Wednesday, September 30, 2009

An FJM Special Presentation

To celebrate the opening of the 2009-2010 NHL season, I have done something horrific.

I have created 100% original content that contains no outside sports writing. You should probably get up and go now, as I doubt you will have time to BM during this riveting post.

This post started as a simple insult on my beloved Blues. It then very quickly escalated to a spreadsheet with rules. But before I feel that I can crown the worst team in hockey, there are some caveats about how I came to my conclusion. Remember that this idea was bred out of a google chat, so if I saw "we," I am referring to a Stars fan in Australia.

We started thinking about using win-loss records for every team, then dividing by the years they have been in the league. How simple! Until you think back on the last couple of decades. The league had win-loss-tie. Then win-loss-tie-overtime loss. Then win-loss-shootout loss. Clearly, this was not the way to do it.

In a flash of brilliance - most likely fueled by the blood of koalas - my friend comes up with using playoff wins. Playoff wins have been the way to the Cup, and you don't get to play Columbus or Atlanta 6 times in the playoffs if they are in your division.

We decided to add a point system to playoff wins. One point for every game won in the first round, two points in the second, three in the third and four in the Stanley Cup Finals. Pretty straightforward.

The days following the initial idea were spent trying to figure out different things. At first, I wanted to include a team's entire life in their stats. The Stars stats would include Dallas and Minnesota, The Devils would have Kansas City, the Coyotes would have Winnipeg, etc. But teams trying to sell themselves dump players and payroll, and relocating teams will often suck hard. My other brass ring in the argument for keeping pre-move teams out of the stats is Patrick Roy being traded to Colorado - I have to agree with the thinking that Roy would not have been moved to the franchise if they were still in Quebec.

My first formula for factoring against time was to add weight not only to playoff wins, but also to playoff losses. A team would get 1 point for a first round win, but lose 4 points for losing a first round game. The totals wouldn't necessarily be positive numbers, but it would show what teams win in the playoffs and what teams lose. My goal was to find the worst team in the NHL, not the best. After putting in the first set of numbers, I was talked out of this and convinced that a much easier formula of total points divided by years the team has spent in the league would be as effective.

A couple of quick notes:

1) I started the Original Six era in 1927, when the Arenas changed their name to the Maple Leafs. Really, I don't care too much about the Original Six, because with all of the alleged corruption and lack of other teams, there is no way that any of them would be found to be statistically worst in the NHL.
2) There were only 3 playoff rounds until 1974, so I worked in reverse. Stanley Cup wins were 4 points, semifinal wins were three, and quarterfinal wins were 2.
3) Only 2 games were played in early quarterfinal games, so if both teams won 1 game, total points were used to determine a winner. In the event of a two-legged tie, Each team was given 1 quarterfinal win for 2 points.
4) From 1974 to 1981, a preliminary round was played for some teams to get into the division finals. These were treated as first round games.
5) All of my win-loss data came from Wikipedia, so I have to assume it's accurate.

So with all of that, here is your Worst Team in the NHL data:

It's no surprise that Atlanta and Columbus are here, they haven't won a playoff game. I don't really think it's fair to crown these young franchises as the worst. There should be a "should have known better" decision to factor in here. And really, only one team is sticking out to me.

The Los Angeles Kings.

When you look at the teams that are surrounding the Kings, there is no excuse for them to be so low. The Wild are right there and they haven't been to the Stanley Cup finals in the little time they have been in the league. The Kings consistently fizzle out before the Conference Finals, have won one game in the Stanley Cup Finals, and are now The Worst Team in in the NHL. Way to go, guys!

Go ahead and argue away in the comments, but I doubt there will be anybody here to stick up for the Kings. I feel sick that I have accidentally crowned the Avalanche as the best team, but the numbers are what they are.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Do you like cherry picked anecodtes to prove a thesis?

Then you'll love Gregg Easterbrook's latest bon mot. As we all know, Greggggggg hates kicking the ball no matter what the circumstances and likes to educate us on why field goals and punts are only part of the stratagem for coaches who want to look good at one of their many winter banquets. Watch as he gallantly ignores context while knocking over straw men.

Buck-Buck-Brawckkkkkkk No. 1: Reaching fourth-and-inches on the Cincinnati 1-yard line in the first quarter, defending champion Pittsburgh launched a passive kick -- and needless to say, went on to lose.

