Thursday, March 31, 2011

1 comments Spurs or Celtics?

I'm going Dime on you again. I wrote the piece on the Spurs. Here's the link:

Once again, if you're to lazy to click (which is completely understandable, here's the article in its entirety.

Boston Celtics

I’ve decided to use Eminem’s approach in his final battle against Papa Doc in 8 Mile and address all the arguments that can be made against the Celtics right off the bat.

At 51-22, the Celtics are tied with Miami for second place in the East and sit just two-and-a-half games back of the Chicago and Derrick Rose for first. That being said, the Celtics are struggling. They’re 5-7 in their last 12 games and have hardly looked like themselves. Rajon Rondo is frustrated, Kevin Garnett is constantly playing in foul trouble and injuries have crippled them as of late.

But Boston fans, come in off that ledge. All hope is not lost. In fact, the Celtics are actually ahead of schedule in comparison to 2010. Few may remember, but the C’s finished 10-10 in their last 20 games last season and limped into the playoffs as a banged-up four seed. Then the “old,” “tired” and “banged up” Celtics beat Miami in five, Cleveland in six and Orlando in six to reach the NBA Finals, concluding the season a knee injury away from an NBA championship.

But the Celtics are a different team now with a different identity. No longer are they the bullies at school – taking Tommy’s lunch money, stuffing little Billy into a locker. Those days are over.

However, the Celtics are still a championship-caliber team.

When the Lakers lost five of nine in mid-January, the media tagged them as “old” and questioned whether they would even reach the conference finals. Now they’ve won seven in a row, are 15-1 since the All-Star break and look poised to defend their title.

Too quickly do people write teams off, assume the worst and rush to judge when a bit of adversity is experienced.

The Celtics are experiencing a similar drought. New players, a new system and untimely injuries have taken a toll on their wins column. When a star receiver is traded in the NFL, what’s the first thing you hear on SportsCenter the next day? “Quarterback X and receiver Y spent two hours running routes after practice, working on their timing and footwork.” These things take time.

The Celtics lost one key player (two if you count Nate Robinson) from last year’s team. They added six. Troy Murphy, Jermaine O’Neal, Nenad Krstic and Shaquille O'Neal provide depth and an abundance of fouls in the frontcourt. Once Murphy, O’Neal and Shaq return from nagging ankle and knee injuries, the Celtics should reassume dominant form. They also added Delonte West and Jeff Green. West, a veteran with playoff experience, provides the Celtics two things: perimeter scoring and someone to come off the bench and give Paul Pierce and Ray Allen a blow. Green is an interesting player who has the potential to make the Celtics a different team. With his size and athleticism, he makes them more flexible, providing perimeter versatility not just on offense but on defense, something they will need to slow down Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.

The Celtics’ nucleus, along with their six new additions, makes them championship contenders. Don’t let 10 regular season games tell you otherwise. -Scott Horlbeck

San Antonio Spurs

Most assumed that the Spurs’ surge to the top of the standings would be short-lived. In time, the injury bug would run its course. The Spurs have had other ideas. Many Ginobili is playing with his trademark reckless abandon. Tim Duncan is once again a defensive anchor. Tony Parker has filled the gaps with a varying array of floaters, elaborate layups and timely shooting. Ultimately however, the prognosticators had it partially right. Four starters have recently missed games due to injury.

For most teams, minor injuries cause major ripples. With little continuity on NBA rosters, each game and practice is valuable for enhancing chemistry. The Heat, Thunder, Bulls and Magic (the young and/or newly acquainted contenders) are still developing that ever-elusive chemistry while exerting their youthful energy on a nightly basis. Although this makes them more prone to injury, it’s an unavoidable risk. Asking these teams to slow down is like asking Manu to play conservatively; it’s ineffective and detrimental to the team.

Some teams, despite injuries, put it together when it counts simply because the chemistry is already established. Doc Rivers famously claims that no team has beaten the Celtics in a seven-game series when completely healthy. Similar statements can be made about the Spurs.

It’s not that the Spurs are an immovable object impervious to defeat when healthy. History has proven otherwise. They are, however, part of a certain group of NBA teams that can shift to cruise control. Teams in this group, such as the Lakers, Celtics, Spurs and Mavs see the bigger picture. If they want to win in the playoffs, they need their guys to be healthy and rested. They can rest on their laurels as they please.

Recent NBA history suggests that veteran teams with chemistry have the best shot at a title. But each team that has actually won it has had that extra edge. The 2006-07 Spurs had the growing legend of LeBron to combat and the swirling belief that it was only because of Amar’e Stoudemire’s suspension that they won the Western Conference Finals. In 2008, the Celtics had a plethora of veterans devoid of playoff success; the Lakers were hell-bent on revenge after the Celtics stuck it to them the year before. Last season, the Lakers had doubters, a possible repeat and the rival Celtics as motivation to finish the job.

So what do the Spurs have that separates them? The “nobody believes in us” factor. They are already arguably the best team in the NBA. They have reignited their stars and propelled them to new heights with a run-and-gun offense. They have the NBA’s best record. And despite all that, nobody seems to be giving them a chance. When experts talk about championship favorites, the Spurs hardly enter the conversation outside of “they’ll be a tough out.” This added fuel can, and will, propel them to an NBA title. If they weren’t dangerous before, watch out for them when they’re motivated. -Dylan Murphy

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

6 comments Now I Get It, Dan Shaughnessy Just Hates the NCAA Tournament

When I was writing the post a few days ago chastising Dan Shaughnessy, I wondered why Dan was so insistent that the NCAA Tournament selection committee include Harvard. It is because Dan Shaughnessy doesn't care about the NCAA Tournament and one of the few things that would make it interesting is if Harvard were in the NCAA Tournament and he thinks college basketball is the dirtiest sport ever. Today, Dan Shaughnessy introduces us to the seamy side of the NCAA Tournament, rambles about how good college basketball used to be, and just generally annoys human kind.

Sorry to disrupt the dance, but I’m here to tell you that the NCAA Tournament is one of the more fraudulent, overblown media creations of our time.

I am not sure Dan understands the concept and definition of a "media creation."(Maybe the word is a media creation!) I could not find the actual definition of this word, but to me a media creation is something that doesn't exist or doesn't have as much relevance as the media believes it does.

So I know Dan is throwing around big words (for him), but the NCAA Tournament is not a media creation. It is a real tournament that exists and there is nothing fraudulent about the impact it has on lost money for companies when their employees watch it nor fraudulent about the growing popularity of the tournament. So in a nutshell, Dan is absolutely completely wrong about the tournament being a media creation and being overblown. It is no more overblown or media created than the Super Bowl.

March Madness?
I hate that term too. I am embarrassed, embarrassed I tell you, that we have a tag of "March Madness." That is a term used by television networks to describe the tournament and for some reason I don't like it. I shall remember to fine Dylan 100 Cheez-Its for creating that tag.
Please. What a farce.
Disagreed. There have been many good games in the tournament so far. What's a farce is the attempt by Dan to negate the impact the tournament has on people.

The David-vs.-Goliath themes are fun, great finishes always fascinate, and sometimes it’s nice to check in on old State U. But is there any connection between folks who actually follow the college game and this gluttonous festival of 24/7 bracketology bombardment?

Yes, there is. I follow the college game and I take off work to watch the NCAA Tournament. It is "my Christmas," the first four days of the tournament. I would assume with the reported impact the tournament has on workplace productivity, I am not the only one doing this. As far as bracketology goes, I don't follow that because I don't really care where teams are going to be placed in the tournament before this is actually announced. In regard to watching college basketball and enjoying it, this is the best time of the year for that in my opinion.

Here’s a little test: Walk out your door and try to find someone who can name five players in this year’s tournament.

Seriously? Maybe it is because I live in an area where college basketball is very popular, but I would estimate 50% of the people I speak with can do this. Simply because Dan Shaughnessy can't do this doesn't mean he speaks for others nor does it mean the NCAA Tournament is a fraud.

I don't watch a lot of soccer, but because I can't name the entire Everton roster does that mean soccer isn't popular? Of course not. I am not an egotistical maniac though. Egotistical maniacs like Bill Simmons and Dan Shaughnessy believe if they aren't personally watching or enjoying something, then it isn't happening or nor is it popular. It's irritating when they do this.

You won’t find anyone unless you live

in a place with human beings? In area with a major college basketball program within 50-100 miles?

next door to Bob Ryan, my boss Joe Sullivan, or one of the pudding-eating, basement-dwelling blog boys

Oh, I get it now! The NCAA Tournament is for geeks and losers who write on blogs and like advanced statistics. This was a connection I haven't even heard before. I love hearing new non-sensical things on a daily basis. It makes me feel smart and sane. It's like Activia for my brain. So everyone who likes college basketball (I would assume these are the people who watch the NCAA Tournament) are basement-dwelling blog boys.

Putting basement-dwelling blog boys in the same category as those who follow the NCAA Tournament really makes absolutely no sense. I have never heard this before today and probably will never hear this again after today.

Look at the commercials that are shown during the NCAA Tournament. Commercials for financial services, credit cards, and other services/products that are aimed towards college-educated/middle-class individuals with expendable income. There are a wide class of individuals who watch the NCAA Tournament on television and it has nothing to do with living in your mother's basement.

At what point will this "basement-dwelling" cliche about bloggers cease to exist? It is not funny, accurate, nor is it original. It has now become the fall-back insult from a writer over the age of 50 when talking about a subject he doesn't like or understand. It is used to describe those who do like the subject that over-50 writer doesn't like or understand. I say "he" because I haven't heard of a woman write something about basement-dwelling bloggers yet.

