Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Clearly, this Proves that the NBA is Fixed

Anyone with a brain knows that every result in the NBA is predetermined. David Stern has access to a group of top secret agents who carry out his wishes. His one and only goal is always to increase revenue by way of increasing TV ratings. You've got the 1985 draft lottery (watch the video from 4:30 to 5:30, it's worth it), the 2002 western conference finals, the 2006 finals, and now this. This screenshot was taken earlier this evening from NBA.com, moments before tipoff of the Blazers/Rockets game:

Hmmmm... note the lack of an "if necessary" marking next to game 6, despite the fact the Rockets led the series 3-1 at that time. And sure enough, the Blazers won tonight. They were called for 12 fouls; Houston was called for 24. They shot 23 free throws; Houston shot 10. Put the pieces together, people. It's all right there in front of you. This is clear and dispositive proof that the NBA is fixed. When will the media wake up and start reporting this story?

This post might as well have been written by Bill Simmons, and I am ashamed of that. Deeply, deeply ashamed.

Monday, April 27, 2009

"Strong" Start, eh?

This was the headline on Reds.com today - the homepage of the franchise. In it, the headline outright lies that Gonzalez is off to a "strong" start. To wit:

Alex Gonzalez's 2009 stats:

.152 - 1 - 6 , if you subscribe to traditional metrics, in 14 games and 51 PA.

He's OPSing a cool .461 and his OPS+ is a wicked 16, so far, for those of you who consider more sabermetric categories.

The people who write for MLB.com and the teams' respective pages probably have a lot of corporate-mandated optimism and corporate-controlled atmosphere, but this kind of stupidity is inexcusable.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sports Remind Us of the Nobility Within Us

This one's for you, Larry B:

"Barbaro Memorial dedicated outside Churchill Downs"

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Barbaro is back home at the track where he became a legend.

Actually, I think it's a statue of him. His Wikipedia entry suggests that he (his cremains) are actually just nearby.

A bronze statue honoring the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner was unveiled on Sunday morning at Churchill Downs, nearly three years after the colt became an icon following a breakdown at the Preakness.

Flags were flown. Brass bands played.

Sculptor Alexa King designed the 1,500-pound statue, which shows Barbaro in midstride with jockey Edgar Prado aboard as the two pulled away from the rest of the 20-horse field.

I wonder why they included the weight of the statue in the article. I mean, who cares? Well, come to think of it, I could ask that same question about the article as a whole.

The horse broke down during the Preakness and spent the next eight months battling for his life. His struggles brought renewed attention to track safety and breeding practices.

His struggles brought renewed vitriol from Larry B (warning: link goes to pre-punctuation Larry B). The link is worth your time.

Owners Roy and Gretchen Jackson attended the ceremony as did hundreds of fans who were moved by the horse's battle for survival.

I think I am going back to amend my very first article here at FJayM to include more thoughts on the moving spectacle of horse racing, which reminds us of how truly noble and moving all sports are, including ones where people get on top of animals and whip the shit out of them until they run around a track.

Sports are just beautiful.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

El Oh El

Pete Prisco says the Niners are a B- for getting the best WR in the draft at #10. Why?

Analysis: He hasn't run. He's shorter than expected. He's a diva. Good luck. Some in the organization didn't even want him.

"He hasn't run".

God it must have been hard to be one of the best WR's in CFB not ever having run. But OTOH if he spent his entire college career WALKING to TD after TD that should bode well for the NFL when he actually starts to run, no?

"He's shorter than expected."

God forbid an NFL scout actually go to a game and see how tall a player seems to be.

"He's a diva."

Well that should save the 49ers money, no? They won't have to hire anyone to sing the national anthem.

"Some in the organization didn't want him."

If you say so. Maybe those fellows would like to go work across the bay with the team that took a guy with the #7 pick they could have got with a #20 pick.

Pete Prisco, ladies and germs.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I Love Joe Posnanski. I mean Love, Love, Love, Love, Love Joe Posnanski...but...

...dude: No.

The thing that struck me about Tony Gonzalez is that every time I saw him catch a pass — every single time, no matter if it was during practice, on the sideline during a game, or just goofing around afterward — he always tucked the ball away.


Do not do this. Please Joe, for Pete's sake! This somehow simultaneously makes me dislike Tony Gonzalez and Joe Pos--two things I didn't think were possible.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

FMTMQR: Gregg Easterbrook Will Probably Not be Hired by The Onion Anytime Soon

Rejoice, haters of logic and comedy. The dipshit is back.

Here's some draft advice. The top three offensive teams last season -- New Orleans, Denver and Houston -- did not make the playoffs. The top three defensive teams last season -- Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Philadelphia -- all made the playoffs. Now, what should your draft strategy be?

Well, before drawing too strong a conclusion from that cherry-picked stat, I might look a little further than just the elites of each category and try to see generally whether or not having a good offense or good defense helps. Then I would discover that 7 of the top 12 offensive teams made the playoffs... as did 7 of the top 12 defensive teams. Then I might look back at years gone by, and discover that the top 3 offensive teams all made the playoffs in 2007 and 2006, and that 2 of the top 3 made it in 2005, 2004 and 2003. Then I would remember that Gregg Easterbrook is a stat-cherry-picking asshole. Then I would probably just use a draft strategy based around a combination of need and best player available.

