look like a pretty awesome futuristic place to watch a baseball game? The whole complex looks like a great place to go to watch a night game. I imagine walking up to the field, surrounded by citizens of many nations, excited to see Americans compete in what can only be described as a parody of real baseball.

The format is a first in international baseball competition and differs significantly from the currently used extra-inning model. The new rule calls for traditional baseball extra-inning rules to be used in the 10th frame, but all contests that are tied after 10 innings will compete under a new format. Beginning with the 11th inning and each inning needed thereafter, base runners will be placed on first and second base with no outs. All other rules of baseball will remain in effect.

I like how this little paragraph has the ending "All other rules of baseball will remain in effect" after proposing what seems, to me, to be an absolutely ludicrous rule change. Maybe the IBAF was considering giving batters five strikes? Maybe they considered reintroducing aluminum bats late in the game? Maybe they considered going back to 1863 and not allowing the pitcher to take a step during his delivery, thereby forcing him to keep both feet on the ground while pitching?

"The upcoming Beijing Olympic competition may be our last unless we are successful in adding the sport back to the Olympic program for the 2016 Games," said IBAF President Dr. Harvey W. Schiller.

Fine by me, unless we make it a Winter Olympic sport so the best players on the planet can actually play in it without wrecking every fourth MLB season. The problem with Olympics is that, for most sports, the Olympics is the paramount display of skill and no athlete would miss the event for the world. For Olympic baseball, no American cares enough to leave his MLB team for a few weeks.

"We must demonstrate to the International Olympic Committee not only does our game belong alongside the other great sports of the world, but our sport is manageable from a television and operational standpoint."

Our sport is manageable from a television and operational standpoint. Amazingly, thousands of MLB games every year are operated and televised. If real baseball players [apologies, Mr. "President"] were playing in this game, then it would be no problem. Theoretically, basketball could go on into the middle of the night, but since real players play that sport, nobody feels the need to lower the rim after one overtime to make scoring easier.

Dr. Schiller continued, saying the change is both a positive and necessary step for the sport of baseball. "One of the unique aspects of our game is that it has no time limit.

Yay! Though, I know it's surprising, lots of other team sports don't have time limits. In fact, theoretically, even a tennis match could go on indefinitely! I think, in order to make the last Wimbledon more manageable from a television and operational standpoint, Federer and Nadal should've ended it by playing a game of beer pong at the net. Oh wait! That could go on forever too! Crap!

The only solution?

Extra-inning contests can bring about the most exciting results for players and fans,

Now yer talkin'!

but such circumstances also make it difficult in the context of the Olympic program.

Only because nobody cares about baseball.

Delays cause scheduling and logistical nightmares. Planned security, transportation, drug testing, broadcasts, and entertainment are just a few of the activities that may be seriously affected," Dr. Schiller continued.

Drug testing is affected by extra inning games? Entertainment is provided by the extra-inning games, Dr. Schiller! Why are you selling out the sport you claim to love in order to provide a bastardized version?

I sure would be pissed if my team lost because the rules demanded that each manager would have to :

select two consecutive batters from anywhere {!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!} in their respective lineup to start the 11th on first and second base. The next batter in the lineup would then be the batter that starts the inning at the plate.

{exclamation points mine}

Oh shit! It's like video games, except that even in video games you have to continue the lineup in order! I can only imagine what would've taken place if this rule would've been in place during the 2002 World Series and a game would've gone to extra innings:

Angels Bullpen: Sweet, we got through ten innings of baseball and we're tied! Boy, we really have a shot at beating these Giants, seeing as they really only have one hitter in their nine-man lineup!
Angels_Batters: Yeah, don't worry, we'll scratch a run off Robb Nen or something and win this here game!
Umpire: And now we move to the 11th inning. Mr. Baker, please place your runners on base.
Dusty_Baker: Even I can't screw this one up! Rich, get out on second, Jeff get out on first.
Barry_Bonds: lol, I rule.
Olympic_Fans: This is the stupidest rule change ever.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I Am Not Joking

Darrin Jackson just said this during the White Sox / Twins game. (quote v. close)

There are two types of guys....there's guys who take advantage of a situation, and then there's guys who exploit a situation, like Carlos Quentin.

To which I say, there are two types of broadcasters....there's guys who say things that don't mean anything, and there's guys who say things that don't make any sense, like Darrin Jackson.

Enough of This Favre Nonsense... Let's Get Back to the REAL Stories

And by "the real stories,"'s Michael Rosenberg means a bunch of other stories that are just as overplayed and annoying as Favre's (along with a handful of bad jokes). Out of the frying pan and into the fire we go.

American adults can only use so much brain matter on pro football, and lately, all of it has been occupied by Brett Favre. And in the meantime, we're missing out on some more interesting training camp stories. Here are seven:

Brace yourself for some fresh angles.

1. The Patriots huddle and discuss: "What the hell do we now?"

The who? The Patriots? What? Damn you, Brett Favre. You're keeping us away from stuff we need to hear about. Like stories that haven't been mercilessly run into the ground for months on end.

This team was basically one helmet-catch away from the greatest season in NFL history.

I must've missed that. I'd better Google it or something. Anyone want to link me to a story about that?

If the Pats had won the Super Bowl, this summer would be filled with speculation about when they might actually lose a game.

Oh, if only.

Instead ... well, we bring you back to the question at the top: What do they do now? They were clearly determined to run the table last year, more than any team in modern NFL history. Can they bring that kind of focus again? Is that even possible?

I don't know, but I'd sure love to read about it for another 6 months. Let's get that train rolling.

The suspicion here is that the Patriots follow the example of the Steelers, Colts, Miami Heat and St. Louis Cardinals in recent years. Those teams all followed dynamic regular seasons with disappointing postseasons, then won the championship the following year.

Please, no.

If you're a Patriot, how can September dominance seem so important again?

I don't know, but I'm sure the sports media will be there to fill us in every step of the way as they try to handle that challenge.

