Tuesday, May 19, 2009

31 comments Two For One Tuesday: Attack of the Egos

Do I start this day off with a post from Bill Simmons or my favorite whipping boy Peter King? That was my big problem for the day. Both have massive egos, both have incredibly annoying tendencies to make excuses for their favorite players/teams, and both irritate me at times when they write.

So I flipped a coin and we got Bill first. Bill's favorite hockey team, the Boston Bruins, have become good again so Bill is paying attention to hockey now. Because Bill tends to be an egomaniac and thinks pretty much everything in the world revolves around him, he decides that because he is paying attention to hockey again, hockey is about to make a comeback. See, the world revolves around him so because he is watching more hockey, the rest of the United States is as well.

We had a great chat in the comments on Sunday about being a fair weather fan and how it would be much more acceptable if Bill just admitted he paid more attention to the Bruins when they were good. Instead he lists reasons like the penny pinching owner for why he called himself a hockey widow.

You might remember Hurricanes right wing Scott Walker's decking Bruins defenseman Aaron Ward in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinals. Total sucker punch. Outraged fans (myself included) pined for swift justice, telepathically urging B's enforcer Milan Lucic to escape an official's grasp and get to Walker.

See, Bill is no longer a hockey widow because there was a salary cap instituted in 2005 after the lockout and that salary cap allowed him to start following the Bruins again three years later in 2008 when they became a good team.

You know he had to google "Boston Bruins enforcer" to get Lucic's name.

Walker exacerbated the situation by skating around with a defiant smile on his face.

Most hockey players in the same situation would immediately skate off the ice and go in the locker room and cry...but not Walker, he is such an asshole he dared to continue to stay on the ice.

Come playoff time, players grow ugly beards and throw themselves around with no regard. If an opponent crosses the line, they settle it with elbows, sticks or fists. Maybe a slash when the ref isn't looking.

So because this happens rountinely there is no reason to get enraged. Neither Aaron Ward nor any of his teammates seemed upset about this or retaliated, but Bill showing a firm grasp of hockey and it's written and unwritten rules, was outraged by this event. Seriously, it was just a typical hockey sucker punch. They happen.

I grew up a hockey lover in Boston, and the sport's nonstop feistiness pushed it over the top for me. But I cooled on the B's after college, when owner/miser Jeremy Jacobs kept pinching pennies at the expense of Cup hopes. Other reasons: too many soft Euros; too many instigator penalties, helmets and eye shields, not enough old school.

So now Bill has a whole litany of excuses to use when people ask why he did not pay attention to hockey. The problem with all of these excuses is still that NONE OF THIS HAS CHANGED. Players wear a lot of facial gear, there are still tons of Euros and I don't even know what old school means.

Or so I thought. Because, as it turns out, I really like hockey again.

Because the Bruins are good again, not because of the arbitrary reasons given above. Just admit it Bill and we can all move on. I am a casual hockey fan, I will watch Hurricanes games during the regular season, I know the players but don't know everything about them. When it comes time for the playoffs, I watch them play hockey though because it is exciting. I am not a fair weather fan because I have never sworn off the team or said I was not cheering for them, I just have other sports take up my attention when hockey is on...generally.

Even if hockey is making a comeback, which I am not sure there is any proof it really is, it is not because of the reasons Bill lists but because there is an influx of talent in the NHL that gets people interested again.

Mercifully, we have swung the other way in the new millennium. The UFC made fighting profitable and acceptable. The Internet made it seem okay to attack anyone with words and hide behind the cloak of anonymity. Anyone could steal content -- songs, jokes, highlights -- and post it online, and everything was fine. Female celebs used sexuality to advance careers; soon teens were grinding on shows like Gossip Girl and nobody cared.

Bill is reaching here for a reason to make hockey popular now...completely reaching. The Internet was invented by Al Gore about 10 years ago, UFC has been popular for a few years now and Gossip Girl was not the first show to feature jean grinding by teens. If these really were the reasons for hockey's resurgence, it would have happened 8 years ago, not today.

I don't know if hockey is more popular now, but if it is then it is not because of the reasoning Bill is giving.

I love having the NHL back in my life, even if it means dealing with Jacobs the Skinflint again.

But Bill, there is a salary cap now. You don't have to worry about that anymore, so your favorite team can spend as much money as they want and it will make you happy to cheer for them.

Everyone, hockey is back because Bill says so! Rejoice and sing his praises in the streets! He has officially proclaimed it so, and it is so, for he has spoke unto us that hockey is back because the Bruins are good again.

