Saturday, May 31, 2008

If You Want to Sound Ridiculous As a Writer, You Only Need to Say This One Phrase

"Team of Destiny".

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere's ROMAN!

I think it was like June 25 of last year, and I think it was a wild win over the Rockies (ok I just looked it up and it was June 25 and it was another 10-9 win over Colorado), when I called the Cubs a team of destiny in this blog.

They weren't. Unless "destiny" means getting your ass handed to you by the Diamondbacks.

It was the type of game you point to in October as proof of something special. Was today's Cubs win over the Rockies along the same lines?

Good God, Roman, have you ever even HEARD of the term "variance"? It was a 10-9 win. Just because the Rockies got all of their runs before the Cubs got their 2nd run doesn't make the win count for anything supernatural. Exciting to watch? Yes. Inspiring? Yes. Something worth talking about during the playoffs? Absofuckinglutely never in a million years. I repeat. The Chicago Cubs are just as likely to win the World Series now as they would have been had they won that game 1-0. How is this difficult to understand?

Last year was different because after that wild win, the Cubs were still around .500

Probably not the best thing to go around admitting that you claimed a .500 team was a "team of destiny" last season.

This season they have the best record in baseball and are supposed to win.

"Supposed to win"? The 2007 Cubs were not "supposed to win"?

But still, they've won so many games they should have lost. That usually bodes well in the big picture.

Saying a team "should have lost" a game is pretty stupid unless the umpires fucked up or somethting, first of all. Second, if the Cubs are winning games that they should be losing, then it would make more sense to predict a downfall in the future, not success. And finally, the Cubs are actually underperforming their Pythagorean, suggesting they deserve at least every win they've gotten this year.

A team of destiny? Who knows.

::raises hand:: Ooh! Ooh! Roman! I do! I do! Can I explain something to you? Can I? Hmmm? PLEASSSSEEE?????


Hold on, you've been saying this for awhile despite me telling you otherwise. For your convenience, the above message will be copied and pasted until I get sick of typing CTRL-V. Ready? Go!


















Maybe they're not a team of destiny,

Whew. I think I got through to him!

but they sure are a scrappy bunch.

I never thought I'd have to point out an actual misuse of the word scrappy, but here it is. Roman, if you paid attention, 7 of the 9 runs the Cubs scored during their comeback were on homers. When the hell have you heard "homeruns" and the adjective "scrappy" associated with each other? Maybe they're just good at offense!

Down 8-0, down 9-1 and win 10-9. They have some type of special mojo going.

No. They have a good offense going. This is evidence of a good offense. Why is it so hard to attribute baseball-related successes in baseball to baseball-related reasons?

This wasn't a turning-point game, but it was another wild one.

Whew. Thank God there's nothing wrong with this sentence. My blood was just about at the boiling point.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Dennis Dodd Does Not Understand Basic Causality

Article on some fast LSU football player or something

If it's easy to master the Three Rs in the classroom, then it must be advanced calculus to nail down the Three Rs for the LSU junior. Is he a running back? A returner? A receiver?

This would not pass muster on the SAT's

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Robert Horry: The Tall, Black David Eckstein

Remember the last time I tried to write something about the NBA Hall of Fame? Of course you don't, and I'm thankful for that fact. It was a disaster of Hindenbergesque proportions, specifically because I revealed the fact that I didn't know there is just one all-encompassing HOF for basketball (rather than an NBA one, an NCAA one, a Harlem Globetrotters one, etc.). You'd think that after that I would have learned my lesson to not write about this subject. And, as the cliche goes, you would have thought wrong. J.A. Adande, step up to the dummy podium.

There Will Never Be Another Player Quite Like Big Shot Rob

Thank you, headline writer, for picking the perfect combination of scientifically correct and sappily ridiculous.

OK, then, what is Robert Horry? The longer he plays, the harder it is to answer that question.

Is he the guy who hits all the clutch shots? Is he a cheap-shot artist? Does he belong in the Hall of Fame?

We'll address those soon enough (short answers: yes, no, yes),

The right answers are: sometimes, sometimes, and absolutely not.

but if you want the easiest way to describe Horry, consider this label: cowboy.

I'd be shocked if the easiest way to describe a guy who's done nothing but play basketball his entire life was to label him as someone with an entirely different profession. If you want the easiest way to describe Paul McCartney, consider this label: astronaut. Actually, no, consider this label: musician. See? Much better.

I never thought of him that way until he described his vision of retiring from the NBA: "I just want to leave like Shane. They don't know what happened to you. Just go."

So because Horry wants to retire like a fictional cowboy, whatever that means in the context of real-life professional sports, we're just going to call him a cowboy. Great.

Horry has traveled from town to town, Houston to Phoenix to L.A. to San Antonio, always quick on the draw with his trusty Colt .45 (well, except for in Phoenix, where the only thing he fired was a towel in the face of coach Danny Ainge).

This analogy is not working. Please discontinue it immediately.

He's kind of a loner. He's loved by his teammates, but he doesn't spend too much time with them away from the gym. You're more likely to find him hanging out with the strength and conditioning coach or even (gasp) reporters.

Thank you for discontinuing the analogy, and thank you as well for revealing why this puff piece is being written. Apparently Horry is reasonably media friendly. Has a little Ron Santo in him. So don't you think because of that quality, and because he's hit some memorable shots in big moments, we should put him in the Hall? No? Me either. Just checking.

There hasn't been a description that has stuck with Horry his entire career. He was a small forward who moved to power forward. He has started almost as many games as he has entered as a reserve.

Mostly because he's not that good of a player. Some interesting stats, courtesy of regular reader Erik. He has averaged more than 7 rebounds a game for a season once in his 16 year career. Once. That's nothing too strange, until you realize that Horry is 6'10". As in, taller than like 80% of the guys in the league. His career field goal percentage is .425. He's 6'10". This is unrelated to his height, but for good measure, also know that he has averaged double digits in points during the course of a season three whole times. In Erik's own words:

"Maybe I'd want him "setting screens" for me. Or taking a last second shot. But in the other 47 or so minutes, give me Erick goddamn Dampier. Just look at the career stats."


"Rob's Sam Perkins with less talent and better teammates."


Thanks to Erik for doing my job for me. Is it possible he chose Dampier as a point of reference because they're both Erics who re-spell their first name like jerks? Probably.

Just know this: The NBA hasn't seen a winner like Horry in three decades.

In other words, the NBA hasn't seen a coattail rider like Horry... almost ever.

John Havlicek retired in 1978, the last member of the Boston Celtics' 1960s dynasty to check out, and one of only six players in NBA history with a championship ring collection larger than Horry's seven. Of those six players -- Bill Russell (11 rings), Sam Jones (10), Tom Heinsohn, K.C. Jones, Tom Sanders and Havlicek (eight each) -- Sanders is the only one not in the Hall of Fame. But the fact that K.C. Jones is makes the case for Horry.

Jones averaged 7.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game in his nine-year career. Horry has averaged 7.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game in 16 seasons.

Jones won an Olympic gold medal. Jones won two NBA titles as a coach. And Jones was well known as an excellent defender. None of these describe Horry. But sure, I think it's fair to say that their resumes are identical.

Jones also has the 9th lowest HOF likelihood score of anyone who's got in, at .349. (As I vaguely explained in that earlier post, it kind of sort of works like a percentage. Kind of. Very few guys with a score before .500 have been enshrined. Right around the .800 mark pretty much everyone gets in.) That's low, of course, but when you factor in the rings and the three things I named above, I can see the case for him. Horry has the rings... and... Want to know what Horry's HOF likelihood number is? Sure you do. It's .021. As in, more than three tenths of a point lower than Jones, whose own number is probably four tenths of a point or so below where most guys start getting strong consideration (Chris Webber, .697, Grant Hill, .683). Among active players, Horry is right in the neighborhood of Jerry Stackhouse (.022), Michael Finley (.025), and the always-dependable Jermaine O'Neal (.018). But hey, like the title says, there will never be another guy quite like Horry. So that's also working in his favor.

Jones proved there's a place in the Hall for underwhelming statistics if they came on winning teams.

And if the guy was an effective coach, Olympian, and defender. And even then, I really think we should question the notion that the rings establish an adequate body of work when it comes to a guy's playing ability.

With Horry, it's not just that he was around for all of those championships -- after all, the equipment manager for the Chicago Bulls has six rings. There's no way the 2002 Lakers or the 2005 Spurs would have earned their championships without Horry. And those are just the series he salvaged, the times he kept his team from the brink of elimination by draining the winning 3-pointers in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals and Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

Because we can say with 100% certainty that if Horry hadn't hit those shots for those teams, no one else on the roster would have. And the fact that both of those teams had two enormously talented players on the floor commanding attention from the opponents' defense at the time of the big shots should also not be considered. Hey, did you know David Eckstein hit three doubles during game 4 of the 2006 World Series? If he's not in the baseball HOF by next week, it's an injustice.

