Saturday, November 6, 2010

6 comments Rick Reilly Should Probably Not Be Allowed To Write Anymore

Before I get to the Rick Reilly column(s), I feel like I have to follow up on Murray Chass and his opinion the Giants were screwing over their fan base by not calling Buster Posey up earlier than they did. I covered it here and here. Murray has responded on his non-blog to the Giants winning the World Series and basically still thinks he was right to say that baseball teams have an integrity problem by following the rules set out for calling up prospects. Either way, it doesn't matter. The Giants have a World Series and have Buster Posey for an additional year longer than they would have if they had called him up at the beginning of the year.

The most amazing part of Murray's latest column where he doesn't admit he was wrong is this part:

Speaking of Posey’s situation, Tidrow said, “We saw him as a catcher, and he hadn’t called his own pitches. He needed brushing up on blocking balls. We called him up when it was time.”

I remain unconvinced, whether the explanation is coming from Giants’ officials or the Giants’ beat writers, who because they are on the scene think they know better but are really just echoing the company line.

So learning to play the catcher position better defensively is not a valid reason to keep a player in the minors until he is seen as ready to play at a major league level?

I can more readily accept the explanation for the timing of Bumgarner’s recall.

“Bumgarner came to spring training with a job to win but was throwing 86 to 91,” Tidrow said, meaning his velocity wasn’t what it should have been. “We wanted him to stay down until he got on all cylinders and when he got on all cylinders we called him up.”

Both players were kept down in the minors instead of starting the year with the Giants. Why does Murray buy the idea Bumgarner needed more time in the minors because his velocity was down, but he can't buy that Buster Posey had to learn how to catch a major league pitching staff and learn to call his own pitches? If I was a team with a young catcher and a young pitching staff I would make sure that young catcher was ready to play defense at a major league level.

I know Joe Morgan doesn't believe catchers call their own pitches, but I don't see how leaving Bumgarner in the minors because his velocity was down, (which is the truth) is any different than leaving Posey in the minors so he can learn to block pitches better and call his own game. Regardless, the Giants have Posey for 7 years and have a World Series. Following the rules (and having an integrity problem according to Murray Chass) worked out for them.

I should not do this to you, but I am covering two Rick Reilly articles today. It's a Double Rick Reilly day In the first article, Rick Reilly has a high horse and he's on it. When he is not busy using bad puns and plagiarizing his own columns, he likes to act as the moral majority. Today, he goes all self-righteous on our asses and uses James Harrison as a scapegoat for the concussion problem in the NFL.

I admit, when I initially looked at the hits Harrison put on Cribbs and Massaquoi they looked pretty dirty to me. It looked like he led with his head and I believe there should have been a penalty called on those hits. That being said, I have thought about it a little more and the receiver can move his body after a defender has launched himself at the receiver to where a hit that would have been at the body goes at the head. Football is violent sport. So toning down the violence isn't a terrible thing, but it is wrong to make Harrison the scapegoat for this violence. I think both hits should potentially have been flagged, but they are also a part of football. Rick Reilly doesn't care. He's better than James Harrison and wants us all to know it.

Good, James Harrison. Please do retire. Make good on your threats and go drive a truck like your father did.

This sounds a bit condescending towards a person who drives a truck for a living. Maybe I am too sensitive. This was written on the day when Harrison was talking about retiring because of how he can't play with the new proposed rules against defensive players.

And if you have as many head-ons in that job as you do in this one, heaven help you.

One profession is driving a large automobile and the other is playing football. If James Harrison has a bunch of head-on collisions while driving a truck, God help the people he hits because his truck is probably bigger than their car. That's beside the point. The point is football is a violent sport and all players playing in the NFL know this already. They play this sport with this prior knowledge. The NFL has always been a violent sport.

then issued words that were even uglier than his deeds: "I don't want to see anyone injured," Harrison said, "but I'm not opposed to hurting anyone."

I'm sorry?

The only thing Rick Reilly should be sorry about is writing this column...and the column he wrote before that...and the 100 other columns before those. He should probably also be sorry that he earns a ton of money mailing in plagiarized versions of previous columns. He should probably also be sorry that he is a self-righteous prick.

