Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Brief follow up re: the man some people (unfortunately) refer to as "Riles"

Two weeks ago I wrote a post describing how incredibly self-centered Rick Reilly is.  Today he has a new column, inspired by the fact that Colin Kaepernick is adopted.  Notice I used "inspired," not "about."  Know who the column is actually about?  You guessed it--Frank Stallone.  Nah, just kidding.  Of course it's about Rick Reilly.

Rae, my 23-year-old daughter, is adopted from Korea. Sometimes I look at her and feel for the woman who gave her up, who never got the joy of knowing her, raising her, watching her.

First two sentences. I don't need to read any further to know how the rest of the column will go.  Neither should you.

P.S.--remember the time Shea Hillenbrand cost himself a job because he was furious at the Blue Jays for not congratulating him on adopting a child?  That was great.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

ThMTMQR: Roman numerals are comedy gold

Hope you've got enough room in your grave to roll over, George Carlin.

Get out the old photo albums, Harbaugh clan. It's XII days 'til kickoff of Super Bowl XLVII, scheduled for VI:XXIII Eastern on February III. 


And Bill Belichick, was he feeling OK? Three times he had the New England offense -- the NFL's top-scoring offense -- punt in Baltimore territory. Belichick punted on fourth-and-9 from the Baltimore 35, fourth-and-2 from the Baltimore 45 and fourth-and-8 from the Baltimore 34. Two of these punts -- of the kind TMQ calls Preposterous Punts -- were followed by the Ravens marching the other way for touchdowns. Clearly the football gods waxed wroth to see Belichick, of all coaches, punt in opposition territory.

Wind was a big element in the game, and Belichick may have been overthinking by trying to force his opponent to punt back into the wind -- instead of just leaving the league's top offense on the field. 

I believe what you're referring to is called "thinking," not "overthinking," when your opponent won the previous week pretty much entirely because of their ability to throw the deep ball and the wind is now gusting to 30 mph. But I agree, every punt that has ever been punted is worse than Jesus being nailed to his cross.

Ray Lewis performed so-so -- he was absolutely crushed by Dan Connolly on a long screen gain by Welker. But Lewis wanted it bad, and his teammates fed off that energy. 

Remember this, it will come up again.

And don't throw baked beans at me for saying this, Boston faithful -- 

That might be worse than the roman numeral joke.

but Belichick won three Super Bowls when he was cheating, and has not won since being caught.

Yeah, he's only been like three minutes away from winning it all twice in the last five years. Guy obviously can't coach. It was all cheating that won those three rings. But at the same time, fuck Belichick and the Patriots, and fuck their fans twice. Go drink antifreeze, you entitled cunts.

Coaches' Employment Office: The Broncos finished second overall on defense and third in the NFL in passing defense. But what have you done for us lately? Denver's secondary broke down on the final play of regulation against Baltimore, and two days later, secondary coach Ron Milus was fired.

Someone had to be scapegoated for the loss. It couldn't be John Fox, who decided to kneel at the end of regulation despite two timeouts; it couldn't be Peyton Manning, who threw a careless interception in overtime; it couldn't be John Elway, who hired Fox and Manning. Football coaches preach, "Win as a team, lose as a team." Then when there's a loss, they point fingers.

I'm still not over this, but I will comment anyways. Fox's mistake was being too conservative. Manning's mistake was being too aggressive while trying to make something happen. Elway hasn't made any mistakes, he cleaned up the Josh McDaniels mess in two years, which is astonishing.  Those first two are shitty mistakes (and I kind of want Fox run out of town on a rail), but they're at least somewhat understandable. Fox did what he did because the wind was getting nasty and the Broncos were headed into it during the 4th. Dumb, but OK. He had a reason. Manning did what he did because he's Peyton Manning and he gets away with ill-advised across-the-body throws all the time. Dumb, but OK. He had a reason. 

 I do not know what role Milus had in calling the defensive scheme at the end of regulation when the 70 yard TD happened, but I know this: Rahim Moore's mistake was far worse than Fox's and Manning's put together. There's no explanation for it. None. It was abominable. Maybe it's not Milus's fault and I'm not saying he deserved to go, but Christ. That play.... OK, I gotta stop. /drinks rubbing alcohol

Kelly's innovation regarding the deuce is to go for two after the first score. Five times in the 2012 collegiate season, when the Ducks scored to make it 6-0, Oregon went for two, succeeding thrice. An early 8-0 lead causes the opponent to think, "Holy cats and little fishes, the game just started and already we are down by more than a touchdown."

