Friday, May 31, 2013

10 comments Rick Reilly Ranks the Top 20 Coaches in NFL History Using a Metric I Won't Ever Understand

ESPN is ranking the greatest NFL coaches of all-time. I guess this is similar to their "Who's More Now" list from a few years back, just slightly more useful and informative than finding out "Who's More Now." Rick attempts to explain the metric or standard he used to rank these coaches, but it seems like he doesn't use a consistent metric at all. He sort of changes the standard he is using based upon where he wants to rank these coaches. It's one of those lists where he has the rankings already planned out in his head before he did any research (which I'm not sure Reilly did research). Much like the rest of his writing, Reilly favors cheap jokes and bad analysis over any type of critical thought about where he would rank these head coaches. Oh, and there is a Little Mermaid joke. Because it is the early 90's again in Rick's mind.

I've been instructed by the ESPN gendarmes not to reveal who made our Greatest Coaches in NFL History poll.

Gendarmes means "a military force charged with police duties." It's not a polite way to refer to the ESPN executives who have made Rick wildly overpaid over the past five or so years in this way. This would be like Mike Hampton bashing the Colorado Rockies front office for being loose with money in free agency.

But I know who I voted for, and I know who the group voted for, and one of us must've voted on nitrous oxide, because we're a Carnival cruise ship apart on some picks.

Wow, that sentence was a roller coaster ride wasn't? We have an unfunny somewhat dentist-related joke and an unfunny pop culture (is Carnival pop culture?) reference.

Here is Rick's list and I have to spoil one point he makes about Bill Walsh in order to criticize some of these early picks. He puts Walsh lower than he should be (in my opinion) on the list because he won his Super Bowls with one quarterback. This doesn't stop Rick from putting Belichick fourth on the list, putting Jimmy Johnson 14th on the list and he leaves Mike Shanahan off the list entirely because he won two Super Bowls with one quarterback. Apparently winning two Super Bowls with one quarterback is unimpressive. So keep this in mind as Rick goes through this list of the greatest NFL head coaches of all-time.

20. Dan Reeves -- Gruff and grouchy, the man went to four Super Bowls, three with John Elway and one against him. That says something, doesn't it?

This one of the metrics used that I don't understand. So making it to three Super Bowls with John Elway as your quarterback and losing a Super Bowl to John Elway is impressive, but actually winning two Super Bowls with John Elway as your quarterback means nothing? How can this be? It's better to lose three Super Bowls with John Elway than win two Super Bowls with John Elway? How in the hell does this make any sense? Reeves even lost a Super Bowl to John Elway and Mike Shanahan, yet Shanahan is not on the list and Reeves is.

And in that one, he woke up on game day to find out his best defensive player had been busted by an undercover hooker.

But I'm sure the Falcons would have won the Super Bowl if Eugene Robinson had not propositioned a cop undercover as a hooker the night before the game.

19. Ray Flaherty -- Don't start with me. Just because he coached before Netflix doesn't mean he wasn't great.

Netflix wasn't founded until 1997. Quite a few great coaches coached before Netflix.

Won two NFL titles and a bunch of division titles in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC), which was a very big deal despite TMZ never having heard of it.

What the hell does TMZ have to do with anything? TMZ covers celebrities and isn't too big on pre-1960's NFL trivia. Maybe Rick meant to write "despite TMQ never having heard of it." Of course there are a lot of things TMQ has not heard of.

18. Tom Coughlin -- Won two Super Bowls with The Wrong Manning.

Yes, but he won both Super Bowls with the same quarterback...just like Mike Shanahan, who isn't on this list because he won two Super Bowls with the same quarterback. Again, this is a constantly moving and inconsistent metric being used by Rick.

17. Marv Levy -- Made four straight Super Bowls. You say he never won The Big One.

By the way Bill Parcells didn't make this list. Many of your know I am not the biggest Bill Parcells fan in the world, but Rick leaves off Parcells because he coached in New York and "only" had a .570 career regular season coaching record. Marv Levy's career regular season coaching record? .561.

Bill Parcells made three Super Bowls, winning two of them, including one over Marv Levy and his Bills. How Rick can have the audacity to criticize Parcells' career regular season coaching record and slip Levy into the Top 20 when he has a lower career regular season coaching record and fewer Super Bowl victories than Parcells? I can't understand this. I'm dumbfounded.

15. George Allen -- Would've been a great general. He'd find a way to beat you if all he had was two right tackles and a spatula. Never had a losing season. Won 71 percent of the time. OK, so it never happened for him in the playoffs. Sue.

Apparently Allen only had one right tackle and a spatula when it came time to play in the playoffs with his 2-7 career record in the postseason.

14. Jimmy Johnson -- Still can't believe he's not in the Hall of Fame. Do you think Cowboys fans would take him back right now? Made all those egos work, the largest of which was his.

You guys know it pains the hell out of me to plead for Mike Shanahan, but Jimmy Johnson won two Super Bowls with the same quarterback (Troy Aikman) and then Barry Switzer won a Super Bowl with Aikman. If we are assuming a great quarterback helps to make a coach look better, wouldn't it make sense that Jimmy Johnson doesn't make this list since another Cowboys head coach won a Super Bowl with Aikman? I'm just thinking logically, which I know isn't something Rick Reilly never be clear, "thinking" is what Reilly never does.

I don't have a huge problem with a list like this one. Just use a consistent metric or make sure the metric you use doesn't get contradicted somewhere along the way. Rick has failed on both of these counts.

12. Curly Lambeau -- Six NFL titles. First to use the forward pass as his main weapon. Won two out of every three games with the Packers. Oddity: Lambeau never went to Lambeau Field. When he was alive, it was called New City Stadium.

It's not really an oddity. Lambeau died in 1965 and the stadium was built in 1957, so he was only only 8 years after the field opened and he stopped coaching in 1953. Lambeau wasn't even inducted into the Hall of Fame until 1963. 

11. Bud Grant -- The Norse God. He looked like the guy Hollywood hires to play a football coach. Always wore the expression of an Easter Island statue, even as Gary Cuozzo or Joe Kapp was fumbling away another Super Bowl. Maybe if he could've relaxed the rules a little on his players, like Chuck Noll, he would've won one of those four Super Bowls.

Sure, maybe that was the reason the Vikings didn't win the Super Bowl under Grant. Maybe if Bud Grant had worn his shoes on the wrong feet the Vikings would have won all four Super Bowls. Perhaps if Grant sacrificed a kitten at exactly 11:23pm the night before the Super Bowl in the back of a Buick then the Vikings would have won at least one Super Bowl.

9. Chuck Noll -- Four Super Bowl wins in six years. Then why isn't he higher, you ask? Because he did it with only one quarterback, Terry Bradshaw, and one defense, the Steel Curtain. 

(Bengoodfella hangs his head sadly) So because Noll helped put together a team with a decent quarterback and a great defense that won four Super Bowls this means he is not as good of a coach as Bill Belichick (fourth on this list) who won three Super Bowls with the same quarterback but didn't do it with the same defense?

I'm not arguing Bill Belichick is not as good of a coach as Chuck Noll, but what standard is Rick using other than his opinion? He wants us to believe his list is a list based on well-thought reasoning, but I'm not entirely sure it is. Some coaches who haven't won Super Bowls are on Rick's list with a lower career winning percentage than coaches who have won Super Bowls but aren't on this list. Opinions are great, just back it up with a consistent line of thought.

8. Bill Walsh -- This will torque people off, having Walsh this low, but I answer with two words: Joe Montana.

I will answer with many words: Not relevant in terms of how you have ranked these previous head coaches. Bill Walsh was an innovator and he did more than find Joe Montana (in the third round by the way) and then roll the ball out there to watch Montana win games.

He won all three of his Super Bowls with Joe Montana. Still, a very smart guy. One of the smartest things he did? Quit just before Montana did.

Just to be clear. The #1 coach on Rick's list won four NFL Championships (two Super Bowls) with the same quarterback for three of those championships. So that's kind of interesting to know based on the rankings Rick puts forth in this column.

If you don't think Bill Walsh could have won a Super Bowl with Steve Young as his quarterback like George Seifert did then I would kindly disagree. I think Walsh could have won another title with Steve Young. It's not like the 49ers nosedived after Montana wasn't the quarterback of the 49ers anymore.

6. Tom Landry -- The Fedora had 20 straight winning seasons, made five Super Bowls, and was my mom's favorite coach because he looked so nice on the sideline, unlike certain coaches in cut-off, bottom-of-the-hamper sweatshirts you might find at your finer Goodwill stores.

Landry won two Super Bowls with the same quarterback and had a regular season record of .607. He won 250 games in 35 years of coaching.

Bill Walsh won three Super Bowls with the same quarterback and had a regular season record of .609. He won 92 games in 10 years of coaching.

I like Tom Landry, but unless Rick Reilly is counting the number of wins Landry had in his career compared to the number of wins that Bill Walsh for his career then there's no reason (using Rick's reasoning) Landry should be ranked over Walsh.

4. Bill Belichick -- A mad scientist.


The man already has been to five Super Bowls and he's only 61. The way he's going, he could make it to seven, a record. You say, "What about your one-quarterback rule NOW?"

Warning: Shifting metric ahead.

And I say, "How do you know Tom Brady would be Tom Brady anywhere else? He wasn't Tom Brady in college, was he?"

Oh, I get it. Belichick made Brady, but Montana made Walsh. Elway made Shanahan, except when Elway was coached by Dan Reeves, who made Elway a better quarterback, even though Reeves couldn't win a Super Bowl with Elway, who made Shanahan. None of it makes sense.

Rick does realize much of the reason Brady wasn't Brady at Michigan is because Drew Henson was favored by the Michigan coaching staff because Drew Henson, right? Henson was bigger, stronger, faster, which is why he was often given the starting quarterback job by Lloyd Carr. The story is pretty well-known at this point, but to deny Tom Brady wouldn't be as good on another team is to call him a "system quarterback" and we all know how I feel about that type of description regarding Brady.

2. Joe Gibbs -- OK, here's where you start throwing shoes. But it goes back to quarterbacks. Nobody has ever come close to doing what Gibbs did, which is win three Super Bowls with three different quarterbacks, none of whom are in the Hall of Fame.

This is impressive and I can completely see how Reilly would move Gibbs up the list because he won three Super Bowls with three different quarterbacks. The problem is this seems to be the only criteria Reilly is using to rank these coaches and he isn't even consistent in how he ranks head coaches who won Super Bowls with only one quarterback.

