PNoles and I are watching the game again tonight. Should be a real bundle of laughs.
7:14 CST: I just turned on the game, like 45 seconds ago, and Joe has already praised Joe Torre for calling a hit and run with Manny Ramirez on first and James Loney at the plate. He mentioned that if the Dodgers want to make the playoffs, they're going to need to do more of that and stop "waiting around for the home run." Sending Manny Ramirez: pretty much asking for an out. (Too bad it worked and Loney managed to slap a single through the left side. Bah humbug.)
7:21 CST: Casey Blake clubs a 3 run bomb on a pitch that K Zone shows as being about three inches above the knees. Joe insists that it was "up in the zone... for a sinkerballer." Maybe he missed his location and wanted it to sink out of the zone, but buddy, it doesn't matter what kind of pitcher you are. Three inches above the knees is three inches above the knees.
7:22 CST: Jon Miller praises Blake for "coming through in the clutch!" I don't know how clutch you can possibly be in the top of the first, but I guess whatever the upper limit of that categorization is, Blake hit it.
7:31 CST: Stephen Drew gets thrown out trying to steal second. Joe does not approve. Well, which is it, Joe? You don't want them to wait around for the three run bomb, do you? (Actually, Joe's probably right here. It's just funny to hear him not approve of a SB attempt, regardless of context.)
7:35 CST: Joe's analysis re: Brandon Webb's struggles: "Make no mistake about it... when you're going for your 20th win, a lot of things go through your mind. Especially in this day and age, when so few guys get there." I'm awarding him zero points for this one.
7:40 CST: According to Joe, the name of the Diamondbacks' starting pitcher is actually Brandon Wells.
7:47 CST: Joe, re: the Brewers' petitioning of the league to change the scoring of the Pirates' only hit in today's game to give C.C. Sabathia a no hitter: "I've always thought it was in the rulebook, from back in my umpiring days, that the first hit had to be a clean hit."
1) Can you imagine how awful Joe would be as an umpire, what with his complete inability to make tough decisions?
2) That's not in the rulebook.
7:55 CST: Jon praises Casey Blake for squibbing a grounder past Webb (Wells?), allowing Matt Kemp to advance from 2nd to 3rd. He calls it good "situational hitting, to get the ball past the pitcher like that!" Call my crazy, but I don't think there's a situation in the whole game of baseball where your goal ISN'T to hit the ball past (or away from, in the case of bunting) the pitcher.
8:04 CST: Joe is sure that acquiring David Eckstein will help the Diamondbacks because they "need a little more leadership on the field." Hopefully they also need more mediocre defense and poor hitting, because Lil' Eck will be bringing those to Phoenix as well.
8:13 CST: OK, guys. Webb isn't keeping his sinker down in the zone and Lowe is. We get it. You can only talk about that for so many straight half-innings (going on five at this point) before it gets stale.
8:17 CST: Joe, re: Andre Ethier's RBI double with 2 strikes: "Well, with two strikes, he changes his mindset and just wants to drive the run in." What was his mindset before he had 2 strikes? Try not to drive the run in? Foul off as many pitches as possible? Check out the hot girl sitting behind the dugout?
8:26 CST: And Webb is out of the game. Earlier today, the front page headline on espn.com was his picture, with the headline "Oh, What a Webb!" Any guesses about that one? Anybody? Is it a play on that oldies hit "Oh, What a Night?" What am I missing here?
8:33 CST: Jon has a theory as to why Joe Torre is such an effective manager: "He has the ability to phrase something, and not make it sound like a cliche!" (I use an exclamation mark because Jon always sounds like he's excited about everything.) If it even exists, I'm not sure that ability is more or less important to a manager's ability level than filling out a lineup card. We'll call it a push for now.
8:50 CST: PNoles's apartment has several visitors in it right now, so I'm having trouble hearing Jon and Joe over the awful racket going on in here. It is helping me enjoy the game a lot more, though. Every cloud has a silver lining.
8:57 CST: Going back to the Eckstein trade: how the hell did he clear waivers? The whole AL let him get away? Really? Haven't these teams ever heard of winning?
8:59 CST: Since I'm grasping at straws here, I might as well offer commentary on the commercials. I kind of enjoy these Mike's Hard Lemonade spots that are obviously ripping off Tommy Boy, but what demographic are they going after? There can't be a huge overlap between Chris Farley fans and sugary malt beverage drinkers.
9:05 CST: Speaking of how excited Jon gets when pretty much anything happens, Tony Clark just missed a catch in foul ground during an 8-0 game. "HE DROPPED IT! HE HAD IT, AND IT BOUNCED OUT!" Easy, tiger. Easy now.
9:12 CST: As the third out is recorded in the top of the 6th, Joe reveals that he'll be pressing Jon for Jon's MVP and Cy Young picks during the next half inning. Hopefully Joe is willing to give his own opinions as well- I'm already getting tingly thinking about the possibilities.
9:15 CST: Obviously Jon has his finger squarely on the pulse of pop culture; after a brief K Zone montage of Lowe's sinker tonight, he manages to funkily blurt out "Derek Lowe, 'get down' tonight!" Hopefully Kool and the Gang will be visiting the booth later in the evening.
9:19 CST: Joe finally settles the age-old debate about the relative levels of passion for baseball expressed by fans on America's two coasts. "A lot of people say people on the east coast care more about baseball. But I'm a west coast kind of guy! I really think the guys in Los Angeles... the fans in San Francisco... I think fans on the west coast really care about baseball too." Good to have that all cleared up.
9:27 CST: Jon has told Joe to back off the end-of-the-year award questions. Oh nooooo!
9:28 CST: Wait, wait, wait, wait.... whoa. We're back on topic. Jon says some wishy washy crap about the Cubs' whole lineup. Joe then takes the reins. He helpfully reminds us that we won't know until the season is over (thanks a lot), but then reveals his dark horse candidate: Carlos Delgado. His OPS+: 122. Pujols' OPS+ (not that I'm saying he's necessarily the best pick, just that he's one of many potential better picks): 191. Cue up the laugh track.
9:41 CST: Jon and Joe discuss NL Cy Young candidates without saying anything especially dumb. Of course, Joe was quick to point out that many guys have had excellent seasons. As opposed to 2007, when one and only one guy had an excellent season.
9:44 CST: I am shocked MLB didn't bring Dane Cook back for their playoff promos. Why not? Part of advertising is getting people to remember your message, and I don't think Dane could possibly have done a better job in that capacity. Everyone say it with me: there are only how many Octobers?
9:58 CST: I just realized, we didn't have any Joe-less half innings tonight. Either he's holding it, or tonight he managed to take his bathroom break(s) during a commercial break(s).
10:01 CST: Joe and Jon wax poetically about the alleged HOF credentials of one Maury Wills. The comedy of this doesn't really need to be expanded upon much: let's just leave it at his career OPS+ of 88. Although, I have to say I'm surprised that Joe would be in his corner. It's not like Wills was part of the Big Red Machine.
10:11 CST: Sorry, I kind of tapered off at the end there. That's enough nerdery for tonight. We'll be back next Sunday as Joe and Jon continue their elaborate dance of idiocy. Remember, as unfunny as I am, at least I have two working eyes! (I really wanted to end on a high note, and taking a shot at Stu Scott seemed like the way to do it.)
Sunday, August 31, 2008
PNoles and I are watching the game again tonight. Should be a real bundle of laughs.
Friday, August 29, 2008
(I never get sick of "man, old Gene needs a new last name" jokes).
Anyway, he shifted to baseball mode. Which means I'm shifting into shit all over his face mode.
Playoff success all that matters to Angels
Now that's just fucking brilliant.
Josh Byrnes: "I don't care what the hell else happens. I just want the Diamondbacks to win the division and make a quick first round exit."
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- So here are the Los Angeles Angels, who pretty much clinched the American League West on Opening Day, who are so good opposing coaches tell closer Francisco Rodriguez, "We don't really like to play you guys," who might have the best owner in baseball and whose clubhouse might be the dullest thing this side of "Asparagus: The Documentary."
Wow. That is the worst-composed sentence in the history of the English language. 4 derivations of the word "who". Is that supposed to be clever or something? Let's check this one out piece by piece.
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- So here are the Los Angeles Angels, who pretty much clinched the American League West on Opening Day,
And had a worse run differential than the A's when the A's sold off their team...
who are so good opposing coaches tell closer Francisco Rodriguez, "We don't really like to play you guys,"
Attention everyone! If there's anyone out there that knows something about superlatives, please give ol' Gene here a lesson. Please? This was painful to read.
who might have the best owner in baseball
and whose clubhouse might be the dullest thing this side of "Asparagus: The Documentary."
