Friday, October 31, 2014

An Overdue Roundup of the Worst of the Jeter Love

I'm sure you came to this blog today to read something that might make your day better.  Probably you came to read Larry's latest takedown of Simmons, and that seems to do the trick for some people.  But I doubt many of you came here with the intent to make your day worse. I apologize in advance, then, since this post drags up stuff that you had hopefully repressed by now, stuff that hasn't been in the news for a month now, stuff you didn't even want to think about back when it was news.  I'm talking about the ridiculous end-of-year Jeter adulation.  Yes, it was terrible, and if you watched even a few minutes of sports tv or read any sports websites in the month of September, you were subject to a cacophonous cavalcade of catastrophic commendation.

Hopefully we never hear from Jeter again, and he fades into the sunset until he is eventually elected into the Hall of Fame and we have to do another Jeter Month, which is something I'm looking forward to about as much as a car crash.  But it will have to be done, because everyone loves the steely-eyed shortstop so much that their brains turn to mush and they start spewing folderol.

Let's start with Jayson Stark: Ten Astounding Jeter Numbers

3,461. This, of course, is Derek Jeter’s hit total. And holy, schmoly, that’s a lot of hits. Heck, it’s more than Hank Greenberg and Shoeless Joe Jacksoncombined (3,400)

Way to cherry-pick the guy who gave up his age-30 to age-34 seasons to serve in World War II, as well as a guy whose career was ended partially because baseball needed a scapegoat.  Actually Hank Greenberg, in about half as many seasons, won two MVPs to Jeter's zero.  But that's giving the Hebrew Hammer some credit for doing things like hitting home runs, which is unfair because Jeter can't do it.  How about the fact that Shoeless Joe, in about half as many full seasons, led his league in hits as many times as Jeter?  Both of these guys were better baseball players than Derek Jeter.

2,673. Here’s another super-cool number. It’s the number of games Jeter has played at shortstop. And it's not only more games than Ernie Banks and Robin Yount played at short put together, but also the most games by any man in history who played one defensive position and never played anywhere else -- not even in the 19th inning, for one batter. Pete Rose played six positions. Ty Cobb played seven. Stan Musial played five (including pitcher). And Derek Jeter played one position. And only one. Now that’s how it ought to be done. 

This is a great number... to prove how much Jeter is a jerk.  In fact, Mr. Stark's conclusion here is totally wrong.  This is NOT how it should be done.  Frankly, when your team acquires acquires younger and better shortstop, you should move to third base, especially when he's actually better at fielding than you are.  

And besides that, the worst part about this paragraph is that Stark cites these other greats as examples of what not to do... Rose, Musial and Cobb shifted positions so they could help their teams put the best nine guys on the field. Jeter wouldn't even take a few steps to his right.  Not once, not even in the 19th inning for one batter.   

It's a disgrace that Jayson Stark is so eager to praise Jeter that he cites this stat as an example of Jeter's personal amazingness, as though it had nothing to do with his team. As though Derek Jeter personally had the courage and fortitude to only play shortstop for his whole career, while those other Hall of Famers were too weak to do so, or that Jeter was so astoundingly amazing the Yankees had no choice but to ever play him at shortstop for his whole career, even when they paid a quarter of a billion dollars to acquire a better one.  

Heck, you might even argue that playing multiple positions at a big-league level actually makes you a better all-around ballplayer. In my whole life I've never heard anyone equate playing more positions with being a worse player.

1. Finally, there’s this astounding number. According to Elias, it’s the number of games Jeter has played, in his entire career, in which his team, the mighty Yankees, was mathematically eliminated from some sort of race for some sort of trip to the postseason. One meaningless game in 20 seasons? Whoa. On one hand, it would be nuts to argue that was all Derek Jeter’s doing.

So then don't.  You have the chance here to NOT do that, but now you're going to go ahead and do that.  Terrible work here, Mr. Stark

On the other hand, what defines his career better than that? A man who lived for the big game -- and played nothing but big games. For 20 years. What better way to put a frame around the career of one of the greatest shortstops who ever turned a 4-6-3? 

I agree - a guy who consistently played for a really amazing team, a team with 20 straight years of consistently above-average to amazing baseball, and who benefitted, perhaps more than any player in history, from being a long-lasting above-average player who also happened to be surrounded by above-average players.  Has there been any other player who has benefitted as much as Jeter has from being on consistently good teams? 

Enough from Jayson Stark.  Here's a bit from Andrew, a guy who I think once actually posted something on this site.  He pointed me to a bit from Colin Cowherd on the radio: "Jeter was a .300 hitter, but he hit .350 every time he was in the world series . You don't see that with other players in other sports.Jordan didn't score more in the playoffs"

Andrew points out that Jordan's career ppg is 30.1, and his playoff ppg is 33.4. 

It's also worth noting that Jeter did not in fact his .350 every time he was in the World Series.  In fact, his career World Series average is only 12 points higher than his regular reason average, and that his career ALCS average is 53 points lower.  It's  also worth noting that one of Jeter's worst World Series performance overall was his only seven-game World Series (2001).where he hit .118 and did not walk. But I guess he did hit a clutch home run. But you'd think if he were so clutch, he might have helped his team a little more in that series. 

And just because I'm a glutton for punishment, I even went to and found an article by somebody named Tim Healey that could not have had a more inaccurate title, even if it were titled "South Wins Civil War" or "Larry B Ascends Stairs to Parents' Kitchen". It's called "10 Jeter stats that demonstrate his dominance". An accurate title would be: 10 Jeter stats that demonstrate his team's dominance" or "10 Jeter stats that demonstrate his longevity" or "10 Jeter stats that demonstrate his PR team's dominance"

1. Winning percentage: .593 Jeter is the leader in personal winning percentage (minimum of 1,000 games) among active players, his career record of 1,626-1,116 producing that .593 mark.

