Tuesday, August 7, 2012

14 comments Rick Reilly Continues to Flaunt the Fact He Doesn't Care if He Writes Crap, He Gets Paid Regardless

Rick Reilly's contract is up at ESPN in 2013 (I believe). If he was an athlete then his contract would be comparable to the contract Mike Hampton was given by the Rockies. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but a lack of production and ability to live up to the contract has made it an albatross. At least I am not comparing Reilly's contract to Denny Neagle's Rockies contract, since Neagle had a lack of production plus a dalliance with prostitutes that caused him to not be worth the amount he was given. You can't convince me ESPN believes Rick Reilly is worth the money he is paid. There is really format other than in writing they can effectively use him, because he has no real skills outside of 750 word essays. He can't be an analyst and he only uses sports as a sidebar to the syrupy and half-assed junk he likes to write. So if there isn't a syrupy story to be told, Rick seems to have little use. It appears to me that Rick has been flaunting the fact he just doesn't care what he writes anymore. He's getting paid regardless and has enough money to where he doesn't have to write again after 2013.

Today Rick is complaining about the pace of baseball games, which up until now absolutely no one has had the audacity to discuss in a public forum. This topic is certainly not talked out nor has it been shown baseball games last a shorter amount of time than football games tend to last. So Rick is (not) breaking new ground with his complaint about baseball's pace of play. Basically, Rick hates baseball and blames that reason on the slow pace of games. I'm waiting for the day Rick writes a column where he talks about all the expensive things he can afford with the millions ESPN has given him and then tells us he works on average 5-10 hours per week to make this amount of money. I'm sure this column is coming soon.

Things that nobody reads in America today:

Rick Reilly columns?

Kate Upton's resume.

Because she is attractive no one checks her resume! Otherwise, a model needs to have her resume updated before applying for a modeling job...which we all know models apply for a job by bringing in their resume, so this non-funny joke also makes complete sense.

Major League Baseball's "Pace of Play Procedures."

Yes, baseball moves slow. I think the game could speed up in some ways and my life wouldn't be changed dramatically for the worse. Still, if you like baseball the pace probably doesn't annoy you on a nightly basis. NFL games last three hours long and the late games have now been bumped back another 10 minutes. NFL games tend to be longer than MLB games, yet the NFL is the more popular than MLB. So MLB games have a slow pace, but they on average take a shorter amount of time to complete than do NFL games. Maybe popularity of sports isn't directly tied to the pace of the game being played.

It's clear no MLB player or umpire has ever read the procedures, or else how do you explain what I witnessed Sunday, when I sat down to do something really stupid -- watch an entire televised MLB game without the aid of a DVR?

Rick watched one MLB game and has come to the conclusion the games are too long. It's clear Rick doesn't enjoy or watch baseball, so perhaps his opinion is somewhat biased. I'm going to watch one lacrosse match and immediately deduce that lacrosse is the most boring sport in the history of sports and then tell everyone all the major issues that lacrosse currently has...because my inability to enjoy the sport as a whole in no way would affect my analysis of what I consider to be the major issues that sport faces.

Like a Swedish movie, it might have been decent if somebody had cut 90 minutes out of it. I'd rather have watched eyebrows grow. And I should have known better.

Rick Reilly is somewhat renowned for stealing or nearly complete reproducing his old columns and now he is writing an "original" column and linking a previous column where he talked about the exact same subject he discusses in his current column. At this point, he is flaunting the fact he steals or reproduces his old material right in our faces. He's saying, "I'm getting paid to rewrite my old columns and there's nothing you can do about it nor does my employer care to do anything about it."

If I were a writer like Rick Reilly and I was essentially rewriting old columns I wouldn't even have the guts to link the original column in my re-write. Rick Reilly must be more of a man than I am.

Consider: There were 280 pitches thrown and, after 170 of them, the hitter got out of the batter's box and did … absolutely nothing.

Really? If the pace of the game were picked up, then after 170 pitches the batter would get out of the batter's box and do absolutely nothing...just at a brisker pace, perhaps shaving 4-5 seconds per at-bat off the time of the game.

Mostly, hitters delayed the proceedings to kick imaginary dirt off their cleats, meditate, and un-Velcro and re-Velcro their batting gloves,

That does count as "doing something," you know. It may not please Rick, and he may think the players need to hurry up, but this is "doing something" out of the batter's box.

