Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Duh Gee Mr. Bill Sports Man I Sure Think Yer Smart n' Funny So Here's a Letter Sayin' That Stuff

I didn't think there was a way for him to become any more insufferable, but Bill's mailbags are getting progressively more self-serving every time he runs one.

Q: LeBron made announcement at 6:27 pm PT. Surprised he didn't do it at 6:24 so he'd be guaranteed to be Finals MVP next year.
-- Ryan, Indianapolis

SG: (Shhhhhhhhhhh.)

Q: For my 24th birthday, my roommates bet me I couldn't take 24 shots. They were right and I only made it 6 shots before I blew chunks. Thankfully, my roommate is a Lakers fan and he still named me MVP of my birthday.
-- Dan, Davis, Calif.

SG: (Shhhhhhhhh … no talking in the dugout.)

Hey, I tried to warn you last week- this isn't going to stop. For at least a year, or possibly ever. He'll write a Super Bowl preview article (as long as the Patriots make it... /rimshot) six months from now that features fifteen "6 for 24" jokes. It's inevitable. I mean, it's not like Kobe led all players from both teams in scoring during six of the seven games (including game seven, where pretty much no one on either team could have thrown the ball in the ocean if they were standing on the beach). Or averaged 27, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals for the series. Pau Gasol, presumably Bill's pick for the award (GUESS WHAT COLOR PAU'S SKIN IS?), was probably better than Kobe in games two and seven. But Kobe probably owned the other five games, and played well enough when the chips were down in the 4th quarter of game seven (1/3 from the field, 8/9 from the free throw line, 4 rebounds).

Let's take a peek at the stats for 2008 Finals MVP Paul "I flash gang signs on the court, but I'm too much of a dipshit to cop to doing so, oh and I also fake injuries and one time I got stabbed in the face" Pierce. What's that? 2 for 14 from the field in a game three loss? 4 for 13 in the game six series clincher? HOW COULD THIS MAN HAVE POSSIBLY WON THE SERIES MVP, THIS IS THE GREATEST TRAVESTY SINCE THE PATRIOTS MISSED THE 2009 NFL PLAYOFFS WITH AN 11-5 RECORD

Q: Would you have disagreed with an Atlanta Hawks fan assassinating Joe Johnson before he could sign that max $120 million contract?
-- Jared, Milwaukee

SG: I disagree with premeditated murder in all forms. Just one of my controversial takes on life. But you did stumble upon a fantastic sports movie idea: A die-hard Minnesota fan tortured by years of losing finally snaps after bumbling Wolves general manager David Kane (played by Greg Kinnear) signs overrated franchise player Ruben Tugg (played by Drake) to a franchise-crippling $120 million deal, then vows on a sports radio show to murder Tugg in the 10 days leading up to July 15 (when Tugg can officially sign the contract), prompting Minneapolis police to

This goes on for like ten more sentences. Douchechills. I think Bill needs a VP of Common Sense to edit his columns and tell him when to cut out 400 word non-jokes.

Q: The Decision had to be one of the five biggest days in the history of the NBA to not happen on the court. What would be your top 5 for this category? For me it goes like this: 1. Magic announces he has HIV; 2. Jordan's first retirement; 3. The Decision; 4. Len Bias; 5. Jordan announcing he's coming back. Your thoughts?
-- Luke, Rochester, N.Y.

SG: Mine goes like this: (1) Magic/HIV; (2) Bias; (3) "The Decision"; (4) MJ's 1995 comeback; (5) the day the Fab Five guys decided to wear loose shorts, which eventually persuaded everyone in the NBA except John Stockton to wear loose shorts (and ended the Nut-Hugger Era).

LOL @ every Boston fan's inability to get over Len Bias. It's like their own little Kennedy assassination. Look, the guy was really good in college. Maybe he would have become an all star or all time great. Maybe he would have either busted or had a mediocre career like so many other lottery picks. But good gravy on biscuits, to say that was a bigger moment than MJ's first retirement or first comeback, you'd have to be overdosing on cocaine. That's not even a discussion. It's like trying to claim that the microfracture surgery that ended Greg Oden's first season before it even started compares to, well, Len Bias's death.

Q: Is "If you wrote it as a movie script, nobody would believe you" the most overused line in sports?
-- @caffmeister (via Twitter)

SG: I would have agreed until "I've decided to take my talents to South Beach" became an iconic sports quote along the lines of Denny Green's "They were who we thought they were!" and Mike Gundy's "I'm a man! I'm 40!"

LeBron's quip isn't even in the same time zone as either of those in terms of "fame" (for lack of a better word to describe how popular a quote becomes). And I don't anticipate it getting there. Why would he think that that's the case?

I think "taking my talents to South Beach" will be overused because it's so malleable -- in just the past two weeks, it became a phenomenal masturbation euphemism and replaced "I'm gonna go take the Browns to the Super Bowl" as the funniest way to announce to a group of people that you're heading to the bathroom (and not to pee).

What? Who is doing this?

On top of that, it's a fun way to announce to friends that you're moving, getting married or switching jobs, as my buddy House proved in a mass e-mail last week that started

OOOOOHHHHHHH. Bill and his friends are doing it. I see. My mistake- I was foolish enough to think that we were talking about things that lots of people everywhere were doing, not just five or six unfunny 40-somethings living in California and New England.

Q: You're missing an essential ingredient to American interest in the World Cup: For once America is the underdog, and by quite a bit. It taps into that "little train that could" American desire that dates back to the Revolutionary War. Remember America's greatest sports moment is the '80 US hockey team beating the Russians … and really no one here gives a flying F about hockey.

-- Brett, Los Angeles

Actually a pretty decent point by this guy, I think.

SG: A great point. This is the WNBA's big mistake: If it ever wants to get people talking in America, it needs to start challenging men's teams and trying to pull its own version of USA 4, USSR 3.

My idea:

Always a good idea to prepare yourself for something mind-numbingly stupid when he types those words and then a colon.

Instead of the WNBA All-Star Game, let's say the league held a six-team, three-day tournament featuring the 2010 McDonald's High School All-American boys, a team of retired NBA players, the reigning Division III men's hoops champs, the Harlem Globetrotters, a team of celebrities and famous athletes (Terrell Owens, Floyd Mayweather, Michael Rapaport, etc.), and the 2010 WNBA All-Stars.

It's pretty clear that this answer is more joke than "no, really, it's a real idea, I'm serious," but it's worth noting that every one of those teams except the celebrities (and maybe the retired NBA players if they were older than 45ish) would probably beat the WNBA players by about 70 in a 48 minute game. It's certainly not a perfect analog, but for a little support for this line of thinking, Google "Karsten Braasch faces Venus and Serena Williams."

First of all, would you watch? (Yes. Of course you would. I would, too.)

Great measuring stick. You know what we need? More reality shows about attractive people looking for love, or people who are good at singing and dancing singing and dancing together, or assholes with social problems living in a house and getting shitfaced and fighting/fucking one another. Would you watch? Hell yeah you would! That's all that's on TV these days so it must be good for something.

