Tuesday, March 31, 2009

11 comments The Biggest Loser: Simmons Mailbag Edition Part 1

I don't really appreciate Bill Simmons trying to sneak a Tuesday/Wednesday mailbag into my week. It's not that I don't love a Simmons mailbag, but it means there is not going to be a Friday column, which I look forward to. Regardless this is a good-bad mailbag and Bill even leaves (relevancy alert) Twitter updates as he goes along and he has a head-on collision with math that leaves no survivors. He's not old and out of touch, he's just like us! As always this is a real mailbag with "real" questions from "real" readers, and as always I will be making fun of Bill's readers and those that pose the questions just as much as I mock Bill himself.

I am predicting I will get two commenters that think I am a moron for writing about Bill and mocking him.

Mailbag Part 1!

But seriously, how can I turn down an e-mail like this?

I need a mailbag like a fat kid needs the last slice of cheesecake.-- McGowan, Hamilton, N.Y.

You can ignore an email like that by realizing the whole "fat kid" joke really went out in the early 2000's, though I still find it acceptable to use these jokes, this one is one of the oldest and most uncreative versions. This is the perfect way to start off a Bill Simmons mailbag though. An unoriginal and derivative email from a reader who wants to be just like Bill.

Q: Recently, Morgan Freeman came to my town to help celebrate the opening of one of his restaurants, Pig 'N Whistle BBQ. He came around and greeted every table and talked with each guest, and everyone was getting their picture taken with him. I had a stroke of genius, though, and had my phone out. When Mr. Freeman reached our table, I asked if he would be so kind as to record a message for me. He said yes. Now I have this on my cell: "This is actor Morgan Freeman, Barnz is away from his phone right now but leave a message and he will call you back, I hope ... I hope." Is there a better choice for voicemail and a specific person to leave it?-- Barnz, Fayettesville, Ark.

I have enjoyed how Bill's readers come to him for validation that what they did was the best ever or they need his approval before they can officially feel good about making a list of the whitest players ever or making some other inane list.

"I did this Bill, is this the best ever? I base my self worth on whether you find me to be a cool person. Validate me Bill. Tell me what I did was clever."

SG: Nope. Not that I can think of. Although I definitely would have had him throw in a "I guess I just miss my friend" joke. Here's the rest of my Dream Guest Message top five:

"Great idea Barnz! Though you could have done better by doing exactly what I would do. Let me get the attention back on me by listing other celebrities who I would love to have do a voicemail greeting for me. As always, there is no creativity in this, I am just googling and copy and pasting movie lines they have performed and saying that is what I would like for my voicemail to say. Oh, and they are all from movies I have referenced multiple times before."

2. Jack Nicholson: "This is Jack Nicholson. Bill isn't home right now. You're entitled to leave a message for him. Just know that I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain where he is, especially to someone who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said 'thank you' and went on your way. Either way, I don't give a DAMN what you think you're entitled to!!!"

A Few Good Men. We have gotten a few mentions of this in Bill's previous columns.

3. Al Pacino: "Hi, this is Al Pacino. I don't know where Bill is right now. But I do know this. Life is just a game of inches. I am still willing to fight and die for that inch because that is what LIVING is!!! The six inches in front of your face!!!!! Now I can't make you leave a message. You gotta do it. So wait for the beep."

Any Given Sunday. Definitely made several appearances.

4. Buffalo Bill: "This is Jame Gumb answering Bill's cell phone. Bill's not here. (Long pause.) Is this a great big fat person?"

This is not a funny or memorable quote. If it were creepy, I could get some value from this, but it's not even really creepy.

5. Gene Hackman: "This is Gene Hackman for Bill's cell phone. There's a tradition with phone messages to not talk about the return message until you've left the initial one. I'm sure leaving a message on Bill Simmons' cell phone is beyond your wildest dreams, so let's just keep it right there. Don't worry about winning or losing with this message. If you put your effort and concentration into playing to your potential, to be the best that you can be, I don't care what the scoreboard says at the end of this message, in my book we're gonna be winners! All right? (Sound of a slow clap in the background.) OK? (Clapping gets louder.) Lemme hear it!!!!! (Everyone cheers, followed by a beep.)

Hoosiers. I think everyone knows how many times this movie has been referenced in a Bill Simmons column. Easily one of his favorite films.

There you go Barnz, rather than do something fairly creative like you did, you should have just had Morgan Freeman recite movie lines, that he probably in no way recalls, into your cell phone. One day, just one day, you will be as cool as Bill.

Q: Just bought the new edition of your Red Sox book on amazon.com, but since you are a podcast pioneer, can you record it as an audio book? I want a 60-part podcast series of you reading your book to me, because podcasts have made me basically illiterate.-- Wade, Sydney, Australia

I like how Bill updated his book for the second Red Sox World Series title. I know authors frequently do this, but again, why do any work when you can just piggyback off something that has already been written to sell more books?

Can anyone imagine 60 parts of Bill's book with his nasally whine speaking each word? I would hang myself with a Wes Welker jersey. This is one of the reasons I can't listen to his podcasts.

Q: Man, is it just me or does your NCAA bracket looks like an adopted child of a Paris Hilton-Lindsay Lohan marriage? Pretty at first, but quickly evolving into a complete train wreck.-- Chad, Greensboro, N.C.

Is it me Chad or did I warn your friend, Eddie, to never make contact with Bill Simmons in a mailbag again? I can find out where you live Chad. I have no job, no friends, I live with my mom and she no longer locks the attic door when she goes to work so I can get out easily. I expect more from you.

Does anyone else get the feeling this email was edited and the beginning part was ripping some of Bill's picks? I would like to think so.

First, the Villanova-Pittsburgh game was magical and reminded me why I had spent six days watching a mostly crappy tournament hoping something good would happen.

Villanova: Beating Duke and then getting blown out by UNC, just to piss me off.

Just take out the ACC's two top teams please Villanova. If (When) UNC wins the National Championship the Big East is still going to be the 2nd best conference because UNC will have potentially beaten every team in the Final Four, including two Big East teams this year, if UConn makes the Championship Game. Beat UNC and then I will forgive Dante Cunningham for that awful lightning bolt on the side of his head.

And fifth, other than everything I just mentioned, nothing excited me in March more than the release of USA Today Weekly's annual fantasy baseball issue (the one that has all the auction prices). I was trying to think of my 15 favorite days from this perspective: You wake up and you think, "Cool, today's the day when X happens!" My top-17 list looks like this: my daughter's birthday; my son's birthday; Halloween; the annual Celtics-Clippers game; Halter Top Day; Patriots' Day (Boston only); NFL conference championship Sunday; Christmas Eve; the first Saturday of NFL wild-card games; my fantasy football draft (the West Coast one where we all get together); first day of March Madness; the NBA draft; the NFL draft; (blank); (blank); Final Four Saturday; my anniversary; Sunday of the Masters; and strangely, the day when that fantasy baseball issue is released.

Not that I really care, but notice how low Bill's anniversary is on this list. There has been no mention of the Sports Gal in a long while, so maybe she left him for Dan Shaughnessy. I don't want it to happen but he has gone from featuring her in his columns during football season to not even mentioning her at all.

I know a long time ago he vowed to never mention his wife and kids in his columns but he breaks that rule continously concerning his two children, so where is the Sports Gal? I doubt he reneged on his "never mention the family" rule. Peter King doesn't mention his wife, but then again, he never has, so I ask again, where is the Sports Gal?

Also, I mentioned my anniversary because that means another year passed without my wife saying, "I should run from him while I can still find a second husband." So maybe I don't look forward to it as much as appreciate it.

Or maybe I am wrong...or maybe this is all a smoke screen to drive me insane and have his readers focus on his wife's disappearance rather than his writing. I am not giving up on my theory, no matter what he types.

Q: Do you ever shorten the first names of famous people? I find it very fun, and think that if someone like Russell Crowe had decided to be known as Russ Crowe his career would be different. How about Scott Pippen, Shaq O'Neal or Mike J. Fox. Do you think your life would be different if you had gone by Will Simmons? Yes, it would have.-- Kevin, Philadelphia

If anyone watches the Office, imagine Kevin from the Office reading this sentence out loud. It reads like something an 8 year old child would write, which is also how Kevin on the Office speaks. I wonder what part of this question makes Bill think, "My God, I have to write a response to this."

This SimmonsClone writes a question to Bill and then answers it. That doesn't stop Bill from answering it though.

By the way, I think "Will Simmons" would have put me on the Reggie Cleveland All-Stars. Not that I'd object.

Will Simmons sounds like a rich white guy's name. Someone who went to an expensive private college full of other wealthy white kids. Basically it changes nothing about you. Good try by Bill though to put his name in the fake group that he created. Very valiant effort.

So then the question came up ... in respect to Chavez ... is there such a thing as negative V.O.R.P.? -- Jason, Phoenix

Why the fuck ask Bill Simmons this question? What the hell would he know about V.O.R.P. or even if it can be negative? I can put a list together in my head of 1,000 people who are more qualifed to answer this question. Jason from Phoenix, you suck. Bill Simmons doesn't know the fucking answer and you should know better than to ask an entertainer this question. You could have asked me or potentially millions of other people (Yes, I upped it from 1,000 to millions in 20 short seconds, that is how dumb this question directed at Bill Simmons was) this question and gotten an answer. Instead you go to Bill. That tells me something about you.

SG: I asked our baseballprospectus.com buddy Joe Sheehan and here's what he said: "Yup, negative VORPs are fairly common.

See? Bill the "stat geek" had no fucking clue. Not one, so he asked someone else, just like he always does when it comes to any facts or numbers he needs.

A replacement-level player would actually be better than what the guy produces (and remember that VORP is adjusted for position, so the standards for shortstops are lower than for first basemen). Top-five last season: Tony Pena, -25.0; Corey Patterson, -19.3; Andruw Jones, -17.3; Jeff Francoeur, -16.9; Wily Mo Pena, -16.5."

I want to point out two things:

1. Jeff Francouer actually got a raise to $3.4 million this year, up from less than $1 million last year despite the fact the Braves could have replaced him with a replacement player and gotten better production. The arbitration system sucks.

2. 3 of these 5 players have played for the Braves organization in the last 3 years. Oh, and two of them were in the same outfield together in 2007.