Larry, your Gene Wojciechowski = Michael Scott comparison is reallllly holding water.
They're in the HOV lane for 90-plus victories and a fourth division title in the past five years. And if you can find a weakness in their everyday lineup, the Rally Monkey will wax and buff your car.
OK, I'll give it my best shot.....I'm going to have to squint reallllly hard though.
How about this one? Every team in fucking Major League Baseball except the Braves has a left fielder who hits better than Garret Anderson. This is not a joke. If you rank every team's left fielder by EqA. Garret Anderson is almost dead last. He's worse than fucking Willie Harris. Does this count as a weakness? I think it does!
Good thing too. My car needs both of those things very badly.
Here's the problem: The Angels have a habit of acing the compulsories but falling off the balance beam during the postseason program.
I can think of 1532 easier ways to write that sentence. And only one worse. This is it.
"Here's the problematic nature of the situation: The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (formerly just the Anaheim Angels, and formerly the California Angels) have a compulsive tendency to obliterate the opposition in the primary seasonal region of the baseball calendar but stumble off of a 30-story building in Parsippany, New Jersey during the schedule of baseball events that occur in the future with respect to the said primary seasonal region."
Angels outfielder Torii Hunter sits in front of his locker Thursday afternoon, a freshly poured cup of coffee at his feet, and listens patiently as I detail the playoff exits.
Why is this conversation between these two men even occurring?
Hunter is the guy who left the only franchise he had ever known (nearly 15 years in the Minnesota Twins' organization) for the one franchise he hoped would offer him a free-agent deal this past offseason -- the Angels. So yeah, it's sort of tough to convince Hunter, who literally scouted the Angels before signing a five-year, $90 million contract over the winter, that he might have made a career mistake.
This might be a liiiiiiiiitle off-topic there, Gene.
Most of all, Moreno wants what Hunter wants: a championship. He'll come into the clubhouse, pull up a chair next to Hunter and say, "I need a ring. I want a ring."
Hank Steinbrenner and Jerry Reinsdorf want.....?
Wanting and getting are two different things. The Angels are loaded, although the recent injuries to second baseman Howie Kendrick (placed on the DL Thursday with a strained left hamstring) and shortstop Erick Aybar (hamstring) could alter the postseason equation.
Aybar will be back in like a week. How does that matter?
Then we're talking about a lineup that goes Chone Figgins, Aybar,
Yeah, go ahead and bat that .316 OBP 2nd and pretend that isn't a weakness.
Teixeira, Guerrero, Hunter,
Very good, very good, overrated, still good.
2nd worst starting LF in baseball.
Yeah....no need to mention that he's having an absolutely terrible offensive season or anything.
Or that offense is 100% of the reason a DH plays baseball....
Yeah, so in Gene's world, Kendrick, a very good hitter, bats 8th, while Erick Aybar, a poor hitter, bats 2nd. Great. I totally believe you've seen an Angels game this year, Gene.
and catcher Jeff Mathis.
He's fucking terrible. Every team in Major League Baseball has a catcher who hits better than Jeff Mathis. Even the Angels have very underrated Mike Napoli, who should probably be in this spot in your batting order, but whoops! You just scooted over to MLB.com and noticed that they have Mathis listed first on the depth chart, didn't you? Rookie mistake from an old man, Gene.
Oh, by the way, on the whole, that lineup that you just fed me is not good. At all. Mayyyybe average-ish. Maybe.
All five starters in the pitching rotation have 10 or more wins (Joe Saunders leads with 14).
Those five men are pretty much the team right there.
And Rodriguez has as many saves as the Cleveland Indians and the Seattle Mariners
Put any of the top 30% of closers in baseball on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in place of K-Rod and they do the same fucking thing. If he wins the Cy Young over Cliff Lee (who is probably the most valuable player in the AL), that's fucking bogus, 58+ saves or not.
Teixeira homered Thursday night, his 28th of the year and eighth since the trade. That sort of power helps fill a pothole in the Angels' lineup.
No, it filled a Kotchhole. Kotchholes are like potholes except their presence doesn't slow down your car, and have a glove inside them that actually prevents future damage to your car.
Scioscia won't discuss the upcoming postseason because, well, I guess he's worried about the Angels blowing a 16-game lead in the division with 29 games left. This is standard-issue Scioscia doctrine.
"Let's talk about it a month from now," says Scioscia, the manager Hunter calls a "brainiac."
But...I thought the Angels only cared about winning in the playoffs?
A month from now will be the day after the end of the regular season. Then the playoffs will start. Hunter can already see it: a champagne fest, ring ceremonies, a Rose Garden presentation at the White House.
"I got that picture in my head," Hunter says. "But we got a long way to go, a long journey. When you get in the playoffs, everything is going to be different. … We could win 100-plus games, and it does not matter. When you get to the postseason, you got to change. You got to be totally different. Any mistake you make, you're going home."
The Angels can tell him all about it.
So Gene, thanks for writing this article in which you revealed to me the following things.
1) You have no clue that Howie Kendrick is a way better hitter than Erick Aybar
2) You think that listing off players constitutes proof that the Angels have a "loaded lineup"
3) You pretend that Jeff Mathis, Garret Anderson, and Juan Rivera aren't fucking terrible.
4) You don't have a clue that Mike Napoli exists.
5) You quite possibly are the worst composer of sentences the world has ever seen.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury of public opinion:
I present to you a careful, articulate, and darkly humorous rip of our own Jay Mariotti by one of his former colleauges. Though I don't read a lot of his movie criticism, I'm a bit impressed by Ebert's capable pen. I think he correctly calls Jay out for his childish antics, and comes off the bigger for it. It's not a long article, but I think it clearly explains some of the self-promoting, infantile and generally reprehensible aspects of Jay Mariotti - characteristics which are not just part of his personality, but which infect any of his professional activities.
Journalism has surely become quite the putrid cesspool, but if some kind of honest self-policing can take place, I have some hope that the profession and the news industry as a whole can re-make itself into an honest and worthwhile institution.
From Jayson Stark's hard hitting, weekly baseball column:
But how much is Teixeira worth? If Scott Boras is serious about establishing a 10-year, $230 million price tag on Teixeira, he won't have many bidders to play the Yankees against. Most teams view him as a five-year, $90 million kind of guy.
"What really stands out, when you've got Vlad and Teixeira back-to-back in the same lineup, is what he isn't," an official of one club said. "Let's put it this way: I know which one I fear, and it isn't him. To me, when you see truly great players, they always have that extra edge, that killer instinct. Well, if this guy has it, he doesn't project it.
Vlad last 28 days: .302/.375/.593
Teixeira last 28 days: .396/.486/.670
I can't really decide which witticism to go with, so I'll do a choose your own adventure type thing:
A. Confounded anger: "Seriously, two people got paid to pass this information along. How come they have jobs in sports? ARRRGH!"
B. Norm MacDonald: "Yeah, Teixeira sure isn't PROJECTING. Definitely not hitting CONSISTENTLY and with...uh...POWER."
C: Snippy article ending comment: "Must be a reason this guy wanted to remain anonymous. ZING."
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Well folks, it seems I was the last person in the world to hear this morning that Jay Mariotti quit the Sun-Times. That's what you call irony, eh? Jay, you were a sort of worthy opponent, but FireJay's Jay-bashing finally halted your written word. Sure, you can keep your comfy TV job. But I'm warning you. As soon as I become able to rewind TV, you'll be accountable for every dumbass thing you say on "Around the Horn" as well. So watch yourself.
Anyway, to celebrate 1.25 or so years of hatin' on the fag, we're going to count down the Top Ten Ridiculous/Stupid Jay Moments in FireJay history. It was a fun list to make indeed. I'm going to try to provide as much context as I can for each.
Here we go!
10) “Lou Piniella Gone By Labor Day”
That's what the man said, despite having watched the Cubs play a brand of ball best characterized as dumb and erratic even by their rock-headed standards. He is asking for your patience, oh great sufferers and masochists, and upon hearing his plea before a 9-4 loss to the Florida Marlins, I promptly adjusted the over-under date on my Lou Flees Wrigleyville Meter.
The new wager: He doesn't last past Labor Day.
Isn't hindsight fun? Jay said this in the first half of the 2007 baseball season. With his team not in any peril and bound to improve, Piniella's was among the safest jobs in the world. In the post regarding this one, I made Jay a bet. If Jay lost, he had to say one nice thing about Ozzie Guillen. Hasn't happened yet. Lesson: Don't make bets with a dishonest blowhard.
9) “Failure to grasp the term “underdog”.
Larry handled this one, and here's his quoted post.
"If you were evaluating two teams about to match up against each other in the playoffs, and you could only use one of the following pieces of data to decide which was more likely to win, which would you choose?
