Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Again, It's Not Broken

I know we spend a lot of time on this blog bitching about things extraneous to currently-played big-league baseball, like the HOF and the All-Star Game.

But this seems silly.

Changes to the All-Star Game, based on recommendations by the Special Committee for On-Field Matters, were announced by Major League Baseball on Wednesday, furthering efforts to sharpen the competitive edge in baseball's annual Midsummer Classic.

Maybe they should sharpen the edge by telling the National League to win a few goddamn games. Also, none of these changes sharpen anyone's competitive edge, they simply allow more people to be recognized as All-Stars.

Starting with the 81st All-Star Game on July 13 in Anaheim, the changes include:

• The contest always will include a designated hitter no matter where it's played.

Why? This sucks. Like really. Why? I know I'm not really being articulate here because I don't want to get into the whole DH or not DH argument, but can't we just respect our differences as leagues and permit each to play by their rules half the time?

• No pitcher who competes for his team on the previous Sunday will be allowed to pitch in the game.

I recognize the rationale for this, but is it really necessary?

• Rosters have been increased to 34 players, by one slot designated for a position player.

Great. Why don't they call it the All the Kind of Good Players Game?

• A rule will allow one position player re-entry into the game if necessitated by injury.

This rule wouldn't be a problem if we didn't have some sort of pathological love of participation that impels managers to waste a lot of players on pinch-hits and one-out relief appearances just to get them in the game. If MLB really wanted to solve the problem, they wouldn't change the rules, they'd just tell the managers to stop the bullshit.

I wonder if MLB encourages managers to get each team's player in the game to hold the attention of (and the corresponding ratings and ad dollars) fans in weak teams' markets.

The procedural changes, agreed upon by Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association, come as the most significant alterations to the sport recommended by the Special Committee to date.

I realize I sound about eighty-eight years old when I say this shit, but really, if it isn't broke, then the Special Committee for On-Field Matters can keep its own Special Nose in its own Special Business.

Chaired by Commissioner Bud Selig and composed of longtime managers, executives and observers of the game, the committee was formed in December.

Thanks, Bud. Knew you were in on this somehow. Also, there is no rationale cited for the formation of this committee.

It previously recommended an off-day be removed from the League Championship rounds to tighten the playoff schedule, and the Commissioner's Office announced that change in March.


These also are the first significant alterations to the All-Star Game format since 2003, when the game was declared the deciding factor for which league hosts the World Series. That change, along with a roster bump from 30 to 32 players, was made in the wake of the 7-7 tie at the 2002 game in Milwaukee.

And which has resulted in a nuclear tsunami volcano of stupidity since then.

The rest of the article is just Joe Girardi just yokeling on about how these rules will make the ASG better.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Let's take a trip back in time and review the most commented-upon post in FireJay history. While I strongly disagree with Chris W's position (because the NBA playoffs rule and nothing about them should be changed), I will defend to my death his right to say it. Especially if it leads to 50+ comments, some of them not even all that shitty.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Dan Shaughnessy Shows Us How to Win a Non-Argument

Why am I bothering to spend time writing a whole post about a Dan Shaughnessy column? Fuck if I know. I'd rather give Simmons attention than him. But this is pretty wretched. I'm not going to link to it; the whole don't-give-traffic-to-useless-dipshits thing. Here we go.

Welcome to my town, Boston, Massachusetts.

We're not there. We're reading this drivel on the internet, which can be accessed from almost anywhere in the modernized world.

It's quite simply the best sports city in the United States of America.

Ah, a classic non-argument. Can't be debated objectively in any way; can't be settled, ever; appeals to the lowest common denominator ("FACKIN' BEANTOWN IS THE FACKIN' BEST AND IF YOU DON'T THINK SO I'LL KICK YOU IN THE CUNT!"); and most importantly: irrelevant. There is little point in having this argument in a bar with your friends. There is less than no point in writing about it for a major sports website. Thanks, Dan. I'm sure this is only the 50th stupidest thing you've written so far this year though.

Especially this week.

This article is a little old- he means last week.

Care to argue?

Absolutely not.

Bring it on.


Monday is Patriots' Day in Greater Boston. Oddly enough, the New England Patriots will be the only only Hub team that's out of season.

This is great. I love it. Every single day, sports journalists/talking heads/blithering idiots misidentify irony more times than any of us could begin to count. It's ironic that Albert Pujols struck out, because he's a good hitter. It's ironic that the Saints won the Super Bowl just a few years after hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. Etc., etc., etc. So here's a great example of something that's actually ironic- but Dan fails to identify it as such. Awesome.

