Saturday, May 30, 2009

11 comments T.O. and Buffalo: We All Know How This Is Going To End

Let me start this post off with bitching about something that is completely not related to this post. Remember this post I made last Monday? Where Peter King said no one in the Colts organization is worried about Howard Mudd and Tom Moore leaving the team because Peyton Manning is like a coach on the field? Well scratch that, because there have been rumors that's not quite the case. Peyton is not happy with how things played out. My question is this...where the hell is Peter King with this new information? Why isn't he getting to the bottom of this? He is reporting on Tom Brady's recovery, telling us how great the Eagles' draft has been, and even taking choice quotes from the GM of the Colts Bill Polian about how things are not going to change with Moore and Mudd gone, but he doesn't take the time to comment or even acknowledge this story (as Friday afternoon). Why is that? He is too afraid it might make his original story sound wrong or is he afraid it may shine a bad light on Peyton or the Colts organization in a bad light? I would like to think he is going to wait until Monday to do a follow up, but that may be wishful thinking on my part.

This is a natural follow up column for Peter to right now. This is why I have very little respect for him as an NFL reporter, because he only reports on who and what he wants to report on and I think he consciously tries to not write negative columns about certain teams and players. Brett Favre is clearly one of those people he tends to protect and I think he is trying to protect the Colts organization here. One and a half weeks ago he writes an organizational puff piece for the Colts and now the Utopia he presented is not completely true...and Peter King is missing to weigh in (as of Friday afternoon when I wrote this). So either Peter is consciously avoiding printing the negative information, did a crappy job of gathering information for his original column (which really there is no excuse for), he never interviewed Peyton Manning for the MMQB column or the Colts tried to keep this dissension away from him when he visited with them. Take your pick.

Now onto the column for the day. Calvin Watkins feels the need to re-write a story from the Associated Press and add his own spin to it. Spin being defined as "making small changes." Either way, I don't really blame him, at least he is not re-writing his old stories like Rick Reilly is doing. What else is there to say about Terrell Owens at this point? Different town, different team, same beginning, middle and ending.

Let's check out the T.O. and Buffalo experiment in its early "We are glad he is here and think he could be misunderstood, so we will convince ourselves he is misunderstood because the head coach is desperate to keep his job and we need to win games at some point or else we are all fucked" stage.

Terrell Owens is trying to smile these days.

He should because he now has 6.5 million reasons to live.

I think it's a forced smile. He doesn't want to be in Buffalo. Nothing personal. Buffalo isn't Dallas. The Cowboys are where Owens wanted to be. The Cowboys are where Owens wanted to retire. But the Cowboys thought he was too much of a disruptive force to remain.

Here is my first problem with this article. After three different stints with three different teams, the Cowboys did not "think" that Owens was too much of a disruptive force, they KNEW he was a disruptive force. At what point can we stop acting like Terrell Owens very possibly could be misunderstood? He has played with three Pro Bowl quarterbacks, thrown three Pro Bowl quarterbacks under the bus, and complained about the same quarterbacks as he left town to go to a new city full of suckers.

The Cowboys did not think he was a disruption, they knew he was a disruption. They waived him accordingly based on this.

So, he was let go and now the Bills have to take his 1,052 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns from the 2008 season and hope he parlays that into more in the cold of Western New York.

They also hope he isn't at the top of the leader board in dropped passes again.

For that matter, Owens has to get it against New England where Shawn Springs, who has shut him down the last few years, is waiting for him.

Springs was waiting for him when he played in the NFC East for the past 5 years as well. This is really not that different for Owens.

Things will be different now for Owens. He has to compete in a tough AFC East where the Patriots and Dolphins know him well.

For the last three years he has been competing in the NFC East, which is as tough of a division, if not tougher, than the AFC East. Not to mention I would doubt the Dolphins and Patriots know Owens as well as the Philadelphia Eagles knew him when he played for the Cowboys, since he played for the Eagles for 2 years and was in the NFC East for 5 years overall. I don't think the Dolphins and Patriots know him as well as the NFC East teams do. So it's not like his level of difficulty in opponents he will face has increased tremendously, or possibly not increased at all.

It doesn't seem like things will be that much different for Owens. He is still in a tough conference but he is going against teams that actually may not know him as well as the NFC East teams did.

I find it interesting the three things that really are different are not mentioned. First, he won't have a Pro Bowl quarterback throwing him the ball, second, he is in a colder climate than he may be used to, and finally this is the first time there is an established potential #1 receiver on a team when he has joined that team. Lee Evans is still going to want the ball. As far the weather is concerned, I know Philly gets cold, but not quite as cold as Buffalo, plus Buffalo plans on playing even further north in Canada for a few games.

Following a Wednesday afternoon organized team activity, Owens sounded confident that building a strong relationship with Edwards wouldn't be a problem.

Owens has never had a problem building a relationship with a quarterback, it's keeping that relationship and not calling that quarterback gay or fat after he leaves the team that is a problem for him.

"Oh yeah, definitely, again, that's what the OTAs are about," Owens said. "Even with the rookies coming in, it's all about trying to see who plays well with what guys and the system.

Already Terrell Owens is brainstorming ideas of what to call Trent Edwards after this year. I have a feeling T.O. may say that Edwards was the worst quarterback he has played with since high school. I am probably wrong, it's so hard to guess what a bipolar person like Terrell Owens will do or say.

Owens built a nice relationship with Tony Romo in Dallas, but it died last year with the wide receiver griping about the type of throws he was getting and the direction of the offense. Owens was right about several things in the Cowboys' offense.

I don't think Terrell Owens was right about the Dallas offense. He just said that he needed the ball more and that the offense was not featuring him enough. Sure, he may have made some cryptic comments about how the offense was predictable, but he wasn't talking about overall, he was talking in reference (like he always does) to him, and when he gets the ball.

Even Romo, following the regular-season loss to the Eagles, said that the team's offense got exposed.

I will never make excuses for the Cowboys, but I really believe part of the problem with the offense is that many different people were calling for the ball and eventually Romo and Garrett tried to please everyone, which never works. I think the offense was simple and was exposed because teams knew who Romo was going to try and get the ball to, and when he would try to get the ball to a certain player. Certainly this is not all T.O.'s fault, but we can't overlook the fact other teams knew T.O. would get the ball at certain times or else he would pitch a fit when looking at the horrible offensive execution over the last couple of games.

There's no telling what Owens might say about Edwards, who isn't nearly as accomplished or talented as Romo.

He isn't nearly as accomplished or talented as any of the quarterbacks Owens has played with in the past. I am giddy to watch this all fall apart. Dick Jauron had better get his resume together. Not only is Owens going to want the ball at the expense of Lee Evans, he will probably find a way to tear the team apart in one year...which would be an incredible amount of destruction in such a short period of time, even for him.

"The last few years, the quarterbacks that I've had, I've communicated well with them," Owens said.

Yes, they have all been able to hear his public comments and criticisms after he left the team and when he was on the team they heard his constant whining for the ball, while seeing him ignoring the fact he dropped the ball a lot. This type of communication was definitely made.

I realize Owens is a talented receiver but there is never a time I would think his talent could overcome the amount of baggage he brings to the table, at least in my mind.

Romo was so tired of Owens that he wouldn't even say his name last week when asked about him.

"I could care less," Owens said. "I mean, he doesn't say my name, that's fine. What about it? Bill Parcells didn't call me by my name either, so what's the difference?"

Good point. There is no difference, because they both hate you.

The Cowboys are still the third-best team in the NFC East with or without Owens. The Bills got better with him but still remain behind New England and Miami in the AFC East.

You know, I realize the Eagles and Giants have done a lot in the offseason to improve the their respective teams, but I can't help but think the Cowboys are going to be a little bit more competitive than Calvin Watkins is giving them credit for. It may just be a hunch and I am not always great at predicting, but if they can establish a second receiver who can step up and play well, they have some pieces in place to compete in the NFC East.

He does help an offense and sell jerseys but he wears out his welcome in about three years. Buffalo signed him for one year and if Owens is to get another contract with the Bills or anyplace else he has to leave the Dallas stuff alone.

Which he has already shown that he can't seem to do.

Owens has to move on.

He will move on. He will move on to talking shit about Trent Edwards and trying to pull another team apart after his year in Buffalo is done. Whether he will pull Buffalo apart in one year remains to be seen, but I wouldn't put it past him.

Friday, May 29, 2009

21 comments Random Friday Thoughts

If anyone watched the Orlando-Cleveland game last night, then I think you knew the Cavs were going to blow the 32-10 lead they had at one point. It was going to happen. At halftime it was 56-55, which means Orlando went on a 45-24 run to end the half against the home. That is the third double digit lead the Cavs have blown at home in this series and they are the #1 seed in the East, supposedly the best team in the East. I don't know what to think about them really...

I want to do some random thoughts because there is a lot to comment on and one article won't do for the day. I may not quote from every article but hopefully it will give us enough to discuss.

-Bill Simmons has written an article about the current state of the NBA, it's officiating, and what he thinks needs to be fixed. Overall, though I tend to disagree with many things that Bill writes, it was a well researched article and did not contain many of the annoying references he usually uses. Though he does open it up with a reference from "Speed," I will forgive him for that, because I wish all of his articles were this well written. Did I mention it was well researched? It gives me hope for his book.