(a) The teams' records this season
(b) The teams' records last season
Only one of these answers is right. And it's not the one Jay Mariotti picked earlier today on "Around the Horn." Never one to let a perfectly good point slip past him without coming up with some outrageous way to try and disagree with it, when a fellow panelist who was talking about the College World Series said he was rooting for Fresno State because they're a good underdog story, Jay countered with:
But Georgia had a losing record in 2007, so they're even more of an underdog!"
I hope Tony Reali dropped you like 7 points for this one. However, apparently Tim Cowlishaw's "cleanup on aisle Woody" joke from yesterday was worth +10. So maybe losing RealiPoints isn't that big a deal. I'll rephrase: I hope someone breaks your legs.
8) “Trade Jason Marquis”
Among them is a starter, Jason Marquis, who somehow won a rotation job after telling management that he, the great Jason Marquis -- who was left off postseason rosters the last two years -- would request a trade if he was moved to the bullpen. I say trade Marquis to Boston for Coco Crisp, center-field insurance for Felix Pie, while his ERA is still under 5.00.
A classic expert from Jay's short handbook, "GM-ing for dummies." In Jay's world, every trade is possible, especially throwing a worthless-ish pitcher to a team with a truckload of pitching depth for one of the three most useful 4th outfielders in the game.
7) “Shot at Harrelson”
Harrelson doesn't bring in audiences as much as he scares them away or makes them cringe, whether it's throwing one of his dead-air fits, blaming every loss on the umps or lowering himself to pick fights with media members far more professional and accomplished than him.
Consider it one more reason, along with the extension given to Ozzie Guillen, that the Sox are locked in as Chicago's second-class ballclub for years to come.
How right you are. When you have a personal feud with someone, you are allowed to blame them for everything that goes wrong with anything. Ken Harrelson is, and probably always has been the main reason that there's more Cubs fans that White Sox fans.
6) “Torii Hunter > Nick Swisher”
Hate to be cynical about Ken Williams' belated offseason attempt to redeem himself, but acquiring Nick Swisher only assures the Sox of one thing: They're a little better than the Kansas City Royals.
As an auxiliary addition, the shaggy-haired outfielder might be a clever idea. But as a centerpiece of a disappointing winter, he's the booby prize after Williams lost big targets Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera to real American League contenders in Anaheim and Detroit.
Okay, so 80% of a sub-par season from Nick Swisher later, this doesn't seem that bad, even though Hunter and Swisher have been roughly equivalent offensively this year by EqA. But when it was written, Swisher was coming off two straight .300+ EqA seasons, while Hunter was still struggling to cross that oh-so-elusive .340 OBP barrier in a season (comically, his OBP this season so far is .339). Later, he wrote that Nick Swisher was a "complimentary cog" while implying "Torii Hunter" was a difference maker. Poppycock. Pure balderdash.
5) “Chicago Tourism”
To show off Chicago, you reject the Kennedy Expy. for Peterson Avenue and take Lake Shore Drive toward the skyline. You visit the museums and stores, do a comedy club, hang out in Bucktown, avoid Trump Tower, ride an elevator to the top of the Hancock, then pick any one of 100 good places for dinner. You hail a cab to a jukebox bar and drink longnecks in the light of the beer signs.
And you go nowhere near U.S. Cellular Field.
Not because you hate the White Sox, but because Ozzie Guillen works there.
If I need to explain to anyone why this deserves a spot on the list, you probably shouldn't read this blog anymore.
4) “Seamless Transition”
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- What a dope, that Ashton Kutcher. Didn't he have better things to do with his life? A lifelong Bears fan from Iowa, he and wife Demi Moore ventured from Hollywood to Cheesewood to see his team play the Packers. They even brought their friends, lovebirds Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake -- the same Timberlake who participated in an infamous wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl.
I would have predicted a franchise malfunction Sunday night.
Hey, we needed to make an "ashton kutcher-related bullshit" label somehow, right? This was probably the worst introduction to a Jay column that I've ever read. How do you go from Ashton Kutcher to Demi Moore, to Jessica Biel, to Justin Timberlake, to Janet Jackson, to the phrase "wardrobe malfunction" to "franchise malfunction" (referring to the Bears) in literally 3 sentences? Here's a thought, Jay. If it doesn't fit in the article, maybe we shouldn't print it, hmmm?
3) “Screw 2008, It’s 2001 That Matters”
But if the good people are true baseball loyalists, they won't focus on 2008 at the session as much as 2001. That was when Williams, in a signing that reeked even before we completely grasped the monumental impact of steroids, purchased Jose Canseco from the Newark Bears of an independent league.
Ahhhh SoxFest. The annual tradition where White Sox fans ask players, coaches, and Kenny Williams about the upcoming season. And after a season leaving many pressing questions, and a half-offseason with a few interesting moves, White Sox fans are supposed to ask questions about why Kenny Williams picked up Jose Canseco for like 8 weeks in 2001. Isn't logic great?
2) “Baseball = Black Magic, Ya Know, Because They Both Start With ‘b’”
The seventh inning Wednesday night brought one such agonizing moment. Not to tap into the dark past, the black cat and the billy goat and the Bartman, but would someone explain why a baseball -- which also starts with a 'b,' as in black magic -- suddenly rolled in from the bullpen to the third-base area just as Milwaukee's Ryan Braun was lining a shot down the line past a diving Aramis Ramirez? I'm not saying this at all affected Ramirez's concentration, because Brooks Robinson wouldn't have caught Braun's laser that went for a break-open two-run double. But to witness two baseballs passing in the night, on the same damning play, is just too creepy.
To which I say, the fact that you even thought of this whole thing is just too creepy. Is Jay aware that "baseball" with a "b" is the name of the sport as well?
1) “Jay Doesn’t Know What ‘facetious’ Means”
I keep thinking back to Wednesday, to a post-practice scene involving Skiles. His forehead tightened like a rack of washboard abs. His frown challenged the cojones and competitive integrity of his players. His facetious tone could have cut through Steve Dahl, Dan McNeil, Mayor Daley or any of the town's smart-alecky blowhards. He was in vintage attack mode, firing a survivalist rally cry to his desperate team.
In many ways, it was the complete and total misuse of this word that started this blog. Just look at that word. Sitting there in the middle of the paragraph. Being used for the exact opposite purpose for which it was created. That bit of careless stupidity motivated me to do a write-up of that article. Larry saw it, and in an uncharacteristic bout of anti-laziness, Fire Jay Mariotti was established less than 3 days later.
Despite all of the success FireJay is feeling upon Jay quitting the Sun-Times, I think we're actually all a little disappointed too, because we won't have his awful articles 6 days a week to laugh at. We'll put it this way. If he gets hired to write for some internet site, it'll be a disaster for the reading community. But at least there'll be an upside. He's going to say something stupid. And when he does, Fire Jay Mariotti will be there, ready and waiting to jump all over it. Be afraid, Jay, be very afraid.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
It's official, people. We finally got it done. Sort of. Not really. He's probably just taking some time off to write a shitty book and moving to Sports Illustrated or something.
Anyways, check out that picture in the link: what the fuck is up with that lighting? Is he holding a flashlight against his chest (pointing up at his face) and telling ghost stories?
[Sometimes, I try to tackle an article but it's just so infuriating and ridiculous that I can't bring myself to do a good job. I'm just too frustrated, have nothing to work with because the article is just an abyss of stupidity, or both. This is one of those times. I'm admitting it up front- this post is going to suck. I'm not proud of it at all. Read if you want, but if you want to spend your four minutes doing something more productive, I'll briefly summarize it for you right now: Scoop Jackson is a fucking dolt.]
The US Mens Basketball team just won the gold medal they were (sort of) favored to win. It's a pretty good story. So if you're Scoop, how do you ruin it? QUICK! Take a fucking preposterously contrarian stance! I'm not even exaggerating- this might be the most outrageous article I've ever seen in that department.
Did the Redeem Team Really Come Through?
Yes. They went undefeated and won the gold medal.
Quit your job immediately. Donate all your money and worldly possessions to charity, move to the mountains, and stop bothering people.
Now that the best $40 billion in sports has been spent. Now that IOC president Jacques Rogge can say "I told you so" about why the committee chose China. Now that Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt have ascended to the Tigersphere, while Liu Xiang and Matthew Emmons have descended into an Olympic sorrow that always outweighs the joy most athletes leave with.
Completely irrelevant. This is like starting an English paper about Dante's Inferno with a series of random facts about Italy.
Now that the United States has supposedly redeemed itself in the basketball world, now what?
Yes, you read that right, "supposedly."How deep. You're really making me question everything I once thought I knew. Now that Michael Phelps SUPPOSEDLY just turned in the greatest individual performance in Olympic history... GASP. What if he didn't? WHAT IF, PEOPLE, WHAT IF?
