Monday, November 28, 2011

I have literally (LITERALLY literally!) been waiting 32 months to write this post

[In the words of Bart Scott, this post goes out TO ALL THE NONBELIEVERS. Yeah, FireJay may have seen much better days, but we're not dead yet. We're just slowly bleeding out. And we'll stop breathing only when we're good and ready.]

Give Bill Simmons credit where credit is due: he knows a lot about whether or not he is acquaintances with Jimmy Kimmel. He also sometimes occasionally bumblefucks his way into some half decent NBA analysis. In February of 2009, he wrote an article about how (and to what extent) the NBA's revenue system was broken and what fans could expect when the then-current collective bargaining agreement expired in the summer of 2011. He was right in a lot of ways; the CBA was awful for the owners, the owners were pretty awful at managing their finances regardless of the content of that CBA, and trouble was brewing.

Had he left his analysis there I wouldn't be writing this. But I remember reading his article and chuckling at some of his dire predictions regarding how things would shakeout in the aftermath of the impending lockout. I said to myself, "Assuming I don't die in a tragic sex accident between now and the fall of 2011, I'm going to rip this apart one day." And sure enough, I managed to completely avoid any and all sexual activity between then and now. Women don't dig basements I guess. Anyways, let's take a trip back to February of 2009 and look at Bill's analysis of "The No Benjamins Association." See, the problem wasn't Bill's premise- it was the comical hyperbole and scare tactics he used to try to support it. I usually don't link to Simmons (or anyone, really) but since this article is so old I'll buck the trend this one time.

I skipped my annual NBA All-Star Weekend column because I was frantically trying to finish my book. At least that's how I rationalized it. I need to finish this book. I have a deadline. I can't afford to spend that writing time on anything else. But after reflecting for a few days, I came to a sobering conclusion: The book was a convenient excuse. I could have found time to pump out that column. I just didn't want to hand it in.

See, it wouldn't have been a typical All-Star Weekend account for me. It would have been about money. You might remember me writing that the NBA was the No Balls Association two years ago.

Man, did I enjoy that column.

Now it's the No Benjamins Association. Nobody is rolling in Benjamins anymore. Everyone is scared. Money hangs over everything.

Funny twist- the theme of his whole article then was about how the NBA was triple fucked because of money, money, money. And then this week one of Bill's hand picked Grantland writers released a piece about how the lockout was never about money; it was purely about power. I will not set myself on fire while telling you stories about my kids and trips to Vegas with my friends.

[Ten paragraphs about how the league is financially screwed combined with anecdotes about how ZANY Celtics fans are when they visit other teams' arenas omitted.]

Yet declining attendance isn't even one of the league's four biggest problems right now. I would rank the top four like this:

1) Len Bias- still dead
2) Zombie Sonics! Or something!
3) Kobe won finals MVP after being the best player on the team that won the finals BUT OHMIGOD HE SHOT POORLY FROM THE FIELD IN GAME 7
4) Milwaukee's owner won't return my calls- doesn't he know that 200 of their fans who also like me signed an internet petition to make me GM?

1. The 2011 Lockout That Hasn't Happened Yet

Someone In The Know told me that 20 of the 30 NBA teams will lose money this season … and we haven't even come close to hitting rock bottom yet. Just wait until next season.

Yeah, just wait!

Which brings us to the Lockout That Hasn't Happened Yet. Unless the players' association agrees to major concessions by the summer of 2011 -- highly doubtful because that would involve applying common sense -- the owners will happily lock out players as soon as the current CBA expires, then play the same devious waiting game from the summer of 1998.

A waiting game that lasted SEVERAL MONTHS before a new agreement was reached and a shortened season with full playoffs happened. How strange that the exact same thing is going to happen this time around. But fuck being reasonable about that possibility; it's more fun to act like there's some kind of chance the league was going to miss multiple seasons (see below). Look, I'm not trying to play "nah nah toldja so" with Bill here. I probably should have posted about this article when I originally read it. But he's just so... Simmonsy. He can't just make a point; he has to try to pound his nail into the wall with a sledgehammer. And in doing so he butchers the point and wrecks his credibility.

