Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hometown Hero Hates Computers

It's about time for our yearly doses of BCS controversy. This week's comes from the Cincinnati Enquirer's Paul Daughtery, who has been featured here before. He's certainly a Cincinnati hometown writer, and to a certain extent I think writers in their hometown papers should be allowed some license. But this article abuses that privilege."BCS is one game UC Can't Win"

"BCS one game UC can't win"

UC wins by 31 and loses three spots in the BCS computer rankings. The Bearcats smack Louisville with a QB who’d never started a college game. The computer says UC had a lousy week.

They beat up on a terrible team. The computer didn't factor in that the QB hadn't started a game before!

That’s because Louisville is bad and BYU is good and TCU won at BYU and Iowa hasn’t lost and Boise State got shafted two years ago and Southern Cal has fabulous cheerleaders. Or some damned thing.

I like how he complains that it's so confusing. Hey, BYU is a better team than Louisville, so a win over BYU should count more! BYU was 6-1 coming in, while Louisville was 2-4.

Also, Iowa, Boise State and Southern Cal all have much more impressive resumes - wins over Penn State, Michigan and Wisconsin (Iowa), Oregon (BSU, though their claim is weakest), Notre Dame, Cal, and Ohio State (USC) are more impressive than Cicninnati's.

It's not debatable.

The rankings account for schedule strength, conference strength, coaches voting, global warming, black helicopters and things that go bump in the night. To the BCS computers, if Florida beats Georgia in the parking lot of a Gainesville Burger King Saturday, it means less than if the Gators had done the winning out behind Weaver D’s Restaurant in Athens. Even if REM is eating there.

What? How hard is it to comprehend schedule strength? How hard is it to explain that a win on the road is a little more impressive than a win at home? How hard is it to explain conference strength?

Also, what are all those references doing here? Is this a Bill Simmons article? REM? Black helicopters? I don't get it.

The Bearcats are taking this well. Brian Kelly is absolutely rational about it. Kelly says all the right things, which for Kelly is highly unusual: We’re in the mix, he says. We have some big games coming up. Nobody’s great. Our players don’t think about it. Let’s let it play out.

Good for Brian Kelly, who is being rational about it. I like how Daugherty is surprised that Mr. Kelly is being rational. Like he expects the coach to share his hysterical, irrational perspective.

“It’s great the university is getting that recognition,’’ the coach allows. “I hope our admissions (are) up.’’

Fabulous. Let’s hear it for more applications.

What Kelly doesn’t say is, the whole deal is rigged. Not rigged in the manner of Soviet elections or nickel slots, but rigged just the same. Bloodlines matter, so Florida will win everything. Unless it’s Texas or Alabama.

Bloodlines matter and playing good opponents matter. How hard is this to understand?

The BCS is ingenious in the way it gets us all worked up about college football. Around here, it’s great we have the chance to get worked up personally. It beats planning the roadie to the Papajohn’ Bowl.

Sure, because Cincinnati has its best team in school history. But that doesn't mean they've ascended to the top of college football.

But America isn’t supposed to work this way. We compete. We tap gloves and come out fighting, may the best man win. My mousetrap against yours. We compete. We play off. Computing for a champion doesn’t compute.

Except that all 118 teams in FBS can't play, because a team can only play one game a week, and there aren't 118 weeks in the season. Even the top 25 can't all play! I realize this is a thinly veiled argument for a playoff, but the article doesn't mention any of the stumbling blocks to that end.

I asked Einstein about the BCS. How does it work? I ran it by Galileo, Copernicus and Kant. They had no clue. Stephen Hawking was stumped. Freud said it had something to do with my mother.

Well, I'm glad I read this.

I took my troubles down to Madame Rue. You know, the gypsy with the gold-capped tooth. What about the BCS? She gave me a Nick Saban voodoo doll and some pins. The good fans of Utah begged me to lie down in a cool place.

Well, I'm glad I read this.

“We’re coached just to do what we’re told to do on the field. It’s not a big deal’’ to the players, says Bearcats wideout D.J. Woods. Well, OK, but how come players hung around with their laptops Sunday afternoon, awaiting the new BCS rankings?