WEASEL COACH ALERT! He goes for it on 4th down a lot, guess he gets a pass.

The power-football Falcons of 2006, who led the league in rushing, are a distant memory. This year's Falcons threw the ball well but were only 29th on the ground. San Francisco opened in a nickel to stop the pass. Early, Atlanta passing was effective. But the Atlanta sideline never seemed to say, "Hey, let's run against that skinny nickel defense." 

Passing is a glory boy way to win! Much more honorable to run on every down, without punting. Football was way better in 1890. 

TMQ tracks Hidden Plays, which are plays that never make highlight reels, 

Like when undrafted small college fourth string tight ends sort of almost blocks someone on a kickoff return! It's what the game is all about!

but impact game outcomes. Leading 24-21 midway through the third quarter, the Falcons had second-and-8 on their 29. The play call was messed up -- though Atlanta called nearly all plays from a no-huddle, and San Francisco did a lot of no-huddle, both teams were using slow no-huddle, running down the play clock before snapping. San Francisco and Atlanta combined for just 117 offensive snaps, a low number; there were 153 snaps in the AFC title game. If you're going to use a slow pace, why not just huddle and forget the chicken dancing at the line of scrimmage?

Because not huddling limits the defense's ability to substitute, you fucking clod. For someone who constantly grandstands about how much smarter and holier he is than thou, he sure has a hard time understanding basics of football tactics. HEY HOW COME OFFENSES SOMETIMES HAVE A WIDE RECEIVER RUNNING ALONG THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE BEFORE THE SNAP? SEEMS LIKE A WASTE OF ENERGY TO ME.

Trojan Horse, Indeed: "It's disappointing any time you don't win enough. That's what it comes down to in this business, winning enough." -- USC men's basketball coach Kevin O'Neill, after being fired last week.

There's no doubt O'Neill's statement is true -- big-college sports has become a "business." Forget education, all the boosters and television audiences care about is wins. O'Neill was fired by Pat Haden for the sin of a 7-10 record. Haden took over as USC athletic director promising to clean house and put integrity first after numerous NCAA sanctions, but now seems to be just another guy who cares about nothing except winning. Didn't USC once claim to be a university?

All schools should just let a rotating cast of NCAA compliance officers coach their teams. (All assistants should be either professors or nuns.) It's almost like USC thinks they can hire a guy who graduates players AND can do better than 7-10 in early January! Leave it to Gregg to make me take the side of big money college sports, something I hate, but at least am not a preachy asstwat about.

Hey Everybody, Look at Me: Last week, TMQ zinged J.J. Watt for pointing at himself during games. Reader Doug Williams of Pittsburgh writes, "Watt's immature dancing is a learned behavior. One need look no further than the AFC title game for the prime example of that. Ray Lewis points at himself constantly, he even has a pregame song so he can go through his outlandish gyrations. The result? He is lauded and praised by the sports media. That is the stuff that makes TV, and those are the tactics young players imitate in order to get attention.

Yes, aren't sports so much more fun when the players show no emotion? How dare Ray Lewis get excited about playing the sport that has brought him wealth and fame and which he enjoys as much as anyone on Earth enjoys their job? Also, has his emotion ever helped the Ravens win games by getting his teammates pumped up? I doubt it. Doug Williams from Pittsburgh (OOH IS IT PITTSBURGH PA, OR PITTSBURGH INDIANA, HOME OF PITTSBURGH OF INDIANA COLLEGE, A DIVISION THREE POWERHOUSE?) should be beaten with a pillowcase full of rocks. I guarantee you he loves watching golf.

Clear the Decks! Prepare to Dive! The submarine conspiracy show "Last Resort" has its series finale on Thursday, which ABC is puzzlingly promoting as the "season" finale.
Speaking of puzzling, holy dog balls, did anyone in the entire world besides Gregggggg ever give one squirt of piss about Last Resort?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

According to Rick Reilly, the person most hurt by Lance Armstrong's lies was Rick Reilly

I don't think Rick has a baseball HOF vote, but he should.  He gives any of those assholes a run for their money in terms of ability to make everything revolve around himself.

Among my emails Wednesday morning, 

The first time I clicked into this article, I clicked out after reading this far.  I begrudgingly went back when I realized I was overdue for writing a post.

out of the blue, was one from Lance Armstrong.


What do you think Reilly called Armstrong?  Hopefully something as cringe-worthy as "Riles."

I'm sorry.

All I can say for now but also the most heartfelt thing too. Two very important words.


And my first thought was ... "Two words? That's it?"