2. The Saints try to save several careers

Not sure this one would be getting too much press regardless of what Favre was up to. But let's see Rosenberg's angle.

There are a lot of exciting players in the NFL. There are only a few that make you say "Wow, I don't know if I've ever seen anybody quite like this guy."

Jeremy Shockey burst onto the scene as one of those guys. If Shockey is the player he thinks he is, New Orleans can be a Super Bowl threat.

Jeremy who? I hate to re-use my "fake ignorance" joke, but fucking seriously. Is this clown (Rosenberg, not Shockey) really trying to say that we need less Favre because he's getting in the way of the Patriots and Jeremy Fucking Shockey? Really?

Reggie Bush is one of those guys, too.

Never heard of him.

Nobody puts together a highlight like Bush.

An NCAA highlight, maybe. Not sure I'm willing to give him that stamp for his body of work in the NFL.

Bush was supposed to revolutionize the running-back position, but so far, the position has transformed him. We'll find out soon if he is truly an NFL star, or another electrifying college player whose skills don't quite translate to the pros.

We've been hearing about this issue since week 3 in 2006. This Favre-induced break from that topic is welcome in my book.

3. The Cowboys are throwing Tony Romo, Terrell Owens, The Artist Formerly Known as Pacman Jones, Tank Johnson, Zach Thomas, Roy Williams, a coach who is rumored to be a lame duck (Wade Phillips) and a coordinator who could take over for said duck (Jason Garrett) all into one pot.

So far, our list of topics that are being ignored because of Farvefest 2008:
1. The Patriots
2. Jeremy Shockey and Reggie Bush
3. The Cowboys

I'm beside myself with rage. Is this article being written ironically? Is Rosenberg spoofing one overplayed story to make a broader point about the sports media's tendency to consistently ram other stories down consumers' throats? Or is he just simply fucking clueless? You decide. (I for one already have; I'll bet you can guess which conclusion I came to.)

The result could be a Super Bowl champion. Fascinating.

Two years ago? Mildly interesting. Now? Completely and totally unfascinating. (sic)

4. The Giants try to do things in reverse order.

Lose your highest-profile player, then win the Super Bowl, then win your division. It's a twist, you gotta admit.

Very confusing. First, more talk about Shockey, which is pretty much nauseating. Then, an implication that the Giants are more concerned with winning their division than repeating as Super Bowl champs. All this framed by the idea that the usual order of goals for any given team is to win their division, then win the Super Bowl, then lose their highest-profile player.

5. Will the Detroit Lions finally be good?


As infuriating as it was at the time, now that we're at this point I kind of liked it better when he was talking about the Patriots and Cowboys.

6. The Norv Turner Show!

(I don't know if there is, or ever has been, something called The Norv Turner Show. I assume there has. But I can't imagine why anybody would watch it.)

Then don't try to write a joke about it, dummy.

The San Diego Chargers are threatening to be one of those teams that seems like it should win the Super Bowl five years in a row but never even makes it. At some point, LaDainian Tomlinson will start to decline. At some point, so will the Chargers. The NFL is cyclical.

Will this be the year San Diego comes through?

You know what? I'll give credit here. This story (particularly the Turner angle) isn't exactly underappreciated, but at least it's not the Cowboys or Patriots.

7. Green Bay makes a bold decision to ... keep its team.

Am I the only one here who is more interested in watching Aaron Rodgers this season than Brett Favre? (Put your hand down, coach McCarthy.)

Rodgers is an unknown. In his one extended stretch under center, against the Cowboys last year, he was terrific. And the fact that the Packers are willing to end Favre's ironman streak, or trade him, and risk the public backlash, just to see what Rodgers can do ... well, that's enough to get me to watch the guy.

Don't worry, you'll be hearing about it. In fact, if you were paying attention, you'd know that you're already hearing about it three-quarters as much as you're hearing about Favre himself. This is the perfect wrap-up to the article, really. Michael Rosenberg: utterly and completely clueless.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Gene Wojciechowski Attempts to Give Up His Day Job; It Immediately Returns to Him

This is why some people are cut out for general management positions, and others are not. Re: Gene's best buddy Brett Favre and the sticky situation he's put his (former?) team into.

The bottom line is this: If you believe in Rodgers as much as you say you do, you trade Favre. And it shouldn't matter where. If NFC North rival Minnesota offers the most comprehensive package, you trade him to Minnesota. If Chicago comes up with the best deal, then off to the Bears he goes. That way you get Favre's name off the roster and draft picks in your pocket. It's a win-win.

Well, except for the fact that you've just made one of your divisional rivals (one that certainly needs help at the QB position) better in 2008, and only received a chance to be better in 2009 or later in return... yeah, I guess that's a win-win. It's not like the NFL is a "win now" league or anything. If the Packers traded Favre to the Bears or Vikings, and then finished second in the division to that trading partner, I'm sure their fans wouldn't think that was too big of a deal. You know what makes everything better? Draft picks! Who cares if we got bounced in the first round of the playoffs, and the Bears are headed for the conference title game with Favre at the helm? We're about to pick up an extra linebacker!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Is still available?

Is there a word for someone who contrives an angle on a story just for the sake of writing about said angle? No? From now on, it will be referred to as Jemele Hill'ing. Re: The WNBA Fight:

Tuesday night's bench-clearing scuffle between the Los Angeles Sparks and Detroit Shock proved women can be just as boneheaded as men in the thick of intense athletic competition.



You cannot be serious, right? This has to be the build up to some sarcastic put down of the women involved in the fight, yes?

The fight, which, by the way, isn't the WNBA's first, showed that squaring up isn't a man thing. It's a sports thing. It's an athlete thing. It's an I'm-so-ticked-off-that-Candace-Parker-just-drilled-me-in-the-chest-and-the-refs-didn't-notice thing.

Aside from the whole why should these players be lauded for behaving badly thing, when you know that Jemele Hill would've torn down NBA players for doing the exact same thing:

Who the fuck gives a shit? You even said yourself it's not the first fight in WNBA. This WNBA fight is not some sort of feminist awakening.