Two nights later, Cleveland and Orlando played an unspeakably awful game that featured a whopping 58 fouls. All the momentum from Game 2 was gone. Here was the new NBA in its new age of unadulterated impurity: Teams hoisting bad 3-pointers, referees trying to "manage" the game and failing, players going one-on-five, stoppages again and again and again, free throws and more free throws, more stoppages, more mismanaging by the refs ... by the time it was over, I wanted to commit a flagrant one on myself.

I was so pumped up after Game 2, I made time to watch Game 3 Sunday night, and then ended up flipping channels because the game was so brutal to watch. One of my problems with the officiating is that players drive to the basket looking for a foul call to bail them out and they get it. A bump on the perimeter that doesn't affect an offensive player's momentum or direction is called a foul, but then another referee won't call an obvious foul in the middle when a player gets hacked. There is no consistency in the calls and the fourth quarter of games seem to stop every 2 minutes. I compare it to watching 2 minutes of a movie and then hitting the pause button and taking a break. Dwight Howard caught the ball in the post on an offensive rebound last night and changed his pivot foot three times. I paused my live television and rewound it twice to watch this. Then he did it again on the next possession down court. Needless to say, this was not called either time.

As much as I like disagreeing with Bill Simmons, he is right. Players can't fight for position in the post and they get called for a technical foul for even reacting to a call they don't agree with. They are expected to be wax dummies no matter what they think of a call and still compete out on the court. That's hard. It's like watching a junior high dance where everyone has to have a certain space between each other and there is no touching allowed.

First, the NBA can't seem to replenish its officiating ranks. 1937, 1939, 1943, 1944, 1947, 1948, 1950, 1951, 1951, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1955 ... those are the actual birth years of 13 current referees. In professional sports, athletes slip from the ages of 34 to 39 unless they extend their stay with PEDs. In the NBA, in which officials are required to run or jog for 150 minutes and make split-second decisions on hundreds of plays, we're expected to believe that the aging process doesn't apply.

Well reasoned and researched.

I have no problem with the the 1950's guys being the senior officials, but if you were born immediately after WWII or BEFORE the Baby Boomer Era, you may need to consider retiring.

Here's another thing I don't get. They have rescinded three of Kenyon Martin's technical fouls in the playoffs. Three of five technical fouls have been rescinded! Do the officials even know what a technical foul is? Even with the foul being rescinded, the NBA doesn't rescind the points the team gets from the foul shots when a technical is called.

I love Jeff Van Gundy's idea of a "penalty box" (basically, banishing guys to their bench for a specific period of time). Say Rafer Alston slaps Eddie House again: instead of a one-game suspension, he'd be benched for the first half. Say Amare Stoudemire drifts off the bench because Steve Nash got whipped against the scorer's table and it's human instinct to protect a teammate: maybe he'd miss the first quarter of the next game. Maybe instead of double technicals for jawing, players would get sent off for five minutes to calm down.

I don't know if this would work or not. I don't even know if I like this idea. It seems like the guy would spend most of his time on the bench steaming and trying to get back in the game to whip someone's ass. Maybe I am wrong and he would cool down. I do like the player having to miss the first quarter of a game for leaving the bench or missing part of the game for a violation. That seems more logical than missing an entire game.

the NBA sent out a memo for its Development League Referee Tryout Camp, which is scheduled for June 19-21 in Los Angeles. Participants officiate two games with prospective D-League players and need a minimum of two years experience at the high school level or higher. Not only do the participants have to pay their own way to get there, but the NBA charges them a $550 fee that covers "lodging for two nights at the camp headquarters, transportation to and from the games, and a camp officiating jersey." YOU HAVE TO PAY TO TRY OUT!

Paying to try out doesn't make sense in this situation at all. This is not a recreation league in your local hometown where the league needs enough money to pay for uniforms and other necessities to put the league together, this is the NBA where you would think they would be dedicated to finding the best officials and that means not making people pay to try out.

If you want a blog that gets traffic, start tracking bad playoff calls. Read the rulebook, familiarize yourself with it, watch each game with a fine-tooth comb and jot down every missed call and incorrect call. Chart how the fouls go up and down depending on the quarter. Chart the inconsistencies. Chart the number of calls, as well as the types of calls, that each referee makes and see if there's some sort of common theme. If you do a good job, I will send you traffic and so will everyone else. It's that easy.

This is a move that is part brilliant and part annoying to me. He gives his SimmonsClones a task to perform and undoubtedly we are going to be seeing blogs that chart all of these referee mistakes and everything else Bill wants appearing on the Internet. How will we have a clue whether the information contained is correct? People are idiots and I am going to assume the 18-25 year old range Bill speaks to is not going to be the absolute best at gathering information and deciphering it together into an accurate picture of the officiating situation in the NBA. We won't have an idea if the information is reliable and that is the annoying part, but it is brilliant because if someone does have good information that is reliable and well collected, then maybe Bill can get his point proven.

A reader e-mailed after the 86-FT Game that he would rather watch a playoffs in which players called their own fouls. At first glance, ridiculous. Within a few seconds, I started talking myself into it. By the three-minute mark, I was genuinely excited. No referees. The players policing themselves. Pickup rules for the playoffs. Hmmmmmm.

That's how bad things have gotten. An idea THAT dumb got my wheels spinning.

I am glad he realizes this idea is dumb...because it is. Overall, a very well written column by Bill. It's this type of column that he writes that almost makes up for some of the useless dreck he has put out (in my opinion) in the past. I am not ashamed to admit I liked this column. Ok, a little ashamed...

-Norman Chad wrote this Boston hating column a few weeks ago. He hates the Celtics. I don't think he actually hates the Celtics, I think he hates that they win all the time. That's the reasoning for a lot of the current Boston hatred, well that and the fans of the Boston teams have been stereotyped like Tommy from Quinzee from KSK, which some may actually be that way. Unfortunately behind every stereotype there is a little bit of truth. I learned this lesson from something a guy who came into my work on Tuesday showed me when he found out I was a Panthers fan. He rolled up his sleeve and showed me a tattoo of the Carolina Panthers logo eating a Cowboy's hat. I cringed a little. I hate the Dallas Cowboys but that's too much redneck for me.

-J.S. did a good post about Jeff MacGregor a few weeks/months ago and I saw a column by MacGregor the other day that made me wonder, as I usually do, what the hell he is talking about. It is called "Do Sports Teach Lessons or Provide Distractions?"

The question I really want answered is "What Purpose Does Jeff MacGregor Serve At Page 2?"

What are sports for?

Entertainment. It's plain and simple, we want to be entertained with athletic events and we have sports to serve that purpose. Other people (pointing at Jeff MacGregor) may want to make them more than they are, but you can't. They may serve as a microcosm of life, but at their very heart they are a billion dollar entertainment industry. The original reality television.

All of which got me thinking about the ideas of sportsmanship and character, and the antique notion that sports have to teach a moral or ethical lesson to be of real value.

This guy is just a real drag. He insists on trying to suck the fun out of everything.

(MacGregor's son) "Dad, I want to play video games at the arcade today."

(Jeff MacGregor) "But son, why do you want to play games? Are you revealing your true childhood ambitions that your alter-self refused to allow you to achieve because you wanted to meet what you thought were our expectations of you as our son?"

(MacGregor's son) "Because they are fun and you are really boring."

(Jeff MacGregor) "Just continue playing coy, insolent child, I will get the true reasoning out of you one day."

And while I understand and empathize with the moral exhaustion that besets us all, somebody somewhere in Major League Baseball thought Manny Ramirez had to be suspended for 50 games for breaking a rule it considered important. Is that rule wrong? Or is Manny Ramirez?

I think he may be overanalyzing this a bit. Major League Baseball set up the rule because they want to make sure there is an even playing field in baseball and the Union and the Commissioner believe restricting the use of PED's is the way to go about helping to even the playing field. You know, so a guy doesn't hit 73 home runs and get walked 200 times. That sucks the fun out of the game a little bit.

So to answer the question, Manny Ramirez broke the rule so he is wrong.

Or are sports just a performance, a vacation from the real? Is a game merely three hours of happy distraction from the killing grind of the everyday?

It's fucking entertainment. That's it. Like everything else in the world with a set of rules and any type of authority figure, it can also be seen as a microcosm of life. Quit writing such pretentious shit.

Which brings us back to the trillion-dollar question, the one we have to answer before any of the others:

What are sports for?


A simple, impossible question. But maybe if we all put our heads together we can puzzle it out. Ask your friends, neighbors, parents, children, coaches, players, teachers.

Is this question really worth getting a commission together for? He is so pretentious. I hope he chokes on the organic bagel he is eating in his Smart car, which will undoubtedly be playing classical music.

-Rick Reilly gets paid millions of dollars to write columns that whine about his favorite NBA team. As always, there is more to the story as well. The column is full of shit like this:

Moses wandered the desert for 40 years? Pah. That's Club Med compared to us. For 41 years, we've eaten sand and washed it down with tall glasses of bile. At least Moses had manna. All we ever got was crayon jerseys.

