Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Don't Judge this Post Yet- It's Just a Seed I'm Planting

It's time for some more well-earned attention for FireJay's favorite sure-he's-bad-but-not-THAT-bad punching bag Jeff Pearlman. Now, a brief review of Jeff's tag shows that we haven't made fun of the fact that he's a card-carrying dingbat on the blog for almost six months. But Chris W and I have been doing just that over the internets pretty consistently for the last year, via gchat and email. We just haven't bothered to post that stuff because... well, fuck if I know. But that changes tonight. The thing is, as obnoxious as Jeff can be with his general viewpoints ("Don't professional athletes just make you MAD when they don't act like you want them to????"), he consistently does two very annoying things, over and over.

First, he needlessly references players, often obscure players, from the 1980s Mets. And I don't mean that he does it in articles about baseball (although he does do that)- I mean he does it at the drop of a hat, whenever the hell he can, because who doesn't love the 1980s Mets as much as he does? From an article about how much he wants LeBron to come to the Knicks or Nets:

Back in the late 1970s and '80s, the St. Louis Cardinals had a first baseman named Keith Hernandez. When the team came to New York, he would hide out in his hotel, petrified of the craziness below. Upon being traded to the Mets in 1983, Hernandez was urged by a teammate to give the city a chance. So he did. He hit the bars and restaurant and began attending shows and concerts. Twenty-seven years later, Hernandez is still here. The Big Apple is his Big Apple.

Don't worry- taken in context, the anecdote is not any more relevant to an article about why LBJ belongs in NYC than it appears here. Also, Keith Hernandez did tons of coke. That's why he enjoyed the Big Apple. Second, Jeff consistently makes lame analogies that were obviously formulated in about two seconds. Like, Jeff just looks around his house and decides to use the first object he sees as a reference point for something the object could never be compared to in any meaningful way. To wit:

No longer does [former Cavaliers coach Mike] Brown -- an intelligent and worldly man -- have to swallow his pride in order to woo a 25-year-old kid with the apparent curiosity of a coffee table;

A coffee table has nothing to do with a disinterested or ambivalent basketball player. Nothing. So anyways, I'm happy to say that in this article about Tiki Barber (who, naturally, Jeff rakes over the coals for being a bad person) he crams both of these annoying tics into one paragraph.

Much like a bottle of cherry Mad Dog 20/20, professional athletics will always be there for its own.

Awful. Just awful.

No transgression is too horrid, no handcuffs too thick, no infidelity too graphic. Think about it. How many dogs did Michael Vick torture and kill? How many times did Steve Howe fail a drug test? How often did we hear of the trials, tribulations and, inevitably, comebacks of Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry?

Now, I'll say this- Doc and Straw were stars. So much so that they got sweet nicknames. Usually, Jeff is talking about shit-ass utility infielders and long relievers from the '87 Mets as if every one of his readers knows exactly who he's referring to. I looked for some examples of this for about 30 seconds and couldn't find any. But trust me- he does it. All. The fucking. Time. In any case, it's still not a very good reference here. That was more than two decades ago. Can't we be more topical? In fact we can, because the next sentence is about baseball's recent admitted/discovered steroid users. But at that point it's too late. We've already been asked to recall players who anyone under the age of 30 probably has little to no memory of. Barf.

So, where does this post leave us? I'm sure you're shrugging at it. I saw you shrug, in fact. But that's OK. This is just the beginning. Two days from now when Jeff blogs about how the MLB All Star game is like a roll of paper towels that only has a few squares left, I'll be right back here telling you about it. And you'll nod. You won't laugh- but you'll nod. And we'll just take it from there.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Bygone Era of Lazy Sportswriting

From the article "U.S-Algeria sets record for [online] viewers" by ESPN.com news services:

The World Cup match from South Africa was a throwback to a time when not all major sporting events happened during television's prime-time. Only an older generation remembers listening to World Series games on transistor radios at work or school.

Yes, I can remember all the way back to when the NCAA tournament games were played at 2pm on work days. It was a simpler time...

And we were trying different things
We were smoking funny things
Making love out by the lake to our favorite song
Sipping whiskey out the bottle, not thinking 'bout tomorrow
Singing Sweet home Alabama all summer long

p.s. Yes, I'm aware of the irony of my complaining about lazy sportswriting with possibly the laziest post in FireJay history. Thank you.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Staggering Display of Idiocy

This is the article that dude emailed me way back when. It's old as hell. That's OK. It's still worth going over. Pull up your socks, everyone. This is going to get rough. Mets beat writer Marty Noble wants all of us to know: we is dumber than him is.

The final word on Alomar and the HOF...until next year

Yeeeeeah. I can see you nodding. You knew it was going to be good, but a HOF article? Betcha weren't expecting that. Yup. It's gonna be goooooooooood.

Amazed, amused and somewhat disappointed I am,

OK, Yoda.

having read and heard the uproar caused by my Hall of Fame ballot. How dare I not vote for Robbie Alomar and Bert Blyleven? How senseless it was for me to check Dave Parker.

Parker has crummy credentials. Blyleven (or should I say CRYleven) has been discussed way too much here so I won't get into him. Aaaaand... not voting for Alomar is dumb.

I should have my voting privileges - or, as one outraged All-Star speller wrote, "privledges" - revoked.

There are 21 comments on Marty's post. I think about 17 of them point out to him that he has misspelled numerous words throughout it. It's always great when sportswriters have pot/kettle problems.

My mistake. Mea culpa, mea culpa. If only I knew what I was talking about, I would have devised a method to determine how all others voters would act and then submit a ballot that matched the consensus. Nothing like unanimity to sooth the masses and silence an uproar before it develops.

Right, great point. When people attack you for not voting for someone who they think is deserving, I mean, technically they're attacking you for not "match[ing] the consensus." Great straw man. "How dare you criticize me for not falling in line!" No, dipshit. They're criticizing you for not making a good decision based on whether or not Alomar was a Hall of Fame caliber player. This is like someone cutting a line of 50 people waiting to get into a bar, and then responding to their booing by claiming that they're just upset that you're too much of an independent thinker to follow the rules.

It seems a good number of people are opposed to independent thought, which begs the question "Why vote at all?" Anyone whose OPS exceeds half of Barry Bonds' in 2003 or whose WHIP is comparable to Roger Clemens' gets in automatically.