As for [New England; idiotic TMQ nickname for their team omitted], last year on draft day, needing front-seven help, they traded down, passing on the chance to draft touted front-seven players Sedrick Ellis, Derrick Harvey and Keith Rivers, in order to select Jerod Mayo and gain an extra choice, which they exercised on linebacker Shawn Crable. Rivers had a sound rookie season, but Ellis was invisible with 30 tackles, while Harvey, supposedly a sackmaster, rarely was in the same area code as opposing quarterbacks. Mayo was terrific for New England, and Crable looks like a quality addition.

Crable did not play a snap last year. Yes, that's correct. Due to injury, THE DUDE HAS NOT YET PLAYED A SINGLE FUCKING SNAP IN THE NFL. But New England drafted him, so he looks like "a quality addition." Meanwhile, Derrick Harvey and his 3.5 rookie year sacks (certainly not great, but indicative of competence)? Bust. Just cut him now, Jacksonville. Why can't you be more like New England and draft guys who look quality without even stepping on the field?

Going into Saturday's draft, New England has stockpiled three second-round choices -- look for the Patriots to choose wisely while others around them reach. I'd rather have New England's draft position than the positions held by Buffalo, Denver or Detroit, even though each of these teams has two first-round choices. Detroit is under pressure not to blow the first overall pick;

That's like saying it's better to sit in the audience at a game show than be a contestant. You wouldn't want to fuck up in front of everyone, would you? Sure, being able to take any player you want is nice... but I think we can all agree that it's not worth the possible embarrassment that comes from messing up a draft choice. After all, the Lions have never done so before.

Denver has a history of first-round busts (Dan Williams, Marcus Nash);

Marcus Nash was drafted in 1998; Dan Williams was drafted in Nineteen-ninety-fucking-three. Sixteen years ago. Really, Gregg? Since 1998, Denver has taken Al Wilson, Deltha O'Neal, D.J. Williams, Ashley Lelie, Jay Cutler, and Ryan Clady (later praised by Easterbrook in this very column) in the first round. This is Easterbrook at his very worst- making preposterous claims as he goes along in order to fit his pre-crafted thesis. Seriously, fuck this guy. If you go back far enough every team has first round busts. Ever heard of Chris Canty? First round pick of the Patriots in 1997. Out of the league by 2001. Oops. (That said, after reviewing their first round picks for the past 15 years, I have to hand it to the Patriots. Very good at this whole draft thing overall.)

and the Bills haven't made a smart choice about linemen in some 15 years (recent first-round line busts John McCargo, Mike Williams and Erik Flowers).

So... what if... they choose players at other positions with these two first round picks?

New England can accomplish more with three second-round choices than most teams can accomplish with two first-round selections.

Completely unsubstantiated. Just thrown out there as fact, because Gregg hopes you're not really paying attention.

In other sports news, at this time of year every Tom, Dick and Harriet has a mock draft, but only Tuesday Morning Quarterback actually mocks the draft, with my annual mock of mock drafts, which follows.

1. Detroit Lions: Edward Liddy, CEO, AIG
By the standards of the 0-16 Lions, AIG is a huge success.

Crickets. (But it's pretty topical! Gotta give him that! Have you heard about this whole AIG thing? It was in all the papers!)

4. Seattle Seahawks: Dr. Manhattan, naked blue superhero
He could play for the Blue Men Group without needing a uniform, thus cutting costs.


6. Cincinnati Bengals: Tim Geithner, secretary, U.S. Treasury
The Bengals' ownership hopes the TARP fund will buy up the franchise as a toxic asset.

Topical again. And crickets, again.

10. San Francisco 49ers: Ralph Ostrove, founder, Paul Stuart clothiers
The Niners have gone from a coach who wears business suits on the sideline to a coach who drops his pants in public; they might benefit from this high-end fashion store that caters to men. Stuart's new business-casual affiliate says it offers a "curated collection."

Snobbery. And crickets. You get the idea- this kind of brain vomit goes on for a full 32 picks. Simply an insult to anyone who has any semblance of a sense of humor.

WWJHE -- When Would Jesus Hold Easter?
Last year, Easter fell almost a month before Passover. TMQ complained that Easter should always fall on the Sunday after Passove begins. Jesus, after all, just before his crucifixion had come to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. So why doesn't Easter fall immediately after the first night of Passover? Dating for Passover has always been determined by the ancient Hebrew calendar; in 2009, Passover began on the 15th of Nisan, exactly as it did when Jesus walked the Earth. Easter dating involves a complex formula having to do with the vernal equinox and paschal full moon. During the Middle Ages, the Roman church established that Easter dating formula in part to de-emphasize Christianity's relationship to Judaism. Protestant denominations decided to accept the Roman dating, though nothing about the equinox-and-moon business is mentioned in scripture. Formally linking the observance of Easter to Passover would benefit both Christianity and Judaism, by emphasizing common history. Actually, it would benefit Western Christians. As pointed out by readers, including Sylvia Denisov of St. Louis, in the Eastern Orthodox Church, Easter always falls on the Sunday following the first night of Passover.

Changing the Western dating formula for Easter, to sync with Passover as is done in Eastern Christianity, would be both historically accurate and a nice ecumenical step. This spring, Easter in the West did fall on the Sunday after Passover began. Turns out that for the next six years, Easter as observed by Western Christianity will follow the first night of Passover; the schedules aren't out of whack again until 2016, when Easter falls on March 27 and Passover does not begin until April 23. That creates six years in which Western Christians could stage a campaign to restore the Passover-Easter relationship. How's about it?