Ow ow ow ow this hurts my brain so much.  My brains are leaking out my ears.Someday I will understand why people care that Jeter is the leader in personal winning percentage, like he was playing tennis or something. Are we going to add "wins" to the stat column for position players, too?

3. Two hundred-hit seasons: 8. Gehrig is the only other Yankee to collect 200 hits in a single campaign that many times. If you want to use consecutive seasons as a tiebreaker, Jeter twice had streaks of three straight seasons with 200-plus hits, while Gehrig only did that once. (Gehrig fell two 1933 hits shy of a five-season streak.)

Fine, I know that hits is Jeter's marquee stat. And eight 200-his seasons is really good. But the ridiculous thing is that Tim Healey is going to great lengths to show how, in this comparison, Jeter is better than Lou Gehrig, without bothering to mention that Lou Gehrig's chance at a second such streak in 1938 was cut short by the unfortunate and unlucky fact that Gehrig was CRIPPLED BY A TERRIBLE AND DEBILITATING NEUROMUSCULAR DISEASE.  (Aside Try saying that last sentence in your best Norm voice, like this clip). If Larrupin' Lou had been as good as Jeter he wouldn't have let that happen.

Oh, and that Gehrig would have almost certainly had a five-season streak if he had the benefits of Jeter's era, because Lou was playing in a 154-game season. Duh.

News flash to Tim Healey: if you've found a stat that proves that Jeter is better than Lou Gehrig, you're using the wrong stat. Unless you want to use longevity stats to show how much better Jeter was, in which case you're being a total asshole to a guy who might have been given a bad break, but who by all accounts was a much better human being than Jeter was.

7. Parting gifts: 18

Obviously this is a terrible article, and obviously it is the worst thing I've ever read about baseball, but this is even worse than that. Somehow this stat demonstrates Jeter's dominance?

Jeter's early retirement announcement was a savvy PR move. It's the classic getting ahead of the story move, so he could control the narrative, and thus nearly all of the stories were about his historic career, and not his below-average season, which may have contributed to the Yankees' missing the playoffs. And it meant that eighteen teams oughta be ashamed of themselves for puckering up to Jeter and giving expensive presents to a multimillionaire.

I can't even finish this article because it, somehow, actually goes downhill from there.

It's ten AM and I'm all set for a terrible day.  Hope I've made yours worse.

Monday, October 27, 2014


His lead in to last Friday's picks column:

I rededicated myself to understanding football gambling better. I mean, why not? What else was I going to do? One morning, I was killing time power-walking on a treadmill before a doubleheader of The Equalizer and A Walk Among The Tombstones when I came up with a gambling brainstorm: What if there were a better way to figure out NFL records than just wins and losses? For instance, Arizona battled back in Week 1 to beat San Diego 18-17 on Monday night — the Cardinals got the “win” and San Diego got the “loss,” but really, that was an “either/or” game, right? For gambling purposes, there had to be a better way to capture that.

I went through the first few weeks of games and redid everyone’s records, tagging each game as either a legitimate win or loss, an ass-kicking win or loss, or an either/or game. 

There IS a way to capture that: it's called point differential.  (To be fair, this new "system" of Bill's also incorporates some measure of standard deviation that season long point differential does not capture.  To be realistic, thinking that this is some kind of revolution for the world of spread bet analysis is unfiltered idiocy.)

And if anything else happened in that game with gambling repercussions — a comeback win, a blown lead, major dysfunction, whatever — I tagged that, too. And again, I did this because I had an incredible amount of time on my hands.

Well, I'm glad he put that time to good use.  He went 3-11 against the spread (a Redskins cover of +10 tonight could get him all the way to 4-11!) this week.  That's actually kind of hard to do.  Getting that far away from a .500 record really requires a special brand of dumbassery that few possess.  I guess Bill has it.  

If you are the kind of person who sincerely listens to what Bill Simmons has to say about gambling, or anything else, you're fucking stupid and you need to do something about that.  Also, with the MNF game still in progress, underdogs went 6-8 against the spread this week, putting them at an even 58-58 for the season.  The Year of the Dog rolls on.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Super top secret NFL gambling update; Simmons explains the science of NBA watchability (Part 1)

First, a quick update: underdogs went 8-7 against the spread last week and now stand at 52-50 on the season.  Is it the Year of the Dog?  IT IS THE COUSINFUCKING YEAR OF THE DOG YOU PUCKERING ASSHOLES.  We'll see what the next few weeks bring, but my guess is this: underdogs will cover about as often as they fail to cover, and anyone who makes picks based on gut feelings developed in August about whether this is the Year of the Dog is a board certified dumbshit who should be ignored, and later thrown down a well.

Meanwhile, in the aftermath of his suspension, Bill has seemingly taken his ball and gone home when it comes to NFL picks columns.  We'll know for sure by this afternoon, but he was unsuspended as of last Thursday but Bill Barnwell still wrote last week's picks column.  This could be ESPN quietly telling Simmons to just stay away from the NFL and focus on the NBA.  It could be Simmons quietly telling ESPN that he'd rather just stay away from the NFL and focus on the NBA.  Or it could be Simmons just being a moody little bitch.  We can't know for sure, but I do know this much: in Simmons's absence, Barnwell sure as hell started sounding like Simmons.  Fucking disappointing.  Here's what I mean--some samples from Barnwell's picks column from two Fridays ago:

I have to admit I was tempted to just make this entire Week 6 preview out of J.J. Watt GIFs from Thursday night’s Texans-Colts game and call it a column. I know that he’s not better at quarterback than Ryan Fitzpatrick, if only because Fitzpatrick has spent his entire career prepping to play quarterback and Watt is built to play defensive line, but if you gave Watt six months’ notice that he was going to be Houston’s quarterback, don’t you think he would have a shot at being pretty good at it?