Patriots' Day commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord and the first shot fired in the Revolutionary War. Patriots' Day is a legal holiday in Maine and Massachusetts, falling annually on the third Monday in April.

Obviously copied and pasted from Wikipedia.

It's one of the great days of every spring in Boston, particularly when the Bruins and Celtics are playoff worthy.

Any day is a great spring day in any city when its NBA and NHL teams are in the playoffs.

Since 1897, Patriots' Day has been celebrated with the running of the Boston Marathon. The Red Sox have been playing on Marathon Monday since 1902 when 35-year-old Cy Young hurled the Sox to a 7-6 victory at the old Huntington Avenue Grounds. Since 1968, the Sox have served baseball breakfast at Fenway on Marathon Monday with games starting at 11:05 a.m. It is the only regularly-scheduled morning start on the big league calendar.

Don't care. You have a baseball game on a Monday in April? Congratulations. You have a marathon? Congratulations. Here's your gold star- try to contain your erection.

At 10 a.m. Monday, the first of approximately 300,000 runners (counting the unofficial entries) left Hopkinton bound for the Back Bay of Boston where they hoped to cross the finish line on Boyleston Street. The 114th running of the Boston Marathon featured almost 10,000 international entrants from more than 70 countries.

Obviously copied and pasted from Wikipedia.

Hundreds of thousands of spectators lined the 26.2-mile course. The runners heard cheers from the co-eds at Wellseley College and ran up Heartbreak Hill after the 90 degree right turn at the fire station in Newton.

Landmarks? On a marathon course? Be still my beating heart.
While the thin people ran toward downtown Boston, more than 37,000 filled Fenway Park for the 557th consecutive time. All the runners were still on the course when John Lackey threw the first pitch long before noon. Citizens of Red Sox Nation

That term alone is enough to disqualify Boston from consideration as best sports city in America, if we were ever to seriously consider that argument. Which we won't. Because it's a non-argument.

were wondering if the staggering Sox (4-9, 1-6 at Fenway) might be hungover from the three-game beatdown sustained over the weekend at the hands of the rabble-rousing Tampa Rays.


The Sox and Rays were still on the Fenway lawn when the marathon leaders passed through Kenmore Square. Fans sitting atop the Green Monster could turn their heads to see if there were any Americans near the front of the pack. Kenyans and Ethiopians have dominated the Boston course in recent years. The Rays led, 6-0 in the bottom of the third when Kenyan Robert Cheruiyot crossed the finish line in a Boston record time of 2:05:50. Some of the erstwhile Fenway Faithful could be seen running out of Fenway, joining the marathoners to escape the carnage at the ballpark, as the Sox suffered through a 8-2 loss.
Monday night on Causeway Street the Bruins got ready to play the Buffalo Sabres in Game 3 of their first-round NHL playoff series. The goal-challenged B's erupted for five scores in a series-squaring, 5-3 win at Buffalo Saturday afternoon. The Bruins haven't won a Stanley Cup since 1972, back in the days when the Sox were plagued by the Curse of the Bambino and Americans still won the Marathon.The Celtics beat the Heat in Game 1 Saturday night, but have been scorned for much of this year because of their chronic underachievement. Two years removed from their 17th World Championship, the Celtics look like they're bound for a second-round showdown with the Cleveland Cavaliers, aka the best team in basketball. The Celtic-Heat series took on some additional juice when it was announced that Kevin Garnett would be suspended for Game 2 as punishment for tossing an elbow in a fracas at the end of Game 1.

Don't care. More book report stuff.

After the Celtics play Tuesday, the famed Boston Garden bull gang will convert the arena from parquet to ice to get ready for the Bruins and Sabres in Game 4 Wednesday night.

An arena used for more than one sport? A basketball floor on top of a hockey rink? Preposterous!

Thursday, the Garden will be dark as the B's and C's hit the road, but New Englanders will turn their eyes toward Foxborough where Bill Belichick will attempt to bolster his roster with the 22nd pick in the NFL draft. Meanwhile, the sagging Sox will attempt to get back on track against the Texas Rangers, then the Baltimore Orioles. No matter how bad the weather gets, Fenway will be filled every night.

Probably the only quasi-point in the whole article that goes to the idea that Boston is a great sports city- the Red Sox always sell out. Of course, so do lots of other teams from a variety of sports in other cities. So...

Truly, sports fans are blessed here in the Hub of the Universe.