No one is opposed to independent thought, and no one with a brain thinks "automatic" qualifications would be a good idea. we're just opposed to idiocy. Let's keep moving so I can establish for the nice readers exactly what I'm talking about.

From much of what I've read, any player who had distinguished himself for an extended period ought to be inducted immediately upon retirement regardless of whatever else he has done, be it steroid use, wagering on the game or spitting in the face of of the on-field authority.

Another GREAT straw man. "Well, a lot of people think players who did bad things should be let in no matter what! You don't want that, DO YOU?" Look, Alomar did something dumb. He did it once, in the heat of a moment, got suspended, paid his dues, and then kept on playing. Was it reprehensible? Sure. Was it juvenile? Absolutely. Is it worth getting your panties in a bundle over the fact that it happened? Once? Not at all. To compare steroid use or betting on the game to one hot-headed moment (that unlike some hot-headed baseball moments, see: Young, Delmon, didn't threaten anyone's safety) is moronic.

I enjoy the exercise of voting, of annually using the perspective gained in nearly 40 years at the ballpark to decide who is deserving of my vote and who isn't. It hardly is life and death, but it is important to me. I choose carefully. I have to be convinced - each year -- of a candidate's worthiness before I check the box next to his name.

And somehow... Dave Parker... OK.

Alomar wasn't worthy this time. Call it punishment if you choose.

Mr. Tough Guy over here.

He did voilate an understood code of behavior. We don't spit at others, Johnny.

And I'm sure Marty has never done anything in the heat of a moment that he wishes he hadn't. I'm not saying he's ever spat on someone. Just saying, that's really not the kind of thing that should be swinging HOF votes. Gambling and steroids, sure. To quote Pulp Fiction, they ain't the same ballpark, they ain't the same league, they ain't even the same fucking sport.

I never have been convinced that Blyleven meets what I see as the Hall of Fame standard; too many losses.

Of all the anti-Blyleven arguments out there, this one is by far the worst, which is saying a lot. Better get Cy Young and his 316 losses out of Cooperstown. Nolan Ryan (292), Walter Johnson (279), Phil Niekro (274)? Out, out, out.

Until this year, my view was shared by at least 35 percent of the electorate.


Now people on the radio and television who never have been around the game on a daily basis

Easily the stupidest reason stupid sportswriters give to support their stupid opinions/reasoning. Has been discussed extensively here and on other blogs, so I don't need to go into it again here. But really, Marty, fuck you and fuck your "experience."

are calling for a change in the voting because this year merely 73.7 percent of 539 ballots cast included checks for Alomar. The best second baseman I ever saw received 395 votes and came closer to election than any other first-time candidate who feel short.

Is that... good? That's like being the best AAA player of all time who never played in the majors.

And the ripple effect of that vote ought to be that the system be overhauled? Now I will ask the question. Are you serious?

I don't think the voting process needs to be overhauled. I do think we should be waiting longer (15 years?) after players retire before voting on them. And they shouldn't stay on the ballot any longer than 5 years.

So if eight others had voted for Alomar, the system would been deemed acceptable and allowed to remain in place to determine whether Blyleven, Tim Raines, Barry Bonds, Derek Jeter and Johan Santana are Hall of Fame worthy. Eight more votes would have made all of us look so much wiser? Are you serious?

Look, it's not about Alomar. It's about a long history of cuntery on the part of numerous BBWA members.

I was unaware first-year election was the undeniable right of a player who committed an on-field misdemeanor

Well I certainly hope you wouldn't have voted for Ty Cobb on the first ballot. Sure, he had the highest batting average of all time, but he went into the stands and beat up a dude in a wheelchair who had been heckling him once. As awesome as that sounds I think it counts as a misdemeanor.

and occasionally left his motivation in his locker.

Well that's a nice, easy, objective criterion. Roberto Alomar: THE ANTI-ECKSTEIN.

I'm pretty sure Alomar hasn't been banned from the Hall. His inclusion on the next ballot is certain. His election borders on foregone conclusion. I will vote for him next year, not because I've been persuaded by the harsh outcry of those without voting privileges (and some with), but because that has been my intention since I received the last ballot.

Because that makes sense. Just like it made sense for some of those fucktard voters to not put Rickey Henderson in on the first ballot.

As I early this month that Alomar didn't deserve my vote this time.

No verb! Typo!!!!!

He offended me - and the game - by spitting in John Hirschbecks's face and by his occasionally compromised effort.

And now you're handing down a punishment. But ask yourself this- does that make any sense? Or as you might say, "Are you serious?" What does that prove? How is that a good and sensible usage of a hard-earned voting privilege? Either Alomar was HOF worthy or he wasn't. Time might shed a little light on how good he was relative to players from subsequent eras, but other than that, it changes nothing. It's a fucking travesty that Jim Rice got in after 15 years on the ballot. And another that Blyleven will probably have to wait until his 14th year to do the same. Really, let's just cut the bullshit by cutting the years. I said above that I think players should be on the ballot for no more than 5 years. But if you think about it, assuming you wait long enough after their retirement (for any dirt on steroids or other information that voters might find relevant to come out) to put them up for election... is there any good reason the voters should need more than one or two years? Either you were good enough or you weren't. Rarely do I think anything is this simple, but at least for the moment, I'm willing to think it here.

Now Alomar waits a year. Whitey Ford was elected in his second year on the ballot, Ralph Kiner was elected in his final year of eligibility, receiving one ballot more than he needed. Kiner is one of the most distinguished gentlemen in the game. No spit! And Alomar will be just as much a Hall of Famer as gentleman Kiner next year if enough of the electorate looks past his transgressions and sees what a terrific player he was.

Ah, classic justification. "We've been making this same dumb mistake for years... why should we stop now? I say that when Ken Griffey Jr. comes up for election, we make him wait THREE years! Just for the fuck of it!"

If mine had been the lone dissenting vote on Alomar's candidacy, or if it had sentenced the second baseman to 50 years of HOF exile with no chance of parole, then, by all means, question my ballot. But 143 other voters found fault with Alomar.

"We all think alike! How could we be wrong??" Oh wait, that's pretty much the same point he made earlier in the article. It certainly works so much better here though. Remember- if you just want everyone to vote the same way, you're an asshole. But on the other hand, if someone disagrees with your vote, make sure you cite to all the people who voted the same way you did to prove that your point is legitimate.