That's like crossing the Pacific in a Little Mermaid floatie.

Come on, man. It's 2013. Little Mermaid references were old in 1995 and no grown man should be making a Little Mermaid reference. If you absolutely must reference a children's movie how about referencing one from this century?

1. Vince Lombardi -- OK, the chalk pick, but do you think Bart Starr would be in the Hall of Fame without him?

As Reilly said in regard to Bill Walsh, I have two words for you: Bart Starr. The best thing Lombardi did was quit in 1967 before Starr quit in 1971.

Couldn't you say that about Lombardi? He won an NFL Championship without Bart Starr but once the leagues merged he couldn't win a Super Bowl without Starr. I obviously am not saying Vince Lombardi isn't a great coach or wasn't a great coach without Bart Starr, but the same criticisms by Reilly of Bill Walsh can be used for Vince Lombardi. Once the leagues merged he never even tried to win without Bart Starr, just like Bill Walsh retired before Joe Montana could retire.

This former Latin teacher got a job nobody wanted -- coaching the 1-10-1 Packers -- and proceeded to win 74 percent of his games after that. 

That 1-10-1 Packers team had five Hall of Famers on it by the way. Just felt like mentioning this.

Now let me tell you whom I didn't vote for.

It's not who Rick didn't vote for that annoys me, it's why Rick didn't vote for these head coaches. 

I didn't put Bill Parcells in the top 20. Lot of people are going to file a grievance over that. Fine coach, fun guy, but his regular-season coaching record was only .570, which ranks below most of the coaches in my top 20.

Other than the fact he has two Super Bowl victories, which is two more than Dan Reeves (.535 career regular season winning record), Marv Levy (.561 career winning record), and Bud Grant (.622 career regular season winning record), Bill Parcells isn't as good as the other head coaches on this list. If Rick is going to give Joe Gibbs credit for winning three Super Bowls with three different quarterbacks, none in the Hall of Fame, then Rick should know Bill Parcells won two Super Bowls with two different quarterbacks, neither in the Hall of Fame. Somehow Parcells doesn't make Reilly's list, even though he has more Super Bowls won with different quarterbacks than most other coaches on this list.

Plus, Parcells' stature was blown up because he did his best work in New York, which is the scuba mask of the world. Everything you do in New York looks one-third bigger than it really is.

I agree. I think Parcells' stature is blown up because he coached in New York and Dallas, but you can't argue with his inclusion on this list when using the criteria that Rick is using. Parcells, using Rick's own criteria, should have made this list.

I stiffed Mike Shanahan, too. Like Parcells, Shanahan is a wizard, but both his Super Bowls came with one quarterback, Elway. He has won one playoff game in the 13 years since. Needs to prove it.

Jimmy Johnson is 14th on this list and he won two playoff games since having Troy Aikman as his quarterback. Johnson had Dan Marino as his quarterback in those other two playoff victories and Marino is a Hall of Fame quarterback like Aikman. But somehow Johnson with fewer total coaching wins, a lower career regular season coaching record (.556 to Shanahan's .572) and one less playoff win without a Hall of Fame quarterback is 14th on this list while Shanahan is off the list completely. That's ridiculous. At least use your own metrics in a consistent fashion.

Lastly, I didn't vote for Tony Dungy. People act as if he won two Super Bowls: the one with Indy and the one Tampa Bay won the year after he was fired. Kim Kardashian just got pregnant with Kanye West. Does Kris Humphries get credit for that?

I'm not even sure how this makes sense. This is a pretty forced pop culture reference.

And yes, he won a Super Bowl with Peyton Manning, but your muffler guy could win one with Manning in those years.

Really, asshole? My muffler guy could win one with Manning in those years? So how many Super Bowl victories, no, how many Super Bowl appearances does Peyton Manning have without Tony Dungy as his head coach? One. Manning has been to the Super Bowl twice and won it once...with Tony Dungy as his head coach. It's idiotic, stupid, moronic, to claim anyone could have won a Super Bowl with Peyton Manning when NO OTHER HEAD COACH than Dungy has won a Super Bowl with Peyton Manning as his quarterback.

Anyway, if you have any beefs, run them all through Adam Schefter.

I'll run my beefs through anyone but you. It's clear you don't know what the hell you are talking about and can't even adhere to the metrics you used to put together your list. This is another abomination of an article from Reilly. It's what happens when Reilly has to be pulled away from the "sad story of the week" and has to actually talk about sports. He's clueless. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

5 comments MMQB Review: Peter Struggles with the Definition of a "Fact" Edition

Peter King described the joy he feels when walking in New York City last week in MMQB. Well, he likes to walk, but only when he can't catch a cab. Catching a cab is always preferable to walking, but walking is great too, as long as Peter doesn't have to walk too much. That's just annoying. Peter also described Tom Brady's offseason workout and asked Brady to state SPECIFICALLY what he has done to improve himself in the offseason. Peter also seemed confused as to how the Charlotte Hornets got their nickname, but thought the "Pelicans" is a great name for an NBA team. When I think of pelicans, fear strikes my heart. This week Peter talks about how great Brian Urlacher is (but leaves out how he didn't like Urlacher coming out of college and thought the Bears didn't make a good move when they drafted him...can't make himself look bad can we?), re-prints some commencement addresses given this year, and can't figure out why Jesus Montero isn't the starting catcher for the American League in the All-Star Game. Apparently in the past two weeks Peter has gone from not knowing exactly where Manny Machado came from, to now he is the lead scout for the Seattle Mariners. Why do prospects not work out? WHY? ANSWER ME UNIVERSE!

I'm going to write about Brian Urlacher today, but before I do, a note about the day. It's Memorial Day, and that's not just the first day of the beach season.

Never underestimate how stupid Peter King believes his MMQB audience truly is. What? Memorial Day isn't just about remembering those days when we couldn't go to the beach? Give us some perspective on this day Peter, as you only you can.

It's a day we remember all those who have served in the military, and those who continue to serve today. It's also my annual survey of some of the best commencement speeches to the Class of 2013.

Read that sentence again. Memorial Day isn't only remembering those who have served in the military, but also is the day Peter reveals his annual survey of the best commencement speeches to the Class of 2013. So we remember military members who have served, but at the same time look forward to Peter's annual survey of commencement address. Memorial Day is about honoring the military AND honoring Peter's annual commencement survey being released. Memorial Day is an important day to remember the troops while reading Peter's annual commencement survey on the beach while drinking an Allagash White. That way all three major reasons for Memorial Day to be remembered can be enjoyed while drinking the greatest beer ever made.

The explosion killed McGinnis instantly; the other soldiers in the vehicle got, at worst, shrapnel wounds they all recovered from. One of the men, Army Staff Sgt. Ian Newland, told USA Today: "Why he did it? Because we were his brothers. Everyone always tells their friends, 'I'd take a bullet for you.' I've read books and seen plenty of movies about it. But to actually live through a situation like that, have someone do that, is just -- there's nothing else more courageous that a person can do in their entire life. So basically, I try not to live my life in vain for what he's done."

Good advice on a day we should never take for granted.

We shouldn't take Memorial Day for granted. The beaches aren't open forever and Peter's annual survey only can be read in one MMQB per year.

First, some football. Then, Oklahoma. Then, some more wisdom from commencements.

I believe I said it last year (and possibly the year before that), but couldn't Peter simply link these commencement addresses in MMQB rather than write them (almost) verbatim in MMQB? I think it would be easier to link the commencement addresses, as well this would prevent MMQB readers from having to go through walls of text. I get that some of MMQB isn't football-related, but when Peter does the commencement address survey probably 50% or more of MMQB becomes non-football related. Are there really people who read MMQB and want to read more commencement addresses and other non-football related news? It's supposed to be a football column.

In retirement, remember Urlacher's best game.

While remembering the troops and the fact Memorial Day is the first day of beach season. More importantly, name three SPECIFIC THINGS that you remember about Brian Urlacher's game!

The defensive stat line for Chicago linebacker Brian Urlacher from Week 6 of 2006 in a Monday night game at Arizona:

Solo Tackles-Assists Total Tackles  Sacks  QB Hits  Passes Defensed  Forced Fumbles
11-8   19   0   3   2   1

He is who we said he was! Well, Urlacher isn't who Peter said he was. Peter used to grade NFL Drafts (which a post about that is to come...don't pretend you aren't excited) and he didn't give the Bears a good grade for drafting Urlacher. Again, let's gloss over this to talk glowingly about Urlacher's career. In reality, we SHOULD gloss over Peter's evaluation of Urlacher coming out of college to review Urlacher's NFL career, but I wish Peter would mention the draft grade he gave the Bears upon drafting Urlacher. I just want to read him saying he was wrong. Of course we don't have room for Peter to admit he was wrong about Urlacher because there are Tweets of the Week and some non-football related notes that Peter has to fit into this MMQB. There's only so much room for football-related stuff in this column. Peter HAS to fit in a Quote of the Week and his own personal thoughts on the movie he watched this past weekend.

"That game,'' said then-Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera, "epitomized Brian as a football player. If anything, the numbers don't do justice to what Brian did on the field that night, especially in the second half."

I imagine Ron Rivera was so motivated by Urlacher's play in this game he stared even harder at the football field with a blank look on his face while coaching the Bears defense.

There was a subplot to the Bears-Cards game on the night of Oct. 16, 2006. Arizona coach Dennis Green provided it. The Bears, 5-0, were already being compared to the '85 Bears around Chicagoland, and Green, in his pre-game production meeting with the ESPN Monday night crew, was incredulous. "Denny couldn't believe it,'' play-by-play man Mike Tirico told me Friday. "The Cards were 1-4, and they'd played Chicago tough in the third preseason game that year. Denny was coaching at Northwestern at the time of the '85 Bears, and he didn't think this current team compared to the '85 team. At our meeting, he said, 'People are trying to crown their ass.' He couldn't believe it."

This really wasn't a subplot to the game since the viewing public didn't know about Dennis Green's disbelief at the Bears being crowned as great so early in the 2006 season. The general public found out after the game, but Green's feelings prior to the game weren't a subplot since few people were aware of Green's feelings. Maybe it was an unknown subplot, but the general viewing public wouldn't have known about this prior to watching the game.

Then the Cards, who started neophyte quarterback Matt Leinart and whose defense abused Chicago quarterback Rex Grossman, bolted to a 20-0 halftime lead. When I think of that Chicago team, I think how amazing it is that it made the Super Bowl that season with such a poor offense. That offense was in full bloom by halftime, with two Bears first downs, two Grossman interceptions and two Grossman fumbles lost. That's where I'll let Rivera take over.