JETS (+9.5) over Broncos

The referee assigned to this game is 33-year-old rookie Brad Allen, who joined the NFL this year after refereeing in the ACC. I have to admit that he is my new favorite referee, if only because he seems to be taking everything incredibly seriously. Allen makes his various motions for penalties like he just reread the rulebook and practiced against a mirror for hours, like he’s a new teacher being observed by the principal. Here’s his first call, a hold, from Thursday’s Packers-Vikings game:

[gif of very robotic and precise holding call signal from Allen]

That’s incredible! If Dave Chappelle’s white-guy voice could be a holding motion, it would be Brad Allen’s. Compare that to the holding call of a veteran referee like Gene Steratore:

[gif of very casual and lackadaisical holding call signal from Steratore, which still pretty much looks like Allen's]

Steratore is ready to blow this joint, man. By the time he’s grasped his wrist for the hold, he’s already ready to signal the side and get those chains moving. Get in, get out, go home. Allen, meanwhile? He’s grabbing his arm firmly, dropping his elbow all the way to his waist, looking directly into the camera … just textbook stuff. It’s Don Draper and Bob Benson in stripes. I’m excited about the Brad Allen era.

Sure sounds like something Bill would write (and a subject Bill would find fascinating, because other than the NBA, he doesn't care about sports), doesn't it?

In fact, the Eagles have more defensive and special teams touchdowns through five games than any other team in NFL history. Four teams were previously tied for the record with six, most recently the 2003 Chiefs, who were going through the absolute climax of Dante Hall hysteria. Most public schools in the K.C. area shut down as children insisted upon solely communicating by throwing up the X. It was a crazy time.

LOL!  Barnwell also went 4-9 against the spread that week, further evidence that either he's turning into Simmons or he let Simmons write his column for him.

So what about last week? A little more of the same, except that he went 9-4 against the spread, because he's not a fucking idiot. But still, read this shit:

WASHINGTON (-5.5) over Titans

You played SimCity, right? You know, the original SimCity, the one you had on a gigantic 5.25-inch floppy disk, that SimCity. Do you remember how bad your attempts at a metropolis were when you played SimCity as a little kid? They were bizarre, nihilistic works of art.

Residential buildings just slapped next to smokestacks. A decaying commercial zone, victimized by a statistically improbable number of simultaneous earthquakes and Godzilla attacks. Electrical lines building a grid totally unconnected to any power plant. For public safety, six police stations and six fire stations placed directly next to one another next to a road that never loops back on itself and just runs out in the middle of nowhere. Oh, and the totally useful sports stadium, presumably attended by the one poor, confused family who showed up to live in one of your residential zones for a couple of in-game seconds before immediately leaving in a terrified huff.

Washington vs. Tennessee is the football equivalent of that city you created.

Oooh!  But which unwatchable and irrelevant 1970s movie is that game like?  Which season of The Challenge is it like?

Texans (+3) over STEELERS

OK. It’s time to talk about this ubiquitous J.J. Watt commercial that’s taken over television in the past two weeks.

[entirely too long seven breakdown of this piece of uninteresting corporate advertising follows, treating the ad like it was written by Hemingway and containing zero good jokes along with a bunch of dumb references and rhetorical questions]

Look, I know Barnwell has always been prone to throw a couple mediocre jokes into his analysis.  But during Simmons's suspension, it sure seemed to get a lot worse.  I hope Barnwell goes back to being the old Barnwell soon.  Simmons-Barnwell hybrid sucks ass.  Anyways, Simmons did do his fucking dumb as rocks guess the line podcast this week, so maybe that means he's back; but he also didn't tweet a Thursday night pick, so who the fuck knows.  Whatever the outcome, if it results in less Simmons in the world, it's a good thing.

Anyways, Simmons has been busy lately; the suspension appears to have mercifully cut his NBA team preview video series off after he and Jalen Rose got through the 11 worst teams in the league.  (I say mercifully, because holy fucking flying cats, did you try to watch any of those?  That shit wouldn't fly on local access cable at 4 AM. Other than the money, why is Jalen Rose working so much with this numbnuts?  Oh, that's right.  It's probably about the money.)  But he and Zach Lowe have released their annual "watchability rankings" for NBA teams, designed to let League Pass subscribers know which teams are worth checking in on from time to time.

For once, I'm not going to hammer on the premise of a Simmons article.  This is actually something worth writing (not necessarily by Simmons; but by somebody).  TNT and ESPN show so many goddamn unwatchable games it makes steam come out of my ears.  It's bad enough that some of the good teams from big cities play ugly basketball, like the Bulls and Rockets.  It's 1000 times worse that regardless of what a shitpile the Lakers and Knicks are, they're each going to be on national TV like 25 times this year.  It's horrid.  The Lakers, now that Nash is out for the year, could very well lose 60 games.  The Knicks should make the playoffs, but as I've ranted about before, that's because of the joke of a division they play in.  So for fans that don't want a Cavs/Nets or Thunder/Lakers blowout to be their only TV option, League Pass makes sense (even though it runs pretty poorly a lot of the time), and thus we might as well have a watchability ranking.

