Friday, October 31, 2008

0 comments Holy Crap, It's All Over and They're Done!

Jeff Goodman, who looks like Corky from "Life Goes On" in his blog picture, is deeply concerned about the North Carolina Tar Heels ability to win the National Championship. He is in full panic mode.


What could have changed his mind when the Tar Heels are #1 in the country in all the preseason polls and are considered the top men's college basketball team in the country and are having wonderful things written about them? Things like this, this, and this.

First the top-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels lost Marcus Ginyard, their top defensive player, to a stress fracture on his left foot. Now they have lost the nation’s top player in Tyler Hansbrough.

First they lose a Ginyard and now they are losing Hansbrough? God, I hope Roy Williams has enough McDonald's All Americans to replace them:

(Roy Williams looks at roster and sees three McDonald's All Americans on the bench, two of which are over the height of 6'8 and the other is a point guard...immediately stops worrying)

Gosh, I feel miserable for UNC. This is probably the end of the program, losing Hansbrough for the entire year.

The folks at North Carolina aren’t saying how long Hansbrough will miss, but it could be a month or so – which could be a significant early hit for everyone’s No. 1 team.

A month. That is it. Tyler Hansbrough is going to be out for a month of the season worst case scenario at the beginning of the year, which is not when the National Championship is decided by the way, and Jeff Goodman has his panties in a wad over this.

This is a set back for the Tar Heels in trying to not lose a game this year, but that is about it, it's not like Tom Brady getting injured for the entire year. It's like Tom Brady getting injured for a month and having David Garrard as his back up.

Without Hansbrough and Ginyard, it’s highly unlikely the Tar Heels run the table in Maui and also knock off Michigan State in Detroit.

That would stink because the team that wins the Maui Invitational is the only team allowed to participate in the rest of the regular season. All the other teams are forced to "finish" their degrees and wait for next year. It's the end of everything! Life has no meaning now. (Slits wrists with Tyler Hansbrough replica first semester sophomore year official transcript)

If anyone has ever read this blog you know I am not a huge Tyler Hansbrough fan for a variety of reasons. He has been tagged on this site more than probably any other player. Let's be honest though, him missing one month at a maximum is going to allow the younger freshman to get more playing time and that is not a bad thing. About February/March you are going to be reading columns by Corky Goodman about how this has actually helped the Tar Heels this season. It's like Goodman is writing columns now just to set up later columns. Kind of a like a bipolar point/counterpoint.

They may even have trouble with Patrick Patterson and Kentucky on Nov. 18 in Chapel Hill.

Other than Patrick Patterson, who the hell does Kentucky have? I would say UNC has 4 more players on their team better than the next best player on Kentucky. So what if they have trouble with Kentucky? It is one loss. So what if they don't win the Maui Invitational? It is just a preseason tournament.

It's not like UNC is going to have sit beside their television on Selection Sunday hoping their 27-5 record and the fact they won the ACC Tournament is going to be good enough to get them in.

Sure, the Tar Heels are deep – but not deep enough to lose two starters without missing a beat.

Yes, they may "miss a beat" or two, but Hansbrough will be back before December and Marcus Ginyard is coming back in late December. Ginyard is a great defender but is quite replaceable on the offensive end. Quit being a drama queen over this. Sure it is a setback, but it's not like UNC does not have two other players who were highly recruited to take his place. This is their chance to shine and they probably will.

Don’t try and tell me Deon Thompson’s going to be able to stop Luke Harangody if the Tar Heels go up against Notre Dame in the championship game of the Maui Invitational.

Shit, UNC will be lucky if they can figure out how to board the plane without Hansbrough. He is their leader, their heart and soul, the man they go to in the clutch, the guy who hits everyone in the ass with a towel in the locker room (without blinking), and just a great human being. Roy Williams and UNC is nothing without Tyler Hansbrough. Nothing!

If UNC loses to Notre Dame, then that is it. Season over. They will never ever have a chance to redeem themselves. Someone needs to put Corky Goodman on suicide watch.

Freshman Ed Davis is already hurt and isn’t physically ready, anyway. Fellow frosh Tyler Zeller doesn't stand a chance against 'Gody.

Ed Davis hasn't even hit puberty yet. His legs are not even fully grown either. He is actually 5 foot 2 inches, not the 6 foot 8 inches everyone reports. He can't ever guard anyone. It's not like he was the #10 ranked recruit for the 2008 recruiting class.

Tyler Zeller won't be able to guard either. All 7' foot 0 inches of him, could never guard him alone. Did you see him in the McDonald's All American game? Well, if you did his six points were just luck.

I wonder if Jeff Goodman is aware that UNC will not only be playing Patrick Patterson and 'Gody, but the rest of the Notre Dame and Kentucky basketball team, which for the record, is not as good as the rest of the UNC basketball team.

You’ve got to feel badly for Psycho T, though, since he decided to return for his senior campaign because, well, he loves college basketball.

He plays with such passion because he loves the game. All the other college basketball players actually hate the game and are forced to play by their mommies and daddies. While these other people are crying in their bed at night at having to play basketball everyday, Tyler Hansbrough is eating basketballs in one bite, humping cheerleaders at center court, and eating dinner every night at the scorer's table because he loves this game so fucking much.

The positive - if there is a positive in all of this - is that the doctors seem to have caught the injury before it got too serious. This is a precursor to a stress fracture, which is what will sideline Ginyard for about two months.

If there is a positive in all this? Maybe the positive is that the other wonderful basketball players who usually have to sit on the bench are going to be able to play now making the team stronger come NCAA Tournament time, which is the only time that really counts in the basketball season. If Carolina makes it, and that is not a huge if, that is all that matters because Tyler Hansbrough will be back on the court in plenty of time to participate.

They had better, because realistically, the Tar Heels aren't hanging a banner without their Psycho T.

They won't have to do anything in the NCAA Tournament without Tyler Hansbrough, he will be back in plenty of time to participate in the tournament, they will lose a maximum of three games with him gone, and they are still the favorites to win the National Championship. Go breathe into a paper bag for a few minutes. It will all be fine.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

1 comments I Disagree With Everything In This Column

Pretty rare feat! I mean, everything, at least for the first half, which I will cover below. Not a single well made argument, all of them are the result of placing a "wtf" sandwich in a blender and drinking the whole thing down with breakfast. Introducing Mr. Bizarro himself, Mike Florio.

10-Pack: Biggest blunders at NFL season's midpoint

There's enough crazy for this post in just the first four.

1. Giants giving Plaxico Burress a new contract.

It wasn't much of a surprise to learn that the defending Super Bowl champs had given a contract extension to their star wideout on the afternoon of the first game of the regular season. After all, Plaxico Burress had been clamoring for a new deal (despite having three years left on his current contract) for most if not all of the offseason, and there was a chance that, unless the team placated Plax, he'd begin to act like a bigger idiot than we'd ever before seen.

let me be perfectly clear here - Plaxico Burress was fucking awesome last year. Shockey was out, Jacobs was frequently hurt, Manning was generally shaky, and they were not a particulary good pass blocking team. Burress was the one consistant shining light for the offense, and he did it without practising all season due to a practically broken ankle. He finished tied for fourth in receiving TD's and all above him (Housh, Moss, Owens, Edwards) all had other elite offensive players - that was just not true for Burress. You know who was second in receiving TD's (Burress had 12)? Amani Toomer. He had three.

He had 151 of Manning's 251 passing yards in the NFC Title game (let that sink in for a bit), while Brandon Jacobs ran for just 67 yards. Saying he single handedly willed them to the Superbowl is a bit of a stretch, but it's plausable. This guy was an unsung hero, in the truest sense, if any team owes any player, anything in the NFL, it's the Giants and Burress, let's make that perfectly clear. He also leads his team in yards and TD's, despite missing a game.

Then, several weeks later, we learned that Burress already had been acting that way, as evidenced by reports of 40 or 50 fines since he joined the team, which culminated in a two-week suspension (later reduced to one week) after he didn't show up for work the day after a game.

So why did the Giants give the guy more money?

because he's AWESOME. I am willing to give Burress a massive benifit of the doubt based on last year, and you know, you just know, there's another side to this story.

At a time when the Giants aren't afraid to hold firm even if it means missing out on the services of guys like Michael Strahan and Tony Gonzalez, it's amazing that the team rewarded Burress in light of all the things the team knew -- and that the rest of us generally didn't.

raise your hand if you would prefer Tony Gonzalez or Michael Strahan (a RETIRED Michael Strahan I might add) to Plaxico Burress? You are the Sarah Palin's of the NFL, congratulations.

Most recently, the Giants benched Burress for more than a quarter of Sunday's win at Pittsburgh due to missing injury treatments. Unless he finally figures out the connection between his actions and the consequences for them, he'll continue to be more of a liability than an asset.

leads a 6-1 team in yards and TD's, I think the Giants will live. Thanks.

2. Saints trading for Jeremy Shockey.

The Giants' misguided decision to pay Burress was counterbalanced by a grifting of the Saints, who sent a second- and fifth-round pick to New York for unwanted tight end Jeremy Shockey.

and so we begin the worship at the alter of draft picks.

It's like having someone pay you $1,000 to take away your trash.

it's nothing like that, at all. Ugh, so condescending and self satisfied.

