Monday, September 10, 2012

Knowing me I won't post again until Sunday, so here are three posts in one, I hope all eight of you out there are happy

First of all: thanks, Chris Berman (and pretty much every other NFL announcer this weekend), but I truly could not give any less of a hairy, sputtering shit what these replacement refs do for a living when they're not refereeing.  I don't care if any of them are teachers, I don't care if any of them are in sales, I don't care if any of them are cocksucking nuclear physicists.  I flat out don't, and I think I'm probably in the majority.  1) Like I already said, NO ONE GIVES A SHIT, IT'S JUST NOT INTERESTING OR RELEVANT IN THE LEAST.  2) The regular unionized refs have other full time jobs, too, and there's a good reason we don't have to hear about those jobs twenty times a game (see #1).

Second of all: there are Bill Simmons fans out there.  Tens of thousands of them.  If you know one, link them to this (they'll already have read it, and possibly already linked YOU to it, but I'm presenting a "just in case" scenario).  Once you know they've read it, as calmly as you can (suggestion: assuming you do the asking via GChat or email, don't use all caps), ask them how they sleep at night.  That article is supposed to be about last Wednesday's Giants/Cowboys season opener.  It is 1261 words long.  The first 647 are a story about his dog.  There is no sports context, not even a hint of one.  Just a drawn out, snooze-inducing story about his dog pooping in his house that can be best summarized as GUH HURRR DOGS ARE A REAL HANDFUL DERP DERP DERP.  So that's just over 50% of the article, toast.  Then we get the following:

What does this have to do with tonight's Giants-Cowboys game? 

GODDAMN NOTHING. You just wanted to tell a story about your dog because you're a navel-gazing self-obsessed cuntswabber.

There's an exceedingly good chance that Jerry Jones, as an NFL owner, has turned into a post-ribs Rufus. Year after year, he ruins at least one rug as Cowboys fans shrug their shoulders and say the football equivalent of things like, "Well, we're stuck with him, it's not like we can just drop him off at the pound and start over, right?"

Your dog pooped on a rug.  Jerry Jones, like every owner in the history of modern professional sports, occasionally makes a dumb move.  I get that Jones is more hands on that pretty much any other owner, so it's easier to pin the Cowboys' failures on him than it is to blame the failures of the average team on that team's owner, but this is still incredibly pathetic.

The Cowboys do everything in the flashiest way possible, obscuring their staggering lack of success in recent years. 

Their lack of recent success is not obscured in any way.  EVERYONE knows they've only won one playoff game since their last Super Bowl victory and have had some very shitty seasons.  Everyone.  Only someone completely out of touch with the NFL would think the "the Cowboys actually haven't been that good for the last 15 years!" is some kind of insightful angle.

When a franchise worries about the perception of what it's doing instead of what it's actually doing, trouble usually ensues. We just watched this happen to the Red Sox. 

Oh good, finally, some Red Sox analysis!  That's what the readers came for!

When a franchise underestimates its fans and assumes they're not smart enough to value things like patience and planning, and that it needs to keep them interested with splashy moves the same way a parent would hand a screaming kid an ice cream cone, trouble usually ensues. Again, we just watched this happen to the Red Sox. 

/wanking motion

Which makes me think the Cowboys will be our next big-market flame-out. 

They already have flamed out, dumbass.  They're one of the biggest failures in the league since 1996 if you measure dollars per win or dollars per postseason win.  You pointed it out yourself like 150 words ago.  

Just ask Knicks fans and Redskins fans. When your fans fully expect you to crap on the carpet before it even happens, that's officially the point of no return. 

That sentence is meaningless.  It carries no meaning, it adds nothing to anything.  It is a waste of time, pixels, bandwidth, and anything else of which it could possibly be a waste.

Anyway, I'm laying 3.5 points with the Giants over Dallas tonight. 

Of course the Cowboys handled the Giants and cruised to victory.