Buster Posey of the Giants, The Man Who Wrecked Your Dinner Reservations,

Then go to the restaurant to meet your dinner reservation time (because God knows we wouldn't want to miss dinner reservations for a regular season baseball game) and follow the score of the game on your iPhone or whatever mobile device you choose to use. Problem solved and crisis averted.

What exactly was he doing in the on-deck circle? His cuticles?

He was devising a plan to ruin your dinner reservations.

I knew I was in trouble in the first inning when the Reds' Brandon Phillips stepped up. My notes on his five-pitch at-bat:

Strike: steps out, examines the trademark of his bat at length.

Ball: steps out, grabs barrel of bat, seems to be talking to it.

Ball: steps out, takes three practice swings, taps corner of batter's box, steps one foot in, taps plate, places other foot in, stretches, fiddles, finally looks at pitcher, calls timeout! Does it all again.

I get frustrated with how pitchers take forever between pitches and wish the umpire would just tell the pitcher to go ahead and pitch if the batter chooses not to enter the batter's box in a timely fashion. It's not going to happen. So fans of baseball can either DVR or TiVo the game and then watch it on fast forward or just deal with it. I deal with it because I don't see the pace of the game being a huge issue for the sport of baseball. Rick Reilly sees the pace of the game as being a huge issue for baseball because he doesn't really like baseball in the first place.

In the NFL, there are usually at least 25-30 seconds between each play. The sport has a faster pace, but a game still takes three hours to complete. So I have come to the conclusion those people, like Rick Reilly, who can't stand the pace of baseball simply don't like the game of baseball. Considering Rick makes it clear he rarely watches baseball, perhaps his opinion of the game's pace is biased by his dislike for the game overall.

By the way, the average number of seconds per pitch this game: 31.34. Thirty-one seconds per pitch? This is not a misprint. Do you realize people can solve an entire Rubik's Cube in 22 seconds?

And Rick Pitino can impregnate a woman in 7-10 seconds! Rimshot!

All of this, of course, is in direct violation of MLB's "Pace of Play Procedures" (hah!), which state: "Umpires will not grant time for batters to step out of the box if to do so would unnecessarily delay the game."

Of course if the umpires did enforce this rule Rick Reilly would have to think of something else concerning the game of baseball to complain about in order to explain why he doesn't like the sport.

Unnecessarily delay the game? The only delay these hitters knew was unnecessary. And when they weren't doing that, the pitchers were lollygagging behind the mound, re-rubbing pre-rubbed baseballs or gazing up to identify cloud animals.

How about you just don't watch baseball if you don't enjoy the game? The game has a slow pace and a lot of people don't mind this. Why does the game have to have a fast pace simply because Rick Reilly prefers a fast pace? Some people prefer the slower pace of a baseball game.

Perhaps Rick should focus on writing his typical column. I'm sure there is a dog with cancer or a little boy who always had a dream that just won't come true somewhere out there which Rick Reilly can Hallmark Channel-up in order to get a column full of forced emotions and manipulative overly-sappy writing that will serve as a substitute for actual, quality sports journalism. If you make people feel sad, that's great writing isn't it?

New rule: Umpires who don't order batters back into the box within 12 seconds -- because the rules state that a pitcher must throw the ball within 12 seconds of receiving it -- will get the room at the hotel next to the newlyweds.

Newer rule: Umpires who don't order batters back into the box within 12 seconds--will have to listen to Rick Reilly tell jokes for two hours AND will be forced to read all of Rick's books cover-to-cover twice a day for a week.

Whoo-eee! That's rich. These guys wandered away from the box like 2-year-olds at a petting zoo. Six times they left the dirt circle around the plate altogether. Left the entire circle!


And by the way, this nonsense about there's only a 2-minute, 10-second TV break between half innings? Bullfeathers. Only once did the break between half innings take 2:10 or less. The rest of the time, it was miles over. The break before the top of the fifth was 4 minutes, 12 seconds! Where did everybody go? Out to feed their meters?

