Friday, October 16, 2009

7 comments Tim Keown. Yep, That's About It.

Everyone don't forget to make your College Football Pick 'Em choices and Yahoo Fantasy Football rosters for this weekend. I am hopeless in both leagues.

Before I get to the Tim Keown article for the day, I need to focus on another piece of semi-journalism that was own. It's Friday and I can do what I want. Towards the end of the Bill Simmons mailbag Tuesday I threw in a little screed against the Maryland basketball team and I really should edited that part out because it was useless. I started this blog to talk about sports and bad journalism, aiming to do so in one post that both talked about sports and mocked bad sportswriters. I didn't intend on ever cheering for my favorite teams or railing against my least favorite teams, but I broke my own self imposed rule on Tuesday (not that Maryland is one of my least favorite teams, that's not true). I was in a very pissy mood when I wrote that post because of various events going on at work, think about "Office Space" except dumber, and ended up writing something that I myself would make fun I will.

How about a framed picture of the Maryland Terrapin men’s basketball team picture from 2004-2005 to 2008-2009 when the teams had a record of 102 wins and 63 losses, 3 NIT appearances, not getting past the second round in the NCAA Tournament?

Oh, tough shot there, especially coming from a Duke fan whose team has underachieved for say...............the last 4-5 years.

Maryland fans are great, many of them talk a lot of shit, but some like Rob here neglect to look at the fact they haven’t won a game against the team they are talking junk about since February 28, 2007.

2007 was 2 years ago and the Terps have played Duke 5 times since then. It's not like the turn of the century was when Maryland last beat Duke.

This from the same crowd that said they had sex with J.J. Redick’s sister, who was all of 11 or 12 years of age at the time.

As opposed to a Duke crowd of Cameron Crazies, who are really no crazier than any other crowd, they just cheer in a smaller venue, are closer to the court and get a lot more publicity than many other college basketball crowds. The Cameron Crazies have said the following (just off the top of my head):

1. Chanted "A-I-D-S" to Juan Dixon because his parents died of this disease.
2. Chanted "Phil Ford's wife" to Ed Cota because there was rumors he slept with Phil Ford's wife. 3. They held up a sign that said "J.R. 'Can't' Read," which led to Dean Smith pulling the SAT scores of Smith v. Danny Ferry into the public and defending his player.
4. Annoyingly wave their hands on in-bounds plays.

Let's just say they are easily the most annoying group of fans in college basketball so Maryland fans have a long way to go to match them.

The crowds at the men's basketball games have made an entire reputation out of being bitter and angry people. It’s what they are known for in the ACC.

Partially because no media establishment dares to insult Duke's crowd for being vulgar.

I am just kidding Rob from College Park, Maryland. I wish Maryland the best of luck in the NIT this year.

Smug alert! I see Maryland as being around 3rd or 4th in the ACC this year (like Go does), which would most likely put them in the NCAA Tournament. Now that I am done insulting myself, let me bring up some good points Maryland fan "Go" brought up in the comments.

Come on Ben. You of all people to repeat the hyperbole of the basketball media, "MD fans are the meanest."

Like I said, I didn't start this blog to take cheap shots constantly at teams. All my cheap shots are shorter comments and should be based somewhat in the truth (i.e. my smart ass comment the Cowboys haven't won a playoff game since 1996...try to ignore the "Tony Romo looks retarded" tag because that is more of an opinion). I am better than buying into the media's infatuation with putting up the Maryland crowds as the meanest in college basketball.

I'd rather be apart of our fan base who can be really funny and creative such as than to be a Cameron Crazy dork with their lame chants and antics. The students pass cheer sheets around before games.

The Cameron Crazies do a great job of cheering but they really can be dorks. I sometimes cringe when they are shown on television.

Two things I hate the most about being a Duke fan:

1. The Cameron Crazies- I know this doesn't make me popular among Duke fans. I like the energy they provide and the fact they ALWAYS show up and make noise. I don't like the fact they do pass around cheer sheets and frankly seem like the kind of people I didn't speak to in college (this is where I get an angry email/comment from a Cameron Crazie questioning my loyalty).

2. The hype- I like the fact they are always on television but way too often the team gets overpraised, which leads to the team being in the crosshairs of every semi-casual fan like Bill Simmons. These people tend to take cheap shots against Duke, like Bill does, as if it is indoctrinated his their DNA to do this...but it's all because the media LOVES them some Duke so while they are cheap shots against Duke, they are a response to the media loving Duke. I still hate it when Bill Simmons knocks Duke because he is just doing it because he is trying to be funny and it is cool to knock Duke. If you don't follow a sport closely, it sounds stupid to try and mock one of the teams in that sport because it just seems like you are following the crowd.

