Tuesday, June 30, 2009

9 comments Jay Mariotti Tells Us What Bad Journalism Is...Ironically Doesn't Link Us To His Own Articles

Sometimes in the morning I have to scour the Internet for a few minutes or check my bookmarks and make sure an article is worth writing about before I start typing. Other mornings I can find an article and just know that is the one I want to write about, but look to see if any other bad journalism is out there. Today when I read Jay Mariotti's article for the day I knew write I wasn't going to look anywhere else. Someone on the Internet could have written the worst article in history saying that Phil Mickelson is a racist and Kobe Bryant doesn't deserve to make it to the Hall of Fame because Brett Favre is the greatest quarterback ever. It doesn't matter, this Jay Mariotti article on steroids needs to be written about. I just hope I do it justice.

Jeff Pearlman, or someone pretending to be Jeff Pearlman, wrote a comment about Fred's post on Sunday, which was about Jeff's article on steroids. He called Fred's post an "essay" which does sound a little bit 8th grade English but that is perfectly fine. Jeff Pearlman, as I have stated repeatedly, is a great writer who wrote a post about steroids that Fred and several others either did not get or did not agree with. Again, that is fine because Jeff seems like a good guy.

Jay Mariotti wrote an article about steroids and he is not a good guy. I consider him to actually be one of the worst columnists currently working in America. He takes his vendettas for prior wrongs done to him out on others (I could link FJMariotti's entire archive but won't). He attacks those who make mistakes. He even covers up his own mistakes by changing his opinion and rewriting columns to fit his new opinion.

Today Jay decides to start calling out blogs for steroid guessing. As if a little bit more diligence and oversight by the mainstream media could not have lessened the impact of steroids in baseball. The mainstream media has had in the past little to no interest in finding out what was behind the great numbers that were put up in Major League Baseball from 199?-2005. The holders of the key to the journalistic truth were too busy getting interviews with the players and writing about these player's exploits on the field to even suggest they may suspect steroid use. Now that some investigative journalists have actually uncovered tons of evidence of steroid use in baseball the media feels like they are the ones who need to guard the reputation of current baseball players as well, which is exactly what they were trying to do in the 90's. See what they do? They ignore, accept denials, find out the truth, indict that player for cheating, and then begin the cycle of ignoring over again. The media enabled the Steroid Era by being in a position to ask questions and not doing so.

Twelve months a year, I'm paid to dispense information and opinions on a major Web site read by millions, not to mention a major TV network watched by millions. I don't have to STRRRRRETTTTCCH THE TRUTH or make something up to be noticed as a columnist.

Yet Jay still insists on stretching the truth or painting managers, columnists or anyone in the world he doesn't like in a bad light. He's a rebel that way. Just last week Jay made something up and stretched the truth. He said he knew something was going on with Sammy Sosa in the 90's and early 2000's. I doubt that Jay ever knew or wanted to pursue the truth about Sammy Sosa and the reasons behind his out-of-this-world baseball numbers.

If Jay had so many suspicions then where were was the article about the suspicions or any mention prior to that article of his suspicions of Sammy Sosa? There were none I could find. I understand libel laws in the United States and I understand the truth is an ultimate defense in any libel case. Even though Jay is not an investigative journalist, he still had no interest in finding out if Sosa was on steroids because he was too busy enjoying the ride. Why would he want to burn Sosa with a story he might think was the truth and ruin so many good chances for access with interviews and other interactions with Sosa?

But in this changing media sphere, where everybody and his pet tarantula has a blog, many do have to compromise facts and fair play to turn heads and maintain some sort of living.

Pet tarantula! Haha...bloggers are such losers they keep spiders as pets BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO FRIENDS! Just like writers, there are good and bad bloggers. Good bloggers turn heads with facts and many don't get paid to make a living doing what they do. Are there times when many mainstream blogging sites have gotten something wrong? Of course there is, that happens almost as frequently as ESPN gets a breaking news story wrong and then refuses to admit it. Rather than go hire Adam Schefter to make sure all the stories that are being broken are correct, many mainstream blogs have to rely on their sources who could very well be wrong. I really doubt anything is intended to be malicious in nature. Many bloggers are sports fans who want to see the game rid of PED's and are not looking to just throw players under the bus.

For all the fine work done by legitimate journalists who continue to uncover the smut in what inarguably is sport's biggest scandal ever -- T.J. Quinn, Mark Fainaru-Wada and Selena Roberts among them -- the sports writing business is rife with too many reckless idiots who don't hesitate to publish or post a name without the slightest bit of corroboration.

Apparently fine work in journalism in Jay's eyes now involves using anonymous sources to accuse the player of cheating in a book. We have no idea if these sources are credible or not. I don't see the difference in using potentially uncredible anonymous sources to base most of your accusations on and publishing under a screen name to use a fact based argument backing up suspicions of potential PED use. Either way, we don't know who is really doing the accusing, though I would suggest using anonymous sources holds less journalistic credibility than using charts and numbers.

If you know an athlete who uses steroids, convince us that it's true with corroborated material.

Let's be honest. Jay is talking about one situation with a blogger where he sort of kind of accused Raul Ibanez of using steroids using numbers and data. He actually never came out and accused Ibanez but sort of beat around the bush about it and let the reader make up his/her own mind about the end result. That was a situation with corroborated material, good honest numbers and facts were used but the mainstream media did not like the result.

You know what? They have never liked the result when someone does their job for them. I would bet in the late 1990's if a blog came out and accused Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa of using PED's, there would have been any number of columns written by the MSM saying that the blogger was out of line and should not accuse without proof. It's funny how the media always falls back on the side of major league baseball players who have had a history of lying to the public rather than even acknowledging the potential truth of anything someone on a blog has written no matter how well researched. The mainstream media is like an abused wife who always returns to their lying baseball playing spouses no matter how many times they get burned by them.

I am getting off the subject. That was a well written and researched post by Jerod Morris...at least I found it to be. Did I come to the conclusion Ibanez is on steroids? I don't really know, it does take more than numbers to absolutely prove it to me, but I feel like if data like that had been used in the past then eyes may have opened faster to the PED problem in baseball.

The irresponsibility began three years ago when blogger Will Leitch wrote on a Web site that he had "80 percent'' faith in a source who said a Kansas City-based strength and conditioning coach was one of the redacted names in the Jason Grimsley report.

I like how Jay Mariotti doesn't give the Web site that Leitch worked for. I am not a huge Deadspin fan but he makes it sound like it was just some random site with no traffic. Though I am not a huge Leitch fan either, he is not just some blogger anymore, he actually has a real job now. Jay stretches the truth or at least shades the truth by forgetting to mention both of these facts.

Here's the problem: The trainer's name wasn't found anywhere in the report, meaning Leitch smeared the trainer and Pujols in one inaccurate swoop based on an "80 percent'' certainty rate

He missed that one. I know that has never happened to any other mainstream media site or network has it? Right?

The mess was exacerbated by MSNBC's Keith Olbermann,

I am going to go on a limb and say that most people only knew about the story because Keith Olbermann covered it. Especially since both Olbermann had a larger audience and probably more influence than Deadspin had at the time. I could be wrong.

Who's to blame for this? The blogger who got the original information wrong or the mainstream media personality who ran the story? I don't know, I am asking.

not until Pujols threatened legal action did a shamed, humiliated Leitch emerge with a correction titled, "A Deeply Regrettable Wrong,'' apologizing to the trainer in the process.

When was the last time you heard ESPN apologize for getting a story wrong? Even newspapers will put a small correction on Page 8 of the paper correcting a front page story from two weeks prior. My father had this happen to him. The local newspaper put his salary on the front page to show whatever the hell they were trying to show. No harm done because it was public knowledge. One problem though. It was wrong...by a lot. One week later in the "Local" section on Page 2 there was a small box correcting the mistake. It was too late, the damage was done. I realize the local paper is not really mainstream media but this is one example of many of where the media gets something wrong and there are no reprecussions or even a public apology worth a crap.

A reputable Web company would have fired him on the spot. Unfortunately, Leitch worked for a company that enjoyed the attention and allowed him to spew more lies about people. He profited from his fraudulence by writing a book read by a few of his blogging buddies.

Absolutely a lie. How am I to believe you will get fired from ESPN for putting a wrong story up, when I know of no instance of it and there have been stories reported incorrectly? This is a company that gives suspensions for off hand comparisons of people to Hitler (Jemele Hill), lets morning hosts insult an entire college with a suspension as punishment (Dana Jacobsen), and still employs a men who have been hit with a sexual harassment suit (Jay Crawford and Woody Paige). I don't know of any suspensions in that case.