(For everyone who has watched hockey, cheered for the Bruins and enjoyed it over the past several years, feel free to punch Bill in the face if you ever see him)

Bill is being a fair weather fan and I wish he would just admit it. It is fine to be a casual fan of a team, but it is not fine to outright declare you don't cheer for a team anymore and then make up bullshit reasons why you became a fan again once that team becomes good. That's not right in my opinion. You can be a soft fan in the hard times, but don't bail. Bill bailed.

I regret to inform you all, yet again I did not make the Peter King MMQB-Tuesday mailbag.

But ESPN swooped in, offered Gruden the Monday night seat vacated by Tony Kornheiser (how convenient), and Gruden took it.

The NFL Network planned to put Gruden on the air all season, then move him to the Thursday night football booth alongside Bob Papa, replacing Cris Collinsworth. Now it's back to ground zero in its search for a voice to pair with Papa.

If anyone needs more proof that ESPN has become inherently evil, first they take Adam Schefter and now they hire Jon Gruden. I just hope the MLB Network is able to hang on to any talent they may get.

Wonderful event Monday night at Mayfair Farms here in north Jersey. And it wasn't just because more than $150,000 was raised for aggressive rehab that we hope will get SI pro football maven Paul Zimmerman back in his curmudgeonly writers' chair soon after three strokes in November.

I guess all of this money is going to Dr. Z. Good for him, not so good for any of the thousands of other individuals who have strokes and aren't able to go back to work. Maybe Peter will cheer these other individuals up by taking them out to lunch or giving them a mention in his MMQB.

How about when Coughlin approached Paul Zimmerman -- who looked fantastic, resplendent in a dark suit, goateed, trimmer than I'd seen him in years --

He's probably trimmer because he has had three strokes and can't feed himself. I am not sure that is a compliment in this situation.

Feel free to go on about how shitty your latest restaurant experience was Peter when you are talking to Dr. Z. You should tell Dr. Z they did not give you enough veal and the mashed potatoes were not to your liking. Certainly tell him about the coffee that was NEAR strong enough for your tastes. I certainly hope you sent that food back and threw the coffee in the waiter's face.

When I introduced Yogi as the greatest living baseball player in the United States,

There are so many issues I have with this. I don't think Berra is the greatest living catcher in the United States. I would put Johnny Bench in that category for thinking about it. Though I have to admit after looking at the statistics, it would make for a good debate.

My point is that Yogi is not the best living baseball player.

Vikings coach Brad Childress did a campy six-minute DVD, opening by ripping me for my horse crap mock-drafting ability and begging Zim to come back so SI will finally get the mock-drafting right. Cute. Actually a little bit funny.

You know Peter wanted to take his sausage shaped fingers and put them around Childress' neck.

And Zim. Great night for him. It's been almost six months since he's spoken, and he can't write, and he can't read, though he's trying daily to do all three. This therapy, starting with aggressive speech work in New Jersey and then six weeks at an immersion program in Ann Arbor, Mich., is the only way he's going to have a chance to be an important voice again. Will it work? I don't know. Linda doesn't know. The doctors don't know.

I like a lot of what Dr. Z writes and he seems like a good guy, so I hope he gets better as well. I just am a little disappointed all of this money being raised is only going to one person, that's all. I think it would have been nice if everyone had gotten together to start a foundation in Dr. Z's name or something.

"It's nights like this that make me proud to have anything to do with the National Football League,'' Sabol said, gripping my hand tight and not letting go for three, four, five seconds.

Peter was dreaming of Brett Favre the entire time Sabol had his hand.

It's all Vick, all the time. I think the best way for me to handle these are, for the most part, to let your voices be heard. You know my feeling: Once a man has paid for his crime and done his time, and served whatever suspension the NFL hands down, he ought to be able to be eligible to resume playing football.

Unless they are accused of "serial lying" in which case Peter thinks they should be suspended 4 games. In which case, Brett Favre would miss the entire season (Rob kindly pointed this out in the comments to yesterday's MMQB).

Have I heard one talk-show host or columnist scream that if Donte Stallworth is found guilty of vehicular manslaughter, and found to have been driving over the legal limit, he should never be allowed to play football again? No.

I absolutely agree. The reason you don't hear much about that is because Stallworth was not that great of a receiver and he is already going to jail for a while, so the public doesn't have to worry about him playing football again.

We all know how I feel about Leonard Little and the Stallworth case is similar to that.

