Monday, May 30, 2011

Watch some writers employed by Forbes bumblefuck their way through an article about baseball

I mean, this should be pretty obvious, but don't expect great baseball analysis from a publication that's not at all in the business of analyzing baseball. In fact in the case of Forbes you can probably expect some pretty shitty baseball analysis. Blogger Monte Burke has two moron co-workers. Apparently they like to discuss Hall of Fame credentials with one another. Cue up Yakety Sax and listen as you read their thoughts.

Here’s one of my favorite games to play: take all the current players in Major League Baseball and pretend that their careers ended today. Which players do you think would be locks for the Hall of Fame?

One of your favorite? That sounds a little hyperbolic. The "who's a HOFer" game can't even really be played more than once a year. It's not even a game. It's just an exercise in random bullshitting. You can't just start your column with that kind of statement and expect to get away with it. Not on my watch. Writing blog posts about bad HOF articles is one of my favorite non-games.

I’m not talking about which players project to be Hall of Famers someday. Their careers end now. Who’s in?

Keep that qualification in mind.

I have my list. I bugged two of my sports-obsessed colleagues here at Forbes to produce their own lists. Kurt Badenhausen and Tom Van Riper

are both about as informed about baseball as the average ESPN commenter

were gracious enough to spend their lunch breaks pouring over


MLB rosters and producing their own lists.

I’ve listed first the players who we all agree are in, with short comments from all of us. Then I’ve listed the players that only appeared on one or two “ballots,” with comments from only their nominators. For the record, I think there are 8 HOF locks. Kurt thinks there are 9. Tom is the most liberal of the group when it comes to the HOF (the first time he’s ever been called a liberal, mind you). He sees 13 locks.

Right, so keep in mind that we're talking about "locks" here. Guys who are locks based solely on what they've done up until right now.

Part of the fun of this game is the barstool arguments it inevitably creates.

I'm pretty sure that's the entire essence of the game, actually. Without it the game does not exist. Just trying to separate the concepts of "make a list of players you think are HOF locks" and "don't be afraid to disagree with the choices other people make" is blowing my mind right now.

Agree with the choices? Disagree? Don’t be shy.


Here are the players we all agree are in the HOF:

Derek Jeter

“Rarely, if ever, the game’s top shortstop in any given year.

Totally relevant that he happened to be a close second behind Garciapara and then A-Rod during the prime of his career. Very relevant.

But his sustained excellence at the position (.313 average; 2,975 hits) since 1996 makes him an obvious choice.” –Tom

“Would Jeter be a HOFer if he had spent 16 years in a weak-hitting Pittsburgh Pirates line-up?” –Kurt

I'm going to go with "yes." I'm pretty sure getting 3,000 hits as a shortstop while mixing in some power and speed gets you into the hall. Even if you're not MISTER NOVEMBER, CLUTCHEST CLUTCHER TO EVER CLUTCH (Jeter alltime during the regular season: .313/.383/.450, Jeter alltime during the postseason: .309/.377/.472)

“Long, very solid, championship-filled career.” –Monte

Someone tell Paul O'Neill to start working on his induction speech!

Alex Rodriguez

“Over 600 homers while hitting .303 lifetime. Probably a top five all-time player.” –Tom

He might be one of the top 30 batters in history- probably. Which would maybe put him among the top 50 players. There's a chance he's one of the 5 best currently active batters... and he was definitely a top 5 player during the 2000s. I dunno, how far do we want to stretch our criteria to make Tom's comment less ridiculous? Top 5 player? All time? Get the fuck out of here.

Mariano Rivera

“Undeserving in my opinion—the Hall of Fame is no place for relief specialists who see such limited action. But the press already has him in.” –Tom

Being an insanely dominant closer for 15 years is super easy. Just ask all the other guys who have done it. I mean, hell, anyone can close. Just ask any of the countless relievers who have significantly better career numbers in non-save situations than in save situations.

Albert Pujols

Nothing too outrageous here.

Chipper Jones

“Jones will get in, but I’m not sure he is the first ballot lock some people think. He led the league once in a major statistical category (batting average in 2008) and had zero Gold Gloves at 3rd base.” –Kurt

If "number of times leading the league in a major statistical category" is one of the first twenty things you look at when determining someone's worthiness for the HOF, you are a card-carrying zilcheroo.