Shockey, when healthy, is a talented player. But he never has functioned effectively as a member of a team.

Really? Really? Really?

"But it highlights the sizable void that the injured Shockey has left behind as a player and a fiery leader, a space that the unsung and understated Boss will try to partly fill...Boss called Shockey “a great friend and a great mentor...It’s not the ideal situation with our starting tight end going down, our team leader going down like that”

Shockey"He's one of our leaders, one of the guys that comes to practice every day,'' quarterback Eli Manning said. "It's going to be tough to overcome that, and we need someone to step up and hopefully one of these rookie tight ends can do that.''

"It's part of the business, part of the risk you take when you go out there, that you can get injured,'' defensive end Michael Strahan said. "Losing Shockey is definitely going to hurt because he's not only an emotional leader and all those things, but he also makes plays for you. He's one of our guys that other teams make sure they account for, and that helps other guys out. I know as much of a competitor he is, it's really going to kill him to watch.''

"Another big issue was the absence of Shockey, which left the question of who would step up as the vocal leader of the offense."

*yawn* Your wrongness bores me Florio, fetch me a new reporter!

Shockey has recently popped off about the handling of his hernia surgery, has already missed several games due to the condition and has not delivered strong performances on the field. The Saints should have kept their draft picks -- especially since an unprecedented number of underclassmen are poised to make a cash grab in 2009, before the NFL imposes a rookie pay scale.

Shockey has not been great, but this is such 20/20 hindsight rubbish, and Florio knows it. So easy to criticise after the fact, and there is still plenty of time to turn it around.

3. Cowboys trading for Roy Williams.

Speaking of squandering picks in next year's talent-heavy draft, the Cowboys gave up a first-, third- and sixth-round pick for a receiver they simply don't need.

Miles Austin is the best receiver ever. Eddie Royal for Andre Johnson! Lack of depth at receiver was a massive need! Maybe the biggest! The defense is awesome, everywhere basically. They have two excellent, well complimented running backs. Until recently the QB position is solid, and the temporary loss of Romo isn't the end of the world (despite what the Chicken Little's of the media). Their O-Line is arguably the best in the league. The one downspot is receiver, they rely very heavily on Owens and Witten, Barber isn't much of a threat out of the backfield (despite the TD last week), Crayton is still inconsistant and Austin et al are thoroughly unproven. The receivers certainly aren't terrible, but relatively, this is a weak link. It's understandable that the Yankees of the NFL would buy now, they wanna win now, if you didn't pick up the subtle hints Einstein.

There's only one football, and the Cowboys have a healthy throng of guys who want to catch it and/or run with it. Adding another guy to the mix made no sense.

something like 60% of all passes went to Owens or Witten last year, I think defenses might have an eye on them man. Might need another target, even occasionally. Good players = good. The Cowboys want to win now, it's fair enough too seeing as they are good, and not many teams look unbeatable, in fact, for the first four weeks, they looked the best team in football, fucking have some balls and go for this championship. You, Florio, are a pussy.

4. Lions firing Matt Millen.

oh yes. Oh God yes. That's the good stuff...ooooooooooooh yeaaaaaaaah.

What's that, you say? How can it have been a blunder for the Lions to fire the guy who should have been fired at least three years ago?

The problem here isn't Detroit's decision to part ways with Millen. It's the timing of it.

No one fires a GM three games into a season. The move does nothing to help the team in the short term.

this is like saying that you shouldn't stop building your lunar rocket ship out of cardboard because it does nothing to help you to get to the moon. Technically it's true, but the cardboard ship sure as fuck wasn't gonna get you there, you may as well get to trying something else.

The early-season dismissal of Millen has given the front-office folk -- who should have been fired with him -- a three-month head start on getting themselves ensconced for 2009.


Fortunately for Lions fans, the team keeps losing...

oh! Now your column makes sense! You think the goal is to lose games! Now I see! No, sorry man, it's to win them, the answer is - to win games. Thus, Shockey is good, so is Burress, Matt Millen is a millstone on the neck of the Lions and Roy Williams also, a good pickup. Winning = good. Losing = bad. Home Runs = good. Outs = bad. Dunn = good. Eckstein = bad.

Everyone on board? Awesome.

Mike Florio? You're on notice - you just made the list.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

6 comments Bill Simmons Forces Me to Follow His Every Step

NBA Preview!

10 minutes after I post my TMQ analysis, Bill Simmons puts out an NBA preview, so of course I immediately read it and though it was not horrible, it was still worthy of a mention. I much prefer his chats, where you get his unfiltered opinion. It is easier to mock him.

If the 2008-09 NBA season were a TV character, it would definitely be Joan Holloway from "Mad Men."

He started the column off with a comparison to something non NBA related to describe the NBA. If Bill Simmons were a columnist he would be the type that takes up 100 words to write something he could write in 20 words.

In 1962, you could take Joan on a date to a diner, and she would order a patty melt, onion rings and a vanilla malt and finish off everything with a smile on her face.

Bill would never be able to take Joan on a date to a diner, she would reject him because he would still be considered lame because he quotes Casablanca and tells everyone about how fast he can drive his car down the strip...but no one has ever seen this. Bill would never be able to pull Joan either, even for one date, Bill would only get Peggy Olson, and trust me, that is not a compliment.

Call me crazy, but I liked the old days a little more.

No shit? You mean the fact you quote 20 year old movies and make the same jokes over and over again, means you like the old days better? If were a movie character I would be Bruce Willis from The Sixth Sense, stepping back realizing something I truly knew, but refused to acknowledge.

People were gaping at her the same way everyone would stare at a UFO if it just randomly landed on the stage. What's wrong with curves? What's wrong with a few female celebs defying the unwritten rule that it's much more appealing to men if they whittle themselves down to an unnatural weight like they're training to fight Brian Chute? Nothing against Courteney Cox, but I walked by her in Hollywood last year, and she was built like a manhole cover. It was genuinely depressing. I miss "Dancing in the Dark" Courteney Cox. You could have ordered her a milkshake or a Guinness without worrying about having it thrown back in your face. And while we're here, if I ever see Lindsay Lohan in person, I just might sob Nancy Kerrigan-style and start screaming, "Why????? Why???????"

If you don't believe now that the Sports Gal is writing portions of Bill's columns, then you are either naive or super naive.

This sounds like a Sports Gal rant if I have ever read one. If not, Bill can never knock the NBA for being the "No Balls Association."

Parity might work for the NFL, but for the NBA's purposes, we're always better off as fans when there are nine or 10 teams that fall somewhere among "wildly entertaining," "very good" and "potentially excellent."

Especially when the Celtics are one of them right Bill? Why is it that teams who are in larger markets always think it is better if there is little parity? If Green Bay was located in New York, we would get 1,000 annual columns about how dedicated and adoring their fans are. Alas, all we get are mentions every once in a while.

After 15 grueling years, we're back to having some curves again.

What he means by this is because his favorite team is good again, the league is obviously in a boom with popularity increasing and the quality of play increasing tremendously as well. All caused by the Celtics winning the championship...and Bill was there to see it. Everything Bill likes is awesome and he has experienced everything great in the world firsthand. Bill's ego has curves.
You may ask yourself, wasn't the league in a boom in the mid to late 90's when the Bulls were winning titles and the league was very popular? How about when the Lakers were winning three straight titles and two of the greatest players ever were playing on the same team? The answer is no. Larry Bird retired 15 years ago and the league has been in a decline since. I am not even sure the league counts any of the titles that Michael Jordan, Hakeem, Shaq, and Kobe have won due to Larry Bird not being around.

Maybe this isn't a good thing if you root for Memphis, New Jersey, Sacramento, Minnesota, Golden State, Charlotte, Milwaukee or the City That Shall Not Be Named, but everywhere else?

Those cities fucking suck so who really gives a shit if they field good teams? Nobody cares, that is the answer. Fuck Milwaukee says Bill Simmons, they did not give him that GM position. Even though, they do have a good history with Lew Alcindor starting his career there and Charlotte once sold out 358 consecutive games. They all suck.

Bill thinks the league would be so much better if there was an "A" League, filled with the Celtics and other older teams and a "B" league filled with teams that he knows nothing about because they are not important enough to warrant a mention.

Why do you think the league was in such good shape from 1984 through 1993?

Because Larry Bird played for the Celtics and the Celtics were a good team, that is why.

(Important note: If the Knicks land Ricky Rubio two years from now, the previous paragraph becomes moot and the Bill Walsh/Mike D. scenario immediately goes back into play. Hey, did the fact that I nearly set up a Google alert for Rubio last week make me a fan or a stalker? Since I held off, I say I'm still a fan. Although that might change when I move to whichever city drafts him. OK, I'm a semi-stalker.)

Somewhere Chad Ford is chuckling to himself welcoming Bill to the dark side and probably wondering, like I am, if Bill has ever seen Ricky Rubio play. The answer? No, because Rubio does not play for the Celtics nor in Los Angeles, but Bill does have a friend who is in upper management with DKV Joventut who says Rubio is going to be an incredible player and his friend also has some really funny stories that Bill could relay to Jimmy Kimmel, if Jimmy will hire him back.