Q: Wondering if you saw ESPN's hilarious interview with Herm Edwards regarding Jay Cutler's situation? When asked how he would handle the situation, Edwards actually said he would point to the team missing the playoffs by just one game last season and tell them, "Hey, that's something we can build on." Can you imagine Herm charging into the Broncos locker room following a 52-21 loss to San Diego to complete a monumental collapse and yelling "WE CAN BUILD ON THIS!!"??!!-- Rosie, Seattle

(Sound of Bill and his readers beating a joke into the ground, digging the joke back up and then beating the joke back into the ground.)

By the way, a belated "Got you!" to everyone who Googled Scarlett Johansson's topless scene in "The Killing Game" -- both the scene and movie were made up. You guys are too easy.

Ohhhhhhhhhhh! Bill got you bitches! How dare you believe anything out of Bill's mouth is factual. You guys should never believe that anything Bill says has any factual basis.

What other entertainer/major sports web site columnist makes shit up in his columns and then mocks his readers for believing what he writes? Aren't his readers supposed to believe what he writes? I thought that was the entire point of journalism, to write something the readers will believe and also something that provides them with information?

I don't know how his readers don't hate him.

Q: I'm an NYU student, so it's nothing new when a movie is being filmed near campus, as was the case today. Walking past with my friend, we wondered what movie it was, as it was clearly high budget. I remarked that it was probably another crappy Nicolas Cage movie. My friend stopped to ask a cop, who excitedly said "The Sorcerer's Apprentice with Nicolas Cage." This killed us, as we could tell from the title that this would be another instant classic.-- Mike, New York

SG: Note to Nic: It's not a good sign when movie fans can guess that you're filming a movie in their neighborhood with the clues "high budget" and "looks crappy."

I don't like Nicholas Cage by any stretch of the imagination but his latest movie, "Knowing", did pretty well at the box office. His movies generally stink but the movie did well, plus the movie had Rose Byrne in it and I am big fan of her, so he gets extra points in my book for her being in the movie.

So we ask you, do the large amounts of L.A .residents visiting Vegas each weekend factor into oddsmaker's decisions?-- Blair Fetter, L.A.

This is the part of the column where Bill encourages his readers to start gambling. It's not very responsible to encourage people to spend money gambling when unemployment is at its highest levels in a long, long time. You know there is a subset of white mails 18-25 years old who are reading this and wasting their mommy and daddy's money on gambling.

Now I realize Bill should not have to worry about affecting others because it is not his responsibility. But I have to ask...he doesn't have to worry about being factually correct when writing his articles because he is an entertainer, he doesn't have to make his predictions accurate because he is a fan, and he doesn't have to worry about the message he is sending his readers because he is just commenting on gambling and not encouraging it...so what part of his columns every week should he be responsible for, if not the message and content of what he writes? I get confused about this every time someone tries to knock me for taking Bill seriously.

We always talk about the tangible effects of the Steroids Era (it screwed up the numbers historically, compromised the competitiveness of the games and tainted some of the nicer memories we had as fans from 1990 to 2007), but the underrated effect was the realization that some of our greatest players were scumbags.

Is Bill fucking kidding me? How the hell is the realization that the best players were scumbag cheaters an "underrated" effect? After the Manny Ramirez and Kevin Durant "underrated" column, I am starting to think Bill thinks "underrated" means, "I personally have not noticed nor thought of this, so I am going to assume everyone else has not either."

The whole A-Rod steroid scandal was all about the tainting of the homerun record and the realization the one "clean" player everyone believed in was also cheating. I would actually say the scumbag effect has bothered me more than the memories and the competitiveness of the game issue has affected me. I don't pretend to speak for everyone else like Bill, but I think the fact many Hall of Fame players who the public really believed in turned out to be cheaters is more overrated compared to the fact nearly every record over the past 15 years is probably tainted.

Mark McGwire doesn't have the decency to admit that he cheated. Neither does Sammy Sosa or Raffy Palmeiro. A-Rod lied in 2008 on national TV, then lied about the lie.

Really, there was a lot of focus on this issue. Like tons of articles written about how A-Rod has ruined the lives of children in Africa and how Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire have shamed their entire family. Bill needs to look up the word "underrated" and try to figure out what it means.

Q: YES! YES, YES, YES!!! Please write about Anthony Randolph! I've been telling people about him all year long. There's never been an NBA player with his size and skill set. Ever. He's a looong 6-foot-10, runs like a gazelle, has great hops, and can handle the ball. Love it. As an added bonus, he looks like he's constantly crying or really getting his feelings hurt. He's fascinating. I get genuinely giddy any time the Warriors are on, for him alone. Can you please let America know about Anthony Randolph?-- Aaron, Chicago

Aaron, anyone who follows the NBA knows about Anthony Randolph and any hyperbolic evidence Bill has is not going to support the fact he is going to be a great player. Let's let him try anyway. Also, Randolph is not a scrub or anything, he is the #14 pick in the 2008 draft.

I caught him once and, in the span of two hours, he made three "MY GOD!" plays and broke down on the Warriors' bench because Nellie wouldn't put him back in, followed by an assistant consoling him through an entire timeout like Randolph was a third grader who got in trouble for something he didn't do, then had a meltdown and got kicked out of class. It was riveting. The odds of me missing another Clips-Warriors game for the next five years are 10,000-to-1.

Randolph is the youngest player in the NBA right now, so maybe he was sad that he got taken out of the game. Or maybe he was sad that if he had stayed in college this year his college team would have been a #4/#5 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

I know some people hate college basketball but one of the reasons I like college basketball is that players like Anthony Randolph can be discovered by fans BEFORE they go to the NBA. Bill and Aaron from Chicago probably have no idea where Randolph went to college, which is LSU. It just annoys me when Bill gets all excited over players that others have known about for a while.

In a related note, in my NBA mock draft last year I had Randolph maybe going to the New Jersey Nets at #11. Though I was not a huge fan of his, I thought it would be a good spot for him, but if you notice under #14 I pretty much said Golden State should not draft a player like him...then they did. There are no available minutes for Randolph in Golden State, though there should be.

I also had dislike for DeAndre Jordan, though it subsided when he went in the 2nd round, but I remember mock drafts had him going in the middle of the 1st round, which I thought was too high and that caused the dislike.

My point is that if you follow college/NBA basketball, you know about Anthony Randolph and Bill Simmons does not have to be the one in the "know" who can tell everyone about him.

Q: Can we get your thoughts on Schilling and the HOF? Here are mine: Saying he would help break the curse, and then DOING IT! Bloody sock -- beating the Yankees! Great postseason record. Regular season numbers are STRONG! Antagonistic relationship with the media (CHB in Boston, Pedro Gomez in Arizona) and management (Philly). Supporter of troops and ALS. Critic of performance enhancing drug users (in the sport) Of course many other things ... anyhow, I am so glad he passed through Boston. I cannot tell you how much 2004 meant to me.-- Matt, Huntington Beach, Calif.

Weird. Other than mentioning Schilling had a "great postseason record" and saying his "regular season numbers are STRONG" very little fact is used here. The rest is just shit that has nothing to do with how Schilling performed on the mound. A perfect question for a perfect Simmons mailbag. Screw the numbers, let's try to determine if Schilling deserves the HoF by talking about his support of ALS.

SG: Couldn't agree more.

Exactly. Bill never mentions his numbers either or even says he should make the Hall of Fame. This is the equivalent of just typing and not listening to the question...which was not actually a question by the SimmonsClone, but more of a statement.

Q: I was thinking about the biggest non-Internet era sports stories that would have made the Internet or ESPN talk shows explode. Here's my rudimentary list: Magic and HIV; Jordan retires for first time; Wilt scores 100; O.J. Simpson car chase; Kermit Washington's punch; Hatch CATCHING a penalty kick to save the Allies after they stay for the second half. What do you think?-- Mark, Seattle

"Hi, I am Mark, please justify my existence Bill by helping me make a list. I am bordering on suicide here in Seattle, please give me validation by answering my question. I worship you."

We need a "There's NO WAY IN HELL!" movie scenes category. Here's three off the top of my head: De Niro's triple; the ex-president bank-robbing surfers knowing who Johnny Utah was at the beach football game; Eastwood beating up The Swede in "Heartbreak Ridge." Feel free to expand the list. You could easily kill a few hours.-- Paul Hogan, Pittsburgh

No Paul, you need to get a girlfriend or perhaps a hobby...like right now. Stop relying on Bill as if he is an expert on everything movie related. You can make a list of the top "No way in Hell" movie scenes without him. I promise you can do it.

Why did Bill include Paul's full last name here? Was this a Crocodile Dundee reference? If so, I can get behind this reference.

Q: Why can't Hollywood make a movie about a guy who doesn't get married, keeps his friends, loves life, dates hot girls up until they get crazy. But also show his old college roommate married with kids, a nagging wife, a crap job he can't quit because of the kids and mortgage. This should be made and mandatory viewing for any single male by the time he hits 18. At least he would have a fighting chance. If you have a great marriage awesome. But I would tell you that nine of 10 married guys I know are in the old college roommate state of life right now. Good luck all you engaged men. (Suckers.)-- Gabe B., Waterloo, Iowa

SG: And that wraps up this month's installment for "Fellas, Don't Get Married!" By the way, I'd like to give a special shout-out to my buddy Sully, who's already trained his two young sons to answer the questions "How old will you be before you can think about getting married?" and "Where are you going to college?" with the answers "35" and "South or West." Now that's great parenting.

This whole "I got married and should not have" theme gets so old so quickly. It's not funny and it really doesn't make a whole hell of a lot of sense. If a person doesn't want to get married, don't get married, simply because Hollywood puts out movies where people get married doesn't mean you personally have to get married. Movies should not dictate what type of lives everyone has to lead, and I would assume Gabe is at the age where he should understand Hollywood glorifies everything. That is their sole purpose. To glorify and entertain.

When someone whines about getting married and how mean his wife is, it annoys me. When people who aren't married talk about how great it is to be single and how married people are stupid it annoys me. It is a personal choice, you don't have to make the choice or feel forced to make the choice to get married. Don't fucking get married if you don't want to, it's very easy. If a woman is a bitch and nag when you date her, then nothing is going to change when you get married. Of course, if your wife changes after you get married (which is what men will claim but is not just true, people tend to ignore other's faults), then that is a different story.

Look for more tips in my relationship book titled, "Oversimplifying Relationships In An Effort To Shut Up Those Who Whine About Marriage."

Q: Why won't you understand shooting percentages? 33 percent from beyond the arc is the equivalent of 50 percent from within.