It annoys the hell out of me that every team is fighting and clawing to be a "cursed" team lately. Every team, has a SOB story about how beaten down they are and how long their fans have been waiting for a championship or any type of hope from their sports teams. Shut up. 41 years is not really that long. Denver had the Broncos win 2 Super Bowls in the 90's and the Rockies made the World Series two years ago, and that doesn't include any success the Colorado Avalanche had recently.

Since then, we've run a substitution pattern of famine, plague and pestilence, the last of which was a man named Nikoloz Tskitishvili, on whom we wasted the fifth overall pick in 2002, while passing on stiffs like Amare Stoudemire, Caron Butler and Carlos Boozer. Tskitishvili was really tskitty. One time, he took a wide-open jumper and hit the shot clock.

Maybe you are not really cursed, you just have incredibly shitty decision makers in the organization. It sounds to me like that could be the case.

You sent us Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. He wouldn't stand for the national anthem.

If I recall correctly, he was a pretty good basketball player. Yes, I remember the ex-Chris Jackson was a pretty good player who helped the Nuggets win basketball games. Standing for the national anthem doesn't win games for the Nuggets and players that did not help the Nuggets win games is what you are whining about. Try to stay on point.

So when you click on Reilly's article, you see a Registered trademark next to "Life of Reilly." He trademarked his article title. He is very impressed with himself.

He officially wants himself to be a brand. Apparently the brand he wants to be is the type of brand that recycles old products and tries to pass them off as new. Deadspin said he was a little shy of being a Hallmark card anyway...but don't you think he is actually going to try and spread the brand name around a little? I have a feeling he is going to try and do this. There will be "Life of Reilly" cards, mugs, and toilet paper. Peter King would even use the toilet paper as he was preparing for his next colonoscopy!

-It's wrong how coaches like John Calipari are able to stay one step ahead of NCAA officials and never actually have to suffer any of the sanctions the school has to suffer. I will never doubt this guy can recruit, but he also bends the rules past the point where it is an NCAA rules violation.

Just like at UMass, his name doesn't appear on anything, but just like at UMass he is in the middle of it, but has found a way to not get himself dirty. He has made 2 Final Fours in his career, the first with UMass in 1996 has been erased because Marcus Camby had improper dealings with an agent. What did Calipari do for his UMass team after this was found out to make them feel better for all their hard work being erased or what did he tell his team to ease the pain? Well, he was actually running the New Jersey Nets into the ground when the sanctions came down, so he wasn't around anymore. He stayed one step ahead of the NCAA.

Now Derrick Rose is accused of cheating on the SAT, which Calipari had to have some knowledge of, unless he is able to keep up with everything about the student-athlete's lives on his basketball teams except for their wrongdoings. If found guilty, Memphis would have to vacate their Final Four appearance and the wins they got for the 2007-2008 year. As usual, Calipari doesn't have to really worry about the lowering of another Final Four banner because he is at Kentucky now with a sparkling recruiting record but zero Final Fours to his record.

I don't hate John Calipari but I do find it odd he stays at schools long enough to get out when sanctions start to come down and leaves the school and the athletic department to take the fall for what violations may or may not have happened. Recruits don't remember his Final Fours had to be vacated, they remember he coached Marcus Camby and Derrick Rose in a Final Four and almost won a National Championship in 2008. That's all they remember.

And though Kentucky fans will dismiss it, it should be pointed out that that's exactly what Memphis fans spent nine years doing. They explained to opposing fans that Calipari had nothing to do with the Camby mess, that it wasn't indicative of anything. But now here they are dealing with similarly damaging allegations of rules violations that happened on Calipari's watch, and it would be naive for UK athletic director Mitch Barnhart to not be concerned, at least a little, because 2-for-2 is 100 percent.

In other words, if Calipari someday leaves Kentucky without In other words, if Calipari someday leaves Kentucky without the NCAA subsequently accusing the school of operating outside the framework of the rulebook, understand, it'll be the first time he's ever exited a program that way.

Fortunately, Kentucky won't really care at that point because he will have brought them a couple of Final Fours, maybe a National Championship, and some respect back, and Calipari won't care because by the time the new NCAA sanctions come down, he will be at a different school.

This is one reason I hate college basketball recruiting and don't ever want to know what goes on behind the scenes.

-Here is an interesting article about the real trade value of Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez. I had to read it twice to get the gist of the article, but I don't know if I completely agree with it.

By the same math, though, a random minor leaguer of the sort who might be part of a deal for two such players is far more valuable than you might think. An average player is worth two wins in a year. A prospect who struggles in his first two years, giving the team just one win in each, and then settles in at dead average for the next four before leaving the team as a free agent, will have been worth about $45 million -- and he'll likely have been paid somewhere between $15 and $20 million, given baseball's idiosyncratic pay scale.

I just find it hard to believe this is accurate, though it is based on Fangraphs information, so it very well may be. There are so many assumptions that go into this, for one that the prospect(s) traded make it to the major leagues and that the great player traded continues to perform at the same level he performed prior and not perform at a higher level.

I think this may all be over my head a little bit but this was an intriguing article.

He talks a little bit about the Jake Peavy trade that almost happened with the White Sox and what surprises me is that the Padres seemed to lower their demands. Nothing against he package the White Sox offered, but the Padres originally wanted five players in a trade for Peavy, including two major league ready players and two top prospects. I think they should have taken the Cubs trade earlier in the winter, but they did not. Peavy is too chicken shit to play for the White Sox in that ballpark. I guess the American League is too scary for him.

-I think the Padres early season success has a lot to do with Adrian Gonzalez, but guess who is getting some credit?

The two things that Towers pointed to on behalf of the Padres, whose payroll is a puny $46 million (and may still go lower if Towers can find a place Peavy would like to play, beyond the Padres, that is): 1) There is no quit in them; and 2) David Eckstein is on their roster.

"A lot of it has to do with David Eckstein," Towers said.

"When you have a player like that, it becomes contagious," Towers said. "He sets the standard. He's so fricking intense. And he has the best in-game instincts I've ever seen."

What is it about David Eckstein that makes general managers and announcers talk about him like they are teenage girls and he is one of the Jonas Brothers?

-Jay Mariotti seems to think if the Cavs lose the series he is going to be gone from Cleveland in 2010.

Everyone has him going to New York to play for the Knicks or to play for the Nets in New Jersey, but does he really have a better chance at winning a championship and succeeding there? I think the higher profile he has playing for one of those teams will also cause increased scrutiny on him, which is not always good. Just ask Randy Johnson, Isiah Thomas, Alex Rodriguez, and Plaxico Burress. I am just saying it is not always a good thing to be in the spotlight all the time, and LeBron James may be smart enough to realize this.

-Gene Wojciechowski thinks the Cubs still have time to play well and blames many of the problems on injuries. Even though the Cardinals have had a ton of injuries this well to key players and have a lower payroll. Whatever, I don't want to disturb Gene with logic.

How long before we have an ESPN Boston web site? Another month? It's going to happen and it may not be a bad thing. Gene usually writes about Chicago anyway, so it is nice we can stick his articles on a site where I don't have to read theory. Unfortunately ESPN still insists on putting the columns on the front page, so when they get other "ESPN cities" it is going to seem like they only care about those cities from a standpoint of coverage and may make their coverage seem more biased. Not that ESPN really cares, because as long as the ratings come in positive, nothing will change.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

10 comments Two For One Thursday: Taking Out Vendettas

Wallace Matthews has been bitching about Citi Field since it opened back in April. He has two topics he tends to write about every week. He writes about Alex Rodriguez and how much anything affiliated with the Mets sucks. The fact Major League Baseball has begun using instant replay to determine whether a called home run is a home run or not, thereby making sure all the calls made by the umpires are correct, does not stop Wallace from railing against these newfangled ballparks.

Gary Sheffield, standing on first base, thought he was watching a home run and decided a light jog would be sufficient.

I have watched Gary Sheffield play baseball for many years now and even if this was not a home run, the odds are good he still would have decided a light jog would have been sufficient. Instead of the mascot, the team should have him race a small child around the bases between innings with Sheffield going full speed, and the small child would win everytime.

The fans sitting above the facing where the ball is said to have hit were certain it did not. The fans sitting below were positive that it did.

The umpires weren't sure what they were seeing and so retired to another room to watch a replay.

Well, we can't have the fans and umpires disagreeing on home run calls. That would be un-American.

Wallace is getting ready to start bitching that Citi Field makes it hard to know what is a home run and what is not. He hates the quirks of the stadium. MLB has instant replay to determine whether a ball hit is a foul ball, home run or ground rule double and it seems to be working effectively. I don't know why he believes this is a massive problem at Citi Field.

He should be thankful he doesn't cover NBA and college basketball, because nobody knows exactly what a charge is when it happens and somehow players under the basket can get hammered and there is no call, while a touch foul on the perimeter is consistently called a foul at the same time (last night Nene got hammered on a layup and then there was a perimeter touch foul...I know I sound like Bill Simmons but it irritates me, but not nearly as much as the charge calls in college basketball). I have watched college basketball for many years and I still have no idea what is a charge and what is not. Every college referee seems to have a different standard for a charge.

Sorry to digress...back to Wallace's bitching about the quirks of the stadium.