Because they want to do well? They're hopeful, even in a tough situation?

“Sunday, everybody was shocked,’’ Woods concedes. “How did that happen? I guess you have to be a big school surrounded by a big stadium.’’

I guess you have to be a school that schedules the best teams in college football instead of SOUTHEAST MISSOURI STATE.

Kelly argues that UC’s success is too new to make a big enough dent. The rookies have to stand on the table and sing their alma maters. You can’t just pledge the BCS frat. You have to swallow some goldfish first.

Or beat some good teams first. The comparison to a frat initiation is asinine. The team has to prove itself on the field of champions, instead of the field of patsies.

“That new person on the block has to prove (himself),’’ is Kelly’s explanation. “We keep winning, we’ll change the perceptions of what those traditional powers are. We’re in the process of putting together another great season.

“(If we) start doing that year in and year out, I think that changes everything.’’

Yes. Or, if your AD would've set up a tougher schedule five years ago, that would've given you a chance.

Maybe. But how many years? How many seasons of 10-win cred does it take a Cincinnati, or a program like it, to break the BCS glass ceiling?

More than one.

What if the Bearcats play, say, Alabama, in the Sugar Bowl, and roll the Tide the way Utah did? Then do they get a seat at the big boy table?

If they play more than one good team and beat them, then yes, they do. One win does not a champion make.

“We’ve got some games in front of us that really are going to serve us well,’’ Kelly adds. True enough, and those wins over Top 25s West Virginia and Pitt would get the Bearcats just high enough to chant “We’re Number Three!’’ if they win their BCS bowl game.

Good luck, Bearcats. But beating West Virginia and Pitt still don't prove your mettle like winning in a better conference would.

The BCS rankings have us talking, all right. Who’s listening?

Lots of people are listening. This is a terrible ending to a terrible article. The BCS has its flaws, I suppose, but this is a stupid article with a stupid premise. Shameless homerism which ignores the facts of the situation - that UC hasn't played and won against good teams, while other teams have - is embarrassing for any news writer or any newspaper.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

But the Phillies Have the Grit Factor!

This article, by someone named Cormac Gordon, isn't anything interesting. It praises the quality of this year's World Series because the teams are good or something. Here's the highlight:

Charlie Manuel’s club was first in the NL in runs, home runs, RBI and slugging percentage.

Well that's nice to know.

And starters Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Pedro Martinez are as capable as any rotation in baseball of throwing back-to-back-to-back shutouts.

This is stupid. If Pedro Martinez, who averaged less than 5 innings per start this season, throws a shutout, I will.... print a retraction on this blog for calling you an idiot, Bernie Augustine.

Plus, they have the grit factor.

Who cares! Now this post has the grit factor:
“We have players who like to play, and pitchers who like to pitch,” Manuel likes to say of his group.

Job satisfaction on the Phillies is apparently 100%. Now if only the Reds would hire some players who like to play!

No wonder the Cubs lost this year. They hired Milton Bradley, who does not like to play.

Monday, October 26, 2009

TMTMQR: A Brief Review of Idiocy

This is the latest I've ever done a TMQR; this week's might be out by the time you read this. But last week's was so fucking awful that I can't let it go by without making very brief comments about a couple of its most offensive turdclumps.

New England's touchdown passes went to Randy Moss and Wes Welker on downs in which they were not covered by anyone -- they simply ran up the field, ignored by all Tennessee defenders.

Randy Moss and Wes Welker are both really good. They're hard to cover. There were no plays during this game during which they were "ignored by all Tennessee defenders." There were plenty of plays on which the coverage wasn't nearly good enough to stop them. That'll happen when you're dealing with, you know, two really good receivers and a really good quarterback. This is classic fucking Easterbrook. What a douche. At least he doesn't say this about offensive linemen anymore. That was classic fucking Easterbrook circa 2007: "ON EVERY PLAY OF [game X], THERE WERE AT LEAST FOUR OFFENSIVE LINEMEN SIMPLY STANDING AROUND DOING NOTHING!"

In cultural news, with the big-budget movie "2012" opening soon, Sony is avidly promoting how cool it would be if the entire Earth was destroyed. Why does a major corporation think this would be really cool?