Also, Rubio is eligible to play in the NBA this upcoming year, so Bill may not have to wait two years for this to happen. Don't tell him that though, I can't wait to see him change two years to one year without a mention of how he was wrong.

Remember how excited we were when the NBA briefly shed the "No Balls Association" tag this past February and Dallas (Jason Kidd) and Phoenix (Shaq) swung for the fences?

You mean how excited YOU were that teams finally took your advice and showed some guts and made tough trades after years of writing columns about how more teams should swing for the fences. Then it failed and you are predicting both teams are not going to have championship caliber teams for the foreseeable future, basically hopping off the bandwagon of this idea so it doesn't stick to you? Isn't it ironic that the one idea Bill has lauded for years, has failed miserably? It is not ironic, it shows how much Bill really, really knows about his favorite sport.

Bill Simmons for Bucks GM? Remember this? How much fun would that have been when he has ideas like this?

Well, it didn't work -- the Kidd gamble was doomed from the start, and the Shaq gamble was nullified when Phoenix suffered a colossal Stomach Punch loss in Game 1 of the Spurs series (and by the way, the Suns choked that game away, so I'm not absolving them).

Why was the Kidd gamble doomed from the start? Because it would ruin your half ass No Balls Association theory? I also doubt that Phoenix's gamble was nullified by some magical Stomach Punch theory that you made up. Maybe if you make up some more fake names for things that occurred it won't reflect on the truth that both gambles did not work out because they were not a good idea to begin with.

"Will Oden ever be the guy we thought he would be?" and "Isn't it a bad sign that a 20-year-old franchise center looks and runs like he's 37?"

You don't know how sick it makes me that Oden got hurt last night and Bill may end up being right about Oden being injury prone. I just threw up.

The Cavs are desperate. The LeBron Clock is ticking. I threw out the Michael Redd/Dan Gadzuric for Wally/Sasha Pavlovic possibility in Friday's column.

Milwaukee, consider yourself being really lucky to save yourself from Bill Simmons as your GM. Not only would you have ended up with Wally and Sasha Pavlovic to sit the bench behind Richard Jefferson and Joe Alexander but you get to lose your best player also!

As far as the Cavaliers are concerned with this ingenius trade can't you just see LeBron, Michael Redd, Daniel Gibson, Varejao, and Mo Williams hanging out on the perimeter in the last five minutes of a game, while LeBron gets severly injured attempting to drive to the basket? Granted, this is currently happening now, but it would even be more fun to see Redd a part of it. Can't we all just accept the fact LeBron is leaving Cleveland in 2010?

I would love to see Michael Redd, who requires 45 shots a game, play with LeBron. It would be like a game of H-O-R-S-E except the players are on the same team.

You want a sleeper contender in the East? Check out the goofy team Pat Riley slapped together in Miami. Could a healthy Dwyane Wade win 40 games by himself? Hell, yeah! He's Dwyane Wade! Then you have Michael Beasley (a guaranteed 18 and 8), Shawn Marion (either what he gives them or what they get when they deal him), Udonis Haslem (a playoff-proven banger) … and what if they get something from Shaun Livingston?

If Bill is able to make blanket statements about who "everyone" think is going to be good this year, then I will too. I think the Miami Heat have a 1996-1997 San Antonio Spurs thing going for them. They have a great nucleus of players who can contribute, one certified All Star who had a down year, and now get a top pick in the draft. I think the Heat are the team to watch in the Heat and it would not shock me if they had 55 wins this year. I am not kidding, I really think they could pull this off as long as Michael Beasley doesn't spray paint someone's car or do something else stupid like put Pat Riley in a headlock and mess up his hair.

So Bill's sleeper is really not a huge sleeper in my world.

What is a sunk cost? In financial terms, it's a lost cause -- you're paying for something that has lost its value to you.

I am not kidding, he is about to tell us what a sunk cost is and give us an economic lesson.

I will explain it to you in Bill's terms a little better. A sunk cost is like ESPN signing Bill Simmons for 4 years, realizing he is not progressing as a writer and he has more aspirations of Hollywood, and will never be able to write a decent personal interest story because he is so focused on himself. They want someone who can do this, so they hire Rick Reilly, but they already have Bill Simmons, so they piss off Bill Simmons constantly knowing he won't leave and they have to pay him the rest of the contract he signed. He is a sunk cost.

10. You will regret not fully appreciating Cleveland for swiping Mo Williams from Milwaukee.

Now here's a trade that didn't get enough attention: Cleveland's swipe of Mo Williams from Milwaukee.

That trade would never have happened if Bill Simmons was GM of the Bucks. He would have tried to organize a 4 team 14 player trade that was overly complicated, but he wanted to make it to prove he understands basketball. He would be trying to get a good team together to sign Kevin Durant and draft Ricky Rubio in two years. Unfortunately there is a restraining order against Bill Simmons by Kevin Durant and Bill will not be able to draft Rubio in two years because he entered the draft in 2009.

I think everyone thinks they could be an NBA GM. It seems so easy, get good players, don't sign old and useless players.

11. With Isiah finally gone from the Knicks, Charlotte will assume the mantle as the most frustrated franchise in the NBA.

This depresses me. Charlotte used to be NBA crazy. Thanks George Shinn. I hope when you are burning in Hell and trying to fondle Satan's secretary, someone kicks you in your balls.

I blame a lot of the problems this team has on the need to get a crowd in to watch ex- North Carolina Tar Heels play. The franchise has struggled in its beginning and is having problems drawing crowds. They started drafting ex-Tar Heels who are clearly not going to make it in the NBA (paging Sean May) and decide this is not enough. So they give Michael Jordan, the worst GM not named Isiah Thomas, a high end position and brings in Larry Brown to coach a young team, which Larry Brown hates to coach, and hope that tons of Tar Heel fans come to watch the games. It's not happening and Charlotte is going to lose their second franchise in 10 years because David Stern did not have enough balls to stand up to George Shinn.

The last NBA champ that defended its crown with vigor was the '97 Bulls. They loved being "The Champs."

How do you measure vigor, you may be asking yourself? With the Vigorosity Scale 3000! It measures the vigorosity a team defends its championship with. The '97 Bulls were a 76 on a scale of 1 to 100. This year the Celtics are going to be a 97, as predicted by Basketball Prospectus, defeating by an enormous amount the Spurs annual average vigorosity rating of 13.

The Lakers that won three straight at the beginning of the decade actually scored a 98, but do not count because that would ruin Bill's fake point. Unless he forgot about them in his eagerness to talk about the Celtics, which is also likely.

Either they were saving their legs for the playoffs (the '04 and '08 Spurs); they were overly arrogant and/or battling the usual array of demons that come after winning the title (the Kobe-Shaq teams, the '05 Pistons); or they were battling injuries/age/complacency (the '99 Bulls, '01 Spurs and '07 Heat).

The Kobe-Shaq won three straight NBA Titles, losing only three games in those three Finals! Three straight championships and none of them were competitive NBA Finals. Bill just ignores them because they had been "battling demons." I have to say regardless of the "demons" they definitely defended their title twice with great vigor. They did score a 98 on the Vigorosity Scale two years in a row.

Bill has an insatiable need to make the Boston Celtics special and will literally just make shit up to get to that point.

And then there's this: No team since Magic's last two Lakers teams has enjoyed a title more than last year's Celtics.

This has nothing to do with the NBA and also will have nothing to do with how they defend their title. Absolutely nothing.

I don't think the Celtics will win a second straight title, but they will kill themselves trying. And that's really all you can ask for.

I hate to take a piss in Bill's cereal but if they don't win the NBA Title this year, that won't count as having defended the title at all. They will be just like the every other team who won one NBA Title and then crapped out the next year. Sure they may play hard to defend it, but that really means absolutely nothing.

Important note: My dad hated the move. Hated it.

Not an important note: Anything Bill's father thinks.

"The whole point is to win a title," Dad kept saying. "I don't care about 2012. I might not be around in 2012! I care about 2009. We would have repeated with Posey. Instead, I have to watch Tony Allen for two more years? Put this in your column: We should have re-signed James Posey. Huge mistake. These guys won a title and decided they were geniuses -- it's just like what happened with the Red Sox."

Clearly idiocy runs in the family. First, J.S. had described incredibly well how James Posey is worth 11 wins this year, so the Celtics should have re-signed him. I mean come on, he is the glue to the team, it's not like you can just sign somebody before the season and get that type of know, even though that is exactly what the Celtics did last year with Posey. He is a one of a kind player.

Also, what is with the Red Sox bashing by Bill's papa? The Red Sox management have completely set that team up to be in contention for the next five years. They did not decide they were geniuses, they just made smart short term moves that will benefit them in the long term and accumulated draft picks while making smart draft choices along the way. Apparently Bill's papa does not stick to the grace period after a championship where you can not whine about a team.

Ouch. I agree with Dad on one thing: The Celts probably would have repeated with Posey.

No, they would have won 11 more games with him, he would have quit basketball, found Osama Bin Laden in late July, and finally revealed himself to be Christ in early October. That is what would have happened if they had resigned Posey. Stupid move.

So let's say the Lakers win the title this year. If you're Kobe, and you have nothing left to prove, and your NBA odometer is running close to 1,100 games ... why not make a Pele-like jump overseas for twice as much money and 10 times the attention and become a global superduperstar?

