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?
The Cowboys do everything in the flashiest way possible, obscuring their staggering lack of success in recent years.
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.
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.
Anyway, I'm laying 3.5 points with the Giants over Dallas tonight.
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."
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?