Armstrong, as has been documented in hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of places, is a legendary assfuck.  I'm so sorry that the personal apology he emailed you wasn't contrite enough for your tastes, but you should be thrilled you got one at all.  

Two words? For 14 years of defending a man? And in the end, being made to look like a chump?

/smallest violin

Wrote it, said it, tweeted it: "He's clean." Put it in columns, said it on radio, said it on TV. Staked my reputation on it.

Staked your what on it?  Oh, that?  Good news, no one noticed.

But here's the thing. When he says he's sorry now, how do we know he's not still lying? 

Oh my God, who cares?  He's another dirty competitor in the dirtiest sport on Earth.  Like 90% of all pro cyclists are on something.  You're a complete and total hack, a complete and total tool for athletes to use to push their agendas (as you're about to admit in this very column), and that's not their problem.  They might be terrible people but they don't owe you an apology.  They're not your friends.  They didn't steal anything from you.  Get the fuck over yourself and stick to writing stories about disabled children who get to play sports just like everyone else because gawrsh sports are just beautiful aren't they?

And I guess I should let it go, but I keep thinking how hard he used me. 

You're a 15 year old girl realizing the guy isn't going to call.  You're a fucking child.

Made me look like a sap. Made me carry his dirty water and I didn't even know it.

Because you're a bozo.

Look, I've been fooled before. I believed Mark McGwire was hitting those home runs all on his own natural gifts.  I believed Joe Paterno couldn't possibly cover up something so grisly as child molestation. 

Holy God, you are dumb as fucking rocks.

I bought Manti Te'o's girlfriend story. 

OK, that one, woosh, I'm not touching that one.

But those people never looked me square in the pupils and spit.


It's partially my fault. I let myself admire him. Let myself admire what he'd done with his life, admire the way he'd not only beaten his own cancer but was trying to help others beat it.


I didn't realize that behind those blues was a bully, 

Everyone realized that!  It's, like, the #1 most well known thing about his personality.

a coercer, a man who threatened people who once worked for and with him. The Andreus. Emma O'Reilly. Tyler Hamilton. Armstrong was strong-arming people in the morning, and filing lawsuits and op-ed pieces in the afternoon. We'd talk and his voice would get furious. And I'd believe him.

How do you have any money?  How have you not been scammed out of every single penny you own by deposed princes of Nigeria who ask for help getting millions into American banks? God you're gullible.  

I guess I should forgive him.

Fuck that.  What you should do first is 1) get off your fucking cross, 2) try to develop a perspective that doesn't place you at the center of the goddamn universe, and 3) stop being bad at your job.  Worry about forgiving Lance later.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Scott Miller attempts to defend BBWAA, makes zero salient points, makes BBWAA look exactly as idiotic as it is

This whole HOF thing is just fucking infuriating.  I can't describe it any more creatively than that.  I've spent hours discussing it with various other internet loser nerds the past couple days, but this relatively short post will probably be the only one I write about the subject.  It's just... too... fucking... infuriating.


I'll tell you what's an outrage: 

Distraction?  I'll give you a distraction from my colleagues' idiocy that I wish you would focus on rather than focusing on them:

That 20 members of the Baseball Writers Association of America did not vote for Ted Williams in 1966 (out of 302 ballots). That 11 whack-jobs decided Babe Ruth was not worthy of their votes in 1936 (226 ballots). That, somehow, 36 writers bypassed Jackie Robinson in 1962 (160 ballots).

Can you believe baseball writers have been retarded jackasses for decades?  It's true!  Now let's just agree that because 5% of voters didn't cast ballots for Babe Ruth 75 years ago, what just happened during this election is totally acceptable.

That the first strong wave of the Steroid Era washed back out to sea Wednesday without anyone establishing a beachhead on the shores of Cooperstown is not an outrage.

If that were the only thing that happened, it would sort of be kind of acceptable.  Instead, guys like Time Raines and Mike Piazza and Edgar Martinez and Curt Schilling and Craig Biggio are not in the HOF yet, when they absolutely should be.

It is to be applauded on many fronts (Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa). 

You know, if there's one thing baseball writers just don't do enough of, it's applauding themselves.  Good for Scott for taking some him time and giving himself the pat on the back he doesn't at all deserve.

It is to be constructively criticized on others (Craig Biggio, Jack Morris, Tim Raines).

Jack Morris doesn't belong in the HOF unless he buys a ticket.  As for the other two guys, and plenty of others on the ballot, you are sadly fucking mistaken if you think the BBWAA deserves some "constructive criticism" for freezing them out.  They deserve a "swift ball-kicking."

But what it is not is a disaster, or catastrophe, or the coming of the apocalypse.

