Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Good to see that the front page of the self-proclaimed World Wide Leader in Sports now features a piece by the Larry B-proclaimed most useless (sort of kind of but not really) writer in sports. The parenthetical in that last sentence refers to Klosterman sort of kind of but not really being a sportswriter, not him sort of kind of but not really being useless; he is most definitely useless.

This is great. This is like the Wall Street Journal publishing a front page op-ed by Bill Simmons on the state of the housing market. "See, the current refinancing market is kind of like the 2003 Red Sox, if Andy Dufrense took Grad Little's place and my dad were talking with Basketball Jesus about how he might look back on the situation ten years from now."

With each passing day, ESPN gets further and further from anything that could be called a sports outlet by anyone with a brain.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Knock me over with a feather

What the hell is this? Is that an interesting, well researched article by Bill Simmons that ISN'T also a) mainly Bill Simmons telling everyone about Bill Simmons and his family and friends or b) indefensibly wrong about sports in a dozen different ways? By jove I think it is. Good on him. When he sticks to basketball, and specifically sticks to telling a story about basketball with facts, he's somewhat inoffensive. I know that I haven't provided a link to a Simmons column in years, but go ahead and click that link. It's not a trick. Rick Astley is not waiting for you on the other side. That's one of the most interesting articles I've read in the last few months. No foolin'.

Of course, just in case you were worried that Simmons was turning some kind of corner, he's not.

LOL! I thought he meant Miami-OKC, until it turned out that he didn't

1) Fuck stories about your fantasy team, I promise you no one worthwhile cares 2) Fuck your AL-only keeper league 3) Depending on how the keeper rules work, that's either a bad trade or a comically atrocious trade

America's foremost Manning hater strikes again. HE'S NOT AS GOOD AS BRADY, HE JUST ISN'T, I DON'T KNOW HOW TO PROVE THIS BUT I KNOW IT DEEP DOWN IN MY SOUL. I THINK IT HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH THE FACT THAT HE DOESN'T PLAY FOR THE GREATRIOTS. Bonus stupidity points for implying that Tebow has any kind of shot at ever being more than a mediocre QB.

Finally! The "Blow Up American Idol" draft everyone's been clamoring for!

Great idea for a sketch. Pitch it to Kimmel! No but seriously, that's a pretty bad joke.

Still, I strongly and non-sarcastically recommend the article I linked at the beginning of the post. It's very cool. Here, I'll provide the link again.

(Wait, no, don't click that one! Click the one at the top instead)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I had my heart set on some breathtakingly awful "Tebow is better than Manning" articles showing up this week

But I soon realized that I was going to be disappointed. Problem is, the MSM (or as I call it, the LAMEstream media lololz) is even more enamored with Manning than it is with Tebow. Even after the latter's playoff win against the Steelers in January, there were still a handful of loudmouths taking shots at him. Not that it was wrong of them to take shots at him; it's just that the people who were doing it, the Mark Schlereths of the sports media world, tend to be loudmouths no matter what they're saying.

Anyways, those detractors are far outnumbered by Tebow supporters at this point. Yet while Tebow definitely qualifies as somewhat of a media darling, Manning is at least ten steps above Tebow. His gaudy numbers are backed up by an aw-shucks personality that's not too far removed from a certain gunslinger who just likes to have fun out there. You know what that means: free written word butt-tonguings from the Peter Kings of the sports media world whenever Manning wants one. It'll be a cold day in hell before any sportswriter for a mainstream publication ever says anything bad about Pey-Pey.

Fortunately, this is not written by a sportswriter and it does not come from a mainstream outlet. But the Colorado Springs Gazette is still a newspaper that a couple hundred thousand people care about, and Dan Caplis is a person who knows how to write the English language. So I'll take what I can get. And if you think it's dumb that I'm picking on a guest column by a personal injury attorney/conservative talk radio host in a midsize newspaper, go step in front of a moving cement mixer.

The facts show that Tim Tebow is off to a better start as an NFL quarterback than many of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.

SOMEONE has been taking Princeton Review's SAT prep class. That right there is a STRONG topic sentence, right at the beginning of the paragraph where it belongs.

Through his first 16 starts, Tebow won more games (9) than Peyton Manning (3), Troy Aikman (3), Steve Young (3), Aaron Rodgers (5), Matthew Stafford (6), Sam Bradford (7), Eli Manning (7), John Elway (8), and Drew Brees (8).

Conclusion: close the current Football HOF in Canton and start work on a new one in Gainesville. It would be an insult to Tim if he had to travel to his induction ceremony. (Note: previous two sentences assume that Tebow still lives with his parents and always will, and that his parents live in Gainesville)

Tebow accomplished that with a team that was 1-4 before he took over, and had won only 7 of its last 24 games.

I know! And with Kyle Orton at the helm! Imagine how bad that record would have been if they had an even worse QB during that stretch.

In his first 16 starts, Tebow led his team to a playoff victory. None of these other greats did that.

Better or worse argument than the "number of wins" argument he led off with? On one hand, Tebow actually played pretty well during the Steelers game, something that can't be said about most of his regular season starts. On the other, talking about a near-rookie QB's performance over the course of sixteen games is marginally less of a waste of breath/keystrokes than talking about his performance over the course of one game.

In fact, it took Peyton Manning, one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, five full NFL seasons to lead his team to a playoff victory.

And Manning and Trent Dilfer have the same number of Super Bowl rings, and Dan Marino doesn't have any. How blown is your mind right now? Only logical conclusion to draw from all of this stat: THE MOON LANDING WAS STAGED.