I guess Reilly should also feel sorry for himself because few of his peers in the sportswriting profession like him. Google "Rick Reilly" and "concussions" or "Rick Reilly" and "James Harrison." Bloggers and even guys like Dave Dameshek don't seem to enjoy his writing. You know Bill Simmons despises his very existence.

"There's a difference. When you're injured, you can't play. But when you're hurt, you can shake it off and come back, maybe a few plays later or the next game. I try to hurt people."

James Harrison wants to hit people hard. It is part of his job as a linebacker in the NFL. He wants all of his hits to cause an incomplete pass or cause a player to temporarily leave the game, but not actually get hurt.

It sounds cruel, but this is probably how many linebackers feel. Clearly, Rick Reilly doesn't understand some of the basic parts of football. One of them being it is a violent sport and linebackers want to separate a player from the ball. They get paid to do this. It's a violent sport and this isn't James Harrison's doing.

Harrison does more than try. He purposely lowered his head into two Browns wide receivers -- Josh Cribbs and Mohamed Massaquoi -- sending them off to the "How many fingers am I holding up?" guy.

In fairness to Harrison, when he launched himself at Massaquoi it is entirely possible Massaquoi lowered his head to avoid the hit and this caused the helmet-to-helmet contact. Naturally, because Reilly is a reactionary person who writes columns to find blame rather than thinking through an issue, he did not approach the issue with any type of logical thought...even after having three days to do so.

This may be too late to mention this, but this column is titled, "Don't Get Me to the Geek." I am not sure who thought of this title, but it certainly sounds like something Rick Reilly would write. He gets paid a lot of money to think of titles like this.

"A hit like that geeks you up," Harrison said. "It geeks everybody up -- especially when you find out that the guy is not really hurt -- he's just sleeping. He's knocked out, but he's going to be OK."

Boy this does sound cruel. A real sportswriter could probably see this quote and realize it is a part of the football culture and Harrison's words may sound cruel, but this is how football is. Since Rick Reilly is a hack posing as a sportswriter, he is unable to understand that football is a violent sport and the players in the NFL play the sport voluntarily, therefore the quote sounds cruel but is really how most NFL players feel.

It didn't geek Patti Drake up. She was a kind of surrogate mom for Cribbs at Kent State, where he was, believe it or not, a teammate of Harrison's.

"It sickened me," she says.

It's football. This stuff happens.

What irritates me a little bit, and makes me feel like there is some hypocrisy present, is that an offensive player is allowed to lower his head and run over a defensive player (remember Tim Tebow at the University of Florida on nearly every running play?) and that is seen as perfectly fine. Kevin Everett was paralyzed after Domenick Hixon ran over him on a kick return.

Watch the video. It doesn't lie. Hixon lowered his head as Everett got near him. He essentially created the contact by trying to run over Everett. I don't blame Hixon of course because offensive players are allowed to do this.

It's seen as "tough" for a running to lower his head and attempt to gain extra yardage. Concussions or injuries can occur when a running back does this.

You know what would geek me up? Harrison out of the game. Because as much as I abhor the way he plays,

Right, because Harrison so different from how every other NFL linebacker plays. Rick Reilly just wants to use Harrison as an example. Rick Reilly really abhors the way Harrison plays a violent sport? If so, then Reilly should abhor the NFL and football completely as well. That's how the sport is played.

God knows how Harrison would've reacted if the NFL had done what it should've, which is to bench him for two games, one for each player he appeared to try to decapitate.

Bench him for playing the game of football as it was designed and for injuring a player. We have already been through this bullshit with Gregg Easterbrook. If a player had to sit when he injured another player then strategically it may make sense for a player to pretend to be injured in order to cause the player who hit him to have to sit.

Let's say two teams are duking it out for the title in a division and the fourth string receiver gets hit going over the middle by the Pro Bowl middle linebacker for the other team...what would stop the fourth string receiver from pretending to be injured so the Pro Bowl MLB has to sit out the rest of the half, the game or even longer? This would also help hurt his team's chances of winning the division. Competitively and logically it doesn't make sense to punish an offensive or defensive player based on how long that injured player is out.

If we can have a rule that a player who suffers a concussion can't go in for the rest of the game, why can't we have the same rule for players who hand them out?

