Sunday, January 30, 2011

I think we have a label for this

From ESPN:

In the words of Chris W, who brought this article to my attention, "Psh. Good luck trying to get people to watch the Super Bowl."

The article itself is reasonably inoffensive; it's basically just a note that Jets fans hate the Steelers a lot right now and Giants fans have hated the Packers since the Packers drubbed the Giants in week 16 and then a list of Steelers/Packers players who have a connection to the Giants or Jets. Although I do appreciate the "New York is the figurative and literal center of the world and if something doesn't involve New York in any way then it's irrelevant" douchiness of the title. Saying the Super Bowl still matters even though [team X] isn't a part of it is like saying that a cold-blooded murder is still sad even though the victim wasn't [name any super kindhearted and generous person].

But yeah, the first label below says it all.

This Week in Tortured Similes

From a Yahoo Sports Blog Post about Lamar Odom's offensive play:

And like a liquid that takes the shape of whatever container you pour it in, he can slide seamlessly into just about any role the game would call for

Got that? I mean, there's got to be a better way to phrase that. We all know what liquid is, right? I mean, even if we're of sub-normal intelligence, we're wildly familiar with the properties of liquid due to the fact that we drool all over ourselves. And anyone with a functional IQ has probably poured him or herself a glass of water or pissed in a beer bottle or what have you more times than he or she can count. Here's a hint to all you would-be-wordsmiths: if you have to overexplain either the vehicle or tenor of your figurative comparison, you are doing it wrong.

"The crowd roared like the load-roaring animal we commonly call a lion"

"Winning the NL Central was as easy as making one of the easiest baked dishes around--a pie!"

"Much as fish constrained by the small dimensions of a barrel are easy to shoot, so too was Kobe's uncontested slam dunk easy."

"Jay Mariotti is as dumb as a box of rocks, rocks not usually being known for their exceptional intelligence."

And so on to infinity.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mike Florio: Unable to comprehend the thoughts of a guy who scored 15 on the Wonderlic

Everyone pile on Jay Cutler! Quick! Tell the world what a huge pussy he is, because that shows that 1) you are not a pussy; you are super tough and would never do what he did; and 2) you are smart and know a lot about FOOTBALL players and how they should act on the FOOTBALL field. Or, you can just read this, which is an excellent explanation of why most of the people knocking Cutler are a bunch of chuckleheaded thundertwats. Anyways, I'm not a Bears fan (admittedly I am a Cutler fan since I'm a Broncos fan and never wanted to see him get traded- fuck you in the face, McDaniels), but the last 3 days have been pretty surreal.

Are there really this many former players who themselves succumbed to non-crippling injuries that feel the need to call Cutler out? Maurice Jones-Drew: you are a fucking pair of clown shoes right now. You have zero credibility. You have negative credibility. YOU MISSED YOUR TEAM'S LAST TWO GAMES, WHEN A PLAYOFF SPOT WAS ON THE LINE, BECAUSE YOU HAD A KNEE INJURY JUST LIKE CUTLER'S. SHUT YOUR FUCKING FACE.

And are there really this many sportswriters who know everything about how Cutler's leg felt during the game and need to share their conjecture and fucktarded analysis with the world? OH MY GOSH HE STOOD UP WHILE HE WAS ON THE SIDELINES. HE DIDN'T LOOK HURT. HE USED A SET OF STAIRS AFTER THE GAME. Therefore: he must have been capable of playing quarterback, right? He was just too much of a bitch to come back into the biggest game of his life after spending a college career and most of the last two seasons getting destroyed every game because of a terrible offensive line! Reasonable conclusion? ABSOLUTELY! Holy Christ, sportswriters are the worst group of people on earth. Seriously. They're worse than serial killers. Enter Mike Florio, a man incapable of following the logic of one Chris Harris.

Now, Chris Harris might be a smart dude. His quotes below show that he takes pride in his education. But there's no way his thoughts exist on a level that is so much higher than Florio's that Florio could have an excuse for not being able to understand them. (According to the internets, Florio is a lawyer.) So maybe someone out there can explain to me how this happened:

Harris then seemed to provide the explanation that justifies the conclusion by some, inaccurate as it may have been, that Cutler wasn’t really injured.

“Jay’s not perceived in the media as a good guy. He doesn’t give you the quotes that you want. He doesn’t show you the emotion that you want to see,” Harris said.

