Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mind boggling

I am a diehard Rockies fan, born and raised 30 minutes from Coors Field. I thought October 1, 2007 (Matt Holliday STILL hasn't touched home plate!) could never be topped. I was wrong. That is all.


Update: OK, that is all.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

WMTMQR: Show me the funny

Gregg's in the mood to tell jokes this week, moreso than usual. That's a good thing for us. Also, a shoutout to reader Daniel who went 2 for 3 in the prediction he made in the comments section last post. Buffalo's 3-0 start gave Gregg cause to talk at length about the undergrad institutions attended by Ryan Fitzpatrick (Harvard? I had no idea!) and Fred Jackson. Somehow he forgot to talk about how Stevie Johnson was a 15th round draft choice, though. Of course that's not the real reason Johnson rules--he rules because he blamed God for a dropped pass. But enough about me. Let's talk about pretentious faux intellectuals who write about science fiction and football.

Of course, children, I am referring to the Buffalo Bills and the Detroit Lions. And no, I don't know what "Bills" are, either. This has been lost to the mists of history. Perhaps the team was originally called the Buffalo Williams.

/bike horn

/slide whistle

Told you he was in the mood to yolk around.

The Bills-Patriots game even produced a moment in which the unassuming Chan Gailey, fired twice in the past five years and OOF -- Out of Football -- entirely in 2009, out-Belichicked Bill Belichick.

Do tell.

Game tied at 31, Buffalo's Fred Jackson -- undrafted from Division III Coe College, now one of pro football's top performers -- caught a 39-yard pass, lunging across the goal line with 1:43 remaining. Zebras signaled touchdown. Then booth review began. Jackson's knee went down at the 1, as replay ultimately determined.

Jackson not scoring was great for Buffalo! Belichick immediately realized that if the play was ruled a touchdown, Brady would have 1:43 and two timeouts to try for overtime. If instead Jackson was ruled down at the 1, Buffalo could kneel three times, force Belichick to burn the timeouts, then kick a field goal, leaving New England mere seconds to reply. Belichick gestured angrily at the officials -- he wanted them to count the touchdown. Belichick was demanding that his opponent be awarded a score!

As it happened, a personal foul against the Patriots allowed Buffalo to use the entire clock and launch the winning kick as time expired.

So "doing what any person with a brain and basic knowledge of football would do" now counts as outsmarting a guy who wins Super Bowls and deviously wrecks marriages on a semi-regular basis.

Postgame, Belichick had to explain to baffled sportswriters, in gruff terms, that he called time-out the moment the replay decision was made, because once officials determined the runner was down inbounds, the clock would restart as if Jackson had been tackled at the 1. How could it be that sportswriters who do nothing but football all year round don't know that rule?

How dare those sportswriters not know a basic thing about football! They should be ashamed. I bet they also don't know that if you lose by a field goal on the last play of the game, you could have prevented it by... and you know the rest.

An ideal outcome for the 2011 NFL season would be for two underdog teams from fading old-industry cities to meet in the Super Bowl. From now on, a Buffalo-Detroit Super Bowl is what this column is rooting for. As TMQ noted last week, if Buffalo and Detroit met in the Super Bowl, "One of them would have to win -- I think."

/laugh track

Stop citing to your own columns and unclever pithy remarks.

In Indianapolis Colts news, Peyton Manning seems a long shot to return this season. This would end football's version of "Narnia." Eustace, Lucy, where are you?

I killed the hyperlink- that was another citation to his own (awful) work. Come on man, who are you? Jason Whitlock?

Stats of the Week No. 3: Jay Cutler has been sacked 101 times in 34 starts for the Chicago Bears. While playing for the Denver Broncos, he was sacked 51 times in 57 starts.

Average mouth-breathing Bears fan: "CUTLER IS A PUSSYFACE WHO DOESN'T KNOW HOW TO WIN"

Stats of the Week No. 5: Since earning home playoff dates at the end of the 2010 regular season, the Atlanta Falcons and Kansas City Chiefs are a combined 1-7.