That doesn't include the times his shots gave his team an early series lead or eliminated an opponent.

Which, apparently, are either too numerous or too obvious for Adande to name here. I know they exist, but how about two sentences of recap? In this article that's supposed to be about why a player who's probably worse than Sam Perkins or Erick Dampier belongs in basketball's most hallowed shrine.

Maybe Horry didn't get his teams to that point,

Maybe backup quarterback Jared Lorenzen wasn't exactly the most important member of the 2007 New York Giants. Maybe the presidential primary race didn't totally go according to plan for Mitt Romney. Maybe gas prices are a little higher now than they were 10 years ago. (Current events joke! Want me to tie in something about the war in Iraq? No?)

but he brought them home. If relievers like Bruce Sutter and Rollie Fingers can get into the baseball Hall of Fame, and people believe kicker Adam Vinatieri deserves a bust in Canton, there's a place for Horry in the basketball Hall.

Worst. Cross-sport. Comparison(s). Ever. Absolute bottom of the barrel. I'll demonstrate my disgust with an analogy: a guy who's not that good at basketball but hits a few game winning shots is to Sutter/Fingers/Vinatieri as a cat is to... well, Sutter/Fingers/Vinatieri.

The playoffs are when Horry's gunslinger mentality pays off, when he's unafraid to draw and fire

I thought we agreed the cowboy thing wasn't working. Gunslinger might be a little better... a little.

even if he hasn't done a thing all game -- or all season.

And odds are, most of the time he made those huge shots, he hadn't done a damn thing all season.

There are two distinctive sounds in sports: Tiger Woods hitting a golf ball and Robert Horry taking a potential game-altering shot in a road playoff game.

Words cannot describe how awkward and wrong that is. Just like Shaq once called one of Craig Sager's suits "horri-awful," (sorry, couldn't find the clip on youtube, but some of you probably have seen it before) I'm deeming that statement "wronkward." First, why would you claim that there are two and only two distinctive sounds in the whole wide world of sports? And second, if you wanted to make that claim, why would you choose these two?

The first is a whack so hard you feel sorry for the ball's cover, followed by the sphere's tearing through the air like a fighter jet.

Peeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwww! Whooooooooooooooooosh! Shhhhhhhhhhhhhurrrrfffffffffffff! Yes, that's exactly what it sounds like when dozens of professional golfers hit the ball.

The second is a terrified scream, the sound of 18,000 collectively saying "Oh s---! Not him!" as they realize Horry has been left open.

Although the magnitude of the reaction might vary from person to person, this is the exact reaction any home crowd has to any player on the visiting team being left open for a potential game-winning shot. Yes, even you, Ricky Davis.

Think about it: Has there been anyone you'd dread seeing in position to kill your team more than Horry?

There was a guy who played in Chicago for a while. More generally- I understand and fully acknowledge Horry's big-game pedigree but I think there are guys who shoot better than 34% from behind the arc for their careers (36% in the playoffs!) who would terrify me more. Because, you know, they're better shooters.

And I would like to add that I'm a crazy asshole who would love to have none other than Fish Fillet-Rod up to bat for my baseball team in a clutch situation. You know why? Because he's fucking awesome at baseball. That's right. I said it. Come and get some, ignorant commenters. Tell me about how dumb I am, and then go take a bath with a toaster.

It's his big shots in big moments that warrant Horry's mention among the game's greats.

Maybe in an NBATV feature or something, sure. But not in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

"You love the fact that it's said," Horry said. "At the end of the day, it's still going to be Kobe, LeBron and those type of guys, because they score a lot of points.

"People only remember your parting shot."

Or, if you're Kobe/LeBron/those type of guys, people remember that you were one of the best basketball players in the world for a long period of time.

And now that's become his problem. His two most recent YouTube moments are the hipcheck that sent Steve Nash flying into the scorer's table in last year's playoffs and his crosscheck into David West's already-ailing back in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals this year.

Go ahead- watch both of them. They're not, like, tackling-a-guy-on-a-breakaway dirty. But they're pretty dirty. The Nash one was probably worse. You can tell by the way Horry walked away with a tough guy expression on his face that he knew it was wrong. The West one was a little more legit, but certainly not clean. Now, is it the worst thing in the world for a basketball player to play a little dirty sometimes? Of course not. It's not some kind of epic travesty. But it's still wrong on some level, and only worse when the player in question reacts like this:

Horry doesn't lose sleep over either.

"Since it was the golden boy Steve Nash, it got carried on more than it should have," Horry said of the first incident.

It's true that the media loves Nash. But hey, dickass- you still hip checked and elbowed him. Hard. When all you had to do was slap his forearm. It was a dirty play. Don't act like you're some kind of victim.

And: "The David West thing was because of the Steve Nash thing."

In a way, yes. The fact that you did something vaguely similar a year earlier certainly played into peoples' perceptions of the incident. But again, the incident was pretty dirty. You cracked a guy in the back on a screen that was not executed legally. And what a funny coincidence that the guy who got cracked was known to have an injured back at the time! How convenient. Again- is this the end of the world? Do we need columnists talking about how the whole sport has gone to hell in a handbasket and the rules should be changed to prevent players from touching each other? Of course not. But don't be a bitch about it. You're dirty. You want your team to win. End of story.

In other words, once he became known as the guy in the black hat, it was easy to cast anything he did in a negative light.

Awwwwwwwwwwww! How sad! Someone call the whaaaaaambulance. You know, it's just so tough being Michael Jackson. For some strange reason, people just assume you're up to no good any time you hang out alone at your compound with a bus full of eight year old boys. Isn't it sad how people are so quick to judge? It's like they don't want to accept the idea that people can change.

The Nash play had nothing to do with basketball, just a flagrant foul by a frustrated player.

Well yes, it actually did have something to do with basketball. It happened on a basketball court during a basketball game. This is like saying that when a criminal shoots a bank teller in the course of a robbery, it had nothing to do with money.

The West play probably happens every night.

Not the way Horry did it, absolutely not.

"The film says it all," Horry said. "If he doesn't jump up, he runs into the screen.

I'll buy that West's jump exacerbated his pain. But Horry still leaned into him pretty hard. And was probably aware of West's back problems. That makes it dirty, even if it wasn't horribly illegal.

"You can't convince people of certain things. You let them think what they want to think. At the end of the day, in your mind and your heart, you know."

You know that you want to win, and will bend the rules to do so. Nothing wrong with that- just own up to it or stay quiet about it.

Do we know? Do we have enough to make up our minds about Horry?

Yes, like I already said: he's a big shot maker, a kind-of dirty player, and someone who should never ever ever ever ever be in the HOF.

He has appeared in more NBA playoff games than anyone else,

Take that, players whose careers ended before the playoffs consisted of four best-of-seven rounds! You're no Robert Horrys, that's for sure.

made more 3-pointers in the Finals than anyone else.

That's obviously a stat in his favor, but the fact that he only accumulated it after being dragged there by Hakeem/Shaq/Kobe/Duncan year after year is kind of a important factor in weighing its significance.

There's no official stat on big shots, but name someone whose list is longer.

Who was that Chicago guy again? Not that it's any shame to be second to him on a list, but I'm just saying.

Horry says it's a mistake to look only at those shots and ignore everything that came before them. For example, he says the 3-pointer he made that cut the Lakers' deficit from six points to three points with 1:40 remaining in Game 4 against the Sacramento Kings six years ago was just as important as the 3 at the buzzer that won that game.

"They always remember the last thing you do," Horry said. "They don't remember the things before."

Well, yeah, that makes sense when you stink most of the time and then hit a game winner. But guys who don't suck most of the time tend to be remembered for their entire body of work.

If Horry's latest is his last, it ain't pretty. Bothered by a left knee that had to be drained of excess fluid, he has yet to make a shot in the Western Conference finals, one of the reasons the Spurs trail the Lakers 2-1. His future is uncertain. He'll be a free agent in July and will turn 38 in August. He said he still has fun and wants to play two more years.

And I feel like little Joey in that I don't want to see Horry/Shane leave. Because when he's gone, you'll never see another player like him. The greatest winner of his era.

Ride those coattails, Big Shot Bob!

The last NBA cowboy.

Please stop.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Jay Mariotti Talks About Alfonso Soriano, Can't Research Anything, Etc.

By popular demand, I'm not linking Mariotti anymore to keep his numbers down.

