Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I'll just leave this here, because Sheehan says it better than I ever could

And by "this" I mean this.

Even if you are a sports-drugs absolutist, even if you believe that Alex Rodriguez did everything MLB seems to be claiming he did, and that he gets graded on a different curve for the same actions (like buying evidence), and that he can be nailed for one, two, even three violations at the same time, it is not possible to believe that Rodriguez did more to harm the game of baseball than the man who repeatedly violated federal law on his way to orchestrating the cancellation of a World Series.

The single most destructive act towards baseball in my lifetime isn't a player cheating, isn't Pete Rose betting, isn't a team snorting coke and it isn't baseball teams colluding. It's 1994, and 1994 happened because Bud Selig called a play that a Supreme Court Justice saw right through. Alex Rodriguez could kidnap the NL Central, the Texas League and the Southeastern Conference, shoot them up with heroin and drop them off a barge and not violate XII.B to the extent that Selig has. $1.2 billion, multiple violations of labor law and a cancelled World Series; materially detrimental to the best interests of baseball in violation of federal law, indeed.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bill fixes the Lakers, tests my patience (part 5 of 5)

As the whole world of sports loses its damn mind over PEDS IN BASEBALL ZOMG THINK OF THE CHILDREN, blissfully ignoring the fact that at least half the NFL is on horse steroids, I lurch towards the end of this pathetic Simmons article so as to free up the rest of the week to laugh at idiotic articles about how Fish Fillet-Rod should be thrown in jail for life.  Simmons wrote a new godfrigginawful article as well, so I'll get around to that eventually too.  Eventually.  We're right in the long, slow lazy days of summer here at FireJay, when I post just as infrequently as I do during any other time of the year.

9. Delay Kobe's return for as long as possible.

I'm not gonna lie — this is the shakiest part of my rehab plan. 

Such self-awareness!  This is like someone telling you their plan to rob Fort Knox, and then admitting that the part where their escape depends on the use of a magic teleporter that hasn't yet been invented is pretty shaky.

Too many people have said publicly that (a) Kobe can't return in less than 10 months from that torn Achilles, and (b) even if he DOES come back, he'll never be the same. He's one of the 10 most competitive people alive. He's not going down like this. He's just not.

I like how over the years Bill has been forced to admit that Kobe is actually good at basketball.  He even begrudgingly says things like "He's very competitive" and "I suppose he's a top 50 all time player" and "If I played him one on one, he'd beat me like 11-4."

I'd believe anything about Kobe's summer rehab process. He's sleeping in a hyperbaric healing chamber underneath a pile of broken deer antlers? 


Absolutely. He's on a beach right now running wind sprints against Carl Weathers? Sure. He figured out a way to steal hemoglobin from his daughters, then have that hemoglobin injected right into his healing Achilles, but this procedure is only legal in Austria so he's been flying there twice a week? You can't rule it out.

Seems like a good time to remind MLB sample collectors across the country that my promise to donate $1,000 to the Red Cross if Jeter fails a steroid test by October is still on the table.

Kobe cares about two things right now: Ring No. 6, and Kareem's record. In that order. 

More very reluctant praise: "I SUPPOSE it's possible that he puts his team's accomplishments ahead of his selfish desire to hold an important individual record.  MAYBE."

We could talk him into playing for a historically lousy Lakers team for one season if Ring No. 6 (and maybe LeBron) was the carrot dangling on the other end. But giving up a chance at Kareem's record? That's a tougher ask. 

What the fuck?  "A sixth ring is the most important goal to him, ahead of breaking the scoring record.  He just might be persuaded to not rush back if staying out helped ensure that he gets that ring.  However, asking him to sit out and miss all those games is going to be very hard, because it's going to be really tough to convince him that a shot at the sixth ring is more important than the scoring title."

Our all-time scoring leaders right now …

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 38,387 points
Karl Malone: 36,928 points
Michael Jordan: 32,292 points
Kobe Bryant: 31,617 points

Fun trivia: who is number 5 on that list?  Trick question, there is no fifth all time leading scorer in NBA history, that spot in the record books is forever reserved for Len Bias.  NEVER FORGET

So he's 6,770 points away. To put that in perspective, he scored 2,133 points in 78 games last season before his Achilles ripped. This is doable … you know, assuming he recovers from that devastating leg injury. I bet we see him sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Noted.

Please stop having conversations with yourself, negotiating trades against yourself and writing fake mailbag letters to yourself.

10. When Kobe comes back, allow him to hog the ball to alarming degrees.


Wait until he's fully healed. And when he comes back (to what you're hoping will be a 0-12 team), here's what you tell him …

Kobe, remember your ball-hogging binge in 2006 when you averaged 27.2 field goal attempts and 10.2 free throws a game because we didn't have anything else? Now we REALLY don't have anything else. We just gutted our team. Other than watching Bieber lapse in and out of consciousness in Jack's seat, Sasha and Jordan high-fiving, and Big Shot Rob cramming himself into a Lakers jersey, your scoring binges will be the only thing that keeps this godforsaken season even remotely interesting. Go for the scoring title. Play 70 games to qualify for the scoring title, then try to average 37 a game. Only Wilt and MJ have ever done it. More importantly, that's about 2,200 points in the bank. You'll pass MJ and move within 4,600 of Kareem. Shoot every time. We don't care.

You know what?  I don't have any snark for that.  If the Lakers actually did trade Gasol and Nash, Kobe would probably demand a trade of his own.  But if they refused to give it to him and he eventually backed down and agreed to play out the season, you could tell him that and that's probably exactly what he'd do.  It actually makes sense.  And hopefully he would fail miserably and embarrass himself on a regular basis throughout the season, because let's face it, as much as I like the idea of Kobe pissing off Bill, fuck Kobe Bryant, he's an asshole.

You know what the best part of that plan is? Kobe's quest to score 40 every night will inadvertently become one of the more entertaining subplots of the 2013-14 season. 

You obviously don't know what "inadvertently" means.  You also obviously don't have a brain, if you think "Kobe trying to score 40 every night" is something that would be an under-the-radar story.  ESPN would flip its shit, they'd buy broadcast rights to every single Lakers game from Time Warner or whoever has them now.

I'd flip over to every Lakers game just to see how many points he had. So would you.


And after the regular season ended and Kobe won another scoring title, Lakers fans could spend May and June rooting against Miami, sweating out the lottery and watching DraftExpress YouTube clips. Of course, they'd still be hoping that Jimmy Buss hired the right coach, made the right lottery pick, lured LeBron, kept Kobe and spent $60 million in cap space in the best possible way … while deep down fearing that this moment might be coming.

[Tommy Boy clip goes here, because it's hilarious to compare sports executives from 2013 with movie characters from 1995]

Removing all the hypotheticals, what will the Lakers ACTUALLY do? Nothing I just laid out — that's why I didn't mind laying it out.