It certainly isn't, and of course it's just sports, blah blah blah, but it's awfully fucking disingenuous to tell readers "Hey don't get all worked up about these HOF omissions!" when a good chunk of the BBWAA spent the last several months getting plenty worked up about the candidates (and telling the public about how worked up they were).

Hall of Fame voting throughout history has been messy, imperfect and, often, contentious. But one thing the test of time has proven, unequivocally, is that the process works. 


Spoken like that awesome BCS Twitter feed that they introduced to try to squash momentum in favor of a playoff. "Hey just a reminder, under our system #1 and #2 always play each other!" "Hey, just a reminder, most players who deserve to be in the HOF eventually end up there!"  Clearly, in each case, there is no better way to do things.

Not only does it work, it works better in baseball than it does for any other Hall of Fame in any other sport.

Again, how about some distractions?  The football HOF is a total joke.  At least we're not them.  Now leave us be.

If Tuesday's voting was circumspect, far better that than rushing ahead recklessly. 

No.  Not far better, or better in any way.  You're holding out on a bunch of guys who have never been linked to steroids and who don't even have stats that suggest steroid use, so that you can posture and grandstand about what awesome responsibilities you have.  You can all go get fucked by a hippo.  Guess what happens next year?  Maddux, Glavine and Thomas join the ballot.  And then there will be like 12 people on there who absolutely deserve to get in, no argument, and another 5 who arguably should get in, when writers can only vote for 10 guys and the vast majority of them vote for fewer.  Had guys like Biggio and Raines been rightfully elected this year, it would be less of a problem.  Not hard to figure out.

As Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson said during the MLB Network telecast, given the number of decorated and controversial players on this bloated ballot, “this was one of the most talked about classes in history.”

And somehow this justifies electing none of the extremely well qualified candidates.

Tuesday's shutout is a setback to the joy and pageantry of the Hall's induction weekend in July 


and, larger picture, it is a sad day for baseball. Ever since well-placed flashlights started revealing skeletons in the juicers' closets, there have been many sad days.

Oh my God.  Go fuck yourself.

But as the late Hall of Famer Sparky Anderson regularly reminded, the game is bigger than any one man. It flourished post-Ruth, flourished post-Stan Musial and Robinson and it will flourish post-juicers.


The last time the BBWAA failed to elect a player was in 1996. Yet from that class came six players who eventually were elected to the Hall of Fame.

And from this class should come, even for the mall hall people, at least seven players (Biggio, Bagwell, Piazza, Raines, Schilling, Clemens, Bonds) who are absolute locks and six more (Walker, Martinez, Trammell, the rest of the roiders) who probably should be in.

Again, a process.

Again, a sentence fragment that tries to justify something that is totally unjustifiable by relying on the mind-numbingly idiotic assertion that "these things take time."

Biggio's 68.2 percent topped a vote requiring 75 percent for election, leaving him well-positioned for the next year or two. Two years ago, for example, Roberto Alomar did not gain entry in his first year on the ballot, falling just short at 73.7 percent (another outrage). Then he jumped to 90 percent of the vote in his second year on the ballot.

This isn't even the thrust of this rant, it's for another time, but why?  Why?  Why did that happen?  Did like 70 voters decide to stop being dipshits during those two elections?

Everyone focus up for this part, I'm about to say something that will sound hyperbolic but I swear is not intended as such.

Major League Baseball issued a statement following the shutout that notes election to Cooperstown is “our game's most extraordinary individual honor” and reads, in part, “achieving enshrinement in Cooperstown is difficult, as it should be.”

That was much more on the mark than players' union boss Michael Weiner's reaction, calling the election “unfortunate, if not sad. Those empowered to help the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum document the history of the game failed to recognize the contributions of several Hall of Fame worthy players.”

Wrong. What is unfortunate and sad is that the union, pre-Weiner, stonewalled every attempt at steroid testing for years. No small part of the reason we reached this point is because the union for far too long permitted and nourished an atmosphere in which its members who cheated flourished (both on the field and financially) as its members who stayed clean were put at a disadvantage.

OK, here we go.  "This is not hyperbole" disclaimer is in place.  This blog has existed for almost six years.  I have probably written something like 500 posts for it, and read a shitload of bad sportswriting in search of articles to post about.  