Yyyyyyyyup. If he had the exact same injury in the exact same kind of game, Favre would have been on the sidelines grimacing and contorting his face. And the story after the game would have been "Dagnabbit if that boy didn't want to be out there having fun and throwing the pigskin around, but you could tell from his face that it just wasn't in him. Too bad! What a competitor he is." And then after the game Favre would have awww shucks-ed his was through a few interviews talking about how sad he was to have let his team down, sent pictures of his cock to a few team employees, and called it a night. And his legacy would be intact, if not stronger. Because sportswriters and football fans are fucking morons who are to so pathetically susceptible to groupthink and soap opera non-analysis (no seriously, go click that first link and read the SBNation piece on that subect) that it boggles the imagination.

“But we know what type of guy he is, he fought with us all season long. So he doesn’t give the media what they want and so perception is real. And that’s one thing I learned in sociology class in college. Perception is real. If people perceive you one way, that’s what they think it is. They might not have a effing clue as to how you really are, but perception is real.”

Right. So if your IQ is above 55, you know what Harris is saying here. In a nutshell: people believe what they perceive because their brains tell them that what they perceive has to be real, even when there's no good evidence that it actually is real. It's often a very long ways from real. And Harris is pissed off because that phenomenon is causing everyone to think Cutler is soft when that's not the case.

Thus, while “perception is real,” perception in this case, according to Harris, is simply wrong.

The grade for your analytical thinking skills just came in, Mike. You got an F minus.

Holy Toledo. That is so dumb I'm going to paste it again.

Thus, while “perception is real,” perception in this case, according to Harris, is simply wrong.

Thus, while “perception is real,” perception in this case, according to Harris, is simply wrong.

F minus.

Given that he seems to understand why some people have an incorrect perception about Cutler, Harris arguably shouldn’t be pissed about it.

Possibly even worse than the preceding sentence. Saying that someone should be able to not be upset about something upsetting because they understand why it's happening might be an even bigger indictment of Florio's intellect than his inability to understand what Harris meant by "perception is real." Given that they understand how much China doesn't want to grant them independence, Tibetans arguably shouldn't be all upset that they don't have their own country. Given that they understand how badly the economy has been doing, investors arguably shouldn't be upset when corporate insiders steal their cash.

The best part is his inclusion of "arguably," which is one of the best cop out words of all time. The sun arguably rotates the earth. Santa Claus arguably exists. Mike Florio is arguably a more important historical figure than George Washington.

The best part about this Cutler bullshit? We get to hear about it for the next 6 months, maybe 7 or 8 if it has enough life to still be talked about during the beginning of the regular season. Fuck it. At this point I'm actually hoping for a lockout. It might (maybe, I hope, although probably not) mean I don't have to hear anything come out of Trent Dilfer or Mark Schlereth's mouths for a whole 18 months. Man that'd be awesome.

Ugh. This whole situation makes me want to barf.

I Only Post This Because I Know Larry Is Planning To Post Something Decent This Afternoon

This isn't a bad article by my way of thinking. But I just found this quotation too funny to pass up.

So here was Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler(notes) on Sunday with a sprained MCL in his left knee, tears welling in both his eyes according to

BOTH OF THEM?!?!!?!?!!?

Ok...nothing more to see here. Move along.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Deadspin Writers Continue to Be Clueless Douchebags

Well at least it's not Petcheskey this time.

Here's the article in its entirety:

Jay Cutler Is Tougher Than The Toughest Tough Guy, Say Tough-Talking Defenders Of His Toughness

It's been almost a full day since Jay Cutler's mopey face and medial-collateral ligament severity and tears were dissected by every human who's ever watched football, I'm still stuck on this question: Is Jay Cutler TOUGH?

Wow. Daulerio sure stuck it to those Bears players defending Cutler. Talk about morons, those players. Why would they even be commenting on Cutler's toughness? It's not like Jay Cutler has been villanized for being gutless and a pussy for coming out of the game early in the third quarter after tearing his MCL in the first half. Literally no one has been questioning Cutler's manhood or competitive drive at all in the last couple days, so it makes no sense that Bears players would speak to his toughness.