See, you need a strong owner or a front-office voice to execute a long-term plan — like what Miami had with Pat Riley and Micky Arison four years ago. These Lakers don't have that voice. Kobe will convince them to compete next season because he's nearing the end of his career, and he wants to shove it in Dwight Howard's face, and he probably believes that he and Pau can still battle anyone on any given night. That's what makes him Kobe. And that's why I didn't mind trying to "save" the Lakers. I know they won't do the right thing.

Oh Jesus Lord in heaven, he's still talking about it like this is a real plan that could actually be used by a real life NBA team.

You know who they SHOULD be emulating, actually? 

I teased this more than a week ago, so no apology needed if you forgot, but what do you think he's going to say?





My beloved Celtics. 

Yeah, I didn't need to put in those line breaks.  You already knew what was coming.  And may they never win another game so long as they exist.  May their fans all catch hepatitis.

In the span of five weeks, Boston mortally wounded next year's team by dealing Garnett and Pierce (improving their Riggin' for Wiggins chances); 

Any time you have the chance to get 25% odds of drafting a guy who might be the next LeBron or might be the next Kwame Brown, you have to take it.

turned the roster over to Brad Stevens (the perfect guy for a rebuild); 

After losing one of the best coaches in the NBA, just turn your team over to a young NCAA coach, then plan the parade route.

stockpiled nine first-rounders over the next five years (along with the right to swap first-rounders with Brooklyn in 2017); 

Next year they have the Hawks' (maybe near the end of the lottery) and Nets' (somewhere in the 20s) picks.  In 2015 they have the Clippers' pick (somewhere in the 20s).  In 2016 and 2018 they again have the Nets' pick (the Nets might actually suck by then, so yeah, they could have a shot at a kid who is currently a sophomore in high school).  GET EXCITED, C'S FANS.

and set themselves up to flagrantly stink (with the inevitable Rondo trade being the final piece). 

Rondo is a piece of shit--whatever he could do that would give the Celtics the least return on him, I hope he does it.

That's a team that knows who it is, and where it is, and where it needs to be.


Can you say the same about the Lakers? My gut feeling is no … and that in April, we'll be watching Kobe and Pau fighting for a no. 8 seed. Just know that this sounds great to me.

What an asshole.  I'll start on his latest some time over the weekend.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Look, you can think what you like about Ryan Braun

But no matter how much you hate him and are happy to see him take one right to the face from MLB, if you are a person with a brain, you will agree that this:

Is the stupidest fucking thing ever written in the English language.

That is all I have to say about this, other than WHEN IS MANNY RAMIREZ GOING TO REACH OUT AND APOLOGIZE TO THE 2004 CARDINALS?????????????????????

Monday, July 22, 2013

Bill fixes the Lakers, tests my patience (part 4)

When we last left Wolf Pope Simmons, he was again negotiating a brilliant trade against himself, one which would leave the Bulls (as pointed out by commenter ivn) in a position where they would be playing Mike Dunleavy Jr. during crunch time.  THE TRADE MACHINE SAYS IT WILL WORK!  THEREFORE IT WOULD WORK!  What's next?

5. Don't amnesty Metta World Peace unless you absolutely have to.

Oops.  The fact that the Lakers did this in real life is a sign that they intend to compete next year, which 1) makes plenty of sense, for the 150 reasons I've already given in this series and 2) kind of disappoints me, because it would be really fun to see them go into full-fledged rebuilding mode without doing any of the things Simmons insists they should do.  Imagine the self-aggrandizing things he would Tweet about how dumb they were being!  Pure entertainment.  Would really warm my cold, black heart.

I hate losing Metta when he's the Kendrick Perkins of small forwards. 

Apparently all cross-positional references have to involve current or former Celtics.  Who is currently the Tony Allen of centers?  (Easy: JaVale McGee.)  Who is the Rajon Rondo of power forwards?  Your answers in the comments.

Ideally, we'd need him playing 35 minutes a game, missing 60 percent of his shots, throwing passes into the third row, getting dumb technicals, and letting faster small forwards blow by him for six solid months. 

I'd like to take this opportunity to point out how crucial MWP was in the 6FOR24!!111111 game: 20 points, including a huge 3 to put the Lakers up 6 with a minute to play.

He's a big part of Riggin' for Wiggins. So if the Bulls won't flip Deng and Hinrich for Gasol, 

But you said it best yourself: they'd HAVE to say yes!

you make the Cleveland deal, save $30 million in luxury tax and keep Metta around.

As both commenter Adam and I have already pointed out, why would the Cavs give away a 1st round pick in a loaded draft to "upgrade" from Gasol to Varejao?  If Varejao stays healthy, he's a marginally worse player than Gasol and the Cavs make the playoffs.  If Varejao gets hurt, the Cavs go to the lottery.

6. Since you're sucking anyway, bring back as many popular former Lakers as possible.

Although it is obviously not meant to be taken seriously, this is one of the stupidest things I have ever read and Simmons should be punched in the kidneys for having typed it out.

I'm convinced that the Lakers bugged my house because, ever since I started working on this column on Monday, they signed Jordan Farmar (someone Lakers fans irrationally loved because he's a UCLA guy) and they're courting Sasha Vujacic (another guy the Lakers have irrationally loved, while the rest of America irrationally hated him). 

The "irrationally [loved/hated/whatever] thing he rolls out all the time is a nice little variant on Klosterman's SECRETLY UNDEROVERUNDERPROPERLYRATED twatfuckery.  It's also a nice little SUPER SMART BASKETBALL NERD angle: listen, non-Lakers fans, I know you think Sasha Vujacic is a whiny little piece of shit who flops every chance he gets, but your hatred of him is SO IRRATIONAL.

I'd go further than that — I'd also bring back beloved veterans Derek Fisher

Speaking of guys who whine and flop a lot

and Luke Walton 

I hate it when people say shit like this, but I'm going to anyways.  Did you know Luke Walton is 33?  Holy shit, I feel old.

for the veteran's minimum, then keep my 15th roster spot open and spend the season signing old Lakers favorites (Robert Horry, Rick Fox, Michael Cooper, Sam Perkins, etc.) to a series of 10-day contracts.

Again, punches to the kidneys.

Important note: Lakers fans would LOVE this. Shit, they'd even enjoy 10 days of Slava Medvedenko. As long as Kwame Brown and Smush Parker aren't involved in 10-day roulette, we're good.

Lakers fans, why did you IRRATIONALLY hate Kwame Brown so much?

7. Tell Jack Nicholson to stay away for the entire season.

We don't want Jack sitting there and enduring a willfully bad Lakers team. It might kill him. 

Check out the totally subtle starfuckerism.  "Let me tell you about Jack!  Jack and I, we go way back.  I know how much the Lakers mean to him, that's how close we are."  You know what, I deleted the rest of this section, because it was too depressing to make fun of.  Suffice it to say, he managed to make a Weekend at Bernie's "joke" and more importantly, post the picture of Justin Bieber with the Stanley Cup you've already seen on 25 different blogs.  ZOMG celebs!!!!