As a Panthers fan, let me warn you, it isn't smart to let Rivera take over. Fourth quarter disasters will occur.

"I went to Brian and told him, 'Brian, you've got to take this game over. We've got no choice. Just go do it.'

Life as a Bears fan with Rex Grossman as the quarterback. It had to be super fun.

Rivera was in his coaches' office in Charlotte when we spoke, and he pressed a few buttons on his computer and called up the coaches' video from that night.

Well I'm glad he has that video ready at the touch of a button. If only Rivera had the video of the Panthers' poor safety play ready to view at the touch of a button then he may not have chosen to reinforce that position with Mike Mitchell and not much else.

And you remember Green going off after the game, reprising the crown-their-ass rant for future generations to chuckle over. He was in such a state because in the last 16 minutes, Urlacher choreographed the Bears D into a scheme that led to one touchdown, had 10 tackles and two passes defensed and a forced fumble. He had five tackles of James after a one-yard gain or less.

And of course part of the reason Brian Urlacher was free to tackle James so close to the line of scrimmage is because Tank Johnson and Tommie Harris did their job keeping the Cardinals' offensive linemen from blocking Urlacher and gave him freedom to run around. This needs to be acknowledged. You can't tackle a ball carrier if you are being blocked.

Rivera sent Urlacher a text message when he heard about his retirement.

"Heard the news,'' he texted. "Sad for football. But honored to be able to be your coach."

Urlacher texted back: "I'm proud I got to play for you."

Maybe next year if Urlacher comes out of retirement he can find out which team Rivera is working for as a defensive coordinator and play for Rivera once again.

Tomorrow, I'll check in with some thoughts on the Charles Woodson signing.

We wouldn't to spend precious time in MMQB discussing an actual NFL signing when this space is better used for transcripts of commencement addresses, transcribing and explaining other people's Tweets, and complaining about cab drivers. Football-related thoughts are found outside of MMQB.

Now for those commencement addresses.

I've picked a few that I thought had some good messages. Hope you enjoy them.

11 commencement addresses. Peter transcribes all of or part of 11 commencement addresses. I'm not a brain scientist (I heard a girl use this phrase in one of my college classes and sort of adopted it. She mixed up metaphors saying "I'm not a brain surgeon" and "It's not rocket science."), but I don't know if "a few" of anything could be classified as 11 of those things. If I have "a few" drinks then I am probably not drinking 11 beers. Not unless I am lying about how many drinks I have had, of course.

Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve System chairman, Bard College

"Innovation, almost by definition, involves ideas that no one has yet had, which means that forecasts of future technological change can be, and often are, wildly wrong. A safe prediction, I think, is that human innovation and creativity will continue; it is part of our very nature. Another prediction, just as safe, is that people will nevertheless continue to forecast the end of innovation. The history of technological innovation and economic development teaches us that change is the only constant. During your working lives, you will have to reinvent yourselves many times.

Very true. Sometimes you have to be the mild-mannered Federal Reserve Chairman and other times you have to (allegedly) threaten the CEO of Bank of America as it pertains to a potential merger.

Michelle Obama, First Lady, Bowie State (Md.) University

"When it comes to your own kids, if you don't like what they're watching on TV, turn it off. If you don't like the video games they're playing, take them away. Take a stand against the media that elevates today's celebrity gossip instead of the serious issues of our time. Take a stand against the culture that glorifies instant gratification instead of hard work and lasting success.

Take this advice from the person who presented the Best Picture award at the Oscar ceremony this past year. I like Michelle Obama and appreciate the work she does to combat childhood obesity, but her telling an audience of students to ignore celebrity gossip and focus on the issues of our time is interesting to me. She has quite the reach and following in Hollywood and hasn't seemed afraid to embrace her (and President Obama's) connections to celebrities.

"I love the head coach. I mean, I love the head coach. He already has this team wrapped around his finger."

-- Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer, to Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports, on new coach Bruce Arians.

I wonder how long it will be before Carson Palmer realizes opposing defensive linemen are going to have him wrapped around their arms and he demands another trade without the media calling him out for being selfish? Actually, the Cardinals offensive line has improved, but the Cardinals are Palmer's third team in three years and he basically demanded a trade out of his previous two situations. He's not a malcontent though, because the media likes him, so they don't call him a malcontent despite any evidence that he may be.

"It's going to be interesting to see if this style of offense projects to the NFL. I'm going to say no. I just don't see NFL passing concepts in this offense. It's a movement offense by the quarterback, off the run-action, off the read-action. A lot of short, quick passes, dart routes, bubble screens. Very few plays down the field with NFL passing concepts."

-- Ron Jaworski, on coach Chip Kelly's new offense with the Eagles, to radio station 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia.

But, but, but...Chip Kelly is an offensive mastermind who is going to turn Mike Vick into an accurate passer and his offense is going to revolutionize the NFL as we know it. Haven't all of these national NFL writers told us how great Kelly's offense is going to be? It can't be true his offense may not work in the NFL because that's contrary to the line the public is being fed.

Snark aside, I have no idea if Chip Kelly is going to work out in the NFL or not. What I do know is that Chip Kelly seems to be a very smart man who wouldn't run the exact same offense he ran in college because he doesn't have college-level talent anymore. Kelly is going to adapt his system to the NFL and to the players in the NFL, which (at least in my mind) would feature more down the field NFL passing concepts. After all, he has Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson at wide receiver, so it only makes sense. So I don't think looking at tape of his college offense is going to entirely show what his NFL offense will look like. I find Ron Jaworksi's criticisms and comments to be premature and not relevant to what Kelly's Eagles offense may look like.

Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me I

In the wake of the Achilles tear to wide receiver Michael Crabtree (he had surgery last week; rehab is expected to put him back on the field in six to eight months, meaning he could play the last six or seven weeks of the regular season -- emphasis on could), I ask this question: Is it now possible that Anquan Boldin could contribute more to the 49ers' offense in 2013 than Percy Harvin will contribute to Seattle's?

So how is this hypothetical a "factoid?" I realize Peter has a lot of respect for his own opinion, but since when does a hypothetical question become any sort of fact?

Unlikely, certainly. With the compensation paid for both in 2013 offseason trades, it'll be amazing if Boldin's production is competitive with Harvin's.

So Peter has just posed a "factoid" in the disguise of a question, then answered his own question in a definitive manner. At this point, he is not only confusing facts and questions but he is essentially posing questions to himself that he himself answers. It's the journalistic equivalent of a six year old girl having a tea party with her stuffed animals.

The 49ers traded the 199th pick in the 2013 draft (a late sixth-round pick) to Baltimore to acquire Boldin. He'll make $6 million this year, the last year of his Ravens contract.

But Boldin is coming off an ironman season for Baltimore (19 games, 58 snaps a game), while Harvin missed eight games due to injury last year, including the Vikings' wild-card round loss to the Packers.

Harvin turns 25 tomorrow. Boldin is 32.

"Here's another factoid...what are the odds both Boldin and Harvin play 16 games this entire season? Not good. It won't happen. That's a stupid question I just asked myself."

They are different receivers, Harvin a smurfy, make-'em-miss, speed type, and Boldin a physical possession guy with deceiving downfield ability.

Take a step back, this is analysis from a professional! We don't want anyone to get hurt while chewing on these factoids.

There's no doubt anyone would want Harvin for the long haul. But with Crabtree likely out for much of the season (and who knows how healthy he'll be, trying to return from an Achilles injury in midseason), it's going to be very interesting to see which receiver shines brightest for the full season this year.

Here's a factoid for everyone to enjoy...with David Garrard now retired, which quarterback is going to have a better year? Tom Brady or Peyton Manning? Brady plays for the Patriots and throws the football with his arm, while Peyton Manning plays for the Broncos and also throws the ball with his arm, but can't throw it quite as far as Brady. It's going to be an interesting year to find out which quarterback shines brightest.

Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me II

Another non-factoid coming right up!

I wrote on last Tuesday about my feeling that the league was making a mistake in moving the draft back three weeks, into mid-May, next year. More chance for the hype machine to pump out more coverage of what is already the most over-covered event on the football calendar, the draft, I contend, and less time for the scouts, coaches and football people to live normal offseason lives.

I wrote: "How much hype is enough? How big does the league need the golden goose to get? Silly question. We see it answered every day by an insatiable league.''

Beneath that was a link to's Chris Burke's 2014 mock draft.

I guess the fact Chris Burke's 2014 mock draft existing on the site is a fact, but this is pretty tenuous. Peter could say any link exists on the site, and if it does indeed exist call this a "factoid." It seems Peter has once again put down his opinion that scouts will have less time to live normal offseason lives with the NFL Draft being pushed back as a factoid. It's very possible teams could give scouts some time off early in February or in March (maybe a week) that the scouts would normally get in May or June. Maybe not, but the proposing of scouts having less time for normal lives isn't exactly a factoid quite yet. I think Peter is still giving only giving an opinion or making an observation more than relating a fact.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

In northern California for a few days. Family vaca of sorts. In a Starbucks an hour north of San Francisco Sunday, I was amazed at Giants fever. Woman with a Brian Wilson jersey walked in. Guy with a Giants hoodie looked up and said: "How 'bout that game! What a finish!'' Talking about the walkoff, inside-the-park home run by Angel Pagan that won the game Saturday.

BREAKING NEWS: Local fans enjoy talking about a professional team that has been successful recently.

Another woman, not in Giants gear, walked out of the store a few minutes later and said to a guy with a Giants World Series t-shirt reading the San Francisco Chronicle at a table near the door: "Think Cain can win it today?'' Matt Cain, she meant.

Thanks for clearing that up, Peter. I thought she was talking about the no-holds barred steel cage match between Biblical brothers Cain and Abel. It turns out it was Matt Cain she was referring to. Without Peter's baseball knowledge, we would all be lost and think Cain and Abel had risen from the dead to have a death match.

Driving through the Giants-garbed city Saturday and listening to the chatter an hour away on Sunday, I thought: Hard to imagine a region in the country right now more excited about its baseball team.

Quite possibly. Would Giants fans be as excited if their team had not been successful lately? We should file this under: "Fans get excited when their team wins the World Series and the team continues to be successful."

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think I like the NFL continuing to press the issue of no HGH testing. As reported, the league sent a new proposal to the union April 24 to adopt a testing plan. As any dimwit can see, it's patently absurd that professional football does not test for human growth hormone. It's obviously an unfair advantage to use it. Even baseball and basketball, with testing programs part of their protocols, see the importance of it. There's no excuse, none whatsoever, for the 2013 season to be played without players being tested for HGH.