The New Orleans Saints, they of the highest powered offense coming into Week 3, reached 4th and 3 on the Buffalo 3 before launching a passive kick through the uprights. Needless to say, they went on to win by double digits.

[1]The defending Super Bowl champion is afraid to try to gain a few inches? [2]Nor did Pittsburgh simply power-rush at the goal line: [3]Later, reaching second-and-goal on the Cincinnati 6, Pittsburgh went incompletion, incompletion, kick.

1. No, it just didn't work. (From ESPN's Play by Play: 3rd and 1 at CIN 1(7:40) W.Parker left tackle to CIN 1 for no gain (R.Williams; J.Fanene).)
2. Because it didn't work on 3rd down.
3. Explained by 1 & 2.

Buck-Buck-Brawckkkkkkk No. 2: Trailing the hapless Lions 13-7 in the fourth quarter, facing fourth-and-3 at midfield, Jim "Dan Snyder Hasn't Fired Me Quite Just Yet" Zorn ordered a punt. Needless to say, Washington went on to lose to a team on a 0-19 streak. So what if a fourth-and-goal attempt failed in the first quarter. That was then, this is now! Fortune favors the bold!

Yes, of course, Gregg. Ignore the fact that the Redskins failed to score on 4th and Inches and and certainly don't mention that the Skins were in a position to win the game late in the 4th quarter even though they punted on 4th and 3. The average play gains 5 yards, so mathetically speaking, the Redskins were guaranteed to gain 10 yards on that play and win the game.

Now I'd like to introduce the tastefully named Jack Easterbrook (who hates running the ball, thinks playing conservative is the only strategy for winning, and knocks over straw men like it's his job) to analyze the Redskins failed 4th and inches attempt in the first quarter:

Stop Me Before I Rush Again!: With the score tied 0-0 in the first quarter, The Washington Redskins faced fourth and inches on the Detroit goal line. "Detroit has lost the last 19 games; take the easy 3!" JMQ shouted as the power rush formation trotted onto the field. Needless to say the attempt fell hopelessly short, and the Redskins went on to lose. Had Washington kicked the field goal, they would have only trailed by only 2 late in the 4th quarter, and could have won the game on a short kick.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

An "I Told You So" Post

The first few games of any college football season produce a ridiculous amount of speculation and hyperbole from the sports media. I think this phenomenon is worse in college football than in any other major sport. Perhaps it's because there are real things at stake in these speculations: a high early-season ranking can give a team an inside track towards a late-season bowl game.

In my last post, a writer waxed on and on about how wonderful it was "for the game" that Miami, Notre Dame and Michigan are back. Well, all three of those teams responded in kind by looking like shit this past week. Let me review one quote from Mr. Schrager's article:

Win that affair and Miami has not only a top-three team in the nation, but also the inside track on a BCS title game berth.

Whomp. Here's this article in a picture:

And in this post, Dennis Dodd settles the question of BYU's eligibility to play in the title game. Whomp. They got killed by a not-so-amazing FSU team. Though it's not impossible that a team from a non-BCS conference could get to a high level, the unqualified statement that a non-BCS team could prove itself to be without a doubt one of the top two teams of in the country is still... stupid.

And of course, HatGuy, who infuriated me as he got all over himself excited about how Notre Dame might have surpassed its recent mediocrity. Turns out that Notre Dame is a middle-of-the-road Big Ten team or so. I know Notre Dame gets a lot of airtime on this blog (for obvious reasons), but I think it's pretty clear that even in the fifth year of the Weis regime, Notre Dame is an 8-4 or 9-3 team at best.

And watching the incredibly-overrated Ole Miss and Cal losses suggests that writers, as usual, get more excited about good storylines than they do good football. In all three of these cases - Schrager, Dodd and HatGuy - the writers got overly excited about a good storyline and neglected to do any real thinking about the teams in question.

Maybe it's just me smirking in hindsight, but the first few weeks of any college football season seem unusually full of bullshit.