8. Keep Mike D'Antoni for the entire year.

When I was going over my tentative "Save the Lakers" plan last night with my friend Lewis (a Lakers nut who's onboard with everything you just read),

A fellow BASKETBALL NERD who understands subtle things that could make or break a team, like signing LeBron and drafting Andrew Wiggins.

I jokingly asked him, "OK, what would you do with D'Antoni?"

Trade him to the Magic for their 2014 first rounder (top three protected--they're not just going to give it away!).  WHOOOOOO SAYYYYS NOOOOOO


Like I said, clearly Lewis is someone who is in the rarefied air as Bill in terms of sophisticated basketball knowledge.

(Ladies and gentlemen, the Mike D'Antoni era!)

Jokes in that format were pretty fresh in 1997.

We wrap things up next post, including the line:

You know who they SHOULD be emulating, actually? [_____].

You get three guesses as to what goes in the blank, and the first two don't count.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Bill fixes the Lakers, tests my patience (part 3)

To briefly recap, step 1 to saving the Lakers is to be bad next season, win the draft lottery and get Andrew Wiggins.  Step 2 is to clear cap space and sign LeBron.  Are you with Bill so far?  It's a bit complicated (only an NBA NERD with SOPHISTICATED KNOWLEDGE of the salary cap and which players are good and which players are not could possibly have hatched this plan) so he'll excuse you if you're a little behind.

3. Trade Steve Nash to Toronto.


Steve Nash turns 40 in February.  He's perhaps the worst defensive player in the league at this point.  He just came off a season in which he only played 50 games and showed heavy statistical regression.  Meanwhile, the Raptors sort of kind of showed some life late throughout the spring and maybe kind of contended for a playoff spot for the first time in five years.  They would have been trounced by the Heat in the first round had they made it, but hey, the point is, they're on the upswing, trying to build around a respectable young core.  They already have the "Hey, he's somewhat competent" Kyle Lowry manning the point.  There is zero reason for them to do the Lakers the favor of taking Nash's crappy contract.

Admittedly, Nash doesn't have much market value right now. He's 39 years old, his body is breaking down in a variety of ways, he seemed a step and a half slow last season, he's a turnstile defensively, and he's making $9.3 million in 2014 and $9.7 million in 2015. Other than that, he's pretty enticing. 

Careful, NERD ALERT ahead.

But you know where he's still a hero? CANADA! What would be better than Nash finishing his career on Canada's only NBA team?

You know what would be better for Toronto's coaching staff and front office?  Not bringing on a sentimental favorite who can barely play anymore, solely for the sake of helping the second most hated team in the NBA clear cap space for a run at LeBron.

Now here's where you say, Wait a second, the Raptors just hired Masai Ujiri from Denver. 

/Nuggets fan Larry B grinds teeth

That dude is a shrewd mf'er — he'd never trade for Nash. Au contraire! Thanks to Rudy Gay's onerously onerous deal, DeMar DeRozan's extension, the cap-clogging quartet of Landry Fields, Marcus Camby, Tyler Hansbrough and Steve Novak (nearly $20 million combined in 2014-15) and a few other commitments, Toronto can't become a free-agent player until the summer of 2015 ... right as Nash's deal is expiring. So why not bring him aboard as their feel-good Canadian basketball ambassador?

Hey, fuck it, the guy basically has no knees left, he just registered his worst season in ten years, he can't play defense... but the Raptors aren't going to go after free agents during the summer of 2014, SO WHY NOT PAY HIM $10 MILLION A YEAR TO PROBABLY CONTRIBUTE NEXT TO NOTHING?  WHO SAYS NO?????

Do you realize trading for Nash would immediately become one of Canada's five greatest NBA moments ever? 


Since Toronto and Vancouver were added as expansion teams in 1995, here's that list right now:

Highlight No. 1: Vince Carter wins the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest.

Highlight No. 2: The Raptors come within a missed Vince jumper of advancing to the 2001 Eastern finals.

Highlight No. 3: Kobe scores 81 points against the Raptors. Hey, at least they were part of history.

Highlight No. 4: The Grizzlies move to Memphis (so Vancouver doesn't have to watch them anymore).

That would have been a sweet joke in 2004.

Highlight No. 5: Actually, we're done. You want to know what the greatest running Canadian NBA moment is? Every time Vince comes back to Toronto, they boo him lustily for four quarters. It's the only real Canadian basketball tradition they have. I'd say they need to rent a basketball ambassador. Call me crazy.

You're not crazy, you're just stupid, unfunny, a bad writer, and maybe 1/4th as smart as you think you are.

Anyway, here's my offer: Nash for Linas Kleiza's expiring contract and Aaron Gray's expiring contract. I can't do better than that. I'M GIVING YOU CANADIAN BASKETBALL HERO STEVE NASH FOR TWO SCRUBS!!!!!! Take him! I'm putting a ribbon on him, including a Labatt hat and everything! Just call this trade into the commissioner's office already.

(By the way, I just downgraded the Lakers' 2014-15 salary cap to $0.00.)

If he were more self-aware and less prone to being a self-important little shit, I would think he meant the tone there to be jokingly cocky.  Like if you do something totally trivial, like successfully shoot a balled up piece of paper into a trash can from ten feet away, and then shout "I AM THE GREATEST ATHLETE OF ALL TIME."  But no, I'm pretty sure he's being actually, legitimately, cocky there; sincerely celebrating the nonsensical trade he negotiated against himself.  In case you weren't aware, Bill Simmons is a piece of shit.

4. Trade Pau Gasol.

You know who's not helping us Riggin' for Wiggins? A future Hall of Famer playing for a new contract. I don't need Pau dropping 23 and 11 every night. No thanks. That leaves two possible trade destinations for him.

To the extent we're taking this seriously (and that extent should be: not at all, not even one little bit, but let's do it just this one time for just this one little part of the article), if they traded Nash and Gasol, Kobe would demand to be traded and threaten to retire if they didn't do so.  And while I said a couple posts ago that Laker fans could get over the idea of not getting LeBron (if the team makes some moves this offseason to improve their chances in 2014 while also ruining their cap room), I can promise you they would never, ever, ever, ever, ever get over Kobe leaving the team on bad terms and finishing his career in a different jersey.  And thus, those trades would happen: never.  To be honest, I am a little surprised at how well Kobe took the amnestying of MWP.  But I would imagine that if they go any further in cutting salary/scuttling next year's team, they're going to have one irate Kobe on their hands.

Whew.  My head hurts.

• Destination No. 1: Hey, Cleveland, why roll the dice on Andrew Bynum's fusilli knee ligaments when you can rent Pau in a contract year? You know he'll be motivated. You know he's one of the league's best 25 players when healthy — a superior low-post player, a proven playoff guy and a perennial staple on the NBA's "Most Fun Guys to Play Basketball With" All-Stars. 