Then, I believe Roger Goodell should suspend him a minimum of four weeks for his serial lying -- to Goodell, to Atlanta owner Arthur Blank, to former Atlanta coach Jim Mora, to Atlanta p.r. man Reggie Roberts, who continually staked his good word on Vick's denials -- about involvement in dog-fighting.

Should we make Brett Favre sit four games for lying to Ted Thompson, Aaron Rodgers, the American public, and everyone else in the world? Pretty soon there are going to be additional charges for lying if (when) he signs with Minnesota.

From Peter Jackson, of Atlanta: "No good reason why Vick shouldn't be reinstated? God, you're a fat [expletive deleted] idiot.''

Why did I tone down my email this week? Oh, the irony!

Paul Hemenway, of Olathe, Kan

...Adam "Pacman" Jones did things not nearly as bad as what Vick did, and yet nobody is talking about letting him back in to play.

To be fair, Pacman Jones was a repeat offender. When you become a repeat offender the commissioner goes after you harder.

From Mateo Pearson, of Austin, Texas: "If Michael Vick 'served his time' in a federal penitentiary why would the NFL not reinstate him? Your hypocrisy continues to shine every week. We are still waiting on your comments on what an egotistical maniac Favre is. But we all know that is not going to happen. You would never speak the truth about your good ol' boys in the NFL.''

In your eye, Peter! I have to admit I don't really see the connection between Favre and Vick here, other than serial lying, but Peter really let the haters in his mailbag this week didn't he?

I think Vick should be suspended for a certain time period when he tries to come back in the league. I don't know if we can kick him out completely, even though what he did was horrific. I really haven't made up my mind completely. I believe in redemption, but I don't know if I believe Vick has been redeemed yet.

From Wes Bruns, of Kansas City: "I don't think I will ever understand why Michael Vick is being crucified for dog-fighting. NFL players that are in the league now and playing have done much worse and to human beings.

I never knew players in the NFL had caged human beings, forced them to perform athletic feats and then tortured them when they failed to win at those feats. Why do I feel like Wes is not making a whole lot of sense? Other than the select few who have killed other human beings, I am not sure what he is talking about.

From Chris, of Erie, Colo.: "He's a dog torturer. He has no room in our society let alone our favorite sport. He should be banned for life.''

These people Peter printed are pretty hardcore. This is all we get in the mailbag today, no asshole-ish responses from Peter, no horrible reasoning followed by "I still think I am right," or anything of the like.

What's everyone think about Mike Vick? In the league or out of the league? Bill Simmons fair weather fan or not? I am openly soliciting opinions today.

By the way, on his Twitter Bill tells us that A-Rod has traded in Madonna for Kate Hudson (that's a good upgrade). He is now an entertainment columnist too.


AJ said...

Of course he is a fair weather fan, I bet he still can't name 2 members of the Bruins either (nor can anyone else actually).

I'm not sure why he stopped watching cuz of "soft" Euros. Those Euros happen to be the best players in the world...weird. I know when I watch sporting events I usually like to watch worse skill level players play over anyone outside the US. So when more skilled players came into the league, he stopped watching...how does that make sense??? Someone PLEASE explain to me how anyone would stop watching a game if BETTER players were playing.

He still rips on the owner, yet has season tickets to the cheapest owner in all of sports.

Do i think Vick should be allowed to play in the NFL? Well I guess my whole thing is this; it's a free country, people are allowed second chances, and if he has the skill level to compete at this level, then yes, I think he should be allowed to play. However, would I want him in the league, nope. I can't stand the guy, and in no way do I think someone convicted should be able to come out of jail and make millions of dollars, nor should they be given the right to play. This is yet another example of people in the spotlight getting away with whatever they want with really no harm.

Bengoodfella said...

Bill also doesn't consider European basketball players to be white and doesn't like the Euro hockey players. He's bizarre in that way.

There's no way I can explain it to you. It's very Furman Bisher of him. He actually uses the same reasoning that you use for not watching the WNBA (well that and his incredible disdain for women) and some people use that for not watching college basketball. It makes sense. I don't care where the players are from, I care about what is happening on the court/field/ice. So, I can't explain it to you.

I think he has tickets to the Clippers games so he can bitch about them. It gives him material for his columns I guess.

I haven't decided if I think Vick should be allowed back in the league or not. My concern is that he filed for bankruptcy in prison and is a convicted felon, I don't know why he should be able to come out of jail and make a ton of money either. I don't want him in the league either because I don't like him, but whether he should be allowed or not is a tougher call for me.