All schools' fan bases, including Md's, do dumb and vulgar things.

Absolutely true. I know I am being pathetic right now in apologizing but I don't want to use this blog as my sounding board for listing out the teams I hate, even though I don't hate Maryland. It is pretty easy to probably figure the teams I don't like, but that doesn't mean I need to annoy everyone with my angry drivel.

In fact, I think I have defended Gary Williams on this blog on a few occasions because he coaches his ass off and it isn't his fault the team stunk in the early part of last year.

So I was stupid to get all worked up and start taking extended cheap shots at Maryland, especially when my favorite college basketball team's fans are worse than Maryland's and I am sorry for wasting space with it.

-Tim Keown take his "You aren't good enough to date my daughter" scowl and directs towards several topics, including six man crews in the MLB playoffs.

The biggest and most unnecessary affectation in sports is baseball's insistence on a six-man umpiring crew for the postseason.

Affectation: the act of taking on or displaying an attitude or mode of behavior not natural to oneself or not genuinely felt

I don't know if I would call the six man crew the biggest or most unnecessary affectation, but I would call it not really that harmful to the MLB playoffs for sure. It's one of those situations where it's not going to hurt the game currently being played to have two extra guys on the field, so it really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things...unless something goes wrong, in which case it is the biggest abomination in the history of sports in the eyes of some.

I'm trying to think of an instance in the past 30 years when someone said, "That was a great call. Good thing they had umpires standing in the outfield or they would have missed that one." I'm still thinking … nope. None.

Just like people in a restaurant rarely call the manager over to tell him/her the food was excellent, people watching a baseball game only notice the umpiring if it is bad because the expectation is that it will be good. I never sit and watch a game thinking, "Man these guys are calling balls and strikes correctly and the umpire really had his positioning down to make sure he saw the fielder's foot on the base for the double play correct as well," because it is their I expect the calls to be right. We as Americans only notice things when things go wrong, that tends to be our nature. The same thing goes here. Tim Keown doesn't notice the good umpiring because it is their job to umpire the game correctly and when this expectation is met, no one notices.

But I can think of one call (other than the Jeffrey Maier/Derek Jeter/Tony Tarasco fiasco) that was botched that would have been made correctly if there were only four umpires:

Dear Pure Speculation and Unproveable Statements,

Tim Keown invites you to join the discussion on whether there should be six umpires calling a MLB playoff game. You will be our only guests, Common Sense and Actual Proof are not invited to join the discussion.

Tim Keown's Editor

It was one of those calls that was so wrong, you didn't even need to see a replay.

Holy shit, the call was wrong! Let's change all major league baseball rules and eliminate all human elements involved with the game because we just realized humans are fallible and won't always get every call on the field correct, even if there are 10,000 umpires on the field.

I have no problem with robots making the calls on the field, including calling balls and strikes. I prefer the human element but if robots would work to call games, I would be fine with this happening. Until robots become the umpires, we are going to have to deal with the umpires in a baseball game missing a call because of human error. It happens, deal with it.

So how can I be sure it would have been made correctly by the third-base umpire?

You absolutely can not be sure of this, so the only way you can be sure is to lie and say there IS a way you could be sure.

There's no guarantee, of course -- but I can say it would have been made correctly,
Glad to hear Tim can't guarantee the call would have been made correctly by the third-base umpire but he is still sure it would have been made correctly if there had only been a third-base umpire.

because I've never seen a foul-line call that bad before in years and years of watching way too much baseball.

Oh...........So the fact Tim Keown has personally never seen a foul-line call this bad is proof the third base umpire, who would not have had as good of a look at the ball landing as the LF umpire who blew the call, would have gotten the call absolutely correct. So we basically just need to trust Tim Keown's memory and ability to hyperbolize this as the worst foul-line call he has ever seen and this trust we have in him is proof the call would have been made correctly by a four man umpire crew, so six man umpiring crews are harmful to the game of baseball. Got all that?

It's a matter of sheer probability -- the third-base umpire would have taken four steps out and made the right call.

Actually this is a matter of sheer opinion. A matter of sheer probability is that the LF umpire would get this call correct (let's say) 99 out of 100 times, but he missed this one, so the probability is that the LF umpire would get the call correct 99 more times before he missed another one. THAT is a matter of sheer probability. The third-base umpire could have easily had missed the call as well. Probability wise, if there is a missed call on a play like this 1 out of 100 times, the third base umpire in a four man crew is subject to these same probabilities as a LF umpire in a six man crew.

I think I am rambling.

