In which we hear about how Kobe is a bad person for wanting to win rings and score points.
Q: Hey Sports Czar — what's your fix for NFL kickoffs? You can't run for Sports Czar if you are sitting this one out.
— Jeremy, Omaha
You also shouldn't be able to run for Sports Czar (what a depressing title, not sure I like the choice of words there) if you know a medium amount about one sport, pretend to know a lot about 50% of the teams in another when in fact you have your head up your ass with regard to the entire sport, sort of like a third sport but only for gambling purposes (and you suck at gambling on it), and have no further sports knowledge whatsoever. That list of qualifications should definitely prevent you from running for Sports Tyrant.
SG: We can't get rid of kickoffs entirely, right?
Actually, you pretty much could.
/ducks to avoid tomatoes thrown by Bears fans
The problem from a strategic standpoint would be doing away with the opportunity for onside kicks.
For such a violent sport, we can't suddenly start picking which violent parts make more sense than others.
I'm not saying the league should do away with kickoffs, just that the small amount of variation in outcomes among KORs and the degree to which they generate full speed ahead helmet to helmet hits makes them different than any other play in the game. Saying "durr all plays are violent, we can't pick and choose" is like saying "in theory a batter can hit any pitch with the right swing, so why have a strike zone." Insert some nuance into your thinking you fucking clod.
At the same time, this seems like a good chance to tweak the sport so there's more incentive to go for touchdowns instead of field goals. Why? Because fans perk up when they hear the words "fourth down and they're going for it!" and lose interest when they hear the words "and here comes [fill in any kicker] to try a field goal."
That's a reasonable thing to think. Now watch him completely fuck the dog trying to find a way to make it work by messing with kickoff rules.
So, what if we tweaked the rules …
• No more kickoffs to start the first and third quarters. Instead, each team gets the ball on the 25-yard line and we go from there.
WE CAN'T JUST CHOOSE WHICH KICKOFFS ARE MORE OR LESS IMPORTANT THAN OTHERS! THEY'RE ALL VIOLENT! What about onside sneak attack kicks? They rarely happen, but can be pretty fun. Super Bowl XLIV?
• After any successful field goal, you kick off from your own 25-yard line.
• After any touchdown, you kick off from your own 40-yard line.
Dumb, every one of those is either going to be in the 10th row of the stands or an onside attempt, meaning the return team would simply line up in onside recover formation every time and DURRRRRR SPORTS CZAR AT WORK EVERYONE, GET OUT OF HIS WAY.
The end result (hopefully): fewer field goals, more touchbacks, more "fourth down and they're going for it!" situations, and (most important) more decisions that will get screwed up by mentally overwhelmed coaches and eventually turn into comedic fodder!
The ironing. So tasty. Also, I like that he thinks that losing maybe 10 or 15 yards of field position at the start of the next possession is going to get teams to start going for it on 4th like gangbusters. It's the 2nd quarter of a 10-7 game, or some other similarly low leverage situation. You're a head coach. Congratulations, you're already more qualified for your job than Josh McDaniels ever was. Your team is facing 4th and 6 from the other team's 25. Or maybe it's 4th and 9 from the 18. Or maybe it's 4th and 4 from the 32. Are you going to spend more than a second thinking about going for it there due to Bill's rule? I mean, if it existed and I were a coach, I'd probably start going for every 4th and 2 or less inside my 15 during the first three quarters of the game. And that's about it. How in the world would it change your strategy in a close game in the 4th quarter? Even on 4th and inches from the 5, any sane coach is still kicking the FG if it's a tie game, or they're down by 1 or 2. Probably if they're down by 3 as well.
I'll concede that it might inspire more coaches to go for the knockout blow; i.e., if you're facing 4th and inches from the 5 and you're up 2 with a minute to play, might make more sense to go for the TD to end the game than to get a 5 point lead and give the other team the ball around their own 35. But still, come on man. You're dumb.
Let's apply the revamped rules to a game situation.
It's Sunday night and San Diego is playing Philly.
OOOH A CLASSIC BOLTS/NESHARIM MATCHUP!
The Eagles are trailing by four points with seven minutes to play. They're on San Diego's 22-yard line. It's fourth-and-four. If they make the field goal, they're still trailing by one, and they have to kick off from their own 25 (conceivably, giving San Diego excellent field position to finish off the game). But if they get the first down? Better chance of scoring the go-ahead touchdown coupled with an overwhelming chance of a touchback kickoff (and San Diego starting their next drive from their own 20).
Yeah, sort of makes things interesting when a team is down between four and eight points in that situation. Doesn't change a damn thing with any other margin.