"And what's up with this seventh-inning stretch thing? You can stand up anytime you want during a game. Why does there need to be a specific inning everyone in the crowd stretches? And what's with singing 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame?' You are at the ballgame and by the time you sing the song it is too late to buy peanuts or cracker jacks at some vendor stands. Shouldn't you sing that song at the beginning of the game or on the way to the game? Don't even get me started on the bullpen. I looked the entire game and couldn't see one bull the entire game. Why don't they call it a 'human pen?'"

There were more ways to waste time in this game than in a month of teamsters meetings.

Unions are full of lazy people! No wonder baseball has a union!

New rule: Pitchers get two pickoff attempts per runner. For every one after that, the umpire adds a ball to the hitter's count.

I would agree the number of pickoff attempts per runner could be three per batter and that wouldn't hurt my feelings. I realize this isn't a popular rule nor should it necessarily be put in place. I think it is a great idea, but others probably don't share my opinion.

Four times the hitter, after going through his Art Carney routine,

Even Bill Simmons thinks this pop culture reference is too dated.

Five times the catcher called time out to go out to the mound to discuss, what? ObamaCare?

A timely joke that is also hilarious! Rick Reilly columns have everything you look for as long as you aren't looking for originality, the use of humor, insight, creativity, nuance, anything interesting related to sports, in-depth analysis of sports, or one more reason to read ESPN.com.

Four times the pitching coach wanted time. That's 15 timeouts in a game that didn't even have a clock. Can you imagine if Tom Brady could call a timeout anytime he wanted? You'd be in Foxborough long enough to vote.

Tom Brady can call timeout any time he wants. The correct question Rick should pose is "Can you imagine if Tom Brady could call as many timeouts as he wants?" I nitpick because I don't care.

And explain to me why a reliever who's been warming up in the bullpen for five minutes still needs eight pitches to warm up on the mound.

Because he is throwing to a different catcher? Because he is throwing on the playing field pitching mound and not the bullpen mound? Because the catcher probably wants to know which pitches are working well that evening? Because a reliever will often not throw his absolute hardest in the bullpen for the full five minutes, so warming up in the bullpen may not accurately simulate what his pitches are moving like that evening?

Do field goal kickers get eight practice kicks?

Yes, a kicker does get eight practice kicks prior to the game on the same goal posts he will be kicking through during the game. A reliever doesn't get to warm up prior to the game by throwing to the exact same catcher he will be throwing to during the game. I'm sure there are more differences, but this comparison annoys me so much I'm having trouble thinking clearly.

Like tennis grunts, all this crud is just a lot of bad habits that only serve to annoy the very people MLB is supposedly trying to captivate -- the fans. It doesn't sell more TV ads, doesn't get the game done before the kids have to go to bed, doesn't do anything but make your thumb hit the CHNL UP button sooner.

Attendance at baseball games is going up and the sport isn't in popularity decline. So those people who love baseball don't seem too annoyed by the pace of the game. It's clear Rick just doesn't like baseball, so why would MLB do anything to appease him?

This game was mercifully won by the Giants, 4-3, on their last at-bat,

The Giants won the game on their last at-bat? BORING!

when Reds right fielder Jay Bruce botched an easy fly ball.

Three hours and 14 minutes, 170 step-outs, and three double-shot macchiatos for that?

I can understand Rick's frustration. I have read his columns for a while now and it is clear he hasn't had to put more than two hours of work into writing very many of them. To spend three hours watching a sport he hates, well that's just too much work for him to do in one day. Plus, how can he create a sappy, emotionally manipulative narrative from a game which ended on a botched fly ball?

Please, I beg of you, bring on the NFL.

The same NFL that just moved the late games back 10 minutes to 4:25pm? The same NFL which in 2009 had games that were on average longer than MLB games? I would imagine that data hasn't changed drastically over the last three years either. Because Rick Reilly doesn't do any research he fails to understand this, he craves the pace of play of NFL games over MLB games even though NFL games last longer on average.

It's kind of hard to take Rick seriously when he complains MLB games are too long, but doesn't seem bothered by NFL games that last longer than MLB games. Maybe Rick just doesn't like baseball. That's fine, baseball probably doesn't like him either.


j-dub said...

Reading Rick's columns makes me feel like I'm trying to (in my head) argue points with a 10 year old. All i have the urge to do is just shake my head and say "no, no, no", then do my best to explain why he's wrong using a 4th grade comprehension level. His points are childish and reek of naivety.

