Monday, July 30, 2012

3 comments Barry Larkin Makes No Sense & Peter King Ties Up Loose Ends

Terence Moore wrote an article for about how Chipper Jones should not retire from baseball after this season and has the talent to play one or more seasons, whether it be for the Braves or another major league team. He seems to be ignoring the fact Chipper Jones can barely run down the first base line and tends to take a day off if he plays more than two games row. That's not the story I want to focus on. The story I want to focus on is Moore asked Barry Larkin for his opinion on Jones' retirement and whether he truly believes Chipper will retire. In giving his opinion, Barry Larkin delivered a money-quote about Chipper being injury-prone as only an ESPN analyst could deliver.

According to Barry Larkin, who knows a little something about Cooperstown ... not so fast -- not when it comes to Jones and the Hall of Fame, but in regards to that retirement thing.

Nearly every MLB player retires, either voluntarily or non-voluntarily, so Terence Moore could ask nearly any ex-MLB player about retirement and the want to play more baseball after you have retired and gotten a decent answer. It does make sense to ask a player who retired on his own terms, but there are non-Hall of Fame players who could have fielded this question. Fortunately for us, he chose to ask Barry Larkin.

"All I know is, the man can still swing the bat," said Larkin, over the phone, before emphasizing that he hasn't huddled with Jones about whether or not Jones is contemplating pulling a Favre.

Well then I am glad you asked Barry Larkin his opinion on this subject since he knows nothing about Chipper's intentions. I wonder what this stray black cat thinks about Chipper Jones and whether he should retire (asks stray black cat what Chipper should do after this season, followed by the stray black cat responded with irritated-sounding noises).

Apparently this stray black cat believes Chipper Jones is still a good hitter, but wants to emphasize he isn't sure what decision Chipper will make and at this point he only knows Chipper plans to retire. So this stray black cat knows what Barry Larkin knows.

"You know, I don't know where he is [in his thought process], because I haven't spoken to Chipper at all, but if he would consider being a DH in the AL, he could help somebody very well with that bat," said Larkin, now a baseball analyst on ESPN.

If only we could ask Chipper Jones if he would consider being a DH or if he plans to retire after this season to end the speculation, but I guess we can't do that. Wait, here's a quote in this very article from Chipper Jones!

"I have no desire to go to the American League to be a designated hitter," Jones said, with one of his crooked smiles. "I always said that I wasn't going to stick around just to attain numbers. Even though I've been in reach of 500 homers and 3,000 hits, my legacy has already been written, you now, regardless of what I do now."

I think that's our answer. Regardless, Barry Larkin wants us to know there is one condition where he thinks Chipper could continue to play after this year and be less injury-prone. Here is that way Chipper could be less injury-prone...

"I think he would be less injury prone if he didn't have to go out there defensively and didn't have to hit or run the bases.

Let's read that quote one more time.

"I think he would be less injury prone if he didn't have to go out there defensively and didn't have to hit or run the bases.

So if Chipper didn't have to play defense and hit the baseball or run the bases, then Chipper could be less injury-prone. So as long as Chipper plays a sport that in no way resembles the sport of baseball, he could be less injury-prone.

I'd love to hear Barry Larkin of ESPN's ideas about how Chipper can find a roster spot on a baseball team that doesn't require hitting and/or having to run the bases. Perhaps MLB can pass a new rule saying Chipper can have a designated runner every time he comes up to bat. Maybe MLB can change the entire rules of baseball around and not require players to run the bases. I don't know. Even if Chipper were to be a DH he would have to hit the baseball (which isn't an issue) and/or run the bases. There's really no getting around this.

So good luck Chipper. Use this brilliant analysis from Barry Larkin on how to be less injury-prone and factor it into your decision-making. Perhaps you can find your way onto a team's roster and bat without having to run the bases. Because from my recollection of baseball, and unless they have changed the game since 10pm last night, all hitters are required to run the bases and/or hit the baseball when they come up to bat. Does ESPN know how to hire people who have a way with words or what?

-I didn't feel up to doing a full MMQB last week, so I will do a shorter version with some of my favorite Peter King comments. I'm planning on doing a full version of this week's MMQB, which should be posted soon. It seems Peter is tying up some loose ends, as well as transcribing a loooooooooooong Paul Brown speech that takes up 25% of MMQB. Not that it matters. It's a good speech, but it is one of two parts where this MMQB gets turned over to someone else to write. This seems to becoming a trend in MMQB. Peter seems to be inserting someone else's writing into MMQB for us to read.

The highlight, at least for me, is a 39-year-old pre-training-camp speech by one of the greatest coaches of all time: Paul Brown, speaking to his 1973 Cincinnati Bengals. This is sort of a risky thing here, running much of a coach's pre-camp talk to his team.