So what would Andy Reid do? (Thinking.) Well, he'd waste a timeout to think about it —
That's fine, but I liked my McDaniels joke better.
and if he could waste a timeout by challenging the previous play, then spend a second timeout to think about fourth down, even better.
You had it, then you lost it.
Then he'd probably decide on kicking a field goal because that would be the dumbest move. Then we could poke fun at him the next day for the entire sequence. See what I mean? We need more decisions in football; there's just no downside.
The downsides are that you're effectively getting rid of onside kicks after a team scores a TD, and also fixing what isn't broken in a moronically complex way that will ultimately have little effect on anything.
We win anytime Andy Reid, Norv Turner, Mike Smith or whoever has to make a decision with multiple variables in the spur of the moment.
Onion headline for this: Mouthbreathing idiot enjoys idiocy of other idiots in other professions
Q: Any chance we can get Bobby V. to make some pro-Castro comments sometime soon?
— @sethrobbins77 (via twitter)
God, Red Sox fans are such cunts that they almost make me want Valentine to be successful.
SG: Good one.
TOPICAL REFERENCE! NIIIIIICE BRO
You got me thinking about Boston's equivalent sore spot to pro-Castro comments in Miami — what's the one thing Bobby V could say that would potentially get him driven out of town?
I think we all know some things Bobby could say that would make Boston real upset. I'm not going to say what they are, I'm just saying we all know what they are. Joel Ward.
It could go one of two routes. Either he'd have to make the following 10 points in the SAME interview …
[list of 10 things that would make Valentine totally awesome if he said them]
He'd have to answer a question about Boston's busing riots in 1974 by saying something like, "I know that stuff happened almost 40 years ago, but I don't care — I'll always believe Boston is a racist city and you'll never be able to tell me differently." Every city has one sore spot. For Miami, it's Castro. For Boston, it's the racism thing.
That's a great parallel. Lots of people in Miami hate Castro so you can really piss them off if you compliment him, and lots of people in Boston are racist so you can really piss them off if you point that out.
Q: Billy, how come you didn't do a post Super Bowl mailbag when you're supposed to do a post Super Bowl mailbag? My husband cannot fucking throw the ball and do a mailbag at the same time!
— Gisele, Boston
Hope that person was a Giants fan trolling him, although it's totally possible that it's some jackoff Patriots fan continuing to try to blame Welker for Brady's bad throws.
SG: Gisele just reminded me of something: If there was ever a week for Tom Brady to give an interview and say, "You know, I'm 35 years old, I'm at the tail end of my prime, I don't know how many years I have left here … man, I wish we'd stop rolling over these no. 1 picks to next year's draft and just bring in a couple of blue-chippers once and for all," isn't this the week?
Like Belichick gives a shit about Brady's legacy. He might not even know Brady's name. MUMBLEROBBLE HEY QUARTERBACK! YOU! NUMBER 12!
Speaking of aging superstars facing the tail end of their primes …
6 FOR 24 LOOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
Q: What are the odds that Kobe isn't really hurt, just sitting out the last few games because he doesn't want to lose the scoring title?
— Crooney, Miami
SG: Are you crazy? Don't you realize that every time Kobe misses a game, he thinks to himself, I just lost 29 more career points? I wouldn't be surprised if his office at home has a wall covered with some sort of Beautiful Mind–type scribbling that calculates in great detail every single scoring checkpoint he needs to hit from now until 2018 to catch Kareem. Kobe cares about two things and two things only: winning a sixth ring (to tie MJ) and breaking that scoring record (which would make him immortal, and he knows it). Don't let anyone tell you differently.
Surprisingly non-bitter answer. He tried to make "he cares a ton about winning another championship and obtaining the all time scoring title" sound like a backhanded compliment, but unfortunately for him, it's just a regular old compliment.
Q: I already saw it as I commuted into the office at 8:00 am … I could sense it as I popped up out of the State Street stop … the abnormal warmth, the pep in the step of the women who passed by, the smiles … today is the day! it's "Halter Top Day!!! Expected high of 87 on Marathon Monday … a bevy of beautiful women roaming the city in sun dresses or booty shorts and yes halter tops! Will there be sunbathing in Columbus park and the Common? Oh yes, because in this year of 2012 remember April 16th as Halter Top Day in Boston!
— Brandon, Boston
Only super old dudes are allowed to say shit like that. Unless you're over 85, step in front of the first moving cement mixer you see.
SG: The greatest Boston day (Patriots' Day) merged with the second-greatest Boston day (Halter Top Day)???? And the Red Sox lost??? How could the Red Sox lose on Halter Top Patriots' Day???? We're headed for 72-90, I'm convinced.