In his first playoff game, Tebow threw for 316 yards in a winning effort — against the best defense in the league.

I'm not here to spend this entire post concocting crazy reasons why Tebow deserves no credit for Denver's success last year, but if that game takes place at sea level and Ryan Clark is able to play, you can bet the Steelers would have won. I'm just saying.

It is so difficult for an NFL quarterback to throw for 316 yards or more in a playoff victory that Ben Roethlisberger has never done it. Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers have each done it once. Tom Brady, John Elway and Joe Montana each did it twice. Eli Manning did not throw for that many yards in a playoff game until this season.

Lots of passing yards: always strongly correlated with playoff success. Because you know how it goes in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE; you get a lead, and then you throw on every down to protect it. That's why bad-defense-on-his-own-team-having Drew Brees has thrown for at least 316 yards in 5 of his 9 playoff appearances and lost 4 of those 5 games. Conclusion drawn from this stat: Kennedy was shot from the grassy knoll and from the book depository simultaneously.

And those other quarterbacks had some of the best receivers in the NFL.

Yeah! ANYONE could have done what they did, throwing to receivers like Javon Walker and Bubba Franks (Favre, 2004 wild card round) or Vance Johnson and Mike Young (Elway, 1990 AFC title game).

Tebow is also near the top in another important measure of an NFL passer, which is the number of touchdown passes per pass attempt.

Let me stop you right there. Before you run through the cherry-picked stats that paint Tebow in the best possible light, let me make a list of stats which show him to be a pretty godfuckingawful QB: completion percentage, yards per attempt, yards per game, sack percentage, QB rating. But don't worry, those aren't important measures of an NFL passer like TDs per attempt. If your team has a competent defense and a very good running game (to be fair, Tebow is a part of that running game, but he also takes away from it by taking all those fucking sacks), allowing your QB to throw infrequently but also go for home runs when he does, you go 2 for 8 with 1 TD, that's just great NFL passering. Conclusion drawn from that stat: the planet will definitely explode on 12/21/12.

OK, back to what you were saying.

In his first 16 games, Tebow averaged an impressive one touchdown pass for every 23 pass attempts (1-23). The same as Peyton Manning. Better than Steve Young (1-46), John Elway (1-36), Drew Brees (1-34) and Tom Brady (1-36). And just slightly behind Aaron Rodgers (1-21), Matthew Stafford (1-21), and Eli Manning (1-21).

Even more important is the fact that Tebow threw very few interceptions per pass attempt.

It's hard to shit on this stat too much. Tebow has, so far, been great at not throwing picks. Unfortunately a) this is because he so often underthrows or overthrows a receiver by 15 yards and more importantly b) he's been really, really bad at not fumbling. Jay Cutler takes a lot of shit for fumbling a lot, and he's never put more than 11 of them on the ground in a season. David Carr was a LEGENDARY fumbler who topped out at 21 as a rookie. Last season, in just 11 starts, Tebow had 14 fumbles. The more you know. Conclusion drawn from this stat: all the games on The Price is Right have exactly the same odds.

Just one pick for every 43 pass attempts (1-43). That’s twice as good as Peyton Manning (1-21). Much better than Elway (1-19), Stafford (1-26) and Eli Manning (1-29). Better than Brees (1-34), Brady (1-36), Rodgers (1-39) and Bradford (1-40). This fact is particularly important, because ESPN contends that the chance of a team winning an NFL game goes down 20 percent with each interception a quarterback throws.

And goes up 20% every time a QB fumbles!

Through 16 starts, Tebow has a far better touchdown pass-to-interception ratio (17 touchdowns-9 interceptions) than Peyton Manning (26-28), Brees (15-15), Stafford (28-23), Bradford (18-15), Elway (10-19), Aikman (12-25) and Young (9-16). Tebow’s rate is also better than Eli Manning’s (21-14), and the same as Aaron Rodgers’ (23-12).

Yes, this is another stat that shows Tebow in a positive light because sometimes he goes a whole half without throwing a single pass that hits anyone at all in the hands.

According to these key factual measures of an NFL passer (wins, touchdown passes, interceptions, playoff performance)

I like it. Time to continue my uninspired "copy and paste the best line of the article multiple times" bit, this time with italics for added pasteability.

According to these key factual measures of an NFL passer (wins, touchdown passes, interceptions, playoff performance)

These are facts, readers. They are not opinions.

According to these key factual measures of an NFL passer (wins, touchdown passes, interceptions, playoff performance)

Eat them. Digest them.

According to these key factual measures of an NFL passer (wins, touchdown passes, interceptions, playoff performance)

Facts. Facts facts facts. Tebow's completion percentage? Not a fact. Merely a lie from the Christian-hating media.

Tebow is off to a better start as an NFL passer than many of the great passing quarterbacks in NFL history.


Tebow’s critics do not speak of these facts. Instead, they harp on the style of his passes and his completion percentage (46 percent).

Hey, that's right! I do do that!

That is illogical. Results are more important than style.

Like I told you. TD/INT ratio: fact. Completion percentage: opinion, which is somehow a function of (???) style.

And completion percentage is far less important than wins,

Probably true, but much more easily attributed to, you know, the QB as opposed to the whole team.





and playoff success.

Clever way of saying "wins" twice.

That is proved by the fact that Tebow has far more wins, and a much better touchdown and interception ratio, than many quarterbacks who have a higher completion percentage.

Conclusion drawn from this fact: completing passes is bad, and also, aliens built the pyramids.