And this is the first movie ever made featuring a situation like this! Surely this has never ever ever been done in Hollywood before! (Considered linking to the IMDB page for Armageddon or Deep Impact or The Day After Tomorrow or a hundred other movies- decided against it because I want to go to bed)

TMQ warned about the Mayan prophecies regarding December 2012 two years ago.

This is like commenting "FIRST" on a blog post. But less cool.

The fact that there is now a major motion picture on this theme grants me peace of mind, owing to this rule of thumb: Anything predicted by a major Hollywood movie is certain not to happen.

A law as immutable as cold coach = victory.

"One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three, one thousand four, one thousand five, one thousand six." That's what TMQ counted as Ben Roethlisberger scanned the field before throwing an 8-yard touchdown pass to Heath Miller.

WHOA WHOA WHOA. That's some pretty hyperspecific time measurement there. Why don't we just say Roethlisberger had about a minute or so in the pocket before he threw.

Meanwhile the Broncos are 6-0, and while their schedule gets tougher as the season progresses, Denver is positioned for good things. Kyle Orton, constantly looked down upon as merely a "game manager" and not a true quarterback, is now 27-12 as a starter -- a lot better performance than many cannon-armed quarterbacks one could name. Surely Orton cannot throw a 60-yard pass while kneeling, as JaMarcus Russell famously did. All Orton does is win games.

Shittiest. Analysis. Ever. And I say that as a Bronco fan. Look, I'm perfectly happy with him and everything, but all Orton does is not throw interceptions (something he does- responsible for some of his teams' successes), hand the ball off well (something he does- responsible for a tiny bit of his teams' successes), and play for teams that have amazing defenses (has nothing to do with him at all- largely responsible for his teams' successes).

Fortune Favors the Bold! Game scoreless, Houston went for it on fourth-and-1 at the Cincinnati 13, despite a prominent fourth-and-1 failure the previous Sunday. The Texans scored a touchdown on the possession, and the aggressive call set the tone for Houston's win. Carolina and Pittsburgh won after going for it on fourth-and-short situations in which most NFL coaches would kick. TMQ even liked Detroit going for it on fourth-and-1 when trailing Green Bay by 14-0. Though the attempt failed, and the lowly Lions were pounded, aggressive tactics eventually will reverse Detroit's losing psychology.

So- going for it on 4th and short is awesome when it works. And it's awesome when it doesn't work, because it will totally have an unquantifiable and intangible effect sometime in the future. Awesome! Life is good when you have a vivid imagination.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


There are at least fifty things worth picking on in this Buzz Bissinger shitbomb re: Billy Beane, Michael Lewis, and the book Moneyball. I don't have a lot of time so I think I'll pick on the most absurd one. Bissinger's thesis is essentially that Billy Beane is a decent but overrated GM, Lewis's portrayal of him is unfairly positive, and that the best way to build a baseball team is still by spending a lot of money on good, proven players. He may have a bit of a point with the last part. As for those first two:

Looking largely at the narrow time frame of 2000 through 2002, Lewis attempted to explain the phenomenon of how the A's had done so well (they made the playoffs all three of those years) with such little dough.

Yeah, great, that's true. Lewis does focus on that three year span, which isn't really as large a sample size as you'd like if you're going to evaluate a GM's ability. But before I get to my point about Buzz, let's quickly address this:

The explanation was dazzling, although Lewis barely mentioned the three reasons the A's had been so successful--pitchers Barry Zito, Mark Mulder, and Tim Hudson. The three won an astounding 149 games during that span. Each of them were 20-game winners in at least one of those seasons.

If you've read the book, you know that this is pretty unfair. First, Lewis mentions those three then-aces plenty. Second, the reason the book focuses a lot MORE on guys like Scott Hatteberg and Chad Bradford is because it's a lot more interesting to hear about how a GM took relative unwanteds like them and turned them into valuable players than to hear about how a GM had three really good pitchers at the same time.