If a guy shot 50 percent from the field, would you be killing him for shooting? Of course not. You obviously realize how stupid that would be. Yet that's what you've been doing -- FOR YEARS -- with your mind-boggling argument against 3-point shooting unless the guy can hit 75 percent of his 3s.


Just think about it for a couple of seconds. Please ... we are begging you.-- Nick, New York

In your eye Simmons! This is a man who gets it.

SG: Dozens of readers e-mailed me Nick's same stupid argument in a similarly condescending way, which is what makes the following so much fun: I'm not stupid, YOU'RE STUPID.

This man does not get it. Nick is talking condescendingly in the same fashion Bill talks condescendingly to his readers, like they are his minions who don't understand what he understands and have not experienced what he has experienced.

That 33/50 logic only makes sense in a professional basketball league in which they aren't calling fouls and you aren't allowed to pass to a teammate ... which, as far as I can tell, doesn't currently exist.

That's not logic, that is a fucking statistic. Fouls and passing have nothing to do with this number.

Let's say that one player attempts 12 3-pointers and makes four (for 12 points). His teammate attempts 12 2-pointers and makes six, but during that time -- because he's not standing 25 feet away jacking up 3s like an idiot -- he also draws three fouls on his defender, creates two assists for teammates, makes three of four free throws, turns the ball over once, and misses one layup that gets tapped in by a teammate (we'll call it 19 points).

Unbelieveable. Bill is couching his argument based on hypothetical circumstances of his own creation. It seems like the guy driving to the basket gets 6 more possessions in Bill's argument, assuming the layup is from a missed shot that counted among the 12 shots from 2 point range. I hate to be the one to point this out to Bill but he can't just give the guy driving to the basket (Player X) 6 more possessions to get points for his team. While it is true the guy shooting 3 point shots (Player Y) is taking shots further away from the basket, he can also make plays by passing or pump faking and hitting a wide open man under the basket. There are positive team plays that can result from a three point shot. I am digressing though.

The real problem is that Bill gives Player X 6 more possessions to get his 19 points. Player X has already jacked up 12 shots from inside the arc, he can't have a minimum of 6 more possessions to create the 2 assists, get fouled, turn the ball over and take one more shot. If Player X has shot the ball 12 times, to compare shooting percentages, he shouldn't get a chance to drive to the basket and get fouled or get assists, unless Player Y gets a chance to get as many possessions to shoot 3 point shots. Not to mention there was probably an offensive rebound on one of the 8 missed shots by Player Y which could have resulted in more points for his team. You can't just assume positive things are not going to happen when a guy shoots 3 point shots and misses it, and you also can't just give Player X more possessions.

I'm fine with shooting 24-footers over 20-footers, but getting into the paint will always be more valuable than jacking up 3s. It's just a fact.

No, it is not a fact. You can't make 2 point shots more valuable by adding in hypothetical positive things that could happen if a player drives to basket. I don't think anyone will argue that a team should not shoot three point shots all game, but adding in fake situations of your own creation doesn't mean you are right.

(Note to Nick and everyone else who mailed me the 33/50 argument: I'm doing the Dikembe finger wave at you. Don't come into my house.)

I kind of see Bill's point because I would not want a team to never drive to the basket, but you can't argue with the math...and the math says if a guy shoots 33% from three point range, this is as good as 50% from two point range. Making shit up does not mean you are right.

Q: On a side note, a few weeks ago, the manager at a local restaurant congratulated my stepdad on me making your Holiday Mailbag on Dec. 26, 2008. Subsequently, I received an e-mail from my mom titled "Makes A Momma Proud," and foolishly I had grand ideas of her praising me. However, all she sent was "Q: Beer + Weed + Bill Simmons = 1.9 GPA for fall quarter. Thank you, Bill, for helping me achieve my lowest GPA since the seventh grade. Yup, I'm one of your readers."-- Tysen A., Bellingham, Wash

Bill's readers are losers! How funny! Enjoy your job at Burger King Tysen A. from Bellingham, Washington. Maybe they will let you have access to the Internet to read Bill's columns on your 30 minute lunch break.

Part 2 coming tomorrow...Commenters let loose with what I have missed.

Monday, March 30, 2009

15 comments MMQB Review: Peter Puts Everything I Don't Care About In One Nifty Column

Peter King talks about a couple of things, like the Collective Bargaining Agreement and why coaches should be able to talk to their team after the Super Bowl, that I don't really care about too much. Doesn't mean he is boring though, it just means much like a U2 album you have to cut through the boring shit to get to the meat of what it is about. So let's get to the meat. Speaking of meat...

Leftovers from an all-business annual NFL meetings, with some news about an event to help the good Dr. heal thyself ... and with 26 days before the draft, what would an MMQB be without a nugget or two about the fate of the Lions at number one:

Food is ALWAYS on this man's mind.

Every year at the meetings, the Rooney family invites a select group of Steelers club officials, league officials and media to dinner in a private room. It's a low-key affair with a toast, stories and an early exit because this isn't a wild crowd; everyone want to be up early the next day.

The first story is about food. Also, I have noticed over the past couple of columns that Peter really, really likes Dan Rooney. Like "I want you to be my father/grandfather" likes Dan Rooney. Pretty soon he will be staking out Dan Rooney's house...in Ireland.

A few of the guests christened this one "The Last Supper'' because Rooney has been nominated by President Obama to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Ireland.

"The Last Supper." Just like Jesus before he was betrayed by Judas and then died after being crucified on the cross in the hot sun. At least that is the story in the Bible and believed by Christians. Funny name for a dinner, I just forgot to laugh I guess.

Rooney took out his cell phone and played a message he'd kept from the late Upshaw for three years, a message that was meaningful to him because it conveyed the art of the deal and the mutual trust the two men had.

Maybe Dan Rooney is related in some way to Peter King. They both keep cell phone messages from people for an overly long amount of time. These two are like two peas in a pod, perhaps more like peas and carrots. They should sit in a tree for hours and talk about what they want to do with their lives and Peter can hope his daddy doesn't come home drunk again.

Upshaw died last August. Rooney is all but certain to be confirmed for the Ireland post. So last week, everyone in the league was trying to take the temperature of what it all meant. And no one thought it was good. There's no natural mediator available in the league right now. Surely one can, and probably will, emerge.

Out of 31 other millionaire league owners, there is not a single person among them who can negotiate or mediate. I don't believe that.

One of the issues in the negotiations will be the amount of debt the owners have built up over the past few years. I'm told the 32 teams owe a combined $8 billion for money they've borrowed for stadium construction and other infrastructure improvements and practice-facility costs. That's about $250 million per team. And the players have always had the attitude -- which I can see too -- that, yes, the owners do have massive debt issues, but at the end of the day, that debt, once it's paid, is going to make the owners' franchises worth all that much more.

The owners are going to have the attitude that they've got this huge debt service per year, and they're incurring this debt service to grow the game, and so this debt has to be taken into account when figuring the total salary cap and salary floor per year. I know it's complicated, but that's the nut issue here.

This is exactly why I don't get into talking about the CBA all that much, though it is vitally important, because it just all sounds like millionaires fighting over money to me.

The owners need to get over the fact they have to spend money to run a football team. If you don't want to spend money and incur debt on practice fields and other facilities, don't own a football team. The players need to realize the owners are trying to make the facilities as nice as they can be to coddle them and make these millionaires feel special about the team they play for.

Compromise. Just play football and shut the hell up.

In his absence, I think Rooney will be available to advise the league, but Goodell's going to need another Kissinger to be a shuttle diplomat between owners and players.

Maybe it'll be New England owner Bob Kraft. I think it's a job Kraft would love.

Well, as long as he would love the job, he doesn't really need to actually be good at it. I just need Bob Kraft having fun, that's all I really ask.

How did I know he would be Peter's first choice?

Roger Goodell keeps saying the idea of 17 regular-season games with three in the preseason, or 18 and two exhibitions, is just another way of playing the 20 games that are already scheduled. Wrong. It's wrong because starters would be playing the full game in the 17th and 18th regular-season games, and now they play, on average, a quarter of each preseason game.

This is seriously not news. Anyone who watches football on a regular basis knows that preseason games are completely useless. The league wants to keep the amount of games at 20 and when the league announced they wanted more regular season games, everyone who thought about it knew this meant more games for each player. Those who thought about it also knew that the players would have a hard time going for this.

No matter how the league throws it out there, there's no doubt players would be exposing themselves to another four quarters of injury risk if the regular season is expanded to 17 games. Add two more games, and most veterans would be playing an extra six or eight quarters.

I personally don't like the idea of expanding the schedule to include more games, I would just like to see the amount of preseason games limited to 2 or 3 and leave the preseason where it is at. Teams are pretty beat up at the end of the year and I don't see a reason to change how long the season is.

"Anytime you have change, there is some reluctance," Goodell said at the meetings. "But it's clear we don't need four preseason games anymore. Fans don't believe preseason games are up to our standards. A key point is the fans also recognize players they want to see are not in those preseason games.''

So only have 2 or 3 preseason games. They can't do that because the team doesn't want to miss out on the revenue they get from home games? Tough shit, the fans have been paying way too much money for preseason game tickets for years now. The owners have been collecting money for games that don't involve many players who actually make the team for many years now. They can deal with the lost revenue.

This is a losing battle, there is no way the NFL cuts down the preseason and doesn't add more games to the regular season schedule.

Winning coaches ping-pong from one media obligation to another in the 90 minutes after the game, and they never get a chance to talk to their team. It's incomprehensible to me that a coach would stand in front of his team after every game he ever coaches, and then, in the biggest game of his life and his players' lives, the game ends without the coach ever saying a word to them.

I have heard about the tragedy of Darfur, the AIDS epidemic in Africa and that nearly every single person in America doesn't want to think for themselves and find it easier for others to think for them (which explains so many things, including the existence of many CBS comedies and what is currently on the Top 40 radio stations), but this is the worst thing I have ever heard of. Someone has to intervene immediately.

It is 57 days after the Super Bowl this morning, and Tomlin has still not talked to his team.

I just want to point out that if Mike Tomlin really, really cared about this, he would have spoken by phone to each individual team member and would not wait for them to be together again as a group.

I have to agree this rule is stupid that he can't talk to them as a group after the game but he could talk to them if he really wanted to.

Solution: The winning network gets the celebration on the field and three or four interviews, including with the coach and MVP, in a 15-minute on-field show. Then the coach and all players get whisked back to their locker room so he can tell them whatever he wants to tell them. Then, no more than 30 minutes after the game, every key player is at a series of postgame podiums set up in the bowels of the stadium.

