Monday, December 30, 2013

2 comments Tim Tebow is Waiting for His Chance to be an NFL Quarterback While Wearing His Armor...Yep, That's the Semi-Title of this Article

Tim Tebow is not a starting quarterback in the NFL right now. Kevin Scholla thinks this is a travesty. So he writes about Tebow wearing armor (what is this the Crusades?) on the sidelines waiting his turn to be an NFL quarterback again. The author can't figure out why Tim Tebow isn't playing in the NFL. Maybe he should look in the mirror. Tebow's fans are part of the reason he isn't playing in the NFL. No NFL team wants to deal with the media attention and rabid fans of a quarterback who would be at-best a backup. It's simply not worth it to that team. So when wondering why Tebow doesn't have a job in the NFL as a quarterback (another issue is Tebow refuses to switch positions which either shows dedication to being a quarterback or is stupid and selfish of him) perhaps the author should look in the mirror. No team wants to deal with the Tebow circus and writers talking about Tebow wearing armor.

The quarterback carousel in Cleveland continues. Due to more injuries, the Browns have signed Caleb Hanie. They've also brought in Alex Tanney. All this while Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell are both recovering from concussions. Earlier in the season, Cleveland lost Brian Hoyer to an ACL tear. The situation is a mess. Too bad the Browns still haven't pulled the trigger on the move that makes the most sense.

They have pulled the trigger on the move that makes the most sense. Waiting the season out, drafting a quarterback, and then keeping Hoyer around to be the backup or the starter at the beginning of next season. Boom, done.

Cleveland isn't the only club missing out. While team after team continues to pay inexperienced, below average, losing quarterbacks, Tim Tebow sits and waits.

Tebow waits for his chance to be an inexperienced, below average quarterback who is getting paid? He had the chance last year with the Jets and couldn't beat out Mark Sanchez for the job. Tebow hasn't started an NFL game at quarterback since the 2011 playoffs. Yes, he has an 8-6 career record so he's a "winning" quarterback, but Mark Sanchez has a 33-29 record as a quarterback so he's a "winner" too. There's more to being a good quarterback than just looking at the quarterback's record and deciding he's a "winner."

He is waiting, but he's not sitting around. Tebow is doing what he always does: visiting with and lifting the spirits of sick kids, raising money and awareness for charities,

This is irrelevant. Yes, Tim Tebow is a great guy who does many wonderful things. This doesn't make him a great quarterback. I know many, many good people who do great things for other people, but they are also not very good NFL quarterbacks. 

and training just in case someone in the NFL ever awakens from their media induced, peer pressured slumber.

Because we all know NFL teams only do what the media wants them to do. NFL teams will pass up chances to win games just to appease the media. Sure, that's what happens.

I can't help but chuckle at this guy writing about how the media has induced a peer pressure slumber. The media is who has propped Tebow up since he was playing college football at Florida. They have kept the myth of Tebow alive and given a forum to the rabid Tebow fans, while creating more Tebow fans. The idea this writer tries to sell us that the media is preventing Tebow from being an NFL starter is just hilarious. If Tebow wasn't such a good guy then the media would have hounded Tebow out of the NFL permanently by calling him a bust and tearing him down without a debate on Tebow's leadership skills. It's also ironic the writer makes this statement because the media's rabid fascination with Tebow is (in my opinion) a reason he doesn't have an NFL job right now. The media would love for Tebow to play for an NFL team, simply so they could write about Tebow. But yeah, the media is the one holding him down, I believe that.

Along with that less than stellar bunch of signal callers in Cleveland, the league is chock full of quarterbacks with less playoff wins than Tebow. 

Let's discuss the playoff win, shall we? The Broncos played a Steelers team in Denver that was missing their starting safety, starting running back, as well as had their starting quarterback injured. Ben Roethlisberger could barely move around in the pocket in that game due to an ankle injury. These aren't excuses, but merely facts that the Steelers were playing a road game with their best player's best attribute being diminished by an injury. It was a really good win for the Broncos in overtime and Tebow was 10-21 for 316 yards, but it also was a game where the Steelers weren't playing very well at that point in the season. 

It's always funny how the author doesn't mention the very next playoff game. It doesn't fit his narrative that shows Tebow as a winner. Tebow went 9-26 (which isn't bad if this were baseball) for 136 yards against the Patriots the very next week. Tebow was completely overmatched in that game by the Patriots defense. This game never gets mentioned when discussing Tebow whether is a winner in the playoffs. 

First, the quarterbacks with fewer postseason victories than the former Bronco and Jet:

Yes, the author is really doing this. He's saying that Tebow needs a job in the NFL because he has one playoff victory, then makes a list of other quarterbacks who don't have as many playoff victories as if this is a comparison that should make the reader believe Tebow isn't getting a fair shot. Of course the list sucks and is as misleading as possible in an effort to make it look like many other quarterbacks have gotten a shot to win a playoff game and couldn't succeed in the way Tebow did. I don't think Tebow would approve of the way the author misleads his readers. The author makes his list as long as possible to make the conspiracy to keep Tebow out of the NFL as vast as possible. There are quite a few quarterbacks who are injured reserve on this list as well. I'm going to skip the quarterbacks who have never even appeared in a playoff game, thereby not ever having the chance to show he can win one.

Matt Barkley

He's a rookie quarterback. Shouldn't be on the list. 

Tyler Bray 

Rookie quarterback.

Jimmy Clausen

He was released and zero teams claimed him, hence nobody wanted him, so he ended up back on the Panthers IR list. Clausen was unwanted, just like Tebow. 

Auston Davis

It's spelled "Austin Davis." 

Zac Dysert

Rookie quarterback. 

Mike Glennon

Rookie quarterback. 

EJ Manuel

Rookie quarterback.

Matt McGloin

Rookie quarterback.

Ryan Nassib

Rookie quarterback.

Certainly, there are some young guys on that list that clearly have a bright future and are more talented quarterbacks than Tebow (like Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Matthew Stafford, Robert Griffin, III),

Yes, there are only four quarterbacks in the NFL more talented than Tebow on that list of quarterbacks who haven't won a playoff game. I could list at least 30 quarterbacks on that list who are more talented than Tim Tebow at playing quarterback. 

but for every Newton and Luck, there are multiple Renfrees, Stanzis, and Tuels. Can these clubs really say they are better off with these names than they would be with Tebow?

Considering these quarterbacks are all backups or third-string quarterbacks, then yes, these teams can say they are better off with these names than they would be with Tebow. Tebow brings too much scrutiny and attention for a third-string quarterback.

Along with that list of those who have not had any playoff success, Tebow is also on par with some big names when it comes to playoff wins.

This is an interesting little fact that Tebow has one playoff win like some current NFL starters, but this doesn't mean Tebow is a better quarterback than these NFL starters. It just means Tebow won a playoff game. He has a whole entire other resume, including another playoff game he participated in, that tells us what kind of quarterback Tebow truly is.

The southpaw has as many postseason victories as Tony Romo, Matt Ryan, Alex Smith, Jay Cutler, Matt Schaub, T.J. Yates, David Garrard, and everyone's darling Russell Wilson.

It's almost like more goes into being a great quarterback other than simply winning one playoff game. Also, Russell Wilson was a rookie last year and won a playoff game. It's not like he's been in the NFL for years and years.

The fact the author is basically arguing that Tim Tebow deserves an NFL job because he won one playoff game just like these other quarterbacks have won a single playoff game shows me he doesn't really have a firm grasp on quarterbacking in the NFL. It's a very basic and simplistic way of evaluating a quarterback's ability and quite possibly the best way to convince the casual NFL fan that Tebow that he is getting a raw deal from the NFL.