They must just be wimpy dudes who are trying overcompensate by making the Sunday afternoon Bears-Packers game all about toughness when it clearly was not an issue of "toughness" or "heart" at any point in time. The players that is. The media would never do anything like that because if we know one thing about sports writers and tv sports personalities and writers for half-assed tabloid blogs full of pictures of bikini babes and hookup-gone-wrong stories masquerading as sports-centric, it's that they're totally secure in their masculinity.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Jeff Pearlman calls the kettle black

Jeff Pearlman wrote an article for CNN in which he explores the nastiness of anonymity among internet commenters.

It's a telling article that explores a very real problem on the internet--the nastiness of people when they feel they have anonymity to hide behind. His conclusion--that people who are assholes anonymously on the internet aren't necessarily assholes in real life--has some valid implications and raises the question of what the medium of internet comments does to the level and tone of discourse in America. I'm glad he wrote it.

However, let's ask this question: to what extent does Jeff Pearlman help create this problem? I recognize that every sportswriter (and politics writer and video game writer and Fire Jay Mariotti blog writer) gets a bevy of vitriolic and over-the-line nasty reader responses, no matter how unabashedly nice they are (Joe Posnanski) or how big of a mean-spirited piece of shit they are (Murray Chass).

However, Jeff Pearlman's articles and blog posts are characterized by, if not a mean-spirited vitriol of their own, at the very least a disillusionment at the negative character of athletes which manifests itself with name-calling and accusations against the character of these athletes. I wonder to what extent Jeff's history of writing articles and books and blog posts assassinating the moral character of players like Barry Bonds, Allen Iverson, Roger Clemens, and Randy Johnson--figures who Jeff knows have no real ability to answer his specific accusations even should they want to--help contribute to the generally negative discourse level of internet sportswriting and sportsreading. In a recent blog post (and SI companion artcicle), for instance, Jeff made a "come on, we all know he did it" post about how Jeff Bagwell--a man who may be denied the HOF over nothing but idle speculation--almost assuredly, by Jeff's mind, took steroids absent any real evidence or even real hearsay. Not a very nice article by any means, and one Bagwell has no real power to respond to.

Here are the topics of the four sports books Jeff Pearlman has written

1.) Barry Bonds is a living breathing piece of shit and also a cheater

2.) Roger Clemens is a living breathing piece of shit and also a cheater

3.) The 1986 Mets were living breathing pieces of shit, some of whom do vile things with their enormous penises, but he kind of likes them anyway.

4.) The 1990's Cowboys were living breathing pieces of shit, some of whom do vile things with their enormous penises, but he kind of likes them anyway.

Maybe (probably) Pearlman is dead on about these teams and players being living breathing pieces of shit. It's certainly likely. But to what extent does this kind of focus cultivate a combative attitude among readers and writers? Certainly the readers who send Pearlman vile hatemail aren't RIGHT to do it. Quite the opposite--calling Pearlman a Kotex might be amusing in its randomness, but it's undoubtedly an uncalled for insult that reflects a lot more about the writer of the insult than about Pearlman hiself. But is it apropos of nothing? The more you read Pearlman's sports-hate, the less you think it is. Or at least the less I think it is.

Food for thought.

In other words, Jeff, you might be pointing your finger at the right target, but in this blogger's mind, there are four fingers pointing right back at you.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Retro Simmons Foolishness

This is from a 2002 mailbag, but Simmons recently referenced it on his twitter, so here we go:

Speaking of hitting streaks, we're nearing the 15th anniversary of my favorite hitting streak moment: Aug. 26, 1987, also known as ManningGate.

Which is almost as well known as, the as of yet to happen, ColgateGate.

Here's the scene: Milwaukee's Paul Molitor has a 39-game hit streak going, playing at home against the Indians. It's 0-0 in the 10th inning. Moiltor [sic, nice work ESPN editor guy] still doesn't have a hit.

0/4 with a SO and a GDP.

Two Brewers reach base -- first and second, one out, pinch-hitter Rick Manning at the plate, and Molitor on deck with one last chance to keep the streak alive.

Again, just to make it clear, Molitor has already had four chances to get a hit.

So what happens? Manning singles to win the game!

That's the craziest thing I've ever heard! I'm not sure I believe it.

Swear to God.

I dunno, that still sounds completely implausible.

/checks Baseball-Reference

Alright, you win this round, Simmons.

Manning singlehandedly ended Molitor's streak!