Of course, whether this is a good idea and whether it is executed competently are two entirely different things.  And not even the presence of Lowe is enough to keep this from turning into a blimp crash.  Come one, come all, marvel at Bill's obvious idiocy even when he is talking about the one sport he kind of knows, he's discussing a reasonable topic, and he has an awesome wingman.

BUT FIRST!  Someone decided that Bill "Voice Made For Photography" Simmons needed more TV time.

VIEWING ALERT!!!!! At 7 p.m. ET on Thursday (10/23), The Grantland Basketball Hour makes its triumphant debut on ESPN.

I didn't watch!  And I never will!

Your hosts? Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose, who will be joined by Jeff Van Gundy, Doc Rivers, Michelle Beadle, Zach Lowe and rappers Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur. We made up only two of those guests.

LOL!  Those last two guys were brutally murdered!

Watch us live, add us to your DVR season pass, do whatever you need to do.


One hour of free basketball chatter, 7 p.m. Thursday, ESPN. See you there.

I'd rather eat glass.

Last year’s League Pass Rankings kicked off with Simmons writing, “If I watch more than 75 total minutes of the Suns this season, I’m gonna feel like I failed.”

You failed years ago, buddy boy.

So clearly, you came to the right place for intelligent analysis and an all-encompassing feel for the league. Our mission remains the same: Figure out which 2014-15 NBA teams have the best chance to steal our attention, night after night, as we’re watching five games at once. Both Simmons and Lowe awarded all 30 teams between 0 and 10 points in each of the following five categories.

Using categories and a points system is a fine way to do this kind of thing.  A fine way, that is, until Simmons then spends most of the article questioning the legitimacy of his own horseshit manufactured rankings, that are a function of his own fucking system.  It makes me want to stick a fork in an outlet.

Category No. 1: Relevance/Zeitgeist
Interpreted as “relevance to the playoff picture,” 


“relevance to NBA junkies on the Internet,” 

What does that mean?  I'm not saying it doesn't exist as a separate concept from relevance to the playoff picture, but what the fuck does it mean?

and “general day-to-day relevance.” 

I do know what that means.  It means absolutely nothing.  It was included here to make Bill feel like he's been extra smart and analytical.

Category No. 2: Hoops Nerdgasm Potential

I don't think nerds of any kind, including sports nerds like me, should embrace the term "nerdgasm."  That makes us even less likely to ever get sex without paying for it.

Covers special events like, “OH MY GOD, Phoenix is playing Bledsoe, Dragic and Isaiah Thomas right now with Gerald Green at the 4 and a Morris twin at center!” 


— as well as everything Pop and Carlisle are doing on a daily basis, 

Meh.  Those guys are both great coaches, but is it really particularly titillating to see what lineups they've constructed or which players Pop gave the night off?  This isn't really "nerdgasm" (last time I'm typing that, by the way) material.  It's more like, stuff that you appreciate when you see how many games the Spurs and Mavs are winning.

everything that Stan Van Gundy and David Blatt might try this season, and everything that gets Haralabob Voulgaris fired up on Twitter (in a good way). 

SVG is a great coach but the Pistons are trash.  I don't think he can prevent that.  David Blatt is a rookie NBA coach who will probably make a bunch of dumb mistakes this year.  Not seeing the appeal.  Voulgaris is a guy who writes sometimes funny tweets about the NBA.  If you're watching games because you hope he's going to tweet about them later, your priorities are backwards.

If you’re coaching so creatively that you coax Zach into one of those 4,500-word columns with 15 embedded YouTube clips, you’ll score highly here.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.  Not that Lowe isn't a good writer, just that, meh, I watch games to watch games.  I'm not a coach.  I don't need to be impressed by the 14 different screen and roll variations the Cavs draw up, in part because I won't recognize them as the game is happening anyways.  And this should go without saying, but neither will Bill.  He may not even recognize them in the YouTube clips AS he's reading the Lowe article.

Category No. 3: League Pass Minutiae
Covers the quality of announcing teams (a.k.a. The Sean Elliott Mute Button Factor) and sideline reporters (we love you, Abby Chin!), as well as uniform colors, crowd behavior, any wide shot of empty seats on TV (sorry, Miami), the home arena’s floor pattern, the mascots, and for a second time, the mascots. You know, all the stuff Zach obsesses over.

Judging based on uniform colors, crowd behavior, shots of empty seats, or home arena floor patterns is completely retarded.  But mascots rule, and I have absolutely no problem with judgment based on announcing teams.  Any non-Boston hockey fan who's ever been subjected to Jack Edwards knows that a terrible announcer can ruin a game with his or her buttfuckery.  (Fortunately, to my knowledge there is not a single local NBA announcer who comes within a mile of Edwards.)

Category No. 4: Individual Player Appeal
If you employ the likes of LeBron, Durant or Curry on your team? You’re looking great for this category. If you revolve your team around Boogie Cousins? You’re looking great with one of us and shockingly decent with the other one. But if your only exciting player is missing the entire 2014-15 season with a broken leg? You might be looking at a Robert Parish — a.k.a. the double zero.

HE WAS A CELTIC GO FACKIN' C'S!  This category is pretty dumb in the context of this article, as that is the exact kind of thing a "hoops nerd" should NOT care about.  First of all, watch good teams because they're good, regardless of whether they're the Clippers or the Spurs.  Second of all, pretty much every guard and small forward in the NBA is exciting to watch if you're a basketball fan, as are a good number of the big men.  If you judge a game's watchability on OOOH DO THEY HAVE A GUY WHO DOES CRAZY DUNKS AND CAN HIT 3s, then you should watch every game.