As far as "pudding-eating" goes...who the fuck eats pudding anymore? If someone still eats pudding, I would assume it isn't called pudding and is called something way cooler.

who’d normally be tracking UZR or NFL fantasy teams.

Fantasy is for basement dwelling blogs boys now. I didn't know this was true. I wondered what else Dan Shaughnessy thought was for basement-dwelling blog boys and what was not. So I called the super-secret Dan Line (with a red phone nonetheless) and got the following information. Here's a list provided by Dan Shaughnessy on what is for basement-dwelling blog boys and what is not:

For basement dwelling blog boys:

Fantasy teams, statistics that don't have to do with RBI or win-loss record, logic, NCAA Tournament, video games, videos, DVD's, Blu-Ray players, the Internet, computers, college, high school, junior high school, the color pink, pajamas, comments on a sportswriter's column, anyone who expresses their opinion on the Internet, oxygen, Bracketology, the Oakland A's, the Houston Rockets, movies, television shows, Facebook, MySpace, technology, the IPad,, the Nook, the Kindle, electric toothbrushes, goldfish, the movie "Inception," comic books, books with pictures, rap music, rock music, plastic, honey-nut Cheerios.

Not for basement dwelling blog boys:

Man-perms, Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, fluff pieces on white athletes.

The tourney is great for office pools, gamblers, and happy hours, but most of the millions who fill out brackets wouldn’t know Nolan Smith from Nolan Ryan.

Irrelevant. Millions watch the Super Bowl for the commercials and can't tell you much about the game itself nor name three players on each team. This doesn't mean the Super Bowl is a fraudulent event. Not to mention, to fill out a bracket you don't need knowledge about college basketball, but the ability to write with a pen or pencil.

Many folks who express “interest’’ in the tourney still think the UCLA Bruins need more work on their power play.

Yes, I absolutely believe the same people who don't have enough sports knowledge but to believe the UCLA Bruins are an NHL hockey team, just happen to be smart enough about sports to understand exactly what a power play is. Because hockey is so much more popular than college basketball you see.

Certainly there are compelling Cinderella stories, but for the most part, the NCAA Tournament has morphed into a grotesque festival of AAU semi-pros working/playing for academic institutions.

By "the NCAA Tournament" Dan needs to actually mean "many NCAA sports" and it will be a more accurate statement. College football is the exact same way. This is not exclusive to the NCAA Tournament. College sports aren't pure, this doesn't mean the NCAA Tournament sucks.

The players want to make it to the NBA and the schools want to rake in bundles of cash.

I think it is interesting it is the year 2011 and Dan Shaughnessy has finally figured out how college sports work. Unfortunately, since he doesn't watch the NCAA Tournament he doesn't see the NCAA commercial that says the majority Division-I athletes go professional in something other than sports. If he saw that commercial, he would realize the NCAA Tournament IS about money, but 99% of the players in the tournament will not be going to the NBA and are getting a chance at a college education. This is a good thing. Also, I find it hard to believe the players are pissed off they get a chance to be on national television playing in the NCAA Tournament. It is probably a life-long goal for many college basketball players.

Saturation coverage has become nauseating. ESPN is making me despise the tourney the same way it made me despise Brett Favre and LeBron James.

Here is a solution. Don't watch ESPN for your college basketball coverage. Read other college basketball analysts on the Internet (I know it is something basement-dwelling blog boys like) at other sites. There are other sources out there if Dan is tired of ESPN's coverage. I think Dan is just bitter ESPN has never invited him to be on "Around the Horn."

In the world of television commentary, every coach is pure and never responsible for NCAA violations. It was particularly disgusting to see Rick Pitino join the CBS crew hours after his team was eliminated.

How exactly was this disgusting to see? Pitino's actions in the past have been somewhat disgusting, but having him on as an analyst for CBS after his team is eliminated isn't really disgusting. He knows something about college basketball and his face being on CBS gets the Louisville name out to recruits. It is not like Pitino is hurting Louisville's program in any way by being seen on CBS. Banging women in the back of Italian restaurants? That's another story.

Is Dan suggesting Pitino was more concerned about a potential gig with CBS rather than coaching his team well in the first round? Bill Self joined the studio last year after his Kansas team lost to Northern Iowa. Was that disgusting as well? Does this mean he gave up on his Kansas team so he could be on CBS? I doubt it. I think Dan is searching hard for reasons to be critical right now.

In March Madness, it’s always about the coaches more than the kids.

I'm pretty sure paying a Louisville player to comment on college basketball would violate his amateur status. So when it comes to hiring coaches or players to comment on games, the coaches are preferable.

You have to love the astronomical salaries of these guys, many of whom make more money than the entire English department at your average NCAA school.

Thanks Gregg Easterbrook. The athletic programs "these guys" coach also make more money for the average NCAA school than the English department does. This is most likely a sad, but true fact. So, they are compensated for the amount of money they bring into the school as revenue.

It’s safest to assume that all the schools and coaches are cheating. It’s just a matter of degree.

How's that for a blanket statement that provides no proof of evidence? How is it safe to assume all coaches and schools are cheating? Is it safe to assume this, or is it just convenient to assume this so Dan Shaughnessy can prove his point? I hate it when a sportswriter makes an assumption that is used to prove the point he wants to make and the assumption he makes is completely arguable in its truth. I am afraid stupid people believe the assumption and don't look at it speculatively.

It is possible all schools and coaches are cheating, but unfortunately I would require proof of this before I said this or wrote this down for others to see.

Today’s competition is seriously diluted. This year’s tournament featured a whopping 68 teams, and 13 of them had 11 or more losses.

So because there aren't as many top-end teams, then the tournament is less fun because it is less predictable? The fact there are more balanced teams doesn't mean the competition is diluted, it can also mean the talent is spread out across college basketball more than it used to be. Do we really want to go back to the days when a team could win 4 national titles in a row? I don't.

In the good old days, it was one team per conference.

How the hell is this an improvement? How the hell does this improve the tournament? I would ask Dan these two questions he undoubtedly would not be able to answer (unfortunately the Dan Line is busy right now...he's probably talking to Danny Woodhead). One team per conference doesn't improve the product, it doesn't make college basketball any more clean (in fact, it would dirty it up because schools would do anything they could to win their conference), and the "old days" really weren't so good. It just seems that way. The old days of college basketball really weren't as good as some would think.

The 1974 Maryland Terrapins, one of the greatest college teams ever (six NBA draftees), couldn’t make it to the NCAA tourney because they lost the conference championship game to North Carolina State (103-100 in overtime).

How the hell is this a good thing? Does Dan really believe this is good for college basketball? How is leaving a team that went 23-5 out of the NCAA Tournament good for college basketball and superior to how the tournament is set up today?

I would go as far as to say anyone who thinks one team per conference in the NCAA Tournament is good for college basketball does not like college basketball. 68 teams is about as much expanding as the NCAA Tournament should go, but there is parity in college basketball and the fact there aren't dominant teams in the NCAA Tournament is not a bad thing.

That never happens now. The NCAA this year invited 11 teams from the Big East, which makes the conference tournament a joke.

No, it doesn't. This one incident of 11 teams from one conference getting in the NCAA Tournament doesn't take away from the Big East tournament any more than the regular season took away from the Big East tournament.

And don’t you just love the way the NCAA pompously insists that we refer to the players as “student-athletes’’? Bull.

I will not defend the NCAA on this matter. Players from teams that make the Final Four will have missed nearly a month of classes or at least missed parts of classes for a month. The NCAA uses the whole "students will miss too much class" reasoning when it is convenient for them.

What a shocker! The NCAA is a huge hypocrisy! I have learned to accept this and enjoy the sporting events. Maybe that makes me a terrible person.

Twenty-one of the 68 teams in the tournament have graduation success rates under 50 percent for their African-American players.

Fun with numbers! I like how Dan throws this statistic out there to impress everyone, but doesn't give it any impact by comparing it to the graduation success rate of African-American players who aren't athletes or aren't playing for a school in the NCAA Tournament.

So I will be the one to show how this isn't as terrible of a number as it initially may seem. 59% of African-American Division-I male student-athletes graduate, while 38% of African-American male students graduate. I couldn't find the figures for the 68 individual schools in the NCAA Tournament, but it wouldn't shock me if for most of the colleges African-American male student-athletes graduate at a higher rate than the general African-American male student population.

A large number of the players have zero connection to the campus lives of the schools they represent.

I haven't found this to be true in my experience. I went to two Division-I colleges and I was in class with athletes, went to parties with athletes, hung out at the same bars as athletes, played pick-up sports with athletes and socially knew athletes. At Appalachian State I lived where every basketball player and many football players on the team lived and I interacted with them. My sister went to UNC and had classes with UNC basketball, baseball and football players. I just find this statement not to be true for a large number of players.

Do you know a kid who goes to Syracuse? Cool. Ask him or her if they’ve ever taken a class with or interacted with any of the basketball players.

I would bet there are many people who have. Do athletes get special academic treatment? Probably, but at big or small schools many athletes are a part of the general student population. Dan is wrong about this in my mind.

Ultimately, March Madness is a competition of recruitment. Which coach was able to assemble the best players?

To an extent, possibly, but isn't this true many times in all sports? I don't think anyone would argue Butler or Duke had the best players last year, and even after assembling great athletes the coach still has to coach them well. Ask John Calipari about that.

If anything, college basketball is less about which coach can get the best talent on his team than it used to be. Ever notice what John Wooden's UCLA Bruins roster looked like during many of his tournament championships? It was loaded.

Isn’t it a miracle how Kansas attracts so many city kids to the flat farmland of whitebread Lawrence, Kan.?