Another factoid from Peter.

2. I think I would ask the Jets this question after reading ESPN New York's excellent summary of the incredibly troubled adult (that may be using the adjective loosely) life and times of free agent running back Mike Goodson, who, according to a police affidavit, was found on May 17 "incoherent, slobbering and vomited all over himself" in a car stopped in the middle lane of a New Jersey interstate with a bag of marijuana in his pocket and a handgun with hollow-point bullets found in the glove compartment:

Take it easy on him. Hasn't everyone been found in a car incoherent, slobbering, vomiting with illegal drugs and a gun in the car with them?

Did you know all of what ESPN uncovered? And if so, how can you defend hiring Goodson at all, never mind handing him a $1 million signing bonus?

I'm pretty sure the Jets gave him that signing bonus before he was arrested with the gun in his car and before he was found in a state of inebriation. As far as the past stuff that Goodson has been dealing with, it was past rent due and past child support due. The Jets signed him because he has talent and teams take a chance on players who have outstanding child support if that player has talent. Those were the only issues Goodson had at the time the Jets signed him to the $1 million signing bonus. Goodson isn't the first player to have a chance taken on him when he has child support or legal issues. Just last year Peter was complimentary of the Rams basically taking the payment of Janoris Jenkins' child support out of his hands. Peter never questioned the draft pick by the Rams when he had some child support and legal issues. I guess not every player is lucky enough to have a team willing to set up a system to remove the burden of life so that player can focus on football.

3. I think the Cardinals were probably fair to both sides -- themselves and highly risky third-round defensive back Tyrann Mathieu -- by tying 60 percent of his signing bonus to roster bonuses over the life of his four-year contract. This way, if Mathieu has a rerun of his myriad off-field problems at LSU, the Cardinals will be protected in not having to pay the pro-rated portion of his bonus in the final three years of the deal.

I'm not sure that's exactly being "fair" to Mathieu to not compensate him in the same way other third round picks are going to be compensated, but it is fair to the Cardinals and probably a smart move. I guess whether this deal is fair to Mathieu depends on your definition of "fair."

5. I think the best thing on TV last week had to be Mark Mulder of ESPN's Baseball Tonight breaking down the mechanics of Seattleite John Clayton throwing out the first pitch Friday night at Safeco Field. 

This was the best thing on television last week? Were all other channels besides ESPN just showing static for the entire week?

6. I think quite a few of you (who can research, apparently) got the answer to my Twitter quiz pretty quickly on Saturday. I asked: Who threw the first NFL pass that was intercepted by Charles Woodson?'' Answer: Dallas coach Jason Garrett (no -- he wasn't the Dallas coach then!),

Well, thanks for clearing that up. I was confused because I thought Jason Garrett had gotten fed up with Tony Romo throwing interceptions and just put himself in as the Cowboys starting quarterback.

Does Peter really feel the need to clarify that Jason Garrett was not the coach of the Cowboys when he was intercepted by Charles Woodson? Does he believe his readers are THAT stupid?

10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:

a. Man, if you can figure out the story behind Jesus Montero's failure, please illuminate me.

Prospects don't always pan out and Montero was more of a risk to fail anyway because he isn't really a very good defensive catcher, so that leaves much of his value to the Mariners as a DH. So if Montero can't hit the ball then he has very little value to the Mariners and since Montero is young, he hasn't figured out how to hit MLB pitching consistently yet. There, I just figured it out.

It's the mystery of sport why he isn't the starting American League All-Star catcher, but rather the starter for the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers.

It's not a huge mystery. He can't hit MLB pitching. This happens quite frequently with highly touted prospects. Besides, when did Peter become an MLB scout? Just a few weeks ago he didn't know where the hell Manny Machado came from, but now he knows enough about Jesus Montero to be confused as to why he isn't the best catcher in the American League.

g. Coffeenerdness: I urge you, Peet's -- move east. Rapidly. Great, great coffee.

The coffee still smells like ass...but still, move east so Peter can spend $4.00 on a cup of coffee everyday. That should be enough daily revenue to justify putting a store in New York, right? 

i. I think Julia Louis-Dreyfus is better in Veep than she was in Seinfeld.


j. How do you not admire the Pacers? What a game Friday night. What an incredible game.

You can not admire the Pacers if you aren't a Indiana Pacers fan or are a Miami Heat fan. How do you not watch the NBA all year, admit you know nothing about the sport, and then make statements based on one game as if they are supposed to be facts?

k. If you'd have told me on April Fools' Day that the Red Sox would have been 30-20 after 50 games, with more wins than all but three teams in baseball, well, I'd have signed for that right there.

Sounds like Peter is back on the Red Sox bandwagon. I'm sure he'll jump back off and swear his brother-in-law isn't renewing his season tickets once the Red Sox get caught drinking beer in the clubhouse or don't make the playoffs.

The Adieu Haiku

No Crabtree 'til Nov.?
Huge injury, we all think.
Jim Harbaugh shruggeth.

What's Harbaugh going to do in front of his team? Start panicking? The 49ers signed Randy Moss and Mario Manningham last offseason, as well as drafted a wide receiver in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, so they at least have some depth to combat the injury to Crabtree. Any smart NFL coach would acknowledge the injury and then try to motivate his team to play past these injuries, as opposed to making the team feel like the season is over before it even began. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

3 comments Writers Says What Makes Jeter Great Can't Be Found in the Box Score; Chokes to Death on Own Hyperbole

We all love the Yankees' Core 4. Well not everyone loves them, but the sports media certainly does seem to greatly enjoy discussing the Core 4's (I hate using that term, it annoys me) wonderful virtues and I am very surprised there hasn't been a comic book series featuring Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, and Mariano Rivera as superheroes. Fuck G.I. Joe, these four guys are the real American heroes. Derek Jeter is probably the biggest source of the media's love and whenever the media talks about him we always get to hear about his intangibles and leadership. The hyperbole is often too much for one person to bear. The Jeter gets the hyperbole treatment today from Howard Bryant and then later Wallace Matthews turns a non-story into why Joba Chamberlain is not like Mariano Rivera. Wallace clears up that Joba and Rivera aren't similar just in case anyone was getting the two pitchers confused.

But first, it is hyperbole galore involving another sportswriter who refuses to let Jeter's achievements speak for themselves. There has to be hyperbole when describing The Jeter. If there is no hyperbole or a listing of The Jeter's intangibles then how would we all know how great he is? Sportswriters must continuously tell us about The Jeter's leadership abilities or intangibles or else they think we will all forget.

THE MAGIC OF baseball will always live in the storytelling -- the grandeur of Ruth, the Midwestern identification with Musial, the unbreakable Robinson and the complex defiance and moral ambiguity of Bonds.

Actually, the magic of baseball will also always live in the exciting baseball games that are played. What am I talking about? We all know sportswriters only care about the stories surrounding a game, not the game itself. It's like they insist on turning a sport into a sports soap opera. Also, what the fuck is up with all these writers (Terence Moore does it too) talking about "magic" in reference to baseball? 

It's what gives life to the statistics.

A player's performance on the field relevant to other players' performance on the field is actually what gives life to statistics. The storytelling gives life to made up bullshit used to tell anecdotal stories about a player, while the statistics give the story on how one player compared to other players.

Unfortunately, in the age of Moneyball and fantasy leagues, the numbers have been detached from, and become more important than, the players.

This doesn't make sense. How can the numbers have become detached from the players and yet still used by "Moneyball" (and screw you for using that generic term for anything related to advanced statistics) and fantasy leagues to evaluate players? Isn't the criticism of advanced statistics that the numbers often are TOO attached to a player, to where his leadership and other intangibles aren't taken into account? Not to mention, if Howard Bryant knows how to run a fantasy league without numbers and statistics I would love to hear this idea. The very idea he is criticizing fantasy leagues for only taking numbers into account is ridiculous. Numbers are what defines a fantasy league. Without these numbers you have no way of playing in the fantasy league or determining who is winning the fantasy league.

The Yankees' Derek Jeter has defied the impact of the two most influential elements of his time: the institutional shift toward quantitative analysis and the cynical lust for home runs, fueled by performance-enhancing drugs.

That's the narrative, even though it isn't entirely true. Jeter didn't defy quantitative analysis. He always had a high OBP and he tended to walk a lot. His fielding wasn't always the talk of Sabermetricians, but as a batter Jeter didn't really defy much qualitative analysis. As far as talking about a cynical lust for home runs, Jeter didn't defy this lust, he simply didn't hit a lot of home runs. There are plenty of quality players during the Steroid Era who didn't hit a lot of home runs. It feels like Howard Bryant is trying to give unique characteristics to The Jeter that really weren't exactly unique to The Jeter.

But with Jeter, the visual has always been better than the numerical -- and there's never been a better time to appreciate that than in his absence,

The perfect time to appreciate Jeter visually is when he isn't on the field to be visualized? I'm not sure how that can be a true statement because you can't visualize his greatness when he isn't on the field. Of course, maybe Bryant is giving The Jeter credit for being injured and his not playing at all shows exactly how great he is...which is actually what it seems like Bryant is doing. Now Jeter is getting credit for not doing anything at all. Must be nice.

which only underscores his longevity.

The fact Derek Jeter is injured gives us a better chance to appreciate how great he is. Just visualize it! He gets credit for being on the field and credit for being injured. Not talking about how great The Jeter is only underscores how great he is. When Derek Jeter hits into a double play, it is just a reminder of how clutch he has been. When Jeter wrecks his car and kills a pedestrian, it only reminds us of how good he is at driving a car usually and not killing pedestrians while doing so.

For years, most stats guys never liked him as much as his All-Star rivals at shortstop: Alex Rodriguez, Nomar Garciaparra and Miguel Tejada.

I think Bryant is using "for years" a bit too liberally here. Alex Rodriguez was a better player than Derek Jeter, but a blanket statement like this really means nothing. Saying "for years" may be overstating what a generalized group of people think. The stats crowd never liked Jeter's defense, his fans who calling him "Captain Clutch" and the hyperbolic bullshit written about him. Basically the stats crowd don't like things like this Howard Bryant article that praises Jeter effusively while over-using hyperbole.

Jeter most clearly defined his essence on separate occasions in the 2001 ALDS against the A's.

He "defined his essence." You can't make these things up when talking about The Jeter, you just have to realize these are the types of phrases that sportswriters will use when discussing him. It's always a pleasure to read another sportswriter giving Derek Jeter a tongue bath.