But just ask any Peter King; with their comically overrated QB and unremarkable defense, the Falcons are a lock to win the NFC this year.

Sweet Play of the Week: The Houston Texans leading the New Orleans Saints

You mean the Moo Cows and the whatever the fuck your nickname for the Saints is-es?

Sweet Play Called Back: The Green Bay Packers,

Shit, forgot this one too.

leading by 10, punted to the Chicago Bears

YOU MEAN MING DING XIONG! BEARS WHOSE OUTCOMES ARE DETERMINED BY FATE!

Sour Play of the Week Washington leading Dallas 16-15 just before the two-minute warning, the Skins had the Boys facing third-and-21 on their 30. Since the average NFL snap gains somewhat over 5 yards, and Washington this season is allowing 6.1 yards per snap, all the Redskins needed do was play straight defense and a stop was likely.

Joe Morgan was right. Statistics ARE stupid because you can make them say anything you want. Also, remember those reporters who didn't understand the rules about the clock following a challenge? What a bunch of clowns!

That cannot seriously be an eight-man blitz on third-and-21! The eight-man blitz is almost never seen, because it is like handing out a card that says "Please score a touchdown." Tony Romo threw a 30-yard completion to the single-covered Dez Bryant, penalty yardage was added, and a moment later the home team launched the winning kick.

Bryant was at 75% and Miles Austin was sitting. Blitzing makes much more sense when you can easily use man coverage against the other team's WRs. Not saying it was definitely the right call here, but let's add some context, you know? No? OK, no context.

On the possession, Washington defensive coordinator Jim Haslett called an eight-man blitz on first down, a seven-man blitz on second down

Wonder how those worked out? My guess is that Dallas was already in the end zone after each- so I'm not sure how it could have been 3rd and 21.

and an eight-man blitz on third down.

One fluky scramble and one bad play by DeAngelo Hall (who saw that coming?) later and the Cowboys were back in business. Debate settled: blitzing never works.

He also handed out cards saying "Please score a touchdown." Dallas settled for as field goal.

What?

He also handed out cards saying "Please score a touchdown." Dallas settled for as field goal.

I think that joke is unintentional, but it still made me chuckle. Also, if you watched Washington's victories over Arizona and New York (by which I mean Jersey/A!), you would know that heavy blitzing was a big part of both of those games. But acknowledging that would require Gregg to provide his analysis after considering the facts, rather than only talking about the facts that fit the analysis he wants to provide. Very inconvenient.

Just to prove this was no fluke, at the two-minute warning, the Texans faced third-and-15. New Orleans showed the conservative three-man front that's become popular in long-yardage situations -- then rushed five, sacking Matt Schaub and all but ended the contest. Sweet. Nickelback Leigh Torrence came through untouched for the sack, though Houston had six available to block five. Sour.

I like how he carefully avoids using the work "blitz" when a blitz is successful. Blitz? What blitz? That was a "rush."

Bad Predictions Watch: Reader Tyler Smith of Zionsville, Ind., notes students at Hamilton College tracked a year's worth of predictions by political pundits, and found the average pundit no more accurate than a coin flip. Hamilton College students also discerned a hidden pattern: "Prognosticators with a law degree were more likely to be wrong."

Nothing to get the funny bone tickled like dumping on lawyers! Those stupid lawyers. They're so full of themselves and yet so stupidly stupid. Hey, what do you call 100 smarmy sportswriters at the bottom of the ocean? A PRETTY GOOD START!

A Fine Whine: The San Diego Chargers are plowing new ground by marketing a team wine. The beverage offers "vibrant fruit flavors and toasty oak." Considering the Bolts' performance in 2010 -- first in offense, first in defense, missed the playoffs -- TMQ suspects the wine is made to the highest possible standards from the very finest grapes, and tastes bad.

What if other NFL teams marketed wines?

Dallas Cowboys Missing Seats Merlot: Rich with deceptive promises, this wine will make you want to stand up throughout any dinner or social occasion.