In its way, this is a revelation for women's sports. I've long been sick of the halos and pristine white robes put on female athletes.

Until the next WNBA fight, when you will then turn, and blame David Stern for fostering a culture of violence in the WNBA.

In real life, athletes lose their tempers and use bad language. They're flawed. Female athletes aren't an exception.

You often rip on male athletes for being poor examples for today's youth. Now you're heaping praise upon female athletes for acting the same way. You are a wizard when it comes to logic.

Of course, I'm not knocking those female athletes who take being a role model seriously, but sometimes the image of female athletes is so sanitized, polished and packaged that it's nice to get a reminder that women don't always fit inside some annoyingly perfect little box.

But at the same time you are lionizing women who acted the exact opposite of those who take being a role model seriously.

If anything, we should greet the Patrick and WNBA incidents as our opportunity to show that gender should be a nonissue when it comes to boorish behavior.

Seriously, what the fuck are you talking about?

If the Mahorn incident occurs between two men, it's a nonissue.

The Mahorn incident occured between two women, and it's still a nonissue.

No one accused Alonzo Mourning of assault when he used Jeff Van Gundy as a mop in that infamous Heat-Knicks brawl.

That's because Jeff Van Gundy grabbed onto Mourning's leg on his own volition. This would be like saying "No one accused that Boise State player of rape when he proposed to his girlfriend after the 2007 Fiesta Bowl."

It's interesting how differently we look at boorish behavior when gender is involved. The reaction to women fighting is usually a mixture of astonishment and fascination.

Whereas when Baseball fights break out, fans yawn and try to sleep because they're so utterly bored by the proceedings.

We treat girl fights like a novelty, when they shouldn't be seen as such. News flash to those still using sticks to create fire: Female athletes are just as competitive as men and when some are pushed to the edge, they'll exhibit the same lack of control.

What is your fucking point? We get it; women athletes sometimes act like assholes. This is news to exactly 0 people.

Leslie said this to ESPN about Tuesday's melee: "This is not the way we want to represent ourselves and the WNBA." For most athletes, that's true. But it's not always a picture-perfect representation. It isn't for men. It shouldn't be for women, either.

Ms. Hill, what you just wrote is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever read. At no point in your rambling, incoherent article were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in the webosphere is now dumber for having read it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Hey, Joe Torre: Get Out There and Hit Five Home Runs While Throwing a Shutout or You're Fired

Seriously, people. I don't know how many different ways I can say it: Managers. Don't. Do. That. Much. They just don't. It's completely unquantifiable, of course, but if I had to guess I would say that the difference between having a good manager and a bad manager might be worth (at most) 2 or 3 games in the standings over the course of a 162 game season. So that said, here's a list of reasons the Dodgers are (allegedly) underachieving at 49-52 as of this morning:

-Joe Torre giving too much playing time to Juan Pierre*
-Joe Torre giving too much playing time to Andruw Jones*
-Jeff Kent in rapid decline
-They actually weren't that great to begin with, maybe an 86ish win team at most

(Note: * means this is almost definitely a result of pressure from ownership)

Does that seem fair? It should. When Brad Penny and Rafael Furcal are both hurt or ineffective for more than half a season, an 86ish win team will turn into a 80ish win team. The anchor effect of giving significant ABs to Jones and Pierre (thanks, Frank McCourt) can drop you down around 76ish wins. But don't tell any of that to's Ian O'Connor. He'll have none of it. According to him and his smarmy mugshot, the NL West is Joe Torre's division to lose.

The State Farm ad, a cute one, leads you to believe Joe Torre has officially retired in his job as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He drinks wheat grass between innings, writes screenplays between pitching changes, and spends off days riding his surfboard from one welcoming wave to the next.

Extra BP? A few more pregame hours in the video room surveying a wayward pitcher's arm slot?

Who needs any of that when you're living a life of green fields, blue skies, and late-arriving crowds, and when you're working a comfortable 3,000 miles away from the angry House of Steinbrenner?

I'm pretty sure that commercial presented a fictional portrayal of what Torre's life is like. I'm pretty sure Ian knows that as well, but has cleverly used it as his intro to this piece in order to make undiscerning readers think that Joe Torre is a lazy bum who is singularly responsible for the Dodgers' struggles.

One hundred games into his fifth big-league term, Torre has settled into the Dodger way like an old man settles into his favorite spot on a park bench.

OK, and that's an even more direct accusation aimed at inducing the same conclusion. Read the following example of this "laziness" O'Connor sees, and ask yourself this question: what the fuck does it have to do with how hard Torre may or may not be working?

He says he is happy the stories about his baseball team are confined to the sports page. Whenever the cartoon character known as Alex Rodriguez is linked to the blonde of the month, Torre gets to be a disengaged observer rather than the interrogated boss charged to clean his third baseman's mess.

Being happy that one's workplace is relatively free of distractions- a surefire sign of malaise.

Only this portrait of Joe Cool, cruising on Sunset Boulevard, ignores one undeniable truth: Torre needs to win his division this year,

Because surely this portrait (which is entirely manufactured by O'Connor, of course) is one of a loser. Someone who couldn't care less about how many games his team wins. A man who may or may not even be aware that baseball is a sport in which one team wins and another loses! I mean, if you're a MLB manager and not constantly acting like Lou Pinella with ants in his pants, you might as well not show up, right?

if only because there isn't a single valid reason he shouldn't.

Least clever analysis, ever. I hate smug writing like this. Sheesh. Gag me with a racquetball. Not only are there dozens of reasons why the Dodgers (notice I didn't say Torre himself) shouldn't win the NL West this season, there are dozens more why the Diamondbacks or Rockies should.

Sure, the Dodgers have had a ton of injuries, closing in on 600 man games' worth. But Torre's been around the sport long enough to understand two things about injuries:

1.) Everybody's got 'em.

2.) Nobody wants to hear about 'em.