The reason caution needs to be thrown in the post-Olympic detox is because it seems like, as a nation, we are getting a little caught up. Caught up in the belief that USA's gold medal in men's basketball brought back everything the country lost in the game during the past 16 years.
Sweet mother of fuck. Are you kidding me? What, exactly, did we lose in the last 16 years? One Olympic gold and a couple of World Championships?
Some are even going so far as to say this team could compete with, and on occasion beat, the original Dream Team. Again, too caught up.
Maybe. But who cares? Who is judging this team with that criterion? Can't we just be happy with what we've got?
Yes, the Redeem Team did what it was supposed to do.
Great. Here's a great opportunity to end the article, no hard feelings.
But now that we "re-hold the gold," is everything really back to the way it used to be? Back to the way it should be?
WHO CARES, WE FUCKING WON. 1992 isn't coming back anytime soon. We'll never be that far ahead of the rest of the world again.
It all depends on your definition of "redeem."
Semantics. Riveting journalism.
After it was over, Carlmelo Anthony said, "I think we did a hell of a job of putting America back where it's supposed to be, which is at the top of the world." LeBron James said, "If it wasn't for the determination and willpower we had, we wouldn't be back on top of the world, which is where we are."
The question is, back on top of the world or back as rulers of the world?
More semantics. Thank God this guy gets his writing published on the front page of the world's #1 sports website.
Ask yourselves: Was America's mission just to recapture the gold in Beijing, or to re-establish itself as the premier basketball superpower in the world?
Call me nuts, but I'm pretty sure the second goal is included in the first.
Ever since the Dream Team left Barcelona in August 1992, there has been a sweeping rush by the rest of the world to get its hands on what the U.S. used to hold sacred and hold down. And it did.
Right. Because the rest of the world used to suck at basketball, relative to the skill level of NBA players. Once they started learning the game, they were able to raise that skill level and combine it with some crafty teamwork to the point that the NBA players don't have a gargantuan advantage anymore. And they never will again, either. They'll have to settle for "just" winning gold medals while exerting a pretty reasonable amount of effort.
Now, with the U.S. finally getting the gold medal back, it seems that the proper global basketball pecking order is back in effect.
But what happens after this?NOTHING, WE ALREADY FUCKING WON
What happens in the 2010 FIBA World Championship? What happens in 2012, when it comes time to defend?
WE TRY TO WIN AGAIN
What happens when Kobe Bryant isn't around to make a four-point play with 3:10 left in a gold-medal game to save the team's asses?
THAT WON'T BE THE CASE FOR TWO OR THREE OLYMPICS, AND BY THEN HE'LL BE REPLACED BY SOMEONE WHO'S JUST AS GOOD
The bottom line is it's not always about the win. Sometimes it's not that simple. In the case of Colangelo & Co., there will be doubts -- even as well as they performed -- and questions regarding whether or not they did enough to reposition the U.S. as not only the team that won, but a nation the rest of the world does not want to face on a 94-by-50-foot battlefield.
Here's an idea. Conduct a poll of all the coaches and players on all the international basketball squads that qualified for any of the last two Olympics or World Championships. Tell them that they have to play one team, in one game, with their lives on the line. If they don't win this game, they will be shot on the court once the final buzzer sounds. And ask them: which team in the world they would least like to play in this morbid situation. If any of them don't say the good ol' US of A, they are lying.
Sure, the U.S. beat Spain by 11 to win the gold. But the bigger picture is it beat a team by 26 points fewer than it did only a week before, in a game that should have meant much more to the Americans than the Spanish -- and in a game in which Spain's starting point guard sat out and a 17-year-old ran the show.
It's time to face facts, people: we can't beat the second best team in the world by 37 every time we play them.
Sure, the Americans beat the defending Olympic champion, Argentina, by 20 in the semis. But the bigger picture is they did so with Argentina playing without its star (Manu Ginobili) for most of the game due to an injury, and its second-best player (Andres Nocioni) virtually playing on one leg.
Uh …Yeah, "uh..." Go ahead. Finish your thought.
Where's the dominance in that?
Neither of those games were realistically in question after halftime.
For the next four years, the rest of the global basketball community will basically think, quietly yet collectively, "The Americans got the gold, but … " In other words, because of the way it won, the U.S. left open the conversation for any and everyone to finish that above sentence with, " … if Ginobili hadn't gotten hurt, or if Calderon had played, Argentina or Spain probably would have beat them."
BUT THEY DIDN'T
Yes, you read that right, "beat them."
I know I read it right. I'm fluent in English. Thanks for being so dramatic.
As in beat the USA, the Re-Dream Team. Even with the gold in its hands, the one thing that can be taken away from this Olympics is that the U.S. is back to being great, but not much greater than everyone else.
Yes, because everyone else doesn't suck as badly anymore.
Teams like Argentina might go so far as to place an asterisk next to this victory. Because, in their minds, they know.
Those are the most ridiculous two sentences in the history of sports journalism.
And, to be honest, that's not what we as a nation needed. The U.S. team needed to redeem itself -- not just to be the best, but to be the best by a wide margin.
1992 isn't happening again, Scoop. It's not. Deal with it.
Yes, the world has gotten much better at a game we love to call ours, and there probably never will be another era when the U.S. beats teams by 30-40 points when medals are on the line.
But if the U.S. team is not able to expose Pau Gasol in a gold-medal game the way the Celtics did in an NBA Finals, then it's not yet time for us to start believing our own hype.
I couldn't care less how the X's and O's break down. I care who won.
And until the rest of the world is back to feeling that the U.S. is unbeatable in basketball,
This will never happen again.
until the U.S. separates itself from the rest of the world by sending a message saying "this is about more than a gold medal, this is about true redemption,"
Is "true redemption" in any way related to the concept of "True Yankee(s)?"
then we as a nation can't feel confident that the gold medal we just won is going to be ours again four years from now.
I sure am. In four years, I can guarantee you the US will field the most talented team at the London Olympics. Does that guarantee we will win the gold? No. Does it make me confident we will win the gold? Yes. And do I alone speak for the nation as a whole? Yes. The end. Scoop Jackson: in many ways, even stupider than Jemele Hill.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Surely you've heard about the Swedish wrestler who refused to accept his Bronze medal after he felt there had been an improper ruling in his semifinal match?
Well Pat Forde has, and Pat decided to award Ara a bronze medal to replace the one he left on the mat in Beijing... except this is the bronze medal for biggest buffoon of the games:
Bronze: Ara Abrahamian (27), Swedish wrestler. Abrahamian was so displeased with his bronze medal after a controversial loss in the 84-kilogram Greco-Roman event that he took it off, dropped it to the mat and walked off during the ceremony. The IOC correctly kept it. No bronze for that baby.
Take THAT, you big baby! You should accept your bronze medal like a man, like Americans do! We would never refuse an olympic medal, you should consider yourself lucky.
Oh, wait, I forgot about these brave heroes.
And now it turns out the Swede was correct all along. From TBL:
CAS ruled that Abrahamian should have been given another round as a penalty awarded against him hadn't been assessed until after the second round of his 84-kilogram bout had ended. Abrahamian as a result automatically lost the match.
I fully expect Pat Forde to issue an apology. Until then, I suspect Ari Abrahamian will leave his biggest buffoon bronze on the proverbial mat.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Good evening folks! Larry B will be over shortly, and we'll be liveblogging Sunday Night Baseball. I know it's already the middle of the 3rd inning, but we've gotta start somewhere. Nothing just yet, so enjoy Jack M's post below while we supplement this intro with loads of stupidity that we'll surely hear over the next 6-6.5 innings. Get excited!
All these quotes are obviously as close as possible.
EDIT: Top of the 4th
Jon Miller: (on the Diamondbacks) Well they'd be 12 games behind the Cubs if they had that record in the Central Division
Joe Morgan: (laughing) Well maybe that record would be even better because they wouldn't have to play all the tough teams in the West so much!
You know what? Everyone reading this blog already knows exactly why this is such a stupid thing to say. But you know what? I don't fucking care! This is happening anyway.
NL West Winning Percentages, non-Diamondbacks:
AL Central Winning Percentages
Fine. Get out of the insanely tough NL West as soon as possible, DBacks. Must be tough seeing things like Kevin Correia and Cha Seung Baek more than other teams.
(I did not mistype. Kevin Correia and Cha Seung Baek are not pitchers. They are things.)
EDIT, still top of 4th
Jon Miller: It would be hard to imagine Jeff Kent not making the Hall of Fame.
Really Jon? That's your idea of a slam-dunk Hall of Famer?
He has the 2nd best projected career of all the 2nd basemen playing in this game.