Consider it another example of a nervous front office pampering a one-dimensional, $136 million china doll

For those of you who are new to baseball, Alfonso Soriano is one-dimensional. He is a straight line with no width or depth. This makes him look very funny when he tries to swing 3-dimensional baseball bats and catch 3-dimensional baseballs with 3-dimensional baseball gloves.

In 150 ABs.....

11 HR
9 2B
.273 Avg
3 SB, 0 CS, has only grounded into 1 DP.
Selfish Asshole Index: 64 (on a scale of 1-33)
Only Real Deficiency: Walks

I'm not sure where people get off saying Soriano's only good at one thing. He's clearly decent, if unspectacular at several things.

who sometimes plays defense like an underage reveler stumbling down Division Street -- but does do a cute, little bunny hop while trying.

Defensive stats are pretty sketchy, yes, but metrics don't seem to think Soriano is dismal out there in left. BP has him at +5 FRAA. The Hardball Times has him 8th out of 11 eligible left fielders in Zone Rating. I'm not trying to say that he's good, but abuse like this is unjustified.

Wait....unjustified abuse from Jay? Nah....

As I wrote 10 days ago when Cubdom was gushing over him, Soriano will lead you to the highest highs and then, inevitably, raise your blood pressure and break your heart.

There is little to no proof that a consistent player is more valuable than an inconsistent player that finishes with the same rate and counting stats at the end of the season.

Just because he hit seven home runs in a week didn't mean he wouldn't follow up by, oh, losing a ball in the sun and blowing a game in Pittsburgh.

It sounds like Jay Mariotti would trade having a guy hit 7 HR in a week for not dropping ONE POP FLY.

Which came not long after he botched two fly balls in St. Louis and other flubs. No one doubts that his offensive skills, when he's healthy, remain unique in the sport's history.

Yeah. I can't think of any players in baseball history who have a similar offensive skillset to Alfonso Soriano.

Soriano isn't Ichiro or anything, Jay. He's hardly a revolutionary hitter. You think he's the first low-OBP slugger in history with good speed?

I wonder if general manager Jim Hendry, in his zeal to outbid teams for Soriano, did enough research. Was Hendry so wowed by his 2006 season of 40 home runs and 40 stolen bases that he ignored the weird mojo that always has accompanied Soriano?

Things that Hendry ignored when he signed Soriano:

1) $136 million dollars is superstar money.
2) Alfonso Soriano is not a superstar.
3) Alfonso Soriano cannot draw walks.
4) Alfonso Soriano's 31-year-old-ness.
5) Alfonso Soriano's 38-year-old-ness in the last year of the contract.

Things that are not relevant, and should never be talked about, lest one sound like he comes from the species sporticus ignoramus.

1) Weird mojo that always has accompanied Soriano.

He always has been a man without a real position, which qualifies him as an ideal designated hitter.

Soriano is a passable corner outfielder, and could certainly play first base if he had to. A player with a .319 OBP is not an ideal designated hitter. Why not just fucking hire this guy to designated hit instead? He's cheaper.

But the National League, last I looked, has no DH,

Bad news, Jay. The NL rules have changed since you last looked. There are now 3 DHs in the lineup, as well as a designated fielder (abbreviated "RO" in the lineup, for "Rey Ordonez").

It isn't that simple, not when Cubdom has experienced well-chronicled demons through the years and can spot another potential saboteur when it sees one. Soriano was a prime goat last October in the Arizona sweep, and if the Cubs fall short for the 100th straight season, he probably will be faulted again.

Alfonso Soriano, September 2007: .320/.354/.754

Good luck retroactively making the playoffs without that, Chicago Cubs.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Gregg Doyell: The Extra "G" Stands for Grotesquely Mismanaged Metaphor

Ok, so while the point of this post is to point out the world's worst execution of a poker metaphor in this Gregg Doyel column:

Pau Gasol? I know who he is. He's Craig Counsell.

Wrong sport, I know. But Counsell is my ace in the hole. If we were playing poker over the concept of Pau Gasol's greatness, and you led with the 18.8 ppg he averaged this season, I'd see you with Mike Dunleavy (19.1 ppg) and I'd raise you Gerald Wallace (19.4 ppg). You'd respond by noting the Lakers became this season's NBA front-runner only after acquiring Gasol. Fine. I'd counter by slapping down a Craig Counsell baseball card and laughing in your mystified face

I also want to point out how much respect the editors for Sportsline seem to have for Gregg, as evidenced by this bit of copy:

I guess they really bought into this column whole-hog

Damien Cox Makes Up Storyline, You Don't Care Because It's Hockey.

I thought I was done for a little bit, what with the Stanley Cup Finals here and bad hockey writers packing it up and giving up on their teams for a few months. I was pretty happy with that, even setting an eight pound weight loss goal on Wii Fit. (Side note - Who would have thought I would be obese? The Sports Blogosphere would be shocked.)

Then I went looking for tripe and found Damien Cox and some ESPN shenanigans.

There is a sense that an enormous opportunity is at hand for the National Hockey League with this year's Stanley Cup finals.

Is there? It's a fairly marketable series, with the evil that the Red Wings represent across the country up against a kid that kind of resembles Luke Skywalker in appearance. But it's the NHL, and if they're good at one thing, it's taking a great chance to take the sport where it has never been, loading a ton of pure, unadulterated shit on top of it, and then next thing you know it's the first league to cancel a season.

But I guess that opportunity is based in reality. Surely there must be something you can make up about the Finals to make people watch!

Now, with the Penguins about to face the Detroit Red Wings in a glitzy 2008 Stanley Cup finals filled with marquee names and intriguing story lines, Crosby, as the league's top individual marketing tool, is being asked to deliver a virtuoso performance that will somehow vault the NHL into a new level of success and profitability.

What story lines? Why do there always have to be story lines? It's sports, not pro wrestling. If the game isn't intriguing enough because of the sport, watch a scripted show with a storyline written by professional writers. Not good enough? Go see a movie. If you're dumb enough to tune in just to see if Pittsburgh can rise triumphantly over the title of Worst Smelling U.S. City and win another championship, don't watch my sport. I would rather have your dumb ass support the WNBA. But let's make a story line!

Some even suggest that having Crosby in the Cup finals could give the NHL the same enormous boost in popularity the NBA received way back in 1984, when Magic Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers and Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics met in that league's championship series.

The comparison is, at best, raw.

Who. The. Fuck. Can anybody who took the time to read to this point of my little hockey article honestly tell me that they have heard a single thing about this Stanley Cup Final comparing to an epic NBA match up? Fuck, even I've heard about it and I don't really ever watch basketball. And wouldn't this require there to be a lone superstar on the other team for Crosby to match up against instead of a Red Army?

Google, help me out here. Somebody has to have written an article or blog post or farted and it kind of sounded like, "Guys, this Stanley Cup Finals series is going to be like when Bird went up against Magic in '84! It will be so awesome that the NHL will achieve unrivaled popularity in the nation because two cities with populations under a million are playing each other, and everyone will be watching Versus!"

I just typed penguins red wings larry bird into the toolbar... and nothing. Not a fucking thing. Well, maybe there is. I don't have a paid subscription to Sports Business Daily so I can't tell if that's where Cox got his far fetched comparison from. So the next 23 paragraphs are spent analyzing this story that he seemingly made up. Looks like Damien Cox went to the Jayson Blair school of journalism.

And with this, I ride off into the sunset that is the Stanley Cup. I might poke around a bit around the start of free agency, but I sound like more of an idiot when writing about sports that aren't hockey. You're welcome.

Jim Caple Complains About Being Poor

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you some of the true innovators in human history:

Thomas Edison, Archimedes, Walter O'Malley, Al Gore and Jim Caple.

Go East, MLB, Go East

The title is Jim showing off his expert knowledge of history- which he acquired by spending weeks studying Horace Greeley in order to ace the AP US History exam, for which he received the score of 3.

In this article, Jim also shows off his excellent knowledge of baseball history. For example, way back in 1958, baseball teams moved to the West Coast. Jim suggests that a similar expansion to Japan is getting close.

There is no timetable for expansion overseas, but it makes enough financial sense to be a good possibility before Evan Longoria calls it a career. Hell, we might see it before Eva Longoria calls it a marriage with Tony Parker.

Hell, we might see it before Longoria Wines brings out their next Pinot Noirs! This is a Bill Simmons joke! Do you have any idea how hard it is to find websites about things called Longoria if you're not looking for pictures of a celebrity? [A: Not really, surprisingly].

Obviously, the biggest issue is the distance, which was also true before baseball expanded to the west coast. Commercial aviation made MLB's move to California possible by cutting travel time between America's coasts. As Paul Archey, the head of MLB International, put it: "You wouldn't have been able to expand to the West Coast if you were still taking trains."