That's fine. No one likes bitching. At the same time, to pretend that the losses of Furcal and Penny haven't been debilitating, and to further imply that Torre himself needs to somehow compensate for those losses, is fucking ludicrous.

The Dodgers should take the National League West, wretched as it is, and Torre will have some explaining to do if they don't.

So will owner Frank McCourt and GM Ned Colletti. In fact, my quick calculations show that each of these men will have approximately 1 gazillion times more explaining to do than Torre himself.

Start with the reason he was hired on the rebound after his bitter divorce from the Yanks.

He came in to repair a fractured clubhouse. That's a laudable goal, but not necessarily one which guarantees on the field success if completed.

Grady Little wasn't just an 82-80 manager last year; he was an 82-80 manager done in by the clubhouse division between players old and young, and by the sudden availability of Torre, a candidate who'd won four World Series titles and earned a dozen consecutive trips to the postseason before the Steinbrenners and team president Randy Levine ran him out with an offer designed to be refused.

More periods. Less commas. (I could probably stand to follow that rule myself from time to time, but I'm not a contributor for

It was unbecoming of Torre to negotiate with the Dodgers while Little still held the job, but hey, that's how big-boy business is done. Frank McCourt, Dodgers owner, had every right to want someone who could do better than 82-80. His common sense told him that someone was Joe Torre.

If his commons sense says that any manager could have won the Dodgers more than 85 games last year, it is almost definitely wrong. I don't care what their record was on August 1st, or whatever- they got steamrolled at the end of the season in part because of scheduling (7 games down the stretch against the unstoppable Rockies), in part because of age, and in part because of bad luck. The clubhouse divisions might have played a part, or they might not have. But one rule remains constant: MANAGERS DON'T DO THAT MUCH.

As it turns out, 82-80 might just win this year's West. But even as the Dodgers swear their clubhouse has become a more harmonious place, Torre's still on track to finish south of .500.

You mean the Dodgers are still on track to finish south of .500.

Little was 56-44 at this point in '07. You don't need an advanced degree in math to know that a divided 56-44 team beats a united 49-51 team eight days a week.

Well, one is 7 games better than the other. But if they face off head-to-head for eight straight days, the odds are that they'll probably either split those games or someone will win five. Just saying.

"We're going to make everybody proud of the product we put on the field," Torre said on arrival in Los Angeles.

Well, what the fuck else was he going to say? "We'll try to go out and not embarrass ourselves too much?" This is becoming a theme in my posts. Writers picking on things high-level officials say during pre-scripted press conferences (like Jemele Hill ripping the NFL spokesperson for saying the league doesn't have a gang problem) is fucking lame.

His Dodgers haven't inspired much in the way of pride, at least not yet. Fans in the market looking for a team worthy of their time, attention and disposable income would have to turn to Mike Scioscia's Angels, the club that forever haunted Torre in the Bronx. The Angels are 12 games better than the Dodgers in a tougher division of a tougher league.

I'm sure the Dodgers are really hurting for fans.

Now turn to the page in your scorebook that covers team payrolls. At $118 million, the Dodgers are spending $52 million more on wages than the Diamondbacks, and $50 million more on wages than the Rockies. No, it isn't quite the absurd advantage over the competition that Torre enjoyed with the Yankees, who took a Bob Beamon leap over the $200 million barrier.

I know the Olympics are just around the corner, but let's take it easy with the Bob Beamon references, huh? He doesn't even have the record anymore.

But still, McCourt has laid out enough cash (not to mention the $13 million he paid Torre) to expect better than what his manager has delivered.

Apparently ownership dumping money into black holes of anti-production like Pierre and Jones means a team's manager has not done his job.

For the foreseeable future, Torre won't be fleeing the kind of lava that came pouring out of Mount Steinbrenner once the parades stopped and the procession of Division Series flameouts started. Ned Colletti, general manager, is the easiest of targets; he'll be gone long before anyone has a second thought about Torre.

About halfway through the article, Ian finally identifies someone who is actually worthy of blame.

McCourt is under fire for reportedly killing a deal for CC Sabathia that would've added $7.5 million to the payroll, a charge the owner denies. And when the owner and GM aren't absorbing major hits, Andruw Jones, who somehow managed to strike out five times in one game, rightfully assumes the role of helpless punching bag.

The hits keep on comin'. Let's see how it all gets tied back to that lazy, lackadaisical, no-good bum Joe Torre.

Torre is also protected by the disabled list and his players' fabulous talent for landing on it. Rafael Furcal, Brad Penny, Nomar Garciaparra, Takashi Saito, Juan Pierre, and on and on and on.

Try to leave Pierre off that list. Some injuries are addition by subtraction.

The pitching staff has covered for the human frailty, allowing the Dodgers to stay in the race.

If you can call this a race.

More smugness. Not surprising, of course, if you look at Ian's mugshot again.

The Dodgers are due to win it, long overdue in fact. They haven't won a playoff series, never mind a championship, since Kirk Gibson did his thing against Dennis Eckersley in 1988. They've played 13 postseason games since that magical run, and lost 12 of them.

Somehow, this is probably also Torre's fault.

Torre embraced this challenge after the Yankees all but told him they no longer required his services. On his return to New York, a road trip to Shea at the end of May, Torre confirmed that he'd had it with his hometown's intensity and pace.

"I'm glad my time has come and gone as far as the high-wire act all the time," he said. "New York is great for the good times and memorable for the bad times.

"I obviously have a lot of friends here and it was a special time for 12 years. But it was time to move on and I'm glad I made the decision, not for any other reason than I'm more comfortable where I am."

Comfortable? Torre shouldn't get too comfortable.

Again, apparently we're now equating being happy that your team isn't part of a fucking media circus with doing an inadequate job.

He's not a ceremonial Dodger in the Tommy Lasorda mold. Joe Torre is the active and accountable leader of a team that has no good reason to lose a division its manager was hired to win.

Hiring a manager to win a division in which you finished the preceding season 8 games out of first place is like hiring a hypnotherapist to fix your car.