EDIT: Bottom of the 5th
Emmy Award Winning Analysis:
Joe Morgan: Good piece of hitting by Utley, who is certainly a good hitter.
EDIT: Bottom of the 5th
(On Geovany Soto's dark-horse MVP candidacy)
Joe Morgan: People are going to toss his name around because he plays for the Cubs, who don't have any one outstanding player.....that's why they're such a good team
Reason Yankees suck: Too much Alex Rodriguez
Reason Indians suck: Too much Cliff Lee
Reason Cardinals suck: Too much Albert Pujols
I've gotta say, Joey. This is holding water.
So far this season, Evan Longoria has been the most valuable Ray. But the Rays need to be careful that he doesn't get toooooo much better than everyone else on that team....else they're gonna plummet in the standings.
EDIT: Bottom of the 6th
We're in and out of the bottom of the 6th inning, and Joe didn't say a word. Larry and I are positive that he's in the can.....
EDIT: Top of the 7th
(J.C. Romero tries a pretty deceptive pickoff throw to nab Juan Pierre at 1st base)
Joe Morgan: And that's useful, because it prevents the runner from getting a big lead
larry b: Most pickoff moves are there strictly to entertain the umpires and paid attendance. Romero's, however, is there to limit a baserunner's lead.
EDIT: Top of the 7th
J.C. Romero has just picked Juan Pierre off of 1st base. I guess we should just dismantle this blog.
EDIT: Top of the 7th
Jeff Kent just knocked in the go-ahead run. We're actually going to sell our URL to some carpet salesmen from Morocco.
EDIT: Bottom of the 7th
From the Dept. of "Really??"
Jon Miller: Both teams have an incentive to win this game.
Ya don't say, Gramps.
Joe Morgan: It kind of seems like we have a long way to go, but we do not. It kinda goes quickly here at the end
larry b: Everybody knows that September is a much shorter month than April.
pnoles: Shut up Larry. You're a mean, sarcastic meanie.
EDIT: Top of the 8th inning
Ryan Howard makes a routine catch in foul territory (he made a much better one in the 6th).
Joe Morgan: Not many first basemen have that kind of range.
Oh boy. A compliment to Ryan Howard's defense. This is playing with hot coals, Joe, so careful with how you proceed.
Joe Morgan: He's never been a Gold Glover, but he can help you out in other ways,
larry b: Like hitting 40+ HR and just being an awesome hitter?
like chasing those balls down the right field line.
"Ryan Howard has never been the best fielder at his position, but he can help you out in other ways, like fielding."
There's only so much Joe you can listen to in one night. Larry and I are calling it quits here after the 10th. We'll see you next Sunday.
Pat Forde wrote this article prior to USA winning the gold medal in men's basketball titled such:
Coach K didn't have to take this gig, which is why he should lauded for it
Wait, Coach Kredibility wasn't forced to participate in the olympics? That means that he's like oh I don't know, maybe about 100% of the other people involved in the USA olympic teams.
They introduce the United States basketball team before each game, and every time it's the same.
Roars for Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. Enthusiastic cheers for the rest of the roster. Silence for coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Egads, the coach didn't get the same level of applause as two of the most skilled, exciting, charismatic, etc. players of all time? What is wrong with olympic basketball fans?
It's a long way from the collegiate love bubble of Cameron Indoor Stadium to NBA-crazy China. The idolatry Krzyzewski is accustomed to at Duke is lost in translation here.
As it is in literally every other arena in America.
A billion Chinese really don't give a damn who coaches this collection of superstars.
Nor should they, as that orang from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back could probably coach this team to a gold medal.
Coach K's mission was to go from college basketball emperor to Olympic facilitator. From the guy with every answer to the guy with everything to lose.
Just note what Forde says here, and then read this next paragraph.
They've called this the Redeem Team, but Krzyzewski needed no redemption. His basketball legacy is secure: three national titles, Hall of Fame membership, status as the most accomplished and authoritative active coach in college basketball. He's in the thick of the debate over who is the all-time greatest college coach not named John Wooden.
So in other words, he really has nothing at all to lose.
Despite all that, the 60-year-old voluntarily stepped out of his considerable comfort zone and put his rep on the line alongside the 12 guys wearing the uniforms.
Again, he was risking NOTHING. If they didn't win the gold, everyone would say that NBA players just can't play international basketball even with the greatest coach ever in the history of sports. Or, if they won, people would say that it had a lot to do with Coach Komendable's incredible koaching.
If the U.S. does win the gold medal Sunday against Spain, the credit will go to the players, who have done everything right these Games. They'll deserve it. They've played with passion, togetherness, respect for the ability of their opponents and appreciation for what the Olympics are all about.
Krzyzewski? He'll receive some ancillary praise for his caretaker's role.
Which of the following was an ancillary reason for the US winning the gold medal:
A. Team USA being so insanely stacked that Dwayne Wade, Chris Paul, Chris Bosh, and
Darrent Deron Williams came off the bench.
B. The head coach, who had 5 college/NBA coaches working under him. The Koach who's won all of 1 NCAA national championships in the past 15 years despite consistently having teams filled to the brim with McDonalds' All-Americans.
But if the U.S. loses, repudiation will rain down on the college guy who somehow found a way to screw up a royal flush of professional talent. These days, the loser always gets killed for being out coached -- and if the loser has LeBron and Kobe, he definitely won't be the guy with lesser talent.
Or much more likely, he would dodge blame, just like he does in every year where Duke under performs. Meanwhile, Kobe and Lebron would get raked over the coals by dumb fucks like Skip Bayless who would say crazy shit like "Kobe and Lebron are holding Team USA back."
So far, so very good. The U.S. has won its seven games by an average margin of 30.3 points, and there are no signs of unhappy campers on the American roster. Hell, the All-Star subs are on their feet and cheering as much as the walk-on Dookies Krzyzewski coaches during the winter.
Ubuntu, thy name be Team USA.
And now he's 40 minutes away from joining his former mentor, Bob Knight, as the owner of three NCAA titles and one gold medal. Only a monumental collapse could stop the completion of this redemption mission.
So even Forde realizes it's harder for this team to lose than win.
When America does beat Spain on Sunday, there once again doesn't figure to be any appreciable applause for Mike Krzyzewski in Beijing. But he'll deserve it, for taking a greater risk and accepting a lesser reward.
Jeez, what's that weird ringing sound? It's getting closer. Oh shi--
Saturday, August 23, 2008
They've got the "B" team announcers working today's Rays/White Sox game. (I'm not going to take the time to look up their names.) If people are below Joe Buck and Tim McCarver on the depth chart, you know they're useless.
Play by play guy: You know, an all-Chicago World Series is a real possibility this year!
Color guy: Sure, it's a possibility, but they both still have to get there.
Thanks, pal. Thanks so much. You know, it's hot outside, but it's not cold. My couch is comfortable, but it's not lumpy. I'm hungry, but it's not like I don't want to eat something.
What a zilch.
Friday, August 22, 2008
I'm gonna wait a bit to post this so Larry's excellent Easterbrook send-up doesn't get buried, but this is just an incredibly tasteless piece of journalism.
Just ridiculous. "At some point you have to get past the emotions surrounding a man's death and understand what his death means?". Sure. Agreed 100%. But most of us wait till the body's cold
This is going to seem callous, but at some point you have to get past the emotions surrounding a man's death and understand what his death means. And in the case of Gene Upshaw's death, what it means for the NFL is potentially catastrophic.
You think the world was a better place with Gene Upshaw in it? Fine. I'm sure it was. He was a great player, a tough guy, a man of integrity. The world was better with Gene Upshaw in it. That's a nice, happy thought.
Here's a counter thought:
The NFL owners' world was a better place with Gene Upshaw in it ... and in charge of the NFL players union.
With Upshaw gone -- figuratively and, sadly, literally -- the NFL owners' world just took a turn for the terrifying.
*I would elaborate a little more on my personal feelings about the NFLPA but that would be somewhat hypocritical, no? And really quite irrelevant to this post
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Jack and CHart (say "see heart," not, "chart") covered the most egregiously stupid stuff he put in last Tuesday's column. But there's still plenty more where that came from. In fact, I bet I don't have to try particularly hard to pick out one morsel of dumbassery or tragic unfunnyness from each and every one of his 16 AFC team previews.
Baltimore: In the 2007 season finale, Baltimore, which at that point had lost nine straight, defeated a Pittsburgh team that had locked its best seed and was resting starters for the playoffs. In the postgame news conference, Billick called the game "an outstanding win." Coaches use any opportunity to praise themselves, but that statement crossed some kind of nuttiness line.