Yet, Tebow is jobless.

It's almost like winning one playoff game doesn't mean Tebow is a great quarterback. Also, I believe if Tebow was just a normal quarterback without a rabid following of fans that quote his volunteer and other good-guy activities without prompt from anyone at every opportunity then he would absolutely have an NFL job. The media attention (from the media the author seems to think doesn't like Tebow or wants to see him fail) is not worth the skills (or lack thereof) that Tebow brings to the team. Tebow is not good enough to justify the hype that will surround him.

While the Browns have just signed Hanie who has for his career thrown for only three touchdowns while being intercepted ten times and Tanney who has never attempted a pass in the NFL, Tebow is unsigned. This, despite 17 touchdowns and only nine picks, not to mention 989 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns.

And again, articles like this which suggest Tebow wears armor, as well as the inevitable adoring media coverage of his every exploit is exactly why Tebow isn't signed. If the rabid Tebow fans and the media would calm the hell down then maybe Tebow would get another shot. As it stands, no NFL team wants the distraction of their backup quarterback being the topic of every question asked by a reporter. That's the reality. It's the same reality that occurs at everyone's job where there is one co-worker who does his/her job fairly well, but no one likes working with him/her because the other bullshit he/she does or says isn't worth it. He/She is high maintenance basically.

Plus, a successful win-loss record in the regular season and a playoff win.

Boy, the author is really hanging his hat on this isn't he? Mark Sanchez has a successful win-loss record in the regular season and multiple playoff wins. It doesn't make him a better quarterback. 

So why not Tebow? Because he doesn't throw "right"?

Well yes, partly. He doesn't throw the ball "right" and he sucks up attention away from the football team because the media adores him and his every move. The article I am writing about right now is part of the reason "why not Tebow." He brings a "C-" quarterbacking skill with the media attention of a teen idol to whatever team dares to draft him, trade for him or sign him.

Or is it the big, bad C-word? Tebow's Christianity--or the buzz that surrounds it--may be be the major factor in the NFL shunning him. C is Tebow's scarlet letter. 

Okay, make him a martyr. That will convince everyone that Tebow should be a quarterback in the NFL. It's not that Tebow is a Christian because other NFL players are devout Christians and the NFL doesn't shun them. Christian Ponder is a devout Christian, as is everyone's darling Russell Wilson, Prince Amukamara, Aaron Rodgers, Kurt Warner, Reggie White and Thomas Davis. The idea that Tim Tebow is being shunned for being a Christian is absolutely ridiculous to me. Making him a martyr is much more fun than acknowledging the rabid Tebow fans' impact on his not having a job in the NFL. It's easier to point the finger at others' actions than it is to look at your actions. 

Other Christian athletes are taking notice. Luke Murton has played five years of professional baseball. He finished up this year with the Sioux City Explorers after spending more than four seasons with the New York Yankees organization. Like Tebow, he is working hard every day to improve as a player. Also, like Tebow, Murton makes no apologies for his faith. 

Neither do other professional athletes and other professional athletes also publicize their faith. 

"I want my life to be a light to the world," Murton told Breitbart Sports. "I want people to look at me and see something different.  And not because I am special but because hopefully that will bring more people to Christ. Every Christian should be a missionary in the sense wherever you work that is your mission field. We need to be intentional about bringing others to Christ because we better than anyone know how much we need Christ. 

I'm sure the author thinks Luke Murton isn't in the majors yet because MLB is shunning him for daring to be a Christian. Such persecution should not stand. 

"The whole Tebow thing gets to me," Murton said. "Here you have a winner. He has always won but he doesn't throw "right" they say.

Some expert analysis here. 

Murton hasn't experienced any backlash on the level of Tebow, but he does stand out. Each and every at-bat Murton strides to the plate with Christian music blaring. Not your usual walk-up song for today's ball player. "Fans are used to songs that are "pumping up" the player walking to the plate, for instance, "the champ is here...the champ is here", said Murton.

Fans are used to Jadakiss, which of course is short for Jada Knights in Satan's Service. 

"I have heard people say that 'you are just trying to get hits." And that is the farthest thing from the truth. At the end of the day, I know I need a reminder of what really matters because I don't want to get caught up in something that eternally means nothing besides the lives we touch."

This is a good point, even though I have no idea what it is supposed to do with Tim Tebow and why he isn't playing quarterback in the NFL right now. 

Tebow continues to touch lives too. His foundation is currently working on helping typhoon victims in the Philippines and providing much needed funds and outreach for children with serious illnesses. Yet, Tebow can't touch a football in the NFL.

I see what you did there. Cleverness aside, possibly Tebow is better off touching lives outside of football since he seems to be able to make a difference through his foundation. The fact Tebow is a great person has zero to do with whether he should be an NFL quarterback or not. I can't emphasize this enough, though I have tried. 

Murton knows what Tebow knows. That's probably why Tebow can handle this blatant slight with such class and that patented Tebow smile.

I don't know if I would consider it a blatant slight any more than Tebow had a few chances to be a quarterback in the NFL and simply couldn't beat the guys ahead of him on the depth chart out for a roster spot. The fact Tebow has so much media and fan baggage certainly doesn't help his case to make an NFL roster though. He receives more attention than he is worth. 

So, until an NFL team wises up and issues some pads to #15, he'll be just fine wearing the armor of Jesus.

I's part of the problem. Not the Christianity aspect of Tebow, but the aspect where some of his fans write things like this. It's very off-putting and even a little fake. I call it fake because if the author has to tell us how great Tebow is doing without the NFL then that tells me Tebow isn't okay without being in the NFL. The author doth protest too much basically. If the author thinks Tebow doesn't give a shit about the NFL then why does he write columns saying Tebow is being shunned and why does Tebow admit he wants to play in the NFL again? Obviously Tebow is fine not playing in the NFL, but I'm not sure he's completely fine with it. I know Kevin Scholla isn't okay with it.

The Bible talks about the need to "focus on what is eternal and not seen." Tebow is doing his part. We wait and watch to find out if any team ever focuses and finally sees what they're missing out on.

The Patriots saw what they were missing out on with Tebow and released him. This was after the Jets kept Tebow on their roster for the entire 2012 season and still didn't choose to keep him around after the season despite Mark Sanchez's was struggles. I think Tebow's one playoff win may have been the peak of his career. NFL teams will give a chance to any player who can help them win games. It's a bottom-line business. The bottom line is Tim Tebow isn't good at being a quarterback to outweigh the circus that surrounds him and this helps to prevent him from getting another shot with an NFL team.

Friday, December 27, 2013

6 comments MMQB Review: Who Knew Peyton Manning is a Student of the Game? Edition

Peter King enjoyed the Hollywoodiness of the Week 15 games in the NFL. It was all very dramatic. Peter also defended the choice of Peyton Manning as the "Sports Illustrated" Sportsman of the Year, and Peter's defense basically consisted of Peter say, "But it's Peyton Manning." Peter also recalled the story which caused him to rename his "Annoying/Aggravating Travel Note" after a Starwood Preferred member. Nothing says Christmas like hearing the same story over and over again. This week that whole line of demarcation thing between the Seahawks and every other team has gone away, Peter talks playoff tie-breakers, and in the most important story of the week, discusses how bad it smells when a guy burps continuously on a plane.

Surprisingly, there appear to be a couple of quotes from Cam Newton in this column. I'm not sure if Peter actually collected these quotes or piggy-backed them from another writer. It's interesting to me because of the whole "entertainer/icon" thing that happened prior to the 2011 NFL Draft which has caused Peter to be upset that Newton was upset he felt he was taken out of context. Maybe Peter called Newton "precocious" and that is part of their beef as well.

