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.


Martin said...

The thing, besides lesbians, that would make women's basketball tournaments better is if it was played with men instead, and not by people who would lose to me and the 6 guys on my park rec team.

Bengoodfella said...

You are lucky there are no female bloggers or else you would get a stiff angry response.

Honestly, I have played pick up ball against some men's/women's mixed teams and it is annoying. The girls I played wanted a different standard for them than everyone else. It was 3 girls and a 2 guys on each team and I set a screen on girl and it knocked her down, so for the rest of the game the girls on BOTH teams tripped me while I was running and generally just tried to make my life hell. It was actually really funny because they were trying to run me through screens and hitting me with elbows and their hands in an effort to injure me.

I think I probably caused some of it because I was mocking their attempts to be seen as equal they acted like they wanted special treatment. No one really saw my point of view or either were pretending they did not. I told them if they wanted to play with guys they were going to have to toughen up and not expect special treatment. The screen resulted in an open jump shot so I felt pretty good about it.

I know all women's basketball is not like my dumb little story but I have found when the girls do play against guys, they expect you to play differently.

Martin said...

My problem just extends from the idea that I don't enjoy watching people do something at sports that I can do better, unless it's kids or something. I've played hoops with girls who were cool about everything, and played like they were small guys. Float on the edge, shoot jumpers, that kind of thing. Women's tennis I can watch cause they sure could beat the hell outta me, but basketball, not so much. The best players in the world aren't as good as guys I play with on a regular basis, and we stopped playing at team levels in high school or community college.

There was an article in SI a few years ago about Pat Summitt and how she has her team play against guys who go to the university, but that the boys aren't allowed to dunk and do a few other things. They pretty much have to play like girls would, but jsut more athletic. That's because even Pat Summitt recognizes there are significant differences in how the two genders play the game.

Bengoodfella said...

I don't enjoy knocking the women's game or anything but I don't enjoy watching it either. I guess my thought is that there would be a larger crowd if they moved the tournament to April or something so maybe it could pick up a larger audience. I don't think I would be that audience but still...

Yeah, I don't enjoy watching a sport where there are people I know who are as good as the ones I am watching either. The good girls I have played against are like good shooting guards and all of that. I think the women's game would be better off if they quit trying to pretend it was like the men's game and embrace the differences.

I do like Pat Summitt though, she holds her players accountable which I like.

Martin said...

Ok, I'm in a weird fantasy baseball draft. It's small teams, with 9 hitters, 2 SP and 1 RP. 12 teams and each team gets to pick in each slot in the draft. I get one choice in each slot 1 through 12. The person drafting first gets to choose the position that everybody else has to follow that round. For example, if the person picking first in the 1st round says "starting pitcher" everybody has to take a SP that round. This is not a brain surgery league by any means, it's more of a "guys, and their female friends/girlfriends/wives" type league. So my question is, I get to pick first in the 5th round, and I'm going to choose catchers, should I go with Martin from the Dodgers, or McCann from the Braves? I'm leaning toward Martin because in a small depth league I think speed might be more important, but I love both guys. I had them both the last couple years in my now defunct cutthroat type league, and I really think they won me the league last year, well them and I traded for Manny in early June....I traded Jeff Francouer for him in early June. My best trade ever.

What do you think Ben Who-is-a-Braves fan? How's McCann looking so far, or not following spring training?

Bengoodfella said...

First, I want to meet the person who took Jeff Francouer for Manny Ramirez. The person, I mean offense to this, has to be the dumbest person ever. Even when he was playing well, Frenchy was nothing more than an above average OF.

In regard to McCann v. Martin, that is a very good question. My gut instinct tells me to pick McCann since he is ranked #1 in ESPN, FoxSports and several other ranking systems for fantasy sports. I have a couple of semi-red flags on McCann though that I would look at before making the choice. First, he has lost 15-20 pounds, which sounds like good news and it is, but I am hoping by losing some of that weight it is not going to affect his power. The one long term concern I had about McCann was that I thought he was a little overweight and he has taken care of that. I don't think this is a huge red flag because he hasn't seem to lose any power in the WBC or in Spring Training. The biggest red flag I would look at is the Braves lineup. McCann struggled last year when Tex got traded and Chipper went down with an injury. This year he is going to be relied upon to supply some power and I would not be shocked if he hit in the 4 spot for a while this year. I am afraid his numbers might take a dip based on the fact Chipper is going to get hurt and if Francoeur does not step up the power, he could get fewer pitches to hit.

As far as Martin goes, I would actually favor him since he will have Manny hitting behind him in the lineup, but his numbers actually went down with Manny in there, which is odd. I don't know if it was the struggles of finishing out a long year or what it was but he did struggled with his average and power in August/September. The one good thing about Martin over McCann is that Martin can play 3B when he doesn't catch, so he is likely to play more games than McCann.

As far as SBs are concerned, I can't help but wonder if Martin hits in the #2 spot if Torre will be more reluctant to have him run because Manny is in the lineup. Basically the lineup may not have to manufacture as many runs. This could be speculation on my part but I would not be shocked to see his SBs go down a bit. You may know more about this than me.

All things being equal I would go with McCann but there is a risk that he may be the only HR hitting threat in the Braves lineup. He is going to hit for average also and is in great shape. I just wonder what the removal of Tex from the lineup and with Garrett Anderson hitting in front/behind him is going to do to his ability to see hittable pitches. I may be paranoid but I would have to say McCann because I think at the end of the year barring injuries he will hit well.