I'm not against it. Wait, is this a column about football?

Series Finale of "Battlestar Galactica" Complaints:

A quick copy/paste into Microsoft Word reveals that Gregg devoted, I shit you not, 1,832 words to this item. That's nearly 3 single-spaced pages. Among those who care enough about the NFL to read about it online- Who. Gives. A. Flaming. Shit? Making it all the better is that most of the item is dedicated to, whate else, Gregg's complaints about the inaccuracies/plot holes in the show. We need someone monitoring these science fiction shows! I'm so tired of them not accurately representing what it's like to travel long distances in space!

Also, the NFL Gave Several Billion Compensatory No. 1 Draft Choices to AIG: The system by which the NFL awards compensatory draft choices continues to mystify. The league said San Diego was owed a fourth-round compensatory pick for losing Drayton Florence to Jacksonville; the Jags benched Florence, then waived him after one season. The league said the Redskins were owed a seventh-round compensatory pick for losing quarterback Mark Brunell to New Orleans; Brunell did not attempt a pass in 2008.

It's not quite a full and total explanation (as the League keeps some of its formula secret), but here you go, dipshit.

At 11 p.m. the Night Before Games, Bills Coaches Conduct a Passport Check: "I just have to create my own following up here in North America" -- Terrell Owens being introduced in Buffalo. Texas is in North America; so is Mexico for that matter. Though, Owens' statement that the Bills may become "North America's team" is a good reading of the Toronto alignment. My favorite Owens claim about the Cowboys: that Tony Romo and Jason Witten were meeting in secret to draw up plays that did not include him. On an exclusive basis, TMQ has obtained this surveillance tape of one of the secret meetings, held at a vacation resort:

ROMO: (Wearing dress and wig.) What's the password?

WITTEN: (Wearing false beard.) Swordfish. (Enters room.)

ROMO: The new play diagrams are on this microdot.

WITTEN: How do you read a microdot?

ROMO: Shhhhhh -- not so loud. (Turns on radio to a mariachi station.) That's in case Terrell has the room bugged. Check out Blast Max 88 Cross.

WITTEN: (Examines play.) Wow -- Owens covers his body in Krazy Glue, then sticks himself to my defender so I can go deep. Sweet!

ROMO: We can't tell him the play is really to you.

(Tape interrupted as Canadian Mounties burst into room.)


Trojans note: On draft day, TMQ will root for linebacker Clay Matthews III, who despite his fabulous football pedigree -- related to former NFL stars Clay Matthews, Clay Matthews Jr. and Bruce Matthews -- was a walk-on at USC. No major-conference school offered Matthews a scholarship. Now he's likely to be a first-round NFL draft choice.

And as soon as he's drafted in the 1st round, TMQ will immediately begin hating him for the duration of his NFL career. If only he could go undrafted, play in the lower-tiered Arena League for a couple years, retire, work a construction job for a couple years, then make the NFL at age 27, get cut from four teams, and THEN finally catch on with someone, he would have a life-long fan in Gregg.

At Least Someone's Gruntled: "Disgruntled no more" -- that's how "SportsCenter" anchor Linda Cohn introduced the news that Jay Cutler had been traded. Cutler whined so much that "disgruntled Jay Cutler" practically became his name. Since he is no longer disgruntled, does that mean he is now gruntled? Yes! Little known dictionary fact: "gruntled" means "satisfied." From now on, the gentleman in question to TMQ will be "the gruntled Jay Cutler." And TMQ will remain suspicious of the grunted gentleman. Cutler has a fine arm, but what exactly has he accomplished in the NFL to justify all his whining? Cutler is 17-20 as an NFL starter. Kyle Orton is 21-12 -- I'll take the guy who wins the game, please.

Oh my good fucking grief. Are we going to go through this again? That is the worst sports-related argument ever. Period. Ever. I don't even think Colin Cowherd would make that argument.

Orton did play with a better defense in Chicago, but Cutler played with better offensive personnel plus the Denver home-field advantage.

No home-field advantage in Chicago- no sir. Nope.

Though Cutler made the Pro Bowl, he finished 16th in quarterback rating, behind Seneca Wallace and Shaun Hill,

Who I think we can all agree are both better than Cutler.

while throwing 18 interceptions, second-worst in the league.

On 600+ attempts, often trying to lead Denver to victory from behind because of their shitpile of a defense.

Cutler's high school team was 15-0 when he was a senior; since then, in college and the pros, he's 28-55 as a starter.

How dare he not win at Vanderbilt! Everyone wins at Vanderbilt. I believe they're colloquially known as "the Northwestern Wildcats of the SEC."

For seven consecutive seasons, Cutler has not been a winner -- while becoming a guy who cares about his stats and complains nonstop about the treatment he is receiving.

Get rich quick scheme: replace "seven" with "thirteen;" replace "Cutler" with "Alex Rodriguez;" submit to FoxSports.com; accept job as baseball writer; profit.

TMQ thinks the Broncos will be seen as coming out way ahead in this trade. Way behind? The Redskins, who publicly undercut quarterback Jason Campbell by trying to trade him and draft choices for Cutler, only to have the world find out the Broncos would rather have the workmanlike Orton.

"Workmanlike." "Gritty." "Erstadian." They all sound nice.

Like Cutler, Campbell is 17-20 as a starter -- yet Cutler is constantly praised and Campbell constantly criticized.