About that whole "massive line of demarcation" thing. Here is what Peter wrote:

Fine Fifteen

1. Seattle (12-2).


2. San Francisco (10-4).

Here is what I wrote:

The 49ers and the Seahawks just played a very close game two weeks ago and the 49ers ended up winning that game. I guess if the Seahawks are playing at home then this is a massive line of demarcation, but considering the 49ers beat the Seahawks just two weeks ago I don't think the line of demarcation is that massive.

Sportswriters love to make bold, hard-and-fast statements like this and then act very, very surprised when their bold statement turns out to not be as true as they thought. The Seahawks are beatable at home and the Seahawks aren't tremendously better than every other NFL team. It wouldn't surprise me if the Seahawks won the Super Bowl, but they aren't heads and shoulders better than every other NFL team. But this doesn't stop Peter from writing something ridiculous despite evidence to the contrary (barely beating Carolina in Week 1, the 49ers beating the Seahawks in San Francisco) that the Seahawks are beatable. Seattle is tough at home, but the Cardinals proved they could be beaten in Seattle. It's dumb to suggest otherwise, though this doesn't ever stop Peter and many other sportswriters from writing stupid declarative statements like this now and in the future.

Before we start on the three big events of the weekend (by my estimation: Panthers slay the Saints, Peyton Manning makes history, Arizona shocks the world),

I'm shocked Peter didn't include the Cowboys staying alive in the Wild Card chase among his big events.

let’s talk about My Favorite Tiebreaker.

I'm not entirely sure why Peter capitalized this. I guess he thinks it's a real thing and not simply a matter of opinion.

In a five-way playoff tie, you first break ties within divisions. The Jets would eliminate Miami by virtue of a better division record (3-3 to 2-4). Pittsburgh eliminates Baltimore by having a better division record (4-2 to 3-3). That narrows it to Pittsburgh, San Diego and the Jets.

Peter is praying it's not San Diego so that one of his Northeast teams can make it into the playoffs. It makes it so much easier to cover games when they take place closer to Peter. San Diego is just so far away and Peter wasn't even sure they still had an NFL team until he saw they could make the AFC Playoffs.

We go to conference-games tiebreaker. Pittsburgh would be 6-6. San Diego and the Jets would be 5-7. That’s it. And Pittsburgh would make it … after being 2-6 at the midway point, losing to Minnesota in London and Oakland in the Black Hole, and giving up 55 points to the wounded Patriots. Crazy league.

Any team that is 8-8 probably has one or two really bad losses on their resume, so while the NFL is crazy, this isn't all that insane in my opinion. A team goes 8-8, then they probably lost a few games ugly or lost games they should have won.

Time was drawing short for Cam Newton to justify why he’d been the first pick in the 2011 draft, and why the Carolina Panthers made him the franchise cornerstone 32 months ago.

Because carrying the Panthers offense over the past two seasons while the defense has been bad apparently wasn't justifying his choice as the #1 overall pick. Oh, by the way, Matthew Stafford just got a new contract and hasn't justified his choice as the #1 overall pick. But I guess if Stafford has helped his Lions team not be in playoff contention, while Newton has helped his team get in playoff contention then it is Newton who gets the criticism for not justifying his selection as the first pick in the 2011 draft. Stafford has been in the NFL two more years than Cam by the way. I realize I am making a straw man argument, but it's simply silly to say Newton had to win THIS VERY GAME to justify his selection as the first overall pick. It's overdramatic and typical of Peter King.

In the last 20 minutes of the NFC South title game Sunday in Charlotte, he’d gone three-and-out four straight times. Four series with the division on the line, 16 yards. Playing at home. Losing, 13-10, the only touchdown coming on a 43-yard run by DeAngelo Williams. Sitting there at NBC, I’d seen enough. I tweeted: “Has Cam Newton made a play today? One?” Then: “Carolina drafted Newton first overall for games like this, and he’s failing them miserably today.”

Peter King did Tweet that and it was ridiculous even as Newton was being really, really bad prior to the final drive. Newton was terrible, but Peter had these Tweets ready to go and fired away joyfully. For some reason Peter was ignoring anything Cam may do in the future or in the past, but this very drive is when Cam had to justify his selection as the #1 overall pick in 2011.

One of the marks of great quarterbacks is playing big when it counts, and Newton’s 65-yard, 32-second, no-timeouts drive to all but win the division (the Saints need to beat the Bucs and have the Panthers lose to the Falcons in Week 17) was as big as it gets, and on this day, it showed that the Panthers’ faith in Newton in 2011 was well-placed.

This wasn't the final justification on whether the Panthers' faith in Newton in 2011 was well-placed. If Newton had been terrible and didn't drive the Panthers down the field to win the game, this one game wasn't the final decision on whether he should have been the #1 overall pick in 2011. Again, Matthew Stafford got a new huge contract and Peter doesn't feel like he has to continuously justify his selection as the #1 overall pick.

Good for Newton, 

Said Peter King through gritted teeth.

who has morphed from a quarterback too reliant on his running ability to a good all-around quarterback who can make the biggest plays when it counts the most.

Newton threw for more yards during his first two seasons in the NFL than Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick. I wouldn't say Cam has ever been too reliant on his running ability. This is just a lazy statement. Newton has always had running as part of his game, but this isn't the year he became a good all-around quarterback. Newton still has the same flaws he had the previous two seasons, it's just the Panthers are winning.

“Luke Kuechly, with 24 tackles,” said Newton. “That’s unheard of.”

Then Newton for old time's sake threw a pass 10 feet over his receiver's head .

Peyton Manning thinks his records are temporary.

They probably are. Manning threw his 51st touchdown pass of the season with 4:34 left in the fourth quarter in a 37-13 rout of Houston Sunday, breaking Tom Brady’s six-year-old record.

Which leads me to asking why Manning was still throwing the ball when his team was up big late in the fourth quarter. But that's just me and my silly insistence that coaches don't allow players to break personal records when there is still a game left in the season for this player to break a personal record.

Offensive coordinator Adam Gase sent in the play, with first down at the Houston 25. This would be the last series of the game the Broncos would try to score, and Gase thought of a smart one.

How very kind of him to stop trying to score with 4 minutes left in the fourth quarter.

This would be the last series of the game the Broncos would try to score, and Gase thought of a smart one.

No one is a student of the game like Peyton Manning. Peyton Manning can't emphasize this enough.

“I will enjoy it while it lasts,” the 37-year-old Manning said. “I’m such a fan of the game, a student of the history of the game. 

I didn't know that at all. It's not like every analyst takes the time to point this out to the audience during every Broncos game nor did "Sports Illustrated" do 20 pages this past week on what a student of the game Manning is after naming Peyton Manning "Sportsman of the Year" for achieving the accomplishment of being Peyton Manning and continuing to exist.

Manning, being the history guy he is, will give the ball to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


Stats I think mean something.

They don't.

1. In the most storied passing season by a quarterback ever, Peyton Manning could lose out in passer rating to a guy who was a second-stringer the first month of the season. Nick Foles has a 5.7-point lead (118.7-113.0) over Manning entering Week 17.

Peter King can't get enough Peyton Manning this week. 

2. Denver, the presumptive top seed in the AFC, has four players with at least 60 catches and at least 10 touchdown catches. Seattle, the presumptive top seed in the NFC, does not have a receiver with 60 catches, and does not have a receiver with 10 touchdown receptions.

An AFC team may make the playoffs by winning 8 games and an NFC team might miss the playoffs after winning 11 games. I guess that statistic doesn't suck at Peyton Manning's teat enough, so Peter doesn't mention it.