I think he has the skill level still to play at the level, and I feel like he has the right to get his life right back on track. I think earning as much money as he would in the NFL is a bit extreme for "having an opportunity" after he gets out of prison. He committed a crime and then filed bankruptcy because he blew through his money and now he gets the chance freely to earn more. It just doesn't seem fair.

The Casey said...

Didn't Vick have something in his bankruptcy hearing that said he was only allowed to keep X amount of dollars if he got another NFL contract, and the rest would go to his creditors? I realize it was something like $750k, but at least his creditors are getting money.

That said, I don't know how I feel about it. I believe it's a free country, and just because Goodell says he can play in the NFL, doesn't mean someone will sign him, and probably not to a huge deal. I'm torn.

How would you feel if Carolina signed him, BGF? I would hate for him to go somewhere else in the division, but I can't really see him coming back to Atlanta.

And I have no idea where the hell Simmons' "European whites aren't really white" reasoning comes from. Seriously?

KentAllard said...

Bill is outraged at Walker's sucker punch but drifted away from hockey when it became "too soft"? He should go for a little consistency. Maybe he only likes it when Boston players are doing the punching not the other way around. I know fans like that, they rip your guys for roughing it up, then celebrate their own thugs for being, yes, "old-school." I don't think Lucic fits the definition of enforcer, but I would like to see him get his ass kicked.

Bill is a bandwagoner, of course.

I would ban Vick for life, but I'm a misanthrope who likes dogs more than people, anyway.

Bengoodfella said...

I did not know that about the creditors getting some money. If they worked something like that out, then that would be fine with me. I made it seem like I am hung up on his bankruptcy situation, which is not entirely true.

I think the league is going to mandate he perform some sort of penance, public service messages or something like that. Really, the league is going to let him back in, but I am going to be interested to see what team wants him.

I would put the percentage of chance he ends up in Carolina at roughly -15%. Besides anything involved with his background or personality, he is an exciting player who can be moved around the field and Carolina doesn't go out and sign those type players. That doesn't even factor in his jail time and what he did to the dogs and the fact I have dislike the man for going on 10 years now. I don't want him on Carolina for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the fact I don't know how he would fit in with the team on offense. Some team is going to get him and probably benefit though.

Bill referred to that European whites aren't white thing in his conversation with Malcolm Gladwell and he has said it before. I don't get it either.

I didn't even catch the contradiction in him not being happy at the sucker punch and then wanting a more old school game. He does want basketball to be more physical, which I don't know if I believe because I have a feeling Paul Pierce would get fouled very hard several times a game.

I think Bill is being a bandwagon fan because he refuses to just admit he likes the Bruins because they are winning. He can throw all the excuses out there he wants but that is what it boils down to. They are exciting to watch again.

I like animals more than humans also, and I have a feeling Vick will get another chance...I just hope he is sorry because animals tend to be defenseless and he really tortured those poor dogs.

Martin said...

I'm just going out on a limb here...but Willie Mays is still alive last time I checked. He might be the best baseball player ever, not just living.

As for Simmons. This column is the reason bloggers and others have such disdain for him. It's as if he was attempting to write a column full of contrtadictions, and defend all of the points. Bruins were too soft, not old school enough....damn sucker punch!
The best part of all of this is how Ben and others have constantly pointed out that the salary cap was put in place in 05, but Bill didn't start following till 08 when the team was a Stanley cup contender again. He's such a jackass.

ivn said...

to be fair, when Walker punched Ward, Ward's gloves weren't even off...that's bush league no matter who's doing it to who. I watch hockey when I can--the Canucks are the closest team to where I live and they aren't on the local FSN station, so it's limited to Hockey Night in Canada and the occasional game on Versus--and I rarely ever see guys do that, much less in the playoffs.

Bengoodfella said...

Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and I can go on and on concerning this issue. Maybe it was a joke I just didn't get.

I actually didn't hate the article so much, but is a good example of why many have disdain for him overall. I try to lay off him a little bit with the specifics of the NBA because he tends to know more than I do, but in any other sport, I feel like he doesn't always know what he is talking about. A great example is this column (and sadly I did not catch this, AJ did). He complains the game was too soft but then complains when a sucker punch occurred. I think he needs to be careful what he asks for because he is going to be mighty upset when the NBA changes its rules and they start negatively affecting Pierce's drives to the basket, pump fakes and leans into the defender, and things like that.