This may be the first Peter King suggested solution that makes sense.

Well, Tomlinson, who struggled to a 3.9-yards-per-carry average last year, would have to put his career in overdrive at age 30 this fall to compete for a rushing title with 320 carries. Last year, Adrian Peterson won the title with 1,760 yards on 363 carries. Michael Turner of the Falcons was second with 1,699 yards on 376 carries. For Tomlinson to hit 1,760 yards on 320 carries, he'd have to rush for 5.5 yards per carry, which is seven-tenths of a yard better than the terrific Peterson managed last year.

Peter King's numbers seem to work out and he sort of has a point here. I just wonder why he hates LT so much? I know he doesn't come out and blast him or anything but he seems to be really down on LT's chances to have a bounce back year and also seems down on his overall football abilities. I realize LT is 30 years old but two years ago there was talk he could end up being one of the greatest running backs ever and now he is sharing time with Darren Sproles. I wonder if Peter's disdain for Tomlinson has anything to do with how LT has spoken in regard to the Patriots and Bill Belichick?

"Paul doesn't want to settle for just a partial recovery,'' his wife, Linda, says. "He wants to be back working, and to do that, he needs intensive therapy.'' Therapy like the intensive and innovative (and expensive) six-week University of Michigan Aphasia Program, where he'll get 23 hours of challenging speech therapy a week ... and which isn't covered by insurance.

This is a charity dinner for Dr. Z that is being held and seems really wonderful and like a great idea. I can't help but wonder why charity dinners are not being held for other people who were not writers for a major sports magazine who suffer from the same speech challenges that Dr. Z faces? I hope Dr. Z recovers, but for the others who suffer from this speech problem, I bet they wish they had access to wealthy friends who could host a dinner to pay for an expensive rehabilitation for them.

I also can't help but wonder if some of the money from the dinner is going to help others who suffer from the same problem so they could also have the same access to the innovative Aphasia Program.

Quote of the Week III


-- Denver coach Josh McDaniels, asked if he felt there might come an opportune time for the Broncos to consider trading Jay Cutler.

I think McDaniels means "never, unless someone offered me Matt Cassel."

As if they need the extra help, the two teams that met in Super Bowl 42, the Giants and the Patriots, have the most choices in the first three rounds.

Combined playoff wins this year: 0. I just felt the need to point that out.

Maybe the reason these teams have these picks is because they actually made very smart personnel decisions and accumulated more picks. The smart teams make smart moves and the dumb teams don't make smart moves.

1. New England (6) 23, 34, 47, 58, 89, 97.

Strategy: Look for the Pats to trade one of their three second-rounders -- and, if need be, a later pick -- for some team's 2010 first-rounder.

Sorry to pick on New England...but Peter wrote the Patriots may trade one second rounder "and, if need be, a later pick" for a 2010 first round pick. If there is a team that would accept a 2009 2nd round pick for a 2010 first round pick without a later pick, then that General Manager needs to be immediately fired.

Peter is drunk if he thinks the Patriots won't have to trade more than just a second round pick to get a first round pick. Even then it would have to be a pretty good pick or set of picks later to give up a first round pick. Meaning not a 2nd and a 6th round pick. I would be shocked if that got the deal done.

5. Atlanta (3) 24, 55, 90.

Strategy: His freshman draft shows GM Thomas Dimitroff will make a trade to chase a player he really wants. If only Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo were gettable.

I am sure I am not the only person who has heard Brian Orakpo could end up being Vernon Gholston II. I just wanted to point this out because he is getting a lot of hype so far leading up to the draft.

Whether he is going to be a great NFL player may/may not be true but the real thing everyone needs to know is that Peter loves himself some Brian Orakpo because he is like Chris Long. Both are white and have a great "motor." Peter would love to have a team full of those type players.

8. Tennessee (3) 30, 62, 94

Strategy: If the Titans don't get Torry Holt in bargain-basement free-agency, they'll join the club of good teams yearning for a receiver in the first or second round.

Why wouldn't Torry Holt want to catch those Kerry Collins "bombs?"

Enjoyable/Aggravating Travel Note of the Week

1. The Marriott in Dana Point, Calif., responding to my kvetching about no coffee anywhere in the hotel on weekends 'til 7 a.m., made a great call, starting this weekend. They've begun making coffee available in the lobby at 5 a.m. Good to see you improving, Marriott.

Kvetching meaning "incessant bitching." Why does anyone cater to this man? He makes a ton of money, make him walk somewhere to get coffee.

2. The stuffy St. Regis, however, is still making its beach restaurant a hotel-guests only deal. Someday I'm going to be good enough, and rich enough, to eat there.

Did Peter go to the front desk of these hotels and ask them if they changed their policy based on what he said? I think Peter believes he can have an incredible amount of pull just by bitching in his weekly column. It has been an entire week and I am sure the hotel has more important things to do than to cater to Peter King.

If wants to be good enough to eat there, be a guest at the hotel.

5. Drove past the Viper Room, where River Phoenix died of a drug overdose, in West Hollywood. It's a hole in the wall! Looks like some dive head shop from college days.

You would think actors would overdose on drugs at much more reputable and roomier places.

7. US Airways home from LAX Sunday ... $15 to move from a center seat to an aisle with a few more inches of leg room ... $40 to check three bags ... $7 for a salad. Welcome to 2009 air travel, America.

A salad for Peter? Actually it was mash potatoes, spaghetti, steak, and mushrooms mixed together in a bowl with hot coffee poured over the top. That is a salad to Peter.

4. I think, if I were Stafford, I'd be ready for some funny business when the Lions show up at Georgia to work him out. I don't mean ha-ha funny. I mean Schwartz is going to put Stafford in some uncomfortable spots and force him out of his comfort zone. If it's windy, you can be sure Stafford will be throwing his fastball into the wind, for instance.

How is this "funny business?" If a team is going to take a quarterback with the first pick in the draft I really, really hope they would not consider seeing how a quarterback throws out of his comfort zone "funny business," because he is going to have to make those throws in the NFL.

Someone please tell me every team does this to a quarterback they are looking at drafting and the Lions are not supposed to be geniuses for doing this.

6. I think, just to tease tomorrow's column, I'm going to examine the cases of the two men Al Davis is passionate about for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Hint: They both wore the silver and black.

What a shock that Al Davis would be passionate about placing two men who just so happened to play for the Raiders, the team he owns, in the Hall of Fame. Thanks for the hint Peter, I feel incredibly teased.

7. I think if the NFL begins to seriously discuss expanding the playoffs from 12 to 14 teams -- and believe me, the expansionist orators are preparing their speeches to fellow owners -- I'm going to be prepared to argue against that absurd, watering-down-the-game-for-TV notion.

(Bengoodfella quickly getting a headache) Why always try to tinker with a good thing that works? MLB added the wild card because there were only 4 teams that made the playoffs but by the NFL expanding the playoffs to 14 teams means nearly half the teams eligible will make the playoffs.

I, yet again, agree with Peter on this issue.

8. I think, still, that a division winner should not be guaranteed a home playoff game. Why the 12-win Colts had to travel to face the eight-win Chargers is still an injustice that too few people got exercised about. The solution is simple: Excellent teams should not be penalized for being in a division with a superb team, so the playoffs should be seeded, per conference, on the basis of record alone.

Few people get "exercised" about? I have never seen that word used in this context. I like how Peter is still angry over how that Chargers-Colts game ended this past offseason. You fuck with Peyton Manning, you get the wrath of Peter King.

b. Amazing how many movie billboards there are in L.A. You'd think they made movies there or something.

It's shocking how many bright neon signs are in Las Vegas. Is this really worth a mention?

c. There's something wrong in America when you go on the road, need a prescription filled and have to pay full price because you have your HMO card and your prescription card to show the pharmacist but don't have the approval for a clearly approved medication on the prescription bottle.

I don't get this. Either Peter was out of refills or he did not have the prescription for the drug. Either way, there is nothing wrong with the pharmacist wanting to keep his/her job and not filling this prescription. Even knowing American's health care system is messed up, I am going to go ahead and assume Peter was in the wrong on this because I don't know what "approval" he did not have, because that "approval" sounds a lot like a "prescription."

If someone among our 6 readers knows something about this I don't, please inform me.

d. Coffeenerdness: Very, very interesting coffee choice in Laura's neighborhood. Peet's, Coffee Bean and Starbucks, all within about 1,000 yards. That's a reason to live somewhere.

Oh, to live the life of Peter King and make residential choices based on water based liquids.

g. What more does Clay Buchholz have to do to win a spot in the rotation?

Have the Red Sox stop signing tons of other pitchers like John Smoltz and Brad Penny?

h. It's official: There are more dogs than people in the South End of Boston.

South End of Boston: The only area in the world with a lot of dogs. In my neighborhood, there are absolutely no dogs, just people walking goats around the neighborhood on leashes. Do you know why? All the dogs are in Boston.

Friday, March 27, 2009

6 comments Ten Things I Think I Think Peter King Has Not Thought Of: Friday Edition

I am not really in the mood to write today for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that there is nothing really egregious to write about on the Internet that I have found. Usually my Friday money man, Bill Simmons has something up by now, but he is still on his Friday sabbatical and focusing more on his podcasts and book. He has very little time to write columns right now. So with my personal whipping boy taking (another) Friday off, I am going to empty out the bookmarked columns I have.

1. I don't write about Jason Whitlock a whole lot. Mostly because I generally agree with the things he is saying and his new article is no different.

The women's NCAA Tournament should be played in April. The stupidity of playing the women's tournament at the same time as the men's is mind-boggling, asinine and an indication of the extreme lack of self-esteem that undermines the growth of the women's game.

I absolutely agree. I realize women's basketball is not as popular as men's basketball, and maybe it is because the tournaments are not marketing to lesbians. I am not a huge women's basketball fan and I am not sure if I would watch the tournament, but it certainly would be much easier to watch the games if they took place apart from the men's tournament.

I don't think it is a lack of self esteem that undermines the growth of the women's game, I think it is just pure stupidity. Those who watch women's basketball probably also watch men's basketball and the insistence of the women's teams in competing with the men's tournament is just asinine. They can't compete with it, very few things really can, which is why CBS moves even its most successful programming to re-runs to show the games. I wish those involved with the women's tournament need to realize this quickly.

I can't even make fun of Pat Summitt, who was so bothered by the ass-whipping we put on her Volunteers that she held a two-hour postseason practice to work on fundamentals.