What's so risky about transcribing an entire looooooooooooooong speech from 1973 in a weekly column that is supposed to contain NFL tidbits and information fans want to know? It's not like Peter could have Tweeted the speech out to his 887,000 followers.

(And yes, I realize from some of the feedback in his mailbag and on Twitter it seemed quite a few people loved the speech. I never said I had my pulse on what people like. It didn't hurt my feelings he included the speech. I enjoyed parts of it. It felt out of place to me, like an intentional space-filler. I think the speech deserved its own column and reaction from Peter King. I just felt like he included it to make MMQB longer when he could have easily Tweeted the link out or written an entire other column on it. I feel he included it in MMQB in order to say he writes a lot in MMQB on a weekly basis. Sometimes on Twitter when someone criticizes MMQB he will respond with something like "7000 words isn't enough for you?" or another reference to the length of MMQB. So I feel like he is sensitive to making MMQB as long as possible, which probably isn't the best way to go about writing it. It's fine to have a shorter MMQB, it really is, especially before the training camp tour starts.)

4. Hines Ward is "devastated." He should be, and of course we all are, after the horrific shootings at the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises movie Friday in suburban Denver, where 70 people were shot by a gunman dressed as the Joker. In Ward's first movie role, he returns a kickoff in the movie at an incendiary Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

I don't want to hear from Hines Ward anymore, even when it comes to him commenting on tragedies. Just retire and go home. I have a list of retired NFL players who I don't care to hear about in Peter King's MMQB from now on. It looks like this right now:

1. Brett Favre
2. Hines Ward
3. Tiki Barber
4. Backup QB Jets (He's retired in my mind)

Nothing against these guys, but I heard enough of/about them when they played in the NFL. I also like how Peter says it is Wards "first movie role," which pretty much guarantees his stint on "Dancing with the Stars" was only the beginning of his post-NFL assault on the world to become relevant in some other entertainment field outside of football. Next thing we know Hines Ward is starring as the wacky side-kick in a romantic comedy that stars Kate Hudson and it is going to all be Peter King's fault for encouraging Ward to act.

Peter then brings up a really good point about NFL players whining about Commissioner Goodell's complete control over punishments and the appeals process.

Let's say the NFL at some point said to the players, You want to change the appeals process so much, fine. But we want two percent more of the shared gross revenue. Midway through the labor deal, one percent will probably be about $150 million. Do players want neutral appeals so much that they'd have authorized surrendering something like $300 million? And there's no guarantee the league would have ever proposed that anyway; it's just a hypothetical advanced by me. My point is, I don't think players would have pushed for a neutral appeals process if it would have cost them a lot of money.

No way the players give up anything like $300 million to have some say over the appeals. It would be nice to check Roger Goodell's power in some fashion, but the only way this was going to happen is through negotiating and the players would have had to leave some money on the table if the owners were going to make a concession for Goodell to not have complete control over punishment and appeals. I don't think the players would make this concession. The lockout was about money, so I have no doubt the players would have given the power to Goodell rather than give up money.

Then Peter transcribes the Paul Brown speech which I will mostly skip over because I have no respect for the history of the NFL and I am nothing but a young, snarky asshole.

Though I do enjoy his "don't smoke" portion of the speech which led to him saying this:

As for smoking, I ask you not to do it for your own good. I know it's a difficult thing to stop. I've never smoked and I don't know like probably some of you know it, but I'd suggest you give it a try. People are dying of this thing. All of a sudden when you've got to have part of your lung removed or something of that sort, you'll give yourself a little talk.

If you have your lung removed then you may only be able to give yourself a little talk since you possibly won't be able to speak to anyone else without one of your lungs. I don't even think someone could even play NFL football in 2012 and smoke cigarettes regularly. Maybe a kicker could do this.

I smoked off-and-on for 10 years (and yes, I started smoking off-and-on in my early teens. The "off" portion was because I couldn't get my hands on cigarettes, which apparently is really easy to do for everyone but me when I was in my early teens) and there is no other substance I have ever used that is more addictive than cigarettes. I still want one every other day or so, except I don't really "want" one, but I crave one. I went to a graduate school that didn't sell alcohol in the city limits but sold cigarettes at every possible destination in the city. This blows my mind. Marijuana and beer are in no way more addictive than cigarettes are (at least to me), yet cigarettes were sold in the city limits while beer wasn't. Wouldn't want anyone to drink demon beer, but who gives a flying fuck if you die of lung cancer, after all the local economy relies on your money. My point? I have none. That's your "The More You Know" segment for today.

"You'll be all getting into homes or apartments to rent. Live with some class, especially if you're a single guy. If you're one of these love-nest people, it eventually comes back to me too. Live with some class. When we leave here and go back to Cincinnati and you may have made the team, get your wife and children there. Probably the worst kind are the kind that give speeches about their wife and their family and how wonderful they are. When you find out they've really got a girlfriend on the side, what a letdown.