Obviously, the biggest issue is distance. Obviously, the last time distance was a problem, the transportation industry solved it by providing a quantum decrease in travel time. Obviously, the biggest issue is still insurmountable based on this empirical data obtained by a blogger with a computer and five minutes to spare:

Boston to San Diego: 3044 miles
Miami to Seattle: 3360 miles
Boston to Tokyo: 6704 miles
Miami to Tokeo: 7456 miles

Distances according to Google Maps Distance Calculator

Obviously, this article didn't need to be written.

Actually, travel times aren't that bad now -- you can already fly from Japan to Seattle in eight and a half hours (flying the opposite direction takes about 10 hours).

I like how he puts the longer time in parenthesis, as though it were extraneous information that has nothing to do with his topic, even though it's perhaps the most relevant information in this entire fucking piece.

That's less than it took me to fly from DC to Seattle this week (counting the connection in Chicago).

Probably because you're poor and don't fly on charters like MLB players do. This is not your fault, Jim; I am the same way. This is because the services we provide to society are not as rare as the skills major league players provide to society - anyone, it seems, can be a shitty sportswriter these days, and god knows anyone can do what I do.

Traveling between the West Coast and Japan just isn't that difficult, and frankly, lots of people in all sorts of fields do it all the time.

I like how he assumes that nobody from the East coast will ever have to play these Japanese teams. Maybe Caple is suggesting that MLB contract some East coast teams to make room for them? Hell yeah - I'm tired of the Red Sox anyways.

This is such a ridiculously specious argument:
1. It takes 8-10 hours to travel from the Seattle to Japan.
2. It takes Jim Caple 8-10 hours to travel from DC to Seattle.
3. Major League baseball players won't be significantly affected by having to fly sixteen hour flights to play baseball games.

You don't need a lot of recovery time, either. A day would suffice, two at the most.

Baseball teams don't *have* a day or two on these trips. Baseball teams have to cram a 162 game season into about 180 days. They get one day off a week as it is.

As every experienced traveler knows, jet leg can often be a matter of expectations. If you expect to feel awful after a 4,500 mile flight, you surely will.

1. Is this true? Can I get some research to support this? This sounds like "anecdotal bullshit".
2. As I explained above, 4500 miles only gets you from Japan to the West Coast. If you're traveling all the way to the East coast, you have three more hours' time difference and 3000 more miles.

If you think jet lag won't be that bad, it becomes pretty manageable -- if not downright pleasurable if you're a big leaguer
flying first class with someone else carrying your bags and arranging your tickets and doing everything else short of feeding you peeled grapes.

It's true, Jim, that major leaguers are richer than you; however, this has nothing to do with your article. Expansion is only feasible if the players aren't experiencing significant physical side effects. Your whole article is based on your personal experience about how flying doesn't affect you that much.

Also: do peeled grapes taste better than unpeeled grapes?

The difficulty is convincing pampered players who already spend 120 nights on the road that it isn't that big a deal to add a trans-Pacific trip to the schedule.

The difficulty is also convincing fans and anyone interested in competitive balance in baseball that this won't significantly hurt certain teams' chances of winning. And you know what, Jim? Baseball players are pretty pampered. But they do push long hours and are away from home a hell of a lot.

Heck, I once listened to a player complain about traveling to Canada.

I once listened to an ESPN senior sportswriter complain about how poor he is.

But if 60-year-old flight attendants can not only manage the trip but can also pour coffee and wheel food carts up and down the aisles for much of the flight, athletes in their prime should be able to manage sitting, sleeping and watching movies during the same trip.

Except that's not the problem: nobody doubts that they can manage it.

This analogy is so stupid: flight attendants don't need their reflexes tuned to the microsecond when they're working; millions of baseball fans will scrutinize the baseball players' reflexes when they are working.

Especially when they get a $40,000 bonus for doing so (as the Red Sox and Athletics did this spring).

What is Jim's problem with athletes' salaries? The problem is, Jim, that you are doing something anyone can do - in fact, that completely unprofessional people like me can actually do better - and baseball players are doing something only a few people can do. That's the point of capitalism, meritocracies, and the like.

I'm all for baseball expanding to all corners of the world. As soon as someone invents a teleporter, or at least a viable supersonic spaceship that can fly people to far away places in very short times, baseball isn't going to go to Japan. That's why baseball expanded in 1958: technology advances solved a limiting problem.

As a baseball fan, I sure would be fucking pissed if the Reds were in the final week of the season in a playoff race and they had to go play a series in Nagoya and they had to spend thirty hours in a plane to get there and back, while their competitors had to travel to Milwaukee.

Hahaha check out this hilarious THE ONION article!!

Oh man, this is really funny

"Whether you're a football fan or not, I'm sure you found yourself caught up in the hype this past winter with the success of the New Jersey Giants," said Sen. Paul Sarlo, D-Bergen. "I emphasize the New Jersey Giants."

Made-up sounding senator name: check
Hilarious premise that only slightly diverges from reality: check

And though the Giants tell the world they're from New York, Garden State senators said their come-from-behind attitude represented more of a Jersey mentality.

Sarlo said they resembled "gutsy New Jerseyans" and "what we are all about here in New Jersey."

Perfect execution of a stereotype (people from New Jersey are delusional and obnoxious): check

The ceremony enlivened the usually reserved Senate, especially when Codey grabbed a football and unleashed a perfect pass across the Senate chamber to Sen. Nicholas Scutari, D-Union.

One more made up name that sounds like some Italian guy who would live in New Jersey: check
Ridiculous, un-newsworthy ending to a totally un-newsworthy story that no self respecting journalist would ever consider even writing: check

Hehehe, I fucking love the Onion.

Wait, that wasn't in The Onion?

Fuck me.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Reader Extra Participation Friday: Good News, Bad News, and Boring Stories

Listed here in that order, because I'm a big fan of compartmentalization. Why lump all the information together into a giant ball of confusion when I can conveniently and clearly separate it for you? It's like the difference between watching football highlights narrated by Shannon Sharpe and those narrated by anyone else. Well, not really. That comparison barely holds. I just wanted to pick on some low-hanging fruit and point out that Sharpe is completely incapable of verbally communicating with an audience.

The good news: Exactly one week from today, I'll be done with this horrendous job that has taken up way too much of my time. You know what that means, all seven of you who have stuck with us through these last few lean months? That's right- you're about to have access to a lot more mediocre anti-sports media blogging. Don't spend it all in one place. Hopefully I'll settle into a routine of staying up all night and putting up something very substantial at least four days a week, just like I did last fall/early winter.

The bad news: Yet again, for about the 90th-ish time in the last 100-ish nights, I have nothing substantial to offer you. I know, I know. It hurts me too. Of course, dozens of professional journalists have made long and fruitful careers out of offering nothing substantial to their readers. So I guess I'm not alone. Here, I'll be Woody Paige: I THINK WE SHOULD MAKE MICHAEL VICK FIGHT A BUNCH OF PEOPLE TO THE DEATH, AND LET DOGS WATCH. THAT SOUNDS FAIR, RIGHT? EYE FOR AN EYE. OR AS I LIKE TO SAY, PIE FOR A GUY. Sounds about right. And this admission that I yet again haven't written anything big leads me to...

So remember this post from Wednesday? I was thinking it would be really legendary if anyone who wanted to chip in could share the most legendary sports moment they've ever witnessed, in the vein of the last guy I complained about with the Clemente/Bonds story. We're talking about the kind of thing legends are made of. Go on, tell away. Here, I'll get things started:

JOHN ELWAY EXTENDS DRIVE WITH ACCURATE HUCK. It was late fall 1994, and the Broncos were hosting the Chiefs in an AFC West showdown at Mile High Stadium. Ten year old Larry B was in attendance. I was sitting there in section 319 (that's made up, I have no idea where I was sitting) as the Broncos faced an uncritical third and six from the KC 45 with about seven minutes left in the second quarter. Elway dropped back to pass, avoided a blitzer by brushing off an arm tackle, and fired a seed directly into the waiting arms some receiver whose name escapes me at the moment. The completion was good for nine yards and a first down! Denver would go on to kick a field goal on the drive. It remains to this day the most amazing pass I've ever seen on a third and six from the opponents' 45 at Mile High Stadium. I'm 23 now.

Please, everyone jump in. We've all got something to share.

Over/under on number of people who actually participate: 2.5. Hint: don't take the over. But a week from now, it all changes. We're getting the readership back up into the low teens. I can almost taste the impending Google ad revenue.

Just Stop, Jerry. Fucking Stop.

Continuing the wave of short posts here on FireJay....