3. I agree the buck stops with the head coach, and Jim Schwartz is very likely to take the fall for the Lions’ going 1-5 down the stretch and falling out of the NFC North race they once owned. But Matthew Stafford has been awful down the stretch—undisciplined, not focused, clearly not as attentive to Calvin Johnson (four targets in five quarters against the Giants on Sunday) as he should be. Stafford’s being paid like a franchise quarterback, and he’s performing like a quarterback who should be benched for David Carr.

Yet Peter manages to refrain from sending out Tweets saying Stafford has to win THIS VERY GAME to justify his selection as the #1 overall pick.

4. Manning broke the touchdown-pass record Sunday against Houston, with Wade Phillips in charge of the Texans defense. Manning previously broke the touchdown-pass record held by Dan Marino in 2004 with his 49th against San Diego, with Wade Phillips in charge of the Chargers defense.

Peyton Manning. Peyton Manning. Peyton Manning.

5. How times are changing (thanks to Elliott Kalb for reminding me of these): Seven years ago Manning led the NFL with 31 touchdown passes. Andy Dalton has 31 this year, with four quarters to play.

Isn't it weird that Peyton Manning did something Peyton Manning football Peyton Manning right before the end of the Peyton Manning? I mean, Peyton Manning it all.

Perhaps more important for the rest of the NFC, Arizona burst the bubble of Seattle’s Pacific Northwest invincibility. We all thought the Seahawks would breeze to the Super Bowl in New Jersey

Don't "we" us Peter when you are the one who is wrong. "We" didn't think all think the Seahawks were going to breeze to the Super Bowl. You did. Don't blame the masses for you being wrong. When Peter is wrong it's "we" who thought what he thought, but when Peter is right then the "we" stuff goes away. It's like Peter thinks we believe what he believes because we read what he writes in MMQB.

Arians is a funny play-caller.

Funny like a clown? Like he amuses you? Like a clown?

If Carson Palmer throws four interceptions, as he did in Seattle, Arians is going to tell him to keep firing.

If Rashard Mendenhall is averaging 3.1 yards per carry, then Arians is going to keep ensuring that Andre Ellington doesn't get to touch the ball as often as Mendenhall does. It doesn't make it right, just like telling Palmer to keep firing after he has thrown four interceptions isn't necessarily right.

At the NFL meeting in Dallas earlier this month, a cadre of teams met to discuss something other sports have taken the lead on: pricing tickets to a team’s 10 games differently, depending on the quality of opposition and whether it’s a preseason or regular-season game.

My inclination is to hate this idea.

I do not, however, see this solving the problem of the NFL charging full prices for preseason games. It is possible that a team charging, say, $750 for a full-season ticket (eight regular-season games, two preseason games) would still charge $750 next season.

An NFL team absolutely would still charge full price for a preseason ticket. A person would have to be naive to believe these NFL teams are going to charge less money for a preseason ticket when they have a captive set of people who are forced to buy season tickets that include the preseason games. What will happen is ticket prices for "exciting" games will increase while other ticket prices stay the same. No NFL team is going to do anything to save their fans money or lower ticket prices. NFL teams know the fans will show up, so why lower prices?

But the way this was explained to me by a source with knowledge of several teams’ plans is that it would address the value of tickets on secondary markets like StubHub and Ticketmaster. A preseason game, rightfully, would have a lower base price than a decent game in November.

The preseason ticket cost may be lower than a decent game in November, but it doesn't mean the preseason tickets will be cheaper. It doesn't matter if the base price is cheaper for a preseason game if this only happens because the other games are so much more expensive.

Let’s say a good Chiefs’ season-ticket costs $1,000 for 10 games in 2014. The Chiefs have an attractive home slate next year. They could take visits by Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and the cross-state Rams, call them Tier 1 games and put a face value of $150 on those tickets. They could make the next four most attractive games Tier 2 at $100, and then call the final regular-season game and two preseason games Tier 3 at $50. (Those are my approximations, no one else’s.)

Great. Let's say Chiefs fans have to buy season tickets to 10 games or they don't get season tickets. Why would the team reduce the price of the preseason tickets if the fans are going to pay that money anyway to get tickets to the other eight games? NFL teams are greedy, never forget this.

A team like Buffalo, for instance, could put a premium price on the Patriots game and a much lower price on a game involving a less desirable team.

Or the Bills will raise the price for the Patriots game and keep the ticket price the same for the other games...assuming the NFL allows this to happen.

“I think you’ll see teams experiment with different price points the next couple of years,” said one executive of a team that will likely change pricing next season. “Then I think you’ll see the real final product in two or three years, when teams find out from their fans what they want the most.”

I love the idea that NFL teams can't figure out what fans want. What is really happening is NFL teams want to know the price-point at which NFL fans will stop buying tickets. What NFL fans want is easy. Don't make them pay full price for shitty preseason tickets and don't jack up ticket prices to other games. But yeah, good luck taking 2-3 years figuring this out. What NFL teams really want to know is, "If we raise ticket prices to exciting games by $20-50 will the fans still buy tickets to these games and will it affect how they purchase preseason game tickets?" It's all about money and the NFL teams want to know how much they can rip off the consumer before the consumer stops buying their product.

Fine Fifteen

1. Seattle (12-3). It’s only one game, against a variable Cardinals defensive front that changed things up on Russell Wilson consistently. I wouldn’t be too worried.

Because no other NFL team will change up their defensive front against the Seahawks. I'm surprised Peter didn't write that the Seahawks are still going to be in the Super Bowl and then claim "we" were wrong when they don't make it that far in the playoffs.

6. New Orleans (10-5). I wouldn’t throw the season in the dumpster just yet, Saints Nation, but barring a stunning upset by the Falcons Sunday over the Panthers with a Saints win over the Bucs, New Orleans will have to win four games away from the Superdome to win the Super Bowl this year. Points scored in the last three road games: 7, 16, 13.

In defense of the Saints (those are five words I don't write often) they did play the Seahawks, Panthers, and Rams on the road in those three games. Those teams are 1st, 2nd, and 13th in points allowed per game. It's not like they have played some shitty defensive teams in those three games on the road.

9. Indianapolis (10-5). The season’s long. Week 3: Colts travel to San Francisco and crush the Niners 27-7. Got crushed a few too many times since. But this is two straight weeks that the defense showed up and looked like it did that day by the Bay. There may be some January hope for this team.

There may be hope in January for them or there may not be. Ask Peter again in January when he can definitively tell you all of the flaws the Colts may or may not have after he has seen these flaws.

11. Philadelphia (9-6). Just when you think you’ve got the league figured out, a week after giving up 48 point to the Minnesota Vikings the Eagles go and beat the Bears by 43.

Every week in MMQB Peter talks about how the NFL is so hard to figure and he marvels at this. At some point, maybe he'll drop his child-like (precocious, if you will) wonder at how the NFL is unpredictable and just expect the unexpected.

13. Pittsburgh (7-8). Seven weeks ago the Steelers were 2-6. Just a friendly reminder that the season’s 17 weeks long.

Says the guy who had the Broncos playing a road wild card game against the Patriots four weeks into the season. Peter was also talking about the Undefeated Bowl (between the Chiefs and Broncos) four weeks into the season. But yeah Peter, your readers are the ones who should know it is a long season. The 2013 season has been the season of Peter King making overly-presumptuous statements, but he wants his readers to know it is a long NFL season.

15. Chicago (8-7). I’m open about who to put at No. 15. Ideas?

You just put Chicago there.

Offensive Players of the Week
Peyton Manning, quarterback, Denver.