Ok, back to hockey...Others pointed it out before I did, but the salary cap was instituted before the 2005-2006 season. Bill wrote his first "comeback" article during 2007-2008 and the Bruins record since the institution of the salary cap has been (payroll is in paranthesis):

2005-2006: 29-37-16 ($37,236,111)
2006-2007: 35-41-6 ($46,188,549)
2007-2008: 41-29-12 ($44,744,283)
2008-2009: 53-19-10 ($56,712,294)

Two things I notice:

1. The Bruins are spending more money, Bill is right about that. Of course, so did every other team's payroll it seems, so Boston wasn't alone on that.

2. When Boston's payroll went up 19.4% after the 05-06 season and the 06-07 season, that still did not get Bill's attention. Why? They did not make the playoffs.

Boston's payroll DOWN for the 07-08 season and then Bill started paying attention. Why? It had nothing to do with payroll because that had happened two years earlier. The Bruins made the playoffs in 07-08. Then the Bruins jumped payroll 21.1% for the 08-09 season. So sure payroll jumped but Bill only paid attention when they made the playoffs.

I am not trying to be a hater but he needs to just admit this, there is nothing wrong with it, but he just keeps making other reasons that are not true up.

Ivn, you probably have a point there, I was not aware of hockey etiquette when fighting. I grade myself a big "F" for judging Bill's hockey knowledge on that issue. Still, if he wants a rough sport, he gets one and complains.

Martin said...

Yeah, the punch was bush league, but Old School hockey (and by that it's gotta be pre-Gretzky Oilers era) was full of sucker punches, cheap shots, you know, your typical Chris Chelios type stuff.

You have to remember, this is a guy who not only defends, but praises the McHale take down of Rambis in the 84 NBA Finals. For those too young to know, Rambis was going up for a layup on a fastbreak, when McHale jumps him from behind, tackling him from around the neck. It is the kind of play that helped create the Flagrant Foul rules. The problem I have with Simmons is that he calls the Bruins soft and too Euro as reasons why he stopped following them, and then decries a bush league shot that IF a Bruin had thrown it, he would have defended as "necessary to defend our ice" or "let the other team know that someone has Savards back".


He's such a homer he can't look at a team/series/play without his Boston eyeglasses on. I have a friend who is a huge Twins fan, and we were watching the game where Hrbeck picked that Brave up off first base, carried him halfway to Wisconsin, then tagged him out, and the first words out of Dewey's mouth were "Are you fucking kidding me? I thought he was just screwing around...but they GAVE him that play??"

Bill would just go "Another clever play by our cheeky lads!"

And that's why he makes me grit my teeth.

Bengoodfella said...

Thanks Martin, I had not thought of Hrbek's wrestling move since last week. I appreciate you bringing it back up. That Brave is Ron Gant and I only think about it every time I see him on television. I am going to go set someone on fire now.

I don't remember Bill defending the Kurt Rambis clothesline, I remember it, but he may have done it on a podcast. Either way, it sounds like something he would do since he wants a rougher NBA, so that would fit what he wants.

The punch was a bitch move, I will admit that, and I didn't know that "no glove" rule really. It is hard to look from a neutral perspective when discussing your favorite teams, and it so happens Bill is not so great at it and he writes for a national sports web site.

Few of my friends can be as neutral as your friend when talking about their teams. I get used to it though and sometimes they agree with me to prevent constant arguments, but I think a rougher NHL would involve a sucker punch or two.

KentAllard said...

Odds are the Bruins are going to have to part with a couple of good players in the off-season due to the cap. We'll see how Bill deals with that, I don't think he's happy unless his team can outspend all but one or two others. Then again, he probably only knows the name of two or three Bruins.

if you want "old-school", as a kid, I was present at a World Hockey League game in which a fight between everyone on both teams broke out 24 seconds into the game and lasted one hour and forty-five minutes. Walker's punch was a definite no-no, but it was pretty old school.

Bengoodfella said...

Being as I don't know too much about the salary cap in hockey, other than what I showed in my last comment, what is the cap for this upcoming year?

I don't know if Bill wants his team to completely outspend the other teams necessarily but I agree with you that he definitely wants his teams to be in the top 5 in payroll.

How the hell does a fight last an hour and 45 minutes? You would think everyone would be too tired to continue or there would just be a mass of broken bones and injuries to where many could not continue. That is amazing. If old school is players fighting that long, I don't know if that is a good thing, but a little fighting never hurt anyone (figuratively of course).

Chris W said...

Willie Mays is the #1 player in baseball history, not to mention the #1 living player.