But anyways, back to the point. Yes, Moneyball focuses on a tiny, insignificant, negligible number of seasons. Just three. (Three seasons during which the A's won more than 300 games.) Meanwhile, Buzz has some excellent points to make about Beane's allegedly sterling reputation for finding and developing talent:

Beane had seven first-round draft picks that year, each of them extolled by Lewis for their buried-treasure status. Three of them are still playing in the majors, none with anything close to superstar careers and all of them long gone from the A's. Three others were busts. Poor Jeremy Brown never stopped being fat and slow and finished with a grand total of 10 major league at-bats before retirement.


Read the rest of the article- it has a lot more garbage that will make you laugh. Or smirk. That's what Buzz would do if someone else wrote this and he read it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Meaning of "Swag"

Yikes, this is stupid.

Ryan Fagan becomes the latest dumbass to invent nonsense to explain winning.

Comeback? Never a doubt in Phillies' minds
Defending champions have swag to go along with roster full of talent

Oh yeah? Well the Dodgers have flog. Boatloads of flog. It is my hypothesis that....

Dodger flog > Phillies swag.

Go ahead, prove me wrong.

PHILADELPHIA - A baseball lifetime ago, Jimmy Rollins was sitting in the visitors' clubhouse in St. Louis talking about what his Phillies needed.

I'm guessing it doesn't have anything to do with starting pitching. Cause hey! Guess which problem got fixed?

This was long before Rollins delivered the two-out, game-winning double Monday night, the extra-base hit that lifted his Phillies to a 5-4 victory over the Dodgers and put them a win away from the opportunity to defend their World Series championship. No, the Jimmy Rollins in the visitors' clubhouse on that sweltering August day in St. Louis had just three playoff games under his belt — all losses, to the Rockies the year before — but a firm grasp of what he considered the essential element to winning in the postseason.



Jimmy, you had it all wrong. That's why you hadn't won any playoff games yet.

Yep, swag. Confidence. A belief in yourself and your teammates.

At least you finally defined it.

Rollins knew his team had the talent. They needed swag.

"Rollins knew his team had talent" is "a belief in himself and his teammates." You're strongly implying that they had Thing A, but not Thing B. THING A IMPLIES THING B. FFFLLLLLOOOOOOOGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!

At that point in their development as a unit, they needed to eliminate the excuses.

Scene (hypothetical): April 2008, bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th, 2 outs. Phightin' Phils down by 2 to the New York Metropolitans. Chase Utley at the plate.

Utley: ::smokes a Billy Wagner's going back, back, back, and Carlos Beltran leaps and makes a gamesaving catch over the fence, game over, Phils lose::

Rollins: Ummmm...what the fuck was that?

Utley: I murdered that ball! He just...he just made the catch is all!

Rollins: That sounds an awful lot like an....

Utley: Excuse?

Rollins Precisely. (Disclaimer: Jimmy Rollins has never said that word in his life)

Utley: I know but....

Rollins: Listen here Chase, I didn't win the MVP award last year with bullshit excuses. That's what lost us the game today. You've got to believe and cut this crap out. NO EXCUSES ON THIS TEAM! How do you think Matt Tolbert hit that game-tying bouncer up the middle for the Twins one and a half years from now?



"When you've got swag, it's ‘They got away from us today’ or ‘They pulled it out just in time’ or 'We just missed a couple of pitches' or 'If we could have just found the hole here,'" he said with an earnest look in his eye. "But without swag, it's 'We couldn't hold them here' or 'We couldn't get a big hit' ... you see that? It's the same thing, but your mindset is different, the way you think about that."

You're at the plate and it's a big situation. Clayton Kershaw can either bring the heat, or "Public Enemy Number 1", the knee-buckling curveball. How the hell does any of this help you?

Well, these Phillies have swag. No doubt about that.


And thanks to that swag, they also have a commanding 3-1 lead in the NLCS.

You were always that child on 3rd grade standardized tests who matched the cause "The ice melted" to the effect "The sun was shining brightly", weren't you Ryan?

Now keep in mind, this is an opinion column. Here is the remainder of the column.