Peyton Manning is a certain Hall of Fame quarterback and a man of great character and integrity.

Factual character.

But the facts also show, at this point, Manning is not a more effective quarterback than Tebow. Last season, Tebow started 13 games. When you compare those 13 starts to Manning’s last 13 starts, the results are almost the same.

Over their last 13 starts, Tebow and Manning have the same winning record — 8-5. Each threw one touchdown pass for every 23 pass attempts. Tebow threw only one interception for every 51 passes. Unfortunately, Manning threw one interception for every 33 pass attempts.

Ignore their completion percentage, yards per game, and other such stylistic pieces of information.

Tebow won one playoff game and lost the next. Manning lost his only playoff game, 17-16, to the Jets.

And while throwing to some of the greatest receivers in the league, like Pierre Garcon and Blair White! (Perennial All-Pro Austin Collie was hurt for that game.)

Tebow also brings the critical advantage of mobility to the field,

and fumbling,

which Manning does not. Over their last 13 starts, Tebow ran for 681 yards and 6 touchdowns. Manning ran for 23 yards and 0 touchdowns. Manning’s lack of mobility may explain some of the difficulty he has encountered in the playoffs during his storied career.

Mobile QBs like Eli Manning, Tom Brady, and Joe Montana have always had more success in the playoffs than their immobile counterparts.

While it is undisputed that Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, he has only won one first-round playoff game since 2006.

Not sure what's going on here. If the argument is that he has only won one wild card round game since 2006, it's totally irrelevant. If the argument is that he's only won one playoff game at all since 2006, it's wrong and mostly irrelevant. His factual stats in four playoff losses since winning the Super Bowl at the end of the 2006 season: 317 yards per game, 6 TDs, 3 INTs. Add in the stats from his two playoff wins leading up to the 2010 Super Bowl, and his numbers get even more Tebowesque.

He has lost in the first round of the playoffs seven out of the 11 times his team has made it that far. He is 1-3 against New England in the playoffs,


averaging 9 points a game in those losses.

Both those losses happened when Tebow was still in high school. I'm sure that was the first thing the Broncos brass discussed when they met to decide whether or not to go after him: if we get time warped back to 2004, will we be able to beat the Patriots in the playoffs with him?

None of these facts are intended as a criticism of Manning. They are simply proof of the undeniable fact that injuries and age take their toll on even the greatest quarterbacks.

While playing with virtually no supporting offensive cast in 2010, Manning put up the same numbers Tebow did last season in these specially picked Tebow-friendly stats. This shows that injuries and age take their toll on even the greatest quarterbacks, and that a terribly inconsistent throwing motion and a total inability to make more than two reads (maybe two reads) on any given play take their toll on others.

And no quarterback who has won a Super Bowl with one team has ever won a Super Bowl with his next team.

List of QBs with Manning's credentials to switch teams in the last 25 years: Joe Montana. And true, at age 37, he was only able to drag an otherwise mediocre Chiefs team as far as the AFC title game. Ho hum.

So the assumption that the Broncos would automatically be a better team right now under Manning is not supported by the facts.

Other than the facts related to who is better at being a quarterback between Tebow and Manning.

The facts show that Tebow is, by comparison, a great young quarterback with most of his career in front of him.

The facts do indeed show that Tebow has most of his career in front of him... CARRYING A CLIPBOARD! HIGH FIVE ME SOMEONE

No but really, I don't hate Tebow. I wouldn't mind if he caught on in Jacksonville or Miami. I just have enough of a brain to know it's almost definitely not going to happen.

Manning is a Hall of Fame quarterback with most of his career behind him. And over the course of their last 13 games, Tebow and Manning performed at approximately the same level.

As long as you ignore most reasonable methods of evaluating QB play and choose obscure ones that heavily favor Tebow, yes.

It would be highly illogical for the Broncos to replace Tim Tebow with Peyton Manning. Such a decision, no matter how well-intentioned, would likely undermine the franchise for years to come.

Now I just have to sit back and wait 10 months for the Gazette to print an apology and correction. Oh, and I managed to go this whole post without dipping my toe in the politics/religion pool, but Caplis is one of those loudmouthed Jesus freak windbags that are all too commonly found in Colorado. If Tebow has all of Tebow's attributes and 2011 stats but happens to be someone who doesn't mention God every five seconds when there's a microphone in his face, yeah, I'd be writing poorly about something else right now because this article wouldn't exist.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Jon Heyman: still way better at shilling for Scott Boras than writing

This is more of a blog post than it is a full, formal article. (BTW I provided the link so you could go take a look at Jon doing his best "Hey, this is what I would do if I were on a baseball card!" pose. Worth your four seconds, I promise. What a zilcheroo he is.) Makes me wonder how much worse it would be if Heyman had done more research for it and added a few more paragraphs. It's dumb on several levels, most notably the bumblefuckarific "I developed a premise before I wrote the article and the facts don't match that premise so fuck it I'll just contradict the hell out of the premise and then call it a day" one.

Everything that could go wrong for the Braves this spring has gone wrong

There's the premise. Aaaaaaaand...


...there's the spot where he begins undermining it.

In the competition for worst spring in Florida,

I'm several years and tens of thousands of dollars away from earning my online masters in journalismness from DeVry, but I'm pretty sure "If there were a competition for worst spring in Florida," would work better. And with that imaginary competition in mind, let us take a moment to laugh at/about A.J. Burnett. *doink* /ball embeds itself in eye socket

there is a runaway winner: the Braves.