Blame Jeremy Giambi for not sliding or Oakland's bats for not getting that big hit; credit Mike Mussina for keeping the A's scoreless. But while the scorebook registers Jeter's play as simply an out -- albeit one that was 9-to-6-to-2 -- it demoralized the A's.

This play didn't demoralize the A's any more than the fact they couldn't score off Mike Mussina at any other point during this game I guess. It must be a wonderful feeling to be inside the head of professional athletes and always know their inner most thoughts. I will have to ask Bill Simmons or Howard Bryant how this must feel. They KNOW what emotions teams are experiencing in their heads. Howard Bryant isn't speculating just so it will make the point he wants to prove look better, not at all, he knows the A's were demoralized by Jeter's play.

The second defining moment came two nights later, with the A's spent, wondering as the noise cascaded on them just how they were here playing a deciding Game 5 at Yankee Stadium, how they had let the series slip away. Terrence Long hit a foul ball along the third base line that Jeter chased and caught, spilling into the stands. It was, again, just another out, F6, but on the field it was a referendum of championship toughness. The Yankees had it. The A's didn't.

Unfortunately the Yankees didn't have enough championship toughness to actually win a championship. They lost in seven games to the Arizona Diamondbacks. These were two great plays by Jeter though, I can't pretend they weren't.

That intangibles notion is murky, of course, and complicated.

Most likely because intangibles are intangible and there is no one way to measure them, so anytime a writer says a player has "intangibles off the charts" or "he leads the league in intangibles" it is just bullshit. There is no chart because you can't measure intangibles and there is no leaderboard for intangibles because there is no way to accurately track them. Intangibles are essentially a great excuse for a writer to explain an athlete's success. Russell Wilson/Tim Tebow have a ton of intangibles, Cam Newton/Jay Cutler do not. Derek Jeter displays leadership qualities through the example he sets and has all of the intangibles a team wants in the face of a franchise. Adrian Gonzalez is too quiet to be a leader and he didn't have the intangibles to succeed in Boston.

Jeter played in an era when everyone was suspected of PED use. For those choosing to believe the shortstop that he was, is and always has been a clean ballplayer, the monument to his fidelity and greatness lies in his old-school bona fides. Jeter, along with possibly Ken Griffey Jr., is the only player in the modern game whose iconic moments were generated by all five tools

I would argue this isn't true, but then that would lead to a discussion about Jeter's defense and that would be a losing argument. You can't make an error on a ground ball that you can't get to. I will say that. In typical "giving Jeter a tongue bath" fashion Howard Bryant is too caught up in worshiping Jeter to pay attention to the fact he is wrong here. Where are the iconic moments brought on by Jeter's base-running or throwing arm? Those are the other parts of being a five-tool player.

-- not just by standing in the batter's box and hitting another home run in a game that encouraged nothing but.

Yeah, home runs are bad! Derek Jeter was the kind of five-tool player who hit for power, but didn't hit home runs. He gets credit for hitting for power, but also gets credit for not having too much power. Because we all know a player who uses PED's could never hit between 15-20 home runs in a season. PED's always make a player hit 50 home runs or more. No matter what, The Jeter wins. He didn't hit too many of those dreaded home runs and that's a good thing. Albert Pujols is an asshole for standing in the batter's box and hitting a home run, just like he was encouraged to do.

Like Jackie Robinson, Jeter is pure baseball

This is the hyperbole that Howard Bryant is choking to death on. He's "pure baseball" you guys. This is as opposed to Alex Rodriguez, who is 57.56% baseball. He's not pure.

He will be remembered for his baserunning (the clever beating of the shift by swiping third base that he made routine).

He will be remembered for the anecdotal evidence of his greatness. The Jeter will be remembered for the times he stole second base and demoralized the opposing team, allowing Alex Rodriguez to hit a dreaded home run. A-Rod didn't hit that home run, Derek Jeter allowed it to happen. Historians will recall how Jeter would provide leadership that made the Yankees pitchers pitch better during the game. He led them to pitch well. Years later we can remember how Jeter's mere presence at shortstop showed us that anything is possible, which inspired Barack Obama to run for President.

He will be equally celebrated for his fielding and throwing. (Even though he doesn't rank anywhere near the top 1,000 in career defensive WAR, you can't deny the Flip, the nailing of Arizona's Danny Bautista at third in the 2001 World Series or the flying leap into the crowd against the Red Sox in the summer of '04.)

Oh yes, those three plays will definitely overshadow his lack of range on hundreds of other plays.

See, this is what we are up against. Idiots like Howard Bryant favor the anecdotal evidence and small memorable sample sizes over the hundreds of other plays that can be used to measure Jeter's ability to play shortstop defensively.

Not that he couldn't power the ball out of the ballpark too -- there was the first-pitch leadoff home run in Game 4 of the 2000 Series when the Mets had won the night before, and the two-out, full-count walk-off home run the following year in Game 4 against Arizona.


Again, Jeter gets credit for not being a home run hitter, but then Howard Bryant offers evidence of Jeter's home run hitting ability as another of his positive attributes. The Jeter does no wrong. He's the exception to the rule unless a sportswriter needs to use anecdotal evidence to show he is a part of the rule.

As if that wasn't enough, there's also the imprint he's had on the Yankees, the first homegrown star to lead the franchise to the World Series since Mickey Mantle. (1977-78 belonged to Reggie, not Munson.)

Somewhere Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, and Bernie Williams are shaking their heads angrily. I'm pretty sure they were homegrown players too.

He became the signature player for the game's signature team when it returned to power, and in an era of drugs and cynicism and ruined reputations, he never embarrassed the sport, his team or, most important, his family name.

Jeter always banged actresses and models, but ONLY IN THE MOST CLASSY OF WAY!

There is no metric for that. Just a magical story.

There is no metric for measuring how many times this same column discussing Jeter's magical intangibles and leadership abilities has gotten written. Maybe Jeter will stay on the disabled list all year so that way he can further his legacy by being absent from the game of baseball. Jeter doesn't even have to play, the fact he isn't playing and is injured shows us what a great player he is.

Now Wallace Matthews tells Joba Chamberlain that he isn't worthy of wearing the Yankees uniform. He'll never be Mariano Rivera! NEVER!

Sunday morning, some 18 hours after Chamberlain had warned Rivera in full view of reporters and fans about "shushing him," it was Rivera, not Chamberlain, who offered an apology.

Yes, Wallace Matthews is writing an entire column about Joba Chamberlain "shushing" Mariano Rivera. This is news, people!

There's nothing like creating a story where there isn't one.

It was Rivera, not Chamberlain, who assumed the responsibility for defusing the incident.

It was Rivera, not Chamberlain, who expressed true regret that it ever took place.

And it was Rivera, once again, who demonstrated that there is no one quite like him in professional sports.

Rivera is a great closer and a great guy. One baseball player "shushing" another baseball player is not cause for a story. It just isn't. What this is really about is Wallace Matthews wants to perform a tongue bath on Rivera and a hit job on Chamberlain. Two birds with one stone.

In an ugly and embarrassing dugout incident Saturday night, Chamberlain was making it difficult for Rivera to conduct an interview, so Rivera politely asked his teammate to lower his voice.

What Wallace leaves out is Rivera was doing an interview on the topic of how big of a douchebag Joba Chamberlain is. The interview was going to be in a new magazine called "Joba Chamberlain: Asshole," which is a magazine that is going to be about what a huge asshole Joba Chamberlain is. You can sort of see why Joba was asking Rivera to lower his voice.

Chamberlain responded by warning Rivera not once, but twice -- in tones that contained a hint of threat -- "Don't ever shush me again."

I couldn't find the audio of this incident, but I do like how Wallace Matthews (and other reporters on the scene) painted it as Rivera being meek and quiet, while Joba Chamberlain was the big, bad bully. Joba was talking with his family by the way. He's an asshole, but Rivera was conducting an interview and Joba was talking to his family. Overall, there's no right or wrong because this is a non-story that the New York media turned into a story because it involved Mariano Rivera.

That one came from Mariano Rivera, who took it upon himself to apologize to the media and the fans, because "unfortunately it happened in front of you guys, and it shouldn't happen. We apologize and we move on."

Rivera is a good guy and this isn't really a story.

Meanwhile, Joba was as sullen and defiant as a teenager caught cutting school, insisting that a 27-year-old middle reliever publicly warning a 43-year-old man, who also happens to be the best who has ever done what he does for a living,

I can picture Joba Chamberlain sitting in the corner of the locker room wearing a Minor Threat t-shirt with a zipped up hoodie over his head while chain-smoking cigarettes and trying to trip his teammates as they walk by. What a picture Wallace is painting.

was "not a big deal," that two professional baseball players arguing in front of fans was "not an issue in the first place," and rebuking media members who had the nerve to be within earshot when he issued his warning, "This is not a story."

And you know what? He's right. It's a non-story. Two teammates got into a little verbal tussle. It happens frequently during the course of a 162 game season.

I wonder if Derek Jeter had asked Rivera to be quiet if the media would be reporting on it breathlessly? They probably would report it, but would say that Jeter asked Rivera "jokingly" and Rivera shot back "in a teasing manner," and then they would chalk it up to two good friends joking around with each other. This is pure speculation obviously, but I can't imagine the media would frame a discussion between Rivera and Jeter in the same way.

and delivered what to the Yankees should be the most chilling line of all, and a fitting epitaph to his Yankees career: "I wouldn't change it. I wouldn't change anything I do in life."

Joba is a moron, but before putting an epitaph on his career with the Yankees don't forget how badly the Yankees fucked up Joba during his Yankee career. They enforced the "Joba rules" and switched him back and forth from a starter to a reliever early in his career. They did the same thing with Phil Hughes and I would bet if you asked any pitcher whether this is easy to go through they would say "no," especially early in a pitcher's career. Then Joba had to have Tommy John surgery too. So Joba is an ass, but his Yankee career isn't entirely his fault in my opinion. He got jerked around a lot.

But for Joba Chamberlain to say he not only would not change what he said Saturday night, but would neither change anything he has done in his life?

Think maybe you are reaching a bit for a story or trying too hard to let Joba's own words make him look like an asshole? So when Rivera retires and says, "I wouldn't change anything" in regard to his career will Wallace Matthews write a column eviscerating Rivera for not wanting to change Game 7 of the 2001 World Series? Of course not. Wallace wants to be offended and upset by what Joba says, so he gets offended and upset by what Joba says.

That is not the kind of person who is fit to succeed Mariano in any way.