Friday, September 25, 2009

And Now, A Hockey Article

Nope, I lied. But now you'll see how I felt when I started reading Bernie Miklasz's column about an apparent new stadium that was built for the Dallas Cowboys. The place has been open for a while, but apparently Bernie only gets VHF or Clear QAM, as it took NBC's Sunday Night Football to prompt him to write an article about the Cowboys' new stadium. (Spoiler - it's not really about that.)

Let's start at the very beginning. Either I haven't been paying attention (likely, too lazy to look at old posts) or Bernie added his e-mail address and phone number to the top of his articles. Observe:

Bernie Miklasz

Just found that odd is all.

Watching Sunday night's game between the New York Giants and Dallas at the Cowboys' new stadium, and listening to Al Michaels and the NBC boys go completely ga-ga in losing their minds over Jerry Jones' $1.1 billion monument to excess, I began thinking about the NFL scene in St. Louis.

As everyone else in St. Louis was thinking about ways to forget the NFL scene in St. Louis. Odds on favorite was Bud Light. I think it's made here?

When the Edward Jones Dome opened in 1995, it was the envy of a lot of NFL owners, and other NFL cities reacted by funding and building exorbitant new palaces to please their wealthy football merchants.

If you want to be picky, in 1995 it was known as the Trans World Dome. Then American Airlines bought TWA, stripped St. Louis of being a hub, and left the airport an antiquated pile of steel. But this is an article about the... Cowboys new stadium. Yes, that's it.

NFL owners desperately wanted to outdo each other, and the rapid escalation of ego has now reached preposterous levels, culminating in the images being broadcast from Arlington, Texas on Sunday. I'm not one for political correctness, and I'm a free-market guy, and I am blessed to have a few relatively modest perks in life. But the football McMansion near Dallas left me cold and came across as over-the-top and obscene.

I doubt that ego plays any role in it. I'll attempt to show my work.

Owner's Money - Tax Money = Less Owner's Money for New Stadium
New Capacity - Old Capacity = More Seats
More Seats x Raised Ticket Prices = Profit
Less Owner's Money + Profit = More Profit

My macroeconomics teacher would be so proud, given that she wasn't shipped back to Trinidad or Tobago. I forget which one she was from.

I find it hard to believe that a man of Bernie's size could be cold. Poor circulation, perhaps?

Given the hard knocks of a tough economy, and all of the jobs being lost across the country, and the many parents worrying about feeding their kids and paying the bills, it struck me as wildly inappropriate to be glorifying Mr. Jones' collection of designer luxury suites, private clubs, exotic cage dancers and a video board so large that it could span the Tropic of Capricorn.

You know who wont be going to these games? People that worry about paying bills or feeding their kids. And such a large venue being built could not have provided construction jobs, or additional jobs for stadium maintenance. And the Mitsubishi Orgazmotron that was installed must have been supplied for free, not providing jobs to anybody at all. It just fucking appeared. Through God's glory hole in the roof.

Look, there's nothing wrong with having a nice stadium. There's nothing wrong with investing in professional sports for your community, but only up to a point. How far do we go with this? Will anyone, can anyone, try to top Jones? Will some oil sultan rush to build a $2 billion stadium in Dubai, hoping to lure the Jacksonville Jaguars or St. Louis Rams?

Caution! Slope is slippery! The NFL won't grant Canada a franchise, but somebody in Dubai will land one? The NFLPA will let players fly to Dubai to play games? Somebody will want the Jaguars? Highly unlikely. Dubious even.

And whatever happened to the football game?

Oh, that.

The game.

Alright, I wasn't in Sunday night so I didn't watch, was there a lot of stadium talk? It's a pretty cool place with a lot of unnecessarily cool shit, why not show it off?

I was delighted to see the Giants beat the Cowboys. Jerry's billion-dollar stadium couldn't make Tony Romo a more accurate passer or make Wade Phillips a good coach. Jerry's boys haven't won a playoff game since 1996. I guess you can build a stadium to end all stadiums, but it doesn't mean you know how to build a winning team.

Sample size: 2 games.

What's happened to this league? I grew up watching Hall of Famers such as John Unitas, John Mackey, Raymond Berry, Lenny Moore, Jim Parker and Gino Marchetti, and I didn't need to see them on a video board to enjoy it. When Unitas was marching the Baltimore Colts down the field to pull out another dramatic victory, I didn't care that I was sitting on cold, uncomfortable, aluminum bench-style seats at the austere Memorial Stadium. I loved the experience.

