Monday, July 30, 2012

According to Bill Simmons, the universe continues to revolve around Bill Simmons

Bill wrote an article about the Olympics.  As is the case with any subject he covers, that really means he wrote an article about himself.

You get older and older, and older, and suddenly, the Summer Olympics become a series of four-year checkpoints for your life. 

No.  No they do not.  You get older and older, and the Olympics continue to be a gigantic competition featuring athletes from all over the world run by a comically corrupt organization. 

This only happens to people who remember just about everything through the lens of sports. 

No, it only happens to self-obsessed fuckholes who cannot stop thinking/talking/writing about themselves.

That's where the word "fanatic" came from. Ever looked that word up? 

Everyone board the train to Clevertown!  No one, least of all some kind of gigantic bore like Bob Costas or Jim Nantz, has even talked about the "'fan' comes from 'fanatic'" thing before.

Here's the actual definition:

"Marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion."

Translation: "Someone who, technically, is a freaking lunatic."

Mind asplode.

When I interviewed Larry Bird earlier this year, 


I half-jokingly told him that, of the 25 best moments in my life, he was probably involved in 10 of them. 

Some highlights from the other 15:  the moment he realized that proclaiming his devotion to the Patriots was probably a good idea because they were seconds away from kicking the game winning field goal against the Rams in the Super Bowl, the moment he appointed himself official guru of the ESPN trade machine, and that one time Jimmy Kimmel publicly acknowledged that he hired Simmons as a writer for some reason.

He quickly quipped, "You need a better life." He's right. We shouldn't care about sports this much … but we do, and that's just the way it is. 

You are writing without saying anything.  Please provide substance.

I watched my first Summer Olympics back during a time when we didn't have cable television, video games, DVDs, iPads or the Internet. What did we have? 


Books, toys, board games, a handful of TV networks and a phenomenal amount of spare time. Trust me, we needed Montreal in 1976. 

Kids grew up without electronic gadgets for like 10,000 years before 1976.  I'm pretty sure you didn't "need" those Olympics.

I watched everything. Nadia Comaneci supplanted the Bionic Woman as my biggest crush. I bought loads of Sugar Ray Leonard stock and kept it through the 1980s. Bruce Jenner became just as big of a hero for me as Rocky Balboa a few months later. I even bonded with future heavyweight champion Leon Spinks because we were both missing our front teeth. That couldn't have been a more perfect first Olympics for a budding sports nut.

Pretty much every Olympics ever has a bunch of cool storylines and heroes.  1972 had Mark Spitz and Olga Korbut (to serve as Bill's crush, wokka wokka!).  1968 had Bob Beamon, Dick Fosbury and Charles Hickcox.  For what seems like the millionth time, you fucking asshole: stop inventing narratives.

From there, the Summer Olympics became an eerie reflection for whatever was happening in my life. In 1980, my parents divorced and we sold our house; naturally, that was the summer we boycotted Moscow. 

1980 was also the year of the Lake Placid winter games, which were awesome for reasons we're all pretty familiar with.  Unfortunately that doesn't fit his thesis.

In 1984, I was just a typical dorky teenager who loved sports and pop culture … and somehow, the great sports/pop culture year of all time basically fell out of the sky. 

Jesus Christ.  Holy Jesusballs.  To the extent that 1984 was the greatest sports/pop culture year of all time (it isn't), how else would it arrive other than by falling out of the sky?  Do people look two or three years into the future and say "You know, 2013 is probably going to suck, but man, 2015?  STRAP YOURSELVES IN FOLKS, THE POP CULTURE THAT YEAR WILL BE EXCELLENT!!!"  

We went from "barely any TV options" to "dozens of TV options" almost overnight, with MTV, ESPN and HBO leading the way. 

That's not sports or pop culture.  That's technological innovation.  

What better entertainment climate for Carl Lewis, Mary Lou Retton, Edwin Moses, MJ's Olympic hoops team and everyone else? Throw in the Cold War and a heavy dose of patriotic pride — remember, we dominated the L.A. games because none of the "evil" countries showed up — and Los Angeles became another way to regain our country's collective swagger after an era marred by Watergate, Vietnam, Iran, Nixon's resignation and Carter's punchless presidency. 