"There are also two MYSTERY TEAMS in the running, but I can't tell you who they are lest I reveal that they don't exist!"

"Everything that could go wrong for them has gone gone wrong,'' remarked one competing executive.

CBS assistant junior editing intern in charge of coming up with titles: "Yup. That'll work."

Th Braves have followed their September collapse by beginning spring 2-10. But their troubles started even before the games began. Young starting pitcher Tommy Hanson suffered a concussion in a one-car accident on his way to spring.

The ol' Tony La Russa special. Nice. Anyways that's one player with a mild injury. What else has gone so depressingly wrong?

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez is trying to look on the bright side. "I've seen a lot of good things,'' Gonzalez said.

A+ journalism right there. A++. Tell manager you've heard things are going down the shitter. Get boring, uninspired, mostly non-responsive response. Insert in article. Light cigar with $50 bill (bill and cigar both provided by Boras).

Gonzalez did concede that the record isn't what they'd want, especially coming off a September swoon.

Oh! The tension in that interview! It's like Frost/Nixon! Things are bad... but there are bright spots.... BUT THINGS ARE STILL SOMEWHAT BAD

"We want to win, believe me. Winning is contagious,'' Gonzalez said.

Losing: also contagious. Hepatitis: science doesn't know just yet.

"But in spring training, I think health takes priority.''

Perhaps an insightful and meaningful quote, except that Jon has presented it with no context or background so we have no idea what Fredi is talking about.

Still, others are wondering aloud whether the Braves will be themselves this year.

Fill in the blank if you know what that means. _____________. If you filled it in, you're lying, and you also have ink on your computer screen. Now email me what you wrote.

Only one team that's spent less on players over the last three years has won more games (the Rays). But their cost cutting may finally be catching up to them. They signed only one major league free agent this winter, and that was utilityman Jack Wilson for $1 million, and Wilson immediately blew out his Achilles.

So by usually not spending much, and continuing to not spend much this season, they are... still being themselves? Also, something about health, and a poor spring training record, and oh man Jon Heyman gets paid to write about baseball?

One N.L. scout said he believes the Marlins and Nationals have now surpassed the Braves

I was going to put another Mystery Team joke in here but I figured you were going to do it in your head anyways so why bother with the specifics.

and that they look like a fourth place team,

So far we have 1) pitcher got a concussion 2) all-glove utility guy out for season 3) they "look like a 4th place team." Conclusion: ALL THINGS THAT COULD GO WRONG DID. BRIAN MCCANN IS ANGRY AT SOMETHING, NO ONE KNOWS WHAT, BUT HE HASN'T SHOWN UP TO SPRING TRAINING AND NO ONE HAS HIS PHONE NUMBER.

and a star player from the difficult division said the same thing.

In keeping with a theme I've been pushing these past few months, I certainly hope it was Ryan Howard, saying it as he cashed the first of many many paychecks to come at his $25MM/year salary.

Although, there have been two silver linings in the Braves' ultra-rough start to spring:

A start which, no matter what the headline of this piece may have led you to anticipate, you still know basically nothing about.

1) there have been no new season-affecting injuries, and

You mean after all one of them (to the guy who would have been 24th or 25th most important on the opening day roster) you've described so far?

2) young prospects like pitcher Sean Gilmartin, shortstop Andrelton Simmons and third baseman Joey Terdoslavich, have played well.

But NOT WELL ENOUGH! Oh, wait, probably well enough, considering those guys are 21, 22, and 23 respectively. Also: TERDoslavich heh heh heh

But it's more than the losses.

Wait, what were we just talking about?

The disappointments and concerns are adding up, such as ...

This is high school newspaper level writing. Premise: things are really bad for the Braves. Provide support: a little evidence, none of it convincing. Repeat premise. Contradict premise. Rerepeat premise.

-- Braves icon Chipper Jones suggested after starting 0-for-8 that he may be nearing the end. While he retracted his comment the very next day, Jones (now 1-for-11) hasn't looked like himself.

JUST LIKE HIS TEAM! Or so we've been told, with essentially no further explanation, except for the fact that as usual they didn't break the bank in free agency this year.

His demeanor also hasn't reflected his nickname.

Ho ho hoooo! Pulitzer committee, you're about to receive a link in your inbox.

Gonzalez said, "Chipper will be fine. He'll get it going. I'm not concerned about that.'';

Heyman's response: "That's gold! Straight into my 'the Braves are fucked' article!"

-- Hanson finally pitched Sunday, but he appeared in a washed-out monsoon, lasting just one-plus inning;

The weather was bad. Therefore: Hanson's return, somehow disappointing/concerning.

-- Young lefthander Mike Minor has pitched brilliantly, with nine scoreless innings,

Nine DISAPPOINTING scoreless innings?

but he needlessly dusturbed camp by suggesting he'd prefer to be traded if he isn't in the rotation. EARTH to Mike: You are in the rotation;

A young pitcher said something dumb to someone with a microphone. Spring training: ruined.

-- Kid shortstop Tyler Pastornicky was basically given the job to start spring, but he is threatening to make a race of it by starting 3-for-30. Simmons has outplayed him, and they are now saying the choice won't be made until the end of spring.

There's a competition for the SS spot. One talented guy has struggled in a tiny sample of PAs, and another talented guy is applying pressure. I know I'm beating this into the ground, but...

Simmons is the flashier defender, but one N.L. scout said, "I see them both as utlity players."

A MYSTERY scout with no known identity.