I find it hard to believe he would be fired by a reputable company for writing one story that is wrong, especially if he believe what his sources told him.

In a post headlined, "The Curious Case of Raul Ibanez: Steroid Speculation Perhaps Unfair, but Great Start in 2009 Raising Eyebrows,'' Morris proceeds to do what he suggests himself is unfair and indicts Ibanez

Look at the title of this vicious screed against Ibanez.

"Maybe the 37-year-old Ibanez trained differently this offseason with the pressure of joining the Phillies' great lineup and is in the best shape he's ever been in. And maybe that training included ... Well, you know where that one was going, but I'd prefer to leave it as unstated speculation."

We have to be suspicious of nearly every single slugger that puts up career outlying numbers. That is just the way it is now. Morris did not accuse Ibanez of anything, he merely laid out a case showing how Ibanez's numbers really did not fit with the rest of his career. Journalists can stick their head in the sand all they want but if they had not been so busy enjoying the Steroid Era (which they now fittingly blame on the fan for enabling) maybe we would have had steroid revelations sooner and an entire decade of baseball numbers would not be lies attained by cheating. The players ruined baseball and baseball management and some of the media allowed it to happen.

I don't believe anyone should be blindly accused of using steroids but I also think it is so funny that Jay Mariotti continues to defend baseball players who have repeatedly lied in the past. How many times has a player denied the use of steroids only to later admit after he is caught that he did in fact use some sort of PED? The media is so quick to give these guys the guillotine after they are caught, teaching us all a valuable lesson in how to go from sticking your head in the sand to reactionary journalism in one fell swoop.

Predictably, another blog -- Hugging Harold Reynolds, if you can believe it -- linked the piece to its Twitter feed, and Morris instantly became the hottest potato in the sports blogosphere.

Actually a Philadelphia columnist read it and wrote about it. Then Ibanez found out. That's truly how it broke into the mainstream consciousness. Again, Jay Mariotti plays loosely with some facts here to try and prove his point. At least he didn't rewrite this whole column to change the whole message intended. Of course if it came out today that Ibanez tested positive, I am sure we would have an article criticizing Ibanez in this article's place and this one will have been erased. It's happened before with Jay.

All Morris had was two-plus months of Ibanez numbers -- .312 batting average, 22 home runs and 59 RBI until he went on the disabled list for a strained left groin -- that obviously trump his career power averages of 23 homers and 95 RBI.

Ibanez was doing that at the age of 37. That doesn't raise any red flags? All the proof we had on Bonds was that he was breaking every baseball and career record he and others had attained in the past at the age of 36. All the proof we had on Sosa and McGwire is that two people just happened to break a 37 year old record in the exact same year as each other and both did it quite easily. Sometimes "all you have" is really all you need.

I don't know if Jay is joking here but the fact the first two months of Ibanez's year was on pace to widely exceed his career averages should be a red flag. Jerod Morris even took the move from Safeco to Citizens Bank ball park into account to explain the numbers. He did not blindly accuse Ibanez but tried to make sense of it.

Unfortunately, I understand the environment we're in and the events that have led us to this era of speculation. At the same time, you can't just walk down the street and accuse somebody of being a thief because they didn't have a nice car yesterday and they do today. You can't say that guy is a thief."

Actually you can. If someone has a Dodge Neon and all of a sudden starts driving a BMW then clearly something in that person's life has changed financially. If that person has not come into money or changed job...it raises questions. We do it all the time with basketball recruits. God knows the NCAA is going to investigate if every Kentucky basketball player is driving an expensive SUV. The police would investigate if a person who has no job drives a nice car around town and has other expensive things. At least I hope they would.

Predictably, Morris made a fool of himself during a panel discussion on ESPN's Outside The Lines. Like many bloggers, he came off as someone who hasn't been properly trained to grasp libel law. Of course, the Internet is the Wild, Wild West and doesn't punish abusers for libeling people.

I do remember that Outside the Lines episode. He was very white looking.

Libel is a very serious thing but Morris no more accused Ibanez of taking steroids than he actually gave the evidence to others and let them make up their own mind. Again, Jay Mariotti has really confused the issue here. It's not about who has the most knowledge of libel law, it's about whether Morris just randomly threw accusations out of steroid use by Ibanez...and he didn't do this. I don't think what Morris did was any worse than write an entire book based on anonymous sources...and Selena Roberts is a hero to many now for that.

I have an anonymous source that says a Page 2 columnist is a pedophile. He/She meets up with younger fans and then uses his/her name and that fan's love of sports to lure them into his/her bed. I have sources who tell me this. You can't get me for libel, it is from anonymous sources.

Obviously this isn't true, but if I threw a few quotes in there and attributed them to an anonymous source who knew this Page 2 columnist well I would have a journalistically credible investigation going.

Meanwhile, the real professionals will keep pounding on the amateurs.

Give me a break. Why don't the "professionals" act like professionals then? Any moron who has a Dr. Suess book can write a Woody Paige column. Any fifth grader who has a grasp of 5 word sentences and 3 sentence paragraphs can write a Bill Plaschke column. Peter King doesn't even do his job anymore, he just writes puff pieces on athletes and spends most of his time defending his favorite football players and not reporting the full story of what he learns.

I find it so interesting that the "professionals" have no interest in finding out which baseball players are using PED's and will refuse to accept reasonable evidence, but they are also the first ones to indict when a player is found guilty.

And the problem involves more than bloggers. Recently, an ancient columnist named Rick Telander suggested in the Chicago Sun-Times that Cubs shortstop Ryan Theriot's early power burst should send up red flags.

How can anyone take Jay Mariotti seriously? It's all about taking out his decade old vendettas. That is all he truly cares about. I am sure Rick Telander understands libel law and he also understands that defending baseball players who show circumstantial evidence of steroid use is so 1998. We can't be blind as a baseball viewing public anymore.

Bloggers and other columnists are not accusing baseball players to be assholes, they are doing it because after a decade of lying and deceiving the players deserve it. As a public, we are tired of our game being intruded on by illegal substances that dilute long standing baseball records and inflate a current player's performance in our eyes. If there is a player who is an outlier, it will be investigated as it should be.

Sorry, that's just the way it is now. Baseball brought this on itself.

Basically, Telander was no different than blogging boy Jerod Morris -- speculating based on numbers, not facts.

Numbers and not facts? Numbers are facts! You can't argue with numbers, they speak for themselves and Morris used fact based numbers to investigate.

Sure, we wonder. Know how many names have been leaked to me through the years?

Zero? Nobody likes you.

But as writers, we should not release our wonderment for public consumption unless we have full evidence of wrongdoing, as Roberts had when she broke the Rodriguez steroids story in Sports Illustrated.

What about her anonymous sources that said A-Rod was cheating? Selena Roberts, who I have no personal problem with, did not even have full evidence of A-Rod cheating, outside of unnamed and anonymous sources...but she gets credibility because she was right about one thing, A-Rod being on steroids at one time. That gives her free reign.

If Pujols and Ibanez were guilty, we'd probably find out in due time.

How? A privacy invading positive steroid test leak? Since when does the law of libel in America take precedent over the laws of privacy? The media doesn't give a shit if you get your right to privacy when it comes to steroid use, just don't break the laws of libel to accuse a player of steroid use before they can invade that player's privacy to find out the truth.

That's why I was so angry a few years back when I was framed by the Sun-Times. The agent for Scott Skiles, then coach of the Chicago Bulls, had given our basketball beat writer the financial figures for Skiles' new contract. They slightly differed from the numbers run by the rival Tribune, as supplied by Bulls management. Team owner Jerry Reinsdorf, no fan of mine, ridiculously marched his lawyers into the office and demanded a correction in my column -- even though the numbers had been approved by editors and were supplied to me by an editor.

Doesn't matter you got the story wrong. Don't hide behind your editor. Regardless if it is a group mess-up or a personal mess-up your name is on the article. That's the thing about Jay Mariotti, he has always held everyone else to a higher standard than himself. "Be professional," he says, but then he continously takes shots at previous co-workers and his previous employer. "Make sure you get the story right before you write it, " he says, but then when he had a story wrong, there is always someone else to blame.

So it bothers me when a writer just drops a name and doesn't face any repercussions. I'm definitely seeing an erosion in the accuracy game. We're down to, oh, about 80 percent now.

Every single slugger of the past 10 years who has hit on pace with Albert Pujols has used PED's. That doesn't send red flags up? A baseball player should not be absolutely blowing by his career home run pace at the age of 37. I am not saying Ibanez used steroids, I have no proof, but we have to be suspicious and part of the suspicion is using data to investigate. Any player who has hit for power like that at such an advanced baseball age has generally been caught as a steroid user at some point.