Second, would it be the biggest moment in WNBA history if its All-Star team won this tournament? (Yes. Indisputably.)

Those All Stars can play the McDonald's All-Americans 1000 times- if the high school kids actually treat the game like it's one they really need to win, they will win all 1000 times. Probably by dozens of points each game. Many of those guys are one or two years from being in the NBA and a few of them are three or four years from being NBA stars. The WNBA's 6'3" power forwards really aren't going to be able to do much on either end of the court. I'm not trying to hammer this home too aggressively because I don't think this is a "no I'm not kidding, seriously, this would work" idea on Bill's part. I'm just calling it like I see it.

Third, if that team got waxed in such a tournament, would anyone hold it against the league? (No way.)

Yes- it would make them the laughingstock of the sports world for weeks (imagine good ol' sexist Woody Paige ripping them on Around the Horn) unless they played the game the day before the Super Bowl or something.

Q: As a female, I usually have a hard time admitting that I read your articles. I have a harder time admitting that I think you're hilarious. I feel like I should despise you on principle, because let's be honest, you're a pig. But I do like you. More than I care to admit. I find myself referencing you in everyday conversation. If I can use you to back up what I'm saying, I think it has more weight. And when guys find out I like you, they love it (thanks for that). So my question is, how do you do it? How have you managed to make a self-respecting woman eagerly await your next column, even though I've come to expect you to have at least one disrespectful comment in there?
-- Amanda, Richmond


Q: Did the disallowed handball goal in the Ghana-Uruguay game go down as the most blatant exploitation of rules in sports history? It was like if goaltending was called on the game winning basket of a Game 7 and instead of counting the basket, the rules dictate that somebody has to make a free throw to win the game. Are there other rule loopholes like this?

-- Brad Armstrong, Indianapolis

Well, no, it's not quite like that. Because of that play, Luis Suarez was awarded a red card and had to miss Uruguay's semifinal against the Netherlands. And since he's their second best player... yeah, that probably cost them. This question would make more sense if some nameless scrub defensive substitute had committed the handball. I mean yeah, Brad's got the right concept, but it doesn't apply well here.

SG: Only one that I could think of: If a player were running the winning touchdown down the sideline, then someone on the opposing sideline jumped onto the field and tackled him. But in college and pro football, I'm pretty sure that's an automatic touchdown. (This actually happened once: in the 1954 Cotton Bowl.) But that's the parallel. Seems like the easy rule fix would be this: If you commit a goal-line handball in extra time in the World Cup, it's an automatic goal.

Hooray! Let's allow soccer refs to make more judgment calls! Perfect solution! Listen, no one wants to commit a n obvious handball and award the other team a penalty kick. The penalty kick goes in 95% of the time (note: statistic completely made up) and you always end up looking like an asshole walking down the tunnel into the locker room. I admit that Uruguay got away with one, but the odds of that scenario repeating itself are slim to none.

Q: The MLS is taking the stance that Donovan is not for sale. While I think it's great to have Donovan in the MLS, this is not beneficial for American soccer. Donovan is in his prime, unlike Thierry Henry (on the downside of his career). Donovan should be playing in the EPL against the world's best competition, not in the MLS (minor league soccer).

-- Art Morath, Akron, Ohio

SG: Couldn't agree more. I don't see the MLS ever being bigger than Triple-A baseball in America, which is fine;


Triple-A baseball sells out stadiums,


works as a feeder system for the majors and remains lucrative.

Yes, structurally. They didn't come up with the idea themselves or anything. It's not like some genius AAA baseball team owner was sitting around one day, lighting his cigar with a $100,000 bill, and said "Wait! I've got it! We'll collaborate with Major League Baseball!" Additionally, MLS is already bigger than AAA baseball because dozens of its games are on national cable TV every year. Such a subtle detail could only escape Bill. Also,


Q: Am I the only one who does the following? Whenever I get more than about three-fourths of the way down your mailbag, I start scrolling very slowly through each question and answer so that the next one doesn't appear. That way, I won't errantly glance down and see the "Yup, these are my readers" line below, which ruins the surprise. It seems silly but also necessary -- it's much more satisfying to read the e-mail in anticipation of the eventual YTAMR.

-- Ari Ofsevit, Boston

SG: Yup, these are my readers.


Kill yourself.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Old Gold From Jemele Hill

Here's some old crap from Jemele Hill:

Katy Perry tops the Maxim Hot 100 List? Are you serious?

Yes, that's the title of the article.

With all due respect to the brain trust at Maxim, but your top choice for hottest woman on the planet only proves the magazine seems to have forgotten one very important thing: It's the Maxim Hot 100 list, not the Maxim Great Personality list.

If it was "The Maxim Great Personality List," then Katy Perry wouldn't be in the top 1,000, and the top three would be: The Most Interesting Man in the World, Joe Francis, and Jason Statham in that order. However, this is The Maxim Hot 100 list which is a euphemism for "Female celebrities who our readers have been masturbating to vigorously over the past 12 months." I'm sure a quick Google Images search would validate Maxim for putting Katy Perry at #1.

Look, no disrespect to Katy Perry, an accomplished singer and songwriter who now wears the crown as Maxim's hottest woman, but if she's the hottest girl in civilization, why did the mag choose Victoria Secret model Selita Ebanks for the cover instead of Ms. Hottie? Sounds like a subconscious admission that Ms. Perry ain't that hot.

Just what ESPN needs, a reporter who's not afraid to psychoanalyze the Maxim editorial staff.

I realize part of the fun of Maxim's list is that it's always good for stirring debate, but this year's list seems more flawed than usual.

No, you just feel like throwing a stink this year.

From the sports world, Lindsey Vonn, Danica Patrick, Grace Park, Stacy Keibler and ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews all made the list (Patrick was ranked the highest at No. 25). No arguments there.

That's actually Grace Park of Battlestar Galactica fame. Way to get a fact wrong in the most softball of softball articles.

But did Elena Dementieva, Anna Rawson, and Natalie Gulbis, suddenly cease to exist?

No, they're just not well known enough to make it onto Maxim's list.

Surely one of them could have replaced, say, Chelsea Handler?

Maybe, but then again, who gives a shit?

And speaking of omissions, how can any list be taken seriously if it doesn't have Beyonce or Halle Berry as one of the world's 100 hottest women?

And there it is. Two high-profile black females were snubbed, and therefore, the list loses all credibility. You know, all that credibility it had had from being in the pages of fucking Maxim.

Yes, Berry and Beyonce have made the list numerous times and part of the Maxim's challenge is to introduce new faces, but if regulars Angelina Jolie and Brittany Spears made the list, so should Berry and Beyonce.

You almost have to admire the fact that Jemele Hill plays the race card even when discussing one of the most chauvinistic magazines in America's ranking of women as objects.

And let's just face it, women like Berry and Beyonce just deserve automatic bids.

No they don't, but seriously who the fuck cares?

If Maxim's mission was to choose a No. 1 that would get everyone talking, it worked.