And teams would walk ten miles in the snow just to have the chance to fart on a picture of Marilyn Monroe's left arm! THAT'S WHEN FOOTBALL WAS A MAN'S SPORT! How dare technology ruin the comfort of watching the game... in high definition... from St. Louis... when the game is being played at night in Texas under lights. You know what would have made the experience better for the young Bernie Miklasz? Not freezing his clit off sitting on aluminum.

The game mattered. The players mattered. The competition mattered. That was my treasure. It wasn't about valet parking or leather chairs in luxury boxes. We didn't go to a football game demanding to be treated like VIPs sealed away behind a rope line where we'd discuss the quality of the brie, or praise the chef for his dish of braised short ribs.

I would dare say that many of the 100,000+ people there cared about the game. Cowboys fans - when not busy quoting Jimmy Johnson - tend to want their team to win.

A ham and cheese sandwich in a brown bag was perfectly fine.

Or 15 of them. And dont' worry about the bag actually, Bernie will just end up choking on it.

Those days are gone forever. Now there are too many consumers and climbers who can't tolerate the NFL experience unless they get to pretend to be Donald Trump for the day.

I can't go to a game unless I own real estate? I don't get it. I went to games each of the last three years and the most I spent was $200. I saved for a couple of months and sat right behind the Seahawks bench, first row. It was pretty fucking cool. Now I have to own apartment builds though, and that sucks.

Frankly, I'd rather watch on TV.

....oh, this is a good one. Just wait for it, it's great.

At least then the game — the competition — is pretty much at the forefront of the presentation.

That be the forefront presented by Visa. But first, here's a whole bunch of computer-generated lines and a robot that runs away from a Burger King! This and more, after retired players tell us what to watch even though it's all we'll be able to see on post game. And don't forget to watch the series premiere of Ratings Flop, a great comedy that will be canceled way to early because nobody gets it. I have had the fortune of seeing games from noon - 6:15 by virtue of sickness the last couple weeks, and believe me, there's a lot more at the forefront than the competition.

In this increasingly snobby and inaccessible NFL environment, we're told that the Edward Jones Dome is inadequate and outdated and a threat to the STL's future as an NFL city. The underlying threat is this: better build a new one and try to keep up with the Jerrys of the NFL world, or risk losing your franchise.

Believe you me - it's a giant shit pit. You can feel 1995 when you walk into the place. They spent $30 million to fix the video replay boards than didn't display the correct colors before and it's nowhere near enough. But the kicker is that the Rams have an escape clause in their contract if the Dome isn't in the top third of stadiums, the Rams get to leave. I guess it was nice to have a divisional opponent for the Seahawks to beat while it lasted...

The city, county and state — and taxpayers — made sacrifices to get the NFL to return to St. Louis. It was a nasty and costly fight, but we got the stadium and the franchise. That was fewer than 20 years ago. Who wants to go through that again?

So, you want them to leave?

Not that I want to see the Rams leave. I don't. But in the highly stressed financial climate, there's no discernible sentiment for investing public dollars for a new football stadium — or to publicly fund substantial upgrades for The Ed.

But a new opera house - that's what we need! If you watch this video, you'll see that having a neck and being able to be heard are not qualities you need to report news in St. Louis.

I don't know how this will eventually play out. The Rams are for sale. They probably will be free to leave after the 2014 season. The best hope, of course, is that a billionaire will step in and buy the franchise and build a stadium with (mostly) private money. But what are the chances of that happening?

About the same that a sultan gets an NFL team in Dubai?

In a few years, will St. Louis be capable of having a place in the NFL's insanely excessive Jerry World?

I can only think of one other billion dollar stadium being built, and two teams share that one. So I guess you could say it's only 2 $700 million stadiums being built into one. Like Voltron.

Do we want to have a place in Jerry World?

You do if you want a football team in St. Louis. I want one, but I don't think fans of the Rams do.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

If Anyone Else Was Wondering If Jay Mariotti Was Still the Most Clever Writer on the Internet.....

He is.