It's a patented triple non-reverse double jinx! I'd laugh harder, but I get the impression he really feels like these things work. He's like the 9 year old kid who thinks his favorite team wins or loses because he did or didn't wear his lucky hat.
That's enough for tonight, my blood pressure is plenty high already. Will try to finish this off later in the week. What's that, you say? There's more? Of course there is! There's yet another love letter to Steve Nash, a disaster of an answer related to The Hunger Games, and--you're never going to believe this--a breakdown of whether or not Bill and the Sports Gal are planning on having another kid! Try to contain your exuberance.
Monday, April 30, 2012
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Bill published it. I promised a writeup. And only four days late, you're getting just that. Actually you're getting part of just that. I didn't make it all the way through. And I just read his "25 best storylines of the NBA playoffs" article and it's a fucking garbagecluster so now I've eventually got to do a writeup of that. Jesus, life down here in this basement is tough.
/eats family sized bag of Sun Chips, falls asleep in front of TV blaring infomercials
When I heard about the "Fenway 100" anniversary celebration before Friday's Red Sox–Yankees game, my guard went flying up at the speed of a vintage Pedro fastball. See, we went from having neglectful owners (the 1970s) to incompetent owners (the 1980s and 1990s) to opportunistic owners who transformed the franchise (in a good way — we won two titles) while scraping every possible penny of profit out of their investment, to the point that Yaz was probably afraid to come to Fenway today because he didn't want to be murdered, chopped up and turned into commemorative Yaz-flavored kielbasa pieces for $499.95 per bite.
In other words your team had a series of owners who were exactly like most other owners of their generation. Neglectful, incompetent, intensely profit-focused: like 99% of all current owners can be described by at least one of those. (Exception: Mark Cuban, who is intensely profit-focused in everything else he does so that he doesn't have to be with the Mavericks.) WE AHHHH SPECIAL! THINGS AH DIFFERENT HERE AND YOU WOULD NOT UNDAHSTAND! WE HAVE SUFFAHED MO-AH THAN YOU HAVE, CLEVELAND! No really he made that argument once.
The thought of a "Fenway 100" celebration made me nervous.
That's one of the stupidest things I've ever read. Even the world's shittiest owners can put on a good ceremony if iconic players are in attendance. Hell, Bill wrote a great article like a month ago about that very event happening at a Golden State Warriors game. I mean, the owner in question was mercilessly booed, but people still went nuts for the iconic player. It's not like that kind of thing is going to get screwed up.
And then the players came pouring out on the field, one after the other, and … well …
I mean …
What can you say?
"My team has been around for a long time, so it's not too surprising that they have some legendary players. And that those players took a day from doing nothing to show up for this. Neat."
What can you say when every checkpoint from your entire life happens to be huddled as one big mass of Red Sox jerseys in the only hometown park you ever had?
" (those are ditto marks)
There were Fisk, Rice, Pedro, Big Mo, Nomar, Remy, Rico … it was like a 35-man tie for "Guy I Was Most Excited to See Again." Even better, they invited everybody, so for every childhood hero, there was also a Mike Stenhouse, a Shag Crawford, even a Steve Lomasney. I ended up getting greedy and being bummed out that El Guapo and Freddie Lynn didn't show up. Talking about it with my father later, he mentioned the moment when Fisk, Yaz and Rice helped out with the first pitch — how he couldn't help but notice that Freddie Lynn was missing, how there was something fitting about Lynn not being there for that moment, either.
"He never should have left Fenway," my dad said for the 10,257th time. "Perfect park for him. He would have made the Hall of Fame if he stayed."
Lynn was a lefty who had a reputation for hitting the ball to the opposite field well, so Fenway was probably a good place for him. Then again, he nearly broke his back slamming into the Green Monster during the 1975 World Series. And then again again, if you're the kind of player who can only make the HOF if you play half your games in a specific ballpark, you are probably not a HOFer at all.
We have been having the same conversation about Freddie Lynn since I was 13. He should have stayed. These are the things you think about when your entire life is flashing before your eyes. Football is more popular, basketball is more marketable, hockey is more exciting, soccer means more throughout the world. But baseball has a way of making you think about everything that ever happened to you, every conversation you ever had, every place you ever lived, everything. I saw Millar and thought of standing in the tunnel at Fenway in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS, when he was drawing that walk against Rivera.
I should go back and do some research on that story of Bill's, but why the hell was he not in his seat? Seems likely that he was trying to beat the crowd out of the ballpark if the game had ended with a Yankees win. Classic Bill.