"It was a very difficult call,'' said second base umpire Larry Vanover, the crew chief. "We took all the information from the crew consultation and from the replay and that's how we came up with our answer. When you look at the replay, you can see the ball does disappear in the yellow sign and it does change direction."

So to be clear, the right call was made? Great, we can move on now. Wallace commence to talking about Alex Rodrigu---

And that's what happens when you try to force the issue, when you throw in quirks for the sake of quirks, when you add artificially-engineered nostalgia into what could have been a perfectly good, if conventional ballpark.

Yes, that is what happens when you insist on not putting up a cookie cutter baseball park. It confuses the hell out of people like Wallace Matthews. When you start moving the bases around, putting homeplate in the press box and the outfield fences actually outside the ballpark in the parking lot. Madness!

I will admit that some of the new quirks to the ballparks are a bit much, and I have not visited Citi Field, but it seems like the only real questions that can be posed in relation to a game there is whether a ball hit is a home run or not, and if not, what the correct call is, and instant replay can take care of that issue pretty easily.

You knew that sooner or later, one of the many silly contrivances the Mets built into their new ballpark was going to intrude on the game.

Do you know what silly contrivance intrudes on the game the most? The fans watching the game.

Should we get rid of them as well?

You didn't know if it would be those dangerous, half-walls built way too close to the foul lines in left and right, which some day soon will claim a player charging after a pop fly as he tumbles onto the concrete.

Which are so much more dangerous than the concrete barriers that surround the ballpark separating the fans from the action, where a player can actually fly into the stands, with those watching the game, and injure them or himself. How about the incredibly hard walls that surround the outfield and have caused multiple concussions and knee injuries to those ball players that crash into them? Those are two structures that have caused injuries, but apparently Wallace has no problem with those. Also a line drive off a player's bat can injure a pitcher or ruin his career. It's not just these "contrivances" at Citi Field that can cause injuries on the field.

The result? A player can run into anything on the field, and they have in the past, these half built walls may ultimately be safer than running into a wall or the stands for a fly ball. At least they will flip over the barrier and not run head-on into it. Let's not disturb Wallace with logic though.

Or the too-short foul poles that are prime targets for a ball to fly directly over, sparking what will no doubt be a heated debate. Home run? Or long strike?

He is bitching about how long the foul poles are...fine, they are too short, instant replay can take care of finding out if they are home runs or long strikes. It takes what, two minutes? Or the equivalent of two pitches in a playoff game.

Or if it would be that ridiculous bay window some genius thought would be a good idea to cut into rightfield, the so-called Mo Zone where the wall suddenly jogs out for 12 feet or so, inviting the kind of carom of which inside-the-park home runs are born.

Not inside the park homeruns! Those overly used cheap contrivances that try to resemble an actual homerun? We need to get rid of those poseurs quickly. Who wants more inside the park home runs, they are only one of the most exciting plays in all of baseball. I am getting pumped up thinking about it right now.

Seriously, is it not exciting to see a guy round third base knowing he is going for an inside the park home run? Wallace hates these, as well as kittens, and most life saving procedures for the elderly.

No, this time, it was the rightfield porch, a needless contrivance that juts 8 feet into fair territory, a controversy just waiting to happen.

It does set the ballpark apart from other ballparks. I hate cookie cutter ballparks and though some of the contraptions may seem a bit stupid (the hill in Houston), I am not going to criticize them for being creative. Do you know what else juts into fair territory? The roof of a stadium, maybe we should require all teams to not have a roof on their stadiums. Of course, then how would the Twins turn on fans when they are at bat in the World Series to give their team that extra edge? It wouldn't work as well then (I am kidding Twins fans...).

Murphy's shot, which in a normal ballpark might well have been caught on the warning track, apparently ticked the fascia of the right-field porch on its way down.

Murphy's shot, which could have also been a home run in a normal ballpark, was called a home run. I wonder if Wallace realizes the dimensions of every stadium in MLB has different dimensions? A ball hit in Florida may not be a home run if the same ball is hit in Petco Park. For some reason this doesn't bother him.

On this occasion, the two-run homer gave the home team a lead it would never give back. On another night, it may work in reverse.

It may, and that is the risk a team takes when building any field. Usually the home team learns how to play a ballpark's caroms and alleys due to playing there more than the visiting team, so it turns into a homefield advantage. I am not saying Mets players will aim for the right field porch but I am saying I would imagine it is going to work to their advantage much more than against.

Even though I come from a generation in which the ballgame, not the "ballpark experience,'' was the event, I can live with all the distracting and gimmicky little touches the Mets forced into their new park.

Yes, two of the oldest fields in baseball, Wrigley Field and Fenway Park, they have zero gimmicky touches. It's not like one park has ivy growing on the walls of the outfield with a brick wall behind it and the other has a massive green wall in left field, along with a wall in centerfield that feels like it is 500 feet from homeplate. No gimmicks or distractions there.

That's what makes them memorable and makes me want to visit these stadiums. Am I dying to go to Arlington Stadium anytime soon? No, but I would like to go to Fenway and Wrigley. Wallace wants all ballparks to look like they are clones of each other.

But there is no excuse for the ballpark to become the story or affect the outcome of the game. The ballpark is supposed to provide the playing surface and then get the hell out of the way.

I agree, but it can't always be that way. The world is supposed to be perfect and we should all be given plenty of money to live off and eat popsicles with our family at 5:30pm every day while watching television together on a pillowy cloud, but that can't happen either.

Last night, the park helped the Mets win one, and everybody went home happy, if a little bit confused.What happens on the nights it works the other way around?

The Apocalypse.

-Jay Mariotti continues his vendetta against the Cubs and the world in general.

I'm actually a hopeful guy at heart, confident we'll one day have an economic recovery, peace on earth and better late-night TV from Jimmy Fallon.

No, you are an asshole. This is well documented.

But my faith in humankind never has extended to the Cubs. Let me lay this out right here: They won't win another World Series in our lifetime

I don't know Jay, I am in my late 20's, I exercise and eat a steady diet of yogurt combined with Jalepeno Popper Doritos and Cheez-Its, I think I have a solid 25 more years left and I think the Cubs could squeak one World Series through at some point in that time span. Maybe not your lifetime, because you have had a heart attack already, so clearly God hates you.

This begs for a snarling, spitting, belly-bumping tantrum by manager Lou Piniella, who went bonkers in June 2007 and saw the Cubs use it as an emotional turning point in a division-title season. But here's the rub: His wife, Anita, won't let her hubbie throw bases or fits anymore at 65,

Yes, I am sure the fact Pinella doesn't throw hissy fits anymore can completely be attributed to his wife. It has nothing to do with the fact he is 65 years old and might be afraid if he gets too angry he would drop dead right there on the field with second base in his dead cold hands.

If he misses the playoffs, I can't imagine him returning to an impossible situation where anything but a World Series title is considered failure.

I would normally defer to Jay on this issue, because I have never lived in Chicago, but Cubs fans seem pretty happy with a playoff series win or a World Series least the ones that I have met. Of course they want to win the World Series, but I don't think they strike me as the most demanding fan base in baseball, like Jay wants them portrayed.

Then there's Milton Bradley, who has brought nothing but poison to the Friendly Confines and threatens to spoil the good vibes that have pervaded Wrigley the last two seasons. Only Bradley, who should be accompanied by a shrink 24/7, still can carry a grudge in late May about an umpiring spat that happened on April 16. Paranoid as ever, he thinks all major league umpires are conspiring against him in defense of their colleague, Larry Vanover, whose ejection of Bradley led to a two-game suspension that was reduced to one game by Major League Baseball. Ancient news? Not to Moody Milton, who believes the umps have been widening their strike zones when he's batting. Oh, that's why he's hitting .196 with five homers and 13 RBI for his $30 million.

Larry Vanover is also responsible for the home run call in the Wallace Matthews article I just discussed. He's a real troublemaker isn't he?

This is the part where Jay Mariotti, now a NATIONAL columnist for AOL, takes out all his frustrations with the world on the Cubs because he is an asshole. You can take the asshole out of Chicago, but you can't the Chicago hatred out of the asshole.

One issue is the deterioration of Derrek Lee, who hit 46 home runs four years ago, into a glorified singles hitter. Another issue is Aramis Ramirez, a dangerous hitter who can't stay healthy. Then there's the maddeningly streaky Alfonso Soriano, who is striking out like a fiend and remains misplaced as a leadoff man. The reigning NL Rookie of the Year, catcher Geovany Soto, is hitting .214 with one homer.

Good luck with that. When Bradley's persecution complex is cranked up to 10, everyone else is to blame: fans, media, umps, you name it. At Wrigley, where fans are especially rowdy on summer nights, an expensive player who isn't performing becomes a target. I can just picture a beer cup coming his way in right field and Bradley trying to climb the ivy-covered walls to chase the fan.

No one can ever accuse Jay Mariotti of forgetting to be a jerk and forgetting the past and those that he doesn't like.

Know how dismal things have been on the North Side? When 5-foot-11, 175-pound shortstop Ryan Theriot started the season with five homers, a semi-senile local columnist angered the Cubs by suggesting Theriot should be a steroids suspect.