Ibanez says that he will be tested anytime and any day and anywhere for PED's and the public can have any sample they want to prove it. Ibanez probably is not using PED's, other than this year's elevated home run rate there is no evidence in his past that I know of where he is accused or thought to use PED's. It's hard to know or take any denial as fact because nearly every steroid user denies the use of steroids until they get caught. Jay is wrong here. I don't think any player should be blindly accused of using steroids but we are in a day and age when denials and reasoning like, "I work harder than everyone else," just isn't good enough to reduce any suspicions.

Monday, June 29, 2009

15 comments MMQB Review: Non-Peter King Edition 1

I miss Peter King. I started this blog to make fun of bad journalism and journalism that I find to be plain wrong and Peter's MMQB is one of my favorite topics. I am a little bit torn about doing MMQB this morning because Trent Green is not a "professional" sports columnist, though I am starting to question the existence of "professional" columnists anyway, but I love the format of MMQB and love making fun of it so I will carry on regardless if Peter writes the column or not.

As always, I want to digress first before I get to this week's MMQB. I went to an Atlanta Braves-Boston Red Sox game in Atlanta this weekend and I think it is generally agreed though we had fun, it is just too frustrating. I was prepared for Red Sox fans, but I wasn't prepared for the whole experience and I wanted to share some of my frustrations in list form with you all...since you don't care. It is a story of pathetic bandwagonism for both teams.

First the rules I was given before the tickets were purchased for me for my birthday:

1. I can not make statements out loud that I know other people are listening to me say, so they will engage me in conversation on said topic. This is one of my favorite ways to start a conversation in public.

2. I can't yell anything obscure and random no one understands (i.e. "The last thing Julio Lugo hit hard was his wife.")

3. No openly pissing off Red Sox fans.

4. No random chanting. (I don't know what this means, but agreed to it because I did not know what it meant.)

5. I can not boo Jeff Francouer (He comes up to the plate to the tune of Kenny Chesney's "Summertime," I should boo him just for that).

These were easy rules because I was looking forward to the game and I really am not a confrontational person...but I do need ground rules. My personality requires it.

Here are the things that pissed me off and made me worry about Atlanta and Boston fans:

1. When I got to the ball park there were some Braves fans wearing red jerseys with a Braves player's name on the back. The Braves wear red jerseys on Sundays. Come on, the Red Sox also have red jerseys they wear hence the name RED Sox, you have to pick out a different color shirt for the Saturday game you dumbasses. That's inexcusable. Choose a different color because if the Red Sox fans wear red and the Braves fan wear red, it will look like there are more Red Sox fans there. This is the first part in a series of just absolute pathetic and clueless acts on the part of the Braves fans.

2. There was not one Red Sox Pedro Martinez, Nomar Garciaparra, Derek Lowe, Wade Boggs, Mo Vaughn, or Varitek jersey that I saw. There was one Ramirez jersey and one Luis Tiant jersey I saw. I also saw one 2004 World Champions hat, with the 2007 World Championship shirts and hats being the only ones I saw. That should tell you something about the makeup of the Red Sox fans that attended the game.

3. When we sat down, there were 6 Red Sox fans behind us, three beside me, one Red Sox and one Yankee fans beside my loved one, and 7 Red Sox fans in front of us. I am not kidding. Out of these 18 people, there was one annoying person and the others were really cool. Out of these 17 Red Sox fans, 9 of these people said they cheer for the Braves when they are not playing the Red Sox. That infuritated me. I don't give a shit if you are a Red Sox fan, it's no big deal, but don't you dare cheer for the Braves against other teams and then show up wearing a fucking Ortiz jersey when the Red Sox are in town. That is grounds for being punched in the face. Two guys said they are "Red Sox all the way though, but cheer for the Braves second." I should have punched them, but did not want to spill my nachos. I would have had my fiance hold my nachos but she would not have not done so because she would know I was about to openly violate Rule #3.

4. The same two guys that openly said they are Red Sox all the way but the Braves are second also looked like they had come from what I call the Dale Earnhardt Jr. School of Grooming (bizarre facial hair on the face including a mustache that is barely there, rolling up the sleeves of their shirts, small amount of gel in their hair to make it sit down in the front, and singing along to country songs that played every once in a while), opined the Red Sox should trade for Hanley Ramirez for Clay Bucholtz straight up. That annoyed me. That would not happen.

5. The Atlanta Braves fans at the game were just flat a bunch of quiet little wimps. There would start a chant of "Let's go Red Sox!" and me and this lady behind me (who got to guess the answer to a question between innings on the JumboTron and yes I was jealous) would start chanting "Let's Go Braves!" Meanwhile the rest of the stadium would allow the chant to continue and then start booing. Booing? It's not a fucking library, the Red Sox fans should not have to be quiet. Why don't you stop booing and start cheering? The Red Sox fans can chant if they want to and if you don't chant to support the Braves maybe you should leave the stadium. Atlanta has the worst baseball fans. The worst. I have known this for a while but it just absolutely sealed the deal for me this weekend.

6. I booed Jeff Francouer (in direct violation of Rule #5 but it was very quick) and a Braves fan asked me why I was doing that. I almost threw up.

7. There was a 9 year old boy with a Boston Celtics 2008 NBA Champions shirt on and a 2007 Boston Red Sox 2007 World Champions hat on with green Sno-cone stain around his mouth talking shit about how great the Red Sox were and stuff like that. Is there any test of a man's will than to hear a young child talking shit at a sporting event? You know you can beat the crap out of him, it's a guarantee, but then again it is a 9 year old child and society tends to frown on things like that. Not to mention then his dad would probably get mad if his pumpkin faced son (his head was shaped like the kid on MAD magazine, so I called him a pumpkin face for some reason) got his ass beat by a sweaty guy in a Brian McCann jersey. I smartly let it go.

8. I have never met so many Red Sox fans who had deep Southern accents. I found it disconcerting to hear someone with a deep Southern accent cheering for Papelbon. The lady beside me was from Hickory, North Carolina and was born in Hickory so I have no idea how the Red Sox fan-thing happened for her, but she made it very clear she still liked the Braves...which annoyed me.

9. The Red Sox fans are awesome. Regardless of the bandwagonism or the non-bandwagonism of the fans they cheered loudly, they chanted when they needed to, and just overall did all of the shit I wish the Braves fans would do but won't because they are fucking wimps. It pains me to say how good they were because the game was in Atlanta but it is true. It also started my Overcompensation Theory which not only is very Simmons-esque but I think is true. I think some Red Sox fans are so worried they will be considered they are bandwagon fans they buy all kinds of Red Sox shit and cheer loudly to prove they are real fans (even though this does not really prove anything, anyone with money and lungs can do either of these things). Basically they overcompensate which means the fans there were great, regardless of how much they liked the Red Sox or when they started liking the Red Sox. This stupid theory is not just for Red Sox fans but I have seen it with many of my other favorite teams. It's like when you talk to a person and it is clear they are just becoming a fan of a team, but they are all decked out in gear. They try to blend in by overcompensating.

10. The Atlanta Braves fans are too quiet, too apathetic, and every other negative thing I can think of. I thought they may step up with 60% of the crowd being pro-Red Sox. I was completely and utterly wrong. They stepped down. It was great though, because the Red Sox fans let me yell during the game, which I don't usually get to do in Atlanta. Usually I get a mother covering her child's ears or looking at me when I cheer at a normal Braves game. I probably cheered "Let's Go Javy" or "Come on Javy, don't let the fact our entire team stinks stop you from pitching well" 50 times each.

11. Bobby Cox is done as a manager. He's horrible strategically. Late in the game, when the Red Sox thankfully pulled Wakefield they brought in Manny Delcarmen to pitch. Bobby Cox had Matt Diaz a RH hitter in the on deck circle and then let him bat against the RH pitcher. Why did he not have Diaz come in the game, let the Red Sox make the change to Delcarmen and then bring in Kelly Johnson off the bench, who is a LH hitter? I don't remember what happened but I think Diaz got a walk and got to third, so it worked out for Cox. Despite the fact it worked for him this time, it makes more sense to have a LH guy facing a RH pitcher, especially since the next hitter was also LH. There is a chance Francona may pull Delcarmen for a LH pitcher, which considering he was throwing gas was a good thing.