David Stern will grow another scruffy beard. The owners will plant their feet in the sand, grab the tug-of-war rope and dig in. Only this time, they KNOW they will win. See, we learned a dirty little secret in the last lockout: An inordinate number of NBA players live paycheck to paycheck. Yes, even the guys making eight figures a year. You can play high-stakes poker with them … and you will win.

Quick tangent: You're asking yourself, "Wait, how can a dude making $8-10 million a year live paycheck to paycheck?" Easy. First,

And you can sort of imagine what it would sound like when a white guy from Boston paints a picture of how NBA players could be living like this. NOT DAVID LEE THOUGH! HE'S CAREFUL AND JUDICIOUS WITH HIS FINANCES!

Team Stern and the owners know this better than anyone. They will pick the next fight, and again, they will win. When the players' union waves a white flag and the lockout finally ends (2012? 2013?),


I was actually scared for a couple weeks there that the lockout could potentially wipe out this season. I don't think the odds were ever over 25%, but I was sweating a little. To pretend that it might not have ended until 2013, though, is pure lunacy.

I predict a raise of the individual salary max (to $24-25 million), a softer salary cap, a restriction on long-term contracts (can't be more than three years unless you're re-signing your own star), the elimination of opt-out clauses and the midlevel exemption, and the rookie age limit rising to 20. That's seven predictions in all … and I bet I'll end up nailing six.

Simmons predicting his own predictions will be right: least surprising thing in the history of sportswriting things. Let's see how he did.

I predict a raise of the individual salary max (to $24-25 million),

Actually sort of got this one right, in the sense that teams can now spend a larger portion of their cap figure on one guy. 1 for 1.

a softer salary cap,

Cue up the Price is Right losing horn. The cap's softness remains unchanged while the luxury tax got more punitive. 1 for 2.

a restriction on long-term contracts (can't be more than three years unless you're re-signing your own star),

He counts this as two separate predictions and he got one; teams can go five years to bring their own guys back and four if they're bringing in a new guy. That's a cut back from where things were last CBA, but not as drastic as he predicted. 2 for 4.

the elimination of opt-out clauses and the midlevel exemption,

Wrong on both counts. 2 for 6.

and the rookie age limit rising to 20.

As far as my research shows, this wasn't even discussed as part of this negotiation. Not to say the owners wouldn't prefer it to exist, but still. 2 for 7.

That's seven predictions in all … and I bet I'll end up nailing six.

Insert joke about Bill's NFL gambling skills here.

Will the league survive a yearlong disappearance?

Sure, but that's the wrong question. How about "How likely is it that the league and the players look at what happened to the NHL after its yearlong lockout last decade and say 'Fuck it, that looks like a great idea.'"

What about two years?

Again, I'm guffawing.

We're less than 29 months from starting to find out. If you think it's a good idea to disappear for even six months in shaky economic times, ask any Writers Guild member how that turns out.

The NBA lockout is like an apple, and the writers' strike is like an orange. Hope you see what I did there.

These wealthy or used-to-be-wealthy owners don't want to keep losing money just to feed their ego by continuing to own a basketball team. They will make other arrangements, the same way they would arrange to sell their favorite yacht because they didn't feel like splurging on gasoline anymore. These guys don't want to fix the system; they want to reinvent it.

No, they didn't. All they wanted was a bigger slice of the cash pie. And they got it. Most of the framework around that pie ended up more or less unchanged, to the surprise of no one with a brain. Gotta admit that sensationalism is more fun though. Moving ahead to a slightly less absurd but still pretty stupid segment of the same article.

4. The dawning of NBA Franchise Hot Potato.
Ohhhhhhhh, it's coming.

I became obsessed with this topic over All-Star Weekend and solicited input from as many people in the know as I could. Franchise Hot Potato hinges on five factors in all, although only three need to be in play.