If you think Jason Campbell is anywhere near as good as Jay Cutler, I encourage you to move to Mongolia and not ever watch sports again.

Yet Campbell was the one who played behind a terrible offensive line last season, while Cutler was protected by one of football's best pair of tackles.

A fair point; but remember when Gregg was shitting on Denver's chances of doing anything useful with its two first round picks this year? Hmmm... I wonder where their left tackle came from? Surely he wasn't a first round pick- Denver only drafts busts, like the still well-remembered Dan Williams, in the first round.

Next Week: TMQ's plan to grade the draft interrupted when honor-code violations are discovered in fifth round.

Yeah... what?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

This week in ridiculous sports-journalism puns

Most of the time when I post this biz, I'm all like "Grrr! What a lame pun! I'm so mad."

This time I'm all like, huh?

Guy must be a Hugh Grant fan.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

How Did You Get This Job?

Before hiring someone to announce sports on TV, you'd think an employer would make sure their future employees knew something about the league the employees were about to cover. But evidently TNT doesn't subscribe to that school of thought. During today's 76ers/Magic game, one of their F team announcers (Googled around for a while, couldn't figure out who they were... I watched a lot of NBA this season, and their voices didn't sound familiar) had this to say about Saturday's stars:

You know, sometimes in the playoffs you get big contributions from unlikely sources. Derrick Rose, for the Bulls... Jose Juan Barea... Yao Ming...

Barea, sure. Ming and Rose? They were their teams' LEADING and #3 scorers during the regular season, respectively. Whoever you are, unknown announcer man, you're a fucking clown.

In semi-related news, the NBA playoffs have started! Chris W, your thoughts? (Warning: link goes to best post in FireJay history)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bud Selig's Inconsistent Opinions

Bud Selig offers his thoughts on the New Yankee Stadium. We will now see yet another example of the commissioner being a waffling milquetoast. I, for one, can't wait until baseball hires a commissioner that looks as bad ass as this guy:

NEW YORK -- Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig felt like he was 15 again.

I figure the last time he felt completely childish was when he called the All-Star game a tie and then instituted the lousy-ass "this time it counts" rule. From the tone of my critique so far, you should be able to determine that I am going to rip Selig. I know that seems to be low-hanging fruit, but the guy deserves it.

Selig remember that it was for his 15th birthday that he first stepped into historic Yankee Stadium. His mother had brought him to the Bronx so that he could see his favorite team in person, by way of the third deck.

How nice. Was Selig's family too poor to take him there before his 15th birthday? What a Horatio Alger story that Bud Selig is.

Fast-forward nearly 60 years, and here Selig was at the opening of the Yankees' new $1.5 billion home.

Goddamn, I didn't realize Bud was that old. Someone put him out to pasture already.

"My view is a little better today," Selig joked.

And take his jokes with him.

But in many ways, his feelings about the new facility echo those about the original one.

"I'll never forget the thrill of walking in [the old Stadium] the first time," Selig said. "What I sense today is they've preserved the history."

By moving into a brand-new stadium designed to generate approximately a skillion more dollars a year, yes, they preserved the history. I wrote about this issue last summer, and I stand by it. The Yankees sold their history to more money, and nobody's even mentioning it.

Selig is also in favor of preserving the history at two of baseball's most hallowed shrines -- Fenway Park and Wrigley Field. As much as he likes the way architects have brought Yankee Stadium into the 21st century, Selig hopes Fenway and Wrigley can remain a central part of the sport's connection to previous generations by staying open.

Note how he avoids criticizing what the Yankees did, even though their now-defunct stadium was thrice the hallowed shrine than either of those other parks. I guess it's not the commish's place to critique a team, but it sure seems like this is example #842 of Bud Selig not having the cojones to tell it like it is.

"There's something about Fenway and Wrigley that I'd like to see preserved," Selig said. "I think the institution of Fenway and Wrigley is something that should be preserved. If they can make it work [economically], good for them."

Goddamn: don't people realize that the Yankees, in old Yankee Stadium, were certainly "making it work [economically]" - shit, they were raking in money to the tune of $327,000,000 dollars. That is not enough to support the Yankees' lust for bigger money, bigger stars, bigger everything. Therefore, they built a new stadium, hoping to exceed that. Note again that Bud avoids saying that the "institution of Yankee stadium should've been preserved.

The opening of this lavish park in the midst of a recession is seen by some as incongruous. And the Yankees have been criticized by some for the 52,325-seat ballpark's ticket prices, which reach as high as $2,625.

If you build it, they will come. If the Yankees can get people to pay it, fine by me. Also, whoever sees this as "incongruous" is an idiot, since they started building this thing like five years ago, when this country was not in a recession. Can you imagine the Yankees' brass saying: "Oh, shit, there's a recession, let's just have this mostly-built ballpark just sit there idly!".

Me neither.

But while the priciest seats get a lot of the attention, Selig looks at the park's full range of prices -- including $5 bleacher seats, $29 grandstand seats and $48 terrace seats on the low end of the spectrum -- and considers the charges to be fair, for the most part.

I'm glad they have forty-eight dollar seats for all those poor New Yorkers who want to sit on the terrace but couldn't afford sixty-dollar seats.

"I know there's been a focus on the expensive seats," he said. "[Yankees co-chairman] Hal Steinbrenner himself has said that's something that they should review. But in the meantime, there are a lot of seats priced here that are quite fair and competitive."