Translation: Don't get married if you play in the NFL.

Last fall, I was critical of the Penn State administration for firing Joe Paterno over the phone, during the crazy week when the board of trustees decided to dump the coach. I thought it was classless, given what Paterno had meant to the university and the football program.

Now, obviously, things have changed. I've thought for years that the Penn State football program, to Joe Paterno, had gotten to be more about Joe than it was about the players. There's no way Paterno was energetic and vital enough in his 80s to coach a Big Ten football team as well as a younger man, yet for years no one could oust him from the job. It was Paterno running the school, doing what he wanted, staying as long as he wanted, and it set the stage for other bad things to happen. Other very bad things.

Here's the issue with Peter's explanation for why he has changed his mind since last November about whether firing Paterno over the phone was classless or not. Every single one of these things Peter describes in the paragraph above he already knew in November 2011 before Penn State fired Paterno by phone. Peter knew the program was more about Paterno. Peter knew Paterno was in his 80's and wasn't coaching the team. Peter knew Paterno couldn't be ousted from his job. Peter knew absolute control can set the stage for bad things to happen.

What Peter claims he "thought for years" doesn't exactly jive with him also believing firing Paterno over the phone was classless. If he really had these thoughts for years, upon the revelation of Sandusky's actions Peter would see firing Paterno was the right call because (as Peter himself said),

"It was Paterno running the school, doing what he wanted, staying as long as he wanted, and it set the stage for other bad things to happen."

Obviously Peter had no clue the extent of the bad things that could happen. Nobody knew that, outside of Penn State's administration. So to explain how he has changed his mind using facts that were present and known as true in November 2011, when Peter stated firing Paterno by phone was classless, rings hollow to me. Peter makes a better statement in the paragraph below, but the circumstances in the paragraph above were still present when Peter said firing Paterno was classless. If Peter really believed over the last few years that Paterno had set up an environment where bad things could happen I would think Peter would have understood in November 2011 why Penn State fired Paterno over the phone.

For those reasons, particularly now that the second one is out in the open, it's clear to me the university didn't owe Paterno anything at the end -- other than to take down the statue that would have been a constant reminder of the stain caused by looking the other way while young boys were sexually abused by Jerry Sandusky.

This does not ring hollow and this is all Peter had to write.

Then Peter has a Penn State student wrote something about the situation. This seems to becoming a trend. Peter employing the use of guest writers to kill space in MMQB. I'll skip this part.

"First of all, the money was too good. The money was too good, and I hate to say it's about money. But, you know, I felt the money was a lot."

-- Brett Favre, in an interview with Deion Sanders of NFL Network, on coming out of retirement to play in 2010 for Minnesota.

Seriously, Peter. No one gives a shit about Brett Favre anymore...even when he admits what everyone who didn't work in the media already knew, that Favre didn't come back to play for the Vikings because he loved the game and wanted to play it like a little kid for another year (or two), but it was all about the money. No matter how much ESPN and other sports media members wanted to paint Favre as unable to step away from the game of football, it's always been about the money or revenge for Brett Favre. Maybe in the year 2020, every sports media member will realize this. Favre wants to get paid a lot of money and get revenge on the Packers for having the audacity to move on without him.

In line, a man approached me and said he liked my work and was glad to meet me. We small-talked about his Ravens for a minute until a taxi-boat driver approached. "Want a ride to your hotel? Where are you staying?'' he asked.

"The Westin,'' my new acquaintance said.

"So are we,'' I said. "Want to share it?''

So this story goes on and ends this way...

Now that's weird. Same train. Same hotel, for the same number of nights. Same end site for vacation halfway across the world in a place that I'm certain only two parties in Venice would be going to as the end of their vacations.

Oh sure, when it is two middle-aged couples that have the same traveling schedule and destinations it is cute and fun, but when it is a 20-something guy who has the same traveling schedule and destination as a 20-something girl she thinks "something doesn't feel right," so the police call it "stalking" and want to "bring you in for questioning."

3.Being the PA announcer at Fenway Park for a game. A month ago, my buddy with the Red Sox, Corey Bowdre, texted out of the blue, "Would you be interested in doing the PA at one of our games in July?'' Come on, now. Seriously? I believe I set the American record for quickest response to a text. "I'm in."

"My only other question is who has ever heard of this Will Middlebrooks character? I'm a huge Red Sox fan and haven't ever heard of him."

I did only one affectation. Introducing the White Sox lineup before the game, I came to the second batter and said, "Batting second, the third baseman, number 20, Kevin YOOOOOOO-kilis.'' Just had to.

