Tuesday, December 2, 2008

8 comments Ten Things I Think I Think Peter King Has Not Thought Of: Tuesday Edition

I am not planning on doing my "Ten Things I Think..." on every Tuesday but today feels like a great day to do it again and I honestly enjoy doing it. My brain is very scattered and I have a lot to say about a lot of things and this lets me do it. So if you hate it, I am sorry.

1. Woody Paige is being tongue in cheek. Maybe. I thought that originally and then I read the entire article and found it did not seem like he really was. Woody seems to think the Broncos should be lauded for currently winning their division by three games. They are 7-5 and are the AFC West version of the Arizona Cardinals. They are in a weak division and they have an above average team. Congratulations should not be in order for this.

What do the New York Giants (11-1), the Tennessee Titans (11-1), the Arizona Cardinals (7-5) and the Denver Broncos (7-5) have in common?

They are the four most dominant division leaders in the NFL.

I had a friend in graduate school who described the girls at my graduate school in this way, and no I am not trying to be Bill Simmons, this actually has a point.

"These girls are at best a bunch of 5's and 6's walking around the campus like they are 10's. What happens anytime we go out? They immediately become the 5's and 6's who have to go up against the 10's and they get pissy and leave the bar to go home and watch Sex and the City re- runs on TBS." Not very insightful at all but the Broncos are a team that is a six on a scale of 1 to 10. There is really no reason to call them dominant.

Win out and they'll be 11-5, my preseason prediction. Lose out, and they will be below .500. If the Broncos win two, the Chargers (4-8) definitely will be shut out of the playoffs. Win one, and that game in San Diego will be significant. The division-common opponents-conference records tiebreakers would basically be even (based on results until now). Winner take all.

When your closest division rival is 4-8 and you are actually worried they may catch you, your team does not deserve to make the playoffs. I know these are the rules but if I were Woody Paige I would be embarrassed to write about this scenario.

Speaking of Woody Paige and bad journalism, if you go along the right side of his archive and see how many times he has dumped on the Broncos or said Mike Shanahan should be fired, you have to wonder how he can just jump right on the bandwagon like he seems to be doing in this column. Journalists are supposed to be neutral observers who reports what they see and use what little insight they may have to inform the reader, but it is disconcerting to read how Woody seems to think the Broncos go from a good team to a bad team from week to week.

2. I was watching part of Monday Night Football last night and when they were previewing next week's Tampa Bay v. Carolina game, Mike Tirico mentioned both teams have a 9-3 record and said, "I guess that is what you get when you draw the AFC West," and then Tony Kornheiser laughed. This is bad journalism and shows how little research these assholes really do.

Based on the season ending today, Tampa Bay has played or will play 6 games against playoff teams, which does not include a game against Dallas who could make the playoffs easily.

Carolina has played or will play 8 games against playoff teams.

I am not saying these are bad ass tough schedules or anything of the like but Carolina and Tampa Bay are in a division where the third place team has an 8-4 record in Atlanta. Just like the case of the Broncos, a team's record is pretty much what decides whether that team gets in the playoffs or not, regardless of who these teams have played. The AFC West stinks, I would agree with that, but I would hate to have a team in the NFC South division right now that is my favorite because it is very competitive no matter who they play out of the division.

3. Bob Klapisch doesn't seem to think the Mets have gotten their money's worth with Pedro.

Now, 32 wins and no world championships later, it's fair to ask: Was Pedro really worth the money? Not if the Mets are honest with themselves. Despite the projected success, Martinez broke down just as the Red Sox predicted after 2005 and was unable to deliver a single pennant, let alone a Series ring.

If anyone remembers correctly the Red Sox made Pedro a three year deal worth about $38 million and the general consensus was that a four year deal was one year too much for Pedro. If Pedro can't perform well in a contract year, he is never going to perform well. That's just a note to other teams in the MLB.

The Red Sox worried about his durability -- his shoulder, in particular -- hesitating just long enough to allow the Mets the chance to both overpay and over-commit.

The Mets actually knew they were overpaying and overcommitting to Pedro, so I am not sure how they could have expected to get the value out of Pedro they paid for.

Plucking away Martinez was an enormous public-relations coup, but today the Mets' hierarchy admits Pedro fell short of their expectations. "We thought we'd get three [good] years from him," one senior official said. "Turns out we got 2½."

What I don't get is why the Mets did not sign him to a three year deal for a larger yearly amount and try to forgo a fourth year on the contract? They clearly expected him to pitch well for three years so offer him the contract for that length, if he accepts great, if he does not accept then they could have signed Derek Lowe, who actually outperformed Pedro over the four year span.