If Milton Bradley, the old board game company, had a game for Milton Bradley, the baseball malcontent, it surely would be Trouble.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"Good For the Game" Means "Good for an Article"

I've run into this several times in the sports media: writers making a claim about their personal feelings, then claiming that it's "good for the game". A particularly egregious article cited things that are "good for baseball". Over the last few weeks, I've noticed a real spike in the same bullshit claim about college football's major teams doing well being "good for the game" from Dennis Dodd and HatGuy. Overall, these guys just like to make claims and say that they're somehow good for some kind of abstract notion of "the game".

I think it's some kind of stupid nostalgia for college football as it has been. That way, writers can keep writing about the dynasties that keep the storied traditions alive, instead of actually having to research the emerging traditions at new programs. Plus, articles about Boise State, no matter how many games they win or how blue their turf is, are never going to generate as many hits as articles about Notre Dame. Even when Boise state has won 35 regular-season games and a BCS bowl over the last three years.

Peter Shrager from has this to say about the resurgent seasons of Notre Dame, Michigan and Miami. Its core point is precisely what's been circling the sportswriting world: that it's good for the game if these three teams have successful seasons. Since the article is pretty long, I've picked out the most annoying parts of it:

Across the board, the three traditional powerhouses are more than just coming around, they're making waves.

Nice writing there. Clever use of idiom.

Love the three programs or hate them, they're good for college football. A relevant, competitive Michigan is better than a scandal-ridden, bottom of the Big Ten Michigan. Even an Ohio State fan would tell you that.

Why? I don't follow. If Michigan were to go bad, couldn't some other team in the B10 rise into the power vacuum? Is a bad Northwestern team good for the Big Ten?

Is the contrapositive to this proposition true as well? If we accept that "powerhouses doing well is good for the game" is true, does that mean that "non-powerhouses doing typically poorly is good for the game"?

And why does it only apply to college football? I can't wait till Peter Schrager's next column about the NCAA Basketball Tournament, where he explains that higher seeds winning every game in the tournament is Good For The Game.

If Notre Dame wasn't "back" after its strong showing in Ann Arbor a week ago, it certainly is knocking on the door after Saturday.

You are an idiot, Mr. Schrager. Notre Dame barely lost to an average Michigan team and almost lost to a below average Michigan State team which, the week before, demonstrated an inability to clear the mighty hurdle of the Central Michigan Chippewas.

The Irish are better than last year but they aren't knocking on any kind of door. Unless it's a new coach's door, hopefully.

Either way, Notre Dame matters again. And that's good.

Both of those statements are presented in short, declarative sentences as though they are indisputable. Both of those sentences are disputable - if not outright false.

Again, like 'em or hate 'em, having Michigan matter is a good thing for the game.

Why? I liked last year when Michigan didn't matter. It was great! Football was still fun to watch!

Regarding Miami's victories over GT and FSU:

The crazy part? They could just be getting started. Up ahead on the schedule, the 'Canes travel to Blacksburg for a 3:30 p.m. EST affair with defending ACC champion Virginia Tech on Saturday. Win that one? Miami's a top-five team. Then, the 'Canes get Oklahoma at home the following Saturday after that. Win that affair and Miami has not only a top-three team in the nation, but also the inside track on a BCS title game berth.

Again, Mr. Schrager, saying something in a short, declarative sentence does not enhance its truth value. Unless they absolultely slaughter VT and a team or two loses, Miami's probably not going to jump into the top 5.

Also, I don't think any of this is logically sound. The ACC champ is still going to get left out if the Big 12 and SEC champs go undefeated, so they don't have any sort of "inside track". Plus, this is the sort of breathless speculation that makes me ill.

Getting ahead of myself?




But don't tell quarterback Jacory Harris and the rest of the young Hurricanes that.

You just did.

Three weeks into the season, the U looks as good as any team in the nation. And yes, that includes their intrastate rivals, the No. 1 Florida Gators.

I don't know how good GT and FSU will turn out to be, but I'm pretty sure the U is not riding the nation's longest winning streak.

And whether you like the three powerhouse programs or not, that's good for college football.


I'm all for the South Floridas and Boise States of the world making runs at BCS titles,

No, you're not. The thesis of your article suggests exactly the opposite! You can't just say this!

but it makes for a better Saturday when the Michigan, Notre Dame and Miami games on TV actually mean something.


There's something right about it. Something natural.