Jim Thome

“There’s just no avoiding a guy with 593 career homers.” –Tom

“We need one untainted slugger from the steroid era in the Hall.” –Kurt

“Numbers game: 593 home runs.” –Monte

Not that I think Thome doesn't belong, but so far voters are doing an outstanding job of avoiding McGwire and his 583 home runs.

Ichiro Suzuki

“Overrated in my opinion—doesn’t walk or hit for power. But the press loves Ichiro, and his 2,301 hits and a .330 lifetime average over 10-plus seasons will get him there.” –Tom

Tom.... I have no words for you.

That’s seven guys that we all agree are locks today. Here’s where we start to disagree:

And here's where it starts getting good.

Ivan Rodriguez

“Best catcher of his generation and has close to 3,000 hits.” –Kurt

“.297 batting average and 311 home runs. Johnny Bench-like numbers.” –Monte

So Tom apparently doesn't think I-Rod gets in. If you ignore the potential steroid hurdle (first of all Rodriguez has never been formally linked to them, and second of all Tom apparently is because his blurb on A-Rod doesn't mention them) that's patently insane- he's one of the top 2 or 3 catchers of all time. If Carlton Fisk is in, you'd better believe Pudge is making it unless steroids become an issue.

Roy Halladay

“Prediction: by the time the voters consider Halladay, advanced metrics will have overtaken traditional stats like career wins. So forget his ‘mere’ 175 victories

That's actually a pretty low number by HOF standards. Just saying.

and concentrate on his .663 winning percentage. He’s also led his league in complete games six times.” –Tom

You know those voters are suckers for complete games. That's how Cy Young snuck in there.

“175 wins feel light, but 2 Cy Youngs push him over; only Tim Wakefield has more wins among current pitchers.” –Kurt

Probably the least relevant or compelling statistic you could have used. "Hey this 34 year old has more victories than almost any active pitcher! I mean, TIM WAKEFIELD has more, but you know, that's Tim Wakefield for you." Also, Halladay's stats up until now are very comparable with Ron Guidry's career stats. And Guidry never made it despite being a Yankee with two rings and a Cy. I bet Halladay gets there, but it's going to take several dozen more wins and a few hundred more strikeouts.


And here’s where Tom takes over:

And here's where it gets really, really, really good.

Vladimir Guerrero

“A premier offensive player of his era (.942 OPS; .319 batting average). Also a fine outfielder with a strong arm in his younger years.” –Tom

Certainly a defensible pick, although it's not like a .942 OPS or .319 BA are mind blowing considering the era in which he played.

Bobby Abreu

“Six .300 seasons and eight 100 RBI seasons. Quietly amassed a Cooperstown career alongside his rookie class of 1996 brethren Jeter and Guerrero.” –Tom

Ah, so corner OFs with 2300 hits and a little under 300 HRs are locks now? Wow, the Hall is going to get crowded pretty quickly. Garrett Anderson, O'Neill, and Ellis Burks: you're in! And Brian Giles, don't give up hope. You're a little light in the hits department but you might sneak in. I mean Abreu's a really good player but no. No no no.

Chase Utley

“The premier second baseman in MLB over the past nine years with a .893 OPS.” –Tom

He's injury prone (has only cleared 120 games or 600 PAs five times) and as a result he has a mere 1100 hits and 178 HRs. He's very good but no, not even close this time. The batters most similar to him who are retired (via baseballreference) are John Valentin, Al Rosen, and Mike Stanley. Yyyyyyyyyyup.

Miguel Tejada

“The steroid taint could hurt him, but this is a top offensive player at a central position (shortstop) from 2000 to 2007. Tejada was AL MVP in 2002 and drove in 150 runs in 2004.” –Tom

Less ridiculous than Utley but not by much. Other than a nice stretch from 2000 to 2005 he's been somewhere between bad and above average. More than half his career has been spent as a "oh yeah... he's decent" player. Not gonna cut it. Plus the roids.

Todd Helton

“Compiled some of his big numbers at pre-humidor Coors Field, but a guy who has hit .324 lifetime with a .977 OPS won’t be left out.” –Tom

I'm a Rockies fan so I suppose I'm obligated to say OF COURSE TODD IS GETTING IN WOOOOOO THE GUY DOES IT ALL HE'S MR. ROCKIE AND HE'S BEEN THE HEART AND SOUL OF THAT TEAM FOR MORE THAN A DECADE. But yeah realistically he's probably 50/50 at this point. And the only reason the odds are that good is because he's a guy who sportswriters love.

In conclusion Forbes is a completely illegitimate publication and you shouldn't trust them to accurately analyze anything*.