Wow, yeah. They have a basketball team in the playoffs, a hockey team in the playoffs, a baseball team that plays during April, and a football team which made picks during the 2010 NFL draft. And a marathon. Truly the "Hub" of the sports universe. Unless you also also count Chicago, Denver, or Phoenix. Not to mention the nine other cities that have teams in all four major sports and a marathon (but didn't have both their NBA and NHL team in the playoffs this year- New York, the Bay Area, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Miami, Dallas, Philadelphia, Detroit, and DC). This article has truly made its point.

We've got shots heard round the world, every day.

That's his closing sentence- anyone have any idea what in the fuck he's talking about? In conclusion, Dan Shaughnessy is the worst sportswriter in America. And I think I've proven that throughout the course of this post.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Rain-Abbreviated Sunday Night Baseball Liveblog

Why not? Not a lot else going on right now and the Reds pulled one out today... maybe Joe Morgan can give me some insights on what he plans to do to pull the Reds out of their lousy start to this season.

Looking at the Sunday Night Baseball schedule is, of course, hardly a national sampling of Major League teams. Really, it's just a way to give big-market fans more of a chance to see their team. Seriously, of the 24 teams featured in the first twelve scheduled games, only the Royals could be considered small-market. But that's business for you. On to the baseball!

Jose Reyes comes up in the bottom of the first. He's recently been moved to the #3 slot in the lineup, a move that has generated a lot of conversation:

Morgan: When you move to the third spot, they pitch you differently than if you're in the leadoff spot.
Really? More on this in a moment, but if there's nobody on base and two out, I don't think your approach changes much based on the lineup slot you're facing.
Miller: You sound like you've expereinced this personally, Joe!
Man, Miller sounds like Morgan's stooge here. He's just here to pad Joe's ego.
Morgan: Actually, I have.
Reference to his playing career #1: 7:27 pm CDT.

Bottom of the 2nd and some French guy at the plate:
Miller: Francouer's always been an aggressive hitter, but his mantra this year is "Be aggressive in the strike zone". Jerry Manuel's been working with him in the cage...
Francoeur: [swings wildly at a curveball in the dirt]
Francoeur: [swings wildly at a slider six inches off the outside half]
dan-bob: Maybe Francoeur should work on not being an aggressive hitter at all.

Luis Castillo at the plate in the bottom of the 3rd:
Morgan: When you've got a runner on second and you're hitting third, like I said before, they're gonna pitch you a lot harder than if you're hitting leadoff.

dan-bob: Why don't pitchers pitch them hard all the time?
[Reyes grounds weakly to short]

Well, shit, the rain in New York has prevented this liveblog from going much farther. Now this "ESPN" is nothing but repeats of baseball highlights and Mel Kiper's last glimpse of sunlight before he goes back to his hidden ice-cave for a long winter's nap.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Presenting: Punchlines That Write Themselves, Vol. 6

Guess who the Reds just hired to help make decisions for them?

I'm so, so, so, SO sorry. Condolences. Your punchlines in the comments.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Jeez Louise, Rob Neyer: LET IT GO

I wasn't suggesting that Pierzynski should have been, or should be, punished. I'm arguing that there should be a mechanism to punish players for doing what Pierzynski did. It would be tough for the umpires on the field to levy this punishment, because a player probably wouldn't lie unless he was 95-percent sure the umpires couldn't catch him. What I'm suggesting is a post facto punishment, in the form of a suspension.

Yes, this would require someone at Major League Baseball to watch the replay in super-slow motion, again and again, and determine not only exactly what happened on the field, but also the player's intent.

That's really hard!

And they do it all the time. Every few weeks, a pitcher is suspended for a few games because someone in New York determines the pitcher was trying to throw a pitch at a batter's head. Is it always fair? No. Sometimes the guy in New York gets it wrong. But the judgment's been made that an occasional injustice is a price worth paying if it means fewer hitters getting knocked into the hospital with cranial trauma.

Holy awful logic batman! Do I really even need to comment about all the ways this is ridiculous?

Let it go, Rob Neyer, and get back to writing exceptional baseball articles.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Rob Neyer is a Liar. There. Now we've both made a false accusation

I love Rob Neyer's writing. Absolutely can't do without it. I own every single book he's ever put his name on. But this is absurd.

Romero skipped a pitch in the dirt to Pierzynski leading off the eighth inning -- not a terrible pitch, mind you, because AJ had been hacking at similar offerings all night. But late in the game with his team trailing 4-0, Pierzynski resisted the urge to swing. When the ball hit the ground near his feet, he began hopping as if an anvil had landed on his toe. But in fact, nothing had landed on his toe. Replays were clear. He had not been hit.