A quick Google search revealed Jay was talking about Rick Telander and this article. Telander never had a good relationship with Jay Mariotti and was publicly glad that he quit his job for the Chicago paper. Can Jay be a big man about this and just think, "we can't all get along, so I will let this drop." Well, hell no he can't. He takes time out of his busy life writing shitty columns to demean Telander's column.

This was a reckless way to make a point, even in an attempt to be facetious about the Steroid Era, and what a shame that a rare triumph in an otherwise flimsy offensive season is ridiculed.

All of a sudden this dickless prick is taking the high road on the steroids issue. If Jay Mariotti were still writing for a Chicago paper, he would have written that article about Theriot before Telander could. They may even have had an argument over who could write the article. Jay would never pass up a chance to write an article ripping into someone.

Jay baits people into arguments and constantly will try to up the ante in the anger department, then when things get too heated he backs away and goes into hiding for a month. He prefers to sit behind his computer and type out insults and never face those he insults or attempts to demean with his words.

If nothing else, maybe the fans won't have to wait until October to be devastated this time.

Another Mariotti burn!

I will let Roger Ebert sum up how everyone feels about Jay Mariotti:

You owed us decency. The fact that you saved your attack for TV only completes our portrait of you as a rat...You were a great shouter in print, that's for sure, stomping your feet when owners, coaches, players and fans didn't agree with you. It was an entertaining show...On your way out, don't let the door bang you on the ass.

I am having slight Bill Simmons withdrawal, I am hoping he will put something up today or tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

26 comments What's Irritating Me Today

I have to admit I am a little bit surprised that Orlando is beating Cleveland like they are. Dwight Howard has played well but the real reason they are beating the Cavs is the guys around him are just shooting the lights out with 17 three point shots last night. All the talk this year has been about how Mo Williams has been found as LeBron's running mate, but the problem is there is no one on the Cavs bench really chipping in at all. I don't know if LeBron is a certainty to stay in Cleveland after 2010 or not. If LeBron had not hit that shot at the end of Game 2 the Cavs would have been swept. The best team in basketball swept by an inferior team (according to many) like the Magic...I did not expect that at all.

Gregg Doyel has a great (meaning: bad) article up about LeBron James and how we need to appreciate him and I was going to cover that, but FJMariotti did a great job of that already (click on the FJMariotti link on the side of the old blog here and you can read it!), so there is no need to review what has already been said by them. So I was looking through a bunch of articles I have bookmarked and decided I would just list the string of words in the articles that are pissing me off today.

-After listing my "dream" baseball team on Monday I started to list my "nightmare" baseball team and then I realized my entire OF would be made of my favorite baseball team's outfielders, began to weep, and then quit. I would still like to do this at some point, but I can't handle the truth right now.

-This also has nothing to do with an article of any type but I am still pissed off that Chipper Jones lost Rookie of the Year to Hideo Nomo in 1995. Yeah, I know he had a great year and the award means nothing, it just irritated me about the media's fascination with him...and yes I know they had a reason to be fascinated and I have no point but I can still complain 14 years after the fact.

Meanwhile, the reigning Rookie of the Year in the National League Geovany Soto is hitting .214 and every player below him in the voting is having a better year. Can't they just call it the "Rookie Who Had the Best Year" Award and give another "Rookie That Will Have the Best Career" Award to someone else? I don't want to care that he had a better year. Bruce, Votto, and Jurrjens will have better major league careers, and I want that to count for something.

-Peter King, shockingly, is irritating me today for various reasons. Most of all because he did not answer my well written and thoughtful email for the 5 consecutive week in his MMQB Tuesday Edition.

I've reached this point in thinking about what Michael Vick should be and how he should be used in his possible NFL reincarnation: I think he should be Devin Hester, at least at the beginning.

Peter, do you mean using modern technology to remove Devin Hester's face and put it on Mike Vick's face and vice versa just like in the blockbuster Nicholas Cage-John Travlota movie "Face Off?" If so, brilliant idea.

I don't know if he can be, but that's what I'd think if I were the Saints, Patriots or Bills, or whoever might be interested in signing him if he is reinstated to the NFL.

Well, if Mike Vick is Devin Hester, then Devin Hester is not a free agent this year so he has to play for the Chicago Bears, so the Mike Vick/Devin Hester person would not have an option unless he forced a trade.

Sarcasm aside, is this idea of Peter's that revolutionary? I thought it was pretty much assumed by everyone that the team he signed with would use Vick in a similar capacity to how Hester is used in Chicago? Vick's clearly not coming back as a fucking fullback or an offensive lineman, everyone has been talking about how he would make a wonderful wildcat quarterback and teams could use his speed to get him the ball on offense. Why is Peter so late to the party on every idea?

"I've been doing some thinking, and I believe the Lions are going to try and get Matt Stafford some good receivers to catch the ball and improve the offensive line. I think that is the best way to help make him successful."

(I know everyone is asking "Who is Matt Stafford?" because we all know Mark Sanchez was the #1 pick in the draft this year. Maybe it just feels that way.)

Maybe he becomes a guy who touches the ball six to eight times a game, 100 to 120 times the entire 2009 season, as he works his way back to an expanded role in 2010 and beyond. He could be a Wildcat quarterback for four snaps, a slot receiver one or two, or a running back taking a pitch.

Holy shit, that is exactly what everyone who else has talked about this situation has said as well Peter. Thanks for bringing up the tail end of journalism ideas on this one. Hey, someone has to be last!

Imagine if the Saints put Vick and Reggie Bush in the backfield at the same time, with the most prolific quarterback of the past three years, Drew Brees, under center.

This would be the first time Peter would notice a team not in the Northeast plays in the NFL. Then, and only then, would Peter move the Saints up to #11 in his power rankings. An underachieving running back AND a quarterback fresh out of jail, in the game at the same time? The world hasn't seen such an enigmatic backfield since...ever. Fuck it, Peter will put the Saints up to #6 in his power rankings if this happens.

Norm Woodcock, of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan: "I have a severed biceps tendon and after 18 months rehab have recovered 25 percent of my arm strength. I know Brett Favre is super human but as for being unaffected by a severed biceps tendon, I absolutely don't believe it. Sounds like agent talk.''

Norm, Peter King is about to call you a wimp. Prepare accordingly.

My understanding is Favre has been told that he'll be able to throw the ball without restriction or pain a month or so after surgery.

Translation: You Norm, are a wimp. Brett Favre is statistically 72 times more of a man than you are. He needs one month for full arm strength and you need 72 months for the same arm strength.

All I can go by is what medical sources tell me.

(I have $100 saying Peter's medical sources are Brett and Deanna Favre, PhD.)

Translation: You don't know Brett Favre, Norm. I do. He will be back and he is going to play football gloriously as millions of women and men fawn in adoration at his skills.

There was not a lot of interesting mail this week. Peter wasn't prepared to talk about football, he wanted to talk about mean dogs that bite humans.

-I am not a slave to a pitch count or anything like that, but does Dusty Baker intentionally try to ruin his pitchers?

I realize pitching to one batter is not going to ruin a pitcher, but are managers such slaves to wins that they would have a pitcher warm up for a game, cool down during the delay, then warm up again, pitch to one batter, and then be done for the day? It just doesn't make sense to me.

Yesterday afternoon/evening, he sent Aaron Harang back out to the mound to finish the fifth inning after a rain delay that lasted more than two hours. Harang only pitched to one batter after the delay and recorded a strikeout of Humberto Quintero to qualify for the win.

This is dumb. I know Harang probably wanted the win, but I can't believe it was worth it to put Harang out there for one batter.

"I'm just glad the delay wasn't any longer," Baker said. "He wanted it badly. He wanted very badly."

Baker felt the risk was minimal.

The risk to Harang's arm was minimal but the stupidity of having him warm up to pitch to one batter after throwing 83 pitches is overwhelming in my mind.

Really, this would not be a big story if Dusty Baker wasn't known as the Michael Myers of managers. After trying to kill Mark Prior and Kerry Wood's career by seeing if they can hit 200 pitches in a game, anything he does is going to be over-criticized. I am not criticizing, I just think this is stupid to have a pitcher go out after a 2 hour delay and pitch to one batter for the win.

Baker might have felt the risk was minimal, but I'm not sure anyone in their right mind would agree with him. He put a ton of extra and unnecessary stress on the arm of one of his best pitchers, just so that pitcher could pick up a cosmetic counting stat that he "wanted badly."

That's how I am thinking as well. Baker's job is to manage the team, which means dictate to the players their roles on the team, set the lineups and pitching rotation. Any pitcher is going to say that he wants a win badly because he wants to pick up the win, but the manager's job is to determine whether that stat is worth any other risk to the player. Manage the team and manage what is best for the team. That's what I would do if I were Dusty Baker and I don't know if making sure Harang gets to pad his win column is best for the team. I guess we are just lucky Joey Votta and Jay Bruce are not pitchers...yet.

-Tom Verducci, who I normally like, lists the 10 old players that are breaking through, and does a generally good job...except for a few. I have a very strict definition of "breaking through" as well. If an old player was a good player previously, then he is not breaking through now, he is merely having a career year in my mind. That's not breaking through.