Didn't hear anyone mention it until I saw this article.

But let's just say there are a lot of women who feel a lot more self confident today.

Yes, all those millions and millions of women out there who are better looking than Katy Perry can walk around with the confidence that maybe they too will be #1 on the Maxim Hot List, assuming they become one of the eminent pop-singers in the country and don't get bumped from the list to make room for Halle Berry and/or Beyonce.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Even Jeff Pearlman's Hindsight is Myopic

The summer heat has taken its toll on my weary mind, so in this post I'm just going to focus on why Jeff Pearlman is silly to think that Scott Kazmir's flameout validates Jim Duquette's incredibly stupid move to trade then-stud prospect Scott Kazmir for Victor "No I'm Not Carlos" Zambrano in 2003. So in other words this might not be very funny ("Don't worry! Your posts never are!" say the legions of FJayM readers).

Called Jim Duquette yesterday. Left a message for him at the Sirius XM office, where he hosts a show with Kevin Kennedy. Mentioned that I'm working on a column about Scott Kazmir.
Never heard back.

Good for you. Is this what sports journalism has become in the age of the internet? "I know people in the sports world! No really, I know people in the sports world. They talk to me sometimes! Except when they don't!" See also King, Peter

I'm not upset. Duquette is someone I know a little bit, someone I like and respect as both a former baseball executive and, now, as a fellow member of the media. Maybe he was busy. Maybe he had to cook dinner, fly to Guam, buy a sofa, meet my Uncle Marty for sushi.

Well, la di da

My guess, however, is that Duquette simply doesn't want to answer the 432,532,211th question of his life about Kazmir, Victor Zambrano and the ill-conceived trade that overshadowed his brief career as general manager of the New York Mets.

Hard to blame a guy for not wanting to talk about an epically stupid trade that saw past his prime (if there ever was a prime for the guy) Victor Zambrano come to NY for two years, strike out 6 people per 9 with a one and a half whip and a sky high ERA (not to mention 0.1 WAR over the two years, if you believe B-R) in exchange for one of the best prospects in baseball who--despite a disappointing end to a once promising career still put up solid-to-very-good numbers for Tampa Bay for dirt cheap. Pretty easy to see why the guy would assume most people writing columns about that trade would rank it one of the worst of the last decade.

I completely understand.

In the words of Christian Bale: "Ohhhhh good for YOU!" (sorry guys, my computer runs a few months slow)

It has been nearly six years to the day since Duquette, in his only season as New York's GM, famously dealt his team's top prospect, the 20-year-old Kazmir, to Tampa Bay for a pitcher who, in 2003, led the American League in walks, wild pitches and hit batsmen. Not that Zambrano didn't have an upside. He threw hard, his fastball had some wicked movement and, at age 28, he was still in the prime of his career.
"The feeling is that we still have a chance (this year)," Duquette said at the time. "We're still in the mix. Let's go for it. With these guys added to the rotation [the Mets also acquired Kris Benson from Pittsburgh] we have a chance to win every night."
The trade was a disaster.

Well, the trade was certainly a disaster, but I do take issue with the idea that when you trade for a pitcher in the last year of his prime in order to get his services for half a season you're "getting a pitcher in his prime". But whatever.

Here's where the article gets dumb:

While Duquette was certainly foolish to take on Zambrano, his worries about Kazmir have, by and large, proven true. At the time of the deal, Kazmir boosters were comparing the youngster to another Ron Guidry. Both were small (Kazmir is 6-feet, 175 pounds), left-handed, fluid and hard-throwing. Yet how many Ron Guidrys are there? Truth is, when the Mets brass watched Kazmir throw, they often saw another Bud Smith, a slight St. Louis left-hander who, as a rookie phenom in 2001, went 6-3 while tossing a no-hitter. Smith was briefly the talk of baseball, but after pitching terribly early in 2002, he was traded to Philadelphia and never heard from again. He was small, he was left-handed -- and he broke down.
Yes, Scott Kazmir has had a nice career. But nice is often misleading. Now in his seventh full season, Kazmir has never posted an ERA lower than 3.48, has never won more than 13 games and has only thrown one complete game -- in 2006. After beginning last season with an 8-7 record and 5.92 ERA for Tampa Bay, he was unceremoniously shipped to the Angels for Sean Rodriguez and two prospects.
Now, with his velocity down, his once-potent slider nonexistent and his ERA a major league-worst 6.92, Kazmir has been placed on the disabled list by an organization perplexed and befuddled by a should-be ace. He recently made the worst start in the 49-year history of the Angels, permitting 13 earned runs over five innings against Oakland. "Looking at video, I can't even tell if that's me out there," Kazmir recently told ESPN. "It's getting a little out of control."
In other words, the man has broken down. He will likely never be Ron Guidry or, for that matter, the Scott Kazmir of four years ago.

Ok. Let's ignore for one second that Kazmir actually had a very solid career for the Rays for quite a while*

*Over four full seasons in the toughest division in baseball, Kazmir averaged a 3.51 ERA, 9.7 K/9 and and 2.3 K/BB. If you care about such things, he also made 2 all-star teams)

But even if we ignore that, this trade is one of the dumbest I can remember (I mean, not on the Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser for AJ Pierzynski level but what really is?). Why's that? Well, Jeff in his neverending superficiality doesn't realize that trades can't really be evaluated in hindsight. Trades aren't made with a priority on looking back. Sure, we all do it, and it's kind of fun to talk about how bad Brock for Broglio was, and certainly the Mets would have been kicking themselves even more if Kazmir were Cooperstown bound.

However the fact of the matter is without becoming masterfully familiar with scouting and organizational depth, really the only way a casual fan can evaluate a trade is to consider whether the GM got adequate value. I'm not talking from a SABRmetric standpoint "does this guy have a 37% chance based on the Pacific Coast League's park effect factor to succeed in which case we need to get at least two times his value in order to blah blah blah" (not disparaging this BTW, just saying it's not germane to my point). I mean in the very simple sense:

Can a GM get more value for his player than he got and can he get it easily?

Scott Kazmir at the time of the trade was one of the top prospects IN BASEBALL. Now, some things to consider: top prospects are valued less than proven young stars by anything but the most cost-conscious of GM's; furthermore the MLB of 2003 was less young-talent driven than the MLB of 2010; finally, even the most talented pitchers have a high flameout rate and thus many GM's are less likely to give up value for them than a young position player.

With that said, of his class of players (Minor League pitchers) Kazmir was one of the 5 most valuable in baseball. Duquette traded him for: absolutely nothing. Zambrano is a zilch. Your favorite team's minor league organization has, right now, probably 2 or 3 players that can produce at the level Victor Zambrano did for the Mets (and more importantly, did before he came to the Mets). The question a fan should ask--if they want to be fair to the GM--is not "Did it work out well for the team" but rather "Did the GM make the best trade he could."

The answer here is that Duquette did not. And more than that, he probably made the worst possible trade that was on the table for him in 2003. The worst. I would be shocked if any other GM in baseball would trade a top 10 MLB prospect for a Victor Zambrano. It just doesn't happen.