I can't believe Bill really thinks Kobe would somehow become more popular playing outside of the United States. America is so egotistical we ignore any person who plays overseas until they play over here. So by jumping to Europe Kobe pretty much gives a big "F you" to American basketball and becomes an afterthought over here. Sure he may be big in Europe, but this will in no way improve his chances to be known as the best basketball player ever, which is his overall goal. I don't see him doing it.

F. Chad Ford watching a Nets-Grizzlies game this winter, seeing Yi Jianlian and Darko Milicic awkwardly bouncing off one another like bumper cars in an amusement park for a few minutes, then sadly making himself a pina colada in a giant half-coconut.

I am sorry chairman of the Ricky Rubio Fan Club, what did you say?

J. The ongoing "I still can't believe I talked myself into a head coaching job" look on Vinny Del Negro's face. Vinny, we can't believe it either.

I remember Vinny playing for NC State and me making fun of the way he shot foul shots. Whether it translates correctly or not, I still like calling him Vinny of the Black.

I am in love with Eric Gordon's jump shot. I want to marry it. I want to have kids with it. I will go to at least one practice or shootaround this year just to see him hoist 200 of them. And by the way, the kid is going to be great -- he's bigger than I thought, and when he drives to the lane, defenders just bounce off him. He will end up being the third-best guy in that draft.

Bill Simmons: If Boston had not won the championship last year there is a good chance I would have used a Boston Bruin-esque excuse to become a LA Clippers fan.

If Gordon becomes a perennial All Star I bet Bill erases his entire archive of Celtic columns and starts talking about how he can switch teams because the Celtics made moves he did not agree with that hurt the team. Look for this in 2011.

20. We will see LeBron win the Finals MVP as well.

My pick: Cleveland over New Orleans in the 2009 Finals. You will remember it as the first LeBron/CP3 Finals some day, a seminal moment in the league's history, the season when a new generation of stars symbolically moved the previous regime out of the way.

You know he does not believe this. He thinks the Celtics are going to repeat, he just doesn't want to jinx them. Even though he does not believe in that type of thing of course.

The NBA ... where rejuvenation happens.

ESPN...where only shit like Bill Simmons' gets printed and becomes popular because he has the co-dependent relationship with the 18-25 crowd that makes them both feel relevant.

0 comments TMQ is D-U-M

There is not a great proliferation of shitty articles out there, so I have decided to take another shot at TMQ. My two basic problems with TMQ are that it never makes sense to me and it is way too like 10,000 words. Also, he is overly stupid and I don't like that.


Right now only 10 of the 32 head coaches in the NFL had been a pro or big-college head coach before attaining their current postings: Bill Belichick, Tom Coughlin, Tony Dungy, Herm Edwards, Jim Haslett, Mike Holmgren, Dick Jauron, Wade Phillips, Mike Shanahan and Norv Turner.

What TMQ (I hate it when he calls himself that), is trying to say is that teams need to hire coaches with head coaching experience. Hopefully everyone can see the flaw in his reasoning immediately. Any head coach has got to be a first time head coach at some point, regardless of the level of play, and if a person has proven they are an excellent coordinator or position coach, there is no reason to think that person would not be a successful coach. Tony Dungy was never a head coach before Tampa Bay, Holmgren was never a head coach until he coached Brett God and the Packers. Every head coach in the world has to be a first time head coach at one time and usually a head coach is available to be hired because he has been fired for being ineffective or he is going to be very expensive to hire.

Learning on the job doesn't have much of an NFL track record.

So where would the coaches learn then? As coach of a high school team or of a college team? Is TMQ promoting a minor league baseball system version of hiring head coaches?

Get ready for TMQ to pose the question and then answer it later. Kind of like Jemele Hill does, except with real facts and arguments.

In recent years, big-deal college coaches have tended to be busts in the NFL (Butch Davis, Bobby Petrino, Nick Saban, Steve Spurrier), making pro teams reluctant to hire from the big-time college ranks;

Few NFL assistants have head coaching experience, so the pool of candidates tends to be thick with never-before types.

Plus, so many never-before head coaches fail in the NFL that the list of available people who have been successful NFL head coaches is often quite short.

So basically, like most things in life, all the good ones are already taken. Glad we talked about this at such length and came to this obvious conclusion.

Last holiday season when the college coaching deck chairs got reshuffled, there were candidates aplenty: Mississippi, for example, did not have much trouble coming up with Houston Nutt.

Remember Arkansas trying to hire for the head coaching position to replace Houston Nutt? They went through Lane Kiffin and about every coach in the world until Bobby Petrino went to Arkansas in mid-season. How about Nebraska five years ago before they hiring Bill Callahan? That search took forever and they still did not come up with a qualified candidate. You can't just magically ignore colleges having problems finding qualifed candidates that have been head coaches before.

In other sports news, the NBA season tips off Tuesday night. Tuesday Morning Quarterback maintains that basketball is approximately 1 percent as interesting as football, and therefore I devote 1 percent of my annual line length to the hardwood sport. Basketball items are scattered throughout today's column.

And, oh yes, they are definitely scattered throughout the column. Further proof he cares very little about coherency.

Stat of the Week No. 8: Because they do not play each other, Cincinnati and Detroit are both mathematically alive to finish 0-16.

No shit! Because they will not play each other Texas and Boise State are both mathematically alive to finish the year without a loss. Because anytime, in any sport, two teams in different divisions do not play each other, they are alive to be perfect. Shocking!

Sweet Play of the Week: Tied at 14, Jersey/A reached the Pittsburgh 2-yard line with three minutes remaining. The Giants brought in backup guard Kevin Boothe, reporting eligible as an extra tight end on the right; they then play-faked to the right; all of the Steelers' defenders assumed power-run right, and no one covered regular tight end Kevin Boss slipping out left. Note: Boothe went to Cornell. The defending Super Bowl champions' roster is packed with alums from smart schools, such as Boston College, Cornell, Michigan, Notre Dame (two), Northwestern and Vanderbilt.

It appears that cause and effect has suffered another casualty. I am going to go ahead and say Boothe did not design the play nor did he suggest the play, so his intelligence has nothing to do with the play's good execution.

Also, you can not count Mario Manningham as being from a smart school. Though went to Michigan, he probably did not participate in the academic part.

With Miami leading 20-16, Buffalo faced second-and-1 on the Dolphins' 33 in the fourth quarter. Many of football's biggest fiascos happen on second-and-1 -- the tendency is to waste second down because converting on third down will be "easy," and a fiasco follows. On the play, Buffalo threw deep -- incomplete. ("It's a free play," offensive coordinator Turk Schonert may have thought.) On third-and-1 the Bills ran a quarterback sneak, and Trent Edwards stretched forward with the ball and fumbled. The Bills would have been better off with second-and-10 than second-and-1!

Many of football's biggest fiascos happen on second-and-1? What great hyperbole since he names no other "fiascos" that occur. I fail to see how the Bills would have been any better with a second-and-ten, since they can't seem to execute a quarterback sneak properly. God only knows what type of shenanigans they would have gotten into if they had to gain more yardage on second down. Also, the fiasco happened on third-and-one, so it had nothing to do with second-and-1. There is no way this one fumble is representative of all second-and-one plays.

I will let TMQ have second-and-ten all day and I will take my second/third-and-one down downs and we will see who is more successful.

Sour Play of the Week No. 2: With Seattle leading 13-3 with 44 seconds remaining before intermission, San Francisco faced fourth-and-4 on the Blue Man Group 29. Rather than launch a long field goal attempt, the rookie Niners coach did the manly man thing and went for it. The result? An interception, returned for a Seattle touchdown; ye gods.

See TMQ, that is why punting in these situations is not alwasy a bad thing...especially when J.T. O'Sullivan is your quarterback.

Since when did "manly" mean "insanely stupid attempt to lose a sporting event?"

Sour Play of the Week No. 3: Trailing Washington 16-10 in the fourth quarter, Detroit faced third-and-17, threw a short check-down to a running back, then punted; the Redskins returned the punt for a touchdown.

This is clearly an effect of poor special teams play and not something that happens weekly to NFL teams. Maybe the running back was the only person open as well on the third down. I bet Gregg did not think about that, he just sat there in his blue rocking chair writing down all the punts and passes to running backs that happened in the games, making sure to only include the few that had negative outcomes in his column, smiling to himself about how he is always right and more teams should go for it on fourth down and throw to covered receivers.

I can't believe this man gets paid to write about football.

Weird NBA Trade: Denver sent Marcus Camby, who was Defensive Player of the Year in 2006-07 and is among the NBA's top rebounders, to the Los Angeles Clippers for the option of swapping second-round choices in the 2010 draft. That is, in exchange for a quality player, Denver received only a roughly 50/50 chance of a somewhat improved second-round pick; if the Nuggets draft before the Clippers in 2010, then Denver receives nothing. From Denver's perspective, the point of the trade was to get a guaranteed salary off the team's books. Why? So the cap space can be used to sign someone who is nowhere near as good as Camby?

Welcome to the NBA...and no the purpose is to free up cap space to sign a good player who can help Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson win a playoff series.

Sweet 'N' Sour Game Result:

What is with this "sweet 'n' sour" shit? It's fucking old already, yet it makes no sense to me. Someone please clue me in on this.