And then he does like eight more of these. It's depressing.

It's not just that Martz has made the pass-wacky offense one-dimensional: counting sacks and scrambles, he has called 131 passes versus 48 rushes. The 1-2 Bears seemed discombobulated at critical moments against the defending champion Packers. Former head coaches tend to project ego fields.

Nah, that's just Charlie Weis's gravitational field.

/shows self out

Many don't really want to be taking orders, and don't want to be questioned by players or each other. There are so many ego fields on the Chicago sideline, they may be interacting negatively.

That's gotta be it. I can't think of any other reason the Bears could be 1-2, other than the slight possibility that playing at New Orleans and then hosting the pass-rush heavy Packers on consecutive weeks is going to hang plenty of teams with two losses.

What Tom Brady Will Do After Football: Last week TMQ said auto shows feature "glamorous models draped over concept cars you probably wouldn't even want. The models are always women, not male-model hunks, which must be the car industry's way of acknowledging that only men can to inveigled into spending huge amounts of money on cars." Reader Bal√°zs GyQrik, of Budapest, Hungary, reports Citroen had a male model adorning its latest product at the Frankfurt auto show. He notes, "Sure, it's only a drop in the sea, but can hunks in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue be far behind?"

Nope! And that's fifteen seconds you'll never have back.

Are Greek Bonds Backing the Movie "Moneyball"? The movie "Moneyball" is winning rave reviews. Michael Lewis's 2003 book of the same name is also a great read, though handicapped in spots with the contemporary publishing-industry imperative of the nonfiction work that claims an amazing single insight that explains everything about a topic.

I have read Moneyball twice. At no point does Lewis present any thesis that comes off like it was concocted by some dipshit like Malcolm Gladwell. If you got that from it, either you were reading too fast or you are Tim McCarver.

In the film, the handsome Brad Pitt plays Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane, who is himself handsome -- maybe Beane could play Pitt in some future flick.

Seems pretty unlikely.

The book and the movie both portray Beane as a super-ultra genius for applying the Bill James sabermetric approach to baseball decision-making, then using James-style data crunching to guide the low-rent, underdog A's to a division title in 2002.

Lewis' book stops in that year, which is handy for its thesis.

Also handy when you consider the fact that Lewis wrote it during 2003 after spending 2002 doing research specifically so he could write the book the following year. WHAT ARE YOU HIDING, LEWIS? ADMIT IT! ADMIT YOU PAID OFF THE A'S TO MAKE THEM WIN THAT 2002 AL WEST CROWN!

Beane continues to run the Athletics using the moneyball approach: yet Oakland has not finished above .500 in five years, and currently is a dreary 72-88. Nor did the moneyball approach ever take the team into the World Series.

Oh brother. Here we go again.

One possibility is that the whole moneyball idea is hype: that Beane had some beginner's luck, which Lewis, wanting to puff up a book proposal, converted into a claim of a sweeping insight about sports economics. Since Beane took over the A's, there are many MLB teams that have reached the World Series without asserting they possess any stunning conceptual breakthroughs about whom to sign.

And nearly all of them have had good luck w/r/t injuries and excellent situational hitting/bullpen work. Two things that have exactly nothing to do with the Moneyball approach, and which the A's teams of the early aughts couldn't quite get right. And of course eventually everyone else caught up with the idea of exploiting market inefficiencies (except the Astros).

It is also possible that Beane fell victim to "commoditization," which happens with increasing speed in a globalized environment. This would mean Beane did in fact have an important insight, but his idea has been copied by most if not all MLB franchises, turning the idea into a mere commodity that, possessed by everyone, confers no advantage.

So you knew all along and just wanted to take a shot at Beane and Lewis before acknowledging it. Nice. Joe Morgan and Gregg Easterbrook have never been seen in the same place at the same time. COINCIDENCE????

Here's what your columnist wrote about commoditization in my 2009 book "Sonic Boom":

JESUS CHRIST. Stop.