No, it is not a miracle. Kansas has a great basketball history and they often place their players in the NBA. I don't think it is simply because Kansas backs up to their door with a massive amount of cash. It is because Kansas has a great tradition, you can meet famous alumni, get on national television and they have a pipeline to the NBA. College basketball can be a bit trashy at times, but I think it is more ignorant than naive to believe UNC had to pay Harrison Barnes to come to UNC.

If you are Marcus Teague (Kentucky incoming PG), if you want to go play in the NBA, where do you go? Kentucky where John Calipari has put Tyreke Evans, Derrick Rose, Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight (soon) and John Wall in the NBA. Did John Calipari do something unethical to get these players into school? Maybe, but the scandals mostly happen with getting the kids INTO college, rather than having them attracted to the school. Maybe I am naive.

Coach Cal said it all last spring when his entire starting lineup (four freshmen) was selected in the first round of the NBA draft. Cal said it was the greatest night in the history of Kentucky basketball.

John Calipari doesn't speak for every coach or college basketball as a whole. Let's not act like he does.

The mission is no longer about winning NCAA championships. It’s about getting kids into the pros — even if you have to rig their high school and college transcripts.

So Dan Shaughnessy wants to talk about dirty programs and dirty coaches? How about some of the stuff that went on in John Wooden's (YES! John Wooden, the greatest of all coaches who just happened to have the greatest talent on his teams as well. Wooden had guys around his program, like coaches do today, he couldn't get rid of) UCLA program? Wooden's program wasn't completely clean, so it is not like this is a modern problem.

College athletes who want to go to the NBA, and are talented enough to go there, are being prepared for their future career playing college basketball. College students are also being prepared for their future career. If I had gotten an offer from a company as a junior in college that offered me $200,000/year I would have left college and taken it and not thought twice about it.

As far as rigging high and college transcripts, Dan is talking in generalities or merely about John Calipari on this issue. He has no further proof of this happening, though we know it does. Still, vague accusations of what he "knows" happens isn't proof of this happening.

The sanctimonious, phony NCAA occasionally sanctions violators, but the college police don’t traditionally hassle prestigious “programs.’’ It’s a selective, subjective gendarmerie.

So the absence of violations on prestigious programs is a sign they don't get policed, not a sign they aren't doing anything to deserve NCAA violations? I think I got it. It is not that Syracuse doesn't do anything wrong, it is that the NCAA turns a blind eye...that's why they haven't gotten caught. What terrible logic.

Yesterday I asked the estimable Bob Ryan how he still can love the tourney despite all the obvious hypocrisy and corruption.

Dan Shaughnessy is obsessed with Bob Ryan. Ryan is Shaughnessy's authority on everything.

So I watched Kentucky and West Virginia — bag-man Calipari vs. bag-man Bob Huggins. Then I washed away all the dirt.

Yahoo. Boola boola. Go team.

Dan Shaughnessy sucks. He writes an entire column about how college basketball is so dirty, uses John Calipari and Bob Huggins as his only examples and then makes a blanket statement that ALL programs are dirty like this, they just don't get caught. Maybe it is true, maybe it isn't. The fact programs don't get caught doesn't mean they are dirty though.

All I know is until something is proven, I wouldn't indict all Division-I athletic teams for supposed violations. Of course I am not a professional writer like Dan Shaughnessy. He has journalistic integrity, so he requires no proof for the things he says before making blanket statements.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

6 comments The NBA Future of Jimmer

Because my creative juices were not flowing yesterday or today, I'm piggybacking my own previous writing. Here's a link to a post I made for Dime Magazine along with another writer. I'm not sure if any of you read it, but you should. For those of you that are too lazy to click (I probably wouldn't click on the link), I've re-posted it below.

Now that Jimmer Fredette's college career has come to an end, it’s time to look at his NBA potential. Tyler Hansbrough, J.J. Redick and Stephen Curry stirred similar controversy when their record-breaking careers ended and the NBA horizon loomed. Take a look as we debate the potential of arguably the best player in college basketball.

Stud by Dylan

He’s already got the one name moniker that has penetrated the furthest depths of the basketball universe. He’s got the killer crossover, the pull-up three. If there were ever anyone to personify Gus Johnson’s famous “Rise and Fire,” it’s Jimmer. He’s got the on-court flare, the off-court humility and the swagger to carry a dreadful combination of poor rebounding and minimal outside shooting to the Sweet 16, and nearly the Elite Eight. So who’s to say he can’t be an NBA star as well?

I understand the naysayers. He’s shoot-first. He’s a tweener. He has J.J. Redick and Kyle Korver written all over him. At worst, I’d agree. But at best, we’re looking at another Stephen Curry. Their college career paths are remarkably similar, along with their styles of play. It wasn’t Curry’s athleticism or handle that facilitated his graceful slithering in and out of opposing defenses. It was an eclectic combination of head fakes, hesitations and superb court vision that allowed him to outmaneuver the overly aggressive and physical defenders that define college basketball. The NBA is full of the worst and best kind of this bunch: supremely athletic defenders obsessed with SportsCenter-type swats as opposed to staying in front of their man. This is what Jimmer is primed to take advantage of.

For those questioning his sometimes sub-par shot selection, fear not. Sitting in the middle of his team’s scoring pecking order will force Jimmer to temper his trigger-happy right hand. Don’t expect him, however, to completely overhaul his game. The NBA has often proved that college stars do not adjust well to a minimal NBA role (see Adam Morrison). That said, Jimmer will not become a chucker. He’ll pay his dues at first, providing an off-the-bench scoring explosion. Once he displays his potential, he’ll unleash the full power of his superior basketball intelligence.

Will he be a top NBA player? Probably not. But basketball IQ is an underrated facet of NBA scorers. A thunderous LeBron dunk may look more impressive, but a simple pump fake leading to a short jumper is just as effective. That’s how Jimmer will make his money.

Dud by Jaimie Canterbury

It’s pretty much a general consensus that Jimmer Fredette is the best scorer in the nation. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone that would argue otherwise. However, great college scorers do not always transition well to the NBA. As of now, it’s up in the air as to whether or not Fredette will be successful at the next level. When push comes to shove, his lack of defensive principles will hold him back.

Amongst collegiate competition, Jimmer is as good as they come. But the college game and the NBA game are night and day. Throughout Jimmer’s career at BYU, there was never a time when he was not the No. 1 option. It’s going to be difficult for him to transition from the top of the tower to the bottom of the totem pole. Now that the green light has turned into a yellow light, it’s going to be interesting to see how Jimmer reacts. He won’t be able to get hot and go on scoring binges when he’s not the main guy.

What can really end up hurting him is that he has shown (particularly in last week’s Sweet 16 game) that he has trouble defending. If he has trouble staying in front of Erving Walker, can he stay in front of John Wall, Chris Paul or Derrick Rose? That alone can scare NBA scouts away from drafting him. Frankly, his success on the next level will be measured by his ability to defend.

Jimmer’s undeveloped defensive foundation will hold him back immensely at the next level. At BYU, he never really faced the best competition throughout the season and therefore never had to defend any high-caliber guards. His defense was simply outscoring his matchup. Those days have come to an end. He has also built a habit of conserving energy on defense for the offensive end. In the NBA, he won’t be able to do that. Last week against Florida, he looked exhausted from struggling to keep up with Walker and his shooting suffered from his fatigue (scoring zero points in the overtime period).

There is plenty of room for improvement on the defensive end for Fredette. Until a significant improvement is made, he will have a hard time keeping up on the next level. He has no choice but to learn to defend, because he is better than a specialty role player (i.e. Kyle Korver). And if he wants to fulfill his star potential, defense is the key.

Monday, March 28, 2011

6 comments T.J. Simers Catches Back Up With Marcus Thames, Still Begs To Be Punched In The Face

I am sure everyone has heard now about T.J. Simers absolute suspension-worthy harassment of Marcus Thames by now. See, Thames had the audacity to sign a free agent contract with the Dodgers. This is a sin which apparently is punishable by T.J. Simers harassing and questioning your ability to play defense without exchanging any pleasantries before hand. Funny, I don't remember Simers harassing Jim Thome after he got traded to the Dodgers about why he only DH'd in the American League. So here is Simers original article. I am sure many have read or heard about the comments, but I will do a quick re-cap in case you haven't...then we can find out Simers caught up with Thames and acted like an ass AGAIN the day after he wrote the original article. Simers refuses to let the question of whether Thames knows he sucks at defense drop.

Here's what we know about Marcus Thames:

-Great home run hitter. Despite this, he hasn't really stuck with a team and been seen as important to keep around. This is mostly because he doesn't get on-base a lot and his defense isn't great.

-Overall seems like a good guy. His mom is paralyzed, and has been since he was five years old. He has helped take care of her. She hasn't gotten to see him play baseball very often.

-He served in the National Guard from 1994-1998.

Clearly, this is the kind of guy that needs to be accosted by a middle-aged sportswriter with an axe to grind. Here is the original article recap for some background when Simers catches back up with Thames after writing this.

Warning: This will make you want to hit T.J. Simers in the leg with a metal bat.

According to Dodgers' propaganda, this no-name thumper hits a home run every 15.58 at-bats — ranking him 27th in baseball history. Yowza!

Now you would think anyone ranked 27th in baseball history in anything would be a household name,

Not true. T.J. Simers has been ranked (by me) as the 27th biggest asshole in baseball history and we barely know his name. It must be the East Coast Bias.

I just know this: It's hard to believe such a monster with the bat would be available as a free agent and so cheaply the Dodgers could afford to sign him.

He's 33 and he didn't start last year. Just be happy the Dodgers got an affordable powerful bat like Thames has. He may not be a regular starter, but at least he is not expensive.

So I thought I might talk to Tims/Tems on Monday. Ordinarily I don't like to start off a week talking to stiffs, but that leaves so few Dodgers to interview these days.