I sometimes wish that Pat Summitt was the head coach of my favorite college basketball team, there would actually be accountability and the players would not seem so freaking coddled all the time. Actually, I wish she were the coach of my favorite team at least twice a week.

Playing in April would give the women a chance to grow attendance. Many college basketball fan bases — Connecticut and Oklahoma to name just two — are forced now to choose between supporting the men or the women in March.

Again, Jason Whitlock makes a great point here. I feel like the women are trying to compete with the men's game and there is really no way they can do that. It sucks but it is not happening, at least not any time soon.

Right now there is a full buffet of men's games for me to enjoy. You have the NCAA Tournament, the N.I.T. and meaningful, end-of-season NBA games.

I am currently adding nothing to this discussion other than to say he is still completely right in my mind.

Women's college basketball would get lots of coverage and conversation in April. Most important, I think the major Vegas and online sportsbooks would start carrying odds on the tournament games, especially if the tournament field was chopped in half.

Now, I am sort of disagreeing. I don't think the women's tournament would get a lot of coverage, but it would get more than it currently gets. I also don't believe if you are trying to increase the popularity of the women's tournament, it makes a whole hell of a lot of sense to cut the field in half either. I think the more teams participating makes for a more popular tournament in the long run.

I don't see how increasing the popularity of a sport can be done by decreasing the number of teams who get to play in the tournament.

I'd like to see the women cut their tournament field to 32, shorten their regular season to 24 games, eliminate postseason conference tournaments and stage a five-week, best-of-3 series to decide their champion.

Wow, this is nothing like the current set up. Though a different set up would again differentiate them from the men's tournament.

The four No. 1 seeds would host the first-round games on Thursday, Friday and Sunday. So, for instance, eight teams would play at UConn over a weekend. There would be four separate best-of-3 series taking place on UConn's campus.

So basically the best teams in the country would have at least a short term huge advantage by playing at home? I don't know how I feel about this.

Once the college women quit trying to mimic the men their game will spike in popularity. The women stay in college for four years. There's time to hype them into ratings-driving stars. Most have not covered their bodies in tattoos. The two best coaches, Auriemma and Summitt, hate each other. Vivian Stringer is the John Thompson of women's hoops. There's a lot to write and gossip about in the women's game.

I don't know if it would spike in popularity but the women's tournament does come off as a weaker version of the men's tournament because the formats are incredibly similar. Just like some people hate men's college basketball, some hate women's basketball. The women need to separate themselves from the men in this instance to increase the sport's popularity.

2. I am sorry for my depressive tone today. This is the second time in 2 months one of my favorite teams have been absolutely run off the field in the playoffs and it is getting a bit tiresome. I hate that feeling where your team did not even compete with the other team and it seems like no one within the program is worried about it at all. I am a big fan of accountability and currently the head coach of my favorite college basketball team is not interested in being accountable. He knows the problems and he will not take the time to fix it. I could literally talk about this all day.

3. JemeHill is back on her high horse again.

One of the reasons Bobby Bowden is considered a legend is because of his integrity.

Now THIS is a great JemeHill column. It starts off with a wrong premise in the first sentence. Bobby Bowden is not a legend because of his integrity, he is a legend because he wins a lot of football games. Whether it be Coles and Peter Warrick stealing shoes a few years ago, nearly the entire team being suspended for the bowl game last year or any of the other events that his players have caused, Bowden is not known in my world for his integrity.

Just google "Florida State football arrests" and read the hits that follow.

"It just seems like they're killing a flea with a hammer," he said of the NCAA sanctions.

First, that analogy doesn't make a whole hell of a lot of sense and second, I am not one to fall for all these bullshit home spun sayings. This all happened on his watch at FSU and he should be responsible for it. Stupid fucking coaching win record be damned. You take the bad with the good and this is bad, so Bowden has to be responsible for it. He gets credit for the wins that happened even when he did not coach well, so he gets the blame for the academic problems his team has as well.

The Seminoles lost to Kentucky in the 2007 Music City Bowl because nearly two dozen football players were suspended for their roles in a cheating ring involving an online test for a music history course. Reportedly, staffers helped the students with the test and one athlete even took the test for another.

Call me old fashioned, but I think cheating in classes is pretty severe. Especially when students are taking tests for other students. These are student-athletes and Bowden gets graded on the player's graduation rates, so he is responsible for the cheating happening on his watch.

It seems simple to me.

"There are different degrees of doing something wrong," Bowden said, according to media reports in Florida. "You can go five miles over the speed limit. That's one thing. Or you can go 50 miles over the speed limit, and that's dangerous."

In this case, Bowden was going 30 miles over the speed limit and that is still dangerous. Get over it old man.

Whether Bowden knew about the widespread academic fraud is immaterial. He is the CEO of the football program, and that's not a title that can be worn only when it's convenient. It is Bowden's job to run a clean program and if he has no problem accepting the glory that comes with his title, he must also accept the enormous responsibility.

This may be the first JemeHill article I have read where I disagreed with her initial incorrect premise and she somehow managed to worm her way around to actually being right. Personally, I think it is incredibly embarrassing that such an outstanding coach would not take responsibility for his player's actions on his watch. I also find it embarrassing that Bowden is not taking responsibility for this happening while he is head coach. That tells me a lot about the program that he runs when he won't even take responsibility for the actions of his players when he is head coach. What kind of standard of responsibility do you expect these kids to meet when the head coach won't even take responsibility for what happens when he is responsible for these kids?

If the NCAA orders wins to be vacated, Bowden should do the honorable thing and step down. Bowden's employment was an issue before this academic scandal, based simply on performance -- at least with me and a growing number of FSU fans.

This will never happen. Bowden tries to preach doing the honorable thing and he tries to hypnotize everyone with his down home sayings that sound like he is a simple man who just wants to coach football, when in reality he is a man who wants to win. He doesn't care how and he doesn't care who helps him do it.

He's a great coach but a side effect of his pathetic race with Joe Paterno for the all time wins lead is that he is too old to actually watch the program on a day to day basis. I just find it sad the real reason he is whining about wins being potentially vacated is because he wants to be the all time leader in wins and he doesn't really care about fixing the problems with discipline, he just wants to make sure he gets his own personal reward for coaching well.

4. When did Nate Davis become such a crappy pro prospect?

Such was nearly the fate of early exiting Ball State quarterback Nate Davis on Friday, when only the Indianapolis Colts showed up to watch him throw to various Cardinal receivers on BSU's home field, and that's probably only because it wasn't much of a drive for them

This is what I find sort of insane about the draft process. Before the Buffalo loss in the MAC championship game Nate Davis was being considered a first round pick, but now only one team shows up to watch him throw on his pro day? That's just sad.

Davis' stock is apparently plummeting, from day one possibility to late-round afterthought due to his size,

He is 6 foot 2.

Ball State's shotgun-based offense and ball security issues

I am not a massive Nate Davis fan or anything but the ball security issues are a result of being sacked and pressured by the defense. Kurt Warner has had ball security issues in the past and he has turned out ok.

One team showed up to watch him throw? This amazes me.

So they have doubts about the kid. Isn't that the guy you want to take an extra look at?

In my opinion, this is one of the problems with the draft process. Prospects who are once 1st or 2nd round prospects because of their play on the field start to get doubted because of issues at the Combine or for some other bizarre reason. Maybe Nate Davis will never be a great quarterback, that's fine, but if the NFL scouts do have questions about him they could at least show up to his workout to get those questions answered.

5. Gwen Knapp gives her two cents about Scott Boras.

Scott Boras is a magician.

No, he is not. He has the best players in baseball as his clients and they all sign with the 3-4 teams that can afford them.

The truth is, he has only committed one egregious offense against the game itself. Declaring Alex Rodriguez's opt-out from his Yankees contract during the 2007 World Series was obnoxious, although it remains a little unclear whether he was the one who prematurely made the story public. Still, he should have kept the whole thing under wraps 'til the day after the Red Sox finished eviscerating the Rockies.

Ironically, I completely disagree. I think Scott Boras and Alex Rodriguez owed absolutely nothing to the Rockies and Red Sox and they should have announced he was opting out whenever they wanted. I found it to be hilarious they released the information that A-Rod was opting out of his contract and every media outlet reported it breathlessly, then bitched and moaned that Boras and A-Rod made the announcement when they did. The media did not have to report the story, they could have sat on it. Much like the media does with other information, they could have chosen a different time to release the information, but they did not. The whole, "what a horrible person for making us report this story" whining the media did fell on deaf ears, at least with me.

Fans and media members who truly despise Boras constantly say he is bad for baseball. They want a salary cap to neutralize him -- a travesty that would only deny us the exquisite pleasure of knowing the Yankees' luxury tax subsidizes teams that go twice as far in the playoffs on a third of the payroll.

That is very ironic, but as I have said before, I have no problem with the Yankees spending that much money. The problem I have is that it is bad for teams to know they are not going to be able to keep their best players because they will be outbid for their services by the Yankees as soon as that player becomes a free agent. The Yankees can spend as much as they want, but also every off season they sign the best players available, which gets tiresome for me. Granted, they don't win with those players but I still would feel a lot better knowing all the great players in baseball won't end up Yankees at some point.

If purists really wanted to reclaim the game, they'd pay premium prices to see the Twins, a relatively anonymous bunch who stayed in playoff contention 'til the end of last season, their first after losing Johan Santana and Torii Hunter.

It's hard to do that with the media throwing Manny, the Red Sox, the Yankees, and A-Rod down the public's throat at every opportunity.

The media purists would talk as much about Russell Martin being Russell Martin as they do about Manny Being Manny. They don't, which accommodates Boras' brand of wizardry.

Russell Martin doesn't sell papers, Manny Ramirez does. This has nothing to do with Scott Boras, it has to do with who the mainstream media pumps up and focuses all of the attention on. The public acts like sheep and responds to the players the media has them respond to. Why do I write about the same shit every week it feels like? Because that is all that gets written about. I don't think I have a point, I just want to point this out.

6. Mike Freeman thinks Ty Lawson is brave. Shockingly, I disagree and some of Lawson's teammates quietly do as well.

This part about North Carolina's Ty Lawson isn't debatable. What he's doing now by playing with a painful toe injury is starkly impressive. Frankly, he should be getting far more appreciation for pushing through the discomfort than he is from many in the media and public.

It's hard to do this when last year his teammates thought he was milking an injury at the end of the year so he would not hurt his draft status and then Lawson goes out and does the same thing at the end of this year as well.