The most Simmonsy of all Simmonsisms: there are X and only X factors that determine how the universe works. Here, let me list them for you. 1) Something about girls who are "stripper hot." 2) 80s movies! Etc.

Looking at the next 15 months only, the consensus of people in the know was that multiple NBA franchises (guesses ranged from three to eight) will move cities, get sold to new owners or throw themselves on the mercy of the league (meaning the NBA would effectively take over operations of that franchise, kinda like what happens in the MLS or WNBA).

The league took over the Hornets about 22 months after this writing but I'll give him that. Obviously no one moved cities; the Kings might next summer but it's a big might. As far as I know, there have been three ownership changes since February '09 (only one of which happened before June 2010): Bobcats, Warriors, and Nets. The Hawks deal fell through. So I guess the people on the lower end of his guessing spectrum were close to right. Still kind of absurd though. The alarmism in this piece is fucking silly. And it all comes to a head in the second to last paragraph:

So that's the climate for the No Benjamins Association right now: Murky, unpredictable and not so lucrative. And you wonder why I didn't want to write about All-Star Weekend. Looking at the big picture, the league won't struggle even 1/10th as much as the NHL in years to come -- of all the wildest predictions I heard in Phoenix, the craziest came from a connected executive

Named JackO, Hench, or something of the like.

who predicted that fifteen NHL teams would go under within the next two years (and was dead serious) --

/checks NHL website, laughs

and Major League Baseball is about to get creamed beyond belief.

Man, I wish someone had told Pujols and Fielder and Reyes about this before they hit free agency. Those guys aren't going to make any money this offseason! Also, I hope your standard for "beyond belief" is really low. MLB indeed saw a multiple point attendance drop from 2008 to 2009. And then: yeah.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Writing on the MLB Network: So Bad

So tonight I got home from my job tryna discipline kids at a Catholic school and was sort of frustrated because a couple of them had acted like jackasses and all. So I came home, in the kind of mood that I would cuss at my dog if I had a dog. I was in one surly-ass mood.

I turned on the MLB Network's Top 75 plays of 2000-2009, and everything got better. Not because of the quality of the writing (the opening monologue referenced Snuggies), but because of the groantastic puns listed to title each play. Here are some of the gems:

  • A barehanded over-the shoulder catch became "The [David] Wright Stuff". No doubt most baseball fans are also Tom Wolfe fans. Also noteworthy: the Mets' announcer, after seeing the catch, yelled "What the Kevin Mitchell?"
  • One great outfield catch was labeled "Good Will [Torii] Hunter", because Torii Hunter has a lot in common with the one guy from that one movie.
  • A Red Sox outfielder's catch became the "Tip of the [Gabe] Kapler", ostensibly because Mr. Kapler's alleged steroid use enlarged his head so that his hat couldn't wear it straight.
  • Some kind of important home run for a thirteen-team pinch-hitter became "[Matt] Stairs’ Way to Heaven".
  • At the outset of the show, I had jokingly made my Mets-fan roommate promise to finish his drink if a certain journeyman Mets outfielder happened upon the show. Sure enough, we had to take shots of SoCo because "Benny [Agabayani] and the Mets" made an appearance on the list for his 2000 Game 3 NLDS walkoff

That's all I've got. I'll be back someday to post again.

Monday, November 21, 2011

This is what stupid sounds like

Merril Hoge on NFL Live, calling Falcons/Titans highlights from this past Sunday, had this to say about Michael Turner and his aggressive running style:

He's a tank! He's a bull in a china shop! (pause) What other adjectives could I use?

I hope that question was rhetorical. No one else on the set answered it.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday night bag of things which can be grabbed

Why are you laughing at the title? I didn't want to be boring and say "grab bag." OH I SEE THE DOUBLE ENTENDRE NOW. WHY I OUGHTA. First, we have a gem of logic from Rhodes Scholar and wordsmith Troy Aikman. Trailing the Packers by two points with about five minutes left, the Buccaneers went with an onside kick. It didn't work, and a few plays later Aaron Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson for a game-icing TD. But it was still a two point game when Troy said:

You know, some might say hey, Raheem Morris showed confidence in his defense being able to make a stop by going for it there, you know, with the onside kick. I think that that's an invalid argument to try to make. If you have that kind of confidence, with the time left on the clock, you kick it deep.