I saw Yaz and thought about him popping that ball up against Gossage, seeing it coming down, praying for a miracle that wouldn't come. I saw Pedro and thought of those precious nights at Fenway when he'd give up his first hit and the crowd would collectively sigh, as in, "Damn, I'm not seeing a no-hitter tonight." I saw Mo and thought about that hideous strike season, a year after I had moved back to Boston, when Big Mo was the only Red Sox player worth seeing. I saw Nomar and thought about how, once upon a time, it was Nomar, then A-Rod, then Jeter (in that order).
There was never a time when it was that. Not any onces upon any times.
I saw Remy and Rice and thought about the time Remy blew out his knee and Rice had to carry him back to the dugout, and I saw Evans and thought about the time he got beaned in the Seattle game and my dad and I thought he was dead. I saw Fisk and thought about that first White Sox game when he came back and rammed it right between our eyes.
I didn't see Freddie Lynn, and that mattered, too. So did the fact that I didn't even realize Clemens was missing until about 20 minutes after the ceremony.
But please, tell us: how will you look back on that moment 10 years from now? And how will you look back on the 10 years from the moment when you looked back on the ceremony 10 years after that?
All of this mattered. All of it. The Red Sox have been screwing just about everything up lately, but today wasn't one of those times. Let's hope that ceremony doesn't end up being the highlight of the 2012 season.
If the rest of us are lucky, it'll be outdone by a full-fledged dugout brawl between Valentine and Youkilis as Carl Crawford attempts to burn Fenway to the ground.
Q: I'm turning 30 and the only thing I want for my birthday is a new mailbag. The only thing.
You're either super rich or super worthy of being shot into deep space.
I even told my fiance not to worry about giving me a gift. I hope you can come through for me, for all of us.
— Jana Fischer, Boise, ID
SG: I don't know, Jana. Lots of people turn 30.
Like my dad, this one time! Let me tell you about it!
I need a little more prodding.
It's astonishing: the more popular he gets (to the extent that it can be quantified, I would guess that he's currently more popular than he's ever been due to the relative success of Grantland), the more he needs to make sure everyone knows how popular he is. That's not a hallmark of an insecure person or anything though.
Q: When a soon to be Holy Cross freshman is getting action in a 1966 Driver's Ed class on episode of TV's best show (Mad Men), I think that means it is time for a mailbag. Given that it is Holy Cross, it wasn't co-ed yet and that it was before the "free love" era, what are the odds that was the best that guy was going to do until he got back home next summer?
— John, Dunwoody, GA
SG: The odds are lower than you think. My dad went to Holy Cross in the late-'60s [rest of answer deleted because ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzz]
I HAVE A FAMILY! THEY HAVE DONE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT!
Q: It's 4/20 on Friday. You almost always write Fridays and you have owed us a mailbag for weeks. Also half your audience will get high before they read that mailbag anyway. Do I have to spell this out for you Simmons? 4/20 MAILBAG!
— MG, NY NY
SG: OK, now we're talking. I'm almost convinced. I'm on the brink.
Guarantee you that guy is super annoying to get high with. MG, I mean. But yeah also Bill.
Q: Sports guy. Deployed in Kuwait right now. Entering the 2-3 month point when you realize your life is depressing. How do you feel about a mailbag? I'm begging.
— Andrew Gerry, Udairi, Kuwait
SG: Now that's a good reason for a mailbag! Stay safe out there, Andrew. As always, these are actual questions from actual readers.
That's some good 21st century corporate PR material. I support soldiers! Everyone likes that, right? Next mailbag Bill will bend over backwards to make sure everyone is aware that he is aware of breast cancer.
Q: Now that Dwight is out for the season, how likely is it that The Ewing Theory will soon become The Howard Theory?
— Kyle, Toronto, Ontario
SG: It's a perfect storm: You have the possibly overhyped superstar who never won anything; everyone writing off his team for the playoffs; a group of players who probably weren't crazy about becoming part of Howard's soap opera these past few months; a first-round matchup against a totally unproven Pacers team; and a coach who'd love nothing more than to shove it to the guy who wanted him out all season. The Ewing Theory Committee is on high alert.
The best part about the Ewing theory, besides the fact that it's ridiculous bullshit fueled entirely by confirmation bias, is that the 1999 Knicks won a whole like three more playoff games after he got injured before losing to the Spurs in the Finals. Not that their playoff run wasn't impressive or anything, but I just like that if (God forbid) you need to explain it to someone who's never heard of it, you end up saying "Well the Knicks made the conference finals with Ewing, then he got hurt, then they won the conference finals, then they lost in the next round. And then the following year, with him back in the lineup, they made it back to the conference finals. So as you can see, they were way better off without him. Oh and also, here's the REAL proof: they've won a whole zero playoff series since his final season with them in 2000." If you get all the way through that without the other person punching you or walking away, the nonplussed look on their face will be worth 1000 words.