Category No. 5: Unintentional Comedy/Irrational Affection/Personality Intangibles

Turn the Simmonsmeter up to 11.

This intentionally vague category covers moments like “Enes Kanter just took his 10th 3 of the night,” “Byron Scott is defending Phoenix’s 3-guard offense with Jeremy Lin, Nick Young and Steve Nash right now,” 

Hey, that's double counting!  We already saw that offense when we ejaculated everywhere back in Category No. 2!

“Boris Diaw is feeling it,” any text or tweet that simply reads “Dante Exum!!!!,” 

Don't text your friends the name of a player who just made a good play.  That's a dumb thing to do.

“Marcus Smart just dove for a loose ball and inadvertently took out the scorer’s table while down 25 with 90 seconds to play,” 


“Giannis is starting at point guard,” 

He's not.

“Dion Waiters is feeling it,” “Dirk just made his seventh straight one-legged fall-away,” “Blake Griffin just

And so on and so forth.  You get it.  This is a fine category, except that like I just said, pretty much every game features guys who can do incredible things, so... just watch.  No need to make a big production out of your pre-watching.

We each scored all 30 teams on our own, then combined those scores into a bigger score that you’ll read below. The lowest possible score? Zero. 

Thank you for clarifying what 0 times 10 is.

The highest possible score? 100. (Hypothetically achieved by the 1986 Celts, 2005 Suns, 2011 Heat and 1982 Lakers.) 


This is getting kind of long, so I'm not going to do a full detailed breakdown.  Below are some LOWlights (lol) from Part 1 of Bill's rankings, which are written as a dialogue between him and Lowe.  I am very glad they chose that format because it makes it easy to tell when something utterly inane was Bill's idea versus Zach's idea.  Not that it would be hard to do if their thoughts were combined together; but this makes things that much clearer.

Re: the Pacers

Simmons: They have to trade David West within the next three months, right? In the Bill and Jalen Preview for the Pacers (coming Wednesday!), Jalen smartly pushes for a West-to-Charlotte trade for former Hoosier Noah Vonleh or former Hoosier Cody Zeller. 

Bill thinks Jalen is so well-spoken.  Also, big thumbs down for the HEY THAT PRO TEAM SHOULD TRADE FOR COLLEGE PLAYERS WHO PLAYED IN THE SAME GEOGRAPHICAL AREA idea fart, regardless of whether it was Jalen or Bill who came up with it.

The Pacers should bottom out for a year and get a meaningful asset for West … right?

ALWAYS TANK WHEN YOU GET THE CHANCE!  NEVER BE AVERAGE!  EVERY TEAM SHOULD BE TRYING TO WIN 82 OR 0 GAMES!  THERE IS NO INBETWEEN!  Well, it's really not that simple ever, or in this case, as Zach will patiently explain.

Lowe: Hmm … West has a $12.6 million option for the 2015-16 season, and it’s the rare option that presents an interesting choice for the player. As a 34-year-old on a semi-expiring deal, West just doesn’t have a lot of trade value. I don’t see the Hornets giving up a potential good young big for him, but they are the right sort of team for a trade like this — a longtime sad sack with some irrational exuberance and/or desperation to accelerate their rise.

Right.  So West 1) is old and declining, so less of an asset in that sense, and 2) isn't actually an expiring deal, so way less of an asset in that sense.  Thus maybe it's not in Indiana's interests to go into the season saying WE GOTTA UNLOAD THIS GUY.  ASAP.  DON'T CARE WHAT WE GET FOR HIM.

Simmons: We disagree — it’s difficult enough to find a playoff-proven veteran/locker room leader that West’s value might be higher than you think. 

"Hey you, guy who knows more about the NBA than I could ever possibly know about anything--you are wrong.  West is a PROVEN 15 and 7 guy in the playoffs.  People forget that."

I would flip Zeller for him in 2.2 seconds. Imagine Charlotte becoming a genuine contender. 

Because they traded Zeller for West?  Did the Pacers throw in a magically healed Paul George who's ready to play right now, too?

And even better, imagine West and Lance improbably reuniting. 


If it happens, I hope someone takes a cell phone video of West rejoicing upon hearing that he got traded to a contender … and then realizing that he has to play with Lance again.

Oh man!  That's what sports are REALLY all about!  Viral videos of what athletes do when they're not playing!  Bill needs a job at TMZ.

Re: the Magic

Simmons: Serious question: Would this team win more games with Jacque Vaughn or Mo Vaughn coaching?

Awesome joke.  Straight out of 1997.

Re: the Nuggets

Simmons: I bumped them two points just because marijuana is legal in Colorado — on a night with a low number of games, at least we can watch Denver’s home games and guess which opponents may have wake-and-baked that morning.

LOL!  Marijuana reefers!  That's what some guys who visit Denver will be smoking, you can bet on that!  Remember when that one kid you grew up around who was always getting into trouble started smoking weed at a relatively young age, and would look all high and stuff?  This will be like that!!!!!!

Re: the Celtics

Simmons: What about Rondo for the Derrick Williams/Reggie Evans expirings, Ben McLemore and a top-seven-protected 2015 pick? That trade makes the 2015 NBA season 5 percent more fun — admit it.

NO ONE DENIES THIS.  Rondo could take the Kings all the way to 10th place in the west!  The Celtics would get the better end of the deal!  WHO SAYS NO??????????????

Lowe: I think Boston would do that. 