Bill Simmons' Friends Are Just as Stupid as He Is

Thanks to long time reader Mr. F, for alerting me to this utter stupidity from Bill Simmons' pen-ultimate B.S. Report:

"JackO on the podcast said that even though Santana has a sub 2.7 ERA, and is top 5 in basebal in WHIP and ERA +, he feels that his beloved Yankees dodged a bullet by not getting him because "he is 8-7" right now."

Other logical conclusions made by the distastefully named Jack-O:

IF it looks like a Rat
AND it smells like a Rat
AND it is brown
THEN it must be a Brown Dog

IF the woman at the bar has a large Adam's Apple
AND the woman at the bar has a penis
AND the woman at the bar has big breasts
THEN I'm totally going home with that woman at the bar tonight and having heterosexual intercourse with her.

Feel free to add your own in the comments. Non-Bill Simmons stuff forthcoming, maybe.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Good for a :laff:

What a wonderful look at the bespectacled ballplayers who made America great.

Some Fair Weather Fandom Bruin

Greetings and welcome. My name is Jack, you might remember me from such blogs as and , and I am the newest guy that will infrequently post rants here.

Because I hate Bill Simmons so much, and I'm wildly unprofessional, I've decided to dig up one of his columns from 3 months ago, and rip on him for it.

Some Old Emotions Are Bruin

Bruin like brewin! Ha ha!

I am an NHL widower. I have made that clear many times. I cared about the Bruins for years and years, and up until last week, I had stopped caring about them completely.

I wonder what could've happened last week that got you to start caring again?

Still, it's hard to shake your past. On YouTube right now, you can find a handful of tributes to Bobby Orr and Cam Neely, as well as every memorable Bruins brawl from the 1970s and '80s... Even with the Bruins gone from my life, that didn't stop me from digging these clips up and enjoying them all.

This is completely unique to the Sports Guy. Other fans who have abandoned their now awful teams like the Pirates, Orioles, Reds, Royals, Dolphins, Knicks, etc. don't have the appreciation for sports to enjoy reliving the glory years.

In all the time spent perusing Bruins clips over the past two years, I only avoided plugging two words into YouTube's search engine: "BRUINS CANADIENS." That would be like searching for "80 PERCENT OF THE BAD MEMORIES FROM MY CHILDHOOD."

I shudder to think what the other 20 percent are.

The toughest defeat happened in 1979, when I was 9 years old and still recovering from the Bucky Dent Game a few months earlier.

Boston fans are unique because they incur crushing defeats in close proximity.

Naturally, the B's got whistled for a "too many men on the ice" penalty in the final three minutes, which I remember thinking was a complete crock at the time; only when they re-aired the game on ESPN Classic years later did I realize the Bruins screwed up.

Maybe ESPN Classic will re-air this game and you'll realize what a whiney jackass you sounded like for complaining about so many calls.

There are so many things that separate hockey from other sports -- good and bad -- but no other sport makes you constantly think, "Uh-oh, this is good" or "Uh-oh, this is bad."

Certainly not football, where either team can score on any play. Certainly not baseball, where one swing can be either a grand slam or double play. And certainly not soccer, where both teams play continuous offense and defense for 90 minutes straight with only one stoppage. Bill would know that if he spent more time following his beloved Tottenham Hotspurs.

Every Bruins fan knew what was going to happen. I say that without a hint of exaggeration. He was going to score, we were headed to overtime, and we were going to lose.

Shouldn't the Canadien's fans have known what was going to happen because their team was the perennial juggernaut? No, because they are not special like Boston fans.

Every time they beat us, the Montreal fans would chant "Nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah nahhhhhh, HEY HEY HEY, gooooodbye" after the game. It never ceased to be infuriating.

Holy shit, I've never heard of fans doing that, nor have I ever heard of the opposing teams fans being infuriated by it. How unique.

After this particular game, I remember being so downtrodden and frustrated that the chant made me start crying, and not just that, but I kept crying and couldn't stop. My face was buried into our living room sofa, so only when I came up for air did we realize my nose had been bleeding the entire time. The entire cushion was covered in blood. Since my dad was going through a divorce and didn't have much money at the time, we turned the cushion over and he kept that sofa for another few years. Every once in a while, we'd turn the cushion over, look at the bloody stain and make jokes about it. It was almost like Guy Lafleur came into the living room and punched me in the face.

A. Adam Morrison would laugh at you for this.
B. It was almost like Guy Lafleur came into the living room and punched you in the face, but it was much more like you spazzed out and started crying over a fucking hockey game.
C. I'm pretty surprised Bill hasn't written a column called "When is it OK to cry in sports" and specifically mentioned this as an example of when it's ok.

So that's what I grew up with: The Canadiens beating the Bruins. We were the nail and they were the hammer. Nothing ever changed. When I graduated college and realized I had spent two solid decades of my life rooting for a franchise that cared about making a profit more than winning a Stanley Cup, that's the only way I was able to dump the Canadiens from my life -- by not following the sport as diligently. Once the Devils unveiled their hideous zone trap and Gary Bettman tried to turn a blue-collar sport into "NBA 2.0," it was an easy decision to cut the cord entirely.

Read that last paragraph and think about these things:

1. Bill dumped the Bruins because they constantly lost to their arch-rival and never won the championship in the first 20 years of his life. That doesn't sound like his experience with the Red Sox at all. AT ALL.
2. Bill dumped the Bruins because the Devils introduced a thugish, defense heavy style of play, and Gary Bettman tried to emulate the NBA. Meanwhile, Simmons continued to root for the god-awful Celtics, who played in the real NBA, where the Pistons dominated the Eastern Conference with a thuggish, defense heavy style of play.

The Bruins would always be like family to me, but I wasn't interested in following them again until the team was sold. Honestly, I didn't feel like I was missing much.

If your definiton of "much" is championships, then no, you probably weren't missing "much." However, if your defintion of "much" is watching your team play, and building up equity, so that when your team does finally win the championship you can say "I suffered through the bad years, so now I can really enjoy this victory!" Then you missed a shit load of "much."