Couldn't you see Orlando making, like, 20 of 35 3s in Game 1 or Game 2, then doing the same thing in Game 3, followed by Indiana getting tight and everyone saying, "Wait a second, Orlando can't actually win this series without Dwight, right????" More important …
He got the part about Indiana playing like crap and looking tight right. The part about Orlando playing well, not so much. I still think Pacers in 6.
Q: With Howard out for the Olympics, Stiemsma has to take his spot right?
— @bobfuton (via Twitter)
SG: Look, Greg Stiemsma already went from never averaging 12 minutes a game for a Big Ten school to averaging 20 minutes a game as a valuable backup big man for an NBA title contender. You're really telling me that "Greg Stiemsma, Gold Medalist, USA" is far-fetched at this point?
And it might be wishful thinking, but I'm also holding out hope for Hawks in 5. Might take them 6 though.
Anyway, I'm glad Mr. Futon brought this up because I spent the morning freaking out about our gold-medal chances. Here are the nine definites for Team USA …
[long breakdown of the likely US roster, highlighting uncertainties with big men and the fact that Spain can throw both Gasols and Serge Ibaka at us]
In all seriousness, here's what we should actually do. First, we send Kobe, LeBron, Wade, Coach K and Durant to KG's Malibu house right after the Finals. They deliver the following message:
"We're looking for Andrew Bynum's place, do you have his address?"
We only need you for TWO games. You're going to be using the summer to stay in shape, anyway — what better way to stay in shape than a few weeks of July practices against the best players in the world in Vegas? From there, we'll go to London and stick you in a fire extinguisher case for the preliminaries — "ONLY BREAK IF YOU REALLY NEED KG." You can cheer on the guys, F-bomb our opponents from the bench, scream encouragement like a lunatic and do KG things.
A couple weeks back I was thinking to myself that pretty much everyone I know who uses the "[Person] is doing [Person] things!" bit is obnoxious. Well, lookie there.
Then, we'll bring you out for the medal games against France and Spain. You can finally get revenge on Pau Gasol for the 2010 Finals when you were playing on one leg. You can win a gold medal and add to your legacy. And by the way? WE NEED YOU. Win this with us.
No way Garnett turns them down.
Garnett turns 36 in a few weeks. I watched every minute of the Hawks/Celtics game earlier this evening; he played like he was 56. In that column I posted about last week, Simmons gushed and oohed and ahhed about Garnett's midseason bounceback. Here's the thing: the only reason he achieved a bounceback in March is because he was playing like dogshit in December and January. Dude isn't one of the 12 best American basketball players right now. He's not close. He might not be one of the 12 best American big men. Christ. I'd rather have Javale McGee on the Olympic team. YES I SAID IT AND I SORT OF MEAN IT. I don't know which is more preposterous--this KG idea, or the idea that an objective person at any point, ever, could have preferred NOMAH to Fish Fillet-Rod. They're both stupefyingly outrageous.
Q: How long do you think it will take for Bill O'Brien to get the "old person smell" out of his office?
— Mike P, Philly
SG: (Afraid to say anything.)
Ah, yet another Simmons reader writing C+ jokes that get published because most of Bill's own material is more in the C-/D+ range.
Q: Is it me or is Kill Frank Gore's Head going to be the most popular team name in fantasy next year?
— Butter, West Palm Beach
It's you, you fucking prong.
SG: Absolutely. I'm also excited for the obligatory terrible metal rock song with the chorus, "KILL THE HEAD (AND THE BODY WILL DIE)!!! KILL THE HEAD (AND THE BODY WILL DIE)!!!"
Like I said, C-/D+ range.
That reminds me, where was the WWE during this Gregg Williams saga? How did they not create a wrestling manager/Williams parody who keeps "crossing the line," offers bounties for his wrestlers to injure other wrestlers, stirs up an ongoing moral dilemma and comes out to the entrance song, "Kill the Head (and the Body Will Die)"? How long do we have to wait?
Q: How is Grantland not reviewing Jennifer Love Hewitt's new show The Client List?
Get Klosterman on the red phone! Sports fans who don't actually enjoy sports are clamoring for some analysis of The Client List!