I don't think Joba Chamberlain was ever succeeding Rivera and I also don't think there is a morality clause that is part of the requirements that must be met to be the Yankees closer.

In fact, that is not the kind of person fit to represent the New York Yankees, at least not the Yankees typified by Rivera, Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte.

Maybe if Chamberlain admits to taking PED's he will be a better person to represent the Yankees. That seemed to work for Andy Pettitte. Pettitte is a great guy worthy of wearing a Yankees jersey, but A-Rod is a huge, mean old cheater, while Joba Chamberlain is an embarrassment to humanity.

I don't like Joba Chamberlain, but I also love how this brief exchange with Rivera has turned into a referendum on Chamberlain as a person.

What Joba Chamberlain showed himself to be is just another of the louts we run into every day in the street, the ones who think their conversations are the only ones that matter, their business the only business that needs attending to, their lives the only lives of any importance.

Again, Wallace is turning this incident into a referendum on Chamberlain as a person. Classy. Here's the best part though...

I was not present at the dugout incident -- I was in the pressbox writing pregame notes -- but I was given a tape-recording of Rivera's interview session.

It was shocking to listen to, in several respects.

Wallace didn't even witness this exchange between Joba and Rivera! He listened to the tape and that was enough for him. He knew all he needed to know to make any further assumptions from there.

For one thing, the quietly emotional manner in which Mariano discussed his meeting earlier in the day with the family of a 10-year boy who was crushed to death by a falling airport sign was truly moving.

But the experience was tainted by straining to hear over the sound of Joba Chamberlain nearby, virtually screaming at the top of his lungs, to people in the stands about mundane matters like meeting at the hotel after the game.

That would be Joba's family who he was meeting. So it is not like he was meeting some friends for a drink.

It was all about Joba and what he wanted to do, and Mariano Rivera, or anyone else, be damned.

Did one of Wallace's media friends tell another of Wallace's media friends this is what Joba is like and now Wallace is reporting it?

Afterward, Joba alternately tried to laugh his way out of it, to hide behind his defiance, and to use his young son, Karter, as a shield. ("My son wasn't here and I was a little bothered by that.")

They were all transparent attempts to blame his boorish behavior on something else. That is a direct reflection on his character.

All of this over Rivera "shushing" Joba. Something that probably happens in a lot of locker rooms.

Is that the kind of person the Yankees should want to trust important moments in important games to?

Right, because there have never been really good relief pitchers who are also assholes.

Among the things he would not change, apparently, were his DWI arrest in 2008, his disparaging remarks to the arresting officer about Yogi Berra, his ill-chosen remarks about the manners of New Yorkers, his decision to jump on a trampoline so intensely that he broke his ankle,

WITH HIS SON! He was jumping on the trampoline with his son, which apparently is a disgraceful thing to do.

and his public declaration this spring, in spite of knowing that the Yankees had determined he is a middle reliever, that he would like to be a starter once again.

How dare he have aspirations to do something the Yankees team hasn't determined he should do! John Smoltz told the Braves he wanted to be a starter again in the early 2000's and he wasn't called an asshole.

But on an almost daily basis, we see the worst of him in the Yankees clubhouse: loud, obnoxious, faintly threatening.

Or, pretty much the way he behaved to Mariano Rivera on Saturday night.

After this season, Joba Chamberlain will be a free agent.

Knowing Mariano Rivera as I do, I can almost predict he will try to convince the Yankees that Joba is a soul worth saving and a talent worth keeping.

Rivera is a great guy. We know this. One dispute between Rivera and a teammate is not a story make.

In the same ballpark where Mariano Rivera's Yankees career nearly ended a year ago on the warning track, Joba Chamberlain's Yankees tenure surely did in the dugout, his mouth writing what will soon be the epitaph to a career that turned out to be no more than a broken promise.

This one incident shouldn't be a referendum on Joba's career, but that's where we are at I guess. I would blame injuries, the Yankees and some bad luck on Joba not living up to his promise. I guess Wallace Matthews chalks Chamberlain's Yankee years up to him talking too loud. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

0 comments Doug Glanville Doesn't Understand Why Fans Want Umpires to Get Calls Correct

Terence Moore has railed against instant replay quite a few times and now in the wake off more missed calls Doug Glanville is joining the chorus telling us all that missed calls are JUST A PART OF THE GAME. Sure, some missed calls could be prevented, but some deaths could be prevented by wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle and no one would suggest wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle is a good idea. Potential horrific death is just a part of owning a motorcycle. Doug also wants us to know that baseball has always merited out penalties punishments and revenge privately, so he doesn't get why we have to publicly criticize an umpire for making a mistake during a nationally televised game. This is all social media's fault by the way. Let's keep umpiring justice underground. MLB has a way of punishing these umpires and these punishments shouldn't be made public. Instant replay would only serve to highlight the mistakes the umpires make and mistakes are a fun part of the game. It's the human element!

Even as I know that it's cliché to say that umpires are only human, it is also cliché to complain about the caliber of umpires when we know they are the best in the world at what they do.

No Doug, it is not a cliche to complain about the caliber of umpires. Calling this a cliche would indicate complaining about the umpires has lost its original meaning, when it very clearly has not lost its original meaning since the complaints are still valid. Few people are complaining about the caliber of the umpires, but the complaints are mostly about the umpires missing easy calls. It seems to be recognized the MLB umpires are possibly the best in the world, but it's not a cliche to point out the list of easy calls getting missed by them.

And our criticism of the judges of the game is easy to dismiss as background noise when we seem to comment only when they make mistakes.

It's easy to dismiss the criticism as background noise if you insisting on ignoring the criticism as having merit and push it to the background.

Umpires are the cafeteria food, the taxes, the new boyfriend of our ex. We complain about them as a default, as a reflex.

Hmmm...this is kind of an interesting comparison. Umpires are the cafeteria food, but if you get a hair in your food at the cafeteria would you not notify the establishment? If you were levied an certain amount of taxes incorrectly wouldn't you appeal to the IRS to reduce the amount of taxes you have to pay? If the new boyfriend of your ex kept calling you or harassing you then wouldn't you have a reason to complain about him/her? It's not a default reflex to complain about the umpires when the umpires are clearly making mistakes. No one would see a hair in their food at a cafeteria, shrug their shoulders and then continue eating because "it's so cliche to complain about hair in your food." When a wrong is committed, it's a legitimate gripe, not a reflexive action that is illegitimate.

It doesn't really matter if the food tastes good, the taxes go to good use, or the boyfriend is actually a nice guy.

That's not a good comparison in this situation. In this situation the food tastes bad, the taxes are not put to good use, and the boyfriend is a dick.

They are always in the wrong place at the wrong time, even when they make the right call.

Good umpiring is appreciated. When a game is well-umpired I remark to myself these umpires really are doing well. Like any other job, mistakes are going to be amplified though.

Every year we exclaim that umpires are "getting more confrontational."

When umpires toss a player like David Price out of the game for seemingly doing very little and the umpire seemed to antagonize's hard to not call them more confrontational.

Every year they need to be replaced by robots or armed with a deck of instant replay choices.

That's not at all what is being suggested. If you want to have a serious discussion then don't exaggerate for effect or to cover up for the fact you aren't able to make valid points.

I haven't heard much about rewarding umpires for doing a good job. All we know is good umpires get to work the playoffs,

Umpires do get a reward for doing a good job. It's called a "salary" and they get to work the playoffs as a reward as well.

but public opinion has little to say about their work unless they cost our favorite team a run.

So coddling the umpires more than they are already coddled will make them do a better job? They just want to be loved, that's all.

There are already super-secret punishments and reprimands for umpires, so I find it hard to feel bad for them when they mess up and take some criticism. They know they put themselves in that spot to be criticized and their punishments stay out of the public spotlight generally. It's more than can be said for the MLB players, who are punished publicly for their public screwups.

We have to remember that for its long history, baseball has lived off of self-regulation. It was handled in the locker room, or on the field, or between the sparring teammates in private.

While understandable, I do believe the umpires have to be accountable for the mistakes that are made. I am not in favor of public flogging of umpires, but criticizing them for doing a poor job hardly seems close to being out of line, especially when true. The baseball-loving public deserves some sense that MLB understands and takes actions to ensure clearly bad calls don't further determine the result of a baseball game.

The umpires were just part of an environment that was self-evaluating and self-policing. They were following the underground order of the game.

There are issues with self-evaluating and self-policing. Part of the issues with these concepts is that the order of the game is underground. A lack of transparency isn't always a good thing and self-policing can lead to groupthink which may not be good for the game of baseball. It's hard for baseball fans to throw up their hands and say, "Well, my team just lost a game on a blown call, but I'm sure his supervisor is going to write him a very stern email tomorrow."

Like it or not, umpires are accountable to the fans who pay money watching games. Doug Glanville is essentially arguing against the public criticizing of umpires and that is quite simply not a reasonable request. Players can police themselves for internal violations of the player's code, but if a player charges the mound and is suspended 6 games then this is a publicly announced suspension. So in terms of suspensions, players are publicly chastised for mistakes, while umpires often have their mistakes punished privately. I'm not arguing against this private punishment, but baseball teams don't necessarily self-police privately when it comes to their players.

If you thought someone hit you intentionally, you could charge the mound and accidentally break a collar bone.

And MLB will suspend you for a few games. This is a public suspension. It used to be that suspensions weren't handed out for charging the mound, but things have changed.

You could knock a catcher who was blocking the plate into next week because it was part of the game.

Now if a player knocks over the catcher it is treated like a major violation of the baseball code. Things have changed and Doug Glanville is simply yearning for the days of yore, rather than acknowledging how baseball has changed and adapted.

This is all very confusing and poorly written. Doug Glanville is supposed to be talking about umpiring and need for perfection, but he is slipping in a conversation about private codes of conduct in baseball that have become public. If anything, you could use these examples of private codes of conduct that have become public as an example of why umpires should be publicly reprimanded for their mistakes. Plus, the pursuit of umpiring perfection is a different conversation from the conversation Doug Glanville seems to be leading us towards.

The rules were as ingrained as Newton's Laws to those on the field. So much so that in many cases, no one on the outside knew how retaliation would be dished out.

Glanville is very much off-topic right now. This isn't supposed to be an article about retaliation, but is supposed to be an article about the search of perfection in umpiring.

Umpires have always mirrored baseball's loosey-goosey police work. The game took care of it, it evened out, and mostly it was "go get 'em tomorrow."