Three of those events were more than a decade old by 1984.  The 1976 Olympics could have just as easily been our chance to bounce back from them, but that wouldn't fit Bill's little story about 1984 being THE ONE AND ONLY YEAR in which the Olympics helped the US "regain [its] swagger." 

1984 somehow renewed everyone's faith in America as a superpower while maintaining an unparalled lack of self-awareness, with Bruce Springsteen hitting both elements (even if it wasn't intentional) in just two videos: "Born in the USA" and the now-mortifying "Dancing in the Dark."

Born in the USA is not a pro America song.  Listen to the lyrics some time, you fucking dolt.  Also HAW HAW HAW people in the 80s dressed and danced funny!

Within a year, patriotism became something of a career move for celebrities 

I'm pretty sure showing patriotism has almost always been a good career move for celebrities since whenever we first started having celebrities.

(most notably: Rambo: First Blood Part II and Rocky IV), politicians (like Reagan's second presidential campaign) 

and even wrestlers (with Hulk Hogan changing his entrance theme from "Eye of the Tiger" to "Real American"). So 1984 was the last summer when the Olympics felt, for lack of a better word, pure. 

Maybe to 15 year old Bill (born in 1969)--not to anyone with a brain.  From a "pure competitors" standpoint, steroids had been a part of the games for decades at that point.  From a raw commercialization standpoint, things wouldn't really get out of control until the 90s.  But again, what we're working with here is the idea that as Bill's life goes, the Olympics go.  When you're 15, high school might suck but you're probably not going to be too cynical about the world.  When you're 19, that cynicism is a whole lot more likely to be part of your views.

We couldn't hear the national anthem enough that summer. We didn't care that the Russians and Eastern Europeans skipped L.A., just that our gold medals were piling up. When Mary Lou pulled off her famous vault, you weren't calculating the value of her endorsement potential like you did with a teeth-gritting Kerri Strug 12 years later. 

I don't think anyone saw Strug and thought "CASH COW!"  She was probably on a Wheaties box or something, but she wasn't Michael Phelps.  Sorry, I keep letting facts and perspective get in the way of Bill's little story.  I'll stop.

We were collecting American heroes like baseball cards that year, whether they came in the form of Springsteen, Hulk Hogan, Bird, Joe Montana, Pete Rose, Huey Lewis, or everyone the Olympics were force-feeding us. We just wanted more and more heroes. I remember feeling like a true American during the '84 Olympics. That was my favorite one, hands down, bar none.

(not nodding.)

We wouldn't remember the next four Summer Olympics nearly as fondly. 

No, goddammit, no.  NO.  YOU wouldn't remember the next four Olympics as fondly.  GRRRRRRRRRRRRR SOMEONE PLEASE PUSH THIS MAN IN FRONT OF A TRAIN.

More later.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Attention: baseball commentators of America

I have heard several of you talk about Mike Trout during the past month.  In aggregate, about 20% of your talk time has been spent praising Trout's baseball ability while 80% of it has been spent talking about what a wonderful person he is.  He is humble.  His teammates love him.  He is mature beyond his years.  Did you mention he was humble?  Yes, yes you did, 250 fucking times already.  Here's something you need to hear: I don't give a flying fuck about what kind of person he is (as long as he's not a shameless dickhead like Ty Cobb or Barry Bonds or Joe West).  I know that many of you are stuffy boring white men in your 40s or 50s, who are appalled at all the brashness today's youngpeople exude.  What with their affinity for hippity hop music and the Twitter, it's a wonder the whole country hasn't literally gone to literal hell in a literal handbasket yet.  And I know that Trout has a twinkle in his eye as he tells you that the most important thing to him is winning rather than his own statistics.  Just fucking stuff a cork in it and tell me about what makes him a great player.  Tell me about his approach at the plate, or how he generates backspin, or the quality of the routes he takes to the ball when he's playing defense.  I'm begging yoU.  No more GEE GOLLY WHAT A NICE YOUNG MAN I'D LET HIM DATE MY DAUGHTER.  I'm about to kick the shit out of my TV.