Look, sometimes a sport can just evolve in the wrong direction. It happened to tennis, it happened to pro wrestling and it definitely happened to hockey.

[shaking head in disbelief]

This was a sport that thrived on rivalries and feuds -- Montreal and Boston, the Rangers and Islanders, Philly and Washington, Montreal and Toronto, Montreal and Quebec, Montreal and everybody -- so by moving key franchises and adding too many other ones, fundamentally, they were killing the one thing that made the sport so great.

1. The NFL thrives on rivalries (perhaps you've heard of the Pats/Colts thing?), so one would think that when it re-aligned the conferences 9 years ago, it would've ruined the league. That or it would enter its most financially successful period ever.
2. Ha ha, Montreal was dominant. People like trying to beat the champs. Every team besides the Bruins should be renamed the Montreal Canadiens.
3. Philly-Washington but no Philly-Rangers? What?
4. Of these epic rivalries he listed, the only team that moved was Quebec, who became the Colorado Avalanche. Anyone who actually watched hockey in the mid-late 90's knows that the Av's/Red Wings rivalries was one of the most exciting in the sport at that time.

Strap in, because Bill is about to get really Bostony:

As a Boston fan, how am I supposed to get fired up during the regular season for a steady stream of Nashville, Columbus, Carolina and Anaheim? It's insane. It's illogical. Hockey should never have more than 22 teams, and half those teams should be playing in Canada, where it's the national sport and the citizens truly care about the game.

I. The Bruins shalt not play a team lest they be one of the original 6 or hail from Canada.
II. Cities lacking in sports history shalt not be granted sports franchises.
III. Canada shalt be granted more NHL franchises despite casting away the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets and Quebec Nordiques. [I am a fucking retard]
IV. Boston fans shalt show their appreciation for the game by boycotting the Bruins, lest commandments I-III be fulfilled.

It's the only way to bring the sport back -- rivalries, bad blood, back-to-back games and everything else -- and as soon as they jettison a few franchises and move a few others back to Canada, I could see caring about the league again.

In typical Simmons fashion, the answer is right in front of Bill's face, but he can't see it. The NHL over-expanded and lost its ESPN contract, and what they need to do is lose a team or two and get that tv contract back. But Bill continues to be obsessed with the rivalries/Candian teams thing.

I write about sports for a living and couldn't tell you who won every Stanley Cup this decade.

I write about sports as an obsessive hobby and I couldn't tell you who has won the past 5 NBA Championships and NCAA Basketball titles. All basketball should be moved to Greece.

Even worse, if I quizzed my friends -- all of whom care about sports except for one -- I don't have a single friend who could rattle off those Cup winners except for my buddy Dave Dameshek, a Penguins fan who didn't get pushed away because of "Sixty-six" (his nickname for Mario Lemeiux) and then Sid the Kid and "Geno" Malkin. So that's not good.

Bill (with bad team): Doesn't pay attention to hockey.
Dave Dameshek (with good team): Does pay attention to hockey.

The NHL has evolved into a sport with all die-hard fans and no casual ones. They need to get the casual ones back. They need to bring back people like me.

This coming from a guy who wrote a column titled something like "I swear, not all Red Sox fans are casual, fair weather fans who only hopped on the bandwagon after 2004! Respect the hardcore Sox fans, pweeese!"

I mention this only because, for the past two weeks, I have been watching hockey.

Once again, why for the past 2 weeks has he been interested?

...the Bruins were pitted against the Canadiens in Round 1 of the playoffs, and even though I couldn't have named five Bruins, I found myself flicking over to Versus for Game 1 just because I enjoyed seeing the uniforms so much.

You were watching the team you'd said was dead to you because you enjoyed seeing the uniforms?

Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies

...they were playing in Whatever-The-Hell-The-Forum-Is-Called-Now. Just like old times ... right down to the part when the Bruins lost. Game 2 happened on a Saturday and I caught the third period and overtime; we blew that one, too.

From Bill's rule #7 for being a fan: "Be very careful when using the word "We" with your favorite team. Use it judiciously. Just remember, you don't wear a uniform, you don't play any minutes, and you're not on the team."

I think it's safe to say that Bill dug up the grave of rule #7's grandmother and did terrible things to it.

But it wasn't until Game 3 that I found myself getting hooked

Guess what happened in Game 3. Write it down on a piece of paper and see if you're right. You can't possibly guess.

-- not for the excitement of the games as much as the ignominy of Montreal fans infiltrating Whatever-The-Hell-The-Garden-Is-Called-Now and cheering on the visiting Habs. Even worse, they had no problem throwing down with Boston fans in the stands. I mean, this was like something that would happen to the Atlanta Hawks or the Tampa Bay Rays.

Bet none of you had that written down, ha HA! Don't worry, it's all just cover for the real reason which is coming up.

Also, I really enjoy that Bill continues to think that it's so edgy that another team's fans would come to Boston despite how many tickets went unsold. What were those Montreal Fanboys thinking!?

No matter what has happened to hockey in Boston over the years, this was an unforgivable turn of events -- nearly as violating as hundreds of British people randomly showing up in Charlestown dressed in 1770s garb, heading over to the Warren Tavern and starting to push locals around.

Quite possibly, the worst analogy ever made.

If there are any English reading this (and there aren't), please, please do this. It would be one of the funniest pranks of all time.

I don't care what's happened to me and the Bruins over the years; the fact that (A) Montreal fans felt safe enough to come to a playoff game in Boston and (B) they could get THAT many tickets to a playoff game had to rank among the saddest moments in recent Boston sports history.

How could this have happend!?

Like everyone else who cares about Boston as a sports city, I was completely horrified.

It would've been prevented if those same people actually supported the Bruins.

And that's when I got sucked back in.