I'm not even entirely sure what this means. Does it mean umpires used to give teams a makeup call on a later date for a missed call during a previous game? Calls probably do tend to even out over time, but if an umpire misses a call that costs a team the game then it's hard to say "go get 'em tomorrow" when there is technology that can overturn this call at the time the call was made.

So umpires were presiding over a society that was held together by history, by unwritten rules, by trust or perhaps blindness, or by faith. And umpires just employed similar self-regulation as the game did in general.

I don't understand what the hell this means. Umpires still do police themselves. Fans aren't voting on the appropriate punishment for an umpire who misses a call. MLB and the Director of Umpires are the ones who hand down a punishment or suspension to umpires for misconduct. There is still self-regulation and much of this self-regulation is private. It's not like an umpire's season-long record is revealed to the public. Umpires are still for the most part punished or graded quietly and privately. 

But like any other monumental change in communication, a generation of fans and players came along that was fine with the blurring of the public and private domain. It was a time to protect, and security was chosen over privacy.

What does this have to do with privacy? So an umpire blows a call in view of everyone and there should be no criticism or call for expanded replay because the umpire deserves some sense of privacy? If Doug Glanville thinks umpires don't have a sense of privacy in how they are graded then I would like for him to do a search for the grades that a certain umpire received last year. You can't find it.

But the major difference is social media makes everyone a testifying witness. There is nowhere to hide from its stream, and now the vigilante justice that was meted out in baseball's past has a jury.

I get the feeling Doug Glanville didn't really know what he was talking about with this column. If social media is now the jury then how do they have an effect on the vigilante justice? Does Doug think the pressure from social media is causing MLB to punish umpires more harshly? Social media isn't the jury, they are simply commenting and giving an opinion on what they see happening. Why is that umpires are being held even the least bit accountable in a public fashion seen as a bad trend? 

So when the Astros and Angels brought to light the rule book on pitching changes and pinch hitters, the world tweeted. The rules were posted and we watched. In an unprecedented moment, an umpire's fate was tied to an audience.

The umpire made a very public mess-up. The umpire's fate wasn't tied to the audience, but MLB understood the mistake got a lot of attention and they wanted to react to the mistake.

And so an umpire was suspended for not upholding a rule he should have known.

He should have known the rule. That's his job, to know the rules of baseball. Would it have been better to have private justice? What would that justice have even entailed? It's not like the public wouldn't have known if the umpire got suspended for a few games. Someone surely would have noticed the umpire that just screwed up hasn't umpired a game in a few days.

Fair enough, but we need to recognize that we have a new sheriff in town and the sheriff may not even be at the game or even watching it live.

You don't need to be watching the game live to watch the replay of the mistake and understand it should not have occurred. Is this some bizarre version of the whole "You can't evaluate this player accurately because you didn't watch him play" argument?

In my playing days, I heard a lot of complaints about the lack of accountability for umpires,

But what about the vigilante justice? It works! Don't players understand complaining about the umpiring is so cliche? It's like complaining about cafeteria food.

but this new way of communicating has been too much because the assessment of umpires is now tapping the reflexive bias the public has against umpires.

There is no reflexive bias against umpires, there is a reflexive bias against umpires making really bad calls during a game.

A public that is considering ways to put machinery in their place or have so many versions of instant replays that umpires become street signs that post the results, not engaged the actors.

Again, this isn't what is attempting to be accomplished with expanding instant replay. Expanding replay is an attempt to ensure umpires get the call correct. The NFL has fairly expansive replay and it doesn't take away from the job that the NFL officials do. NFL officials aren't becoming street signs and MLB umpires would not become street signs either.

But I can't help but think about the issue with the judgment of judges being swayed by public opinion. Don't we have to be careful with that equation?

Does Doug Glanville have any proof that the judgment of the umpires was swayed by public opinion? I don't think he does, so he is just making an assumption that ever-so-conveniently matches up with the point he is trying to prove.

Imagine presiding over a court case and listening to everyone's interpretation of the law.

You mean presiding over a court case and there being a group of people responsible for final judgment on the case? A group of people who are unfamiliar with the law and base their opinion of guilt or innocence on what information others give them? I think it's called a jury and a judge presides over court cases all the time where a jury makes the final determination.

Part of the reason for umpire secrecy in their evaluation process is so that it doesn't get tainted by too many chefs in the kitchen or run the risk of other agendas entering into play.

Did the evaluation of umpires all of a sudden become made public and I haven't heard about it? MLB and the Director of Umpires can ignore social media and make their own determination when evaluating an umpire. This hasn't changed. It's just social media has a voice. The best part is there is no agenda with social media. As a Braves fan, I don't have an agenda when it comes to an umpire messing up an Oakland A's home run. I just don't like to see bad umpiring. If wanting to see good umpiring that doesn't have an effect on the result of a game is an agenda, then count me as a guilty of having an agenda.

We want to know how the test is given. We want to know the secret sauce.

No, we want to make sure the test isn't rigged or if a person takes a piss in the secret sauce then the sauce doesn't get distributed to customers. No one wants a say in the policing of umpires, we just want to make sure there is policing of umpires.

We have fancy technology that we see as a clean way to discern the truth.

But...but...that's not a bad thing.

Even so, we should ask if we want the umpires to be in that position, out of caution of having a game of people solely judged by computers.

Who the hell is suggesting baseball be a game solely judged by computers? I feel like I am taking crazy pills. No one has suggested the game of baseball be judged solely by computers. Again, Doug Glanville is exaggerating in order to make his point of view seem more reasonable.

Seems like a slippery slope.

Seems like you are making this up.

But like no other time, the fans are getting on the field, in the locker room, in the dugout, without actually being there.

Fans really aren't in the locker room or in the dugout any more than they used to be before the increased use of social media. It's not like my Tweets can get an umpire suspended and I certainly don't have access to the locker room without a press pass or video/audio from a sportswriter who is also in the locker room or dugout.

Even I can press the NFL to ban former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams from the league forever.

It doesn't matter what you think about Gregg Williams. The NFL still makes their decision based on their own set of criteria and for their own reasons. It's not like I can write into Roger Goodell and he makes a decision based entirely on my recommendation.

We can make Tiger Woods take a penalty shot.

No, the PGA made Tiger Woods take a penalty shot. Some pathetic person called in and reported a violation by Tiger.

We can call a home run better than anyone on the field can do it and we can do that with none of the responsibility for making the call.

That's because we have replay that shows us whether it was a home run or not. Perhaps those who have responsibility for making the call should have access to the same technology I have sitting at home, as opposed to criticizing those at home for voicing their displeasure about a missed call they have the technology to see as really being a missed call.

We can be there, when we are not.

And it is a good thing. There is more accountability.

We can overrule, overturn, overthink, and even overreact and delete that last post. But let's be careful because we may not want to know how deep the rabbit hole goes when we try to make perfection.

Why don't you tell us, Doug, how deep the rabbit hole goes when we try to make perfection? That's right, Doug prefers to speak in generalities railing against the increased use of technology and the increased voice of social media. He tells us the rabbit hole can go deeper than we think, warns us against making private decisions more public, and says wanting perfection is a peril. Yet, he doesn't tell us WHY perfection is a peril, WHY private decisions being made public is bad (other than using "it's not how it used to be" as a reason), and WHY the rabbit hole can go too deep or where this deeper rabbit hole takes us. Without that, this is just an empty group of words that are unpersuasive.

Maybe a missed call will be a thing of the past. Maybe that is a good thing.

It may not be a good thing, but it certainly isn't a bad thing.

But I get the feeling we may actually miss a missed call, no matter what we say in 140 characters or less.

Why the hell would we miss a missed call? Baseball isn't trending towards computers becoming the new umpires, so the human element will still be there. Using Doug's "cafeteria" comparison, this is like saying we may miss finding a hair in our food. The human element is great until the human element screws something up. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

4 comments It's a Double Dose of T.J. Simers Being a Dick

T.J. Simers only exists in order to be a troll and all-around asshole. He has repeatedy taken on the city of Memphis for not being as great as the city of Los Angeles. Who takes on the city of Memphis for anything but negative attention? Simers is most famously known for interviewing professional athletes and asking them the most baiting and emotion-provoking questions possible. He did it to Marcus Thames twice, Matt Treanor once, and even attacked his own colleagues. Don't forget his epic dismissal of the women's World Cup soccer team. He's useless as a human being and it is a travesty that the "Los Angeles Times" supports him by employing him, but that's the world we live in. Simers brings pageviews which brings revenue. Over the past few weeks Simers has taken to asking Josh Hamilton and Mark McGwire annoying questions that are only designed to get a rise out of them. Fortunately (well, unfortunately because I wouldn't mind seeing either of them get in Simers' face) they didn't take the bait. It's the same shit that T.J. Simers always pulls and miraculously no courageous athlete has punched him in the face yet.

I will start with Simers baiting Josh Hamilton and asking him why he smiles so much. 

Uh-oh, we've got another smiler.

This catches on and we won't have any athletes around town who appear as if they give a rip.

Dwight Howard, meet Josh Hamilton.

These two players are exactly alike. There are no differences between them.

"I've had people screaming at me when I'm at the plate, 'Wipe that smile off your face,''' said the Angels bust.

This is journalism, people. Wonderful, wild (shitty) journalism. Josh Hamilton is better known as "the Angels bust." Regardless of whether that is true or not, this isn't a case of T.J. Simers "telling it like it is," but just trying really hard to be a dick and get pageviews. There's no need to write that Hamilton is a bust other than to get a rise out of Hamilton and those who read this column.

Hamilton gets any more relaxed and he really will be an automatic out. He stands casually in the batter's box holding his bat like he's waiting for the next slow-pitch softball to arrive.

Because Simers has nothing if not an athlete's physique so he knows the best way to hit a baseball is to not relax and press really hard to do well. It's just a matter of trying harder of course. That's all.

At least Howard works up a sweat.

There is a difference in baseball and basketball. The sports require different amounts of sweating.

It's never good when the fans seem to care more than the guys competing to win or lose.

The fans always seem to care more than the guys competing to win or lose. This is an absurd point. Fans are sometimes irrational. They are capable of overreacting and seeming to care much more than athletes often care. It's not a sign of anything that the fans care more than the players. Caring more and trying harder doesn't always lead to a player performing at a high level.

"I know the game is based on results and the world wants to see results. But if I can take that out of the equation, play hard and prepare to the best of my abilities, the results are going to be there.''
He's right; it sounds bad.