Real post re Simmons coming later this week.  Like I said last week, I'm really lurching through summer here, what with all the time I'm spending outside and shit.  Teh blogzz will be more active come September.  Promise.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Orel Hershiser confirms what you've known since the instant you first learned of his existence

Just a second ago Baseball Tonight was doing some stupid fucking segment where Hershiser and Doug Glanville made their choices for the five best offenses in baseball.  The fact that they were doing this was not what made it fucking stupid--the manner in which they did it was.  Apparently ESPN did some focus group research and came to the conclusion that having analysts use a giant touchscreen is OMG A BIG HIT WITH TEH VIEWERZ.  I have no idea why that would be the case.  But some producer decided that rather than having Orel and Doug tell an intern what their choices for that top 5 were in advance so a graphic could be prepared with each man's list, it would be a lot more fun to let them use a touchscreen to drag/drop icons with the teams' logos into open spots on a top 5 ladder.  IT WAS RIVETING.  Mostly because Hershiser struggled mightily with the drag/drop process, putting his teams into Doug's spots by mistake, then having to clear the board a couple of times before finally getting it right.  He was self-deprecating about it.  At one point he jokingly asked Karl Ravech if it was a 45 or 60 minute edition of the show.

Anyways, the reason I'm making this into a post is because once the segment was over and they were going to commercial, Glanville and Ravech really started giving it to him.  His response: "You think growing up with a name like 'Orel' I was never embarrassed?"  Oof.  Poor middle school-aged Orel.

Monday, July 16, 2012

FireJay lurches its way through the summer

Sorry about the lack of posts.  I've been trying to, like, go outside and shit.  Play some baseball.  (Well, softball.)  Do stuff besides write a blog.  Feel the infield dirt between my fingers.  Listen to the sound the bat makes when it hits the ball.  Move runners over.  Lay down bunts.  Steal bases, even though that's not legal in softball.  Play the game the right way.  Talk to a woman without having to give her my credit card number.  And let me promise you: I have been extremely uncomfortable doing those things.  Back to the basement for me.  What's that, Bill?  You're using your sphincter as a mouth again?

Now that we're a mere 53 days away from the start of the 2012 Patriots 19-0 victory party NFL season, 


Etc., etc., I'm just as petty and pathetic as Bill is, etc.

I have some good news for you ... Drew Brees signed a five-year, $100 million extension with the Saints!!!!!! Why did that deserve six exclamation points? Well ...

1. One of the dumbest ongoing sports stories is finally over. 

At last, we finally know what LeBron thinks about Tim Tebow's first training camp as a Jet!  Oh, sorry, just had Sportscenter on in the background and starting typing what I was hearing.

I hate any sports story that doesn't lend itself to an argument or at least two fairly interesting opinions. 

Yeah, talking about what happened during a game?  BORING.  Guessing point spreads, and telling everyone who will listen how the billion dollar gaming industry has incorrectly set certain of those spreads?  RIVETING.  

Why wouldn't the Saints take care of Brees? 

They feel like he's getting old and they didn't necessarily want to spend a jillion dollars on him?  I'm not saying that's necessarily the right perspective, but he's 33.  With Sean Payton suspended for the upcoming season, maybe they felt like they were on the verge of entering a rebuilding phase.

What took them so long? What were they doing? They couldn't say, "Well, they never won a Super Bowl with him," because they did. They couldn't say, "Well, he doesn't really mean that much to our franchise or our city," because he does. They couldn't say, "He stopped throwing up monster fantasy seasons," because he never stopped. 

Bill is a perfect example of a fan who thinks real players and teams give a shit about fantasy sports.  I'd never fully realized it until now because of the fifty other obnoxious traits he has, but that comment kind of drives it home.  I can almost hear him complaining about a coach who uses a committee of running backs right now.

They couldn't say, "Well, the Mannings and Brady didn't get taken care of, either," because they did. They couldn't say, "We don't really need the good publicity or the good will with our fans," because post-Bountygate, they clearly did. They couldn't say, "If only his ESPY speeches could be a little longer," because they always are. 