Commoditization is a reason the international economy grows more productive and simultaneously more turbulent -- when some business has a good idea, the rest of the world learns to imitate that idea with increasing alacrity. In Beane's case, once the book "Moneyball" was published in 2003, the rest of baseball had a road map -- available for $27.95 in a bookstore -- on how to apply sabermetrics to free agency decisions. The idea was commoditized, and the A's sunk back into mediocrity.

The idea that other teams wanted to know how the A's were succeeding with such low payrolls, and couldn't figure it out on their own, but then eventually were able to figure it out by reading Moneyball, makes me chortle. Can you imagine Brian Sabean and Dave Dombrowski standing in line at Barnes and Noble, excitedly flipping through the pages? Lord knows I can and it's a glorious image. Chortle chortle chortle.

Rule quirk: The other thing Oklahoma State might have done [to run out the clock on the last play of the game] is have the quarterback heave the ball deep down the middle. The clock stops when an incompletion crosses the out-of-bounds markers on the sidelines. But for a pass thrown through and out of the end zone, the clock does not stop until the ball crosses the backline. Surely a high-arcing pass would take more than 5 seconds to traverse from the Team A 39-yard line to the back of the Team B end zone. So in the situation faced by the Cowboys, this would seem a safe way to kill the final 5 seconds. But you'd be gambling that the zebras knew this rarely invoked rule.

You would also be gambling that a college QB can throw the ball 75 yards (or that if they can't, the other team's safeties couldn't track the ball and intercept it and have a chance for a return TD) which would make you incredibly fucking stupid.

That's all I can take- just don't have the energy to pick apart the obscure college score of the week. Later on I plan to post a review of Keith Law's review of Moneyball. Did Keith like it? Does he ever like anything ever? Do I wish someone would kick him in the balls and tell him to lighten up a little (yes, I know I am being a hypocrite)? All these questions and more will be answered later this week! Maybe!

Unified Theory of Creep!



Not only is the Super Bowl still months away, the NFL playoffs haven't even started!

More later today. I've been a bum lately. Time to get things rolling and be a bum who posts slightly more often.

Monday, September 19, 2011

This is why he makes the big bucks

This source is extremely old, but apparently Boomer Esiason was making $1.6 million per year to be a color commentator back in 1998. Let's assume he's still making that same amount today (no, I will not adjust for inflation, because I want to spend fewer than 45 seconds on this post). Why shouldn't he when he offers insights like he did yesterday?


/Tom Brady, under pressure, completes a screen pass to Rob Gronkowski which goes for 15ish yards

You know... the Patriots lead the league in plays where they just get it done.

Beat that, Aikman. The gauntlet is thrown.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The most Rick Reilly article Rick Reilly has ever written

















Geez, if I was told the description but was not told it appeared on ESPN.com, I would assume it was a parody written by some jokester. It's almost too good to be real.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

WMTMQR: In which Gregg admits that he's a dope

I mean, he admits it really really really really indirectly. But we'll take what we can get. First: an extended metaphor that football fans can surely appreciate.

"In the last days of Narnia..."

So begins the final book of "The Chronicles of Narnia" --

Are you sure that wasn't the opening sentence of "The Old Man and the Sea?" This can only go good places. Hopefully he breaks down how scientifically unrealistic the Narnia series is.

a volume that's unlikely to become a big-budget Hollywood movie, since all the children and the cute talking animals are slaughtered by a hideous demon named Tash.

How is that different than Toy Story 3?

Which sounds a little like Texans.

Yes, they both start with the same letter.

The Indianapolis Colts under Peyton Manning have been the Narnia of the NFL. Everything's always sunny. Manning always starts: opening day was the first time he didn't start since 1997.

Strrrretching the metaphor

The seasons are always good: The Colts have made the playoffs a record-tying nine straight seasons.

Strrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeetching

Players and coaches are composed, behaving with dignity.

Except when Tony Dungy claims that homosexuals will burn in hell forever.

The crowd is orderly.

And fat.

The two domed stadia in which Manning toiled have been the gleaming Cair Paravel of pro football. And like all great champions in mythology, Manning wears a special ring.

STRRRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEETCHING

The primary hero in the C.S. Lewis books is an English schoolboy who becomes Peter the High King -- tall, brave and humble, just like Manning.

Tall, brave, and fetus-headed.

(A standard literary criticism of Lewis' creation is that the strange races of Narnia need a white male to lead them.)

Just another reason Avatar is fucking stupid.

For more than a decade, Manning has been Peyton the High King to the NFL.

Tony Dungy, the Colts' coach for most of the Manning years, and for their Super Bowl win, has been the NFL's Aslan, a superpowered being. Even today, having left the game, Dungy is turned to for wisdom more than any other figure in football.

And thrusts his self-righteous wisdom upon those who don't ask. "If I'm [name of player who is in trouble with Goodell for being photographed having a beer], here's what I do now: donate a game's paycheck to Focus on the Family. Then..."

If he took over the reins in Indianapolis again, he would be greeted like Aslan returning to end the perpetual winter of the second Narnia volume.

Nah, things have been going just great under Jim Caldwell.

/imagines Caldwell stand expressionless on the sideline during another Colts playoff loss

And Dwight Freeney is the Reepicheep of the NFL, far more powerful than his modest stature -- OK, enough with this metaphor.

Yeah, you think? And then he went on for two more paragraphs, which I didn't bother to copy and paste. If nothing else, Greggggggg has his finger squarely on the comedic pulse of his readers.

Ivy League quarterback note: Fight Fiercely Harvard! Ryan Fitzpatrick, Harvard '05 -- married to Liza Barber, Harvard '05, a former Crimson soccer star -- threw four touchdown passes and no interceptions on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs, a 2010 playoff team. Pip pip! Right you are! Buffalo Bills teammates kept Fitzpatrick fired up by singing on the sidelines, "Come on chaps, fight for Harvard's glorious name/won't it be peachy if we win the game!" Fitzpatrick has asked Bills' management to institute a postgame sherry hour.

Oh yeah, assuming his readers are pretentious wine-sipping twats, he definitely has his finger squarely on their comedic pulse.

Sweet Play of the Week: TMQ's immutable law holds: Rush Eight If You Want to Block That Punt. NFL coaches rarely send a big rush after the punter, fearing a roughing call and generally being hyper-conservative.

This happens like three or four times every game.

Trailing 24-17 midway through the fourth quarter, Jersey/B forced a Dallas punt: and shocked the visiting Cowboys with an all-out eight-man rush.

It wasn't so much "shock" as "a shitty blocking scheme" (Cris Collinsworth broke it down beautifully on SNF) that caused the block.

Speaking of nutty, the Ryan brothers ran every funky defensive front in the book against each other. My favorite was a Dallas defensive snap with three down linemen and both corners blitzing. Yet the result of all the funky defensive tactics was a 27-24 final score with 390 offensive yards gained by one team and 360 yards gained by the other. That's a pretty conventional outcome. Maybe one of the Ryans should try a standard 4-3.

/head asplodes

This just in, people: if an unconventional scheme produces an outcome that isn't weird or wildly successful, there was no point in instituting it.

Sweet 'N' Sour Play of the Week: In the season opener, the count was Green Bay 42, New Orleans 34, Saints on the Packers' 1 for an untimed down following a penalty in the end zone as time expired. The Saints employed a heavy package with six offensive linemen and three tight ends. Power back Mark Ingram went straight up the middle, run stuffed, game over. That was sweet for fans of the defending champion, and in this game, a rare play that looked like old-fashioned football (see more below).

Where the fuck were the Football Gods? Shouldn't they have been rewarding the Saints for playing old skool hardnose smashmouth three yards and a cloud of dust in your face cliche cliche cliche football?

Sour for Saints' fans was a bland call from usually daring Sean Payton.

Just like the Immutable Law of Cold Coach states "cold coach equals victory unless the more warmly dressed coach wins in which case don't write about it," the Football Gods only reward smashmouth play calls when those calls work. It's quite the feedback loop.