Lawson is in a difficult position. He is being selfless and demonstrating the kind of character NBA teams love to see. But by playing, is he risking aggravating the toe and turning it into a chronic problem?

The only reason he is back in college is because he got a DUI and teams started passing him over at the NBA camps due to this and his draft status dropped. If he had gotten a cab, he would be playing point guard for the Denver Nuggets right now.

They wonder if Lawson, while extremely talented and tough, is too injury prone to be worth a high pick. Before the right big toe heard 'round the sport, Lawson last year suffered from a lingering sprained ankle.

There are two separate issues with Lawson.

Players play with injuries all the time. The fact that Mike Freeman is worried about Ty Lawson's draft status tells me Ty Lawson is also concerned about this most likely as well. Lawson played well last Saturday night and he showed no ill effects from the toe injury. That told me the toe actually hurt but in reality it did not affect his ability to play the game of basketball. The fact Lawson sat out a few games with an injury that did not seem to ultimately affect his play should concern NBA scouts.

I don't care if Lawson has an injured toe. I don't care if he's missing a toe or has six of them. Let's not overanalyze. Lawson has proven how good he is by dominating a rugged conference. That's good enough for me. I'd draft him.

Mike Freeman is proving my point for me. I think Lawson is milking the injury a little bit and can play just as well on his toe and that should concern the NBA scouts since he sat out 4 games due to this injury. Freeman thinks Lawson has shown he can play through pain and the NBA scouts should be impressed by how well he plays.

If he can play through the pain so well, why did he miss those 4 games this year and the games last year when he was injured? The fact Lawson sits out due to the injury that did not overwhelmingly affect his play should be of concern to the NBA scouts.

7. Rick Reilly gets paid millions of dollars to write columns like this.

Thanks to tattletexting, you can have this moron removed by security in minutes. Even better, he won't be waiting for you in the parking lot afterward to turn you into a collection of lumps.

Rick Reilly is writing about tattletexting at games this week. This is when you can text security to kick those misbehaving out or at least have them calmed down. Not counting the fake tattletexts that Rick creates and the actual tattletexts he prints, I am going to count how many original sentences he wrote for this column.

The answer? 26 sentences and many of those are very short sentences that were at the beginning of the column.

My only problem with this textual revolution is that it doesn't go far enough. I'd like to see players and coaches use it.

Wide receiver keeps calling me names. And I'm the coach.

Two big guys in bthrm stall, making everybody wait, while they inject each other.

Omg … Big guy, no teeth, says he's going to pull my pancreas out through my nostrils. Number 77. Red Wings jersey.

Drunk guy asleep in the dugout. Can't wake him. And he's up next!

That's how Reilly ends the column. I thought I used to know humor and funny journalism, but this is some of the dumbest and most stupid shit I have ever read. I can't believe they pay this guy to write columns like this.

8. Let's check in to see what John Smoltz is bitching about this week.

Right-hander John Smoltz pitched from the mound in a Boston Red Sox uniform for the first time Wednesday, testing his surgically repaired shoulder by throwing 40 pitches in the bullpen.

Doesn't this sound like a guy who deserves $5 million guaranteed?

"Now I'm getting used to all the components, the mound, the height of the mound, all those things that you take for granted. I can't explain the awkwardness. I didn't think it would be that awkward," Smoltz said. "I've been doing this for a long time, but it was awkward. But, I've not gone that long without being on the mound."

I was very sad when Smoltz left the Braves but I have gotten over that and moved to the "I am going to make fun of him for bitching that the Braves did not give him enough respect" part of my discussing John Smoltz.

He complains that he deserved more respect from the Braves, with respect meaning "money," but yet he feels awkward throwing the ball...which is actually what the Red Sox are paying him to do. I know he came off major surgery but it sounds like he is really worried about this.

For the next two weeks, Farrell said, Smoltz will throw bullpen sessions every third day, leading into throwing batting practice and simulated games before a potential rehab assignment.

I know Smoltz will be back and probably will pitch well this year but I can't help but emphasize I don't know how a 42 year old pitcher expects a $5 million dollar guaranteed contract from a team who watched him get injured last year and then in his first bullpen session he admits it felt weird for him to throw the ball.

9. Wallace Matthews has some theory about the Mets and the Yankees.

Imagine a world without Yankees.

Without "Yankees" or without "the Yankees?" I can imagine a world without one of those and the other one does not bother me.

Imagine if there were no 26 world championship banners flying in the Bronx, no Monument Park to remind us of all the exalted ghosts who helped hoist them, no Boss to create the monster and no Prince Hal or Boy George to systematically destroy it.

What would that leave us with?

That would leave us with 29 other baseball teams and 26 world championship banners that went to other teams, including potentially two championships for my favorite team. Unfortunately there would be no curse put upon Jim Leyritz and I would not get to see my evil powers at work...and yes, I am a horrible person for putting a curse on him and taking pride in the fact his life has fallen apart.

Right. The Mets. How do you think you'd like that?

So the premise of this article is that if the Yankees did not exist, then that would leave the Mets as the only team in New York that plays MLB. Not exactly a deep thought? Is Wallace Matthews smoking pot?

In a town that prides itself on giving no free rides, the Mets have enjoyed a lifetime Metro card into blissful anonymity for most of their 47-year history.

Basically he thinks the Mets suck and have gotten by with making a ton of mistakes because a more successful team has gotten a lot of the headlines. So because the other team in New York is more successful, no one notices the failures of the Mets? That seems pretty backwards to me. I can see this would be true in regard to the Yankees' failures, and maybe that is what Wallace is talking about, but the theory because the Yankees have a great history, or because they screw up, the Mets get a free pass doesn't make too much sense to me.

And when, with that $140-million roster, the 2008 Mets execute the second of two of the most disheartening back-to-back collapses in baseball history, they somehow fly under the supposedly sensitive New York radar.


Because in 2008, the Yankees failed to make the playoffs, too.

I don't live in New York, but I can't believe everyone is so focused on the Yankees' failures they don't pay attention to the Mets failures. I recall the Mets getting a lot of shit for their failure to win games down the stretch the past two years and also for the naming of CitiField. I find Wallace's premise hard to buy. No one really notices the problems the Mets have?

They rid themselves of their in-house "culprits" - Aaron Heilman, Scott Schoeneweis, Duaner Sanchez, Luis Ayala and, of course, the Wicked Witch of the NL East, Willie Randolph - and added two "saviors," Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz.

So they should be crucified for improving the bullpen?

Or, do you really expect that Daniel Murphy, with all of 131 major-league at-bats to his credit (and, ominously, only two home runs), can handle the responsibilities of an everyday leftfielder?

Same goes for rightfielder Ryan Church, who suffered two serious concussions last year and was never the same. Are we to trust that he is fully recovered now?

What about Luis Castillo, the subject of this year's spate of disingenuous "rededicated and in the best shape of his life" training-camp space-fillers?

The Mets have questions about parts of their lineup. They are not the only team in MLB that has this problem, actually I would be shocked if there is a team in baseball that doesn't have a couple of questions about their lineup.

Two years running, the Mets, with the fattest payroll, the most talent and, it often seems, the biggest egos in the division, needed to win one more game to reach October. Two years running, they couldn't do it. Why not?

In a world without Yankees, those are the kinds of questions the Mets would have to answer.

In a world with the Yankees these are questions that were probably asked and needed to be answered. I don't believe the Yankees existing stopped the New York media from asking these questions about the Mets. Willie Randolph did get fired for reasons that were related to the first collapse. The Mets may get a little bit of a pass because the media has to focus on the Yankees also but I don't think the result is the Mets don't get any criticism.

10. I did not pick them in my bracket, but right now it looks like UConn is going to make it to the Final Four pretty easily and the way they are currently playing I like their chances against Louisville.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

5 comments Talkin' 'bout the MVP but we're Keeping it Funky

Alright, quick confession, this post is less about Chris Sheridan and his comments on the issue and more a forum for me to vent about the MVP debate. So for all of those who come to see myself and Ben eviscerate some poor (as in, both unfortunate and...well, shit) sports writer, you will be largely dissapointed today. The article is called...

Straddling the fence: Kobe or LeBron?

Two points about the MVP;

1 - every year we get an article that opens with "what does the MVP mean? Oh, this is so hard to define. We all wonder, let's go into some major dissemination of what this means because the definition is oh so important." Observe, from the linked article;

The question: In this particular two-man race (and yes, Dwyane Wade, it is a two-man race, as I'll explain later), what should go down as UDF -- the Ultimate Deciding Factor?

If you're going to choose Kobe Bryant over LeBron, or if you're going to vote The King ahead of The Mamba, what single thing is going to tip the balance one way or the other? Better record? Better stats? Better job given the relative merits of each of their supporting casts? What they did head-to-head? Which guy's team would be worse off if you took that particular player off it?
The UDF tends to change from year to year, and I've been covering the league long enough to remember the discussion back in 1996-97 when the UDF seemed to be "Isn't it time that Karl Malone won this award?" -- an argument whose validity was ultimately undermined by what happened between him and Michael Jordan in the Finals.

The ever-changing nature of the UDF was a source of frustration for Shaquille O'Neal when I spoke to him about the subject a couple of weeks ago upon his return to Miami. The Big Sewer (OK, that's one of his old nicknames, but still a favorite -- if you can figure out the meaning) seemed frustrated that his legacy will include only one MVP award, or half as many as those won by the guy sitting across from him in the locker room, Steve Nash.

Myself, I always put a premium on winning, which is why I can't fathom the thought of voting for Wade. As great as he has been, as much as he has resurrected his superstar status, his team is five games over .500.

this is actually one of the more subtle and nuanced versions of my shorthand template, but it still has the same fundamental flaw. It treats this "Most Valuable Player" designation as though it were sent down from the Mount on stone tablets. "Oh, it says VALUABLE, not BEST, so this makes it so much more complex, I am so tortured in trying to define valuable, team, stats, clutch, winning, other players, cannot compute *explode*". Why? Why act like it's some sacred, secretly devious wording? I'm so sick of reading the same fucking article year after year. And I swear I have read something to the effect of what I outlined at least 15 times in my life. I'm over it. We know it's ambiguous, move the fuck on. It's clear what the award is designed to achieve, to commemorate the best player in the season, which brings me to my second gripe with the MVP.

Why not just say "best"? It makes so much more sense, and is so much easier to actually decide. Honestly, in most seasons, the best player in the league is not that difficult to decide. This season it's clearly LeBron, last season it was clearly Chris Paul. If Kobe could not win it in 2006, he should never have been able to win it, in that year, he was clearly the best player and he finished fucking fourth. FOURTH. Why? Because this "valuable" clause gives writers this out to basically make shit up.