-- Former phenom Jason Heyward inspired worries with a slow start (he's at .194) but he's coming on now and had two extra-base hits vs. the Nats' pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg on Wednesday. Gonzalez said that while Heyward would have one good at-bat every "four or five'' at-bats early in spring, now he has four out of five productive at-bats;

Disappointment? Concern? SANITY?

-- Top young righthanded pitching prospects Randall Delgado and Julio Teheran are locked in a battle for the fifth rotation spot with ace Tim Hudson (back) out until May. But so far neither has dominated. Delgado has a 9 ERA, Teheran 11. Teheran had a game against the Tigers where he allowed six homers in two innings. That was one more home run than he allowed in 150 innings in Triple-A last year.

Yeah, that's pretty disappointing and concerning, although that outing against one of the league's three best offenses happened on like the second day of spring training games and (allegedly) with an insane wind blowing out to center. But anyways, now we're starting to get into the good stuff. Stuff that might lead you to believe that the Braves are about to cancel the season, sell off all their assets, and disband as a franchise. The truly "it could have gone wrong and it did" stuff. OK Jon, lay it on us.

Oh, you're done. That was the whole article. Well, back to holding your baseball bat and grinning like an idiot then. Seriously, go click on the link if you didn't before. Looking at that picture of Jon is much more fun than reading this blog.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Peyton Manning seems somewhat at peace with his departure from Indianapolis

And really, has anyone ever been upset about leaving that city? But since he seems OK with it (publicly, at least), it's time for America's sportswriters to be outraged on his behalf. Gene Wojciechowski, man holding the prestigious title of ESPN's "Senior National Columnist," you can begin spewing moronic invective whenever you're ready.

What if the Indianapolis Colts didn't have the first pick of the 2012 NFL draft, but the third?

Yeah, what if? Would that make them feel better about paying Manning a $30 million roster bonus so he could lead their clearly-not-going-to-contend-for-a-Super-Bowl team next year? I mean, that's what pro sports is all about: paying an ungodly sum of money to one 35 year old guy when even the stupidest superfan can tell it's time for the team to rebuild. (Note: sarcasm does not apply to the 2014-2016 Phillies and Ryan Howard)

What if Peyton Manning was recovering from knee surgery, not multiple neck procedures?

Yeah, that'd make them more comfortable with paying him all that cash for sure! Quarterbacks don't use their knees. Silly goose.

What if Colts owner Jim Irsay didn't talk out of both sides of his horseshoe?

"Both sides of his horseshoe?" (Insert picture of Hindenburg crash)

Think about it: Irsay would rather roll the bones on Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III than on Manning. Luck and RG3 have a combined zero NFL snaps. Manning has a Super Bowl ring and four league MVP awards and has thrown for more yards in NFL history than everyone except Brett Favre and Dan Marino.

Holy shit. Your understanding of how teams operate is like an infant's understanding of pretty much anything. You get an F-. You get a zero. You get whatever the worst imaginary grade I can give you is. If you're honestly writing this because you're outraged that the Colts would rather draft a 22 year old QB and pay him $25-$30 million over the course of the next 4 or 5 years (Scam Newton got $22 million over 4) than pay Manning whatever the hell they would have owed him to lead them to a couple wild card berths during that span, you're the stupidest sportswriter of all time. If instead you're writing this with full knowledge that cutting Manning was the right managerial move, but still think Manning needs someone to stand up for his honor, you're the biggest asshole sportswriter of all time. Or you could be both, who knows.

And never mind what caused this divorce

OK, sounds like you're going with "stupidest" rather than "biggest asshole." Probably a good decision, although keep in mind that you can change it if you see fit.

or where he'll end up next. How about we take a few moments and remember exactly what a legend looks like?

Mmmm. More platitudes, please.

Manning made Indianapolis forget that it was a football stepmother.

Manning transformed a horrible franchise into a perennial contender.

Fuck paying players for what you expect them to do over the course of the contract in the future- the real key to success is to pay players for what they've done in the past. (Insert picture of Ed Wade)

Manning killed it on "Saturday Night Live" ("I just thought about going out there for the second half, and a little bit of pee came out.")

Fuck paying Manning- is Jon Hamm available?

Manning reported to the Giants Stadium interview room wearing a suit and tie -- and no shoes or socks -- after a night-game win against his brother Eli. He did it (and I was there) because he knew the East Coast sports writers were on a crushing deadline.

Now shifting over from "stupidest" to "biggest asshole." HE WAS NICE TO ME AND THEREFORE HE DESERVES TO ALWAYS BE HAPPY AND NEVER BE INCONVENIENCED! Classic sportswriter assholery.

Manning led the Colts to a pair of Super Bowls and won one.

Mostly irrelevant.

Manning engineered a comeback for the ages: down 21 points at Tampa Bay with four minutes left, and won the game in OT!

Completely irrelevant.

Manning never made TMZ's greatest hits.

Almost completely irrelevant.

Manning prepared so thoroughly that he could have double-dipped as a coach.

I think the Colts already have one of those. They fired Jim Caldwell, yes? OK, then yeah, they presumably do.

Manning had 63 games with at least 300 passing yards.

How many of those does Andrew Luck have? THOUGHT SO.

Manning was proud of playing in Indianapolis.

I know, weird, right? I'm starting to doze off.

But this is about the business and commerce of the NFL, not loyalty.

And now I'm awake again. The fuck?

Plus, the necks of Luck and Griffin haven't felt a surgeon's scalpel. And the price tag for a rookie quarterback, even the No. 1 overall pick, is Happy Meal-cheap compared to what it would have cost Irsay to sign Manning. In 2012 alone, we're talking a $28 million bonus and $7.4 million in salary.