There's something right, something natural about me kicking Peter Schrager in the nuts next time he prints something as stupid as this. It would be good for the game.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Low Hanging Fruit: Chris Berman Edition

From the Blitz (a program I actually enjoy), not word for word but almost:

I know that pre-season doesn't count for much, but if you include the the Raven's 4 preseason wins, they're now 6-0, and that says something.

Yeah, it says that ESPN's writers are such uncreative hacks that they can't even come up with an interesting or helpful analysis of the Ravens early success. And the whole "saying that a statistic is stupid, and then immediately turning around and giving said statistic credence" thing is just really retarded.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Rick Reilly is a vindictive asshole

Michael Jordan, best basketball player/gambling addict of all time, just got inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame and gave what is generally considered to be a really self-righteous speech. I watched it and didn't find it nearly as insulting as our good friend Jeff Pearlman or 11-time National Sportswriter of the Year Rick Reilly did. 

Whatever, they think MJ is a big, selfish jerk. I'm cool with that. But check this section:

The thing Jordan doesn't understand is, it doesn't have to be this way. Terry Bradshaw won four Super Bowls and gave one of the greatest speeches in the history of the Hall of Fame. "Folks!" he hollered. "You don't get elected into the Hall of Fame by yourself! Thank you number 88, Lynn Swann! Thank you, Franco Harris! Thank you Rocky Bleier! What I wouldn't give right now to put my hands under [center] Mike Webster's butt just one more time! Thank you Mike!"

Here, watch this version of the MJ speech (full versions are easily found on the tubes). One of the first things Mike says? 

"...I got so many people I can thank. In all the videos, you never just saw me. You saw Scottie Pippen, every championship I won."

Seems almost identical to good ol' boy Terry Bradshaw. Maybe MJ should have hollered it instead of merely saying it with tears in his eyes. Rick, a couple paragraphs later, gives us insight into his motivation for ripping Mike. 

Before his second comeback -- with the Washington Wizards -- I was the first out with the story by a month. Jordan and his agent, David Falk, denied it, said I was crazy, practically said I was smoking something. Then, after a month of lies, Jordan admitted it was all true. I saw him in the locker room before his first game back and said, "You wanna say something to me, maybe?"

And he said, "You know you don't get no apologies in this business."

Basically, he's still pissed at Jordan after all these years. He has a history of this, see Sammy Sosa. Moral of the story: Rick Reilly is a vindictive asshole 

Friday, September 18, 2009


Tim Hasselbeck on SportsCenter discussing the Eagles' game plan this weekend while playing against the Saints' productive offense:

"They're not going to be able to match the Saints point-for-point"

So... they have no chance of victory?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Same Old College Football Stuff

Some crap from Dennis Dodd's blog at It's mostly some overwashed garbage about Tate Forcier and all that, but there are a few tidbits that merit mention here:

What we have found during this down time is that college football needs that brand, no matter what form it comes in. The game is better when the major powers are good. Notre Dame is down after Saturday but not out. Penn State keeps winning under Joe Paterno. Oklahoma and Texas keep pumping out 10-win seasons.

This is a similar thesis to what the HatGuy suggested a few weeks ago. I don't know why some writers seem resistant to new blood in the college game. If I were a Boise St., Cincinnati, or BYU fan, I would be pissed. Writers probably love big-name teams doing well since it's easy to research their pasts and throw up an article. It's a lot harder to come by an interesting historical angle on a Boise St. BCS run than it is a Notre Dame BCS run.

4. BYU: Please stop the questions about the Cougars' national championship worthiness if they run the table. Yes, they would deserve to play for it all.

The questions will persist because of BYU's schedule. Props to the BYU AD for scheduling Oklahoma and Florida State - but you can't just say that BYU deserves it right now. I imagine it would take a strange storm of circumstances involving the BCS conference leaders having 1 or 2 losses for BYU to get consideration.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Kidnapping? Check. Rape? Check. Wacky Rick Reillyesque Take On "Sports These Days!"? Check

Long story short, this fellow used the 19 year prolonged kidnapping and rape of a young girl named Jaycee Dugard as the conceptual basis for a column about how things "ain't what they done used to be in sports!"

Which of course badly missteps the boundaries of taste. But the writing, Jim! The writing!

Here's the cliff's notes.