Yes, clearly he was praising himself and only himself with that comment. And certainly it would be much more appropriate for him to tell the media (while his job was on the line, no less) "Well, we really shouldn't give a shit about this win because the Steelers were resting all their good players." Makes sense. Brutal honesty when dealing with the press- always a great policy when you're in a management position.
Animal activist note: The Ravens hope to have two actual ravens trained to fly around their stadium this fall. Ravens are intelligent animals with some ability to mimic speech; according to The Associated Press, the trainer is trying to teach the birds to say "Go, Ravens." TMQ thinks the birds should be trained to squawk the word "nevermore."
OK. Like the poem. And then they could use it to taunt or intimidate the other team. We get it, you don't have to explain-
If the visiting team scores a touchdown, they could flutter around the end zone proclaiming, "Nevermore! Nevermore!"
WE GOT IT, THANKS.
Buffalo: The Ivies played well on special teams and on defense -- subtract two blowouts by New England, and Buffalo allowed 18 points per game, a strong figure. But the offense was cover-your-eyes awful: predictable (57 percent rushing on first down, despite opponents OBVIOUSLY stacking the box on first downs),
I'm sure that comment is based on Gregg reviewing hours and hours of Bills game footage from last year. Either that, or he pulled it directly out of his rectum and through his pretentiously clinched sphincter. (And I just won $20 off Dan-Bob by using "sphincter" in a post.)
Buffalo's Ivy League coach, Dick Jauron, is a fine man but low-voltage personified; he's like a car battery that won't turn the engine on a cold morning. Jauron has just one winning season in seven as a head coach. Losing does not seem to bother him; he's never animated on the sidelines or upset after a loss, and he wasn't upset even after the Bills allowed two scores in the final 20 seconds to lose 25-24 to Dallas before a national audience on "Monday Night Football."
I'm not going to say that the level of passion displayed by a coach isn't at all important. I'm just going to say that when you look at a team's record and try to list the reasons their season ended up like it did, the level of passion displayed by their coach should probably be really close to the bottom. Like... at the bottom.
Jauron's gift is lowering expectations; this is his third season in Buffalo, yet he's still talking only about "improvement," not winning. Much of the time, the objective seems to be to lose with dignity.
I'm really sure that this guy, who has worked his entire life to become a professional football coach, doesn't care whether or not his team wins. It's not like, you know, his future as a professional coach (which ostensibly is very important to him) depends on his ability to win or something. We've been over this with Gregg before. It's too bad he's too much of a clod to learn.
Cincinnati: Other teams have bed checks, the Bengals have ankle-bracelet checks.
Yes, their players get in trouble with the law to a disproportionate degree.
Along the sidelines are coaches, trainers, defense attorneys and bail bondsmen.
Right, the whole criminal thing.
Maybe a defense attorney should coach the defense, which finished 27th in 2007.
In this case, the third time unfortunately is not the charm.
Cleveland: Ohio has become the Hall of Fame state -- it has Canton, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and also the Inventors Hall of Fame in Akron. The latter's members ought to be a lot better known than the members of the first two Halls mentioned, since their contribution to society is greater.
Well, fuck it- why are you even writing this column? Shouldn't you be using your incredibly sophisticated and intelligent brain to educate readers about something a little more important than football? Let's just go ahead and disband professional sports as a whole. Unimportant. Useless. Mariottiesque.
Benched quarterback note: TMQ shook hands with Brady Quinn in LAX on the way back from the ESPYS.
I'm surprised the encounter didn't create a black hole of douche.
Denver: Drop a Fizzie into a glass of water; it bubbles madly, then disappears. That's the Denver Broncos since November 2006. At that point, the Broncos were 7-4 with the inside track to a wild-card berth, quarterbacked by Jake Plummer, a career 41-22 with Denver, and boasting one of the league's top defenses. Then The Ultimate Leader, Mike Shanahan, benched Plummer and sent in rookie signal-caller Jay Cutler. Since that moment, the Broncos are 9-12, their defense has gone Fizzie and even their vaunted rushing game has become mortal, slipping to ninth in 2007.
Gregg is apparently unfamiliar with the difference between correlation and causation. This is only about the 50th time he's brought up the QB switch in question during the last 20 months, and somehow, it's the sole reason the Broncos have not enjoyed success since. Poor defense? Cutler's/Shanahan's fault. Poor offensive line play? Cutler's/Shanahan's fault. In reality, although the last two years have been disappointing, the future couldn't be brighter as Cutler (who played well all last season despite having undiagnosed diabetes) establishes himself as a franchise player. Drop it, Easterbrook. Drop it.
Houston: Houston now has Alex Gibbs -- the guy who directed the blocking for the Denver rushing game which made [Insert Name Here] into star tailbacks. Gibbs is coaching the Texans' offensive line and bearing the title assistant head coach. Because most sportswriters don't understand how the Gibbs blocking system works, they call it "zone blocking." That's like calling all short passing attacks a West Coast offense. (TMQ has long believed most full-time football writers and sportscasters cannot diagram most standard football tactics.)
And yet, tragically, TMQ himself is unable to understand basic timing devices or why people are interested in Olympic medal counts. Really puts things into perspective.
Indianapolis: This team was ranked third on defense (in yards allowed per game) last season despite Dwight Freeney going on injured reserve at midseason, and was ranked fifth on offense (in yards per game) despite Marvin Harrison missing 11 games. The Colts lost close games to the Patriots and the Chargers; change a couple of plays in either of those contests, and Indianapolis might have repeated as Super Bowl champions.
Other teams who can make a similar claim: Patriots, Packers, Chargers, Steelers, Cowboys, and probably a couple others. Just saying. It's pretty useless to point out that changing a couple plays in a couple games could have resulted in a different end to a team's season.
Publishing note: Over the winter, Tony Dungy wrote, or at least signed his name to, a children's book. It begins, "Once upon a time there was a good little boy named Peyton who had a bad, evil brother named Eli."
Did Carlos Mencia write that joke? Jesus, It's almost bad enough to have originally been heard on "American Dad."
Jacksonville: Head coach Jack Del Rio's name means "of the River," and he is living up to that. A Jacksonville local news station reported that during the Georgia-Florida water shortage, Del Rio's house was gulping through 3,512 gallons of water per day. The typical home in Jacksonville uses 230 gallons per day, so Del Rio was at 15 times the local water-consumption average. Does Del Rio have a wave tank in his backyard?
What the fuck is a "wave tank?" Is it like a wave pool, the kind of attraction you'd see at a waterpark? Because even then, it would just be cycling the same water through its system over and over. I mean, I get what he's trying to say. But it comes out like "I can't believe the Tampa Bay Rays are so good this year. Do they have a magical good baseball player creating machine down there or something?"
New York: I'm not going to pick on what Easterbrook had to say about them, because most of it consisted of him flagrantly shitting all over Brett Favre and obviously I fully approve of that.
Kansas City: Scripture note: The apostle Paul's Letter to the Romans notes at 14:2, "Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables." Obviously Paul never played flag football with Gonzalez, one of the NFL's few vegetarians. The translation is from the New Revised Standard Version, endorsed by most biblical scholars. The New International Version, favored by evangelicals, renders the passage as, "One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables." Evangelical translators want being a vegetarian to sound wimpy!
I want my eleven seconds back.
Miami: The Marine Mammals have been at sea (yuck, yuck) since Richmond Webb left the team in 2000.
Making fun of your own comedic incompetence doesn't make it any more tolerable.
Arguably, the departure of Webb hurt the Dolphins more than the departure of Dan Marino, because Miami had a decent new quarterback waiting in the wings in Jay Fiedler, while the left tackle position has been a disaster since.
If Jay Fiedler was a "decent" quarterback, I'd hate to have one Gregg would qualify as "terrible" leading my team.
New England: In terms of memory power, New England's accomplishments exceeded what the Giants did, even if Jersey/A got to stand in the confetti shower on the sliding tray in Arizona. All New England needed to do was stop a third-and-11 snap with 45 seconds showing, and the word "perfect" would have shimmered into view.
They'd also have to have stopped a fourth-and-11 snap with 40-odd seconds remaining. Just saying.
The snap was not stopped, because nobody's ever been 19-0 and most likely nobody ever will be.
This is like saying Russia defeated Nazi Germany in the Battle of Stalingrad because good always triumphs over evil. Can we get some weaker analysis, please?
The Patriots are one terrific football team. Tuesday Morning Quarterback thinks the Colts are the club to beat this year, because the football gods will exact vengeance on the Patriots for all the bad karma they created with poor sportsmanship in 2007.
More "football gods" garbage, a week after belittling anyone who resorted to a god/karmic explanation for other worldly events.
One reason the Flying Elvii got to 16-0 in the 2007 regular season was a schedule without any West Coast trips; the Super Bowl was the sole time the team had to kick off west of the Rockies last season.