Because, idiot, a player could suffer a concussion due to a perfectly legal hit by a defensive player. Injuries just don't occur on illegal hits, they occur on legal hits as well. It makes no sense to punish a defensive player who hits another player legally and with the correct form, but causes the other player to have a concussion. It's ludicrous. This rule would be punishing a player for doing his job.

And what does all this say about us? The Romans used to pack the Colosseum to watch barbarism and cruelty, a spectacle that dehumanized the fans as well as the combatants. Are we starting to become those fans?

If you can't understand the difference in gladiators fighting in the Colosseum and an NFL team playing a football game then I am not sure you should write about sports for a living. I think this should be a rule. Football is a violent sport, there's no doubt about it, but it is a far cry from a gladiator competition.

All in all, seven players left games Sunday with brain injuries. It was the kind of Sunday that makes you wonder what kind of person you are for sitting there watching.

You are a person who loves to watch football. That's what kind of person you are. You are a person who understands a weekend where 7 players leave the game with brain injuries is a sign something needs to potentially be done, but also a coincidence.

Watching men turn other men's cerebellums into oatmeal is starting to bring up the bile. We now know what these collisions can mean later in life.

Everyone is incredibly sensitive to this issue as well. It is not like the players don't understand what they are getting into. Some players like Robert Smith leave the NFL when they have done as much as they want so they can live a healthy life. Other players choose not to do this. It's called personal choice and it is what separates highly paid NFL players from being completely innocent victims. No one did a bait-and-switch on them.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin defended Harrison, saying he's a "model" for young players to imitate. Oh, yeah, he's a peach. Fined $5,000 for slamming Vince Young into the ground. Fined $5,000 for unnecessary brutality against a Cincinnati Bengal. Had to go to anger management and undergo psychiatric counseling after being charged with assault on his girlfriend.

What an asshole. Is there a way Rick Reilly could be more self-righteous? James Harrison has gotten fined for playing rough in the NFL, this happens to a lot of NFL players. To talk about Harrison's personal life like that, its just very judgmental and very "Jay Mariotti" of him. Of course Rick loves to give advice when he doesn't have the place to do so, like when he gave Tiger marriage advice in one of his columns and Reilly has gone through a divorce himself.

Owned a pit bull that bit his son, the boy's mom and his masseuse. When's he running for Congress?

Please, he would fit right in with Congress.

Helmet-to-helmet hits involve two helmets. But when somebody asked Harrison whether he was worried about the long-term effects on his own brain, he scoffed. "That's the risk you take," he said.

It's true. That's what a lot of NFL players think. Helmet-to-helmet hits can also be caused by one of the players moving his body/head at the last second and causing the helmet-to-helmet hit. Offensive players are also guilty of this.

An answer that begs the question: What brain?

Yes, James Harrison is stupid for choosing what profession he wants to spend his life doing. Because Rick Reilly wouldn't play football, this makes it a stupid decision for James Harrison to choose to do so. It is easy for Rick Reilly to be so sanctimonious about choosing to play football and face the prospect of brain injuries because he sees it as stupid, but that doesn't mean he is right.

In the second Rick Reilly article, he decides that he isn't too good for fantasy sports because a bunch of E-list celebrities invited him into a league. Now that famous, rich people like Rick are doing it, then it can't be so bad.

Or as Ivn said in the comments when linking this article,

"I thought fantasy football was for losers, but then I was asked to join a league with a bunch of Hollywood types. aren't I great?"

The sickies checking WebMD on their iPhones to see how long turf toe takes to heal.

The incurables watching two hours of Sunday-morning Weather Channel before picking a kicker.

I've been playing fantasy sports for quite a while now and I have never seen a person or heard of a person in any league I have ever been in doing either of these things.

They're fantasy football freaks, and I always figured the "fantasy" referred to their sex lives.

But this season, I was talked into joining a Hollywood league with Season 7 "Bachelor" Charlie O'Connell, actor Jerry Ferrara (Turtle from "Entourage"), movie critic Ben Lyons, and a bunch of stand-up comedians and movie and TV producers.

"But then a bunch of E-list celebrities called me up and wanted to be in their league, so I figured I would do it so I could mention I hang out with a bunch of celebrities. Care if I name-drop for a minute?"