He called Thames a stiff. Mind you, T.J. Simers has never met Marcus Thames in this life or another life. In fact, it is quite clear Simers had never heard of Thames until he joined the Dodgers. Knowing he's never met Thames, think about the appropriate way to introduce yourself to someone you have never met and throw it out the window. Simers doesn't play by those rules.

And besides, the Dodgers have assured me this stiff is different from all the others they have lined up to play left field.

Why is he calling Thames a "stiff?" Please tell me how T.J. Simers isn't suspended for his following actions as well.

Maybe it's because he's averaged only 44 games a season on defense, prompting an obvious question.

Why is T.J. Simers such a douchebag? Why doesn't Simers do research to find out Brett Gardner played LF for the Yankees and he is a good defensive player so that's why he didn't play much LF for the Yankees last year?

"Are you that horrible on defense that teams don't think it's worth playing such a home run threat?'' I asked by way of introduction.

This is how real sports journalists cover athletes. They don't introduce themselves, instead they walk up to a player with powdered donut remnants still hanging on their front lip and start insulting a player through the guise of asking a question.

If a blogger walked up to David Eckstein and asked him if he was such a valuable player why has he bounced around so much, the mainstream media would go apeshit on this blogger. Mike Lupica would write an article about how this is what is wrong with bloggers and the Internet in general. This would be a black mark against bloggers and there would be several hundred "basement-dwelling" jokes made.

Maybe somebody else wastes time schmoozing with Tims/Tems, but he's a one-year rental who has some explaining to do. How bad are you on defense that teams don't dare risk playing you?

Tims/Tems just smiled.

What an ass. Call the guy what he wants to be called, which is "Tems."

When I came back on Tims/Tems, he sat silent. I can see one problem he might have on defense if everyone is relying on him to yell "I got it."

This is just cheap writing. Marcus Thames is being a grown man and not yelling or cussing T.J. Simers out right now, no matter how hard Simers is baiting him. So that's why he is silent.

He said he wasn't going to talk to me because I hadn't introduced myself.

It's very possible Thames had no clue who Simers was. After all, Simers had no idea who Thames was until he accosted him for his failings in the field.

Unable to answer, he just stood and walked away.

All he would have had to say was, "It's now a Dodgers tradition to play left fielders who can't play defense," and everyone would have gotten one last laugh at Manny's expense.

Oh that's right, you hackjob of a writer, it is Thames' responsibility when you randomly approach him and start asking him insults disguised as questions to make a joke at the expense of another player. Simers was just setting Thames up for a great punchline!

I wonder how T.J. Simers would like it if Marcus Thames asked him the following question:

"Hey, T.J...why are you so ugly? Is it possible you are a print journalist and not on television talking about baseball because your face would make babies cringe in fear and cause them years of therapy?"

T.J. probably wouldn't like it, but see, all T.J. would have to do is laugh and say, "I'm not sure how Plaschke got on television either!"

It is just natural for an insult designed as a question to cause the person being asked the question to squeal with glee and fire off a punchline while taking a cheap shot at another person.

Instead he curled up into a ball, and I didn't even ask him about his anemic .248 lifetime batting average.

He goes on to say Tims/Tems' problems go way beyond criticism of his defense. "Maybe it's because he doesn't hit righties as good as lefties," Mattingly says.

Mattingly NEVER said that Thames has defensive problems, Simers is just assuming this to be a jerk. Mattingly said Thames not a Gold Glove player.

Mattingly is explaining why Thames hasn't stuck somewhere and saying INSTEAD of it being defensive problems, Mattingly is saying Thames problems starting in the field are that he doesn't hit righties well...not that he sucks defensively AND can't hit righties. Of course, Thames does hit righties well (at least in regard to for power), so it is his defense that is the problem. Still, this doesn't excuse Simers behavior.

So now we understand the Dodgers have a guy in left who can't catch, can't hit right-handed pitchers and can't answer questions about his obvious shortcomings.

And folks considered Manny a mess.

All credit to Marcus Thames for not popping T.J. Simers in the face.

Tony Paul for the Detroit News takes Simers to task in a great way. Well done, sir. It is good to see a mainstream media member correctly calling out poor writing.

Of course, this one incident wasn't enough for Simers. His inability to see what an ass he acted like caused him to go see Thames again the next day. Simers wrote about his next meeting with Thames right after a fluff piece he did on Clayton Kershaw and how mature he was. I think Thames was more mature both times T.J. Simers approached then Clayton Kershaw ever could have been. So Simers randomly approaches Thames again. Oh, and Simers still acts like an asshole.

MARCUS THAMES, pronounced "Tims/Tems," ran past me carrying a first baseman's glove. I guess the Dodgers don't want him to hurt himself, so they took away his outfield glove.

So even if I am going to ignore the overt dickishness of this comment, why would it logically make sense to put a player who may get hurt in the field at first base? I am not sure if T.J. Simers watches baseball or just taunts baseball players, but first base is a position that has a lot of defensive activity attached to it. It's not a place you can hide a poor defensive player.

"Come on and help me out," he says with a laugh.

Or as I would translate what Thames said to what I would say, "Stay away from me until you can apologize. It is seriously in your best interests to not be near me right now."

He caught the first eight out of 10 ground balls at first, the next 11 straight and I guess the Dodgers will be moving James Loney to left field.

So now when Thames actually plays well in the field in front of Simers, he meets this with a healthy dose of sarcasm. This leads me back to ask three questions:

1. Why does T.J. Simers hate Marcus Thames? If he doesn't like the signing shouldn't he at least take it out on the Dodgers' front office? Is he an angry fan or a journalist?

2. After his article from yesterday, how did the LA Times let Simers go back out and speak with Thames again? Weren't they afraid perhaps Thames would confront Simers or is that what they wanted?

3. Why did Marcus Thames speak to Simers? He even made a joke, like Simers wanted him to make the day before when Simers originally insulted Thames, and that still wasn't good enough for ol' T.J....he had to be a sarcastic asshole about it.

"So go ahead and ask me the question you wanted to ask," says Thames, as friendly as his teammates had described him before walking off in a snit a day earlier.

"Before walking off in a snit?"

You walked up to the man, without introducing yourself or saying anything else, and confronted him about why his career hasn't been as successful as you, T.J. Simers, seem to think his career should have been. You, as T.J. Simers, had this thought of why Thames didn't get a lot of playing time despite not knowing anything about him and then confronted him in the manner pedophiles used to get confronted on NBC by Chris Hansen.

"Are you that horrible on defense that teams don't think it's worth playing such a home run threat?"

He can't even preface it with, "I should have introduced myself first. I'm T.J. Simers and I am sorry for why I confronted you like that. I do have a question for you."

"No, I'm not that bad of a defensive player," he says, and that wasn't so tough, now was it?

What a jerk. What wasn't so hard? Answering a question from a guy who the previous day didn't introduce himself or say anything else other than criticize the way Thames played baseball? It isn't so tough to just ask a simple question AFTER giving an introduction and explaining who you are, is it? Yet, Simers STILL can't do this.

"They're not getting a DH," he says. "If I can get out there on a more consistent basis, I can prove myself."

"Certain righties," he says. "I'm a better hitter against right-handers than people think."

.236/.296/.480 with 68 home runs and 175 RBI's in 1011 at-bats. Over an entire season of 500 at-bats if he hit this way he would have around 34 home runs and 87 RBIs. His batting average and OBP would be terrible, but old school writers like T.J. Simers don't care about OBP anyway.

That brings up an entire other point...when did old school writers like T.J. Simers start caring about defensive metrics? Isn't it about how a player hits for his team and how his team does in their mind? Thames has been on some successful teams and has hit a ton of home runs. If his name was David Eckstein that would be great. Thames isn't a great hitter against righties, but I am not sure his performance is worthy of as much scorn as Simers gives him.

Now as for running away from the obvious question a day earlier, Thames says, "I didn't handle it well because I've never been approached the way I was approached. It shocked the hell out of me."

Because it was an asshole way of asking a question. How would T.J. Simers like it if someone who didn't know him walked up to him and started asking him questions about why his articles were written so terribly? I doubt he would make a joke and then ask the person to go out for a beer later.

I found it odd that over the last nine years that no one had asked him about his poor defense keeping him from becoming an everyday player.

Somebody probably has asked him that. Before they asked him that they probably took the following polite and professional steps:

1. Introduce themselves.

2. Ask them the tough question in a less confrontational manner to where the purpose is to get an actual answer and not an angry response. The purpose of asking the question is to get an answer, I would assume, so why ask the question in a manner that won't get a response?

"I heard talk, but no one had ever said it directly to me," he says, understandably thrilled now to have it said to his face rather than behind his back.

T.J. Simers is a fucking hero in his own mind. He just awarded himself the Presidential Medal of Honor in Simers-world and he is now giving a 10-minute speech about true heroes who ask the tough questions to athletes.

I can't help but wonder what goes on in T.J. Simers' mind. Does he really believe himself to be noble for asking the question to Thames face about his defense? Has he changed Thames life in some manner? More importantly, what caused him to believe Thames needed to be asked in this manner, like it was an intervention or something?

Just took him 24 hours to be thrilled. That's all.

Thames never said he was thrilled and there are very few baseball players that would have been thrilled to get asked a blunt insulting question like the one T.J. Simers asked. There are even fewer baseball players who would have given a question like that any type of response, especially when the person asking the question hasn't even taken the time or courtesy to introduce himself to the player.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

3 comments MMQB Review: Roger Goodell Helps Peter King Write This Week Edition

Baseball is about to begin and the NCAA Tournament is in the middle of grabbing our attention, and the Lakers-Suns are playing three overtimes...does anyone think that will stop Peter King from dishing out relevant nuggets of NFL information and updating us on the local beers he has sampled from around the country? Of course not. The NFL may stop and have a lockout, but Peter King goes on and on...about Mike Vick...about Tony Dungy and what a great guy he is...on and on and on...about lockout updates...on and on and on...