Jeff should know that. But of course, he doesn't. I wonder how he invests? Do you think he sells $50,000 worth of stock for a hundred bucks and then crows about what a smart move it was when the company goes bankrupt seven years later?

I suppose he probably wouldn't, because this is the last snippet of the column, immediately following his litany of mitigation on Duquette's behalf:

This doesn't mean Jim Duquette was right. The trade was unambiguously dumb and irrational and unsophisticated.

Well thanks for wasting my time. A final note:

The baseball landscape is one littered with boneheaded swaps -- many worse than Kazmir for Zambrano.

My fucking ass. Let's run it down:

1.) Mets trade one of their most valuable chips
2.) For a shitty player
3.) Who has a shitty career for the Mets
4.) While the player they traded away has a very solid career
5.) During the years he would have been under contract to the Mets
6.) For cheap
7.) During years when they missed the playoffs three times by a cat's whisker

Name me 10 trades in the past 20 years that were worse than this, either in how it looked at the time or how it looked after the fact. I think you might have to think a while to come up with five.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Bill Simmons: Obnoxiously Writing About a Whole New Sport

Yes, this was published weeks ago. Yes, I will still blog about it. No, World Cup fandom has done nothing to change any of the things that make Bill intolerable. OH BY THE WAY, CAN YOU BELIEVE KOBE GOT NBA FINALS MVP EVEN THOUGH HE SHOT POORLY FROM THE FIELD IN GAME SEVEN? Get ready for references from Bill about that for the next ten years. Anyways-

Am I really posting a 4,500-word soccer column on the same day all hell is breaking loose for the biggest NBA summer ever? You're damn right I am! I'm tired of wondering where LeBron, Wade, Nowitzki and everyone else will land.

And you are in no way responsible for the hype that surrounded that whole scene.

I'm even more tired of people reporting about things that might happen, could happen or seem likely to happen. Just tell me when they happen. Thanks.

So I can update my Book of Basketball (and ridiculous bullshit I pulled out of my ass) accordingly!

In the meantime, let's play 20 Questions with the 2010 World Cup.

Typical obnoxious Simmons article structure- HE will tell YOU what the twenty most important questions regarding the World Cup are.

Question No. 1: What's been the single best thing about the Cup so far?

I love the Cup because it stripped away all the things about professional sports that I've come to despise. No sideline reporters.

That's only a factor if you're watching on TV.

No JumboTron.

That's only a factor if you're at the game, and even then, is pretty easy to avoid.

No TV timeouts. No onslaught of replays after every half-decent play.

I like replays. They let you see what those world class athletes out there on the field (the SOCCER field playing with a SOCCER ball) did.

No gimmicky team names like the "Heat" or the "Thunder." (You know what the announcers call Germany? The Germans. I love this.)

Actually, they're also known as the Mannschaft. And lots of teams have nicknames- the Yanks, the Roja, the Azzurri, the Black Stars, the Elephants, etc. How do we know which ones are gimmicky, like Heat and Thunder, and which ones are not, like Red Sox and Celtics? We just ask Bill.

No announcers breathlessly overhyping everything or saying crazy things to get noticed.

Hello, pot. Meet kettle. (Replace "announcers" with "half-assed columnists" of course.)

We don't have to watch 82 mostly half-assed games to get to the playoffs.

Actually, World Cup qualifying is an incredibly complex and lengthy process. You don't have to watch it, of course, but then again you don't have to watch the NBA's regular season either.

We don't have 10 graphics on the screen at all times.

What is this referring to? Has Bill confused watching sports with playing sports video games? Because yeah- Madden has like 10 little boxes on the screen most of the time. But no live broadcast of a real life event I've ever seen does.

The World Cup just bangs it out: Two cool national anthems, two 45-minute halves, a few minutes of extra time and usually we're done. Everything flies by. Everything means something.

I'm not in this camp, of course, but there's a pretty substantial chunk of the country that considers soccer to be the slowest-moving, most boring, most useless sport of all time. And I'm not sure how "everything means something" applies to a sport where one team can hold a 65%/35% possession advantage, a 12 to 3 corner advantage, a 24 to 8 shot advantage, and still lose. (Spain's group stage loss to Switzerland.)

It's the single best sporting event we have by these four measures: efficiency, significance, historical context and truly meaningful/memorable/exciting moments.

Again, classic obnoxious Bill. Makes an unsupported point; then makes up a rubric of evaluation that shows that the point is obviously correct.

You know … as long as you like soccer.

Gotta unsarcastically credit him for throwing that in there.

Question No. 2: What's the second-best thing?

For me, it's been the schedule. See, my son (aka The CEO) wakes up every morning at 5:30 by opening his bedroom door, stomping out, slamming the door as hard as he can,

"Blah blah blah I have a family." Don't care.

Question No. 3: Why do we wait every four years to have the World Cup?

When I argued recently that the Cup should be every three years, readers flooded me with reasons it couldn't work: It's too expensive (apparently the Cup always loses money for whichever country gets it); they'd have to do too much reconfiguring for smaller tournaments already in place (note: I don't get that argument; that's like saying you can't have the Oscars interfering with the SAG Awards or something); people like having it every four years because it's more meaningful that way (by that logic, you should have sex every four years, too);

It's really not. At all. Good try though.

and most importantly, FIFA never wants to go head-to-head with the Summer Olympics.

My counter for the last argument: Why not? So … we'd have MORE sports on? Wow, that sounds terrible! I'd hate to have all those exciting things to watch.

Classic obnoxious Bill- having a World Cup and the Olympics during the same summer would be awesome for HIM- so why could it possibly be bad for anyone else? Complete failure of comprehension- TV ratings, money, attendance, location bidding issues, etc. But all Bill hears is "Wait- but haven't you considered how AWESOME it would be????" On a similar note, let's play game 7 of the World Series during halftime of the Super Bowl somehow. That'd be swell.

The best every-three-years case for both the Cup and the Olympics: When it's every four years, you might miss an athlete's apex completely. Look at Larry Bird: The Basketball Jesus peaked from November 1984 through April 1988 before his body started to break down. Had he played in the '84 Summer Olympics, he wouldn't have reached his apex yet. Had he played in the '88 Olympics, we would have caught him right after his prime.

Classic obnoxious Bill- he apparently knows the timeframe of an athlete's peak, down to the month. I'd love to find another Celtics fanboy who's 100% sure that Bird peaked from March 1984 through July 1988 and lock him in a room with Bill. Further, how fucking ridiculous is it to say "Larry Bird's peak was (allegedly) only three years and seven months long- therefore, if we continue to have the World Cup only every four years, we could miss an athlete's prime!" Good grief. Get over yourself and your anecdotal analytical abilities, Bill. You know what? Some athletes only peak for a six month stretch- we need to have two World Cups every year! AND NONE OF THEM SHOULD HAVE JUMBOTRONS!