Maybe Cuzzi was too close.

Maybe the idea an umpire needs to be further away from the action to be more accurate is stupid. If this were correct the home plate umpire would call balls-and-strikes from the broadcasting booth.

Maybe being positioned in the outfield for two or three games a year creates an unfamiliar situation -- by definition they're out of position.

This is still a stupid reason. The LF umpire was maybe 20-30 feet further up than he usually would be on that play if he were the third-base umpire, it's not a completely different angle that should mess an umpire up on a consistent basis. In fact, this is the first time I can recall a six man umpire crew missing a foul-line call.

Naturally the tendency is to completely overreact to the situation and make this one exception of a missed call override the innumerable other correct calls that have been made by LF umpires in the playoffs, leading us to believe a six-man crew is useless based on this one example.

Whatever -- it's unnecessary, and aside from the extra pay, it's unfair to the umpire.

It is unnecessary to have a six man crew in the playoffs but it doesn't really take anything away from the game and I don't think it has an effect on the quality of the umpiring. It was a horrible call, but we can't take this one missed call and completely overreact to it.

Phil Cuzzi made a horrible call. Did it make the difference in the series anymore than Punto's base running mistake, Gomez's base running mistake, or Joe Nathan blowing a save? Probably not. It doesn't make sense to have six umpires for a playoff game because four could handle it efficiently but I don't know what the problem with having two extra sets of eyes on the field would be. Missed calls are going to happen and an umpire's own personal strike zone has as much more, if not more, to do with the outcome of a given playoff game than any other umpiring mistake in general does.

I am not saying having 2 extra umpires in the playoffs is smart or adds anything, but I also don't think it takes away from the games either. I don't think having two extra sets of eyes caused this to be a bad call, I think it was just a ball call caused by human error. If MLB could increase the accuracy of the calls on the field, I think that would be a preferable policy, but until that point comes we are going to have to accept that human error occurs on the field from time to time.

Tim then jumps to different topics but he is in no way done being wrong.

Jeff Fisher is one of the best coaches in the NFL, regardless of what his team's record is right now...But Collins is about done, and Jeff Fisher has to make a concession at some point -- the season is lost no matter who is your quarterback, but it might not be totally lost if it can be used to resurrect Vince Young.

A part of me says that Vince Young can provide the team a different voice in the huddle and also has the ability to scramble that would keep a defense on its heels. Really, what can it hurt at this point? Another part of me says, "it's Vince Young, he lost the job to Kerry Collins for a myriad of reasons, the least of which was his performance, what makes you think he actually could do any better?" I am leaning towards keeping Young on the bench if I were Jeff Fisher. I don't know if the Titans team has confidence in Young after last year and most of all, the Titans would probably have to change the offense around a little to build it to Young's strengths, which can be a good thing and a bad thing (for the passing game).

Most of all, I still wonder why everyone was fooled that Kerry Collins was so great last year.

-Even though I was wrong about the Divisional round of MLB's playoffs it's not going to stop me from making predictions for the NLCS and the ALCS. What I don't get is why MLB scheduled a Friday 4:00pm NLCS game after a Thursday 8pm NLCS game and then there is only one game on Saturday and Sunday, when the majority of people can watch the games. I know this is the way the schedule works for reasons I am not privy to, but I am under the impression it makes more sense to get as big of an audience for the game as possible, so scheduling games in the middle of the afternoon on a Friday may not be the best choice, just like scheduling only one game per day during the weekend doesn't seem smart to me. I know college football and the NFL both take place on Saturday and Sunday but I still think there may be a bigger audience for a 4pm and 8pm doubleheader during the weekend. I could be wrong.

(Note: I originally wrote these predictions Wednesday afternoon)

NLCS prediction: Philadelphia 4-2

I know predicted against the Dodgers last round and they obliterated the Cardinals 3-0, while the Phillies had to struggle a little bit to beat the Rockies, but I still feel like the Phillies are the team to beat in the National League. I simply don't believe the Dodgers have the pitching to beat the Phillies hitters. There is no real hole in the top 6 of the Phillies lineup, so there is no way to walk one of the Phillies better hitters and expect great success, like the Dodgers did with Pujols. I don't trust Cole Hamels as much as I wish I could, but I trust him to keep the Phillies in the game, while I am not exactly sure what to think about the Dodgers starting pitching. Wolf, Padilla, Billingsley, and Kershaw underwhelm me a bit. It's not like the Dodgers have a ton of holes in their lineup top-to-bottom, but I think the Phillies lineup is stronger as is their pitching. Plus, I still want to see Brad Lidge try to close out a game in the World Series on the road with a ton of pressure on him.