And Selig said he believes MLB's clubs have done a fine job staying fair and competitive at a time when many fans are forced to tighten their belts.

"As a sport, baseball's done an amazing job with ticket prices this year," Selig said. "I'm proud of our clubs. We've reacted very well. A lot of clubs have cut prices and concession prices. My father used to always say to me, 'There's nothing good or bad, except by comparison.' If you look at other forms of entertainment, our ticket prices overall are competitive."

Bud Selig's dad is endorsing a dangerous form of moral relativism here. I wonder if the young Selig ever used his dad's argument against him. It seems to me that any father that concedes such a point is entering dangerous waters!

Selig didn't take the full tour of the new Yankee Stadium on Thursday. He said he plans to give this park and Citi Field, which the Mets opened up on Monday, a full review when each club has an off-day.

Glad the commissioner is earning his keep by going around, touring new stadiums, and offering inconsisten opinions on baseball's own commitment to history.

But Selig did get a chance to watch some of Thursday's game with Yankees principal owner George M. Steinbrenner III.

I wonder if you have to do this once you become commish. I think I'd probably just tell Steinbrenner to kiss my ass and go sit in the bleachers, but then again, Bud Selig didn't get where he is without knowing how to butter up the real kingmakers.

"I sat with him for a little while," Selig said. "I did most of the talking. I just told him he ought to be very proud."

Bud, jellyfish that you are, you just don't have the courage to go up to George Steinbrenner III and tell him what you really think of his team's fairly clear abandoning of baseball history for bigger revenue streams.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Baseball Grab Bag

Or should I say, baseball copout/mail-it-in post. I'm having a little trouble finding full, intact awful articles right now. That doesn't mean there aren't snippets of dumbassery and wrongness floating around though.

Tuesday on Baseball Tonight, after the cast finishes watching highlights of the Royals' 9-3 dismantling of the Indians-

John Kruk: Can I change my pick to win the AL Cental?
Karl Ravech: Did... did you have the Indians?
Kruk: Yeah. I need to change that.
Karl: Wow, John, that was pretty ballsy of you. (See what he did there?)

OK, Karl didn't really say that last one. That would just be mean. But the first three lines are legit. Really, Kruk? The Indians? I mean, I understand the division doesn't have a clear favorite. But you might not want to go with the team that limped to a .500 finish last year even after getting an unbelievable, certainly unrepeatable performance out of a random usually-crappy pitcher. You might also want to pick a team which can actually play defense, and which has a decent bullpen. Just my thoughts.

Earlier tonight, during a discussion about Jackie Robinson's career and accomplishments, the usually-reliable Ravech talked about how Robinson died tragically in a plane crash. No, Karl, pretty much any decent baseball fan knows that was Roberto Clemente. Close, though. (He corrected himself after a commercial break just a few minutes later.)

This is extremely old, but since this is a lazy post, I might as well reach all the way back to the weekend. During Sunday Night Baseball everyone's favorite quasi-racist analyst, Joe Morgan (has he mentioned what an undeserved raw deal Barry Bonds and Gary Sheffield get from the media recently?) was praising Alfonso Soriano for Soriano's ability to hit home runs. At some point the following tumbled out of his confused mouth:

I mean, even though he's in the leadoff spot, I like his power. He led off the game with a solo home run tonight. That's a run, right there!

That is correct. Good.

I mean, I would rather have that than a run-scoring single when a guy is on second base.

Well, in one case you get a run and the bases are empty. In the other you get a run AND you get another guy on base. So I can totally see why you'd prefer the former. Obviously, Joe's brain is too small to think through and compare those two scenarios. I guess what he was trying to say is that he likes home runs. Can't disagree there! Someone give Joe an ice cream or a box of popcorn or a shiny thing to keep him busy for a while.

Our favorite ESPN grit-loving analyst, one Jerry E. Crasnick (the "E" stands for Eckstein, his favorite player of all time) has a new article out about guys you've never heard of who had to scrimp and scrap and grit their way onto major league rosters. Jerry has a little bit of TMQ in him in that regard. Who gives a shit about good players? I want to hear more about shitty players who are just barely teetering on the brink of being employed as professional athletes. Here is a collection of choice snippets from that article.

-According to the Seattle Times, Jakubauskas sold Christmas gifts at Nordstrom and worked for a cement company to pay the bills while playing independent ball. Judging from his performance in the Cactus League, his department store clerking days are history.

Someone get Rick Reilly on this story. This guy doesn't know the meaning of the word "quit!" Except when it comes to quitting his cement company job. Or maybe he's still holding that down to make a couple bucks on the side, who knows?

-"My legs were shaking a little bit," he told Tom Krasovic of The San Diego Union Tribune.

That's what Albert Pujols said, referring to when he- oh wait, no, Albert Pujols has never said that. Only guys who know full well that they shouldn't be in the bigs say this kind of stuff.

-He violated minor league baseball's drug policy with Triple-A Buffalo, and achieved a degree of notoriety as a Rochester Red Wing when he lost a 50-yard match race with that lovable thoroughbred loser, Zippy Chippy.

More fodder for Reilly.

-"He called his dad and his wife, and I had to get away from him because it looked like he was close to tears," manager Dusty Baker told the Dayton Daily News.

How'd this get into the article? Crying isn't gritty.