1) Raul Ibanez

He has played his entire career in the American League with the Royals and the Mariners and now he is in the National League hitting behind Rollins, Howard, and Utley. That's a step up. Sure, he is has never hit like this before but I don't know if he is breaking through since he has had 100 RBI 4 out of the last 7 years and has an OBP always hovering near .355 over the past couple of years. He is having a career year in a new league, that's really all in my mind. I also think his numbers will eventually fall down a bit. He can't hit like this all year, can he?

Yes, he did hit 33 bombs and drive in 123 runs while playing in Seattle's airplane hangar in 2006, so he does have some pop.

Thanks for proving your first player choice wrong for me Tom.

7) Casey Blake,

The eighth spot in NL batting orders is notoriously difficult because of hitting in front of the pitcher, but Blake is having the best season of his life out of that spot. His .376 OBP is a huge improvement on his .330 career mark.

I am going to go ahead and chalk this up to a sample size of 152 at bats. I would look for Blake's end of year numbers to only be slightly ahead of his career numbers. His OBP was .326 for the month of April and the fact he is tearing it up in May really makes Blakes numbers inflated by a good margin. Why can't writers realize we are two months into the season and one good month will give a player inflated stats?

8) Joe Mauer, 26, Twins: Yes, he's a young guy,

I have so many problems with this selection. Mauer is young, he has broken through already and also the fact that because he is hitting more homeruns than usual doesn't mean he is actually breaking through, it means he is absolutely on fire through 84 at bats.

Joe Mauer has absolutely zero business being on this list. Zero. He's not old and he is not breaking through. He has already broken through. He's a great player. Just look at statistics.

This is Mauer with power.

OMFG! That rhymed! Hilarious. It still doesn't take away from the fact that Mauer is absolutely tearing it up right now and hitting for power in the 84 at bats he has accumulated this year, but that doesn't mean he is breaking out. He is on pace to have a career year, but he is widely considered the best catcher in baseball so there is no freaking way he is having a "breakthrough year," and he is not even old. The title of this article is "Breaking through is hard to do for old guys, but these 10 are doing it." Mauer is 26 years old.

-I hate it when writers are right. I don't even want to comment on this article because it was written May 10 and I have been saving it for when the Cavs beat the Magic and make the NBA Finals. I think the evil Gregg Doyel is right. I read the article and he seemed to pretty much have the Cavs team scouted pretty well.

-It irritates me pretty much anytime Woody Paige writes an article like he is a 6 year old.

Hey, Aunty Em, tell your wackadoo niece Dorothy Gale — and her little dog too — that home isn't such a grand and glorious place, after all.

Who reads this shit and thinks that it is top flight journalism? This is how he got on ESPN's "yelling at each other" shows. You actually have to be a complete moron to be allowed on Around the Horn and First Take/Cold Pizza/Whatever They Call It This Week. They accept nothing less than the stupidest journalists in America so they accept him easily as part of their network of nonsense talkers.

Sorry to say this, but this sentence Woody wrote is shit.

Maybe, though, given how the Nuggets played Saturday night (lethargically), they might have considered turning over the local arena tonight to pseudo-sport and playing in, oh, Salt Lake City.

Wherever the Nuggets and the Lakers meet, they are becoming cruder, more brutal and, well, raw. Their first two affairs were the most-watched pro or college basketball games in the history of ESPN. Tonight will be a ratings royale, and even the Cheetos-and-Ding Dongs crowd will TiVo the "wrestling thing."

I tried to read this article and can't even begin to understand it. This irritates me. How am I supposed to make fun of someone when I can't even understand what he is writing? I personally hate wrestling, so maybe it is the fake wrestling WWE/WWF thing he is talking about and I don't know enough to understand it. I was one of five male children in America who never watched wrestling when they were young so it may be above my head. I doubt it, and really think he may just be speaking nonsense.

Psst, George. The series is 2-1 Lakers, so you don't have to win two in Denver and two more in L.A. It's not best-of- nine.

Pay no attention to the coaches behind the curtains. Pay attention to the wizards of ahs — Melo and Kobe.

And, Denver, tap the heels of your ruby slippers together three times and repeat . . .

I can't believe someone read Woody Paige's work at some point in the past and thought, "we have to hire this guy." His writing can be so bad. Of course what do you expect from someone whose entire job on television is to come up with "controversial" points of view and debate them with other idiots who are trying to say something soundbite worthy? To think of him as a journalist may be to give him too much credit.

-It irritates me when Scoop Jackson can't leave race out of one of his columns. This is not a poorly written column and I was able to read it and not hate what it contained. He could have written the entire article without throwing in sentences like this one...

Every time I went to play hockey, and almost always being the only kid of color out there, it took me awhile to figure out why people (including some teammates) were always shooting the puck at me -- especially when I was never the goalie.

I bet at the age of 8 or 9 years of old, these kids had very little control over where the puck went and they were not actually shooting the puck at Lil' Scoop.

He could have easily left this sentence out, it really adds nothing and makes the reader think all of his friends hated Lil' Scoop when he was young.

It just irritates about how he can't write a single article without bringing up race. This article was decent and seemed well thought out, except for the parts where he wanted to make it clear he liked hockey and he was black, which inherently made him different in his own eyes.

-I thought the Hurricanes would lose to the Pens in 5 games, it irritates me that Cam Ward decided he was going to give up prior to Game 3. Last night was the only time in my small hockey history I have seen a goalie lose a puck in the lights.

-I am going to go ahead and apologize to Fred Trigger and Ivn, for this one. It annoys the shit out of me when a baseball player does dances and gets emotional after getting out of an inning (think John Rocker, Chamberlain, or any other closer who acts like he just dismantled an atomic bomb when he completes a save or gets out of the inning) and then when he blows the save gets pissy as the cameras watch him. I am talking about my dream team closer, Papelbon.

If you are going to act like you just saved the world and let the cameras pick up your antics after being a hero, you have to accept that you will look like an ass when you blow a save. Don't act like a bitch. Just look at that picture of Papelbon beside the story in the link. If you do shit like that, you can expect a camera on you after you fail also.

according to Causi, before throwing his towel at him It should be noted: Papelbon missed Causi. "I guess he missed with two pitches that night," Causi cracked.

Though to be fair, the camera man, based on that quote seems like an asshole so at some point in the future he should have something heavier thrown at him.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

12 comments MMQB Review: Headlines Ripped From ESPN's Everyday Top Headlines

If I told you I was going to read a transcript about football news and said the top headlines were about Tom Brady, T.O., Brett Favre, and Mike Vick, you would think that you were watching SportsCenter or some other ESPN show. You would be dead wrong. You are listening to me read a transcript of Peter King's MMQB for this week. (cue omnious music)

You know Peter has gotten lazy when he just picks the top 4 stories everyone talks about and gives us just a little bit more new information on them. I would even give him credit for doing interviews about Tom Brady and the Patriots, but he is close enough now that he doesn't get credit for that. (On a side note, I tried to watch 1st and 10 on ESPN yesterday and it is unwatchable. I couldn't do it, I felt like I was getting dumber and dumber for the entire two minutes I watched it.)

Let's see what crap Peter spews this week.

Headlines of the week:

In Sports Illustrated this week (no spoilers until tomorrow on; sorry), I've got the first extended interview with Brady since the Sept. 7 knee injury that knocked him out for the 2008 season.

Peter King may be the only columnist who teases his own columns in Sports Illustrated. Is he really afraid no one would read them? Also, if I am getting a whole article in SI about the same topic Peter discusses here and I pay for this, why do I have to read similar information in his MMQB?

Brady's been throwing to his receivers -- he estimates he's thrown with Randy Moss 12 times --

Now this is how you get ready for an NFL season Brett Favre. While you are throwing to high school kids and pretending you have no interest in coming back to the NFL, Tom Brady is throwing to his actual receivers...because he is actually committed to being on a team in time to throw to his actual receivers that will be on the same team as him.

They've had to replace 82 wide-receiver catches from that team, with
Jabar Gaffney and Donte' Stallworth out

Yes, how are they ever going to replace the production of two underachieving ex-SEC receivers. Somehow I am sure they can find a way. Like find two other guys who can manage to catch 41 passes, or less than 3 per game, and catch the ball in the most explosive offense in NFL history from one of the best quarterbacks to play the game. It may be tough to find someone like this, but I think they can do it if they try really hard.

so Greg Lewis and the ancient Joey Galloway are in. I see Lewis, a reliable darter, catching 50 balls.

Which would be a career high and also more passes than he has caught over the last 3 years with the Eagles, who don't have a history of having incredible wide receiver depth and skill. Just thought I would mention this.

But Galloway had a bad foot (since recovered) last year, started only four games in Tampa, and comes north with doubts that he can stay healthy. On the plus side: He played in 47-of-48 Bucs games from 2005 through 2007.

Peter calls Galloway ancient and says that there are doubts that he can stay healthy. Then he lists a statistic that shows Galloway has been able to stay healthy in the past, thereby showing that maybe last year's injury was a fluke last year. So I would not even call him an injury risk really. I am surprised that Peter is not really worried that Galloway is known for his speed and is 37 years old. That doesn't concern him at all?

Really the only reason Peter is giving these two receivers any type of credit is because Belichick is coaching this team. If they both signed with the Bears, Peter would be panning these trades and free agents signings, but he trusts Belichick can get production out of them. Imagine if the Bears trade for Greg Lewis and sign Joey Galloway, Peter would go out of his way to say these two are not fixes for them. But since New England and Belichick signed them, they get lead story in MMQB. A lot of success in the NFL depends on where you end up I guess.