I don't want to get into the awesome logistics that would be involved here ... but, ethically speaking, isn't there an argument to be made for punishing Pierzynski? He cheated.

In soccer, don't officials have the power to levy discipline against players who feign injury?

In the aftermath, Steve Stone said, "It's just one of those things." As if cheating (and getting away with it) is like an earthquake, or a tornado that formed quickly and touched down before anyone could sound a warning.

No. It's not just one of those things. It's cheating, and in some quarters there are rules against such things.

I know everyone hates AJ Pierzynski, but last I checked, you can't break the rules if there isn't a rule. And if it ain't breaking the rules it ain't cheating.

Last I checked. Debate the ethics of what he did if you want, but until you can show me the rule he broke, let's hold off on calling people cheaters. Unless you want to call every baseball player who tries to decieve the umpire a cheater--which includes every single catcher who has ever framed a borderline strike. Which is, of course, every catcher ever.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tim Povtak owes his readers a refund

The following piece of garbage comes from Tim Povtak, Senior NBA Writer for Fanhouse.

Lebron James Owes Fans A Refund

LeBron James today needs to take the $192,437 he is paid for each game he plays -- or doesn't play -- and divide it evenly among the 20,562 people who bought tickets to the Cavs-Magic game Sunday afternoon.

He owes them each a refund check for $9.35.

Woah, woah, woah! $9.35 barely begins to cover the cost of floor seats. This is just another example of the rich getting screwed in Osama bin Barack Obamaladen's America.

That's the least he should do for mocking every fan at the arena who paid to see him play.

I really like to imagine that the "mocking" in question is that every fan sat down to find they'd just activated a whoopie cushion. Or Lebron went around shaking everyone's hand and then spraying them with water out of the gag-flower on his lapel. But sadly, that's not the case.

Cavs ownership that encouraged him should pay the rest of each ticket price, and mail those checks immediately.

No they shouldn't. That'd be a very dumb business move.

James, with the blessing of coach Mike Brown, sat out his third consecutive game Sunday, not because he was hurt, but because he wanted to rest up for the playoffs.


Joe Hardhat, who paid a day's wage three months ago to buy two good seats so his son could see his first Cavs game Sunday, deserves better treatment than this.

This is probably how Tim Povtak imagines the situation:


POVTAK and LEBRON JAMES walk through an auto-parts testing line that's in Lebron's house for some reason.

POVTAK: But Lebron, you can't skip Sunday's meaningless game against Orlando! Joe Hardhat bought tickets for him and his son.

LEBRON: What's that catchphrase I have? "I play basketball games for the American working man because that's who I am, and that's who I care about." The truth is, I play basketball for the American working man because I'm a hell of a salesman, and he doesn't know any better.

(A car with with CRASH TEST DUMMIES slams into a wall)

LEBRON: God, I love that.

It's arrogance at the NBA's worst.

If Lebron skipping that game was even in the top 10 of most off-putting self-aggrandizing moves by NBA players on that day, I'd consider it a giant leap forward for the league.

It's why James never will earn the respect that was once given to Michael Jordan. Maybe James should think again about that number change to honor him.

Yes, Michael Jordan: paragon of commitment. He was so devoted to the NBA that he un-retired TWICE after leaving the NBA before the game had past him by.

It's why he just lost my vote for NBA Most Valuable Player. If he doesn't think it's important enough to play all 82 -- or at least try -- then he isn't good enough to be the MVP.

MVP apparently now meaning "Most Voluntarily Played (games)."

If stars like James think it's too taxing to play 82 games, then they should offer to reduce salaries during the upcoming collective bargaining talks, and ask to play fewer games. Or set up a refund system.

You are a lunkhead extraordinaire. Cleveland management is more than willing to pay Lebron to sit out meaningless games if they think it's likely to increase his performance in the playoffs. Moreover, I'm sure Cavs fans feel the exact same way. In fact, the only people who might be peeved about this situation are the fans of opposing teams, who Lebron has no obligation to please.

James wants to be treated like the game's best player, but he doesn't want to carry the responsibility that comes with it. Fans don't buy $100 tickets to watch him sit in a nice suit, chatting up Shaquille O'Neal on the sideline. O'Neal was recovering from a broken thumb. James was stealing money.

Another thing I like to imagine: Lebron James stealing the money out of O'Neal's wallet.