Peyton Manning threw the Peyton Manning to the Peyton Manning. Peyton Manning.

Cam Newton, quarterback, Carolina.

This is a case of Peter over-compensating. Newton was terrible for 59 minutes of the game. He doesn't deserve this award for three passes.

Defensive Player of the Week
Luke Kuechly, linebacker, Carolina.

He deserves this.

Coach of the Week
Bruce Arians, head coach, Arizona.

He deserves this. Has any head coach ever won back-to-back Coach of the Year awards for two different teams? Peter would tell me to Google or Bing it, but I'm guessing it's not happened. Of course, I am liable to take this Coach of the Year award away from Arians if he doesn't play Andre Ellington more.

Then Peter criticizes a New Jersey climatologist for giving a prediction about weather on Super Bowl Sunday. Apparently Peter fancies himself a weather expert as well as a coffee expert. Peter can do every job better than someone who currently holds that job.

I’m not so stupid that I cannot learn.

Eh, not so sure. Every year Peter expects the NFL to be predictable and every year he marvels that the NFL isn't predictable.

In the wake of the success of so many running backs picked outside the first round, and after seeing the production (or lack thereof) of Trent Richardson since his trade for a first-round pick to Indianapolis, the lot of the running back in the modern NFL should teach us all one thing: Do not use a very high draft pick on one.

I do agree in part, but if a team wants to draft an elite running back then the best chance to do this is draft that guy in the first round. Peter then cherry-picks the 2008 draft to prove his point. Looking at the NFL leaders in rushing yards for the 2013 season there are nine guys drafted in the 1st three rounds of the draft and six guys drafted in either the first or second round. Including the players who are 11th-20th in rushing yards on the 2013 season there are seven players drafted from this sub-set in the 1st three rounds and all seven were drafted in the first two rounds. So drafting a running back in the first two rounds is still the best way to get an elite, productive running back. There are, of course, exceptions to this statement.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

You know me. I’m not one to complain about little travel situations. (Oh really!) And on the scale of grand travel maladies, this would rate pretty low. But I present it to you for your delight.

If Peter knows his readers don't like his travel notes then why does he keep writing them?

Last Tuesday, returning from Sports Illustrated’s presentation of Sportsman of the Year to Peyton Manning in Denver,

Peyton Manning. Peyton Manning.

I was fortunate to be upgraded on my Delta flight, a good thing because I had a ton of writing to do. So when I sat down for the 8:30 a.m. flight, I thought it only slightly odd that the 40ish man next to me, informally dressed, said to the flight attendant: “Jack and Coke, please.” When it was delivered, he drank it like a man being handed a thimble of water in the Sahara. Gone in an instant. Then he asked for another. So … two stiff drinks before 8:30 a.m. I see.

Not doing that "ton of writing" you claim you have to do and are taking up time observing what everyone else around you is doing instead. I see.

Then, for about an hour, he belched. Not the loud kind of belch; rather, the modest kind with lots of air let out. Aromatic air. And I don’t mean aromatic in a good way. Every six or seven minutes, there’d be a slight guttural sound, a verbal whoooooosh, and a scent approximating a landfill. What did this guy eat Monday night? Deep-fried skunk?

I'm guessing this guy who knew who Peter was and wanted to end up in MMQB. Kudos to this guy for daring to mind his own business and have a few drinks (then burp) at an hour that Peter King deems to be too early to drink alcohol.

“Peyton Manning has thrown more touchdown passes this season (51) than his dad threw in his first five seasons combined (47).”

—@LATimesfarmer, Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times, after the Manning record was set Sunday afternoon.

Peyton Manning. Peyton Manning all day.

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think this is what I liked about Week 16:

g. Antoine Bethea, one of the most overlooked players in football. Always shows up, always hits the way a safety’s supposed to hit.

Peter King, one of the most precocious sportswriters, always clicheing (I made that word up) the way a sportswriter is supposed to write a cliche.

k. Carson Palmer made his share of gaffes (share is putting it nicely), but he did come through when it counted, finding Jake Ballard (remember him?) for 17 yards to convert a key third down with the game in the balance at Seattle.

It's a good thing Palmer won this game because he had to justify his selection as the #1 overall pick for the Bengals in 2003 and this was THE GAME where he had to justify this selection.

r. Unless something quite strange happens, Julian Edelman (96 receptions, 991 yards) is going to have a 100-catch, 1,000-yard receiving season. Raise your hand if you had that in your office pool out on Cape Cod in August.

"We" certainly never thought that would happen!

2. I think this is what I didn’t like about Week 16:

c. You’ve got to block Greg hardy around the edge, Terron Armstead, though I also think Drew Brees shouldn’t be taking a sack and taking his team out of field-goal range either.

Unfortunately, this was the game where Brees had to win it and justify his selection as the first pick of the 2nd round by the Chargers. Sad for Brees that everything he has done prior or will do in the future means nothing now.

i. I do not use this word lightly, but the Cowboys sure make some stupid plays.

From earlier in the column when Peter was joking about how he isn't stupid:
I’m not so stupid that I cannot learn.

j. What a terrible, horrible injury for the Broncos, the apparent torn ACL for Von Miller. That’s going to play a big role in the AFC pennant race over the next month.

A pennant race in football. I still don't get why Peter uses this term for anything other than baseball.

4. I think the Jets should not fire Rex Ryan. Period. End of story. A 7-8 record with a game to go, with that team? Hardly a fireable situation. Extend Ryan one year (his contract is up at the end of next season) and push this decision off until the end of 2014. Ryan, and Jets fans, deserve that.

Great idea. The Jets and Jets fans deserve to deal with a potentially lame duck coach two years in a row. I'm not sure why it's a good decision to kick this decision on Ryan down the road, but I don't think the Jets and their fans deserve to have to wonder if Ryan is going to get fired or be the Jets coach at the end of another season.

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

c. Filled with sadness at the death of Claire Davis, the 17-year-old Arapahoe (Colo.) High School senior who was minding her own business Dec. 13 when a classmate shot her in the head for no reason whatsoever. Utter madness.

I'm surprised Peter was able to hold off on giving another lecture about guns and Congress and how he is shocked that Congress hasn't done anything about guns yet. I'm guessing his editor just took that part out rather than Peter actually held back on this lecture. 

f. Coffeenerdness: Diner breakfast Sunday in New York. Coffee-flavored water. Miserable. Who drinks this swill?

Someone who goes to a diner and pays $1.99 for bottomless coffee. If Peter wants bottomless coffee than he can't expect it to be a top of the line brew. Of course, no matter the situation Peter expects the best, even if he is staying at a hotel he can't see why the coffee can't be the best. 

h. The thing I hate about this time of year: The 20 or so coaches and families who are on the edge of their seats wondering if they’ll have to move in a week. Sort of takes away from the joy of the season, totally.

Yeah, totally. NFL teams should not be able to fire their head coach or any coach on the staff until at least March right before the Combine. Peter is going to sit down and have a lobster dinner with Roger Goodell in Cincinnati and have a discussion to see if he can this changed, as well as get ticket prices to certain games jacked up. 

The Adieu Haiku
So long to The ’Stick.
Seems every step I took there,
I stepped in a bog.