Well, you actually didn't have to.

1. I think --

You only think?

no, I know --

That's better.

c. The Jets used seven or more defensive backs on 11 percent of pass plays, far more than any other team. In fact, only one other defense used seven or more defensive backs on more than 1.5 percent of pass plays -- Dallas. Rex and Rob Ryan sure think alike.

Rob Ryan: Defensive genius for those who don't actually like defensive coordinators to be actual defensive geniuses.

9. I think I'll miss most of the Olympics, hopping from city to city over the next month.

If only there were ways to view these Olympics and keep up with the events while traveling from city to city. If only they made phones that could provide this information.

If you think the fact he hasn't seen any of the Olympics will stop Peter from commenting on events that happen at the Olympics then you don't know Peter King. He will probably DVR the Olympics and comment on them sometime in mid-October, much like he does by discussing episodes of television shows that were shown two months ago.

e. I'll be running another half marathon in the fall. Details to come soon.

I definitely want the deets ASAP. Also, please update me on your next colonoscopy and when you plan on purchasing a new mattress. Hopefully these two events won't be related to each other.

h. I find myself as a Sox follower not being angry with Lester, but rather pitying him. He doesn't want to be this horrible.

Is this as opposed to players who are struggling and want to be this horrible? Are there players who are struggling and want to be horrible? Would Peter by chance believe John Lackey and Carl Crawford fit into this non-existent category?

j. I don't know how I missed The Descendants when it was out a year ago. But that's one great movie. Not a good movie. A great one, a great slice of real American life.

Again, we will be getting commentary on the Olympics in mid-October.

"Saw Tom Hanks in a film called 'Big' the other night. I think that kid is going to go on to have some great performances over his movie career."

n. Good to be back. Looking forward to hitting the road.

By "the road" I'm guessing Peter means "Brett Favre's ass when I make an unscheduled and all-too-brief stop in Mississippi to sit on Favre's porch."

Brett Favre-Peter King jokes never (always) get (feel) old, do (don't) they?


Mozzer's Mazda Mishap said...

"I think he would be less injury prone if he didn't have to go out there defensively and didn't have to hit or run the bases."

I think Larkin is suggesting that Chipper should consider pitching (and refrain from fielding the position).

rich said...

The thing about Chipper is that he's 40 years old and has three kids. Maybe he's not retiring because he can't play at a high level, maybe he's retiring because he wants to move on from baseball.

He's earned 155M playing baseball, he has a career OBP over .400, he has and MVP and a WS ring.

He's been one of the greats and despite my hatred of the Braves, Chipper is a first ballot HOFer. If he wants to come back, he can certainly still play, but given that he announced his retirement before the season even started, I think he's just trying to move on.

In Ward's first movie role

It was a breakout performance too! He stood on the sidelines and ran a kick off for a TD... Barry Larkin thinks he could still play if he wanted too.

People are dying of this thing.

Says the morbidly obese journalist... I wonder if Peter was out of breath when he got on top of his soapbox?

Yes, PK has been on a health kick, but he's still fat as shit and completely neglected that fact for a very long time. So after 30 years, he finally started dieting and exercising and now feels comfortable calling out smokers?

I don't smoke, but seriously, I don't think there are many people who are smokers who aren't aware of the nasty shit it does, they just don't give a fuck. The same way a 20 year old PK shoved fast food into his body.

"First of all, the money was too good. The money was too good, and I hate to say it's about money. But, you know, I felt the money was a lot."

I hope this is his legacy, I really do. I hope people look past all the "he's a kid out there" bullshit and realize the reason he stuck around so long wasn't that he loved playing, it was the money.

Bengoodfella said...

Mozzer, that's not a bad idea. If teams try to bunt the ball back to him then Chipper could dive out of the way. Of course, he would probably get injured while diving.

Rich, they invented the DH for guys like Chipper Jones. I could see where he wants to come back and be a DH, but I doubt he would leave the only team he's played his entire career for just to play 1-2 extra years as a DH. It's time to move on...especially since it will be really helpful for his salary to come off the books and Prado will slide right into 3B.

I don't want to see him come back and struggle. Going out while he can still hit the ball is the way to go IMO.

I thought the idea of Hines Ward returning kicks in the movie was funny. Ward was great at so many things, but I think it is funny that in his movie debut where he played a football player he returned kicks, which is one of the few things he couldn't do on a high level.

Smokers are very aware of the habit. Peter has gotten better about working out, but it's sometimes those people who have kicked bad habits who feel the need to call out others.

That will never be Favre's legacy. This was the first I had heard of this quote. It ruins the narrative about Favre completely and I'm surprised Peter acknowledged it. The only thing Favre loved more than playing was playing for a ton of money. Once he knew he could get paid a ton of money to play quarterback.