Maybe It's an Amateurs League: Entering the 2011 season, 16 of the 32 NFL head coaches have never won a playoff game.

Well, every year there are 11 playoff games. There will be between 4 and 8 teams that win those 11 games, usually probably either 6 or 7 (considering the wild card winners rarely fare well against the top 2 seeds who had a first round bye). Many teams do well season after season (such as the Colts, or should I say the Aslans) so over the course of any 5 year stretch you might have.... geez, I don't know, somewhere around 20 different teams that win playoff games (none of which are the Bills). Coaches turn over pretty quickly. So what I'm trying to say is that if you're shocked that half of all coaches have never won a playoff game at any certain point in time, you're a fucking dope.

Sci-Fi Update:

Finally!

The science fiction scene on television remains weak. The "Star Trek" and "Stargate" franchises are no more, "Fringe" has veered into the silly, and TNT's "Falling Skies" is so lame in plot and dialogue it doesn't even merit an insult. Will Steven Spielberg put his name on anything?

Well, he put it on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. So I'm not sure there's much he WON'T put his name on.

"Stargate Universe" ended in May, concluding the run of "Stargate" serials. "Universe" was poorly written in its first season, canceled early in its second. Then a surprise: Midway through the second season, the writing improved noticeably. But the first season lost the audience, and by the time quality improved, nobody was watching. The last few episodes were terrific, building to a series finale that numbers among the best in television annals.

Lollerskates

In the finale, the starship crew decides to attempt something dangerous and noble. The characters make sentimental promises to each other, then the ship disappears into the distance. The last frame is a character admiring the grandeur of the cosmos. Viewers never find out the ship's fate.

Sounds riveting. Move over, M*A*S*H and Newhart. There's a new contender in town for best finale ever.

The premise of "Stargate Universe" was that a wormhole accident put a group of present-day soldiers and civilians aboard a million-year-old automated starship built by an extinct civilization. Though the vessel had been exploring the universe on its own for a million years,

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Then Baltimore went for two out of a PAT kicking formation -- a tactic TMQ has always thought should be used more often, given most defenders nap through the PAT attempt.

And if that tactic were used more often, defenders would definitely not change their behavior on conversions at all.

Holder Sam Koch ran for two untouched. The surprise deuce essentially ended the game, putting Baltimore ahead 29-7.

28-7 late in the 3rd? Still a game. 29-7? Warm up the bus.

And there was a psychological component: The deuce said to Pittsburgh, "You have toyed with us, now watch us toy with you."

Also: where were the Football Gods when they were supposed to be punishing the Ravens for running up the score? It's classless, sets a bad example for the millions of youthy youths who play football, etc. It's almost as if Gregg is wildly inconsistent in the way in which he applies ideas. Geez, if I weren't crazy, I'd go a step further and say it's almost like Gregg has no fucking idea what he's talking about at any point in time.

Rick Perry Was Once a Male Cheerleader, As Was Woodrow Wilson: Mark Sanchez just posed shirtless for GQ. With scantily clad cheer-babes part of marketing throughout the NFL, and increasing women's interest in football, TMQ continues to believe the league is missing an opportunity by not fielding shirtless male cheer-hunks.

I bet Gregg is one of those people who thinks women are the primary audience for Playgirl. Having shirtless male cheer-hunks on the sideline might increase the NFL's appeal with a certain demographic, but I doubt they're doing too bad with that demographic right now anyways considering that demographic consists of males.

Monday Night Doubleheader, Oakland at Denver: As the home Denver crowd chanted for Tim Tebow, Oakland won its eighth straight within the division. The Raiders will become a contender if they show they can prevail outside the AFC West. Oakland's Ryan-brothers-flavored defensive game plan of frequent safety blitzing did not stop Kyle Orton.

/remembers watching Orton constantly run from pressure, throw a pick, lose a critical fumble, completely barely 50% of his passes, and not throw a TD until late in the 4th quarter

Yup. Neckbeard was in the zone last night.