Can we say "Adieu" to the Adieu Haiku? Have I used that one yet?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

1 comments Tom Verducci Also Thinks Jack Morris Should Be in the Hall of Fame

Well, Tom Verducci finally took me up on my challenge (sort of). He obviously didn't take me up personally, but happened to (sort of) write a column about Jack Morris's Hall of Fame candidacy that I didn't think could be written while making a good case for Morris to enter the Hall of Fame. Verducci tries to make a case for Morris to be inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame without relying heavily on Game 7 of the 1991 World Series (well, he relies on it some). I feel like I am right, that Verducci tries to make a case, but ultimately the case for Jack Morris still fails without mentioning that Game 7 World Series victory. What's left is a bunch of discussion about how Morris used to complete games, how he was the best pitcher for a cherry-picked era of time, and he was just a real competitor. It's just not a strong case being based entirely on Morris completing a lot of games and Morris being the opening day pitcher for his team a lot. I struggle to think of a more arbitrary category than using "opening day starts" as a measure of whether a pitcher is Hall of Fame worthy or not. Tom Glavine pitched four opening day starts in his career. He would have pitched more opening days starts, but it was completely dependent on the strength of the pitching staff around him. That's why opening day starts is a very weak category to use in determining whether a pitcher should be in the Hall of Fame or not.

From 1971 through 1983, 615 pitchers made their first start in the major leagues. None of them have been elected to the Hall of Fame as a starting pitcher. It is baseball's Dark Ages for superb starting pitchers.

And oh yeah, Verducci bases part of his case for Morris to enter the Hall of Fame on the fact no pitcher from this randomly selected era has made the Hall of Fame. It's simply an arbitrary span of time. It's like saying "Jack Morris was the best pitcher of the 1980's" as if being the best pitcher from 1981-1991 means less. 

It is, by far, the longest and deepest drought in baseball history when it comes to the debut of a Hall of Fame starting pitcher.

It is also noteworthy, but ultimately meaningless as it pertains to whether Jack Morris should be inducted into the Hall of Fame or not. 

The Dark Ages has one last chance: Jack Morris, who gets his 15th and final opportunity on the baseball writers' ballot. The best of the rest of his contemporaries are long gone from the ballot: Dennis Martinez, Frank Tanana, Bob Welch, Rick Reuschel, Dave Stieb and Fernando Valenzuela, all of whom fell off the ballot after one or two years for failing to gain the minimum five percent support.

Let's just say invoking Jack Morris's name along with these six pitchers isn't going to help convince me that Morris deserves Hall of Fame induction. 

Morris is the last chance from an era of enormous change in how the game was played. The widespread use of the five-man rotation, the accepted wisdom of using relief specialists and the adoption of the designated hitter in 1973 combined to jump-start a trend that hasn't stopped its course: starting pitchers were asked to throw fewer starts, fewer complete games and fewer innings.

I smile as I write this because it sounds ridiculous...but basically Jack Morris deserves to be in the Hall of Fame not because of his performance during his career, but because of what he represents? He's an ambassador to baseball from a different era and someone who has contributed to the game in ways that exceeds his contribution on the baseball field? This is what I am to take from this. That it is not just about Jack Morris and his performance, but about what Morris represents, and that's why he should be in the Hall of Fame. I feel like this is quite the reach to make a case for Morris.

The Dark Ages began with starters completing 28 percent of their starts in 1971. By 1983 the completion rate was down to 18 percent. By the time Morris threw his last pitch, in 1994, it was down to 8 percent. Today it is down to 2.6 percent.

Complete games are great. Every team wants a pitcher who will throw 25 complete games in a season. That's just not the current state of baseball though. Teams rely more on specialists out of the bullpen and pitchers just don't complete games like they used to. I don't see what this has to do with Jack Morris and whether he should be in the Hall of Fame. Morris should not be elected to the Hall of Fame as the Last Great Pitcher of Complete Games. 

As the game changed -- especially in the DH-infused American League -- no starting pitcher who debuted in that transitional era held up better than Morris.

Again, these superlatives don't mean that Jack Morris deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. I'm not entirely sure what this means, but Morris being the best pitcher to hold up in the transitional era of the DH doesn't mean he should be in the Hall of Fame. Morris was consistently really good. He makes the Hall of Very Good, but he's not one of the best pitchers of all-time.

Plenty of pitchers posted better individual years, more than a few posted better peaks and many have Cy Young Awards or boast better run prevention metrics.

The translation I receive from this is that plenty of other pitchers were better at pitching than Jack Morris was during this time. So while Morris completed games and "held up" well during this time, he wasn't one of the best pitchers of his era, so he is not the type of player who should be in the Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is not for pitchers who completed a lot of games or transitioned to the DH well. It is intended for the best pitchers in the history of baseball and Jack Morris by Tom Verducci's own admission wasn't one of the best pitchers of his era. 

But none of the 615 starting pitchers who debuted between 1971 and 1983 had the staying power that Morris did.

Jamie Moyer and Tim Wakefield had staying power. Are we electing them to the Hall of Fame anytime soon? 

Among all starting pitchers who debuted between Blyleven and Clemens, Morris won the most games (254) and completed the most games by far (175, or 22 percent more than the next closest pitcher, Tanana) and posted the second best winning percentage (.577, trailing only Bob Welch and his .591 among pitchers with 400 starts) and the second most strikeouts (2,478, second to the 2,773 of Tanana).

But there is no rule that says a pitcher who debuted between Blyleven and Clemens has to make it into the Hall of Fame. It's possible this was just a dry period for Hall of Fame-caliber starting pitching. Tom Verducci will soon mock those who say Jack Morris was the best pitcher of the 1980's by stating this is an overrated way to measure Morris's dominance, but he's using his very own set of cherry-picked dates to prove Morris was a Hall of Fame pitcher. 

The strength of Morris' candidacy derives mostly from the volume of his work measured against his peers through this transitional period.

And unfortunately in order to make the Hall of Fame, Jack Morris and his volume of work should be measured against his peers throughout baseball history. That's how we determine if Morris is one of the best pitchers of all-time and not the best pitcher of a cherry-picked era. 

He was a workhorse who gobbled up innings as an ace, not just as a rotation filler. Nobody else in his era equaled him in that regard, especially when you talk about the harsher duty in the American League.

You will read a lot of this from Verducci. Jack Morris was a workhorse. This is the main argument for Morris to make the Hall of Fame, along with Morris being the pitcher from 1971-1983 that held up the best. While Morris being a workhorse is true, I'm not sure how this makes him a Hall of Fame pitcher. Morris being one of the last workhorse pitchers is nice, but I think comparing Morris to all of his peers instead of just those from 1971-1983 is the best way to measure his Hall of Fame candidacy. 

The problem with Morris' candidacy, however, is that he gave up so many hits and runs that you don't find the superior quality of pitching you typically associate with a Hall of Famer.

Much like Dale Murphy, who didn't get enough hits or hit enough home runs that you find with the superior hitters that are typically in the Hall of Fame. Gee, I wonder what that means for a player's Hall of Fame candidacy when a player just doesn't have good enough statistics compared to current members of the Hall of Fame? If only there were an answer on what this means...

In his 14-year peak (1979-92), Morris ranked tied for 17th in adjusted ERA (109) among pitchers with 1,500 innings. He never finished among the top four in his league in ERA or WAR and only once did so for WHIP.

But these are advanced statistics, which don't tell the whole story. Jack Morris had a lot of complete games (as did many pitchers prior to the specialization of pitchers) and he won a lot of games (which is an individual award that based partly on how the team overall performs). He's a winner and a workhorse. 

Many of the baseball writers I know invest significant research and some angst in filling out their ballots. The accessibility and spread of information has served to create more informed ballots.

Well, for those voters who actively seek out this new information and care to use it to evaluate baseball players and their qualifications for the Hall of Fame. Meaning, not Murray Chass. 

I have come to believe that getting enough votes for election (75 percent) comes down to one simple question: How well can you sum up his candidacy in one sentence?