He also brought in Eric O' Flaherty (a LH pitcher) to face David Ortiz in the hopes Francona would pull Ortiz for a pinch hitter, which did not happen of course, so he intentionally walked Ortiz to face Mark Kotsay. Again, Mr. Magoo (Cox) had it work out for him, but he's killing me. That doesn't count the fact he insists on platooning Soriano and Gonzalez in the closer role despite the fact Soriano has an era around 1.20, while Gonzalez desperately attempts to get runners on base at every opportunity just to see if he can get out of it.

12. Let's talk about the one annoying Red Sox fan. This guy is the one guy that gives the whole group a bad name. He spent a good portion of the game cheering loudly, which is fine, but when Kevin Youkilis got a triple he started jumping up and down and hitting our seats with his big ass clod feet. Then he started getting up and dancing a chicken dance when Ortiz was intentionally walked and screaming, "bok, bok, bok" while his wife/girlfriend who had 2 pounds of make up on, and she did reapply during the game in 95 degree weather, looked on embarrassed. After the Red Sox won he screamed, "Get out of here you motherfuckers! Go home! We won and you suck! Get out of here assholes and go home!" Really, the game was in Atlanta, so it really was home for most of the people. He could have been a fan of any team really, but he was just one of those people that annoy you. Rules #1 and #3 were almost broken during the game when it came to this guy and it wasn't by me.

13. The annoying Red Sox fan started talking shit about me when I mentioned that the Braves should not walk Ortiz because he isn't on steroids anymore. Yes, I did this in clear violation of Rule #1 and to piss him off...but it made me feel better.

14. There was one last thing, and I took a picture and wanted to post it, but could not because it was too blurry...A college age kid had a shirt that said "Red Sox Nation: Memphis, Tennessee Chapter" on it. I almost felt bad for any real Red Sox fans at that point. It has become a club.

In conclusion, both teams' fans pissed me off and both are bandwagon fans at heart. When the Braves aren't in the playoffs the fans are quiet and the Red Sox fans down a little further south are also Braves fans, so I don't even know if they are fans or not or just bandwagoneers. It was a great game but also a little maddening.

I know we all have little stories like this but I thought I would bore you with mine.

Now on to MMQB.

It's one thing to play football in front of 80,000 fans on Sundays, but it's quite another to write about it knowing 1.5 million of you are used to a pro like Peter King.

Let's just say I am sad today because I would bet Trent Green will have better information and something more interesting to say than Peter King ever does. I may not get to make fun of him that much.

I feel a little like Jim Sorgi stepping in for Peyton Manning. (No offense, Jim.)

No Trent, it's more like Steve Young stepping in for Joe Montana.

With football becoming year round now -- and don't tell me spring camps are "voluntary" -- there needs to be concern for increased injuries. I can hear people now say, "As much as players are paid ..." True, players are well compensated, but there becomes a point of diminishing returns.

I love the idea of diminishing returns. This is one reason why I am not sure an increased NFL schedule is a good idea. I think it could reach the point where many players may just take a week off to help their body, much some players do in baseball, or players will be very injured at the end of the year come playoff time and that could affect the product on the field.

You may have heard I recently decided to retire.

Is it considered "deciding to retire" when no team in the NFL actually wants you on their team?

I can completely understand what Brett Favre is going through.

Do you think Peter King made Trent Green write about Brett Favre? I bet so.

I still feel like I can play and if I was in Brett's shoes, I would play. The Vikings have the potential to be a very good team, on both sides of the ball. He also knows the offensive coordinator and could step in the huddle tomorrow and run the offense.

Everyone is still missing the point. It's not that he can't play anymore, it's just that he keeps retiring and unretiring to stay in the spotlight. I have no problem with him still playing, but just make a damn decision and quit trying to screw over the Packers and still be the good guy. That's all I ask.

1) I think with teams going pass happy, there will be at least 10 quarterbacks to throw for over 4,000 yards this season. Seem like a lot? I see six locks and seven more with potential. Let's break it down:

Guaranteed to do it -- Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Kurt Warner, Philip Rivers and Aaron Rodgers.

These are "guarantees" despite the fact Manning, Rodgers, and Rivers broke the 4,000 yard mark last year by 2, 39, and 9 yards respectively. Green also took the NFL leaders last year, except Jay Cutler, and listed them. Not exactly going out on a limb.

Potential to do it -- Jay Cutler, Matt Cassel, Carson Palmer, Matt Schaub, Donovan McNabb, Tony Romo and Matt Hasselbeck.

Theoretically any QB in the NFL should have the potential to do this. Also, considering McNabb is 32 and has never thrown for 4,000 yards I would say he may not have the potential to do this and the same thing goes for Matt Hasselbeck at the age of 33. I also don't think Matt Schaub or Matt Cassel will be able to hit 4,000 yards this year but I could be wrong. So on his list that leaves Carson Palmer, Tony Romo, and Jay Cutler. Maybe he is right about that, but I am not sure what would give him the idea a quarterback who has played in the league for 10 years could hit 4,000 yards passing when they have never done that and a guy like Matt Ryan who had 3,400 last year in his rookie year and now has Tony Gonzalez on his team could not reach this mark.

2) I think I'm going crazy because I feel like we've been talking about Brett Favre and his retirement since the new millennium. You want to play, Brett? I hope you do. I've always enjoyed watching you play. But please decide by the start of training camp.

Peter King will not appreciate Trent Green giving Bretty Boy a deadline. We'll see if Trent Green ever gets to be near MMQB again.

The start of training camp is also a little late to be deciding whether a person will be playing football for the upcoming year or not. Just announce it now and that way the media can stop talking before the start of the football season and we can all move on.

3) I think I like that Reggie Bush is keeping a low profile this off-season. Don't be surprised if he has a monster year in the Big Easy.

I am not sure what having a low profile means for his production on the football field, but I am not going to be surprised if he has a monster year receiving. Running the ball, that's another story. I don't feel so confident about that.

4) I think there will be no sophomore slump for either Joe Flacco or Matt Ryan. They are both surrounded by good players and good coaching. They also seem to have the right moxy to handle all of the pressure.

Trent Green's keys to success in the NFL: Keeping a low profile and having moxy. I think he left out hustling and being gritty.

6) I think, actually I know, that Mark Brunell is the last quarterback standing from the 1993 draft class. He's outlasted Drew Bledsoe (No. 1 overall), Rick Mirer (No. 2), Billy Joe Hobert (No. 58), Gino Toretta (No. 192), Alex Van Pelt (No. 216), Elvis Grbac (No. 219) and me (No. 222). Keep going, Mark! I'll be pulling for you.

Out of all those elite names and future Hall of Fame quarterbacks, it's amazing Mark Brunell is the last guy standing.

I think Gino Toretta was the first one to go out of the league from that class with Rick Mirer a close second.

b) I was recently in Cooperstown, N.Y., with my son's baseball team for a tournament. My wife and I decided to take the family to Niagara Falls after the tournament because we had never been and didn't know when we would get back to that part of the country. The Falls is truly amazing. If you're going, take the time to get a passport. The views from the Canadian side will literally make you just stand there and stare.

I have to say it is a bad thing for Peter King when a non-professional writer can take Peter's place writing MMQB and still write very closely to how Peter writes.

I've got news for you: The Greens would make for a great reality show to destroy all those Hollywood stereotypes about retirement. Because youth baseball practices and games consume a lot of our evenings, we rarely have time for the five of us to sit down for dinner. We found a rare opportunity last week and about five minutes into the meal, Janelle, 3, says she's not hungry anymore and refuses to sit in her seat. Just then, Derek, 9, reaches for a bowl of fruit and one of his elbows knocks over his glass of milk. TJ, 11, goes into big brother mode and begins the verbal jabs. As my wife Julie hurried for some towels, the boys continue jawing and Janelle starts running around the table singing some song, REALLY LOUD. As Julie returns with the towels, she sees me sitting there, mouth open, watching all of this unfold. She gets my attention and I just begin to laugh. I look at her and say, "If people only knew." Welcome to retirement, Trent!

Yes, if people only knew what it was like to retire at the age of 38 and being set for the rest of their life. I know Trent Green wants to be like everyone else but this little moment he presented to us is not even reality. Imagine going through all of this with your family and having to work for the next 30 years to retire just as your body is starting to deteriorate. That's how it is for a lot of families, Trent Green can't really relate to this. This is a realistic family situation he presents but doesn't end with most families having a parent being retired at 38. You don't get too many brownie points from me in this case if you are Trent Green.

10) I think I hope Peter King has a great vacation. Thank you for allowing me this opportunity.