* - related to baseball

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Presenting a voicemail from Chris W

I did a post like this way back in 2007, and it was hilarious (to me and Chris anyways), and I'm going to do it again because it's late and I want to bury Dan's excellent Ray Lewis post before any other blithering idiots manage to try to ruin it via the comments. Note to the guy who brought up the Duke lacrosse scandal: I hate Duke and I hate dickwad lacrosse players (which is to say I hate lacrosse players), and even I can admit that those kids weren't guilty of anything other than being racist dickwad Duke lacrosse players. "[Person] is as guilty as those Duke lacrosse players" should only be said with the ironic implication that [person] has clearly done nothing wrong. Otherwise whoever said it sounds like a certified tardass.

So anyways let's all bask in the glow of Chris's revelation about Colin Cowherd's revelation about Cleveland Cavaliers fans. Think of this as a raw, nasty, fetal post. This is the random DNA of thought that eventually sometimes maybe becomes an actual finished and polished post if whichever writer has an experience like this ends up being unlazy enough to take the time to type it all out coherently. Since Chris left me this about a week ago and never did so I'm going to tell you what was going on in his brain instead.

LB. Hey, ohhhhh my God. Uh, I just heard the greatest Colin segment that's ever been. Uh, I don't know how much you listen to Colin and if you don't listen to him at all you, uh, (indecipherable). So. ANYWAY. IF you've been listening to him, you'd know that he's been, like, harping on this Cleveland Cavs thing, that Cleveland fans, you know, pretend they're upset about The Decision but really they're just upset that they lost LeBron and that LeBron went to Miami.

Uh, first of all, obviously a flawed premise, it's not like every single team that's lost a free agent ever... hasn't thrown a shit fit, although to be fair, Cleveland fans booed Jim Thome when he came back to Cleveland even though he didn't do anything besides sign a free agent deal. REGARDLESS... this was fucking amazing.

Uh, he hit the end of his show, and then he came up with a new argument about why Cleveland fans are pussies. And. I don't disagree on principle, but regardless, this is phenomenal. He said this as if he'd just discovered cancer. He said this. He said "Hey, wait a minute, didn't the Cleveland Cavs once sign a big free agent? Didn't they once sign LARRY NANCE? So they were ok with stealing away from other teams, but they're not, they're not ok with LeBron being stolen away?"

And he said that he, like, like this was the most profound discovery in the history of man. Like he just discovered fire or something. That he had discovered THE LOOPHOLE or the uh the FATAL FLAW in the Cleveland Cavs fandom, that they once signed a free agent who, frankly I'm not the biggest fan of the NBA, but I've never heard of Larry Nance. I have to assume that was like 20 or 30 years ago, or if it was 10 years ago, it wasn't anyone anybody's been crying about. Anyways it... it blew my mind. I just couldn't.... I just couldn't believe what I was hearing. Anyways I hope you enjoy that. Take it easy.

I did, and I am.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ray Lewis, the NFL Lockout, and Crime

This article is just awesome. You have to wonder if the ESPN interviewer was baiting Ray Lewis into saying something stupid.

One of the consequences of a lost NFL season will be an increase in crime, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said in a wide-raging one-on-one interview with ESPN.

Police departments everywhere are gearing up for the increase in Sunday afternoon crimes from depressed Ravens fans with nothing to do.

"Do this research if we don't have a season -- watch how much evil, which we call crime, watch how much crime picks up, if you take away our game," Lewis told ESPN's Sal Paolantonio.

1. "Do this research"?

2. "evil, which we call crime"?

3. "you take away our game"?

If there were a Hall of Fame for awesome quotes by athletes, this would be in it.

That's because, Lewis said, the NFL lockout affects "way more than us" -- the owners and the players.

It also affects people like this guy, who opened fire on a household appliance based on the outcome of an NFL game.

"There's too many people that live through us, people live through us," he said.

Perhaps it would actually be beneficial if people lived a little less vicariously through their NFL teams.

"Yeah, walk in the streets, the way I walk the streets, and I'm not talking about the people you see all the time."

I would like to discover just how, and when, Ray Lewis walks the streets, and I am absolutely baffled as to what kinds of people Ray Lewis IS talking about if he is not talking about people you see all the time.

Is he talking about reclusive shut-ins?

When asked why he thought crime would increase if the NFL doesn't play games this year, Lewis said: "There's nothing else to do Sal."

Life in the Ray Lewisverse:

Monday-Saturday: Await NFL Sunday.