Which happens to coincide with:

We won an emotional Game 3 in overtime

Rule #18 for being a fan according to Simmons: " can't start rooting for a team, back off when they're in a down cycle, then renew the relationship once the team starts winning again. All those Cowboys fans who jumped off the bandwagon in the late-'80s, jumped back on during the Emmitt/Aikman Era, then jumped back off in the late-'90s ... you know who you are. You shouldn't even be allowed out in public."

followed by a number of postgame brawls on and around Causeway Street between Boston and Montreal fans, at least 50 of them involving guys named Sully and Murph teaming up to beat the hell out of someone named Pierre.

Yes, Sully and Murph didn't care enough to buy a ticket to the game, but they clearly ganged up on Pierre who cared so much that he took multiple days off work to go to Boston, watch the Habs play, and get in fights by himself.

Bill goes on to talk about how the Bruins have sent it to 7 games in dramatic and unique fashion, and how he might keep rooting for them if they win the series, generic Simmons bet-hedging.

For those that are wondering, the Bruins got blown out in game 7. Something like 6-1. Simmons then acted like this column never existed save for a few responses in a chat sesh, which Bengoodfella addressed pretty well here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Idiocy, Thy Name Is Jemele Hill

Life's been dealing me some lemons lately. It's been rough. My parents' basement is developing a mold problem, my Super NES isn't reading cartridges right now, we're out of Pop Tarts, and worst of all, my Kate Beckinsale poster fell off the wall and somehow got ripped in the process. Sigh. That's just the way it goes sometimes, I guess. But whenever I hit a rough patch like this, there are two truths I can always lean on to make me feel better:

1. "No matter how bad life gets, there is always beer." - Norm MacDonald
2. No matter how bad life gets, Jemele Hill will always be the perfect balance of entertaining and ignorant.

There was one particular hand gesture that came to mind when I heard the NFL will be intensely scrutinizing players' hand signals for possible gang signs next season. And let's just say the response I thought of is the same gesture Michael Vick gave Atlanta Falcons fans.

Let's just say that since you recently decided to compare rooting for the Celtics to being a Nazi sympathizer, you might as well just directly say that the NFL can go fuck itself. Go ahead, let it out.

I'm usually not opposed to a league being proactive, but in this case not only has the NFL gone too far, it has successfully insinuated to the public that the league is full of Doughboys and O-Dogs.

The second clause and the third clause there are redundant. That's like saying "not only are you ugly, you're also very unappealing to look at." Unless, of course, Jemele thinks there's another aspect of the policy that takes things too far, which is doubtful. Also- easy on the hyperbole, champ. The league is not insinuating that it's "full of" gangsters; it's insinuating that it's worried about the possible presence of some level of gang affiliation.

Sports leagues have a right to protect their image. Doing so often rubs players the wrong way, but sometimes it's what is best for the league and its players. NBA players rebuffed the league dress code, but ultimately it was for their own good. An undying allegiance to Phat Farm and Jesus pieces was costing the league and the players money at the box office. When corporate sponsors are uncomfortable and reluctant to spend, the players don't make as much as they possibly can. Besides, with any job, there is nothing wrong with instituting a standard of decorum.

Remember this- it will be very, very important.

But the NFL's latest move is not about decorum or even petrified sponsors.

The "Paul Pierce incident" (the impetus for this idea) is less than 2 months old, and no NFL games have been played since it happened. How do we know how sponsors would respond? How do we know how much negative media attention might develop over the first incident that resembles Pierce's that happens this fall? We don't. Thus, the league is being proactive. Shouldn't be too hard to figure out.

It's just a league overreaction, and a reminder to the players that they -- and not the coaches and owners -- are under the rule of a stern commissioner.

I think pretty much everyone involved in the league is aware of Goddell's personality and iron-fisted rule at this point. I don't think any coach or owner is happily parked on their ass, saying to themselves "Ah, good ol' Rog. I know he's on my side. I should be able to do pretty much whatever I want."

An NFL official told the Los Angeles Times this week that the league was focusing its attention on players' hand gestures because of an overblown incident involving Paul Pierce during the NBA playoffs. After a scrum with Atlanta's Al Horford in the first round of the playoffs, Pierce flashed what the NBA deemed "menacing gestures" toward the Hawks' bench and was fined $25,000. Pierce vehemently denied making a gang sign.

That makes it overblown, I guess. Now, no one's definitively saying that Pierce runs with a gang and would have shot and killed the Hawks if he could have. But what he did was certainly strange, needless, and overaggressive. The fine might have been excessive, but I'm not sure if I'd call the incident "overblown." It wasn't that huge of a story to begin with, and gesturing at an opponents' bench in the way Pierce did probably isn't within the bounds of good behavior.

(Side note- this is why I hate Boston sports- check out the video of the incident. Then check out this video from a local Boston sports station, which tries to get Pierce off the hook by documenting non-threatening hand signals he uses during pregame celebrations that are absolutely nothing like the ones from the incident. Now, maybe any city's local sports station would make a claim like this if one of their stars did something sketchy. But I doubt it. Just my opinion. Go fuck yourself, Boston fans besides those who read this blog.)

According to the Times, if a game officials sees a "suspicious hand gesture," he must alert the league, which will be hiring gang experts to review game tapes.

Right. Exactly. It's not like they're throwing down personal foul penalties or taking points off the board during the actual game. They're just looking into suspicious incidents to make sure there isn't anything overly negative going on.

"We were always suspicious that [gang-related hand signals] might be happening," Mike Pereira, the NFL's vice president of officiating, told the L.A. Times. "But the Paul Pierce thing is what brought it to light. When he was fined … that's when we said we need to take a look at it and see if we need to be aware of it."

What a normal, expected reaction from a business as powerful and profitable as the NFL. (No sarcasm)

Being more aware is generally a good thing, and I'm certainly not suggesting the NFL look the other way on something as serious as gang violence.

Except that by bitching about a new policy that will simply involve the league reviewing any suspicious signals, you're basically implying that they should be looking the other way. We have a label for this.

But by responding to a situation in another pro league, the NFL successfully planted a stereotype about its own -- namely, that the league is filled with Bloods and Crips.