Johnathan Broxton, who throws 523 MPH, pitched baseballs, but Phillies NEVER SAY DIE! The Phillies were on the bench, believing in themselves, and that energy flowed 150 feet away to Johnathan Broxton, who walked Matt Stairs on four pitches, and Broxton was SO UNCOMFORTABLE, beaned Ruiz, Dobbs lined out (no excuses, Dobbs!), and the Phillies were already halfway to the clubhouse knowing they had won the game, and willed Jimmy Rollins to hit a baseball into the gap. Brad Lidge is a Phillie. Rollins had a really uninteresting track record both against Broxton and in the game, 1-4, but I'm going to write it anyway. Jimmy Rollins was 1-4 in the game and against Broxton in his career. That's a .250 batting averaeg. (he actually spelled it like that) Carlos Ruiz eats 27 tacos per day, but Jayson Werth thought the Phillies would win, so a jetpack magically appeared on Carlos Ruiz's back! Andre Ethier, busy trying to grasp why the umpire would allow a clearly illegal device in play, forgot how to throw, and the Phillies scored! Phillies win! Phillies win! Phillies! Ryan Howard has a sense of humor, and knows how many more games the Phillies need to win to go to the World Series!

I may have edited that a little. With the power of FLOG!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Uh Oh, Someone Taught an Idiot a Big Word

Those who are stupid enough to watch NFL Live at 1 in the morning for no good reason (read: me) know that Trent Dilfer is in a dead heat with Ron Jaworski for being the analyst who most obnoxiously overuses the word "football" as a qualifier/adjective. By which I mean that whenever he's discussing highlights, they're always about football players making football plays on football fields for their football teams in a football game, etc., rather than players making plays on the field for their team in a game. You know what I mean.

Well apparently some asshole at ESPN, knowing that Trent is a guy who likes to sound smart but in reality is too dumb to tie his own shoes, decided to teach Trent the word "dynamic." Now, I know what your next question is. And the answer is no. No, they did not teach him the word's meaning. Just the word itself- which sounds pretty long and smart when you say it. Go ahead, just say it now. Listen to all those syllables. You sound like someone giving a presentation at a big corporate meeting, with a big posterboard with some pie charts and bar graphs behind you on an easel! Dynamic pie charts and bar graphs.

So I'm sitting here, wasting my night listening to Trey Wingo try to be even more annoying than Stuart Scott, and in about 10 minutes of color commentary Trent has used "dynamic" approximately 750 times. Teams are dynamic. (They're dynamic football teams, in fact.) Players are dynamic. Schemes are dynamic. Game plans are dynamic. Audibles are dynamic. Hell, even some coaches and referees are dynamic. The way certain guys tackle or run routes or block is dynamic. He even referred to someone's explosiveness as dynamic. Is that possible? Can you have explosiveness which varies in nature and is capable of changing and progressing while taking on different forms? Anyways, thanks to this anonymous word-spreading asshole (or perhaps a "365 Cool Words!" daily calendar) and Trent, everyone and everything in the NFL is now dynamic. This blog and all its readers might as well be considered dynamic at this point. Nothing would make Trent happier.

Friday, October 16, 2009

FNTMQR: Gregg Gets All Meta

It's been quite a while since I subjected myself to the moronic ramblings of the tard-tacular Gregg Easterbrook for your enjoyment. But my schedule has calmed down and I'm ready to get back in the ring. Will we hear tales of offensive linemen, literally standing around doing nothing? Will Gregg conclude that a team which lost on a last second field goal would have won if only they'd run up the middle rather than throw an incomplete pass on a play with 14 minutes left in the game? You and me, Easterbrook. Let's dance.

Owing to the remarkable rise in the popularity of football -- and its conjunction with college marketing, an upcoming TMQ topic -- today there are 120 Division I-A football programs and 117 Division I-AA programs. The number of schools fielding big-program teams has roughly doubled in a single generation. More and more colleges want big-time football to please alums and put themselves on the map. This trend is democratizing, as a high school boy now has a much better chance of advancing to big-college football than a high school boy of 30 years ago, simply because there are so many more programs.

Gregg, in all his infinite wisdom and ultra-brainy smarts, seems not to realize that there are probably more high school boys now than there were 30 years ago. Is the ratio of schools to prospective players exactly the same as it was back then? Probably not. He has a point, albeit a small one. This is still a shitty paragraph though.