I know Irsay's decision makes financial sense, but that doesn't mean it makes football sense.

There's the big "Larry B copies and pastes it multiple times" line from this article. Drink it up.

I know Irsay's decision makes financial sense, but that doesn't mean it makes football sense.

I know Irsay's decision makes financial sense, but that doesn't mean it makes football sense.

I know Irsay's decision makes financial sense, but that doesn't mean it makes football sense.

That's great stuff. It's fantastic that you can be a Senior National Sportswriter for a major outlet and not understand that in a Venn diagram, "financial sense" is a small circle inside the larger "football sense" circle (a nipple on a boob, if you will).

If Manning is healthy -- and his arm strength certainly seems to be trending that way -- then Irsay just deprived the Colts of their best chance to win games.

Your editor took "in 2012 and maybe 2013" off the end of that sentence. Sorry about that.

Luck, the presumptive No. 1 choice, was a remarkable college quarterback. But show me the documentation that guarantees he'll be a remarkable NFL quarterback.

Prove to me that the guy scouts are calling the most polished college QB since Manning will be amazing in the NFL. You can't. ARGUMENT: OVER.

I'll go read -- and finish -- James Joyce's "Ulysses" as you try to find that paperwork.


And had he stayed in Indianapolis, there's no way the Colts would go 2-14 again. Irsay could have kept Manning, then traded the overall No. 1 pick for at least two first-round picks as well as a third-rounder and a fifth-rounder. Think that would've helped the short- and long-term rebuilding process?

And in 2014 when, those draft choices started to blossom and Manning was ready to retire, THAT'S when keeping him around would REALLY pay off.

Irsay (and others) will insist that you get only so many opportunities to draft a quarterback the caliber of Luck. But you also get only so many opportunities to draft and keep a quarterback with Manning's first-ballot Hall of Fame credentials.

You only get so many chances to pay him $35 million a year while he's in the twilight of his career and the team is falling apart around him.

Ask yourself this question: Would the Colts win more games during the next one to three years with a healthy Luck or a healthy Manning?

That rhetorical question does not accomplish what you intend it to accomplish.

I'll give Irsay credit for making a difficult decision. But for all his talk during the past four months, when he sliced apart the Peyton-returns scenarios as though they were garlic cloves, it is obvious he didn't want to keep No. 18. If he did, Manning would still be a Colt.


Maybe everyone lives happily ever after. Luck becomes Manning Lite. Manning finds success and contentment in another uniform. Irsay finds vindication.

But I doubt it.

Actually, that all seems about as likely as any other outcome.

Experience counts. Manning -- even a 90-percent-healthy version of him -- counts.

Oooh, thanks for listening when I asked for more platitudes. Manning counts, people. He counts.

Remember the story Manning told Sports Illustrated's Peter King years ago about the 1998 draft? Colts management was split over which quarterback to take with the No. 1 overall pick: Manning or Washington State's Ryan Leaf.

Manning requested a meeting with then-general manager Bill Polian and then-coach Jim Mora. He told them,

"I promise you I won't beat up any reporters or start dealing painkillers."

"I'd really like to come here if you want me. But if you don't, I promise you I'll come back and kick your ass for the next 15 years."

Now Irsay and the Colts don't want him anymore. So Manning will adapt. He always does.

He'll kick their butt for the next three years.

JOKE'S ON YOU AT POINT, IRSAY. (Insert picture of any QB who started as a rookie, struggled for a couple years and then blossomed into a good player)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I'm tired but feel obligated to post something

Hmmm. How to resolve that tension... I know! Another podcast with Cousin Sal! Writing is hard, but talking is really easy. When you've got a voice made for photography and a personality made for solo deep space exploration, there's nothing people want more than to hear you yap at them about nothing for 45 straight minutes. BONUS: some guy who is just like me but somehow less engaging will join me for the podcast and also yap! You're welcome.

Just kidding with all that snarksnarksnarksnark. When I'm tired but feel obligated to write, the actual solution is to do a grab bag post.

Picking on atrociously untalented members of the Chicago media used to be PNoles's thing, but seeing as how we couldn't pay his appearance fee for tonight you're going to have to let me walk you through some snippets of this Phil Rogers disaster. (Shout out to Erik if he's still reading. Now go win another fancy showbiz award and mail it to me, please.)

Talking baseball:

While I appreciate that he leads his article with a statement of its subject matter, I'm pretty sure I would have figured it out within the next six words.

These aren’t baseball cards we’re watching. They’re people.

That's the best opening line in the history of sportswriting. I love it. I'm going to get a tramp stamp tattoo that says it, and somehow work it into a seven letter acronym so I can somehow display it on a vanity license plate.

These aren’t baseball cards we’re watching. They’re people.


These aren’t baseball cards we’re watching. They’re people.

Last one. Promise.

That’s why I really like the Dale Sveum/Theo Epstein dea of giving Alfonso Soriano a shot to hit leadoff again.

But what if Soriano was literally a baseball card? Would he not want to hit leadoff anymore? Would they only use him as a pinch hitter? How unsurprising would it be if Jim Hendry gave a small piece of cardboard a nine figure contract?

Like it or not, the Cubs still owe Soriano $54 million.

I'm pretty sure 0% of Cubs fans like the fact that the team owes him $54 million. I think that figure of speech is better used when it refers to something that the target audience could conceivably like or not like, such as "Like it or not, they're expanding instant replay" or "Like it or not, Dale Sveum is managing your team."