This is why the Mets are constantly in second place in the NL East, they try to get public relations coups rather than signing players who are actually going to help the team.

If Martinez hadn't given the Mets instant credibility by taking his career to Shea, Beltran -- and later Billy Wagner and Johan Santana -- would never have ended up as Mets.

Maybe this is true but I find it hard to believe these players would have turned down going to the Mets because Pedro Martinez is not there. It's not like Santana, Beltran and Wagner were only looking to play for the same team as Pedro Martinez.

Indeed, no one got close to the seven-year, $119 million deal the Mets dropped in front of Beltran. But even after he was entering the final round of negotiations, Beltran still wasn't sold; agent Scott Boras secretly told the Yankees the center fielder would accept less money if the Bombers would make an offer.

So apparently the last sentence of this column was a complete lie. What kind of writing is this? Bob writes one sentence and then contradicts it with the next sentence. It's like he has multiple personalities.

You couldn't blame the Wilpons for revisiting Pedro's $53 million contract and asking themselves: Where did the money go?

Considering the Mets admit they overpaid and overcommitted to Pedro, they got exactly what they bargained for when they signed him. Why would you write questions and then answer them or contradict them? That's not writing a column, that is insanity.

4. Jemele Hill talks about charm school for athletes. Usually when Jemele writes the nation mourns the loss of intelligent and cohesive writing. This week the nation falls asleep due to boredom.

And so on. Goolsby and chef Robert Hewitt put them through a dining exercise. They practiced table manners through a three-course meal. They learned the different forks, which wines go with which foods and that if they're having a bad experience at a restaurant, they should talk to the manager privately instead of causing a disturbance.


When the five hours were up, the rookies couldn't say they hadn't received a complete education. They practiced writing thank-you notes to Lions owner William Clay Ford. They practiced making proper introductions and shaking hands: Lock the V of your hand with the other person's. Wrap the hand and thumb. Squeeze. Pump.


You might be thinking the winless Lions should have been studying film instead of salad forks, coverages instead of personal stationary. But consider the bigger picture. Today's professional athlete is under a lot of pressure to perform because he's representing billion-dollar corporations 24 hours a day.

Fantastic point Jemele! Next year instead of being the poorly behaved athletes who exhibit poor performance on the field and a lack of skills they currently are, they will be well behaved ex-athletes who work at Foot Locker.

I understand the premise but many of these rookies are not going to be on a roster in a few years and the only billion dollar corporation Gosder Cherilus is going to be representing in the future is Wal-Mart when he begins his job as a greeter at the age of 34 when he has blown through his millions. Gosder Cherilus sucks and the Lions do too.

I am surprised dumbass Jemele Hill did not call the article "Such Well Behaved Lions."

5. David Schoenfield, whose picture looks like he should get his ass kicked immediately and his Dunk-a-roos stolen at lunch, grades Scott Boras' free agent clients of the past.

He gave grades on a scale of 1-5 Scott Boras heads. How fucking creative! Now give me your lunch.

He gives Kevin Brown's deal two Boras heads and A Rod's deal two Boras heads. Really I have nothing else to add, other than the fact he thinks the Dodgers and the Yankees have gotten the same return on their free agent contracts with Kevin Brown and Alex Rodriguez.

The final tally: Umm, yeah … maybe a little pitching would have been nice. The Rangers have had one winning season in the eight years since the original signing and were so desperate to trade him they actually paid a portion of his Yankees salary. Despite A-Rod's productivity, the size of the deal proved disastrous.

You can't knock A Rod's Boras heads down because of the lack of pitching for the Rangers. Sure they could have used some pitching instead of hitting, but Alex Rodriguez was voted once as MVP with the Rangers and once as MVP with the Yankees. He got paid like the best player in the league and he played like it.

The fact neither team had any good pitching was not A Rod's fault. He also probably accounted for tons of money in merchandising and ticket sales. Why is everyone so down on A Rod?

He gave Andruw Jones' 2001 signing with the Braves three Boras heads despite the fact Scott Boras had nothing to do with the negotiation and the Braves were able to secure one of the best hitting and fielding centerfielders in MLB at below market price. Then he gives the signing of Beltran for $17 million per year three Boras heads. I think if you looked it up, which I did not, Jones probably performed at the same level as Beltran over the length of the contract...and clearly Jones was a better centerfielder.