And I only can assume the fault they found was in his behavior not the totality of his performance. He spat at an umpire. Where else can that be done without someone being offended by it or without some consequence? What would have happened if he had lost his composure outside the ballpark and spat at a cop?

Hmm. This is such a ridiculous question that I'm really having a hard time imagining Marty thinking that it could be legitimately passed off as rhetorical. But I'll treat it as such because writing this post is tiring. It's like trying to explain the physics behind planetary motion to a three year old.

I've been told I shouldn't consider Alomar's behavior off-the-field, and that makes me chuckle. May I point out that what I view as his transgressions happened on the field.

You sly dog! Master of logic and argument!

And to those who say because Babe Ruth caroused and Ty Cobb did whatever he did and gained election anyway, all subsequent candidates should be measured as Ruth and Cobb seemingly were - with one eye closed. . .To those folks, I say the instructions that come with the ballot direct voters to consider integrity and character. I never had the chance not to vote for Ruth and Cobb.

Wow, he really might not have. That's incredible. At least that would be some consistency. Idiotic consistency, but still.

Why should Alomar be treated as Joe Morgan, Cal Ripken, Tony Gwynn, and Ryan Sandberg were, as Derek Jeter

Classy guy! So classy! Oozes class. Bleeds class. Invented the idea of class. Has he ever done anything to establish this? No. He's just a good player for a popular team. But just ask any Marty Noble out there- classy guy.

will be, when he has fallen short of the standards they have established/maintained? Or should we create a special corridor within the Hall for players without rap sheets?

No. We should just put the best baseball players of all time in the Hall of Fame, and let the other stuff play out as it does. Fans know Cobb was an asshole. Fans know Ruth was a drunken moron. That's OK- doesn't really affect their overall status alongside the Ripkens and Gwynns. It makes them different, but certainly not unworthy of enshrinement.

Since my vote and reasons for it appeared on this Web site, other people in the game have expressed reservations about Alomar's candidacy. A radio interviewer in Baltimore said during our time on the air that, during his time with the Orioles, Alomar performed as expected four games out of six and that he often seemed disinterested.

Whoa. Come on now. We can't just publish anything as fact if someone called it in on a radio show. At least find someone on the internet who says that Alomar was lazy.

Players, general managers, announcers and writers I have known were startled by periods of disinterest by a player so well equipped otherwise. We've talked about them, not as gossip, but a gathering of information so that our accounts of games would be properly shaded if Alomar's performance on a given day was pertinent.

Right, so, you're convinced he's lazy. Which means you will vote him into the HOF the second time you have the opportunity- not the first. Makes sense.

People in my business who are at the park everyday have hundreds of conversations each year - on planes, in airports, in cabs and at he batting cages. Opposing managers will inquire. "Hey, what's up with so and so? Our scout tells me. . ." People without that sort of entry aren't privy to that perspective.


They get their perspective from Web Gems,

By using it in this context, it's obvious you have no idea what those are.

box scores

Yeah, and extensive video highlights and statistics (besides AB R H BI).

and 20-20 updates

You also don't seem to know what these are.

and what we write.

Occasionally. Beat writers such as yourself are good sources for information on trade rumors, injury-related stuff, information about who the manager plans on giving more/less playing time to, those kinds of things. You're pretty useless otherwise. I certainly don't need you to tell me who's playing well and who isn't. And given your kind's penchant for occasionally holding grudges, I also don't need you to tell me who's playing hard and who isn't. Fuck that.

Few of the voices that have the public ear are at ballparks as often and for as many hours as the laziest baseball writer.

Yeah, sitting in the press box is really so much different than watching the game on TV and reading about it later. Good God in heaven. The day idiots like Noble drop the I GO TO THE BALLPARK AND YOU DON'T thing can't come soon enough.

Consider my take on Alomar. Dismiss it if you choose,

Definitely didn't need your permission to do that.

take it as gospel if you're so inclined. But it is an outlook formed carefully and without prejudice.


In my time watching the game, he was as skilled a position player as any with the exceptions of Mays, Mantle, Aaron, Frank Robinson, Bonds before his head grew, Griffey, Rickey and Beltran and a half dozen others.

But what I saw of him playing on a regular basis said he didn't play the game with the equal motivation everyday. Adn


when his skills eroded and he no longer was a magical second baseman, he didn't care about his performance.

I have been stunned by the silly proposals that others - besides BBWAA members of 10-year standing - should vote or even replace us as the electorate.

Well, since a lot of you are stupid, I don't think that should be stunning. Then again, if you're stupid like Marty seems to be, you might be stunned by just about anything that makes sense.

No sports hall of fame has prestige remotely close to that of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Questionable assertion.

How do you all suppose that came to pass? To a great degree the prestige is a result of the way BBWAA members have voted - with two discerning eyes open wide and with objectivity.

Right, because "he wasn't trying hard" is an objective determination.

We have elected merely 109 players over the years.

Not every House, Hall and Hanebrink -- Tom, Dick and Harry - even appears on the BBWAA ballot, and players of high quality - Vada Pinson, Steve Busby, Ted Simmons, Mike Cuellar, Dan Quisenberry, Robin Ventura and Keith Hernandez - often disappear from the ballots after few years. We are a discriminating group. I can't explain and won't defend votes for David Segui or, a few years back, Jim Deshaies. But those sorts of votes are in the tiny minority.

Not voting for Alomar or Henderson on their first ballot is roughly as stupid.

The undeserving seldom gain election by the BBWAA vote. And if a candidate waiting one year in some way assures that result, then let him wait and hope he handles it as Kiner did, with class and without whining.


Some have endorsed the idea of having the Hall of Famers themselves vote. Has anyone noticed how few candidates they elect now that they do have a second-look say? Once they have gained the elite status they are of a mind to maintain it.

But it's a good thing the writers are so discerning, as we just learned.

I've distributed and collected the ballots of players who've been asked to vote All-Star teams for The Sporting News, and I've heard their arguments about Hall of Fame candidacy. The Hall would need a new wing every other year if players voted.

No one is suggesting that. It would definitely be a terrible idea though.

Good players who work diligently at their craft often are on players' unsent ballots. If effort were enough, Mookie Wilson, Juan Pierre and Jay Payton would be in the Hall. Friends and players who have succumbed to injury would be too.