And, like it or not, he’s still one of their most productive hitters.

/checks Soriano's 2011 stats, then checks stats of rest of Cubs likely 2012 lineup

Jesus. As of spring training 2012 he's right. That is truly amazing.

So dropping him down in the batting order, as Lou Piniella and Mike Quade did over the last two years, really accomplishes little other than make angry fans feel better.

Well here's the thing: if you have Carlos Pena and Aramis Ramirez, like Quade did in 2011, Soriano is no longer "one of your most productive hitters." He's 4th best on the team, and 5th best if Geovany Soto manages to get his head out of his ass. That means Soriano doesn't belong in the middle of the lineup, and with that robust .300ish OBP, he doesn't belong at the top either. Seventh sounds like a pretty good spot for him. So let's rephrase Phil's statement: in addition to making angry fans feel better, dropping Soriano down in the batting order if it's 2011 makes a whole ton of sense. Dropping him down there in 2012 when he inevitably hits something like .250/.290/.440 will still make angry fans feel better, but will have less on field utility since Ian Stewart and Brian Lahair are now playing the infield corners.

Epstein would love for Sveum and hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo to get more out of Soriano.

And I would love to be an MLB GM, or to talk to a real live woman without first giving her my credit card number.

That might make it possible at some point to trade him to an American League team that could use him as a combination DH/left fielder, a role that clearly suits him better than being a full-time left fielder.

Just pick up something like $48 million of his contract and I think that dream might become a reality.

Pride is always a part of a baseball players’ emotional package, and for a hitter that does have something to do with where his name is written on the lineup card. The most professional guys work their best to perform the same regardless, but the lineup card always has something to say about a guy’s self esteem, as well as his standing within the clubhouse.

And moving him to 7th when his OBP is under .300 is a good way of saying "Dude, you're fucking terrible and you swing at everything. Stop."

That was clear when Alex Rodriguez was talking about his desire to continue to bat cleanup for the Yankees this year.

Joe Girardi: earning every dirty cent he gets paid.

I was in Tampa at the start of camp when Rodriguez was talking about how he felt he could be the most valuable to the Yankees as the No. 4 hitter, behind Robinson Cano.

“I’ll do what the manager wants me to do,’’ A-Rod said. “I take an enormous amount of pride hitting fourth.

I love dissonant statements like that. "I'm not going to blame the refs. They blew a ton of calls and probably cost us the game, but we don't have any excuses."

I think it’s been shown that lefty-righty-lefty is a very good way to the build the middle of your order.

Soak it up, people! Connie Mack over here is giving away free managerial tips.

I also think the track record shows I’m not very effective hitting eighth.’’

That, of course, was a reference to Game 4 of the 2006 Division Series against Detroit,

Not that A-Rod is a child or anything.

More than five years later, Rodriguez is still embarrassed.

More than five years AND A NEW MANAGER LATER, Rodriguez is still embarrassed. Lordy, I hate it when the media panders to dipshit mouthbreathing fans by piling on A-Rod, but man, that is some pretty pathetic bullshit right there.

Soriano never complained about Quade’s lineups last season.

What? THESE AREN'T BASEBALL CARDS, PHIL. THEY HAVE FEELINGS AND EGOS AND HEARTS AND BLOOD. I also like progression of the article. Hitters care about their batting order spot. In fact, a guy who doesn't play for the Cubs REALLY cares about it. Soriano, by all accounts, does not care much about it. But the Cubs should definitely treat him like he does.

He had more plate appearances as the No. 7 hitter (221) than anywhere else in the lineup, with sixth (186) the next most frequent.

Why not let Soriano hit first?

Because he never gets on base?

No, he’s not a strong on-base guy.

Why not let your worst pitcher start on opening day? No, he's not very good at pitching. Why not tell your catcher to attempt to steal every time he's on base? No, he's not very fast. Why not sign Soriano to a contract extension right now? No, he's not worthy of a roster spot on a contending team.

But he hits home runs and doubles, and that’s a pretty nice way to start an inning.

You could always trade for Mark Trumbo and hit him leadoff. He's like a better version of Soriano. Plenty of doubles and bombs. No, he doesn't really get on base much... but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Problem: solved. Now, to trade for Trumbo. Hmmm. Hey, why not just offer Soriano straight up? Wait, what? The Angels fired Tony Reagins? Fuck. Back to the drawing board.

Hitting him in the leadoff spot isn’t going to keep the team from winning.

It sure as fucking shit isn't going to help.

Finally, here’s one last benefit of hitting Soriano first, and it’s not a small one.

He's NOT a baseball card; therefore, he's able to swing a bat and run the bases.

He is clearly one of the Cubs’ most dangerous hitters. And by hitting him first, not seventh, you can get him four plate appearances and pull him for a defensive replacement one or even two innings earlier than normal. You get him to the plate four times and lessen your exposure in the field. That’s smart.

Oh. Oh my. GOODNESS GRACIOUS. I think I'm going to have to leave it at that.

Well, now I'm out of time and energy and I'm not even going to get to the other stuff I had planned to include in the grab bag. How very Simmonsy of me. Sorry kids. My schedule is a little full these days. Fun Larry B trivia: between June 2008 and December 2011, I didn't have a full time job. Kind of made it easier to blog. But look, now I have a job and I'm still writing. Don't I deserve awards and accolades for leading such a balanced life? God, I am so great. My sheltered, privileged existence has been extremely difficult but I'm still out here plugging away at this little game I like to call "life." Full time job AND spends 45 to 60 minutes a week writing bullshit about the sports media? HOW DOES HE DO IT, FOLKS? HE'S GOT THE WORK ETHIC OF TWO THOMAS EDISONS!