Bryant has kept his team winning with the NBA's leading offense despite losing Andrew Bynum for half a season

oh boo-fucking-hoo. He still has Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol and what is considered the best bench in the NBA. Not to mention the Phil Jackson vs Mike Brown comparison. Didn't that team go to the Finals? It's LeBron stupid.

We are still nearly a month away from the end of the season, so there is no need for me to make up my mind now.

if LeBron breaks his leg tomorrow it's still LeBron.

LeBron James: 28.6/7.6/7.3, shooting 48.8%, 1.8spg, 1.3bpg, a respectable 33.1% from deep, 3.01topg

Kobe Bryant: 27.5/5.4/4.9, shooting 46.9%, 1.4spg, 0.4bpg, and a very, very slightly higher 34.0% from deep, 2.64

The Cavs even have a better record. Kobe shouldn't have won it last year - if you wanted to give it to Kobe you may as well have given it to Pau Gasol, he's the dirty reason you gave it to Kobe Bryant, because the Lakers were a #1 seed almost entirely due to Gasol. This may be hard to believe considering the overwhelming contempt I exhibit for sportswriters, but I've never been more disgusted with them as a group for their wilful ignorance of Chris Paul last year.

This is NOT a debate in a sane world.

I want to see how the Lakers do on their current East Coast swing, I want to see how Cleveland does in this back-to-back set against Orlando and San Antonio two weekends from now, and I want to see which of the two locks up home-court advantage through the playoffs, because I have a strong feeling we're going to a Game 7 in the Finals this year, and it's going to be Lakers-Cavs.

an excellent approach, because I think the MVP award should go to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and if you argue for the Los Angeles Lakers you are a fool, well said Sheridan.

But the MVP is a regular-season award

and an individual award.

and there are a couple of other things I'll be weighing right up until the minute when I pull out my quill pen, fill out my ballot and crank up the fax machine (if you're going to be a Luddite, you have to pull out the ink jar and the fax while remaining Sloanlike in your bewilderment at twittering). Some of the arguments cancel each other out; others give a slight edge to one guy

may I suggest some examples? LeBron plays in a state starting with O, Kobe with C, which is first in the alphabet - advantage Kobe?

LeBron's mother is younger than Kobe's and probably more attractive, does that swing it to LeBron? Oh, so many factors! If it was only as simple as "who is a better basketball player this year" but of course that's madness.

Again, though, there is no reason for myself or anyone else to decide now which way we'll be voting three and a half weeks from now. We can milk the clock on this one, procrastinate, hem, haw and flip-flop, then sit down when all 82 are in the books and make up our minds then.

it's LeBron, it's not close. It's clearly LeBron, you are empirically wrong Chris Sheridan, every indicator says LeBron.

But, as I said before, this post is only tangentally about Sheridan, who I am no fan of and have written about before (his laughable FIBA analysis). It's a pandemic that sweeps the nations sportswriters at this time of year - pick the best player, base it 80% on numbers, by all means take in quality of supporting cast (in this case, the worse team should trump the better) as the largest non statistical mitigating factor and be done with it. And for God's sake, we KNOW it says valuable and not bes but who the fuck cares? Some dude just came up with that, you can do whatever you want.

10 comments Jay Loves Curt, Bill Loves Stats and Peter Loves Coffee

Things have been pretty dry lately on the Internet. There is no TMQ, Bill Simmons did not write another column last week, and most of the focus is on the NCAA Tournament, which judging from the decrease in traffic to this here blog, no one really gives a shit about discussing. There is still bad journalism out there, I just haven't found it. Today we are focusing on the Axis of Journalism Evil, Peter King, Jay Mariotti and Bill Simmons, and their attempts to take over the world using bad journalism/entertainment (because Bill Simmons is not a journalist, he is an entertainer who just happens to do interviews and write down facts or opinions he presents as facts for a major sports web site...it can confusing to tell the difference, but that's why I am here).

Jay Mariotti thinks that Curt Schilling is an asshole but deserves to be in the Hall of Fame because of how he performed in October. I think Jay Mariotti is an asshole and that Curt Schilling should be placed in the Hall of Fame based on his merits as a pitcher and not on a select statistical sample size in one month of the year that only players who play on good teams can achieve.

This is where I have the chance to be a bigger man than Curt Schilling.

This is where I have a chance to make fun of Jay Mariotti for being an asshole.

Some writers hold grudges when confronted with voting decisions about prickly players, forgetting that our responsibility is to history and not our tattered feelings.

I want everyone who reads this blog, now down to 6 of you, to remember this sentence that Jay has written. Frame it, laminate it, or freeze it in carbonite. It doesn't matter to me. When Ozzie Guillen wins 2,000 games as a manager for his career and has a couple of World Series titles, I want to see the article written by Jay Mariotti saying he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. Ozzie may never win that many games but I want to see that day regardless. I have a feeling Jay won't share the same sentiment then and let by gones be by gones.

And no one's ever was larger in October, when Schilling was the most indomitable of all pitching competitors. He went 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA in the postseason, ranking him among the all-time leaders in both categories.

"Among" the all-time leaders but not THE all-time leader. I would think if you were making a case for someone to make the Hall of Fame based on their postseason statistics, it would help if that player was the leader in these two categories or you at least ranked where this person was on the list.

Don't get me wrong, I would not protest too much if Schilling made the Hall of Fame, but I don't think his postseason record should be the basis for his entrance. I think we should take postseason numbers at about 10% weight since the amount of games played in October pale in comparison to number of games played during the regular season.

He helped win three championship trophies for two ballclubs, the Red Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks, that didn't know the aroma of bubbly.

Arizona did not know the aroma of bubbly because they had just been formed as a team in 1998, so their drought without a championship wasn't quite as bad as the Red Sox drought. Way to try and mislead the audience into thinking the D-backs struggled for a long while though.

If I remember correctly, and I do, the real pitching hero of that World Series was Randy Johnson who pitched Game 6 and then came back and pitched in relief in Game 7 as well. Curt Schilling is the guy who gave up the game tying homerun to Alfonso Soriano...so though he pitched well, he also blew the lead. I think it was a splitter that didn't split over the left half of the plate that Soriano hit to right field just over the wall.

If I also remember correctly, Schilling had a 6.30 ERA in the 2004 ALCS, and that does include his wonderful Game 6 performance. I am just sayin'.

I realize he pitched well up until that point in the 2001 World Series when he gave up the homerun...I am just sayin'.

I don't care that he won only 216 games, a low figure for Cooperstown. I don't care that he doesn't have a Cy Young Award, no-hitter or ERA title, which would make him the first starting pitcher who began his career after 1950 to make the Hall without any of the three honors.

See, I do care about silly little numbers like that. I do care that when I look at his career numbers, they are great, but I am not sure they are great enough for the Hall of Fame. I want everyone to remember, I am hard to impress when it comes to the Hall of Fame. Though he is my favorite player, I don't think John Smoltz should be lock for the Hall of Fame. I am crazy that way.

"He would dress up all-black like he was Tony Montana," marveled Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, referring to the `Scarface' character. "He'd get in and spread confidence to everyone around.

I can see Curt Schilling pulling little confidence tablets out of a bag and giving them to each Red Sox player. He, of course, skipped Dustin Pedroia because he doesn't need confidence.

"One of the things that people didn't realize about Schilling is that he was really motivated by fear, fear of failure," general manager Theo Epstein told the media. "He really did not want to fail, and he was very cognizant of his fear of failure. He worked himself up through his nerves to go out and dominate to the best of his ability every time he had the ball. That was where the 'clutchness' came from, the realization that he had about how much he hated failure and how much he feared failure."

I thought the "clutchness" came from a made up ability sportswriters and announcers gave to players to explain why they got base hits in certain situations. I was wrong. Not very clutch of me.

He began hearing criticism that he was too self-absorbed and pompous, and he lashed back by ripping media. He has called me names.

I googled "Curt Schilling Jay Mariotti" and came up with nothing on this. I also googled "Curt Schilling hates Jay Mariotti" and still got nothing on this. Maybe Jay just wanted Curt to call him names, pull his hair and then chase him around the playground. It's just some bizarre sick fantasy he has.

Perhaps no athlete has been better suited to a team than he was to the Red Sox. Their fans needed a reason to believe, after 86 years of heartbreak and darkness, and he laughed in the face of despair. In particular, he stared down the hated New York Yankees. "When you use those words -- mystique and aura -- those are dancers in a nightclub," he said dismissively. From that point on, the Yankees lost their mojo and the Red Sox went on to win two World Series titles with him.

Curt Schilling did say those words...but he said them in October 2001. Granted the Yankees did not win a World Series after that time, but the Red Sox also took three more years to win a World Series. It's not like the Red Sox fortunes just went completely positive after he said this. The 2003 ALCS wasn't too grand for them.

I love it when Jay Mariotti plays loosely with facts to prove his point. Actually I hate it. Whether it is saying Texas never made the Final Four under Rick Barnes or trying to put a quote from 2001 in context for the Red Sox World Series run in 2004, he doesn't mind either not researching something or just hoping someone else doesn't research something. Well I did research it.

Sometimes, we loathed him for it. Why did he use baseball as a platform to endorse political candidates?

The same reason Oprah Winfrey, Sean Penn and every other celebrity or person in the spotlight used any camera in their face to use as a platform for their favorite political candidate.

Consider it the beginnings of his 2014 Cooperstown speech. And my teeth are not clenched as I say that.

Jay is trying to be humble or act like he is putting his dislike of Schilling aside and it is not working.

The big loudmouth earned his Hall pass in the month that matters most.

I think Jay meant month(s) that matter most. April-October, not just October. If we made a list of every player who played well in October on championship teams and said they deserved to make the Hall of Fame, then that would be a very long list. If Curt Schilling deserves to make the Hall of Fame, it is because of his numbers in April-October, not just October.

Bill Simmons is trying to reinvent himself as Rick Reilly and it actually is working very well. This entire article reads like something Reilly would write...it is much longer of course.

A few weeks ago, I spent a Saturday at MIT's Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, or as I dubbed it, Dorkapalooza 2009!

This article is all a part of Bill Simmons attempt to reinvent himself out of the old pop culture reference and Boston oriented type articles he wrote in the past to someone who interviews athletes and other journalists (well, Bill is clearly not a journalist) on his podcast. I believe he is trying to become Rick Reilly without the human interest story part. That could be intersting to read.