And those who have their noses pressed against their computer screens and think VORP is a valid means of measuring a player's performance

Pwned. Pwnpwnpwnpwnpwnpwn. Got a comeback for that one, nerdy nerds? Way to think that a statistic which measures how much better a player is than bad players is legitimate in ANY way. NERDS. (Not that I'm the biggest SABR advocate ever- in fact, the FanGraphs crowd annoys me more often than they make me nod along in agreement- but I really don't think it's unreasonable to attach the adjective "valid" to VORP.)

ought to get a life and a credential that would allow them to see and hear the game up close.

So you can hang out with the Marty Nobles of the world and REALLY see how dumb many sportswriters are.

Then determine the players whose numbers actually contribute to winning and those who are equipped only add the next run in a 15-3 game.

Again, like he just said- writers only use objective standards to evaluate players.

And, while they're at it, they ought to take a breath.

Of delicious basement air.

Alomar's close enough to the Hall to grab the doorknob. That he's not already shoulder to shoulder with Andre Dawson is his own doing, not the fault of the electorate.

Just as it wasn't the ref's fault that the US didn't win their game against Slovenia- it was their own fault for going down 2-0 in the first place. And when someone breaks into your car to steal your stereo, that's not their fault- it's yours for parking there and having a stereo in the first place. And if a restaurant screws up your order? Not the waiter's fault- your fault for ordering the wrong thing. Etc., etc. Anyone who actually thinks this way should find the nearest street and jump in front of the first bus they see. "Fault" isn't quite the right word, but yes, Marty- it is the "fault" of mouth-breathers like you that Alomar isn't in the hall yet. You're too busy taking pointless holier-than-thou stances on irrelevant issues to just elect the best players. It's cute that the guidance manual says that you should consider character, but I have a hard time believing that whoever wrote that line intended it to be used to keep a guy with 10+ great seasons out for a year because he lost his cool and quasi-assaulted an ump once. Good fucking grief.

I hate baseball writers more than anything else in the world.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Keep in Mind:

If you think about the 2008 Giants/Patriots Super Bowl, 2008 ALCS, the Patriots missing the 2008 playoffs with an 11-5 record, the Celtics' game 7 home loss in the 2009 conference semifinals, the 2009 Red Sox/Angels ALDS, the Patriots' embarrassing home defeat in the first round of the 2009 playoffs, the Bruins blowing a 3-0 series lead and a 3-0 lead in game 7 of this year's conference semis, and finally, tonight's game 7 NBA finals loss...


Please please please please, Dan Shaugnessy or Bill Simmons. Fire up the self-pity machine and write that story. You know you want to. You know you need to tell everyone out there that IT'S NAWT FAY-UH and that NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO SUFFAH LIKE WE DO. I'm itching to read it. Even my wildest and craziest fantasies about what that article might sound like wouldn't be as awesome as the article itself.

Oh, and fuck the Lakers and their bandwagon fakeass moron fans as well.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Time to Rip Off Simmons (even moreso than I normally do)

[Note added after the post was finished: it's pretty long, and there's a link to a charity thing at the end. So if you're one of those people with a short attention span, just go all the way down and check that out.]

In what way will I rip Simmons off this time? I mean, everything I do rips him off in some way, because I'm super jealous of him, a fact which one or two Simmons fanboys are usually quick to remind me of in the comments every time I do a post on him. But THIS TIME I'll rip him off by doing a post that more or less amounts to a mailbag. Before we get there, though, let me provide you with some background/tell all four of you readers something I've wanted to tell you for a long time. In addition to being something I want to get off my chest, it will also give context to the post.

So the very, very brief history of FireJay is as follows: pnoles, Chris W, dan-bob, me, and maybe some other people got together via email and decided to form the blog in May 2007. We later discovered that there was already some blog out there called "Fire John Morgan" which we were allegedly copying, both in terms of format and content. Who knew? I had certainly never heard of them until some mean ol' commenters over here let me know of their existence. Anyways, that's how it all got started.

From then up until August 2008 (when I finally fulfilled my dream of one day studying law), FireJay ate up a lot of my time. I really got into it- tried to post every weekday, or at least three or four out of every five; checked the Google Analytics every single day; tried to get us linked on Deadspin and The Big Lead, even though The Big Lead is a complete and total travesty; frequently checked the email account and responded to anyone who wrote in; engaged in email back-and-forths with real sportswriters like Jeff Pearlman and Jerry Crasnick- yeah, I mean, I was into it. I guess you could say that I really wanted to be part of the BLOGOSPHERE.

In any case, like I said, in August 2008, shit changed. I got a lot busier than I had been, for one thing. I also was maybe a little burnt out on blogging- turns out that at some point, as most members of the BLOGSITES will attest to, it starts feeling less like fun and more like a chore. I know the other writers listed over there on the left sidebar will attest to that. (That's not a passive-aggressive dig at them- they already know I hate them for posting so infrequently.) So yeah, that's kind of how it's worked for the past 22 months or so. Posting has obviously tapered off.

But don't worry, this story doesn't end with "So that's why I'm telling you that we're shutting the blog down." No, not at all. We're going to continue at our current pace pretty much as long as we feel like; a couple shitty posts a week, many of them short. We'll keep half-assedly writing them as long as you keep half-assedly commenting on them! I mean, just because I'm not nearly as excited about doing this as I used to be doesn't mean I should stop doing it entirely. There's still shitty sportswriting out there and I'll be damned if I don't occasionally take a few cheap pot shots at it.

So if the point of the story wasn't to announce that we're shutting down the blog, what was it? Well, of course, part of it was to tell the few of you who are devoted readers and check the blog every day to please keep doing so. We're not going away entirely anytime soon. But the other part (which I really could've just come out and said, rather than taking this roundabout route) is to tell you that until tonight, I had not checked the official, Google sponsored FireJay email account since last August. I shit you not. Kind of crazy. I can't believe they didn't close it, really. But they didn't- and upon logging in, I was met with 5,000 pieces of spam (most of them announcing that we've won a lottery- a disappointingly small number of the "GROW UR DICK 9 INCHES IN A WEEK" variety) and about ten relevant emails.

So tonight, because I am both lazy and super jealous of Bill Simmons, I will write what basically amounts to a mailbag column. I bet maybe two of the people who wrote these emails end up seeing these responses, but that's OK. The rest of you can read anyways. And hey, maybe as a result you'll be inspired to write your own email to firejaymariotti@gmail.com; at this rate, I'll get back to you around April 2011. And awayyyyy we go.