So what was happening here? Shit, the Bensons BOUGHT AN NBA TEAM during the time they could have been taking care of Brees. I remain confused.

It's almost like an NBA team is a business that, with sports as popular as they are these days, is virtually guaranteed to generate a ton of cash for its owners.  And at the same time, it's also almost like Drew Brees is a super talented player who can help his team generate cash, but can also get injured or start playing poorly and immediately become a money pit.  It's almost like that's the world we live in.  MY NEIGHBOR INVESTED A BUNCH OF MONEY IN MUTUAL FUNDS INSTEAD OF BUYING A LUXURY CAR.  I REMAIN CONFUSED.

2. Brees was headed for the first defensible contract holdout in the recent history of team sports. 

Except for all the guys in the last thirty plus years whose abilities greatly exceeded the contracts they were signed to, and thus were able to get a new contract that more accurately paid them what they were worth in light of the fact that in most sports you are always literally a single play away from being forced into retirement.  Except for all those guys, who were able to get the market to pay them what they were worth, this would have been the first defensible holdout.

When does that ever happen? Did you really want to sit around with your friends saying, "Yeah, I don't blame Brees at all, playing for $16 million this season would have been totally insulting."

Let me try to parse this.  Bill thinks Brees would have been justified in holding out.  He then says that CLEARLY, it would have been no fun to have Brees hold out because then everyone would have noted that it was OK for Brees to hold out, and for some reason, apparently no one wants that.  Huh.  Also, remember when he said he hates stories that don't allow for two interesting opinions?  I guess "GRRRR HONOR THE CONTRACT YOU SIGNED OR IN THIS CASE THE FRANCHISE TAG CONTRACT THAT YOUR UNION APPROVED DURING THE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING PROCESS" vs. "THEY SHOULD TAKE CARE OF HIM BECAUSE HE IS REALLY GOOD AND LIKES THE CITY AND STUFF" doesn't count?  Even though that's, like, a pretty interesting argument?  Especially if the person pushing the first opinion is a loud idiot?  Why am I ending every sentence with a question mark oh God I am turning into Simmons? 


3. Did you really want to read fantasy football previews that had an asterisk next to Brees? Did you really want to do Chase Daniel research? Did you really want some asshole in your league to take a fourth-round flier on Brees, then luck out five days later when Brees signed? Or conversely, did you really want to pick Brees, then have him torture you for the first weeks of the season?

I mean, sure, a holdout would have made playing fantasy football in 2012 1% more stressful than it usually is, making it still extremely fun and a great distraction from all the stuff in life that actually sucks ass.

4. The bad news: They announced the contract on Friday the 13th. That's a terrible idea. I wouldn't even buy one of those 27-inch LCD TVs from those weird companies that you've never heard of at Best Buy on Friday the 13th.


5. The good news: Brees's contract guarantees him $60 million ... a million less than the Nets guaranteed Brook Lopez this week. I think this cancels out the Friday the 13th thing — when you're paying your franchise QB a million less than the "good" Lopez, you have to feel good about that.

Nice job shoehorning in some irrelevant bullshit about NBA salaries, probably the only substantive area of sports he actually knows anything about.

6. What's worse than reading about someone's contract holdout every day? 

Having NFL analysis crammed down your throat in March or June?  Having to watch WNBA highlights ever?  "Who's Now?"

Even the hideous Dwight Howard trade quagmire is more fun — at least there, you can enjoy derisive Internet nicknames like "Dwight Coward" 


or derisive headlines like "Dwightmare"; 


you can make up fake trades for hours on end; you can watch Daryl Morey keep adding assets and doing everything but open a website; 

And that is certainly a last ditch bottom of the barrel plan a GM who is trying to trade for a superstar player would enact!  I mean, it would never happen, but you know that at some point, Morley has said to himself "I should open that website I've been thinking about, maybe that will get Dwight's attention.  NO WAY, NEVERMIND, WHAT AM I, CRAZY?  THAT'S TOO FAR!"

you can make jokes like "any time you can give up every asset you have AND take on multiple bad contracts for a wishy-washy guy coming off back surgery who doesn't want to play for you and can easily leave in 11 months, you have to do it"; 

Seeing as how Bill's basketball opinions are infallible, I have to conclude that there is no other interesting opinion on Houston's pursuit of Howard.  Therefore: BORING STORY.

and you get to hear Chris Broussard and Stephen A. Smith drag out the word "Daaaaaah-wight" for five or six seconds at a time. 