They're going nowhere fast and Rondo is in the last year of his deal.  You fucking think they might want to pick up McLemore in exchange for someone they don't need and a little bit of expiring money that they also don't need?  But why in the Christ would the Kings do this?  So they can clear slightly more money next offseason?  They're ditching Rudy Gay and the cap might go up, or at least will definitely go up in two offseasons.  They're not just going to hand McLemore to Boston because that would give Bill a case of the warm fuzzies.

But let’s say the cap sticks at the projected $66.3 million for 2015-16, then rises into the mid–$80 million range in 2016-17 — an outcome that is not a foregone conclusion on either side, by the way. That could present Boston with the chance to re-sign Rondo this summer at a number that ends up looking good. I’ve always thought that was the best scenario for them, barring a knockout trade package — to get Rondo back below the max and use him as a lever to draw the next big star to Boston.

Ah, there you go.  THAT'S why the Kings would do it--so they can help Boston achieve their best case scenario with regard to Rondo--trade him for an asset, and then re-sign him after a tanking season and keep the asset.




Re: the Heat

Simmons: Here’s a clip of Dan Le Batard walking the streets of Miami in February.

["Milk was a bad choice" clip from Anchorman, a movie that came out more than ten years ago and was quoted to the point of death as of 2009 or so]


[Same clip, because why not double down on your unfunny and untopical reference?]

Re: the Bucks

Simmons: That’s part of my 2016 sports czar campaign — regular citizens will no longer be allowed to fund stadiums for professional sports owners if those owners spent the past two years destroying a players’ union in a one-sided lockout, creating an owner-friendly salary structure and doubling/tripling the value of their franchises with the latest media rights megadeal. The good people of Wisconsin shouldn’t spend ONE PENNY on that new stadium. Tell those billionaires to screw off.

Simmons, still pandering to Bucks fans after all these years because 50 diptards wrote the owner an email asking them to hire Bill for the front office.  Kind of sad.  Really sad, actually.  Related note: fuck NBA owners.  At least Bill and I can agree on that.

Re: the Hawks

Lowe: And yet despite all this — all the beauty of Mike Budenholzer’s system, all the talent on hand — you ranked them 10 spots lower than I did. Nothing divides us like the Hawks and Grizzlies. The Hawks are a delight to watch, and they have an awesome new court. Also, should we call Mike Scott the regional manager? The office manager? Does going by “Mike” instead of “Michael” invalidate this? The character Michael Scott was awful at basketball, but he was a chucker — just like Mike Scott!

Lowe wanted to make sure he got in on the untimely and unfunny references game.

Simmons: Why not just call him “The Office”? 


Would you consider Charlotte a 2015 contender if they flipped Noah Vonleh AND Cody Zeller for Al Horford? Who says no? Sorry … you know I have to do this every 1,200 words. It’s part of my contract.


Simmons: Two pectoral tears, a racism scandal, a crazy ownership situation and possible tanking … maybe the Hawks ARE ranked correctly.

OH!  Thank goodness.  I was worried that the arbitrary ranking system you invented for this column might have produced some incorrect outputs.  Good to see it's functioning flawlessly.  NEWS FLASH ASSHOLE, IT'S YOUR SYSTEM.  YOU DON'T LIKE IT, JUST CHANGE IT AND RANK THE TEAMS HOW YOU WANT TO.  STOP DIDDLING YOURSELF AND JUST WRITE ABOUT BASKETBALL.  FUCKING TITS.  I HATE THIS GUY.

More from part 2 of this Simmons/Lowe "discussion" next week.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bill's Guide to Gambling (alternate title: How to Lose Money By Being Stupid), Part 3 of 3

Whoa, I kind of took a break there.  I figured that Bill was on a break (check his Instagram for awesome pictures of him golfing!  Actually maybe don't bother), so I might as well take one too.  Here's what I learned: blogging is fun.  Let's finish Bill's comprehensive gambling guide, since he's back from suspension tomorrow.

I'd like to say for sure that even if I were hired to work at Grantland like Bill Barnwell (who did a slightly-less-awful-than-Simmons job of making picks in Bill's absence), I wouldn't turn into a Simmons disciple, but I can't, because you literally couldn't pay me to work at Grantland.  At every salary level reasonably able to be offered by a somewhat popular sports website owned by a big media company, I would sooner panhandle than work for anything associated with ESPN.  But I won't say "You couldn't pay me enough" to work there.  Because you know what?  For $1,000,000 per second, I will happily sell my soul to Disney.  No problem.  Just give me the contract.

OK, back to Simmons.  Underdogs went 13-16-1 since my last post, making them 44-43 on the year.  So remind me--is it the year of the dog?

Rule: Don’t forget — it’s the Year of the Dog!!!

Ohmygod it is!  It's the year of the dog!!!!!!

Write it down! YEAR OF THE DOG!!!!!!!!! Got it?

I literally did!  I literally just did!!!!  Where is my free money?!?!?!?!?!

Before we hit the rest of the Week 1 picks, I wanted to mention my “circle” theory 

About as useful as my "Larry B has a huge penis" theory.

that I keep bringing up in podcasts but haven’t properly explained in print. 

Ah, THAT'S the problem with whatever half-baked waste of pixels he's about to spew--it hasn't been explained in PRINT.  Finally!

We don’t have legitimate NFL juggernauts along the lines of the early-’90s Cowboys anymore; the Salary Cap Era makes it impossible. 

This is true.  He should have just ended the article right here.

By January, every playoff team just hopes they became one of the seven or eight contenders with a chance to win the Super Bowl.