Re: Michael Vick, I mean...what he did to those dogs was unconscionable, but in our society it is seen under the law as being lesser than what Pacman Jones caused to happen to the bouncer. There are a number of things that make those situations different, but here's the way it is:

Pacman slammed a stripper's head into the stage as hard as he could and caused, directly or indirectly as the case may be, a man to be paralyzed for life. He sat out a year and was allowed back thereafter.

Leonard Little killed a person while drunk driving and then drunk drove again. He missed no time.

Michael Vick tortured and murdered dogs.

What should happen to him? I don't know. I know he should be suspended. And I know he should miss at least half a year. I think you can give him a year. But IMO he should be allowed to play again, so long as he is penitent and shows up at the commissioner's office with an appropriate attitude. I don't see how it is fair, considering precedent, to ban him for life.

word verification: "mandings"

Jeremy Conlin said...

For once, I'm not going to try to defend Simmons' arguments, but let me present my own opinion on the matter:

I have never been a hockey fan. I just don't have enough hours in the day. I've been a hardcore NBA junkie since Day 1. Some of the fondest memories from my childhood were being at the final game at The Boston Garden, watching MJ retire (both times), and Hakeem Olajuwon's response to David Robinson winning the '95 MVP (for further reference, click here: http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/199505300SAS.html).

Despite living in three different hockey hotbeds in my life (Boston, New York and Chicago), I've always payed infinitely more attention to basketball. The lockout in '05 gave me an excuse to just write off the sport for good. And why not? From a financial and economic standpoint, it's a sub-par product. There are too many teams that have no history, no real fan base, the talent is too diluted, and the star power wasn't there.

That being said...

I've absolutely loved these NHL playoffs. Loved them. I could sit my 92-year old grandmother down on the couch and she'd be able to tell within 8 seconds that Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin are special players. The HD takes it to a whole other level. Living back in Boston now, everyone around me got swept up with the Bruins. I kinda did too. Does that make me a bandwagon fan? Of course it does. Do I care? Not especially, considering I won't watch a second of regular season hockey next year (because, like I said, not enough hours in the day). The fact of the matter is that the league has improved by leaps and bounds since 2005 (although it still hasn't recovered from the 32341462457 steps back it took from '01-'05). The economy, believe it or not, might help it. It might force a few franchises to fold or move to better hockey markets (like a 2nd team in Toronto, for example). For me, as a person who didn't really care for the last 10 years, it sucked me in. The Pens/Caps, Bruins/Canes, and Red Wings/Ducks series were all phenomenal.

And I think this is what I have in common with Simmons (and a lot of other Americans). If you look more big picture, the column was more about how the NHL is starting to re-emerge as a widestream source of entertainment. Yes, it focuses around the point that his favorite team is good again, but that isn't the main message that I take away from the column. You say that he's a bandwagon Bruins fan, but is that necessarily the case if he wasn't watching the league at all? I'd say that makes him more of a bandwagon NHL fan. I wouldn't say that he stopped loving the Bruins, I'd say that he stopped loving hockey. It isn't so much that the Bruins are exciting to watch again, it's that hockey is exciting to watch again. Is he a bandwagon fan? Sure, but I'd say at this point, 90% of Americans are bandwagon hockey fans (myself included). For about 10 years, the NHL didn't give a crap about the casual fan, only the hardcore fans. Now that it's coming back into the fold, some of those casual fans will become hardcore fans. That's a good thing. It's putting hockey back on the map, and that's the big picture message that I took away from his column.

Or maybe I'm nuts and a little punchy because it's 4 AM. Either way, that's my take.

AJ said...

Over under on days until Bill calls Blake the next Malone is set at 2. In fact i wouldnt be surprised if we get a retro diary of the lottery from last night.

Stupid network is down at work!

Bengoodfella said...

In regard to Willie Mays, I would probably agree he is the greatest baseball player ever. I don't know where Yogi Berra fits in this situation...he probably doesn't.

I am at the point where I think Vick needs a good suspension from the NFL and then if he does behave himself and show the proper amount of being sorry for what he did, they should let him back in the league. Good luck to whoever signs him. Peter King said on his Twitter he would guess the Raiders, Saints and...........of course the Pats. Who else? Good luck Patriots fans.

Anytime MJ retired was one of my greatest days as well. It is sad to see such a talented person quit the one thing he did well. As a person he is a dick, he is a horrible GM, he doesn't care about his team (of course no one else does either), and he most likely still has a gambling problem. Either way, I was glad to see him in his prime but he still annoyed me in his prime.