Hey everyone! Did you ever wonder which baseball players are good at stealing bases! No? You don't have a clue? You're not really a fan and have been stuck under a rock? Great! Jerry Crasnick just wrote this just for you! Would you ever have suspected that Juan Pierre is one of the best base-stealers in the league? How about Jose Reyes? He's so far removed from the public spotlight that you might never have noticed that he swipes a TON of bases!

If that crap doesn't define useless, Crasnick. I don't know what does. This is officially the first column that was not either blatantly wrong or written poorly that has gotten me really, really, REALLY pissed off. You need to find something else to do for a living, Jerry, because you're just flooding the world with stuff people didn't need you to tell them. I have no idea how ESPN doesn't notice just how little you contribute to the flow of baseball information and analysis.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Presenting: Punchlines that Write Themselves, Vol. 4

A lot of chatter lately about college football spying. Most of it is boring; this seems like a manufactured story just to keep college football junkies tuned in to media during the offseason.

But, hidden within the chatter, you can find the opinion college football's senior expert on morals, theology, ethics, and getting his ass handed to him on a regular basis:

"The truth of the matter is, name the profession where someone isn't seeking an advantage," Washington coach Tyrone Willingham said. "That's man's nature. When man bit the apple, that did it. Original sin."

Amen. Though, truth be told, poor Ty has been regularly dominated by coaches who seek the competitive advantage of working.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dear Bill Simmons,

More Celtics columns, please! Me and the other 90% of the country which doesn't give a cluster of deer shit about them are going to come around eventually- just be patient with us. We'll get there. Hey, are there any recent events in Celtic history you'd like to recount for us? We'd love to read about them. Again. Oh, and make sure to keep us up to date with your dad's perspective on everything.

Presenting: Punchlines That Write Themselves, Vol. 3

Tony "I Hate Everything" Kornheiser, re: his recent buyout.

"Newspapers aren't dying,'' he said. "They're dead. But was it a sad day when the guys who made the great buggywhips and the beautiful classic carriages saw the first cars rolling off the assembly line? No. It was progress.''

He remembers that event clearly, because he was 33 at the time.


One of These Stories Is Not Like the Other

ESPN put it to their readers- email them your "most legendary" baseball story. Legendary... the kind of stuff legends are made of. Call me picky, but I'm not sure the judge (Rob Neyer) made the best possible decision in regards to one of these.

"In the summer of 1988, I was covering the Triple-A Nashville Sounds for the now-defunct Nashville Banner. In August of that season, I witnessed no-hitters in consecutive games on consecutive days. Randy Johnson (yes, that Randy Johnson) threw a no-hitter for Indianapolis, but Johnson lost the decision 1-0. Nashville's Lenny Harris drew a first-inning walk, stole a base and later scored on a groundout. The run stood up as Nashville's Keith Brown tossed a two-hitter. I remember Indianapolis had to pinch-hit for Johnson in the eighth inning and Pat Pacillo pitched the bottom of the eighth. The next day, Nashville pitcher Jack Armstrong happened upon Johnson prior to that day's game. Johnson told Armstrong, "Don't throw a no-hitter and lose.'' Armstrong took Johnson's advice. He threw a no-hitter and won 4-0. Armstrong's no-hitter was nearly a perfect game; the only blemish was a walk to the fabulously named Razor Shines. You can look it up."
--Mike Waters (Syracuse. N.Y.)

I like it.

"In 1969, I saw Cesar Tovar and Rod Carew steal around the bases. They both got on base, then completed a double steal to get to third and second. Tovar stole home, and Carew took third. That same inning Carew stole home. (By the way, the only runs that the Twins scored that day, I think!) Has it ever happened again that there were two steals of home in the same inning?
--Patrick Hansel (Minneapolis)


"This is a college baseball story, but about a current major leaguer, so hopefully it qualifies. I remember watching Pat Burrell, who had already clubbed two homers for Miami against the J.D. Drew-led Seminoles. His next time up, the pitcher threw a fastball right at him. But instead of diving away, Burrell took his hand off the bat and caught the ball with his bare hand. He threw it to the ground in disgust, stared down the pitcher (who probably soiled himself), then went on to hit another home run later for good measure."
--JT (Miami)

I kind of doubt he caught it, he more likely deflected it or something, but that's a great story.

"I heard that while in Seattle, Ken Griffey Jr. hit six straight home runs in batting practice (not the legend, it happens a lot I am sure), but Lou Piniella bet him a steak dinner he couldn't hit the next one out. Griffey agreed and the ball didn't get out of the cage. Lou kept hounding him for the steak dinner throughout the night, so Griffey had a cow delivered to the locker room the next day. Not sure if it's true but great story."

If true, that qualifies as legendary in my book. There are a handful of other pretty interesting candidates. And then, there's this guy.

"ROBERTO CLEMENTE THROWS OUT BOBBY BONDS WITH AN AMAZING HUCK FROM DEEP RIGHT FIELD. It was either 1971 or 1972, and I attended an S.F. Giants night game at Candlestick Park. At some point in the game with the Giants batting and Bonds on first, a Giant crushed a sure double off the fence in right. Clemente played the carom perfectly. Bonds, one of the NL's fastest, took off like a shot, his goal being third base. Clemente unleashed a seed to nip Bonds at third and he was called out. While such plays were de rigueur for Clemente, it was a Hall of Fame play to witness. I was 13 years old at the time and it was the greatest defensive play I've seen live at an MLB venue. I am 50 now."
--Jon Leonoudakis

I understand Clemente was a legend, and that Bonds was really good. And I get that I'm being picky as hell, and making a post that's not even about bad sportswriting. (Relax, it took me like 5 minutes to put together.) I may be lazy, but Rob Neyer is even lazier. That was one of the top ten "legendary" submissions you got? An outfield assist? Did he get chosen for using ALL CAPS in the first sentence?

OK, fine, I'll post something else.

Ed Hardiman Baited Me Like A Month Ago And I Never Noticed

My apologies, Ed. Here's the trashpile of Ed's phony definitions of "slobbermetric" statistics.

Next to the top of the column, FOXSports leaves a link entitled "report this", so I obviously did.

Are you sure you want to report this content as inappropriate? staff will investigate this content and deal with it as our Terms of Service dictate.


Optional: Please explain what the inappropriate content is,
or where it is on the page:

In this space I wrote....


Ed Hardiman only wrote this column so he could appear on Fire Jay Mariotti, an excellent blog that makes fun of several "professional" writers that write for your site. He should be banned from ever having access to a medium that exposes his writing to thousands of people, because his complete lack of humor and intelligence causes neurons to explode. For the safety of the general public, his writing must be hidden from the view of all persons.

You really can't find the inappropriate content? Seriously? The entire thing is inappropriate and should be e-incinerated.



On the plus side, Ed, you had to look up the definition of all those stats you made fun of. My mission is accomplished.

Hey Chris

Maybe if you actually read my posts in their entirety you'd know when to not expect anything from me. Anyways-

1. Sportscenter is obviously the most important TV show in the history of, well, sports. Yet its recent transition from comprehensive highlight show to ABC cross promotional tool was so subtle that many undiscerning viewers might have missed it. Actually, scratch that- pretty much anyone whose head is not being stored inside their ass probably noticed. It's just really sad that a 90 minute Sunday night edition of the show doesn't include highlights from every baseball game played that day, but does include a 6 minute Sunday Conversation with Jason Taylor which focuses primarily on his "Dancing With the Stars" appearance. Way to know your audience, idiots. I'm sure there's a real significant demographic overlap between the kind of person who watches Sportscenter and the kind of person who might be interested in a celebrity dancing show. Slightly more interestingly, but causing just as much frustration for those of us who didn't get to see our baseball team's highlights from the night before, was the 6 minute segment on the resurgence of Rollerderby. How'd that make the cut? My guess is that ABC is about to buy the rights to some Rollerderbies and start airing them on Friday nights or something. Stay tuned for that. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

2. This is a little bit late, but work with me here- did anyone watch the Sunday Night Baseball telecast featuring the Yankees and Mets? Two gems in there, neither of which I have verbatim transcripts for, but both of which are worth complaining about-

a) In the top of the 4th, the Mets' Carlos Delgado hit an opposite field home run just a couple inches over the left field fence and off the very base of the foul pole. The third base umpire originally got the call right, then conferenced with his colleagues and incorrectly changed it. That's not the real story, however. The real story involves both Joe Morgan and Jon Miller (bless his Joe Morgan-dealing-with soul) spending a good 15 minutes watching replays from a couple camera angles and then concluding that the foul pole was actually installed incorrectly, i.e. not in alignment with the foul line. They were shocked that in one of baseball's oldest and most historic parks, a massive mistake like that could have slipped through the cracks for so many years! The comedy here being, of course, that there is no mistake. Just like in baseball's 29 other parks, the foul poles at Yankee Stadium line up correctly with the foul lines. You fucking dummies. Looking at a camera angle aimed straight down the third base line later on in the game allowed the guys to realize that fact and amend their statements. Still pretty hilarious in the moment, though.

b) At one point, in order to analyze a taken pitch's location, Joe (or Joe's producer, bless his Joe Morgan-dealing-with soul) decided to bring up ESPN's "K Zone" feature. He explained why K Zone is helpful to any fans who might not be familiar with it, and that explanation went something like this:

So now let's got to K Zone to see where that pitch ended up. The reason we need K Zone is because the camera angle you watch the game on doesn't actually come from directly behind the pitcher. It's kind of off to the side a little bit, so you can't really trust what you see from that angle. The reason we have to show you the pitches from that angle is because if we put a camera right behind the pitcher, you wouldn't be able to see the catcher's target or the strike zone! So that's why we have K Zone.