Where are the inane and mindless observations of the baseball? Where is the annoying traveling note? I miss Peter, he is so much more self involved and whiny. It's much easier to make fun of.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

17 comments Sunday Blogging While Drinking And Watching Baseball

I'm going to try something a little new today on the blog. If it works, great. If not, then I will scrap it. Heres whats going down: I'm going to post on an article (more on that later) while drinking beer and watching the red sox-braves game. Heres where things get interesting, though. I'm not drinking your standard Budwiser, Coors, or Miller. Oh no, I'm getting serious. I'm gonna be throwing back some 7.3% Molson XXX, baby! So pretty much, once I finish my first two, things should start to get interesting. We'll see how this plays out. And with that, here comes beer #1 (popping top off of bottle with lighter even though they are screw off. )

Alright, I'm just saying this now. I like Jeff Pearlman. I thought "The Rocket That Fell To Earth" was an awesome book. In fact, I read it in one sitting, it was that good. I also like that he is open to criticism. But I'm getting really, really sick of the talk that people that used steroids or any kind of PED would just be some scrub struggling in the minors without any kind of juice. I've known kids that played in HS and took steroids, guess what major league team the play for now? They dont, because they sucked and didnt have the talent with or with out PED to play professionally. I will concede that they will enhance performance, but they will not make Manny Alexander a HOF caliber player, no matter how much he uses. With all that said, I just cant let this slide by.

Steroids are still talked about today because of people like you, Jeff Pearlman. The media keeps shoving how evil they are down our throats. Thats why its still news. I like how there are articles to this day still blasting McGwire, Sosa, Bonds, and Palmeiro, but everything involving Tony La Russa seems to be forgiven and forgotten. Where are the articles going after him? It was only 2 years ago. I think what he did is far worse, and more dangerous than anything the aforementioned players did. The fans are ready to move on from steroids, Mr. Pearlman, please stop writing about them. Also, maybe you guys could stop invading other peoples right to privacy. That would be nice. Okay, on to the article.

It is widely known that performance-enhancing drugs help baseball players.

It sure didnt help the majority of these guys out too much. A better term would be "widely speculated" because I dont think there is an actual study out there that proves that they do enhance performance. If anyone knows of any that I dont know about because I'm too lazy to look it up, please let me know.

Alex Rodriguez is a baseball player.

This is true.

Alex Rodriguez used performance-enhancing drugs.

This is true as well. How did we find out about that, by the way? Oh yeah, by violating court orders. Thats great, isnt it? Off topic, but I think my favorite thing about this whole steroid/balco/ any PED thing is when a supreme court judge asked Jeff Novitsky if the fourth amendment had been repealed. I just think thats awesome. I wonder if there was an awkward silence after?

Alex Rodriguez presumably no longer uses performance-enhancing drugs.

As of Friday morning, Alex Rodriguez is batting .223.

Hmm ...

Dear Jeff Pearlman,

Please stop writing like Bill Plaschke, you are way better than that.

Bottom of the Barrel crew

Okay, I know I'm just a blogger, but you just made a claim that AROD is sucking because he is "presumably" off steroids, yet you fail to mention that he is coming off of a very serious hip injury. Why wouldnt you mention that? I think that is somewhat relevant, dont you? Not to mention he took the less major surgery so he could get back and help his team.

Alright, I'm going off topic again. Does anyone else feel sorry for AROD? I mean, the dude just wanted to be liked. He signed a huge contract because the owner was stupid enough to give him way more than anyone else was offering. Then he tried to restructure his contract so he could go to the red sox, but the union blocked it. After that, he gets traded to the yankees and switches positions--even though he was the far superior player--because the "captain" didnt want his ego hurt. Then the steroids, poor media coverage, choker label, ect....

(Opening 2nd beer)

And yet in the days and weeks since Rodriguez's highly anticipated return to the Yankees' lineup, the media has racked their brains trying to figure out why the All-Star third baseman has morphed into a reenactment of Wayne Krenchicki: The Baltimore Years.

I dont know, maybe the hip injury is nagging him? This is followed by 3 resonable quotes (with one from Steve Phillips. Weird.) Then its followed by this money quote:

Jeff Pearlman, SI.com: "He's not that good."

I cant believe you just said that. You. Are. Not. That. Stupid. Jeff. Right?

Again, I know. I know. Blasphemy!

Its not blasphemy, its just a stupid statement.

Why is it that, when PED-implicated ballplayers return from lengthy absences, we never ask whether their non-drugged selves will live up to past greatness?

You name me one ball player--PED user or not-- that has come back from a major injury, lengthy suspension, or any kind of long time away from the game, that has come back and picked up where they left off. Off the top of my head I can only think of Ted Williams.

In Los Angeles, the Dodgers anxiously await the July 3 return of Manny Ramirez, who was suspended 50 games for failing a drug test. After initially protesting his guilt, Ramirez slunk off into the abyss -- a guilty man hoping that, with time, all things pass.

I think they have. Judging by the reaction he got from the fans at the Isotopes game, where he was cheered.

At 37, Dale Murphy was batting .143 with no home runs in 26 games with the Rockies. Duke Snider was batting .210 with four homers and 17 RBIs for the San Francisco Giants. Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio and Roger Maris were retired.

At age 37, Ted Williams was batting .345/.479/.605, with 24 HR. What a fucking juicer, that Ted Williams. No man at that age could put up those numbers without using something.

At age 37, Willie Mays was batting .279/.372/.488 with 23 HR, in a shitty hitters homepark. Juicer? Or maybe he was on amphetimines, which he has admitted to using, and are banned by MLB.

Hank Aarons 37 season he batted .327/.410/.669 with 47 HR.

There are just as many examples of players playing well at age 37 as there are ones that are shitty. Those are just the first 3 I looked up. I'm just trying to prove that is possible to play well when you are older without steroids. Hence, all the older HOF players.

Nobody wants to touch this issue, because it's Kryptonite," said Howard Bryant, author of Juicing the Game, the brilliant steroid-era book

Sure they do. Look at this article that you are being quoted for. Look at what happens when you type steroids into google news.

But how do we know players like Manny Ramirez aren't steroid-fueled creations? We don't know anything about why he used or how long he used. But we do know he used. So if he's actually not using, what's really there?"

Yes, because steroids helped to shape mannys picture perfect swing. He had no talent when he was drafted out of HS, he just took some steroids and learned to hit a baseball like no other RH hitter in the game outside of Pujols. What a stupid statement. I'm going to now take some steroids and see if I can make the local independant league baseball team. If that happens, I will buy into the steroids make shitty players good.

When someone like Jason Giambi apologizes for his drug usage, then never recaptures his past greatness, we seek out excuses.

You know who else used PED's? HIS FUCKING BROTHER!!!! Yeah, that was a pretty sweet HOF caliber career he had, wasnt it? He didnt even have any past greatness to get back to.

Thats basically the end of the article, there are a few more sentances, but none I felt needed to be commented on.

Sorry guys. I only made it through 1 1/2 XXX's. I just wasnt feeling it. Maybe next weekend when I dont have to work the next day, I'll try to get reckless and make a blog post. On that note, I'm done with the post. Hope everyone enjoys their Sundays before going back to work tomorrow.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

6 comments Ten Thoughts About Draft Night and My Draft Grades

I am clearly an expert so I am full prepared and capable of giving out meaningless draft grades, so that is what I will do today.

First, I want to give my 10 thoughts on draft night that have been bothering me:

1. I have no freaking clue what the hell the Minnesota Timberwolves are doing. You don't hedge your bets that Rubio won't come to America and play by drafting another point guard immediately after him in the draft. That's stupid. Now they have pretty much guaranteed either Rubio will want to be traded or won't come play for them. I defended their move to get the #5 and #6 picks assuming they didn't do anything stupid. What's wrong with drafting DeRozan or Curry at #6? Unless they do something else like trade one of those guys, it was just stupid.

2. I also didn't like that they drafted Ty Lawson and then traded him to Denver for a future 1st round pick. Denver should be pretty good for the next couple of years, they probably won't be drafting lower than 18th anytime soon...or maybe they will. My point is that the Wolves need to get better NOW...I guess there was no player they wanted at that point. Basically they had 4 1st round picks traded one, wasted another pending a trade and drafted Wayne Ellington. Here's what they could have had this year:

PG: Rubio
SG: DeRozan
SF: Gomes
PF: Love
C: Jefferson

Darren Collison
DeJuan Blair
Corey Brewer
Rodney Carney
Craig Smith
Sebastian Telfair

I would pay to watch that team. Except now they don't have that.

3. Tyler Hansbrough was going to be a great choice for a team who made the playoffs last year...but he is not a lottery pick.

4. I did not think OK City would take James Harden but they have an exciting team now. I just don't know how they will get everyone minutes because I like Harden and think he should play over Green...I hope that happens.