Yes, Manning, along with John Farrel (The Indians starting pitcher) and the rest of The Indians defense, singlehandedly ended Molitor's streak.

My buddy Gus and I are the only two people other than Molitor who remember this;

What were J-Bug and House doing that night!?

we always thought it was the all-time Jerk Move by which all Jerk Moves should be measured. I remember watching the highlights in my basement while we were playing MicroLeague Baseball together; we almost went into shock. Just astounding. I still can't believe it.

Here's a list of Jerk Moves that could've happened to Molitor that night:

- The Indians intentionally walking him every at bat.
- The scorer saying he reached on an error instead of a clear hit (which might have happened because Molitor did reach on an error, but I have no way of seeing footage of the play).
- Ricky Manning taking two steps towards the batter's box, then thinking better of it, returning to the dugout, and bludgeoning Paul Molitor to death with his bat.

All of those examples would be the Jerk Move to end all Jerk Moves (particularly the first one). What's not an all-time jerk move is a career .257/.317/.341 hitter hitting a pinch hit single to win a game for a team that was in 3rd place in its division in late August.

And just for the record, I'm not just asking for a "Baseball Tonight" feature about ManningGate, I'm demanding it.

Well good news/bad news, Bill, but ManningGate would take away precious time for discussion on the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry, so that feature's never going to happen on Baseball Tonight. Maybe you could produce a 30 for 30 called "The Two Mannings" which makes an extremely tenuous connection between Ricky Manning dicking over Paul Molitor and Eli Manning cheating the Patriots out of the 2007-2008 Superbowl by throwing the helmet catch to a wide-receiver who was a really mediocre NFL player.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Ridiculous Moral Indignation: ur doin it rong

By now you've probably heard the "story" (sarcastic quotation marks used because as the main subject of the story herself says, this is not actually a story) of Jan Cavanaugh. She's the Packers fan/cancer patient/autograph seeker allegedly snubbed by Aaron Rodgers as he walked to the team's Atlanta-bound plane last Friday. Now, all of the following are rational responses to the viral video that shows Rodgers walking past Cavanaugh without acknowledging her:

1) This is one 3 second video, we don't really know the context. Hard to judge Rodgers' entire character on this alone. Maybe he does other charity work and/or has given this woman an autograph before. (Both possibilities true)
2) Rodgers is wearing headphones, who knows what he was and was not aware of at that moment. (If you're Mike Florio, you speculate that Rodgers wore the headphones to make it easier to ignore cancer patients looking for autographs)
3) Players are not obligated to sign autographs for anyone and everyone at all times even if the autograph seek does have cancer and is a die hard fans of the player's employer. (Cavanaugh's own reaction, see below)

Of course, none of those angles appeal to sportswriters. #1 involves looking at all sides of an issue/situation, something 95% of sportswriters are too fucking stupid to do. #2 is too practical. #3 is too blindingly obvious and prevents sportswriters from being morally indignant about something that calls for no such perspective. So of course ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio (a breathtakingly useless writer employed by a breathtakingly useless site that we should write about far more often) took the easy way out.

Aaron Rodgers has a lot to learn about where his money comes from

Alternate title: Mike Florio has a lot to learn about how the business of professional sports works.

We realize that only two days ago we defended largely unlikable Bears quarterback Jay Cutler from a mailed-in attack by ESPN’s Rick Reilly.

The Rickster? Mailing in a column? Never. Also: anyone using the first person plural to talk about themselves deserves a square and vicious kick in the balls.

But since Reilly has yet to attack Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, we feel no need to defend him. (Yet.)

In fact, we feel the need to crucify him using shitty logic and pointless moral outrage.

Rodgers makes a lot of money because people are willing to pay to watch him do what he does, and because they’re willing to sit and watch him do it on television, while being bombarded with advertisements and networks promos.

True. Keep in mind that Rodgers does not make money because people think he's a swell guy. At least, not primarily. Of course being a non-asshole is good for a player's career, but before they can benefit from that kind of thing they have to be, uh, good at sports.

Without fans, football would be lacrosse. Or indoor soccer. Or postseason baseball.

Boom. Roasted. Take that, baseball. Your TV ratings for divisional round playoff games that start on weekday afternoons are not very good. That proves once and for all that football is better than you.