Very interesting weekend.

I would say a more uber-interesting weekend. Perhaps a quasi-interesting weekend with a little bit of somewhat exciting moments and a dash of occasional spontaneity.

Oh. And I have some news about a couple of guys riding to the rescue of Plaxico Burress.

Yes! Update us on a football player who has been out of the league for a couple years, a guy who is looking to re-enter the NFL for the 2011 season if there is a 2011 season. Tell us what's going on with him. Now. Huge. Urgent.

I need a Tiki Barber update as well. Because I cared so much about that douchebag so much the first time around. Guess that whole "easy transition into becoming a news media figure" wasn't so easy to do was it?

And I think

You just think?

-- no, I know --

You KNOW! That's better.

that Carson Palmer's serious about his intention to retire if the Bengals don't deal him.

Based on Palmer's performance of late, I think he may need to look into retirement regardless of who he could potentially play for next year. There are children who attend football games to consider. We can't have an unsuspecting child take an errant Carson Palmer pass to the face. Rim shot!

And Andy Reid's got at least one team on the hook for Kevin Kolb.

What? You thought this was the offseason?

Seriously, these are not that interesting stories. Vick is a personal interest story about how he went back to prison (which is barely interesting enough to me for a mention, but that's it), no one really cares (other than Bengals fans) if Palmer retires or not, and until Kevin Kolb actually gets traded I am not sure how many people truly care if a team has interest in him.

We'll start by me tailing The Michael Vick Experience as he tried to fire up inmates in Avon Park, Fla., on Saturday. That's by far the most interesting thing that happened in the NFL this weekend, and no one but about 700 cons were around to see it.

Mike Vick going to a jail to visit inmates. By far the most interesting thing in the NFL this weekend. Yet, somehow Peter gets five pages for his entire MMQB. I am guessing the rest of what Peter wrote is about how some punk kids annoyed him by playing on their IPad on the train as Peter stared at them continuously for four hours.

Can I put that on hold to tell you the most interesting two things I learned about Vick this weekend?

He prefers slow drip coffee and has soft hands?

One: Did you know Vick, while imprisoned at the federal prison in Leavenworth, Kan., had a "Longest Yard'' experience, quarterbacking one team of cons to a 42-14 win over another? The inmates kept badgering him to play, but he went more than a year without touching a football -- until September 2008, with eight months left on his sentence.

I am sure after being in jail for 8 months Vick had touched some a few balls during that time, maybe just not a football.

Alas, the Vick side won in a rout; he said he thought he threw maybe six or seven incompletions. "All my guys wanted to do was go deep,'' he said.

(Insert prison joke about "going deep" here)

I asked him if he was sacked at all. "Once,'' he said. To which Tony Dungy, listening in, said: "Sign that guy up.''

Oh, but we can't Herr Dungy! There's a fucking lockout! Teams can't sign anyone right now! Perhaps this news hasn't gotten to you yet up there on that high, high horse of yours. I thought God would have given you information about this lockout in the daily newsletters he sends from heaven on a cloud to your bedroom window every morning about how awesome you are.

Two: Part of his prison sentence included a four-night, top-secret stay in solitary confinement in Atlanta about a month before his May 2009 release.

What? The media wasn't alerted to this? Perhaps it was because Mike Vick being physically located in Atlanta at one point would have caused one of two outcomes.

1. Nobody cares.
2. People would really, really care and it would be hard to transport Vick.

"It was pretty weird, being in Atlanta,'' he said. "We drove past a course where I used to golf, and past places I used to go all the time.

Mike Vick used to golf? That just seems weird. I can't see him as a golfer.

Stunning. Matt Ryan's throwing balls to Falcon receivers a few miles up the road, and Vick's sitting in solitary, in the town he used to own. And no one knew.

Earth-shattering. Mind-numbing. Mike Vick went to a city where he used to play football as part of being transported from prison-to-prison. Atlanta is a pretty big city. Peter does know Vick will probably play in Atlanta with an NFL team before his career his over doesn't he?

Maybe I am the only one who isn't impressed or stunned about this tidbit.

I got a good view into Michael Vick's world over the weekend, visiting a Florida prison with Tony Dungy and another one of our NBC Football Night in America colleagues, Dan Patrick. (Dungy invited us to come along to see the prison ministry group he's become so involved with.) It was a good time to see Dungy and his friends at work, and to see how Vick is progressing in turning his life around.

I don't really hate Tony Dungy. I do hate that he is such a good person, it makes me feel like a bad person. I also hate that media people tend to tell me what a great person Tony Dungy is, it makes me want to find out something wrong with him. I also hate that Tony Dungy is the go-to moral authority when it comes to NFL matters. If the same guy who turned his team (with a Hall of Fame quarterback) over to Jim Caldwell has an opinion on something, shouldn't we all listen? Clearly, his judgment is impeccable.

Can he really overcome the stigma of masterminding the dogfighting ring the way he did, causing him to spend 19 months of his life in prison?

As soon as Peter King stops bringing this up at least once a month, perhaps, just maybe, possibly, Mike Vick can overcome this stigma. It's just a matter of Peter King not bringing it up constantly.

The signs have been good. "I want to be an instrument of change,'' he told about 700 prisoners at the Avon Park Correctional Institute, 90 minutes south of Orlando. And he was terrific in his five hours here, signing autographs, talking to two large groups of prisoners and then talking to men in smaller groups informally. He also spoke to eight men in solitary confinement.

I'm not being an ass, but I am sure Mike Vick sort of knows how this prisoners feel. He was there once himself and he didn't hang out with the most non-criminal crowd when he was with the Falcons. So it wouldn't shock me Vick is terrific with inmates.

I can tell you from being in the solitary cellblock, with the tiny cells and the knowledge that these men will leave these cells for only three hours each week ... the depression was palpable.

Well, we can't have America's prisoners be depressed. They need to be really excited about being in jail and learning new methods on how to commit crime, while networking to gain new opportunities to meet fellow criminals. I feel for the people in solitary confinement, and this isn't the place or time to talk about America's penal system, but generally you have to do something more severe than getting a speeding ticket to be in solitary confinement.

I am also sure the pick-me-up from Vick helped the prisoners out in the short term, but then they were probably depressed again soon after because they were in jail, solitary confinement specifically.

So I saw him doing the right thing, and he's been doing the right thing in Philadelphia. Those who monitor Vick, including Dungy and commissioner Roger Goodell, think he's doing well.

Great job. He's been in jail and he has been out of jail. He's done his time. Price paid. There is a lockout and whether Mike Vick is being a good boy or not doesn't interest me in the least. Thanks for updating me though.

I'll tell you what concerns me: the adulation and the nonstop attention.

Right, because most popular NFL players don't have to worry about this and I am sure this is all new to Mike Vick.

He was swarmed in the morning by men desperately happy to see him. In the evening, when he went with Dungy and the former coach's wife, Lauren, to a fundraising banquet for the Abe Brown Ministries, one of Dungy's favorite causes, a constant procession of people to Vick's seat in the crowd made it hard for him to eat -- and he finally gave up trying to do that.

The people were nice, to be sure, and well-meaning. But we saw what happened to Vick when the daily treatment of him like Michael Jordan in the public was combined with having money. And if he keeps playing football like he played in his reborn 2010 season, he's going to have money again, even after he takes care of his debts from bankruptcy court. Lots of money.

Well, I guess we will see. I'm still not sure how this is really interesting. Either Vick will stay on the right path or he won't. Continuously speculating which path he will take is a useless exercise at this point.

"That's the kind of thing I used to just say, 'I don't see a cop, I'm doing the U-turn,' '' Vick said. "That happens now, I'm wrong, I get picked up, and I'm on the front page. It's not a big deal, but if I do it, it is. I understand. That's OK. To alleviate any chance of a problem, I've always got to do the right thing now. But it's a good thing. I've got to hold myself accountable in everything I do.''

Vick doesn't have to hold himself accountable, he just needs to try and not torture and kill dogs, get caught with drugs or do anything else that can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony. Making an illegal U-turn is no big deal really. I am not sure this gets him on the front page of the paper unless he has a dog carcass or drugs in the backseat.

Vick had been a little tight Friday night. "I'm nervous about going,'' he said, "but this time, I get to leave at the end of the day.'' When Vick strode into the courtyard to meet the men, he wore AVON PARK VISITORS BADGE 307; the inmates wore their prison IDs clipped to the front of their prison-issued blue uniforms. In the informal chatting and signing, much of the talk was football. "You gonna learn to slide now?'' one 25ish inmate asked.

"No. No,'' Vick said. "Not how I play. In 20 years, I'll look back at my career and say, 'I never learned to slide.' ''

(Eagles fans start to rub their head out of frustration)

Of course, Vick will also look back at his career and wonder why he never played in 16 games more than once in his career as he gets out of bed and hobbles across the room because being pummeled by linebackers because he refused to slide has caused damage to his body. I am sure Eagles fans are pumped up that Vick never wants to learn to slide. It's not like they need him on the field healthy or anything.

(More of my trip with Dungy and Vick can be read in this week's issue of Sports Illustrated.)

Seriously? Peter took up 1/5 of his MMQB discussing this story and this page was actually longer than any other page in his MMQB, so it was probably 1/4 of his MMQB. So he is going to give us MORE on this story in Sports Illustrated?

I'm pretty sure I can explain why the players have responded to the owners' offer of 10 days ago with such contempt.