Which sends the more positive statement to your defense: "Hey, we're trying to get the ball back right away since that's our best shot at winning. However, if we can't, we're fine with giving you the job of stopping the best passing attack in the league on a short field" or "Uh, if we give up another touchdown the game is over, so we're going to try to make sure the Packers have to go the length of the field to score one. Onside kick? Nnnnope."

Next, we have Cris Collinsworth dropping some fantastic nonsense of the "GRRRR I HATE PLAYERS WHO TALK TRASH! THAT'S NOT HOW YOU PLAY THE GAME!" variety. In the second quarter of tonight's Eagles/Giants game, DeSean Jackson caught a 50 yard pass from Vince Young (I know! Yes, that Vince Young!) but had the gain negated because he taunted the Giants sideline after the play. Now obviously it was stupid and there's no defense for Jackson here. And Collinsworth is generally really good. But this:

Just watch! That play could decide this game!

is a little much. At the time it was 3-0 Eagles with about 38 minutes to play. The penalty gave the Eagles 1st and 10 from their own 5ish instead of from the Giants' 40ish. Jackson was being a dope, but commmmmme onnnnnnnn. Let's dial down the hyperbole.

Finally, I don't have the time or energy to parse the text of this, but just look at the headline:

Accolades aside, can Ells(bury) win MVP?

Votes aside, can Obama get second term? Stock market aside, can economy recover? Criminal charges aside, is Jerry Sandusky at risk of going to jail? And then the article goes into an MVP breakdown, the most inane portion of which is his analysis of Verlander's chances. Since the author works for ESPNBoston, yeah, you guessed it, he breaks out the "WELL IF PEDRO DIDN'T WIN IT IN '99..." tripe. The proper response to which, of course, is "go fuck yourself."

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thoughts about Paterno getting the boot

Before I begin, I'd like to thank Al Michaels for earlier tonight dropping the latest edition of the stupidest, least creative, most trite joke in the history of sports commentary. The Jets had just forced Tom Brady into intentional grounding while he was in his own end zone, earning themselves a safety. The score was Patriots 6 Jets 2. Al:

Looks like we've got a game going on between the Red Sox and the Yankees!


Moving on to the NCAA football scandal of the week (this time with extra horribleness and nightmares!). I didn't feel compelled to write anything else about it until I had long conversations with two different friends in the past week. Contrary to my own views, those friends both thought Paterno's dismissal was unwarranted. And since those friends constitute 20% of the blog's readership, I will respond to their concerns with what I think is the simplest, clearest way to explain that the dismissal was absolutely necessary. It's worth noting that neither friend attended Penn State, and only one has any affinity for the school (since one of his parents was a professor there when he was a little kid). I'm not dealing with blind fanboys here.

First I'll clean up a couple side points. Both friends wondered why more outrage hasn't been directed towards Mike McQueary. For the most part, I agree with them. He should be fired. Fine by me. Putting aside the fact that keeping him around would just be kind of weird, he pretty much failed as badly as Paterno did. Paterno's failure means more because of his position, mind you, but McQueary bombed just as spectacularly when it came to preventing the rape of children. Ideally he would have actually stopped Sandusky when he stumbled across the 2002 incident. Failing that, he would have immediately called the police. Failing that, he would have followed up with Paterno and the high level school administrators (who met with him after his initial report and told him not to worry his pretty little head about it) and told them that he needed to know exactly what was being done about the incident and what changes would be made going forward. If they couldn't clarify things and tried to duck and dodge behind some "Oh, we've handled it" bullshit, he should have gone to the police. Since he did none of those things he can go fuck himself. Whether it was because he wanted to keep his job and feared losing it if he pushed the issue, because he didn't know quite what to do, or simply because he honestly believed that the administration had taken care of it, his inaction almost certainly facilitated more crimes. Fuck him. So there you go, we agree on something.