Funny to think of in this way, but the key to a great offensive season for New England might actually be the fleet Galloway, who I'm told is running in the 4.4s even at 38.

Amazing, he does not even turn 38 until November 2009 and Peter already knows he will run a 4.4 at that time. I wonder if you get taught to tell the future in journalism school or it is something you are able to do before you get there? Peter calls him ancient and injury prone, then dispels those rumors quickly. I am surprised more teams did not go after this 37 year old diamond in the rough.

Imagine splitting a healthy Galloway and Moss wide to either side, with Welker in the slot and a good receiver like Kevin Faulk in the backfield. There are going to be some tough coverage assignments for a defense with those receivers playing as a group.

Thanks for not waiting until September for the New England Patriots season preview Peter, nothing really changes between May and September anyway...

The sands in the hourglass are running out for Brett Favre. This is what I know about the odd little mating dance between Favre and the Vikings as of this weekend:

• He's going to have a make a decision whether to join the Vikings very soon, probably by this weekend, because the Vikings want to know what their 2009 future is at quarterback.

A decision soon? But, how is he going to stay in the spotlight and milk this unretirement for all that it is worth? One more week is not nearly enough time to get journalists to write really nice things about him and to get him the attention he deserves and craves. This is Brett Favre's nightmare. I bet he stays retired and then unretires and says the Vikings did not give him enough time to make a decision.

I was also told that severing the tendon would have no impact on Favre's velocity or accuracy.

Unfortunately the fact he is almost 40 years of age will have a big impact on Favre's velocity and accuracy. Just like it did towards the end of last year.

Whereas he used to throw interceptions really hard at a certain player on the opposing team, now he just lofts the ball to a certain group of defensive players on the opposing team. Fortunately, he will still be able to throw spectacular interceptions that are not really interceptions, but tidbits of joy he gives to the other team displaying how much fun he has playing the game of football. That's a relief to know.

But it's only a guess. As I've said through this whole thing, I've been wrong about Favre staying retired twice, and so I'm out of the Favre prediction business. Let's see what this week brings.

Well gee thanks Mr. NFL Insider! What the fuck do you get paid for if you know as much as the general public knows and will find out when we find out? If there is anyone who King should be able to get a scoop on, it's Favre, but he still can't do that.

Michael Vick's chance to succeed is due to how the game has changed in the last three years. I'll detail some good X-and-O stuff about Vick's future in Tuesday's column.

Peter almost spends more time previewing his other columns in MMQB than he does actually writing any useful information.

"Teams are playing the spread more, and playing things like the Wildcat more, running more gimmicky plays,'' said Trent Green, the longtime quarterback trying to get signed somewhere.

Hahahahaha....that's a good one Peter! Trent Green trying to still play in the NFL! At least he throws a joke in there every once in a while to lighten the mood. Trent Green still trying to play in the NFL, you're such a kidder at times Peter.

When you have a player as important as Cribbs is to the organization, you want to treat him right and show the rest of the team that you're paid on merit, not just based on the loftiness of where you were drafted. Normally, I don't think playing three years of a seven-year deal is enough to merit a re-do, but given Cribbs' output, it seems like the right thing to do.

This is why I criticize Peter King. He is supposed to know something about the NFL, the coaches in the NFL and the players in the NFL. He doesn't even mention in this part about the Joshua Cribbs siuation that based on Mangini's record with the Jets there is almost no one way he is getting a new deal. There were several Jets players who wanted new contracts or complained about getting a new contract and they were not resigned or traded. So maybe Mangini has changed his policy about this, but Peter has to mention this because I find it very relevant to this situation. When discussing a player's contract, the coach's willingness to redo contracts should be considered, right?

Stupid me.
You readers are correct: I omitted a shout-out to all veterans of this special day in the original publishing of this column. Memorial Day is a day we should all give thanks to everyone who died serving our country. Pardon me for the glaring omission, and thanks to all past and present service people for keeping us free.

Due to our braves soldier's ability to fight for our freedom Peter King is free to go to any country in the world and bitch about their coffee. I am actually surprised he did not mention this.

Quote of the Week II

"Now I just gotta stay there 15 years.''
-- Lions coach Jim Schwartz, commenting on the beautiful 12,000-square-foot home on four acres that he purchased from former Red Wing Pat Verbeek in the suburbs north of Detroit. It's not the beauty of the home that counts to Schwartz, but the length of time he spends in it. Steve Mariucci and Rod Marinelli had great houses too. Mariucci's was a sweetheart of a place, on a lake, and no coach east of Mike Shanahan lived any better. Ask him if that matters now.

Thanks for the lesson in how fragile job security in life can be Peter. I am sure the thousands of people in America who have lost their homes to foreclosure because they have lost their jobs during the economic downturn needed this lesson to help open their eyes to the fact there are millionaires out there who have homes they just can't sell no matter how hard they try. I think we need to think about these people at least twice daily.

Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me

To say New York Jets special-teamer Larry Izzo enjoyed his time with the Patriots is an understatement. He played with New England for eight years, won three Super Bowl rings, was a fixture in Boston social and community events, and was a selfless volunteer (raising more than $600,000 for military families with an annual karaoke event called "Larryoke''). In the offseason, he signed with the Jets. Not exactly Johnny Damon to the Yankees, but notable.

He and wife, Mara, had a son this spring. They named him Boston.

This is truly a factoid (which we must all remember is defined as "a spurious—unverified, incorrect, or fabricated—statement formed and asserted as a fact, but with no veracity." So there is a good chance Peter is lying about this) that only you are interested in Peter. I am pretty sure Patriot nor Jets fans care about this.

Tom Speicher of Williamsport, Pa. (who Tweets under the name tomspeicher), asks this about Michael Vick: "Will someone in the media please point out that even at the 'height' of his career, Vick was at best a mediocre QB!''

His completion percentages when he started at least 15 games -- 54.9,56.4, 55.3 and 52.6 -- were poor; he had 36 fumbles and 38 interceptions in his last 46 starts. He was electric and exciting, but Speicher's right.

I am not sure completion percentage should be exactly how success as a quarterback should be completely measured, but I am glad Peter is three years late on finally realizing that Vick was never a great thrower of the ol' pigskin. Again, Mike Vick is very talented, but Matt Ryan is a much better quarterback and I think the Falcons are in a better position now then they were when Vick was QB.

I can assure you that Vick and Jim Mora will never be on the same team again. Let's just say it didn't end too well the last time they were together. Not just the ending, but the middle part, too. The entire Atlanta organization wasn't crazy about Vick's work ethic in the offseason. It's illogical to think Mora would stake any portion of his future on Vick.

But...I thought the Falcons organization did Vick wrong and threw him under the bus? Mike Vick is completely a victim, he did nothing wrong...ever.

You mean he did not have great work ethic? Was it the fact he never improved as a passer or that he never improved at throwing the football that tipped this off?

2. I think, though, when the Seattle quarterback depth chart is looking as if it will be Hasselbeck, Seneca Wallace and the immortal Mike Teel, it's pretty logical to wonder why you wouldn't consider bringing Vick in-house.

Mike Teel has thrown 0 career NFL passes and Mark Sanchez has thrown 0 career NFL passes. How the hell is it not more logical to count on Teel to be successful as your 3rd string quarterback, than to count on Mark Sanchez being successful as the starting quarterback for the Jets? I have always thought about things like this. How can you knock the Seahawks for keeping a cheap, unproven rookie backup, but praise the Jets for overpaying for an expensive, unproven rookie starter? Only in the NFL...

4. I think I don't expect the NFL to find the Redskins guilty of tampering with Albert Haynesworth -- Jason Cole of Yahoo! reported the investigation Saturday -- because I believe much of the investigation will center on the very public displays of affection Washington owner Dan Snyder had with Haynesworth's agent, Chad Speck, in Indianapolis at the scouting combine. Snyder and Speck had dinner in full view of half the coaches and scouts in the city. You'd be naïve to think they weren't discussing Haynesworth;

That sentence makes no sense. He says he doesn't think the Redskins will be found guilty because of the very obvious public nature of their guilt. So the more the obvious the guilt, the more innocent you are of tampering.

For some reason, making the tampering rules more lenient scares me a little. I really am not sure why.

Peter then talks a little bit about the 17 or 18 game schedule for the upcoming year, which I also don't like as an idea and I don't think the NFL should increase the amount of games. I agree and think teams will be pretty beat up at the end of the year. I don't know why they have to change things that work well. Except for money reasons of course.

8. I think that one of the reasons I rated New Orleans at No. 24 in my power rankings a few weeks ago was wheeled out of a Las Vegas hotel on a stretcher yesterday. I don't trust Jeremy Shockey anymore to stay healthy for 16 weeks.

So he ranked the Saints 24th because he doesn't think one player on the team can stay healthy all year? Why doesn't this make any sense to me? If I recall correctly, Drew Brees did pretty well last year without several of his top players and the Saints went 8-8.