Well maybe that and for some of these Hall of Fame candidates it is quite clear they are worthy of the Hall of Fame. It doesn't take much to see Gregg Maddux deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, while voters have to start cherry-picking data and using superlatives to state why Jack Morris deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. 

The preferred candidates are those (non-PED-stained) guys who belong to the "magic number" clubs (i.e.: 300 wins, which will serve Tom Glavine well, and 3,000 hits, which will get Craig Biggio in). You get imprimaturs such as "most home runs by a second baseman (first Ryne Sandberg, and eventually Jeff Kent), "best at his position" of a certain era (Roberto Alomar, Barry Larkin, Gary Carter) and "franchise player associated with one team" (Cal Ripken, Tony Gwynn, Larkin, Sandberg, Biggio).

Many of these players are more than just the one sentence that Tom Verducci has created to describe them. Tom Glavine won 300 games, but he also won the Cy Young award twice and was in the Top 3 of the Cy Young voting four other times. Roberto Alomor, Barry Larkin, and Gary Carter were the best at their position in their era and their legacy holds up when compared to players at their position throughout baseball history. The same goes for Ripken and Tony Gwynn. They are more than just guys who were on one team for most of their career. They have a resume that holds up against the best players in the history of baseball, which should ultimately be the determiner of whether a player gets a writer's vote for the Hall of Fame or not. 

I also like how Verducci says he believes you can sum up a player's candidacy in one sentence, but he seems to use three separate sentences to advocate for Craig Biggio and two sentences for Alomar and Larkin. Maybe it's a compound sentence for those three players. 

Deserving players without those easy identifiers, especially Tim Raines and Fred McGriff, are woefully undersupported. It actually takes some context to appreciate their greatness.

I don't know if McGriff or Raines would have a better case if they had played for one franchise, but they certainly would have a better case if they could attach themselves to a specific record. I see where Verducci is going with this. He's going the "You just have to understand how good Morris was by getting some context," and by "context" I assume Verducci means "cherry-picking numbers from an era and then calling Morris a workhorse over and over again." 

With Morris, attempts to shrink his narrative to a sentence have done more harm than good. People rightly have derided labels such as "he has the most wins in the '80s" (overrated), "he pitched to the score" (not entirely true) and "he threw a 10-inning shutout in Game 7 of the World Series" (hello, Don Larsen).

Having the most wins in the 1980's is overrated, but being the pitcher that held up the best from 1971-1983 is the perfect criteria for judging Morris's Hall of Fame candidacy. 

You have to be brutally honest with Morris' candidacy and avoid the hagiography: He was a plowhorse who lived up to the demands of an ace like nobody else in his transitional era. He was a manager's dream for fulfilling that role, especially pitching exclusively against DH-loaded lineups, not for superlative rate statistics.

So why were other pitchers able to pitch against DH-loaded lineups and still have superlative rate statistics? There are pitchers from the DH era who will make the Hall of Fame. Why was it possible for other pitchers to do this, but not Morris? I would suggest this is because Morris wasn't an elite pitcher. Sure, he did a great job of hanging in there and pitching a lot of innings, but his statistics reflect the fact he wasn't elite. Elite pitchers make the Hall of Fame. 

If you still want a one-sentence summation of Morris, you can pick from among these:

You are the one who is all about the one-sentence summary of a player's career, not me. 

He won and completed the most games among all starting pitchers who debuted from 1971-83, by far the longest period without a Hall of Fame pitcher in baseball history.

So he pitched the most innings during a period when no pitchers made the Hall of Fame. This is about as relevant as saying Morris was the best pitcher of the 80's. So Morris was the best among a group of non-Hall of Fame pitchers, that doesn't make him a Hall of Fame pitcher himself. The best player in the D-League won't get named to the NBA All-Star team. 

He pitched eight or more innings in AL games more times than any pitcher in the history of the DH (248), a record unlikely even to be approached.

Over a 14-year peak (1979-92), Morris gave his manager eight or more innings more than half the time he took the ball (52 percent of his 464 starts).

He was a workhorse. It's simply being re-phrased over and over. 

In AL history since the DH debuted, Morris ranks first in Opening Day starts (14),

Irrelevant as it pertains to Hall of Fame voting because whether a pitcher has 14 opening day starts or 2 opening day starts depends on the pitching staff around him. 

first in starts of eight or more innings, second in starts of seven or more innings (to Clemens), second in complete games (to Blyleven)

Has Verducci mentioned he was a workhorse? If not, he was. This is very important to know. 

and third in wins (to Clemens and Mike Mussina, a deserved Hall of Famer).

That's fantastic too. I can't help but wonder where Morris ranks in losses since the DH debuted. 

Now you begin to understand that his 10-inning shutout in the 1991 World Series was about more than just one historic game. You have to go back to the first day of spring training that year, when Morris, signed the previous month by Minnesota as a free agent, walked into the camp of a team that finished in last place the previous season and announced, "Men, I'm going to get you guys to the World Series. I'm going to throw the most innings on this team, have the best ERA and win the most games. I will lead you."

Does Tom Verducci realize how many times an athlete promises a championship to his teammates and it doesn't turn out to be true? Also, what Morris said is irrelevant to his Hall of Fame candidacy. I hate to keep saying this, but what a baseball player states and is able to back up is not a part of his Hall of Fame resume. 

As it turned out, Scott Erickson had the most wins and Kevin Tapani had the best ERA, but Morris threw the most innings and was the undisputed leader.

So basically Morris is going to get credit for saying something that he didn't even completely back up? So now what Verducci wants Morris to get credit for is leading the 1991 Twins in innings pitched. He was a workhorse. It's now on repeat, simply re-stated. 

By then Morris owned a reputation as one of the best, if not baddest, dudes in the game. He was so stubbornly competitive that once in 1982 Tigers manager Sparky Anderson started walking to the mound to remove Morris on what would have been his second visit that inning. Morris ran over and stopped Anderson before he could cross the third-base line.

"Get the hell out of here," he told Anderson. "What you've got warming up is no better than what I've got right now."

"You're nuts," Anderson said.

The manager turned around and walked back to the dugout.

Wow, I didn't know we could use stories to get players into the Hall of Fame. One time Fred McGriff hit a home run so far it bounced off a man's head back into the field of play where McGriff caught the ball threw it back to the pitcher who threw McGriff another pitch that McGriff hit right back at the same man, who caught it this time. Everyone elect Fred McGriff into the Hall of Fame now. 

And so there was no way Morris was letting Tom Kelly take him out of a scoreless Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. Morris was 36 years old at the time. He was making his fifth start of the postseason, including three of the last four on short rest. It was his third start in eight days. The 10 innings pushed his season total to 283 -- and none of the final eight batters he faced managed to get the ball out of the infield.

It turns out I lied. Tom Verducci can't make a case for Morris to enter the Hall of Fame without at least mentioning Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. See, I don't think it can be done. I don't think a case for Jack Morris to enter the Hall of Fame can be made without mentioning this World Series game. His candidacy centers around one (very important) game, that he was a workhorse, and if you cherry-pick a subset of time then Morris was one of the best pitchers during that time compared to other pitchers during that time. It's not a strong case for the Hall of Fame in my opinion. 

Twins GM Andy MacPhail called it "the most impressive pitching performance I ever have witnessed."

So the Twins GM appreciated the performance that helped his team win a World Series? How unforeseen. 

It wasn't just about the 10 innings Morris pitched that day. It was about a career of fulfilling the responsibility of an ace and refusing to give in. After that series, Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer noted that Morris had compiled a career similar to Hall of Famers such as Catfish Hunter, Herb Pennock and Jesse Haines, only with more superlative World Series numbers (4-0, 1.54 ERA). "It is a distinction that will probably send him to Cooperstown one day," wrote Carchidi.