Many teams went for it on fourth down this Sunday -- Dallas, Jersey/A, Jersey/B, New England, New Orleans, San Diego -- in situations in which NFL teams usually launch mincing fraidy-cat kicks.

Why do you hate punting so much? It is not always bad, especially when it is a close game and field position is critical.

Last spring in the playoffs, the Whizzies were 2-1 when Arenas was out injured and 0-3 when he played. That is to say, the team performed better if Arenas couldn't dress. When Arenas is in the game, the other four Wizards simply stand like topiary watching him go one-on-one, and one-on-one is a low-percentage strategy, as Arenas' poor career shooting numbers attest. Pull Arenas off the floor and the Wizards come to life on offense, moving and running plays.

For someone who pays very little attention to basketball, he sure has a strong opinion on Gilbert Arenas. I like how he chooses a six game sample to show his proof that Gilbert Arenas is not a good basketball player and ignores the fact Arenas has carried the Wizards at times during the playoffs and regular season.

I also like the hyperbole about the team moving around and coming to life on offense when Gilbert Arenas is on the floor. Does he have any proof of this, other than his small sample size? No.

Clang! Clang! Clang! In the men's NCAA tournament, Duke missed 15 consecutive 3-point attempts in losing to West Virginia, while Oregon missed 17 consecutive 3-point attempts in losing to Mississippi State.

He writes like a 5 year old with ADD. This happened back in fucking March of this year. That is seven months ago...and now he is randomly bringing this up again.

Who at ESPN hired this man? I bet Chris Berman is the culprit.

Krumble on the Play! TMQ believes the "krumble" -- kickoff return fumble -- is the most devastating turnover, since the team that just scored immediately gets the ball back. With New Orleans leading 9-3, San Diego fumbled the kickoff, and a moment later it was a 16-3 lead.

Because of that one play, he believes this is the most devastating turnover a team can incur, due to the team that just scored gets the ball back. Nevermind the fact the team kicking off has not always just scored, they may be kicking off to begin the game/second half/or the team kicking the ball and recovering the fumble could be down 45-10, but now the other team is devastated due to a fumble! Why? It happened in this one game...oh and San Diego later comeback to almost win the game. Not such a devastating fumble I guess?

Just as amusing but overlooked was the 11-player Cleveland-Chicago-Seattle transaction, in which the Sonics gave up two starters, Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West, for three benchwarmers, Ira Newble, Donyell Marshall and Adrian Griffin. As soon as the season ended and the rules permitted it, the Sonics, now the Oklahoma City Thunder, waived Newble and Marshall; a few weeks later, they packaged Griffin to Milwaukee in another three-club deal. That is, the former Seattle team traded two starting players for one guy used as a thrown-in on a deal for someone else.

The NBA trading rules are crrrrrrrrrrrrazy! Everyone knows this, everyone acknowledges this, please shut up about it.

Weird NBA Trade: Denver acquired Renaldo Balkman from the Knicks for Taurean Green and Bobby Jones; the Knicks immediately waived Green and Jones, neither of whom are currently on an NBA roster. The whole point of the transaction was to get Balkman's guaranteed contract off New York's books.

These are the rules in the NBA to stay under the salary cap. If the intent was to get Balkman's contract off the books, then this is not a weird trade, it clearly had a purpose. Shut up!

In any league other than the NBA, this would make no sense. But Walker is a malcontent with a guaranteed contract and Jaric is just dreadful -- a shooting forward with a career .408 field-goal percentage -- yet has $21 million remaining on a guaranteed contract. Thus in return for going up two slots in the draft, Memphis agreed to take off Minnesota's hands a pair of unwanted players and their featherbedded contracts.

This makes zero sense. Agreed. The rules allow this to happen and the Minnesota Timberwolves now have more cap space to spend on signing shitty players to their roster. Again, this trade had a purpose, so it is not weird at all.

Clang! Clang! Clang! Against George Washington University, St. Louis University missed 23 consecutive field goal attempts, finishing 7-for-48, and 1-for-19 on 3-point attempts. The leading scorer for St. Louis was Bruce Husak with five points.

This happened months ago. If there is an Alzheimer's patient or an elderly person who is having memory problems reading this column right now they are probably confused as to why this asshole is talking about college basketball before the season has actually begun.

And India, if you're going to be a space-faring nation, you need better mission names! The new lunar satellite is named Chandrayaan, which means "moon craft" in Sanskrit. The Sanskrit is a nice touch, but "moon craft" -- that's the best you can do? NASA missions have had cool names like Voyager, Pioneer and Cassini. Voyager was such a successful name that the name itself became part of a Star Trek movie plot, then of a Star Trek television serial. At least, Bollywood must now make the first-ever Indian sci-fi flick and incorporate the name Chandrayaan.

I really wonder if he gets paid to write this column or he does it for free. If ESPN is paying him, they should look into maybe using that money to buy out Tony Kornheiser's contract because he is not good on MNF.

Clang! Clang! Clang!: The Celtics and Cavaliers combined to miss 90 shots -- nearly two missed shots per minute -- in Game 2 of their playoff series. On the night, Boston and Cleveland were a combined 5-of-27 from the 3-point arc. Just to prove it was no fluke, in Game 6 the Celtics and Cavaliers again combined to miss 90 shots.

Bang! Bang! Bang!: Bengoodfella does not miss the three shots from a gun he fired in his eyes and head. On the night, he is 3-3 in injuring himself to where he can't read or think about TMQ ever again.

Buck-Buck-Brawckkkkkkk No. 1: After a 49ers field goal made it Seattle 20, San Francisco 6 near the end of the third quarter, San Francisco kicked away rather than onside kick. Needless to say, San Francisco went on to lose.

There is about a 25% chance they would have recovered the onside kick and if they do not recover it, they are now down 14 points to the Seahawks and the Seahawks have the ball in prime field position to score again, making it a three possession game. This is not why San Francisco lost, they lost because they were down 20-3 nearing the end of the third quarter and had to settle for a field goal.

Cause, meet effect.

Buck-Buck-Brawckkkkkkk No. 2: Leading 3-0, City of Tampa reached fourth-and-3 on the Dallas 43, and punted. On the day the Buccaneers drove to the Dallas 18, 18, 18, 23, 33 and 42 with a net of just 9 points.

They were leading 3-0 on the road...and it was the first quarter! The first quarter! Why in the hell would the Buccaneers willingly let Brad Johnson have a shorter field to work with in the first quarter? This would make no sense to go for it on fourth down. The fact the Bucs did not score when they are so close has nothing to do with the decision not to go for it on fourth down in the first quarter. You are dumb and are making me feel dumb.

Buck-Buck-Brawckkkkkkk (College Edition No. 1): Reader Matthew Crisp of Wooster, Ohio, noted Arizona punted on fourth-and-8 from its 36 with three minutes remaining, trailing USC 17-10. Needless to say, Arizona never got the ball back.

I actually think Arizona should have gone for it also.

Why is it needless to say they never got the ball back? They had held USC to 17 points, so there was a decent chance they would get the ball back.

Sportsmanship Watch: With Missouri leading Colorado 48-0 in the fourth quarter, Chase Daniel was still on the field and still throwing. Who cares if Missouri was mad about its loss the previous weekend? The Tigers' behavior in the fourth quarter against Colorado was bad sportsmanship. The football gods will now punish Missouri.

You mean by causing them to lose two straight games that knock them out of the National Championship race? Because that happened two weeks ago. I love how he spends the entire column calling teams chicken for not going for it on fourth down, then when Missouri is uber-aggressive in their play calling, he calls them bad sports. TMQ sucks.

Monday, October 27, 2008

0 comments Jemele Hill Manages to Combine the Two Things I Don't Like: Her and Fair Weather Fans

No one likes to cheer for a team that loses. When I talk about fair weather fans, I generally am referring to those people over the age of 12 who can control what team they like and teams that have experienced good and bad seasons. Basically, people who jump on a team's bandwagon because that team is successful and then act as if they won the lottery when the team wins a game, but a few years later when the team is less successful that person does not have as much time to go to games and does not really follow along but has been seen wearing other team's hats and apparel.

There is nothing wrong with this morally and legally, but people who do this shit should be tortured or at least ridiculed in a public fashion. Anyone who follows sports should be annoyed by fair weather fans because they are fictionally feeling the joy of a team's success to be a part of a group and that is annoying and very lemming-ish. There are varying degrees and types of fair weather fans, I won't pull a Bill Simmons and list them, but suffice to say it annoys me and there are more than a couple of types.

Jemele Hill disagrees. Kind of. Mostly, she also completely misses the concept of a fair weather fans and how you can't attach that label to a franchise that is 10 years old. Then she talks about every other team that has bandwagon fans, making it seem as if it is fine to be a bandwagoneer. (Is there anyone else better at taking a completely incorrect point of view and just fucking running with it?)

When the cameras panned the Rays' games during the ALCS, they zeroed in on a group of young ladies wearing Rays halter tops, who, unless they started cheering for Tampa Bay as embryos, it's safe to assume they probably weren't lifelong fans.