The other side point is kind of a macro-level analysis of the Paterno situation and is a little bit simplistic. But I think it's worth considering. Both friends conceded that Paterno could have done more. Paterno himself concedes that he should have done more. All three of them don't think Paterno should have been fired. How about this, though- put yourselves in the shoes of the university president (or perhaps in the shoes of a potential donor, ready to write a check if you feel good enough about the school). If you're the guy in charge or a person making an important choice about discretionary income, do you really want to have the most powerful guy on campus to be someone who doesn't do absolutely everything they can to prevent child rape? Do you want that guy to be someone who fulfills his legal obligation, shakes his head sadly for a minute because one of his oldest friends is destroying lives, and then calls it a day? I'm just saying.

Now, the one thing Paterno defenders have been saying about this argument is that maybe Paterno had no idea what was actually going on. Maybe McQueary didn't make the details clear enough. Great, let's discuss that possibility. Because while this is a complex situation with a lot of different events and actors, I think the question as to whether or not Paterno should have been canned can be reduced to what happened in the aftermath of McQueary's initial conversation with Paterno. As I see it there are only three possibilities as to what happened and they all force me to the same conclusion.

Possibility #1: McQueary was crystal clear when he told Paterno about what he saw (by which I mean he didn't use ambiguous language like "they were horsing around" or "Sandusky was doing something inappropriate" but rather "he was having sex with the kid, I am 100% sure of that"), Paterno understood exactly what McQueary was saying, and then Paterno responded by sending a report up the chain of command and nothing more.

Conclusion: Fucking fire his ass. The reason is pretty obvious as far as I'm concerned. You're the boss. Penn State football and its facilities are your domain. You need to keep control of the program and those facilities at all times and do everything you can to prevent horrible crimes from happening on your watch. You've just been told that someone who is still somewhat involved in the program and has access to the facilities is raping kids. Your obligation, unless you have a good reason to distrust McQueary, is to 1) get the police involved and 2) make sure this person never again comes anywhere near your program or your facilities. Your chosen response is to kind of sort of get the administration involved and then leave the situation alone for nine years, hoping it'll just go away. Fuck you.

Look, I understand that rape accusations are serious business. Duke lacrosse scandal, etc. Every year tons of people are wrongfully accused of rape and it can have disastrous effects on their life (and subject the accusers to all kinds of liability and problems as well). But in this scenario, we're talking about Paterno getting a clear and precise account of the rape of child from a McQueary that he trusts. And if you have that, what other followup option do you have besides contacting the police? I'm not saying you do it the minute McQueary leaves your office. Maybe you talk to the university's general counsel about it. Maybe you call Sandusky and ask for an explanation. But what could he possibly say? One of three things. "Yeah, I did. I'm sorry. I have a problem." Great, call the cops. "You know what Joe, my lawyer has advised me not to answer any questions about that." Great, call the cops. Or maybe "No way! Totally untrue!" Well, now we need some expert fact finders to get involved because we have a factual dispute. I suppose the university might be equipped to handle that fact finding task... but when rape is involved, I think law enforcement is the much better option. Call me old fashioned, I just think you've got to err on the side of caution when it comes to this kind of thing if the report you receive is clear and from a trustworthy source.

Possibility #2: McQueary was crystal clear about what he saw, but Paterno didn't understand what McQueary meant. He either couldn't comprehend it or chose to believe it wasn't true because the Sandusky Paterno knew was a class act who would never do something so unspeakable. Thus Paterno responded by telling the administrators that apparently McQueary saw something weird happening but it was probably just a misunderstanding and then doing nothing more.