The opinion of a sportswriter from 20 years ago immediately after a fantastic performance does not a Hall of Fame career make. It's not like sportswriters tend to overstate things due to the immediacy effect or anything. 

Also, as I have shown repeatedly, these World Series numbers are impressive but didn't look so impressive after his performance in the 1992 World Series or when factoring in his ALCS numbers. Of course, who cares about the ALCS, and Jack Morris can't be expected to pitch well in the World Series at the age of 37, so those numbers clearly shouldn't count nor be mentioned when discussing Morris's postseason achievements. 

Morris was never the same after 1991, which is to be expected when a 36-year-old pitcher throws 283 innings. He did lead the AL in wins the next season with 21 for Toronto, but mostly because the Blue Jays rolled out the second-highest scoring offense in the league.

So now the same pitcher who Verducci is building a Hall of Fame candidacy around being a workhorse can't expected to be a workhorse? It's a nice way to have it. Base Morris's candidacy on him being a workhorse and then state the Blue Jays shouldn't have expected Morris to be a workhorse after the 1991 season. Also notice how Verducci bases part of Morris's candidacy on him having the most wins of the DH era outside of Clemens and Mike Mussina, but dismisses wins as a relevant statistic when it is useful to show that Morris wasn't the same pitcher during the 1992 season. Wins are a team statistic when Verducci wants to show the struggles of Jack Morris, but magically become an individual statistic when Verducci wants to describe what a great pitcher Morris was. 

He also went 0-2 with an 8.44 ERA in the 1992 World Series for the Jays.

But this doesn't count because the workhorse was all worked out at this point. 

After the '91 World Series, Morris pitched to a 5.07 ERA in his final 84 regular season starts. The three-year decline phase raised his career ERA from 3.71 to 3.90, causing the "future Hall of Famer" Carchidi wrote about in 1991 to be recast dubiously as "the pitcher with what would be the highest ERA of any Hall of Famer," displacing Red Ruffing and his 3.80 mark compiled against an AL that was neither integrated nor turbo-boosted by the DH.

So Jack Morris, the great compiler of wins and other statistics over his 18 year career, shouldn't have the fact he didn't pitch well for the last three years of his career held against him? I guess that means the 38 wins and 24 losses, as well as 11 complete games don't count either? So Jack Morris ended his career with a 3.71 ERA, 216 wins, 162 losses (which lowers his career winning percentage to 57.1% compared to his real winning percentage of 57.7%) and he had 164 complete games. Does that get him in the Hall of Fame? If we took away the last three seasons of every pitcher's career when it comes time to evaluate that pitcher's Hall of Fame candidacy would that make sense? 

Since his third year on the ballot, Morris has gained 288 votes. (Blyleven gained 393 over his time on the ballot.) His gain of only three votes last year does not portend well toward picking up the 40 or so he needs on his last try. It is possible that Morris, after a 71-vote leap the previous year, simply has neared his ceiling of support, though it is also possible that the most mean-spirited campaigning against one player in the history of the Hall of Fame ballot has cost him votes.

And of course disagreeing that Morris should be in the Hall of Fame is mean-spirited. I'm not sure how pointing out a player doesn't deserve to be in the Hall of Fame in response to many articles being written about why that player should be in the Hall of Fame is mean-spirited, but it's best to paint the anti-Morris crowd as being unreasonable rather than argue on the facts. 

I am both baffled and saddened to see how people continually lampoon Morris and those who support his candidacy.

I'd love to see examples of this lampooning of Morris's candidacy. I'm guessing I would see this lampooning as simple disagreement over Morris's candidacy, but again, it's better to paint the opposition to Morris being in the Hall of Fame as extremists who are mean bullies. 

Morris has received 2,873 votes, the most ever by anyone on the wrong side of election.

It looks like Morris even sticks around the Hall of Fame vote long enough to accumulate impressive numbers. I can't wait for the sportswriter to make the case that Morris should be in the Hall of Fame because he has received more votes than any other candidate who hasn't gained entry into the Hall of Fame. 

If you prefer a statistical autopsy to determine your Hall of Famers, you probably will find Morris lacking. Many of the rate numbers aren't pretty enough.

If you prefer non-anecdotal evidence, a candidacy based on Morris being the best pitcher in a cherry-picked selection of dates only against other pitchers during those dates, and Game 7 of the 1991 World Series as proof of Morris's candidacy then you are probably voting for him. In the end, his candidacy should be based on what he did as a pitcher during his time in the majors, not based on what he did from 1971-1983 versus the other pitchers during that time. 

But, using another set of numbers, there is no denying the volume and impact of what Morris did.

But you have to use numbers that compare him to other Hall of Fame pitchers and I just feel Morris is lacking in that department. 

The facts show that Morris was the most reliable ace of his generation whose ability to continually take the ball deep into AL games was unmatched and may never be seen again.

He was a workhorse. I'm pretty sure you have mentioned this once or eleven times already. 

What also is true is that he altered baseball history by going 7-0 with a 2.05 ERA in the 1984 and 1991 postseasons, pitching the Tigers and Twins to world championships. Neither franchise has won a World Series since then.

Whether these franchises have won a World Series since Morris played for them is, again, irrelevant. Morris pitched poorly in the 1992 World Series and the 1987 ALCS. Why doesn't this count?

If you view baseball from the viewpoint of the manager, as I like to do, Morris is a Hall of Famer.

If you view baseball from the viewpoint of the manager then a lot of players are Hall of Famers. Managers will think most of their best players should be in the Hall of Fame. 

Just imagine you are the manager, and for nearly a decade and a half -- in the AL, with the DH -- when you give the ball to Morris more times than not he is going to give you a minimum of eight innings, and over his career and from the inception of the DH to this day he will win more AL games than anybody except Clemens and Mussina.

That's great and I will be happy my team's offense scored enough runs for Morris to win all of these games, while noting it's good the offense scores runs because Morris certainly gives up more runs than your typical ace would give up. 

the most players elected in one year is three. Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas should be expected to clear 75 percent this year. If you get an unprecedented fourth player elected, it could be Biggio rather than Morris. Biggio finished ahead of Morris last year by three votes and has no one campaigning against him.

Yes, NO ONE is campaigning against Craig Biggio, which is why he made the Hall of Fame in his first year on the ballot, right? Wait, he didn't make the Hall of Fame in his first year on the ballot? But, no one is campaigning against how did he not make it? 

Under current rules he would have to wait until December 2016 for a 16th try at enshrinement. That's when he would be eligible for consideration by the 16-person committee chosen by the Hall of Fame to vote on the next Expansion Era ballot.

I think Morris will get in the Hall of Fame at some point. I wouldn't be surprised if he makes it in December 2016. 

It shouldn't have to come to that. Jack Morris deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, and he has my vote.

Tom Verducci is being very mean-spirited in this discussion by disagreeing with me that Jack Morris should be in the Hall of Fame. So adding to the list of reasons Morris is a Hall of Famer (best pitcher of the 1980's, Game 7 of the 1991 World Series) is that Morris was a workhorse and the pitcher who has held up the best during a randomly selected point of time as compared to other pitchers during that era. As I expected, a great argument for Jack Morris to make the Hall of Fame can't be made without mentioning Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. Verducci didn't initially rely on that game to back Morris's candidacy, but he rambled around calling Morris a workhorse multiple times until he fell back on the that World Series game.

I wonder if Verducci considers this take on whether Morris should be in the Hall of Fame to be mean-spirited in that is it well-thought out and reasonable?