We want the best of the best at their absolute best -- by going four years (and not three), you're taking a chance that a transcendent athlete might have the misfortune of peaking at the wrong time.

Seriously, you're a complete fucking dingbat.

Question No. 4: How many times did you regret not ditching your family, ditching the NBA Finals, ditching the Celtics and flying 20 hours to South Africa for the World Cup?

"Let me tell you about this decision I agonized over!" Don't care.

Question No. 5: Speaking of the vuvuzelas, did you really tell a friend that you have developed Stockholm Syndrome with them?

That's true. I don't mind them any longer. I like the World Cup, so the vuvuzela sound has become Pavlov's dinner bell for me. I hear them and think, "Cool, the World Cup's on!" By the way, you know something is historically annoying when you can compare it to a hostage sympathizing with his or her captors and the comparison actually works.

I unsarcastically agree. I will probably forever associate vuvuzela sounds with the 2010 World Cup. And it's not a bad thing.

Question No. 6: Was it good or bad for the World Cup that Italy and France got bounced in the group stage?

I'm going with "bad."

Shocker that the guy who doesn't pay attention to baseball unless it's Yankees-Red Sox or hockey unless it's Bruins-Canadiens would go with that answer.

I love when two old-school powerhouses battle with an underlying subplot of, "Yeah, it's just soccer right now, but back in the old days, these two countries actually tried to destroy each other." Keeping USA, Spain, Germany, England, Italy and France around as long as possible makes me think about the Boston Tea Party, the War of 1812, Neville Chamberlain, Napoleon getting overthrown, multiple wars, Thomas Jefferson throwing his genitals around France like a boomerang, Benedict Arnold switching sides, all the times France surrendered or withdrew, and basically everything good and bad that's ever happened between those six countries.

History summary fail.

Look, I loved watching France's tournament unravel, and it's always funny when countries live up to their worst possible stereotype. But losing Italy AND France? Too big a double whammy. Maybe it's not as bad as losing Federer and Roddick before the semifinals at Wimbledon, but it's not ideal.

(Let's wait a second for every NBC Sports executive to stop nodding grimly.)

This "it's about the stars, not about the competition" thing is one of the biggest problem with sports these days. Aaaaaand... I'm not going to bother writing about it right now. Maybe someday. If I ever get out of this basement.

Question No. 7: You haven't handled Boston's Game 7 loss to the Lakers very well. What was the snarkiest e-mail or text you sent to a Boston friend after hearing that Kobe was attending the USA-Ghana game?

Guess what? He gives two answers, both of which can be summarized as "BOOO IT'S NAWT FAY-UH KOBE IS NAWT A TRUE MVP!!!"

Question No. 8: After a few legitimately horrendous World Cup officiating moments, as well as FIFA's bizarre refusal to incorporate instant replay haunting the Cup multiple times, do you feel better or worse about officiating and leadership in American professional sports?

Question No. 9: But you'd still love the NBA to incorporate the yellow/red card system for flagrant fouls and technical fouls, correct?

[Legitimate and non-obnoxious responses omitted]

Question No. 10: Who does Lionel Messi look like? It's driving me crazy.

Dustin Hoffman in "All The President's Men."

There must've been a Jersey Shore, Karate Kid, or Victory (Don't know what that movie is? Join the club and don't tell Bill) reference in there somewhere.

Question No. 11: What was the funniest thing you've read about the World Cup this month?

I liked Michael Davies' take on England's demise: "Americans will never completely understand how crap it is, most of the time, to be English. We might have cute accents and be good at cocktail parties. But we are mostly losers." That slayed me.

Who the fuck still uses "slayed?" Especially in the context of "made me laugh" rather than "committed date rape?"

England's fatalistic, self-loathing, S&M-style attitude toward its national team tops Buffalo Bills fans, Minnesota Vikings fans or even Cleveland fans.

Question No. 12: Come on, it can't TOP Cleveland fans -- at least say it's dead even, right?

Good point.

Eh, as a side note, I think they're dealing with the LeBron thing about as well as can be expected. Not saying they're rational or that they all deserve a pat on the back, but... eh. Shrug.

Question No. 13: If you could change anything about soccer, what would it be?

I hate how teams milk leads in the last 15-20 minutes by faking injuries and taking forever to sub players. When that Ghana player had to be carried off on a stretcher at the tail end of the America game, then hopped off like nothing ever happened as soon as the stretcher was out of bounds, I thought that was appalling.


Actually, it made me want to go to war with Ghana. I wanted to invade them. I'm not even kidding. That's another great thing about the World Cup: Name another sport in which you genuinely want to invade other countries when you lose.

Hockey? Pretty much any team sport in the Olympics if the stakes are high? Alternate answer: thanks, Bill, for assuming everyone felt the same way about the Ghana loss as you. Personally, I thought Ghana played pretty clean. After the game I was pissed at Bob Bradley and virtually no one else.

Question No. 14: What's been the strangest thing about the 2010 World Cup?

To hear Germany described in such likable, underdoggy tones. Who would have thought these young upstarts would jell this fast? It's like the announcers were talking about the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays or something … if the Tampa Bay Rays had started two world wars and nearly brought down Europe.

And of course, if your knowledge of world sports comes from somewhere other than 80s movies, you know that the German soccer team isn't really a bunch of direct descendants of Hitler.

Question No. 15: Your friend Chuck Klosterman thinks

Question/response involves Klosterman. Don't care.

Question No. 16: Who will win the 2010 Cup?

This was written just before the quarterfinals started.

I picked Argentina, so I'm sticking with them. Second choice: Brazil. Third choice: Germany.

Lost in the quarters, lost in the quarters, lost in the semis.

I never understood why people were discounting Argentina solely because of Diego Maradona.

Pretty much no one was.

How much damage can a soccer coach really do with a stacked team that's always better than anyone it's playing? When Bob Bradley screwed up the Ghana game because of his inexplicable "Screw it, I'm not starting my best 11 guys" strategy, that's a different story: We couldn't beat Ghana unless we played well and avoided any major boners. How can you screw up a team with superstuds like Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez on it?

Typical obnoxious Bill, trying to pretend like he actually knows shit about this.

Question No. 17: Hold on, you can't let Maradona go that fast. Where does he rank for Unintentional Comedy on a scale of 1 to Ron Artest?

[Legitimate and non-obnoxious response omitted] At least Bill and I agree on one thing: Artest rules.

Question No. 18: After USA's exit in the round of 16, should American soccer fans be disappointed? Proud? Ambivalent? Frustrated but appreciative?

I can't think of anyone in the sports media less qualified to answer this question.

I'd go with the latter.

[Incoherent argument, essentially stating that the US team may be hitting a ceiling for the time being because we don't have the kinds of world-class superstars other teams have, omitted]

Question No. 19: Thanks to last year's Confederations Cup and Donovan's extra-time goal last weekend, do you think soccer is finally taking off in America?

Put it this way …

When I was in the third grade (1978), people thought soccer was taking off in America.

When I was a freshman in college (1988), people thought soccer was taking off in America.