Contract holdouts aren't nearly as much fun.

And if it's not fun and it doesn't lead to obnoxious, blithering PTI-style banter and it doesn't involve Greg Steimsma, BILL DOESN'T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT.  MOVE ALONG, NON-STEIMSMA STORIES. 

In conclusion, here is Drew Brees doing Drew Brees things.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Wistful, sappy sports journalism makes me sad

[Before I begin, in honor of tomorrow night's sure to be more enjoyable if watched without sound All State Home Run Derby Brought to You by GEICO and State Farm, might as well post a link to the best voicemail I have ever received.]

Sometimes it's Sunday evening and I say to myself "I'd really like to put a post up tonight, the beginning of the week can be hectic and if I don't do one now maybe I won't get a chance until Wednesday or Thursday."  And I also say to myself at that point "Shit, I'm pretty tired and lazy.  I don't want to look all over the internets for something to post about."  How do I resolve that tension?  By turning on ESPN, of course.  This evening's garbage came from an unexpected source.  Buster Olney did a pre-scripted voiceover piece (like a slimmed down version of a 60 Minutes segment) about Bryce Harper and Mike Trout, set to sappy background music and highlights/pictures of each.  It was a goddamn disaster.  Buster, what the fuck were you trying to do here?  Unless it was "invent a narrative that doesn't exist in an attempt to be an cuntier version of Bob Costas" you failed.  Quotes are exact thanks to the magical magic of DVR.

Let the record show 

We're not in court.

that Mike Trout and Bryce Harper were called up to the majors in 2012 on the exact same day: April 28.  

Trout also played in the majors in 2011.

And no matter what they accomplish for the rest of their careers, they will be forever linked, 


like Tom and Jerry, (screen shows a picture of Tom and Jerry, no really, they did this, they probably had to pay rights fees for it too)Batman and Robin (still from the set of the old Adam West Batman TV, which also probably cost a shitload in rights fees), Martin and Lewis, Simon and Garfunkel.  

None of those duos are even remotely analogous to a pair of baseball players on different teams in different leagues who have never played against each other at any level and for all we know, may never have met each other.  

They will be tied together- Trout and Harper.  

By idiotic journalists doing dumb puff pieces, yes.  In the same manner as two famous musicians who were in a band together, or pair of cartoon characters who are always beating the shit out of each other?  Not even close.

And as was the case with Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, 

Much better comparison although it's kind of too late since you already brought up all those other terrible comparisons.  And even this is still not really that good, since Bird and Magic famously faced off against each other in a college national championship game and were friends/rivals before they even entered the NBA.

there will be a debate over which player you'd rather have.  The 20 year old Trout is arguably the fastest player in baseball, and is a threat to win the batting title, and the MVP, and is regarded as a shutdown centerfielder.  

"Shutdown centerfielder" is not a thing you can be.  You can be a shutdown reliever, or an outstanding centerfielder.  Pick one.

The 19 year old Harper is not as refined a hitter as Trout, but has demonstrated that he might have Ruthian power, 

Peter King thinks it's semi Bonds-like!

and that every day, he plays with the eyes and the intensity of Mike Singletary.  

You're doing a story about baseball players, so naturally, when you need to say that one is passionate about the game, you compare him to someone who doesn't play baseball.

[Long spiel about each player's stats, and how they've helped their teams]  This all before either can legally drink a beer in the United States.  

This was brought up solely to show the "That's a clown question bro" clip, which is a funny clip and all but felt kind of forced here.  Probably because this whole segment felt completely forced at all times.  It was like someone got Ken Burns really drunk and then told him to make a two minute documentary on how Harper and Trout will be forever linked.