Conclusion: Fucking fire his ass. If you're too old and senile to understand when someone uses unambiguous language to describe a rape, you shouldn't be in charge of a college football program. If you someone uses unambiguous language to report a rape but your relationship with the alleged rapist prevents you from believing that the reporter is telling the truth, you shouldn't be in charge of a college football program. You're beyond help in this scenario. There's no better way to put it; you simply do not possess the mental abilities needed to preside over a large and powerful institution. If you're a local hero like Paterno is, you should be placed in some kind of a figurehead honorary position where your stupidity is less likely to cause horrible damage to people and society.

Possibility #3: McQueary actually wasn't clear at all. Fearing backlash from Sandusky, fearing that he wouldn't be believed, or perhaps being so traumatized by the incident that he didn't want to believe he saw an actual rape, he chose to use ambiguous language in his conversation with Paterno. He said Sandusky and the kid "were messing around" or some shit like that. Paterno heard this, understood what McQueary said, took him at his word, reported it up the chain, and then left it alone.

Conclusion: Fucking fire his ass. This is most of the same logic from #1, just taken a step back to account for the possibility that McQueary didn't present all the relevant information up front. And if that happened, obviously it's Paterno's duty to ask some fucking questions and try to get that information. There's no way that an old man and a child were doing anything that fits under the umbrella description of "messing around" in a shower but that there was nothing at all wrong with it. So ask the questions and get the answers. And if McQueary won't give them to you, get a serious investigation rolling. Contact Sandusky. (That should be done in situation #1, too.) Contact the Second Mile. Ask the university to launch an internal investigation. Do something to gather the facts. Don't just stick your head in the sand and hope it all works out.

Yeah, so there you go. I dunno. There are a lot of other ways to look at the Paterno firing but I feel like this is the simplest. When McQueary came to Paterno and the end result was a few conversations about the issue behind closed doors and an unenforceable decree that Sandusky couldn't come to campus any more... it doesn't really matter how the Paterno/McQueary conversation went. Joe sealed his fate right there in my eyes. Feel free to leave thoughts in the comments (unless you're some fuckass moron named Anonymous), or just stare at the wall for a minute and ponder how fucked up humans and life are.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Probably the most out of touch comment I've read on the Penn State riot

And surprisingly (or not, to some) it comes from Michael Schur (creator of and Parks and Recreation (which I think is the best show on TV)).

Yes, of course! If only this cohort of bored, likely intoxicated 18-22 year olds had kids, then they wouldn't be rioting. Somebody get these students some babies!

/takes off sarcasm hat

Seriously, when I saw this on my Twitter feed I assumed it was from Bill Simmons because its explanation was equal parts: facile, smug, and wrong. (Yes I follow both Simmons and Schur on Twitter. It's because I'm jealous of their success, you see.) As I hinted at in the insultingly sarcastic chapter of my tweet criticism, I think most people would agree with me when I say that this protest, if it can be called that, has nothing to do with PSU students' inability to empathize with the victims' parents. What it's really about is that college students do stupid shit, and football fans are the most irrational assholes in the country. The fact that the student body used Paterno's early dismissal as an excuse for mayhem and wanton destruction is probably the least surprising thing about this whole mess.

Furthermore, I think Schur's argument is weak because it'd probably take about 5 minutes of canvasing State College, PA before you found some lifelong PSU fan with kids who said something like "Joe Pa deserved better!" Maybe I'm wrong on that count, but look at this past Sunday Night Football game. 65,000 fans cheered on Ben Roethlisberger as if he were a conquering hero. Would you really want to a wager that they were only able to palate Big Ben, an alleged rapist, because none of them had ever had a mom, sister, or daughter? Would you want to bet that no one at Lincoln Financial Field had ever owned dog? Probably not. So let's chalk this one up to PSU students being shit heads and not a generalization about the childless's inability to comprehend the gravity of child rape.

Grab bag post featuring an idiot, a complete dipshit, and a guy who won't stick to his guns

None deserve their own post. All deserve some ridicule.

First, you may not have heard, but Penn State had a pederast in their midst. Fortunately they dealt with the terrible situation swiftly and properly by contacting law enforcement. I think that's what happened anyways. Proving that he has his finger squarely on the throbbing pulse of America, Rick Reilly chimes in with an important message:

This is not about Joe Paterno.