This is not true.  He should have ended the article back there.  Sure, some pretty good teams (2011 Giants, 2012 Ravens) just want to hang around for as long as they can and sometimes it works out.  Then there are really awesome teams (2012 Broncos) that flat out fall apart when the chips are down, and specifically, fall apart because they fail to execute, not because "the league has too much parity boo hoo!"  This being a Simmons article, though, I suppose the oversimplification of something fairly complex is to be expected.  TEN NBA TEAMS WILL CONTRACT BY 2012.  WHO SAYS NO.

Think of it this way: You always leave an NBA season saying, 

Think of it this way: if you are writing a guide to gambling on the NFL, what's the first thing you want to do?  Yes, that's right, you took the words right out of my brain: you start babbling about the NBA.

“The best team clearly won,” with very few exceptions (2013 and 1988 being the most recent). 

Even for Bill, this is staggeringly retarded.  I'm not even sure I want to go into explaining all the times between 1988 and 2013 that the "clear" "best team" did not win, because I want to go to bed before 4 AM.  The 2011 Mavericks were clearly better than the Spurs, Bulls and Heat?  The 2007 Spurs were clearly better than the Mavericks and Suns?  The 2006 Heat, with all of their 52 wins, were clearly better than the Pistons or Spurs?  And so on and so on and so on, perhaps most glaringly demonstrated by the 1995 Rockets, who went 47-35 and finished 6th in the West (Hakeem started 72 games, by the way, so it's not like they were hampered by an injury to their HOFer), but who were apparently "clearly" the best team in the league.  Holy dinosaur shit, this is bad, even for Bill.  

You always leave an NFL season saying, “One of the best teams caught a few breaks, took care of business and deserved to win.” 

Back to being right, except you can replace "an NFL" with "a sports season of any kind at pretty much any level."

Most of it makes sense, but not all of it: the Helmet Catch, 


Rahim Moore, 

Take it from this Broncos fan: it makes perfect sense.  Moore was a 2nd year safety who was on the team for his hitting and run support, not his coverage.  He never should have been on the field for that play.  It's really not particularly surprising that he got beat deep on that play.  Flacco threw that pass like 90 yards in the air.

Kyle Williams, 

The dude fumbled a couple of times.  He's not currently on an NFL roster.  It's not like he was revered for his non-fumbling ways prior to that NFC championship game.  It was chilly and damp that evening.  This is not nonsensical in any way.

Santonio Holmes dragging his feet … 

You mean an awesome athlete make a great catch?  THE BASKETBALL EQUIVALENT OF THIS WOULD NEVER HAPPEN, EXCEPT IN 2013 AND 1988 (I didn't mention it earlier, but of course him listing that year is a dig at the Lakers because of course it is; they won more games than anyone in the NBA that year but were CLEARLY NAWT THE BEST TEAM even though they were defending champions).  THE BASKETBALL ARIZONA CARDINALS WIN THAT SUPER BOWL 10 TIMES OUT OF 10. 

I mean, in the words of Tony D’Amato, it really is a game of inches.

Someone give this man a Pulitzer.  How many seconds do you think he spent on that line?  Four?  Zero?  Did his editor add it for him, just to see if anyone would notice? 

So you want to break into that January circle. Seven contenders usually do it, then there’s always that eighth late bloomer/sleeper/surprise team that unexpectedly crashes the party. 

No.  No.  That's not at all an accurate characterization of how the NFL playoffs work.  Fuck off and die, you hack.  

We’ll call that team the Wonk Team, 


since things always get wonky as soon as the Wonk Team reveals itself. 

2013's Wonk Team: the Decatur Staleys!  Watch out, NFL!

Check out how the last seven seasons played out. (Teams got two asterisks if they won the Super Bowl and one asterisk if they lost the Super Bowl.)

2013: Denver (13-3, alpha dog),* Seattle (13-3),** New England (12-4), San Francisco (12-4), Carolina (12-4), New Orleans (11-5), Cincy (11-5), San Diego (Wonk Team).

I hate that I'm even engaging on this, but Kansas City was clearly the wonk team, and they lost their first playoff game, because they weren't that good.  That is a common characteristic of what I'm assuming Bill calls "wonk teams," and just because the GREATRIOTS lost a Super Bowl to a #6 seed mediocre Giants team seven years ago, now all of a sudden we get to read about how wonk teams always gum up the works.  Sure, Seattle and Denver were pretty clearly the best teams in the NFL last year, and they met in the Super Bowl, BUT WHAT ABOUT THE WONKY CHARGERS?

2012: Denver (13-3, alpha dog), Atlanta (13-3), New England (12-4), Houston (12-4), San Francisco (11-4-1),* Seattle (11-5), Green Bay (11-5), Baltimore (Wonk Team).**

Hey, look at that!  The division champion Ravens, who kicked the shit out of the Patriots in New England after squeaking by the Broncos, just happen to be a Wonk Team (tm)(patent pending).  What a surprise!

2011: Green Bay (15-1, alpha dog), New England (13-3),* New Orleans (13-3), San Francisco (13-3), Baltimore (12-4), Pittsburgh (12-4), Houston (10-6), NY Giants (Wonk Team).**

Same for the 2011 division champion Giants, who were obviously a wonk team, while the terrible mediocre Texans were not!  Funny how that works!  I can't even go through the rest of this list.  If you want to develop brainrot, by all means, be my guest.

2010: New England (14-2, alpha dog), Atlanta (13-3), Pittsburgh (12-4),* Baltimore (12-4), New Orleans (11-5), NY Jets (11-5), Chicago (11-5), Green Bay (Wonk Team).**

2009: Indy (14-2, alpha dog),* New Orleans (13-3),** San Diego (13-3), Minnesota (12-4), Dallas (11-5), Green Bay (11-5), Arizona (10-6), NY Jets (Wonk Team).