How long before she fully digests the world she re-enters? How difficult to adjust to such cataclysmic change?

More than that, who's going to explain the fact that there's a President Obama?

You mean because he's black? Or because he has a funny name? Or because he isn't George H. W. Bush--the president who was in office when Jaycee was first kidnapped and raped at the inception of her 19 year torture and imprisonment?

Dugard's stepfather says she's going to need a lot of therapy — you think? — so perhaps she should take a respite before confronting the new realities.

Hint number one you should look for a new topic for your sports column--you find yourself discussing the amount of therapy rape victims will need in order to finally enjoy sports again.

•Michael Jordan did indeed win the big one, and five others.

•Yeah, this golfer really is named Tiger Woods.

•Stock car drivers now marry international models and are invited to the White House.

•Domed stadiums, like the ones in Houston and Minneapolis, are considered obsolete, or at least unfit for baseball.

Just totally what I think about when I think about sports in the last 20 years.

•Magic Johnson is a billionaire businessman, and most of us have forgotten just why he had to retire.


Basically everything in this article is absurdly stupid, even beyond the ridiculous concept, but let's skip right to the last sentence, which really puts the perfect final horseshit touch on a horseshit column:

Congratulations, Jaycee. You left the yard.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Not any Bad Sportswriter in Particular, but Bad Sportswriting in General

Three years ago, Joe Mauer hit .347 with a .429 on base percentage and a .507 slugging percentage. He did all this while playing gold glove defense at one of the most important positions on a baseball team.

In one of the most absurd outcomes in the history of the sport, Mauer finished 6 in the MVP race behind his teammate Justin Morneau--a man who, despite playing the least important position on the field, still failed to out-OPS Mauer. In fact, Morneau failed to do anything at all better than Mauer besides hit home runs and accumulate RBI (not that that has anything to do with the .429 OBP guy hitting in front of him in the lineup or anything).

Now it is 2009, and all cues indicate that Joe Mauer--having an even better season than his fantastic 2006--will lose out on the MVP to a similarly lighter-hitting RBI accumulater.

Let's look at these numbers:



Mark Teixeira:


Kendry Morales:


This shouldn't even be a conversation, but if history has taught us anything it's that Mauer can look forward to getting absolutely jobbed yet again.

Why am I writing this? For one, it involves dumb sportswriters (particularly the ones who voted Justin Morneau MVP in a season where he was probably the 4th most valuable player on his own team). For another thing, it's worth mentioning. People should, uh, be aware.

In any case, here it is (or was). Hope we all had a good time.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

HatGuy's Core Belief: Popularity Above All

While watching Notre Dame demolish Nevada, I poked my way around NBCSports, only to find that our usual baseball whipping boy has a few things to say about college football and Notre Dame. To sum it up: he things that sports require famously popular teams to succeed.

I also discovered one of the more embarrassing things I have ever known: HatGuy is an ND alum. Not just an ND alum, but an ND alum with the exact same degree I have. Thanks to somewhat-loyal reader Kevin for pointing this out. I guess it doesn't make me any worse of a person, but the association is still bothersome.

College football needs Notre Dame to succeed

I keep reading about how this could be the year for Notre Dame andCharlie Weis, about how an easy schedule and a veteran team can put the Irish back into the BCS mix.

Fuck, I'm just surprised the guy reads. I'm pretty sure he's illiterate.

I hope what I read is right. College football needs the Fighting Irish to be a team worthy of its legend.

No. But for a brief flirtation in 2005-06, Notre Dame hasn't been that way since 1993. And college football is still in great shape.

It needs Notre Dame to be a team worthy of the devotion of its fans and the undying enmity of its foes.

No. College football has had some great seasons lately with some historically lousy Notre Dame teams.

This has nothing to do with my own attachment to the place. I’m a Domer but not a homer.

Bullshit. I hate you, HatGuy. You can't come over to watch next week's ND-Michigan game.

I could survive quite nicely if Notre Dame never wins another national championship — even the phony version foisted off on us by the BCS.

HatGuy, a man of the people, continues to complain about things that are popular to complain about, like the BCS.

Just the same, for the sake of the game and the fans and everything we love about college sports, it would be great if Weis shows that he really is a great college coach and ND shows up in the Top 10 again, maybe even lays down a claim for No. 1.