Yeah, I really think their ability to win would have been significantly diminished if they had to spend an extra 12 hours on an airplane over the course of four months.
Oakland: Camp note: the Raiders train at Redland Middle School in Napa, heart of wine country, while staying at the Marriott Napa. Head coach Lane "Hey Mom, I Got My Learner's Permit" Kiffin must really feel like the big man on campus when he's striding the halls of a middle school! Plus the Raiders' wine-and-cheese reception regime is grueling.
Disaster. Train wreck. Abortion.
Pittsburgh: (Not much to see here, except...) The Steelers were the best 2007 team to draw little media notice.
Little media notice? Little media notice? Is he referring to the Canadian media? Tell this to Browns or Buccaneers fans. Turn on or log in to any major media outlet's coverage, and you'll find heaping doses of certain teams year in and year out. The 2007 Steelers received the same treatment any decent Steelers team receives, which is to say, the public heard plenty about them. I know I'm arguing about something subjective here, but this statement is pretty obviously false in my book.
San Diego: Seven months later I still can't fathom it. San Diego has reached the AFC Championship Game and trails host New England 21-12 with 9:21 left, facing fourth-and-10 at the Pats' 36. Norv Turner sends in the punting unit. Trailing by two scores late against the highest-scoring team of all time, Turner punts in opposition territory. At least let your Pro Bowl kicker attempt a field goal! Boom goes the fraidiest fraidy-cat punt in football annals and the Chargers never touched the ball again. Not only was the punt an incredible case of chicken feathers, three times Turner ordered field-goal attempts inside the New England 9. To beat the highest-scoring team of all time on its own field, you need touchdowns! Instead, Turner used hyperconservative strategy, seeming to think he would just wait for the Patriots to make some killer mistake -- the Patriots, who had the NFL's fewest giveaways in 2007.
Hmmmmm. Well, it didn't happen on the Patriots' home field, but a game was played last February in which someone beat the Patriots despite 1) attempting a field goal from the New England 14, 2) punting on separate occasions from the New England 39 and the New England 41, and 3) taking advantage of several sizable New England mistakes.
But oh, how it helps to look good: Surely the sharp appearance of the Chargers' unis, and beauty of their powder-blue throwbacks, is a factor in the love San Diego gets.
If you're referring to any love they might get from teenaged female fans, maybe. If you're referring to the love they get from intelligent members of the sports media, no.
Tennessee: Vince Young continues to improve, but needs a star wide receiver;
Second part, yes. First part, not really. His QB rating climbed from 2006 to 2007, but his TD/INT ratio plummeted to a miserable 9:17 and his ability to pick up yards on the ground was greatly diminished as teams began to scheme against that aspect of his game. What can I say, I'm a hater; I don't think Young will ever be an above average NFL quarterback.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand... I'm spent. Goodnight, parents' basement dwellers. See you next week.
I suggest you check out this video, which carefully explains how Olympic timing is accurate to 1/2000th [0.0005] of a second. This reinforces Jack's point and Larry's point that Gregg Easterbrook is an idiot. It's worth four minutes of your time.
The real problem, as usual, is sportswriters' hubris. Gregg Easterbrook ostensibly knows a lot about sports. Gregg Easterbrook probably doesn't know shit about technical devices for precision timing. Gregg assumes that since he doesn't understand precision timing, its use somehow degrades his assumedly-perfect knowledge of sports.
The fact is, we can determine who is faster. I wonder if Gregg is really arrogant enough to think that since he doesn't understand how it can be done, that no one can do it.
He probably is. That's what pisses me off.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
From the AP writeup about the rather touching story of that country's first Olympic medalist:
Noor Ahmad Gayezabi said a silent prayer while watching the small family TV with his 13-year-old son. "Help Nikpai. Help Nikpai. Help Afghanistan."
Then he watched his country win its first-ever Olympic medal.
Rohullah Nikpai defeated world champion Juan Antonio Ramos of Spain on Wednesday to earn the bronze medal in the men's under 58-kilogram taekwondo competition, sparking applause, wide smiles and laughter in homes, restaurants and ice cream parlors around the country.
I'm sorry, could you repeat that? I thought you said "ice cream parlors."
And yes, the article goes on to tell an anecdote about people in just such a parlor celebrating the medal. Still: extremely strange. Does the AP have an agenda here? If they're trying to convince the public that things are peachy keen over there, this is a little over the top.
"RAYS CHOOSE TO PLAY THEIR OWN BASEBALL GAME INSTEAD OF SKIPPING IT TO WATCH BOSTON vs BALTIMORE ON DIRECTV" EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!
I've never heard of Chris Gentilviso. And I'm quite certain that I don't like him one little bit.
Internal focus keeping Rays on top
Young team more worried about own play than Yankees, Red Sox
Rays Talent: [gets insulted and storms out]
Rays: [lose division by 13 games.]
SEATTLE - The Tampa Bay Rays’ eyes were glued to the television in the visitors’ clubhouse.
ZOMG dude. You've got my attention. What are they watching? Huh? What? Tellmetellmetellme!
This is how teachers tell you to write in like 6th grade and stuff.
They watched Brett Favre introduce himself to the New York media. They reacted to team USA defeating China in its Olympic basketball opener. They celebrated their series win over cheers for Padraig Harrington capturing the PGA championship.
But did they watch other baseball games? No way Jose! I bet you that's where this is going. Oh my God. I bet.....
There was little interest in DirecTV’s 14-channel Major League Baseball package — a sign of a club focused on no team but itself.
BOOM! Everyone here owes me an all-expense-paid trip to Old Country Buffet. Including transportation.
“Regardless of which way you look at the situation, we have to focus on ourselves,” first baseman Carlos Pena said. “It's focusing on within, not from without. When you start focusing outside, you lose sight on what you need to think about working on, and expend your energy the wrong way. If you play the game hard, everything else will take care of itself.”
Pretty standard deliver-to-media quote from a baseball player. Everyone pretty much understands what he's getting at, but it's best not to make too much of it.
The situation Pena was referring to? The Rays’ daily battle with the AL East goliaths: the Yankees and Red Sox.
Gentilviso's audience: [gets insulted and storms out]
Gentilviso: [loses his job in 13 days]
Outfielder Eric Hinske knows that battle well. When Hinske left Boston for Tampa Bay this season, he had hopes of the Rays being good, but not this good. Anyone who claimed to have predicted Tampa Bay’s success in April was “lying through their teeth.”
Oooooohhhh....Sheesh...oh boy. Listen....I hate to be, ya know...that guy but ummmm....you really should look at this.
But.....eh....computers don't have teeth.
In their quest to become the first team other than New York or Boston to win the AL East since the 1997 Baltimore Orioles, the Rays harnessed their success by choosing not to think about teams in the opponent’s dugout.
You know what's really underrated today? Hitting. Hitting is way more attributable to teams winning than any of this dribble.
“We go out there and play the same way every day, whether it's the Royals, Yankees, A’s …whatever,” Hinske said. “That's the way we go about our business. That's one of the keys to our success for sure.”
See, you never blame a player for saying this. This is the stuff you need to feed the media to get them to shut up and you know, look good for 8-year-olds. This is not baseball analysis in the least, and it's not supposed to be. When you write a column that basically feeds you re-worded player quotes like this one, you really need to reconsider your decision to write about sports.
For Rays manager Joe Maddon, dealing with the thought of beating the Red Sox or Yankees could be as simple as thinking of the Commissioner’s Trophy.
The Commissioner's Trophy....that thing they give you when you win the World Series.....thinking of beating the Red Sox or Yankees is as simple as thinking of that.....
(5 hours later)
This sentence does not make any sense.
Maddon was named Mike Scioscia’s bench coach with the Angels in 1999, surviving as a leftover from the dysfunctional Terry Collins era. The club suffered through two mediocre seasons under Scioscia, before emerging in 2002 with something never experienced before in the franchise’s then-41-year history — a World Series title.
This is pretty much completely irrelevant to everything you've talked about thus far.
That season, the Angels eliminated the Yankees. The Red Sox missed the playoffs. Maddon could project that example to prove that the AL East goliaths have been conquered before.
Or, you could just point out that 5 of the last 7 World Seriesezes weren't won by either of them.
But he chooses not to. The Rays have no plans to bank on history through a difficult final month of the season, which includes 12 games with Boston and New York.
Hah. Watch out world, because unlike some teams (who SHALL remain nameless) the Rays aren't counting on what happened in 2002 to help them today.
“The race doesn't matter,” Maddon said.
I wholeheartedly disagree.
“It’s what we're doing that matters. We're going to scoreboard watch, and I'm O.K. with that. I want us to take care of our effort and our mental preparation each night, and I'm good with what happens.”