I realize these are all objective but I love arguing with stupid measurements like this. They mean nothing, yet somehow some editor greenlights an article about it.

6. I have no real problem with the BCS mess. I know everyone likes a nice happy ending with no loose ends and one true champion but it's not going to happen with the current system. Everyone needs to just accept this.

I don't know what it says about the games that are played during the year when Texas beat Oklahoma on a neutral field and yet Oklahoma is still seen as a better team by the BCS computers and the voters. I have heard people say that game was earlier in the year and Oklahoma has proven themselves to be a better team than when these teams played originally. Maybe, but if you can discount early season losses then what about Florida or USC? They lost early in the year and now are clearly better teams than they were then. Why don't they get a shot at the national championship? It seems the current system does dilute the outcome of early season games.

I don't think a playoff is ever going to happen and I really don't know how it could be implemented correctly either. There is just too much money in the BCS and it will always create interest in college football, regardless of negative or positive press, college football always gets coverage.

My biggest beefs are the one month wait for the championship games and the fact all one loss teams that lost early in the year are not considered for the National Championship based on the principle Oklahoma leapfrogged Texas.

7. For fear of agreeing with Gregg Doyel, this would help decide which team is better.

The problem isn't the BCS system that would rate the Sooners ahead of the Longhorns, even by a margin as slim as 45-35 the .0128 that separates them in the BCS rankings.

Tell me, please, what Missouri has done to earn its place in the Big 12 Championship Game. Won the Big 12 North?

I do have to agree another game between the teams with the best BCS rankings, despite division separation, would help decide whether Oklahoma or Texas deserved to be in the National Championship game. They are the two best teams in the Big 12 and another game would give one team two losses and make the decision easier as to who the best team is.

A "conference championship game" that doesn't pit the best two teams in the conference. Brilliant innovation.

I have to agree. Missouri is very weak, though if they beat Oklahoma, that will decide Texas was the better team definitely...and Texas did beat Texas Tech, so they would deserve it.

I have a headache.

8. Michael Phelps is Sportsman of the Year. I don't care what anyone says, I still think he looks like a douchebag. I laugh a little bit at the thought of him pumping himself up to the tunes of Eminem and Lil' Wayne...simply because he looks like the goofiest, whitest guy in the world. I look at him and think, now THIS is a guy who will hit on your girlfriend at a bar and then try to start a fight with you, but only long enough for his security to pull him away.

9. This is the funniest thing I have read on Foxsports.com in a while. I can not look at Chris Fowler in the same way again. We all know Jason Whitlock has a bone to pick with ESPN but this is an absolute classic.

10. Today's UNC Tar Heels fan note of the day: Same guy as last week came in my office yesterday and asked if I had seen UNC defeat UNC-Asheville, and said I did not. He described it in great detail to me, which I did not appreciate, and was bragging that UNC had their scrubs in the game at the beginning of the second half. Here's the conversation from there:

(Me) "They are #1 in the country, so they should therefore beat every single team in the country. You should expect this type of performance."

(Man I work with) "I don't think they are #1 in the country really, I don't know how they came about."

(Me) "A team of experts, coaches and sportswriters all agree UNC is the best team in the country. Don't lower expectations for your team pretending they are just some 'little team that could' when you have 7 players that could play in the NBA on the roster."

(Man I work with) "I don't know about that." ---then he left the room and this is why I have no friends.

You can't come bragging about how great your team is and then try to backtrack and lower expectations immediately after that. UNC should not lose a game this year, they are that good.


Fred Trigger said...

I dont think he was criticizing ARODs performance. I think it was more of the contract size that the team gave him, because it handcuffed them so they couldnt really afford much else.

Also, I like the ten things on Tues. Its something different, and keeps things fresh on the blog.

Bengoodfella said...

I can actually see that Fred. I was comparing the actual performance of the player to the contract that he received and A Rod has performed well, so I was not going to put him on the same level as Kevin Brown. Even if he did not earn the contract completely, I was not really focusing on the team being handcuffed by the contract. Of course the Yankees are not handcuffed by a contract like that at all, so I was taking that into account as well. If you go from the perspective of how the contract affected the team and not on performance it was a 2 Scott Boras head contract.

I like the Ten Things also, I may keep doing it, until it gets non-fresh of course.

Anonymous said...

"I was watching part of Monday Night Football last night and when they were previewing next week's Tampa Bay v. Carolina game, Mike Tirico mentioned both teams have a 9-3 record and said, "I guess that is what you get when you draw the AFC West," and then Tony Kornheiser laughed. This is bad journalism and shows how little research these assholes really do.