5. DeJuan Blair went to San Antonio. It's almost unfair that they just traded away rebounding players and then get a steal in the second round. I know he is undersized but I really, really like him for San Antonio.

6. I either really, really like Detroit's picks or I really, really hate them. It is going to take a few years until I find out. Daye is soft but has skill while DeJuan Summers has all the skill in the world, I just can't figure out what happened to all that skill last year.

7. Why draft Rubio and Flynn and NOT have another trade already in place? Don't make me agree with Bill Simmons Mr. David Kahn.

8. The Mavericks got a shorter Shawn Bradley. Congratulations and they didn't even have to choose #2 in the draft to get him. Smart move to trade him to the Thunder, though if he does pan out, man are the Thunder going to be good...but he won't pan out.

9. The Lakers traded their 1st round pick for cash so they can resign both Lamar Odom and Trevor Ariza. I am not disagreeing with that, but the whole idea of them standing pat really bothers me. I don't think it is the right move. They could have had some good players at the spot they drafted, including Toney Douglas and DeJuan Blair.

10. I hated the Christian Eyenga pick for the Cavs. He may turn into an All-Star but for a team that may not have LeBron James in one year, traded for a center who only has a couple of good years left, and got burnt because they had no other scorers to help LeBron James right now, them choosing a guy who is a project makes no sense to me. I would literally have rather they chosen anyone who was chosen in the top 15 of the second round except two players over who they chose. It doesn't make sense at all.

Now for the grades for each team:

Atlanta: A-

Round 1: Jeff Teague

Round 2: Sergiy Gladyr

I know they probably wanted Lawson but he went a pick earlier. I like Teague even though I think he tries to go for the spectacular play too often but this is a great pick for Atlanta. I don't know anything about Gladyr and there is really no other player I would take instead based on my limited knowledge.

Boston: D

Round 2: Lester Hudson

I know the options were limited at this spot but with Leon Powe and Glen Davis as free agents and Bill Walker and JR Giddens slowly developing, why take a swing man?

Charlotte: C-

Round 1: Gerald Henderson

Round 2: Derrick Brown

I have said it's not always a bad thing when you know what you are getting from players in the draft. At some point the Bobcats have to stop drafting guys with limited upside who played well in college (May, Felton, Henderson, Okafor, Morrison) and start drafting players that can turn this franchise's fortunes around. It's not a bad pick at either spot here but I would prefer Budinger in the 2nd round and Holiday or Clark in the 1st round. It's that simple, you have to draft guys who can stars at some point and risk falling on your face. I don't see Brown having as much potential as others do.

Chicago: B-

Round 1: James Johnson, Taj Gibson

I like the James Johnson pick but Taj Gibson is not a first round pick. He is a great value in the 2nd round but if they are not going to resign Ben Gordon then Wayne Ellington or Toney Douglas should have been the pick. If you are going to insist on picking an inside player, then take Blair.

Cleveland: D

Round 1: Christian Eyenga

Round 2: Danny Green, Emir Preldzic

I am sorry, I hate that first round pick in Eyenga. The future is now in Cleveland. I am not saying they should panic but Big Z and Shaq are not getting younger and if they don't think Hickson is ready to contribute then they need to take someone here who has more height and isn't a project. Sam Young would have been a great choice if they want to take a wingman. I like Green and know nothing about Preldzic. It seems like Cleveland is going for broke in keeping LeBron around, there's no sense in drafting a guy who may develop in three years.

Dallas: C

Round 1: Rodrigue Beaubois

Round 2: Nick Calathes , Ahmad Nivins

Dallas pretty much drafted three foreign players since Calathes is going to play in Europe. I know almost nothing about Nivins but I think Calathes and Beaubois are pretty similar players and could help Dallas in a couple of years. I feel uninspired by these choices.

Denver: A

Round 1: Ty Lawson

The Nuggets are probably not going to draft any lower than 18th when the Timberwolves can use the pick, assuming they don't immediately regress, so they have already gotten great value. Throw in the fact they got the 3rd best point guard in a point guard strong draft, run a high tempo offense which Lawson excels in, and he won't have to contribute major minutes initially because of Billups and I love this pick...or trade.

Detroit: B-

Round 1: Austin Daye

Round 2: DaJuan Summers , Jonas Jerebko

I am giving the Pistons a B- based completely on the fact I have accepted their misguided idea that they already have a point guard. Otherwise I would be screaming for one of the point guards in the first round spot. I hate Austin Daye and think he will bust but I know my opinion is not shared. He does remind me a little of Prince, so maybe he will rub off on him. I like the Summers pick in the 2nd round, if we can figure out what happened to him last year at Georgetown.

Golden State: A-

Round 1: Stephen Curry

There is talk this pick could be traded but for now I like the pick for Golden State. I think they could have done better with a pure point guard but if Curry stays in Golden State you can't deny that he is going to have a great chance to succeed and score tons of points. The best part is that he won't be asked to defend by Don Nelson.

Houston: A-

Round 2: Jermaine Taylor , Sergio Llull , Chase Budinger

I actually want to give the Rockets a full A grade but we all know 2nd round picks don't always pan out. Either way, they got some good players in the 2nd round and the best part is they got guys who are ready to help the team out now. So if they move McGrady they could actually beat the Lakers this year in the playoffs.

Indiana: C

Round 1: Tyler Hansbrough

Round 2: A.J. Price

I would have loved these picks if they were by a team that made the playoffs last year. I don't know how I feel about them when talking about a team that is a borderline playoff team. Just like with the Bobcats at some point you have to draft a player that can change the team and there were a couple available here. I do like the A.J. Price pick but I thought Hansbrough was a reach.

Los Angeles Clippers: A

Round 1: Blake Griffin

They didn't screw the pick up. Now hopefully they won't screw the player up.

Los Angeles Lakers: D-

Round 2: Chinemelu Elonu

I would give them an F but I actually like Elonu for the future. Otherwise trading that 1st round pick is just very short sighted in my opinion. There were players that could have helped the Lakers out in defending their title and build for the future. There were guys available like Sam Young or Toney Douglas who have taken some pressure off Kobe to score or they could have added a guy in the middle to the rotation like Brockman or Pendergraph, who I think could thrive in the triangle. Epic fail in my mind.

Memphis: B

Round 1: Hasheem Thabeet, DeMarre Carroll

Round 2: Sam Young

I don't like the DeMarre Carroll pick as much as everyone else does. I should give the Grizzlies a lower score for not trading back and getting more picks where they could get a guy like Curry to complement Gay and Mayo, but they wanted a big man and they got one. The problem is that they did not want to draft a PG because they like Conley and they can't draft a swingman because they have Mayo and Gay, so a big man made sense. Not drafting Rubio because you have Conley is like not accepting a free BMW because you have a hybrid but no one really expected Memphis to get this pick completely right. I like the Sam Young pick as well. He'll be a great backup.

Miami: B

Round 2: Patrick Beverley, Robert Dozier

I like what little I have read about Beverly, but Dozier just sounds like a guy who pretty much resembles a couple of guys the Heat already have.

Milwaukee: A-

Round 1: Brandon Jennings

Round 2: Jodie Meeks

I like Milwaukee's draft. I am glad they selected a point guard because they may mean they won't resign Ramon Sessions for a ton of money. Jennings should be a great point guard and really in the second round they could have selected a guy to play in the middle but it would have been a reach at that point. Maybe they know what they are doing...

Minnesota: D

Round 1: Ricky Rubio , Jonny Flynn , Wayne Ellington

Round 2: Henk Norel

You don't trade for back to back picks in the NBA Draft and then select two players that play the exact same position. You especially don't do this if one of those players is nervous about playing in America to begin with and wanted to select his own team and your team plays in a shitty climate. Then you don't piss that player off by giving him a 5 foot 11 inch shooting guard who is really a point guard or tell him he will be guarding shooting guards and playing the 2 spot. Whatever Minnesota has planned for them, I don't understand it. I would give them an F if I did not think at least they picked two good players who could be traded and Ellington was a good value.

There were dozens of combinations the Wolves could have done here and they missed. Take Rubio or Flynn, not both and then put whichever one you draft in there with DeRozan, Curry, or any combination of any other player that is not a point guard. They may have some fascination with playing two point guards together and that is great. In that case, keep the #18 pick and take Lawson, Teague, or Maynor, which still doesn't make sense but at least it is not the cluster fuck that has now occurred where Minnesota has no shooting guard worth a crap.

New Jersey: B+

Round 1: Terrence Williams

I am not sure any other choice would have made sense for this team. They have a point guard, there is no big man worthy of being taken, so a swingman is natural and they chose the Swiss Army knife guy. He does everything but nothing really, really well. I would nitpick and say Earl Clark may have been a better pick but Williams is a more sure choice.