On August 13, some dude who wrote a blog called Fire Rick Reilly (DOESN'T HE KNOW HE'S RIPPING OFF FIRE JAY MARIOTTI?????) checked in to thank us for adding him to our blogroll, which I had promised to do about a month earlier.

Hey Larry,

Thanks for your note. I appreciate you looking at the site and putting me up on your blogroll. Keep writing.


I say "wrote" rather than using the present tense because Fire Rick Reilly hasn't been updated since March 31. And I didn't follow through on that promise then. BUT I WILL NOW. Enjoy, Tapps. Maybe this will inspire you to get back into blogging so you can quit again in a few more months.

On October 6, Dan emailed us about Gene W. You know which Gene W he's referring to.

Please write about his terrible article about the game last night. He says he was raised on the Packers (long before Favre was around) yet he's happier to see Favre win than his favorite team tie up the division and get a key divisional win, not to mention sucking him off for every throw he made when he had all the time he wanted. And despite 2 turnovers, Rodgers still kept them in the game even though his line quit on him and the game changed for good after that 4th down drop. Swap quarterbacks and the Vikings probably win by more.

Apt analysis. Although let's not dump on Aaron Rodgers too much- not only is he a good QB, he also shat all over Tony Kornheiser last week. And anyone who does that is cool in my book.

He is a terrible writer, only using hyperbole and making stars like Favre and Tiger seem invincible, then disappearing or making excuses when they fail (like the Jets season and saying Tiger was absolutely winning the British, then after he missed the cut writing about how it's no big deal, Tiger's reign isn't over). Fuck him


Welcome to sports journalism, Dan. I assume that in the last 8 months you've become more and more familiar with the "make a bold/outrageous claim- pretend you never made the claim when you end up being totally wrong" phenomenon. You know, that's the one redeeming part about Around the Horn- all those morons call each other out for their dumb predictions since they see each other every day. And that's the last nice thing I'll ever say about Around the Horn. I also want to start ending emails with "Fuck [person place or thing] Larry" with no punctuation. I dig it.

From November 10 (email titled "GREGG EASTERBROOK!!!")-

Since I know you guys will comment on gregg easterbrook; column at some point.

I did.

You could comment on how he doesn't understand ineligible receiver rules.

Unfortunately, I didn't. I mostly bitched about the Crabtree Curse. BEWAAAAAAAAAARE

A couple weeks ago and in this week's coumn he wrote about a screen pass that goes for a touchdown that should be called back because of lineman downfield. But if its a screen pass behind the line of scrimmage it doesn't matter. I just find it funny he's brought this up multiple times. It might even be a weekly thing, I can't stand reading his whole column every week.

Have fun with this weeks TMQ,

"It might even be a weekly thing, I can't stand reading his whole column every week" pretty much sums up my thoughts on almost everything Easterbrook writes. Science fiction movies are unrealistic. The team in Friday Night Lights DOES NOT PLAY AN ACCURATE TEXAS HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SCHEDULE. There are football gods. Teams that kick field goals when they're down 35-0 with 3 minutes left are doing it because they are desperate to avoid shutouts. Etc. Although I've gotta say I do enjoy when he calls out public officials for spending money on ridiculous bullshit. That 1% of his writing is cool with me.

Fast forward all the way to December 30. James wants us to know that:

Jay has no facts but equates Leach to the torture in Midnight Express.
This joke of a sports expert has no credibility. He works with Craig James, he knows Craig James, thus James' kid can do no wrong.

If I never hear another word about Craig James's silver spoon fed crybaby spoiled child, I won't shed any tears over it. Obviously Mike Leach is insane, and probably did some shit he shouldn't have, but yeah- Craig James can kiss my dick for the way he handled that whole thing. And while I never read Mariotti's take on it, I'm sure that take was a complete and total fucking bullshit.

Maybe trying for some bromance with his colleagues. Ozzie Guillen had it right.

The Blizzard did indeed have it right.

On January 17, a dude without a name sent a link to an amazing article re: why stat nerds know nothing about who belongs in baseball's HOF and who doesn't. I'm not going to post the link because I want to do a full writeup of the article. It's preposterously funny.

The non-spam emails were coming fast and furious at this point. Must be the cold weather keeping people inside, right? Except that blog nerds are ALWAYS inside, which is why they don't know how to talk to girls or what it feels like to go from first to third on a single to right. So I guess that's not an explanation. Anyways, on February 9, Chris (a different Chris than before) wrote in:


As a fan of your site, I created my own version of the types of things you're well known for.

I hope you like it.

He attached a Fire____ type breakdown of an article about a Giants Eagles game from 2008. I'm very flattered. It's getting a little dusty in here, honestly. Good to know that as the non-asshole version of Ken Tremendous once inspired me (like... pre-2007 Ken Tremendous), I inspired someone else. The guy has a blog, but it's not a Fire____ blog- just a blog about shit he likes. I think it's kind of cool. He hasn't updated since late April though, so like FireRickReilly, this one's time may have already passed. Check it out anyways. (He didn't put his article breakdown on the blog- just emailed the text.)

Just a few days later, on February 14, Trevor asked us to:

Please please please please please please please do a takedown of Jemele Hill's latest column.

We didn't, unfortunately, but be sure to check out the column anyways. Guess what? It's fucking terrible. And somewhat topical, even four months later.

March brings a few things to the sports world: spring training, March Madness, and NFL draft hype. OK, spring training actually starts in February and NFL draft hype starts in September. But whatever. On March 17, annoyed by all the bullshitting and ridiculous prognosticating about a certain Jesus-loving now-Denver Bronco, Justin sent us a long and thoughtful email. He started by kissing our asses. Sort of.

Dear kind folks at FireJayMariotti,

I enjoy your site immensely, even if there has been a bit of downtime on it lately.

Right. Like I said though, don't give up on us.

Just as well, I haven't been as frequent a visitor as I used to be due to an uptick in things going on, so I completely and implicitly understand, and I'd apologize, I guess, but I'm not sure to what.

Right. Not sure where that sentence was going, but no apology necessary. So then Justin did kind of a cool "guess who said this?" setup and copied and pasted a couple pieces of analysis (analysis in italics) uttered/dictated by ESPN's talking heads without telling us who wrote them until later. The first:

So what I would do with Tebow is take him in the third or fourth round. I would commit to continuing to develop him as a passer and change his mechanics. But I would promise him and the team that he would not step foot on a football field on Sundays for two years. If that can take place in today's NFL, I believe Tebow one day down the road can be a successful quarterback.