He still can be a bandwagon Bruins fan even when not watching the league at all. That's almost worse than just watching hockey and not cheering for the Bruins when they don't win. If he doesn't watch the league at all that means he probably doesn't even enjoy the sport as a whole, he just likes to cheer for a winner.

Your take my be right actually. I don't know if hockey is making a comeback or popular writers like Bill Simmons talking about hockey makes it seem that way.

AJ, I thought about that as well. I am not even sure Bill has seen a game that Blake Griffin has played yet but when he does he should be impressed with him.

Chris W said...

Yogi Berra--#1 catcher of all time (though Johnny Bench and Mike Piazza both have relatively strong claims to this), probably a top 20 player of all time depending on how strongly you adjust for him being a catcher, and I'd say he's probably top 5 or top 10 in living (non-steroid-era) players.

Best living players (non-steroid era):

Tom Seaver
Bob Gibson
Johnny Bench
Mike Schmidt
Frank Robinson
Joe Morgan

I'd put Yogi somewhere ahead of Schmidt, Morgan, Robbie and Bench, and depending how you rate pitchers, ahead of Seaver and Gibson.

Anyway, it's pretty obvious he's not seriously in the discussion for best living player.

Bengoodfella said...

You had to go ahead and say "non-steroid era" players didn't you? I was going to put the Greg Maddux smackdown on your list. Where would you consider the steroid era being cut off at?

I am very glad to see you have Aaron at #2, though I have to admit I would probably put Frank Robinson a little higher. I feel like there has to be a separate list for pitchers and hitters becaue they are too hard to compare together.

I actually thought Bench would be better than Berra but Berra had better numbers and they both played in strong lineups so one person did not have a huge advantage over the other. I want to include Piazza in that category but I don't know about him since he is from the steroid era.

It's clear that Berra is nowhere near the best living baseball player, but I wonder why you put Robinson so low?

Chris W said...

I wasn't ranking them in order. If I had to rank the top 10 living non-steroid era players it would probably look something like this:

1. Mays
2. Aaron
3. Seaver
4. Gibson
5. Berra
6. Morgan
7. Robbie
8. Bench
9. Schmidt
10. I don't know...George Brett? Eckersley? Carlton? Koufax?

Certainly Maddux would be up there, and I don't think there's any way he took steroids, but a pre-steroids Clemens would have to be on there if Maddux was and I don't know how to deal with that. Plenty of players from the steroids era deserve mention--Pedro, Bonds, A-Rod, Griffey, Piazza--but I didn't want to deal with that can of worms.

Greatest pitchers of all time, in no particular order



Bengoodfella said...

I actually have some sympathy for those voting for the HoF because I don't know how to measure those steroid era guys either.

That's a pretty good list of living great players and I am trying to think of guys you left off the list. Maybe Gwynn or Henderson could be on there. Of course those are steroid era guys? Or are they not? I would actually lean towards no.

I noticed on your pitchers list you left off Cy Young and Warren Spahn, I would put those two on there as well and take (I don't want to cause a debate, so this is tough) Pedro and Seaver off the list of 10. It's so hard but I guess that is my opinion.

KentAllard said...

As far as how the fight could have lasted that long, the home team's starting line had the following nicknames: Bad News Biladeau, Demolition Derby Durbano, and Never Been Beaton. I also remember when the fight ended, Beaton skated around the ice, scooping up the discarded equipment of the visitors, and throwing it into the stands. Good times. The game is known as the "Thanksgiving Day Massacre."

Bengoodfella said...

That is clearly insane. I am still amazed the fighting went on that long. Obviously they were experienced brawlers and to throw their equipment in the stands is a nice Eff You to the the crowd as well. I am surprised fans did not get involved in the fighting...that would have made it beyond interesting.

Chris W said...

Henderson is definitely a guy I missed. He gets serious consideration for top 10 although he played like 8 years in the steroids era so I can plead the 5th on him.

Spahn is not as good as Seaver and was never as spectacular as Pedro. As a Wisconsin guy, I love Spahn, but I don't think he makes the cut.

Cy Young I don't rate because he played 10 years of his career in a bullshit pitching era (pre-4-ball walk era) and the rest of his career in the dead ball era. Even given those advantages he still has 300+ losses and only a 2.63 career ERA. Seaver's is 2.86 and he pitched with real rules for pitching and baseball (although he did have some prime years in the 60's during the age of the pitcher)

Bengoodfella said...

You are killing me. I have spent the past 10 years of my life trying to get people to appreciate Warren Spahn and now you are telling me I am wrong that he is not a top 10 pitcher all time. I love me some Warren Spahn and now you don't think he is as good as Tom Seaver. I am booing you right now. Fine, I am going to pretend he is #11 on your list.