In NFL news, is there a Crabtree Curse?

No. There is not.

San Francisco broke out of the gate 3-1, in part because management's no-compromise attitude toward holdout diva Michael Crabtree sent the message that nobody is bigger than the team.

That had nothing to do with it. They broke out of the gate 3-1 in part because of the fact that they have a lot of talent, and in part because 2 of those games came against the Seahawks sans Matt Hasselbeck and the Rams.

Then last week, suddenly Crabtree is granted $16 million guaranteed even though he skipped training camp, doesn't know the playbook, and spent the first month of the season relaxing on the couch.

Right, that's the same deal they had been offering him since he was chosen in April's draft. They didn't up their offer, they stood firm. It worked out in the end. You definitely don't want to pass up the opportunity to put that kind of talent on your team.

Suddenly the message sent is that you can jerk the 49ers around and get away with it.

Suddenly the message is the 49ers like to sign players they draft in the first round.

Immediately San Francisco lost to Atlanta 45-10 at home.

You're fucking stupid.

Why didn't Bill Belichick order a punt rush on the final snap of regulation? With 15 seconds remaining until overtime, Denver faced a fourth-and-15 at midfield, with New England holding a timeout. Rush eight men and try to block the punt! You're not going to get a 90-yard touchdown return.

You're not going to block the punt, either- I don't know how often punt blocks happen, relative to how often punt return TDs happen, but it's safe to say that both are very rare. What you risk doing when you send the house after the punter is roughing him, setting your opponent up for a possible game winning field goal. Bill Belichick is the most successful NFL coach of the decade. I think it's OK to defer to his judgment here.

Yet New England dropped its punt team back to block for a return, then knelt to accept overtime. Being toasty warm in his heavy parka kept Belichick from thinking aggressively.

You're fucking stupid.

Sour Play of the Week No. 1: Scoring to pull within 20-19 with 24 seconds remaining in regulation, Kansas City could have gone for two and the win: Todd Haley sent out the PAT unit, and the Chiefs wheezed out in overtime. Kansas City came into the contest having lost 29 of its past 35 games. The team has developed a loser's psychology. Timid calls will not change a loser's psychology!

Classic Easterbrook- why are teams winning/losing? The football gods! Psychology! The way their coaches are dressed! The way their cheerleaders are dressed! In actuality, the Chiefs just suck. If they go for the 2PC and get it, they feel good. If they kick the PAT but win in overtime, they feel good. If they go for the 2PC and miss, they feel bad. If they kick the PAT and lose in overtime, they feel bad. That's all the analysis you need. Last year the Broncos went for 2 when trailing by 1 to San Diego late at home (the famous Ed Hochuli missed call game), converted, and won the game. They also choked on applesauce down the stretch, losing their last 3 games and missing the playoffs. Why? Did they not have a winnerish enough psychology? No, they just weren't that good of a team. And neither are the Chiefs.

The not-hyped Henne also played surprisingly maturely and had a better game statistically than glam-boy Sanchez.

Chad Henne was a 4 year starter for one of the most overexposed college football programs in the country. He was a 2nd round draft pick. Sanchez is riding a wave of media fellatio now, but we're not exactly talking about Apollo Creed vs. Rocky Balboa here.

Quote of the night: After Edwards tiptoed near the back line for his touchdown catch, ESPN play-by-play announcer Mike Tirico said, "It looked like one of his feet never came down." Researchers from the National Academy of Sciences will visit Land Shark Stadium on Tuesady and try to get Edwards, still floating above the end zone, to come down.

WHOA. WHOA, GREGG. NOT COOL. ONLY WE GET TO DO THIS KIND OF THING. YOU DO NOT GET TO CRITICIZE THE MEDIA. You're only here to tell us about how unrealistic science fiction TV shows are and complain about clocks that use tenths of a second. Stay out of our territory and we'll stay out of yours. Also, even a complete dumbass would be able to easily figure out what Tirico meant by his comment. Not that I'm sticking up for Tirico- he's abysmal. But I don't see anything wrong with this.