That's the thing about stat geeks: They have a sense of humor about themselves. And yes, I count myself among them. I played entire Microleague baseball seasons on my 1984 Apple and kept handwritten stats. I've played fantasy baseball since 1982. I frequent the Prospectus sites and devour their books. I try to hide my inner geek, but believe me, it lurks.

Or he is trying to reinvent himself as a stat geek. I think everyone who was obsessed with sports has kept handwritten stats at some point and that doesn't necessarily give them credibility as a stat geek today.

I used to keep box scores for basketball games and use the rosters I had for NBA and college basketball teams to create teams and play those teams against each other on a Nerf basketball goal in the living room. Oh yes, there were substitutions as well. This was last week actually. I am kidding of course.

I used to wake up early (like 4:30am) in the morning to read books about baseball when there was not any talking in my house and I could read in peace. Does this mean I can now say I am a stat geek and try to pigeonhole myself into their little group? No, it does not.

Does it mean I had severe social issues growing up because I couldn't find anyone to play basketball with me and the fact I wanted to read alone at the crack ass of dawn speaks to the severe psychological issues I had as a child? It may. But that doesn't make me qualified to be a psychologist.

What were we talking about again?

Remember, I'm the guy who figured out Hickory High's title-game box score.

Well gosh, Bill now you should get a free subscription to Baseball Prospectus for that. You are important. I tried to box score tally the entire starting lineup of the 1994 Charlotte Hornets team and then compare it to their stats at the end of the year to see how far off I was. That means I am a loser, not a stat geek.

Bill and I are having a pissing contest to see who the biggest loser is.

Take Jason Kidd. Why has he suddenly become a deadly three-point shooter at his advanced age?

It could be because his attempts have increased through the years, so he has been practicing them more, therefore getting better at them. It could also be because teams don't think he can make the shots and are double teaming other players, leaving Kidd wide open. Or it could be for a variety of other reasons.

Because he isn't carrying an offense or taking contested shots with the shot clock winding down like he had to in Jersey, that's why. In Dallas, all he has to do is distribute the ball and shoot … when he's open.

Or this new stat geek could use evidence that is based completely not on statistics and is based completely on hyperbolic evidence that can't be proven or disproven. Whatever works I guess.

Now look at poor Dwyane Wade. He misses 70% of his threes -- the only blemish on his MVP résumé -- because his teammates stink, which means he has to hoist one or two contested, beat-the-clock bombs each game.

I can't help but laugh at the fact Bill writes a column about how statistics should be used more to show trends, then he uses two examples that involve hyperbolic situations that can neither be proven or disproven using statistical methods. Unless someone is actually counting up how many times Dwayne Wade throws a shot up to beat the shot clock or someone has similar data for Jason Kidd in New Jersey, I don't see how we can calculate the accuracy of these statements in any statistical manner.

I hear that some NBA teams factor "clock-saving attempts" into adjusted shooting percentages. But do they share that info? Of course not. And that's what's wrong with this revolution: We have access to only some of the data.

I agree. Though would Bill actually use this data?

Bill's idea of using statistical data is saying that Kevin Garnett is shooting less three point attempts this year because he is on a better team and doesn't have to take those shots anymore. Bill takes statistical data and then mixes it with hyperbolic bullshit. It's like the mutt of statistical analysis.

Ongoing success in basketball hinges on talent, leadership and role play.

Though most of the success is due to how many high fives the players are giving each other and ubuntu.

At least that is what Bill seemed to think last year.

Yes, Carmelo Anthony was a significantly better basketball player than Bruce Bowen between 2005 and 2007; Bowen was a better fit for the Spurs. That team didn't need another scorer. It needed a top-notch defender and agitator who knew his place.

Really, do you need statistics to help you come to this conclusion? If a team has three players who can score points, common sense screams they need effective role players around them and then you find those players and find what role needs to be filled. It sounds easy but it is clearly not.

You need statistics to help a team find the player for this role but you don't need statistics to know the role is needed.

I e-mailed Daryl, wondering why there wasn't a stat called stops, for when a defender prevents his opponent from scoring on an isolation play, or a low-post or perimeter play. Come up with an unforced turnover in the process, and it's a "superstop." Daryl's response: "Why do you think we have Chuck Hayes?"

That is exactly why the Rockets have won some many championships and NBA playoff series lately.

I want "mega-assists" (passes that create a layup or a dunk) and "half-assists" (for each made foul shot). I want "unforced turnovers," like in tennis (Tony Allen would be Wilt Chamberlain in this category), and "nitty-gritties" (some combination of charges taken, deflections, balls saved from going out of bounds and rebounds tipped to teammates). I want "Unselds" (a long outlet pass that leads to an assist for a layup or a dunk) and "Russells" (a blocked shot directed to a teammate).

Oh, I get it. Bill wants statistics that don't really mean anything.

You know who'd fall way short in Russells? Dwight Howard. He slaps everything out of bounds. Congrats, Dwight, you just gave the other team the ball back. Why are you smiling?

I could not agree more. Maybe Bill has a point on his "Russells", though I would call it something else less Celtic-like.

I demand the minutiae I know the team is hiding. Mega-assists. Russells. Stops and superstops.

Bill just made those names up. These stats don't exist. What Bill really wants is for there to be a statistic named after an idea that he has had so it can fill the never ending void that is his ego. He wants to have something named after him involved with pro basketball. That is really what this is all about. He lost the Mount Rushmore idea to ESPN and now wants something to be named after him in the NBA to feed his massive ego.

Here's what we have learned. Even if there were good statistics thought of, Bill would still use them in the wrong fashion and this is all a potential ego trip for him.

Peter King has some more McNuggets for Tuesday.

As always, I am ignoring anything that involved a lockout or a potential lockout because I am going to pretend this will never happen. Denial is a wonderful thing if you just stick to it.

From Russ Jones of Albuquerque, N.M.: "PETER! You're killing me with this coin toss thing and to suggest that each team get an equal shot is flawed logic. During regulation, do both teams get equal possessions? Where's the hue and cry to change quarters of football to innings so that way there's equality?''

We had a very similar argument made on the comment board here, though it was more in favor of getting rid of the coin toss. I think this argument holds water.

Which contest would you say is more inequitable, Ross? One team getting one possession and the other getting none, or one team getting 13 possessions and the other team getting 12?

Peter's argument does not hold water. The NFL is not Communism, everyone should not get equal chances all the time. Often times in a game a team can get more possessions in a game than another team whether it be because of a fumble on punt/kick returns or an onside kick. I realize that is different from a coin toss deciding who gets the ball first but equal possessions over the game is not the problem, it's getting equal possessions in overtime. I am tired of talking about overtime, yet I continue to do it.

From Bruce Grossberg of Forest Hills, N.Y.: "Overtime: Instead of focusing on each team having a possession, why not focus on the unfairness of the coin flip? Why can't there be a 100-yard dash for possession, or the longest throw, or a "punt-off" for possession? Something quick, but something that would be less arbitrary than a coin flip.''

I don't want to be rude, but this is the dumbest fucking idea I have ever heard so far in regard as to how to give possession in overtime. Take a team game and make an individual event decide who gets the ball first? Instead of the arbitrary coin flip, you have an arbitrary contest between two players on an entire team in a contest that has NOTHING to do with team football. Bruce, you are stupid and I hate you for thinking of this idea.

How about a watermelon spitting contest or playing a few hands of poker to see who gets the ball first in overtime? They would make as much sense as a "punt off" or seeing who can throw the ball the furthest.

I actually like that. Eliminate the capricious coin flip in favor of something that would demonstrate one team's superiority over the other.

Of course you like this. It makes no sense. How is a coin flip any more capricious than an individual event? This doesn't demonstrate a team's superiority over another in any fashion. JaMarcus Russell can throw a ball 70 yards on his knees or something like that, does that mean the Raiders are better than Tom Brady's Patriots? No. Just because Calvin Johnson can run faster than Greg Jennings does not make the Lions a better team than the Packers.

Peter, you and Bruce are idiots. I don't like calling people names but this is dumb.

From D. Simon of Glenwood Springs, Co.: "I think the Cardinals would be CRAZY to trade Anquan Boldin to either the Eagles or the Giants. I know they aren't in the same division, but if the Cardinals view themselves as Super Bowl-contenders next season, why would they want to help one of the teams that would be their main competition as they attempt to get back to the Super Bowl? If I were running the Cardinals and HAD to trade him [my first choice would be to keep him], I would only trade him to an AFC team, even if the compensation was slightly less than the Eagles or Giants would give up.''

But if the competition for Boldin, say, is with the Eagles (20th overall in the first round) and Jacksonville (39th overall), would you want to take the lesser pick just to have him out of the NFC?

Yes, I would. I am surprised Peter is advocating not taking a lesser pick to keep Boldin out of the NFC, especially when he spent almost half a page in his MMQB a few weeks ago describing how Bill Belichick was so much smarter for getting a 2nd round pick instead of a 1st round pick for Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel. I guess the genius in that move is only meant for Bill Belichick.

From Craig Meyers of Aiea, Hawaii: "Not a question, but a comment. You really need to get a reality check when complaining about having to wait 30 minutes for coffee. I've never been in a hotel that doesn't have a coffee maker in your room, and if that's too tough, then just wait. I think you're a great writer, but given the way things are these days, whining about coffee while staying in a $250/night room is sad.''

Craig from Hawaii has just put Peter King in his place. What you gotta say Peter?

It's $179 a night. And you don't think it's, well, a bit lacking that a hotel charging $179 a night doesn't have coffee available in the lobby or the restaurant or anywhere at 6:17 in the morning?

Yes, I do, but I also don't think it is something worth bitching about in a weekly column. Peter's defense is pretty pathetic, especially when he tries to clarify the hotel only cost $179 a night, as if that was cheap. If free coffee in an expensive hotel is something that really rocks Peter's world bad enough that he has to complain about it in a column devoted to football, his life is pretty great.

His headline for this question was this:


I think this is what of the great contradictions of Peter King. He writes sympathetically about how bad he feels for the Oakland police officers who got shot, writes wonderfully nice things about Dr. Z and seems like he actually "gets it" sometimes. Then he writes weekly complaints that make him seem as if he is so incredibly out of touch with the rest of the world. His readers, and I included, don't get how a man who speaks so well about Dr. Z can two paragraphs down get overly worked up over free coffee at a hotel that he is probably not even paying for out of his own pocket.

That's why I write about him though.