And on the "Guys Who Play for the Lakers but Who Boston Fans Would Allow to Date Their Sistahs" All-Stars.

Why not use your excess cap space to upgrade from Anderson Varejao ($9.8 million expiring) to Gasol ($19.3 million) and flip the Lakers your 2014 no. 1 pick for their trouble? The Lakers save $30 million in luxury tax money, add a first-rounder and willingly worsen their team. Cleveland becomes a pseudo-contender while preserving their cap space to get their hearts broken by LeBron again next summer. Everyone wins!

Clearly the Lakers would not do this.  It's too bad Varejao is made out of glass, because if he were a good bet to play 70+ games next year, I could argue that the Cavs wouldn't do it either.  A healthy Varejao is one of the best rebounders and defenders in the NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION.  He also runs the pick and roll just fine (Gasol may be better, but whatever), meaning he's not exactly dragging their offense down.  I don't think they'd give up their first in a loaded draft to get the offensive upgrade and defensive downgrade Gasol would represent.

Even better — this trade gives the Lakers a low-post combo of Chris Kaman (always gets hurt) and Varejao (always gets hurt). They could be the Twin Owww-ers. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

Better than your Thanksgiving dinner of bad basketball joke from last post.

You're not getting more than 75 games combined from Kaman and Varejao next season unless they're borrowing copious amounts of PEDs from the Seattle Seahawks defense. 

A cross-sport reference!  What happened to the Real World/Road Rules Challenge reference I requested?  Is he saving it for later?

And even then, you're probably not getting there. Who's ready for a little Robert Sacre next season! Check that — who's ready for A LOT OF ROBERT SACRE next season!

Probably not your franchise cornerstone/most popular player.  You know what, fuck it, I need to stop taking his analysis seriously like I promised I would.

• Destination No. 2: Flip Gasol's expiring contract to Chicago for Luol Deng's and Kirk Hinrich's expiring contracts. Just a fascinating trade. 

"I'm so glad I thought of it, aren't you?"

The Bulls know Jimmy Butler can replace Deng's minutes, and that a crunch-time five of Gasol, Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose, Butler and Mike Dunleavy Jr. (to spread the floor) would be more potent than Noah, Carlos Boozer, Deng, Butler and Rose. They'd have to say yes.


For the Lakers, they'd keep Deng for a couple of months before rerouting him to a contender for expiring deals and a pick. (You don't need Deng in a contract year making you slightly better than you need to be.) But here's the crucial part …


The Lakers can't sign LeBron after he wins his third straight NBA title for the simple reason that, in the history of basketball, the best player on a championship team has NEVER subsequently ditched that team. Shit, even Wilt wouldn't have done that. LeBron would get crucified for turning his back on a chance to win four straight.

Good point!  He would never do something like that!  When has LeBron ever made a decision that involved turning his back on something, and then gotten crucified for it, and come out ahead in the long run?

No competitive person would ever, in a million years, do something like that. 

Unless a certain VP of NERDERY on their new team talked them into it!

That's why the Lakers need to improve the Bulls — they can't get LeBron unless Chicago, Houston, Oklahoma City, Indiana or Golden State beats the Heat. And Chicago's the best bet of them all.

(Wolf Pope Simmons's recommendation: Make the Deng-Gasol trade.)

Larry B's recommendation: stop reading this blog, and any other blog or website that might bring you into contact with Bill's writing.  You're getting stupider every time his ideas enter your brain.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Bill fixes the Lakers, tests my patience (part 2)

Remember, everyone.  It is a FACT: that things are really bleak for the FACT: Lakers.

Right now, these Lakers have three, and only three, inherent advantages. 

Haven't seen this trope in a while: the I KNOW THE EXACT NUMBER OF THINGS THAT FALL WITHIN THIS ILL-DEFINED AND ENTIRELY SUBJECTIVE CATEGORY.  When Bill does this, it's like he's trying to emulate Bleacher Report, only he's not as clever as they are.  Wow, that's sad.

First, they have a terrific owner. Jimmy Buss has proven over the last year that … oh, wait a second, he's been an atrocity! 


I totally forgot! Last week, an L.A. reader named Jake B. even compared him to Tommy Boy, 

An idea so boring and unclever I can't believe Simmons didn't steal it and pass it off as his own!

followed by me being unable to figure out if that was a bigger insult to Jimmy Buss or to Tommy Boy. (The answer: Tommy Boy. At least he eventually turned Callahan Auto Parts around.) 

In that movie!

If anyone needs my hypothetical help, it's Tommy Boy Buss.

Sick burn.  Buss, you are like a beloved character from a sort of popular movie that came out 20 years ago.

OK, so they have two 


inherent advantages. First, the Lakers have only one contract on their books for the 2014-15 season: Steve Nash for $9.7 million. They might be $50 million under the cap next summer — perfect timing for an all-you-can-eat buffet of free-agent stars headlined by LeBron, 

This sentence should stop here, because it's perfectly obvious to everyone why (a) the Lakers would want LeBron, (b) why LeBron could conceivably want to play for the Lakers, and (c) LeBron + free agency = unpredictability.  But no, it won't, because Bill is a basketball NERD.  As in, guy who knows everything about the NBA, not that it's a big deal or anything.

who's only (a) the best player since Michael Jordan, (b) someone who wants to be a "global icon," and (c) someone with an established track record of treating free agency like he's organizing a bank heist with his buddies.

Insight: shared.  Readers: nodding silently.

Second, the Lakers have a six-decade history of luring available basketball stars (ranging from all-timers like Wilt, Kareem and Shaq to in-demand-at-the-time free agents like Sam Perkins, Steve Nash and Mitch Kupchak) and keeping their stars nearly 100 percent of the time, with two notable exceptions: a celibate A.C. Green and a decidedly uncelibate Dwight Howard. Famous basketball players gravitate to the Lakers because of their storied history, and because Los Angeles remains the easiest American city for any wealthy celebrity to live in.

Wealthy celebrities, like successful TV writer Bill Simmons!  Here's a paragraph full of worthless bullshit to back up his questionable position on this very uninteresting topic.

See, people rarely bother celebrities in Los Angeles. 

I doubt it.

They can eat dinner or hit a nightclub without half the room staring at them like they're aliens. 

I doubt it. 

They can live on the ocean, or they can live in some souped-up mansion in Bel Air or the Hollywood Hills. 

The equivalent of this can be done in many cities, including Miami.

The weather is consistently fantastic. 

Same for Miami.

The women are relentlessly beautiful. 

Same for Miami.

Celebrities in L.A. can be around other celebrities all the time, and if there's one thing celebrities love, it's being around other celebrities. 

Same for Miami.

If they want to dabble in music or movies or any other ego-fueled creative project, or meet just about any heavy hitter business dude on the planet, they have those options here. 

Perhaps these opportunities are more limited in Miami, but I'm sure they still exist.  Also, take away the beach living and add a crappy winter, and New York is in play too.  New York might be better than LA in a lot of these categories.