New Orleans: C

Round 1: Darren Collison

Round 2:: Marcus Thornton

I can accept the need to get a backup for Chris Paul and Collison was one of the last good PG to go. This I can accept. What I can't accept is the idea this was a need more than drafting a big man was a need. They need front court help and there were a number of players available to provide this. Patty Mills would have been a great backup for Chris Paul in the first round and they should have gone front court in the 1st round. Big mistake.

New York: B-

Round 1: Jordan Hill, Toney Douglas

I don't like Jordan Hill all that much, so that is why I downgrade the Knicks choices. Give them some credit for trying. I do like Douglas though.

Oklahoma City: A

Round 1: James Harden, B.J. Mullens

Round 2: Robert Vaden

I like the James Harden pick and though I don't like B.J. Mullens I have to say taking him late in the first round is a good move. I would probably have looked at Blair, but I am tired of saying that. Mullens will probably bust but if he doesn't its not like the Thunder drafted him too high. He was worth the pick here.

Philadelphia: A-

Round 1: Jrue Holiday

Would I have drafted a more proven point guard to run this team? I very well could have but there comes a point where a player has fallen to the point he is worth taking a chance on. It's a bit of a risk but I think at this point it was worth the risk. I may not have chosen Holiday here but I can't fault them.

Phoenix: B+

Round 1: Earl Clark

Round 2: Taylor Griffin

I like the Earl Clark choice here. He fits in well with the Suns. I don't like the Taylor Griffin choice that much. If his name was Taylor Brown he would have gone undrafted. What's the fascination the Suns have with taking the shittier of two brothers? Between Taylor Griffin and Robin Lopez they have gotten the crappier brother two years in a row...

Portland: C

Round 1: Victor Claver

Round 2: Jeff Pendergraph, Dante Cunningham, Patrick Mills

I like these picks, specifically Pendergraph and Mills but I can't help but get the feeling the Blazers don't need more role players/backups on that roster and could have made a move to get a better pick in the draft. They have tradeable assets and all three of these 2nd round picks won't make the roster, I just wish they had done more. I thought there was a better pick than Cunningham available.

Sacramento: B-

Round 1: Tyreke Evans, Omri Casspi

Round 2: Jon Brockman

I really like these choices the Kings made, especially Brockman in the second round, but I can't help but think if they had chosen Rubio this would have turned the team around 2 years down the road. I am sure they are thinking about now and what they can do to get a good team now but I think Rubio may turn out to be a better fit than Evans.

San Antonio: A+

Round 2: DeJuan Blair, Jack McClinton, Nando De Colo

It's almost not fair that the Spurs needed some rebounding and then one of the best rebounders, regardless of size, falls to them. Throw in the fact McClinton could end up being a steal for them and I love this draft. Sure they would have been stupid to pass on Blair but at least give them credit for being smart enough to not get scared about his knees.

Toronto: A-

Round 1: DeMar DeRozan

The Raptors need talent on the team, especially since Bosh will probably not stick around. DeRozan was the best chance to get a top flight talent and they made the move. I like it because they understood the need to take chances sometimes.

Utah: B-

Round 1: Eric Maynor

Round 2: Goran Suton

Maynor is going to be a great backup for Deron Williams and of course the Jazz could not go one draft without drafting a soft and uncapable white center. I don't know specifically what I wanted the Jazz to do but I think they needed to make a move in this draft in some way, maybe try to move up in some fashion. The team seems content to be the a middle of the pack playoff team.

Orlando and Washington did not have any draft choices. I am not a huge fan of the Vince Carter trade because I am not a huge fan of Vince Carter. I guess I have to credit them with trying to get better. What I don't understand about the Wizards trade with the Wolves is that they seem to have a logjam now at the 2 and 3 spot with Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson, Nick Young, Mike Miller, and Randy Foye. It does improve the team to an extent but I thought they may make a move to get a big man and let Jamison move to the 3 spot.

If anyone watches the BoSox-Atlanta game Saturday afternoon look for me. I will be the guy with the McCann jersey on down the right field line getting smacked in the face by either an embarrassed woman or an irate Red Sox fan.

Friday, June 26, 2009

24 comments A Boy Named Bill and His Draft Diary

Bill Simmons puts his draft diaries in roman numerals as if they are all events, so this year's diary instead of being Draft Diary 13, is Draft Diary XIII. It adds so much ego and self importance to the whole thing I believe. It's pretty typical for Bill. He also doesn't cover the second round of the draft, which should not shock anyone who reads Bill's columns on a regular basis. The second round is full of players that you actually have to follow college basketball or read more than just your typical ESPN article to know anything about. (Bill Simmons can turn me into a college basketball snob where I talk like I am a genius. I realize I am not, but he does it to me) I am sure it will be 2 more years before he is touting one of these players after they have broken out as a great player.

Now onto Bill Simmons' Draft Diary. Are you ready to read about him making fun of coaches and General Managers while talking about the "faces" that they make? You better be because that's all the Draft Diary is.

In a paraphrase from one of my favorite movie quotes: "We've been reading the same Draft Diary with the same jokes for the past 13 years...and in no way is that pathetic."

The Virgin Megastore on Hollywood Boulevard had a "Going Out Of Business!" sale

(Cue long story where Bill describes what he thinks rather than just says it...this always annoys me. I can't decide if he is just killing space or is just developmentally retarded.)

Here's the point: The 2009 NBA draft is the equivalent of that 10 minutes when I nearly talked myself into three Blu-Rays I didn't even want. I have seen "The Shining" 10 million katrillion times. I don't need to own it on Blu-Ray. But when it's sitting on the same shelf with "Along Came Polly" and "Ocean's 12"? It starts looking good by default. That's the problem with this year's draft class -- too many "Terminator 3" Blu-Rays, only everyone else is so bad, you start talking yourself into them.

Players in this draft only look good relative to the other crappier players around them. I just summed it up in one sentence.

It's like the graduate school I went to. The girls on campus where all ugly but after a while they looked better compared to the even uglier girls on campus or at the local Wal-Mart.

Trust me: It's the worst draft class since the infamous Kenyon Martin Draft in 2000.

Why wouldn't we trust him? He admittedly paid no attention to overseas basketball, has only a limited and rudimentary knowledge of college basketball players because it bored him this year and he couldn't name where 5 of the guys who got drafted in the 2nd round came from. He is an "expert" so of course we trust him.

Bill is just saying exactly what other people have told him. Either that or he really thinks we should trust him based on his own limited knowledge, which is just crazy.

If I had to bet my life on any 2009 prospect becoming a top-three player on a championship team, I'd bet on Blake Griffin, Ricky Rubio and Stephen Curry.

I'll take that. Of course a couple of days ago he called it a "four person draft." I don't know what has changed. Asking Bill Simmons to stay consistent is like asking MTV to play any type of music...it would nice for them to do in theory but it's just not happening.

Orlando trades for Vince Carter (one of the biggest "It will end up being either a huge hit or a giant miss" deals in recent memory)

I hate this trade for Orlando. Vince Carter is a proven turd. Look what he did in New Jersey. He joined the team and then they start selling everyone off two years later. It's going to be mid-December before he and Rashard Lewis are fighting over who can stand at the 3 point line for the entire 3rd quarter and bomb three point shots. I can't wait to see Otis Smith's face when he sees Vince's 500th straight fall away jump shot.

Have I mentioned I hate Vince Carter? I even called one of my UNC fan friends yesterday and told him what I feel about the trade and could feel him holding back thinking, "I haven't talked to him in a while, I don't feel like starting a debate." I usually try not to start debates with UNC fans, but I feel so strongly against this trade, not based on what they gave up, but I can't get why any team would volunatarily want Vince Carter.

2. The other ESPN guys gently tempered Scott's enthusiasm for Cleveland's Shaq trade without one bluntly saying, "Stu, I have some bad news for you -- it's not 2001, it's 2009." This is why they keep me off studio shows.

Because one of the ESPN guys would have to tell Bill, "I have some bad news for you--it's not 1993, it's 2009, those jokes are old." Or does he not get to be on studio shows because he would absolutely suck as an analyst? He would spend 30 minutes describing something that can be summed up in one sentence. Or is that Boston doesn't pick until No. 58 so he really serves no purpose?

4:46: Jackson tells us the Grizzlies "are a team, to me, that needs talent." I agree. I was just going to say that. By the way, I'm excited for "Thabeet over Rubio" to become the new "Darko over Carmelo." Somebody should start a "Free Thabeet" blog right now. Beat the crowd.