So football players need to be willing to pause and sign an autograph or two from time to time. Especially when the person seeking the autograph is female, is wearing copious amounts of NFL-licensed pink apparel, and has very short gray hair.

If players are going to stop and sign for anyone, I agree that cancer patients should be at the top of the list. Unfortunately, as previously stated (and as known by anyone with a brain since it's a really basic and obvious fact), athletes who are really awesome don't need to be willing to stop and sign for anyone. They don't. They don't owe it to anyone, they don't "need" to do it for anyone, and I think it's a stretch to say they "should" do it for anyone. The best way to put it is that they "can do so if they want." But you already knew that, because you have a brain.

Look- like any other fan, I want athletes to be nice. Especially the ones I cheer for. I can appreciate the occasional puff piece about one of them doing something really cool and charitable. But I'm not so much of an entitled prong as to think that any athlete owes fans anything. They owe their teammates, coaches, and management something. But they don't owe me shit. They don't work with me or for me. End of discussion. If you think otherwise I suggest you get your head out of your retum. When an athlete signs autographs, I say "Awesome! That guy rules!" When they refuse to, I shrug and feel neutral about it.

Hey, it’s a free country. Rodgers has an inalienable right to choose to behave like an ass.

Fuck the charity work the guy does, and all the other autographs he's ever signed in his life-including one for this very fan-this incident proves that Rodgers should be skewered by the media.

And the rest of us have an inalienable right to tell anyone who’ll listen that he’s behaving like an ass.

ExACTly. Good for you, Florio. This is a much easier way of generating pageviews than your normal method of making up trade/transaction rumors. Way to be the watchdog who makes sure no athlete gets away with snubbing an autograph seeker. AMERICA NEEDS TO KNOW WHEN THIS KIND OF THING HAPPENS. HOW ELSE WILL WE KNOW WHO TO HATE FOR NO GOOD REASON?

Rodgers needs to realize that without people like Jan Cavanaugh, whose passion for pro football prompted her to go to the airport after a radiation treatment in the hopes of getting Rodgers to sign the pink hat with the Packers logo that she always wears, make his entire lifestyle possible. Otherwise, he’d be no different than a guy who’s really good at throwing darts or horseshoes or cornhole bags. He’d derive personal satisfaction from the use of his God-given skills, but not much if any money.

And Florio needs to realize that people like Cavanaugh might be slightly disappointed if they don't get an autograph, but they will continue to watch NFL games on TV, attend them when possible, buy NFL merchandise, and generally structure their entire lives around the NFL. Like most others in the world, our country is sports-obsessed. Our star athletes can more or less do whatever they want off the field as long as they don't kill anyone.

Do I hope that every person who wants an autograph gets one, especially when the person is a cancer patient? Of course. I've also heard of a man named Barry Bonds, who was a shameless user of illegal drugs (and eventual cheater once baseball got around to officially banning those drugs) and a world class asshole who treated 90% of the people he ever met like complete trash. Barry made a kajillion dollars throughout the course of his career and to this day remains wildly popular with a large number of fans. Why? Because he was good at what he did. And throughout the course of the modern history of sports, there have been hundreds and hundreds of Bondses. Rodgers isn't the Bonds of quarterbacking in terms of skill level, of course, but he's not a long ways off. And that's why is doesn't fucking matter whether he signs autographs or not.

We hope this strikes a chord with all pro athletes. The fans are the reason you get paid the big bucks. And it would be wise to show some gratitude, especially when it’s obvious that one of those fans isn’t blessed with good health.

Now I'm starting to think Florio himself was snubbed by a player at some point and is still carrying a grudge about it.

We also hope that Rodgers and/or the Packers track down Jan Cavanaugh and make it up to her. The fact that Rodgers would crap on a rare moment of happiness for someone whose entire life in consumed by fighting the disease and contending with the physical, mental, and emotional effects of it should make the stomach churn of anyone who has cancer, or who has seen a loved one stricken by it.

Jan Cavanaugh, what say you about this whole deal? (From the news link at the top of the post)

"I am very unhappy with people making so much out of this, because this really isn't that big of a deal. It's up to the players to decide who they want to give an autograph to, and that's their prerogative."

Three cheers for you, lady. You just made me hate the Packers a little less.

Friday, January 14, 2011

More Rick Reilly

I'm not going to spend too much time on this column by Rick Reilly ripping my main man Jay Cutler, but I did want to highlight a couple of things I find funny.