Jemele Hill uses her investigative abilities to deduce this fact. They were probably not lifelong fans and these are a type of fair weather fan that annoys me. Clearly these women have self esteem issues that need to be addressed with a psychiatrist or their father did not truly love them.

Really these girls are not the fair weather problem. Check out the first photo displayed in the article. THAT is the problem. These guys are huge Rays fans as of two weeks ago and if the Rays make consecutive World Series they will be telling friends what huge fans they are and writing in to the Tampa equivalent of Bill Simmons making jokes about the team. Seriously though, those three guys deserve a pop quiz on Rays history. Severe fair weather fan douchebags. The problem is that the Rays are 10 years old. This is their first taste of playoff success, so pretty much every fan is bound to be a bandwagon fan. They have never experienced this type of success before. I think we can excuse them for the enthusiasm. Jemele just starts losing me when she compares their fans this year to other teams fair weather we will see when I stop rambling about fair weather fans.

There is a difference in the Rays situation and other franchises. Let me give an example from one of my favorite teams which is also pretty young: In 1996 the Carolina Panthers made the NFC Championship game against Green Bay, the stadium was packed and everyone loved them. In 2001, I attended a game where there were 15,000 people in a 76,000 person stadium when the Panthers were 1-15. Then in 2004 I attended a football game against the Dallas Cowboys where the stadium was packed again with fans who loved the game and the Panthers so very much. The fair weathers showed up again.

A team has to experience a high and a low before the fans can be considered fair weather. It just makes sense. You can't call a fan base that has never had a winning season fair weather when the team does have a winning season for once. If the Rays suck for three more years, then this season happens, then I would say these are a lot of fair weather fans that cheer for the team.

NOW Jemele loses me when she misunderstands this and compares them to more established franchise's fan base.

Surely, you've noticed Rays fans have multiplied like Gremlins since Tampa Bay disposed of the Red Sox and advanced to the World Series. It doesn't make Rays fans less authentic. In fact, it makes them more real.

Using her previously mentioned investigative skills, Jemele Hill understands the concept that popular teams will generally have more fans come to games. Also, just because the team is more "real" for having fans is not a reason we should not criticize these fans for jumping on the bandwagon. The key point is this though. No one is criticizing the Rays fans for being bandwagon jumpers. At least that I have read about.

So yet again, Jemele Hill is creating something that doesn't exist, only to refute it.

Rays fans didn't behave any differently than practically every die-hard fan base. Show me an established team, and I'll show you how their immense popularity was almost always tied to winning

No shit, Einstein. I would not quite call the Rays fan base "die hard" quite yet though. This is the very definition of a bandwagon fan, someone who ties his/her love for the team to that team's popularity. That doesn't make the bandwagon fans any more annoying or allow us to make excuses for these people.

At one time, Red Sox Nation was eerily similar to Tampa's cowbell crowd. The year before the Red Sox appeared in the 1986 World Series, their attendance was lower than Rays' this season.

Red Sox Nation! I will take "fake terms created by the media" for $100 Alex.

Attendance kind of annoys me as an indicator of fair weather fan-dom. I personally can not afford to go too many of my favorite pro football team's games, not because I don't love them and would not die for them in a William Wallace fashion, but because the tickets are outrageously expensive and it is a pain in the ass to drive in insane and crazy traffic 8 times a year. Am I lazy? Yes, but I watch every game and follow the team religiously and have since their inception.

I think a person can follow a team, not go to games, and still not be called a fair weather fan. I think the true test comes when all of a sudden people who can't name a single player for a team start talking about a team and it is pretty obvious these type of people showed up yesterday.

The Celtics' storied history did not make them immune to waning fan support, either. They ranked as low as 24th in attendance in 2004-05 before winning the NBA Finals last season.

I think we have established the fact all teams have fair weather fans and that all successful teams will continue to have them. What I don't understand is why this is acceptable to Jemele Hill. If you want to know this answer you are going to have to email her at

Just because everyone is doing it, does not mean being a fair weather fan is acceptable.

The Braves were at the bottom of the National League in attendance for three years (1988-90), but rose to be the No. 1 draw in the league by 1992. In 1991, the Braves soared from worst to first in the NL West standings, just like these Rays.

Braves fans are the absolute worst fans in the world. They are quiet at games and for being one of the top 3 most popular baseball teams in the United States they sure can't seem to draw a very good crowd. I find this unacceptable and if I lived in Atlanta I would attend frequently. They just drive me crazy. I will save my thoughts on them for an entire different post. It's coming I warn you.

"You have people who wore Red Sox gear to the first regular-season series in St. Pete and now they go to the playoff games decked out in their Longoria jersey shirt as if they were Rays fans all along," said R.J Anderson, editor of, a three-year-old Web site that offers comprehensive coverage of the Rays.

This is completely unacceptable, and if true, gives Red Sox and Rays fans a really bad name. Jemele supports her hypothesis that all teams like the Rays have fair weather fans by inteviewing a person who is a Rays fan. Probably should have interviewed another team's website editor I would think, just to help support your point. Of course, she has little clue on how to write a column, so this mistake is understandable.

Still, the articles says "Don't bash the Rays bandwagon" and she has never answered why we should not. "Everyone else is doing it," is not an answer. Next to world hunger, fair weather fan-dom is the next closest problem the world as a whole has.

The 1982 Cubs team that lost 89 games drew only 1.2 million fans, 10th among 12 NL teams at the time. Two years later, the Cubs' attendance spiked more than 50 percent after they won the NL East in 1984.

The Yankees sunk as low as 11th in the AL in attendance in both 1991 and '92 after failing to reach the postseason since 1981. Even during their run of four World Series titles in five seasons from 1996-2000, the Yanks never finished higher than third in AL attendance.

Blah, blah, blah. We believe you that all other teams do it, so why should we not bash the Rays bandwagon? (Though I don't believe it is a bandwagon yet, due to the fact this is their first taste of success)

Simply because all teams have bandwagons does not make it right to jump on the bandwagon. I don't have to explain this, it is just true.

If Jemele Hill stuck to this principle she would write shitty columns filled with poor logic and reasoning like everyone else does, as opposed to columns that consist of a fake argument she can refute poorly.

It took the Red Sox 40 years of winning to become Red Sox Nation, so it's unfair to criticize the Rays fans when their team isn't even as old as Dakota Fanning.

Red Sox Nation! The term ESPN has made up and continues to use.

This is kind of a reason why the Rays fans should not be mocked for being bandwagoneers. The problem is, no one is criticizing the Rays fans for being bandwagon fans. Again, not that I have read. I Googled "Rays fans bandwagon" and Jemele's article was the 3rd one that showed up, behind two hits for Yahoo Answers. She literally made up this argument and then refuted it.

There is no Rays bandwagon. It's just an open invitation.

Exactly, and then when the Rays start stinking again the fans will all disappear. Once they show up again, then they are bandwagon fans. I hate bandwagoneers.

0 comments Philly Wins Game Four, Sodomises Small Ball

Maybe home runs aren't so bad? Phillies hit seven extra base hits to two. Fuck your fundamentals.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

0 comments Is It Possible ESPN's Baseball "Experts" Don't Understand the Game of Baseball?

I will go ahead and forgive the 17 ESPN "experts" none of whom picked either the Phillies or Rays to make the World Series, but basic concepts of the game of baseball are pretty easy to understand. As J.S. covered very well the other day, the media is enamored with the Rays abilities to make "productive outs," which is normally a contradiction. Count Jerry Crasnick in.

This insanity. I knew we would get articles like this when the game ended last night at 1:45am EST. (By the way, I love the West Coast and all, but these games have got to start earlier, rain or no rain. If the Cubs were in the World Series, I could understand, most of their fans can stay up late because they don't have jobs...and yes I know it was a Saturday night, but tonight the game will end at 11:30EST and that is annoying to me.)

"It's just one of those days where the things that they did were right and the baseball gods were on their side," said third baseman Evan Longoria. "It's one of those games where everything goes right for the opposition."

Everything went right for the Phillies all right. They left more men in scoring position than the Rays, but they also got a base hit with runners in scoring position instead of making outs. What a bunch of lucky sons of bitches!

With the score tied 4-4 entering the bottom of the ninth, the Phillies squeezed across a run straight out of Bizarro-world.

Let's focus on what bizarre things happened and how the baseball gods were on their side:

Tampa Bay reliever J.P. Howell got things started when he plunked Bruntlett in the thigh with a cut fastball.

A player got hit with a pitch. Howell hit 4 people this year with pitches and Brunlett got hit 3 times this year. It's not like that has never happend before. Also, the baseball gods had nothing to do with Howell's control problems there.

Maddon summoned strikeout artist Grant Balfour, who wild-pitched Bruntlett to second base.

More Rays bullpen control problems? I bet the baseball gods took that pitch made it invisible and had it fly right past Navarro. Balfour did throw 2 wild pitches this year in 59 innings, so it is not like he has Greg Maddux type control.

The ball caromed off the back wall to catcher Dioner Navarro, but his throw sailed to the right of second base and into center field, and Bruntlett easily raced to third to put the Phillies in great shape with nobody out.

Then the baseball gods had the ball fly out of Navarro's hands without him even trying to throw the ball and it ended up in centerfield. Curse you baseball gods!!!

I have never heard of the Rays bullpen imploding before. How bizarre!