No fucking motherfucking shit.

If these boys really were molested, groped and raped by a middle-aged ex-Penn State football coach, then whatever misjudgment Paterno made will be a single lit match compared to the bonfire these boys will walk in for years to come.

Many of them won't be able to trust. Won't be able to love. Won't be able to feel -- nor trust or love themselves.

Yes, everyone think of the children. And they already are. We don't need to be reminded of that in this situation; even the most callous or clueless person understands that the kids are the victims here. Paterno may be in the spotlight but it's for sensible reasons. He's the most powerful and visible person involved and the only one besides Sandusky who's nationally known. The fact that it's about the kids and not about Paterno doesn't mean the media is obligated to focus their attention on the kids or the crimes. That's an angle that's just too grisly and sad for a lot of people. The Paterno angle carries with it the possibility of some kind of justice, or at least so a lot of people will think. In short, it makes sense that a lot of the water cooler talk about this mess focuses on Paterno rather than the crimes/victims.

But of course that doesn't mean it's "about" him. The people who really do think this is about Paterno are mouth-breathing PSU alums or students who live for nothing but college football and could give a damn about anything else, including prevention of child rape. They probably (hopefully) make up less than one percent of the population.

Don't feel sorry for Paterno. He's had his life. Feel sorry for these boys, because they may never get one.

The people who feel sorry for Paterno are an even tinier subset of the tiny set of people who think this is about him. Those in that tiny subset are not worth addressing. They should be herded into a mine and sealed inside with concrete. I believe we have a label for articles like the one Rick wrote here. It should appear first in the list at the bottom of the post. He also threw this in, seemingly in an attempt to confuse me:

No, this isn't about 84-year-old Joe Paterno not taking more steps that might have stopped it. It's about everybody not taking more steps that might have stopped it. Not parents, not teachers, not uncles,


Enough of that uplifting story. Let's talk about Big League Stew. Yahoo's MLB blog is written by a mongoloid who goes by 'Duk and thinks that this is clever, useful analysis.

For the purposes of this post, let's say that I have just traded the ten-dollar bill that I just found on the ground for a fast-food meal at a chain burger joint.

It's nothing fancy, but it will get the job done. I hadn't eaten in days.

Furthermore, let's also suppose that I decide to walk home from the restaurant in an attempt to work off the caloric impact I have just foisted upon my system.

[two paragraphs spent extending this painful and worthless analogy snipped; don't worry, you don't need the full bit to appreciate how mind-numbingly stupid this is]

So I tell you that I'm perfectly willing to take your doggy bag if you don't want it. I might take it all the way home, but I might also throw it away. It doesn't matter, though, because you've already paid the bill. I'm on the hook for nothing.

I've also just perfectly described the strategy that Dayton Moore and the Kansas City Royals are taking in their attempts to resurrect a winner.

Are you fucking kidding me?

Finally, an article that's not truly abhorrent but just kind of bothered me as I read it because of Mark Schlabach's unwillingness to commit to his initial stance. It's a stance that I think is stupid and wrong but certainly defensible, and I'd like to see a capable writer like Schlabach fully support. Unfortunately he backpedals. Backpedals like a bitch.

LSU and Alabama are clearly the best two teams in the country and are head and shoulders above the rest. It's a shame they can't play each other again in the SEC championship game.

You want a plus-one playoff? Let the Tigers and Crimson Tide play three times this season, with the best-of-three winner claiming a national championship.

That's not how a plus one would work. Just nitpickin'.

LSU and Alabama are that much better than everyone else this season.

And we know that for sure, without any doubt; just ask an SEC fan.

If LSU wins out and wins the SEC West, critics will suggest Alabama shouldn't play for a national championship because it didn't win its conference. But when the dust settles on the college football season, the two best teams should play for a national championship, no matter the circumstances.