Here is Rick trying to show what a jerk Cutler is, insensitive to the needs of his teammates... glorifying John Lynch's technically-misdemeanor-battery attack on Cutler's phone:

Once, in his rookie year in Denver, 45 minutes before a game, surefire Hall of Fame safety John Lynch was trying to explain something to Cutler about NFL pass coverage. Except Cutler wasn't looking at Lynch. He was texting.

"Man, I'm trying to talk to you!" Lynch protested.

Didn't help. Cutler was all thumbs, head down. Finally, Lynch slapped the phone out of Cutler's hands, smashing it to the floor.

And here's Reilly showing how unprofessional Cutler is... quoting a Denver sports broadcaster calling Cutler foul names:

"He's an arrogant little punk," former Broncos radio color man, Scott Hastings, once said on a national show. "He's a little bitch."

And finally, here's Rick Reilly trying to be funny:

Cutler could own Chicago if he wanted. In a city that has had as many good quarterbacks as Omaha has had good surfers...

I don't know which of the above is most offensive. Oh wait. Yes I do. It's the last one.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What's wrong with Rick Reilly?

This is Rick Reilly's newest article for ESPN. For those of you who don't feel like clicking the link, Reilly uses the excuse of it being the approximate 50th anniversary of the Arnold Palmer concoction (ice tea + lemonade) to make twenty-four suggestions for other athlete named drinks. Example:

A Tiger Woods ... Pineapple juice and vodka ... Drink one and you'll want 13 more.

It's funny because Tiger Woods had sex with a lot of women.

Anyway, rather than my doing that twenty-three more times, I'd like to use the rest of this post to say that the contract ESPN gave Rick Reilly has to be the worst contract ever in sports-journalism. Actually, any contract ever given to Jay Mariotti was the worst, but Reilly's is still way up there.

ESPN reportedly is paying Reilly $10 million over 5 years, and they're constantly getting efforts like this which would do well to be labeled "sub-par." I mean, he literally has a whole week to write a column, and the best he could come up with was this 341 word bon mot? If this was posted by DJ Gallo on, it'd probably be the 44th out out 45 most read stories for the week. Reilly seems to be running so low on ideas/enthusiasm, that he's even accidentally(?) plagiarized himself.

At the same time, Bill Simmons' weekly column, while often dripping in Boston-homerism and asinine Real World/Road Rules references, at least shows a level of enthusiasm and interest that Reilly's columns do not. On top of that, Simmons does multiple pod-casts a week, which are far better than his columns and drive a ton of traffic to ESPN.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that Rick Reilly often likes to talk high-mindedly about the little guy, giving 110%, and other inspirational tropes. However, to me anyway, it seems like he's taken a huge contract from ESPN and is making very little effort on his part to give them full value out of their investment.

I can't say that I ever read much Rick Reilly growing up, and some people will probably say that this is just more of the same from him, but I almost feel embarrassed for Reilly that he's happily putting out columns like this on a weekly basis.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Jeff Pearlman being Jeff Pearlman

It's way too early in the morning to be cogent about the latest piece of trash by Pearlman. But here are some choice quotations:

Many have argued it to be America's greatest virtue; in this country, you cannot be punished for the mere presumption of guilt.
There must be proof.
What happens, however, if proof is impossible to ascertain? More to the point, what happens if proof is impossible to ascertain because the alleged guilty (and those working on their behalf) have made it so? What if there is no such thing as proof? What if it is as tangible as Roy Hobbs and the $3 bill? What if it can never actually exist?

You're not exactly helping your case, Jeff

Until 2004, Major League Baseball did not test for performance-enhancing drugs. This wasn't because the available methods weren't accurate enough, or because the timing wasn't right, or because Bud Selig was on a lengthy vacation to Guam. No, the reason Major League Baseball did not have a testing policy was because nobody within the game wanted players to get caught.

Not exactly helping your case that steroids users are cheaters, Jeff.

Thanks in large part to the pervasive usage of steroids, growth hormones and other performance-enhancing drugs, baseballs were soaring out of stadiums in record numbers. There was the magical Sosa-McGwire home run chase of '98. There was Barry Bonds hitting 73 in 2001. There was Rafael Palmeiro and Jose Canseco and Jason Giambi and Jeremy Giambi and, well, the list is endless.