It is female porn. There are so many guys with six pack abs that all need Jennifer to "massage" them in all the right places. Insecure men leaving their women. Overdone Texas stereotypes. Please get someone on this show asap.
— Jeffrey, Austin
Please go live in the woods somewhere and stop bothering people. (Credit to Don Rickles)
SG: Done and done. We're launching a weekly "Hate Watching: The Client List" recap post next week on our Hollywood Prospectus blog.
Reading that sounds about as worthwhile as watching The Client List.
Q: When the 8-seeded Kings took a 3-0 lead on the Canucks, I was reminded of how little advantage Vancouver received for their amazing regular season.
For their hard work, the Canucks received home ice advantage throughout the playoffs and the easiest road possible to the Finals. That's plenty. Say what you will about the virtues of having eight teams in each conference make the playoffs, but if you start with that as a given, the Presidents Trophy winner has a pretty sweet deal. Better deal than the NBA's best regular season team gets; they don't get the benefit of reseeding for the second round. I don't want to ask you to think too far outside the box, but when you were eating those paint chips and pondering home ice advantage, maybe what you should have been reminded of is that the Canucks aren't that good when only one of the Sedins is playing and that Jonathan Quick is a monster.
Here's a dramatic and controversial plan that could keep ESPN's talking heads busy for weeks. I call it "Game 8." It's simple and beautiful. The 1 and 2 seeds only need to win 4 out of 7 as usual, but the low seeds need to win 5 games total. How do we do this? They could win 5-0, 5-1 or 5-2 in a normal 7-game series. But, if the low seed is leading 4 games to 3? The sportstalkopalyse: Game 8. At the high seed's home arena. Winner take all.
Fuck it, why stop there? If Game 8 is tied after regulation, there's no overtime... WE GO STRAIGHT TO GAME 9. AND REPLACE THE PUCK WITH A BOUNCY BALL. Yeah, you know what I've been thinking while watching this year's playoffs? Game 7 just isn't fair enough. We need to tweak that a little.
What a fucking jackass. How could he make this email worse?
As you say: Who says no?
And there you have it.
— Brent T., Los Gatos, CA
SG: Let's be honest: The only hockey-related ideas that "could keep ESPN's talking heads busy for weeks" would be Tebow, Peyton or LeBron signing with an NHL team.
Hoo hoo! THERE'S some decent material from Bill! All you have to do to get him to be mildly funny is get him riled up about his employer!
Anyway, I like the spirit of your idea but don't agree with the execution — the no. 1 seed shouldn't have to play an extra playoff game.
THIS IS WHY HE'S THE VP OF COMMON SENSE, FOLKS. SIT BACK AND WATCH HOW IT'S DONE.
I'd rather see the NBA, NHL and MLB adopt the following idea: give no. 1 seeds an extra home game in Round 1. In baseball, change Round 1 to a 2-1-2 format; in basketball and hockey, change it to a 2-2-3 format.
That's pretty dumb, although certainly less dumb than 95% of the changes he proposes. Seems like a good spot to take a breather. More tomorrow (no for reals).
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Big thanks to the anonymous/Anonymous who left this link in the comments to the last post. That's a more or less foolproof way to make sure I'm aware of any sportswriting dumbfuckery you seven readers stumble across. I check the email@example.com account about once every three months (give or take), but I check the comments to my most recent post about once every 15 minutes because I'm an insecure, self-centered twat. So cheers to you, a/Anonymous.
Chicago White Sox pitcher Philip Humber finally received a tweet from New York Jets quarterbackTim Tebow on Saturday.
All Humber had to do was throw a perfect game.
"Congrats @Philip_Humber on accomplishing one of the greatest feats in all of sports! #PerfectGame," Tebow tweeted.
"Tim Tebow tweeted me," Humber said Monday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "The funny thing about that is I tweeted him this offseason, and of course he's Tim Tebow and I'm Philip Humber ... compared to him I'm a nobody, but I didn't get a response. I was like, 'Aw man,' I was kind of hoping he'd tweet me back or something.'"
Tebow was soliciting a $1 donation toward the Tebow Foundation children's hospital in the Philippines. Humber retweeted it on Nov. 29 and replied: "I'm heading to Philippines next week with a group of baseball guys... Making a stop in Mindanao! God bless."