But the Broncos stopped themselves by rushing for a paltry 38 yards on just 13 attempts. Nobody wins at home with those kinds of stats.

Except the Jets, who ran for 45 yards on 16 attempts.

Now it's the fourth quarter, New England leading 31-17 with possession on its own 1 -- after a terribly shaggy failed fade by Miami on fourth-and-goal from the 1. (Can't anybody run up the middle anymore?)

But don't forget- the Saints were morons for running up the middle on their game's final play. Can't anyone call imaginative short yardage plays anymore?

In the heat of the moment, it's not realistic to expect that players will calculate that the team is better off with them not scoring. This responsibility falls to their coaches. Yet after the game, new Maryland coach Randy Edsall criticized Chism for not realizing the scoreboard situation and getting on the ground following the interception.

Maryland has 10 full-time football coaches and apparently not a one of them realized they were facing a "knock it down" snap. Thus the endgame error was by the Maryland coaches, not by a Maryland player -- yet the head coach criticized a player.

And we know for a fact that the coaches did not instruct the defenders to knock down 4th down passes instead of intercepting them or take a knee rather than returning them for a TD when doing so would actually help the team win. Since we know that unassailable fact, it's right for us to criticize the coach for criticizing his player.

Obscure College Score of the Week: Elizabeth City 49, Limestone 7. In 2000, when yours truly started writing TMQ, I worried about running out of things to say. That didn't seem to happen.

If only you had worried about possessing the analytical abilities of a turtle while not running out of things to say.

In 2002, when I started Obscure College Score, I worried about running out of obscure colleges. That hasn't happened either.

And we're all ecstatic that you're still running this exhilarating item.

Let's conclude with Gregg's semi-quasi admission of imperfection. I mean it barely counts. You be judge.

TMQ Readers Know Too Much (New Running Item): A couple weeks ago, a picture of a mouflon appeared next to an explanation of the TMQ cognomen "Les Mouflons." Striving to be erudite, Page 2 captioned the photo, "Une mouflon." Readers, including Caroline Stevenson of Austin, Texas, wrote to note that the sheep was male (horns) and therefore the caption should have read "Un mouflon." This caused your columnist to exclaim, "TMQ readers know too much."

Last week's column had a raven saying "you can quoth me" about Baltimore's need to beat the Steelers. Jeffrey Roth of Davidson, N.C., writes, "The pictured bird is not a raven, rather, a Daurian Jackdaw. Yes, it's another type of corvid, but an entirely different genus." TMQ readers know too much! If you know too much, show off by sending an esoteric comment to TMQ_ESPN@yahoo.com.

Notice how he won't admit that he's full of shit- the problem is that the readers are not full of enough shit. Still, I'll take it. And while I won't email trivial corrections to him, you'd better believe I'm sending him a strongly worded letter next time he breaks out his "tenths of a second don't exist" or "if they had run up the middle at some point in the 3rd quarter, the clock would have run out before the game winning field goal attempt" bits. Oh please believe.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

WMTMQR: There shall be no TMQR

What a bummer. How could this be? The guy writes an entire column centered around making predictions for all 32 teams in haiku format--yes, haiku format--and I can't find anything in it really worth picking on. Seems ridiculous but it's the case. I dunno, maybe I'm going soft in my old age. Maybe Gregg has written moronic drivel intentionally all these years and decided to cut his act this week. Maybe all this hoping to one day study law is giving me some kind of a mental block. Whatever the reason, Gregg gets a pass this week. I'm sure he'll be back to his old tricks next Tuesday, speculating that Team X kicked a 48 yard field goal on 4th and 12 that made the score 24-3 early in the third quarter because Team X's coach was trying to avoid having a shutout on his resume.


And since there's no TMQR I think I will turn this into a grab bag of a post. When you live in your Grandma's basement (my parents recently gave me the heave-ho out of theirs because I was too busy writing about baseball without knowing what sunlight feels like to help them with the chores), you can do whatever you want with your blogoblog.