Who Looks This Stuff Up? "The 11 teams that are either unbeaten or winless represent 34 percent of the league, the highest such percentage four weeks into the season since 1998" -- The Washington Post.

Is this another shot at the media? Does Gregg think this is a dumb or meaningless statistic? Is he actually asking who at the Washington Post looks this stuff up? Is 34% a figure that's too "hyper-specific" for him? Hard to tell. Trying to understand his brain is like trying to exercise when you're drunk.

Immutable Law Update: Normally the immutable law Cold Coach = Victory doesn't come into play until November; a surprise October winter storm in Denver changed that. Certainly, this law has never previously come into play indoors.

Never previously because Gregg didn't have the opportunity to apply it! But wait, I can smell the anecdotal bullshit already. Here it comes.

But sharp-eyed reader Thon Morse of Austin, Texas, noticed during last week's big Packers at Vikings game, held inside the Metrodome -- kickoff temperature 68 degrees -- Brad Childress was wearing a polo shirt, while Mike McCarthy had on a zipped-up varsity jacket. Needless to say, McCarthy's team did not win.

I'm introducing a "law" which runs opposite Gregg's. Mine reads Warm Coach = Victory. I will now pay attention to how coaches are dressed in games I watch, and when the more bundled up coach's team wins, I'll talk about it here on the blog. When the less bundled up coach's team wins, I'll just ignore it, because I'm a dipshit like that.
My item on automated speed cameras drew this response, which combined two TMQ hobbyhorses: automation and absurd specificity. Ben Cohen of Oberwil, Switzerland, writes, "In Switzerland, there are many traffic cameras.

Pretty sad that people around the globe read TMQ and thus probably take it as a representative example of how American football fans think. No wonder everyone fucking hates us.

I recently received a camera-generated citation in the mail, charging me a fine for running a red light. The citation said I had missed the light by 0.67 seconds. It's a good thing I didn't miss it by 0.7 seconds -- the fine might have been doubled!"

Fuck that, tenths of a second??? What is this, hypersuperdupermegaspecificland? I think all time, for all purposes, should only be expressed in hours. Minutes are just too small an increment of time to be perceived by the human brain. Either you made the light by 4 PM or you didn't.

Tune in next week when Gregg reminds us that the football gods don't appreciate teams that punt!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Jon Hamm is Here to Kill John Connor

Here's the latest commercial for the Blues. Personally, I don't watch Mad Men, but enough people do to warrant Jon Hamm to pitch his scripted love of hockey.

WOW! Now that's a St. Louis hockey fan! He must be a big fan, because he lived in the suburbs of St. Louis. I can relate to him and his love of the team! 2 season tickets, please. Wait, what has he had for 15 years?

Now that is a dirty hat. It must be 15 years old, because look how dirty that is. You can't fake that.

Unless you realize that he logo on the hat did not exist 15 years ago. In 1994, the Blues used this Bluenote:

The Blues first used the logo on "his" hat in 1997, on what was then a third jersey. In 1998, the third jersey became the new home jersey, and the Bluenote on Jon Hamm's dirty, 15 year old hat became the primary logo. More importantly, 15 years ago the Scottrade Center was opened as the Kiel Center, a work stoppage delayed the start of the hockey season, and the Blues introduced a practical joke of a jersey. Red/blue/yellow/white with a diagonal musical staff and wacky number shapes.

I should stop, because Jon Hamm either (a) read from a script in which somebody who knows nothing about the St. Louis Blues was put in charge of writing the script for this ad, or more likely (b) Jon Hamm bought a hat in the future and was sent back in time to ensure that humanity as we know it will end. Maybe he could start with person that wrote his script?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hey, Anonymous Commenter Who Defended Ron Darling Earlier Today, Check this Out:

After being asked during the Yankees/Twins game to pick a winner in the Cardinals/Dodgers series, Ron said the Dodgers had a lot of question marks. Among them:

Clayton Kershaw, a guy at 22 years old, I believe,

He's 21, not that it matters.

you've got to find out if he's a guy who's ready to... to...


take the antlers, and go, and have a great series!