-He struggled with the elements and had a rough outing defensively in center field. But he went 3-for-9 at the plate in his first five games in Cincinnati, and he's still hanging around.

Not for much longer, because he (I don't care who it is, if he's featured in a Crasnick article he probably sucks) probably sucks.

-It appeared his playing days were over in October 2007 when he severed the thumb and three fingers on his throwing hand in a table saw accident while making a window frame in his garage. A hand specialist reattached the four digits, but not without complications: There was a difference of opinion when Hill insisted he would be ready to play by spring training of 2008, and the doctor tempered his euphoria with some distressing news. "Right before surgery, the doctor told him the tendons near his pinkie finger might be a problem and delay his return," said Cubs general manager Jim Hendry. "So Koyie told him, 'If you get in there and that's an issue, just cut the pinkie off. I can play without it.' True story."

His pain threshold is also off the charts.

He should be well suited for MMA fighting then. Oh, what's that? He's a baseball player? Hmm, that probably won't do much for him.

-In eight big league seasons, Miller has established himself as a walking Jayson Stark blog item for his ineptitude with a bat. The nadir came from 2004 through 2006, when he endured a 1-for-55 funk with Cincinnati, Minnesota and Boston. For those keeping score at home, that's a batting average of .018.

For those keeping score at home, here's a guy who almost definitely has no place playing major league baseball.

-But all the starters are right-handed and he's a lefty, so manager Ken Macha should find a way to work him in here and there.

Ah, the essence of the subjects of this article- their ceiling is to play occasionally, possibly because of a lineup idosyncracy.

Finally, I thought this was pretty hilarious. Jayson Stark writes a somewhat entertaining column throughout the baseball season called "Useless Information." It's a collection of just that, all kinds of weird stats and factoids (based on events that happened in games during the previous week or so) you'd never know how to find on your own. So naturally this week, re: the Dodgers' Orlando Hudson, and the cycle he recently hit for by the 6th inning:

But the only cyclist we know of who completed his cycle any faster than that was Gregg Jefferies, who went cycling by the fifth inning on Aug. 25, 1995. (Andy Van Slyke's great quip after that game: "He could have done it twice. He could have had the bi-cycle.")

But here's our question: Was Jefferies the quickest cyclist in history? If you can help, let us know at uselessinfodept@yahoo.com.

Dude. You're the one writing the column, who presumably has access to a stats department and at least a couple of interns. I'm going to leave this one to you.

And of course, watch me look like an ass when next week's column features twelve diligent readers who did the research and wrote in to help Jayson out with his question.

OK, that's all for now, I'll be less lazy next time! Maybe! I hate to beg for tips, but if you've got 'em, send 'em. Also, if anyone knows where the other guys who write for this blog are, let them know that I could use a hand around here every fucking other week or so.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

You Can Be an ESPN Personality While Stealing the Jokes of 20-Year Old Undergraduates

A recent Rick Reilly Blog post, which proves that you CAN just reprint stuff from a bunch of undergrads and put your name on it and make money from ESPN!

A few team names NOT featured in Reilly's post:

This Is Our Drinking Game
Four Cowboys and an Indian
Banana Munchers
Off Tha Heezy
Ryan Grant and A Bunch of Other Football Players
Don't Think About AJ Hawk
Kevin and the Timepieces
Club Sped
Rigor Is Gay
Timmy, Tommy, Tammy? Who's Wasted?
Harold Swanagan's Booty

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Wait for it... Wait for it...

I confess to not being an NHL fan. And honestly, I can't tell if Jarrett really quit the blog or if that was an April Fool's joke. So I hesitate to open my mouth about anything hockey related. But after checking out the standings this morning, just to see what the playoff matchups were, I was excited to see which team had captured the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

Why does that excite me? Start the countdown to Bill Simmons's "I've been a Bruins fan all along, I never left! I'm not a fairweather fan! I promise! Us Boston fans are the best in the world!" article. Because it's definitely coming. I can't wait.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

After Careful Consideration, Dayn Perry Decides that Winning is Good

Have you been wondering which MLB teams "need" to get off to a fast start this season? Here's the answer!

First, the painfully obvious.

Why are you writing it then? And leading your article with it, no less?

Look over baseball's six divisions and wild-card races and you'll find few clear favorites.

You can all see where this is going.

The Yanks, Red Sox or Rays in the AL East? The Dodgers, Snakes or even Giants in the NL West? Mets, Braves or Phillies? Heck, you can make a case for any team in the AL Central. And that's to say nothing of the crowded wild-card frays. In fact, only the Cubs stand as clear divisional favorites. Likely, this will result in quite a few close races, and that means every game — for every contender — will be important.

So a good half, maybe even 2/3 of all teams, are "contenders." And all contenders must get off to good starts. Thus, nearly everyone must win games early in the season. This level of analysis is hurting my brain- did Joe Morgan ghost write this?

The silly emphasis on the September stretch drive

First time I've ever heard it described as silly. Mets fans might not agree.

obscures a vital fact: The games in April count just as much as the games in September.

The cliches are beginning to pile up- everyone get out while you still can!

If a team blows the division by a single game, then that 9-2 yawner of a loss in April is as much to blame as the white-knuckled 4-3 defeat on the season's final day.

(Larry B takes out abacus, plays with the beads in a meager attempt to confirm this crazy mathematical theory)

With so many tight races ahead, the playoff hopefuls can't afford slow starts.