Finally of all: managers don't do that much.  They just don't.  But some of them are media darlings, and that means that when those managers' teams succeed, the media is going to trip all over itself to find a way to give those managers as much credit as possible for success that is 95% due to the actions of players.  Here, some doofus gives Buck Showalter big time props for doing stuff that holy sweet Jesus, I certainly hope every single manager in the league does.  (This article contains another article.  Stay with me now, don't get confused.  INCEPTION.)  

What's his secret? As with any manager, it's putting his players in position to succeed. That can take the form of sniffing out the platoon advantage, keeping peace in the clubhouse, having a deft touch with the bullpen, balancing hunches with data-driven decisions, and so on. 

Like you just said, "as with any manager."

One of the ways managers can distinguish themselves is by juggling lineups and rotations based on non-traditional "platoon points" -- e.g., ground ball-fly ball tendencies, park effects, and strengths/weaknesses of the opposing defense.

They can only distinguish themselves by paying attention to these things if other managers around the league don't pay attention to them, and the odds of that being the case are like nothing percent.

Additionally, as Jonathan Pitts of the Baltimore Sun explains in an outstanding piece on the peculiar phenomenon of the strike zone, Showalter also lets the umpiring drive his tactical decisions. Pitts writes:

The skipper, now in his 14th big league season, points to a spreadsheet on a wall in his office. It ranks all big league umpires by how greatly they favor pitchers or hitters.

The top name on the list is Brian Runge, an ump known for calling a big zone; lower down is veteran Joe West, whose zone is seen as smaller, his ball-strike distribution more even.

When Runge's behind the plate, Showalter says, he might tell hitters to "go up there swinging." When West is back there, "we know we'll have to throw the ball over the plate."

Holy.  Shit.  It's like he's Rain Man or something.  What a savant.

Showalter is known to tweak his pitching rotation when he sees the umpiring schedule for the week.

I live within the TV broadcasting area of the Orioles and watch a couple games a week.  I have not once heard my main man Gary Thorne or any of his revolving cast of color commentators mention that a starter was moved up or back a day to correspond to the umpiring schedule.  If it's true, that's actually a somewhat unorthodox thing for a manager to do, but I kind of doubt it's true.  Now back to the original CBSSports article.

It stands to reason, right? 

Wrong?  Teams are definitely not going to go out of their way to start pitchers on three days' rest because they might get some kind of nebulous benefit from the plate umpire that night.  I just looked through the game logs of all eight Orioles pitchers who have started at least ten games this season.  Not one of them has made a start on three days's rest, something they'd pretty much have to do by definition if Buck was fucking around with the rotation to get favorable umpire matchups.  Granted, because they've started so many different guys, it's possible that Buck has moved some of them in and out of the rotation at times advantageous to those matchups.  But it's certainly not a primary strategy of his; the most I'll allows is the possibility that at times he's had to say "Shit, Arrieta can't fucking get anyone out anymore.  I guess we'll bring up Tillman to take his spot in the rotation next Thursday, and hey, whaddaya know, that's also an umpire whose tendencies will help Tillman!"  Again, I sincerely doubt that even this much has happened, but I'll grant that it's possible.

After all, the discrepancies among umpires have a bearing on the game itself, so it only follows that those discrepancies also have a bearing on how managers approach the game. 

If you're desperately trying to give Showalter the credit that should go to Baltimore's bullpen and timely hitting, then yeah, you might make that argument.

Maybe Showalter's ahead of the curve in this approach, 

If by "this approach" you mean telling hitters to swing more often when an ump with a big zone is calling the game, there's not a fucking chance.  If by "this approach" you mean juggling your rotation to somehow generate umpire/SP matchups favorable to your team, there's almost no fucking chance he's actually doing this.

or maybe he's the only one talking about it. In either case, it's interesting to know he's thinking about the umpires as he fills out his lineup card.

Buck Showalter is an MLB manager.  There are 29 other guys who have more or less his exact same skillset out there.  His has a career managing record that is mildly successful at best.  He's not made out of magic and candy and lollipops.  Can the baseball media please just get the fuck over the guy?  That's rhetorical, I know the answer is no.  I'm hoping the O's make the playoffs because their fans deserve it. But if and when they do, holy fried shitballs, it's going to be an insufferable week of hearing about how Buck himself made 50 starts on the mound and hit cleanup and 7th every day to propel them there.  