Oakland GM Billy Beane 

Wait, who?

knows that both Trout and Harper are once in a generation talents, breaking into the big leagues at the exact same time.  

And this was all he said about Beane.  No direct quote, no anecdote about how Beane passed on Trout in the 2009 draft because he's the geniusest genius around, no explanation as to why his name was mentioned at all.  As far as we know he has exactly zero to do with either Trout or Harper.  Yet Buster cites him here.  Your guess as to why is as good as mine.

You might have to go back more than 60 years of baseball to find another duo as dynamic and as young as Trout and Harper when they first made an impact.  In 1951, the Giants promoted Willie Mays and the Yankees promoted Mickey Mantle, 

Let's slow the fuck down.  Harper and Trout have like 500 combined MLB plate appearances.  I get that they're both really talented, and playing well at a very young age, but Jeebus.  If I were a betting man I'd bet against them eventually hitting a combined 1200 home runs and both making the HOF a la Mickey and Willie.  Let's slow down and take a deep breath.  

and like those superstars, who went on to share the same song, 

A timely reference.  Fuck, I don't even get the reference, but I'm sure it's some stupid 50 year old song. Wait, unless it's We Didn't Start the Fire.  

/listens to We Didn't Star the Fire

Nope.  Only Mickey made the cut for that one.

Mike Trout and Bryce Harper will forever share a stage... 

They probably won't.  They have no relationship that predates their arrival in the big leagues.  Until and unless they change teams and end up in the same league, they'll only play each other once every three or four years.  Their teams are based thousands of miles apart.  Like, I'd sort of get this sentiment if Harper was a Dodger or Trout was an Oriole.  But there's really nothing here.  They play the same position, I guess.  They are both power/speed guys.  Whatever.  This was an embarrassing waste of time for Buster.

this week, as All Stars in Kansas City.  

They will forever share a stage as All Stars this week?  What?

BONUS COVERAGE:  Kruk, having witnessed Buster's incredibly stupid little segment, what are your thoughts about these two players?

They both respect the game immensely.  It's not like "I'm here, let the games begin, I'm going to save the sport." ... They don't want to draw all this attention to themselves with... with a gesture on the field, that, that, that kind of disrespects the opponent.  They play the game the right way, and they're great great players.

You are a complete and total buffoon.  Also: LUNCHPAIL ALERT.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

As always, Rick Reilly shows us the funny

In a column that no doubt consists mostly of jokes he has already used in other columns throughout the years, Rick brings up a topic about as ripe for hilarious non-analysis as airplane food and boner pills: BASEBALLERZ R SLOW WHEN THEY DO THINGZ, TEH GAME IS BORINGS TO ME.

Things that nobody reads in America today:
The online legal mumbo jumbo before you check the little "I Agree" box.

Kate Upton's resume.

Actually, I would like to read that.  I want to know whether or not she graduated from high school (is that a thing models do?) and where she got her first big break.  EAT IT RICK, I'M ALREADY MESSING WITH YOUR WORLD.

Major League Baseball's "Pace of Play Procedures."

Premise of the article: baseball games are too slow.  Rick's chosen method of drawing in the audience: making a list of things that people apparently don't read and putting MLB's pace guidelines on it.  Since whether or not people read those guidelines is a very relatable, illustrative idea.  Get the engraving machine ready--I smell another sportswriter of the year award.

Not that baseball games don't have a pace. 

Where's he going with this...

They do: snails escaping a freezer.


Cincinnati at San Francisco was a 3-hour, 14-minute can-somebody-please-stick-two-forks-in-my-eyes snore-a-palooza. 

Remember that 3.25 hours number.

Like a Swedish movie, it might have been decent if somebody had cut 90 minutes out of it. 

Don't drag the fact that you didn't enjoy The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo into this.

I'd rather have watched eyebrows grow.  And I should have known better.