I think every game of this series will be close, so I could easily see the Dodgers winning the series, but I feel more confident predicting the Phillies to win.

ALCS prediction: New York Yankees 4-3

I know I also predicted against the Los Angeles Angels last round and they also swept their Divisional series 3-0 against what I thought was a really good Red Sox team. I am actually torn on this prediction. I don't trust AJ Burnett and the Yankees benefitted from playing a Twins team that wasn't at full strength and made several baserunning blunders that put them out of games. I don't see the Angels making those same mistakes. I am also not 100% sure Joe Girardi knows how to use a bullpen and I could see Joba Chamberlain netting 1 1/3 innings with 6 appearances in this series and Rivera may end up pitching 20 innings total. I think a Yankees prediction to win the series is too easy simply because they get all the hype, but I am still going that way.

The natural inclination is to have an East Coast bias and say the Yankees are going to run over the Angels, but I don't think this could be true. I think this will be another close series, much like I think the NLCS will be close. The Angels have the starting pitching to keep up with the Yankees and will probably pitch more carefully to A-Rod and Tex in key situations than the Twins did. I like the RH middle of the Angels order with Hunter, Guerrero, and Morales but it just feels like this is the Yankees year. They are getting breaks from the umpires and timely hitting from their best hitters. My gut says the Yankees win this series.

-Peter King makes a quite bold statement on his Twitter:

@zachbaker74 : Peyton Manning will have to slide badly, or Colts would have to tank, for him to lose MVP at this point, barring a big upset.

Yes at this point in the season Peyton Manning is the MVP, but there have only been 5 weeks of NFL football this year. 5 total weeks of NFL football has been played, it's just a little bit early to say Peyton Manning will have to slide badly for him to lose the MVP at this point. What if Peyton Manning doesn't slide but Drew Brees just plays out of this world and the Saints go 14-2? Shouldn't he be an MVP candidate also? I wish Peter would leave his biases behind and not crown Peyton Manning the MVP quite yet.


The Casey said...

3 things about starting Vince Young again. First, they play the Patriots this week in Foxboro. The Patriots aren't what they used to be, but they can still screw with a young QB's head. Second, and as you alluded to, VY's performance on the field wasn't his only issue last year. I don't know, and nobody else seems to have mentioned, whether he's gotten his head straightened out yet. Hopefully he does, but if he doesn't, he doesn't need to be an NFL starting QB. Third, I haven't seen or heard anything about what he's been doing in practice lately. For all we know, he's been JaMarcusing it up out there.

The Casey said...

Not that I'm advocating Kerry Collins, mind you. And seeing that they only have those two QBs on their roster, I'm now wondering what the hell their GM is thinking.

NO other QBs than Collins and Young? What the fuck?

Martin said...

As an Angels fan, I too think the Yankees are going to win in 6 or 7. The Angel's bullpen is teh weakest it's been in years, and will blow at least one critical game for them.

If I hear another analyst talk about the Angel's like they are a mid 80's St. Louis Cardinals team, I'm going to strangle them. MLB Network and ESPN both have talked about the Angel's "lack of power" "Don't have a big bopper". Do they even look at the team stats?

Moarales, 34 HR
Rivera, 25
Hunter, 22 and missed about 30 games
Napoli, 20 as a catcher playing 114 games
and Vlad is finally healthy. No, none of these guys is quite Tex, and they lack the overall power of the Yankees, but it's not like they don't hit the ball out ever.

Tex, 39 HR
Matsui, 28
A-Rod, 30
Posada, 22
Swisher, 29

Is a nice distribution of power, and clearly they have an advantage in that area, but from the way the analysts talk, you'd think the Angel's were playing dead ball era baseball.

Bengoodfella said...

I don't think you want Vince Young to start in Foxboro this week. It's a possibility that he is going to start Young after the bye week for them. I also don't know if teammates trust him yet, especially since he pretty much wanted to quit on the team last year. Young was never that great of a thrower and I wouldn't think getting fewer snaps with the first team is going to help him.

I can't believe the Titans only have 2 QB's on the roster. You would think with having an older QB starting and Young as the backup. It's like they don't plan at all.

Martin, I think the Yankees are going to win in 7 games. The Angels bullpen does look a lot weaker this year and I don't trust Fuentes as much in the closer role and it could end up hurting them in the long run.

Like I said in the post, I like Hunter, Morales and Guerrero in the middle of the lineup. It's not like the Angels do have a weak hitting lineup or are anything like the mid-80's Cardinals, which were teams who had little power...I just don't know if they can win the series.