/was obviously born in the 80s and deserves to get his entitled face beaten in with a crowbar

Thursday, March 1, 2012

As entertaining as the comment war going on in the next post down is

Let's see what Jon Heyman has to say about the Ryan Zimmerman extension. (And by the way, all of you who think that everything Braun has said is a bunch of face-saving malarkey while everything Mr. Steroid Test Collector Guy has said is the absolute unaltered truth are fucking killing me. You're just. Fucking. Killing me. But I'll let Chris W fight that fight for now.)

The immediate reaction to Ryan Zimmerman's $100 million, six-year extension with the Nationals was this: Where's the hometown discount?

Where's the beef am I right LOL? To answer the question seriously, something I'm loathe to do but am forced to because providing actual analysis in my posts is one of the conditions of my parole, here's how I see it: If Adrian Beltre's age 32 to 37 seasons are worth $96MM over six years (after five years in Seattle, three of which were pretty awful, and one "Hey wait I need another big contract!" season in Boston), then I'm pretty sure that Zimmerman's age 29 to 34 seasons were going to be worth a good amount more than that had he hit the market after 2013. Just pulling numbers out of my ass FanGraphs style here but let's say $120MM/6. Maybe more if the Yankees were ready to move Fish Fillet-Rod (shoutout to Eriz) to DH at that point.

Zimmerman's total contract, which now runs through 2019, guarantees him $126 million, including the two years he already had on his deal. Forget that $126 million has been an unlucky number in baseball contracts (see Vernon Wells, Barry Zito and Nationals teammate Jayson Werth),

Yes, forget that, even if you're a superstitious idiot who normally wouldn't forget it, because Zimmerman hasn't signed a contract for that dollar amount.

it just seems a bit high considering 1) Zimmerman has an injury history,

He missed a medium amount of time in 2008 and 2011 but still cleared 100 games in both seasons. In his other four full seasons he averaged 157 GP. All told he's averaging 136 GP per year. Yes, loosely speaking, he has a history of being injured. No, he is not a fragile player. No, he is not a likely candidate to miss extended time in the future. No, Jon Heyman doesn't give a shit. Jon Heyman is the kind of idiot who would bother to note that there have been some bad $126MM contracts in recent history, and that if you squint and cock your head to the side and stand on one foot, it kind of looks like Zimmerman signed a $126MM contract.

2) he sprayed a few throws in recent years,

So dumb it's not even worth addressing, other than to say that both by advanced metrics and "the eye test"/traditional scouting, Zimmerman is somewhere between a decent and really good defensive player.

and 3) the Nationals have a top third-base prospect in Anthony Rendon.

And since all prospects always pan out... aw, snap.

Said one competing executive of the Nats' two nine-figure deals now in the books: "Seems like they have two $100 million contracts but no $100 million payers.''

PLEEEEEEEEASE please please please please tell me it was Ruben Amaro who said that.

No matter what anyone on the outside thinks, Zimmerman was said to be the Nats' No. 1 priority this winter, and they did get the deal done. They love him for his defense,

But he has sprayed throws in recent years! It was in all the papers!

his clutch hitting,

Always critical to a learned baseball man like Heyman.

his personality and his local roots (University of Virginia). They also recall that he led the majors in WAR one year.

If true, that would be a HUGE strike against Heyman's argument. Fortunately for him it's not, but Zimmerman still seems like a good candidate to be a 4 to 6 win player early in this contract (huge bargain) and maybe a 2.5 to 4 win player later on (a little overpaid or properly paid).

Zimmerman did agree to a $10 million personal services deferral, which means only $116 million of the $126 million counts as payroll and could help the Nationals in terms of flexibility.

The Jinx of Zito is no more! Shrewd move, Mike Rizzo!

/video of Brian Sabean punching a hole through the top of a stovepipe hat

But the reality is he's a one-time All-Star.

Wait, what? Holy shit you can't be serious.

And that's a lot of loot for a one-time All-Star.

Wow, you really did end up boiling it down to the number of times he's made the all star team. That's awesome. And Heyman's analysis ends right there. Well, how about that. Hold on for a sec, let me check my computer machine for something really quick...

Ah, yup, there it is. Yadier Molina is a THREE time All-Star. No wonder his age 30 through 34 seasons are apparently well worth almost $15MM per. MOLINA'S VALUE GOES WAY BEYOND WHAT THE NUMBERS SHOW! NO ONE APPRECIATES HIM, EXCEPT THE MILLIONS OF FANS AND DOZENS OF WRITERS WHO CRY ALL THE TIME ABOUT HOW NO ONE APPRECIATES HIM! (Quick tangent: Dear (most) Cardinals fans, go the fuck away. You're the fucking worst and I hope your team never ever wins another playoff game. I'd cheer for the Red Sox if they played you in the WS this fall, perish the thought. Fuck you and fuck your smug and undeserved sense of accomplishment. Your city stinks and so does your team. I hope Pujols hits 800 career home runs and goes into the hall as an Angel. Signed, not a Cubs fan even though I bet you're sure I am at this point) Meanwhile Zimmerman's value is apparently wholly demonstrated by the fact that he missed like fifty games during two of the past six seasons.

/sits and waits eight years so he can laugh about how bad the Molina deal was and how reasonable the Zimmerman deal was