Feel sorry for the guy in section 118, row F, seat 6 who watched Jamario Moon get introduced in the starting lineup.

Yes, it's a bummer for that guy. It'd also be a bummer for Cleveland fans if the Lebron got hurt during a game that had no bearing on the Cav's season.

Although he likes to think he knows NBA history, he must not. The greatest thing about Jordan was that he played every game he could.

Except when he was playing baseball.

He loved the game, and he respected the fans, something James hasn't learned just yet.

Jordan is a noted asshole to fans. Just ask Chamillionaire!

Apparently, James never watched the old school guys like Karl Malone and John Stockton in Utah, who combined to play every game a whopping 27 times in their careers.

And won a whopping 0 NBA titles.

Magic center Dwight Howard takes more of a pounding than anyone in the league

Dwight Howard for "Most Valuable Pounding!"

James has yet to finish a season by playing in all 82 games, which will be a clear mark against him when he is judged against the all-time great players in NBA history. Does he really respect the game?

Lebron, you've got a lot of growing up to do, I'll tell you that. Ridiculous! Completely ridiculous! Can you believe this character? Way out of line! Way out of line! Have a good mind to go to the commissioner about this. You know what hurts the most is the...the lack of respect. You know? That's what hurts the most. Except for the... Except for the other thing. That hurts the most. But the lack of respect hurts the second most.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Haters Are Back!

It's great to finally see some negative comments in my post from last Monday. To all you haters and crybabies: your tears are delicious. See, we hadn't had any good, solid negativity around here in quite some time (the last good comments I remember were from the guy way back in late 2008 who was horrified that I was making fun of Vince Young... man, those were hilarious) and obviously they reflect a desire from some readers for us to either write better or write more often. While I can't promise I will try to do either of those things, I will promise that I will try to try to do both. The last month or so has probably been the busiest of my entire adult life, culminating with the insanely busy weekend that's wrapping up as I type this. So from here on out I should have a few more posts per week going up.

I'm so giddy about those negative comments that I'm actually going to briefly respond to them. To the anonymous guy who says that Miller is actually pronouncing Beltre's name correctly in Spanish- which language is the broadcast in? If it's in English, and the AP has released a pronunciation guide which is meant to inform English-speaking broadcasters how to say players' names, and that guide says that BEL-tre is correct, then yes, you dipshit. Yes I want the English pronunciation. To the other guy who has a fork up his ass about who knows what, you're right. I didn't get to that longer post. I'm still going to do it, probably this week. You'll get by with or without it. Also, if you come here regularly, you'd know that KSK is probably my favorite blog. I reference it somewhat regularly. On the other hand Deadspin can kiss my pasty white basement-dwelling cock. It's great for silly videos and pop sports news, but the editorials and comments are abysmal. Deadspin could disappear tomorrow and I wouldn't shed any tears about it. So yeah, you're probably the kind of person who would fit in just fine as a regular commenter there (assuming you aren't one already).

Ah, that felt nice. Sincerely, though- feel free to post hateful comments whenever you want. Keeps things interesting around here, especially when we're not posting much.

I suppose at this point I should say something quasi-substantive so that this isn't just a meta-post. I have very little time before my eyelids involuntarily close themselves so I will say this: you know how much I like to bitch about announcers talking about football players making football plays on football fields for their football teams in big football games? Dear sweet Lord in heaven, golf announcers might have them beat in the race to annoy the shit out of me by repeatedly saying unnecessary shit. I never watch golf so the hour of the final round of the Masters I checked in on today was a harrowing experience. I got to hear all about golfers using their golf clubs on the golf course to make golf shots.

That was just a great golf shot.

As opposed to what? The fuck else might you be talking about? A bocce shot? A tennis shot? The shot at kicking his gambling problem that Phil Mickelson waited oh so long to take? I was so angry I almost kicked my TV right where I imagine its taint would be. Shut up. Shut up shut up shut up. You don't sound smart, informed, or sophisticated when you call a shot made by a golfer a "golf shot." You sound like you have a learning disability. Although I suppose I should just be happy they didn't constantly refer to golf shots as "dynamic." (See above link re football players wearing football pads playing football with a football football.) Am I right about this though? Is "golf shot" not fucking absurd? Of course it is.