I think the Angels could end up being able to hit a little bit with the Yankees. The Angels are not playing in the dead ball era at all and you make a good case to support this. I am excited for the series to which, if any, pitching staff can shut the other team down.

Martin said...

Cripes, I can't stand Buck Showalter. They jsut had him commenting on the Game 2 Dodgers and Phillies, and Karl Ravetch asks about pitchers love knowing their roles, and Madson has been the 8th inning guy, so why didn't Madson start the 8th.

Buck says : "Well at this time of the year you can jsut throw roles out the window, your role is to come in and get someone out, that's the bottom line."

Yeah Buck, and that's why none of the guys who played for you could stand your ass, and why you can't get a whiff of a managing job again in the majors. It's the same problem Bobby Cox has had in the playoffs for years, in my opinion. They spend the entire year creating defined roles for guys, and then toss it all out the window come playoff time.

You start Madson in the 8th, and THEN if he can't get out of it, bring in the lefty/lefty, righty/righty, and end up with Chan Ho on the mound at some point probably. Instead he pulled a Cox, and started the inning with Chan Ho (shades of Cox trying to get Mike Stanton pitching to one batter 27 straight playoff games, or so it seemed in the early 90's). All a manager is suppossed to do is put guys in where they have the best chance to succeed, and it's obvious that Manuel didn't do that today, and apparently Showalter thinks isn't important.

Go said...

Although Young is awful I do find it amusing that Collins was such a great "game manager" last year (whatever that is). And this year he just sucks. But his stats are about the same.
As far as MD fans and Duke. I didn't mean to come across as a dick but rereading it now I think I could have written it differently. And we MD fans absolutely have an inferiority complex about our bball team when it comes to Duke and UNC.
But being a MD fan for thirty years it just gets so old the crap we take sometimes that I guess we get sensitive to the criticism. I don't hate Duke. I will 100% root for them when they play ANY non-conference team. K is a great coach and I complete respect him. I hate that he gets a lot of calls because of his status of a great coach but that happens a lot in sports. If it wasn't for Vitale I would like them more. Plus I am a little bitter still about the '01 Final Four. Duke was a better team but to this day I do think the calls were ridiculous in that game but it's in the past. Since 03 we've been crap and have paid dearly for mishandling recruits.
God help our football team when we play Duke this year.

Bengoodfella said...

Martin, yeah I agree with you on that point. I don't know if I have enough evidence to back this up but what I think made the late 90's Yankees teams so good in the bullpen is that each player had that role they had to play. It all started falling apart when Torre couldn't find a setup guy he trusted and he had to start playing with the bullpen a little bit more and ended up overusing Scott Proctor in every situation because he was the only guy he trusted. I don't have too much evidence but I felt like he had defined roles in the bullpen.

Don't even get me into Bobby Cox and his use of the bullpen.

I think you have to stick Madson in that at point and let him perform his role on the team. Park can't be out there in my opinion. It's Madson and then Lidge, there is nothing you are saving these guys for. You have over 48 hours off before the next game. Just do it like you have all year.

There is a reason the Dbacks and Yanks won a World Series after Buck quit managing the team and it wasn't completely a coincidence.

Go, it is funny. I think I showed in a post a couple weeks ago that Collins has similar numbers this year to his career averages and last year he was right near his career average also. He hasn't changed, he can't win games for you, but because they were winning last year he was a hero.

Don't worry about how you wrote it. I think you are right after I re-read what I wrote. I hate cocky ass fans and that is what I was there. Duke has completely underachieved and I think even the fans are starting to get a little insecure like I showed and have to try and prove they are still a good team...which may not be true.

I actually don't hate Maryland and I really like Gary Williams. As far as Duke goes with getting calls and all of that, I can't deny it is sometimes true, especially at home. What few people notice b/c the focus is on Duke is that the Tar Heels get calls as well, but they aren't hated as much as Duke. I don't think the Tar Heels get as many as Duke but they definitely get more than most teams in the country. I cheer for ACC teams out of the conference sometimes too, but it doesn't hurt my feelings when a certain light blue team loses, but I didn't enjoy it when they stunk.

I can't listen to Dickie V call any games. He doesn't talk about the game, he just rambles on and on about whatever the hell he wants to talk about. 2001 was a brutal year for officiating in the Final Four. Duke plays tough man defense and I think sometimes they get away with stuff other teams can't because of that reputation (whether it is true or not).

Mishandling recruits is Duke's current problem as well. They have chosen wrong repeatedly.

I had Duke football at 6 wins before this year and I still feel good about that. It sucks because Cutliffe is going to be hired away as soon as he makes any type of progress.