2008: Tennessee (13-3, alpha dog), Carolina (12-4), Pittsburgh (12-4),** NY Giants (12-4), Indy (12-4), Baltimore (11-5), Philly (9-6-1), Arizona (Wonk Team).*

2007: New England (16-0, alpha dog),* Green Bay (13-3), Dallas (13-3), Indy (13-3), San Diego (11-5), Jacksonville (11-5), Seattle (10-6), NY Giants (Wonk Team).**

From 2007 through 2013, the alpha dog made three Super Bowls and lost all three … and the Wonk Team won four Super Bowls and lost a fifth. That makes no sense whatsoever, 

Sure, the teams that won the Super Bowl were good teams that maybe dropped a couple regular season games they shouldn't have, but had great QBs (some would say ELITE in the case of one Joe Flacco) and played their best during the playoffs.  This makes no sense, if you're fucking stupid.  If you have an IQ over 70 it's pretty unsurprising.  QUICK, BRING UP ANOTHER HALF BAKED THEORY THAT'S PATENTLY IDIOTIC!  IT MIGHT SAVE THIS IDEA!  

but it also makes SOME sense if you believe that (a) the “Nobody Believes In Us” factor matters way more than we realize, 

/finger gun to the head blowing own brains out motion

and (b) the NFL playoffs are a freaking crapshoot.

They are.  Like the playoffs in any American pro sport.  Since I am an AMERICUNN I love me some high stakes playoff drama, but I have to admit, European soccer (for all its insufferable fans and dumb idiosyncrasies) kind of has a good thing going with the whole no playoffs thing.  Really, do we need to keep letting 86 win MLB wild card teams win the World Series?

Here’s what my 2014 circle looks like: I’m locking down Seattle (my 2014 guess: 14-2), New England (12-4), Denver (12-4), San Diego (11-5), New Orleans (11-5) and Cincy (11-5) as my six true contenders. 

Disappointingly reasonable guesses, even if the Saints look crappy and the Bengals suddenly look shaky.  I can't believe the damn Patriots got their act together yet again.  I hope Brady throws a 99 yard pick six that costs them a playoff berth in week 17.

The seventh contender: the NFC North champ (Green Bay or Chicago are both going 10-6 and it will come down to the 17th tiebreaker). And for the Wonk Team, let’s go with either Green Bay (if it’s a wild card) or A Team Coached By A Harbaugh Brother. That’s right, San Francisco and Baltimore — I’m looking at one of you to get your wonk on.

By which he means, both of those teams are good, so TRY NOT TO SHIT YOUR PANTS if one of them does well in the playoffs, because HOLY SHIT NO ONE BELIEVES IN US EXCEPT EVERY PUNDIT WHO BELIEVES IN EVERY TEAM ON A WEEK TO WEEK BASIS.

One more note: I don’t think San Francisco AND Green Bay will make the playoffs. 

They will.

At gunpoint, I’d say Green Bay is in, San Fran is out … and Baltimore will be the Wonk Team. My other three playoff teams: Tampa, Indy and Philly. So there you go.

I can't dump on him too hard because so much of this is actually somewhat reasonable, but Jesus, the Bucs?  Why?  The Lovie Smith factor?  Mike Glennon?  Hard to understand what he was going for there, until you realize he has his head up his own ass most of the time.

Why didn’t I decide on a Wonk Team to win it all? 

Because wonk teams don't exist?  Because it's idiotic to say a 9-7 team will win the Super Bowl?  It doesn't matter, no one gives a shit about your consistently shitty predictions?

I believe the Seahawks are talented enough and hungry enough to become our third back-to-back champs since 1994. 

How he managed to not make the cutoff 1999, and point out that only New England has repeated since then, is beyond me.  Maybe he actually is changing.

Unlike so many other defending champs, they didn’t lose three or four key free agents; they didn’t get fleeced of their slightly overqualified assistant coaches; they didn’t have to overpay any of their Super Bowl heroes; and they actually might be more explosive than last season because of Russell Wilson (edging closer and closer to his prime) and Percy Harvin (finally healthy). 

Meh, mostly reasonable, but after 6 weeks, it looks like Wilson is kind of bumping against his ceiling already, the defense is still great but no longer devastating, and Harvin isn't a huge difference maker.

They have the best home-field advantage in any sport. 

#hottaek!  Not that it's a dumb taek, it's just 1) been said like 50,000 times in the last 5 years by everyone, and 2) every good team has a good homefield advantage; that Seattle's seems to be a little bit better than most really isn't a "win the Super Bowl" kind of difference maker.

And best of all, everyone writes off defending champs for all the reasons mentioned earlier — we just assume the NFL is too much of a crapshoot, and that you’re never getting that lucky twice.


You know what? That’s awesome for the Seahawks. In a weird way, they’re almost the “Nobody Believes In Us” champs. 

This is the stupidest line in this whole column; pundits and fans everywhere picked the Seahawks to repeat.  But Bill has decided that didn't happen, with no evidence to support this contrarian position presented, because it fits better with his narrative.  Bill is truly a dickhead.

I have them beating my beloved Patriots in the Super Bowl, followed by four straight months of my dad complaining, “I can’t believe Pete F​-​-​-ing Carroll just beat us in the Super Bowl.”

If the Patriots make it to the Super Bowl, I will stop paying attention to sports forever.  Don't let me down, rest of the AFC.  I kind of like sports.

More from Barnwell/Simmons later.