Why would it be great? Wouldn't it be great if a new Notre Dame established some kind of incredible legacy?

And you know, the fact that HatGuy mentions ND as maybe even laying down a claim for No. 1 is uproariously stupid. And he doesn't even have the 1988 national title to excuse his lunacy.

It doesn’t have to win a title. But Notre Dame should compete for them in the same way that the Yankees should compete for American League pennants and World Series rings and the Dallas Cowboys should compete for Super Bowl trophies.

HatGuy just wants sports to be a repeat of the 1970s. Actually, if HatGuy had his way, we would just watch all the old games on repeat. HatGuy probably loves ESPN Classic.

When you don’t have a national team, it’s like going into an ice cream parlor that doesn’t have vanilla and chocolate or a pizzeria that doesn’t offer a cheese pie.

Assuming, if you will, that Notre Dame is the only 'national' team, what has college football been lately? A Buffalo Wild Wings without the Wild Wings?

Every sport needs a team that transcends parochial boundaries, a team that inflames passions in ways that other teams can’t.


You can’t generate much more than a mild disagreement in Vermont by trying to debate the relative merits of the Florida Gators or Texas Longhorns. But you can get an argument anywhere just by saying the words: “Notre Dame.”

I guess. THis goes on and on with all this crap, about how college football is better if there are headlines to shout about, scream about, whine about.

And that’s why I want the Irish to compete.

Not because you went there. It's because it's good for college football.

It’s the same reason I want the Yankees, the Cowboys, the Celtics and the Lakers to compete. Their sports are always better

No. Baseball with an average Yankees team last year was great. A non-dominant Cowboys team over the last ten years has been equally great. I don't doubt that every non-ND college football fan has found the last sixteen years to be pretty damn great even though Notre Dame hasn't been that good.

and life is always brighter when the legendary teams are involved.

Jesus, HatGuy, get a grip.

They don’t have to win. But they can’t stink.

They're not going to stink this year. They're going to win nine games this year and I, dan-bob, am probably going to be mad about it.

Can you imagine the stories and the talk that a resurgence in South Bend would generate?

Yes, because it happened in the fall of 2002, and it turned out to be a complete sham.

On the one hand would be the loyal sons and daughters reacquainting themselves with that heady feeling of success on the football field.

You've already started that, HatGuy. Of course, the 35-0 lead the Irish are currently enjoying is doing its own part.

On the other would be endless rants from Notre Dames’ critics, of which there are several,

I see what he did there. Do you see what he did there?

complaining about the cushy schedule, the compliant voters, the media bias and all the other things they’ve been grousing about since Knute Rockne ran the show.

Doubtless those Notre Dame critics have just been acting out of nothing but jealousy and spite; they've never had any cause to suspect a pro-ND bias.

I know there are hordes of Notre Dame haters who would be delighted if the school never wins another game. They are like Yankee haters and Dallas Cowboy haters and Duke haters who are only happy when their mortal enemy is totally miserable.

Larry B is only happy when Boston sports teams are totally miserable.

I’ve never understood people like that. Sure, it’s fun to see the team you despise do a total face plant now and then, but if it happens every year, you’re not a fan, you’re a sadist. Nobody except a really demented sports fan wants to see lopsided victories every year. It’s like frying ants with a magnifying glass. What part of that exercise would an adult find entertaining?

It's the same sort of exercise that I find entertaining when I read that you've posted another article. Tearing you up is like ... frying ants with a magnifying glass. Still, I think this article has gotten awfully tedious.

It could turn out that Weis really is in over his head and should go back to being a coordinator somewhere. But if he turns it around — even if it’s thanks to an easy schedule — that, too, will be a darned good story. Redemption always sells.

No, big brand names always sell, because the college football world is a remarkably savvy corporate market that knows how to market big names to get more hits on their site/watchers for their games/followers of their Tweets.

Notre Dame's resurgence is such a wonderful human interest story! I hope Rick Reilly writes about it!

And both Weis and Notre Dame are due for some redemption. It’s been a long time since the Irish were an elite program. And someone needs to show that a school can have high standards — like requiring every undergrad to pass calculus — and still win.

Someone needs to do this. Someone needs to show that passing calculus is necessary. Someone needs to stand up for old fashioned education.

Someone needs to.