When I was a barely employed wannabe sportswriter in Boston whose life revolved around the O.J. Simpson trial and partying every night (1994), people thought soccer was taking off in America.

When I was living in Boston with my fiancée and writing for (2002), people thought soccer was taking off in America.

I am 40 years old. I live in Los Angeles. My hair is turning silvery white. I have a wife, two kids, a mortgage and that same ESPN column. Guess what? People think soccer is taking off in America. Only this time … I agree with them.


Also, I can't speak for 1978 or 1988, and I can barely speak for 1994 as I was in grade school then, but I've been a die-hard sports fan with a bunch of friends who are the same since about 1998. No one thought soccer was taking off after the U.S.'s success at the 2002 Cup. I think Freddie Adu's "arrival" on the US Soccer scene a year later generated more hype than the 2002 quarterfinal appearance.

Question No. 20: Wait a second … you agree with them? YOU AGREE WITH THEM???? You sap! They say this every four years and it never happens!!!! Klosterman is right! You are the Manchurian Soccer Candidate!

Hear me out …

Nope. It's an eight paragraph answer that's basically just about Bill and Bill's life and Bill's friends and Bill's text messages/emails and how a younger version of Bill might have reacted to Donovan's goal against Algeria. Bill Bill Bill Bill Bill. Bill is an asshole and I hate him and his writing.

Now please, everyone go leave a comment about how I'm just jealous because I wish I had his job.

Friday, July 16, 2010

More Stupid Shit from Deadspin

This post on Deadspin easily wins the award for dumbest post on a major sports blog for the year 2010. Let me sum it up for you:

- Via semi-anonymous tipster, Kazi, Deadspin acquired a picture of (at the time) a midshipman football player who was grinding on a woman of a different race than him (the horror, the horror!).
- Writer(/Editor?) David Mathews decided not only to run the picture because it's hilarious(?), but also provide a short biography of the midshipman in question, including a link to linkedin profile. (hint: no one you know has ever heard of him)
- Mathews concludes by saying:

It seems that [midshipman] is a sharp guy, but he probably won't be running for Congress any time soon. If that's not [midshipman] in the picture, I'd like to send my sincere apologies to [midshipman] at this point.

Some random thoughts:

- What the fuck makes that picture even post worthy? Up until the moment this post went live, no one in America had any idea who this guy was. But now that we have a picture of him grinding on a girl, that's supposed to be funny? What am I missing?
- Just as I asked in my last post: why is his name and biographical information at all important? Is the difference between him being a supply officer vs. a cargo pilot really the difference between a slight chuckle and a belly laugh?
- Why shouldn't the midshipman be running for congress anytime soon, aside from his age? Last time I checked dancing, even of the "freak" variety, is legal and considered acceptable in the parts of the country that allow inter-racial marriage.
- David Mathews tops off this cup of shit by off-handedly mentioning that he can't even verify for sure if it's the guy who he says it is, so he's sorry for being an asshole if it's not the guy who he says it is. But if it is the guy who he says it is, then he's not sorry for being an asshole.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Deadspin: pseudo-journalism at its worst

Let me preface this commentary on Deadspin with semi-standard boiler-plate:

1. I read Deadspin compulsively every day. Almost exclusively for the Drew Magary content; he leads the league in laughs.
2. Say what you will about Will Leitch, but Deadspin was far better under his stewardship, back when they actually used to talk about sports, and not just how ironic and/or post-modern the editorial staff's view of sports is.
3. I think for every 100 comments on Deadspin, the break down is as follows: 49:49:2 :: offensive for the sake of being offensive : patently unfunny : laugh out loud funny. (Still a better ratio than any recent episode of Family Guy.)

Today, Deadspin kicked off what they're calling The Search for America's Dumbest Student-Athlete. Deadspin's head-editor, A.J. Daulerio, stated the goal of the mission:

to show how your university is, in some cases, probably doing more harm than good. We won't name you, but we will name the dumb-dumb, if necessary.

In theory, I like what they're trying to do. The facade of the student-athlete (especially, but not limited to, Football and Basketball) is such a laughable farce that the NCAA deserves to constantly have its balls busted for it. However, the methodology that Deadspin is using is anything but scientific. At the very best, they might turn up enough anecdotal evidence to make a thin argument that certain universities aren't doing a good job at preparing student athletes for the real world.

However, if you're at all familiar with this blog, then you're well aware of the fact that anecdotal evidence is almost completely useless in arguments like these. In the two pieces of "dumb" student athlete work posted so far, barely any context has been given. We don't know if they were first drafts, what grade the athlete received, etc. All we know is that a college-athlete wrote something really dumb, and the college in question may or may not be culpable.

While the lack of scientific integrity is bothersome, the much bigger concern is how readily apparent it is that this whole exposé is merely another vehicle for belittling and laughing at those who happen to be good at sports. In just the second post (I'm not going to link to it, but I'm sure you can easily find it), the student-athlete's name, school, picture, and (just in case the player's identity was at all in doubt) team profile page were all provided to the Deadspin readership. Daulerio claimed that he would only "name the dumb-dumb, if necessary," and yet, Daulerio's already done so for seemingly no other reason than to provide a name and face to mock.

This feature will undoubtedly draw a lot of criticism, which will be met by Daulerio and his apologists hiding behind the veneer of a high minded journalistic mission, a mission which is still-born due to its childish manner. A few months will pass, and everything will be forgotten, before Deadspin contrives some way to lower itself deeper into the gutter, and its place at one-half notch above a supermarket tabloid will be further secured.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Great Headlines Department

Hey folks, this post comes to you live from the tiny town of Tricastela Spain, where everyone here sure has World Cup fever! The game tonight should be exciting, and with any luck Spanish soccer fans are as pyromaniacal as Ohio State fans.

ANYWAYS, I have only one thing to offer. I don´t know if this already made the rounds of internet hilarity, so forgive me if you´ve already seen this one. The actual article is a bunch of stuff about track, so who cares since it´s not the Olympics. So, without further ado, the headline:

Tired Gay succumbs to Dix in 200 meters

Well, that´s all for this post, folks. See you in my next post unless Spain burns down tomorrow and I don´t make it out alive.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Just Because I Miss 'Em

My small amount of presence here on FireJay in recent months (years) is primarily attributable to the fact that I have had little-to-no time to blog it up. Truth be told, it's wedding and graduation party season, and I've got only so much time to myself, most of which is spent doing actuarial assessments and studying for exams. Which I guess, to the blogging community, makes me a huge nerd. Which, i guess, to the non-blogging community makes me some sort of sub-human creature, perhaps a cross between a ferret and a sea-slug, with comically large reading glasses.

Last night, I was talking with a close friend of mine, Dan (not the -bob variety), and he asked me why I don't post anymore. I told him that my reasoning behind my COMPLETE absence instead of very sparse presence is because I refuse to post things just to feel the need to defend myself against other people (read: person) (read: read: Chris W.) who post on this (read: blog) website (blog). As I've stated, I'm a firm believer of the FireJay guys being on the same team, and not tearing each other down. Without that, I might as well write elsewhere (I didn't).