Oh and yes, that is the same Ben Lyons who is the biggest fucking joke of a film critic there has ever been in the history of cinema. He would rather crawl up the asshole of a movie star in order to be close to them rather than give a negative review to celebrities he likes. Being a film critic to him is a chance to stargaze and starfuck any and every celebrity and kiss their ass in interviews with his fanboy laughter when they say something not even close to amusing. Fuck Ben Lyons.

I get mocked by my wife for liking Roger Ebert, but I think it is generally agreed he is a well-respected film critic, even if you don't always agree with him. When a man like Ebert writes an entire set of rules on how to review a movie and he is specifically referring to you, there is a good chance you a fucking terrible film critic. Read both of those articles, they are worth it. Basically he writes rules for what Ben Lyons does wrong without naming him...and later names him. Along with Ebert's review of Deuce Bigalow 2 (which I think I have posted here 3 times because I love it so much) and his written response to Jay Mariotti leaving the Sun-Times (he titled it "Jay the Rat"), Ebert has even more credibility with me when it comes to putting people in their place.

I am WAY off topic. Let's say I don't like Ben Lyons and aren't impressed with anything he does.

What did I find out? They weren't getting any, either. But only because they were too busy working the waiver wires all Saturday night.

If a person has to work the fantasy wire all Saturday night to find a good fantasy player for the next day, there is a 99% chance you are functionally illiterate or should cease following sports immediately.

"I once broke up with a girl because she told me to start Ahman Green," says Ferrara, 30. "He had minus-3 points. I said I needed space. She asked if I was still mad about the fantasy football thing. I swore I wasn't. But I dropped Ahman Green the next day."

I'm not sure what is more pathetic about this. That Jerry Ferrara couldn't make up his own mind about which player to start or that he blamed it on his girlfriend when the choice she made failed. He probably shouldn't blame her for his fantasy football failure when he isn't smart enough to make a decision like this on his own.

Even in shallow 8-team leagues there are probably only a maximum of 15 players on the waiver wire worth picking up. It's not that difficult of a decision really to find a player to pick up.

"I've had opportunities for sex on Sunday mornings that have been waaaaay too close to game time," says actor Max Greenfield ("No Ordinary Family," "Ugly Betty," "Veronica Mars," et al). "I've had, you know, difficulty focusing."

Exactly. And you don't want to pay $200/hour for sex if you can't focus.

Lyons' girlfriend woke up last weekend only to find him feverishly scouring the waiver wire. "She wanted to watch," Lyons says. "After about 90 seconds, she got out of bed and said, 'Wow, that was really boring.'

Then Ben Lyons girlfriend ran out of batteries and he had to throw the entire talking blowup doll away because it had a tiny hole in the shoulder and was leaking air. What bad luck!

Still, the defending champion of our league -- Todd Milliner (co-producer, "Hot in Cleveland") -- has never passed up sex with a girl to concentrate on fantasy. He's gay.

"Do you have any idea how many brunches I miss for fantasy?" he laments.


"I spoiled the Halloween of every kid who came to my door this year because I couldn't answer it. I had to be ready at all times to know whether Mewelde Moore got a TD or not. And I don't even HAVE Mewelde Moore."

Considering Moore has 11 carries all year, I'm going to go on a limb and say he didn't have a touchdown this year and he probably isn't worth following at all...unless you are related to him in some way.

Reilly mentions this guy went 15-0 one year in a fantasy football league. The only real way to go 15-0 in a fantasy league is if you are in a league with a bunch of guys who don't know what they are doing or you have an incredible amount of luck.

The draft was at a Sunset Boulevard joint called Happy Endings. All these comedians and actors and yet nobody said a single funny thing all night. They were nose-down into their stacks of spread sheets and laptops. They were on phones to consultants. They had calculators out.

I stood there with my one crappy printout from Rotoworld.

But at least you were with famous people. Or people who are famous once you tell me what they have done to be considered famous.

It's serious. Guys were adding and dropping like incoming Harvard freshmen. Mauling the waiver wire. Gypsy trading.

I'm glad Rick Reilly is writing this column 15 years late. It's good to know that fantasy sports are popular. Look for his column next week on that IPod and how it can play music WHILE YOU EXERCISE!