Damn you, NFL, for being proactive! You know, I don't really think any given sport should start a steroid testing program until its athletes are breaking records at a furious pace. By instituting a program before any of its own athletes are caught, that sport is insinuating that steroids are a widespread problem. We all know that's not the case.

The next time a player throws up an ode to his fraternity in the end zone, Johnny Consumer is going to be thinking: "Drive-by."

Based on the Pierce incident, it's somewhat probable that that reaction would have happened whether or not the league instituted this policy.

The last thing the NFL should want to do is add to the perception that players are out of control.

Yes, it would be much better for them to bury their collective heads in the sand and insist that their sport couldn't possibly have any problems.

We can get that idea without the league's help, even though NFL rule breakers are the exception, not the rule.

This is one of the most batshit crazy things I have ever read. Let me simplify Jemele's stream of logic for you: Paul Pierce did something sketchy and got fined for it ==> Paul Pierce doesn't play in the NFL ==> Therefore, it's dumb for the NFL to institute a policy that responds to Pierce's incident ==> People already think the league is full of out of control players anyways

Don't read that too many times. You might get dizzy. I'm not 100% happy with the way it turned out, but I think that's Jemele's fault rather than my own.

Maybe the NFL decided now was a good time to reiterate its tough-on-crime stance because of some of the criminal shenanigans that have taken place the past week. Jaguars wide receiver Matt Jones was charged with felony drug possession, former Viking Darrion Scott received a three-game league suspension for putting a plastic bag over the head of his 2-year-old son, and Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw was released from jail after serving time for a probation violation.

You are not helping your case. (Again.)

Time to show everyone who's the boss.

Yeah, actually, maybe it was.

What's lost is that there is absolutely no evidence to suggest gang affiliation was even an issue for the NFL.

Jemele is still struggling with the concept of proactivity (sic?). Hey, why worry about a potentially dangerous problem until it's a really legitimate problem?

When asked on Friday if the NFL had a gang problem, league spokesperson Greg Aiello quickly issued a strong denial.

What the fuck else is an official spokesperson going to say?

So why is the NFL creating smoke, when it's adamant there's not an actual fire?

You're absolutely clueless.

"What they've done is publicize the solution without giving us any information on the problem," said David Cornwell, an Atlanta-based sports attorney who once served as the NFL's assistant general counsel.

That's because they probably don't know much about the problem, but want the public to know that they're being proactive. Do you see a trend developing here?

All this does is ease a path to stereotyping. Even if a game official witnessed a "suspicious hand gesture," how exactly could the NFL prove intent?

They don't need to. They need to investigate and see if there really is a problem or not. If it seemed like there was a problem, they would probably discipline (or at least have a discussion) with the player in question. Shouldn't be too hard to fix.

In my old Detroit neighborhood, kids and adults use hand signals all the time, but they represent neighborhood pride, not gang activity.

That's fine, but maybe they represented different things to different people. Some of them probably were/are open for interpretation. And remember how Jemele approved of the NBA's dress code, because millions of dollars from sponsors and fans was at stake? Hmmmmm. If you really stretch your brain, you should be able to envision a scenario in which the same issues come into play for the NFL.

These days, players are so creative they invent their own signals. Doug Christie, possibly the most whipped man in the history of professional sports, used to send hand gestures to his wife, Jackie, after made shots and free throws. Jason Kidd did the same on foul shots as an ode to his ex-wife, Joumana. Steve McNair put up his fraternity sign on touchdowns.

All of these are perfectly acceptable. If these incidents happened in the NFL after the institution of this policy, the league would probably review the tapes, consult with the players, decide whether or not the signal was harmful to the league's imagine, and then either let them slide or ask the player to please stop. Not that difficult.

And sometimes, players merely copy what they see from hip-hop videos, unaware of what those hand signals mean. It's naive, but imitation is the root of pop culture.

Were the players to accidentally use gang signs they saw in music videos, the league's paying customers and sponsors would probably not care where or how said signs were learned.

The NFL's heart is in the right place, but there are times when even the most well-intentioned rule can be harmful. Case in point: David Dicks, the police chief in Flint, Mich., has come under fire for ordering officers to arrest people who wear their pants too low and expose what we'd rather not see. Personally I detest seeing young men "sag," because they're copying prisoners. But even I can't argue that Dicks' directive is unconstitutional and provides a convenient way for cops to racially profile.

I for one don't know what Dicks' (haha.... "dicks") motives were. But I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt here and suppose that this policy is actually about indecency rather than race. Just like this NFL policy is about protecting the image of the league, rather than race. Oh wait, this is a Jemele Hill column. I almost forgot. Everything is about race.

"I do understand what they're trying to do [in the NFL], but I don't think it's a move in the right direction," said Carl Taylor, a senior fellow at Michigan State University who has studied gangs, violence and youth culture for years and is the principal investigator for the Michigan Gang Research Project.

Why is that, Carl? Please explain your position.

"I also understand why they don't want guys doing [gang signs].

Oh, OK. You're not going to clarify. You're just going to contradict yourself.

It's also interesting because you open that Pandora's box. A lot of people don't know the Ku Klux Klan has signs too. Are you going to police all signs?

You definitely should. All signs linked to violent, hateful organizations, anyways.

"The mere fact that they've done this, we're looking at black and Latino athletes. It does have the undercurrent of racial stereotyping,

1. People of all races are members of gangs. There may be a disproportionate number of non-whites in gangs, but it's not like some kind of uniquely black/Latino thing.
2. If that is the case, it's not the NFL's fault. Not wanting to appear to be racially stereotyping is not a good excuse to overlook a issue like this. (Sorry about the double negative.)

but also youth culture stereotyping."

Hiding gang activity behind the pseudo-intellectually protective umbrella of "youth culture" is disgusting.

The NFL wants to make money and have a clean league.

And this is not a good way to achieve that goal, because....

But it has to be careful. In its thirst to appear tough, fans can be left with the wrong impression.

Remember when you said this?

The last thing the NFL should want to do is add to the perception that players are out of control. We can get that idea without the league's help...

You're fucking stupid.