And then the second:

I look at Tim Tebow as a football player,

I knew exactly who this commentator was once I read this. And I fucking despise him and his Legoman hair.

and that's one of the highest compliments I could pay a guy. Given the right circumstances and given the time to learn his craft at the NFL level, I don't think there's any question that he could be a successful QB. But here's his value in the first couple of years when he's probably not playing a lot -- he's going to be running a scout team situation and he's going to be making that defense better. They're going to ask him to run the Wildcat quarterback and he's going to be flying around the football field

What kind of field?

giving the defense an unbelievable look. An average Joe fan never sees that.

OK Justin. Take it away.

The first is Trent Dilfer.


The second is Mark Schlereth.


Yes, Tebow needs to be taught things and is a project, but the methodology they provide to make him into a top-flight player is nothing short of a combination between uneducated guessing and nonsensical ramblings.

I am simply astounded these two are continually allowed to appear on television, describing a game they once played (surprisingly) well with the logic and vocabulary of a six-year-old gushing over a toy.

Pretty much par for the course for most draft prospects, but yeah, ol' TT#15 seemed to get the "toy treatment" just a little bit more than the average dude.

Plus, Dilfer looks inbred.


I doubt this will make it on the site as an entry you tear asunder, but I still felt this travesty should be duly noted. Thank you.

Noted. Well, what Dilfer and Schlereth said eventually made it onto the site. And your analysis made it too! All because I'm too lazy to write my own analysis. Ah, user generated content: the wave of the future. (Did I use that term correctly? I'm really more of a first-wave blogger; all this newer internetty stuff is beyond me.

A guy who will remain nameless, just because I don't want this to somehow pop up and get him in trouble at his job (as a newspaper writer, no less! You know, someone who's part of the OLD media!), wrote in on March 22 to give us a big electronic high five.

I am the editor of a small paper and I'm with you --- I am even emailing you from my work account, cause this guy Mariotti is so shabby (in my opinion). I'm embarrassed by him, I hate his work so very much.

[Name withheld]
Managing Editor
[Vague Midwestern Sounding Location] Times

Ah, if only you and him could switch occupations, kind sir. Interesting use of "shabby"- I think of that as a British-sounding adjective, but it works well for Mariotti too.

March 29 brought a great email- probably my favorite in this bunch. It's from Rick, and he only has one thing to say:

The guy is a joke, fire away.

That's it. That's the whole email. Sounds like you need to start alsofirejaymariotti.blogspot.com. Rick. And you know, you remind me- PNoles really shouldered the Mariotti stuff, and obviously, he doesn't write here anymore. I should make a conscious effort to take on the JayBird more often. PNoles grew up in the Chicago suburbs, and I did not, so my personal distaste for him doesn't run as deep. But yeah, I should get on that.

The account was quiet for a couple months, until May 21, when another Chris offered some analysis:

In an article i caught today: http://jay-mariotti.fanhouse.com/2010/05/20/life-isnt-fair-when-nash-cant-win-title/

"The Suns have a problem down low named Amar'e Stoudemire, who is playing like someone who will be fleeing the desert in a few weeks and signing elsewhere. Unwisely, he ridiculed Lamar Odom's 19-point, 19-rebound breakout in Game 1, saying, "I'm not giving him no hype right now...

Can't disagree with Jay's general premise. Stoudemire is a fucking dingbat.

...Stoudemire didn't help the situation by refusing to back down from his comments. "Nah, I'm gonna always be myself,'' he said at a shootaround. "That's just my character. It's just what I was feeling. It's not happening any more. We're going to contain him.'' This garbage came only days after his 54-year-old mother, Carrie Mae Stoudemire, was arrested in Scottsdale for not having an ignition interlock device on her Lincoln Navigator. The device doesn't allow a car to start unless a driver breathes into it and records a legal blood-alcohol level. Stoudemire's mother, who has been arrested several times for charges including drug possession and prostitution, received a three-year prison sentence in 2006 after she was convicted of aggravated DUI following an accident.

Meanwhile, Odom was rolling his eyes about the lucky crack."

Hooooooooo boy. Hoo boy. That Jay- oozing class, as usual. Back to Chris's take on the whole dealio.

Mariotti jabs Amar'e's mother and then just moves on. If he wants to write an article about Amar'e's sad, sad family (2 brothers in jail, a deadbeat mom and non-existent father) then he can write it. Maybe it would bring context to the man's foibles. But I'm trying to figure out what bringing up her arrest had to do with Amar'e's comments. Nice journalism, ass.

So you're saying bringing up something tragic about someone's personal life DOESN'T add context to a discussion of game-related trash talk?

Please let me know if you run this.

I'm running it, because what you said rules. If I wasn't supposed to without clearing it with you, and you want me to take it down, DON'T send us an email about it. I won't get that email. Instead, leave something in the comments. And hey, although I've identified you as Chris, you're the third one I've mentioned in this post. So you kind of blend in.

Finally, just a couple weeks ago on May 29, commenter Fred Trigger wrote in about a worthy cause:

Hey guys, Fred Trigger, as I'm sure you dont recognize the name. Would you mind giving a quick link to friends of the blog Respect Jeters Gangster? They are trying to raise money for the Childrens Health Fund and are trying to get it as much exposure as possible. Here is the link.



No, thank YOU. Everyone click on that. And email it to everyone you've ever met. They're doing a raffle as part of supporting their cause, and the winner gets tickets to a Yankees/Red Sox game in August. Even if you fucking hate both those teams, which I kind of do, you have to admit that seeing a game between them in person would be kind of cool. And even if you don't want to enter the raffle, be a peach and help spread some awareness.

Well, I think this was sufficiently long. A real post, later this week? Maybe. Joe Morgan hasn't seen me post, so he can't say for sure whether I'll post again anytime soon. I might, or I might not. But anything could happen. It's a long season.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

You are not Clever. Shut Up and Go Away

Mark Jackson, talking over a replay of a Kobe Bryant fadeaway during tonight's game:

And the question is, Ko-be or not Ko-be?

No. That's not the question. It has nothing to do with the basket Bryant just scored. That wouldn't even "be the question" if Bryant were onstage somewhere, performing Shakespeare. Go into a cave somewhere and don't come out.