Hamilton preceded this comment by saying,

"I know this is going to sound bad, and you can spin it whatever way you want,

so at least he knows Simers will spin this quote how he sees fit. This quote does sound bad, but it's not necessarily bad (outside of the fact Hamilton isn't getting the results), but improving in sports or other areas of life is often more about completing the process and allowing the results to come through working hard through the process. Baseball is like sales. You can't win every one, but preparing and taking the right steps to be successful is as much a part of success as anything else. It is a process-oriented way of looking at achievement rather than being focused on the results.

I'll never know. But I do wonder why he's not more thankful. We talked before Wednesday's game and I reminded him how inept he has been in driving the ball out of the park the opposite way. And I suggested he do better.

Unbelievable. This is typical T.J. Simers for you. He's merely a sportswriter and has the balls to tell Josh Hamilton how to hit the baseball. I'm not sure what makes Simers qualified to be a hitting coach, but he probably should be careful about doling out free advice about an athlete's performance or else an athlete could point out the terrible writing job Simers performs several times weekly.

As bad as Josh Hamilton is struggling, he is 100 times better at hitting a baseball than T.J. Simers ever could be. Simers "suggests" that Hamilton does better. It's ridiculous and incredibly infuriating. I wish someone would suggest to Simers that he stop acting like a troll and try not to be an embarrassment to his profession. I don't get how Hamilton didn't punch Simers in the face. It's not like Hamilton isn't aware that he has been inept at driving the ball out of the park the opposite way. There's absolutely no reason to remind him of this unless Simers is trying to bait Hamilton into shedding his new "nice guy" image and getting angry.

An hour or so later he homered, but before Thursday's game he refused to say thank you.

"I'll need to do it again,'' he said, as if he did it himself in the first place.

Clearly he is an athlete who doesn't care enough.

Then he went out and hit another home run, two homers in two days with Page 2's help after having two in the first 31 games.

God, Simers is insufferable. I know he is being tongue-in-cheek in order to get some attention, but it's pathetic to pretend he is responsible for Hamilton homering. It's not true and Simers knows it isn't true. He just wants to get a rise out of everyone.

Also, notice how Hamilton homered and started playing better and Simers still has nothing positive to say about him. When he doesn't homer, he's a bust, but when he does homer, it is simply because Simers has served as Hamilton's personal batting coach. Simers already had part of this column written and certainly wasn't going to change the content to fit reality.

I just found a way to make Hamilton care enough to prove himself after he repeatedly told me, "You cannot push my buttons.''

He sucks right now, but my respect for Josh Hamilton has increased dramatically. He isn't going to play T.J. Simers' games.

"I don't care,'' said Hamilton, and in addition to working on his home run swing, he needs help on how to talk to fans.
"I hear it from the stands every night. You have to come to the understanding that people like to bring up your weaknesses and failures and throw them in your face.

Fans certainly don't like to hear a baseball player say he doesn't care, but Hamilton is referring to the fact he doesn't care what his haters have to say about him. Maybe he could pretend to outwardly care more, but that's not his personality.

The Angels signed him to hit baseballs. The facts are sometimes blunt, but most fans probably care more about his swing than his relationship with the Lord.
"I understand,'' Hamilton said. "We're all different. It depends on your starting point, and mine is the Bible.''

Hey remember that time "Forbes" said Josh Hamilton could learn something from Whitney Houston? That was pretty odd, wasn't it?

"Does it mention anywhere in the Bible,'' I asked, "what it takes to hit more home runs?''

I have some sense of self-control, but I would have punched T.J. Simers in the face by now if I were Hamilton. Josh Hamilton has been called inept, a bust, and now Simers is somewhat mocking Hamilton's religion by asking if it says anywhere in the Bible what it takes to hit more home runs. Simers is simply being sarcastic in order to be a dickhead and most quality newspapers would do something to prevent this type of behavior. It turns out the "Los Angeles Times" is condoning this troll-like behavior, so much like the middle-aged child he is, Simers will continue to perform these juvenile antics in a desperate plea to get attention or a reaction.

I would imagine T.J. Simers used to break his mom's dishes intentionally as a child to watch her yell at him. I get the feeling he craved attention even at an early age. If only he didn't have a forum to garner more attention with his sports columns in the present day then the world would be a better place. 

He has what most folks would want in an athlete. He's personable and approachable, offering a pat on the fanny to almost everyone he meets, including sports columnists. He signs autographs before batting practice, after batting practice and Thursday he huddled for prayer with a young man who found lifesaving inspiration in Hamilton's book about his struggles with addiction.

That's all well and good, but he is paid to hit a baseball and Hamilton understands that. He also understands that getting angry with T.J. Simers stupid, baiting questions and trying really, really hard isn't going to make him hit the baseball any better. It's a process, and if he is pressing too hard in his mind or at the plate then he just needs time to snap out of this funk. It sucks for Angels fans, but Hamilton will start to hit the ball better eventually.

But how about living up to expectations as a superstar?

Hamilton does need to do that, but there is a much better column to be written about Hamilton in relation to living up to expectations as a superstar. T.J. Simers isn't capable of real sports journalism, so he isn't capable of writing a better column than this. He's a one-trick pony whose only trick is to take a crap on the most people possible.

Or ignore his insistence on letting everyone know he doesn't care what they think — which lets you know he really does.
"It's important to me to do well and that's why I work hard to improve every day,'' he said. "But when the game is over I stop thinking about it.''

If only it was so easy for Angels fans.

What is it with "Los Angeles Times" sports columnists that they write one sentence paragraphs? I feel like there needs to be an investigation into this. 

If talking to T.J. Simers were such good luck that he did have a secret to help a baseball player perform better, and if I were Josh Hamilton, I would forever accept mediocrity and retire immediately. Talking to Simers wouldn't be worth it. The only thing worse than being hated by Angels fans is having to listen to T.J. Simers ask you bullshit, baiting questions in a desperate attempt to get a reaction.

Now Simers, being an equal opportunity asshole, asks Mark McGwire if he should give steroids to the Dodgers hitters. Because a question like that is a real question that a real sportswriter should be asking. Well, it seems T.J. Simers thinks this is a real question that a real sportswriter should be asking.

I had never met Mark McGwire before Tuesday night, but I knew of his reputation and the fact he has struck out so far as the Dodgers' hitting coach.

Sit down, T.J. Let's have a talk about hitting coaches. They generally get too much blame and too much credit depending on how their team is hitting. Why does McGwire suck with the Dodgers when he was good with the Cardinals? It's almost like he isn't the one hitting the baseball and there is another variable (the hitters he is coaching) that needs to be accounted for.

So given the Dodgers' lack of power, I asked, "Is it time to introduce the players to steroids?"

Oh, my gentle Jesus. Wouldn't it be quicker and more efficient just to wear a sign that says, "I need attention"?

McGwire laughed and I wondered why.

Because your question is so absolutely ridiculous and baiting of McGwire it doesn't even deserve a response. That's why he laughed. T.J. Simers is a one-trick pony and a person who has control over his emotions won't get set off by Simers' weak attempts to troll.

"The magic potion is in between the ears," he said. "This game is beautiful, things can change overnight."
You win tonight, I told him, and the Dodgers will still be in last place.

So does T.J. believe the Dodgers should just pack it up and quit playing hard for the rest of the year? It's not like the season is 162 games long or anything like that. There's still time to panic!

"It will come," McGwire added. I think he was referring to power rather than some shipment in the mail.

How miserable of a person do you have to be to write in the way that T.J. Simers does? I wonder if it is his hatred for mankind entirely or self-hatred that causes him to write in the way he does?

The Dodgers rank third to last in the major leagues in home runs and RBIs, and yet they have a guy who hit 70 home runs as their hitting instructor.

You would think McGwire could transfer his power-hitting ability to the Dodgers hitters through some sort of "Freaky Friday" type magic, but alas, he can't do this. He probably needs steroids to accomplish this feat.

"It's all about pitch selection," said McGwire, who has apparently changed his mind on what it takes to hit the ball out of the park. 

You still have to select the right pitches to hit a home run, even if you are using steroids. It's hard to hit a home run when you can't make contact with the baseball.

I remember how much fun it was when Sammy Sosa and McGwire were hitting a lot of home runs. I thanked McGwire for providing those thrills and asked if he could still score some steroids.

Break his neck! Leg-sweep him! Burn him with fire! Whatever it takes, let's get rid of T.J. Simers.

I wish McGwire had answered "yes" and then busted out with a needle, held down Simers and injected him with the most powerful steroid on the market. This has to happen. Someone has to call Simers on his bullshit sometime.

"Certainly not," he said. "Can't, and will not. That is just no."
So much then for the Dodgers turning things around.

Reading a T.J. Simers column is like eating horseshit out of a used coffee filter topped with burning cigarettes and washing it down with a glass of cat urine.

The fun is gone in Donnie Baseball.

The last time we spoke he talked about how good he felt about his team after three straight defeats.
In his own snippy and uncharacteristic way, he said he still feels good about his team. But how do you feel good about a team that cannot win consistently? I asked.
"I like our talent," Mattingly said, while jerking his head from side to side to avoid eye contact. "I like what we can be."

It's hard not to be snippy to a person who asks a loaded question like this. How do you even expect a person to answer a question like "how do you feel good about a team that cannot win consistently?" Mattingly can either sound like a moron by saying he feels great about it or he throws his team under the bus. Obviously the intent of the question was to get Mattingly to throw his team under the bus.

WHEN I began Page 2, I asked the question in my first column: If F.P. Santangelo can enter a room with a sign over the door that reads: "Players Only,"' why can't I?
Never one to laugh or hit, a grouchy Santangelo was soon gone.
Now he's a broadcaster for the Nationals, much like Steve Lyons for the Dodgers. Much like Lyons.
What a great country this is.

Because if a person isn't great at baseball (relatively to other professional baseball players of course) then this lack of skill should translate to other parts of life. It's interesting T.J. Simers mentions taking over Page 2 at the same time he says what a great country it is for ex-baseball players to become announcers. If it wasn't such a great country then T.J. Simers would be writing for a small town newspaper or at least would be responsible for the drivel and trolling content he writes on a weekly basis.

There's not much else to say except T.J. Simers won't ever change. I imagine he is stalking Marcus Thames right now trying to ask him questions about what it is like to be a complete and utter failure. I am sure he will phrase the question exactly that way too. Maybe someday someone can get Simers to come from under his bridge and ask him what it is like to be the biggest piece of shit, trolling sportswriter on the West Coast. If this can't happen, is it wrong that I hope a player at least punches him one day when he asks one of his baiting questions?