Speaking of basement dwelling trolls who know nothing about how baseball actually works, I can't wait for the release of the Moneyball movie because 1) it looks like a decent flick and 2) it'll give crusty old fuckasses like Plaschke a chance to roll out the same sorry criticisms of Beane and his methods they've been rolling out for five or six years now. HEY THE A'S NEVER WON A WORLD SERIES SO THAT PROVES BEANE KNOWS NOTHING. AND LOOK, THE A'S HAVEN'T BEEN GOOD FOR SEVERAL SEASONS WHICH ALSO PROVES THAT BEANE'S MANAGERIAL METHODS DID NOT STAND THE TEST OF TIME.

Moving on. I need to make couple apologies.

To Jeff Pearlman: you were right. Jason Bay is fucking terrible. He's not terrible for the reasons you said he'd be terrible, but he's terrible all the same. You saw it coming. A feather in your cap, sir. And I still want my free copy of The Rocket That Fell To Earth whenever you get a chance.

To Phillies fans: I was wrong. Despite a buttshit lineup (team OPS+ of 97), your team is going to win like 103 games. Good for them. I hope they win their first two against the Diamondbacks easily, then drop the next two in Arizona, and then lose game five at home as Ryan Howard strikes out looking with the game winning runs on base. As long as your team is going to have a starting staff capable of annual regular season success, the least I can wish upon your cavalcade of trashball moron fans is a devastatingly painful annual playoff disappointment. Worst of luck to you in October.

Finally, a minor rant. After realizing TMQ had nothing to offer me this week I moved on to a well that never runs dry- CBS's Scott Miller. He wrote a column about who deserves to win baseball's individual awards this season. It was actually pretty inoffensive minus this little bit of cognitive dissonance:




Ah yes, finally, in the year 2011, even mouth-breathers like Miller understand that pitching wins are a pretty useless statistic. But runs scored? Now there's something you can set your watch to.

That's not where I'm going with this, though. Where I'm going is directly into the eye (with a sharp object) of anyone who wants to say that Justin Upton is worthy of winning the MVP. Now I don't hate Upton, he's a good player who's had a good year. But there's a problem that prevents me from saying he should win big-time hardware: I'm a Rockies fan. And I will never, ever, ever, ever stop being furious with writers who diminish the accomplishments of any Rockie because of the Coors Field effect while ignoring the home/road splits of every other player in the league. Yes, many Rockies have sizable differences between their road and home numbers. Yes, lots of non-Rockies have the exact same problem. No, this criticism is never leveled against them and it makes me want to throw puppies off a cliff.

Such is the case with Upton this year, hitting .348/.427/.641 at Chase and .246/.331/.444 everywhere else. If the Rockies and Diamondbacks switched spots in the standings and Carlos Gonzalez had Upton's splits, you'd never hear the end of how Gonzalez is nothing but a guy who's lucky to play half his games at Coors and would otherwise be a 4th outfielder. Chase isn't Coors, but it's a pretty solid hitter's park. Don't expect the average baseball writer to know that. Instead it's all DERP DERP DERP LOLCOORS DERP. Any writer who gives his or her #1 vote to Upton this year but didn't give his or her #1 vote to "Coors Creation" Matt Holliday in 2007 (.301/.374/.485 on the road) should be immediately dragged into the nearest town square and beaten to death with bricks. That is all.

I'm a week behind on TMQ

So I will try to get to this week's column later today. Here's the best thing he said last week:


Rare is the spectator who cares about the punter, but by midseason, Falcons fans may wish their team had tried harder to retain Mike Koenen, who left for City of Tampa in free agency. Koenen was both skilled at downing punts inside the 20, and as a kickoff man, finished third in the NFL last season for touchbacks. With the kickoff line moved up 5 yards this year, the strong-legged kickoff man rises in value, and teams like Atlanta, that score a lot, benefit most from lots of touchbacks.

That part about strong-legged kickoff guys rising in value as the kickoff line is moved forward is correct, except that the exact opposite is correct. What a blithering idiot.