But ultimately all that matters is that you finish with more wins than the Red Sox and the Yankees......
The 2002 Angels took care of their effort, with a lineup that included strong young talent with a smattering of veterans. Their home run leader was Troy Glaus with 30, a talented 25-year old with more strikeouts than hits in each of his first four seasons. Their RBI leader was Garret Anderson with 123, an unheralded lifelong Angel taken in the 4th round of the 1990 amateur draft.
This is, again, approaching dangerously extreme levels of irrelevance. Perhaps he has a crush on David Eckstein or something. Chris does, after all, write about sports.
But the efforts of one player meant nothing. It was the entire roster that emerged victorious in a three-team AL West battle. The 101-win Oakland A’s were axed in the Division Series, while the 93-win Mariners missed the playoffs.
In conclusion: Rays' internal focus is winning them the division.
What. The. Hell. Does. This. Have. To. Do. With. Anything.
Outfielder Cliff Floyd knows the Rays have used a similar recipe of flying under the radar this season.
Flying under the radar is the recipe for winning now?
1 cup of historical irrelevance
3 tablespoons of not playing in Boston or New York
1 pinch of playing in a horrible baseball town
1 country full of idiots working in the media
And there you have it, the recipe to win a divisional race.
But in his mind, it’s irrelevant what past teams have done.
Yet for some reason, you decided to spend 35% of this article on that.
After three days in a Tampa Bay uniform, the newest member of the Rays had yet to receive the memo about avoiding comparisons.
Troublemaker! Cut him! (Chad Bradford)
Relief pitcher Chad Bradford has made six trips to the playoffs, with three different teams, in 11 major league seasons. While the Yankees and Red Sox bolstered their rosters with blockbuster trades, Bradford was picked up from the Orioles a few days after the deadline.
Bradford quickly noticed the looseness of the Rays’ clubhouse, and it reminds him of the dominant Oakland squads he played with from 2001-2004.
3.68, 4.37, 3.63, 3.97, 3.21. Those are the starters' ERAs for the Rays. Does this deserve no credit whatsoever? Is this more or less important than the looseness of the clubhouse? The Rays have scary good pitching. Scary good. The only one over his head is Sonnanstine. And there's more awesome pitching on the way. And I've heard they're all tighter than a male stripper's pants in the clubhouse. Not loose at all. And guess what? They'll make the team more awesome.
That process begins at the minor league level, through the creation of an organization-wide code of discipline. With that uniformity in place, both the Tampa Bay Rays and Princeton (W. Va.) Rays are aware of how players with issues are treated.
And there's an organization-wide flood of awesome pitching. Pitching. Don't forget about pitching! Gawd, he's just not gonna listen to me.
In turn, Maddon believes winning will be a consistent part of Rays baseball.
“It has to bleed through the entire organization if it’s going to work,” Maddon said. “You look at the Angels, that's why they're good right now.”
Also: The Angels are good due to pitching. Pitching.
At a major league-leading 31 games over .500, the Angels appear primed to return to their first World Series since 2002. No matter who surfaces as a winner in the AL East, all three teams face the proposition of going through Los Angeles to reach the Fall Classic.
That’s another scenario that Maddon doesn’t get too caught up in. The only channel he watches is his franchise moving forward.
What an outstanding manager he must be. This is the man that once said that David Eckstein helps you even if he goes 0-4 and makes 3 errors. This is the man who has the priviledge of managing a team who has some of the best prospect classes coming up through the system in history. Life just isn't fair. Want to swap teams with Manny Acta?
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Many apologies to Jack, whose post I am burying, but that freaking Easterbrook article just killed me. In the paragraph immediately preceding the one that Jack rightfully shit all over (while I'm here... wow, does he really think that things can't/shouldn't be measured to hundredths of seconds?), Gregg managed to shit some more nonsense out of his brain. While talking about
Medal counts don't have any meaning -- they don't tell us anything about the relative strengths, virtues or prospects of different societies.
If you're one of our twelve readers, you may remember this entry by Larry B, where he points out Easterbrook's inane rejection of decimal times for measuring speed at the NFL Combine. Now that pretentious d-bag is at it again (Easterbrook, not Larry B):
In other Olympic news, the timer said Michael Phelps swam the 100-meter butterfly in 50.58 seconds, Milorad Cavic swam it in 50.59 -- can anyone seriously believe either finished one-hundredth of a second different from the other?
I think most people find it much easier to believe that two different swimmers didn't finish at the exact same fucking time.
The timer said Britta Steffen swam the 50-meter freestyle one-hundredth of a second faster than Supermom Dara Torres.
Allowing for a winner and loser to be determined. Damn this backward system!
Tenths of seconds are absurd enough, as Tuesday Morning Quarterback noted a few months ago.
Noted with completely idiotic logic, mind you.
A hundredth of a second is too fleeting to have any common-sense relevance, let alone decide an athletic event;
TMQ is therefore in favor of a large number of swimming and track events ending in 3 way ties.
and this is setting aside whether a mechanical device splashed with water (the touch pads) can be accurate to the hundredth of the second.
Technologies Easterbrook is willing to put his faith in:
1. A brake pedal that slows your car down as you apply pressure to it.
2. Keyboards, which make letters appear as you type them.
3. The snooze button on an alarm clock which instantly cuts the sound off when touched.
Technologies Easterbrook does not believe in:
A giant stop watch connected to a touch pad.
Yet numerous clocks in Beijing show hundredths of seconds, as if these splinters of time can be measured meaningfully.
Again, Easterbrook doesn't think that assigning winners and losers is meaningful for Olympic games.
Reader Fred Ruonala notes that as the Phelps result was announced, one of the NBC announcers said viewers could "clearly see Phelps touched first." Now Olympics announcers can perceive hundredths of seconds.
Or as you point out, they probably can't. Therefore, we need some other system besides the naked eye. How about, oh I don't know, maybe a giant stopwatch connected to touch pads? Nah.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Since Larry B's been slacking on his on-the-spot investigative journalism, I'll have to take over. He's probably too busy trying to score with all the Olympic athletes from Sweden who finished their events two days ago and have nothing to do but cruise the Beijing bar scene.
Anyways. My gripes with Olympic coverage lately:
1. Soundbite re: a men's quarterfinal in the 200m:
"If there was an Olympic record for winning easily, Usain Bolt would hold it!"
I wonder how this record would be measured. Maybe in number of smiles, asshole fist-pumps or pointings to the crowd. Seems to be inherently slanted towards non-swimmers, as it's hard to see if Michael Phelps was grinning his big-eared ass off while he was whomping all those other people. But he wasn't, I'm sure, because he is nice and humble and white, unlike those fiery-tempered Latin sprinters.
2. NBC Commercial for the Opening Ceremonies DVD:
Own a part of the spectacular show that people will be talking about foever.
No. The only reason people might talk about this one even in six months? Part of it was faked. Does anyone ever talk about the Opening Ceremonies from past games? If you do, shut up and let me make a point already. Then, go back to wherever weird people like you live, which is probably in a foreign country.
3. Re: an Exxon commercial I've seen running several times:
"Why is this worldwide company involved in a public health problem?
Because devoting .0001% of their 11 billion dollar, national-record profits allows them to put sanctimonious ads on TV to convince more people of a generally false assumption that Exxon is devoting a large share of its energies to fixing public health problem, when actually Exxon is devoting a large share of its energies to fixing the public health problem of its execs not having enough Bentleys.
4. The disappearance of the "human rights" story.
All I heard about in the months and weeks leading up to these games was "China's human-rights record" and "Tibet" and all that. Now, China's not even letting protesters do what little they had hoped. Now, it makes sense to me not to turn th Olympics into a political statement... but it seems to me that a hell of a lot of journalists and media institutions were happy to jump on the "China sucks and mistreats its dissidents!" bandwagon four weeks ago, but are just as happy to jump on the "Wow, these are such a well-run Olympics!" train right now. I call bullshit.
Also, Jemele Hill's article on Michael Phelps [I think we here at FJM should go to a no-links on her] is unsurprisingly base and formulaic. What's really amazing is that Hill has an incredibly unique ability to generalize her own perspective to everyone. Most of us are cured of this by the time we graduate high school, when we realize that yes, other people do have different opinions. I won't do the whole article, because I think the first two paragraphs sums it up:
What's an athlete? Who's an athlete? What's mental toughness? What are limits? What is greatness?
We thought we knew those answers before Michael Phelps.
What's an athlete? Who's an athlete? Mental toughness? What are limits? What is greatness?
I knew all those answers before Michael Phelps, and I still do.
But now that we've witnessed Phelps win eight gold medals, it turns out we didn't know anything.
Speak for yourself, Jemele.