The only question was whether the ball might have rolled foul, and Longoria wasn't willing to take that risk.

Probably because everyone would questioned his sanity to sit there and watch a baseball hoping it goes foul, especially when there is a force play at home.

Do manatees right these articles and just throw random words together?

The Rays have also mastered the art of the productive out. They picked up their three runs against Moyer on a Gabe Gross sacrifice fly and a pair of RBI groundouts in the seventh inning.

A productive freaking out. Let's list the things that would have been more "productive" than making an out here:

Gross walking/being hit by a pitch

See all of those involve not making an out. You only have 27 of them in a game and they are very precious. In what weird world do we live in where it is a good thing to get an out? If Gross had actually gotten a base hit then the Rays would not have had to use an out. Is this a hard concept? Making outs is not good in general. Base hits are much, much better. If a player gets a hit, then that is productive. There are times for bunting and making productive outs, but a base hit is always a good idea.

Carlos Pena and Longoria, Tampa's 3-4 hitters and principal power sources, are hitless with 10 strikeouts in 22 at-bats in the World Series.

I bet they have made a ton of productive outs though.

They can only hope this place treats them more favorably in Game 4. Things certainly can't get any weirder.

There is nothing weird about relievers having control issues, catchers overthrowing bases, power hitters being hitless in three games and the entire team not being able to get a base hit with men in scoring position. That is incompetence. The baseball gods don't exist either, the Rays inability to get a base hit with men on base does though.

Friday, October 24, 2008

1 comments Well This Was Certainly Predictable

Let's get straight to it.

Rays play small ball to even Series

It was fun while it lasted for the Rays, all those home runs...

180 of them. Tied for fourth in the American League. It's adorable! Look honey, they think they're a major league team!

No, the real Rays are more like the team we saw in Game 2 of the World Series, a team that scrapes together runs however it can, pulls a surprise or two along the way, holds its opponents down with good pitching and decent defense and, in the end, usually wins.

Tampa Bay fiscal conservatives.

The Rays held off the Phillies in Game 2 of the Series on Thursday night, 4-2, evening the best-of-seven series at a game apiece in a small-ball lover's dream. Tampa Bay scored its first two runs in the first inning on groundouts.

if your dream in baseball is to see a groundout resulting in a run, I'd almost be willing to say you don't really like baseball very much. The execution is fine, but can we not get carried away?

And they saved their best for their last run, in the fourth, when manager Joe Maddon instructed his No. 9 hitter, shortstop Jason Bartlett, to lay down a safety squeeze with leaden-legged Cliff Floyd on third base. That might have been a surprising call to a lot of people. It certainly got the attention of some Rays in the dugout. "When I saw the sign," first baseman Carlos Pena recalled with a laugh, "I said, 'Please, Cliff, do this right.'"

But, in a lot of ways, it was typical Tampa Bay baseball, bold and unconventional, a kind of go-for-broke madness based in solid fundamentals.

solid fundamentals. Squeeze play with 35 year old Cliff Floyd. 1 SB in the past 188 games Cliff Floyd. Yes John, "some people" "might" have been suprised. This is a horrible decision, I don't care what happens, it's a terrible decision. Call me a dogmatic, stuck in the mud, big baseball loving, steroid taking, Barry Bonds adoring fascist, but I believe this is a horrible decision that goes against every fibre of logic in my body.

"It kind of gives us some momentum right there," Bartlett said. "The way Joe teaches it, anybody on third can score, if it's done correctly."

does Joe have a magic wand that can mak Cliff Floyd 30% faster? If not, he can't teach shit. My God Jason, that 9=8 shit has fucked you up completely hasn't it? You're mad as a hatter my boy!

Even Floyd, though, a 230-pound 35-year-old with a history of leg problems? A guy who admits it takes a while to get those old bones started, a guy who Bartlett swears he can hear coming down the line?

"Well, you know, he's not the fastest guy in the world," Thursday's starter, James Shields, said. "But when he needs to run, he can run."

yes, he can run, no one takes that away from him, but James, you are misconstruing my argument. Creating a kind of straw man, if you will. I don't insist that Cliff Floyd be, as you put it, the "fastest guy in the world", just fast, maybe in the top 10% of human beings, not a lot to ask of a professional athlete. I think I'm being far more reasonable than you are giving me credit for.

And on it goes until this whopper of a closing line...

"Big things happen," Pena said afterward, "when you focus on the smallest of things."

Pena immediately followed with "life is like a box of chocolates..."

Meanwhile, at the 'PN

Rays defy baseball logic with Game 2 win

Someday, many decades from now, historians will look back on the first World Series victory in Tampa Bay Rays history.

what did I say about not getting carried away?

...the Rays also could score runs the way they scored them Thursday, in the 4-2 win over the Phillies that evened the 2008 World Series at a win apiece:

By making outs.


You know, it's a funny thing. We'd be willing to bet that, before Thursday, we lived in a land of 300 million Americans who all believed, as one unified nation, that making outs was the one thing in baseball you would most want to avoid -- with the possible exception of learning that

Scott Boras had signed on to represent your cleanup hitter.
But then, along came this historic baseball event to teach us that we've had it all wrong -- that we've had it all wrong since birth, in fact.

Outs are good.

what about the walk? Or the infield single? Or the blooper? Not an out amongst them. If outs were good, perfect games would be a model of offensive genius. Why do writers feel forced to make ridiculous arguments, or characterisations of the situation? Just say the Rays were clever, creative, took risks down 0-1 at home, pitched extremely well, a point basically ignored in both articles, and got away with one. It shapes up to be a tight, tense series, with many exciting moments, great - this is not the plan of the Rays, the plan is to get hits, not to make outs, and you know this, so just say so.

"That's the cool thing about us," said Rays first baseman Carlos Pena, the resident voice of reason in this group. "We're multidimensional. Even when we're hitting the long ball, we're still thinking small...

this Pena quote is better, so far, so good...

We're mature enough to understand that big things happen when you focus on the smallest of things."

not true! Jut not true! You focus on hitting a bunt, or to the right side of the infield, or whatever, home runs don't just materialise! They don't! If that was the case, Bartlett's bunt would be in the thirty fifth row, but it didn't. When you focus on bunting, or getting the ball on the ground, you don't get extra base hits, no matter what kind of zen spin you want to put on it.

Home runs good.

Outs bad.

Are we clear?

And friends, things don't get much smaller in baseball than outs. So let's review how the Rays scored the four runs in Game 2 that changed this World Series:

• Ground ball to the shortstop.
• Another ground ball to the shortstop.
• A safety squeeze bunt built around a man who might have a tough time outrunning John Daly.
• And a hit that scored one run but got a second runner thrown out at the plate.
That, ladies and gentlemen, was the winning team's entire attack in a World Series game -- one it actually won.

It was all so thrilling, so electrifying, so downright inspirational

bold, conventional, go-for-broke, electrifying, thrilling, fucking inspirational. Go home Ryan Howard! You and your "being good at baseball" buddies have no place here. We have the tear jerking outmakers here and you're just ruining it. My God, these brave men, making outs, they're the heroes, our country thanks them.

"We have to play small ball," said the Game 2 winning pitcher, James Shields. "It's the World Series. That's the way you play the game. That's the way you win championships."

To be honest, other ways exist...

not in my America they don't!

And if the ultimate definition of "whatever it takes" consists of "flashing the squeeze sign twice, even with Cliff Floyd on third base," it's official: The Rays clearly will do anything to score a run.

except getting an extra base hit. What a mood killer that would be huh? Talk about violating team trust.

"To be honest," Pena said, "when I saw that sign, I said, 'Oh, Lord.'"

Why would he have felt a need to speak to powers higher than even Joe Maddon about a move like this? Well, for one thing, this team didn't execute a single successful squeeze bunt all season.

are you kidding me? Has this all been a lie? Is this some kind of joke to you Stark? I believed in these guys and their radical new method of making outs to win baseball games. It would revolutionise the game! And now you spring this on me, that they have been lying to us (effectively!) this whole time?

For another thing, Floyd was the runner on third base. And let's just say that nobody has mistaken him lately for Asafa Powell.

"Hey, I'm slow," Floyd said, at his earnest best. "Let's get that straight."

Said Shields: "I don't want to say he's as slow as a turtle because he did steal a bag this year. It'll probably be the last stolen base of his career, but he did steal one."

So any manager who was willing to give Cliff Floyd the green light to steal a base obviously would be a manager with no fear of giving Jason Bartlett the squeeze sign with Floyd at third base.

I stand by my "fucking idiot" theory.

"That's Joe," Floyd said appreciatively. "He'll do anything to score a run. If I was managing a team, I'd want to manage just like him."

he's 252-286 all-time Cliff.

One more, Danny Knobler (ha!).

After ALCS power surge, Rays return to their quirky, small-ball ways

I'd love to hear the argument that the "ways" they got to this position, AL Champs, was through grounders to second basemen.

The Rays were back to being the Rays. Just as in the ALCS against the Red Sox, they lost a so-so series opener, then bounced back to win the next night by looking much more like themselves.

they hit three home runs in that game, which is it? You can't have it all was. "Rays being the Rays", are we gonna do this for everything now? St.Louis beating Dallas by 20 last week, "well, that's just the Rams being the Rams". This isn't analysis!