(/Larry B clears throat)  

This attempt by Miller to sweep MLB's tolerance, if not tacit approval of steroid use under the rug is probably the most dishonest thing I have ever seen in these 5+ years and 500 posts.  It would take time I do not have to go back and review all my old posts to see if any other articles I've read can match it, but I certainly can't come up with anything off the top of my head.  Pretending that it was the union and the union alone that prevented steroid testing from appearing sooner than it did is fuckheadery of the highest order.  Scott Miller is, in a few words, a tremendous asshole.  May he be fired immediately and never again heard from by baseball fans.  Chris W said this and I think it's a good way to end this post so I can go calm down: "Who harms the game more? Some guys using steroids in an environment who encouraged it? Or fringe non-players who turn the game into an adversarial me-fest so people pay attention to the sad little Chasses and Lupicas of the world?" Yup.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Grab bag: this RGIII injury bullshit can't exit the sports news cycle quickly enough

In the coming days, you will read/hear about 100 different columnists/analysts tell you about how insane Mike Shanahan was to leave Robert Griffin III in the game after he tweaked his knee during the first quarter of today's loss to Seattle.  I am not here to discuss whether these people are wrong or right. (They are probably right--Griffin's injury was messing up his throwing mechanics, hobbling his running ability, and beyond that it's important to think of him as a long term investment for the franchise.  On the other hand, Griffin did insist to his coach that he was fine and his backup is Kirk Cousins.  But whatever.)  Instead, I am here to point out what a big bunch of shitheads pretty much everyone in the sports media are for pushing their perspective on this story.  And the reason they are shitheads is that if Washington's defense had held on for eight more minutes and the Redskins had won the game--without their offense doing a damn thing differently than they did as the game unfolded in real life--not one of these zilches would be saying what they're saying about Shanahan's alleged blunder.  Not one.  They would be talking about the grit and guts of RGIII and the brilliance Mike Shanahan showed in sticking with him.  Saying AW THEY SHOULD HAVE TAKEN HIM OUT IT WAS SO OBVIOUS is one of the most flagrant cases of ex post facto logical analysis you'll ever see.  It's fucking pathetic.  I have respect for any anyone who wants to say "This was a huge mistake, but you can see where Shanahan was coming from at the time."  But the next analyst who takes that position will be the first.

In other news, Skip Bayless continues to rule.  Check out this article: it's good because he correctly assesses the relative merits of the 2012 seasons of Griffin, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson.  But it's great because before doing that, he spends several hundred words blasting Jim Irsay for cutting Peyton Manning and thus (in Skip's view) reducing the odds of Indy winning a Super Bowl anytime in the next four years.  There is one word for this:

Please don't try to convince me Luck sets you up for a much brighter future. In this league, the future must always be now. Four years is an NFL eternity, and Peyton Manning would've given the Colts a better chance to win the Super Bowl this season and each of the next three.


Finally, here's something from a wildly popular "sports" columnist:

The "T" on my ThinkPad flipped off last week as I was typing. My natural instinct was to blame my hellion son or my unlucky dog, Rufus, since they cause 99.99 percent of the disasters in my house. But I've only had this laptop for five months — it usually takes two years for my keyboard to start falling apart like it's Arian Foster on your 2013 fantasy team. How could this happen?

My wife (a longtime MacGyver wanna-be) thought she could Super Glue the "T" back on the keyboard, which made me nervous because Super Glue is probably the most misunderstood product on the planet. You use Super Glue to fix a broken chair, or maybe even the face mask of an autographed Mark Sanchez helmet that you just threw against the wall. You shouldn't use it for anything electronic; it just ends up making an already sticky situation stickier. One stuck "T" and one domestic argument later, I found myself back where I started. Thankfully, I had purchased something called "three-year onsite NBD and three-year priority support and three-year ThinkPad Protection" for $269 when I bought my laptop last June, which meant that if anything happened to my laptop, a technician would arrive the following day to fix it. I called Lenovo, banged out a service order and that was that.

The next day, Lenovo e-mailed me some bad news: My part was on back order and wouldn't be available for five to seven business days. (Random note: I love when the phrase "business days" gets involved — sports teams should start using that for injured athletes so it sounds like they're coming back sooner than they are. When Gronk broke his forearm, the Pats should have announced that he'd be out for 25 business days — I would have felt so much better.) I did the math and realized that "five to seven business days" really meant "You're screwed, we're not fixing your laptop until after Christmas." The good news was that Lenovo would be keeping my $269 for "three-year onsite NBD and three-year priority support and three-year ThinkPad Protection" out of good faith. Cool. Thanks, Lenovo.

And that was that--after what you just read, he went on to discuss things his readers might actually give a flying sloppy fuck about.  Nah, just playing, he spent another 500 words continuing to bitch and moan about the most first world of all #firstworldproblems.  Seriously, fuck that guy with a pineapple.