Ohhhhh.... is that how the placement of objects in 3 dimensional space works? Thanks Joe. If I'm in the neighborhood, I'll be sure to drop in for your guest lecture on physics at MIT. Also, it doesn't really need to be said, but K Zone is a joke.

3. You know what Gregg Easterbrook said about the Patriots in this piece has to be dumb if my response to it amounts to a quasi-defense of the Patriots. (The article as a whole isn't terrible at all, and makes some good points, but this particular one stinks on ice.)

"Cheaters! Cheaters!" the crowd at Radio City Music Hall chanted when New England's name went on the clock at last month's draft. "Cheaters! Cheaters!" crowds will chant next fall when New England takes the field, if the cheater Belichick is still running the show. The way to stop that, and bring Spygate to a close, is to suspend the person responsible. The $500,000 fine assessed against Belichick is a token sanction at his income level. The draft choice fine against the Patriots penalizes mainly the team's fans, who are not responsible for what happened.

Saying that voiding a draft choice primarily punishes a team's fans is like claiming when a business is broken into and robbed, it primarily punishes their regular customers. Are the fans very disappointed about that situation? Undoubtedly. Are they being punished harder than, you know, the team itself? Of fucking course fucking not. That ruling hit the team hard, and definitely changed their offseason plans significantly. Even for Easterbrook, this is horrifically dumb.

OK... sorry about the pu-pu platter... but at least you got a post centered around something besides photoshopping a 20 year old video game.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

This Just In: All Current Baseball Players Suck

Hattigan's up to his old tricks again. The Yankees are in 4th place, so we have to hear about how there aren't any interesting players in baseball.

Baseball is missing must-see players
Pujols, Ortiz are good but not memorable like Bonds, Clemens, McGwire

Oh man, you didn't even make it past the tagline this time without saying something outrageously stupid. Do you know WHY Pujols and others are not consider-....

Hold on....Alfonso Soriano just hit a solo homer to lead off the game, much like other selfish assholes would. I just wanted to absorb that and spend a couple moments hoping Jay Mariotti was watching and thinking about the fact that Jay thinks Soriano should have done something better to help the team....-

ed as memorable as these players??? Albert Pujols is fucking 28 years old. We're not "remembering" him, we're watching him make memories. The dude's averaging over 10 WARP per season for crissake. And what about A-Rod? A-Rod might turn out to be the greatest player ever. Is that not worth watching?

Maybe baseball has spoiled us over the past 10 years. It’s given us too many moments, too many heroes — even if they were flawed heroes — doing too many once-in-a-lifetime things.

Mark McGwire broke the home run record in 1998. Sammy Sosa broke it in the same season. Three years later, Barry Bonds broke that record. Once-in-a-lifetime things.

Remember when ESPN used to interrupt whatever it was broadcasting to show Barry Bonds’ latest at-bat? Remember when we logged into to track each pitch that Roger Clemens threw? Remember the home run chase?

Yes, because Barry Bonds was chasing one of the most sacred records in sports. Forgive 25-year-old David Wright if he's not doing that right now.

That stuff about Roger Clemens is absolutely bogus. You just needed more examples. I do the same thing with Carlos Quentin (man, talk about someone playing amazing that no one has said anything about...seriously, I looked at every major sports site's "suprise players" list and never saw his name because they're gushing over Cliff Lee and his megafluke season thus far).

OK, I know that there’s a likelihood that some, if not all, of these guys were getting illicit help. Just the same, from 1998, when Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire where chasing down Roger Maris, until last year, when the BALCO Bomber was adding to his all-time home-run total, we’ve had people whose moments on the diamond and in the batter’s box we didn’t want to miss.

Are you saying that there are no superexciting individual players just because there aren't any home run records in danger of falling anytime soon? I shouldn't be excited about A-Rod and Pujols? Quentin? Edinson Volquez (guy has been freakin' awesome!)? The Hammerin' Hebrew Ryan Braun?

When we found out what was going on, we got all over them like green on grass. We were glad when McGwire slunk off into a retirement in which he doesn’t want to talk about the past. We delighted when Sammy disappeared, then came back and couldn’t hit the ball nearly as far or nearly as often.

You wrote an entire column celebrating how impressive his comeback was. Remember?

It’s not as if it’s a bad baseball season. There are plenty of stories to follow, few as remarkable as Chipper Jones’ sustained run of .400-plus hitting and Cliff Lee’s — Cliff Lee? — 6-0 start to the season for Cleveland with an ERA you need an electron scanning microscope to find, and Brandon Webb’s 8-0 start with Arizona.

Okay, take Webb. Why isn't he a "can't miss" pitcher? He's won 8 fucking games in 8 tries. Don't you think that if this continues that Brandon Webb will be a "can't miss" player come August and September? If Chipper Jones is hitting .400 in August, he'll be the type of player that people will schedule bathroom breaks around. This is May. May 14th. Suprisingly few single-season records are in jeopardy on May 14th.

Chase Utley with the Phillies is having an MVP season. The Cubs are in first place and some guy named Fukudome is one of the reasons why. St. Louis is right there with them, thanks to the incomparable Albert Pujols and the surprising Ryan Ludwick.

Incomparable? You just said that those other guys from the past 10 years were way more awesome and memorable than he was!

Greg Maddux has 250 wins and with four more will pass Clemens.

Because this is Celizic, I'm only 85% sure that was a typo.

You should have never pissed off Jeffrey Conway and made him leave to edit Mariotti's garbage.

Manny is closing in on 500 home runs and Junior Griffey is about to hit 600. Florida is the best team in baseball and the team formerly known as the Devil Rays have the AL's third-best record.

Totally uninteresting stuff, right?

So it’s not as if there aren’t a superfluity of reason to watch baseball. But it’s teams we’re watching more than individuals.

Huh? You just mentioned Webb, Lee, Maddux, Jones, Ramirez, Griffey, Pujols, Ludwick, and Utley.......

The individuals are either not compelling personalities or overpowering at what they do. It’s not their fault. I love watching guys like Justin Mourneau and Pujols and Manny and Big Papi hit, but I don’t think most fans plan their evenings around those at-bats.

You are the first person in history to say that David Ortiz is neither a compelling personality nor overpowering at hitting.

Does anyone want to watch Maddux pitch six cagey innings for the pathetic Padres? Maybe Pujols is great, but we don't watch his every at-bat. Same goes for Manny.

This is valid, because at this specific time, these players are not shattering records. But you can't fucking tell me that Pujols isn't exciting because he hasn't done anything like that yet.

After all, 500 homers, like the dollar, aren’t what they used to be. The same goes for Griffey. He’s worth watching, but he’s playing for Cincinnati, and nobody’s showing their games.

ZOMG! ESPN isn't putting the Cincinnati Reds on TV! Griffey isn't interesting!

Besides, 600 homers is also a devalued currency. He may have done it the right way — that’s the perception, at least — but there are five guys with that many ahead of him. When Aaron got to 600, just two had been there before him.

Fuck you Griffey! You should have played baseball in an earlier time!

In another four years, we’ll be watching A-Rod start to chase down Bonds.

But the home runs he's hitting today don't count as much towards that.

We’ll watch Jeter beat him to 3,000 hits

Jeter is at 2398. A-Rod is at 2276. I'm thinking A-Rod gets more hits over the next 4-5 years than Jeter, so this could actually get pretty interesting.

and eventually Pujols will start to reach historic numbers. Maybe someone will one day make a run at the triple crown, and grab out interest that way.

You know, most triple crown frontrunners are typically determined on May 14th. I wonder why one hasn't emerged yet this year.

Bu there aren’t any superhumans out there — at least not yet. The great pitchers don’t strike out 20 a game, or even 15.

Who the fuck in the last 10 years struck out this many guys per game?