Since this is a super lazy and short post, let's add some variety! This is an incredibly badass article. No sarcasm. Read it. It totally doesn't suck. Long story short, the commissioner of the Big 10 is an evil genius and the commissioner of the Big 12 is a complete fucking moron. Spicy stuff.

Let's Just Change This Blog's Name to "Iron" Jay Mariotti

When an article's premise is that Justin Verlander is the best pitcher in baseball, you know you're in trouble. But here it is. (drumroll)

There is a touch of irony that Justin Verlander, the Tigers' staff ace, will enter his next scheduled start Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates with a career ERA of 3.90.

It's the same ERA Jack Morris posted during his major league career.

How is that ironic? They're nearly the exact same pitcher. Maybe if Justin Verlander were Bert Blyleven champion (and Jack Morris detractor) Rich Lederer and 3.90 were his average number of sentences per paragraph. But really, that would still be coincidental.

Oh in case you were wondering why Pat Caputo thinks Verlander's the best pitcher in the game?

Take any starting pitcher in baseball today. Who throws harder than Verlander? Who is bigger? Who combines it all with such a feel for pitching?

Nobody. In my opinion, Justin Verlander is the best starting pitcher in baseball today.

His ERA be damned.

Well then.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Armando Galarraga and Histrionic Whining

The sanctity of the baseball record books are challenged every summer in some respect. Steroids, balata-based balls, All-Star ties, 162-game seasons, midget batters, World Wars, the lowering of the mound, the raising of the mound, the designated hitter... every one of these has caused some variation in the sanctity of the record books. Any decently enlightened fan has realized that part of the job is to mentally adjust for the conditions and exceptions that have applied to the game over the years.

Whenever some new variation comes up, some writers inevitably call for adjustment to preserve the sanctity of the books. They're missing the obvious: the "sanctity" that they're preserving is only sacred because baseball fans and historians have learned to adapt their thinking. It's an insult to the fans to suggest that every record book entry requires an annotation giving every contextual detail.

The latest entry comes from ESPN New York's Ian O'Connor, who has supplied us with stupid before. He calls for Bud Selig to reverse Jim Joyce's call and declare Mr. Galarraga the author of a perfect game.

Hey Bud, don't shrug this one off

Bud Selig can get the shrug back. Right here, right now.

No, he can't. The shrug still exists. The shrug will always exist, unless we pull some Big Brother shit and destroy every copy of the news from the summer of 2002.

Mulligans aren't normally awarded in sports. Bill Buckner cannot get that Mookie grounder back, Scott Norwood cannot get wide right back, and Greg Norman cannot get a hundred Sunday putts back.

That's the whole POINT of sports. That's why we compete - to declare a winner. If everyone got do-overs, there'd be no point in competing. Everyone would just do it over until they got it right.

But Bud, this one's for you.

Ian, why?

Remember that shrug at the 2002 All-Star Game in your very own Milwaukee backyard, where you threw those bony hands in the air, slapped on your best Willy Loman expression, and told the finest baseball players in the world their spirited 11-inning contest would end in a 7-7 tie?

This is a poorly used rhetorical question couched within a poorly used rhetorical device (apostrophe) and tied to a poorly used allusion. I feel poorer, like Willy Loman near the end of that play, for reading that paragraph.

You're getting a do-over, Bud, and here's a little unsolicited advice: Don't shrug this second time around.

He didn't shrug. Also this is not the second time around; this is a totally different situation.

Invoke your best-interests-of-the-game powers to make Armando Galarraga and Jim Joyce and Jason Donald and the rest of baseball whole.

I don't know why sportswriters consistently think baseball is broken or dying. Baseball has had thousands of blown calls over the years - some even in games of much more gravity than an early-season non-division matchup. Somehow, it continues. This whole article is dramatic silliness. It is a tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing.

The imperfect man pitched the perfect game, Bud, just like the old newspaper story said.

That's a reference to Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series. Did you other readers recognize that immediately? I had to google it.

The offending umpire, Jim Joyce, is in full agreement even as he picks through the rubble and ash of a distinguished baseball life.

Ash? Rubble? Is a volcano metaphor really appropriate right now when thousands of Icelanders are viciously dumping their geological shit all over Europe?

"It was the biggest call of my career," Joyce conceded as he reportedly paced in his dressing room, "and I kicked the [stuff] out of it. I just cost that kid a perfect game."

And yet, he didn't. Everyone knows it was a perfect game. I suspect that Armando Galarraga will receive more press, notoriety, and mention than Dallas Braden ever will.

So this isn't only about granting Detroit's Galarraga his rightful corner of history, or about acknowledging that Galarraga caught Miguel Cabrera's throw and put his foot on the first-base bag before Cleveland's Donald did the same.

He HAS his rightful corner of history. And everyone already has acknowledged it.

This is about freeing Joyce from the grim prison cell that will hold him for the rest of his professional days.

Good lord, this is dramatic nonsense. Yes, he will get a lot of annoying press. If he has the sense to not buy into the hand-wringing whining of people like Ian O'Connor, he'll have a fine life.

Don Denkinger can fill you in. He once told me on the phone about his infamous blown call that turned the 1985 World Series, when he ruled Kansas City's Jorge Orta safe at first before replays showed that the Cardinals' Todd Worrell had beaten him to the bag.

And that's why Bud Selig can't reverse a call. You can't just go back and start changing calls, even if they were wrong. The game is over. Umps have always made bad calls. No amount of sentimental nonsense or played-up drama can change the fundamental nature of a sport officiated by human beings.

"It's a crushing feeling," said Denkinger, who received death threats and a never-ending stream of hate mail from gamblers and fans. "You can't imagine what a person feels when you're written about, talked about, and then they show 13 different angles of the call in slow motion."

Hate mail from gamblers? I already imagine that most sports gamblers are dummies, but I can't even fathom having the gall to risk thousands of dollars on a sports contest which has a huge luck factor to begin with, and then complaining when a person makes a good-faith mistake.

Don't want to get yelled at over a bad call? Don't become a professional baseball umpire.

Life isn't fair, but we like to think of stadiums and arenas as places to go to escape life for a few hours. Games are supposed to be fair. What went down in Comerica Park on Wednesday night was a million miles from fair.