Watch out Vin Scully, you've got competition in the "best in the announcing business" category. Take those antlers, Clayton. Take those antlers, and go, and have a great series. If I'm a Dodger fan I'm thinking it's more important that Randy Wolf grabs the bull by the horns, but that's just me.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


I wish I could have liveblogged this entire game.

Scene: Tigers/Twins, Bottom of the 10th, Tigers lead 5-4. One out. Runners on first and third. Your hitter is Matt Tolbert. Yes, that's right, a player as bad as Matt Tolbert is going to decide the fate of the single biggest game of regular season baseball. Chip Caray and "Color Guy" have the call.

Pitch 1: Rodney throws a hard breaking ball down. Tolbert waves at it with his bat about 2 feet over where the ball crosses the plate with all the velocity of an old Asian woman driving on the expressway.

Pitch 2: Called fastball strike at the knees.

Pitch 3: Tolbert hits a weak bouncer up the middle. Within inches of Polanco's glove and a likely game-ending double-play (despite Tolbert's speed), the ball sneaks past the infield up the middle for a hit.

Color Guy: "What an at-bat by Tolbert!"

That's the formula for hitting success folks. It's simpler than we thought.

Step 1: Swing at awful pitch
Step 2: Take called strike
Step 3: Weakly hit bouncer
Step 4: ....
Step 5: Win!


And to conclude the game:

Chip Caray: You have to tip your cap to the Jim Leyland and the Detroit Tigers. They could not hold a 7 game lead at the beginning of September.

Gee there Chip, that sure was a thoughtful thing to say! You gotta hand it to the Chicago Cubs. They did not come close to living up to their talent this year.

Monday, October 5, 2009

MVP = MCPP (Most Consummately Professional Player)

Amidst a lot of pretty inoffensive analysis in this Scott Miller MLB season's end column (Mauer and Pujols for MVP, Grienke and Lincecum for Cy, Coughlan and Andrus for Rookie of the Year, etc.) we have this, his No. 10 NL MVP vote. As in, the guy in the NL who Scott thinks is 10th most worthy of being voted Most Valuable Player.

10. Juan Pierre, Dodgers. I know there are several others who could have slotted in here (see next paragraph), but this guy deserves an MVP vote for two reasons: 1. He was lights out during Manny Ramirez's suspension and the Dodgers would not have kept rolling without him. 2. He was the consummate pro in handling things as a fourth outfielder this year, adding to the Dodgers' overall picture instead of subtracting from it.

Oh wow. Holy moley. Scott Miller, you are a fucking stump. First, let me make sure I get this straight. The two measurements of MVPness Scott uses here are: 1) being "lights out" (read: OPSing .781) for a 50 game stretch and 2) being a "consummate[ly] pro[fessional]" 4th outfielder. That's awesome. Hey, let's just go ahead and hand anyone who plays kind of well for a couple of months and isn't an asshole about playing time an MVP. Under that standard, only one guy in the league doesn't get a vote: Gary Matthews Jr. Sounds great.

Also, let's look at the names included in the next paragraph Scott references, who didn't make his top ten and are ostensibly less worthy of MVP consideration than Juan "accepts the role his manager gives him and doesn't kill his team in the process" Pierre:

Matt Kemp
Mark Reynolds
Derek Lee
Adrian Gonzalez
Ryan Braun
Jayson Werth
Todd Helton

Each of these players was roughly 10,000 times more valuable in 2009 than Pierre was. Matt Kemp is like a version of Pierre who doesn't throw like a toddler and can hit for power. Mark Reynolds is a "three true outcomes" guy- Pierre is a two true outcomes (infield hit, out) guy. And so and so forth, with a joke crafted to each of these players. They were all better than Pierre this season. Lots better. Way, way, way better. Some of them like Helton and Lee are even known for their consummate professionalism! Look, I'm willing to bet each might have been more valuable than Pierre if you put their worst 50 game stretch up against Juan's Ruthian 50 game Manny replacement phase (He had 17 extra base hits!). Words cannot describe how fucking indefensible this is. Fuck you, Scott Miller. Fuck you and the Bill Plaschke-esque idea you rode in on.