Sunday: (a) Watch NFL football or (b) if (a) is not available, commit crimes.

Sunday is Day 68 of the lockout, which is now the longest work stoppage in NFL history. Lewis said the current dispute boils down to a matter of ego.

Coming from the man who once said:

I already believe I am the best linebacker in the game. Now, I have to show one more thing - that I am the most dominating, influential person in the game and the best football player to ever put on a pair of cleats.
I think it's safe to say that Ray Lewis knows a matter of ego when he sees one.

"It's simple, we really got to remove pride. Seriously," he said.

If only removing pride were so simple, all of our tragic heroes would never have met their downfall.

"There's no other reason the issue is going on," he said. "That's why I don't get into words and all that other stuff, because it takes away from life ... itself."

I'm glad Ray decided to get into words and all that other stuff, if only because it produced this hilarious article.

"There's people who are really struggling for real. There's real struggles out there."

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Lunchpail alert?

MLB Network is awesome. That doesn't mean its anchors never ever say anything stupid. Mitch Williams, a guy not exactly known for being quiet or subtle, has the following analysis to explain Brian McCann's status as not really a well known super duper star (damn DVR is broken so this is not really a super duper accurate recreation but it's close):

I think part of the reason he doesn't get the recognition is that he's not out there thumping his chest. He doesn't demand attention. He's not out there tweeting away on Twitter, running his mouth with all kinds of nonsense.

Things not mentioned by Mitch although they should have been:

-McCann is a career .289/.359/.483 hitter, which is definitely really great for a catcher, but nothing to write home about in the grand scheme of all hitters and certainly not enough to justify Pujols/A-Rod/Hamilton/whoever status
-The counting stats aren't there either: never drove in 100 runs, never hit more than 24 bombs
-Atlanta is a pathetic sports town and Braves players rarely get the credit they're due even when they're amazingly awesome (which McCann isn't)
-This is not football; McCann is not competing for "star power" with Ocho Cinco or Tom Brady. Largely, super duper baseball stars are not in the public eye because they don't put themselves there like athletes from other sports do
-He's having a crappy year so far

In short, Brian McCann is not super duper famous because there's no reason for Brian McCann to be super duper famous. He's probably only the 3rd or 4th best hitter on his own team. So yeah I'm calling this a lunchpail alert.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Gonna try to go after this Simmons NBA playoffs/The Wire article

Let's see how far I get. Hooooooo boy.



/stares at screen

/gets up, puts off doing this by going to Taco Bell

/sits back down

Holy balls do I hate this man's writing.

I need to get the 2011 NBA playoffs a gift.

No you don't. You need to write more than one article every four months and stop being besties with Malcolm Gladwell and Chuck Klosterman, the only two pop writers I can think of who are more worthless than you are.

It can't wear jewelry, it can't drive a car, it doesn't need clothes or trophies.

Who gives a trophy as as gift?

Hmmmm. What about honoring it with the greatest television drama of all time?


(Disclaimer: I love The Wire. I've watched the whole series all the way through four times. Guess what I don't need to do? Tell people about it all the fucking time. Second disclaimer: Big Daddy Drew did a much more thorough takedown of loudmouthed self-important Wire fans on Deadspin a week ago or so. Go read it, it's inspiring.)

Now here's where you say, "'The Wire?' That show had bad language! A lot of it!

Who gives a shit about profanity? Parents. And so it seems that Bill has decided his audience is definitely parents (or perhaps ABC/Disney has ordered it to be the case). This confirms my suspicions.

Actually, that show reinvented how to say certain swear words! You can't do this! You're going to get fired!"


Nope. We have to do it.


One of the show's best traits was its language -- it stayed true to the city and itself, never worrying about things like, "We might be turning off potential viewers" and "It's going to be much harder to syndicate the show unless we cool it a little."

Sort of like every single other original series HBO has ever or will ever run.

Four years later, as I sifted through quote pages and YouTube clips to assemble the quotes below, it was like looking through an old scrapbook from a vacation I loved. So yeah, some of the language you're about to read is a little harsh. But so was the show. For the purposes of this column, we're going to use some carefully placed asterisks to soften the words as much as we can. If you can't handle it, stop reading right now.

Jesus shitballs, is this being published by ESPN or Family Circle? Enough with the disclaimers. Just get to the fucking article already.

Without further ado, 65 of my favorite Wire quotes handed out as awards for the first two-plus weeks of the 2011 NBA playoffs.