Ian O'Connor is somehow confused into thinking that every game was perfectly fair up until June 2010. And the thing is: it actually was completely FAIR. An unbiased, independent third party who is not related to or paid by the Detroit Tigers or the Cleveland Indians organizations made an objective call with a clear view. It was completely fair. It just wasn't accurate.

So the expanded use of instant replay is the issue of the day, the item atop the commissioner's morning agenda. Only there's no time to measure the merits of technology against the charms of a sport officiated by fallible men.

What are you saying here, Ian? That if Bud makes the decision today, it'll be better than if he makes it tomorrow?

That debate isn't going to help Galarraga, or Joyce, or millions of right-minded baseball fans who need some healing ASAP.

Healing? Who out there is healing from this terrible injury wrought upon us all? A plague of locusts has struck the land thanks to the pernicious villainy of Jim Joyce!

Selig shouldn't wait. Even the city of Cleveland would be with him on this one.

Haha, Cleveland sucks.

He wouldn't be fighting a powerful and antagonistic players union over the issue of performance-enhancing drugs, and he wouldn't be flexing his pecs in an attempt to stop or expedite the sale of a team.

What? So, Mr. O'Connor, you're ENCOURAGING him to gain PR points for a cheap-shit sentimental issue like this one and make the call that would make a bunch of people feel happy but violate the sentiments of the game?

Selig would simply be using his power to call a batter out at first. If the "best interests of baseball" clause doesn't cover that, what the hell does it cover?

Eddie Gaedel is still in the books, even though the commish tried to strike him. This kind of stuff just happens in baseball, and really, nobody is hurt by it, since everyone knows Galarraga pitched a perfect game anyways.

There is only one real danger here: the precedent of allowing the commissioner to redact the results of a game based on popular outrage. That simply can't be allowed to happen - just as Ford Frick is justly hammered for insulting the fans when he tried to intervene in the record books to preserve the public's vision of righteousness.

Even the commish isn't above the rules.

"I just watched the replay 20 times," Galarraga said, "and there's no way you can call him safe."

He's right.

Baseball players, coaches and managers are taught to move on from a moment like this. Get over it. Prepare for the next day's game.

Good advice for you to take, Mr. O'Connor.

You're supposed to live and die with the good and bad breaks, and remember that the 162-game season is an endless narrative that rewards the characters who weather the most plot twists.

Sounds good to me.

But those terms of engagement just don't cut it here. There's no moving on from the damnation of the 21st perfect game in history, and the third in a month.

"Damnation". "Grim prison cell". "Healing". Good lord, the histrionic diction of this article is nearly making me swoon. If I had a wife and I lived Victorian England and I read this to her, I would need some smelling salts and my fainting chair.

This commissioner has always loved to be loved. In fact, I've never met a sports executive who cares more about his or her public standing than Bud Selig.

And that's why I'm almost surprised that he made the right decision by not caving to the immediate pressure of sentimental writers and fans. Good for Bud - by taking an unpopular stance, he avoided setting a dangerous precendent. Choosing to restore the perfect game would have been easy for Bud to do, but would have added to the weight and pressure put on future commissioners in similar situations.

He wants you to appreciate him for introducing the wild card, for authorizing the Mitchell Report, and for giving birth to the World Baseball Classic. He would also prefer it if you forgot all about that 7-7 score at the 2002 All-Star Game.

Who really hates Bud Selig for that, anyways? Actually, the real problem with that game wasn't Bud's decision to allow it to end in a tie... the real problem with that game is the nonsensical pandering of the managers trying to get as many players in the game as possible.

Well, here's your big chance, Bud. The Tigers are in the books as 3-0 winners either way.

So grab your heaviest lumber, step into the box, and remember one last thing:

Don't shrug.

He didn't, and I'm glad. If you want to see hilarious examples of incredible shitspouting braindead fluttertalk, read the comments on the ESPN article. They're so awful.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

UPDATE: Irony Correctly Identified by Sportswriter!

Irony in its many forms has become a subject for Larry B and Jack M's ire. There are literally sixteen posts which are labeled with some form of "irony". (Note: this does not mean that there are literally sixteen posts which are labeled ironically: I suspect that at least 500 of our 1,098 posts are labeled ironically.) Several of them are celebrations of sportswriters' own ignorance, which causes a form of dramatic irony where the reader knows more than the sportswriter, in much the same way that an audience just wants to tell poor Othello about Iago's treachery. Too bad the writers' ignorace doesn't lead them to a similar tragic end. Perhaps, in some way, blogs like this one aim to restore harmony between writers and readers by exposing the writers' own ignorance, much as an audience might want to save the Moor by exposing his lieutenant in Act II.


You may have heard - on Monday night, the Dodgers beat the D-backs on a game-ending balk call. The situation was a little unorthodox. Earlier in the inning, James Loney had walked and advanced to second on Casey Blake's single - but was thrown out when he slipped while foolishly trying to advance to third. He thought he had killed a rally. Blake eventually worked his way to third and scored while distracting the D-backs' reliever, Esmerling Vasquez and causing a balk.

After the game, star MLB.com reporter Evan Drellich's column seems to have correctly used this contentious term:

For Loney, there was redemption knowing that the team won. And there was a little irony, too: Blake said he would not have tried to distract Vasquez with less than two outs.

In this case, I think it makes sense. Simply and naively defined, irony exists the separation between what's usually expected to occur and what actually occurs; or, verbally speaking, between what words are expected to mean in their literal sense and what they actually mean in the context they're used. That's mainstream sarcasm because the intended meaning of words doesn't correspond with the literal spoken meaning. The intended meaning is the opposite of the literal meaning.

In this case, Loney appreciates the irony because he thought his gaffe would have decreased his team's probability of winning. Consult:

As it turns out, Mr. Loney was quite right - the win probability chart above suggests that he decreased his team's chance of winning by nearly 20% with his stupid baserunning. Doubtless, in that case, it's better to play a little bit conservatively on the basepaths: there's no way that advancing to third would have raised the win probability by the corresponding amount.

Now the larger irony rests on Blake's statement - that, actually, Loney indirectly increased the win probability through his blunder - since Blake wouldn't have tried to distract Vasquez otherwise. If we take Blake's statement at face value, this is a textbook case of situational irony.

I feel like calling shenanigans on Casey Blake, though [postgame interview video here]. It's a pretty strong statement that you have absolutely no confidence in the batter if you're resorting to fake steals of home to try to get the picther to balk. Blake DeWitt, you got shamed.