Ugh, in the words of the immortal Murtaugh - I'm getting too old for this.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

0 comments Stupidity, Thy Name is Gene W.

This article did not need to be written. I wish Gene had just decided to write another "Cubs are big losers and are never going to win anything" article so I could have just ignored it, but I can't ignore this. Every year at World Series time some dipshit columnist writes some dipshit article about how the homefield advantage is determined by the All Star Game, and then never actually says it is stupid (simply because the columnist is too dumb to think of an alternative way to decide the winner of World Series homefield advantage), but you can tell the columnist thinks it is stupid. Well, Gene writes that type of article except manages to make it even dumber than usual.

Sure, they watched Game 1 of the Mohawk World Series. Michael Young tuned in from Dallas. Justin Morneau caught the game from Scottsdale. What, you thought they'd be watching "Knight Rider?"

Why did you feel the need to tell us what two professional baseball players were watching when the World Series was on, as if this were news? Did YOU expect they would be watching "Knight Rider," because the fact they are watching the World Series is probably not news to anyone. That's like me writing, "Philip Rivers watched the Super Bowl Sunday. Did you expect he would be watching re-runs of Suddenly Susan on Lifetime?" See, it sounds stupid.

A Texas Ranger. A Minnesota Twin. This is how it works in commissioner Bud Selig's baseball world.

Indeed, this is how Bud Selig worked out homefield advantage in the World Series. I am glad we can agree on this before we disagree later. Way to go, start with common ground, and then delve off into your Wojo-insanity later.

Two players from two different teams, neither of whom even made the postseason, could help determine the winner of the 2008 World Series.

This system is not an ideal system, I would 100% agree, but until someone thinks of something better and convinces Bud Selig to implement it, we are stuck with this system. Get over it or fix it. For God's sake, just don't write about it anymore, this is old news.

A better system would probably be the team with the best record gets homefield advantage in the World Series, and then if for some odd reason both teams have identical records, use a tiebreaker method. This is a great idea but Bud Selig wanted to make the All Star Game count for something so he tied it to the World Series. Not the most brilliant idea, but baseball did not collapse and people are still watching the All Star Game, so it is not a complete failure.

Why does the idea of a game between the National and American League determing homefield advantage in the World Series disturb everyone so much? At least there is some competition that decides it, at least some of the players involved in the game will be involved in the World Series, so it makes some sense.

Would Gene be disturbed if it was determined by a coin flip, like many things in sports are? That never bothers anyone it seems. I don't get this at all. A coin flip determines some important things in sports and it bothers no one. Why is this? Coin flips determine who gets the ball first in football and which side of the field a team wants. A coin flip is used to determine draft order in the NFL if two teams have identical records. A coin flip also determined who got homefield advantage in the one game playoffs between the White Sox and Twins this year. This bothers no one, but has nothing to do with any sporting event or anything with the sport. It is complete chance.

Say your favorite team picks 4th or 5th in the draft and you need a running back really, really badly. There is Adrian Peterson sitting there ready to be had in the 4th spot. Well, the coin flip determines that your team picks 5th and the team that won the coin flip picks 4th. They also need a running back, so they get Peterson and your favorite team is stuck with trading back in the draft or going to another less pressing need. This would alter the franchise's fortunes would it not? It was based on a motherfucking coin flip, which has nothing to do with football. Using coin flips to determine who kicks into the wind in the fourth quarter and who gets to draft in what slot bothers no one. These types of decisions can affect a team and they are based 100% on chance. Why should the winner of the All Star Game determing the team with World Series homefield advantage come under such criticism? I don't get it, at least it is based on some sort of athletic endeavors.

"At the time it didn't seem like much," said Morneau, the Twins' first baseman. "Now it seems like a big deal."

Everyone knew at the time the winner would determine which league got homefield advantage in the World Series. How did it not seem like much at the time? Why is it such a bigger deal for a player that is not even playing in the World Series? I think Justin Morneau was drunk on some beer, eh?

If you believe in home-field advantage -- and the baseball statistical seamheads certainly do -- what happened during the All-Star Game in July is a huge deal.

Statistical seamheads, go suck on Gene W's purely subjective reasoning principles for deciding everything...except in the case of the World Series where he needs hard evidence more than just one game to determine a team should have homefield advantage. I bet Gene wants a game show where each team performs in different events to prove to Gene they deserve homefield advantage in the World Series. Then he would finally rule on who gets homefield advantage based on who he thinks won. That would be so much better than an actual baseball game that determines where other baseball games will be played.

Again, the idea is not a great one, but I think it gets shitted on by too many people who have no better ideas.

In the short, unstoried history of the Rays, few players could potentially have as much of an impact on the franchise as the non-Rays, Morneau and Young.

You mean a bigger impact, other than the actual 25 members of the team that won enough ball games to win their division and have defeated two other teams in the playoffs to make it to the World Series? Also, the fact the Rays have to actually win the games at home, that would also have an impact on their history. I am not sure if Gene is aware the World Series still has to be played to determine the winner.

Without them, Game 1 might have been played in Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park instead of Tropicana Field

Yes, then Philadelphia might have won and put Tampa in a 1-0 hole. What a big difference that All Star Game made!

whose dome roof is shaped like a turkey pot pie left in the oven too long.

So Tropicana Field should not be able to host the World Series? Please tell me Gene is not proposing we look at each team's stadium and comparing them to foods, then whichever team's stadium looks like the yummiest food, that team gets to host the World Series.

"The only thing that shocks me about this Series is that everyone is taken by surprise by the Rays," Young said. "A lot of players in the league knew Tampa was coming; it was just a matter of time. The last two years, we saw this coming."

They have sucked for 10 years, so they did have a good chance to stockpile great draft picks, and the rest of the league did know they were "coming." I think what shocked everyone is that they went from the worst team in the league to the potentially the best in one year. Usually it is a gradual process.

But Young and Morneau get an assist for what began on a July 15 night in the Bronx and finally ended in the wee hours of July 16 when Young sent a first-pitch fastball toward the glove of National League right fielder Corey Hart.

I would like to point out two things:

1. 2 of the 3 players who are mentioned in this sentence had an opportunity to participate in the playoffs and thereby could have made the World Series and affected their own fortunes. Corey Hart is on the Brewers, who lost to Philadelphia in the LDS, and Morneau plays for the Twins who played a one game playoff for the Central Division title and they lost. The game was played in Chicago? Why Chicago you ask and not Minnesota?

A motherfucking coin flip. This bothers no one.

2. This play so far has helped the Rays absolutely zero percent, because they lost Game 1.

He was facing, of all people, Phillies closer Brad Lidge,

Oh. The National League had a player for its World Series representative on the mound? So he had a chance to secure his team homefield advantage firsthand in the World Series and failed? This is really killing Gene's whole, "what an unfair way to decide" mantra.

Young was right -- it was a bang-bang play. Morneau slid in under McCann's tag. The American League won. As it turns out, so did the Rays.

They won the right to host 4 games in the World Series, not the actual World Series. The Rays have won nothing because they lost the first game of the World Series while at home. This is not a hard concept to understand.

The American League winning the All Star Game is of no benefit to the American League representative in the All Star Game. They get an advantage in playing at home for more games than the National League team. Now that the Phillies won Game 1, they now have the advantage because they have three games coming up at home...that and the fact they are closer to 4 wins, which is the amount required to win the World Series.

"Now that the two teams are there [in the World Series], looking back, I guess that was worth playing for five hours -- for the Rays," said Morneau,

It would be worth it if your team had made the World Series. Quit being a whiny bitch, eh?

who isn't a fan of the rule that gives World Series home-field advantage to the league that wins the All-Star Game.

This bothers him, but a coin flip that went against his team, that decided who got to host a one game playoff between two teams with identical records, doesn't faze him at all? If I were Justin Morneau I would be more pissed I did not get to play in the Metrodome in a one game playoff to make the playoffs because of a motherfucking coin flip, than the Rays having homefield advantage because of an actual baseball game played.

Why don't we just decide the World Series homefield advantage with a coin flip? Putting it to chance seems to bother no one.

"So even though Tampa has the [home-field] advantage, there's no guarantee."

Ex-freaking-actly. Shut up.

Kazmir earned the win in the All-Star Game. Lidge lost. In Game 1, Kazmir lost, and Lidge earned the save.

Here are the six players mentioned by Gene concerning the play that decided homefield advantage in the World Series and who they play for and how they were affected by the All Star Game win by the American League. Remember, Gene thinks this is a shitty system.

Brian McCann, Scott Kazmir, Brad Lidge, Michael Young, Justin Morneau, and Corey Hart.

Of those six players only two of them, Michael Young and Brian McCann, had no chance of making the World Series at the end of the baseball year. 2 of the players are actually playing in the World Series and had a direct effect on the All Star game's outcome. This is a horrible play to use to describe why the All Star Game should not be used to determine the owner of homefield advantage.

The All Star Game choosing who gets homefield advantage in the World Series is not ideal, but it is better than a coin flip (how do coin flips not piss more people off?), and this year the winning pitcher and losing pitcher of the All Star Game are in the World Series. So for this year, it was not a bad way to decide. Shut up Gene, you are stupid.