By which you mean pretty much no one can afford a slow start. Other entries on Dayn's "Can't afford a slow start" list- pitchers, hitters, guys who are mostly used as defensive replacements, managers, umpires, and beer vendors.

I've heard more relevant analysis from players and coaches who get interviewed during their jog into the locker room at halftime of a football or basketball game.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Kyle Orton = Winner, Jay Cutler = Loser, Clark Judge = Dipshit

In the words of Chris W, nothing makes a "solid leader" out of a shitty QB like a sportswriter with an axe to grind.

This is my take on the Chicago Bear's deal for Jay Cutler: They were better off with Kyle Orton.

This is Clark's way of explaining that he's dumb, in much the same way Skip Bayless is dumb. So dumb, and so forward with ridiculous opinions, that you almost have to believe he's fully conscious of the fact that he's being a moron and is just doing so in order to get attention from blogs like this.

You heard me.

We read you.

Orton can't throw the ball as far or as straight as Cutler, and you won't find anyone drooling over the velocity of his passes. But he has something Cutler does not, and that's a high score in the leadership department -- and, sorry, but I'll take that over physical ability any day.

Hey, you can't prove this wrong, can you? Even though Cutler was generally well-received by his teammates, there is nothing you can produce for Clark which will prove to him that Orton ISN'T a better leader than Cutler. Therefore, bad trade for the Bears. QED. Also, Scott Brosius has more World Series rings than Alex Rodriguez. Clark will take Scott as his third baseman any day.

As a rookie, he led the Bears to a 10-4 record -- including an eight-game winning streak -- before Rex Grossman returned.

Orton that year (2005): 52% completion rate, 9 TDs, 13 INTs, 59.7 QB rating. Bears defense that year: 2nd in the NFL in yards allowed per game (282), 1st by a mile in points allowed per game (12.6, Indianapolis was second at 15.4). That eight game winning streak? All Kyle.

A year ago, he was back as a starter and was there for critical late-season overtime defeats of New Orleans and Green Bay.

He was there! He was on the field! Give him the MVP trohpy already! Against New Orleans: 24 for 40, 0 TDs, 2 INTs, 49.2 QB rating. Against Green Bay: 14 for 27, 1 TD, 2 INTs, 48.7 QB rating. No way would Cutler grit out a couple of leadershippy performances like those.

OK, so the Bears didn't make the playoffs but don't blame Orton. Blame Chicago's 21st-ranked defense, a unit that blew three 10-point leads and self-immolated in a last-second loss to Atlanta.

But later, when pointing out that Cutler has never been to the playoffs, he'll be sure to not mention Denver's 28th-ranked (2007) and 30th-ranked (2008) defenses in his two full seasons as a starter.

At the NFL winter meetings last month, Chicago coach Lovie Smith said the Bears were a running team that had to play good defense, and no one disagreed.

And furthermore, everyone agreed: if you have a chance to add a 25 year old Pro Bowl QB for a pretty reasonable cost, for God's sakes, don't do it!

So what's a running team doing acquiring a quarterback who can throw the ball the length of Michigan Avenue? You tell me, because I think the Bears were better off with Orton.

Why would you want a quarterback who can throw far? The forward pass has been illegal since 1958!

He fit their personality.

Always a good reason to not trade away a guy with a career passer rating that barely cracks 70.

He wasn't flashy, but he was effective


before suffering an ankle injury.

Oh, well he doesn't sound very tough then.

He was tough.

What about the ankle injury and subsequent ineffectiveness???

He was gritty.

He and David Eckstein regularly had grit contests. Orton won 8 times out of 10.

And he won.

And the Bears won while he was on the field. In spite of his play.

Look it up: His record as a starter is 21–12, not bad for someone critics portray as the NFL's version of the Venus De Milo.

I don't get it. Critics think he's beautiful?

Cutler is 17-20, never made the playoffs and never had a winning season.

And remember, this is all his fault. No one else's. Just his. Maybe if he didn't blow so hard the Broncos wouldn't have given up nearly 30 points a game last year.

So the Bears trade away Orton and three draft picks and, sorry, Chicago, your team just got fleeced.

As a Bronco fan, let me tell you- we're laughing all the way to the bank!

You need offensive linemen. You need receivers.

And now that you've acquired a Pro Bowl QB with a very reasonable contract, there's no way you'll be able to attact either.

You need a defense that must play better.

You need a defense which plays better + Your defense must play better + not proofreading = that sentence.

Yet you just traded away the first round for a couple of years for a guy who throws a pretty pass and can't play .500 football in the AFC West.

Cutler can't even play defensive tackle, linebacker or safety. What a puss.

Tell me Chicago knows what it's doing.

It does/they do.

Smith had it right when he said you win in Chicago by running the ball and playing solid defense. The 1985 Bears had Walter Payton, a lights-out defense and Jim McMahon at quarterback.

There are no other ways to construct a winning team.

McMahon was tough, gritty and capable of big plays when you needed them, but he was hardly the second coming of Sid Luckman. He was perfect for that team because he epitomized its personality -- which was tough, gritty -- yeah, I think you get the idea.

As long as the idea is that you're a complete tard, yeah, I do.

Anyway, the Bears have to be that way because when it's November and December on Lake Shore Drive you don't win by having Jay Cutler throw the ball into 40 mph winds. You win by running, locking down your opponents and avoiding mistakes.