Strong stance. One that I think is dumb. Even if we could be sure that Alabama is better than Okie State or Stanford, Bama had its chance and blew it. If they were to rematch with LSU in the title game and win, it's kind of like... well, OK, we know both those teams are awesome and we know which was playing better in January. Can we say for sure that Bama was the best? I understand that you can never really say who the best of the best is unless they've all played each other, and a win by (not THE) OSU or Stanford over LSU doesn't forever end the debate. But to me, a rematch with a different outcome than the regular season matchup is wholly unsatisfying. And a rematch with the same result if/when OSU or Stanford was undefeated but got shut out of the title game feels even worse. I dunno, I just really don't want to see Bama play LSU again unless there are no other big conference undefeateds left.

History suggests that the odds of an LSU-Alabama rematch in the BCS title game are slim. After No. 1 Ohio State defeated No. 2 Michigan 42-39 in their 2006 regular-season finale, the Wolverines argued they deserved another chance at facing the Buckeyes in the BCS title game. But No. 3 Florida jumped the Wolverines in the final BCS standings, and the Gators routed Ohio State 41-14 in the BCS Championship Game.

Here's the difference, though: At the end of the 2006 regular season, you could argue that Florida was better than Michigan. But if Alabama wins out this season, you couldn't argue that another one-loss team -- or even undefeated Boise State -- is better than the Crimson Tide.

Sure you could. What if Stanford's only loss is by a field goal to Oregon in overtime? What if OSU's only loss is by a field goal to Oklahoma in overtime? There's definitely a debate to be had there.

Especially not after SEC teams won the past five BCS national championships.

Fucking SEC people. You cockswabbers, chanting your conference's name. GMAFB.

If Oklahoma State wins out, it will deserve a chance to play LSU for a national championship.

Wait, what?

The same goes for Stanford, if the Pokes slip up along the way.

OK. So that whole thing about Alabama clearly being the second best team out there, and them definitely deserving a rematch... tempered. Significantly tempered.

But if those two teams lose somewhere down the line, Alabama would be the most deserving team to play LSU for a national title.

And you just sucked all the controversy out of your article. That makes me angry because the ESPNiverse has trained me to zone out if a journalist isn't being intentionally contrarian or simply a straight-up asshole. Although you've let me down, Schlabach, you're still OK in my book. Just don't get my hopes up like that again.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Expert geniuses offer double top secret insider brilliant MLB free agent predictions

Let's take some time to appreciate this, shall we? After all, CBS doesn't just pay their baseball analysts to sit around and look good (although the analysts certainly do that!). It pays them to formulate informed and insightful baseball analysis. And so we have this lovely chart:

We have ringleader Gregg Doyel, troll extraordinaire, claiming the Yankees and Red Sox will sign every single one of these players and that the Yankees will end up with both Rollins and Reyes. BUT WHAT OF THE CAPTAIN?????1111?11. That's some nice trollin', Gregg. As Chris W says, "Gotta love Gregg for being the Skip Bayless of the internet." Then we have Vice Shithead Scott Miller saying the Pirates will shell out cash for Beltran and Buehrle will end up in Miami. We have a presumably pretentious dude named C. Trent claiming the Marlins will come up with the cash for Pujols and that Buehrle will somehow end up with the Cubs. We have three experts who say the Padres will decide overpaying Heath Bell is a good idea and in line with their organizational philosophy. Not be left out of the fun, Miller thinks the A's will the team that gives Bell the $8 MM per season it'll take to get him. We have Matt Sndyer thinking Prince Fielder will say "Yeah, Baltimore, THAT'S where I'll spend the rest of the prime of my career." We have Larry Dobrow thinking the Marlins will say "What's the one thing we definitely don't need? Starting pitching. So let's give C.J. Wilson the $14 MM a season he's asking for, why not." There's plenty more, too. The hits just keep on coming. This might be the most spectacular display of WRONG I've ever seen in graphical format. Here, I made it slightly less stupid (and I'm being generous about the Beltran to the Marlins, Reyes to the Brewers, and Rollins to the Mariners entries):

You're welcome.