Actual post coming later this week! Maybe! Who the fuck knows!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

And.... I Already Remember Why ESPN's Baseball Coverage is Often Painful

I've been out of the country for a few weeks, thus my lack of posting. I'll try to get back on track (and probably fail) with a substantial post later this week. In the meantime, I hope you watched the two most important teams in the history of teams, or perhaps the history of history, play a baseball game earlier tonight. There were 100 things wrong about the broadcast, but I only have time right now to write about one of them. Are you ready to nitpick? I thought you might be. Let's nitpick. During the game, play-by-play savant Jon Miller kept referring to Boston's newly acquired third baseman as:

Adrian Bel-TRE (with the emphasis on the "tre" syllable)

If you've paid attention to baseball at all during the last ten years, you know who Beltre is. Started with the Dodgers, had a near-MVP season in his contract year there, signed a big deal with the Mariners, didn't really hit all that well in Seattle, now with the Red Sox. Great glove guy. Not a lot of plate discipline. Decent power. Loves Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Reese's Puffs. More important than all of those things, though, is that if you've paid attention to baseball during the last ten you know how to pronounce the guy's name. It's BEL-tre. Adrian BEL-tre. With the emphasis on BEL. Since 1997, Jon Miller has been the radio guy for the Giants. Who play in the same division as the Dodgers. Where BELtre played for the first seven seasons of his career. Holy crap, Jon. You've probably said this guy's name like 7,000 times in your life. Why are you saying it like that? I'm sure at least one person over the years has corrected you. Heck, you could always just look it up yourself. Look, it took me 15 seconds to find this. But there it was, all night long. BelTRE. BelTRE with the catch, and the throw to first! BelTRE watches that one, strike two. BelTRE BelTRE BelTRE. Shoot me in the fucking eardrum. How do you screw that up?

Oh, and don't forget, Miller's regular partner in the booth probably can't recite the alphabet, tie his own shoes, or tell you how many teams there are in MLB currently. He also pontificates about clogging up the bases and wants every single guy who ever played a single game for the Big Red Machine in the HOF. He thinks Barry Bonds didn't use steroids and that Gary Sheffield is a great teammate. But he also has something like 12 Emmys for sports broadcasting.

Ah, big time sports media- it's the blind leading the blind. At least we don't have to listen to Billy Packer during March Madness anymore I guess.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Do College Sports Need the Little Guy?

During the NCAA basketball tournament, the nation's attention is usually captured by the "upset" teams. Honestly, as a casual fan myself, I could probably tell you more about these first- and second- round upsets than I could about the last five years' championship games. That's probably due to the state of media coverage.

Paul Daughtery (whose most recent piece laments the introduction of sushi to the menu at Great American Ballpark) is a good old Cincinnati homebody; I do not mean that as any type of insult. He's not afraid to call 'em as he sees 'em - though, at times, he sees 'em a little superficially.

About four months ago, he wrote about Cincinnati's slim chance at a BCS title game berth. In it, he intimated that the BCS was elitist and unfair to deny a team that wasn't a traditional powerhouse a chanced to play for the title:

Maybe. But how many years? How many seasons of 10-win cred does it take a Cincinnati, or a program like it, to break the BCS glass ceiling? What if the Bearcats play, say, Alabama, in the Sugar Bowl, and roll the Tide the way Utah did? Then do they get a seat at the big boy table?

Last week, he penned an article called "Why too many upsets make a bad Final Four". It's not so much a poorly written article as it is an article that directly contradicts his previous article.

The NCAA tournament encourages the myth of equality. You, too, can be George Mason. We relish that; it's in our national DNA. Rags-to-riches. Butler-to-Indy. In America, anyone can grow up to be president.

Kind of.

But, not anyone does. Thank goodness. By the time March Madness reaches the middle of its second weekend, we'd prefer sanity. It beats Butler in a national semifinal.

So? Unlike Cincinnati's football team, Butler actually stuck it to some good teams on the court.

The Madness is great. Stop the Madness.

Oh what a paradox!

It's like prescribed medicine. Just because five upsets are good doesn't mean 10 are better. There is a limit to their effectiveness. It was reached when Northern Iowa KO'd Kansas in Round 2. It was exceeded when Butler beat Syracuse five days later.

And here's where he starts to go off the deep end. He spent most of the fall complaining that good football teams weren't given the same access as good football teams with traditional pedigrees. Now, he's setting up an argument to suggest that this year's NCAA tournament is a dud because good basketball teams without traditional pedigrees have beaten teams with them.

Give me a tournament where, after the first weekend, pedigrees take over and pumpkins take off. The meritocracy is assured -- yes, Ohio, you really did beat Georgetown! -- but the aristocracy is preserved.