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Chris W figuratively jumps on this pile of garbage:
What about Doc finally (and belatedly, but whatever) figuring out the value of a locked-in playing rotation? Even when they won the 2008 title, Doc was routinely playing 11 guys in one half — he just couldn't grasp the concept of "stick to eight or nine guys, make sure everyone knows their minutes, don't deviate from this"
Bill's right--during the 2008 playoffs Rivers ran a ten man rotation. But just because it worked that one time doesn't mean it was a good tactic, right? And if Bill says eight is the way to go, it's the way to go, right? Oh shit. Well fuck. Seems like Doc might have already heard that one somewhere. That's not to say running ten deep would be the right thing to do this year, given their injury issues. I'm sure no Celtics fan wants to see Marquis Daniels or E'Twaun Moore getting minutes in the playoffs. I just find it funny that the Celtics won a title giving minutes to every guy on the roster, then switched to a tighter rotation and failed to win again the following three seasons (including two pretty disappointing second round losses), and now Bill is thrilled that circumstance has forced Rivers into running a tight rotation this year. CHAMPIONSHIP SECURED. NOW TO PLAN THE PARADE ROUTE.
I hope the Celtics get swept in the first round, then dismantle their team, then TD Garden burns to the ground. And while we're sort of on the subject, fuck the Bruins with a rusty tetherball pole.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Three months after starting to follow hockey, I know way more about it than noted hockey writer Bill Simmons
That's about as noteworthy as knowing more about sabermetrics than Joe Morgan, or knowing more about hip hop than Tony Kornheiser. In fact it's no more noteworthy than knowing more than Simmons does about anything besides the NBA. Still, after reading a dogshit piece he wrote for Grantland about the Los Angeles Kings, I couldn't help but smirk. I followed the NHL back when I was in middle school, stopped for almost 15 years, picked it back up this January, and could easily recognize that Simmons was talking out of his colon. Never change, Bill. Never change.
The L.A. Kings blew a chance to clinch their division (and a no. 3 seed) Thursday night, losing a shootout at home to San Jose. Those two teams play again on Saturday night, in San Jose, with the winner getting the no. 3 seed and the loser getting the no. 7 seed. (Late note after we posted:
Leitch and Simmons are the same person! Holy shit, it makes so much sense! It's like I just finished watching Fight Club for the first time!
Apparently Phoenix can win the division as well by winning its last two games.
Late note after I wrote this: my editors informed me that I didn't have all the facts correct. There's a first time for everything, I suppose.
I'm not too concerned because, again, it's Phoenix.)
Phoenix ended up winning those games and the division.
None of this really matters because seeds don't matter in hockey -- anybody can beat anybody anywhere at anytime --
Home teams in game 7s in NHL playoff history: 85-55.
but for the die-hards sitting in my section, it mattered for two reasons.
I love his insinuation that any RATIONAL fan doesn't care whether their team is the 3 seed or the 8 seed. It's only those crazypants lunatics who actually want home ice advantage.
1. The no. 3 seed potentially means an extra playoff game (Game 7, no less). Like everyone else who bought Kings playoff tickets, I wanted that extra game. Badly.
Ah, the perspective of the everyman fan that made Bill famous. I DEMAND THE OPPORTUNITY TO BUY MORE $200 PLAYOFF TICKETS! ALSO, DAVID STERN, YOUR REFUSAL TO MAKE SURE TEAMS PLAY THEIR STAR PLAYERS IN EVERY GAME SPITS IN THE FACE OF THOSE OF US WHO GO TO DOZENS OF GAMES A YEAR! I DID NOT BUY THESE CLIPPERS SEASON TICKETS TO SEE DERRICK ROSE ON THE SIDELINES IN A SUIT! A POX ON YOU!
I was rooting for the Kings like they were a Boston team last night.
Sitting in your section must be super fun.
2. I know this sounds impossible, but in 44 years, the Kings have only captured one division title. They even put up a banner in Staples Center for it. Is there a better way to prove your fans have been tortured than hanging division banners,
Lots of teams that aren't 80+ years old do that. I know it's funny to imagine franchises outside of PEDROIA NATION being excited about regular season success, but it happens.
or even worse, having one of those fans say during a game, "We need to get that banner?" (And yes, I heard someone say that last night.)
Lol what's that guy's problem? What is he, a fan?
So last night's battle against the Sharks felt like a de facto playoff game.
What a shock, considering absolutely nothing was on the line.
You can always judge the chippiness of any hockey game by the number of times after a goalie freezes the puck when an opposing forward does the "go an extra couple of feet and abruptly stops right in front of the goalie just in case the puck falls out" move, then at least one opponent whacks him in the face and they do the whole "Hey, what was that????" staredown/shoving/sarcastic swearing routine.
Hockey, explained by a nine year old pro wrestling fan.
The Kings and Sharks did that after just about every whistle.
And then dad bought us popcorn, but I spilled mine, but it was OK because then we got hot dogs.