You win by having Kyle Orton throw the ball into 40 mph winds. Clearly a better recipe for success- just look at his record as a starter. Also, too bad the Bears traded Matt Forte for Cutler. Now they won't be able to run the ball anymore.

Anyone have any idea how many interceptions Cutler launched last year?

I'll bet you do!

I do.


It was 18, and only Brett Favre had more.

18 INTs in 618 attempts = a pick on 2.9% of all throws. Orton's 12 INTs in 465 attempts = a pick on 2.6% of all throws.

Then there's the matter of what Chicago gave up -- two first-rounders, a third-rounder and Orton. Are you kidding me? So Cutler was a Pro Bowl quarterback. Big deal. DeAngelo Williams wasn't elected to the team, which should tell you about the credibility of the honor.

One guy got snubbed from the Pro Bowl- therefore, Jay Cutler sucks.

I won't argue that Cutler is one of the most talented quarterbacks in today's game,

It sounds like you are doing just that. Talking about all his interceptions, etc.

but I also won't argue that he's one of the most spoiled prima donnas, either.


All you need to know about this guy is that he once said he had "a stronger arm than John [Elway], hands down" and that "he'd bet on it against anybody's in the league" -- as if that somehow measured his greatness.

People in Chicago hate athletes with bravado.

First of all, I don't know that he has a stronger arm than Elway. I don't know that anyone does. Second, Elway made a name for himself not with his arm but with wins and fourth-quarter comebacks. In his second year, Elway went 13-3 and won the AFC West. In his third year, he was 11-5. And in his fourth, he was in the Super Bowl. That's how you measure quarterbacks, Cutler, not by arm strength.

Take that, Jay Cutler- you just got a stern talking to from a shitheaded lummox of a non-name sportswriter.

Third, let's say you buy into Cutler as a franchise quarterback. OK, fine. So where's his franchise wide receiver? Devin Hester? Please. Earl Bennett? You've got to be kidding. There isn't one.

And there is no way whatsoever the Bears could acquire one during Cutler's time in Chicago- none. Can't be done. Plus, as the Patriots' Super Bowl teams showed, it's absolutely essential to have a big name WR if you want to win it all.

Which is why I would have much rather seen the Bears hang on to the draft picks and invest them in something more worthwhile -- like an offensive tackle and cornerback -- or two offensive tackles -- or an offensive tackle and a wide receiver.

All clearly more worthwhile than a 25 year old Pro Bowl QB with a great contract.

I imagine they'll find them anyway,

OK... what?

but they just mortgaged the future for a quarterback who, when faced with winning only one of his last three starts last season, couldn't close the deal.

Points allowed by Denver in those 3 games: 30, 30, 52. Two of them on the road against playoff teams.

Now he's going to magically transform the Bears into a division champion all over again when he couldn't do it with Mike Shanahan in the AFC West?

Yeah, probably. Wouldn't surprise me. Maybe not in 2009, but definitely soon.

There's a better chance of Terrell Owens serving as grand marshal at the next Mummers Parade.


[three paragraphs of idiocy omitted]

I just don't see how he fits in Chicago, and I don't see why the Bears decided to dump their first round -- as well as their quarterback -- for someone who has done nothing in three years.

Done nothing except be a very good NFL quarterback who is blossoming into a great one.

Good luck, Chicago. You wanted him. You have him. Now let's see you win with him.

When they do, I expect you to print an apology and then quit. Probably won't happen.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

It's Been a Long, Cold Winter

But Joe Morgan is finally back in the saddle. Tonight, Braves/Phillies. Discussion re: Phils manager Charlie Manuel. Your thoughts about his ability to interact with his players, Joe?

Charlie Manuel doesn't manage X's and O's. He manages players.

Where the fuck are there X's and O's in baseball? Yeah, you know, when Joe Torre draws up a play in the huddle, he definitely uses them. Same with most managers. Not Charlie I guess. Good for him.

Special thanks to FireJay sometimes-reader Jon.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Final Bow

October 16th, 2007 may not seem like an important date to any of you, but it was quite possible the most nerve racking night spent by a computer for me. I wanted my first post to go as smoothly as possible, and for some reason I decided that posting at night would help me ease into my new role. So I went to the ultimate source of hockey dumbery - Daryl Reaugh - and crafted my very first FJM post. The tag 'hockey' was surprisingly already created but it has come a far way, honey. Formerly banished with other great one post only tags such as "this man has no penis (Gregg Doyel edition)" and "more like designated shitter," "hockey" is now tied with "gene wojciechowski," "lunchpail alert," and "something that doesn't suck."

However, I have to sadly make my last post here at FireJay. It has truly been a great forum for myself and my colleagues. After meticulously checking the spelling of my horrific typing and making sure that everything is bold and italic like I like it, there's a little bit of joy that comes through for me when I click that little post button. And tonight, as I fix the posting options to put this up at the right time, it will sadly be my last here.

My announcement may come as a shock to some, and most others will not care. I'm perfectly fine with that. I have taken a job that I feel has brought up a conflict of interest with my posting and a potential career path is important to myself and my soon-to-be bride than posting about horrible hockey writing could be. I'll miss posting and might come back to comment every once and a while, but for today, I'm going to have to hang up my laptop and say thanks to all 9 of you loyal readers.

Tonus - CHOX!!1!

bengoodfella - You'll find other hockey posts out there. I just know it.

My fellow FJM crew - It's your turn to try and make a joke.

CHart - 0.0