If they want to fly to Vegas, it's 50 minutes away. 

There are casinos fucking everywhere these days.  I know that Atlantic City or awful bumfuck central Florida aren't as EPIC as VEGAS BABY is for EPIC BACHELOR PARTIES WITH YOUR BROS, but still.

If they want to fly to Cabo, that's just over two hours away. 

What?  Who picks a place to live because it's close to Cabo?

It's the ultimate American city for famous people.

You're a vapid piece of cat shit.

As recently as three years ago, had you told any fan of the other 29 teams, "In 2014, the Lakers will have $50 million in cap space during a loaded summer for free agents," their reaction would have been, "We're all screwed." 

Because the idea of the Lakers having no players under contract is terrifying to other teams, somehow?  And boy, remember how he was just lecturing us as to what we learned about from the way the 2010 free agent market played out?  I don't know what the rest of you learned, but given that LeBron spurned the Knicks and Bulls, both of whom were the focus of most of the attention leading up to The Decision, all I learned is that no team should ever count on signing any given free agent.

But when they're being run by someone who can successfully be compared to Tommy Boy? That's a different story.

No way LeBron theoretically signs there now!

Making matters worse, the Lakers lost their L.A. basketball monopoly. Lately, the lowly Clippers — a team 

that Bill Simmons pretended to follow, then renounced because they didn't win enough for him, then decided to follow again because they landed Chris Paul and started winning again,

that threw away the last three decades despite having the same inherent advantages as the Lakers — finally kinda sorta maybe figured out what they were doing. They've been spending money in the most anti–Donald Sterling ways possible, building around the league's most expensive coach (Doc Rivers), 

Doc: Bill's a fucking idiot who knows nothing about anything.

You know, I hate the Celtics and don't care for the Clippers, but this Doc character, he seems cool to me.

a $107 million point guard (Chris Paul), a $95 million, high-flying power forward (Blake Griffin) 

The Donald Sterling way to spend money on players is to just not do it.  I don't think there's anything "bizzarro Sterling" about paying a PG and (overpaying) a PF.

and a slew of quality role players. It's almost like the Lakers and Clippers switched bodies. And actually, we can't rule this out.

Haha, we sure can!  

So if we ever needed a "Save the Lakers" plan, it's right now. Here's how Wolf Pope Simmons would hypothetically save the Lakers in 10 hypothetical steps.


1. Don't be afraid to suck all kinds of suck for one season.

Tips for writing for Jimmy Kimmel's show, by Bill Simmons.

Hey, Jimmy? 

Baby!  Boobie!  Let's get together and make a picture!

You already have everyone's 2013-14 season ticket money! They're helpless. They're stuck at your Thanksgiving table of basketball hell 

Worst metaphor ever.

for six solid months — just keep force-feeding oily turkey 

Oh man, totally makes sense!

and runny cranberry sauce down their throats. 

Don't write while hungry is the lesson, I guess.

Why? Because you don't want to be the West Coast Bucks, and because one of the greatest NBA drafts in 30 years is coming.

Take it from a guy who interviewed like 10 draft prospects in advance of this year's draft, and failed to interview the guy who went 1st overall!

Two facts about the 2014 draft. First, if you were ranking the Can't-Miss NBA Prospects of the 21st Century, Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins would rank behind LeBron, but would probably land right on that second tier with Durant, Oden and Carmelo. 

I'm picking nits, but let's not put Wiggins on their level just yet, not until he has a successful freshman year like they all did (minus the fact that Oden walked like an old man, obviously).

He's T-Mac 2.0 by all accounts. Seriously, check him out. There's a reason the Tankapalooza committee (I'm the chairman) is thinking about changing the name of Tankapalooza 2014 to Riggin' for Wiggins.

So clever!  Also a great idea, what with the worst team in the NBA getting a 25% shot at winning the lottery.

Second, it's the rare NBA draft that's deep AND top-heavy. On Tuesday's B.S. Report, ESPN draft guru and former The O.C. star Chad Ford pointed out that, in 2013, he broke the draft down by tiers — with Tier 1 being "potential franchise players," Tier 2 being "potential All-Stars," Tier 3 being "potential starters," and so on — and there wasn't a single 2013 draft prospect in Tier 1 or Tier 2. In 2014? Right now, we have eight guys in those top two tiers, and that's without factoring in the possibility of one or two more breakout stars. There's also a chance that Kentucky power forward Julius Randle might turn "Wiggins vs. Randle" into a "Durant vs. Oden"–type debate, and that Duke's Jabari Parker might be looming as a Carmelo-like sleeper.

Carmelo was not a sleeper.  He won a national championship after being a McDonald's All-American.  He would have been #1 in, like, any other draft in the 2000s.  But yeah, I don't have too much snark here.  That draft actually does sound pretty awesome.

If there was ever a season for hopeless or semi-hopeless NBA teams to throw away like a half-eaten banana, it's this one. Going 42-40 makes no sense. Why not take your lumps, Jimmy? Your fan base is more sophisticated than anyone realizes. 

SECRETLY UNDERRATEDLY OVERSOPHISTICATED.  Only a basketball NERD would realize this.

They've had four generations of success. They're even savvy enough to realize that it wasn't the worst thing in the world that a wishy-washy, oversensitive, possibly breaking-down-and-maybe-even-past-his-prime Dwight fled for Texas. They get it. 

From earlier in this same article, covered in my last post:

And they need to sell the illusion of hope to their fans,

What an asshole.

They'd be fine with throwing away ONE season. Just not two.


2. Clear every dollar off your 2014-15 cap. Get to zero, or close.


The goal: replicating what Pat Riley achieved four seasons ago, when he talked Dwyane Wade into playing with expiring contracts just so Miami could become a free-agent player in the summer of 2010 (with South Beach as the carrot).

When I did that "Hey anonymous commenter, shut your fucking mouth" research about the Heat's level of success a few weeks ago, I was surprised to see how good they were in 2009-2010.  I remember it being a story that they were playing with a bunch of expiring contract guys to clear cap space for the summer of LeBron, but wow.  They still won 47 games, even with Michael Beasley and Quentin Richardson combining for 58 minutes per game.  That Spoelstra is kind of good.  (I think I might have said otherwise in the past.  I take it back.)

Whether that was a calculated risk or a nefarious plan hatched during the summer of 2008 — you know, when LeBron, Wade and Bosh played on Team USA and befriended team ball boy Nick Arison (son of Miami owner Micky Arison), 

Yes, if we are to assume that such a plan really did exist, then CLEARLY it was the ball boy who caused it, and not, you know, those dudes getting together and saying "Hey we should play together and win championships while paying no state income tax, that would be fun."

then won Olympic gold in China, followed by two years of whispers that those three players had made a pact to play together, and then it actually happened while David Stern and Adam Silver twiddled their thumbs and repeatedly yelled "Nothing to see here!" at each other — we'll never know the real truth. 


But look how that gamble played out. Three Finals trips, two titles … and we're still going.