That last sentence was a link to a piece he wrote in 2000 about this very subject.  I hate linking to the shitpile that is Deadspin, but they have done a good job documenting Rick's self-plagiarism in the past. Not to say he's plagiarizing here, but come the fuck on, man.  There are like thousands and thousands of things happening in sports that you can write about.  Maybe try not to keep writing about the same shit over and over? 

Buster Posey of the Giants, The Man Who Wrecked Your Dinner Reservations, has this habit of coming to the box, stopping outside it and unfastening and refastening his gloves before his FIRST SWING! What exactly was he doing in the on-deck circle? His cuticles?

I'm not going to say I've never ever been annoyed at the pace of a baseball game, but holy fucking shit Rick, your favorite sport is golf.  Golf is the undisputed heavyweight champion of sports that involve people taking for-fucking-EVER to get ready to swing a thing another thing.  Jesus.  It's agonizing.  But hey, at least when golfers aren't taking four minutes to throw blades of grass in the air and otherwise do the super important things you do when you're getting ready to swing a club at a ball, they're walking places.  Now that's action.

New rule: Umpires who don't order batters back into the box within 12 seconds -- because the rules state that a pitcher must throw the ball within 12 seconds of receiving it -- will get the room at the hotel next to the newlyweds.


There's also this amusing passage in the "Pace of Play Procedures" (hah!): 

What is that "hah" doing there?  Is he laughing at the existence of the Procedures?  Is it a pre-emptive laugh at what we are being led to believe will be a RIOTOUS rule within said procedures?  Is he still thinking about how funny it is to watch snails try to escape a freezer?

"When given permission to leave the batter's box under Rule 6.02, batters may not step more than 3 feet from the batter's box."
Whoo-eee! That's rich. These guys wandered away from the box like 2-year-olds at a petting zoo. Six times they left the dirt circle around the plate altogether. Left the entire circle!

THE HUMANITY!  Look, complain about the number of seconds it takes a pitcher/hitter to do X all you want.  I'm down with that.  At some point, guys are taking too long.  But who gives a flying rat's ass about this?

And by the way, this nonsense about there's only a 2-minute, 10-second TV break between half innings? Bullfeathers. Only once did the break between half innings take 2:10 or less. The rest of the time, it was miles over. The break before the top of the fifth was 4 minutes, 12 seconds! 

It should go without saying that this has not a fucking thing to do with the Pace of Play Procedures or how many inches from the plate batters are wandering these days.  This is about teams making money.  Durrr.

Where did everybody go? 

They were in the stadium the whole time, it's just that the TV feed cut away so sponsors who paid money can get messages about their products out to the viewers?

Out to feed their meters?


There were 14 attempts by pitchers to pick off runners, not one of them even coming close. 

Actually, 14 pickoff attempts in a game that was close throughout sounds relatively low.  I guess it was a game involving the Giants at AT&T Park, so there were probably like six total baserunners during the nine innings.

Most of them resembled somebody tossing a turkey to a co-worker.

Tossing a what to a who?

New rule: Pitchers get two pickoff attempts per runner. For every one after that, the umpire adds a ball to the hitter's count.

Ah, and here we have the exact moment when he went from being a guy who might know something about sports and is complaining about some shit that's sort of OK to complain about, to being a guy who obviously has his head firmly entrenched in his ass when it comes to knowing anything about sports.

Four times the hitter, after going through his Art Carney routine, got into the box, decided the pitcher was messing with him, and called time out.
Twice the pitcher wanted a timeout.
Five times the catcher called time out to go out to the mound to discuss, what? ObamaCare?

That's a thing that was in the news recently!  Other options: the TomKat divorce, how darn hot it is outside, and something about that Justin Bieber fella.

And explain to me why a reliever who's been warming up in the bullpen for five minutes still needs eight pitches to warm up on the mound. 

Because he hasn't been warming up with that catcher, or from that mound.

Do field goal kickers get eight practice kicks? Dumb.

Lulz at the idea of analogizing field goals and pitches.  DO BASKETBALL PLAYERS GET TO PRACTICE THEIR ALLEY OOPS DURING TV TIMEOUTS?  DIDN'T THINK SO.