9. I think you can start firing up the e-mails about this right now, but I won't back down: I laugh when I hear fans of the pit bull breed say pit bulls are no more harmful than any other dog on the planet, and they only turn bad when they're trained to be bad. Yeah, right. Why do I never read about golden retrievers attacking, maiming and killing people? I do not understand why families with children use pit bulls as guard dogs or pets.

Peter puts shit like this in his columns so that way all his mail on Tuesday can be about this "dog issue" and not about all the other stupid shit he said in his MMQB. Now every email he gets is going to be about his comments on dogs and not the NFL.

Not to mention golden retrievers don't get a lot of attention because they attack and maim in the middle of the night, then try to cover it up as an accident. The reason Lassie knew when everyone was in trouble? Because he was responsible for it every time. Timmy was in that well because Lassie was a heartless murdering bitch. Just think about that next time you hear of a golden retriever helping someone out by barking.

a. I am amazed at how many empty seats I see on TV when I watch the Yankees play at the new stadium.

Peter still hasn't completely realized we are in one of the worst economic times since the Great Depression...and that the Yankees priced their seats very expensive, even after discounting them.

d. I'm not blind. I see David Ortiz being beyond awful. He is owed more than seven bad weeks, people, before being buried.

I have some horrible sentence structures contained in this here blog, but even I would edit this second sentence to where it made some type of sense. I feel like he dictated this sentence while Christopher Walken was speaking.

e. Wake up, Ryan Howard. You are wreaking havoc with my rotisserie team.

Peter is fine with David Ortiz hitting .195/.301/.299 for his real life favorite team and thinks he needs time to snap out of it, but Ryan Howard's .262/.337/.547 for Peter's fake team is absolutely killing him. Get out of your slump Howard, you are ruining Peter's fake team!

g. The final Dr. Z-related fundraiser note: I have one more debt of gratitude to try to repay. I want to thank the Internet. Fifteen years ago, if Paul Zimmerman had three strokes and we tried to raise money for him, I'm guessing we'd have gotten $35,000, maybe $40,000, from a dinner and auction.

Yes, so thank you Internet, you have done more for Dr. Z than we could ever thank you for. As repayment for your kindness, Peter King will give you a shout out in his weekly Internet column. Irony anyone?

j. Hey, all you who got so ticked off because I revealed Pam's pregnancy four days after The Office season finale ... I mean, come on. Are you telling me you hadn't the time in four entire days to watch the TiVoed version of the last show of the season in a great series?

As much as I am able to get angry at the written words on a page, this comment angers me. Peter is the one who is always talking about catching up with televisions shows like Family Guy because he is so busy. He's just being an asshole here. If I remember correctly he was talking about watching Gran Torino in theaters in December and he never watched it until a couple of weeks ago. This guy is always behind on television series or catching up with a series a few years after it starts. Then he tells everyone to quit whining because he ruins a show 4 days after it airs. 4 days! Maybe a person was on vacation or something. What an asshole.

k. I see a former presidential intern for JFK is writing a book about her story, 47 years after sleeping with him. Now there's something the planet can't live without.

My Father's Day shopping column will be June 15, six days before Father's Day; I'll be giving you book advice so you can buy your dad something other than a tie he'll immediately deposit at the bottom of his closet.

Peter's self important moment of the day. He mocks a book about an intern sleeping with a president 47 years ago as inconsequential but in the next sentence thinks we need to look to him for book ideas. Yes, I can live without any type of written history about a president, but Peter King's book buying guide is incredibly important to my life.

See, his stupidity is still great, even when it comes at you one day late. (I did not mean to rhyme that).

No columns the weeks of June 29, July 6, 13 or 20. I'll resume MMQB on July 27 and write a Tuesday edition July 28.

Everyone will be sad, I will stock up on the tissues.

Monday, May 25, 2009

10 comments Memorial Day Sadness and a Baseball Dream Team

I sat down to do my MMQB Review with great eagerness, and as I was following the stupidity of Peter King I realized that what I was writing was shit. I am going to do the worst thing in the world and follow Peter King's ignorant football exploits in MMQB tomorrow morning, which I know ruins the whole MMQB fun, especially when I try to get in his mailbag. I still posted a question to it though. I would rather write something good a day late than write a post on a holiday that is half ass and then bury it tomorrow when I write again. Peter King is my favorite person to write about and I don't want to half ass it. I am sorry if this ruins the MMQB experience for you, but we'll just pretend tomorrow it is Monday. I know hundreds will be boycotting my posts and traffic will dip to all time lows based on this...

I saw an interesting article on where Ted Keith in his mailbag gets asked actually interesting questions (compared to the shit that Bill Simmons and others get).

If you were starting a major league franchise today, and Bud Selig offered you any player to choose from, who would you choose?

-- Pat, Chicago

I am horrible at answering questions like this but I am going to give it a shot anyway.

Catcher: Joe Mauer, Twins, 26

I guess so. I am partial to Brian McCann personally because he hasn't quite had the injury issues Mauer has had. He does walk more and hit for a higher average than McCann, so I will begrudgingly agree. If I was drafting a team, I would choose McCann because I am very homeristic when it comes to him and he is a year younger than Mauer.

First Base: Albert Pujols, Cardinals, 29

I guess 29 is not too old to build a team around. If it were, I would struggle because my other choices are around the same age. Pujols is the best hitter in baseball that has not been caught, yet, for steroid use. He would be my first baseman since Howard, Tex, and Morneau are all of similar age.

Second Base: Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox, 25

This guy struggled between Pedroia and Kinsler. I feel like Kinsler has a more complete body of work right now, simply because he has three full seasons in baseball, compared to Pedroia's 2 full seasons...but Pedroia is 2 years younger and he would be my choice as well.

I do wonder why Utley's hip injury scared Ted Keith away but he still chose Mauer at the catcher position despite his injury history.

Shortstop: Hanley Ramirez, Marlins, 25

I feel like Ramirez is playing SS by default and will be an outfielder at some point in the near future, so I would put Elvis Andrus at this spot if it were 2011. This guy is choosing some good guys for each position, but I think I would choose Jose Reyes for this spot because I think he is more of a complete package than Ramirez and I am trying to build a team here, not name the best player at each position. Reyes is my choice at SS.

Third Base: Evan Longoria, Rays, 23

Again, this is a choice made by Keith based purely on potential and Longoria's less than one year service in the majors. Sure he actually has played 166 games over two seasons but he hasn't played a full season yet. His numbers are absolutely ridiculous and there is not a decent chance he will hit similar to this for the rest of the season. I could be wrong, and he may get 180 RBI's this year with 50+ homeruns. If I were building a team I would be tempted to choose Longoria, but I would also probably think David Wright might be a bit safer choice.

Keith says that Wright's homerun numbers fell and that worried him, well Longoria hasn't even been in the majors long enough to have his numbers fall or even see trends in his batting statistics. I am going to be a contrarian and choose Wright.

Left field: Ryan Braun, Brewers, 25

There is not a whole lot to choose from here in my opinion. Braun is an easy choice for me, especially since he improved his fielding in left field.

Center field: Grady Sizemore, Indians, 26

I want to put Granderson in this spot pretty badly because it seems like he does everything very well, but Sizemore does as well. Matt Kemp may be in this spot in a few years in my opinion but for right now Grady would be my choice as well.

Right field: Justin Upton, Diamondbacks, 21

Swing...and complete miss. I will give Ted Keith his potential guys and I will take players who actually play well and make me want to build a team around them. Nick Markakis is my choice and if he wasn't my choice then Upton would be somewhere on the list. Yes, I realize Upton has an OPS over 1.000 right now but I still want to see more of him before I put him on my baseball dream team. What I want to see is his BA and OBP stay where it is all year, then he has the RF spot. His numbers based on this incomplete baseball season makes me think he could be the choice, and he is still young, but Markakis is my choice based on prodcution.

Starting Pitcher: Zack Greinke, Royals, 25

Not to harp on this point of actual production, but other than last year and the beginning of this year Greinke has been an above average MLB pitcher. Tim Lincecum is my RH pitcher and Cole Hamels is my LH pitcher. I also know I just chose two NL pitchers and that Greinke plays in the American League so he should be rated higher but I am not factoring that in. Plus I think Lincecum would be fine in the AL.

Relief Pitcher: Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox, 28

Building a team, I may want a guy with as much stuff who is three years younger in Jonathan Broxton, but this is another easy decision because Papelbon is young and has proven he is one of the best closers in the majors. Though I am not a huge fan of Papelbon, I would want him to be my closer on my dream team.

Ok, you can tell me how stupid I am or how lazy I am if you want.

Here's the question I asked Peter King for this week. I upped the assholeishness to see if he would post my question.

"Can we have a moratorium on Brett Favre news until he actually retires or signs with a team? I would really appreciate it, I am Favred out. Also, is there a team not located in the Northeast part of the United States that you like to have a good record for the upcoming NFL year? I heard there is a team not located in the Northeast that had the second best record in the NFC last year who are returning 21 of 22 starters from last year's team who could have a good year. I am not denying Tom Brady's return is an important story, but do I really have to read about it in your MMQB AND SI this upcoming week? I promise there are other NFL teams playing games this year not located in a 600 mile radius from New York."

It will never get posted, it's barely a question. Enjoy your Memorial Day and we'll deal with Peter tomorrow.