But to criticize a proposal that all but dropped the 18-game regular-season as a proposal (players would have to agree for an expanded season to become reality), added a neutral arbitrator (not a league exec) to referee drug and steroid appeals, and appeared to significantly increase a vested player's health benefits for life. Trashing this proposal, to me, means more you're going to have to take back someday.

(Roger Goodell looks over Peter's shoulder as he writes this and begins talking) "I really like that last sentence. You're an NFL authority Peter."

(rubs Peter King on the head as Peter rubs his neck and head up and down Goodell's arm)

(Peter King) "Am I doing well?"

(Roger Goodell throws Peter a french fry and Peter catches it in his mouth) "You are doing very well Peter. You are such an authority on coffee, beer, gun control, the correct way to act while traveling, Brett Favre and the NFL. Have you thought about going on 'Jeopardy?'"

(Peter King smiling proudly) "No, but I have been a clue in the New York Times crossword!"

(Roger Goodell) "How would you like to be a clue in TWO New York Times crosswords? I can do it big guy." (punches Peter on the shoulder lightly)

(Peter King) "I would love to have that happen. Please sir, can you make this happen for me?"

(Roger Goodell) "Just keep doing what you are doing. You are such an authority (begins rubbing Peter's head again) on NFL matters. I'm amazed at how smart you have become. Begin to write more. Your fingers strike the keyboard at such a rapid pace. How confident you are."

(Goodell leaves the room and calls Jerry Richardson) "Peter King is still on-board. This is going well. Much better than I expected. By the way, who are you picking at number 1 in the draft?"

(Jerry Richardson) "The what? Picking? What does that have to do with making more money? The draft? What's that?"

(Roger Goodell) "The NFL Draft. It is in April. Remember, your team has the first pick. Who are you taking?"

(Jerry Richardson) "We're still doing the draft? I have no idea really who we are taking. I haven't thought about the Panthers team in two years now. I am thinking we are taking Charlie Newton, Mark Suh or maybe that quarterback from Stanford, Andrew Luck. Who gives a shit really who plays quarterback. Fans will show up, remember I sold them PSL's so they are out of money whether they come or not? Let's brainstorm more ways to make money and quit with this useless football talk. Do you think fans will want to buy licenses to purchase popcorn at the stadium if we limit the number of bags of popcorn we sell at a game?"

"That offer by us was not intended to be take-it-or-leave-it,'' negotiating committee member John Mara said in New Orleans Sunday. "We stood ready to talk about all parts of the offer, and I wish we had been able to. But they didn't come back to talk about it. There were some things in that offer that a lot of our [owners] might not have liked very much. We moved off 18 games. We'd only go to 18 if they approved it.''

The only way the NFL could ever play 18 games is if the players approved it. There's no way for the union to agree to a deal for 18 games without agreeing to a deal for 18 games to be played. I don't see this as a huge concession on the owner's part. It's like saying, the only way I would take $500 from you is if you let me do it. Of course the players have to agree to this because if 18 games is part of the agreement, then it has to be agreed upon by the players.

If the owners say the only way to get an 18-game schedule is for the players to agree to it, and the players are adamant they will not, I don't call that insisting on an 18-game schedule.

But the owners can be insisting there be an 18-game schedule and the players aren't agreeing to it. Maybe I am missing something or Peter is missing something, but if the owners work up every agreement with an 18 game schedule in it and the players don't agree to it then the owners are in a way insisting on the 18 game schedule.

I hate talking about lockouts. Both sides need to shut up publicly until they figure this out. It gives me a headache.

Palmer's not Carl Pickens or Corey Dillon, a disaffected star who was divisive in the locker room. He's been a classy franchise quarterback since stepping on campus in 2003. He's the team's billboard, though he's had a couple of shaky years in a row. The Bengals don't have a history of responding well to threats. What makes this interesting, though, is that Cincinnati would be able to get something decent for Palmer in trade. He's 31. He's healthy.

He has also had one good year since from 2007-2010 and one great year since 2006. Comparing Palmer's recent numbers to Jason Campbell and there isn't a huge difference in them, especially when you consider the receiving threats Palmer has had compared to Campbell.

So Palmer, at least in my mind, is a 31 year old player who seems to be regressing.

Andy Reid apparently is serious about trading Kevin Kolb. At the NFL meetings Sunday, a good source told me Reid already has one team willing to offer a first-round pick for Kolb, and now he's looking for a team with a higher choice in the round to make him a better deal.

Peter King in February of this year.

I think, for the 73rd time, there can be no trades until the first day of the new league year, and there can be no free-agency movement for the league's 495 free-agents until then, which almost certainly means there can be no trades or free-market moves 'til there's a new CBA. That's a long way off. So could we please have a moratorium on the Carson Palmer-to-Arizona or San Francisco or anywhere rumors, and can we please stop speculating where Kevin Kolb's going to go? Come on. This stuff's months away.

Naturally, Peter ignores his own statement from February. Peter said in this statement all questions like this should wait until a CBA is reached. Now in March, he brings up these exact same questions.

Andy Reid can keep looking for a higher pick in the 1st round. That's great. Let's look at the draft order and see who is possibly offering Reid a 1st round pick for Kolb.

In picks 20-32...Green Bay, Pittsburgh, New York Jets, Chicago, New England, Atlanta, Baltimore, New Orleans, Indianapolis, and Kansas City are probably out.

Seattle is the likely option there at #25.

In picks 11-20...Tampa Bay, New York Giants, San Diego, New England, St. Louis, Detroit, and Houston are out.

Jacksonville, Miami, and Minnesota are in the running at #16, #15, and #12 respectively.

Here are teams in spots 1-10 that need/want quarterbacks...Carolina, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Arizona, Cleveland, San Francisco, Tennessee, and Washington. I don't see these teams, other than Washington, giving up a Top 10 pick for Kolb.

I really, really doubt Andy Reid can believe he is going to get better than a #12, #15, or #16 for Kolb. So I think the team offering the pick is Seattle. Unless Washington goes after Kolb, which is possible, but other than that I don't see Jacksonville, Miami, and Minnesota as those who have offered a 1st round pick for Kolb...unless Reid is counting on Washington to take another quarterback off his hands.

So my point is that I think Seattle is the team offering the 1st round pick and I think if Jacksonville, Miami, and Minnesota can't be persuaded then Reid won't be getting a higher 1st round pick without the Eagles giving up a pick in the trade as well. Not to mention, Mike Vick isn't the most durable quarterback. It may be better to keep Kolb around.

My take: I'd trade a very high draft pick to acquire Kolb instead of drafting one of the quarterbacks available this year.

How about signing a free agent quarterback and keeping the 1st round pick? If a team has "a very high draft pick" then that team has more than one hole. Don't panic and trade a 1st round pick for a quarterback because this isn't a strong year for quarterbacks in the draft.

I'd want to reduce the risk of making a mistake high in the draft by taking the safe guy with ability? Kolb's 26.

This doesn't make him a safe pick. I don't think Kolb is a safe pick at at all.

He's a coach's son.


He's had some struggles running the Eagles offense in his seven career starts, but I saw him ruin the soon-to-be Super Bowl champion Saints with a 391-yard strafing in 2009; he played well enough to rout the playoff-bound Falcons and throw for 326 yards last season.

So a quarterback who has been in a system for four years, yet still struggles running the offense. and has had two great starts in his seven career starts is a safe pick? I don't dislike Kevin Kolb, but I am not sure an inconsistent career thus far in a system he should know well makes him a safe pick.

We've seen him do it. All the rookies have question marks. I know I'd sleep better at night with Kolb on my team this summer.

(Andy Reid slips Peter a $100 bill)


--A passenger in a car traveling through the Belmont Heights section of Tampa on Saturday about 6 a.m., as he drove past a Cadillac Escalade with the windows rolled up and tinted.

The Escalade was driven by Tampa resident and retired coach Tony Dungy. The only possible way a person could tell it was Dungy's car was by the "O'' window sticker for son Eric's University of Oregon Ducks.

Just another sign of how well-known Dungy is in Tampa.

He's like Jesus, except if Jesus drove an Escalade and thought he was THE moral authority on everything.

With Plaxico Burress due out of jail on a gun charge in June, he's looking for some mentoring.


So sometime in the next two weeks, Tony Dungy plans to visit Burress at his upstate New York prison.

Oh, Tony Dungy wants to mentor Burress. I know Dungy is a great guy, I really do. It's becoming more of a cliche than anything else now to hear Dungy is mentoring an athlete.

I've never seen New Orleans look better than it did Sunday. Sunny, 70s, palm trees swaying gently, obnoxious drunks sleeping one off from Saturday night. This town's coming back in a good way.

Because nothing says "city bouncing back" like drunks on the street being obnoxious.

I drove from Orlando to Lakeland (busman's holiday -- Twins at Tigers on Thursday), from Lakeland to Marco Island (NFL players meeting), and from Marco Island to Tampa (to meet up with Tony Dungy, Michael Vick and Dan Patrick for a prison visit). FM radio is a disaster. In four hours in the car Thursday night, I heard "Magic Man'' by Heart twice, and certainly heard more Journey and Styx than the law should allow. It's like the state's stuck in a 1978 musical time warp.

Four responses to Peter's complaints (and this is further proof he just likes complaining...he seems to get off on it):

1. I am sure the car he was driving had a CD player. Go buy a CD and listen to it.

2. Stop listening to radio stations that play 1970's music.

3. Turn the damn channel if you don't like what a station is playing. Yes, I realize I complain about Gus Johnson and I don't turn the station, but if I want to watch some basketball games and have the volume on then I have to hear him yelling and screaming. There aren't always other options for me. I am sure there were other choices available radio stations. If there weren't, go buy a CD to listen to.