Not at all a contrived, awkward, or idiotic premise for an article.

1. "The game done changed."
2. "Game's the same, just got more fierce."

To what else ... Round 1! Talent comes in waves, for whatever reason, and we're riding one along the lines of the one Swayze suicidally tried to surf at the end of "Point Break." You're usually stuck with three or four turds in Round 1, or as they're more commonly known, "The NBA TV Teams." Not this time around.

Or as they're more commonly known, "the Eastern Conference quarterfinals." Don't expect Bill to ever mention the sizable talent disparity between the two conferences that existed virtually every single year for the past decade, probably because his favorite team (as long as they're winning and not about to draft Yi Jianlian) plays in the east. But the one time a year he writes about baseball, get ready for it: WOW WHY DON'T THEY JUST RELEGATE THE WHOLE NATIONAL LEAGUE TO DOUBLE-A?!?! TO MY FRIENDS AND I IN OUR AL KEEPER LEAGUE, THE NL IS ABOUT AS INTERESTING AS PROFESSIONAL CHESS. BLAH BLAH BLAH MEANINGLESS OVERSTATED LEAGUE-BASED ELITISM BLAH BLAH BLAH

Obviously I cannot get over that. Wait, what were we just talking about?

Our only sweep (Celtics-Knicks) featured two riveting games in Boston, including Melo's sublime 42-17 in Game 2 that reminded everyone, "That's why you trade five dudes for Carmelo Anthony."

And the series which reminded everyone, "Oh shit, that's what happens when your team has two superstars complemented by a bunch of complete scrubs (and Chauncey Billups in a full body cast), and then you run into a good defensive team." Obviously the jury is still out on that trade but it's looking like the Knicks probably shat the bed. Anthony Carter played a ton of meaningful minutes in that series. That's all you need to know about whether or not it was a great trade for New York and where their depth stands as of now. But Bill said when the trade happened that it was a brilliant gambit and he's sticking to his story. Good for him. I eagerly await watching him sweep it under the rug when the Knicks go 42-40 and get blown out in the first round again next year.

Pacers-Bulls and Sixers-Heat ended prematurely but earned Duke The Trainer Memorial, "They don't think it's a damned show, they think it's a damned fight!" status.

The Sixers really didn't play that well. That series was definitely a snoozer.

Zombies-Nuggets had a Hagler-Hearns pace -- both teams came out swinging and never stopped. Lakers-Hornets and Blazers-Mavs featured a few dramatic twists on par with D'Angelo getting murdered

No. No no no. This is instance 1 out of probably 100 in this article with the following problem- what happened during an NBA playoff game has nothing to do with a character in a TV drama getting murdered in jail on the orders of his friend. Nothing. You can't equate the two unless the real life playoff event involves a Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan incident in the locker room tunnel or something. And that's why this article is a big pile of hot garbage.

before fizzling out in Game 6. Hawks-Magic gave us our mandatory Round 1 upset, laid the groundwork for Dwight Howard fleeing Orlando and broke the NBA TV curse.

Orlando and Atlanta aren't "NBA TV teams" because they're not good. They're NBA TV teams because they don't have legions of diptard bandwagon fans all over the country falling over themselves to point out that they've been a Celtics/Lakers fan for at least 3 years now.

And Spurs-Grizzlies ranks among the best Round 1s ever.


Last Wednesday, my friend Whitlock texted me



Oh man, that's great stuff. How fitting. Of course you are. The two shitty blowhard self-important sportswriters most eager to point out to their readers that they enjoy The Wire are buddies. Duh. OF COURSE.

just to say, "these NBA playoffs have been one of the best experiences of my sporting life." We hadn't even had a Game 6 yet!!!

That proves one of two things: either that first round really was the greatest thing since sex, or Whitlock is a hyperbole-spewing idiot. Hmmmmmm. It's 50/50, really. I'm a big NBA fan and not much of an NHL fan and yet even I can admit that the latter are upstaging the former right now. However, as Chris Wong so often notes, the NBA playoffs have the advantage of being spread out over a longer period of time. So it's pretty likely they'll end up being more fun and more exciting when the dust settles and the two champions are crowned. For now it's a heated competition though.

Well, there's your answer as to how far I'd get: through 2 quotes (of a possible 65). Damn. Almost made it. This is like that time Frank Sobokta met with the Greek and his henchmen down by the docks just as the Greek's mole uncovered that Frank had started snitching! Oh wait, no, it's not like that at all.