Late in the third period, with the Kings pressing on a power play and Jarrett Stoll flying up the ice on a two-on-one, the evil Ryane Clowe (a bearded bully on the Sharks who had already scored a goal and won two fights) broke up the breakaway by deflecting the puck with this stick. This wouldn't have been a big deal except, you know, CLOWE WAS SITTING ON THE BENCH AT THE TIME!!!! Did all four referees miss him doing this? Of course they did. After the 75th time they replayed it on the video screen, everyone knew the Kings would lose because that's just how hockey works — when you get screwed over on something like that, there's no bouncing back.
"That's just how hockey works." - some asshole who is a famous sportswriter because of his super sweet Las Vegas bachelor party tips, his reality TV knowledge, and his ability to repeatedly drop the same tired references from the same five or six movies into columns that use sports as a backdrop for stories about his family
Of course, that wasn't my biggest takeaway from Thursday's game. Like always, the Kings got their asses kicked in all three fights. I grew up watching Terry O'Reilly, Stan Jonathan, John Wensink, Wayne Cashman, Al Secord and everyone else on the Big Bad Bruins, a team that fought so much, they even climbed into the MSG stands once to fight Rangers fans. The Bruins always know how to scrap; it's been that way for my entire life, and really, you couldn't have it any other way in Boston.
Last sentence sounds like it was lifted from a Dan Shaugnessy column. May you and him both contract Crohn's disease. ALSO: TOM BRADY STOPPED WINNING CHAMPIONSHIPS EVERY YEAR, SO HE'S NOT ONE OF US ANYMORE!
So it's been disorienting to watch the Kings keep getting beaten up. Thursday night, Joe Thornton pounded Drew Doughty so relentlessly that we were watching it the same way Apollo Creed's wife watched the Drago fight.
Wait, what was I just saying about repeatedly dropping in references from the same five or six movies?
Was it a coincidence that the Sharks rallied back from a 3-1 hole after winning those three fights? Maybe, maybe not.
"Was it a coincidence that the Sharks rallied back from a 3-1 hole after winning those three fights? Maybe, maybe not." - some asshole who wrote a 4000 word column about how meaningful it was to hear Coldplay rocking a live show on Hollywood Boulevard the evening of the first Jimmy Kimmel live taping
The Kings have a well-balanced team with an outstanding goalie, and they chase the puck pretty relentlessly (at least lately). But you can push them around, and if you want to make a cheap run at Kopitar, Quick or anyone else, you definitely don't have to worry about someone making you pay. After sitting through half of their home games this season, that's their biggest flaw (that I can see, anyway).
Someone with stronger analytical skills might see that the Kings scored the second fewest goals in the league this season and arrive at a different conclusion, but you could be right. Another strong nominee? Too many division championship banners!
For instance, the Bruins
"Let me tell you about my night at the Kings/Sharks game. For instance, the Bruins [robble robble robble]" - some asshole who has about 50 million Twitter followers hanging on his every word just in case he drops a hot gambling tip, and who also routinely finishes under .500 against the spread in picking NFL games over the course of a season
Nobody captures their identity better than Dustin Penner, their frustrating 6-foot-3 forward who's evolved into something of a whipping boy for the Kings faithful. One of the biggest guys on the team, Penner barely throws checks, much less punches. Every time he wades into the corner and goes through the motions of not hitting someone, you hear this chorus of pissed-off "COME ON, PENNER!" hisses coming from every direction. I always want him to do well, just because it's funny when he scores and the fans instantly flip that switch and pretend to be Penner fans again. But if you're trying to win the Cup? You need less Penners and more Ryane Clowe.
Clowe has played his whole career in San Jose. During that time (the last six seasons) they have made the playoffs every season, and twice been the #1 seed in the West. They've also never gotten closer to the Cup than last year's 4-1 conference finals loss. In 2009 they won the President's Trophy and promptly lost in six games in the first round. Not to say it's Clowe's fault or something, I just thought Bill's analysis was funny.
You know who summed it up best? My 6-year old daughter,
Of course she did! I knew we weren't going to get through the whole article without hearing about some poor sap who has to spend time with Bill because they have the same blood.
who has somehow attended a whopping 14 Kings games this season and wants to marry Anze Kopitar. (I wish I were making that up.)
Brendan Fraser is offended on Kopitar's behalf.
We were watching the Zamboni drive around between the second and third periods last night when she suddenly piped up, "Hey, daddy, why doesn't someone teach the Kings how to fight?" Let's hope that doesn't become the epitaph for their 2012 season.
The real story if that ends up happening? Not enough Bruins on the team.