4. Someone like Peter King who is obsessed with U2 shouldn't complain about music being played on the radio. When listening to stuff like Styx and Journey at least you can have fun reveling in the corniness of it all. You can't even have fun with U2's music while traveling in the car.

Interesting reaction from an 86ish-year-old lady I was walking behind at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland. Looking at the beer in my hand, she said sternly, "If you spill that beer on me, I'll have you arrested.'' Hmmmm. I see.

Not 80ish-year old lady or a mid-80's year old lady...but an 86-ish year old lady. Let's get this straight. This lady was either 86 and 1 months old or 86 and 11 months old. Somewhere in there, but its hard for Peter to pin down the exact date of her birth, but he knows she was 86 years old.

Also, how close to the lady was Peter walking for her to be concerned about this? Was he right on her ass or stepping on her shoes?

3. I think one of the most fun offenses I've see in my time covering football was Houston's run-and-shoot unit of the '80s, with receivers Heywood Jeffires, Drew Hill and Ernest Givens helping make Warren Moon a star -- and vice versa. Hill died Saturday after falling ill on a golf course. I'll remember him as a dignified hard-worker Moon could rely on when the game was on the line.

Somewhere 9 year old Bengoodfella who loved playing with the Houston Oilers and screaming "Moon-to-Hill!" before throwing the pass to Hill while playing Super Tecmo Bowl is crying inside. Unstoppable. That's what I was with Warren Moon and Drew Hill. Cody Carlson and Drew Hill? Not so much.

The run-and-shoot was never more fun than on Super Tecmo Bowl.

4. I think I'd be more sympathetic about scouts getting financial haircuts during the time of labor uncertainty than coaches. The average scout's salary is far less than that of a coach, and they're the ones with so much at stake in the next five weeks before the draft. Imagine telling a regional scout his salary's being cut 15 percent this week, while he's finalizing his reports on the most important part of this offseason -- the draft.

Imagine American workers having to take a 15% paycut while still having to do their job every single day. I feel bad for the scouts, but I hope Peter realizes people taking paycuts and still having to do their damn job happens all the time.

I think Peter is disconnected from the real world. I'd like to reconnect him sometime. I understand regional scouts may have it bad, but he's telling an audience full of readers who know friends/family/enemies who have taken paycuts in order to keep their job...and they have to keep doing that same job. I am not sure Peter understands this happens in the real world.

7. I think the hero of the week doesn't want to be the hero of the week. John Mara, I mean. Mara and co-owner Steve Tisch of the Giants agreed to let fans forego season-ticket payments until the lockout ends.

Peter isn't pro-owner. He just thinks the owners are heroes for holding off on charging fans for games they may never get to see in person. How brave of the owners to even consider this. Most owners wouldn't want the fact the fans may not get the product they are paying for to get in the way of fucking these fans out of more money.

What a hero John Mara is. Peter King would be on his high horse, if he wasn't so pro-owner, if another columnist called an owner a hero in this instance. Peter would go on and on about our armed forces and how they are our real heroes. Of course, Peter can be a dunce at times so he doesn't realize this.

9. I think one of Sirius Radio's faithful callers, Benny from the Bronx, got quite a surprise the other day. Goodell called him. Goodell sometimes calls avid fans who write or call the league office, and this was one of his calls last week. Benny got quite excited, as he is prone to do when discussing the NFL, and I asked him what Goodell's message was. "He told me, 'Don't take sides,' '' Benny said. In other words, there's going to be football when this thing is over, and you'll still want to love the game when the labor fight is done. So don't go demonizing one side or the other.

But just know the owners are right. That's all Peter wants you to know.

f. Speaking of the Boston area, not sure if the Hub can be feeling really good about the fourth starter (Josh Beckett) and closer (Jonathan Papelbon) combining for an ERA over 12.60 in spring training.

Because we all know spring training statistics are absolutely an indication of what type of year a player will have.

Also, I have no idea how Peter got this statistic. On the day he wrote this, Monday, Papelbon had a 12.60 ERA and Beckett had a 5.02 ERA. I guess Peter is right, but Papelbon has a 12.60 ERA himself. The Braves top four starters have a combined spring training ERA of 8.04! Panic time!

g. Mesmerized by the TV in midweek. I weep for Japan.

John Mara is a true hero.

h. And then I just learned the other night we're at war with Libya. Sort of. How many wars can we be in at once? Is there a rule? If not, could we invent one?

Peter's MMQB is in a weekly war me in regard to my ability to stay sane and have low blood pressure.

Friday, March 25, 2011

2 comments BotB Podcast #10 - AL Preview

Bengoodfella here...I need to clear something up before we get to the BotB podcast. A while back one of my Murray Chass posts got linked by a commenter on It was this post. I thought that was pretty cool and I appreciated that since I really like that post I did about Chass. In the post about Chass I did one of my "skits" where I mocked the way Chass chose his Hall of Fame ballot and wrote the following mocking Chass' decision process:

(Murray Chass) “His name is Edgar but he doesn’t look like a Mexican like all those Mexicans playing baseball look today. This is difficult to decide…is he a Mexican, Latino, Puerto Rican or just has an ethnic name? Either way it is a “no” for him, that’s easy to decide, but this is tough to decide his actual ethnicity.”

As things like this happen, Chass has essentially called Stan Musial a racist now, and so the well-meaning commenter who linked my post in the comments took the above quote out and quoted it in the comments as further proof Chass is racist. I made up that quote in an attempt to entertain the readers and it is NOT a quote that Murray Chass ever said. As a rule for this blog, if it isn't in bold black then it isn't a quote from an article. I still appreciate the plug from the commenter. We are getting traffic from and I don't want anyone to think I am making up quotes to make Murray Chass sound like a racist.

And now to the podcast and Dylan.

With the MLB season upon us, we have decided to do a two part preview podcast, with the AL segment below. Take a listen and let us know how you feel about our soon-to-be-proven-correct predictions.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

8 comments Dwight Howard For MVP

When NBA coaches speak their minds, it's hard to ignore their inherent bias. When Stan Van Gundy said that the media had already essentially named Derrick Rose the MVP, part of me thought "here goes Stan again." But then I remembered back to his bashing of David Stern and his dictatorial rule. Remarkably, Stern proved him right by saying that no one would hear from Stan again. Alas, o king, you were wrong.

I was one of those foul, disgusting and disrespectful media members (okay fine, I'm not a media member). I had dubbed Rose as my MVP (ya know, because my vote counts since I'm a media member). Once Stan opened his trap, I decided to give Dwight a fair shot and actually take a look at the statistics. Here's what I found:

(I'm ignoring LeBron in this article because he has Wade and Bosh. I simply cannot give the MVP award to a player with such high quality teammates. That said, LeBron is the best player in the NBA, hands down.)

Derrick Rose - 24.9 ppg (7th in NBA), .440 FG%, 7.8 APG (10th in NBA), 22.84 PER (15th in NBA)

For a clear cut MVP candidate, these numbers are less than impressive. Don't get me wrong, though. Take away Derrick Rose and the Bulls mirror the Nets and Cavs. His value, as the literal meaning of the award indicates, is extremely high. But the NBA MVP is not the most valuable player, but some arbitrary mixture of team winning percentage, most valuable player, best statistics in the league and that intangible "Wow" factor (when you watch him play, he's doing things no one else can). Using these four categories as the benchmark, Rose clearly has three of them. The Bulls are the leader of the Eastern Conference and Rose, as mentioned before, has LeBron James circa 2008-2010 value and "Wow"ness. Statistically, however, Rose is lacking as compared to his competitors. And not in a negligible way, either.

Dwight Howard - 23.1 PPG (12th in NBA), .602 FG% (1st in NBA), 14.2 RPG (2nd in NBA), 28.67 PER (2nd in NBA), 2.44 BPG (2nd in NBA).

Outside of scoring (and even that margin is not great), Dwight Howard has Rose statistically dominated, and it's not even close. In every category that a center can impact a game, Dwight is at the top of the league. His scoring is only down because he receives less touches than Rose, who handles the ball on every possession. Meanwhile, Dwight Howard has to pray that the non-pass happy combo of Jason Richardson, Gilbert Arenas, Jameer Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu find it in their hearts to dump it down low.

Looking at the Eastern Conference standings, Rose clearly has Howard beat. But the difference between 1st and 4th is a mere 6 games. Are we really going to punish Dwight because his team wins slightly fewer games? As this season has proven, basketball is a team game. So how can we vault one player over another with a small margin of wins as the deciding factor? Rose's skyrocketing to the best-player-in-the-NBA conversation has left most of the media dumbfounded and amazed. In a season in which the Magic, Celtics and Heat were expected to duke it out, the Bulls have snuck in and grabbed the conference's top spot. While this is very impressive, we have allowed this team accomplishment to cloud our view of Rose. Is he one of the league's best players? Yes. Are the Bulls terrible without him? Definitely. But would you say the same about Dwight Howard? Absolutely.

Those making the argument that Rose has worse teammates are sadly mistaken. Put simply, Howard has a group of jump shot happy teammates whose inclination towards defense and passing match that of Carmelo Anthony. To make matters worse, only Jameer Nelson can somewhat get to the basket. On the defensive end, Howard makes up for everyone's deficiencies. Orlando's defensive strategy, it seems, is to crowd all shooters and dare them to drive on Dwight. If I could tangible display a "wow", this would be it. Dwight's one fault, however, is that he does not possess this same magnificence on the offensive end. Rose, on the other hand, has a reinvigorated Loul Deng, a defensive anchor in Joakim Noah and an excellent inside scorer in Carlos Boozer. The only thing mitigating this disparity is the Bulls' constant injuries.