On paper, the 2013-14 Lakers could take the 2009-10 Heat's game plan to another level by jettisoning every contract while also landing a top-five lottery pick. But they have to worsen this year's roster. Which means ...

You're going to have to wait to find out.  Oops, hold on, that means a couple of you who are curious might actually go to Grantland to read the column.  We don't want that.  Let me spoil it for you: he says they should trade Nash to Toronto WHO SAYS NO????

More later. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Bill fixes the Lakers, tests my patience (part 1)

Stand back, folks.  Genius at work.

I know a Celtics fan should never try to help the Lakers. 

/record scratch

Yes, I hope you are already annoyed, as I was when I first clicked here and saw this opening sentence.  What's that, Bill?  You're going to fix the Lakers?  You benevolent soul!  How nice of you to bestow your mountains of wisdom upon your readers, but more importantly, upon the front office of the Lakers, who undoubtedly were waiting with bated breath for this column to appear and save their offseason.  If Bill wasn't full of himself, he'd be full of nothing at all.

I know I should bite my tongue. 

No!  Don't refuse to help, Batman!  Gotham NEEDS you!

I know I should hope Jimmy Buss keeps ruining his family's team, I know I should be hoping that they'll kowtow to Kobe and make the Lakers juuuuuuuust decent enough to be irrelevant, and that a decade of Blowtime 

lol pwn3d

would be my best possible outcome here.

Jesus, he even turns the success or failure of a sports team with tens of millions of both fans and haters into his own little me-fest.  Bill, tell us, what's YOUR best outcome for George Zimmerman trial?  What's YOUR best outcome for the 2014 midterm elections?  Your readers are dying to know.

But here's the problem …

As you already know, the problem is that he's such a fucking genius that he can't possibly hide his talents under a bushel basket.

I love making fake NBA trades, figuring out blueprints for franchises and determining the fastest, most efficient ways to save them. 


That's just who I am. I'm a weirdo. 


I have a folder of iPad bookmarks called "NBA Nerd" that features links for the Trade Machine, HoopsHype's NBA salary page, ShamSports's NBA salary page,,, PER leaders, and the NBA Transactions Archive. 

Gosh, guys, I'm such a NERD, aren't I?  What with the way I know everything about the NBA, and how it works, and how to make every team better?  What a NERDY thing to do, right?  

/Bill watches Twitter feed, patiently waiting for validating Tweets telling him he is awesome and not a nerd to roll in

I'm like a cross between the Wolf, Olivia Pope and Jerry West. 

OK, I admit I had to look up who Olivia Pope is.  It's great that Bill can reference "Scandal" (undoubtedly one of the top 150 shows on TV right now), but what the fuck do public relations and image management have to do with any of this?

Or I like to think that I am. Again, I'm a weirdo. 

I'm a nerd, but not a NERDY nerd!  Right, guys?

I genuinely enjoy hypothetically fixing broken NBA franchises. Even ones I can't stand. So after Dwight Howard completed The Indecision 

Sweet joke, I like the idea of contrasting the excitement surrounding LeBron's choice with the relative calm surrounding Howard's, except that it took Howard no longer than it took LeBron to decide, so the joke makes zero fucking sense.

and fled Kobe's clutches for the sanctity of barbecue, luxurious strip joints, no state taxes, lower expectations and low-key media pressure Houston, 

LOL!  Another home run of a fake struck text joke!  The 2% of writers who are good at these must be annoyed with fuckups like Bill who butcher them all the time.

I found myself clicking on the Lakers' salary page just out of curiosity … but then my wheels started turning … and one thing led to another … and suddenly I found myself helping the Lakers. 


I couldn't resist. Within a few minutes, I was inadvertently hatching a plan that even Rachel Phelps would consider shameless.

My guess is he writes his columns without the specifics of any of the references filled in (just the general ideas), then just has a team of unfunny writers complete them like a mad-lib.  This one: "scheming villain from an 80s comedy."

In the NBA, you want to be either really good or really bad. You never want to land between those two "reallys" for long. You don't want to be squeezed into the no. 8 seed or keep finishing 12th or 13th in every lottery. Basically, you don't want to be the Milwaukee Bucks. (Cut to every Bucks fan nodding vigorously.) If you can't compete for the title, why not bottom out in the most flagrantly offensive way possible?

This "you don't want to be mediocre, you want to be good or shitty" thing is one of his frequently mentioned ideas that I actually agree with.  Thought I'd point that out since most of the ideas about how sports works that he mentions all the time are complete monkey shit.  Of course, all that means is that he probably stole this one from someone else.

Of course, that's something the Lakers have never, ever done. They picked first in the 1979 and 1982 drafts (Magic and Worthy) by fleecing laughingstock franchises of their draft picks — not by being the laughingstock franchise. They miraculously turned Vlade Divac, three cartons of Marlboro Reds and a pound of phlegm into a raw high schooler named Kobe Bryant. 

Given the success rate for guys drafted out of high school, I think it's a better idea to look at that trade as "something that could have gone either way, and happened to work out really well" rather than "DRAFT DAY TRADE OF THE CENTURY."  I mean, 12 teams passed on Kobe.  One of them took Todd Fuller.  It's not like he was an earlier version of LeBron going into the draft.  Now, let's be fair--the intended meaning of the word "miraculously" up there is actually ambiguous.  He could mean what I've suggested here, that he thinks it was miraculous that the Hornets took that deal, or he could mean that it was a miraculous turn of fortune that that high schooler picked 13th overall happened to become one of the 20 best players in NBA history.  Here's the thing: this blog is not in the business of giving Bill the benefit of the doubt.

They landed Shaq, Kareem, Wilt and Dwight for a variety of reasons, the biggest being that (a) they're the f-ing Lakers, 

IT'S NAWT FAY-UH! says the guy whose team once won a title by landing KG and Ray Allen in exchange for Al Jefferson, spare parts and two picks in a mediocre draft.

and (b) celebrities love Los Angeles (we'll get to this). 

Says shameless starfucker Bill Simmons.

Since they moved to Southern California in 1960, they've won 63.3 percent of their games, appeared in 25 Finals, missed the playoffs just four times, and never won fewer than 30 games. They haven't picked higher than 10th with their own pick since 1975, when they selected Dave Meyers second and promptly traded him in a megadeal for Kareem. No professional sports franchise has been this consistently good for this long: not the Yankees, not the Canadiens, not the Steelers, not anybody.

I don't know, I think the Canadiens' stretch from the early 40s through the early 90s where they missed the playoffs two times, won twenty Cups and lost in the finals seven other times comes pretty close.

But desperate times call for desperate measures. Their best player is hitting Year 18 and rehabbing from the worst sports injury an older player can have. 

Nice bit of invented medical knowledge there, impressing many of the mouth breathers who read him regularly I'm sure.  HEY GUYS AN ACHILLES TEAR IS DEFINITELY WORSE FOR OLDER PLAYERS THAN AN ACL TEAR OR A BROKEN SPINE, SPORTS GUY SAID SO

Their second-best player just ditched them. 