And even if someone hits 50 home runs, it’s no longer special. If Ryan Howard or Prince Fielder wants to try a run at 61, we’ll watch the chase, but that’s months — or years — away.


For the moment, it’s the teams, not the players. The biggest draw in baseball is not Bonds or Clemens; it’s the Boston Red Sox. After them are the Yankees. The Cubs cause a stir wherever they go.

Or, for people who give a shit about things besides how big of a city a team plays in, the Diamondbacks and Rays are pretty damn exciting too.

The game is still great, but it’s games we watch now, not moments. That’s not necessarily bad, but it sure is different.

This is a totally false and stupid generalization that assumes the way you think is the way the world thinks about baseball.

There’s still time to sign Barry.

Yeah. Have the Tampa Bay Rays sign Barry Bonds. Then I bet that baseball fans everywhere will need to see Barry's every at-bat and ESPN will start showing tons of Rays games, because Bonds has this superhuman presence that no players today have that makes people give a shit about his every move when he's NOT chasing a record. False, sir. Fucking FALSE. When Bonds isn't on the verge of breaking records, people care about how he's hitting just as much as they do any other of the game's great hitters.

I'm getting tired of your stupid "here's what people care about right now in sports" columns. Stop it. Just stop.

Buck Showalter Teaches Backpedaling 101

Have you ever been trying to pick up someone attractive, and suddenly said something that pretty much dooms your attempt, but then, rather than bailing out tried pathetically to save the situation? You end up sounding like "You know, I usually don't go for blondes like you. My ex was a blonde, and she was batshit crazy. (pause) Not that I think you're batshit crazy. (pause) And not that I'm still thinking about my ex! I was just noticing how nice your hair is, that's all. (long pause) You have really pretty eyes." See how well that worked? Ugh. Douchechills. And that brings us to Buck on Baseball Tonight yesterday.

(The scene- Red Sox vs. Orioles.)

Karl Ravech: Top 9, Boston within one, no outs, full count, and it's David Ortiz...

(Ortiz strikes out on a fairly obvious failed check swing.)

Eric Young: Buck, did he go?

Buck (taking the bait): Well, it's all about intent.

Karl (confused/disdainful): He didn't "intend" to swing?

Buck: Well, he didn't INTEND to swing... It's a matter of whether or not you................ (suddenly changing to a much brighter and friendlier tone) You know, Laz Diaz is a good umpire.

Oof. Just abandon ship next time, buddy. Nothing you say is going to bring him back at that point.

Also, I hate it when blogs make too big a deal out of this, but I feel it's worth mentioning that FireJay is officially one year old as of this morning. If you'd like, feel free to go back through the archives and read some of our shit from last May. Several things become clear when you do so- PNoles still hates Mariotti with a passion that not even my Simmons bashing can match, Dan-Bob and Chris W should post more often because they are funny dudes, and I've gone from being a shithead who doesn't use capital letters to a shithead who does.

Also also, this is the last you'll hear from me until next Tuesday, as I'm taking off on a vacation to the current murder capital of the country. I'm so glad the Saints made it to the NFC championship game two Januarys ago. As far as I learned at the time from ESPN/FOX/CBS, in doing so they saved the city and proved that there were absolutely no lingering effects from Hurricane Katrina. Awesome! Geeeeaaaauuuuuuxxxxxxxxx Saints!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Who Is Joba Chamberlain and Why Is He the Most Newsworthy Athlete of All Time?

Currently on ESPN- a front page link to this article, which contains discussion about a topic that is only slightly more relevant than what the average NFL punter ate for breakfast yesterday. The article's corresponding poll, meanwhile, wants to know what you think of Chamberlain's so-called antics. I was unable to answer, because "Who gives a kiddie pool-sized pile of shit?" was not one of the options.


Nothing to see here, folks. Jay just wrote another awful article about Ozzie Guillen being a crybaby. It's nothing he's never said's just terrible and he repeats himself a lot. I'm just here to remind everyone what little bit sneaks its way into every Sox column Jay writes.

In my mind, the Sox have underachieved for Guillen since July of 2006, a period in which they're 30 games under .500.

Estimated date that Jay stops caring about that date: August 14, 2031.

Monday, May 12, 2008

How Long Does It Take Joe Morgan To Say Three Hilarious Things?

By my count during last night's Red Sox/Twins game, about 20 minutes. I flipped it on in the bottom of the 6th. By the bottom of the seventh, the following three examples of dunderheadedness has escaped his mouth.

1. ESPN was flaunting a new feature in which they show the elapsed time it takes a pitch to get from the pitcher's hand to the batter. They played singles by both David Ortiz and Justin Morneau in super slow-mo and real time using the camera/clock thingy. Having already watched a single to right by Ortiz in which the ball went from hand to bat in exactly 0.40 seconds (Note to Gregg Easterbrook- yes, even bad baseball analysts can sense single hundredths of a second!), Joe was watching a single to center by Morneau which happened after the exact same amount of elapsed time when he suddenly realized:

I'm a little surprised at how accurate that is. I mean... both pitches were 92 mph, and both he and Big Papi made contact 4 tenths of a second after the pitch left the pitcher's hand. (pause) That's pretty good.

Joe's fierce rivalry with anything and everything technological is well documented. Here, though, we see him perhaps giving a little ground. Yes... that is pretty good. You mean a clock measuring two pitches thrown at the same speed determined that they traveled the same distance in the same amount of time? Well I'll be damned. Maybe these computer thingys have something going for them after all.

2. After Red Sox 4th outfielder Coco Crisp hit a home run in the top of the 7th:

And that's just what i was talking about earlier. He (Terry Francona) gets Crisp a lot of at bats. He's been performing well for them. A lot of people thought he'd be sitting on the bench, behind Manny Ramirez and J.D. Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury. But he's revolved around and kept Crisp in the rotation, and he has been a rewarded.

Obviously you can see the point Joe's trying to make. But boy, he does have a way with words, doesn't he? So Francona has "revolved around" by giving Crisp at bats, and by doing so has kept him "in the rotation." Do outfields have rotations? They do now. And this has been "a rewarded" for the Sox Manager. OK. Got it.

3. After Twins DH Craig Monroe led of the bottom of the 7th with a home run, making it 9-6 Twins:

Craig monroe, giving them a three run lead with that run. It's more than just one run, it's a state of mind, so to speak.

Oh, there goes Joe again. Always a) going out of his way to say that [thing X] is really a whole lot more/less/different than [thing X], which you wouldn't know unless you were a former player like him, and b) unnecessarily clarifying/extending figures of speech. That solo home run is more than just one run, it's a state of mind, so to speak, as some people might put it, in certain cases, depending on what kind of team you have, in terms of the mental side of baseball, with cherries on top.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Reader Extra Participation Friday: Why Did Everyone Stop Participating In Reader Extra Participation Friday?

I'm not trying to pat myself on the back or anything here, but this might be the best copout post of all time. Feel free to leave your thoughts as to why this bit sucks and never really got off the ground. Or, don't leave your thoughts and let your silence speak volumes. Even if you don't participate, you participate! Everyone wins, even me.

If all else fails, feel free to start an argument about one of the following to get yourself through the day:

-the length of the NBA playoffs
-the DH
-Roger Goodell's heavy-handed punishments
-the Olympics: does anyone care? (I personally do, no sarcasm, but I seem to be in the minority)
-John Daly: jolly or dangerous?
-gun control/prayer in schools/abortion

Enjoy the beginning of your weekend.

I've Been Waiting For This

Jay Mariotti is finally back from vacation. He had to have been on vacation, because there's no reason that he wouldn't have written a column bashing Ozzie Guillen over the last 4 days or so. The old favorites are coming back, in a classic Jay article that reminds me of just how much I hate every piece of dribble he puts in a newspaper. Hold on tight everyone, and enjoy the ride.

Ozzie, Sox: Chicago's rude, crude embarrassment

That's a good start. Has anyone written an article like this recently? This Jay article is unique because unlike the other monotonous things he writes, every other journalist in Chicago is saying the same thing.

The team with no class almost spun a no-hitter. Filthy as the White Sox and their manager have been, Gavin Floyd somehow was filthier and nastier Tuesday night on the South Side. After Hawk Harrelson jinxed the young man by babbling, ``Call your family, call your friends, Gavin Floyd is three outs from a no-hitter,'' well, you'll never guess what happened.

Fitting for Mariotti to blame the no-hitter breakup on the broadcaster. Just simply fitting.

Fact of the matter is, Floyd has like an even K/BB ratio and, prior to last night, had one a pretty bad GB/FB ratio (0.66). Him getting a no-hitter would have been just as unlikely as Mark Buehrle doing it last year was.

It's just as well. Ozzie Guillen didn't deserve to be bailed out by a classy, polite kid with hair combed across his forehead, low on his brow.