Anyway, the reason you were all treated to that bit of hypocrisy on my part is because, well, frankly, I've been a little bored for a few minutes here and there, and I actually found myself reading Fire Joe Morgan archives, and chuckling stupidly to myself reading them. I know it's customary to make "what the hell is 'Fire Joe Morgan' " jokes around here, but truth be told, that IS where we got the idea, right? And let's be honest, that site did have pretty amazing content, even if ZOM G THOSE GUYS RLY HATE THE WHTIE SOXSSCSDXXXX AND ECKSETEIN!!!

So for better or for worse, I'm bringing back old memories with this one. Like it or not. We're gonna do a Joe Morgan Chat

Joe Morgan: As usual, there are a lot of omissions and a lot of players who are not happy with not making the all-star team. I can understand their frustration. It also happened to me on a couple of occasions. One thing to remember, when I was playing, there were 25 players on the roster and now there is 34. You have much better chance of making it now than before.

Hey Kevin Youkilis and Jered Weaver, Joe can totally understand what you're going through.

Only back in Joe's day, there were 9 fewer players on the team, so, ya guys can't really be THAT good.

Matt (Jacksonville): Joe, what is the problem with the Cubs? They have talent, but they can't seem to consistently put it together.

It has been over a year and a half since Fire Joe Morgan posted something. Matt (Jacksonville) still thinks this is funny.

Joe Morgan: The Cubs have had this problem for the last few years.

They were the best team in the world in 2008, which certainly falls under the last "few" years regardless of your definition of "few", but I guess that wasn't consistent enough.

It seems they can't get the right pieces to match.

What in the world does this sentence mean? Though if Jim Hendry really thought he was managing a jigsaw puzzle instead of a baseball franchise, that would explain a lot of things.

For a while they hit well but didn't score. Now they're pitching better but not hitting. They have not been able to perform at the high level it takes to win the Central division.

Matt: Hey Joe, what's wrong with the Cubs?

Joe: Well, for starters, they're really lacking in the "performance" department.

I think they've made some mistakes as far as evaluating some talent. put it mildly.....

In the long term that hurts you because a lot of the players there performing and you have some players getting paid a lot and not performing. It can drive a wedge between teammates.

Nary a mention of RamRam and his .268 OBP or the fact that Derrek Lee isn't outslugging Jeff Baker, who is having a terrible season. And for the record, Tyler Colvin has been batting cleanup for the Cubs recently, so I don't think he's really worried about higher paid players overshadowing him.

David Waddle (Park Hills, Ky): Do you agree that Joey Votto was robbed? First in HR, 3rd in B.A, and 5th in Ribbies. If you are choosing based on First-Half performance, which the manager SHOULD be...I'm glad he's not an umpire! He would have never made it into professional ball.

This topic has definitely been beaten to death, and the world's consensus is: "Yes, absolutely."

Joe Morgan: I don't think there is such a thing as robbed. I think there is such a thing as being overlooked.

That's a contrast! Let's boil those words down to their meaning, in context.

I don't think there is such a thing as [not getting put on the All-Star team when you really deserved to be]. I think there is a such thing as [not getting put on the All-Star team when you really deserved to be].

First of all, I'm the biggest Joey Votto fan, because I'm a Reds fan. I've watched him grow into one of the best hitters in the NL.

No one cares.

There are two ways of looking at this. First of all, the fans had a chance to vote him in and they didn't. Secondly, the players had a chance to vote him in and they didn't. So, how can you blame Charlie Manuel?

Easy. The fans voted in one 1B. The players voted in another 1B. Charlie Manuel had 100% jurisdiction over the final 9 roster slots, and he selected another first baseman not named Joey Votto. This is not a difficult concept to understand.

I would say that Adrian Gonzalez' numbers are not as good as Votto's. Howard has more RBI than he does and Howard has led his team to two World Series the last two years. He's been the MVP and ROY of the league.

Really? The fact that Howard won the 2006 MVP entitles him to play in the 2010 All-Star Game?

No, no, wait, really, beyond that. Why the fuck does Howard winning the Rookie of the Year award in 2005 entitle him to be on the All-Star team instead of Joey Votto???

1) How did Chris Coghlan get snubbed this bad?
2) Why isn't Omar Vizquel and his copious Gold Gloves in the game instead of Adrian Beltre?

If that doesn't make him an all-star, then I don't know what does.

Idiots that constantly overrate Ryan Howard?

It seems all of a sudden, we're only concerned with the first three months of the season. What's an all-star? The three months leading into the game or the full body of work. In any case, I think he should be on the all-star team. We'll leave it at that.

Joe Morgan's 2010 AL All-Star starters

C: Jason Varitek
1B: Jim Thome
2B: Roberto Alomar
SS: Derek Jeter (just kidding, it's Dave Concepcion)
3B: Alex Rodriguez
LF: Gary Sheffield
CF: Grady Sizemore
RF: Ichiro (won the ROY in 2001)

It's about the full body of work, people.

Pete (San Francisco): Who are your AL and NL MVP's at the half-way-point of the season? I know we still have half a season to play, but if you were forced to choose someone from each league to be an MVP at this point in the season, who would it be?

Joe Morgan: In the AL, I would pick Robinson Cano.

Not a terrible choice.

His team has the best record in the league

Couldn't be less relevant even if it dove into a vat full of radioactive irrelevance.

and he's their leader,

Did....did Derek Jeter pass away recently? I'm amazed that wasn't in the news.

The NL is a little toughter. I would have to give it to 2-3 guys: David Wright, Troy Glaus, Pujols.

Sounds good, pretty reasonable, go on.....




Wait a minute.


Troy Glaus, the first baseman hitting .257/.362/.448.

Troy Glaus, the guy who isn't on an All-Star team, despite the fact that there are 4 NL All-Star first basemen.

Most. Valuable. Fucking. Player.

Then I'd have to give Scott Rolen and Joey Votto a nod. I don't think it's as clear cut in the NL as it is in the AL.


Tito (Brooklyn): Joe, Ryan Howard said the other day that he hasn't found a consistent groove at the plate yet. What do you think he needs to do to be more consistent?

Tito (Brooklyn) is still amused by this as well....

Joe Morgan: I think he has been a consistent hitter this year. His batting average has been over .290 most of the year. He's struck out fewer times and he's still hitting home runs, though he might not be hitting as many as he wants.

So far, pretty good reply to the JoeBait.....

It seems like people want to down play what he's accomplished. That's amazing to me. This is a guy who has averaged 40+ home runs and driven in well over 100 every year. He's won an MVP and led his team to the World Series the last two years. A first baseman's job is to produce runs. I don't understand why he doesn't get the credit for being the run producer that he is.

Joe's demands are simple. Will SOMEONE in the fucking world take notice of Ryan Howard already???? I, for one, am sick of how overlooked (or is it "robbed?") that Ryan Howard is getting!!!

KC (ATL): It looks like playoff baseball in Philly against the Braves. Can the Braves hold them off over the long haul?