Three hours and 14 minutes, 170 step-outs, and three double-shot macchiatos for that?

Please, I beg of you, bring on the NFL.

Yeah!  Can't wait for NFL games to start!  If you're annoyed by 3 hour and 14 minute games that mostly consist of players standing around and waiting or adjusting their equipment for twenty seconds before the next three second flurry of action, the NFL is the league for you!  It's wall to wall adrenaline with no breaks or interruptions, and you know what the best part is?  Sometimes you get to take a three or four minute breather while one of the officials ducks into a little booth and rewatches the play that just happened twenty times before deciding that it pretty much happened the way he originally saw it happen.  God it's thrilling.  My heart is racing just thinking about all the action!  

People who think baseball is boring because there's too much standing around but that football is BALLS TO THE WALL AWESOME ALL THE TIME should be sterilized and/or beaten to death in public.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Insufferable asshole continues to be insufferable asshole

It's almost time for the All Star Break, which means it's almost time for the home run derby, which means it's almost time for Chris Berman to yell at us for a whole evening, which means it's time for ESPN to give him a little bit of warmup time by letting him call their Monday night game.  If you see this post in the next hour or so, go turn it on.  My God.  This man is terrible at describing what he is watching.  He's atrocious.  Absolutely atrocious.

Who's in the booth with him?  You guessed it: Frank Stallone.  Nah, just playing, it's Rick Sutcliffe.  Hooray!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Uh, here's some stuff I was sort of thinking about

Do I have the energy to do a real post?  Not really, and given my half-hearted efforts on that Simmons stuff from last week, it's probably best that I don't try.  Instead:

Courtesy of hdh9 in the comments to Thursday's post, this is what it looks like when someone who gets paid to write makes fun of Bill.

I realize I have bitched about this several times in the last year or so, but I hadn't watched Sportscenter in a few weeks and turned it on this evening to catch highlights of Spain/Italy.  I got about a minute of those highlights, followed by another two minutes during which the anchor read tweets congratulating Spain from soccer analysts like LeBron.  The tweets weren't insightful or funny or controversial.  And the anchor had to sit there and read them to us, because apparently posting them on the screen and giving viewers a few seconds to read at their own pace wouldn't provide the proper framing.  Holy shit, what the hell happened, Sportscenter?

Finally, we all know the only thing worse than Sportscenter is sports talk radio.  It's the clogged septic tank of sports analysis.  Tonight I was driving around and flicked over to my local FOX Sports radio affiliate.  The host, Mike North (the guy who used to have his own show Chicago until he got fired for being an asshole) was talking to some goofball caller about the candidates for the final MLB All-Star spots.  They were discussing Harper vs. Chipper, and shit got very dumb very quickly.  This isn't all exact quotes, but I was listening to it like 30 minutes ago, so it's close.

See, people are saying that you have to take Chipper because it's his last season.  And they're saying that Harper can wait, because he'll have plenty more chances.  

Given that the candidates were just announced, this is probably a straw man.  I don't think that many people who aren't Braves fans are saying/will say that.

I don't like that "we have to honor Chipper because it's his last year" stuff.  

Go on.

I think you have to evaluate based entirely on performance, in the here and now.  

Well that's one way to look at it, and I'm not sure it's the best way, but I can see why you would--

Don't you want to see Harper?  In my opinion, he is the youngest, brightest star in the game.  

Don't go too far out on a limb!  Is Harper "young?"  Sort of.  Is he younger than every single other current MLB player?  Technically, yes.  Is he the "youngest" star (or player) in the game?  TBD.  I'm simply not ready to commit to that idea.  

Also: the people (to the extent that there are any) who really want Chipper to go because it's his last season have things all wrong!  It's all about who's playing better, plain and simple.  Oh, and also, in addition to evaluating who is playing better, you should also make sure to include any player who is young and exciting on the basis of their status as young and exciting.  

Besides, everyone said Mark Fidrych would get plenty of chances to pitch in the All Star Game, and he was out of baseball two years later!

Fidrych did pitch in the ASG.  Twice.  And that's when I flipped to another station.  Sports talk radio is worse than genocide.