BR said...

Lar, I like it when you attack Bullshit Bill Simmons. I would like it even better if you showed more emotion when doing so. Yes, I imagine that presently you might have to take a sedative to sleep after a post about Bill but dig deeper, baby. The fact that this bozo is uber-successful really gnaws at me: is God dead?
Does Gary Thorne still work for ESPN? Have the O's been selling out? In fact, who are their fans? I only know about Baltimore from watching a few episodes of The Wire. Is going to an O's game dangerous? Is your last name Baltimore?

Chris W said...

One time McNulty and Bunk went to an Orioles game. They were playing against a White Sox team featuring Carlos "El Caballo" Lee. In the meanwhile, Stringer Bell was wreaking havoc on the West Side with my man Slim

Larry B said...

BR, I can answer all your questions by answering your first question. Yes, clearly, God is dead.

Also: Gary Thorne rules all shit and the fact that he's not announcing hockey (except in EA's NHL video game franchise) is a travesty.

ZidaneValor said...

So the fact that Bill Simmons is now part of the 4 man both for ESPN's NBA pregame/halftime coverage is probably bad news, right?

BR said...

Bottom of the Barrel has frequently pointed out Bullshit Bill's delusion that he could easily be a successful NBA GM. I'm sure that in this new setting Bill will be at his smug, annoying worst. That would be the macro view. Since I have just dropped the NBA from my sports consciousness, I am pretending that this news won't bother me.

If you were addressing Larry B(altimore), I would agree that as an atheist and possible negative thinker, he might say the glass is now half empty.

Anonymous said...

Hi. Just stumbled onto your site. I have read this so-called Bill Simmons a few times on the ESPN site. A few times was all it took to realize that he just plain sucks. I mean, he's a frat boy douchebag, and a semiliterate at best. I supose he's popular, given his status on ESPN and all, but this probably just reflects the fact that most sports fans are abject idiots. I appreciate your efforts at lampooning this worthless clown, but really, you should be careful of giving him more attention than he deserves.

Bill Brown said...


Bill Brown said...

Bill Simmons was on PTI yesterday (Wilbon was getting fitted for a toupee) and said the following nonsense - this is verbatim, feel free to comment.

"(Jay) Cutler is this generation's Brett Favre." -- while discussing Bears-Packers

"I haven't been right about really anything." -- while discussing NFL week 2 matchups

"I remember the 86 Red Sox, we won a game when won of the Angels dropped a game-winning pop-up. Then we won a game on a balk." -- while discussing the Baltimore Orioles.
Tony Kornheiser "I remember that game and I'm glad you say we because I have your baseball card from 1986."

"Brent, I wanted to ask you 1970s NBA questions but they wouldn't let me so I'm going to ask you about Notre Dame." -- when talking to Brent Musberger about week 3 of college football season.

Kornheiser - "We have time so, Billy, you can ask Brent a 1970s basketball question.
Simmons - "Brent, it's been 36 years, can you believe Hondo made that running banker in that Triple OT game in 76." Of course during college football, it has to be about the Celtics.

Simmons -- (Romo) had one of the biggest boners of all time and I think he will have a bigger one. I can see him running the wrong way for a Seahawks touchdown.
Kornheiser "BECAUSE YOU PICKED SEATTLE TO GO TO THE SUPER BOWL AND NOW YOU HAVE TO JUSTIFY IT." -- while discussing Cowboys-Seahawks week 3.

Simmons -- I predict a half-hug with maybe some back-patting, some friendly, homo-erotic back-patting." while discussing feud between Jim Schwartz and Jim Harbaugh.

Kornheiser -- "Billy, Beckett's your boy, isn't he?"
Simmons -- "Yes, and he won us the 2007 World Series, so I can't pull against him." while discussing Josh Beckett being thrown out at First by the Right Fielder

Anonymous said...

This website is meaningless. It carries no meaning, it adds nothing to anything. It is a waste of time, pixels, bandwidth, and anything else of which it could possibly be a waste.