Look, Earl Clark didn't "ditch them," OK?  Free agency is a part of the business.

Their third-best player becomes a free agent in 12 months. 

Shocking to see the guy driving the "Gasol for Lakers MVP" bandwagon admit that he wasn't better than Howard last season.  I'm sure that if you taunted him about it a little, you could get him to write 4,000 words on how Gasol and Nash were the only Lakers "who really played like they had a little Daniel-san in them" last season.

Their fourth-best player turns 40 this season. They can't improve one of the league's worst supporting casts because they're patently terrified of being a repeat offender in the luxury tax. 

The NBA's luxury tax is so punitive, even the Lakers won't pay it.  MLB's is so punitive, even the Yankees won't pay it.  Finally, the owners have found a way to stop salary growth and keep more of that yummy delicious revenue in the team bank account.

Their coach is realistically two years away from taking over the Minnesota Lynx or the Pepperdine Waves. And they need to sell the illusion of hope to their fans, which means they need to save as much cap space as possible for LeBron, which means they can't add ANY contracts that expire after next summer.

Look, I hate Lakers fans with all my soul, but I don't really think you need to sell "the illusion of hope" to them.  It's not like they're downtrodden and ready to give up on their team at any minute.  They're spoiled twatballs who have seen their team win five titles in the last fifteen years.  If a good deal came along this offseason that helped them improve their team for the next three or four years, but cost them a shot at signing LeBron next summer, I think they'd get over it in about a day.

Fact: This year's Lakers team will be undeniably worse than last year's Lakers team … a team that didn't make the playoffs until Game 82.

Fact that only a genius could figure out: 154 games combined from Howard and Kobe is way better than ~50 games combined from Howard and Kobe.

Fact: This is bleak. Really, really bleak.

Fact: Using this device to drive home your points makes you a total asshat and a shitty writer.

Fact: I have had enough of this shit for the night.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Bitching about the All-Star rosters is dumb

Does that make me dumb by extension if I bitch about the people bitching about the rosters?  Probably.  But there are always going to be fifty worthless "HERE IS MY LIST OF ALL-STAR SNUBS" articles written in the days after the rosters get announced, and I have to post about something.  So here goes.  Lead us off, Scott Miller.

First base: Chris Davis, Orioles
My pick: Davis

Talk about getting out the vote. The Orioles did it better than MTV ever dreamed of.

That's one of the worst jokes I've ever read.

Second base: Robinson Cano, Yankees
My pick: Jason Kipnis, Indians

Yes, this is coin-flip territory. But Kipnis is having one Rock and Roll Hall of Fame summer, 

That is a thing that is in that player's city!

and the message isn't carrying too well across Lake Erie to the rest of the land. Cano, Boston's Dustin Pedroia and the Angels' Howie Kendrick are deserving as well. But Kipnis leads all AL second basemen in OPS (.904), and he's played a significant role in Cleveland's reconstruction. If you want to go Pedroia, that's an acceptable answer, too. 

And so is Cano, who (it shocks me to have to say this) has shouldered a heavy load in a super thin Yankees lineup.  He is usually "protected" (haha snark quotation marks rule) by Travis Hafner.  But go ahead, tell us why you think Cano is the wrong choice.

One very demerit-inducing trend regarding Cano: He's a far worse player at home in New York than on the road this year. In 44 games on the road, he's hitting .326 with 13 homers and 33 RBI. In 43 games at home, he's at .255, 7 and 25. 

Yes, that's right.  Looking at home/road splits over the course of 85 games is a great way to choose your All-Stars.  Not that Kipnis is a bad choice, I just find this criterion to be pretty fucking stupid.  Quick, do another blimp crash of a joke!

Jay-Z might want to address this with his new client. Next thing you know, Cano will be in a Visa commercial addressing his New York nightlife.

Oh dear Lord.

Third base: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
My pick: Cabrera

Fire up the cognitive dissonance tornado siren!

No question here it's Cabrera, 


and man, is this a tough position to crack. 

Also very true.

The Orioles' Manny Machado (who makes the club as a reserve) and the Rays' Evan Longoria, the Athletics' Josh Donaldson and the Rangers' Adrian Beltre (who didn't) … it's almost like shortstop in the AL in the 1990s when you had a young Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Nomar Garciaparra. Somebody deserving is going to get hosed. 

Correct.  Now stop, before you--

Speaking of which, how does Donaldson not make the team? 

Wait, what?  You answered that question literally one sentence ago.

Somebody deserving is going to get hosed. Speaking of which, how does Donaldson not make the team? 

Somebody deserving is going to get hosed. Speaking of which, how does Donaldson not make the team? 

Somebody deserving is going to get hosed. Speaking of which, how does Donaldson not make the team? 


Was Angel Hernandez in charge of choosing the reserves?

It's hard to screw up an Angel Hernandez joke, but I think you just did.

Catcher: Joe Mauer, Twins
My pick: Mauer

No other choice here. The Royals' Salvador Perez, the Indians' Carlos Santana, the Astros Jason Castro, the Orioles' Matt Wieters and the Blue Jays' J.P. Arencibia all are having nice seasons, but nobody is more deserving than Mauer (even if Target Field has stripped him of much of his power). 

Career SLG%: .467
2013 SLG%: .466

It's annoying how many writes and fans think Mauer's 2009 (28 HR, 2nd highest total in his career is 13; .587 SLG%, 2nd highest total in a full season in his career is .507) was the norm.  He will almost certainly hit double digits in home runs this year, for only the 4th time in 10 seasons.  

Hard to believe this will be Mauer's first start since 2010.

Well, he was garbage in 2011, and in 2012 he deserved it but the Twins were garbage and the Rangers had won two pennants in a row and sold out like every game and Mike Napoli had been awesome in 2011 (especially in the playoffs), so no, it's not hard to believe at all.

Second base: Brandon Phillips, Reds
My pick: Matt Carpenter, Cardinals

Nobody is a bigger fan of Phillips than me, and he totally got screwed a year ago by not even making the team. That said, Carpenter's OPS is 144 points higher than Phillips' and the kid is having a knockout season. 

All reasonable things to say, so let's just leave it at--

Phillips' lineage, though, is pretty cool: He becomes the first Reds second baseman elected to start an All-Star Game since Hall of Famer Joe Morgan in 1978. Does this mean there one day will be a website?

Barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf

Ken Rosenthal gets in on the action with an utterly worthless column based on the premise that, because the A's are having a good season, they deserve to have a bunch of All-Stars.  Watch him refute his own arguments and wander off aimlessly into nothingness.

They can’t get a new ballpark. Raw sewage flooded parts of their current ballpark. So, the least baseball could do for the Oakland Athletics would be to give them more than one All-Star, right?

I mean, I guess, but only if they really had more than one guy who was deserving.  Unfortunately it's hard to make the case that they do.