Like you pointed out, it's clear Rick just doesn't enjoy baseball. If he would just leave it alone, that would be greatly appreciated.

Steve Sprague said...

I agree with J-dub. Both of these columns are simply pointless. Yes, there is a delay between pitches - the same as there is a delay between plays in football. In general, baseball games are faster than football games so I really don't see the point of this complaint.

Reilly is also a fan of watching golf on TV. Yet he complains about the pace of baseball....

cs said...

It's kind of fascinating how unaware Rick is. The "doing nothing" when a batter steps out of the box is pretty fundamental to mental preparation for the batter (let alone the batter checking with the 3rd base coach especially with runners on). We all grew up playing and we developed weird rituals that made us more comfortable with each new pitch, like re-velcroing batting gloves and all that. It's like basketball players on the free throw line, everyone has something that gets you into that mental zone, whether ultimately it's imagined or not.

Besides, what is it an average of 72 swings of the golf club taken in a pga round, and that takes at least 4 hours.

waffleboy said...

I loved Rick Reilly when he first came on board at ESPN. Mainly because he was getting paid more money than Bill Simmons and I felt that just drove Simmons nuts. (Bill has always struck me as the kind of guy who would get super pissed about someone making more money than him) Is there any way Reilly could get a contract extension, and a raise?

Anonymous said...

I always love a good Rick Reilly bashing, but out of curiosity, why did you write this so late? Reilly's column was on ESPN.com a month ago. Keep up the good work...

Justin Zeth said...

I have trouble understanding why ESPN publishes Reilly's "I hate baseball, and here is why you should hate baseball too" columnettes every once a month. Is ESPN trying to make baseball less popular? Rick certainly is, and ESPN is publishing Rick's childish attacks against baseball. This makes no sense, as last I checked ESPN makes a lot of money off covering baseball.

Bengoodfella said...

J-dub, I saw some research that searched the words Rick Reilly and other columnists used in their columns to determine the reading level (or maybe it was the level on which they write) for their readers and I am pretty sure he was on the 8th grade level. I searched for it and couldn't find it, but it was a pretty low level. Either way, you are right. He hates baseball because it is slow, but yet he loves golf.

Steve, you are right. The pace of a baseball game is slower, but they on average are shorter than NFL games. So Rick is just showing his own bias and short-sighted argument against baseball by accusing the sport of taking too long and comparing it to the NFL. NFL games average about three hours. Baseball games average less than three hours. He hates the sport and there are a lot of lulls, then don't watch it. Of course I don't think Rick really likes or understands sports at all.

Cs, another part of the batter stepping out of the batter's box is to possibly disrupt the pitcher's flow on the mound or think about what pitch the pitcher may throw next. I would agree some of the pitcher/batter messing around between pitchers could be sped up, but often the batter may want to throw a hot pitcher off his rhythm or think about what pitch may come next.

Waffleboy, I didn't know what to expect when Reilly came to ESPN. I had read and generally didn't enjoy his brief columns for SI, but for the amount of money he got paid I was hoping he would step his game up some at ESPN and it has gone the opposite way.

I don't doubt Simmons hates how much Reilly gets paid. I know it stuck in his gut that Reilly made so much money for doing so little. It would bother me.

I have already read a few places that Reilly isn't going to be re-signed by ESPN. He'll probably end up at the Golf Channel or something.

Anon, I didn't catch this column the first week it came out and then I was going through my bookmarks and found it. Then I didn't write anything on it for another while. So I wrote it and always ended up finding another article I wanted to post. I try to post articles as soon as possible, but sometimes I get one up later than I want.

Justin, I think ESPN knows that few people take Rick seriously. ESPN management knows people read Rick's columns and don't take it as really meaning baseball is boring, but more take it as Rick Reilly struggling to write material.

I'm more sensitive to writers knocking baseball because it's been done so much. It's almost a cliche now.

Anonymous said...

RE: the 2 pickoff attempt limit idea

Would be horrible in implementation. I agree that sometimes it can be frustrating watching a pitcher constantly throw to first, particularly when he's not even coming close to catching the runner. That being said, a corresponding restriction on steal attempts would also have to be imposed as well as on lengths of leads. If a pitcher only has two pickoff attempts what is to prevent runners forcing both then being able to take ridiculous leads or steal bases at will? Just not a very good idea at all IMO.