Joe Morgan: The Braves can win, the Phillies can win and the Mets can win.

So, it could be....

1) The Braves
2) The Phillies
3) The Mets

Who else is in the mix?

The Mets are in the mix as well.

4) The Mets

They'll get Beltran back. Watching Santan last night tells me that he's going to pitch well the rest of the season.

Good, yeah, The Mets definitely have a shot. Who else do we need to watch out for?

Don't dismiss the Mets.

5) The Mets

Anyone else?

And if the Phillies can get all of their players back healthy, like Utley and Rollins can get back to his game, they can win.

6) The Phillies

Whew...okay...that has to be all, right?

And the Braves can win.

7) The Braves

It's a 7-horse race in the NL East folks, can't wait to see how it plays out!

It's too early to decide.

8) Too Early to Decide might make a late charge as well.....

Rob (NY): The AL Central is pretty much up for grabs at this point. Who do you think comes away with that division?

Joe Morgan: For a long time I thought it was going to be the Twins. They just have a knack for winning and knowing how to play the game and not making mistakes.

Brennan Boesch and Carlos Guillen are oblivious to the rules of baseball. Also, I nearly jizzed my pants when he said the Twins have a knack for not making mistakes, but was mega-sad when I then discovered that the Twins actually have the fewest errors in the majors.

You have to look at the fact that Joe Mauer has only four home runs. His run production is down and therefore that's going to effect the Twins more than people realize down the stretch.

So Joe Mauer's production through the first week of July is going to "effect" the way the Twins are playing in September.


I really think it's going to depend on who makes the right deal at the deadline. If Detroit, Minnesota, Chicago were, to say, get Cliff Lee, then that's the team I would favor.

If, one, of those, teams, would, have go,tten them I would, have to agree.

Rob (NY): Hey joe lets get a LeBron prediction from a fellow beloved ohio ballplayer

Joe Morgan: First of all, I am a HUGE NBA fan.

I think your credibility here is SEVERELY hurt by the fact that you probably also consider yourself a HUGE MLB fan.

But I will say this: I am personally turned off by all of this. In my opinion, if LeBron goes and plays in Miami and Wade and Bosh, then he's throwing his teammates in Cleveland under the bus as if it were their fault that they didn't win in the NBA last year.

LeBron James, 2010 Playoffs: 29.1/9.3/7.6. Yeah, he really sucked it up in Game 5 against Boston, but it's VERY safe to say that Cleveland lost for non-Lebron reasons.

I've always talked with Bill Russell, the greatest champion in team sports,


and he always said it was his duty to make his teammates better. If LeBron goes to Miami, he's saying it wasn't his fault, it was someone else's. I would not want to have that opinion of LeBron.

Then don't.

That didn't make much sense at all, now did it?

If Kobe, LeBron, Wade, Bosh and Dwight Howard all went together, they'd probably win a championship. So, if you can orchestrate who you can play with at the right time, anybody can win a championship.

It sounds like Joe knows EXACTLY as much about the NBA as MLB.

Ryan (PA): Am I the only person who would prefer players from their team not make the All-Star game? I would rather have them have a couple days rest, especially the pitchers from the team I route for.

Joe Morgan: I think you're the only one that thinks that way.

Ouch. Ryan (PA), you just got JoePwned

Players will tell you that when they do not make the all-star team, they prefer the days off. But guess what? If they were selected to the team, they would happily go. Any player, who's a good player and wants to be the best that he can be, wants to play in the all-star game. The all-star game solidifies your place as one of the best players in the game.

Like Omar Infante and Evan Meek.

I wouldn't want to be on a team where players didn't want to be their best.

.....thanks for that.

In this new age it seems that we don't take the all-star game as seriously as we did in the past.

All-Star Game "in the past": Meant nothing, exhibition.
All-Star Game "in this new age": Determines home-field advantage in the World Series, a big deal for any contending team.

[insert sarcastic joke pointing out how clearly wrong Joe is about this]

Blech. That took too long. But I've had fun.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Will Leitch: still annoying

Will Leitch wrote a rather innocuous article about the whole Lebron thing. I get that Leitch's whole thing is to be prosey and whimsical, but the way he ended the article is embarrassing.

And the fear is that we won't be the same. The fear is that we've truly seen the ugly, dark heart of sports, and we won't be able to come back. It feels extremely stupid to be a sports fan. It feels pointless. None of this felt harmless tonight. And we allowed this to happen. Perhaps this is what we deserve. Perhaps this will be good for us, all of us.

Let us all just hope everybody feels better in the morning. Some morning, someday.

Leitch infers the following:

1. Sports fans never really saw the greedy underbelly of American sports until "The Decision."

2. Now that sports fans have seen it, they will question whether they still want to watch sports.

3. "We allowed it to happen."

4. Sports fans will somehow be traumatized by all this, but hopefully, they will feel better "some morning, someday."

Shut up, Leitch.

Okay, yes, the whole televised special was a terrible farce. However, Leitch implying that this is some sort of transcendent event from which sports fans may never recover is astoundingly idiotic. Like some Yankees fan is going to turn on the TV today and say, "you know, I just don't know if I can stomach watching the Yankees because I know that deep down, some of the players are only in it for themselves and the money." Give us a fucking break, Will.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Memo to ESPN: This Headline is Still Pretty Much Unacceptable. And Fuck You for the LeBron TV Thing

Still dumb and unnecessary, although less awful than yesterday's. What is the obsession with puns?

Headlines ESPN considered but rejected (most courtesy of Chris W):

Puyol la Tengo
Don't Put it in my Puyol
Pardon me but do you have any grey Pu-yol?
Spain't no Doubt About it
No Spain, No Gain
In Spain in the End Game
That's the Sound of Men Working on the Spain Gang
Are you a Germaid? No I'm a German
Spain Washes Hands, Kills Germ(an)s
A Bunch of Deutsch Bags

All of those would be better.

By the way, read this, because it's (unsarcastically) awesome. And not much else needs to be said about this LeBron ego fluff special tomorrow. It's a fucking disgrace. Wojnarowski nails it. The only way that won't be the most pathetic hour of manufactured TV in history is if LeBron comes out, says "I'm coming back to Cleveland... JUST PLAYIN'!" And then Donnie Walsh comes out cackling with a briefcase full of money, and LeBron puts on a solid gold crown with a Knicks logo on it.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Memo to ESPN: This is Not Acceptable

The sooner crap like this stops, the less likely it is I punch a hole through my laptop screen. (And to be fair, it's certainly not just ESPN.) Here's a fucking suggestion guys: how about "Netherlands Wins." How about "Dutch Advance to World Cup Final." How about anything but using a painful stretch of a pun to reference a movie that has nothing to do with the World Cup, the Netherlands, Uruguay, soccer, or sports.

Cockgobblers. Stop trying to be fucking clever for a day or two and just give me some sports news. You don't need to spice it up and stylize it. If I want that kind play-on-words shit, I'll just watch some old tyme TV programs.