I don't think I would put Henderson among the steroid age guys, so I would include him on the list.

The problem I have with Cy Young and even some of the older pitchers like Johnson and Mathewson is that they did not pitch against the greatest competition. I know I can't hold that against them, so I won't but I also can't help but think they played in a time when the ballplayers did not play the sport year round and pretty much anyone not white was not allowed to play.

Again, I don't hold that against them or anything but I do believe there was a different level of competiton after 1947 and even into the 60's. I am rambling but I am not going to argue too much with your list.

Chris W said...

I think Tom Seaver is underrated. I could see Spahn over a guy like Walter Johnson or Matty or Pete Alexander under the assumption that they didn't face tough competition or that the deadball era was a favorable situation. But I can't see Spahn over Seaver. Let's look at the #'s:

Seaver: 311-205 in 20 seasons with a .605 winning %

Spahn: 363-245 in 21 seasons with a .597 winning percentage.

Pretty even there--what Spahn gains in winning more games in a similar amount of time, he loses in losing more games.

Seaver, career: ERA: 2.86, 3640 K, 6.8 K/9, 2.6 K/BB, 1.12 WHIP, ERA+: 127

Spahn, career: ERA: 3.09, 2583 K, 4.4 K/9, 1.8 K/BB, 1.19 WHIP, ERA+: 118

Career-wise it is unilaterally in favor of Seaver.

Let's look at season bests and best seasons:

Seaver won 3 Cy Youngs and finished in the top 5 FIVE more times.

Spahn won 1 Cy Young and finished in the top 5 FOUR more times even though he was 35 by the time the award was created. He probably had two or 3 more CYA caliber seasons.

Call that a wash.

Season best in ERA: Seaver (1.76), Spahn (2.10)

Season best in ERA+: Seaver (193), Spahn (188)

Season best in K's: Seaver (289), Spahn (183)

Season best in K/BB: Seaver (4.74), Spahn (2.5)

Season best in WHIP: Seaver (0.946), Spahn (1.058)

The only way you could possibly argue Spahn over Seaver is to say that Spahn

a.) won more games (meh)

b.) pitched in a tougher era--though adjusted ERA doesn't seem to prove that, and anyway Seaver's peripherals are too insanely better than Spahn's for that to be such a huge advantage.

Seaver is simply one of the most underrated pitchers ever to pitch. I think he might be top 5 of all time. Or at least has a good claim to it.

Pedro v. Spahn--now there would be a discussion--the ultimate in consistency and longevity vs. the ultimate in short-term domination.

I don't know who I'd take, although I think you have to top-10 Pedro because his 7 seasons of dominance were so unprecedented and unparallelled.

Spahn for #11? Absolutely. I love the guy. Great guy, brilliant pitcher, incredible talent.

Bengoodfella said...

Well, I think you actually convinced me with your first post simply because I looked up the numbers and saw that Spahn was a little bit below some of the guys on your top 10 list. The only thing he had going for him was the was a LH pitcher, but that doesn't count for what we are talking about.

I did not know that Seaver had such great numbers in his career. I knew how good he was obviously but I had not looked at where he stacked up against the others.

There was an old saying, "Spahn and Sain, pray for rain," well I looked up Sain's numbers as well and they really weren't too impressive. I feel like the teams did not have to pray for rain with him all that much.

I don't base anything on wins or anything, so I would happily put Spahn at #11. In the comparison between Pedro and Spahn, I would take Spahn because I am generally a fan of long consistency versus the short term domination. Though I have to admit I could easily have my mind changed considering Pedro's best years were also smack dab in the steroid era years. That is impressive.

I just have a lot of love for Warren Spahn but I try not to overrate him too much.

Chris W said...

Like I said--great guy, brilliant mind, great pitcher.

Top 15 for sure. Maybe even top 10, depending how you slice it.

Chris W said...

Hell, Bill James has him at #5 of all time in the Historical Baseball Abstract (circa 2001) and who am I to argue with Bill James

Bengoodfella said...

I just love him because I feel like he is forgotten a lot of times when people are talking about the greatest pitchers of all time. There is even people who talk about Glavine (I have heard it just a couple of times, but still...) as the best LH pitcher in Braves history. Maybe they mean Atlanta Braves history, but not team history.

Chris W said...

I guess those people forgot about Steve Avery

Bengoodfella said...

And Zane Smith. You can't forget him, no matter how much you would like to.