So let's go back to my 4 NBA MVP categories.

Statistical Winner: Dwight Howard (strong edge)

Most Valuable Player: Draw

Wow Factor: Draw

Team Winning Percentage: Derrick Rose (slight edge)

And that, my friends, is why Dwight Howard should be the MVP.

In my opinion, of course.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

18 comments I'm Not Sure if Bruce Jenkins Is Ignorant or Just Lazy

It is that time of the year again. It is baseball season. The time when baseball season begins and sportswriters who have seen baseball played for decades and don't need silly statistics or common sense to determine which MLB players are good baseball players and who are not. They get their point of view across by demeaning the opposing view. It is funny, because you never read a statistics-loving baseball fan write a column mocking those non-statistics loving baseball fans for being old. Sure, I do that here, but no famous or popular statistics-oriented writers tend to do this as much. It is just the "old school" that loves to fire shots from the bow and mock those who favor using statistics other than RBI's and batting average to determine a player's worth.

Bruce Jenkins seems to enjoy this. I can't decide if it is more lazy or ignorant to ignore the relevance of new statistical methods and portray stats-crazed dunces as hating "old school" statistics. I think it is probably willful ignorance in the vein of "I don't really understand these new-fangled statistics so they must be bad," combined with laziness in the form of "because I don't understand these statistics and they are used mostly by younger baseball fans I will mock them for living in a basement with their mother regardless of whether this is true or not." Both of these things Bruce Jenkins is guilty of.

As the production of "Moneyball" grinds on, let's hope the filmmakers take great liberties with the facts. Michael Lewis' book was superbly written, but there's nothing more boring than the A's search for no-speed, no-defense guys who could really work a 3-and-1 count on their way to a hopeless career.
Those hopeless careers like Kevin Youkilis has had. Which Burger King does he work at again? Yeah, there were a bunch of guys in "Moneyball" that ended up not making it in the big leagues, but there were also players who succeeded in the majors. I think if you took any team's draft philosophy in MLB, there would end up being more failures than successes. That's just how it is with prospects in Major League Baseball.

A "Moneyball" movie doesn't sound very exciting, but movies have been made about much less interesting sounding premises. I am thinking of a certain movie that was popular this year about a king in speech therapy or how about a movie about the creation of a social network. Neither sound riveting, but they certainly seemed to do pretty well. Filmmakers always take great liberties with the facts. Brad Pitt was cast in the movie "Moneyball." That's already an indication of a movie taking liberties.

Let's see Art Howe as a coke-sniffing, late-night karaoke artist who worships Otis Redding and has memorized every song by the Sons of Champlin. Isolate a front-office executive quietly embezzling funds from the company.I would find this riveting if I knew who the hell Sons of Champlin were without doing an internet search.

Cut to a scene where Paul DePodesta has a sawed-off shotgun in his office, and in private moments he lifts it out of a closet, fondles it, aims at things. One night he pretends to shoot, it goes off, and he takes out classic photos of Joe Rudi and Blue Moon Odom.

Because I am sure 9 out of 10 moviegoers would be able to pick both Joe Rudi and Blue Moon Odom as baseball players, much less be able to understand the significance of DePodesta shooting photos of these two players. This would surely jack up the ticket sales by capturing the all-important "early 1970's Oakland A's nostalgia" target market.

So this is how the column starts off and then while randomly shooting off tidbits of recommendations for Hollywood, Jenkins lets loose with this one:

It won't be long before we get the first wave of nonsense from stat-crazed dunces claiming there's nothing to be learned from a batting average, won-loss record or RBI total.
What is so interesting is this is a one-way battle. Other than jackasses like me, you don't see many stat-crazed dunces going bananas and dropping insults in their columns randomly directed towards "old school" baseball writers. If that does happen, like when Tom Verducci called Murray Chass a "blogger," it is done as a direct response to something an "old school" writer has written.

This comment is ignorant because it is one of the weakest forms of arguing. It involves portraying the other side's point of view as so out there, it just doesn't make sense. The problem is that this is a lie. I can't recall ever hearing or reading a stats-crazed dunce say nothing can be learned from a batting average, won-loss record or RBI total. That's how Bruce Jenkins portrays this because it makes him stats-crazed dunces seem closed-minded, while making him seem open-minded, when in fact the opposite is true. Bruce Jenkins doesn't like the use of modern statistics without having a good reason to do so. So he attempts to portray the other side as the closed-minded side, when in fact he isn't open to new ideas.

There can be things learned from all three of these statistics. It's just these three statistics aren't the basis of EVERYTHING you can learn about a player's performance. Stats-crazed dunces want to use other statistics, while guys like Bruce Jenkins are against this. So who really has the closed-minded, dunce point of view?

This comment is lazy because it is not even true. No one has claimed this. I hate wins, but something can be learned about a player's performance from a win, but it is not the sum total of all learned knowledge on a player. You can use other statistics to determine in what context a pitcher's win-loss record means something, if it means anything.

If a pitcher has 17 wins, that says he seems to have pitched fairly well that year. It also says perhaps the pitcher got sufficient run support and his bullpen did not blow games after he left the game.

A player with a batting average of .316 tells us that he tends to get a lot of hits and seems to be a pretty good hitter. This statistic covers up the fact this player may have a .337 OBP...or he could have a .379 OBP. Knowing this statistic tells us whether this player gets on-base in ways other than getting a hit, which is pretty important to know. A batting average doesn't tell us what other ways a player gets on-base though, while OBP does give an indication as to how many times a player may have walked or gotten on-base in some other way.

RBI's are a good statistic to be used to see how often a player gets runs across the plate and produces runs for his team. What it doesn't tell us is how many RBI opportunities a player has. A player batting fourth who is on a team that tends to have runners on-base for that clean-up hitter is probably going to have more RBI opportunities, and therefore RBI's, as compared to a player batting fourth on a team that doesn't have players on-base many times when that hitters comes up. Therein lies the limitation of the RBI statistic. So no one wants to get rid of these statistics, but stats-crazed dunces see the limitations of these statistics and use other statistics to get a better overall picture of a player.

Listen, just go back to bed, OK?

This just doesn't really make sense, OK?

Strip down to those fourth-day undies,

This is just lazy. Shitty put-downs towards those who don't agree with you is just a completely lazy form of journalism. Using stereotypes to form the basis of an argument is the lowest form of journalism. Buying into these stereotypes so wholeheartedly says something about that journalist. Here that journalist is Bruce Jenkins. If he can't argue against the merits of the argument presented to him that he opposes, perhaps this is an indication the argument he opposes has merit. This is "yo mama" journalism. No, really it is...

head downstairs (to "your mother's basement and your mother's computer," as Chipper Jones so aptly describes it)
If Chipper Jones said this, then he is an idiot. He's a great hitter, but when it comes to guidance on learned things I am not asking Chipper Jones any tough questions that may need a complex answer. Work on that swing, talk out of the side of your mouth and try to stay healthy. Leave the heavy thinking to others, Chipper.

and churn out some more crap.

Says the guy who just wrote "strip down to those fourth-day undies." Because that's not crap.


For more than a century, .220 meant something.
It still does absolutely mean something. It means a hitter doesn't get too many base hits. So knowing this under the "Jenkins method" of hating all other statistics we could say this is a bad hitter who needs to go find other work.

However, under the "logical person who doesn't have his head up his ass method" of analysis, this player could turn out to be similar to Adam Dunn. He slugs 30+ home runs per year and has a OBP of around .380. It turns out this is a valuable baseball player, despite what his batting average says.

So .220 does mean something. No one is arguing it doesn't. A player hitting .220 also doesn't give the entire picture for that baseball player. There are other statistics that can be used to give a fuller picture. Slowly, but surely, smart people are realizing this and it makes Bruce Jenkins very angry.

So did .278, .301, .350, an 18-4 record, or 118 RBIs
It still does. I have no idea why Bruce Jenkins thinks this doesn't mean anything anymore. These statistics do mean something, but there are other statistics that mean something as well. This is all a part of Bruce Jenkins intentionally misstating the opposing viewpoint to make it seem like that viewpoint is outrageous, when in fact it is his viewpoint that is outrageous.

Few stats-oriented people would argue an 18-4 record or 118 RBIs don't mean something. They would argue there are other statistics that help define and clarify these statistics and determine what they really mean or how much significance they have. 118 RBIs can't be seen in a vaccum and fairly compared to another player's RBI total. Bruce Jenkins doesn't see it that way though because he doesn't understand, nor does he care to, opposing points of view. He prefers to mock opposing points of view in writing by talking about underwear and how those who have an opposing view live in their mom's basement.

Now it all means nothing because a bunch of nonathletes are trying to reinvent the game?
Right. Because we need athletes, the big thinkers of the world, reinventing the game. Those are the correct people who need to start creating and doing in-depth analysis on new statistics. This is like saying the Army Corps of Engineers shouldn't be the ones building and designing damns to keep floods out of New Orleans, it should be the people who live in New Orleans who do this because "they know what it is like to live in New Orleans."

I also find it funny that Bruce Jenkins doesn't like nonathletes to reinvent the game, but nonathletes like him...

(here's a picture of Jenkins in mid-athletic pose)

are free to continue to use statistics that were created and used originally by nonathletes to rank athletes. So in summation, it is not good for nonathletes to reinvent statistics, but accepting that nonathletes originally created statistics like RBIs, batting average, and won-loss record is no big deal.

Look at these athletes cowering in fear at Bruce Jenkins' Hawaiian shirt. Athletes like him are the ones who are allowed to use statistics because they understand them and don't live in their mom's basement.

I think this small article was both ignorant and lazy. Quite an accomplishment for just a few sentences.