Also, to echo others, why the hell is Reilly writing an anti-baseball column (a recyled one at that) for a company that covers tons of baseball. In fairness he probably would have been censored had his subject been a yanks-sawks game.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, I didn't think about that to be honest. It is frustrating to see a bunch of throws to first base. I haven't thought about what would happen after the two throw-overs have been completed. It would turn the game of baseball into something it doesn't need to be. Probably a Simmons-like idea from me. Good in theory, impossible in practicality.

Haha...if it were Sox-Yankees he would have pictures from the game and been forced to talk about what a great rivalry it is.

rich said...

Back in Rick's day, there were no pitchers, just a rapid fire pitching machine out there grooving strikes.

Yes, there's downtime between pitches, there is also downtime in EVERY SPORT.

Football - 35 play clock
Basketball - a plethora of time outs and sometimes it takes a minute or two per foul shot.
Hockey - lots of possible stoppages (icing, offsides, penalties, goaltenders).

It's almost like he's never watched baseball before. It's always been like this.

And his obsession with the batter being granted timeout... when you have a couple seconds to recognize the speed, type and location of the pitch, decide if it's a strike and then start your swing, timing is critical. If you're up there and you're expecting the pitch to come and it doesn't, it's going to screw with you.

If umps stopped granting timeouts, every pitcher would just stand there for the maximum allowed time and just screw with the hitters timing.

Then you have the commercials. I hate commercials, I really do, but if you're seriously going to bitch about commercial breaks running 4 minutes between half-innings, you shouldn't be a professional writer.

Go find something to do, grab a drink, make a sandwich, change channels, take a piss, get the stick out of your ass... you know whatever you need to do.

Three hours and 14 minutes

You have got to be shitting me. He's complaining about a baseball game running three hours? How about those football games that run well over that? How about the basketball games where the last 3 minutes take a half an hour?

And like others have said, Rick likes golf! You know, the sport where every player has a pre-shot routine that typically takes far too long and the pace is so slow, they can cut to another hole to show someone else lining up their shot before going back to the other guy(s).

Similarly, if you're going to complain that baseball doesn't follow their own procedures, look at golf, they have specific time limits on how long you have to line up your shot... they don't enforce it.

Kevin Na had several shots that took over 30 seconds...

Justin Zeth said...

Baseball doesn't need a hard pickoff attempt limit--that would be stupid--but it does need a soft one. The proper rule is, you get two free pickoff attempts per inning; the third *unsuccessful* pickoff attempt in an inning and every one after that is credited as a ball for the hitter.

It just means the pitcher gets the same penalty for uselessly throwing to first as he does for uselessly throwing a pitch.

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, you can't screw with the hitter's timing like that. I agree umps can't stop granting timeouts.

I don't know how Reilly likes golf. It has maybe 5 seconds of action per swing and then consists of a lot of walking and staring into the distance with a few practice swings.

Justin, I don't know if people will like your idea, just like they didn't like my two pick off idea. I'm afraid it would be seen as giving the runner too much of an advantage. I always use Andy Pettitte as my example. He seems to take 45 seconds to decide whether he is throwing home or to first base. The man moves at a snail's pace and throws to first (while balking, as he is allowed to do) base and then starts the whole slow process over. It's torturous to watch.

Though the people who complain the stolen base is a lost art could see more stolen bases if the pitcher was penalized for throwing over more than two times.

Anonymous said...

I would venture that the stolen base as a 'lost art' has more to do with modern statistical analysis. Managers have begun to move beyond the traditional "get a man on, steal a base. Lay down a bunt move him to third. Sacrifice fly him in" mentality. In the long run, I think they have determined that giving away outs isn't good baseball and trying to rack up hits instead leads to bigger (although more infrequent) scoring innings. Stealing is far more situational now I would think.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, don't tell Fredi Gonzalez we've moved past that point. Last year he wasn't fully aware of this happening.

Do you think stealing would increase if the pitcher only got 2 throw-overs per inning? I would think so, and that's what I was referring to. I think it would , which is probably why my idea was dumb. Otherwise, you are right. That whole giving up two outs to get a guy home thing isn't as well received now. Like Gene Mauch said, if the other team wants to give up an out, we'll take it.