I agree. I just don't like Thabeet. He got used by DeJuan Blair when they played, he is actually pretty soft for a shot blocker, he is too skinny to hold his position on offense or defense. All he has going for him is that he is tall and we all know how that turns out for players who have the tall gene and not much else offensively in the NBA. He will have a 10 year career blocking shots and averaging 6ppg. Have I mentioned UConn had to surround him with players like Jeff Adrian and Stanley Robinson who were tough and could rebound because he has trouble rebounding when there is against a more powerful opponent? I forgot that? Well I just added it. On a bright note he has one offensive move and it's a lay-up.

4:51: OK, who would be the funniest celebrity to try to say the name "Hasheem Thabeet?" Tom Brokaw? Bob Cousy?

Them foreigners sure do talk funny.

I like Harden as a glue-character guy and he definitely has a good porn name. But considering the Zombies have to worry about Durant fleeing in a couple of years, wasn't it in their best interests to find him an unselfish guard who's immensely fun to play with and was put on the earth to get Durant easy baskets? Big mistake.

Ouch. Bill's lack of college basketball knowledge comes back to bit him in the ass here. James Harden is a great passer and a wonderful teammate. That is actually a weakness that he has, scouts think he is too unselfish and should look for his own shot more. He averaged 4 assists this year and the number would have been higher if Herb Sendek ran an offense that was even halfway amenable to getting good recruits who could make shots. Let's just say if Kevin Durant is Michael Jordan, James Harden is a wonderful Scottie Pippen. The Thunder drafted a shooting guard who is unselfish and immensely fun to play with and will get Durant easy baskets. Harden is no Ricky Rubio, but if you draft Rubio then that pushed Westbrook to the 2 spot, which is not going to work out well. Harden is going to fit in well here.

Really, Bill should just stick to making smart ass jokes and not analyzing anything...ever.

5:03: Phew. Sota took him. The best part: Stern going into "I'm gonna be extra gregarious right now because they'll be replaying this in Europe!" mode as he announced the pick.

This is what Bill is good at. David Stern did have that look. More smart ass talking, less analysis and he will be fine.

I did know Rubio was the choice from David Stern's face.

And why aren't the ESPN guys wondering about a trade here or, at the very least, murdering this pick? THEY JUST TOOK TWO STRAIGHT POINT GUARDS!!!!!!!!!!

The Casey brought this up in the comments. ESPN should have and could have murdered this pick. Why are are the analysts afraid to analyze and make waves while the dumbass columnists who can't analyze are the ones who make waves? Shouldn't this be reversed? Explain this to me in 30 words or less.

I can't get over the Timberwolves doing this. I actually have something posted for Saturday in a little more depth about this but it makes no sense.

(Important Note: There is no bigger Curry fan than I am. He's going to be a star.

Bill is on the Stephon Curry bandwagon and referred to him as his favorite college basketball player over the past 2 years. I thought that was Russell Westbrook or Kevin Love? I think it just rotates whoever is popular at the time. Think really hard and try to see how many times Bill Simmons mentioned Stephon Curry over the past couple of years...I am not coming up with much and I even googled it and came up with less. Yet another case of Bill saying he loved a player with very little proof or after that player broke out.

Curry may be a star but I am telling you he is going to have trouble creating his own shot and he is a tweener. I have to tell you this, he will be good, but let's not act like their aren't red flags in regard to his game.

5:28: DeMar DeRozan goes ninth to Toronto. That pick left me cold.

If there is a player with a vat of untapped talent, it is DeMar DeRozan. The kid looked confused at USC, but wouldn't you be confused if you couldn't remember in the middle of the game if your "advisor" was supposed to take a 10% or 15% cut of the money Tim Floyd gave you for coming to USC?

I usually don't like it when teams draft guys who don't seem to want to reach their peak in talent but I like it in this case. Toronto had to swing for the fence and they did.

the Nets make amends with their 470 fans by grabbing quirky Louisville swingman Terrence Williams (in my opinion, the last 2009 prospect with a chance to be a top-four guy on a title team).

A top-four guy on a title team? I will take that. Actually, I am getting a little nervous about trumping up this draft so much. It's not a bad draft but I do think there are a lot of good role players here and not franchise changing players. I think there is going to be fewer busts than we have seen in the past because really there is a lower ceiling. That's my official take so I will still defend this draft.

5:45: Charlotte takes Gerald Henderson, a mild shocker since he went to Duke and the Bobcats are run by UNC guys. (I'm not saying this was up there with the Gaza Strip getting settled, but still, mildly shocking.) He hugs his dad, former Boston 1984 Finals hero Gerald Henderson. (Remember, Lakers fans? "Henderson steals the ball!!!!!!!!!!")

I think it is time to revist my mock lottery draft from a month ago to see how I did. I got 4 picks right in the right spot. I am actually fairly impressed considering I put it up May 22nd.

Bill is a big Duke hater but it's pretty obvious he hasn't paid much attention to them (wow, Bill hating a team blindly without really thinking, that must be a shock) because everyone who has seen one Duke game knows who Henderson's dad is because the announcers bring it up every game.

Uninformed Duke haters just annoy me. Also, this is not a shocker at all because nearly every mock draft over the past week has had Henderson going here to Charlotte.

I liked the Hansbrough pick. Good seventh man. Like a much better Luke Walton. As Jackson says, he'll "make every Pacers practice better." Is that what you want from the 13th pick? Of course not. But this isn't a normal draft. I keep telling you.)

This was a stretch for Hansbrough. There are guys who can easily start for teams selected after this, just because Bill did not pay attention to the college basketball season doesn't mean there were no good players. That's the way it is with Bill though, it's not important unless he is involved or he paid attention.

I think the Pacers could have done better in this spot. I am a fan of Hansbrough for a playoff team but not with the 13th pick and the Pacers needing to choose players who have a higher ceiling in this spot.

6:13: Jrue Holiday goes to the Sixers and, more importantly, wins the Rashard Lewis "Last Guy In The Green Room" Award. In 27 minutes per game as a freshman, Holiday averaged 8.5 points and more turnovers (3.8) than assists (3.7). On the bright side, he made 30.7 percent of his 3s. Wait, that's not good. That's your 17th pick.

This was a great pick for the 76ers. He is 19 years old and looked lost at UCLA. This is a guy who could end up winning the Rashard Lewis award for "Last Guy in the Green Room Who Is Listed As the 5th Pick of the Draft in the 2014 Review Of The 2009 NBA Draft."

Keep making fun of Jrue Holiday. He may be in the NBDL in 2 years or he could very well be developing very nicely. We'll see, but I know which way I am leaning.

6:19: Minnesota's choice of Ty Lawson (one of my two remaining favorites) just gave me the same look I had when I found out earlier today that Jackson had died.

No dammit, he is my favorite! I have been on his bandwagon for weeks now and I have proof, which Bill doesn't have except for this one sentence. When Ty Lawson is making an All-Star game or two I am going to feel very vindicated. It's tough to get much more excited about ASG appearances since he is in the Western Conference with Rubio (maybe), Paul, Williams, and Parker, but Lawson is a great fit in Denver. If he busts, I will look like an ass, but I don't care. He was the best player on the best team in college basketball, he should have gone higher.

It's funny because I actually thought he would end up going to Denver last year before he pulled out of the draft because he got a DUI...it's like it was fate he end up in Denver with George Karl.

7:17: The Lakers sell the 29th pick to the Knicks for cash considerations and pick Toney Douglas.

This is what I am talking about with the Lakers standing pat this year. They could have used Toney Douglas. He can score in bunches off the bench and can actually defend other players as well. The Lakers can only blame themselves when they hand Ariza and Odom huge contracts and they start regressing. I hate it when teams stand pat.

Weird night. Too much death. Too many bad picks. Too much weirdness. Too much unpredictablity and incompetence. Too many lousy picks. Too much David Kahn. I'm rattled.

I don't get how there were too many bad picks. He only did the first round and he has said repeatedly this was a weak draft, so which teams made bad picks if there were few good players to be taken after the lottery picks? Seriously, he should cover the second round as well. I liked a lot of those picks. I don't like Chase Budinger, but I like him as a 2nd round pick. I did like the Danny Green to the Cavs and of course Blair to San Antonio.

What frustrates me about Bill Simmons is that he will admit he pays no attention to these college players or overseas players but he feels the need to comment and try to analyze what he thinks about the picks, but he is only commenting based on what others have told him. He says it is a bad draft and then knocks teams for making bad picks. What are they going to do? Not draft a player? It makes my day so much better and worse when I can cover a Bill Simmons article.