Oh, you mean players that we have tangible evidence for steroids or non-denials from? Gotcha Jeff.

For the corporation known as Major League Baseball, power equaled a post-'97 lockout return to packed stadiums, and packed stadiums equaled money, and money equaled happy owners. For the juiced players, power equaled inflated numbers, which equaled inflated contracts.
So, until pressure came along, the owners did nothing.
The players said nothing.
The union -- specifically Donald Fehr -- fought to keep nothingness the norm. one but the fans cared that they were doing it and it wasn't against the rules so...we have a responsibility to keep them out of the hall. I mean, it makes sense--it's not like anyone is in the HOF for breaking what would later become a rule of baseball on a regular basis.

It's not like Jeff's wrong, in theory...but he sure is making his argument pretty poorly.

Simply put, if there is no chance of guilt -- if it is a literal impossibility -- what is the value of such an ideal? "People say, 'Hey, this guy never failed a drug test,' as a defense of certain players," says Howard Bryant, an senior writer and author of Juicing the Game. "It's an intellectually lazy argument. Generally speaking, innocent until proven guilty is true. But how can you use the never-failed-a-drug-test argument when, until relatively recently, there was nothing to fail?

Except we're not talking about a guy like Sammy Sosa, for whom "He never failed a drug test" is the ONLY possible defense. In this article, Pearlman is talking about Jeff Bagwell, the person for which the only argument that he DID take steroids is: "He played in the 90's and got bigger as his career progressed." No Mitchell Report mention. No being called to congress to testify (despite him being one of the best players in the game). No backdoor innuendo about pimples on his back or a change in hat sizes. No. Nothing but "he played in the 90's and got muscular in his career. An argument that could apply to everyone who played in the 90's. Something Jeff must have overlooked! Except...

Does this mean Jeff Bagwell used steroids? No, it doesn't. As NBC Sports' Calcaterra rightly pointed out in a recent post, "There is just as much evidence against [stars like Derek Jeter, Cal Ripken Jr., Randy Johnson, etc.] as there is against Bagwell." Again, the problem with the flawed logic of Calcaterra (one of the leaders of the leave-these-poor-guys-alone movement) and his minions is: There is no evidence. Against anyone. Because baseball made certain of it.

Oh. Never mind. Jeff hasn't overlooked this argument. He just decided to respond to it by sticking his fingers in his years and saying "LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA." I don't see any flawed logic here but yours, Jeff. Basically you're trying to turn the HOF into a job interview, no matter how many correct answers a candidtate gives, no matter how good his resume is, no matter how flawlessly his references check out, you reserve the write to say, "Nah...I can just TELL he won't be a good worker [read: HOFer]."

And everyone knows, that's how a good voting process should go.

Look--I don't really care about steroids use. I know that's not the public trend on the issue and I don't necessarily think people who do care about steroids use are wrong. I have seen very strong arguments against keeping Palmeiro and McGwire--two men for whom a very strong argument could be made that steroids turned them from Dave Kingmans and Will Clarks into HOFers--out of the Hall because of their confirmed cheating. I have also seen strong arguments that slam dunk HOFers like Clemens and Bonds should be kept out of the HOF because they are cheaters and assholes.

I don't necessarily agree with those arguments, but they are solid arguments.

This is not a solid argument. This is a witch hunt. There will be several HOFers and borderline-HOFers in the upcoming years who people have accused baselessly of steroids. Bagwell, Walker, Mike Piazza. As long as people continue to think like Pearlman, the HOF vote is going to be a chance for assholes like Pearlman to use these as-far-as-we-know innocent players as a soapbox to say "Look at me and how much holier than thou I am."

That makes me sicker than steroids ever could.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Don Banks' Snap Judgments Might Be Too Snappy For Their Own Good

From Don Banks' latest Snap Judgments column:

Does anybody handle the whole Week 17 to-play-or-not-to-play issue better than New England? Every year, the Patriots play it pretty straight, like their playoff hopes are on the line, even when they're not. Even Wes Welker's season-ending knee injury last year in Houston didn't prompt a major change of philosophy this time around (although Welker was held out on Sunday at home against Miami).

Wes Welker's injury in week 17 of 2010 didn't alter New England's philosphy at all, except in their decision NOT TO PLAY WES WELKER IN WEEK 17 OF 2011.