The A’s, after all, are the defending AL West champions. 

Not a thing that should be considered when picking All-Stars.  Of course it happens indirectly all the time, because successful teams have more fans voting, but it's not like any objective voter is going to sit there and say "Hey, the A's won their division last year.  I think I'm going to vote for Josh Reddick over Mike Trout."

They’re leading the West again, rolling along with the second-best record in the AL. Over the past 365 days, their 103-63 record is the best in the majors.

Only slightly less important than their 2012 performance.  I mean in theory I hear what he's saying, and it's kind of too bad that Donaldson didn't make it, but the fact is the A's don't really have many All-Star caliber players.  Ho hum, it happens, they're still a really good team.  This is like an 800 word column (I'm not posting all of it here) that probably should be a 125 character tweet.

And they get one stinking All-Star?

Ah, there are reasons. There always are reasons. 

Spoken like someone who already knows they have nothing to say.  

And I’m guessing that at least one of the injustices — the exclusion of right-hander Grant Balfour, the only AL closer who has not blown a save this season — will be corrected.

Complaining about which RPs belong or don't belong on the roster is the stupidest subset of the already very stupid activity of complaining about players who belong or don't belong on the roster.

Righty Bartolo Colon, the Athletics’ only selection, is scheduled to start next Sunday, two days before the All-Star Game. That alone could open a spot for Balfour, according to the “Sunday Pitcher Rule” in the collective-bargaining agreement.

Great, let's move on to the rest of the non-substance of your argument.

The rule gives pitchers who start the Sunday before the ASG the option of participating or not participating. If they participate, they cannot pitch more than one inning. If they elect not to participate, they are replaced on the roster but treated in the same manner as other All-Stars, and encouraged to attend and be announced at the game.

OK, seriously, can we move on?

So, Colon can take one for the team, creating an opening for Balfour. 


The withdrawals of other Sunday starters or injuries also could lead to extra roster spots. AL manager Jim Leyland alluded to possible adjustments Saturday, saying, “I wouldn’t jump the gun on anything, because things do change.”

Leyland is a piece of shit, but as Rosenthal himself will shortly show us, he made a pretty solid set of choices in assembling his team.

Leyland, of course, will take the hit for the Great Oakland Snub, 


and his five-player, final-man ballot, as we shall see, is absurd. But with his bullpen, all he did was try to balance his left-handers and right-handers.

To try to win the game, because for better or for worse, it's in the interest of an ASG manager to assemble a roster that will win the game, and not worry about finding space for marginal guys who play for good teams simply because of the fact that they play for good teams.

The players elected righties Mariano Rivera of the Yankees and Joe Nathan of the Rangers, overlooking Balfour. Leyland added lefties Glen Perkins of the Twins and Brett Cecil of the Blue Jays, both of whom have been brilliant.

So you're going to refute your own argument?

Balfour has excelled against left-handed hitters, holding them to a .571 OPS, but Perkins has been even better (.526) and Cecil downright absurd (.293). 

OK, yes you are.

The game determines home-field advantage for the World Series. Can’t fault Leyland for choosing the optimal pieces. Can’t fault him at all.


The other Oakland snubs — shortstop Jed Lowrie, 

Maybe having the 5th best season of any SS in the AL, maybe

outfielder Coco Crisp, 

If you really stretch your imagination, you could say he's been a top 8 OF in the AL this year

even third baseman Josh Donaldson 

Already discussed, and while he's awesome, I think it's safe to say Drinky Cabrera and Machado have been awesomer (the latter because of his stellar defense).

— are less egregious. 

Remember the part when he was like "AND THE A'S ONLY GET ONE STINKING ALL-STAR?  THIS IS AN OUTRAGE"?  

The fans elected the Orioles’ J.J. Hardy at short, the players picked the Tigers’ Jhonny Peralta. Crisp missed time with a strained left hamstring, and the fans and players picked six outfielders ahead of him. Donaldson, well, he just got caught up in an unfortunate numbers game.

All correct.

The Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera, naturally, is the fans’ elected starter at third base, while the Orioles’ Manny Machado was the players’ selection. 

I know it's redundant to leave these in when I already addressed it, but it's kind of funny to see him walk everything back, isn't it?

Leyland went with three second basemen, 

All of whom are having seasons so much better than Lowrie or Crisp that it's not even funny.  And Donaldson has been great, but all three of these 2Bs have been better than him too.

choosing the Indians’ Jason Kipnis to go with the fan’s pick, the Yankees’ Robinson Cano, and players’ choice, the Red Sox’s Dustin Pedroia.

But the manager also bypassed Evan Longoria at third, instead picking Ben Zobrist, who offers versatility as a switch-hitter and multi-position player, as his only Ray.

And that's pretty sketchy, because Zobrist is not having a good year (.262/.348/.375), but again, Leyland is trying to win the game.

All that is understandable. 

Thank you for continuing to write nothing at all.

What is not understandable is Leyland’s final-man ballot, which should have been something like this: Donaldson, Longoria, the Angels’ Howie Kendrick, Rangers’ Adrian Beltre and Red Sox’s Jacoby Ellsbury, Daniel Nava or Jose Iglesias.

Except that... say it with me now, Herm Edwards... Leyland is... playing to...

Leyland instead chose five setup relievers — the Jays’ Steve Delabar, Yankees’ David Robertson, Red Sox’s Koji Uehara, Rangers’ Tanner Scheppers and Tigers’Joaquin Benoit. It’s nice to see such pitchers get recognition. But at the expense of worthy position players? Please.

I'll just leave this here.

NL manager Bruce Bochy put together a much more representative and intriguing final-man ballot — the Nationals’ Ian Desmond, Braves’ Freddie Freeman, Giants’ Hunter Pence and Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez. 

That ballot is in no way "more representative" than the AL ballot.  The only way either ballot could be non-representative is if the players on it were shitty (nope), or if they were from the opposite league (nope).  It is intriguing, I guess, if you really care about Puig making the team (which I'm sure he will, but let's not shit our pants over whether or not that happens--looking at you, Papelbon) or if you're intrigued by the idea of good-not-great players like Freeman or Pence maybe making an extra $25K due to a bonus clause in their contracts or something.

That’s the way the ballot is supposed to be used — as a last resort for deserving players (and in the case of Pence, as a reward for one of Bochy’s own).

SHAME ON YOU, JIM LEYLAND.  Rosenthal hopes you encounter a situation next week in which you desperately need another third baseman, but only have a bench full of relief pitchers.  Who will look like the idiot when that happens?  (Note: I promise you that outside of the .001% chance that both Machado and Cabrera get hurt during the game, that is not going to happen)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Just a quick reminder

That sportswriters are complete and total fucking idiots.  That is all.

[Late edit: now I'm the idiot for using a bad link, which is now fixed and supplemented.  Still.  WHAT A BUNCH OF FUCKING MORONS HOLY TIGHTROPING CHRIST]