Based on the season ending today, Tampa Bay has played or will play 6 games against playoff teams"

Actually Ben, I'd consider your analysis more flawed than the initial comment. By definition, every non-divisional leader will play at least 4 games against playoff teams -- 2 against your division leader; one against the NFC division you face, and one against the AFC division you face. If both wild cards come out of your division (as they currently do), that number jumps to 6 for playoff teams. Also, I'm not sure "playoff teams played against" is that great of a metric, as it's basically a function of wild card teams in your division, which certainly can be impacted by strength of schedule outside of division.

And it's is very reasonable to question the strength of schedule for the NFC South. 8 of the games they've played will have been against the NFC North and AFC West, two of the weaker divisions with 7-5 division leaders. Teams could go 6-2 against these softer divisions, split the rest of their games and still end up with 10 wins.

Likewise, in the AFC, it's not surprising that the AFC East has two teams contending for the wild card considering their schedule, which includes the AFC West and NFC West, another horrible division.

There can be a little bit of a chicken/egg issue here (is the NFC South strong because the NFC North and AFC West are weak, or vice versa). But to dismiss 1/2 the schedule as having no impact on the relative strength of your division seems pretty flawed to me. Maybe if they were matched up agains the NFC East and AFC South instead of the NFC North/AFC West this year, they wouldn't have two wild card teams in their division, which would drive down that "playoff teams played against" stat you reference.

Bengoodfella said...

I see where my analysis can flawed by your reasoning. I recognize how weak the AFC West is, I was just trying to show the two teams had not played cupcakes the entire schedule all year. I just thought it was incorrect to chalk up the records to simply playing the AFC West in inter-divisional play. It may be a chicken or the egg thing but I am always scared shitless of playing Tampa Bay when my favorite team plays them and Carolina will have played every NFC playoff team (if it ended today of course) by the end of this year. Granted, that is helped out by the fact the two wild cards are projected to come out of the NFC South. I did a poor job of conveying this.

What I should have said is that I believe Carolina and Tampa Bay are good teams regardless of who they would play in inter-divisional play. Tampa Bay scares me to death to play for some reason.

Thanks for reading and I will try to succeed a little bit more when it comes to making comparisons like this.

At least I did not mispell anything I guess.

awesomesean said...

Ben...anonymous ate your luch for you. Shut down the blog, you hack.

I have to tell you that Petey (I am the world's biggest apologist, by the way) made Shea relevant again. Not only that, he pitched very well for 2 years and the contract was not that outrageous. I love knocking Minaya because he makes terrible GM's look good but this was a no-brainer and at least a push for the Mets. Klapisch sucks.

Keep up the good work bro.

Bengoodfella said...

Anonymous did eat my lunch. The blog is shutting down due to my not having a point and being a useless hack.

Pedro probably did make Shea relevant again and I don't think it was a bad deal for the Mets. I don't understand why Klapisch was so concerned whether the Mets got their money's worth or not. I thought it was generally accepted a four year deal was one year too long for Pedro and the Mets did it anyway. I don't think they overpaid in contract actual amount, but I do think they should not have given him a four year deal. Klapisch just can't bitch about Pedro's performance last year because it seemed almost inevitable in a way...at least to me. It's like when the Braves signed Tom Glavine this year, I knew he would end up on the disabled list...and somehow I was right about that.

I don't think Minaya is that bad of a GM. I think his problem is that he has too much money to spend sometimes and doesn't always have to make the best baseball decision. I am talking about the Luis Castillo and Carlos Beltran contracts mostly. He just outbid himself for those. Sometimes I think it is better if a GM pretends he has a tight budget to meet.

awesomesean said...

Minaya is a poor GM. I always thought he did an excellent job up in Montreal due to all the great players that came from that organization. Now, with $$$ to throw around he's shown that he must've been aided by good luck all those years. He botched Bannister, Milledge and Scoenweis recently. I don't necessarily think Beltran has a bad contract as he is very valuable. In his defense, I have heard that the Castillo signing was a pre-cursor to the Santana signing. If so, no complaints from me.

Bengoodfella said...

I think in the case of some GM's, having money to spend is a bad thing. The Braves have over $40 million to spend and they just traded the other half of the farm system they did not give up for Tex for Javier Vazquez, a career .500 pitcher.

I probably need a better understanding of Hispanic/Latin American culture because I don't think I understand the whole Castillo signs with the Mets and so Santana wants to go there also. It seems to happen more often lately.

I wish the Braves had signed Beltran...