Sounds like someone has a man-crush! Was Ozzie right about you being a fag?

It isn't news, of course, that

Now wait. If this isn't news, why is the following large chunk of information being printed in a paper in which to read news?

Guillen is the clown doofus of sports, a disgrace to a city, a franchise, intelligent humanity and those of us who must chronicle his arrested-adolescent b.s. to the point of ad nauseum. I'm just wondering how he's still employed. If this was bad standup comedy, I'd understand why a trashy nightclub might hire him to humor drunks for $5.50 an hour.

Well done, Jay. That might have been your best tirade in years.

My one problem is that bad stand-up comics have trouble getting the respect of a baseball team and that most of them aren't insanely good at managing pitcher workloads.

But I've gotta say. I might memorize that block of insults for the next time I get really mad at somebody.

But he's a baseball manager. And since July of 2006,


a sample size that has become more truth than trend, his team has largely failed.

We're getting close....

It's one thing to act like an idiot and win a championship, which causes folks to think you're a crazy genius.

Uh huh....

It's quite another to act like an idiot and go 124-151


Okay, so I didn't copy and paste a video of a parade marching from YouTube. But here we are, on May 7th, 2008. We're STILL talking about the record of a baseball team since July 2, 2006. That date was the only relevant date in baseball history.

proving only that your act isn't working and that you're killing an organization with your relentless immaturity and gutter-sludge mouth.

Oh gee, that's a new one Jay. Ozzie's "act" isn't working, because the team hasn't been good. Does Ozzie play baseball? Does the team get on base more when he isn't a lightning rod of attention? The White Sox as an organization are being "killed" because Ozzie swears too much? Really???? Maybe a LITTLE bit of mismatched cause-and-effect somewhere in there?

The Sox can crow all they want about their World Series title, how they beat the Cubs to the holy grail. At least the Cubs still own their dignity as a Chicago institution, as opposed to Guillen, who belongs in one.

ZING! Did....did you guys see what he did there? It was pretty pretty clever!

The Cubs are easy to like.

The Sox are easy to loathe.

That's like, too opinionated to even be printed in an opinion column.

Okay, I didn't even print everything in the article to this point. After 5 full paragraphs and 3 one-liners, we're finally ready for Jay to start reporting the news, that is, stuff that he hasn't said a billion times already.

The latest episode inside Guillen's clubhouse, involving inflatable female dolls and strategically placed bats in a frat-house attempt to end the club's offensive woes, is an insult to women.

Everyone reading this blog pretty much knows what Jay's personality is like. Do you really believe that he gives a shit about the blow-up dolls? He's literally modifying his feelings to lash out at Guillen some more.

This comes after incidents in which he slurred gays, insulted nations, blew off the White House and angered folks in his native Venezuela with his tirade against Magglio Ordonez. So comprehensive is his list of victims, he's almost running out of targets.

Did I say Jay was done repeating himself.......?

::checks a little bit above::

Yeah. I did. My fault.

I cannot think of another company -- another sports team -- that would tolerate this unceasing run of verbal thuggery, especially when he isn't succeeding on the field.



If Guillen didn't directly participate in purchasing and displaying the dolls, well, put it this way: He sets the trashy tone. The man isn't exactly stable, which wouldn't bother me if he didn't represent this proud city and a sport that has endured a long steroids scandal and doesn't need dirt of any sort.

Like I've said before, this isn't even close to the worst thing that happens in a clubhouse.

Yet there was Williams, Reinsdorf's yes-man and the one who signed off on Guillen's hiring, making fun of the episode Tuesday and refusing to issue a formal apology. One of Guillen's favorite words -- hypocrite -- is exactly what he and the Sox have become.

ZOMG! Jay's about to call someone(thing) else a hypocrite again! Don't you love irony? Let's see how he fucks this up.

You cannot market ``Family Field Day'' on May 17 and a ticket package called the ``Ozzie Plan,'' then let the face of your franchise cultivate an R-rated atmosphere with more F-bombs than a Chris Rock routine.

Why? Why can you not market these things? It's not like it's called "Family Tour of the R-Rated Clubhouse Day." And that thing about the "Ozzie Plan" is totally irrelevant. Does anyone see why he even mentioned the "Ozzie Plan?" You can't name a ticket plan after a guy who has a potty mouth? This makes no fucking sense.

``I will assure Major League Baseball that the doll was not violated in any way, shape or form," [Kenny Williams] cracked. ``In all seriousness, it is a little bit of a disappointment because we have proactively tried to -- and just did so this spring training -- organizationally, we brought in some people to discuss a better work environment, whether it's gender issues or racial issues. I don't know what a formal apology on behalf of the club is going to do, other than me assuring everyone we are on top of it and we addressed the issue.''

Thank you.

Sure, you did. Just as the Sox and Major League Baseball ``addressed'' matters two summers ago by having Guillen attend sensitivity training, which obviously helped.

Guillen wasn't the one responsible for the blow-up shrine.

Reinsdorf and Williams think they're above these issues, when, in fact, the issues define who they are as executives and human beings.

No. Shut the fuck up. Whether or not there are blow-up dolls in the locker room absofuckinglutely does NOT define who Reinsdorf and Williams are as human beings, and CERTAINLY not as executives. What could either of them had to do with any of this? Are these issues supreme to the success of the team baseball-wise? One thing is completely clear: you, Jay Mariotti, have your head far enough up your ass to the point where you think so.

Unfortunately, some media fear Reinsdorf and curry his favor, which might explain why WMVP-AM's Marc Silverman -- who seems thrilled to have Reinsdorf on the station's ``Lunch With a Legend'' series -- was more eager to criticize his on-air guest, the Sun-Times' Carol Slezak, than simply interview her about her post-dolls, anti-Sox column.

I'm totally siding with Marc Silverman on this one. Criticizing Carol Slezak is a lot of fun.

Keeping with his track record, Guillen was too small to issue an apology to the offended. ``If people think we did something wrong, wow. I'm not going to apologize, I'm not going to say I'm sorry,'' he said. ``I don't know what to say. I can't come up with the words because as soon as I say that, that means I'm guilty of something. I'm not guilty."

He is guilty as sin, actually, for making a mockery of his craft. Can you imagine such a trail of trash ever being littered in Boston, New York? Could you imagine a manager keeping a job through it all, no matter how many championships he won?

Now you're basically copying Carol Slezak's column from a few days ago. This is not smart, Jay. In fact, it's bordering on plagiarism. Can you come up with your own ideas, please? Here's a copy of a sentence from Carol's piece.

Can you imagine the Yankees or Red Sox building a similar shrine in their locker room, in full view of clubhouse visitors?

Complete coincidence that you decided to evaluate the incident against the standards of the same teams, hmmm? Totally by chance, right?

Could you imagine a manager keeping a job through it all, no matter how many championships he won?

For the love of God, YES! If Trashy Awesometon is managing my baseball team and winning the World Series every year and banging strippers in the clubhouse every day while using countless ethnic slurs, he's my manager because he has the supernatural ability to win the World Series every single year, which is the supreme goal of baseball, which you should try to write about sometimes instead of trash like this.

As long as reporters have work to do, and as long as clubhouses are open to media, a sports franchise has a responsibility to maintain a civil, orderly, professional workplace.

Why? You don't hold yourself to the same standard. You are quite possibly the least professional human being alive who sucks up newspaper space every time you decide you want to rant about Ozzie Guillen or Ken Harrelson.

I don't subscribe to any boys-will-be-boys junk when it comes to working environments.

Interesting. Here's another quip from Carol Slezak.

And just so we're clear, the tired ''boys will be boys'' excuse no longer works.


If players want to go through ``Slumpbuster'' rituals with inflatable dolls, do it in the trainer's room, where the media can't see it. When you make it public, the organization is judged accordingly.

So you do condone sticking wooden bats up the arse of a doll. Doesn't exactly help your argument any.

The Blizzard finally might have made sense when he suggested media be banned from the clubhouse. I don't blame athletes for feeling invaded when they're attempting to shower and dress in the presence of reporters, especially in a time of camera phones and other creepiness. I understand the importance of media access, but it's more sensible to bring players into a large interview area before and after games. That's how it is done on Super Bowl media day. That's how it is done at the Olympics. Is it a pain for the media? Sure. But how would you like to be showering at work and have 50 reporters bust in?

This is a good point.

Besides, it sure beats hanging out in Guillen's den of doom, watching his career disintegrate with every stunt, F-bomb and non-apology.

Yeah, and besides, you don't go anywhere near that place, because you know that there are literally tens of people just waiting to beat the living shit out of you, including Ozzie himself. Can we set that fight up, please?