And then I found myself doing worse, like bugging reporter buddies for Reggie Bush injury updates. Like rooting for an Indiana tornado when Monday night came and I had nobody left on my roster. Like yelling insane things at the TV.

"That's a travel. The wide receiver didn't even dribble once!"

"Look at that illegal tackle! He tackled the guy and then stayed on him until he hit the ground. He should be suspended two weeks for that!"

"Manning got fouled on pass. He deserves two free throws!"

(Reilly's wife) "Rick. I think you are talking about the wrong sport."

(Reilly) "Shut up bitch, I'm the sports columnist in this house. I know what I am talking about....are they even allowed to kick the football through those two yellow telephone poles?"

"Honey, why are you cheering for No. 80 but against No. 88?" said my confused wife, the lovely Cynthia. "Aren't they on the same team?"

It's a kind of sweet misery only fantasy freaks like me can understand.

15 years...too...late.

But the more I got to know these guys, the more I saw why they did it.

Why most guys do it? Or why these guys did it? These guys did it so they could remind everyone they are still alive and to avoid becoming F-list celebrities.

Most of us don't go to an office. Our Guy Time Meter hovers near zero sometimes. I love my wife, but she doesn't want to kick paper field goals or ask if I got my haircut at the Oakland airport. Guys show love by giving each other crap. It's just how we do it.

Holy shit! Is that how guys do it? I have never seen a Judd Apatow comedy before!

What are we gonna do, compliment each other's shirts and then make clam dip?

No, we are going to bitch about how rough the sport of football is and then wish that James Harrison would get hurt in the act of just doing his job of tackling the ball carrier or receiver.

"It's the camaraderie of the guys," says Ferrara of his fantasy entourage. "It allows you to kinda be kids again. It's like we're all back playing Wiffle Ball in the yard. Man, I'm getting kinda teary just thinking this stuff."

I'm embarrassed for Jerry Ferrara right now. Not because of what he said here, but because he has appeared in a Rick Reilly column and was quoted...twice.

That comes from Ferrara's heart. It has to. He's 1-7.

Rick Reilly doesn't give us his fantasy team's record. I'm guessing 0-8. So not only is Rick Reilly 15 years late on writing about fantasy sports, he only played so he could name drop the celebrities he was in a league with. He's just terrible.


Imo said...


This part pissed me off for more than what you mention:

"I remain unconvinced, whether the explanation is coming from Giants’ officials or the Giants’ beat writers, who because they are on the scene think they know better but are really just echoing the company line."

So...not only do bloggers and statheads not know shit about baseball because they don't watch baseball games, but beat writers don't know shit either, because they do watch baseball games.

What an asshole.

Martin said...

While Mass might have lowered his head, and that resulted in the head to head hit, the problem with Harrison is that he almost always leads with his head. He isn't trying to make tackles, he's trying to hit guys as hard as he can, while leading with his head. This pretty much means anytime the receiver moves his head, it's going to result in a helmet to helmet. If the receiver didn't move his head, it would have been helmet to chest, which is spearing, and yet that also almost never gets called.

Bengoodfella said...

Yeah, that is an irritating part. The point is that nobody knows anything about the game because they have some sort of bias. Beat writers for newspapers aren't paid by the team so they can and do say whatever they want.

The only people who know anything is Rick Reilly and the national media I guess...because they are so smart and all.

Martin, he did lower his head. I'm not trying to say the hit wasn't Harrison's fault, but the NFL needs to be careful they aren't overdoing this. Harrison has a history and that tackle on Massaquoi wasn't even really a tackle, but I do have mixed feelings about some of the calls I have seen so far.

I think it is easy to use Harrison as an example, b/c to an extent you are right.

Martin said...

Where as Duante Robinson's hit was not his fault at all that the helmets hit. It jsut annoys me that I keep hearing NFL guys talk about "clean hit, clean hit!" and the video clearly shows a dude flying straight at the target, head lowered, arms at their side.

HH said...

"Too many concussions in football. Too few in soccer.

Read more:

[by Rick Reilly, hypocrite]

Bengoodfella said...

Martin, announcers seem to love to clarify whether a hit was clean or not, especially lately. I am not sure they are accurate about it either.

HH, I wonder why he doesn't think there are enough concussions in soccer. That is hypocrisy, but why does he want soccer players to have concussions? I don't get it.